Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

DHU'L HAJJ - MUHARRAM 1424 H
February 2004
Volume 17-02 No : 206
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Our Dialogue


Inheritance by Two Wives
About Prophet Khader and Prophet Moses
The Meaning of Sadaq Allah Al-Azeem
Reciting Translated Quran in Prayerf

Inheritance by Two Wives

Q. My father died recently, leaving behind our mother, a stepmother, three sons and one daughter. All children are from the same mother, as our stepmother did not beget any children by my father. My father left money in bank accounts, saving schemes and other property, but they are all deposited in his name jointly with the name of our stepmother. Could you please explain how his property should be divided.

A. Since all the money was earned by your father only, then it is all his money. The fact that it is held in joint accounts does not alter the fact. The division of your father's estate is very simple. Assuming that he had no other heirs, which would be the case if both his parents are dead, then his property is divided as follows: one-eighth goes to his wives, shared equally between them. This means that your mother and your stepmother inherit one-sixteenth each of all his property. This applies to all his accounts, cash, house, shop, furniture, etc. What should be explained here is that a wife inherits one-quarter of her husband's property if he leaves no children behind. If he is survived by a child or more, then her share is one-eighth. If he has more than one wife surviving him, and married to him at the point of his death, then they share this portion equally. Since your father had two wives, each takes one-sixteenth. A man who leaves behind three wives and children, each wife's share is one-third of one-eighth, and if they are four wives, then each takes one-quarter of one-eighth. This is not unfair, because a woman's children are responsible for her and they must look after her. The Islamic rule assigns gain in relation to responsibility.

After giving one-eighth to the two widows, the remainder is divided into seven portions, with your sister taking one portion and the other six are given to the three sons, each taking two portions.

Now it is possible that a woman in your stepmother's position may claim that your father had given her half his wealth as a gift. If she makes such a claim and it is not true, then she would be taking what does not belong to her. This is forbidden. A court of law may not be able to prove her wrong, but this is what the Prophet (peace be upon him) spoke against when he said that some people may have a strong argument to support their claims. "If I give you something that does not belong to you, then I am giving you a brand of fire, and it is up to you to take it or leave it."

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About Prophet Khader and Prophet Moses

Q.1. What does the Qur'an say about the Prophet Khader. Is it true that he can appear at any time and place to relieve people's distress? Is he an angel or a human being?
Q.2. A scholar said that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was born, he did not need to be washed or to have his umbilical cord cut because it was already cut. Is this true? Is there a Hadith which suggests a particular sequence for cutting one's nails?
Q.3. When the Prophet Moses was in Madyan as a guest of the Prophet Shuaib, did either of them know that Moses would be one of the greatest prophets? Was Moses receiving any religious training while he was in Madyan?
Q.4. Is it true that there was some tension between Abu Bakr and Fatimah? It is said that Ali did not pledge his allegiance to Abu Bakr until after Fatimah had died? Is this true?

A.1. The Qur'an does not mention Al-Khader by name. It is generally thought that he was the pious man the Prophet Moses met after a long journey in search for him, as mentioned in Surah 18, Al-Kahf. He did some strange actions which Moses could not refrain from protesting against, despite having given him solemn promises not to ask about anything he did, until he supplied the information of his own accord. We do not know whether this man was truly named Al-Khader or he was someone else. Nor do we know whether Al-Khader was a prophet, because God makes it clear that he sent prophets and messengers about whom He has chosen not to tell us. As for the qualities you have mentioned, these are some of the inventions that people have coined without basis. Nothing of this is true.

A.2. Such stories have no basis. People who wish to give the Prophet a supernatural image invent them. But he is an ordinary human being whom God has favoured with carrying and delivering His message to mankind. Some people want to present an image of the Prophet which is too pure, but this is wrong because he was a normal human being in every sense, but God has perfected his character in order that he would be able to undertake his task properly. As for a special sequence of clipping nails, I am not aware of any authentic Hadith in this connection. All the Hadiths I have seen speak of the need to do so regularly, because it is hygienic and reduces the chances of carrying germs that cause disease.

A.3. We do not know anything more than what we have in the Qur'an and the Sunnah about the relation between Moses and Shuaib. Both were prophets and messengers of God. At the time when Moses was with Shuaib, where he stayed for 8-10 years, he had not yet received his message. Did that stay involve religious training? Maybe only in as far as Moses was a believer who worshipped God alone. There might have been other instances of prophets sent to different communities at the same time, but we have no reliable information on this.

A.4. No there was no tension between Fatimah and Abu Bakr. There could never be. Both were aware of the position of the other. However, after the Prophet's death Fatimah sent Abu Bakr a word requesting to have the property that belonged to the Prophet in Fadak and other areas. Abu Bakr told her that he heard the Prophet saying: "We Prophets are never inherited. Whatever property we leave behind is disposed of as charity." Neither Abu Bakr nor Fatimah would have gone against this Hadith. That would have been an act of disobedience and neither of them disobeyed the Prophet in any way. It is not true either that Ali delayed his pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr for any time after the latter assumed office as caliph.

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The Meaning of Sadaq Allah Al-Azeem

Q. It is often the case that at the close of a religious discussion on radio or television the presenter says sadaq Allah Al-Azeem. Is this acceptable?

By Adil Salahi

A. The sentence, sadaq Allah Al-Azeem, means "God Almighty speaks the truth." It is normally said at the end of any Qur'anic recitation except in prayer. If the discussion on radio or television is a normal one, it should not be followed by this sentence, because the speakers are saying their own words, which may be all in line with what the Qur'an says, but it remains their own words. In order not to confuse them with the Qur'an, this sentence must not be said at such a time.

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Reciting Translated Quran in Prayerf

Q. I have noticed that many people formulate some misconceptions about Islamic worship, and this is largely due to their inability to understand Arabic, although they are able to read the Arabic script. I feel that if they could read the Qur'an translated into their own language during prayer, when concentration is at its highest, then they would be better informed. Is this permissible?

A. The Prophet describes Islamic prayer as consisting of only "God's remembrance, glorification and reading the Qur'an." The Qur'an is the book revealed to Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him), through the angel Gabriel in God's own words. It has been preserved intact, and it will continue to be preserved because God has guaranteed that it will remain in its original form for the rest of time. It is the Qur'an which we must use in prayer.

It is true that the large majority of Muslims do not speak Arabic. Even among the Arab people, many are those whose level of education does not help them to understand the Qur'an properly. But this does not make a case for substituting God's own word with a paraphrase of its meaning.

When you look at any translation, you realise that it is the rendering by the translator, in his or her own words, of the meaning of the original text. Now the translator may make mistakes in understanding the text, or the text itself may admit more than one meaning. This could result in a rather confused or erroneous rendering.

When it comes to a religious text, the translator could have some pre-conceived ideas which make him interpret certain texts in a certain way, but this could be mistaken. But even if we have a translation which is free of error, it remains the language of the translator, expressing his own understanding of God's word. This is always inadequate as an expression of God's meaning. How can we use it in prayer? Besides, if you look at English translations of the Qur'an, you find that there are scores of them, and they all differ. Which one would you take? If English speaking Muslims were free to choose, each would be choosing the translation that he found in a bookshop. They will be using different texts in their prayer. Is this acceptable.

Yet, I appreciate the problem you have expressed. The answer is not in allowing prayer in different languages and dialects. It is in raising the standard of education, particularly religious learning among Muslims throughout the world. This is a task that should be addressed by communities, governments, families and individuals.

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