By S. Abdullah Tariq
Q (i) Why is adoption prohibited in Islam?
(ii) Don't the Israelis have a right to Palestine (Canaan), their 'Promised Land'?
Ans. (i) Adoption of a child neither changes his blood group, nor his genes and DNA. It means nature does not allow the change of parentage of a person and Islam is the Religion of Nature.
Today we can trace the lineage of a person to particular family even after an interval of centuries on the basis of DNA test. An adopted child can only be traced to his true ancestry and not to the artificial progenitors. Nature rejects the false relationships while retaining in its record the true blood relationships.
The immediate damage of an adoption could be felt by the rightful owners of the inheritance, causing enmity in the family. The adopted child is prohibited from marrying some of those whom he has a right to marry. With the development of anthropology, today more than at any time in the past, we are families and races. Adoption is a false linkage in this process. Please note that Qur'an always mentioned Jesus Christ as Jesus, Son of Mary, and not the son of Joseph, the carpenter. Jesus could only inherit the qualities of holy Mary while the Bible assigns to him a false genealogy through Joseph the carpenter.
The system of adoption is said to be justified for mainly two reasons. An adopted child fills the vacuum in the life of a couple and an unprotected orphan receives the love and protection of his new parents. As far as childless couples are concerned, Islam does not stop them from acquiring an unprotected child and providing him with material and emotional support. But the fact remains that neither 'Nature' nor 'The Religion of Nature' i.e. Islam will accept the adopted child as their true descendant. Regarding the necessities of the unprotected child, Islamic teachings are unparalleled among all religions.
Zaid was a child while he was abducted and enslaved. The holy Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) took him in his protection and gave him so much of love and affection that he refused to go home with his father and uncle when they came to the Prophet in his pursuit.
The Qur'an specifically ordered to care for, provide for and protect orphans on as many as 22 occasions. Some teachings about the orphans are :
"Treat not the orphan with harshness' (93:9)
"Those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, eat up a fire into their own bodies. They will soon be enduring a blazing Fire." (4:10)
"Serve Allah and associate none with Him. Show kindness to your parents and your kindred, to the orphans and to the needy, to your neighbours who are of kin and neighbours who are strangers..." (4:36)
Orphans are among the elite group to whom the Qur'an has appointed as beneficiaries from the booty of a war or the receipts from the people of the town.
"And know that to Allah's cause, the Apostle, the Apostle's kinsfolk, the orphans, the needy, and the wayfarers, shall belong one fifth of whatever you take as spolls..."(8:41)
"The proceeds recovered from the town-dwellers and assigned by Allah to His Apostle belong to Allah, the Apostle and his kinsfolk, the orphans, the poor and the wayfarers in order that it may not (merely) take a circuit between the wealthy among you...." (59:7)
Qur'an declares him a denier of Deen, the Religion and the judgement, who scolds an orphan.
"Have you seen him who denies the Last Judgement? It is he who repulses the orphan, does not urge others to feed the poor." (107:1-3)
Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) himself was a born orphan and he understood very well their need for compassion, love and protection. He announced that those who care for orphans, shall be so close to him on the Day of Judgement as are two adjacent fingers of a hand. A companion asked the Prophet (Pbuh) of the cure of hard-heartedness. He replied, "Caress with kindness the head of the orphans."
The practice of adoption has not solved nor can it solve the problems of all the orphans of the world. Only such emphasis upon their look after as Islam has ordained can protect them from the selfish society.
(ii) Those who have been displaced forcibly from the land of Israel have a right to be restored to their homeland. The Palestinians are the Israelis who had been living in Israel for generations before they were driven out from their ancestral homeland.
Do you mean to say that the Jews are Israelis? No, they descended upon Israel from all over the world. They were not Israelis a few decades ago. Most of them were European nationals and they should have stayed back in their respective countries. Germany, a pre-world war giant massacred the Jews. It is a sad history and the post-worked-war super powers should have made Germany pay for their losses. Instead, the Jews were harassed throughout Europe and made to migrate to Israel. If they needed a state it should have been carved from Europe but U.S.A, U.S.S.R, U.K. and France conspired against the Palestinians and drove them out of their homes to settle the Jews whom they themselves had been oppressing for centuries.
Who promised the land of Canaan to Jews? The four super powers? God promised them in the Bible? In today's world, it is unthinkable that millions of people be made to evacuate from the land of their origin to give place to a religious group who are gathered from all over the world and who believe on the basis of their religious declaration that they are the rightful owners of the land. But the unthinkable was implemented by the self-proclaimed guardians of peace. Is not Palestine, the land of Prophets, holy to Christians and Muslims as well?
Your claim has no basis except in Bible. As it happens, the Christians and Muslims also believe in those parts of the Old Testament, which have not been changed or manipulated. So, let us view the claim of the Jews 'Promised Land' in the light of scriptures. The Promise which you have referred to has also been mentioned by Qur'an: "O Children of Israel, Remember My favour wherewith I favoured you; and fulfil my covenant and I shall fulfil your covenant.." (5;40)
Through Qur'an, the promise still stands but God's covenant is not unconditional. The fulfilment of God's covenant is linked with the covenant Bani Israel made with God. The Jewish encyclopedia confirms this; "That Israel's character as the chosen people is conditioned by obedience to God's commandment is stated in the very words of the Sinai covenant." (JE IV, P.45, quoted by Abdul Majid Daryabadi in Tafsirul Qur'an F.N. No-176 of Vol.I)
The fifth Book of Moses in the Bible clearly states that the covenant was a bilateral one with reciprocal obligations and undertakings: "Today you have acknowledged the Lord as your God; you have promised to obey Him, to keep all His laws and to do all that He commands. Today the Lord has accepted you as His own people, as He promised you; and He commands you to obey all His laws. He will make you greater than any other nation that He has created, and you will bring praise and honour to His Name. You will be His own people as He promised." (Deut. 26:17-19)
The Lord's promise was that the children of Israel would be His own very special people, greater than all nations provided they kept their part of the covenant. Israel (Jacob) had informed his son Joseph thus: "He (the Almighty) said to me, 'I will give you many children, so that your descendants will become many nations; I will give this land to your descendants as their possession forever'. (Gen. 48:4). The same promise of the possession of the land of Canaan was renewed to the Israel's descendants from time to time with the same reciprocal condition; "The Lord said to Solomon, "If you obey all my laws and commands, I will do for you what I promised your father David." (I Kings 6:11-12)
What exactly, was the Bani Israel's covenant with God? What were the commandments they were ordered to obey? There are many rules and commands but the most famous part of all commandments is "The ten Commandments', some of which are: "Observe the Sabbath and keep it holy. You have six days in which to do your work, but the seventh day is the day of rest dedicated to me. On that day no one is to work ..... neither you, your children, your slaves, your animals, nor the foreigners who live in your country... Respect your father and your mother, so that you may live a long time in the land that I am giving you. Do not commit murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not accuse anyone falsely. Do not desire another man's house; do not desire his wife, his slaves, his cattle, his donkeys or anything else that he owns".
Of hundreds of other laws and instructions to be obeyed, some were the following: "Put to death any woman who practises magic. Put to death any man who has sexual relation with an animal. Condemn to death anyone who offers sacrifices to any god except to me, the Lord. Do not ill-treat or oppress a foreigner. Do not ill-treat any widow or orphan. If you lend money to any of my people who are poor, do not act like a moneylender and require him to pay interest, give me your first born sons, give me the first born of your cattle and your sheep. Do not spread false rumours, and do not help a guilty man by giving false evidence. Do not follow the majority when they do wrong. Do not accept a brief." (Exodus; ch, 22,23). In return for obedience and the fulfilment of their part of the covenant, the Jews were promised that God would send an angel ahead of them who will protect them and make their enemy run. He would make the borders of their land extend from the Gulf of Aqba to the Mediterranean Sea and from the desert to the Euphrates river. They would be very prosperous and so carefree that no one would be ill and no woman shall have a miscarriage or be without children. (Exodus; Ch.23).
The Jews have no right to complain to anyone. Had they fulfilled their promise with the Lord, the Lord would have given them the promised land. Jews control the banking and economy of the whole world. They are the biggest moneylenders in the world, thus disobeying Him. Jews own the world media and do not hesitate in running false campaigns in their material interests. This again is against the covenant. Look at the other commandments. Are they fulfilling them? In fact they have a unique history of perpetual disobedience even when Prophet Moses was among them. It calls for punishment from the Lord and they have been punished time and again in history.
So, from whatever angle we study the matter, Jews have no moral claim on Israel. True, they were wronged by the Europeans but they are doing the same to the original Palestinians in collusion with America and Europe. If their claim is on the basis of the Lord's promise, then let them fulfil their promise to God, instead of reasoning with or appealing to the world community.
Q. i) It is said that Qur’an contains unscientific facts such as about movements of Sun, Moon, earth etc. Is Qur’an scientific?
ii) Muslims believe that Prophet Ibrahim (A.S) offered his son Ishmael (A.S) for sacrifice in the name of God, but in the Bible which I have read, it is written that Prophet Ibrahim (A.S) offered Isaac (A.S) as sacrifice. Prophet Isaac has been mentioned in the Bible instead of Ishmael. Please tell me which is true?
(Chaman Shaikh N.S; Dist. Sangli)
Ans i) Qur’an enjoys the unique distinction among all the religious scriptures of the world that not a single verse of it is against the proven and established principles and phenomenon of science. The topic, you mentioned is very lengthy and a number of books have been published on the subject. The charge mentioned by you is hypothetical with no specific instance. Had you quoted an alleged discrepancy or mentioned a verse, which according to you is said to contradict the proven scientific facts about orbiting the Sun, Moon and earth, your misunderstanding could have been removed.
ii) In the portion where the Bible describes the sacrifice of Hazrat Ishaq (Isaac) (A.S), there are many discrepancies and contradictions. Let us recall the events stated by the Bible.
“Hagar (Hajirah) bore Abraham a son, and he named him Ishmael. Abraham was eighty six years old at the time.” (Gen. 16:15-16) “Abraham was hundred years old when Isaac (Ishaq) was born”. (Gen. 21:5)
We can deduce from the above two verses that Ishmael was 14 years old when his younger brother Ishaq was born and for 14 years before Ishaq was born, Ishmael was the only son of Prophet Ibrahim.
Now, the Bible states that Ishmael and his mother Hajirah were sent to the wilderness after Ishaq was born (Gen 21:9-13). It means, according to Bible, Ishmael was at least 14 years old when he and his mother were left alone in the wilderness. On the other hand Islamic traditions say that Ishmael was an infant when Prophet Ibrahim left him in his mother’s lap to live alone in the Makkan desert. Before we analyse the next sequence of the event in the Bible, it is worth noting here that Hajirah and Ishmael were left in the wilderness of Parang (Gen 21:20) which is a name of Makkan in Bible. The Bible narrates ahead: “Early the next morning Abraham gave Hagar some food and a leather bag full of water. He put the child on her back and sent her away. She left and wandered about in the wilderness of Beersheba. When the water was all gone, she left the child under a bush and sat down about a hundred meters away. She said to herself, ‘I cannot bear to see my child die’. While she was sitting there, she began to cry. God heard the boy crying and from heaven the angel of God spoke to Hagar, What are you troubled about, Hagar? Do not be afraid, God has heard the boy crying. Get up, go and pick him up, and comfort him. I will make a great nation out of his descendants”. Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well. She went and filled the leather bag with water and gave some to the boy. God was with the boy as he grew up; he lived in the wilderness of Parang and became a skilful hunter”. (Gen.21:14-20)
Please read the above paragraph again. Many a detail differs from the Islamic description of the event, but one thing is crystal clear. The description of the child in the above paragraph is not of a 14 plus old boy. Ishmael’s mother was an old lady and a 14 plus boy is quite young. The child Hajirah helplessly put in the bush was certainly an infant. A boy of more than 14 years would rather look after the old mother, instead of needing her care.
The Bible and the Islamic traditions agree here that Ishmael was in infant when left alone with his mother in the Arabian Desert. This deduces that Ishmael was the only son of Prophet Ibrahim when he was left in the wilderness, as Isaac was born only after Ishmael had become 14.
Now, immediately after the account of Ishmael attaining the age of boyhood when he was old enough to learn the use of arrows for hunting say 13-14 years, the Bible starts narrating the event of sacrifice. The context and the sequence of events betray that the name Ishmael has been replaced by Isaac by some ancient copier of the Old testament.
Another important clue of the son involved is found when the Book of Genesis relates the event of sacrifice. The boy who was going to be sacrificed was old enough to carry the load of woods: “Abraham made Isaac carry the wood for the sacrifice..” (Gen. 22:6). In the account, immediately preceding the occurrence, Isaac had just been born while Ishmael had attained the age of boyhood. If Ibrahim took Isaac with him to the altar, and made him to carry the wood, then the story of more than a decade is missing from the Bible. All things fall in place if the son accompanying Ibrahim, was Ishmael instead of Isaac.
This analysis will not be complete if I do not relate the most important evidence so far. The Bible reads: “Take your son, God said, “Your only son, Isaac, whom you love so much and... offer him as sacrifice to me”. (Gen 22:2)
From the above references of the Bible, we know that Isaac had never been the only son of his father. Instead it was Ishmael who was the only son of Ibrahim for 14 years. This proves that the son asked to be offered as sacrifice, was Ishmael as the Islamic traditions specify. It also goes on to strengthen the Qur’anic claim of being the only unadulterated word of God, as it announces its challenge: “Will they not ponder on the Qur’an? If it had not come from Allah, they could have surely found in it many contradictions”. (4:82)
After your detailed answer I must make it clear that the above discussion was for finding the truth and straightening the record. We Muslims regard both the Prophets Ishmael and Isaac with esteem and we do not give one Prophet of Allah precedence over other. It does not really make any difference to us whether the son of prophet Ibrahim involved in the event, was Ishmael or Isaac, (Pbuh). What is important for us is that both the father and the son readily agreed for the sacrifice. We must renew our resolve to completely submit before our Lord while recalling the event.
Q. (i) As a Muslim are we permitted to perform Dua for a non-Muslim?
(ii) Due to some unavoidable circumstances, I had promised to Allah, that I would not indulge in one particular activity. But because of this one of my very close associates is torturing herself, which I cannot digest, nor can anyone else accept it. My doubt is, by performing some fasting for 3 days, can I forgo the promise, will I be a sinner for this?
(N. Fathima; Coimbatore)
Ans. (i) Yes, you are permitted to pray to Allah for any non-Muslim. Prayer or Dua is of two kinds. One, for the betterment of worldly life and the other for well-being in the Hereafter. A large number of non-Muslims have always been crowding around aulias or people of saintly disposition for Dua for their material needs. The hesitation, in general is regarding permissibility of Dua for the non-Muslims’ redemption i.e. prayer for their Life Hereafter. Prophet of Allah, Hazrat Muhammad (Pbuh) used to keep awake all night praying for the guidance of non-Muslims. The holy Qur’an testifies to it.
“Yet you may destroy yourself with grief sorrowing after them if they deny this revelation.” (18:6)
Prophet Ibrahim continued praying for forgiveness of his idolater father till he became absolutely certain that his father was a sworn enemy of Allah and would not believe although truth had been made manifest unto him. The Qur’an says : “Ibrahim prayed for his father only to fulfil a promise he had made to him. But when he realized he was an enemy of Allah, he disowned him. Surely Ibrahim was a compassionate and tenderhearted man. (9:114)”
The Qur’anic principle for Dua for a non-Muslim’s emancipation is to pray for him till it is certain that he will never accept the guidance even after recognizing the Truth. Qur’an explains : “It is not for the Prophet or the believers to beg forgiveness for polytheists, even though they be near of kin, after it has become manifest that they are the people of the Fire.” (9:113)
(ii) Unintentional or meaningless oaths, though prohibited and undesirable, call for no expiation. However intentional and deliberate oaths shall be accounted for. The breaking of oath is permitted with prescribed reparation, after which there is no sin. It may be pointed out that some resolutions for which oaths are taken, are themselves sin, like severing relations with a Muslim brother or sister permanently. Oaths on such sinful deeds must compulsorily be broken. Whichever be the oath, prohibited or permitted, its violation must be associated with a compensatory regulation prescribed by the Qur’an. Three days’ fasting is recommended only to those who are unable to fulfil other prescribed conditions. The relevant order of the holy Qur’an is: “Allah will not take you to account for that which is vain in your oaths. But He will take you to task for the oaths, which you solemnly swear. The penalty for a broken oath is the feeding of ten needy men with such food as you normally offer to your own people; or the clothing of ten needy men; or the freeing of one slave. He that cannot afford any of these must fast three days. In this way you shall expiate your broken oaths. Therefore be true to that which you have sworn. Thus Allah makes plain to you His revelations so that you may give thanks.” (5:89)
Q. The Books of Hadith tell about a miracle in which the moon had spilt into two halves and joined again. Please tell me whether this miracle was performed by Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) or it had happened on its own as a sign of Qiyamat. Also tell me whether this miracle was seen locally or universally.
Nihas S. Chaman; Sangli.
A. You must first understand the general principle behind a Miracle. The Prophets (Pbuh) were human beings and they did not perform miracles on their own. They were also not empowered to show miracles on public demand. In other words; the Prophets (Pbuh) were not empowered to interfere with the laws of nature laid down by God. Qur’an describes Allah Almighty’s direction to His Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) to answer the non-believers who asked for a miracle thus; “They ask! Why has no sign been given him by his Lord? ....... the dead were brought to life through Jesus by saying: “Rise by Allah’s leave”, Had he been empowered to raise the dead on his own, he would have brought thousands, if not millions back to life, but it was not so. The miracle was revealed through him for only two cases. Prophet Musa (Moses) (Pbuh) was not aware of the miracles, his staff would be used into. He even felt afraid when the staff looked like a dragon. The Qur’an narrates; “ (The Lord said), what is it you are carrying in your right hand Musa? He replied: It is my staff; upon it I lean and with it I beat down the leaves for my flock. It has uses besides. The Lord said: Musa, cast it down. Musa threw it, and behold! It was a scurrying serpent. The Lord said, seize it and do not be alarmed. We shall return it back to its earlier form”. (20:17-21).
Hazrat Musa (A.S) did not know when the staff would appear as a snake, when by waving it, the ocean would give way and when by striking it, the streams would flow through the rocks. He only obeyed as Allah commanded and the miracles appeared.
The conclusion is that the Prophets (Pbuh) did not perform the miracles. They only obeyed the commands, while Allah created the conditions for the miracles to appear.
Another important point to be understood is, that the events called miracles were rare phenomena, used by Allah to help his messengers. No event contradicted Allah’s laws which do not change. This has been repeatedly declared by the Almighty in His word that His laws are not subject to change. The exceptions we observe are part of the law. We call a process, an exception till we discover the law behind it. Till we knew about solar and lunar eclipses, we called them exceptions but then we discovered those phenomenon to be part of the law of revolution of the planets. Similarly the miraculous events were also parts of the law. The Lord arranged the events so as to coincide with His chosen ones’ lives for their glorification. All the miracles had their material means and scientific reasons. As the ground realities or the data surrounded by those miracles are not available today, they cannot scientifically be analysed with certainty and precision. Still, some probable scientific explanations could be offered for some prophetic miracles. For example:
There are such chemicals, which if applied to the skin, protect it, from the heat of fire. Prophet Ibrahim did not know when he was being thrown in fire, that the fire would not touch him. He was tied to a very long rope’s end. The other end passing over high branch of a huge tree was pulled and released to make Ibrahim a swinging pendulum. In this way he was swung into the huge fire from quite as distance. We do not exactly know the tree on whose branch he was being swung. The heat might have produced such gases and such particles of that particular biological and herbal surrounding which might have deposited a thorough layer of heat proof chemicals over his entire body. Allah’s commands are fulfilled through worldly means created by Him. That is a law laid down by Himself. His order, We said: O fire be thou cool and safety for Ibrahim (Qur’an 21:69) was thus fulfilled. The temperature did not affect Ibrahim and so the fire became cool and safe for Ibrahim (Pbuh) while it remained hot and destructive for others.
We observe the periodic rise and fall of the surface waters of the oceans, caused by the attraction of Moon and Sun. In each Lunar day of 24 hours and 51 minutes there are two high tides and two low tides, alternating at equal intervals of flood and ebb. The tides are very strong on full moon nights. The floods water rise upto great distance in one direction and the waves recede back after some time leaving the shore dry again. Then there also are equinoctial tides, just twice a year for a few hours. At equinox, when the sun and moon are equal that is when the day and night are equal, the sea goes far out at low tide and is very rough at high tide. Other planets also affect sea water but their effect is marginal. It has been calculated that a theoretical planetary position is possible when the water is pulled in two opposite directions causing two huge tides in the opposite direction in the same ocean, thus creating a very wide passage through it. The passage is drowned after sometime when the water comes back. This phenomenon, it has been calculated repeats itself after millions of years. So, it occurred only once in the history of mankind till now. Prophet Musa (Pbuh) was brought to the shore of the ocean by Allah and the event of formation of passage was so coincided with the precise moment of his waving staff by Allah’s command. Beni Israel passed through the ocean, in few hours while the Pharaoh’s army was in the midst of the ocean when the waves came back wiping off the passage.
We occasionally come across human beings who are biologically different. There was a man who gave birth to a baby. There are persons who have both male and female genitals. There was that person who had his heart on the right side of his chest. Such cases occur in one in billions of men. We know that self fertilisation occurs in some species but not in mankind. Now the biological scientists have arrived at a conclusion that it is probable that out of trillions of women, one may be born with a system in which self fertilisation is possible. Jesus Christ’s body could have been formed in this fashion in Hazrat Mariyam’s womb, while his soul came from the Lord.
These are few probable scientific explanations behind some of the miracles. These conjectures may be wrong and there could be other material means. We do not have the necessary data of those occasions, available today otherwise we could probably have arrived at the correct conclusion. There are other probable explanation behind some other famous miracles, and many of them are still without explanation due to the non-availability of data. Whatever the worldly means, used for a miracle to appear by Allah’s will, the fact remains that every process and every event has a reason, whether we know it or not.
The sighting of two images of moon was a local phenomenon. Had it been universal, it would have been sighted in at least half the world. It would have been so great an event that the stories of parting of moon would have been found in half of the world, though in the form of distortions and fairly tales. The absence of any such reporting from any other part of the world proves that the moon was not actually divided geographically but it looked like so in the Arabian peninsula. It may be pointed out that it was not any mental effect created upon the disbelievers in the Prophet’s (Pbuh) presence.
The phenomenon was also observed by an approaching caravan which was on a distance of few days journey from there.
Now, you hold your hand straight forward pointing a finger at an object far away. Place your eyes in the line of the finger and look intently. You will observe two images at some distance from each other. A prism effect is created when there is a layer of some hazy particles in between the eye and the far off objects. It may be that when the Prophet (Pbuh) was directed by Allah to point a finger towards the moon, a fog like wave of some hazy atmospheric gases, not visible at night, swept across, creating an effect of two images of the moon at some distance apart in that region. The wave passed and the moon became one once again. It was a miracle for the holy Prophet (Pbuh) created by Allah’s will that his pointing the finger coincided with the unknown atmospheric phenomenon which was a rare event.
Q. (i) You have given advice to an asthma patient to discharge a ‘Fidya’ for each missed ‘Roza’ (fasting) due to using the inhaler. Since the vapours of the inhaler do not go to the stomach and rather dilates the wind-pipe and lungs, Daarul Uloom Deoband and all other such eminent institutions recommend the use of inhaler to the needy as it does not affect ‘Roza’ at all. This is with ref. to I.V., January 98 issue. Please check up the opinion. (M.V. Sadiq; Bhubaneshwar)
Q.(ii) According to our Maulana there are two types of injection. One is to reduce the abnormalities of the body (Increased fever, etc.) (ii) the other is to provide energy to body (like containing vitamins, proteins etc.)
According to our Maulana (from Deoband), first one to reduce the abnormalities is permitted while the other one providing energy is not permitted.
The asthma patient who inhales the spray into nostrils which enters into lungs, is permitted to do so because it is not providing energy but giving relief from the disease.
A. i) & ii). The fast is broken if fumes of any kind are deliberately inhaled for whatever reason. Smoking causes to break the fast on the same ground although and inhaled smoke enters into the lungs through windpipe and not into the stomach.
Healing quality of a drug is not the criterion for a fast’s continuance. It is the method of intake, which breaks the fast. If a muscular injection is permitted, it will not break the fast whether it is for relief of pain or providing energy. Although the latter may be debated to be against the spirit of fasting, it may at the most, cause to make such an injection undesirable or Makrooh while fasting. Similarly deliberate inhalation of fumes, if prohibited, shall remain prohibited irrespective of purpose.