Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

Shaban 1424 H
October 2003
Volume 16-10 No : 202
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Our Dialogue


Embracing Islam in Secret
Debt or Inheritance
Gambling and Unworthy Friendship
Islamic Greeting
Islamic Attitude to the Theory of Evolution
Permissible Remarriage

Embracing Islam in Secret

Q. I embraced Islam 3 years ago, but I kept this a secret because I could not bring myself to losing my children and my family. I cannot find a way to convincing my husband to become a Muslim. I also fear that if I am separated from my family, I will not be able to influence my children to be Muslims. I am told that my marriage is dissolved the moment I embraced Islam, but I feel that God would not afflict me with this, as He knows that in my heart I believe in Him and in His final messenger, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Please comment.


By Adil Salahi

A. In Surah 40, God tells us about a man who belonged to the household of Pharaoh but was a believer concealing the fact of his faith. The Qur’an makes it clear that God accepted him as a believer, described him as such, and praised his attitude in confronting Pharaoh’s tyranny. This shows that God will judge everyone as He knows people’s situations and what they are able or unable to do. He does not charge anyone with more than he or she can bear. This is a standard rule in Islam.

I certainly appreciate your concern for your children and your keen desire that they should get to know Islam and to be Muslims. If you are to fall out with your husband, there is a strong chance that you may lose every chance of doing so. Therefore, you have to tread carefully.

As for your marriage, you are in a difficult position, but it is not true to say that your marriage was dissolved the moment you became a Muslim. This view is at variance with the views of many an eminent scholar over the length of Islamic history, including Ali ibn Abu Talib, Ibn Taimiyah and Ibn al-Qayyim. I have more to say to you on this point, but I need to have more details from you before I could give you a considered opinion.

Meanwhile, I recommend you to slowly and gradually try to influence your husband’s view of Islam. You should try to point out to him what you may know to be welcomed by him. If you manage to get him to view Islam in a positive light, you may then approach the point of conversion in an easy manner. This gradual approach may take you to the desired goal of having all your family turns to Islam. May God help you and guide your footsteps.

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Debt or Inheritance

Q. My elder brother was working as revenue inspector in India when the government decided to give free plots of land to poor people. At the time my father was retired, while my two elder brothers were looking after our large family. My elder brother obtained two separate plots but could not register them in his name. Instead, he registered one in my father's name and one in my mother's with the intention of taking the plots back from them later. After that my father died. My elder brother gave 25 percent of the land to my three sisters and kept the balance himself. Later, when I was in financial trouble, my mother sold the other piece of land with my elder brother's permission and gave me its full price. Now I want to return it to my mother. Please let me know what share of it goes to my elder brother and what is my mother's share. Is there any share to other brothers or sisters? My elder brother told me that he will give each of his four brothers a portion of one-sixth of the price and keep one-third to himself. He does not intend to give any share to our mother or sisters. Please comment.

Nurul Hassan

A. As I understand it, this is a case of loan, not inheritance. It appears that the two plots of land were recognized as the property of the reader’s brother. At no time were they considered to belong to his parents, although they were registered in their names. This registration was for convenience, perhaps because the elder brother was a government employee and he could not have them registered in his name. He also appears to have done well by his family, not only looking after them after the retirement of his father, but also giving his sisters a portion of the price of the first plot of land.

As for the second plot, the mother could not sell it without the elder brother’s permission. As our reader is returning the money, it is clear that this was understood to be a loan. Therefore, the money should be returned to the recognized owner of the land, i.e. the elder brother. If he is giving his brothers a share each, then it is very generous of him. He may decide to whom he gives his gifts. However, he is better advised to treat all his brothers and sisters equally. Since he has given his sisters gifts earlier, he should take this into account and give equal help all round. Moreover, if he is looking after his mother, he need not give her a portion, but if he gives her a gift, it is far more dutiful and would earn him good reward from God. As for our reader, he should return the money to his elder brother, but with his mother’s knowledge.

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Gambling and Unworthy Friendship

Q.1. Which types of raffle are permissible, and which are not? Do they carry serious punishment? Q.2. Is it OK for a person to distances himself from another Muslim because of his bad conduct?

Rasheed

A.1. Where raffles are offered as a means of promotion, without putting a price on them, then they are permissible. Suppose a shop offers a draw using the numbers carried by its till receipts, and offering a prize like a television set or even a more valuable one, there is nothing wrong with that. The people who enter the draw are those who buy something from that shop. What they pay is the price of the commodity they buy. They do not pay anything for entering into the draw. They receive their money’s worth. Such raffle is permissible. But if you have to pay for your raffle ticket, it is a form of lottery or gambling, and it is forbidden.

A.2. If you boycott someone because of his Islamically unacceptable behavior, you are to be commended. It is always better to steer away from whatever and whoever encourages sinful practices.

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Islamic Greeting

Q. When two Muslims meet and greet each other, should they shake hands as well? Is that part of Islamic greeting?

Nazamuddin, Riyadh

A. Shaking hands is part of a welcome and friendly greeting in many cultures. While there are some Hadiths to show that it is encouraged, there is no obligation or requirement to shake hands when we greet our brothers and friends on meeting them. In such matters, social and cultural norms dictate people’s behavior.

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Islamic Attitude to the Theory of Evolution

Q. Could you please explain the Islamic attitude to the theory of evolution in the light of the Quran.

A. The theory of evolution was started in the 19th Century by Charles Darwin, a British biologist. Darwin was a Christian, married to a very religious lady. When he came out with his book on the Origin of Species, he did not think that he was putting up a theory that would undermine Christianity. He thought that his theory could be accepted in a Christian context. However, scientists who shared his scientific views, but not his religious background, carried the theory further and promoted it in an atheistic framework. Darwin himself modified his views and towards the end of his life, after his wife’s death, he acknowledged that his theory was incompatible with the views of the Church. The theory itself is based on two main principles, namely, natural selection and the survival of the fittest. Natural selection means that species modify their abilities to suit the environment in which they live. This accounts for the fact that different animals have special abilities or tools that are most suitable for their environment. Not only so, but the same species may have different abilities in different environment. If the theory of evolution remained confined to the realm of science, trying to account for the different characteristics and abilities of plants and animals, there would be no problem with it. However, to use this theory as a basis to deny God, creation and man’s special position on earth is basically wrong. The theory does not provide any solid alternative that can be proven. In fact, Darwin was not the first to note the fine gradation of species in both plant and animal kingdoms. Muslim biologists noted this many centuries before the birth of Charles Darwin and his fellow scientists. They observed the great variety of plants and the fact that there is a clear hierarchy reaching up to a level that approaches, but does not reach, the animal level. Again, there is a graded hierarchy in the animal kingdom, going from one-celled creatures up to the chimpanzee. And then we have man. There is a huge gap between the highest animal and man, as also between the highest plant and the lowest animal. Muslim scientists attributed this fine system to its originator, God the Creator of all. It is God who gave all these creatures their basic quality of adapting to their environment. This means that when we look at the world around us and study its features, we should recognize God’s hand and will in all what we see.

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Permissible Remarriage

Q. My brother-in-law divorced his wife in rather acrimonious circumstances. Now, a year later, he is making contact with his former wife and she is willing to be reunited with him. In fact, she seems to be contemplating running away with him.

S. Usman, Jeddah

A. It is open to any divorced couple to be remarried if they think they can do better the next time round. The only condition is that it should be a first- or second- time divorce. If it is their third divorce, then they cannot be reunited in marriage, until the woman has married someone else and later became free again. This marriage is different from what is known as halalah, where a sham marriage is arranged. It should be a genuine marriage, intended to last for life.

From what you say, I gather this was the first time that a divorce took place in this family. If so, then remarriage between the former husband and wife is perfectly permissible. However, they need a fresh marriage contract, and the man has to pay new dowry, or mahr, to his wife. Even if he had said the word of divorce three times, when he divorced his wife, it still counts as a single divorce. So, reunion is permissible. There is no need for the woman to run away, or to find excuses such as the divorce being forced on them. What is needed is a fresh marriage contract, which should be done in a proper manner, just like any other marriage contract.

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