Q. (i). Why do people used to perform Meelad thanks-giving? Is Meelad it obligatory to stand and perform as many people do? What is the reward? Performing Meelad, do we have to stand?
(ii) Sunni Muslims taking part in Muharram Akhara, heating leather drum or taking out processions with Tazia, is a part of our Islamic world or Shariah?
(iii) Modern Islamic ‘Girls’ wearing gents’ dresses, going to beauty parlour, cutting their long hair short as gents, are good or bad?
Ans. (i): Meelad is derived from the word ‘Vilaadat’ which means the birth. Celebration of the birth of holy Prophet (Pbuh), by keeping fasts or organising the meetings of remembrance, reciting Naa’ts and Daroods and offering sweets etc. is called Meelad. Although Sahaba did not practise it in this way, there is no harm in it. Special remembrance of the Prophet (Pbuh) in some days is an idea which should not be disputed. Care must, however, be taken not to injure the spirit of Meelad by mixing practices, which are contrary to Islam or imitate the birth celebration of other religions.
Contrary to what a large number of people are led to believe, fixation of particular days of remembrance, is very much an Islamic practice. It is also in accordance with human nature. The sacrifice of Hazrat Ibrahim and Ismael is remembered on the day Ibrahim (A.S) made the sacrifice. The fast of Muharram 10, is to remember the redemption of Bani Israel led by Hazrat Musa A.S (Moses) from the army led by Fir’aun (Paraoh). The importance of the day of birth of the holy Prophet (Pbuh) has been stated by the Prophet himself. As the exact date of his birth was unknown, he remembered his day of birth by keeping fast on every Monday. This has been stated in Hadith. If it is widely believed that he was born on 12th of Rabiul-Awwal, and a large number of people remember him on that day, there is no harm in it provided what I mentioned earlier. Un-Islamic practices should not creep in the Meelad-un-Nabi. People also organise congregations to remember him on other days of the year, calling them the Majlis-e- Meelad. There is no doubt that any activity pertaining to his remembrance is an act of Sawaab, if the Islamic decorum, decencies and traditions are maintained. Standing while reciting Darood, Salaam or Naa’t, is a practice which must be denounced. The Prophet (Pbuh), permitted to stand in honour of those who preferred it, however did not like his companions to stand in his honour.
“Said Anas that nobody was more dear to Sahaba than the holy Prophet (Pbuh). However, the companions never used to stand up in his honour as they knew that he did not like it.” (Imam Tirmizi, after recording this tradition has written that this Hadith is Sahih i.e. authentic)
“Reported Abu Umaamah that once the Prophet (Pbuh) came out (of his home), holding a staff for support. When we stood up in his honour, he said: Do not stand up like non-Arabs when some of them honour some others” (Abu Dawood)
Unfortunately a group of people has spread a very dangerous belief that in Meelad congregations and whenever Salaam or Darood is offered for the Prophet (Pbuh), he himself makes his presence there to receive the same. He is Omni-present, they claim, and can be present at all the places simultaneously where Salaam is being offered to him. This is the main reason given by them for standing, while Salaam is offered.
We know from the above Hadiths that had the Prophet (Pbuh) actually been present there, he would not have approved of standing in his honour. However, the belief of his being present everywhere is Shirk. Only one being i.e. Allah, is omnipresent.
The Jews tried to kill Hazrat Eisa A.S. while the Christians equated him to God. Both of them committed Zul’m by transgressing. There is no reliable basis for such kind of beliefs in Islam. The Prophet himself had closed all doors for the entry of Shirk through such exaggerations.
The following Hadiths prove that he is not present anywhere to receive Darood and Salaam. Instead, the angels convey the Salaam and Daroods of his followers to him.
“Narrated Ibne Masood that the Prophet (Pbuh) said: There are a number of angels of Allah touring the earth. They convey to me the Salaams of my Ummah.” (Nasai, Darimi)
“Narrated Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (Pbuh) said: Whoever sends Darood upon me while standing beside my grave, I hear him while whoever offers Darood from a distance, the same is conveyed to me.” (Baihaqi)
Ans: (ii): Let me again quote Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan Bareilavi’s Fatwa in response to your query!
“In Muharram and Urs, the gathering, beating of drums, playing Sarangi, singing Qawaali, singing praise of Allah, the Prophet (Pbuh) and saints over musical instruments, is all “Haram,.” (25-26, Ab’Kaam-e-Shariat)
There also is unanimity among all Sunni scholars that taking out Tazia procession, is a Bid’at.
Ans : (iii) : Whether a man or a woman, wearing such clothes which do not cover Sat’r (concealable part), is prohibited by Shariah. Remember, a woman’s Sat’r includes her head and hair. Moreover women have been asked to conceal their adornments and to cover their bosoms with their veils. (Qur’an 4.31)
There is nothing against cutting of hair in Islam, except when the hairstyle resembles a man’s haircut. In attire or in other acts (including the hairstyle). The Prophet (Pbuh) has denounced those men who imitate women and the women imitating me.
“Reported Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (Pbuh) cursed that man who puts on a woman’s attire and that woman who puts on a man’s attire” (Abu Dawood)
Q.(i) Is the meal or feast on which Fateha (Al-Fateha) is recited is forbidden or not? After death of a person, on the second day, ‘Fateha’ is recited on gram or seeds of the fruits for the benefit of deceased. Please do write about it.
(ii) One of my cousin has forcibly forbidden the members of his family (parents too) for not to eat the meals on which Fateha is recited and warned them,if they take the same, they will eat the flesh of pork.
Mohd. Sadique; Jodhpur
Q. 2. I have a doubt concerning “Death Feast”. When my father died my brothers and sisters arranged on the third day of his death, a feast for the inhabitants of our village. The feast, which is known by the term “Chavadiyandhiram” (death feast) generally and “Duarirakkal” (making Dua) by its supporters has become an inevitable procedure here and in almost all the districts in Kerala. If anyone avoids the feast, he is branded as “irreligious”. They say the reward for the feast reaches to the soul of the deceased. Feasts are also arranged on the 40th day of death and on the day of completion of one year of death. The former is called “Nalpath” (forty) and the latter is known by the term “Ant” means “Year”. I would like to know if it is Wajib or Sunnah, or at lest Mubah to arrange such a feast.
K. Abdul Salam; Calicut
Ans. The custom of reciting Surah Fateha and other Surahs and then donating the Sawab to the deceased is commonly known as ‘Fateha’. There is no sense in reciting Qur’an on eatables for this purpose. The distribution of meals, and other raw or cooked eatables, among the poor, is also an act of Sawab and Eisaal-e-Sawab may be done by providing for the needy and hungry. Donating the Sawab of any pious deed to the deceased, is Eisaal-e-Sawab. It is also common sense that Sawab will be due after the distribution of eatables, and hence, Fateha or Eisaal-e-Sawab before the distribution, is meaningless. You cannot donate to others what you have not yourself received. It must be understood that recitation of Qur’an and feeding the hungry are two different acts of Sawab Neither there is any Sawab on reciting the Surahs on the eatables nor praying the Almighty for the donation of Sawab has any sense before the needy are fed. In other words, there is no Fateha before the poor and hungry have been provided.
Arranging the feasts and eating the sweats or meals by the family members of the deceased or his well-to-do relatives or friends, is not an act of Sawab. The deceased will not be benefited by such practices. Also, fixation of days (2nd, 3rd, 10th or 40th) for Esaal-e-Sawab has no basis in Islam. This and converting it into a sort of feast, seems to be the cultural influence of Hindus. Such practices of ignorance must be avoided and opposed. Nevertheless, calling it Haram or even a Bid’at is exaggeration. If a group of people think that such feasts are of any use to the deceased, they are mistaken and must be educated and reasoned with. However, it does not become a Bid’at unless they think that those who do not follow them, are doing something against religion.
Q. Recently, as I was reading the book “Purdah and the status of women in Islam” by Sayyid Abdul A’la Maududi I noticed in one page of his work a statement which completely contradicts the Islamic prohibition of relations outside marriage.. Having searched the Qur’an for all the related verses of marriage and relation, I came upon the verses 4:23-25. These verses clearly state that if a man does not have means to marry free believing women he can seek in marriage his slave girl and then have relations. I do not understand whether translator has translated wrongly, or the author has misinterpreted Qur’anic verse. Please comment.
I understand that this issue of Slavery is not valid today but for the present era, it may lead to justification of relation with a mistress. Also with regard to this, why was this slavery system allowed in Islam even during the time of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) when Islam insisted that all are equal in front of Allah. Was their practice of slavery better to the one practised by the pagans? Please give an idea about the type of social system under which it was allowed to practice then.
P.S. Kwaja Moinuddin Akbar; Bangalore.
Ans. The verses you have referred to, are the last revealed verses in the series of orders regarding physical relation with possessed-women. The earlier revelations in this connection came in Makkah. It was common practice in Arabia to maintain sexual relations with slave-women. The practice, just like prohibition, was restricted in phases, instead of its abolition in one go. First, in Makkan-era, the married persons were directed to snap sexual relations with them.
“Who guard their modesty except with those joined to them in the marriage bond or the (captive) women in their possession. They are free from blame”. (23:5-6 and 70:29-30)
Mark the word “OR” in the above verse. ‘Wives or possessed-women’, (not ‘the wives and possessed women’) were the initial restrictions. Then a few years later, in Madinah, the final verdict came; “If any of you have not the means wherewith to wed free believing women, they may marry (instead of resorting to free sex with) believing girls from among those whom your right hands possess. Moreover, Allah has full knowledge about your faith. You are one from another. Marry them with the leave of their owners and give them their Meh’rs according to what is reasonable... This (permission of marriage with captive-women) is for those among you who fear sin but it is better for you that you practice self-restraint. And Allah is Oft-forgiving. Most Merciful” (4:25)
For reasons, not being discussed here, Islam does not approve of marriage of free men with possessed-women. (by stating, ‘ you are one from another’, it has been made clear that all people are from one man and woman, and the reason of the above disapproval is not racial). However, if a person cannot afford to marry a girl from the free society, and he fears that he will not be able to practice restraint, and fears to commit sin, he is permitted to marry the possessed women. If Islam permitted sex with captive women, there was no need for the above elaboration.
The sequence of orders of the holy Qur’an is a very clear cut. Those who have misunderstood it, have erred, however great they were.
In no verse, Qur’an has approved of slavery. Please note that the phrase, ‘whom your right hands possess’, has been used on all such occasions instead of being kept in jails, be distributed among the victorious believing men where they can observe the living examples of Islam in practice. No charter of rights for war captives can compare the code, Islam implemented on the possessors of such captives. They were directed to clothe and feed the captives as they themselves wore and ate. When the practice of slavery was prevalent throughout the world, it was not wise to stop believers to purchase the slaves. Instead, it was a boon for the slaves if the believers purchased them from those who treated them worse than animals. Muslims were given great incentives to free the slaves but it was not made obligatory for them that they should necessary free them after spending enormous sums. Qur’an used the phrase, ‘whom your right hands possess’, instead of ‘your slaves’, Qur’an further proclaimed.
“O mankind, we created you from a single male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may recognise each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)”. (49:13)
As, the Islamic social order based on the above principle, took reign and its influence spread, the kind of slavery, in which slavery, in which slaves were traded in the market was automatically abolished from the Muslim ruled lands. It was still not advisable to debar the believing men from acquiring slaves from other parts of the world, who after being purchased became “the people who were possessed” from the slaves they earlier were. The most striking example of the social transformation was exhibited by the Prophet (Pbuh) himself. He possessed a boy Anas who refused to go home with his father when he came to claim him. With the further spread of Islam over a larger part, the sale-purchase of men was automatically abolished and the phrase, ‘whom your right hands possess’, became applicable to the war captives only. The application of the phrase is still open and today it can be applied to yet other categories of people who are possessed by others in many ways.
Q. In my school days I heard a rumour that the astronaut Neil Armstrong heard Azzan when he first stepped on the moon? If this is true, then surely it was the Almighty’s proclamation that even if humans have reached the moon, Allah is the greatest. Later on other expeditions to moon, it was found that once our Prophet (Pbuh) split the moon in two equal halves by pointing his finger at it.
Are these rumours true and did Neil Armstrong embrace Islam?
Syed Muzaffar Jamil, Earbil.
Ans. Neil Armstrong never embraced Islam and it is wrong that he heard Azaan when he stepped over the moon. Armstrong himself refuted the rumour when it was widespread among Muslims throughout the world. The Prophet’s (Pbuh) miracle apart, the man has not yet found any visible sign on the moon of its cracking into two halves.
Please understand that Allah’s greatness is proved by the startling organisation in this amazingly huge universe rather than the chaos and the un-natural phenomenon’s. Likewise, the supremacy of Islam lies in the continuous pouring of proofs from the universe in support of its principles and declarations which by the passing of each day prove that it is religion of nature, other than the breaker of the nature’s principles. Before the age of science, the Prophets were given such miracles that astonished people, but even then, nobody accepted the Prophets because of their miracles except a very minuscule minority. Though Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) was also given a large number of such miracles but the Almighty Allah, instead of calling them ‘Signs’ named more than 600 verses of the holy Qur’an his ‘Signs’ given to the Prophet (Pbuh). The miracles loose their existence with the person to whom they were assigned but the greatest Signs ever given by the Lord to any Human being ever, the Qur’an will exit till the last day. Hazrat Musa’s (A.S) and Hazrat Eisa’s born-alive are no more, the Thorat and Injeel do not exist in original, but the Sign given to Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) is a living sign. The holy Prophet (Pbuh) himself declared that the miracles of Qur’an will never cease to go on unravelling until the last day.
Concentrate upon his great Sign of Allah to amaze people and make them accept the Lord’s greatness and Islam’s truth. You will never be disappointed like you might have felt disappointment over the fallacy of miraculous rumours of discovery of lack in the moon and the echo of Azaan in the outer space. Please also remember that the disbelievers can always come up with false claims of greater miracles than the actual miracles of the Prophet of Allah but they can never come up and compete with anything more starting than Qur’an.