Thursday, 29 December 2016

Reciting a verse while throwing 3 handfuls of dirt in the grave...

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Many scholars hold the opinion that when burying a body in the grave, upon throwing the first handful one should say, "Of this (i.e. the earth) We created you," and on the second handful one should say, "And to it shall We cause you to return," and on the third handful one should say, "And of it We shall cause you to be resurrected a second time." Is this practice established by the Sunnah?


A hadîth is narrated in Musnad Ahmad (21163), Sunan al-Bayhaqî (3/409), and Mustadrak al-Hâkim (3390) that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) buried Umm Kulthûm, he recited verse "From it We created you, and into it We shall send you back, and from it will We raise you a second time." [Sûrah TâHâ: 55]. 

The hadîth is weak at best. Moreover, it does not indicate in any way that the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited the three phrases of the verse in conjunction with a separate toss of a handful of dirt. 

Al-Albânî says in Ahkâm al-Janâ'iz (1/153):
The hadîth does not indicate the supposedly preferable division of phrases, even if it had an authentic line of transmission… The hadîth is extremely weak. Indeed, Ibn Hibbân declares it to be a fabrication.
Therefore, the practice is not established by textual evidence. 

And Allah knows best.

Let us part’ is not explicit wording of divorce

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Dear Brother/Sister, while reading some fatawa online, I came across Dr Zakir Naik's statement below:

There are five types of divorce in Islam – The first type is by unilateral… by unilateral agreement, between the husband and wife – Both may say… ‘Okay, we are not compatible… let us part’.

Can you explain this type of divorce. In this case, does the husband need to say the proper wordings or only the statement mentioned above? Thank you.


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger. 
The saying of the husband to his wife, “We are not compatible… let us part,” etc., is not an explicit wording of divorce. The explicit wording of divorce is that which includes the word divorce and what is conjugated of it other than the present tense or the imperative mood, as stated by the jurists (scholars of Fiqh).

Some scholars of Fiqh are of the view that the word separation (or parting) is an explicit word of divorce; Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “This requires that explicit words of divorce are three: Talaaq (divorce), Firaaq (separation), and Tasreeh (releasing someone or letting someone free), and the different forms derived from them. This is the view of Ash-Shaafi’i. However, Abu ‘Abdullah ibn Haamid is of the view that the explicit word of divorce is only the word divorce and what is conjugated of it, but not other wordings. 

This is also the view of Abu Haneefah and Maalik...

In any case, this does not include what is mentioned in the question because it is used in the imperative mood (…let us…) and not in the past tense; so this wording does not make divorce effective.
Allah knows best

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Where should a person who wants to start memorising the Holy Qur’an begin?

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If someone wants to memorise the Holy Qur’an, what advice can you give?
Praise be to Allah.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked this question and he replied as follows: 
What we advise him to do is to begin with al-Baqarah, unless he has memorised from al-Mufassal [the soorahs beginning with Qaaf, until the end of the Qur’an – al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar], because for some people it is easier to memorise from al-Mufassal because the soorahs and verses are shorter, and they hear them a great deal from the imams in the mosques. So if that is easier for him, let him begin with that which is easier. We also advise him to pay more attention to what he has already memorised than paying attention to memorising a great deal, because paying attention to what is already there takes precedence over paying attention to what is not there.

Gathering boys and girls in one class due to small numbers

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I live in a non-Muslim country and try to help the Muslim youth (age 12-16) to save their faith in this society (which contains a lot of promiscuity, pre-marital relations, alcohol, and so on). Once a week, I gather some Muslim youth for a small lecture (usually about the biography of our beloved Prophet ), and they are merely spending time under my supervision. Usually, they play some educational games; we even have a bow, and they are mastering the art of archery. Spending time together is extremely important for the youth given that the human being is a social creature, and we have to provide our youth with an Islamic company, otherwise they will seek an un-Islamic one. Unfortunately, only very few youngsters attend these gatherings, so boys and girls come together. Of course, I am trying my best in order to maintain the Islamic etiquette. So I have two possibilities:
1. To continue my Da'wah (proselytization) in this direction and hope that one day we will have enough youngsters to have separate-sex meetings.
2. To end this type of volunteer work. If you were to tell me to continue, then could you give me some fruitful advice? On what should I focus?


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.
Firstly, we would like to commend your efforts and keenness on carrying out righteous deeds and instilling virtue within the Muslim children. May Allah reward you generously.
If the children have reached puberty, then it is impermissible for the boys to mix with the girls. As for young children who have not yet attained puberty, they should also be separated so that they would become accustomed to it.
But you should know that just being under the same roof is not considered prohibited intermixing. If there is some sort of separation between them, even in the same hall, then this would not be prohibited intermixing. The Kuwaiti Encyclopedia of Fiqh reads:
"Intermixing between men and women is allowable for a need recognized by the Sharia provided that the relevant Sharia provisions are observed. This is why it is allowable for the Muslim woman to attend the congregational and the 'Eed prayers. Some scholars underlined that it is allowable for the Muslim woman to perform Hajj escorted by a trusted group of men. It is also permissible for the woman to engage in transactions such as buying, selling, renting, hiring, and the like with men. Imaam Maalik  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him was asked, 'What is the ruling on an unmarried woman who seeks the help of a non-Mahram (marriageable) man to carry out some tasks for her and hand things over to her?' He answered, 'There is no religious impediment to it; and I prefer that he lets another accompany him. Were people to neglect her, she would be helpless!'"
You should try in the future to separate them so that each gender would be alone, and some righteous female teachers should teach the young girls. Verily, this is better and safer.
Allah knows best

Message from beyond the grave

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A Buddhist woman died recently, and at the funeral, the monks gave her a message that her dead mother was trying to communicate with her, and they told her something that only she and her mother knew. Did these monks get this information by contacting the companion jinn of that woman?


This matter might have been communicated by way of the Jinn or it could merely be form of sophisticated charlatanry. We can be sure that it was not a communication from the woman herself, because we know from the Qur’ân and Sunnah what a person experiences after death and that we cannot hear it. 

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
When the servant is put into his grave and all his fellows turn away to leave him, he will hear the sound of their footsteps. Two angels will approach him and ask him: "Who is your Lord, what is your religion, who is your prophet?" 

The believer will answer: "My Lord is Allah, my religion is Islam and my Prophet is Muhammad." 

Then they will ask him: "How did you know that?" 

He will reply: "I have read Allah’s book and believed in it." 

A caller from the heavens will say: "My servant is correct. Lay him a bed from Paradise and cover him with it and open for him a door to Paradise." 

He will feel and smell the scent of Paradise and will see into it as far as his eyes can see. 

The soul of the unbeliever will come back to his body in his grave. The two angels will come to him and ask him: "Who is your Lord?" 

He will reply: "Oh, I do not know." 

They will ask him: "What is your religion?" 

He will reply: "Oh, I do not know." 

They will ask him: "Who is that man who was sent to you?" 

He will reply: "Oh, I do not know." 

A caller from the heavens will say: "My servant did not answer correctly. Lay him a mat of Hell, cover him with it and open for him a door to Hell." 

He will feel the heat of Hell. His grave will be narrowed for him until his ribs converge on each other. A blind and deaf man will be assigned to hit him with a steel bar that could turn a mountain into dust. He will hit him with it once then the unbeliever will shout with a loud voice that could be heard by everything save for humans and Jinn. He will turn into dust. Then his soul will return back to him again. [Sunan Abî Dawûd (4738)]
We know from this hadîth and others that the soul will be returned to the body when it is placed into the grave and that the person will be questioned and then experience either a pleasant time or a time of punishment therein.

And Allah knows best.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016


Mosque02.jpgAs we learned in Part 1, from the beginning of Islamic history the mosque was the cornerstone of the Muslim community.  It was not established simply as a house of prayer.   It is easy to arrive at this conclusion because God gave the nation of Muhammad a unique gift.  The majority of the globe, with very few exceptions, is a place of prayer.  Buildings, specific monuments and mosques, are not required to fulfill this need. The Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:
"The (whole) earth has been made a mosque (or a place of prayer) and a means of purification for me, so wherever a man of my Ummah[1]  may be when the time for prayer comes, let him pray."[2]
Therefore one would assume that the mosque is more than just a sheltered area to pray in.  It is of course, and we must not overlook this, a place where Muslims, irrespective of their race or ethnicity, gather together 5 times per day.   This conveys a subtle message about the importance of staying together, united as one nation of Muslims.  Unity is particularly important in the 21stcentury because more than ever before the Muslim nation is disunited and spread throughout the globe.
But time and circumstance both have the habit of making small changes and small changes happened to the role of the mosque as history swept forward.   As communities in Muslim nations became bigger, more than one well was required, more than one school, more than one marketplace and more than one mosque.  In fact mosques were seemingly built on every corner but many of them became little more than places of prayer.  The larger mosques continued to fulfil their various functions so in Muslim countries the mosque will often serve the same purpose for which it was established nearly 1500 years ago.  Things are different in the West however, while Muslims might have their own shopping areas, restaurants and schools these are not the places that traditionally give and maintain a Muslim sense of identity.   That place is the local mosque. 
It is in the mosque that a Muslim keeps his spirituality alive, strengthens the bond with his Creator, meets and communicates with his fellow Muslims and renews his sense of belonging.  Sadly many mosques currently serve as places of worship, for breaking the fast during Ramadan, and little else.  However if mosques throughout the world reverted to their traditional purpose and place in Muslim society they could bring about great social change and influence non-Muslims to rethink the predominating views of Islam prevalent today.  To be the heart of a vibrant Muslim society mosques need to face the challenges brought about by the globalisation and growth of the 21st century.
First and foremost is the challenge of offering a welcoming atmosphere.  To perform a useful function in the Muslim society mosques of the 21st century need to throw the front door open to all sections of society, just as the first mosque did.   Women, mothers with young children, the elderly, the youth, the poor and disenfranchised and non-Muslims interested in Islam should find the mosque a welcoming place.  The mosque and its surrounds typically referred to in the West as the Islamic centre could house such facilities as a cafeteria, a sports facility most particularly for the youth, a library with computers and internet, classrooms, halal food store, and a child minding centre so that men and women can enjoy the educational and sports facilities without worrying about their children.  The mosque could distribute aid to the poor and the needy. The modern mosque should be the focal point of a Muslim’s life.  It should be a welcoming place for all Muslims, and all those interested in finding out about Muslims and Islam.
Throughout the Muslim world many mosques have become tourist attractions.  They are known for their beautiful and often ground breaking architecture but sadly those most frequently visited by tourists are no longer houses of prayer.  The innumerable small mosques located in every neighbourhood in many Asian and Middle Eastern countries are uninviting to non-Muslims, tourists and women alike.  In larger cities cultural and Islamic centres have been built specifically targeting the needs of non-Muslims.  The needs of Muslims are often met by Zakat foundations and other charity organisations.  Gone are the days when small mosque communities looked after each other.  This is true throughout the western world too.  We have all seen the signs that relegate women to back entrances and many non-Muslims have kept walking when confronted by groups of men standing outside mosque entrances.
In their research for the documentary film Unmosqued the film makers found some unsettling statistics about the mosques in America.  Mosques they found are under-financed and understaffed.  While mosque attendance is higher than other American religious congregations, mosque budgets are less than half the budget of other congregations.  Only 44% of all Imams are full-time and paid.  Half of all mosques have no full-time staff.  Program staff such as youth directors or outreach directors account for only 5% of all full-time staff.  Only 3% of mosques consider "New Muslim" classes a top priority. 
It appears then that the challenges for the mosque in the 21st century, in both the Muslim and western spheres is to make the mosque a more inclusive space.  In the time of Prophet Muhammad it was not unusual for the homeless to sleep in the mosque whilst matters of state were discussed in an area close by.  Sadly nowadays some mosques are locked up between prayer times. 
A great example of a 21st century mosque blending tradition with modernity is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre opened in 2008 in the United Arab Emirates.  It is managed according to the most modern standards and its collections and features include a state of the art library equipped with modern facilities for the development of research and knowledge.  Cultural and social events are organized and these include seminars, lectures, exhibitions, courses for teaching the Quran, Islamic architecture, Arabic calligraphy and Arabic syntax, as well as competitions on Quran recitation and the call to prayer.  The mosque, in the traditional spirit, reflects an informed understanding of religions based on respect, stemming from the belief that Islam is a religion of tolerance and love.  The Mosque is a welcoming, humanitarian space open to all visitors.
[1]The Arabic word Ummah can be translated to nation.
[2]Saheeh Al-Bukhari


Mosque01.jpgThe mosque or the building that Muslims refer to as the masjid is a familiar sight in most parts of the world.  No matter what country or era, the mosque is built in it is always renowned for its unique architecture and noble ambiance.  In addition due to the sweeping nature of globalization most people know that the mosque is a house of worship; the place where the Muslim faithful offer prayer.  But the mosque is much more than that.  From the beginning it always fulfilled many needs and God willing it will continue to do so until the end of time as we know it.
An orientalist, and strong evangelical Christian, Scottish colonial administer Sir William Muir (1819 1905CE) was for many years the West’s leading scholar of Islam despite the fact that he was negative and critical of Islam.  However in his book, published in 1852, The Life of Mahomet, he described the role of the mosque in Muslim society quite brilliantly.  From the description, even from a man such as this, we are able to see that the mosque was always meant to be more than a place of prayer.
"Though crude in material, and insignificant in dimensions, the Mosque of Muhammad is glorious in the history of Islam.  Here, the Prophet and his Companions spent most of their time; here, the daily service, with its oft-recurring prayers was first publicly established; and here, the great congregation assembled every Friday, listening with reverence and awe to messages from Heaven.  Here, the Prophet planned his victories; here he received embassies from vanquished and contrite tribes; and from hence issued edicts… "[1]
 In 622 CE, immediately after the migration from Mecca to Medina, the Muslims built the ‘Prophet’s Mosque’, and the Prophet himself participated in its construction.   From that moment the mosque became a focal point of any Islamic city.   It became a place of worship, a meeting place, an educational institute, a place of social activities and a place of rest.  The mosque became the centre of ritual, social, political and cultural life.  There is however one function the mosque does not fulfil - it is forbidden to engage in business or trading transactions within the mosque confines.
Although business could not be conducted in the mosque, towns and villages complete with markets and merchants would often be built around the mosque.  This was due to the mosque being the centre of daily life.  Prayers were conducted five times a day and the local people would hear the latest news both through the sermons and groups that gathered in and outside the mosque. 
Throughout the history of Islam the mosque has played a major role in the spread of Islam and the education of the Muslims.  Wherever Islam took hold, mosques were established and basic education began.  Mosques taught the people (men, women, boys and girls) not only to recite the Quran and understand Islamic rulings but to read, write and form opinions and debate.  Education via the mosques follows the tradition established by Prophet Muhammad.  The Prophet’s Mosque was a school and a hostel for the poor and wayfarers.
"In scarcely any other culture has the literary life played such a role as in Islam.  Learning (ilm), by which is meant the whole world of the intellect, engaged the interest of Muslims more than anything… The life that evolved in the mosques spread outward to put its mark upon influential circles everywhere."[2]
In 859CE a university was established in the Qarawiyin Mosque in the city of Fes Morocco.  It is considered by many to be the oldest university in the world.  There were three separate libraries containing books on subjects such as religion, science, intellect, and languages.  The mosque conducted classes in various subjects including grammar, rhetoric, logic, mathematics, and astronomy and quite possibly history, geography and chemistry.[3]
Not only were mosques the perfect location for education, they also housed the Islamic court system.  Judges and jurists would meet the daily legal needs of the community as well as delivered legal opinions, and conducted research.  Due to very little bureaucracy, the court system was efficient and for the most part plaintiffs and defendants represented themselves.  Legal interpretation was left up to the judge who would strive to make decisions based on the Quran and the authentic Sunnah.   Once again Morocco’s al-Qarawiyin Mosque is a perfect example of a mosque being the centre of life and learning, so too is Egypt’s Al-Azhar Mosque that continues to this day to exert an influence over the daily life of Egyptians.
In many places throughout the rapidly expanding Muslim world the mosque became the source of water.  Islam requires believers to perform ritual washing before prayer thus the mosque courtyard has traditionally contained water fountains.  The decorative effect of water became central to Islamic architecture thus intricate and decorative pools and fountains can be found across the Islamic world and Andalusia.  The Sultan Ahmed mosque in Istanbul Turkey and the Mosque of Cordoba in Spain contain splendid examples of the decorative effect of water.  Wells and fountains in mosques cleanse the body and cool the air and in times past supplied water to the local community.
The mosque is the cornerstone of the Muslim community.  They were rarely used as places solely for prayer but served as community centres.   People went to the mosque for education both religious and secular, to settle disputes and visit the library.  They went to the mosque to pray, and to rest in secure and quiet gardens and buildings.  Mosques were places of rest for the poor and destitute.  Mosques traditionally distributed food and clothing to the needy.  They taught countless generations how to read and memorise the Quran and other Islamic sciences.  The mosque was the meeting place and the source of news in times of trouble and strife.  In short the mosque was the centre of the Muslim society.
Do mosques still perform these functions? What is the role of the mosque in the 21st century?  We will answer these questions and more in part 2.
[1]The life of Mahomet from original sources 2nd abridged one-volume ed.  1878, 624 pp.  London: Smith, Elder, & Co.  P177
[2]J Pedersen: The Arabic Book, Tr.  Geoffrey French, Princeton University Press; Princeton, New Jersey, 1984.

Monday, 26 December 2016



This eighteen-verse chapter was revealed in Medina, and it takes its title from the reference to the private rooms of the wives of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, in verse four.  Medinan chapters usually concentrate on establishing and educating the first Muslim community and this one is no exception.  It is said that it was revealed after a deputation arrived in Medina and called to Prophet Muhammad from outside his wives’ apartments. 
This chapter is an attempt to teach the fledgling community good manners, manners that befit a believer.  Firstly, in respect to behavior towards God and His Messenger, Prophet Muhammad.  Next, in respect to community living, the believers are warned against behavior that might corrupt the tightly knitted social fabric.  They are warned against the dangers of tribalism and nationalism.  And finally, the believers are told that faith is more than words; it is action in respect to those words.

Verses 1- 5 Show respect

The first two verses are addressed directly to the believers.  It begins, oh you who believe.  Do not put yourselves before God and His Messenger.  Do not push yourselves forward, rather wait for instructions and follow the way of Prophet Muhammad.  Fear and be mindful of God for He hears and knows everything.  Oh you who believe.  Do not raise your voices or try to talk over Prophet Muhammad as he speaks.  Show due respect, do not act as if you were talking amongst yourselves.  Be careful in case your good deeds are canceled out without you ever understanding why.
Those among you who lower their voices and speak softly whilst in Prophet Muhammad’s presence are the ones who have passed the tests set by God and are indeed pious.  They are the ones who will be forgiven and blessed with a great reward.  Prophet Muhammad is told that those whose voices are loud, and who stand outside his private rooms shouting to be heard, lack understanding and common sense.  They do not use their reasoning because if they did so, they would know that it would be better for them to wait patiently.  However, God is Forgiving and He is Merciful.

Verses 6 – 8 A reminder

Within a community there are usually practical measures with which to sort out any differences that might arise.  If these differences are not dealt with properly they might undermine the structure of the community.  God again addresses the believers, explaining to them how to receive news and reports and emphasizes the need to verify all reports.  He says, if an evil person or a troublemaker brings you information you must investigate it before you act on it.  Rash action might lead to an injustice being committed against a person or persons and you may end up regretting it. 
The Muslims are reminded of their great blessing; Prophet Muhammad is among them.  Be aware, says God, and give this fact its due importance.  If Prophet Muhammad were to comply with the advice of some of those around him, they would all surely come to harm.  Leave all affairs in the hands of God and Prophet Muhammad.  This faith you have is beautiful and unbelief is a sin.  Wrongdoing and disobedience should be abhorrent to you.  Those who are on the straight path are only guided due to God’s grace and blessings.  He is Knowledgeable and Wise.

Verses 9- 10 Justice

If two groups of believers fight or take up arms against one another, the Muslim community should work to make peace between them.  If one party continues to act wrongfully or refuses reconciliation, the believers must fight against the oppressors until they submit to God’s commandments.  God loves those who are just and fair.   All believers are a family for one another, therefore make peace in your family.  Be mindful of God so that you receive His mercy. 

Verses 11 – 13 One family

One group of believers should not jeer at another group.  You are one family in faith; all of you are entitled to freedom and integrity.  Those you defame may be better than you in the eyes of God.  Do not make sarcastic remarks about one another.  And do not use offensive nicknames.  Those who do these things will be called a mischief-maker and that is a very bad thing after you have accepted the role of a believer.
Avoid being suspicious of each other, and do not spy on one another.  Do not speak badly of people behind their backs, if you do, it is as if you were eating the flesh of your dead brother.  You would detest such a thing, so be mindful of God and He will accept your repentance.  God reminds the believers that they were created from a single pair, male and female.  You are one people and you are only divided into tribes and nations so that you may get to know one another.  Only one thing determines a person’s worth in God’s eyes, and that is piety.

Verses 14 – 18 A true believer

The desert Arabs say they are believers, but they are not.  They have submitted yes, but faith has not yet entered their hearts.  Nevertheless, they will be rewarded for all their good deeds because God is Forgiving and Merciful.  True believers, God says, are those who believe in God and Prophet Muhammad with no doubt or hesitation.  They are the ones who remain steadfast, following God’s guidelines in all situations.
Do not try to tell God about His religion because He knows what is in your hearts and your minds and what is in the heavens and the earth.  He knows all things.  Some people thought they were doing Prophet Muhammad a favor by embracing Islam, but they should know that it is God who has done them a favor by guiding them to the true faith.   He knows everything that is open or hidden in the heavens and in the earth and sees what you do.