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Q&A I       Q&A II        Q&A III

Questions & Answers I

 
I have been continuously receiving emails and queries about basics of Islam from my esteemed visitors to my site ever since I have been on line for last few months. May i say how delighted I am at your evident eagerness and interest in Islam. Me at Abdul Mateen Khan's Islamic Web Directory endeavor to answer queries about the basics of Islam and I be only too pleased to try and assist you in any way possible at all. A very respectable and knowledgeable Muslim lady, Um-e-Khadija, has been kind enough to do her best in responding and answering to the queries and will continue to do so in future as well. May Allah reward her for this selfless service.
I will post some selected questions and answers on this page for the general benefit of my visitors. Please send your question to info@abdulmateen.com and I shall try to do my best to be of some help.
 
Question
One of my Christian friends wants to convert to Islam. I told her that she has to see the Molvi Saab. But I said before she thinks any further, she should know the basic facts of Islam. You see the thing is I don’t know whether she just sees this as a ‘trend’ she wants to follow. I said to her, I will provide her with some Islamic information and we’ll decide where to go after that. Could you please advise me on how to go about this?
Answer
You are correct in your approach towards your friend. Islam is not just a religion but a complete code for life. One needs to have firm and absolute belief in the Unity of Allah and Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him) as his Servant and Messenger before one can begin to think about becoming a Muslim. The feeling has to come from within. Indeed it happens when Allah puts the truth in one’s heart. We sincerely hope your friend has had a genuine spiritual experience.
 
Question
I was just wondering if you could provide me with some Hadith, of the fact that the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is not just bashr (human) but is also the Nur (light) of Allah?
Answer
The Holy Quran, while mentioning the Holy prophet (peace and blessings on him) says in Surah Al-Ahzab, " O Prophet, truly We have sent thee as a Witness, and a bearer of glad tidings, and a Warner, And as a Summoner unto Allah by His command, and as a radiant Lamp." The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings on him) was the Nur of Allah as Surah Al-Shams describes; in that like the moon draws its light from the sun, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) drew his light from Allah and transmitted it to the spiritually dark world. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah on him) spent each moment of his life in the remembrance of Allah and with the Will of Allah. Indeed in that sense he most certainly was light of Allah. However, the Holy Quran tells us, he was only a human being, the most perfect and excellent human being.
 
Question
Kindly inform me whether it is allowed in Islam for a female to visit her loved ones at the grave site at the cemetery, keeping in mind that she is pure and clean. And if not, why?
Answer
I do not have any knowledge of a directive in the Holy Quran or the ahadith where the prohibition you mention has been laid down. It is however, understood that Islam prohibits an open display of distress at the grave side. Women are traditionally not very good at controlling their grief, hence the general concept that they should not visit cemeteries. If a woman has the resolve to be steadfast and keep her painful Emotions under control, I do not see why she cannot visit the grave side of her loved ones at an appropriate time.
 
Question
My question is what is wrong with males wearing silk?
Answer
The answer to your question is quite simple. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings on him) forbade wearing of silk for the males among his Followers. He often said that one who wore silk in this life shall not wear it in the hereafter. Wearing of silk (and gold) is effeminate. It inculcates notions of being delicate and fragile, where as it is natural for men to be manly, strong, stout-hearted and robust.
 
Question
What are the Five Pillars of Islam?
Answer
Following is a brief description of the Five Pillars of Islam as requested:

Shahadah: The English translation of the Shahadah is as follows: "I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, the One, without any partner. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger." Islam’s fundamental belief is the Unity of God. All other beliefs hang on this belief. Therefore the acknowledgement and ‘bearing witness’ of this is the key to the Muslim faith. Unless this is observed one cannot be a Muslim.

Salat: Islam lays the greatest of emphasis on salat, prayers and remembrance of Allah for spiritual reformation. Prior to salat one makes one’s ablutions, have clean clothes on and in keeping with the sanctity of the worship present oneself on time and with full respect. The first part of this preparation is the apparent cleanliness. One should try and have clean clothes on. The ablutions before prayer need to be made to make the salat valid. One cleans one’s hands, rinses the mouth, cleans the nostrils, washes the face, hands and fore-arms. All this is repeated three times. Wet hands are passed over the head and the ears are cleaned with the tips of the forefinger. Lastly the feet are washed, again three times. Along with the obvious cleanliness through ablution, it also signifies a purification of one’s inner self. When a worshipper washes during ablution with the intention of praying, he/she also reflects on his/her inner purification and cleanses his/her mind from worldly thoughts, and draws the attention of his/her soul to be in attendance of God. The significance of all the different postures of salat is there is a deep connection between what is on the outside and the inner self of a human being. The physical postures of salat are in keeping with the mental attitude of humility with which one worships God. These postures affect the heart and indeed the heart’s humility affects the physical postures. The prayer starts with a standing position called ‘Qiyam’. Then there is a bowing position called ‘Tasbih’. Two prostration’s are followed, they are called ‘Sajdah’. In the end there’s a sitting position and that is known as ‘Q’adah.

Zakat: Zakat is a part of devotion enjoined upon Muslims by the Holy Quran. It is a means where the well-off pay a set amount of their wealth. Zakat means to purify oneself. It is obligatory on Muslims to pay a little percentage of their accumulated wealth towards Zakat, which is used for the benefit of the needy and the poor. Zakat is not levied on one’s property that is in personal use, rather on the assets which have a means of increasing and which are surplus to one’s needs. It is a means of social justice and order. It teaches sympathy of the highest order.

Fasting: Along with salat, another important form of worship is fasting. It is obligatory for each Muslim, apart from some exemptions, to fast in the month of Ramadhan. During the hours of fasting, food and drink and conjugal relations between husband and wife are forbidden. It is enjoined that during fasting one should pay attention to remembrance of God and study the Holy Quran in abundance. One should try to curtail one’s worldly pastimes as much as possible during Ramadhan, and to be particularly inclined towards charity and alms giving. Human life is dependent on food and drink and the continuation of the human race depends on the marital relationship. While fasting one refrains from them both, as if bearing witness to God that for His pleasure man gives up the factors (temporarily) upon which his very existence depends. The various other benefits of fasting are that man gets to exercise sacrificing physical comfort and to endure hunger and thirst. Fasting creates a sense of equality between the rich and the poor. By developing an appreciation of hunger and thirst, it makes the well-off think of the needs of the poor and impresses a feeling of compassion in their hearts. It makes them appreciate, through the practicality of it, the state a human being endures when hungry and thirsty. Ramadhan is a most effective and excellent means of spiritual development for mankind.

Hajj: Hajj is another form of worship. It is obligatory for each adult Muslim who can afford it. Apart from the financial aspect, the ability to afford the pilgrimage also means that one is able to travel and perform the Hajj in peace. During Hajj, the person who intends to perform it is required to travel to Mecca during the prescribed days and observe all the rites and ceremonies. During Hajj Muslims from all corners of the world gather in Mecca and perform the rites of Hajj and thus strengthen the bond of Muslim unity. During Hajj each place brings to mind some event of the blessed life of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings on him). It refreshes the memory of the supreme sacrifices made by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings on him) for the sake of Islam.

 
Question
Does it explicitly state in the Quran that a woman MUST cover her hair or is this optional?
Answer
Indeed, the Holy Quran specifically mentions that women should "draw their head-coverings over their bosoms".
 
Question
What is the Muslim festival of Eid ul Fitr?
Answer
The Muslim festival of Eid ul Fitr is celebrated at the end of the month of Ramadhan, when fasting is obligatory, fasting in Ramadhan is one of the five Pillars of Islam. It is considered an act of devotion. Eid is an Arabic word, which means a day, which often returns. There are two Eid festivals in a year. At the end of the month of Ramadhan, upon the sighting of the new moon, Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated the next day. All the necessary preparations are made at night. The shops open till late for people to finish their shopping. On the day itself, after a bath, everyone puts on his/her best clothes. Children especially have new clothes for the occasion. It is traditional to wear perfume for men and women. Breakfast is usually special, according to the custom of the country one comes from. After breakfast everyone proceeds to the Eidgah, a place reserved for the Eid prayer service. It could be a large Mosque, hall or an open space, depending very much on availability. Owning to a large number of Muslims involved it has to take place in a large area.

A separate area is provided for women to offer their service. Islam does not permit free intermingling of men and women. It was the practice of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings on him) of Islam to go to Eidgah by one route and return by another. Where possible this tradition is upheld. The Eid prayer is fairly short. After the prayer, the Imam delivers a sermon. It generally includes the historical background and the spiritual significance of the festival. Any other important matters concerning the world of Islam can also be dealt with. After the sermon, the worshippers greet each other by embracing and saying, "Eid Mubarak" to each other.

The spirit of Eid is that of peace, forgiveness and Brotherhood. When people return home they have special meals. Gifts and greetings are exchanged. Feeding the poor and looking after the needy are considered estimable on Eid. While Eid is a joyous occasion, frivolity and over- eating etc. are not recommended. The main purpose is to seek the pleasure of God by glorifying Him and doing good for humanity.

 
Question
I am a muslim girl now. I have just found that islam is true religion and there is no god but God and he is alone. He is most Gracious and Merciful. I have found a lot of good things about Islam but I still have some questions. I mean about a Muslim woman. What is all this about covering our body and not going front of a men you don’t know? I really want my questions answered. THANKYOU very much.
Answer
Welcome to the world of Islam. You ask about the issue of 'covering up'. The Hijab, as it is commonly known, most important of all, is a state of mind. The urge to observe it has to come from within. One has to train one's thought-processes in light of what the Holy Quran tells us and then it is the easiest and most natural thing to do. If you wish to have a bit of doctrinal knowledge then Surah Al-Nur in the Holy Quran is a wonderful elucidation of Hijab. In it, Allah the Almighty says:

"And say to the believing women that they restrain their eyes and guard their private parts, and that they disclose not their natural and artificial beauty except that which is apparent thereof, and that they draw their head-coverings over their bosoms, and that they disclose not their beauty save to ........." The verse goes on to enlist near blood-relations etc., from whom Hijab is not necessary.

In Islam the emphasis is on modesty. Men and women both are enjoined to guard their modesty. Figure hugging, revealing clothes are considered most undesirable. As a general rule, the idea is to cover one's beauty. It is a fact that nature has made the female beauty most alluring. The concept of Hijab is to protect that beauty and to cherish it. So, a dress that covers one's extremities is suitable. It can be trousers with a long and loose top, or a long dress. It indeed depends on the culture one comes from. If one is appropriately covered, then one can go in front of men. Indeed, Muslim women go out to work in all walks of life suitably attired.

The Muslim woman's attire varies according to the customs, habits, social status etc. Indeed in certain societies women have to work in the fields - in such circumstances they have to do away with the 'formality' of the outer-coverings etc. A modest out fit and a 'restraint' in their eyes will suffice. If this has not satisfied you and you have more points to clarify, please do write in, and we shall try our best to provide assistance.

 
Question
Assalam alaikum, I am not a Muslim but I am someone who is very much interested in religion. I have no problems with Islam except that I don’t understand some things. I have tried clearing it with all my Muslim friends but they don’t seem to know. I would like to know why you consider the dog unclean as compared to any other animal which may be worse than the dog and even more unclean? I would be very grateful if you could answer this query for me?
Answer
Dog is indeed considered unclean in Islam. However, it is not the only animal considered thus. The faithfulness of the dog is never questioned and guard dogs are kept by Muslims as pets. The Pig, a most filthy creature, is considered foul in Islam. If you have information on an animal which you think is not clean and is considered clean in Islam, please let us know and we will endeavour to answer your query.
 
Question
Are Muslim men are allowed to marry outside Islam?
Answer
The Muslim scriptures allow Muslim men to marry women of the older scriptures (Torah, Gospel). The off springs have to follow the father’s faith. The explanation is rather straight forward - to ensure a continuity of Islam. Christian women marrying Muslim men do not have to wear special clothes if they do not chose to change their faith. However, modest attire is certainly appreciated. Islam does not have a one distinct outfit as such, it is a universal religion and Muslim women the world over wear their traditional clothes, whichever part of the world they come from. However, they are required to wear an outer covering and a head covering when going out and when facing males outside of their near relatives. As said above, Muslim men are allowed to marry outside Islam. Indeed it is desirable to marry within Islam and the reason, once again is quite straight forward - for safeguarding the Muslim faith for the next generation.

The very first step to become a Muslim is to believe in the Unity of God. To firmly and most sincerely believe that there is One God who has no partner and that Muhammad (may peace and blessings be on him) was God’s Messenger. Indeed, the ‘apparent’ way to prove one’s faith is to worship God and to do good. Proofs are, however, needed for this world only. God knows what is in the heart of a person and who has true faith. Indeed, He knows best.
 
Question
What type of questions will you be answering on this site?
Answer
You can ask any sort of question regarding Islamic teachings and we shall endeavor to reply. Please do not feel embarrassed in any way at all. Learning is a life-long process and it goes on till the end of this earthly life for all alike. If it is any help at all chances are a woman will answer your question.
 
Question
Is Islam biased against women?
Answer
Your question highlights a most common misconception about Islam. Islam is a complete code of conduct and should be viewed as such. It is not correct to isolate any one aspect of its teachings and base one’s judgment on it. The media only picks up on what appears sensational and that becomes ‘common knowledge’. A study of Islam tells us that Islam was the first religion to grant women a status hitherto unknown. The Holy Quran contains hundreds of teachings which apply to both men and women. If and when men are granted a little ‘independence’, it is always ‘accompanied’ with a series of responsibilities. Indeed, it is a man-made ‘ill’ when human beings pick and chose from any teaching to suit their own ends. There is infinite wisdom in the teachings of Islam. The issue of polygamy is a much misunderstood and maligned one. In its proper context, it is designed to foster high moral values in society and safeguard chastity. It is an option to be observed only the right circumstances and when done so is more of an obligation, rather than an indulgence. When man chooses to leave ways appointed by God and adopts his own self-made methods, that is when injustice takes place.
 
Question
I got married to my wife in 1994 under the supervision of qazi and ulema. But the girl’s parents were not ready and so we had to marry without their consent and without their knowledge. Now after 6 years I have four kids and the parents of my wife got a fatwa from the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia that the marriage is not valid and its against the Islam they says that without the will and the wish of their parents and without their consent this marriage cannot be proceeded more and they call it HARAM, my wife age was 19 when I got married and according to the LAW AND ORDER AND ISLAM the girl was completely matured and she can do the thing of her wish and will, but they want me to give her divorce(TALLAQ)
Answer
Indeed the Islamic marriage does lay the stipulation of the consent of the girl’s father or her Wali, usually a Wali is the father and in his absence a responsible person has to be properly appointed Wali of the girl - The age of the girl is no consideration in observing this fundamental requirement. The consent of both the girl AND her Wali are essential. Without the consent of the Wali, the Nikah is invalid. All schools of Islamic Law agree on this point. If you conducted a "civil marriage" in a non-Islamic country, then you can live as a "wedded" couple according to the law of the land, and the law of the Land will protect you if someone wants to take your wife or children away. However, if you want to have an Islamic opinion, then, I am afraid your marriage was not according to the Shariyah. A Muslim Qadhi will not be able to help. The only way it could be rectified in Islamic Shariyah is by obtaining the consent of the Wali of your wife. This opinion is all based on the assumption that it was your wife’s first marriage. A divorcee or a widow does not need to have a Wali according to the Islamic Law. We regret that we can only give you our opinion and are certainly in no position to solve the problem. May Allah enable you to overcome this most distressing time.
 
Question
Why are non Muslims prohibited from into entering Mecca?
Answer
We believe it is to protect the sanctity of the holiest of the holy places. A non-believer would not have the same regard for the most sacred Muslim Landmarks, hence the rule. Indeed, one who believes in the Unity of Allah should qualify for entrance to the Holy Land and the House of God.
 
Question
I am interested in converting to Holy Islam.
Answer
The basic Islamic belief is in the absolute Unity of God. All other beliefs hang from this belief. If you sincerely believe that there is but One God who is all Good and all Powerful then you can make a start. If you have any specific questions which you believe will help in your conversion, then please do not hesitate to ask.
 
Question
Do you people actually know that you don’t give your children the chance to choose their own partner? I think this is a form of abuse and in that way, I lost my respect for all of you. I am about to loose someone special to me because the person will be given away to someone that person doesn’t even know. Wake up, these are the 90’s; not the medieval age. This is my opinion about it. It’s the only bad part about your religion I can think of, if I get it all wrong, please reply here because I want to know more.
Answer
We regret that you have had a negative experience of Islam. Let us make it absolutely clear that Islam does not approve of ‘forced’ marriage. Indeed we are aware that it exists and is practiced, however the factors behind it are cultural and Islam does not advocate it. The laws of Islam were introduced 1,400 years ago and they are not dependent on time and era. You mention these are the 90’s - indeed, we are past that stage and are now in the 21st century. If Islam is followed as it was taught by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) it’s laws will be applicable till the end of time. The Islamic law is a complete code of life and perhaps it is not fair to examine it’s one single aspect in isolation.

If a marriage takes place fulfilling all Islamic criteria, Islam completely permits one to marry someone of one’s own choice. Blessing and consent of the parents are indeed desirable necessary in case of girls. Islam lays great emphasis on the honour and dignity of women and this is a safeguard against any potential ‘abuse’ of a young woman. Islam also lays great emphasis on respect of the parents. Similarly parents need to have the happiness and well being of their children in mind and must not use force and deceit to marry their offspring. As parents guide their offspring through life over all matters, when it comes to choosing a life partner, it is quite natural for them to look out for someone suitable and make suggestions. They cannot force a ‘match’ on their offspring. Muslim males have the freedom to marry within followers of Divine Books. However, Muslim females are restricted to marry within their own faith. The reason is quite clear. Children universally follow the faith of the father. Hence the rule; to ensure that the offspring of a Muslim is brought up in the Muslim faith.

 
Question
First: What is the Fatha? Is there anyway I could get a copy of it in Arabic and in English? I would like to understand it on a word by word translated basis please. Second: What are you saying while you pray? In Arabic and in English on a word by word basis too please. Why do you move your fingers and what are the beads for? What are the actions of prayer and why are you doing them? This is an honest inquiry of curiosity please do not take any offense to my questions and I would greatly appreciate your help.
Answer
Thank you for your message. It is a pleasure to be able to assist with any inquiry about Islam and we certainly feel your questions are most valid.

We assume you refer to Surah Al-Fatiha as ‘fatha’, which is the opening chapter of the Holy Quran. It is said to be an embodiment of the entire Quran. While we are unable to provide the Arabic script of it, we can most certainly provide you with a transliteration and a translation in English. It comprises of seven verses:

Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Raheem
In the name of Allah, most Gracious, ever Merciful

Al hamdu lillahi Rabbil ‘alameen
All Praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds

Ar-rahmanir-Raheem
Most Gracious, Ever Merciful

Maliki yaumiddeen
Master of the Day of Judgement

Iyyaka n’abudu wa iyyaka nasta’een
You alone do we worship and You alone do we implore for help

Ihdinas-sirat al-mustaqeem
Guide us on the right path

Siratallathina an’amta ‘alaihim ghairul maghdhibi ‘alaihim wa ladhdh alleen.
The path of those on whom you have bestowed Your blessings, those who have not incurred Your displeasure and who have not gone astray. 

Your next question is about Salat, the Muslim obligatory prayer. If by ‘moving finger’ you refer to the raising of the forefinger of the right hand during salat - it is done in following traditions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) of Islam. It is done at a stage when a prayer is said about bearing witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and bearing witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger. The ‘beads’ are used as a ‘count’ to repeat short prayers. During the salat, through different postures we first glorify God. We then go on to pray for His Guidance and Mercy and towards the end we say a few prayers for ourselves. If you wish to have a transliteration and translation of the entire salat, please let us know.

 
Question
Could you tell me where did Muhammad (peace be upon him) stay when he migrated to Medina?
Answer
When the Holy Prophet (may peace and blessings of Allah be on him) arrived in Medina the entire town was eager to have the honour of being his host. However, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings on him) who was mounted on a camel at that time, said he would wait for the camel to stop wherever God commanded it to. The camel stopped at a site belonging to the orphans of Banu Najjar. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings on him)settled on a price there and then, for the site, to build a mosque and some houses. He then inquired who lived nearest to the site. It was Abu Ayub Ansari who lived closest to the orphans’ site and thus had the honour of being the Holy Prophet’s (peace and blessings be on him) first host in Medina. On great demand the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings on him) later went on to stay with a few other people before moving into his own house in Medina.
   
   
   
   

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