Compilation of the Qur'an

Question: There are some Ahadith which say that some verses of Surah Tawbah were found after the collection of the Qur'an had been completed when the Prophet (sws) had passed away. Please explain.

Answer: AllAhadith which mention the collection and compilation of theQur'an after the Prophet's death are against the Qur'an itself. The Qur'an explicitly states that it was collected and compiled in the life of the Prophet (sws). It is also known that the whole of it was recited to the Prophet (sws) by the archangel Gabriel twice in the last Ramadan before the Prophet (sws) expired. The Qur'an says:

It is for Us to collect and recite it. So when We have recited it, follow its recital. (75:17-18)

It seems that the Ahadith you have referred to were concocted later on to challenge the authenticity of the Qur'an. One cannot accept them. Every single verse of the Qur'an we have with us was revealed to the Prophet (sws) fourteen centuries ago. There is a consensus that the Qur'an we have with us was not tampered with. It was transmitted through the consensus and through the perpetual recitation of the Companions of the Prophet (sws).

Worship Hours near the Poles

Question: In Sweden, during the winters, the nights are very long and daylight is for a couple of hours only; in summers it is vice versa. At the north pole daylight and darkness are for six months long each. At places such as the above how should one calculate the timings of prayers and fasting?

Answer: About all such circumstances, the Shari'ah is silent and there is a need to do ijtihad. Muslims who are residing in such places should be told that this is something they must decide for themselves, whether individually or collectively.

A number of options can be adopted. For example, the time table of prayers and fasting of the nearest place can be adopted where the difference between dawn and dusk is not too pronounced. Another option is to adjust these timings according to the general routine of sleeping, getting up and going to work. Similarly, other courses can be taken.

Colouring one's Hair Black

Question: I have heard that it is unlawful for men to colour their hair black. They can, however, colour their hair using 'hina'. I don't understand why one is allowed and the other is not. Please also tell me about a young man of about 20-25 who has got his hair white due to some medical reasons. Can he colour his hair black? What about ladies?

Answer: Colouring one's hair is a matter which has not been touched by the Shari`ah. It is a matter of our own personal taste. Men or women, whether young or old, have every right to decide in this regard. They can colour their hair black or use `hina' -- whatever they prefer.

The Ahadith from which certain people have deduced that colouring one's hair black is prohibited, I am afraid, have been misinterpreted. They do not forbid colouring the hair black; they just describe one feature of a certain group of people near the Day of Judgement who will go to Hell (the reasons of which are not stated). This feature which is merely a sign from which they can be recognized is that they will colour their hair black. In other words, the Ahadith do not say that the reason because of which these people will be consigned to Hell is the fact that they used to colour their hair black. They only state that a certain lot of people, who can be recognized by their hair coloured jet black, will not enter Heaven. Obviously, they will meet this fate because of reasons which make them worthy of this punishment.

Are Fats and Bones of a Swine Prohibited?

Question: The Qur'an explicitly forbids the flesh of swine. Does this include the fat and bones of the animal as well? The question arose in my mind because the Qur'an, in one of its verses, specifically talks about the fact that fat was forbidden for the Jews. In one of your answers, you mentioned that Allah in the Qur'an only forbade those edibles which He thought might confuse human beings to figure out for themselves. If everything related to swine were forbidden why didn't Allah explicitly say so in the Qur'an? Please clarify.

Answer: The style adopted by the Qur'an in prohibiting the swine is what we call synechdoche in linguistics, that is "to imply the whole while referring to the part". In other words, by referring to the part (lahm: meat) the whole (everything which can be eaten from a pig's body) is implied. Therefore, its fat, bones or any other part of its body which can be eaten is forbidden.

Such linguistic styles are found in every language. For example, we say in Urdu: Bakray ka gosht halal hay (a goat's meat is halal). The statement does not mean that the meat only of a goat is halal while its bones and fats are forbidden. What we are actually implying here is that a goat is a halal animal as a whole.

Forbidden Acts During Menses

Question: Prayers and keeping fasts are forbidden during menses. Is reading of the Qur'an also forbidden in that period? What if a person just recites certain surahs in his mind which he knows by-heart without touching the Qur'an ? Is it forbidden to have sex during menses?

Answer: Reading the Qur'an during this state whether by heart or through the Book is not forbidden by the Shari`ah.

Only sexual intercourse is forbidden during this period. Other forms of sexual interaction are allowed. The Qur'an says:

They ask you concerning women's courses. Tell them: They are an impurity. So keep away from women in their courses and do not approach them until they are clean. But when they have purified themselves approach them in the manner the Almighty has directed you [in your instincts] -- for Allah loves those who constantly repent and keep themselves clean. (2:222)

Anas Ibn Malikreports in the Sahih of Imam Muslim:

Amongst the Jews, when a woman menstruated, they did not dine with her nor did they live with her in their houses. So the companions of the Prophet asked him and Allah revealed ... (See 2:222 above). The Prophet then said: You can do everything except having intercourse with her. (Kitabu'l Hayd)

73 Sects

Question: I read a Hadith about the Ummah of the Prophet (sws) being divided into 73 sects, and that only one will go to heaven. I wanted to know the definition of a sect, and the one which is on the right, and why?

Answer: By collecting and analyzing all the texts of the Hadith you have referred to, the picture which emerges is that:

i) The prediction stated in these Ahadith pertain to the period just after the Prophet (sws), and relate to events within the land of Arabia. Such Ahadith are meant to put Muslims on guard, and are also a means to substantiate the Prophethood of Muhammad (sws) for people of his times.

ii) The number 73 is not been used here in its literal sense. It is used here figuratively to emphasize a point. Such a usage has examples in every language. For example we say: If Ahmad has faltered three times you will falter four times. This does not mean that we are counting the number of times some one is going to falter. It only means that we are warning our addressee that he will falter more than Ahmad and therefore he should be very careful.

iii) The word "firqah" here does not imply a religious sect. It means the various political factions and groups which do not submit to the authority of the state and create anarchy in the society.

iv) These Ahadith also direct Muslims to remain attached to the "al-jama'ah", when such a time of anarchy comes. The word "al-jama`ah" means the state and does not mean a religious faction or group.

v) It is known that many factions like the Khawarij and the Sabai created a lot of nuisance in the period after the Prophet (sws) by rebelling against the state authority. It is groups such as these which have been referred to in such Ahadith. The Prophet (sws) is urging his companions and followers not to become part of such rebellious factions and to cling to the authority of the state.

Involvement in Worldly Affairs

Question: I have a lot of confusion regarding our excessive involvement in worldly affairs. Although I offer my prayer five times a day, but each time I stand before Allah, there are millions of thoughts that come to my mind. As far as the involvement is concerned, we are all the time thinking about what we have to do in this world. Since I am a student, my thoughts are only related to how and when I will complete all my tasks. Now, although I do give time to my religion, but I don't feel certain whether it is worthwhile or not. I just want to know what are my limits of getting involved in this world. Whether studying till the post graduate level or even beyond that means anything? These are some of the things that bother me all the time and I have reached a point where I feel that offering prayers or reciting the Qur'an won't save me from going to Hell AT ALL. I'll be waiting for a reply.

Answer: The Almighty has made this world a place of trial and test. Here each person has been given the chance to prove his mettle and become worthy of an eternal reward in the Hereafter. If he is unable to do so, he shall have to face the ignominy of Hell. The Qur'an we read every day and the prayer we offer five times a day actually serve to remind us of this reality, which we tend to forget so very easily.

However, this does not mean that one should not get involved in worldly affairs. In fact, a person should use whatever talents he has for the betterment of the society he lives in. He should try to correctly assess himself and choose a life which best suits his talents and abilities. The only thing he must remain mindful of in his struggles in the affairs of this world is that whenever, he has to make a decision in life, he should always give priority to the life of the Hereafter. Islam is not a religion of hermits and recluses, nor does it condone leading a life that is cut off from the rest of the world. It wants a person to live right in the mainstream of events and face the harsh realities of life.

As a student you should concentrate on your studies and specialize as much as you can in the field of your interest. During your educational and later vocational pursuits, whenever there is a clash between interests of this world and those of the Hereafter pray that the Almighty give you the courage to choose the latter.

In other words, the key word is balance and giving each thing its proper due. Neither should a person get so involved in life that he forgets the Hereafter, nor should he forsake the life of this world, lest he lose the chance to achieve high honours in the Hereafter.

Mut`a(Temporary Marriage)

Question: Please let me know about the concept of Mut`a. Is it allowed in Islam?

Answer: Mut'ameans marriage up to a predetermined period of time. Some of the Shia sects like the Imamiyah sect allow it (Fiqh al-Sunnah, Syed Sabiq, Vol, 2 Pg 167). They base their view on the Qur'anic verse (5:24), which, I am afraid, is erroneously translated.

The Qur'an explicitly prohibits such a relationship.

According to the Qur'an one can have a sexual relationship only with a woman who is his wife out of permanent wedlock.

Also, it is known that the institution of slavery existed in the times of the Prophet (sws). Islam chalked out a complete programme for the eradication of this evil from the society. However, since it was deeply rooted in the society, a gradual scheme of its elimination was adopted. During this interim period, when slavery was not completely prohibited, sexual relations with slave girls was allowed as well. The Qur'an says:

And those who guard their chastity except with their wives and slave girls. For they are not to be blamed [in these cases]. But those who exceed beyond this are transgressors." (70:29-31)

The Hajra-i-Aswad (The Black Stone)

Question: Please tell me about the history of the "Black Stone". Where was it brought from? Did angel Gabriel bring it from the heavens or what?

Answer: There are two prominent views in this regard:

1) The stone is actually a meteorite which landed on the earth from outer space. This ultimately gave birth to the notion that it has come from Paradise. This is the general view.

2) The stone is a remnant of the originally constructed building of the Ka'bah before Abraham (sws) and his son Ismael (sws) rebuilt it from its ruins. This is Imam Farahi's view.

Does Bleeding Nullify Wudu?

Question: Does bleeding nullify ablution? The Hanafites are very strict about it but at the same time I have heard of some Ahadith which describe the story of a companion of the Prophet (sws), who was hit by an arrow while he was offering his prayers and he didn't discontinue his prayers. Please elaborate.

Answer: The basic objective of our religion is purification. Cleansing one's body is purifying it from all physical impurities.

There are certain impurities after which ablution becomes necessary and there are others after which does not. In the latter case, ablution can be counted as a good deed done to achieve the basic objective of our religion as much as possible. Doing ablution after bleeding falls in this second category.

Is Bowing down in Martial Arts Forbidden?

Question: Could you please tell me about bowing in Martial Arts and what is Islam's view on it? Is it forbidden?

Answer: If you are referring to the ceremonial bow done before a martial art fight, then Islam has no objection to it.

Distribution of Inheritance

Question: The case is: a husband owns some cash while his wife owns a big house. Kindly advise what the wife and children's shares would be if the husband dies? How will the house be divided between the husband and the children if the wife dies? Please note that the parents of husband and wife are dead, but both have brothers and sisters living and happily married.

Answer: In the first case the wife will be given 1/8 th of the cash the husband leaves behind. The remaining amount will be distributed among the children such that each son receives twice as much as each daughter.

In the second case, the husband will have a share of 1/4 th in the value of the house assessed at the death of the wife, while the children will have a share in the remaining amount in the manner described above.

12th of Rabi al-awwal

Question: People in our country celebrate the birthday of Prophet (sws) on 12th of Rabi al-awwal. Is there any historic evidence or are there any authentic Ahadith which tell us about the date of birth of the Prophet (sws)? Did the Prophet (sws) die n this same date, i.e. 12th Rabi al-awwal? Are we supposed to celebrate this day?

Answer: Whilst authorities are divided on the Prophet's birthday, there seems a general consensus about his death day. For the former, the 9th or 12th of Rabi al-awwal are the probable dates, while for the latter the date put forward is the 12th of Rabi al-awwal.

We are not required to celebrate this day by our religion. In fact, making the celebration a religious requirement is an innovation (bid`at).


Question: What is the Islamic view on Dhikr?

Answer: Dhikr, in religious parlance, means remembering the Almighty. A believer's day should be spent as much as is possible in his Creator's remembrance. There are a number of forms of doing dhikr: Some of the important forms include saying the prayer, reading the Qur'an, making supplications, asking Allah's forgiveness, expressing gratitude at his favours and blessings, remembering the attributes and established laws and practices of Allah, reciting certain phrases and sentences mentioned in the Ahadith.

Congregational dhikr, which is so popular these days is something which was not found in the time of the Prophet (sws). The only congregational dhikr which the Prophet (sws) seems to have undertaken was the collective prayer offered in the mosque. All other forms are generally more suited to be done when a person is alone. In seclusion, a person's emotions and feelings are very pure and flow naturally out of him; dhikr in such circumstances is also more free from false pretense.

I would recommend you to adopt the above mentioned forms and avoid all those which are not prescribed by the Prophet (sws). All other forms lead to innovation (bid'at) and take a person away from his Allah.

Imam Mahdi

Question: What is the significance of Imam Mahdi in Islam?

Answer: There are some Ahadith Ahaadith which mention the coming of a Mihdi. All these Ahadith are baseless and critics know that they were concocted by the Abbasids against the Umayyids to justify their stance. The celebrated Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun has convincingly refuted them in his treatise "The Muqaddamah".