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FAQ and Common Questions on Islaam

FAQ and Common Questions on Islaam

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This the PDF provides u the clarification about Quran and Islam.This contains varies questions and answers asked by non.Muslims.
This the PDF provides u the clarification about Quran and Islam.This contains varies questions and answers asked by non.Muslims.

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1. MOST COMMON QUESTIONS ASKED BY NON-MUSLIMS 2.

MOST COMMON QUESTIONS ASKED BY NON-MUSLIMS WHO HAVE SOME KNOWLEDGE OF ISLAM 3. COMMON QUESTIONS ASKED BY HINDUS ABOUT ISLAM 4. COMMON QUESTIONS ASKED BY CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES AGAINST ISLAM 5. QUERIES ON ISLAM

Most Common Questions asked by NonMuslims
Q1. Why is a man allowed to have more than one wife in Islam? i.e. why is polygamy allowed in Islam? Q2. If a man is allowed to have more than one wife, then why does Islam prohibit a woman from having more than one husband? Q3. Why does Islam degrade women by keeping them behind the veil? Q4. How can Islam be called the religion of peace when it was spread by the sword? Q5. Why are most of the Muslims fundamentalists and terrorists? Q6. Killing an animal is a ruthless act. Why then do Muslims consume non-vegetarian food? Q7. Why do Muslims slaughter the animal in a ruthless manner by torturing it and slowly and painfully killing it? Q8. Science tell us that whatever one eats, it has an effect on one’s behaviour. Why then, does Islam allow Muslims to eat non-vegetarian food, since eating of animals could make a person violent and ferocious? Q9. When Islam is against idol worship why do the Muslims worship, and bow down to the Kaaba in their prayer? Q10. Why are non-Muslims not allowed in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah? Q11. Why is the eating of pork forbidden in Islam?

Q12. Why is the consumption of alcohol prohibited in Islam? Q13. Why are two witnesses who are women, equivalent to only one witness who is a man ? Q14. Under Islamic law, why is a woman’s share of the inherited wealth only half that of a man? Q16. How can you prove the existence of hereafter, i.e. life after death? Q17. When all the Muslim follow one and the same Qur’an then why are there so many sects and different schools of thoughts among Muslims? Q18. All religions basically teach followers to do good deeds. Why should a person only follow Islam? Can he not follow any of the religions? Q19. If Islam is the best religion, why are many of the Muslims dishonest, unreliable, and involved in activities such as cheating, bribing, dealing in drugs, etc.? Q20. Why do Muslims abuse non-Muslims by calling them ‘Kafirs’?

POLYGAMY
Question: Why is a man allowed to have more than one wife in Islam? i.e. why is polygamy allowed in Islam? Answer:

Definition of Polygamy
1. Polygamy means a system of marriage whereby one person has more than one spouse. Polygamy can be of two types. One is polygyny where a man marries more than one woman, and the other is polyandry, where a woman marries more than one man. In Islam, limited polygyny is permitted; whereas polyandry is completely prohibited. Now coming to the original question, why is a man allowed to have more than one wife?

2. The Qur’an is the only religious scripture in the world that says,"marry only one". The Qur’an is the only religious book, on the face of this earth, that contains the phrase ‘marry only one’. There is no other religious book that instructs men to have only one wife. In none of the other religious scriptures, whether it be the Vedas, the Ramayan, the Mahabharat, the Geeta, the Talmud or the Bible does one find a restriction on the number of wives. According to these scriptures one can marry as many as one wishes. It was only later, that the Hindu priests and the Christian Church restricted the number of wives to one. Many Hindu religious personalities, according to their scriptures, had multiple wives. King Dashrat, the father of Rama, had more than one wife. Krishna had several wives.

In earlier times, Christian men were permitted as many wives as they wished, since the Bible puts no restriction on the number of wives. It was only a few centuries ago that the Church restricted the number of wives to one. Polygyny is permitted in Judaism. According to Talmudic law, Abraham had three wives, and Solomon had hundreds of wives. The practice of polygyny continued till Rabbi Gershom ben Yehudah (95% C.E to 1030 C.E) issued an edict against it. The Jewish Sephardic communities living in Muslim countries continued the practice till as late as 1950, until an Act of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel extended the ban on marrying more than one wife.

3. Hindus are more polygynous than Muslims The report of the ‘Committee of The Status of Woman in Islam’, published in 1975 mentions on page numbers 66 and 67 that the percentage of polygamous marriages between the years 1951 and 1961 was 5.06% among the Hindus and only 4.31% among the Muslims. According to Indian law only Muslim men are permitted to have more than one wife. It is illegal for any non-Muslim in India to have more than one wife. Despite it being illegal, Hindus have more multiple wives as compared to Muslims. Earlier, there was no restriction even on Hindu men with respect to the number of wives allowed. It was only in 1954, when the Hindu Marriage Act was passed that it became illegal for a Hindu to have more than one wife. At present it is the Indian Law that restricts a Hindu man from having more than one wife and not the Hindu scriptures. Let us now analyse why Islam allows a man to have more than one wife.

4. Qur’an permits limited polygyny As I mentioned earlier, Qur’an is the only religious book on the face of the earth that says ‘marry only one’. The context of this phrase is the following verse from Surah Nisa of the Glorious Qur’an: "Marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one." [Al-Qur’an 4:3] Before the Qur’an was revealed, there was no upper limit for polygyny and many men had scores of wives, some even hundreds. Islam put an upper limit of four wives. Islam gives a man permission to marry two, three or four women, only on the condition that he deals justly with them. In the same chapter i.e. Surah Nisa verse 129 says: "Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women...." [Al-Qur’an 4:129] Therefore polygyny is not a rule but an exception. Many people are under the misconception that it is compulsory for a Muslim man to have more than one wife. Broadly, Islam has five categories of Do’s and Don’ts:

i. ii. iii. iv. v.

‘Fard’ i.e. compulsory or obligatory ‘Mustahab’ i.e. recommended or encouraged ‘Mubah’ i.e. permissible or allowed ‘Makruh’ i.e. not recommended or discouraged ‘Haraam’ i.e. prohibited or forbidden

Polygyny falls in the middle category of things that are permissible. It cannot be said that a Muslim who has two, three or four wives is a better Muslim as compared to a Muslim who has only one wife.

5. Average life span of females is more than that of males By nature males and females are born in approximately the same ratio. A female child has more immunity than a male child. A female child can fight the germs and diseases better than the male child. For this reason, during the pediatric age itself there are more deaths among males as compared to the females. During wars, there are more men killed as compared to women. More men die due to accidents and diseases than women. The average life span of females is more than that of males, and at any given time one finds more widows in the world than widowers.

6. India has more male population than female due to female foeticide and infanticide India is one of the few countries, along with the other neighbouring countries, in which the female population is less than the male population. The reason lies in the high rate of female infanticide in India, and the fact that more than one million female foetuses are aborted every year in this country, after they are identified as females. If this evil practice is stopped, then India too will have more females as compared to males.

7. World female population is more than male population In the USA, women outnumber men by 7.8 million. New York alone has one million more females as compared to the number of males, and of the male population of New York one-third are gays i.e sodomites. The U.S.A as a whole has more than twenty-five million gays. This means that these people do not wish to marry women. Great Britain has four million more females as compared to males. Germany has five million more females as compared to males. Russia has nine million more females than males. God alone knows how many million more females there are in the whole world as compared to males.

8. Restricting each and every man to have only one wife is not practical Even if every man got married to one woman, there would still be more than thirty million females in U.S.A who would not be able to get husbands (considering that America has twenty five million gays). There would be more than four million females in Great Britain, 5 million females in Germany and nine million females in Russia alone who would not be able to find a husband. Suppose my sister happens to be one of the unmarried women living in USA, or suppose your sister happens to be one of the unmarried women in USA. The only two options remaining for her

are that she either marries a man who already has a wife or becomes public property. There is no other option. All those who are modest will opt for the first. In Western society, it is common for a man to have mistresses and/or multiple extra-marital affairs, in which case, the woman leads a disgraceful, unprotected life. The same society, however, cannot accept a man having more than one wife, in which women retain their honourable, dignified position in society and lead a protected life. Thus the only two options before a woman who cannot find a husband is to marry a married man or to become public property. Islam prefers giving women the honourable position by permitting the first option and disallowing the second. There are several other reasons, why Islam has permitted limited polygyny, but it is mainly to protect the modesty of women.

POLYANDRY
Question: If a man is allowed to have more than one wife, then why does Islam prohibit a woman from having more than one husband? Answer: A lot of people, including some Muslims, question the logic of allowing Muslim men to have more than one spouse while denying the same ‘right’ to women. Let me first state emphatically, that the foundation of an Islamic society is justice and equity. Allah has created men and women as equal, but with different capabilities and different responsibilities. Men and women are different, physiologically and psychologically. Their roles and responsibilities are different. Men and women are equal in Islam, but not identical. Surah Nisa’ Chapter 4 verses 22 to 24 gives the list of women with who you can not marry and it is further mentions in Surah Nisa’ Chapter 4 verse 24 "Also (prohibited are) women already married" The following points enumerate the reasons why polyandry is prohibited in Islam:

1. If a man has more than one wife, the parents of the children born of such marriages can easily be identified. The father as well as the mother can easily be identified. In case of a woman marrying more than one husband, only the mother of the children born of such marriages will be identified and not the father. Islam gives tremendous importance to the identification of both parents, mother and father. Psychologists tell us that children who do not know their parents, especially their father undergo severe mental trauma and disturbances. Often they have an unhappy childhood. It is for this reason that the children of prostitutes do not have a healthy childhood. If a child born of such wedlock is admitted in school, and when the mother is asked the name of the father, she would have to give two or more names! I am aware that recent advances in science have made it possible for both the mother and father to be identified with the help of

genetic testing. Thus this point which was applicable for the past may not be applicable for the present.

2. Man is more polygamous by nature as compared to a woman.

3. Biologically, it is easier for a man to perform his duties as a husband despite having several wives. A woman, in a similar position, having several husbands, will not find it possible to perform her duties as a wife. A woman undergoes several psychological and behavioral changes due to different phases of the menstrual cycle.

4. A woman who has more than one husband will have several sexual partners at the same time and has a high chance of acquiring venereal or sexually transmitted diseases which can also be transmitted back to her husband even if all of them have no extra-marital sex. This is not the case in a man having more than one wife, and none of them having extra-marital sex.

The above reasons are those that one can easily identify. There are probably many more reasons why Allah, in His Infinite Wisdom, has prohibited polyandry.

WAS ISLAM SPREAD BY THE SWORD?
Question: How can Islam be called the religion of peace when it was spread by the sword? Answer: It is a common complaint among some non-Muslims that Islam would not have millions of adherents all over the world, if it had not been spread by the use of force. The following points will make it clear, that far from being spread by the sword, it was the inherent force of truth, reason and logic that was responsible for the rapid spread of Islam.

1. Islam means peace. Islam comes from the root word ‘salaam’, which means peace. It also means submitting one’s will to Allah (swt). Thus Islam is a religion of peace, which is acquired by submitting one’s will to the will of the Supreme Creator, Allah (swt).

2. Sometimes force has to be used to maintain peace. Each and every human being in this world is not in favour of maintaining peace and harmony. There are many, who would disrupt it for their own vested interests. Sometimes force has to be used to maintain peace. It is precisely for this reason that we have the police who use force against criminals and anti-social elements to maintain peace in the country. Islam promotes peace. At the same time, Islam exhorts it followers to fight where there is oppression. The fight

against oppression may, at times, require the use of force. In Islam force can only be used to promote peace and justice.

3. Opinion of historian De Lacy O’Leary. The best reply to the misconception that Islam was spread by the sword is given by the noted historian De Lacy O’Leary in the book "Islam at the cross road" (Page 8): "History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myth that historians have ever repeated."

4. Muslims ruled Spain for 800 years. Muslims ruled Spain for about 800 years. The Muslims in Spain never used the sword to force the people to convert. Later the Christian Crusaders came to Spain and wiped out the Muslims. There was not a single Muslim in Spain who could openly give the adhan, that is the call for prayers.

5. 14 million Arabs are Coptic Christians. Muslims were the lords of Arabia for 1400 years. For a few years the British ruled, and for a few years the French ruled. Overall, the Muslims ruled Arabia for 1400 years. Yet today, there are 14 million Arabs who are Coptic Christians i.e. Christians since generations. If the Muslims had used the sword there would not have been a single Arab who would have remained a Christian.

6. More than 80% non-Muslims in India. The Muslims ruled India for about a thousand years. If they wanted, they had the power of converting each and every non-Muslim of India to Islam. Today more than 80% of the population of India are non-Muslims. All these non-Muslim Indians are bearing witness today that Islam was not spread by the sword.

7. Indonesia and Malaysia. Indonesia is a country that has the maximum number of Muslims in the world. The majority of people in Malaysia are Muslims. May one ask, "Which Muslim army went to Indonesia and Malaysia?"

8. East Coast of Africa. Similarly, Islam has spread rapidly on the East Coast of Africa. One may again ask, if Islam was spread by the sword, "Which Muslim army went to the East Coast of Africa?"

9. Thomas Carlyle.

The famous historian, Thomas Carlyle, in his book "Heroes and Hero worship", refers to this misconception about the spread of Islam: "The sword indeed, but where will you get your sword? Every new opinion, at its starting is precisely in a minority of one. In one man’s head alone. There it dwells as yet. One man alone of the whole world believes it, there is one man against all men. That he takes a sword and try to propagate with that, will do little for him. You must get your sword! On the whole, a thing will propagate itself as it can."

10. No compulsion in religion. With which sword was Islam spread? Even if Muslims had it they could not use it to spread Islam because the Qur’an says in the following verse: "Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error" [Al-Qur’an 2:256]

11. Sword of the Intellect. It is the sword of intellect. The sword that conquers the hearts and minds of people. The Qur’an says in Surah Nahl, chapter 16 verse 125: "Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious." [Al-Qur’an 16:125]

12. Increase in the world religions from 1934 to 1984. An article in Reader’s Digest ‘Almanac’, year book 1986, gave the statistics of the increase of percentage of the major religions of the world in half a century from 1934 to 1984. This article also appeared in ‘The Plain Truth’ magazine. At the top was Islam, which increased by 235%, and Christianity had increased only by 47%. May one ask, which war took place in this century which converted millions of people to Islam?

13. Islam is the fastest growing religion in America and Europe. Today the fastest growing religion in America is Islam. The fastest growing religion in Europe in Islam. Which sword is forcing people in the West to accept Islam in such large numbers?

14. Dr. Joseph Adam Pearson. Dr. Joseph Adam Pearson rightly says, "People who worry that nuclear weaponry will one day fall in the hands of the Arabs, fail to realize that the Islamic bomb has been dropped already, it fell the day MUHAMMED (pbuh) was born".

MUSLIMS ARE FUNDAMENTALISTS AND TERRORISTS
Question: Why are most of the Muslims fundamentalists and terrorists? Answer: This question is often hurled at Muslims, either directly or indirectly, during any discussion on religion or world affairs. Muslim stereotypes are perpetuated in every form of the media accompanied by gross misinformation about Islam and Muslims. In fact, such misinformation and false propaganda often leads to discrimination and acts of violence against Muslims. A case in point is the anti-Muslim campaign in the American media following the Oklahoma bomb blast, where the press was quick to declare a ‘Middle Eastern conspiracy’ behind the attack. The culprit was later identified as a soldier from the American Armed Forces. Let us analyze this allegation of ‘fundamentalism’ and ‘terrorism’:

1. Definition of the word ‘fundamentalist’ A fundamentalist is a person who follows and adheres to the fundamentals of the doctrine or theory he is following. For a person to be a good doctor, he should know, follow, and practise the fundamentals of medicine. In other words, he should be a fundamentalist in the field of medicine. For a person to be a good mathematician, he should know, follow and practise the fundamentals of mathematics. He should be a fundamentalist in the field of mathematics. For a person to be a good scientist, he should know, follow and practise the fundamentals of science. He should be a fundamentalist in the field of science.

2. Not all ‘fundamentalists’ are the same One cannot paint all fundamentalists with the same brush. One cannot categorize all fundamentalists as either good or bad. Such a categorization of any fund amentalist will depend upon the field or activity in which he is a fundamentalist. A fundamentalist robber or thief causes harm to society and is therefore undesirable. A fundamentalist doctor, on the other hand, benefits society and earns much respect.

3. I am proud to be a Muslim fundamentalist I am a fundamentalist Muslim who, by the grace of Allah, knows, follows and strives to practise the fundamentals of Islam. A true Muslim does not shy away from being a fundamentalist. I am proud to be a fundamentalist Muslim because, I know that the fundamentals of Islam are beneficial to humanity and the whole world. There is not a single fundamental of Islam that causes harm or is against the interests of the human race as a whole. Many people harbour misconceptions about Islam and consider several teachings of Islam to be unfair or improper. This is due to insufficient and incorrect knowledge of Islam. If one critically analyzes the teachings of Islam with an open mind, one cannot escape the fact that Islam is full of benefits both at the individual and collective levels.

4. Dictionary meaning of the word ‘fundamentalist’ According to Webster’s dictionary ‘fundamentalism’ was a movement in American Protestanism that arose in the earlier part of the 20th century. It was a reaction to modernism, and stressed the infallibility of the Bible, not only in matters of faith and morals but also as a literal historical record. It stressed on belief in the Bible as the literal word of God. Thus fundamentalism was a word initially used for a group of Christians who believed that the Bible was the verbatim word of God without any errors and mistakes. According to the Oxford dictionary ‘fundamentalism’ means ‘strict maintenance of ancient or fundamental doctrines of any religion, especially Islam’. Today the moment a person uses the word fundamentalist he thinks of a Muslim who is a terrorist.

5. Every Muslim should be a terrorist Every Muslim should be a terrorist. A terrorist is a person who causes terror. The moment a robber sees a policeman he is terrified. A policeman is a terrorist for the robber. Similarly every Muslim should be a terrorist for the antisocial elements of society, such as thieves, dacoits and rapists. Whenever such an anti-social element sees a Muslim, he should be terrified. It is true that the word ‘terrorist’ is generally used for a person who causes terror among the common people. But a true Muslim should only be a terrorist to selective people i.e. anti-social elements, and not to the common innocent people. In fact a Muslim should be a source of peace for innocent people.

6. Different labels given to the same individual for the same action, i.e. ‘terrorist’ and ‘patriot’ Before India achieved independence from British rule, some freedom fighters of India who did not subscribe to non-violence were labeled as terrorists by the British government. The same individuals have been lauded by Indians for the same activities and hailed as ‘patriots’. Thus two different labels have been given to the same people for the same set of actions. One is calling him a terrorist while the other is calling him a patriot. Those who believed that Britain had a right to rule over India called these people terrorists, while those who were of the view that Britain had no right to rule India called them patriots and freedom fighters. It is therefore important that before a person is judged, he is given a fair hearing. Both sides of the argument should be heard, the situation should be analyzed, and the reason and the intention of the person should be taken into account, and then the person can be judged accordingly.

7. Islam means peace Islam is derived from the word ‘salaam’ which means peace. It is a religion of peace whose fundamentals teach its followers to maintain and promote peace throughout the world. Thus every Muslim should be a fundamentalist i.e. he should follow the fundamentals of the Religion of Peace: Islam. He should be a terrorist only towards the antisocial elements in order to promote peace and justice in the society.

EATING NON-VEGETARIAN FOOD
Question: Killing an animal is a ruthless act. Why then do Muslims consume non-vegetarian food? Answer: ‘Vegetarianism’ is now a movement the world over. Many even associate it with animal rights. Indeed, a large number of people consider the consumption of meat and other non-vegetarian products to be a violation of animal rights. Islam enjoins mercy and compassion for all living creatures. At the same time Islam maintains that Allah has created the earth and its wondrous flora and fauna for the benefit of mankind. It is upto mankind to use every resource in this world judiciously, as a niyamat (Divine blessing) and amanat (trust) from Allah. Let us look at various other aspects of this argument.

1. A Muslim can be a pure vegetarian A Muslim can be a very good Muslim despite being a pure vegetarian. It is not compulsory for a Muslim to have non-vegetarian food.

2. Qur’an permits Muslims to have non-vegetarian food The Qur’an, however permits a Muslim to have non-vegetarian food. The following Qur’anic verses are proof of this fact: "O ye who believe! Fulfil (all) obligations. Lawful unto you (for food) are all four-footed animals with the exceptions named." [Al-Qur’an 5:1] "And cattle He has created for you (men): from them Ye derive warmth, and numerous benefits, And of their (meat) ye eat." [Al-Qur’an 16:5] "And in cattle (too) ye have an instructive example: From within their bodies We produce (milk) for you to drink; there are, in them, (besides), numerous (other) benefits for you; and of their (meat) ye eat." [Al-Qur’an 23:21]

3. Meat is nutritious and rich in complete protein Non-vegetarian food is a good source of excellent protein. It contains biologically complete protein i.e. all the 8 essential amino acid that are not synthesized by the body and should be supplied in the diet. Meat also contains iron, vitamin B1 and niacin.

4. Humans have Omnivorous set of teeth If you observe the teeth of herbivorous animals like the cow, goat and sheep, you will find something strikingly similar in all of them. All these animals have a set of flat teeth i.e. suited for herbivorous diet. If you observe the set of teeth of the carnivorous animals like the lion, tiger, or leopard, they all have a set of pointed teeth i.e. suited for a carnivorous diet. If you analyze the set of teeth of humans, you find that they have flat teeth as well as pointed teeth. Thus they have teeth suited for both herbivorous as well as carnivorous food i.e. they are omnivorous. One may ask, if Almighty God wanted humans to have only vegetables, why did He provide us also with pointed teeth? It is logical that He expected us to need and to have both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian food.

5. Human beings can digest both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food The digestive system of herbivorous animals can digest only vegetables. The digestive system of carnivorous animals can digest only meat. But the digestive system of humans can digest both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. If Almighty God wanted us to have only vegetables then why did He give us a digestive system that can digest both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian food?

6. Hindu scriptures give permission to have non-vegetarian food a. There are many Hindus who are strictly vegetarian. They think it is against their religion to consume non-vegetarian food. But the true fact is that the Hindu scriptures permit a person to have meat. The scriptures mention Hindu sages and saints consuming nonvegetarian food. b. It is mentioned in Manu Smruti, the law book of Hindus, in chapter 5 verse 30 "The eater who eats the flesh of those to be eaten does nothing bad, even if he does it day after day, for God himself created some to be eaten and some to be eater." c. Again next verse of Manu Smruti, that is, chapter 5 verse 31 says

"Eating meat is right for the sacrifice, this is traditionally known as a rule of the gods." d. Further in Manu Smruti chapter 5 verse 39 and 40 says "God himself created sacrificial animals for sacrifice, ...., therefore killing in a sacrifice is not killing." e. Mahabharata Anushashan Parva chapter 88 narrates the discussion between Dharmaraj Yudhishthira and Pitamah Bhishma about what food one should offer to Pitris (ancestors) during the Shraddha (ceremony of dead) to keep them satisfied. Paragraph reads as follows: "Yudhishthira said, "O thou of great puissance, tell me what that object is which, if dedicated to the Pitiris (dead ancestors), become inexhaustible! What Havi, again, (if offered) lasts for all time? What, indeed, is that which (if presented) becomes eternal?" "Bhishma said, "Listen to me, O Yudhishthira, what those Havis are which persons conversant with the rituals of the Shraddha (the ceremony of dead) regard as suitable in view of Shraddha and what the fruits are that attach to each. With sesame seeds and rice and barely and Masha and water and roots and fruits, if given at Shraddhas, the pitris, O

king, remain gratified for the period of a month. With fishes offered at Shraddhas, the pitris remain gratified for a period of two months. With the mutton they remain gratified for three months and with the hare for four months, with the flesh of the goat for five months, with the bacon (meat of pig) for six months, and with the flesh of birds for seven. With venison obtained from those deer that are called Prishata, they remaingratified for eight months, and with that obtained from the Ruru for nine months, and with the meat of Gavaya for ten months, With the meat of the bufffalo their gratification lasts for eleven months. With beef presented at the Shraddha, their gratification, it is said , lasts for a full year. Payasa mixed with ghee is as much acceptable to the pitris as beef. With the meat of Vadhrinasa (a large bull) the gratification of pitris lasts for twelve years. The flesh of rhinoceros, offered to the pitris on anniversaries of the lunar days on which they died, becomes inexhaustible. The potherb called Kalaska, the petals of kanchana flower, and meat of (red) goat also, thus offered, prove inexhaustible. So but natural if you want to keep your ancestors satisfied forever, you should serve them the meat of red goat.

7. Hinduism was influenced by other religions Though Hindu Scriptures permit its followers to have non-vegetarian food, many Hindus adopted the vegetarian system because they were influenced by other religions like Jainism.

8. Even plants have life Certain religions have adopted pure vegetarianism as a dietary law because they are totally against the killing of living creatures. If a person can survive without killing any living creature, I would be the first person to adopt such a way of life. In the past people thought plants were lifeless. Today it is a universal fact that even plants have life. Thus their logic of not killing living creatures is not fulfilled even by being a pure vegetarian.

9. Even plants can feel pain They further argue that plants cannot feel pain, therefore killing a plant is a lesser crime as compared to killing an animal. Today science tells us that even plants can feel pain. But the cry of the plant cannot be heard by the human being. This is due to the inability of the human ear to hear sounds that are not in the audible range i.e. 20 Hertz to 20,000 Hertz. Anything below and above this range cannot be heard by a human being. A dog can hear up to 40,000 Hertz. Thus there are silent dog whistles that have a frequency of more than 20,000 Hertz and less than 40,000 Hertz. These whistles are only heard by dogs and not by human beings. The dog recognizes the masters whistle and comes to the master. There was research done by a farmer in U.S.A. who invented an instrument which converted the cry of the plant so that it could be heard by human beings. He was able to realize immediately when the plant itself cried for water. Latest researches show that the plants can even feel happy and sad. It can also cry.

10. Killing a living creature with two senses less is not a lesser crime Once a vegetarian argued his case by saying that plants only have two or three senses while the animals have five senses.

Therefore killing a plant is a lesser crime than killing an animal. Suppose your brother is born deaf and dumb and has two senses less as compared to other human beings. He becomes mature and someone murders him. Would you ask the judge to give the murderer a lesser punishment because your brother has two senses less? In fact you would say that he has killed a masoom, an innocent person, and the judge should give the murderer a greater punishment. In fact the Qur’an says: "O ye people! Eat of what is on earth, lawful and good" [Al-Qur’an 2:168]

11. Over population of cattle If every human being was a vegetarian, it would lead to overpopulation of cattle in the world, since their reproduction and multiplication is very swift. Allah (swt) in His Divine Wisdom knows how to maintain the balance of His creation appropriately. No wonder He has permitted us to have the meat of the cattle.

12. Cost of meat is reasonable since all aren’t non-vegetarians I do not mind if some people are pure vegetarians. However they should not condemn nonvegetarians as ruthless. In fact if all Indians become non-vegetarians then the present nonvegetarians would be losers since the prices of meat would rise.

ISLAMIC METHOD OF SLAUGHTERING ANIMALS APPEARS RUTHLESS
Question: Why do Muslims slaughter the animal in a ruthless manner by torturing it and slowly and painfully killing it? Answer: The Islamic method of slaughtering animals, known as Zabiha has been the object of much criticism from a large number of people. Before I reply to the question, let me relate an incidence about a discussion between a Sikh and a Muslim regarding animal slaughter. Once a Sikh asked a Muslim, "Why do you slaughter the animal painfully by cutting the throat instead of the way we do with one stroke i.e. jhatka?" The Muslim replied "We are brave and courageous and attack from the front. We are marad ka baccha (macho men), you are cowards and attack from behind". Jokes apart, one may consider the following points, which prove that the Zabiha method is not only humane but also scientifically the best:

1. Islamic method of slaughtering animal

Zakkaytum is a verb derived from the root word Zakah (to purify). Its infinitive is Tazkiyah which means purification. The Islamic mode of slaughtering an animal requires the following conditions to be met: a. Animal should be slaughtered with sharp object (knife) The animal has to be slaughtered with a sharp object (knife) and in a fast way so that the pain of slaughter is minimised. b. Cut wind pipe, throat and vessels of neck Zabiha is an Arabic word which means ‘slaughtered’. The ‘slaughtering’ is to be done by cutting the throat, windpipe and the blood vessels in the neck causing the animal’s death without cutting the spinal cord. c. Blood should be drained The blood has to be drained completely before the head is removed. The purpose is to drain out most of the blood which would serve as a good culture medium for micro organisms. The spinal cord must not be cut because the nerve fibres to the heart could be damaged during the process causing cardiac arrest, stagnating the blood in the blood vessels. 2. Blood is a good medium for germs and bacteria Blood is a good media of germs, bacteria, toxins, etc. Therefore the Muslim way of slaughtering is more hygienic as most of the blood containing germs, bacteria, toxins, etc. that are the cause of several diseases are eliminated. 3. Meat remains fresh for a longer time Meat slaughtered by Islamic way remains fresh for a longer time due to deficiency of blood in the meat as compared to other methods of slaughtering. 4. Animal does not feel pain The swift cutting of vessels of the neck disconnects the flow of blood to the nerve of the brain responsible for pain. Thus the animal does not feel pain. While dying, the animal struggles, writhers, shakes and kicks, not due to pain, but due to the contraction and relaxation of the muscles defecient in blood and due to the flow of blood out of the body.

NON-VEGETARIAN FOOD MAKES MUSLIMS VIOLENT
Question: Science tell us that whatever one eats, it has an effect on one’s behaviour. Why then, does Islam allow Muslims to eat non-vegetarian food, since eating of animals could make a person violent and ferocious? Answer:

1. Only eating of herbivorous animals allowed I agree that, what a person eats has an effect on his behaviour. This is one of the reasons why Islam prohibits the eating of carnivorous animals like lion, tiger, leopard, etc. who are violent and ferocious. The consumption of the meat of such animals would probably make a person violent and ferocious. Islam only allows the eating of herbivorous animals like cow, goat, sheep, etc. that are peaceful and docile. We Muslims eat peaceful and docile animals because we are peace loving and non-violent people.

2. The Qur’an says Prophet prohibits what is bad The Qur’an says: "The Prophet commands them what is just and prohibits what is evil". "He allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them what is bad (and impure)," [Al-Qur’an 7: 157] "So take what the Messenger assigns to you and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you." [Al-Qur’an 59: 7] For a Muslim, the Prophet’s statement is sufficient to convince him that Allah does not wish humans to eat some kinds of meat while allowing some other kinds.

3. Hadith of Mohammad (pbuh) prohibiting eating of carnivorous animals According to various authentic Ahadith narrated in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim including hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas in Sahih Muslim, Book of hunting and slaughter, Hadith No. 4752 and Sunan Ibn-I-Majah chapter 13 Hadith no. 3232 to 3234, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) prohibited the eating of: i. ii. iii. iv. Wild animals with canine teeth, i.e. meat eating carnivorous animals. These are animals belonging to the cat families such as lion, tiger, cats, dogs, wolfs, hyenas, etc. Certain rodents like mice, rats, rabbits with claws, etc. Certain reptiles like snakes, alligators, etc. Birds of prey with talons or claws, like vultures, eagle, crows, owl, etc.

MUSLIMS WORSHIP THE KAABA
Question: When Islam is against idol worship why do the Muslims worship, and bow down to the Kaaba in their prayer? Answer: Kaaba is the Qibla i.e. the direction Muslims face during their prayers. It is important to note that though Muslims face the Kaaba during prayers, they do not worship the Kaaba. Muslims worship and bow to none but Allah.

It is mentioned in Surah Baqarah: "We see the turning of thy face (for guidance) to the heavens: now shall We turn thee to a Qiblah that shall please thee. Turn then thy face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque: wherever ye are, turn your faces in that direction." [Al-Qur’an 2:144]

1. Islam believes in fostering unity For instance, if Muslims want to offer Salaah (Prayer), it is possible that some may wish to face north, while some may wish to face south. In order to unite Muslims in their worship of the One True God, Muslims, wherever they may be, are asked to face in only one direction i.e. towards the Kaaba. If some Muslims live towards the west of the Kaaba they face the east. Similarly if they live towards the east of the Kaaba they face the west.

2. Kaaba is at the Centre of the World Map The Muslims were the first people to draw the map of the world. They drew the map with the south facing upwards and north downwards. The Kaaba was at the centre. Later, western cartographers drew the map upside down with the north facing upwards and south downwards. Yet, Alhamdullilah the Kaaba is at the centre of the world map.

3. Tawaaf around Kaaba for indicating one God When the Muslims go to Masjid-e-Haram in Makkah, they perform tawaaf or circumambulation round the Kaaba. This act symbolizes the belief and worship of One God, since, just as every circle has one centre, so also there is only one Allah (swt) worthy of worship.

4. Hadith of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) Regarding the black stone, hajr-e-aswad, there is a hadith (tradition), attributed to the illustrious companion of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), Umar (may Allah be pleased with him). According to Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, book of Hajj, chapter 56, H.No. 675. Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit nor harm. Had I not seen the Prophet (pbuh) touching (and kissing) you, I would never have touched (and kissed) you".

5. People stood on Kaaba and gave the adhaan At the time of the Prophet, people even stood on the Kaaba and gave the ‘adhaan’ or the call to prayer. One may ask those who allege that Muslims worship the Kaaba; which idol worshipper stands on the idol he worships?

NON-MUSLIMS NOT ALLOWED IN MAKKAH
Question:

Why are non-Muslims not allowed in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah? Answer: It is true that non-Muslims are not allowed in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, by law. The following points will serve to elucidate the possible reasoning behind such a restriction.

1. All citizens are not permitted in the cantonment area I am a citizen of India. Yet, I am not permitted to enter certain restricted areas like the cantonment. In every country there are certain areas where a common citizen of that country cannot enter. Only a citizen who is enrolled in the military or those who are connected with the defence of the country are allowed in the cantonment area. Similarly Islam is a Universal Religion for the entire world and for all human beings. The cantonment areas of Islam are the two holy cites of Makkah and Madinah. Here only those who believe in Islam and are involved in the defence of Islam i.e. the Muslims are allowed. It would be illogical for a common citizen to object against the restriction on entering a cantonment area. Similarly it is not appropriate for non-Muslims to object against the restriction on non-Muslims against entering Makkah and Madinah.

2. Visa to enter Makkah and Madinah a. Whenever a person travels to a foreign country he has to first apply for a visa i.e. the permission to enter that country. Every country has its own rules, regulations and requirements for issuing a visa. Unless their critera are satisfied they will not issue a visa. b. One of the countries which is very strict in issuing a visa is the United States of America, especially when issuing visas to citizens of the third world. They have several conditions and requirements to be fulfilled before they issue a visa. c. When I visited Singapore, it was mentioned on their immigration form - death to drug traffickers. If I want to visit Singapore I have to abide by the rules. I cannot say that death penalty is a barbaric punishment. Only if I agree with their requirements and conditions will I be permitted to enter the country. d. The Visa – The primary condition required for any human being to enter Makkah or Madina is to say with his lips, La ila ha illallah Muhammed ur Rasulullah meaning that ‘there is no God but Allah and Muhammed (pbuh) is His Messenger.’

PORK FORBIDDEN
Question: Why is the eating of pork forbidden in Islam? Answer: The fact that consumption of pork is prohibited in Islam is well known. The following points explain various aspects of this prohibition:

1. Pork prohibited in Qur’an

The Qur’an prohibits the consumption of pork in no less than 4 different places. It is prohibited in 2:173, 5:3, 6:145 and 16:115. "Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah." [Al-Qur’an 5:3] The above verses of the Holy Qur’an are sufficient to satisfy a Muslim as to why pork is forbidden.

2. Pork prohibited in the Bible The Christian is likely to be convinced by his religious scriptures. The Bible prohibits the consumption of pork, in the book of Leviticus "And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be cloven footed, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you". "Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch, they are unclean to you." [Leviticus 11:7-8] Pork is also prohibited in the Bible in the book of Deuteronomy "And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you. Ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcass." [Deuteronomy 14:8] A similar prohibition is repeated in the Bible in the book of Isaiah chapter 65 verse 2-5.

3. Consumption of pork causes several diseases The other non-Muslims and atheists will agree only if convinced through reason, logic and science. Eating of pork can cause no less than seventy different types of diseases. A person can have various helminthes like roundworm, pinworm, hookworm, etc. One of the most dangerous is Taenia Solium, which is in lay man’s terminology called tapeworm. It harbours in the intestine and is very long. Its ova i.e. eggs, enter the blood stream and can reach almost all the organs of the body. If it enters the brain it can cause memory loss. If it enters the heart it can cause heart attack, if it enters the eye it can cause blindness, if it enters the liver it can cause liver damage. It can damage almost all the organs of the body. Another dangerous helminthes is Trichura Tichurasis. A common misconception about pork is that if it is cooked well, these ova die. In a research project undertaken in America, it was found that out of twenty-four people suffering from Trichura Tichurasis, twenty two had cooked the pork very well. This indicates that the ova present in the pork do not die under normal cooking temperature.

4. Pork has fat building material Pork has very little muscle building material and contains excess of fat. This fat gets deposited in the vessels and can cause hypertension and heart attack. It is not surprising that over 50% of Americans suffer from hypertension.

5. Pig is one of the filthiest animals on earth The pig is one of the filthiest animals on earth. It lives and thrives on muck, faeces and dirt. It is the best scavenger that I know that God has produced. In the villages they don’t have modern toilets and the villagers excrete in the open air. Very often excreta is cleared by pigs. Some may argue that in advanced countries like Australia, pigs are bred in very clean and hygienic conditions. Even in these hygienic conditions the pigs are kept together in sties. No matter how hard you try to keep them clean they are filthy by nature. They eat and enjoy their own as well as their neighbour’s excreta.

6. Pig is the most shameless animal The pig is the most shameless animal on the face of the earth. It is the only animal that invites its friends to have sex with its mate. In America, most people consume pork. Many times after dance parties, they have swapping of wives; i.e. many say "you sleep with my wife and I will sleep with your wife." If you eat pigs then you behave like pigs. We Indians look upon America to be very advanced and sophisticated. Whatever they do, we follow after a few years. According to an article in Island magazine, this practice of swapping wives has become common in the affluent circles of Bombay.

PROHIBITION OF ALCOHOL
Question: Why is the consumption of alcohol prohibited in Islam? Answer: Alcohol has been the scourge of human society since time immemorial. It continues to cost countless human lives, and causes terrible misery to millions throughout the world. Alcohol is the root cause of several problems facing society. The statistics of soaring crime rates, increasing instances of mental illnesses and millions of broken homes throughout the world bear mute testimony to the destructive power of alcohol.

1. Prohibition of alcohol in the Qur’an The Glorious Qur’an prohibits the consumption of alcohol in the following verse: "O ye who believe! Intoxicants and Gambling, (Dedication of) stones, And (divination by) arrows, Are an Abomination – Of Satan’s handiwork; Eschew such (abomination), That ye may prosper." [Al-Qur’an 5:90]

2. Prohibition of alcohol in the Bible The Bible prohibits the consumption of alcohol in the following verses: a. "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." [Proverbs 20:1] b. "And be not drunk with wine." [Ephesians 5:18]

3. Alcohol inhibits the inhibitory centre The human beings possess an inhibitory centre in their brains. This inhibitory centre prevents the person from doing things that he considers wrong. For instance a person does not normally use abusive language while addressing his parents or elders. If he has to answer the call of nature, his inhibitory centre will prevent him from doing so in public. Therefore he uses the toilet. When a person consumes alcohol, the inhibitory centre itself is inhibited. That is precisely the reason that an inebriated person is often found to be indulging in behaviour that is completely uncharacteristic of him. For instance the intoxicated person is found to use abusive and foul language and does not realize his mistake even if he is addressing his parents. Many even urinate in their clothes. Neither do they talk nor walk properly. They even misbehave.

4. Cases of adultery, rape, incest and AIDS are found more among alcoholics According to National Crime Victimization Survey Bureau of Justice (U.S. Department of Justice) in the year 1996 alone everyday on an average 2,713 rapes took place. The statistics tell us that the majority of the rapists, were intoxicated while committing the crime. The same is true in cases of molestation. According to statistics, 8% of Americans commit incest i.e. one in every twelve to thirteen persons in America is involved in incest. Almost all the cases of incest are due to intoxication of one or both the persons involved. One of the major factors associated with the spread of AIDS, the most dreaded disease, is alcoholism.

5. Every alcoholic was initially a social drinker Many may argue in favour of liquor by calling themselves ‘social drinkers’. They claim that they only have one or two pegs and they have self-control and so never get intoxicated. Investigations reveal that every alcoholic started as a social drinker. Not a single alcoholic or drunkard initially starts drinking with the intention of becoming an alcoholic or a drunkard. No social drinker can say that I have been having alcohol for several years and that I have so much self-control that I have never been intoxicated even a single time.

6. If a person is intoxicated just once and commits something shameful, it will remain with him for a lifetime. Suppose a ‘social drinker’ loses his self-control just once. In a state of intoxication he commits rape or incest. Even if the act is later regretted, a normal human being is likely to carry the guilt throughout his life. Both the perpetrator and the victim are irreparably and irreversibly damaged.

7. Alcohol is prohibited in the Hadith The Prophet of Islam Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: a. In Sunan Ibn-I-Majah Volume 3, Book of Intoxicants, Chapter 30 Hadith No. 3371. "Alcohol is the mother of all evils and it is the most shameful of evils." b. In Sunan Ibn-I-Majah Volume 3, Book of Intoxicants, Chapter 30 Hadith No. 3392 "Anything which intoxicates in a large quantity, is prohibited even in a small quantity." Thus there is no excuse for a nip or a tot. c. Not only those who drink alcohol are cursed but also those who deal with them directly or indirectly are cursed by Allah. According to Sunan Ibn-I-Majah Volume 3, Book of Intoxicants, Chapter 30 Hadith No. 3380. It was reported by Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: "God’s curse falls on ten groups of people who deal with alcohol. The one who distills it, the one for whom it has been distilled, the one who drinks it, the one who transports it, the one to who it has been brought, the one whom serves it, the one who sells it, the one who utilizes money from it, the one who buys it and the one who buys it for someone else."

8. Diseases associated with alcoholism There are several scientific reasons for the prohibition of consumption of intoxicants i.e. alcohol. The maximum number of deaths in the world related to any one particular cause is due to the consumption of alcohol. Millions of people die every year only because of intake of alcohol. I need not go into the details of all the ill-effects of alcohol since most of them are commonly known. Below is a simple list of few of the alcohol related illnesses: 1. Cirrhosis of Liver is the most well known alcohol associated disease. 2. Others are Cancer of Oesophagus, Cancer of Head and Neck, Cancer of Liver (Hepatoma), Cancer of Bowel, etc. 3. Oesophagitis, Gastritis, Pancreatitis and Hepatitis are linked with alcohol consumption. 4. Cardiomyopathy, Hypertension, Coronary Artherosclerosis, Angina and Heart Attacks are linked with heavy alcohol intakes. 5. Strokes, Apoplexy, Fits and different types of Paralysis are linked with alcohol intake. 6. Peripheral Neuropathy, Cortical Atrophy, Cerebellar Atrophy are well-known syndromes caused by alcohol consumption. 7. Wernicke – Korsakoff syndrome with amnesia of recent events, confabulations and retainment of memory to old events with different types of paralysis are mainly due to thiamine deficiency due to excessive alcohol intake. 8. Beriberi and other deficiencies are not uncommon among alcoholics. Even Pellagra occurs in alcoholics. 9. Delerium Tremens is a serious complication that may occur during recurrent infection of alcoholics or post operatively. It also occurs during abstention as a sign of withdrawal effect. It is quite serious and may cause death even if treated in well equipped centres.

10. Numerous Endocrine Disorders have been associated with alcoholism ranging from Myxodema to Hyperthyroidism and Florid Cushing Syndrome. 11. Hematological ill effects are long and variable. Folic acid deficiency, however, is the most common manifestation of alcoholic abuse resulting in Macrocytic Anemia. Zeive’s syndrome is a triad of Hemolytic Anemia, Jaundice and Hyperlipaedemia that follows alcoholic binges. 12. Thrombocytopenia and other platelet abnormalities are not rare in alcoholics. 13. The commonly used tablet metronidazole (flagyl) interacts badly with alcohol. 14. Recurrent infection is very common among chronic alcoholics. The resistance to disease and the immunological defense system are compromised by alcohol intake. 15. Chest infections are notorious in alcoholics. Pneumonia, Lung Abcess, Emphysema and Pulmonary Tuberculosis are all common in alcoholics. 16. During acute alcoholic intoxication, the drunk person usually vomits, the cough reflexes which are protective are paralysed. The vomitus thus easily pass to the lung causing Pneumonia or Lung Abscess. Occasionally it may even cause suffocation and death. 17. The ill effects of alcohol consumption on women deserves special mention. Females are more vulnerable to alcohol-related Cirrhosis than men. During pregnancy alcohol consumption has a severe detrimental effect on the foetus. Foetal Alcohol Syndrome is being recognised more and more in the medical profession. 18. Skin diseases are also related to alcohol indulgence. 19. Eczema, Alopecia, Nail Dystrophy, Paronychia (infection around the nails) and Angular Stomatitis (inflammation of the angle of the mouth) are common diseases among alcoholics.

9. Alcoholism is a ‘disease’ Medical doctors have now turned liberal towards alcoholics and call alcoholism a disease rather than an addiction. The Islamic Research Foundation has published a pamphlet that says: If alcohol is a disease, it is the only disease that: - Is sold in bottles - Is advertised in newspapers, magazines, on radio and television - Has licensed outlets to spread it - Produces revenue for the government - Brings violent deaths on the highways - Destroys family life and increases crime - Has no germs or viral cause ALCOHOLISM IS NOT A DISEASE – IT IS SATAN’S HANDIWORK Allah (swt) in His Infinite Wisdom has warned us against this snare of Satan. Islam is called the "Deen-ul-Fitrah" or the natural religion of Man. All its injunctions are aimed at preserving the natural state of man. Alcohol is a deviation from this natural state, for the individual as well as for

society. It degrades man to a level below that of the beasts he claims to be superior to. Hence the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Islam.

EQUALITY OF WITNESSES
Question: Why are two witnesses who are women, equivalent to only one witness who is a man ? Answer: It is not true that two female witnesses are always considered as equal to only one male witness. It is true only in certain cases. There are about five verses in the Qur’an that mention witnesses, without specifying male or female. There is only one verse in the Qur’an, that says two female witnesses are equal to one male witness. This verse is Surah Baqarah, chapter 2 verse 282. This is the longest verse in the Qur’an and deals with financial transactions. It says: "Oh! ye who believe! When ye deal with each other, in transactions involving future obligation in a fixed period of time reduce them to writing and get two witnesses out of your own men and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses so that if one of them errs the other can remind her." [Al-Qur’an 2:282] This verse of the Qur’an deals only with financial transactions. In such cases, it is advised to make an agreement in writing between the parties and take two witnesses, preferably both of which should be men only. In case you cannot find two men, then one man and two women would suffice. For instance, suppose a person wants to undergo an operation for a particular ailment. To confirm the treatment, he would prefer taking references from two qualified surgeons. In case he is unable to find two surgeons, his second option would be one surgeon and two general practitioners who are plain MBBS doctors. Similarly in financial transactions, two men are preferred. Islam expects men to be the breadwinners of their families. Since financial responsibility is shouldered by men, they are expected to be well versed in financial transactions as compared to women. As a second option, the witness can be one man and two women, so that if one of the women errs the other can remind her. The Arabic word used in the Qur’an is ‘Tazil’ which means ‘confused’ or ‘to err’. Many have wrongly translated this word as ‘to forget’. Thus financial transactions constitute the only case in which two female witnesses are equal to one male witness. However, some scholars are of the opinion that the feminine attitude can also have an effect on the witness in a murder case. In such circumstances a woman is more terrified as compared to a man. Due to her emotional condition she can get confused. Therefore, according to some jurists, even in cases of murder, two female witnesses are equivalent to one male witness. In all other cases, one female witness is equivalent to one male witness. There are about five verses in the Qur’an which speak about witnesses without specifying man or woman.

While making a will of inheritance, two just persons are required as witnesses. In Surah Maidah chapter 5 verse 106, the Glorious Qur’an says: "Oh you who believe! When death approaches any of you, (take) witnesses among yourself when making bequests." [Al-Qur’an 5:106] two just persons of your own (brotherhood) or other from outside if you are journeying through the earth and the chance of death befalls you." [Al-Qur’an 65:2] Two persons endued with justice in case of talaq. "Four witnesses are required in case of charge against chaste women, [Al-Qur’an 24:4] There are some scholars who are of the opinion that the rule of two female witnesses equal to one male witness should be applied to all the cases. This cannot be agreed upon because one particular verse of the Qur’an from Surah Noor chapter 24, verse 6 clearly equates one female witness and one male witness: "And those who launch a charge against their spouses, and have (in support) no evidence but their own their solitary evidence can be received." [Al-Qur’an 24:6] Hazrat Ayesha (RA) hadith narrated of one witness Many jurists agree that even one witness of a woman is sufficient for the sighting of the crescent of the moon. Imagine one woman witness is sufficient for one of the pillars of Islam, i.e. fasting and the whole Muslim community of men and women agree and accept her witness! Some jurists say that one witness is required at the beginning of Ramadaan and two witnesses at the end of Ramadaan. It makes no difference whether the witnesses are men or women. Some incidents require only female witness and that of a male cannot be accepted. For instance, in dealing with the problems of women, while giving the burial bath i.e. ‘ghusl’ to a woman, the witness has to be a woman. The seeming inequality of male and female witnesses in financial transactions is not due to any inequality of the sexes in Islam. It is only due to the different natures and roles of men and women in society as envisaged by Islam.

INHERITANCE
Question: Under Islamic law, why is a woman’s share of the inherited wealth only half that of a man?

Answer: The Glorious Qur’an contains specific and detailed guidance regarding the division of the inherited wealth, among the rightful beneficiaries. The Qur’anic verses that contain guidance regarding inheritance are: * Surah Baqarah, chapter 2 verse 180 * Surah Baqarah, chapter 2 verse 240 * Surah Nisa, chapter 4 verse 7-9 * Surah Nisa, chapter 4 verse 19 * Surah Nisa, chapter 4 verse 33 and * Surah Maidah, chapter 5 verse 106-108 There are three verses in the Qur’an that broadly describe the share of close relatives i.e. Surah Nisah chapter 4 verses 11, 12 and 176. The translation of these verses are as follows: "Allah (swt) (thus) directs you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females, if only daughters, two or more, their share is two-thirds of the inheritance; If only one, her share is a half. For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left children; If no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers (or sisters) the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies and debts. Ye know not whether your parents or your children are nearest to you in benefit. These are settled portions ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. In what your wives leave, your share is half. If they leave no child; but if they leave a child, ye get a fourth; after payment of legacies and debts. In what ye leave, their share is a fourth, if ye leave no child; but if ye leave a child, they get an eight; after payment of legacies and debts. If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question, has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third; after payment of legacies and debts; so that no loss is caused (to anyone). Thus it is ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-Knowing Most Forbearing" [Al-Qur’an 4:11-12] "They ask thee for a legal decision. Say: Allah directs (them) about those who leave no descendants or ascendants as heirs. If it is a man that dies, leaving a sister but no child, she shall have half the inheritance. If (such a deceased was) a woman who left no child, Her brother takes her inheritance. If there are two sisters, they shall have two thirds of the inheritance (between them). If there are brothers and sisters, (they share), the male having twice the share of the female. Thus doth Allah (swt) makes clear to you (His knowledge of all things). [Al-Qur’an 4:176] In most of the cases, a woman inherits half of what her male counterpart inherits. However, this is not always the case. In case the deceased has left no ascendant or descendent but has left the uterine brother and sister, each of the two inherit one sixth. If the deceased has left children, both the parents that is mother and father get an equal share and inherit one sixth each. In certain

cases, a woman can also inherit a share that is double that of the male. If the deceased is a woman who has left no children, brothers or sisters and is survived only by her husband, mother and father, the husband inherits half the property while the mother inherits one third and the father the remaining one sixth. In this particular case, the mother inherits a share that is double that of the father. It is true that as a general rule, in most cases, the female inherits a share that is half that of the male. For instance in the following cases: 1. daughter inherits half of what the son inherits, 2. wife inherits 1/8th and husband 1/4th if the deceased has no children. 3. Wife inherits 1/4th and husband 1/2 if the deceased has children 4. If the deceased has no ascendant or descendent, the sister inherits a share that is half that of the brother. In Islam a woman has no financial obligation and the economical responsibility lies on the shoulders of the man. Before a woman is married it is the duty of the father or brother to look after the lodging, boarding, clothing and other financial requirements of the woman. After she is married it is the duty of the husband or the son. Islam holds the man financially responsible for fulfilling the needs of his family. In order to do be able to fulfill the responsibility the men get double the share of the inheritance. For example, if a man dies leaving about Rs. One Hundred and Fifty Thousand, for the children (i.e one son and one daughter) the son inherits One Hundred Thousand rupees and the daughter only Fifty Thousand rupees. Out of the one hundred thousand which the son inherits, as his duty towards his family, he may have to spend on them almost the entire amount or say about eighty thousand and thus he has a small percentage of inheritance, say about twenty thousand, left for himself. On the other hand, the daughter, who inherits fifty thousand is not bound to spend a single penny on anybody. She can keep the entire amount for herself. Would you prefer inheriting one hundred thousand rupees and spending eighty thousand from it, or inheriting fifty thousand rupees and having the entire amount to yourself?

HEREAFTER - LIFE AFTER DEATH
Question How can you prove the existence of hereafter, i.e. life after death? Answer

1. Belief in the hereafter is not based on blind faith? Many people wonder as to how a person with a scientific and logical temperament, can lend any credence to the belief of life after death. People assume that anyone believing in the hereafter is doing so on the basis of blind belief. My belief in the hereafter is based on a logical argument.

2. Hereafter a logical belief

There are more than a thousand verses in the Glorious Qur’an, containing scientific facts (refer my book "Qur’an and Modern Science-Compatible or Incompatible?"). Many facts mentioned in the Qur’an have been discovered in the last few centuries. But science has not advanced to a level where it can confirm every statement of the Qur’an. Suppose 80% of all that is mentioned in the Qur’an has been proved 100% correct. About the remaining 20%, science makes no categorical statement, since it has not advanced to a level, where it can either prove or disprove these statements. With the limited knowledge that we have, we cannot say for sure whether even a single percentage or a single verse of the Qur’an from this 20% portion is wrong. Thus when 80% of the Qur’an is 100% correct and the remaining 20% is not disproved, logic says that even the 20% portion is correct. The existence of the hereafter, which is mentioned in the Qur’an, falls in the 20% ambiguous portion which my logic says is correct.

3. Concept of peace and human values is useless without the concept of hereafter Is robbing a good or an evil act? A normal balanced person would say it is evil. How would a person who does not believe in the hereafter convince a powerful and influential criminal that robbing is evil? Suppose I am the most powerful and influential criminal in the world. At the same time I am an Intelligent and a logical person. I say that robbing is good because it helps me lead a luxurious life. Thus robbing is good for me. If anybody can put forward a single logical argument as to why it is evil for me, I will stop immediately. People usually put forward the following arguments: a. The person who is robbed will face difficulties

Some may say that the person who is robbed will face difficulties. I certainly agree that it is bad for the person who is robbed. But it is good for me. If I rob a thousand dollars, I can enjoy a good meal at a 5 star restaurant. b. Someone may rob you

Some people argue that someday I may be robbed. No one can rob me because I am a very powerful criminal and I have hundreds of bodyguards. I can rob anybody but nobody can rob me. Robbing may be a risky profession for a common man but not for an influential person like me. c. The police may arrest you

Some may say, if you rob, you can be arrested by the police. The police cannot arrest me because I have the police on my payroll. I have the ministers on my payroll. I agree that if a common man robs, he will be arrested and it will be bad for him, but I am an extraordinarily influential and powerful criminal. Give me one logical reason why it is bad for me and I will stop robbing. d. Its easy money

Some may say its easy money and not hard-earned money. I agree completely that it is easy money, and that is one of the main reasons why I rob. If a person has the option of earning money the easy as well as the hard way, any logical person would choose the easy way. e. It is against humanity

Some may say it is against humanity and that a person should care for other human beings. I counter argue by asking as to who wrote this law called ‘humanity’ and why should I follow it? This law may be good for the emotional and sentimental people but I am a logical person and I see no benefit in caring for other human beings. f. It is a selfish act

Some may say that robbing is being selfish. It is true that robbing is a selfish act; but then why should I not be selfish? It helps me enjoy life. 1. No logical reason for robbing being an evil act

Hence all arguments that attempt to prove that robbing is an evil act are futile. These arguments may satisfy a common man but not a powerful and influential criminal like me. None of the arguments can be defended on the strength of reason and logic. It is no surprise that there are so many criminals in this world. Similarly raping, cheating etc. can be justified as good for a person like me and there is no logical argument that can convince me that these things are bad. 2. A Muslim can convince a powerful and influential criminal

Now let us switch sides. Suppose you are the most powerful and influential criminal in the world, who has the police and the ministers on his payroll. You have army of thugs to protect you. I am a Muslim who will convince you that robbing, raping, cheating, etc. are evil acts. Even if I put forth the same arguments to prove that robbing is evil the criminal will respond the same way as he did earlier. I agree that the criminal is being logical and all his arguments are true only when he is the most powerful and influential criminal. 3. Every human being wants justice

Each and every human being desires justice. Even if he does not want justice for others he wants justice for himself. Some people are intoxicated by power and influence and inflict pain and suffering on others. The same people, however, would surely object if some injustice was done to them. The reason such people become insensitive to the suffering of others is that they worship power and influence. Power and influence, they feel, not only allows them to inflict injustice on others but also prevents others from doing likewise to them. 4. God is Most Powerful and Just

As a Muslim I would convince the criminal about the existence of Almighty God (refer to answer proving the existence of God). This God is more powerful than you and at the same time is also just. The Glorious Qur’an says: "Allah is never unjust In the least degree" [Al-Qur’an 4:40] 5. Why does God not punish me?

The criminal, being a logical and scientific person, agrees that God exists, after being presented with scientific facts from the Qur’an. He may argue as to why God, if He is Powerful and Just, does not punish him. 6. The people who do injustice should be punished Every person who has suffered injustice, irrespective of financial or social status, almost certainly wants the perpetrator of injustice to be punished. Every normal person would like the robber or the rapist to be taught a lesson. Though a large number of criminals are punished, many even go scot-free. They lead a pleasant, luxurious life, and even enjoy a peaceful existence. If injustice is done to a powerful and influential person, by someone more powerful and more influential than he, even such a person would want that person perpetrators of injustice to be punished. 7. This life is a test for the hereafter This life is a test for the hereafter. The Glorious Qur’an says: "He who created Death And life that He May try which of you Is best in deed; And He is the Exalted In Might, Oft-Forgiving" [Al-Qur’an 67:2] 8. Final justice on day of judgement The Glorious Qur’an says: "Every soul shall have A taste of death: And only on the Day Of Judgement shall you Be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved Far from the Fire And admitted to the Garden Will have attained The object (of life): For the life of this world Is but goods and chattels

Of deception." [Al-Qur’an 3:185] Final justice will be meted out on the Day of Judgement. After a person dies, he will be resurrected on the Day of Judgement along with the rest of mankind. It is possible that a person receives part of his punishment in this world. The final reward and punishment will only be in the hereafter. God Almighty may not punish a robber or a rapist in this world but he will surely be held accountable on the Day of Judgement and will be punished in the hereafter i.e. life after death. 9. What punishment can the human law give Hitler? Hitler incinerated six million Jews during his reign of terror. Even if the police had arrested him, what punishment can the human law give Hitler for justice to prevail? The most they can do is to send Hitler to the gas chamber. But that will only be punishment for the killing of one Jew. What about the remaining five million, nine hundred and ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine Jews? 10. Allah can burn Hitler more than six million times in hellfire Allah say in the Glorious Qur’an: "Those who reject Our signs, We shall soon Cast into the Fire; As often as their skins Are roasted through, We shall change them For fresh skins, That they may taste The penalty: for Allah Is Exalted in Power, Wise" [Al-Qur’an 4:56] If Allah wishes he can incinerate Hitler six million times in the hereafter in the hellfire. 11. No concept of human values or good and bad without concept of hereafter It is clear that without convincing a person about the hereafter, i.e. life after death, the concept of human values and the good or evil nature of acts is impossible to prove to any person who is doing injustice especially when he is influential and powerful.

WHY ARE MUSLIMS DIVIDED INTO SECTS / DIFFERENT SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT?
Question: When all the Muslim follow one and the same Qur’an then why are there so many sects and different schools of thoughts among Muslims? Answer:

1. Muslims Should be United It is a fact that Muslims today, are divided amongst themselves. The tragedy is that such divisions are not endorsed by Islam at all. Islam believes in fostering unity amongst its followers. The Glorious Qur’an says: "And hold fast, All together, by the rope Which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves;" [Al-Qur’an 3:103] Which is the rope of Allah that is being referred to in this verse? It is the Glorious Qur’an. The Glorious Qur’an is the rope of Allah which all Muslims should hold fast together. There is double emphasis in this verse. Besides saying ‘hold fast all together’ it also says, ‘be not divided’. Qur’an further says, "Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger" [Al-Qur’an 4:59] All the Muslim should follow the Qur’an and authentic Ahadith and be not divided among themselves.

2. It is Prohibited to make sects and divisions in Islam The Glorious Qur’an says: "As for those who divide Their religion and break up Into sects, thou hast No part in them in the least: Their affair is with Allah: He will in the end Tell them the truth Of all that they did." [Al-Qur’an 6:159] In this verse Allah (swt) says that one should disassociate oneself from those who divide their religion and break it up into sects. But when one asks a Muslim, "who are you?", the common answer is either ‘I am a Sunni, or ‘I am a Shia’. Some call themselves Hanafi, or Shafi or Maliki or Humbali. Some say ‘I am a Deobandi’, while some others say ‘I am a Barelvi’.

3. Our Prophet was a Muslim

One may ask such Muslims, "Who was our beloved prophet (pbuh)? Was he a Hanafi or a Shafi, or a Humbali or a Maliki?" No! He was a Muslim, like all the other prophets and messengers of Allah before him. It is mentioned in chapter 3 verse 52 of Al-Qur’an that Jesus (pbuh) was a Muslim. Further, in chapter 3 verse 67, Al-Qur’an says that Ibrahim (pbuh) was not a Jew or a Christian but was a Muslim.

4. Qur’an says call yourselves Muslim a. If anyone poses a Muslim the question who are you, he should say "I am a MUSLIM, not a Hanafi or a Shafi". Surah Fussilat chapter 41 verse 33 says "Who is better in speech Than one who calls (men) To Allah, works righteousness, And says, ‘I am of those Who bow in Islam (Muslim)?’ " [Al-Qur’an 41:33] The Qur’an says "Say I am of those who bow in Islam". In other words, say, "I am a Muslim". b. The Prophet (pbuh) dictated letters to non-Muslim kings and rulers inviting them to accept Islam. In these letters he mentioned the verse of the Qur’an from Surah Ali Imran chapter 3 verse 64: Say ye: "Bear witness That we (at least) Are Muslims (bowing To Allah’s Will)." [Al-Qur’an 3:64]

5. Respect all the Great Scholars of Islam We must respect all the great scholars of Islam, including the four Imaams, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi, Imam Humbal and Imam Malik (may Allah be pleased with them all). They were great scholars and may Allah reward them for their research and hardwork. One can have no objection if someone agrees with the views and research of Imam Abu Hanifa or Imam Shafi, etc. But when posed a question, ‘who are you?’, the reply should only be ‘I am a Muslim’. Some may argue by quoting the hadith of our beloved Prophet from Sunan Abu Dawood Hadith No. 4579. In this hadith the prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said, "My community will be split up into seventy-three sects." This hadith reports that the prophet predicted the emergence of seventy-three sects. He did not say that Muslims should be active in dividing themselves into sects. The Glorious Qur’an commands us not to create sects. Those who follow the teachings of the Qur’an and Sahih Hadith, and do not create sects are the people who are on the true path. According to Tirmidhi Hadith No. 171, the prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said, "My Ummah will be fragmented into seventy-three sects, and all of them will be in Hell fire except one sect." The companions asked Allah’s messenger which group that would be. Where upon he replied, "It is the one to which I and my companions belong."

The Glorious Qur’an mentions in several verses, "Obey Allah and obey His Messenger". A true Muslim should only follow the Glorious Qur’an and the Sahih Hadith. He can agree with the views of any scholar as long as they conform to the teachings of the Qur’an and Sahih Hadith. If such views go against the Word of Allah, or the Sunnah of His Prophet, then they carry no weight, regardless of how learned the scholar might be. If only all Muslims read the Qur’an with understanding and adhere to Sahih Hadith, Inshallah most of these differences would be solved and we could be one united Muslim Ummah

ALL RELIGIONS TEACH MEN TO BE RIGHTEOUS, THEN WHY FOLLOW ONLY ISLAM?
Question All religions basically teach followers to do good deeds. Why should a person only follow Islam? Can he not follow any of the religions? Answer

1. Major difference between Islam and most other religions All religions basically exhort mankind to be righteous and eschew evil. But Islam goes beyond that. It guides us towards practical ways of achieving righteousness and eliminating evil from our individual and collective lives. Islam takes into account human nature and the complexities of human society. Islam is guidance from the Creator Himself. Therefore, Islam is also called the Deen-ul-Fitrah (the natural religion of Man).

2. Example - Islam commands us to shun robbery and also prescribes method of eleminating robbery a. Islam prescribes method of eliminating robbery All major religions teach that theft is an evil act. Islam teaches the same. So what is the difference between Islam and the other religions? The difference lies in the fact that Islam, besides teaching that robbing is evil, shows a practical way of creating a social structure in which people will not rob. b. Islam prescribes Zakaat Islam prescribes a system of Zakaat (obligatory annual charity). Islamic law prescribes that every person who has a saving that exceeds the nisaab level i.e. more than 85 grams of gold, should give 2.5% of that saving every lunar year in charity. If every rich person in the world gave Zakaat sincerely, poverty will be eradicated from this world. Not a single human being would die of hunger. c. Chopping off the hands as punishment for robbery Islam prescribes chopping off the hands of the convicted robber. The Glorious Qur’an says in Surah Maidah: "As to the thief, male or female, cut off his or her hands:a punishment by way of example, from Allah, for their crime: and Allah is Exalted in power, full of wisdom." [ Al-Qur’an 5:38] The non-Muslim may say, "Chopping off the hands in this 20th century. Islam is a barbaric and ruthless religion!"

d. Results achieved when Islamic Shariah Implemented America is supposed to be one of the most advanced countries in the world. Unfortunately it also has one of the highest rates of crime, theft, and robbery. Suppose the Islamic shariah is implemented in America i.e. every rich person gives Zakaat ( 2.5% of his savings in charity above 85 grams of gold every lunar year), and every convicted robber has his or her hands chopped off as a punishment. Will the rate of theft and robbery in America increase, remain same or decrease? Naturally it will decrease. Moreover the existence of such a stringent law would discourage many a potential robber. I agree that the amount of theft that takes place in the world today is so tremendous that if you chop off the hands of all the thieves, there will be tens of thousands of people whose hands will be chopped off. The point here is that the moment you implement this law the rate of theft will decline immediately. The potential robber would give it a serious thought before jeopardizing his limbs. The mere thought of the punishment itself will discourage majority of the robbers. There will barely be a few who would rob. Hence only a few person’s hands would be chopped off but millions would live peacefully without fear of being robbed. Islamic Shariah is therefore practical, and achieves results.

3. Example: Islam prohibits the molestation and rape of women. It enjoins hijaab and prescribes capital punishment for a convicted rapist. a. Islam prescribes method of eliminating molestation and rape All the major religions declare the molestation and rape of women as grave sins. Islam teaches the same. What then is the difference between Islam and the other religions? The difference lies in the fact that Islam does not merely preach respect for women, or abhor molestation and rape as serious crimes, but also gives clear guidance as to how society can eliminate such crimes. b. Hijaab for men Islam has a system of hijaab. The Glorious Qur’an first mentions hijaab for the men and then for the women. Hijaab for the men is mentioned in the following verse: "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do." [Al-Qur’an 24:30] The moment a man looks at a woman and if any brazen or unashamed thought comes to his mind, he should lower his gaze. c. Hijaab for women Hijaab for women is mentioned in the following verse: "And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons...." [Al-Qur’an 24:31]

The extent of hijaab for a woman is that her complete body should be covered. The only part that can be seen, are the face and the hands up to the wrists. If they wish to cover, they can even cover these parts of the body. However some Islamic scholars insist that even the face should be covered. d. Hijaab prevents molestation The reason why Allah has prescribed Hijaab for the women is given in the Qur’an in the folowing verse of Surah Al-Ahzab: "O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women,that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, most Merciful."

[Al-Qur’an 33:59] The Qur’an says that Hijaab has been prescribed for the women so that they are recognized as modest women this would prevent them from being molested.

e. Example of twin sisters Suppose two sisters who are twins and who are equally beautiful, walk down a street. One of them is wearing the Islamic Hijaab i.e. the complete body is covered except for the face and the hands up to the wrists, and the other twin is wearing a mini skirt or shorts. Around the corner there is a hooligan who is waiting for an opportunity to tease a girl. Who will he tease? The girl wearing the Islamic Hijaab or the girl wearing the mini skirt or shorts? Dresses that expose more than they conceal, are an indirect temptation to the opposite sex for teasing, molestation and rape. The Qur’an rightly says that the hijaab prevents women from being molested. f. Capital punishment for rapist The Islamic shariah prescribes capital punishment for a convicted rapist. The non-Muslim may be horrified at such a stringent punishment in this age. Many accuse Islam of being ruthless and barbaric. I have asked a common question to hundreds of non-Muslim men. Suppose God-forbid, some one rapes your wife, your mother or your sister and you are made the judge. The rapist is brought in front of you. What punishment would you give him? All of them said, "we would put him to death." Some went to the extent of saying, "we would torture him to death", If your wife or your mother is raped you want the rapist to be put to death. But if someone else’s wife or mother is raped, capital punishment is a barbaric law. Why the double standards?

g. U.S.A. has one of the highest rate of Rape The United States of America is supposed to be one of the most advanced countries of the world. An F.B.I report in the year 1990 says that 1,02,555 cases of rape were reported. It further says that only 16% of the cases of rapes are reported. Thus, in order to know the actual number of rapes that took place in 1990, the reported figure should be multiplied by 6.25. We get a total of 6,40,968 rape cases that took place in the year 1990. If the total is divided by 365 the number of days in a year, we get an average of 1,756 rape incidents everyday. Later another report said that an average of 1900 cases of rape are committed in U.S.A every day. According to National Crime Victimization Survey Bureau of Justice Statistics

(U. S. Dept. of Justice) in 1996 alone 3,07,000 cases of rape were reported. Only 31% of the actual cases of rape were reported. Thus, 3,07,000 X 3.226 = 9,90,322 rapes took place in 1996. That is, an average of 2,713 cases of rape took place everyday in America in 1996. Every 32 seconds one rape is taking place in America. Maybe American rapists got bolder. The FBI report of 1990 continues and says that out of the rape cases that were reported only 10% of the rapist were arrested, that is only 1.6% of the actual rapes committed. Out of those arrested, 50% were let free before the trial. This would mean that only 0.8% of the rapists faced a trial. In other words if a person commits 125 rapes the chances that he will get a punishment for rape is only once. Many would consider this a good gamble. And the report says that of those people who faced trial 50% received sentences of less than a year’s imprisonment though the American law says rape carries a seven year sentence of imprisonment. For a rapist, the judge is lenient to first time offenders. Imagine a person commits 125 rapes and the chances of being convicted is only once, and 50% of the time the judge will grant leniency and give a sentence of less than a year! h. Results achieved when Islamic Shariah Implemented Suppose the Islamic shariah is implemented in America. Whenever a man looks at a woman and if any brazen or unashamed thought comes to his mind, he lowers his gaze. Every woman wears the Islamic Hijaab, that is the complete body is covered except the face and the hands upto the wrists. After this if any man commits rape, he gets capital punishment. The question is, will the rate of rape in America increase, will it remain the same or will it decrease? Naturally it will decrease. Islamic Shariah gets results.

4. Islam has Practical Solutions for the Problems of Mankind Islam is the best way of life because its teachings are not doctrinaire rhetoric but practical solutions for the problems of mankind. Islam achieves results both at the individual and collective levels. Islam is the best way of life because it is a practical, universal religion not confined to any ethnic group or nationality.

VAST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ISLAM AND THE ACTUAL PRACTICE OF MUSLIMS
Question: If Islam is the best religion, why are many of the Muslims dishonest, unreliable, and involved in activities such as cheating, bribing, dealing in drugs, etc.? Answer:

1. Media maligns Islam a. Islam is without doubt the best religion but the media is in the hands of the westerners who are afraid of Islam. The media is continuously broadcasting and printing information against Islam. They either provide misinformation about Islam, misquote Islam or project a point out of proportion, if any. b. When any bomb blasts take place anywhere, the first people to be accused without proof are invariably the Muslims. This appears as headlines in the news. Later, when they find that non-Muslims were responsible, it appears as an insignificant news’ item.

c.

If a 50 year old Muslim marries a 15 year old girl after taking her permission, it appears on the front page but when a 50 year old non-Muslim rapes a 6 year old girl, it may appear in the news in the inside pages as ‘Newsbriefs’. Everyday in America on an average 2,713 cases of rape take place but it doesn’t appear in the news, since it has become a way of life for the Americans.

2. Black sheep in every community: I am aware that there are some Muslims who are dishonest, unreliable, who cheat, etc. but the media projects this as though only Muslims are involved in such activities. There are black sheep in every community. I know Muslims who are alcoholics and who can drink most of the nonMuslims under the table.

3. Muslims best as a whole: Inspite of all the black sheep in the Muslim community, Muslims taken on the whole, yet form the best community in the world. We are the biggest community of tee-totallers as a whole, i.e. those who don’t imbibe alcohol. Collectively, we are a community which gives the maximum charity in the world. There is not a single person in the world who can even show a candle to the Muslims where modesty is concerned; where sobriety is concerned; where human values and ethics are concerned.

4. Don’t judge a car by its driver: If you want to judge how good is the latest model of the "Mercedes" car and a person who does not know how to drive sits at the steering wheel and bangs up the car, who will you blame? The car or the driver? But naturally, the driver. To analyze how good the car is, a person should not look at the driver but see the ability and features of the car. How fast is it, what is its average fuel consumption, what are the safety measures, etc. Even if I agree for the sake of argument that the Muslims are bad, we can’t judge Islam by its followers? If you want to judge how good Islam is then judge it according to its authentic sources, i.e. the Glorious Qur’an and the Sahih Hadith.

5. Judge Islam by its best follower i.e. Prophet Mohammed (pbuh): If you practically want to check how good a car is put an expert driver behind the steering wheel. Similarly the best and the most exemplary follower of Islam by whom you can check how good Islam is, is the last and final messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Besides Muslims, there are several honest and unbiased non-Muslim historians who have acclaimed that prophet Muhammad was the best human being. According to Michael H. Hart who wrote the book, ‘The Hundred Most Influential Men in History’, the topmost position, i.e. the number one position goes to the beloved prophet of Islam, Muhammad (pbuh). There are several such examples of nonMuslims paying great tributes to the prophet, like Thomas Carlyle, La-Martine, etc.

NON-MUSLIMS REFERRED AS ‘KAFIRS’
Question: Why do Muslims abuse non-Muslims by calling them ‘Kafirs’?

Answer:

‘Kafir’ means one who rejects. ‘Kafir’ is derived from the word ‘kufr’, which means to conceal or to reject. In Islamic terminology, ‘Kafir’ means one who conceals or rejects the truth of Islam and a person who rejects Islam is in English called a ‘non-Muslim’.

If non-Muslims are hurt - they should accept Islam. If any non-Muslim considers the word ‘Kafir’ i.e. ‘non-Muslim’ as an abuse, he may choose to accept Islam and then we will stop referring to him as or call him a kafir i.e. a non-Muslim.

Most Common Questions asked by Non-Muslims who have some knowledge of Islam
1. QUR'AN IS THE HANDIWORK OF MUHAMMAD AND NOT THE WORD OF GOD ? Question: Is it not true that Qur'an is the handiwork of Muhammad and not the work of God ? Answer: Under Construction

2.

PRESENT QUR’AN IS NOT THE ORIGINAL BUT THAT OF USMAN (r.a.)

Question: There were many versions of the Qur’an all of which were burnt by Usman (r.a.) except for one. Therefore is it not true that the present Qur’an is the one compiled by Usman (r.a.) and not the original revelation of God? Answer: One of the most common myths about the Qur’an, is that Usman (r.a.), the third Caliph of Islam authenticated and compiled one Qur’an, from a large set of mutually contradicting copies. The Qur’an, revered as the Word of Allah (swt) by Muslims the world over, is the same Qur’an as the one revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It was authenticated and written under his personal supervision. We will examine the roots of the myth which says that Usman (r.a.) had the Qur’an authenticated.

1. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself supervised and authenticated the written texts of the Qur’an Whenever the Prophet received a revelation, he would first memorize it himself and later declare the revelation and instruct his Companions (R.A. – Radhi Allahu Taala Anhu) – May Allah be pleased with him who would also memorize it. The Prophet would immediately ask the scribes to write down the revelation he had received, and he would reconfirm and recheck it himself. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was an Ummi who could not read and write. Therefore, after receiving each revelation, he would repeat it to his Companions. They would write down the revelation, and he would recheck by asking them to read what they had written. If there was any mistake, the Prophet would immediately point it out and have it corrected and rechecked. Similarly he would even recheck and authenticate the portions of the Qur’an memorized by the Companions. In this way, the complete Qur’an was written down under the personal supervision of the prophet (pbuh). 2. Order and sequence of Qur’an divinely inspired

The complete Qur’an was revealed over a period of 22½ years portion by portion, as and when it was required. The Qur’an was not compiled by the Prophet in the chronological order of revelation. The order and sequence of the Qur’an too was Divinely inspired and was instructed to the Prophet by Allah (swt) through archangel Jibraeel. Whenever a revelation was conveyed to his companions, the Prophet would also mention in which surah (chapter) and after which ayat (verse) this new revelation should fit. Every Ramadhaan all the portions of the Qur’an that had been revealed, including the order of the verses, were revised and reconfirmed by the Prophet with archangel Jibraeel. During the last Ramadhaan, before the demise of the Prophet, the Qur’an was rechecked and reconfirmed twice. It is therefore clearly evident that the Qur’an was compiled and authenticated by the Prophet himself during his lifetime, both in the written form as well as in the memory of several of his Companions. 3. Qur’an copied on one common material The complete Qur’an, along with the correct sequence of the verses, was present during the time of the Prophet (pbuh). The verses however, were written on separate pieces, scrapes of leather, thin flat stones, leaflets, palm branches, shoulder blades, etc. After the demise of the prophet, Abu Bakr (r.a.), the first caliph of Islam ordered that the Qur’an be copied from the various different materials on to a common material and place, which was in the shape of sheets. These were tied with strings so that nothing of the compilation was lost. 4. Usman (r.a.) made copies of the Qur’an from the original manuscript Many Companions of the Prophet used to write down the revelation of the Qur’an on their own whenever they heard it from the lips of the Prophet. However what they wrote was not personally verified by the Prophet and thus could contain mistakes. All the verses revealed to the Prophet may not have been heard personally by all the Companions. There were high possibilities of different portions of the Qur’an being missed by different Companions. This gave rise to disputes among Muslims regarding the different contents of the Qur’an during the period of the third Caliph Usman (r.a.). Usman (r.a.) borrowed the original manuscript of the Qur’an, which was authorized by the beloved Prophet (pbuh), from Hafsha (may Allah be pleased with her), the Prophet’s wife. Usman (r.a.) ordered four Companions who were among the scribes who wrote the Qur’an when the Prophet dictated it, led by Zaid bin Thabit (r.a.) to rewrite the script in several perfect copies. These were sent by Usman (r.a.) to the main centres of Muslims.

There were other personal collections of the portions of the Qur’an that people had with them. These might have been incomplete and with mistakes. Usman (r.a.) only appealed to the people to destroy all these copies which did not match the original manuscript of the Qur’an in order to preserve the original text of the Qur’an. Two such copies of the copied text of the original Qur’an authenticated by the Prophet are present to this day, one at the museum in Tashkent in erstwhile Soviet Union and the other at the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul, Turkey. 5. Diacritical marks were added for non-Arabs The original manuscript of the Qur’an does not have the signs indicating the vowels in Arabic script. These vowels are known as tashkil, zabar, zair, paish in Urdu and as fatah, damma and qasra in Arabic. The Arabs did not require the vowel signs and diacritical marks for correct pronunciation of the Qur’an since it was their mother tongue. For Muslims of non-Arab origin, however, it was difficult to recite the Qur’an correctly without the vowels. These marks were introduced into the Quranic script during the time of the fifth ‘Umayyad’ Caliph, Malik-ar-Marwan (66-86 Hijri/685-705 C.E.) and during the governorship of Al-Hajaj in Iraq. Some people argue that the present copy of the Qur’an that we have along with the vowels and the diacritical marks is not the same original Qur’an that was present at the Prophet’s time. But they fail to realize that the word ‘Qur’an’ means a recitation. Therefore, the preservation of the recitation of the Qur’an is important, irrespective of whether the script is different or whether it contains vowels. If the pronunciation and the Arabic is the same, naturally, the meaning remains the same too. 6. Allah Himself has promised to guard the Qur’an Allah has promised in the Qur’an : "We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly Guard it (from corruption)." [Al-Qur’an 15:9]

3. DOES ISLAM PROMOTE VIOLENCE? Question: Doesn’t Islam promote violence, bloodshed and brutality since the Qur’an says that Muslims should kill the kuffar where ever they find them? Answer: A few selected verses from the Qur’an are often misquoted to perpetuate the myth that Islam promotes violence, and exhorts its followers to kill those outside the pale of Islam. 1. Verse from Surah Taubah

The following verse from Surah Taubah is very often quoted by critics of Islam, to show that Islam promotes violence, bloodshed and brutality: "Kill the mushriqeen (pagans, polytheists, kuffar) where ever you find them." [Al-Qur’an 9:5] 2. Context of verse is during battlefield

Critics of Islam actually quote this verse out of context. In order to understand the context, we need to read from verse 1 of this surah. It says that there was a peace treaty between the Muslims and the Mushriqs (pagans) of Makkah. This treaty was violated by the Mushriqs of Makkah. A period of four months was given to the Mushriqs of Makkah to make amends. Otherwise war would be declared against them. Verse 5 of Surah Taubah says: "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is oft-forgiving, Most merciful." [Al-Qur’an 9:5] This verse is quoted during a battle. 3. Example of war between America and Vietnam

We know that America was once at war with Vietnam. Suppose the President of America or the General of the American Army told the American soldiers during the war: "Wherever you find the Vietnamese, kill them". Today if I say that the American President said, "Wherever you find Vietnamese, kill them" without giving the context, I will make him sound like a butcher. But if I quote him in context, that he said it during a war, it will sound very logical, as he was trying to boost the morale of the American soldiers during the war. 4. Verse 9:5 quoted to boost morale of Muslims during battle

Similarly in Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 5 the Qur’an says, "Kill the Mushriqs where ever you find them", during a battle to boost the morale of the Muslim soldiers. What the Qur’an is telling Muslim soldiers is, don’t be afraid during battle; wherever you find the enemies kill them. 5. Shourie jumps from verse 5 to verse 7

Arun Shourie is one of the staunchest critics of Islam in India. He quotes the same verse, Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 5 in his book ‘The World of Fatwahs’, on page 572. After quoting verse 5 he jumps to verse 7 of Surah Taubah. Any sensible person will realise that he has skipped verse 6. 6. Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 6 gives the answer

Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 6 gives the answer to the allegation that Islam promotes violence, brutality and bloodshed. It says: "If one amongst the pagans ask thee for asylum,grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure that is because they are men without knowledge." [Al-Qur’an 9:6] The Qur’an not only says that a Mushriq seeking asylum during the battle should be granted refuge, but also that he should be escorted to a secure place. In the present international scenario, even a kind, peace-loving army General, during a battle, may let the enemy soldiers go free, if they want peace. But which army General will ever tell his soldiers, that if the enemy soldiers want peace during a battle, don’t just let them go free, but also escort them to a place of security?

This is exactly what Allah (swt) says in the Glorious Qur’an to promote peace in the world.

4. QUR’AN USES ‘WE’ FOR ALLAH Question: Does Islam believe in several gods because the Qur’an uses the word ‘We’ when God speaks in the Qur’an? Answer: Islam is a strictly monotheistic religion. It believes in and adheres to uncompromising monotheism. It believes that God is one, and unique in His attributes. In the Qur’an, God often refers to Himself using the word ‘We’. But this does not mean that Islam believes in the existence of more than one God. Two types of plural In several languages, there are two types of plurals, one is a plural of numbers to refer to something that occurs in a quantity of more than one. The other plural is a plural of respect. a. In the English language, the Queen of England refers to herself as ‘We’ instead of ‘I’. This is known as the ‘royal plural’. b. Rajiv Gandhi, the ex-Prime Minister of India used to say in Hindi "Hum dekhna chahte hain". "We want to see." ‘Hum’ means ‘We’ which is again a royal plural in Hindi. c. Similarly in Arabic, when Allah refers to Himself in the Qur’an, He often uses Arabic word 'Nahnu' meaning ‘We’. It does not indicate plural of number but plural of respect. Tawheed or monotheism is one of the pillars of Islam. The existence and uniqueness of one and only one God is mentioned several times in the Qur’an. For instance in Surah Ikhlas, it says : "Say He is Allah the One and Only." [Al-Qur’an 112: 1]

6.

THE THEORY OF ABROGATION

Question: Muslims believe in the theory of abrogation, i.e. they believe that certain earlier verses of the Qur’an were abrogated by verses revealed later. Does this imply that God made a mistake and later on corrected it? Answer: 1. Two different interpretations

The Glorious Qur’an says in the following verse:

"None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: knowest thou not that Allah hath power over all things?" [Al-Qur’an 2:106] A reference to this is also made in chapter 16 verse 101 of Surah Nahl. The Arabic word mentioned is ayat which means ‘signs’ or ‘verses’ and which can also mean ‘revelations’. This verse of the Qur’an can be interpreted in two different ways: a. The revelations that are abrogated are those revelations that were revealed before the Qur’an, for example the Torah, the Zaboor and the Injeel. Here Allah (swt) says that He does not cause the previous revelations to be forgotten but He substitutes them with something better or similar, indicating that the Torah, the Zaboor and the Injeel were substituted by the Qur’an. b. If we consider that the Arabic word ayat in the above verse refers to the verses of the Qur’an, and not previous revelations, then it indicates that none of the verses of the Qur’an are abrogated by Allah but substituted with something better or similar. This means that certain verses of the Qur’an, that were revealed earlier were substituted by verses that were revealed later. I agree with both the interpretations. Many Muslims and non-Muslims misunderstand the second interpretation to mean that some of the earlier verses of the Qur’an were abrogated and no longer hold true for us today, as they have been replaced by the later verses of the Qur’an or the abrogating verses. This group of people even wrongly believe that these verses contradict each other. Let us analyze a few such examples. 2. Produce a recital like the Qur’an / 10 Surahs / 1 Surah:

Some pagan Arabs alleged that the Qur’an was forged by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Allah (swt) challenges these Arabs in the following verse of Surah Al-Isra: "Say: If the whole of Mankind and Jinns were together to produce the like of this Qur’an they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support." [Al-Qur’an 17:88] Later the challenge was made easy in the following verse of Surah Al-Hud: "Or they may say, "He forged it." Say, "Bring ye then ten Surahs forged, like unto it, and call (to your aid) whomsover ye can, other than Allah, if ye speak the truth!’." [Al-Qur’an 11:13] It was made easier in the following verse of Surah Yunus: "Or do they say, "He forged it"? Say: "Bring then a Surah like unto it, and call (to your aid) anyone you can, besides Allah, if it be ye speak the truth!’." [Al-Qur’an 10:38] Finally in Surah Al-Baqarah, Allah (swt) further simplified the challenge:

And if ye are in doubt as to what We have revealed from time to time to Our servant, then produce a Surah like thereunto; and call your witnesses or helpers (if there are any) besides Allah if your (doubts) are true. But if ye cannot – and of a surety ye cannot – then fear the Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones – which is prepared for those who reject faith". [Al-Qur’an 2:23-24] Thus Allah (swt) made the challenges progressively easier. The progressively revealed verses of the Qur’an first challenged the pagans to produce a book like the Qur’an, then challenged them to produce ten Surahs (chapters) like those in the Qur’an, then one Surah and finally it challenges them to produce one Surah somewhat similar (mim mislihi) to the Qur’anic Surahs. This does not mean that the later verses that were revealed i.e. of Surah Baqarah chapter 2 verses 23 and 24 contradict the earlier three verses. Contradiction implies mentioning two things that cannot be possible simultaneously, or cannot take place simultaneously. The earlier verses of the Qur’an i.e. the abrogated verses are still the word of God and the information contained in it is true to this day. For instance the challenge to produce a recital like the Qur’an stands to this day. Similarly the challenge to produce ten Surahs and one Surah exactly like the Qur’an also holds true and the last challenge of producing one surah somewhat similar to the Qur’an also holds true. It does not contradict the earlier challenges, but this is the easiest of all the challenges posed by the Qur’an. If the last challenge cannot be fulfilled, the question of anyone fulfilling the other three more difficult challenges does not arise. Suppose I speak about a person that he is so dumb, that he would not be able to pass the 10th standard in school. Later I say that he would not be able to pass the 5th standard, and further say that he would not be able to pass even the 1st standard. Finally I say that he is so dull that he would not even be able to pass K.G. i.e. kindergarten. One has to pass kindergarten before one can be admitted to school. What I am stating is that the person is so dull as to be unable to pass even kindergarten. My four statements do not contradict each other, but my last statement i.e. the person would not be able to pass the kindergarten is sufficient to indicate the intelligence of that person. If a person cannot even pass kindergarten, the question of him passing the first standard or 5th or 10th, does not arise. 3. Gradual prohibition of intoxicants

Another example of such verses is that related to gradual prohibition of intoxicants. The first revelation of the Qur’an to deal with intoxicants was the following verse from Surah Baqarah: "They ask thee concerning wine and gambling say: ‘In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit’." [Al-Qur’an 2:219] The next verse to be revealed regarding intoxicants is the following verse from Surah Nisa: "O ye who believe! approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until ye can understand all that ye say" [Al-Qur’an 4:43] The last verse to be revealed regarding intoxicants was the following verse from Surah AlMaidah:

"O ye who believe! intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork; eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper." [Al-Qur’an 5:90] The Qur’an was revealed over a period of 22½ years. Many reforms that were brought about in the society were gradual. This was to facilitate the adoption of new laws by the people. An abrupt change in society always leads to rebellion and anarchy. The prohibition of intoxicants was revealed in three stages. The first revelation only mentioned that in the intoxicants there is great sin and some profit but the sin is greater than the profit. The next revelation prohibited praying in an intoxicated state, indicating that one should not consume intoxicants during the day, since a Muslim has to pray five times a day. This verse does state that when one is not praying at night one is allowed to consume intoxicants. It means one may have or one may not have. The Qur’an does not comment on it. If this verse had mentioned that one is allowed to have intoxicants while not praying then there would have been a contradiction. Allah (swt) chose words appropriately. Finally the total prohibition of intoxicants at all times was revealed in Surah Maidah chapter 5 verse 90. This clearly indicates that the three verses do not contradict each other. Had they been contradicting, it would not have been possible to follow all the three verses simultaneously. Since a Muslim is expected to follow each and every verse of the Qur’an, only by following the last verse i.e. of Surah Maidah (5:90), he simultaneously agrees and follows the previous two verses. Suppose I say that I do not live in Los Angeles. Later I say that I do not live in California. Finally I say, I do not live in the United States of America. This does not imply that these three statements contradict each other. Each statement gives more information than the previous statement. The third statement includes the information contained in the first two statements. Thus, only by saying that I do not live in the United States of America, it is obvious, that I also do not live in California nor New York. Similarly since consuming alcohol is totally prohibited, it is obvious that praying in an intoxicated state is also prohibited and the information that in intoxicants is "great sin and some profit for men; but the sin is greater than profit" also holds true. 4. Qur’an does not contain any contradictions

The theory of abrogation does not imply that there is a contradiction in the Qur’an, since it is possible to follow all the verses of the Qur’an at the same time. If there is a contradiction in the Qur’an, then it cannot be the word of Allah (swt). "Do they not consider the Qur’an (with care)? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy (contradictions)." [Al-Qur’an 4:82]

7. MEANING OF ALIF LAAM MEEM Question: Why do certain Surahs in the Qur’an begin with Alif Laam Meem, Haa Meem, Yaa Seen. What is the significance of such terms or phrases? Answer:

1.

Abbreviated Letters

Alif Laam Meem, Ya Seen, Ha Meem’, etc. are known as Al-Muqattaat i.e. the abbreviated letters. There are 29 letters in the Arabic Alphabet (if hamza and alif are considered as two letters) and there are 29 surahs i.e. chapters in the Glorious Qur’an that have the abbreviated letters prefixed to them. These abbreviated letters some times occur alone, sometimes in a combination of two letters and sometimes in a combination of three, four or five letters. a. Three surahs are pre-fixed with only one letter:

(i) Surah Sad chapter 38 with Sad (ii) Surah Qaf chapter 50 with Qaf (iii) Surah Nun or Qalam chapter 68 with Nun b. The combination of two letters occurs in 10 surahs:

Three of them occur only once each: (i) Surah Ta Ha chapter 20 has Ta Ha (ii) Surah Al Naml starting with chapter 27 has Ta Seen (iii) Surah Ya Seen chapter 36 has Ya Seen Ha Meem occurs in seven consecutive Surahs from Surah 40 to Surah 46: (i) Surah Ghafir or Al-Mu’min chapter 40 (ii) Surah Fussilat or Ha Meem chapter 41 (iii) Surah Al Shura chapter 42 (iv) Surah Al Zukhruf chapter 43 (v) Surah Al Dukhan chapter 44 (vi) Surah Al Jathiyah chapter 45 (vii) Surah Al Ahqaf chapter 46 c. There are three combinations of three letters each occurring in 14 surahs.

Alif Laam Meem occurs in six surahs (i) Surah Al Baqarah chapter 2 (ii) Surah Ali ‘Imran chapter 3 (iii) Surah Al ‘Ankabut chapter 29 (iv) Surah Al Rum chapter 30 (v) Surah Luqman chapter 31 (vi) Surah Al Sajdah chapter 32 Alif Laam Ra occurs in six consecutive surahs: Surah 10 to Surah 15: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) Surah Yunus chapter 10 Surah Hud chapter 11 Surah Yusuf chapter 12 Surah Al Rad chapter 13 Surah Ibrahim chapter 14 Surah Al Hijr chapter 15

Ta Seen Meem occurs in two Surahs: (i) Surah Al-Shura chapter 26 (ii) Surah Al-Qasas chapter 28 d. Combination of four letters occurs twice:

(i) Surah Aaraf chapter 7: Alif Laam Meem Sad (ii) Surah Anfal chapter 8: Alif Laam Meem Ra e. Combination of five letters occurs twice:

(i) Surah Maryam chapter 19 begins with Kaf Ha Ya Ayn Sad (ii) Surah Al-Shura chapter 42 begins with Ha Meem Ayn Seen Qaf Surah Al-Shura chapter 42 has a double combination of abbreviated letters one set of two letters followed by one set of three letters. 2. Meanings of these abbreviated letters

The meaning and purpose of these letters is uncertain. There have been a variety of explanations offered by Muslim scholars through the ages. A few among them are: i. These letters might be abbreviations for certain sentences and words for instance, Alif Laam Meem means Ana-Alahu -a’Laam or Nun meaning Noor (light), etc. ii. These letters are not abbreviations but symbols and names of Allah or something else. iii. These letters were used for rhyming. iv. These letters have some numerical significance as the semitic letters also have numerical values. v. These letters were used to attract the attention of the Prophet (and later his audience). Several volumes have been written on the significance of these abbreviations. 3. Best explanation of abbreviated letters:

Of all the explanations given by various scholars, the one which is authentic and also supported by Tafsir of Ibne-Kathir, Zamakshari and Ibne-Taiymiyah is the following: The human body is composed of various fundamental elements that are found in nature. Clay and dust are composed of the same fundamental elements. Yet it would be absurd to say that a human being is exactly the same as the dust. We can all have access to the elements that are found in the human body, and add a few gallons of water, which is the constitution of the human body. We know the elements in the human body and yet we are at a loss when asked the secret of life. Similarly the Qur’an addresses those people who reject its Divine authority. It tells them that this Qur’an, is in your own language, and over which the Arabs took pride. It is composed of the same letters that the Arabs used to express themselves most eloquently. The Arabs were very proud of their language and Arabic was at its peak when the Qur’an was revealed. With the letters Alif Laam Meem, Yaa Seen, Ha-Meem, etc., (in Engllish we would say

A, B, C, D) the Qur’an challenges mankind to produce a Surah at least somewhat similar to the Qur’an in beauty and elegance, if they doubt its authenticity. Initially, the Qur’an challenges all the men and jinn to produce a recital like the Qur’an and adds that they would not be able to do it even if they backed each other. This challenge is mentioned in Surah Isra chapter 17 verse 88 and in Surah Tur chapter 52 verse 34. Later the Qur’an repeats the challenge in Surah Hud chapter 11 verse 13 by saying produce ten surahs like it and later in Surah Yunus chapter 10 verse 38 produce one surah like it and finally the easiest challenge is given in Surah Al-Baqarah chapter 2 verses 23 and 24. "And if ye are in doubt as to what We have revealed from time to time to Our servant, then produce a Surah like thereunto; and call your witnesses or helpers (if there are any) besides Allah if your doubts are true. But if ye cannot – and of a surety ye cannot – then fear the fire whose fuel is men and stones – which is prepared for those who reject faith." [Al-Qur’an 2:23-24] To compare the skill of two artisans, they must be given samples of the same raw material and their performance evaluated in performing the same task. If they are tailors they must be provided with the same fabrics. The raw materials of the Arabic language are these letters Alif Laam Meem, Ya Seen (in English it is A, B, C, D, etc.) The miraculous nature of the language of the Qur’an does not lie only in the fact that it is the Word of Allah, but also in the fact that although made up of the same letters in which the pagan Arabs took pride, it has not been rivalled. The Arabs are noted for their rhetoric ability, eloquence and meaningful expression. Just as the constituents of the human body are known to us and can be obtained by us, the letters comprising the Qur’an, such as Alif Laam Meem are known to us, and used frequently to formulate words. Life cannot be created by us, even if we possess knowledge of the constituents of the human body. Similarly we cannot capture the same eloquence and beauty of expression that we find in the Qur’an, despite knowing the letters that constitute the Qu’ran. The Qur’an thus proves its Divine origin. 4. Miraculous quality of Qur’an mentioned immediately after these broken letters

Therefore immediately after these broken letters are mentioned in the Qur’an, the following verses speak about the miracle of the Qur’an, and its authority e.g. in Surah Baqarah Chapter 2 verse 1-2: "Alif Laam Meem. This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah." [Al-Qur’an 2:1-2]

8. DOES THE QUR’AN SAY THAT THE EARTH IS FLAT? Question Qur’an says that Allah has made the earth for you as a carpet. This gives an indication that the earth is flat. Does this not contradict established modern science? Answer

1.

Earth made as a carpet

The question refers to a verse from the Qur’an in Surah Nuh: "And Allah has made the earth for you as a carpet (spread out)." [Al-Qur’an 71:19] But the sentence in the above verse is not complete. It continues in the next verse, explaining the previous verse. It says: "That ye may go about therein, in spacious roads." [Al-Qur’an 71:20] A similar message is repeated in Surah TaHa: "He Who has made for you the earth like a carpet spread out; has enabled you to go about therein by roads (and channels)...." [Al-Qur’an 20:53] The surface of the earth i.e. earth’s crust is less than 30 miles in thickness and is very thin as compared to the radius of the earth which is about 3750 miles. The deeper layers of the earth are very hot, fluid and hostile to any form of life. The earth’s crust is a solidified shell on which we can live. The Qur’an rightly refers to it like a carpet spread out, so that we can travel along its roads and paths. 2. Carpet can also be spread on other than an absolute flat surface

Not a single verse of the Qur’an says that the earth is flat. The Qur’an only compares the earth’s crust with a carpet. Some people seem to think that carpet can only be put on an absolute flat surface. It is possible to spread a carpet on a large sphere such as the earth. It can easily be demonstrated by taking a huge model of the earth’s globe covering it with a carpet. Carpet is generally put on a surface, which is not very comfortable to walk on. The Qur’an describes the earth crust as a carpet, without which human beings would not be able to survive because of the hot, fluid and hostile environment beneath it. The Qur’an is thus not only logical, it is mentioning a scientific fact that was discovered by geologists centuries later. 3. Earth has been spread out

Similarly, the Qur’an says in several verses that the earth has been spread out. "And We have spread out the (spacious) earth: how excellently We do spread out!" [Al-Qur’an 51:48] Similarly the Qur’an also mentions in several other verses that the earth is an expanse: "Have We not made the earth as a wide expanse" "And the mountains as pegs?" [Al-Qur’an 78:6-7]

None of these verses of the Qur’an contain even the slightest implication that the earth is flat. It only indicates that the earth is spacious and the reason for this spaciousness of the earth is mentioned. The Glorious Qur’an says: "O My servants who believe! truly. spacious is My Earth: therefore serve ye Me –(And Me alone)!" [Al-Qur’an 29:56] Therefore none can give the excuse, that he could not do good and was forced to do evil because of the surroundings and circumstances. 4. Earth is geospherical in shape

The Qur’an mentions the actual shape of the earth in the following verse: "And we have made the earth egg shaped". [Al-Qur’an 79:30] The Arabic word Dahaha means egg shaped. It also means an expanse. Dahaha is derived from Duhiya which specifically refers to the egg of an ostrich which is geospherical in shape, exactly like the shape of the earth. Thus the Qur’an and modern established science are in perfect harmony. 9. DOES ONLY ALLAH KNOW THE SEX OF THE CHILD IN THE MOTHER’S WOMB?

Question: The Qur’an says that only Allah knows the sex of the child in the womb of the mother but now science has advanced and we can easily determine the sex of the child in the womb by ultrasonography. Isn’t this verse of the Qur’an conflicting with medical science? Answer: Allah is Omnipotent and Omniscient. Allah has granted knowledge of certain things to humankind. But Allah has knowledge of the seen as well as the unseen. 1. Allah has knowledge of all things

Many people believe that the Qur’an claims that Allah alone knows the sex of the child in the mother’s womb. The Glorious Qur’an says: "Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah (alone). It is He who sends down Rain, and He who knows what is in the wombs…." [Al-Qur’an 31:34] A similar message is given in the following verse: "Allah doth know what every female (womb) doth bear, By how much the wombs fall short (of their time or number) or do exceed. Every single thing is before His sight, in (due) proportion." [Al-Qur’an 13:8]

2.

Sex can be determined by Ultrasonography

Today science has advanced and we can easily determine the sex of the child in the womb of a pregnant mother, using ultrasonography. 3. The word ‘sex’ is not mentioned in the verse of the Qur’an

It is true that many translations and commentaries of this verse of the Glorious Qur’an say that only Allah knows the sex of the child in the mother’s womb. If you read the Arabic text of this verse, there is no Arabic word corresponding to the English word ‘sex’. In fact the Qur’an says the knowledge of what is in the womb is with Allah alone. Many commentators have misunderstood it to mean only Allah knows the sex of the child in the womb, which is a mistake. 4. No one besides Allah can determine the nature of the child

This verse does not refer to the sex of the child in the womb but it refers to, how the child in the mother’s womb will be. How will his nature be? Will he be a blessing or a curse to his parents? Will he be a boon or a bane to the society? Will he be good or evil? Will he go to heaven or hell? The complete knowledge of all things is with Allah alone. No scientist in the world, no matter how advanced his equipment, will ever be able to accurately determine the knowledge of these things about the child in the mother’s womb.

10. HOOR: Question: According to the Qur’an when a man enters paradise, he will get hoor, i.e. beautiful maidens. What will a woman have when she enters paradise? Answer: 1. Hoor mentioned in the Qur’an The word hoor occurs in the Qur’an in no less than four different places: (1) In Surah Dukhan chapter 44, verse 54 "Moreover, We shall join them to companions With beautiful, big and lustrous eyes." [Al-Qur’an 44:54] (2) In Surah Al-Tur chapter 52 verse 20 "...And We shall join them to companions, with beautiful, big and lustrous eyes." [Al-Qur’an 52:20] (3) In Surah Rahman chapter 55 verse 72 "Companions restrained (as to their glances), in goodly pavilions." [Al-Qur’an 55:72]

(4) In Surah Al-Waqiah chapter 56 verse 22 "And (there will be) companions with beautiful, big and lustrous eyes." [Al-Qur’an 56:22] 2. Hoor Translated as Beautiful Maidens Many translators of the Qur’an have translated the word hoor as ‘beautiful maidens’ especially in the Urdu translations. If hoor means ‘beautiful maidens’ or girls, then they are meant only for the men. Hence, what will the women get if they enter Paradise? 3. Meaning of Hoor The word hoor is actually the plural of ahwar (applicable to man) and of haura (applicable to woman) and signifies a person having eyes characterized by hauar a special quality bestowed upon a good soul, male or female in paradise and it denotes the intense whiteness of the white part of the spiritual eye. The Qur’an describes in several other verses that in paradise you will have azwaj which mean a pair or spouse or companion which means you will have spouses or companions pure and holy (mutaharratun means pure, holy). "But give glad tidings to those who believe and work righteousness, that their portion is gardens, beneath which rivers flow. Every time they are fed with fruits therefrom, they say: "Why, this is what we were fed with before", for they are given things in similitude; and they have therein companions pure (and holy); and they abide therein (forever)". [Al-Qur’an 2:25] "But those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, We shall soon admit to Gardens, with rivers flowing beneath – their eternal home; therein shall they have companions pure and holy: we shall admit them to shades, cool and ever deepening". [Al-Qur’an 4:57] Therefore the word hoor has no specific gender. Mohammad Asad has translated the word hoor as spouse and Abdullah Yusuf Ali as companion. Therefore according to some scholars a man in paradise will have a hoor that is a beautiful maiden with beautiful big and lustrous eyes and a woman in paradise will get a man with beautiful big and lustrous eyes. 4. Women will get something exceptional in Paradise

Many scholars say that in context, the word hoor used in the Qur’an refers only to ladies since gents are addressed. A reply that would be accepted by all types of people would rather be the answer given in the Hadith when a similar question was posed that if a man gets a hoor, a beautiful Maiden in Paradise, then what will the women get? The reply was that the women will get that which the heart has not desired for, the ear hasn’t heard off and the eye hasn’t seen, indicating that even the women will get something exceptional in Paradise.

11. IS THE HEART RESPONSIBLE FOR UNDERSTANDING? Question:

The Qur’an says that Allah has put a seal on the hearts of the Kuffar and they will not believe. Science tells us today that the brain is responsible for understanding and believing and not the heart. Isn’t the Qur’an contradicting Science? Answer: 1. Allah has set a seal on the heart of the Kuffar

The Glorious Qur’an says: "As to those who reject Faith it is the same to them Whether thou warn them or do not warn them; They will not believe. "Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing and on their eyes is a veil Great is the penalty they incur." [Al-Qur’an 2:6-7] 2. The word qalb in Arabic means heart as well as intelligence

The Arabic word qalb used in these verses means the heart. It also means intelligence. Thus the above verses also mean that Allah has put a seal on the intelligence of the kuffaars (unbelievers) and they will not understand and believe. 3. In the Arabic language heart is also used as a centre of understanding

In the Arabic language the word ‘heart’ is also used to connote one’s centre of understanding. 4. Several words used in English language whose literal meaning is different

Even in English language there are several words which are used to explain something, though the literal meaning of these words are different. Consider the following examples a. Lunatic - Struck by the moon: The word ‘lunatic’ literally means struck by the moon. Today people use the word lunatic for a person who is insane or mentally unstable. People very well know that a mad or a mentally unstable person is not struck by the moon. Yet even a medical doctor uses this word. This is normal in the evolution of a language. b. Disaster – An evil star The word ‘disaster’ literally means an evil star. Today the word disaster is used for a great or sudden misfortune or calamity. We know very well that a misfortune has nothing to do with an evil star. c. Trivial – Three roads meet The word ‘trivial’ literally means where three roads meet. Today the word ‘trivial’ is used for something of small nature or little importance. We know very well that if something is of small value it has nothing to do with where three roads meet. d. Sunrise and Sunset

‘Sunrise’ literally means rising of the sun. Today when the word ‘sunrise’ is used most of the people know that the earth is rotating and is moving in relation to the sun. Most of us know that the sun does not rise during sunrise. However even an astronomer uses the word ‘sunrise’. Similarly we know that during sunset, the sun does not actually set. 5. In the English language heart is the centre of love and emotion

In the English language heart means an organ in the body which pumps blood. The same word heart is also used for the centre of thought, love and emotion. Today we know that brain is the centre of thought, love and emotion. Yet while expressing emotions a person is likely to say "I love you from the bottom of my heart". Imagine a scientist telling his wife, "I love you from the bottom of my heart" and the wife replies, "Don’t you even know the basics of science, that the brain is responsible for the emotions and not the heart? In fact you should say I love you from the bottom of my brain." 6. Arabs know that the word heart in Arabic is also used for centre of thought and understanding No Arab will ever ask the question as to why Allah has sealed the hearts of the kafir because he knows that in this context it refers to the centre of thought, understanding and emotions. 12. GOD IS RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR DESTINY

Question: If God is responsible for our destiny then why we should be held responsible for the evil acts and sins we commit? Answer: Under Construction 13. ALLAH HAS SEALED THE HEART OF KUFFAR Question: If Allah has sealed the hearts of the Kuffar i.e. non-Muslims, then why are they to be blamed for not accepting Islam? Answer: 1. Allah has sealed the hearts of those who are continuously bent on rejecting the truth

Allah (swt) mentions in Surah Al Baqarah chapter 2 verses 6 and 7 "As to those who reject Faith, it is the same to them Whether thou warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe. Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty they (incur)." [Al-Qur’an 2:6-7]

These verses do not refer to common Kuffar who reject faith. The Arabic words used are al-lazina kafaroo, those who are bent on rejecting the truth. It will not make any difference to such people whether you warn them or not, they will not believe. Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing and on their eyes is a veil. It is not because Allah has set a seal on their hearts that these kuffar do not understand and believe, but it is the vice-versa. It is because these kuffar are bent on rejecting the truth and whether you warn them or not they will not believe, that Allah has set a seal on their hearts. Therefore Allah is not to blame, but these kuffaar who are bent on rejecting the faith are responsible. 2. Example of teacher predicting a student will fail

Suppose an experienced teacher, before the final examinations, predicts that a particular student will fail in the exams, since the student is very mischievous, not attentive in class and does not do his homework. If after the student appears for the examination, he fails, who is to be blamed for the student failing: the teacher or the student? Just because the teacher predicted, it does not mean that the teacher is to be blamed but the student himself is responsible for his failure. Similarly Allah (swt) knows in advance that there are some people who are bent on rejecting the faith and Allah has put a seal on their hearts. Thus these non-Muslims themselves are responsible for rejecting the faith and not Allah (swt). 14. HEAVENS AND EARTH CREATED IN SIX DAYS AND NOT EIGHT DAYS

Question: The Qur’an mentions in several places that the heavens and the earth were created in 6 days but in Surah Fussilat it says that the heavens and the earth were created in 8 days. Isn’t this a contradiction? The same verse also says that the earth was created in 6 days and then later on the heavens were created in 2 days. This is against the Big-Bang theory that the heavens and the earth were created simultaneously. Answer: 1. Heavens and the Earth created in Six days I do agree that the Qur’an says that the heavens and the earth were created in 6 days i.e. 6 epochs and it is mentioned in Surah Al A’raf chapter 7 verse 54 Surah Yunus chapter 10 verse 3 Surah Hud chapter 11 verse 7 Surah Al Furqan chapter 25 verse 59 Surah Al Sajdah chapter 32 verse 4 Surah Qaf chapter 50 verse 38 Surah Al Hadid chapter 57 verse 4 The verses of the Qur’an which according to you say that the heavens and the earth were created in 8 days are Surah Fussilat chapter 41 verses 9 to 12 "Say: Is it that ye deny Him Who created the earth in two days? And do ye join equals With him? He is the Lord of (all) the Worlds;

He set on the (earth) mountains standing firm, High above it, and bestowed blessings on the earth, and measured therein all things to give them nourishment in due proportion, In four days, in accordance with (the needs of) Those who seek (sustenance)." Moreover, He Comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke. He said to it and to the earth. "Come ye together, willingly or unwillingly. They said: "We do come (Together), in willing obedience." So He completed them as seven firmaments in two days and He assigned to each heaven its duty and command and We adorned the lower heaven with lights, and (provided it) with guard. Such is the decree of (Him) the exalted in might, full of knowledge." [Al-Qur’an 41:9-12] On the face of it, it seems that these verses of the Qur’an give the initial impression that the heavens and the earth were created in 8 days. Allah says in the beginning of this verse that those who exploit this information contained in this passage to raise doubts about its authenticity are equally interested in promulgating blasphemy and denying His unity. Allah is telling us that in course of time, there will emerge unbelievers who will make use of this apparent contradiction. 2. Summa means moreover If you analyse these verses carefully, it speaks about 2 different creations: the earth and the heaven. The earth excluding the mountains was created in 2 days and the mountains were set on the earth standing firm and blessed and measured its sustenance in 4 days. Therefore the earth along with the mountains was created in 6 days according to verse 9 and 10. Verse 11 and 12 says, moreover the heavens were created in 2 days. The Arabic word used in the beginning of verse 11 of Surah Fussilat is summa which means; ‘then’ or ‘moreover’. There are certain Qur’anic translations, which have, used ‘then’ for the word summa which, indicates ‘afterwards’. If ‘then’ is wrongly used for summa then the total of the creation of heaven and earth will be 8 days which will conflict with other verses of the Qur’an which says heavens and earth were created in 6 days and will also conflict with the Big Bang Theory as well as the verse of the Qur’an Surah Al Ambiya chapter 21 verse 30 which says that heavens and the earth were created simultaneously. Therefore the correct translation of the word summa in this verse would be ‘moreover’. Abdullah Yusuf Ali has rightly translated the word summa or moreover which clearly gives an indication that while the earth along with the mountains, etc. was created in 6 days simultaneously the heavens were created in 2 days. Therefore the total does not come to 8 days but 6 days. If a builder says that he will construct a 10 storey building and surrounding compound wall in 6 months and after completion of his project he gives a more detailed account saying that the basement of the building was built in 2 months and the 10 storeys took 4 months and simultaneously, while the basement and the building was being constructed, he also constructed the surrounding of the building along with the compound wall which took 2 months. Therefore both his first and second descriptions are not contradicting but the second statement gives a more detailed account for the construction. 3. Heavens and the Earth created simultaneously The Qur’an describe the creation of the universe in several places, sometimes it says the heavens and the earth (7:54, 10:3, 11:7, 25:59, 32:4, 50:38, 57:4) while in other places it says earth and the heaven (49:9-12, 2:29, 20:4) thus further supplementing the verse of Surah Al

Ambiya chapter 21 verse 30 which speaks about the Big-Bang and that the heavens and the earth were created simultaneously. Similarly in Surah Al-Baqara chapter 2 verse 29 "It is He Who hath created for you all things that are on earth; Then He turned to the heaven and made them into seven firmaments. And of all things He hath perfect knowledge." [Al-Qur’an 2:29] "It is who has created for you all things on the earth summa simultaneously made the heaven into seven firmaments". Here also if you wrongly translate summa as ‘then’ only then would this verse contradict the Bigbang theory and other verses of the Qur’an. Therefore the correct translation of the word summa is ‘moreover’ or ‘simultaneously’. 15. IS MAN CREATED FROM SPERM OR DUST?

Question: At one place the Qur’an mentions that man is created from sperm and in another place it mentions that man is created from dust. Are these two verses not contradicting? How can you scientifically prove that man is created from dust? Answer: 1. Man created from sperm and dust

The Qur’an refers to the lowly beginnings of a human being from a drop of sperm, in several verses including the following verse from Surah Al-Qiyamah: "Was he not a drop of sperm emitted (in lowly form)"? [Al-Qur’an 75:37] The Qur’an also mentions in several places that human beings were created from dust. The following verse makes a reference to the origin of human beings: "(Consider) that We created you out of dust". [Al-Qur’an 22:5] We now know that all the elements present in the human body (i.e. the constituent elements of the human body), are all present in the earth in small or great quantities. This is the scientific explanation for the Qur’anic verse that says that man was created from dust. In certain verses, the Qur’an says that man was created from sperm, while in certain other verses it says that man was created from dust. However this is not a contradiction. Contradiction means statements, which are opposite or conflicting and both cannot be true simultaneously. 2. Man created from water

In certain places the Qur’an also says that man was created from water. For instance in Surah AlFurqan it says:

"It is He Who has created man from water". [Al-Qur’an 25:54] Science has proved all the three statements to be correct. Man has been created from sperm, dust as well as water. 3. It is not a Contradiction but a Contradistinction

Suppose I say that in order to make a cup of tea one needs water. One also needs tea-leaves or tea powder. The two statements are not contradictory since both water and tea leaves are required in order to make a cup of tea. Furthermore if I want sweet tea I can even add sugar. Thus there is no contradiction in the Qur’an when it says that man is created from sperm, dust and water. It is not a contradiction but a contradistinction. Contradistinction means speaking about two different concepts on the same subject without conflict. For instance if I say that the man is always truthful and a habitual liar, it is a contradiction, but if I say that a man is always honest, kind and loving, then it is a contradistinction. 16. ALLAH IS THE LORD OF TWO EASTS AND TWO WESTS Question: It is mentioned in one verse of the Qur’an that Allah is the Lord of two Easts and two Wests. How can you explain this verse of the Qur’an scientifically? Answer: 1. Qur’an mentions Allah is the Lord of two Easts and two Wests

The verse of the Qur’an which refers to Allah being the Lord of two easts and two wests is the following verse from Surah Ar-Rahman: "(He is) Lord of the two Easts and Lord of the two Wests:" [Al-Qur’an 55:17] In the original Arabic script, the words east and west have been used in the dual form. It implies that Allah is the Lord of two easts and two wests. 2. Allah is the Lord of both the extremes of East and West

The science of geography tells us that the sun rises from the east, but the point of sunrise keeps shifting throughout the year. Only on two days of the year known as ‘equinox’, does the sun rise exactly from due east. On the remaining days, it rises either from a little north or a little south of due east. During summer solstice the sun rises from one extreme of the east and during winter solstice it rises from the other extreme. Similarly, the sun sets in one extreme of the west in summer solstice. It sets in the other extreme of the west in winter solstice. This phenomenon can be easily seen in Bombay or any other city, by people living in certain areas, or in tall skyscraper buildings, from where the rising or setting of sun can be seen. They are able to notice that during the summer solstice the sun rises from one extreme of east and during winter solstice it rises from the other extreme of east. In short, through out the year, the sun keeps rising from different points of the east and sets on different points of the west. Thus when the Qur’an refers to Allah as the Lord of two easts and two wests, it means that Allah is the Lord of both the extremes of east and both the extremes of west.

3.

Allah is the Lord of all the points of the East and West

Arabic language has two types of plurals. One is the dual plural i.e. the plural that implies the existence of two. The other is the plural for more than two, i.e. three and above. In Surah Rahman verse 17 the Arabic words used are mashriqaini and magribaini which are in dual plural and therefore imply two easts and two wests. Consider the following verse of the Qur’an: "Now I do call to witness the Lord of all points in the East and the West." [Al-Qur’an 70:40] The Arabic words for east and west used in this verse are mashaariqi and magharibi’ which are plurals that imply the existence of more than two. We can thus conclude that the Qur’an refers to Allah being the Lord of all the points in the east and all the points of the west, as well as the Lord of both the extreme points of east and both the extreme points of west.

17.

ONE DAY IN THE SIGHT OF ALLAH IS 1,000 OR 50,000 YEARS

Question: A particular verse of the Qur’an says that one day in the sight of Allah is equal to 1000 years. In another verse of the Qur’an it says that one day is equal to 50,000 years. Isn’t the Qur’an contradicting itself? Answer: 1. Time of Allah is incomparable to earthly time

The Qur’an says in two verses, (22:47 and 32:5), that the measure of one day in the sight of Allah is equal to 1,000 years of our reckoning. In another verse (70:4) it says that the measure of one day in the sight of Allah is equal to 50,000 years of our reckoning. These verses generally mean that the time of Allah (swt) is incomparable to the earthly time. The examples given are of one thousand years and fifty thousand years of the earthly time. In other words thousands of years or a very, very long time of the earth a day in the sight of Allah is equal to: 2. Yaum also means Period

The Arabic word used in all these three verses is yaum, which, besides meaning a day also means a long period, or an epoch. If you translate the word yaum correctly as ‘period’ there will be no confusion. a) The verse from Surah Hajj reads as:

"Yet they ask thee to hasten on the Punishment! but Allah will not fail in His promise. Verily a Day in the sight of thy Lord is like a thousand years of your reckoning". [Al-Qur’an 22:47]

When the unbelievers asked to hasten the punishment the Qur’an says Allah will not fail in His promise. Verily a period in the sight of Allah is like a thousand years of your reckoning. b) The verse from Surah Al-Sajdah says:

"He rules (all) affairs from the heavens to the earth: in the end will (all affairs) go up? To Him, on a Day, the space whereof will be (as) a thousand years of your reckoning". [Al-Qur’an 32:5] This verse indicates that a period required for all the affairs to go up to Allah (swt), is a thousand years of our reckoning. c) A verse from Surah Al-Maarij says:

"The angels and the spirit ascend unto Him in a Day the measure whereof is (as) fifty thousand years". [Al-Qur’an 70:4] This verse means that the period required for angels and the spirits to ascend unto Allah (swt) is fifty thousand years. d) The period for two different acts need not be the same. For example the period required for me to travel to destination ‘A’ say Vashi is one hour and the period required for me to travel to destination ‘B’ i.e. Kashmir is 50 hours. This does not indicate that I am making two contradictory statements. Thus the verses of the Qur’an not only do not contradict each other, they are also in perfect harmony with established modern scientific facts. 18. IBLIS - ANGEL OR JINN?

Question: The Qur’an in several places says that Iblis was an angel, but in Surah Kahf it says that Iblis was a Jinn. Isn’t this a contradiction in the Qur’an? Answer: 1. Incidence of Iblis and Angels mentioned in the Qur’an

The story of Adam and Iblis is mentioned in the Qur’an in various places in which Allah (swt) says, "We said to the angels bow down to Adam: and they bowed down: not so Iblis". This is mentioned in: Surah Al Baqarah chapter 2 verse 43 Surah Al ‘Araf chapter 7 verse 17 Surah Al Hijr chapter 15 verses 28-31 Surah Al Isra chapter 17 verse 61 Surah Ta Ha chapter 20 verse 116 Surah Sad chapter 38 verses 71-74

But in Surah Al Kahf chapter 18 verse 50 the Qur’an says: "Behold! We said to the angels, "Bow down to Adam." they bowed down except Iblis He was one of the Jinns." [Al-Qur’an 18:50] 2. Arabic Rule Of Tagleeb

The English translation of the first part of the verse ‘We said to the angels bow down to Adam: they bowed down except Iblis’, gives us the impression that Iblis was an angel. The Qur’an was revealed in Arabic. In Arabic grammar there is a rule known as Tagleeb, according to which, if the majority is addressed, even the minority is included. If for example, I address a class containing 100 students of whom 99 are boys and one is a girl, and if I say in Arabic that the boys should stand up, it includes the girl as well. I need not mention her seperately. Similarly in the Qur’an, when Allah addressed the angels, even Iblis was present, but it is not required that he be mentioned separately. Therefore according to that sentence Iblis may be an angel or may not be an angel, but we come to know from Surah Al Kahf chapter 18 verse 50 that Iblis was a Jinn. No where does the Qur’an say Iblis was an angel. Therefore there is no contradiction in the Qur’an. 3. Jinns have free will and can disobey Allah

Secondly, Jinns have a free will and may or may not obey Allah, but angels have no free will and always obey Allah. Therefore the question of an angel disobeying Allah does not arise. This further supplements that Iblis was a Jinn and not an angel. 19. AUTHOR OF THE QUR’AN DOES NOT KNOW MATHEMATICS Question: According to Arun Shourie there is a mathematical error in the Qur’an. In chapter 4 verses 11 and 12 when you add up the different parts of inheritance given to the heirs, it is more than one. Therefore the author of the Qur’an does not know mathematics. Answer: The Qur’an mentions about inheritance in many places, in Surah Al Baqarah chapter 2 verse 180 Surah Al Baqarah chapter 2 verse 240 Surah Al Nisa chapter 4 verses 7 to 9 Surah Al Nisa chapter 4 verses19 and 33 Surah Al Ma‘idah chapter 5 verses 105 and 108 Regarding the share of inheritance it is clearly given in Surah Nisa chapter 4 verse 11, 12 and 176. Let us examine the verses quoted by Arun Shourie, i.e. Surah Nisa chapter 4 verses 11 and 12:

"Allah (swt) (thus) directs you as regards your children’s(inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females: if only daughters, two or more, their share is two-thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is a half. For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers (or sisters) the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies and debts. Ye know not whether your parents or your children are nearest to you in benefit. These are settled portions ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise." "In what your wives leave, your share is a half, if they leave no child; but if they leave child, ye get a fourth; after payment of legacies and debts. In what ye leave, their share is a fourth, if ye leave no child; but if ye leave a child, they get an eighth; after payment of legacies and debts." [AlQur’an 4:11-12] Islam explains the law of inheritance in great detail. The broad and basic outline is given in the Qur’an and the minute details are given in the Ahadith i.e. the tradition and sayings of the Prophet (pbuh). A person can spend his full life only on the research of the Islamic law of inheritance with its various permutations and combinations. Arun Shourie expects to know the law only by superficially reading two verses of the Qur’an without knowing the criteria. It is similar to a person who wants to solve a mathematical equation but does not know the basic rule of mathematics, i.e. BODMAS which says that in a mathematical equation, irrespective of which mathematical sign appears first, you will first solve BODMAS: 1st Brackets Off, 2nd Division, 3rd Multiplication, 4th Addition and 5th Subtraction. If Arun Shourie does not know mathematics and first does multiplication then subtraction, then brackets off, then division and finally addition, the answer that he will obtain is bound to be wrong. Similarly, when the Qur’an mentions the law of inheritance in Surah Nisa chapter 4 verses 11 and 12, even though the children’s share is mentioned first and then that of the parents and spouses, according to the law of inheritance in Islam after paying off the debts and liabilities first, the share is given to the spouses and the parents depending on whether the deceased has left children or not, and whatever portion of wealth is remaining is divided between the sons and the daughters according to their respective shares. So where does the question arise of the total coming to more than one? So it is not Allah who does not know mathematics but it is Arun Shourie himself who is ignorant about mathematics. 20. IS ALLAH FORGIVING OR REVENGEFUL?

Question: The Qur’an says several times that Allah is most Merciful and Forgiving but also says many times that He gives severe punishment. Is He Forgiving or Revengeful? Answer: 1. Allah is most Merciful

The Qur’an says several times that Allah is the most Merciful. In fact all the 114 Surahs i.e. chapters of the Glorious Qur’an except for Surah Taubah chapter 9, begin with the beautiful

formula, Bismillah-hir-Rahman-nir-Rahim, which means, "In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful". 2. Allah is Forgiving

The Glorious Qur’an mentions in several verses including Surah Nisa, chapter 4 verse 25 and Surah Maidah, chapter 5 verse 74: "And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." 3. Allah gives severe punishment to the deserving

Allah besides being Merciful and Forgiving is also strict in giving punishment to the deserving. The Qur’an mentions in several verses that Allah will give severe punishment to the unbelievers and rejecters of faith. He will give punishment to all those who disobey Him. Several verses of the Qur’an describe the various types of severe punishment that Allah will give in hell to all those who disobey. "Those who reject our Signs, we shall soon cast into the Fire; as often as their skins Are roasted through, we shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise". [Al-Qur’an 4:56] 4. Allah is Just

The question is, whether Allah is forgiving or revengeful? An important point to be noted is that Allah besides being Merciful and Forgiving, He also has to give severe punishment to the deserving wicked or evil people, because He is also Just. The Qur’an mentions in Surah Nisa: "Allah is never unjust in the least degree". [Al-Qur’an 4:40] It is further mentioned in Surah Al-Ambiya: "We shall set up scales of justice for the day of Judgement, so that not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least. And if there be (no more than) the weight of a mustard seed, we will bring it (to account): and enough are we to take account". [Al-Qur’an 21:47] 5. Example: Teacher forgives a student who copies in the examination

If during an examination, a student copies and the teacher who supervises in the examination catches the student red-handed, the teacher says that he is very merciful and kind and forgives him and allows him to continue copying. Those students who have worked hard for the examination will not call the teacher merciful and kind but will call him unjust. This merciful act of the teacher will encourage the other students to also copy. If all the teachers are merciful and kind and allow the students to copy then no student will ever study for examinations and all will pass with flying colours by copying. The theoretical results of the examinations will be excellent in which all the students will pass with first class and distinction but practically these students will be a failure in life. The whole purpose of the examination would be defeated. 6. This Life is a Test for the Hereafter

The life in this world is a test for the Hereafter. The Qur’an says in Surah Al Mulk: "He who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deed; and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving". [Al-Qur’an 67:2] 7. If Allah forgives all and punishes none, who will obey him?

If Allah (swt) forgives each and every human being and punishes no one, then why should the human beings obey the command of Allah (swt)? I do agree that no one will go to hell, but this world would become hell to live in. If all human beings are going to go to heaven then what is the purpose and use of the human beings to come to this world, this life cannot be called a test for the hereafter. 8. Allah only forgives if a person repents

Allah (swt) only forgives if a person repents. The Qur’an says in Surah Al-Zumar, chapter 39 verse 53-55: "Say: ‘O my servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." "Turn ye to your Lord (in repentance) and bow to His (will), before the penalty comes on you after that ye shall not be helped." "And follow the best of (the courses) revealed to you from your Lord, before the penalty comes on you - of a sudden, while ye perceive not!" [Al-Qur’an 39:53-55] There are four criteria for repentance: First, agree that the act is wrong. Secondly, stop it immediately. Thirdly, never do it again in future. And lastly, compensate for the loss if caused to anyone.

COMMON QUESTIONS ASKED BY HINDUS ABOUT ISLAM by Dr. Zakir Naik
1. IDOL USED FOR CONCENTRATION Question: The Hindu Pundits and Scholars agree that the Vedas and other Hindu religious

scriptures prohibit idol worship, but initially because the mind may not be matured, an idol is required for concentration while worshipping. After the mind reaches higher consciousness, the idol is not required for concentration. Answer : 1. Muslims have reached the higher level of consciousness Muslims have reached the higher level of consciousness. If an idol is required for concentration only in the initial stages and not later on when the mind reaches higher consciousness then I would like to say the Muslims have already reached the state of higher consciousness because when we worship Allah (swt) we do not require any idol or statue. 2. Child asks why does it thunder? When I was discussing with a Swami in IRF. He said that when our child asks us, "Why does the sky thunder?", we reply that "aaee ma chakki pees rahi hai", the grandmother is grinding flour in the heaven; because he is too young to understand. Similarly in the initial stages people require an idol for concentration. In Islam we don’t believe in telling a lie, even if it’s a white lie. I will never give such a wrong answer to my child because later on when he goes to school and learns that the thundering sound after lightning is due to the expansion of rapidly heated air, he will either think that the teacher is lying or later on when he understands the fact he will conclude that the father is a liar. If you feel that the child may not understand certain difficult things you should simplify the answer rather than give a wrong fictitious reply. If you, yourself do not know the answer, you should have the guts to be truthful and say ‘I don’t know’. But many children nowadays will not be satisfied with this answer. If this answer was given to my son, he would say "Abba (father), why don’t you know?’ This will compel you to do your homework and thus educate yourself as well as your child. 3. Those in standard one require idol for concentration – (2 + 2 = 4 will remain same in standard one and ten) Some pundits while trying to convince me regarding idol worship said that in standard one the student is initially taught to worship God by concentrating with the help of an idol but later on when he graduates he no longer requires the idol to concentrate while worshipping the God. A very important fact to be noted is that only if the fundamentals of any particular subject is strong, then only will he be able to excel in future for e.g. A teacher of mathematics in standard one teaches the students that 2 + 2 = 4 irrespective whether the student passes school or does graduation or does a Ph. D. in mathematics, the basics of 2 + 2 = 4 will yet remain the same, it will not change to 5 or 6. In higher standards the student, besides addition may learn about Algebra, Trigonometry, Logarithm, etc. but the fundamental of addition will yet remain the same. If the teacher in standard one itself teaches the fundamentals wrong, how can you expect the student to excel in future? It is the fundamental principal of the Vedas regarding the concept of God that He has got no image, so how can the Scholars even after knowing this fact keep silent at the wrong practice being done by people. Will you tell your son who is in standard one that 2 plus 2 is not equal to 4 but 5 or 6 and only confirm the truth after he passes school? Never. In fact if he makes a mistake you will correct him and say it is 4 and not wait till he graduates; and if you don’t correct

him initially you will ruin his future

2. WATER IS CALLED BY DIFFERENT NAMES IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES – GOD IS CALLED BY DIFFERENT NAMES AS ALLAH, RAM OR JESUS Question: Water is called by different names in different languages: in English as water, in Hindi as paani, in Tamil as tanni. Similarly if God is called either Allah, Ram or Jesus, is it not one and the same? Answer: 1. To Allah belongs the Most Beautiful Names The Glorious Qur’an says in Surah Isra chapter 17 verse 110 "Say: ‘Call upon Allah, or call upon Rahman: by whatever name ye call upon Him, (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names.‘" [Al-Qur’an 17:110] You can call Allah by any name, but it should be a beautiful name,should not conjure up a mental picture, and should have qualities that only Allah possesses. 2. Water can be called by differnt names in different languages but something else besides water cannot be called water in another language. You can call water by various names in different languages, like water in English, paani in Hindi, tanni in Tamil, mai in Arabic, apah in Sanskrit, jal in Shudh Hindi, jal or paani in Gujrati, pandi in Marathi, neer in Kannad, neeru in Telugu, vellam in Malayalam, etc. If a person tells me that his friend has advised that everyday early in the morning he should have one glass of paani, but he is unable to drink it because when he drinks it, he feels like vomiting. On enquiry he says that the paani stinks and it is yellowish in colour. Later I realise that what he is referring to as paani is not water but urine. Thus you can call water by different names having the same meaning but you cannot call other things as water or paani. People may think that the example is not realistic and I agree with them because even an ignorant person knows the difference between water and urine. He will have to be a fool to call urine ‘water’. Similarly when any person who knows the correct concept of God, sees people worshipping false gods, he naturally wonders how a person cannot differentiate between a true God and false gods. 3. Purity of Gold is not verified by calling it by different names in different languages but rubbing it against a Touchstone. In the same way, gold can be called sona in Hindi, gold in English, dhahaba in Arabic. Inspite of knowing all these different names for gold, if a person wants to sell you his gold jewellery and says this is 24 carat pure sona, you will not blindly believe, without verifying it with a goldsmith. The goldsmith confirms whether it is gold or not with the help of a touchstone. The yellow glittering jewellery may not be gold, because all that glitters is not gold. 4. Surah Ikhlas is the Touchstone of Theology. Similarly, any person or candidate who is called God cannot be accepted as the true

God without verifying him with the touchstone. The touchstone of theology, that is study of God, is Surah Ikhlas chapter 112 of the Holy Qur’an which says: "Say, ‘He is Allah, The One and Only; Allah, The Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not Nor is He begotten; and there is none like unto Him.’’’ [Al-Qur’an 112:1-4] 5. Any candidate who passes the Acid test can be called God. Any candidate who claims to be God and fits in this four line definition, passes the Acid test, is entitled to be called God and worshipped as God. Suppose a lunatic says that Muhammad (pbuh) is God, (God forbid). Let’s put him to the test of Surah Ikhlas. i. "Kul hu allah hu ahad" – Say He is Allah, The One and Only; Is Muhammad (pbuh) one and only? No! he was not the only messenger. There were many other messengers. ii. "Allah hus Samad" – Allah, The Eternal, Absolute; We know that Muhammad (pbuh) had to undergo many hardships. Though he was the mightiest messenger of God, he died at the age of 63 and was buried in Madeenah. iii. "Lam ya lid wa lam yulad" – He begetteth not Nor is He begotten; We know that he was born in Makkah and his parents were Abdullah and Aaminah. He even had several children e.g. Fatimah, Ibrahim (may Allah be pleased with them), etc. iv. "Wa lam ya kullahu kufuwan ahad" – And there is none like unto Him. Though all the Muslims love and revere the Prophet (pbuh) and are supposed to follow each and every of his commandments, yet you will not find a single Muslim in the whole world, who in his senses will ever say that Muhammad (pbuh) is God. The Islamic Creed is, "La illaha illallah Muhammadur Rasoolullah", which means that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad (pbuh) is the messenger of Allah. This is repeated five times a day during the call for prayer, so that the Muslims are reminded daily that although they respect and obey him, he is only a Messenger and servant of God, and not God Himself. 6. Verify the Gods you worship. Now that we have explained to you how to use the touchstone of theology it is the duty of everyone to verify with this touchstone, whether the gods that they worship are true or false.

3. HINDUISM IS NOT THE OLDEST AND BEST RELIGION Question Hinduism is the oldest of all the religions and thus the, most pure, authentic and best of all the religions of the world.

Answer: 1. Islam is the oldest religion Hinduism is not the oldest of all the religions. It is Islam which is the first and the oldest of all religions. People have a misconception that Islam is 1400 years old and that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the founder of this religion. Islam existed since time immemorial, ever since man first set foot on this earth. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was not the founder of Islam. He was the last and final Messenger of Almighty God. 2. The oldest religion need not be the purest and the most authentic religion A religion cannot be claimed to be most pure and authentic, only on the criterion that it is the oldest. It is similar to a person saying that the water he has kept in an open glass, in his house, outside the refrigerator, for three months is purer than the water which has just been collected in a clean glass, immediately after it has been purified. 3. The latest religion need not be the purest and the most authentic religion On the other hand a religion cannot be claimed to be the purest or authentic, only on the criterion that the religion is new or the latest. A bottle of distilled water which is sealed, packed and kept in the refrigerator for three months is much purer than a bottle of water freshly collected from the sea. 4. For religion to be pure and authentic, it should not have interpolations, changes and revisions in its scriptures revealed from God For any religion to be pure and authentic, its scriptures should not contain any interpolation, addition, deletion or revision. Moreover the religion’s source of inspiration and direction should be Almighty God. The Qur’an is the only religious scripture on the face of the earth which has been maintained it its original form. All the other religious scriptures, of all the other religions have interpolations, additions, deletions or revisions. The Qur’an has been in the memory of a multitude of people, intact in its original form ever since its revelation, and now there are hundreds of thousands of people who have preserved it in their memory. Moreover, if you compare the copies made by Caliph Uthman from the original Qur’an which is yet present in the museum in Tashkent and in Koptaki museum in Turkey, they are the same as the ones we possess today. Allah (swt) promises in the Qur’an, in Surah Al Hijr, chapter 15 verse 9 "We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)." 5. The oldest religion need not be best religion A religion cannot be claimed to be the best religion only on the criterion that it is the oldest. It is similar to a person saying, that my 19th century car is better than a Toyota car manufactured in 1998, because it is older. He would be considered to be a fool to say that his 19th century car which required a rod to be turned in circles to start it, is better than a key-start 1998 Toyota car, just because it is older. 6. The latest religion need not be the best religion On the other hand a religion cannot be called as the best religion only on the criterion that the religion is new or that it came later. It is similar to a person who says that my 800 cc Suzuki car manufactured in 1999 is better than a 5000 cc Mercedes 500 SEL manufactured in 1997. To judge which car is better, a person should compare the specifications of the car e.g. the power of the car, safety measures, the capacity of the cylinders, the pickup, the speed, the comfort, etc. 5000 cc Mercedes, 500 SEL car manufactured in 1997, is far superior and better than a 800 cc Suzuki (Maruti Suzuki

800) manufactured in 1999. 7. A religion is best, if it has the solutions to the problems of mankind For a religion to be considered the best, it should have the solution to all the problems of mankind. It should be the religion of truth, and should be applicable to all ages. Islam is the only religion which has the solution to all the problems of mankind. e.g. the problem of alcoholism, surplus women, rape and molestation, robbery, racism, casteism, etc. Islam is the religion of truth, and its laws and solutions are applicable to all the ages. The Qur’an is the only religious book on the face of the earth, which has maintained its purity and authenticity proving itself to be the word of God in all the ages. i.e. previously, when it was the age of miracles, literature and poetry and in present times when it is the age of science and technology. Moreover, Islam is not a man-made religion, but a religion revealed and inspired by Almighty God. It is the only religion acceptable in His Sight.

4. IS ALLAH MENTIONED IN OTHER SCRIPTURES Question: "Allah" is the most appropriate name for God in the Qur’an. Is this name "Allah" mentioned in other religious scriptures besides the Qur’an? Answer: Almost all the major religious scriptures of the world contain the word "Allah" as one of the names of God. a. Elohim El, Elah, Alah In the Bible, God is very often referred to as ‘Elohim’ in the Hebrew language. The ‘im’ in the ending is a plural of honour and God is referred to as ‘El’ or ‘Elah’ in the English Bible with commentary, edited by reverend C. I. Scofield. ‘Elah’ is alternatively spelled as ‘Alah’. The difference in spelling is only of a single ‘L’. Muslims spell Allah as ‘Allah’ while the Reverend has spelled it as Alah and they pronounce it as ‘Elah’. Muslims pronounce it as Allah. Hebrew and Arabic are sister languages therefore we say it should be pronounced as ‘Allah’ and not as ‘Elah’. When I was in school, I was taught ‘D, O’ is do, ‘T, O’ is to. What is ‘G, O’ It is ‘go’ and not ‘gu’. ‘N, U, T’ is nut, ‘C, U, T’ cut; ‘B, U, T’ is but, what is ‘P, U, T’? Not ‘pat’ but it is ‘put’. If you ask "Why?" The answer is "It is their language". If I have to pass I have to say ‘P, U, T’ is ‘put’ and not ‘pat’. Similarly the right pronunciation for A, L, L, A, H, is Allah. b. Jesus (pbuh) cried out Allah Allah when he was put on the cross It is mentioned in the New Testament in the Gospel of Mathew, chapter 27 verse 46 as well as Gospel of Mark, chapter 15 verse 34 when Jesus (pbuh) was put on the cross. Jesus cried with a loud voice saying "E’-Li, E’-Li la’-ma sa-bach’-tha-ni?" that is to say, ‘My God, My God why hast Thou Forsaken Me?’ Does this sound like Jehovah! Jehovah! why has thou forsaken me? Does it sound like Abba Abba? The answer is ‘No’. Hebrew and Arabic are sister languages and if you translate "E’-Li, E’-Li la’-ma sa-

bach’-tha-ni" into Arabic it is ‘Allah Allah lama tarak tani’ does it sound similar? This statement of Jesus (pbuh), "E’-Li, E’-Li la’-ma sa-bach’-tha-ni" is preserved in its original Hebrew in each and every of its translation which is available in more than 2000 different languages of the world and in each and every of them, "Allah" is present. 2. "Allah" in Sikhism One of the names by which Gurunanak Sahib referred to God is "Allah". 3a. "Allah" in Rigveda Book 2 Hymn I verse II Even in the Rigveda which is the most sacred scripture of the Hindus, one of the attributes given to God Almighty in Book no 2 Hymn no I verse II, is ‘Ila’ which if pronounced properly is the same as Allah. 3b. Allo Upanishad: Amongst the various Upanishads one of the Upanishad is named as ‘Allo’ Upanishad in which God is referred to as "Allah" several times. 5. BURYING BETTER THAN CREMATING DEAD BODIES Question: Why do Muslims bury dead bodies instead of cremating them, i.e. burning them? Answer: 1. Components of human body present in the soil Elements that are present in the human body are present in lesser or greater quantity in the soil. Hence it is more scientific to bury a dead body, as it easily gets decomposed and mixed in the soil.

2. No Pollution Cremating (burning) the dead body leads to pollution of the atmosphere which is detrimental to health and harmful for the environment. There is no such pollution caused by burying a dead body.

3. Surrounding land becomes fertile To cremate a dead body several trees have to be chopped, which reduces the greenery and harms the environment and the ecology. When dead bodies are buried, besides the trees being saved, the surrounding land becomes fertile and it improves the environment.

4. Economical It is expensive to cremate a dead body when tons of wood have to be burned. Annually there is a loss of crores of rupees, only because dead bodies are cremated in India. Burying dead bodies is very cheap. It hardly costs any money.

5. Same land can be utilised for burying another body The wood used for cremating a dead body cannot be reutilised for cremating another dead body since it gets converted to ashes. The land used for burying a dead body can

be reutilised for burying another body after a few years since the human body gets decomposed and mixed in the soil.

6. BINDI AND MANGALSUTRA Why do the Muslim married women not put bindi or tika on the forehead and wear Mangalsutra, like Hindu married women? 1. Bindi or tika Bindi is derived from the sanskrit word bindu, which means a ‘dot’. It is usually a red dot made with vermilion powder and is worn by the Hindu women between their eyebrows on their forehead. Bindi is considered a symbol of ‘Parvati’ and signifies female energy which is believed by Hindus to protect women and their husbands. It is traditionally a symbol of marriage and is worn by the Hindu married women. It is also called as tika. 2. Bindi has become a fashion Nowadays, wearing bindi has become a fashion and is even worn by unmarried girls and women. The shape of the bindi is no longer restricted to a dot and is available in various shapes, including oval, star, heart shaped, etc. It is even available in different bright colours like blue, green, yellow, orange, etc. The material of the bindi is no longer restricted to vermilion powder, but is made of coloured felt and other material. It is also available in a variety of designs in combination with coloured glass, glitter, etc. 3. Mangalsutra Mangalsutra means a thread of good-will. It is a necklace worn specially by Hindu married women as a symbol of their marriage. It consists of two strings of black beads with a pendant usually of gold. The black beads are believed to act as a protection against evil. It is believed to protect the women’s marriage and the life of her husband. In southern India, mangalsutra is called tali, which is a small gold ornament string on a cotton cord or a gold chain. Hindu Married women are never supposed to remove their mangalsutra. It is only cut off when a Hindu lady becomes a widow. 4. Allah Is the Protector Allah (swt), our Creator, is the best to protect human beings. We do not require any red dot or black thread to protect us from evil. It is mentioned in the Glorius Qur’an in Surah Anam Chapter 6 verse 14 "Say: Shall I take for my protector any other than Allah, the Maker of the heavens and the earth?" [Al-Qur’an 6:14] It is mentioned in several places in the Glorius Qur’an including Surah Ali Imran Chapter 3 Verse 150 and Surah Alhajj Chapter 22 Verse 78 "Allah is your Protector, and He is the best of helpers." Wearing a bindi or mangalsutra signifies a lack of faith in Almighty God, our Creator, who is the best to protect.

5. Against the Islamic Dress Code Wearing a bindi or mangalsutra is a sign of Hindu women. The Islamic dress code does not permit a Muslim to wear any sign, symbol or mark which is specially significant of a non-Muslim. 6. In Islam, Both Married and Unmarried women should not be Teased Once, a Hindu friend of mine, while mentioning the benefits of mangalsutra said that it easily identifies a married women, and thus prevents them from being teased and molested. According to Islam, each and every woman, whether married or unmarried, Muslim or Non-Muslim, should neither be teased nor molested.

7. TAKING NAME OF EMPEROR AKBAR IN ADHAAN Question: Why do Muslims take the name of Emperor Akbar while calling people to pray? Answer: 1. Non Muslim misunderstand that Emperor Akbar’s name is taken in Adhaan Once, when I attended a conference in Kerala, a non-Muslim minister spoke just before my speech. He was highlighting the achievements of the Indian Muslims and their role in the progress of India. He said that amongst the Indian kings, the greatest was Emperor Akbar. No wonder the Muslims take his name five times a day, while calling people to pray. During my speech however, I clarified this misconception. 2. The ‘Akbar’ word of the Adhaan has nothing to do with Emperor Akbar The word ‘Akbar’ mentioned in the Adhaan which is given to call people to pray has nothing to do with Emperor Akbar of India.The words in the Adhaan were used centuries before the birth of Emperor Akbar. 3. ‘Akbar’ means ‘Great’ The Arabic word ‘Akbar’ means ‘great’. When we say ‘Allahu Akbar’ in the Adhaan we proclaim that ‘Allah is Great’ or ‘Allah is the Greatest’ and we call people to worship the one and only Allah who is the Greatest.

8. WHY DON’T MUSLIMS IN INDIA FOLLOW THE ISLAMIC CRIMINAL LAW? Question When Muslims in India insist on having a separate Muslim Personal Law for themselves, why don’t they also insist on implementing the Islamic Criminal Law for the Muslims; for example implementing the rule that the robber’s hands should be chopped off if a Muslim robs? Answer: 1. Muslim Personal Law Personal Law is a law concerning an individual person and the persons closely related to him, e.g. laws relating to marriage, divorce, inheritance, etc. It includes laws which are mutually agreed upon by a group of people. This law does not include any crime or

an act that will harm the society directly. 2. India is Secular And Democratic In any country, the Personal Law may differ for different groups of people and for different communities. Since India is a secular and democratic country it allows different groups of people to follow their own personal law if they wish. 3. Islamic Personal Law is the Best Muslims believe that compared to all the different types of personal laws available in the world, the best and the most result oriented is the Islamic Personal Law. Muslims of India prefer following the Muslim personal law also because of their own belief in Islam. 4. Criminal Law Criminal law is that law which is associated with a crime or an act which directly affects the society e.g. robbing, raping, murdering, etc. 5. The Criminal Law should be the same for all people In any country, the criminal law unlike the Personal Law cannot be different for different groups of people. It has to be same for all people of different groups and different religions e.g. In Islam if a person robs, his hands are chopped off. This punishment is not prescribed in Hinduism. If a Hindu robs a Muslim, what would be the robber’s punishment? The Muslim would want the hands of the robber to be chopped, while the Hindu Law would not agree. 6. The Muslims in India alone cannot separately follow the Islamic Criminal Law without involving the Non-Muslims Even if a Muslim agrees, that as far as he commits a crime he should be given the punishment according to Islamic Criminal Law, it would not be practical. In case an allegation is made against a Muslim for robbery and if the witnesses are Non-Muslims, and if each one follows his own Criminal Law, the punishment in Islam for bearing false witness is 80 lashes, whereas in the Indian Crimial Law, a person giving false witness can easily escape. Thus, for a non-Muslim to falsely accuse a Muslim of any crime is very easy, if both follow their own criminal law. However, if both follow the Indian Law where the punishment is lenient for false witnesses and robbers, it will encourage both the robber to rob as well as encourage the witnesses to give false witness for their own benefit. 7. The Muslims in India would prefer the Islamic Criminal Law to be implemented on all Indians We Muslims would prefer that in India the Islamic Criminal Law be implemented on all the Indians, since, chopping the hands of a thief will surely reduce the rate of robbery in India. Similarly, 80 lashes for giving false testimony will prevent a person from giving false witness. 8. Islamic Criminal Law is Most Practical Islam besides pointing out a crime, it also gives you a solution showing how to prevent the crime e.g. chopping the hands of a robber, death penalty for the rapist. The punishment is so severe that it is a deterrent for the criminal to commit the crime. He will think a hundred times before committing a crime. Thus if crime has to be reduced or stopped in India the best solution is to implement ‘The Common Islamic Criminal Law’.

9. ARE RAM AND KRISHNA PROPHETS OF GOD? Question: If according to Islam, messengers or prophets were sent to each and every nation of the world, then which prophet was sent to India? Can we consider Ram and Krishna to be messengers of God? Answer: 1. Prophets sent to every nation a. The Glorious Qur’an mentions in Surah Fatir, chapter 35 verse 24 ". . . And there never was a people, without a warner having lived among them (in the past)." [Al-Qur’an 35:24] b. A similar message is repeated in Surah Rad, chapter 13 verse 7 ". . . and to every people a guide." [Al-Qur’an 13:7] 2. Stories only of some prophets narrated in the Qur’an a. Allah (swt) says in Surah Nisa, chapter 4 verse 164 "Of some messengers We have already told thee the story; of others we have not." [Al-Qur’an 4:164] b. A similar message is repeated in Surah Ghafir chapter 40 verse 78 "We did aforetime send messengers before thee: of them there are some whose story We have related to thee, and some whose story We have not related to thee. . ." [Al’Qur’an 40:78] 3. 25 Prophets of God are mentioned by name in the Qur’an By name, only 25 Prophets of God are mentioned in the Qur’an e.g. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammed (pbut) 4. More than 1,24,000 prophets of God According to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), there were more than 1,24,000 prophets sent to this world. 5. All previous prophets sent only for their people All the prophets that came before Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) were only sent for their own people and were to be followed only for a particular period of time. Surah Ali Imran, chapter 3 verse 49 "And (appoint him) a messenger to the Children of Israel, . . ." [Al-Qur’an 3:49]

6. Muhammad (pbuh), the last messenger of God Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the last and final messenger of Almighty God. It is mentioned in Surah Ahzab, chapter 33 verse 40 "Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things." [Al-Qur’an 33:40] 7. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), sent for whole Humankind Since Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the last and final messenger, he was not sent only for the Muslims or the Arabs, but he was sent for the whole of humankind. a. It is mentioned in Surah Anbiya, chapter 21 verse 107 "We sent thee not, but as a mercy for all creatures." [Al’Qur’an 21:107] b. A similar message is repeated in Surah Saba, chapter 34 verse 28 "We have not sent thee but as a universal (Messenger) to men, giving them glad tidings, and warning them (against sin), but most men understand not." [Al Qur’an 34:28] c. It is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari, volume 1, Book of Salaah, chapter 56 hadith no. 429 Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah: Allah’s Messenger said, "Every Prophet used to be sent to his nation only but I have been sent to all mankind." 8. Which prophet was sent to India? Regarding the question of which prophet of God was sent to India, and can we consider Ram or Krishna to be prophets of God, there is no text in the Qur’an or Sahih Hadith mentioning the name of the prophet that was sent to India. Since the names of Ram and Krishna are nowhere to be found in the Qur’an and Sahih Hadith, one cannot say for sure whether they were prophets of God or not. Some Muslims, especially certain Muslim politicians who try to appease the Hindus, say Ram Alai-his-salaam, i.e. Ram, may peace be on him. This is totally wrong, since there is no authentic proof from the Qur’an and Sahih Hadith that he was a prophet of God. However, a person may say that perhaps they may have been the prophets of God. 9. Even if Ram and Krishna were prophets, today we have to follow the last Prophet of God i.e. Muhammad (pbuh) Even if Ram and Krishna were prophets of God, they were only meant for people of that time and were to be followed only for that particular period of time. Today, all the human beings throughout the world, including India should only follow the last and final prophet

and Messenger of God – prophet Muhammad (pbuh). 10. ARE THE VEDAS A REVELATION OF GOD? Question: If Allah has sent His books and revelations in every period, then which revelation was sent to India? Can we consider the Vedas and other Hindu scriptures to be the word of God? Answer: 1. Revelation sent in every period The Glorious Qur’an mentions in Surah Rad, chapter 13 verse 38 "For each period is a book (revealed)." [Al-Qur’an 13:38] 2. Four revelations of God mentioned by name in Qur’an By name, only four revelations of God are mentioned in the Qur’an i.e. Torah, Zaboor, Injeel and the Qur’an Torah is the revelation which was given to Moses (pbuh) Zaboor is the revelation which was given to David (pbuh) Injeel is the revelation which was given to Jesus (pbuh) and Qur’an is the last and final revelation which was given to the last and final Messenger Muhammad (pbuh). 3. All the previous revelations sent only for their people All the revelations that came before Qur’an were only sent for their own people and were to be followed only for a particular time period. 4. The Qur’an sent for whole humankind Since the Qur’an is the last and final revelation, it was not sent only for the Muslims or the Arabs but it was sent for the whole of humankind. It is mentioned in: a. Surah Ibrahim, chapter 14 verse 1 "Alif Lam Ra. A book which We have revealed unto thee, in order that thou mightest lead mankind out of the depths of darkness into light . . ." [Al-Qur’an 14:1] b. A similar message is repeated in Surah Ibrahim chapter 14 verse 52 "Here is a Message for mankind: let them take warning therefrom, and let them know that He is (no other than) One God: let men of understanding take heed." [Al-Qur’an 14:52] c. Qur’an mentions in Surah Baqarah chapter 2 verse 185 "Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgement (between right and wrong)."

[Al-Qur’an 2:185] d. A similar message is repeated in Surah Zumur chapter 39 verse 41 "Verily We have revealed the Book to thee in Truth, for (instructing) mankind." [Al-Qur’an 39:41] 5. Which revelation sent to India? The question that arises is "which revelation of God was sent to India and whether we can consider the Vedas and the other Hindu Scriptures to be the revelations of God?" There is no text in the Qur’an or Sahih Hadith mentioning the name of the revelation that was sent to India. Since the names of the Vedas or other Hindu scriptures are no where to be found in Qur’an and Sahih Hadith, one cannot say for sure that they were the revelations of God. They may be the revelation of God or may not be the revelation of God. 6. Even if the Veda was the word of God today you have to follow the Qur’an Even if the Vedas and the other scriptures were the revelations from God, they were only meant for people of that time and were to be followed only for that particular period of time. Today all human beings through out the world including India should only follow the last and final Revelation of God, i.e. the Qur’an. Moreover since all the previous revelations were not meant to be followed for eternity, Almighty God did not preserve them in their original form. There is not a single religious scripture of any of the major religions which claims to be the word of God and has maintained its pure original text and is free from alteration, adulteration and interpolation. Since the Glorious Qur’an is to be followed for eternity, Allah (swt) has taken upon Himself to maintain its original purity and guard it from corruption. Allah says in Glorious Qur’an. Surah Hijr chapter 15 verse 9 "We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)." [Al-Qur’an 15:9]

TEN MOST COMMON QUESTIONS ASKED BY CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES AGAINST ISLAM by Dr. Zakir Naik

1.

QUR’AN PLAGIARIZED FROM THE BIBLE :

Question Is it not true that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has copied the Qur’an from the Bible? Answer Many critics allege that Prophet Muhummad (pbuh) himself was not the author of the Qur’an but he learnt it and/or plagiarised (copied or adapted) it from other human sources or from previous scriptures or revelations. 1. MUHUMMAD LEARNT THE QUR’AN FROM A ROMAN BLACKSMITH WHO WAS A CHRISTIAN Some Pagans accused the Prophet of learning the Qur’an from a Roman Blacksmith, who was a Christian staying at the outskirts of Makkah. The Prophet very often used to go and watch him do his work. A revelation of the Qur’an was sufficient to dismiss this charge - the Qur’an says in Surah An-Nahl chapter 16 verse 103: "We know indeed that they say, ‘It is a man that teaches him,’ The tongue of him they wickedly point to is notably foreign, while this is Arabic, pure and clear." [Al-Qur’an 16:103] How could a person whose mother tongue was foreign and could hardly speak little but of poor broken Arabic be the source of the Qur’an which is pure, eloquent, fine Arabic? To believe that the blacksmith taught the Prophet the Qur’an is some what similar to believing that a Chinese immigrant to England, who did not know proper English, taught Shakespeare. 2. MUHUMMAD (PBUH) LEARNT FROM WARAQA - THE RELATIVE OF KHADIJAH (RA)

Muhummad’s (pbuh) contacts with the Jewish and Christian Scholars were very limited. The most prominent Christian known to him was an old blind man called Waraqa ibn-Naufal who was a relative of the Prophet’s first wife Khadijah (r.a.). Although of Arab descent, he was a convert to Christianity and was very well versed with the New Testament. The Prophet only met him twice, first when Waraqa was worshipping at the Kaaba (before the Prophetic Mission) and he kissed the Prophet’s forehead affectionately; the second occasion was when the Prophet went to meet Waraqa after receiving the first revelation. Waraqa died three years later and the revelation continued for about 23 years. It is ridiculous to assume that Waraqa was the source of the contents of the Qur’an. 3. PROPHET’S RELIGIOUS DISCUSSIONS WITH THE JEWS AND CHRISTIANS

It is true that the Prophet did have religious discussions with the Jews and Christians but they took place in Madinah more than 13 years after the revelation of the Qur’an had started. The allegation that these Jews and Christians were the source is perverse, since in these discussions Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was performing the roles of a teacher and of a preacher while inviting them to embrace Islam and pointing out that they had deviated from their true teachings of Monotheism. Several of these Jews and Christians later embraced Islam.

4. THE PROPHET LEARNT THE QUR’AN FROM THOSE JEWS AND CHRISTIANS THAT HE MET OUTSIDE ARABIA All historical records available show that Muhummad (pbuh) had made only three trips outside Makkah before his Prophethood: i. ii. iii. At the age of 9 he accompanied his mother to Madinah. Between the age of 9 and 12, he accompanied his uncle Abu-Talib on a business trip to Syria. At the age of 25 he led Khadija’s Caravan to Syria.

It is highly imaginary to assume that the Qur’an resulted from the occasional chats and meetings with the Christians or Jews from any of the above three trips. 5. LOGICAL GROUNDS TO PROVE THAT THE PROPHET DID NOT LEARN THE QUR’AN FROM JEWS OR CHRISTIANS i. The day-to-day life of the Prophet was an open book for all to see. In fact a revelation came asking people to give the Prophet (pbuh) privacy in his own home. If the Prophet had been meeting people who told him what to say as a revelation from God, this would not have been hidden for very long. The extremely prominent Quraish nobles who followed the Prophet and accepted Islam were wise and intelligent men who would have easily noticed anything suspicious about the way in which the Prophet brought the revelations to them - more so since the Prophetic mission lasted 23 years. The enemies of the Prophet kept a close watch on him in order to find proof for their claim that he was a liar - they could not point out even a single instance when the Prophet may have had a secret rendezvous with particular Jews and Christians. It is inconceivable that any human author of the Qur’an would have accepted a situation in which he received no credit whatsoever for originating the Qur’an.

ii.

iii. iv.

Thus, historically and logically it cannot be established that there was a human source for the Qur’an. 6. MUHUMMAD (PBUH) WAS AN ILLITERATE

The theory that Muhummad (pbuh) authored the Qur’an or copied from other sources can be disproved by the single historical fact that he was illiterate. Allah testifies Himself in the Qur’an In Surah Al-Ankabut chapter no.29 verse 48 "And thou was not (able) to recite a Book before this (Book came), nor art thou (able) to transcribe it with thy right hand: in that case, indeed, would the talkers of vanities have doubted." [Al-Qur’an 29:48] Allah (swt) knew that many would doubt the authenticity of the Qur’an and would ascribe it to Prophet Muhummad (pbuh). Therefore Allah in His Divine Wisdom chose the last and final Messenger to be an ‘Ummi’, i.e. unlettered, so that the talkers of vanity would not then have the slightest justification to doubt the Prophet. The accusation of his enemies that he had copied the Qur’an from other sources and rehashed it all in a beautiful language might have carried some weight, but even this flimsy pretence has been deprived to the unbeliever and the cynic.

Allah reconfirms in the Qur’an in Surah Al A’raf chapter 7 verse 157: "Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (Scriptures) in the Law and the Gospel" The prophecy of coming of the unlettered Prophet (pbuh) is also mentioned in the Bible in the book of Isaiah chapter 29 verse 12. "And the book is delivered to him that is not learned." [Isaiah 29:12] The Qur’an testifies in no less than four different places that the Prophet (pbuh) was illiterate. It is also mentioned in Surah A’raf chapter 7 verse 158 and in Surah Al-Jumu’a chapter 62 verse 2. 7. ARABIC VERSION OF THE BIBLE WAS NOT PRESENT

The Arabic version of the Bible was not present at the time of Prophet Muhummad (pbuh). The earliest Arabic version of the Old Testament is that of R. Saadias Gaon of 900 C.E. - more than 250 years after the death of our beloved Prophet. The oldest Arabic version of the new Testament was published by Erpenius in 1616 C.E. - about a thousand years after the demise of our Prophet. 8. SIMILARITIES IN THE QUR’AN AND THE BIBLE DUE TO COMMON SOURCE

Similarities between the Qur’an and the Bible does not necessarily mean that the former has been copied from the latter. In fact it gives evidence that both of them are based on a common third source; all divine revelations came from the same source - the one universal God. No matter what human changes were introduced into some of these Judeo-Christian and other older religious scriptures that had distorted their originality, there are some areas that have remained free from distortion and thus are common to many religions. It is true that there are some similar parallels between the Qur’an and the Bible but this is not sufficient to accuse Muhummad (pbuh) of compiling or copying from the Bible. The same logic would then also be applicable to teachings of Christianity and Judaism and thus one could wrongly claim that Jesus (pbuh) was not a genuine Prophet (God forbid) and that he simply copied from the Old Testament. The similarities between the two signify a common source that is one true God and the continuation of the basic message of monotheism and not that the later prophets have plagiarised from the previous prophets. If someone copies during an examination he will surely not write in the answer sheet that he has copied from his neighbour or Mr. XYZ. Prophet Muhummad (pbuh) gave due respect and credit to all the previous prophets (pbut). The Qur’an also mentions the various revelations given by Almighty God to different prophets. 9. MUSLIMS BELIEVE IN THE TAURAH, ZABOOR, INJEEL AND QUR’AN

Four revelations of Allah (swt) are mentioned by name in the Qur’an: the Taurah, the Zaboor, the Injeel and the Qur’an. Taurah, the revelation i.e. the Wahi given to Moosa (a. s.) i.e. Moses (pbuh). Zaboor, the revelation i.e. the Wahi given to Dawood (a.s.) i.e. David (pbuh).

Injeel, the revelation i.e. the Wahi given to Isa (A.S.) ie. Jesus (pbuh). ‘Al-Qur’an’, the last and final Wahi i.e. revelation given to the last and final Messenger Muhammad (pbuh). It is an article of faith for every Muslim to believe in all the Prophets of God and all revelations of God. However, the present day Bible has the first five books of the Old Testament attributed to Moses and the Psalms attributed to David. Moreover the New Testament or the four Gospels of the New Testament are not the Taurah, the Zaboor or the Injeel, which the Qur’an refers to. These books of the present day Bible may partly contain the word of God but these books are certainly not the exact, accurate and complete revelations given to the prophets. The Qur’an presents all the different prophets of Allah as belonging to one single brotherhood; all had a similar prophetic mission and the same basic message. Because of this, the fundamental teachings of the major faiths cannot be contradictory, even if there has been a considerable passage of time between the different prophetic missions, because the source of these missions was one: Almighty God, Allah. This is why the Qur’an says that the differences which exist between various religions are not the responsibility of the prophets, but of the followers of these prophets who forgot part of what they had been taught, and furthermore, misinterpreted and changed the scriptures. The Qur’an cannot therefore be seen as a scripture which competes with the teachings of Moses, Jesus and the other prophets. On the contrary, it confirms, completes and perfects the messages that they brought to their people. Another name for the Qur’an is the ‘The Furqan’ which means the criteria to judge the right from the wrong, and it is on the basis of the Qur’an that we can decipher which part of the previous scriptures can be considered to be the word of God. 10. SCIENTIFIC COMPARISON BETWEEN QUR’AN AND BIBLE

If you glance through the Bible and the Qur’an you may find several points which appear to be exactly the same in both of them, but when you analyse them closely, you realise that there is a difference of ‘chalk and cheese’ between them. Only based on historical details it is difficult for someone who is neither conversant with Christianity or Islam to come to a firm decision as to which of the scriptures is true; however if you verify the relevant passages of both the scriptures against scientific knowledge, you will yourself realize the truth. a. Creation of the Universe in Six Days As per the Bible, in the first book of Genesis in Chapter One, the universe was created in six days and each day is defined as a twenty-four hours period. Even though the Qur’an mentions that the universe was created in six ‘Ayyaams’, ‘Ayyaam’ is the plural of years; this word has two meanings: firstly, it means a standard twenty-four hours period i.e. a day, and secondly, it also means stage, period or epoch which is a very long period of time. When the Qur’an mentions that the universe was created in six ‘Ayyaams’, it refers to the creation of the heavens and the earth in six long periods or epochs; scientists have no objection to this statement. The creation of the universe has taken billions of years, which proves false or contradicts the concept of the Bible which states that the creation of the Universe took six days of twenty-four hour durations each. b. Sun Created After the Day The Bible says in chapter 1, verses 3-5, of Genesis that the phenomenon of day and night was created on the first day of creation of the Universe by God. The light circulating in the universe is the result of a complex reaction in the stars; these stars were created according to the Bible (Genesis chapter 1 verse 14 to 19) on the fourth day. It is illogical to mention the result that is the light (the phenomenon of day and night) was created on the first day of Creation when the cause or source of the light was created three days

later. Moreover the existence of evening and morning as elements of a single day is only conceivable after the creation of the earth and its rotation around the sun. In contrast with the contents of the Bible on this issue, the Qur’an does not give any unscientific sequence of Creation. Hence it is absolutely absurd to say that Prophet Muhummad (pbuh) copied the passages pertaining to the creation of the universe from the Bible but missed out this illogical and fantastic sequence of the Bible. c. Creation of the Sun, The Earth and the Moon According to the Bible, Book of Genesis, chapter 1, verses 9 to 13, the earth was created on the third day, and as per verses 14 to 19, the sun and the moon were created on the fourth day. The earth and the moon emanated, as we know, from their original star, the Sun. Hence to place the creation of the sun and the moon after the creation of the earth is contrary to the established idea about the formation of the solar system.

d. Vegetation Created on the third day and Sun on the fourth day According to the Bible, Book of Genesis, chapter 1, verses 11-13, vegetation was created on the third day along with seed-bearing grasses, plants and trees; and further on as per verses 14-19, the sun was created on the fourth day. How is it scientifically possible for the vegetation to have appeared without the presence of the sun, as has been stated in the Bible? If Prophet Muhummad (pbuh) was indeed the author of the Qur’an and had copied its contents from the Bible, how did he manage to avoid the factual errors that the Bible contains? The Qur’an does not contain any statements which are incompatible with scientific facts. e. The Sun and the Moon both Emit light According to the Bible both the sun and the moon emit their own light. In the Book of Genesis, chapter 1, verse 16 says, "And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night". Science tells us today that the moon does not have its own light. This confirms the Qur’anic concept that the light of the moon is a reflected light. To think that 1400 years ago, Prophet Muhummad (pbuh) corrected these scientific errors in the Bible and then copied such corrected passages in the Qur’an is to think of something impossible. 11. ADAM (PBUH), THE FIRST MAN ON EARTH, LIVED 5,800 YEARS AGO

As per the genealogy of Jesus Christ given in the Bible, from Jesus through Abraham (pbuh) to the first man on earth i.e. Adam (pbuh), Adam appeared on the earth approximately 5800 years ago: i. ii. iii. 1948 years between Adam (pbuh) and Abraham (pbuh) Approximately 1800 years between Abraham (pbuh) and Jesus (pbuh) 2000 years from Jesus (pbuh) till today

These figures are further confused by the fact that the Jewish calendar is currently on or about 5800 years old. There is sufficient evidence from archaeological and anthropological sources to suggest that the first human being on earth was present tens of thousands of years ago and not merely 5,800 years ago as is suggested by the Bible. The Qur’an too speaks about Adam (pbuh) as the first man on earth but it does not suggest any date or period of his life on earth, unlike the Bible - what the Bible says in this regard is totally incompatible with science. 12. NOAH (PBUH) AND THE FLOOD

The Biblical description of the flood in Genesis chapter 6, 7 and 8 indicates that the deluge was universal and it destroyed every living thing on earth, except those present with Noah (pbuh) in the ark. The description suggests that the event took place 1656 years after the creation of Adam (pbuh) or 292 years before the birth of Abraham, at a time when Noah (pbuh) was 600 years old. Thus the flood may have occurred in the 21st or 22nd Century B.C. This story of the flood, as given in the Bible, contradicts scientific evidence from archaelogical sources which indicate that the eleventh dynasty in Egypt and the third dynasty in Babylonia were in existence without any break in civilisation and in a manner totally unaffected by any major calamity which may have occurred in the 21st century B.C. This contradicts the Biblical story that the whole world had been immersed in the flood water. In contrast to this, the Qur’anic presentation of the story of Noah and the flood does not conflict with scientific evidence or archaeological data; firstly, the Qur’an does not indicate any specific date or year of the occurance of that event, and secondly, according to the Qur’an the flood was not a universal phenomenon which destroyed complete life on earth. In fact the Qur’an specifically mentions that the flood was a localised event only involving the people of Noah. It is illogical to assume that Prophet Muhummad (pbuh) had borrowed the story of the flood from the Bible and corrected the mistakes before mentioning it in the Qur’an. 13. MOSES (PBUH) AND PHARAOH OF THE EXODUS

The story of Moses (pbuh) and the Pharaoh of the Exodus are very much identical in the Qur’an and the Bible. Both scriptures agree that the Pharaoh drowned when he tried to pursue Moses (pbuh) and led the Israelites across a stretch of water that they crossed. The Qur’an gives an additional piece of information in Surah Yunus chapter 10 verse 92: "This day shall We save thee in thy body, that thou mayest be a sign to those who come after thee! But verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our Signs!" [Al-Qur’an 10:92] Dr. Maurice Bucaille, after a thorough research proved that although Rameses II was known to have persecuted the Israelites as per the Bible, he actually died while Moses (pbuh) was taking refuge in Median. Rameses II’s son Merneptah who succeeded him as Pharaoh drowned during the exodus. In 1898, the mummified body of Merneptah was found in the valley of Kings in Egypt. In 1975, Dr. Maurice Bucaille with other doctors received permission to examine the Mummy of Merneptah, the findings of which proved that Merneptah probably died from drowning or a violent shock which immediately preceeded the moment of drowning. Thus the Qur’anic verse that we shall save his body as a sign, has been fulfilled by the Pharaohs’ body being kept at the Royal Mummies room in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. This verse of the Qur’an compelled Dr. Maurice Bucaille, who was a Christian then, to study the Qur’an. He later wrote a book ‘The Bible, the Qur’an and Science’, and confessed that the author of the Qur’an can be no one else besides God Himself. Thus he embraced Islam. 14. QUR’AN IS A BOOK FROM ALLAH

These evidences are sufficient to conclude that the Qur’an was not copied from the Bible, but that the Qur’an is the Furqaan - ‘the Criteria’ to judge right from wrong and it should be used to decipher which portion of the Bible may be considered as the Word of God. The Qur’an itself testifies in Surah Sajda chapter 32 verse 1 to 3

Alif Laam Meem. (This is) the revelation of the Book in which there is no doubt – from the Lord of the Worlds. Or do they say, ‘He has forged it’? Nay, it is the Truth from thy Lord, that thou mayest admonish a people to whom no warner has come before thee: in order that they may receive guidance." [Al-Qur’an 32:1-3] 7. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MARY AND MIRIAM

Question It is mentioned in your Qur’an that Mary was the sister of Aaron (pbuh). Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who wrote the Qur’an did not know the difference between Miriam the sister of Aaron (pbuh) and Mary the Mother of Jesus (pbuh), the time span between both of them was about a thousand years. Answer 1. IN THE SEMITIC LANGUAGES SISTER ALSO MEANS DESCENDANT The Qur’an mentions in Surah Maryam, Chapter 19 verses 27-28 "At length she brought the (babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: ‘O Mary! Truly an amazing thing hast thou brought! O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!’" [Al-Qur’an 19:27-28] Christian missionaries say that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not know the difference between Mary the mother of Jesus (pbuh) and Miriam the sister of Aaron (pbuh). The time span between both was more than a thousand years. In the Arabic construction of the sentence, sister is also considered as a descendant. Thus, when the people said to Mary, Ukhta Haroon i.e. ‘sister of Aaron’ it actually means descendant of Aaron (pbuh). 2. SON ALSO MEANS DESCENDANT

It is mentioned in the Gospel of Mathew, Chapter 1 verse 1 "Jesus Christ, the son of David,....". [Mathew 1:1] Gospel of Luke Chapter 3, verse 23 "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, ....." [Luke 3:23] DID JESUS (PBUH) HAVE TWO FATHERS?

What do you call a person who has two fathers? The explanation of the phrase that Jesus (pbuh) was the son of David (pbuh), is that Jesus (pbuh) was a descendant of David (pbuh). ‘Son’, here means a descendant.

8.

JESUS (PBUH) DID NOT DIE

Question Is it not true that your Qur’an mentions in Surah Maryam, Chapter 19 verse 33 that Jesus (pbuh) died and was resurrected? Answer JESUS (PBUH) SAID, "THE DAY THAT I DIE", NOT "THE DAY THAT I DIED" It is mentioned in Surah Maryam, Chapter 19 verse 33 "So Peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die and the Day that I shall be raised up to life (again)". [Al-Qur’an 19:33] The Qur’an mentions that Jesus (pbuh) said "Peace is on me the Day I was born, the day that I die". It is not stated "the day that I died". It is in the future tense and not in the past tense. 1. JESUS (PBUH) WAS RAISED UP ALIVE

The Qur’an further says in Surah Nisa, Chapter 4 verse 157-158: "That they said (in boast), ‘We killed Jesus Christ the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah’ – But they killed him not, Nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not – Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is exalted in Power, Wise." [Al-Qur’an 4:157-158] 9. JESUS IS "A WORD" OF ALLAH AND A "SPIRIT" FROM ALLAH

Question Does not your Qur’an mention that Jesus is Kalimatullah –"The Word of Allah (swt)", as well as Ruhullah – "The Spirit of Allah", indicating his Divinity? Answer 1. JESUS (PBUH) "IS A WORD FROM ALLAH" NOT "THE WORD OF ALLAH" The Qur’an mentions in Surah Ali ‘Imran Chapter 3 verse 45 "Behold! The angels said: O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus. The son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the

company of) those Nearest to Allah. [Al-Qur’an 3:45] Jesus (pbuh) is referred in the Qur’an as a word from Allah and not as ‘the word of Allah’. "A word" of Allah means a message of Allah. If a person is referred to as "a word" from Allah, it means that he is a Messenger or a Prophet of Allah. 2. THE TITLE OF A PROPHET (PBUH) DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT EXCLUSIVELY BELONGS TO THAT PROPHET (PBUH) Different titles are given to different prophets (pbut). Whenever a title is given to a prophet (pbuh), it does not necessarily mean that the other prophets do not have the same characteristic or quality. For e.g. Prophet Abraham (pbuh) is referred to in the Qur’an as Khaleelullah, a friend of Allah. This does not indicate that all the other Prophets (pbuh) were not the friends of Allah. Prophet Moses (pbuh) is referred to in the Qur’an as Kaleemullah, indicating that God spoke to him. This does not mean that God did not speak to others. Similarly when Jesus (pbuh) is referred to in the Qur’an as Kalimatullah, "a word from Allah", it does not mean that the other Prophets were not "the word," of Allah. 3. JOHN THE BAPTIST (PBUH) IS ALSO CALLED "A WORD" OF ALLAH

Yahya (pbuh) i.e. John the Baptist (pbuh) is also referred to in the Qur’an as Kalimatullah i.e. a word of Allah in Surah Ali ‘Imran, Chapter 3, verses 38-39 "There did Zakariya Pray to his Lord, saying: "O my Lord! Grant unto me from Thee a progeny that is pure: for Thou art He that heareth prayer! While he was standing in prayer in the chamber, the angels called unto him: "Allah doth give thee glad tidings of Yahya, witnessing the truth of a Word from Allah, and (be besides) noble, chaste, and a Prophet – of the (goodly) company of the righteous." [Al-Qur’an 3:39] 4. JESUS (PBUH) REFERRED AS RUHULLAH – A SPIRIT OF ALLAH

Jesus (pbuh) also never referred to as Ruhullah "a spirit of Allah" but as a spirit from Allah in Surah Nisa Chapter 4 verse 171 "O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Jesus Christ the son of Mary was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah, And His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not ‘Trinity’: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is One God: glory be to Him: (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs." [Al-Qur’an 4:171] 5. SPIRIT OF ALLAH IS BREATHED IN EVERY HUMAN BEING

A spirit from Allah does not indicate that Jesus (pbuh) is God. The Qur’an mentions in several places that Allah breathed into the human beings "His Spirit" in Surah Al-Hijr, chapter 15 verse 29 in Surah Sajdah, chapter 32 verse 9 Surah Al Hijr Chapter 15 verse 29

"When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him." [Al-Qur’an 15:29] Surah Sajdah Chapter 32 verse 9 "But He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him something of His spirit. And He gave you (the faculties of) hearing and sight and feeling (and understanding): little thanks do ye give!" [Al-Qur’an 32:9]

10.

IS NOT THE QUR’AN WRITTEN BY SATAN?

Question The Qur’an is not the Word of God but on the contrary the handiwork of Satan. Answer In reply to a similar allegation put forward by the pagans of Makkah, that the prophet (pbuh) received the revelations from Satan, the following verses were revealed: Surah Waqiah, chapter 56 verses 77-80 "That this is indeed A Qur’an most honourable, In a Book well-guarded, Which none shall touch But those who are clean: A Revelation from the Lord Of the Worlds." Kitabim Maknoon means a book well guarded or a protected book, referring to Lauh-e-Mahfooz in the heaven, which none shall touch except the Mutahhareen. i.e. those who do not have any uncleanliness or impurity or evil like sin. This refers to the angels. The satan is absolutely prohobited. Thus since it is impossible for satan to come anywhere close to it or touch it, the question of him writing the verses of the Glorious Qur’an does not arise. It is further mentioned in Surah Shura, chapter 26 verse 210-212 "No evil ones have brought Down this (Revelation): It would neither suit them Nor would they be able (To produce it).

Indeed they have been removed Far from even (a chance of) Hearing it." Many people have a wrong concept of satan. They think that satan can probably do everything, except a couple of things that God can do. According to them, satan is slightly below God in power. Since the people do not want to accept that the Qur’an is a miraculous revelation, they say that it is satan’s handiwork. 1. If satan would have written the Qur’an, he would not have mentioned in the same Qur’an in Surah Nahl, chapter 16 verse no. 98 "When thou does read The Qur’an, seek Allah’s protection from Satan the Rejected One." Is this how you feel satan would write a book? Does he tell you; "Before you read my book ask God to save you from me?"

2. There are several verses in the Qur’an which will give enough evidence that satan is not the author of the Qur’an. In Surah Al Aaraf chapter 7 verse 200 "If a suggestion from Satan assail your (mind), seek refuge with Allah; for He hears and knows (all things). Why would satan tell his followers, that whenever he gives any suggestions to them, they should seek refuge in Allah (swt) to whom he is an avowed enemy.

3. In Surah Baqarah, chapter 2 verse 168 "O ye people! Eat of what is on earth, lawful and good; and do not follow the footsteps of the Evil one, For he is to you an avowed enemy."

4. In Surah Yasin, chapter 36 verse 60 "Did I not enjoin on you, O ye children of Adam, that ye should not worship Satan; for that he was to you an enemy avowed?" Satan is intelligent, no wonder that he can put this idea into the minds of people that he himself wrote the Qur’an. Compared to Almighty God, Satan is insignificant, and Allah (swt) is far more intelligent. He knows satan’s evil intentions and hence no wonder that He has given the reader of the Qur’an several proofs to show that Qur’an is God’s word, and not satan’s word.

The Bible mentions in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 3, verses 24-26 "And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand." "And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand." "And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end."

QUERIES ON ISLAM
1. Praying Behind Beardless Imam 2. In Japan, only eight rakat Tarawih is followed. Can my son pray individually the remaining 12 rakat at the mosque or home or is it also right to perform 8 rakat only.? 3. Is it allowed for an ulcer patient to leave the Fast ? 4. Issal-e-Sawab through Recitation of the quran 5. If at a particular time, a lady has no desire for sex with her husband, but he insists for it, what is her right of refusal in this context ? 6. In the light of the teaching of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, is it a correct Islamic practice to visit graveyards on the night of Shab-e-baraat? please narrate the Hadith related to this night. 7. A muslim youth has a wet dream. What should he do? 8. What is the concept of social service in Islam? Do we have to work for the Muslim community only or for the whole of humankind as was done by Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) ? Please clarify. 9. Are menstruating women permitted to recite Surah Fatiha, Ikhlaas, Falak, Nas and Ayatul Kursi at night before going to sleep ? Can menstruating women touch and read the Qur'an ? Does this word in the Qur'an 'Mutahhareen' (none can touch except those who are clean) relate to the Qur'an or to the Tablet Preserved (Lauh-a-Mehfuz) ? Is one allowed to touch Qur'an without wudhu ? Please explain with reference to Hadith. 10. Why do we quote Allah (swt) as - Him/His ? 11. Islam and Universal Brotherhood - Part 1 12. Islam and Universal Brotherhood - Part 2 13. Which school of thought should a muslim follow ? 14. Islam and Universal Brotherhood - Part 3 15. Why Islam proposes a discriminatory share of Inheritance by giving women only half of what men receive? 16. Islam and Universal Brotherhood - Part 4 17. Does Islam make the Face Veil Obligatory for Muslim Women?

18. Islam and Universal Brotherhood - Part 4 ....Cont 19. I heard a Maulana saying that it is Biddat to quote the Bible to do Daw’ah to the Ahle-Kitab (People of the Book; i.e. the Jews and the Christians). I would like to get the answer from Dr. Zakir Naik whether it is allowed as he very often quotes the Bible. 20a. Is the Qur'an God's Word ? 20b. Is the Qur'an God's Word ? - Part 2 20c. Is the Qur'an God's Word ? - Part 3 20d. Is the Qur'an God's Word ? - Part 4 20e. Is the Qur'an God's Word ? - Part 5 20f. Is the Qur'an God's Word ? - Part 6 20g. Is the Qur'an God's Word ? - Part 7 20h. Is the Qur'an God's Word ? - Part 8 20i. Is the Qur'an God's Word ? - Part 9 20j. Is the Qur'an God's Word ? - Part 10 20k. Is the Qur'an God's Word ? - Part 11 21. A lady I know converted to Islam, but her Christian parents want her to visit the church with them. If she denies, then they have family problems. Can the lady go to church, just to have normal relationship with the parents? 22. I am a revert to Islam from a very orthodox Christian family. However my hunger to delve deep into Islam and other religions never ceased. The sad part of the story is that I never found anyone able to give at least most of the answers for the questions I ask. But your newsletter seems to be doing a good job. Here are a few questions I wish you could answer. a. Why aren’t Islamic missionaries active the way Christian missionaries are? Won’t Islam grow much faster and misunderstandings removed if there are good scholars to preach the faith? Why is there such a slack among Muslims? b. Is it permissible in Islam to sponsor an orphan? Not adoption. Something like sponsoring his education, etc.? c. Are the views of the so-called ‘terrorists’ like bin Laden really wrong or justifiable? I mean should a Muslim support his activities? Can children and innocent people be killed in wars when the prophet had declared not to do so? 23. Do the Muslims Believe in Jesus (pbuh) and his Second Coming? 24. Is it Compulsory to Wear the Trousers Above the Ankles? 25. Dr. Zakir Naik talk Proves a big draw in Bangalore 26. How Shameful, We Don't Have a Media of Our Own! 27. I am a dentist by profession, my questions are: If a husband and wife have a mutual divorce, a. Is there an ‘Iddah period to be observed by the divorced wife? b. Should the divorced husband give the maintenance money for her? c. Can the divorced husband have sex with the divorced wife? d. Can the two talk on the phone to each other after the divorce?

28. Is a Muslim woman permitted to go out for a job (organization belongs to Muslims with all women staff) even if her husband can support the family well? What does Islam say about it? In this case the main reason why this woman wants to join this organization is to keep her busy and to mould herself completely in an Islamic environment. 29. (a) Can a rich Muslim wife give portion of her Zakat to her poor husband? (b) Can a Muslim husband compel his wife (working in a public sector undertaking) to spend all her earnings on family needs and invest his earnings and his wife’s savings on assets solely in his name and not even in her name? (c) What portion, if at all, of a Muslim wife’s salary a Muslim husband can claim for needs of the family although it is the onus on him to provide for the family? 30. Is it allowed for a wife to address her husband by his name, as our previous generation didn’t do so? 31. What is the Islamic Ruling on Contraception? 32. Da'wah or Islaah - which is more important?

33. Is Islam a cult? I don't understand how this religion can be embraced by so many. It's inconceivable
that such hatred has ever been collected in a single population such as that which calls itself Muslim. Mohammad, and indeed, his followers, are way off the path. Stop your attacks on non-Muslims?

34. Religion, if it is true, should be able to stand scientific scrutiny. Is there an Islamic arena
where this kind of discussion is possible?

35. Hinduism is the oldest of all the religions and thus the most pure, authentic and best of all the religions of the world, and not Islam! 36. When Muslims in India insist on having a separate Muslim Personal Law for themselves,
why don’t they also insist on implementing the Islamic Criminal Law for the Muslims; for example implementing the rule that the robber’s hands should be chopped off if a Muslim robs?

37. Why do Muslims bury dead bodies instead of cremating them, i.e. burning them? 38. Is there no such thing as a 'Will' in Islam? In Islam, can a person 'Will' his assets or property as per his wishes, after his death, to people other than those prescribed in the methods of the Shari’ah? Is this 'Will' legally valid in India? 39. Does a Muslim man require explicit consent from his first wife, to marry a second woman? 40. Similarities Between Islam and Hinduism - Part 1 40a. Similarities Between Islam and Hinduism - Part 2 40b. Similarities Between Islam and Hinduism - Part 3 40c. Similarities Between Islam and Hinduism - Part 4

40d. Similarities Between Islam and Hinduism - Part 5 40e. Similarities Between Islam and Hinduism - Part 6 40f. Similarities Between Islam and Hinduism - Part 7 40g. Similarities Between Islam and Hinduism - Part 8 40h. Similarities Between Islam and Hinduism - Part 9 41. A few people in our locality raise their hands before and after doing ‘Rukoo’. Is it a correct act while
praying?

42. I am told by many people that it is not permissible to read the Qur’an or do Sajdah after Asr prayers and that we cannot pray, be it reading Qur’an or Namaz at 12.00 clock. Kindly reply! 43. Can a Muslim man marry a Christian or a Jew? Please explain. 44. It is mentioned in your Qur’an that Mary was the sister of Aaron (pbuh). Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not know the difference between Miriam the sister of Aaron (pbuh) and Mary the Mother of Jesus (pbuh), as the time span between both of them was about a thousand years.
45. I have a doubt about playing of musical instruments. Is this an act of Satan?

46. Is man created from sperm or dust? 47. I am Bilal. I’d like to know about hair coloring according to Qur’an and Hadith. I came to know that it is permissible. Is it right? Please explain providing evidence from authentic sources of Islam. 48. Is it true that my last prayer should be witr or is this merely recommended as a prudent course of action by the Prophet (saw). Once I pray witr after Isha and later I want to pray Nafil, can I do so? 49. It is with great trepidation and alarm and not a little grief that I read the article that you
published in your magazine written by Dr. Zakir Naik declaring that Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala may be called by any name that a person finds to his liking. 50. Why are women not allowed in the mosque?

51. Why do Muslims follow the lunar calendar instead of the solar calendar? 52. Why are all prayers and supplications not answered or fulfilled by Allah (SWT)?

53. Why is building of temples and churches and the propagation of any religion other than Islam not allowed in Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia?

PRAYING BEHIND BEARDLESS IMAM
Q1. My son is working in Japan. He attends the Tarawih prayer at a mosque, where two imams lead the Tarawih prayer on alternate days. One is an Egyptian and another one is from some Arab country. This Imam is not professional imam. He is a wealthy person in the city where my son resides. The Imam has not sported the beard. Some Pakistanis do not pray behind him when he leads the Tarawih prayer, objecting that it is not right for a person to pray behind an imam, who does not sport a beard. But my son prays behind that imam and he is very much puzzled over this matter whether to pray or not to pray behind the imam who does not sport a beard. My son has sent this query over the phone seeking clarification. G. A. Basheer, Bangalore A1. Shaving beard is Fisq and the one who does that is Fasiq. It is preferable to have an Imam having a beard. However, if such an Imam is not available, then it is allowed to offer Salah behind a beardless Imam. It is agreed upon by the Ahle-Sunnah-Wal- Jam'ah that offering Salah behind every righteous or Fasiq Muslim is allowed and his Salah is valid so that there is unity amongst the Muslims, in order to avoid any conflict. Therefore your son is correct in offering Salah behind the imam. Infact, those who do not offer Salah behind him should also start doing so, in order to avoid any conflict. However, as soon as an Imam with beard is available, you may start offering Salah behind him, and Allah knows the best. Q2. In Japan, only eight rakat Tarawih is followed. Can my son pray individually the remaining 12 rakat at the mosque or home or is it also right to perform 8 rakat only. G.A. Basheer, Bangalore A2. Regarding the Salah, offered after the Isha Salah (i.e. Tarawih), in Ramadan, the right opinion is that one can offer as many number of rakat as one wishes because there is no fixed limit on it. Narrated Nafi Ibn 'Umar said, "While the prophet was on the pulpit, a man asked him how to offer the night prayers. He replied, ' Pray two Rakat at a time and then two and then two and so on, and if you are afraid of the dawn (the approach of the time of the Fajr prayer) pray one Rakat and that will be the witr for all the Rakat which you have offered." Ibn 'Umar Said, "The last Rakat of the night prayer should be odd, for the prophet ordered it to be so. ( Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 1, Hadith No. 461). Narrated Amr ibn Anbasah as-Sulami I asked: "Apostle of Allah, in which part of the night the supplication is more likely to be accepted? He Replied: In the last part: Pray as much as you like, for the prayer is attended by the angels and it is recorded till you offer the dawn prayer. (Abu Dawood, Vol. 1, Hadith No. 1272). We also find that some of the Taba'een used to pray 20 and some used to pray 36 Rakats in Tarawih. (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaiba, Vol.2, Pages 165 & 166).

However, it is preferable to offer it the way prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) did. He used to offer 11 or 13 Rakats, as mentioned in the following Hadith. Narrated Abu Salma bin Abdur Rahman I asked Aisha, "How is the prayer of Allah's Apostle during the month of Ramadan." She said, "Allah's Apostle never exceeded eleven Rakats in Ramadan or in other months; he used to offer four Rakats do not ask me about their beauty and length, then four Rakats, do not ask me about their beauty and length, and then three Rakat." Aisha further said, " I said, ' O Allah's Apostle! Do you sleep before offering the Witr prayer?' He replied, 'O 'Aisha! My eyes sleep, but my heart remains awake!' (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2, Hadith No. 1147). From all the above mentioned Hadith, it is clear that there is no fixed limit for the Tarawih Prayer; therefore, one should refrain from getting into any controversy in this regard. However, in mosques, where eight congregational Rakats are offered, it is advisable not to offer further 12 Rakats in congregation, thus avoiding any unwanted disputes amongst the Muslims. For those who wish to offer more Rakats can very well do so at their homes. Similarly, in mosques, where 20 congregational Rakats are offered, it is advisable not to offer 8 Rakats in different congregation so that there is no conflict among the Muslims. Q3. Is it allowed for an ulcer patient to leave the Fast ? Abdulrehman Bello Krzysiek, celnik@ecnx.net A3. It is not obligatory upon a person suffering from Ulcer to fast during the month of Ramadan if fasting is likely to cause increase in his disease, however he has to complete his fasts after recovering. Allah says in the Qur'an in Surah Baqarah, 2:185: "But if any one is ill or on a journey the prescribed period should be made up by days later. Allah intends every facility for you, He does not want to put you to difficulties." And Allah knows the best.

Isaal-e-Sawab through Recitation of the Quran
Q4. I would like to know that if we read Quran and ask Allah to send sawab to all Muslims and my relatives including my parents who are no more, will the sawab only go to my parents or to all the rest too ? Abdulla Aminuddin, aminuddin@sancharnet.in A4. It is Bid'ah (innovation) to recite the Qur'an for Isaal-e-Sawab of those who have passed away, regardless whether the deceased is your parent or relative. There is no evidence supporting this practice in the authentic sources of Islam, in the Seerah of the Prophet (Pbuh) or the life of his Companions. Didn't deaths occur during the time of the companions ? Why then, we do not find any such evidence from their lives ? All those things that benefit the living and the dead have already been shown by the Prophet (Pbuh), as Deen has been completed. Therefore, it is inappropriate to innovate anything in the religion. Narrated Aisha (R.A.): Allah's Messenger (Pbuh) said, "If somebody innovates something which is not present in our religion, then that thing will be rejected."(Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3, Hadith No. 2697 & Sahih Muslim, Vol. 3, Hadith No. 4266). However it is allowed to pray for the deceased and give charity for him, as there is no difference of opinion in this regard.

Does a wife have the right to refuse sex with her husband ?

Q5. If at a particular time, a lady has no desire for sex with her husband, but he insists for it, what is her right of refusal in this context ? Abdul Wahab A5. If a husband expresses his desire for sexual intercourse with his wife, and asks her to fulfill his need, then she should fulfill her husband's desire, and she has no right to refuse him or deprive him of his need (unless of course if she is undergoing her monthly menstruation period or is down with illness. Islam encourages and insists on chastity and fidelity. Islam prohibits and condemn illicit sexual relations, extra-maritial affairs, pre-marriage sex, fornication, adultery, prostitution, pornography and promiscuity. It is for this reason that a wife is bound to fulfill her husband's sexual desires so as to prevent him form straying. Narrarted Abu Huraira Allah's Apostle (Pbuh) said, " If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relations) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol. 4 Hadith No. 460 & Sahih Muslim Vol. 2 Hadith No. 3368) Narrated Abu Huraira The Messenger of Allah (swt) said: By him in whose hand is my life, when a man calls his wife to his bed, and she does not respond, the One Who is in the heaven is displeased with her untill he (her husband) is pleased with her. (Sahih Muslim Vol. 2 Hadith No. 3367) Narrated Taiq ibn Ali Allah's Messenger (Pbuh) said, " When a man calls his wife to satisfy his desire she must go to him even if she is occupied at the oven." (Al Tirmidhi Hadith No. 1160 & Ibn Ma'jah Hadith No. 4165) From all the above mentioned Ahadith, it is Wajib upon the wife to fulfill the desire of her husband whenever he wishes. If the relationship between the husband and the wife is truly based on Islamic principles, in which both of them treat each other with love, affection, kindness, fulfilling all Islamic desires and settling all matters with mutual agreement and understanding, the question of the wife refusing the sexual desire of the husband does not arise. Nor does the question arise of the husband being insistent or getting perturbed at her not wanting to have sex. Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an in Surah Rum, Chapter 30, verse no. 21: " And among His signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquility with them and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts); verily in that are Signs for those who reflect." If on certain rare occasions, the husband shows a desire for sexual intercourse with his wife, and for some genuine reason the wife shows a hesitation (not refusal), then it is possible, the husband can be understanding and voluntarily and happily give indication for postponement! Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an, in Surah Baqara, chapter 2, verse no. 187: "They (your wives) are your garments. And you are their garments."

Here, because of the strong bond between the husband and the wife, if the husband is not displeased or angry, the angels will not curse his wife and neither will she displease the Almighty. And Allah knows the best.

Visiting graveyards on 15th Sha'ban
Q6. In the light of the teaching of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, is it a correct Islamic practice to visit graveyards on the night of Shab-e-baraat? please narrate the Hadith related to this night. M. A. Khan, Bhopal A6. Giving significance to the night of 15th Sha'ban, visiting graveyards, doing extra Ibaadah (worship) and offering extra Nawaafil Salaah with the intention of specifically doing so on the occasion of 15th Sha'ban, having illuminations, considering it to be the Eid of the dead and keeping awake for the whole night of 15th Sha'ban and encouraging others to do the same -- all these are Bid'ah (innovation) . The prophet and the Sahaabah never did so nor commanded the muslims to do so. We don't find any evidence of such things in the entire authentic Seerah of the Prophet and his companions. According to Allamah Ibn Rajab Abu Bakr Turtoshi, Ibn Wazzah Qurtubi, Suyuti, Shokani etc. all the Ahadith pertaining to the subject are weak and unacceptable. The Hadith that is generally quoted to support the practices done on the night of 15th Sha'ban is Zaif (weak) according to Muhaddiseen (the scholars of Ahadith) and is not to be put into practice. Narrated Aisha (R.A.), I missed Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) during the night and found him in al-Baqi'. He said: Were you afraid that Allah and His Messenger would deal unjustly with you? I said: Allah's Messenger , I thought that you had gone to some of your other wives. He (the prophet) said: Verily Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, comes down to the heaven of the world in the middle night of Sha'ban and forgives sins even more abundant than the hair of the goats of Kalb. (Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 739; Sunan Ibn-I-Majah, Hadith No. 1389; Ahmad Vol. 6, 238) According to Imam Bukhari and Tirmidhi, the above mentioned Hadith has a broken chain of narrators in two places, and therefore it is weak. Allamah Ibnul Arabi (543H), in his commentary of Sunan -At-Tirmidhi, titled 'Arizatul-Ahwazi', Vol 3, Pg No. 216 adds: '....further, in it Hajjaj Ibn Artaat is not reliable.' However, it is established that the Prophet (pbuh) did visit the Baqi graveyard once, as Allah had commanded him and he prayed for Ahle-Baqi (the people of Baqi), but the exact night of this event is not known, as there is no clear proof in this regard. The prophet had done this by the commandment of Allah (swt), therefore the Prophet was an exception to this act. Aisha (R.A.) says that the Prophet (pbuh) said: "Gabriel came to me and said; Your Rabb commands you to go to the graveyard of Baqi and seek forgiveness for them". (Sahih Muslim, Hadith No. 2256) It is permissible for men to visit graveyard whenever they wish and pray for the dead, however it is not permissible to fix a specific day or night for the purpose and consider it to be of a special virtue unless we find any proof for doing so from the Qur'an or the authentic Ahadith.

Allamah Ibnul Arabi writes: "There is no reliable Hadith regarding the 15th of Sha'ban. Although certain commentators insist that the verse from Surah Dukhan, chapter 44, verse 4: 'In that (night) is made distinct every affair of wisdom', refer to 15th of Sha'ban, but this is not true, as Allah did not reveal the Qur'an in Sha'ban. The Qur'an was revealed in Ramadan, as mentioned in Surah Baqarah, chapter 2, verse 185, and this can only be statement of a person who transgresses the book of Allah (swt) and is careless of his word". (Arizatul Ahwazi, Vol. 3, Page No. 217) According to Hadith of Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2, Hadith No. 1885: ".. Most evil affairs are their innovations, and every innovation is an error..." So Muslims should beware of and steer clear of all innovation and bid'ah.

Wet-Dreams
Q7. A muslim youth has a wet dream. What should he do? (a) If it occurs before sahar in the holy month of Ramadan? (b) If it happens after Sahar? What about fajr prayers? (c) What is the method of taking bath for purification? (d) Is it sinful if wet dream occurs? D. Ahmed. A7. (a) If a person gets a wet dream before sahar in the month of Ramadan and has time to take Ghusle Janaba (bath for purification), then he should do it, and then eat his sahar. However, if he does not have the time for Ghusl, he should take Ghusl before the Fajr Prayer. (b) If a person gets a wet dream after taking sahar in the state of Saum, he should take Ghusl as soon as he wakes up. One's fast does not break by wet dreams. Even if he happens to be in the state of Janaba for some time, there is nothing wrong in it. He should take a Ghusl before offering any Salaah/Prayer. Narrated Abu Bakr bin Abdur Rahman. My father and I went to Aisha (R.A.) and she said , " I testify that Allah's Messenger at times used to get up in the morning in a state of Janaba from sexual intercourse, not from a wet dream, and then he would fast that day." (Shaih Bukhari, Vol. No. 3, Hadith No. 1931) (c) The right way of performing a bath for purification i.e. Ghusle Janaba is given in the following Hadith: Narrated Maimuna, the wife of the Prophet (Phuh): Allah's Messenger (pbuh) performed ablution like that for the Salat (prayer) but did not wash his feet. He washed off the discharged from his private parts and then poured water over his body. He withdrew his feet from that place (the place where he took the bath) and then washed them. And that was his way of taking the bath of Janaba. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 1, Hadith No. 249) (d) There is nothing wrong in getting wet dreams nor is it a sin, as mentioned in the following Hadith: Narrated Ali Ibn Abu Talib

There are three whose actions are not recorded: a lunatic whose mind is deranged till he is restored to consciousness, a sleeper till he awakes, and a boy till he reaches puberty. (Sunan Abu Dawood Vol. 3, Hadith No. 4389)

Social Service in Islam
Q8. What is the concept of social service in Islam? Do we have to work for the Muslim community only or for the whole of humankind as was done by Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) ? Please clarify. Sabith Khan (sabithisthebest@rediffmail.com) A8. In Islam, social service is of immense significance. Whatever services a person renders for the welfare of humankind, and through these deeds, hopes for the blessings of Allah will be regarded as righteous deeds. These deeds if done solely for seeking the pleasure of Allah (and not for recognition or show) will be considered Karze Hasana and will surely be rewarded by Allah. Allah says in the Glorious Qur'an : " Whoever comes (at Judgement) with a good deed will have better than it, and they, from the terror of that day, will be safe." (Surah An-Naml, 27:89) "He that does good shall have ten times as much to his credit " (Surah Al An'am, 6:160) "Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good see it!" (Surah Al-Zilzal, 99:7) Allah repeatedly instructs as in the Glorious Qur'an to behave kindly, to give charity, to serve the poor, the orphans, and the needy. While the qur'an condemns hoarders and misers, it also prohibits ill-treating and threatening the poor and the needy. In all these verses of the Qur'an, Allah has not instructed the Muslims to work only for the welfare of the Muslims. There is no such restraints. All these instructions are general in their scope and hence include both, the Muslims as well as the non-Muslims. The Prophet (pbuh) too has made it clear that striving of a Muslim for the welfare of any of the human beings or living creatures is an act of charity. Narrated Anas bin Malik (RA) : Allah's Messenger said : "There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, but is regarded as a charitable gift for him." (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3, Hadith No. 513) In Islam, removing a harmful thing from way is also Sadaqa (charity). (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4, Hadith No. 232) Narrated Abu Huraira (RA): Allah's Apostle said, "While a man was on the way, he found a thorny branch of a tree on the way and removed it. Allah thanked him for that deed and forgave him." (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3, Hadith No. 652)

Islam ordains us to treat all the living creatures well and with kindness. Social service that is done by a Muslim for any human being, irrespective whether the beneficiary is a Muslim or a non-Muslim, and which gets this beneficiary closer to his Creator Allah and makes him/her understand Islam better, then the reward for the performer of such service will be further multiplied. First, for the social service and second, for getting the other person closer to his Creator. These acts of social service include Islaah if the recipient is a Muslim and Daw'ah if the recipient is a non-Muslim. Narrated Urwa bin Az-Zubair (RA): Hakim bin Hizam said, "O Allah's Apostle! I used to do good deeds in the pre-Islamic period of ignorance, e.g., keeping good relations with my kith and kin, manumitting slaves (releasing and freeing slaves after paying for them) and giving alms. Shall I receive a reward for all that?" Allah's Apostle replied, "You embraced Islam with all the good deeds which you did in the past." (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3, Hadith No. 423 & Sahih Muslim, Vol. 1, Hadith No. 223) Narrated Abu Huraira (RA): Allah's Apostle said, "While a man was walking he felt thirsty and went down a well and drank water from it. On coming out of it, he saw a dog panting and eating mud because of excessive thirst. The man said, 'This (dog) is suffering from the same problem as that of mine. So he (went down the well), filled his shoe with water, caught hold of it with his teeth and climbed up and watered the dog. Allah thanked him for his (good) deed and forgave him." The people asked, "O Allah's Apostle! Is there a reward for us in serving (the) animals?" He replied, "Yes, there is a reward for serving any animate." (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3, Hadith No. 551) Thus, social service in Islam carries great significance and it is to be done to all in general, regardless of the religion. And Allah knows best. The system of Zakaat in Islam, however is a religious duty and obligation upon the Muslims and the beneficiaries of Zakaat are only Muslims. The Qur'an provides details about needy Muslims that are entitled to Zakaat : "Zakaat expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect (Zakaah) and for bringing hearts together (for Islam) and for freeing captives (or slaves) and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the (stranded) traveller - an obligation (imposed) by Allah. And Allah is knowing and wise." (Surah Tauba, 9:60).

Are Menstruating Women Permitted to Recite or Touch the Qur'an ?
Q9. Are menstruating women permitted to recite Surah Fatiha, Ikhlaas, Falak, Nas and Ayatul Kursi at night before going to sleep ? Can menstruating women touch and read the Qur'an ? Does this word in the Qur'an 'Mutahhareen' (none can touch except those who are clean) relate to the Qur'an or to the Tablet Preserved (Lauh-a-Mehfuz) ? Is one allowed to touch Qur'an without wudhu ? Please explain with reference to Hadith. Nishat Bare <nishat_bare@rediffmail.com>

A9. The Glorious Qur'an says : "That this is indeed a Qur'an most honorable in a book well guarded which none shall touch but those who are clean : A Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds." (Surah Al-Waqi'a, 56:77-80) The Kitabim Maknoon mentioned in the above mentioned verse does not refer to the holy Qur'an in the book form, which we have, and the word Mutahhareen does not merely refer to cleanliness of the body. Kitabim Maknoon means a book well guarded or a protected book. This word refers to Lauh-eMahfooz in heaven, which is also mentioned in the following verse "Nay this is a Glorious Qur'an (Inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved!" (Surah Al-Buruj, 85:21 & 22) Mutahhareen does not refer to mere body cleanliness but also refers to those who do not have any uncleanliness or impurity like sin and evil, thus referring to the angels. According to the commentary of Tabari, Mutahhareen means the angels. According to Ibne Hazam, who has discussed the subject in detail, there are no pre-requisites or conditions for touching the Qur'an. Although all the scholars, of all different schools of thought, agree upon it without any difference of opinion that it is preferable to be in wudhu before touching the Qur'an, however, according to Ibne Hazam there is not a single verse of the Qur'an or the authentic hadith saying that being in wudhu is compulsory. Ibne Abbas, Sho'bi, Zahhaq, Zaid bin Ali, Muayyid Billaah, Dawood, Ibne Hazam and Hammad bin Sulaiman are of the opinion that Qur'an can be touched without performing wudhu. (Fiqh-us-Sunnah, As Saiyid Saabiq, 1.52) Regarding the hadith of Muwatta Malik which is often quoted by certain scholars to back up their claims that one should be in wudhu before touching the Qur'an, this hadith narration besides being Mursal, has the Arabic word Taahirun in it, which according to Ibne Katheer, Zamakhshari & others, does not necessarily mean being with wudhu but simply means 'pure', that is, one should not be in ceremonial impurity or menstruation. Scholars of different schools of thought differ on the issue of whether one should compulsorily be in a state of wudhu while touching the Qur'an. According to Hanafi school of thought, one cannot touch the Qur'an without wudhu, but if one uses a piece of cloth or sheet then he can touch it. Some Hanafi Scholars insist that the cover of the Qur'an itself serves as a covering sheet or cloth, while the others believe that one can touch the Qur'an but not the Arabic text within the Qur'an. Amongst the Shafia scholars, some say that one cannot touch the Qur'an without wudhu, despite using covering sheet. Malikis too believe in some what the same. However, they allow touching the Qur'an without wudhu for students and teachers of the Qur'an. It is permissible for a menstruating womam to recite the Qur'an without touching it. Similarly, she can very well recite the portions of the Qur'an, which she does regularly, or even the Ahadith of the prophet (pbuh) . However she shouldn't touch the Qur'an with her hands. Ibne Majah narrates a hadith from Abdullah Ibne Umar (R.A.) that a man in a state of ceremonial impurity, and a menstruating lady should not recite anything from the Qur'an, but this hadith is weak. Allama Ibne Hajr and Allama Ibnul Mulaqqin have rated the hadith as weak in their books AtTalkheesal Habeer, Vol. 1, pg. no. 138, hadith no. 183 & Khulasatul Badrul Muneer, vol. 1, pg. no. 60, hadith no. 170, respectively.

However, if a menstruating woman, or a woman with postpartum impurity, wishes to read the Qur'an, then she may use some sheet or cloth while touching the Qur'an so that her hands do not have direct contact with the Qur'an. According to Maliki school of thought, while doing hifz of the Qur'an, a man in spite of being in ceremonial impurity or a woman in her menstruation, can touch the Qur'an so that they do not forget the portions of the Qur'an memorised by them. And Allah knows best.

Is Allah Masculine In Gender
Q10. Why do we quote Allah (swt) as - Him/His ? Jameela Arif, jameela99@rediffmail.com> A10. a) The Arabic word 'Allah' has no gender. The Arabic grammar has only two genders, male and female and male gender is of two types: 1. Masculine Haqeeqi i.e. Real, which is used to denote the masculine gender in humans, animals. 2. Masculine Majazi i.e. Unreal, wherein it is used as Masculine but in reality it is not so e.g. (Angels) Malak, Layl (Night), Bab (door). The word Allah (swt), too falls in the second category i.e. Masculine Majazi. The English language has got three genders; male, female and neutral. So if we translate the Arabic word 'huwa' into English, it can be translated as 'he' or 'it'. And the Arabic word 'hiya' can be translated as 'she' or 'it'. Allah (swt) is unique and cannot be referred as 'it' in English, since Allah (swt) has no gender, neither male nor female or neutral. Some people may argue that the Arabic word 'huwa' and 'hiya' both can be used for 'it' or neutral gender, then why Allah has used 'huwa' and not 'hiya' ? In Arabic grammar there are certain rules and criteria for feminine gender. First, if it is female by nature, like the word mother (ummum), it becomes feminine in gender. Allah is not a female. Second, if it ends with the third Arabic letter 'ta' like 'mirwahtun' (fan), it becomes feminine. The Arabic word 'Allah' doesn't end with 'ta' so it cannot be feminine. Third, if the word ends with 'Alif Mamduda' (big Alif), it becomes feminine. But the Arabic word 'Allah' doesn't end with 'Alif Mamduda' so, it cannot be feminine. And lastly, if the object occurs in pairs, like pairs of the body, e.g. 'Ainun' (eyes), 'yadun' (hands), they are considered feminine. But Allah (swt) says in the Glorious Qur'an in Surah Ikhlas, chapter 112, verse 1" "Say: He is Allah the ONE and Only;" So Allah (swt) is one and not a pair. Therefore, by default since it cannot be used as 'Hiya' i.e. she or it, Allah (swt) uses huwa i.e. He. And Allah (swt) knows the best. b) Many people have a misconception that Islam is a new religion and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the founder of Islam. However, Islam has been in existence since time immemorial. Islam was present when the first human Adam (pbuh) first set foot on the earth. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is not the founder of Islam but the last and final messenger of Allah.

It is mentioned in the Glorious Qur'an : "And there never was a people without a warner having lived among them (in the past)." (Surah Fatir, 35:24) Narrated Umama that Abu Dhar said : I asked , "O Messenger of Allah, altogether how many messengers were sent?" The Prophet (pbuh) said: One Hundred and Twenty Four Thousand." (Mishkat-Ul-Masabih, authenticated by Shaikh Nasiruddin Albani, Vol. 3, Pg. No. 1599, Hadith No. 5737) The Religion of all the Prophets was 'total submission to God's will' and one word for that in the Arabic language is 'Islam'. It is mentioned in the Qur'an that Abraham (pbuh) was a Muslim. "Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian but he was true in faith and bowed his will to Allah's (which is Islam) and he joined not gods with Allah." (Surah Al Imran, 3:67) It is mentioned in Surah Al Imran Chapter 3 Verse 52 that Jesus (pbuh) was a Muslim. " When Jesus (pbuh) found unbelief on their part he said: " Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah?" said the Disciples: "We are Allah's helpers we believe in Allah and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims" (Surah Al Imran, 3:52) Allah (swt) says in the Glorious Qur'an in Surah Al Imran, Chapter 3 Verse 19: "The Religion before Allah is Islam (Submission to His will)" And further Allah (swt) mentions in Surah Al Imran Chapter 3, Verse 85: "If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah) never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good)" Thus, Islam is the first religion and hence the oldest of all the religions. It is the only true religion. All the other religions came later. The Glorious Qur'an is the last and final revelation of Allah (swt) which was revealed to the last and final messenger prophet Muhammad (pbuh). After him no messenger will come to guide humankind. As Allah (swt) says in the Glorious Qur'an in Surah Al Ahzab, chapter 33 verse 40: "Muhammad (pbuh) is not the father of any of your men but (he is) the Apostle of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets: And Allah (swt) has full knowledge of all things."

Islam & Universal Brotherhood - Part 1
by Dr. Zakir Naik

There are various types of brotherhoods - brotherhood based on blood relations, brotherhood based on regional affiliations, or brotherhood on the basis of race, caste, creeds, ideology, etc. But all these types of brotherhood are limited in their scope, coverage and benefits. Islam, on the other hand, prescribes Universal Brotherhood. It rejects the thought that human beings have been created in castes or in different levels. In the Glorious Qur’an, in Surah Hujurat, Chapter No. 49, Verse No. 13, Allah (SWT) describes the Islamic concept of Universal Brotherhood: ‘O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most Righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). This Verse of the Glorious Qur’an indicates that the whole human race originated from a single pair of male and female. All humans have common great-grandparents and ancestors. Further, Allah (swt) says that he has made nations and tribes, so that humans can recognize each other, and not so that they may despise each other and fight amongst themselves. This verse also clarifies that the criteria for judgment in the sight of Allah (swt) does not depend on caste, colour, creed, gender or wealth, but on Taqwa - God consciousness, piety and righteousness. Anyone who is righteous, pious and God-conscious, is honoured in the sight of Allah (swt). Further it is stated in the Glorious Qur’an in Surah Ar-Rum verse. 22, that: ‘And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages, and your colours: Verily in that are signs for those who know.’ These variations in colour and language are not for the purpose of creating animosity or differences between groups of humans. Every language on earth has its own beauty and significance. A foreign language may sound strange and funny to you, but it sounds sweet to those for whom it is the mother tongue. Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an, in Surah Israa, Ch. 17, Verse 70: ‘We have honoured the sons of Adam’ Allah does not say that He has honoured only the Arabs or the Americans or a particular race. He states that He has honoured all the children of Adam, irrespective of race, caste, colour, creed or gender. While there are many religions that believe that humankind originated from a single pair - Adam and Eve (peace be upon them), there some faiths that say, that it is because of the sin of the woman (Eve - may Allah be pleased with her) that the humans are born in sin. They blame only on the woman, which is Eve, for the downfall of human beings. The Qur’an speaks about the story of Adam and Eve (peace be upon them) in several chapters, but in all the places, the blame is placed equally on both -Adam and Eve (peace be upon them).

According to Surah Araf, Ch. 7 : Verses 19 to 27 Both of them disobeyed Allah (swt), both of them repented, and both were forgiven. Both are equally blamed for the mistake. There is not a single verse in the Glorious Qur’an, which puts the blame only on Eve (may Allah be pleased with her). In Surah Taha, Ch. No. 20, V. No. 121, it is stated that Adam (pbuh) disobeyed Allah (swt). Certain faith, on the other hand state that because Eve disobeyed God, it is she who is responsible for the sin of humankind’. Hence God cursed the woman, and said that she will bear labour pains. This means that pregnancy is a curse. Islam of course does not agree with this unjust view. In Surah Nisa, Ch. No. 4, V. No. 1, Allah states: ‘And (reverence) the wombs (that bore you).’ In Islam, pregnancy does not degrade a woman - it uplifts a woman. In Surah Luqman, Ch. 31, V. No. 14, it is stated that: ‘And we have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents. In travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was his weaning.’ The Qur’an says in Surah, Ahqaf, Ch. 46, V. No. 15...’We have enjoined on man to be kind to his parents. In pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth.’ Islam states that men and women are created equal. According to a Hadith mentioned in Sahih Bukhari, Vol.No. 8, in the Book of Adab, Chapter 2, Hasith No. 2: ‘A person came to Prophet Mohammed (saw), and asked him, ‘Who is the person who deserves the maximum love and companionship in this world ?’ The Prophet replied, ‘Your mother.’ The man asked, Who next?’ The Prophet said, ‘Your mother.’ The man asked, ‘After that who?’ The Prophet repeated for the third time, ‘Your mother.’ The man asked, ‘After that who?’ Then the Prophet said, ‘Your father.’ So, 75% or 3/4 of the love and companionship of the children are due to the mother and only 25% or 1/4 of the love and companionship goes to the father. In other words, the mother gets the gold medal, she gets the silver medal, as well as the bronze medal. The father has to be satisfied with a mere consolation prize.

These are amongst the teachings of Islam. In Islam, men and women are equal - but equality does not mean identicality. There are many misconceptions about the status of women in Islam. These can be removed if one studies the authentic sources of knowledge of Islam and its teachings - the Glorious Qur’an and the Sahih Hadith. While men and women are overall equal, equality does not mean identicality. Let’s take an example. In a class, two students - student ‘A’ and ‘B’ get the highest marks in a subject - 80 out of 100. The question paper consisted of 10 questions, each of 10 marks. In the first answer student ‘A’ gets 9 out of 10, student ‘B’ gets 7 out of 10. So in question 1 student ‘A’ has a degree of advantage than student ‘B’. In question 2, student ‘B’ gets 9 out of 10, and student ‘A’ gets 7 out of 10. So in question 2, student ‘B’ has a degree of advantage, than student ‘A’. In the remaining 8 questions, both get 8 out of 10, and if you total the marks of both the students, both get 80 out of 100. So if you analyze, both student ‘A’ and ‘B’ have got over all equal marks. But in answers to some questions, student ‘A’ has a degree of advantage and in answers to some other questions, student ‘B’ has a degree of advantage - but in terms of overall marks, both are equal. Similarly in Islam, men and women are equal. Brotherhood in Islam does not only mean that the same sexes are equal. ‘Universal Brotherhood’ in Islam means, that besides race, caste, and creed, even the sexes are overall equal. Men and women are equal in Islam, but in some aspects, men have a degree of advantage while in some other aspects, women have a degree of advantage - but overall both are equal. For example, if a robber enters my house, I will not say, ‘I believe in women’s rights, and I believe in women’s liberation and therefore my sister, my wife, my mother, should go and fight the robber.’ Allah says in Surah Nisa, Ch. 4, V 34, ‘God has given the one (man) more strength than the other’’. Men have more strength than the women.’ So where strength is concerned, men have a degree of advantage. Since they have been given more strength, it is their duty to protect women. Here the men have a degree of advantage. Where love and companionship from children is concerned, the mother gets three times more love and companionship than the father. Here women have a degree of advantage.

Which School of Thought

Should A Muslim Follow?
Q13. There are four schools of thoughts and we can follow any one of them. Is it permissible to follow two schools of thought to suit the situation ? For example, the Shafi school of thought considers 2.25 pm as the time for Asr prayers in our town while the Hanafi school of thought has fixed time at 3.08. So can we follow any of these two timings to suit our necessity ? M. A. Hazarika, Seujpur, Dibrugarh 1. Muslims should be united Muslims today, are divided amongst themselves. Such divisions are not endorsed by Islam. Islam believes in fostering unity amongst its followers. The Glorious Qur’an says: “And hold fast, altogether, by the rope Which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves.” [Al-Qur’an 3:103] Which is the rope of Allah that is being referred to in this verse? It is the Glorious Qur’an. The Glorious Qur’an is the rope of Allah which all Muslims should hold fast together. There is double emphasis in this verse. Beside saying ‘hold fast all together’ it also says, ‘be not divided’. The Qur’an further says, “Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger” [Al-Qur’an 4:59] All the Muslims should follow the Qur’an and authentic Ahadith and ensure that they are not divided among themselves. 2. It is prohibited to make divisions in Islam. The Glorious Qur’an says: “As for those who divide Their religion and break up Into sects, you have no part in them in the least: Their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.” [Al-Qur’an 6:159] In this verse Allah (swt) says that one should disassociate oneself from those who divide their religion and break it up into sects.

But when one asks a Muslim, “who are you?” the common answer is either ‘I am a Hanafi or Shafi or Maliki or Hanbali. Some call themselves ‘Ahle-Hadith’. 3. Four Schools of Thoughts The Islamic world has produced several learned Islamic scholars (Imams), but out of these, four became more famous and their teachings spread in different parts of the world. It is a misconception that a Muslim should follow any one of these four schools of thoughts i.e. Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali or Maliki. There is no proof whatsoever in the Qur’an or any authentic Hadith that a Muslim should only follow one of these four Imams. 4. Respect all the Great Scholars of Islam. We must respect all the great scholars of Islam, including the four Imaams, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi, Imam Hanbal and Imam Malik (may Allah be pleased with them all). They were great scholars and may Allah reward them for their research and hard work. One can have no objection if someone agrees with the view and research of any one or more from these four great scholars of Islam. 5. All Four Imam said follow the Qur’an and Sunnah. All the four great Imams said that if any of their Fatwas or teachings contradict Allah’s word, i.e. the Qur’an, or the sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) i.e. authentic Hadith, then that particulars Fatwa of theirs should be rejected, and the Sunnah of the Prophet should be followed. Refer: a. b. c. d. Eeqaadh al-Himam, Al Fulaanee (Imam Abu Hanifa) Al-Majmoo’ of an-Nawawee (1/63) (Imam Shafi) Jaami ‘Bayan al-Ilm, Ibn Abdul-Barr (Imam Malik) Eeqaadh al-Himam (Imam Hanbal)

To give you an example in this context – Imam shafi said that when a women touches a man who is in a state of wudhu, the wudhu of the man breaks. However, this ruling of Imam Shafi contradicts the authentic saying of the Prophet.

Narrated Aisha The Prophet (may peace be upon him) kissed one of his wives and went out for saying prayer. He did not perform ablution. (Sunan Abu Dawood Vol. 1 Chapter No. 70 Hadith No. 179) Thus this particular teaching of Imam Shafi contradicts the authentic saying of the Prophet. So I reject this specific ruling of Imam Shafi who himself said , “ If I say something, then compare it to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His messenger and if it agrees to them, then accept it and that which goes against them, then reject it and throw my saying against the wall” – This is a saying of ash-Shafi’ee-rahimaullah. See Al-Majmoo’ of an-Nawawee (1/63). Thus by rejecting this particular teaching of Imam Shafi which contradicts the authentic Hadith, I am practically a better follower of Imam Shafi than those who call themselves ‘Shafi’. Similarly in practice, I claim to be a better follower of Imam Abu Hanifa than those who call themselves ‘Hanafi’. I claim to be a better follower of Imam Hanbal than those who call themselves ‘Hanbali’. I claim to be a better follower of Imam Malik than those who call themselves ‘Maliki”. If being a ‘Ahle-Hadith’ means following Qur’an and authentic Hadith then I claim to be a better follower of the Qur’an and authentic Hadith than those who call themselves ‘ Ahle-Hadith’. All these are mere labels (Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali, Maliki, Ahle-Hadith) that are not endorsed by the Qur’an or the Sahih Ahadith. The only label or title given by the Qur’an and the Sahih Ahadith is MUSLIM. 6. All the Groups have sub divisions I personally have no objection if someone calls himself Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali, Maliki or Ahle Hadith. People give different labels to themselves to identify which set of teachings they prefer to follow and to disassociate themselves from those people who follow wrong practices. From history we come to know that all the labels given to different groups, at a later stage the people from that group themselves did not follow their teachings and made new sub-groups. Therefore in all the groups you find a sub-division. But as far as giving a label to identify what a person practices in Islam is concerned, there can not be better label than what Allah (swt) has given i.e. a Muslim. 7. Our Prophet was a Muslim “Who was our beloved Prophet (pbuh)? Was he a Hanafi or a Shafi, or a Hanbali or a Maliki ?” No! He was a Muslim, like all the other Prophets and Messengers of Allah before him.

It is mentioned in chapter 3 verse 52 of Al-Qur’an that Jesus (pbuh) was a Muslim. Further , in chapter 3 verse 67, Al-Qur’an says that Ibrahim (pbuh) was not a Jew or a Christian but was a Muslim. 8. Qur’an says call yourselves Muslims There is no Qur’anic verse or any authentic Hadith that says you should call yourselves Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali, Maliki or Ahle Hadith. If anyone poses a Muslim the question who are you, he should say “I am a Muslim, not a Hanafi or a Shafi or a Ahle-Hadith”. In Surah Fussilat chapter 41 verse 33 Allah (swt) says: “Who is better in speech than one who calls (men) to Allah, works righteousness, and says, ‘I am of those Who bow in Islam (Muslim)?’ “[Al-Qur’an 41:33] The Qur’an instructs, “Say: I am of those who bow in Islam”. In other words, say, “I am a Muslim”. The Prophet (pbuh) dictated letters to non-Muslim kings and rulers inviting them to accept Islam. In these letters he mentioned the verse of the Qur’an from Surah Al Imran chapter 3 verse 64: Say ye: “Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (submitting to Allah’s Will).”[Al-Qur’an 3:64] 9. Lip Service Muslims Allah knew that even in the Muslim Ummah there will be many people who claim to be Muslims (i.e. claim to submit their will to Allah) but practically will not follow Allah’s commands. Allah refers to such people in the Qur’an as lip service Believers (Al Qur’an 5:41). Thus we can conclude that those who claim to be Muslims but do not follow Qur’an and Sunnah are Lip-Service Muslims. Those who follow the Qur’an and authentic Hadith should not change their label, and stick to the best label given by Allah (swt) i.e. Muslim and which the Prophet also called himself. 10. The Prophet had said that there would be 73 sects. Some may argue by quoting the Hadith of our beloved Prophet, from Sunan Abu Dawood Hadith No. 4579. In this Hadith the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said, “My community will split up into seventy-three sects.”

This hadith reports that the prophet predicted the emergence of seventy-three sects. He did not say that Muslims should be active in dividing themselves into sects. The Glorious Qur’an commands us not to create sects. Those who follow the teachings of the Qur’an and Sahih Hadith, and do not create sects are the people who are on the true path. According to Tirmidhi Hadith No. 171, the prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said, “My Ummah will be fragmented into seventy three sects, and all of them will be in Hell fire except one sect.” The companions asked Allah’s messenger which group that would be. Where upon he replied, “It is the one to which I and my companions belong”. The Glorious Qur’an mentions in several verses, “Obey Allah and obey His Messenger”. A true Muslim should only follow the Glorious Qur’an and the Sahih Hadith. He can agree with the views of any scholar as long as they conform to the teachings of the Qur’an and Sahih Hadith. If such views go against the Word of Allah, or the Sunnah of His Prophet, then they carry no weight, regardless of how learned the scholar might be. A true Muslim will not follow any ruling or teaching of any great scholar of Islam if that particular ruling or teaching contradicts the Qur’an and Saheeh Hadith. Thus, the only school of thought that a Muslim should follow, is that of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The only Madhab that a Muslim should follow, is the Madhab of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). And Allah knows the Best. 11. Time for Asr Salah As far as your specific query regarding the timing of Asr Salah is concerned, it is mentioned in Sunan Abu Dawood Vol. 1 Chapter No. 147 Hadith No. 393, Narrrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said : Gabriel (pbuh) …. prayed the Asr Salah with me when shadow of everything was as long as itself….. On the following day he prayed the Asr Prayer with me when his shadow was twice as long as himself….. Then turning to me he said : Muhammad, this is the time observed by the prophets before you, and the time is anywhere between these two times. It is mentioned in Sunan Abu Dawood Volume No. 1 Chapter No. 158 Hadith No. 426, Umm Farwah said : The Apostle of Allah (pbuh) was asked : Which of the actions is best ? He replied: Observing prayer early in its period.

Therefore it is preferable to pray early (i.e. at the beginning of the prescribed period for Salaah). For all the Salaah except Isha, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said it is preferable to pray early. Narrated Saiyar bin Salama : The Prophet loved to delay the Isha… and he disliked sleeping before it and speaking after it. (Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol. 1 Hadith No. 522) However, if a person is unable to pray at the early hour, it is permitted to pray at any time within the prescribed period for Salaah. Only If all the Muslims read the Qur’an with understanding and adhere to Sahih Hadith, Insha-Allah most of these differences would be solved and we could be one united Muslim Ummah. And Allah Knows the Best.

Islam And Universal Brotherhood – Part 3
PRACTICAL DEMONSTRATION OF UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD DURING MUSLIM PRAYER AND HAJJ: Muslims demonstrate Universal Brotherhood five times a day in their prayer, i.e. Salaah. When we offer Salaah, we practically demonstrate Universal Brotherhood. It is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari, Vol. No. 1, in the Book of Adhan, Ch. No. 75, H. No. 692: Hazrat Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said that when they stood for Salaah, "Everyone of us used to put his shoulder with the shoulder of his companion and his foot with the foot of his companion." It is mentioned in Sunan Abu Dawood, Volume No. 1, in the Book of Salaah, Ch. No. 245, H. No. 666, that our beloved Prophet said: “Set the rows in order, stand shoulder to shoulder, close the gaps, be pliant in the hands of your brethren, and do not leave openings for the devil…” The Prophet was not referring to the devil with the two horns and a tail, which you see in the Onida TV Advt. in India. The Prophet was referring to the devil of Racism, of Caste, of Colour, of Wealth. Irrespective of whether you are rich or poor, a king or a pauper, when you stand for prayers, for Salaah, stand shoulder to shoulder, so that brotherhood increases and it is practically demonstrated that all are equal and the devil of racism, of caste, of colour, of creed and of wealth does not came in between you.

The best example of International Brotherhood, is the pilgrimage prescribed by Islam – the Hajj. About two and a half million people from various parts of the world assemble in Makkah to perform Hajj. People from various parts of the world – from America, from Canada, from U.K, from Singapore, from Malaysia, from India, from Pakistan, from Indonesia and other parts of the world. Men are dressed up in two pieces of unsown cloth that is preferably white. One cannot identify nor ascertain whether the person standing next to him he is a King or a pauper. The Hajj is the best example of International Brotherhood. Hajj is the biggest annual gathering of the world. Two and a half million people gather every year. Irrespective whether they are rich or poor, black or white and from whichever part of the world they have come from, all are dressed in the same attire. ISLAM STATES THAT ALL HUMANS ARE EQUAL: Prophet Mohammed (saw) said in the speech of his farewell pilgrimage ‘There is only one God, and no Arab is superior to a Non-Arab; nor is a Non-Arab superior to an Arab; a White is not superior to a Black, nor a Black over the White. The only criterion for superiority is Taqwa – i.e. righteousness, piety, and Godconsciousness. In the sight of Allah, the Creator, all are equal. Only if you are more pious, more God-conscious, and more righteous, can you be superior to another human and this too is not something that humans can perceive – this superiority is only in the sight of Almighty God. While the Hajj is performed, every person recites and repeats, ‘Labbaik Allah humma labbaik’ which means: ‘Here I am O my Lord; here I am. Here I am –You have no partners – here I am. All praises are due to You – all bounties are yours. To You belongs the whole dominion, the whole Universe, and You have no partners.’ The corner stone of the Islamic faith is the belief in one and only sole Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe who alone deserves worship and obedience. It is only through belief in one God can there be Universal Brotherhood. The same God has created all human beings, irrespective whether you are rich or poor, whether a male or female, whether black or white, whichever caste, colour, creed you belong to – all humans are equal – they are created by the one and only Creator, Almighty God. Only if you believe in and acknowledge the uniqueness and Oneness of God can you truly practice Universal Brotherhood. All major religions that prescribe belief in the concept of God have at a higher level the belief in the existence of only One Almighty God. CONCEPT OF GOD IN MAJOR RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD AND ITS IMPACT ON UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD: In the last issue of the Islamic Voice we had stated that it is only through belief in one God can there be Universal Brotherhood. The corner stone of the Islamic faith is the belief in the one and only sole Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe who alone deserves worship and obedience. All humans are equal since they are created by the one and only Creator, Almighty God. Only if you believe in and acknowledge the uniqueness and Oneness of God can you truly practice Universal Brotherhood. All major religions that prescribe belief in the concept of God have at a higher level the belief in the existence of only One Almighty God. In this issue, we shall study the concept of God in major religions of the world and study the impact it has on the concept of universal brotherhood. According to the Oxford Dictionary, Religion means ’a belief in a super human controlling power – a God, or gods, that deserve worship and obedience’. This implies that if you want to analyze any religion, you have to understand the concept of God in that Religion. The best way to analyze the concept of God in any Religion is to analyze what the scriptures of that religion speak of Almighty God, and not by examining what its adherents do or believe because many of the followers themselves do not know what their religious scriptures state about

Almighty God. The Glorious Qur’an says in Surah Al Imran, Ch. No. 3, V. No. 64: Say: "O people of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: Which is the first term? that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not from among ourselves Lords and patrons other than Allah." If then they turn back say: "Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah's will)." Allah shows you a way how to speak with different people. It says ‘come to common terms as between us and you.’ So in order to understand the concept of God, in any Religion, we have to understand what that Scripture has to speak about Almighty God. If you understand the concept of God, you will understand the Religion. 1. Common Concept of God in Hinduism: Hinduism is commonly perceived as a polytheistic religion. Indeed, most Hindus would attest to this, by professing belief in multiple Gods. While some Hindus believe in the existence of three gods, some believe in thousands of gods, and some others in thirty three crore i.e. 330 million Gods. However, learned Hindus, who are well versed in their scriptures, insist that a Hindu should believe in and worship only one God. The major difference between the Hindu and the Muslim perception of God is the common Hindus’ belief in the philosophy of Pantheism. Pantheism considers everything, living and non-living, to be Divine and Sacred. The common Hindu, therefore, considers everything as God. He considers the trees as God, the sun as God, the moon as God, the monkey as God, the snake as God and even human beings as manifestations of God! Islam, on the contrary, exhorts man to consider himself and his surroundings as examples of Divine Creation rather than as divinity itself. Muslims therefore believe that everything is God’s i.e. the word ‘God’ with an apostrophe ‘s’. In other words the Muslims believe that everything belongs to God. The trees belong to God, the sun belongs to God, the moon belongs to God, the monkey belongs to God, the snake belongs to God, the human beings belong to God and everything in this universe belongs to God. Thus the major difference between the Hindu and the Muslim beliefs is the difference of the apostrophe ‘s’. The Hindu says everything is God. The Muslim says everything is God’s.. If we can solve this difference of apostrophe ‘s’, the Hindus and the Muslims we will be united. How do we do it? The Qur’an says ‘come to common terms as between us and you.’ Which is the first term? ‘that we worship none but Allah.’ 2. Concept of God according to Hindu Scriptures: We can gain a better understanding of the concept of God in Hinduism by analysing Hindu scriptures. BHAGAVAD GITA: The most popular amongst all the Hindu scriptures is the Bhagavad Gita. Consider the following verse from the Gita: “Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.” [Bhagavad Gita 7:20] The Gita states that people who are materialistic worship demigods i.e. ‘gods’ besides the True God. UPANISHADS: The Upanishads are considered sacred scriptures by the Hindus. The following verses from the Upanishads refer to the Concept of God: i) “Ekam evadvitiyam” “He is One only without a second.” [Chandogya Upanishad 6:2:1] ii) “Na casya kascij janita na cadhipah.” “Of Him there are neither parents nor lord.” [Svetasvatara Upanishad 6:9] iii) "Na tasya pratima asti” “There is no likeness of Him.” [Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:19] iv) The following verses from the Upanishad allude to the inability of man to imagine God in a particular form: “Na samdrse tisthati rupam asya, na caksusa pasyati kas canainam.” “His form is not to be seen; no one sees Him with the eye.” [Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:20] THE VEDAS: Vedas are considered the most sacred of all the Hindu scriptures. There are four principal Vedas: Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samveda and Atharvaveda. 1. Yajurveda The following verses from the Yajurveda echo a similar concept of God:

i) “na tasya pratima asti” “There is no image of Him.” [Yajurveda 32:3] ii) "shudhama poapvidham" “He is bodyless and pure.” [Yajurveda 40:8]

Inheritance
Q15. Why Islam proposes a discriminatory share of Inheritance by giving women only half of what men receive? Muhammad Muinul Islam mmislam92@hotmail.com

The Glorious Qur’an contains specific and detailed guidance regarding the division of the inherited wealth, among the rightful beneficiaries. The Qur’anic verses that contain guidance regarding inheritance are: Surah Baqarah, chapter 2 verse 180, Surah Baqarah, chapter 2 verse 240, Surah Nisa, chapter 4 verse 7-9, Surah Nisa, chapter 4 verse 19, Surah Nisa, chapter 4 verse 33 and Surah Maidah, chapter 5 verse 106-108. There are three verses in the Qur’an that broadly describe the share of close relatives i.e. Surah Nisa chapter 4 verses 11, 12 and 176. The translation of these verses is as follows: “Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females, if only daughters, two or more, their share is two-thirds of the inheritance; If only one, her share is a half. For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left children; If no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers (or sisters) the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies and debts. You know not whether your parents or your children are nearest to you in benefit. These are settled portions ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. In what your wives leave, your share is half, If they leave no child, but if they leave a child, you get a fourth; after payment of legacies and debts. In what you leave; their share is a fourth, if you leave no child; but if you leave a child, they get an eight; after payment of legacies and debts. If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question, has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third; after payment of legacies and debts; so that no loss is caused (to anyone). Thus it is ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-Knowing Most Forbearing” [Al-Qur’an 4:11-12] “They ask thee for a legal decision. Say: Allah directs (thus) about those who leave no descendants or ascendants as heirs. If it is a man that dies, leaving a sister but no child, she shall have half the inheritance. If (such a deceased was) a woman who left no child, her brother takes her inheritance: If there are two sisters, they shall have two thirds of the inheritance (between them). If there are brothers and sisters, (they share), the male having twice the share of the female. Thus doth Allah (swt) make clear to you (His law), lest you err. And Allah has knowledge of all things. [Al-Qur’an 4:176] In most of the cases, a woman inherits half of what her male counterpart inherits. However, this is not always the case. In case the deceased has left no ascendant or descendent but has left the uterine brother and sister, each of the two inherit one sixth. If the deceased has left children, both the parents that is mother and father get an equal share and inherit one sixth each. In certain cases, a woman can also inherit a share that is double that of the male. If the deceased is a woman who has left no children, brothers or sisters and is survived only by her husband, mother

and father, the husband inherits half the property while the mother inherits one third and the father the remaining one sixth. In this particular case, the mother inherits a share that is double that of the father. It is true that as a general rule, in most cases, the female inherits a share that is half that of the male. For instance in the following cases: 1. Daughter inherits half of what the son inherits, 2. Wife inherits 1/8th and husband 1/4th if the deceased has no children. 3. Wife inherits 1/4th and husband 1/2 if the deceased has children 4. If the deceased has no ascendant or descendent, the sister inherits a share that is half that of the brother. In Islam a woman has no financial obligation and the economical responsibility lies on the shoulders of the man. Before a woman is married it is the duty of the father or brother to look after the lodging, boarding, clothing and other financial requirements of the woman. After she is married it is the duty of the husband or the son. Islam holds the man financially responsible for fulfilling the needs of his family. In order to do be able to fulfill the responsibility the men get double the share of the inheritance. For example, if a man dies and after giving the shares of other relatives, if the children (i.e one son and one daughter) inherit Rs. One Hundred and Fifty Thousand, the son will inherit One Hundred Thousand rupees and the daughter only Fifty Thousand rupees. Out of the one hundred thousand which the son inherits, as his duty towards his family, he may have to spend on them almost the entire amount or say about eighty thousand and thus he has a small percentage of inheritance, say about twenty thousand, left for himself. On the other hand, the daughter, who inherits fifty thousand, is not bound to spend a single penny on anybody. She can keep the entire amount for herself. Would you prefer inheriting one hundred thousand rupees and spending eighty thousand from it, or inheriting fifty thousand rupees and having the entire amount to yourself?

Islam And Universal Brotherhood – Part 4
Concept Of God In Semitic Religions
In the last two issues, we had stated that it is only through belief in one unique God, can there be Universal Brotherhood. Only when one believes in and acknowledges the Uniqueness and Oneness of God can he/she truly practice Universal Brotherhood. All major religions that prescribe belief in the concept of God have at a higher level the belief in the Oneness and Uniqueness of the Almighty Creator. In the last issue, we examined the concept of God in Hinduism. In this issue, we shall study the concept of God in other major religions of the world and the impact it has on the concept of universal brotherhood. Concept Of God in Judaism: (i) The following verse from the book of Deuteronomy contains an exhortation from Moses (pbuh): “Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adna Ikhad” It is a Hebrew quotation which means:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” [The Bible, Deuteronomy 6:4] The following verses are from the Book of Isaiah: (ii) “I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour.” [The Bible, Isaiah 43:11] (iii) “I am Lord, and there is none else There is no God besides me.” [The Bible, Isaiah 45 : 5] (iv) “I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me.” [The Bible, Isaiah 46:9] (v) Judaism condemns idol worship in the following verses: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” “ Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.” [The Bible, Exodus 20:3-5] (vi) A similar message is repeated in the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 5, verses 7-9. In Judaism too, we find the same thread of monotheism, which is seen in other religions. Position of Jesus (pbuh) in Islam: Before we examine the concept of God in Christianity, let us clarify at the outset that:
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Islam is the only non-Christian faith, which makes it an article of faith to believe in Jesus (pbuh). No Muslim is a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus (pbuh). We believe that he was one of the mightiest Messengers of Allah (swt). We believe that he was born miraculously, without any male intervention, which many modern day Christians do not believe. We believe he was the Messiah translated Christ (pbuh). We believe that he gave life to the dead with God’s permission. We believe that he healed those born blind, and the lepers with God’s permission.

Concept Of God In Christianity
1. Jesus Christ (pbuh) never claimed Divinity

One may ask, if both Muslims and Christians love and respect Jesus (pbuh), where exactly is the parting of ways? The major difference between Islam and Christianity is the Christians’ insistence on the supposed divinity of Christ (pbuh). A study of the Christian scriptures reveals that Jesus (pbuh) never claimed divinity. In fact there is not a single unequivocal statement in the entire Bible where Jesus (pbuh) himself says, “I am God” or where he says, “worship me”. In fact the Bible contains statements attributed to Jesus (pbuh) in which he preached quite the contrary. The following statements in the Bible are attributed to Jesus Christ (pbuh): 1. “My Father is greater than.” [The Bible, John 14:28] 2. “My Father is greater than all.” [The Bible, John 10:29] 3. “...I cast out devils by the Spirit of God....” [The Bible, Mathew 12:28] 4. “...I with the finger of God cast out devils....” [The Bible, Luke 11:20] 5. “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgement is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” [The Bible, John 5:30] 2. The Mission of Jesus Christ (pbuh) - to Fulfill the Law Jesus (pbuh) never claimed divinity for himself. He clearly announced the nature of his mission. Jesus (pbuh) was sent by God to confirm the previous Judaic law. This is clearly evident in the following statements attributed to Jesus (pbuh) in the Gospel of Mathew: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” [The Bible, Mathew 5:17-20] 3. God Sent Jesus’ (pbuh) The Bible mentions the prophetic nature of Jesus (pbuh) mission in the following verses: 1. “... and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” [The Bible, John 14:24] 2. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.” [The Bible, John 17:3]

4. Jesus Refuted even the Remotest Suggestion of his Divinity Consider the following incident mentioned in the Bible: “And behold, one came and said unto him, ‘Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?’ And he said unto him, ‘Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’ “ [The Bible, Mathew 19:16-17] Jesus (pbuh) did not say that to have the eternal life of paradise, man should believe in him as Almighty God or worship him as God, or believe that Jesus (pbuh) would die for his sins. On the contrary he said that the path to salvation was through keeping the commandments. It is indeed striking to note the difference between the words of Jesus Christ (pbuh) and the Christian dogma of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus (pbuh). 5. Jesus (pbuh) of Nazareth - a Man Approved of God The following statement from the Bible supports the Islamic belief that Jesus (pbuh) was a prophet of God. “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.” [The Bible, Acts 2:22] 6. The First Commandment is that God is One The Bible does not support the Christian belief in trinity at all. One of the scribes once asked Jesus (pbuh) as to which was the first commandment of all, to which Jesus (pbuh) merely repeated what Moses (pbuh) had said earlier: “Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adonai Ikhad.” This is a Hebrew quotation, which means: “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord.” [The Bible, Mark 12:29] It is striking that the basic teachings of the Church such as Trinity and vicarious atonement find no mention in the Bible. In fact, various verses of the Bible point to Jesus’ (pbuh) actual mission, which was to fulfill the law revealed to Prophet Moses (pbuh). Indeed Jesus (pbuh) rejected any suggestions that attributed divinity to him, and explained his miracles as the power of the One True God. Jesus (pbuh) thus reiterated the message of monotheism that was given by all earlier prophets of Almighty God. In this manner we find that the concept of God in Judaism and Christianity, as prescribed by their srciptures, is that of One Unique God who is the Creator of all. Arising out of this concept we have equality of all humans since all are created by the same God. Next month we shall InshaAllah study the concept of God in Islam and the impact it has on implementing and practice of Universal Brotherhood.

Note: All quotations of the Bible are taken from the King James Version.

Does Islam make the Face Veil Obligatory for Muslim Women?
Muslim scholars differ amongst themselves on the issue of the obligatory duty (or otherwise) of veiling of the face by Muslim women. In Islam, rules and regulations and the do's and don'ts are derived from the word of Allah, i.e. the Glorious Qur'an and the teachings of the Messenger of Allah, i.e. the authentic Ahadith.
Haroon Abdullah New Delhi

The Qur'an says:
"O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those charged with authority among you. If you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger if you do believe in Allah and the Last Day: that is best and most suitable for final determination."
(Al-Qur'an 4:59)

As mentioned in the verse quoted above, when people in authority, the rulers, leaders, imams and scholars differ amongst themselves, our Creator instructs us to look into the Qur'an and the authentic Ahadith for guidance. The legitimacy, relevance and accuracy of the reasons and evidence provided by these people should be evaluated in the light of the Qur'an and the Sunnah. However, it should be borne in mind that infallibility belongs to Allah alone and a scholar, being a human, can make an error of judgement.

There is no clear-cut authentic hadith to the effect of making the face veil obligatory. Those scholars, who insist that covering the face is obligatory for Muslim women, interpret 'al-idnaa' in the verse of the jilbaab (Al-Qur'an: 33:59) to mean, "covering the face". This interpretation is erroneous because the basic meaning of the word in Arabic is "to come close", as the well-known scholar, ar-Raaghib al-Asbahaanee mentions in his authoritative dictionary 'al-Mufradaat'. Some people claim that jilbaab is "a garment which covers the face". This too is a misinterpretation as it is contrary to the interpretation of the leading scholars of past and present as well, who define jilbaab as a garment which women drape over their head scarves (khimaar). Some people claim that the khimaar (headscarf) in Al-Qur'an 24:31 covers the head and the face, whereas linguistically the word only means a head covering. The Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said "Allah does not accept the prayer of a woman who has reached puberty unless she wears a khimaar".
(Sunan Abu Dawood, vol. 1, hadith No. 641)

However, no scholar insists on covering the face in Salaah for women based on the hadith quoted above, which further substantiates that khimaar does not mean covering the face. Shaykh Naasiruddeen al-Albaanee, one of the foremost scholars of recent times has clarified in detail, the errors made by these scholars who insist on the obligatory nature of the face veil in his books ar-Radd al-Mufhim & Jilbaab al-Mar'ah al-Muslimah (3rd edition, 1996, al-Maktabah al-Islaamiyyah). Likewise, other scholars like Ibn Muflih alHambalee, an-Nawawee, al-Qaadee 'Iyaad are too of the opinion that covering the face is not obligatory. As stated earlier, that there is not a single authentic hadith that makes covering the face obligatory. On the other hand, we find several ahadith which prove that covering the face is not compulsory in Islam. For instance, once while the prophet was admonishing and preaching to a group of women after having admonished the men on the Id day, "...a woman having a dark spot on her cheek stood up..." seeking clarification on the subject the prophet was discussing. (Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2, Hadith No. 1926) It is understood from the above-mentioned hadith that the woman having interaction with the prophet was not covering her face nor did the prophet command her to do so. It is incumbent upon every Muslim to enjoin right and forbid wrong, as Allah instructed us in the Glorious Qur'an. Thus we cannot expect the prophet, on whom the Qur'an was revealed, to let the woman keep her face uncovered after having known the obligation of covering the face.
Narrated Ata bin Abi Rabah (R.A.)

Ibn 'Abbas said to me, "Shall I show you a woman of the people of Paradise?" I said, "Yes." He said, "This black lady came to the Prophet and said..." (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 7, Hadith No. 555 - Dar Al Arabia- Beirut- Lebanon & Sahih Muslim Hadith No. 6571-Darusslam- Arabic)

The hadith quoted above proves that the 'woman of the people of the paradise' was not covering her face when she had visited the prophet nor was she covering it when Ibn 'Abbas was discussing about her later. Some may argue by saying she could be recognized owing to the dark complexion of her hand and not due to the exposure of her face. However, this argument would carry no weight since she was not the only black woman at the time of the prophet. Moreover, to identify a person, the aspect of exposure of the face is of immense significance. The Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said, "...The Muhrima (a woman in the state of Ihram) should not cover her face, or wear gloves."
(Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3, Hadith No. 1838)

With regards to the hadith quoted above, some people say that the commandment of the prophet (pbuh) not to cover the face is specifically for the women in the state of Ihram, thus it cannot be used as an evidence because in Ihram certain rules and regulations change. However, the point to be noted here is that the things that are Mustahab (recommended) can be made Haraam (forbidden), like the cutting of nails, even the things that are Mubah (permissible) or Mustahab (recommended) can be made Fard (obligatory), e.g. wearing two pieces of white unsewn cloth is made Fard for a man, while normally it is Mubah (permissible). But anything that is Haraam in the normal course of life can never be made Fard. Hence, if exposing the face is Haraam for women, then how can it be made Fard in Ihraam? During the day of Nahr (10th Dhul-Hijja), when Al-Fadl bin 'Abbas was riding behind the prophet on his she -camel, "...a beautiful woman from the tribe of Khath'am came, asking the verdict of Allah's Apostle. Al-Fadl started looking at her as her beauty attracted him. The Prophet looked behind while Al-Fadl was looking at her; so the Prophet held out his hand backwards and caught the chin of Al-Fadl and turned his face (to the other side) in order that he should not gaze at her..."
(Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 8, Hadith No. 6228)

In the above-mentioned hadith we find Al-Fadl looking at the lady because her beauty attracted him. Here too, it is understood that the face of the lady was exposed as the hadith says that the woman was beautiful. Obviously, it is the face that plays the most significant role in making a person being perceived as ugly or beautiful. In spite of this, the prophet didn't instruct the lady to cover her face but instead turned the face of Al-Fadl in order to prevent him from staring at her, further substantiating the verse of the Qur'an from Surah An-Noor, 24:30, which says: "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do." The Qur'an further says in the next verse:

And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof...
(Al-Qur'an 24:31)

When Ibne Abbaas (RA), the leading commentator of the Qur'an was asked about the verse mentioned above as to what it meant, he replied, "it refers to the face and hands". (Collected by Ibn Abee Shaybah in al-Musannaf, Vol. 3, p. 540 & 541, hadith no. 16997 & 17012 and al-Bayhaqi in Sunan alKubraa. Al-Albaanee ruled in Jilbaab al-Mar'ah al-Muslimah, pp 59-60, that the isnaad of this statement is saheeh.) Some scholars argue that all the ahadith, which speak of women's faces being seen, are of the time earlier than the revelation of the verses of Al-Qur'an 33:59 & 24:31, which make covering the face compulsory. Firstly, as discussed earlier, these Qur'anic verses do not make covering the face compulsory for women. Secondly, to prove that these verses make the covering of women's face compulsory, they have to quote an authentic hadith for it, which they don't. Thirdly most of the ahadith quoted above, are of the time after these Qur'anic verses were revealed. Thus, it can be concluded that covering the face is not obligatory for women. However, covering the face was obligatory for the Ummul Mu'mineen, the wives of the Prophet (pbuh) as was Tahajjud obligatory for the Prophet (pbuh). Although Muslims are exempted from its obligation, it is still a highly recommended Sunnah for the Muslims. The scholars unanimously agree that it is preferable for Muslim women to cover their faces. Thus it is not compulsory for Muslim Women to cover their faces but those women who cover their faces may continue to do so if they wish. And Allah knows the best. Islam and Universal Brotherhood - Part 4..... Cont
Islam prescribes Universal Brotherhood. It rejects the thought that human beings have been created in castes or in different levels. In the Glorious Qur’an, in Surah Hujurat, Chapter No. 49, Verse No. 13, Allah (swt) describes the Islamic concept of Universal Brotherhood : ‘O human kind, we have created you from a single pair of male and female, and have divided you into nations and tribes, so that you shall recognize each other (not that you shall despise each other), verily the most honoured in the sight of Allah (swt) is the person who has Taqwa (who fears Allah and is Righteous), Allah (swt) is all knowing and well acquainted with all things.’ This Verse of the Glorious Qur’an indicates that the whole human race originated from a single pair of male and female. All humans have common great grandparents and ancestors. Further, Allah (swt) says that he has made nations and tribes, so that humans can recognize each other, and not so that they may despise each other and fight amongst themselves. This verse also clarifies that the criteria for judgement in the sight of Allah (swt) does not depend on caste, colour, creed, gender or wealth, but on Taqwa – God consciousness, piety and

righteousness. Anyone who is righteous, pious and God-conscious is honoured in the sight of Allah (swt). The corner stone of the Islamic faith is the belief in one and only sole Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe who alone deserves worship and obedience. The same God has created all human beings, irrespective whether you are rich or poor, whether a male or female, whether black or white, whichever caste, colour, creed you belong to – all humans are equal – they are created by the one and only Creator, Almighty God. Only if you believe in and acknowledge the uniqueness and Oneness of God you truly practice Universal Brotherhood. top

Concept of God in Islam
The best reply that any person can give you regarding the concept of God in Islam, is to quote to you Surah Al Ikhlas, Ch. No. 112, V. No. 1 to 4, which say : “Say : He is Allah the One and Only; Allah the Eternal Absolute; He begets not nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.” This a four-line definition of Almighty God. If a person or any entity claims to be god, and if she / he satisfies the criteria specified in this four–line definitions, we Muslims have no objection in accepting that person or entity as Almighty God. The four criteria are : 1. 2. 3. 4. ‘Say, He is God, One and only. Allah the Absolute and Eternal He begets not, nor is He begotten. And there is nothing like Him.’ is the touch stone of

This Chapter of the Glorious Qur’an i.e. Surah Ikhlas, Ch. No. 112, theology.

The moment you can compare a candidate or a claimant of divinity to anyone or anything in the world or in this Universe, s/he is not God. For example suppose someone says, “A particular entity that claims to be god is a thousand times as strong as Arnold Schwarzenegger – Arnold Schwarzenegger, the person who was given the title ‘Mr. Universe’, the strongest man in the world”. The moment you can compare the claimant to godhood to anything in this world, whether it be Arnold Schwarzenegger, or King Kong, or Dara Singh, whether it be by a thousand times, or million times – the moment you can compare the claimant to anything in this world, that claimant is not Almighty God. ‘There is nothing like Him.’ Otherwise, the Glorious Qur’an says: Say: “Call upon Allah or call upon Rahman: by whatever name you call upon Him (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. (Al-Qur’an 17:110)

You can call Allah (swt) by any name, but it should be a beautiful name and it should not conjure up a mental picture. There are no less than 99 attributes given in the Glorious Qur’an, for Allah (swt). A few of these are Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim, Most Merciful, Most Beneficent, etc. In Islam, Universal Brotherhood spread not only in a horizontal manner, but also in a vertical manner. Horizontal spread of Islam covers all the regions and all the people of the whole world and universe. Vertical spread of Islam: The Universal Brotherhood of faith, includes vertically, even the generation that came before you as also that went in the past, and the ones that will follow in future. You are a single race… or a single people. It is only because of the belief in the Oneness and Uniqueness of the Creator that Universal Brotherhood can prevail in the whole Universe. This Universal Brotherhood of faith is far superior to the Brotherhood of blood relationship. When it comes to brotherhood of faith, it is far superior to brotherhood of relationship. Where it comes to justice, where it comes to truth, justice is far superior to blood relationship. The Qur’an says “come to common terms as between us and you” Which is the first term? That we worship none but Allah.’ (Al-Qur’an 3:64). Only believing in One Almighty God is not sufficient – You should also obey, serve and worship only the One Almighty God. Only when all humans believe in obey, serve and worship the One True and Unique God, will Universal Brotherhood prevail. The corner stone of the Islamic faith is the belief in the one and only sole Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe who alone deserves worship and obedience. All humans are equal since the one and only Creator, Almighty God created them. Without this Universal faith and belief in the Oneness and Uniqueness of the Almighty God, Universal brotherhood and humanity cannot prevail. Almighty God addresses us in the Glorious Qur’an and states: ‘O mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord Who created you from a single person created of like nature his mate and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women…’ (AlQur’an 4:1)

Quoting the Bible for Dawah Purposes

Q. I heard a Maulana saying that it is Biddat to quote the Bible to do Daw’ah to the Ahle-Kitab (People of the Book; i.e. the Jews and the Christians). I would like to get the answer from Dr. Zakir Naik whether it is allowed as he very often quotes the Bible. Basheer A. Hamid: basheer_siddiqui@yahoo.co.uk

A. Although majority of the Muslim Scholars find nothing wrong in the act of quoting the scriptures of Ahle-Kitaab (People of the Book; i.e. the Jews and the Christians) for the purpose of Daw’ah, there are some Muslims who harbour a misconception that it is

wrong to do so. Some of the Scholars among them state that ‘those Muslims who quote the Bible are doing Bid’ah’. It will be pertinent to know the relevance of the evidence provided by these people to substantiate their claim. The only Hadith that is very often quoted by them is as follows:

“Narrated Jabir Ibn Abdullah :

Umar ibn al-Khattab brought to Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) a copy of the Torah and said: ‘Allah’s Messenger, this is a copy of the Torah’. He (Allah’s Messenger) kept quiet and he (Umar) began to read it. The colour of the face of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) underwent a change, whereupon Abu Bakr said: “Would that your mother mourn you, don’t you see the face of Allah’s Messenger?’ Umar saw the face of Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) and said: ‘I seek refuge with Allah from the wrath of Allah and the wrath of His Messenger. We are well pleased with Allah as Lord, with Islam as religion, and with Muhammad as Prophet’. Whereupon Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said : ‘By Him in Whose hand is the life of Muhammad, even if Moses were to appear before you and you were to follow him, leaving me aside, you would certainly stray into error; for if (Moses) were alive (now), and he found my prophetical ministry, he would have definitely followed me’. (Sunan Ad-Darimi, Vol. 1, Hadith No. 435)

Based on the Hadith quoted above, some scholars insist that it is forbidden for the Muslims to quote the Bible, regardless of the purpose behind quoting it since the Prophet (pbuh) expressed his displeasure when Umar (R.A.) read the Torah. However, here the objection of the prophet (pbuh) was mainly on reading the Torah for guidance, as can be understood by Umar’s prompt reafiirmation and satisfaction with Allah as lord, with Islam as religion and with Muhammad (pbuh) as messenger. The Prophet’s (pbuh) remark further clarifies that even if Moses was alive, he would have definitely followed him, meaning Moses (pbuh) too would have followed the Qur’an and the teachings of Muhammad (pbuh). Thus those Muslim Da’ees who quote the Old Testament or the New Testament of the Bible for the purpose of Daw’ah do not quote it with the intention of following them or seeking guidance from them, because the ultimate and the best of the guidance is found in the last and the final testament, the Glorious Qur’an and the authentic Ahadith. Says Allah in the Qur’an:

“This day have I perfected your religion for you completed my favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Al-Qur’an 5:3)

With regards to quoting the Bible for the purpose of Daw’ah, the authentic sources of knowledge of Islam indicate beyond any doubt that it is permissible for the Muslims to do so.

Let us first analyse the following verse of the Qur’an :

Say : “O people of the book! Come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not from among ourselves Lords and patrons other than Allah.” If then they turn back say: “Bear witness that we (atleast) are Muslims (bowing to Allah’s will).”

In the verse quoted above, Allah instructs Muslims to invite the Ahle-Kitab to common terms, with the first term being the oneness of Allah. How will a Muslim get to common terms without knowing the terms of the faith of Ahle-Kitab? It is either through studying their scriptures, or is it to be presumed that all Muslims are well versed with their term ? If a person tries to know the common terms just by looking at the followers of Christianity, he will be in a dilemma as to what the common terms are, because majority of the Christians believe in many diverse concepts, several of which are contrary to the teaching of the Bible.

Let us analyse some more verses of the Qur’an :

“ All food was lawful to the children of Israel except what Israel made unlawful for itself before the Law of Moses was revealed. Say: “Bring you the Law (Torah) and study it if you be men of truth.” (Al Qur’an 3:93)

Allah also says : And they (the jews and the Christians) say: “None shall enter paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian”. Those are their (vain) desires. Say :” Produce your proof if you are truthful.” (Al-Qur’an 2:111)

In the verse Quoted above Allah (swt) commands us to demand for proof for the claims of the Jews and the Christians. And they have produced the only proof they have – i.e. the Bible, in over two thousand different languages of the world. Are we going to swallow their ‘proof’ hook, line and sinker? It is presupposed that when Allah commands us to demand for proof, that we would analyse the proof, once it is produced. Otherwise it makes no sense to demand proof.

The following Hadith from Sahih Al Bukhari further substantiates that it is permissible to quote the scriptures of the Ahle-Kitab:

Narrated Abdullah bin Amr

The Prophet said, “Convey (my teachings) to the people even if it were a single sentence, and tell others the stories of Bani Israel, for it is not sinful to do so. And whoever tells a lie on me intentionally, will surely take his place in the (Hell) Fire.” (Sahih Al Bukhari, Vol. 4, Hadith no. 3461)

There are some scholars who interprets this Hadith by saying that the permission to quote the stories of Bani Israel and that this Hadith refers to the stories mentioned in the Qur’an, and not in the Scriptures of Ahle-Kitab. However, we should understand the Hadith according to the understanding of the narrator of the Hadith, Abdullah bin Amr (R.A.), the companion of the Prophet (pbuh), because the narrator’s understanding would be far more accurate than the different understanding of all the modern interpreters put together.

Ibn Kathir comments on this Hadith as follows: “This Hadith from ‘Abdullah bin Amr was collected by Al-Bukhari (Fath Al Bari 6:572). This is why when ‘Abdullah bin Amr’ had possession of two books from the people of the scriptures on the day (battle) of Yarmuk , he used to narrate what was in them, because of what he understood of the hadith that allowed this practice.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Vol. 1, page no. 31)

The Hadith quoted above should be proof enough even for the most skeptics among those who object to quoting the Bible for the purpose of Daw’ah.

Following is the translation of the words of Shaykhul-Islam Ibn-Taymiyyah taken from ‘Majmu’atul-Fatawa’, Vol. 7, Part no. 13, paged 196-197, as well as Tafsir Ibn Kathir, abridged, Vol. 1, page no. 31: “Yet, the Israelite accounts and stories should only be used as supporting evidence, not as evidence themselves. There are three types of these accounts and tales; a kind that we are sure is authentic because we have in our religion something that testifies to its truth. The second type is what we know to be false based on what we have. The third is of neither type. Hence we neither affirm nor deny this type, and we allowed to narrate it because of the Hadith that we mentioned…..”

Let us analyse the following Hadith :

Narrated Ibn Umar

A Jew and a Jewess were brought to Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) on a charge of committing an illegal sexual intercourse. The Prophet (pbuh) asked them. “What is the legal punishment (for this sin) in your book (Torah)?” They replied, “Our priests have innovated the punishment of blackening the faces with charcoal and Tajbiya.” Abdullah bin Salam said, “O Allah’s Messenger, tell them to bring the Torah.” The Torah was brought, and then one of the jews put his hand over the Divine Verse of the Rajam (stoning to death) and started reading what preceded and what followed it. On that, Ibn Salam said to the jew, “Lift your hand.” Behold ! The Divine Verse of the Rajam was under his hand. So Allah’s Messenger ordered that the two (sinners) be stoned to death, and they were stoned. Ibn ‘Umar added: so both of them were stoned at the Balat and I saw the jew sheltering the Jewess. (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 8, Hadith No. 6819)

From the Hadith quoted above, we realize that the Prophet (pbuh) punished the jew and the jewess according to the law of Torah since the law was going in accordance with the law of the Qur’an. Here the intention of the Prophet (pbuh) was not to follow the Torah but to implement from it what was conciliating with the Qur’an, i.e. the punishment for adultery. Similarly the easiest way to prove a point to a person who believes in the Bible is to make reference to the Bible. For example, the Bible says in the Gospel of Mark

12:29 “Hear, O Israel; The Lord of our God is one Lord”. By making a Christian believe in one God through this verse, we also make him believe in the first verse of Surah AlIkhlas, chapter 112 of the Qur’an says: “He is Allah the One and Only”. This would help negate the concept of Trinity from his mind. Thus we follow the instructions of Allah as mentioned in the verse quoted above from Al-Qur’an 3:64, which says: ‘Say ” O people of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah…. Thus it can be concluded that it is permissible for the Muslims to quote Bible for the purpose of Daw’ah and all those who object to it should ponder over the evidence provided by us. And Allah Knows the Best.

IS THE QUR’AN GOD’S WORD?
By Dr. Zakir Naik
Introduction Islam is not the name of some unique religion presented for the first time by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who should, on that account be called the founder of Islam. The Qur’an states that Islam – the complete submission of man before his one and only Unique Creator – is the one and only faith and way of life consistently revealed by God to humankind from the very beginning. Noah, Solomon, David, Abraham, Moses, Isaac and Jesus – prophets who appeared at different times and places – all propagated the same faith and conveyed the same message of Tawheed (Oneness of God), Risaalat (Prophethood) and Aakhirah (the Hereafter). These prophets of God were not founders of different religions to be named after them. They were each reiterating the message and faith of their predecessors. However, Muhammad (pbuh) was the last Prophet of God. God revived through him the same genuine faith which had been conveyed by all His Prophets. This original message was earlier corrupted and split into various religions by people of different ages, who indulged in interpolations and admixture. These alien elements were eliminated by God, and Islam – in its pure and original form – was transmitted to humankind through Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Since there was to be no messenger after Muhammad (pbuh), the Book revealed to him (i.e. the Qur’an) was preserved word for word so that it should be a source of guidance for all times. The miracle of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), i.e. the Qur’an, is for all times All the previous Prophets of God were sent only to their people and their nation and their complete message was meant for a particular time period. Therefore the miracles they performed such as parting of sea by Prophet Moses (pbuh), giving life to the dead by Prophet Jesus (pbuh),

etc. convinced the people of that time but these miracles cannot be analyzed and verified by us today.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the last and final Messenger of God, sent for the whole of humankind and the message he delivered is for eternity. The Qur’an says:

“We sent you (Prophet Muhammad) not but as a mercy for all creatures.” (Al-Qur'an 21:107) Therefore the miracle of the last and final Messenger should also be everlasting, examinable and verifiable by people of all ages, after its revelation. Though Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) performed several miracles as are mentioned in the Hadith (recorded traditions, sayings and actions of the Prophet), he never emphasized them. Though we Muslims believe in these miracles we only boast of the ultimate miracle given to him by Almighty God, which is the Qur’an. Al-Qur’an is the miracle of all times which proved itself to be a miracle 1400 years ago and which can be reconfirmed today and forever. In short, it is the Miracle of Miracles.

Many people have a misconception that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the founder of the religion of Islam. However, Islam is in existence since the first man (Prophet Adam) first set foot on earth. Since then, Almighty God sent several prophets and revelations, the last in this chain being Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the Qur’an.

Three options regarding authorship of the Qur’an Probably, the only point of agreement amongst those who have the slightest knowledge of the Qur’an irrespective of whether they are Muslims or not, is that the Qur’an was recited for the first time by a man who was born in Makkah in Arabia in the 6th century (C.E.) by the name of Muhammad (pbuh). Regarding the sources of the Qur’an there can be three basic assumptions for a non-Muslim: a) Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself was the author of the Qur’an; consciously, sub-consciously or unconsciously. b) Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) learnt it from other human sources or copied or adopted from previous scriptures or revelations. c) Qur’an has no human author but it is a word for word revelation from God. Muhammad (pbuh) was not the author of the Qur’an 1. Muhammad (pbuh) never claimed the authorship of the Qur’an It is highly abnormal to challenge the testimony of someone who disclaims responsibility for producing a great work, whether literary, scientific or other. Yet this is precisely what orientalists and others, who are suspicious about the origins of the Qur’an, do when they claim that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the author of the Glorious Qur’an.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never ever claimed responsibility for originating it. He honestly said that it was Allah who revealed this Scripture to him. To think otherwise is illogical because it would mean that he was telling a lie.

From history we learn that between his youth and the prophetic mission that commenced at the age of 40, he had never been known to lie. He was so well known for his truthfulness, honesty and chastity that he was given the title “Al-Ameen” i.e. “The trust worthy” by friends and foes alike. Then why should he lie at the age of 40 while claiming to be a messenger of God?

It is interesting to note however, that although many of the Meccan Pagans rejected Islam and regarded the Prophet as a liar, they nevertheless trusted him and deposited their valuables with him for safe-keeping. This is apparent from the fact that when the Prophet decided to leave Makkah to foil an assassination attempt on him, he left the valuables with Hazrat Ali (R.A.) to distribute it to the rightful owners. Once when Abu Sufiyan, one of the pagan chiefs of Makkah, went to Emperor Heraclius to ask for his support against the Prophet, on being questioned whether the Prophet had been accused of lying, prior his to claim to be a Prophet or whether he had betrayed his trust, Abu Sufiyan the arch enemy of the Prophet had to answer “No”. Thus even his opponents acknowledged his sincerity, truthfulness and honesty.

What logical reason can a person think of, for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to lie while stating that he was a Prophet and not the author of the Qur’an?
(To be continued)

IS THE QUR’AN GOD’S WORD? – Part 2 By Dr. Zakir Naik
In the previous article, we analyzed and discussed the probability of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) being the author of the Qur'an based on whether he claimed to be its author. Let us now analyze some more probabilities given by skeptics of why Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) could have written such a Book without claiming its authorship. 2. Material gain as the motive Some may argue that Muhammad (pbuh) falsely attributed the Qur’an to God and called himself a Prophet for material gain. I do agree that there are several people who falsely claim to be prophets, saints and preachers for material benefits and thus become rich and lead luxurious lives.

Muhammad’s (pbuh) financial position was better off before than after the announcement of his Prophethood. At the age of 25, he married Khadija (ra), who was a very rich and wealthy businesswoman, 15 years before he claimed Prophethood. His financial position and life standard after claiming Prophethood was unenviable. a. One of the wives of the Prophet (pbuh), Ayesha (R.A.) narrates that a month or two would go by without fire being lit in their house because there was nothing to cook. They survived on dates and water. Sometimes this diet was supplemented with goat’s milk from the people of Madinah. (According to Riyad-As-Saliheen by An-Nawawi, Hadith no. 492) b. This was not just a temporary sacrifice but a way of life. This was at a time when Muhammad (pbuh) could have lived like a king, if he so wanted. There was a sort of discontent and protest by those close to him as to why should they live in poor condition when they could avail of all the luxuries. The Prophet was disturbed with their discontent and a revelation came commending him to tell his wives: ‘O Prophet! Say to your Consorts: "If it be that you desire the life of this world and its glitter then come, I will provide for your enjoyment and set you free in a handsome manner. But if you seek Allah and His Messenger and the Home of the Hereafter, verily Allah has prepared for the welldoers amongst you a great reward.”’ (Al-Qur'an 33:28-29) This evidence is also recorded in Sahih Bukhari & Sahih Muslim. c. Abu Zarr (ra) and Abu Hurairah (ra), the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) narrated that Muhammad (pbuh) never kept back any gifts and provisions secured for future use, but spent what he had on the poor and needy. (According to Riyad-As-Saleheen, Hadith No. 465 and 466) d. Inspite of the victories and achievements of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), at the time of his death, he was in debt, and his shield was in the hands of a Jewish citizen of Madinah as a colateral for his debt. (According to Riyad-As-Saleheen, Hadith No. 504)

e. If Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) would have actually been the author of the Qur’an and would have lied for material gains, that it is a book of God, he would have never mentioned in the same Qur’an:

“Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands and then say: ‘This is from Allah’ to traffic with it for a miserable price! Woe to them for what their hands do write and for the gain they make thereby.” (Al-Qur'an 2:79)

This verse rebukes those persons who changed the previous Revealed scriptures, or authored books with their own minds and said, “this is from God” for their personal material benefit. If Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had himself written the Qur’an, there were chances that at some point of time he would have been exposed, be considered the biggest hypocrite (God forbid), and would be cursing himself in his own book, which is illogical.

3. DESIRE FOR STATUS, POWER, GLORY AND LEADERSHIP: Is it possible that Muhammad (pbuh) might have claimed Prophethood in order to attain Status, Power, Glory, and Leadership? a. Muhammad (pbuh) has universally been acknowledged as one of the most successful leaders in human history. A Christian scholar Michael H. Hart has given a list of what he considers the hundred most influential men in history, from Adam to the present time, along with a list of reasons for his ranking, in his book ‘The 100 – a Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History’. This unbiased Christian scholar placed Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on top of the list. He concluded the biography with the words, “It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad (pbuh) to be considered the most influential single figure in human history”. b. A man with his qualities could claim leadership and assume power even without claiming Prophethood. Moreover, his character suggests that he was neither a power monger, nor a glory seeker. The desire to enjoy status and power is usually associated with good food, fancy clothing, magnificent places, monumental palaces, colourful guards and indisputable authority. Despite his social standing as a Prophet and heavy responsibility as a statesman, Muhammad (pbuh) used to milk his goat, mend his clothes, repair his shoes and help with the household work. His life was an amazing example of simplicity and humility. He sat on the floor. He went to the market to shop with no guards or provisions and accepted invitations to dine with the poor and ate graciously whatever was served.

c. He talked and listened patiently to anyone who approached him. So much so that the Qur’an says that his detractors complained saying:

“O! He listens to everyone.” (Al-Qur'an 9:61)

d. Once a representative of pagans named Utbah came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said that if he gave up preaching the message of the Qur’an, they would make him the wealthiest man in the community and their leader with absolute power or even crown him as the king, if he wanted. The only concession they wanted from Muhammad (pbuh) in return was to give up the new claim that ‘there is no god but one Universal God of all people’. If the Prophet (pbuh) was a seeker after power, glory and wealth, he would not have missed this golden opportunity. However he rejected the proposal using the verses that were revealed to him from Allah in Al-Qur'an 41:1-38.
e. Later another approach was made to the Prophet (pbuh) from delegation of the pagan nobles. The Prophet (pbuh) refused to compromise on the divinely inspired message which he had been sent with to deliver saying: “I did not bring this message on my own, nor in pursuit of your money or respect or leadership. God has sent me as a messenger to you and has given me a book, the Qur’an….”

f. On another occasion, they tried to persuade him through his beloved uncle Abu Talib to accept worldly power and prestige in return for giving up his Prophetic Mission. He said,

“Oh! My uncle, if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand, in order that I should give up this mission of mine, I will never do it until I die in defence of this truth, or God decides whatever He Pleases.”
g. The death of Muhammad’s (pbuh) most beloved son Ibrahim (ra) coincided with the eclipse of the sun and people regarded it as a miracle from God that the heaven and the earth were mourning at the death of Ibrahim. Muhammad (pbuh) was very angry with them and said: “The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of the death or life of someone but they are two signs amongst the signs of Allah”. (Sahih Bukhari Vol. 2, Hadith No. 152)

h. Are these the characteristics of a power-hungry or a self-centered man? What could justify such a life of suffering and sacrifice, even after he was fully triumphant over his adversaries? What could explain the humbleness and nobility, which he demonstrated in his most glorious moments when he insisted that success is only due to God’s help and not due to his own genius?

IS THE QUR’AN GOD’S WORD? – Part 3 By Dr. Zakir Naik
UNITY AND LIBERATION OF THE ARABS:

The theory that Muhammad (pbuh) had authored the Qur’an in order to unite and liberate the Arabs is very difficult to defend for those who postulate and propound it….

a) There is not a single verse in the Qur’an calling for the unity or liberation specifically of the Arab nation. In fact the Qur’anic concept of Ummah i.e. nation is ideologically against any manifestations of nationalist tendencies. The Qur’an recommends unity of the whole human kind on the criteria of truth. According to the Glorious Qur’an in surah Hujuraat chapter 49 verse 13 :

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other (not that ye may despise 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)

The criteria for judgment in the sight of Allah for unity is not based on caste, colour, sex, wealth, nationality, political affiliation or blood ties but on “Taqwa” i.e. God – consciousness, piety and righteousness.

b)

In practice this sometimes meant the separation of father & son, brother & brother, and husband and wife etc. According to surah Taubah chapter no. 9 verse 24

“Say: If it be that your fathers, yours sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred; the wealth that you have gained; the commerce in which you fear a decline; or the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah or His Messenger, or the striving in his cause; then wait until Allah brings about His decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious.” (9:24)

c) The unity that prevailed in Arabia after the triumph of Islam was ideological, and meant for the whole world, and that unity is strongly encouraged by the Qur’an. For instance in Surah Al Imran chapter 3 verse 103 Allah commands:

“And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves;” (3:103)

d) Had the unity of the Arabs been Muhammad’s main consideration, he would have gladly accepted the offer to be the King of Arabia and use his power and influence to build a unified Arabia.

e) There are several verses in the Qur’an which contradict the idea that Muhammad’s (Pbuh) motive was to build Arab Nationalism. According to Surah Al Imran Chapter 3 verse 42 :

Behold ! the angels said : “O Mary ! Allah has chosen you and purified you; chosen you above the women of all nations. (3:42)

Why should Muhammad, an Arab, say that Mary, the mother of Jesus (Pbuh) who was a Jewish, be chosen as above the women of all nations? Such an honour is not to be found even in the Christian Bible. There is a complete chapter, Surah Mariam chapter 19 of the Qur’an, which is named after Mary, the mother of Jesus (Pbuh).

There is no book or Chapter named Mary in the whole Bible. Why should Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) provoke the Arabs by praising the Jews who were hostile to the Arabs by saying that a Jewish is chosen above the women of all nations? If he wanted to foster Arabs Nationalism, he would have preached the Superiority of the Arab nation and chose any other Arab woman i.e. his own mother, his wife or his own daughter as above the women of all nations. The answer is given in the following verses of Surah Al Imran chapter 3 verse 44 :

This is part of the tidings of the things unseen which We reveal unto you (O Apostle!) by inspiration;

The Prophet had no choice, whether to praise the Jewess or not, since it was an inspiration - a revelation from Almighty God.

f)

The Arab unity theory is also incapable of a satisfactory explanation due to the following type of verses which are repeated several times in the Qur’an. For e.g. Surah Baqarah Chapter 2 Verse 47 :

O Children of Israel ! call to mind the (special) favour which I bestowed upon you, and that I preferred you to all others (for My Message). (2:47)

MORAL REFORMATION

Some may put forward moral reformation as a probable motive for Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) to have allegedly compiled the Qur’an.

a) Moral reformation is a noble objective which could be achieved without resorting to unmoral means like deceit and lies. The reason for his choice of unmoral means to build a moral society is not logical.

The Qur’an designates lying against God as the wicked deed in the sight of Allah (swt).

b) One of the objectives of the Qur’an and of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) was indeed moral reformation but not only of Arabia but of the whole world.

If the Prophet would have falsely claimed that the Qur’an is from God, when he himself allegedly was its author, he would not have mentioned all these verses in the Qur’an. He would have instead written somewhat similar to what saint Paul had mentioned in the Bible in the New Testament in the Book of Romans chapter 3, verse 7 which says “If my lie glorifies the truth of God, then I am not a sinner.”

This verse in the Bible implies that God requires falsehood to prove he is great. However as per Islam, God is truly Great, and therefore He does not require support of falsehood to prove that He is Great.

Unlike some other religions, in Islam, the means are not separated from the ends. If you want justice, you should get it by being just and through fair and just means. If you want truth, you get it by being truthful. Therefore the means (i.e. the path taken) has to fit with the end result.

Many people only consider the end result and not the explanation or the way or means to that result. Sometimes a person may have the truth but to prove that truth, he uses a false argument. For e.g., if a person says 2+2=4, though he is speaking the truth, if asked for an explanation for his answer, he says because my teacher had taught it. The answer is correct but the means i.e. the explanation is wrong. Suppose, if the teacher would have taught 2+2=5 then the person would have been wrong. The explanation should be true on its own merit, irrespective who has said it. For e.g. If you take 2 coins and add another 2 coins to them and if you count the total number of coins, the total number of coins is four. Therefore 2+2=4.

If you use false argument for the truth, the other person may use the same false argument to prove his untruth. He may argue that because your teacher said 2+2=4 and you believe in it, my teacher said that a person in order to lead a luxurious life is entitled to rob. Therefore I am justified if I rob.

Similarly it is illogical to say that I refuse to use the telephone as it was invented by Alexander Graham Bell who was a liar.

IS THE QUR’AN GOD’S WORD? – Part 4 By Dr. Zakir Naik
Moral Reformation : The Qur’an says: Who can be more wicked than one who invents a lie against Allah or says “I have received inspiration” when he has received none or (again) who says “I can reveal the like of what Allah has revealed?” (Al-Qur’an 6:93) This verse prescribes the most humiliating punishment for such liars. If Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the author of the Qur’an, was he deceitfully ascribing it to God and describing himself as the most wicked man? Had he been the author of the Qur’an, there was every possibility that his fabrication might one day be uncovered and get him into trouble. a) A similar warning is given in the Qur’an in the following verse: “And if the messenger were to invent any sayings in Our name We should certainly seize him by his right hand And We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart: Nor could any of you withhold him (from Our wrath).” (Al-Qur’an 69:44-47) There are several such verses in the Qur’an e.g. Al-Qur’an 42:24 & 16:105. b) Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not deliver the whole Qur’an at one sitting. He recited it piecemeal over a period of about 23 years during which any question would be answered. The Qur’an says: “If you ask about things when the Qur’an is being revealed they will be made plain to you” (Al-Qur’an 5:101) People took this opportunity to ask a wide range of questions covering subjects like intoxicants, gambling, charity, new moon, menstruation, spoils of war, or even historical figures like Zulqarnain. Therefore the Qur’an mentions in several places “They ask thee concerning such and such matter. Say: it is so and so”. In no way could Muhammad (pbuh) have known in advance the questions he would be asked, thus perfectly matching his reformation purposes for which he had set out to write the Qur’an. It would be foolish for a Prime Minister who wants to talk about the transportation facility in his country to call a press conference and invite the press to ask any question. They may choose to inquire about the food situation or even about political prisoners. c) There is sufficient proof in the Qur’an against this moral reformation theory because Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself is corrected by the Qur’an in several places. Once while Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was deeply engrossed, trying to convince the teachings of Islam to pagan Quraish leaders of Makkah, a poor Muslim blind man, Abdullah Ibn Umm-Makhtum interrupted the discussion because he wanted to learn the Qur’an. The Prophet (pbuh) did not appreciate this interruption, which was evident by his frowning. Although the prophet (pbuh) did not say a word yet a revelation was consequently sent which is preserved forever in the Qur’an. “The (Prophet) frowned and turned away because there came to him the blind man (interrupting). But what could tell you but that perchance he might grow (in spiritual understanding)? Or that he might receive admonition and the teaching might profit him?” (Al-Qur’an 80:1-4) Anyone besides the Prophet (pbuh), whether saint or sinner, would not have been questioned so. But he, whose gentle heart ever sympathized with the poor and affected, got new light from above, and without the least hesitation published this revelation in the Qur’an. Subsequently every time he met this blind man, he received him graciously and thanked him that on his account, God had remembered him. There are several similar verses in the Qur’an e.g. in response to Prophet’s (pbuh) oath of not taking honey, Al-Qur’an 66:1 was revealed. In context of revenge of Hamzah (ra) death, Al-

Qur’an 16:126 was revealed. In context of prisoners of war for ransom, Al-Qur’an 8:67 was revealed. When Prophet (pbuh) had prayed for a hypocrite, Al-Qur’an 9:84 was revealed. Epileptic Theory : Some of the people agree that the Prophet (pbuh) was sincere and truthful but allege that he was suffering from epilepsy and during his epileptic seizures he recited what later became the Qur’an. Some writers have compared description of the Prophet (pbuh) when he received revelations with that of epileptic seizures. In actual fact they were far from similar. From the hadith i.e. tradition we learn that the Prophet (pbuh) received the revelation in one of the following conditions: I. In the Form of a ringing Bell.

II. Sometimes when the revelation came even though it was very cold his brow would be streaming with perspiration. III. Sometimes he would look perturbed. IV. Sometimes he would become very heavy while receiving revelations. “These descriptions in no way bear resemblance to the medical symptoms of epilepsy. Epilepsy is a sudden and recurrent disturbance in the mental function or movement of the body, or both.” Its symptoms include “complete or partial loss of consciousness, accompanied by muscular spasms or convulsions or by more complex behaviour. 70% of patients suffer their first attack before the age of 20 and in some types of epilepsy attacks diminish as the patient enters adulthood. There are 4 main types of epilepsy. a. Grand Mal Epilepsy or ‘the big sickness’ b. Petit Mal Epilepsy or ‘the little sickness’ c. Focal Seizures d. Psycho-Motor Seizures The Prophet’s description when he received the revelation clearly indicates that he did not suffer from the epilepsy of any form. Grand Mal Epilepsy This form of epilepsy shows the following symptoms: 1. Generalized convulsions preceded by a complete loss of consciousness, a loud scream and falling to the ground; 2. A stiffening of the body (including the respiratory system sometimes) and jerking movements in all four extremities of the body. In some cases the tongue can get bitten because of a tightening in the muscle of the face; 3. At the end of the attack the patient is totally disorientated, confused, sleepy, sick; 4. The patient will have no recollection of what happened during the seizure or immediately afterwards. The Prophet (Pbuh) did not suffer from any of these symptoms during his life, and most importantly, he remembered everything that had happened to him during the time when the revelation was given to him and recited what he had been commanded to memorize.

Petit Mal Petit Mal occurs in children and dies out during early adulthood. An attack consists of a very brief episode of unresponsiveness lasting no more than 15 seconds usually. Since the Prophet (pbuh) first received revelation at the age of 40, and each period of revelation lasted a few minutes, it is impossible that the Prophet (pbuh) suffered from this malady. Focal and Psycho-motor seizures Focal seizures originate in a particular area of the brain and the seizure affects those parts of the body controlled by that part of the brain. An attack may show symptoms of jerking in particular extremities or as numbness and trembling in those extremities; the seizure can spread throughout the brain resulting in generalized convulsions. Psycho-motor seizures are set off by an emotional, sensory or psychical aura - that is an unpleasant odour, taste or illusion about size and distance which causes intense fear. The patient becomes unresponsive and can do strange things such as suddenly walking off. The seizure lasts 1-3 minutes and after recovery, the patient will have no memory of the attack itself or the aura, which caused it in the first place. Again, these symptoms are totally dissimilar from what the Prophet (pbuh) experienced, and was seen to experience by his family and companions when receiving the Qur’an. The causes of Epilepsy Epilepsy is not a disease, it is a syndrome and therefore there is not usually one specific cause behind it. The actual syndrome is created through the malfunction of nerve cells in the brain where the neurons release or discharge excessive electrical energy causing thereby intense excitability in the cells - resulting in a loss of consciousness and convulsions. The reason for this abnormal behaviour in the nerve cells of an individual epileptic can be complex; there is no single cause normally. However in 50% of cases a primary or contributing factor for the syndrome can be identified. Such factors include injury at birth or later; congenital defects (e.g. Cerebral Palsy); infectious diseases such as Meningitis which attack the nerve tissue, parasitic infections, brain tumours, shock etc. An attack can also be brought on as a result of withdrawal from alcohol or barbiturates; extreme emotional distress, or fatigue. The Prophet (pbuh) had none of these problems and therefore did not have epilepsy either. He was known to be in perfect physical and mental health. Although he went through extremely exhausting and stressful times, he displayed a great deal of fortitude. The Qur’an is such an amazing, unchallengeable and glorious book, that one Muslim psychiatrist has said that if it was indeed the work of an epileptic, “I’d like to see more of these epileptic people!”

IS THE QUR’AN GOD’S WORD? – Part 5 By Dr. Zakir Naik

RELIGIOUS ILLUSION THEORY

Those who profound the religious illusion theory and the subconscious theory assume that the Qur’an had actually originated from Muhammad's (Pbuh) knowledge, imagination, experiences and environment, although he himself was not aware of this fact. Some of such non-believers even allege that he was crazy (God Forbid).

This theory is refuted easily. The Prophet preached a consistent message for about 23 years. It is unlikely that a crazy person or a visionary feeding of his own sub-conscious, would be able to be so consistent.

Secondly a visionary would not be able to falsely convince himself for 23 years that he was receiving a scripture from divine sources, when it was actually originated within himself.

The Qur’an contains so much information which could not have originated from a human being's mind, whether crazy, conscious or subconscious.

A. One such example is Surah Kahf chapter 18 of the Qur’an which was revealed in reply to the questions posed by the mushriks (polytheists) of Makkah, in consultation with the people of the Book, in order to test Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh). These questions were :-

i. Who were the sleepers of the cave ? ii. What is the real story of Khizar ? iii. What do you know about Zulqarnain ?

As these three questions concerned the history of the Jews and Christians and were unknown in Hijaz, a choice of these were made to test whether the Prophet (pbuh) possessed any source of knowledge of the hidden and unseen things. The Prophet (pbuh) replied, ‘tomorrow I will tell you’. However, when they came for the answers, he had to put them off day by day until 15 nights had passed and still he had received no revelation of any kind. The people of Makkah taunted him, and he was distressed and sad that he received no Divine help, which he longed for. It was after fifteen days from the time that the questions were posed that Archangel Gabriel brought him a revelation that gave him the answers to these questions. The long wait he had to endure was explained in Al Qur'an 18:23-24)

Nor say of anything, I shall be sure to do So and so tomorrow”-

Without adding “If Allah wills”.

The delay of this revelation although painful to the Prophet (pbuh) was in reality on added strength. Those pagans of Quraish who mere in two minds were convinced that had the Prophet (pbuh) invented the earlier revelations then there was no reason to delay this latest one, especially when so much was at stake. It is difficult to conceive how religious illusion could have helped him to state the correct replies which silenced his critics.

Besides these types of information there are several other sets of information in the Qur’an which no human mind could have produced at that time in human existence, whether consciously, subconsciously or unconsciously.

FOR INSTANCE THE QUR’AN CONTAINS : a) Historical facts and events which were not known to the Prophet (pbuh) or his contemporaries e.g. about Zulkarnain, city of Ihram. b) Several prophecies about the future which have come true. c) Several scientific facts which were unknown and only discovered hundreds of years after the revelation of the Qur’an.

II. THE QUR’AN PLAGIARIZED FROM THE BIBLE:

Many critics state that while Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself was not the author of the Qur’an he learnt it from other human sources or plagiarized it, i.e. copied or adapted from previous scriptures or revelations.

1. MUHUMMAD (PBUH) LEARNT THE QUR’AN FROM A ROMAN BLACKSMITH WHO WAS A CHRISTIAN:

Some pagans accused the Prophet (pbuh) of learning the Qur’an from a Roman Blacksmith, who was a Christian and lived in the outskirts of Mecca. The Prophet very often use to go and watch him do his work. A revelation of the Qur’an was sufficient to dismiss this change. The Qur’an says :

“We know indeed that they say, “It is a man that teaches him.” The tongue of him they wickedly point to is notably foreign, while this is Arabic, pure & clear.” (Al Qur'an 16:103)

How could a person whose mother tongue was foreign and could hardly speak little but of poor broken Arabic be the source of the Qur’an which is pure, eloquent, fine Arabic? To believe that the blacksmith taught the Prophet (pbuh), the Qur’an, is somewhat similar to a Chinese immigrant to England, who did not know proper English, taught Shakespeare.

2. MUHAMMAD (PBUH) LEARNT THE QUR'AN FROM WARAQA - THE RELATIVE OF KHADIJAH (R.A.)

Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) contact with the Jewish and Christian scholars was very limited. The most prominent Christian was an old blind man called Waraqa Ibn-Naufal who was a relative of the Prophet’s first wife Khadijah (R.A.). He, although of Arab descent was a convert to Christianity and was very well versed with the New Testament. The Prophet (pbuh) met him only twice, first when Waraqa was worshipping at the Ka'aba, (before the prophetic Mission) and he kissed the Prophet’s forehead affectionately. The second was when the Prophet (pbuh) went to meet Waraqa after receiving the first revelation. Waraqa died 3 years later and the revelation continued for about 23 years.

3. PROPHET’S RELIGIOUS DISCUSSIONS WITH THE JEWS AND CHRISTIANS:-

It is true that the Prophet (pbuh) did have religious discussions with the jews and christians but these discussions took place in Madinah more than 13 years after the revelation of the Qur’an had started. The allegation that these jews and Christians were the source is the reverse, since in these discussions Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) was the teacher inviting them to embrace Islam and pointing out that they deviated away from their true teaching of Monotheism. Several of them later embraced Islam.

4. PROPHET LEARNT THE QUR’AN FROM JEWS AND CHRISTIANS THAT HE MET OUTSIDE ARABIA:

All historical records available show that Muhammad (pbuh) had made only three trips outside Makkah before his Prophethood.

i) At the age of 6 he accompanied his mother to Madinah. ii) Between the age of 9 & 12, he accompanied his uncle Abu – Talib on a business trip to Syria, iii) At the age of 25, he led Khadija’s (R.A) caravan to Syria.

It is highly imaginary to assume that the Qur’an resulted from the occasional chats and meetings with the Christians or Jews from any of the above three trips.

IS THE QUR’AN GOD’S WORD? – Part 6 By Dr. Zakir Naik
5. LOGICAL GROUNDS TO PROVE THAT THE PROPHET DID NOT LEARN THE QUR’AN FROM JEWS OR CHRISTIANS:

The day-to-day life of the Prophet (Pbuh) was an open book for all to see. In fact a revelation came asking people to give the Prophet some privacy in his own home. If the

Prophet (pbuh) had been meeting people who told him what to say as a revelation from God, this would not have been hidden for very long.

The extremely prominent Quraish nobles who followed the Prophet and accepted Islam were wise and intelligent men who would have easily noticed anything suspicious about the way in which the Prophet brought the revelation to them – more so since the Prophetic mission lasted 23 years.

The enemies of the Prophet kept a close watch on him in order to find proof for their claim that he was a liar – they could not point out even a single instance when the Prophet may have had a secret rendezvous with particulars Jews and Christians.

It is inconceivable that any human author of the Qur’an would have accepted a situation in which he received no credit whatsoever for originating the Qur’an.

Thus, historically and logically it cannot be established that there was a human source for the Qur’an.

6.

MUHAMMAD (PBUH) WAS AN ILLITERATE

The theory that Muhammad (Pbuh) authored the Qur’an or copied from other sources can be disproved by the single historical fact that he was illiterate.

Allah testifies Himself in the Qur’an

And you were not (able) to recite a Book before this (Book came), nor were you (able) to transcribe it with your right hand: in that case, indeed, would the talkers of vanities have doubled.” (Al Qur’an 29:48)

Allah (swt) knew that many would doubt the authenticity of the Qur’an and would ascribe it to Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh). Therefore Allah in his Divine Wisdom chose the Last and Final Messenger to be an ‘Ummi’ i.e. unlettered, so that the talkers of vanity would

not then have the slightest justification to doubt the Prophet. The accusation of his enemies that he had copied the Qur’an from other sources and rehashed it all in a beautiful language might have carried some weight, but even this flimsy pretence has been deprived to the unbeliever and the cynic.

Allah reconfirms:

“Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (Scriptures) in the Law and the Gospel” (Al Qur’an 7:157)

The prophecy of coming of the unlettered Prophet (Pbuh) is also mentioned in the Bible in the book of Isaiah:

“And the book is delivered to him that is not learned “ (Isaiah 29:12)

The Qur’an testifies in no less than four difference places that the Prophet (Pbuh) was illiterate. It is also mentioned in Al-Qur’an 7:158 and 62:2.

7.

ARABIC VERSION OF THE BIBLE WAS NOT PRESENT :

This Arabic version of the Bible was not present at the time of Prophet Muhammed (Pbuh). The earliest Arabic version of the old Testament is that of R. Saadias Gaon 900 C.E. - more than 250 years after the death of our beloved Prophet. The oldest Arabic Version of the new testament was published by Erpenius in 1616 C.E. - about a thousand years after the demise of our Prophet.

8. SIMILARITIES IN THE QUR’AN AND THE BIBLE DUE TO COMMON SOURCE :

Similarities between the Qur’an and the Bible does not necessarily mean that the former has been copied from the latter. In fact it gives evidence that both of them are based on a common third source, all divine revelations came from the same source - the one Universal God. No matter what human changes were introduced into some of these Judeo-Christian and other older religious scriptures that had distorted their originality, there are some areas that have remained free from distortion and thus are common to many religions.

It is true that there are some similar parallels between the Qur’an and the Bible but this is not sufficient to accuse Muhammad (Pbuh) of compiling or copying from the Bible. The same logic would then also be applicable to teachings of Christianity and Judaism and thus one could wrongly claim that Jesus (Pbuh) was not a genuine Prophet (God forbid) and that he simply copied from the old testament.

The similarities between the two signify a common source that is one true God and the continuation of the basic message of Monotheism and not that the later Prophets have plagiarized from the previous Prophets.

If some one copies during an examination, he will surely not write in the answer sheet, that he has copied from his neighbour or Mr. XYZ. Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) gave due respect and credit to all the previous Prophets (Pbut). The Qur’an also mentions the various revelations given by Almighty God to different Prophets.

9.

MUSLIMS BELIEVE IN THE TAURAH, ZABOOR, INJEEL AND QUR’AN

Four revelations of Allah (swt) are mentioned by name in the Qur’an: the Taurah, the Zaboor, the Injeel and the Qur’an.

Taurah, the revelation i.e. the Wahi given to Moosa (a. s.) i.e. Moses (Pbuh).

Zaboor, the revelation i.e. the Wahi given to Dawood (a. s.) i.e. David (Pbuh).

Injeel, the revelation i.e. the Wahi given to Isa (a. s.) i.e. Jesus (Pbuh).

‘Al-Qur’an’, the last and final Wahi i.e. revelation given to the last and final Messenger Muhammed (Pbuh).

It is an article of faith for every Muslim to believe in all the Prophets of God and all revelations of God. However, the present day Bible has the first five books of the old Testament attributed to Moses and the Psalms attributed to David. Moreover the New testament or the four Gospels of the New testament are not the Taurah, the Zaboor or the Injeel, which the Qur’an refers to. These books of the present day Bible may partly contain the word of God but these books are certainly not the exact, accurate and complete revelations give to the Prophets.

The Qur’an presents all the different Prophets of Allah as belonging to one single brotherhood; all had a similar prophetic mission and the same basic message. Because of this, the fundamental teachings of the major faiths cannot be contradictory, even if there has been a considerable passage of time between the different prophetic missions, because the source of these missions was one: Almighty God, Allah. This is why the Qur’an says that the differences which exist between various religions are not the responsibility of the Prophets, but of the followers of these Prophets who forgot part of what they had been taught, and furthermore, misinterpreted and changed the scriptures. The Qur’an cannot therefore be seen as a scripture which competes with the teachings of Moses, Jesus, and the other Prophets (Pbut). On the contrary, it confirms, completes, and perfects the messages that they brought to their people.

Another name for Qur’an is the ‘The Furqan’ which means the criteria to judge the right from the wrong, and it is on the basis of this Qur’an that we can decipher which part of the precious scriptures can be considered to be the word of God

IS THE QUR’AN GOD’S WORD? – Part 7 By Dr. Zakir Naik
SCIENTIFIC COMPARISION BETWEEN QUR’AN AND BIBLE:

CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE IN SIX DAYS:

According to the first book of Bible Genesis chapter no. 1, the universe was created in six days, and each day is defined as a twenty-four hours’ period.

However, the Qur’an mentions that the universe was created in six ‘Ayyaam’. ‘Ayyaam’ is the plural of ‘Yaum’ which has two meanings: firstly, a standard twenty-four hours’ period i.e. a ‘day’ and secondly this Arabic word also means a stage, a period or an epoch consisting of a very long period of time. Here the Qur’an refers to the creation of the heavens and the earth in six long periods or epochs, which the scientists have no objection to. According to science the creation of the universe has taken billions of years, which contradicts with the concept of creation given in the Bible, which states it took six earth days of twenty-four hours.

9. SUN CREATED AFTER THE DAY:

The Bible says in Genesis chapter 1 verses 3 to 5 that the phenomenon of day and night was created on the first day of creation.

The light circulating in the universe is the result of a complex reaction in the stars, which according to the Bible Genesis chapter 1 verses 14 to 19, was created on the fourth day. It is illogical to mention the result that is the light (the phenomenon of day and night) was created on the first day of Creation when the cause or source of the light was created three days later, as has been mentioned in the Bible. Moreover the existence of evening and morning as elements of a single day is only conceivable after the creation of the earth and its rotation around the sun.

However, the Qur’an does not give this unscientific sequence. To say that Muhammad (pbuh) copied the creation of the universe from the Bible and missed out copying this unscientific sequence is absurd.

10. CREATION OF THE EARTH, THE SUN AND THE MOON:

We are aware that the earth and the moon emanated from their original star, the sun. However, according to the Bible, in the book of Genesis chapter 1 verses 9 to 13, the earth was created on the third day of creation, and according to verses 14 to 19 the sun and the moon were created on the fourth day of creation. This biblical sequence of creation of the earth before the creation of the sun is contrary to the established idea about the formation of the solar system.

11. VEGETATION CREATED ON THE THIRD DAY AND SUN ON THE FOURTH:

According to the book of Genesis, Chapter 1 Verses 11 to 13, vegetation was created on the third day along with seed bearing grasses, plants and trees, and sun was created on the fourth day (verses 14-19). How is it scientifically possible for vegetation to have appeared on earth without the presence of the sun?

If Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was indeed the author of the Qur’an and he merely copied from the Bible, how did he manage to avoid the factual and scientific errors that the Bible contains?

The Qur’an does not contain any statements, which are incompatible with the scientific facts.

SUN AND THE MOON BOTH EMIT LIGHT?

According to the Bible, both the sun and the moon emit their own light. Genesis Chapter 1 verse 16 says “And God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night.”

Today, science tells us that the moon does not have its own light. This confirms the Qur’anic concept that the light of the moon is a reflected light. To say that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) 1400 years ago corrected these scientific errors in the bible and then copied the “corrected passages” onto the Qur’an is to state the impossible.

12. ADAM (PBUH), THE FIRST MAN ON EARTH, LIVED 5800 YEARS AGO:

If one studies the genealogy of the first man on earth i.e. Adam (pbuh), through to Abraham and Jesus (peace be upon them), as stated in the Bible, one would come to the conclusion that Adam (pbuh) appeared on the earth approximately 5800 years ago. Check it out for yourself:

i) 1948 years between Adam and Abraham (pbut) ii) Approximately 1800 years between Abraham and Jesus (pbut)

iii) About 2000 years from Jesus (pbuh) till today.

These figures are further confirmed by the fact that the Jewish calendar is currently on or about 5800 years old.

There is sufficient evidence from archaeological and anthropological sources to suggest that the first human being on earth was present tens of thousands of years ago, and not merely 5,800 years ago as is suggested by the Bible.

While the Qur’an too speaks about Adam (pbuh) being the first man on earth, it does not suggest any date or time-frame for his appearance on earth, unlike passages from the Bible which are not compatible with science.

13. NOAH (PBUH) AND THE FLOOD:

The Biblical description of the flood in the book of Genesis chapters 6, 7 and 8 indicates that the deluge was universal and it destroyed every living being on earth, except those present with Noah (pbuh) in the ark. This description suggests that the event took place 1656 years after the creation of Adam (pbuh) or 292 years before the birth of Abraham (pbuh), when Noah (pbuh) was 600 years old. Thus the flood may have occurred in the 21st or 22nd century B.C.

This story of the flood conflicts with scientific evidence from archaeological sources. The eleventh dynasty in Egypt and the third dynasty in Babylonia were in existence without any break in civilization, and were unaffected by any major calamity which took place in the 21st century B.C. This is contrary to the biblical story that the whole world had been immersed in flood water.

The Qur’anic presentation of the story of the Noah (pbuh) and the flood does not conflict with scientific evidence or archaeological data because, firstly the Qur’an does not give any specific time frame to this event and secondly the Qur’an does not state that this flood was a universal phenomenon nor does it state that the flood destroyed all life on earth. The Qur’an specifically mentions that the flood was a localized event only involving the people of Noah (pbuh).

It is illogical to assume that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had borrowed this story of Noah (pbuh) and the flood from the Bible and corrected the mistakes before mentioning it in the Qur’an.

14. MOSES (PBUH) AND PHARAOH OF THE EXODUS:

The story of Moses (pbuh) and the Pharaoh of the exodus is very much similar in the Qur’an and the Bible. Both scriptures agree that the Pharaoh drowned when he tried to pursue Moses (pbuh) while leading the Israelites across a stretch of water that they crossed. What is important to note here is that the Qur’an gives an additional piece of information in Surah Yunus chapter 10 verse 92.

“So today We will save you in body that you may be to those who succeed you a sign. And indeed many among the people, of Our signs, are heedless.” [Al-Qur’an 10:92]

Such a statement is not present in the Bible.

Dr. Maurice Bucaille, after a thorough research proved that although Ramses II was known to have persecuted the Israelites in the Bible, he died whilst Moses (pbuh) was taking refuge in Midian.

Ramses II’s son Merneptah succeeded him as Pharaoh. It was Merneptah who drowned during the exodus. In 1898 the mummified body of Merneptah was found in the valley of Kings, in Egypt.

In 1975, Dr. Maurice Bucaille with other doctors received permission to examine the mummy of Merneptah, the findings of which proved that Merneptah probably died from drowning or a violent shock which immediately preceded the moment of drowning.

Thus the Qur’anic verse, that “we shall save his body as a sign”, has been fulfilled by the pharaoh’s body being kept at the Royal Mummies’ room in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

This verse of the Qur’an compelled Dr. Maurice Bucaille, who was a Christian to study the Qur’an. He later wrote a book “The Bible, The Qur’an & Science” and confessed that the author of the Qur’an can be no one else besides God, the Creator and Originator of all Creation, and thus embraced Islam.

15. All this evidence is sufficient to conclude that the Qur’an was not copied from the Bible. On the contrary the Qur’an is the ‘Furqaan’ i.e. the Criterion to judge right from wrong and truth from error and falsehood. It is the Qur’an that should be used to determine which passage of the Bible may be considered to be the word of God. “And We have revealed to you, (O Muhammad), the book (i.e., the Qur’an) in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth.” [Al-Qur’an 5:48]

IS THE QUR’AN GOD’S WORD? – Part 8 By Dr. Zakir Naik
THE QUR’AN IS NOT LIKE A STORY BOOK: Unlike other religious scriptures, the Qur’an is unique and distinct from the human pattern of narration. Every religious book (with the sole exception of the Glorious Qur’an) follows a narration style and pattern that is similar to story books. The pattern and style of story books is somewhat like, ‘Once upon a time .… or ‘the fox and the grapes … the wolf and the lamb’, etc. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth”. “In the beginning, was the word”. “Now it came to pass” These are similar to typical story book style: ‘so it happened once upon a time’. All religious scriptures have a beginning and an end and a human narration style sequence through out the scripture. The narration presents historical facts and events in a chronological order. This is how humans speak and write. The Qur’an is a unique book. The first few verses of the Qur’an that were revealed are the Divine Command “Read. Read in the Name of Thy Lord Who Created Humankind”. The Qur’an does not start its narration in a story book form. These verses that were first revealed constitute the 96th chapter of the Qur’an. The first chapter of the Qur’an states:

“In the name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful. (All) praise is (due) to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. Most Gracious Most Merciful. Sovereign of the Day of Recompense. It is You we worship and You we ask for help. Guide us to the straight path – The way of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those whose have evoked (Your) anger or those who are astray.” [Surah Fatihah 1:1-7] The second chapter of the Qur’an states: “Alif Laam Meem. This is the Book; about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those who fear Allah. Who believe in the Unseen, establish prayer and spend out of what We have provided for them. And who believe in what has been revealed to you, (O Muhammad), and what was revealed before you, and of the hereafter they are certain (in faith). Those are upon (right) guidance from their Lord and it is those who are successful. Indeed, those who disbelieve – it is all the same for them whether you warn them or do not warn them - they will not believe. Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing and over their vision is a veil; And for them is a great punishment.” [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:1-7] No other religious book on the earth follows this Divine Pattern and style that is so distinct. Even the previous revelations from Almighty God are not present with us in their original pristine form in which they were revealed. The Qur’an is a record of the exact words revealed by God through the Arch Angel Gabriel to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It was memorized by Muhammad (pbuh) and then dictated to his Companions, and written down by scribes, who cross-checked it during his lifetime. Not one word of its 114 chapters, Surahs, has been changed over the centuries, so that the Qur'an is in every detail the unique and miraculous text that was revealed to Muhammad (pbuh) fourteen centuries ago. The Qur’an is the last revealed Word of God. It deals with all the subjects that concern us as human beings: wisdom, doctrine, worship, and law, but its basic theme is the relationship between God and His creatures. At the same time it provides guidelines for a just society, proper human conduct and an equitable economic system. The Qur’an provides guidance for all humankind. It appeals to your mind as well as to your heart. The Qur’an is addressed to the whole of humankind. The invitation of the Qur’an is not addressed to the people of any particular area, race, tribe, colour or language. The Qur’an always calls upon the "progeny of Adam" or "humankind" to accept Islam. The specific instructions and injunctions are meant for those who have come to believe in Islam, and they are always addressed as "those who believe". The purpose of the Qur’an is to guide and not to tell stories, tales or history. It encourages its readers to ponder, to think. It covers and includes percepts of belief and

conduct, moral directives, legal prescriptions, exhortation, persuasion, advice, commandments and admonition, glad tidings and words of encouragement for those who accept the Truth and undergo sacrifices to upheld it in their lives and who preach it. It provides arguments and evidence to support its message and the beliefs and teachings propounded by it. It also has condemnation of evil-doers, warnings to those who reject the truth, references to past events and civilizations and to signs of God in the Universe as visible to humans.

MUHMMAD (PBHU) CANNOT BE A LIAR AND A CRAZY PERSON AT THE SAME TIME: A large group of people after doing a lot of research say that, “One thing we known for sure, that man, Muhammad (pbuh) he thought he was a Prophet, he was crazy!” They are convinced that he was somehow deceived. And in the end of the same group will tell you “Because of this evidence, one thing we know for sure, that man, Muhammad (pbuh), was a liar!” (God forbid). They start by telling you the man was crazy or deranged and conclude by saying he was a liar. They never seem to realize a person can never be both, you can either be one of them, crazy or a liar or none of them, never be both crazy and liar at the same time. If a person is crazy he is of unsound mind and he actually believes that he is a prophet, therefore he need not lie and all his actions and words are unintentional. If a person is a liar, he is usually of sound mind and lies intentionally for certain benefits. Even if a crazy person says something incorrect, you cannot call him a liar because he himself is unaware of the fact. Thus a person cannot be both. MUHAMMAD (PBUH) CAN NOT BE DELUDED AND A FORGER AT THE SAME TIME: Similarly another group of people say that the Prophet was deluded and whenever somebody asked him a question, he thought that an angel put words in his ears. Later the same group of people would gather enough evidence to explain that he was a forger. These people fail to realize that a person can either be deluded or a forger or none of the two but he can surely never be both at the same time. A person who is deluded and thinks he is a prophet, will never hunt for the answer or enquire with other people, when he is asked a question. He will think that an angel will put words in his ears and thus reply immediately irrespective of whether the answer is right or wrong. A forger on the other hand will search for the best possible answer or even copy from other sources to prove that he is not a fake prophet. These critics of the Prophet and of Islam fail to realize that they are going in circles.

If you ask them what the origin of the Qur’an is, they will tell you it came from the imagination of the Prophet’s mind. If you further ask that how can a man get the sort of information, which no one knew before, they will say that some foreigner may have given him the information and he lied that he was the Prophet. On further enquiry that how can a liar have so much confidence, when he mentions things which were unknown with so much accuracy, then again they reply that he was crazy. Thus, they go in circles. In response to all such criticism and allegations, the creator states and reminds the critics and skeptics thus in the Glorious Qur’an in Surah Al-Aaraf Chapter 7 Verse 184: “Then do they not give thought? There is in their companion (i.e. Muhammad) no madness. He is not, but a clear warner”. In surah Al-Qalam chapter 68 verse 2: “You are not, (O Muhammad), by the favour of your Lord, a madman”. In surah Al-Taqweer chapter 81 verse 22: “And your companion (i.e. Muhammad) is not (at all) mad.” MUHAMMAD (PBUH) SUFFERED FROM MYTHOMANIA: Another people of group come up with a theory that Muhammad (pbuh) was suffering from mythomania. This is a psychological disorder in which a person tells lies and then believes in them. The Qur’an talks facts – things that you can go and look and see that they are true, things you can verify. The mythomaniac cannot do this. Facts are a problem for him. Therefore psychologists treat a man suffering from mythomania by confronting him with facts. If a man is mentally ill and says “I am the King of England”, the psychologist does not say to him ‘you are crazy’. The psychologist confronts him with facts: “You say you are the King of England, please tell me where is your queen?” The mythomaniac tries to make excuses. “The queen has gone to her mother’s house.” “Where is your Prime Minister?” “He died.” “Where are your guards?” The mythomaniac, due to his inability to deal with facts, is eventually cured if you keep putting enough facts in front of him. Finally he faces the reality and says “I guess I am not the King of England”.

Similarly, the Qur’an approaches its readers by confronting them with facts and thus heals them of their delusions. The Qur’an poses questions: “O human being – you say so and so, but then what about such and such? Do you say this when you know that . . .?” Thus the Qur’an forces you to face reality and thus heals your delusions. UNKNOWN INFORMATION IN THE QUR’AN: The Qur’an has a unique way of informing its reader that “you did know this before”. There is no other scripture which I know of that has this unique style. There are ancient writings and scriptures that give a lot of information but they tell you where the information came from. The Qur’an on the other hand says “Here is the information which you did not have before. Check on it, you will see that it is true”. For example see Surah Hud chapter 11 verse 49: “That is from the news of the unseen which We reveal to you, (O Muhammad). You knew it not, neither you nor your people, before this. So be patient; indeed the (best) outcome is for the righteous.” Similarly Qur’an says in Surah Yusuf chapter 12 verse 3: “We relate to you, (O Muhammad), the best of stories in what We have revealed to you of this Qur’an, although you were, before it, among the unaware.” It is interesting that no one ever stood up and said “you are grossly mistaken, O Muhammad (pbuh). I am an Arab like you and I knew about these stories and these facts even before this revelation”. If Muhammad was ignorant and others were aware of facts and events, it would be a suicidal risk to quote them in such a manner so boldly, challenging the enemies that they were ignorant about it. Yet no one challenged Muhammad (pbuh) about these verses. THE QUR’AN IS A DECEPTION: Those who cannot disprove that Qur’an is a revelation, came up with a bright idea that it is a deception. If it is a deception, what is its origin? What does it deceive us about? Wherein lays the deception? But none can point out a single deception. Because there is no deception! WE MAKE FALSE DECISIONS AND FOOL OURSELVES BY STICKING TO IT: Some people make a decision without thinking or reasoning. For example ‘I believe this man is my enemy, but I have no reason or proof for my belief. The moment I meet him, I treat him like my enemy. When he finds the way I treat him, he reacts and behaves like my enemy, then I tell myself, that I was right! See he acts like my enemy”. This is a sort of self-fulfilling reinforcement. It reinforces my belief. Here because of my initial wrong belief, I influenced certain things to take place which should not have them placed

normally. Based on the things which took place, I falsely convinced myself that I was initially correct. In short we make false decisions and fool ourselves by sticking to them. REVELATION IS COMPLEMENTED BY REASON: According to the Qur’an, revelation is complemented by reason. The Qur’an says this is a revelation, as sure as the fact that you can discuss with one another i.e. talk and exchange views between the people. If revelation is superior to reason and logic, then how are we to decide which book that claims to be a revelation is true and which is false? Imam Ghazali rightly said “Faith and Reason should not come in conflict for both are given by Allah.” THE QUR’AN ENCOURAGES DISCUSSION: Many Muslims believe that the Qur’an does not encourage any discussion and thus refrain from any talk or conversations concerning Islam or the Qur’an. However the Qur’an encourages discussion and reasoning. Surah Al-Nahl chapter 16 verse 125 states: “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction; and argue with them in a way that is best.” For most of the questions of doubt that humans can think of in relation to the claims and teachings of the Qur’an, the answers are given in the Qur’an. The Arabic word ‘Qaalu’ which means ‘they say’ is mentioned in the Qur’an 332 times and the Arabic word ‘Qul’ which means ‘say’ is also mentioned 332 times in the Qur’an. EXHAUSTING THE ALTERNATIVES: There is an approach that is known as ‘Exhausting the Alternatives’. The Qur’an says that it is a revelation from the Creator of all that exists. If for some reason you do not believe in it, then what is it? You have to give some explanation. It is paper and ink, where did it come from? It says that it is a revelation. If not then what is its source of origin? Where did it come from? Whatever answers people have given since the time the Qur’an was revealed have all been disproved. Some may say Muhammad (pbuh) was the author, whether for material gains, power, glory, unity of the Arabs or for moral reformation. All these answers fail to prove their points. Some may say he copied the Qur’an from some other source, while other may say that he was a liar and a crazy person. All of these are ideas without a logical explanation. The alternatives have been exhausted.

The Qur’an earns your respect because you cannot disqualify it. The Qur’an gives the answer that it is a revelation from God Almighty. In Surah Al – Jathiyah, chapter 45 verse 1 and 2: “Ha Meem. The revelation of the book is from Allah, the exalted in Might, the Wise.” The Glorious Qur’an reconfirms that it is a revelation from Almighty God in several verses: In Surah Al-Anam chapter 6 verse 19 In Surah Al-Anam chapter 6 verse 72 In Surah Yusuf chapter 12 verse 1 & 2

In Surah Taha chapter 20 verse 113

In Surah Naml chapter 27 verse 6

In Surah Al-Sajdah chapter 32 verse 1-3

In Surah Yasin chapter 36 verse 1-3 In Surah Al-Zumar chapter 39 verse 1 In Surah Ghafir chapter 40 verse 2 In Surah Jathiyah chapter 45 verse 2 In Surah Al-Rahman chapter 55 verse 1-2 In Surah Al-Waqiah chapter 56 verse 77-80 In Surah Al-Insan chapter 76 verse 23

IS THE QUR’AN GOD’S WORD? – Part 9

By Dr. Zakir Naik
FALSIFICATION TEST : The scientific community adopts the following approach. Many people come up with new theories but the scientific community does not even bother to listen to them. Scientists have a reason for doing so - they say, “if you have a theory, do not bother me with it unless you bring with that theory a way to prove that you and the theory are wrong’. This is called as a Falsification test. This is the same reason why they paid attention to Albert Einstein towards the beginning of the century. He came up with the new theory and said, ‘I think the universe works like this and these are three ways to prove me wrong’. Scientists subjected his theory to tests and within 6 years it passed the tests, which he offered. This does not prove that he is great but it proves that he deserves to be paid attention to, because of the falsification tests, which accompanied his theory. The Qur’an too offers its readers several falsification tests. Some of these were only meant for the past, yet others for all times. The Qur’an says that if it is not what it claims then all you have to do is this or that, to prove that it is false. I have not come across this unique falsification test presented in any other religious scriptures. The next time you discuss with anyone regarding religion, ask them, ‘Is there any thing in your religion which throws up a challenge and says that if I could do this or that I prove that your religion and the scripture wrong ? I doubt if anyone else would have anything such as a falsification test to offer. A person should not only present his belief but should also offer the other person a chance to prove the belief wrong. The Qur’an gives several such opportunities to prove it wrong. Some such falsifications tests offered by the Qur'an are : A. THE STORY OF ABU LAHAB : The Prophet (Pbuh) had an uncle who was known by the nick name ‘Abu Lahab’ which means ‘Father of the flame’ because of his fiery temper. This uncle was one of the Staunchest enemies of the prophet and of Islam. He used to follow the Prophet and whenever saw him speaking to a stranger, he would wait till they parted and then ask the Stranger, ‘What did Muhammad (Pbuh) tell you ? Did he say black? Its white! Did he say morning? Its night!’ He used to state the exact opposite of what the Prophet said. There is a chapter in the Qur’an called Surah Al-Lahab i.e. chapter 111 named after Abu Lahab. This chapter prophesied that Abu Lahab and his wife will perish in the hell fire - implying he will never become a Muslim and therefore will enter the hell fire. This Surah was revealed 10 years before Abu Lahab died as an unbeliever in the battle of Badr. Many of Abu Lahab's friends and other disbelievers accepted Islam in the span of 10 years since this Surah was revealed. Abu Lahab was very intelligent and one of the staunchest enemy of Islam who was always eager to try and prove that the Qur’an was false and was of human invention. All that Abu Lahab had to do to prove the Qur'an and Surah Abu Lahab wrong was

state ‘I am a Muslim’ - the Qur’an would have been proved wrong. He did not have to behave like a Muslim. Even if he falsely, for name sake say that he was a Muslim, the Qur’an would have been proved wrong in the eyes of men. It is as though the Prophet was telling Abu Lahab you hate me, you want to finish me, here say these words, ‘I am a Muslim’ and I am finished ! Come on say them! Imagine Abu Lahab had 10 years to think over it but yet he never uttered this statement. No logical person will ever put such a claim in his book. The Qur'an is a revelation and not the handiwork of the Prophet. B. THE JEWS WILL NOT SEEK DEATH : In Surah Baqarah chapter 2 verse 94 & 95 ”Say (O Muhammad), “If the home of the Hereafter with Allah is for you alone and not the (other) people, then wish for death, if you should be truthful." " But never will they wish for it, ever, because of what their hands have put forth. And Allah is knowing of the wrongdoers." When the Jews came to the Muslims to have a confrontation, they said the last home with Allah, i.e. paradise, is especially meant for the Jews only and not for anyone else. The Qur’an ask the Jews to seek death, if they were sincere and spoke the truth. The Qur’an continues and says that they (the Jews) will never seek death, because of the sins that they have committed. The only thing that Jews had to do at the time of Prophet (Pbuh) in order to win the argument and to prove the Qur’an wrong was to call for their own death. Even if any one of the Jews would have opted to say, "I beseech the Lord for my death" just for namesake, not that he actually had to die, the Qur’an would have been proved false. It was so easy to prove the Qur’an wrong. The Qur’an continues in Surah Al-Baqrah chapter 2 verse 96 “ And you will surely find them the most greedy of people for life - (even) more than those who associates others with Allah. One of them wishes that he could be granted life a thousand years, but it would not remove him in the least from the (coming) punishment that he should be granted life. And Allah is seeing of what they do.” C. CHRISTIANS WILL BE CLOSER TO MUSLIMS THAN THE JEWS : There are certain falsification tests in the Qur’an, which are even applicable today and for all times. The Quran says in Surah Al-Maidah, Chapter 5 verse 82 “You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity towards the believers (to be) the Jews and those who associate others with Allah, and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say "We are Christians. That is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant.” The Qur’an says that between the two groups of people - the Christians and the Jews - the Christians as a whole will treat Muslims better than the Jews as a whole will treat Muslims. There are several Jews who have accepted Islam while some others are good to Muslims, but as a whole community, the Jews will never be better than the Christians in their treatment of Muslims. Today the Jews have a good opportunity to prove the Qur’an wrong. They have to organize themselves and decide as a whole that for a couple of years they will treat the Muslims kindly and better than what the Christian do. They can then ask the Muslims: "Who are your best friend in

the world ? The Jews or the Christians ?" The Jews have not done so as yet, but the offer still stands open to them and they can still prove the Qur’an false by doing so - but they never will. D. PRODUCE A SURAH LIKE IT : Muslims and non Muslims alike acclaim that best Arabic literature available on the face of the earth is the Glorious Qur’an. Its language is rich, noble and eloquent. When the pagans alleged that Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) had committed forgery and thus produced the Qur'an, the Qur’an immediately challenged them and offered them a falsification test. (i) In Surah Al-Isra chapter 17 verse 88 “Say : “If mankind and the Jinns gathered in order to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like of it, even if they were to each other assistants." The Qur’an repeats the challenge to produce a work like the Qur’an in Surah Tur Chapter 52 verse 34 (ii) Later the falsification test was made easier in Surah Hud chapter 11 verse 13 “Or do they say, "He invented it?" Say, "Then bring ten Surahs like it that have been invented and call upon (for assistance) whoever you can besides Allah, if you should be truthful.” (iii) The Qur’an repeats the challenge and further simplifies the falsification test in Surah Yunus chapter 10 verse 38. CRITERIA FOR PRODUCING A SURAH LIKE IT : The criteria for producing a surah like the Qur’an are as follows: since the Qur’an is in Arabic, the Surah so produced should also be in Arabic, which should be equivalent in standards to that of the Qur’an. (i) The Qur’an maintain throughout the highest possible standard of in its speech. (ii) The Language of the Qur’an is most clear, meaningful, intelligible, unsurpassable and miraculous. (iii) It does not deviate from the truth and still maintains its eloquence, rhythm and style unlike human poetry and literature. (iv) The Qur’an repeat several information in difference styles and by passages and narrations of varying sizes, all being of a very high standard that one cannot be preferred to another (v) The Qur'an encompasses a vast range of meaning in a surprisingly small number of words without losing its charm and majesty. (vi) The Ability of the Qur’an to address a multitude of people. The same verse of the Qur’an is appreciated by an intelligent person as well as a common man. “Or do they say, “He invented it ? " Say: “Then bring forth a Surah like it, and call upon (for assistance) whoever you can besides Allah, if you should be truthful." Even this easy challenge was unmet and thus the pagans had no ground to say that Prophet Muhammad had presented the Qur'an through forgery.

Finally the Qur’an put forward a falsification test, which is the easiest of all. In Surah Al-Baqarah chapter 2 verse 23 and 24. “And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down (i.e. the Qur'an) upon our servant, then produce a Surah like thereof and call upon your witnesses (i.e. supporters) other than Allah, if you should be truthful. But if you do not - and you will never be able to - then fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers.” (2:23-24) The Qur’an says ‘Mim Mislihi ‘ i.e. somewhat similar, it does not say ‘Mislihi’ i.e. exactly similar, like in the previous challenge. Certain Surahs of the Qur’an hardly contain three verses which consist of only a few words. Not that people did not take up the challenge, the best poets of Arabia at that time tried their level best but they miserably failed. Some of what they produced has been preserved in historical books to show that they were the laughing stock. They did not have a rhythm similar to verses of the Qur’an. The context of this verses were trivial, they contained no wisdom and were hilarious. This is yet a standing challenge and a falsification test which is unanswered for the past 1400 years and will not be answered till eternity. The Qur'an does not contain a single contradiction. The Qur’an also gives a falsification test in Surah Nisa chapter 4 verse 82 which any one in the world can try. “Do they not reflect upon the Qur'an? If it had been from (any) other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction." Today if any one wants to prove that the Qur’an is not the word of God, he just has to point out a single contradiction in the Qur’an. There are many unbelievers who tried to point out several alleged contradiction in the Qur’an but all of their attempts were either out of context, mistranslations or misquotations. A maulana who may be an expert in the historical knowledge of Qur’an and Islam but who is not very well versed in the field of science, and is asked regarding an alleged scientific mistake in the Qur’an, he may not be in a position to clarify it. This does not indicate that the Qur’an contains a scientific discrepancy and is thus not the word of God. The Qur’an says in Surah Furqan chapter 25:59, ‘Ask the person who is well – acquainted' meaning ask the person who has knowledge about that field. Similarly, if you want to enquire about the scientific knowledge mentioned in the Qur’an, you should ask a scientist. Similarly if you ask me a question regarding Arabic recitation of the Qur’an or if you point out a grammatical mistake in the Qur’an, I may not be able to answer your question because I am just a student in the field of Arabic. Because I am unable to clarify the alleged Arabic mistake in the Qur’an that does not prove that Qur’an contains mistakes and is not the word of God.

The Qur’an says ‘Ask the person who is well acquainted with’. Thus you should enquire with a Qari who is an expert in recitation of the Qur’an or a person who is an expert in Arabic grammar. If you pose medical and scientific questions related to the Qur’an, I may be in a better position to clarify, not that I claim to be an expert in the field, but because I have studied medicine for over five years before obtaining the MBBS degree.

IS THE QUR’AN GOD’S WORD? – Part 10 By Dr. Zakir Naik
In the nine articles that have appeared in this series, we have disproved and confuted all the allegations of disbelievers and critics regarding the origin of the Qur’an. The Qur’an earns your respect because you cannot disqualify it. The Qur’an is of Divine Origin. It is a revelation from the Creator of the humankind. QURANIC CONCEPT OF GOD: EVERY THEIST SHOULD AGREE THAT QUR’AN IS THE WORD OF GOD : No logical person who believes in the existence of God can deny that Qur’an is God’s word after being presented all these proofs (please refer all nine articles in this series). To the atheist who does not believe in the existence of god, the question, “is the Qur’an the God’s word?” is baseless. He does not believe in God, therefore such a question does not arise in his mind. C0NGRATULATIONS TO ATHEISTS: The first thing I would like to do, on meeting an atheist is say ‘congratulations’. Most of those who believe in some concept of god have blind faith or belief. Many a person is a Christian, because his father is a Christian; many others are Hindus because their parents are Hindus. Many Muslims are Muslims simply because their parents are Muslims. A vast majority of the people in the world blindly follow the religion of their parents. An atheist, on the other hand, even though he may be belong to a religious family, uses his intellect while denying the existence of God because he / she disagrees with the qualities of God that he has learnt in his religion or from his parents. Muslims may question me: “Zakir, why do you congratulate an atheist?” The reason that I congratulate an atheist is because he agrees with the first part of the Shahaadah i.e. Islamic creed which reads ‘Laa ilahaa’ i.e. ‘there is no God’. Half the job is already done. Now the only part left for such a person today is ‘illallah’ i.e. ‘except Allah’. Whereas with others, one has to first remove the wrong concepts of god they have in their minds, and then put the concept of the one true God. LOGICAL CONCEPT OF GOD:

My first question to the atheist is “what is the definition of God?” For a person to say there is no God, he should know what the meaning of God is. Suppose I hold a book and say ‘this is a pen’. The opposite person should know the definition of a pen for him to refute and say that it is not a pen. Even if he does not know what I am holding in my hand, for him to say that this is not a pen, he should at least know what does a pen mean. In a similar manner, for an atheist to say ‘there is no god’, he should at least know the concept of God. His concept of God is derived from the surroundings in which he lives or has been brought up. The deity that people worship has human qualities and hence he does not believe in such a god. Similarly, a Muslim too does believe in such false gods. If a non-Muslim believes that Islam is a merciless religion that preaches terrorism, a religion that does not give rights to women, a religion that contradicts science, in this limited sense that nonMuslim is correct to reject his notion of Islam. The problem is that he has a wrong picture of Islam. Even I reject such a false picture of Islam, but at the same time, it is my duty as a Muslim to present the correct picture of Islam to that Non-Muslim. It is up to us to remove misconceptions and explain that Islam is a merciful religion, that it gives equal rights to women, it does not conflict with logic, reason and science – and once we do so, that non-Muslim may InshaAllah accept Islam. Similarly, an atheist rejects the false models, notions and concepts of god. It is the duty of every Muslim to present the correct concept of God. CONCEPT OF GOD ACCORDING TO SURAH IKHLAAS: The best definition, of Almighty God, that you can find in the Qur’an is in Surah Ikhlaas, Chapter 112 verse 1-4 “Say he is Allah, the one and only.

the eternal, the absolute.
He begets not, nor is He begotten And there is none like Him”. (112:1-4) The word ‘assamad’ is difficult to translate. It means that absolute existence can be attributed only to Allah, all other existence being temporal or conditional. It also means Allah is not dependant on any person or thing but all persons and things are dependent on Him. This is a four-line definition of Almighty God according to Qur’an. If any candidate claims to be God and satisfies this definition, we Muslims have no objection in accepting such a candidate as god. This Surah Ikhlaas is the acid test – it is the ‘Furqan’ or the criteria to judge between the One True God and the false claimants to divinity. Whichever deity that any human being on the face of this earth worships – if that deity fulfils these four criteria then such a deity is none else than the one true God. For example, if some one says that Bhagwaan Rajneesh or ‘Osho’ is Almighty God, lets put Rajneesh to test. The first criteria is ‘Qul hu Allahu Ahad’ i.e. “say he is Allah, one and only”. a. It is the touch stone of Theology

Surah Ikhlaas i.e. Chapter 112 of the Glorious Qur’an is the touchstone of Theology. ‘Theo’ in Greek means God and ‘logy’ means study. Thus ‘Theology’ means ‘study of God’ and Surah Ikhlaas is the touchstone of the study of God. If you want to purchase or sell your gold jewellery, you would first evaluate it. Such an evaluation of gold jewellery is done by a goldsmith with the help of a touchstone. He rubs the gold jewellery on the touch stone and compares its colour with rubbing samples of gold. If it matches with 24 Karat gold he will tell that your jewellery is 24 Karat pure gold. If it is not high quality pure Gold, he will tell you its value whether 22 Karats, 18 Karats or it may not be gold at all. It may be fake because all that glitters is not gold. Similarly Surah Ikhlaas (Chapter 112 of the Qur’an) is the touchstone of theology, which can verify whether the deity that you worship is a true God or a false God. Thus, Surah Ikhlaas is a four-line definition of Almighty God according to the Qur’an. If any one claims to be, or is believed to be Almighty God, and satisfies this four-line definition, we Muslims will readily accept that deity as God. This Chapter of the Glorious Qur’an, Surah Ikhlaas, is the acid test. It is the ‘Furqan’ or the criterion to judge between the one True God and false claimants to divinity. Hence, whichever deity any human on earth worships, if such a deity fulfills the criteria specified in this Chapter of the Qur’an, then this deity is worthy of worship and is the One True God. b. Is Bhagwan Rajneesh God?

Some people say that Bhagwan Rajneesh or Osho Rajneesh is Almighty God. Please note my words; I have stated that some people say that Bhagwan Rajneesh is Almighty God. Once during a question-answer session there was a Hindu gentleman who misunderstood my statement. He said that Hindus do not worship Rajneesh as God. I am aware that Hinduism does not consider Rajneesh to be God. Rajneesh has followers, who are converts to his philosophy / ideology, but who were originally followers of various different religions. Let us put this candidate Bhagwan Rajneesh to the test of Divinity as prescribed by Surah Ikhlaas, the touchstone of Divinity. (i) The First Criterion is ‘Qul hu Allah hu ahad’ –‘say, He is Allah one and only’. Is Rajneesh one and only? We know several such fake god-men and claimants of divinity amongst humans. Several are found in our country, India. Rajneesh is surely not one and only. Not as a human and not even as a human claimant to godhood. However, some disciples of Rajneesh may still state that Rajneesh is unique and that he is one and only. (ii) Let us analyze the second criterion ‘Allah hus samad’ – ‘Allah the Absolute and Eternal’. Is Rajneesh absolute and eternal? We know from his biography that he suffered from diabetes, asthama, and chronic backache. He alleged that the U.S.A. government gave him slow poison while he was in their jail. Imagine! Almighty God being poisoned! Moreover, all are aware that Rajneesh died and was cremated / buried. So Rajneesh was neither eternal, nor absolute (iii) The third Criteria is ‘Lam ya lid wa lam yu lad’ – ‘He begets not, nor is begotten’. However, Rajneesh was begotten. He was born in Jabalpur in India. Like all humans, he too had a mother and a father. Later on they chose to become his disciples. Rajneesh was a very intelligent person. In May 1981 he went to U.S.A. He established a town in Oregeon and named it ‘Rajneeshpuram’. It seems that he took America for a ride for the U.S. government arrested him and later deported him out of America in 1985. So Rajneesh returned to India and started a ‘Rajneesh Neosanyas commune in Pune in India which was later renamed the ‘Osho commune’.

If you visit this ‘Osho commune’ in Pune you will find it written on his tombstone, “Osho - never born, never died, only visited the planet earth between 11th Dec. 1931 to 19th Jan 1990”. They conveniently forget to mention on this tombstone that Rajneesh was not given a visa for 21 different countries of the world. Imagine Almighty God visiting the earth and requiring a visa! The Arch Bishop of Greece had said that if Rajneesh was not deported they would burn his house and those of his disciples. (iv) The fourth test is so stringent that none besides the One True God, Allah (swt), can pass it. ‘Wa lam ya kullahu kufuwan ahad’ which means, ‘there is none like Him’. The moment you can imagine or compare the candidate or claimant to godhood to anything, this candidate is not god. Neither can you have a mental picture of God. We know that Rajneesh was a human being. He had one head, two hands, two feet, and a white flowing beard. The moment you can think or imagine what the claimant to godhood is, he or she is not god. Suppose someone says, “God is a thousand times as strong as Arnold Schwarzenegger”. Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the strongest men on earth. He was given the title ‘Mr. Universe’. The moment you can compare Almighty God to anything, whether it is a 1000 times stronger or a million times stronger, whether it be Darasingh or Kingkong, the moment you can compare the claimant to godhood to anything, he is not God. ‘Wa lam ya kul lahu kufwan ahad’ ‘there is none like Him.’

IS THE QUR’AN GOD’S WORD? – Part 11 By Dr. Zakir Naik
ATTRIBUTES OF GOD TO ALLAH BELONG THE MOST BEAUTIFUL NAMES: (i) The Qur’an mentions in Surah Isra Chapter 17 Verse 110: Say: “Call upon Allah, or Call upon Rahman; By whatever name ye call Upon Him, (it is well): For to Him belong The Most Beautiful Names (Al Qur’an 17:110) You can call Allah by any name but that name should be beautiful and should not conjure up a mental picture. The Qur’an gives no less than 99 different attributes to Almighty God. Some of these are Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem, Al-Hakeem; Most Gracious, Most Merciful and All Wise. Ninety nine different names / attributes and the crowning one, the hundredth one is Allah. To Allah belongs the most beautiful names – the Qur’an repeats this message in:

(i) Surah Al Aaraf Chapter 7 Verse 180 (ii) In Surah Taha Chapter 20 Verse 8 (iii) In Surah Al Hashr Chapter 59 Verse 23 and 24 NAME ALLAH PREFERED TO THE WORD ‘GOD’ The Muslims prefer calling Allah (swt) with His Name Allah, instead of the English word ‘God’. The Arabic word Allah is pure and unique, unlike the English word God which can be played around with. If you add ‘s’ to God, it becomes ‘gods’ that is plural of God. Allah is one and singular, there is no plural of Allah. If you add ‘dess’ to God, it becomes ‘‘goddess’ that is a female God. There is nothing like male Allah or female Allah. Allah has no gender. If you add father to God, it becomes godfather’. “He is my Godfather” means that “he is my guardian”. There is nothing like ‘Allah Abba’ or ‘Allah father’ in Islam. If you add mother to God it becomes ‘godmother’, there is nothing like ‘Allah Ammi’ or ‘Allah Mother’ in Islam. If you put tin before God, it becomes tin-god i.e. a fake God, there is nothing like ‘tin Allah’ or ‘fake Allah’ in Islam. Allah is a unique word, which does not conjure up any mental picture nor can it be played around with. Hence, the Muslims prefer the name Allah when referring to the Almighty Creator. But sometimes while speaking to nonMuslims we may have to use the inappropriate word God for Allah. QURAN AND MODERN SCIENCE These methods of proving the existence of God to an atheist may satisfy some but not all. Many atheists demand a scientific proof for the existence of God. I do agree that today is the age of science and technology. Let us use the scientific knowledge that we have to prove the existence of God and simultaneously also prove that Qur’an is a revelation of God. If a new object or a machine, which no one in the world has ever seen or heard of before is shown to an atheist or any other person and then asked a question, who is the first person who will be able to tell the mechanism of this unknown object? After little bit of thinking, he will reply ‘the Creator of that object’. Some may say ‘the Producer’ while other may say ‘the manufacturer’. Whatever answer the person gives, keep it in your mind, the answer will always be either ‘the Creator’, ‘the Producer’, ‘the manufacturer’ or somewhat of the same meaning i.e. the person who has made it or created it. Do not grapple with words, for whatever answer he gives the meaning will be the same; therefore accept it. SCIENTIFIC FACTS MENTIONED IN THE QUR’AN: THEORY OF PROBABILITY: In Mathematics, there is a theory known as ‘Theory of Probability’. If you have two options, out of which one is right, and one is wrong, the chances that you will choose the right one is half i.e. one out of the two will be correct. You have 50% chances of being correct, similarly if you toss a coin the chances that your guess will be correct is 50% (1 out of 2) i.e. ½. If you toss a coin the second time, the chances that you will be correct in the second toss is again 50% i.e. ½. But the chances that you will be correct in both the tosses is half x half ( ½ x ½ ) which is equal to ¼. i.e. 50% of 50% i.e. equal to 25%. If you toss a coin the third time, chances that you will be correct all three times is ( ½ x ½ x ½ ) that is 1/8 or 50% of 50% of 50% that is 12.5%. A dice has got six sides. If you throw a dice and guess any number between 1 and 6, the chances that your guess will be correct are 1/6. If you throw the dice the second time, the chances that your guess will be correct in both the throws is ( 1/6 x 1/6 ) which is equal to 1/36. If you throw the

dice the third time, the chances that all your three guesses are correct is ( 1/6 x 1/6 x 1/6 ) is equal to 1/216 that is less than ½ a percent. Let us apply this theory of probability to the Qur’an, and assume that a person has guessed all the information that is mentioned in the Qur’an, which was unknown at that time. Let us discuss the probability of all the guesses being correct. At the time when the Qur’an was revealed, people thought the world was flat. There are several other options for the shape of the earth. It could be triangular; it could be quadrangular, pentagonal, hexagonal, heptagonal, octagonal, spherical, etc. Let’s assume there are about 30 different options for the shape of the earth. The Qur’an rightly says it is spherical, if it was a guess the chances of the guess being correct is 1/30. The light of the moon can be its own light or a reflected light. The Qur’an rightly says it is a reflected light. If it was a guess, the chances that it will be correct is ½ and the probability that both the guesses i.e. the earth is spherical and the light of the moon is reflected light is 1/30 x ½ = 1/60. Further the Qur’an also mentions every living thing made up of water. The options are say about 10,000. Every living thing can be made up of either wood, stone, copper, aluminium, steel, silver, gold, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, oil, water, cement, concrete etc. The Qur’an rightly says that every living thing is made up of water. Therefore if it’s a guess, the chances that it will be correct is 1/10,000 and the probability of all the three guesses i.e. earth is spherical, light of moon is reflected, every living thing is created from water being correct is 1/30 x ½ x 1/10,000 = 1/600,000 which is equal to about .00017%. The Qur’an speaks about hundreds of things that were not known at that time. Only in three options the result is .00017%. I leave it up to you the intellectual audience to work out the probability if all the hundreds of the unknown facts were guesses, the chances of all the guesses being correct and not a single wrong. It is beyond human capacity to have all the guesses correct without a single mistake, which in itself is sufficient to prove to a logical person that the origin of the Qur’an is divine. QUR’AN IS A BOOK OF SIGNS AND NOT SCIENCE: Let me remind you that Qur’an is not a book of Science, ‘S.C.I.E.N.C.E.’ but a book of ‘signs’ – S.I.G.N.S. i.e. a book of ayaats. The Qur’an contains more than 6000 ayaats that is ‘signs’ out of which more than a thousand speak about science. For Muslims, the Qur’an is the ‘Furqaan’ i.e. the criteria to judge right from wrong and it is the ultimate yard stick which is more superior to scientific knowledge. But for an educated man who is an atheist, scientific knowledge is the ultimate test, which he believes in. Using the ultimate yardstick of the atheist, I try to prove to him that the Qur’an is the word of God and while it was revealed 1400 ago, it contains the scientific knowledge that was discovered recently. Therefore at the end of the discussion, we both come to the same conclusion that God, though superior to science, does not conflict with it. CREATOR IS THE AUTHOR OF THE QURAN: The only logical answer to the question, who could have mentioned all these scientific facts 1400 years ago before they were discovered, is exactly the same answer as was initially given by the atheist or any person, to the question who is the first person who will be able to tell the mechanism of the unknown object. It is the ‘CREATOR,’ the Producer, the Manufacturer. Another name in the English Language for this Creator, Producer, Manufacturer of the whole universe and its contents, is ‘God’ or more appropriately in the Arabic Language is ‘Allah’. SCIENCE IS ELIMINATING MODELS OF GOD BUT NOT GOD:

Francis Bacon, the famous philosopher, has rightly said that a little knowledge of science makes you an atheist, but an in-depth study of science makes you a believer in God. Scientists today are eliminating models of God, but they are not eliminating God.

If you translate this act – of rejecting false models and wrong notions of God – into Arabic, it is ‘La ilaaha illal lah’ which means “there is no god, but God”. “There is no god (god with a small ‘g’ that is fake deities), but God (with a capital ‘G’)
Surah Fussilat chapter 41 verse 53: “Soon will we show them our signs in the (furthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is truth. Is it not enough that thy lord doth witness all things?” (41: 53) And Our Final Call is – All praises are for the One and Only God and Creator Allah, who alone is worthy of devotion, complete submission and worship. I declare that there is no other deity or god besides Allah. I also declare that Prophet Muhammad is the Last and Final Messenger of Allah.

Relationship With Parents
Q21. A lady I know converted to Islam, but her Christian parents want her to visit the church with them. If she denies, then they have family problems. Can the lady go to church, just to have normal relationship with the parents? mrsakhan@rediffmail.com

Ans. Islam instructs Muslims to be extremely respectful towards their parents, regardless of their religion. Goodness towards one's parents is one of the most essential commandments of Islam. Many verses of the Qur’an stress the importance of being kind towards one’s parents. The Glorious Qur'an says:

“Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life say not to them a word of contempt nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour. And out of kindness lower to them the wing of humility and say: "My Lord! Bestow on them your Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood." (Al-Qur'an 17:23-24) A similar message is repeated in the following verse: “And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him and in years twain was his weaning: (Hear the command) "Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents: to Me is (thy final) Goal.” (Al-Qur'an 31:14) However, Allah continues in the next verse:

“But if they strive to make you join in worship with Me things of which you have no knowledge obey them not; Yet bear them company in this life with justice (and consideration) and follow the way of those who turn to Me (in love)…” (Al-Qur'an 31:15) The rights of Allah take precedence over everyone else's. Therefore it is prohibited in the Qur’an for a Muslim to visit a place of polytheistic worship (or to visit a place where any besides Allah are worshipped) in order to please one’s parents or out of fear that not doing so would lead to strain in family or social relationships. Allah repeats in the Qur'an: “We have enjoined on man kindness to parents: but if they (either of them) strive (to force) you to join with Me (in worship) anything of which you have no knowledge, obey them not. You have (all) to return to Me and I will tell you (the truth) of all that you did.” (Al-Qur'an 29:8) In the verses quoted above, the Muslims are commanded to show respect and gratitude to their parents, irrespective of whether their parents are Muslims or non-Muslims. They are also instructed to obey their parents unless they ask one to violate the commandments of Allah and His Messenger. For example a Muslim should not obey his / her non-Muslim parents when the parents want their Muslim children to worship anybody or anything besides Allah, the Creator of all. Indeed what can be a greater sin than associating partners with Allah? Thus it is prohibited in Islam to accompany one’s parents in the matters of Shirk (polytheism), including visiting a place of polytheistic worship (or visiting a place where any besides Allah are worshipped). It should however be borne in mind that a neo-Muslim should strive to invite one’s parents to the truth which is Al-Islam. Even if one finds one’s parents reluctant and unwilling to accept Islam, one should not get frustrated as they may take some time to understand your ‘new’ religion, nor should you cut off relationships with them because the verse of the Qur'an does not ask you to ignore or neglect them but rather commands you to refrain from obeying them in matters of Shirk (polytheism, including trinity or the concept that God begot a son). In order to avoid family problems, the revert (neo-Muslim) should be dutiful and kind towards them in other aspects of day-to-day life, which may not cause him/her to compromise with his/her religious beliefs or practices, as the verse of the Qur’an quoted earlier states, “Yet bear them company in this life with justice (and consideration)”. One should not be arrogant or insolent but rather be kind, considerate and courteous towards them. This display of kindness towards one’s parents not only fulfills our obligation towards our Lord and the Creator but also becomes the means through which the parents may accept Islam and achieve salvation. Indeed, such beneficent teachings are not to be found in any other religion.

Why Aren't Islamic Missionaries as Active as Christian Missionaries ?
Q22. I am a revert to Islam from a very orthodox Christian family. However my hunger to delve deep into Islam and other religions never ceased. The sad part of the story is that I never found anyone able to give at least most of the answers for the questions I ask. But your newsletter seems to be doing a good job. Here are a few questions I wish you could answer. a. Why aren’t Islamic missionaries active the way Christian missionaries are? Won’t Islam grow much faster and misunderstandings removed if there are good scholars to preach the faith? Why is there such a slack among Muslims?

b. Is it permissible in Islam to sponsor an orphan? Not adoption. Something like sponsoring his education, etc.? c. Are the views of the so-called ‘terrorists’ like bin Laden really wrong or justifiable? I mean should a Muslim support his activities? Can children and innocent people be killed in wars when the prophet had declared not to do so? Joshua Koshy [joshuakoshy123@rediffmail.com] Qatar Ans: a. It’s true that Muslims today are not as active as Christians in propagating their religion, though the Muslims are expected by Islam to be the best of missionaries. Islam is a religion that should have the maximum number of missionaries because Da'wah (propagation of one’s faith) is obligatory / compulsory in Islam. The Glorious Qur'an says: “Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.” (Al-Qur'an 16:125) But unfortunately we Muslims are not doing our job. Moreover, there is virulent propaganda about Islam and Muslims by the international media. Today the number of misconceptions about Islam has reached an endemic and epidemic level. It is the duty of Muslims to clarify these misconceptions and to present the pure Islamic teachings, based on the Qur'an and the authentic traditions of the prophet (pbuh). But irrespective whether the Muslims do the job or not, Allah has promised to make his Deen (AlIslam) prevail over all other ways of life and all other ‘isms’. Allah says in the Qur'an: “It is He who has sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth to proclaim it over all religion: and enough is Allah for a Witness.” (Al-Qur'an 48:28) A similar message is mentioned in Al-Qur'an 9:33 & 61:9. It should be borne in mind that Allah is not in need of us Muslims in order to make his Deen prevail. He, however, has given us an opportunity to do a prophet’s job and to earn a prophet’s reward. The slack among the Muslims is due to their inability to perceive the benefits of reading the Qur'an with understanding. It is through reading the Qur'an with understanding and meaning will we know what our Lord and Creator expects from us in order that we prosper in this life as well as in the Hereafter. Allah says in the Qur'an: ‘Who is better in speech than one who calls (men) to Allah, works righteousness and says, "I am of those who bow in Islam"?’ b. With regards to sponsoring an orphan, Islam encourages such acts of charity as is mentioned in various places in the Qur'an. The Qur'an says: “Worship none but Allah; treat with kindness your parents and kindred and orphans and those in need; speak fair to the people; be steadfast in prayer; and practice regular charity.” (Al-Qur'an 2:83) The Prophet (pbuh) is also reported to have said: "I, and the one who looks after an orphan, will be like this in Paradise," showing his middle and index fingers and separating them. (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 7, Hadith No. 224)

Thus the act of sponsoring an orphan is highly recommended in Islam and Allah will surely reward you for that. c. Regarding your question on terrorists, I say every Muslim should be a ‘terrorist for the antisocial elements of society’. A terrorist is a person who causes terror. The moment a robber sees a policeman he is terrified. A policeman is a terrorist for the robber. Similarly every Muslim should be a terrorist for the anti-social elements of society, be they thieves, pick-pockets, blackmarketers or rapists. Whenever an anti-social element sees a Muslim, he should be terrified. It is true that the word ‘terrorist’ is generally used for a person who causes terror among innocent people. But a true Muslim should only be a terrorist to anti-social elements and not to innocent people. Infact a Muslim should be a source of peace and solace for innocent and righteous people. Before India achieved independence from British rule, some freedom fighters of India who did not subscribe to non-violence were labeled as terrorists by the British government. These very individuals have been lauded by us Indians for the same activities and hailed as ‘patriots’. Thus two different labels have been given to the same people for the same set of actions. One called them terrorists while the other called them patriots. Those who believed that Britain had a right to rule over India called these freedom fighters terrorists, while those who were of the view that Britain had no right to rule India called them patriots and freedom fighters. It is therefore important that before a person is judged, he is given a fair hearing. Both sides of the argument should be heard, the situation should be objectively and fairly analyzed and the reason and the intention of the person should be taken into account, and then the person can be judged accordingly. While there can be no justifiable reason for killing innocents, it is also patently unfair to accuse any of killing innocents without a fair trial and process of justice. Regarding Osama bin Laden, one does not know whether he is good or bad. I have not met him personally nor do I know him. I cannot give my opinion based on the reports of BBC or the CNN. Most of the news on the international media is tailor-made to suit ulterior motives and suited to project the image what they want. The Qur'an says: “O you who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news ascertain the truth lest you harm people unwittingly and afterwards become full of repentance for what you have done.” (AlQur'an 49:6) With regards to the last part of your question, Islam forbids killing of innocent people. The Qur'an says: “ … If anyone slew a person unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land it would be as if he slew the whole humanity: and if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of the whole humanity.” (Al-Qur'an 5:32) Killing any innocent human being, whether Muslim or non-Muslim is not allowed in Islam. Even in the circumstances of war, this aspect is not to be ignored. The first caliph of Islam, Abu Bakr AsSiddique (R) is reported to have commanded Usama ibne Zaid (R): “I command you to do ten things: you must not kill a woman or a child, or an elderly person; do not cut down trees, or vandalize homes, or wound a sheep or camel except if you must eat it; do not drown a palm tree, or burn it, do not be treacherous; do not be cowardly; and you will pass by people who have devoted themselves to monastery life: leave them alone with their devotions.” (Tarikh At-Tabari, V.3, p.210)

Thus killing children or innocent people are not allowed in Islam. And Allah knows the best.

Do the Muslims Believe in Jesus (pbuh) and his Second Coming?
Q23. (a) Is belief in the existence of Prophet Jesus (pbuh) cardinal to Islamic faith? (b) Will he appear again at the end, and if so, what will be his purpose? Is there any other Prophet still alive? Abdulla Kunhi, Kasargod district, Kerala. Ans. (a) Yes, Islam is the only non-Christian faith, which makes it an article of faith to believe in Jesus Christ (pbuh). No Muslim is a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus Christ (pbuh). We believe that he was one of the mightiest Messengers of Allah (swt). We believe that he was the Messiah, translated ‘Christ’. We believe that he was born miraculously, without any male intervention, which many modern day Christians do not believe. We believe that he gave life to the dead with God’s permission. We believe that he healed those born blind and the lepers with God’s permission. Allah says in the Qur'an regarding Jesus Christ (pbuh): And remember Jesus the son of Mary said: "O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah (sent) to you…” (Surah Saff 61:6) Infact Islam makes it an article of faith to believe not only in Jesus Christ (pbuh) but all the Messengers that preceded and followed him. By name only twenty-five Messengers are mentioned in the Qur'an. Allah instructs us in the Qur'an: “O you who believe! believe in Allah and his Messenger and the scripture which He has sent to His Messenger and the scripture which He sent to those before (him). And who denies Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers and the Day of Judgment have gone far far astray.” (AlQur'an 4:136) Thus belief in the Messengers, including Jesus (pbuh) is an important belief of Islam. Though Jesus (pbuh) is mentioned by name twenty-five times in the Qur'an, he is also referred with other respectable terms such as ‘Ibne Maryam’ - son of Mary; as ‘Masih’ – translated Christ, as ‘Rasulullah’ - Messenger of Allah, as ‘Abdullah’ – servant of Allah, as ‘a word of Allah’, as ‘a spirit proceeding from Allah’, as ‘a sign of Allah’ and numerous other epithets spread over fifteen different chapters of the Qur'an. (b) It is also true that the Muslims, on the authority of the Qur'an and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ (pbuh). He was the only Prophet of Allah who was raised up alive. Allah says:

‘…They said (in boast) "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary the Messenger of Allah"; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them; and those who differ therein are full of doubts with no (certain) knowledge but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. Nay Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.’(Al-Qur'an 4:157-158)

Allah mentions the second coming of Jesus Christ (pbuh) in the following verse of the Qur'an: “And indeed, he (i.e. Jesus) will be (a sign for) knowledge of the Hour, so be not in doubt of it, and follow Me. This is a straight path.” (Al-Qur'an 43:61) The reason why Jesus (pbuh) is the only Prophet of Allah who was raised up alive by Allah is because he was the only Prophet whose “followers” mistook him as God. They wrongly say that he claimed divinity. Thus he will come back again to this world to clarify all such misconceptions. Says Allah in the Qur'an: ‘And behold! Allah will say "O Jesus the son of Mary! did you say unto men worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah"? He will say: "Glory to You! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing you would indeed have known it. You know what is in my heart though I know not what is in yours. For You know in full all that is hidden.’ (Al-Qur'an 5:116) There are no less than seventy Ahadith that speak of the second coming of Jesus Christ (pbuh). In one of the Ahadith, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have said: "By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Mary (Jesus) will shortly descend amongst you people (Muslims) as a just ruler and will break the cross and kill the pig and abolish the Jizya (a tax taken from the non-Muslims who are in the protection of the Muslim government). Then there will be abundance of money and nobody will accept charitable gifts.” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3. Hadith no. 425) It should also be borne in mind that Jesus Christ (pbuh), in his second coming will not be coming with any new message or revelation. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have said: "How will you be when the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you and he will judge people (by the Law of the Qur'an and not by the law of the Gospel)”. (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4. Hadith No. 658) Let’s now analyse the following words attributed to Jesus Christ (pbuh) in the Bible: "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” [The Bible, Mathew 7:22-24] In the verses quoted above, Jesus (pbuh) said that in his second coming, he would ask the people to depart from him, to get away from him because he wouldn’t know them. Who are these people? The Muslims or the Hindus? The answer is neither Hindus nor Muslims but the Christians, because Muslims or Hindus do not claim to do “Miracles” in the name of Jesus Christ (pbuh) nor do they cast out devils in his name. Thus Muslims believe in Jesus Christ (pbuh) to be one of the mightiest Messengers of Allah and also believe in his second coming.

Is it Compulsory to Wear the Trousers Above the Ankles?
Q24. There is so much confusion on a simple thing as the trousers or pant covering the ankle. While different Alims explain this based on their own school of thought, what is the authentic ruling on this as guided by the prophet (pbuh)? Abdul Khaliq, Bangalore.

Ans. There is no difference of opinion amongst the scholars with regards to covering/noncovering of the ankles. All the scholars, regardless of their different schools of thought and differences in many issues, have no difference of opinion in this regard. They all unanimously agree that the length of the lower garment, i.e. the trousers/pants/izars etc. should be above the ankles for men. Thus it is forbidden for men to cover their ankles with their lower garments i.e. trousers/pants/izars etc. There are several authentic Ahadith to substantiate this ruling. Narrated Abu Huraira Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said, "Allah will not look, on the Day of Resurrection, at a person who drags his Izar (behind him) out of pride and arrogance." (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 7, Hadith no. 5788) There may be few Muslims who tend to differ on the subject due to ignorance. They argue by saying ‘the Hadith says that anyone who drags the Izar out of pride and arrogance will be punished in the hereafter. Therefore we don’t drag the pants out of pride and arrogance’. However, there are many Ahadith in which the Prophet has instructed in unambiguous words to wear the Izar above the ankles without mentioning the aspect of pride or arrogance. One of the Ahadith is as follows: Narrated Abu Huraira The Prophet said, "The part of an Izar which hangs below the ankles is in the Fire." (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 7, Hadith no. 678) In the Hadith quoted above, there is a general instruction to keep the trouser above the ankle, irrespective whether it is out of pride & arrogance or without pride & arrogance. Moreover, can any human being claim to be as humble as the Prophet (pbuh)? Alhumdulillah, we Muslims believe that the Prophet (pbuh) was far more humble than anyone of us can ever be and he could never be as arrogant & proud as we can be at any given time. He was sent as a mercy (Al-Qur'an 21: 107) for all the creatures, yet he wore his lower garments above the ankles. Therefore we should obey the commandment of the Prophet (pbuh) in order to prosper in the hereafter. The Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said: "All my followers will enter Paradise except those who refuse." They said, "O Allah's Messenger! Who will refuse?" He said, "Whoever obeys me will enter Paradise, and whoever disobeys me is the one who refuses (to enter it)." (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 9, Hadith no. 384) Thus, it is incumbent upon the Muslim men to wear the pants/trousers/izars above the ankles. And Allah knows the best.

How Shameful, We Don't Have a Media of Our Own!
Dr. Zakir Naik, eminent scholar of Islam and comparative religion spoke to Shiraz Khaki, during his recent visit to the Kashmir Valley, on subjects like religion, politics, economy and media. If anything pertaining to faith cannot stand to logic, does that mean it does not stand at all? First you have to analyze what is the source of the faith that you are talking about. If the source of the faith is Qur'an then, there is no question at all. Whatever the Qur'an says, we believe. Yes, sometimes the translation is wrong. So if you don’t know Arabic you

cannot check out whether the answer is right or wrong. The thing is that if you cannot prove something logically, there may be someone else who will prove it. After Qur'an there comes Hadith and then comes logic. You can’t put logic first. What are your views about the Islamic revivalist movements initiated by Iqbal and Maulana Moududi in the sub-continent and Sayyid Qutb and Hasanul Banah in Egypt. What can be the possible reasons for their apparent failure? They were great people. They had their own views to revive the whole Muslim Ummah. They launched a movement for that. But then every movement has its pros and cons., so let’s take it that way. How can the oppression of global powers be combated? The best way to reply is to have media of our own. Because the media is in the hands of non- Muslims, they can propagate within minutes ,as they have powerful channels like CNN and BBC. There are many papers in Mumbai and even in Kashmir, but such papers are read by Muslims only. What is needed is an international media. For any international news we turn to their channels. Do we have any international newspaper, international magazine, international television channel. No. Christians have hundreds of television channels. Hindus have, Jains have, even Qadianis have. Allah has given us money. It is a shame for us that we cannot even set up an international channel. Does Islam permit birth control and family planning? Birth Control is different from family planning. Birth Control by definition means a law to control birth laid down by the government. So Birth Control under all conditions is Haram in Islam. Family Planning is different. About family planning all the Ulema are unanimous that abortion is Haram. Islamic Sharia says that the life of the mother is all important. So if the abortion is to save mother’s life, then it’s Halal. . How long can a wife wait in case a husband disappears and does not return? In a normal situation we can wait for as many years as we want. But sometimes, we do not know the whereabouts of the person, whether he has died or got lost. Then there are different views of different scholars. It depends on the situation. Suppose a person goes for war and does not come back, he may be captured by the enemy or he may have died. So it depends on the situation and the time period. But the Ulema say that we can wait for few years till you get the news. But if you don’t get the news, then the person can remarry. Why does not a grandchild inherit from his grandfather in case his father dies while the grandfather still alive? As far as the grandchildren are concerned, there is no direction mentioned in Quran or Hadith. But if you realize, Shariah gives permission for one third of the share to be

willed. But this one third should not fall in those categories which Allah has established in Quran. For example I cannot say that I like the elder son more than the younger one. Suppose I have a friend who has helped me a lot. The maximum I’m allowed to will is one third of that. Since these grandchildren don’t come directly under the inheritance, the grandfather can will for a maximum of one third or less than that. So there is a scope given in the Shariah for that. Should women work? In Islam, it’s the duty of men to look after women. Before a woman is married, it’s the duty of the father and the brother. After she gets married the duty shifts to husband. But voluntarily if she wants to work, she can work as long as the work is within the purview of Islamic Shariah. For example, we require our women to be teachers. We want them to be doctors to look after women patients. But certain jobs are not allowed. Where women have to expose their bodies like modelling etc. Certain jobs are Haram for both men and women.. Working in a casino or a bar is Haram for both men and women. Even if she works, still it’s the duty of her husband to look after her and there is no compulsion on her to give the money to the family. This is the right Islam has given to a woman. But normally she should not work. Because her role as a mother is more important. It’s the duty of the man to go out and work. With the fast devaluation of currency and ever changing economic pattern, can the concept of interest be altered within the framework of Islam? Allah mentions Ribah at eight places in the Quran. There is a strict prohibition of the same everywhere that if you take Ribah, a war is declared against you from Allah and his Rasool (SAW). Some scholars say that Ribah does not mean interest. That’s totally wrong. There is no doubt about it. Ribah means interest and usury. It’ll take time to prove logically why Ribah is Haram. How can we explain the philosophy behind the Quranic verse where Allah says that he has sent the Prophet (Pbuh) to make Islam conquer all other religions of the world? At two places, Allah mentions it. Yes, Allah says that he has sent his messenger with wisdom and Deen-e-Haq so that it should prevail over all other religions, overcome all religions whether it’s Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or Secularism or Modernism .Allah says in SuraH Al Imran that the only religion that acceptable to Allah is Islam. At another place Allah says that if anyone desires any religion except Islam it will not be acceptable and in the hereafter he will be among the losers. Quran is the only book which emphatically says that all the other religions are wrong. If every religion claims the same power and authority, will it not give birth to a great anomaly where one faith will be pitted against the other?

I am a student of comparative religion. So religious book says that. So where is the question of anomaly. The question is when people say that Islam is intolerant,. I say yes, Islam is intolerant towards bribery, towards corruption, towards injustice. People say Muslims are extremists. We say Muslims are extremely merciful, extremely honest and extremely kind. Turn the tables and then they will come on defence. A word about Muslims the world over? Al Hamdullillah, Today Islam is the fastest growing religion of the world. I have the latest data and it’s a mathematical reality that Islam figures first followed by Christianity. In America and Europe, it’s Islam that attracts people far and wide. Are you happy with the way Indian Muslims behave in India? Unfortunately, to tell you frankly, I am not happy with the Muslims in India. Islam will remain with or without us. But it’s a great blessing if Allah has given you a prophetic job of disseminating Islam among non- Muslims. But in India unfortunately, there are hardly any organisations who are working among non- Muslims. Believe me, India is a virgin land. We can work here and I have experienced that non- Muslims respect me in Mumbai. In Mumbai, the situation is very fragile as far as Dawah is concerned. We have the Deen-e-Haq with us, the problem is we not sure of our Deen. Does Islam permit organ transplant? Three conditions arise. One, it should not be damaging for the donor. If a donor dies just by donating his organ, in that case it’s Haram. Second condition is different. A person can live on one kidney. If I donate one kidney and the other person survives, both of us are saved. Then the third point is that you cannot donate your organs for the cause of money. If these conditions are fulfilled, then organ transplant can be done. Who has inspired you the most? My source of inspiration is Ahmed Deedat. I met him in 1987. After that I, like many thousands of his fans, got greatly inspired by him. Your memory is absolutely incredible? Do you strive for that or you just read and it gets engraved on your mind? It’s just the help of Allah. I am nothing. Allah says in Quran, Sura Ankabut (Ch 29, Vs 69) that strive in the way of Allah and Allah will look after you. So anyone who does Jihad in the way of Allah, Allah opens his way for him. In my childhood I used to stammer. If someone would ask me my name. I would say. My name is Za... Za... Zaaa Zakir. I could have dreamt of becoming the best surgeon in the world. But I could not have dreamt of speaking in front of the people, because I used to stammer. But AlHamdu Lillah, Allah opens up its ways. When I started speaking to the non- Muslims I

started realising that my stammering was not there. And now whenever I come on the stage, I never stammer. How do you maintain a balance between Dr. Naik as a medico and Dr. Naik as a scholar? Point one. I am not a scholar, I am just a student of comparative religion. Point two. I opted for medical profession as I thought it’s the best profession. It was the desire of my mother to become a surgeon like Christ Burnard, the first man to do a heart transplant in South Africa. I asked my mother, would you like me to become Sheikh Deedat or Chris Burnard. She said, ‘both’. But now when I repeat the same question to my mother, she replies, ‘I can sacrifice thousands of Christ Burnard on one Sheikh Deedat. I have left the medical profession as I have taken Dawah and I am fully involved in Dawah.
Q27. I am a dentist by profession, my questions are: If a husband and wife have a mutual divorce, a. Is there an ‘Iddah period to be observed by the divorced wife? b. Should the divorced husband give the maintenance money for her? c. Can the divorced husband have sex with the divorced wife? d. Can the two talk on the phone to each other after the divorce? Syeda Tabassum moredent3@yahoo.co.in Ans. (a) If the husband and wife have mutual divorce, then the divorced woman needs to observe an ‘Iddah (period) of three menstrual cycles if she gets menses on regular basis, OR an ‘Iddah (period) of three months in case she gets menses on irregular basis or has passed her Menopause. Allah says in the Qur'an: “Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three monthly periods nor is it lawful for them to hide what Allah hath created in their wombs if they have faith in Allah and the Last Day…” (Al-Qur'an, 2:228) In the verse quoted above Allah also says that if the woman is pregnant, she should not hide but rather disclose her pregnancy. Moreover, if she is pregnant, the ‘Iddah extends till the child is born, as stated by Allah in the following verse. “…For those who carry (life within their wombs) their period is until they deliver their burdens: and for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy.” (Al-Qur'an 65:4) However, in case the divorce is revocable, the husband and wife may undergo reconciliation during the period of ‘Iddah thus making the divorce null and void with mutual consensus. (b) With regards to the maintenance money, in case of revocable divorce, where the husband and wife are likely to get reconciled during the ‘Iddah period, the husband will have to provide lodging and maintenance to the wife during that period. If the woman is pregnant, the husband will have to provide maintenance till the child is born as the ‘Iddah extends till its birth. Moreover, the obligation of providing the maintenance will continue till the wife breastfeeds the child for two years, the period of suckling, as appointed by Allah. Nevertheless the couple has the right to determine the period of suckling by mutual consent and consideration (Al-Qur'an 2:233). Says Allah in the Qur'an:

“Let the women live (in 'Iddah) in the same style as you live according to your means: annoy them not so as to restrict them. And if they carry (life in their wombs) then spend (your substance) on them until they deliver their burden: and if they suckle your (offspring) give them their recompense: and take mutual counsel together according to what is just and reasonable. And if ye find yourselves in difficulties let another woman suckle (the child) on the (father's) behalf.” (Al-Qur'an 65:6) However, in case of irrevocable divorce, there is difference of opinion amongst the scholars with regards to the provision of lodging and maintenance. However the view that is held by majority of the scholars is that there shall be no lodging or maintenance for the woman during her ‘Iddah unless she is breast-feeding a child or is discovered to be pregnant. Fatima bint Qais (Allah be pleased with her) reported from Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) that there is no lodging and maintenance allowance for a woman who has been given irrevocable divorce. (Sahih Muslim vol. 2, hadith no. 3522) (c) If the divorce is revocable and the husband and wife, with mutual consensus agree to have sex before the ‘Iddah is complete, then that would become means through which the divorce becomes null and void. Then they again continue to live as husband and wife and thus they can also have sex as before. If the divorce is revocable (1st or 2nd) and the ‘Iddah period has been completed, then after this period of ‘Iddah they cannot have sex unless they have a new nikaah with new ‘Meher’. After ‘Iddah has been completed, or after irrevocable divorce, the ex-husband & wife become Na-Mahrams and if they have sex without a fresh nikaah then their act of having sex will be considered adultery. (d) Talking on the phone with the opposite sex, who is a Na-Mahram is not encouraged in Islam. In certain cases when unavoidable and if both maintain their modesty, it may be permissible. Thus till such time as the husband and wife reconcile during ‘Iddah, and at any time after divorce, they should avoid talking. In unavoidable circumstances if they do, they should maintain their modesty without which it will be prohibited. And Allah knows the best. Q28. Is a Muslim woman permitted to go out for a job (organization belongs to Muslims with all women staff) even if her husband can support the family well? What does Islam say about it? In this case the main reason why this woman wants to join this organization is to keep her busy and to mould herself completely in an Islamic environment.

Ans. In Islam a woman has no financial obligation and the economical responsibility lies on the shoulders of the man. Before a woman is married it is the duty of the father or brother to look after the lodging, boarding, clothing and other financial requirements of the woman. After she is married it is the duty of the husband or the son. Islam holds the man financially responsible for fulfilling the needs of his family. In this case, the husband is financially capable enough to support the family. Nevertheless the woman wants to work voluntarily, not primarily for money, but to mould herself in an Islamic environment by joining a Muslim organization (which presumably follows the tenets of Islam) that has all women staff. It is advisable for her to seek her husband’s permission before taking the job. The husband may as well see to it that he understands the intention, objective and purpose of his wife behind taking this job. However, in case the husband does not permit her, then she may very well try to establish an Islamic environment at her husband’s place itself by cultivating friendships with good Muslim women in her

neighbourhood and surrounding, learning and educating the morals and virtues of Islam. And Allah knows the best. Q29. (a) Can a rich Muslim wife give portion of her Zakat to her poor husband? (b) Can a Muslim husband compel his wife (working in a public sector undertaking) to spend all her earnings on family needs and invest his earnings and his wife’s savings on assets solely in his name and not even in her name? (c) What portion, if at all, of a Muslim wife’s salary a Muslim husband can claim for needs of the family although it is the onus on him to provide for the family? Ans. (a) Yes, a Muslim woman is allowed to give portion of her Zakat to her poor husband if she is capable of doing so and if the poor husband is poor enough to be entitled for Zakat. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have granted the permission to a Muslim lady who wished to spend part of the Zakat on her husband. Zainab, the wife of Abdullah (ra) had asked Bilal (ra) to seek for the prophet’s permission for spending part of her Zakat on her husband and the orphans under her protection, thus said the Prophet (pbuh): "Yes, and she will receive a double rewards (for that): One for helping relatives, and the other for giving Zakat." (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 2, hadith no. 545) (b) Whatever amount is spent by the wife, will be voluntarily, out of her own free will. The husband has no authority whatsoever to compel his wife to spend on him from her earnings/savings nor is he authorized to invest her earnings/savings on assets solely in his name, unless the wife permits, nor can he compel her to do so. As stated in the earlier answer, in Islam a woman has no financial obligation and the economical responsibility lies on the shoulders of the man. Thus it is the responsibly of the husband to provide for the family. Nonetheless if he wants his wife to spend on him or his family, he can request her and she may spend if she wishes. (c) With regards to what portion of a women’s salary her husband can claim, the question of portion or percentage does not arise since the husband has no right to claim for his wife’s salary, regardless of the portion. Thus it will depend on the wife’s pleasure and wish whether she spends part of the salary, complete salary or nothing at all. And Allah knows the best. Q30. Is it allowed for a wife to address her husband by his name, as our previous generation didn’t do so? Fairoze Pasha syedfairozetarouqui@siasat.com Ans. Everything that the previous generations (our ancestors) have done may not necessarily be right, likewise everything they have done may not necessarily be wrong. Therefore whatever they did would not be exemplary for us unless and until verified with due analysis in the light of the Qur'an and the Sunnah. With regards to calling one’s husband by his name, the act of doing so is a sheer cultural act. Any cultural act is permissible as long as it is in accordance with the Islamic Shari’ah and doesn’t break any of its rules. On the other hand, if any cultural act conflicts with the Islamic Shari’ah or breaks any of its rules, it is prohibited. Another aspect that also needs to be taken into consideration is that many a times certain acts are considered to be appropriate in one culture while similar acts are considered to be inappropriate in another culture. If we browse through the Seerah of the Prophet (pbuh), we come across instances such as the following: Narrated 'Aisha (ra)

That Allah's Messenger said to her, "I know when you are pleased with me or angry with me." I said, "When do you know that?" He said, "When you are pleased with me, you say, 'No, by the Lord of Muhammad,' but when you are angry with me, then you say, 'No, by the Lord of Abraham.' "Thereupon I said, "Yes (you are right), but by Allah, O Allah's Messenger, I leave nothing but your name." (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 7, hadith no. 155) In the hadith quoted above, we realize that Aisha (ra), the wife of the Prophet (pbuh) used to take the name of the Prophet (pbuh) in his presence, which further substantiates that it is not un-Islamic to take the husband’s name in his presence. Another practice that was and still is prevalent amongst the Arabs is to call the husband by adding father to the name of their child, i.e. ‘Abu followed by their child’s name’. Several evidences can be given from the Seerah of the companions of the Prophet (pbuh). For instance, Umm Sulaima used to address her husband as ‘Abu Talha’ (Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, hadith no. 6013). Although the act of calling the husband by his name does not break any of the rules of Islamic Shari'ah yet if the intention of the wife behind doing so is to belittle her husband, then it is advisable for her not to do so. But if the husband permits her to call him by his name and the intention of the wife too is not to belittle the husband then there is no harm in doing so. However, if the act displeases the husband, regardless of the intention of the wife, then it would be advisable for her not to address him by his name, not because it is prohibited in Islam but because it displeases the husband and the wife should avoid displeasing the husband as far as possible. (The husband too should avoid displeasing his wife). And Allah knows the best. Q31. I am an engineering student, a regular reader of Islamic Voice. Is contraception (that is, preventing one’s wife from becoming pregnant) prohibited in Islam? What is the authentic Islamic ruling about it? Shah Amjad Moinuddin, samoinuddin@rediffmail.com Ans. There are fundamentally two methods of Contraception or family planning. (1) Permanent methods. (2) Temporary methods (1) Permanent Methods: Permanent methods include, Vasectomy in males and Tubecotomy in females. All the scholars unanimously agree that permanent methods of family planning are prohibited since they involve changing human physiology. Says Allah in the Qur’an: “So set you your face steadily and truly to the Faith: (Establish) Allah’s handiwork according to the pattern on which He has made humankind: no change (let there be) in the work (wrought) by Allah: that is the standard Religion: but most among mankind understand not.” (Al-Qur’an 30:30) The Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said: “Marry the one who is loving and fertile, for I will be proud of your great numbers before the nations [i.e., on the Day of Resurrection].” (Abu Dawood Hadith no. 2050, Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 1805) (2) Temporary Methods: Following are various different temporary methods. a) M.T.P. (Medical Termination of Pregnancy) or Abortion: All scholars unanimously agree that M.T.P. or abortion is prohibited.

Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an “...kill not your children on a plea of want; We provide sustenance for you and for them;” (Al-Qur’an 6:151) “Kill not your children for fear of want: We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you: verily the killing of them is a great sin.” (Al-Qur’an 17:31) However, scholars unanimously agree that any permanent method of family planning, or even abortion, can be done if the life of the mother is in danger. For e.g. if the woman is suffering from certain diseases like heart disease or has under gone multiple caesarean operations and in her case the continuation of pregnancy or another pregnancy may be detrimental to her life, then the woman can be aborted or a permanent method of family planning can be adopted to save the life of the woman. b) Taking birth control pills: Almost all the scholars including Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Council of the Senior Scholars [of Saudi Arabia] agree that it is not allowed to take birth control pills (Fataawa al-Marah) because of its side effects and changes in the normal physiology. c) Copper-T: A very common temporary method of family planning or contraception is Copper-T. Though it is known as ‘contraception’ but technically it is contra-implantation. The sperm fertilizes the ovum but the zygote formed is destroyed by the Copper-T and is prevented from being implanted on the uterine wall (mother’s womb). Thus it is a very early abortion, which is prohibited in Islam. Some “scholars” out of ignorance permit this temporary method of family planning without knowing its detail. d) Coitus Interruptus (‘Azl): Coitus Interruptus is permissible as long as it is performed with mutual consent of both the husband and wife since both of them have equal right to have children. This is based on the Hadith of Jabir (RA) who said: “We used to practice (‘Azl) coitus interruptus during the days when the Qur’an was being revealed”. Jabir added: “We used to practice coitus interruptus during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger while the Qur’an was being revealed.” (Sahih Bukhari vol. 7, Hadith no. 136) Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: “With regard to ‘azl, some of the scholars regarded it as haraam, but the view of the four imams is that it is permissible with the wife’s permission. And Allah nows best.” (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 32/110) e) As regarding other temporary ethods of family planning like condom etc., the scholars are divided whether their use is permitted or not. Allah (swt) has provided a natural method of planning the family, which is medically known as lactation amenorrhea. After the women gives birth to a child, till she breast feeds she does not have her menstrual cycle, thus the chances of pregnancy in this period of lactation is minimal. Allah says in the Qur’an “The mothers shall give suck to their offspring for two whole years...” (AlQur’an 2:233) Reasons for Family Planning: All the various reasons for family planning can be divided into two categories:

1. Either for poverty or 2. Giving special attention to children by having fewer children. As for those who are poor and fear that they will not be able to meet the economic expenses of the additional child, Allah (swt) has prescribed the system of zakaat. Every rich person who has the savings of more than the nisab level i.e. 85 gms of gold, should give 2.5% of his excess wealth every lunar year in charity. Those who are poor have the right to take the zakaat money. Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an “...Kill not your children on a plea of want; We provide sustenance for you and for them;” (Al-Qur’an 6:151) Allah (swt) also mentions in the Qur’an “Kill not your children for fear of want: We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you: verily the killing of them is a great sin.” (Al-Qur’an 17:31) Both these verses seems to convey the same message but on scrutiny we realize that the first verse is meant for poor parents, who fear that if one more child is born in the family neither they will be able to survive nor the child, thus Allah (swt) says we provide sustenance for you and for them. In the other verse Allah (swt) says We shall provide sustenance for them and as well as for you, referring to rich parents who feel that if they have less children they can concentrate on them better and give them better education and quality life. Here Allah (swt) reverses the order and mentions first the children and then the parents. I am the fifth child of my parents. If my parents would have done family planning, then I would not have been born. Alhumdulillah, I have qualified as a medical doctor, which is supposed to be one of the best professions in society. However I have given it up for a better profession and become a daee’. Am I a boon or a bane to the society? It is a misconception that if there are fewer children you can provide better education and quality life to your child. However, its worth notable that one never knows which child could be a blessing from the Creator for the family. It is quite possible that the child, which the parents anticipate to be a bane, may turn out to be a boon for the family and the society. History bears witness to the fact that many of the great scientists, thinkers, and revolutionaries were not from only amongst the first two children of their parents. Thus the child whom the parents consider unwanted may be a blessing to the family religiously and economically. With regards to the claim of the people who say that the growth in population increases poverty, this was mainly based on Malthusian’s theory. This theory states that, to maintain prosperity and welfare of human race, its increase should be checked to correspond with the production of foodstuff. But now we have realized that Malthusian’s theory has been proved wrong and there is no shortage of food grains. Moreover, in spite of the amount of land India uses in agriculture, there is still much more land in India, which can, with little more efforts in fertilizing it through the proper means be utilized in agriculture thus producing more food grains. It would be interesting to note that population density of Holland and Denmark is about four to five times more than that of India. Nevertheless the living conditions of the people there is far better off (economically) than the Indians.

Besides, even if one faces difficulties in upbringing of children, one should always remember that in these hardships could be a test from Allah as this life is a test for the hereafter. Allah says in the Qur’an: “He Who created Death and Life that He may try which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might Oft-Forgiving” [Al Qur’an 67: 2] Allah also says: “Be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil) but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere.” [Al Qur’an 2 :155] Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an “And they plotted and planned and Allah too planned and the best of planners is Allah (swt)” (Al-Qur’an 3:54). If you feel you can plan the family better, the choice is yours or else leave it to Allah (swt) to do the best planning for your family. Allah knows the best. Q32. We are doing part time Da'wah in villages near our city in Tamil Nadu. But we are not sparing anytime for Islaah. I would like to know which of the two is more important, Da'wah or Islaah? A friend of mine said that it is Da'wah that is more important and not Islaah. H. Mohamed Riaz, Tirunelveli Islamic Voluntary Association, (TIVA), Tamil Nadu. riaz@vsnl.net Ans. At the outset let us first understand the meaning of the words ‘Da’wah’ and ‘Islaah’. Da’wah means a ‘call’ or ‘invitation’; which means to invite non-Muslims to Islam as well as the Muslims to the true understanding and practice of Islam, but many a times, in context, it refers to the invitation of Islam extended to those who are yet to believe in or accept Islam. ‘Islaah’ literally means ‘to repair’ or ‘to improve’. In an Islamic context, it refers to efforts to improve Muslims or to correct them. It also refers to their moral rectification. Allah says :

“Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord, with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious !” (Al Qur’an 16:125)

With regards to your question, which is more important, the simple answer is that both Da’wah and Islaah are equally important. One should not concentrate only on one and ignore the other. Therefore, to say that those who do Da’wah should not do Islaah or those who do Islaah shouldn’t do Da’wah is wrong.

However, by looking at the scenario of the Muslims today, we realize that there are many Muslims who are doing Islaah and have completely ignored Da’wah. Thus the people dedicated to do Da’wah are very few as compared to those doing Islaah.

Therefore it is more of our responsibility to concentrate on Da’wah in order to fill this vacuum, but while doing so, Islaah should not be ignored. And Allah knows the best.

WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE EMBRACE ISLAM IN TODAY’S TIMES?
Q33. Is Islam a cult? I don't understand how this religion can be embraced by so many. It's inconceivable that such hatred has ever been collected in a single population such as that which calls itself Muslim. Mohammad, and indeed, his followers, are way off the path. Stop your attacks on non-Muslims. John Guerra Ans. The two meanings of the word ‘cult’ according to the Oxford dictionary are as follows: 1) “A way of life, an attitude, an idea etc. that has become very popular”. 2) “A small group of people who have extreme religious beliefs and who are not part of any established religion”. By referring to Islam as a cult, if you intend to imply the first meaning, then yes Islam is a way of life – in fact it is ‘THE way of life’ prescribed for humankind by the Creator. I am aware that most widely, the second meaning of the word cult is implied. In that context, Islam is not a cult. Many people have a misconception that Islam is a new religion and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the founder of Islam. However, let me clarify that Islam is not the name of some unique religion presented for the first time by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who should, on that account be called the founder of Islam. The Qur’an states that Islam – the complete submission of man before his one and only Unique Creator – is the one and only faith and way of life consistently revealed by God to humankind from the very beginning. Noah, Solomon, David, Abraham, Moses, Isaac and Jesus (pbut) – prophets who appeared at different times and places – all propagated the same faith and conveyed the same message of Tawheed (Oneness of God), Risaalat (Prophethood) and Aakhirah (the Hereafter). These prophets of God were not founders of different religions to be named after them. They were each reiterating the message and faith of their predecessors. However, Muhammad (pbuh) was the last Prophet of God. God revived through him the same genuine faith which had been conveyed by all His Prophets. This original message was earlier corrupted and split into various religions by people of different ages, who indulged in interpolations and admixture. These alien elements were eliminated by God, and Islam – in its pure and original form – was transmitted to humankind through Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Since there was to be no messenger after Muhammad (pbuh), the Book revealed to him (i.e. the Glorious Qur’an) was preserved word for word so that it should be a source of guidance for all times. Thus the religion of all the prophets was ‘total submission to God’s will’ and one word for that in the Arabic language is ‘Islam’. Abraham and Jesus (peace be upon them) too were Muslims, as Allah testifies in Al-Qur'an 3:67 and 3:52 respectively. Islam is embraced by so many humans in all centuries because it is the Truth and it provides practical and comprehensive solutions to problems of humankind. Islam not only teaches good things but also shows practical ways of achieving that state of goodness. Your surprise regarding many people embracing Islam is justified. Today, though Islam happens to be the fastest growing religion in the world, it also happens to be the religion about which people have maximum number of misconceptions. This is largely because of the virulent propaganda by the media about Islam. A Christian surveyor, Professor Edward reported in the Time Magazine of April 16, 1979 that in a span of 150 years, from 1800 CE to 1950 CE “over 60,000 books have been written against Islam by the Christian West.” Now, it is questionable, who has initiated, nurtured and collected the hatred which you have referred to, the Muslims or the Christian West? Many are surprised that despite such propaganda being made against Islam, it still happens to be the fastest growing religion in today’s times. It is so, on the merits of its superior and noble teachings. Says Allah swt in the Glorious Qur'an: “They (the non-Muslim enemies and critics of Islam) plot and plan, and Allah too plans; but the best of planners is Allah”. (Al-Qur'an 8:30) You have advised the Muslims not to attack non-Muslims; I request you to direct your advice to those authorities, who only claim to be ‘peaceful, peace-loving people’ and ‘peace-keepers of the world’, but ironically have attacked thousands of innocent Muslims under the theme ‘War on terror’. The noted writer Arundhati Roy states: "So now we know. Pigs are horses. Girls are boys. War is Peace." The terrorist acts attributed to Muslim suspects, should not be attributed to Islam or the Muslims in general but to individual human weaknesses. Such human failings occur among all religious and ethnic groups. Recorded history has not witnessed an incident similar to the ‘Holocaust’. However, one is not expected to and should not attribute the holocaust to Christianity or to Christians in general. A number of skeptics have made comments about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Skeptics allege that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was “a violent man, a man of war”. Some further state that "Jesus set the example for love, as did Moses … Muhammad set an opposite example” (remember Jerry Falwell?). These skeptics somehow fail to realize that far from being a man of war, “…he (Muhammad) must be called the saviour of humanity”, as described thus by George Bernard Shaw. Though the portrayal of Moses and Jesus (pbut) of being peace-loving people is fully in accordance with the teachings of the Qur’an, the Biblical testimony is contrary to it. Many quotations from these Biblical testimonies can be given to substantiate this claim, but considering the length of the answer, I will simply furnish ONE incident that will prove my point, because in this ONE incident, no less than three thousand people were killed by the sword at the command of Biblical Moses. We read:

“(Moses said): ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbour’. The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died.” (Exodus 32:27-28, NIV) It is also a well-known fact that the total number of deaths that took place in ALL the wars fought during the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was 1018. The biblical quotation given above and many such quotations appear to escape the grasp of those who allege against Muhammad (pbuh), further ignoring the words of Jesus: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matthew 7:1-2 KJV)

WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE EMBRACE ISLAM IN TODAY’S TIMES?
Q34. Religion, if it is true, should be able to stand scientific scrutiny. Is there an Islamic arena where this kind of discussion is possible? Eugene Faulstich chri@ruthventel.com Ans. It is true, that if a religion is true, it should be able to stand scientific scrutiny. The Glorious Qur’an is the last and final revelation of God. For any book to claim to be the Word of God, it should stand the test of time. Previously, it was the age of miracles. The Qur'an is the miracle of miracles. Later on, came the age of literature and poetry. Muslims as well as non-Muslims agree that Al-Qur’an is Arabic literature par excellence - that it is the best Arabic literature on the face of the earth. However, today, it’s the age of science and technology, and the Qur'an passes this test as well. According to the famous physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Albert Einstein, "Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind." It should however, be borne in mind that the Qur'an is not a book of ‘Science’ but rather a book of ‘Signs’ i.e. Ayaat. There are more than 6,000 signs (Ayaat) in the Qur'an out of which more than a thousand speak of Science. The Qur'anic data on science does not conflict with any of the established scientific fact. It may go against certain scientific hypothesis or theories, which are not grounded in facts as many a times science takes U-turns. A number of verses of the Qur'an speak on various different subjects of science, such as Astronomy, Physics, Geography, Geology, Oceanology, Biology, Botany, Zoology, Medicine, Physiology, Embryology as well as General Science.

There have been several arenas where people have discussed a number of issues related to comparative religion. Islam encourages reasoning, discussions and dialogues. Allah says: “Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious”. (Al-Qur'an 16:125) With regards to discussions on the theme of your question, I had a public dialogue in April 2000, in Chicago USA, on the subject ‘The Qur'an and the Bible in the Light of Science’ with a Christian, Dr. William Campbell from the USA. Dr. William Campbell had written a book trying to point out scientific errors in the Qur'an. In the dialogue, I refuted all the allegations that he made against the Qur'an while he could not refute any of the 38 scientific errors in the Bible pointed out by me. You may refer to the video of that debate which is available for sale world-wide. For more information please visit www.irf.net. You can also refer to my book, ‘Qur'an and Modern Science: Compatible or Incompatible’ as well as my video on the topic, ‘Qur'an and modern Science: Conflict or Conciliation.’

HINDUISM THE OLDEST AND THEREFORE THE BEST RELIGION?
Q35. Hinduism is the oldest of all the religions and thus the most pure, authentic and best of all the religions of the world, and not Islam! Kaushik Patel kaushik_patel22@rediffmail.com Answer 35. 1. Islam is the oldest religion.

Hinduism is not the oldest of all the religions. It is Islam which is the first and the oldest of all religions. People have a misconception that Islam is 1400 years old and that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the founder of this religion. Islam existed since time immemorial, ever since man first set foot on this earth. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was not the founder of Islam. He was the last and final Messenger of Almighty God. 2. The oldest religion need not be the purest and the most authentic religion.

A religion cannot be claimed to be most pure and authentic, only on the criterion that it is the oldest. It is similar to a person saying that the water he has kept in an open glass, in his house, outside the refrigerator, for three months is purer than the water which has just been collected in a clean glass, immediately after it has been purified. 3. The latest religion need not be the purest and the most authentic religion.

On the other hand a religion cannot be claimed to be the purest or authentic, only on the criterion that the religion is new or the latest. A bottle of distilled water which is sealed, packed and kept in the refrigerator for three months is much purer than a bottle of water freshly collected from the sea.

4. For religion to be pure and authentic, it should not have interpolations, changes and revisions in its scriptures revealed from God. For any religion to be pure and authentic, its scriptures should not contain any interpolation, addition, deletion or revision. Moreover the religion’s source of inspiration and direction should be Almighty God. The Qur’an is the only religious scripture on the face of the earth which has been maintained in its original form. All the other religious scriptures, of all the other religions have interpolations, additions, deletions or revisions. The Qur’an has been in the memory of a multitude of people, intact in its original form ever since its revelation, and now there are hundreds of thousands of people who have preserved it in their memory. Moreover, if you compare the copies made by Caliph Uthman (r.a) from the original Qur’an which is yet present in the museum in Tashkent and in Koptaki museum in Turkey, they are the same as the ones we possess today. Allah (swt) promises in the Qur’an, in Surah Al Hijr, chapter 15 verse 9 “We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).” 5. The oldest religion need not be best religion.

A religion cannot be claimed to be the best religion only on the criterion that it is the oldest. It is similar to a person saying, that my 19th century car is better than a Toyota car manufactured in 1998, because it is older. He would be considered to be a fool to say that his 19th century car which required a rod to be turned in circles to start it, is better than a key-start 1998 Toyota car, just because it is older. 6. The latest religion need not be the best religion.

On the other hand a religion cannot be called as the best religion only on the criterion that the religion is new or that it came later. It is similar to a person who says that my 800 cc Suzuki car manufactured in 1999 is better than a 5000 cc Mercedes 500 SEL manufactured in 1997. To judge which car is better, a person should compare the specifications of the car e.g. the power of the car, safety measures, the capacity of the cylinders, the pickup, the speed, the comfort, etc. 5000 cc Mercedes, 500 SEL car manufactured in 1997, is far superior and better than a 800 cc Suzuki (Maruti Suzuki 800) manufactured in 1999. 7. A religion is best, if it has the solutions to the problems of mankind.

For a religion to be considered the best, it should have the solution to all the problems of mankind. It should be the religion of truth, and should be applicable to all ages. Islam is the only religion which has the solution to all the problems of mankind. e.g. the problem of alcoholism, surplus women, rape and molestation, robbery, racism, casteism, etc. Islam is the religion of truth, and its laws and solutions are applicable to all the ages. The Qur’an is the only religious book on the face of the earth, which has maintained its purity and authenticity proving itself to be the word of God in all the ages. i.e. previously, when it was the age of miracles, literature and poetry and in present times when it is the age of science and technology. Moreover, Islam is not a man-made religion, but a religion revealed and inspired by Almighty God. It is the only religion acceptable in His Sight.

WHY DON’T MUSLIMS IN INDIA FOLLOW THE ISLAMIC CRIMINAL LAW?
Question 36 : When Muslims in India insist on having a separate Muslim Personal Law for themselves, why don’t they also insist on implementing the Islamic Criminal Law for the Muslims; for example implementing the rule that the robber’s hands should be chopped off if a Muslim robs? Srinivasaniyer29@rediffmailcom Answer 36 : 1. Muslim Personal Law

Personal Law is a law concerning an individual person and the persons closely related to him, e.g. laws relating to marriage, divorce, inheritance, etc. It includes laws which are mutually agreed upon by a group of people. This law does not include any crime or an act that will harm the society directly. 2. India is Secular And Democratic

In any country, the Personal Law may differ for different groups of people and for different communities. Since India is a secular and democratic country it allows different groups of people to follow their own personal law if they wish. 3. Islamic Personal Law is the Best

Muslims believe that compared to all the different types of personal laws available in the world, the best and the most result oriented is the Islamic Personal Law. Muslims of India prefer following the Muslim personal law also because of their own belief in Islam. 4. Criminal Law

Criminal law is that law which is associated with a crime or an act, which directly affects the society e.g. robbing, raping, murdering, etc. 5. The Criminal Law should be the same for all people

In any country, the criminal law unlike the Personal Law cannot be different for different groups of people. It has to be same for all people of different groups and different religions e.g. In Islam if a person robs, his hands are chopped off. This punishment is not prescribed in Hinduism. If a Hindu robs a Muslim, what would be the robber’s punishment? The Muslim would want the hands of the robber to be chopped, while the Hindu Law would not agree.

6. The Muslims in India alone cannot separately follow the Islamic Criminal Law without involving the Non-Muslims

Even if a Muslim agrees, that as far as he commits a crime he should be given the punishment according to Islamic Criminal Law, it would not be practical. In case an allegation is made against a Muslim for robbery and if the witnesses are Non-Muslims, and if each one follows his own Criminal Law, the punishment in Islam for bearing false witness is 80 lashes, whereas in the Indian Criminal Law, a person giving false witness can easily escape. Thus, for a Non-Muslim to falsely accuse a Muslim of any crime is very easy, if both follow their own criminal law. However, if both follow the Indian Law where the punishment is lenient for false witnesses and robbers, it will encourage both the robber to rob as well as encourage the witnesses to give false witness for their own benefit. 7. The Muslims in India would prefer the Islamic Criminal Law to be implemented on all Indians We Muslims would prefer that in India the Islamic Criminal Law be implemented on all the Indians, since, chopping the hands of a thief will surely reduce the rate of robbery in India. Similarly, 80 lashes for giving false testimony will prevent a person from giving false witness. 8. Islamic Criminal Law is Most Practical

Islam besides pointing out a crime, it also gives you a solution showing how to prevent the crime e.g. chopping the hands of a robber, death penalty for the rapist. The punishment is so severe that it is a deterrent for the criminal to commit the crime. He will think a hundred times before committing a crime. Thus if crime has to be reduced or stopped in India the best solution is to implement ‘The Common Islamic Criminal Law’.

BURYING BETTER THAN CREMATING DEAD BODIES
Question: Why do Muslims bury dead bodies instead of cremating them, i.e. burning them? Vivekmodi59@rediffmail.com Answer: 1. Components of human body present in the soil Elements that are present in the human body are present in lesser or greater quantity in the soil. Hence it is more scientific to bury a dead body, as it easily gets decomposed and mixed in the soil. 2. No Pollution Cremating (burning) the dead body leads to pollution of the atmosphere, which is detrimental to health and harmful for the environment. There is no such pollution caused by burying a dead body. 3. Surrounding land becomes fertile To cremate a dead body several trees have to be chopped, which reduces the greenery and

harms the environment and the ecology. When dead bodies are buried, besides the trees being saved, the surrounding land becomes fertile and it improves the environment. 4. Economical It is expensive to cremate a dead body when tons of woods have to be burned. Annually there is a loss of crores of rupees, only because dead bodies are cremated in India. Burying dead bodies is very cheap. It hardly costs any money. 5. Same land can be utilised for burying another body The wood used for cremating a dead body cannot be reutilised for cremating another dead body since it gets converted to ashes. The land used for burying a dead body can be reutilised for burying another body after a few years since the human body gets decomposed and mixed in the soil.

ISLAM’S VIEWPOINT ON WILLS, BEQUESTS AND INHERITANCE

Question: Is there no such thing as a 'Will' in Islam? In Islam, can a person 'Will' his assets or property as per his wishes, after his death, to people other than those prescribed in the methods of the Shari’ah? Is this 'Will' legally valid in India?

Answer: A ‘will’ is a legal document through which a person declares his/her wishes and instructions on how his/her property and possessions should be disposed of, distributed or given away after his/her death.
Allah (swt) says in the Glorious Qur’an:

“Prescribed for you when death approaches (any) of you if he leaves wealth (is that he should make) a bequest for the parents and near relatives according to what is acceptable – a duty upon the righteous.” [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:180]
Based on this verse from the Qur’an, it was earlier obligatory upon the Muslims to make a will before death. But after the revelation of the verses on inheritance (i.e. Surah Nisa 4:11-12), wherein Allah swt legislated fixed shares of inheritance for deserving heirs, it is now not

compulsory in Islam for a person to write a will in his lifetime, because his estate is divided as prescribed in Shari’ah among his living heirs. So after the revelation of Surah Nisa 4:11-12, in an Islamic country where Islamic Shari’ah is followed, it is not required to make a will. In a non-Muslim country like India that has a separate Muslim Personal Law, to make a will is optional. If a Muslim fears that the non-Muslim country where Muslim Personal Law is followed has chances of deviating from the Shari'ah in this respect, it is preferable to make a will as per Qur’anic guidelines – otherwise it is not required. Such a will is legally valid in India. However, in a non-Muslim country like U.S.A. that does not have a separate Muslim Personal Law, according to me it is compulsory for a Muslim to make a will as per the guidelines laid by Allah (swt) in Surah Nisa 4:11-12, so that it forces the law to execute Islamic Shari'ah as per your will. It is the right of every citizen of a non-Muslim country, to will his property as per his desire, because in the absence of will each country has its own method of distributing the wealth. It may be obligatory as well on a person to make a will, with regard to the dues of others where there is no proof, lest they be lost or neglected, because the Prophet (pbuh) said: “It is not permissible for any Muslim who has something to will to stay for two nights without having his last will and testament written and kept ready with him."” [Narrated by al-Bukhari, al-Wasaayaa 2533]. One should also ‘will’ if he fears some kind of corruption or dispute among the heirs, especially in a non-Muslim country.

However, one does not have the right to make a will for the legal heirs as per his own inclinations (or wishes), because Allah (swt) has defined the share of each heir, and He has explained who inherits and who does not inherit. So it is not permitted for any person to transgress the limits set by Allah (swt).

“And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger and transgresses His limits – He will put him into the fire to abide eternally therein, and he will have a humiliating punishment” [Surah Nisa 4:14]

Allah (swt) has permitted us to make a will to whomsoever we wish other than the legal inheritors for a maximum of one-third of our wealth, The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Allah was being generous to you when He allowed you to give onethird of your wealth (in charity) when you die, to increase your good deeds.” [Ibn Maajah, Kitaab al-Wasaayaa, Hadith No. 2709] Therefore one can will upto one-third of his wealth to be used for charitable purposes or else one can also give it to the people apart from the legal heirs, because the Prophet (pbuh) said: “There is no will for the heirs. [Tirmidhi, Kitaab al-Wasaayaa, Hadith No.2120]

And Allah knows the best.

WIFE’S CONSENT PRIOR TO A SUBSEQUENT NIKAAH

Question: Does a Muslim man require explicit consent from his first wife, to marry a second woman? Answer: In Islam, marriage is a solemn contract for which the Islamic Shari’ah has laid down rules and measures to guarantee its stability. Though Islam permits a man to have more than one wife, it stipulates that certain conditions are to be met in this regard, for Islam’s main focus is on building a stable marital life. If a man is able to take a second wife, and can treat both wives in a just manner, and he wants to, then he is allowed to do so as Allah says, “… marry women of your choice two or three or four; but if you fear that you will not be just, then (marry only) one …” There is no evidence in the Qur’an and the authentic traditions of the prophet (pbuh), which states that it is obligatory for the husband to have the explicit consent of his first wife, if he wants to take a second wife. However, he should inform his first wife about his intention. It is preferable to convince her about his decision but it is not compulsory to take her consent. But if the wife has stipulated a condition in the marriage contract, that her husband is not allowed to take another wife as long as she is married to him, then the husband should adhere to the condition and is obliged to take her permission before taking another wife. The conditions of marriage are the most binding of conditions and are the most important before Allah, because through them intimacy becomes permissible. Narrated ‘Uqba: The Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) said: “The conditions most entitled to be abided are those of (wedding contract) with which intimacy becomes permissible to you.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.7 Hadith No.5151] Therefore in the light of the above, it’s clear that the first wife’s consent is not a prerequisite for a man to take another wife unless she specifies the above condition in her marriage contract. And Allah knows the best.

Raising one’s Hands during Salaah

Question: A few people in our locality raise their hands before and after doing ‘Rukoo’. Is it a correct act while praying? zachariah ataun <zachariahataun@yahoo.co.in> Answer: In addition to raising one’s hands in prayer when pronouncing Takbir al-Ihraam (the first Takbir), it is Mustahab (i.e. a recommended act) to raise one’s hands at three other times during Salaah (the Muslim prayer): (i) just before bowing in Rukoo’, (ii) when rising from Rukoo’ and (iii) when standing up after the first Tashahhud. The reports of raising of the hands are ‘mutawaatir’, which means they are reported by so many narrators to so many that it is inconceivable that they could all have agreed on a lie. Narrations: Whenever Ibn 'Umar started the prayer with Takbir, he used to raise his hands: whenever he bowed, he used to raise his hands (before bowing) and he also used to raise his hands on saying, "Sami a-l-lahu Liman hamida", and he used to do the same on rising from the second Rak'a (for the 3rd Rak'a). Ibn 'Umar said: "The Prophet used to do the same." [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.1 Hadith No.739] Imam al-Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) wrote a separate book on this issue, which he called ‘Juz’ fi Raf’ al-Yadayn’ (Section on Raising the Hands), in which he proved that the hands should be raised at these points in the prayer. Raising the hands in prayer was a well-known practice amongst the companions of the Prophet (pbuh). Imam al-Bukhari said: “Al-Hasan and Humayd ibn Hilaal said: ‘The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) all used to raise their hands, without exception.” [Juz’ raf’ al-yadayn, page 26]. There are no less than four Ahadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari and six in Sahih Muslim with respect to raising the hands before and after Rukoo’ (bowing), besides several other authentic traditions in other Ahadith compilations. The traditions of not raising hands at these instances are classified as da’eef (weak) by the scholars of Hadith. It is important for us to remind ourselves that once the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) becomes clear to a person, it is not permissible for him/her to ignore it in favour of the opinion of anyone, since we all are Ummatis and followers of the Prophet (pbuh). Hence, a Muslim should not fail to raise his hands at the points in prayer described in the Sunnah. Every Muslim should strive to make his prayer like the prayer of the Prophet (pbuh) who said, “Pray as you have seen me praying.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.1 Hadith No.631]. And Allah knows the best.

FORBIDDEN TIMES FOR SALAAH

Question: I am told by many people that it is not permissible to read the Qur’an or do Sajdah after Asr prayers and that we cannot pray, be it reading Qur’an or Namaz at 12.00 clock. Kindly reply! Answer: Regarding the time of recitation, it is permissible for a Muslim to recite the Qur’an at any time of the day or night as he/she wishes. Rather it is mustahab i.e. recommended to remember Allah (dhikr) after Fajr, which certainly includes reading the Qur’an, as it is one of the best forms of dhikr. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whoever prays Fajr in congregation, then sits and remembers Allah until the sun comes up, then prays two rak’ahs, will have a reward like that of Hajj and ‘Umrah.” [Tirmidhi al-Jumu’ah Hadith No.585] There are certain times at which the Prophet (pbuh) has disallowed prayer. These are: (i) While the sun is rising (i.e. during the time of sunrise), (ii) when the sun has reached its highest point i.e. at noon and (iii) while sun is setting (i.e. during the time of sunset).

‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir said: “There were the times at which the Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) forbade us to pray or to bury our dead: when the sun has clearly started to rise until it is fully risen, when it is directly overhead at midday until it has passed its zenith, and when the sun starts to set until it has fully set.” [Sahih Muslim Vol.2 Chapter 292 Hadith No.1811]

Narrated Abu Said Al Khudri: I heard Allah's Messenger (pbuh) saying, "There is no prayer after fajr prayer till the sun rises, and there is no prayer after the Asr prayer till the sun sets." [Sahih AlBukhari Vol.1 Hadith No.586] Contrary to this, the Prophet (pbuh) used to pray two raka’ahs after asr prayer as related in many of the authentic traditions. However, it is important for us to note that whenever we perceive a difference between Qaul (command) and Amal (action) of the Prophet (pbuh), then according to the rule of fiqh, command takes precedence over the action. Thus under normal circumstances, a Muslim should not offer Salaah after the Fajr prayer until the sun rises or after the asr prayer until the sun sets, unless there is a valid reason and requirement. For example, if after having offered his asr salaah a person enters a mosque before sunset, he can offer two raka’ahs Tahiyyat al-masjid (prayer after entering mosque) before sitting which is a recommended Sunnah. Similarly, if a person does Tawaaf of the Ka’bah after offering Fajr salaah and before sunrise, he can offer two raka’ahs Salaat al-Tawaaf (prayer done after circumambulating the Ka’bah). And Allah knows the best.

MARRYING WOMEN FROM THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK
Question: Can a Muslim man marry a Christian or a Jew? Please explain. Sheikh Tahir tahir103@rediffmail.com

It is permissible for a Muslim man to marry a woman from the People of the Book (i.e. the Jews and the Christians), only if they fulfill certain criteria. Allah (swt) says: “And (Lawful in marriage are) chaste women from among the believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you…” [Surah Al-Maidah 5:5] Based on the above verse, most of the scholars say that a Muslim man can marry any woman who is a Jew or a Christian. On the other hand, if we read the Qur’an as a whole, Allah (swt) also says that Muslims are not allowed to marry Mushriks i.e. people who associate partners with Allah (swt). “And do not marry Mushrik (polytheistic) women until they believe. And a believing slave woman is better than a polytheist, even though she might please you.” [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:221] Moreover, we find that the Jews and the Christians too associate partners with Allah (swt). Says Allah (swt) in the Glorious Qur’an: “They (Jews and the Christians) have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah, and (also) the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him.” [Surah AtTawbah 9:31] The Christians, who claim that Jesus (pbuh) is God as well as the Son of God, insist on the supposed divinity of Jesus (pbuh) and worship him as such. “They have certainly disbelieved who say, “Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary” while the Messiah has said, “O children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Indeed he who associates other with Allah – Allah has forbidden him paradise and his refuge is the fire. And there are not for the wrongdoers any helpers.” [Surah Al-Maidah 5:72] From the above-mentioned verses and many such verses of the Qur'an, it is very clear that almost all the present day Jews and the Christians are committing shirk by joining partners with Allah (swt). Apparently, it appears to be a “contradiction” in the Qur’an, since at one place Allah (swt) forbids Muslims from marrying Mushriks, whereas at another place He allows Muslim men to marry women from the Jews and the Christians, most of who as per the Qur'anic narrations are Mushriks too i.e. those who associate partners with Allah (swt). In another verse of the Glorious Qur’an, Allah (swt) conciliates all the above verses by informing us that among the Jews and the Christians there are also people who are true believers i.e. they believe in only one God and do not associate partners with Allah (swt). It says, “Among them (Jews and the Christians) are believers but most of them are defiantly disobedient.” [Surah Ali Imran 3:110] Therefore, according to me, Muslim men are permitted to marry only those women from the People of the Book (i.e. the Jews and the Christians) who are chaste as well as who do not commit shirk i.e. those who do not believe in trinity and Jesus’ (pbuh) divinity. And Allah Knows the Best.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MARY AND MIRIAM
Question

It is mentioned in your Qur’an that Mary was the sister of Aaron (pbuh). Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not know the difference between Miriam the sister of Aaron (pbuh) and Mary the Mother of Jesus (pbuh), as the time span between both of them was about a thousand years. Jesus_christ35@yahoo.com 1. IN THE SEMITIC LANGUAGES SISTER ALSO MEANS DESCENDANT

The Qur’an mentions in Surah Maryam, Chapter 19 verses 27-28 ‘Then she brought him (child) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: "O Mary! You have certainly done a thing unprecedented. "O sister of Aaron! Your father was not a man of evil nor was your mother unchaste!"” [Surah Maryam 19:27-28] Christian missionaries say that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not know the difference between Mary the mother of Jesus (pbuh) and Miriam the sister of Aaron (pbuh). The time span between both was more than a thousand years. In the Arabic construction of the sentence, sister is also considered as a descendant. Thus, when the people said to Mary, Ya Ukhta Haroon i.e. ‘O sister of Aaron’ it actually means descendant of Aaron (pbuh). 2. SON ALSO MEANS DESCENDANT

It is mentioned in the Gospel of Mathew, Chapter 1 verse 1 "Jesus Christ, the son of David,..". [Mathew 1:1] It is also mentioned in the Gospel of Luke Chapter 3, verse 23 "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph,..." [Luke 3:23] 3. DID JESUS (PBUH) HAVE TWO FATHERS? The explanation of the phrase that Jesus (pbuh) was the son of David (pbuh), is that Jesus (pbuh) was a descendant of David (pbuh). So, ‘Son’ here too means a descendant.

PROHIBITION OF MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Question: I have a doubt about playing of musical instruments. Is this an act of Satan? Faiz-ullah-Khan, Jammu and Kashmir. A. Prohibition of music is recorded in many authentic Ahadith. Narrated Abu Malik Al-Ashari: "The Messenger (pbuh) of Allah (SWT) said, "Some people of my Ummah will drink wine, calling it by other than its real name, merriment will be made for them through the playing of musical instruments and the singing of lady singers. Allah will cleave the earth under them and turn others into monkeys and swines.

[Ibn Ma'jah Vol.5 Hadith No.4020] Narrated Abu Amir or Abu Malik Al Ashari that he heard the Prophet saying, "From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful. And there will be some people who will stay near the side of a mountain and in the evening their shepherd will come to them with their sheep and ask them for something, but they will say to him, 'Return to us tomorrow.' Allah will destroy them during the night and will let the mountain fall on them, and He will transform the rest of them into monkeys and pigs and they will remain so till the Day of Resurrection." [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.7 Hadith No.5590] However, there are some Ahadith which indicate that it is permissible to beat the ‘daff’ i.e. the tambourine (which is open on one side and covered on the other). Narrated Urwa on the authority of Aisha “On the days of Mina, (11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah) Abu Bakr came to her while two young girls were beating the tambourine (daff) and the Prophet was lying covered with his clothes. Abu Bakr scolded them. The Prophet uncovered his face and said to Abu Bakr, "Leave them, for these days are the days of 'Id and the days of Mina." [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.2 Hadith No.987] Narrated Ar Rabi (the daughter of Muawwidh bin Afra): “After the consummation of my marriage, the Prophet came and sat on my bed as far from me as you are sitting now, and our little girls started beating the tambourines (daff) and reciting elegiac verses mourning my father, who had been killed in the battle of Badr. One of them said, ‘Among us is a Prophet who knows what will happen tomorrow.’ On that the Prophet said, ‘Leave this (saying) and keep on saying the verses which you had been saying before.’ [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.7 Hadith No.5147] Therefore from the above evidence it is concluded that the use of musical instruments in general is forbidden in Islam, with the exception of the 'Daff'. Music usually intoxicates a person and takes one away from the path of Allah (swt). Music engages a person’s mind and takes him/her away from the remembrance of his/her Creator and from realizing and focusing his/her attention on the purpose of his/her creation. In musical songs, most of the times the listeners even appreciate illogical, incorrect and blasphemous matter and content. A person will realize this when he starts pondering over the meaning of many Hindi and English songs, lyrics and ghazals. Here we find that it is because of music that the person’s mind is intoxicated and the person deviates from the straight path. And Allah Knows the Best.

IS MAN CREATED FROM SPERM OR DUST?

Question: At one place the Qur’an mentions that man is created from sperm and in another place it mentions that man is created from dust. Are these two verses not contradicting? Hello_brother41@yahoo.com Answer: 1. Man created from sperm and dust

The Qur’an refers to the lowly beginnings of a human being from a drop of sperm, in several verses including the following verse from Surah Al-Qiyamah: "Was he not a drop of sperm emitted (in lowly form)"? [Al-Qur’an 75:37] The Qur’an also mentions in several places that human beings were created from dust. The following verse makes a reference to the origin of human beings: "(Consider) that We created you out of dust". [Al-Qur’an 22:5] We now know that all the elements present in the human body (i.e. the constituent elements of the human body) are all present in the earth in small or great quantities. This is the scientific explanation for the Qur’anic verse that says that man was created from dust. In certain verses, the Qur’an says that man was created from sperm, while in certain other verses it says that man was created from dust. However this is not a contradiction. Contradiction means statements, which are opposite or conflicting and both cannot be true simultaneously. 2. Man created from water

In certain places the Qur’an also says that man was created from water. For instance in Surah Al-Furqan it says: "It is He Who has created man from water". [Al-Qur’an 25:54] Science has proved all the three statements to be correct. Man has been created from sperm, dust as well as water. 3. It is not a Contradiction but a Contradistinction

Suppose I say that in order to make a cup of tea one needs water. One also needs tealeaves or tea powder. The two statements are not contradictory since both water and tealeaves are required in order to make a cup of tea. Furthermore if I want sweet tea I can even add sugar.

Thus there is no contradiction in the Qur’an when it says that man is created from sperm, dust and water. It is not a contradiction but a contradistinction. Contradistinction means speaking about two different concepts on the same subject without conflict. For instance if I say that the man is always truthful and a habitual liar, it is a contradiction, but if I say that a man is always honest, kind and loving, then it is a contradistinction.

DYEING ONE’S HAIR
Ques. I am Bilal. I’d like to know about hair coloring according to Qur’an and Hadith. I came to know that it is permissible. Is it right? Please explain providing evidence from authentic sources of Islam. Bilal Ahmed ----- bilalgi@islamicvoice.com Ans.: It is permissible to change the colour of one’s greying hair, to a colour besides black, as long as the material used for coloring hair is pure and permissible. Narrated Abu Dharr

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “The best things with which grey hair are changed are henna and katam (a plant from Yemen which produces a reddish-black dye)”. [Sunan Abu Dawood Vol.3 Chapter 1567 Hadith No.4193]

During the days of the Prophet (pbuh), the Jews and the Christians used to refrain from dyeing greying hair because they considered such adornment as contrary to piety and devotion, and not befitting rabbis, priests and ascetics. The Prophet (pbuh) forbade Muslims from imitating them (the Jews and the Christians), in order that Muslims might develop their own distinctive and independent characteristics. Narrated Abu Huraira

Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said, "The Jews and the Christians do not dye (their grey hair), so you shall do the opposite of what they do (i.e. dye your grey hair and beards)." [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.4 Hadith No.3462 & Sahih Muslim Vol.3 Chapter 831 Hadith No.5245]
However, it is not permitted for a Muslim man or a woman to dye his/her hair black because of the reports in which the Prophet (pbuh) instructed the Muslims to abstain from it. Jabir bin Abdullah reported that Abu Quhaafah was led (to the audience of the Holy Prophet) on the day of the conquest of Makkah and his head and beard were white like thughamah (hyssop), whereupon Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said: “Change it with something but avoid black”. [Sahih Muslim Vol.3 Chapter 831 Hadith No.5244] Ibn ‘Abbaas reported the Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) as saying: At the end of time there will be people who will use this black dye like the crops of birds; they will not experience the fragrance of Paradise.” [Sunan Abu Dawood Vol.3 Chapter 1569 Hadith No.4200]

Nevertheless, the use of black dye is specifically permitted during time of war, with the possibility of demoralizing the enemy when they see all Muslim soldiers looking ‘young’. Moreover, dyeing the hair when there is no grey hair, though not forbidden, is not regarded as following the Prophet’s example, since it does not serve the same shar’i interests as achieved by dyeing grey hair. One must make sure that hair colouring should not be done as an imitation of immodest or immoral people, whom some people may mistakenly regard as examples to follow. This is prohibited because the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whoever imitates any people is one of them.” [Sunan Abu Dawood Vol.3 Chapter 1506 Hadith No.4020]. And Allah Knows the Best.

IS IT PERMISSIBLE TO OFFER NAFIL SALAH AFTER WITR SALAAH?
Ques. Is it true that my last prayer should be witr or is this merely recommended as a prudent course of action by the Prophet (saw). Once I pray witr after Isha and later I want to pray Nafil, can I do so? Shaikh Imran--- Imran_shaikh94@hotmail.com Ans.: It is Mustahab (i.e. highly recommended) for a Muslim to make witr as his/her last prayer at night since the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) exhort the Muslims to do so. Narrated Nafi Ibn 'Umar said, "While the Prophet was on the pulpit, a man asked him how to offer the night prayers. He replied, 'Pray two Rak’ahs at a time and then two and then two and so on, and if you are afraid of the dawn (the approach of the time of the Fajr prayer) pray one Rak’ah and that will be the witr for all the Rak’ahs at which you have offered’." [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.1 Hadith No.472] Narrated Abdullah bin Umar The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Make Witr as your last prayer at night." [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.2 Hadith No.998] However, this command of the Prophet (pbuh) is in the sense of it being preferable, and not obligatory, because it is proven in the Ahadith that the Prophet (pbuh) sometimes prayed two rak’ahs (units) after Witr whilst sitting down. Abu Salamah asked ‘Aisha about the prayer of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). She said: “He observed thirteen rak’ahs (in the night prayer). He observed eight rak’ahs and would then observe witr and then observe two rak’ahs sitting, and when he wanted to bow He stood up and then bowed down, and then observed two rak’ahs in between the Adhan and Iqamah of the dawn prayer”. [Sahih Muslim Vol.1 Chapter 261 Hadith No.1608] The Prophet (pbuh) prayed two rak’ahs after witr in order to demonstrate that it is permissible to pray nafil after witr. He did not always pray nafil after witr, rather he did that only a few times. If one prays Witr in the beginning of the night, after that Allah (swt) enables him/her to pray qiyaam, then one can pray two by two but he/she does not have to repeat Witr, because the

Prophet (pbuh) said, “There cannot be two Witrs in one night.” [Sunan Abu Dawood Vol.1 Chapter 495 Hadith No.1434]. And Allah Knows the Best.

WOMEN IN THE MOSQUE
Question: Why are women not allowed in the mosque? Answer: 1. There is not a single verse in the Qur’an, which prohibits ladies from entering mosques. There is not a single authentic Hadith which I am aware of which states that the Prophet (pbuh) prevented or forbade women from going to mosques. There is only one Hadith, which perhaps could have been misunderstood to mean that women should not go to the mosque. That Hadith is as follows: Abdullah Bin Mas’ud reported the Prophet (pbuh) as saying: It is more excellent for a woman to pray in her house than in her courtyard, and more excellent for her to pray in her private chamber than in her house. [Sunan Abu Dawood Vol.1 Chapter 204 Hadith No.570] If you base your conclusion only on this single Hadith, then you may wrongly conclude that it is not advisable or preferable for women to go to the mosque. However, your conclusion cannot be based only on one Hadith neglecting or ignoring all the other Ahadith. The context of the Hadith is also very important. The Prophet (pbuh) said that if a person prays in the mosque he gets 27 times more blessings (Sawab). Some women argued that they had infants at home and other household work and therefore could not go to the mosque. Thus, the men would have a greater advantage than women for receiving such blessings. It is then that the Prophet (pbuh) said the above Hadith. Hence, the conclusion is that in situations where women have infants and household work, which too is an important duty that cannot be neglected, women would not be deprived of the sawaab (blessings) if they pray in their own homes.

2. There are several Ahadith which prove that both men and women used to go to the mosques during the life of the prophet (pbuh): (i) The Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘Do not prevent the female servants of Allah from going to the mosque of Allah.’ [Sahih Muslim Vol.1 Chapter 177 Hadith No.886] (ii) And husbands were specifically told by him, “If the wife of any one of you asks permission (to go to the mosque) do not forbid her.” (Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book of Salaah, Chapter 80, Hadith No. 832) (iii) From the time the Prophet (pbuh) entered Madinah, after Hijra, till his demise, he never prevented women from entering the mosque. (iv) During the time of the Prophet (pbuh), women not only went to the mosques for prayer but also for religious education and literary discussions as the mosque was the centre of community. Several Ahadith tell us that the Prophet (pbuh) addressed people in the mosque, and the audience consisted of both Muslim men and women. Women many a times asked questions to the Prophet (pbuh) in the mosque. (v) During the Prophet’s (pbuh) time, mosques had separate entrances for ladies. Women filled the mosques from behind while men had separate entrances and filled the mosques from the front. In between the two sections were children. (vi) It is reported by Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (Pbuh) said: “The best rows for men are the first rows, and the worst ones are the last. The best rows for women are the last ones, and the worst ones for them are the first.” [Sahih Muslim Vol.1 Chapter 175 Hadith No.881) 3. Islam permits women to pray in mosques. Ladies should have separate and equal facilities. Islam does not permit the intermingling of sexes. Otherwise, there will be a similar scene in mosques like other places of worship where some people even come for ‘bird-watching’ and eve teasing. 4. In recent times, women are not allowed in mosques in a few countries especially in India and its neighbouring countries. Otherwise, in most of the other countries, women are allowed in mosques.

Women are allowed in mosques in Saudi Arabia, in U.A.E; in Egypt, in U.S.A; in the U.K and in Singapore. Women are also allowed in the sacred mosques, Masjid-e-Haram in Makkah and in Masjid-e-Nabawi in Madinah. Allahamdulillah, the trend is now changing in India. We have several mosques in India and a few in Mumbai in which women come to pray in mosques (masaajid).

WHY DO MUSLIMS FOLLOW THE LUNAR CALENDAR

Question: Why do Muslims follow the lunar calendar instead of the solar calendar? Answer: 1. As per the Solar calendar, every year the months fall in the same respective seasons of that location. For example, the months of March, April and May in India will always have summer, while July, August, September will always have monsoons i.e. rains in western India. November, December and January will always have winter. 2. In the lunar calendar in different years the months fall in a different season. The lunar calendar has about 11 days less than the solar calendar. Thus, every year, the month of the lunar calendar occurs 11 days prior to what it had occurred in the previous solar year. Thus, in a span of about 33 lunar years a human being will experience all the different seasons for one particular month of the lunar calendar. This is very important because the yearly activities of a Muslim are based on the lunar calendar. Certain months like Ramadhan and Hajj are very important to the Muslims. During Ramadhan a Muslim has to fast which includes abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. If the Islamic months were based on the solar calendar where the seasons were fixed, then people living in certain parts of the world would have Ramadhan in summer while in other parts of the world it would be winter. Some Muslims would have to fast for a longer period of time where the days are long while other Muslims would have to fast for shorter period of time where the days are short. If the seasons did not change, then Muslims living in some parts of the world may feel that they are at a disadvantage throughout their lives. By following the lunar calendar, every Muslim has a taste of fasting in different seasons and for a different time period, in a span of about 33 years of his life.

Why are all prayers and supplications

not answered or fulfilled by Allah (SWT)?
A. 1. You may dislike a thing which is good for you (2:216) The reply to this question is given in the Glorious Qur’an in Surah Baqarah chapter 2 verse 216: “But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knows, and you know not.” 2. Praying for a motor cycle. There may be a very pious person who prays to Allah (SWT) for a motor cycle but the prayer is not answered. Allah knows very well that if the person acquires a motor cycle he will have an accident and get crippled. The Qur’an rightly says you may love a thing which is bad for you but Allah knows and you know not. 3. Businessman misses flight due to traffic jam. Suppose a rich businessman is supposed to catch a flight in order to click a deal which would fetch him billions of rupees. While going to the airport to catch the flight, there was an unusual traffic jam on the road, which prevented him from reaching the airport on time. The businessman misses the very flight and sorrowfully says “This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me in my life.” While returning back home he hears on the radio that the very flight that he was supposed to catch has crashed and all the passengers have died. The businessman happily says: this is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life. Allah knew best that the life of the businessman was much more precious than the billions of rupees that he had lost. You may dislike a thing which is good for you, but Allah knows and you know not. 4. Surah Shura-chapter 42 verse 27. The Qur’an mentions in Surah Shura chapter 42 verse 27 “If Allah were to enlarge the provision for His Servants, they would indeed transgress beyond all bounds through the earth; but He sends (it) down in due measure as He pleases. For He is with His servants well-acquainted, watchful.” 5. Surah Baqarah chapter 2 verse 186.

It is mentioned in the Qur’an in Surah Baqarah chapter 2 verse 186 “When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me:” 6. Surah Ghafir chapter 40 verse 60. It is mentioned in Surah Ghafir chapter 40 verse 60 “And your Lord says: “Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer): but those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell – in humiliation! 7. Allah answers your prayer by not answering. Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an that “you call on Me and I will answer the prayer”. These verses of the Qur’an are not falsified when your prayers are not answered. In fact Allah (SWT) in His Divine Wisdom answers your prayers by not granting you what you with your limited and finite knowledge had asked for. 8. Unbelievers and impious people have luxury. Some people wonder how is it that several unbelievers and impious people lead a luxurious life. They worship false gods and pray to them for wealth. Since these people worship false gods yet, Allah (SWT) answers their prayers and gives them wealth which further leads them away from Allah (SWT) and thus in the long run it is harmful for them. 9. Believers remember Allah whether rich or poor. A true believer is a person who, irrespective of whether he is rich or poor, remembers Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) has described such people in Surah Al Noor chapter 24 verse 37 “By men whom neither traffic nor merchandise can divert from the remembrance of Allah nor from regular prayer, nor from the practice of regular Charity: their (only) fear is for the Day when hearts and eyes will be transformed (in a world wholly new)-“ 10. A True believer always says Alhamdullillah. A true believer is a person who irrespective of what ever happens says, ‘Alhamdulillah’. Praise be to Allah. Even when he goes in loss he says Alhamdullillah, because he has faith in Allah that if Allah permitted the loss to be incurred it has to be beneficial in the long run. In short he has faith in Allah, that whatever happens, happens for the good.

And Allah Knows Best.

Why Building of Temples and Churches, and Propagating Other Religions, is Prohibited in Saudi Arabia?
Q. Why is building of temples and churches and the propagation of any religion other than Islam not allowed in Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia? A. 1. Example of selecting a Maths teacher: Suppose you are a principal of a school and you have to select a Mathematics teacher. It is obvious that you will interview the candidates. If one teacher says that 2 + 2 = 3, the other says 2 + 2 = 4 and the third says 2 + 2 = 5 whom will you select? Since you know mathematics is logical, you will never select or allow a person to teach mathematics who doesn’t even know the basics of arithmetic that 2 + 2 = 4. 2. Where religion is concerned Muslims are experts: Similarly in the field of religion, Muslims are the best and Qur’an clearly mentions in Surah Ale Imran, Chapter 3, verse 19 (3:19): “The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His will)”. [Al-Qur’an 3:19] It is further mentioned In Surah Ale Imran Chapter 3, verse 85 (3:85) “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good).” [Al-Qur’an 3:85] 3. No other religious scripture claims that its religion alone is true. There is no other religious scripture on the face of the earth besides the Qur’an which says that only its religion is true, correct and acceptable to Almighty God, and that all the other religions are false and hence not acceptable to Almighty God. If you are a school principal who knows Maths, you will never allow a person to teach Maths in your school who does not know Maths. Similarly Muslims, who are experts in the field of religion and know that Islam is the only true religion, will not allow anyone in the country of Saudi Arabia to preach any other religion

besides Islam. Muslims also know that what the true concept of Almighty God i.e. Allah (SWT) is, and thus we will not permit anyone to build, in the country of Saudi Arabia, a place of worship where they worship anyone besides Allah (swt). And Allah Knows Best.

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