La Tahzan Wa La Khauf

Don't Be Sad My Friends

What are women's rights in Islam?

Courtesy of Islamic.Org

In a truely Islamic society women have the following rights in Islam:
1. The right and duty to obtain education.
2. The right to have their own independent property.
3. The right to work to earn money if they need it or want it.
4. Equality of reward for equal deeds.
5. The right to express their opinion and be heard.
6. The right to provisions from the husband for all her needs and more.
7. The right to negotiate marriage terms of her choice.
8. The right to obtain divorce from her husband, even on the grounds that she simply can't stand him. (pls note that God deeply frowns upon divorce as a solution unless there is hardly any other alternative but it does not mean that men have more right to divorce their wives than women do.)
9. The right to keep all her own money (she is not responsible to maintain any relations).
10. The right to get sexual satisfaction from her husband.
11. custody of their children after divorce.
12. to refuse any marriage that does not please them
and more...
Here is an article taken from a speech which details some of these rights: Ideals and role models for women in Islam


Principles Of Busines in Islam

Defects in an item

1. When selling an item, it is wajib on the person to show all the defects that may be found in it. It is harâm to conceal the defects and to convince the person into buying such an item.

2. After purchasing an item, a person noticed a defect in it, e.g. a woman notices that a cloth has been eaten up, a shawl has some moths in it or she notices any other defect. She now has the choice of keeping the item as it is, or returning it to the seller. However, if she decides to keep it, she will have to pay the full price of the item. It is not permissible for her to reduce an amount from the total price as a compensation for the defect. But if the seller agrees to reduce the price because of the defect, it will be permissible for her to pay less.

3. A person had purchased some fabric and kept it aside. A child ripped off a corner of that fabric or cut it with a pair of scissors. Thereafter, he noticed that it is damaged from the inside as well and that a rat has eaten it at several places. The person cannot return this item because one additional defect took place at his house (i.e. when the child had cut it). However, he can have the price reduced as a compensation for the defect that took place at the shopkeeper's place (i.e. the several places that had been eaten by a rat). People who know the value of the item should be asked to estimate its present value and the price reduced accordingly.

4. Similarly, if a defect is noticed after a fabric has been purchased and already cut, it cannot be returned but the price will be reduced. However, if the seller says : "Return the cut fabric and take a full refund, I am not going to reduce the price", he has the right to ask for it and the buyer cannot refuse to return it.

If the fabric has been cut and also sewn and thereafter a defect is noticed, the price will be reduced as a compensation for the defect. In such a case, the seller cannot take his fabric back.

If the buyer sells that fabric or cuts it with the intention of sewing something for her immature child and at the same time making a firm resolution of giving it to the child, and thereafter a defect is noticed, then the price cannot be reduced. But if she cut it with the intention of sewing something for her mature child, the price can be reduced.

5. A person purchased eggs and paid a certain price per egg. When the eggs were broken, all of them turned out to be rotten. The buyer can take all his money back and it will be regarded as if he did not purchase the eggs at all. If a few turn out to be rotten, he can claim the money for those that are rotten.

If a person purchases several eggs which have all been priced together (i.e. he does not pay a certain price per egg), then we will have to see how many rotten eggs come out from the entire lot. If five or six eggs are rotten out of a total of 100 eggs, it will not be considered. But if more than this turns out to be rotten, he can claim the money for those that are rotten.

6. A person purchased cucumbers, sweet-melons, water-melons, pumpkins, almonds, walnuts, etc. When they were cut open or broken open, he noticed that they are rotten. In such a case, check whether they could be used, or they are so bad that they are absolutely useless and have to be thrown away. If they are absolutely useless, this transaction will not be valid and the person must claim all his money back. But if they can be used in some way, he must pay the market value of such items. The full price will not be paid.

7. If, out of 100 almonds, four or five are rotten it will not be considered. But if more than these turn out to be rotten, the person has the choice to reduce the price accordingly.

8. A person purchased 150 grams of wheat for R1 or 100 grams of ghee for R1. A portion of both these items was good, while the balance turned out to be bad. It is not permissible to keep the good and return the bad. If he decides to keep them, he will have to keep all. And if he decides to return them, he will have to return all. However, if the seller agrees to take back all the bad and give you the good, it will be permissible to do so. The buyer cannot do this without the consent of the seller.

9. When there is any defect in an item, the person will only have the right to return it when it is established that there is no indication that the person is happy about taking the defective item. However, once a person agrees to purchase an item after seeing the defect, he does not have the right to return that item. But if the seller takes it back happily, it will be permissible. For example, a person purchased a goat or cow. When he went home with it, he realized that it is sick or there is a wound on its body. Once he notices this defect and expresses his consent and says to himself : "Well, it's okay. I've bought a defective animal", he will no longer have the right to return it. If he does not say anything verbally, but carries out certain actions which show that he is satisfied with the animal, then too will he no longer have the right to return it. For example, if he starts treating its wound and gives it some medication, he will no longer have the right to return it.

10. A person purchased goat's meat. When he went home, he realized that it is the meat of a sheep. He has the right to return it.

11. A woman purchased a pearl necklace or some other jewellery and also wore it at some time or the other. Alternatively, she purchased a pair of shoes and began walking around with it. Now she cannot return these items if she finds any defect in them. However, if she wears the shoes in order to check whether they fit her properly and that she does not experience any discomfort by wearing them, there will be no harm in wearing them for a little while in order to test them and she still has the right to return them if she wishes to do so.

Similarly, if a person purchases a flat-couch (refers to a flat wooden type of bed) or bed and lays them down out of necessity or begins to offer salâh on that couch or uses the bed in some way or the other, he will no longer have the right to return the bed or couch. Other items could be understood in the same manner. That is, once they are used for any purpose, they cannot be returned.

12. At the time of selling an item, a person said : "You better check it properly before you buy it. Later if you find any defect in it, I will not be responsible." Despite the seller saying this, the person purchased the item. Later, he cannot return it irrespective of how many defects it may have. It is permissible for the seller to sell an item in this manner and it is no longer wajib on him to show the defect that may be in the item.

Written By
Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi Rahmatullah Alaihi
Taken From:


Principles Of Busines in Islam

Purchasing an item without seeing it

1. A person purchases an item without having seen it. This transaction is valid. However, once he sees the item, he has the right to return it or keep it. This is irrespective of whether there is any defect in the item or not. Even if the item is exactly as he had envisaged it to be, he still has the right to return it or keep it.

2. A person sold an item without even looking at it. This person who sells the item does not have the right to take it back after he sees it. Only the buyer has the right of returning an item after seeing it.

3. A hawker came selling peas. The top of the heap had all good quality peas. Upon seeing this, the buyer bought the entire basket of peas. However, the peas that were in the bottom of the heap were of an inferior quality. He still has the right to return them. However, if all the produce is of the same quality, it will be sufficient to see a few. Once he does this, he forfeits the right to return them irrespective of whether he sees all the produce or not.

4. A person bought guavas, pomegranates, coconuts or anything else which is generally not all the same. As long as the person does not see all the fruit, he will have the right to return them. By his seeing a few of the fruit, he does not forfeit the right to return.

5. If a person purchases something that is to be consumed (either by eating it or drinking it), he does not forfeit his right to return by merely seeing it. He should also taste it. If he does not like it, he has the right to return it.

6. A person had seen an item long ago. He purchased it today but did not look at it at the time of purchasing it (thinking that there is no need to do so since he had seen it previously). When he took it home, it was exactly as he had seen it a long time ago. After seeing it, he does not have the right to return it. However, if, after seeing it after so long, he notices some difference in it, he has the choice of keeping it or returning it.

Written By
Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi Rahmatullah Alaihi
Taken From:


Principles Of Busines in Islam

Khiyârush Shart - The Right To Return Goods

1. At the time of purchasing an item, a person says : "I have the right to take or return this item within one day, two days or three days. If I wish, I will keep it, if not, I will return it to you." This is permissible. He has the choice of returning the item within the period that he specifies or of keeping it.

2. A person says : "I have the right to take or return this item within three days." Three days expired and this person did not say anything nor did he return it. He will now have to take that item. He does not have the right to return it. However, if the seller permits him to do so, it will be permissible. He cannot return it without obtaining the consent of the seller.

3. It is not permissible to make such a condition for more than three days. If a person makes a condition for four or five days, we will have to see whether he makes a decision within three days or not. If he returns the item within three days, it will be considered to be returned. If he decides to keep it, the transaction will be valid. If three days pass without knowing whether he is going to keep the item or return it, the transaction will become invalid.

4. Similarly, the person selling the item also has the right to say : "I have the choice of taking my item back within three days." This is also permissible.

5. At the time of purchasing an item, a person says : "I have the right of returning this item within three days." The next day he comes and says : "I have decided to keep this item and I am not returning it." Once he says this, his right will be forfeited and he cannot return that item. In fact, even if he goes to his own house and says that he has decided to keep that item, his right will be forfeited. When a person wishes to cancel his transaction or return the item, he will have to do it in front of the seller, he cannot do it behind his back or in his absence.

6. A woman says : "My mother has the right - if she says that I should keep it, I will do so, if not, I will return it." This is permissible. This woman or her mother can return the item within three days. If this woman or her mother come and inform the seller that she has decided to keep the item, this right will now be forfeited and the item cannot be returned.

7. A person takes two or three pieces of cloth and says : "I have the right for three days. Whichever one I like, I will pay R10 per piece and keep it." This is permissible and he can select one piece of cloth within three days. But if the person takes four or five pieces of cloth (i.e. more than three) and says that he will select one from them, this transaction will be invalid.

8. A person had stipulated the right to return the item within three days. Thereafter, he began using it at home, e.g. if it is something that is used to cover himself, he began covering himself with it. If it is something that is worn he began wearing it. If it is something to lay out, he began laying it out. In all these cases, the right to return the item will now be forfeited.

9. However, if a person uses an item merely to see whether it is suitable or not, e.g. a woman purchases a dress, sheet or carpet. Thereafter, she puts on the dress to check whether it fits her well or not and removes it immediately thereafter, wraps the sheet around her to check whether its length and width is suitable or not, or spreads the carpet to see whether its length and breadth is suitable or not. In all these cases, she still has the right to return these items if she wishes to do so.

Written By
Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi Rahmatullah Alaihi
Taken From:


Principles Of Busines in Islam

Purchasing on credit

1. It is permissible to purchase an item on credit. However, it is necessary to specify a period of time, i.e. you will pay the amount after 15 days, after one month or after four months - whatever the case may be. If a person does not specify any period but merely says : "I don't have the money now, I will pay you later", this has two aspects to it : (i) He says : "I will purchase this on condition that I will pay you later." In such a case the transaction will be invalid (faasid). (ii) If the person does not include this condition in the actual transaction, but after purchasing it he says : "I will pay you later", this will be permissible.

If he did not mention anything within the transaction nor anything after the transaction, the sale will be valid and in both these instances he will have to pay cash for the item. If the seller gives on credit on his own accord, it will be permissible. But if he asks for the money immediately, the person will have to give it.

2. At the time of purchasing an item a person says :

(a) "Give me that item, once I get my money I will pay it to you."

(b) "When my brother comes, I will pay you."

(c) "Once the orchard bears its fruit, I will pay you."

(d) Alternatively, the seller says : "Take the item now, and you can pay me whenever you wish."

In all these cases, the transaction will be invalid. One has to specify a period of time and then purchase the item. If the person purchases the item and then says any of the above, the transaction will be valid and the seller has the right to ask for the money immediately. The exception is that the seller cannot demand for the money before the orchard can bear its fruit.

3. When paying in cash, the price of 200 grams of wheat is R1. But if the person buys on credit, he receives only 150 grams. This transaction is valid on the condition that the buyer is informed of this at that very time.

4. The above rule applies when the seller asked the buyer whether he is going to pay cash or take it on credit. When he replied that he is going to pay cash, the seller gave him 200 grams. And when he said credit, the seller gave him 150 grams. But if the seller says : "If you pay cash, this will be the price, and if you take it on credit, this will be the price", then such a transaction will not be valid (since the buyer has not specified his intention of paying cash of taking on credit).

5. A person purchased an item after promising to pay for it after one month. On the expiry of one month he went to the seller and told him that he must give him a respite for another 15 days, after which he will pay him his money. If the seller agrees, it will be permissible. However, he also has the right to demand the money immediately.

6. Once the person has the money, it is not permissible to delay in paying. He cannot say : "I won't give you today, I'll give it to you tomorrow", "Don't come to collect it now, come at such-and-such time", "I don't have change now, once I get some change I will pay you". All this is harâm. Once the person asks for the money, you should make the change and give him his money immediately.

However, if the person purchases something on credit and promises to pay after a certain period of time, then once the time expires, it will be wâjib on him to pay the money. It is not permissible to delay or make the person "run" for his money once the specified time expires. But if the person does not have the money nor was he able to obtain it from someone else, then he has no alternative but to pay it the moment he receives the money. Once he receives the money, he cannot delay in fulfilling his debt.


Principles Of Busines in Islam

Having knowledge of the item that is to be purchased

1. When purchasing dry groceries, seeds, etc. a person has the choice of purchasing it after having it properly weighed or he could say : "I am buying a certain amount of wheat for R1." Alternatively, he could purchase it as it is (i.e. without having it weighed nor specifying any amount) and say : "I am buying this heap of wheat for R1." No matter how much of wheat may be in that heap, all will belong to him (once he purchases it).

2. When purchasing, mangoes, guavas, oranges, etc. one has the choice of purchasing them by merely counting them or purchasing them in heaps. If a person purchases all the mangoes that are in a basket for R2 without knowing how many there are in it, the transaction will be valid. All the mangoes will be his irrespective of how many come out from that basket.

3. A woman came around selling fruit. The person said to her : "Give me some fruit equal to this brick in weight for R1." The woman agreed to sell the fruit by using the brick as a weight. However, none of them know the weight of the brick itself. Despite this, the transaction will be valid.

4. A person purchased an entire basket of mangoes, guavas, oranges or any other fruit for R100 on the condition that there are 400 mangoes (or whatever other fruit there may be) in that basket. When the mangoes were counted, there were only 300. The person purchasing the mangoes has the choice of taking them as they are or not buying them. If he buys the entire basket, he does not have to give R100. Instead, he will have to pay for only 75% of the total amount. If there are 350 mangoes, he will have to pay for 88% of the total amount. In short, the fewer the mangoes, the lesser he will have to pay.

If, after counting, more than 400 mangoes come out, the balance will belong to the seller. The buyer does not have the right to take more than 400. But if the buyer purchases the entire basket without specifying how many there are, then whatever number comes out will be his; whether they are more or less.

5. A person purchased a head-covering which is made of such a fabric that if a part of it is torn, the entire garment will become spoilt and useless. At the time of purchasing it, the person made this condition that it is 3 metres in length. When it was measured, it turned out to be less than 3 metres. In such a case, the price of this fabric will not be reduced. Instead, the buyer will have to pay the full price that had been agreed upon. However, in such a case, the only concession that they will have is that despite their agreeing on a price, the buyer has the right to take the item or leave it. If more than 3 metres are found in that length of fabric, it will belong to the buyer. He does not have to pay any additional amount of money for it.

6. A woman purchased two silk belts at night. The following morning she noticed that one of the belts is made of cotton. The transaction with regard to both these belts is not permissible; neither the one made of silk nor the one made of cotton. Similarly, if a person purchased two rings on the condition that they are made of turquoise, and later he learns that one of them is not made of turquoise but of something else, the transaction with regard to both is not permissible. If the person still wishes to purchase one of the two or both of them, then the method of doing this is that they should commence the transaction all over again and thereafter the buyer can purchase whichever one he wants.


Principles Of Busines in Islam

Finding out the price of an item

1. A person closed the palm of his hand and says : "Give me that particular item for whatever money is in my hand." And it is not known what is in his hand; whether he has dollars, rands, cents, a gold coin; whether he has one, two or many. Such a transaction is not permissible.

2. In a certain city, two different currencies are in vogue. The person will have to inform the seller that he intends buying a particular item with a particular currency. If the person does not inform him and says that he is selling a particular item for a particular price and the buyer says he will take it, then we will have to see which currency is more in use in that place. The currency that is more in use will have to be given as payment. If both the currencies are used equally, the transaction will not be valid and will be fâsid, i.e. imperfect.

3. A person has some money in his hand, he opens his hand, shows it to the seller and asks him to sell him a particular item for all that money. The seller saw the money in his hand and handed over the item but did not know the exact amount of money that was in the buyer's hand. This transaction is valid.

Similarly, if the buyer places a heap of money before the seller on a mat, etc. and the latter agrees to sell him the item for that heap of money, the sale is valid even if he does not know the exact amount kept before him..

In short, once the seller sees the money, it is not necessary to tell him how much money there is. But if he does not see the money with his own eyes, it is necessary to specify the exact amount. A person says : "I will take this item for 10 coins." If in such a case, he does not specify the total amount of money and the matter is not settled, this transaction will not be valid.

4. A person says :

(a) "Take this item, what is the need to agree on a price? Whatever the price will be, I will collect it from you. How can I take extra from you?"

(b) "You can take this item away. I will find out the price from home and let you know later."

(c) "Someone else had taken a similar item. You can pay me whatever that person had paid."

(d) "Pay me whatever you wish, I will not refuse it. I will accept whatever you give me."

(e) "Find out the price in the bazaar and then pay me whatever the market price is."

(g) "Go and show this item to a certain person and you can pay me whatever he quotes you."

The transaction will be invalid in all the above instances. However, if the price of the item is made known at that very place and the cause which had made the transaction invalid is no more found, the transaction will become valid. If the price was made known after there was a change in their places, then the first transaction will be invalid. However, once the price is made known, they can recommence the transaction.

5. There is a particular shopkeeper from whom one orders whatever one needs and the goods are delivered to the person's home. Today he might order some betel nut, tomorrow he might order some catechu (a vegetable extract eaten with betel leaves), some other day he might order a few coconuts, etc. and when purchasing these items he did not bother to ask about the price and thought to himself that whenever the account comes he will pay whatever he has to pay. Such a transaction is permissible.

Similarly, a person sent a prescription to a chemist requesting for some medicine but did not ask for the price thinking to himself that once he recovers from his sickness he will go and pay whatever he is owing. This is also permissible.

6. A person has got R1 in his hand and says : "I am buying this item for this R1." He has the choice of giving that same R1 or he could take out another R1 and hand it over to the seller. The only condition is that it must not be counterfeit.

7. A person purchased an item for R1. He has the choice of giving a R1 coin, two 50c coins, five 20c coins, etc. As long as they total R1, the seller cannot refuse to accept that money. However, if the person does not give such coins but gives 1c and 2c coins, the seller has the right to accept or refuse. If he does not wish to accept any coins, the buyer will have to pay in notes.

8. A person sold a writing case or a suitcase. The key for both these items will also be considered to be sold. He cannot charge separately for the key of the writing or suit case nor can he withhold the key.

Source: Maktaba al-Ashrafia

Principles Of Busines in Islam
Written By
Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi Rahmatullah Alaihi
Taken From:


Principles Of Busines in Islam


1. When a person says : "I have sold this item for so much" and another person says : "I have bought it", that item will be sold and the person who purchased it will be its owner. If the seller decides not to sell or the purchaser decides not to buy it, they will not be able to do so. The former will have to hand it over and the latter will have to accept it. This act of selling an item is known as a sale.

2. A person says : "I have sold this item to you for R2." The other person replies : "I accept", "I am happy with that price" or "Okay, I've taken it." By replying in any of these ways, the item will be sold. Now, neither does the seller have the choice of not handing over the item nor does the buyer have the choice of not purchasing it. However, this rule will only apply when this conversation takes place between both parties in one place or in one sitting. If one of them says : "I have sold this item to you for R4" and the other person remains silent on hearing this price, stands up from his place, goes away to buy the item from someone else or goes away for some other reason, and in carrying out all these actions he changed his place and then he replies : "Okay, I'll buy it for R4", in such a case that item will not be considered to be sold. However, if thereafter, the seller, grocer, etc. says : "Okay, I give it to you" or "Okay, take it", in such a case it will be sold.

Similarly, if the seller, grocer, etc. stands up or goes away for some other work, and the buyer says : "Okay, I've taken it", even then it will not be regarded as sold. In short, if both the parties reach an agreement in one place, only then will the item be considered to be sold.

3. A person says : "Give me this item for R1." The other person replies : "I’ve given it." In saying this, the sale will not take place. However, if thereafter, the buyer again says : "I’ve taken it", it will be sold.

4. A person says : "I am taking this item for R1" and the other person replies : "Take it"; the sale will take place.

5. After checking the price of an item, a person handed the money to the seller and took the item away. The seller accepted the money happily. The seller did not say anything verbally as to how much he is selling the item nor did the buyer say that he is buying it. In such a case, by merely taking an item and handing over the money for it, the item is considered to be sold and the sale is valid.

6. A hawker came selling guavas. Without asking him anything, the person took out four big guavas from his basket and placed R1 in the hawker's hand. The hawker accepted this money happily. This sale is valid irrespective of whether they uttered any words or not.

7. A person said : "I am selling this string of pearls for R10." The buyer replied : "I’ve taken five from the string of pearls" or "I’ve taken half the string of pearls." As long as the seller does not agree, the sale will not take place. This is because, he offered the entire string of pearls for sale and as long as he does not agree, the buyer does not have the right to buy a part of it and leave out the other part. If she wishes to purchase it, she will have to buy the entire string. However, if the seller says : "I am selling each pearl for R1", and the person says that he has taken five pearls, then five pearls will be considered to be sold.

8. A person is selling four different items and says that he is selling the lot for R4. Without obtaining his agreement, the buyer cannot purchase one or two items and leave out the others because he wishes to sell all the items together. But if the seller gives the price of each item individually, it will be permissible for the buyer to purchase one or two items and leave out the rest.

9. When buying and selling an item, it is also necessary to show the item properly and spell out the terms clearly. The seller should abstain from speaking in vague terms which could result in problems and arguments. Similarly, the price has to be clearly laid down and agreed upon. Even if one of these factors is not made clear and agreed upon, the sale will not be valid.

10. A person purchases an item with money. The seller says : "Hand the money over to me first and then I will give you the item." The buyer replies : "Hand the item over to me first and then I will give you the money." In such a case, the money will have to be given first and then only will the item be given to the buyer. The seller has the right to refuse to hand over the item until he receives the money for it.

However, if he purchases an item in return for another item, changes money in return for money or a person purchases clothing in return for clothing, and in all these cases this sort of argument takes place, then each one will be asked to place his hand on the others hand and then the exchange will take place.


Since the development of man’s earthly life, business in the form of exchanging or bartering essential commodities has been an integral aspect of the daily lives of human beings.

Their very subsistence depended upon this form of trade and exchange. Almighty Allah, the Creator and Provider of man’s needs, established the principle of interdependence in man’s life. The basic, essential needs of man are food, drink, clothing and shelter. These primary needs, which are crucial to man’s survival on earth as well as to the improvement of his living conditions, are only obtainable through the institution of business and trade.

It is virtually impossible for one person to satisfy all these needs alone by producing them or manufacturing them himself. Man is, therefore, forced to purchase these items of need from the various individuals or companies who produce them, and this results in the practice of buying and selling on a very expansive scale. Islam has, therefore, attached great importance to trade and commerce as the relevant citations appearing further on shall conclusively indicate.

Had there been no means of buying items essential to one’s existence, people would then have been compelled out of desperation to acquire these through force and violence, thus leading to murder and bloodshed. In this manner the entire world order as set up by Almighty Allah would have been severely disrupted.

Establishing a system of trade is one thing, ensuring that it runs smoothly and efficiently is another. Over the passing of time man’s needs increased tremendously. This meant an escalation in the volume and rate of business. Initially man concentrated on needs only. Then came the wants or secondary needs.

As the means of acquiring needs and wants became more simplified and convenient, man began yearning for luxuries and comforts. Moreover, as mankind produced and reproduced, populations increased rapidly. All this meant more needs, higher standards of living, and, needless to say, greatly increased business activity.

Furthermore, Almighty Allah has incorporated into man’s spiritual being both good and bad qualities, as the Holy Quran clearly states:
“So He introduced into it (the soul) its good and evil.”
(Surah Shams)

As society became more affluent, spiritual and moral degradation generally increased. Man’s high standard of worldly life began eroding his Rooh or spiritual self. From a mere means of fulfilling needs and wants, business, and more accurately, the accumulation of wealth and riches, now became an end in itself. And all this violently conflicts with what Islam taught and desired for its followers. As far as Islam is concerned business fulfilled a need, and had to be kept as such.

In view of increased business activity and an on-going decline in man’s spiritual life and morality there were bound to be problems. To encounter and overcome these problems Islam, through the Holy Quran and Hadeeth, had devised an elaborate set of laws governing trade and commerce. These laws were to fulfil a variety of objectives:

•To counter man’s greed and consequent abuse of the rights of others;
•To ensure that the earnings of man are halaal and pure;
•To create a harmonious atmosphere among people, something which can be utterly destroyed by man’s desire for wealth and position.

Among these, the second factor is vitally important to the Muslim individual, since the acceptance of all man’s ibadat and service is largely dependent upon the consumption of Halaal food and the utilisation of Halaal goods and products.

There is definitely an integral link between man’s earnings, which entail business dealings, and his ibadat unto Allah Ta’ala. This one factor alone underscores in no uncertain terms the significance and emphasis Islam has laid on correct and valid business dealings.

Fear of Death

By Shariffah Carlo

This week has been a difficult week for me. I have had to deal with the internal turmoils of knowing that Allah's promise is true and knowing how to apply this to my life.

On sunday night, the two year old son of a very close friend was killed in a freak accident. This has actually had me thinking a lot about life and death in general and my beliefs in specific. I believe Allah prepares us for our future roles and experieinces. I have always known that I wanted to raise a good Muslim son who would, inshallah, fight for the sake of Allah. I also know that inshallah, I want to be from those good women who are proud to have sons or husbands be shaheed. Yet, when all this occured, all I could think about was the fear of losing my son - who is not even born yet. It made me realize the immensity of the deeds these women have done in giving up their beloved children for the sake of Allah. These women raised, taught and played with their children. They knew the faces and the personalities. They loved these boys, but they were able to be not just patient with their son's death but actually happy for the news of shahadah. It made me wonder if I could one day be the same.

I think about women who spend a lifetime carefully preparing their sons to be good Muslim men, good Muslim soldiers, and I wonder if I will ever be able to finally let go.

Because of this, I decided to make today's class about death. We all know that we will die. We know this not only from experience, but also from the words of Allah and his Prophet, who taught us the actual significance of this knowledge,
Every soul shall have a taste of death: And only on the Day of Judgment 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. (3:185)

Allah warns us that we are supposed to care about the next life more so than this life which is but "goods and chattels". Unfortunately, we are so attached to this life and the accumulation of wealth (which includes our families and our children) that we forget the ultimate purpose. Allah warns,
Rivalry in worldly increase distracteth you; Until ye come to the graves. Nay, but ye will come to know! (102:1-3)

I think of the many times in countless hadiths that I read that people said to our beloved prophet, "My parents be sacrificed for you." They are not merely saying insignificant words. This is powerful stuff. My gut reaction is to fear saying such words, for fear they may come true. But these companions found it so easy, May Allah reward them, because of their strong faith in Allah and His Messenger.

Allah has shown us the way to true salvation and jannah. It is the way of the previous Prophets,
And this was the legacy that Abraham left to his sons, and so did Jacob; "Oh my sons! Allah hath chosen the Faith for you; then die not except in the Faith of Islam." (2:132)

It is the way of the seal of the prophet's Muhammad (SAWS). It is the way detailed in the Quraan al Kareem,
...And if any of you Turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter; they will be companions of the Fire and will abide therein. (2:217)
Those who reject Faith, and die rejecting,- on them is Allah's curse, and the curse of angels, and of all mankind; (2:161)

It is the complete acceptance of Allah, His deen and his Qadr. We are supposed to welcome death as a release from this prison. We are supposed to hope and pray for the shahadah or at the very least for al Jannah, so that when we see death, we are neither afraid nor saddened by it. We can miss those who preceed us, but we should not be disheartened by the death of someone close to us. If they are Muslims, we know that Jannah will eventually be theres and ours, and we shall meet again, inshallah.

The unbelievers of old feared death. Allah says,
Or like abundant rain from the cloud in which is utter darkness and thunder and lightning; they put their fingers into their ears because of the thunder peal, for fear of death, and Allah encompasses the unbelievers. (2:19)

And the Jews prayed to avoid it, wishing for life,
And you will most certainly find them the greediest of men for life (greedier) than even those who are polytheists; every one of them loves that he should be granted a life of a thousand years, and his being granted a long life will in no way remove him further off from the chastisement, and Allah sees what they do. (2:96)

I have personally seen the fear that the non-believers have of death. A group of students I used to have actually went to the dean to complain that I was scaring them by having asked them to write an essay on dying. They were so scared of the prospect they could not even contemplate it or write about it. may Allah guide them. We have been commanded by Allah and his prophet to reflect on death. It is by this reflection that we will realize the true meaning of life, to worship Allah so He will grant us Jannah.

The Muslim is supposed to realize that death is simply a passage from this life to the next, better life. We will be tested. We may suffer a bit, but we know that as long as we believe and live La ilaha il Allah, we will see al jannah and experieince it forever. This is the promise of Allah.

Narrated Mu'adh bin Jabal: The Prophet said, "O Mu'adh! Do you know what Allah's Right upon His slaves is?" I said, "Allah and His Apostle know best." The Prophet said, "To worship Him (Allah) Alone and to join none in worship with Him (Allah). Do you know what their right upon Him is?" I replied, "Allah and His Apostle know best." The Prophet said, "Not to punish them (if they do so)." Sahih Bukhari: Volume 9, Book 93, Number 470.

We can not fear death. We must be of those ready to welcome it fighting in Allah's cause. We must be of those who fight to gain Allah's pleasure and make His word supreme while not fearing that death may be a consequence of this fight.

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: Somebody asked, "O Allah's Apostle! Who is the best among the people?" Allah's Apostle replied "A believer who strives his utmost in Allah's Cause with his life and property..." Sahih Bukhari: Volume 4, Book 52, Number 45.

We must recognize that all of us are born and will die and that the importance and significance of this lies in our beliefs and in how we live and die.

How can ye reject the faith in Allah?- seeing that ye were without life, and He gave you life; then will He cause you to die, and will again bring you to life; and again to Him will ye return. (2:28)

We are not to speculate that our death could be any different that what Allah has ordained, nor can we assume that we will live a long life. We may die very old, we may die tomorrow. We must recognize that this is from the unseen and we must therefore prepare for death.

O you who believe! be not like those who disbelieve and say of their brethren when they travel in the earth or engage in fighting: Had they been with us, they would not have died and they would not have been slain; so Allah makes this to be an intense regret in their hearts; and Allah gives life and causes death and Allah sees what you do. (3:156)

Say: Allah gives you life, then He makes you die, then will He gather you to the day of resurrection wherein is no doubt, but most people do not know. (45:26)

...We bring you out as babes, then (foster you) that ye may reach your age of full strength; and some of you are called to die, and some are sent back to the feeblest old age,...(22:5) soul knoweth in what land it will die. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware. (31:34)

Narrated Abdullah: Allah's Apostle, the true and truly inspired said, "(as regards your creation), every one of you is collected in the womb of his mother for the first forty days, and then he becomes a clot for an other forty days, and then a piece of flesh for an other forty days. Then Allah sends an angel to write four words: He writes his deeds, time of his death, means of his livelihood, and whether he will be wretched or blessed (in religion). Then the soul is breathed into his body. Sahih Bukhari: Volume 4, Book 55, Number 549

Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) said, "Keys of the unseen knowledge are five which nobody knows but Allah . . . nobody knows what will happen tomorrow; nobody knows what is in the womb; nobody knows what he will gain tomorrow; nobody knows at what place he will die; and nobody knows when it will rain." Sahih Bukhari:Volume 2, Book 17, Number 149:
We do not know when we will die nor do we know when our children or our parents or our friends will die. We must prepare ourselves and them for this occuring at anytime and be grateful for whatever Allah ordains. The prophet warned us,
Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah's Apostle said, "When carried to his grave, a dead person is followed by three, two of which return (after his burial) and one remains with him: his relative, his property, and his deeds follow him; relatives and his property go back while his deeds remain with him." Sahih Bukhari:Volume 8, Book 76, Number 521.

Our deeds are all that will remain with us, so we must be sure that they, inshallah are good deeds. We must further remember the prophet's saying, "O Allah! There is no life worth living except the life of the Hereafter..." (Narrated by Anas in sahih Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 76, Number 422)

This entire experience has made me appreciate our purpose on this earth and the scaricity of time that we have. None of us knows when, where or how we will die, all we know is that we will die, and after that death we will be judged and questioned about this life. We must assure ourselves that we have done all that we can to make this life a success for ourselves, our family and for our muslim brothers and sisters.. As Allah says,
These are Allah's limits, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, He will cause him to enter gardens beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them; and this is the great success. (4:13)

He will put your deeds into a right state for you, and forgive you your faults; and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, he indeed achieves a mighty success. (33:71)

May Allah give us the His Qadr with true hoping for the ultimate success: Jannah. Ameen.

Description of Death

The death of a believer, the death of a disbeliever and the life to come
"Wheresoever you may be, death will overtake you even if you are in fortresses built up strong and high!" (Qur'an 4:78)

It is reported that al Bara bin Azib said: "We went out with the Prophet in order to participate in the funeral rites of a man from the Ansar (a group of people from among the Companions of the Prophet). We arrived at the grave, but the inner chamber had not been prepared yet; so Allah's Messenger sat down facing the direction of the Qiblah, and we sat around him so attentively it was if the birds were sitting on our heads.

He had a stick in his hand with which he sketched upon the ground. Then he began looking alternately to the heavens and to the earth, razing his gaze and then lowering it. Finally, he said two or three times: 'Seek refuge in Allah from the torment of the grave.' Then he said: 'O Allah, verily I seek refuge in You from the torment of the grave.' He repeated it three times, then he elaborated:
'Verily, when the believing servant is leaving this world and entering the next, angels from the heavens descend to him-their faces white with brightness like the sun and carrying with them burial sheets and scents from Paradise. They sit before him at a distance as far as the eye can see.

Then the Angel of Death comes to the person, sits at his head and say's: 'O good soul, come out to your Lord's forgiveness and pleasure.' Thereupon, the soul flows out of the body like water flowing from the mouth of a waterskin, and all of the angels between the sky and the earth supplicate for Allah's blessing upon him. The doors of the heaven are opened for him, and the keepers of these doors all plead with Allah that this soul might pass in front of them as it is being carried upward. The Angel of Death barely receives the soul in his hands, whereupon the other angels take it from him and wrap it with fragrant winding sheets. This is what is meant by Allah's saying: "Our messengers seize his soul, and they do not fall short of their duty."

Then the Prophet said: 'There exudes from the soul a scent like the most beautiful fragrance of musk that one could find on the face of the earth. The angels ascend with the soul, never passing a host of angels without hearing them ask: 'Who is this wonderful soul?' They reply, 'So and so, the son of so and so,' addressing him with the best names he was known by during his earthly life. Upon reaching the first heaven, the angels request that it be opened for the soul - which is granted. The soul is then accompanied by the angels of each heaven until it reaches the one above it and finally arrives at the seventh heaven.

Then Allah, the Mighty and Majestic says: 'Place the record of My servant in Illyyun." The person's record is then placed in Illiyyun, whereupon a command is heard: 'Return him to the earth, for verily I have promised mankind that having created them from the earth I will return them to it. And I will make them come out of it, yet another time. Then the soul is returned to the earth, back into its body. Verily the deceased hears the shuffling feet of his companions who attended his burial as they turn away and leave his grave. Thereupon, two angels, severe in interrogation, come to him, and sitting him up, they begin to ask him questions. They say, 'Who is your Lord?' He replies, 'Allah is my Lord.' They continue, 'What is your religion?' He answers, 'Islam is my religion.' They proceed with the questioning, saying, 'Who is this man that has been sent to you?' He responds, 'He is the Messenger of Allah.' Finally, they ask him about his deeds, to which he replies, 'I read Allah's Book and believed in it.' A voice is then heard in the heavens, saying, 'My servant has told the truth, so clothe him in the clothing of Paradise, spread for him the furnishings of Paradise, and open for him a window with a view of Paradise.' Thereupon, he is engulfed by a breeze of fresh air and fragrance, while the expanse of his grave is extended before him as far as the eye can see. There appears before him a man with a wonderful face and beautiful clothing, emitting a splendid fragrance. He says to the soul, 'Rejoice at the news which will gladden you. Rejoice at Allah's pleasure and His Paradise, who's joys and delights never end. This is the day which you were promised.' The deceased says to him, 'And who are you, for your face bears good tidings?' The figure answers, 'I am your good; by Allah, I've always known you to be quick in obedience to Allah and slow to His disobedience. So may Allah award you with a good reward.' Then a door to Paradise is opened, and a door to Hell, whereupon it is said to him regarding the Hellfire, 'This would have been your final abode had you disobeyed Allah, however, it has been exchanged for this other abode.' When the soul sees what is in Paradise, he cries, 'My Lord, hasten the arrival of the Hour so that I might be joined with my family and wealth.' Thereupon it is said to him, 'Rest in tranquillity.'

Allah's Messenger continued, 'When the disbelieving , sinful servant is about to leave this world and enter the next, angels, powerful and severe, descend to him from the heavens - their faces black and carrying with them coarse strips of cloth from Hell. They sit before him at a distance as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death arrives, and sitting at the head of the disbeliever, he says, 'O you foul soul, come out to the anger and wrath of your Lord.' The soul inside the disbelievers body is overcome by terrible fear, where upon the Angel of Death violently pulls it out like multi-pronged skewers being yanked out of wet wool - tearing with them the arteries and nerves. Upon this, the soul is cursed by every angel between the heavens and the earth and by those inside the heavens. Then the doors of the heavens are closed to him, and every single guard at these doors begs Allah that this soul not be carried up in front of him.

The Angel of Death barely receives the soul in his hands, whereupon the other angels grasp it from him and wrap it up in coarse cloth. There emits from it the foulest odour that could be found on the face of the earth. They ascend with it, never passing a host of angels without being asked, 'Who is this ugly soul?' They reply, 'So and so, the son of so and so,' using the worst names by which he was known in this world. When they arrive at the lowest heaven, they request that it be opened for this soul, but the request is denied.' And the Prophet recited the verse: 'The gates of the heavens will not be opened for them, nor will they enter the Garden of Paradise until a camel goes through the eye of a needle.' After that he continued, 'Then Allah the Mighty and Majestic, says to the angels: 'Place his record in Sijjeen-in the lowest heaven. Return my servant to the earth, for verily I have promised mankind that having created them from the earth, I will return them to it. And will make them come out of it, yet another time.' Upon this command, the deceased soul is thrown down from the sky until it lands in its body.' The Prophet then recited the verse: 'And whoever ascribes partners with Allah, it is as though he had fallen from the sky, such that the birds snatch him up or the wind throws him to a remote place.'

Then he commented, 'Verily the deceased hears the sound of his companions footsteps as they turn away from his grave.' The Prophet resumed his explanation, 'Then the two angels, severe in interrogation, come to him, and sitting him up, they begin to question him, 'Who is your Lord?' He answers, 'Aah! Aah! I don't know.' They continue by asking him, 'What is your religion?' He answers, 'Aah! Aah! I don't know.' So they ask, 'Then what do you say about this man who was sent to you?' The disbeliever does not appear to understand who they are referring to, so it is said, 'Muhammed.' Again he states, 'Aah! Aah! I don't know. I only heard the people talking about him.' Then it is said, 'You did not know, and you did not read!' Thereupon a voice from the heavens is heard, 'He has lied! So spread out for him a place from the Fire and open for him a window to the Fire.' The searing hot winds of Hell engulf him while his grave closes in upon him, crushing him until his rib cage is broken by the force - causing the ribs of one side to intertwine with the ribs of the other. Then there appears to him a person with an ugly face and ugly clothing and exuding a foul odour, who says, 'Tidings of evil to you, for this is the day which you were promised!' The deceased says to him, 'And you, too; may Allah give you evil tidings! Who are you, for yours is a face which portends evil.' The person rejoins, 'I represent your wicked deeds.

By Allah, I have always known you to be slow in obedience to Allah and quick in disobedience to Him. May Allah reward you with evil!' Then one who is deaf, dumb and blind and is carrying an iron rod is sent to the deceased. If he were to strike a mountain with it, the mountain would disintegrate into rubble. He strikes the deceased with a blow which turns him into dust. Allah returns the deceased to his original form, whereupon he is struck a second time. This causes him to shriek with such violence that it is heard by all the creation except mankind and jinn. Then a door to the Fire is opened, and beddings of the Fire are spread for him, whereupon he cries, 'Lord, do not establish the Hour!' (i.e. Day of Resurrection Day of Gathering, Day of Judgement, Day of Decision, Day of Sorting Out, Day of Grief and Regrets).

The Trumpet will be blown, a single shout, a single cry, a near torment, pregnant she camels shall be neglected, suckling mothers will forget their babes, every pregnant will drop her load, the heaven will shake with a dreadful shaking. Heaven will be split asunder and shall be rent asunder with clouds Heaven will be rolled up in His Right Hand, and all those in heaven and earth will swoon away. Heaven shall be opened, it will become as gates. The sky will be like boiling filthy oil. The stars shall fall and some stars will lose their light. The Sun will lose its light. Seas will become as blazing fire, and some seas will burst forth. The earthquake of the Hour - mountains will be shaken violently, the earth will be ground to powder, and earth will be changed into another earth and so will the heavens. The earth will be stretched forth as a levelled plain. The earth will throw out its burdens, graves will be turned upside down, and there will be a complete resurrection from the graves. Wild beasts shall be gathered together, raised up blind, and the souls will be joined together with their bodies. This is the True Day, and mankind will be like moths scattered about.

All of mankind will proceed in scattered groups, as in a drunken state. Relatives shall be made to see one another - a man shall flee from his relatives - and no friend will ask after a friend. There will be no friend or intercessor. Everyone will be paid their wages in full - written pages of deeds shall be laid open, and every person will know what he she has brought. Every person will be confronted with all the good and evil he has done. A person will know what he has sent foreword and left behind. The will be no fear of injustice - the balances of justice and the scales of deeds - whosoever does good or evil equal to the weight of an atom shall see it. All the secrets will be examined. Some records will be given in the right hand, and some records will be given in the left hand. Some records will be given behind the back. A hard day for the disbelievers - a heavy day.

They bear a heavy burden, and are not permitted to put forth any excuse. The wrong-doer will bite his hands. All wrong-doers will be assembled with their companions and idols. It will be a destruction with deep regrets, sorrows and despair. The female infants who were buried alive shall be questioned. The greatest terror - the caller will call to a terrible thing. (On the Day of Resurrection the life of this world will seem like) a stay no longer than ten days - a day or part of a day. No person shall have the power to do anything for another - they will have no power nor any helper.

There will be no fear for believers, and all believers will be in the shade, and amongst springs and fruits. Angels will be sent down with a grand descending. The Shin shall be laid bear and Paradise shall be brought near. Hellfire shall be brought near and Hellfire shall be stripped off, kindled to a fierce ablaze. The unbelievers will wish to return and become believers. Hell fire, blazing fire, flaming fire, crushing Fire, burning flame, raging and roaring - the terrible drawing in of its breath. The shadow of black smoke, a narrow place, a place of ambush. This is the worst place to rest - worst indeed is that destination - the torment will not be lightened. An evil final return. The fire of Allah, kindled and filled with men and jinns all together, will say: 'Are there any more?'. For those who took their religion for amusement and play, the promised place for them all. It spares not nor does it leave. Disbelievers will be driven to it in groups - criminals and transgressors known by their marks, they will be seized by their forelocks and their feet, seized and dragged into the midst of the blazing fire, bound together in fetters, chained together, wherein they will abide forever. Death will come from all angles, yet they will not die. Therein they will neither die or live. Every time they seek to get away, they will be driven back. They will find neither protector nor helper. They will be made to drink boiling festering water and boiling hot water - given from a boiling spring. It will melt away what is in their bellies. Boiling oil will boil what is in their bellies. Nothing cool shall they taste therein Water and provision will be forbidden to the disbelievers - only the food of poisonous thorny plant - from the tree of zaqqum. Food for the sinners. Nor shall they have any drink, except a taste of boiling fluid and puss, filth from the washing of wounds, in fierce hot wind and boiling water. Boiling water poured down over their heads, burning their skins. Their skins will be burnt off then replaced with fresh skins. Their faces will be turned and rolled from all sides in the Fire. They will wear garments of pitch, and fire will cover their faces. Garments of fire will be cut for them, and on them will be hooked rods of iron. Their abode will be the Fire - the torment of the Fire that they used to deny. This is that whereof they used to doubt. Destruction with deep regrets and sorrow. (They will say:) 'Had we but listened or used our common sense!' They will dispute with their leaders in the Fire. Nineteen angels will be its guardians and keepers.

And in Paradise . . . Gardens underneath which rivers flow. Everlasting gardens. Gardens of Eternity. Gardens of delight. Gardens with everlasting delights. Gardens and grapevines, fruits of two gardens, fruits of all kinds as desired in plenty. Fruits will be near at hand, fruit and meat, flesh of fowls, thornless lote trees and banana trees, a running spring - a spring called Salsabil, a spring called Kafur, a spring call Tasnim. A river in Paradise named Kauthar. Rivers of wine, milk and clear honey A cup mixed with Zanjabil water, trays of gold cups, vessels of silver and cups of crystal, green garments of fine and thick silk, adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls. Coaches lined with silk brocade, green cushions and rich beautiful mattresses set in rows. Thrones woven with gold and precious stones raised high. Rich carpets spread out, beautiful mansions, lofty rooms, one above another, abiding therein forever. An eternal home, facing one another on thrones. They will never taste death therein, nor will they be asked to leave it. All hatred, jealousy or sense of injury will be removed from their hearts. All grief will be removed and no sense of fatigue, toil or weariness will touch them. Neither will there be any hurt, abdominal pain, headache or intoxication. There will be no vain speaking nor sinful speech, neither harmful speech nor falsehood. They will be free from sin. There will be neither excessive heat nor bitter cold. There will be a known provision, in peace and security. The home of peace, with greetings therein, and whoever does righteous deeds will enter. Those who kept their duty to their Lord will be led in groups, and be made to inherit because of their deeds. Allah is pleased with them and they with Him. My Paradise, the greatest bliss, the great success and the supreme success. For the believers are Gardens as an entertainment. The dwellers of Paradise will be busy in joyful things that Day. They will be amidst gardens and water springs, and will see the angels surrounding the Throne, near the Omnipotent King. They will have all that they desire. Houries - chaste females with wide and beautiful eyes, as if preserved eggs. Pure wives - wives in a pleasant shade - reclining on thrones. Young full-breasted maidens of equal age, immortal boy-servants to serve them as scattered pearls.

The Death of Death.

Abu Hurayra reported that Allah's Messenger said: "After the people of Paradise enter Paradise and the People of the Fire enter Hell, Death will be brought foreword in the form of a spotted ram. It will be on the wall which separates the people of Paradise from the people of the Fire. Then it will be said: 'O people of Paradise!' Thereupon they will raise their heads and stare apprehensively. Then it will be said: 'O people of the Fire!' Whereupon its inhabitants will raise their heads in hope of intercession. After this the people of Paradise and the inhabitants of the Fire will be addressed thus: 'Do you know what this is?' They will all reply: 'We know it; it is Death, which assigned to us.' Thereupon Death will be placed on its side and slaughtered on the wall. Finally it will be said: 'O people of Paradise, only eternity and no more death. O people of the Fire, only eternity and more death.'"

Death in Islam

Imam Malik Ibn Anas saw the Death Angel in his sleep, and the Imam asked him: " How much left for me to live?". The Angel pointed to his five fingers. Then the Imam asked him: " Does that mean 5 years, or 5 months, or 5 days ?". Before the Imam had a chance to get an answer back, he woke up.

The Imam went to someone who would interpret dreams. That man told him: " Imam Malik, when the Angel pointed to his five fingers he didn't mean 5 years or months or days, but the Angel meant that your question ' how much left for me to live' is among 5 matters that only Allah (SWT) knows about, and he recited the following verse from the Qur,an:

"" Verily, with ALLAH alone is the knowledge of the Hour. And HE sends down the rain, and HE knows what is in the wombs. And no soul knows what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul knows in what land it will die. Surely, ALLAH is All-Knowing, All-Aware. "" 31:34

When Caliph Haroon Al-Rashid got very ill, illness that caused his death, he told his staff to go a head and dig his grave so he can see it before he dies. After the grave was prepared, he asked to be carried to the grave . Upon arrival, the Caliph Haroon looked down into the grave and then looked up toward the sky and said: " O' whom (Allah) his rule never ends, have mercy on whom (Haroon) his rule has ended.

One day the Prophet (pbuh) visited the Cemetery along with some of his followers, and he said to them: " I long for my beloved ones?". His followers said: " Aren't we your beloved ones O' messenger of Allah ". The Prophet (pbuh) said: " you are my companions ". Then they say: " who are your beloved ones?". The Prophet said: " People come after you believed in me without seeing me ". they asked: " How would you know them on Judgment day even though you haven't seen them O' messenger of Allah?". The Prophet said: " My followers are gathered ' Ghurr'an Muhajjalin ' ".

(( Gurr'an means light on the forehead, and Muhajjalin means light on the feet, and what brings about this light is the Ablution 'Wudu' ))

One day the Prophet (pbuh) went to a boy's funeral and he found his mother weeping and he asked: " why are you crying ". The mother said: " O' messenger of Allah, is my son in Heaven or Hell?". The prophet replied:" O' slave of Allah, He (Allah) knows his status better than I do ".

The Prophet said: " The Believer's Soul turns into a Bird in Paradise ". (( The above Hadith means, that upon the Believers death, his Soul becomes a bird in Paradise until the Resurrection day, when Allah (SWT) returns all souls to its original bodies ))

How to Make Your Wife Happy

1. Beautiful Reception

After returning from work, school, travel, or whatever has separated you:
* begin with a good greeting.
* Start with Assalamau 'Aliaykum and a smile. Salam is a sunnah and a du'aa for her as well.
* Shake her hand and leave bad news for later!

2. Sweet Speech and Enchanting Invitations

* Choose words that are positive and avoid negative ones.
* Give her your attention when you speak of she speaks.
* Speak with clarity and repeat words if necessary until she understands.
* Call her with the nice names that she likes, e.g. my sweet-heart, honey, saaliha, etc.

3. Friendliness and Recreation

* Spend time talking together.
* Spread to her goods news.
* Remember your good memories together.

4. Games and Distractions

* Joking around & having a sense of humor.
* Playing and competing with each other in sports or whatever.
* Taking her to watch permissible (halal) types of entertainment.
* Avoiding prohibited (haram) things in your choices of entertainment.

5. Assistance in the Household

* Doing what you as an individual can/like to do that helps out, especially if she is sick or tired.
* The most important thing is making it obvious that he appreciates her hard work.

6. Consultation (Shurah)

* Specifically in family matters.
* Giving her the feeling that her opinion is important to you.
* Studying her opinion carefully.
* Be willing to change an opinion for hers if it is better.
* Thanking her for helping him with her opinions.

7. Visiting Others

* Choosing well raised people to build relations with. There is a great reward in visiting relatives and pious people. (Not in wasting time while visiting!)
* Pay attention to ensure Islamic manners during visits.
* Not forcing her to visit whom she does not feel comfortable with.

8. Conduct During Travel

* Offer a warm farewell and good advice.
* Ask her to pray for him.
* Ask pious relatives and friends to take care of the family in your absence.
* Give her enough money for what she might need.
* Try to stay in touch with her whether by phone, e-mail, letters, etc..
* Return as soon as possible.
* Bring her a gift!
* Avoid returning at an unexpected time or at night.
* Take her with you if possible.

9. Financial Support

* The husband needs to be generous within his financial capabilities. He should not be a miser with his money (nor wasteful).
* He gets rewards for all what he spends on her sustenance even for a small piece of bread that he feeds her by his hand (hadeith).
* He is strongly encouraged to give to her before she asks him.
10. Smelling Good and Physical Beautification

* Following the Sunnah in removing hair from the groin and underarms.
* Always being clean and neat.
* Put on perfume for her.

11. Intercourse

* It is obligatory to do it habitually if you have no excuse (sickness, etc.)
* Start with "Bismillah" and the authentic du'a.
* Enter into her in the proper place only (not the anus).
* Begin with foreplay including words of love.
* Continue until you have satisfied her desire.
* Relax and joke around afterwards.
* Avoid intercourse during the monthly period because it haram
* Do what you can to avoid damaging her level of Hiyaa (shyness and modesty) such as taking your clothes together instead of asking her to do it first while he is looking on.
* Avoid positions during intercourse that may harm her such as putting pressure on her chest and blocking her breath, especially if you are heavy.
* Choose suitable times for intercourse and be considerate as sometimes she maybe sick or exhausted.

12. Guarding Privacy

* Avoid disclosing private information such as bedroom secrets, her personal problems and other private matters.

13. Aiding in the Obedience to Allah

* Wake her up in the last third of the night to pray "Qiam-ul-Layl" (extra prayer done at night with long sujood and ruku'ua).
* Teach her what you know of the Qur'an and its tafseer.
* Teach her "Dhikr" (ways to remember Allah by the example of the prophet) in the morning and evening.
* Encourage her to spend money for the sake of Allah such as in a charity sale.
* Take her to Hajj and Umrah when you can afford to do so.

14. Showing Respect for her Family and Friends

* Take her to visit her family and relatives, especially her parents.
* Invite them to visit her and welcome them.
* Give them presents on special occasions.
* Help them when needed with money, effort, etc..
* Keep good relations with her family after her death if she dies first.
Also in this case the husband is encouraged to follow the sunnah and keep giving what she used to give in her life to her friends and family.

15. (Islamic) Training & Admonition

This includes
* The basics of Islam
* Her duties and rights
* Reading and writing
* Encouraging her to attend lessons and halaqahs
* Islamic rules (ahkam) related to women
* Buying Islamic books and tapes for the home library

16. Admirable Jealousy

* Ensure she is wearing proper hijab before leaving house.
* Restrict free mixing with non-mahram men.
* Avoiding excess jealousy. Examples of this are:
1- Analyzing every word and sentence she says and overloading her speech by meanings that she did not mean.
2- Preventing her from going out of the house when the reasons are just.
3- Preventing her from answering the phone.
4- etc.

17. Patience and Mildness

* Problems are expected in every marriage so this is normal. What is wrong is excessive responses and magnifying problems until a marital breakdown.
* Anger should be shown when she exceeds the boundaries of Allah SWT, by delaying prayers, backbiting, watching prohibited scenes on TV, etc..
* Forgive the mistakes she does to you (See item 18).
* How can you best correct her mistakes?
1- First, implicit and explicit advice several times.
2- Then by turning your back to her in bed (displaying your feelings). Note that this does not include leaving the bedroom to another room, leaving the house to another place, or not talking with her.
3- The last solution is lightly hitting (when allowable) her. ( Editor's note: We do NOT agree with or endorse this particar suggestion. We are printing this article as it was written, however we believe that striking a woman is not an acceptable solution to problems. In fact, it contradicts all of the other advice offered in this article.) In this case, the hsuband should consider the following: - He should know that sunnah is to avoid beating as the Prophet PBUH never beat a woman or a servant. - He should do it only in extreme cases of disobedience, e.g. refusing intercourse without cause frequently, constantly not praying on time, leaving the house for long periods of time without permission nor refusing to tell him where she had been, etc.
- It should not be done except after having turned from her bed and discussing the matter with her as mentioned in Qur'an.
- He should not hit her hard injuring her, or hit her on her face or on sensitive parts of her body.
- He should avoid shaming her such as by hitting her with a shoe, etc.

18. Pardoning and Appropriate Censure

* Accounting her only for larger mistakes.
* Forgive mistakes done to him but account her for mistakes done in Allah's rights, e.g. delaying prayers, etc..
* Remember all the good she does whenever she makes a mistake.
* Remember that all humans err so try to find excuses for her such as maybe she is tired, sad, having her monthly cycle or that her commitment to Islam is growing.
* Avoid attacking her for the bad cooking of the food as the Prophet PBUH never blamed any of his wives for this. If he likes the food, he eats and if he doesn't then he does not eat and does not comment.
* Before declaring her to be in error, try other indirect approaches that are more subtle than direct accusations.
* Escape from using insults and words that may hurt her feelings.
* When it becomes necessary to discuss a problem wait until you have privacy from others.
* Waiting until the anger has subsided a bit can help to keep a control on your words.

Muslim Marriage - a Relationship Which Symbolizes Islam and Love

Muslim marriage as in other faiths is a sacred institution. It is a moral contract binding between a Muslim man and a Muslim woman. Muslim marriages are performed according to the laws of the Islamic Shariah. Islamic marriages are generally arranged marriages by the parents. The proposal for marriage is made by the girl's parents to the guy and once with the acceptance from both the sides the ceremony of engagement is made which is further followed by the marriage. The Islamic marriage is solemnized by a priest who takes the consent of both the bride and the groom for the marriage. The bride and the groom's consent is followed by signing of the marriage proposal by the bride, the groom and the witnesses. The Koran or the holy book is placed between them and they are made to see each other through a mirror. The Islamic marriage ceremony is celebrated with the distribution of dates and sweets and with a grand feast. In an Islamic marriage premarital intimacy is strictly not permitted. According to the religion of Islam a Muslim marriage is the foundation upon which an Islamic society is built.

Muslim marriage is characterized by offering of the dowry by a Muslim man to his spouse. The main purpose is to safeguard the economic status of the Muslim women in case of any unto do incidents. The dowry or the mahr can be paid before or after the marriage and with the failure of the payment of dowry the Muslim marriage becomes invalidated. The Muslim marriages insist on the husband supporting his spouse financially and therefore it is the duty of the husband to support and protect his wife. The Muslim marriage rules also insist that the husband should make sure that both his wife and children have access to the religious Islamic materials.

One major difference between Islam and other religion is the practice of polygamy, the Muslim men are allowed to marry up to four wives as long as he can support and protect them. Muslim women however are not allowed to marry more than one man. The religion of Islam does not permit homosexuality. It allows the marriage of a Muslim man to a Jewish or a Christian woman. Though the Islamic law permit's the marriage of Christian or a Jewish woman to a Muslim male it does not permit them to have the inheritance of their spouse unless it is conferred by the Muslim man on their Jewish or Christian spouses.

Islamic religion lays down strict marriage regulations as marriage and family are the building blocks of Islamic society. The moral contract between the husband and wife in Islam is bound by certain rules and regulations. Islam clearly defines the role of a husband in a family as well as that of a wife's duty. It is the healthy family life which would form the basis of healthy off springs. This further would lead to the growth of a strong Islamic society. The ultimate aim being the growth of the religion with staunch followers of Islam and Muslim marriage is a really a formatted institution.


Musical Instruments

Narrates Rabi‘, daughter of Mu‘wwadh: On the occasion of my transfer to my husband’s home after marriage, the Holy Prophet (sws) came to visit us and sat down on my bed just as you [the next narrator] are sitting before me now. Some slave girls were beating the Daff and singing in lamentation of their forefathers who had been killed during the battle of Badr. Then one of the girls sang: ‘Among us is the Prophet (sws) who knows even what will happen in coming days’. At this, the Holy Prophet (sws) said: ‘Do not say this, but go on singing.13 (Bukhari, No: 3779)

We learn from the narrative that:
• The Holy Prophet (sws) attended a marriage ceremony where some slave girls were singing.
• Singing was not stopped on his arrival.
• The singers used the Daff with their singing.
• The Holy Prophet (sws) heard them [this is evident from the fact that he stopped them from uttering certain words.]
• He however ordered them to continue with what they were singing before.

This effectively proves that the Holy Prophet (sws) did not impose any restriction on using the Daff, a common musical instrument used in that society. Keeping in view the information we received through the above mentioned narratives we can conclude that Arabs of the times of the Holy Prophet (sws) would use musical instrument to accompany their singing on joyous occasions. This has been done in the presence of the Holy Prophet (sws) to which he did not object. Some other narratives even tell us that the Holy Prophet (sws) even ordered the people to use musical instruments at the occasion of marriage.

The Holy Prophet (sws) said: ‘the only thing that distinguishes the allowable act (i.e. Nikah) from the forbidden one (fornication) is the beat of the tambourine and open declaration of the Nikah.14 (Ibn Majah, No: 1896)

The Daff no doubt is an old musical instrument to be played by hand, which remained in use from ancient times. In this regard, Dr. Jawwad ‘Ali writes:

The Daff is one of the most well known primitive musical instruments. It is used to express joy and high spirit. Women also play it. The Arabs would commonly use it on their most joyous occasions. When the Holy Prophet (sws) reached Madinah he was welcomed with the singing of songs and playing of the Daff. Usually, the Arabs would use it on joyful ceremonies like weddings, and would sing songs along with it.

The Bible also contains references to the Daff as a musical instrument at various occasions. One of the Urdu Bible dictionaries, Qamus Al-Kitab, defines the instrument thus:

It was a kind of narrow hoop musical instrument which was held in [one] hand and played [by striking it with the other.] It was used to create rhythm while singing and dancing. It would offer much cheerfulness in celebrations and processions.

Use of Music during Travels:

Narrates Salama Ibn Al-Akwa‘: ‘We set off for Khaybar in the company of the Holy Prophet (sws) at night. A man from the group said to ‘Amir: ‘O ‘Amir, would not you let us hear your poetry?’ ‘Amir who was a Hida poet got down and started reciting for the people [the following verses]: ‘O God, were not it for your guidance, we could not have been able to offer the Salah and pay the Zakah. So please forgive our sins that [we have committed] and the ones we may commit in future. We are ready to offer our lives for your cause. Grant us perseverance when faced [with the enemy] and pour down your mercy upon us. [We are the people] who refuse to surrender when the enemy challenges us to fight. And [we leave them] to cry for help against us’.

The Holy Prophet asked: ‘Who is that signer?’ They replied: ‘‘Amir bin Al-Akwa‘’. ‘God bless him’, prayed the Holy Prophet (sws)9. (Bukhari, No: 3960)

We learn from the narrative that:
• The Companions were along with the Holy Prophet (sws) on his way to Khaybar.
• Some of the Companions requested ‘Amir (rta) to sing from his Hida (i.e. song sung primarily to drive camels, which correspond to their walk). He complied with the request and began his recitation with such a loud voice that the Holy Prophet (sws) could hear him.
• The Holy Prophet (sws) inquired about the singer approvingly.
• Since he had recited good verses the Holy Prophet (sws) prayed for him.

Hida is a form of the desert poetry. The verses in this kind of poetry are rhymed corresponding to the pace of the footsteps of the camels. Ancient Arab camel drivers would sing this kind of poetry while travelling through the desert. Though the primary purpose of this singing was to encourage the camels to walk speedily yet the camel drivers themselves enjoyed it a lot. Many Hadith narratives refer to this practice of the time and evidently prove that the Holy Prophet (sws) and his Companions would enjoy this kind of poetry.
According to other narratives on the same subject, the Holy Prophet (sws) had appointed Anjashah, who had a very pleasing voice, to serve as a Hadi (i.e. camel driver) during his travels in the desert. During one of the travels, the camels started to pace very quickly affected by the sweetness of his sound. The Holy Prophet (sws) stopped him lovingly from singing Hida. He asked the singer not to force the beasts to walk at a faster pace so that female riders do not fall down. ‘Anas Ibn Malik reports:

The Holy Prophet had a Had, Anjashah. He had a very sweet sound. [During one of his journeys] the Holy Prophet (sws) said to him: ‘Slow down, Anjashah, lest you should break the delicate goblets. Qatadah explained that the Prophet (sws) was referring to delicate women. (Bukhari, No: 5857)

According to the scholars Hida’ definitely is a type of singing. Dr. Jawwad Ali writes:

Hida is of the oldest type of singing in Arabia that was specifically used during travels and is still used in contemporary Bedouin society. Besides, since the Hida songs suit sorrowful situation, this type of singing was used in mourning etc. as well. The Holy Prophet (sws) got a Hida singer appointed for him called Al-Barra’ Ibn Malik Ibn Nadar Al-Ansari who would drive camels for male riders. Another Had of his was Anjashah who had a very melodious tone. He was a black slave of the Holy Prophet (sws) who was employed to serve as a Had for the camels of the wives of the Holy Prophet (sws).

He further writes:

Al-Hida’ actually is the singing used among the desert dwellers … this kind of singing corresponds with the tones cherished by the desert dwellers and also with their simple and natural mourning songs that please the nomadic tastes of these Bedouins.

Ibn Khaldun writes in his book, Muqaddamah, that the basic purpose of Hida was not only to please the caravan members but also to urge the camels to proceed faster.

This feeling of joy is even found in speechless animals not to mention humans. Therefore we see that the camels respond to the Hida of the riders, and the horses are affected by the whistles and shrill sounds. We already know that animals receive effects of the songs if they are rhythmical, and correspond to the rules governing the art of music.

Use of Music on Joyous Occasions

Ibn ‘A’ishah narrates: When the Holy Prophet (sws) came to Madinah, the women and the children started singing: ‘The Moon has risen upon us from the hillocks of Wida‘. We owe gratitude [to God] as long as those who call God continue doing so. O Prophet (sws) you have brought a religion that is worthy to be followed’.

Narrates Anas Ibn Malik: [Having entered the city], the Holy Prophet (sws) passed through a certain part of the town. Suddenly some slave girls appeared singing on the Daff the following ditty: ‘We are the slave girls of Bani Najjar.7 How lucky! This day the Holy Prophet (sws) has come to be our neighbor’. At this the Holy Prophet (sws) remarked: ‘God knows that I love you people’8 (Ibn Majah, No: 1899)

These narratives deal with the Holy Prophet’s arrival in Madinah after his migration from Makkah. Their content can be summarized in the following points:

• The Holy Prophet’s arrival in Madinah was an extremely joyous occasion.
• People expressed their joy by singing joyous songs.
• Slave girls were also from among the singers.
• They had musical instruments to play with their songs.
• The Holy Prophet (sws) and the Companions (rta) heard these songs but they did not express their disapproval.
• The Holy Prophet (sws) expressed his love and kindness for singing women.

These and other similar narratives sufficiently prove that when the Holy Prophet (sws) reached Madinah after his migration from Makkah, he received a warm welcome. The city had a festive appearance. Every one was filled with joy on the Holy Prophet’s arrival. Women, slave girls, singing women and children expressed their joy by singing welcome songs and playing the Daff. The Holy Prophet (sws) appreciated this. Therefore, one cannot deny the fact that the Holy Prophet (sws) sanctioned celebrating joyous occasion by singing melodies using musical instruments.

Music on the ‘Id Festivals

Narrates ‘A’ishah (rta): The Messenger (sws) of God came to my residence while two female singers were singing the songs of Bu‘ath.1 The Holy Prophet (sws) lay down and turned his face to the other side. Meanwhile Abu Bakr (rta) entered and [seeing the singers] rebuked me thus: ‘Satanic musical instruments in the presence of the Holy Prophet (sws)?’ On hearing this God’s Messenger (sws) turned towards him and said: ‘Let them [sing and rejoice]’. When Abu Bakr was engaged in some other business, I signaled to the girls [to go out] and they left. It was on the ‘Id day.2 (Bukhari, No: 907)

We can conclude from this narrative the following points:
• The Mother of the believers, ‘A’ishah (rta), was listening to songs on ‘Id day.
• The songs were being sung in the residence of the Holy Prophet (sws).
• A professional singer was performing.3
• The song was not a hymn to God; rather a relic of a war fought before the advent of Islam.
• The mother of the believers did not stop listening to the song even after the Holy Prophet had arrived.
• The Holy Prophet (sws) did not forbid her from listening to the song.
• He did not stop the female singers either.
• He himself was not attracted to the performance but he must have heard the song as he could hear Abu Bakr’s comments.
• Abu Bakr (rta) condemned the practice at first sight and declared that these were satanic instruments.
• When he tried to stop the singers and censure the listeners, the Holy Prophet (sws) stopped him from doing so.

The report evidently proves that the Holy Prophet (sws) allowed singing music during religious festivals. This is evidenced by the fact that Holy Prophet’s (sws) wife enjoyed singing and music. Although Ab u Bakr (rta) tried to stop the function, the Holy Prophet (sws) did not interfere with it, and let the performers and the audience enjoy themselves. Therefore, in light of this evidence we can conclude that music can justifiably be considered allowable in Islam.

The following narrative also deals with the issue:

Umm-i-Salamah narrates: A slave girl belonging to Hassan Ibn Thabit (rta) came to us on ‘Id al Fitr. Her hair was unkempt and she carried a tambourine and was singing [some song]. Umm-i-Salamah rebuked her. But the Holy Prophet (sws) said to her: ‘Ummi-i-Salamah, let her [sing and rejoice]. Certainly every nation has an ‘Id and this day is our ‘Id’. (Mu‘jam Al-Kabir, No: 558)

Islam, Culture and Women

by Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood

How can anyone justify Islam's treatment of women, when it imprisons Afghans under blue shuttlecock burqas and makes Pakistani girls marry strangers against their will?

How can you respect a religion that forces women into polygamous marriages, mutilates their genitals, forbids them to drive cars and subjects them to the humiliation of "instant" divorce? In fact, none of these practices are Islamic at all.

Anyone wishing to understand Islam must first separate the religion from the cultural norms and style of a society. Female genital mutilation is still practised in certain pockets of Africa and Egypt, but viewed as an inconceivable horror by the vast majority of Muslims. Forced marriages may still take place in certain Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities, but would be anathema to Muslim women from other backgrounds.

Indeed, Islam insists on the free consent of both bride and groom, so such marriages could even be deemed illegal under religious law.

A woman forbidden from driving a car in Riyadh will cheerfully take the wheel when abroad, confident that her country's bizarre law has nothing to do with Islam. Afghan women educated before the Taliban rule know that banning girls from school is forbidden in Islam, which encourages all Muslims to seek knowledge from cradle to grave, from every source possible.

The Koran is addressed to all Muslims, and for the most part it does not differentiate between male and female. Man and woman, it says, "were created of a single soul," and are moral equals in the sight of God. Women have the right to divorce, to inherit property, to conduct business and to have access to knowledge.

Since women are under all the same obligations and rules of conduct as the men, differences emerge most strongly when it comes to pregnancy, child-bearing and rearing, menstruation and, to a certain extent, clothing.

Some of the commands are alien to Western tradition. Requirements of ritual purity may seem to restrict a woman's access to religious life, but are viewed as concessions. During menstruation or postpartum bleeding, she may not pray the ritual salah or touch the Koran and she does not have to fast; nor does she need to fast while pregnant or nursing.

The veiling of Muslim women is a more complex issue. Certainly, the Koran requires them to behave and dress modestly - but these strictures apply equally to men. Only one verse refers to the veiling of women, stating that the Prophet's wives should be behind a hijab when his male guests converse with them.

Some modernists, however, claim that this does not apply to women in general, and that the language used does not carry the textual stipulation that makes a verse obligatory. In practice, most modern Muslim women appreciate attractive and graceful clothes, but avoid dressing provocatively.

What about polygamy, which the Koran endorses up to the limit of four wives per man? The Prophet, of course, lived at a time when continual warfare produced large numbers of widows, who were left with little or no provision for themselves and their children.

In these circumstances, polygamy was encouraged as an act of charity. Needless to say, the widows were not necessarily sexy young women, but usually mothers of up to six children, who came as part of the deal.

Polygamy is no longer common, for various good reasons. The Koran states that wives need to be treated fairly and equally - a difficult requirement even for a rich man. Moreover, if a husband wishes to take a second wife, he should not do so if the marriage will be to the detriment of the first.

Sexual intimacy outside marriage is forbidden in Islam, including sex before marriage, adultery or homosexual relationships. However, within marriage, sexual intimacy should be raised from the animal level to sadaqah (a form of worship) so that each considers the happiness and satisfaction of the other, rather than mere self-gratification.

Contrary to Christianity, Islam does not regard marriages as "made in heaven" or "till death do us part". They are contracts, with conditions. If either side breaks the conditions, divorce is not only allowed, but usually expected. Nevertheless, a hadith makes it clear that: "Of all the things God has allowed, divorce is the most disliked."

A Muslim has a genuine reason for divorce only if a spouse's behaviour goes against the sunnah of Islam - in other words, if he or she has become cruel, vindictive, abusive, unfaithful, neglectful, selfish, sexually abusive, tyrannical, perverted - and so on.

In good Islamic practice, before divorce can be contemplated, all possible efforts should be made to solve a couple's problems. After an intention to divorce is announced, there is a three-month period during which more attempts are made at reconciliation.

If, by the end of each month, the couple have resumed sexual intimacy, the divorce should not proceed. The three-month rule ensures that a woman cannot remarry until three menstrual cycles have passed - so, if she happens to be pregnant, the child will be supported and paternity will not be in dispute.

When Muslims die, strict laws govern the shares of property and money they may leave to others; daughters usually inherit less than sons, but this is because the men in a family are supposed to provide for the entire household.

Any money or property owned by women is theirs to keep, and they are not obliged to share it. Similarly, in marriage, a woman's salary is hers and cannot be appropriated by her husband unless she consents.

A good Muslim woman, for her part, should always be trustworthy and kind. She should strive to be cheerful and encouraging towards her husband and family, and keep their home free from anything harmful (haram covers all aspects of harm, including bad behaviour, abuse and forbidden foods).

Regardless of her skills or intelligence, she is expected to accept her man as the head of her household - she must, therefore, take care to marry a man she can respect, and whose wishes she can carry out with a clear conscience. However, when a man expects his wife to do anything contrary to the will of God - in other words, any nasty, selfish, dishonest or cruel action - she has the right to refuse him.

Her husband is not her master; a Muslim woman has only one Master, and that is God. If her husband does not represent God's will in the home, the marriage contract is broken.

What should one make of the verse in the Koran that allows a man to punish his wife physically? There are important provisos: he may do so only if her ill-will is wrecking the marriage - but then only after he has exhausted all attempts at verbal communication and tried sleeping in a separate bed.

However, the Prophet never hit a woman, child or old person, and was emphatic that those who did could hardly regard themselves as the best of Muslims. Moreover, he also stated that a man should never hit "one of God's handmaidens". Nor, it must be said, should wives beat their husbands or become inveterate nags.

Finally, there is the issue of giving witness. Although the Koran says nothing explicit, other Islamic sources suggest that a woman's testimony in court is worth only half of that of a man. This ruling, however, should be applied only in circumstances where a woman is uneducated and has led a very restricted life: a woman equally qualified to a man will carry the same weight as a witness.

So, does Islam oppress women?

While the spirit of Islam is clearly patriarchal, it regards men and women as moral equals. Moreover, although a man is technically the head of the household, Islam encourages matriarchy in the home.

Women may not be equal in the manner defined by Western feminists, but their core differences from men are acknowledged, and they have rights of their own that do not apply to men


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