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Are Menstruating Women Permitted to Recite or Touch the Qur'an?

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

(By: Dr. Zakir Naik)

The Glorious Qur'an says : "That this is indeed a Qur'an most honorable in a book well guarded which none shall touch but those who are clean : A Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds." (Surah Al-Waqi'a, 56:77-80)

The Kitabim Maknoon mentioned in the above mentioned verse does not refer to the holy Qur'an in the book form, which we have, and the word Mutahhareen does not merely refer to cleanliness of the body.
Kitabim Maknoon means a book well guarded or a protected book. This word refers to Lauh-e-Mahfooz in heaven, which is also mentioned in the following verse "Nay this is a Glorious Qur'an (Inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved!" (Surah Al-Buruj, 85:21 & 22)

Mutahhareen does not refer to mere body cleanliness but also refers to those who do not have any uncleanliness or impurity like sin and evil, thus referring to the angels. According to the commentary of Tabari, Mutahhareen means the angels.

According to Ibne Hazam, who has discussed the subject in detail, there are no pre-requisites or conditions for touching the Qur'an. Although all the scholars, of all different schools of thought, agree upon it without any difference of opinion that it is preferable to be in wudhu before touching the Qur'an, however, according to Ibne Hazam there is not a single verse of the Qur'an or the authentic hadith saying that being in wudhu is compulsory.
Ibne Abbas, Sho'bi, Zahhaq, Zaid bin Ali, Muayyid Billaah, Dawood, Ibne Hazam and Hammad bin Sulaiman are of the opinion that Qur'an can be touched without performing wudhu. (Fiqh-us-Sunnah, As Saiyid Saabiq, 1.52)

Regarding the hadith of Muwatta Malik which is often quoted by certain scholars to back up their claims that one should be in wudhu before touching the Qur'an, this hadith narration besides being Mursal, has the Arabic word Taahirun in it, which according to Ibne Katheer, Zamakhshari & others, does not necessarily mean being with wudhu but simply means 'pure', that is, one should not be in ceremonial impurity or menstruation.

Scholars of different schools of thought differ on the issue of whether one should compulsorily be in a state of wudhu while touching the Qur'an. According to Hanafi school of thought, one cannot touch the Qur'an without wudhu, but if one uses a piece of cloth or sheet then he can touch it. Some Hanafi Scholars insist that the cover of the Qur'an itself serves as a covering sheet or cloth, while the others believe that one can touch the Qur'an but not the Arabic text within the Qur'an. Amongst the Shafia scholars, some say that one cannot touch the Qur'an without wudhu, despite using covering sheet. Malikis too believe in some what the same. However, they allow touching the Qur'an without wudhu for students and teachers of the Qur'an.

It is permissible for a menstruating womam to recite the Qur'an without touching it. Similarly, she can very well recite the portions of the Qur'an, which she does regularly, or even the Ahadith of the prophet (pbuh) . However she shouldn't touch the Qur'an with her hands.

Ibne Majah narrates a hadith from Abdullah Ibne Umar (R.A.) that a man in a state of ceremonial impurity, and a menstruating lady should not recite anything from the Qur'an, but this hadith is weak.

Allama Ibne Hajr and Allama Ibnul Mulaqqin have rated the hadith as weak in their books At-Talkheesal Habeer, Vol. 1, pg. no. 138, hadith no. 183 & Khulasatul Badrul Muneer, vol. 1, pg. no. 60, hadith no. 170, respectively.

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

Visiting Graveyards on 15th Sha'ban

In the light of the teaching of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, is it a correct Islamic practice to visit graveyards on the night of Shab-e-baraat? Please narrate the Hadith related to this night.

(By: Dr. Zakir Naik)

Giving significance to the night of 15th Sha'ban, visiting graveyards, doing extra Ibaadah (worship) and offering extra Nawaafil Salaah with the intention of specifically doing so on the occasion of 15th Sha'ban, having illuminations, considering it to be the Eid of the dead and keeping awake for the whole night of 15th Sha'ban and encouraging others to do the same -- all these are Bid'ah (innovation) . The prophet and the Sahaabah never did so nor commanded the muslims to do so.

We don't find any evidence of such things in the entire authentic Seerah of the Prophet and his companions. According to Allamah Ibn Rajab Abu Bakr Turtoshi, Ibn Wazzah Qurtubi, Suyuti, Shokani etc. all the Ahadith pertaining to the subject are weak and unacceptable. The Hadith that is generally quoted to support the practices done on the night of 15th Sha'ban is Zaif (weak) according to Muhaddiseen (the scholars of Ahadith) and is not to be put into practice.

Narrated Aisha (R.A.),
I missed Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) during the night and found him in al-Baqi'. He said: Were you afraid that Allah and His Messenger would deal unjustly with you? I said: Allah's Messenger , I thought that you had gone to some of your other wives. He (the prophet) said: Verily Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, comes down to the heaven of the world in the middle night of Sha'ban and forgives sins even more abundant than the hair of the goats of Kalb. (Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 739; Sunan Ibn-I-Majah, Hadith No. 1389; Ahmad Vol. 6, 238)

According to Imam Bukhari and Tirmidhi, the above mentioned Hadith has a broken chain of narrators in two places, and therefore it is weak. Allamah Ibnul Arabi (543H), in his commentary of Sunan -At-Tirmidhi, titled 'Arizatul-Ahwazi', Vol 3, Pg No. 216 adds: '....further, in it Hajjaj Ibn Artaat is not reliable.'

However, it is established that the Prophet (pbuh) did visit the Baqi graveyard once, as Allah had commanded him and he prayed for Ahle-Baqi (the people of Baqi), but the exact night of this event is not known, as there is no clear proof in this regard. The prophet had done this by the commandment of Allah (swt), therefore the Prophet was an exception to this act.

Aisha (R.A.) says that the Prophet (pbuh) said: "Gabriel came to me and said; Your Rabb commands you to go to the graveyard of Baqi and seek forgiveness for them". (Sahih Muslim, Hadith No. 2256)

It is permissible for men to visit graveyard whenever they wish and pray for the dead, however it is not permissible to fix a specific day or night for the purpose and consider it to be of a special virtue unless we find any proof for doing so from the Qur'an or the authentic Ahadith.

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

According to Hadith of Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2, Hadith No. 1885: "..
Most evil affairs are their innovations, and every innovation is an error..."
So Muslims should beware of and steer clear of all innovation and bid'ah.

Does a Wife have the right to refuse sex with her Husband?

If at a particular time, a lady has no desire for sex with her husband, but he insists for it, what is her right of refusal in this context?

Answer: (By: Dr. Zakir Naik)

If a husband expresses his desire for sexual intercourse with his wife, and asks her to fulfill his need, then she should fulfill her husband's desire, and she has no right to refuse him or deprive him of his need (unless of course if she is undergoing her monthly menstruation period or is down with illness.)

Islam encourages and insists on chastity and fidelity. Islam prohibits and condemn illicit sexual relations, extra-maritial affairs, pre-marriage sex, fornication, adultery, prostitution, pornography and promiscuity. It is for this reason that a wife is bound to fulfill her husband's sexual desires so as to prevent him form straying.

Narrarted Abu Huraira
Allah's Apostle (Pbuh) said,
" If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relations) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol. 4 Hadith No. 460 & Sahih Muslim Vol. 2 Hadith No. 3368)

Narrated Abu Huraira
The Messenger of Allah (swt) said:
" By him in whose hand is my life, when a man calls his wife to his bed, and she does not respond, the One Who is in the heaven is displeased with her untill he (her husband) is pleased with her. " (Sahih Muslim Vol. 2 Hadith No. 3367)

Narrated Taiq ibn Ali
Allah's Messenger (Pbuh) said,
" When a man calls his wife to satisfy his desire she must go to him even if she is occupied at the oven." (Al Tirmidhi Hadith No. 1160 & Ibn Ma'jah Hadith No. 4165)

From all the above mentioned Ahadith, it is Wajib upon the wife to fulfill the desire of her husband whenever he wishes. If the relationship between the husband and the wife is truly based on Islamic principles, in which both of them treat each other with love, affection, kindness, fulfilling all Islamic desires and settling all matters with mutual agreement and understanding, the question of the wife refusing the sexual desire of the husband does not arise. Nor does the question arise of the husband being insistent or getting perturbed at her not wanting to have sex.

Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an in Surah Rum, Chapter 30, verse no. 21:
" And among His signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquility with them and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts); verily in that are Signs for those who reflect."

If on certain rare occasions, the husband shows a desire for sexual intercourse with his wife, and for some genuine reason the wife shows a hesitation (not refusal), then it is possible, the husband can be understanding and voluntarily and happily give indication for postponement!

Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an, in Surah Baqara, chapter 2, verse no. 187:
"They (your wives) are your garments. And you are their garments."

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

Isaal-e-Sawab Through Recitation of the Qur'an

I would like to know that if we read Quran and ask Allah to send sawab to all Muslims and my relatives including my parents who are no more, will the sawab only go to my parents or to all the rest too ?

(By: Dr. Zakir Naik)

It is Bid'ah (innovation) to recite the Qur'an for Isaal-e-Sawab of those who have passed away, regardless whether the deceased is your parent or relative. There is no evidence supporting this practice in the authentic sources of Islam, in the Seerah of the Prophet (Pbuh) or the life of his Companions. Didn't deaths occur during the time of the companions ? Why then, we do not find any such evidence from their lives ? All those things that benefit the living and the dead have already been shown by the Prophet (Pbuh), as Deen has been completed. Therefore, it is inappropriate to innovate anything in the religion.

Narrated Aisha (R.A.): Allah's Messenger (Pbuh) said,
"If somebody innovates something which is not present in our religion, then that thing will be rejected." (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3, Hadith No. 2697 & Sahih Muslim, Vol. 3, Hadith No. 4266).

However it is allowed to pray for the deceased and give charity for him, as there is no difference of opinion in this regard.

Praying Behind Beardless Imam

My son is working in Japan. He attends the Tarawih prayer at a mosque, where two imams lead the Tarawih prayer on alternate days. One is an Egyptian and another one is from some Arab country. This Imam is not professional imam. He is a wealthy person in the city where my son resides. The Imam has not sported the beard. Some Pakistanis do not pray behind him when he leads the Tarawih prayer, objecting that it is not right for a person to pray behind an imam, who does not sport a beard. But my son prays behind that imam and he is very much puzzled over this matter whether to pray or not to pray behind the imam who does not sport a beard. My son has sent this query over the phone seeking clarification.

(By: Dr. Zakir Naik)

Shaving beard is Fisq and the one who does that is Fasiq. It is preferable to have an Imam having a beard. However, if such an Imam is not available, then it is allowed to offer Salah behind a beardless Imam. It is agreed upon by the Ahle-Sunnah-Wal- Jam'ah that offering Salah behind every righteous or Fasiq Muslim is allowed and his Salah is valid so that there is unity amongst the Muslims, in order to avoid any conflict.

Therefore your son is correct in offering Salah behind the imam. Infact, those who do not offer Salah behind him should also start doing so, in order to avoid any conflict. However, as soon as an Imam with beard is available, you may start offering Salah behind him, and Allah knows the best.

Which School Of Thought Should A Muslim Follow?

There are four schools of thoughts and we can follow any one of them. Is it permissible to follow two schools of thought to suit the situation ? For example, the Shafi school of thought considers 2.25 pm as the time for Asr prayers in our town while the Hanafi school of thought has fixed time at 3.08. So can we follow any of these two timings to suit our necessity?                                       

Answer: (By: Dr. Zakir Naik)

1.  Muslims should be united
Muslims today, are divided amongst themselves. Such divisions are not endorsed by Islam. Islam believes in fostering unity amongst its followers.

The Glorious Qur’an says:
“And hold fast, altogether, by the rope Which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves.' [Al-Qur'an 3:103]
Which is the rope of Allah that is being referred to in this verse? It is the Glorious Qur'an. The Glorious Qur’an is the rope of Allah which all Muslims should hold fast together. There is double emphasis in this verse. Beside saying ‘hold fast all together’ it also says, ‘be not divided’.
The Qur’an further says,              
“Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger” [Al-Qur’an 4:59]
All the Muslims should follow the Qur’an and authentic Ahadith and ensure that they are not divided  among themselves.

2.  It is prohibited to make divisions in Islam.
 The Glorious Qur’an says:
“As for those who divide Their religion and break up Into sects, you  have no part in them in the least: Their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.” [Al-Qur’an 6:159]
In this verse Allah (swt) says that one should disassociate oneself from those who divide their religion and break it up into sects.
 But when one asks a Muslim, “who are you?” the common answer is either ‘I am a Hanafi or Shafi or Maliki or Hanbali. Some call themselves ‘Ahle-Hadith’.

3.  Four Schools of Thoughts
 The Islamic world has produced several learned Islamic scholars (Imams), but out of these, four became more famous and their teachings spread in different parts of the world.
It is a misconception that a Muslim should follow any one of these four schools of thoughts i.e. Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali or Maliki. There is no proof whatsoever in the Qur’an or any authentic Hadith that a Muslim should only follow one of these four Imams.

4.  Respect all the Great Scholars of Islam.
 We must respect all the great scholars of Islam, including the four Imaams, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi, Imam Hanbal and Imam Malik (may Allah be pleased with them all). They were great scholars and may Allah reward them for their research and hard work. One can have no objection if someone agrees with the view and research of any one or more from these four great scholars of Islam.

5.  All Four Imam said follow the Qur’an and Sunnah.
All the four great Imams said that if any of their Fatwas or teachings contradict Allah’s word, i.e. the Qur’an, or the sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) i.e. authentic  Hadith, then that particulars Fatwa of theirs should be rejected, and the Sunnah of the Prophet should be followed.

a.  Eeqaadh al-Himam, Al Fulaanee (Imam Abu Hanifa)
b.  Al-Majmoo’ of an-Nawawee (1/63) (Imam Shafi)
c.  Jaami ‘Bayan al-Ilm, Ibn Abdul-Barr (Imam Malik)
d.  Eeqaadh al-Himam (Imam Hanbal)
To give you an example in this context – Imam shafi said that when a women touches a man who is in a state of wudhu, the wudhu of the man breaks. However, this ruling of Imam Shafi contradicts the authentic saying of the Prophet.

Narrated Aisha 
The Prophet (may peace be upon him) kissed one of his wives and went out for saying prayer. He did not perform ablution. (Sunan Abu Dawood) Vol. 1 Chapter No. 70 Hadith No. 179)

Thus this particular teaching of Imam Shafi contradicts the authentic saying of the Prophet. So I reject this specific ruling of Imam Shafi who himself said , “ If I say something, then compare it to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His messenger and if it agrees to them, then accept it and that which goes against them, then reject it and throw my saying against the wall” – This is a saying of ash-Shafi’ee-rahimaullah. See Al-Majmoo’ of an-Nawawee (1/63).

Thus by rejecting this particular teaching of Imam Shafi which contradicts the authentic Hadith, I am practically a better follower of Imam Shafi than those who call themselves ‘Shafi’.

 Similarly in practice, I claim to be a better follower of Imam Abu Hanifa than those who call themselves ‘Hanafi’. I claim to be a better follower of Imam Hanbal than those who call themselves ‘Hanbali’. I claim to be a better follower of Imam Malik than those who call themselves ‘Maliki”. If being a ‘Ahle-Hadith’ means following Qur’an and authentic Hadith then I claim to be a better follower of the Qur’an and authentic Hadith than those who call themselves ‘ Ahle-Hadith’. All these are mere labels (Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali, Maliki, Ahle-Hadith) that are not endorsed by the Qur’an or the Sahih Ahadith.  The only label or title given by the Qur’an and the Sahih Ahadith is MUSLIM.

6.  All the Groups have sub divisions
I personally have no objection if someone calls himself Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali, Maliki or Ahle Hadith. People give different labels to themselves to identify which set of teachings they prefer to follow and to disassociate themselves from those people who follow wrong practices. From history we come to know that all the labels given to different groups, at a later stage the people from that group themselves did not follow their teachings and made new sub-groups. Therefore in all the groups you find a sub-division.
 But as far as giving a label to identify what a person practices in Islam is concerned, there can not be better label than what Allah (swt) has given i.e. a Muslim.

7.  Our Prophet was a Muslim
“Who was our beloved Prophet (pbuh)? Was he a Hanafi or a Shafi, or a Hanbali or a Maliki ?” No! He was a Muslim, like all the other Prophets and Messengers of Allah before him.
It is mentioned in chapter 3 verse 52 of Al-Qur’an that Jesus (pbuh) was a Muslim.
Further , in chapter 3 verse 67, Al-Qur’an says that Ibrahim (pbuh) was not a Jew or a Christian but was a Muslim.

8.  Qur’an says call yourselves Muslims
There is no Qur’anic verse or any authentic Hadith that says you should call yourselves Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali, Maliki or Ahle Hadith.
If anyone poses a Muslim the question who are you, he should say “I am a Muslim, not a Hanafi or a Shafi or a Ahle-Hadith”.

Is it Compulsory to Wear the Trousers Above the Ankles?

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

(By: Dr. Zakir Naik)

There is no difference of opinion amongst the scholars with regards to covering/non-covering of the ankles. All the scholars, regardless of their different schools of thought and differences in many issues, have no difference of opinion in this regard. They all unanimously agree that the length of the lower garment, i.e. the trousers/pants/izars etc. should be above the ankles for men. Thus it is forbidden for men to cover their ankles with their lower garments i.e. trousers/pants/izars etc. There are several authentic Ahadith to substantiate this ruling.

Narrated Abu Huraira
Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said,
"Allah will not look, on the Day of Resurrection, at a person who drags his Izar (behind him) out of pride and arrogance." (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 7, Hadith no. 5788)

There may be few Muslims who tend to differ on the subject due to ignorance. They argue by saying ‘the Hadith says that anyone who drags the Izar out of pride and arrogance will be punished in the hereafter. Therefore we don’t drag the pants out of pride and arrogance’.

However, there are many Ahadith in which the Prophet has instructed in unambiguous words to wear the Izar above the ankles without mentioning the aspect of pride or arrogance. One of the Ahadith is as follows:

Narrated Abu Huraira
The Prophet said,
"The part of an Izar which hangs below the ankles is in the Fire." (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 7, Hadith no. 678)

In the Hadith quoted above, there is a general instruction to keep the trouser above the ankle, irrespective whether it is out of pride & arrogance or without pride & arrogance.

Moreover, can any human being claim to be as humble as the Prophet (pbuh)? Alhumdulillah, we Muslims believe that the Prophet (pbuh) was far more humble than anyone of us can ever be and he could never be as arrogant & proud as we can be at any given time. He was sent as a mercy (Al-Qur'an 21: 107) for all the creatures, yet he wore his lower garments above the ankles. Therefore we should obey the commandment of the Prophet (pbuh) in order to prosper in the hereafter.

The Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said:
"All my followers will enter Paradise except those who refuse." They said, "O Allah's Messenger! Who will refuse?" He said, "Whoever obeys me will enter Paradise, and whoever disobeys me is the one who refuses (to enter it)." (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 9, Hadith no. 384) Thus, it is incumbent upon the Muslim men to wear the pants/trousers/izars above the ankles.

Is a Muslim woman permitted to go out for a job?

Is a Muslim woman permitted to go out for a job (organization belongs to Muslims with all women staff) even if her husband can support the family well? What does Islam say about it? In this case the main reason why this woman wants to join this organization is to keep her busy and to mould herself completely in an Islamic environment. 

(By: Dr. Zakir Naik)

In Islam a woman has no financial obligation and the economical responsibility lies on the shoulders of the man. Before a woman is married it is the duty of the father or brother to look after the lodging, boarding, clothing and other financial requirements of the woman. After she is married it is the duty of the husband or the son. Islam holds the man financially responsible for fulfilling the needs of his family.

In this case, the husband is financially capable enough to support the family. Nevertheless the woman wants to work voluntarily, not primarily for money, but to mould herself in an Islamic environment by joining a Muslim organization (which presumably follows the tenets of Islam) that has all women staff. It is advisable for her to seek her husband’s permission before taking the job.

The husband may as well see to it that he understands the intention, objective and purpose of his wife behind taking this job. However, in case the husband does not permit her, then she may very well try to establish an Islamic environment at her husband’s place itself by cultivating friendships with good Muslim women in her neighbourhood and surrounding, learning and educating the morals and virtues of Islam. 

Wife's Consent Prior to a Subsequent Nikaah

Does a Muslim man require explicit consent from his first wife, to marry a second woman?

(By: Dr. Zakir Naik)

In Islam, marriage is a solemn contract for which the Islamic Shari’ah has laid down rules and measures to guarantee its stability. Though Islam permits a man to have more than one wife, it stipulates that certain conditions are to be met in this regard, for Islam’s main focus is on building a stable marital life.

If a man is able to take a second wife, and can treat both wives in a just manner, and he wants to, then he is allowed to do so as Allah says,

“… marry women of your choice two or three or four; but if you fear that you will not be just, then (marry only) one …”

There is no evidence in the Qur’an and the authentic traditions of the prophet (pbuh), which states that it is obligatory for the husband to have the explicit consent of his first wife, if he wants to take a second wife. However, he should inform his first wife about his intention. It is preferable to convince her about his decision but it is not compulsory to take her consent.

But if the wife has stipulated a condition in the marriage contract, that her husband is not allowed to take another wife as long as she is married to him, then the husband should adhere to the condition and is obliged to take her permission before taking another wife. The conditions of marriage are the most binding of conditions and are the most important before Allah, because through them intimacy becomes permissible. 

Narrated ‘Uqba: The Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) said:
“The conditions most entitled to be abided are those of (wedding contract) with which intimacy becomes permissible to you.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.7 Hadith No.5151]

Therefore in the light of the above, it’s clear that the first wife’s consent is not a prerequisite for a man to take another wife unless she specifies the above condition in her marriage contract.

Forbidden Times for Salaah

I am told by many people that it is not permissible to read the Qur’an or do Sajdah after Asr prayers and that we cannot pray, be it reading Qur’an or Namaz at 12.00 clock. Kindly reply!

(By: Dr. Zakir Naik)

Regarding the time of recitation, it is permissible for a Muslim to recite the Qur’an at any time of the day or night as he/she wishes. Rather it is mustahab i.e. recommended to remember Allah (dhikr) after Fajr, which certainly includes reading the Qur’an, as it is one of the best forms of dhikr.

The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“Whoever prays Fajr in congregation, then sits and remembers Allah until the sun comes up, then prays two rak’ahs, will have a reward like that of Hajj and ‘Umrah.” [Tirmidhi al-Jumu’ah Hadith No.585]

There are certain times at which the Prophet (pbuh) has disallowed prayer. These are: (i) While the sun is rising (i.e. during the time of sunrise), (ii) when the sun has reached its highest point i.e. at noon and (iii) while sun is setting (i.e. during the time of sunset).

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

Narrated Abu Said Al Khudri: I heard Allah's Messenger (pbuh) saying,
"There is no prayer after fajr prayer till the sun rises, and there is no prayer after the Asr prayer till the sun sets." [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.1 Hadith No.586]

Contrary to this, the Prophet (pbuh) used to pray two raka’ahs after asr prayer as related in many of the authentic traditions. However, it is important for us to note that whenever we perceive a difference between Qaul (command) and Amal (action) of the Prophet (pbuh), then according to the rule of fiqh, command takes precedence over the action.

Thus under normal circumstances, a Muslim should not offer Salaah after the Fajr prayer until the sun rises or after the asr prayer until the sun sets, unless there is a valid reason and requirement. For example, if after having offered his asr salaah a person enters a mosque before sunset, he can offer two raka’ahs Tahiyyat al-masjid (prayer after entering mosque) before sitting which is a recommended Sunnah.

Similarly, if a person does Tawaaf of the Ka’bah after offering Fajr salaah and before sunrise, he can offer two raka’ahs Salaat al-Tawaaf (prayer done after circumambulating the Ka’bah).

Raising One's Hands During Salaah

A few people in our locality raise their hands before and after doing ‘Rukoo’. Is it a correct act while praying?

Answer: (By: Dr. Zakir Naik)

In addition to raising one’s hands in prayer when pronouncing Takbir al-Ihraam (the first Takbir), it is Mustahab (i.e. a recommended act) to raise one’s hands at three other times during Salaah (the Muslim prayer): (i) just before bowing in Rukoo’, (ii) when rising from Rukoo’ and (iii) when standing up after the first Tashahhud. The reports of raising of the hands are ‘mutawaatir’, which means they are reported by so many narrators to so many that it is inconceivable that they could all have agreed on a lie.

Whenever Ibn 'Umar started the prayer with Takbir, he used to raise his hands: whenever he bowed, he used to raise his hands (before bowing) and he also used to raise his hands on saying, "Sami a-l-lahu Liman hamida", and he used to do the same on rising from the second Rak'a (for the 3rd Rak'a). Ibn 'Umar said: "The Prophet used to do the same." [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.1 Hadith No.739]

Imam al-Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) wrote a separate book on this issue, which he called ‘Juz’ fi Raf’ al-Yadayn’ (Section on Raising the Hands), in which he proved that the hands should be raised at these points in the prayer.
Raising the hands in prayer was a well-known practice amongst the companions of the Prophet (pbuh). Imam al-Bukhari said: “Al-Hasan and Humayd ibn Hilaal said: ‘The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) all used to raise their hands, without exception.” [Juz’ raf’ al-yadayn, page 26].

There are no less than four Ahadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari and six in Sahih Muslim with respect to raising the hands before and after Rukoo’ (bowing), besides several other authentic traditions in other Ahadith compilations.

The traditions of not raising hands at these instances are classified as da’eef (weak) by the scholars of Hadith. It is important for us to remind ourselves that once the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) becomes clear to a person, it is not permissible for him/her to ignore it in favour of the opinion of anyone, since we all are Ummatis and followers of the Prophet (pbuh).

Hence, a Muslim should not fail to raise his hands at the points in prayer described in the Sunnah. Every Muslim should strive to make his prayer like the prayer of the Prophet (pbuh) who said,
“Pray as you have seen me praying.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.1 Hadith No.631].

Marrying women from the People of the Book


Can a Muslim man marry a Christian or a Jew? Please explain.                          

Answer: (By: Dr. Zakir Naik)

It is permissible for a Muslim man to marry a woman from the People of the Book (i.e. the Jews and the Christians), only if they fulfill certain criteria.

Allah (swt) says: “And (Lawful in marriage are) chaste women from among the believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you…” [Surah Al-Maidah 5:5]

Based on the above verse, most of the scholars say that a Muslim man can marry any woman who is a Jew or a Christian. On the other hand, if we read the Qur’an as a whole, Allah (swt) also says that Muslims are not allowed to marry Mushriks i.e. people who associate partners with Allah (swt).

“And do not marry Mushrik (polytheistic) women until they believe. And a believing slave woman is better than a polytheist, even though she might please you.” [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:221]

Moreover, we find that the Jews and the Christians too associate partners with Allah (swt). Says Allah (swt) in the Glorious Qur’an:
“They (Jews and the Christians) have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah, and (also) the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him.” [Surah At-Tawbah 9:31]

The Christians, who claim that Jesus (pbuh) is God as well as the Son of God, insist on the supposed divinity of Jesus (pbuh) and worship him as such.

“They have certainly disbelieved who say, “Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary” while the Messiah has said, “O children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Indeed he who associates other with Allah – Allah has forbidden him paradise and his refuge is the fire. And there are not for the wrongdoers any helpers.” [Surah Al-Maidah 5:72]

From the above-mentioned verses and many such verses of the Qur'an, it is very clear that almost all the present day Jews and the Christians are committing shirk by joining partners with Allah (swt).

Apparently, it appears to be a “contradiction” in the Qur’an, since at one place Allah (swt) forbids Muslims from marrying Mushriks, whereas at another place He allows Muslim men to marry women from the Jews and the Christians, most of who as per the Qur'anic narrations are Mushriks too i.e. those who associate partners with Allah (swt).

In another verse of the Glorious Qur’an, Allah (swt) conciliates all the above verses by informing us that among the Jews and the Christians there are also people who are true believers i.e. they believe in only one God and do not associate partners with Allah (swt). It says,
“Among them (Jews and the Christians) are believers but most of them are defiantly disobedient.” [Surah Ali Imran 3:110]

Therefore, according to me, Muslim men are permitted to marry only those women from the People of the Book (i.e. the Jews and the Christians) who are chaste as well as who do not commit shirk i.e. those who do not believe in trinity and Jesus’ (pbuh) divinity.

Prohibition of Musical Instruments

I have doubt about playing of musical instruments. Is this an act of Satan?

(By: Dr. Zakir Naik)

Prohibition of music is recorded in many authentic Ahadith.

Narrated Abu Malik Al-Ashari:
"The Messenger (pbuh) of Allah (SWT) said, "Some people of my Ummah will drink wine, calling it by other than its real name, merriment will be made for them through the playing of musical instruments and the singing of lady singers. Allah will cleave the earth under them and turn others into monkeys and swines. " [Ibn Ma'jah Vol.5 Hadith No.4020]

Narrated Abu Amir or Abu Malik Al Ashari that he heard the Prophet saying, "From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful. And there will be some people who will stay near the side of a mountain and in the evening their shepherd will come to them with their sheep and ask them for something, but they will say to him, 'Return to us tomorrow.' Allah will destroy them during the night and will let the mountain fall on them, and He will transform the rest of them into monkeys and pigs and they will remain so till the Day of Resurrection." [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.7 Hadith No.5590]

However, there are some Ahadith which indicate that it is permissible to beat the ‘daff’ i.e. the tambourine (which is open on one side and covered on the other). 

 Narrated Urwa on the authority of Aisha
“On the days of Mina, (11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah) Abu Bakr came to her while two young girls were beating the tambourine (daff) and the Prophet was lying covered with his clothes. Abu Bakr scolded them. The Prophet uncovered his face and said to Abu Bakr, "Leave them, for these days are the days of 'Id and the days of Mina." Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.2 Hadith No.987]

Narrated Ar Rabi (the daughter of Muawwidh bin Afra):
“After the consummation of my marriage, the Prophet came and sat on my bed as far from me as you are sitting now, and our little girls started beating the tambourines (daff) and reciting elegiac verses mourning my father, who had been killed in the battle of Badr. One of them said, ‘Among us is a Prophet who knows what will happen tomorrow.’ On that the Prophet said, ‘Leave this (saying) and keep on saying the verses which you had been saying before." [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.7 Hadith No.5147]

Therefore from the above evidence it is concluded that the use of musical instruments in general is forbidden in Islam, with the exception of the 'Daff'.

Music usually intoxicates a person and takes one away from the path of Allah (swt). Music engages a person’s mind and takes him/her away from the remembrance of his/her Creator and from realizing and focusing his/her attention on the purpose of his/her creation. In musical songs, most of the times the listeners even appreciate illogical, incorrect and blasphemous matter and content. A person will realize this when he starts pondering over the meaning of many Hindi and English songs, lyrics and ghazals. Here we find that it is because of music that the person’s mind is intoxicated and the person deviates from the straight path.

Dyeing One's Hair

I’d like to know about hair coloring according to Qur’an and Hadith. I came to know that it is permissible. Is it right? Please explain providing evidence from authentic sources of slam.

(By: Dr. Zakir Naik)

It is permissible to change the colour of one’s greying hair, to a colour besides black, as long as the material used for coloring hair is pure and permissible.

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

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

Narrated Abu Huraira Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said, "The Jews and the Christians do not dye (their grey hair), so you shall do the opposite of what they do (i.e. dye your grey hair and beards)." [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.4 Hadith No.3462 & Sahih Muslim Vol.3 Chapter 831 Hadith No.5245]

However, it is not permitted for a Muslim man or a woman to dye his/her hair black because of the reports in which the Prophet (pbuh) instructed the Muslims to abstain from it.

Jabir bin Abdullah reported that Abu Quhaafah was led (to the audience of the Holy Prophet) on the day of the conquest of Makkah and his head and beard were white like thughamah (hyssop), whereupon Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said: “Change it with something but avoid black”. [Sahih Muslim Vol.3 Chapter 831 Hadith No.5244]

Ibn ‘Abbaas reported the Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) as saying: "At the end of time there will be people who will use this black dye like the crops of birds; they will not experience the fragrance of Paradise.” [Sunan Abu Dawood Vol.3 Chapter 1569 Hadith No.4200]

Nevertheless, the use of black dye is specifically permitted during time of war, with the possibility of demoralizing the enemy when they see all Muslim soldiers looking ‘young’. Moreover, dyeing the hair when there is no grey hair, though not forbidden, is not regarded as following the Prophet’s example, since it does not serve the same shar’i interests as achieved by dyeing grey hair. 

One must make sure that hair colouring should not be done as an imitation of immodest or immoral people, whom some people may mistakenly regard as examples to follow. This is prohibited because the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whoever imitates any people is one of them.” [Sunan Abu Dawood Vol.3 Chapter 1506 Hadith No.4020].

Why are all prayers and supplications not fulfilled by Allah ?

Why are all prayers and supplications not answered or fulfilled by Allah (SWT)?

(By: Dr. Zakir Naik)

1. You may dislike a thing which is good for you (2:216)
The reply to this question is given in the Glorious Qur’an in Surah Baqarah chapter 2 verse 216:
“But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knows, and you know not.”

2. Praying for a motor cycle.
There may be a very pious person who prays to Allah (SWT) for a motor cycle but the prayer is not answered. Allah knows very well that if the person acquires a motor cycle he will have an accident and get crippled. The Qur’an rightly says you may love a thing which is bad for you but Allah knows and you know not.

3. Businessman misses flight due to traffic jam.
Suppose a rich businessman is supposed to catch a flight in order to click a deal which would fetch him billions of rupees. While going to the airport to catch the flight, there was an unusual traffic jam on the road, which prevented him from reaching the airport on time. The businessman misses the very flight and sorrowfully says “This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me in my life.”

While returning back home he hears on the radio that the very flight that he was supposed to catch has crashed and all the passengers have died. The businessman happily says: this is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life.
Allah knew best that the life of the businessman was much more precious than the billions of rupees that he had lost. You may dislike a thing which is good for you, but Allah knows and you know not.

4. Surah Shura-chapter 42 verse 27.
The Qur’an mentions in Surah Shura chapter 42 verse 27
“If Allah were to enlarge the provision for His Servants, they would indeed transgress beyond all bounds through the earth; but He sends (it) down in due measure as He pleases. For He is with His servants well-acquainted, watchful.”

5. Surah Baqarah chapter 2 verse 186.
It is mentioned in the Qur’an in Surah Baqarah chapter 2 verse 186
“When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me:”

6. Surah Ghafir chapter 40 verse 60.
It is mentioned in Surah Ghafir chapter 40 verse 60
“And your Lord says: “Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer): but those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell – in humiliation!

7. Allah answers your prayer by not answering.
Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an that “you call on Me and I will answer the prayer”. These verses of the Qur’an are not falsified when your prayers are not answered. In fact Allah (SWT) in His Divine Wisdom answers your prayers by not granting you what you with your limited and finite knowledge had asked for.

8. Unbelievers and impious people have luxury.
Some people wonder how is it that several unbelievers and impious people lead a luxurious life. They worship false gods and pray to them for wealth. Since these people worship false gods yet, Allah (SWT) answers their prayers and gives them wealth which further leads them away from Allah (SWT) and thus in the long run it is harmful for them.

9. Believers remember Allah whether rich or poor.
A true believer is a person who, irrespective of whether he is rich or poor, remembers Allah (SWT).
Allah (SWT) has described such people in Surah Al Noor chapter 24 verse 37
“By men whom neither traffic nor merchandise can divert from the remembrance of Allah nor from regular prayer, nor from the practice of regular Charity: their (only) fear is for the Day when hearts and eyes will be transformed (in a world wholly new)-“

10. A True believer always says Alhamdullillah.
A true believer is a person who irrespective of what ever happens says, ‘Alhamdulillah’. Praise be to Allah. Even when he goes in loss he says Alhamdullillah, because he has faith in Allah that if Allah permitted the loss to be incurred it has to be beneficial in the long run. In short he has faith in Allah, that whatever happens, happens for the good.


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