QUESTION AND ANSWER’S

What is meant by charity in Islam?

Charity, for which the expression used in the Holy Quran is “spending out of what God has given you”, means using your energy, talent, resources, money, possessions, or whatever else, to help and do good to those in need. In Islam charity is very often mentioned alongside prayer because just as the latter is man’s relation with God, or man’s duty towards God, the former (charity) represents his relation with his fellow-beings, and indeed with all the creation of God. Prayer expresses love for God, submission to Him, and a desire to bring out the Divine qualities that lie hidden in every person. Charity is an expression of sympathy and benevolence towards God’s creation, putting into actual practice the lessons you learn in prayer.

How important is charity?

Being charitable is very strongly urged upon Muslims, so much so that the Prophet Muhammad PBUH has said that on every limb of the body, doing a charitable deed is due every day, whether it is with the hands, feet, or tongue. There is no person at all who cannot do a deed of charity to others. According to the Holy Prophet, if someone has nothing to give, he should work and earn, and give out of that; if he still does not have anything to give, he should help someone in distress; and if he is unable, for some reason, to do even that, he should try to do any good he can and refrain from doing any harm to anyone.
Apart from general charity, Islam has made compulsory a sort of tax on one’s possessions, known as Zakat, to be spent on the welfare of the disadvantaged.

To whom can a Muslim give in charity?

Just as acts of charity have the broadest possible significance in Islam, similarly the circle of those towards whom charity is to be exercised is the broadest that can be conceived. Starting with the people around us – our relations, friends, and neighbours – it extends to all Muslims, and to followers of other religions. In fact, a Muslim’s charity covers even animals. The Holy Quran emphasises that one should keep a special look-out for those who may be in need but who do not ask for help (2:273).

When was the Zakat first decreed and to whom?

According to the Quran, Zakat was decreed from as far back as the time of Abraham:

“We made them leaders who guide by Our command and We inspired them to work good deeds, to observe the Salat and to give the Zakat, they were worshippers of Us.” 21:73

Is it permissible to reply when somebody is wishing you merry Christmas?

Being nice, and noble is an act that is from Islam. The prophet (saw), was the most noble person. A Muslim is supposed to be the one who is most kind and having the noblest character. Of course, noble in the limit that you do not worship a god besides of Allah even if someone would ask you to do it kindly. Everything has it’s understandings and exceptions according to it’s time and place and context.

But to come to conclusion that you accept a whole religion as true or become one of them just because you do a good act, that is logically false (according to what you do and your intentions).

Some of our scholars have responded with fatwas saying there is no harm in replying with these or similar words.

Can I participate in the political process in Britain if it is not compatible with Islamic teaching? Can I vote?

You certainly are allowed to vote and you should vote. You should take part in the decision making process which asks people in this country for their views. Some of the policies of some political parties may be at odds with some Islamic teachings but they don’t necessarily have to be so; also some of these policies can be changed from within these parties.

What is Islam?

“Islam” is an Arabic word that means peace and submission. The “peace” in Islam means to be at peace with oneself and your surroundings and “submission” means submission to the Will of God. A broader meaning of the word “Islam” is to achieve peace by submitting to the Will of God. Islam is a unique religion with a name that signifies a moral attitude and a way of life. Judaism takes its name from the tribe of Judah, Christianity from Jesus Christ, Buddhism from Buddha, and Hinduism from the Indus River. However, Muslims derive their identity from the message of Islam, rather than the person of Muhammad (salla Allah ‘alyhiwasallam-peace and blessings be upon him). Therefore, Muslims should never be called “Mohammedans”.

Who is a Muslim?

The word “Muslim” means the one who submits to the Will of God, declaring that “there is no one worthy of submission except the One God and Muhammad is the messenger of God.” In a broader sense, anyone who willingly submits to the Will of God is a Muslim. Thus, all the prophets preceding Prophet Muhammad are considered Muslims. The Qur’an specifically mentions Abraham who lived long before Moses and Jesus that, “he was neither a Jew or a Christian but a Muslim,” because, he had submitted to the Will of God. Thus, there are Muslims who are not submitting at all to the Will of God and there are Muslims who are doing their best to live an Islamic life. One cannot judge Islam by looking at those individuals who have a Muslim name but in their actions, they are not living or behaving as Muslims. In fact, many Muslim Americans have not even adopted traditional Muslim names and there are good Muslims. The extent of being a Muslim can be according to the degree to which one submits to the Will of God in his beliefs and his actions.

Who was Prophet Muhammad PBUH?

Prophet Muhammad PBUH was born in a noble tribe of Mecca in Arabia in the year 570 CE. His ancestry goes back to Prophet Ishmael, son of Prophet Abraham. His father died shortly before his birth and his mother died when he was six. He did not attend school and was thus unable to read and write. In accordance to the prevalent custom, he was raised first by a nurse, and then by his grandfather and uncle. As a young man, he was known as a righteous person, a trait that earned him the title of Al-Amin-the trustworthy. He often used to retire to meditate in a cave near Mecca. At age 40, he was given the prophethood when the angel, Gabriel, appeared in the cave with God’s Command. Subsequently, the revelations came over 23 years and were compiled in the form of a book called the Qur’an which Muslims consider as the final and the last word of God given to humankind. The Qur’an has been preserved in its original form and confirms the truth in the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel.

Do Muslims worship Prophet Muhammad PBUH?

No. Muslims do not worship Prophet Muhammad PBUH or any other prophets. Muslims believe in all prophets including Adam, Noah, Abraham, David, Solomon, Moses, and Jesus. In fact, the belief is all prophets of God are an integral part of the faith. Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last of the prophets. They believe that God alone is to be worshiped, not any human being.

What do Muslims think of Jesus?

Muslims hold Jesus and his revered mother, Mary in great esteem. The Qur’an says that Jesus is the outcome of a miraculous birth without a father. “Lo! The likeness of Jesus with God is the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, and then He said unto him: Be and he is” (Qur’an 3.59). He was given many miracles as a prophet, which includes speaking soon after his birth in defense of his mother’s piety. God’s other gifts to him included healing the blind and the sick, reviving the dead, making a bird out of clay and most importantly, the message he was carrying. These miracles were given to him by God to establish him as a prophet. According to the Qur’an, he was not crucified but was raised into Heaven. (Qur’an, Chapter Maryam)

What are the pillars of Islam?

There are 5 pillars of Islam, which are the articles of faith.

1) Belief (Iman) in one God and that Muhammad is His messenger.
2) Prayer (Salat) which is prescribed 5 times a day.
3) Fasting (Siyam) which is required in the month of Ramadan-9th month of the Islamic Hijri calendar.
4) Charity (Zakat) which is the poor-due (2.5%) on the wealth of the rich.
5) Hajj–the pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime if one can afford it physically and financially.

All the pillars should be of equal height and strength in a building in order to give it due shape and proportion. It is not possible that one would do Hajj without observing fasting or without practicing regular prayers. Now think of a building that has pillars only. It would not be called a building. In order to make it a building, it has to have a roof, walls, doors, and windows. These things in Islam are the moral codes of Islam such as honesty, truthfulness, steadfastness, and many other human moral qualities. Thus in order to be a Muslim, one should not only be practicing the pillars of Islam but should also have the highest possible attribute for being a good human being. Only then, the building is completed and looks beautiful.

Do Muslims believe in the Hereafter?

God who is Just and manifests His justice has established the system of accountability. Those who do good deeds will be rewarded and those who do wrong will be punished accordingly. Thus, He created the Heaven and Hell and there are admission criteria for both. Muslims believe that the present life is a temporary one–a test and if we pass the test, we will be given a life of permanent pleasure in the company of good people in Heaven

What is the difference between the words “Islam,” “Islamic,” “Muslim,” and “Arab?

“Islam”
Islam is the name of a religion, as Christianity and Judaism are names of religions. In Arabic the word Islam is commonly translated as “submission or surrender to God” or “peace.” Combining both translations results in the combined meaning “peace through following God’s guidance.” For Muslims, this is the goal and objective of Islam: to first establish peace within oneself by following God’s commandments, and as a result to interact peacefully with one’s family, neighbourhood, city, etc and to work towards a peaceful and just society. Islam is considered a way of life for Muslims because it includes beliefs, practices, and good works in all aspects of a person’s life.

“Islamic”
Islamic is an adjective that modifies a non-human noun, for example, Islamic art, Islamic architecture, Islamic beliefs, etc. This term should not be used to refer to a person.

“Muslim”
A follower of Islam is called a Muslim. More commonly, a Muslim is defined as a person who believes in the oneness of God and the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad PBUH.

“Arab”
While the term “Arab” has been used in the past to reference members of an ethnic group from the Arabian Peninsula, today, the word “Arab” refers to people from Arabic-speaking countries, most of which are in the Middle East and North Africa. The term “Arabian” was historically used to describe an inhabitant of the Arabian Peninsula. Today “Arabian” is used as an adjective to describe a non-human noun (e.g., Arabian coffee); it should not be used to refer to people.

Are men and women equal in Islam?

Islam teaches the equality of men and women in their spiritual nature, rights, and responsibilities as trustees of God, and in their accountability in the afterlife.

The Qur’an states, “Whoever does right, male or female, and is a believer, We will revivify with a good life; and We will pay them their due according to the best of what they have done” (Qur’an, 16:97). While there are differences between the genders in some of the areas discussed in other questions— as there are in other religious traditions—the great inequalities that exist in some Muslim cultures or misogynistic practices of some Muslim individuals or societies are often a result of cultural influences or extreme interpretations of Islam.

Is it true that Muslim men can marry more than one woman?

The norm in Islam is monogamy as emphasised in numerous Qur’anic verses that discuss the creation of all things in pairs, beginning with Adam and Eve.

Polygamy was not initiated by Islam but existed in many pre-Islamic cultures, including those referenced in the Bible, which mentions, for example, Abraham, David, Jacob, and others having more than one wife. In Arabia before Islam men married women without any limitations on the number. Islam restricted this practice according to very strict, defined conditions. While Islamic teachings allow for more than one wife, the condition for such a marriage is that a man be fair and equal in his treatment of each wife. However, the Qur’an states, “You will never be able to treat women the same, no matter how hard to try…” (Qur’an, 4:129). The verse in the Qur’an allowing this practice was revealed in the context of war and caring for orphans. Polygamy at this point in history provided assistance to widowed women with children who otherwise would have been left to fend for themselves in a brutally patriarchal social order.

Today polygamy is only practiced by a small minority of Muslims, mainly in societies where it is culturally acceptable such as in Africa or the Arabian Peninsula. According to Islamic teachings, a wife who does not accept a polygamous relationship can write this stipulation into the marriage contract and seek a divorce if her husband marries another woman. If Muslims live in a country where polygamy is illegal, which includes many Muslim-populated countries, they must abide by the rules of that country.

Is Islam opposed to modernity?

There is nothing about modernity in general that Islamic teachings are opposed to. In fact, many aspects of modernity, such as the use of science, reasoning, and invention as a means for improving our lives are in line with the Islamic philosophy that led to the flowering of science and learning at the height of Islamic civilization. In turn, this blossoming of science and learning contributed to the European Renaissance. Muslims also have a tradition of ijtihad (independent thinking) which facilitates reform and reinterpretation. When nurtured by enlightened scholars, ijtihad revitalizes Islamic societies and moves them forward. Islam is a universal religion compatible with different times and places, with the ability to adopt whatever is positive and good and to modify or avoid what is detrimental. However, Muslims, like members of other religious groups, question some of the specific aspects of modernity that Islam, like other religions, is not compatible with. These include the rejection of the belief in God, or other moral values that have been challenged or rejected in the modern era. Additionally, diverse and multiple groups, including some Muslims in a post-modern era, are increasing pointing out the devastating effects that modernity and its accompanying technological advances, when influenced only by factors relating to economic profit and short-term gain, have had upon our environment and the world.

Are there any verses in the Qur’an or prophetic sayings that speak to the issue of women’s rights?

Yes, there are many verses and sayings that speak to the issue of women’s rights. They include the following:

Equal responsibilities and reward: “For the men who acquiesce to the will of God, and the women who acquiesce, the men who believe and the women who believe, the men who are devout and the women who are devout, the men who are truthful and the women who are truthful, the men who are constant and the women who are constant, the men who are humble and the women who are humble, the men who give charity and the women who give charity, the men who fast and the women who fast, the men who are chaste and the women who are chaste, and the men and women who remember God a lot, God has arranged forgiveness for them, and a magnificent reward.” (Qur’an, 33:35)

“And their Lord answered them, ‘I am never unmindful of the work of a worker among you, male or female. You are from each other.’” (Qur’an, 3:195)

“Whoever does right, male or female, and is a believer, We will revivify with a good life; and We will pay them their due according to the best of what they have done.” (Qur’an, 16:97)

Right to earn money: “. . . to men is allotted what they earn and to women what they earn.” (Qur’an, 4: 32)

Right to inherit: “For men is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, and for women is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, be it little or much – an obligatory share.” (Qur’an, 4:7)

Rights of a daughter: “Whosoever has a daughter and does . . . not insult her, and does not favour his son over her, God will make him enter into paradise.” (Hadith/Prophetic saying)

“Whoever has three daughters and treats them kindly, they will be a protection for him against the Fire.” (Hadith/Prophetic saying)

“Parents cannot force daughters into a marriage.” (Hadith/Prophetic saying)

Rights of a wife: “The best of you is the best to his family, and I am the best among you to my family.” (Hadith/Prophetic saying)

Rights of a mother: “Paradise lies under the feet of mothers.” (Hadith/Prophetic saying)

Why are/were there so few female Muslim scholars?

This is a misconception concerning Islamic history. According to historians, there have been thousands of female Muslim scholars throughout Islamic history, many of whom were teachers of renowned male scholars. Some notable examples include:

Rabi’ah Bint Mu’awwad, a great scholar of fiqh (jurisprudence), who taught scholars of Medina.

A’isha bint Sa’d bint ibnAbiWaqqas, whose pupils included Imam Malik.
SayyidaNafisa, the granddaughter of Hasan, whose pupils included Imam Shafi’i.

A’isha bint Abu Bakr, wife of the Prophet and narrator of over 2,000 hadith (prophetic sayings).

There are also many active female Muslim scholars today, including but not limited to:

Dr.Kecia Ali, professor of Religious Studies at Boston University.

Dr.AsifaQuraishi, professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School, who in 2010 was part of a public delegation accompanying Hillary Clinton to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Dr.AminaWadud, author of the books Qur’an and Woman and Inside the Gender Jihad and cofounder of the organization Sisters in Islam.

Dr.ZainabAlwani, professor of Islamic Studies at Howard University, Vice President of the Fiqh Council of North America.

Dr. Intisar Rabb, professor of Law at Harvard Law School and a director of its Islamic Legal Studies Program.

Dr. Hafez Barazangi, research fellow at the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Cornell University.

Dr.LalehBakhtiar, noted author and translator, famous for her translation of the Quran into English.

Dr.Aminah McCloud, professor of Religious Studies and Director of Islamic World Studies Program at DePaul University.

Dr. Ingrid Mattson, professor of Islamic Studies and the London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada.

Is there anything in Islam that limits a girl’s right to education?

There are many hadith (prophetic sayings) encouraging the seeking of knowledge that have led numerous Muslim women in history to become scholars, writers, and teachers of both men and women, as noted in the previous question. These include sayings such as “Seeking knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.” In fact, the first word revealed in the Qur’an was “read,” an injunction directed at both men and women.
We affirm as a fundamental Islamic principle that to seek education and knowledge is not only a right but an obligation incumbent on both men and women, and find nothing in Islamic texts or teachings, as interpreted by the scholars we rely on, that limits a girl’s right to seek education and knowledge.

What is the ruling on eating lobsters, crabs and shrimps. I have read that Hanfis regard this as haram while I have seen recipes for lobster and shrimp on authentic Islamic websites. Other scholars say that every thing from sea is halal to eat ?

The basic rule is that all sea food is halal, according to the hadith of the Prophet about the sea: “Its water is pure, and its meat is halal.” And also in the Qura’n: “It is He Who has made the sea subject, that ye may eat thereof flesh that is fresh and tender….” (An-Nahl 16: 14)

These texts are general and we don’t have any evidence that modify them. So, eating ….is Ok and opinion of the Hanafi is substantiated by solid proofs.

Why Muslims don’t drink alcohol ?

It is a well known fact that Muslims don’t drink alcohol. It is haraam, forbidden. They don’t eat foods with ethanol, they don’t wear perfumes containing alcoholic ingredients and they stay away from all forms of intoxicating substances.

This abstinence is a command from God, the law maker for Muslims’ health and environment. But why else is alcohol haraam in Islam? Let’s take a look.

Alcohol in Islam

Linguistically, khamr (خمر) Arabic for “wine”, is alcohol derived from grapes. This is what is prohibited by specific texts of the Quran (see 5:90). Therefore alcohol is categorically unlawful (haraam) and considered impure (najis). Consuming any amount is unlawful, even if it doesn’t create any drunken effects.

The Prophet Muhammad of Islam said, “Intoxicants are from these two trees,” while pointing to grapevines and date-palms. Alcohol derived from dates or raisins is also prohibited, again regardless of the amount consumed, as explained on Islamic site Seekers Guidance.

At first, a general warning was given to forbid Muslims from attending prayers while in a drunken state (Quran, 4:43). Then a later verse was revealed to Prophet Muhammad which said that while specifically alcohol had some medicinal benefits, the negative effects of it outweighed the good (Quran, 2:219).

What is Hadith? Will you explain the difference between a verse (ayah) and a hadith?

A verse means a sentence whose beginning and end are obvious in the Quran. Each verse of the Quran is a miracle. Each verse is evidence for the honesty of the prophet that conveys it and an exemplary lesson for those who think, contemplate and meditate; each verse is ‘something strange’ because it is a miracle and has a value.

Hadithsare the words, deeds, approvals and the sunnah of the Prophet that consist of his moral and humanly qualities expressed in words or in writing. In this sense, hadith is synonymous with the sunnah.

The word hadith was started to be used as a general name for the news reported from the Prophet in the course of time.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) did not only convey the revelation that he received from Allah to people but he also explained them and practiced them in his own life, being a concrete example for them. Therefore, he was also called the living Quran.

Islamic scholars generally regard the hadiths related to religious issues as to have been revealed to the prophet by Allah and show the following verse as evidence for it:

“Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) Desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him “(an-Najm, 53/3-4).

In addition, they say the word hikmah (wisdom) mentioned in the following verse means sunnah:

“Allah did confer a great favour on the Believers when He sent among them an Messenger from among themselves, rehearsing unto them the Signs of Allah, sanctifying them, and instructing them in Scripture and Wisdom, while, before that, they had been in manifest error.” (Aal-ilmran, 3/164)

As a matter of fact, some narrations reported from the Prophet and his Companions put forth this truth. The following is reported from the Messenger of Allah:

“I was given the Book and the like of it (the sunnah)” (Abu Dawud, Sunan, II, 505).

Hassan IbnAtiyya made the following explanation regarding the issue: “Jibril (Gabriel) brought and taught the sunnah to the Messenger of Allah just as he brought and taught the Quran.” (IbnAbdilbarr, Jamiu’lBayani’l-ilm, II, 191).

As it is understood from the verses and news above, the Quran and the hadith (or the sunnah in a broader sense) are the same in terms of being revelations sent to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) by Allah. However, the Quran differs from the hadith because it is impossible to produce something like the Quran in terms of its meaning and words, it is determined in writing in the preserved tablet (Lawh al-Mafuz), and neither Jibril nor the Prophet (pbuh) can make any changes in it. Hadith was not revealed as words; so it is not miraculous like the words of the Quran; it is permissible to report it only with its meaning as long as the meaning is not changed.

Is dating or falling in love prohibited in Islam?

Dating in Islam is not prohibited as long as there are others around to supervise the behaviour of the two people who are dating. Dating definitely does not carry the same meaning for Muslims as it does for non-Muslims, especially Westerners. Touching, kissing, and similar actions are regarded to be haram therefore they are prohibited until two people are considered legally and religiously married. Meeting, going out together and talking are of course allowed because two people need the opportunity to familiarize themselves with each other and “fall in love”.

Falling in love is definitely not prohibited and it would be absurd to attempt to restrict human nature to such extent because concept of family is highly important in Islamic culture therefore two individuals who are making such critical choices that will affect rest of their lifespans should be comfortable together and LOVE each other. Arranged marriages and similar traditions are not caused so much by Islam but specific cultures that have adopted Islam as their religion throughout the history.

Is smoking forbidden in islam?

A general rule of the Islamic Shari’ah is that it is haram for the Muslim to eat or drink anything, which may cause his death, either quickly or gradually, such as poisons, or substances, which are injurious to health or harmful to his body.

It is also haram to eat or drink large quantities of a substance if large quantities of it cause illness. For the Muslim is not entirely his own master; he is also an asset to his religion and his ummah (the Muslim nation), and his life, health, wealth, and all that Allah has bestowed upon him are a trust with him, which he is not permitted to diminish. Says Allah SubhanahuwaTa’ala: And do not kill yourselves; indeed, Allah is ever Merciful to you. (4:29)

He also says: And do not be cast into ruin by your own hands…. (2:195)
And His Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Do not harm yourself or others.” (Reported by Ahmad and IbnMajah.)

As an application of this principle, we may say that if it is proved that the use of tobacco is injurious to health, it is haram, especially for a person whose physician has advised him to stop smoking. Even if it is not injurious to health, it is still a waste of money, spent neither for religious nor for secular benefit, and the Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade wasting of property. (Reported by al-Bukhari.) This becomes the more serious when the money is otherwise needed for the sustenance of oneself or one’s family

What do Muslims believe they gain from Hajj?

The main benefit of Hajj for many people is the sense of purification, repentance and spiritual renewal it instills. After his Hajj, Malcolm X wrote in his autobiography: “…I have eaten from the same plate, drank from the same glass, and slept in the same bed (or on the same rug) – while praying to the same God – with fellow Muslims whose eyes were bluest of the blue, whose hair was blondest of the blonde and whose skin was whitest of the white. And in the words and in the actions and in the deeds of the white Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana…In the past I permitted myself to be used to make sweeping indictments of…the entire white race…Because of the spiritual enlightenment which I was blessed to receive as a result of my recent pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca, I no longer subscribe to the sweeping indictments of any one race. I am now striving to live the life of a true Muslim.”

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