Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ramadhaan Focus - Question & Answers

Ramadhaan Focus - Question & Answers


Q) If a woman is on a contraceptive, can she continue to use it so not to miss
fasts in Ramadhaan? the contraceptive is used for medical purposes and not to
prevent a child-not married.

A) If an unmarried female is on a contraceptive for medical reasons, she may
continue its use as that will be of dual benefit to her, medical as well as to
be able to fast. If she does not have to take it for medical reasons then it is
advisable for her not to do so as that is disturbing the natural cycle which may
have health implications. and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best. [Mufti Ebrahim Desai]


Q) During fasting, can I give my wife a tight squeeze and a smacking kiss?

A) If you are able to contain your carnal desires, then it is permissible to do so. If you are unable to do so, for example, you are young or newly married and
there is a strong possibility that the hugging and kissing will lead to being
more intimate, then it is prohibited. and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best. [Mufti
Ebrahim Desai]


Q) Can a person who is sick inhale some menthol type medicine through the nose to clear the head during fasting in Ramadan? Can a person put eye drops in their eye during Fasting in Ramadan?

A) It is not permissible to inhale medicine during fasting. It is permissible to
use eye drops during fasting. [Mufti Ebrahim Desai]


Q) Can one swim while fasting ?

A) It is permissible. Care should be taken that no water enters the mouth. It will,
however, be best to abstain and use the precious moments of this month in
Ibaadat. and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best. [Moulana Imraan Vawda]


Q) I am breastfeeding my 5-month old daughter - can I fast during Ramadan? The iftar time will be 8:30pm. If fasting affects lactation should I continue or make up the days later?

A) It is permissible to fast whilst breastfeeding. However, if fasting affects
lactation, you may make up for the fasts later. and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best.
[Mufti Ebrahim Desai]


Q) If someone has a throat infection and is coughing up green or yellow colored sputum, if such sputum is swallowed will this invalidate the fast? Similarily if someone has a runny nose from the flu or common cold which is producing clear mucus, if this mucus is swallowed will the fast be invalidated?

A) Swallowing Mucus or sputum does not invalidate the fast. and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best. [Mufti Ebrahim Desai]


Q) Being a Shafie, was my fast valid if I accidently followed the hanafi sehri ending time (which is earlier)? I am from Malaysia and studying in UK. I was not aware of the difference between fajar and asar time between the shafie and hanafi mazhab. A large portion of last ramadhan, I ate to the last minute before sehri ends using the hanafi time. Do I have to perform qada?

A) There is no difference of opinion in the terminating time of Sehri and commencing time for Fajr Salaat. All the scholars are unanimous that Sehri ends upon the commencing of Subh-e-Saadiq (break of dawn) when the horizontal light in the sky appears. Fajr time commences at Subh-e-Saadiq. Your fasts were valid and you do not have to make Qadhaa of your fasts. and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best.
[Mufti Ebrahim Desai]


Q) 1. I was wondering if brushing with miswaak allowed (which has a taste to it), why isn't brushing with tooth paste allowed?

A) It is permissible to make miswak while fasting. To use tooth paste in the state of fasting is Makrooh (disliked). The minimum taste in the miswak is unlike the strong taste in the paste. Furthermore the paste is a solid substance and liquidifies more in the mouth thereby having the potential of going down the throat. [Mufti E. Desai]

Q) 2. Is it permissible to brush teeth while fasting?

A) It is makrooh to use toothpaste during fasting. One may use the miswaak during fasting. [Mufti E Desai]


Q) 1. If blood is taken out of the body, does this break the fast?

A) Taking out blood during fasting does not invalidate the fast. And Allah Ta'ala knows best. [Mufti E. Desai]

Q) 2. I am diabetic and I am prone to fainting - can I take blood tests to monitor my blood sugar during ramadan?

A) Shari'ah (laws of Islam) are balanced and have taken into consideration different circumstances. If a person is ill to such an extent that he will faint due to fasting, then he will be excused from fasting. Such a person may give Fidya (compensation) for not fasting. However, taking blood tests during fasting is permissible and that does not invalidate the fast. and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best. [Mufti Ebrahim Desai]


Q) When I am fasting, sometimes my gums bleed. If I swallowed this blood would my fast be broken? Sometimes I cannot spit the blood out at work as I cannot leave my post to go to the toilet easily?

A) You should not swallow the blood. However, the swallowing of the blood does not invalidate the fast. And Allah Ta'ala knows best. [Mufti E. Desai]


Q) Is it permissible to take an injection while fasting and does that nullify the fast?

A) It is permissible to take an injection during fasting. The injection does not nullify the fast. (Ahsanul Fataawa vol.4 pg.432) And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best. [Mufti Ebrahim Desai]


Q) I am an asthma patient. Is it permissible for me to use the inhaler during fasting? The inhaler contains salbutamol (liquid medication). If it is not permissible, what should I do when I get an asthma attack during fasting?

A) Since the inhaler contains a medication (salbutamol), the use of it in the state of fasting will invalidate the fast. We advise you take medication at the time of Sahri to avoid an asthma attack. However, should you get the attack during fasting, if there is no adequate alternative which does not break the fast, you may use the inhaler and make-up for that fast later (make Qadhaa). And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best. [Mufti Ebrahim Desai]


Q) Are you allowed to put anything on your lips during fasting, such as lip balm or vaseline to help them from burning?

A) It is permissible to use a lip balm in the state of fasting. And Allah Ta'ala knows best. [Mufti E. Desai]


Q) During Ramdhan, if one has a wet dream (self relief during sleep), is the fast valid?

A) If one has a wet dream during fasting, the fast is still valid. And Allah Ta'ala knows best. [Mufti E. Desai]


Q) I am fasting is it permissible to sleep with own wife ? If yes what we can do with her. touch, kiss, hug etc.

A) It is not permissible to have intercourse with one's wife during fasting. If the husband can control his desires, then he can touch, kiss, etc. the wife. If he fears that it may lead to being intimate with her, then it is prohibited. And Allah Ta'ala knows best. [Mufti E. Desai]


Q) 1. If a female gets her period during her fast, can she break the fast right away or she has to wait till the end?

A) If a female gets her periods during fasting, she may eat immediately thereafter. However, she should not do so in public and in the presence of other fasting people. And Allah Ta'ala knows best. [Mufti E. Desai]

Q) 2. A female starts menstruating while fasting. What if she stops menstruating during fasting? How should she conduct herself?

A) If her menses commenced while fasting, she can eat (not in public). If her menses stopped while fasting, she should abstain from eating, drinking, etc. but (in both instances) make up for the day by keeping a Qadhaa fast after Ramadaan. (Aalamgiri vol.1 pg.214; Rashidiyya)


Q) I've been told not to take bath when I'm fasting,either before fasting or after iftar I can take a bath.Please tell me whether this is true.

A) It is permissible to take a bath while fasting. The information given to you is incorrect. And Allah Ta'ala knows best. [Mufti E. Desai]


Q) 1. Is a pregnant woman or one who has just delivered, permitted to fast in the month of Ramadhaan?

A) The fast of a pregnant woman is valid. However, due to weakness during pregnancy, she is exempt from fasting. After delivery of the baby, during Nifaas (bleeding after birth), she cannot fast. And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best. [Mufti Ebrahim Desai]

Q) 2. A woman delivered a baby about a month ago through a ceassarean operation. The doctor said that the operation wound may take upto 6 months to recover. She is also breast-feeding the baby. She has been adviced to keep herself healthy with proper intake of food. Since Ramadan is commencing after 1 month, is it permissible for her to miss her fasts in the month of Ramadan and make up for it later. Please advice.

A) Allah Ta ala says in the Qur aan, If a person is sick (whilst in Ramadhaan) or on a journey, then complete fast on other days (besides Ramadhaan). If by not eating there is harm feared to either the woman or her child, it will be permissible for her to continue eating and keep Qadhaa of Ramadhaan whenever she is able to. and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best. [Mufti Ebrahim Desai]


Q) Is it permissible to make up for the days missed during the month of Ramadhaan while people are fasting the six days in the month of Shawwal?

A) Yes. And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best. [Mufti Ebrahim Desai]

Taken from
Prepared by Al-Islaah Publications

Monday, July 03, 2006

Encouragement of Marriage and having Children

Encouragement of Marriage and having Children

Islam encourages the young Muslims to get married and have children. The Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said, 'O young people, whoever of you can afford it, let him get married. It helps restrain the eyes and preserve the private parts. But if he cannot afford it, let him fast, for it works as a preventative.'

He also said, 'Marry fertile women, I will be showing off your large number of the day of resurrection.'

Choosing the Right Spouse

These are the main characteristics that should be sought when choosing a spouse:

Deen: It is the first thing to look for according to the Prophet's instructions. This does not mean choosing any Muslim but the one who applies Islam throughout his daily life, not just a nominal Muslim.

Conduct: A woman or a man who has good manners is considered as a grace from Allah. The Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said, 'There is nothing more beneficial to a believer next to the fear of Allah than a pious wife. When he commands her, she obeys him; and when he looks at her, she pleases him; and when he swears by Allah that she should do a thing, she would; and when he is away, she guards herself and his property.'

This also applies to the husband with regard to good conduct and fear of Allah, for raising children requires the efforts of both parents not just one of them. Since man is the head of the family, it is his responsibility to choose a pious woman to be the mother of his children. Allah states, 'O you who believer, protect yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is man and stones.' (66:6)

And He says, 'And enjoin as-Salaat (the prayer) on your family, and be patient in offering them [i.e. the Salaat - prayers].'

When Allah's Messenger [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] was asked about the greatest sins, he replied, 'You should associate an equal to Allah while He created you, that you kill your child out of fear that he would eat from your food, and that you commit adultery with your neighbour's wife.' (al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The prohibition of killing one's children is a necessary consequence of having mercy for them and protecting their body, minds and soul from harm.

Abdur Rahmaan Abdullah Manderola


Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Al Kawthar Academy (Leicester, U.K.) in Need of Your Donations

Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullah,

The following was posted on regarding Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq's project/Institute and the financial problems facing Al Kawthar Academy (Leicester, U.K.)


Assalaamu 'Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuhu

I pray everyone is in the best of health and emaan and their exams are going well.

Sheikh Riyadh ul Haq set up the Al Kawthar Academy in Leicester a few years ago to serve as a place to hold gatherings and organise the da'wah and talks which take place. The building in Leicester is literally an old factory and is very simple but Alhamdulillah has served its purpose. It was purchased through qardha hasana and most of these were for 2 years. 2 years is now up an the Academy is in serious financial difficulties.

Every Friday night, Sheikh does a dars of the summarised Sahih al-Bukhari in English, something which has never been done before, all of which are broadcasted on the PalTalk. However, the situation has got so bad that the dars has not taken place for 2 weeks now. The amount of material Sheikh has produced is just phenomenal. Each dars of Bukhari is available on the website; to buy as a cassette or download as an mp3, in addition to the the other lectures. This totals a number in the region of 350!! It is so sad and so unbelievable that the situation has to come to this, that world renown and respected 'ulema are not able to hold duroos due to people's neglect.

Alhamdulillah we as Muslims never suffer from donor fatigue, but however we sometimes neglect the projects and services, for want of a better word, that we use. And I'm not suggesting for a second that we ignore our Ummah around the world. Subhanallah give to both! Shaytaan threatens us with poverty by making us believe charity decreases wealth. I'm sure many ppl can vouch when I say that you can feel the barakah in your money afterwards when you donate to charities.

We all know the benefits of giving in charity but a reminder never goes amiss, my dear brothers and sisters:

"The parable of those who spend their property in the way of Allah is as the parable of a grain growing seven ears (with) a hundred grains in every ear; and Allah multiplies for whom He chooses; and Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing." (Surah Baqarah 261)

As we all know well, Allah 'azza wa jall tests us in many different ways, but these tests can be opportunities to gain ajr. Inshallah this is one such opportunity. Allah swt does not tire of rewarding us nor are His rewards to us limited, we would sooner tire of asking and performing good deeds.

I'm willing to bet (figure of speech) that most ppl here have benefitted in some way from Sheikh Riyadh, if you were at the talk last year then you will have Inshallah! Subhanallah the least we owe to our 'ulema is to allow them to be able to disseminate their 'ilm, which in this case is through financial assistance.

One practical way we can all help is by setting up a standing order for £10 a month, which even for us students won't break the bank. Think of how quickly we spend £10 normally, subhanallah. Allah 'azza wa jall prefers the small but consistent good deeds to the bigger, infrequent ones. And if you can afford more then please do so, and if you can't afford £10 then Alhamdulillah please give what you can. You can donate online using PayPal here:

I apologise my brothers and sisters for this lengthy e-mail but the situation is urgent.

May Allah reward you for your intentions and strengthen you in emaan and grant you success in the akhirah and this dunya. I humbly request you make du'a for the maghfirah of the whole ummah including myself and of course the Al Kawthar Academy.

Wassalaamu 'Alaikum, wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuhu

Your brother in Islam,




Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Tips For a Happy & Successful Marriage


Ten ways of increasing happiness in your marriage and making it a successful one

The young and excited bride-and-groom-to-be; ecstatic about the upcoming wedding and marriage and the joy that it will bring. Three to six months later, reality has set in and both spouses realize that marriage is no easy task, but one that takes a great deal of effort and patience. The following are tips for both wives and husbands, to help make the task a little less daunting, and to increase the many rewards that are possible in such a marvelous and complex relationship.

Enter the Marriage with the Right Intention and Renew this Often

Both spouses should enter the marriage with the pure intention of pleasing Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, in order to receive His grace and blessings. The marriage itself then becomes an act of worship and one for which both spouses will be rewarded. Allah will be pleased with them and this will be the most critical element in ensuring peace, stability and happiness throughout the marital life. It is also important to realize that when an act of worship is continued over a long period of time, it becomes necessary to renew one's intention often to remain on the correct path and to obtain the most benefit.

Remember that Your Spouse is also Your Brother or Sister in Islam

Too often Muslims treat other people outside the home with kindness and sincerity, but then behave in a very different manner when it comes to their own spouses. Muslims should always remember that one's spouse is also another brother or sister in Islam and that the rights and duties that apply to the general brotherhood (sisterhood) of Islam, should also form the basis of the marital relationship. Obviously, a spouse has rights beyond these, but there should be a clear understanding of the rights of brotherhood (sisterhood) and adherence to these principles.

Do Not Hold Unrealistic Expectations

Before marriage, people often have unrealistic ideas about their spouse-to-be, expecting perfection in all aspects. This rarely, if ever, plays out in reality and can lead to unnecessary problems and concerns. We should recall that Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, created humans as imperfect beings, which means that many mistakes will be made throughout a lifetime. By turning the table and expecting imperfection, we will be pleasantly surprised and pleased when our spouse is much more than we ever hoped for. This, in turn, will lead to contentment within the marriage.

Emphasize the Best in Your Spouse

Since no one is endowed with all of the best qualities, emphasis should be placed on the positive qualities that a spouse possesses. Encouragement, praise, and gratitude should be expressed on a regular basis, which will strengthen these qualities and be beneficial in developing others. An attempt should be made to overlook or ignore negative characteristics, as the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, "A believing man should not have any malice against a believing woman. He may dislike one characteristic in her, but may find another in her which is pleasing." (Muslim)

Be Your Mate's Best Friend
Try to think of what a best friend means and be one to your spouse. This may mean sharing interests, experiences, dreams, failures and upsets. It may involve understanding a spouse's likes and dislikes and attempting to please him or her in any way possible. A best friend is also usually someone that can be confided to trusted, and relied upon. A spouse should be the kind of friend that one would want to keep throughout life.

Spend Quality Time Together

It is not enough to share meals, chores and small talk together. Spouses should also find time to focus on strengthening the relationship. Often couples get busy with their own separate tasks and forget about working on one of the most important elements in life. Quality time may be anything from having a quiet, profound conversation to going for a nice long nature walk, to sharing a special hobby or project. Both spouses should enjoy the particular option chosen and distractions should be kept to a minimum.

Express Feelings Often

This is probably a very "Western" concept and one that some people may have difficulty fulfilling, but it is important to be open and honest about one's feelings, both positive and negative. The lines of communication should always be open and any concerns should be brought to the attention of the other spouse as soon as they arise. The rationale of this is that what begins as a simple concern may grow into a major problem if it is not addressed quickly and properly. The "silent treatment" has never been the remedy for anything.

Admit to Mistakes and ask for Forgiveness

Just as we ask Allah to forgive us when we make mistakes, we should also do the same with our spouses. The stronger person is the one who can admit when he or she is wrong, request pardon from the other, and work hard to improve his/her aspects that are in need of change. When a person is unwilling to do this, there will be little growth and development in the marriage.

Never Bring up Mistakes of the Past

It can be very hurting for another person to be reminded of past mistakes. In Islam, it is generally not recommended to dwell on the past. One may remember errors that were made so that they are not repeated, but this should not be done excessively. Certainly, as humans, we are not in the position to judge another person. Advice may be given, but not in a harmful manner.

Surprise Each Other at Times

This may entail bringing home a small gift or flowers, preparing a special meal, dressing up and beautifying oneself (this is not only for women), or sending a secret note in a lunchbox. A little imagination will go a long way here. The idea is to spice up the marriage and avoid getting into a dull routine that may negatively affect the marriage.

Have a Sense of Humour

This particular aspect can go a long way in preventing arguments and brightening the atmosphere of the home. Life is a constant stream of challenges and tests, and to approach it in a light-hearted manner will help to make the journey smoother and more enjoyable. You may also find that your spouse enjoys this characteristic and looks forward to spending time with you because of it.

Quick Tips for Discussions and Disagreements:

Begin with the intention to resolve the issue. If both spouses have this intention and plan to consult together, it is more likely that there will be a successful resolution.

Remember that it takes two to quarrel. If only one person chooses not to argue, there will be no argument. Generally, the one who is wrong does most of the talking.

Both spouses should not be angry at the same time. If one of the spouses becomes upset, it is best if the other tries to remain calm and collected.

Never yell at each other unless the house is on fire. Of course, house fires do not occur very frequently; yelling should occur at about the same rate.

Never go to sleep with an argument unsettled. This is one of the worst things that can happen in a marriage and should be avoided as much as possible. This allows hurt feelings and thoughts to linger and generally exacerbates the problem.

If one spouse needs to win, let it be your mate. Do not focus on winning yourself; this is the main reason that discussions tend to become heated.

Source: Dr. Aisha Hamdan -

(May Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala grant us all the tawfeeq. Ameen.)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Lecture: The Legacy of Imam Abu Hanifa (R.A)

The Legacy of Imam Abu Hanifa: 8th April 2006




The Legacy of Imam Abu Hanifa


Saturday 8th April,

Friends House, Euston, London

6:30-9:30 pm

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

One of the most important manuals of the Hanafi School, Al-Hidayah (The Guidance) has been published by Amal Press, completely translated for the first time in English. Containing over 800 years of an unbroken chain of knowledge, this is arguably the most popular of all classical works in the genre of Islamic jurisprudence.

Join Amal Press at this book launch that will explore the life of the great Imam, Abu Hanifa and the contribution of his school to the Muslim legal tradition. This will be a night of historical narrative in which we will understand why the facts of fiqh matter more today than ever before.

Tickets = £10. Please send payment by PayPal to A limited amount of tickets will be on sale at the door.

For more information, visit:, e-mail:

Tel: 07875 401377

Your Ticket

1. When paying by PayPal, you will be sent a receipt by e-mail. Please print and bring this to the event. Upon providing your receipt a ticket will be issued.

2. Your tickets will not be posted to you. Please collect them at the door on the day.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Intended Insults: Unintended Consequences

Intended Insults: Unintended Consequences

By Khalid Baig (
Posted: 6 Muharram 1427, 5 February 2006

On 31 January, Carsten Juste, editor-in-chief of Jyllands-Posten, published an open letter to Muslims saying he was sorry that Muslims took offence from the cartoons (which his cultural editor had commissioned for the express purpose of causing offence). In that caricature of an apology he did not admit that the paper had done anything wrong. Rather he blamed the Muslims' poor understanding of the Danish culture for their getting so upset. Then he wondered, as did many media pundits, why Muslims were not buying his apology.

He also said in a separate comment that had he known the extent of Muslim anger, he would not have published those cartoons. Since then the same cartoons have been reproduced by one newspaper after another in Europe. How could these "especially commissioned works of art" be reproduced by other papers? Only if Jyllands-Posten, the original copyright holder, gave them permission to do so. That it should continue to let others reprint these despicable cartoons, while claiming that it had expressed its regret, is only fitting in a drama that continues to reveal the depths of hypocrisy in which Europe is mired today.

In a different setting, Jan Lund, the paper's foreign editor was more open. In his Guardian interview he said. "We apologised for hurting the feelings of a lot of Muslims in this. But we don't apologise for printing the cartoons." (Translation: I am sorry your father was killed. But I am not sorry for firing at him.)

And in the theatre of the absurd, the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, offered his own wise counsel. Even as the offending cartoons continued to be reprinted, he urged Muslims to accept the publisher's apology (which was never offered) and forget everything. "What is important is that the newspaper that initially published the cartoons has apologized, and I would urge my Muslim friends to accept the apology, to accept it in the name of Allah the Merciful, and let's move on."

It all started with a shrewdly prepared script. Jyllands-Posten would publish deeply offensive cartoons of Islam's holiest person, the Prophet Muhammad . If Muslims protested or tried to discuss it, they would be ignored. If the protests grew louder, that would be even better. They would gleefully present the images of the deeply hurt protesters from around the Muslim world, without ever explaining what made them feel so hurt, so the audiences could easily draw the conclusions about these "extremists and fanatics." That would fit in nicely with the current narrative about Islam and terrorism. In either case they would be winning.

And so it began. Stunned Muslims called the editor for a meeting and were refused. When ambassadors from twelve Muslim countries tried to arrange a meeting with the prime minister, he also refused to meet them, saying the government had nothing to do with the regulation of the media. This was a lie, but in this holy campaign that did not matter. Both did find the occasion to lecture the complaining Muslims on the virtues of democracy. Obviously there was no place for a dialog in their "democracy." Democracy meant only one thing: their unending right to insult Islam and Muslims and the unending obligation of Muslims to submit to that.

Then something unexpected happened. People in the Muslim world decided to take some action beyond protests. They decided to refuse to buy any products from Denmark. With just one company, Arla Foods, facing losses of 1.8 million dollars a day, the scene changed. That is when the newspaper and the government issued half-hearted and disingenuous regrets.

Islam Teaches Decency and Dignity

However, the media machine has framed it as a clash between Islam and the cherished European values of freedom of expression.

It is true that Islam teaches decency and prohibits provocations of followers of other religions. It teaches that we are responsible for every word we utter and will have to account for it in the Hereafter (Al-Qur'an, 50:18). The prophet Muhammad said: "Anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day should either say something good or keep quiet." Muslims revere all the Prophets of God, from Adam to Noah, to Abraham to Moses and Jesus (peace and blessing on them all), and finally, Prophet Muhammad . While Muslims welcome debates with other religions, they want to make sure it is a civilized debate. No ridicule, no insults. They are even prohibited from using bad words about the false gods of other religions, meant only to hurt the feelings of their followers. (Al-Qur'an, 6:108). Obviously it does not recognize the endless freedom to insult.

One will be hard pressed to find comparable teachings in the Western world.

It is not that Europe is totally unaware of the idea of responsibility that should limit the freedom of expression. In every European country there are laws restricting the limits of expression. There are laws regarding libel, hate-speech, invasion of privacy, protection of national secrets, blasphemy, and anti-Semitism. However there is a fundamental difference between Islam and the West. In Islam the laws are based on eternal principles as laid down in the Qur'an and the teachings of the holy Prophet . In the West, the laws and policies are a result of compromises between competing interests. Stated principles provide a veneer but not the foundation. For example U.K. had a law against blasphemy but when Muslims tried to invoke it against the blasphemy perpetrated by the Satanic Verses in 1989, they were told that the law protected only Christianity, not Islam. What is the moral principle here? Why curbing insults against Christianity is a proper limitation of the freedom of expression but curbing those against other religions is not? Because underlying the law is not a moral principle but a compromise between Christian and secular forces.

This can take very interesting forms. Thus, on the one hand even objective inquiry into the history (of the Holocaust) is banned and people presenting an alternative view of history are sent to prison without anyone remembering freedom of expression, and on the other the filthiest of insults are permitted—even encouraged—against Islam. Very principled indeed!

The implementation of the laws follows the same "principled" approach. Thus, Denmark has laws regarding blasphemy as well as racism. Both of these laws have been violated in the current case, the assertion of the newspaper that it broke no laws, notwithstanding. Section 266b of the Danish Criminal Code provides:

Any person who, publicly or with the intention of wider dissemination, makes a statement or imparts other information by which a group of people are threatened, insulted or degraded on account of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, or sexual inclination shall be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for any term not exceeding 2 years.

And its section 140, which deals with blasphemy, reads:

Those who publicly mock or insult the doctrines or worship of any religious community that is legal in this country, will be punished by a fine or incarceration for up to 4 month.

Similarly section 142 of the Norwegian Penal Code provides for punishment for any person "who publicly insults or in an offensive manner shows contempt for any religious creed...or for the doctrines or worship of any religious community lawfully existing here."

That these laws provided no protection to the Muslims, highlights the fact that despite their sizable populations, the Muslims carry no political weight in the European democracies.

Hence the importance of the economic boycott started by the grassroots in the Muslim countries.

The expressed worry of the pundits in Europe is that the Muslim do not understand their societies; their real worry is that the Muslims have begun to understand how these societies really work. The Muslims are realizing that if they want to get any rights and respect there, they will have to show their weight. The boycott of products from offending countries is a result of that realization and it is exactly the kind of step that, if continued patiently, can help Europe deal with its arrogance and Islamophobia. Europe could then see that dealing with Muslims with respect is a good policy. And in a land where honesty is the best policy (not principle but policy), that is the best one can hope for.

SOURCE: Khalid Baig,

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Danish Cartoons: Islam vs. Freedom of Expression?

Danish Cartoons: Islam vs. Freedom of Expression?

(Maulana Hafiz) Sikander Ziad Hashmi,

Cartoons are doing what so many couldn’t: Unifying Muslims across the globe.

On the other hand, a growing number of brave freedom-fighters, led by journalists, are standing up to “reaffirm the principle of free expression.” And non-Muslims are wondering why this unified outrage is a no-show when it comes to seemingly more important issues such as beheadings, honour killings, and suicide bombings.

As a Muslim journalist, that puts me in a tough spot, doesn’t it?

Well, not really.

Let’s get the facts straight. What exactly is the issue?

The Danish paper Jyllands-Posten printed a total of 12 cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad last September, one showing him wearing a headdress shaped like a bomb with the kalimah inscribed on it, while another had him saying that paradise is running short of virgins for suicide bombers. A Norwegian publication reprinted the caricatures in January and publications in at least four other countries jumped on the bandwagon in the last couple of days to express their support for the principle of free expression.

Muslim outrage has spurred protests, kidnapping and death threats, boycotts of Danish products, and diplomatic spats. Danish dairy firm Arla Foods has announced 125 layoffs as a result of the boycott; national leaders have jumped into the foray, and even U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has issued a statement in an attempt to cool the growing crisis. Editors have been sacked in what’s seen to be an attack on editorial independence.

Media reports are quick to point out that Islamic traditions ban depictions of the Prophet. Thus, the understanding is that the outrage has been caused by the seemingly blatant disregard for this “Islamic taboo” by the publications in question, which is why Reporters Without Borders and other journalists and non-journalists alike are resisting, if not fighting, this wave of rage.

I’m pretty sure many outraged Muslims will also point to that as the source of their outrage.

But I ask: Would Muslims express an equal amount of outrage had the Prophet been shown in a positive light based on his teachings, perhaps instructing a would-be terrorist not to kill innocents?

Probably not. Yes, there might have been some disappointment over the depiction of the Prophet , but it wouldn’t be anywhere near what we’re seeing now.

Thus, the main issue here isn’t the depiction of the Prophet , but rather, the depiction of the Prophet in an incorrect and dishonest manner.

As a journalist, I truly value our freedom of expression and as my colleagues on this message board know, I attempt to stand by that principle whenever possible.

We all know that the right to free speech is an integral element of a democratic society. Those of us living in democratic societies enjoy that right on a daily basis.

However, no right is absolute. There are always limitations and exceptions.

I can express myself by screaming, for as long as I wish, but not to the detriment of my neighbours. Similarly, I can publish whatever I want, as long as I don’t tarnish anyone’s reputation by spreading lies or promote hatred against anyone.

I can even publicly express damaging, unflattering comments about someone, as long as they’re in the public interest and I don’t do it with malice.

The cartoons of the Prophet , especially the one with his headdress shaped like a bomb, can be given three general interpretations in today’s context:

a) He was a terrorist.
b) He supported terrorism.
c) Islam is a religion of terrorism, since he symbolizes the religion

Anyone who is familiar with the life and the teachings of the Prophet knows that he was not a terrorist. There is no such thing as a terrorist Prophet and if there was, it would mean he and his followers would live to terrorize others, which we know is certainly not the case.

Yes, he did lead and fight in battles. But since when did fighting wars become terrorism? If that’s the case, any leader that takes his nation to war should be considered a terrorist.

As for the second interpretation, once again, anyone who is familiar with the teachings of the Prophet knows that he did not support terrorism. He forbade the killing of innocents and even ordered his followers not to kill birds and other living creatures unnecessarily. And even though the Makkans had terrorized him and his followers, he did not retort with the same when he conquered Makkah later on, nor did he let any of the followers terrorize anyone either, even as victors.

As for the last possible interpretation, once again, if anyone studies the teachings of Allah and the Prophet Mohammad in their entirety, they will know that Islam is not a religion of terrorism. It’s just not true. Yes, there are groups and individuals who attempt to justify acts of terrorism through Islam, but that does not mean that Islam is a religion of terrorism. If it was a religion of terrorism, Muslims throughout history would have been terrorists, which just isn’t the case.

Therefore, we can conclude that if the cartoons are interpreted as a) and b), they are slanderous and libelous, or if they’re interpreted as c), they promote hate by branding all followers of Islam as terrorists, and since no one likes terrorists, people will naturally be led to hate Muslims.

This issue is not about Muslims hating freedom of expression. Rather, it is about the abuse of the freedom to spread hate and fuel stereotypes.

There is no doubt that the cartoons were originally published with malice and spite, to spread stereotypes and provoke a group that has already been victimized as a whole for the actions of a few.

But that’s not the only reason for the outrage.

The level of love and sentimental attachment many Muslims have for and with Mohammad is unparalleled, and may in fact be very difficult to comprehend for non-Muslims.

Think of your dead parents or grandparents that you loved dearly. If someone were to slander them publicly and make a mockery of them, how would you feel? Would you not react angrily and defend them?

You probably would, except the chances of anyone paying attention may be slim, since you would be alone, or perhaps have the support of a dozen or two people.

For Muslims, their beloved prophet has been slandered and mocked. He is not here to defend himself, so his followers have taken on the task, out of their love and devotion to him.

What we see now is the result of compounded anger, which isn’t always expressed in the wisest manner, especially when emotions are running high.

The issue of incorrect attribution is an important one. If Osama bin Laden was the subject of the cartoons, hardly anyone would complain.

Thus, it must be understood that Muslims are not attacking freedom of expression. Rather, they are reacting to hateful, mean-spirited distortions.

As for the question about why Muslims are so sensitive about cartoons while they don’t speak out against other seemingly important issues, the fact is that these cartoons of the Prophet have struck a common, emotional nerve across the Muslim world, while unfortunately, there is no unanimous agreement on the other issues, with which some Muslims obviously do not have a problem since they take part in or support those actions, such as beheadings, honour killings and suicide bombings. It doesn’t make it right, but that’s the reason behind the muted or disjointed response.

Some have complained about the boycotts in response to the cartoons. What’s wrong with Muslims exercising their freedom of choice? Boycotting is a common tactic for expressing displeasure, even if it doesn't directly affect those at the root of the displeasure.

In fact, in 2004, a group of Americans residing across the border from the Canadian town of Nelson, British Columbia threatened to boycott the town if it went ahead with the construction of a monument to U.S. Vietnam War draft dodgers. The construction of the monument was a form of expression, yet the town was threatened with severe economic repercussions if it had gone ahead with the construction of the monument. It didn’t.

Publishing and protesting are both forms of expression, and they must both be exercised within reasonable limits.

Muslims deserve an apology. And they seriously need to learn how to contain their emotions and express their displeasure using non-violent means.

But as long as the incorrect analysis of the issue as a “freedom of expression vs. Islamic stigma” battle remains, I'm afraid the vicious cycle of publications and protests, and more protests and more publications, will continue.

SOURCE: (Maulana Sikander Ziad Hashmi, writing for

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Internet Precautions and Guidelines

Internet Precautions and Guidelines
Source: Al Jamiat - Vol 6 No 2

Internet technology has brought about dramatic advances in communication and information accessibility. The blessings and favours of Allah Ta'ala upon His servants are indeed innumerable. Expressing shukr (gratitude) for these favours by word and deed is incumbent. Internet usage is fast becoming a norm in many a Muslim home. Adults, youth and even children are becoming savvy to the exciting ease of information access. However we need to be extremely cautious that this newly found "connection" should not disconnect us from Allah Ta'ala. Rather it should drive us to strengthen our relationship with our Creator. Hence it is important to formulate certain guidelines and parameters when using the internet. Hereunder are a few points we should keep in mind:

Distraction from salaah

Under no circumstances should our engagement with the internet distract us from observing our salaah. Nothing surpasses the firm establishment of salaah in the life of a Muslim. Allah Ta'ala has not commanded us to merely perform salaah; rather the command of the Qur'an is to firmly establish salaah in our lives.

Confine to Shariah

With the presence of 4.2 million pornographic websites serving 372 million pornographic webpages, the internet is very much a double-edged sword with a razor sharp evil edge. Internet usage should be strictly confined to the Shariah. A suggested method of surfing websites where there is a increased possibility of obscene advertisements or graphics being displayed, is to turn off the 'showing images' setting which is a common feature with internet browsers. Using the internet for illicit and haraam purposes is abuse of a ni'mat (blessing) of Allah Ta'ala. There are severe consequences to this. If one is unable to contain himself and his desires he should permanently disconnect from the internet service by unsubscribing. There is great safety in this.

Valuable asset

Time is a most valuable asset. To carelessly waste this valuable asset in trivial activities is contrary to Shariah. The internet should be used as a platform for education and information. Surfing the net aimlessly should be avoided. Time should be utilised constructively. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has said, "Two blessings are such; which many people are in deception with regards to; good health and free time." (Mishkat)

Family duty

Special care should be taken that one does not become so absorbed on the internet that family duties are neglected. Of high importance is the time due to the wife. To spend quality time with the wife, speaking with her light heartedly and keeping her heart happy is imperative. This duty should not be disturbed by excessive internet engagement.

Monitor the children

Parents who allow their children to use the internet for educational purposes should keep a close eye on them. Children seem to be outdoing their seniors in computer literacy. As such there are able to access and explore almost anything from the PC without the parent even knowing. This makes it essential for parents equip themselves with the necessary knowledge of utilising the internet as well as how to monitor what is being accessed on the internet. Another ideal solution would be to situate the computer in such a place which is an "open" area in the house, where a person cannot be in seclusion. This will be a preventative measure for anyone wanting to abuse the facility. It is also incumbent on parents to employ any other monitoring device or strategy to ensure that children are kept on guard with the internet.

Be careful

Visit only authentic sites. It is very easy to be misled by attractive sites conniving to mislead. These sites pose a major threat to one's Imaan. Be careful. Do not visit a site for the sake of curiosity. The more hits a site receives the better its chances of survival. If you visit an undesirable or deviated site don't make it an issue. The more people visit the site the more exposure it gains. Without visitors the site will die a natural death. May Allah Ta'ala grant us the ability to utilise the internet beneficially.

SOURCE: Al-Haadi