Rafed English

Your Questions Answered (Volume 7)

Your Questions Answered (Volume 7)

by :

Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Razivi


What is the difference between nature and God? If we sow a seed then tree of that particular seed grows. Then what did the God do in that case? Similarly, in the case of rain. We know the procedure of rain. Then what's the work of God?

A: When you take a car (in perfect condition), put in petrol and switch the engine on, it starts running. Then what did the Ford or Nissan or Mitsubishi company do in this case? You know die process how the said engine works, then what's the work of its manufacturer?


Allah was never seen and never will be seen. Also we know that Allah (s.w.t.) can do each and everything. Now can He make himself visble?

A: You must have done by now your Form IV, Insha-Allah.

I suppose one of your subjects was Mathematics. Now can you add 2 and 2 to make them into 5? No? Why not? Dont you know how to add? You will say that "I cant make 2 + 2 into 5, not because I do not know how to add, but because the numbers 2 + 2 are inherently incapable to give the result 5." Your expertise of Mathematics does not extend to impossible ideas.

Likewise, when we say that Allah can do each and every thing, we are talking about the things which are possible-not the impossible ideas. And His being seen is simply impossible.


The Asha'irah say that nothing is good or bad in iteself. Only what Allah has ordered us to do is good and what He has forbidden is bad. My question, according to the Shi'ahs, what is the basis of our creed in questioning the clear commands of Allah? Please if you could clarify this for me and provide me some examples, if possible.

A: Far be it from us that we should question the commands of Allah.

What we say is that there is real merit or demerit in many courses of actions, and our nature or intellect may lead us to know that merit or demerit in many cases. Although it is not necessary that we should know that merit or demerit in all cases.

For example, human nature makes us believe that justice is good and injustice is bad; truth is good and falsehood is bad, and so on. And it is because of that inherent merit that Allah commands us to do a certain deed, and because of that inherent demerit that He forbids us another work.

But the Ash'arites reject the above statement. According to them no merit or demerit is inherent in any thing or action. All are equally blank. When God orders something it becames good; when He forbids, it becomes bad.

In short, we say: God has ordered us to do it, because it is good. Ash'arites say: It has become good because God has ordered it. They elaborate it in this way: "It would be perfectly O.K. if Allah were to send all prophets to the hell, and the Satan to the paradise. Of course it would be injustice, but there is no inherent evil in injustice, and if Allah commits injustice, it will become a meritorious act."


What in your opinion is the Islamic view or philosophy on an individual's destiny?

? Is there anything like destiny?

? If there is, then by doing right can this destiny be changed?

? Does this then not give no meaning to the word "Destiny"?

A: I am sending you by air mail a book of mine, Justice of God, which will make this topic clear.


The verse 19 of the ch.43 says:

And they make into females angels who themselves serve Allah. Did they witness their creation?

Their evidence will be recorded, and they will be called to account! This verse is similar to the Hindu religious belief that their devtas were served by apsaras. How does the Qur'an have a similar episode as per this verse?

A: The verse describes and refutes the polytheists' belief that the angels were females. What is your objection against this rebuttal. Or are you perturbed by the phrase, "who themselves serve Allah"? If so, then the trouble is again with your translation.- The correct translation is "who are the servants (or more correctly, slaves) of Allah", just as human beings and jinns are the servants (or slaves) of Allah. So why worry?


What is the implication of the Prophet's (s.a.w.) tradition which states: The first thing God created was my 'Light', and I and Ali are created from one Light?

A: The tradition is accepted by the traditionalists of both sects -Shi'a and Sunni. The Prophet's Light adorned the 'Arsh of Allah. When Adam (a.s.) was created, that Light was put in his forehead.

It continued its journey, generation after generation, through numerous Prophets and their successors, passing through the Prophets Ibrahim (a.s.) and Isma'il (a.s.), until it reached 'Abdu 'l-Muttalib. At that stage it was divided in two parts, one going to 'Abdullah and the other to Abu Talib. From 'Abdullah was born our Prophet (s.a.w.) and from Abu Talib was born 'Ali (a.s.).

The implication is clear: In the absence of the Prophet (s.a.w.) 'Ali (a.s.) fills his place and has all the authorities the Prophet (s.a.w.) had except the Prophethood and what is related to the Prophethood (like revelation concerning shari'ah).


What the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) practised, before being given the Nubuwwah, by way of meditation or other Islamic practices? For example, did he fast during Ramadhan, give alms etc.?

We believe that Islam is a progression from Judaism and Christianity. Was the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) obliged to follow their scriptures (undistorted, of course) until he received the divine revelation? Perhaps you could enlighten me on this.

A: The Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) had two prophet sons: Isma'il and Ishaq. From Ishaq came Ya'qub (called Israel = Slave of God = 'Abdullah). There came hundreds of prophets among the children of Israel (Banu Israel) - At least 12 of them are mentioned by name in the Qur'an, including Musa and 'Isa.

The simple shari'ah brought by Ibrahim (a.s.) was followed by both branches of his progeny, until the Prophet Musa (a.s.) was given the Torah, which remained in force for Israelis until the Prophet 'Isa (a.s.) made some minor changes in it. That amended shari'ah remained valid until the advent of Islam.

This concerned the Banu Israel. As for Banu Isma'il the same Ibrahimi shari'ah remained in force among them till the bi'thah of our beloved Prophet (s.a.w.a.). The progeny of Isma'il (a.s.) was never devoid of one or the other wasii (successor) of Isma'il - either openly or in taqiyah. According to our accepted traditions, 'Abdu'l-Muttalib was a hujjat of Allah who was succeeded in that office by Abu Talib. Abu Talib delivered the divine trust to our Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

Now you will understand that our Prophet (s.a.w.) was never expected or required to follow any law or rule of the Judaism or the Christianity. Upto 40 years, i.e. before he was ordered to declare his prophethood, he faithfully followed the Ibrahimi shari'ah, which was extremely simple. On his own, he began yearly meditation (3 months continuously) which was initiated by 'Abdu 'l-Muttalib and the fast of the month of Ramadhan. This continued till he got the call to announce his prophetic mission.

Islam is NOT a progression of Judaism and Christianity - if the word, "progression" creates before your eyes the image of a branch sprouting from a trunk. The actuality is as follows:

Allah had been sending prophets and messengers with progressively developed systems of law, keeping in view the intellectual, moral and social developments of humanity at the relevant time. And in this way every subsequent shari'ah was a 'progression" of the preceding one. That's all.


Did the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) know how to read and write? Please provide a detailed answer from the Qur'an, hadith and history.

A: It is accepted by one and all that before the revelation of the Qur'an, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) could not write with his own hand nor could he read anything written by others. Allah had arranged it in this way, so that his adversaries could find no cause to doubt the truth of his claim. Allah says:

"And you did not recite any book before it (the Our'an) nor did you transcribe one with your right hand: for then would have doubted those who utter falsehood." (29:48).

This letter is not the place to give full explanation of this verse; but it should be kept in mind that it describes the condition of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) "before the Qur'an", i.e. before declaration of the prophethood.

In other words, he did not know reading and writing before the advent of his prophethood; and it was so, in order that the Meccans could not say that he had collected those truths from previous books, and the Jews and the Christians could not say that one of the epithets of the Last Prophet, given in their books, was 'ummi. which they interpreted as uneducated, illiterate.

The word "Ummi" has been used for the Holv Prophet, (s.a.w.) in verses 157 and 158 of ch.7 (al-A'raf.) v.157 begins with these words:

"Those who follow the Messenger, Prophet the, Ummi, whom they find written (in the books) with them, in the torah and the Injil..."

The dictionary gives the following meanings for this word (ummi): "maternal, motherly, illiterate, uneducated."

Tafsir Shubbar says: Ummi: The one belonging to Ummu l-qura (Mecca); the one who does not read or write.

Mir Ahmad Ali says:

"The word 'Ummi' gives several meanings: one born of a mother, i.e., the unlettered; a citizen of Mecca which was called Ummul-Qura, i.e. the mother city."

(Then after 3 pages, he says); "Ummi has generally been translated as one who does not know to read or write; but it actually means a person who remained as born of his mother and did not undergo any education or training from any mortal - the usual result of it is illiteracy.....The prophets were Ummi in this sense, but they were taught by God through Divine agencies."

You have been told above that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a). did not read or write before the announcement of his prophethood. But after the advent of revelation, he is mentioned in the Qur'an as:

"(The) Messenger from Allah reading out unto them the Purified Scriptures." (98:2) The simple fact is that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was not taught by any human being, and from this point of view he was Ummi. But he was taught by Allah, until he became the City of knowledge.

The history has recorded an episode which clearly shows that he could read and write. It happened 19 years after receiving the first revelation.. .in the year 6 of hijrah at the time when the peace of Hudaybiyah was concluded and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) began dictating the document of the peace:

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) called 'Ali and said: Write: Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim.

Suhayl (the Meccans' envoy) said: We do not know it; rather you write: Bismika Allahumma. So, he wrote it. Then the Prophet said: Write: This is what has been agreed upon between Muhammad the Messenger of Allah and Suhayl ibn 'Amr.

Suhayl said: Had we recognised that you were the Messenger of Allah we would not have faught you; you should rather write your name with your father's name. The Messenger of Allah said to 'Ali Erase (the word,) Messenger of Allah.

He said: I won't erase it ever. Then the Messenger of Allah took the paper and erasing (the word) Messenger of Allah, wrote in its place, Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah. And he said to 'Ali: At one time you too will have to face a similar situation." (Ibn al-Athir al-Jazari, Tarikh al-Kamil vol.2 p. 77). This event may be seen in the following books (among others):-

1. Jamaluddin Muhaddith, Rawzatul Ahbctb, vol.1, p.356
2. Mulla Mu'in, Ma'arijun Nubuwwat, vol.2, p. 191
3. Husain Diyarbakri, Tarikh al-Khamis vol.2, p.23
4. Muhammad ibn Khawand Shah, Rawzatns Safa, vol.2, p.366
5. Imam Nasa'i, al-Khasa'is p. 160


Is it correct that there were some rules which were applicable especially to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)? If yes, then what were those rules?

A: Yes, There were about fifteen especialities meant for the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) only. Some were on the subject of marriage, some about other responsibilties and a few were related to some miracles of his physique.

As for his physique, while spleeping, it was his eyes that slept, but his heart remained awake; and he could see behind him as he looked in front.

As concerning marriage, he was allowed to marry in excess of four [and it was because he was sure to deal with all his wives with justice]; if a woman gifted herself to him, that wording constituted marriage and he was not required to give any "mahr" to her;

he was commanded by Allah to give all his wives a right to choose whether they wanted to remain with him or wished to separate from him; also he had been allowed upto a certain period to divorce a wife and marry another in her place; he was not allowed to marry a slave-girl (while Muslims have this choice); and no one was allowed to marry his widows.

As for other matters, he was obligated to brush his teeth before wudhu, to sacrifice an animal during hajj season and to pray tahajjud and salatu 'l-watr at night (These are sunnat for his ummah); and wajibu sadaqah was haram for him, as was winking towards someone, (These are not so for the Muslims); and he was allowed to keep fast continuously for two or more days without breaking the fast at night (while it is haram for his ummah).

Can you please enlighten us with the correct meaning of the verse 52 of ch.22 (Hajj) which says:

"Never did We send a messenger or a prophet before thee, but, when he framed a desire, Satan threw some (vanity) into his desire: but Allah will cancel anything (vain) that Satan throws in."

Aparently this is the verse on which the accursed Salman Rushdie based his book, The Satanic Verses.

A: I am sending to you my book, "The Qur'an and Hadith" (Revised and Enlarged edition). You are advised to study the whole book minutely; but before any thing else, read the Addenda: The Satanic Suggestion, (pp. 113-126) which deals particularly with this topic.


What is the meaning of Tafseer of Qur'an? When did it originate? Is the Tafseer concerned only to the Shi'as'? How many Tafseers had been written so far? Whether the difference between one Tafseer let's say A and other B are same or different?

A: Tafsir does not mean translation. It means explanation of real meaning and connotation of a verse or verses. For example, take the verse, Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim. Its translation is known to every body. But Tafsir tells us what is the implication of "Bi"; what does the divine name, Allah, signify, what is the difference between Rahman, and Rahim; and so on.

Tafsir originated with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) who explained the true significance of the verses whenever they were revealed For example, when the verse was revealed which says: "O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those vested with authority from among you..." (4:59), the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) explained who "those vested with authority" were, giving in detail the names of the twelve Imams (as.).

Books on Tafsir are found in every sect, and in these fourteen centuries thousands of such books have been written by the Muslim scholars.


Why do the verses 2:253 and 2:285 contradtict each other? The verse 2:253 says: "These Messengers, We have made some of them to excel the others; among them are some to whom Allah spoke, and some of them He exalted by degrees of rank..." And the verse 2:285 says:

"The Messenger believes in that has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers; they all believe in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers; (they say,) we make no difference between any of His messengers..."

A: If you had taken a few minutes to ponder on the two verses before writing this question, you could have solved the problem yourself. The former verse described the messengers' varying degrees of rank before Allah, while the latter describes the responsibilities of the believers towards all of them. (It had been hinted in the reply to the Question 12 of Your Questions Answered, Vol.3 from which you have copied only half of the reply), the lines you have omitted say:

"Its meaning is that we have to^believe in all the Messengers of Allah. We should not be like Jews who do not believe in Hadhrat 'Isa (a.s.) and Hadhrat Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.), nor like Christians who do not believe in Hadhrat Muhammad Mustafa (s.aw.)."

Let us say, there are 50 teachers in a secondary school. Naturally their status differs from one to the other - one is the Principal; another, Vice-principal, a few are heads of their departments, and so on. Their scales of pay also differ according to their qualification, experience and rank.

But all these matters are between the Board of Governors and the teachers. As far as the students are concerned, they have to pay respect to all the teachers, be he senior or junior, obey their orders and listen attentively to what they teach. Even with this obligation of respecting all of them without any difference, the students, like every body else, know and understand that the Principal's rank is the highest, followed by that of the Vice-principal, and so on


I am sending to you photocopy of 2 pages of a booklet distributed by the Wahhabis in Mombasa. It quotes some ahadith from Shi'a books purporting to show that the Shi'a do not believe in the present Qur'an, because they think there is alteration and omission in it. Now is it a fact that the present Qur'an is not complete according to our belief? Is it because the majority sect belives in its authenticity and we just follow in TAQIYA? If yes, then the present Qur'an in which we believe is a make believe?

Please shed some light on this issue, very close to my heart.

A: The idea of tahrif of the Qur'an is humbug. The photocopy sent by you is probably from the same booklet which was sent to me many years ago. I had written its reply which was published under the title, Wahhabis' Fitna Exposed, from Dar- es- Salaam, New Jersey (U.S.A.) and Qum (Iran); and its Swahili translation, Fitina za Wahhabi zaflchuliwa, was published in Dar- es-Salaam.

The Wahhabis' booklet is full of deception, tahrif and baseless claims; its author has exposed his ignorance on every page. I am sending to you tne book, Wahhabis Fitna Exposed, which will remove all your worries. Also another booklet of mine: Qur'an, Its Protection from Alteration, is also sent which is particularly on this subject.


A question regarding the Imam (a.s.) was asked by my fellow Muslim brother. He enquired whether any person has met the Imam (a.s.) in this century. [As we have heard many Aalims of previous centuries of having met the Imam (a.s.).] If so, then who are those dignified personalities.

And if possible, then please send their brief biography. A: Yes. We know of many such personalities. There are some books even in Urdu giving some such events, which you should obtain and read. A letter is not a proper medium to write people's biographies.


The Holy Qur'an has talked about the past, the present and the future. Today in the world there are so many anti-Islamic movements and together with these movements there are conflicts between the Muslims themselves. The conflict between the two great sects of Islam (ie Shi'as & Sunnis) is because Shi'as believe and know that Imam Ali (a.s.) is the first Khalifah and Sunnis believe otherwise.

Now my question to you is that why didn't the Holy Qur'an CLEARLY mention this? It may have mentioned in other Ayats regarding the Ahlul Bait, but what I am asking is that why did it not mention them clearly so that there would not be such conflicts between these two sects.

If the Qur'an can mention about the past prophets by giving their names why then not mention the Ahlul Bait clearly?? A: First of all, you should decide which word could have been used for announcing the Imamate and Khilafate of 'Ali (a.s.) in the Qur'an. For the terms khalifa and Imam literally do not convey the meaning of "heir apparent to the Prophet."

Secondly, if the name, 'Ali would have been included in any verse, what was there to stop all the families of Arabia to name all their newly-born babies 'Ali?

A similar question was asked of Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s.). The Imam once explained the verse 4:59, which says:

O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those vested with authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the last day; this is better and very good in the end (4:59). Upon hearing this, someone asked the Imam: "People say, 'Why did Allah not mention the names of 'Ali and his family in His Book?"

The Imam answered: "Tell them that there came the command of salai (prayer), but Allah did not mention whether three or four raka'at (units) to be performed; it was the Messenger of Allah who explained all the details. And (the command of) zakat was revealed, but Allah did not say that it is one in every forty dirham;

it was the Messenger of Allah' who explained it, and hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca) was ordered but Allah did not say to perform tawaf (circumambulation of the Ka'bah) seven times - the Messenger of Allah explained it.. Likewise, the verse was revealed: Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and those vested with authority from among you, and it was revealed about 'Ali and Hasan and Husayn (a.s.)." [And as in other cases, it was the Messenger of Allah who announced their names]


I have a question which I would like to ask. In the book Day of Judgement on p. 88 there is a Hadith where the Prophet said to Imam Ali (a.s.), "O Ali on the Day of Judgement, shall sit I and you and Gabriel on the Sirat, and shall not pass over tfie Sirat except he who would have a 'release' (from Jahannam) based on your wilayat (love and obedience).

"This Hadith has been narrated by many Sunni scholars". Could you please tell me in which Hadith Books of the sunnis it appears and what category of Hadith it is e.g. Sahih. Hasan. Dhaif etc.

A: The hadith quoted in Day of Judgement is from Shi'a sources. As for the Sunni sources, the hadith is narrated by the following well-known muhaddithin (narrators of ahadith), fuqaha' (jurisprudents) and mufassirin (exegetes of the Qur'an) in their well-known books as described below:

1. Ibn Hajar al-Haytami al-Makki Ash-Shafi'i, (died 973 A.H./1565- 66 C.E.) in his book, As-Sawa'iqu 'l-muhriqah. (pp.78 & 97).

2. Imam Ad-Darqutni al-Baghdadi Ash-Shafi'i (d.385/995) in his As-Sunan.

3. Abu Bakr Al-Khwarazmi (d.383/993) in his al-Manaqib (ch. 19, p. 234 & 222) and in Maqtalu 'l-Husayn (vol.1, p.39).

4. Muhibbu 'd-din At-Tabari Ash-Shafi'i (d.694/1295) in his Ar-Riyazu 'n-nazarah fi Faza'ili 'l-'asharah (vol.2, pp. 173; 177 & 244)

5. Al-Hamwayni, Sadru 'd-din Ibrahim ibn Muhammad (d.722/1322) in his Fara'idu 's- simtayn (vol.1, ch.54)

6. Al-Imam Al-Hakim an-Nishapuri ash-Safi'i (d. 403/1012-13) in his Al-Arba'in.

7. Ibn-Al-Maghazili al-Jullabi (d 483/1090) in his Al-Manaqib.

8. Shaykhu 'l-Islam Sulayman Al-Qunduzi al-Hanafi (d. 1294/1877) in his Yanabi'u 'l- mawaddah (p.95).

9. Abu Bakr Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi (d.463/1070) in his Tarikh Baghdad,

10. Qazi Abu 'l-Fazl 'Ayaz ibn 'Amr As-Sabti Al-Maliki (d.544/ 1149-50) in his Kitabu 'sh- Shifa'.

11. 'Abdullah Ash-Shabrawi (d.1172/1758-59) in his Al-Ithaf bi Hubbi'il-Ashraf (p. 15); and 'Is'afu 'r-raghibin (p. 161).

Ms. Latiefa Benjamin should note that the above scholars' list contains muhaddithin of various Sunni sects (Shafi'i, Hanafi and Maliki) beginning from 383 A.H. to 1294 AH. Such a widely accepted hadith does not need checking whether it is Sahih or Hasan or what.

And in any case it is not our problem to look into its various chains of narrators (which end on the Companions, Abu Bakr, Ibn 'Abbas, Ibn Mas'ud, Anas ibn Malik and 'Ali a.s). For us it is enough that so many famous Sunni muhaddithin have narrated it in their books.


It is said that the office of Imamate is superior to that of prophethood, and verse 124 of Surah Baqarah is put forward as proof of this claim. Can you please give detailed & clear explanation of this issue.

Further, in your book "Guidance From Qur'an", page 42 you have briefly written about the question asked to Imam 'Ali (a.s.) by Sa'sa'ah ibn Sauhan on the 19th of Ramadhan, 40 A.H., concerning the above mentioned issue and you have also stated there in your references but as I don't have the original books to refer to, I request you to please send me in detail the question asked & the answer given by Imam 'AH (a.s.).

A: Go to a big paint shop; they will give you a chart of colours in which you will find various shades of each colour.- e.g. 15 shades of green, 20 of blue and so on. All the shades of blue are called blue, but differ in intensity: Likewise, the words, Islam, Iman, Taqwa, truthfulness, Imamah etc., have various shades of meaning, some very light, some medium and some very fast.

To give you an example, when Ibrahim (a.s.) with help of Isma'il (a.s.) was building the Ka'bah, he was already a Prophet and Messenger of Allah; but the father and the son were praying to Allah in these words:

"... O our Lord! and make us two the Muslims for You, and make a group from our progeny Muslims for You.... (2:128)

You find here a Messenger of Allah and His prophet praying to become Muslims!! Does this word here mean those who believe in one God and the veracity of their prophet? And why did not they pray for their whole progeny to become such Muslims? Why did they pray for only "a group" from their progeny to become Muslims? Obviously the Islam they prayed for was something far superior than messengership and prophethood.

Likewise, the Imamat which Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) was given was much superior than his messengership and prophethood, because it was bestowed on him after all other offices. But it does not mean that every "Imam" is superior than a prophet, because there are Imams of jama'at prayers, leaders of army, scholars of religion etc. etc., all of whom are called Imams, but their only distinction is that they are followers of the prophet.

Sometimes designations and titles remain the same, but the reality on the ground happens to be quite different. There is a country, Nauru, and it has a prime minister; and there are U.K. and Canada with their prime ministers. Will you say that the Nauruan prime minister enjoys the same prestige and power in international fora as his British and Canadian counterparts do?

Our Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is much superior than all the previous prophets. Nautrally those who rightfully sit in his place will have the same distinction vis-a-vis previous prophets. It is a clear reality and we should not be afraid of anouncing it.

"Guidance from Qur'an" is not my book; its authors are Haji Ali Mohamedjaffer Sheriff (Mombasa) and Late Haji Hussein Alarakhiya (Dsm). The tradition they have reffered to is copied hereunder from the English translation of "Peshawar Nights":-

"In Ihya'u'l-Ulum by Imam Ghazali, Sharhe Nahju 'l-Balagha by Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazili, the Tafsir by Imam Fakhru'd-Din Razi, and Tafsir by Jarullah Zamakhshari, Baidhawi, Nishapuri, etc., you will find this hadith of the Holy Prophet: "The ulema of my community are like the prophets of the Bani Isra'il."

In another hadith he said: The ulema of the Prophet's community were equal to or better than the prophets of the Bani Isra'il simply because their source of knowledge was that fountainhead of learning, the Prophet Muhammad.

Therefore, Ali Bin Abu Talib was definitely superior to the prophets, since the prophet said: "I am the city of knowledge, and Ali is its gate." He also said: I am the house of wisdom and Ali is its gate". When Ali, himself, was asked about this topic, he explained some aspects of his superiority to the prophets of the Children of Isra'il.

On the 20 th of Ramadhan, when Ali was on his death-bed following the attack by Abdu'r-Rahman Ibn Muljim Muradi, he asked Imam Hasan to call in the Shia who had gathered at the door of his house.

When they entered, they surrounded his bed and wept silently. Ali said: You may ask any question you like before I leave you, but your questions should be brief. One of those present was Sa'sa'a Bin Suwhan. Your own great ulema, like Ibn Abdu'l-Birr and Ibn Sa'ad, have written about his life and character, have relied on him, confirming that he was a man of great learning.

Sa'sa'a said to Ali: "Let me know who is superior, you or Adam." The Holy Imam said: "It is not proper for a man to praise himself, but according to the maxim: 'Declare the blessings that Allah has given you', I tell you that I am superior to Adam."

When asked why this was so, Ali explained that Adam had every means of mercy, comfort, and blessings for him in paradise. He was asked simply to abstain from the forbidden food. But he could not restrain himself, and he ate from the tree. As a result, he was expelled from paradise.

Allah did not forbid him, Ali, from eating wheat (which, according to Muslim belief was the forbidden 'tree'). But since he had no inclination towards this temporal world, he voluntarily refrained from eating wheat. (The point of Ali's remark was that excellence of a man before Allah lies in piety and devotion, and that the height of piety lies in abstaining even from what is permissible.)

Sa'sa'a asked: "Who is superior, you or Noah?" Ali replied: "I am superior. Noah called his men to worship Allah, but they did not obey. Their shameful mistreatment was torture to him. He cursed them and invoked Allah: 'O my Lord! Leave not on the earth a single person of the unjust ones!' After the death of the Prophet, even though the people caused me extreme difficulty, I never cursed them. I suffered their torment with patience."

Sa'sa'a asked: "Who is superior, you or Abraham?" Ali replied: "I am superior, for Abraham said. 'My Lord! Show me how thou Givest life to the dead! He said: "What! do you not believe?1 He said: "Yes, but that my heart may be at ease.' (2:260). My faith was such that I said: 'If the veil over the unseen were lifted, my faith would not increase."

Sa'sa'a asked: "Who is superior, you or Moses?" The Holy Imam replied: "I am superior, for when Almighty Allah ordered Moses to go to Egypt to invite Pharaoh to the truth, Moses said: 'My Lord! Surely I killed one of them, so I am afraid that they will slay me. And my brother Aaron, he is more eloquent of tongue than I.

Therefore send him with me as an aide, to help me. Surely I fear that they will reject me." (28:33-34) the Holy Prophet ordered me, by the command of Allah, to go to Mecca and to recite the verses of the Chapter 'Al-Bara'a' from the top of the Ka'ba to the Qur'aish infidels. Iwas not afraid, even though there were few people there who had not lost a near relative by my sword. Obeying his order, I performed my duty alone. I recited the verses of 'Al-Bara'a' and returned."

Sa'a'a asked "Who issuperior, you or Jesus?" Ali said: "I am superior, for when Mary became pregnant by the Grace of Allah, and the time of her delivery approached, a revelation was granted to her: 'Leave this holy House for this is a House for prayers, not a place for the delivery of children.' Accordingly, she left the holy House and went to the wilderness where she gave birth to Jesus.

But when my mother, Fatima Bint-e-Asad, felt labor pains within the precincts of the holy Ka*ba, she clung to the wall and prayed to Allah in the name of that House and the builder of that House, to lessen her pain. Soon a fissure appeared in the wall, and my mother heard a mysterious voice telling her, "O Fatima! Enter the House of the Ka'ba.! She went in, and I was bom inside of the holy Ka'ba."


What is your response to those who claim that the Shi'a traditions have not been preserved?

A: Abu Bakr and 'Umar forcefully suppressed narration of the Prophet's traditions, and burnt and destroyed their own and other companions' collections. This continued for a century, until the caliph 'Umar ibn 'Abdul 'Aziz (reigned 99-101 A.H.) asked az-Zuhri to compile the traditions. By that time, Umayyads1 propaganda department had spread tens of thousands of forged traditions throughout the Muslim empire.

It does not require a great intelligence to realize that all the collections of ahadith, beginning from az-Zuhri and ending a few centuries later, must have contained mostly the same fabricated traditions.

So, this is in a nut-shell the real situation of the Sunni collections of traditibns. As for us the Shi'as, our Imams, right from the first Imam 'Ali ibn Abu Talib (as.) to the 11th Imam Hasan al-'Askari (as.) always instructed their companions to write down whatever they hear from them. In this way hundreds of "note-books" were prepared which were used by the Shi'as for their guidance. (See my book, The Qur'an and Hadith, for detail.) Now you may decide for youself which sect's traditions have been preserved.

However, our treasures of knowledge have suffered from the blind hatred of the Sunni rulers and masses. The precious books of the library of ash-Shaykh at-Tusi (died 460 A.H.) were repeatedly plundered and burned in Baghdad. It was this barbaric behaviour of the Sunni masses which compelled at-Tusi to migrate from Baghdad to Najaf where he founded the Hawzah 'Ilmiyah which is still alive in spite of many ups and downs.

Mahmud of Ghazna ordered the great library of Sahib ibn 'Ubbad to be burnt. This attitude has continued uptil now. When Israel attacked Lebanon in 1980's, its soldiers were especially instructed to burn down the library of the late as-Sayyid Mohsin al-Amin (d. 1952 C.E.). Thus a great collection of rare manuscripts was lost for ever.

Despite such viccisitudes, our collection is very rich. Suffice it to say that the first of the four early collections, al-Kafi, contains more traditions than the six "authentic" books of the Sunnis put together.


According to 'majalis' that we have been hearing for years, Imam Husain (a.s.) while fighting at Kerbala was instructed by Jibra'il to stop fighting as the latter had been instructed to take possesion of the 'Dhulfiqar' and for Imam Husain to fulfill his promise (i.e. of his death in the way of Allah).

A: It is the first time that I am hearing this story about Dhulfiqar. It is rubbish. Regarding the call from the sky to Imam Husayn (a.s.) to stop fighting: This myth was started by poets, and was taken up by Zakirs. But it has no basis at all.

In Kitab-al-Irshad (the book of guidance) by Sheikh Al-Mufid on page 541 concerning the re-appearence of the 12th Imam, I quote: "A pure soul (nafs zakiyya) will be killed in the outskirts of Kufa with 70 righteous men";

again on page 545: "there is no longer than 15 nights between the appearance of the one who will rise (al-qaim) PBUH and killing of the pure soul (al-nafs al-zakiyya)." I would like to hear the significance of both these statements as well as any other information on al-nafs al-zakiyya in connection with the re- appearance of Al-Qaim (PBUH).

A: I think you are perplexed because Muhammad, a grandson of Hasan Muthanna and Fatima Kubra, was killed fighting near Medina against the forces of Mansur, the 2nd Abbasid king, and that Muhammad was called Nafs Zakiyya (pure soul) because of his piety. But it was merely a coincidence. The said prophecy does not refer to that "Nafs Zakiyyah"; and the same prophecy was being repeated even by later Imams.


Can you please explain in detail from Qur'an & hadith, the relationship between Shab-e- Qadr & Imam Zamana (a.s.).

A: According to Sura Qadr, the Spirit and the angels descend in the Night of Destiny with all affairs, and this continues upto the dawn-break. Obviously when the Spirit and the angels come down with the final decisions about all affairs, there must be someone on this earth to receive them and their messages.

That personality who receives the decisions concerning every amr (affairs) is Sahebul-Amr (as.). Also, as we do not know which is the Night of Destiny, but have a firm belief that it is one of the Ramadhan nights, likewise we do not know who is the Sahebul-Amr (a.s.), but have a firm belief that he is one of the inhabitants of this earth.


You must have come across the tradition narrated by Asbagh Ibn Nubatah from Hazrat 'AH (a.s.), in which the places of origin of the 313 supporters of Imam Al-Mahdi (a.s.) are mentioned - with names of some of them. It is given in the book 'Al-Mahdi (a.s.)' of Sayyid Sadruddin Sadr. Could you please comment on its authenticity?

A: I do not have the book mentioned by you. But I have seen ahadith like that in several places, all contradictory to each other. As a general rule, ahadith dealing with signs of the day of judgement and those describing the events after re-appearance of our 12th Imam (a.s.) are counted among mutashabihat; we read them and believe in them, but leave their true meaning and interpretation in the hands of Allah.


Is Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) the same as Hazrat 'tea (a.s.) who will come to kill Dajjal? A: Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) is from the progeny of Hazrat 'Ali and Fatimah (peace be on them both) while Hazrat 'Isa (a.s.) is the son of Hazrat Maryam (a.s.). Obviously they are two different personalities. How can two different men be counted as one? For further details see my book, Muhammad (s.a.w.) Is The Last Prophet.


Islam is supposed to be a simple NATURAL religion. Why then does it have 2500 plus laws? I do understand that all the laws are not for one person. But why for each simple case there are ten laws regarding it? For example in, the case for Mayyit (according to the Masael of Agha Seestani) there are laws about the three types of ghusl to be given to a dead body. fine, this is understood.

But what follows is about Jabirah, then followed by a sequence of Tayammum for a simple change in condtions, then comes about the Kafan and its rules then burial and its rules. So, in general an aspect like death has involved about 25 pages i.e 120 plus masaels. Why?

A: When you would become as old as I am, you will find that the rules of jabirah and tayammum are extremely necessary especially in this age when various types of accidents break and disfigure the bodies.

You yourself have admitted that all the laws are not for one person. Then why object on the shari'ah's comprehensiveness? Or, do you want to say that Islam should have merely said: "Wash the dead body, wrap it in a cloth and bury it." It would not have taken more than one line!!

It will be of interest to you that nowadays a lot of European Christians are entering the fold of islam, precisely because the Islamic shari'ah contains guidance for every conceivable eventuality. What you think is a defect of Islamic shari'ah is a highly appreciated virtue in those Europeans' eyes.


I understand that taqleed is necessary for me. Who are out mujtahids? Meanwhile, could I take my rulings from you as an 'Alim? By the way, what is the difference between an 'alim and a mujtahid?

A: The word 'mujtahid' literally means the one who strives. In Shi'a terminology it means an 'alim who having acquired all necessary disciplines of Arabic language, Islamic history, tafsir of the Qur'an, traditions of the 14 ma'sums, and other related branches of Islamic knowledge, strives hard to derive the rules of shari'ah from its approved sources. Usually there are hundreds of mujtahids at a given time.

But we do taqleed of only that mujtahid who we believe is "most knowledgeable" of all others. In our terminology, "most knowledgeable" is the one who has got the top-most expertise in deriving the rules of shari'ah from its approved sources.

You must have now understood that every mujtahid is an 'alim but not every 'alim is a mujtahid.

Even if you bring to me any religions problem, I will write to you the ruling of Ayatullah Sayyid 'Ali as-Seestani of Najaf (Iraq), whose taqleed I am doing.


We see great differences between the rulings of Ayatullah al-Khou'i and Ayatullah Gulpayagani on the subjects of Friday prayer and moon-sighting.

My Shi 'a belief has taught me that "Awwaluna Muhammad wa akhiruna Muhammad, wa awsatuna Muhammad, wa kulluna Muhammad" --- This legacy has been intact with all our twelve Imams. After Imam Mehdi's ghaibat, there are naib-e-Imams. And it shows that the legacy mentioned here has been cracking as each naib gives a different view on the above matters.

Furthemore, in accordance to some verses of the Qur'an, the taqlid we staunchly believe is invalid. Hence to do taqlid is hot according to Islam.

A: Here you have made the mistake of equalizing ghayr-ma'sum mujtahids to the ma'sum Imams. The tradition you have quoted is for the 14 ma'sums only.

As for Ijtihad and Taqlid, you should read the replies to questions 18 arid 19 in Your Questions Answered, vol .6 (pp. 24-30) which will dispel your misgivings. As for the differences among mujtahids' rulings, read below:;-

The institution of Ijtihad is based on the direction given by the 6th Imam (a.s.) when he said: "On us [i.e. the Prophet and the Imams] is to give you the roots, for you is to develop branches." This continued for more than a century until the minor occupation began in 260 AH. From 260 to 329. the Imam (a.s) appointed four "special deputies" one after another to serve as a link between the Imam (as.) and the believers.

Then that system was discontinued and the guidance of the ummah was left to that person among fuqaha' who protects himself (from sins), opposes his desires and obeys his mawla"; and the public was told to do his taqleed. These fuqaha (jurisprudents) were not appointed by the Imam, although as an honorific they are called, na'ib-e-lmam (deputy of Imam), but they are na'ib-e'am (general deputy) not especially appointed ones.

These fuqaha' strive hard to derive a rule of shari'ah from the approved sources. But while interpreting relevant Qur'anic verses arid tradtions, they use their own brains and think with their own minds. Hence, the difference in some rulings.

It is not unlike judiciaries all the world over. A magistrate hears a case, listens to evidence and then gives a judgement. Then an appeal is filed in a judge's court, he studies the same file, and listens to the parties' arguments and then writes his own judgement overturning the lower court's decision.

If then the case goes to the High Court, the judge gives his decision, sometimes favouring the magistrate, sometimes the judge and sometimes neither. So you see, the facts and the laws are the same but their interpretations and applications go on changing. It is but natural.


I was doing Taqleed of Ayatullah Gulpayegani, who expired 3 years ago. Am I required to change the Taqleed to one of the living mujtahids?

A: Yes. And if you want my advice, then you should do Taqleed of Ayatullah Sistani of Najaf. You may get his Arabic and English books of Fiqh from the following address:

Islamic Education Board, Darut Tabligh, Jackets Lane, Harefield, Middlesex UB9 6PZ U.K.


Could you name a few of present or past Mujtahids from India?

A: There were scores of mujtahideen in India in the past.

1. Ghufran-ma'ab Sayyid Dildar Ali;

2-6. his five sons: Sayyid Muhammad, Sayyid Ali, Sayyid Hasan, Sayyid Mahdi and Sayyid Husain;

7. Baqiru 'l-'uloom Sayyid Muhammad Baqir;

8. Najmul-'l-'ulama' Sayyid Najmu 'l-Hasan;

9. Nasiru 'l-millat Sayyid Nasir Husain;

10. Sayyid Sibte Nabi of Amroha;

11. Sayyid Rabat Husain of Gopalpur;

12. Sayyid Amjad Husain of Allahabad.

These are only a few names which come to the mind without consulting any book. There were many more. Now there is no one of that calibre.


What is the significance of doing Halaal? Why do you have to place an animal in the direction of Quibla then say Bismillah? Why not just say Bismillah with a clean intention? A: The animals have not been created by us, they are the creatures of Allah.

It is His favour and grace on us that he has allowed us to eat their meat. Therefore, it is necessary to invoke His name at the time of slaughtering them, so that we may show our gratitude to Allah and establish our right for killing and eating them.

As for facing the direction of Qiblah. its reason is not difficult to understand. It is the same reason for which we are ordered to face towards Mecca during prayers. And that reason is the manifestation of the universal unity of the Muslims, all of whom turn towards the Ka'bah for prayers and on certain prescribed occassions.

Can you briefly allude to the rights of all living thing besides man? A: It is a lengthy topic. However, a few main points are given below: Wild Animals:

Hunting for pleasure or sport is haram (unlawful.) It is allowed only if the aim is to eat its meat or to trade its meat and/or hide. Domesticated animals:

1. It is wajib to look after them properly by feeding them and protecting them from cold or heat etc.

2. It is haram to hit them on the face or head.

3. It is not allowed to brand them on face.

4. According to the traditions narrated from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the Imams (a.s.), a domesticated animal has seven rights on its owner:

1) When he gets down, he should begin with feeding it and giving it water before himself eating;

2) If during a journey, he passes by a stream or pond of water, he should take the animal to it;

3) He should not hit on its face, because it glorifies the praise of its Lord;

4) Not to ride it except in the way of Allah {i.e. for lawfijl purposes};

5) Not to put heavy load on it beyond its normal strength;

6) Not to make it run beyond its strength;

7) Not to use its back as a seat for talking with friends/companions.


Is music haram in religion?

A: Yes, it is forbidden. I am sending to you a booklet, Music and Its Effects, which explains various aspects of this topic. However, it should be mentioned here that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) spoke Arabic and his immediate audience were Arabs.

Therefore, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala used plain Arabic language for revelation and promulgation of the shari'ah. All the words were used in their normal and prevalent meanings except a few which were given new connotations, like salah and zakah which originally meant invocation and purification, respectively, and the shari'ah gave them new meanings as we know them.

"Music" was not given any new meaning. Therefore, it is to be taken in its usual meaning. Past scholars, never the less, had tried to define "music" as a prolonged voice with varying pitch. Nowadays, they explain it as a voice which arouses base desires and lust in the listeners.

Some say that it is a voice that is more in keeping with gatherings of irreligious people. But I feel that the explanation given by late Ayatullah As-Sayyid Abul Qasim Al- Khou'i (and later adopted by ayatullah As-Seestani) is the best. He has written that music is the sound which irreligious persons recognise as music. Thus he has thrown it back to the general usage, (which is the proper way of explaining a word to which islam has not given a special meaning).


In your book "Your Questions Answered,. Vol.III, in reply to Q. 56, you have written about Music. "To recite or listen to the words of a song without any music is permissible provided it is not obscene and/or immoral."

Now according to Ayatullah Al-Khui, to recite Munajaat or Marthiyah in tune of a song is Haram, then do you think it is allowed to recite the following Munajats which are indeed film songs..

th- Film Dayare Madina-madad kijie Taajdaare Madina' or nowadays ladies recite of 12 Imam 'madad kijie Ya Imame Zamana'. nd- Film 'Niaz or Namaz' - 'Ai Momino niyaz dilawo Imam ki' which is recited on the 22 of Rajab on sufra of the 6th Imam,

A: Late Ayatullah al-Khou'i had defined the music as the sound which irreligious people recognise as music. Ayatullah Sistani has used another wording to express the same idea. He writes that the haram music is the one which is befitting to the gatherings of pleasure and debauehery.

To identify which sound is haram music and which is not, one has to look how the general public treats it. If they say, "He is reciting the poem (or nawha or marthiyah) in a good voice, then it is halal. But if they say, "He is singing the marthiyah etc. then it is haram.


Islam is a religion based on the fundamental concept of peace. How do you reconcile this idea with the concept of Jihad?

A: Your question requires some detailed explanation, Islam does not like to exterminate wrong-doers, it wants to remove the wrong. Evil deeds are like diseases. They need treatment, and every doctor wants to cure an ailment with medicine as far as possible.

But sometimes the ailment reaches a stage where no medicine can do any good; the doctor feels that surgical operation is necessary, if the life of the patient is to be saved. Then he decides, not happily but reluctantly, to ampute one or more limbs of the patient.

It may cause hardest pain for the time being; but it is not torture, it is mercy. Likewise, this humanity is a compact body. If some of its parts become infected with spiritual diseas and every medicine of sympathetic persuasion and rational pleading has failed, and there is a danger that the infection is going to inflict damage to other parts; now the spiritual doctor, (I mean the Prophet or Imam who is guided by Allah), is confident that a surgical operation is essential to save other sections of mankind from harm.

Then, and only then, he will order jihad; and even then it will be limited to that part which is most necessary to remove.

However, even when you feel that there is a necessity of a surgical operation, you will not entrust this dangerous task to an unauthorized person. It will be a very foolish and irresponsible act. You can never be sure that the operation is essential unless a qualified doctor tells you so.

Therefore, according to the Ithna-'asheri law, a war cannot be started unless specifically authorized by the Prophet or Imam himself, and that also to the limits prescribed by that Representative of Allah. After all life is a creation of God and it should not be destroyed unless it has been sanctioned by a Representative of God.


You said in your lecture that Islam is based on social justice. Why has Islam failed to establish practical social justice in the Midle-East where we have seen wars between Iraq and Iran and between Iraq and Kuwait?

A: You should not confuse Islam with the Muslims. Social justice needs a society based on Islamic ideals, and that in turn requires a righteous system of government which draws its strength from the Qur'an and sunnah. Nowadays there are nearly forty five "nations" that are populated predominantly by Muslims.

But their system of governance is totally unIslamic. Even the idea of "nation-states" is a legacy of the Kuffar (infidels) of Europe. In the eyes of Islam all Muslims are one nation. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala says: "Surely this your nation [or religion] is but one nation, and I am your Lord, therefore worship Me."

(21:92) But the Europeans sowed the seed of "nationalism" in the minds of the Arabs and nurtured the idea - with the sole aim of dissecting and annihilating the Ottoman empire, which, in spite of all its short-comings and defects, had kept the whole Middle East together under one Muslim ruler.

Look at the map of the Middle East; you will find numerous "nation-states" in it like pieces of a jig-saw puzzle. And these states are always in conflict with one another; they are merely puppets whose strings are pulled by their Western and Eastern puppeteers. It is a very painful story and cannot be described in a short letter. But this much is enough to tell you why there is always one or the other conflict in the Muslim lands.


What is the basic difference between the various sects of Muslims and what remedy you do suggest for removing these differences. A: I am sending you a small booklet of mine, Sects of Islam, which will give you an idea of the differences.

At present, it is impossible to remove these differences. We have to wait for the re- appearance of al-Imam al-Mahdi (a.s.) who will establish the rule of God on the earth, and the original Islam will prevail over all other beliefs and ideologies.


You mentioned that Muslims have compartmentalized Islam in pigeon holes; can you perhaps explain why this has happened?

A: It is not possible to say at which point of history this thing had happened. As for why, I think this phenomenon crept into Islamic academic life imperceptibly. Let us say, a scholar is very fond of hadith; he spends his time in pondering on its various aspects. Another is enamoured with jurisprudence; he thinks over and solves legal problems.

Each trains his disciples in his own field, and thus a time comes when a jurist is not so proficient in hadith, and a muhaddith has no expertise in jurisprudence. In this way different "pigeion holes" were created in Islam.


You said that jurisprudence is the starting point of Muslims' spiritual journey. To gain excellence one has to go on spiritual path to one's final destination. What is this path? A: I am a sinful man, and am not in a position to provide guidance to you from personal experience.

However, I have studied biographies of many men of God, and based on that, I can tell you that there are some very important steps which one has to take in order to proceed on this lofty spiritual path.

First of all, you should cleanse your tongue from all types of undesirable talk:backbiting, falsehood, slander and tale-bearing etc.

Second: Make sure that the food and drink going into your mouth is of halaI category, and you have obtained it by halal means.

Third: Always remember that you and all that you have, belong exclusively to Allah Subhanahu \va Ta'ala, and you should always be ready to sacrifice or abandon all if He demands it from you. Forth: Reserve at least half an hour for the study of Qur'an. Merely its recital brings divine reward to you: but if you ponder on its translation and its deep connotation it can change your life.

Fifth: Pray nawafil with all five wajib prayers. And make tahajjud prayers a compulsory part of your routine. Sixth: Keep sunnat fasts on Thursdays regularly.

Seventh: Make sure that you fulfil the rights of the parents, the children, the spouse and other relatives. Also be careful about the rights of your neighbours. You may learn about these rights from my book, Family Life of islam.

If you follow this regimen sincerely, a time will come when you will enjoy Allah's worship and truly feel the taste of obedience to Allah and His Messenger. That is the sign that your endeavours are succeeding and your are proceeding in the right direction. May Allah give you and me the tawfiq to acquire these noble traits and virtues. Amen.


What is the best way to develop spirituality in innerself and in the society as a whole. A; For personal development, the regimen given in preceding reply should help. As for the society, it needs a government based on Islamic values to bring societal upliftment in the desired manner. Please note that a government based on Islamic values is not the same as a government run by the Muslims. A system of governance based on Qur'an and sunnah will create the atmosphere conducive to the society's spiritual development.


How is the Charter of Imam Zainul 'Abideen relating to us (Muslims) in the light of considerable propaganda from the western media? In other words, how do we counter it and propogate Islam as religion of PEACE?

A: Prejudice is born from the womb of ignorance. If we try to remove or decrease the prevalant ignorance about Islam, this unremitting onslaught against this noble religion will stop.

That is, if it emanates from ignorance. But, if it is the result of wilful slandering, then it is not easy to counteract --- except from the position of power. Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala has given the Muslim rulers enough power to make the West kneel down before them. But these rulers are blind to the realities.

If they start withdrawing their petro-dollars from western banks, the West's attitude will change in one week. May Allah have mercy on the Muslim masses and release them from the clutches of these puppet regimes.

Is this Charter of Rights available in English and where? A: Yes, it was translated by me in 1968; and published in Karachi and Vancouver (Canada). Now it is going to be printed in Dar es Salaam. At present you may order it from: Syed Muhammad Rizvi 7 EL Dorado Street Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada L4C 0G9.


I wonder if the Shari'ah law of amputating a thiefs hands is acceptable in the eyes of Allah, if a person is forced by abject poverty to steal food items? A: No. His hand will not be amputated.

The Islamic shari'ah is not blind to the realities on the ground. I think I should give you a short description of the conditiona which should be kept in view before deciding such cases.

(1) The thief must be adult, sane, and a free man;

(2) he should not have taken it thinking that it is his own thing;

(3) the alleged thief is not a joint owner of that thing;

(4) the stolen thing was kept in a safe place (for example, under lock) and the thief did break into it either alone or with the help of others; If someone else broke the lock, and afterwards the thief entered into the place and took something from there, his hand will not be amputated;

(5) the thing stolen is not the property of his son (If a father has stolen from his son, he will not be given that punishment of cutting the hand);

(6) he takes it stealthily, not openly;

(7) the stolen thing is at least equal in value to 21 grm. of gold.

If one steals food during a general famine, his hand is not to be cutoff. If all conditions are fulfilled then according to the Qur'an, his hand must be cut off. In Shi'a Shari'ah, 'hand' here means 4 fingers of the right hand.


What is the meaning, conditions and punishment for ridda? A: Riddah or irtidad means apostasy. First, let me describe conditions and various ways of apostacy:- A) Conditions of Apostasy:

Five condtions must be fulfilled before a person could be declared a murtadd (apostate):

1) & 2) He must be adult and sane; 3) He must be knowing what he is speaking. If a word of kufr (disbelief) slips out of his tongue without his having any intention to do so, it would not be held against him.

4) He should be knowing that it is a word of kufr and then uses it in that same meaning. If he speaks a word of kufr, without knowing its meaning, or uses it in some other lawful meaning, then it would not be held against him. If he knew that it was a word of kufr and used it in the same meaning, he would become murtadd and najis, even if he was not aware of the consequences of his utterance.

5) He should utter a word of kufr by his own free will. If he was forced to say such words and he did so to save his life (i.e. in taqiyyah), then it would not be held against him.

B) Apostasy may occur through heart, tongue and/or action:- ? Apostasy through heart: If someone disbelieves after believing or harbours doubt after being sure.

? Apostasy through tongue: When he denies the existence or oneness of Allah, or refutes God's justice or knowledge etc., or tries to show that God's actions are aimless or against Wisdom, or rejects any of the Zaruriyat-e-deen like prayer, fast, zakah, hajj, or disparages religion, qiyamat, Qur'an or hadith.

? Apostasy through action: When someone, say, throws the Qur'an down (with intention of insulting it), or with that intention tears it down, or kicks at it or throws it into a dirty place. The same is the rule if he insults the books of du'a, or hadith, or the names of Allah

C) There are three things which, without any difference of opinion, make a person kafir:

1. Denial of any one of the Zaruriyat-e-Deen. Some of its examples have been given above.

2. Objecting to any command of Al

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