Category Archives: Islamic

Islamic articles

Insurance in Islam

There are many types of insurances in practice today. Most common one is the car insurance, which is required by law in many countries to drive on the road. Then there is life insurance, contents insurance, home insurance, etc.

insurance-1

Insurance usually requires one to pay a relatively small amount of money (compared to the value of the product being insured) in advance or in instalments. If an incident occurs, such as death or a car accident, the insurer pays a larger lump sum amount to the insured party; the amount paid out is in the multiples of the original amount paid by the insured party.

Generally, insurance is considered haram in Islam with some exceptions, such as car insurance enforced by law; some ulema permit this.

Insurance vs Gambling:

Many Muslims including ulema equate Insurance with gambling hence consider it haram. There are similarities in both, however if we consider carefully, the primary purpose of gambling & insurance is completely different.

Gambling is primarily conducted to win money on predicting the outcome of an event, usually a sport.

Whereas primary purpose of insurance is not to win but to secure (guarantee) the payment of an amount if certain event (loss) occurs.

Insurance as a Guarantee:

Sometimes insurance is considered as a ‘Guarantee’ (Zaman in Arabic). Guarantee is allowed in Islam with the following condition:

  • Guarantee has to be a Voluntary act; it cannot be offered by taking a benefit (a price).

But insurance requires a payment hence insurance is not a valid guarantee from Islamic point of view.

Insurance as a Sale:

Any commercial transaction starts with an agreement, a ‘Sale’ contract between two parties. Islam being a comprehensive system for life, provides detailed rules for Selling.

Examining the Insurance Sale Agreement, one can observe that there are a number of issues from Islamic point of view:

1-            Sale is conducted on a specific & defined product or a service. This is not the case in Insurance; it is merely a promise to pay some amount in future rather than a service or a product.

2-            Delivery of a product or a service must be certain. It must not depend on an unforeseen event. e.g. if X happens then Y will be done.

“The Messenger of Allah (SAW) prohibited sales of ‘whatever a pebble thrown by the seller hits,’ and sales in which there is chance or risk (Gharar).” [Sahih Muslim]

“Gharar is chance or risk, meaning it is not known whether it will come to be or not, such as selling fish in the water, transactions of unknown things, the particulars of which are not fully comprehended by the buyer and seller.”

Insurance fails on both points stated above. Therefore, as a conclusion, an insurance contract is not a valid one according to Islamic laws.

DISCLAMIER: Only Allah knows the best; this is my limited understanding of this vast subject. Please correct me if I have made any mistake.

I have only touched upon some of the key points. For detailed understanding of the subject, please contact a respected scholar.

Ramadhan Misconceptions & Practical Advice

  1. Reading Quran repeatedly Without Understanding: Most of us aim to read a lot of Quran during Ramadhan for reward (Sawab) but very few endeavour to read Translation & Tafseer.

Fundamentally Quran was sent to Guide us in our Life Affairs. Getting Reward for reading Quran was secondary, not the primary objective. Allah Ta’ala says:

“This is the Book; in it is Guidance sure without doubt to those who fear Allah” (Al Nisa, 2)

“And We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things a Guide a Mercy and glad tidings to Muslims. (Al Nahl, 89)

Do they not then earnestly seek to understand the Qur’an or are their hearts locked up by them? (Surah Muhammad – 24)

understand Quran

Without understanding the Quran is like leading our life in the dark. Much like reading driving instructions in a foreign language and then trying to drive a car.

Holy Quran talks about ‘Quran’ at 21 places (according to  book “Mazameen al Quran” by Zahid Malik) and majority of the Ayahs talk about Quran being the guidance for mankind and invites us to ponder. Not even once it states to read Quran for Reward.

There are ten rewards for each letter we recite from Quran as stated by Rasul Allah (SAW). But reading as well as understanding Quran carries far greater rewards!

Please aim to read Quran With Translation and Tafseer this Ramadhan. This is important for all but much more important for non-Arabs.

  1. Missing Tahajud: Tahajjud prayer is the Most recommended prayer after Fard prayers. Rasul Allah prayed it regularly (like a Fard). It is mentioned in Quran as:

“During a part of the night, pray Tahajjud, an additional prayer for you (O Muhammad), very soon your Rabb may exalt you to ‘Maqam-e-Mahmood’ (a station of great glory).” (Al Israa, 79)

tahajjud

It is much easier praying Tahjjud in Ramadhan than we think. We can pray it just before Fajar time starts. Wake up 5 minutes early for Suhur. Make vudu & pray 4 rakats.

Traveeh and Tahajjud are Same Prayer:

It is also known as Qiyyam ul Layl. Rasool Allah (SAW) regularly prayed 11 Rakat (8 Nafal + 3 Vitar) after midnight. In fact, 3 Vitar & 2 Nafal after Isha prayer are actually Tahajjud prayer. People were allowed to pray right after Isha prayer for the convenience as it is hard for many to wake up after midnight. But preferred (afzal) time for Tahajjud is after midnight.

Muhammad (SAW) did not mention any prayer called ‘Taraveeh’, neither did the four Khulafah Rashdeen. All of them prayed Tahajjud Nawafil and it was after midnight.

During one Ramadhan Rasool Allah (SAW) prayed Tahjjud in Jamat after midnight for three nights and then stopped fearing that it may become obligatory on all Muslims. So sahaba continued praying it at home or in small groups.

Umar (RA) saw people praying in small groups in Masjid Nabvi. He (RA) did not like the practice of having multiple groups, so He (RA) gathered them in one jamat. Therefore it was Umar’s (RA) ijtihad to practice it in its current form.

Later people increased the number of Rakat from 8 to 20 or even beyond up to 36, plus 3 Rakat for Vitar. It is a Nafal prayer so number is not relevant as such; one can pray as many as comfortably possible.

Currently Taraveeh is prayed at Isha time. Ahle Hadees pray 8 Rakat. All four imams (Abu Hanifah, Malik, Shafai, Hanbal) agree on 20 rakat and consider it a Mustahib Sunnat.

The word Taraveeh is plural of Tar-vee-ha which means taking rest.  People would pray 4 rakat and then take some rest. Hence this prayer got the name of Salat at Taraveeh.

So in summary, Taraveeh & Tahajjud are the same prayer. It is a Nafal prayer so it could be in any number. Preferred time for it is after midnight but it can be prayed anytime after Isha.

Two respected scholars Dr Israr Ahmed and Maulana Ishaq support this view. Links to their speeches below (Urdu).

Maulana Ishaq: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unxipJls_c4

Dr Israr:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5p-E_aB7Bw4

3. Paying Charity in Ramadhan: Paying charity in Ramadhan carries more reward; no doubt about it. But some of us start withholding charity in months leading to Ramadhan so that we could donate in Ramadhan and get more reward.

 However; keep in mind an empty stomach cannot wait for Ramadhan.

So if you give certain amount of charity regularly in other months, keep doing so. Don’t hold that for Ramadhan. Don’t make needy wait. After all you don’t want Allah’s blessing to be held till Ramadhan.

Don’t Stop Sadaqah; for Needs Don’t Wait

Idea is to donate more in Ramadhan in addition to regular amount.

4. Doing Tasbeeh Quickly: More tasbeeh we do in Ramadhan the better. But doing it hastily carries a danger that words get distorted and meaning changes.

We are reciting Allah Almighty’s names or making a prayer to him. It should be done with dignity & calm. We must show respect and recite with heart & soul as we really mean it, not the lip service only.

In my humble opinion; do Tasbeeh (& any other ibadah) with High Quality than aiming for quantity with low quality

And Lastly,

5. Ramadhan is Not a 30-Day Food Festival.

Instead of Wasting precious money & time in Ramadhan on Friends & Family Parties, better to focus on Prayers. And food can go to Needy, Travellers, Students and Singles living away from families.

Importance of Bait al Muqaddas, Al Aqsa & Jerusalem

This article provides some basic information on an important subject of Jerusalem, Bait al Muqaddas and Qibla e Awwal Al Aqsa Mosque and how these are Holy for All Muslims Jews & Christians.

Being a student myself I am also learning; so please highlight any error or omission you may find.

Old City of Jerusalem
Old City of Jerusalem

Jerusalem / Al Quds / Bait Al Muqaddas

Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world and considered to be the most sacred for all three monotheist religions of book i.e. Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The last two originated or centred around this area.

The city is also referred to as Al Quds (Holy one) & Bait al Muqaddas sometimes.

A large number of Prophets either originated from this area or lived here such as Ibrahim AS, Loot AS, Haroon AS, Eisa AS (Jesus),  Dawood AS (David) & Suleiman AS (Solomon).

Musa AS lead the Jews (Bani Israeel) from Egypt, away from Firaown to Senai desert. He AS was ordered to take Israeels to Jerusalem but due to their misbehave they had to wander around the area for 40 years. Musa AS passed away, and later on Jews entered this city/area.

This is the city where Jews were organised as a nation by Dawood AS.

This is the city where young Eisa grew and interacted with Jews of the time and foundation of Christianity were laid.

Prophet Muhammad SAW passed through this city on his journey of Israa wal Mairaage. Allah Ta’ala says:

“Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.  Surah Al Isra (17:01)

No wonder you will be struck by strong spiritual feelings while visiting this Blessed city of Prophets.

Courtesy BBC

Jerusalem is under Israel’s authority currently.

Old city of Jerusalem is surrounded by walls and divided into four quarters: Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian. The most sacred sites (1 to 6 mentioned below) are located within the old city.

Temple Mount / Harm Sharif (in blue)
Temple Mount / Harm Sharif (in blue)

 

1. Harm Sharif / Temple Mount:

There is a flat area of approx. 488 m long and 315 m wide on a mountain in the old part of Jerusalem. This area is surrounded by Walls & is referred to as Harm Sharif or Temple Mount.

It is considered to be the Holiest of the holies by all. Sacred sites 2 to 5 are situated within the Haram Sharif.

Jews believe that Ibrahim AS offered to sacrifice his son Ismail AS here. Though Muslims believe this incident happened in Makkah.

Al Aqsa Mosque
Al Aqsa Mosque

 

2. Masjid Al Aqsa:

Sometimes referred to as Masjid al Quds, it is the 3rd Holiest Place in Islam. It is situated inside Harm Sharif along the Southern wall.

Masjid Al Aqsa was the first Qibla for Muslims. It was changed to Ka’aba after 16 or 17 months.

It is narrated in Bukhari by Abū Hurairah (RA) that:

“Muslims are not allowed to travel the earth with the intention of worship except to three places; Masjid Al Hraam (Ka’aba), Masjid Nabvi & Masjid Al-Aqsa.”

The current building was built by Umar RA upon conquering the area.

3. Dome of Rock / Quba tul Sakhra Mosque: The big prominent, the most beautiful Golden Dome in the middle of Harm Sharif is called

The big prominent, the most beautiful Golden Dome in the middle of Harm Sharif is called Quba tul Sakhra or Dome of Rock. It was built by Umayyad Khalifa Abbdul Mulk bin Marwan.

NOTE: Usually this Dome is confused with Masjid Al Aqsa. Please Mark the Difference between Masjid Al Aqsa and Masjid Al Sakhra.

Dome of Rock / Al Sakhra Masjid
Dome of Rock / Al Sakhra Masjid

 

4. First Temple / Haikal e Suleimani

Hazrat Dawood AS (King David) ruled this area for many years. He AS gathered the Jews and established them as a nation. Dawood AS wished to build to a Temple here.

His son Hazrat Suleiman AS (King Solomon) fulfilled his wish by building a temple somewhere on or around the Temple Mount (Harm Sharif) approximately 1000 years BC. It was destroyed after 480 years approximately.

On Destruction of the original temple, the 2nd temple was built here (sometimes referred to as Herod’s Temple). But it was also destroyed around 70 BC.

Jews used to visit the temples for Pilgrimage but it stopped after the destruction.

Jews believe they can only come up to western Wall. They are not allowed to go on the Temple Mount to avoid accidentally walking on their original temple (explained below) and disrespecting it.

Jews believe that Messiah (same as Muslims & Christians believe Eissa AS) will come back and build their temple again. Some of the Jews believe in not waiting for Messiah and want to go ahead & build the temple now.

5. Western Wall: Also known as Wailing Wall, Dewar e Girya, Wall of Weeping & Burraq Wall.

Also known as Wailing Wall, Dewar e Girya, Wall of Weeping & Burraq Wall.

It is believed that remains of temples are buried near Western wall. So this Wall is considered to be the Holiest place for Jews.

They cry here to remember the destruction of the Temples and pray here regularly.

6. Church of the Holy Sepulchre: The holiest church in Christianity; Orthodox & Catholic Christians believe Jesus (Eisa AS) was crucified here and this is where his body disappeared to heavens. Some Christians disagree on the

The holiest church in Christianity; Orthodox & Catholic Christians believe Jesus (Eisa AS) was crucified here and this is where his body disappeared to heavens. Some Christians disagree on the location though.

Do What You Say

saydo

Surah al-Saff – Verse 2

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ

Rebuking those who do not stand on their own words, the blessed Verse is asking them:

2 – “O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not act upon it?”

Although the blessed Verses were revealed concerning the jihad and desertion from the Battle of Uhud, but the Occasions of Revelation never restrict the broad contextual meanings of the blessed Verses. Consequently, any vain word deserves censure and rebuke, be it in terms of steadfastness in battlefield or any other positive and constructive act.

According to Imam Sadiq (as), the blessed Verse, among other issues, alludes to failure to keep one’s word, saying that a believer’s promise is like a vow, though expiation is not required for it.1

Surah al-Saff – Verse 3

كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِندَ اللَّهِ أَن تَقُولُوا مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ

  1. Most detestable it is with Allah that you say what you do not act upon it.

The Arabic word maqt denotes abomination and odiousness. Faith is to be accompanied by action and sincerity, otherwise it will deserve censure and rebuke. Some people utter empty words in friendly get-togethers but they fail to act upon their words when it is necessary to take action.

One of the significant tokens of true believers is that their words and deeds are totally in harmony and the more one distances from such principle, the more he distances from faith.

It is in this vein that in his epistle to Malik Ashtar, Imam ‘Ali (as) said unto him:

“Refrain from making promises and failure to keep you word, since such failure will lead to severe wrath by God Almighty and the people as it is said in the Holy Qur’an (this ayah).

 

keep word

Don’t we see ourselves making statements such as:

  • Don’t worry, task will be done by tomorrow.
  • I will call you shortly
  • It is a done deal

Yet days pass and nothing happens….

Another common set of statements; YOU contact someone after long time and he/she says:

  • Long time no see
  • You didn’t call me for ages
  • Never visited us since long
  • Where have you been
  • Etc etc

Do What You Say…

Upon hearing such statements, one of my late uncle used to say “the road that leads to my house also goes to your house”. Meaning, you could have bothered to visit me if I didn’t.

So Brothers & Sisters “Your words are your pledge – Do What You Say…”

 

2nd Dog

This story was narrated by the columnist Javed Chaudhry and it carries a powerful message so I am sharing it with you.

Tawakkal

Haji sahib started a garments factory at the age of retirement. He would work for very long hours. This sudden change of lifestyle was very strange for a person who stayed away from any business or worldly affairs for nearly 30 years. Haji sahib had spent these years praying and meditating in his house. He had turned into a Sufi (saint). People would gather around him all day and request for prayers; he would raise his hands in their favour and Allah the Almighty would grant them their wishes.

Until one day he suddenly left all this…

Haji sahib went to his sons, collected his money and established a small garments factory. He designed ladies garments and employed 100s of female workers to stich these. Soon he grew into very successful exporter of ready-made garments. It was odd; usually people spend their life in earning money during their youth and then turn religious towards the old age but Haji sahib went 180 degree opposite to this norm. He left his ‘worldly’ business at the age 35 and turned into a Sufi. And then back to business again at the age of 65 – really odd..

It all began at the age of 35 when he was running his garments factory. Being young Haji sahib would work hard, much like any other businessman. One morning as he approached his factory, he saw a dog dragging itself into a storeroom of his factory. The dog was badly injured, probably hit by a vehicle and was hardly pulling itself. He felt bad for the dog and wanted to help. Then suddenly a thought flashed through his mind; God has promised Rizq (food) for everyone, I wonder how God would provide food to this dog? So Haji sahib started waiting..

dogs

The dog laid there unconscious all day long. As darkness approached another dog entered through the gate discretely. It had a piece of meat in its mouth. It approached the injured dog and gave it the food. Haji sahib was stunned. The situation continued for many days; 2nd dog would bring food for the injured dog. Haji sahib thought if God is arranging food for this injured dog, would he not provide me with sustenance? He pondered upon this question for long and then….He realised the concept of Tawwakal (Trust in Allah).

Haji sahib handed over his business to his brother and gave up all worldly affairs. He would fast for days on end, he would pray all night! This continued for years; Allah the Almighty provided him with sustenance and listened to his prayers. Haji sahib became known as Sufi baba. Until one day…..Sufi sahib turned back to Haji sahib again.

It was a warm winter afternoon. Sufi sahib was sitting with dozens of his followers discussing secrets of Sufism. Suddenly he remembered that story of dogs. Sufi sahib shared it with audience and said:

“Rizq (Sustenance) always follows man but we the silly human beings have started running after it. If we keep Tawakkal (trust) in Allah, rizq will reach us no matter what; just like it reached that injured dog. I learned Tawakkal from that dog! I gave up world and pursued the path of Allah’s worship. I have been living like this for 30 years and I have never slept hungry. All this is Allah’s reward on me!

There was a young professor sitting among audience. He smiled and said: Sufi baba, the Afzal (superior) dog between the two was not the injured one; rather the 2nd dog who sacrificed its food & served the injured dog for days.

Upper-hand jay

Our beloved prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:

Indeed “Upper hand (Giver) is better than the Lower one (Receiver)”. Sahih Muslim

Had you admired the 2nd dog’s sacrifice and kindness Sufi baba, you would have kept your business and your factory would have provided Rizq for hundreds of your factory workers & their families.

Alas you followed the wrong dog Sufi baba. A generous wealthy businessman is better than 1000s useless poor pious. Sufi baba was stunned.

He prayed two Rakat and set off to establish his factory again. Now he prays well and does his business too!

Subhan Allah, such as wonderful lesson! Many of us have understood Twakkal wrongly. It does not mean leaving “Worldly affairs” altogether, start just praying and expecting Allah Ta’ala to provide everything.

“Verily, for a man to carry a rope and gather firewood, then come to sell it in the market and make himself independent thereby such that he can spend on his needs, that is better for him than asking people who might give him or deprive him.” Musnad, 1410

Right meaning of Tawakkal is to Do one’s best effort and then leave the results in the Almighty’s hands.

camel tie

So, first & foremost we must aim to earn & provide for ourselves and then also support others. We need more of 2nd type of dogs.

So,

Be a 2nd type of Dog:

Support Yourself;

Support Your Family & Friends;

Support Your Society;

Support Your Nation;

Help doesn’t have to be money only. You can support by teaching something useful,,,, spreading good,,,,, advising in the right direction,,,, comforting in adversity,,,, guiding to right path,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, or just by making Dua.