Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The punishment for murder

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Is there capital punishment in Islam - in other words the death penalty - for murder?


Not exactly. "Capital punishment" would mean that the state is obliged to carry out the death penalty against the murderer if found guilty of the crime, regardless of the wishes of the victim's family. What Islam has prescribed for murder is that it has given the relatives of the victim the option of seeking retribution. 

Allah says: “O you who believe! The law of retribution is prescribed for you in cases of murder.” [Surah al-Baqarah: 178] 

The relatives of the victim have three options open to them. They may pardon the killer. They may opt to receive monetary compensation in the form of blood money(diyah). They may request retribution (qisas). 

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever has one of his relations murdered has the choice either to receive compensation thereto or have the killer killed.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (2434) and Sahîh Muslim (1355)] 

This is done before a proper court of law. If the relatives of the deceased opt for retribution, then the court is obliged to carry out the death pealty on their behalf. Otherwise, they have no jurisdiction to execute the murderer.

Selling what is not in one’s possession

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Someone buys from me a specific quantity of merchandise for an agreed price. However, sometimes the total quantity of goods being purchased is not in my possession at the time of the sale. What I do is take the full price of the goods from the customer and ask him to come back at a later time to collect his order. Is this permissible, or does this come under the prohibition in Islam of selling what one does not possess?


Hakîm b. Hazzâm relates that he asked the Prophet (peace be upon him): “A man comes to me and asks me to sell him something that I do not have. Should I sell it to him and then go and acquire it for him from the marketplace?” 

The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “Do not sell what you do not have.” [Sunan al-Ttirmidhî (1232), Sunan Abû Dâwûd (3503), Sunan al-Nasâ’î (4611), and Sunan Ibn Mâjah(2187)] 

Scholars differ regarding the meaning of this hadîth. The strongest opinion is the one preferred by Ibn Taymiyah that the meaning of “what you do not have” is: “what you are unsure that you will be able to acquire.” It may be that the product being sold is not readily available in the marketplace or may only be available at a price higher than the one that it is being sold for. In such circumstances, either the buyer or seller will be injured by the sale. [Refer to Ibn al-Qayyim, Zâd al-Ma`âd

On the basis of this opinion, if the product being sold in this way is neither in the possession of the vendor nor in his reach at least effectively, then he may not sell it. Alternatively, what he should do is request his customer to give him some time to verify the availability and price of the product for him and if he wants to purchase it afterwards he can. 

If the product is easily available to the seller from some other vendor or supplier at a known price, then from a legal standpoint it is effectively – though not literally – in the seller’s possession. In this case, such a sale does not come under the Prophet’s prohibition. 

And Allah knows best.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Man leaves behind wife, 2 sons & 2 daughters

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We are five inheritors: a wife (step mother), two sons, and two daughters. How should the estate be divided up?


The wife receives 1/8 of the total estate. The children share in 7/8 of the estate with the male children receiving twice the share of the female children. 

The best way to facilitate this is to take the total value of the deceased’s estate and divide it into 48 equal shares. 

His wife will receive 6 shares. (6/48=1/8) 

Each son will receive 14 shares. 

Each daughter will receive 7 shares.

And Allah knows best.

Payment of dowry after death of wife

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A man married a woman and then divorced her before paying her a dowry. Both the man and that woman have died. His son from an earlier marriage would like to know what needs to be done to rectify the situation.


If the husband divorces his wife after consummation of marriage, then she is entitled to her dowry in full. 

In the event of her death, the dowry should be paid to her guardian and then divided among her inheritors. 

In a case where the marriage was never consummated and the amount of the dowry had not been specified, the woman will be entitled to a gratuity, the amount of which needs to be determined by a Muslim judge. This will have to be paid to her estate and distributed among her inheritors 

Allah says: “There is no blame on you if you divorce women when you have not touched them or appointed for them a portion, and make provision for them, the wealthy according to his means and the straitened in circumstances according to his means, a provision according to usage; (this is) a duty on the doers of good (to others).” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 236] 

However, if the marriage was never consummated but the amount of the dowry had been specified, then half of the specified dowry should be paid to her estate and distributed among her inheritors. 

Allah says: “And if you divorce them before you have touched them and you have appointed for them a portion, then (pay to them) ha!f of what you have appointed, unless they relinquish or he should relinquish in whose hand is the marriage tie.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 237] 

And Allah knows best.



Those Ranged in Rows was revealed in Mecca.  Those chapters revealed before the migration to Medina tended to concentrate on monotheism; the Oneness of God.  This one is no exception and thus establishing a firm faith is its aim.  In 182 short verses this chapter also covers other issues; it affirms the Prophethood of Muhammad, and refutes pagan beliefs. 

Verses 1 – 10 God is One

Three groups are mentioned in the form of an oath confirming God’s Oneness.  The first are angels standing in rows, the second are the angels that reprimand and thirdly those angels that recite God’s words.  God then mentions something about Himself that attests to His Oneness that He is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, and all that is in-between including every point from which the sun rises.  God has fortified the sky closest to the earth with celestial bodies that guard against the devils who try to eavesdrop on the conversations of the angels.  They are attacked from all sides with flaming meteors.

Verses 11 – 39 The disbelievers

The Prophet is then instructed to question the disbelievers of Mecca about whether they considered their own creation to be more difficult or the creation of the heavens, earth and all creation in the universe.  The Prophet marvels that humankind was made from clay but the disbelievers mock and call him a sorcerer, once again denying the Resurrection.  It is an undeniable fact that after just one shout they will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment.
The angels are ordered to gather the disbelievers and wrongdoers together and drive them towards Hell.  Along the way they will be questioned about why they did not help each other towards the truth.  The disbelievers will accuse their deities who are also being ushered along but they will deny any power over the disbelievers.  It does not matter because on this day they will be partners in the punishment meted out.  They denied God and the message and will get what they deserve.

Verses 40 – 74 Paradise or Hell?

The happiness and bliss that God’s true servants will experience in the gardens of delight is described, including flowing rivers of wine and beautiful companions.  The inhabitants of Paradise will converse with each other.  One person will ask about a friend who did not believe and will be able to see him in the midst of the Fire.  Then they will realise how blessed they are for they have achieved the supreme triumph.   This should be everyone’s goal.
To contrast the difference between Paradise and Hell, God asks what is better this (the Gardens of Delight) or the Zaqqum tree? This tree growing devils’ heads in the midst of the Fire will be the food of those in Hell together with scalding water to drink.   The disbelievers made fun of a tree growing in a fire but it will become their reality because they followed their forefathers into disbelief even though they were warned.  Listen to what happened to those before you.

Verses 75 – 148 Scenes from the past

Prophet Noah is given as an example of how well God rewards the righteous.   Noah was a believer and God saved him and his people from great distress.  The non-believers were warned but made the wrong choice then they were drowned.  Prophet Abraham was also a man of faith, devoted to God.  He asked his father and their people why they worshipped false gods.  He looked up at the stars and said he felt ill so his people turned away.  He asked the carved gods questions, why do you not eat why do you not speak.  They did not reply so he pushed them over.   Abraham’s people were angry and intended to burn him in fire but God had a different plan and kept him safe.
Prophet Abraham left trusting God to guide him to a better place.  He asked for more, a righteous son which God provided.  When the boy was old enough to work with his father Abraham had a troubling dream in which he was called upon to sacrifice his son.  He told his son who was willing to submit himself to God’s will.  Abraham put the boy upon the stone but God called out for him to stop because Abraham was totally submitted to the will of God.  It was a test and Abraham is remembered by the following generations as a righteous man.  He was rewarded because he was devoted to God and was given news of another righteous son called Isaac.  Among their descendants were the righteous but also those who wronged themselves.
God also favoured and supported Prophet Moses and his brother Aaron.  They too were delivered from distress and guided on the straight path.  God gave them the Torah.   Prophet Elias was one of those devoted to God.  He questioned his people about the false god Ba’l but they ignored him and faced the consequences.  Lot was another prophet who was delivered from harm along with his whole family.  An old woman was left to face the punishment with the wrongdoers.  Their city is a constant reminder but many people do not take heed. 
In the next scene is Prophet Jonah.  He fled from his disbelieving people to an overloaded ship where they drew lots in order to stay on board.  Being swallowed by a whale was his just punishment but he was delivered from harm because he had been one of God’s devoted believers.  He was cast ashore and God protected him from the elements and a serious illness.  God then provided him with a large nation permitted to live out their lives.

Verses 149 – 182 Superstitions denied

Many people from Mecca claimed that the angels were the daughters of God yet they preferred sons for themselves.  Prophet Muhammad is told to ask them if this is true.  God refutes this superstition by asking if they witnessed this.  Those who believe this are called liars.  Next they claim that God is kin to the jinn.  The jinn know this is not true.  God is far above these superstitions but only those destined for the Hell fire would believe such things.
The angels are ranged in ranks and glorify God.  Previously the disbelievers asked for a messenger and said they would follow the guidance, yet when the best messenger and the best revelation are sent to them they resort to disbelief.  But they will come to know and understand.   God assures Prophet Muhammad that he will see their downfall as sure as they will see his victory.  God is far above what they attribute to Him.  The chapter closes with a blessing on God’s messengers and declares that all praise is for God.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Obedience to parents

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Do we have to listen and act upon whatever our parents say even if it is wrong to do?


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

A child is obliged to be kind and dutiful to his parents, fulfill their rights and obey them within what is permissible. However, if one or both of them order him to commit a sin, then, in this case, he should not obey them as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said:  "Obedience is required only in what is permissible" [Al-Bukhaari] The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) also said: "There is no obedience to a creature in disobeying the Creator (i.e. Allah).’’ [Ahmad]

Also, if one or both of the parents order the son to do something that is beyond his ability, then he is not obliged to fulfill their order because Allah does not burden a person beyond his scope. However, he [the child] should apologize to them in a kind and polite manner.

Therefore, it is not permissible for you our brother, to disobey your parents and not fulfill their demands even if the matter is very simple, as long as you can do it and you would not be harmed by it.

Nonetheless, it should be noted that disobedience to parents is of different degrees and you should be keen on avoiding all of them.

Moreover, if it happens that you disobey them, then you should endeavour to please them and apologize to them so that they would not become angry with you. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said about the mother: “Stay with her (i.e. be dutiful to her and serve her) because Paradise is under her feet. [Ahmed]

Indeed, Allah ordered us to be kind and dutiful to our parents and warned us against disobeying or harming them in words or actions whether this is regarding great matters or very simple matters. Allah Says (what means): {And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” (a word of disrespect) and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.} [Quran 17: 23]

The word ‘decreed’ in the above-mentioned verse means commanded and ordered, and the expression –do not say to them ‘uff’ means that one should not say this word if he sees from one of them or from both of them something from which people are usually harmed. Therefore, you should be patient with them about this and you should seek the reward of Allah for being patient with them in the same manner as they were patient with you when you were a child. This is the interpretation given by Ibn Jareer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him about this verse. And the expression {do not repel them} means do not shout at them or scold them.

Imaam Ar-Raazi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: "the expression: {do not say to them ‘uff’} means the prohibition of showing any form of boredom towards them, and the meaning of the expression {do not repel them} means not to utter what contradicts their statements as a way of responding to it or denying it.

Therefore, you should know that when Allah forbade a  person in the previous verse from saying harmful and cheerless words, He ordered him after that to say good words and good statements, as Allah Says (what means): {…but speak to them a noble word.} [Quran 17: 23] This means that a child should address his parents with words of respect and honour.” (End quote)

Allah Knows best.

Nursing on 5 definite occasions prohibits marriage

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My wife gave our neighbor’s son espressed milk in a bottle on one occasion. Now, I know that there are supposed to be five occasions of nursing for the child to be come a foster child through nursing. But how is this situation supposed to be assessed? I heard that a new occasion of nursing is counted each time the nursing child leaves the breast to take a break to breathe and then goes back to the breast? Is this right. If so, we do not know how many times the child took a break to breathe while drinking from the bottle. Is that neighbor’s son now forbidden to our daughter in marriage?


`Aishah said: “It was revealed in the Qur’an that there should be ten definite occasions of nursing; then they were abrogated to five definite occasions.” [Sahîh Muslim (1452)] 

What is correct is that there has to be five distinct occasions of nursing where on each occasion the child drinks his fill. Therefore, a child who drinks one bottle of a woman’s milk on one occasion will not become her foster child. 

For the women to become the child’s foster mother, the child would have had to drink his fill from five bottles of milk on five separate occasions. This will make the child forbidden for her and for her biological children in marriage. 

An occasion of nursing is an action on the child’s part, like eating a meal is for a mature person. For it to be recognized as an occasion of nursing, it must be equivalent to taking a full meal. 

When we refer to a person taking lunch or dinner, we do not consider each bite as a full meal. The whole occasion of eating is the meal. 

In the hadîth, we read: “Allah is pleased with His servant who eats his food and then praises Allah for it.” [Sahîh Muslim (2734)] This is not for each bite, but for the full meal. We know this from the Prophet’s practice. 

Therefore, an occasion of nursing must be separated from another occasion by a customarily long interval of time. It does not end by the child merely releasing the nipple from his mouth for a few moments or by his switching from one breast to the other. It must really be a full nursing. 

So long as the child is in the room with the woman during a reasonable interval of time, it will be counted as a single nursing. 

And Allah knows best.