Monthly Archives: June 2012

Scientific verses and translation of the Quran


Quran is the word of God There are over seven hundred Ayat in the Quran that deal with scientific facts. In the present time, we understand many of those Ayat. Other Ayat imply different meanings, and we do not have enough information to interpret their meaning correctly. This subject of the scientific miracle of the Quran is becoming increasingly fascinating. The available amount of work is so voluminous, and some of the studies are so scientifically detailed. It is very difficult to cover this huge subject in one book, let alone a chapter in a book. However, an attempt will be presented to introduce some of the recent advances in this subject.

The scientific verses in the Quran represent serious challenge to the atheists as well as the Christians. This challenge in no way represents a negative process, but a positive one that keeps humanity reflecting on the many miraculous signs of God as stated in the Quran. How else can anyone explain that an unlettered Arab in the seventh century stated scientific facts that became known after fourteen centuries? Can there be any reasonable explanation except that the Creator of all realities revealed these facts to him? These verses also serve the purpose of providing Muslims with yet another proof of the Divinity of the Quran.

The history of the scientific miracles of the Quran goes back to the time of the revelation to Muhammad (Pbuh). The Prophet and his companions had interpreted some verses according to human perception at that time. Also, the Hadith of the Prophet include many statements that deal with life sciences. The accuracy of those scientific statements is quite astounding considering the fact that he was unlettered. Dr. Abdel Razik Nofal wrote one on the pioneering books on this subject in Arabic with the title “Allah and Modern Science.” The book was an original attempt to explain the following Ayah:

Surah 54, Ayah 49 “Verily, all things have we created in proportion and measure (perfection).”

The author concentrated on the proportions that relate to life on earth and how they represent a perfect balance provided by Allah. For example, the amount of oxygen in the air is perfect; if it is less, humans will not be able to breathe; if it is more, fires could start everywhere. Also the distance of the earth from the sun is perfect; if it is less, we will burn from the heat of the sun; if it is more, we will freeze. Potentially deadly radiation is kept at bay by the terrestrial atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and water vapor help warm the surface, but there is no runaway effect because both are perfectly recycled in various ways. On earth, complex life forms exist consisting of human, vegetable and animal life, from microscopic bacteria to huge elephants, and from minute viruses to giant trees. Although the earth possesses a dense core surrounded by an outer crust and an atmosphere, it has this unique difference – life. During the twentieth century, it has become clear that life exists on earth only because conditions are perfect. Moreover, the chemical and biochemical environments are in perfect balance, to ensure not only the existence of living things but also their continuity.

During the last decades, the number of books and papers that deal with this subject, from Muslims and non-Muslims alike, increased tremendously. Many Muslims understood the orders from Allah to “read”, “look”, and “think” as a call for a better appreciation of the Power of God. Also, Islamic institutions exist in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Egypt that focus on the scientific miracle in the Quran.

Translation of the Quran

 Translating the whole Quran is a tremendous task. It requires scholars who are fluent in the Arabic language and the language to which the Quran is being translated. It also requires knowledge of the grammar of the two languages. If the translation is intended for those who are blessed with faith or for those who seek the basics of Islam, then the existing translations are a great dose of faith and spiritual guidance. May Allah rewards the translators of the Quran for their efforts in spreading the Words of God. If, on the other hand, the translation is intended to address the scientific miracles, the knowledge and mastering of the Arabic language is crucial as indicated in the case of the French surgeon Maurice Bucaille. He studied the Quran with an open mind for ten years. The purpose of his study was to form an opinion about contradictions in the Quran. He studied the Arabic language. Then after ten years of research, he declared in his books that he did not find one single scientific contradiction in the Quran. Another approach for the scientific translation of the Quran is to have an organization consisting of specialists of all branches of science such as cosmology, medicine, geology, anatomy, and engineering, as well as Islamic studies

Some non-Muslims scholars claim that the “translated” Quran contradicts scientific known facts. There are many reasons for that. First, there may exist a conflict of theological interest. Second, the lack of knowledge of the Arabic language and its grammar can mislead the meaning of some verses. Also, the translation of the Quran to other languages may be, in some verses, difficult, thus not conveying the Arabic meaning of short sentences. Allah is the only Author of the Quran, and there are no contradictions in the Quran. Translations of the Quran are nevertheless the work of highly eminent Arabists. It is well known fact, that a translator, however an expert, is liable to make human mistakes in the translation of a highly specialized scientific Ayah, unless he happens to be a specialist in the discipline in question.

An example of translating scientific verses in the Quran deals with the definition of the building block of all matters. Atoms were assumed to be the smallest unseen part of matter. Neither the atom nor its components can be seen. However, each atom has a weight, and scientists discovered the constituents of the atom. In one such Ayah, Allah addresses the unbelievers with a challenge about the weight and components of atoms:

Surah 34, Ayah 3 “The unbelievers say’ “never for us will come the Hour (Day of Judgment): say, Nay. But most surely, by my Lord, it will come upon you by Him who knows the unseen. From Whom is not hidden the weight of an atom in the heavens or on earth: nor is there anything less than that or greater, but is in the Record Perspicuous.”

The available translation refers to the above Arabic words the weight of an atom asthe least little atom,” and the word “weight” is taken out. This demonstrates the difficulty in translating the Quran. Thank God, anyone can refer to the original Arabic text and get better translation. From the above Ayah, one can state the following:

· The atom is unseen.

· The atom is not the smallest thing in the universe.

· The atom has a weight.

Ancient commentators considered the weight of the atom to be equal to the weight of an ant! They believed this because the ant is the smallest thing that can be seen with the human eye. But this is not correct because the Ayah clearly refers to the unseen not the seen ant. When the fourth Caliph, Ali, the cousin of the Prophet, was asked about the meaning of the atom, he said:

“If we look inside the atom, any atom, we will see a sun in its core.” This statement, showing the spiritual vision of Ali, was never understood until the twentieth century. But it clearly simulates the atomic structure with that of the solar system.

In my attempt to address the subject of the scientific miracles of the Quran, I tried to use the existing English translations. In many places, I found difficulty in using these translations. The following are some examples:

  • Stars are translated as planets, and planets are translated as stars.

  • The basic rules of the conjunctions in the Arabic language are not translated correctly. For example, existing translations do not address the difference between Arabic conjunctions “fa” and “thumma”. The first implies immediate succession, while the second implies succession after a delay in time, and this can make a big difference in some branches of science such as cosmology and embryology.

  • Some translators do not reflect the actual Arabic meaning or are unable to grasp the scientific meaning. For example, God states that He is expanding the universe; this is translated as the universe is “so expanse, to make wider, more spacious, to extend, to expand, we give generously.”

Finally, there are rules for interpreting the Quran. The basic rule is that the Quran interprets itself. This implies that the words are divinely inspired; so any text can be interpreted in the light of other texts where the same word exists. Moreover, the statements of Muhammad interpreted many verses of the Quran. He was the living example of the teaching of the Quran.

By: Dr. Adel Elsaie

8 ways of finding the right person to marry


Marriage is never an easy thing. We think of it as this amazing romantic bliss that we will somehow attain one day.

Sisters dream of marrying that amazing brother who has the character of the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), the Eemaan of Aboo Bakr, the courage of Hamzah, the wealth of ‘AbdiRahmaan bin ‘Awf but the fact still remains, everyone wants to marry that one truly amazing person and it is not much different for guys.

We wish to bump into a Hoor al-‘Een that has lost her way from Jannah. I mean why wouldn’t that ever happen? It won’t happen, because you are daydreaming bro that’s why.

Now wake up and listen to this short lesson in some important “Do’s and Dont’s” along with other useful information inshaaAllaah.

 

#8 AVOID FACEBOOK SPOUSES

And any other social network for that matter

Since we spend most of our time online these days, it is very easy to try to fulfil all our needs online, even the need of finding a soul mate. Now don’t get me wrong, there are marriages who actually do work out, and I am not by any means hating on brothers and sisters who made it work (whatever floats your boats akhis and ukthis, just keep it halaal), but let’s face it, the Internet is a very weird place.

Everyone always tries to seem holier than they really are, even a Kaafir could pretend to be Muslim scholar for all you know.  In the good old days people married other people who they actually knew, and life was much more smooth, in very broad terms.

But today you marry someone who comes across as religious online only to find out on your wedding night he isn’t really that strict on Salah, oh and did I mention he has tons of friends who just happen to be girls? And not to mention he smokes (sorry forgot to tell you that too, my bad) the point is, be very careful concerning ANY online proposals.

If the person is serious and a good guy, drop them your wali’s number and don’t communicate with them anymore, then you’ll know if the person is really a gentleman or not.

#7 BEFRIEND GOOD PEOPLE

Looks more and more promising

This will open up the door for networking later on, because one of the main problems today is that a lot of people ask, ‘OK but how do I meet good potential spouses?’ and they often say ‘I don’t know anyone!’ but in reality everyone knows SOMEBODY.

Be it that friend who you only seem to meet at the masjid for big events, or your cousin who you don’t spend much time with, there is always someone you can befriend. But keep in mind that these individuals should be good practising people themselves because then they can help introduce you to other practising people who in turn might have brothers and sisters who are looking for marriage.

Trust me, it works. Try it for yourselves and see, but just don’t become that one sister (or brother) who ALWAYS talks about marriage and the opposite gender, because chances are you might get labelled as “thirsty” if not worse.

And if that fails, there is always facebook.

#6 BE AT GOOD PLACES

Do not confuse booty call material for wifey material

In the same way that you won’t find your amazing virgin niqabi wife at the club, dancing late into the night. You, yourself need to be looking in the right places, and this sort of brings us back to the previous point.

Attend lectures, study circles or maybe even volunteer to help at the masjid etc, all these activities will open up the door for you to meet the right people and once you get to know them you can raise the issue of marriage discreetly.

Remember most people who marry will tell you they got to know their spouse either through family and friends, or they might have actually met whilst doing the same activities, so try to be more active and don’t just sit at home feeling sorry for yourself. Oh and also stop going to the club.

DISCLAIMER: This website does not endorse any talking between the genders without the supervision of a Wali. Be a man and step up your game if you truly love her. Otherwise go to facebook.

#5 BE REALISTIC

Sometimes your knight in shining armour is just a miskeen dude in tin foil

Chances are, you’re not going to bump into Shaikh Sudais’s son, let alone the Shaikh himself, and even if you did, I highly doubt any of them would ask you for marriage (more like ‘SECURITY!’) So try to keep your hopes realistic, yes we all want to marry a Haafidh, we all want a sister who knows all about pleasing a husband but never had a boyfriend before. We all want a brother who is super pious with super long beard (the longer the beard the bigger the Taqwa right?) who also owns a house and has a car, plus he should be really knowledgeable too, like bin baaz knowledgeable, preferably not blind though, oh and a six pack wouldn’t harm either.

But we often forget, that when you marry someone, they still have their whole life ahead of them. Most of the wives of the major scholars married these amazing men whilst they still were ‘nobodies’ and similarly you teach your wife (with gentleness) how to be romantic and it is all a journey. If you think that you will marry that one complete person who has everything, you will never marry and that’s the harsh truth.

You will end up on facebook surfing from one profile to the other.

#4 INVOLVE YOUR PARENTS

I mean at least this brother has his own house, so that’s always a plus right?

Most people don’t like doing this, for whatever reason. Most girls are just simply too shy to bring marriages up to their parents, in case the parents look at them as “horny” or a victim of teenage hormones. Others are afraid that if they involve the parents they will feel pressured into marrying someone they don’t want to marry, only to please their parents.

You remember that one time your friend mentioned to HER parents that she wanted to get married? And for her parents to help her look for a decent brother? And how they totally misunderstood her and now you heard that your friend moved back to Bangladesh and has 7 kids at the age of 21? Yeah that’s totally not going to happen to you.

Now what I am suggesting is a middle path. Bring the topic up to your parents, or if you’re too shy, speak to your brother or someone else who can raise the issue with your parents. And then ask your parents to look around for you, remember they can only suggest but the final decision still lies with you. And most of us really don’t make use of this option, which is very sad.

Our parents are the only human beings alive on the face of this earth who would do anything and everything for us, so why not consult them?

#3 ARE YOU REALLY READY FOR MARRIAGE?

Believe it or not brothers, marriage is more than just mating and lying in bed. Shocking I know!

I don’t mean to scare you away by raising this question, as Muslims we should always aim to get married since it is the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet.

But sometimes, some people rush into marriage. They think just because they are physically ready (have urges etc) that they should get married, forgetting that even the Prophet actually mentioned that those who have the MEANS to get married should do so. Now having the means is not just having a mature body, or even loads of cash. Rather it also about being mentally stable and able to cope with the hardships of marriage.

Don’t worry though, in marriage all you need is love to make things work (like they always say right?) so no need to over think things, love conquers all! Except that’s a total lie, marriage needs so much more, and even though love is a key element in marriage it is not always what keeps a marriage going.

Remember marriage is not all sunshine and fun, sometimes you will argue sometimes you wont love each other as much, what will happen then? Will you ask for a divorce just because the marriage isn’t fun anymore?

What if there are children involved, then what? The point is, prepare yourself for marriage mentally. Read up on the rights of the Husband and the rights of the Wife, don’t just marry because you’re 20 and feel you have to. This husband will be either your Jannah or Hell, do you really know what that means?

Similarly this wife and future children will be your responsibility as a husband, Allaah will ask you about them and everything they do, so be prepared.

#2 WOULD YOU MARRY YOURSELF?

Because that is how I roll

‘Ofcourse I would, I am pure awesomeness, I am the very defin…’ if that is your answer then I can tell you right now that you don’t really have the right mentality for marriage. We often get blinded by the search for the ultimate partner that we neglect to look at ourselves.

We cry and say why won’t anyone marry me? But do nothing to change ourselves. How do you treat people when you get upset? What do you do if you hold a grudge? Do not turn a blind eye to all these important issues, rather tackle them one by one. No one is perfect but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be trying.

If you truly and sincerely work on your own flaws, and really do become more caring and loving then you will notice how people will look at you differently. People will start to think of you as ‘wifey’ material because you are good with kids, because you care for others, because you forgive people and don’t hold grudges don’t gossip etc the list is long but if you take one step at a time you will be married before you know it.

Well you would know of it, ’cause I mean you couldn’t get married without knowing about it, right? So technically you would know about it, but yeah whatever.

#1 DU’AA

Dua is the weapon of the believer, why not use it?

Because like anything in life, Allaah is the true reason behind things. Even though some people often roll their eyes and think ‘Yeah right the old, make dua brother/sister’ but if you truly have faith in Allaah and know that He answers the prayers of those in need, you will never get tired of making du’aa to Him.

Take the story of Muusa alyhi salaam as an example, in Soorah Qasas we are told about how he left Fir’awn and was literally fleeing for his life, his one concern was saving his own skin. But what happened? He made du’aa to Allaah, and Allaah not only saved him but blessed him with a wonderful wife. So in short, if you make du’aa and don’t give up Allaah will help you, and that is a promise!

The Month of Rajab | Analysis of Common Innovated Practices


By Mufti Taqi Usmani  | cross-post from http://www.albalagh.net/general/rajab.shtml

rajab-innovation-bidha-islamRajab is the seventh month in the Islāmic lunar calendar. This month was regarded as one of the sacred months (Al-Ashhur-al-hurum) in which battles were prohibited in the days of the Holy Prophet. It is also a prelude to the month of Ramaḍān, because Ramaḍān follows it after the intervening month of Sha’bān. Therefore, when the Holy Prophet sighted the moon of Rajab, he used to pray to Allāh in the following words:

“O Allāh, make the months of Rajab and Sha’bān blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramaḍān (i.e. prolong our life up to Ramaḍān, so that we may benefit from its merits and blessings).”

Yet no specific way of worship has been prescribed by the Sharī’ah in this month. However, some people have invented some special rituals or practices in this month, which are not supported by reliable resources of the Sharī’ah or are based on some unauthentic traditions. We would like to explain here the correct position about them.

1. Celebration of Lailatul Mi’raj

It is generally believed that the great event of Mi’raj (ascension of the Holy Prophet to the heavens) took place in the night of 27th of Rajab. Therefore, some people celebrate the night as “Lailatul- Mi’raj” (the night of ascension to heavens).

Indeed, the event of Mi’raj was one of the most remarkable episodes in the life of our beloved Holy Prophet. He was called by Almighty Allāh. He traveled from Makkah to Baitul-Maqdis and from there he ascended the heavens through the miraculous power of Allāh. He was honored with a direct contact with his Creator at a place where even the angels had no access. This was the unique honor conferred by Allāh to the Holy Prophet  alone. It was the climax of the spiritual progress which is not attained by anybody except him. No doubt the night in which he was blessed with this unparalleled honor was one of the greatest nights in the history of this world.

But, Islām has its own principles with regard to the historic and religious events. Its approach about observing festivals and celebrating days and nights is totally different from the approach of other religions. The Holy Qurʾān  and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet  did not prescribe any festival or any celebration to commemorate an event from the past, however remarkable it might have been. Instead, Islām has prescribed two annual celebrations only. One is ‘Īd al-Fiṭr and the other is ‘Īd al-Aḍḥa. Both of these festivals have been fixed at a date on which the Muslims accomplish a great ‘ibādah (worship) every year. ‘Īd al-Fiṭr has been prescribed after the fasts of Ramaḍān, while Eid-ul-Adha has been fixed when the Muslims perform the Hajj annually. None of these two ‘Īd’s is designed to commemorate a particular event of the past which has happened in these dates. This approach is indicative of the fact that the real occasion for a happy celebration is the day in which the celebrators themselves have accomplished remarkable work through their own active effort. As for the accomplishments of our ancestors, their commemoration should not be restricted to a particular day or night. Instead, their accomplishments must be remembered every day in the practical life by observing their teachings and following the great examples they have set for us.

Keeping this principle in view, the following points should be remembered with regard to the “Lailatul-Mi’raj”:

(1) We cannot say with absolute certainty in which night the great event of Mi’raj took place. Although some traditions relate this event to 27th night of the month of Rajab, yet there are other traditions that suggest other dates. Al-Zurqani, the famous biographer of the Holy Prophet  has referred to five different views in this respect: Rabī’ al-Awwal, Rabī’ al-Thāni, Rajab, Ramaḍān and Shawwāl. Later, while discussing different traditions, he has added a sixth opinion, that the Mi’raj took place in the month of Dhu’l-Ḥijjah.

Allama Abdulhaq Muhaddith Dehlawi, the well-known scholar of the Indian subcontinent, has written a detailed book on the merits of Islāmic months. While discussing the ‘Lailatul-Mi’raj’ has mentioned that most of the scholars are of the view that the event of Mi’raj took place in the month of Ramaḍān or in Rabī’ al-Awwal.

(2) It is also not known in which year the event of Mi’raj took place. The books of history suggest a wide range between the fifth-year and the twelfth year after the Holy Prophet was entrusted with prophethood.

Now, if it is assumed that the event of Mi’raj took place in the fifth year of his prophethood, it will mean that the Holy Prophet remained in this world for eighteen years after this event. Even if it is presumed that the Mi’raj took place in the twelfth year of his prophethood, his remaining life-time after this event would be eleven years. Throughout this long period, which may range between eleven years and eighteen years, the Holy Prophet  never celebrated the event of Mi’raj, nor did he give any instruction about it. No one can prove that the Holy Prophet ever performed some specific modes of worship in a night calling it the ‘Lailatul-Mi’raj’ or advised his followers to commemorate the event in a particular manner.

(3) After the demise of the Holy Prophet also, no one of his companions is reported to celebrate this night as a night of special acts of worship. They were the true devotees of the Holy Prophet and had devoted their lives to preserve every minute detail of the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet and other Islāmic teachings. Still, they did not celebrate the event of Mi’raj in a particular night in a particular way.

All these points go a long way to prove that the celebration of the 27th night of Rajab, being the Lailatul-Mi’raj has no basis in the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet or in the practice of his noble companions. Had it been a commendable practice to celebrate this night, the exact date of this event would have been preserved accurately by the Ummah and the Holy Prophet and his blessed companions would have given specific directions for it.

Therefore, it is not a Sunnah to celebrate the Lailatul-Mi’raj. We cannot declare any practice as a Sunnah unless it is established through authentic sources that the Holy Prophet or is noble Companions have recognized it as such, otherwise it may become a bid’ah about which the Holy Prophet has observed in the following words: “Whoever invents something in our religion which is not a part of it, it is to be rejected.”

Being mindful of this serious warning, we should appreciate that the 27th night of the month of Rajab is not like ‘Lailatul-qadr’ or ‘Lailatul-bara’ah’ for which special merits have been mentioned expressly either in the Holy Qurʾān  or by the Holy Prophet .

However, all the recognized modes of ‘ibādah (worship) like salāt, recitation of the Holy Qurʾān , dhikr, etc. are commendable any time, especially in the late hours of night, and obviously the 27th night of Rajab is not an exception. Therefore, if someone performs any recognized ‘ibādah in this night from this point of view nothing can stop him from doing so, and he will be entitled to the thawab (reward allocated for that recognized ‘ibādah insha-Allāh.) But it is not permissible to believe that performing ‘ibādah in this night is more meritorious or carries more thawab like ‘Lailatul-qadr’ or ‘Lailatul-bara’ah’, because this belief is not based on any authentic verse or on a Sunnah of the Holy Prophet. Similarly, it is not a correct practice to celebrate this night collectively and to invite people to special ritual congregations.

(4) Some people suggest some special modes of worship to be performed in this night. Since no special mode of worship is prescribed by the Sharī’ah in this night, these suggestions are devoid of any authority and should not be acted upon.

It is believed by some that the Muslims should keep fast on 27th of Rajab. Although there are some traditions attributing special merits to the fast of this day yet the scholars of ḥadīth have held these traditions as very weak and unauthentic reports, which cannot be sufficient to establish a rule of Sharī’ah. On the contrary, there is an authentic report that Sayyidna ‘Umar, raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu, used to forbid people from fasting on this day, rather to compel them to eat if they had started fasting.

It should be borne in mind here that a “nafl” fast can be observed any day (except the six prohibited days of the year); therefore, fasting on 27th of Rajab is not prohibited in itself. What is prohibited is the belief that fasting on this day is more meritorious than fasting in other normal days. One should not fast in this day with this belief. But if someone fasts therein, believing it to be a normal nafl fast, there is no bar against it.

Sacrifice (qurbani) in the Month of Rajab

In the days of ignorance (jahiliyyah) the Arabs used to offer the sacrifice of a goat in the month of Rajab. This sacrifice used to be called “Atirah’ or ‘Rajabiyyah’. This sacrifice was offered in the name of different so-called gods and their icons. In the beginning of Islām, this custom was retained, but the Muslims modified it by offering the sacrifice of ‘Atirah in the name of Allāh instead of the false gods. But finally, this custom was abandoned and the Holy Prophet prohibited the offering of ‘Atirah. In a tradition of Sayyidna Abu Hurayrah , raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu, reported by both al-Bukhāri and Muslim, the Holy Prophet has said: “Fara’ is nothing and ‘Atirah is nothing.”

Abu Hurayrah , raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu, has explained in the same tradition that ‘Fara” was the first child of a she-camel. Whenever a she-camel delivered its first child, the Arabs used to sacrifice it in the name of their so-called gods, while the ‘Atirah’ was a goat used to be sacrificed in the month of Rajab. Since the Holy Prophet stopped both these customs, ‘Atirah is no longer a recognized practice.

‘Umrah in the Month of Rajab

Ibn ‘Abidin, the well-known scholar of the Islāmic jurisprudence, has mentioned that the people of Makkah (in his days) used to perform ‘umrah in the month of Rajab. Perhaps they believed that performing ‘umrah in this month is more meritorious than in other months. Then Ibn Abidin himself has rejected the authenticity of this practice, because no tradition of the Holy Prophet is found to this effect. Conversely Sayyidah ‘Aishah, radyAllāhu anha, has expressly negated the presumption by saying that the Holy Prophet  never performed an ‘umrah in the month of Rajab (Sahih Muslim 1:409)

However, Ibn ‘Aibidin has quoted a narration that ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair, raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu, completed the renovation of Ka’bah shortly before 27th of Rajab, and as a sign of gratefulness he performed ‘umrah and slaughtered some animals. But this report cannot form the basis of a recognized annual practice, firstly because the report is not very authentic, and secondly because it does not mention that Abdullah ibn Zubair, raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu, had adopted it as a continuing practice. At the most, he performed ‘umrah once as a sign of gratefulness on the completion of Ka’bah. It does not mean that he performed it as a characteristic of the month of Rajab. Therefore, performing ‘Umrah in this month is like performing it in any other month and no special merit can be attached to it merely because it has been performed in the month of Rajab.

The Ṣalāt of “Ragha’ib”

Another special mode of worship attributed by some people to this month is the Ṣalāt of Raghai’b. According to the custom of such people, this Ṣalāt is performed in the night of first Friday of the month of Eajab. The Ṣalāt of Raghaib is said to consist of twelve rak’ats to be performed in pairs with six salams, and in each rak’at the surah al-qadr is recited three times followed by the Surah-al-ikhlas. This type of Ṣalāt is also not based on any sound source of Sharī’ah. Therefore, almost all the jurists and scholars of Sharī’ah have held that the Ṣalāt of Raghaib is a baseless practice and it is not permissible to treat it as a recognized practice of this month. It is true that there is a tradition, narrated by Razin, the author of a book of ḥadīth, which attributes the origin of this practice to the Holy Prophet  but almost all the scholars of the science of ḥadīth have held it to be absolutely unauthentic. Therefore, no importance can be attached to it.

Distribution of Breads

Another baseless practice in the month of Rajab is that the people bake special types of breads and, after reciting some verses and prayers on them, distribute them among their friends and neighbors. This custom has two different shapes.

1). In some communities, this custom is celebrated on 17th of Rajab on the assumption that Sayyidna Ali, raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu, was born on 11th of Rajab and the 17th of Rajab is the day on which his ‘Aqiqa (Shaving of his head) was performed. In order to celebrate this happy event, the breads of some special type are prepared and after reciting Surah Al-Mulk on them, they are distributed among the relatives and friends. These breads are generally called “breads of Tabarak” because Surah Al-Mulk is usually recited on them.

This practice is baseless because it is never proved that Sayyidna Ali, raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu, was born on 11th of Rajab or that his Aqiqa was performed on 17th of this month and, as explained earlier, even if these events are proved to have happened in those days, their commemoration through these specific rituals is not warranted by the Sharī’ah.

2). A more common practice of this type is observed on 22nd of Rajab whereby some breads and meals of a special type are prepared and distributed among the people. Since these special meals are usually placed in some bowls made of clay, the custom is usually known as “Koonda”, an Urdu equivalent of such bowls. It is usually believed that the custom is designed to make ‘isal-al-thawab to the soul of Sayyidna Jafar Al-Sadiq who himself has directed his followers to observe this custom and has promised them that whoever observes it, his desires will be fulfilled.

All these assumptions also have no basis at all, neither historically, nor according to the principles of Sharī’ah. In fact, the date of 22nd of Rajab has no concern whatsoever with Sayyidna Jafar al-Sadiq, Rahimah-u-Allāh. According to the historians, he was born on 8th of Ramaḍān 80 A.H. and died in Shawwāl 148 A.H. No specific event of the life of Sayyidna Jafar al-Sadiq is proved to have happened on this date. The people believing in the custom refer to a coined story mentioned in an unauthentic book named “Dastaan-e-Ajeeb”.

Briefly stated, the gist of the story is that a poor woodcutter lived in Madīnah in the days of Jafar Al-Sadiq. He went abroad to earn his livelihood. His wife was employed in the house of the Prime Minister. Once she was cleaning the courtyard of the Prime Minister when Sayyidna Jafar al-Sadiq passed by her. It was 22nd of Rajab. He advised her to bake some breads of a special type and make ‘isal-al-sawab to him. According to this story, he promised her that if her desire is not fulfilled after this practice, she can catch hold of him at the doom’s day. On hearing this, the woman made a vow that if her husband will come back with a considerable wealth, she will observe the custom of “Koonda”. On the same day her husband, who was in another country, found a valuable treasure in the earth and came back with it to Madīnah where he established himself as a rich man and started living in a magnificent castle. When his wife told the story to the wife of the Prime Minister, she disbelieved her and because of this disbelief, she and her husband, the Prime Minister, were punished by Allāh. He was removed by the king from the prime minister-ship and was imprisoned in a jail and was ordered to be hanged. While being in the prison, the wife of the Prime Minister remembered that she had disbelieved the story of Jafar al-Sadiq told to her by her maidservant and their misery might be the punishment of their disbelief. On this point, she and her husband repented before Allāh and made a vow to observe the custom of “Koonda”, if they are released from the jail. After they made such a vow, the whole scenario of the events changed suddenly. The king released the Prime Minister from the jail and reinstated him on his former position.

As it can be seen by any reasonable person, this story is totally forged on the face of it. The person who has coined this story did not even know that Madīnah had never a king nor a Prime Minister. All the Muslim rulers were named as caliphs and had no Prime Minister at all. In the days of Umayyads, their capital was Damascus and in the days of Abbasids, their permanent seat was in Baghdad.

It is ironical that the story of such a woodcutter is not even known to anybody in Madīnah, nor in any city of the Arab countries. No Arabic book has ever referred to it. It has no mention except in an Urdu book ‘Dastaan-e-Ajeeb’, the author of which is unknown. One can easily see that a custom based on such a fallacious and mythical story can never be an Islāmic custom. Islām has always been far away from such superstitions.

Therefore, this baseless custom should completely be avoided by the true Muslims. Some historians have opined that in fact, this custom has been coined by some Shi’ites because the date of 22nd of Rajab is the date of the demise of Sayyidna Mu’awiyah whom they take as their biggest enemy. They took that date as a happy occasion and made the Sunni Muslims also to celebrate it on the pretext of the above mentioned story.

Be that as it may, it is evident that such customs have crept into the Muslim society by their long association with Hindus who commemorate different historical events of their religion in the like manner. The Muslims must be careful about these customs, because they are not only an invention of ignorance but also the imitation of non-Muslims in their religious rituals. No doubt the “’isal-al-thawab’ to the soul of a deceased Muslim, and particularly to a pious person is not only permissible but also a commendable practice but the Sharī’ah has not prescribed a particular date, nor a particular mode to do so. If someone wants to make “’isal-al-thawab” to Sayyidna ‘Ali, raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu, or to Ja’far al-Sadiq, he can do it any day and by performing any act of worship, like Ṣalāt, fast, Sadaqah, dhikr etc. There is no reason why it should be restricted to a special type of meal or bread distributed on a particular date. What makes this practice worse is the fact that the people accustomed to this practice deem it as necessary as a fard (obligation); rather they treat it as more necessary than fard because they do not care to perform the obligatory Ṣalāt or to fulfill the rights of men obligated on them, but they are very strict and punctual to perform these activities. Moreover, if a person does not observe this practice, they reproach him and call him with bad names. Such behavior makes this custom a bid’ah which is condemned by the Holy Prophet  as a misguidance. Therefore, the Muslims must abandon all such practices and should not cling to it only because it has been the practice of their society for many years. A Muslim is supposed to follow the dictates of Sharī’ah and not the practice of the society, if it violates any of its principles.

Conclusion

The upshot of the above discussion is that the Sharī’ah has not prescribed any specific way to observe the month of Rajab or to perform a specific mode of worship or a ritual in any one of its dates. However, being a prologue to the month of Ramaḍān, it should be availed of for preparing oneself for Ramaḍān and one should pray Allāh to make him reach the blessed month and to benefit from its unique merits.

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