Pearls of Peace – An extract from Surah Nisa 1

pearls4Before we begin today’s Pearls of Peace, there’s a challenge for everyone reading this. The brother reciting the Quran in the Taraweeh is visually impaired, yet he has memorized the entire Quran by listening to his father and CDs. You and I have been blessed with eyes. We can see the beautiful world of Allah (swt). We can read all that we want and whatever we want. What efforts have we made to read and memorize the Book of Allah (swt)?

We now start with Surah An-Nisa, the Surah named after the women. This is the status of women in Islam. There’s an entire Surah named after the women while there’s no chapter in the Quran called Ar-Rijal (the men). In this Surah, Allah (swt) draws our attention towards the rights of a woman and warns us against usurping them.

Man vs. woman

He begins the Surah by saying, “O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Hawwa (Eve)), and from them both He created many men and women.”

Allah (swt) describes the creation of mankind- from a single father and a single mother to make us feel compassionate about each other. Then, He says, “and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship).”

The mention of wombs is an indication that men and women are physically different and thus created for different purposes. Men cannot perform the roles of women and women cannot perform the roles of men. He ends the first verse by saying, “Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you.” meaning Allah (swt) is watching how we treat one another.

Dignity of a woman

In order to know how to treat someone, we first need to learn about their status. The woman needs to know where she stands in the Sight of her Creator. She needs to know how to carry herself without compromising on her values. She cannot give in to peer pressure and go against the commands of Allah (swt). She must live such a life that her living confirms that she is a gift from Allah (swt).

Rights of orphans

After honouring women, Allah (swt) talks about another stratum of the society which is weak, but its status before Allah (swt) is really high. These are the orphans. Allah (swt) chose for his Last Messenger to be an orphan, and throughout the Quran we find many verses that remind us to be kind to this weak stratum of society and give them their rights.

In our society, when the father passes away, others relatives come and take charge over the wealth of the orphan children. While they are to act as custodians until the children attain the age of maturity, the guardians do not return them their wealth or they cheat them by understating their property. Allah (swt) says, “Verily, those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, they eat up only a fire into their bellies, and they will be burnt in the blazing Fire!” (An-Nisa 4:10). The wealth of this world is not worth trading our peace and contentment for it. A person who cheats others cannot live a peaceful life.

Rights of women

There’s another type of cheating that is done at the time of marriage. Men don’t give their brides the bridal gift known as Mahr. Allah (swt) says, “And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart…” (An-Nisa 4:4).

Women are often too shy to demand for it themselves; therefore Allah (swt) has made it a duty of the husbands to gift it to them. In Islam, a woman is a queen. When she is small she is looked after by the father. As she grows up and is married off, it becomes the duty of the husband to look after her needs. In absence of a father and a husband, the closest Mahram relations look after her. Allah (swt) gives women rights so that she is not treated as a commodity; as it used to happen in the ignorant days. In the pagan days, the male relatives would inherit the woman along with all her wealth. Allah (swt) says what belongs to woman remains with her.

Islamic law of inheritance

In verses 11 and 12, Allah (swt) informs us about the exact proportions of inheritance to be distributed among heirs. Some people say in Islam women are oppressed, they get less of what men receive.

We must acknowledge that the system of Allah (swt) is based on justice, as He says, “These are the limits (set by) Allah (or ordainments as regards laws of inheritance), and whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad (as)) will be admitted to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise), to abide therein, and that will be the great success..” (An-Nisa 4:13)

Consequences of defiance

One who follows the commands of Allah (swt) will attain peace in this life and the next. On the contrary, the one who finds flaws in Allah’s (swt) system can never live in peace in this life, and in the next he will face torment. This is what Allah (swt) talks about in the verse right after this, And whosoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad (as), and transgresses His limits, He will cast him into the Fire, to abide therein; and he shall have a disgraceful torment.” (An-Nisa 4:14)

By warning us of the consequences, it is clear that Allah (swt) wants the best for us. Let’s understand this through an example. A mother tells her children to do something and at the same time tells the repercussions of not following her instructions. She tells them, “If you do this I will give you such-and-such gift, but if you don’t do this, then watch out.” The mother does not want to hurt her children; however, it is in their best interests that she warns  them beforehand. Allah (swt) wants the best for us. He does not want us to suffer in this life or the next; therefore He has explained us the repercussions of not following His commands beforehand. May He allow us to surrender to His commands. Ameen.

Share of a woman

To briefly touch up on the share a woman gets, let’s look at what Allah (swt) says, “…if (there are) only daughters, two or more, their share is two thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is half.” (An-Nisa 4:11) No male takes this much percentage of wealth. Before we use our tongues to declare something ordained by Allah (swt), we must understand the Shariah. How can something that has been decided by Allah (swt) be wrong? The problem is that we value human opinions more than what Allah (swt) tells us. And this is the reason to why we have lost our peace.

Repentance – a peaceful move!

Some of us may have committed something wrong in our lives. We might not have given others their rights, mistreated orphans or spoken bad words about Allah’s (swt) laws. This brings us to repentance. Repentance is accepted only for those who do wrong in ignorance and then repent soon after. Allah (swt) says, “And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: “Now I repent;” nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful torment.” (An-Nisa 4:18)

Our dilemma is that we like to delay things till the last minute. Look at how do we treat our prayers. When the Muezzin gives a call for prayer, and that is when we get up for ablution. By then, we are left with little time to reach the Masjid and stand in the first row. Some of us delay our prayers to the point when only a few minutes are left for it to expire and that is when we get up for prayer. Will such a prayer be accepted? Likewise, a person who has been delaying repentance until the time he meets the angel of death, will his repentance be accepted? All of us want the best in this life, then why do we offer Allah (swt) a very poor quality of deeds? May Allah (swt) protect us and help us realize our mistakes. Ameen.


Death of a Non-Muslim Relative

Dead_flower_by_allsoulsnightWhen my father, who was a non-Muslim, passed away a couple years ago, I was faced with the question of what I, as a Muslim, should and am allowed to do in such a situation. What are my responsibilities towards my deceased non-Muslim father? Can I attend his funeral? Can I pray for him? Can I visit his grave? Am I eligible to receive inheritance from him? Thoroughly researching the rulings regarding the burial and funerals of non-Muslims, I got my answers.

Responsibilities of a Muslim towards Non-Muslim Parents

Islam encourages Muslims to strengthen the ties of kinship with both Muslim and non-Muslim relatives. In fact, being dutiful to one’s parents, no matter what religion they belong to, is placed in the Quran right next after worshiping Allah (swt): “And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents…” (Al-Isra, 17:23)

Since dutifulness to parents extends beyond their death, a Muslim is allowed to participate in the funeral and burial of non-Muslim parents / relatives.

Zakariya al-Ansaari said: “He may (i.e., it is allowed for a Muslim and is not Makrooh) attend the funeral of a Kaafir relative, because of the report narrated by Abu Dawood from Ali who said: ‘When Abu Talib died, I came to the Messenger of Allah (saw) and said: ‘Your uncle, the misguided old man, has died.’ He said: ‘Go and bury him.’” (An-Nisai)

There are, however, certain restrictions on the involvement of a Muslim in the funeral and burial procedures.

Burying Non-Muslim Relatives

According to Sheikh Al-Albani, a Muslim is allowed to take care of the burial of his non-Muslim parents/relatives; however, this does not cancel out the hatred a Muslim should feel towards their Shirk. Further, a disbeliever can neither be buried in a Muslim graveyard (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daaimah, 9/10), nor prepared for the burial according to Islamic rites: he should not be washed or shrouded, and no prayer should be offered over him (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daaimah, 9/14).

a Muslim is allowed to take care of the burial of his non-Muslim parents/relatives; however, this does not cancel out the hatred a Muslim should feel towards their Shirk

From the earlier mentioned Hadeeth, in which the Prophet (saw) permits Ali (rtam) to go and bury Abu Talib, Sheikh Al-Albani concludes that if it were permissible for a Muslim to bury a non-Muslim according to Islamic rites, then the Prophet (saw) would have told Ali (rtam) to do so, “because it is well known that it is not permitted for the Prophet (saw) to delay explaining something at the time, when that information is needed.”

Although it is permitted for a Muslim to bury a non-Muslim relative, Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daaimah, 9/10, suggests that, when possible, it is better to avoid doing it: “If there are people among the Kuffaar, who can bury their own dead, then the Muslims should not bury them, or join the Kuffaar and help them to bury them, or try to please the Kuffaar by joining the funeral procession, even if this is a political practice.”

 Attending Funeral and Burial

According to Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, it is permissible for a Muslim to attend the funeral and burial of a non-Muslim relative. However, Muslims are restricted from participating in prayers or any other burial rites of other religions. Likewise, attending of the funeral should not involve anything Haram, such as listening to musical instruments and so on.

When attending the funeral and burial of a non-Muslim relative, the right intention for a Muslim to have is that of carrying out the duty of kindness to his deceased relative, sharing the misfortune with the family and strengthening good relationships with the rest of the kin.

When attending the funeral and burial of a non-Muslim relative, the right intention for a Muslim to have is that of carrying out the duty of kindness to his deceased relative

However, special restriction has been placed on attending the funeral of a hypocrite. The Quran directs the Prophet (saw) not to pray for the hypocrites and the rebellious against Islam and not to stand at their graves:

“And never (O Muhammad (saw)) pray (funeral prayer) for any of them (hypocrites) who dies, nor stand at his grave. Certainly they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger, and died while they were Fasiqun (rebellious, — disobedient to Allah and His Messenger).” (At-Taubah, 9:84)

Praying for the Deceased and Visiting the Grave

Although in times of sorrow it might be extremely difficult and heart-wrecking to accept this, the Quran gives a straightforward order not to pray for the forgiveness of the deceased disbelievers, even if they are close of kin:

“It is not (proper) for the Prophet and those who believe, to ask Allah’s Forgiveness for the Mushrikin (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah), even though they may be of kin, after it has become clear to them that they are the dwellers of the Fire (because they died in a state of disbelief).” (At-Taubah, 9:113)

A Hadeeth shows that even the Prophet (saw) himself was not given permission to pray for the forgiveness of his mother, although he was allowed to visit her grave. Abu Hurairah (rtam) has reported: “The Prophet (saw) visited the grave of his mother, and he wept and those, who were with him, wept. Then he said: ‘I asked my Lord for permission to pray for forgiveness for her, and He did not grant me permission to do that, and I asked Him for permission to visit her grave, and He gave me permission. So visit the graves, for they are a reminder of death.’” (Muslim, Abu Dawood, An-Nisai, Ibn Maajah, Al-Haakim, Al-Bayhaqi and Ahmad)

A Hadeeth shows that even the Prophet (saw) himself was not given permission to pray for the forgiveness of his mother, although he was allowed to visit her grave

The above Hadeeth also indicates the reason for visiting graves – to be reminded of death. To this, Sheikh Al-Albani adds that visiting the graves of non-Muslims should be done with the purpose of learning a lesson. Al-Albani says that non-Muslim dwellers of the grave should not be greeted with Salam and should not be prayed for; instead, they should be given the tidings of Hell.

The evidence for that is the Hadeeth of Saad ibn Abi Waqqas (rtam) who said: “A Bedouin came to the Prophet (saw) and said: ‘My father used to uphold the ties of kinship, and so on and so forth – where is he now?’ He said: ‘In Hell.’ The Bedouin got upset and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, where is your father?’ He said: ‘Whenever you pass by the grave of a Kaafir, give him the tidings of Hell.’ The Bedouin later became a Muslim, and he said: ‘The Messenger of Allah (saw) gave me a difficult commission. Whenever I pass by the grave of a Kaafir, I give him the tidings of Hell.’” (Narrated by Al-Tabaraani in al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer, 1/191; Ibn al-Sunni in ‘Aml al-Yawm wa’l-Laylah, 588; al-Diyaa’ al-Maqdisi in al-Ahaadeeth al-Mukhtaarah, with a Saheeh Isnaad. Al-Haythami (1/117-118) said: it was narrated by al-Bazzaar and by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, and the men of its Isnaad are sound.)

Inheriting from a Non-Muslim Relative

Another important matter to consider is the question of inheritance. The general rule is that a Muslim does not inherit from an unbeliever. Usamah bin Zaid (rtam) related that the Prophet (saw) said: “The Muslim does not inherit from the unbeliever, and the unbeliever does not inherit from the Muslim.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The best we can do for our non-Muslim relatives is to share with them the teachings of Islam, before they reach the point of no return. One short sentence of Shahadah can make the difference for their entire eternity

However, the Scientific Research Committee ( has given a verdict that if a non-Muslim father has left a will, in which he specifies inheritance for his Muslim child, then the child is eligible to “receive up to one-third of the estate (33.3 %), since this is the amount of a person’s estate that he can bequeath to non-inheritors”. If, however, the percentage the non-Muslim father has specified in his will exceeds that, then the Muslim child “will not be permitted to accept this excess without the express permission of the other inheritors”.

The best we can do for our non-Muslim relatives is to share with them the teachings of Islam, before they reach the point of no return. One short sentence of Shahadah can make the difference for their entire eternity. We should earnestly pray to Allah (swt) to guide them to the Straight Path during their lifetime, for Allah (swt) Alone can guide a soul to the truth.