Taharah – Half of Faith

Clean water and water bubbles

By Hafsa Ahsan and Naba Basar                                                             

We live in a world which gives us mixed messages regarding cleanliness (Taharah). On the one hand, Islam lays great emphasis on cleanliness and encourages oneself to stay clean at all times. On the other hand, the mass media encourages our children to get as dirty as they want. Washing one’s hands is recommended only when selling a certain brand of antiseptic soap. So, what guidance do we derive from the Quran and Sunnah regarding Taharah?

Importance of Taharah

Taharah has been greatly emphasized upon by Allah (swt) in the Quran.

“Truly, Allah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves (by taking a bath and cleaning and washing thoroughly their private parts, bodies, for their prayers, etc.).” (Al-Baqarah 2:222)

Types of Impurities

Allah (swt) says: “O you who believe! Approach not Salah (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state until you know (the meaning) of what you utter, nor when you are in a state of Janabah, (i.e. in a state of sexual impurity and have not yet taken a bath) except when travelling on the road (without enough water, or just passing through a mosque), till you wash your whole body.” (An-Nisa 4:43)

Impurity may be categorized as ritual impurity (Hadath) and physical impurity (Khabath). A person attains ritual impurity when something comes out of the anus (feces or wind) or the frontal private area (urine or prostatic fluid), or when a person vomits. If a person enters this state, he must abstain from prayers, until he departs from this state. Wudhu would be enough for purification.

Physical impurity, on the other hand, is the impurity of physical substances, which include menstrual blood, urine, feces, pork, canine saliva and vomit. These impurities must be removed from whatever they contaminate (such as the person’s skin, clothing or prayer rug); otherwise, the prayer will not be valid. If you come in contact with any of these impurities, then they must be washed, since it’s a matter of basic cleanliness.

Significantly, if an impurity is invisible or does not smell, it does not affect a person’s worship. Such trivial amounts are unavoidable and are forgiven under Islamic law.

Wudhu

Taharah must precede Salah. One has to be in a state of purity, plus one’s clothes and the place where Salah will be offered, must be clean as well. Wudhu is an essential pre-requisite of Salah, without which one’s Salah is not accepted. The procedure of Wudhu has been described in the Quran as follows:

“O you who believe! When you intend to offer Salah (the prayer), wash your faces and your hands (forearms) up to the elbows, rub (by passing wet hands over) your heads, and (wash) your feet up to ankles. If you are in a state of Janaba (i.e. had a sexual discharge), purify yourself (bathe your whole body). But if you are ill or on a journey or any of you comes from answering the call of nature, or you have been in contact with women (i.e. sexual intercourse) and you find no water, then perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands. Allah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you, and to complete His favour on you that you may be thankful.” (Al-Maidah 5:6)

Humran (the freed slave of Uthman Ibn Affan (rta)) narrated: I saw Uthman Ibn Affan (rta)asking (for a tumbler of water) to perform ablution (and when it was brought) he poured water from it over his hands and washed them thrice and then put his right hand in the water container and rinsed his mouth and washed his nose by putting water in it and then blowing it out. Then he washed his face thrice and (then) forearms up to the elbows thrice, then passed his wet hands over his head and then washed each foot thrice. After that Uthman (rta) said, “I saw the Prophet performing ablution like this of mine, and he said, ‘If anyone performs ablution like that of mine and offers a two-Rakah prayer, during which he does not think of anything else, then his past sins will be forgiven.’ (Bukhari)

The Fard (obligatory) actions of Wudhu are:

1)        washing the face,

2)        washing both arms, including the elbows;,

3)        performing Masah of one fourth of the head,

4)        washing both the feet, including the ankles.

It’s not sufficient to pass a wet hand over the feet or shoes. However, certain conditions make an allowance for Masah to be done over certain types of socks.

Wudhu has a great psychological impact on the one performing it. If performed properly, it not only washes away one’s sins, but also cools down parts of the body. Dr. Ghulam Mustafa Khan in his booklet “Personal Hygiene in Islam” states: “The psychological advantages derived from performing Wudhu are clearly evident in the Prophet’s (sa) advice to perform Wudhu when we are overpowered by anger. The psychological changes, brought about by the physical act (of Wudhu), may be compared to a cold sponging of the body to reduce convulsions due to high temperature. In addition to the physical removal of a person from the arena of arguments, all parts of the body instrumental in the expression of anger – the hands, tongue, eyes and teeth – are cooled down and so are the brain centres controlling these parts.”

Tayammum

If water is not available, then Tayammum is one of the options to be availed. Allah (swt) says: “…And if you are ill, or on a journey, or one of you comes after answering the call of nature, or you have been in contact with women (by sexual relations) and you find no water, perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands (Tayammum). Truly, Allah is Ever Oft­ Pardoning, Oft ­Forgiving.” (An-Nisa 4:43)

Tayammum (dry ablution) can be done as follows:

1)      Make the Niyyah (intention) to perform ablution.

2)      Strike the soil/earth with your hands and wipe your face.

3)      Then, wipe your hands up to the wrists. Wipe the right hand first, followed by the left.

In Fiqh-us-Sunnah, the following scenarios have been detailed, which make Tayammum inevitable:

1)      Total non-availability of water.

2)      The amount of water available is insufficient for ablution.

3)      One is ill or injured and cannot use water.

4)      The water is too cold to be used.

5)      It is dangerous to fetch water from a nearby source.

6)      Water has to be saved for things like cooking.

7)      Water is too far away to fetch in time for prayer.

Ghusl

A Ghusl must be performed after completing the monthly period, after ejaculation, after post natal bleeding (Nifas) or after sexual intercourse. It is preferable, but not compulsory, to perform Ghusl in the manner that the Prophet (sa) performed it.

In such cases, you should begin with washing your private parts. The intention is to make sure that pure water reaches every part of your body. However, if you pass wind during the cleansing procedure your Ghusl is still valid, but you will have to perform a separate Wudhu. The Prophet (sa) said: “Do not break off from your prayer, unless you hear or smell the passage of gas.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Ghusl is not compulsory in case of medical/vaginal check-up or ultrasound.

Ghusl-e-Janabah

Ghusl after sexual intercourse is obligatory, even if no discharge took place. Noticing wetness on waking up as a result of Ihtilaam (wet dream) necessitates a Ghusl. However, if upon waking from a wet dream, a person does not see any trace of sexual emission on his clothes or his body, he does not have to perform Ghusl.

Aisha (rta) said: “Someone asked the Prophet (sa) about a man seeing himself discharging in his dream though he does not feel wet. The Prophet (sa) said: ‘He does not have to bathe.’ Umm Salamah (rta) asked: ‘What about women, O Messenger of Allah?’ He (sa) said: ‘Women are the full sisters of men.’” (Abu Dawood and At-Tirmidhi)

In another Hadeeth, the Prophet (sa) confirmed that a woman had to perform Ghusl: “… if she sees the liquid.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Some people came to the Prophet (sa) and asked him about Ghusl after sexual intercourse. They told him that they live in a cold place. The Prophet (sa) told them: “It would be enough for the one of you to pour water over his head three times.” In another narration, he said: “For me, I pour water over my head thrice.” (Muslim) This indicates that performing Ghusl accordingly is sufficient to attain purification and no Wudhu is required. But one should bear in mind that rinsing the mouth and cleaning the nose by inhaling and exhaling water is essential.

Sunnah method of performing Ghusl-e-Janabah, as extracted from Bukhari and Muslim, is as follows:

  • Wash hands. With right hand, pour water on left.
  • Wash private parts.
  • Do Wudhu.
  • Wet scalp with fingers (run fingers through hair, so as to wet scalp).
  • Pour three handfuls of water on head.
  • Wash whole body (with or without soap), beginning with the right side and then the left.
  • Wash feet in the end.

It is Sunnah to perform Wudhu before bathing.

It was related by the mother of believers, Umm Salamah (rta), that she asked the Prophet (sa) about a woman’s Ghusl. The Prophet (sa) told her: “If a woman is performing Ghusl after having sexual intercourse, then there is no need for her to unbraid her hair. It is sufficient that she pours water over her head three times. But, when she is performing Ghusl after completing her menstrual period, then she has to unbraid her hair.” (Muslim)

Vaginal Discharge (Fatwah by Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qasim)

Any discharge which comes from the vagina, emanating from the birth canal, is pure. It requires neither a ritual bath, nor Wudhu, nor the washing of affected clothing. The reason for this is the absence of any textual evidence that indicates the impurity of this discharge or that it invalidates a woman’s Wudhu.

This is very pertinent, especially since this discharge is something that affects all women, from the time of the Prophet (sa) to date. If it had been impure or if it had nullified Wudhu, this would have been clarified by the Lawgiver.

Also, this discharge is not a waste product – like urine and feces, which are the waste products of our food and drink. It is a natural emanation from the womb. This is why it increases with pregnancy, especially during certain months.

Umm Atiyyah (rta) said: “We did not regard yellowish and brownish discharge after Tuhr (becoming pure) as being of any significance.” (Bukhari and Abu Dawood)

General Hygiene

Taharah is not restricted just to Wudhu and Ghusl, as one may believe. A Mumin must strive to attain Taharah in all parts of life. Some basic practices include the following:

1)      Shaving the pubic hair.

2)      Cutting the nails of fingers and toes.

3)      Doing Ghusl, especially on Fridays.

4)      Washing hands, cleaning the nose and rinsing the mouth, after waking up.

5)      Washing hands, before and after every meal.

6)      Cleaning the teeth and rinsing the mouth, after every meal.

7)      Regularly using Miswak.

8)      Washing hands regularly with soap and water.

Conclusion

As one can imagine, Taharah or cleanliness in Islam is not to be taken lightly. All the instructions, which come to us from the Quran and Sunnah, clearly show that Taharah is something that every Mumin has to implement in one’s life consciously. It is the level of importance attached to it that makes it half of one’s Deen.

Etiquette of Visiting the Graveyard

Muslim_graveyard_in_Tenovo,_MacedoniaBy Naba Basar and Laila Brence 

In Islam, death is a natural part of existence; it is a transition from this world into the Hereafter. Allah (swt) says in the Quran that every soul will taste death (Al-Ankabut 29:57). Likewise, every soul will be resurrected on the Day of Judgement to stand in front of the Creator (swt). For us, the living ones, their graves are constant reminders of death and the Hereafter.

The Prophet (sa) said: “I had prohibited you from visiting the graves, but now I encourage you to visit them, because they are a reminder of the Hereafter.” (Abu Dawood and Ahmad)

Although the above Hadeeth encourages Muslims to go to graveyards, we should pay attention to certain guidelines, when visiting the graves.

Sheikh Al-Albani reminds us that the primary purpose of visiting the graveyard must be that of remembering death and contemplating about the Hereafter. The intention for visiting the graves should not be to provide any comfort or benefit to the deceased. Likewise, we should refrain from praising the deceased by saying that so-and-so is in Jannah.

Also, we should not call upon the deceased ones, seeking their help instead of Allah (swt). Even though Muslims are allowed to make Duas at the grave for their deceased ones, these Duas are no more special than the Duas made for the deceased at any location other than the graveyard. Our supplications reach Allah (swt) regardless of where we offer them.

If we choose to say Duas for the deceased while in the graveyard, we should follow certain etiquettes.

First and foremost, we should be facing Kabah (not the grave) when making supplication. According to Sheikh Al-Albani, “The Prophet (sa) forbade prayer (Salah) facing graves, and Dua is the heart and soul of Salah, as is well-known, and is subject to the same rulings.

The Prophet (sa) said: ‘Dua is worship’ then he recited the Ayah: ‘And your Lord said: Invoke Me [i.e. believe in My Oneness (Islamic Monotheism) and ask Me for anything] I will respond to your (invocation).’ (Ghafir 40:60)”

Sheikh Al-Albani continues by saying that it is permissible to raise one’s hands, when offering supplication. Aisha (rta) has said: “The Messenger of Allah (sa) went out one night, and I sent Bareerah to follow him and see where he went. She said: ‘He went towards Baqee A-Gharqad [the graveyard in Madina], and he stood at the bottom of Al-Baqee and raised his hands, then he went away.’ Bareerah came back to me and told me, and when morning came, I asked him about it. I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, where did you go out to last night?’ He said: ‘I was sent to the people of Al-Baqee to pray for them.’”

There are numerous Duas that can be recited at the grave. One of the most common supplications has been passed on by Abu Hurairah (rta): “Assalamu alaykum ahl Al-diyar min Al-mumineen wAl-Muslimeen, in sha Allah bikum lahiqoon, asal Allaha lana wa lakum Al-afiyah (Peace be upon you, O people of the dwellings, believers and Muslims, Insha’Allah we will join you, I ask Allah (swt) to keep us and you safe and sound).” (Muslim)

While visiting the graveyard, we must remember that graves are to be respected. It is not permitted to violate or cause destruction in a graveyard. A majority of scholars agree that it is by no means allowed to demolish or destroy a Muslim graveyard, unless their bones have crumbled and turned to dust. Likewise, it is strictly forbidden to build or erect anything over a grave or have Quranic inscriptions around or on them. It is unlawful to slaughter animals in the cemetery, light candles or fragrant sticks, wipe hands or kiss the grave, as all these acts are done by people belonging to non-Muslim cultures and traditions. There is also no proof that one should visit the graveyard every Friday, on Lailat-ul-Qadr, Eids or during Ramadan.

The opinions of scholars differ on the matter, whether Muslim women are allowed to visit the graveyard or not. Many say it is Makrooh (disliked) by quoting a Hadeeth that Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “May Allah curse the women, who are frequently visiting the cemetery.” (At-Tirmidhi) However, if the visiting is not frequent, most scholars say it is permissible for Muslim females to visit the graveyard, provided that the sole purpose of going there is to remember death and Hereafter. If a female does visit the graveyard, she should be properly dressed (without displaying her adornments) and should abstain from wailing or any other un-Islamic behaviour.

A Muslim Woman’s Surname after Marriage

Contributed by Naba Basar

Sheikh Saud Al-Funaysan, former professor at Imam University:

A woman has to keep the name of her father and not her husband after marriage. Ahadeeth give a severe warning for the person, who attributes himself to other than his or her father.

Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers; that is more just with Allah (swt). But if you know not their father’s (names, call them) your brothers in faith, Mawalikum (your freed slaves). And there is no sin on you concerning that in which you made a mistake, except in regard to what your hearts deliberately intend. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al-Azhab 33:5)

Due to the seriousness of the matter, if a woman has her legal documentation, such as her passport, in her husband’s family name, then she has to change her official documents back to her father’s family name if she can, even if she in her daily practice abides by the legal ruling and people call her by her father’s name and not her husband’s.

Fatwah Department Research Committee of “IslamToday”, chaired by Sheikh Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Turayri:

To understand this matter, consider the fact that a woman does not rightfully belong to her husband’s family by way of lineage. Her lineage stays as it always was. Consider this: if her husband were to divorce her, who would be her guardians? Also, from whom does she inherit?

The above mentioned verse in the Quran (Al-Ahzab 33:5) commands us to attribute children to their true biological fathers even after adoption. The most it allows is that the child casually refers to his guardian as ‘father’, or the man to the child as ‘son’ or ‘daughter’ out of affection or absentmindedly; however, it forbids the change of the child’s name or a formal claim of attribution.

This is a general rule. All Muslims must carry their fathers’ names. There is no evidence from the Quran or the Sunnah that a woman, upon marriage, is exempted from the general rule of attribution to her own father and her own family. All women from the time of the Prophet (sa) onwards continued to be attributed to their own fathers after marriage, regardless of whether their fathers were Muslims or non-Muslims.

The Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever attributes his lineage to other than his father or claims other than his master as his master, then he has upon him the curse of Allah (swt), His angels and all humanity.” (Abu Dawood) Also: “Whoever claims as his father other than his father knowingly, then Paradise is forbidden him.” (Abu Dawood) These Ahadeeth are authentic. The matter is serious.

Those, who claim that there is contrary evidence allowing women upon marriage to attribute themselves to another person’s lineage, must produce their evidence for such a serious matter.

Allah (swt) knows best.

Abul-Aas Ibnur-Rabi (rta)

Vol 3-Issue 1 Abul-Aas Ibnur- RabiHis name was Abul-Aas Ibnur-Rabi (rta) from the clan of Abd Shams, a wealthy family. From his tribe Abul-Aas (rta) acquired the love of trade. People would entrust him with their money for investment. His aunt Khadijah (rta), the wife of the Prophet (sa), treated him as if he were one of her own children. When Zainab (rta), the daughter of the Prophet (sa), matured, she was given in marriage to Abul-Aas (rta).

Allah (swt) sent Muhammad (sa) as His messenger with the religion of Islam. His wife and daughters believed him, however, his son-in-law found it difficult to embrace Islam. The Quraish began plotting against the Prophet (sa) and went to Abul-Aas (rta), asking him to divorce his wife, so that the Prophet (sa) becomes preoccupied with the responsibility, but he refused to do so.

Other daughters of the Prophet (sa) married to the pagans were divorced and returned. The Prophet (sa) was not displeased. After the Prophet (sa) migrated to Madinah, the Quraish set out to confront Muslims at Badr. Abul-Aas (rta) was compelled to join them, although he did not hate Muslims. The battle resulted in terrible defeat for the Quraish, as their leadership was broken. Abul-Aas (rta) was among those, who were captured. The Prophet (sa) required each of the captives to pay a ransom for his release. Zainab (rta) sent a necklace as ransom money to rescue her husband. This necklace was given to her by her late mother Khadijah (rta). When the Prophet (sa) received the necklace of his beloved wife, Khadijah (rta), it greatly saddened him. Consequently, the Prophet (sa) made his son-in-law’s release contingent upon his commitment to send Zainab (rta) to Madinah as soon as possible.

Abul-Aas (rta) prepared to fulfill his promise as soon as he reached Makkah. He remained in Makkah for some time after the departure of his wife. He then went to Syria on business and on his way back to Makkah, a battalion of Muslim army surprised him. Abul-Aas (rta) fled. When night fell, he slipped into Madinah and asked his wife Zainab (rta) for her protection, and she gave it to him.

The next morning, during Fajr prayers, Zainab (rta) called out: “Hear me, everyone! I am Zainab, daughter of Muhammad. I have granted my protection to Abul-Aas, and I ask you to do the same.” The Prophet (sa) left the Masjid, went home, and told his daughter: “Treat him as an honoured guest, but you must know you are not his wife.” This was mainly because Allah (swt) had revealed verses instructing believers that they could not marry or stay married to pagans, unless they convert to Islam.

Abul-Aas’s (rta) captured property was returned to him. When he went to claim it, people asked him to embrace Islam, but he would not agree. Abul-Aas (rta) took the caravan from Madinah with all of its contents back to Makkah. When he arrived, he gave what he could to all those, who had entrusted him with their property for commerce, asking: “Listen all of you. Do I owe any of you any money, which I have not yet repaid?  They replied: “No, may Allah (swt) reward you, for you have always been loyal and generous to us.” He said: “Then I have given everyone his due, and now I wish you to know that I bear witness that there is no God save Allah (swt), and that Muhammad (sa) is the messenger of Allah (swt).” Thus, he declared his conversion to Islam in Makkah.

He left Makkah with a contented heart and headed for Madinah. The Prophet (rta) welcomed him with all due honour and presented Zainab (rta) to him again, saying: “He spoke to me truthfully, and he kept the promise he made to me.”

Say ‘Yes!’ to Yoghurt

Naba Basar explains why this milk product should be a part of everyone’s diet.

Cleopatra bathed in this milk product for a smooth and tender complexion. Genghis Khan fed it to his soldiers to give them courage. Though a cherished food in the Middle Eastern and Central Asian lands for centuries, only recently has yoghurt gained universal popularity. It was discovered about 5,000 years ago on the Mesopotamian plains. Later, the Turks introduced it into Eastern and Central Europe, giving it the name – yoghurt.

Modern nutritionists have justified its reputation as an almost medicinal food. The Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus bacteria found in yoghurt, which convert pasteurized milk to yoghurt during fermentation, aid in digestion of food within an hour of consumption. Humans produce this digestive enzyme naturally during childhood, but it declines, when we reach adulthood.

Yoghurt is an excellent source of protein, calcium, riboflavin, and vitamin B12. It is so protein-dense that it is now considered a meat alternative. It has been proven that yoghurt contains a teeming load of healthy bacteria – about 100 million per gram. Its antibiotic effects help combat infections and protect the stomach lining from toxins, as it flourishes in the digestive tract. Containing high levels of natural prostaglandins, yoghurt can prevent diarrhoea and dysentery – especially in infants.

Yoghurt helps prevent cancer in colon by suppressing activity that converts harmless chemicals into carcinogenic agents. It is also known to help prevent yeast infections. As a source of calcium, yoghurt can even prevent osteoporosis. Many doctors recommend live yoghurt for patients on antibiotics to replenish good bacteria. Some argue that yoghurt live cultures may reduce the occurrence of colds, allergies, and hay fever. It also counteracts lactose intolerance by its association with lactase.

Much more easily digestible than milk, yoghurt is ideal for pregnant women, children, the aged, and the sick. In addition, it is believed that regular eaters of this fermented milk tend to have clear skin and find no problem in enjoying a good night’s sleep. Yoghurt also reduces bad breath and internal gas and keeps vaginal flora in balance.

Increased yogurt consumption may help increase one’s resistance to immune – related diseases, such as cancer and infections, particularly gastrointestinal infections. Partly, this increased resistance is because of the live and active cultures (LAC) found in yoghurt.

Contrary to the general notion, yoghurt is not fattening. For those wishing to cut down on the amount of fat, cholesterol, and calories in their diets, yoghurt made from skimmed milk is highly recommended. In preparing meals, brands labeled low-fat and low-cholesterol can be substituted for mayonnaise, sour cream or similar products. This will result in tremendous improvement in diets – at times working wonders.

All types of milk, ranging from reindeer to cow, can be utilized in the making of yoghurt. However, the nutrient and fat values vary depending on whether it is prepared from cream, whole, partly-skimmed or skimmed milk, and if it has additives, such as fruits or syrups.

As for yoghurt’s taste, the more cream is used the tastier. However, if made from skimmed milk, it is somewhat weaker in flavour but also lower in fat and calories.

Besides its notional value, yoghurt is high in protein, convenient, marvelously versatile, and adaptable – a naturally sweet, tangy, and smooth milk product. It adds richness, flavour, and an appetizing aroma to myriad of dishes. The possibilities of cooking with this cultured milk are infinite. It blends well with cheese, eggs, grains, meats, fruits, vegetables and makes an excellent marinade. Delicious when flavoured with syrups, nuts, herbs and spices, it enhances and is enhanced by other ingredients of foods.

Dishes prepared from yoghurt, especially in the Arab world, are endless. In numerous Muslim countries, yoghurt is often drunk to break the Ramadan fast. A yoghurt drink is the thirst quenching beverage much favoured by most strata of North African society. During hot summer days, cold soups similar to the famous Spanish Gazpacho are on the menu in many Arab homes. In winter, nothing is more satisfying than Libaniyah, a piping hot soup made from yoghurt, garlic, mint, and rice.

Labneh, a type of cheese made by placing yoghurt in a cloth bag and allowing it to drain, is a favourite healthy breakfast and snack food or a tasty dip, enjoyed in the Middle East. However, in the greater areas of Syria, Sheesh Barak, a type of dumpling in yoghurt, is the king of yoghurt dishes. To the peasants, a steaming hot aromatic bowl of Sheesh Barak is heaven-sent on cold winter days.

Because of its appealing taste and healthy properties, yoghurt continues to command the interest of cooks and medical scientists around the world. Researchers are continuously investigating the beneficial effects this nutritious food may have in reducing cholesterol levels and preventing a good number of diseases.

According to a new study published in The Lancet, the British Medical Association Journal, treating pregnant women with ‘good bacteria’ such as Lactobacillus in yoghurt may prevent thousands of children from contracting asthma by strengthening the baby’s fledgling immune system before birth. For postmenopausal women, increasing calcium intake may be critical in helping to reduce bone loss. A recent study showed that women three to six years past menopause, who increased their calcium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day for three years, slowed bone loss. Scientific evidence also indicates that for the elderly, calcium lowers the rate of bone loss and lessens the effects of osteoporosis. The results are promising.

“Do not kill yourself”

Naba Basar brings to light the serious challenge of resisting suicide in today’s disturbed and fast paced society.

Addressing this issue Allah says: “Do not kill yourselves; indeed, Allah is merciful to you” (Al-Imran 4:29)

The word ‘suicide’ means the intentional killing of oneself. Although the most privileged means of entering Hell, it is at an increase. Allah has made life sacred, and by no means can any being terminate and transgress rules He has set for His creation.

Islam encourages us to face mishaps with determination, and prohibits the resort to self-violation. Know that every calamity is a test from Allah, and a believer should be confident that Allah will help him in every possible way. As Conte Vittorio Alfieri stated, “Often the test of courage is not to die but to live.”

“…Do not take life which God has made sacred except in the course of Justice…” (Al-Anam 6:151) Taking away one’s life is an unforgivable sin, and it reflects the weakness of a person’s Eeman. Narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta), the Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever purposely throws himself from a mountain and kills himself, will be in the (Hell) Fire falling into it and abiding therein forever; and whoever drinks poison and kills himself he will be carrying his poison in his hand and drinking it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally; and whoever kills himself with an iron weapon will be carrying that weapon in his hand and stabbing his abdomen with it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally.” (Bukhari)

Anas Ibn Malik (rta) reported of Allah’s Messenger (sa) saying: “None of you should make a request for death because of the trouble in which he is involved. At times of despair say: ‘O Allah, keep me alive as long as there is goodness in life for me and bring death to me when there is goodness in death for me.'” (Muslim)

“There was amongst those before you a man who had a wound. He was in (such) anguish that he took a knife and made with it a cut in his hand, and the blood did not cease to flow till he died. Allah the Almighty said: ‘My servant has himself forestalled Me; I have forbidden him Paradise.”’ (Hadith Qudsi)

Clearly a person who commits suicide lacks faith in Allah and sees things through the eyes of an absolute pessimist. The above Ahadeeth confirm that any form of suicide is prohibited in Islam. An essential part of faith is to believe in predestination with its good and bad. Allah rewards a believer who suffers trials and tribulations, provided he exhibits Sabr (patience) and Tawwakul (reliance) on the Creator. We fail to understand that these little trials are a means to test our belief in Allah and in the Day of Resurrection.

It has been noticed that suicide among males is more common and is the third leading cause of death. W. H. Ferry once quoted, “Men just don’t seem to jump off the bridge for big reasons; they usually do so for little ones.” Nevertheless factors that contribute towards suicide may be:

  • Physical ailment / loss of any physical organ
  • Feelings of despair, depression and guilt
  • Fear of failure
  • Social isolation
  • Loss of loved ones
  • Rejection as in the break up of and engagement / romantic relationship or divorce
  • Severe financial dilemma / loss of business / debt

The means adopted for suicide are mostly intake of poisonous substances, hanging, shooting, jumping off a cliff, setting one’s self on fire, cutting the wrist etc. But many use methods that require time to ensure partial safety, so they use drugs over a longer period of time.

What of the family left behind to bear the grief? They blame themselves for not preventing the suicide. Thus, they spend their lives tormented with shame and guilt. These emotions are intensified when the perished and the survivor had an argument before the suicide took place.

Remember a person who commits suicide is forbidden Paradise.

If you feel suicidal make sure you try talking to an Imam or someone who can help paint a clearer picture through Ahadeeth and Quranic verses.

Or seek out Islamic counsel to guide and encourage you to take the right path, not the perceived easy path.

Say: “Astaghfar Allah wa Atubu ilayh” (May Allah have mercy on me and accept my repentance) 100 times a day, as was the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sa).

When fearful, say: “La ilaha ill Allah” (there is no deity but Allah).

If someone expresses suicidal thoughts to you, it is important that you warn him or her of the consequences that their soul will have to bear. Nevertheless, pray for the soul that committed suicide, for Allah knows the truth and really forgives. “He is Oft-Forgive, Most-Merciful.”

According to a report by Shifa News International, published in the August 2004 issue of ‘Madadgar’, an NGO quoted, almost 2,386 people in Pakistan committed suicide in 2004 & around 468 people failed in their attempt.

Sindh led other provinces in this regard with an estimated count of 1,391 cases, 804 in Punjab, 108 in NWFP & 83 in Balochistan. In Sindh an average of five cases were reported daily in different areas.

Concept of group suicide

Strange facets of suicide have surfaced in recent years. In the town of Minano in Japan, police recently found four men and three women dead in a car parked on the mountainside. It was a case of group suicide whose members had become acquainted with each other over the inter net. What led them to commit suicide is yet to be known. Dawn

Suicide is Europe’s unseen killer

58,000 people commit suicide annually in Europe according to the European Union’s health chief. Most suicides in the 25-nation bloc are linked to mental illness, especially depression. 15% who suffer severe depression commit suicide while 56% attempt to kill themselves. Reuters

Clean is Cool!

If you go long enough without a bath even the fleas will leave you alone, cautions Naba Basar.

Among your friends you must have noticed that there are some who carry a clean and crisp look coming to school. Since it takes all kinds of people to make this world, there are also some who come to school without even washing their faces.

In the Quran, Allah commands the believers to be clean and to keep away from dirt. Those who do not practice the morality of the Quran, as in everything else, fall into this sorry state. Believers’ bodies, food, clothing, and the place where they live are always spotless and well-ordered. They try to make every place resemble the purity of Paradise. As Allah says in the Quran: “You who believe! Eat of the good things We have provided for you…” (Al-Baqarah 2:172)

In another place Allah commands: “Purify your clothes. Shun all filth.” (Al-Muddaththir 74:4-5)

So, what do believers have to do? Simple! Allah created water, which is a great blessing and is a reason for us to be thankful to Allah. We may begin by washing our hands and face when we get up in the morning and taking a shower. The Quran tells us: “…[He] sent you down water from heaven to purify you and remove the taint of Satan from you, and to fortify your hearts and make your feet firm.” (Al-Anfal 8:11)

You may be spooked to know that besides the two angels who maintain a record of our deeds, Allah has also assigned one devil along each one of us. This devil is a cause of all trials and temptations for us. His strategies are quite devious. Allah warns human beings, that the devil, makes dirtiness look pleasant and tries to prevent them from cleaning themselves.

He may try to make us put off brushing our teeth after a meal or taking regular showers by making it seem like too much trouble. Even if such occasional slips do not bring serious consequences, over time they may be damaging to a person’s health and appearance. And this is exactly what Satan wants. He resents human beings and tries to drag them to Hell, and he really wants to see them living in filth.

Some kids are temperamental and are driven by their mood swings. They may be clean and presentable in parties, but the rest of the time they look scruffy. One wonders, how do they regard cleanliness? Well, they are very different in their aims and intentions from those who believe in Allah. Their aim is to look good and not be criticized by others, but they do not think of pleasing Allah by cleaning themselves.

But to a believer, it is more important to please Allah and to obey His command. Eventually he looks cool to others as well, who appreciate him for his neat and tidy appearance. So there really is no point in looking cool by gelling ones hair and powdering our faces if we do not practice basic hygiene consistently. This may include:

  1. Observing dental care and cleanliness
  2. Taking daily showers
  3. Washing ourselves properly following every call of nature
  4. Performing Wudhu calmly and gracefully prior to prayers
  5. Wearing clean and tidy clothes
  6. Checking ourselves for unpleasant odours
  7. Keeping our rooms filth-free
  8. Not leaving around left over food in our room
  9. Emptying our dustbins daily
  10. Keeping our dustbins closed
  11. Not littering outside our house
  12. Not throwing garbage on the roads

Blessed Food

Sunnah foodsOlive Oil

Allah says in Quran: “The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp; the lamp is within the glass, the glass as if it were a pearly (white) star lit of (the oil of) a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor west, whose oil would almost flow even if untouched by fire.” (An-Nur 24:35)

The Prophet (sa) said: “Eat Olive oil and rub yourselves with it; it is from a blessed tree.” (Ahmad)

Milk

Aisha (ra) narrated, “When Allah’s Messenger was brought some milk, he would say, ‘How much is there in the house, one blessing or two?'” (Ahmad and Ibn Majah)

The Black Seed

Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “A black seed has the cure for every ailment, except a fatal one.” (Ibn Majah)

Dates

The Prophet (sa) said: “He who eats seven ‘Ajwa dates every morning, will not be affected by poison or magic on the day he eats them.”(Bukhari)

Al-Qurtubi says: “On the surface, Ahadeeth specify the dates of Madinah as preventive of poison and witchcraft. A generalization of this is made by analogy with the specific meaning.” Ibn Hajar finds that, “The more likely meaning is that it is particular to the dates of Madinah.”

The Prophet (sa) said: “There is a tree among the trees which is similar to a Muslim (in goodness), and that is the date palm tree.” (Bukhari)

Truffle

The Prophet (sa) said: “Truffles are like Manna (i.e. they grow naturally without man’s care) and their water heals eye diseases.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Honey

In the Quran, our Lord inspired the bee, saying: “Take you habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in what they erect. Then, eat of all fruits, and follow the ways of your Lord made easy (for you).” There comes forth from their bellies, a drink of varying colour wherein is healing for men. Verily, in this is indeed a sign for people who think.” (An-Nahl 16:68-69)

Zamzam Water

Allah’s Messenger (sa) is reported to have drunk water of Zamzam in a number of true Ahadeeth. (Bukhari)

The Prophet (sa) drank Zamzam (water) while standing and said: “It is blessed. It is filling food.” (Muslim)

He also said: “Verily, it (the water of Zamzam) is blessed; it is a food that nourishes (or satisfies).” (Muslim)

In another narration the Prophet (sa) said: “The water of Zamzam is for whatever it is drunk for.” (Ibn Majah) Therefore, the scholars recommend that one should make lots of Dua while drinking the water of Zamzam and he should drink it for a purpose that will benefit him in this world and the next.

Nusaybah bint Kab (rta)

Naba Basar presents highlights from the heroic life of Nusaybah bint Kab (rta)

Not many women in the history of Islam can surpass the exemplary life of Nusaybah bint Kab (rta). She was one of two women, who traveled with seventy-three men to Makkah for pledging allegiance to the Prophet (sa). In complete obedience to the Prophet (sa), they pledged themselves also to Jihad. This historical meeting is known as the second pledge of al-Aqabah.

Nusaybah, known as Umm Imarah, was a pious and noble woman. She was also a daring and courageous fighter in the cause of Allah, and proved more than once to be truthful to her pledge.

Hearing that the army of Makkan pagans was moving towards Uhud, in order to take revenge for their heavy losses in the battle of Badr, the Prophet (sa) mobilized Muslim men of Madinah. Nusaybah (rta), with her husband and two sons, Abdullah and Habib, joined the fighters. She helped the wounded. As the battle raged and Muslims were close to being defeated, some Mujahideen began to flee, leaving the Prophet (sa) without protection. Seeing this, Nusaybah (rta) cut through the ranks of the enemy and fought fiercely.

During the battle, when the Prophet (sa) saw her without a shield and saw a man who was leaving the battlefield, carrying his shield. He (sa) asked him to surrender his shield to the one who was fighting. Nusaybah (rta) used that shield to protect the Messenger of Allah (sa).

Later, when one of her sons was wounded, during the battle of Uhud, and the blood would not stop. The Prophet (sa) asked him to bandage his wound. Nusaybah (rta) overheard this, while she was fighting. She came towards his son, carrying bandages. She then told him: ‘Get up, my son, and fight.’

A little while later, the man, who hit his son was coming their way, so the Prophet (sa) said: ‘Here is the man, who hit your son, O Umm Imarah.’ She went up to him, hit him in the leg, and left him kneeling on the ground. Prophet (sa) smiled so broadly that his molar teeth were showing and said: ‘You avenged yourself, Umm Imarah.’ The Prophet (sa) also said to her: ‘Praise is due to Allah, Who gave you victory over your enemy and satisfied you by showing you his death.'”

A few months later, when the call for another battle, Hamra-ul-Asad, was announced, Umm Imarah (rta) could not continue, because her earlier wound had got worse – she was bleeding profusely.

The battle of Uhud was not the only occasion, when Umm Imarah (rta) showed her bravery. She was among those, who gave the pledge to fight until martyrdom. She witnessed also the battle of Hunayn. When the Prophet (sa) passed away, Umm Imarah (rta) asked permission from Caliph Abu Bakr (rta) to join the army together with her two sons. He said: “We knew your bravery during the war – come on, in the name of Allah.”

She held her ground in the battlefield. Her son, Habib, fell prisoner to the enemy and was cut to pieces, organ by organ, until he died. Nusaybah (rta) returned from the war with twelve wounds, having lost her arm and her son.

Umm Imarah (rta) was a brave and true to her words woman, who holds a special place in the history of Islam.

Summer Fun For Everyone

Fun can mean different things to different people, and it differs across the globe.  Naba Basar shares delightful ways to have family fun this summer.

Many people think of ‘fun’ only in terms of Haram things or behaviours. It certainly does not have to be this way. Allah has made clear to us what is allowed and what is forbidden. In the following Ayah, He warns us:

“O you who believe! Make not unlawful the Taiyibat (all that is good as regards foods, things, deeds, beliefs, persons, etc.) that which Allah has made lawful to you, and transgress not. Verily, Allah does not like transgressors” (Al-Maidah 5:87).

FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

Indoor Games

When was the last time you played “Pictionary,” “Scrabble,” or “Checkers” together as a family? You may be surprised, how parents transform into kids, when they celebrate victories over their children.

On the Road

There are always interesting places we have never seen and yet others that we hold in special memories and would like to return to. A trip for performing Umra can become a great vacation. Field trips to farms and factories are not only fun but also educational.

Camping

Summer is a superb time for camping, both with family and friends. While pitching tents, building fires, fishing, boating, or hiking, nobody will find the time to get bored.

Conventions

Get on the ball and keep track of all the conventions and workshops. There are many to choose from. Select a few with the most interesting themes and plan ahead for attending them. Conventions are great for meeting new friends.

Libraries

Encourage imagination of your children by reading books to them. Check with your local library and sign up your kids for a summer reading program. During summer, most bookstores have sales, where you can buy books on cheaper rates. Your local library can also provide ideas for summertime activities within the city.

TEEN TIME

Biking

Dust off the bikes in the garage and find a path in a park. Organize competitions, hold races, or time the laps.

Bowling

An exciting and interesting way for teens to have fun. This activity works great for both small and large groups.

Cooking Dishes of Native Cuisines

An innovative way to learn about different parts of the world. Search for recipes online, in your local library, or at bookstores.

E-pals from Muslim Countries

In chat rooms, teens can find good Muslim e-pals. By making friendships all around the world, your children will expand their worldview and learn new languages. However, this activity does require the supervision of parents.

Community service

Volunteer your time and services to help out others in need and support. It is a great learning opportunity, which will strengthen the Deen of your children.

JUST FOR KIDS

Backyard Campouts

Let your children invite over their friends; grab a tent, some sleeping bags, and flashlights. Do not forget mosquito repellents!

Painting

You can prepare homemade finger-paints by mixing together soap flakes, water, and food colours.

Pet Detective

Teach your children to observe an animal or an insect for a day. Discuss with them the observations.

Islamic Timeline

Record the discoveries of Muslim scientists. This is an educational yet interesting project.

Zoos

Always a fun place to go to for seeing Allah’s creatures.

Museums and Art Galleries

Visits to museums and art galleries will allow your children to explore different cultures and to develop a taste for art.

Parks and Beaches

Take advantage of your local parks, playgrounds, beaches, and lakes. You can have picnics every week or every month.