Archive for the ‘Crimes and Misdemeanors’ Category

Is friendship between a man and a woman allowed in Islam?

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

This question is actually the second of three very related questions:

  1. Can a man talk to a woman whom he can legally marry (non-Mahram)?
  2. Can non-Mahram men and women be friends?
  3. Can a non-Mahram man and a non-Mahram woman be alone together?

The reason these three questions are related, and the reason this is an issue at all, is because of the intensity of the physical attraction between men and woman, which, if not controlled, almost certainly will lead to sex. Sex between men and women who are not married to each other is a major sin in Islam. The Quran calls it a debauchery and lists it as one of the very few offenses for which it has set a legal punishment.

To answer the third question above, the Prophet (PBUH) made it unambiguously clear that the answer is no. He said, as narrated by Ibn Abbaas (RA), “Let not a man be alone with a woman, except if with them is a Mahram (a man whom she cannot marry)”, authenticated and reported by both Al-Bukhaari and Muslim.

Why is that? After all, if people are respectful of each other and are God-conscious, they can be trusted not to engage in sin, right?

Wrong! The best people sin, because they’re human and because Satan has taken upon himself to seduce them into sin with whatever means available to him. You will hear people say, in justification of falling into the sin of fornication, “We did not plan this. It just happened!” They did not plan it, but it did not just happen! It was what was sure to happen.

To illustrate this point further, think of this parable. You are going to walk down Baker Street to get to a grocery store. I know that there is a great deal of construction work being done on Baker Street and that there are no warning signs. I know that even if you were careful where you step, you are almost certainly going to fall into one of the many holes there. If you decide to ignore my advice and take Baker Street anyway, and then fall in one of its pits, whom would you blame?

Therefore, if you can say with complete confidence that being face-to-face friends with a woman will never result in the two of you having sex outside matrimony, then the answer to the second question is yes!

But can you? The odds are against you.

If the friendship is not face to face, then the odds improve considerably. That is because a man is visually stimulated.

Bear in mind too that human emotions, such as love and loneliness, and desires, such as lust, often develop in an irrational way.

Similarly, we can answer the first question: if talking one-on-one to a woman will never lead to the two of them having sex, then the answer to that question is yes. Many scholars have ruled against it though, because they fear the worst, do not trust human nature, or simply to be on the safe side.

So, in summary, you can be friends with a woman whom you legally can marry if you can fulfill all of the following conditions:

  • Neither of you will ever engage in a suggestive dialog,
  • Neither of you will ever make an advance at the other, and
  • The two of you will never be alone together anywhere.

That being said, knowing human nature, especially if you are a young man, and knowing the constant whispering of Satan, the above conditions practically rule it out.

Was there once a “stoning verse”?

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Is there such thing as a “Verse of Rajm or stoning”? I read a hadith that says in Sahih Bukhari:
Volume 8, Book 82, Number 816 :

Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas:

‘Umar said, “I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, “We do not find the Verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Holy Book,” and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed. Lo! I confirm that the penalty of Rajam be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if he is already married and the crime is proved by witnesses or pregnancy or confession.” Sufyan added, “I have memorized this narration in this way.” ‘Umar added, “Surely Allah’s Apostle carried out the penalty of Rajam, and so did we after him.”

Is this hadith authentic?

And also, is it possible for a hadith to be authentic but still contradict the Glorious Quran? Thanks, and in no way did I mean to cause offence.

This hadeeth is problematic because it alleges that several verses were revealed but never recorded as part of the Quran. This is called Naskh in Islamic literature and is often, incorrectly IMHO, translated abrogation. This is a complex, and controversial, subject in Islamic literature, but if you’re interested to know more about it you can check out this discussion forum.

Because this hadeeth is reported in Al-Bukhaari (and Muslim’s) Hadeeth compilation books, regarded by all Sunni Muslims to be authentic sources, many scholars are adamant that there was once a stoning verse. The majority of them have opined that it was abrogated by 24:2, the only explicit verse that sets a penalty for adultery in an unambiguous, most emphatic language. There is no other penalty for adultery in Islam than what verse 24:2 states.

The subject of abrogation is perhaps the strangest subject you will ever read in the classic books of the Salaf. If you are interested in learning what has been said about the stoning verse and whether it was abrogated by 24:2 or abrogated it (!!), you may want to read this discussion topic.

To answer your last question, yes, a hadeeth can be rated authentic but still appear contradictory to the Quran. It’s not because the Prophet (PBUH) would contradict the Quran, but it’s because the hadeeth is either misunderstood or mistransmitted. Read some of the posts in categories Authentication and Abrogation for more details.

Buddhist killer pardoned by Muslim victim’s family

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Relatives of a Muslim Sri Lankan worker murdered by his Buddhist colleague in the country of Abu Dhabi told court they have decided to pardon the killer.

An official from the Sri Lankan embassy in Abu Dhabi handed the pardon document from the victim’s relatives to court on Tuesday, the semi-official Arabic language daily Alittihad newspaper said.

“They just pardoned the Buddhist killer without demanding any diya (punitive damages) taking into consideration that the killer’s family is poor,” it said.

Source: Americans Against Islamophobia

Few people know this, but in Sharee`a (Islamic law), when a killer is convicted in a court of law, it is not up to the judge to issue a sentence! The judge is obliged to give the victim’s family one of three choices of sentence to make: (1) Pardon the killer, (2) Take punitive damages, or (3) Execute. The judge is also obliged to explain to the victim’s family why they may consider a non-terminal sentence.

Ah, if only people would know the true Sharee`a instead of the propaganda Sharia.

About bullying

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

What does the Quran and Sunnah say about bullying? This is a big issue in schools lately with kids killing themselves for many reasons. What does Islam say about this, because I care alot alot about trying to pervent bullying. Thanks!

Bullying is strictly prohibited by the Quran and the Sunna. God says in the holy Quran,

“O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other [offensive] names. How wretched an attribute is deviance after faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.
O you who have believed, avoid much of [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother dead? You would detest it. And watch for God; verily, God is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.” (49:11-12)

In those verses, God calls a believer who engages in bullying and the other obnoxious acts mentioned in the verse, God calls such a believer a deviant! And he calls him or her to repent at once, or count themselves among the wrongdoers!

If any believer entertains the thought that bullying is cool, or will give them importance they badly crave, or that it demonstrates his or her virility, those verses ought to scare the daylights out of them.

The Prophet (PBUH) said in an authentic hadeeth, “A Muslim is the brother of every other Muslim; he does not wrong him, he does not fail him and he does not demean him… It is enough evil for anyone that he demeans his Muslim brother…The whole of a Muslim is forbidden to another Muslim: his blood, his property and his honor.” Narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Muslim.

Did you notice the words, “It is enough evil for anyone?” Make no mistake about it; bullying is evil and as such must be fought by authorities, from teachers and principals to law enforcement. It is also something that must be repelled by the bullied, in self defense. Words can hurt as badly as weapons, or worse, since their effect can last a lifetime. It is truly a sad state of affairs that in the West, especially in the US, bullying is tolerated, considered masculine or assumed to be normal as in “boys will be boys.” Educators who believe that, put up with it or turn a blind eye to it are derelict in their primary obligation: Raising well adjusted, productive citizens.

Bullies will also see the consequences of their bullying in the Hereafter, when it will be too late to mend their ways. God says in the holy Quran,

“Indeed, those who committed crimes used to laugh at those who believed.
And when they passed by them, they would exchange derisive glances.
And when they returned to their people, they would return jesting.
And when they saw them, they would say, “Indeed, those are truly lost.”
But they had not been sent as guardians over them!
So Today, those who believed are laughing at the disbelievers,
On adorned couches, observing.
Have the disbelievers been “rewarded” for what they used to do?” (83:29-36)

Notice how God first calls them criminals (in this life) then disbelievers (in the Hereafter)? And He mocks them by saying that they will be “rewarded” for their bullying in the Hereafter, just like they mocked others in this life?

Can I travel alone?

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Asalamu alaikum, brother! So good to finally get in contact with you alhamdulela. I left the forum that you used to post on after you. I couldn’t find anything worth reading so I’m here on your blog now. 🙂

I have a question. My parents have a great issue with me traveling on my own. I am now 21 years old and have not been anywhere on my own for more than a day. Now that I’m graduating inshaa Allah and would like to continue my studies perhaps abroad, I’m finding it very hard convincing them to let me go on a leisure trip let alone to another country! In my opinion and although they say it is because I’m without a mahram, I think this is more culture than Islamically. So I need to prove that I don’t need a mahram so they would have no excuse inshaa Allah!

JazakAllah khairan! 🙂

Welcome to the blog, sister. It’s good to hear from you again. I enjoyed reading your posts on that forum.

The issue of women traveling alone is more than culture or tradition. Many of the hadeeths that forbid it are authentic, narrated by Ibn Umar, Abu-Sa`eed Al-Khudri and Ibn Abbaas and reported by Al-Bukhaari. These hadeeths all say that a woman may not travel by herself, only with a mahram (chaperon) if the trip will take two or more days of walking.

Why is that? To answer this question, one needs to picture Arabia in the Seventh Century. Traveling between any two points was hazardous even for men, but at least men carried their swords and could defend themselves from thieves and thugs along the uncharted roads. How could any woman by herself?

That is the contingency of the hadeeths. If there are no risks to a woman’s dignity or property while traveling by herself, then the hadeeths do not apply.

Can such assurance be made today? While there will always be some risk, because there are always thugs and rapists out there, one has to admit that the risk has become much less than it was in Seventh Century Arabia. Airports and airplanes are packed with security. There are police officers in every town. Roads are well lit.

And nowadays, there are many ways a woman can defend herself. I always recommend to whomever asks me that a woman carries in her handbag defensive weapons, such as mace, pepper spray or “shriek alarms” and learn martial arts techniques.

If you are going to travel abroad, learn all you can about the crime rate where you will be living and seriously take precautions, passive and active. Passive precautions are things like not going out at night, always closing doors and windows after dark, etc.

Your parents will be constantly worried about you while you’re abroad, so stay in touch with them. Modern technologies and communications make this easy. Get them cell phones with webcams if they don’t have them already and call them daily so that they can see and hear you and know that you’re doing well and are safe.

Is Sharia law cruel?

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

I am a peace-loving person by nature. I simply hate, hate, HATE violence. I can’t stand it. I can’t watch gory things. I know Islam is peaceful. But people have told me that I’m so brainwashed that I can’t understand that Shariah Law is really not the right thing. Please note that I’m not saying Shariah Law isn’t the right thing, I’m just confused at what my feelings are.

I’ll get down to the questions. Please understand however, that these questions are of curious nature, and not to offend people or try to refute Islam. I’m simply keeping an open mind when asking so I can answer others and so I can be contented; I’m asking it the way others have asked so blatantly, so it’s more relatable. Forgive me Allah, if I have transgressed.

Bless your heart, sister. There is no sin in asking. When God Almighty told the angels that He was about to create Adam, they asked why! They said,
“Will you put in it (the earth) whom will corrupt in it and shed blood?” (2:30)

God did not chastise them. He simply told them that He knows what they do not.

Dr. Jeffrey Lang put it well in the title of one of his excellent books, “Even Angels Ask.”

1) Why does Shariah Law have to be torture before death?/Painful death?/Death in a very painful way?

The only penalty that involves pain before death is crucifixion for Hiraaba (terrorism), as stated in 5:33. Terrorists do not deserve any mercy. The pain they cause their innocent victims deserves to be returned likewise. You do not have to watch the crucifixion of terrorists, but only to know that they have been justly punished.

2)Why does Islam practice an ‘eye-for-an-eye’ in these matters? Isn’t that a vengeful way out? Forgiveness in Islam was also heavily emphasized. I would think that a hurt family member would have wanted the killer killed.

Family members of a murder victim are offered three choices: (a) kill the convicted murderer, (b) take a ransom, or (c) pardon the murderer. That is Sharia law. The choice is not the judge’s or the jury’s, it’s the murder victim’s family’s. This makes provision for families who are unable to forgive. It also makes provision for families who will benefit more from punitive damages. It also does not leave out the pardon option you are looking for.

3)I’ve heard the church burnings of before were done to save the burning person from the even more dangerous “fires of Hell.” And then they say Islam wants the accused to be saved from an even greater danger (Hell), which is why the rapist for example, has to be set to death.

Nonsense. Rape is terrorism and adultery combined. The punishment for terrorism is one of four, as clearly stated in the Hiraaba verse, (5:33): (a) Killing, (b) crucifixion, (c) severing a hand and a foot on opposite sides, or (d) permanent deportation. The choice is left to the judge and is based on the severity of the crime. If the punishment for a rapist was death, that does not mean he is saved from Hell. That is God’s decision to make.

4)Why are apostates killed? Freedom of religion is emphasized in Islam, so why is there an apostasy rule? There are answers in my head, but I still can’t comprehend it.

They are not. This is one of the misconceptions about Sharia. There is no punishment for apostasy. See the posts in the Apostasy category for details. You are right; freedom of religion is guaranteed in Islam and mandated by God in the Quran.

5)Islam cannot change its rules. I accept Shariah Law, I guess, but it’s easier said than done. If I saw it with my own eyes, being carried out, I’m very scared of what will happen to my faith. Any way of understanding the wisdom behind Shariah Law?

Don’t see it. Most people are like you. The few penalties in Sharia that are tough are tough for the reasons I mentioned above. The punishment must suit the crime and there must be a visual deterrent to potential criminals who do witness a penalty carried out.

6)What does “stoning” mean?

It means throwing stones at someone until he or she dies. It is a Jewish custom that crept into Muslim society and it has no basis in Islam. It is another misconception about Sharia. Read this post for details, also check out the Misconceptions and Islamophobia categories, where many of your concerns are discussed and clarified. There is a lot of misunderstanding, even among Muslims, of what Sharia includes and doesn’t include.

7)Why doesn’t Islam offer rehabilitation for homosexuals? I’m not making my own rules, btw. Why is it stoning instead? What is the validity of this:

“Maududi vol. 2, p. 52, note 68):

. . . Ibn Abbas ruled that they be thrown headlong from the highest summit.”

The punishment in Islam for male homosexuality is discipline, not death, as clearly stated in 4:16. Any fatwa saying otherwise is in contradiction to the Quran, and therefore must not be considered. In fact, rehabilitation for homosexuals is precisely what the Quran encourages. In 4:15, God says that female homosexuals are to live under house arrest “until God makes for them a way out” (4:15). The house arrest gives rehab a chance. It also saves the women’s dignity and privacy and saves their families honor. Many exegetes have interpreted the “way out” as proper marriage. As for male homosexuals, 4:16 clearly states that if the two men repent and reform, then Muslims must not bother them anymore. That’s rehab, isn’t it? And it’s a far cry from killing them, wouldn’t you say?

Please understand that it is not my intention to mislead or offend, nau’uzubillah (seeking refuge in God from such). I myself have no proper knowledge on this matter. I believe in Islam; it has far too clear a message to ignore. I am trying to learn, since a lot of websites do not explain this matter satisfactorily to me. They don’t give proper reasons, therefore this doubt lingers on. May Allah Forgive me if I’ve said anything wrong.

Don’t stay in doubt and don’t settle for bad or half answers. I hope that you read my humble answer and that it is clear enough for you. Islam and its Sharia are innocent from the lousy interpretations Muslims and others have made of it.

What is the penalty for accidental killing?

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

I assure you this did not happen. I’m asking so that I’d know what to do if something like it ever happens to me.

Suppose I was walking down the street carrying groceries and a man grabs the bag from my hand and runs up the street. I run after him but he is faster than me so I grab a rock and throw it hoping to stop him. The rock hits his leg and trips him. He falls and hits his head on the cement and dies instantly.

My question is am I accountable for his death? Would it be considered self defense or murder? Obviously it was not intentional on my part to kill him. I was only trying to make him stop or at the very least drop my groceries but things went bad. What does Islam say about this situation?

This is called in Sharia ضرب أفضى إلى موت (a beating that resulted in death), which was translated in English common law as “man slaughter.” If a judge determines in court that the death was truly accidental, there are punitive damages. But if the defendent cannot afford the punitive damages, then there is religious penance. God explains all that in the holy Quran,

“And never is it for a believer to kill a believer except by mistake. And whoever kills a believer by mistake – then the freeing of a believing slave and a compensation payment presented to the deceased’s family [is required] unless they give [up their right as] charity. But if the deceased was from a people at war with you and he was a believer -then [only] the freeing of a believing slave; and if he was from a people with whom you have a treaty – then a compensation payment presented to his family and the freeing of a believing slave. And whoever does not have [neither] – then [instead], a fast for two months consecutively, [seeking] acceptance of repentance from God. And God is ever Knowing and Wise. ” (4:92)

The Quran tells us the story of Moses and how he hit that man and accidently killed him

Great observation. This is told in verse 28:15. You will notice that nowhere in the Quran does God tell us that Moses was punished for it or was supposed to be punished for it. Moses must have done the penance mentioned in 4:92, peace be upon him.