Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

Riba (usury), prohibition vs dubious easements! 

March 13, 2020

“Those who devour riba will stand, on judgment day, like those driven to madness by a touch of the evil. That is because they say “trade is just like usury”. But Allah has permitted trade and forbidden usury. Whosoever, after receiving a warning from their lord, refrains may keep their previous gains, and their case is left to Allah. As for those who persist [in devouring riba], their abode will be hellfire. They will remain there forever. (Q, 2:275)

 

PREFACE.

In my view, in the above verse and other verses on the topic, there is no ambiguity; which may lead one to any confusion, that business transactions within the parameters delineated by the Prophet, are unequivocally permissible (except recent innovative/circumventive dubious transactions). Riba/usury, however, in whatever type or form (discussed in detail in the proceeding paras) is unequivocally forbidden. I strongly disagree with the currently in vogue innovative-easements; justifying the riba/interest drenched transactions, under the guise of “lease-purchase and loaning/financing in the name of murabaha”. 

I also disagree with the blatantly adduced assumption that “taking interest is forbidden but not giving” It contravenes an implied Qura’anic injunction; of not giving an increased amount on loaned money (Q, 30:39). This assumption is not only illogical but also negates the “duality of creation” (rule), affirmed in the Holy Qura’an.  These innovatively crafted-distortions do not fit the doctrine of Maslahah” as well. Terms of the loans in the Islamic financing are inevitably dictated by the “creditor” and not by the “debtor”, as enjoined in the Qura’an [Q, 2:282]

“And of everything We have created pairs: That ye may receive instruction” (Q, 51:49) {Pair may be ln a tangible form, in an intangible or conceptual form; such as—man/woman, day/night, taking/giving or good/bad, etc.}

“He to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth: no son has He begotten, nor has a partner in His Kingdom. He created everything and ordered them in due proportions” (Q, 25:2)

{Singularity (Monotheism) is exclusively Allah’s attribute; nothing else, could/would exist in singularity} Nauzubillah! 

 

Notes: appearing at the end of certain points, in the proceeding paragraphs, is the point of view of the author.

 

Riba was prohibited gradually in four stages via                                                                Q, 30:39, 4:161, 130:132 & 2:282.

Kinds of riba

Islamic discourse identifies three different types of riba: 1) riba al-Fadl (primarily related to sales transactions), 2) riba al-Nasiya (sales or debt involving deferment) and a variation of the previous two, 3) riba al-Jahliyyah.

Riba Al-Fadl is the excess over and above the loan paid in kind.  It lies in the payment of an addition by the debtor to the creditor in exchange for commodities of the same kind. The Shari’ah wishes to eliminate not merely the exploitation that is intrinsic in the institution of interest, but also that which is inherent in all forms of unjust exchange in business transactions.

Riba Al-Nasi’ah refers to the interest on loans; its prohibition essentially implies that the fixing in advance of a positive return on a loan as a reward for waiting is not permitted in Islam.

Riba Al-Jahiliyyah when a buyer/borrower did not pay his due after the stipulated time, the seller/lender would increase the price, and thus a higher principal amount, sometimes doubled (or more), would be imposed.

According to Ibn Abbas, one of the major companions of the Prophet and earliest of the Islamic jurists, and few other companions (Usama ibn Zayd, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’udUrwa ibn Zubayr, Zayd ibn Arqam) “considered that the only unlawful riba is riba al-jahiliyyah.” (No textual/hadithic authority/basis cited)

 

Muhammad Nezatullah Siddiqi. In his book Riba, Bank Interest, and The Rationale of Its Prohibition [p. 41], offers a thorough work explicating the rationales of the prohibition of bank interests, and lists the following reasons justifying its prohibition: 1. Riba corrupts society. 2. Riba implies the improper appropriation of other people’s property. 3. Riba’s ultimate effect is negative growth. 4. Riba demeans and diminishes human personality. 5. Riba is unjust.

{These arguments are objectively scrutinized hereunder}.

 1) Riba corrupts society! 

Corruption studies or corruption-related literature does not identify interest anywhere as one of the determinants of corruption. Indeed, most of the Muslim-majority countries rank high in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI).11 

Siddiqi’s flawed logic can be identified by simply examining his first point – that riba corrupts society. While riba-based transactions are unjust and thus may have corrupting influence on society, but the corruption studies or corruption-related literature does not identify interest anywhere as one of the determinants of corruption. Indeed, most of the Muslim-majority countries rank high in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI).11 But corruption-related studies relating to these countries done by either non-Muslims or Muslims have never identified interest as one such determinant of corruption.

As we will see, Siddiqi’s enumeration is generally not much different from the earlier ones by Abul Ala’ Mawdudi and Dr. Yousuf Ali-Qaradawi (using Al-Razi’s arguments ad verbatim) and is as polemical as well as empirically unsubstantiated and untestable as ever. Only one rationale is identifiable from the Qur’an: exploitation/injustice (zulm): “If you do it not, Take notice of war from Allah and His Messenger: But if you turn back, you shall have your capital sums: Deal not unjustly, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly.” [la tazlimoona wa la tuzlamoon; [Q, 2:279] Hadith: – (Prophetic narrations) also does not provide in this context any specific rationale other than what is identified in the Qur’an.

Note: – 1) It does not, by any mean, means that CPI index or corruption-related studies absolve “riba” of its implications or represents an Islamic perspective in any contextual sense. Riba simply was not taken into account as a consideration. 

2) Injunctive (hukmi) verses, at times, may not necessitate any explanations, for these are/maybe above and beyond the scope of human reasoning and logic.

 

[In terms of the use of riba, Sudan is the strictest and Malaysia the most liberal state]

 

2) Improper appropriation of other people’s property.

Charging/taking an interest, here, implies appropriating another person’s property without giving him anything in exchange because one who lends one dollar for two dollars gets the extra dollar for nothing. Now, a man’s property is for (the purpose of) fulfilling his needs and it has great sanctity. According to the hadith, ‘A man’s property is as sacred as his blood.’ This means that taking it from him without giving him something in exchange is haram. [p. 265]

One can argue that, in trade, taking something from someone without giving something in exchange is haram (prohibited). However, the argument is misleading and erroneous. When a non-charitable transaction is involved, both the parties know what the lending and borrowing entail. The borrower is borrowing for some commercial or personal benefit and the lender is lending for-profit motive. In such a non-charitable context, the lender is giving up or foregoing the purchasing power for a specific period. In other words, the lender is “renting out” the purchasing power of his/her capital for a specific period at a cost; interest here constitutes “rent” that is paid by the borrower. The lender is getting paid (interest) for foregoing something; it is not something for nothing but quid pro quo!

Note: {Islam, in the first place, does not espouse the concept of non-charitable-loaning but charitable one—Qarzhasanathat may be administered by the state from the “Sadaqat” collected. Allah will destroy Riba (usury) and will grant increase, for Sadaqat..}     (Q, 2:276)

 

Time-value of money in Islam!

Islamic economics/finance literature generally denies that Islam recognizes the time value of money. [El-Gamal 2000, quoting Mawdudi and Al-Sadr]. “[I] in Shari’ah, there is no concept of the time value of money.” [Usmani, p. xvi] Some authors think that the time value of money as relating to sales (deferred sales, to be specific) is allowed in Islam, but that it is not the same kind of time value of money as in case of loans. [Saadallah; M. Akram Khan cited in Vogel and Hayes, p. 202] Others even suggest that there should not be any profit-motive on the part of Muslims, seeking service from Islamic Banks. Although, its equivalent is found in Murabaha, cost-plus financing in purchase and resale. It has been conveniently ignored that accepting the time value of money logically leads to the acceptance of interest. [Saeed, p. 95]

Note; 1) -It may be due to the reason that; the time is created and determined (finite); relevant only to the temporal realm, whereas the recompense for use/misuse of money is indeterminable (at, this stage; i.e. temporal level) and relevant to the non-local domain only.  The time-value of money, in the charitable transactions, therefore, would render utterly irrelevant!

2) – The question of the distinction between the nominal-value and the real value of money, due to inflation, has also not been addressed in Islamic economic literature. At present, there is no economy “without-inflation” {Inflation, in my view, is a derivative of the flawed global economic system; whereby mostly the investors and/or the manufacturers benefit; reflected in different countries at different levels, representing overall state of economy} 

 

3 & 4) Riba’s ultimate effect is negative growth. & Riba demeans human personality.

Supporting arguments.

Dependence on interest prevents people from working to earn money, since the person with dollars can earn extra dollars through interest, either in advance or at a later date, without working for it. The value of work will consequently be reduced in his estimation, and he will not bother to take the trouble of running a business or risking his money in trade or industry. This will lead to depriving people of benefits, and the business of the world cannot go on without industries, trade and commerce, building and construction, all of which need capital at risk. (This, from an economic point of view, is unquestionably a weighty argument.) [p. 265]

Counter arguments.

In modern times, commercial lending and borrowing usually do not take place involving an individual lender at a personal level. Rather, there are lending institutions that mobilize savings from individual and institutional savers/depositors and channel such savings to the borrowers. The lending institutions have to work hard to solicit and pool the savings. They also employ people for the purpose.

The primary source of banks’ lending is savings and demand deposits of the depositors. Demand deposits come from people of all sorts, irrespective of their financial status. A good part of the savers; who use a bank as a source of quick and safe-return instead of risky and arduous stocks and bonds markets are usually risk-averse, older and/or retired people. They want quick access to their savings with a guaranteed return on it. This class of savers consists of people of all ages and financial backgrounds – wealthy and not-so-wealthy, young and older/retired. Indeed, these people can’t be expected/forced to engage in risky investments or laborious-works to seek “earned” income!

 

5) Riba is Unjust.

Supporting Arguments: –

Permitting the taking of interest discourages people from doing good to one another, as is required by Islam. If interest is prohibited in a society, people will lend to each other with goodwill, expecting back no more than what they have loaned, while if interest is made permissible the needy person will be required to pay back more on loans (than he has borrowed), weakening his feelings of goodwill and friendliness toward the lender. (This is the moral aspect of the prohibition of interest.). [p. 266] 

Counter-arguments: –

This whole argument is contrary to the profit-motive, recognized in Islam. Unless we are talking about charities, these arguments would be misplaced and erroneous. This would also imply that people in interest-based societies have lesser goodwill toward others and may not be engaged in enough charitable acts. Is there any empirical corroboration behind such comparative observation?

Note; – [ In my view both, the pro and against, arguments are flimsy at the best. Profit motive sanctioned in Islam is through business dealings not through money-lending for a pre-determined period and profit. Islam, as mentioned earlier, does not espouse non-charitable lending]

 

Some [al-maslaha-al-mursala based] opinions/fatawa; issued by earlier religious figures are being vehemently propagated by some present religious figures with unabashed assertiveness. 

 

The point, a bone of contention; that has divided Muslim scholars is, whether riba (usury) and bank interest are to be considered the same/equivalent or distinct?

 

Equivalence Proponents.

One body of scholarly opinion defines riba to include not only interest but also transactions involving speculation, capital gains, monopoly, hoarding, and absentee rents, in other words, any appropriation of value for which an acceptable counter value is not forthcoming. The reader can easily read through and conceptualize the implications of using more and more restrictive definitions, in the limit (to borrow a mathematic term) equating riba simply with interest.

 

“All the schools of thoughts of Muslim jurisprudence hold the unanimous view that riba, usury and interest are strictly prohibited.” [Siddiqui, p. 15] Also see, Mabid Ali Al-Jarhi and Munawar Iqbal. “Islamic Banking: Answers to Some Frequently Asked Questions,” Islamic Development Bank, Occasional Paper No. 4, 2001. http://irtipms.iskandertech.com/OpenSave.asp?pub=92.pdf; Tariq Talib al-Anjari. “Islamic Economics and Banking,” http://islamic-world.net/economics/economic_banking_01.htm;

“The renowned Islamic scholar Dr. Yusuf Ali Qaradawi holds that the question of prohibition of interest is a settled issue and that ‘there is no provision left in it for any reformist to re-interpret and provide an excuse for stating anything otherwise’. He states that it is ‘an issue which has withstood the test of consensus (Ijmah) of ummah of the present day as well as of the past’.” [ Syed Thanvir Ahmed. “Attempt to Justify Interest an Exercise in futility,” http://www.islamicvoice.com/april.99/economy.htm.]

Abul Ala’ Mauwdudi defines riba as the amount that a lender receives from the borrower at a fixed rate of interest. {for a fixed time and transaction contingent on the excess on the principal}. The transaction would be usurious whether it is for productive-investment or private needs.[Mawdudi, 1997;164] The most explicit report of the Council of Islamic ideology (CII) says: “There is complete unanimity in all schools of thoughts in Islam that the term “riba” stands for interest in all its types and forms”

 

Non-Equivalence Proponents

Those who have argued against this equation, the Non-Equivalence School [Ahmed, p. 28], have not made their arguments in clear and convincing terms so that the common Muslims can decide for themselves. Thus, this discourse needs to continue more vigorously and engagingly.

Note: In my view, as also enunciated in the preface, verse 30:39 categorically settles the issue of non-equivalence of usury, riba or interest by stating “whatever you give in addition to loan amount”, is riba. Supported by a hadith narrated by Jabir, mentioned in Muslim and Tirmazi“Prophet cursed the receiver and payer of the riba, recorder and witnesses to the transaction. And said they are all alike” (in sinfulness)

 

Interest-free economies

Since there has not been any true interest-free, modern Islamic economy and a few places where it is being attempted, the Islamic financial institutions (IFI hereafter), are moving rather closer to the conventional banking practices.

Note: – Use of Interest regime (to control the demand and supply of the funds/liquidity levels; which in turn determines the cost of borrowing; seldom yields the desired results, due to several other factors at play) is the chief catalyst in the volatility of the world’s, almost all, interest-based economies! [Although the man-made  economic management system has gained a high level of sophistication, yet lacks the precision]

 

The primary source of an Islamic Economic system is the Holy Qura’an and Sunnah. Secondary sources include the followings: –

Ijtihad: – True Ijtihad is both the source and the legal instrument that allows a dynamism to be set in motion at the heart of Islamic law and jurisprudence—closely linked with Qura’an and Sunnah.

Ijmaa (Consensus): In its technical dimension, Ijmaa means the agreement of all competent jurists in any particular generation, acting as representatives of the community on a point of law. In practice, the Ijmaa acts as proof if there is no element of the Qur’an or the Sunna that makes it possible to decide on a case, and could in principle elevate a ruling based on probable evidence to absolute certainty.

Qiyas (Analogical reasoning): this technique consists of assigning, based on a common underlying characteristic, the legal ruling of an existing case found in the texts of the Qur’an, Sunnah and/or Ijmaa, to a new case whose legal ruling could not be deduced directly from the scripture and/or Sunnah. This ruling nevertheless ought to remain within the confines and spirit of the primary sources of Islamic law.

 

Misuse of the concept “IJMA’A”

It has been a common practice among Muslim scholars and jurisprudents to claim consensus (ijma) about almost anything they have given their juristic opinion on. The very use of the word ijma inspires awe among faithful Muslims. However, the existence of multiple schools of jurisprudence (fiqh) is not evidence of consensus, but the lack of it.

The reality is that there is not even a consensus on the definition of ijma.  Indeed, it is reported that Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, founder of one of the four orthodox schools (madhab) made a general assertion: “Whoever claims consensus is a liar.

Note; – The concepts, of hire-purchase and lending under Murabaha, seem to fall in the same category; for there are many scholars and Islamic Financial institutions, voicing against these financing modes.

 

Foundational work; a springboard for the current deviant practices, under the guise of Islamic Financing!

 

In the 1930s, Syrian scholar Marouf al-Daoualibi suggested that the Qur’an bans interest only on consumption loans, not investment loans, and in the 1940s Egyptian jurist, Al-Sanhuri argued that the Qur’an sought chiefly to ban interest on interest. A more extreme and recent example is the opinion of the mufti of Egypt, Shaykh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, who in 1989 declared that interest on certain interest-based government investments was not forbidden riba (because the gain is little different from the sharing of the government’s profits from use of the funds or because the bank deposit contract is novel), thus joining the thin ranks of prominent religious figures who have issued fatawa declaring clear interest practices permissible. This fatwa aroused a storm of controversy, with opposition from nearly all traditional religious scholars and warm praise from secular modernizers. Later he went even further, saying that interest-bearing bank deposits are perfectly Islamic, and more so than ‘Islamic’ accounts that impose disadvantageous terms on the customer. Laws should change the legal terminology used for bank interest and bank accounts to clarify their freedom from the stigma of riba. [Vogel and Hayes, p. 46]

 

Fatwa for sale

Owen Matthews, “How the West Came to Run Islamic Banks”, Newsweek [October 31, 2005] While the evolved orthodox position about riba was not necessarily tainted by worldly considerations, the contemporary IBF discourse does note “the debate on ‘fatwas for sale” … fatwa wars”, etc. [Warde, p. 227] It is important to note that the classical orthodox position revolved around riba and the modern, contemporary discourse revolves around not merely riba, but a riba-interest equation. The contemporary Shari’ah experts serving the IBF industry hardly have anything to say about the political tyranny, or concentration of wealth, involving the patrons of the IBF movement. [IBF—Islamic Banking and Finance].

 

Islamic Financial Instruments include: MusharkahMudarabahMurabahaMusawamah, Salam,Istisna’aTawarruqIjarah and Qard Hasana.    [Only the relevant financial instruments are discussed in detail]

 

Arguments against lease-purchase/lending.

According to Yousef, “the predominance of the murabaha represents a challenge to the very notion that Islamic finance would provide an alternative to interest-based conventional financial systems.” [p. 64] Siddiqi went much further to warn the Islamic finance industry: … we cannot claim, for an interest-free alternative not based on sharing, the superiority which could be claimed based on profit-sharing. What is worse, if the alternative in practice is built around predetermined rates of return to investible funds, it would be exposed to the same criticism which was directed at interest as a fixed charge on capital. 

 

It so happens that the returns on finance provided in the modes of finance based on murabaha, bay’ salamleasing and lending with a service charge, are all predetermined as in the case of interest. Some of these modes of finance are said to contain some elements of risk, but all these risks are insurable and are insured against. The uncertainty or risk to which the business being so financed is exposed is fully passed over to the other party. A financial system built solely around these modes of financing can hardly claim superiority over an interest-based system on grounds of equity, efficiency, stability and growth. [Siddiqi, 1983, p. 52]

 

It is noteworthy that, contrary to the popular perception of the believing Muslims, Murabaha, (leasing and lending), may not be, as generally claimed, quite Shari’ah-compliant. It is heavily criticized or repudiated by many Islamic scholars and by some Islamic financial institutions.

 

Why Western Institutions are swarming Islamic Banking?

Western interest in “interest-free” banking, is not because the West is convinced about the claimed superiority of Islamic finance/banking in general, and Islamic financial products in particular; but because they don’t find any substantive difference between conventional banking and the current practices of Islamic banking, which have shifted away from profit-loss sharing (PLS)/Risk-sharing-based transactions to Murabaha. It is a vast untapped lucrative market for them, with a clear edge in terms of credibility, experience and capitalization. These banks have found Mudaraba and Musharaka to be inoperable in the modern context. [Saeed, chapter “Murabaha Financing Mechanism,” pp. 76-95; Aggarwal and Yousef, p. 106; Vogel and Hayes, p. 7] Thus, they quietly disengaged themselves from risk-sharing, Musharaka and Mudaraba modes and engaged in Murabaha, instead.

 

Application of the Doctrine of Maslaha.

Maslaha is a very specific concept—in its definition, its levels, its types, and its conditions require that the ulama (religious scholars) constantly refer back to the revealed sources to be able to formulate judgments in conformity with the Qura’an and Sunnah, even when there is no specifically relevant text available. They must try—by carrying out a thorough and detailed study–to provide Muslims with (common good) new banking and financial instruments, guided by Islamic principles and in conformity with Sharia’a.

Presently, this concept is being used and also abused to justify all sorts of new fatawaeven some manifestly in contradiction with obvious proofs from the Qura’an and the Sunna, as in the case of rules concerning interest (riba), inheritance and lending under Murabaha.

Note: [A glaring example of “Tufian” approach, appearing below]

Imam Malik referred to the notion of istislah, which meant “to seek the good.” In his legal research, he, therefore, used the example of the companions—who formulated numerous legal decisions in the light of the common good while respecting the corpus of the sources—to justify the fact that “to seek the good” (istislah) is one of the fundamentals of the Sharia and so is part of it.

It is, however, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali who, with his strict codification, provided the clearest framework for tackling this question from his time to the present. In his Al-mustasfa min ilm al-usul, he states very precisely: “In its essential meaning, al-maslaha is a term which means to seek something beneficial [manfaa] or avoid something harmful [madarra].

What we mean by maslaha is the preservation of the objective [maqasid] of the Law [shar], which consists of five things: the protection of religion, life, intellect, lineage, and property. Whatever ensures the protection of these five principles [usul] is maslahawhatever goes against their protection is mafsada, and to avoid it is maslaha”.

Al-Ghazali, still referring to the broad meaning of maslaha, mentions three different types: al-daruriyyat (the imperative), a category which has to do with the five elements of maqasid al-sharia (here in the sense of the objectives of the Law) listed earlier; al-hajiyyat (the necessary, the complimentary), which has to do with the prevention of anything that could be a source of difficulty in the life of the community, without leading to death or destruction; and finally al-tahsiniyyat and al-kamaliyyat (the enhancing and the perfecting)*1, which concern anything that may bring about an improvement in religious practice. These three levels cover all that can be considered as the masali (common good) of the human being considered as a person and as a worshipper of God, and this categorization was hardly ever questioned in debate and polemic.

*1 {The only point which could be cited, while ignoring all other parameters, vaguely favoring financing under murabaha}

Ulama established a typology based on the degree of proximity of al-maslaha to the sources. If al-maslaha is based on textual evidence (i.e., a quotation from the Qur’an or the Sunna), it is called maslaha mutabara (accredited), and it must necessarily be taken into account. If, on the other hand, the maslaha invoked is contradictory to an undisputed text (nass qati), it is called mulgha (discredited) and cannot be taken into account. The third type occurs when there is no text: the Qura’an and the Sunna do neither confirm nor reject a maslaha that became apparent after the age of Revelation. A maslaha of this type is call mursala (undetermined), for it allows the “Ulama” to use their judgment and personal reasoning to formulate a legal decision in the light of the historical and geographical context; using their best efforts to remain faithful to the commandments and to the “ letter and spirit” of the law.

 

It is this last type that has given rise to much debate and polemic (the analysis is beyond the scope of this study). Suffice it to say here that the main cause of disagreement was the fear, on the part of those opposed to the very concept of al-maslaha al-mursala, that such a notion, with such broad scope, might then allow the ulama to formulate regulations without reference to the Qur’an and the Sunna based on exclusively rational and completely free reasoning, all in the name of a remote hardship or “an anticipated difficulty  Most ZahiriteShafaiite and Malikite ulema did not recognize al-maslaha-al-mursala, for it does not refer back to the sources—as a legal proof; they saw it as a specious (Wahmiyya) proof.

 

This was the very same instinctive fear in an approach that is although purely rational but disconnected with the Law; that pushed Al-Ghazali to restrict work on al-maslaha to the area of the application of qiyas (analogy), which, of its nature, requires a close link with the text for the deduction of the cause (illa) on which analogical reasoning rests.

Note: – Hire-purchase and lending under Murabaha, therefore, contravenes the second rule of maslaha as well as the third rule, by not fulfilling the “referring back to the source” requisite. Hence being spurious (whamiyya) in nature, becomes clearly impermissible!

 

Famous fourteenth-century Hanbali jurist–Najm al-Din al-Tufi– ended up giving al-maslaha priority over texts from the Qur’an and the Sunna; which, according to him, should be applied, according to Mahmasani, only–“to the extent that the common good does not require anything else” 

 

Currently, we see very strange “modern Islamic legal decisions” based on “modern maslaha-al-mursala” that are manifestly contradictory to the sources. The misuse of al-maslaha al-mursala thus sometimes seems to justify the strangest behavior, as well as the most obscure commercial dealings, financial commitments, and banking investments, under the pretext that they protect, or could or should protect, “the common good.”

 

Common good 

Famous 14th Century renowned scholar of Grenada, Al-Shitabi, first of the proponents of the doctrine of al-maslaha-al-mursal who stipulated the precise conditions for “common good” –to be considered as a reliable judicial source, restricting its application `preventing ulema from resorting to maslaha without justification. There is a general agreement of the scholars (both, for and against al-maslaha-al-mursala) on the precise definitions stipulated by Al-Shitabi for “common good”

Without going into too much detail, we may summarize the three generally recognized main conditions for situations when it is sure that no text has been enunciated:

  • The analysis and identification must be made with serious attention so that we may be sure that we have before us an authentic (haqiqiyya) and not an apparent or spurious (wahmiyya) The scholar must reach a high degree of certainty that the formulation of an injunction will avoid difficulty and not do the opposite and increase problems in the context of the Islamic legal structure.
  • The maslaha must be general (kulliyya) and be beneficial to the population and society as a whole, and not only to one group or class or individual.
  • The maslaha must not be in contradiction to or conflict with an authentic text from the Qur’an or the Sunna. If it were, it would no longer be a maslaha mursala but would be a maslaha mulgha.

 

What is clear from the above three conditions that it is the supremacy of the Qur’an and the Sunna over all other references and legal instruments. 

 

Dr. Yusuf Ali Qaradawi rightly recalls, taking up the ideas of al-GhazaliIbn al-Qayyim, and al-Shitabi, that everything found in the Qur’an and the Sunna is, in itself, in harmony with “the good of humankind” in general, for the Creator knows and wants what is best for human beings, and He shows them what they must do to achieve it. We find in the Qur’an, referring to the revealed message: “[the Prophet] who will enjoin upon them the doing of what is right and forbid them the doing of what is wrong, and make lawful for them the good things and forbid the bad things of life, and lift from them their burdens and the shackles that were upon them [aforetime]”

“They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, “In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit.” And they ask you what they should spend. Say, “The excess [beyond needs].” Thus, Allah makes clear to you the verses [of revelation] that you might give thought”. [Q, 2:219]

 

If the conditions stipulated for common good are, manifestly proclaimed (qati al-thubut wa-qati al-dalala) in the Qur’an and/or the Sunna, they must be respected and applied in the light of an understanding of the whole body of the objectives of Islamic teaching, maqasid al-Sharia.

 

“And We did not send before you any messenger or prophet except that when he spoke [or recited], Satan threw into it [some misunderstanding]. But Allah abolishes that which Satan throws in; then Allah makes precise His verses. And Allah is Knowing and Wise”. [Q, 22:52]

 

 

The author earnestly hopes and prays, that this piece will provide clarity to the people, on the issue of “RIBA” {as promised by Allah}, and help them choose the right path. InshaAllah.

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Are Ahmadis [Qadyanis], Ismailis Muslim?

January 3, 2020

Image result for pic of Rabwa ?

(Ahamdya town Rabwah—Chenab Nagar–Pakistan)

Originally answered on Quora.com on June 16th, 2017.

On principle, No. Because they openly reject that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the last Prophet and declared Ghulam Mirza as their Prophet—-who died in the toilet. They, therefore are guilty of triple rejection. 1) Qura’anic verses, 2) Prophet Muhammad being the last of the prophets and 3) Declaring and accepting—Mirza Ghulam Mohammad—- as their Prophet.  (no one can be a prophet after Prophet Mohammad [PBUH] in Islam). [A final judgment, nevertheless, rests with Allah S.W.T]

I happened to be a Sunni Muslim speaker, many years ago, at one of their conventions in Atlant Georgia and noticed first hand their deceitful behavior with respect to the finality of the Prophethood of Mohammad (PBUH).

So should Not be Ismailis, who,

1) Curtailed the number of Mandatory Prayers from 5 to 3 as a routine

2) Changed the mode of prayer performance.  (Praying without bowing-down or prostrating, sitting on a chair like in a Church).

3) They consider that Prince Agha Khan is endowed with an authority to alter/reject the Divine Injunctions. Some even call him a Prophet and the “Noor” of Allah (SWT)—(NAUZB) out of sheer blind reverence and ignorance.

4) They do not attend the regular mosque but their own social-club type–Jama’t Khana.

5) They do not introduce themselves as Muslim but “Momin” to distinguish from mainstream Muslims.

6) The concept of Haram and Halal is non-existent among them.

Note: I loathe to call someone a Non-Muslim or Kafir, {as no Muslim is entitled or authorized to declare someone, who claims otherwise, an Infidel or Kafir} however, it is important for Muslims and common people to know the differences for a better understanding of religious sensibilities while dealing with each group.

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Who are Yazidi’s?

June 12, 2019

IRAQ-YAZIDI-RAPE-CONGO : News Photo

Yazidis: the Iraqi ethnic and religious minority descends from some of the region’s most ancient roots and face executions for a reputation as ‘devil worshippers’ Yazidis are predominantly ethnically Kurdish, and have kept alive their syncretic [more appropriately hodge-podge] religion for centuries, despite many years of oppression and threatened extermination. Yazidi people are a mostly Kurmanji–speaking ethnoreligious group, or an ethnic Kurdish minority indigenous to Iraq, Syria and Turkey who are strictly endogamous. Their so-called Syncretic-religious construction is influenced by pre-Islamic Assyrian traditions, Sufi and Shiite Islam, Nestorian Christianity, and Zoroastrianism. Their rich oral traditions [no written scripture] is their primary way of passing on their beliefs, which makes it complicated for scholars and historians to pin down the nuances of their religion. 

Yazidis believe that the world was created by God {Yazdanprobable source of the name “Yazidi’}, who entrusted it to seven angels led by one known as the Peacock Angel, also called Melek Taus. Melek Taus is the primary figure in the Yazidi belief system. Their religion is monotheistic and non-dualistic, and they do not believe in the concept of Hell. They believe in internal purification through metempsychosis, a term referring to the transmigration of souls. Yazidis believe that they are descended directly from Adam alone, while the rest of humanity comes from the lineage of both Adam and Eve. 

Though their belief system is rooted in the pre-Islamic tradition; the figure rumored as the founder of the Yazidi faith is an ‘Umayyad’ Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir; a Sufi preacher who died in 1162, considered to be an incarnation of Melek Taus. Sheikh Musafir’s tomb near Mosul, Iraq, is the Yazidi’s most important pilgrimage site.  [A highly improbable concoction; for, in that case, they would have been Muslim or at least a Sect within Islam, like many others!]  

The assemblage of Yazidi’s faith is derived from Zoroastrianism (an ancient Persian faith founded by a philosopher), Christianity and Islam. The religion has taken elements from each, ranging from baptism (Christianity) to circumcision (Islam) to reverence of fire as a manifestation from God (derived from Zoroastrianism) and yet remains distinctly non-Abrahamic. This derivative quality has often led the Yazidis to be referred to as a heretical-cult. 

At the core of the Yazidis’ marginalization is their worship of a fallen angel, Melek Tawwusor Peacock Angel, one of the seven angels that take primacy in their beliefs. Unlike the fall from grace of Satan, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, Melek Tawwus was forgiven and returned to heaven by God. {According to Islamic literature, he is not an angel but a “Gene—Jinn—made out of the smokeless flame of fire. (Q: 55:15) still lurking around in this world, misguiding people until the end to the time. He, due to his piety and worship before refusing to prostrate to Adam (PBUH), was titled as the “peacock of the Angels”} The importance of Melek Tawwus to the Yazidis has given them a reputation for being devil-[SATAN] worshippers – notoriety that, in the climate of extremism gripping Iraq, has turned life-threatening. 

 Yazidis pray facing the sun at sunrise, noon, and sunset. {Conversely Muslims are strictly forbidden to pray at these times} Wednesday is their holy day, and Saturday is their day of rest. 

An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub (1137/1138–1193) born in Tikrit (Now in Iraq, the home-town of Saddam Hussain) known as Sultan Salahud-Din-Ayyubi (The Conqueror, in most of the Muslim world) or Saladin (in the west)the first sultan of Egypt, Syria, Yemen and the Palestine, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. He Conquered Jerusalem on 2nd October 1187. He was A Sunni Muslim of Kurdish ethnicity [Not Yazidi] 

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Praying Silently?

March 31, 2018

 

 It is very important for Muslims to know the difference between praying-silently and praying-in-the-head.

Reciting silently; means one’s lips must move, the tongue must move and the breath must be exhaled with subdued voice (like whispering). What is being recited silently must be audible to the reciter.

Zuhar and Asar Prayers *1 are a good example when both, the Imam and those praying behind him, are reciting silently for it is the peak-time of the day when minds are usually pre-occupied with a host of things/thoughts and a loud recitation even by Imam may not suit the bustling mood of the day and may distract those reciting silently behind him.

In other three prayers, the serene ambiance under the cloak of darkness seems suitable for louder recitation.

*1–Zuhar and Asar Prayers are called “sirri” (silent/subdued) while other 3 prayers are called “Jahri” (loud or audible).

Reciting in the head (without the movement of the above-mentioned facial-parts is not a “recitation” but “imagination”.

It does not constitute a valid recitation in the prayer.

In Islamic Fiqh, the terms “jahr” and “khaft” are used when describing the way one should recite. Linguistically “jahr” means “to be loud, clearly audible” and “khaft” means “to become inaudible, low, and soft”.

Muslim Scholars, however, have resorted to the technical meanings of these terms; based on the linguistic definition, by adding limits to them.

Technically, as explained by the scholars, “jahr” means to recite out loud; the minimal whereof being the recitation in a way that the next person in line can hear. “Khaft” means to recite quietly, the minimal whereof being that the person reciting hears himself. What constitutes “Recitation” is the movement of the tongue, breathing in and out to produce sound. Just “thinking” it in one’s mind does not constitute recitation.

There is a strong position taken in all the schools-of-thoughts (Madahabs) that in a minimal “khaft” (silent) recitation correct pronunciations of the Arabic words of the verse being recited, must be murmured, without exuding sound.

 

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Hope and Prayer

February 19, 2018

Image may contain: bird and outdoor

Hope is an instinctive impulse of a rational being. Prayer is an actualization thereof by ardently imploring (hoping from) the Supreme Being (God). Both, in tandem, are activated by human free-will*1. A prayer, even by a Non-Believer, (Q, 10:11)*2 is not a futile but fruitful activity. Hope and Prayer are mutually inclusive hence cannot be counterproductive.

*1According to St. Plotinus sin is a consequence of free-will. In Islamic parlance; good choice is reward-worthy while bad choice is blame-worthy; for it becomes a tool or source of evil (Satan).

*2It may however be dashed due to one’s disbelief(Q, 4:104) Yet a prayer made in distress would be heard.

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How to maintain focus while praying?

October 19, 2017

 

Related image

It is not unusual. This happens to most of the people.

One may, however, imagine either, 1) God is watching him OR, 2) He/She is standing in front of Allah(SWT), or He/She is watching Allah (SWT).

Seek help in patience and prayer; and truly it is hard save for the khaashi-oon, Who know that they will have to meet their Lord and that unto Him they are returning. (Q, 2: 44–45)

Successful indeed are the believers. Those who in prayer are khashi-oon. (Q, 23: 1–2)

Note: Khusu is not “mandatory” as is generally assumed, for it is not in the control of human being. The requirement in above verses is advisory only. In the first verse, its achievement is acknowledged to be difficult for a common man, but one should try his/her best to achieve it.  “Allah does not encumber anyone beyond his capacity” (Q, 2:286)

In Surah Al Aaraf, V-199 The Prophet has been asked by Allah (SWT) to “take to forbearance”.  Interpretation:- Accept what people can do easily and do not demand a high degree of performance in religious affairs.

Khushu Khuzu (submission and humbleness) this degree of veneration cannot be expected from everyone, as it is achieved by very few fortunate ones. This situation, therefore, According to the interpretation reported in Sahih Al Bukhari on the authority of Abdullah Ibn Zubair, falls under the purview of this verse (7:199).

Good News is that; when one struggles in such a situation to concentrate on his salah, gets rewarded doubly. Once for praying and once for struggling to concentrate. (H).

In Islamic parlance, it is called “Ehsan”. A concerted effort is required to attain this position/state. A few and far between really achieve it—-called Muhsenoon or khaashioon.

{(I seek refuge in all merciful Allah (SWT)}

 

Establishing prayer (Aqamatus-Salaah)

March 5, 2015

Prayers stop one from sins.  What encompasses–Zikr Allah (remembrance)

We Muslims repeatedly use this word—Aqamatus-Salaah—-in everyday life. I would, therefore, try to explain, in the light of Qura’an and Sunnah, what it really means. In the second line of the caption, there are two additional concepts/questions, which emerge as an organic or logical consequence of prayer. These would also be explained to make the concept of establishment of prayer comprehensively understood and benefitting. These explanations would also clear some misconception developed by repeatedly reading in-part text of the Holy Qura’an—-which though with accurate translation—do not convey full understanding due to fragmentation.                                         Thus misconception/wrong understanding gets developed.(such as, Prayer stops one from sins).

Establishing the prayer

By employing all manners and mores, inwardly and outwardly, exactly the way Prophet did. Isolating one from all worldly thoughts and affairs while standing before Allah (SWT) in perfect veneration, nothing in between the one praying and his/her Lord, addressing Him directly (without any medium).

Outwardly mores:-Cleanliness of body, clothes, place of offering the prayer and in-congregation.

Inwardly mores:-Standing in fear of Allah, with humility* in a manner as if begging from Him.

Those who establish prayers in this fashion Allah may grace them with treading the right path.

Prayers performed without full etiquette observed would, according to juristic rulings, be considered permissible but short of being established. The blessings, therefore, would also be reduced proportionately or may even be lost completely.

Question-What if someone, despite praying accordingly, may not tread the right path?

In this regard there are two ahadith and one saying of Ibn-Abbas (R.A); which are elucidations of Surah Al Ankabut, verse 45 of Qura’an “”Innis salata tanha anil fahshae wal munkare…….””  Prophet (PBUH) in hadith 1-said—if prayer does not stop one from sins his prayer is nothing. In hadith 2-said—it is the obedience of the prayer which keeps one from sins. In Saying 3-Ibn- Abbas (R.A) said—if one’s prayer does not stop from sins would push him rather farther from Allah.

These explanations point to the fact that prayers offered have a flaw(s)—for not being effective—which need to be addressed. (All requisite conditions must be fulfilled for one to reap the benefits).

Prayer does forbid from sins and shamelessness but people do not take up the advice earnestly, hence the prayer remains from being properly—ESTABLISHED.

Best described in a Hadith,

“when the sweetness of Iman get settles in one’s heart then all parts of his body start relishing its taste in the acts of worship”

Qura’an and Ahadith, in a similar way, forbid one from sins and shamelessness yet everyone do not take the advice earnestly, therefore, continue committing sins. The reason for this anomaly is that the verse cited above is not of an injunctive but of an advisory character. Therefore for Qura’an, Ahadith and Prayer to be effective not only the required conditions have to be met, but also with the grace and will of Allah, one may get rid of sins and shamelessness. Insha-Allah.  

 Zikr (remembrance) of Allah

Verse 45 also reads:-Wala zikrullaho akbaro wallaho ya’alamo ma tasnaoon? –It means:-and indeed remembrance of Allah is the greatest, and Allah knows what you do. It could also be said that the remembrance, including prayers, is the greatest. Another sense may also prevail, as elucidated in another verse (2:152) Faz kurooni Az kur kum—-which means—remember me I will remember you–a Huge favor by Allah—witnessed by angels. In the light of the above verses, it can safely be deduced that abstinence from sins and shamelessness, as a consequence of prayers or otherwise remembrance while complying with inwardly and outwardly mores and manners is yet

Contingent upon the will and grace along-with auspiciousness (a huge favor showered) of Allah.

To sum up there are 3 constituents of a perfectly established fully-beneficial prayer.

1) Compliance with inwardly & outwardly mores and manners. 2) Grace & will of Allah.                                  3) Allah remembering you.

*Humility—here tantamount to—Khushu & Khuzu—which are important constituents desired in any Ibadah—BUT—are not mandatory. For the simple reason that these are beyond human control and, like guidance and admittance into paradise,  are also dependent on His absolute will & grace, so could be granted to whomsoever He may.

Addendum:

Prayer can be offered as due on time (Ada 

Given the legitimate compulsions; one can perform Zuhr and Asar, Maghrib and Isha together. (even in reverse order) these would be Ada prayers as due on time. 

When you feel composed (at peace/contented), then keep up the prayer; surely the prayer has been a timed prescription (Literally: book) for the believers. (Q, 4:103) 

 One can shorten/curtail either of the prayers in case of a time-related emergency, except Fajar, to 2 Rakah. (-Kasar/jama) 

If one gets overwhelmed by the urgency of circumstances, such as sleep, forgetfulness, duress etc. one should offer the missed prayer immediately or at the first available chance.  In this case, any of the above prayers offered will not be Qaza but Ada; As due on time. (H)  

One, if and when compelled/in danger, can offer the prayer even walking, riding an animal or a vehicle.  

“In an emergency, one may say his prayers while walking or riding” (Q, 2:239) 

Neglect or sin is committed when one is awake, in senses and free to act on his own volition. Not when sleeping, out of senses (mistaken due to wrong understanding) or under duress. 

One restrained by genuine circumstances. who offers his prayers before the upcoming “fajr” prayer time, would have performed his “mandatory-daily-five-prayers” in the broader sense of the time-frame.

Wasting/defaulting the prayer. 

In the exegeses of verse 19:59 exegetes have tried to stretch the words/views of several companions (without any acceptable authority or apparent logical reasoning) to fit their own, making the prayers performed after the time as wasted/lost. 

In my humble understanding, it contradicts the Sunnah and Hadith. Prophet mixed Zuhr and Asar, Maghrib and Isha; which discounts the above offered exegetical view. Quoted hereunder is an abridged Hadith also to highlight the point. 

Hadith narrated by Abu Mas’ud Ansari, quoted in Tirmazi. 

“A prayer is lost when “Aqamah/Qiyam”(standing upright) is not observed; before and after the “ruku’u” bowing down and “Sujda” prostration and sitting properly and adequately in between the “suju’ud” prostrations. Improper Ablution may also nullify one’s prayer.

(May Allah forgive me for any shortcomings or lapses).

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