Ans: Islamic Law is based on 4 principles:
First, is the Quran: This is the Arabic revelation. It is the words of Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) in Arabic; recitation thereof is an act of worship and the smallest chapter of it is a miracle within itself. This is the main pillar of Islamic Law.
Second, is the Legal Sunnah: Sunnah refers to all that is narrated from the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), his actions, his sayings and whatever he tacitly approved .The Jurisprudents exclude the features of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) from Sunnah. In the Hadith literature, there are uses of the word Sunnah in the sense of sources of law.
Third, is Ijma’: The consensus of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).
Fourth, is Qiyas: It is deduction by analogy. It means comparison – equality or similarity between two things. Technically, Qiyas is an extension of a Shari’ah value from an original case (asl) to a new case, because the latter has the same effective or cause (‘illah) as the former. The original case is ruled by the Quran or Sunnah and qiyas aims to extend the same ruling to the new case, based on the same ‘illah.
The first two are called the Shari’ah, which are from Divine revelation. The last two are known as Ijtihad, which is the use of reason, to arrive at knowledge of truth in religious matters.
Q: You mentioned the hadeeth of labor and you mentioned that hard labor is blessed, so are the earnings from the hard labor the only blessed and good earnings?
Ans: What the Prophet Mohammed صلى اللّه عليه وسلم had said was that the ‘best of earnings’, he didn’t say the ‘only earnings’ that are good, instead he labeled it as’the best’. This involves any work that produces something for the society; this is the best of the earnings. If your occupation is a white-collar job, this doesn’t mean that Allah doesn’t bless you if you deal with your job in an honest fashion or that you are not blessed with the earning. The important point to remember is that with everything there is ‘something better’ and there is ‘the best’.
This statement of the Prophet Mohammed صلى اللّه عليه وسلم is protection for the working class in the society, because there is the tendency for society to look down on the working class, especially by those who become rich, powerful etc. who are not involved in physical labor. Yet a white-collar worker is also involved, to a certain degree in physical work, whether he is coming to the office, writing, moving his papers here and there. However, the one who is outside of physical labor altogether whereby he owns and people work for him, this person tends to be in a much more dangerous position, especially as this wealth can corrupt this individual. He has much more obligations and most often he doesn’t fulfill them, this is the reason why the Prophet Mohammed صلى اللّه عليه وسلم talked about a poor entering paradise so many hundreds of years before the rich.
Being rich is in and of itself not haraam or prohibited in Islam, but the concern lies in what tends to happen to people when they become rich. Thus Islam stresses the dignity of hard labour or craftsmanship or working with one’s hands, being productive, producing the needs of the society, because these laborers are fulfilling a greater need. It is for this reason that Islam puts the position of a laborer in a state of honor, because historically societies have looked down upon such work.
Furthermore, if a person ends up being an owner but remains an honest businessman who pays his workers on time, gives them reasonable salaries and so forth, then his honest dealings and wealth is blessed. The Prophet صلى اللّه عليه وسلم did not say the person would be blessed only if he is doing hard labor. The emphasis for hard labor is primarily due to society’s attitude towards hard labor; especially the elite members of the society who tend to look down upon laborers. This creates disregard for people because of their position, who are labeled as the’lower class’ or outcastes who are regarded as insignificant, which further leads to development of inferiority complex amongst Muslims. Islam aims to remove these negative attitudes and perceptions and encourages laborers to take pride in their honest hard work. This attitude is further reiterated in the story of Prophet Dawood alaihi salam, the king of Israel, who worked with his own hands and ate only from the product of his manual work.
The important point to remember regarding this hadith is that anyone who runs an honest business is blessed. This is emphasised in the first part of the hadith, which states: a blessed sale does not involve deception. Hence the person who deals without deception in any kind of business or trade, he is blessed. This honest transaction is the best of transaction.
Q: I kept my money in a fixed deposit and will be receiving Rs 9400 as interest. I am worried because riba is haram. So as expiation, I started giving some money monthly to non-Muslims and I also freed some birds. I kept the money in the fixed deposit because I wanted to save and financially protect myself as I am divorced. I would like to ask if my actions of giving money to non-Muslims and freeing birds are correct in Islam? I heard that we should not give the riba money to Muslims. Instead we should donate the money to help build roads or toilets for masjids. But it is difficult for me to find a masjid or charity organisation which can take my riba money as I have little contact with masjids since there are no males in my house.
Ans: If you do not know who to give the money to, then another option is that you may purchase Islamic books and donate them to a non-Muslim library either in a school or institute etc. The point is that the money should be for general benefit and not one individual. In regards to your fixed deposit you need to take it out of the commercial bank as it is haram to keep your savings there and you should transfer it to an Islamic bank, that way you will not have this problem and this is what is more pleasing to Allah.
Q: When a person becomes a Muslim, should he remove his name from the voting list?
Ans: It is not necessary to remove your name from the voter’s list. Voting is something that may be necessary to protect the community from harm. But if the system is an un-Islamic system, we cannot uphold what it stands for. However, if you know two candidates who are seeking election, either one of the two will be elected, one of them is an open enemy to Islam, the other one speaks nicely. What do you do here? Do you just say I leave it to Allah? If you have the vote and can bring the one who speaks nicely and is not an open enemy to Islam, then do it, use your vote. Try to elect the lesser of the two evils.
So, I would not say that you should strike your name from the list. Where your vote can make a difference, use your vote there. But, if both are the open enemy, no one is better than the other, and your vote cannot make any difference, then don’t waste your time in going to cast your vote.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about the ruling on elections, and he replied: “I think that elections are obligatory; we should appoint the one who we think is good, because if the good people abstain, who will take their place? Evil people will take their place, or neutral people in whom there is neither good nor evil, but they follow everyone who makes noise. So we have no choice but to choose those who we think are fit. If someone were to say: We chose someone but most of the parliaments are not like that, We say: It does not matter. If Allaah blesses this one person and enables him to speak the truth in this parliament, he will undoubtedly have an effect. But what we need is to be sincere towards Allaah and the problem is that we rely too much on physical means and we do not listen to what Allaah says. So nominate the one who you think is good, and put your trust in Allaah.”
Q: If knowledge with practice produces emaan or faith, does it then mean that without knowledge there is no faith?
Ans: Without knowledge, people have the wrong faith and the wrong emaan. For example, it’s just how a Buddhist or the Hindu has faith andemaan in his idols. However, this is not the emaan which will get him into Paradise. Without knowledge, the faith that one has is likely to be the wrong faith.
The Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.”
It is obvious that if one does not have sufficient knowledge about the message of the Qur’an, for instance, then there is hardly a chance of one performing deeds that are in coherence with the teachings of the Qur’an. Therefore, knowledge must precede performing deeds. However, if knowledge does not prompt a person to perform correct deeds then this knowledge is like a tree that produces neither fruits nor gives shadow.
As I see it, both knowledge and deeds are of utmost importance. The only difference, however, is that knowledge must precede actions. Actions that are not based on knowledge may ultimately prove to be harmful rather than beneficial; while knowledge that does not produce actions is completely useless.
Keeping the foregoing explanation in perspective, my answer to your question is in the affirmative: Yes, every person must try to get the maximum level of knowledge about his religion that his particular circumstances, abilities and opportunities permit. Subsequently, his actions should be based on this Knowledge.
And Allah knows best.
Q: Will Allah open a sealed heart?
Ans: Better to ask, “Can Allah open a sealed heart?” The answer is “Yes, He can” and it would be for reasons related to the person’s spiritual decisions or good deeds they have done, or some other reason resulting from their deeds which Allah deemed a good reason for unsealing their heart. This would explain why Allah may open one sealed heart and not all within the framework of Allah’s supreme justice.
As Allah Ta’ala is the most merciful the most kind, He will answer the dua’ of the His slaves who are repenting to Him and asking Him to open their heart.
Allah the Almighty said:
“Has not the time come to the hearts of those who believe …… lest they become as those who received the scripture before …. And so their hearts were hardened!”
“Know that Allah gives life to the earth after its death!”
It is to give hope that Allah can open the sealed heart which submits to Him and asks His help.
Q: How do we recognize the creator and what qualities should we look for which are specific to the Creator alone?
Ans: We know intrinsically who God is though people may try to convince us to believe in many concepts which are not true. God is not born, for if He was born then the one who brought Him to life is a greater being than Himself. Those beings which are born and came into existence without prior existence cannot be God. He is One and Only, the First and the Last there was nothing before Him and will be nothing after Him. God is not attributed with weakness and hence it is illogical to believe in this.
“He begets not, nor is He begotten.” Surah Al-Ikhlaas, 112:3
“His is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; He gives life and causes death; and He has power over all things He is the First and the Last and the Ascendant (overall) and the Knower of hidden things, and He is Cognizant of all things.” Surah Al-Hadid, 57:2-3
“He is Allah besides Whom there is no god; the Knower of the unseen and the seen; He is the Beneficent, the Merciful. He is Allah, besides Whom there is no god; the King, the Holy, the Giver of peace, the Granter of security, Guardian over all, the Mighty, the Supreme, the Possessor of every greatness Glory be to Allah from what they set up (with Him). He is Allah the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner; His are the most excellent names; whatever is in the heavens and the earth declares His glory; and He is the Mighty, the Wise.” Surah Al-Hashr,59:22-24]]>