Sunday, January 08, 2006

Death and The Grave

Death occurs when the angel ^azraa'iil takes the soul from the human being through he mouth, and immediately hands it to either the angels of mercy or the angels of torture. The reason why a dead person is staring is that he is watching his soul leave. (Muslim)

After burial, the soul comes back to the dead person, and he can hear his companions' footsteps as they leave. (Bukhaariy) Umar once asked, "Are our minds returned to us, O Messenger of Allah?" The Prophet (may Allah raise his rank) confirmed that this will be so. (Ahmad)

Two blueish black angels Munkar and Nakiir come to the newly buried, sit him up, and ask him "what did you use to say about this man, Muhammad?" As for the believer, he will say "He is the slave of Allah and His messenger. I bear witness that there is no god but God." Then the angels will show him his place in the Hellfire that Allah substituted for a place in Paradise, which he will also see. His grave will be widened and illuminated, and he is told to sleep.

The unbeliever and hypocite, however, will answer, "I don't know. I used to say what the people were saying about him." Upon that the angels will hit him with a kind of iron hammer between his ears whereupon he screams a scream that is heard by those nearby except humans and jinn. The ground around him will squeeze and crush him.

Note, however, that martyrs of the battlefield, prophets and chldren are spared the questioning of the angels.

These states of the grave continue until there is only a small part of the tailbone left. This part will not be eaten by the soil, but around it the person will be re-composed. Upon this, the soul of the non-muslim will be in a place called "Sijjiin," the soul of the sinful muslim between the sky and the earth, and the soul of the pious in Paradise. The souls of the martyrs go directly to Paradise after death. The martyrs, the prophets, and some of the Muslim saints do not decompose at all. It was related that "the prophets are alive in their graves, praying," (Ibn Hajar) and the Quran states that the Martyrs are alive.

In addition to the above Ibn ^abbaas related that if a Muslim greets a buried muslim who used to know him in this life, then he will know who it is and return his greeting from the grave. (Ibn ^abdu-l-Barr)

All of the above hadits and many more show that death is not total annihilation, but a different state of being.

  • As for the things that can save one from the torture of the grave, they are:
  • Sincere repentance
  • Reading the suurah called al-Mulk every day
  • Martyrdom, which one gets through dying by drowning, burning, diarrhea, constipation, fighting for ones family or property, unjust killing, falling from a height, and other reasons.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Obligation of Zakaat

Paying Zakaat is obligatory upon accountable muslims

Zakaat is only paid by Muslims that are free, sane and have reached puberty. Free, because slaves do not fully own property. Sane and having reached puberty, because the insane and children are not accountable for their deeds. Muslim, because paying zakaat is an act of worship, and worship is not valid from a non-muslim.

Zakaat is not due unless one owns the specified quota (nisaab) that obligates it.

  1. The zakaat quota must be clear of debts to others. (Because covering it is a basic need.)
  2. The zakaat quota must not be of the persons basic needs (housing, clothes, tools, etc. that are not for trading or currency (money, gold, silver.))
  3. The quota must be completely owned by the person.
    • Debt that one has witnesses to, or the judge knows about, is added to the zakaat quota. Accordingly, a trader with outstanding credits counts them when calculating quotas. He pays zakaat when a year has passed if he wants, but is allowed to wait until he collects.
    • Property that one does not hope to get back has no zakaat, such as:
      1. Debt someone refuses to pay and one has no proof of it's existence to get the debtor to pay it back.
      2. Things that have been lost, stolen or robbed (without a proof of who did it), or taken forcefully by the government.
    • The above 2 conditions must be met at two dates with one year between them. If one still has a quota after one year, then one pays for all that is owned at the year-end date, even if it was earned just a few days before the year end. Fluctuation during the year below or above the quota is ignored, unless it is completely eliminated. For example:
      • If someone had a quota of gold (85 grams) on the 1st of muharram, and at one point during the following year he had only one gram of gold, but had at least one quota on the following 1st of muharram, then he must pay for whatever he has at that date.
      • In the last example, if he used all of the gold (and he has no silver, money or goods for trading) to buy basic needs or cows for gracing (not trade) at one point during the year, then the year has been interrupted, and he should start counting a year for the cows if they meet at least one quota. If he changed his mind and sold the cows for gold again, then he starts counting a new year for the quota of gold he got from the sale. If he does thing like this to escape from paying zakaat then he has committed a sin, but does not have to pay zakaat.
    • One must have the intention of paying the obligatory zakaat either when paying, or when separating it from other property. The exception is if someone paid all of his money to the poor for the sake of Allah, but didn't have the intention of zakaat, then he has paid the zakaat that was due on it.
    • If the zakaat was not yet paid, after being due, when the entire quota was destroyed, then the zakaat due is cancelled. If part of the quota is destroyed, then the zakaat is reduced accordingly.
      • If trading goods were all substituted for other goods after zakaat was due, and then the substitute goods were destroyed, then the zakaat has been cancelled. • Zakaat is due only on the quota, not on what is between quotas.
    • One may pay zakaat (including fiTr) according to the value of the day one it became due, except for grazing animals, where one looks at the value the day one is paying. Atonements (except if it is to free a slave,) kharaj, 'ushr and vows to pay alms to the poor may also be done by value. Slaughtering (in Hajj and Eid) may NOT be substituted by value.
    • The zakaat is paid according to the average quality, neither the very high, nor the very low.
    • Once one owns at least one quota, it is allowed to pre-pay for the year(s) to come, and even for several quotas. Zakaat on grazing animals Camels, cows, buffalos, sheep, and goats that graze public lands for most of a year have zakaat due if they meet the quota. The following are the first quotas and the zakaat due (in brackets) for these animals: Five camels (1 one-year old sheep); ten (2); fifteen (3); twenty (4); twenty-five (1 one-year old she-camel); thirty six (1 two-year old she-camel); forty six (1 three-year old she-camel); sixty one (1 four-year old she-camel); seventy six (2 two-year old she-camels); ninety one to one hundred and twenty (2 three-year old she-camels); etc. Thirty cows or buffalos (1 one-year old); forty (1 two year old); sixty (2 one-year olds); seventy (1 one-year old and 1 two-year old); eighty (2 two-year olds) etc. Forty sheep or goats (1 one year old sheep); One hundred and twenty one (2); two hundred and one (3); four hundred (4); five hundred (5); six hundred (6); etc. One grazing horse that is not for work, trade or riding (2.5% of the value) Zakaat on gold, silver and goods for trade 1. The quota for gold is 85 grams, and for silver 595 grams. The zakaat due is 2.5%. • If the gold or silver is mixed with other metals, one considers as gold or silver what has more than 50% gold or silver content respectively. 2. Money has zakaat due like gold and silver, if the value of the money reaches that of the gold or silver quota. 3. Property that was bought with the intention of trading it has zakaat like gold and silver. Once the market value of the property reaches the value of the quota of gold or silver, one starts to pay 2.5%. • Someone bought one cow with the intention of trade: it is counted as a good for trade. • If someone bought a house for trading, but then lived in it: if he changed his intention there is no zakaat, otherwise there is. • There is no zakaat in houses for rent. 4. Gold, silver, money and goods for trade are added together to make a quota in terms of the value of the gold or silver quota. If the total value reaches the value of a quota of gold or silver, then zakaat is due. Zakaat on farm products One needs to pay 1/10 of the output. There is no Zakaat in… Donkeys and mules that are not for trade. Baby cows, camels and sheep. Animals for work or riding. Animals that are fed privately most of the year (not grazed on public property/ in no man's land). Those that one may pay zakaat to Introduction: The levels of poverty and wealth: Very poor: The one that has less than the food he needs for the current day and is not able to work for it. He is allowed to beg. Poor: The one who does not have the value of a quota in excess of what is occupied by his basic needs or debt. He is allowed to take zakaat, but not to beg. Rich: The one who owns, in excess of his basic needs, the value of a quota. He must pay the zakaat of breaking fast, slaughter for the pilgrimage Eid and cannot take zakaat for himself. Zakaat can be paid to: Very poor or poor Muslims in the first two categories above, or the traveler who needs money to get home, or soldiers in jihad/ pilgrims who don't have access to their money, or as salary for those who collect zakaat, or for Muslim slaves who are working to free themselves by contract, or for those who have so much debt as to be considered poor. Some scholars said one can give to new Muslims who are still weak in their religion; others said this was only in the Prophet’s time. It is NOT allowed to pay for: Building masjids or other charity that does not fit the above categories, such as burials or teaching religion. One may not pay to a non-Muslim, one's own descendents or ancestors, or the descendents of Hashim (the Prophet’s great grandfather). Ones own ancestors (father, mother, grandfather …), descendants, wife or husband. The young child of a rich person. How to pay: One makes the intention when giving it or separating it for giving. One must feel sure that the person is one of those that deserve zakaat.

    Wednesday, February 02, 2005

    Conditions of sound sales transactions

    The items exchanged must be described well enough to avoid conflicts

    This is because ignorance of description lead to conflicts that prevent delivery and acceptance of the goods, which is a required part of any transaction. The knowledge required can be achieved by description (e.g. if it is a box or the warehouse) or by pointing. With regard to description:

    Description of price

    • If the price was mentioned without stating the currency, then the common currency is considered to be intended, e.g. Kuwaiti Dinar in Kuwait.
    • If someone sold something for "its value", then the sale is corrupt since the price is unknown, even if the evaluator is specified.
    • If someone sold something at a percentage markup, e.g. 10% over the purchase price, then the sale is corrupt unless the price is known in the contract session.
    • If the good sold was destroyed after being sold at an uncertain price, then the buyer must replace it, or if it is not something of uniform quality, pay the seller the market value for the goods. This is the case for all unsound sales transactions.

    Knowing which item is being sold and the option of specification

    If the seller said "I sell you one of these four pieces of clothing for such and such a price", then the sale is invalid in any case. However if he said "three pieces" or "two pieces", then the sale is valid if he said "on the basis that you opt to choose the one you want". This should all be onsound according to the apparent analogy that the goods are unknown, just like in the case of choosing between four pieces. At a more subtle level, however, this choice is like the conditional option to return the goods (which is allowed) in that both of them are strongly needed to defend oneself against being duped. This need however, is covered sufficiently by the choice between three, namely bad, medium and good, as is also according to customary practice in the markets. This option is called "option of specification", and is different from the "option to return goods" in that the first is inherited and the second is not. Both however, need a specified period.

    The option of specification requires a specified price for each piece, a specified period, and specified goods of no more than three to choose from.


    There are three types of options in trade:

    1. Option upon seeing the goods. This is the option to cancel the sale upon seeing the goods, if they were bought by description.
    2. Option of flaws. This is the option to return the goods when a flaw is discovered that would normally require a reduction in price if known.
    3. Option of return. This is the stated option to cancel the deal from either the buyer's or the seller's side.
    4. Option of specification.

    Selling by weight, volume or unknown quantity

    • Things sold by weight can be sold by volume and vice versa, or by grabbing a quantity of what is normally sold by a specified weight or volume. This is provided it is not trading goods of the same kind (such as wheat for wheat, gold for gold, or silver for silver), due to the danger of riba.
      • Beneficial Note: If one buys something sold by weight or volume on the condition that it is a certain weight or volume, then one must either be with the seller when measuring, or measure it another time before eating it or selling it. The reason is the hadith of Ibn Maajah that might be translated as "he forbade selling wheat until two measures have occurred, the measure of the seller and the measure of the buyer," and because any excess weight or volume belongs to the seller.

    Description of separatable goods of even quality

    These are goods that are not harmed by being separated from each other and are of even quality and sold by weight, volume or count. These goods can be sold without separating the goods at transaction time, but one must specify the quantity.
    • If someone made a sales contract to buy sugar at the price of 1 dollar per Kg., then he must state the total quantity wanted if the sales is by verbal contract. If it is not stated, then the contract is for 1 Kg. The same is the case for anything sold by count, weight or volume that is of uniform quality.
    • If someone sold a batch of flour for 50 cents per kg on the condition that the total batch pointed out is 100 kg. then: if it turned out to be 101 kg he needs to return 1 kg. to the seller. if it turned out to be 99, then the buyer gets 50 cents back or cancels the deal.
    All even goods are handled in this way.

    Selling goods of uneven quality by piece

    Goods that are harmed by being separated from each other, or goods of uneven quality sold by length or count, need to be pinpointed in the contract session, and it is not enough to specify a price per piece or per square meter, unless one buys the entire quantity.
    • If someone made a sales contract to buy a horses from a flock at USD 10,000 per horse, then he must specifically select those he want. If the contract was made without specifying, the transaction will be corrupt. This is true for anything counted that is not of uniform quality and of things that are sold by area size, such as land and cloth.
    • If someone agrees to buy 99 horses out of a flock of 100, for USD 1000 per piece, then this is invalid. The reason is that the 99 are unknown, and conflict may arise in specifying them. The same is true for 100 square meters out of 150 of a piece of land; one must specify the 100.
    • If someone bought what is sold piece by piece and is of uneven quality, such as animals or watermelons, and the count turned out to be more than what was stated in the sale, then the sale is unsound. However, the transaction is mended by mutual agreement to rectify the number or that the seller agrees to include the extra piece(s).

    Selling things that are harmed by separation

    If someone sold a piece of land for USD 10,000 on the basis that it is 100 square meters, then:
    • If it turned out to be 99 square meters, the buyer can choose between paying USD 10,000 or cancelling the deal.
    • If it turned out to be 101 square meters then there is no cancellation or change in payment.
    The reason is that this was merely a faulty description, so the buyer gets a choice because he was duped. The proof of it being a faulty descrition is that the size of the land affects the price per square meter, just the way better or lesser quality does. This is unlike flour, wheat, raisins, and the like.

    In other words, the buyer gets a choice if the land turned out to be smaller than specified, just like he would in all cases where he specified a certain quality and found that it was missing. E.g. if someone bought white bread and found that it was brown. There is no option to increase or decrease the price based on a mere quality, because the price is in return for the thing itself, whereas qualities merely follow the thing.

    However, if the price per square meter was verbally specified, e.g. if someone sold a piece of land for USD 10,000 on the basis that it is 100 square meters, and each square meter is at the cost of USD 100, then:

    • If it turned out to be 99 square meters, the buyer can choose between paying USD 9,900 or cancelling the deal. This is because by specifying the per area price, the area size has become like the thing itself, just like in the case of selling wheat.
    • If it turned out to be 101 square meters, the buyer can choose between paying USD 10,100 or cancelling the deal. He does not have the option of separating out 1 square meter, because although each square meter has become like the thing itself in this deal, it still has the element of being a quality in that splitting the land affects its value per square meter.
    All things sold by weight and volume that are harmed by being split are like the selling of land. For example,
    • If someone bought a bracelet from platinum or silver and the weight of the bracelet was stated at 100 grams, then there is no option for the buyer if it turned out to be heavier, but the buyer can cancel the deal if it was found to be less.
    • If the price for each gram was stated for the platinum, e.g. USD 10 per gram, then the price is increased or decreased according to the difference in weight. This is unlike the case of gold and silver jewelry if the gram price is stated.

    Selling gold or silver jewelry when the price per gram is specified

    If the bracelet was made of gold or silver, and the price the situation changes, because these two metals are currencies by nature, so we have to meet the rules of currency transactions if the price per gram is stated, since it is no longer just a quality of the jewelry. So if a gold bracelet was sold at USD 10 per gram and the stated total was 100 grams, and it was found to be 99 grams, then the buyer has the option to cancel or get back USD 10, like in the case of platinum. In addition, if it was found to be 101 grams, then if the buyer and seller did not depart, the buyer can choose between paying another USD 10 or cancel the deal, also just like in the case of platinum. However, if they left one another and only then it was found that the bracelet was 101 grams, then the deal is invalid for the extra gram, because delayed payment is invalid in currencies, and he has the option to cancel the deal, because sharing the ownership of a good is a flaw in the good.

    The proof is what was related of Umar's sayings, "don't sell silver coins for gold if one of them is present and the other not," and, "if he asks you to wait for him to go to his house, then don't wait" (Malik), and "the Prophet (may Allah raise his rank) said 'gold for silver is ribaa except hand to hand." A non-verified story states that Umar said, ".. and if he (the counterpart in the currency transaction) jumps from the ceiling - jump with him." (Al-MabsuuT).

    An additional reason is that the Prophet (may Allah raise his rank) forbade selling "credit for credit" (al-Haakim), so at least one of the parties must take their part, because currency is not specified other than by receiving them. The proof that it is only specified after receiving is that if Zaid said to Umar, I sell you this bike for this USD 100 in my hand, and Zaid accepted, he may still give him a different 100 dollar bill for the bike? As for the second part, it must also be received, because they are both both are equal in terms of needing to be received, so having one received, and not the other looks like giving more value to one of them, and this gives the meaning of riba; an undeserved increase in a transaction. This meaning of riba must be avoided because Umar said "the Aayah of ribaa is among the last that descended, and Prophet Muhammad didn't give us enough detail for us to be freed from analogy in deriving all its judgements, so avoid ribaa and the doubt of ribaa."

    Thursday, January 27, 2005

    Conditions for the contract to take effect

    Immediate effectiveness: the seller is free and owns the goods sold or has jurisdiction to sell it.

    Jurisdiction to buy and sell is either by being appointed by the owner (agency/delegation), or by law (trusteeship).

    Trusteeship by fatherhood or by judgeship over a child.

    Trusteeship of fatherhood refers to the father, grandfather or their appointed trustee for a legally incompetent person. Trusteeship of judgeship refers either to the judge or the trustee he has appointed for a legally incompetent person. The order of rank of trustees is according to their expected sympathy of the child: the father is first, then his chosen trustee, then the chosen trustee of the father's chosen trustee. After that the grandfather, then his chosen trustee, then the chosen trustee of the grandfather's chosen trustee. After that follows the judge and finally the trustee appointed by the judge, because it is mentioned in hadith that "the ruler is the guardian of the one that does not have one". Trusteeship has several conditions of soundness:
    • The trustee is free (not a slave), because he does not have guardianship.
    • The trustee is sane, so that he can act responsibly and be held accountable.
    • The trustee is a muslim if he represents a muslim, because (4, 141)

      { وَلَنْ يَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ سَبِيلًا }

      Which could be tralslated literally as, "Allah does not make a way for the non-muslims to subdue the believers"

    • The person under the trustee is below puberty, because otherwise he has the right to make his own dealings.
    • The transaction is not harmful to the represented, since the Prophet (may Allah raise his rank) said, "the one who does not show mercy to our small ones, is not of us."

    Pending effectiveness: The sale or purchase of an outsider is endorsed by the owner's acceptance.

    This happens when an outsider sells something that belongs to another, without his prior permission. This transaction becomes legally effective only if the owner endorses it afterwards, such as by saying "I accept". This is valid because it is mentioned in hadith that Prophet Muhammad once delegated another to buy for him a sheep and gave him one dinar to do so. What the man did instead was buy two sheep and sell one of them, so he came back with the dinar and a sheep. The Prophet was pleased with what he had done and supplicated Allah to bless his selling. It is mentioned that the man after that used to profit even if he bought soil.

    The conditions for the endorsement to be valid

    • The buyer and seller endorses the transaction of the outsider.
    • The owner is alive at endorsement time (the endorsement is not inherited).
    • The goods sold are intact. If they were destroyed or consumed in the hands of the buyer, then the owner may require either the buyer or seller to replace it.

    Thursday, January 13, 2005

    Conditions for the sales contract to be valid

    Conditions of validity pertaining to the contract parties

    Each party must be sane, but it is not necessary to have reached puberty.

    There must be two parties bound by the contract

    • The exception here is the case of a father buying and selling to his minor child - provided that the price is not out of the market range in the child’s disfavor. This is because the father will not usually act against the best interest of the child, and for this it is allowed just like it is allowed to deal with an orphan in a way that makes him better off, as established by the Quran (6, 152).

      (ولا تقربوا مال اليتيم إلا بالتي هي أحسن)

    • The trustee of a child, unlike the father, can only do this if it is clearly in the benefit of the child. If it is clearly in the benefit of the child, it is allowed based on him being the child’s father’s chosen caretaker.
    • A person cannot be agent for both the buyer and the seller at the same time, because he is himself bound by rights and obligations through the contract. He would end up being deliverer and receiver, as well as demander and demanded at the same time, which is contradictory.
    • A person can be a mere messenger for both parties in the contract, because he is merely a communication instrument and is not tied to any right or obligations through the contract. An agent in a marriage contract is in reality a mere messenger, because he has no rights or obligations tied to the marriage contract.

    Conditions of validity pertaining to the contract text itself

    The content of the bid (the affirmation of the option to buy or sell) and its acceptance must be the same.

    • If someone gave a bid to buy two horses for USD 3000, then it would be invalid if the seller accepted the bid by saying, "I have accepted for this one," while pointing at one of the two horses.

    Conditions of validity pertaining the place of the contract

    Bid and acceptance must happen in the same place/session (covered earlier in the section on the verbal sales transaction).

    • If the acceptor is not present, but hears about it later and says “I accept”, then this is invalid.
    • If the bid is done by a messenger or writing, and the receiver accepts without changing the place he is in when receiving, then the contract is valid.

    Conditions of validity pertaining to what is exchanged in the contract

    It must be existing.

    The reason is that the Prophet (may Allah raise his rank), as related by Muslim “forbade selling risk” (i.e. it is not whether it will be or not).
    • It is not allowed to sell a baby animal while in the womb, because it is merely on the verge of existence.
    • It is not valid to sell milk while it is still in the cow.
    • It is not valid to sell fruits before they appear.
    • It is not valid to sell semen of stallions (or rent for this purpose).
    • It is not valid to sell the juice of a fruit, or the flower of wheat, because it is not existing at point of sale.
    • It is valid, however, to sell grains, seeds and nuts in their shells, because they exist already as is without any treatment.
    • It is invalid if someone sold glass as diamonds, because diamonds are of a different kind than glass, so they were non-existent.
    • It is likewise invalid if one sells something of the same kind, but the description is widely different from actual, such as selling a green cloth saying it is black.

    It must be considered valuable property in Islam.

    Property as islamically defined is something that a sane human being is inclined towards and people expend and protect out of desire for it and a reluctance to give away according to norms. The hanafi scholars added that it must be storeable for later use. Valuable means that it is allowed to use according to Islam. Examples of things that aren’t valuable property:
    • An un-slaughtered dead animal. However its bones, hair, feathers, tanned leather can be sold after treatement.
    • Blood.
    • Human bodyparts, such as hair.
    • Pigs.
    • Wine.
    • Bees without their hive.
    • Silkworms without silk.
    • Animal excrements, unless the soil content is more than 50%.
    • Musical instruments if they can’t be used for anything other than playing them.
    • If property and non-property was in the same deal, then the contract is invalid, even if all were separately priced.

    It must be owned.

    One cannot sell grass from public land, fish in the ocean and the like.

    It must be owned by the actual seller

    This is the case whether it is the seller who conducts the contract or someone conducts it for him. This is because the Prophet forbade "selling what one does not own" (Tirmithiyy). The exception here is a transaction called "salam" where several strict conditions makes the transaction as if the transaction is from hand to hand. The salam transaction will be covered later.

    The seller must be able to deliver the goods.

    • It is invalid to sell a bird in the sky, even if one owns it.
    • It is invalid to sell fish in the water.
    • It is invalid to sell milk still in the cow, as indicated in hadith (Tabaraaniyy - Al-Awsat) and because it seaps so one cannot separate what was sold from newly produced milk.
    • It is invalid to sell wool on a sheep's back as indicated in hadith (Tabaraaniyy - Al-Awsat) and because it continuously grows, so one cannot tell what part was sold. However, selling the branches on trees is allowed because they do not grow from the bottom out.
    • It is invalid to sell debt, because one is not able to deliver what has not been collected, and the time and ability to collect are both unknown. The exception here is if the debtor is the other party.
    • It is invalid to sell the goods of a salam transaction (where the good was non-existent at the time of transaction and delivery was set for a specific date in the future) is invalid.
    • It is invalid to sell what is in the hands of another injustly if one is unable to collect it.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2005

    The sales contract by mutual exchange

    It is allowed to perform a sales contract by giving and taking the prices and items being exchanged. This is because the definition of a sale is to exchange something desireable for something desireable. The proof of this is that the words "trade", "buy" and "sell" is used in the Quran simply to mean "exchange" such "buying deviance for guidance" (2,16).

    The sales contract by mutual exchange takes effect when one of the parties receives his part of the deal, whether it is a price or a good.

    Copyright claims are invalid

    Is Copyright Property?

    Since most will agree that selling a book or the like on the conditions that one cannot photocopy it or some other restriction on benefitting from it, the adherents of the western innovations or copyright and patent laws have instead claimed that Copyright is intellectual property, not physical property. They say that when you buy a book, CD, or other copyrighted material, you have purchased a physical copy of something that another owns the intellectual copyrights to. According to them, you have the ownership-based right to use this physical copy as you wish.

    The answer to this claim is that, since the physical copy is mine, then I will take this physical book, copy it physically and sell another physical book. I am selling the physical book, not the "intellectual property." In Islam, when you buy a physical property you can use it as you please for halal purposes. If you say, "I sell you this book on the condition that you don't copy it" you have added a condition to benefit the seller which restricts the rights of the buyer to benefit from it. This is not valid, as knowledgeable people admit. It does not change anything to apply the label "intellectual copyright", because it is a benefit of the entity no matter what you call it. What is a right other than a right to benefit, i.e. other than the benefit itself when it comes down to it?

    If you admit they are the benefit, then how can the ownership of the benefit be restricted? This is not something that is naturally required by the salescontract, so it must therefore be invalid. The argument should end here, but since the idea of ideas being property have been brought up, lets examine it:

    Copying books is allowed by consensus

    Muslims have been selling books for centuries without anyone ever claiming "copyright." This means that copying a book you have bought is lawful by "consensus by action." (اجماع فعلي) It is also clear that this is not something invented by muslims, nor has it even today become part of peoples customs (عرف). That is why, even in the west, copyright laws are only followed when there is significant threat of vigorous and expensive law enforcement practices. Since this is true for books, then it is also true that muslims have never considered ideas to be property.

    The same is true for any goods sold, it is invalid to say: "I sell you this on the condition that you don't make something like it to sell." Since there is no scholar in history that has claimed that this is a valid condition, then there is consensus on this as well.

    The idea of restricting copyrights is a bad innovation from the west

    Can you show me even one example where a muslim has claimed intellectual copyright, and saleability of it, in the history of this ummah before this idea was imported from the west? Isn't it clear that this idea came from the west, and that it is a innovation in non-muslim law then attempted imported to islamic law? This alone should be enough to reject it. Nobody spoke of this until the west invented it.

    The idea of intellectual property as ownership is anti-innovation and harmful to society

    The original idea behind copyright and patent laws was to give inventors a short period of monopoly. Not for the sake of the producer, but to give an incentive for innovation that would benefit consumers. Of course, this is not what actually happened, because corporate lobbying has used these laws simply to extend their monopoly power.

    In reality however, the argument that periods of copyright increase the amount of innovation in society can be countered by saying that:

    • Restricting copyrights and patents lets the innovator relax instead of continuing to push ahead to stay on top of the competition.
    • It prevents other innovative people from using the innovation to make something better still.
    • Competition is enough incentive for innovation. Businessmen are forced to innovate by competition.
    • Patents might restrict the use of the idea for others, even though they might have thought of it before the one who registered it as his. This is unfair to say the least.
    Patent and copyright laws cause an incredible legal mess in the west (mainly for the benefit of the rich and resourceful) something islam has always been free from. For example, do you know that British Telecom is now claiming to have a patent on hyperlinks? Apparently they have in mind taxing internet users based on this. Or that has claimed its "one-click" patent, whereby the company has patented the idea of purchasing items with a single mouse click. Another crazy one is when companies are expected to start copyrighting the human genome that was recently mapped out. Aren't these laws just a symbol of greed and selfishness? These things are happening as a result of being consistent in applying the idea of ideas being owned.

    In the New Yorker, The Talk Of The Town, Issue of 2003-07-14 and 21, Posted 2003-07-07, James Surowiecki said:

    "Now the first thing someone with a good notion does is press the government to protect it. Priceline patented its reverse-auction method for selling cut-rate airline tickets. I.B.M. patented a method for keeping track of people waiting in line for the bathroom. Last month, Netflix, a company that runs an online DVD-rental subscription service, got a patent covering, among other things, the way its customers request titles and the way it sends out DVDs. And eBay is now in court appealing a verdict that it infringed on a Virginia man’s patent. The crime? Selling auctioned items at a fixed price. What gall.

    For most of American history, it was next to impossible to get a patent on what the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office called “a mere method of doing business.” A business method was considered to be an idea—selling newspapers in the streets, delivering packages overnight—and ideas of this sort were not patentable. But in July, 1998, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit did away with that principle. The case, State Street v. Signature Financial, involved software that Signature had written to enable it to administer mutual funds more efficiently. But the court’s language was broad enough to embrace any business process (as long as it was new and “nonobvious” and had a “useful, concrete, and tangible result”). The gates opened, and in the past five years thousands of business-method patents have been granted. One inventive soul won a patent for a system of using pictures to train janitors. Another got one for describing a way to cut hair with both hands."

    Is this sort of madness in the best interest of the muslims?

    Ideas as property is not analogous to ownership as known in Islam

    If I read the sentence in a article, does this mean I cannot use a sentence of his without asking the author? If you say I can, then how does this fit with the idea of ownership? Where are you going to set the quantitative limit? Based on what islamic evidence? How are you going to do all this without contradicting the Prophet's sayings:

    وذروا الناس يرزق الله بعضهم من بعض من اشترط شرطا ليس في كتاب الله فليس له وإن شرط مائة مرة

    Which could be translated as: "Leave the people alone, Allah gives them their sustenance by them dealing with one another" and "The one who put a condition that is not in Allah's book does not get it, even if he set the condition a hundred times."

    Moreover, no private property can be established in Islam without evidence to show that Islamic law treats it as such. This is because the things on earth are for orginally created for all, so noone can make a claim to own anything without a proper islamic legal proof of this being so:

    خلق لكم ما في الأرض جميعا

    The first thing one needs to do to establish the right for ownership is to define what is to be owned. How would you define intellectual property? How would you differ one such intellectual property from another? The only way that ideas get a shared, external, observable form is through words. Does anybody own the words used in a book? If not, how can they then claim ownership of the whole? If you say he owns the combination/ sequence, then I say I substitute one of the words and the sequence is no longer his--which renders any intellectual property laws meaningless.

    Another problem is that new ideas are usually just combinations of old ideas from somewhere else. Once again -- how can one own something one does not own the parts of? This does not fit the concept of ownership in Islam at all. Also, even in the west it is not the idea that gets protection, it is the expression of it in tangible form. If you express the same idea differently then it is not counted as infringement -- such as Microsofts copy of Apple's operating system's "look and feel." Although this seems, from the quotes above, to be changing now.

    Finally, it is obvious that the ideas and words in a book are the benefit of the book, and the benefits of a thing belongs to the owner. This benefit then, belongs to the questions surrounding rent, and this has already been widely covered by the scholars through the ages.

    Problems with legal enforcement

    Copyright laws are a vague, something Islamic law is clear of. Once the ruling is know, then the Muslim judge has firm criteria to go by. In contrast, take a look at this author said as follows:


    Copying is Theft - and other legal myths By Mark Rasch, SecurityFocus Posted: 28/07/2003 at 13:39 GMT

    The U.S. Constitution permits Congress "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." Under intensive lobbying by the movie, publishing and recording industries, Congress has nudged that "limited" time from the original 17 years in 1789, to the publisher's life plus 75 years today -- a time limit that the U.S. Supreme Court recently approved.

    For this "limited" time, Copyright law essentially grants the author the exclusive rights to copy or reproduce the work, make derivative works, distribute copies of the work (sell, give away, lease or license), and to perform the work, and, of course, to keep others from doing the same.

    The law recognizes that many uses of copyrighted works -- even without the permission of the copyright holder -- are not an infringement. While there is no "right" as such to make a fair use, the making of such a use is not an infringement.

    Thus, if you make copies for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, it is not an infringement of the copyright, even if the copyright holder does not want you to do so.

    This isn't black and white, of course. In deciding whether a use is fair or not, courts will consider a number of factors: Did you make the copies for commercial purposes? Does the copy deprive the copyright holder of revenues? Did you copy all, or substantially all, of the work, or just a small portion? The less of the work copied, the less commercial and the less impact on the copyrighted work, the more likely it is to be considered "fair."

    ------------------------------end quote------------------------------

    It is clear from the above and what preceded it that defining intellectual property and how it is established is a complicated mess. Let me ask some quasi-rhetorical questions regarding legal and economic consequences of copyright laws:

    Copyrights and patents have a limited timespan in the west, or are your going to go all the way with your analogy of ownership, or follow western footprints in this by setting arbitrary timelimits?

    If you are not going to restrict the periods, isn't this going to put a brutal stop to innovation in society? If you are not, then how is this analogous to ownership?

    If somebody claimed to own an idea, how would a judge handle this? What if somebody disputed his claim?

    If I read the sentence in an article, does this mean I cannot use a sentence of his without asking the author? Isn't this an enormous burden to put on the intellectual activity of muslims? Does muslims need more restrictions on their intellectual and cultural lives?

    If the idea of intellectual property neither has an anology in islamic law, nor a textual basis, nor a basis in consensus, how are you going to derive the rules? How are you going to avoid mixing in the philosophy and methodology of man-made law? More importantly, who is the mujtahid doing this?

    Some of those who claim scholarship argue that "owning a something does not necessarily give you the right to make another copy of it. A simple example they give is money. If I have a US$100 bill, I have the ownership-based right to use it as I wish. However, I do not have the legal right to make "copies" of the US$100 bill, as most of us would reasonably agree."

    The answer to this fallacious argument is that copying USD bills would be haram if it is for the purpose of forgery (cheating,) which is another issue all together. That is why copying a dollar bill on on a regular sheet of paper wouldn't be haram at all. In any case, this has absolutely nothing to do with whether an idea can be owned.

    They also argue that the danger of breaking copyright laws is clear: you would be wronging others, and the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, "Wrongs are darknesses on the Day of Judgement." The warnings against wronging others are frequent in the Qur'an and Sunnah.

    The answer is that you haven't shown that breaking copyright laws is wrongdoing. What is really dangerous is to claim to be haram what is not haram by an ijma3 that is as clear as it gets.


    For those associated with the hanafi school, here is a quote to think about from the book "Badaa'i^ Al-Sanaa'i^" in the section on the conditions for sound sales transactions:

    The permissability of renting has been established in spite of analogy (which says it should not be allowed) due to peoples use of it in their dealings, so it is not allowed to rent something that is not normally rented.... For this reason it is not allowed to rent books and the like, and there is no rent due if someone did it.

    بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع ؛ كتاب البيوع ؛ فصل في شرائط الصحة في البيوع: الإجارة ... جوازها ثبت على خلاف القياس لتعامل الناس فما لم يتعاملوا فيه لا تصح فيه الإجارة ؛ ولهذا لم تصح ... إجارة الكتب للقراءة ونحو ذلك حتى لم تجب الأجرة

    So the Hanafi school considers the ideas in a book "benefit", not property, and he even does not allow the renting of it, let alone the sale of it as property.

    Moreover, if it really was property, then how can you buy a book and the conditional right to the so called intellectual property in the same contract? Wouldn't this be two contracts in one? Like the buying the fruits on a tree on the condition that they will be left on the tree?

    Finally, how can someone claim to invent an entirely new section of fiqh when he is not a mujtahid? Or has western law and legal philosophy become an acceptable substitute for Thaahir al- Riwaayah?

    Tuesday, January 11, 2005

    Jesus, the prophet of Islam


    God, the only Creator, named Allah in Arabic, sent many messengers to humankind as a mercy. He sent them all to teach people the correct and acceptable way to worship Him. All the prophets of Allah, the first of whom was Adam and the last of whom is Muhammad, came with one Religion--Islam, one creed--the belief in the Oneness of Allah. They all taught that Allah is attributed with attributes of completeness and perfection and that He does not resemble any of His creations. They taught humankind what Allah orders us to do and what to refrain from in this life. They taught that there is a Judgment Day in which each one of us will be judged according how we performed our obligations and avoided prohibitions. None of them taught their followers what contradicts the belief in the Oneness of Allah. Each one of them ordered their followers to believe in the rest of the prophets.

    Imam al-Bukhariyy related that Prophet Muhammad, may Allah raise his rank, said:


    أنا أولى الناس ‏بابن مريم ‏والأنبياء أولاد ‏علات ‏ليس بيني وبينه نبي

    It means: “I am the closest to the Son of Maryam. The prophets are like brothers from the same father (i.e. belief system) with different mothers (i.e. rules and practices). There was no other prophet between us.”

    Allah sent Prophet Jesus as the last messenger before Prophet Muhammad. He was one of the five highest-ranking messengers of Allah - those most patient. He was Jesus, the son of Maryam, the daughter of ^Imran, from the "Sons of Israel" (Prophet Jacob). Prophet Jesus, as all the prophets, was truthful in what he conveyed from Allah. Today we follow the religious rules revealed to Prophet Muhammad, however, Muslims respect, love, and believe in Jesus and in his prophethood. To disbelieve in or disrespect Jesus in any way is blasphemy.

    Mary, the mother of Jesus

    Mary (Maryam in Arabic), the mother of Jesus, was a pious Muslim woman from the offspring of Israel during the time of Prophet Zakariyya. Prophet Zakariyya was a prophet of Allah that taught people to follow the religious rules revealed to Prophet Moses. In the Qur'an there is a block of text (called suurah in Arabic) named Maryam (Mary). This suurah talks about Mary: her birth, her pregnancy, the birth of Prophet Jesus, and other events of her life.

    Mary’s mother conceived and delivered Mary when she was an old woman, at an age when women are usually unable to have babies. One-day Mary's mother saw a bird feeding its young and she longed for a baby herself. She asked Allah to bless her with a child and vowed that she would make him a servant for the Holy House in Jerusalem, dedicated to worship, because she thought the child would be male. Allah answered her supplication and Mary's mother conceived and delivered a baby girl. She named her "Maryam" and asked Allah to protect her and her offspring from evil.

    Since Mary's father had died, Prophet Zakariyya (who was the husband of Mary's sister) became Mary's guardian. Maryam learned her religious knowledge from him. She grew up as a righteous, pure, and pious Muslim woman, worshipping Allah and making great efforts to obey Him. Before she turned fourteen (14) years old, Maryam was a waliyyah (a very pious woman with a special status - a muslim saint). She became the best of the women in the world. It is mentioned in the Qur'an that the angels said Allah chose Mary and preferred her over the other women of the world. (Al ^Imran, 42-43).

    The birth of Jesus

    Ibn Jareer al-Tabaree and other narrators told that Mary once ran out of water. She asked her cousin to go with her to get some. He declined, saying he had what he needed for that day, so Mary went to get water alone. There, she found Gabriel (Jibriil), whom Allah had sent to her in the shape of a man. Thinking he was a human who might harm her, she asked Allah for protection from him. Gabriel told her, "I am the Messenger of your Lord to you. I was sent to give you a pious child who is free of sin." Mary told him, "How could I have a son? I have no husband, and I am neither an adulteress nor a fornicator." Gabriel told her, "Creating a son without a father is an easy matter to Allah. Allah will make him a sign for humans and an indication of the Power of Allah. He will send him as a mercy from Him and an endowment to the one who follows him and believes in him. Creating him is a matter that Allah has willed and destined, so it will not be prevented or changed."

    Gabriel blew the soul of Jesus into Mary. The soul entered her womb, and she became pregnant with Jesus, peace be upon him. There is a difference of opinion as to the term of her pregnancy, some said nine months, some said eight, and some said other than that.

    Whatever the period, when the signs of pregnancy became apparent on her, her cousin Yusuf, the carpenter, was disturbed. He did not know how to interpret this matter; he knew how pious she was, yet he could see the signs of pregnancy. So he decided to open the subject with her. He asked her, "Tell me, would plants grow without seeds? Would trees grow without rainfall? Would there be a child without a male?" To all these questions Mary answered, "Yes." Then she asked him, "Did you not know that Allah made the plants emerge without seeds the day He created them? Did you not know Allah created the trees the first time without rain? Did you not know Allah created Adam and Eve (Hawwaa’) without a father or a mother?" Yusuf knew all these things, and when she responded in this way, he felt assured of her innocence and that this was an extraordinary event given to her by Allah.

    When the signs of her pregnancy became apparent, Mary left her people. The pangs of birth led her to the trunk of a dead palm tree. Out of her shyness, and fearing that people would accuse her of having done something wrong, she wished she was dead and forgotten. Gabriel called her to comfort her, and said that Allah made a small river run under her from which she could drink, and that if she would shake the trunk of the dead palm tree next to her, it would turn green and moist dates would fall down from which she could eat and take nourishment. Gabriel also told her that when she faces her people with her newborn son, she should tell anyone who questions her about him, that she had made a vow not to talk to any human that day. That day, Maryam gave birth to her son, Jesus, peace be upon him.

    Forty (40) days later she carried Jesus back to her people. They accused her of fornication. In response, Maryam pointed to her son, meaning that they should talk to him. They were angered by this and thought she was mocking them by asking them to address a 40-day old baby in a cradle. At that moment, Allah made Jesus speak. He said: ‏‏

    قَالَ إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ آتَانِيَ الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِي نَبِيًّا 30 وَجَعَلَنِي مُبارَكًا أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُ وَأَوْصانِي بِالصَّلاةِ وَالزَّكاةِ مَا دُمْتُ حَيًّا 31 وَبَرًّا بِوالِدَتِي وَلَمْ يَجْعَلْنِي جَبَّارًا شَقِيًّا 32 وَالسَّلامُ عَلَيَّ يَوْمَ وُلِدتُّ وَيَوْمَ أَمُوتُ وَيَوْمَ أُبْعَثُ حَيًّا33

    which are verses 30-33 of Surat Maryam and mean: [I am a slave of Allah. He will reveal the Book to me and make me a prophet. He blessed me wherever I am. In the rules revealed to me there will be a special attention given to Prayers and Zakat. Allah predestined that I will be kind to my mother and not a tyrant with a bad ending. Peace was upon me the day I was born. Peace will be upon me on the day I will die and on the day I am raised alive again.]

    When Mary’s people heard that, they refrained from harming her or Prophet Zakariyya, to whom they had made ugly accusations. After Jesus spoke these words, he did not speak again until he became at an age when children normally speak. Jesus’ speech from the cradle was a preparation and a sign of his coming prophethood, when he would call the people to believe in only one god and that Jesus is His the prophet and messenger. Note that the first words he spoke were, "I am a slave of Allah."

    The early life of Prophet Jesus

    Lady Mary took Jesus to Egypt where they stayed for a period of time. Then they returned to the countries of Levant--to a city known as an-Nasirah. Jesus, peace be upon him, studied the Torah and memorized it. He spoke Syriac, the language of the people of Palestine at that time, and the language in which the Heavenly Book, called the Injeel, was revealed to him. He was a pious worshipper of Allah, following the rules of the Torah revealed to Prophet Moses.

    Jesus' revelation and entry into prophethood

    Allah sent the Revelation of Prophethood to Jesus when he was thirty years old. Allah revealed to him new laws that unprescribed some of the laws revealed to Prophet Moses. Prophet Jesus conveyed the revelation to the people and called them to believe in his message.

    Prophet Jesus, like all the prophets of Allah, performed miracles as a proof to his prophethood. Many of Prophet Jesus’ miracles were in curing illnesses, since the people he addressed were famous for being knowledgeable in the field of medicine. Prophet Jesus cured those with seemingly incurable illnesses. Prophet Jesus once cured a man inflicted with leprosy. In another incident, he put his noble hand on the face of a man who was born blind and cured his sight. In yet another instance, Prophet Jesus supplicated to Allah to bring back to life a dead person who was being carried to the burial place, and Allah brought him back to life.

    Prophet Jesus had other kinds of miracles also, such as when he formed the shape of bats from clay and they would fly away. One of the miracles of Jesus is mentioned in the Qur'an in Surat al-Ma'idah, Verses 112-114, which tells us that Prophet Jesus and his followers once reached a place where there was not enough food for them all. The students of Jesus requested him to ask Allah for food that would come down to them from the sky. Jesus made supplication to Allah and the angels brought down food in front of the eyes of the people. Hundreds of people ate from that food, and there was no sign that the food had diminished in quantity. This miracle increased the belief of the believers. The blasphemers however, claimed that Jesus had performer sorcery on their eyes.

    After his revelation, Prophet Jesus lived on earth for about three years. He used to travel to different places calling people to the proper worship of Allah. He was so detached from worldly matters that he did not worry about not having a house to return to at night. He used to sleep wherever the night fell upon him; whether he was in an open field or in a sheltered place. He wore clothing made out of unwoven wool. He ate raw plants, without desiring to cook them. He neither married nor had children.

    The Injiil

    Jesus received a Heavenly Book, the Injiil, which contained the Shari^ah, (rules of the Religion) revealed to him. In it was the prohibition from associating partners with Allah, and from consuming usurious gain (riba), pig meat, blood, or meat of animals not slaughtered properly. It contained the order to perform the Prayer (with bowing and prostration) twice a day. It had the order to fast (but in another month than Ramadan), and the order to perform ritual purification (taharah). Prophet Jesus came with a Shari^ah that permitted some of the things which had been forbidden upon the children of Israel in the Torah. Although what is called "The Bible" today contains some true stories of Prophet Jesus, it does not contain the true Injiil which was revealed to him.

    The ascension of Prophet Jesus

    When Prophet Jesus was 33 years old, the blasphemers among the offspring of Israel plotted to kill him, but Allah saved him from their harm. Ibn Abi Hatim and an-Nasa'iyy narrated from the route of Ibn ^Abbas that he said:

    Prophet Jesus was in session with twelve of his elite companions in a house. He told them that among them were those who would blaspheme in the future. Then he asked them, "Who among you would want to be made to look like me, be killed in my place, and be my companion in Paradise." The youngest among them stood up and said, "Me." Prophet Jesus told him to sit, then repeated the same question. Again, the same young man said, "Me." Again, Prophet Jesus told him to sit, and again he asked the same question. When the same young man volunteered for the third time, Prophet Jesus received the Revelation that this young man was the one who would be made to look like him and killed in his place. Prophet Jesus was raised to the sky from an opening in the ceiling of the house. When the Jews came after Prophet Jesus, they saw the young man that Allah had made look like Jesus. They took him, thinking he was Prophet Jesus, and crucified him.

    It should be noted here that there are two widespread false stories about this matter. In one, it is claimed that one of Jesus’ students was paid a great sum of money to lead the Jews to him, however Allah made this person look like Jesus so he was taken instead and crucified. In another, it is said that the person killed in place of Jesus was the leader of the Jews. Both of these stories are false. After Prophet Jesus was raised to the sky, his nation lived following his guidance, teaching, and methodology for two hundred (200) years. However, the nation of Prophet Jesus did not remain steadfast to Islam. Three hundred (300) years after Prophet Jesus was raised to the sky, the followers of those who had perverted his teachings became very numerous. At the same time, those who were truly following the Religion of Islam were few and weak. After some five hundred (500) years, none of the believing Muslims of Jesus’ nation were left. When Prophet Muhammad received his revelation, he was the only Muslim among the people on earth.

    Prophet Jesus' future descent to earth

    Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, is still alive and residing in the second of the seven skies, preoccupied with worship. He will descend to earth before the Day of Judgment and his descent will be one of the great signs of the last days. Prophet Muhammad informed us that Jesus will descend to earth at a place on the eastern side of Damascus, with his hands on the wings of two angels. He will meet a group of Muslims getting ready to perform the Prayer, with the Mahdiyy as their Imam. The Mahdiyy will ask Prophet Jesus to lead them in that prayer, however, Jesus will ask the Mahdiyy to lead them--as a sign that Prophet Jesus will rule according to the rules revealed to Prophet Muhammad. After this one time, Jesus will lead the people in prayers because he has a higher status than the Mahdiyy.

    After he descends, Prophet Jesus will rule the earth with the Shari^ah of Prophet Muhammad, the Shari^ah Muslims are ordered to follow until the Judgment Day. He will break the crosses, kill the pigs, and abolish the jizyah (compulsory payment by the People of the Book to the Muslim state), because in the rules of Prophet Muhammad the jizyah is only applicable until the descent of Jesus. He will kill the Dajjal, an ugly, evil blasphemer who claims to be God, and who misleads many people into blasphemy. Prophet Jesus will perform Hajj-pilgrimage and travel to visit the grave of the Prophet to salute him, and to greet him by saying, "As-salamu ^alaykum ya rasul Allah", as narrated by Abu Dawud at-Tayalisiyy and others.

    During his time, the people of Ya'juj and Ma'juj will appear and cause great destruction to the earth and devastation to the Muslims. Prophet Jesus will take the believers to Mount at-Tur to ask Allah to relieve them from those people. Allah will answer their supplication and destroy the people of Ya'juj and Ma'juj. After that, Prophet Jesus will rule the Muslims and there will be a time when peace, comfort, and safety will prevail. Prophet Jesus will live for forty (40) years on earth after his return. He will marry and have children. He will die and be buried. ^Adullah Ibn Salam said, "It is written in the original Torah that Prophet Jesus will be buried next to Prophet Muhammad" (in the chamber of Lady ^A'ishah.)

    Final remarks

    Prophet Jesus was a messenger of Allah. He had a revelation to teach the religion of Islam and to call people to worship Allah, their Creator. Muslims believe in his prophethood and in his truthfulness in conveying that message. Prophet Jesus is alive now, living in the second heaven, worshipping Allah. He will return to earth before the Day of Judgment and will rule the Muslims with the Shari^ah of Prophet Muhammad. May peace be upon this respected, honored and beloved Messenger of Allah.

    Praise be to Allah, and Allah knows best. ‏‏

    وَالسَّلامُ عَلَيَّ يَوْمَ وُلِدتُّ وَيَوْمَ أَمُوتُ وَيَوْمَ أُبْعَثُ حَيًّا 33

    Verse #33 of Surat Maryam means: [Peace was on me the day I was born. Peace will be on me on the day I will die and on the day I am raised alive again.]

    Commentary on why it is blasphemy to say that Allah has a son

    The essential meaning of the word "son" is something begotten - something that is generated out of something else. In other words, if someone said that Allah has a son, then he is saying that Allah multiplies or divides, and this contradicts the belief that Allah is one. This again leads to worshipping other than Allah.

    The word "son" also contradicts the concept of ownership; it would be absurd to say that someone "owns" his "son". Something can't be someone's son and personal property at the same time. In other words, to say that Allah has a son is to deny that he has absolute ownership of all created things. That is why it is blasphemous to say that Allah has a son, even as a figure of speech. Muslims must believe that Allah is the true owner of everything, because He is their Creator.

    As shown above, the concept of having a son is incompatible with the concept of believing in one Creator. That is why one cannot logically claim that the Creator has a son. It is like saying 2+2=5, which is a lie and has no possible meaning. That is why muslims must believe that it is impossible that Allah should have a son; it has nothing to do with ability, because it is nonsensical and illogical. If someone asks, "Can Allah have a son?" it is as if they are saying "can the number 3 be 4?", thus the correct way of answering this is to say that "It is impossible that Allah should have a son."

    Note that it is blashpemy to say that Allah "can" have a son, because this is to deny Allah's attribute of godhood - being the Creator and absolute owner of everything. However, it is also blashpemy to say that He is "unable" to have a son, because this is to insult Allah's power. The correct expression is to say that it is "impossible that Allah should have a son" or "absurd to claim that Allah could have a son". Having a son has nothing to do with being the Creator, and therefore is not related to Allah's attribute of power.

    Avoiding Kufr (blasphemy)/ Riddah (apostasy)

    Kufr is any saying, deed or belief that denies, disrespects or makes fun of God, the Prophets, the Angels, the Quran or the Islamic religion. Deny means to say or believe anything that contradicts what our beloved prophet Muhammad taught. Committing Kufr causes one to be a non-Muslim (kaafir), even if one was previously a Muslim. Kufr after being Muslim is called riddah (apostasy).

    Important basic beliefs and what denies them

    Every Muslim must believe that Allah's existence does not have a beginning and that everything else has a beginning.

    Allah said in the Quran that He created everything, and Prophet Muhammad (may Allah raise his rank) said that "Allah existed and there was nothing else".
    • Saying or believing that any of Allah's attributes has a beginning, is kufr, because this would mean that He is part creator and part brought into existence.
    • Saying or believing that Allah is in a place or location is kufr, because place has a beginning, and therefore everything in it must also have a beginning. Allah existed before place and He still exists without it. Moreover, Allah said that the Jews committed kufr by their worship of the gold calf, pointing out that it is a body.
    • Saying or believing that God is united with His creation, or physically enters created things, such as the sky or a body is kufr.
    • It is kufr to say or believe that Allah changes, because changes are series of events and all events have a beginning.
    • Important note: we neither say that Allah is in place nor say that He is outside place. We say that He exists without a place.
    • Important note: Allah is not attributed with change, because all change has a beginning. Rather, we believe that Allah's attributes are without a beginning or an end.
    • Important note: Although created things become existent and annihilated in sequence, Allah's act of creating them is not sequential. Rather, we believe that Allah's attributes are without a beginning or an end.
    • Important note: To understand that one cannot know the reality of Allah attributes is to understand the Islamic belief in Allah; one must not think about the self of Allah, but rather think about created things instead.

    Every Muslim must believe that Allah does not resemble His creation.

    Allah said in the Quran that He does not resemble anything.
    • Saying of believing something that contradicts this belief is kufr, such as believing that Allah is in a place, or that He has a shape or travels distances. This is because being in a place is the attribute of created things, and because place itself is a creation, so Allah does not need it.
    • To say that "Allah is like so and so" is kufr, because this is drawing a resemblance.
    • Important rule: Allah is different from anything you imagine in your mind.
    • Important rule: Allah is not attributed with a where or a how.

    Every Muslim must believe that Allah is attributed with self sufficiency.

    • Saying or believing that Allah needs something is kufr.
    • Saying or believing God has a partner is kufr; having a partner means needing agreement.

    Every Muslim must believe that Allah is attributed with onenness, i.e. He does not have a partner or a part or an equal.

    • Saying or believing that Allah has a rival, child, part or a partner is kufr.
    • Saying or believing that Allah has a mother or a wife is kufr.
    • Calling Allah "father" is kufr.
    • Saying or believing that anything other than Allah deserves worship is kufr.
    • Saying or believing that Allah has limbs or bodyparts such an ear or an eye is kufr.
    • Saying or believing that anyone or anything has a similarity to Allah or His attributes is kufr.

    Every Muslim must believe that Allah has the power to create anything.

    • To say or believe that anything other than Allah can create is kufr.
    • To say or believe that Allah does not have the ability to do something is kufr.
    • Believing that anyone other than God has the power to create, such as believing that humans create their own actions is kufr.

    Every Muslim must believe that Allah is attributed with a Will, that everything is predestined and that there is a wisdom in all of Allah's actions.

    • To say or believe that Allah does something unwise or unjust is kufr.
    • It is kufr to say or believe that Allah's will changes.

    Every Muslim must believe that Allah knows, hears and sees everything. They must also believe that His Knowledge, Hearing and Seeing is not like ours; it has nothing to do with instruments, such as an ear or an eye or a brain. They are eternal attributes of Allah that do not have a beginning or an end.

    • To say or believe that Allah does not know something is kufr.
    • To believe that Allah sees with an eye or hears with an ear is kufr, because Allah is One, without a partner or a part.

    Every Muslim must believe that Allah is attributed with life, but that His life does not have a beginning or an end, and does not resemble our life.

    • To believe or say that Allah's life is in a body or soul is kufr, because this is the life of created things.

    Every Muslim must believe that Allah has the attribute of speech (Kalaam), and that His speech is not like ours; it is not sound, letters or language; it does not depend on traveling through a medium such as air; it does not resonate in our ear; it has no beginning and no end; it is not sequential.

    • Important rule: The (the revealed book of the Quran) refers to Allah’s attribute of speech, just as the utterance of Allah’s name “Allah” refers to Allah. In Arabic the word "Quran" refers to both Allah's attribute of speech and the book.
    • Everything that has a beginning needs a Creator, because it was brought into existence.

    Every Muslim must believe that Allah's attributes are attributes of absolute perfection.

    • Saying or believing that Allah has attributes of imperfection: flaws, weaknesses, boundaries, needs or limits (such as body, location, size, shape, or distance.) is kufr.
    • Saying or believing that Allah changes is kufr. Changing or developing implies a need to do so. In addition, something that changes becomes more or less perfect, and Allah is attributed with complete perfection.
    • Believing it is possible for God to have a child is kufr; having a child is a created attribute indicating need, physical existence, multiplication, etc. Such a belief also denies the Creator’s absolute ownership of all created things.

    Every Muslim must believe that prophets are examples of human perfection and are models for us to follow.

    • Saying or believing that it is possible for prophets (even before prophethood) to lie, cheat or betray, or to be cowards, stupid, mean, ill mannered, unattractive or to have an illness that makes an onlooker feel disgusted is kufr.
    • Saying or believing that it is possible for prophets (even before prophethood) to commit kufr, large sins, or small sins that show meanness is kufr.
    • Saying or believing that it is possible for prophets (even before prophethood) to be mean, such as contemplating adultery or fornication is kufr. This is insulting a prophet.

    Other examples of kufr sayings and beliefs

    • If someone says that there is a Prophet after the Prophet Muhammad, this is kufr.
    • It is kufr to say it is acceptable for someone to follow a religion other than Islam.
    • It is kufr to believe that any prophet, such as Jesus or Moses taught the beliefs of another religion than Islam. All prophets taught the beliefs of Islam.
    • Cussing, insulting or making fun of God, a prophet, a revealed book, the Islamic religion or any of its rules is kufr. Neither ignorance, nor anger is an excuse in this.

    Deeds that are Kufr

    Any deed or action that denies, disrespects or makes fun of God, the Prophets, the Angels, the Quran or the Islamic religion is Kufr, such as:
    • Throwing the Quran, or the written name of God, in the trash; this is an insult.
    • Wearing a cross believing it is all right to do so. This is Kufr because the cross is the sign of another religion, and God only accepts Islam.
    • Prostrating (kneeling on the ground placing his forehead on the ground) to the sun or fire, or another object. If someone does a prostration to a human to worship him, then he has committed Kufr. If it is not done to worship him, however, then it is not Kufr, but it is forbidden.
    • Committing a sin, such as adultery, stealing or leaving an obligatory prayer is not kufr unless one believes it is OK to do so.

    Important rules regarding Kufr

    • It is important to know and not to confuse an actual belief with a thought that crosses one's mind. Satan (the Devil) can bring thoughts to our mind, which are Kufr. If this should happen we need to reject the thought in our heart and fight to get rid of it. As long as we fight it and do not believe it, we are Muslim. However, if someone believes soemthing that is Kufr he becomes a kaafir. Satan often tries to bring such thoughts to Muslims.
    • It is very important when mentioning kufr stated by someone else to mention that it was that person who made the statement, either directly before or after you mention the statement. If someone repeats kufr, or writes kufr without relating it to those who said it, it causes him to leave Islam, whether he believes the Kufr or not.
    • If someone was talking about statements that Christians make in order to show how ignorant they are, and he was mentioning the following statement, he needs to say, "Christians say that Jesus is the son of God." If the speaker does not use something like the phrase, "Christians say," either before or after the rest of the statement, in order to relate it to someone else, then the speaker has left Islam, even if he does not believe the statement.
    • To help someone commit kufr is kufr.
    • To be happy with someone's kufr is kufr.

    Some of the effects caused by committing riddah

    If a Muslim committed apostasy, then his fasting would be interrupted if he was fasting, the meat of his slaughter forbidden to eat, his marriage contract void and any attempt at worship invalid. All his previous goods deeds have been lost, even if he returns to Islam later. He must return to Islam immediately.

    How to return to Islam after committing riddah

    If someone commits kufr, he is required to immediately say "I firmly believe that no one and nothing deserves to be worshipped except God, and Muhammad is His Prophet and Messenger," with the intent in his heart to become Muslim and to leave anything that contradicts that belief, loud enough to hear himself, with the intent in his heart to become Muslim, leave that kufr and never repeat it again. This is how one returns to Islam (becomes Muslim again). One is required to feel sorry for having committed kufr.

    When saying kufr does not cause one to leave Islam

    There are 3 occasions under which if someone says kufr he does not leave Islam:
    1. If someone has a slip of the tongue, i.e. he is trying to say something that is not kufr, but by a slip of the tongue, he says something else that is kufr, he does not leave Islam.
    2. If someone is not sane or is not conscious of what he is saying, and he commits kufr, he does not leave Islam.
    3. If someone is directly and immediately threatened with loss of life, limb or the like unless he says something kufr. For example, if someone was threatened with being killed if he did not curse God, he has the option to refuse, be killed and die martyr, or curse God, on the condition that he hates this before he does it, while he is doing it, and after he did it.

    Ignorance is NOT an excuse in kufr pertaining to the attributes of Allah or the attributes of the prophets, or the fact that Islam is the only correct religion. However, if someone was new to Islam, or lived far away from Islamic scholars, then he does not fall out of Islam if he thinks something forbidden to be permitted or vice versa, such as adultery.

    Monday, January 10, 2005

    Allah's attributes of power and will

    Allah has the attribute of power

    • Allah has the power to do whatever He wills.
    • God has power over everything in this world (world here means all creation.)
    • God's power is related to those things which are possible to the sound intellect, even those things which are not currently in existence.
    • God’s power is not related to the impossible propositions; that which cannot ever be. The impossible usually refers to contradictions in terms; such as if someone said that Allah is attributed with attributes of completeness and perfection and then said that He has a limit. The terms "comleteness" and "perfection" are incompatible with having a limit, so it cannot ever be that Allah has a limit.
    • Impossible propositions refer to things that cannot ever be, so they are not really “things”, but mere verbal absurdities.
    • An important concept here is to understand that Muslims must believe that Allah is clear of any imperfection, need, limit or weakness. This MUST be so, because the one who created this cosmos cannot possibly be limited in any way. In other words, it is impossible that Allah is attributed with imperfection, such as:
      • to need something; needing is to be incomplete.
      • to resemble a creation; everything about a creation needs a creator.
      • to have a partner; having a partner implies needing agreement.
      • to have a child; having a child is a created attribute indicating need, physical existence, etc.
      • to have attributes that change or develop; changing or developing implies a need to do so.
      • to have a body, shape or form, because these are all limited and have boundaries, which is an imperfection.
      • to have a limb; only creatures have limbs, and implies a need for instruments. In addition limbs need space..
      • to have a beginning or an end; anything with a beginning needs a creator and anything with an end is weak.
      • to have a changing will; this implies indecisiveness.
      • to be ignorant of something.
      • to die; anything susceptible to death is weak.
      • to be in a place; anything in a place is bounded by it.
    • It is impossible for Allah to resemble His creation, because all creation and everything that happens to it needs a creator.
    • If someone says that Allah can have a son, then he is saying that it is possible for Allah to be weak, because being attributed with the possibility of weakness is a weakness. This is obvious kufr (blasphemy – something that makes one a non-muslim).
    • If someone says that Allah is unable to have a son then he commits kufr because he has attributed to Allah inability. Impossible things have nothing to do with ability. To clarify, without intending similitude: it would be absurd to describe a stone by saying “it can’t speak very well”, because speaking is not related to being a stone.
    • Muslims believe Allah is attributed only with complete perfection, meaning that it is impossible for Him to be attributed with imperfection.

    Allah has the attribute of will

    • Allah has the attribute of will. What Allah wills, will be, what Allah does not will, will not be.
    • Something can only exist, if Allah wills for it to exist.
    • God's will does not have a beginning or an end.
    • God's will does not change.
    • Everything is predestined.
    • Allah wills for things to exist, but does not need anything

    To rely on Allah means:

    • To believe that the Creator of all causes and their effects is Allah.
    • To work on the apparent causes of what one wants, but not rely on them in one's heart.
    • To ask Allah for the result one is after.