Edited by Adil Salahi, Arab News Staff
Friday 31 May 2002
Last Update 31 May 2002 12:00 am
Q.1. If someone passes wind during prayer, is his prayer invalidated? What if he suffers from wind?
Q.2. If a woman wishes to fast 6 days in the month of Shawwal, as recommended by the Prophet, should she first complete her Ramadan fasting? If so, this means that she should fast 12 days in this month, which may not be very convenient.
Q.3. Is marriage on the basis of love invalid in Islam? May I also cite the case of a woman who is in love with a Muslim man from a country with which we fought for independence. It is very difficult for her to persuade her parents to accept such a marriage. Could she nevertheless go ahead and marry him in a different country?
(Name and address withheld)
A.1. Releasing wind invalidates not only the prayer, but also the ablutions. Therefore, if one accidentally discharges wind, he should leave the prayer and go to have a fresh ablution and start his prayer again. If one is suffering from wind, then one of two situations apply. The first is that his complaint is a temporary one, which could last for a few hours or a day, although he may experience it once every few days. This is easily treated with charcoal tablets that may be obtained from any chemist. The other situation is a chronic or permanent complaint which needs to be seen by a doctor. If it persists, then one should have a fresh ablution, or wudhu, for each prayer, and offer his prayers as soon as possible. If he involuntarily releases wind in his prayer, then he should take no notice of that. He completes his prayer and it is valid, God willing.
A.2. The first fasting a woman does after Ramadan should be the compensatory fast in lieu of the days she did not fast in Ramadan because of her period. When she has finished this obligatory fast, she may do any voluntary fasting she wishes.
The six days recommended by the Prophet need not be offered in the month of Shawwal. The Prophet’s Hadith may be understood as indicating the start of the time range. The Prophet does not say that these six days should be "in Shawwal;" rather he says "from Shawwal", which indicates a time range beginning with that month. This means that we have the next eleven months to complete this recommended fast. If you look carefully at the Hadith which makes this recommendation, you realize that this is the meaning intended by the Prophet.
A.3. Love is a sentiment, or a feeling, or a passion over which we do not have much control. Hence, it is not subject to a ruling of lawful or unlawful, except in as much as we can moderate it by taking a positive action, such as careful and rational consideration of its positive and negative aspects. Where a love relationship between an unrelated man and woman becomes subject to prohibition is concerned with the actions that result from it. If both man and woman refrain from any prohibited action until they are married, there is nothing wrong with what they feel for each other. But if their feelings lead them to meet in secret, where they are alone and to do what is forbidden, then they are incurring sin.
I cannot advise this woman on how or where she could get married to the man of her choice. What I can say is that marriage requires the presence of her father or guardian who should act for her, with her consent, in her marriage contract. Only the Hanafi school of law approves that a woman may act for herself in her marriage. Moreover, this lady should be reminded that marriage is a relationship that starts a family. Therefore, Islam requires that it starts as a relation between families. Hence, she should not keep her family away from her marriage. What she should do is to take a gradual and rational approach, trying to convince her parents that nationality is not the best criterion to judge any person. It is the man who should be either approved or rejected on the basis of his faith, manners, values and standards. If they accept this, then she can gradually persuade them to consider the man of her choice on this basis, rather than on his nationality.
Parents’ order and the Sunnah
Q. Would I incur God’s punishment if I do not obey my parents who insist that I should shave my beard when I want to follow the Prophet’s Sunnah?
J. Muhammad, India
A. It is wrong of your parents to insist that you should shave when you are wearing a beard in response to the Prophet’s advice. They may not place themselves in a position where you either obey them or obey the Prophet. This is wrong of any Muslim. However, they may have some reason for asking you to shave, as in the case of countries where wearing a beard is considered a mark of belonging to a particular group. This happened in some countries at different periods.
For example, in a particular Arab country around the middle of the 20th century, wearing a beard was sufficient to get a young man imprisoned for a period which could extend for years. In such a case anyone who advises a young man not to wear a beard in order to escape persecution would not be acting against the Prophet’s advice. He would be doing what is right under Islamic teachings. In normal circumstances, when people are free to choose for themselves, it is obedience of the Prophet that comes first. You would not be in breach of the requirement to be dutiful to your parents if you discard their insistence that you shave.
On children’s names
Q. I refer to your discussion on giving God’s names to children and your clarification that most of these should be preceded by "Abd al-". You mentioned that some of God’s attributes could be used as people’s names without being so preceded. May I ask whether Mateen and Muhsin fall in this category?
R. Qureshi, Ras Tanura
Q. I have given my son the name Wajed Jamil. Should I change it in any way, or is it appropriate as it is?
A. As we explained, God’s attributes which may be shared by people can be used as names without being preceded by "Abd al-", which means "servant of." These denote qualities which ordinary people may have. Hence, when they apply to God, they are normally preceded by the definite article "al," to indicate His individuality and uniqueness in that quality. But when they are used for people, the context indicates that they share this quality with others.
The two attributes the first reader asks about fall in this category. They may be used as names for people. Mateen means strong, while Muhsin means generous and kind. As for the names the second reader has given to his son, they are perfectly appropriate. There is no need to change either of them or to precede them by any thing.