Mufti Zubair Bayat
Q. Could you please guide us on the method of raising funds for Islamic projects in present times. Are activities such as fund-raising dinners, fun walks, etc. acceptable?
For a successful existence on earth, all human beings are in dire need of guidance for every action and movement of their lives. A brief study of all the "isms" and religions of the world will reveal that Islam is the only system of life that has provided guidance for even the very basic and mundane actions of man's life on earth; guidance that other systems and religions have not even given the slightest thought.
Education is a triangle. The triangle cannot be completed unless it has three sides or three corners. The three corner's of education are the teacher, the pupil and the parent. Take any one of these three away and education remains incomplete. Therefore, dear parents, do not underrate the important role you play in the education of your child. You are an important partner in the education of your child!
THE WOMEN OF THE WORLD EXPOSE THEIR BODIES MORE AND MORE WHILE MUSLIM WOMEN COVER THEMSELVES. WHY?
Immorality - the fashion in today's world
Western civilisation scoffs at the very mention of words such as morality, decency and modesty. These are regarded as old-fashioned and incongruous with today's culture of liberalism and unfettered freedom. Immodesty, immorality, shamelessness and fornication are regarded as progressive and fashionable. Yet this has been the very cause of the destruction of the stable family unit. Too many a happy home have broken due to infidelity, leaving in their trail misery, heartache and an unstable society. Fornication also leads to illegitimate and unwanted children who become a massive problem unto society due to lack of proper parental supervision. Immorality is truly a curse on mankind and society.
US and Western world reeling under impact of immorality
The country that prides itself in being the superpower of today's world and the leader of present day civilisation, the United States of America is reeling under the impact of immorality. Just a few months ago, Clinton had convened a big conference of leaders from all over the country to handle the problem of 15 million at-risk youth in the US. Today every other child in the US. is born out of wedlock. Thirty-eight percent of children now live without a biological father; 6.6 million children live with divorced single parents, mostly mothers whose ex-husbands tend to fade away from their children. This is family life in USA. "Something is wrong with the entire American family," writes Martin Marty, professor at the University of Chicago in the Los Angles Times. "One has the weird sense that America is a country with many children but without adults." This gruesome picture is the direct result of the absence of morality, decency and modesty in the US and in fact most of the Western world.
Islam guarantees morality of mankind
The one and only way of reversing this rot and restoring dignity to mankind is to return to the path of morality and modesty. It is for this very reason that Islam has placed such tremendous emphasis on the issue of modesty. Among other lofty teachings, Islam strongly promotes the concept of morality. Purity in morals is regarded as a cornerstone of a stable and healthy family and society. Anything that threatens to destroy the moral fibre of society and the family life is regarded as seriously offensive in Islam. For example, fornication, whether it be premarital or extramarital, is an act that undermines a stable family life. No wife likes her husband cheating on her or vice-versa. Therefore, Islam has declared adultery as strictly forbidden. Adultery is regarded as a very serious offence; the fornicator has been strongly condemned. In an Islamic state, it carries the maximum punishment available under the law.
Not only has Islam condemned adultery. Anything that is deemed to stir the passions or that may ultimately lead towards temptation and the sin of adultery has also been condemned and declared unlawful in Islam. In this way, the door to evil and vice has been effectively closed. It is a case of removing the hay far away from the bonfire rather than trying to control the bonfire and hoping wishfully that the hay would somehow not burn. This analogy sums up the Islamic philosophy and outlook on morality as compared to that of the West. Some of the other measures adopted by Islam to protect and promote morality is the prohibition of lustful gazes from either male or female towards each other.
Islamic garb accords women dignity and preserves morality
Another measure is the emphasis on covering parts of the body that evoke lustful feelings and emotions. This is encompassed in Islam's dress code. The female, possessing greater charm and natural beauty, has been directed to cover all such parts of her anatomy. Males are also required to cover certain parts of their bodies. Among the parts of the body that Muslim women are required to cover are their hair, legs, arms - and the face, in public. The female face is the personification of her beauty and the most striking attraction of her anatomy. This covering not only discourages undesirable attention towards her, but also accords her a degree of respect, honour and dignity and of being in charge of her body and experiencing a sense of power over herself, which her unclad counterpart is totally deprived of.
Modesty in dress has been observed as a common feature of Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim women of the past. Portraits of Voortrekker women, for example, clearly depict modesty in their dress. Their long, wide, loose-fitting frocks and the bonnet that covered their hair and part of the face bears eloquent testimony to this fact. It is due to the baneful influence of modernism and humanism that gradually women in the West were robbed of their natural dignity, until stage by stage, wearing the skimpiest of garments or nothing at all has become to be regarded as fashionable for women and the donning of clothes as being old-fashioned and out-of-date. The miserable women of the west may never admit it verbally, but they are green with envy about the dignity and respect of Muslim women. If only Muslim women can appreciate this fact and hold on fast to their golden ways!
ISLAM AND THE QUESTION OF GENDER EQUALITY
Common sense dictates that there can be no "equal" rights Allah, our Supreme Creator, has granted each gender their rights; men their rights and women theirs - some of these rights are common to both genders; some special to men and some special to women. Allah has created both men and women to play their special role on earth. Some of the duties women are capable of doing is beyond the ability of men. While some of man's duties are beyond the ability of women. Men and women are not exactly equal and alike; this is why both have been created in the first
place as both have an important role to play. If this was not the case, Allah could have sufficed with creating just one of them. Every action of His is dictated by Divine Wisdom and Knowledge and it is not possible that Allah would create anything in this
universe in vain, with no purpose.When the point has been accepted that man and woman are not the same and that they have not been created for the same purpose, then common sense dictates that their rights cannot be the same or equal. There can be no "equality" of rights. Just as they are different in purpose of creation and duties, each gender should have their independent set of rights, some maybe common, others
may differ. This ought to have been a simple, straight-forward, logical fact of life, yet it has become one of the most confounded and complicated issue in the modern world where most people seem to be supporting the notion of "gender equality" or "equality
of rights between man and woman".
Serious Western thinkers doubt concept of "gender equality"These days some serious thinkers in the West are also beginning to accede to the fact that men and women are not totally equal; that this is more than clear and evident when viewed from every angle of their lives, whether the physiological, psychological, emotional or intellectual aspects of life, it is clear that men and women are distinctly different. When they are not exactly equal, it follows that they should not share rights that are completely equal.
To continue to insist on the "equality" of rights as is being done so vehemently in the West is to actually pursue an illogical ideology which is bound to have serious repercussions and is most likely to upset the delicate balance of nature and defeat the very purpose of "separate creation" of men and women. Islam which embodies
and cherishes logical and reasonable ideals does not and cannot support an illogical concept such as "gender equality".
Adverse propaganda cannot shake a true Muslim's understanding of womans' rights' issues.Because Islam has taken recognition of the distinct separation of duties and purpose of creation between the sexes, and hence the logical and sensible "separation of rights", rather than "equality" of rights, misguided persons have unjustly hurled
accusations of bias and prejudice against Islam on it's position towards womankind. So far has this issue been taken that it has even been alleged that Islam has in fact oppressed women or at least that Muslim men, by virtue of their Islamic values, oppress their women! Yet any person who has undertaken even a superficial study of Islam knows that the evidence is to the contrary. It is beyond the scope of this article to delve into a lengthy exposition of the rights that women enjoy under Islam, but
suffice it to say that it is a universally accepted fact that prior to Islam, the position of woman in society had indeed been pathetic. It is among the universally acclaimed accomplishments of Nabi Muhammad (Sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam), by friend and foe, that his religious order, Islam, had granted women such a status in society and such rights that no previous civilization had ever done before.
Since Muslims regard Nabi Muhammad (Sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam) as the final Messenger and his religious order, Islam, as the last and most perfect way of life, it is simple for them to understand that no order, system, civilization or ism can ever better
the status or rights of women than what Islam has done. To believe otherwise, is to actually doubt the completeness and perfection of Islam, some thing no person who claims to adhere to or cherish Islam will ever do. If this simple and fundamental truth
is whole-heartedly embraced by the people of Islam, no amount of adverse propaganda will affect their understanding of the rights – and position - of woman in Islam.
Haz Sheikh Zakariyya's historic visit to Stanger in 1981 will be remembered not only by the people of Stanger, but also the thousands of visitors from the country and abroad.
Twenty one years have passed since the Ramadan of 1402-1981. That unique Ramadan will forever remain a memorable Ramadan for South Africa. For it was in that Ramadan, that a great saint of the century, Hazrat Shaikh Zakariyya (R) and hundreds of other pious persons visited our country.
This great saint was flooded with invitations from dozens of cities all over the world to be their guest for Ramadan, but from all of these invitations, Allah Ta'ala destined for him to accept the invitation of a small town in the North Coast of Natal, the town of Stanger. It was an unparalleled honour for the Muslims of Stanger to be blessed with this opportunity. This singular event emblazoned the name of Stanger on the map of the spiritual world forever.
Hazrat Shaikh Zakariyya (R) and his entourage of saintly people spent the entire duration of Ramadan in I'itikaaf at the Jami Masjid of Stanger. In fact, his stay in Stanger was close to 40 days. Close to 500 senior Ulama and other pious people from various parts of the world spent this month in his august company. A rigorous daily spiritual program used to take place and the entire Masjid was filled with spiritual effulgence and grace. Only those who spent some time in this environment, truly understand the electric atmosphere that prevailed. It is beyond description.
The people of Stanger were afforded a golden opportunity to be in the service of Hazrat Shaikh and his pious guests. Many grabbed this opportunity with two hands and worked tirelessly to serve best these honourable guests. The grand finale was when this great man of Allah departed the town, all those who served him and his guests were granted a special audience with him, where he blessed them with immense Duas. To appreciate the magnitude of this event, it would be important to understand this personality and his mission.
Who was Shaikh Zakariyya (R)? It can be stated without fear of contradiction that Shaikh Zakariyya was among the greatest of saints in the century. He hailed from a family of spiritual masters and saints. Besides the men, even his mother, grandmother and other ladies in his family were very saintly persons. Brought up in this pious environment, he grew up in the lap of saintly people. From his childhood, he displayed signs of greatness and piety. All the saints of the time showed deep love and affection for him. He was continuously blessed by their Duas.
After completing his formal education, he began to serve Islam in earnest. His sterling services to Islam, spanning more than half a century, are acclaimed by all scholars. His love for studying and teaching Hadith was such, that he was given the title of "Shaikhul-Hadith". He was also a prolific author whose works gained such acceptance due to his intense sincerity that after the Holy Qur'an, his books are the most read in the world today. His works have been translated into several languages. Such was the lofty spiritual status he reached, that he was blessed with the title of "Qutbul-Aqtaab" – "The Saint of all Saints". Such was his acceptance in the world that hundreds of thousands of people loved him and benefited from his company. He was a centerpiece of attraction, receiving hundreds of visitors daily from all parts of the world. Such was his burning and ardent love for Rasul-Paak (sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam) that he emigrated permanently to Madinah Shareef towards the latter part of his life (about 15-16 years). Subsequently he passed on in this blessed city and rests in the graveyard of Jannatul-Baqi alongside his spiritual mentor and guide, Hazrat Maulana Khalil Ahmed (R).
After having settled in Madinah Shareef, it was his desire not to go anywhere but to die in this blessed city. He was old and frail and had served the Deen for decades. However, Allah Ta'ala desired to take great work of Deen from him and despite his old age, ill health and infirmities, he was directed to visit different parts of the world to establish the gatherings of Zikr so that people could become connected to Allah Ta'ala and they could become spiritually cleansed and elevated. In this connection he traveled to several countries of the world such as Pakistan, UK, Zambia, Reunion and South Africa. His visit to Stanger, South Africa in the Ramadan of 1402-1981 was for this very purpose.
It was his heart-felt desire that the gatherings of Zikr must become established everywhere so that people could move away from crass materialism towards spiritual rejuvenation. Not only did Hazrat Shaikh consider this practice to be extremely beneficial for the general public, but he also considered it important for the Madaris and for the Tablighi-Jamaats. This matter has been covered in captivating detail by the senior Khalifah of Hazrat Shaikh, Sufi Iqbal Muhajir-Madani in his work Majalis-Zikr-aur-Hazrat-Shaikh. It is worthwhile reading this work, especially about the famous dream wherein Rasulullah (sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam) gave certain instructions to Hazrat Shaikh, after which he concentrated his full attention on this aspect (of Zikr-Majalis and Khanqahs).
In the very last stages of his life, when a new Islamic century was dawning, Hazrat Shaikh applied all his energy and strength towards enlivening this branch of Islam. Despite his infirmity, old age and being unaccustomed to travelling all his life, he undertook long and arduous journeys for the sake of this great mission. Untold sacrifices were made in this direction. The result and outcome of this effort was a new spiritual life that infused the Ummah.
So consumed was he by the passion to accomplish this great mission, he wrote in one letter to Shaikh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (R) thus: "It is my firm conviction that the remedy for all evils is the Zikr of Allah. For this very aim I am wandering from country to country, because the Khanqahs have become extinct all over the world." May Allah perpetuate the spiritual legacy of this great man for centuries. Aameen.
(Mufti Zubair Bayat)