Your Questions Answered

Your Questions Answered


An Objection to Women Heading a State

Question: It has been expressed in your journal that a woman can become a head of state. As far as the matter of heading the state by a woman is concerned, I think that Islam teaches us that the head of the family should be a man and since family is the basic unit of the state or society, then how is it possible that it should not be implemented in the whole structure of the society. Only that structure is considered to be a solid structure whose overall shape is similar to that of its basic units. Please explain.

Answer: In this regard, it needs to be understood that a family structure and a state structure are inherently different from one another as far as their governance is concerned.

According to the Qur'ān, the head of a family is chosen on the basis of temperament and physical qualities and because of the fact that the head should be the bread runner of the family. It says that men in general are more suited not only temperamentally and physically for this purpose, they have also been entrusted with the responsibility of earning for the family.

On the other hand, in accordance with the Qur'ānic injunction "Their affairs are decided on the basis of mutual consultation, (42:38)", the head of a state should be the person who enjoys the confidence of the majority. If, in some country, a woman enjoys this confidence then, of course, it means that it is the will of the majority that a woman should rule them. In such cases, it is essential to follow the will of the majority.

In other words, it can be said that since criterion of selection of a head of a family is different than that of selection of a head of state, one cannot analogously deduce a directive for one on the basis of the other.

Can a Woman Ruler reconcile with the Authority of her Husband?

Question: My question is: How a woman chosen as a head of state can follow the will of the people when she has to follow the will of her husband as a head of the family?

Answer: When a woman takes to politics, there are certain adjustments which she makes with her husband on the basis of mutual understanding and areas of clash are of course also discussed beforehand.

It is only after this mutual adjustment that both can proceed as a family unit. On a smaller scale, this can be understood from women who adopt a professional life. Here too certain adjustments are made with their husbands through mutual consent and understanding. If this understanding does not exist, then at times she either has to choose between her profession or her husband.

Similar is the case for a woman who finally reaches the top most rung of her political career. After all much before a married woman reaches this stage, it would be known to her and to her husband too that their family can only survive through adjustments. So if the husband is accommodating she can discharge both responsibilities and if this unfortunately is not the case, then she too might have to choose between her husband and her political career.

Returning a Debt with some Extra-Money

Question: When a person returns his debt, is it alright if he returns more than the principal amount in order to thank the lender for this loan. Please reply with Qur'ānic and Hadīth references.

Answer: Indeed returning the debt with some extra-money besides the principal amount is a very gracious thing on the part of the borrower. It is his expression of gratitude towards the lender. Today this is perhaps much more desirable because of inflation. The money he borrows gets depreciated because of inflation and hence if he repays over and above, he might be in fact making up for this loss caused to the lender.

In this regard, however, it should remain clear that this extra amount is merely a favour from the borrower. In no case, should a lender demand an extra amount because this would amount to charging interest on his part, which of course is forbidden.

Should Muslims obey the Laws of a Non-Muslim Country?

Question: What is law of the land? How does it translate into Non-Muslim country where Muslims live? Can laws such as tax laws be avoided up to certain extent by not following them completely?

Answer: The term "law of the land" refers to all those laws and regulations which have been enacted by the legislature of a country and which thereby are imposed on its citizens.

When you are living in a non-Muslim country you are bound in a contract of citizenship that you are required to follow. It is like a promise and oath and the Book of God emphatically states that promises must always be fulfilled – even if one has to take pains.

Therefore, if you are living in a non-Muslim country, you must follow its laws whether they relate to taxation or any other aspect of life. You should lead your life as a law-abiding citizen and in no case break the rules of the society you are living in. If following Islam becomes difficult for you in that environment, then instead of breaking laws and breaching rules, you should migrate from there.

Cousin Marriages

Question: Is it allowed to marry the son of one's aunt? Will it cause any genetic problems in the kids?

Answer: The sharī'ah has not prohibited marriage with cousins. However, if it is deemed medically inadvisable in some cases, then of course one may abstain from such marriages. Therefore, in this regard, you should form an opinion on the basis of a qualified doctor.

Paying Interest

Question: With regard to one of your answers, I would like to raise a point that if we pay interest to buy an apartment or other necessary items, it implies that we are not against the system of interest; and with the passage of time, all those who were reluctant before to take interest and to become part of the system would have no problem with the interest-based economic system which is totally against Islamic directives.

In my opinion, the system can only be changed/modified, if we keep from being part of this system.

Answer: If paying interest were a sin, then the Qur'ān would have first of all asked Muslims to refrain from it – which it has not. In the absence of such a directive, we cannot stop people from paying interest. Also, the question is: in a society which is based so heavily on interest can staying away from paying interest really effect the situation? Can we live in isolation and can every Muslim be denied basic necessities on these grounds? If you do not want to become part of the system you can stay away from it, but don't you think that this choice must be left to every Muslim.

What if a Memorizer forgets the Qur'ān?

Question: Ihave memorized the Qur'ān and I have forgotten a lot due to my over interest in understanding and comprehending the Qur'ān. In other words, I read translations and exegeses of the Qur'ān a lot so that I am able to understand it properly but I don't pay the required attention to memorize it again. So is it a great sin?

Answer: This often happens with people whose native language is not Arabic and who are made to memorize the Qur'ān by rote without being taught Arabic. Forgetting the Qur'ān in this manner cannot be classified a sin.

However, you should devote some time for recalling what you have forgotten. You will need less time to refresh your memory. And since you are now well-versed with its meanings also, you will greatly enjoy reciting it out by heart whether in the prayer or while traveling etc.

Memorizing the Qur'ān is also one way of preserving the Qur'ān and transferring it to the next generation. So when you memorize the Qur'ān, you actually contribute in the divine scheme of protection of Qur'ān. Hence if you are able to do so, it will reap great reward for you as well.

Also, it is expected from a Qur'ān memorizer to be a person who does not merely recite and understand the Qur'ān. He should be a person who follows the teachings of the Qur'ān also. The Qur'ān, you would agree is not merely an intellectual reading. It is a Book that is meant to change one's life and outlook.

Doing Hajj Repeatedly

Question: Hajj is obligatory only once in a lifetime of a Muslim. If repeated hajj curtails the chances of other Muslims who want to offer their obligatory hajj, should not people desist from such a practice?

Answer: Hajj is indeed a one-time obligatory ritual of worship. If one is afforded with a second or third chance for hajj then the second and third hajj will be counted as optional (nafl) and also earn reward for a person.

However, if it is known for sure that by offering hajj a second or third time would mar the chances of some other Muslim, then a person should abstain from this practice.

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