Creation in Pairs
Question: Is it correct to conclude that the Qur'ān mentions that everything has been created in pairs, while science confirms that some creatures are asexual. Please clarify and also what is the purpose of this paired-creation?
Answer: Yes it has been said so in the Qur'ān that everything has been created in pairs:
وَمِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقْنَا زَوْجَيْنِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ (49:51)
And We have made pairs of everything so that you may take heed. (51:49)
However, what the Qur'ān states is a general principle without taking exceptions into account. Remember the Qur'ān is not delineating a fact of science; it is merely directing the attention of the people that everything is created in pairs in general. A member of one pair when taken individually is incomplete and purposeless. It is only when both members of a pair are considered that both of them become meaningful since both compliment each other in some manner or the other. Commonly observed pairs are man and woman, sun and moon, sky and earth. Now the purpose of this delineation is to show that just as man is incomplete without a woman; similarly this world also has a counterpart without which it would seem meaningless. It would seem to be a place of oppression and injustice, for example. On the other hand, when this world is viewed together with a Hereafter, it becomes meaningful and purposeful. Otherwise, we find it to be a place where many things and phenomena are inexplicable.
Praying after Consuming Alcohol
Question: I have drunk alcohol. Is it true I can't pray for 40 days and 40 nights? And the people I get taught by speak with aggression and hate; is it right for them to do this? I am looking to follow the right path at this point but want to be guided with love and understanding. Should these people still show anger and hate while teaching or educating?
Answer: It is not true at all that you cannot pray for this period of time. You just need to repent before the Almighty and request him to forgive you. It is not the sin which matters so much before God as the attitude one should adopt after it. So invoke His blessings through prayers and supplications as soon as you can.
Unfortunately, some Muslim teachers and preachers are very harsh and stern in such matters. They should realize that such an attitude is counterproductive to their aims. Please just read a good translation of the Qur'ān and ignore such harshness as much as you can. Do remember that the harshness you bear will be a source of reward for you by the Almighty.
How can I be Punctual in Praying?
Question: I am not punctual in my daily prayers. How can I become punctual? Also should I leave the Friday prayer since I am not being able to offer regular prayers?
Answer: Muslims have been bound by their religion to pray five times a day and to pray the Friday prayer in place of zuhr on Fridays. So you should try to make an effort to do so. The prayer occupies great importance in a Muslim's life and is the foremost manifestation of one's faith. Its objective is to remember God. People tend to forget Him and the prayer reminds them of a superior Being before whom they must submit and consign their matters. They must thank Him on His favours and ask for guidance from Him.
One way to become punctual in praying is to start offering one prayer each day with an understanding of what one is praying. This will gradually lead and induce a person to offer the other prayers. Also the fard rak'āt are the only obligatory ones and to start with you can just offer these rak'āt. The sunnah and nafl rak'āt are not obligatory though they earn great reward. Do make an effort to understand what you recite in your prayers. It will have a deep impact on you.
Also do not leave your Friday prayer even if you are not being able to say other prayers; keeping in touch with God in this manner might one day be instrumental in bringing you more close to Him.
Is Yoga Forbidden?
Question: I have a question regarding the permissibility of Yoga. Recently, there has been a fatwā in Malaysia stating that yoga is harām. I understand that this is due to its association with other religions - Hinduism or Buddhism. However, many martial arts, languages, foods and other cultural acts have some sort of background to them. Some forms of martial arts are based on Zen Buddhist philosophy. Does it mean that by practicing the exercise of yoga or karate we are committing shirk? Is there anything wrong with doing yoga but omitting any association with Hindu practices? Is there anything wrong in practicing yoga if one substitutes their mantras with dhikr of God?
Answer: There is nothing wrong in practicing yoga if we do not adopt its associated utterances. Many cultural traditions, sports and festivals are at times taken by one nation from another. This is how mankind has developed and progressed. However, while adopting such practices, Muslims must be careful to avoid any irreligious element in them.
Yes indeed you can simply substitute the mantras with conventional religious utterances and supplications. In short, Islam has no objection on Muslims benefiting from yoga and other things if their evil is removed.