16th August 1996 Q & A

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1. Many Muslims go on honeymoon but I see no evidence for this in the Qur'an or Ahadith. Isn't this blind aping of the West or are there benefits attached to such a practice?

Firstly, we should not expect the Holy Qur'an to be a prescription for everything that happens in our day to day life. The Holy Qur'an deals essentially with God's attributes, our relationship with him, and universal moral precepts as well as the life to come. It is mainly for the moral upliftment of society. The Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (s.A.w.) takes care of so many things.

There are many practices, customs and habits in Muslim societies which change from time to time. As long as they don't encroach into the area which is Haram, there is no restriction on them and we say they are subject to the changing requirements of society.

Things invented shortly after the time of the Prophet (s.A.w.) include soap, new methods of sifting flour, the table and towels. These weren't considered bad because they are dealing with our ordinary day to day affairs.

If a couple would like to relax and be far away from the distractions of family and friends, there is no harm. In fact, we can say that western society is aping the Muslims for we have a basis for honeymooning. It is Sunnah for the newly-married couple to spend seven days together. And it is beneficial for them to go out an enjoy this period of their life together to build a basis for all the trials and difficulties they will experience later on.

(79 - Munakahat 8)

2. What is the position where one buys a radio from somebody at an unbelievably low price but later finds out that it was stolen. Can you keep it or return it and to whom?

Clearly in such circumstances you need to have your common sense and wits about you. If something is being offered to you at "an amazingly low price" you have to ask yourself: Why? Is he the real owner or is he in a desperate need to sell? Why else would he sell a car stereo for much less than less than the recommended price. You can begin by asking to look at the purchase receipt. If this turns out to be genuine, and the man is suffering financial difficulties, then by underpaying him you are unlawfully exploiting his misfortune. Be hard on yourself, be fair to the vendor and pay him whatever the stereo is worth. If it turns out to be stolen property, when the "owner", not being the real owner has no right to sell it to you for clearly he cannot sell something which isn't his. So any purchase you make is not recognised-it doesn't exist and you must hand the "stolen goods" over to the police, unless of course you happen to know who the real owner is, in which case you can give the goods back to the real owner.

(51 - Muamalat 1)

3. Is there anything wrong with me having an ultrasound scan to determine the sex of my unborn baby?

There is no objection from the Islamic Shari'ah in having an ultrasound scan to know the sex of the unborn baby as long as it is a matter of knowledge about the baby. But I am afraid there may have been here a hidden motive. Some people prefer to have, say, a male child, and they use ultrasound to determine the sex. If what they learn is not according to their liking, they will terminate the pregnancy. This is totally unacceptable from the Islamic point of view. But if it is only a matter of knowing the sex of the child there is no problem in doing so.

(89 - Medical Issues 2)

4. Can a girl or a boy choose her or his own partner?

Traditionally girls were the passive partners in matches. The possibility of meeting, becoming acquainted with or familiarising oneself with the male partner-to-be was not widely available. It was left to families, who know one another in static immovable communities, to arrange such a proposal. Al-Islam has given each party the right to see the other in a family setting. If they like one another, the match may go further and marriage preparations proceed.

One of the companions of the prophet told him one day that he proposed to a girl. The prophet said, "Have you seen her?" He said, "No." He said to him, "See her. For this will bless your marriage with success." The same is true as far as the girl is concerned.

The Messenger of Allah has given the girl the right to express her views on the proposed person. He said, "The permission of the virgin is to be sought. And if she does not object, her silence is her permission. As for the divorced or one who is widowed, no one has a say with her." That is, she has to express very clearly her desire in accepting or rejecting. This is the traditional old fashioned way.

Nowadays girls go to schools and proceed to universities. They meet with boys in classrooms, Islamic societies and at universities up and down the country. They get to know one another in a decent moral environment. They are mature, well educated, cultured and outspoken. These factors have to be taken into consideration. Once a decent, good mannered, Islamically committed young Muslim attracts the attention of a like minded Muslimah, their parents have to be reasonable. Of course they are interested in the happiness and success of the marriage of their son or daughter, but they have to realise that they are not buying or selling commodities. Their care, compassion and love for their children should not make them extra protective or act as a barrier between their children and their children's future. In the words of the Hadith, "If a person with satisfying religious attitude comes to you to seek your daughter in marriage, accept that. If you do not, there will be great mischief on earth and a great trouble."

At the same time young people who are blessed with education have to show patience, understanding and should argue their case in a rational and respectable manner.

(132 - Munakahat 12)

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