Newsletter (16th February’14 – 28th February’14)


(1st February '14 - 28th February`14)

Compiled by: Azeem Ayub



In the Name of Allah,
the Most Gracious,
the Ever Merciful





God is Ever Merciful and we always expect that He will deal mercifully with us and forgive our mistakes even if we falter again and again. But often we do not show mercy to others. There are instances which warrant clemency on our part but we choose to become callous instead. If a person commits a mistake accidentally or does so in ignorance and forgetfulness, we still scold and punish him. Similarly, at times, we become harsh and unforgiving even after a person has made amends and is genuinely sorry for his bad behaviour. Sometimes, we do not forgive a person even after we have taken revenge. At other times, we castigate someone for a small mistake or chide him much more than his mistake calls for. Similarly, at times, we adopt an unforgiving attitude towards a person who comes forward and confesses his mistake even before it comes to our notice. No doubt, all these are instances which warrant clemency and compassion from us. But we become callous, cruel and ruthless.


The Qur’ān says though a person can avenge the wrong inflicted on him by someone, yet forgiving and forgetting this wrong will earn great reward and indeed the pleasure of the Almighty.


Perhaps the most effective way to become a forgiving and forbearing person is to keep a constant and watchful eye on one’s own faults and blemishes. We expect God and our fellow human beings to be magnanimous towards us by forgiving our faults. So we should all the more be ready to forgive the faults of others.


However, there can be instances which warrant an unforgiving attitude on our part. For example if a person is not sorry for his mistake and repeatedly commits the same mistake. Similarly, if a person does not realize his mistake and in fact shows arrogance in this regard, we need not show mercy or compassion.  We may do likewise if a person continues to show carelessness and indifference in realizing that he has done something wrong.


Perhaps, the real test in this regard is to correctly and judiciously choose the instances which merit our forgiveness and those which do not.


Author: Dr Shehzad Saleem




In this Issue

* Forgiveness

Read & Reflect
* A Layman's Guide
   to Analyzing Hadith


 Debate & Discuss
Discussion Forum:
    The Religion of


 return to the top ^

Express & Explain
* General Discussion
    Forum:  Are Taliban
    Justified in Taking
     Human Life?

 return to the top ^ 

Pause & Ponder
*  The Only True



*  Successful


  Read and Reflect

A Layman's Guide to Analyzing Hadith


Hadīths are narrated on a regular basis among the community of Muslims. There are those who accept any Hadīth that is narrated to them. There are those who reject any Hadīth that is narrated to them. In between, there are those more rational individuals who value the Hadīth and would like to take benefit of Hadīth, however at the same time are conscious not to accept a suspicious Hadīth or not to interpret and implement the content of a Hadīth in a wrong way. The problem for many of these wise Muslims is that they have no or little knowledge or experience of evaluating Hadīth and at the same time it is not always possible for them to consult a learned scholar about the reliability and the meaning of a Hadīth.

Following is a brief explanation aimed at the layman in the area of Hadīth that may help the person in evaluating a Hadīth and its interpretation when he/she does not have access to a learned scholar to help out:

It is advisable for a person who needs to assess a Hadīth with no or little knowledge, skill and experience in analyzing Hadīth to observe the following simple principles. There are some overlaps between some of these principles but they are detailed them in the following way in a hope that they may be clear:

1. The primary sources of understanding Islam are the Qur’ān and the established Sunnah. Hadīth is a valuable source of information but it is not an independent source of understanding Islam. Therefore no Hadīth, on its own, adds any essential religious beliefs or practices to the corpus of religion.

2. No understanding of Hadīth can be against the clear statements of the Qur’ān or clear principles that the Almighty has established in the Qur’ān.

3. When the Qur’ān instructs about a religious practice no hadīth can add any compulsory elements to that instruction.

4. No understanding of a Hadīth can be against known facts.

5. No understanding of a Hadīth can change the meaning of a verse of the Qur’ān from its obvious meaning.

Apart from the above principles, in a second level of studying a Hadīth the following considerations need to be in place:

– Is the Hadīth narrated in the more reliable books?
If not, it is closer to caution to remain with reservations about what the Hadīth suggests.
– Are there more than one versions of the Hadīth?
If yes, then it is worth to read them as well before coming up with any conclusions.
– Is the Hadīth claiming that the prophet (sws) made an important statement to the public, yet it is narrated by very few companions only?
Imām Abū Hanifah very wisely used to question such Hadīths.
– Is the Hadīth about news of the future? Merits of individuals? Reward of some deeds?
I am not suggesting that if the answer is yes then the Hadīth is wrong. However it is worth noticing that the scholars of Hadīth have found that comparing to other subjects, Hadīths related to the above subjects are more prone to weakness because these have always been topics that fabricators of Hadīth and exaggerators or unwise well-wishers have been interested in.
– Is the Hadīth in favour of a particular sect of Islam and is narrated in the sources of that sect of Islam only?

If the answer is yes then it is wise to be cautious as the elements of sectarian bias can always be there.

Almost all that is mentioned above is about the content of Hadīth. Of course studying the narrators is another dimension of studying Hadīth, however since this writing is aimed at the layman no reference has been made towards this aspect of Hadīth evaluation. Having said that, analyzing the context of a Hadīth using the above principles and observations provides a rather safe stance that may not necessarily be provided by analyzing the narrators only. Incidentally there are now a number of books and even online services on internet that can give the opinion of a scholar about the degree of reliability of a Hadīth. These can easily be used by a layman especially if reading Arabic is not a problem. Of course for more educated and experienced students of Islam looking at the original sources of rijāl (narrators) is essential.

The above is for the situation where there is no easy access to a learned scholar. When there is a possibility, consulting an expert is always highly advisable.

Abdullah Rahim




  Debate and Discuss


Discussion Forum: The Religion of Islam

Faith and Ethics of Islam



I just studied the course 'Religion of Islam'. I have a question.


In the course material/ text it's stated that al-Hikmah are the ethics of a religions (if I understand it correctly). And furthermore that all the ethics are the same of religions.


But I question if this is so. Are the ethics of Islam the same as Christianity or Buddism?


I really would like to know more about it.



This is my personal view of ethics, ethics in relation to Islam, whether philosophical or theological grew out of early discussions of the question of predetermination. (qadar) and obligation (taklif) and the perceived injustices of temporal rulers, particularly the caliphs.


So I think that ethical thought has quite a lot to do with the cultural framework of different societies and how religion is perceived in those societies.



What is stressed in the course material is that in general moral values are the same in all religions. No one one would contest for instance that justice (which is a moral value) is not approved by all religions. It is precisely because of this universality that they are called universal moral values.


Further more:



Express and Explain:


General Discussion Forum:
Are Taliban Justified in Taking Human Life?




The Qur'an claims there is no contradictions in its text. What it says in one part of the book must agree with the other part. If that is not the case, it cannot be claimed that the book is authored by God. Humans have contradictions because, unless they are stubborn, they learn, unlearn, and relearn all the time. God is perfect; there is no learning curve in His case. The Qur'an challenges the reader to reflect upon its verses carefully and see the evidence of this reality. "Do they not ponder over the Qur'an? Had it been from anyone other than God, they would have found in it a lot of discrepancy." (4:82)


The Qur'an categorically states that taking life of one human is as big a crime as killing the entire humanity. "The one who kills a soul -- not as a punishment for murder nor for mischief on earth -- it is as if he has killed the entire humankind." (5:33) War is a game of killing. People enter a battlefield to kill others. Soldiers don't participate in battles to just shave off the mustaches of their enemies.


How can the facts mentioned in the first two paragraphs be reconciled? How can the sanctity of life and legitimacy of war be simultaneously acceptable to Islam? The answer can be inferred from the exception stated in the Qur'anic verse (5:33) quoted above: A state can engage in a war to kill those who are guilty of killing or to crush mischief on earth. And if the Qur'an allows war for a reason other than killing or mischief on earth, it would contradict itself, which the book of God would never do. War can be undertaken only for these two reasons and for no other purpose. If it is undertaken for a purpose other than these two, it would tantamount to killing the entire humanity each time a human is killed. This conclusion brings us to the important question: What is mischief on earth?


Mischief of on earth is a crime caused by criminal activities of those individuals or groups of them who do not commit crimes at their ordinary level. They commit them in a way that their criminal inclination becomes a threat to the life, wealth, and honour of the ordinary citizens. When murder takes the form of serial killing, depriving of their wealth rises from the level of theft to that of robbery, and extra-marital sex reaches the extent of raping, what is happening is no ordinary crime: It is mischief on earth which is a constant threat to all members of the society. In Pakistan, indeed it is Taliban are the most obvious example of a group that is involved in the crime of creating mischief on earth.


Taliban, however, believe that refusing to establish God's law (the Shari'ah) in Pakistan is mischief on earth which justifies their policy of killing people. Quite aside from the question whether this argument is justifiable or not, how could killing of innocent people who have nothing to do with the question of implementing the Shari'ah be justified by Taliban even by their own logic? Even though the ordinary Pakistanis in the streets have no say in deciding the question of implementing the Shari'ah, Taliban keep killing them with impunity. Going by a clear verdict of the Qur'an, Taliban are guilty of believing in one part of the book (implementing the Shari'ah) but rejecting another part of it (ensuring sanctity of human life). The verdict of the Qur'an for practicing such double-standards is that people who indulge in it deserve "... insult in the worldly life and on the day of judgment they shall be assigned to an even more grievous penalty. And God is not unaware of what you do?" (Qur'an; 2:85) Is failing to implement God's religion in the society by Muslim rulers mischief on earth? There could be several possible scenarios, only one of which can be claimed to come close to a case of creating mischief on earth: The Muslim rulers know clearly what God's law is but they are stubbornly resisting the possibility of implementing it because of their vested interests despite being presented with a clear understanding of it. In that case indeed they can be described of being guilty of preventing God's verdict to get implemented.


The other possibilities could be wherein the Muslim rulers are either not fully aware of or are not convinced that what is being presented to them is in reality God's law. There could also be a possibility that the rulers are aware of what the Shari'ah law is but they have put in place a system which will enable the law to get gradually implemented exactly in accordance with what they think is God's requirement of doing it by mutual consultation.


The truth is that no human can conclude that the rulers of his time are stubbornly rejecting the possibility of implementing God's law despite knowing it to be from Him. Only God can tell if a certain ruler is arrogantly rejecting His law and therefore He deserves to be killed for creating mischief on earth. And God has chosen to make such disclosures only when He sends His messengers; and He has decided to not send them anymore.


Even in case if some people are convinced that their rulers are hypocritically blocking the process of implementing the Shari'ah law, they have no right to fight against the rulers, because that would tantamount to resorting to one form of mischief on earth to remove another form of it. In no case Islamic law allows individuals or non-state agents to resort to arms for getting their demands implemented because in doing so they will resort to killing humans which individuals cannot be allowed to do under any pretext.


If the rulers are not fully aware of what the Shari'ah law is or are not convinced that what is being presented to them is God's law, those who are interested in getting the Shari'ah implemented in Pakistan should use their pens and tongues and not bullets and guns to help the rulers and masses know the truth. As followers of the last messenger of God (pbuh) they should consider themselves in the Makkan period when the prophet (pbuh) preached and invited people to understand and accept God's message. Despite being God's messenger, he did not resort to Jihad for getting God's will implemented.


And if the rulers have already taken the path of introducing the Shari'ah law gradually through mutual consultation, allowing debate and getting implemented what is agreed upon by the majority, as indeed is the case in Pakistan, then it is an excellent opportunity for Taliban to grab with both hands and convince the majority that their understanding of what constitutes God's law is the right one. And if they would not avail this opportunity and kill innocent people instead, they will not only be guilty of killing the entire humanity but also of killing the only available opportunity of implementing the true Islamic Shari'ah. Who then should be considered a more deserving candidate for being described as perpetrator of mischief on earth: Pakistani rulers or Taliban?


To conclude, the Qur'an is categorical in its condemnation of the crime of killing. The book presents only two acceptable justifications for taking a human life. Both make it allowable only for rulers to kill after proper measures are adopted to ensure that the extreme decision is correct. An ordinary citizen is not allowed to take human life under any pretext. If he kills, it is as if he has killed the entire mankind. And that is the volume of sin Taliban are accumulating for themselves. It is they who are the biggest criminals in the eyes of the Islamic law. They are very likely to face its consequences on the judgment day.



My question is that does Islam allow us to have political negotiations with Talibaan? Is the government of Pakistan correct religiously speaking in undertaking negotiations with Talaibaan?

saba2 (Moderator)

Governments don't negotiate with terrorists. They have to establish the Ritt of the government in every corner of the State. It is only politics on the government's part and lack of education in religious matters from the masses that negotiation is even considered.



  Pause and Ponder

The Only True Religion


I was explaining Islam to a non-Muslim friend. He came up with a couple of questions that actually confused me as well. I have been told since I was a kid that Islam is one true religion and everything else is a lie. How can I be sure that it is not a man-made religion and it really is the truth? I have gone through the embryology example. Anything else that could prove the divine presence in holy Qur’ān?


We did not leave anything out of this Book, then all will be gathered before their Lord [for judgement]. (6:38)



In order to understand whether Islam is a man-made religion or not, one first needs to understand and appreciate what actually Islam means. Islam is the name of the religion that is embodied not only in the nature of a human being but in fact in the nature of everything in the world. Islam is therefore the religion of all the prophets of God. Islam in its conceptual meaning simply means to surrender to God and in its conventional meaning simply means a set of directives that set the person free from any other thing so that the person can surrender himself to God.


I think at least for a believer in God, the above definition of Islam, conceptual and conventional, should be acceptable.


The question then will be, how we can we make sure that the religion that the Qur’ān talks about is the same Islam that we introduced above. In other words, how we can make sure that the Qur’ān was not the work of a human being and was actually revealed by the Almighty Himself.


One way to answer this is to think what would be the other explanations (other than the belief that the Qur’ān is revealed by God). Other explanations need to be thought of only after appreciating the following facts (among many others):


1. The process of revelation of the Qur’ān extended 23 years during which the Prophet (sws) led a very adventurous and unsettled life.


2. Evident from the history and the Qur’ān itself, the style of the Qur’ān has a beauty and influential elegance that was unfounded in any Arab literature at the time. This was the reason that the “author” of the Qur’ān challenged its immediate addressees if they could produce anything like that.


3. While being a work that completed only in 23 years, there is a very solid and systematic link and correlation between the verses and their concepts throughout the Qur’ān (this I admit can only be appreciated by one who studies the Qur’ān in depth).


4. The Prophet (sws) was never known as a person who would be able to say poetic pieces or as a person of knowledge and reading. He was either almost illiterate or at least not a reader of any literary works.


5. The Prophet (sws) was a very successful and charismatic leader, in other words his life was not limited to uttering the verses of the Qur’ān.


6. The promises of the Qur’ān about the victory of Muslims and their prosperous life in this world and the perishing of their enemies came literally true despite all the apparently rational odds.


7. While the Qur’ān is inline with the previous divine scriptures, it provides some alternative explanations about the theological and historical aspects of the previous religions. These alternative explanations often sound more rational and intellectually superior than those that are offered by these scriptures or their followers.


Any one who intends to provide an explanation about the source of the Qur’ān needs to consider the above points in the process. I would like to argue that (at least for a person who believes in God and previous scriptures) the explanation that “the Qur’ān has been divinely revealed to the Prophet (sws)” matches all the above points perfectly and that no other explanation provides such a perfect match.




Abdullah Rahim






Successful Participants


15896 Arrangement of the Qur'an Pakistan B+
9762 History of the Qur'an Pakistan D+
15966 Surah 'Asr UK A+
15966 Surah Nasr UK A+
15966 Ten Qualities of a Good Muslim UK A+
15939 Ten Qualities of a Good Muslim Pakistan B+
15908 Ten Qualities of a Good Muslim Pakistan D+
15977 Ten Qualities of a Good Muslim Pakistan E+
15964 Ten Qualities of a Good Muslim Pakistan B+
15962 Ten Qualities of a Good Muslim Pakistan E+
15888 Ten Qualities of a Good Muslim Pakistan C+
15918 Ten Qualities of a Good Muslim Pakistan C+
15914 Ten Qualities of a Good Muslim Pakistan D+
15874 Ten Qualities of a Good Muslim Pakistan C+
15966 The Religion of Islam UK A+
15966 Theme of the Qur'an UK A


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