Opinion Editorials, April 2004, To see today's opinion articles, click here: ww.aljazeerah.info




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Personal Responsibility and Substitute Haj

Adil Salahi

Arab News, 4/5/04

Q. When Allah says every one is responsible for his own deeds, no one else will be questioned for otherís deeds, how do you justify substitute pilgrimage, or Haj-e-Badal? If an old man gives money to his son for Haj on his behalf and dies, he will get reward just for the money that he gave, if any, but God will reward the son for performing the Haj, may be a little less because his intention was for his father. If his fatherís intention was that all his corrupt actions will be washed away by the Haj performed by his son (in the way the Hindus believe that a personís sins are washed away in bathing in the Waters of Ganges River,) he may even be punished for harboring an idolatorís concept. The whole exercise goes down the drain, the only gainers are the government of Saudi Arabia and the Airline Company.

M.H. Khan, Karachi

A. We do not justify anything, because nothing in our faith needs justification. We certainly explain things, because everything in Islam is logical and straightforward. The point is that when you say, ďI bear witness that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is Godís MessengerĒ, which is the second part of the declaration that you must make in order to be a Muslim, you must mean that you receive all teachings concerning faith, religion and its rules and teachings from Muhammad, and no one else. If the Prophet (peace be upon him) states something, or approves of an action, then that is acceptable. If it is a religious action, then it is part of our faith. When a woman asked the Prophet if she could perform the pilgrimage on behalf of her father who was too old and weak that he could not sit up on his camel, the Prophet said to her that she should do so. In another case, he asked the person whether he would have repaid a debt his deceased father left unpaid. When the man said he would, the Prophet said to him: ďA debt owed to God has more claim to be paid.Ē Moreover, when the Prophet, on his pilgrimage journey, heard someone declaring that his pilgrimage is offered on behalf of Shibrimah, the Prophet asked him who Shibrimah was. The man said: ĎHe is a brother of mine.í The Prophet asked him whether he had already performed the pilgrimage himself. When the man answered in the negative, the Prophet told him to offer the pilgrimage for himself first, then he could offer it on behalf of Shibrimah.

This makes the case very clear. The evidence is overwhelming. Hence, there is no disagreement among scholars on the validity of substitute pilgrimage. The person on whose behalf the pilgrimage is offered receives all the reward for that pilgrimage, and the one doing it is rewarded for his action. If he is volunteering, then he gets very rich reward from God, particularly if he offers the pilgrimage on behalf of his parents. If he is paid for the trip, he receives reward as God pleases. The person on whose behalf a pilgrimage is offered, because he cannot make the journey in his physical condition, receives the full reward, which is forgiveness of all past sins. This is not a borrowed concept from any other religion. This is an Islamic concept.

Having said that, I want to take you up on your suggestion of what may happen to that person. You seem to try to sit in judgment and assign the sonís reward, and the old manís reward or punishment. How can you do that, when you do not know the intentions of the people? It is not for us to decide how God will deal with people. We leave that to Him alone, and pray for ourselves and our fellow Muslims. We indeed pray for all mankind so that they may be guided to what pleases God and saves them from error, falsehood and wrong beliefs and actions. Furthermore, the suggestion that the Saudi government and the airlines are the only beneficiaries is made in bad taste, and this is wrong of a Muslim to do.

Frozen Meat

Q. Is the frozen meat, or chicken, that is available in supermarkets permissible to eat, considering that it comes from non-Muslim countries in Europe or Asia?


A. To my knowledge, the Saudi authorities insist that all imported meat should be from animals slaughtered in the Islamic way. They require a certificate of compliance, and unless such certificate is produced the meat would not be allowed in. This used to be the case more than 20 years ago. I do not know anything to suggest that the practice today is anything different.

Selling Pork

Q. We live in Canada, and my husband wants to buy a pizza restaurant. This means that we have to sell certain items that may include pork, such as pepperoni pizza. When we enquired, some people told us that this is not forbidden. Please confirm whether it is permissible or not.

S. Sohail

A. It is agreed by all schools of Fiqh that it is forbidden to sell what is haram, such as pigs and pig meat, wines, tobacco, drugs, etc. In fact, selling pig meat is forbidden on more than one count, such as its being an impurity, and its being forbidden to eat. I realize that you will be selling it to non-Muslims, but there is nothing wrong with not including a certain item in your menu. You can make sure that you sell only what is permissible.


Earth, a planet hungry for peace


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers (Ran Cohen, pmc, 5/24/03).


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, like a Python. (Alquds,10/25/03).

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