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



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Traditional Practices and Islam

Adil Salahi

Arab News, 6/4/04

Q. Could you please explain whether the following traditions are legitimate from the Islamic point of view: 1) Tying a black thread around the arm of a baby or a young child, and reading the Quranic verse known as Ayat Al-Kursi and the opening surah of the Quran, to protect the child from harm; 2) Visiting the graves of relatives and placing a wreath of flowers on the grave. May I also ask if it is correct to maintain a practice simply because local traditions claim that it is Islamic?

M.A. Dada

A. The first practice is similar to wearing a charm, talisman or amulet. All this is forbidden in Islam and ensures that the desired result is not achieved. The Prophet (peace be upon him) cursed people who wear such articles and prayed that God would not grant them their purpose. The same applies to what you describe. It is far better to read the surah and the verse to the child and pray to God to protect that child. This is the proper way. Wearing something and thinking that it would ensure protection or bring good luck is not the right way. It is false indeed. The second practice is acceptable. In fact, visiting graveyards is recommended as a means to remind ourselves of death and the Day of Judgment. Placing some tree branches or flowers on a grave is also correct, as the Prophet did it.

When we do something of a religious nature that has become a tradition we need to inquire about its origin, the way it is done and its compatibility with Islamic teachings. God has condemned those who defend their practices by stating that they only inherited such practices. This is not acceptable, even if the intention is correct.



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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