Opinion Editorials, March 2004, www.aljazeerah.info




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Women in the State of Ihraam

Adil Salahi

Arab News, 3/5/04

Q.1. When a woman is in the state of ihraam, does she have to cover more than usual in front of other women? Must she, for example, cover all her body except her face and hands in front of women? If so, this could cause much difficulty if she has to do the ablutions with other women around.

Q.2. A Muslim family adopted a child born to non-Muslim parents. At the time, the Muslim family gave her their name, but as she grew up the facts of her adoption were made known to her. She understands all the rules and requirements with regard to her position. Now her adopted parents are deceased, must she change her name? She does not want to do so because of all the problems involved. Besides, she does not know the names of her real parents.

(Name and address withheld)

A.1. The same rules apply for what should be covered and what may appear during ihraam and on other days. In front of other Muslim women, a woman need cover only the area from her waistline to her knees. During ihraam, the same applies. There is no special rule on this. However, a woman in ihraam cannot cover her face and hands, but must cover everything else, and she stays in her ihraam garments as much as possible. This means that if she is having the ablution in the public rest rooms, she may uncover her arms and feet to wash them. There is no problem with that. Otherwise, rest rooms would have had to be built as single wash areas which is very inconvenient.

A.2. As you are well aware, adoption is forbidden in Islam when it means that a child is considered to belong to a particular family when he or she does not. In non-Muslim countries, an adopted child is treated as the son or daughter of the adopting parents, with no difference to distinguish such a child from an ordinary son or daughter. This is not acceptable in Islam. However, if a family looks after an orphan and take care of him or her until they are teenagers or adults, that family receives rich reward from God. In this case, the child retains its original family name and does not adopt the name of the family bringing it up. This is all explained in the Quríanic verse that states: ďNever has God endowed any man with two hearts in one body; and He has never made your wives whom you may have declared to be Ďas unlawful to you as your mothersí bodiesí truly your mothers, so, too, has He never made your adopted sons truly your sons. These are but words you utter with your mouths, whereas God speaks the truth. It is He alone who can show the right path. Call them (i.e. your adopted children) by their real fathersí names: this is more equitable in Godís sight.

But if you do not know who their fathers were, call them your brethren in faith and your friends. You will incur no sin if you err in this respect, but only with regard to your deliberate action. God is indeed much forgiving, all-merciful.Ē (33: 4-5)

You see from these verses that what is really forbidden is a deliberate attempt to make a child oneís own, when that child belongs to other parents. The family in this case did not intend any such move, but perhaps needed to give the child their family name for easier dealings with official procedure. Since the child and the family know her situation, and no one claims real parentage, there is no deception or fraud involved. Since the child does not know the name of her real parents, she cannot now be called by her real fatherís name. She should be considered in the position of a sister in Islam to the family. She should treat the family name she was given as a favor given to her, which she does not have to change, but she should not claim belonging to the family by blood.

Waking Up People at Suhoor

Q. In Ramadan, just before the fasting starts, some people use loudspeakers to wake up others, while some call them softly. Which is the correct practice?

S. Akhtar, Jeddah

A. It is certainly the gentle approach that is right. If you want to wake up people for their meal before the start of fast, you do not want to wake up their children, or the ill or elderly who are exempt from fasting.


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).

Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.