Archive for February, 2011

Wow! It has really been a while since I last featured a ‘Say What?’ column. Please accept my sincerest apologies dear readers. Let’s get to it then, shall we?

During the past few weeks, South African muslims have been overwhelmed with information regarding the Muslim Marriages Bill (MMB). Whether the information provided by various individuals, organisations, radio stations etc. has managed to create an in-depth understanding of the bill in the minds of Muslims living in South Africa remains to be proven as there still are many Muslims who are fence-sitting in the hope that some great mind will shed clarity, understanding and a way forward with respect to this hotly debated bill.

Those who are in favour of the bill have come out strongly in support of it as the bill is intended for recognition, enforcement, regulation etc. of Muslim Marriages. This may all sound extremely good in theory and in all fairness, why should we not have a bill which can finally regulate Muslim marriages especially those in which there are instances of spousal abuse, violence, neglect etc.?

I suppose that the aforementioned observations had led a select few to think up the ‘brilliant’ idea that is the Muslim Marriages Bill but which had quite unfortunately resulted in what is arguably the least-qualified project committee with regard to Islamic and Shar’i principles.

The main problem I have with the Muslim Marriages Bill (and this should be quite evident to anybody who has taken the time to actually read the bill) is the definition of a ‘Muslim’. It reads:

“Muslim” means a person who believes in the oneness of Allah and who believes in the
Holy Messenger Muhammad as the final prophet and who has faith in all the essentials of
Islam (Daruriyyat Al-Din)

The definition creates a problem for those who proclaim to be ‘Muslim’ but do not fit the definition of a Muslim contained in this Bill. For instance, if a Muslim man and a Muslim woman get married according to this Bill and the man or woman changes his/her beliefs from that as defined in the Bill but still considers himself/herself to be a Muslim, will the marriage be annulled? Is the Nikaah no longer valid?

The Bill cannot define who is/who is not a Muslim and it cannot judge who is/who is not a Muslim. If we allow such a bill to dictate who is and who is not a Muslim, the consequences will be disastrous. There are sects in Islam who claim to be the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah but are in actual fact quite far from it. Who will judge which sect holds the correct view? Do the modernist Muslims hold the correct view? Do the Shia Muslim hold the correct views? Do those who believe that the creation is equal to the Creator hold the correct view? If these groups are not ‘Muslim’ enough for a ‘Muslim’ Marriages Bill, something must surely be amiss.

Those who enjoy singing the same song of ‘living in a secular state’ will understand the fact that it is unfair to declare a certain individual or a certain group of individuals ‘non-Muslim’ on the basis of them not being Muslim enough for a Bill which is meant to represent them. This Bill obviously demonstrates the immense favouritism towards the Sunni-Muslim groups present in South Africa. The fact that the Bill does not adequately cater for the other smaller groups of Muslims and their beliefs is evidence enough to prove that this Bill is quite selfish it its representation of the entire Muslim public of South Africa.

Therein lies the biggest problem for our project committee and the biggest problem for the MMB. It was quite unfortunate of them to have to have chosen sides in a very public matter such as that of the MMB resulting in the Bill heavily favouring (what seems to be) Hanafi Fiqh(jurisprudence). The Bill does not explicitly include the recognition of any of the 4 accepted and recognised schools of Fiqh (jurisprudence) which is in itself questionable since the nature of the issues to arise from marriages would almost always be Fiqhi (juristic) matters.

I tuned in to one of local Radio stations last week(Radio Islam) and had the fortunate experience of listening to the Secretary General of UUCSA (United Ulama Council South Africa) rambling on about why he thought it would be a good idea to ‘engage’ with government instead of outright rejection of the Bill. UUCSA represents seven (wow…SEVEN, I didn’t even know there were that many!) of the countries Ulama bodies. Six out of these seven throw their weight behind UUCSA’s decision of engagement whilst our friends over at Jamiat KZN have adopted the stance of total rejection of the Bill(well done!).

Yes, getting back to UUCSA’s secretary-general (or is it general secretary?), he was explaining the many cases of women’s rights being abused, the cases encountered, the amount encountered etc. and the need for such a Bill to be implemented (not necessarily the current drafted Bill) and the fact that the courts are already ruling in our Muslim marriages whether we subscribe to the Bill or not.

Firstly, no bill which will trample and destroy the Shari’ah will ever be enough to protect the rights of spouses in a marriage. Even if the bill is a hundred percent in full compliance with the Shari’ah, there is no guarantee that the Bill will remain in such a state for the simple reason that in doing so, there are groups of Muslims who will be discriminated against since they will not be classified as ‘Muslim’ under such a Bill; or there will be those who get married as Muslims under the MMB but change their beliefs down the line. These Muslims will not be satisfied with a Bill which does not recognise them or their beliefs because such a Bill would be downright judgmental, discriminatory and completely unfair to those who call themselves Muslim but do not harbour the same beliefs as a Sunni Muslim!

Secondly, if a Muslim woman is unhappy with the ruling of Shari’ah (or finds it unfair), goes to a secular court in search of a more favourable alternative and ultimately receives a favourable outcome totally contrary to Shari’ah, her action has not changed the Shari’ah. Her actions and that of the court have no bearing on the Shari’ah unless she is publicly announcing to the world that the Shari’ah should be changed to allow women more rights, to allow her to divorce her husband, to fine or imprison a man for practising upon a right given to him by Allah Ta’ala etc. Beginning to sound familiar? Ah yes, this is exactly what the MMB will do, isn’t it?

When a bill is called “Muslim Marriages Bill” and its intended purpose is for Muslims, we should be very careful what we put inside that Bill. Many people assume that if certain clauses of the Bill(those UUCSA has issues with) are to be rectified, the Bill will be fully compliant with the Shari’ah. There are clear clauses in the Bill which are in direct conflict with the Qur’aan. There are clear clauses in the Bill which, if accepted by Muslims will most likely take them out of the fold of Islam.’

At this stage, there is no room for partial acceptance or rejection of the Muslim Marriages Bill. There is no room for engagement with government. There is plenty of room to scrap the Bill altogether and start over taking all necessary elements into consideration and being very specific as to which group of Muslims the bill will target.

Polygamy, I suspect, has always and will always be a hotly debated topic especially when it comes to our dear friends and brothers and sisters from the modernist fraternity of Islam. Polygamy has not fared well with them unfortunately with many citing that it has no place in a modern context of the world we find ourselves in blah blah blah. I have had the most unfortunate run-ins with the gender desktop/women’s rights mujaahidaat to know that polygamy has no place in their perfect little worlds of re-interpretation of Qur’aanic texts, gender equality, ponies and flowers(okay that last bit had no bearing on the topic so I apologise, I couldn’t resist!).

You can therefore imagine my lack of surprise when I read that this marvelous Muslim Marriages Bill proposed by the project committee and approved by Cabinet and meant to recognise Muslim marriages in a secular state had the most absurd amount of and utterly ridiculous restrictions on polygamy. A man who wishes to marry a second wife may do so with the permission of the court. If he does without the permission of the courts, he will be ‘guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding R 20 000.00.”

How strange that even in Allah Ta’ala’s court a man who takes on a second wife or a third or a fourth wife is not guilty of any offence and already has Allah Ta’ala’s permission to do so. What many pro-MMB supporters have failed to realise is that by subjecting Islam and principles of Fiqh to a system which does not and cannot protect and safeguard this Divine system from Western modification or influence, you allow Islam to be changed and you allow the Shari’ah to be destroyed. The sanctity of Qur’aan is also destroyed together with the Imaan of many Muslims who will opt-in to such a Bill thinking that this Bill is in conformance to Shari’ah.

A man who wishes to take a second wife and does so is well within his rights as a Muslim and he is completely allowed to do this in accordance with the Shari’ah. Those who have a problem with such a right may take it up with Allah Ta’ala. Any women’s rights groups/gender activists who feel that multiple wives is somehow unfair, deeply misogynistic, sexist etc. I suggest that you too take it up with your Creator or alternatively you could think up your own Bill devoid of any association to Islam or Muslims.

As for those 6 out of 7 organisations who have chosen to hide under the umbrella of UUCSA, know this and know this well: Your duties are first and foremost to Islam and the Muslims of South Africa. Your allegiances do not lie with Muslim feminists, with the government of South Africa, Cabinet, the Saudi embassy, any embassy, your own whims and fancies etc. Your allegiances should lie with Allah Ta’ala who has given Muslims enough rights and ample responsibilities. You and your supporters should not attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the Muslim public in South Africa in an attempt to curry favour through blind following and undying support. Please remember that your aim/s should never be the success of your organisation or the fact that your organisation exists in the first place. The aim should be the preservation of Islam and the Shari’ah.

If you are not doing this, if you are not concerned with such an aim then the Muslims in South Africa would be better off without your organisation!

The Say What? column featured on Muslimality is meant to inspire, teach, engage debate or simply make you laugh. This column revolves around a variety of issues relating to Muslims in South Africa and Muslims around the world.

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Religion and the State, the Case Against the Muslim Personal
Law Bill

Over the past decade, an intense debate has raged within the Muslim community on the
question of legislating Muslim Personal Law (MPL). At its core, the debate implicates can
one reach the “correct” interpretation of religion and who has the legitimacy to render that
interpretation. The rancor has occurred before any law has been passed or any decision
rendered by any court as to what MPL means. The government has now put forward a Bill
for comment.

Our constitution guarantees freedom of religion. It further permits the state to recognise
religious marriages. Under apartheid, Muslims did not enjoy the same degree of legal
acceptance, which resulted in great hardship to Muslims married under Islamic law. Any
attempt to redress this inequity is laudable. There is however a great difference between
redressing this inequity by recognizing Muslim marriages, versus what the MPL Bill
represents namely the state legislating on matters of religious doctrine, with the penalty of
sanctions for departure from the Bill.

The European Court of Human Rights in a number of cases has affirmed that state officials
have a duty to maintain strict neutrality and impartiality vis-à-vis religious communities. For
example, in the Moldova case, it ruled that where there is a difference in belief, the role of
the state is not to choose one belief over another. The state cannot assess the legitimacy
of religious beliefs or the ways in which those beliefs are expressed. The court further ruled
that in democratic societies, state measures favoring particular leadership, beliefs, specific
organs of the divided religious community, or seeking to compel the community, or a part of
the community against its will to fall under a single belief, constitutes an infringement of the
freedom of religion even within the same denomination.

Our Constitutional Court has adopted the above position. In Minister of Home Affairs and
Another v Fourie, Sachs J held that “between and within religions there are vastly different
and at times highly disputed views” and “Judges would be placed in an intolerable situation
if they were called upon to construe religious texts and take sides on issues which have
caused deep schisms within religious bodies.”

In medieval times, serious penalties were imposed upon the clergy if they engaged in
any practice, or subscribed to any Canon in opposition to the Kings assent. Catholics
persecuted Protestants, Protestants persecuted Catholics, and within the sects, one sect
persecuted another sect. Each group tried to impose loyalty to whatever religious group
happened to be on top and in league with the government of the particular time and place.
Those who did not show loyalty were fined, cast in jail, tortured, and killed. A Muslim

can opt out of the Bill. On the other hand, the prospect of penalties for departure from
the provisions of the Bill loom ominously which push towards adherence to the Bill. For
example, the Bill mandates under penalty of sanctions that “Any person who facilitates
the conclusion of a Muslim marriage, irrespective of whether that person is a marriage
officer or not, must inform the prospective spouses that they have a choice whether or not
to be bound by the provisions of this Act.” This means, a Muslim cleric who performs a
marriage but believes the Bill is un-Islamic and fails to adhere to these and other provisions
could be penalised for practising their religion differently from the way the Bill prescribes.
Any person that prevents another from exercising rights under the Bill shall be guilty of
an offence and liable to a fine or imprisonment. A mother, who dissuades her son from
marrying under the Bill because she thinks it is un-Islamic, could face the prospect of one
year in jail.

The Bill takes us back to the medieval period of compulsion and coercion with the state
taking sides on religious doctrine. Under the definition and other sections of the Bill, the
state has chosen definitions of various religious terms on which religious scholars disagree.
If a Muslim practices his/her religion in a way he/she honestly feels obliged to practice it,
and if this practice departs from the provisions and definitions in the Bill, this individual is
treated differently from the one that accepts the state chosen definition of religion.

The English philosopher John Locke wrote in the 16th century that religion pertains to the
inward preservation of the mind and the soul, which couldn’t be prescribed by a judge or a
ruler. These ideas influenced the writings of Thomas Jefferson when the US Constitution
was drawn up giving rise to a core idea in western constitutionalism namely, the idea of
a secular state. Under this understanding, the US Supreme Court in a litany of cases has
declared that the government may not place its prestige, authority, and resources behind a
single religious belief. That conclusion was recognized by Justice Ngcobo (now our Chief
Justice) in Prince I where he stated the courts (and by extension the state) should not be
engaged in deciding what is part of a religion, or what is central to a religion.

The German Constitutional Court has repeatedly affirmed that religious organizations have
the right to organize and administer themselves in an independent manner and in terms off
their own understanding of their religion. To rule otherwise would mean that secular laws
would undermine the constitutionally guaranteed right of self-determination of religious
organizations. The German Constitutional Court has also proclaimed that churches have
the power to make binding rules with regard to the credibility of the church and of its
proclamation of what the Gospel requires, what are the essential principles of dogma and
ethics, and what is to be regarded as a violation.

Those that drew up the MPL Bill ignored this consensus in mainstream democracies.
They disregarded the unqualified achievement of the twentieth century that government
cannot dictate religious doctrines. If the Bill becomes law and per chance it is found to
be constitutional, the judges are unlikely to be the most revered of deities. Religious
doctrines brim with complexities, uncertainties and very different disciplining rules and
procedures, which their interpretive community follows. Judges usually do not have insight
into religions and are not schooled in the books such as Genesis, Leviticus or the Islamic
works of Bukhari or Abu Dawud. In interpreting any statute, our Constitutional Court has
told us repeatedly that all laws must be interpreted against the ethos and values of the
Constitution including equality and human dignity. Developing religious law against the

ethos and values of the Constitution is unlikely to resonate well among the religious group
affected and is bound to inflame sectarian differences as exemplified from the experiences
in India.

The rights under Islamic law given to different genders, for example with respect to
(divorce) must be evaluated against the equality and human dignity provisions in our
Bill of Rights. On its face, if a law gives different rights to males and females, this would
constitute unfair discrimination under the Constitution, which could be counteracted only
by reliance on the limitation clause of the Constitution — a burden that has so far proved
difficult to overcome.

There are failings in Muslim marriages, which need to be addressed. There is a perception
that men, for the benefit of men interpret the religion. Women as a group have been short
changed. Constitutionally, the state has the power to make laws of general application
to advance important social interests, which prevent the oppression of any group in
society. Based on concepts of equality (and not interpretation of Jewish law), a divided
United Kingdom Supreme Court (in a highly controversial decision) ruled Jewish law of
matrilineality violates the country’s anti-discrimination laws. The perception of unequal
treatment of women through the denial of a divorce decree “get” and “talaq” occurs in
Jewish and Muslim societies. Recently, the Canadian Supreme Court sought to address
this problem through contract law in the Bruker case, rather than through interpretation of
Jewish scriptures, which the court recognised as completely inappropriate. We need to be
clear. The MPL Bill is not a neutral law of general application to advance general societal
interests. Nor are we talking about contract law to better protect vulnerable women about
their rights. Instead, the Bill prescribes religious conduct and targets Muslims specifically
under penalty of sanctions.

The notion that through “clever” lawyering, and through a mysterious consensus of certain
lawyers and scholars zeitgeist, one can deduce a preferred interpretation of religious law to
socially engineer a group to conform to the twenty first century fundamentally misconstrues
the essence of freedom of religion. Validation of the Bill does not come from counting
heads as to whether a majority supports the Bill. Religion involves the most personal and
sensitive rights on which the state cannot take sides. The sentiments expressed by Sachs
J for a unanimous Court in the Fourie case where he stated it is one thing “to acknowledge
the important role that religion plays in our public life. It is quite another to use religious
doctrine as a source for interpreting the Constitution. It would be out of order to employ
the religious sentiments of some as a guide to the constitutional rights of others. Between
and within religions there are vastly different and at times highly disputed views on how
to respond…” Hopefully, our lawmakers will be mindful of the words of our Constitutional
Court and not embark on an unprecedented project, not found in the main stream of democratic practice.

Source: Professor Ziyad Motala, Professor of Law Howard University, U.S.A.

Allah عز وجل says in the Holy Qur’an:

وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَى


فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَى


As for he who fears the standing before his Lord and prevents his nafs from fulfilling its desire, Jannah is his abode.
[Surah Naziaat 79:40-41].

Doing something the halal way is always very difficult and a test in itself, and doing something the haraam way can often be very easy but again this is the test. Doing things the halal way may be difficult initially but in the long-term one will find much barakah (blessings) in the halal option.

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said in a hadeeth:

Hellfire is veiled with desires and Paradise is veiled with displeasures. [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and Tirmidhi]

This is why the most attractive and easy way is the haraam way.  Deen is difficult and the whole life of a Muslim is one of trials and tribulations. In another hadeeth, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

The world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the unbeliever. [Reported by Muslim and Tirmidhi].

Thus, believers are jailed and prevented in the world from haraam and disliked desires. When someone gives up on religion because they find it difficult, Shaytaan attracts them with the easy option. We should not give up doing things the halal way and remember Allah tests us often.

[This short excerpt is based on a brothers’ majlis (gathering for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on 9th February 2002].


A collection of words of wisdom and excerpts from the spiritual gatherings of Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq

A article
By Shaykh al-Adab Mawlana Muhammad I’zaz ‘Ali
Translated by Zameelur Rahman



Know, my dear son (Allah give you knowledge and enable you to please Him), that religious knowledge depends on two things:

First: earnestness in acquiring it and severing thought about all that is besides it, since ‘ilm(knowledge) will not give you a part of it until you give to it all of yourself. Make the identifier of the goodness of a thing and its despicability your hindrance to ‘ilm, since your hindrance to a part of ‘ilm or your aversion to it, is despicable whatever it may be, and otherwise it is not [despicable]. Allah’s obligations (fards), His necessities (wajibs), and their supplements from the emphasised practices (mu’akkadat) are exceptions. Hereof, you will see they (the ‘ulama) have agreed that studying books, repeating and revising the lessons, are more virtuous for students than supererogatory acts (nawafil) – what then is your opinion of [acts] besides them?

Second: consciousness and fear (taqwa) of God, imitation of the Sunnah of His Messenger and devotion of all works to Allah. You are more needy of this second [quality] than you are of the first, since you will find many of those who do not fear any besides Allah, given drink upon drink (‘alalan wa nahalan) of the oceans of the sciences and religious knowledge, although they have some deficiency in their earnestness and in staying awake at nights. But you will not find any of the iniquitous (fussaq), those fearless of Allah, even if he tires himself, the proper amount of tiring, and exerts himself to complete exertion, succeed at all thereby. If you find any that contradicts what I said, and you hold a good opinion of him, then that is in accordance to what the enchanting poet said:

The (true) horse is not, but like the (true) friend, rare

Even if they are many in the sight of those who do not participate in war

When you see not but beauty in their blemishes

And their appendages, then beauty from you is hidden


You must respect the books and teachers, rather all who are superior in knowledge and intelligence even if they are students, because this has a significant impact in adorning the soul with the ornament of knowledge. We have seen many of those acquiring [‘ilm] of whom a good opinion was held at the start of their acquisition [of ‘ilm] and it was sworn that they will be from the ‘ulama and the protectors of thedin (religion), but when they exhibited bad behaviour with the books and teachers, they were deprived of‘ilm and its blessings. You are aware that a small quantity with blessing (barakah) is better than a large quantity without it. Do you believe Qarun is better than one who spends all his wealth for the pleasure of Allah? No, of course not.

Burhan al-Islam al-Zarnuji, in the chapter Ri’ayat al-Ustadh of his book Ta’lim al-Muta’allim, said,

Shams al-A’immah al-Halwani left Bukhara and stayed in one of the villages for some days and his students visited him except Qadi Abu Bakr Muhammad al-Zarnajri, so he asked him when he met him, “Why did you not visit me?” He replied, “I was occupied in the service of my mother.” He said, “You will be granted long life but you will not be granted the splendour of lessons.” And it was so, because he (i.e. al-Halwani) would spend most of his time in the villages and did not arrange lessons for him (i.e. al-Zarnajri). Thus, whoever’s teacher is hurt by him, he will be deprived of the blessing of ‘ilm and will not benefit from it but little.


Beware, and again beware, of desiring by means of religious knowledge the dunya (the material world), its prestige and its wealth, because the acrobat who plays above the mountains is better than the‘ulama who incline towards wealth, since the former consumes the dunya by means of the dunya and the latter consumes the dunya by means of the din. One of the ‘ulama said,

Purchasing a corpse with musical instruments is lighter [in sin] than purchasing it with mushafs.

He (High is His Eminence) said,

Nor sell My ayahs (verses) for a small price; and fear Me, and Me alone. (Qur’an 2:41)

It is incumbent that the goal of your ambitions and the site or your visions is not but to [what is mentioned in] these verses:

Every son of the dunya has a purpose and an aim

And verily my purpose is good health and free time

In order to reach in the science of Shari’ah a degree

By which there is for me in the Gardens a station

So in the like of this, possessors of intelligence should compete

Sufficiency is enough for me in the deceptive dunya

Al-Shafi’i (Allah be pleased with him) sung to al-Rabi’:

My ‘ilm is with me wherever I turn, it benefits me

My heart is its vessel, not the inside of my box (carrying books)

If I am in the house, ‘ilm is in there with me

Or (if) I am in the market, ‘ilm is in the market


Beware of vanity, arrogance and shyness in knowledge because it was said to one of the great ‘ulama,

One of your students served you for years and none strives as much as him in acquiring ‘ilm, yet he did not succeed thereby, and he replied, “Vanity hindered him from ascending to the paths of perfection.”

Hereof, I say that service alone is not sufficient to acquire the objective so long as impediments are not removed. We have seen many of them (students of knowledge) serve the teachers and suffice with that, so they fell into what they brought on themselves, since ‘ilm is loftier than that it should turn to one who does not turn to it. One of the great scholars was asked, “How did you succeed in the sciences?” and he said “I was not embarrassed to ask of that which I did not know, whether the one asked was young or old.” Al-Khalil ibn Ahmad said,

Ignorance (jahl) grazes between shyness and arrogance in ‘ilm.


You must be generous and spend of what Allah has given you of the treasures of knowledge, little or much, because generosity and expenditure is praiseworthy in all matters particularly ‘ilm. We do not know of any possession in this world that is not depleted by spending and is not extinguished by overspending and wasting, besides ‘ilm, because it is like the water of the ocean which does not dry up by one or two gulps, rather its expenditure does not yield but its growth, and overspending and wasting do not occur in ‘ilm.

However, Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated from Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) that he said,

Conveying of knowledge to the non-deserving is like putting necklaces of jewels, pearls and gold around the neck of swine. (Sunan Ibn Majah)

‘Isa ibn Maryam (upon our Prophet and him be blessings and peace) said,

Convey not jewels to swine, for ‘ilm is better than pearls, and one who is not deserving of it is worse than swine.

It was related that a student asked an ‘alim (scholar) about some knowledge and he did not benefit him [with that knowledge], so he was asked “Why did you withhold from him?” He said “Every soil has a seedling and every structure has a foundation.” One of the eloquent ones said,

Every clothing has a wearer and every knowledge has an acquirer.

Abu Hanifa (may Allah be pleased with him) was asked, “How did you reach what you reached?” He replied, “I was not stingy in benefiting others and I did not shrink from acquiring benefit from others.”


I did not dot (anqut) the book in my first footnote (ta’liq) in Persian relying on the intelligence of the acquirers [of ‘ilm] and the strength of their preparation, and as an exercise for them. Then I found that the matter was difficult for them so I diacritically marked it (a’rabtuhu), but you, Oh piece of my heart and fragrance of my soul, must not rely on what is therein of vowels (harakat) and non-vowelised letters (sakinat) with total reliance, till the nominal subject (mubtada’) is not distinguished from the predicate (khabar) and the verbal subject (fa’il) from the object (maf’ul), and you thus become like those who said,

We found our forefathers worshipping them. (Qur’an 21:53)

Rather, you must rely on what you know from the rules of Nahw and the principles of Sarf because error is possible from many avenues, including the copyist or from the printers, and I do not declare myself innocent either.

Nur al-Idah bi ‘l-Isbah, pp. 5-6

About the author:

Shaykh al-Adab wa ‘l-Fiqh Mawlana Muhammad I’zaz ‘Ali ibn Mizaj ‘Ali al-Amrohi was born in Badayun in the year 1300 AH/1882 CE. He memorised the Qur’an at a young age at Shahajanpur under Hafiz Sharaf al-Din Khan. He then travelled with his father to the rural district of Talhar where he studied Mizan al-Sarf and some Persian books under Mawlana Maqsud ‘Ali Khan al-Shahajanpuri, and was encouraged to continue studying Arabic by his teacher who told him,

The benefit of Allah’s speech will not be complete unless its meaning is understood.

Once he had reached the advanced textbooks on Nahw, he joined Dar al-’Ulum Deoband. Here he studied the first portion of Al-Hidayah under Mawlana Muhammad Ahmad al-Nanotwi (the son of Mawlana Qasim al-Nanotwi), Logic under Mawlana Muhammad Sahul al-Bhagalpuri and other books with other teachers. He then travelled to Meerut to visit some of his relatives and stayed there for four years. There he read the books of hadith besides Sahih al-Bukhari, and studied ‘aqidah, the rational sciences and philosophy under Mawlana ‘Abd al-Mu’min al-Deobandi. At Meerut, he also gained some experience in verifying and printing books. He returned to Deoband and studied Jami’ al-TirmidhiSahih al-BukhariSunan Abi Dawudal-Baydawi, the final portion of Al-HidayahAl-Tawdih and Al-Talwih under Shaykh al-Hind Mawlana Mahmud al-Hasan. His other teachers included Mawlana Ghulam Rasul, Mufti ‘Aziz al-Rahman al-Deobandi and Mawlana Sayyid Mu’zz al-Din.

Upon completing his education, Shaykh al-Hind advised him to teach at Madrasa al-Nu’maniyyah atBhagalpur where he taught for seven years. Then he taught at a madrasah in Shahajanpur for three years, before moving to teach at Deoband. When he got the opportunity, he benefited from ‘Allamah Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri and Mawlana Habib al-Rahman ‘Uthmani. He taught many luminaries including the first Grand Mufti of Pakistan, Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ ‘Uthmani.

His published works include marginalia and footnotes to Nur al-IdahKanz al-Daqa’iq, Mukhtasar al-QuduriDiwan al-Hamasah and Diwan al-Mutanabbi in Arabic. He also authored Nafhat al-’Arab, a work on Arabic rhetoric and literature. His interest in Arabic literature and his contribution to Fiqh earned him the title Shaykh al-Adab wa l-Fiqh.

He passed away at Deoband in 1374 H/1955 CE, Allah have mercy on him.


After some much needed rest and relaxation, I find myself overwhelmed by interactions with individuals who are either grossly immature or are in dire need of Sharma’s personal development and self-help seminars. I simply cannot bring myself to believe that rational and intelligent adult(I am in no way implying that kids are not rational considering I know many children and teenagers who could give these ‘old bags’ some much needed advice on how to at least act mature) homo sapiens could indeed conduct themselves in so many demeaning ways.

I remember when I was a little kid that being nasty was a very ‘ugly’ thing to do (I quote my Mother). We’ve all had our bouts of nastiness to the unfortunate kid in the playground but some of us never truly grow out of it and this is really disconcerting. For instance, I’ve already had somebody try to discredit the Muslimality website by trying to pass some chain mail or the other saying that Muslimality supports Banks (FNB, in this case) because he(or she) happened upon an advert on the Muslimality Contact Form/About Us Page. I’m hoping that said reader still reads our articles so that the following explanation might help: Muslimality is hosted on and so, we have no direct link to the adverts being displayed when GoogleAds detects your IP address, establishes that it belongs to a South African and thereafter displays the appropriate ad for the person viewing the page.I hope this clarifies any misunderstanding on your part but please feel free to visit our site again.

You see, I hate having to do that. It makes me feel like some nursery or primary school teacher having to call the rotten apple to the front of the class and make a lesson out of him for the rest of the kids. Which brings me to my next point: Bad Mouthing. Whilst this trait is not extremely common amongst the foundation phase, it is very much evident during high school where teenagers have truly made an art out of sensationalism, slandering and large scale smear campaigns to deal with competition, outcasts or the poor little souls whom they have decided to take revenge on.

It would be most untrue of me to say that these are traits most people outgrow by the time they have reached adolescence or that these are traits practised upon only by women. This type of behaviour has become a big part of adulthood and is definitely not gender-based. It is also not restricted to exclude religion. Of late, I have come across many a smear campaign targeted at those institutions or individuals who are assumed to be ‘backward’,oppressive, misogynistic ‘chilla wallas’ etc. Facebook, Twitter and many other social networks have made it possible for people all over the world to air their views to a large audience, who is only more than ready to read and believe. This is starting to sound just like high school…only worse!

I have often heard individuals who are parents to toddlers confess that when their kid decides to throw a tantrum, the most effective quick-fix is to join in the tantrum. I can only begin to imagine the horror of seeing a parent kicking and screaming next to their equally kicking and screaming 3 year old on a supermarket floor. Nursery school and foundation phase teachers often resort to ‘a few raps across knuckles with a ruler’ to return a class of rowdy kids to peace and quiet. Of course, with adults this is not possible and so one has to seek alternative methods of showing disapproval to keep the peace.

The best way to deal with matters such as these is to contact the person and have a good chat about what the issues at hand are. This does not work very well, especially in circumstances where the result infinitely outweighs the means to getting to the result. There are other options which are subject to certain conditions and are more effective.

One such instance resulted in approaching the problem with the age-old system of hierarchy. This means if a person is being considerably troublesome via any medium, you seek to solve the problem via the puppet-masters(the person/s who has considerable leeway in said troublemaker’s life e.g. employers,father,mother,grandfather,teacher etc.) but this method only results in a light rap across the knuckles and in no time, the troublemaker is on the loose yet again.

The option which I particularly favour is to face the troublemaker with the truth. The truth holds far greater value than any opinion of any person. By examining the truth of your existence, the purpose of your existence, any vile comments, lies or slander committed against you and intended to reach you will never affect you more than what any other form of useless speech is supposed to affect you. It is a truth deep within yourself, a truth meant to strengthen your core and a truth designed to keep you steadfast. It is the truth of your religion, the truth of Islam and if you are steadfast in holding on to the truth of Islam, no amount of child’s play, mockery or gossip (aimed purely at testing your resolve) will change the truth of who you are, what you are and everything you stand for as a Muslim.

Islam does not require change, It changes us…

The Say What? column featured on Muslimality is meant to inspire, teach, engage debate or simply make you laugh. This column revolves around a variety of issues relating to Muslims in South Africa and Muslims around the world.

Muslimality is pleased to announce that we will now be taking article submissions from anyone who has a passion for writing about true Islam. If you or anybody you know would like to submit an article for publication, kindly email or submit your piece via our Contact Form

Muslimality reserves the right to edit your submission. Should you not receive a response from us within 7 days of submission, please consider the submission rejected.

The Muslim Marriages Bill (MMB) which has been approved and recommended by the South African Law Reform Commission and adopted by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is in conflict with the Shari’ah. Hereunder we reproduce some of the flaws of the Bill with respect to the pristine Shari’ah.

Readers of Muslimality are reminded to strongly object to the Bill and submit letters of objection via the following avenues:


Private Bag X81,Pretoria 0001,

or faxed at 086 648 7766,

or e-mailed to no later than 15 March 2011.

(1)  According to the proposed Muslim Marriages Bill, the secular courts will pronounce on Shar’i masaa-il  and issue ‘fatwas’ (decrees) which will be in the light of the country’s constitution and subservient to the laws of the country. Thus, the MMB defining courts says:

“court” means a High Court of South Africa, or a court for a
regional division as provided for in section 29(1B) of the
Magistrates’ Court Act, 1944 (Act No.32 of 1944)”

In terms of MMB, the secular court will take over the functions of the Ulama of issuing Fatwa on matters pertaining to Nikah, Talaaq, Hadhaanah (Custody), Nafqah (Maintenance), etc.  But, according to the Shariah, the decrees of secular courts are not valid and have absolutely no effect. Thus, if a secular court decrees that the Nikah is annulled, then despite the invalidity of such decree in terms of the Shariah, the decree will have legal effect according to MMB, and the Muslim husband will be compelled to accept it.

(2)  Any ambiguity in any ‘Islamic’ provision of MMB pertaining to Talaaq, will be resolved by the courts in the light of the secular Divorce Act, 1979 (Act No.70 of 1979). The final arbiter in all cases will be the secular law, not the Shariah, and not even MMB. Even the smattering of provisions conforming with the Shariah will be incumbently interpreted by the courts in the light of the Constitution, not in the light of the Shariah. Besides the fact that the interpretations of a secular court having no Islamic validity, the courts are all bound to interpret all aspects and provisions of MMB in the light of the godless constitution.

(3)  The courts will be empowered to appoint any person whether male or female, and whether gay or lesbian, non-Muslim or Muslim, to act as
the “Family Advocate”. This appointment will be in terms of the Mediation in Certain Divorce Act (Act No.24 of 1987). The Shariah is
completed extinguished in this process.

(4)   The secular court will be empowered to decree Faskh (Annulment) of a Nikah whereas such annulment is not valid in the Shariah. Faskh
in Islam is valid only if decreed by a Qaadhi or a properly instituted Shar’i Committee (Panchayat) in places where there is no Qaadhi.

(5)  Issues pertaining to Faskh (Annulment of Nikah) will be interpreted in the light of the Divorce Act. Hence, a baatil annulment
which is not valid in the Shariah will be decreed by the secular court.

(6)  Issues pertaining to Nafqah (Maintenance) will specifically be decided in the light of the secular law, not according to the Shariah.
Thus, MMB states:

“maintenance court” means a maintenance court as referred to in
section 3 of the Maintenance Act 1988.”

(7)  The definition of “Muslim” given by MMB is so ambiguous, that it will be the function of the secular courts to decide who is a Muslim.

(8)  The MMB provides for the automatic imposition of its provisions on even Muslims who were married before MMB came into operation.  If a
couple does not jointly elect to be excluded from MMB within 36 months, the Act will automatically apply to the couple. If the husband
wants to be exempted, not his wife, then he will not be granted exemption, and vice versa.

(9)  According to MMB, man and woman have equal status, whereas the Qur’aan Majeed directs: “For men there is a rank above women.” The
higher status of the husband is an obvious truth to all Muslims, male and female, who have any understanding of Islam. But, MMB provides for
the rejection of the Shariah on this issue.

(10)  Nikah under the age of 18 is criminalized. No Muslim under the age of 18 has the right to enter into Nikah, yet fornication is not a crime. Any Imaam/Sheikh/Maulana who performs the Nikah of a boy or girl of the age of 17 years 11 months will be in contravention of the Act and liable to a fine of R20,000 or a lengthy jail sentence. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) performed the Nikah of Hadhrat Faatimah (radhiyallahu anha) when she was 16 years of age.

(11)  A man who marries a second wife in contravention of MMB is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of R20,000 or a long jail
sentence despite the fact that Allah Ta’ala has granted men the full permission to marry up to four wives.  A man will be allowed to marry
a second woman only if the non-Muslim secular court or the non-Muslim Minister grants permission, and that too if the first wife consents.
The first wife’s ‘consent’ has been specifically engineered to block and cancel polygamy which Islam allows. No first wife will consent to
her husband marrying a second wife.

(12)  The MMB compels Muslims who had concluded Nikahs long before MMB to register their marriages under MMB, unless the parties decide not
to be bound by MMB. If they so decide, they have to apply for exemption in the way prescribed by the Act. Currently, Muslims are not
encumbered with this hardship. They are not criminalized presently if they do not register their Nikahs nor are they required to apply for
exemption under the present Marriages Act which applies to all citizens of the country. But MMB discriminates against Muslim by
singling them out for this hardship.

(13)  If a Muslim male wishes to enter into a second Nikah, then in addition to the requirement of having to apply to a court for permission, he has to incumbently have a written contract which will regulate his property. This too is a haraam encumbrance which MMB imposes.

(14)  An Imaam will be fined R20,000 if he registers a valid Islamic Nikah performed in accordance with the Shariah, if it does not conform to the provisions of MMB.

(15)  Any parent, Imaam, Sheikh, Maulana or any elder who advises their children, students, mureeds or any Muslim in general to abstain
from MMB (i.e. after it has been enacted as law) will be sentenced  to a fine or a prison term of one year.

(16)  The secular Divorce Act will have overriding importance as far as the courts are concerned. The MMB will be subservient to the secular Divorce Act, Maintenance Act, Mediation Act, and other secular Acts.

(17)  MMB obliges the husband to register a Talaaq Baa-in which is an irrevocable Talaaq. The validity of such a Talaaq according to MMB
requires two witnesses at the time of registration whereas Talaaq does not rely on witnesses according to the Shariah.

(18)  In terms of MMB, the husband’s Talaaq Baa-in will not be valid if he did not follow the provisions of MMB. In this scenario the Nikah
will have ended according to the Shariah while MMB holds it valid. The Talaaq will be valid in terms of MMB only if it is served on the wife
by the sheriff of the court whereas according to the Shariah these requisites are nonsense. Talaaq Baa-in is valid and terminates the Nikah without witnesses, without execution by the non-Muslim sheriff of the non-Muslim secular court, and without the other baatil paraphernalia required by MMB.

(19)  If the wife disputes the Talaaq-e-Baa-in despite the husband contending that he had issued such a Talaaq, then according to MMB the Talaaq is not valid. This incongruity is preposterously stupid. Despite a husband issuing Talaaq Baa-in in clear and unequivocal terms, MMB says that it is not valid simply because the wife disputes it. Thus, MMB dictates that the couple should continue a relationship
which according to Islam is adulterous.

(20)   A Talaaq disputed by the wife will be valid according to MMB only if the secular court resolves the dispute and decrees the Talaaq valid despite the fact that the husband states emphatically that he has administered Talaaq Baa-in to his wife.

(21)   The husband is required by MMB to institute court action within 14 days after he has registered his Talaaq Baa-in in the way prescribed by MMB. The application is to obtain a decree from the kaafir court confirming the dissolution of the Nikah by way of Talaaq. Furthermore, the application must comply with the rules of the secular court.

(22)  A husband who does not register his Talaaq Baa-in is subjected to the zulm (cruelty) of a fine of R20,000 or a lengthy jail sentence in Hell’s hole. Just imagine the kufr of this MMB! R20,000 fine or perhaps 5 or 10 years in Red Hell (Rooihell) for not registering a Talaaq!!! This is MMB in action if and when it gets enacted.  (By the way, ‘Rooihell’ is a famous jail in Port Elizabeth). Currently the law does not require Muslims to register Talaaq,
hence the cruelty of the R20,000 fine does not apply.

(23)  While according to the Shariah, a secular court’s annulment decree is invalid, i.e. it is not a valid Faskh, MMB confers this right to the secular court. Thus, while the wife will eternally remain in the Nikah of her husband, she will be conducting an adulterous relationship with another man whom she erroneously believes to be her husband. Her ‘marriage’ to the other man in terms of the Shariah will not be valid, and the children she begets from the adulterous relationship will be illegitimate.

(24)  The ‘faskh’ provision of MMB degenerates into a hilarious stupidity. This stupidity reads:  “…a faskh granted upon the application of the husband…”  This absurdity is indeed laughable and displays the density in the brains of the molvis and sheikhs who had assisted in the drafting of the kufr bill. A Faskh (Annulment) application is made by only a woman , the wife, not by the husband. If the husband wishes to end the Nikah, he only has to pronounce Talaaq. The Shariah does not provide for Faskh application by a husband.

(25)  Khulah, for its validity according to MMB must be registered by a marriage officer, and both the man and woman must appear in front of the officer. The Shariah ordains that Khulah is valid if both husband and wife agree to end the marriage in lieu of the wife paying the husband a sum of money which should not exceed the mehr amount.

(26)  According to MMB, the secular law Acts will apply regarding the welfare of minor children. The interests and welfare of the children will be decided in the light of secular laws, not in terms of the Shariah.

(27)  The court is given the right by MMB to divide the husbands property between the husband and wife on dissolution of the marriage. The court is empowered to effect a division of the husband’s property in a manner which it deems equitable. But according to the Shariah it is haraam for the wife to claim anything of her ex-husband’s assets. She is entitled to only maintenance during the Iddat period. Thus, the husbands wealth will be usurped – grabbed in haraam ways with the decree of the secular court.

(28)  According to the Shariah there is an order of priority to be observed with regard to custody of minor children in the event of dissolution of a marriage. It is haraam to deny custody to the rightful custodian without valid Islamic reason. However, according to MMB, the court has the sole right to assign custody to whomever it desires. Thus Section 10 (3) of the MMB states:

“….award or grant custody or guardianship to any person as the court deems appropriate,
in all the circumstances.”

(29)  According to MMB, the court should consider the report of the non-Muslim Family Advocate concerning the welfare of minor children. Obviously, it cannot be expected of a non-Muslim to be guided by the tenets of Islam. There is massive difference in the Islamic concept of child welfare and the secular, western concept which MMB wants imposed on Muslims.

(30)  MMB stipulates that Talaaq should first take place before a haraam civil marriage contract could be cancelled. This extremely
insidious provision of MMB states:

“…the court may not dissolve the civil marriage by granting a
decree of divorce until the court is satisfied that the accompanying
Muslim marriage has been dissolved.”

What this vile clause means is that if a man wishes to cancel the haraam community of property marital regime, he is obliged to first break up his home. He should issue Talaaq to his wife. The villainy and Satanism of this stipulation are absolutely revolting. Numerous Muslims, due to ignorance, have registered their marriages in community of property. This regime does not allow the estate of the deceased to be distributed in accordance with Allah’s Law of Inheritance. During the subsistence of community of property an Islamic will is not valid.
After they have been made aware of this haraam system, many Muslims seek ways of cancelling the community of property regime. This is possible only by obtaining from a court a decree to annul the civil ‘marriage’. While this is currently possible, MMB blocks this avenue and denies Muslims the right to cancel this haraam system. MMB seeks to achieve this satanic objective by stipulating that the husband in a happy marriage who desires to submit to Allah’s Law of Inheritance should first issue Talaaq to his wife. Only after he has broken up his home, may the court dissolve the civil marriage.  Indeed most evil and insidious is this haraam draconian provision of MMB. In fact, the whole MMB is evil, insidious and draconian.

(31)  Even if the husband has valid Shar’i reasons for refusing to issue Talaaq, MMB empowers the secular court to issue a decree of Faskh (Annulment) to terminate the marriage regardless of the fact that such annulment is invalid in terms of the Shariah. The Nikah remains intact. In this regard, Section 13 (2) of MMB reads:

“In the event of the husband, for any reason, refusing to
pronounce an irrevocable Talaq, the wife to the accompanying Muslim
marriage is entitled to apply for a decree of Faskh in terms of this

Despite the husband being fully justified for refusing to issue Talaaq to his errant and misguided wife, MMB empowers the secular court to ‘annul’ the Nikah notwithstanding the fact that such ‘annulment’ has absolutely no validity in the Shariah.

(32)  MMB places the non-Muslim Minister of Justice in full charge of Muslim marriages. In terms of MMB, the Minister has the right to effect changes, make and bend rules and provisions at will and according to his discretion. The Shariah is completely expunged and non-Muslim governmental authorities and secular courts will be in full control of all Muslim marital affairs.

(33)  MMB empowers the Minister to make regulations to imprison Muslims who contravene any of the insidious provisions of this haraam so-called Muslim Marriages bill.


Source: Mujlisul Ulama of South Africa