Answers to Everyday Issues – Part 62: Allah’s pronouns, milk kinship, fasting on Fridays, inheritance, Day of ‘Arafah and Eid-ul-Adha


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Guidance regarding basic Islamic issues – which Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa has given on various occasions in his written correspondence and during MTA programmes – is being officially published below for everyone’s benefit.

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‘I’, ‘We’, ‘He’: Allah’s pronouns in the Holy Quran

A lady from Canada wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, stating that in the shahadah we proclaim, “There is no god but Allah.” Then, why in the Holy Quran does Allah the Exalted use different pronouns for Himself, such as “I”, “We”, and “He”, and what is the wisdom behind this? Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 11 July 2022, provided the following answer to this question:

“The various pronouns used for Allah the Almighty in the singular, plural, and in the third person have been explained differently by people according to their perspectives. For instance, it is said that ‘I’, which is the singular form in the first person, is used to give a general command, whereas ‘We’, the plural form in the first person, is used to manifest God’s Majesty. On the other hand, ‘He’, the singular form in the third person, comes to express the attribute of Allah being the Unseen.

“Both ‘I’ and ‘He’ are singular forms; one is in the first person, while the other is in the third person. In common parlance, one uses both of these forms for themselves in different ways of expression. However, when Allah the Exalted uses these singular forms for Himself, it especially aims to express His attribute of Oneness [Tawhid]. And when He uses ‘We’, i.e., the plural form, it is intended to manifest His Majesty. Thus, the Promised Messiahas, explaining this topic, states:

“‘When God Almighty speaks as a singular Entity, it is very endearing and words of love, and the singular form is uttered at the station of love. The plural form appears in a majestic tone, where a punishment needs to be administered.’ (Malfuzat, Vol. 5, 2016, p. 255)

“In his book, Kitab al-Bariyyah, the Promised Messiahas, while refuting the arguments presented by Christians in favour of the Trinity, elaborates on the use of pronouns ‘I’ and ‘We’ for Allah the Almighty, stating:

“‘It becomes evident that the actual reason for using the plural form is to manifest the power and grandeur of God, and these are idiomatic expressions of languages. For instance, in English, one addresses an individual as ‘you’, but for God Almighty, even in the face of the doctrine of the Trinity, they always use ‘Thou’. Similarly, in Hebrew, instead of Adon [אָדוֹן], which means ‘Lord’, Adonim [אֲדוֹנִים] is also used [i.e., the plural form]. So, in essence, these debates revolve around linguistic idioms. In the Holy Quran, in many places in God’s Word, the pronoun ‘We’ appears, as in ‘We did this’ or ‘We shall do this’. And no sensible person interprets this ‘We’ to mean a plurality of gods.’ (Kitab al-Bariyyah, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 13, pp. 94-95)

“In his exegesis, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra expounds upon the wisdom behind the use of plural forms for Allah the Exalted in the following verses of the Holy Quran:

فَاَوۡحٰۤي اِلَيۡہِمۡ رَبُّہُمۡ لَنُہۡلِکَنَّ الظّٰلِمِيۡنَ وَلَنُسۡکِنَنَّـکُمُ الۡاَرۡضَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِھِمۡ

“‘Then their Lord sent unto them the revelation: ‘We will, surely, destroy the wrongdoers. And We will, surely, make you dwell in the land after them. This is for him who fears to stand before My Tribunal and fears My warning.’’ (Surah Ibrahim, Ch. 14: V. 14-15)

“He states:

“‘[In these verses,] Allah the Exalted has employed the form of mutakallim ma‘a l-ghayr which denotes plurality. Despite the fact that the One who ‘destroys’ and the One who ‘grants dwellings and dominion’ is solely Allah the Exalted, Who is absolutely One. The reason for this is to manifest possession and control. Since strength and power are amplified in a group, wherever the Holy Quran intends to demonstrate control and authority and underscore it, the plural form is used. Conversely, where the intent is to express self-sufficiency or not to emphasise control and possession, the singular form is employed.

“‘Some Sufis have written that for tasks Allah the Exalted performs through the agency of angels, He employs the plural form. However, He uses the singular form for acts executed solely by Divine command.’” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 3, p. 455)

“Thus, the diverse pronouns that Allah the Exalted has employed for Himself, in singular, plural, and in the third person, are intended to manifest various distinct attributes and the power and might of Allah the Exalted.”

Milk kinship

A lady from Yemen wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, stating that a girl married her paternal cousin, i.e., her father’s sister’s son, and they have a child together. The husband had been breastfed by his maternal great-aunt. Scholars opine that they should divorce because her husband is her milk-related paternal uncle. She sought guidance on this matter. Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 7 August 2022, gave the following guidance:

“Based on the situation you described, the boy’s maternal grandmother is the girl’s paternal grandmother. The woman by whom the boy was breastfed, meaning his mother’s maternal aunt, is actually the sister of the boy’s maternal grandmother and the sister of the girl’s paternal grandmother. Thus, there is no prohibition between the couple stemming from one of them being breastfed, i.e., their marriage is valid, as the boy’s milk relationship is not with his maternal grandmother or the girl’s paternal grandmother’s children but with the offspring of the sister of the boy’s maternal grandmother and the sister of the girl’s paternal grandmother.

“Yes, if the boy had been breastfed by his maternal grandmother, then, since the boy’s maternal grandmother is also the girl’s paternal grandmother, this boy would have been the milk-related paternal uncle of the girl, which would have created a prohibition for their marriage. However, in the situation you have described, there is no such prohibition between the couple stemming from one of them being breastfed.”

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engin akyurt | Unsplash

Fasting when the Day of ‘Arafah or ‘Ashura’ etc. fall on a Friday

Someone from Nigeria wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, stating, “I have read in a hadith that one cannot fast on Friday. However, this year, the Day of ‘Arafah will fall on a Friday. Should we observe the fast of Friday on that day?” Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 7 August 2022, provided the following response to this query:

“From the ahadith, it is clear that the Holy Prophetsa prohibited fasting solely on Fridays or solely on Saturdays. (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Kitab as-sawm, Bab ma ja’a fi karahiyati sawmi yawmi l-jumu‘ati wahdahu; Bab ma ja’a fi sawmi yawmi s-sabt)

“Hadith scholars have presented various reasons for this. Among these reasons is the fact that Friday is considered a day of Eid for Muslims, and Eid is a day of eating and drinking; hence, one should not fast on the festive day of Eid. Another reason for the prohibition of exclusively singling out Friday for fasting is to prevent Muslims from overexaggerating the outward veneration of this day. This is to ensure that Muslims do not fall into the same excess as the Jews did with their veneration of Saturday (Sabbath), which led them to trial. (Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi bi Sharh Jami‘ at-Tirmidhi, Kitab as-sawm, Bab ma ja’a fi karahiyati sawmi yawmi l-jumu‘ati wahdahu)

“Furthermore, the reason for prohibiting fasting solely on Saturdays is that Jews observed fasting on this day. Therefore, to distinguish Muslims from the Jews and to avoid resemblance, Muslims were instructed not to fast solely on Saturdays. (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-sawm, Bab ma ja’a fi sawmi yawmi s-sabt)

“In addition to these injunctions, the Holy Prophetsa emphasised the merit of fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah (9th of Dhul-Hijjah) and the Day of ‘Ashura’ (10th of Muharram). (Sahih Muslim, Kitab as-siyam, Bab istihbabi siyami thalathati ayyamin min kulli shahrin wa sawmi yawmi ‘arafata wa ‘ashura’a wa l-ithnayni wa l-khamis) However, those present at Hajj are prohibited from fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah. (Sunan ibn Majah, Kitab as-siyam, Bab siyami yawmi ‘arafah)

“In summary, it is prohibited to single out a day for fasting based on one’s own judgement, surpassing the commands of Allah the Almighty and His Messengersa. However, regarding specific days wherein God and His Messengersa have permitted fasting, if a Friday or Saturday falls within those days, there is no issue with fasting solely on a Friday or Saturday.

“Thus, the Day of ‘Arafah and the Day of ‘Ashura’ are those days regarding which the Holy Prophetsa has elaborated on the merits of observing voluntary fasts. Hence, there is no prohibition on observing a fast exclusively on a Friday or solely on a Saturday during these particular days.”

Rules of inheritance in Islam

A lady from Malaysia forwarded some questions to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa regarding the inheritance distribution of her deceased father. Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 18 August 2022, provided the following guidance:

“1. You have enquired, ‘Will our late father’s children from his two non-Ahmadi wives (from whom he had divorced) also be heirs to our father’s inheritance, given that he had no contact with these children and they were not very close to him.’

“The children from your father’s first two wives (whom he had divorced) are also, according to Islamic law, heirs to your father’s estate. Hence, if those children wish, they have the right to claim their legal share. However, if your father left any written statement or documentation about not giving the inheritance to those children, and it also mentions the reasons for doing so while those children are still demanding their share, then it becomes a contested matter. The resolution of this dispute falls under the jurisdiction of Dar al-Qadha or the country’s legal system, which will decide the matter after examining evidence, witnesses, and other proofs.

“2. You have mentioned a second point, stating that, ‘According to our late father’s will, the amount my sister and I received from the equal division of his estate, we have now realised, is more than our rightful share. Consequently, a portion of this amount will need to be returned by both my sister and me, resulting in an additional amount being due to our brothers. Can I voluntarily donate the extra amount that came into my share for a charitable cause, or is it imperative for me to return it to the trustee?’

“Given the scenario you have described, since this amount rightfully belongs to the other heirs and was mistakenly given in excess to you and your sister, it should be returned to the trustee. The trustee would then ensure this amount reaches its rightful recipients.

“3. Your third question pertains to the following matter: ‘Regarding our late father’s will, would the one-third share stipulated in the will be distributed first, or would the remaining inheritance be divided prior to that?’

“In the Holy Quran, where detailed instructions on the distribution of inheritance have been provided, a particular phrase is reiterated multiple times, emphasising that before dividing the inheritance, any will made by the deceased should be executed, or any debts owed by the deceased should be settled. (Surah an-Nisa, Ch.4: V.12-13) Thus, the will made by your late father will be executed prior to the distribution of the inheritance. Following that, the remaining portion of your father’s inheritance will be divided among the rightful legal heirs as per the sharia.

“You have raised a fourth point, writing, ‘Will the decision to spend this portion of the will’s amount be made by the trustee, or will my mother and we siblings decide where this amount should be spent?’

“Your question is not entirely clear. Hence, please first clarify what you mean by the will of your late father that you have referenced and for whose benefit this will was made. Islam provides various directives concerning wills. Therefore, until these matters are clarified, a response to your question cannot be given. Similarly, please explain what you mean by ‘trust’ in this context so that a comprehensive and accurate response can be provided to you.”

Global Eid-ul-Adha based on the Day of ‘Arafah

Someone from Egypt wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, stating, “I wish to enquire about the wuquf [standing] at ‘Arafat and the subsequent day of Eid-ul-Adha. The question is, when all the Muslims around the world are in agreement about the Day of ‘Arafah, then how do we differ from them regarding the day of Eid-ul-Adha? Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 11 July 2022, provided the following response to this question:

“There is no doubt that the day of 9 Dhul-Hijjah is known as the day of wuquf at ‘Arafat, because on this day, those blessed with the opportunity to perform Hajj must stay for a while in the plain of ‘Arafat, as this is one of the obligatory pillars of Hajj. And on the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah – Yawm an-Nahr [Day of Sacrifices] – pilgrims perform ramy al-jamarat, offer sacrifices, and, after shaving their heads or trimming their hair, proceed to Mecca for the tawaf al-ifadah. However, those present for Hajj neither offer the Eid-ul-Adha prayer on this day nor do they make the sacrifices of Eid-ul-Adha.

“On the other hand, Muslims residing in the rest of the world celebrate Eid-ul-Adha on the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah. Those who are bestowed with the opportunity, in remembrance of the sacrifice of Hazrat Ibrahimas, act upon the continuous sunnah of the Holy Prophetsa and also present their sacrifices to Allah the Exalted.

“The remaining question, which you also alluded to in your enquiry, is whether the Day of ‘Arafah refers to the day when pilgrims are present in the plain of ‘Arafat for Hajj, or does it refer to the date of the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah?

“If by ‘Day of ‘Arafah’ one refers to that day and specific moment when the fortunate individuals performing Hajj stand in the plains of ‘Arafat, then that day and moment could be on the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah in some parts of the world and the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah in others. This is because the moonrise varies across different regions of the world.

“Similarly, in one country, that specific moment might fall during the daytime, while in another, it might be during some part of the night. However, if ‘Day of ‘Arafah’ is taken to mean the day of 9th Dhul-Hijjah, because it is the day on which those fortunate enough to perform Hajj stand in the plains of ‘Arafat in the vicinity of Mecca, based on the moon sighting for the month of Dhul-Hijjah in Mecca, then this day could vary in different parts of the world. This is because people in each region will consider their day based on the 9th date of the lunar month, according to the moonrise in their own locality.

“Hence, the scholars and jurists have differed on these two different scenarios. Those who consider the difference in moon sightings [in the different localities] valid, believe that in a country where the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah corresponds with the sighting of the moon for that locality, that will be considered their Day of ‘Arafah, and the people there will observe fasting on that day. Their evidence for this is the following instruction of the Holy Prophetsa:

صُومُوا لِرُؤْيَتِهِ وَأَفْطِرُوا لِرُؤْيَتِهِ، فَإِنْ غُبِّيَ عَلَيْكُمْ فَأَكْمِلُوا عِدَّةَ شَعْبَانَ ثَلَاثِينَ

“‘Fast when you see the crescent [of Ramadan], and break your fast when you see the crescent [of Shawwal], and if the evening is overcast, then complete thirty days of Sha‘ban.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab as-sawm, Bab qawli n-nabiyyisa: idha ra’aytumu l-hilala fasumu wa idha ra’aytumuhu fa’ftiru)

“This hadith provides guidance about observing the lunar month based on the sighting of the moon.

“So now, if Muslims in Europe, America, Australia, Asia, and other regions start their Ramadan fasts and celebrate Eid according to the moon sightings of distant lands without observing the moon in their own localities, would this method be correct? According to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, such an action is contrary to the above-mentioned guidance of the Holy Prophetsa.

“Contrarily, those who do not consider the variation in moon sighting to be obligatory believe that in today’s age, with rapid transport and instant communication, when the news of the pilgrims’ presence in the plains of ‘Arafat reaches worldwide in real-time, the fast of the Day of ‘Arafah should be observed on the same day the pilgrims perform the wuquf at ‘Arafat, and that Eid-ul-Adha should be celebrated the following day.

“However, an objection to this argument is that there are certain countries where the moon is sighted even before it is in Mecca, meaning that when it is the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah in these countries, it is the Day of ‘Arafah in Mecca. If the people in these countries were to fast on the day when the pilgrims are at ‘Arafat, they would essentially be fasting on their day of Eid. It is well known that Islam prohibits fasting on the day of Eid.

“Furthermore, if the variation in celestial timings [such as moon and sunrises] are not considered necessary, then this should apply uniformly to every aspect; for instance, the times for breaking the fast and suhoor should align with the times in Mecca and Medina, and the prayer times should also be set according to the prayer times in Mecca and Medina, which is impossible. Therefore, if the variations in celestial observations are valid for these matters, they should also be considered valid for determining the commencement of Ramadan fasts, the days of ‘Arafah, ‘Ashura’, and Eids.

“In addition to this, our stance is supported by the narration from Hazrat Ibn Abbas, wherein Hazrat Kurayb narrates that Hazrat Umm Fadl bint Harithra sent him to Syria on behalf of Hazrat Muawiyara. He states, ‘Upon reaching Syria and having fulfilled the assigned task, I observed the crescent moon on a Friday night. Later, at the end of the month, when I arrived in Medina, the sighting of the moon was discussed with Hazrat Ibn Abbasra. He enquired, ‘When did you observe the crescent moon?’ I replied, ‘We saw it on the night of Friday.’ He further questioned, ‘Did you personally witness it?’ To which I affirmed, yes, and so did the other people, and they commenced their fasts, as did Hazrat Muawiyara. Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Abbasra responded, ‘But we observed the crescent moon on the night of Saturday and we will either complete thirty days or will witness the crescent again.’ I then raised the point, ‘Is not the sighting of Hazrat Muawiyara and his commencement of fasting sufficient?’ Hazrat Ibn Abbasra stated, ‘No! The Holy Prophetsa instructed us to act in this particular manner.’’ (Sahih Muslim, Kitab as-siyam, Bab anna li kulli baladin ru’yatahum wa annahum idha ra’aw al-hilala bi baladin la yathbutu hukmuhu lima ba‘uda ‘anhum)

“In light of these directives of the Holy Prophetsa our position is that when the crescent moon appears in a particular locality, the people of that locality should determine the commencement and conclusion of the lunar month based on that sighting. They should celebrate Islamic festivals according to the lunar months, which are based on the appearance of the crescent moon in their own locality.”

(Compiled by Zaheer Ahmad Khan, Head of Records Department, Private Secretariat, London. Translated by Al Hakam.)

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