Last Updated on 12th June 2021
Guidance regarding basic Islamic issues that Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa has given at various occasions in his written correspondence and during various MTA programmes is being officially published below for everyone’s benefit
Zaheer Ahmad Khan, Records Department, Private Secretariat, London
Female prisoners of war
Someone wrote to Huzooraa that he had been taken aback by the fact that Islam allowed intimate relationships with and the sale of female prisoners of war. He wrote that it had been very disheartening for him to know this. He also wrote that after the Bai‘at of the Promised Messiahas, he had hoped that Huzooraa would dismiss this notion and cleanse Islam of it, but he had not seen this happen.
Huzooraa, in his letter dated 3 March 2018, gave a very insightful reply to this question. He said:
“The truth is that several misunderstandings regarding this issue arise because this issue has either not been well explained to people or not well understood by them. These misunderstandings have been cleared by the Promised Messiahas in his writings. His Khulafa have also been refuting the misconceptions at appropriate occasions and have been explaining the true teachings.
“Firstly, Islam does not at all permit anyone to capture the women of the enemy and to enslave them just because they are at war against them.
“The teaching of Islam is that no one can be taken prisoner unless a regular war takes place. Allah the Exalted states in the Holy Quran:
مَا کَانَ لِنَبِیٍّ اَنۡ یَّکُوۡنَ لَہٗۤ اَسۡرٰی حَتّٰی یُثۡخِنَ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ تُرِیۡدُوۡنَ عَرَضَ الدُّنۡیَا ٭ۖ وَاللّٰہُ یُرِیۡدُ الۡاٰخِرَۃَ ؕ وَ اللہُ عَزِیۡزٌ حَکِیۡمٌ
‘It does not behove a Prophet that he should have captives until he engages in regular fighting in the land. You desire the goods of the world, while Allah desires for you the Hereafter. And Allah is Mighty, Wise.’ (Surah al-Anfal, Ch.8: V.68)
“Thus, since the condition of a regular war was in place, only those women were taken prisoners who were there to fight on the battlefield. Therefore, they were not just general women, but rather those who came as armed adversaries.
“Moreover, when one looks at the rules of engagement and customs of that time, it becomes clear that in those days, when there was warfare, both sides used to seize each other’s people, be they men, children or women, and they used to enslave them.
“Therefore, in accordance with جَزٰٓؤُا سَیِّئَۃٍ سَیِّئَۃٌ مِّثۡلُہَا [the recompense of an injury is an injury the like thereof], it was not objectionable for Muslims to do so under the rules of engagement, mutually agreed-upon by both the parties. This is especially so when viewed in the context of that era, the circumstances and the region.
“Nonetheless, the Holy Quran has further bound all these rules of war by a core teaching. It says:
فَمَنِ اعۡتَدٰی عَلَیۡکُمۡ فَاعۡتَدُوۡا عَلَیۡہِ بِمِثۡلِ مَا اعۡتَدٰی عَلَیۡکُمۡ
“This means, ‘Whoso transgresses against you, punish him for his transgression to the extent to which he has transgressed against you.’ (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.195)
“It further states:
فَمَنِ اعۡتَدٰی بَعۡدَ ذٰلِکَ فَلَہٗ عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌ
‘Whoso, therefore, will transgress after this shall have a grievous punishment.’ (Surah al-Ma‘idah, Ch.5: V.95)
“This doctrine is distinctly superior to the teachings of all previous religions. If one studies the teachings about warfare in the Bible and the holy books of other religions, one finds in them the teaching to utterly destroy the enemy. Let alone men and women, we find that they even go so far as to command the robbing, burning down and destroying of their children, livestock and homes.
“Even under such conditions, when both the parties lose control over their emotions, are determined to kill each other and are so enraged that even after the killing, the emotions do not subside and the anger is only quenched by mutilating the corpses of the enemy, the Holy Quran gave such teachings which amounted to bridling uncontrollable horses. The Companionsra followed this teaching so beautifully that history is filled with hundreds of enviable examples.
“In those days, the disbelievers used to imprison and severely maltreat Muslim women. Let alone prisoners, they even used to cut off the noses and ears of the fallen Muslims while mutilating them. Who can forget that Hindah chewed on the liver of Hazrat Hamzahra?
“But even on such occasions, Muslims were taught that although they are on the battlefield, they should not raise their swords against any woman or child and they were strictly forbidden from mutilating the enemy’s corpses. So, the sanctity of the enemy’s dead bodies was safeguarded.
“As far as the issue of female slaves is concerned, it should always be kept in mind that in the early stages of Islam, the enemies of Islam would make Muslims a target of various kinds of atrocities. If they got hold of the wife of a poor and oppressed Muslim, they would include her among their wives as a slave.
“Hence, in accordance with the Islamic injunction of جَزٰٓؤُا سَیِّئَۃٍ سَیِّئَۃٌ مِّثۡلُہَا [the recompense of an injury is an injury the like thereof], such women who came along with the assailing army against Islam in order to support them would be taken captives as prisoners of war in accordance with the custom of that era. Then, if such women did not earn their freedom by paying the ransom or through the method of mukatabat [an agreement between a slave and master, where the slave offers to pay his own monetary value in order to be set free, by working the number of hours required to pay the settled amount], it became permissible to have intimate relations with such women after performing nikah.
“However, there was no consent required from that prisoner of war for such a nikah. Moreover, a nikah to such a woman did not affect the permission to marry four [free] women. In other words, a man could perform nikah with such a woman despite being married to four [free] women. However, if the female prisoner of war bore a child, she would become free as a result of being the mother of that child.
“Moreover, the good treatment of female prisoners of war, arranging for their education and training, and freeing them was declared a meritorious deed in Islam. Therefore, Hazrat Abu Musa al-Ash‘arira narrates:
قَالَ النَّبِيُّ أَيُّمَا رَجُلٍ كَانَتْ لَهُ جَارِيَةٌ فَأَدَّبَهَا فَأَحْسَنَ تَأْدِيبَهَا وَأَعْتَقَهَا وَتَزَوَّجَهَا فَلَهُ أَجْرَانِ
“That is, the Holy Prophetsa said:
‘He who has a slave-girl and teaches her excellent manners and then frees and marries her, will get twofold reward.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Itq, Bab alabdi iza ahsana ibadata rabbihi wa nasaha sayyida sayyidahu)
“Ruwaifa Ibn Thabit Ansarira narrates:
سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ يَقُولُ يَوْمَ حُنَيْنٍ قَالَ لَا يَحِلُّ لِامْرِئٍ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ أَنْ يَسْقِيَ مَاءَهُ زَرْعَ غَيْرِهِ۔ يَعْنِي إِتْيَانَ الْحَبَالَى وَلَا يَحِلُّ لِامْرِئٍ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ أَنْ يَقَعَ۔ عَلَى امْرَأَةٍ مِنَ السَّبْيِ حَتَّى يَسْتَبْرِئَهَا وَلَا يَحِلُّ لِامْرِئٍ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ أَنْ يَبِيعَ مَغْنَمًا حَتَّى يُقْسَمَ
‘I heard the Messengersa of Allah say on the occasion of the Battle of Hunain, “It is not lawful for a man who believes in Allah and the Last Day to water what another has sown with his water [meaning intercourse with women who are pregnant]; it is not lawful for a man who believes in Allah and the Last Day to have intercourse with a captive woman till she delivered; and it is not lawful for a man who believes in Allah and the Last Day to sell the spoils of war before it is formally divided.”’ (Sunan Abi Daud, Kitab an-Nikah, Bab fi wat’i s-sabaya)
“Hence, in principle, Islam is definitely not in favour of enslaving people. In the early stages of Islam, temporary permission had to be granted for this under the specific circumstances of that era. However, Islam and the Holy Prophetsa encouraged the manumission of slaves and emphasised that they should be treated with kindness until they themselves earned their freedom or they were set free.
“As soon as these specific conditions ended and the state laws took on a new form, as is the custom now, so did the justification to enslave people. Now, according to Islamic law, there is absolutely no justification for keeping a slave. In fact, the Promised Messiahas declared it as forbidden [haram] under current circumstances.”
Evil eye, prayers of the oppressed and shirk
Huzooraa was asked regarding when it is said that the evil eye of someone has affected us or that any trouble or distress has been caused by the prayers of an oppressed person and whether such thinking is considered shirk.
Huzooraa, in a letter dated 7 March 2018, gave the following reply to this question:
“Being affected by an evil eye or the supplication of the oppressed has nothing to do with shirk because in both cases, the result is effectuated by God Almighty and not the one who casts an evil eye nor the oppressed person. The beholder of the evil eye merely expresses an unintentional desire and a sigh arises from the pain of the oppressed person which God accepts and sets it into action.
“Hence, both matters have nothing to do with shirk, especially since both of these matters are proven by the sayings of the Holy Prophetsa.
“It is narrated in the ahadith that the Holy Prophetsa advised:
اتَّقِ دَعْوَةَ الْمَظْلُومِ، فَإِنَّهَا لَيْسَ بَيْنَهَا وَبَيْنَ اللهِ حِجَابٌ
‘Fear the curse of the oppressed as there is no screen between his invocation and Allah the Exalted.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Mazalimi wal-Ghasb)
“Similarly, it is mentioned:
العَيْنُ حَقٌّ وَنَهَى عَنِ الوَشْمِ
“The Holy Prophetsa said, ‘It is true that one could be affected by an evil eye’, and he forbade the tattooing of the body.’
Purdah of the feet
Someone asked Huzooraa whether it was permissible for Ahmadi Muslim women to exclude their feet from purdah. Huzooraa, in his letter dated 3 May 2018, gave the following reply to this question:
“When the Holy Quran addresses the commandments of purdah, it first commands believing men to lower their gaze. After this, whilst giving commandments of purdah to believing women, they are also firstly commanded to restrain their eyes. Then they are instructed to draw their head-coverings over their bosoms and not to disclose their beauty and to not to strike their feet so that what they usually hide of their ornaments may become known to people.
“One of the meanings of not striking the feet on the ground is that if a piece of jewellery such as an anklet etc. is worn on the feet, its sounds may draw people’s attention and gaze to that lady wearing them which is contrary to the commandments of purdah.
“Similarly, if the feet are adorned with henna or nail polish etc. then such feet can be a form of attraction to men. As a result, the eyes of these men will turn to a woman who is not following these commandments of purdah. However, if the feet are not adorned with any kind of ornaments, then there would not be such attraction to those feet and it would not be a violation of purdah even if such feet were not covered up.
“The ahadith also contain various instructions regarding purdah. In one hadith, the Holy Prophetsa commanded women to cover their whole body except their face and hands. In another narration, the Holy Prophetsa was asked, if a woman did not have a skirt, whether she could pray in a veil and a tunic.
“The Holy Prophetsa approved, provided that the tunic was long enough to cover the back of her feet.
“According to another narration, on the occasion of the Battle of Uhud, Hazrat Aishara and Hazrat Umm-e-Sulaimra used to lift their skirts and fill jugs to give water to the men. The narrator says that in this condition, their anklets were visible.
“Whilst explaining the Quranic verses about purdah, the Promised Messiahas said:
‘In the same way, direct the believing women that they should restrain their eyes from looking at men outside the prohibited degrees and should safeguard their ears against listening to the passionate voices of such men. They should cover up their beauty and should not disclose it to anyone outside the prohibited degrees. They should draw their head-coverings over their bosoms and should thus cover up their heads and ears and temples. They should not strike their feet on the ground like dancers. These are directions which can safeguard against stumbling [Surah al-Nur, Ch.24: V.31-32).’ (The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, p. 28)
“Speaking of Islamic purdah, the Promised Messiahas said:
‘Islamic purdah is to fully cover the hair by wrapping a veil around the head and using a part of the veil to cover the chin and a part of the forehead as well as covering every part of adornment. The veil could, for instance, go around the face like this: (Here a sketch of a person’s facial features is shown. The areas that do not fall under the dictates of purdah are shown to be open while the rest is shown to be covered under purdah.) This kind of purdah could be easily tolerated by English women and this way, there would be no issue with going out on a walk as the eyes are uncovered.’ (The Review of Religions, Vol. 2, no. 1, p. 17, January 1905)
“Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra writes, in his commentary regarding lowering one’s gaze, that the aim of this is to prevent the gazes of men and women from meeting. Other than that, whenever she goes out, every woman’s feet, movements, height, the movement of her hands and many such things remain visible to men. (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 6, p. 298)
“Therefore, the above-mentioned extracts prove that every part of a woman’s body which falls under the category of her adornment and could attract a non-mahram, must be covered under normal circumstances.”
Ways of expressing gratitude to Allah
During a virtual mulaqat of Jamia Ahmadiyya Indonesia students with Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa, on 31 October 2020, a student said to Huzooraa that in 2025, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Indonesia will have been established since 100 years. He asked how they could express gratitude for this to Allah the Exalted. Huzooraa gave the following reply:
“Within the next five years and upon the centenary of the establishment of the Jamaat in Indonesia, you should set a target of converting at least 100,000 people to Ahmadiyyat. You should endeavour to inculcate the habit of offering Salat in congregation within every Ahmadi. You should endeavour to instil the habit of reciting the Holy Quran daily within every Ahmadi. You should endeavour to make every Ahmadi develop and maintain a relationship with Khilafat. You should strive to develop the habit of invoking salutations upon the Holy Prophetsa within every Ahmadi. If you do all of these things, then it will be a great achievement.”
Huzoor’s prayers as a student
In the same mulaqat, held on 31 October 2020, a student asked Huzooraa which supplications he used to offer as a student when he faced difficulties. Huzooraa gave the following answer:
“There is no supplication in particular. I would prostrate before my Lord and would implore Allah the Exalted to solve my problem. Salat and prostration; that is all! Pray for whatever you need in your own language during prostration when praying.
“A prayer which one recites in one’s own language naturally invokes passion and heartfelt emotions within the person. In terms of other prayers, you should also recite Durood Sharif, istighfar and ‘la haul’. One should seek forgiveness for one’s sins whilst reciting istighfar, but the best method of praying is to weep and pray before Allah the Exalted in the prostration of your voluntary, sunnah and obligatory prayers. And prayers which are offered in one’s own language produce heartfelt emotions, which then solve one’s issues.”
(Translated by Aqeel Ahmad Kang, London)