Saturday, April 16, 2016

Q&A: The American-Russian Accord and the Purpose of the Nuclear Summit

Question:
It is known that the Russian air intervention in Syria occurred through the agreement of America in a dirty deal where Russia would undertake that which serves the American interests in Syria, in exchange for America turning a blind eye to the Russian occupation of Crimea, in addition to what is taking place in Eastern Ukraine… It was possible to understand from that, that there is a policy of agreement or accord between Russia and America. However, what has happened recently in respect to excluding Russia from the Nuclear Summit which Obama is coordinating in addition to the war confrontations that have taken place between Azerbaijan which is backed by America and Armenia which is backed by Russia, all of that makes this accord unstable… And the question is: What is the explanation for this?
Another question: How did this nuclear summit arise? And what is its purpose? And will it really lead to nuclear disarmament? Jazaak Allahu Khairan.

Answer:
Firstly: The unstable American-Russian accord:
1 – Putin was a former director of the KGB in the former Soviet Union and yearns for a prominent international role like the Soviet Union had previously had with America. For that reason, he agreed to undertake the criminal aggressor role in Syria for America’s interests by consolidating the rule of Bashar until America finds a replacement, after he was close to falling and America feared that the vacuum would be filled by a sincere Islamic force… Putin had believed that through serving America in Syria that the problems of the southern Russian border in Ukraine and around Ukraine would be calmed. However, Syria is one matter whilst Ukraine is another altogether! That is because Russia’s slipping into a war with the Muslims will make Russia taste, by the help of Allah, woe upon woe which would accompany the problems of Ukraine and what is related to it and would be like a drop in the ocean in comparison to the anger of the Muslims, and indeed tomorrow is near. This is from one angle…
From another angle, Putin had thought that America would reward him by raising the international role of Russia and make it prominent in respect to the international issues! This represents a political futility and that is because countries that are established upon the capitalist ideology do not hold any value other than that of benefit and exploiting others. For that reason, the most powerful capitalist states expend their efforts to gain dominance over the weaker capitalist states… America, Europe and Russia follow the capitalist ideology and the situation is not like it had been previously when the West followed the capitalist ideology and the Soviet Union followed the communist socialist ideology. This was when each of these two ideologies had values that clashed with one another and it was possible for them to compete with one another in respect to gaining dominance and influence where rivalry was expected… As for the major states that adopt capitalism, then the dominance amongst them remains belonging to the powerful state whilst its agreements made with other states, which adopt the same ideology, are only made to serve its interests whilst they are not rivals to it. America therefore does not accept for Europe to be a rival to it or for Russia to be a rival to it until these states reach a level of power that will enable them to struggle with it for influence so as to be a revival to it. That is because the capitalist ideology is based upon benefit whilst the most powerful gains the greatest share.
2 – In this way Putin’s assumption that by serving the interest of America in Syria that America would then calm down Russia’s regional and international problems, was wrong. That has become apparently clear in two matters mentioned within the question and they are: the nuclear summit and the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia:
A – As for the nuclear summit, America had undertaken the preparations for the summit and its preparation in terms of its programme and working schedule in which Russia was disregarded in respect to all of that whilst it is the second ranked nuclear state in the world… The summit continued from 31/03/2016 until 01/04/2016 and within it, the US attempted to consolidate that it is the major and super power in addition to the historic leader that leads all of the world’s countries where it undertakes what it deems fit in any place and at any time. This is to the extent that it did not show any concern for Russia in the case where it did not involve it in respect to the preparation of the summit despite its consideration as being the second nuclear state or power: The Kremlin confirmed that the preparation for the summit lacked coordination with Russia just as the study of the issues related to nuclear security demand joint efforts and to take into consideration the interests and positions of other parties. This is what Kremlin spokesman Dimitri Biskov said. However, he made clear in a direct manner that Moscow had faced during the preparation for the convening of the summit a lack of cooperation in relation to studying the issues and subject areas that fell within the working schedule… accompanied by a provocative media campaign undertaken by the US side. (Russia Today 31/03/2016).
It is apparent from the behaviour of Washington during the invitation to the summit and during it what can be described as degrading Russia to the extent of insult which led to Putin not attending. Even though the reason was America’s disregard for Russia in respect to the preparation and proceedings of the conference, America’s response to Putin’s non-attendance was nevertheless even more cold and degrading just like the situation had been during the cold war. The White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said: “Russia’s decision to certainly not participate at a high level we believe is a missed opportunity for Russia above all … Frankly, all they’re doing is isolating themselves in not participating as they have in the past,” (Al-Badeel site and Reuters 31/03/2016). Indeed, Obama even lowered the value of Russia and placed it in the same bracket as North Korea when he said at the conclusion of the summit: “There is still a great deal of work required to get rid of Russia’s and North Korea’s nuclear arsenal whilst adding “Our work has not yet come to an end as there are many nuclear materials that need to be secured on a world level”” (Al-Jazeera Net 02/04/2016). The extent of America’s degradation to Russia in respect to the subject of the nuclear summit is therefore clear!
B – As for the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia… The battles broke out in a semi-surprising manner across the ceasefire line between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the mountainous region of Karbakh on the night of 02/04/2016… The political and military leaders were summoned to Baku for urgent meetings just as Armenia did in the case where its President Sargsyan stated: “Since the restoration of the truce in 1994, it’s the most large-scale warfare, which Azerbaijan has tried to carry out”. (Al-Jazeera Net 03/04/2016). It is possible to conclude that the Russian influence was stable to an extent within Armenia which hosts one of Russia’s largest military bases comprising of 102 regiments of the Russian army and where approximately 5000 Russian soldiers are stationed. Russia also provides the poor Armenian state grants and loans through resources and it has extended military support to it throughout the time of the dispute with Azerbaijan in the mountainous Karbakh region, before and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Russia was the mediator that enforced the ceasefire in 1994 between the two sides. It was to the favour of Armenia in the case where it and its followers in the Karbakh region had completely gained control over the Azeri province whilst it occupied 9% of other Azerbaijani land in the west and south of the province, and indeed even in its east. For that reason, Russia was concerned to stop this recent war… As for the role of America in this war which has erupted… then this was behind a curtain or indeed without a curtain. Egypt Today news site published on 31/01/2016 that: The President of Azerbaijan had requested on 30/03/2016 in Washington before the US Secretary of State Kerry that Armenia withdraw “immediately” from Nagorani Qurrah Bakh, the province that the two lands have entered into a dispute around it and which America has attempted to resolve for a number of years. Kerry received the Azerbaijani President on the side lines of the international summit about nuclear security which President Barack Obama had organised on the Thursday and Friday. Aliyev said to the press in front of Kerry “We are grateful to the government of the United States for its far-reaching efforts to bring about a way of resolving the protracted dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan” and he added “The dispute must be solved upon the basis of the security council resolution that calls for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian forces from our territories”. As for Kerry, then he called from his perspective to “A final solution to the frozen dispute in Nagorani Qurrah Bakh and which must be a negotiated solution””.
In the case where Azerbaijan, its oil and pipelines to the Black Sea and Turkey greatly attracted the attention of America since its independence in 1991 due to what is contains in respect to the importance of the Russian-American struggle, then the statements of the Azerbaijani president three days prior to the breakout of fighting, from Washington and in the company of the Secretary of State Kerry, all indicates in a manner that leaves no room for doubt that it is the US that has ignited the war in the Russian Caucasus backyard. This represents a threat to the Russian interests in Armenia and the Caucasus as this region is extremely sensitive to Russia… So by America making this war erupt it is directing blows of pressure in the side of Russia’s stomach…
The conclusion is that it was political futility for Putin to have thought that through his criminal and dirty deal with America regarding Syria, that he would have attained an American step to calm his regional and international problems. Rather, the limitations of the agreement will remain restricted to Syria due to Russia’s service to the American interests whilst it will not necessarily expand beyond that to other international issues. This explains the tension in the American-Russian relations in respect to the nuclear summit and the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia in spite of the calm in relations regarding Syria.

Secondly: The nuclear summits and their purpose:
1 – Throughout the Cold War, nuclear weapons played a fundamental role in the competition between the great powers and in respect to settling the security of the states. The security equation resulting from the imbalance of conventional weapons between and amongst the countries encouraged the acquisition of more conventional and nuclear weapons in an attempt to regain self-sufficiency. The US was the first nation to produce a nuclear bomb and this is what provided it with a distinctive advantage over Russia as Russia was threatened by the nuclear weapons until it possessed them and through that it was able to restore the military balance with America… Likewise, France and Britain which both felt the threat and fear from the nuclear arsenals that Russia had gained possession of and so they strove to restore some of the self-sufficiency with Russia. China which also felt weakness in the face of Russia strove and then achieved the possession of nuclear bombs. The same feelings of weakness pushed India to purchase nuclear weapons to confront the Chinese aggression and they were then followed by Pakistan in an attempt to militarily surpass India. As for the states that did not covet to have nuclear activity, then they made alliances, either with America or with the Soviet Union in order to protect themselves from the nuclear weapons. This protection came in the form of nuclear umbrellas. So for example America used to provide Europe and a number of countries in the region of the Asian Pacific Ocean a nuclear umbrella to protect them from the Soviet Union.
2 – In the period following the Cold War, nuclear deterrence paved the way for a movement for nuclear weapon disarmament. Many felt that the collapse of the Soviet Union had changed the international security environment and forever, and that the nuclear peace that was imposed as a lie after Hiroshima and Nagasaki no longer remains standing. Globalisation, climate change, the appearance of non-state organisations and entities and the appearance of ethnic tensions in the open space left in the wake of the Soviet Union, all of that meant nuclear weapons were not disposed of, that used to be in the hands of the Soviet Union previously, in a sound manner, then it would be possible for them to fall into the wrong hands and as a result cause overwhelming harm… To confront this situation, the states which had newly acquired nuclear weapons like Ukraine and Kazakhstan quickly gave them up in exchange for regional guarantees.
3 – The new security environment has pushed two main concepts to the forefront and these are the disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. In the case where America represents the only super power in the world, then the people in all parts of the world look to it and hopes that it will take hold of the reins of the initiative within the area of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Despite that, the governments of both Clinton and Bush did very little specifically related to that. In January 2007, previous American officials including Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, Bill Perry and Sam Nun (known as the ‘Gang of Four’ for nuclear deterrence) proposed that the United States devotes itself to getting rid of nuclear weapons… Despite that nuclear disarmament was not placed at the heart of the nuclear agenda schedule until Obama took over the presidency… So in 2009 Obama said when speaking from Prague in front of a crowd of 20,000 people that: (The United States is morally responsible for the work to rid the world of nuclear weapons. And he said: “The presence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous inheritance left over from the cold war. Today the cold war has gone away however thousands of these weapons have not yet disappeared”) (BBC 05/04/2009) … After that four summits were held:
* The first nuclear summit 12-13/04/2010 in Washington…
* The second nuclear summit 26-27/03/2012 in Seoul, South Korea…
* The third nuclear summit 24-25/03/2014 in The Hague, Holland…
* The fourth nuclear summit 31/3 – 01/04/2016 in Washington…
4 – The purpose of the American policy in respect to what has been called nuclear disarmament, in accordance to its plan, is not the actual disarmament of the nuclear weapon from all of the states but rather it aims to disarm the other states whilst it alone keeps and holds on to the nuclear weapon. If it is unable to do that then the most that it is able to do in accordance to its plans is to reduce the nuclear weaponry stockpile of the nuclear states by a specific proportion whilst it dictates that proportion. Because its stockpile of nuclear weapons is the highest then by specifying a proportion to be applies upon the nuclear states, the stockpile of other states will decrease making what they possess ineffective when compared to America’s stockpile. For that reason, the final or concluding statements of these four nuclear conferences are loose and do not contain within them any textual reference that indicates to an actual or real nuclear disarmament in the world. This appears clearly within the concluding statements and if we were to take the concluding statement of the fourth summit, which is the most prominent of the summits, we will find that is does not go beyond presenting general texts that are non-binding and which lack seriousness in respect to nuclear weapon disarmament. In the final statement the following was mentioned (The states participating in the fourth Nuclear Security Summit in Washington reiterated their commitment towards nuclear disarmament and to put a limit to its proliferation whilst affirming the peaceful use of nuclear power… And the summit warned in its concluding statement that “The threat of nuclear and radioactive terrorism still remains one of the greatest challenges that international security confronts and that the threat is continuously evolving” … The world leaders reiterated their commitment to prevent nuclear weapons reaching the hands of extremists however they warned that the threat is “continuously evolving” … And the leaders said in the joint statement within the nuclear security summit that Washington hosted: “There is still more work designated to be undertaken to prevent active non-governmental elements from obtaining nuclear or other radioactive materials which can be used for dirty purposes” …  And the leaders added in their statement “We reiterate once again our commitment to our shared goals for nuclear disarmament and non-nuclear proliferation in addition to the peaceful use for nuclear energy.” And they followed with “We are committed to strengthening a peaceful and stable international environment through limiting the danger of nuclear terrorism and strengthening nuclear security” … And the fourth nuclear security summit that kicked off yesterday on Thursday and that was to examine the ways of strengthening the security measures for nuclear materials and preventing their falling into the hands of terrorists, and that was through the participation of the leaders of 50 states and organisations) (Today News site OAS Washington 02/04/2016)
Through pondering over this statement, it cannot be seen within it any practical text for international disarmament. Indeed, it didn’t even mention anything about the Jewish state being in possession of a stockpile of nuclear weapons within a region that is free of nuclear weapon. That is whilst they continue to say that the realisation of real nuclear security begins from the serious work to create regions free of weapons of mass destruction! And so it can be seen in this way that the intent behind these summits is not the actual disarmament of nuclear and radioactive weapons from the world. Rather its purpose is America nuclear control in international affairs… Obama confirmed that in his statements about the conference in respect to America wanting to seize control over nuclear weapons and control them: “The American president Barack Obama: “There is still a large amount of nuclear and radioactive materials in all parts of the world which are in need of being secured. The global stockpile of plutonium is continuously increasing whilst the nuclear stockpiles are expanding in some lands. And there could be small tactical nuclear weapons that are compromised to be stolen”. And Obama made clear that his country will undertake its role to protect the nuclear materials until other countries improve their security measures and transparency.” (Euronews News 02/04/2016). “And the American President Barack Obama in a press conference after the end of the summit on Saturday said that there is a large quantity of nuclear materials around the world that require to be secured alongside a global growth of plutonium stores… And Obama considered that there still remains a lot of work that needs to be done to reduce the nuclear stockpiles of Russia and North Korea, saying that South America has become free of nuclear materials and that 14 countries, including Taiwan, Libya and Vietnam, that have gotten rid of enriched uranium and plutonium. (Al-Jazeera 02/04/2016).
Therefore, in this way America wants from these summits to seize nuclear weaponry so that it can be in dominant control over it. Whereas regarding convened conferences, it makes them under its disposal and so it invites whom it wishes and excludes whom it wishes, and it provokes or insults whom it wishes whilst regarding itself as being the master of the world. And that is for no other reason than it doesn’t find a state of any significance to stand up to it!
Moreover, the situation of America in respect to the states that bow and surrender to it will remain as such until the dawn of the Khilafah. And at that time the power and force of Islam will come at them from where they have not anticipated whilst those who have acted criminally will be turned upon their heels and will never attain goodness.
سَيُصِيبُ الَّذِينَ أَجْرَمُوا صَغَارٌ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ وَعَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ بِمَا كَانُوا يَمْكُرُونَ
“There will afflict those who committed crimes debasement before Allah and severe punishment for what they used to conspire”
(Al-An’aam 124)

2nd Rajab 1437 AH
Corresponding to 09/04/2016 CE

The Quest for Tranquillity in Marital Life

When the wedding celebrations are over and husband and wife settle down in their new lives many find it is not what they hoped for or expected. As the euphoria and novelty runs out and gives way to routine and normality, the marriage relationship becomes strained as both spouses struggle to get through life. Constant arguments, bickering and unhappiness pervades the atmosphere with little or no hope of a resolution. This problem in the marital life is so widely felt that we would scarcely find a person who does not know of a close family member or relative who is not in this predicament.

Whilst it is inevitable that not every marriage will succeed or be without its fair share of problems, the marital discord and misery we see today cannot simply be attributed to the incompatibility which can sometimes occur between two people. Rather a deeper study into the widespread problems and misery we witness will reveal that it is due to a lack of the correct criteria and thoughts - this is the cause of disharmony and the lack of tranquillity between spouses. 

If one were to dissect the criteria and thoughts being used by Muslims living in the UK and generally in the West one would find that generally speaking they are caught between two reference points. Do they follow the customs and traditions of their elders in marriage and marital affairs or do they embrace western values? The older generation has by and large stuck to tradition; but the younger generation growing up in the UK is increasingly rejecting tradition in favour of a more western lifestyle. 

As a result we find a whole range of different, and at times contradictory, criteria being used to regulate married life. On one side of the spectrum we have the traditional culture imported from ‘back home’ whether that is from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Africa or the Middle East. Here we see the prevalence of the criteria of ‘sharam’ and ‘izza’ (shame and dignity). These have their roots in Islam but over time they have lost their Islamic character and have become subject to people’s whims and desires. This is why we see the inconsistent and oppressive nature of their application. For instance, zina is and should be viewed as a loathsome kabeerah (great) sin; however we often see that if a man commits it then it can be forgiven and quietly ignored as just something that young men do. However if a woman was found guilty of committing this then she would be ostracised and rejected because she has brought dishonour and scandal to the family. Therefore the true understanding of the sin of zina has been lost in the blur and haze of tradition and a contradictory application is being used.

A similar contradiction from traditional values is the view that a young girl mixing with foreign (ajnabi) men is unacceptable. But on the other hand no shame is felt when the same girl is forced to marry a man without her consent and approval or even sometimes against her will. 

On the other hand we have what can only be described as ‘half-way’ marriages where the concepts and criteria are a jumble of traditional and western values but adopted according to the capitalist criteria of benefit and individual freedom. For example, in such marriages it is not acceptable that the wife would flirt with other men but it is acceptable for her to mix with men, being uncovered and showing her beauty. We also find men carrying the western concept of ‘not settling down when young’ and delaying their marriage until they’ve ‘had a good time’. And once in their late twenties or early thirties they will do their social and religious duty in an almost ritual trip to Pakistan or Bangladesh to get married. Also we now see the western style of courtship which means finding out if one is compatible or not by dating or ‘getting to know each other’. Hence, the ubiquitous demand of ‘friendship leading to marriage’ often found in the marriage sections of Asian newspapers and magazines. 

Western Marriages; out of the frying pan and into the fire

The West offers individual freedom as the progressive basis of life, and for many Muslims in the West this has become the preferred basis for marriage over tradition. By individual freedom what’s meant is that an individual is completely free in how he or she lives his or her life. So for example it would be perfectly acceptable on this basis for a man and a woman to cohabit together without a contract of marriage just as it is acceptable for two gay men to get married. Muslims should be aware of the dangers that come with adopting freedom as a criterion and should not allow themselves to be duped into thinking freedom and benefit can ever lead to a superior life. Rather, turning to freedom by rejecting tradition is like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. How can the West claim to offer the alternative when its criteria of individual freedom and benefit which by establishing sensual gratification as the paramount concern has led to the misery of millions of people? If we take a quick look at the West’s record we find that in their societies the top five problems in the social and marital life are:
  • Mistrust and Adultery - 70% of American wives commit adultery within 5 years of marriage. 
  • Divorce - one in three end up in divorce. 
  • Rape - 167 women are raped every day in the UK. 
  • Wife battery - a battery incident occurs every 18 seconds in the America. 
  • Child molestation and paedophilia - in Britain a quarter of a million people are known paedophiles!. 


These are the fruits of freedom and these should not be considered surprising but in fact are an inevitable occurrence since a solution proposed by man’s limited mind will never be able to address the intricacies of human life and its requirements. Therefore, we need to refer to the Creator (subhanahu wa ta’aala), Who is All-Aware of His (subhanahu wa ta’aala) creation and how it is that humanity should regulate their lives.


Should not He Who has created know? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous (to His slaves) All-Aware (of everything). [TMQ Mulk:14]

Rejecting Tradition on the Correct Basis

As for taking tradition as our criteria this can never be accepted, as our only criteria is the Revelation of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’aala) and this excludes what our forefathers followed unless it was from what Allah (subhanahu wa ta’aala) and His Messenger (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) brought. In the following ayah, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’aala) tells us the basis of acceptance or rejection of tradition:


And when it is said to them: "Come to what Allah has revealed and unto the Messenger (Muhammad [SalAllahu alaihi wasallam])." They say: "Enough for us is that which we found our fathers following," even though their fathers had no knowledge whatsoever and no guidance!’ [TMQ Al-Maidah:104]

The reason it is wrong to follow the forefathers is that they did not follow the Revelation and nor were they guided by Allah’s (subhanahu wa ta’aala) Guidance. So when we reject those areas of tradition, which contradict Islam we should not reject them because they contradict the capitalist concepts of individual freedom and benefit but because they go against what Allah (subhanahu wa ta’aala) has revealed. In other words, just as it is wrong to accept Western love marriages on the basis of freedom and benefit it is equally wrong to reject forced marriages on the basis of the individual freedom and benefit. The reason both should be rejected is that they are contrary to Allah’s (subhanahu wa ta’aala) Revelation and not because they affirm or violate freedom and benefit. Thus, the only criteria a Muslim can follow is the criteria of Halal and Haram and nothing else. 

Marriage: what’s it all about?


The current generation either view marriage as a burden, or a custom and a social duty. They do not understand it is a solution that organises the male-female relationship so as to bring about mutual tranquillity. In fact many are turning to western values because they find the oppressive elements of tradition unpalatable without realising that Islam has a unique solution that befits man’s nature. In Islam marriage is about companionship (suhbah) and not the regimental and strict regime that exists in traditional marriage or the tenuous ‘partnership’ for sex that we find in the West, which is easily dispensed with when the partners get tired or bored. 

Allah ‘Azza Wa Jall informs us of the Hikmah of marriage;


And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them (li-taskunoo ilayha), and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect. [TMQ Ar-Rum: 21]

In this ayah, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’aala) makes the wife the source of Sakeenah i.e. repose and tranquillity as we can see from the usage of the verb sakana. It is from this same word that we derive the term sakan (dwelling) where people find repose, ease and security when they go home from the toil and tension of outside life. Similarly, married life is a source of tranquillity from the strains and stresses of life and not the other way round.

The concept of rights & responsibilities

The West cite empty slogans of friendship and equality as the basis of marital life but the truth is that what exists is a clash between spouses because there are no defined roles due to the belief in individual freedom. Islam on the other hand did not just talk about companionship but has shown how to realise it by clarifying the rights and responsibilities that spouses have over each other such that they complement each other and bring about mutual fulfilment: 

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’aala) says;


"And they (women) have rights (over their husbands) similar (to those of their husbands) over them, in reasonable terms." [TMQ Al- Baqarah: 228]

Ibn ‘Abbas used to say, “Indeed I spruce myself up for my wife and she adorns herself for me, and I love that I should redeem all the rights I have over my wife, so that she should redeem all the rights she has over me.” [Reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah in his Musannaf]

Islam clearly outlined the role and the rights of both partners in the marriage. The man is the head of the household and therefore he has the final say in matters. He is responsible for providing the maintenance and residence for his family. The wife’s responsibility is to obey the husband in matters relating to the marital life, tend to the housework and not go out without the permission of her husband. 

These rights and responsibilities are not unknown but the key concept we need to understand is how these rights and responsibilities are discharged. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’aala) informs us:


"And live with them honourably". [TMQ An-Nisa: 19]

He (subhanahu wa ta’aala) has commanded spouses to spend their life together (mu’aasharah) in an honourable and fitting manner (bil-ma’roof). What this means is that they live in an atmosphere of care and benevolence. That is why the Messenger (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) said;

«إن من أكمل المؤمنين إيمانا أحسنهم خلقاً وألطفهم بأهله
“Indeed, the one most complete in Iman (belief) and best in morals is the one who is the kindest to his wives.” [Reported by Ibn Hibban]

In other words, the rights and responsibilities should be discharged in an atmosphere of companionship. To give us an example of what companionship (suhbah) means on a day to day level let us take a glimpse at the life of Muhammad (salAllahu alaihi wasallam), as he says in his own words:

“The best amongst you is the one who is best to his wives and I am best to my wives” [Reported by Ibn Hibban]

Meaning of Companionship (as-Suhbah) 

RasoolAllah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) taught us that the husband should be reasonable in exacting the rights. For example, the wife is obliged to seek permission before she goes out but this does not mean the husband should prevent her when there is no reason for doing so. Regarding women going to the mosques it has been narrated by Salim bin 'Abdullah from his father that the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) said:

“If the wife of any one of you asks permission (to go to the mosque) do not forbid her.” [Reported by Muslim]

Companionship means the husband deals with his wife in a kind and tolerant manner and not in a domineering way. He should not see it as undermining his honour and dignity if his wife disagreed or got angry about something. 'Aaisha (ra) narrated that Allah's Messenger (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) said; 

“‘I know whether you are angry or pleased.’ I said, ‘How do you know that Oh Messenger of Allah?’ He (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) said, ‘When you are pleased, you say, 'Yes, by the Lord of Muhammad,' but when you are angry, you say, 'No, by the Lord of Abraham!' I said, ‘Yes, I do not leave, except your name.’" [Reported by Muslim]

In addition, it has been narrated that the Prophet of Allah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) came into Aaisha’s (ra) room and put his hand on Aaisha’s (ra) knee and whispered something in her ear. She placed her hand over his hand trying to push him away. Umm Mubashhar who was with her at the time said; “How could you do this to Allah’s Messenger?” The Messenger (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) laughed and said; “Leave her; she does this and much worse!” [Reported by al-Bukhari in at-Tarikh]

Companionship means that husbands and wives should help each other in their responsibilities. Just because the wife is responsible for doing the housework does not mean the husband should not help out. Aaisha (ra) describes the behaviour of RasoolAllah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) when he was in the house - she says; 

“RasoolAllah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) used to be in the service (mihnah i.e. khidmah) of his family; and when it was time for prayer, he would go out to pray.” [Reported by al-Bukhari] 

Despite being the ruler of Madinah, at home he led a very humble life. Aaisha said; 

“He acted like other men; he would mend his clothes, milk his goat and serve himself.” [Reported by al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad]. 

Furthermore, RasoolAllah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) never lost his temper, even if there was too much salt in the food. Abu Hurairah narrated that; 

‘RasoolAllah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) never criticised the food, if he liked it he ate it and if not he left it’ [Reported by Muslim] 

Companionship also means overlooking mistakes or defects that one may not like in ones wife or vice versa. RasoolAllah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) said: 

“Let not a believing man hate a believing woman. If he dislikes a character in her, he would be pleased with her other characters.” [Reported by Muslim] 

Therefore, the husband should not pick on every little thing and continuously find faults. Rather he should be prepared to forget them by remembering the good qualities his wife has.

Companionship means closeness and intimacy and not an estranged relationship where the spouses rarely talk to each other unless something needs to be done. If one reflects on the nature of married life one can appreciate its importance. So for example, during the day a wife would naturally build up and accumulate many issues that she wants to discuss with her husband. So when the husband comes home she wants, for want of a better word, to ‘download’ all the stresses and difficulties and share them with him. But if the husband comes home and turns on the TV and ignores her then this can be very frustrating for her. That is why if we look to RasoolAllah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) we see that it was his practise after Isha to spend a part of the evening chatting (samr) with his wives. RasoolAllah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) also used to joke with his wives. He (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) said:

“Everything in which there is no dhikr (remembrance) of Allah is nonsense, negligence and futile except four things: that a man should joke with his wife…” [Reported by an-Nasa`i]. 

So here RasoolAllah did not consider joking with his wives a useless activity.

Companionship means romance, fondness and affection. Listen to Aaisha (ra), the mother of the believers, when she said: 

“I would drink when I was menstruating, then I would hand it (the vessel) to the Messenger (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) and he would put his mouth where mine had been, and drink, and I would eat flesh from a bone when I was menstruating, then hand it over to the Apostle (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) and he would put his mouth where mine had been.” [Reported by Muslim in Kitab al-Hayd] 

As for his wives they also felt about him in the same way. Ahmad narrated in his Musnad on the authority of Kareemah bin Hummaam that she said to Aaisha: O mother of the believers! What do you say regarding the use of Henna? She replied; 

“My beloved (habeebi i.e. referring to RasoolAllah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam)) used to like it!”

Chatting with Aaisha (ra)…

As mentioned previously, the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) used to chat in the evening with his wives. One such evening he told Aaisha (ra) the following beautiful story of eleven women who met in the days of ignorance (jahilliyah) and promised to tell each other the truth about their husbands. The types of husbands described in this story can give us wonderful examples as to the type of qualities a husband should seek or avoid. The first five have reprehensible qualities whilst the rest all have laudable qualities.

Wife number one begins by saying; “My husband is like a bony camel’s meat at the top of a rough mountain. Neither is it easy to reach, nor meaty to desire acquiring.” What she means here is that he husband is unapproachable and not welcoming. When she tries to speak to him he does not listen as if she is not there and when she does manage to get heard he has nothing good to say to her. So the wife feels there’s no point, since the effort is not worth it! Hence, he is described like the useless ‘bony camel’s meat at the top of a rough mountain’ which is frankly not worth the trouble. 

Wife number two’s husband is so full of defects that she doesn’t know where to start, so in fact she doesn’t! She said; “If I start I fear I will not be able to stop.” Some scholars commented on this by saying the second wife violated her agreement because she had promised to recount all the defects and she did not do that. Anyway, perhaps she felt it was a pointless and time-consuming exercise as the defects were innumerable.

Wife number three says the following about her husband; “If I utter a word, I shall surely be divorced. And if I remain silent, I will be suspended.” In other words we are dealing with a husband who is trigger happy with the divorce button. She lives in a state of constant fear that for smallest thing she may be divorced. That is why in another narration she said; “I am always in such a state as if I am under a sharp sword. I do not know when my affair will come to an end.” She finds herself in an impossible situation. She can’t speak otherwise she fears being divorced but on the other hand if she remains silent she faces the prospect of living in a state where she is neither married nor divorced i.e. in limbo or ‘suspended’ as she puts it. Her husband never complements her, brings her gifts or other such token gesture. Rather he thinks just by giving her food and clothing he has done his duty!

Wife number four describes a husband who is selfish and only thinks about himself. She says; “As for my husband, when he eats he devours everything; when he drinks, he does not leave anything. When he sleeps, he sleeps in his own sheet. He does not even touch me, so that he can know the disturbance in my mind.” So when the food is laid he doesn’t ask his wife to join him and at night he sleeps alone not caring about what she is thinking or feeling. 

Wife number five starts by saying; “My husband is extremely helpless and stupid.” And you can see why she describes him this way as she continues, “He would either cut your head, break one of your limbs, or do both to you”. In other words he is a man who severely beats his wife, something which is deplored in Islam unless it was light and for the purpose of discipline when the wife refuses to discharge her marital responsibilities. 

Now we come to the next set of husbands who all have good qualities which every husband should aspire to have.

Wife number six extols the praises of her husband with words that are almost poetic! She says; “My husband is like the night of Tihamah (Makkah and its surroundings) – neither hot nor cold. In his company there is neither fear nor boredom” i.e. here is a husband who is approachable and fun to be with unlike the first husband mentioned above. His company is never boring and she feels completely at ease in his presence.

Wife number seven describes a husband who is confident and strong outside in public but gentle at home – not like those husbands who are gentle outside but feared at home. She says; “My husband, when he enters he acts like a (sleepy) leopard; and when he leaves he acts like a lion.”

Wife number eight has a funny way of describing her husband; “As for my husband, his touch is like that of a rabbit” i.e. she means he is gentle and kind!

Wife number nine and ten both have husbands whose qualities are similar and hence I have grouped them together, i.e. they are generous hosts. Wife number ten says of her husband, “He owns camels that are numerous in their sitting places, and few in the grazing areas. When they hear the sound of the lute, they become certain of their death”. I.e. her husband keeps camels near the house and when they hear the lute playing they know they will be slaughtered. 

Now we come to wife number eleven, the last of the wives, who is named in the hadith as Umm Zara’. She describes her husband, Abu Zara’, in the following way; “My husband was Abu Zara’ – and what would you know about Abu Zara’! He made my ears heavy with jewellery, filled my upper arms with flesh (fed me well after my previous state of hunger), and honoured me until my soul was gratified. He took me from among a people with very few sheep and tight living, and placed me among a people who had horses, camels, cows. In his house, I spoke without being rebuffed, slept until late-morning and drank my fill.’ As we can see, Abu Zara’ was a generous man who treated Umm Zara’ immeasurably well and clearly he was the best out of the eleven husbands. 

But there is a sad twist to this story. After many years of happy marriage Abu Zara’ divorces Umm Zara’ in favour of a younger woman. But even though Umm Zara’ remarries and is treated well by her second husband, she still laments the loss of Abu Zara’. It is at this point that RasoolAllah turns to Aaisha (ra) saying:

“O Aaisha! I am to you like Abu Zara’ was to Umm Zara’ – except that Abu Zara’ divorced (her), and I will not divorce you.” Here, RasoolAllah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) reminds Aaisha of his favours to her which is better than even Abu Zara’ whose divorced wife still felt his loss. Aaisha knew this very well and so it is no surprise that she responded, “O Allah’s Messenger! You are better to me than Abu Zara’ was to Umm Zara’”. [Reported Bukhari, Muslim, an-Nasa`i, at-Tabarani and at-Tirmidhi in his Shama`il with variant wording]

Conclusion

Although this article only focuses on the marital life between spouses there are a whole host of other problems Muslims in Britain and the West face in their social life such as issues of courtship, marriage, divorce, custody, in-law relationships, maintenance and more besides. Increasingly Muslims are being pushed to resolving these problems by adopting western liberal values. Therefore, we need to be alert to the destructive influence of western concepts and criteria in our lives and begin to study the Islamic solutions on the basis of the Islamic criteria.

Finally, marital life is not just about tranquillity in this life. Our fate in the Akhira also depends on us following Allah’s (subhanahu wa ta’aala) commands and prohibitions regarding this issue. Therefore we must seek to ensure we comply with the rules of Islam in order to achieve tranquillity and satisfaction in this life and in the Akhira to save ourselves from the Hellfire and attain everlasting tranquillity in Paradise.

Kamal Abu Zahra

Source: Khilafah Magazine

Monday, April 11, 2016

Da’wah, Activism & Jail: Living the Concept of ‘Rizq’


We share a thought-provoking article by a brother from a recent visit he made to Bangladesh. There he met brothers who are engaged in the activism and da’wah for the Khilafah and who have been in and out of jail numerous time for being involved in this work. His thoughts are reflective and sure to make everyone think. May Allah (swt) give us a true understanding of the important concept of rizq.


Al Hamdulillah, in my recent trip to Bangladesh, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a brother I’ve known for a long time. He is much younger than me, but a lot more mature and stronger when it comes to dealing with the trials of life.
He is a political activist and calls for pretty much what I call for – a unified Ummah living Islam as a comprehensive way of life. The only difference is that the consequences he has had to face for his political views are far worse than what I can ever even imagine.
He has been imprisoned a number of times, which has seriously hampered his studies and personal life. And if you were familiar with what imprisonment means in the Muslim world, you’d know that torture and terribly squalid living conditions are essential to the prison experience.
Why was he in prison? He’s a very nice person from a very good family background. He does not advocate violence. But the unfortunate reality in most Muslim countries is that any form of political dissent meets with heavy-handedness from the state machinery.
When I met him last time we spoke for hours, about many things. But it was just before he left my place that he taught me a lesson in Rizq that I don’t think I had grasped even after reading many articles, and even after delivering khutbahs on this topic.
As Muslims, we all believe that our Rizq (sustenance/provision) is from Allah. Having a firm belief in this should free us of worldly concerns about how we are going to afford a living if things go wrong, such as, loosing one’s job, or suffering a loss in one’s business etc. Moreover, this belief should help us not compromise fulfilling the obligations that Allah has placed upon us, fearing that fulfilling our Islamic obligations is going to jeopardise our livelihood.
However, it’s one thing to know it. And it’s quite another to live it.
As the brother was about to leave my place and we were waiting for the lift, he told me a story. He said he had to change schools when he was in grade five or six because his family had to relocate. That detached him from his old friend circles and made him form new ones. Just as he made new friends, at the same time his old friends got involved in drugs and crimes. He said it was the blessing of Allah that he found better friends at that time.
His old friends went to prison. Their studies were hampered. Their personal lives were affected.
He also had a similar experience. He went to prison. His studies were hampered. His personal life was affected.
Yet they went through the same ordeals for very different reasons. He took a path pleasing to Allah. Whereas, his friends took a path pleasing to their nafs.
He concluded that if his Rizq had been pre-written to be in jail, he would’ve ended up there anyway. But it was the route that he took that mattered.
The lift arrived. And he left. I came back to my flat thinking when and if I’ll even seem him ever again.
Just a few minutes later the doorbell rings. My mum walks in and says, “Look who I’ve brought back up.” She was not home when the brother left and she met him downstairs as she was coming back. Since it was dinnertime and he was leaving without have dinner at my place, my mum was not going to let this happen and so dragged him back up.
He joins us at the dinner table and tells me, “Tonight my Rizq was written here [at your place].”