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Young Muslims' helpline launched

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    Young Muslims' helpline launched

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    Young Muslims in Britain now have access to a helpline offering advice on Islamic matters.

    The e-mail and phone service is administered by scholars in Cairo's renowned Islamic Al-Azhar University.

    Video
    Young Muslims' helpline launched

    ‘Say: If the ocean were ink wherewith to write out the words of my Lord, sooner would the ocean be exhausted, even if We added another ocean like it.’~Al Qu'raan (18:109)

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    Re: Young Muslims' helpline launched

    The Article:

    'Real Islam' just a phone call away

    By Robert Pigott
    Religious affairs correspondent, BBC News


    Prof Aboshady gives advice to those who call the hotline
    A telephone help line offering advice about the true teaching of Islam is being launched in the UK today.

    Callers to the Islamic Hotline will get answers to their questions within 48 hours, from scholars trained at one of the world's principle Islamic universities.
    The Islamic scholars behind the telephone helpline hope it will combat radicalism in Britain and help ordinary Muslims answer difficult questions about their faith.

    The Islamic Hotline believes it has good news for British Muslims - keeping the laws of Islam is not as difficult as you thought.

    But it also sounds a warning - the UK has a large and growing population of young Muslims who are dangerously out of touch with the older generation, and often cut off from the real teaching of their religion.
    The hotline's backers have singled out Britain as the country most urgently in need of the service.

    El Hatef, as the hotline is known in Arabic, was set up in Egypt eight years ago to counter radicalism by bringing the minds of the nation's best Islamic scholars to bear on people's doubts and questions about their religion.
    Since then, two million questions from Egyptians have been answered, mostly from women, and many about sex.

    Some are naive, deeply personal and only obliquely related to religion.
    Others betray the sort of ignorance or error onto which militants fasten when recruiting Muslims to their cause.

    Is violence sometimes justified to defend Muslim interests? Should Sharia take precedence over domestic laws?

    Should Christians be considered infidels? What should be the punishment for converting to another religion?

    'Tranquil Islam'

    The hotline's founder, Cherif Meguid, accuses the radicals of trying to enforce only a single, narrow and oppressive form of the religion.

    "Radicals have hijacked our faith," he says. "This brand of Islam is radical, is harsh, is hard-line, as opposed to the brand of Islam which is available in Egypt, which is quite tranquil... at peace."

    But does the hotline not simply promote Mr Meguid's own alternative interpretation of the religion?

    He says its authority rests on the prestige of Al Azhar University in Cairo and its thousand-year tradition of examining all four of the main schools of thought within Islam.

    Al Azhar, which carves out an oasis of relative tranquillity amid the bustle of Cairo's chaotic Islamic quarter, is the closest thing that Sunni Islam has to a central source of authority, a sort of Muslim Vatican.

    Compared to the Salafi movement in Saudi Arabia, its rulings might be considered liberal, except for one important principle, one which the Islamic hotline hopes to export to the UK.

    That is that Muslims have always been offered latitude in the rules of their religion, a choice as to which of the schools of thought they follow.
    One of the Al Azhar scholars who answers hotline questions, Professor Anas Aboshady, says only 10% of rulings within Islam are generally agreed. In 90% of cases there is disagreement.

    Prof Aboshady provides callers with a sense of the varying interpretations of Islamic law and then recommends one in their particular case.

    "We are not sticking to one view, or one school of law," he says. "What we present is what we believe is suitable to people in different times and places and let them choose which is suitable to them.

    "This gives Islamic law some flexibility, so we are not changing the religion or creating new religion, but simply give people the chance to choose which is suitable to them."

    The effect, according to Prof Aboshady, allows Muslims to live as easily in modern times as in the past - and in Britain as easily as in Egypt.

    Abuse

    Hanaa Ismail called the line about what she calls "issues in the family, about the relations between a man and his wife, what a wife's duties are".
    She says one key to the hotline's effectiveness is the anonymity it offers to callers perplexed by deeply personal issues.

    "They get embarrassed to ask even their own mother about them.

    Hanaa Ismail says she values the anonymity the hotline offers
    "She might be abused by a man for a long while and yet she could get embarrassed to talk about it. This has been... an Arab tradition.
    "With this helpline she can ask for help without any embarrassment, and [the scholar] won't know who she is, and she can ask about all the details."
    Rizwan Ali dropped into an internet cafe in north London to examine the Islamic hotline's British website.

    It will be possible to place questions online as well as by phone, in Urdu and Arabic as well as English. It will cost about £4 to have a question answered.
    For Rizwan, the advantage lies in being able to get tailor-made advice appropriate to life in Britain - help he says is otherwise hard to find.
    "For someone like myself born and raised in the UK and living a London-orientated life, this website is great, giving me one-to-one contact with scholars who offer impartial advice."

    Rizwan types in his own question - about whether the traditional Islamic rule that women should travel only with their husband's permission applies in modern Britain.

    In Cairo, Prof Aboshady gives his judgement.
    He says the rule was designed to protect women at a time when travel was dangerous. In Britain that no longer applies.

    Prof Aboshady says true Islamic teaching was designed to make life easier for Muslims and for the non-Muslims with whom they live.
    The backers of the Islamic hotline believe it is an idea that can help defeat the radicals and their austere vision
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8078344.stm
    Young Muslims' helpline launched

    ‘Say: If the ocean were ink wherewith to write out the words of my Lord, sooner would the ocean be exhausted, even if We added another ocean like it.’~Al Qu'raan (18:109)

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    Re: Young Muslims' helpline launched

    £4 for a question to be answered? What a rip off A free hotline would be the most effective.
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    Re: Young Muslims' helpline launched

    This seems like a good move but I have some reservations about it. I know and understand that these are scholars but something makes me uneasy when I hear people speaking of 'brands of Islam' and something doesn't feel right about selecting different interpretations for different situations. Do all scholars agree that this is acceptable?

    Professor Anas Aboshady, says only 10% of rulings within Islam are generally agreed. In 90% of cases there is disagreement.
    Is this true? I was under the impression that the vast majority was agreed and only a small percentage was subject to a difference of opinion.

    Rizwan types in his own question - about whether the traditional Islamic rule that women should travel only with their husband's permission applies in modern Britain.

    In Cairo, Prof Aboshady gives his judgement.

    He says the rule was designed to protect women at a time when travel was dangerous. In Britain that no longer applies.
    Is there 'Ijmaa on this or is there a difference of opinion?
    Young Muslims' helpline launched


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    Re: Young Muslims' helpline launched

    format_quote Originally Posted by Uthmān View Post
    Professor Anas Aboshady, says only 10% of rulings within Islam are generally agreed. In 90% of cases there is disagreement.
    Is this true? I was under the impression that the vast majority was agreed and only a small percentage was subject to a difference of opinion.
    That caught my eye too.

    It certainly isn't the impression I have been given when listening to Muslims in thios forum and elsewhere ...
    Young Muslims' helpline launched

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    Re: Young Muslims' helpline launched

    Is this true? I was under the impression that the vast majority was agreed and only a small percentage was subject to a difference of opinion.
    I believe what he is trying to convey is that agreement means absolute unanimous agreement, across all schools of thought, philosophy, and jurisprudence. We are continuously for example told that the four math-habs "Agreed on trunks, and disagreed on branches" (that might not be translated well from اتفقوا في الأصول واختلفوا في الفروع).

    All crucial and central issues of jurisprudence has been in agreement because they came with strong evidence on the ground and multitude of evidence from Quran and Sunnah. Most branched issues though and things that have circumstances attached have been interpreted and regarded sometimes by at least one school of thought with a slight adjustment, then technically an agreement is not there.

    Things like: Does camel milk ruin your wudu? Does a man lose his wudu if he kisses his wife on the lips and feels arousal? Do you make taqseer salat since you leave the house on travel or since the morning of your intended travel? How many days for taqseer? Do you raise hands when going down in Rokoo in prayer? Is four rakaat before and after Dhuhr all Sunnah Moakkada or are two Moakkada and two Ratiba? and so on

    For the sheer number of those issues, I am not surprised by 90%, though it is the first I specifically hear of a percentage.

    The differences can be as little as 1 person out of the whole respected group, and can be in a small part of it not against it, and as long he used evidence and origin from Hadith or Quran without grave error (as in misinterpreting a verse out of its meaning, or using a hadith known to be Mawdoo), it is then not a unanimous ruling.

    According to most Sheikhs and scholars the differences are a blessing and mercy to mankind as it allows for Yusr (ease) as long as the opinion is from a respected and accepted source that has brought evidence and proof that passes acceptance with other respected and accepted scholars (without their agreement of the opinion, but at least accepting the methodology) then it becomes an opinion that can be used as an option.

    Some Sheikhs have also disagreed with that and said that you cannot change math-habs that you follow, otherwise people will rule by desire and will always choose the easier path. However the majority of scholars and sheikhs say otherwise and actually quote the four Imams themselves, like Malik who said "Every man's words and opinions can be taken or left in part or otherwise except for this man" and pointed to the grave of the prophet -pbuh-, and Shafei used to choose the choice that would make things easier on people, especially when he went to Egypt, and Abu Haneefa forbid people from following his opinions until they understand each opinion and see if they agree how he arrived at it.

    Most of the time though you will find that there is an overwhelming majority, and people are usually advised of those, and then some other opinions are mentioned. Many scholars though just say their own opinion if it matches the majority and do not care to mention minority ones if they personaly do not agree with them. For example all math-habs and great scholars agree on witr prayer being sunnah, rewarded if performed and without harm if left, except Abu Haneefa who says it is wajib (obligation), but not fard, which to him means is harmful to leave. You will only hear this opinion if you ask a scholar who prefers Abu Haneefa methodology, but they will also say that other math-habs do not hold that. If you ask a scholar who is more attuned to Ibn Hanbal for example, he will tell you that the vast majority view is it is sunnah without harm if left, and he may not even mention Abu Haneefa in specific. Note that most respected scholars of today will not be blindly sticking to one math-hab anyway.

    "Rizwan types in his own question - about whether the traditional Islamic rule that women should travel only with their husband's permission applies in modern Britain.

    In Cairo, Prof Aboshady gives his judgement.

    He says the rule was designed to protect women at a time when travel was dangerous. In Britain that no longer applies."

    Is there 'Ijmaa on this or is there a difference of opinion?
    There is a split, but what is written here is misleadingly cut short, I don't think the opinion was published in full. Many scholars today have said a woman may travel in safety that was not available before, and security is such that traveling in town or to a nearby town where she will return on the same day might not require special arrangements. Al-Shafei actually said that from long ago that as long as security is provided then there's no need. The normal exit and entry of a woman nowadays for study or chores as long as has been understood by the husband can extend to that and she does not need to seek permission. Other scholars who agree with other math-habs, or who do not like to consider changed circumstances are basis for changes in rulings, stick to that if the woman will make travel, permission needs to be specifically granted.

    However, if traveling is out of the country or will entail spending the night out, then she must be accompanied by a Mahram and have permission of the husband. The permission here is not regarding security, but the right of the husband to choose not to have his wife remain away from the marital home, and to guard the women from perhaps moral corruption or mischief. That is not necessary for obligatory Haj though (in terms of permission, but mahram or group of safe women is still needed) Regarding that there is almost unanimous agreement, as otherwise the opinion would negate a direct ruling from an authentic Hadith to do so.

    This is the first online fatwa that I found on the subject and it explains it clearly.
    "Question: Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. What are the rulings concerning the woman’s taking permission of the husband if she wants to leave the house and her traveling without a Mahram (husband or close male relative)? Jazakum Allah khayran.


    Answer: Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

    In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.


    All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

    Dear questioner, we would like to thank you for the great confidence you place in us, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.


    Islam cares for the dignity and honor of woman. Because of her weakness and vulnerability to being targeted by vile men, Islam is keen to close the doors to such situations by insisting that a woman should not travel long distances or stay away from home by herself unless she has taken adequate safeguards in order to ensure her own protection.


    Answering your question, the European Council for Fatwa and Research states:

    1. The ruling concerning the woman’s taking permission on leaving home:

    It is incumbent on the woman to inform her husband when she wants to go outside her home. However, the woman’s leaving her house to work, study or run errands for the home and the children does not require but a general consent on the part of the husband, and the wife does not have to ask permission every time. The matter is subject to common tradition. If the wife’s going out of the house is to visit a family not known to the husband, or if her going out entails staying overnight outside the house, the permission of the husband become necessary. If the husband refuses, the woman shall not go out. Muslim morality also requires that the husband should tell his wife if he wants to travel or stay overnight outside the house, for she has the right to know her husband’s whereabouts when he is absent from home.

    ...

    http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...=1119503546726
    Young Muslims' helpline launched

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    Re: Young Muslims' helpline launched

    JazakAllahu Khayran brother. Your post has made the matter crystal clear for me.
    Young Muslims' helpline launched


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    Re: Young Muslims' helpline launched

    format_quote Originally Posted by Sampharo View Post
    According to most Sheikhs and scholars the differences are a blessing and mercy to mankind as it allows for Yusr (ease) as long as the opinion is from a respected and accepted source that has brought evidence and proof that passes acceptance with other respected and accepted scholars (without their agreement of the opinion, but at least accepting the methodology) then it becomes an opinion that can be used as an option.
    Personally I would say that differences are also beneficial because they allow each follower to make a personal decision with regards to which way they feel is right to follow a certain ruling (within a given boundary of religious belief, of course).
    That way it is a personal commitment, rather than be dictated by somebody else.

    As a Muslim, do you ever read two different rulings on the same matter, and then have to decide for yourself which you feel is the best one to follow in your circumstance?

    Peace
    Young Muslims' helpline launched

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    Re: Young Muslims' helpline launched

    format_quote Originally Posted by glo View Post
    Personally I would say that differences are also beneficial because they allow each follower to make a personal decision with regards to which way they feel is right to follow a certain ruling (within a given boundary of religious belief, of course).
    That way it is a personal commitment, rather than be dictated by somebody else.

    As a Muslim, do you ever read two different rulings on the same matter, and then have to decide for yourself which you feel is the best one to follow in your circumstance?

    Peace

    It isn't about 'feeling' it is about being in concert with Islamic jurisprudence!
    building on what the fellow said above..

    as an analogy: Say a cat urinates in a wellspring, the general ruling is that the water is unclean and you can't drink from it until it has been cleaned from this urine..

    you have one school of thought that states after 12 pails the water will be clean, another maybe more stringent says 24 pails, another believes a few are sufficient since getting rid of many pails of water might lower the water for the demand of the community.. well none of this is necessary today since you have lab equipments and a board of health, lab rats that enable you to test your wellspring with a very definitive outcome.

    The general rule will never change which is drinking clean water untainted by urine, or having clean water for ablution , but the way of ensuring its cleanliness is different.. so even if you use your best judgment it is still within the confines of Islamic jurisprudence and not completely on a deviant tangent!

    you won't have a school that will make it ok not to pray or not to fast or not to this, however the little finite details might differ from one to the next, and in the scheme of things they small details are quite negligible!

    all the best
    Last edited by جوري; 06-03-2009 at 06:50 AM.
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    Re: Young Muslims' helpline launched

    ^ I realise that 'to feel' may not have been the best choice of word, Skye.

    And I never intended to give the impression that the basic rulings of Islam are not clearly defined. I hope it didn't sound like that.

    Still, when there are differences in interpretation on certain rulings, you as a follower must somehow discern for yourself which one is the correct one to follow (again, I emphasise, within the clearly defined parameters of islamic ruling).
    How would you make that discernment?
    Are there certain scholars which you trust in particular?
    Do you apply your own judgement?
    Or what else?
    (I am just interested to find out. )

    Salaam
    Young Muslims' helpline launched

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    Re: Young Muslims' helpline launched

    As a Muslim, do you ever read two different rulings on the same matter, and then have to decide for yourself which you feel is the best one to follow in your circumstance?
    Yes, most Arab scholars in specific have excelled in the art of giving the different rulings if there is a split in the opinions (but not if it is a tiny minority) in an organized fashion, mentioning efficiently the different math-habs and leave arguing out of the picture, and simply indicating "ما هو الأرجح" meaning what is "weightier" in the end to indicate what is the consensus leaning towards.

    For example the split in raising hands in rukoo and in raising from rukoo in prayer is right down the middle. The basis of Abu Haneefa was that he depended on the Abdullah Ibn Masoud's hadith that he never saw the prophet -pbuh- raise his hands anywhere but the beginning, Maliki conquers based on that he doesn't know of a ruling to do otherwise therefore it is better left out and the hands are not raised except in the beginning. Ahmed Ibn Hanbal and Al-Shafiee however relies more on Salem Ibn Omar's Hadith that he saw the prophet raise his hands to where the collar bones are at rukoo and after raising from Rukoo, and that he -pbuh- raised his hands to his earlobes when he started the third Rakaa after tashahud the same way as in the start of the prayer. Abu Haneefa debated at the time with Awzaei who was visiting (as in the book "Fat-h Al-Qadir" for AlKamal Ibn AlHammam) and Awzaei was saying the hadith of Salem ibn Omar is more specific and properly narrated, however Abu Haneefa said that Abdullah Ibn Masoud was more learned and closer to the prophet. on this basis it showed how the scholars used to choose different methodologies to decide which is the more correct path based on their determination of evidence, in items of marginal importance that their dictation was not repeated often and the preservation of the learnings was not complete. Anyway, the split on that basis remained that two math-habs lifted their hands, and two didn't. However, later on the hadith that Abu Haneefa depended was reclassified as daeef (weak), and therefore today you will find most scholars will clearly tell you that raising hands is the "weightier" opinion due to the fact that Salem Ibn Omar's hadith is still Sahih, but the one about Abdullah Ibn Masoud could have been misspoken or misnarrated. You'll find most people today, unless they are tightly sticking to a Hanafi or Maliki math-hab based on the originals and have not paid attention to new scholarly reviews, along with most scholars would raise their hands in Rukoo and after raising. However those who don't are not particularly in the wrong, and people may choose to follow that without sin.

    So in general, especially today when more and more people without enough learning are yearning to stick to the correct method in worship and in living their religion al-hamdolellah, and when a lot of unlearned people are speaking in small mosques and giving opinions and may make mistakes because they didn't know or were not fully aware, it is very advisable that a muslim seeks several opinions and that you seek the opinions of those who are respected and established, and can listen to the basis of their opinion. Then you can choose what you feel applies to you yet satisfies you with its methodology.

    A gentle point here needs to be brought to attention though, in that in simply asking an obscure person, maybe the one who leads the prayer in the corner mosque about something you want, and taking his "yes you can" gladly as a license to do what you want is not correct. You need to understand that is really what can be described as in living on desire. You can follow the easier of the opinions you receive, or the scholar in your local mosque even alone, as long as he gives an explanation of what this opinion is based on, and a big short-cut is to say what the four Imams or other great scholars like Al-Albani or Al-Thahabi or the nation's Islamic council has said.
    Young Muslims' helpline launched

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    Re: Young Muslims' helpline launched

    The Masjid where I live have decided to follow a body of scholars (the European Council for Fatwa and Research).. and whatever they decide, we abide by the judgement pronounced. Like for example start and end of ramadan, permisibility of the combining of prayers (maghrib and isha). The reason is because they are a council of highly qualified scholars where we, as the ordinary Muslim, are somewhat limited in our understanding of the application of Fiqh to certain situations. And secondly, the reason was because we live in Europe, as European Muslims, so we agreed tp follow a council of Scholars locally (based in Dublin, but locally continent wise :P). There are many masjids in the area which decide to follow rulings from other countries... (pakistan, bangladesh etc.). Obviously, worldwide untiy on Islamic matters is unlikely. But at least there can be national unity, where we live.
    Last edited by Banu_Hashim; 06-03-2009 at 10:57 AM.
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    Re: Young Muslims' helpline launched

    For matters of such mass unity it is even more sensible and desirable to do so. Islamic nations for example declare Ramadan together regardless of what dominence or divisions there are in math-habs or otherwise because it will make no sense to have Eid morning and a quarter of the nation still fasting and the rest are making Eid prayer.

    God grant us all guidance, the point is we pray to our best knowledge and with best Khoshoo, fast as much as we can, supplicate truthfully, do our deeds and stay away from Kaba'er and hope that God grants us forgiveness for all our sins.
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    Re: Young Muslims' helpline launched

    format_quote Originally Posted by Banu_Hashim View Post
    The Masjid where I live have decided to follow a body of scholars (the European Council for Fatwa and Research).. and whatever they decide, we abide by the judgement pronounced. Like for example start and end of ramadan, permisibility of the combining of prayers (maghrib and isha). The reason is because they are a council of highly qualified scholars where we, as the ordinary Muslim, are somewhat limited in our understanding of the application of Fiqh to certain situations. And secondly, the reason was because we live in Europe, as European Muslims, so we agreed tp follow a council of Scholars locally (based in Dublin, but locally continent wise :P). There are many masjids in the area which decide to follow rulings from other countries... (pakistan, bangladesh etc.). Obviously, worldwide untiy on Islamic matters is unlikely. But at least there can be national unity, where we live.
    So these are not decisions you make yourself, but you trust that the leaders of your masjid have chosen the best organisation to follow?

    If they ever made a decision which really did seem right to you as an individual, would you openly disregard it? Or seemingly follow it, but quietly disregard it? Or simply bow to it?

    Peace
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    Re: Young Muslims' helpline launched

    format_quote Originally Posted by glo View Post
    So these are not decisions you make yourself, but you trust that the leaders of your masjid have chosen the best organisation to follow?

    If they ever made a decision which really did seem right to you as an individual, would you openly disregard it? Or seemingly follow it, but quietly disregard it? Or simply bow to it?

    Peace
    Me, personally?Well, I wouldn't feel comfortable disregarding something without knowing everything myself, so... Scholars like these do provide their reasoning behind such fatwas (judgements). So, it's not like you're following it blindly (if you choose to do so) with no understanding. But I would trust that these guys know what they're doing. And a fatwa is an opinion on how an issue should be dealt with using two primary sources (Qur'an, Hadith) and in some cases science and common sense applicable to the situation, of which are not in contradiction with the two former sources. It is the consensus of a vast majority, upon which a fatwa is pronounced. Anyone can take it on board, and be within their right to do so. There is no compulsion.

    EDIT: Sorry, do you mean am I happy to follow what the Management committee of the mosque decides to follow?

    InshAllah, yes.
    Last edited by Banu_Hashim; 06-03-2009 at 05:12 PM.
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