He is outwardly Muslim but he rarely attends the mosque; should we think badly of him?

There is a man who claims to be a Muslim. He is from a European country and lives in a Muslim country. He rarely attends the mosque to pray, and when I say to him, “I do not see you observing the prayers on time,” he says that he prays at home. It should be noted that his residency visa and passport still show him as a Christian, but he says that he has a certificate which proves that he is a Muslim. What are our duties towards this man?.

Praise be to Allaah.

Those who claim to be Muslim should publicly practise the rituals of Islam and adhere to its laws as much as they can. If a Muslim claims that he is doing acts of worship such as prayer and giving zakaah, he should be believed and what he says should be accepted.

All we know is what people show outwardly, and our Lord has not commanded us to look into people’s hearts, because no one can do that.

The basic principle is that everyone who utters the Shahaadatayn should be regarded as a Muslim, so long as he does not do anything that nullifies his Islam.

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) died and Abu Bakr was appointed as caliph, and some of the Arabs reverted to kufr, ‘Umar said: “O Abu Bakr, how can you fight the people when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘I have been commanded to fight the people until they say Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah (There is no god but Allaah), and whoever says Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, his wealth and his life are protected from me except in cases dictated by Islamic law, and his reckoning will be with Allaah’?” Abu Bakr said: “By Allaah, I will most certainly fight those who separate prayer and zakaah, for zakaah is what is due on wealth. By Allaah, if they withhold from me a young goat that they used to give to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), I will fight them for withholding it.” ‘Umar said: “By Allaah, when I saw that Allaah had opened Abu Bakr’s heart to the idea of fighting, I knew that he was right.”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6924; Muslim, 20.  Continue reading

Should she testify to something that she has not been asked for but that may benefit the person against whom she is testifying?

I work in a department and it so happened that one of the men insulted the head of the department. I was present with a group of other people, so they asked us to testify. I will testify and – in sha Allah – I will tell the truth which is that he – may Allaah guide him – insulted her openly and in front of her; he cursed her father and her. After he went out, when they dragged him out, she said: “I’ll show you, O So and so,” i.e., a threat – but he did not hear her, so he did not say that she had said, “I’ll show you,” because he was nowhere near the desk then. I was the one who was nearby and heard it. Should I say that when the matter is investigated? I hope to receive a reply.

Praise be to Allaah.

This phrase (“I’ll show you”) is a threat but what may be meant by it is to make an official complaint, which is in fact what happened. We do not think that it matters if you tell them or not when the matter is investigated.

If she added any other words to it, such as insults or condemnation of the one who insulted her, then you should mention that, because she may have taken her rights by saying these words or more, and it is not right to punish him when the other person has already settled the score. Responding to an insult in kind is a kind of taking one’s rights or settling the score, as al-Nawawi said in his commentary on the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “When two people trade insults, the sin will be on the one who started it, unless the one who has been wronged went too far in returning the insults.” Muslim 4688. Al-Nawawi said: They said:  If the one who has been insulted return the insult then the matter is settled, and the first one owes nothing to the second one, but the sin of initiating the insults remains on him. And it was said: He will be free from any sin if the other person returns the insult but the blame will still be on the initiator, but not the sin.

If what was said in response is not as bad as what was said, then the matter is not settled, however by responding, part of the matter is settled. This may remove or reduce the punishment for the one who insulted the other first.

Islam commands us to be just with all people. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety; and fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is Well‑Acquainted with what you do”

[al-Maa’idah 5:8]

And Allaah knows best. Continue reading

He gave false witness – what should he do?

In 1408 AH there was an accident when the car which my brother was driving overturned. There were four people with him, two of whom died. All were unmarried. The family of the first forfeited the diyah (blood money) and did not take it. The father of the second took the full amount of diyah. The mother of the dead boy had died giving birth to him, and he was young, He had a paternal grandmother and a maternal grandmother. They were not given the diyah, because when the court ruled that diyah should be paid, they asked for witnesses to state whether he had heirs other than his father, and I was one of the witnesses. We testified that he had no heir apart from his father, because we were afraid that the court might demand that the grandmothers, who were very old, attend court, and because we were unaware of the rights of inheritance.
What do I have to do, knowing that the father of the one who died is poor and has nothing?

Praise be to Allaah.

Undoubtedly you have dome something which is a major sin, namely giving false testimony or bearing false witness, especially since it has caused the loss of rights of some of the heirs of the deceased.

It was narrated that Abu Bakrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Shall I not tell you of the greatest of major sins?” We said, “Yes indeed, O Messenger of Allaah.” He said, “Associating others with Allaah (shirk) and disobedience towards parents.” He was reclining, but then he sat up and said, “And false speech and false witness, and false speech and false witness,” and he kept on saying it until I thought he would never stop.

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5631; Muslim, 87).

So we say to the brother who asked this question: if the father has given the two grandmothers their share of the inheritance, then you have to repent and seek forgiveness from Allaah for having given false witness, but you do not have to go to the court and announce that. You have to conceal that which Allaah has concealed.

But if the father took all the money himself and did not give the grandmothers their rightful share, then you must try to convince him to give them what is their due. If he does that, then all well and good, otherwise you have to go to the court, tell them that you lied, and suffer the consequences of your sin. In this way you will restore to people what is rightfully theirs.

There is no expiation for false witness apart from repentance and restoring people’s rights, if that false testimony resulted in depriving others of what was rightfully theirs.

The judge or qaadi has the right to impose whatever ta’zeer punishment he sees fit for the one who bore false witness.

And Allaah knows best. Continue reading

Why is the witness of one man considered to be equal to the witness of two women?

Why is the witness of two women considered to be equal to the testimony of one man?

Praise be to Allaah.

What is meant by witness or testimony is something by which the thing testified may be proven and known to be true and correct, so it is information about it.  With regard to the witness of two women being equal to the testimony of one man. Allaah has mentioned the wisdom behind specifying the number of two as being that a woman may forget or get confused, so the other woman can remind her, as He said:

“…And get two witnesses out of your own men. And if there are not two men (available), then a man and two women, such as you agree for witnesses, so that if one of them (two women) errs, the other can remind her…”

[al-Baqarah 2:282 – interpretation of the meaning]

With regard to the phrase, “that if one of them (two women) errs”, Ibn Katheer said: “This means, the two women, if one of them forgets the testimony, then ‘the other can remind her’, i.e., she can remind her about the matter concerning which testimony is being given.” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, part 1, p. 724)

Allaah has commanded the testimony of two women so as to be sure that they remember, because the mind and memory of two women takes the place of the mind and memory of one man. (See I’laam al-Muwaqqa’een, part 1, p. 75).

This does not mean that a woman does not understand or that she cannot remember things, but she is weaker than man in these aspects – usually. Scientific and specialized studies have shown that men’s minds are more perfect than those of women, and reality and experience bear witness to that. The books of knowledge are the best witness to that; the knowledge which has been transmitted by men and the ahaadeeth which have been memorized by men far outnumber those which have come via women. Continue reading