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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The "how to complain about spam" guide

Basic Rules of SpamFighting

#1 - The From: address is almost *always* fake.
If you get a lump of spam from abuse@hotmail.com, then I can *guarantee* that it didn't come from there at all. All spammers forge the From: address - usually to hide, sometimes to punish innocent sites. If your e-mail address appears in the From: header of an e-mail, then you've been joe-jobbed. More on that later.
This means that replying to the message, bouncing the message, or sending a complaint to the administrator of the domain is useless. It's a waste of time.

But... But... How can I complain then?
You must learn to look beyond the headers you can see. You must learn to read the full headers. More on that later.

#2 - Never unsubscribe
You didn't subscribe to it, so don't unsubscribe. Most spammers either provide a fake 'unsubscribe' address, or the better ones make a list of everyone who asked to be unsubscribed and sell them to other spammers as 'Confirmed Addresses'. Unsubscribing from unsolicited mail is the easiest way to quadruple your spam volume in a few days.

#3 - What *is* spam?
Well, first, it's not SPAM®. SPAM® is a trademark of Hormel Foodstuffs, and they've been jolly decent about allowing people to say 'spam' without getting sued. SPAM® all in capitals is a compressed pork/ham luncheon meat I happen to rather like in a stiry-fry.
Spam (lower case, first letter capitalised as the start of a sentence) is Unsolicited Bulk E-mail. Now, if someone sends you a message you don't like, it's not spam. If someone sends you a commercial mailing you signed up for a while back but don't want any more, then it's not spam.
Don't worry about what's *IN* a message - spam is about conSent, not conTent. Did you give permission for a company to send you that e-mail? If the answer is 'no', and it's been sent to more than one person (who also didn't ask for it), *then* it's spam.

#4
Do *NOT*, I repeat do *NOT* bounce spams back. That is the *WORST* thing you can do, and software that allows you to do it should be banned as spamware itself.

Stop using any bounce features in your filter software NOW.

There are a number of things you can do as an end-user to help fight spam.

The first thing you need to be able to do is to view full headers. Depending on your mailreader, you might have to click 'Edit -> Message Source', 'View -> Headers -> All'... Check your documentation. A message with *complete* headers should look something like this one:


Quote:
From - Sat Jun 14 23:01:32 2003
X-UIDL: 1055575258.40440.erebus.uk.clara.net
X-Mozilla-Status: 0001
X-Mozilla-Status2: 00000000
X-Envelope-To: me@mydomain
X-claradeliver-Version: 4.21.1
X-Clara-Filter: xxXWDPgivz9Pw
Return-path:
Delivery-date: Sat, 14 Jun 2003 08:20:53 +0100
Received: from ultra17.uk2net.com ([212.4.208.117])
by erebus.uk.clara.net with esmtp (Exim 4.12)
id 19R5LJ-000AVj-00
for me@mydomain; Sat, 14 Jun 2003 08:20:53 +0100
Received: from [195.166.233.49] (helo=ommo.net)
by ultra17.uk2net.com with smtp (Exim 0.00)
id 19R5LD-0002xO-00
for usenet@mydomain; Sat, 14 Jun 2003 08:20:49 +0100
From: "MR ALEX ISO"
Reply-To: dr_alex1@indiatimes.com
To: usenet@mydomain
Date: Sat, 14 Jun 2003 09:20:57 +0200
Subject: VERY UGRENT
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2919.7000
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
Message-Id:
X-UIDL: 1055575258.40440.erebus.uk.clara.net
X-RCPT: myname
Status: U

I am Mr Alex Isu=2C Bank Manager of United Bank For
Africa =2C capetown Branch=2E I have urgent and very
confidential business proposition for you=2E On June 6
1998=2C a gold merchant=2Fcontractor with the
Randgold Exploration Company=2C Mr=2E Jim Smith made a
numbered time =28Fixed=29 deposited for
twelve calendar months=2C valued at US$25=2C000=2C000=2E00
=28Twenty-five Million Dollars=29 in my branch=2E
.

This is an actual spam sent to my mail account a while back. Let's take the headers one at a time.

From - Sat Jun 14 23:01:32 2003
Ignore this - it's a broken header that UK2 put in. You shouldn't see this in yours.

X-UIDL: 1055575258.40440.erebus.uk.clara.net
Anything with X at the start of it is an *optional* header. Sometimes there is useful information in these, but most of the time it's just bumf (and occasionally outright lies to throw you off the scent). You can ignore these.

Return-path:
It's almost certain that this message didn't come from IndiaTimes.com - ignore this.

Delivery-date: Sat, 14 Jun 2003 08:20:53 +0100
I think you can work this one out for yourself.

Received: from ultra17.uk2net.com ([212.4.208.117])
by erebus.uk.clara.net with esmtp (Exim 4.12)
id 19R5LJ-000AVj-00
for me@mydomain; Sat, 14 Jun 2003 08:20:53 +0100

Ah! Now, *this* is the important bit! The 'Recieved From' headers will *always* tell you where the message *really* came from. You read these headers from the top-down, *never* bottom-up - spammers often put fake Recieved lines below the genuine ones to trick you into complaining to the wrong admins.
This particular header is genuine - the message was sent to usenet@mydomain, received by UK2's SMTP server, and redirected to my SMTP server so it gets to my *real* address. So, knowing this is genuine, we move on to the next line down.

Received: from [195.166.233.49] (helo=ommo.net)
by ultra17.uk2net.com with smtp (Exim 0.00)
id 19R5LD-0002xO-00
for usenet@mydomain;

This is the last Received header. This is what we're looking for. But, how do we know where the message came from?

from [195.166.233.49] (helo=ommo.net)
HELO is the SMTP code for "My name is...", and should normally return the hostname of the sending server. In this case, it's claiming to be ommo.net. Put simply, it lies. The *real* server is between the square brackets - 195.166.233.49.

So, looking at the headers, we know that the spammer lied when he said he was posting from 'IndiaTimes.com'. We also know the server lied when it said it was 'ommo.net'. These are innocent people - do not complain to/about them.

So, I know the IP address of the original mailserver. What can I do?
First of all, find out who it is. You can do WHOIS lookups at places like RIPE, ARIN, and many others. The easiest way is to visit a site like SamSpade, where you can do useful things like rDNS and WHOIS from a website. Or even better, download SamSpade for Windows from the same site - a *very* useful bit of freeware for Spam Rangers.

Doing a DNS (Domain Name Server) lookup on 195.166.233.49 doesn't help - there is no reverse DNS set up. So, we do a WHOIS on it instead.


Quote:
07/18/03 20:48:40 whois 195.166.233.49@whois.ripe.net
whois -h whois.ripe.net 195.166.233.49 ...
% This is the RIPE Whois server.
% The objects are in RPSL format.
%
% Rights restricted by copyright.
% See http://www.ripe.net/ripencc/pub-ser.../copyright.html

inetnum: 195.166.224.0 - 195.166.255.255
netname: NG-LINKSERVE-971217
descr: Linkserve Nigeria Limited
descr: PROVIDER
country: NG
admin-c: TO219-RIPE
tech-c: TO219-RIPE
status: ALLOCATED PA
notify: tunde@linkserve.com.ng
mnt-by: RIPE-NCC-HM-MNT
changed: hostmaster@ripe.net

person: Tunde Ogedengbe
address: Linkserve
address: 22 Akin Adesola
address: FATB Plaza
address: Victoria Island
address: Lagos Nigeria
phone: +234 1 2623900
fax-no: +234 1 262 3906
e-mail: tunde@linkserve.com.ng
nic-hdl: TO219-RIPE
notify: tunde@linkserve.com.ng
changed: hostmaster@ripe.net 19971217
source: RIPE


So, our original ISP is Linkserve in Nigeria. Kinda fitting for a Nigerian 419 scam, isn't it?

From this, we get a bunch of abuse addresses we can use. Sending complaints to:
tunde@linkserve.com.ng
abuse@linkserve.com.ng
postmaster@linkserve.com.ng
with copies of the spam (including FULL HEADERS) *might* get something done.

Man, that's a lot of hassle. Isn't there something I can do without cutting into my free time?
Sure! Sites like SpamCop.net allow you to automatically parse mail headers. SpamCop will then send complaints to the relevant people on your behalf, and add the sending SMTP server to a blacklist (the SpamCop BlackList, or SCBL).

Another very useful thing to do is to post to NANAS - news.admin.net-abuse.sightings. First, search out all *innocent* e-mail addresses in the spam and remove them - replace them with an 'x' or the word 'munged'. This means that the bots that trawl USENET looking for addresses to spam won't find them. Then post the munged spam with full headers into NANAS, with the subject line identical to the spam but with [email] tagged on to the front.
A lot of automated systems trawl NANAS for spam samples, and admins often look there to see if anyone else has gotten similar spams. If you do nothing else, posting to NANAS will help. Just remember to remove your e-mail addresses!

LART
Short for Luser Attitude Readjustment Tool, as in "The spammer was sharply LARTed right away and lost his account."

A LART is an email that you send to alert a host/ISP/enduser to highlight the spam and hopefully get them to do something about it.

What makes a good LART?

Okay, here's a quickie guide to writing effective LARTs. First of all, remember that you're responding to a company who has the spammer as a customer, not the spammer themselves. This means that you keep the tone professional and the language clean.

It is a good idea to LART the following people:

Spam Source
Where the spam was sent from (SpamCop can help you find this).
Website Hosts
Where the spamvertised site is.
E-mail Dropboxes
If the mail asks for a reply on a free e-mail account like Hotmail, LART them.
Others
Sometimes a spam requires a heavier mallet. If they want you to ring a premium rate number, try ICSTIS (Google for it). If it's child (or child-like) pornography, try The IWF.

Some good example LARTs for you to use:


Quote:
Spam Source
I recently received a spam on my domain that appears to have originated on your network. The original message, with complete headers, is included below.

Please investigate this issue and take appropriate action according to your Acceptable Use Policy.

Thank you.

-- Insert Original Spam--


Quote:
Website Hosts
You are currently providing hosting for a spammer at the address $SPAMMED_DOMAIN. Included below this message is the spam in question with complete headers. Please investigate this issue and take appropriate action according to your Acceptable Use Policy.

Thank you.

-- Insert Original Spam--


Another good trick is to check the domain registration information - if the WHOIS data contains a false address, LART the registrar letting them know. They then have 15 days to contact the domain holder for updated information, or they have to null-route the domain.

With judicious use of cut 'n paste, reporting spam shouldn't take too long at all, and you'll get the nice warm feeling that comes from spanking spammers.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Islam teaches us the Etiquettes of going to the Bathroom

Among the signs of the greatness of the blessed Islamic sharee’ah (law) is the fact that there is no good thing, major or minor, that it has not commanded us to do or pointed the way to it, and there is no bad thing, major or minor, that it has not warned us against or forbidden. It is perfect and complete in all aspects, a fact which has often greatly astonished non-Muslims and earned their admiration. (At the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), one of the mushrikeen (polytheists) said to (the Prophet’s Companion) Salmaan al-Farsi (may Allaah be pleased with him): “Your Prophet has taught you everything, even how to defecate!” Salmaan said: “Yes, he forbade us to face the qiblah (direction of prayer) when urinating or defecating…” (Al-Tirmidhi, Saheeh Muslim).

Islamic sharee’ah includes a number of rules and manners to be followed when answering the call of nature, including the following:

It is not proper for one to carry something that has Allah's name on it while he is going to the bathroom. Anas (ra - may Allah be pleased with him) related that the Messenger of Allah (saw - may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him), had a ring engraved with "Mohammed, the Messenger of Allah", which he would remove when he went to the bathroom.

He should move and hide himself from others. A person should be concealed from the sight of others when answering the call of nature. The Messenger of Allah (saw) used to prefer to go behind a rise in the ground or a garden of date palms. (Reported by Muslim, 517). If a person is out in an open space and cannot find anything to conceal him when he needs to answer the call of nature, he should move far away from the other people around him, because al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah said: “I was with the Prophet (saw) on a journey, when he felt the need to answer the call of nature, so he went far away.” (Al-Tirmidhi).

‘Abd-Allaah ibn Abi Quraad said: “I went out with the Messenger of Allah (saw) to an open space, and when he needed to answer the call of nature, he moved away.” (A-Nisaa’i)
A person should not uncover his ‘awrah (private parts) until after he has squatted close to the ground, because this is more concealing, as Anas (ra) reported: “When the Prophet(saw) wanted to answer the call of nature, he would not lift his garment until he had squatted close to the ground.” (Al-Tirmidhi). If a person is in a (modern) toilet, he should not lift his garment until he has closed the door and is out of sight of other people. With regard to this point and the one before, it is worth noting that the habit of many people in the West and elsewhere, of urinating in a standing position in front of other people in public toilets (using urinals) is something which goes against good manners, modesty and decency, and is repulsive to anyone who possesses sound common sense and wisdom. How can anybody uncover in front of other people the ‘awrah (private parts) which Allah has placed between his legs to conceal it and commanded him to cover it? The idea that it should be covered is well established among all wise and decent people of all races. It is wrong in principle to build restrooms of this shameful type, where the users can see one another, thus making them worse than some kinds of animals whose habit is to conceal themselves from one another when urinating or defecating.

One should mention the name of Allah and seek refuge in Him when entering the Bathroom. Anas (ra) reported that when the Messenger of Allah (saw) entered the privy he would say, “Allaahumma innee a’oodhi bika min al-khubthi wa’l-khabaa’ith (O Allah, I seek refuge with You from male and female devils).”

One should not talk. One should not greet a person who is answering the call of nature, or return a greeting whilst one is answering the call of nature, out of respect to Allaah by not mentioning His name in a dirty place. [note: the Islamic greeting is “al-salaam ‘alaykum (peace be upon you)”; one of the names of Allah is al-Salaam (the Peace)]. Nor should a person repeat what the caller to prayer is saying. He may speak if there is some necessity (e.g. to guide blind man who fears he may be harmed). If he sneezes, he should praise Allah within himself.

Ibn Umar (ra) related that a man passed by the Prophet (saw) and greeted him while he (the Prophet) was urinating. The Prophet (saw) did not return his greeting. (Ibn Maajah)

Abu Sa'eed (ra) reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah say, "Is it not true that Allah detests those who converse whilst they relieve themselves". (Abu dawood, Ibn Majah, Ahmad)

One should neither face nor turn his back to the Qiblah while relieving himself. Not to face the qiblah (direction of prayer, i.e. the Ka’bah which was built in Makkah by Ibrahim, upon whom be peace, as commanded by Allaah) when urinating or defecating. This is out of respect for the Qiblah and for the symbols and rituals of Allah. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “When any one of you sits down to answer the call of nature, he should not face the qiblah or turn his back towards it.” (Muslim)

One should seek a soft and low ground to protect himself from impurities. Abu Musa (ra) related that the Messenger of Allah (saw) came to a low and soft part of the ground and urinated. He then said, "When one of you urinates, he should choose the proper place to do so." (Abu Dawood)

One should not use a hole in the ground. Qatadah related from Abdullah Ibn Sarjas who said, " The Messenger of Allah (saw) forbade urinating in a hole." Said Qatadah, "What is disliked about urinating into a hole?" Said he, "It is the residence of the Jinn." (Ahmad, An-Nasai, Abu Dawood)

One should avoid shaded places and those places where people gather and walk.
A person should not urinate by the roadside or in places where people seek shade, because this is offensive to them. Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (saw) said: “Fear the two things that bring curses.” They asked, “What are the two things that bring curses, O Messenger of Allah?” He said: “When a person relieves himself in the road where people walk or in the place where they seek shade.” (Abu Dawud)

One should not urinate in bathing places or in still water. The Prophet (saw) said, " None of you should urinate in a bathing place and then make ablution (wudu) in the water. The majority of waswas (satanic wispers) comes from that." (Ahmad, Abu Dawood)

Also, a person should not urinate into stagnant water, because Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) forbade anyone to urinate into stagnant water (Muslim), because this makes the water impure and harms those who use it.

One may not urinate whilst standing. Aisha (ra - may Allah be pleased with her) said, "If someone relates to you that the Messenger of Allah (saw) urinated whilst standing, do not believe him. He only urinated whilst sitting." (Muslim)

The Sunnah is to answer the call of nature sitting, making oneself close to the ground, because this is more concealing, and makes it less likely that spray from one's urine will come back on one’s body or clothes, making them dirty.

One must remove any impurities from his clothes and body. To do so, he can use a rock, stones or any other pure matter. One may use only water to clean the area, or any combination of purifying agents. The Messenger of Allah said, "When one of you goes to relieve himself, he should clean himself with three stones." (Ahmad)

The Prophet (SAW) passed by 2 graves and said, "They are being punished (in the grave). But they are not being punished for a great matter (on their part). One of them did not clean himself from urine and the other used to spread slanders." (Bukhari)

Anas (ra) also related the Prophet (saw) as saying, "Purify yourselves from urine, as most punishment in the grave is due to it." (Ibn Maajah)

One should not clean himself with his right hand. He should not touch his penis with his right hand when urinating, because the Prophet (saw) said: “When any one of you urinates, he should not hold his penis in his right hand or clean it with his right hand; and (when drinking), he should not breathe into the vessel.” (Al-Bukhaari)
He should not remove najaasah (impurity) with his right hand; the left hand should be used for this purpose, because of the hadeeth quoted above, and because the Prophet (saw) said: “When any one of you wipes himself, he should not use his right hand.” (Al-Bukhaari). The Prophet’s wife Hafsah (may Allaah be pleased with her) reported that the Prophet (saw) used to use his right hand for eating, drinking, making wudoo’ (ablution), getting dressed, and giving and taking things, and he used to use his left hand for other things. (Ahmad). Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said: “When any one of you cleans himself, he should not use his right hand, he should use his left hand.” (Ibn Maajah

One should remove any bad smell from his hands after cleaning himself. Abu Hurairah (ra) said, "When the Messenger of Allah (saw) relieved himself, I used to bring him a container of water. he would cleanse himself, then rub his hands against the soil." (Abu Dawood)

One should wash and sprinkle his penis and underwear with water after urination to make sure that he has cleansed himself. Sufyan Ibn Al-Hakim said, "When the messenger of Allah (saw) urinated, he would wash his private parts and sprinkle water (over his penis). (Al-Hakim)

Any impurity should be washed or wiped three times or an odd number of times greater than three, according to whatever is needed to cleanse it, because ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Prophet (saw) used to wash his posterior three times. Ibn ‘Umar said: “We did this too and found it to be healing and cleansing.” (Ibn Maajah). Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (saw) said: “When anyone of you cleans himself (with stones or similar material) let him use an odd number.” (Ahmad)

Exiting the bathroom. One should enter the privy with his left foot, and exit with his right foot saying, “Ghufraanak (I seek Your forgiveness).”

Test for Idiocy

Below are four (4) questions and a bonus question. You have to answer them instantly. You can't take your time, answer all of them immediately . OK?

Let's find out just how clever you really are....

Ready? GO!!!

*********

First Question:

You are participating in a race. You overtake the second person. What position are you in?

Answer: If you answered that you are first, then you are absolutely wrong!
If you overtake the second person, you take his place, so you are second!

Now answer the second question,
but don't take as much time as you took for the first one, OK ?

*********

Second Question:

If you overtake the last person, then you are...?

Answer: If you answered that you are second to last, then you are wrong again. Tell me, how can you overtake the LAST Person?

You're not very good at this, are you?

*********

Third Question:

Very tricky arithmetic!

Note: This must be done in your head only.

Do NOT use paper and pencil or a calculator. Try it.

Take 1000 and add 40 to it.. Now add another 1000 . Now add 30.
Add another 1000 . Now add 20. Now add another 1000
Now add 10 . What is the total?

Did you get 5000?

The correct answer is actually 4100.

If you don't believe it, check it with a calculator! Today is definitely not your day, is it?

Maybe you'll get the last question right.... ...Maybe.

*********

Fourth Question:

Mary's father has five daughters: 1. Nana, 2. Nene, 3. Nini, 4. Nono. What is the ! name of the fifth daughter?

Did you Answer Nunu?

NO! Of course it isn't.

Her name is Mary. Read the question again!

Okay, now the bonus round:

*********

A mute person goes into a shop and wants to buy a toothbrush. By imitating the action of brushing his teeth he successfully expresses himself to the shopkeeper and the purchase is done.

Next, a blind man comes into the shop who wants to buy a pair of sunglasses; how does HE indicate what he wants?

He just has to open his mouth and ask...

It's really very simple.... Like you!

SOME OF THE LESSONS LEARNT FROM QURAN THAT APPLY TO OUR GENERAL LIVING!

1. Respect and honour all human beings irrespective of their religion, colour, race, sex, language, status, property, birth, profession/job and so on [17/70]
2. Talk straight, to the point, without any ambiguity or deception [33/70]
3. Choose best words to speak and say them in the best possible way [17/53, 2/83]
4. Do not shout. Speak politely keeping your voice low. [31/19]
5. Always speak the truth. Shun words that are deceitful and ostentatious [22/30]
6. Do not confound truth with falsehood [2/42]
7. Say with your mouth what is your heart [3/167]
8. Speak in a civilized manner in a language that is recognized by the society and is commonly used [4/5]
9. when you voice an opinion, be just, even if it is against a relative [6/152]
10. Do not be a bragging boaster [31/18]
11. Do not talk, listen or do anything vain [23/3, 28/55]
12. Do not participate in any paltry. If you pass near a futile play, then pass by with dignity
[25/72]
13. Do not verge upon any immodesty or lewdness whether surreptitious or overt [6/151]
14. If, unintentionally, any misconduct occurs by you, then correct yourself expeditiously
[3/134]
15. Do not be contemptuous or arrogant with people [31/18]
16. Do not walk haughtily or with conceit [17/37, 31/18]
17. Be moderate in thy pace [31/19]
18. Walk with humility and sedateness [25/63]
19. Keep your gazes lowered devoid of any lecherous leers and salacious stares
[24/30-31,40/ 19]
20. If you do not have complete knowledge about anything, better keep your mouth shut. You might think that speaking about something without full knowledge is a trivial matter. But it might have grave consequences [24/15-16]
21. When you hear something malicious about someone, keep a favorable view about him/her
until you attain full knowledge about the matter. Consider others innocent until they are
proven guilty with solid and truthful evidence [24/12-13]
22. Ascertain the truth of any news, lest you smite someone in ignorance and afterwards repent
of what you did [49/6]
23. Do not follow blindly any information of which you have no direct knowledge. (Using your faculties of perception and conception) you must verify it for yourself. In the Court of your Lord, you will be held accountable for your hearing, sight, and the faculty of reasoning [17/36].
24. Never think that you have reached the final stage of knowledge and nobody knows more than yourself. Remember! Above everyone endowed with knowledge is another endowed with more knowledge [12/76]. Even the Prophet [p.b.u.h] was asked to keep praying, "O My sustainer! Advance me in knowledge." [20:114]
25. The believers are but a single Brotherhood. Live like members of one family, brothers and
sisters unto one another [49/10].
26. Do not make mockery of others or ridicule others [49/11]
27. Do not defame others [49/11]
28. Do not insult others by nicknames [49/11]
29. Avoid suspicion and guesswork. Suspicion and guesswork might deplete your communal
energy [49/12]
30. Spy not upon one another [49/12]
31. Do not backbite one another [49/12]
32. When you meet each other, offer good wishes and blessings for safety. One who conveys to
You a message of safety and security and also when a courteous greeting is offered to you,
Meet it with a greeting still more courteous or (at least) of equal courtesy [4/86]
33. When you enter your own home or the home of somebody else, compliment the inmates
[24/61]
34. Do not enter houses other than your own until you have sought permission; and then greet
the inmates and wish them a life of blessing, purity and pleasure [24/27]
35. Treat kindly Your parents
" Relatives
" The orphans
" And those who have been left alone in the society [4/36]
36. Take care of The needy
" The disabled
" Those whose hard earned income is insufficient to meet their needs
" And those whose business have stalled
" And those who have lost their jobs. [4/36]
37. Treat kindly Your related neighbors and unrelated neighbors
" Companions by your side in public gathering, or public transportation. [4/36]
38. Be generous to the needy wayfarer, the homeless son of the street, and the one who reaches
you in a destitute condition [4/36]
39. Be nice to people who work under your care. [4/36]
40. Do not follow up what you have given to others to afflict them with reminders of your
generosity [2/262].
41. Do not expect a return for your good behavior, not even thanks [76/9].
42. Cooperate with one another in good deeds and do not cooperate with others in evil and bad
matters [5/2]
43. Do not try to impress people on account of self-proclaimed virtues [53/32]
44. You should enjoin right conduct on others but mend your own ways first. Actions speak
louder than words. You must first practice good deeds yourself, then preach [2/44]
45. Correct yourself and your families first [before trying to correct others] [66/6]
46. Pardon gracefully if anyone among you who commits a bad deed out of ignorance, and then
repents and amends [6/54, 3/134]-
47. Divert and sublimate your anger and potentially virulent emotions to creative energy, and
become a source of tranquility and comfort to people [3/134]
48. Call people to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful exhortation. Reason with
Them most decently [16/125]
49. Leave to themselves those who do not give any importance to the Divine code and have
Adopted and consider it as mere play and amusement [6/70]
50. Sit not in the company of those who ridicule Divine Law unless they engage in some other
Conversation [4/140]
51. Do not be jealous of those who are blessed [4/54]
52. In your collective life, make rooms for others [58/11]
53. When invited to dine, Go at the appointed time. Do not arrive too early to wait for the
preparation of meal or linger after eating to engage in bootless babble. Such things may
cause inconvenience to the host [33/53]
54. Eat and drink [what is lawful] in moderation [7/31]
55. Do not squander your wealth senselessly [17/26]
56. Fulfill your promises and commitments [17/34]
57. Keep yourself clean, pure [9/108, 4/43, 5/6]
58. Dress-up in agreeable attire and adorn yourself with exquisite character from inside out
[7/26]
59. Seek your provision only by fair endeavor [29/17, 2/188]
60. Do not devour the wealth and property of others unjustly, nor bribe the officials

What is istinjaa’?

Question:
This is quite an embarrassing question which I am finding difficult to ask anyone. Please could you tell me exactly which parts are you supposed to wash when doing istinjaa? Is it sufficient to just wash the orifices or should one wash the whole penis and the areas where one has pubic hair in this region?

Answer:

Praise be to Allaah.

Istinjaa’ is obligatory; this means removing whatever has been passed from the front or back passages (urine/faeces) with water, stones, or anything else that is pure and will remove the impurity (najaasah) – such as pebbles or coarse tissue paper, or clean pieces of paper on which there is no mention of Allaah or any of His names – apart from bones and dung. This is to be done when something impure is emitted, of stools or urine.

But if nothing has come out apart from passing wind, then it is not obligatory to do instinjaa’.

With regard to what has to be washed, if a person has passed urine, then it is sufficient for him to wash the end of the penis, to cleanse it of urine. It is not prescribed for him to wash the anus, because nothing has come out of it.

In the case of the back passage, he has to remove any dirt from it, then wash the anal sphincter to cleanse it of any dirt that may be attached to it.

There is no doubt that if the urine or stools go beyond the place where they come out, those areas must also be washed, and the impurity and dirt must be removed from them.

This is a summary of the etiquette of relieving oneself, which it is mustahabb for the Muslim to observe when relieving himself.

1 – It is Sunnah to say “Bismillaah (in the name of Allaah)” when entering the washroom, because it was narrated from ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The eyes of the jinn are blocked from seeing the ‘awraat (private parts) of the sons of Adam when one of them says, on entering the washroom, ‘Bismillaah.’”

(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi).

It was also proven in the hadeeth of Anas that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min al-khubthi wa’l-khabaa’ith (O Allaah, I seek refuge in You from all offensive and wicked things (evil deeds and evil spirits).”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, al-Wudoo’, 139)

2 – He should enter with his left foot first, and exit with his right foot first.

3 – If he wants to relieve himself in a place that is not designated for that purpose, it is recommended for him to go far away (from people).

4 – He should not face the qiblah *direction of prayer) or turn his back towards it when relieving himself, because of the hadeeth narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in which he said: “When any one of you needs to defecate, let him not face the qiblah or turn his back toward it; face east or west” [because Makkah is south of Madeenah – Translator].” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari).

5 – When urinating, a person must be careful not to let drops of urine land on his clothes or body, because it was narrated in the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas that “the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) passed by one of the gardens of Madeenah or Makkah, and he heard the voices of two men who were being punished in their graves. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘They are being punished but they are not being punished for a major sin.’ Then he said, ‘No, one of them used not to take precautions to protect himself from his urine, and the other used to go about spreading slander.’ Then he called for a palm-branch, which he broke in two and placed each piece on a grave, It was said to him, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, why did you do that?’ He said, ‘May their torment be reduced so long as these do not dry out’ or ‘until these dry out.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari)

6 – He should not hold his penis with his right hand whilst urinating, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When any one of you goes to the lavatory, he should neither touch his penis nor clean his private parts with his right hand.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari)

7 – It is not permissible to relieve oneself in the street or in the shade, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Beware of two things which provoke cursing.” They said, “What are the two things which provoke cursing, O Messenger of Allaah?” He said, “Relieving oneself on the street or in the shade.” (Narrated by Muslim)

8 – It is makrooh to speak whilst relieving oneself.

9 – It is mustahabb when coming out of the washroom to say “Ghufraanak (I ask You (Allaah) for Your forgiveness),” because it was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came out of the washroom, he would say, ‘Ghufraanak.’”

(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi)

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Prophet's Care for People With Special Needs

By Muhammad Mus`ad Yaqut is an Egyptian preacher and researcher. He prepares and presents programs on the Egyptian TV and other Arab satellite channels. He is a member of the Afro-Asian Writers' Association.


The civilized world has recently paid attention to people with special needs. This started after it had cast aside corrupt, racist theories calling for neglecting them on the false grounds that people with special needs are not of any benefit to the society. A report issued by the United Nations International Labour Organization in 2000 estimated the number of those with special needs to be more than 610 million, out of which 400 million live in developing countries. According to the World Bank's statistics, this category represents 15 percent of the world's population.

In Early Societies

A cursory look at the history of the West shows the blatant neglect and persecution of people with special needs that culminated in killing disabled babies in some old European societies. Superstitious beliefs were responsible for this setback. For example, it was believed that people suffering from intellectual disabilities were possessed by devils and evil spirits. Even philosophers and scholars held such ideas. The laws of the legendary lawgiver of Sparta , Lycurgus, and the Athenian philosopher and lawmaker Solon allowed getting rid of those who had disabilities that made them unable to work or engage in war. Moreover, the renowned philosopher Plato came and declared that those who have special needs are a malicious category constituting a burden on the society and a damaging factor to his Republic. Likewise, English philosopher Herbert Spenser (1820-1903) called on the society to deny those with special needs any kind of help, claiming that this category constitutes a useless, heavy burden for a society to carry.

Whereas, the pre-Islamic Arabs — though they used to kill their female babies for fear of possible disgrace — were less hardhearted and more compassionate toward those afflicted with adversities and the chronically ill. They, however, abstained from sharing food or sitting at a meal with those who had special needs.

When the world was floundering between theories that called for the execution of the mentally disabled and other theories that called for employing them in drudgery, the East and the West, at long last, rightly arrived at the idea of the perfect care for people with special needs. That being the case, we, on the other hand, do see how our Messenger, the educator and teacher, (peace and blessings be upon him) was so merciful toward this type of people.

The Prophet and People WithSpecial Needs

It is narrated on the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that a woman, somewhat mentally defected, said, " O Messenger of Allah! I have a need that I want you to meet. He responded, "O mother of so and so, choose the way you like to walk in so that I may know your need and meet it." He walked with her in some route until she had her need fulfilled (Muslim).

This is, of course, a proof of his forbearance, humility, and patience in answering the needs of those with special needs. It, also, serves a legal proof that a ruler is obligated to care for people with special needs, socially, economically, and psychologically, and that the ruler should fulfill their needs and grant their requests.

The forms of such care include, but are not restricted to the following:

· Medication and regular check-up

· Proper education and training

· Assigning some workers to take care of them

Following this merciful Prophetic course, `Umar ibn `Abdul-`Aziz (may Allah be pleased with him) asked rulers of the provinces to send him the names of all those blind, crippled, or with a chronic illness that prevented them from establishing salah. So they sent him their names. He, in turn, ordered that every blind man should have an employee to guide and look after him, and that every two chronically ill persons — those with special needs — be attended by a servant to serve and care for them (Ibn Al-Jawzi).

The same course was taken by Umayyad caliph Al-Waleed ibn `Abdul-Malik (may Allah have mercy on him). The idea of the establishment of institutes or centers for the care of people with special needs was his. In AH 88 (707 CE), he ordered the establishment of a foundation specialized in looking after them. Doctors and servants, paid fixed stipends, were employed in this foundation. He granted a regular allowance to persons with special needs, and told them, "Do not beg people." Thereby, he made them sufficient enough to not beg others. In addition, he appointed employees to serve all those who were disabled, crippled, or blind (Ibn Kathir, At-Tabari).

Honoring Them and Meeting Their Needs

It happened in a well-known incident that Prophet Muhammad frowned at the face of a blind man, `Abdullah ibn Umm Maktoum (may Allah be pleased with him) when he came to ask the Prophet about a Shari `ah matter. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was sitting at that time with a group of noble and high-placed people attempting to win them over toward Islam. Although the blind man did not see nor perceive his frowning face, yet Allah (the Mighty and Exalted) blamed His Messenger for doing this, saying what means in the Qur'an, (He frowned and turned away, that the blind man came to him. And what makes you realize whether he would possibly (try) to cleanse himself? Or that he would constantly remember, and the Reminding would profit him?) (`Abasa 80:1-4).

Afterwards, the Prophet used to meet that blind man with a welcoming and smiling face, saying to him, "Welcome to a man for whom my Lord has blamed me!" (Al-Qurtubi).

Forgiving the Fool and the Ignorant

The beloved Prophet's mercy toward those with special needs, his forgiveness to the ignorant and his forbearance toward the fool did most evidently emerge in the battle of Uhud (Shawwal AH 3/ April 624 CE). It is reported that when the Prophet headed along with his army toward Uhud, intending to pass by a farm owned by a blind hypocrite, the latter insulted the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). The blind man picked a handful of dust and insolently said to the Prophet, "By Allah, if I am certain that none but you will be affected by it, I will definitely throw it at you." The Companions of the Prophet were about to kill that blind person, but the Prophet forbade them, saying, "Leave him alone" (Ibn Kathir).

The Prophet did not capitalize on the fact that the blind man was weak; he did not order that he be killed or even harmed, though the Muslim army was on its way to battle and the situation was critical and the nerves were tense. Despite this, when the blind hypocrite stood in the army's way and said what he said and did what he did, Allah's Messenger refused but to forgive and pardon him, as it is not becoming of Muslim fighters, let alone the Prophet, to attack or harm those who are handicapped and disabled. It was his approach to behave kindly toward them, take a lesson from their condition, and supplicate Allah to cure them.

Consoling Them

It is reported on the authority of `A'ishah(may Allah be pleased with her) that she said, "I heard Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) say, 'Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, revealed to me that whosoever takes a route of seeking knowledge, the route to Paradise will be made easy for him, and that I (Allah) will reward the one whose two dear things (that's his eyes) were taken away from him with Paradise" (Al-Baihaqiandauthenticated by Al-Albani).

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), addressing all who have illnesses and disabilities, said, "No Muslim is pricked with a thorn, or anything larger than that, except that a hasanah will be recorded for him and a sin will be erased as a reward for that"(Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

There exists in these Prophetic texts andhadith qudsi comfort and glad tidings for everyone with a certain disability; if they exhibit patience at their adversity, being content with the trial Allah has afflicted them with, anticipating the reward from Allah alone for their disability, Allah will recompense their with Paradise.

`Amr ibn Al-Gamouh was a lame man. However he insisted on participating with the Muslims in the battle of Uhud where he was martyred. The prophet passed by his body and said, "As though I could see you walking with this leg of yours, being heard, in Paradise" (Authenticated by Al-Albani).

It is narrated that the Messenger of Allah left Ibn Umm Maktoum twice as his successor in Madinah to lead the prayer, though he was blind (Ahmad).

And it is reported on the authority of `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that Ibn Umm Maktoum was a muezzin of Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) though he was blind (Muslim).

It is narrated via Sa`id ibn Al-Mosayyab (may Allah have mercy on him) that when Muslims would go on their expeditions, they used to leave those among them who were chronically ill, submit the keys of their doors to them, saying, "We have made it lawful for you to partake of our houses' food" (Ar-Razi).

Al-Hasan ibn Muhammad said, "I entered upon Abi Zayd Al-Ansari, who called out the Adhan and Iqamah while he was sitting." He added, "a man advanced and led us in prayer. That man was lame whose leg was hit in the Cause of Allah, the Exalted" (Al-Baihaqi).

Thus was the Prophet's society, a society that was marked by mutual support, cooperation, and unity in consoling, honoring, and respecting those with special needs. For all of this, the course of the merciful Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was the role model in dealing with those who have special needs.

Visiting Them

Visiting the sick in general, and the disabled in particular, was legislated by Islam for the purpose of relieving their suffering. A disabled person, compared to a sound one, is closer to withdrawal, isolation, a pessimistic view, and psychological illness. So, neglecting the disabled in social occasions, such as visits and marriage, is wrong.

The Prophet used to visit the sick, pray for them and console them, instilling confidence in their souls and covering their hearts and faces with happiness and joy. He could once go to someone in the outskirts of Madinah particularly to answer a simple need of his or hers or to perform salah in the house of an afflicted one, as granting of his or her request.

An example of this was `Etban ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him); he was a blind man from Ansar. He said to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), "I wish that you, O Messenger of Allah, would come and perform salah in my house so that I would take it as a place of prayer." As a reply, the Prophet promised to visit him and perform prayer, so humbly saying, "I will do, if Allah so wills."

`Etban said, "Allah's Messenger and Abu Bakr came early in the morning. Allah's Messenger asked for permission to enter, which I gave." Without sitting, he immediately entered and said, "In which part of your house do you like me to pray?" I pointed to a certain place in the house, so the Messenger of Allah stood and started praying and we, in turn, stood and he lined us in a row. He performed a two-rak`ah prayer, ending it with taslim (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Praying for Them

The mercy of the Prophet of Islam toward people with special needs was so manifest as well when he legislated the supplication for them as a way to encourage them to endure afflictions. He desired to create will and build resolve in their souls.

Once a blind man entered into the presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said, "Supplicate Allah to cure me." He (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, "I shall supplicate if you will, yet it would be better for you if you choose to keep patient." The man asked the Prophet to make du`aa' for him. Then, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered him to perform wudu' well and say the following du`aa': "My Lord, I implore you and turn to you, having your Prophet Muhammad as an intercessor for me, so that my need may be answered. O Lord, make him an intercessor for me and accept his intercession." (At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

Also:

A woman, who would usually have epileptic fits, came to the Prophet and said, "I do have epileptic fits that, as a result, cause parts of my body to be revealed. So, pray to Allah for me."

To this came the reply of the Prophet, "If you will, be patient and Paradise will be your reward. And if you will, I shall supplicate Allah to cure you."

She said, "I choose patience." Then she said, "But parts of my body to be revealed, so pray to Allah that this will not happen." And the Prophet prayed for her. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Prohibition of Mocking Them

People with special needs, in some societies of Europe, were taken as objects of mockery, amusement, or fun. The handicapped would, therefore, find themselves stuck between two fires: the fire of exclusion and isolation on one hand, and the fire of derision and malicious joy on the other. Accordingly, the society would turn, within itself, into an abode of estrangement, persecution, and separation.

However, Islamic law came to forbid ridiculing all people in general, and the afflicted in particular. Allah the Exalted revealed most evident Quranic verses stressing the prohibition of such an ignorant attribute of pre-Islamic era; these verses read what means:

(O you who believe,let notafolk deride a folk who may be better than they (are), not let women (deride) women who may be better than they are; neither defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. Bad is the name of lewdness after faith. And whoso turneth not in repentance, such are evil-doers.) (Al-Hujurat 49:11)

It is also authentically reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Pride is the rejection of the truth and looking down at people" (Muslim). Perhaps the afflicted one is higher in rank in Allah's sight and has a precedence over people in terms of knowledge, jihad, piety, chastity, and good manners. Let alone the general and decisive rule set by the Prophet: "Indeed, Allah has made your blood, your wealth, and your honor forbidden for you, one to another" (Al-Bukhari).

Additionally, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has warned in such a strict manner against misleading the blind away from their path or harming them or making them an object of fun and mockery: "Cursed is he who misleads a blind person away from his path" (Authenticated by Al-Albani).

This carries a severe threat for those who take the congenital defects as a method of fun, amusement, or derision, and for those who look down at those who are defected. People afflicted with certain defects could be a brother or sister, father or mother, son or daughter, tested by Allah, so that we may take a lesson from their condition and recognize the power of Allah; not for the purpose of making them an object of entertainment and fun.

Breaking Their Isolation

The pre-Islamic society used to boycott people with special needs, isolate them, and prevent them from leading normal lives, such as their right to marriage or even interaction with people.

Before Islam, people of Madinah used to prevent the lame, the blind, and the diseased from sharing food with them, because they deemed them disgusting. On this, Allah the Exalted revealed what means,

(No blame is there upon the blind nor any blame upon the lame nor any blame upon the sick nor on yourselves if you eat from your houses, or the houses of your fathers, or the houses of your mothers, or the houses of your brothers, or the houses of your sisters, or the houses of your fathers' brothers, or the houses of your fathers' sisters, or the houses of your mothers' brothers, or the houses of your mothers' sisters, or (from that) whereof you hold the keys, or (from the house) of a friend.Nosinshall it be for you whether you eat together or apart.Butwhenyou enter houses, salute one another with a greeting from Allah, blessed and sweet.ThusAllah maketh clear His revelations for you, that haply you may understand.) (An-Nur 24:61)

It is indicated here that there is no harm in jointly partaking of food with the sick, the blind, and the lame. They are people just like ourselves, having the same rights as ours. So, Muslims do not boycott, isolate, or forsake them, for the most honorable among Muslims in Allah's sight are the most pious, regardless of anything else. Besides, there is a hadith that reads "Allah looks at neither your appearances nor your wealth; rather, He looks at your hearts and your deeds" (Muslim).

Thus, the Qur'an has been revealed as a mercy for people with special needs, consoling, relieving, and supporting them. It saves them from the most dangerous psychological diseases that may affect them if they happen to suffer from isolation and withdrawal from social life.

Unlike what some societies had done, Islam permitted people with special needs to marry, for they have hearts, emotions, and feelings, just like others. The right to marriage was, therefore, established for them so long as they have the ability needed for that.

They have rights as well as obligations. Muslims did not exploit the weakness of those with special needs; Muslims did not take away their due rights or deny them their rightful property. It is narrated that `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "If any man marries a woman who is insane or leper and touches her (i.e. have intercourse with her), then the whole dower becomes due to her" (Ahmad).

Removing Difficulties and Hardships

Among the forms of mercy toward people with special needs is the fact that Shari`ah takes them into consideration with regard to many of the obligatory rulings, removes the difficulties they might encounter, and makes things easy for them.

On the authority of ZaydibnThabit(may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) dictated to him the verse that says what means: (Those of the believers who sit still … are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah with their wealth and lives) (An-Nisaa' 4:95).He said, "IbnUmm Maktoumcamewhile the Prophet was dictating it to me to write it down, and said, 'O Messenger of Allah, if I was capable of jihad, I would certainly do;'" he was a blind man. Zayd ibn Thabit further said, "Then, Allah, Almighty and Exalted be He, revealed to His Messenger, (other than those who have a (disabling) hurt)" (An-Nisaa' 4:95). (Al-Bukhari)

Relieving the burdens of people with special needs, Almighty Allah says what means:

(There is no restriction on the blind, nor is there restriction on the lame, nor is there restriction on the sick. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, He will cause him to enter Gardens from beneath which rivers run; and whoever turns away, He will torment him with a painful torment.)(Al-Fath 48:17)

Thus, Almighty Allah absolved them from the obligation of jihad in the battlefields. They may carry arms and go to battle voluntarily only. An example of this is the story reported by Ibn Hisham of `Amr ibn Al-Gamouh (may Allah be pleased with him) in the battle of Uhud. He was a lame man who had four sons who used to engage alongside the Messenger of Allah in all serious events. When the Day of Uhud drew so nigh, they wanted to keep him back, telling him, "Allah the Glorified and Exalted has excused you!" So he went to the Messenger of Allah and said, "My sons want to prevent me from going out to fight with you. Yet, by Allah, I wish to tread with this crippled leg of mine in Paradise! The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, "As for you, Allah did indeed excuse you, so you are not obligated to engage in jihad." Then the Prophet said to his sons, "Do not keep him back; perhaps Allah will grant him martyrdom." Ibn Hisham went out with the army and fell a martyr on the Day of Uhud (Ibn Hisham).

Nevertheless, the relief enjoyed by the handicapped under the Islamic law is distinguished by balance and moderation. A disabled person should be relieved in proportion to his disability and be obligated according to his ability. Al-Qurtubi says,

Verily, Allah absolved the blind from the duties that necessitate eyesight, the crippled from the duties that involve walking or cannot be done with lameness, and the sick from the duties canceled on account of sickness, such as fasting, the conditions and pillars of salah, and jihad and so forth. (Al-Qurtubi)

The blind and the insane are examples of this; the former is charged with all the Shari`ah obligations except for certain duties such as jihad. As for the latter, Allah Almighty has absolved them from all obligations. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) made it clear that three types of people are not accountable: "a sleeping person till he wakes up, a child till he grows up, and an insane person till he turns sane" (Ibn Majah).

A madman shall not be punished in any way, no matter what mistakes he may make or crimes he may commit.

Thus was the approach of the Prophet in dealing with people with special needs at a time the rights of those people were not recognized whatsoever by any people or regime. So, the Islamic law came and defined the comprehensive and perfect care for people with special needs. It has put them on a good place within the priorities of the Muslim society. It has legislated the forgiveness of the fool and ignorant among them. It has honored their afflicted ones, especially those who have certain talents, useful crafts, or successful experiences. It has also encouraged visiting and praying for them. It has prohibited ridiculing them. It breaks their isolation and boycott, lightens the rules for them and absolves them from their obligations. Excellent indeed is the law of Islam and its Prophet!



Sources:

Al-Qurtubi, Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Abi Bakr, Al-Jami` li Ahkam Al-Qur'an.

Ar-Razi, Fakhr Ad-Din, Mafatih Al-Ghaib.

At-Tabari, Muhammad ibn Jarir. TarikhAr-Rusul wa Al-Mulouk.

Ibn Al-Jawzi, Sirat`Umar ibn `Abdul-`Aziz.

Ibn Hisham, `Abdul-Malik ibn Hisham ibn Ayoub, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyah.

Ibn Kathir, Isma`il ibn `Amr Al-Basri, Al-Bidayah wa An-Nihayah.

DO YOU KNOW?*

· Shakespeare invented the word 'assassination' and 'bump'.

· Stewardesses is the longest word typed with only the left hand.

· The ant always falls over on its right side when intoxicated.

· The electric chair was invented by a dentist.

· The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to Squirt blood 30 feet.

· Wearing headphones for just an hour will increase the bacteria in your ear By 700 times.

· Ants don't sleep .

· Owls have eyeballs that are tubular in shape, because of this, they cannot move their eyes.

· A bird requires more food in proportion to its size than a baby or a cat.

· The mouse is the most common mammal in the US.

· A newborn kangaroo is about 1 inch in length.

· A cow gives nearly 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime.

· The Canary Islands were not named for a bird called a canary. They were named after a breed of large dogs. The Latin name was Canariae insulae -"Island of Dogs."

· There are 701 types of pure breed dogs.

· A polecat is not a cat. It is a nocturnal European weasel.

· The animal responsible for the most human deaths world-wide is the mosquito.

· The biggest pig in recorded history was Big Boy of Black Mountain, North Carolina, who was weighed at 1,904 pounds in 1939.

· Cats respond most readily to names that end in an "ee" sound.

· A cat cannot see directly under its nose. This is why the cat cannot seem to find tidbits on the floor.

· Pigs, walruses and light-colored horses can be sunburned.

· Snakes are immune to their own poison.

· An iguana can stay under water for 28 minutes.

· Cats have more than one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten.

· The biggest member of the cat family is the male lion, which weighs 528 pounds (240 kilograms).

· Most lipstick contains fish scales.

· Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over a million descendants.

· Each day in the US, animal shelters are forced to destroy 30,000 dogs and cats.

· A shrimp's heart is in their head.

· A pregnant goldfish is called a twit.

· A cockroach will live nine days without its head, before it starves to death.

· The cat lover is an ailurophile, while a cat hater is an ailurophobe.

· A woodpecker can peck twenty times a second.

· It may take longer than two days for a chick to break out of its shell.

· Dragonflies are one of the fastest insects, flying 50 to 60 mph.

· Despite man's fear and hatred of the wolf, it has not ever been proved that a non-rabid wolf ever attacked a human.

· There are more than 100 million dogs and cats in the United States.

· Americans spend more than 5.4 billion dollars on their pets each year.

· Cat's urine glows under a black light .

· The largest cockroach on record is one measured at 3.81 inches in
length.

· It is estimated that a single toad may catch and eat as many as 10,000 insects in the course of a summer.

· Amphibians eyes come in a variety shapes and sizes. Some even have square or heart-shaped pupils.

· It would require an average of 18 hummingbirds to weigh in at 1 ounce.

· Dogs that do not tolerate small children well are the St. Bernard, the Old English sheep dog, the Alaskan malamute, the bull terrier, and the toy poodle.

· Moles are able to tunnel through 300 feet of earth in a day.

· Howler monkeys are the noisiest land animals. Their calls can be heard over 2 miles away.

· A quarter of the horses in the US died of a vast virus epidemic in 1872.

· The fastest bird is the Spine-tailed swift, clocked at speeds of up to 220 miles per hour.

. There is no single cat called the panther. The name is commonly applied to the leopard, but it is also used to refer to the puma and the jaguar. A black panther is really a black leopard. A capon is a castrated rooster.

· The world's largest rodent is the Capybara. An Amazon water hog that looks like a guinea pig, it can weigh more than 100 pounds.

· The poison-arrow frog has enough poison to kill about 2,200 people.

· The hummingbird, the loon, the swift, the kingfisher, and the grebe are all birds that cannot walk.

· The poisonous copperhead snake smells like fresh cut cucumbers.

· A chameleon's tongue is twice the length of its body.

· Worker ants may live seven years and the queen may live as long as 15 years.

· The blood of mammals is red, the blood of insects is yellow, and the blood of lobsters is blue.

· Cheetahs make a chirping sound that is much like a bird's chirp or a dog's yelp. The sound is so an intense, it can be heard a mile away.

· The underside of a horse's hoof is called a frog. The frog peels off several times a year with new growth.

· The bloodhound is the only animal whose evidence is admissible in an American court. 98% of brown bears in the United States are in Alaska.

· Before air conditioning was invented, white cotton slipcovers were put on furniture to keep the air cool.

· The Barbie doll has more than 80 careers.

· To make one pound of whole milk cheese, 10 pounds of whole milk is needed.

· 99% of pumpkins that are sold for decoration.

· Every 30 seconds a house fire doubles in size.

· The month of December is the most popular month for weddings in the Philippines.

· A one ounce milk chocolate bar has 6 mg of caffeine.

· Carbon monoxide can kill a person in less than 15 minutes.

· The largest ever hailstone weighed over 1kg and fell in Bangladesh in 1986.

· Ants can live up to 16 years.

· In Belgium, there is a museum that is just for strawberries.

· The sense of smell of an ant is just as good as a dog's.

· Popped popcorn should be stored in the freezer or refrigerator as this way it can stay crunchy for up to three weeks.

· Coca-Cola was originally green.

· The most common name in the world is Mohammed.

· The name of all the continents end with the same letter that they start with.

· The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue.

· TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row ! of the keyboard.

· Women blink nearly twice as much as men!!

· You can't kill yourself by holding your breath.

· It is impossible to lick your elbow.

· People say "Bless you " when you sneeze because when you sneeze, your heart stops for a millisecond.

· It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.

· The "sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick" is said to be the toughest

· tongue twister in the English language.

· If you sneeze too hard, you can fracture a rib. If you try to suppress a sneeze, you can rupture a blood vessel in your head or neck and die.

· Each king in a deck of playing cards represents great king from
history.

Spades - King David

Clubs - Alexander the Great,

Hearts - Charlemagne

Diamonds - Julius Caesar.

· 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

· If a statue of a person in the park on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

· What do bullet proof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers and laser printers all have in common? Ans. - All invented by women.

. Question - This is the only food that doesn't spoil. What is this?
Ans. - HoneY.

. A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.

. A snail can sleep for three years.

. All polar bears are left handed.

· American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first-class.

· Butterflies taste with their feet.

· Elephants are the only animals that can't jump.

· In the last 4000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.

· On average, people fear spiders more than they do death.

· The cigarette lighter was invented before the match.

· Most lipstick contains fish scales.

· Like fingerprints, everyone's tongue print is different.

· Tapeworms range in size from about 0.04 inch to more than 50 feet in
length.

· A baby bat is called a pup.

· German Shepherds bite humans more than any other breed of dog.

· A female mackerel lays about 500,000 eggs at one time.

· It takes 35 to 65 minks to produce the average mink coat. The numbers for other types of fur coats are: beaver - 15; fox - 15 to 25; ermine - 150; chinchilla - 60 to 100 .

Fitrah - The Natural Way

The Prophet Muhammad - the Final Messenger of God, may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him, reported that God the Exalted said: "I created My servants on the right religion, but the devils made them go astray." (Sahih Muslim)

The Prophet Muhammad - the Final Messenger of God, may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him, also said: "Each child is born in a state of fitrah, but his parents make him a Jew or a Christian." (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

In an Islamic context, Fitrah is humanity's innate disposition towards monotheism, virtue and the ability to differentiate between right and wrong. Muslims believe every child is born upon fitrah, including those in non-Muslim communities, and that without external influence, these children would come to worship Allah on their own.

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘Five things are part of the fitrah: removing the pubic hair (from the front & back), circumcision, trimming the moustache, plucking the armpit hairs, and trimming the nails (finger & toe-nails).” (Reported by al-jamaa’ah)

Shaving pubic hairs (Applies to Men & Women)

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) set a time limit of forty days, and the hair should not be left any longer than that,because of the hadeeth of Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said: “He set us a time limit of no more than forty days for trimming the moustache, clipping the nails, plucking the armpit hairs and shaving the pubic hair.” (Bukhaari and Muslim)

The fuqaha’ (scolars of Islamic law) discussed the proper etiquette of removing the pubic hair and said that it is mustahabb to start shaving the pubic hair from beneath the navel, and to start on the right hand side, and one should also be concealed from the sight of others when doing this. One should also bury their hair and nail clippings.

The reasons behind removing this dirty hair also applies to the hair on the testicles and around the anus, because the purpose of it is to be comepletly clean and pure from anything that may cause dirt and impurities to cling to the body. In this case, removing this hair is a good thing. With the regard to women, the rulings on removing the pubic hair are the same as the rulings for men.

Plucking underarm hairs (Applies to Men & Women)

It is best to pluck the armpit hairs and shave the pubic hairs. But, there is no harm if they are removed by different means, such as shaving.

There is no harm in the woman removing her leg and arm hairs. Removing eyebrow hairs is not allowed. The Messenger of Allah (saw) cursed the one who does the removing and the one who has it done. This is in reference to the one who has eyebrow hairs removed.

Circumcision (Applies to Men)

Male circumcision is obligatory for the Muslim male if he is able to do it. If, however, he is unable, or if a respected and authoritative doctor has told him that he will experience profuse bleeding which will may make his life miserable, then the obligation for cirumcision is waived and he does not commit a sin by not having it done.

Clipping one's fingernails (Applies to Men & Women)

Letting the nails grow long is makrooh (disliked), if not haraam, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) set a time limit for cutting the nails, and said that they should not be left for more than forty days. (Muslim).

Trimming his moustache (Applies to Men)

Ibn 'Umar related that the Messenger of Allah said, "Differ from the polytheists: let your beards (grow)" and shave your moustache." (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

One should make sure that his moustache is not so long that food particles, drink and dirt accumulate in it. Zaid ibn Arqam related that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said "Whoever does not take (off) some of his moustache is not one of us." (Related by Ahmad, an-Nasa'i and at-Tirmizhi)

It is preferred to cut the pubic hairs, pluck (or shave) out the underarm hairs, cut the nails and trim the moustache on a weekly basis, a practice which is most hygenic. If some unnecessary hair is left on the body for a longer period of time, it may disturb the person. One may leave this action for forty days, but no longer. Said Anas, "The time period for us to trim the moustache, cut the nails, pluck out the underarm hairs and cut the pubic hairs was forty nights." (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and others).

Letting one's beard grow and become thick

Shaving the beard is haraam because of the saheeh ahaadeeth that clearly state this, and because of the general application of texts that forbid resembling the kuffaar. One of these reports is the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar who said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Be different from the mushrikeen: let your beards grow and trim your moustaches.” There are other hadeeth which convey the same meaning, which is to leave the beard as it is and let it grow long, without shaving, plucking or cutting any part of it. Ibn Hazm reported that there was scholarly consensus that it is an obligation (fard) to trim the moustache and let the beard grow. He quoted a number of ahaadeeth as evidence, including the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) quoted above, and the hadeeth of Zayd ibn Arqam in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever does not remove any of his moustache is not one of us.” (Tirmidhi).

Is it haraam (to shave it)? Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “The Qur’aan, Sunnah and ijmaa’ (scholarly consensus) all indicate that we must differ from the kuffaar in all aspects and not imitate them, because imitating them on the outside will make us imitate them in their bad deeds and habits, and even in beliefs, which will result in befriending them in our hearts, just as loving them in our hearts will lead to imitating them on the outside. Al-Tirmidhi reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “He is not one of us who imitates people other than us. Do not imitate the Jews and Christians.” According to another version: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad) ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab rejected the testimony of the person who plucked his beard. Imaam Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said in al-Tamheed: “It is forbidden to shave the beard, and no one does this except men who are effeminate” i.e., those who imitate women. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had a thick beard (reported by Muslim from Jaabir). It is not permitted to remove any part of the beard because of the general meaning of the texts which forbid doing so.

Oiling and combing one's hair

Abu Hurairah reported the Prophet, upon whom be peace, as saying, "Whoever has hair should honour it." (Related by Abu Dawud.)

Said 'Ata ibn Yasar, "A man came to the Prophet (saw) with unkempt hair and an untidy beard. The Prophet pointed to him, as if ordering him to straighten his hair and beard. He did so and returned. Thereupon the Prophet observed, 'Is that not better than one of you coming with his hair unkempt, as if he were a devil?"' (Related by Malik.)

Abu Qatadah related that he had a great amount of hair. He asked the Prophet, "O Messenger of Allah, I have lots of hair. Should I comb it?" He answered, "Yes ... and honour it." Abu Qatadah used to oil it twice a day due to the Prophet's words, "... and honor it."

Cutting one's hair off is permissible, and so is letting it grow if one honors it. Ibn 'Umar narrated that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "Shave it all or leave it all." (Related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa'i). To shave part of the head and to leave part of it (e.g. short back and sides) is greatly disliked. Nafa' related from Ibn 'Umar that the Messenger of Allah prohibited qiza'. Nafa' asked, "What is qiza' ?" He said, "It is to shave off part of the hair of a youth and to leave part." (Bukhari and Muslim.)

Leaving grey hairs in place

This applies to both men and women. 'Amr ibn Shu'aib related on the authority of his father from his grandfather that the Prophet said, "Do not pluck the grey hairs as they are a Muslim's light. Never a Muslim grows grey in Islam except that Allah writes for him, due to that, a good deed. And he raises him a degree. And he erases for him, due to that, one of his sins." (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi, an-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah.) And Anas said, "We used to hate that a man should pluck out his white hairs from his head or beard." (Related by Muslim. )

Changing the color of grey hair by using henna, red dye, yellow dye, and so on

It is not permitted for a man to die his beard black because of the reports which command us to avoid that and forbid us to do it. Abu Dawood reported from Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah who said: “Abu Quhaafah was brought on the day of the Conquest of Makkah, and his head and beard were like thughaamah (a plant whose leaves and flowers are intensely white) because they were so white. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘Change this white hair, but avoid black.’” (Reported by Muslim, al-Nisaa’i and Ibn Maajah). Ahmad, Abu Dawood and al-Nisaa’i reported from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘There will be a people at the end of time who will dye their hair black like the crops of pigeons; they will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise.’” But it is encouraged to change grey or white hair by dyeing it any other colour except black, because of the hadeeth of Jaabir quoted above.

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "The Jews and Christians do not dye, so differ from them." (Related by "the group.") Abu Zharr reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "The best thing that one can use to change the color of grey hairs is henna and katm (a reddish dye)." (Related by "the five.")

To use musk and other types of perfume

These are pleasing to the soul and beautify the atmosphere. Anas reported the Messenger of Allah as saying, "Among the things of this world, I love women and perfume, and the coolness of my eyes is prayer." (Related by Ahmad and an-Nasa'i.) Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "If someone offers perfume, do not reject it, for it is light to carry and has a sweet scent." (Related by Muslim, an-Nasa'i and Abu Dawud.) Abu Sa'eed reported that the Prophet said about musk, "It is the best of perfumes." (Related by "the group," except for al-Bukhari and Ibn Majah).

These Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade women to wear perfume when they go out of their houses:

Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari said: the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Any woman who puts on perfume then passes by people so that they can smell her fragrance, is an adulteress.”

Moosa ibn Yassaar said that a woman passed by Abu Hurayrah and her scent was overpowering. He said, “O female slave of al-Jabbaar (Allah), are you going to the mosque?” She said, “Yes,” He said, “And have you put on perfume because of that?” She said, “Yes.” He said, “Go back and wash yourself, for I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: ‘If a woman comes out to the mosque and her fragrance is overpowering, Allaah will not accept any prayer from her until she goes home and washes herself.’”

Men are like

Nowadays, 80% of women are against marriage, WHY? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage.

1. Men are like . .... Laxatives . ..... They irritate the crap out of you.

2. Men are like. Bananas ....... The older they get, the less firm they are.

3. Men are like ...... Weather . Nothing can be done to change them.

4. Men are like . Blenders You need One, but you're not quite sure why.

5. Men are like ..... Chocolate Bars .... Sweet, smooth, & they usually head right for your hips.

6. Men are like .... Commercials ....... You can't believe a word they say.

7. Men are like Department Stores ..... Their clothes are always 1/2 off.

8. Men are like ..... . Government Bonds .... They take soooooooo long to mature.

9. Men are like .... . Mascara . They usually run at the first sign of emotion.

10. Men are like ... Popcorn ..... They satisfy you, but only for a little while.

11. Men are like Snowstorms .... You never know when they're coming, how many inches you'll get or how long it will last.

12. Men are like ........... Lava Lamps .... Fun to look at, but not very bright.

13. Men are like Parking Spots .......... All the good ones are taken, the rest are handicapped

The true nature of INSURANCE and the rulings concerning it

Question:
What are the rulings on commercial insurance which is widespread nowadays?

Answer:

Praise be to Allaah.

1) All kinds of commercial insurance are clearly and undoubtedly ribaa (interest/usury). Insurance is the sale of money for money, of a greater or lesser amount, with a delay in one of the payments. It involves riba al-fadl (interest-based transaction) and riba al-nas’ (interest to be charged if payment is delayed beyond the due date), because the insurance companies take people’s money and promise to pay them more or less money when a specific accident against which insurance has been taken out happens. This is riba, and riba is forbidden in the Qur’aan, in many aayaat.

2) All kinds of commercial insurance are based on nothing but gambling which is haraam according to the Qur’aan:

“O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al-Ansaab (stone altars for sacrifice to idols etc.) and Al-Azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytaan’s (Satan’s) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful” (al-Maa’idah 5:90 – interpretation of the meaning).

All kinds of insurance are kinds of playing with chances. They tell you, Pay this much money, then if this happens to you we will give you this much. This is pure gambling. Insisting on differentiating between insurance and gambling is pure stubbornness that is unacceptable to any sound mind. The insurance companies themselves admit that insurance is gambling.

3) All kinds of insurance are forms of uncertainty, and transactions which involve uncertainty are forbidden according to many saheeh ahaadeeth, such as the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him):

“The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade transactions determined by throwing a stone and transactions which involved some uncertainty.” (Narrated by Muslim).

[“Transactions determined by throwing a stone” – this was a type of transaction that was prevalent in the markets of pre-Islamic Arabia, whereby a stone was thrown by either the buyer or the seller, and whatever it touched, its transaction became binding. “Transactions which involved some uncertainty” – is a transaction in which there is no guarantee that the seller can deliver the goods for which he receives payment. Footnotes from the translation of Saheeh Muslim. (Translator)].

All forms of commercial insurance are based on uncertainty of the most extreme kind. Insurance companies and those who sell insurance refuse to insure cases except where there is clear uncertainty in whether or not the condition being insured against will happen or not. In other words, the condition being insured against must have a possibility of happening or not happening (as opposed to, for example, someone who has a pre-existing condition, such as a person who is on death row applying for life insurance--translator.) Moreover, this transaction involves something uncertain, which is when an accident will happen and the extent of the damage caused. Hence insurance combines three kinds of extreme uncertainty.

4) All kinds of commercial insurance consume people’s wealth unjustly, which is haraam according to the Qur’aan:

“O you who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves unjustly” (al-Nisaa’ 4:29 – interpretation of the meaning).

All forms of commercial insurance are fraudulent transactions aimed at consuming people’s wealth unjustly. The precise statistics calculated by one of the German experts state that what people get back of what has been taken from them is no more than 2.9%.

Insurance is an immense loss for the nation, and there is no evidence or excuse to be found in the actions of the kuffaar who have lost the ties of kinship and friendship and are therefore forced to resort to insurance, which they hate as much as they hate death.

These are only some of the violations of sharee’ah which insurance is essentially based upon. There are numerous other violations which we do not have room to mention here, and there is no need to do so, because just one of the violations which we have mentioned above is sufficient to make insurance one of the things which is most prohibited in the sharee’ah of Allaah.

It is a shame that some people are deceived by the ways in which the insurance companies make insurance attractive and confuse them by calling it “co-operative” or “mutual support” or “Islamic”, or other names which do not change the unjust nature of insurance in the slightest.

The insurance companies’ claim that the ‘ulamaa’ have issued fatwaas stating that so-called “co-operative insurance” is halaal, is a lie. The reason for this confusion is that some insurance companies approached the ‘ulamaa’ with a deceitful set-up which has nothing to do with any kind of insurance, but they said that it was a kind of insurance which they called “co-operative insurance” (to make it sound attractive and to confuse the people). They said that it was purely in the nature of a donation, and that it was a kind of the co-operation enjoined by Allaah in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety)…” (al-Maa’idah 5:2), and that the aim was to co-operate in alleviating the overwhelming disasters that may befall people. But in fact what they called co-operative insurance was just like any other kind of insurance; the only difference was in the way in which it was set up, not in its essential nature. It was far from being any kind of simple donation or co-operation in righteousness and piety; in fact it is a kind of co-operation in sin and transgression. It was not aimed at helping to relieve the distress of calamities, but at depriving people of their wealth by unjust means, which is absolutely haraam, as are other kinds of insurance. Hence what they proposed to the ‘ulamaa’ is not even insurance at all.

With regard to the claim made by some, that part of the premium (money paid to the insurer) is returned, this does not change anything and does not free insurance from the taint of ribaa, gambling, transactions based on uncertainty, unjust consumption of people’s wealth and going against the principle of trusting in Allaah (tawakkul), and other kinds of haraam actions. Insurance is deceit and confusion. Anyone who wishes to learn more should refer to the essay al-Ta’meen wa Ahkaamuhu (Insurance and its rulings). I call on every Muslim who has pride in his religion and whose hopes are focused on Allaah and the Last Day to fear Allaah and to avoid all kinds of insurance, no matter how attractive their proponents make them, for they are undoubtedly forbidden. In this manner he will protect his religion and his wealth, and he will be blessed with security from the Owner of security, may He be exalted.

May Allaah help me and you to have insight into matters of religion and to do that which is pleasing to the Lord of the Worlds

Abuse Knows No Borders

For Some Muslim Wives, Abuse Knows No Borders

Traditional Pressures Can Persist in U.S.

By Pamela Constable
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 8, 2007; Page A01

One was a shy, slender young woman who spoke no English when she was brought from Pakistan to enter an arranged marriage with a stranger in Virginia. The other was a self-confident professional, born in Turkey but raised in the United States, who thought she knew what she was doing when she married an educated Muslim man in Maryland.

Yet both women fell under the sway of the same powerful pressures that sometimes reach around the globe to keep Muslim wives in the Washington region imprisoned in abusive marriages, unable to fight the gossip and shame that come with defying their culture and religion, isolated from help that is just a three-digit phone number away.

"My husband beat. He show knife. I am scared for him, for all family," said Shamim, 21, the Pakistani bride, who was rescued by police. She is being sheltered and tutored in English at a private home. "They say no money, no call mother at home. I cook for all, I not eat. I not know 911 what is. I think I go crazy."

Shireen, the woman in Maryland, speaks with articulate chagrin about how the crushing weight of social expectation kept her in a relationship that soon turned violent. Both women's last names are being withheld at their request.

"I was perfectly happy living alone, but the family kept pushing me to marry. I wanted to show them I was a good Muslim girl," said Shireen, now 37 and divorced. When her husband became abusive, she said, relatives told her to be a better wife. When she took him to court, she said, "everyone abandoned me. I was the one who had done something wrong."

Domestic abuse is hardly unique to Muslim immigrant communities; it is a sad fact of life in families of all backgrounds and origins. Yet, according to social workers, Islamic clerics and women's advocates, women from Muslim-majority cultures face extra pressure to submit to violent husbands and intense social ostracism if they muster the courage to file charges or flee.

A major obstacle to recognizing and fighting abuse, experts said, can be Islam itself. The religion prizes female modesty and fidelity while allowing men to divorce at will and have several wives at once. Many Muslims also believe that men have the right to beat their wives. An often-quoted verse in the Koran says a husband may chastise a disobedient wife, but the phrasing in Arabic is open to several interpretations.

"Many batterers manipulate Islamic law or use its perceived authority to control their wives. A man who has the power to divorce can really twist the knife," said Mazna Hussain, an attorney for abused women at the Tahirih Justice Center in Falls Church. "Muslim women want to be faithful to their religion, and the idea that you cannot disobey the word of God is very compelling, even if you are in an abusive relationship."

Mosques are a central focus of community life for Muslim immigrants, and the influence of their male clerics is enormous. Only a handful of these imams have spoken out on the problem of abuse, a source of shame and denial among their flocks.

In Sterling, Imam Mohamed Magid at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society offers counseling to engaged couples, ensuring they understand their mutual rights and duties. In Silver Spring, Imam Faizul Khan at the Islamic Society of the Washington Area holds weekly counseling sessions for troubled couples.

"For many years, our community did not face these issues. Women suffered in silence and fear. Even today, many imams think it could never happen in their mosque," Khan said. "Islam gives equal rights to men and women, but there are myths in Muslim society that men are superior and violence is permitted. This is wrong, and it needs to be said."

Khan and others are also trying to bring men into the debate by forming a group called Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence. But they said recruiting participants is not easy. Even when taken to court on charges of abuse, several experts said, many Muslim men will argue that they were within their rights or are being victimized by vindictive spouses.

Another powerful barrier to change can be the grip of Muslim culture, with its gossip among extended families and its tradition of arranged marriages, in which brides often are sent to live with their in-laws. Immigrant brides are frequently cut off from their families and isolated in new households, where they occupy the lowest social rung and might be forced to act as servants.

Social workers and government officials said there are numerous programs in the area to help Muslim women who are abused, such as hotlines with links to Arabic and Urdu speakers and shelters that serve meat slaughtered according to Islamic ritual. But if a young woman is brought to the United States, speaking no English and surrounded by in-laws, she might be as far from help as if she were living in a Pakistani or Moroccan village.

"Many women are kept inside, with no one to turn to," said Catherine Juhel, a counselor at the Foundation for Appropriate and Immediate Temporary Help (FAITH), an assistance program for Muslim women in Herndon. "They don't know the language or the laws here, only what their husband tells them. Often they come from a society where if you go to the police, they will bring you right back home. How can they be sure it would be any different here?"

A cudgel often wielded by abusive Muslim husbands in the United States is their power over the legal immigration status of their wives. Many brides arrive with temporary "marriage" visas obtained through husbands who are U.S. residents or citizens. Lawyers and social workers say an angry or demanding husband might threaten to "call immigration" and have the wife deported, raising the horrifying specter of her returning home in shame.

Many imported Muslim wives do not know that there are U.S. laws allowing them to seek residency alone if they can prove they have been abused by their spouses. Several legal-aid organizations in the region handle these petitions free of charge, and they help women seek protective orders and child custody.

A closely related problem is nervousness about the prospect of leaving home. In many Muslim societies, women are protected and housed by their fathers and then by their husbands; if they date or live alone, they risk being tarred as prostitutes. To seek shelter from strangers in an alien country might seem a worse fate than enduring abuse in familiar surroundings.

"Sometimes women do not want to go to shelters. Even if the man is beating her and the children, she may feel it is their Islamic duty to remain home and respect him," said Ambreen Ahmad, director of FAITH. "We try to show them that in Islam, their rights are protected and their duty is only to God. When they finally understand, they are so relieved they cry and cry. It is like breaking shackles."

In the case of Shamim, it took a series of contacts with sympathetic relatives and women's rights activists for her to summon the nerve to call 911. When she finally did, the police came in a patrol car, helped her pack while her husband and in-laws watched in astonishment, and escorted her to a friend's home.

"Now I am freedom," Shamim said, grinning broadly as she took a tea break recently from her English studies. "I stay America. Not go home. In home, everyone blame woman, it is my culture. Everyone blame me."

Yet even U.S.-educated women can be browbeaten into enduring abuse for fear of shaming their families or facing cruel gossip at the mosque. Organizations that help them escape are viewed by some conservative Muslims here as dangerous saboteurs of Muslim values and family.

In Shireen's case, even a college degree and a good job could not fend off the demands of family and community bent on fitting her into a traditional Muslim mold. Now that she finally has freed herself from an unhappy match, she said, she has become a pariah to the family that once hovered around her.

"I know I was stupid to give in, but you get overwhelmed by all the pressure," she said. "Now I have been totally shunned. I embarrassed my husband in the eyes of the community. It doesn't matter why I left him or what he did to me. Even in America, you can't always get away from home."

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