Opinion Editorials, July 2004, To see today's opinion articles, click here: www.aljazeerah.info
Unacceptable Use of the Prophet’s Name
Arab News, 7/21/04
Q. Some people use the name “Muhammad’ as a means of calling any person or drawing his attention. Instead of using any of the common calling words, such as Sir, Mr., Brother, etc. they say, “Hey, Muhammad!” when the man’s name is not so. They do not even know whether the person whom they are calling is a Muslim or not. Is this acceptable?
A. No, it is totally unacceptable. Whoever thought of such usage has little respect for the Prophet (peace be upon him). God tells us in the Qur’an: “Do not address God’s Messenger in the manner you address one another.” (24: 62) If the Prophet’s companions were not allowed to address him as they addressed each other, and ordered instead to use his title as ‘God’s Messenger’, how can we imagine that using his name as a common word for drawing people’s attention can be acceptable. Anyone using it without giving the matter a thought should know better. He should reflect and ask himself whether he would accept that people use his own name in this way. How could he accept this for the Prophet’s name?
Real or Imaginary Complaint
Q. I am a 17-year-old boy who wishes to do the pilgrimage, but a physical problem has given me much worry. Although I clean myself properly after going to the toilet, I sometimes find urine stains on my underwear. This happens one or two hours after urination. I am troubled by what could happen if I am in my ihraam garments. Can I wear my underwear during consecration?
(Name and address withheld)
A. I have serious doubts about the genuineness of this complaint. The reader is only 17, an age associated with the desire to do everything right. Many religious young people are troubled by this desire in a way that opens the door to obsession. Some people imagine that they frequently invalidate their ablution by discharging wind, when it is all imaginary. They reach the stage where they often interrupt their prayer to go and have a fresh ablution, only to do it again and again. I met young men who complained that often they start their prayer four or five times before they manage to go through it without invalidating their ablution. The effective treatment for such people has been to get the obsessive person to understand first that he should not deem wind to have been discharged without a clear sign of sound or smell. Often the help of a trusted adult is very useful. The adult encourages him by being close to him when he prays, and practically preventing him from repeating the prayer, unless the ablution has clearly been invalidated. When the young man has done this for a few days, he finds the complaint has disappeared.
The case the reader is asking about has a different sign, which is physical. He says he frequently changes his underwear because of these stains. The stain could either be new or old. Therefore, he should check his underwear before wearing it to make sure of any stains on it. He should know that when he washes his private parts with water, the water leaves some faint traces which becomes more yellowish every time. Hence, the stain the reader may see afterward could be the result of the water with which he washed himself. If he thinks that it is a urine stain, he should first be sure that he dripped some urine over his underwear. This can only be certain if he felt some wetness first, because the couple of drops he thinks he discharged are sufficient to cause that wetness. If he feels it, he should check immediately to make sure of any drops. I think if he does this he will always find that there is no dripping.
What he should understand is the rule that doubt cannot remove certainty. Only a certainty can remove an earlier certainty. How does this rule work in his case? He first performs ablution. This is a certainty which enables him to pray. Ablution is invalidated if one goes to the toilet or discharges anything from his private parts. So the invalidation of the certainty of ablution depends on a certainty of having urinated or discharged winds or stools. This certainty is not established by a stain that could have more than one cause. Therefore he needs to check for wetness, and if it happens to see the drops causing it. If there is no wetness, then he has not dripped, and his ablution remains valid.
Often people who have this complaint are too shy to discuss it with relatives or friends, or even with a doctor. But they need to discuss it with a scholar and be open about it. This is the reason I have given it such space. Such matters are no cause for shame. They need to be treated, and the treatment is proper counseling, unless there is a real physical condition which should be dealt with by a medical doctor.
Having said that, people who complain of incontinence or similar problems with wind need not worry about their condition. They are allowed to wear something that stops the urine from dripping on their clothes or the floor of the mosque. They should have ablution for every prayer. They pray despite having discharged wind or drops of urine. When they go on pilgrimage, they wear underwear and they do not have to compensate for that, because this is caused by a condition beyond their control.
Joining a Prayer in Progress
Q. I arrived late for Maghrib congregational prayer. As I was about to join, the lady next to me signaled me not to do so. I prayed on my own, but I could not tell why she prevented me from joining. Should I have joined the congregation anyway?
A. Yes, you should have done. If you arrive in the mosque and find the congregational prayer already started, you can join it at any time. The only thing is that if you have missed one or more rak’ahs, you have to complete your prayer and make up for the shortfall after the congregation has finished. In this case, you were about to join in the second rak’ah.
This means that you would have prayed two rak’ahs with the congregation. You still owe one rak’ah when the imam has finished. You stand up then and add one rak’ah to complete your prayer. This applies in all obligatory prayers.
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