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Topics - Anwar

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Islamic Duties / Al-Kalalah
« on: June 17, 2014, 05:50:54 AM »
Al-Kalalah and the pertinent verses; 4:12 and 4:176

The use of Al-Kalalah here has created a lot of confusion and even Yusuf Ali chooses to interpret one as dealing with uterine siblings only and the other as paternal siblings. He didn't invent this as this can be found in Lisanul-Arab as one of the interpretations of these two verses. Ibn Mandhur essentially gives a tafsir with this meaning with the following:

فجعل الكَلالة ههنا الأُخت للأَب والأُم والإِخوة للأَب والأُم، فجعل للأُخت الواحدة نصفَ ما ترك الميت، وللأُختين الثلثين، وللإِخوة والأَخوات جميع المال بينهم، للذكر مثل حَظِّ الأُنثيين، وجعل للأَخ والأُخت من الأُم، في الآية الأُولى، الثلث، لكل واحد منهما السدس، فبيّن بسِياق الآيتين أَن الكَلالة تشتمل على الإِخوة للأُم مرَّة، ومرة على الإِخوة والأَخوات للأَب والأُم

This states: "He (God) has made (the inheriting siblings for) Al-Kalalah here the sister from one's mother and father and siblings from one's mother and father (in general). He gave half to the lone sister and 2/3 for the sisters (to share) if they are more than one. For male and female siblings all of the wealth (is to be shared) between them with the male's share being double that of the female. He (God) gave the (lone) maternal brother or sister in the first verse (that mentions Al-Kalalah) a third and (he gave them) a sixth for each if they are two of them. In the context of both verses Al-Kalalah pertains to the maternal siblings in one place and siblings from both the deceased's mother and father in the other place."

This is a tafsir of why Al-Kalalah is different in one verse and different in another and not a definition of al-Kalaalah.

The most pertinent definition of Al-Kalalah is the following:

واختلف أَهل العربية في تفسير الكَلالة فروى المنذري بسنده عن أَبي عبيدة أَنه قال: الكَلالة كل مَنْ لم يرِثه ولد أَو أَب أَو أَخ ونحو ذلك

This says that the scholars of Arabic have differed about the explanation of Al-Kalalah but Al-Mundhiri related, using Abu 'Ubaydah as support,  that: Al-Kalalah refers to anyone whose son OR Father OR brother doesn't (exist to) inherit him.

What has caused confusion with the term is that most understandings understand Al-Kalalah as one who is left without both a parent and a child as an inheritor. But if one has a parent and no child or a child and no parent or any combination of missing parent, child or sibling then all of these can be considered Al-Kalalah.

Given the specification of 4:176 specifying no children in addition to Al-Kalalah and it allowing a brother to inherit the full inheritance of his sister it would seem that Al-Kalalah here and in 4:12 is talking about Al-Kalalah where there is no parent to inherit. When there is no child to inherit the Quran just says 'laisa lahu walad.' So in 4:12 there are children and the Al-Kalalah mentioned refers to no parents as inheritors and in 4:176 again the Al-Kalalah refers to no parent inheritors, while specifying in addition to the term that there are no children to inherit either. This explains why there is less for the siblings in 4:12 and more for them in 4:176.

I hope this has provided some clarification to this very confusing issue which at face value seems to present the Qur'an as contradicting itself, and which can get even more confusing given the more popular meaning of the word and the various subtleties of of the term.

Islamic Duties / Food Prohibitions
« on: June 15, 2014, 05:38:32 AM »
I want to commend the author of this forum for these articles:

Every time I read 5:1, it left me with a certain impression that this was a limitation on what sort of animals we should be eating and I am extremely glad that I came across an article that tackled this. Otherwise, why the need to mention that it is lawful given the other clear prohibitions that allowed these animals.

Where I dissent somewhat is in the definition of words. I use Classical Arabic lexicons like Lisanul-Arab, Sihah-Al-lughah, Mu'jam Al-faadhu Al-Quran and others, like Taj al-arous and Muheetul-Muheet to arrive at the proper meaning of Classical Arabic words, meanings that when it comes to the Quran have to be able to applied pre-Quran. Some of these lexicons can prove deficient so using as many as possible usually completes the picture for the word. You can find many of these lexicons at They are only in Arabic.

I have found Lane's lexicon to be deficient in many ways and I often wonder why he just didn't outright translate Taajul-Arous or Lisanul-Arab instead of arrogantly trying to compile his own lexicon. Colonialist agenda? Ego-centrism? I have found clear falsities and deficiencies in his work when compared to the original Arabic Lexicons. This is why I no longer use Lane's lexicon.

Having said that the Qur'an's use of baheematul-an3aam indeed refers to pastured animals who eat herbage alone. Baheemah specifically refers to 4 legged animals, be they land dwellers or water dwellers.  So the limitation here is on 4 legged animals. In particular, the four legged animals that we eat have to be eaters of al-kala' also known as 3ashb, which in Arabic refers to all herbage dry or fresh. Their being eaters of herbage in particular has to do with the term an3aam which means any 'maal(un) raa3iyat(un)' or maal raa3iyah. Maal in this context is taken in its meaning of 'hayawaan' or 'animals.' Raa'iyah means to be herbage eaters when applied to animals. So we can eat any 4 legged animal of land or water as long as it eats herbage.

This has implications on what we catch from the waters, and limits it to animals of the sea that do not have 4 legs unless those animals with four legs are eaters of herbage.

This would seem to take water creatures like alligators who have 4 actual legs/feet, as well as frogs and toads out of the dietary picture (Ecologically this is a bit unfortunate seeing that alligators in places like Africa need their numbers taken down, but I guess they could be hunted, ground up and used for fish food). Hippos would be fine, as long as they have not been seen eating carrion which they rarely do. It is assumed that they do this due to aberrant behavior (mental deficiencies?) or nutritional deficiencies.  They are however almost exclusively known to pasture on grasses and occasionally eat aquatic plants. There are also herbage eating lizards like the iguana. Lizards are 4 legged animals. Many monkeys walk on all 4's as well and are exclusive herbage eaters. Not all.

Snakes do not have 4 legs and do not eat grass, but neither do birds so I think the restriction on bahaa'im (4 legged creatures) only refers to 4 legged creatures. The Quran mentions snakes but there is no prohibition on them. I think the same thing can be said of them I mention later when I speak of insects.


Let's look at:


    "Of the An3aam (herbage eating 4 legged animals) some are for burden and some for meat: eat what God has provided for you, and follow not the footsteps of Satan: for he is to you an avowed enemy" 

The word used for meat here is 'farsh.' Farsh is defined in Mu'jam Al-faadh AL-Quran as 'Al-farsh are the pastured animals that are ridden.' So farsh refers to the riding of the animals. Hamulah in this case most likely refers to their ability to carry loads. Lisanul-Arab gives Tha'lab's definition of farsh in this context as meaning 'the big camels.' It can also mean 'the small camels.' Abu Ishaq says that most of the linguists agree that it means small camels.  It is also said that it means all camels, cattle and sheep that are only good for slaughtering and nothing else.

So the word farsh here has a number of definitions. The closest meaning of 'for meat' is in how it means grazing animals that aren't good for work or for loads but only for slaughter. This does not imply that some of them (like horses) can only be used for riding and not meat, while others like cows can only be used for meat. Both cows and horses have been ridden and eaten for thousands of years and they are both herbage eaters, so there should be no problem eating either of the two. This includes donkeys and mules as well, which are also technically an3aam. The verse implies when farsh is taken this way that some of them are not good for work and are only good for slaughtering for food. I understand how the author sees a prohibition on eating the horses, donkeys and mules in 16:8. However, if we read from 16:5-8 we see that the same animals that we eat in 16:5 also carry our loads to faraway lands in 16:7. Horses, Mules and donkeys historically and probably genetically have more use as burden animals than food animals but they still have been eating when not good for work or burdens or when there is not use and food is more important. I see 16:8 as distinguishing the particular blessing that they are as riding animals and animals of beauty but not that they cannot be eaten. I however can admit that the use that God distinguishes for them should be what we use them for before we think of slaughtering them for food just because they are lawful for slaughter. So I think it may be safe to say that horses, mules and donkeys that are of no use for work or riding can be slaughtered and eaten.

As for birds we have the mention of the salwaa during the children of israel's journey after Egypt. The word can mean honey, as well as a bird that is described as either the sumanaa (understood as a quail) or a bird like the quail.  56:21 mentions how we can eat birds of any kind in paradise and I'd like to note that 2:25 says the believers will be given things similar to what they have been given in this life. This means that what we will be given in paradise we have been given here, but of course paradise is flawless and everything in it is purified unlike the things we have here. Hence why we have 56:19 implying flowing wine which does not inebriate, which relates to the rivers of wine in 47:15.

So technically we can eat any sort of bird, even the birds of prey. You could by indirect means understand that the birds who eat carrion are not allowed because one would also be indirectly eating carrion by eating the flesh of such a bird. This may make the bird dirty or filthy. Many birds like chickens and vultures are scavengers who don't always eat rotten carrion but will if they get the chance. It would also disallow all fish who eat anything dead in the sea as well as any other creature big enough and safe enough swallow.

Perhaps it is safe to say that the Quran takes the stance that the biology of a bird no matter what it eats is not the same as the biology of a non-herbage eating four legged mammal or lizard. But if the bird looks unclean or smells unclean it is probably safe to consider it rijz/rijs/khabeeth. The same can be said for a sick cow, cows that are not fed grass or a cows in a disgusting environment.

As for insects, there are a few insects mentioned in the Quran. Ants (naml), locusts (jarad, being large types of herbage eating grasshoppers), spiders, flies, lice and bees. None of the above are mentioned as food although people have eating locusts, bee larvae and bee parts in honey and honey comb for thousands of years. The honey of the bee is understood in Mu'jam al-faadh al-Qur'an as the saliva of the bee. This is also how it is defined in Lisanul-'Arab. We know now that it is actually the vomit of the bee. Notwithstanding, the Quran actually praises this food that has been understood and is known to be from the bodily fluids of an insect. The smaller particles in honey are full of bee parts as well. So I think it is safe to say that God is okay with us eating insects.

I believe the difference comes in whether those insects are rujz (filthiness), khabeethah (objectionable because of its badness) or rijs (filthiness/dirtiness) because they eat or are associated with impure things like feces, urine or decay. We are expected to avoid contaminated things on all levels because they are harmful. 74:5

I'd like to thank those who read this and Joseph Islam for addressing this. As one last item when it comes to the foods we are too eat I think we should address the Sunnah of our last prophet and messenger (saas) as it concerns his slaughtering of animals. In Surat-ul-Kawthar he is told to 'pray to your lord and slaughter.' So not only should we be mentioning God's name before we slaughter but we should be saying a prayer before we do it, which in its most basic sense according to " most of the Ahlul-lughah (Arab Classical linguists) is calling (du'aa), blessing (tabreek) and/or praising (tamjeed)," 'Mu'jam Al-faadh Al-Quran.' This is Sunnah/Uswah of God's messenger (saas) before we slaughter any animal for consumption.

Salamun 'Alaykum and thank you for reading this.

General Discussions / Khamr
« on: June 10, 2014, 01:12:53 PM »

I know this has been discussed already and actually I do not have any questions on the issue but rather some statements.

1. I do not believe alchohol to be forbidden, given the Qur'an's use of sakar in what can be taken as a positive light in 16:67. The 'wa rizqan hasanan' can even be taken as a descriptive of the alcoholic drink taken from the products of (date) palms and grapes.

2. Khamr can mean: covering, wine, grapes, leavening (yeast or the fermentation process of yeast) as well as inebriation, intoxication and drunkenness.

3. Taking one of the meanings of khamr as 'to cover' and interpreting that into 'to cover one's mind' in the case of wine is etymological opinion. It is also one that proves irrelevant in front of meanings such as grapes and leavening.

4. Taking khamr as 'something that covers one's mind' and applying this to all inebriants/intoxicants is etymological conjecture on top of Classical Islamic qiyaas, which is no more than more conjecture to be brutally honest.

5. Khamr's valid meaning of drunkenness/inebriation, although less known fits the larger Quranic context of alcohol consumption better. First we have avoid 'khamr', avoid (tajannub/ijtinaab) is usually used for things that you may be faced with often. The Quran doesn't say avoid other sins, it just tells us not to do them. Secondly we have the Quran telling us not to pray while drunk. Yes this can be other sorts of stupors like extreme anger, sadness or even sleepiness (hmmm?), but this is opening up the fact that the Quran is showing us that we can be/are/will be engaging in a sort of behavior that may cause us to be drunk when it is time to pray.

6. As far as I understand inebriation is not limited to alcohol consumption and naturally applies to inebriation caused by non-alcoholic sources.

7. My conclusion is that while substances that can inebriate like wine and others are allowed, we are explicitly told to avoid inebriation which means limiting consumption. This makes accidental inebriation forgivable but not purposeful inebriation. In general the Quran tells us to stay away from what is harmful, to protect ourselves from harm and to engage and partake in 'at-tayyibaat.' If the substance we are using is harmful as far as we know, it is a sin for us to use it. If it inebriates us we are to limit consumption or abstain altogether

8. Acccording to 16:67, alcoholic drink make from atleast dates and grapes are good provision. However, we are expressedly told to avoid becoming inebriated.

9. If this bothers some because they want the Quran to be applied to the masses and know that the masses will not be able to show such self-discipline, intelligence and restraint I would like to remind everyone that the Quran does not say that it is for the masses. It says that it is for those who use intelligence, wisdom, ponder and carefully think. It says that most people (the masses) are like cattle or worse.

10. My advice is that if you cannot drink without getting drunk, do not drink Additionally over-consumption of alcohol is harmful to the body and the liver in particular. To engage in harmful activities that only serve to harm is against the fundamental concept of taqwaa in the Qur'an, which is self-protection or protection from harm in this life and the next.


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