Ask About Islam – Honesty and Fairness

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

 

We are glad to have concluded this Live Session on Saturday, September 24, 2016.

 

This session was dedicated to “Ask About Islam”; Br. Waleed Najmeddine replied to general questions about Islam including misconceptions and misinterpretations of Islamic concepts.

 

 

Please don’t hesitate to send us additional questions through the following email address:

 

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Saturday, Sep. 24, 2016 | 20:00 - 22:00 GMT

Session is over.
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If being honest in Islam is different from what is known as "being upfront and open about oneself" in the west, could you please discuss these values and similar related values so I can get a flavor of the Muslim world view regarding this.



Salam (Peace) Dear Sister,

 

Thank you for your question and for joining our live session.

 

Honesty in Islam is of the utmost importance, but not to the extent that we put ourselves down or expose our weaknesses to those who would show us no mercy and use that information against us. It is not healthy to expose our past mistakes to others who had no knowledge of them and were not affected by them.

 

If we do this in an effort to being “upfront and open about oneself” we are potentially doing ourselves and others more harm than good. If we made a mistake in the past but later turned away from that and lived a better life, having never returned to that mistake or practice, it serves no good to anyone to expose ourselves and change people’s impressions of us from good to bad.

 

We are the sum of our experiences, good and bad, but we are also able to change, so we should be respected for who we are now, not judged according to who we were in the past, especially if we have left that part of our life far behind.

Very few people are able to be truly merciful, to forgive others and let the past remain in the past. We don’t need to add fuel to the fire by exposing all of our weaknesses or past mistakes trying to be honest about who we are. We should all be who we appear to be on the surface.

 

This is the way to develop a peaceful and just society. It nurtures trust among people when they know each other well and feel safe in each other’s presence. We also need to feel safe when we are away from each other knowing that they would never intend to harm us in our absence, and only speak of us what we would be happy to hear in person.

It was narrated by ‘Abdullah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

 

“Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes a truthful person. Falsehood leads to wickedness and evil-doing, and wickedness leads to The Fire, and a man may keep on telling lies till he is labelled before God, a liar.”  (Sahih Bukhari: Book #73, Hadith #116)

 

I hope this helps answer your question.

 

Salam and please keep in touch


When there are step children involved and they all live in a near proximity, at what point does it become recommended to be up front and open about whom is kin to whom?



Salam (Peace) Dear Sister,

 

Thank you for your question and for joining our live session.

 

One of the key goals of the laws in Islam is to protect family lineage and human dignity. Among the rights of a child is to know who their parents are or who they were.

 

Everyone, as far as is humanly possible, has the right to know the identity of his/her mother and father. This includes the right to know who their siblings are, whether full or half siblings.

 

Part of the reason for this is so that people know who their ancestors were, whether they have extended family somewhere or not, but also to ensure that they do not marry their parents or siblings out of ignorance of their existence.

 

There have been cases where people were attracted to a direct family member and pursued a relationship, only to find out that they were a half-brother or sister.

 

Most people remain in the vicinity of the town or city in which they were born for most of their lives, so it would not be unusual for a person to fall into this problem if the truth was hidden from them about their biological parents and siblings.

 

Children should be informed about parents and siblings as soon as they are able to understand, and ideally have relationships with them from birth onwards.

 

I hope this helps answer your question.

 

Salam and please keep in touch


Is keeping wives secretly allowable because it was a practice among the Sahaba and no one minded or was reminded against it in regards to that?



Salam (Peace) Dear Sister,

 

Thank you for your question and for joining our live session.

 

I am not aware of secret marriages at the time of the Prophet, peace be upon him, nor amongst his closest companions. The practice of having more than one wife was common among members of every religious community, including the pagan Arabs.

 

The rights of women before the advent of Muhammad, peace be upon him, was not much of a consideration. Many saw women as another type of property rather than as an intelligent, individual with rights, and worthy of respect.

 

Islam improved the status of women immensely in many ways, but it is an ongoing struggle for humanity to give her due. This is not a problem of Islam and Muslims only, but rather permeates all societies and ages.

 

If we think that non-Muslim women are better off today, we could point toward infinite instances of sexual, emotional, social, and psychological abuses that these women suffer at the hands of non-Muslim men, whether from their families or from their social circles.

 

I hope this helps answer your question.

 

Salam and please keep in touch


Wouldn't keeping wives secretly or having a double (triple, quadruple) life be considered a form of lying? if not, why not?



Salam (Peace) Dear Sister,

 

Thank you for your question and for joining our live session.

 

Covering the truth is the essence of lying. Whether we speak words that are false in order to cover the truth, or we remain silent about an important issue that others have the right to know about, we are engaged in some form of deception. The issue here is whether the current wife has a right to know about her husband’s relationship with another wife or wives.

 

From a health perspective, there is likely not a significant risk of cross contamination or spreading disease, since there are very strict rules regarding cleanliness and sexual activity. Over and above that, of course, is the direction to only marry believing women from the Muslim community, or from among the Christians and Jews:

 

“Made lawful to you this day are all kinds of foods, which God has made lawful. The food of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is lawful to you and yours is lawful to them. (Lawful to you in marriage) are chaste women from the believers and chaste women from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) before your time when you have given their due bridal dowry, desiring chastity, and not committing illegal sexual intercourse, nor taking them as girlfriends” [Quran 5, Maidah – Table Spread: verse 5]

 

Having received scripture before the time of Muhammad, peace be upon him, Christians and Jews have similar understandings as Muslims regarding matters of cleanliness, and in treatment of animals before and during slaughter. This makes them close enough in lifestyle to Muslims that they may take believing Christian and/or Jewish women as wives.

 

I do not know of a situation where keeping things from your wife would ever end well, but every individual’s situation is unique so there needs to be flexibility to allow for solutions to problems to be found.

 

I hope this helps answer your question.

 

Salam and please keep in touch


What is the reasoning behind the ruling that a husband may take a wife without his current wife/wives knowing?



Salam (Peace) Dear Sister,

 

Thank you for your question and for joining our live session.

 

With respect to the ruling, unfortunately I am unaware of its veracity or who made this ruling. I can offer some thoughts on the subject but it shouldn’t be considered a ruling in itself since I am not an Imam and not qualified to offer rulings or “fatawa”.

 

Having said that, I believe that honesty in all matters, especially concerning relationships between a man and wife, is a pillar of Muslim character. Once we become engaged in hiding things from each other or telling straight out lies, we open the door for more lies to cover the first one, and then there is not much a person won’t do to keep the truth from coming out.

 

I believe that a Muslim can be a lot of things, but a liar is not one of them. Lying opens the door to every other sin, but there is evidence from Hadith sources that some types of “lying”, or perhaps “stretching the truth” are allowed, even recommended when a greater good is intended.

 

Humaid b. ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Auf reported that his mother Umm Kulthum daughter of ‘Uqba b. Abu Mu’ait, and she was one amongst the first emigrants who pledged allegiance to Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him), as saying that she heard Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying:

 

“A liar is not one who tries to bring reconciliation amongst people and speaks good (in order to avert dispute), or he conveys good. Ibn Shihab said he did not hear that exemption was granted in anything what the people speak as lie but in three cases: in battle, for bringing reconciliation amongst persons and the narration of the words of the husband to his wife, and the narration of the words of a wife to her husband (in a twisted form in order to bring reconciliation between them). [Sahih Muslim: Book 032, Number 6303]

 

So when we are trying to reconcile a husband and wife whom we know love each other but are being a bit over sensitive, or unreasonable,  for example, then stretching the truth, or putting words in their mouths serves the greater good of preserving the dignity of both, keeping two lovers together, protecting children from a strained relationship with one parent because of custody issues, etc.

 

Taking multiple wives is not a requirement in Islam, nor highly recommended. No woman is required to accept a marriage proposal from a man who is already married. She can even make it a condition of marriage that her husband never takes another wife so long as he is married to her. If he accepts this condition, he must live up to it and to disregard the promise would be a sin upon him.

 

One reason, however, for not informing a wife about a new wife might be to avoid instigating divorce proceedings with a woman he truly loves and wishes to maintain a family with. It is possible for a man to love more than one woman. Islam allows for relationships with up to four wives at a time, but this is of course not the ideal. One man, one woman is best:

 

“You will never be able to do perfect justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire, so do not incline too much to one of them (by giving her more of your time and provision) so as to leave the other hanging (i.e. neither divorced nor married). And if you do justice, and do all that is right and fear God by keeping away from all that is wrong, then God is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” Quran 4 (Nisa – Women): verse 129

 

I hope this helps answer your question.

 

Salam and please keep in touch