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Islamophobia in India

In India, the term Love Jihad (Hindi: लव जिहाद) is portrayed as a subtle Islamization tactic employed by Muslims to attract people of other faiths to Islam by showing them kindness, offering help or even a marriage proposal. In several Indian states, the right wing media outlets specifically describe it as the proselytization of Hindu women by Muslim men through a love affair.

Muslims however use the term Dawah or Dawat (Arabic: دعوة‎) to refer the act of inviting or calling people to embrace Islam.

Quran[]

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) Says in the Holy Qur'an:

فبما رحمة من الله لنت لهم ولو كنت فظّا غليظ القلب لانفضوا من حولك

So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad (ﷺ)], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. (Surah Aal-e-Imran 3:159)

وإن أحد من المشركين استجارك فأجره حتى يسمع كلام الله

And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah. (Surah At-Tawbah 9:6)

هو الذي أرسل رسوله بالهدى ودين الحق ليظهره على الدين كله ولو كره المشركون

It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to manifest it over all religion, although they who associate others with Allah dislike it. (Surah At-Tawbah 9:33)

إن الذين آمنوا والذين هاجروا وجاهدوا في سبيل الله أولئك يرجون رحمت الله

Indeed, those who have believed and those who have emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah - those expect the mercy of Allah. (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:218)

ولا تنكحوا المشركات حتى يؤمن

And do not marry polytheistic women until they believe. (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:221)

ولا تنكحوا المشركين حتى يؤمنوا

And do not marry polytheistic men [to your women] until they believe. (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:221)

أفغير دين الله يبغون وله أسلم من في السماوات والأرض طوعا وكرها وإليه يرجعون

So is it other than the religion of Allah they desire, while to Him have submitted [all] those within the heavens and earth, willingly or by compulsion, and to Him they will be returned. (Surah Aal-e-Imran 3:83)

ومن يبتغ غير الإسلام دينا فلن يقبل منه وهو في الآخرة من الخاسرين

And whoever desires other than Islam as religion - never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers. (Surah Aal-e-Imran 3:85)

ادع إلى سبيل ربك بالحكمة والموعظة الحسنة وجادلهم بالتي هي أحسن

Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best.(Surah An-Nahl 16:125)

Hadith[]

Sahl bin Sa'd (رضي الله عنه) reported:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said to 'Ali (رضي الله عنه),

فوالله لأن يهدي الله بك رجلا واحدا خير من حمر النعم

"By Allah, if a single person is guided by Allah through you, it will be better for you than a whole lot of red camels."

(Riyad as-Salihin 1379)

Narrated Abu Sa`id (رضي الله عنه):

Something was sent to the Prophet (ﷺ) and he distributed it amongst four (men) and said,

أتألفهم

"I want to attract their hearts (to Islam thereby)."

(Sahih al-Bukhari 4667)

Narrated Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (رضي الله عنه):

When `Ali (رضي الله عنه) was in Yemen, he sent some gold in its ore to the Prophet (ﷺ). The Prophet (ﷺ) distributed it among Al-Aqra' bin H`Abis Al-Hanzali who belonged to Bani Mujashi, 'Uyaina bin Badr Al-Fazari, 'Alqama bin 'Ulatha Al-`Amiri, who belonged to the Bani Kilab tribe and Zaid AI-Khail at-Ta'i who belonged to Bani Nabhan. So the Quraish and the Ansar became angry and said, "He gives to the chiefs of Najd and leaves us!" The Prophet (ﷺ) said,

إنما أتألفهم

"I just wanted to attract and unite their hearts (make them firm in Islam)."

(Sahih al-Bukhari 7432)

Narrated Anas Bin Malik (رضي الله عنه):

When Allah gave Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) what he gave of the properties of the Hawazin tribe as a war booty, the Prophet (ﷺ) started giving some men 100 camels each. The Ansar (then) said, "May Allah forgive Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as he gives to Quraish and leaves us although our swords are still dribbling with the blood of Quraish." Allah Apostle was informed of their statement, so he sent for the Ansar and gathered them in a leather tent, and did not call anybody else along with them. When they al I gathered, the Prophet (ﷺ) got up and said, "What is this talk being informed to me about you?" The learned men amongst the Ansar said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! Our chiefs did not say anything, but some people amongst us who are younger in age said. 'May Allah forgive Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as he gives (of the booty) to Quraish and leaves us though our swords are still dribbling with their blood." The Prophet (ﷺ) said,

فَإِنِّي أُعْطِي رِجَالاً حَدِيثِي عَهْدٍ بِكُفْرٍ، أَتَأَلَّفُهُمْ، أَمَا تَرْضَوْنَ أَنْ يَذْهَبَ النَّاسُ بِالأَمْوَالِ وَتَذْهَبُونَ بِالنَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِلَى رِحَالِكُمْ، فَوَاللَّهِ لَمَا تَنْقَلِبُونَ بِهِ خَيْرٌ مِمَّا يَنْقَلِبُونَ بِهِ

"I give to these men who have newly deserted heathenism (and embraced Islam) so as to attract their hearts. Won't you be happy that the people take the wealth while you take the Prophet (ﷺ) with you to your homes? By Allah, what you are taking is better than whatever they are taking."

They (i.e. the Ansar) said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! We are satisfied." The Prophet (ﷺ) then said to them.

سَتَجِدُونَ أُثْرَةً شَدِيدَةً، فَاصْبِرُوا حَتَّى تَلْقَوُا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَإِنِّي عَلَى الْحَوْضِ

"You will find others favored over you greatly, so be patient till you meet Allah and His Apostle and I will be at the Hawdh (of Al-Kawthar)."

(Sahih al-Bukhari 4331)

It was narrated that Malik bin Aws bin Al-Hadathan (رضي الله عنه) said:

"Al-Abbas and Ali came to 'Umar (رضی الله عنهم) with a dispute. Al-Abbas said: 'Pass judgment between him and I.' the people said: 'Pass judgment between them.' 'Umar said: 'I will not pass judgment between them. They know that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: We are not inherited from, what we leave behind is charity. He said: And (in this narration of it) Az-Zuhri said: 'It (the Khumus) was under the control of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), and he took provision for himself and for his family from it, and disposed to the rest of it as he disposed of other wealth (belonging to the Muslims).

Then Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) took control of it, then I took control of it after Abu Bakr, and I did with it what he sued to do. Then these two came to me and asked me to give it to them so that they could dispose of it as the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) disposed of it, and as Abu Bakr disposed of it, and as I disposed of it. So I gave it to them and I took promises from them that they would take proper care of it. Then they came to me and this one said. Give me my share from my brothers son: and this one said: Give me my share from my wife. If they want me to give it to them on the condition that they would dispose of it in the same manner as the Messenger of Allah did, and as Abu Bakr did, and as I did, I would give it to them, but if they refuse, then they do not have to worry about it.' Then he said:

'And know that whatever thing you gain, a fifth of it is for Allah and for the Messenger and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer.' (Surah Al-Anfal 8:41)

this is for them. As-Sadaqat (here it means Zakah) are only for the Fuqara (destitute), and Al-Masakin (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (toward Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah's cause (I.e. for Mujahidun - those fighting in a holy battle)' - this is for them. 'And what Allah gave as booty (Fay') to His Messenger (Muhammad ﷺ) from them - for this you made no expedition with either cavalry or camels.'

Az-Zuhri said: This applies exclusively to the Messenger of Allah and refers to an 'Arab village called Fadak, and so on. What Allah gave as booty (Fay') to His Messenger (Muhammad ﷺ) from the people of the townships - it is for Allah, His Messenger (Muhammad ﷺ), the kindred (of Messenger Muhammad ﷺ), the orphans, Al-Masakin (the poor), and the wayfarer (And there is also a share in this booty) for the poor emigrants, who were expelled from their homes and their property And (it is also for) those who, before them, had homes (in Al-Madinah) and had adopted the Faith And those who came after them. There is no one left among the Muslims but he has some rights to this wealth, except for some of the slaved whom you own. If I live, if Allah wills, I will give every Muslim his right." Or he said: "His share."

(Sunan an-Nasa'i 4148)

Seerah[]

Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) did have many wives. For Muslims, his multiple marriages had meaning and immense implications for Islam, and by extension, the history of the world. He (ﷺ) was driven by the goal to ensure that his mission as the Messenger of Allah was fulfilled and to establish a society based on Allah’s commands. In order to achieve this goal, he did everything that was humanly possible: he forged relations with the various tribes of Arabia, concluded peace treaties with his sworn enemies and kept relations with the heads of various tribes, nations and religions. Taken together his marriages were one way by which he fostered relationships with various influential tribes. If one were to view the marriages of the Prophet (ﷺ) from this context, the motivating factors behind his marriages become clear. It would be very simplistic and incorrect to view his marriages as being merely for lustful ends.

From the outset, it is of ultimate importance to note that, except for one of his wives, all of his eleven wives were widowed or divorced. Most were in fact widowed.

His first marriage was to a widow named Khadijah (رضي الله عنها), who had been married twice and whom he married when she was forty years old and he was twenty five. She was the first woman to embrace Islam. She provided great consolation to him throughout his life and he continued to remember her in his later years as his most beloved wife. He stayed with her faithfully for 25 years until her death, at which time he was 50 years old, and she was 65 years old.

If he was driven by lustful desires as accused by his opponents, he could have married several, beautiful young women in a society where having numerous wives was a norm – there would be no reason to faithfully remain with an older woman until the age of 50. This single fact would be sufficient to totally refute the charges against him in this regard. However, an examination of all of his marriages, as we shall see, should put this question to rest.

After Khadija (رضي الله عنها)’s death, he married another widow, Sawda (رضي الله عنها), who was 65 years old. She and her previous husband, Sakran (رضي الله عنه), were among those who had immigrated to Ethiopia, fleeing from the oppression and persecution of the Meccans. It was during their return to Mecca that her husband had died. Seeing her difficult condition, the Prophet married her.

Then he married Aisha (رضي الله عنها), daughter of his lifelong friend and companion Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه). Aisha had first been betrothed to Jabir bin Mut’im at the age of 5. Child marriages were evidently the norm at that time. She was the only virgin among the Prophet’s wives and the only one who was born into a Muslim family.

One of the Prophet’s goals in this marriage was to strengthen the bond of his brotherhood with Abu Bakr, who was his main defender against the Meccans. Second, Aisha was of a lineage known for honor and intelligence. The Prophet knew that she would tremendously benefit his nation (ummah) by transmitting crucial knowledge from his life, especially family and personal matters that others were not privy to. Indeed, the Prophet advised his community to learn half of the knowledge of the religion from Aisha. The foresight of the Prophet proved itself, for she would live for 45 years after his death, and thus became one of the main sources of Prophetic wisdom and knowledge.

He also married another widow, Hafsa (رضي الله عنها), who was the daughter of Umar Bin Khattab (رضي الله عنه), his next closest companion. Her husband, Khunays (رضي الله عنه), had been martyred in the Battle of Badr. He felt a duty towards Umar, whose acceptance of Islam provided a major boost for the Muslims in Mecca against their foes.

Zaynab, daughter of Khuzaima (رضي الله عنها), was another widow that the Prophet married. She was married to Ubayda bin al-Haris (رضي الله عنه), who was martyred in the Battle of Badr. She was sixty when the Prophet married her. She was known as the “Mother of the Downtrodden”. She, however, passed away after two or three months of marriage.

He married another widow, Umm Salama (رضي الله عنها). Her previous husband, Abu Salama (رضي الله عنه), was martyred in the Battle of Uhud, leaving behind four orphans. Umm Salama was pregnant at that time and was extremely distressed and very sad. Needless to say, she needed much support. After her delivery, Umar proposed that the Prophet marry her. The Prophet accepted the proposal and married her. What purpose can there be for a person of 54 to marry a widow with four orphans except love, mercy and compassion? There was another crucial factor in this marriage: Umm Salama was from the Bani Makhzum tribe, which was the tribe of Islam’s arch enemies at that time, Abu Jahl and Khalid bin Waleed. Though Abu Jahl never changed, Khalid (رضي الله عنه) later accepted Islam and became a brilliant military general. Once again, bringing influential and powerful tribes closer to Islam was one of the noble objectives of the Prophet’s marriages.

He married a divorced woman, Zaynab, the daughter of Jahsh (رضي الله عنها). She was married to Zayd bin Haritha (رضي الله عنه), the freed slave of the Prophet. She was the cousin of the Prophet, being the daughter of his paternal aunt. Zayd divorced her and the Prophet married her when she was 38 years old. His marriage to Zaynab was aimed at emphasizing the invalidity of the age-old Arab practice of taking adopted sons as real sons. The marriage was divinely sanctioned, as stated in the Qur’an, “When Zayd had come to the end of his union with her, We gave her to you in marriage …’’(33:37)

Umm Habiba (رضي الله عنها) was another widow whom the Prophet married. She was a daughter of Abu Sufyan who was a bitter enemy of Islam until his conversion later. She was initially married to Ubaydallah, who was a companion of the Prophet. Both immigrated to Ethiopia, fleeing the persecution of the Meccans. Ubaydallah became a Christian and later died there. Considering her very difficult situation, her father being an enemy of Islam and her husband a deserter, the Prophet sent an envoy to Negus, king of Ethiopia requesting to arrange a marriage with her. The king arranged the marriage and she was married to him when she was 36 or 37 years old. Like many of his marriages, his marriage to Umm Habiba resulted in bringing a major tribe of the Quraysh, Banu Abd al-Shams, towards Islam.

He married another widow, Juwayria (رضي الله عنها). Both her father and husband were bitter enemies of Islam; the former had planned to attack Medina at the instigation of the Meccans. This led the Muslim army to march against the clan of her father. The result was their defeat at the hands of the Prophet (ﷺ) and the death of Juwayria’s husband. After the conflict, the Muslims captured many prisoners, one of whom was Juwayria. Juwayria’s father offered a ransom for her freedom. She requested to stay in the service of the Prophet (ﷺ) and he married her at her request. Her marriage resulted in the freeing of all the prisoners of war of her tribe. Again, this marriage led to the establishment of peace and friendly relations.

He also married a woman named Safiyya (رضي الله عنها), a widow as well. Her second husband was killed in the Battle of Khaybar. Her father was the chief of the famous Jewish tribe, Banu Nazir. He was killed in the Battle of Khaybar, and so Safiyya was taken prisoner. She was eventually freed and the Prophet married her. Some complained that she was sympathetic to the Jews. Her answer was that they were her relatives, and the Prophet defended her position. He told her to respond in the following way: “My father is Aaron (Haroon) and my uncle is Moses (Musa) (عليهم السلام).” This marriage had led to a closer relationship between the Muslims and the Jews of Medina.

His final marriage was to another divorced woman, Maymuna (رضي الله عنها). She was married twice and was very old. She married the Prophet when he was 57. The reason for her marriage was that the Prophet’s uncle, Abbas (رضي الله عنه), suggested it in order to bring her tribe – Halaliyyeen – to the fold of Islam. That was actually what happened; after his marriage to her, they entered Islam in hosts.

From the above, we see that it was not the Prophet’s whims and desires that initiated his marriages, but rather it was that Allah had planned his marriages. It would be relevant here to quote a female, Western scholar, Karen Armstrong, the author of "Muhammad (ﷺ): A Prophet for Our Time", in relation to the issue of Prophets marriages and polygamy in Islam:

“The Qur’anic institution of polygamy was a piece of social legislation. It was designed not to gratify the male sexual appetite, but to correct the injustices done to widows, orphans, and other female dependents, who were especially vulnerable. All too often, unscrupulous people seized everything and left the weaker members of the family with nothing. Polygamy was designed to ensure that unprotected women would be decently married, and to abolish the old loose, irresponsible liaisons; men could have up to four wives and must treat them equitably; it was an unjustifiably wicked act to devour their property. The Qur’an gave women a legal status that most Western women would not enjoy until the nineteenth century. The emancipation of women was a project dear to the Prophet (ﷺ)'s heart.”

(Misconceptions about Islam)

Scholars[]

Shaykh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid (رحمه الله‎) writes:

Islam is the last of the heavenly religions and the Quran is the last of the heavenly Books. Muhammad (ﷺ) is the last of the Prophets and Messengers. Allah (ﷻ) commanded him to convey this religion to all of mankind. Calling others to Islam is an honorable mission. This is the work of the Prophets and Messengers. The Messenger (ﷺ) explained that his mission in life, and the mission of his followers, is to call people to Allah.

Calling people to Allah is an important task and a glorious mission, because it means calling people to worship Allah alone. It means bringing them forth from darkness to the light, planting goodness in the place of evil and truth in the place of falsehood. Hence whoever does this needs to have knowledge, understanding, patience, forbearance, gentleness and kindness. He needs to give of his wealth and of himself, and he needs to understand people’s circumstances and habits.

He also quotes from Usool al-Deen al-Islami by Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim Al-Tuwayjri (رحمه الله‎) the following:

Calling people to Allah is a virtuous deed which brings great reward as the Prophet (ﷺ) has said:

“Whoever calls others to guidance will have a reward like the rewards of those who follow him” (Narrated by Muslim, 2674).

If building a physical structure needs effort and patience until it is complete, then building souls and guiding them to the truth also needs patience and sacrifice. The Messenger (ﷺ) called people to Islam, patiently bearing the persecution of the infidels, Jews and hypocrites. So the Daiyah must follow his example. The well-being and happiness of this Ummah are only to be found in following this religion. Hence Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) commanded us to convey the message to all of mankind:

“This [Qur'an] is notification for the people that they may be warned thereby and that they may know that He is but one God and that those of understanding will be reminded.” (Surah Ibrahim 14:52)

(Da’wah – calling others to Islam)

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