Question To print this letter click here.

This correspondent had sent in an application to our Matrimonial website. What follows is a letter of explanation which we gave him as to why we could not publish his ad. We thought our explanation would be useful for other people as well.

The person sent the following information for his ad:

my name is xxx and I recently embraced Islam. I was born from a Pakistani father and English mother but was adopted by a Jewish family. After much research into religion thanks to Allah I came to Islam. I am 19 years old and I am studying at University. I don't want to get married until Insha'Allah I get my degree but I would like to get engaged. Islam has shown me how important marriage is and I want to have a happy marriage and family.  A wife is very important as she is your soul mate and I want to take care of my wife, love her, care for her and give her happiness. Please reply and  maybe we could get to know a little about each other. 



You indicate that the purpose of your ad is to find a match for engagement but not for immediate marriage. We would like
to explain why we prefer not to publish your ad. 

In Islam, there is no such thing as "engagement" as this is a concept that is prevalent in western culture. However, sometimes Muslim couples do go through a formal ceremony of "engagement" which is obviously only a promise by each party to get married sometime in the future and as such, technically speaking it is not a recognized practise under the Islamic Law. However, what is usually  recommended is this: the couple instead of getting "engaged" will actually go through the legal process of finalizing the contract of marriage -- i.e. by fulfilling the basic requirements of an offer and an acceptance, settlement of mehr (dower, not dowry) in front of  two witnesses and postpone the consummation of the marriage to a later date in the future. This way, legally speaking, the couple is married, and in a position to see each other, socialize and do everything else involving free mixing of sexes except sharing the bed. Otherwise these things would be forbidden. 

If you wish to express your intentions in these terms, then we might favourably consider accepting your ad for publication. Otherwise, as a matter of policy, we do not accept ads from people who wish to follow western style engagement or dating practises. 

Question To print this letter click here.

I'm a sister who has a rather serious question and I hope that someone could give me some insight as to this problem. I was looking through your web site (fantastic--keep up the great work and keep those articles coming!) and noticed something dreadfully familiar. I was reading the commentary called "How to give yourself a Spiritual Heart Attack." Well, I think I've gone into spiritual cardiac arrest! I'm being constantly told to only follow the Qur'an and Sunnah, that I don't need to follow a madhab, people have freaked out on me when I've mentioned my interest in Sufism. Basically I've been told that I'm doing everything wrong and that only following the Qur'an and Sunna will solve my problem. I've even experienced people flatly condemning madhabs.

All of this has taken a terrible toll on me. I'm having nightmares. I'm constantly afraid of doing something wrong.  I'm afraid to use my prayer beads now for fear that I'm committing a sin. I feel terrible for attending the recent Milad Un Nabi Conference in Mississauga. I've even stopped doing my Arabic calligraphy and my salat has suffered too. I guess what I'm asking is how does one try to recover from this? Is there anything I can do? I don't like the way this is going.

Thank you very much for your time. I realize that you folks are very busy people. But thank you for giving me a chance to speak up about this problem. 



Here are four  articles which you should study carefully:  One | Two | Three | Four

It could be that the people who are harassing you and putting pressure on you are Salafis. Here is an article which explains and exposes their approach.

Here is another article that you might find informative.

The people who are trying to force their approach  and point of view on you may or may not describe themselves (or they may even try to deny themselves) as "Wahhabis" or "Salafis" or "Non-followers of the four Imams" (i.e. Abu Hanifah, Shafi'i, Maliki, Ibn Hanbal -- who were all great leaders of the Sunni school of law) or "Ahl-e-Sunnah" (who believe that only the Qur'an and Sunnah should be followed).

You will no doubt notice that we mention on our website [click here to see it] that we are called "Ahl-e-Sunnat wal Jamat" which means that in addition to following the Holy Qur'an and the Holy Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, p.b.u.h. we follow the examples (as role models) and precedents in matters of Fiqh (Muslim Law) where the Qur'an and the Sunnah are either silent, unclear or ambiguous. The silence, or the lack of clarity, or the ambiguity in these matters is not by a slip, error, or mistake, but is done, under the divine scheme of guidance,  on purpose and in accordance with the wisdom of Allah and His beloved Prophet. 

Now as to why following of the latter generation of scholars in law (e.g., the Companions of the Prophet, the followers of the Companions of the Prophet, and the followers of the followers of the followers, etc.) who enjoy the public's confidence in their integrity of character and the greatness of their ability to interpret the laws, in deducing logical conclusions and making new rulings in order to cope with the detailed matters which evolve and occur as a consequence of the ever changing nature and the needs of human society. I would refer you to paragraph 318, particularly sub-paragraph iii and especially iv and v of Introduction to Islam by Dr. Hamidullah. This process is known as 'ijtihad' and it is a must for the simple rational reason that by not accommodating new permissible changes, society would become stagnant and irrelevant to human needs and then wither away and disappear from the picture altogether. In this connection, I would like you to study these two articles on our website dealing with ijtihad: one | two.  Also, if you do a search on our website for the word 'Ijtihad' you will find that there are many relevant articles where ijtihad is mentioned and so I recommend that you read them as well.


I am a reporter for a weekly Catholic newspaper, The Catholic Register.  I am working on a story about the Muslim response to secularism in Canada. I am interested in how Muslims are able to maintain a stance of faith in a society which may not value faith as a public virtue -- which relegates religious consciousness to a private, consumer choice. 

This may sound very academic and abstract, but it has practical  implications. How do families raise children to maintain Islamic   traditions and identity? How do Muslim communities stay united when they are a minority in a diverse society? The public school system is unlikely to transmit Muslim values to children. Do parents find the school system hostile to their aims in raising children? 

I would be interested in meeting and speaking to anyone in your organization about these issues.

The debate about how to maintain, and even foster, faith in a modern world which seems not to even understand the concept is prominent in Catholic circles. I believe we can learn something by paying attention to how other people of faith face this problem. 



Your questions are so extensive that I feel I would not be able to do justice to the subject matter by discussing such complex issues in a telephone interview. The issues you have raised are no doubt very realistic and extremely important from the practical point of view in that all minority groups have to come to grips with these and other related issues in everyday life.  In this regard, we Muslims are of the view that the way Islam prescribes how to treat minorities within a Muslim state is the best and most rational and sensible solution. I would suggest that you might study carefully my little pamphlet entitled Treatment of Minorities - The Islamic Model. Other articles on our website that may be of interest to you are: 

Intolerance of Islam
Islam in the Age of the Western Media
Canada's Muslims 
Executive Summary of Family Personal Law Campaign
O Canada -Whose Land Whose Dream? This is a large article ... 54 pages. But it is in pdf format and bookmarked for
convenience.  Particularly read Part IV (Social Contracts a few studies) 

I wish I could do more for you. I would very much appreciate receiving a final copy of your article once it is published. 


I am not sure if you can answer my questions or not, however I felt maybe you could direct me if not. 

 #1 is it permissible for a muslim man to marry a jewish woman ??

 #2 does a jewish woman have to convert to be in a relationship with a muslim man?

 #3 what effect does a legal marriage have versus that performed within the religion?



1. Yes. 

2. No. She does not have to convert. 

3. By "legal marriage" I assume you mean a marriage solemnized as civil marriage under the authority of the government of
a non-Muslim country. In many non-Muslim countries, a marriage solemnized in accordance with Muslim Law is not
recognized as a "proper" marriage to satisfy the particular requirements of that country's civil laws. In other words only
"civil" marriages are generally recognized/accepted in non-Muslim countries. Consequently a Muslim marriage does not
enjoy the same or equal recognition as the "civil" marriage does. 

However, there are exceptions. For instance, in Canada, a Muslim marriage is treated just as good and effective as either a
Christian of Jewish marriage which is solemnized by their respective religious authorized people -- so long as such person
who has the authority to solemnize religious marriages, (i.e., Muslim, Christian, Jew) also, in addition, holds a license from
the provincial governments in Canada to solemnize marriages under the country's civil laws which enables such a person
(holding these two authorizations) to register their religious marriage with the Registrar General of Marriages. Such a
registration of a religious marriage thus makes a religious marriage as good as a civil marriage. 

I might just add that Canadian laws are therefore based on a much enlightened and God-minded approach to such important
matters as marriage. Although when it comes to divorce, the Canadian laws are not as liberal and broad minded in that a
divorce given in accordance with Muslim Law is not acceptable under Canadian Law. Muslims have to go though the local
legal court proceedings to obtain a divorce recognized by the Canadian authorities. 


I would like to say that I have read your information about the differences  between the Sunnis and the Shi'ahs.  I find this very interesting. However, in this article you stated that the Shi'as believe in Mysticism. Am I correct? I am married to a Shi'ah, and my husband has not discussed that side of his belief.  However, you did provide some very good information about the differences in the Sects (Sunnis, and Shi'ahs).  I happen to be a Sunni myself.  But, learning about differences between the two sects has helped me tremendously.  I have visited a lot of websites about Islam, and the differences in sects, but I must say, this is the very best website. Please keep up the good work. 

One of the things that caught my eye about your website is, you are out of Canada.  I visit Canada often and I would love to visit a masjid there!  Is there any way possible that you could provide me with a list of Masjids in Ottawa?  I would sincerely appreciate that. 



Thank you for your compliments. Yes Shi'as do believe in mysticism. Here is a website which is a Shi'ah Sufi website. 

Here is a website which lists some of the Masjids in Ontario. You'll notice that the first six addresses list Masjids in the
Ottawa area, but  we are not sure how up-to-date these addresses are. So we do apologize if any of them are not correct. 

Question To print this letter click here.

My name  is xxx. I would like to know  if I could get help converting to Islam in Toronto if possible. Any assistance would be
greatly appreciated.



Here is some information that you might find useful. I recommend that you particularly read the following on our website: 

Here is an article which explains Islam in a Nutshell. Here is a letter that we wrote to someone who wanted to convert to
Islam. We have a book by Dr. Hamidullah, which has now been published on our website (the link for the book is found in
the letter that was just mentioned) and I would like to draw your attention to this paragraph from it. It is especially good for
westerners. In fact you may wish to purchase this book so as to have a copy for yourself -- it is readily available at all the
Islamic bookstores here in Toronto. Also, we have a section with many links on our website that you may be interested in.
It is here.

Here is some information about the Islamic Creed

The Islamic Creed “Kalima” is the well-known formula: “I testify that there is no deity but God, and Mohammad is the Apostle of God.” (La illa ha illa Allah Muhammad ur rasool Allah

It is the belief of Muslims that the first part of this creed, which is called the nafi wa isbat, namely “There is no deity but God,” has been expression of belief of every Prophet since the days of Adam, and that the second portion has been changed according to the dispensation; for example that in the days of Moses it would have been: “there is no deity but God, and Moses is the Conversor with God.” The Christian dispensation would be: “there is no deity but God, and Jesus is the spirit of God.” 

Jahir relates that Mohammad said “The keys of Paradise are bearing witness that there is no deity but God.” 

The recital of the Kalima, or Creed, is the first of five pillars of the practical religion in Islam; and when anyone is converted to Islam he/she is required to repeat this formula, and the following are the conditions required of every Muslim with reference to it: 

1. That it shall be repeated aloud at least once in a lifetime 
2. That the meaning of it shall be fully understood. 
3. That it shall be believed in “by the heart.” 
4. That it shall be professed until death. 
5. That it shall be recited correctly. 
6. That it shall always be professed and declared without hesitation.

Personal information follows ...

Question To print this letter click here.

I have read both your letters on conversion.  [1] [2] Can you explain to me what is the significance of the word "believers"?
How is Mu'min different from Muslim?



The terms used for believers are Mu’min (pl. Mu’minun) and Muslim (pl. Muslimun). The difference expressed in these two words is explained in the Hadith given by Sahih Muslim (where it is recorded by Umar as having been taught by Muhammad,) that a Mu’min is one who has iman (faith). Faith being a sincere belief in God, His Angels, His inspired books, His prophets, the Day of Resurrection, and the predestination of good and evil; and that a Muslim is one who is resigned and obedient to the will of God, and bears witness that there is no God but God, and that Muhammad is His Apostle and is steadfast in prayer, and gives Zakat, or legal alms,’ and fasts in the month of Ramadan, and makes a pilgrimage to Mecca if he/she has the means.

The rewards in store for the believer are as follows:

Lo! those who say: Our Lord is Allah, and afterward are upright, the angels descend upon them, saying: Fear not nor grieve, but hear good tidings of the paradise which ye are promised. [Qur'an 41:130]

If any do deeds of righteousness,- be they male or female - and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them. [Qur'an 4:21]

QuestionTo print this letter click here.

There were two separate newspaper articles published on the Taliban recently - one in The Toronto Star, and the other in The Globe and Mail (a Toronto Newspaper, and a Canadian National newspaper) . Both articles were very large and decried the Taliban from the Western point of view and gave many examples. Neither article gave the Muslim point of view. So we wrote Letters to the Editor for both papers. The Toronto Star published our letter to them, but the Globe and Mail did not publish our letter to them. Here are both of our letters:


To: The Toronto Star, Letter to the Editor
Re: Commander of the Faithful April 29, 2001

Not once did you mention in your article that the Taliban are an incredible embarrassment to the Muslim world. Why is that?

The Taliban clearly violated Islamic law by destroying those Buddhist statues in Afghanistan. They clearly violate Islamic law with their misogynistic treatment of women.  Just because the Taliban say they are Muslim doesn't mean that they follow the teachings of Islam, even if they say they do. 

It is the same with the Aryan brotherhood. Just because they claim to be Christian, it doesn't mean that racial hatred and murder are Christian tenets, nor does it mean that they follow Christian doctrine because they say they do.

Yes, there are people who lie and mislead and do hideous things. 

Just because a person or group makes a statement, it does not necessarily mean that they are also telling the truth, either knowingly or unknowingly. Nor does it necessarily mean that they also have a full grasp of the facts. Likewise, if a person or group that is Muslim, says that they are doing something in order to follow Islam, it does not necessarily follow from such a statement that they are actually telling the truth, or that they have a reliable understanding of the facts. 

To be able to determine if they are telling the truth, or that they have a proper understanding of an issue, one has to know a little something about Islam, and then it will be abundantly clear.

Rabia Mills
The Canadian Society of Muslims


To: The Globe and Mail, Letter to the Editor
Re: We've gone back to the Stone Age May 5, 2001

The Taliban are an immensely wayward group and are considered so throughout the world by Muslims. Many of their actions are extremely reprehensible to Muslims. Most of the Taliban's actions as reported in your article go against the teachings of Islam despite their insistence that they are following the Qur'an.

Take for instance the Taliban's destruction of the Buddhist statues. The Qur'an emphasizes religious tolerance. It says,  "Revile not [i.e. do not insult] those whom they call upon besides God [e.g. Buddhists and their statues] lest they out of spite revile God in ignorance. Thus have We made alluring to each people its own beliefs ..." (Qur'an 6:108). The Qur'an then predicts that there will be consequences for those who do not abide by its injunctions - as we have seen already in India. A group of people there reacted to the Taliban's destruction of the Buddhist statues by burning the Holy Qur'an!

Rabia Mills
The Canadian Society of Muslims


For information on the Muslim expression of hate, click here