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April 2008

1. DEAR ABE:  I was wondering if I can fast for my dead father, and also how do I go about doing it?  I wish for God to give the reward to my father.   --BAHEERA, DELHI

DEAR BAHEERA:   In this life, everyone is responsible for their own actions [1]. Once a person passes on to the next life, their test is completed.  On Judgment Day everyone will only be responsible for their actions here. Intercession is a myth and we cannot transfer credits [2].  In realizing the personal relationship between God and the lone individual, it is quite comforting to know that God is the Most Merciful, the Kindest, Forgiver, the best Judge, and is never unjust [3].  God will transform sins into credits and forgive actions that we, as flawed humans would not forgive [4]. Thus, we are instructed only to ask forgiveness of our sins and the sins of all the believers, and not to fast or do other things to earn credits for anyone else [5].

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1] 17:15; [2] 9:80, 53:38-42, 29:12, 35:18, 39:7;  [3] 10:109, 3:182, 22:65, 40:3;  [4] 25:70, 9:102, 25:70, 39:53, 42:34, 10:26-27;  [5] 47:19.


2. DEAR ABE:   I was a pious Muslim and was under immense blessings from the Almighty God.  Despite this, I got clutched in the evil thoughts of Satan and got into a relationship and in turn started moving away from Islam. Not long afterwards, I lost my job. I want to become a firm Muslim again but at the highest priority I want to repent to the Almighty in order to regain His protection and my self respect back. Can you prescribe some prayers/duas which I can perform for this purpose? --DARA, INDIA

DEAR DARA:   Sorry to hear that you are in a bad situation.  However, we know from the Quran that idol worship is the only sin that God does not forgive if it’s maintained until death [1]. So, how does one gain God’s forgiveness?  Anyone who repents sincerely and reforms, God will accept their repentance [2]. You requested supplemental prayers, but our regular religious duties of The Contact Prayers, or Salaat and The Obligatory Charity, or Zakaat are our primary sources to get closer to God [3].  Also, we need to remember and be thankful to God, meditate seeking to please Him, and turn to the Quran for guidance [4].  Since God does not tell us how to make supplemental prayers, any sincere supplication with the wording of our choice can be offered [5].

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1] 4:116;  [2] 3:135, 4:146, 25:70;  [3]  29:45;  [4] 2:152, 4:103, 3:191, 17:79, 50:40, 2:97;  [5] 2:186, 40:60, 26:218, 24:41, 12:97-98, 10:89, 12:34, 3:38.


3. DEAR ABE:  Will you be kind enough to let me know whether Starfish is forbidden, or haram?  Also, which Seafood is permissible or halal for Muslims? -- FAISEL, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

DEAR FAISEL:  In the Quran there are only four distinct dietary prohibitions; of which Star Fish and other Seafoods are not included [1].  We are also advised in the Quran not to ingest intoxicants, and again, Sea foods generally do not fall into this category [2].  The only mention of fish as a source of sustenance is about its lawfulness, and as a matter of fact we are told that ALL fish of the sea are made lawful for us to eat [3].  Therefore, fish as a type of meat are not forbidden according to the Quran [4].

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1] 2:172-173, 6:145, 6:121, 5:3; [2] 2:219, 5:90-91; [3] 5:96, 7:163, 16:14, 35:12, 18:61-63; [4] 5:87-88, 10:59-60, 2:168-169 .

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The answers provided by Abe and friends represent the understanding of the
writers, and should not be taken as the only acceptable approach. The reader is encouraged to research the topics further using the Quran.

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