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November 2006:

1. DEAR ABE: So I'm talking to some friends and one says that so and so is very annoying. What should I do? Should I tell the person or should I not tell anybody? --SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

DEAR CALIFORNIA READER :  God expresses in the Quran that the backbiting you are hearing is a bad thing. Also, gossip (as a form of excessive mingling) is considered in some circumstances as being “from the days of ignorance” [1]. My advice to you after referencing the Quran is to either ignore their bad behavior, or say something against backbiting itself [2]. For example, (even if the friend does something annoying) you could say that it is not your habit to talk about others behind their back. You could also suggest for them to talk to your friend directly, since it is better for them to be straightforward [3]. If it evolves into persecution of that friend or becomes a bigger problem, then you would need to reevaluate your stance in light of the Quran [4].

Relevant Quran Verses: [1] 49:12, 68:9-11, 104:1, 33:33; [2] 25:72, 7:33, 42:42, 17:38; [3] 2:189; [4] 5:87, 49:9.


 2. DEAR ABE: I would like to know about an Islamic matter.  I would like to know if we can pray for our parents even if they are not Muslims?   --M.R., AMMAN, JORDAN

DEAR M.R.: We can pray for guidance for the idolaters, but not for forgiveness, since God's law is that idolatry is the only unforgivable offense [1]. This is demonstrated through two examples in the Quran. One describes when Abraham prayed for his father’s forgiveness and the other account is when Noah prayed for his son’s forgiveness.  In both cases, God illustrates that it was inappropriate to ask forgiveness, and both times the messengers repented after becoming aware of their mistake [2].

Relavant Quran Verses:  [1] 4:48, 4:116, 9:80, 2:186; [2] 60:4, 9:114, 11:42-48.


3. DEAR ABE: Do you believe that there will be 99 virgins waiting for the suicide bombers in heaven when they “martyr” themselves? I have trouble believing that your God will reward these actions by providing doting virgins; can you show me support for this? --A SKEPTICAL CHRISTIAN, IN THE BIG APPLE

DEAR SKEPTIC:  The scenario you describe above is not in the Quran. We learn in the Quran that God redeems righteous family members together, including spouses [1]. Also, He lets us know in no uncertain terms that descriptions of Heaven and Hell in the Scripture are allegorical and symbolic [2]. Thus, the myth you are talking about which states there will be 72 virgins waiting for the martyrs is not God's pledge; this tall tale is found only in man-made books. Your God and our God is one and the same, and so your instinct regarding His rules are correct. He does not reward wrongdoing nor does he promote sexism [3]. Thus, it appears that this myth is used for asserting the political agenda of those who propagate it.

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1] 43:70, 52:20-21, 13:23, 36:55-56, 38:52, 40:8; [2] 2:25, 3:15, 4:57, 55:70-76, 44:54; [3] 3:195.

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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.

Disclaimer: Abe and friends condemn all acts of violence, suicide bombings, and terrorism enacted under the banner of Islam.

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