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The difference between kafir and mushrik

Assalamualaikum, i want to ask about the words kaffir and musyrik. Can you tell me what is the difference(s) between those words? Thank you.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Kafir is a person who knows the truth but denies it. In Islam it refers to a person who has sufficient knowledge and experience to believe in God, but who intentionally disobeys God and even denies His existence.

A mushrik is a person who makes something other than God the object of their faith or worship. A person who worships a statue, or an atheist who puts his faith in science, or a kafir who worships his/her own desires, can all be considered mushriks.

Saying takbirat after the imam is a sunna

Assalamu 'alaykum…I did not know that we are supposed to say takbeer whilst praying behind an imam, is my prayer invalid or is it valid since I did not know? I did say the opening takbeer but I remained silent for the takbeerat that followed. Jazakallahu khayr. I also came home after I found out about this and did sajda sahw.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Saying the takbirs other than the first one (known as takbīrāt al-intiqāl) is a sunna, not a fard, therefore there is no issue with you not having said them (although a person should not intentionally abandon them). Also note that these takbīrāt al-intiqāl should be said silently (in a whisper), only the imam says them aloud.

References:

On Prophet Lot offering his daughters to rapists

In prophet Lot’s story in the Quran , it is said that when his people try to barge in and rape his guests (the angels ), he outright offered them his two daughters to rape instead which is something that I can’t really wrap my head around and can’t understand why it would be in any way considered better than the alternative and why the Quran would even mention that ?

Prophet Lot was obeying the tribal rule of hospitality that requires a person to treat guests better than they treat their own family. He was also perhaps considering homosexual rape to be worse than heterosexual rape. For more on this please see this previous answer: Did God destroy the People of Lot for rape instead of homosexuality?

On avoiding wasting time

Assalam alaykum. I have a problem with wasting time, and I always say to my self “let me just finish this episode, and then i’ll Read Quran”. I use too much time in social media, and i’m not motivated at all. I want to be motivated, so I can be exited to read Quran, and to increase my knowledge. I hope you can help me. Jazakum Allah khair.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

The lack of motivation can be due to a medical condition such as ADHD or depression, and without the right medications it may not be possible to have motivation for a person who suffers from such conditions. Another issue is impulsivity; people younger than 25 have not completed their brain development and are less able to manage their time, but once they get older they get better control.

Unfortunately I do not know of any solution for these issues. You can find many articles on the Internet for avoiding procrastination and being productive, but I doubt the efficacy of the solutions they provide.

Can non-Quraysh be a leader of Muslims?

Assalamualaikum I would like to know if a non-Quresh can become a leader of the Muslims

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There are a few hadiths that say the caliphate is only for Quraysh. But since the caliphate no longer exists and since there is no strong evidence that it is obligatory on Muslims to have a caliphate, this is no longer relevant. The leader of a Muslim state can be from any tribe or ethnicity.

Why do Muslims follow different madhhabs?

Do people follow certain mazhabs just because it is simply what their previous generation have done? Do they follow not because there is mentioned of benefits found in the Quran and authentic hadith but merely as a way to preserve their identity considering what mazhab could define them?

The different madhhabs spread in different places largely due to historical accidents. Many Maliki scholars ended up in North Africa and Spain, so these places become firmly Maliki to the present day. People follow the madhhab that is followed by most of the scholars and imams around them.

Things are changing nowadays due to the increase in communication between different parts of the Islamic world so that madhhabs are becoming less relevant. Check out the following answer on how Muslims today can follow Islam beyond the madhhabs: On deciding which madhhab to follow and the multi-madhhab approach

Answers about Islam and misogyny

Hey assalamu alaikum I’ll forward some messages here from previous conversations with someone who gave me worse explanations

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I broken up your question to address them individually.

there’s something called child support he pays money to support his family not to pay his supposed to be wife I feel worse about myself now so it’s true my actual purpose in life is to be my husband’s maid and sex slave?

Marriage is a contract between two equal partners. Your purpose in life is to do what is good for you and your family. You are not your husband’s property, maid or sex slave.

What about women’s shahadah(testimony) is half of men’s?

For this issue please see: Why men and women have different gender roles in Islam

Ok what about inheritance I know why is the man worth of 2 women’s value I know the reason but can it be applied in today’s world? And why does a daughter get only a part of her share if she doesn’t have a brother her share is taken by her fellow male family members ?

In the Islamic legal system, which still applies today, it is a man’s legal duty to take care of his wife and children. His larger share of inheritance is meant to help him with this duty. A woman has no such duty and her inheritance is entirely her own, while a man’s inheritance is divided between himself and his wife and children.

Ok how do I obey someone who’s not as smart as me?

It is your duty as a free person to choose a man who treats you the way you like to be treated. Islam does not force you to get married, and it does not force a certain type of man on you. If your husband makes unfair demands, you have the right to divorce.

The 4 wives thing isn’t really encouraged I know that but I heard that certain people are allowed to have sex with whoever they want like sultans.

Islamic law works to eradicate slavery and concubinage while tolerating it in societies that already practice it. For more on this see: Understanding Islam’s Sophisticated Approach to Slavery: Why Muslims Practiced Slavery in the Past, and Why They Reject it Today

And in surah al talaq there’s an ayah that proves pedophilia is halal I didn’t know that at all I thought they were referring to the pregnant al talaq verse4.

In colder countries women may not start menstruating until the ages of 16-18. Such women can still marry (including in Western countries) and they need this verse to tell them how to calculate their idda.

What about the eddah after the husbands death or after divorce why do I have to sit at home for 4 months and 10 days whereas he can marry the same day I died or the same day we divorce.. just think about it is having such authority possible in a mutual relationship?

One reason is to deal with the possibility that she may be pregnant. Islam does not want a pregnant woman to engage in sexual intimacy with a man other than the man who impregnated her. There may also be social reasons; society may function best when women do not immediately remarry after the death of their husbands.

Ok why is only him allowed to marry nonmuslim women and I not?

Because children are more likely to follow the religion of their fathers rather than their mothers. Muslim women married to non-Muslims are more likely to fail at passing Islam down to their children.

What about many and multiple hadiths that curse women who take care of their eyebrows, not wear hijab, the camel way of hijab.

Many of those hadiths are either fabricated or come to us from a single Companion, which means that they do not impart certain knowledge. You can ignore any single-Companion hadith that seems to conflict with Islamic ideals.

And tattoos are prohibited both for men and women yet only women with tattoos are the cursed ones.

The reason may simply be that only women used to practice tattooing at that time.

Men are still allowed to have 70 hoor al ain and not me. There me no equality there?

The 70-virgins hadith is not a reliable hadith. See Misquoting Muhammad by Jonathan Brown. As for women’s relationships in Paradise, we simply have no knowledge, and the vast majority of Muslim women are fine with the way things are. If you live piously you can trust God to give what makes you happy in the afterlife.

Also the same ayah that talks about the husband’s disobedience Allah says that we have to forgive him but if it’s us they have the right to degrade us it’s kind of degrading think about it it’s your spouse not your parent I searched about it and found some people saying that the verse doesn’t mean strike (hit) it means just ignore

God does not say to forgive such a husband, He says that the husband and wife should get arbitrators from their families to judge the issue. Regarding the wife-beating issue please see my essay: A new approach to the Quran’s “Wife-Beating Verse” (al-Nisa 4:34)

One last question ? If the husband doesn’t afford to pay his wife the obedience rule falls down right ? If I pay my own bills so we can be equal? I’ve always thought women are equal to men in Islam until I started arguing with many Islamophobes that sorted many of these things out to me I read about it I found they were true.I kept telling myself ofc there’s a hikma behind them and I just need to ask the right person.And I never had the courage to but now I did Look I really love my religion , I pray 5 times a day I’m a hafiz and I’m going to hajj this year so I really want to clear this up before I go.Look first I thought it’s just temporary thoughts and questions and I ignored them and now I realized they’re not just temporary as time goes, I feel worse about myself and I feel that women in Islam are less than men so that’s why I decided to seek answers

I think you are misunderstanding the issue of obedience. Your husband is not some lord over you who commands you. If he does that then you have married the wrong type of person. Your husband is your equal spiritually, and “obeying” him simply means that you do not do anything that would be a deal-breaker. You can make demands of him, if he demands something unfair you can tell him that, you can enlist the help of his family or your family, and you can threaten divorce. No Muslim woman should ever have to obey unfair demands from their husband or act like slaves for their husbands’ whims.

I live in Saudi Arabia and religious people there don’t believe in different mazhabs and they believe they have the right to continuously force me to wear niqbab or they’ll kick me out of tahfeez I really love memorizing the Quran it was my decision too but I just never read the verses regarding women in depth I’m sure there’s justice behind them that I don’t know about..I mean I rarely wore niqab there anyways look they’re not bad but they keep on talking about women in a really stupid way as if our purpose in life is to cover up from men because they’re some monsters or either please them after marriage .. other than that they’re really kind and good people

That’s entirely a problem with Saudi culture. If you go to the middle class of Iran, Turkey, Egypt or Malaysia, you will find that men and women are treated as equals and there is little of the problems you describe.

But there’s no Hadith that curses men it’s always women there’s even a Hadith حديث أبي هريرة  قال: قال رسول الله ﷺ: إذا دعا الرجل امرأته إلى فراشه فأبتْ فبات غضبان عليها لعنتها الملائكة حتى تصبح[1]، متفق عل that curses women who do not consent to sex .. can you please explain it? Because many people said Islam encourages marital rape what if it’s the opposite??

That’s a single-Companion hadith; such hadiths do not impart certain knowledge and can be safely ignored.

What’s the hikma behind this verse الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنْفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ وَاللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرًا Please a non misogynistic explanation.. do women have to hit slightly their disobedient husbands ?? And if no as expected why? He’s doing his responsibilities as a father he did nothing for his born baby other than child support so why does the woman have to obey them to the extent that he can hit her? I’ve even read hadiths that if women were to chose to prostrate to the sun or their husbands they should prostrate to their husbands? What’s so good about husbands and why are they that superior in this life and the hereafter?

Please see my essay: A new approach to the Quran’s “Wife-Beating Verse” (al-Nisa 4:34)

Why do humans always need to believe in something?

Why do humans always need to believe in something and why do humans incline to do good even it is not always easy?

I believe the answer to both questions might be that our souls recognize God’s presence, so they need to either accept Him or accept something else that helps them oppose Him. Humans incline toward good because God inspires us in that way, just as Satan inspires us to the opposite.

On the use of pseudoscience to defend Islam

What are you views on people using anecdotes with a lot of mistakes and also pseudoscience to give dakwah or reminders. They will then say that their main point is to remind to do good deeds.

I believe that it is unacceptable to use any kind of falsehood for the sake of Islam. The first allegiance of every Muslim should be to the truth and nothing but the truth. So I completely opposed to that sort of thing and consider it not just morally wrong but harmful to Islam since it causes people to lose their respect for the religion when its leaders are willing to speak falsehoods and inaccuracies for the sake of some supposed greater good.

Is there a dua for getting married?

Salam Brother Ikram, I really want to get married, is there a dua or anything? How do I go about asking for a companion through god? Is there any advice you could give me?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I hope you get your wish fulfilled inshaAllah. Duas are not like magic spells where speaking it a certain way will ensure good results. Speak to God however you want. The only way to ensure that God will make your wishes come true, protect you and bless you is to truly submit to Him and always work to please Him. Therefore I recommend that you pray to God for your wishes while also doing what is necessary to stay close to Him and remain within His good graces, such as dedicating a certain amount of time everyday to reading the Quran.

Does smiling or laughter break wudu?

Does smiling or laughter break wudu? Lets say one laughed once and realize it would that break wudu?

No, they do not have an influence on wudu. There was a difference of opinion on whether laughter during the prayer would nullify both the prayer and the wudu, but the stronger opinion is that it only nullifies the prayer without affecting the wudu.

References:

Why are there multiple methods for moving the finger during tashahhud?

Why are 2 method of moving up our finger in swalaat? Some lift their finger up and then put in down. But some repeatedly lift it up and down till swalaat end

There are more than two methods. The reason is that we have many hadiths on this issue and they contain conflicting accounts of how the Prophet PBUH moved his fingers during the tashahhud. Different scholars preferred different narrations, so they came up with different views of how it should be done.

Why men and women have different gender roles in Islam

Salam, I have question about equality between men and women. Islam acknowledges equality when it comes to spirituality, sins etc. but then in marriage wife has to obey her husband despite the fact that it's supposed to be equal companionship, not superior and inferior relationship since men and women have equal intellectual capability to think and solve problems. Also what about a one man's testimony equals two women's testimony?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Men and women, despite their spiritual equality, have very different personalities determined by genetics, so scientifically there is no surprise in men and women functioning best when they have different roles in the family.

Islam’s view is that a family functions best when the man is the head of the household. Everyone is happier in such an arrangement; the man, the woman, and the children. If such an arrangement makes everyone happier, what right do we have to break it down? If someone believes in the ideology that men and women should have exactly the same roles in the family, and if that arrangement makes everyone less happy, then forcing such an arrangement on people does not make the world a better place, it makes it worse.

Marriage in Islam is consensual. The woman herself wants to be in a relationship where the man is the head of the household. This is her choice and she has the right to make the choice. Before marriage she can speak with the man to find out whether his ideas about how she should be treated fit with her needs and wants. And if afterwards the man turns out to be an unfit husband, she has the right to divorce.

The vast majority of well-educated Muslim women I have met have no problem with the gender role that Islam gives them. They like it and they do not ask for an alternative. Women, being free humans, have the right to be taken seriously and to be respected when they choose to be in such relationships. A very small minority of Muslim women think that Islam’s traditional gender roles are unfair to them. But these are just a minority who happen to be very prominent in media and academia. They do not have the right to speak for all Muslim women, and they are free to marry men who share their views on gender equality. But when it comes to the vast majority of Muslims, men and women, they are happy with the way things are.

As for a man’s testimony being equal to two women’s, that is a very controversial issue and there are many different opinions on it. The verse of the Quran that mentions it is related to financial transactions and may not apply to all situations. This question can only be settled with scientific studies that show how men and women differ in their functioning as witnesses. If we discover that there are significant differences in the functioning of men versus women witnesses, then the interests of society as a whole are best served when these differences are taken into account. If we discover that a woman’s inheritance or marriage contract is better protected when she uses two male witnesses instead of two female witnesses, then it only makes for her to choose male witnesses in such cases. But if we discover that the sex of the witnesses does not make a difference, then we can use that to re-analyse the Quranic verse in question to find out why God asked for two female witnesses instead of one in that particular situation.

The Problem with Quranism

What do you think about Quranism? (The idea that we should rely on the Quran, augmented by reason and experience, for our spiritual and ethical lives, and not the Hadith? It makes a lot of sense to me that God would want us to follow his message, with the aid of the gifts of feeling reason and sensation that he has given us, and that if he had wanted us to follow the Hadith (e.g including Muhammad in the Shahada) he would have included them in the Quran. But I appreciate this is controversial!❤️

I used to somewhat lean toward that, though I never liked complete Quranism where all hadiths are rejected. I realized that almost everything that is problematic in Islam is caused by hadith, so I supposed that if we take most of our religion from the Quran rather than hadith then that would be better for everyone. But as I learned more I realized that the traditional view of the Quran and hadith is mostly correct. 

Quranism is based on a few dishonest arguments, such as the saying that the Prophet’s traditions were merely his personal attempts at applying the Quran, meaning that we have the right to make our own attempts. This is the “channels of revelation” problem; some claim that the Quran was the only channel of revelation that the Prophet PBUH had, so that all of his own interpretations were personal interpretation attempts. But hadith tells us this is false; we have a hadith where a person asks the Prophet PBUH about a technical issue related to the pilgrimage and the Prophet PBUH receives non-Quranic revelation at that time that allows him to answer the question. This shows us that the Prophet PBUH was not merely an interpreter of the Quran; he was an *additional* source of guidance besides the Quran who received information that is not in the Quran (such as how to perform the formal prayers).

If we believe that God is all-powerful and all-knowing, then we should ask why God failed to tell us that we should only follow the Quran and that the Prophet PBUH is merely an interpreter. The reality is the opposite; the Quran tells us to follow the Prophet and to bow to his judgments.

As I have greatly increased my knowledge over the past few years, I have realized that an honest look at the situation shows us that we are required to consider the Quran our main source of guidance, supplemented by hadith wherever necessary. The Quran is perfect, hadith is imperfect. The Quran is fully reliable, hadith is only partiality reliable and very few hadiths reach the level of authenticity of the Quran.

So the honest conclusion is that we should hold onto the Quran very strongly. In this I differ from many scholars who believe that the Quran and hadith are equal. They think that the Quran and the hadith collections stand side-by-side as equal sources of guidance. My view is that the Quran stands above everything else; it should be the criterion by which we judge hadith. But the honest conclusion is also that we are required to love and abide by hadith; hadith is indispensable and irreplaceable.

Quranism is attempt to simplify the life of the Muslims by giving them a single clear source of guidance. But simplification can be bad if it is over-simplification; and that is what Quranism is. It throws out an essential part of Islam by thinking that it knows better. So I am with the traditionalist scholars in believing in holding onto the Quran and hadith, while I disagree with many of them (but not most of them, recent Azhar university scholars like Shaykh Muhammad Abdullah Draz have my view) on the importance of the Quran, since I believe the Quran is much more important than hadith.

I invite you to take an honest look at the situation. You can never be fully sure that Quranism is the right way because the “channels of revelation” question at the very least puts it in a gray area, since there is always the possibility that hadith contains additional material that we are required to have as Muslims. One can never be sure if throwing out this material is the right choice, and the justification for it (that it simplifies life, or that the Quran is the only fully reliable source) is not a good enough justification.

We should start by thinking of the fact that God is all-powerful and that He could have prevented the present situation from coming about if He had wanted, and He could have given us clear guidance that we should only follow the Quran. But He didn’t do that. So we should reflect on this choice that God has made in not telling us to follow the Quran only. By leaving the matter vague, the honest conclusion is that we required to follow both the Quran and hadith and to struggle with hadith despite its complexity and problematic aspects. This is what almost all scholars have agreed on. They too were honest and sincere humans doing their best to make sense of an imperfect situation. The struggle is not easy, but we should conclude that we are meant to have this struggle. It is a test; do we choose to throw away hadith because it is problematic and break away from the Muslim community and the scholars out of our personal desires, or do we overcome our desires, and for the sake of unity and love remain within the traditional Muslim community and go through with the struggle and prevent it from being a cause for division and hatred.

I used to have a very negative view of the intelligence of past scholars because of some their ridiculous statements that I knew about. But as my knowledge has increased, as I have benefited from dozens of Western non-Muslim sources that studied the lives and works of these scholars, my love and admiration for them has only increased.

I recommend that you humble yourself before God and admit the fact that He has put you in this imperfect situation in order to struggle with it without giving up your honesty and your principles. We have the choice to be arrogant, proud and to think that we know better than others. We also have the choice to be humble and to treat the scholars and the Prophet’s hadiths with love and appreciation. I have chosen the path of love.

Are we responsible if we influence others to sin?

Salam, I was wondering;we are told that we are not responsible for the sins of others but I also heard that if you influence someone else to sin then you get a portion of the sin? what about for example a parent that influences the kid to take out an interest based loan or refuses to let them marry so they commit zina. Or parenting where a kid doesn’t know what’s haram & so does it. Or in general if you publicize your sins & someone partakes in it due to that. do you get a portion of their sin?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

The Quran does say that people who misguide others will have a share of the sins that the others commit. So if a person sins but the sin is because of the influence of another person (as in a parent pressuring a child to get an interest-bearing loan), then both will have some responsibility for the sin. Since parents are considered to have a responsibility to teach good morality to their children, if a child sins because their parents did not teach them it is wrong, then the parents can be held responsible for that. The Prophet PBUH says “All of you are shepherds and all of you are responsible for your flocks.” This means that we are responsible for the problems that occur under our circle of influence.

We do not know exactly how these portions are calculated. But we know that they exist. But we also know that God is just and forgiving, and that He does not burden a soul beyond the powers and knowledge that He has already given it. So a person who misguides another due to a lack of knowledge or other weakness will be more likely to be forgiven than a person who knowingly misguides others or causes them to fall into sin one way or another. If a parent refuses to let a son or daughter marry and this causes them to sin then clearly they bear some responsibility for that sin.

How to have the motivation to finish things

How do we finish things? Like I usually have a problem of finishing reading a book,after some time I get bored and just stop reading and completely abandoning the book. This also goes for everything else like trying to learn something.

Unfortunately your motivation to finish things is strongly influenced by the neurochemical balance in your brain. Some people suffer from conditions like ADHD or bipolar disorder which makes it extremely difficult for them to work on projects and have the motivation to go through with them. The only solution for such people is getting the right medication.

Stimulants like caffeine can help increase motivation, so you can try drinking coffee. But caffeine should be avoided after 2 PM because having it later than that will affect your sleep and decrease your motivation the next day.

You will also find many articles online on how to increase motivation and avoid procrastination, although personally I am highly skeptical of the solutions they offer. One thing that can help however is exercise; spending 30 minutes doing cardio exercise (such as on an exercise bike) and this can enhance your desire to read and get things done.

How to have barakah (blessings) in all aspects of our life?

How to have barakah in all aspects of our life?

I believe the way to do that is to avoid sins and to dedicate a certain amount of time everyday to extra worship, such as reading the Quran for an hour everyday. Reading the Quran helps you avoid sins, correct character defects, and recognize the best way to worship God and speak to Him. By dedicating an hour to the Quran everyday you can actualize the true Quranic spirit in yourself, realizing that you are meant to act like one of the Prophets mentioned in the Quran; working for God and making pleasing Him your first priority in life. Once you are fully dedicated to God then God will take care of all of your needs and will place His blessings into every hour of your day inshaAllah.

On technocracy

Do you support a government based on technocracy? Is there a type of government that is compatible with all types of cultures? Is there anything that could displace democracy?

Technocracy can be democratic or otherwise. If a group of scientists seize power and force their views on the population, that would be technocracy. I do not support such a government since technological solutions are only one of the essential needs of the population. A government that is only focused on technology is going to lack other essential things in its worldview, such as moral values.

I believe that allowing people to have a say in how their government works is an essential right, so the governments would have some element of democracy. But democratic systems can be very different depending on the way they governance system works. A democracy in which the president has all of the power is going to be very different from a democracy where the parliament has equal power to the president.

It is extremely difficult to come up with ways to improve reasonably functioning democracies like those of Britain and the US because whatever change we suggest will likely have many unforeseen consequences. Humans are extremely complex as anyone who has run a business knows, there are all kinds of clashes of interest and belief.

On the saying that Satan is the teacher of Muslims without shaykhs

Have you ever heard a saying attributed to Islam that goes(i'm paraphrasing):"Whoever that does not have a teacher, satan is his teacher". What are your thoughts on that?

I have heard that saying, it is usually used to justify having students submit to the authority of a shaykh in Sufi circles. It is meant to reinforce the Sufi idea that the shaykh/teacher is central to the spiritual growth of the student and that spiritual growth cannot be sought independently without submitting to the authority of the Sufi organizational system.

My view is that the saying is ridiculous and has no basis in Islam. It is great to have good teachers. But there is nothing in Islam that requires us to submit to the authority of a shaykh/teacher as if there can be no learning or growth outside of them. I support egalitarianism (equality) between students and teachers. Teachers are simply students who have learned more.

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