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A woman’s worth does not depend on her accomplishments

AOA, Akhi! few days ago I met an aunt of me.She and her daughters are very social and they all are well known in their fields.My father couldn't afford our studies so we sisters are just graduate.Also my father never allowed us to go out much so we are kind of staying at home type girls.But Alhamdulillah all are married and happy in their lives.My aunt said to me that the kind of life u are living,is just making u a burden on society.So does a person must be recognized by society before dying?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

In my opinion a saintly “soccer mom” who has no accomplishment beyond taking care of her family is infinitely more admirable than a selfish and greedy female CEO. A woman’s worth has nothing to do with her accomplishments and everything to do with her character. A saintly woman who carries out her duties (whatever they may be) is better than other women regardless of accomplishments.

The idea that a woman’s worth should depend on her accomplishments is a self-defeating modern superstition. It tells women they are not good enough unless they ignore their own desires and instincts and enter races with men in the corporate, political or scientific world. 

I fully support women’s participation in these things. What I do not support is acting as if a woman’s worth depends on these things. It does not. Her worth depends on her character. I would consider a woman with no accomplishments but with a good character superior to a female Nobel Prize winner with a bad character any day.

Our accomplishments are gifts from God. He created us, gave us talents and made things easy for us. Acting as if accomplishments increase our worth is the height of arrogance, it is the same as a rich person thinking their money that God has given them makes them worthier than poor people.

I see nothing wrong with a woman having no interest in accomplishments and simply wanting to take care of her family. And I see nothing wrong with another woman who likes accomplishments. Neither is worthier than the other. Both are simply carrying out their duties.

It is only ignorance and arrogance that makes a scholar or scientist think their job is more glorious than a mother who takes care of her children. To me their worth depends on their character, including how well they try to carry out their duties. If God has enabled me or some woman to be a scholar and has put scholarship in our path, it would be shameful if we do not try to be the best scholars we can be. But if God has not enabled another person to become a scholar, then it is not shameful that they are not scholars.

I firmly believe that an uneducated and illiterate shepherd who fears God more than I do is a better and worthier person than I am regardless of my accomplishments.

Your aunt’s statement that you are a burden on society is rather ignorant and arrogant. Just because God made things easy for her and not for you makes her think she is better than you. If you fear God more than her and carry out your duties just as well as her, then you are superior to her even if she gains global fame in her field.

There is no worth, honor or glory except through God. Anyone who chases these things outside of God is chasing a mirage. 

I do not want to discourage women from working in traditionally masculine fields. What I want to discourage them from is the arrogance to think that this makes them superior to other women. It does not. Whether you work with test tubes or diapers, you are a lowly servant of God and your only worth comes through Him. Anyone more pious and saintly than you is superior to you regardless of who you think you are.

And I find pious women who seek worth and honor through God to be infinitely more admirable than women who seek these things by trying to race with men in traditionally masculine fields. Of course there is nothing wrong with a woman wanting to work in these fields, what is wrong is her thinking this is something to be proud of. Like I said, being proud of your accomplishments is like being proud of being rich. Both are blessings from God that you would never have had if He had not made things easy for you. Accomplishments should only increase your humility and gratitude toward God.

If anyone, man or women, thinks their accomplishments makes them superior to someone more pious than them, then they have become arrogant and misguided. If you think your fame and accomplishments make you superior to a completely unknown mother who fears God more than you and whose only accomplishment is raising healthy and happy children, then that is the height of arrogance.

So never let someone make you think you are inferior just because they are more accomplished and famous than you. It is the same as letting a rich person make you think you are inferior because you are not as rich. Seek worth an honor only through God, He should be your standard and your guide, not other people. If you are more pious than your aunt, then she has absolutely nothing to be proud of, and her self-satisfaction has only set her up for failure in attaining God’s love and pleasure.

There is, however, the danger of letting our sense of our piety make us feel arrogant and superior to others. This too is wrong. Feeling superior to others is always wrong, whether because of piety, accomplishments or wealth. You should only compare yourself to what God wants you to be, and seeing your numerous failures in being the best person you can be in God’s sight should only increase your humility and fear of God’s dissatisfaction with you.

Is ayahuasca haram?

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Is Ayahuasca haram?

If it causes one to lose their judgment then it is haram. Anything that causes intoxication (a loss of judgment) in large doses is haram whether taken in large doses or small doses. Ayahuasca contains DMT and from what I found, people recommend not driving a car while on it. This seems to suggest that it is intoxicating and therefore haram.

Dealing with intrusive family members

My parents and siblings ask way to many questions about my life, sometimes finding out way more than they need. What should I do? It's bothering me. Sometimes I feel like I have no privacy or that they give me no space. The relationship sometimes feel nonreciprocal as well, for example they do not always answer me or do not share with me about what's going on in their life. Can you give me some advice one what I should do?

Unfortunately it is very difficult to change the way family members treat us since they have been doing that for years and think it is the right way to behave. The best course of action is just to be patient and to try to minimize it in whatever way possible without upsetting them.

Best wishes.

Are there any books you would recommend?

Are there any books you would recommend to read apart from islamic books and quran?

I recommend reading the great classic novels. Please check out the following page where I have made a list of over 100 good books you can check out:

World’s Greatest Books

You can also check out my about page where I list books I have read. Most of the books you see on there I recommend reading.

On men and women having a partition between them at mosques

Salam Brother! What is your stance on men and women having a partition in mosques? If yes, why should they have one?

The partition is not necessary, but it can be helpful in reducing unnecessary contact between the sexes. It is not a matter having to do with rights and freedoms. It is about creating an atmosphere that is best suited for focusing on worshiping God. Partitioning can help remove a potential source of distraction, so it is something that both men and women can like and appreciate.

On how to stop masturbating

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Assalamu alaikum, can i ask on how to stop masturbating? Ive tried and stopped for a week, but then i accidentally started again. Repetitively failing to control myself had me felt useless, and ive starting to lose hope with myself. Thank you for your consideration.

Your ability to control your impulses only matures after the age of 25, since this is when brain development completes. Before this age it is always going to be difficult to control your impulses. Since masturbation is such an easy source of getting an intense climax, it is going to be difficult to resist for many people.

The way to stop masturbating is to realize that your will power will likely not be able to resist it, so the solution is to make it difficult and inconvenient to masturbate, for example by not living alone, by spending your time with other people, and by spending time outside. Rather than staying home, go to a library to do your reading or studies.

And rather than losing hope when you again succumb to it, use it to motivate yourself to do good deeds. God says:

... good deeds take away the bad deeds. This is a reminder for those who remember.

The Quran, verse 11:114

So to make up for it, make it a rule that every time you do it, afterwards you will spend 30 minutes reading Quran (as an example).

Additionally, the closer you are to God the easier it becomes to resist temptations. You cannot stay close to God unless you do the daily work needed to maintain this closeness. I recommend spending at least an hour a day reading the Quran for the rest of your life. This is the best way to maintain a high level of faith and piety and resist sins.

For more on masturbation please see: Masturbation is not clearly forbidden or allowed in Islam

Why do people get jealous?

Why do people get jealous? Also, how can I protect myself from nazar (evil eye)?

Humans have a natural tendency to feel unhappy when they see someone who enjoys blessings much greater than they enjoy themselves. Some people are not pious enough to fight this tendency, so they feel a strong desire for the blessed person to lose the blessing and wish bad things to happen to them.

The evil eye is not mentioned in the Quran, so I do not consider it important enough to be worth worrying about. The best protection would be to read the Quran daily. Chapter 113 of the Quran contains a prayer against envious people, so you can try to memorize it and recite it when you feel any worry about envy and the evil eye:

Say, “I take refuge with the Lord of Daybreak.

From the evil of what He created.

And from the evil of the darkness as it gathers.

And from the evil of those who practice sorcery.

And from the evil of an envious when he envies.”

How do you pray for someone who is ill?

How do you pray for someone who is ill? Also, how do you pray for someone who has to go through surgery?

You can say anything you want. There is no need for special words. Below is a prayer from the Prophet :

Narrated `Abdul `Aziz:

Thabit and I went to Anas bin Malik. Thabit said, "O Abu Hamza! I am sick." On that Anas said, "Shall I treat you with the Ruqya of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)?" Thabit said, "Yes," Anas recited, "O Allah! The Lord of the people, the Remover of trouble! (Please) cure (Heal) (this patient), for You are the Healer. None brings about healing but You; a healing that will leave behind no ailment."

Sahih al-Bukhari 5742

Below is the Arabic transliteration of the prayer:

allāhumma rabba al-nās mudhhiba al-bās ishfi anta al-shāfī la shāfiya illā anta, shifāʾan la yughādiru saqman

It is permitted for Muslim women to work in the police force and the army

Asalam Walikum, Are women joining the military haram? If so, why?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

According to a fatwa issued by al-Azhar University, it is permitted for women to work in the police force and the army. There are examples of women working in the army during the time of the Prophet . They mainly worked as nurses but sometimes they also joined the fighting.

Women face a high risk of sexual harassment and rape in the army from what I have read, for this reason it is best if Muslim women avoid army jobs that require constant unsupervised mixing with soldiers. Secretarial, nursing and technical jobs in the army would be the best choice. It is not a clear-cut issue between halal and haram; people should use their own judgment in deciding whether the work environment is safe enough and reputable enough for a Muslim woman to work there. It also changes from woman to woman; some women are physical much stronger than others and have a dominant personality. Such women can easily avoid and counter abusive men, while physically weaker and more submissive women may not be able to do so.

Sources:

On being constantly scared of death and being hurt as a Muslim

Assalam Alaykum Lately I’ve been thinking of all the bad stuff that can happen to one. You could die any minute or get hurt doing something or you could get hurt by someone evil, auzubillah.. This have made me very scared and sad. Do you have dua protection? And advice for me, always scared, almost never going outside.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I recommend reading the Quran daily until you attain faith in the fact that everything is in God’s hands and that nothing will befall you unless He allows it. It is a sign of a weakness in faith if you are scared of death or disasters. If you knew that God is completely in charge of the universe then the only thing you would be scared of would be His being displeased with you.

You cannot maintain a strong faith unless you do enough work every day to stay close to God, and the best type of work is to read the Quran (I recommend an hour a day ideally), so I hope this is what you will do and inshaAllah you will get many benefits from it.

The best prayers for protection as far as I know are the last two chapters of the Quran.

Best wishes.

Fasting in the month of Rajab

Salaam, do you have any information on whether we should fast during the month of Rajab? I tried to Google and found conflicting information. Thank you!

The mainstream opinion is that fasting in Rajab is like fasting in any other month. There is a weak narration that says fasting in Rajab was disliked by the Prophet , but since it is not authentic it cannot be relied on. Imam Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal disliked fasting in this month, for this reason the Ḥanbalī school considers it disliked to fast in this month. But the rest of the schools do not share this opinion.

Source:

Gender dysphoria in Islam

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(1) Greetings. I have been following your blog and are fascinated by your wisdom in viewing life through Islamic lenses, but does not fail to be logical. I am a Muslim young woman in her mid-twenties and am thinking to be a transgender, because ever since I was little I sometimes thought myself as a male in a female's body. Also, I'm boyish. I know that Allah is Never wrong, but why is this feeling and thoughts exist? I just thought about this recently. What do you think of my consideration?

(2) The reason why I felt so is because I've always been leaned towards boyish things; clothes, hobbies, preferences, etc. I'm rarely consider myself girly, but the only time I become self-conscious and consider myself a girl is when my emotions burst upfront. I'm a feeler person. I rarely fall in love with boys/men, but I openly confess to my best friend that I love her and if only I'm a male, I would marry her. What should I do? That's all and thank you very much for your time.

(3) Also, I've never had any complain as a woman, it's just I imagine myself more comfortable if I were a man. I know that my feelings will never justify my wish to be a transgender, but I just wanted to spill this and you are the only person on earth I know would not judge me for saying such taboo things. I'm fully aware that Islam prohibits sex reassignment surgery and such to change one's gender. I don't mean to act ungrateful towards God. I just wanted your opinion and solution to this.

(4) Lastly, if what I question previously are not allowed in Islam, then can a Muslim woman also be a boyish or tomboy in looks and character? (I'm a hijabi and I wear abaya, by the way.) Is it not allowed or is frowned upon? Thank you so much for putting up with my questions patiently. May Allah Reward you and your family with an abundance of virtue and Paradise.

Assalamu alaikum,

There is no surprise in some women feeling boyish and some men feeling feminine. These things are determined by hormones and brain structures, which are strongly affected by genes and by the gestational environment (the hormones you are exposed to in your mother’s womb). Think of your condition as similar to someone being born blind or with another disability. These things happen.

The reason why God allows it to happen is that God wishes the universe to operate in a way that makes sense and that allows humans to have the choice of both believing and disbelieving in Him. If everything went perfect and nothing went wrong in our universe we would know that there is a God caring for it. But by hiding Himself from us and allowing the universe to function in a seemingly scientific way, God allows us to have the choice of belief and disbelief. I discuss this in my essay on reconciling Islam and Darwinian evolution and my essay on why God allows evil to exist and why bad things happen to good people.

My advice is to accept yourself as you are. There is nothing wrong with feeling boyish in your heart since that is something you did not choose for yourself. But my advice is also to accept what Islam asks of you as a woman. This too is something you did not choose, but accepting it opens the way for salvation for you in the real life that is to come, while rejecting it may give you some satisfaction in this life at the cost of God’s mercy in the afterlife.

The Prophet strongly spoke against men who dress like women and women who dress like men. So it would be best if you maintain a female appearance. As for having boyish interests and manners, then that is fine as long as you do not act in a way that goes against Islam or scandalizes people.

I recommend waiting patiently. One day you may meet a man whom you find attractive and who likes you the way you are.

Best friends and soulmates

Brother, is there such thing as a best friend? I'm the type of person who thinks that I only allow myself one best friend, but after a few failed friendships, I'm starting to believe such thing never actually exist. Was it because my previous failed friendships? And also, is it true that soulmate can be in a form of a best friend? Thank you very much for listening and hopefully responding to me.

A best friend is just a good friend that you prefer over your other friends. Some people believe that soulmates are assigned from birth. My own view is that all souls can be soulmates if they are pure and selfless. There is no reason why a best friend cannot be a soulmate.

Islam and meditation

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Salam, please what is your opinion about meditation and the fact to practise it to open his mind to spirituality? El salat look like meditation, isn't it? i also took some seconds during my salat to take a big breath just before i finish (before el teslima) like in meditation, i hope there is no a problem with this?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

As long as the meditation is not mixed with un-Islamic beliefs then I see nothing wrong with it. What is forbidden is to believe that anything besides God has supernatural powers. Meditation practices like Zen-style ones can be done without any un-Islamic elements (as you long as you avoid the Buddhist elements) since the point is to clear your mind of distracting thoughts.

I also do not see anything wrong with taking deep breaths during the prayer. It is true that the prayer can thought of as a form of meditation, in fact in my following I essay I speak of tahajjud as meditation:

Mysticism without Sufism: A Guide to Tahajjud, Islam’s Meditation Practice

Sources:

Islam and telepathy

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Assalamualaikum brother, What does Islam have to say about mental telepathy? Is it true? Can you tell me more about it?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There is nothing on telepathy on the Quran. I have also not seen any hadiths that mention it. I have, however, heard stories of Sufi sheikhs who were sometimes able to communicate telepathically with people close to them. It is said that it was a miracle granted to them for their extreme piety.

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