IslamQA

Answers to questions received on my islamic-art-and-quotes tumblr blog.

Islam’s ruling on cannibalism for survival

What does islam Tell us about cannibalism. considering that one is trapped and can only eat a dead person. such as the crash of the aircraft Fuerza-Aérea-Uruguaya-Flug 571. Thank you for your answer. May Allah bless you

The Quran says in regards to eating prohibited things:

But if one is forced by necessity, without willful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits,- then God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (From verse 16:115)

Eating prohibited things for survival is therefore allowable when forced by necessity, and this would apply to what you mentioned.

Is it permissible to draw and paint in Islam?

I read your essay on the permissibility of drawing but I'm still a little confused. Is it okay to draw (animals, people etc) as long as you don't put it up on walls? As to show it off/be proud/or idolise it? - and how can this be connected to social media, drawings should not be shared online? Jazak Allah Khairun for your time and effort

The mainstream view (that of the scholars of al-Azhar University) is that drawing and making statues of living things is permissible as long as it is not something that is worshiped religiously or that contains features that conflict with Islam’s teachings.

So the general rule is that when it comes to drawing, painting and making statues, everything is permitted. Then exceptions are made for things that conflict with Islam’s teachings, such as statues of deities, or paintings depicting nudity (unless there is a reason to justify them, so a drawing of a naked person in a medical textbook is completely fine). So the mainstream Islamic view is the common sense view that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with paintings and statues. You can share drawings and paintings online without issue.

Additionally, even if something is wrong with a drawing, painting or statue, we are not required to destroy them. We see this in the example of the Egyptian relics. Muslims have ruled that country for about 1400 years and many of the Companions of the Prophet resided there, yet all the paintings and statues of Egyptian deities remain intact. The Muslims felt no need or desire whatsoever to destroy them and instead appreciated them as reminders of Egypt’s history. The Taliban’s destruction of Afghanistan’s relics was in accordance with their Saudi-taught Wahhabi ideology not in accordance with the views of the majority of Islamic scholars.

Feeling lonely and incomplete despite praying and reading Quran

I have a hole in my heart and I try to fill it with any attachments with anyone or even watching a tv or some series ,, I pray and I read QuranI but I still feel the hole all the time which make me attach to people and then break my heart,, what can I do?!

Humans are social creatures and need the love and support of their fellow humans. Almost no one can make religion replace this. Religion is not there to be a replacement for your humanity, it is there to reform it. None of the Prophets, peace be upon them, lived in loneliness and isolation. They were surrounded by loving families and friends.

What you seem to need is more human contact and love. You will invariably suffer let downs and disappointments, but that is in the nature of this world. There is no way to buy an insurance policy against suffering. Regardless of what we do, we will invariably go through periods of hardship and period of ease, periods of feeling loved and periods of feeling abandoned. Spirituality can help provide a balancing factor that prevents the changes and hardships of life from overwhelming you, but it cannot stop you from being influenced by them.

What you can do is continue praying and reading Quran, and when suffering comes your way, accept it as God’s decree and no that it will not last forever.

Can you remain in contact with a relative who left Islam?

Salaam. my aunt left Islam. She says bad things about Islam and sometimes wants to challenge me academically but I don't have adequate knowledge so I ended up more doubtful. As my aunt she cares about me and she's nice to me. I had a lot of issues with my computer back then went I was writing my thesis and she bought me battery abroad when I couldn't find the model here. And when my salary wasn't out she bought me clothes. And now she gave me money. //1

She has helped me financially when I needed it the most. But I’m wondering can we accept gifts or money from people who leaves Islam? I didn’t give back her stuff or say no thank you partially because it’s very disrespectful in my culture and to not cause issues in the family as the family ties are strong here. But also because I needed at those times. I had to write my thesis etc . Should I give sadaqa the money and the gifts? //2

She has helped me financially when I needed it the most. But I’m wondering can we accept gifts or money from people who leaves Islam? I didn’t give back her stuff or say no thank you partially because it’s very disrespectful in my culture and to not cause issues in the family as the family ties are strong here. But also because I needed at those times. I had to write my thesis etc . Should I give sadaqa the money and the gifts? //2

Islam forbids entering into a relationship of wilāya with such a person, but it does not forbid maintaining a polite relationship with them or accepting help and gifts from them. To clarify this, here are the relevant verses from the Quran:

O you who believe! Do not ally yourselves (wilāya) with your parents and your siblings if they prefer disbelief to belief. Whoever of you allies himself with them—these are the wrongdoers. (Verse 9:23)

We have advised the human being to be good to his parents. But if they urge you to associate with Me something you have no knowledge of, do not obey them. To Me is your return; and I will inform you of what you used to do. (Verse 29:8)

1. O you who believe! Do not take My enemies and your enemies for supporters (wilāya), offering them affection, when they have disbelieved in what has come to you of the Truth. They have expelled the Messenger, and you, because you believed in God, your Lord. If you have mobilized to strive for My cause, seeking My approval, how can you secretly love them? I know what you conceal and what you reveal. Whoever among you does that has strayed from the right way.2. Whenever they encounter you, they treat you as enemies, and they stretch their hands and tongues against you with malice. They wish that you would disbelieve… 8. As for those who have not fought against you for your religion, nor expelled you from your homes, God does not prohibit you from dealing with them kindly and equitably. God loves the equitable.9. But God prohibits you from befriending (wilāya) those who fought against you over your religion, and expelled you from your homes, and aided in your expulsion. Whoever takes them for friends—these are the wrongdoers. (Verses 60:1-2 and 8-9)

The term wilāya has no exact equivalent in English. It means to make someone your friend, patron and protector. It involves physical and emotional dependence and submission toward the person for your social status, safety and protection. God forbids us from entering into such a relationship with someone who dislikes our religion and hopes to one day make us disbelievers like themselves. Your aunt appears to fit this description, therefore the Quran’s guidance on this matter is to not make them your patron and protector. But you can still maintain polite relations with them and accept their help and gifts. What is forbidden is becoming dependent on them and submitting to them, everything else is left to your own discretion.

Coworker encourages them to sin

Assalamu Alaikum, How do we deal with human evil ? My "muslim" co-worker knows I'm still a virgin and that I don't eat pork and non-halal stuff ( Pretty logical for a muslim right ? ) but he's kind of teasing me and asking me if I want to eat the pork or drink bear "because I live in the west now" :/ if I didn't need the Job so much, I'd quit but I can't ... I'm proud for staying true to the religion but sometimes I regret moving to the west because of people like him ...

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Just ignore it if you can, and if he persists, you can write him a long email explaining that you take that as harassment and ask him to stop. And if that does not help, you can threaten to escalate it to the company’s human resources department. Some companies will take that type of behavior very seriously and will reprimand him for it.

What should a Muslim woman do if she feels more attracted to women than men?

I know you get lots of questions like these but, gonna ask anyways, I've been trying to deal with it on my own but I think I need help, I'm a woman and I feel attraction towards women ( and men as well but not as strongly ) I've been trying to distance myself from all things 'gay', if I'm being honest a few months ago I was ready to just ignore that part of our religion, and Allah swt put me back on the straight path, but it's such a struggle, do you have any advice ? :/

Your situation is similar to a man being in love with another man’s wife. His desire for her is natural, but God’s commandments make it impossible for him to get satisfaction in that way, so that he has to settle for another woman that he may not like as much. In your case too, you can settle for men even if women are your first choice, it may not feel ideal, but nothing in life is. There are many people who are not fully satisfied in their married life for one reason or another, so if you were to marry a man and you have a reasonably functional marriage, you would be just as happy as most people in their marriages.

You can check out the Islam and homosexuality page on my site for many other articles that explain Islam’s stance it.

The difference between tahajjud and qiyam al-layl

Salam. Brother, I have learned that if we want to pray tahajjud, we have to get some sleep first. If we do it right after 'isha prayer before sleep, it is only called qiyamul lail. Does that not count as tahajjud, even if our niyah is to pray tahajjud?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Tahajjud means “to keep vigil”, to avoid sleep for the sake of something. Qiyām al-layl means “staying up at night”. Linguistically the two have the same meaning, but some scholars choose to differentiate between them, reserving the word tahajjud for interrupting one’s sleep to pray, while considering qiyām al-layl to refer to praying without going to sleep at all.

I use tahajjud to refer to giving up sleep or rest for the sake of worship regardless of whether one has already slept or not. According to the scholar al-Mawardi (d. 1058 CE) this is a valid usage of the word tahajjud and it is the first opinion he mentions about it (in his commentary on verse 17:79, at volume 3, p. 264 of the Dar al-Kutub version of his tafsir).

The two terms can be considered synonymous since there is no compelling evidence in the Quran or the Sunnah to differentiate between them. Since tahajjud means “keeping vigil”, any form of keeping vigil for worship can be considered to fall underneath it. Some scholars prefer to differentiate between qiyām al-layl and tahajjud and they are free to have that opinion. In my view it is not important what we call it, the point is staying up at night for worship.

What is Islam’s punishment for premarital sexual intercourse?

Hello. What are the punishment for not waiting until marriage ?

If you are speaking of punishments administered by an Islamic legal system, in the overwhelming majority of cases there would be no punishment because people are encouraged to keep their sex lives private even if it is sinful. If they are discovered by their families, their families are also encouraged to keep things private and to forgive them and let them go on with their lives like normal if they repent and to not make it public.

Legal punishments only happen in the case of someone flagrantly airing their sex lives in public; if a person is discovered in the act of copulation by four witnesses and 2. there is a legal system in the country or state that enforces Islamic law and 3. the four people choose to testify in court against them rather than keeping silent, then those convicted would be publicly flogged then let go to go on with their lives. This means that the Islamic legal system ends up dealing almost entirely with cases of prostitution, rape and what may be called debauchery (orgies, etc.) rather than cases involving normal people’s lives, which are left to people’s own discretion.

If you were asking about God’s punishment for a person who engages in premarital sexual relationships, then it is sufficient for them to repent and stop doing it for them to be forgiven (as explained here).

Will God’s forgiveness allow someone to get away with their crimes?

(1/2) Narcissist they harm ppl and are ignorant how can they just go to heaven ? I know it’s a disorder so Allah forgives them. But bc I’m a victim of verbal abuse It led me to have severe depression & psychosis, almost killed myself twice despite months being broken up this year. He was a boyfriend & we had sex so is it been all my fault for how I let him come into my life and asked for it at 16 when he was 19.

(2/2) I’m 18 now and I hope Allah forgives me for being naive being so young but for him is it fine for what he was?

God judges each person according to what He has given them and according to their natural abilities and weaknesses. In the story of Moses, Pharaoh was a narcissist and he was punished terribly by God.

What you should keep in mind is that God is far wiser, more intelligent and more fair and just than you, so you should never worry about Him allowing someone to get away with their crimes.

42. Do not ever think that God is unaware of what the wrongdoers do. He only defers them until a Day when the sights stare.

43. Their necks outstretched, their heads upraised, their gaze unblinking, their hearts void.

44. And warn mankind of the Day when the punishment will come upon them, and the wicked will say, “Our Lord, defer us for a little while, and we will answer Your call and follow the messengers.” Did you not swear before that there will be no passing away for you? (The Quran, verses 14:42-44)

While God is merciful and forgiving, He is also just. He deals with each human exactly as they deserve, giving them a thousand chances to come back to Him, to repent and to become better people. But if they constantly reject God’s promptings, every day until the day they die, then they will be outside God’s mercy by their own choice that they repeatedly made on a daily basis for decades on end.

It is never good for your heart and soul to hope for bad things and punishments to happen to others, even if they deserve it. Ignore them for your own good, you deserve to have a calm and pure heart that does not dwell on negative things. And the way to achieve such a heart is to do sufficient worship daily to remain close to God at all times (as I explain in this essay).

Best wishes.

She is engaged to someone but wishes to marry someone else

1 Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatu. I am facing a very difficult dilemma at the moment. A few months ago, a cousin of mine asked for my hand in marriage. I was extremely shocked because I never thought of him in that way and I didn’t know he felt anything for me either but apparently he’s liked me for a very long time. Although we are cousins we never really spent much time together so I didn’t know much about him. My initial reaction to the question was leaning towards - cont next ask

2 no but my parents encouraged me otherwise because he is a good person, doesn’t have a bad history and to top it off he is my cousin so we did not want to make anything awkward or uncomfortable in our family. I decided to say yes because like I said I didn’t know much about him so it didn’t feel fair for me to say no without even giving him a chance. Things could possibly work out I thought. However I am having second thoughts now 🙁 I do not feel like I am in love with him.. cont

3 love for him but I feel like it’s brotherly love. On top of that, I think I am in love with someone else. I’ve always felt a connection with this person since we were small. We grew up together and I always thought we’d end up together but when my cousin proposed I didn’t think I had a chance with my childhood crush.. but now even though I’m engaged I still can’t get him off my mind. My heart is still drawn to him and I have no idea what to do. I feel like my love for my childhood - cont

4 crush is not allowing me to give my fiancé the love and attention he deserves. I’m scared to hurt him and my family by breaking things off but he deserves to be with someone who loves him just as much as he loves them. I really need some advice. I am scared that my parents, his parents, and most importantly Allah swt will not forgive me if I break things off.. I know divorce is permissible in Islam but it is frowned upon.. please help me. Thank you (sorry for the long ask)

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

That is a difficult situation and there does not seem to be any entirely satisfactory decision to be made. All of us at one time or another will face similar circumstances where there are seemingly no right choices.

If you choose to break off the relationship for the sake of your own happiness, this can greatly harm your family’s relationship with his family, and your own relationship with your family, without it being guaranteed that it will bring you what you desire, since the person you desire may or may not marry you. It is therefore a very risky decision. And if you go through with the planned marriage, while you do not feel any love toward him right now, love can develop down the road.

I cannot tell you what decision to make, since in the end you will have to accept the responsibility for either decision. But if I were in your situation, I would delay the wedding if possible while constantly praying for God’s help and guidance, and I would spend at least an hour in extra worship every day (as explained here). Situations that seem impossibly difficult and complicated today can be made easy and simple for us by God if we prove our loyalty and dedication to Him. He says in the Quran:

And whoever has taqwā (fears God and remains mindful of Him)—He will make a way out for him. And will provide for him from where he never expected. Whoever relies on God—He will suffice him. (From the verses 65:2-3)

So rely on God in this difficulty and every other difficulty and inshaAllah He will make a way for you one way or another.

Laughter in dreams and menstruation

In response to Did Abraham’s wife Sarah laugh at the destruction of Lot’s people?

Laughter in a dream can be interpreted as menstruation and I have certainly found this happening, especially when I think that I am not menstruating, but the dream appears as a vision to warn me that I am--laughter can thus be interpreted as menstruation because Lot's wife laughed because had suddenly begun menstruating, after menopause. This is one of the possible interpretations!!

That is possible. However, in the field of Quranic exegesis interpretations have to rely on either on textual evidence (verses of the Quran, hadith and athar) or on scientific evidence. Dream interpretation can only be admitted if there are Quranic verses or hadith narrations mentioning that seeing such a thing in a dream has such a meaning. If we ourselves relate menstruation and laughter through personal experience but this is not mentioned in Quranic verses or narrations, then it cannot be used to interpret the verse. If someone does a large-scale scientific study of women’s dreams and discovers a strong correlation between laughter in dreams and menstruation in the real world, then this too can be admitted as evidence to interpret the verse.

Also, note that the story related to Abraham’s wife not Lot’s wife.

What to do if you have lost hope in everything

Assalam alaykom, what would you say to someone who lost hope in everything and starts to think that Allah doesn't want them to be happy in life ? Is it possible to restore one's faith in Allah? Thank you

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Please see my new essay Islam and Depression: A Survival Guide. In this essay I explain how suffering is designed to be a part of life and how it can be made meaningful through getting closer to God.

Best wishes inshaAllah.

What a man should do if he does not have the money to marry

I wanna wife her right now but I don't have money to take care of her what should I do? her family wont let her marry a man with no money

The only thing you can do is be patient. And to increase your chances of God making things easy for you, I recommend always working to remain close to God (such as through tahajjud and Quran-reading). The Quran says:

And whoever has taqwā (fears God and remains mindful of Him)—He will make a way out for him. And will provide for him from where he never expected. Whoever relies on God—He will suffice him. (From the verses 65:2-3)

As these verses tell us, God is most likely to help those who have taqwā. If you want God to make things easy for you then work on the spiritual side as as well material side.

Best wishes inshaAllah.

On not inviting abusive parents to one’s nikah

My dad has abused me and my mum for years. Is it wrong if I don’t invite him to my nikah

In conflicts with your parents, it is always to try to be the “bigger person”, even if they do not deserve something or are acting unreasonable, it is best to treat them as if they are admirable people. However, it can be permissible to not invite a parent to your wedding if they have done something to deserve this, but this is something that only someone very familiar with your situation can decide.

For more articles on similar topics, please see the page dealing with parents in Islam on my site.

Is it wrong in Islam to feel jealous?

Salam, this guy i know is probably the one person i met who is genuinely kind-hearted and different to me. But, sometimes i have doubts about crushes and i just think about how im always thinking about the person i like rather than Allah SWT. I was afraid of how Allah might take him away cause ive put Him aside. Is it wrong if i get jealous if he starts to like my friend secretly? Ive let go of the people i like for the past few years for my friends but how i wished it could work out for me too.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

It is best to give priority to your relationship with God, but God does not expect us to be super-human. He knows that we have human desires and weaknesses and does not expect us to give up our humanity or the sake of religion, but He does present us with a higher ideal that we should all strive toward to the best of our ability.

Feeling jealous is not “wrong” since it is a natural reaction to certain circumstances. What is wrong is if this jealously causes you to do mean things toward people or to think negative and ungrateful thoughts toward God. Suppressing your jealously is a virtuous act and you will be rewarded for it. Virtue is in going against your human nature for the sake of God, as in giving away something you love, or suppressing anger or jealousy, or giving up part of the time you could be using for entertainment so that you instead do worship in it.

For more on romantic love and dealing with the possibility of not getting the person you desire please see the page romantic love in Islam on my site.

Her husband forbids her from going to the gym

Hi. I wanted to ask regarding women going to a public gym - gyms have a ladies only section. My husband doesnt allow me to attend even though it has a dedicated ladies area. I havet ried to make him understand but he still doesnt allow it. I wanted to go for my own health & wellbeing &keep active. I have tried working out at home but it is hard as i live with the inlaws & sometimes dont feel comfortable & its harder to stay more motivated. Any tips or help to make him understand?

It is possible that he dislikes your going to the gym because he thinks you may still run into many men who may get a chance to admire you. Since he cannot be completely sure what goes on in the gym and what kinds of people there are in there, he may think it the safest option for you not to go. You could encourage him to come with you to the gym so that both of you work out there, if he becomes familiar with the place, and if it is a good place, then he may end up having a more favorable opinion of you working out there.

Another thing to do would be to go with fellow Muslim women (maybe try to connect with some using your local mosque’s sisters group), if he thinks you are in good company at the gym that may convince him to not be opposed to it.

On helping a friend come back to Islam

Assalamualaikum... My friend talks to her male colleagues and goes out with them... and sometimes she put heart emoji when she replies to their posts on social media. The problem is, she thinks that it's not wrong because they're just friends. She's really good but i don't know why she's doing this! What should I do? Jazakum Allah khairan

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

That appears to be because of a lack of knowledge or piety. In general trying to make someone else a better believer leads only to negative results because you would be scheming to change someone’s state of mind which people find offensive, since they want to be free to reach their own conclusions. My advice is to never make someone your “project” where you try to improve them, that is a highly insulting attitude to have toward a fellow human.

Instead, attain a deep state of spirituality yourself (such as by spending an hour every night in tahajjud and Quarn-reading as I explain here). If you achieve such a state, your manners and character would probably do more to encourage her to become better than any argument. Al-Hasan al-Basri says:

Preach to others by your deeds, not by your words.

You could buy her beneficial books or encourage her to go with you to lectures. But you should not be attached to achieving any result. The best way to convince her to become better is to first become an admirable Muslim yourself, and second, to let her know through your words and actions that you love her for who she is rather than making your love for her conditional upon how well she lives up to your expectations.

Is it permissible to pray tahajjud after performing witr?

Assalam alaikum, Is there any norm or restrictions in praying tahajjud after you have prayed your Isha and ended with witr prayers. Is tahajjud valid after praying witr. Please clarify. JazakAllah khair

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Witr is supposed to be the last prayer of the night before the dawn (fajr) prayer. But if you perform it then desire to pray more tahajjud afterwards, this is permissible. Archived link to a fatwa stating this view from Egypt’s fatwa authority, which generally represents the views of the scholars of al-Azhar University. The fatwa also says that if you desire to wake up in the night to perform tahajjud but are not sure whether you will be able to wake up or not, you can pray witr before going to bed.

Can babies see angels?

/ No Comments on Can babies see angels?

Salaam brother! My father always used to tell us that little babies can see angels and I heard the same thing about mentally disabled people (those incapable of going through the test of this dunya). I recently dealt with such mentally ill children and looking at their behaviour ("talking" to the air, laughing at random) I can see where the idea is coming from, but is there any truth to that in Islam, or is that just some folklore-kind of thing?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

The Quran mentions a few rare instances where humans see angels, as in the case of Mary, mother of Jesus (peace be upon them), who speaks to an angel who appears to her like a man. There is also the story of Abraham and the angels who visit him and his wife, giving him and his wife the news that they are about to have a son (Isaac). But those are rare, miraculous instances that do not necessarily have any bearing on our day-to-day lives. For more about the interaction between the Seen and the Unseen world please see my essay Al-Ghazali’s Matrix and the Divine Template.

As for babies having special powers to see angels, there is no evidence in Islam for that (archived link to a fatwa on this), it seems to be a Middle Eastern superstition.

Can angels read and understand the Quran or not?

Is it true that Allah didn't grant the angels the wisdom to read and understand the Quran? Why? Is it the same with the shaytans?

The few opinions I found say that it is a baseless speculation to say whether the angels can or cannot read the Quran since we have no conclusive evidence either way.

As for the jinn (shaytans are considered a type of jinn), the Quran mentions them listening to and understanding the Quran:

29. Recall when We dispatched towards you a number of jinn, to listen to the Quran. When they came in its presence, they said, “Pay attention!” Then, when it was concluded, they rushed to their people, warning them.

30. They said, “O our people, we have heard a Scripture, sent down after Moses, confirming what came before it. It guides to the truth, and to a straight path.

31. O our people! Answer the caller to God, and believe in Him; and He will forgive you your sins, and will save you from a painful punishment.” (Verses 46:20-31)

Sura 72 gives more details.

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