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Islam’s solution for a woman who lost her virginity due to rape

If a girl is raped as a child and thereby loses her virginity, then that would make marriage difficult for her later if her future husband values virginity as very important. What is Islams view/solution for this?

I know of no technical Islamic solution for such a situation. There is, however, a spiritual or common sense solution that I am sure many women in such a position already know. A man who firmly believes in human dignity and who sees her as a person rather than an object, and who is willing to think the best of others, will accept her explanation and will not count it against her even if she has no proof she was raped. Of course, many “Muslim” cultures will consider marrying such a woman a questionable thing. This is a case where the most religious can be the most open-minded.

Cultural Muslims who know little about religion and spirituality will judge things according to their cultural traditions (which often value virginity very highly). Spiritual and devout Muslims will judge things according to their religion’s spiritual ideals. From a spiritual perspective, if such a woman’s present manners and reputation support her story, then her lack of virginity is going to be a complete non-issue.

She must share the fact of her lack of virginity with suitors before the marriage, but after she judges that the suitor is worth trusting. She can try to find out each suitor’s mindset and personality. If she discovers that a man is narrow-minded and judges things mostly by cultural tradition rather than spiritual ideals, that is a good indication that she should reject him without sharing her story. Sharing that story puts her in a very vulnerable position (if the man talks to others about it).

So it just depends on the particular man. After getting to know a suitor and speaking to him many times perhaps she will be able to judge whether he is worth trusting. If he seems open-minded and pious, then that indicates that he might be the type of person who will not mind her lack of virginity and who will be willing to accept her as she is.

Dealing with people looking down on housewives

Peace be upon you, I am a Muslim woman living in the West who someday hopes to become a housewife and stay-at-home mom; it's something I'm heavily inclined towards. I've been feeling dejected and humiliated about it since even my well-guided religious relatives look down on me for it and others saying I'll become a heavy burden upon my husband (referring to the need for 2 income families in the west). What do you make of this and is there any supportive or empowering material on this I can read?

This is a matter that has more to do with culture than religion. Islam does not strictly define a wife’s duties, leaving it to each culture to decide what is best. Wives in nomadic cultures have extremely different duties compared to wives in agriculturalist societies, and such women in turn have different duties compared to city-dwelling wives.

Rather than considering it an Islamic obligation to be a housewife, it is best to think of it as a role to be fulfilled if and when necessary. Many wives in the West have part-time jobs since once the children grow up a little there is not much for them to do at home and they find it more enjoyable to have something to do outside.

It is true that legally Muslim men are required to provide full financial support for their families. But that is only the legal structure that can be enforced during court cases. As for the how marriages actually work, that is left to the culture’s own practices and the family’s circumstances. If the only way that the family can get by is if both the husband and wife work, then that is what they should do.

I am aware that the culture promoted today often considers women of little worth unless they have accomplishments. Feminists often define a woman’s worth according to her abilities and accomplishments; more ability and accomplishment equals more worth, which is part of why female CEOs and scientists are so celebrated. But by this same logic, less ability and accomplishment equals less worth. To them therefore housewives are of little worth since they do not aim for (male) accomplishments. In the name of equality they create a world where a woman is wholly judged by how good she is at competing with men. She is not allowed to just be a woman and enjoy her life the way she wants, defining her worth on her own terms. She must define her worth with men as her standard.

Meanwhile, according to Islam a woman’s worth is intrinsic and has nothing to do with competing with men. She doesn’t have to do anything to prove her worth. It is not her abilities or accomplishments that define her worth; it is her dignity as a human and her relationship with God. In Islam all humans start out as spiritually equal, but some attain more worth through their relationship with God. The worthiest people are the most God-fearing, so a saint-like “soccer mom” can be far worthier than a female CEO or world-renowned scientist.

It will do little good to keep telling people that housewives are just as good as everyone else. One person cannot change a culture’s worldview. It is best therefore to respect others’ opinions while keeping your own independence of mind. Insulting others for having wrong opinions only causes them to dislike you. For your own good and the good of those around you, try to fit in and try to avoid unnecessary clashes, while doing what is best for you and your family.

I do not know of any specific supporting materials on this matter. I recommend working on having a close relationship with God (as I describe here), this makes it easier to deal with all of life’s challenges.

The Islamic ruling on celebrating national holidays (such as New Year’s Day)

Beginning of translated IslamOnline fatwa

Question: What is the opinion of our religion on the fact of certain countries celebrating holidays such as Victory Day, Workers' Day or New Year's Day and others?

Answer: In the second part of a long study in the book Bayān li-l-Nās min al-Azhar al-Sharīf [A Proclamation to the People from the Noble al-Azhar] it is mentioned that the word ʿīd [Eid or festive holiday] is used to refer to that which repeats annually and is communal, whether at the level of families, villages or regions.

To celebrate these festive holidays means to give them attention. Such holidays can either be entirely worldly or may be religious or contain religious elements. Islam does not forbid celebrating worldly holidays as long as their purpose is a good and the celebration does not contain elements that Islam disapproves of.

As for religious holidays, they may be mentioned in Islamic law, as in ʿĪd al-Fiṭr and ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā, or they may not be mentioned in Islamic law, such as the Prophet’s Night Journey and his birthday. Whatever is mentioned in Islamic law should be celebrated according to the law and should not be done otherwise. As for what is not mentioned in the law, people have two opinions on them. Some prohibit them because they consider them bidʿa [false innovation], while others permit them due to the lack of scriptural evidence prohibiting them.

Those who prohibit them use the hadith mentioned in al-Nasāʾī and Ibn Ḥibbān with authentic chains of transmitters from Anas , who said the Prophet came to Medina, whose people had two days in which they played/celebrated. He [the Prophet] said:

You had two days when you would play, but Allah (SWT) has given Muslims something instead that is better than them: the day of Fiṭr and the day of Aḍḥā.

According to them everything other than these two days is a false innovation.

The reply to them is that the hadith did not restrict the holidays but merely mentioned the superiority of the Islamic holidays over the holidays of the people of Medina that they had acquired from the Persians, such as the Eid of Nowruz at the beginning of the new year in spring, and the Eid of Mihrajan in the autumn, as mentioned by al-Nuwayrī in his Nihāyat al-Arab. A piece of evidence is that he [the Prophet] refers to the day of Friday as an Eid [meaning that the hadith above does not restrict the meaning of “Eid” to those two days alone].

There is no text that prohibits joy and celebration on days other than those two. The Quran records the celebration of the Muslims at the victory of the Byzantines over the Persians at the beginning of Surat al-Rūm.

Another reply to them is that not every innovation is blameworthy. ʿUmar said regarding making the tarāwīḥ prayer communal: “What a great innovation this is!”

In summary, there is no issue with celebrating any wholesome occasion if its intention is legal and its manner is within the bounds of the faith. There also no issue with calling such days “Eids” [as Arabs do] since the matter has to do with the named objects rather than the names themselves.

End of translated fatwa

Source: Arabic PDF (archived from IslamOnline)

Proposing to a man as a Muslim woman

I am in love with a man who lives on the other side of the world and does not even know about my existence. He is a very good and God-fearing Muslim. Besides, he's a blogger. I can not just write to him because I think that this is not correct. What should I do?

Islam does not forbid women from proposing to men. If he is not married and if that is the only way a relationship can possibly be created then it might be worth giving it a chance (with your family’s knowledge if necessary), but you should take into consideration what I mention below. Proposing to a man puts you in a vulnerable position. Young and immature men would be likely to abuse such a trust and think lowly of a woman who approaches them, so it depends on the man’s age and maturity whether it is a good idea to do that.

Some families will be strongly prejudiced against the idea of you just finding someone on the Internet and wanting to marry them. It may take a very long process of gentle persuasion to make them consider the idea seriously. Other families will be open-minded enough to give such a relationship a chance. And while some families may approve of the idea of you politely approaching a man when there is no other way, others may think of it as a scandalous betrayal unless you fully involve them in every step. This is a case where culture is more important than religion for many. Families that are best educated about religion may be far more open-minded about this than families that merely judge things by how things are done in their culture, because they realize that Islam doesn’t really have much to say on these issues and leaves a wide space for doing whatever is necessary.

Depending on your specific family and culture, it may be best to get someone involved before approaching the man. You can perhaps speak with a family member you like and trust (mother, aunt or sister), let them know your feelings, and perhaps gain their approval of the idea of you approaching the man. In some cultures even this may not be sufficient and you may be expected to get everyone in the family involved.

As I have explained elsewhere, secret romantic relationships are never a good idea. Therefore if you contact him and find out that he is interested, you should get your family involved as soon as you can to make things official.

If you believe the relationships is impossible or fear there might be other issues, then the articles on my Islam and relationships page may help.

Does God reward involuntary charity?

Salam, I was wondering if we get ajur for things that we might not necessarily do willingly. my father is financially abusive & I was wondering if the money he takes from me could count as ajur for me? it would make me feel better if it did but I know that generally in Islam your good deeds come with intentions. similarly what about money you give to your family bc u feel obligated? thank you in advance.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Sorry to read about your situation. It is mentioned in Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim:

Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah's Messenger (may ) as saying: Never a Muslim plants a tree, but he has the reward of charity for him, for what is eaten out of that is charity; what is stolen out of that, what the beasts eat out of that, what the birds eat out of that is charity for him. (In short) none incurs a los!k to him but it becomes a charity on his part. (Book 10, Number 3764)

Since the money that your father takes from you is similar to money that is stolen, the above hadith can be said to apply to it. If you are patient for the sake of God then He, in His justice and mercy, will be sure to reward you in this life and the next.

As for money that you give to your family out of a sense of duty, then that can be considered a form of worship. Even if it is a duty, God can still reward it: all actions we take in this life out of consideration for our duties as believers and agents of God on earth will be rewarded by Him as forms of worships.

Dealing with fraud without legal recourse

This is a bit of a particular question, but how are Muslims to deal with fraudsters and malicious cons? How are transactions, trade, or deals initially agreed upon supposed to be enforced when legal institutions aren't a viable option (for example in remote villages, an informal loan or deal made between people in civil society, or simply because legal action would be too costly)? Are we expected to turn the other cheek and allow such people in those circumstances to get away with it scot-free?

While Judaism teaches justice and Christianity teaches forgiveness, Islam gives us both as options. It gives us the right to do what fair and just, but it also recommends to us to do what is compassionate and generous regardless of justice. For example, it may be just to take vengeance on someone, but to forgive them is better. Islam tolerates both options, recommending forgiveness as the higher ideal while acknowledging that not everyone can attain the ideal.

When we are defrauded, Islam would approve of all means to restore justice as long law and custom is not broken. A villager who is sold a counterfeit good by a traveling salesman could rally other villagers in his support so that they detain the man to get the villager’s money back (if no police or government is present to do it). There are no clearly defined courses of action for us. We can do what is necessary to restore justice, we can forgive if we wish, and we must not break the law.

Dealing with a mother who likes horoscopes

Assalamualaikum, my mother really likes horoscopes. It's actually a cultural thing from her home country. When she was young she and other Muslims she knew would read and talk about it. Now that I know its wrong to believe in that stuff I don't know what to do. She really likes palm reading etc too. I think I've brought it up before but usually im wary of bringing it up bc I can anticipate her distaste and discomfort in my telling her. What do I do?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Parents do not usually take religious advice from their children, since they think they themselves know better. Since it has little benefit to tell her not to do those things, the best way is probably to tolerate it (to not tell her directly that she should stop), while making your own dislike clear (refusing to talk to her about such things, if she brings it up, then you can mention your dislike). Instead of making it a matter of you trying to change her, by expressing your own dislike she may be motivated to avoid it out of consideration for you. One thing that will greatly help with this is if you study Islam a lot so that your family begins to respect your knowledge and piety. That will make them take you more seriously.

If there is going to be any change, it can take time (maybe years), therefore do not be in a hurry on this issue.

The Islamic ruling on dyeing hair (for men and women)

Summary: Dyeing the hair is permitted in Islam as long as pure black is avoided. Dark shades are permitted.

Beginning of translated fatwa from IslamOnline

Question: Is it permissible for a man to dye his hair when it becomes gray? What about a woman?

It mentioned in a hadith of the Prophet [that he said]: “Whoever has hair should honor it.” (narrated by Abū Dawūd and supported by other narrations. Considered authentic by some scholars.) The ways in which hair can be “honored” are many. It applies to both men and women, each according to what fits their hair, such is combing, using oils, or dyeing in order to hide grayness.

Scholars in the past spoke of dyeing the hair using black dye and most of them forbad it. However, their evidence only applies to men and to cases of deception, such as when a woman dyes her hair black in order to appear younger so that men may want to marry her. As for a married woman whose age is already known by her husband, then there is no issue with her dyeing her hair according to whatever she and her husband like. Ibn al-Jawzī even permitted it for men.

What has been mentioned against dyeing relates to the issue of the seeking of glamour and lack of respect for the obedience toward God that an old person should show as a preparation for meeting their Lord.

Shams al-Dīn Abū ʿAbdallāh b. Mufliḥ al-Maqdisī al-Ḥanbalī (d. 762 AH [1360-1361 CE]), a student Ibn Taymīya, in his book Al-Ādāb al-Sharʿīya wa-l-Minaḥ al-Marʿīya:

The way of the Ḥanbalīs is to follow the tradition of changing gray hair. Regarding this there is the hadith in the Ṣaḥīḥayn [referring to Ṣaḥīh al-Bukhārī and Ṣaḥīh Muslim]: "The Jews and Christians do not dye their hair, so do otherwise than they do." It is recommended to use henna and katam [a substance used for dyeing hair a reddish black  color], due to the Prophet doing so as is narrated by Aḥmad, Ibn Māja through reliable chains of transmitters, and due to the actions of Abū Bakr and ʿUmar whose authenticity is agreed upon.

It is disliked to dye hair black as there is a text from Aḥmad on it. He was asked: "Is it disliked to dye hair black?" He said: "Yes, by God, for the Prophet's saying as transmitted by the father of Abū Bakr: 'Avoid [dyeing] black.' (Narrated by Muslim).

The reason, as some jurists have mentioned, is that if an old person dyes their hair black they will be mutilating their appearance [or causing themselves to be like the young]. However Abū Isḥāq b. Rahawyh permitted it for a woman who does it to beauty herself for her husband. It is also not disliked for war [referring to camouflage?]. According to the Shāfiʿites: It is recommended for gray hair to be dyed yellow or red, but black is forbidden according to what they consider to be the most reliable opinion.

In addition to what is transmitted by the father of Abū Bakr, there is also this narration: “There will be in the End Days a people who will use black to dye their hair like the breasts of pigeons. They will not smell the scent of Paradise.” (Narrated by Abū Dawūd and al-Nasāʾī with a jayyid chain of transmitters [not “authentic”, but considered of relatively good quality])

End of translated fatwa

Source (Arabic PDF): IslamOnline

Second fatwa (not translated above) from IslamWay.

assalamu alaykum, i know it is forbidden to dye our hair pure black, but what about dark blue? so dark that it looks black from afar but you can see that it isnt when you look closer?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

It is mentioned that the Companion Abu Bakr used a dye made of henna and something called katam (a reddish black dye). But since he mixed the two dyes, the result would not have been so dark as to appear black. As far as I know there is no text that deals specifically with extremely dark shades. The Maliki opinion and the opinion of Imam al-Ghazali (who was a Shafi`ite) is that it is disliked, but not forbidden, to use a black dye (whether male or female). Possibly the same would apply to very dark shades.

Due to the disagreements on this matter, it would be best to not use very dark shades.

Sources: Third fatwa from IslamWay

The Islamic ruling on building new churches in Muslim lands

Ideally, Muslims should treat Christians in Muslim-majority lands the way they want Muslims to be treated in Christian-majority lands. The following fatwa by the widely respected Islamic scholar Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi finds it unproblematic for Christians to build churches in Christian-majority villages and cities where they have a need for it. He also supports the right of the leader of the Muslim community to judge church-building in Muslim-majority areas on a case-by-case basis, allowing it when the good of the public, both Muslims and Christians, is served by it.

Beginning of Translated Fatwa from IslamOnline

Islam requires non-Muslims to respect the feelings of the Muslims and the dignity of their faith, so that they do not put their religious symbols and crosses on display in Muslim cities, and so that they do not build new churches in Islamic cities where no church existed before. These requirements are there because they challenge [the] Islamic feelings [of the population], which can lead to public discontent and trouble.

As for villages and places that are not of the Muslims [apparently meaning that they are not Muslim-majority], they are not prohibited from displaying their religious symbols, renewing their old churches and building what their needs require out of consideration for their increasing numbers.

In this question there are also other opinions, the crux of which is that it is permissible for the leader of the Muslim community to allow the building of new churches in the cities of the Muslims if he sees a public good in that.

Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi says:

Islam protects the places of worship of non-Muslims and respects the dignity of their religious symbols. In fact, one of the reasons that the Quran uses to justify fighting is the protection of the freedom of religion, as God says: ”

Permission is given to those who are fought against, and God is Able to give them victory.

Those who were unjustly evicted from their homes, merely for saying, “Our Lord is God.” Were it not that God repels people by means of others: monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques—where the name of God is mentioned much—would have been demolished. God supports whoever supports Him. God is Strong and Mighty. (The Quran, verses 22:39-49)

We have seen how the treaty of the Prophet with the people of Najran mentioned that they enjoy God’s closeness and the Prophet’s protection on their properties, practices of faith and places of worship.

The treaty of Umar b. al-Khattab to the people of Ilya’ (Jerusalem) mentions their religious freedom and the dignity of their places of worship and religious symbols:

This is what God's servant Umar, commander of the faithful, bestowed on the people of Ilya' of safety and protection:

He gave them safety and protection for their selves, their properties, churches, crosses and all the rest of their items of faith (millatiha). Their churches shall not be inhabited [by Muslims], nor shall that be demolished nor reduced, nor anything within their perimeter, nor their crosses, nor their properties. They shall not be forced out of their faith, nor shall oppressive acts be carried out against any one of them. Nor shall any Jew inhabit Ilya with them. (As mentioned by al-Tabari, Egypt: Dar al-Maarif, vol 3, p. 609)

In Khalid b. al-Walid’s treaty with the people of Aanaat there is:

They may strike their church bells at any hour they wish of the day or night, except during the times of the formal Islamic prayer, and they may march with their crosses during their religious festivals. (Al-Kharaj of Abu Yusuf, p. 146)

All that Islam request of non-Muslims is that they should respect the feelings of the Muslims and the dignity of their faith, so that they do not put their religious symbols and crosses on display in Muslim cities, and so that they do not build new churches in Islamic cities where no church existed before.

But some Muslim jurists allowed the people of dhimma (non-Muslims living under a Muslim constitution) to build churches and abbeys and other places of worship in Islamic cities, and in countries conquered by Muslims after fighting (meaning that they did not peacefully surrender). The leader of the Muslims allowed them to do that [to build new churches], based on consideration for the public good, as Islam continued to respect their beliefs.

The Zaydis and Imam Abu l-Qasim (of the disciples of Imam Malik) had such an opinion (see Ahkam al-Dhimmiyyin wa-l-Musta’minin, p. 96-99).

It appears that this is how things proceeded in history of the Muslims from an early period. In Egypt a number of churches were built in the first century of the hijra, such as Mar Marqas [?] in Alexandria between 39 and 56 AH (659-660 CE to 675-676 CE). The first church in Fustat was built in Haarat al-Rum, during the governorship of Mukhlid between 47 and 68 AH (667-668 to 687-688 CE). Abd al-Aziz b. Marwan, when he founded the city of Hulwan, allowed a church to be built in it. He also permitted some bishops to built to abbeys.

There are many other examples. The historian al-Maqrizi mentions in his book al-Khitat many examples, then he finishes by saying, “All of the aforementioned churches of Cairo have been built during the Islamic period, there is no debate on this.” (See Al-Islam wa Ahl al-Dhimma by Dr. Husni al-Kharabuti, p. 139, also see The Preaching of Islam by Thomas W. Arnold, p. 84-86, third impression. Translated by Hasan Ibrahim and his colleagues.)

As for villages and places that are not of the Muslims [apparently meaning that they are not Muslim-majority], they are not prohibited from displaying their religious symbols, renewing their old churches and building what their needs require out of consideration for their increasing numbers.

This tolerance toward those who differ in religion, from a nation whose entire life was built on religion [i.e. the Muslims], after they were victorious and conquered, is something that the history of religions has not seen before, and the Westerners agree on this.

The great French scholar Gustave Le Bon says:

We have seen in the verses of the Quran that we have mentioned that Muhammad's tolerance toward the Jews and Christian was immense. Founders of previous religions did not have such a policy such as those of Judaism and Christianity. We will see how his successors continued in his tradition.

Certain skeptical European scholars, and the few Muslims who have deeply studied the history of Arabs, have admitted this tolerance. The related statements from many of their books show that our opinion in this matter is not unique to us. Robertson says in his History of the Reign of Emperor Charles V.:

The Muslims alone combined between zealous religious faith and tolerance toward the followers of other religions. Despite their eagerness to spread their religion, they allow those who were unwilling to convert to follow their own religious teachings." ([mentioned in a ] footnote on page 128 from the book The Civilization of the Arabs by Gustave Le Bon.)

And God knows best.

End of translated fatwa

Source: Arabic PDF archived from IslamOnline

It is permissible to assign particular nights for performing qiyam communally outside Ramadan

In answer to a questioner asking whether it is permissible for a group of Muslims to set a particular night to pray communally as a form of voluntary worship, sheikh Faysal Mawlawi (a respected mainstream Sunni Lebanese scholar) said (paraphrased and summarized):

Performing qiyam communally outside of Ramadan is something the Prophet did, as is narrated by Ibn Masud in Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim.

As for setting a specific night for performing qiyam, this is not something the Prophet did, but it agrees with his Sunna in encouraging performing qiyam, therefore it is incorrect to consider it a bidaa (false innovation) since it has a basis in our religion and has been permitted by the majority of scholars except the Hanafis.

Source (Arabic PDF): IslamOnline Fatwa

Organ donation is permissible in Islam (with conditions)

According to a fatwa by sheikh Dr. Ikrima Sabri (mufti of Palestine), the following points apply to organ transplantation and donation:

  1. Sales of human organs is not permitted
  2. Transplantation of organs is permitted if it does not threaten the donor’s life.
  3. Transplantation of sperm or egg-carrying organs (testicles and overies, for example) is not permitted due to causing the confusion of lineages.
  4. It is not permitted for a dead person’s family to donate his/her organs unless the person had stated their desire and willingness to do so while alive.
  5. Organ transplantation should only be used as a last resort.
  6. Organs grown inside pigs are not permitted to be transplanted into humans.

Source (Arabic PDF): Fatwa from IslamOnline

Is placing patients on life support (and taking them off when brain dead) permissible in Islam?

Is it haram to have someone on life support? Since their bodies only are living of a machine

The sources I have looked at all approve of it. The sources do not consider that a matter of debate, what they debate is whether taking a brain dead or almost brain dead patient off life support is permissible or not. Some sources allow it (the Saudi fatwa says if three doctors pronounce the patient brain dead or almost brain dead and say that there is no hope of recovery, then life support can be ended). The Qatari fatwa however considers it unjustifiable and forbidden regardless of whether there is hope or not for recovery. The Kuwaiti fatwa has the same opinion as the Qatari fatwa and says that a person must not be pronounced dead until all their tissues are dead.

According to Dr. Mashhur Fawwaz’s fatwa a patient can be declared dead and taken off life support if their brain function is known by experts to have been completely and irreversibly damaged so that there is no hope of regaining function or consciousness.

I do not know of any respected scholar who is opposed to life support. As for taking patients off life support, due to the disagreements on the issue, it is best if it is avoided.

Sources (Arabic): Fatwa 1 (Qatar Islamic Affairs Ministry) | Fatwa 2 (Saudi Fatwa Council) | Fatwa 3 (Kuwait Fatwa Council) | Fatwa 4 (the Palestinian scholar Dr. Mashhur Fawwaz)

Is it haram to have a non-Muslim girlfriend?

My boyfriend is Muslim and I’m not. Is it haram for him that we’re together?

If you are marriageable according to Islamic law then what I say below on secret romantic relationships applies:

Secret romantic relationships in Islam

The conditions that apply to a Muslim man marrying a non-Muslim woman

And if you are not marriagable, then he is doing something that could be considered sinful.

And if you two are sexually intimate, then Islam considers that adultery, which is one of the greatest sins.

You may also be interested in this answer: A non-Muslim woman who was impregnated by her Muslim boyfriend

A non-Muslim woman who was impregnated by her Muslim boyfriend

Hi. Assalamalaikum. I have a boyfriend who is a Muslim. Im not.. And now I got pregnant. He is not ready to tell his parents. So we are keeping everything in a secret. I don’t know what to do 😔

A boyfriend-girlfriend relationship is just a highly primitive form of marriage that lacks most of the protections and privileges that a married couple enjoy. The best thing to do is perhaps for him to marry you in secret if he is unable to shoulder the responsibility of telling the truth to his parents. However certain conditions apply (see: The conditions that apply to a Muslim man marrying a non-Muslim woman). If you do not satisfy the conditions now, you can “repent” and re-embrace your faith (if any, or embrace Islam) so that you satisfy them. Otherwise there is no way except for the two of you to separate. He will, however, be required to provide financial support for the child and for you too during your pregnancy and nursing period.

If you are marriageable to him according to Islam but he refuses to marry you, then if you want to have a wholesome relationship and a good foundation for a future marriage then you should refuse to be intimate with him and should keep the relationship formal (difficult as it is). Allowing him to enjoy the benefits of marriage without marrying you will take away his incentives for wanting to marry you. You, as a human, should have enough self-respect to refuse to live in such a situation. You deserve to be known to his parents and family and respected and cared for by them. You are making yourself vulnerable to an extremely abusive dynamic by allowing him to enjoy being with you without shouldering the responsibilities of a husband. You are responsible to your future child and they deserve to have a proper father. If you let the present situation continue, you will be responsible for it and for the negative consequences on the child.

Best wishes.

The conditions that apply to a Muslim man marrying a non-Muslim woman

According to the respected mainstream Islamic scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the following conditions apply when a Muslim man is considering marrying a non-Muslim woman:

  • She must have faith in the Abrahamic God, the Day of Judgment and must follow one of His religions (i.e. Christianity or Judaism). He cannot marry an agnostic even if she was born to Christian parents. She must take her religion’s items of faith (God, the Day of Judgment) and main commandments seriously.
  • She must be the type of person who believes in the importance of loyalty and fidelity to the marriage. A woman who thinks it is OK to flirt with other men while married, for example, is not considered worthy of marriage.
  • The must not belong to a nation that is in active war against Muslims. This means, for example, that a Muslim man today cannot marry a Jewish settler or Zionist due to their aggressive, anti-Muslim agenda. Marrying a Jew who does not identify with Israel’s expansionist plans may be considered acceptable (although in al-Qaradawi’s opinion every Jew is a potential Zionist. This, while generally true, does have exceptions, therefore I believe that there is a minority of Jewish women who can be considered acceptable according to Islam)

Source (Arabic): Archived essay from IslamOnline

Singing and playing musical instruments is permissible in Islam

assalamu aleikum, is it haram to play instruments? like violin or the piano

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Since there is no irrefutable evidence banning singing and playing musical instruments, the mainstream opinion is that they are permissible. There is some evidence that certain early authorities strongly disapproved of them or prohibited them, but that evidence is counterbalanced by strong evidence of early jurists and hadith scholars approving of it. Since this is a matter of debate, and since there is no conclusive evidence for a prohibition, and since both singing and playing musical instruments can have wholesome and beneficial uses, the reasonable conclusion is that they should be permitted.

In this article I will only mention the evidence that supports the permissibility of singing and playing musical instruments. I use an essay on IslamOnline (a website belonging to the famous mainstream scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi) as the source for these opinions. See the essay (linked below, Arabic) for discussion and refutation of evidence that supports prohibiting these things.

Among scholars who permit singing and playing musical instruments are: the Shafi`i theologian Abu Mansur Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi (d. 1037-1038 CE) who lived during the time of Ali bin Abi Talib . According to al-Shawkani (d. 1839 CE), some early Medinan jurists also approved of singing and playing instruments.

According to al-Shawkani, among the jurists who approved of singing and musical instruments are:

  • al-Qadi Shurayh (important judge in Kufa during the reign of Ali bin Abi Talib)
  • Saeed b. al-Musayyab (a great early hadith transmitter and one of the most revered figures among the Salaf / Pious Predecessors)
  • Ataa bin Abi Rabah (d. 732 CE), important early jurist and hadith scholar
  • Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri (d. 741-742 CE), important early Medinan jurist (born the year that Aisha–wife of Prophet Muhammad –died, may God be pleased with her)
  • Aamir bin Sharahil al-Shaabi (d. 723), a jurist, hadith scholar and member of the Pious Predecessors.

According to Imam al-Juwayni (d. 1085 CE) and Ibn Abi Dunya (d. 894 CE), the young Companion Abdullah b. al-Zubayr (d. 692 CE), nephew of Aisha, had musical instruments.

Ibn Hazm (d. 1064 CE) mentions narrations that mention Ibn Umar (son of Umar b. al-Khattab) approving of musical instruments.

The Shafi`i scholars al-Ruyani (1100-1101 CE) and Abu Mansur al-Azhari (d. 981 CE) mention that the Malikis approved of musical instruments.

It is mentioned that al-Minhal bin Amr (early hadith scholar, d. c. 729-733 CE) listened to music.

According to Ibn Tahir al-Qaysarani (d. 1113 CE), all Medinan jurists agree that playing musical instruments is permissible.

Al-Mawardi mentions that some Shafi`i jurists approve of playing the oud. According to him the Companions and Successors were all agreed on the permissibility of singing.

Source (Arabic): Archived PDF

Assalamualaikum warrahmatullah wabarakatuh. Regarding the musical instruments, since it is in a "grey" area (i.e. some prohibit, some don't ), isn't it better to just stay away from it, then?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

If it was in a gray area according to the Quran or Sunna, it would have been good to avoid it. But it is only in a gray according to the culture of the Muslims that came after the Prophet .

Some of them had a very negative view of musical instruments because they knew of no wholesome use for them. To them it was always associated with dancing and drinking alcohol, for this reason they considered them evil by association.

In Islam we should not blindly follow the opinions of past scholars. We should instead try to work out the evidence that they relied on for their opinions. When we do such a study, we find that it was all a matter of cultural biases.

Generally, according to my understanding, to put something in a gray area there needs to be two things: first, evidence from the Quran and Sunna and second, something in our reason and conscience that tells us that thing is not good. When it comes to musical instruments both of these are lacking. There is neither enough evidence to put it in a gray area, nor is there anything in our reason and conscience that makes musical instruments repulsive in themselves.

As a person who enjoys both classical Persian and Western music, I tend to agree with Bach when he says:

The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.

All beautiful music celebrates God (as I discuss here: The two salvations: How erotic beauty is a false category of beauty) according to my theory of Islamic aesthetics. So music is not just neutral, it actually has positive value in helping us connect with God (I am not referring to religious music specifically, any music whose beauty moves us helps us experience God).

Music can also have utilitarian benefits that give it a positive value, such as music that a programmer listens to to enhance focus (I personally listen to certain video game soundtracks when programming, such as that of Half Life and Medal of Honor Underground) or that is used during exercise.

Of course singing and music can be taken to excess or be done in inappropriate ways. And the celebration of beauty causes too many people to think that their appreciation for it somehow takes away their duty to submit to God and abide by His restrictions. But what I am saying here is that it is possible to be a devout and conservative Muslim who reads the Quran daily and who has a place for music in their lives.

Are student loans, mortgages and credit cards haram in the West?

Are student loans haram? what if one is unable to pay for school? are credit cards/mortgages in the West haram?

Yes, they are all haram unless a person is unable to avoid them. Ideally a Muslim who is able should avoid all of them. They fall on a spectrum when it comes to how bad each of these things is. It depends on a person’s situation. For example using a credit card to buy a bigger television is unjustifiable and therefore extremely disliked by God. But a person whose family is hungry and needs to buy groceries and has no money except credit may use it and God can be expected to forgive it.

So, in general, all interest-bearing loans are a way of dealing with usury, which Islam forbids. It is an evil thing that may be excused due to great need. Ideally we should always try to reduce our use of them and plan to completely avoid them if possible.

Mortgages may be considered to be on the “extremely evil” side because a person takes out a mortgage in expectation of gain and avoidance of loss, rather than due to immense need. They always have the option of renting. (Today there are companies like Guidance Residential that offer halal mortgages).

As for a student loan, because a degree is so important for one’s future, it may be considered “moderately evil”. Since they are so necessary for a good career, it can be argued that they are justified. This is a choice that each person should make for themselves, but personally I do not condemn someone who uses them.

Car loans depend on a person’s need for it. If that is the only way they can get to work or get to the places they need (for example if they live in certain US suburbs where the closest store is many miles away) then that is justifiable. But a person who does not have a strong need for it is spiritually better off if they use public transport. And a car loan is especially bad if a person uses it to upgrade their car when there is no strong need for it.

Secret romantic relationships in Islam

Hello, i have a question.I have a boyfriend and he loves me i also love him and he wants to marry me and he has told this about his family. I'm not really sure about get married but i also can't share this with my family because they are sooo strict. And this problem makes me so anxious. What am i supposed to do please give me some ideas. Thank you!

I understand the difficulty of your situation and hope that you will find a satisfactory solution.

There are good reasons why Muslim parents do not approve of such relationships, as I explain in my essay: The Point of Marriage in Islam (and the Problem with Romantic Relationships Outside of Marriage)

My general advice on such relationships is either to make them known to one’s family as soon as possible, or to end them and wait patiently until the time when he can propose to you formally. Some cultures allow the couple to get engaged (perform the nikah ceremony) without getting married. This allows the relationship to be halal, it gains the approval of their families, and the couple can wait years before they finally move in together and are considered married. But not every culture practices this (even though it is perfectly fine according to Islam). For more on “halal” dating see my answer Dating and Relationships in Islam: What is Allowed and What is Not.

It is not good for your soul to live in an in-between situation like this. If it is impossible that your family could approve of the relationship (maybe you are too young and they do not expect you to marry for the next few years) then the admirable thing to do is to end the relationship and wait patiently until you can marry / until he can propose publicly. This is what a respectable, pious Muslim person would do. We do not all have the same spiritual strength and patience, so I am not saying you should do this–just that this is the spiritually ideal thing to do (even if it leads to suffering). Whether we can live up to the ideal is a different matter and changes for each person.

Here are some words I wrote to someone else who asked a similar question. In their case the relationship was secret from both of their families:

The main point is that the relationship between a man and a woman is not meant to be only between the two of them--arranged privately by them. The families on both sides should be involved so that they can say whether they approve of the relationship or not, because if they do not, then your relationship can tear your family apart and cause lifelong estrangement from your family or his family. Even if both families get to accept the relationship and forgive the fact that it was kept secret from them, they may continue to hold onto the feeling of betrayal. This often reflects especially badly on each of you from the perspective of the other’s family.

The right way is to do things in a way that gains the approval of your family and his family, so that there are no resentments or hatreds or feelings of betrayal once the relationship is discovered or made public.

I understand that your situation is difficult and that you have an emotional need for this relationship. I cannot tell you what to do. It is true that you are not violating any strict rulings of the Quran or the Sunna as far as I am aware. But having such a relationship can end in disaster. It can also have a happy ending, you never know. But you are taking a risk and you can never be sure how it will work out. The more pious and dutiful thing to do is to abide by your parents' restrictions even though you find them narrow-minded and unsuitable. This would be the admirable thing to do.

The question therefore is whether you prefer your personal emotional needs or prefer doing the right and honorable thing. It is not an easy choice and will likely take you from one status of suffering to another. But this is life. We often find ourselves in situations where there is no satisfactory choice. We just have to do the best we can. And God will reward those most who prefer spiritual ideals to their immediate needs.

For more on dealing with difficult situations in general, please see my essay: The Road to Maturity: On Dealing with Life’s Unsolvable Problems

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