IslamQA

Answers to questions on Islamic topics. Ask a Question.

Is it haram to be embarrassed by your parents?

So sorry this is such a weird “question”, but I have an ill parent at my home and tomorrow my friends are coming over. But I am shy and kind of embarrassed to have my ill parent here while my friends are here because I will have to go check on her every 30 min and help her out with the smallest things.. is it haram to be embarrassed by your now sick parent?

As humans, it is perfectly natural to feel embarrassed by our relatives at certain times. But as Muslims, the more spiritual we are, the more we are able to transcend our human nature.

In your case, the closer you are to God, the less you will care what your friends will think and the more content you will feel with your parent being there. Feeling normal human emotions is not forbidden. Islam just points the way toward something better. Through things like daily Quran reading we can get close enough to God to overcome the base parts of human nature so that we can be something better and more admirable.

We all have a human nature that has its own instincts. God tells us not to be content with this and to aim to be something greater.

Is surrogation permissible in Islam?

Assalammualaikum, I wanna ask, is it haram for us muslim to do surrogation?'

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

As far as I can find it is unanimously prohibited by Sunni scholars for a husband and wife to use a surrogate woman to carry the conceived fetus or to use donated egg or sperm. I have looked at fatwa authorities from Jordan, Egypt and Qatar. I have also looked at the opinions of independent scholars.

Sources (in Arabic): Fatwa 1 | Fatwa 2 | Fatwa 3 | Fatwa 4 | Fatwa 5 | Fatwa 6 | Fatwa 7

How to convince parents to agree to marrying that person?

Asalaamualaykum, how do I convince my parents to accept the woman I want to marry? The basis of their rejection is bc she has a different cultural background. She is a practising muslimah, and her family approve, but mine are being difficult? Any advice?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Parents can have good reasons for not liking the idea of their child marrying into a different culture, as discussed in this answer. The only course I can think of is to be patient. As the months pass, if they see that you are serious about her and that this is not just a passing infatuation, they will likely start to warm up to the idea. I know this can be very difficult for one who is eager for marriage. But there is no way force the issue; your parents are humans like yourself and have the right to form their own opinions freely.

Rather than thinking of forcing them to change their opinions, we should think of ways to persuade them. And persuasion is done far more by actions than words. Constantly speaking to them about the issue can actually harden their opposition to the marriage. It is best to be mostly silent unless they themselves bring up the matter, and to show them by your actions that you are patient and dedicated.

Can a Hanafi person pray the Asr prayer according to Shafii time?

I pray asr according to the hanafi time. Is it permissible for me to pray the shafi time if I know I will miss asr salah?

That depends on your beliefs. If you are convinced the Hanafi time is the only correct one, then the Shafi`i time will not work since it is much earlier. But if you study the matter and conclude that the Shafi`i time is correct, or if you ask a scholar you respect and they convince you the Shafi`i time is correct, then you can pray at either of those times without issue since the Hanafi time is later but still within the confines of the Shafi`i time.

But you want to limit yourself to the Hanafi school and wish to do everything their way, then you cannot use the Shafi`i time.

It is permissible to attend Christmas celebrations as a Muslim (with conditions)

assalamu aleikum, so my grandmother’s side of the family are christians and she lives in our home country and we live in europe, she rarely gets the chance to come visit us and so do we, but she came for the holidays season and she’ll spend christmas and new year’s eve here, she wants to celebrate and organize a family dinner because she does back home with the rest of the family, is it haram if we just do that not to break her heart?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There is some difference of opinion on the permissibility of attending non-Islamic religious celebrations. Among the scholars who permit it are the Egyptian al-Azhar-educated sheikh Ahmad al-Shirbasi and the important Maliki scholar sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah. Egypt’s fatwa authority, which is run by al-Azhar-educated scholars and issues fatwas for all of Egypt, also issued a fatwa permitting celebrating Christmas with Christians. The respected European Research and Fatwa Council also issued a fatwa permitting it.

No alcohol should be present at the celebration while the Muslims are there (it is not permitted to sit in a gathering where people drink alcohol). The celebration should also not include anything else that Islam forbids, but this should be obvious.

Therefore since there are highly respected scholars who permit it, and since there is nothing in it that reason or conscience objects to, I would say it is safe to do it.

Sources (all in Arabic): Collection of relevant fatwas from various scholars | European Research and Fatwa Council’s fatwa

Does God reward good deeds in the worldly life too?

I’ve searched the web for tafseer on Surah 16, Ayah 97. Does Allah promises us good life here if we are believers? Can you explain, please?

Yes, it says that believers who do good deeds will have a good life. The Quran mentions worldly rewards in other places. For example when it comes to Prophet Yusuf:

When he reached his maturity, We gave him wisdom and knowledge. We thus reward the righteous. (The Quran, verse 12:22)

Since Yusuf was righteous, he was rewarded in the worldly life with wisdom and knowledge. It also speaks of giving Yusuf a position in Egypt’s government as a “reward” for his righteousness:

And thus We established Joseph in the land, to live therein wherever he wished. We touch with Our mercy whomever We will, and We never waste the reward of the righteous. (The Quran, verse 12:56)

And when it comes to Prophet Musa, we see the same dynamic:

And when he reached his maturity, and became established, We gave him wisdom and knowledge. Thus do We reward the virtuous. (The Quran, verse 28:14)

It also speaks in the same way about Prophet Nuh:

75. And Noah called out to Us, and We are the Best of responders.

76. And We saved him and his family from the great calamity.

77. And We made his descendants the survivors.

78. And We left mention of him among those who succeeded.

79. Peace be upon Noah among all people.

80. We thus reward the righteous. (The Quran, verses 37:75-80)

The Quran clearly indicates that being righteous in this life will have worldly consequences, not just consequences in the afterlife. A person will be rewarded for their righteousness with knowledge and guidance, and with a wholesome and meaningful life as the verse you mentioned says.

If loved ones go to Paradise after death, why do the religious cry for them?

Death is known to be the most natural thing to happen. Yet, why do muslims suffer when someone they love dies? I, myself wish soon and beneficial death to the person I love, so he won’t have to face sins anymore. But then, as far as I know, our Prophet cried when his uncle Hz. Hamza (radiallahu anh) died. Why would our Prophet (sallallahu aleyhivesellem) cry , if he already knew that his uncle was granted a place in the Paradise?

That is because Islam does not replace our humanity. When we lose someone we lose a source of love and comfort, and that hurts. It is true that spiritually we can tell ourselves that they are now in a better place. But that does not change the material facts. We rarely feel so spiritual that the worldly life stops affecting us.

So intellectually one can say that the death of a loved person is not a tragedy. But since Islam does not replace our humanity, we still feel what any human feels, but our spirituality prevents us from going to excess in our grief.

Also, a person is not necessarily better off spiritually if they die sooner rather than later. The remaining years of their lifetime can offer them many opportunities to raise their spiritual status much higher than it is now. Since what we do in this world decides the qualify of our life in the afterlife forever, a person could wish to have as much time as possible to do good deeds and ask for forgiveness. It is therefore best to leave it to God to decide the best time for someone to die. We can never say with certainty that a person will be better off if they die now rather than later. Maybe God has great plans for them to help them attain His forgiveness and rewards.

Dealing with a toxic work environment as a Muslim

(Part 1): Salaam, I am currently in a toxic work environment at my new job. My coworkers, teachers who are Muslim women, have been gossiping about me and spreading rumors. What is your advice to rise above it, Islamically? Are there any duaas I can make to relieve the worry I feel when they talk about me?

(Part 2): Also, our work requires collaboration. Despite my treatment I find myself wanting to be kind and share my work with them. Would this be okay for me to do, Islamically, or should I be doing something else because of my treatment? I am very conflicted. Thank you for your help.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

The ideal way to behave (although it is very difficult at times) is to be kind, compassionate and generous regardless of what other people do. The way to rise above any worldly situation is to keep a strong connection with God, and this requires constant, daily work. I recommend an hour of tahajjud every night for this who are able (as I discuss in this essay). Reading the Quran without tahajjud for an 30 minutes to an hour every day can also have powerful similar benefits.

When we have established a close connection with God and work on it daily, then we will require no willpower to be kind, to avoid being rude toward those who are rude toward us, or to avoid sinning. All of these will become almost automatic for us. So it is a close relationship with God from which all these other benefits come.

Regarding sharing work with them, that sounds perfectly fine and God will reward you for it even if they do not appreciate it.

I should mention that Islam does not require us to be martyrs when it comes to abuse. Islam allows us to try to counter the abuse and to hold the people responsible. But it also tells us that while this is fair and just, we can aim for a higher ideal (generosity, meaning to forgive and be kind despite their abuse and cruelty). It is up to each person to decide between justice and generosity, sometimes justice makes more sense. But those who are closest to God will always try to be closer to generosity even if justice is more satisfactory to their human instincts.

34. Good and evil are not equal. Repel evil with good, and the person who was your enemy becomes like an intimate friend.

35. But none will attain it except those who persevere, and none will attain it except the very fortunate. (The Quran, verses 41:-34-35)

It is not necessary to memorize any specific prayers for dealing with fear and worry. Having a close connection with God, and sincerely talking to Him, is all that is required. Some people recite the three very short final chapters of the Quran (112-114) in times of fear and worry.

Best wishes.

Is dawah obligatory when it is awkward and rude?

Is da'wah an obligatory to all Muslims? What if I am the type of person who dislikes approaching people to give da'wah about Islam, while I myself have an inner turmoil about Islam I need to calm down and fix? It's the religious people in my country whom insists that it is obligatory for Muslims to meet others face-to-face and spread Islam with tongue, but I find it uncomfortable to do it. Am I sinning? I'm still learning Islam, but not from their source.

The type of dawah (proselytization) you mention is not obligatory and is in fact more likely to do harm than good. Those who believe in knocking on people’s doors and having really awkward interactions with them where they try to pass on Islam to them have a very demeaning attitude toward fellow humans. They think of other people as instruments for furthering their own agenda. That is neither a humane nor Islamic attitude to have.

Religion is a very personal matter and most of the time it is rude and unproductive to bring into a conversation. The way you call people to Islam is first through being a good example yourself, and secondly, you can do it through speech with those you are on intimate terms with, or those who have come to you asking you to speak to them about religion.

As for inconveniencing people to try to sell them religion, the Quran never tells us to do that. The Prophet Muhammad was merely calling his own extended family to Islam rather than knocking on strangers’ doors. And Moses, when he was calling the Pharaoh to become a believer, was actually talking to his own family, since he was raised in the Pharaoh’s family.

I am not against someone going to a park where people usually hold speeches and trying to speak to people about Islam. This does not inconvenience anyone and people are free to listen or leave. A person who has the motivation and ability to do that can do it. But this is not for most people.

For the average Muslim, “calling people to Islam” means to be a good example. When it comes to people you are very close to, such as a close friend, you can try to encourage them to be better Muslims, or if they are not Muslim, to inform them about Islam and why you believe in it. But this should be done when it comes up naturally in conversation. One of the main examples of dawah in the Quran is in that of the two friends talking in Surat al-Kahf:

His friend said to him, as he conversed with him, “Are you being ungrateful to Him who created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then evolved you into a man? (18:37)

The Quran makes it clear that they were already talking, and that this was a natural and relevant addition to the conversation; he was not just randomly bringing up religion. The irreligious friend had said this before:

And he entered his garden, wronging himself. He said, “I do not think this will ever perish.”

“And I do not think the Hour is coming. And even if I am returned to my Lord, I will find something better than this in return.” (18:35-36)

The friend brought up religion, and the religious friend used that as an opportunity to try to tell him to come back to fearing God.

And if a Muslim has a friend who is a Christian and who is not interested in speaking about religion, then harassing them with religious talk should be the last thing we do. They are humans just like us; we should never treat them like objects, trying to change them into something else without their own willingness and participation.

A good rule of thumb, therefore, is that if dawah feels rude, uncivilized and awkward, then it is wrong. Only when it comes up naturally and when the other person is interested in listening is it right to do it. Dawah in public places, where it is not a nuisance and when people are completely free to listen to it or to ignore it, is also fine.

How to balance worldly goals and religious goals?

How to balance worldly life and deen? I have a lot of personal worldly and spiritual goals. But sometimes I feel I give too much time to either my worldly or spiritually side. I end up confused and end up not “working” on any of it at all. Any advice? Sorry if it’s too confusing

I used to suffer from similar doubts. My solution is that if you do sufficient extra worship every day (about an hour) so that you feel close to God throughout the day, then the rest of the time you are free to work on worldly goals. If you are (or become) a very spiritual Muslim then everything you do would be in some way aimed toward becoming the best agent of God on earth, what I call a steward of God. You can seek worldly goals as part of your job as a steward. This could be trying to progress in your career, for example.

I constantly read works on philosophy and evolutionary science even and I enjoy it. Even though this is not Islamic worship, it is part my job as a “steward”, and therefore in a way it is worship. A steward’s job is to do the best with what they have where they are while maintaining a close relationship with God. It is not his or her job to spend the whole time in religious worship, in fact this is strongly criticized by many scholars. We are meant to be workers who try to improve the world, not mere worshipers.

So as I said, if you do sufficient worship to stay close to God, then you are free to use the rest of your time for whatever beneficial purpose you can think of.

I discuss stewardship in detail in my essay The Muslim Plan for Western Civilization.

Best wishes.

Constantly redoing prayers in fear of having made errors

SalamAlaykum I have problem I hope you help inshAllah Sometimes I will pray and I will think I make mistake and I will redo again again even though I don’t make many mistake I will read sorah and feel I make mistakes so I start over over again My mind wants to make do everything perfect, it is very tiring and hard Makes me not wanna do at all 🙁 🙁 Maybe OCD?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

That may be a psychiatric issue like you suggested. Maybe taking the right drug or supplement can help put an end to that. Here is a study that discusses NAC, a cheap and widely available supplement, that helps reduce OCD symptoms.

Making mistakes in prayer does not necessitate that you redo the prayer. There is something called sajdat al-sahwu (prostration of error), two prostrations you can do right before the end of the prayer (before saying the final salam) if you fear you have made an error in the prayer. However, even that prostration is not considered obligatory by many of the schools. It is only recommended and not doing it does not nullify the prayer.

So if you fear you have made a mistake while still inside the prayer, you can continue with the prayer and if you remember, perform the two extra prostrations before the final salam.

Minor errors do not require redoing the prayer. Major errors, such as not saying al-Fatiha, or performing the wrong number of units, require it, but only if you are certain of the error. If there is doubt and there is the possibility that you did things correctly, then it is not necessary to redo the prayer.

Islam’s view of having non-Muslim friends

What said islam about having friends with different religions or even atheists ones? I know that we have to respect the opinion of each one but can we be closer freind?

When referring to interacting with non-Muslims, the Quran says:

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. (The Quran, verse 60:8)

The Quran does not have anything more specific than that to tell us and does not define limits on friendship, which can be taken to mean that it leaves it to our own judgment. One non-Muslim can have a beneficial influence on you while another may have a harmful influence. So they should be judged just like we judge Muslim friends. If we find that our character is harmed by association with them, then it does not make a difference whether they are Muslim or non-Muslim.

However, it is not good to befriend an atheist who has a snarky attitude toward religion, or a non-Muslim who dislikes and looks down on Muslims. But this should be obvious.

Child lied to parents about finishing college

(Part 1) Assalamualaikum, I need some advice. I failed my first year of university and had to repeat it. Alhamdullilah I passed and am continuing with my education now. My degree was 3 years but now it's 4. However I didn't tell my parents, are rather strict and negative minded, also always complain about my older brothers struggling with finding jobs or eduction. CONT.

(Part 2) And I didn’t want to hurt or disappoint them. I planned to take a course of another subject privately. So I just told my mother that I will be taking an extra year of university and also studying Law. Does this mean I lied to her? Sorry if this is a difficult position to answer for.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Yes, that is a lie. Most of the time it is better to tell the truth even if it upsets people, because that upset can be a cause for them to mature and improve as they try to deal with the difficult facts. So it is likely that you parents would have been spiritually better off if you had told them the truth (even if it was to make them sad and upset for a while).

But since you had good intentions, then God is likely to forgive it if you ask Him for forgiveness. It is best to try to tell them the truth as soon as possible and tell them that you did it because you did not want to upset them. Living a lie is highly damaging to your soul and your relationships with others even if materially it supposedly helps avert a problem or conflict.

The best solution I can think of it is to try to have a close relationship with God (as I discuss here). Once you have this connection with God, your heart will tell if and when it is the right to tell them, and it will also give you the courage to do it and face the consequences, since a close relationship with God helps make worldly problems and fears appear small and insignificant.

Best wishes.

Can a Muslim woman divorce without the husband’s approval?

Is it true that a woman can’t divorce a man unless he says “we are divorced”? What if the woman has ood reasons wanting to get divorced

In classical Islamic law while a man had the right to divorce his wife of his own initiative, a woman had to get her husband’s approval, and if not, a judge’s approval. The judge can either be a government-appointed judge, or it can be two people, one from each of their families. Ibn Qudama (a famous Hanbali jurist) says that if a woman fears that due to her dislike for the marriage she cannot carry out her duties as a wife, then she has the right to divorce.

So the difference was that a man could divorce without a judge or judges’ approval, while a woman could not. This has been recently challenged, such as by the Kuwaiti scholar and intellectual Khaled Abou El-Fadl, who believes that a woman should have equal rights to divorce. I have not studied divorce sufficiently to know who is right in the debate.

Regarding what you said about his saying “we are divorced”, that is part of the formal divorce ceremony done before witnesses. But if he does not approve of the divorce, then his approval is not needed; the judge or judges can force an end to the marriage based on the woman’s request regardless of the husband’s opinion.

Sources: Essay by Al-Qaradawi | Fatwa 1 | Fatwa 2

Her intended does not want to pay for the honeymoon

Assalamualaikum, I am getting married very soon, and we are planning for our honeymoon. So, anyway, I know one of the responsibilities of man is to provide a safe place for his wife to stay. am i right? but, recently, we wanted to book the hotel for our honeymoon. and suddenly, my man asked me to pay for it. I was shocked. I thought he was supposed to provide me the place to stay as its part of his Nafkah? He insists saying providing a place for our honeymoon isnt his nafkah and responsibilities

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

It is very strange that he should say that. It sounds like you have very different ideas about marriage. You should try to get on the same page and clarify these issues, or reconsider the marriage if you discover that he is just irresponsible or ignorant about the way marriage works in Islam. It is also possible that he may be having financial difficulty and hoping that your paying for the honeymoon could ease his burden.

Maybe he expects you to contribute your money to the marriage rather than being solely responsible for finances. But if that is the case then he should make it completely clear to you, and it will only be accepted in Islam if it is with your full knowledge and willingness.

Try to get to know what his thinking is and based on that maybe you can decide whether you are happy with the type of marriage he has in mind.

Islam and nightmares

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assalamu aleikum, i came here to ask if you know what can cause nightmares? my family has noticed that sometimes (rather rarely but when it happens its kinda intense) i talk and scream during my sleep, this night i woke up shaking and screaming just because my sister accidentally touched my foot, i cant imagine what causes such episodes because every night before going to sleep i recite ayat al kursi, al falaq, an-nas, al ikhlas and al fatiha, and we always put on al baqara all night long (pt 1)'

(pt 2) i have always had trouble sleeping even when i was a little kid i used to sleepwalk/talk. but now its a little scary because my father even told me he once heard me woke up in a fury and make suffocating noises as if i just saw someone standing before me, but i can never remember anything. should i go see an imam?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Nightmares can be caused by sleep apnea. These are especially nightmares in which you find yourself paralyzed and unable to move or speak. The fact that your father mentioned you making suffocating noises strongly suggests that you have sleep apnea. If you sleep on your back, start sleeping on your side and that could help put an end to it. If you find that you roll on your back during sleep, you can start sleeping in the fetal position with your hands lodged between your thighs.

If your problem continues, then I suggest seeing a sleep doctor. I would check out all possible medical explanations before trying to find mystical ones.

For more on why we should avoid mystical explanations for such things please see: The Islamic Case for Scientific Empiricism and Skepticism toward Supernatural Phenomena

 

Is it haram to hang pictures in a room?

Is it haram to hang pictures up in a room where one doesn’t use the room to pray?

Part 2: is it also haram to have stuffed animals in a room you don’t use to pray in?

The mainstream view is that there is nothing wrong with either of those. I do not see anything wrong with having a teddy bear in the room where you pray (my children have something like 10 stuffed animals in the living room where I pray). For more please see these articles on my personal website:

A Traditionalist Critique of the Islamic Prohibition on Taṣwīr (Making Drawings and Statues of Humans and Animals)

Is it permissible to draw and paint in Islam?

How to have a halal marriage when there are so many haram outlets?

Asalam Aleikum WaRahmatullah Almost everyone I know, who is married and Muslim, began their relationship in a haram manner (dating, calling, texting ect.) for years before marrying. I am afraid that it will be really hard for me and a lot of people in today’s society to get to know a possible future spouse in a Islamic manner, and I’m afraid I will “give in” to a haram relationship

Any advice?

My answer: Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah, It is true that we have many more ways available to us to give in to that kind of temptation. The thing to do is to hold onto God through daily remembrance (for example reading the Quran for 30 minutes every day). As long as we are close to God, we can resist our desires with relative ease. If we do end up succumbing to that temptation (maybe after justifying it to ourselves, saying it is halal to just talk), then we can try to correct our course as soon as we can.

But even we arrange a marriage through means that are not entirely “Islamic”, the result can still be good. So the realities are complicated. Merely talking to a stranger over the phone is not a clearly defined sin, although it is a betrayal of one’s family and a doorway to sinful things. The temptation will always be there to try to get closer to someone we desire. This is just a fact of life that we will have to accept like all other temptations. Holding fast to God is the best way to resist such temptation.

Catching a child watching pornography as a Muslim parent

What should I do if I catch my children watching pornography?

I assume you were speaking of adolescents. Two things about adolescents makes it especially difficult for them to resist looking at pornography even if they know it is wrong and even if they wish to avoid it; they have poor impulse control. The brain’s ability to control impulses does not fully mature until after the age of 25. The other thing is that adolescents have very high levels of sex hormones which makes pornography especially attractive to them.

There are good reasons to limit their access to pornography as you already know. But if they manage to bypass you one day and get to look at some, it is best to forgive and forget it. No good can be achieved by punishment if they are well-behaved children otherwise. Desire and curiosity overcame them and punishment will not stop this desire or curiosity. Instead of making a big deal out of it, it is best to make sure they cannot do it again without humiliating them about it.

Our aim should not be completely control their lives so that watching of pornography may never happen. There will likely be occasions when it happens despite our best efforts, and making a big deal of it may only increase their curiosity and their desire for it. Rather, we should have sensible policies in the home (such as no unmonitored Internet browsing) that make it habitual pornography-watching impossible. Beyond that, there really is not much we can do. Most Muslim children grow up to be decent humans even if they succumbed to their desire to view pornography a few or many times in their youth. As long as the pornography watching is not habitual and as long as the parents do make sure they do not have so much freedom that they can easily watch it, then it is not a big problem to worry about.

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