IslamQA

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

A father who refuses to approve his daughter’s marriage with a different culture

Can you please give me advice? My sister wants to marry a (Muslim) man that belongs to a different culture. Our mother has accepted the idea but my father is still angry about it- he says he's always had trouble with members of this culture in the past, and he will not give his daughter to a man that is not of the same culture as us. My father is a religious man & I feel his reaction isn't Islamic. In this situation, what should my sister do? Isn't my father in the wrong here?

That is a difficult situation. The best solution is probably to be patient. Wait and perhaps with time his heart will soften. If he is a pious man, then it is going to be very difficult for him to harden his heart permanently against the marriage. I know that waiting is extremely difficult for young people eager to marry, but it might be the best course, because efforts to force a change in your father’s opinion may only antagonize him further.

I do not know your exact situation but your father’s concerns about his daughter marrying into a different culture are not necessarily baseless even if they are not fully justified. You can ask people who have married people from different cultures and while you will find many who are happy and fulfilled, there are also many who admit the difficulties, misunderstandings and hardships involved with trying to unite two families of different cultures. Culture is a human creation built over centuries, designed to facilitate communication and interaction between the people that belong to it. When marrying someone from a different culture, the benefits of culture disappear and a lot of extra work is needed to build some basis for understanding between the two cultures. It can be done and some people are willing to do this extra work, while others want to continue enjoying the comfort of uniting with a family that shares the same cultural background.

Personally I am all for intermarriage between different Muslim races and cultures and I find it very inspiring when I hear about successful marriages between different races and cultures, but I respect the right of people not to engage in it if they do not want to.

For more on dealing with parents in Islam, please see the answers on this page: Dealing with parents in Islam

 

The types of touching between spouses or strangers that nullify wudu

I recently went to a Mastura group and was told that women’s wudu is invalidated if she so much so touches her husband but when you sleep it isn’t invalidated. So if you go to Makkah again if you touch a non Mahram it’s not invalidated because of the crowds and circumstances. Things like this make me question the logic behind the rulings. Why is it so inconvenient for us? I genuinely struggle with believing it’s so rigid. My husband constantly asks for massages so I need to retake wudu 24/7?

There are many differing opinions on this issue. According to the Ḥanbalī school touching a spouse or a stranger does not nullify wuḍuʾ because they interpret the relevant Quranic verse (4:43) as referring to sexual intercourse (Ibn Taymīya, d. 1328 CE) (Ibn Bāz, d. 1999 CE) or erotic touching (al-Mardāwī, d. c. 1480 CE).

Ibn Nujaym (d. c. 1562 CE), representing the Ḥanafī school, says that mere skin contact does not nullify wuḍuʾ regardless of whether the contact is accidental or intentional, and regardless of whether it is done with erotic intent or not, and regardless of whether it is with one’s spouse or a stranger.

Al-Nawawī (d. 1277 CE), representing the Shāfiʿī school, says that any form of contact between members of the opposite sex who have reached puberty nullifies wuḍuʾ, regardless of whether the two persons are married or not. It is probable that what you heard was from a Shāfiʿī source.

The Egyptian jurist Muhammad ʿIllīsh (d. 1882 CE), representing the Mālikī school, says that the only type of touching that nullifies wuḍuʾ is that which is done with erotic intent (i.e. with the intention of obtaining sexual pleasure), regardless of whether the person obtains the pleasure they sought. It is also nullifies wuḍuʾ if a person obtains sexual pleasure from touching even though they did not intend to obtain pleasure.

The main matter at issue here is the interpretation of lāmastum in verse 4:43. The Shāfiʿīs interpret it as “if you touch”, while the Ḥanafī and Ḥanbalī scholars appear to interpret it as “if you have sexual intercourse with”. Both of these interpretations involve taking an extreme position that is not implied by the verse. The phrase lāmastum literally means “if you caress”, it suggests prolonged contact and has a sexual connotation to it. The Mālikī opinion in my understanding best represents the intent of this verse. Touching a person of the opposite sex only breaks wuḍuʾ if the touching is done with erotic intent or if the touching leads to erotic pleasure without intent. This would apply whether the touching involves a stranger, relative or spouse. The Mālikī opinion represents a middle road between the extremely strict Shāfiʿī view and the extremely lax Ḥanafī/Ḥanbalī views.

On this issue I prefer the Mālikī view, which is that touching between spouses or strangers does not nullify wuḍuʾ unless the person does it with erotic intent or gains erotic pleasure from it. Giving your husband a massage wouldn’t nullify wuḍuʾ if there is no erotic intent or pleasure involved. The Ḥanbalī scholar al-Mardāwī also appears to share a similar opinion.

Source for the opinions of the scholars mentioned above: IslamWeb, fatwa 41160 [archived link], Ibn Baz’s website, fatwa 2961 [archived link].

Suicide and self-harm in Islam

This is a sensitive but also important topic. I remember at my lowest and my worst, needing to connect myself to Allah. It was during college . I was dealing with clinical depression, I also had PTSD. I was extremely suicidal, and I had been self-harming since years. I knew little about Islam, so I searched what islam says about being suicidal, self-harm, etc to be comforted, but instead I saw verses of Quran condemning suicide& threatening with harsh punishment.

I saw ahadith mentioning how the ones who commit suicide will repetitively kill themselves in such a way in the hereafter. many Islamic websites saying it’s a sin to self-harm. On top of my struggles I was dealing with, I felt like I was carrying a heavy burden on the religious side .I tried to numb my depression and to stop my self-harm behavior and suppress my suicidal thoughts,but it got worse. I thought I was a bad person. Then it hit me, why would The Creator of heavens not understand

Since then I’ve struggled with my faith. I realize that I needed Allah’s comfort and not fear. Since its taboo, I can never speak about this. I have no sense of directions, but just guilt of so many years thinking I indulged in sinful behavior by being sick. I don’t think common people understand self-harm and the mechanism of it , Which I can understand. But Allah? It’s a dark place to be mentally ill & ive crossed many sisters who are told they don’t have enough faith and they too feel bad.

I appreciate the difficulty of your situation. The problem is that you have read a few verses of the Quran without taking the rest into consideration, which always leads to an unbalanced view of God. And you should never let other people color your understanding of Him. Regarding suicide, the Quran has only this to say:

And spend in the cause of God, and do not throw yourselves with your own hands into ruin, and be charitable. God loves the charitable.1

The Quran also says:

O you who believe! Do not consume each other’s wealth illicitly, but trade by mutual consent. And do not kill yourselves, for God is Merciful towards you.2

But this second verse is actually referring to one Muslim killing another, as can be seen from the fact that first part of the verse is talking about interactions between Muslims, and from the fact that in verse 2:54, the same wording regarding killing is used to refer to a certain group of Jews killing another group, rather than their committing suicide. Another piece of evidence is that the same wording is used in the same chapter, in verse 4:66, in reference to God commanding a group of people to fight another. Interpreting 4:29 as referring to suicide is a bit far-fetched for someone who is familiar with the Quran, although the literal wording of the verse can be thought to mean that.

In Ṣaḥiḥ Muslim there is the story of a man who commits suicide but who is assumed by the Prophet to be forgiven by God, and he himself prays for him. Imam al-Nawawī, in his commentary on the narration, says that this means that God judges each case of suicide individually, deciding whether it deserves punishment or not.3

Back to the Quran, regards those who have sinned:

Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves: do not despair of God’s mercy, for God forgives all sins. He is indeed the Forgiver, the Clement.”4

It also says:

God does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives anything other than that to whomever He wills. Whoever associates anything with God has devised a monstrous sin.5

If you rely on the understanding of other people of the Quran, you get a skewed picture that reflects the person’s biases. But if you read the Quran itself, all of it, you get a balanced picture. You recognize that God is far more intelligent, kinder and wiser than any human. It is due to relying on other people’s interpretations that we end up questioning God’s wisdom and kindness. If we read the Quran itself, we see that it nearly always keeps things vague, showing us that for every rule there nearly always are exceptions, and that it is God who ultimately judges things. It is illogical to assume that God, who created humans, is less wise and kind than humans, or that His justice may contain faults.

God understands us perfectly. He does not want us to become lax in our faith, saying that He will forgive us regardless of what we do. It is for this reason that the Quran continuously reminds us to fear God. But that is only part of the picture. The Quran also continuously reminds us of God’s kindness and mercy, and the fact the He does not expect us to be super-human in our resolve and self-control:

God does not burden any soul beyond its capacity. To its credit is what it earns, and against it is what it commits. “Our Lord, do not condemn us if we forget or make a mistake. Our Lord, do not burden us as You have burdened those before us. Our Lord, do not burden us with more than we have strength to bear; and pardon us, and forgive us, and have mercy on us. You are our Lord and Master, so help us against the disbelieving people.”6

And do not come near the property of the orphan, except with the best intentions, until he reaches maturity. And give full weight and full measure, equitably. We do not burden any soul beyond its capacity. And when you speak, be fair, even if it concerns a close relative. And fulfill your covenant with God. All this He has enjoined upon you, so that you may take heed.7

As for those who believe and do righteous works—We never burden any soul beyond its capacity—these are the inhabitants of the Garden; abiding therein eternally.8

We never burden any soul beyond its capacity. And with Us is a record that tells the truth, and they will not be wronged.9

The wealthy shall spend according to his means; and he whose resources are restricted shall spend according to what God has given him. God never burdens a soul beyond what He has given it. God will bring ease after hardship.10

The God of the Quran is utterly just and kind. He never asks us to do the impossible, and He is always willing to forgive, and He understands us better than we understand ourselves. There is no human on earth as kind or understanding as God. God does not accept laxity in us, He always wants us to be better, for this reason He constantly commands us to strive to be better. He is not like a spoiling mother who will let us go to ruin by accepting our negative and selfish behaviors; He shows our true natures to us, like a good teacher and mentor. But He is always willing to forgive if we go back to Him with humility and submission.

If other Muslims do not understand you and quote random verses and narrations that make you feel misunderstood, this shows you the limits of human kindness and empathy rather than God. I recommend that you read the Quran many times (if you do not speak Arabic, a good translation would be Abdel Haleem’s), so that when someone quotes to you a random verse out of context you would be able to remember other verses that counterbalance it. There is no excuse for letting other people become middlemen between us and God when God has sent us the best book ever written.

Best wishes inshaAllah.

Living as a Muslim and a homosexual

I wanted to ask a q about being gay. I’m a gay Muslim that has never been intimate with another man, I love Islam & want to get into jannah inshallah, But I don’t know how one can live a life without being able to love, what should I do in this life? I did fall in love with another gay Muslim however we both are religious & made it clear that nothing could happen for the sake of Allah swt. This is too much of a burden on me & I’m tired of having to explain that I did not choose to be this way

You have probably been taught that one can only fall in love with a person they find sexually attractive, and since you only find men sexually attractive, you can only love men. For a young person this might sound very true, since for them sex is one of the most important things in life. The truth is that love is a feeling of admiration, trust and reliance that develops between two people who become emotionally close to one another. You find cases of a husband and wife both of whom are over 70 years of age and who are deeply in love with one another despite the fact that at that age most people have lost their ability to feel sexual desire, and neither of them probably finds the appearance of the other sexually attractive. Love does not need sexual intimacy to make it real.

Being gay is merely a label one chooses for a far more complex physiological reality. Human sexual desire is on a spectrum; most gay men are probably capable of enjoying sexual intimacy with a woman even if they find other men far more sexually attractive. I have also read cases of gay men, who say they only sexually desire other men, who fell in love with a woman. Rather than accepting today’s highly-politicized Western ideas about gender and sexuality, judge things for yourself. You might be perfectly capable of falling in love with the right woman and enjoying sexual intimacy with her, even if you feel a strong preference for men. If I am not mistaken, in the past homosexuality was recognized as merely a strong preference for one sex over the other, rather than a defining part of a person’s identity. It is only today that it has become an identity, and there is no reason why you should submit to this, letting others tell you what you are and how you should live your life. Just because you have a strong preference for men does not mean that you are incapable of loving and enjoying sexual intimacy with a woman.

Even if women are not your first choice, you may be able to enjoy a married life with the right woman that is as happy and pleasurable as most other people’s. Most marriages are not an erotic romance story; marriage is about two people agreeing to create a single enterprise, similar to two co-founders of a business. While sexual intimacy is very important for young married couples, it continually loses its importance as they age. This is not a tragedy; sexual desire requires hormones whose levels continue to fall as we age. One’s weakening appetite for sex does not mean that one also loses their love for their spouse. The opposite actually happens often, where a young married couple have little respect for each other in the beginning while after a decade or two of marriage they start to truly love and appreciate each other, even thought they are older and may rarely have sexual intercourse.

If you think it would be unfair to marry a woman while identifying as gay, you can share the fact with her and let her decide. People marry for many different reasons, and there may be women who will prefer you to the other men available to them because of your personality and other qualities even after you tell them you have a preference for men.

At the present, your case is similar to that of a man who is in love with an already-married woman. There might be no immediate solution, although I believe that as you mature and your sex drive quiets down your ideas may change with it. For now, you will have to accept your fate and appreciate that others have worse fates. Being born gay is probably better than being born blind. There are millions of men in India who desire women but who will never be able to marry simply because the country has millions more men than women. We all suffer from conditions that are outside our control, be it illness, family problems or poverty, and your case is no different.

For now, what you should do is endure patiently and always work to improve yourself and your knowledge. And always remember Prophet Ibrahim’s saying:

And who despairs of his Lord’s mercy except those who are truly lost?1

Life occasionally places us in situations where we lose our patience and want to simply give up rather than go on suffering. It is during those moments that we can prove our loyalty to God.

Best wishes inshaAllah.

Is reading erotica permitted in Islam?

I wanted to know if it’s haram to read smut and if so what are the punishments for it.

The seeking of any form of sexual pleasure outside the context of erotic love between married couples is either forbidden or in a gray area in Islamic law. The Quran says, in its description of pious people:

29. And those who guard their chastity.

30. Except from their spouses or those whose right hands possess, for then they are free of blame.

31. But whoever seeks to go beyond that—these are the transgressors.1

For a person who seeks to please God to the utmost, “whoever seeks to go beyond that” would be sufficient to make them stay away from all forms of sexual pleasure that is not within the context of marriage. However, it could be argued that reading erotica is merely a pleasure of the mind and has no connection with one’s chastity.

The Quran also contains many admonishments regarding the avoidance of fāḥshāʾ (as in verses 7:28, 16:90 and 24:21), which is translated as “indecency” by Arberry, “all that is shameful” by Muhammad Asad and “lewdness” by Pickthall. Personally I prefer to translate it as “engaging in obscenity”. To engage in obscenity, according to the British philosopher Sir Roger Scruton in his Sexual Desire: A Philosophical Investigation, is to engage in any act in which humans are not treated as persons, but as bodies. Pornography is obscene, and watching it is an obscene act, because in it we see humans not as honored persons, but as mere bodies that one looks at for pleasure. Pornography reduces humans to zoo animals that we enjoy looking at; their humanity is taken away from them.

Humans know naturally that pornography is obscene, they also know that obscenity is harmful and repulsive. Even the most irreligious and progressive families would not find it acceptable to sit down as a family to watch a pornographic film, even if every member of the family is an adult. There is something “gross” about a family doing that even if no one is harmed in production of the film (if it is an animation) and even if they all get sexual pleasure from watching it. The grossness comes from the fact that we humans are subjects, rather than objects, and we have a natural tendency to find it repulsive when other humans, even imaginary ones, are treated as mere bodies, commodities to be enjoyed rather than persons to be interacted with and respected.

Sexual pleasure is only wholesome when it is between two subjects who continue to respect each other as persons during the act, with neither person using the other as a merely instrument of pleasure. Wholesome sexual pleasure is interpersonal, it is between two persons who respect one another. Enjoying pornography is not interpersonal, it is lust aimed at an object that cannot answer back.

If it can be agreed that something constitutes fāḥisha, then this would make it one of those things forbidden by the Quran. In Scruton’s view voyeurism (taking pleasure in watching others engage in sexual intimacy) is obscene, because it does not involve the interpersonal, social aspect that is present in sexual intimacy between a married couple. Reading an erotic novel or story is voyeurism through text, one takes pleasure in imagining others engage in sexual intimacy.

In the example of the family that sits down to watch pornography, what they are engaging in is voyeurism. They are subjects who take pleasure in something that does not look back at them. The all-important interpersonal element is taken out of the sexual act. The result is that the family members cannot respect each other anymore. When they all, together, take sexual pleasure in dehumanized human bodies, in humans treated like animals used for pleasure, it is only a very small leap of the imagination to transfer this way of thinking to each other. The son will no longer respect his father, his attitude toward him will be, “Why should I consider myself bound by an duty toward you when you and I treat other humans as mere bodies? You too are merely a body. For me to respect you, prove to me that you are more than a body. But you yourself treat other humans as mere bodies, therefore you cannot prove that to me.” Such thoughts would of course take time to develop. The family’s feeling at first would be that they are only keeping up a pretense by respecting each other like before. Slowly the respect will break down. This does not only apply to sexual morality but to all forms of morality; a family involved in any form of crime that objectifies and dehumanizes people (say a kidnapping business) is going to suffer an equal break down in respect for one another. Many Hollywood films glorify that lives of criminals, telling us that they are really good people on the inside. That has nothing to do with reality. A person who commits crimes against people is dehumanizing them, and by extension dehumanizes everyone around him. A mugger is much more likely to also be a rapist, as statistics show, because the two crimes come from the same mindset: the mindset of seeing other humans as instruments for gain and pleasure, rather than as honored persons. A mugger who dehumanizes a man by forcibly taking his wallet from him is equally capable of dehumanizing a woman by violating her sexually. In both cases, he is simply treating other humans not as subjects to be honored, but as objects that can be acted upon.

The problem with obscene pleasures is that they degrade us, taking us from the world of humans to the world of animals, from the warm world of wholesome society to the cold, harsh underworld of the criminal. A person who has been watching a pornographic film or reading an erotic novel for 30 minutes will feel out of place, like a stranger, if they were to go sit down in a social gathering. Obscene pleasures always involve dehumanizing others, while in society we are supposed to treat others as humans. There is a deep conflict between these two modes of interaction. That person who has been enjoying humans as objects for the past 30 minutes is now going to feel like he is only maintaining a pretense by treating the humans around him as subjects.

It will require a long essay to fully clarify the conflict between high human society and the underworld of obscenity. Those interested can read Scruton’s book. Back to the question of erotic writings, personally I consider it an obscene pleasure. It contains an element of fāḥshāʾ (obscenity), meaning that the general Quranic prohibition on engaging in fāḥshāʾ applies to it. The point of an erotic book is to help you gain sexual gratification by imagining that you are looking at other humans having sex. It is pornography without pictures, and everything that applies to pornography applies to it. Taking pleasure in erotica is a disguised form of voyeurism.

Voyeurism is evil because it is a violation of the sanctity of the human. In voyeurism a person takes pleasure in only part of a human; a full human is a subject who can look back at you, who is free and who is honored by God. But the human that is the object of voyeurism is a human that is cut apart; we are no longer interested in their souls but only in their bodies and their physical sensations. The sanctity of human life requires that we treat them as subjects and only take pleasure in them with their consent. In voyeurism, this sanctity is violated, the human is taken pleasure in without their opinion being asked, without their involvement as free-willed partakers in the act of the voyeur’s sexual gratification. The voyeur looks at a woman and takes sexual pleasure in her without caring whether she is a murderer or a good person, that part of her is destroyed by voyeurism, she is no longer really a human. And she cannot look back at the voyeur, for the voyeur she is an object. Now in production of erotica no one is harmed. The harm is to the reader alone, because by engaging in fantasy voyeurism, he sinks more and more into the underworld of obscenity where humans are mere objects and where all morality and respect and duty are mere pretenses.

You meet many such people on the Internet. They have no respect for their families because to them each family member is like an animal in human form. They do not consider their father or mother intrinsically worthy of respect; they have to earn that respect by titillating this sunken person’s ego and desires. They do not believe in duties, they believe that they should do anything they can get away with to get the maximum pleasure they can get. I believe that the whole culture of the West is experiencing this sunken-ness to some degree. You cannot mention social duties and responsibilities to most people without them becoming almost violently hostile. To a sunken person society is just an ATM to take resources from and has no rights of its own. For them society is just a collection of objects who should be used for the maximum pleasure and profits. It is not a collection of subjects who have to be honored as sacred and inviolable persons.

There is no punishment specified for engaging in voyeurism as far as I am aware. A person who engages in it is doing something degrading to himself, and he is harming his relationship with God by doing something He disapproves of. The enjoyment of any form of obscene pleasure goes against true piety and fear of God. But if someone is overcome by desire (as in the case of someone who cannot avoid masturbation) into doing it, then it is not a big deal. They can repent and go on with their lives. God does not ask us to be have super-human self-control. But those who have sufficient self-control to avoid an obscene pleasure, and who know full well that it is something God disapproves of, then if they do engage in it, they degrade themselves greatly in the sight of God.

There is no obvious “harm” in a man admiring a woman’s picture, or in a person reading a sexually suggestive story. The harm is not in the act in itself, but in its effects on the person’s relationship with the humans around him/her and with God. It is a slippery slope whose harms can take years to become appreciable. The more we engage in obscenity, the more anti-social we become, the more we feel as if we are merely pretending to be moral and upright in society, and even worse, we start to believe everyone around us is also just pretending. For a person seeking a meaningful life, engaging in obscenity leads to a sense of loneliness and disengagement with those around them. The warmth of human society leaves their lives; sex in its physicality becomes paramount, they start to see the humans around them as objects rather than persons. It becomes difficult to respect even their own parents when they start to see them as mere animals with sex organs rather than seeing them as honored persons. Obscenity forces an animalistic, sunken worldview that is directly in conflict with maintaining a human society in which people are honored.

Reading one or five erotic novels may have no appreciable harm on a person. But they shouldn’t be surprised if this makes them less honoring and respectful towards those around them, and if those around them start to develop a dislike for them in return. And they shouldn’t be surprised if they start to feel as if they are living a lie, as if they are only pretending to be moral. It is impossible to maintain one’s inner sense of moral dignity while engaging in obscenity in private, because the two things contradict one another.

On Islamic prayers for fertility

I have been married for 1.5years. There are some issues with fertility. Is there any help/duas that can help? Sometimes i lack faith, but i remember this is a test from Allah swt of sabr and imaan. Please could you help in terms of duas? Jzk.

I do not believe in the superior power of specific prayer words as opposed to others. I believe what matters is one’s level of piety and submission to God. A person who is involved in a sinful activity (such as having a savings or retirement account that earns interest, or owning bank stocks) should not expect their prayers to be answered, since they are insulting God with one hand while praying with the other.

One thing you can try is what is known as nadhr, which is to ask God to give you something (in your case, a child) and promise to give something in return. For example you can promise God to give a specific amount of money or jewels in charity if God answers your prayer. You may also do a nadhr with an act of worship, such as promising God to fast every Monday and Thursday for a certain period of time (6 months, etc.) if God answers your prayer, or promising to read a certain amount of Quran every day or week for a year. Keep in mind that the nadhr promise cannot be broken once it is made; it would be highly sinful to ignore the promise after God has answered your prayer.

Best wishes inshaAllah.

Is adopting preferred to having one’s own child in Islam?

Is having ones own biological children preferred over adopting, or is it equal?

I cannot find any scholarly opinions on whether one is better than the other. From a biological perspective not having your own children means that your genes will be lost, which can have what is known as a dysgenic effect on society, reducing society’s overall fitness by reducing genetic diversity. A single person choosing not to have children is not going to have a noticeable effect in this regard, therefore it is not something to worry about unless too many people try it. Therefore as it stands, it appears to be entirely a matter of personal choice.

Is kosher meat and meat from Christian Orthodox countries halal?

Can we eat kosher meat? Also, i have heard from a few Islamic teachers that we can eat meat from Christian Orthodox countries like KFC in Poland. Is this true?

Anything certified kosher is automatically halal. Kosher certification for slaughterhouses requires the presence of a person from a Jewish religious institution who oversees the slaughter to make sure it is carried out according to Jewish religious law, which is compatible with Islamic law.

We are technically allowed to eat food from Christians, provided that there are no other issues with the food. We cannot eat pork even if it is from a Christian country, since pork is forbidden regardless of its source. In the same way, animals that are dead at the time of slaughter are impermissible to eat regardless of the source, and since a significant portion of the meat and poultry coming from Western non-kosher slaughterhouses is from dead animals/birds (as much as 10%, as was discovered by the European Fatwa Council), we cannot eat it. The meat you buy from a supermarket and the meat in a typical burger chain’s offerings could be from an animal or bird that was dead before slaughter for all that you know, for this reason Muslims have to avoid it.

If you know Christians who slaughter their animals and birds properly and allow the blood to leave the carcass, you are allowed to eat the meat they sell. But if it is slaughterhouse meat, or if it is from Christian farmers who do not bleed the carcass, or who perform the slaughter in other ways not compatible with Islamic law, you are not allowed to eat it.

In general, Christians have no religious standards regarding slaughter, therefore one should consider meat provided by them automatically haram unless one knows the source well and knows that they conduct the slaughter and bleeding properly. As for meat from Jewish kosher-certified sources, one can automatically assume it is halal since the slaughtering involves the presence of a religious representative.

On Muslims working for companies that deal with interest

I just wanted to ask you since my major is economy and some jobs involves working with the interest rate especially if it's a firm that works with lending money. Can I still work with them? There's a lot of competition here in this country regarding this major so saying no to a job means it's very difficult to find any other job.

Working for a lender who charges interest is similar to working for a company that you know systematically steals money from people, or working for a company that runs brothels. It is not an honorable thing to do, and by helping them, you share a part of their sin. The same applies to for-profit insurance companies. It is far better to lose a job opportunity and find a lower paying job than find a great job and have a cursed life.

If you are completely desperate for a job, you might make an exception for yourself, saying that you have no choice, and it is even possible that God will accept your excuse. However, you can never be sure that God is pleased with you, and true love and fear of God requires that one should avoid all questionable things (not only forbidden things, but those things that are in a gray area).

If I were you, I would refuse to accept jobs in usurious lending and for-profit insurance the way I would refuse to work for any other evil and unethical company. Many times in your life you will be offered the choice between something ethical and something unethical that promises greater rewards. People fall into the trap of making the unethical choice today, thinking that down the road they can make up for it. Reality it does not work like that. A person who finds it to make the ethical choice today and instead goes for the unethical choice will find it just as difficult to make the ethical choice tomorrow. It never gets easier. If you accept that job, thinking that down the road you will find an equally good but ethical job, in reality such a job may never appear, and you may never be able to leave the current job without making a big sacrifice for it.

Humans like to think “I will be a good person when it becomes easy for me to be good,” and in this way they can spend their whole lives as corrupt and lowly servants of God waiting for the day when they can be pure and angelic servants of God without having to sacrifice anything, a day that will never come. The tests that God throws at us are designed specifically for us, to bring out our true natures and show Him our level of dedication to Him.

Unethical companies would go out of business if no one accepted to work for them. By working for them, we become part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

Best wishes inshaAllah.

I just read your answer on the banking job. I got the work as a financial officer in the bank. I feel confused about your answer, because applying that logic it means that Muslims can't work in banks but how is that possible when banks are everywhere even in Muslim countries. After doing some research I found that it is even haram to be security guard for a bank. But then how come we use credit cards from the banks? we are still their customers even if we don't take interest

We cannot use credit cards unless there is a desperate financial need for it since they charge interest. I guess you meant how we can have bank accounts and debit cards. The reason is that using a service from an unethical company when you don’t have a good alternative is very different from working for them. Ideally we should have our bank accounts and debit cards with Islamic banks that do not deal in usury, but there are no reliable and respected banks of that kind in the United States, though your country might have them.

Muslims can work in banks, as long as the banks do not deal with usury. There is a whole field of Islamic finance that can do everything an ordinary bank does without usury.

When we Muslims use debit cards from a bank, we are simply using a halal service offered by a company that deals in both halal and haram. It is similar to buying groceries from someone who also owns an unethical business. Ideally we wouldn’t buy from such a person, but sometimes we don’t have alternatives.

Which Islamic school of thought should we be following?

Out of the schools of Islamic thought which one is the most popular and which one should we be following?

The division of Islamic thought into “schools” was a product of historical circumstances. Before the development of the schools, there was a period, known academically as the “formative period”, in which each respected scholar was considered his own “school”. During the time of Imam Mālik (d. 795 CE), who saw the end of the Umayyad Empire and the rise of the Abbasid one in his lifetime, there were many respected scholars in the city of Medina, none of whom belonged to a specific school. They respected each other’s opinions and when they disagreed, instead of attacking one another, they would consider the conflicting opinions as potentially valid alternatives. For the details of this period of Islam, see professor Yasin Dutton’s The Origins of Islamic Law: The Qur’an, the Muwatta’ and Madinan Amal and professor Umar Abdallah Wymann-Landgraf’s important work Malik and Medina: Islamic Legal Reasoning in the Formative Period.

I believe that the schools answered a specific need during the historical period from the 9th century to the 20th century, but that there is no longer a need for Muslims to limit themselves to a school. They should instead follow the scholars they know to be the most honorable and knowledgeable, which also studying the evidence for themselves when it comes to important and controversial issues.

One important issue today in the West is that of halal meat. Is supermarket meat from non-Muslims halal or not? Rather than following a specific school’s opinion, I studied the opinions of the respected scholars I found; the European Fatwa Council had done a study in which they discovered that slaughterhouses often killed the animals or birds before slaughtering them, meaning that there is no guarantee that the meat bought at a supermarket is not from an animal that was dead at the time of slaughter. This means that all meat from Western supermarkets is haram (except for kosher or halal-certified products). A Shāfiʿī scholar ruled that Western red meat is not halal while poultry is. A Ḥanafī scholar said that both should be considered haram.

In such issues, instead of “submitting” to any school, thinking that that takes away one’s responsibility if their opinion is wrong, one should find the opinion that is most reasonable and that is most likely to please God. While eating supermarket meat would make my life easier (since I wouldn’t have to go out of my way to find halal stores), and while I can find scholarly opinions permitting me to buy chicken and turkey from non-halal places, I have to follow the opinion I know to be right and reasonable, which is that all Western-produced meat is haram except for that which is certified kosher or halal.

As I mentioned in a previous answer, saying “I followed the wrong person” is not a valid excuse for Muslims when it comes to the scholars and opinions they follow, because you are considered sufficiently intelligent and capable to distinguish between good and evil yourself. In two passages (2:165-167 and 34:31-33) the Quran mentions God rejecting the excuses of people on the Day of Judgment who say they were only following others.

By the above I do not mean that every Muslim should become a fiqh scholar in order to judge everything for themselves. When it comes to most things, it is safe to follow the opinions of well-known and respected scholars. As long as you do not find in their opinions something that conflicts with your reason and conscience, or that conflicts with a Quranic verse or hadith narration you know of, then it is safe to follow the mainstream opinion. But when it comes to issues of controversy, such as halal meat or interest, that is when you are obligated to look deeper instead of following the opinion that fits your desires.

Islamic rulings on ear, nose and tongue piercings

The contemporary Azhar-educated Egyptian scholar Dr. Khālid ʿAbd al-Munʿim al-Rifāʿī says in a fatwa1 that the four schools agree that piercing the ear is permissible due to the fact that it serves a common need among women, and that there is no clear evidence against it. He quotes the Ḥanbalī scholar Ibn al-Qayyim (d. 1350 CE) saying in his Tuḥfat al-Mawdūd:

ويكْفِي في جوازه عِلْمُ الله ورسولِه بفعل الناس له وإقرارهم على ذلك فلو كان مما ينهى عنه لنهى القرآن أو السنة

It is sufficient [evidence] for making it permissible the fact God and His Prophet had knowledge of people doing it and authorized their act. If it was something to be forbidden, the Quran or the Sunnah would have forbidden it.

Regarding the issue of nose piercings, he quotes the Saudi scholar Ibn ʿUthaymīn saying that if it is a common practice among women in a place to do so then there is no issue with it, while he himself apparently dislikes it.

The Saudi Ḥanbalī scholar ʿAbdul Muḥsin al-ʿAbbād has the same opinion regarding both ear and nose piercings, that they are both permissible.2

Tongue piercings

 

The scholarly view appears to be that if a certain type of piercing is a common cultural practice and has no harms to one’s health then it is permissible. The issue of tongue piercings is complicated by the fact that it has negative health effects. From a 2012 study:

Within the limitations of this study, this case control study has demonstrated the adverse long-term effects of tongue piercing. A significant correlation between wearing a tongue piercing and an increased incidence of enamel fissures, enamel fractures and gingival recessions (especially in the lingual region of mandibular incisors) was revealed.

Based on this and other data available and the numerous dental complications which have been reported, individuals should be advised against having a tongue piercing. Subjects who already have a piercing object inserted should be informed with conviction about the risks they are facing.3

Another study from 2015 concluded:

Both lip and tongue piercings are highly associated with the risk of gingival recession, and tongue piercings are also associated with tooth injuries.4

Since tongue piercings seem to have a greater potential for harm, it appears to me that it would be more in accordance with Islamic law to consider them forbidden than allowed.

On rejoining Islam after a sinful life

I am a Muslim but in my past, I have done terrible things. I have sex with multiple women, went to clubs, did drugs and drank alcohol. I have always wanted to repent and now I think I have found my calling. But, I don't know if I am still considered a Muslim after what I've done. What should I do?

In the Quran, God promises that He forgives all sins, as in the following passage which applies directly to your situation:

53. Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves: do not despair of God’s mercy, for God forgives all sins. He is indeed the Forgiver, the Clement.”

54. And turn to your Lord, and submit to Him, before the retribution comes upon you. Then you will not be helped.

55. And follow the best of what was revealed to you from your Lord, before the punishment comes upon you suddenly, while you are unaware.

56. So that a soul may not say, “How sorry I am, for having neglected my duty to God, and for having been of the scoffers.”

57. Or say, “Had God guided me; I would have been of the pious.”

58. Or say, when it sees the penalty, “If only I had another chance, I would be of the virtuous.”

59. Yes indeed! My Verses did come to you, but you called them lies, turned arrogant, and were of the faithless.1

Start to read the Quran as if it was sent to you personally, as the Pakistani poet Muhammad Iqbal says his father taught him, and you will find everything you need in it.

If you renew your allegiance to God by accepting to obey His commandments from now on, then you are a Muslim. Repentance is sufficient to erase the sins of the past:

70. Except for those who repent, and believe, and do good deeds. These—God will replace their [past] bad deeds with good deeds. God is ever Forgiving and Merciful.

71. Whoever repents and acts righteously—has inclined towards God with repentance.

72. And those who do not bear false witness; and when they come across indecencies, they pass by with dignity.

73. And those who, when reminded of the revelations of their Lord, do not fall before them deaf and blind.

74. And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us delight in our spouses and our children, and make us a good example for the righteous.”2

Also see:

How to repent from zina (sex outside of marriage)

God has not abandoned you

On the ritual purity of cats in Islam

Does cat fur invalidate our prayers?

Regarding cats, the Prophet Muhammad is quoted as saying:

إنها ليست بنجس، إنها من الطوافين عليكم

It is not impure. It is allowed to be a tawwāf (that which freely moves around) upon you (in your homes).1

The purity extends to its hair according to the Yemeni scholar al-Ṣanʿānī (1687 – 1768 CE).2, meaning that there is no issue with praying with cat hairs on you while praying.

A man who refuses to marry the woman he had premarital sex with

I’ve committed zina with this one guy and we promised to get married in future. Suddenly one day he told me that he wants to stop seeing me, and he wants to perform umrah. He said he wants to repent but never to be responsible for marrying me. Somehow i feel like i’m being cheated on, why don’t we repent, got married, and perform umrah. Why he seems to just leave me alone? Hope you can give me some good advise to calm my heart. Thank you.

The reason he is not eager to marry you is something that humans have probably known for thousands of years, which is that men are extremely eager to marry the woman they desire as long as she refuses to sleep with them, but if she gives in to their desires before marriage, they lose interest in marrying her. It is only men who have a strong sense of honor, in other words a small minority of men, who do not act like that and who consider themselves responsible for the woman’s welfare after sleeping with her.

I cannot tell you what is going through his mind. Perhaps if he has sincerely repented, the fact that the relationship was sinful may make him want to selfishly end it and start a new one without the negative associations. Perhaps he just wants to wait.

The best and most honorable thing for you to do would be to sincerely repent then go on with your life, maintaining only a formal relationship with him and leaving it to him to propose if he wants. If he does not have sufficient honor and maturity to take responsibility for his actions, he is probably not worth marrying. I know it will probably require superhuman strength to end the relationship and make things formal. You are in a difficult situation and there is no easy solution for it, and there is no way to guarantee what the outcome will be. The only solution is patience; leave it to God to take care of you while doing your best to improve yourself. See my essay The Road to Maturity: On Dealing with Life’s Unsolvable Problems for a guide on dealing with such situations.

You may also be interested in these other answers on sinful relationships.

Distinguishing between trustworthy and untrustworthy Muslim scholars and intellectuals

How can we distinguish an honest and good scholar from a bad and misleading. I used to think before that they are all honest so I didn't understand why Islam was telling me to be so evil. It also makes me confused because why would someone dedicate so much time for the sake of Allah to be a scholar and then be misleading?

Scholars are humans and are subject to all the forces and temptations that cause humans to be unjust at times. Sometimes out of anger or a personal dislike for someone, a person may feel strongly tempted to say or do something unjust.

As for finding who the best scholars and thinkers are, even the pagans of Mecca recognized the good and honorable character of Prophet Muhammad even though they rejected his mission. The reason they could do that was that they saw that the Prophet never lied, had impeccable manners, never broke promises and never betrayed anyone’s trust. Truthfulness and honorableness are characteristics that are relatively easy to discover in people.

Judge Muslim scholars and intellectuals according to their manners and character and how much they are like the best people mentioned in the Quran. Trustworthy Muslims do not scoop down to personal attacks. They are polite, even toward the rudest of people. They do not get angry. They admit the limits of the evidence instead of trying to convince you that their opinion is correct. If a Muslim is desperate to convince you of something so that you start to feel uncomfortable, as if they are trying to convince you to make a leap of faith and to submit to their opinion, that is a very strong red flag that that person is not trustworthy.

Trustworthy Muslims respect the fact that you are an honored human in the sight of God whose dignity and conscience are inviolable, they consider you a respected human whether you agree or disagree with them, while untrustworthy Muslims consider you an instrument; if you agree with them and submit to them, they will be nice and kind, and if you refuse to do that, they become rude. They are tribalists who only consider you a proper human if you belong to their “tribe” (sect, madhhab, etc.), and if you do not belong to it they treat you as if you were subhuman.

Above I have described the extreme examples of trustworthy and untrustworthy people. Most people fall somewhere between the two extremes since no human is perfect, so how much you trust someone should depend on how close they are to the trustworthy or untrustworthy side.

If you are sincere in your faith and you have the Quran to guide you, it would be easy for you to distinguish between those who are most trustworthy and those who are least. Those who fall victim to misguided and harmful doctrines generally do so because of flaws in their faith; they follow a person who offers them a lax version of Islam that helps them continue sinful lifestyles or one that offers them wealth, connections or glory, and they choose to follow them despite the warnings of their intellect and conscience. In Islam, since you have been blessed with an intellect and conscience, you are considered responsible for who you choose to follow. Saying “I followed the wrong person” is not a valid excuse, because you are considered sufficiently intelligent and capable to distinguish between trustworthy and untrustworthy people yourself (there might of course be rare exceptions). In two passages (2:165-167 and 34:31-33) the Quran mentions God rejecting the excuses of people on the Day of Judgment who say they were only following others.

On raising the hands during salah as a Hanafi

As a Hanafi would it be wrong for me to raise my hands during salah?

The Hanafi opinion is that you shouldn’t do that, so if you respect the Hanafi school and try to follow their opinions then you shouldn’t raise your hand.

You may also research the topic yourself and follow the opinion that sounds best to you. In the past, the schools of jurisprudence (madhhabs) were like guilds. Those who belonged to a school had to act according to the scholars of that school in order to be accepted by the community around the school, and the scholars themselves had to strictly adhere to the school, otherwise would have lost their jobs as teachers in the madrasas and imams in school-associated mosques. But the guild-like nature of the schools has today disappeared in many parts of the world today, especially in large, cosmopolitan cities. People instead follow the opinions of the scholars they respect most without caring very much about the scholar’s school, and the scholars themselves often combine opinions from multiple schools.

Ideally, Muslims should follow the opinions that have the most reliable evidence behind them regardless of what school the opinion comes from. But we cannot all research each and every topic as that would take most of our time, so in general it is reasonable to follow the opinions of scholars you know and respect.

On the Shia and their fate according to Sunni Islam

What are your views on Shia and their beliefs? And are they among the 70+ sects that are doomed?

First, the notion of the “72 doomed sects” is false, as I explain here. It is based on fabricated evidence.

As for the Shia, I believe that anyone who believes in God and His Books and does their best to follow Him, sincerely and in good faith, will be rewarded by Him, as the Quran promises:

Those who believe, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians—whoever believes in God and the Last Day, and does what is right—they have nothing to fear, nor shall they grieve.1

The above verse and those like it have been interpreted in various ways. The fate of ‘others’ in Islam, whether non-Muslims or Muslims belonging to sects considered non-orthodox, is a contentious issue that lends itself to many interpretations. Those interested can read professor Mohammad Hassan Khalil’s book Islam and the Fate of Others: The Salvation Question, which is a study that shows that there is sufficient room within Islam for what I mentioned above.

While it is common for Muslims to complain about Islamophobia in the West and the fact that people refuse to try to understand Islam, they themselves unfortunately act in very much the same way toward other Muslims. I have talked to some Sunni Muslims who have never met a Shia Muslim in their lives and who have the most absurd misconceptions and prejudices about the lives and thinking of the Shias. The Iranian government, in the name of Shia Islam, has committed a great deal of injustice and oppression against the Sunnis (a glaring example being that Sunni Muslims are not allowed to pray the Friday prayers in cities like Tehran, in their sectarian chauvinistic view only Shia mosques should have the right to hold Friday prayers). But many Iranian Shias do not support the actions of the government, or are simply busy making a living and not having the time to worry about what their government is doing, similar to the attitude of many Americans toward their government’s mass-murder of innocent people overseas. Among the Shia there are those who do their best to hold onto the Quran and to follow it in their lives, and God is generous and intelligent enough to understand and appreciate the efforts of such people even if they have beliefs and attitude that Sunnis would consider wrong. The Quran says the following about Jews and Christians, and I believe the same applies to the Shia:

113. They are not all alike. Among the People of the Scripture is a community that is upright; they recite God’s revelations throughout the night, and they prostrate themselves.

114. They believe in God and the Last Day, and advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and are quick to do good deeds. These are among the righteous.

115. Whatever good they do, they will not be denied it. God knows the righteous.2

So my view is that God holds each soul according to the knowledge He has given it:

God never burdens a soul beyond what He has given it.3

God will not hold a Shia Muslim responsible for what Sunnis consider wrong beliefs if they really think what they believe is true, if they follow the Quran in good faith, and if they do not knowingly do evil.

By saying that, I do not mean to say that Sunni and Shia Islam are equally good religions. Religions are tools toward understanding and worshiping God, and the best tool is the one that helps the most people worship God in the best way possible. We can judge a religion by the number of pious, self-less and devout people it can produce, and I believe Sunni Islam comes out on top according to this measure.

On unanswered prayers, and is it normal for a Muslim to doubt God’s existence?

As a Muslim is it normal to ever doubt Allah's existence? I pray 5x daily and have completed Umrah, but i feel like my prayers have never been answered.

That’s normal, and that is why faith is rewarded. We are supposed to believe in God without having physical proof of His existence. Believing in God while having physical proof is like believing that the sun or the moon exist. There is no virtue in that. This world is designed to test our faith by making us feel abandoned, or making us think that good and bad things happen randomly, or that it is evildoers who are rewarded with the best life. These are very much part and parcel of the design of the universe, seeing these things around us is as normal as seeing furniture in a house.

It is normal to doubt God’s existence when you feel your prayers are not being answered. The question is whether you will keep your faith in Him despite this, whether you will continue to put your hope and trust in Him, or whether this world’s difficulties overpower you so that you turn your back on Him, doubt His existence and abandon serving Him. The Quran says:

Do you expect to enter Paradise before God has distinguished those among you who strive, and before He has distinguished the steadfast?1

God will intentionally make us go through periods of suffering and abandonment to bring out our true nature. Instead of letting us stroll into Paradise while we continue to be selfish, greedy and disloyal toward Him, He will make us suffer exactly the type of circumstances that brings out the best and the worst in us. And this way He distinguishes between His servants:

  • These are those who continue to love him and work to please Him despite the worst suffering.
  • There are those who are on the whole patient and faithful but whose faith is almost overwhelmed every time difficulty and abandonment hits them.
  • There are God’s fair-weather friends who are faithful during times of ease and abandon Him when their faith is tested.
  • There are the ex-believers who, after suffering a number of tragedies, turn their backs on Him, refusing to submit to His decree, thinking the worst of Him and even fighting against Him and His believers.

The Quran has this important passage on the issue of unanswered prayers:

47. To Him is referred the knowledge of the Hour. No fruit emerges from its sheath, and no female conceives or delivers, except with His knowledge. And on the Day when He calls out to them, “Where are My associates?” They will say, “We admit to you, none of us is a witness.”

48. What they used to pray to before will forsake them, and they will realize that they have no escape.

49. The human being never tires of praying for good things; but when adversity afflicts him, he despairs and loses hope.

50. And when We let him taste a mercy from Us, after the adversity that had afflicted him, he will say, “This is mine, and I do not think that the Hour is coming; and even if I am returned to my Lord, I will have the very best with Him.” We will inform those who disbelieve of what they did, and We will make them taste an awful punishment.

51. When We provide comfort for the human being, he withdraws and distances himself; but when adversity befalls him, he starts lengthy prayers.

52. Say, “Have you considered? If it is from God and you reject it—who is further astray than he who is cutoff and alienated?”

53. We will show them Our proofs on the horizons, and in their very souls, until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. Is it not sufficient that your Lord is witness over everything?

54. Surely they are in doubt about the encounter with their Lord. Surely He comprehends everything.2

As believers, it is normal for this world to continuously challenge our faith and tempt us to abandon God. The question is whether we remain faithful despite these challenges, whether we continue to humbly submit and say “It is all from God, we belong to God and He can do anything He wants with us”, or whether we arrogantly reject His decree, become enamored of this world and start to disbelieve in Him.

The principle of Plausible Deniability (which I discussed in a previous answer) means that God will never, or almost never, answer our prayers in a clearly miraculous way. You may wish to get high marks on an exam, pray ardently for this and work hard, and once you do get the high marks, you will look back and wonder whether God had anything to do with it or whether it was all your own hard work.

That is how God answers our prayers; subtly, always keeping Himself hidden, and always leaving us room for doubt. He will not miraculously answer our prayers, because that would be physical proof of His existence.

If you wish for your prayers to be answered, become the type of person who deserves such a favor. Do you deserve having your prayers answered? Even if we pray ardently for something and worship God, if we regularly disobey Him, or selfishly ignore His commandments (such as those regarding giving charity to one’s relatives, etc.), or are involved in something sinful (such as having an interest-bearing savings or retirement account), then we are in effect asking for God’s help while also insulting Him by our disobedience. Such a person will have a very low status in God’s eyes.

Therefore we must first work on ourselves. We must purify ourselves, rededicate ourselves to God, give up all sin and disobedience, do everything we can to raise our rank in God’s eye, then we should expect Him to give us what we wish for.

The majority of people are only half-dedicated to God, so it is no surprise that God does not elevate their ranks. They serve Him with one hand while insulting Him with the other. God, out of His generosity and kindness, still protects such people and blesses them in countless ways that they cannot see:

That is because God is the mawlā (Protecting Friend) of those who believe, while the disbelievers have no protecting friend.3

There are millions of Muslims who have worse lives than we do. Why should we expect to be treated any better by God than those Muslims? What is so special about us that our prayers should be answered? Unless we have attained a special status in God’s eyes, we should not expect special treatment. God takes care of the faithful and ensures that they will have a generally good life, as the Quran promises:

Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while being a believer, We will grant him a good life—and We will reward them according to the best of what they used to do.4

But if we want more than that, if we want a life that has special blessings that we desire, than we should turn ourselves into the type of believer who deserves those special blessings.

On giving up a sinful relationship

I was and still am in a “friends with benefit” relationship with a senior in my uni, it wasn’t intimate one but making out and I fell in love with him but he doesn’t love me back. I’m a revert and he happens to be a Qatari. I know we both have sinned but we couldn’t stop each other. I’m attached and each time I want to say no, he kinda blackmails and I give in. It is damaging me and my soul because, he became my strength and I just can’t give up. I deeply love him. Please help

Your situation is similar to any addiction situation, where a person wishes to give up something but does not have the strength to do so. Continuing to be in contact with him would be similar to an alcoholic who wishes to give up alcohol but continues to regularly take a sip of alcohol every now and then, which makes it impossible for them to have the strength to give it up.

The best way to escape that situation would be to cut all contact with him difficult as it would be, telling him that he should either marry you or stop talking to you.

If you are too much in love to consider that, you should try finding a job in a different city or state.

When you are addicted to something sinful, it means it is impossible for you to control your impulses, therefore if you truly want to give up the sin, instead of trying to control your impulses, you should plan against the sinful behavior. By planning I mean coming up with creative ways of making it difficult or impossible for you to engage in the sin. Perhaps you can honestly tell God that you tried to stop sinning but as long as the sin was available you could not stop. But you are still responsible for staying in that situation when there might be alternatives, such as moving to a different town, state or country, which would put an end to the sin.

The Quran says:

Say, “If your parents, and your children, and your siblings, and your spouses, and your relatives, and the wealth you have acquired, and a business you worry about, and homes you love, are more dear to you than God, and His Messenger, and the struggle in His cause, then wait until God executes His judgment.” God does not guide the sinful people.1

Now, God does not ask us for more than we are able to give. Therefore if you truly cannot escape that situation, then complain of your weakness to God, and ask Him sincerely to help you and find a solution for you, and His help will come to you sooner or later inshaAllah. Also see these essays of mine:

A Muslim who cannot escape the guilt of a sinful life

I’m a revert, I lost my path again. I don’t really pray much now but still on deen. I have some confessions to be made cause these are eating me away. I tried to tell it all in a prayer (while making dua) but these things they still haunt me and I’m still in touch with it cause I’m bonded with it. I can’t let it go. It is a part of my life. I regret but I have no other option. Sometimes it gets suicidal but there’s no point in self harm. I can’t sleep and function properly.

Humbly ask God for His help and guidance. Talk to Him and tell Him that you are weak and that you do not know what to do. If you sincerely call for His help, He will help you. It might take time, but if you sincerely ask Him every day then your life will slowly improve, so that a year from now your situation may have greatly improved.

Do not give up hope. Prophet Ibrahim says:

“And who despairs of his Lord’s mercy but those who are truly lost?”1

And do not expect too much improvement immediately. Leave it to God to fix your life. If at the moment you feel so weak and exhausted that there is nothing you can do, then let it be so. God does not ask you for more than you are able.

Also see: On giving up a sinful relationship

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