IslamQA

Answers to questions on Islamic topics. Ask a Question.

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

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

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

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

The difference between tahajjud and qiyam al-layl

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

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

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

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

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

What is Islam’s punishment for premarital sexual intercourse?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best wishes.

She is engaged to someone but wishes to marry someone else

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

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

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

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

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

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

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

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

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

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

Laughter in dreams and menstruation

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

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

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

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

What to do if you have lost hope in everything

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

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

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

Best wishes inshaAllah.

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

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

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

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

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

Best wishes inshaAllah.

On not inviting abusive parents to one’s nikah

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

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

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

Is it wrong in Islam to feel jealous?

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

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

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

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

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

Her husband forbids her from going to the gym

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

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

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

Her friend is too involved with her male colleagues

Assalamualaikum, please I need your help! My best friend has too many male friends from her college, she talks to them and sometimes goes out with them. She knows it's wrong, but whenever I speak to her regard this she tells me "we work on the same college projects together", but she talks to them as friends, not just as her team members! I don't know what to do with her. Any advice, please?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

It appears from your description that she is simply not religious enough to care, and if that is so, then her behavior is just the expression of a deeper ignorance or impiety, meaning that the problem you mentioned may be part of a bigger problem with her understanding or loyalty to her faith.

The thing that could help her most would be to involve her in beneficial activities, for example encouraging her to go with you to a sisters’ halaqa at a mosque. Trying to change a specific behavior does not usually work. But helping her become more involved with Islam through meetings, lectures and so on can affect every part of her life.

My advice is to never make someone your “project” where you try to improve them, that is not a proper attitude to have toward a fellow human. People like to freely reach their own conclusions about how they should behave. At the end of the day nothing you can do will change her unless she decides to change by herself.

Is it permissible to pray tahajjud after performing witr?

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

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

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

Can babies see angels?

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

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

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

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

Can angels read and understand the Quran or not?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sura 72 gives more details.

In Islam, are we fated to marry a specific person?

Asalamualaikum. are we have a fate to met and married someone?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There are many differing views on how fate works in Islam and each view has its own evidence and adherents. The fact is that the nature of fate is never fully explained in the Quran, but the Quran suggests that fate might at least be variable, meaning that you can change your fate based on what you do and what you pray for, even though God is always in charge. For more on this please see this answer:

Can prayer change your fate and destiny in Islam?

So it is possible that, based on the kind of person you are right now, God may have a particular person in mind for you. But if you change the kind of person you are, if you become much better or much worse, that might change the fate God has in store for you.

What we know without doubt is that fate is in God’s hands. What we do not know for certain is how it really works. Some people say that everything you say, think or do in your life is already “written” somewhere before you are born, but this is only one theory among many others, and it has its own problems.

Are sexual and homosexual fantasies forbidden in Islam?

Is it haram to think about sexual things without acting upon them? What about homosexual thoughts?

The Prophet, , says:

God has pardoned for my community what comes to their mind, so long as they do not act or pronounce words to that effect. (Sunan Abi Dawud 2209, various forms of this hadith are also present al-Bukhari, Muslim and others)

However, as Muslims we should always aim high and try to do what is most admirable. Your goal should be to try to understand God and to work to become the type of person that is most pleasing to Him. From this perspective you can then judge for yourself what thoughts are good and what thoughts are not.

The appropriate way to approach and propose to a Muslim woman

Salam, A man with good intentions and a clean heart, finds a young lady attractive and has heard very pleasant things about her. Mashallah, she is gorgeous and after getting to know her, he is very sure about the decision of inshallah making her his wife. Pure intentions, clean heart, no ill means wallah. However, the man is still early in life, needs to finish college in order to be able to provide for his loved ones. What should he do? (He is me haha)

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

To understand the proper way to approach her and why it has to be so, you have to understand the way marriage is meant to work in Islam. As I discuss in detail in my essay The Point of Marriage in Islam (and the Problem with Romantic Relationships Outside of Marriage), in Islam (and  Victorian Christianity), marriage is not only about the fulfillment of two individuals, it is about integrating their relationship into society in a safe and functional way. This means that the families of both the man and the woman have to be involved in the process, it is not something the man and the woman can set up entirely on their own. The same way that you have a right to be loved and taken care of by your parents, your parents have a right to have a say in your marriage.

The proper way to approach her is therefore through her family. You have to present yourself to her family and they have to cast their votes, whether in your favor or against it. In some families the woman herself has most of the vote and the family will respect her choice, while in other families the parents and siblings expect to have more of a say.

First, you should mention the matter to your own family. Even if you think they will like her and approve of the relationship, the respectful thing to do is to get them involved. If they are not Muslim and they expect you to manage your own relationships, then that makes their involvement less important.

If you do not know the woman’s family, you can politely approach the woman and tell her of your desire to request her hand in marriage from her family, she would then tell her family about you and a day will be arranged for you to meet her family. It depends on a woman’s culture and education how she will respond to being approached. Some may consider it a natural and acceptable thing, others may be seriously offended and may consider it very inappropriate. Some cultures, like in Iran or Malaysia, are accepting toward strangers approaching their daughters for marriage due to the spread of university education and their cosmopolitan lifestyles, while others, such as that of Afghanistan, will in general find the idea of a stranger approaching their daughter an utterly unacceptable thing.

If you cannot take care of a family now but expect to be able to once you finish college, her family may approve of your engagement but ask to delay the wedding until after you finish college. This is commonly done in countries like Iran and Malaysia. But some families may refuse such an arrangement and ask you to come back once you have a job. Some families may simply refuse to meet you and ask to meet your parents first, or only approve a meeting once you have finished college. And if the woman has other eligible suitors, that will further complicate the picture.

So the way to approach her is to ask to be introduced to her family. If the woman says she is not interested, then you have to leave it at that. And if she mentions you to her family but they refuse to meet you, then you have to find out the reason. If the reason is something that can be changed (maybe they expect you to have a job), then you have to wait patiently and try again in the future.

If the family approves of the relationship but does not want you to get married just yet, you can perform a quiet engagement ceremony (nikāḥ) to make your engagement official religiously. After that the two of you can stay in contact and date like any Western couple until you get married. This is how some Muslim cultures do it, while others may find it strange to perform a nikāḥ without performing the wedding.

What you should absolutely not do is try to start a romantic relationship with her in disregard to her family. Islam is not opposed to your happiness, but it wants your relationship to be conducted in a way that will work out for everyone in the long-term, rather than enjoying a few months of bliss followed by years of disappointment and suffering. Even if she seems interested in such a relationship and wants to keep in close contact, you should keep things formal and professional and keep in mind that she may end up marrying someone else. If she is someone you meet daily (you attend the same classes or work at the same place), then your behavior toward her should be in a way that if her family was watching, they should not disapprove of it. It is impossible to stay within the appropriate boundaries if you keep in contact with her in private (such as through chatting on social media). Both of you will strongly desire to keep pushing the boundaries, this is natural and will invariably lead to both of you starting to act more like lovers. Therefore I strongly recommend that you do not keep up regular private contact with her.

It can be very difficult to act with perfect religious composure when you strongly desire to be with someone and especially when they too desire to be with you. But that is the polite and civilized way to behave, and it is designed that way for your own good and her good, so that you can both remain pious and get married with the blessing and approval of both of your families. If her family discovers that you tried to bypass them by keeping a secret romantic relationship with their daughter, they may never forgive you for it, and even if the marriage takes place, this mistake can negatively color your relationship with them for the rest of your life.

Sometimes her family may say the marriage is impossible for one reason or another, but they may change their opinion eventually. If she is from an immigrant family, her parents may expect her to marry someone from their own culture, for this reason if you belong to a different culture, they may simply refuse to even consider you. Books can be written about all of the complexities and nuances of getting married in Islam, so I cannot cover everything in this answer.

The best thing to do is to be patient and respectful, and to keep in mind that we do not always get what we want in life. I recommend spending an extra hour every night in worship (as I describe here), this will make it much easier to be patient and to remain on your best behavior in your interactions with women.

Being Muslim and a fangirl/fanboy of a fictional world

Assalamualaikum brother, as you in Tumblr platform I think you've heard things called as 'fangirl/fanboy' or any person that loves some fictional works so much. How Islam treat people like them (actually I'm also one of them)? Honestly I have lots of question about this topic but I haven't found any 'Islamic specialist' in this field, although I came from muslim-majority country.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I am a big fan of the Lord of the Rings books, the Harry Potter books, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books and Frank Herbert’s Dune books. The majority of mainstream scholars will have no issue with reading fiction and being a fan of fictional worlds as long as it does not lead to neglecting one’s religious duties (archived link to a fatwa by the popular Saudi scholar Sheikh Salman al-Ouda, who says that reading fiction is permissible but that it depends on a person’s knowledge and maturity whether this may have harms for them or not).

 

Is it permissible to write down prayer words when learning how to pray (salah)?

hey, I'm struggling with myself. I want to start praying , but i don't know how to pronounce the things. And the other thing is if I can't remember the sayings can I write it down and read it or is it not focusing on Allah and the praying then and when do I have to say sws?

It is universally accepted that a person can read from a book of Quran during the prayer, so I see no issue with reading the other parts of the prayer from a piece of paper until you learn them (but I cannot find official opinions on this). There is no issue with having difficulty pronouncing the words as it takes time to learn them, the Prophet says in regards to reciting the Quran (but it can be applied to the rest of the prayer as well):

The one who is proficient in the recitation of the Quran will be with the honorable scribes (the Angels) and he who recites the Quran and finds great difficulty in reciting it, doing his best to recite it in the best way possible, will have a double reward. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 65, Hadith 4937)

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