IslamQA

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

Dealing with betrayal and slander from friends

So I've shared a secret to a friend and said to her she shouldnt tell anyone especially not to person xy.. so what she did was exposing me infront of this person and told him/her everything what I said (the secret wasn't about the person I just wanted to make sure she don't tell it anyone).. she also told other person about it who weren't involved in it.. she blocked me on social media etc.. all this people are talking behind my back and everyone ignores me and possibly hates me for it..

These people are Muslims.. I’m so depressed these days.. can you say what should I do and is this a sign in form of punishment by Allah swt say because of my sins? I’m so confused and sad about it. They won’t listen to me.. I even apologized but they ignores me.. please help me!

All of God’s prophets were lied about, ignored and attacked by their societies, just because it is happening does not mean that it is a punishment. Perhaps it is preparation for something better that will come. Perhaps it is there to help you see who your real friends are and who the shallow and selfish ones are.

God is your protector. Always remember this verse:

That is because God is the protector of the faithful, while the evildoers have no protector. (The Quran, verse 47:11)

If God is your protector, then nothing that happens around you can possibly harm you, even if from appearances the thing is hurtful and upsetting. God is your protector, seek to please Him and forgive and forget those who wish to hurt you.

Getting over an impossible love

I don’t know if this is gonna sound ridiculous/stupid... but I’ve been having feelings for someone for the past 3 years and I can’t seem to get over it, I make dua Everyday asking Allah to strengthen my heart and remove these feelings, I try to keep myself busy with work and worship but at the end of the day I still come back to this , the worst part is that this person is married. I will never act on this feelings but it hurts a lot that I can’t do anything

Everyone’s life seems to contain some unsolvable problems. It can be a chronic illness, poverty, having a disabled child, having an elderly parent that one is forced to take care of, having a grown child who constantly causes problems, having an uncaring spouse, not being able to find someone to marry, etc. Your unsolvable problem appears to be your love for that person.

The main thing to do regarding life’s unsolvable problems is to accept them, to humbly submit to God’s decree and be thankful that things are not worse, and to realize that God could be saving us from many other problems that others suffer from. If our problem is solved, it is quite possible that a new problem may arise in our lives that is just as serious and painful as the one before, and most people’s lives appears to be a story of going from one unsolvable problem to another. This is how this world works, there is no way to achieve permanent peace in it. This world always promises us utopia but never delivers. Regardless of what we accomplish, in a few days or weeks we are always back to square one, always with new problems, worries and discomforts ruining things for us.

The thing to do is to sit back and understand that this is how the world works. We want to create heaven on Earth, but we can never achieve it. It is far better to keep in mind that this world will soon pass and that the comfort and peace we desire can only be achieved in a different world.

One thing you could do that might help you move on is to read a lot of books (50 or more). As you read more and more, your thinking and understanding will change and this can make it easier to get over the past and look forward to the future. You can check out this page on my my site for a list of books to read.

Do Muslims need to make up prayers intentionally missed for years?

I have a question to ask and i don't really know where and whom to ask about it. So, I’ve been neglecting salah for 24 years of my life, I’ve started to pray fully 5x times a day and I’ve been wondering how do i replace all the salah that I’ve been neglecting before. How do i know the numbers to replace, and what should i do? From what i heard, even if you seek for His forgiveness, you still have to pay back all the salah that you’ve missed out. Same goes to fasting.

Short answer: No, you do not need to make up those missed prayers.

The opinion of the founders of the four schools (Malik, al-Shafi`i, Ahmad and Abu Hanifah) is that a Muslim should make up any prayers missed after puberty even if this amounts to decades worth of missed prayers. Their reasoning is that since the prayer is obligatory on every Muslim, a missed prayer is like debt that one has to pay back.

Comparing a missed prayer to debt is known as qiyas (‘analogy’). The Islamic texts do not give us any clear pointers toward whether a person who habitually abandons the prayer should make them all up or not, this is an issue that is never mentioned in the Quran or hadith.

Ibn Taymiyyah rejects the debt analogy and provides a better analogy, that of intentionally missing the Friday prayer. People who intentionally delay the Friday prayer by not performing it in its proper time are not allowed to hold the Friday prayer later on to make up for it. The Friday prayer has a set time and it is only valid during that time.

As for making up missed prayers, according to Ibn Taymiyyah this only applies to cases when one’s daily life is interrupted by something that prevents them from praying in its proper time. Those who intentionally abandon the prayer cannot make it up; they have sinned, and once they repent, they should simply resume a Muslim’s life.

If you miss the Friday prayer intentionally by praying at home, there is no way to make it up, you cannot go to extra Friday prayers since there is no such thing as extra Friday prayers. I think this might be Ibn Taymiyyah’s point regarding the Friday prayer analogy. It appears that in Ibn Taymiyyah’s view the prayer is like a train that you either catch or miss. If you miss it by performing it defectively (such as by praying the Friday prayer at home) or by simply abandoning it, then you miss the train and there is no way to get back on it, since the prayer for each time period belongs to that time period and cannot be prayed outside of it. The noon prayer for March 5, 2018 belongs to a set period in time (say 12:30 PM to 4:00 PM), if one intentionally misses the prayer belonging to this period of history, then there is no way for them to make it up (unless they get on a time machine).

 

Ibn Taymiyyah’s view seems more like common sense and is, of course, far more humane, therefore I prefer it.

Ibn Taymiyyah’s view regarding missed fasts is similar; if the fast is intentionally abandoned, one is not required to make it up.

Can a Muslim woman marry an uncircumcised man?

How if I marry a converted man & he haven't circumcised yet. I mean, I've read it somewhere that u can't get married before circumcised first. Like, can we do the Ijab qabul first & few days after that the husband will be circumcised. Well, people who get circumcised need other people to look after them right? So what I try to say is I want to look after him during the recovery but obv it's haram before the marriage. That's why I want we get married first so I can look after him

Male circumcision is a matter of difference among scholars. The Hanafi and later Maliki opinion, and the opinion of al-Hasan al-Basri, is that it is recommended but not obligatory, while the Shafi`i and Hanbali view is that it is obligatory. According to the modern Egyptian scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi, there is no conclusive evidence in Islam to make it obligatory, but that it is close to being obligatory and that it should not be abandoned by a society as a whole.

In your case, you can do whatever is most convenient. Here is an answer from a Mufti in Trinidad and Tobago saying:

Being Uncircumcised does not prevent you from becoming married. There is absolutely no statement that it is haram for a Muslim woman to marry a non circumcised man. When you intend to marry, it is good to tell your spouse that you are not circumcised, so that this does not create problems in your marital relationship.

Avoiding the West’s culture of usury as a Muslim

I figured you'd be the best person to ask about this. I'm a young Muslim adult who's been wondering how to navigate through a usury based society. Unless you end up earning ample amounts of money, it feels like getting mortgages and credit cards are pre-requisites to living a comfortable (or decently comfortable) life here. What can I do to avoid partaking in the usury system while allowing me to live a decent life quality? Any advice or readings on this would be a great help.

We should try to avoid interest (and for-profit insurance) as much as we are able. This is a challenge that each person has to face for themselves; one should do as much as they can, but I wouldn’t say that one should absolutely avoid it all, since that can be too difficult for some people’s faith.

Speaking for myself, for mortgages, I would use an Islamic provider like Guidance Residential if it all possible. For insurance, I would only get insurance that I am legally required to get (such as car insurance). I would avoid using credit cards unless absolutely necessary (for example if I can’t pay rent and can’t get help in other ways).

In my new book A Skeptic’s Quick Guide to Modern Economics I explain how today’s usurious system works. You can also check out Usury in Christendom: The Mortal Sin that Was and Now is Not.

And if you ever have money to invest, you should avoid bonds, including “Islamic” ones that give a fixed rate. One should also ideally avoid all companies that borrow money on interest, which basically means all US public corporations. What remains is to invest in private businesses that do not deal in usury and that give their employees living wages. As far as I know there is no easy way to do this other than finding a business and reaching a private deal with them (giving them $10,000, for example, for a certain share of their profits). There are “Islamic” mutual funds like Azzad and AMANA, but both of these either invest in usurious corporations or in fixed-rate “Islamic” bonds that are not so Islamic after all. What is needed is a mutual fund that invests solely in non-usurious businesses or truly Islamic bonds (backed by real assets and with fluctuating returns). Perhaps as the number of Muslims in the US and Europe increases, such funds will be created. At the moment, if I were wealthy, I would have nothing to do with the utterly corrupt and usurious corporate culture of the West and would do everything possible to create new companies that act more ethically.

Can one read or listen to Quran online without wudu?

Do we have to get ba-wudu even if we reciting or listening Quran online?

There seems to be general agreement that qira’ah (reading/listening to/reciting aloud the Quran) can be done without wudu. The only thing that most agree should not be done without wudu is touching a book of Quran (i.e. a mushaf) (however, the highly respected Shafi`i jurist and hadith scholar al-Hakim al-Nisaburi says that touching a book of Quran without wudu is permissible).

Reading/listening online seems to me to fall under the first category, so I wouldn’t worry about wudu.

Source for first paragraph: Islamweb.net, fatwa #12540.

How do Azhar-educated Muslims end up as terrorists?

I'm just wondering how come some people who graduated from Al-Azhar ended up terrorists? Many of them have founded organisations such as Islamic brotherhood. I thought terrorism breeds as result of ignorance and incorrect knowledge, but since they receive proper ilm, on a scholarly level , then why this result? I can't find neutral books on the topic, either its by an islamophobe or a Muslim who gives one perspective

It is similar to the way that people brought up in Western universities ended up as Marxist terrorists. People who look at the problems suffered by their societies (such as Americans constantly killing good leaders and replacing them with US-approved dictators) end up having intense hatred and resentment for these injustices. In this way they may end up justifying terrorist acts in the name of justice.

The State of Israel was created through various acts of terrorism, such as the massacre of Deir-Yassinthe ethnic cleansing of 700,000 Palestinians, and the King David Hotel bombing.

The terrorism carried out by certain Muslims belongs to the same genre of violent political activism. They believe that the end justifies the means, similar to the way millions of Israelis today believe that having turned Gaza into an open-air concentration camp is justified as long as they themselves stay safe. When it comes to educated Muslims, it does not take any stretch of the imagination to understand that when they see all the injustice and oppression around them, one out of a million may be hot-headed and unhinged enough to end up having a desire for violence in order to put things right. Anyone who blames this on Islam has to explain why the remaining 999,999 Muslims are not terrorists. For more on this see The Missing Martyrs: Why There Are So Few Muslim Terrorists.

Humans have free will, regardless of our knowledge and education, we can always act in ways that go against our background. Just because you know something is wrong or sinful does not necessarily prevent you from doing it, if you desire it enough, or if you are possessed with enough passion (such as anger and hatred against an oppressor), you can do things that go against your education and conscience and that you may later regret.

Most of today’s terrorism does not belong to the above. It is, rather, funded by foreign powers. The United States funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the 1980′s in order to weaken the Soviet Union, and for all we know they may continue to do so since their terrorist acts justifies the American presence on Russia’s and China’s borders, very useful from a geopolitical perspective. See America’s Wars for the Greater Middle East by Andrew Bacevich, a professor of international relations. The same applies to the Philippines, the only Southeast Asian country that has a major terrorism problem (due to a terrorist organization founded by, unsurprisingly, a former CIA recruit). The Philippines has a major US military presence, as the US considers it crucial to have its bases in that area to threaten China, and terrorism helps justify their presence, as the US military act as helpers and trainers for the Philippines army.

Also see Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq by Stephen Kinzer.

The enlightened Americans have a fine old tradition of supporting terrorists and mass-murderers when it suits their interests. Islamic terrorism therefore falls into two categories. There is organized terrorism, which is invariably associated with foreign intelligence agencies to get funding, arms and training, and there is the much rarer individual terrorists who justify violence to themselves by thinking that they are fighting against oppression.

The Middle East’s murder rates are much lower than those of Latin America, so anyone who thinks Islam promotes violence has to explain why Egypt’s homicide rate is 1.4 per 100,000, while Brazil’s is 27 and Mexico’s 18. If we compare Muslim countries to non-Muslim countries of equal affluence and development, the Muslim countries are always more peaceful. The exceptions, which are given all the attention, are cases like Afghanistan and Syria where the peaceful people of the West have poured billions of dollars funding, arming and training terrorists who are called “freedom fighters” while they serve Western interests (as the Taliban was called in the 1980’s, and as various al-Qaeda-affiliated but US and Saudi-funded groups in Syria are called today).

Is it forbidden in Islam to be friends with a transgender person?

Is it haram to be friends with transgender person? One of my best friends is one and my mom does not approve this even tho I've known this person since childhood. My mom already made me quit friendship with someone else because they did not believe in God. I live in western country and it feels like being friends with anyone is haram. I don't have many friends, only few close ones

You shouldn’t think in terms of halal/haram, but in terms of whether such a friendship is beneficial or harmful to you, to that person, to your families and to the rest of society. If after balancing all of these concerns you believe that more good can be done than harm, then perhaps it is good to continue it. However, you must also take your mother’s wishes into account, Islam recommends that we take our parents’ wishes seriously even if what they ask is ridiculous (i.e. to “humor” them, the way parents humor their children’s wishes).

Very few things in life are haram or halal, most things have a mix of good and bad in them. When it comes to most things in life, Islam only provides general guidance rather than strict instructions. It asks you to be kind, generous, forgiving and dutiful toward your parents and everyone else around you. These mean different things in different situations. People who try to simplify life by calling this and that halal or haram are basically trying to paint life in crayons and have little understanding for the depth and sophistication of the Quran’s teachings.

On stopping having infatuation for a person

How do I stop having infatuation for someone?

People have been asking that for thousands of years and as far as I know no cure has yet been discovered. The best thing to do is to wait patiently, to read the Quran, to read other books, and to try to live life as best as you can until things slowly change for you. Five years from now you may be a completely different person who has moved on to a new and better life.

On avoiding looking at inappropriate images on the internet

I am a 20 year old lady, and I have this problem of constantly clicking on 'inappropriate images' and when I'm done, I feel bad and ask for Forgiveness, but it's become so repetitive! How do I remove sexual desire from within (just until marriage)? I don't even talk to the opposite sex, but what I'm doing is still not good.

There is no way to remove sexual desire. Fasting might help reduce it. The best solution is to reduce your opportunities for engaging in that, such as by only using your computer (if that is what you are using) in a public place, or not spending time alone at home.

At 20 years of age your brain has not fully developed and your power to control your impulses is weak compared to a 25-year-old. There are millions of others like you who wish to stop looking at such things but cannot because of their low impulse control until they get older. For now, don’t lose hope and make sure to carry out all of the obligatory acts Islam asks of you, and ask for God’s forgiveness every time you pray. Meanwhile, try to always come up with new ways of reducing your opportunities for engaging in that, by socializing, finding work outside, etc, and inshaAllah as you mature, it will become easier for you to control your impulses.

Learning to love God again

I want to know how to heal from the religious abuse I've been through in my life. I can't find any resources online for Muslims. Most people I have read had issue with religious abuse have left. I don't know how to heal that part. Maybe if I seek a professional they might tell me to leave the religion entirely. I'm not at ease, and I have been thinking a lot about leaving.

I am not an expert on abuse, so it is up to you to judge whether my suggestions are good or not. What you referred to as ‘religious abuse’ is actually the abuse of religion. Islam is a small religion that asks very few things of us; it asks to believe in God and the Day of Judgment, and to pray and to fast, and it asks us to be kind and forgiving. Beyond these, it leaves most aspects of life to our own judgment.

If you look at actual Muslims, you will find that among them are certain extremely cruel people, and others who are extremely kind, lenient and forgiving, and both groups may claim to represent ‘true’ Islam. Instead of letting people tell you what Islam is and is not, read the Quran for yourself and come up with a version of Islam that is as kind and civilized as you wish it to be.

As for getting over past abuse, the best solution I can recommend is to read books. Read the Victorian classics like Middlemarch and Pride and Prejudice. Think of the kindest and most admirable people portrayed in these books, and you will discover that these people could have been Muslim without becoming any worse. There are Muslims who are the same way, so if there is a problem, it is not with Islam, it is with humans and their cruelty and selfishness.

As soon as you get out of the small core of Islam (as defined in the Quran), everything gets fuzzy and contradictory. Almost anything negative you hear about Islam from this and that hadith narration or anecdote about the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his companions is counterbalanced by other narrations that often directly contradict it. There is an ‘authentic’ hadith narration that says a woman, dog or donkey passing in front of a man who is praying will nullify his prayer. There is another ‘authentic’ hadtih narration in which Aisha (wife of the Prophet) gets angry when she hears this hadith, she thinks it is nonsense and is not afraid to say so.

Instead of thinking of Islam as a burden that is placed on you, think of it as a tool for worshiping God. Imagine if you are not Muslim and do not belong to any religion, but you believe in God and wish to worship Him in the best way possible and gain His approval. What would be the best way to do this? Read the Quran and you will find the answer in it. The Quran says in chapter 20:

2. We have not send down this Quran to distress you.
3. Only a remembrance for the one who fears.
4. Something sent down from the One who created the earth and the high heavens.
5. The Most Gracious established Himself upon the Throne.
6. For Him is what is in the heavens, and what is on the earth, and what is beneath the soils.
7. If you speak aloud, then He knows what is secret and what is hidden.
8 God, there is no god except Him, for Him are the most beautiful names.

Instead of thinking about leaving Islam, imagine that you are an irreligious person who believes in God. Approach the Quran this way and do the minimum it asks of you. As for Muslims who are abusive in the name of religion, they have nothing to do with you, and you have nothing to do with them. This is your own business and your own journey. Find your own meaning in the Quran.

If you believe in God in your heart, then there is nothing to ‘leave’. Islam is here merely to help you improve your relationship with God. If you have been taught that God is cruel, harsh and demanding, think of your favorite characters from the films and novels you have read, and know that God is kinder and more understanding than them. When a negative thought about God enters your head, think of Dumbledore, Gandalf, Aragorn or any other imaginary or real-life character you love and admire, and remind yourself that God is better than them. In this way perhaps you can slowly be healed.

It is easy to think the best of God once you compare Him to your favorite humans and remind yourself than He is even better than these people. If these people could never hurt you, if you think they would show you infinite love and respect if you were around them, then think of God the same way, and in this way heal your relationship with Him.

Yoga is permissible in Islam if it is done for health

Is yoga haram? lets say my intention is not to pray like they do only to relax my mind etc?

According to the Azhar-educated scholar Dr. Ujail Al-Nashami1 if yoga is done for health (exercise and meditation) then it is permissible, while the mystical and religious parts of it should be avoided. He says that once the health-related parts of yoga are isolated then it becomes merely a sport like other sports.

Due to its association with Hinduism and Buddhism most scholars appear to have a very negative view of yoga. But there is no reason why a Muslim cannot take the beneficial parts of yoga and make use of them while rejecting the prohibited parts of it. Mosque architecture was largely inspired by pre-Islamic religious architecture from Central Asia, but Muslims took it, avoided the anti-Islamic elements of it (such as statues of gods) and made it part of their own architecture. There is no reason why Muslims cannot do the same with yoga.

Islam and cruelty-free products

Should we as Muslims go for cruelty free products? because I know its haram that animals are harmed, but I haven't heard anyone speak against it

Sure, the moral and ethical teachings of the Quran should inform our day-to-day decisions wherever possible. Companies known for cruelty to animals, pollution, anti-consumer practices and other unethical behavior should be shunned whenever it is possible in favor of better companies.

Makeup is permissible in Islam (with conditions)

I want to know if makeup is permissible? If you apply as natural and light as possible?

According to Dr. Ali Gomaa (Egypt’s Grand Mufti from 2003 to 2013), makeup is permissible as long as it is not overdone.

From a scientific perspective there are two ways of applying makeup. One of them is to enhance one’s appearance. This type of makeup cannot be easily noticed and is designed to enhance a woman’s natural appearance. This is permissible.

The second type of makeup is designed to attract men’s sexual interest, this type is immodest and can be considered prohibited. According to the book Conflicts of Fitness: Islam, America, and Evolutionary Psychology:

It turns out that when a woman becomes sexually aroused, certain physiologic changes take place. Among these changes are dilation of the pupils and the blood vessels in the cheeks and lips.

The book goes on to discuss how through applying makeup that recreates the impression of those physiologic changes (thick eye shadow, bright red lipstick, making the cheeks appear blushed), one creates the impression of being sexually aroused, and this attracts men’s sexual interest. The second type of makeup is immodest, similar to wearing a tight dress. It advertises a woman’s sexuality, for this reason modest women, whether Muslim or not, avoid it. There is not a clear line separating the one type of makeup from the other, it is up to her to decide whether she has put on too much makeup or not, similar to deciding on whether a dress is too tight.

The chaining of Satan and difficulties with Islam’s metaphysics

I have an issue when it comes to believing in metaphysical entities such as devil or angels. Sometimes I don't understand why Allah had these conversations with them. I think that if people do evil it's rooted in their psyche. Also the fact that I had depression and suicidal thoughts and was told that it was shaytan enforced this. Because there's no shaytan during Ramadan for instance but these thoughts didn't cease

The idea of shaytan being “chained” during Ramadan is questionable because it comes to us only through one Companion of the Prophet ﷺ (Abu Hurairah). According to Maliki and Hanafi legal theory such narrations are doubtful and cannot be used as a basis for establishing principles. We can also reinterpret the narration as saying that Satan is less powerful in Ramadan thanks to the fact that people are fasting and worshiping God more often, i.e. when the Prophet ﷺ says Satan is chained, he may simply mean that he is made less capable of doing what he does.

The idea that depression and suicidal thoughts are from Satan is nonsense, it is cultural superstition that is given an Islamic appearance and has no basis in Islam’s scripture. There are drugs (such as cholinergic drugs) that will make a person suicidal soon after taking them. For more on depression see my answer “I always feel depressed. What should I do?”.

As for believing in metaphysical entities, as a skeptic and lover of science I would be the first person to question them. But since the Quran is extraordinary, it can prove other extraordinary things. I explain this in my essay God, Evolution and Abiogenesis. You don’t have to understand the reason for God’s interactions with these characters. In a way they are more real than us; they existed before us and will exist after the world ends. They are characters in a story that started long before us, and we might be just a small part of it.

As for the issue of humans doing evil deeds, see my essays Islam’s theory of free will versus physical determinism and Why God Allows Evil to Exist, and Why Bad Things Happen to Good People.

Will my past sins count against me after having returned to Islam?

I was born in a Muslim Asian family and wasn’t brought up with much islam and I left my religion as I never understood anything and now that I’m 19 I took my shahada again and I’m more on my deen now, will it be counted as a sin, I mean my past?

Not at all. In fact, the Quran says that those who repent and come back to faithfully worshiping God will have their past sins written as good deeds for them.

Except for those who repent, and believe, and do good deeds. These—God will replace their bad deeds with good deeds. God is ever Forgiving and Merciful. (The Quran, verse 25:70)

How and why does God seal people’s hearts?

How and why does Allah seal people's hearts?

From the Quran it appears that once a person crosses a certain line of evil, God blocks them from coming back to the good side.

When a person dies, their fate is sealed, they can no longer repent and do good deeds to change their fate. It appears that when a person commits certain acts of evil, it is as if they have died. One such act is premeditated murder, which “rips the soul apart” (as it is described by some people) so that it cannot be made whole again, and the person who commits it becomes irreparably evil and broken.

This does not happen by accident. A person has to make evil choices day in and day out for years on end, until the point of no return is reached. Murder is not an ordinary crime, a person has to be already really evil to commit it, and committing it puts them beyond the point of no return so that their hearts are sealed and they are not allowed to return to the good side again.

“Will the Sunni and Shia killing ever stop?”

Will the Sunni and Shia killing ever stop? I don't understand why we Muslims cant accept each sects differences. You can choose to not agree with what they say but I don't understand the killing between these sects. Beside that nothing historical will change. We Muslims today are so quite on this subject, the only time someone brings it up is when they want to slander the other.

Sunni and Shia Muslims generally live peacefully together throughout the world, there is actually very little violence, and the cases of violence are almost always due to foreign influence. US, Israeli and Saudi intelligence arm and train Sunni terrorists in Iraq in order to weaken their political rival (Iran), and Iran does the same for the Shiite in Iraq in order to fight back against its enemies. It is nearly always about politics, not religion.

Religion is one of the favorite tools used by intelligence agencies when they want to attack their enemies. The United States funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to Sunni jihadists in Afghanistan in order to weaken the Soviet Union, as I explain in my essay Why Most Terrorists are Muslim.

In my experience most educated Shia and Sunni Muslims do not care about sectarian differences and are quite happy to live peacefully together. I grew up in Iran and speak Farsi so I am familiar with Iranian Shia Muslims and their culture.

Why Muslim women cannot marry non-Muslims

Why are Muslim men allowed to marry a non-Muslim but Muslim women are not allowed?

One theory is due to genetic and psychological differences between men and women, Muslim men will be better able to  remain practicing Muslims and to bring up devout Muslim children even if their wives are Christian or Jewish, while Muslim women will be less likely to accomplish these.

Scientific studies are needed to prove whether the above is true, but it seems to be true from anecdotal evidence. It is probably true that some Muslim women will be perfectly capable of remaining practicing Muslims and bringing up practicing Muslim children when married to non-Muslims, but these will be the exceptions, not the rule. It is similar to drinking wine; some people are able to enjoy it without becoming drunkards, but Islam forbids it to all Muslims since this is better for everyone. So that fact that I or you can drink wine without it causing us noticeable harm does not mean that it is halal for us and haram for others. It is haram for everyone.

If Muslim women who are married to non-Muslims are twice as likely to stop practicing Islam compared to Muslim women married to Muslim husbands, and/or if their children are twice as likely to abandon Islam, then these can be considered sufficient justification for prohibiting it.

So in this case, as in the case of wine-drinking, a person has to refrain from it for the sake of the greater good.

There might be many other reasons for forbidding such marriages, I’m mentioning only two potential explanations.

In Islam, everything is allowed unless explicitly forbidden. In the matter of sex, however, the Quran reverses matters; everything is forbidden, as numerous verses say, unless explicitly allowed. The Quran commands the believers to “guard their privates” (abstain from sex) in five places (23:5, 24:30, 24:31, 33:35, 70:29), then in the contexts of two of these verses it makes exceptions for cases of lawful relationships (23:6, 70:30). The picture that the Quran draws is that all sexual activity is forbidden, except when it is expressly allowed. Since the Quran expressly allows men to marry non-Muslim women belonging to God’s other religions, while it does not expressly allow women to do its counterpart, this can be considered strong evidence for considering the latter forbidden.

Those who want to legalize marriage between Muslim women and non-Muslim men say that such marriages are in a gray area, even though they are not expressly allowed, they are not expressly forbidden either. The reasoning offered by such people is that it is in the best interests of Muslim women to be allowed to marry outside the faith, that this is more likely to ensure their long-term good, and that the prohibition may have made sense in certain societies, but does not make sense in Western-style diverse and multi-religious societies.

But as I mentioned above, if such women and their potential children are more likely to abandon Islam, then that is a very good reason for prohibiting such marriages, and it is a weak argument to say that it is materially better for women to marry outside the faith if their spiritual and eternal life is harmed by this.

Islam is not forced on people, so a Muslim woman should be free to marry outside the faith from a civic law perspective, so it is ultimately a matter between the woman and God. Marriage is one of the most important decisions in life, and a Muslim woman who truly fears God and wishes to please Him will never base her marriage on what is at best in a gray area, since she cannot be sure if God will be pleased with her.

Daughter wants to distance herself from her abusive parents

What has made my emaan weaker is that I became traumatisied from a bad childhood. My parents played part in this. Sometimes they used islam against me to manipullate me. Also I wasn't allowed to get help, and my mom labelled my depression as kufr, which made me feel bad and try to suppress the despair . All scholars and everything I've read is about parental rights, and that it is a huge sin (akbar kabair) to cut family ties. I am not an adult and much better but I still want distance from them

Do not let other people’s mistakes affect your relationship with God. Read the Quran as if it was sent down to you personally, and follow its teachings and philosophy wherever you can in your life. If people misuse Islam to attack you, ignore it, knowing that God is better than them.

Regarding cutting family ties, that refers to treating family members as strangers, i.e. permanent estrangement where a child treats their disliked parent as if there is no relationship between them.

If your parents mistreat you, you have the right to keep your distance. What you do not have the right to do is cut off your relationship with them completely. Remain in their lives, help them where necessary, and be dutiful as much as you can, Islam doesn’t ask you to do more than this, it does not ask you to subject yourself to them if they constantly mistreat and humiliate you. Both you and your parents have your human rights, and if they neglect your human rights, they have sinned.

Salam . I'm the one who wrote that I'm traumatized and that I need to distance myself from my parents. I made a typo last time, its supposed to be I am now* an adult. You said that I will still have to stay with them. But I told you I am traumatised and I'm not allowed to get any help. Having PTSD has been beyond hell, and I don't understand why Allah wants me to stay in touch with them. Its easier said than done that my relationship with God shouldn't be affected. Even Quran is triggering

Even when I pray Its a struggle, because It feels like I am giving up to something evil. Being abused through religion is not easy. I won’t cut ties with them permanently, maybe few years until I recover fully and can find myself again. Every sensible person has told me to do it. I don’t understand the reason for keeping in touch with them, I feel as if death is much easier than keeping conntact with people who ruined me

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

At its root, this is a matter of conscience between you and God. Can you in good conscience cut off ties with them for this bad things they have done? Isn’t it a higher ideal, more admirable, more honorable, to be kind and forgiving toward them?

Islam does not ask you to do more than you can bear. If today the pain of contact with them is unbearable, and you decide to avoid contact, then that’s forgivable. But what about tomorrow, or next year? What matters above all is to not harden your heart against people. If you maintain a soft heart, if you are aware of the Quran’s teachings, and you reexamine your decision to avoid contact ever day, and you keep reaching the same conclusion that avoiding contact is best, then perhaps you are right. But there is always also the great danger of being harder on people and less kind than we can be. So you would be walking a fine line.

The reason why God wants us to not cut ties with our relatives is the same reason why God prohibits us from lying. Maintaining relations and telling the truth ensure that society functions well. Cutting ties and lying causes breakdown. In exceptional circumstances one can justify lying, for example to save their lives or the life of someone they love. And in exceptional circumstances, one can justify cutting ties.

So it is part of your social responsibility to tell the truth and to maintain ties. Doing the opposite requires great justification, and it is for this reason that scholars speak strongly against cutting ties. You would be doing something that goes against your social responsibility. Is it justifiable? No one can answer this question except yourself. It is something between you and God. And if it is justifiable today, it may not be next week or next year.

In the West people will simplify your decision for you by saying that you can do whatever you want, since it is how you feel that matters. Social responsibility is something that very few people worry about. So I understand that people will be telling you to do it, to cut ties, since you need it and your parents deserve it. Islam doesn’t say this is necessarily wrong. It however says to take your social responsibility seriously.

Reply from a reader:

I thought you were more rational but when you told that anon to accept to stay with her parents although she clarified that she's traumatisized you're not so far from the salaf you condemn. How far do we have to go with social responsibility? Isn't emotional trauma enough? Or sexual trauma? What about a woman who's abused by her husband? Does she have to have a social responsibility to stay? How do we make sure that children can grow up functioning with the idea of social responsibility?

If you read the answer again you will see that I did not tell her to stay with her parents, but to make up her own mind. You have your own human rights, and you have social responsibility. The two concerns must be balanced. You shouldn’t let people abuse you, but you shouldn’t neglect your responsibilities toward them either.

People, using their intellect and conscience, and guided by the Quran’s moral philosophy, can decide what is the best course of action in each situation.

The idea of social responsibility simply means that one shouldn’t selfishly focus on their own rights to the exclusion of other people’s rights. “Don’t be selfish” is something that all good parents teach their children. But they should also teach them to resist abuse and injustice.

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