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.

Intelligence: All That Matters by Stuart Ritchie

IQ and intelligence, as a topic of study in themselves, no longer interest me very much because they are largely a foregone conclusion for me. Long ago I was convinced of the very realness and importance of IQ and of the fact that it is largely a genetically-mediated trait. What interests me these days is applying the knowledge gleaned from this field to other areas of inquiry that interest me.

I made an exception for the very short book Intelligence: All That Matters by the young researcher Stuart Ritchie, hoping that it would b an authoritative summary of the field that I can refer other people to in my work. And the book serves this function reasonably well.

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.

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