IslamQA: Defining modesty in clothing in Islam

can you please help us define modesty? today, many people have fitted fashion around modesty and it's difficult to tell what is define as "modest clothing" or not. thank you!

A modest costume for a woman is one that doesn’t grab men’s sexual attention. If you pass a group of young men and none of them find anything in you to admire sexually, then you’re modestly dressed. Of course some men will leer at a woman regardless of how she’s dressed, but the point is to do your part and leave the rest to God. Islam wants men and women to interact as equals in public spaces, without sexuality intruding.

IslamQA: Difficulty in praying due to a mental block

I don't know how to word this properly, but for a really long period of time, I just feel when troubles come up in life, I get extremely emotional and overly sensitive. I can't focus on school and my worth ethic drops and I spend all my time crying or distracting myself. A lot of people have been telling me that I'm too overly-sensitive, but then again I take that as an offence and get hurt when people tell me my reaction is bad or too much. Am I prideful? Do I think my feelings are more valid?

2/x This is a continuation of my previous question about being too emotional. I also don’t pray all five times a day. I know it’s important and I know there is lots of emphasis on the Qur'an on it, and I honestly do care and try my best. Do you think maybe because I get so sad and lonely and angry at times is because I don’t fully establish prayer?

It sounds like you might suffer from depression. Wanting to do something (such as wanting to pray) but not being able to do it due to some mental block is a clear symptom of depression. I recommend that you see a mental health professional and possibly get on a medication if you need it. That can give you back your energy and motivation and take away your emotional issues.

IslamQA: Wanting to move away from parents

1/x Salam. No matter how hard I try to change my heart, I just don't have a good relationship with my parents. There are things that I end up saying and doing, that they don't like, and likewise from my point of view. But I never try to do it out of spite. My parents have always been really focused on work and we never really show affection to each other. Like I can't even remember the last time we said I love you to each other. Is it wrong of me to always want to be away from them?

2/x I’ve always wanted to move away from them. I know it sounds really bad, but how can anyone stay in a household that’s built on just tolerating each other? What should I do besides pray for the best?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

That’s all perfectly natural. Try to be thankful that things are not worse, and try to accept your family situation as it is, with all its imperfections. This is where God wants you. He could have given you a perfect family if He had wanted. The challenge is to maintain an open heart, and to do your duty as best as you can, and to be more kind and generous than those around you deserve it.

IslamQA: Is it haram to have a crush?

Alslam alikum Is’t haram to have a crush on a guy?we have never talked but I like everything about him and I can’t imagine myself getting married to someone else ,or even started distracting me from my study and I ask god in my prayers to remove from my mind but that doesn’t help Any sisters advice

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There is nothing haram about that. See the Islam and Relationships page on my site for many related articles. I’m a brother by the way.

IslamQA: They had a worrying dream in which someone they love was being hurt

Salaam, I had a dream where someone I know (have known for years) and trust was hurting someone I really love and care about. The person being hurt is a child and I'm now always worried about them. I don't know what the dream meant but I wish there was a way to forget or some protective duaas to say.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I never worry about my dreams. I would try to think the best of the person and pray for the child. I would say whatever prayer comes into my mind. There is no need for special words.

IslamQA: Is it haram to be an actress or YouTuber?

Asalam Walikum, I am wondering if it is haram to become an actress and a youtuber? I heard it is haram for females to do this but it is my dream goal to become one since I do not have another dream besides acting.

Alaikumasalam wa rahmatullah,

Please see the following answer which also applies to acting: Muslim women are permitted to sing in public

IslamQA: Purgatory in Islam

Assalamualaikum, can you explain the idea of purgatory in Islam?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Purgatory / life of the grave is not mentioned in detail in the Quran, and the hadiths on it are not the highest quality ones. The details of purgatory have never really interested me. Personally I just think of “this life” vs. “the afterlife” (afterlife including purgatory). If you die in a good state, the ending will be good, whether we pass through an intermediate stage before reaching Paradise doesn’t seem important to me, since it is going to be just a foretaste of Paradise. You can look at the Wikipedia article on Barzakh for some details.

IslamQA: When our wish comes true, how can we be sure that God answered our prayer?

want to ask: Is an invite for umrah an indication that Allah wants to grant your dua? Or is it mere optimist thought? For many yrs i wanted to go there but somehow couldn't or dint. Now 'm going umrah tomorrow n wonder about this. Can i request your thoughts / view on this?

Think of every moment as a prayer answered by God. This universe would be like ball of solid steel, with nothing moving in it, if God did not move it moment by moment. When you want to blink, your soul sends a prayer to God, who answers it by changing the universe so that the blink can happen. When you breathe, it cannot happen without God moving all the right atoms and muscles and making the right chemical reactions to happen. Anything good that happens in your life is a prayer answered, even if it is just tasting an apple.

The specific prayers that God answers (such as wanting to go on umrah) are no different. Of course it is God answering your prayer. He may have a thousand reasons for letting the umrah happen, but He also has your prayers in mind (how couldn’t He?) and does it all for you as if you were the only human in the universe. The idea that God could make something good that you asked for happen without it being an answer to your prayer or wish does not make sense. God is merciful and kind, He loves answering prayers, and He does not get distracted. He always has all of your prayers in mind and answers them them constantly, watching you to see if you are a thankful and grateful servant. Do you think He will let your prayer come true and think “I’m not actually doing it for him?” Will your father buy you the greatest gift you have wished for and give it to you saying “I actually bought this randomly, it is not because you asked”, and take no pleasure in making you happy? If your father loves you and cares about you he will never have such an attitude. The same applies to God.

IslamQA: On my hadith verification calculator

AO, I'm not trying to sound critical but is it sound to follow a hadith probability calculator made by yourself with no scholarly consensus supporting it?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

That’s how Islamic scholarship works. Someone comes up with an idea and others either accept it or reject it. Sometimes a good idea is ignored for centuries. Ibn Taymiyyah’s fatwas on divorce were ignored for 5 centuries until they were implemented in the 20th century by some Islamic governments.

People are of course free to accept or reject my ideas. But as scholars we are required to do our own thinking, and if we consider something to be true despite it not being widely accepted, it is sinful for us to ignore it and go by the accepted opinion.

I consider my views on hadith to be the correct opinion, and it is my duty to publicize and defend these views. We are sorely in need of a way to rank authentic hadiths by their degree of reliability. Some hadiths in al-Bukhari are ten times more authentic than others, but no one knows this when they simply assume they have to take everything in it as if it is as authentic as the Quran. It is extremely harmful that this information is hidden from people, with everything hidden behind the “sahih” label. My method simply brings their authenticity level out in the open so that people can judge for themselves.

IslamQA: Are terrorist attacks sanctioned in Islam as jihad?

Are the types of terrorist attacks you see happening these days on non-Muslims sanctioned in Islam as jihad or are they a deviation?

Islam does not recognize the right of people to take up arms against their ruling state. Warfare is only sanctioned when it is launched by a sovereign government. Muslims are required to obey the law of the land or leave the country. For more see: An Introduction to the Origins of Modern Islamic Terrorism

IslamQA: Taking pills to prevent pregnancy without telling the husband

Hi, is it wrong if I take pills to prevent pregnancy without telling my husband? I’ve been married for almost 6 months now and he did not take any prevention bcs he wants it to happen naturally. He said that he’ll be happy if we can have kids and can wait for Allah rizq whenever He give us children. But I didn’t dare to tell him that I’m not ready yet to have kids in our life. Which is why I feel guilty not telling him about the pills. Do you think it’s ok?


I’m sorry, but it is not OK. He is another human like you and you have to treat him the way you want to be treated yourself. You are in this together, you cannot make one-sided decisions on such matters. Tell him you are not ready and see where that takes you.

IslamQA: Why I don’t believe in the Mahdi

Salamu alaikum. Is the story about The End of Times true, like the Imam Mahdi, the descend of Prophet Isa (alaihi as-salam), the Ya'juj & Ma'juj, Daabbatul Ardh, etc? Are these all in an authentic hadith?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I don’t believe in the Mahdi due to the lack of strong evidence in support of it (see this previous answer). The Quran mentions Yajuj and Majuj coming at end times, but it is possible that this is a reference to an event that already happened thousands of years ago. Most of the hadiths on the signs of end times are not very strong, but I have not done a detailed study of them. As far as I’m concerned what the Quran mentions regarding the signs of end times is sufficient.

When I was a kid I was very fascinated by The End and it’s signs like Dajjal and Mahdi. Now you’re telling that Mahdi is probably not real? Bruh...

It’s about standards. I have very high standards for which hadiths I accept as authentic. If you lower your standards so much that you accept the Mahdi hadiths, then, if you want to be consistent, you will also have to accept the hadiths that say music is haram or that drawings and paintings of living things are haram. 

I read many books of hadith until I learned how truly authentic hadiths are very different in quality from the other supposedly authentic ones that contain all kinds of questionable teachings. Unfortunately the average Muslim is stuck with accepting everything sahih as if it is true, while a scholar knows there are endless shades of authenticity within the sahih hadiths. I use my hadith verification method to find out which hadiths are undeniably authentic. Having high standards is about finding out what the Prophet PBUH really, truly taught. It leads to an easy and simple Islam that lacks almost everything that troubles people.

As for the Mahdi, to me the idea of a great ruler coming at end times and putting everything right sounds very Jewish and Christian. It is alien to the teachings of the Quran which tells us that history goes in cycles and that there is no final victory in this world. As Muslims we should believe that even if we establish the perfect caliphate that rules the whole universe and it lasts for 500 years, it too will come to end like every caliphate before it. Islam is all about the journey, not the destination. The destination is not in this life, it is in the Hereafter.

Assalamu 'alaikum, seems to me you're going against 99% of classical scholars with your high standard of accepting hadiths. Classical scholars have way more knowledge than us as they were living at or just after the prophet ﷺ's time. I understand that you probably have no bad intentions and just mean to be sincere but I don't think rejecting something of classical scholars is the way to go. They lived and experienced the time of islam, we didn't.

The majority of scholars accept those hadiths, and they have 10+ years of studies. And the prophet ﷺ said it will always be the majority that you should stick with. It’s okay to have a different opinion based on your knowledge, but it’s absolutely not okay to be so disrespectful about it.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Not at all, I love the classical scholars and consider myself among them. When people ask me questions I always look up the opinions of past scholars. I am happy to abide by their opinions as long as there isn’t a strong reason to disagree, and there rarely is. And when I disagree, there are always other scholars who share my opinion. Islam is all about respecting dissent. If you read the books of classical scholars, they will tell you the opinion of ten scholars who all agree on a particular issue, then they will respectfully mention a single scholar who disagreed. They do not consider the disagreement a problem, to them it is just life as usual. Most of the scholars of Medina considered drawings of living things to be haram, yet one scholar disagreed and everyone quoted him without attacking him.

I’m happy to accept the average hadith as long as it doesn’t contain something strange or contradictory. My hadith verification method fully relies on the opinions of past scholars, it simply formalizes them so that the distinctions between different levels of authenticity become clear. We are encouraged to use our reasoning and to go by our hearts, and that is what all the great scholars do. It’s literally haram for a scholar to agree with a common opinion when their heart tells them the minority opinion is the right one. It’s our duty to disagree when we have to, and of course people are free to ignore us or take us seriously.

+ also it was not right for you to use such demeaning words for hadiths you rejected. what if you’re wrong? And those words come back to you? Even if you have a difference of opinion you must be respectful about it, instead of using horrendous words “*If you lower your standards so much* that you accept the Mahdi hadiths, then, if you want to be consistent, you will also have to accept the hadiths that say music is haram or that drawings and paintings of living things are haram.” that’s gross

I’m sorry, but that’s how I would speak to a scholar or in a research paper, I’m surprised you found anything in it to bother you. Maybe consider the possibility that a person who probably knows more than you knows the right way to talk about these matters.

Hello, brother. I'm an anon who support your thinking that the Mahdi and stuff does not make sense. I mean, if it were come from Islamic source, while Allah does not mention it in the Quran, why does The Signs of End Times described with such detail? I mean, too much detail seems suspicious to me. Meanwhile, I'm no Islamic scholar and I do not study Islam in a scholarly manner. But what you said does make sense. I'd rather follow my logic and my heart, what I see fit and ideal about Islam.


That’s how Islamic thinking works, or is supposed to work. We use our reason and conscience to judge what we hear, and if something doesn’t fit, we research it to find out just how authentic the thing is. For example the idea that music is haram has always sounded like nonsense to me since Islam doesn’t forbid listening to bird songs which often make great music. And upon greater research we find that the evidence against music is pretty weak and contradictory.

This is one greatest signs of the truth of Islam, that it is a religion completely free from nonsensical and unreasonable things. Everything I heard about Islam in the past that insulted my intelligence turns out to be unauthentic or badly supported now that I can do my own research.

IslamQA: Should we put religion above humanity or humanity above religion?

Brother, I wanted to ask if it is correct for me to say that we should place humanity above religion? But what does that have to do with "religion is superior and there must be nothing above it"?

The question doesn’t come up because the goal of Islam is to ensure the welfare and long-term survival of humanity. You cannot place one above the other, they go hand in hand. It’s like asking if we should put healthcare above humanity.

IslamQA: How to pray when classes get in the way

السلام عليكم I live in Finland where in the winter the days are very short and because of that we have to pray duhur, asr, and maghrib within short hours of one another. My school is far from home and while we do have a place to pray there’s often many of men there and the prayer times are when I have important classes. I feel bad about not praying on time but it’s very difficult for me to pray next to men. Making wudu is also difficult because of the long lines. What should I do brother?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

It is permitted to combine the dhuhr prayer with asr and maghrib with isha if you would have extreme difficulty in performing them the usual way due to work or school. Please see this answer for details: What to do if you cannot pray on time at school or work

Maybe this will make things easier for you. You could also combine this with going to the prayer room when there are fewer people around.

Best wishes.

Assalamu Alaikum brother. Thank you for your reply about how to pray when I can’t pray on time. I was wondering however if it’s possible to pray both duhur and asr after noon but before maghreb? Could you please clarify it for me? Thank you. جزاك الله خير

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Iyyana wa iyyakum. When combining dhuhr with asr, you can either perform them at the dhuhr time (between dhuhr and asr) or asr time (between asr and maghrib). The same applies to combining maghrib with isha. You should also perform the full number of rakats (4 for dhuhr and 4 for asr, 3 for maghrib and 4 for isha) since the shortening is permitted for traveling.

IslamQA: Question about the science of hadith

As-salâmu 'alaykum. Could you provide us with an introduction to the science of Hadīth? Jazâk-Allāhu khayran.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Iyyana wa iyyakum. The science of hadith is complex and unfortunately I cannot explain it in an answer or even essay. I recommend that you check out the books I mentioned in this previous answer.

IslamQA: Islam vs. Solipsism

Salamu alaikum. Brother, I just read about solipsism and what are your thoughts regarding it?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

If you mean the philosophical theory, it is based on the idea that there is only one channel of knowledge into the mind. Islam’s answer is that there are two channels. There is the soul which resides outside of our universe and recognizes God, and then there is the conscious mind which exists in this universe. The universe is a simulation like in the film The Matrix. The existence of a soul outside of the universe, which can receive knowledge independently of the mind, nullifies solipsism, since it can receive a kind of true knowledge about the state and reality of the universe independent of the mind. So while rationally it is perfectly plausible to imagine that I am the only real being in the universe, my soul knows this to be false, since it has its own knowledge that tells it that God is real and that other individuals are also real.

For more on my views on theology see my essay: Reconciling Free Will and Predestination in Islam with al-Māturīdī and Ibn Taymiyya

IslamQA: Hanging out with a person of the opposite sex without doing anything haram

Salamu alaikum. Brother, is it okay if one asked the opposite sex to go hangout? Note that this person clearly likes you and that they stated they wanted to get to know each other first before going steady (to marriage). Is it sinful to go together with the opposite sex with such intention? I myself do not consider this a date, but a regular hangout.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

It is not good to spend time in private with a person of the opposite sex. Even if you feel it will be perfectly casual, you never know what will happen. And even if you go to a public place together, afterwards one of you may suggest going to a more private place and it may sound fine in the state that you are.

See my articles:

Secret romantic relationships in Islam

Dating and Relationships in Islam: What is Allowed and What is Not

IslamQA: How to not be attached to the world and yet socialize?

assalamu aleykom wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu. this is a somewhat odd question but, i've read quotes here that say that it is better to be a Muslim that exists in society and mixes themself up with everybody than to be a recluse, however i also read quotes saying that it is better to turn away from the world and it'll follow you. which is better? is there a middle ground? what to do?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

The advice is to not be attached to the world, seeking worldly things like wealth, fame and praise. But once you lose that attachment, it is recommended to remain in contact with others so that they may benefit from your companionship and help. Be like the Prophet PBUH, having a good social life without being attached to worldly things.

IslamQA: English books for learning about hadith

Assalamualaykum. Do you have any book recommendation for learning hadiths? Thank you

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

If you mean English books, here are some good ones I have read:

  • Jonathan A. C. Brown, Misquoting Muhammad (2014)
  • Tarif Khalidi, Arabic Historical Thought in the Classical Period (1994)
  • Jonathan A. C. Brown, The Canonization of al-Bukhari and Muslim  (2007)
  • Umar F. Abd-Allah Wymann-Landgraf, Mālik and Medina: Islamic Legal Reasoning in the Formative Period (2013)