IslamQA: The Quran says early generations will be near to God, how can we make it into that few?

Assalamualaikum, Allah swt says in the Quran on the day of Judgement those who will be near to the Lord will be Many from the Early Generations, and a few from the later generations. I feel disheartened seeing this because I feel how can I be as great as they were, how can I possibly make it into that few…..

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

The Quran is speaking of proportions, not absolute numbers. If 10% of the early humans made it to the highest ranks, that may be 1% today, but that is still millions of people in every generation.

IslamQA: Is a marriage valid without a wedding party in Islam?

Salaam. I wanted to kindly ask of you, my brother, if in Islam a couple who wishes to marry requires a wedding party for their wedding to be valid? In my culture in Indonesia, we are famous for arranging a lavish wedding party (some of them reported went in debt to do so), but I'm not one to be able to afford that. If me and my future spouse (in sya Allah) wants to get married, but we agree to not arrange a wedding party, would Islam still consider our marriage? Jazakallah.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

All that is needed for a marriage to be valid is the woman’s guardian saying “[woman’s name] is your wife” in the presence of two witnesses and the husband-to-be saying “I accept her as a wife”. That’s it. There is no Islamic requirement for a ceremony or party, but it is strongly recommended to make weddings public so that everyone around you knows you are married. This can be done over social media.

IslamQA: Does God perform miracles today?

Allah tells in the Quran how He showed a miracle to Zakariya عليه السلام by bestowing an offspring in a very unlikely age which was a very impossible thing. Are these just for prophets or can we also expect and hope such impossibles to happen with us with sincere dua. You d say with Allah everything is possible n always make dua but we usually dont see such impossibles happen around us.So are these miracles just for prophets.I ll be really thankful for your enlightening reply

I believe God performs miracles every day, the difference is that with prophets He allows them to see the miracle, while for us, He hides the miracle so that we can always doubt whether it was a miracle or just a natural event or coincidence. 

God wants us to always have the option to doubt His existence, so this means that He does not show us any provable miracles, He always leaves some room for doubt.

IslamQA: Are terrorist attacks sanctioned as jihad by Islam?

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: On my hadith probability calculation method

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: How can we be sure if our prayers were answered when a wish comes true?

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: Islam and purgatory

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: Is it haram to become 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: They keep worrying about a dream they had

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 have a crush on a man?

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: Advice on missing someone after a breakup

Salam. The first and only time I had done something haram with a guy was two years ago, this is someone who I had mutually feelings for. I think he lost feelings for me, or got bored. I'm not sure, I never got closure. But I can't help but always miss him and be sad all that time that I gave a part of me to someone who does not even care about me anymore. How can I stop feeling sad about him?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I’m sorry about your loss. I think the first step to getting over a breakup is to acknowledge that the pain is going to be there. It is like a wound that’s going to take time to heal. There is no avoiding the pain and there is no quick cure. This is the stuff that life is made of. Think about why God let it happen and why He is allowing you to suffer now. The Prophet PBUH suffered terribly in Mecca for 13 years before he went to Medina. God could have instantly given him success if He had wanted. Suffering is what builds our character, and there are two ways of responding to it. We either get bitter and resent God for not giving us a better life, or we accept our situation, knowing that this is where God wants us, and we leave it to Him to take care of our story.

The best cure for getting over a relationship is to get into a new one. Maybe God will make that possible some time. Until then you just have to be patient.

IslamQA: They want to move away from their unsatisfactory family

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?

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: She wants to pray but cannot make herself

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: Dealing with not being liked

I’m beginning to think that people don’t like the person I am from the people I know. I can read body language and the signs that they give. So what does one do? The relationships I have aren’t great. Being anti social doesn’t help either in this scenario. So brother Ikram what do I do? Can you give me some guidance please. I need your help.

If you focus on yourself and improve yourself, then you can become the kind of person that people cannot help liking. If you are generous, forgiving, loyal, and do not expect anything from people, then they will like you. Read the Quran for an hour daily and make its teachings the rules of your life. Become a saint. People cannot help liking saints.

IslamQA: Dealing with trust issues in Islam

I’ve had trust issues my whole life. No matter who it is people always talk behind your back and will gossip. I can see that in my own immediate family. I can assure you that I don’t engage in this activity. So my point is how can you build relationships when people are like that? How do you just trust someone? How can you give your all to someone and let them potentially break you?

I believe you just have to accept people as they are, not expecting them to be better. All people have faults. When it comes to close friends or spouses, we just have to choose carefully. The possibility that they will betray us and break our hearts is always there. We just have to accept this possibility, like we accept the possibility of car accidents happening. Our hearts get broken, we heal, and they get broken again. That is just life.

IslamQA: Building social skills

What would you recommend to someone who lacks social skills? How can they improve themself? Any suggestions?

As far as I know the best way is to place yourself in a lot of situation situations, such as getting a job where you have to deal with people a lot, such as a store cashier.

IslamQA: Islam and the fate of isolated tribes and civilizations

Something that has bugging me for a while is the fact that there were millions of people throughout history that have lived and died without ever hearing about Islam much less converting to it (wether they be some isolated artic tribe or entire civilisations like the Inca ) which got me thinking on how Allah would judge someone who for whatever reason hasn’t heard of Islam at all , do they get an exemption or are they just unceremoniously tossed into hell ? On that note what would be the case about someone who did hear about Islam but only a distorted version that plays up negative stereotypes and preconceptions?

Please see this previous answer: There are billions of non-Muslims, so how can Islam be the one true path?

IslamQA: Is it permissible to use a credit card to build credit?

Salam, I'm a 19 year old canadian and a few days ago I was kind of pressured into getting a credit card. He said I'll have to start building my credit for my life ahead, mentioning not being able to rent or get housing without a credit score among other things. Since he mentioned that, I'm in a dilemma as to of I should start building credit for my future needs and emergencies or cancel it. Do you have any advise on what I should do about this?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

You can use the credit card to build credit. As long as you make sure to pay off the balance before the next statement date, you will not be charged interest, therefore no usury will be involved. Due to the way the banking system works, whether you use a credit or debit card, you are always involved in some sort of usurious transaction. For example, depositing money in a bank allows the bank to lend it at interest to another customer.

You may also use it for emergencies when you are truly desperate.

Reference on the permissibility of using interest-bearing debt for emergencies:

IslamQA: Why does Islam permit cousin marriage?

Salam! Why is permissible in islam to marry one’s cousin/why isn’t it considered incest? Considering the high health risks that could affect the baby?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Islam permits things when prohibiting them would do more harm than good. Sometimes (in an isolated village, for example) the only suitable person for marriage is a cousin. Allowing the marriage despite the risks would be better than requiring the couple to remain celibate. Cousin marriage used to be quite common in Europe until the 20th century. Charles Darwin married his first cousin. Cousin marriage is also far less risky than the Jewish practice of uncle-niece marriages (cousins on average share 12.5% of our genes, while the sharing is 25% between uncles and nieces, and 50% between siblings). 

While cousin marriage can be a burden to the couple due to having children with genetic abnormalities, it can be beneficial to the population as a whole in the long-term. From a scientific article on cousin marriage:

In ‘Consanguinity in Context,’ author and medical geneticist Alan H. Bittles of Murdoch University in Australia examines common misconceptions about cousin marriage from legal, cultural, religious and medical perspectives.

But the risks apply primarily to couples who are carriers of disorders that are normally very, very rare, Bittles explained. “For over 90% of cousin marriages, their risk [of having a child with a genetic abnormality] is the same as it is for the general population,” he said.

One surprising and oft-neglected advantage of marriage between close biological relatives is a phenomenon called purging, in which disease genes are exposed and removed from the gene pool. Thanks to purging, marriage between close relatives in early human populations would have kept the prevalence of genetic disorders low, Bittles explained.

But in the long-term, shrinking family sizes and increased mobility in many parts of the world means that cousin marriage is likely to decline. In the absence of purging, harmful genetic variants could accumulate over time.

“We may be creating a problem for ourselves in future generations,” Bittles said.

And here is a detailed article that shows the risks of cousin marriage are not so clear-cut as is usually thought.

Cousin marriage also has the benefit of creating families that have far more “kin affection” than other families. The children will share more genes with each other. Twins are famous for being especially loving toward their twin siblings. Children born to cousin marriages will be somewhat like that. They will also have far more loving aunts, uncles and grandparents because rather than sharing 25% of their genes with them, they will share something like 35%-40%, so the aunts and uncles and grandparents will treat them almost like their own children. I have seen this in the Middle East where the children of cousin marriages have a very special place in the hearts of their aunts, uncles and grandparents.

So while cousin marriages may not be something to recommend, the risks are not great enough to require prohibiting it if you also consider the benefits.