IslamQA: The point of life in Islam

What’s the point of life? I can’t seem to find any meaning in it.

The point of this universe is the creation of true friends of God. As I have said elsewhere, the possibility of creating a single true friend of God may be sufficient to justify the creation of the whole universe, especially when you consider the fact that it costs God nothing to create a universe.

God says:

I did not create the jinn and the humans except to worship Me.

The Quran, verse 51:56.

He also says:

The life of this world is nothing but diversion and play, and the Home of the Hereafter is the Life, if they only knew.

The Quran, verse 29:64.

So everything in this life is a silly game except for the worship of God, which is the purpose of life.

By “friend of God” I mean saintly individuals who love God and serve Him despite the fact that they have no hard evidence of His existence and despite life’s difficulties. For more on “friends of God” and the purpose of this universe please see my essay: Why God Allows Evil to Exist, and Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

IslamQA: What should a Muslim without a mentor do?

I dont have good relations with the people around me. I feel like I have no one. Growing up I had no mentor. Maybe thats why I have made some mistakes. Do you have any advice for someone like me?

First, realize that you cannot guide yourself. No matter how much you try, without God’s aid you can never be a well-guided person. So the first step is to start to sincerely ask for God’s guidance every day. This is the most important thing you can do.

The second thing to do is to read the Quran daily. The Quran is the best mentor and will help you grow your character and correct any flaws in it.

The third thing is to read the sayings of the great scholars and to try to emulate them. Check out the pages: The Sayings of Ibn al-Jawzi and The Sayings of Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah. Maybe buy the books and keep them close to you, reading a few pages every day.

IslamQA: What are the things we can pray for?

Salam Brother, You've said in your essay to ask god for forgiveness, guidance and mercy. Would it be an insult to ask god for specific traits, for example, give me the ability to do good?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

My opinion on that has actually changed recently and I now believe that we should pray to God for all things, including the general things mentioned in the essay and any specific thing we want, even something as small as praying to God to help you find your keys when you have lost them. Asking God for things is a form of worship and we should do as much of it as we can.

However, the attitude mentioned in the essay is the right attitude; that is, while we can constantly pray for specific things, we should always be prepared for God to choose something else for us. We should never attempt to “force” God’s hand by praying for something exact and getting upset when it doesn’t come about. The proper attitude is to feel like a helpless servant who constantly wishes for his/her Master’s help while always loving the Master regardless of whether the Master makes their wish come true or not.

IslamQA: Islam and gender reassignment surgery

Is gender reassignment surgery halal if the person is a trans naturally and not cosmetically, and if not, what does Islam instruct trans Muslims to do to help in their lives, and are there any special exceptions for them such as in attire and marriage etc?

The Qatari Fatwa Authority permits gender reassignment surgery on the condition that the person has a medical condition where their apparent sex is different from their “real” (internal / genetic) sex. For example a person with androgen insensitivity syndrome can be genetically male without developing male genitalia.

As for gender reassignment for those who feel psychologically to belong to the opposite gender, this is generally forbidden. But opinions on this issue are still in the development stage and may change in the future. Giving a genetically-male person female hormones (as it is done with those who change their sex) may have extremely negative long-term consequences for the person’s health, and since the rise in gender reassignment is recent, there are not many long-term studies on its effects.


IslamQA: On the signs of the end of the world

Salaam. I've heard many people talk about end of days, but you said that it isn't mentioned in The Quran. What are your thoughts and arguments regarding that?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

The Quran puts very little stress on the signs of the end of the world, and if you read it carefully you will realize that the end of the world could be tomorrow or it could be in 100,000 years (or longer). For this reason I am not a fan of “end of days” literature (and most of it comes from questionable hadiths).

IslamQA: On praying for God’s mercy for yourself only

Is it okay to ask for gods mercy for yourself?

It is permitted to pray for yourself only for whatever you want. There are many examples in hadith in which the Prophet PBUH prays for himself. He also instructed others to do the same, as in this hadith:

Abu Malik Ashaja'i reported on the authority of his father that whenever a person embraced Islam, Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) instructed him to recite:

" O Allah, grant me pardon, have mercy upon me, direct me to the path of righteousness and provide me sustenance."

Sahih Muslim 2697 a

IslamQA: On betrayal from a friend

I found a girl in charity shop and I though she is really nice and kind. So we start friendship she used to text me call me all the time. We r like Best friend/sister.I was so happy. I'm a reupholster so she wanted to buy a chair and I told her the price. And she sad please I can't buy it because I don't have enough money . can you please teach me how to do. I'm not going to make it for sale. I want to do for my house. After that I sad OK sis. I teach her. And after that she start selling reupholster furniture. I ask her that sister you promised me that your not going to sell it. And she block me from all the app and everything stop.I'm very hurt. Don't known what to do. They have another business and 2 expensive car and now reupholster businesses still they live council house How.

Perhaps it would help to consider it a blessing that you were able to find out her bad character. As for her competing with your business, I wouldn’t worry about it. God provides for us from where we do not expect if we are obedient servants.

Best wishes.

IslamQA: On the hadiths mentioning camel urine as a medicine

Assalamualaikum I wanted to know about Islam's stance on the consumption of camel urine. I read somewhere that a group of people was asked to drink it by the prophet(PBUH). Is that Hadith authentic? Also, do other versions of this narration (which do not mention camel urine) exist?

The hadith mentioning it is authentic. I haven’t studied the hadiths that mention camel urine as I do not consider it an important issue, especially since scientists have discovered camel urine to have medicinal properties. The most important benefit is its ability to kill microbes and prevent bacterial infections:

IslamQA: Does the jizya tax apply in the modern world?

Assalamualaikum I would like to know about the jizya tax, the rationale behind it and whether it is compulsory for Muslims to impose this tax on non Muslims, especially in today's era.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

According to a fatwa by the Egyptian Fatwa Authority, the jizya tax only applies in cases where there is a Muslim army defending non-Muslim inhabitants who do not participate in the army. The tax is levied to support the army. But in modern countries where the army is made up of both Muslims and non-Muslims, the jizya tax no longer applies.

However, a non-Muslim community in a Muslim-majority country can be given the option of paying the tax in order to avoid having to serve in the army.


IslamQA: On directing one’s passions to serve God

Salam, I read the ask from another person about feeling a lack of passion and I related to this question. But for me, I feel a lack of passion because I don't know how to correctly repurpose my passions to serve The Lord. For example I love painting and writing speculative fiction. But I don't know how doing that could help my Akhirah, especially because a lot of Muslims refer to this as a waste of time, and so I lose motivation and passion and end up wondering around lost.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

If you sincerely ask God for guidance on how to make yourself useful, then He will show you the way. God does not guide those who are proud, heedless or sinful, therefore a person who truly seeks guidance should begin by purifying themselves from all sins and insincerity. The next step would be to dedicate an extra amount of time everyday to God’s remembrance, such as reading the Quran for an hour everyday. And it is at this point that you can ask for guidance knowing that God will guide you and will be with you every step of the way.

I would think that painting and speculative fiction are ideal places for a Muslim eager to serve God. You could create meaningful art or write inspiring and meaningful fiction.

IslamQA: On feeling that God does not help or care about humanity

I feel God doesn't exist. my life is about to end. i feel so hurt. But nobody cares. Allah doesn't help. He don't care about his mankind.

In my own life there have been periods where I felt I was abandoned by God, but I realize that it was always due to may own actions and my own refusal to truly submit to Him. As soon as I did that, everything changed. God can allow you to feel abandoned in order to show you your own weakness and desperate need for Him. But a person who has truly submitted will realize that God always prevents their lives from becoming intolerably bad. Things get bad for a while but God always comes in and saves the day from an unexpected direction.

Please see my essays:

God has not abandoned you: Regaining your sense of purpose when life feels spiritually empty, lonely and meaningless

Islam and Depression: A Survival Guide

IslamQA: She has difficulty resisting masturbation

I am a girl I have suffered from masturbation for a very long time ever since I was a child and I didn't even know what I was doing and yet I was addicted to it as I grew up I tried very hard to abandon this but every month or so I reach a point where I get so overcome I start to think there's nothing really wrong with it so I do it again and then I feel like I'm the worst its become a cycle I repent and I then I do it again at this point I feel too embarrassed to even try to repent what to do

Your ability to resist impulses does not fully develop until the age of 25. If you are younger than that, do your best but realize that you will lose this fight many more times. Rather than feeling guilty about it, every time you masturbate you can make up for it by reading the Quran for an hour, or doing some other act of worship.

Also note that masturbation is not a big issue in Islam, please see my article: Masturbation is not clearly forbidden or allowed in Islam

IslamQA: Is it bad to be reclusive as a Muslim?

Is it bad to be reclusive and not talk to people unless spoken to?

Islam does not ask you to do more than you are able. Some people are simply more reclusive than others. If you can carry out your duties and maintain polite relationships with people then reclusiveness is not an issue. Also note that many great scholars, such as Ibn al-Jawzi, recommended staying away from most people due to their often harmful talk and gossip. He recommends staying at home to read and avoiding going to social gatherings whenever possible in order to focus on reading and learning.

IslamQA: On not regretting a sin

Salaam. Need help & advice. I have sinned and I am sorry in my heart that I’ve displeased Allah swt. But I do not regret committing the sin 🙁

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

If you wish that you had not committed the sin then that is sufficient. You cannot always control your emotional responses to your actions. Even if you do not *feel* sorry but you *think* sorry and wish to avoid it, then that is what matters.

Also not regretting sins is a sign of not having a close relationship with God. I recommend daily Quran reading, especially the Meccan suras, for building such a relationship.

IslamQA: On celebrity crushes

What advice would you give someone who has a celebrity crush, is it wrongful? (for extra info I don't have any sort of personal hopes surrounding this like meeting the person in real life - although I do daydream about the person sometimes, nor do I expect whoever I end up with to be like this person.)

We cannot always control our attachments to people, so as long as you carry out your duties, work to maintain a close relationship with God, and you do not let it cause you to sin then that is what matters.

Are the Prophet’s parents in the Hellfire?

I went on Islamq&a, and it lists a hadith where the gist of it was that the Prophet (ﷺ)'s parents will be in the hellfire, is it true?

That hadith is a matter of controversy among scholars. Among scholars who refused to take that hadith literally and believed that the Prophet’s parents PBUH are not in the Hellfire are Abu Ḥanīfa, al-Rāzī, Ibn al-ʿArabi al-Mālikī, al-Qurṭubī, Ibn al-Jawzī, al-Alūsī, Ibn Ḥajar al-Haytamī, Malā ʿAlī al-Qārī and Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalāni.

The Egyptian Fatwa Authority issued a fatwa saying that believing the Prophet’s parents to be in Paradise is the stronger opinion. Hadith critics also considered this hadith to be shādhdh (strange and unusual) and therefore refused to take it seriously.

I conducted a study of all of the existing chains of the hadith, which is shown below:

According to the mathematical hadith verification method (see my essay here), this hadith has an authenticity score of 20.5%, which is below the 30% needed for considering it ṣaḥīḥ (authentic). Any hadith that falls below 30% is not strong enough to be used as proof, especially in matters of controversy.

Therefore the verdict is that the view that the Prophet’s parents PBUH are in the Hellfire is not a strongly-supported view and should not be believed in, especially since it goes against important principles of Islamic theology (that those who do not receive revelation are not held accountable), and since many important scholars rejected the view.


IslamQA: The difference between kafir and mushrik

Assalamualaikum, i want to ask about the words kaffir and musyrik. Can you tell me what is the difference(s) between those words? Thank you.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Kafir is a person who knows the truth but denies it. In Islam it refers to a person who has sufficient knowledge and experience to believe in God, but who intentionally disobeys God and even denies His existence.

A mushrik is a person who makes something other than God the object of their faith or worship. A person who worships a statue, or an atheist who puts his faith in science, or a kafir who worships his/her own desires, can all be considered mushriks.

IslamQA: Saying takbirat after the imam is a sunna

Assalamu 'alaykum…I did not know that we are supposed to say takbeer whilst praying behind an imam, is my prayer invalid or is it valid since I did not know? I did say the opening takbeer but I remained silent for the takbeerat that followed. Jazakallahu khayr. I also came home after I found out about this and did sajda sahw.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Saying the takbirs other than the first one (known as takbīrāt al-intiqāl) is a sunna, not a fard, therefore there is no issue with you not having said them (although a person should not intentionally abandon them). Also note that these takbīrāt al-intiqāl should be said silently (in a whisper), only the imam says them aloud.


IslamQA: On Prophet Lot offering his daughters to rapists

In prophet Lot’s story in the Quran , it is said that when his people try to barge in and rape his guests (the angels ), he outright offered them his two daughters to rape instead which is something that I can’t really wrap my head around and can’t understand why it would be in any way considered better than the alternative and why the Quran would even mention that ?

The nature of Prophet’s Lot’s offering of his daughters is never made clear in the Quran. It’s usually interpreted as meaning that he was offering them in marriage, or that he was referring to all the women of his town as his “daughters”.

We know that Prophet Lot was under extreme psychological stress at this time, and that he felt overpowered:

He said, “If only I had the strength to stop you, or could rely on some strong support.” (The Quran, verse 11:80)

So it’s possible Prophet Lot himself didn’t know what he was offering them! We don’t know how many men there were among the attackers. If their number was greater than the number of Prophet Lot’s daughters, perhaps Prophet Lot thought that he could satisfy the chief men by marrying his daughters to them while also thinking that other women from the town can always be found for the rest.

For more on this please see this previous answer: Did God destroy the People of Lot for rape instead of homosexuality?