IslamQA: Why is Islam opposed to homosexuality when it “harms no one”?

I disagree, consider this, it was stated that man is born to desire. Separating ourselves from desires brings us closer to Allah. A man born with the interest to murder is different than a homosexual. A homosexual isn't taking anyones life whereas a psychopath is hurting others. I think intention is very important. If ur intent isn't to harm others you aren't immoral. Ur denying people love. A man desiring a woman is still desire and he shouldn't do that either. The mere act of life is desire

The argument that “no one is being harmed” is false on two counts:

1. Homosexual relationships lead to “hookup cultures”, which lead to the disintegration of traditional marriage and family relations, as discussed in this essay. Understanding these harms requires thinking in terms of generations and centuries rather than individual lifetimes, which is something that most people cannot do unfortunately. Any society that approves of homosexual relationships will immediately see a large increase in heterosexual relationships outside of marriage. This is something we see throughout the world. I challenge you to find a society where homosexual relationships are common but where heterosexual relationships outside of marriage are uncommon. Such a thing cannot exist because the approval of homosexual relationships require a complete change in the attitude of the population toward marriage and sexuality.

2. If God exists and if He does not approve of homosexual relationships, then engaging in this lifestyle and promoting it does the greatest possible harm, because it may doom its adherents to the Hellfire for eternity. What greater harm is possible? Additionally, God may punish those who approve of homosexual relationships and their societies in this life as well as the next, so even if homosexual relationships had no direct influence on society, God’s displeasure and His possible punishment are a very great harm indeed.

As for your statement “If [your] intent isn’t to harm others you aren’t immoral”, that has no basis in moral philosophy. An action can lead to harm and to immoral results regardless of the intention of the person.

IslamQA: Productivity tips

Assalamualaikum, i was wondering if you have any productivity tips regarding reading and doing our daily work?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I used to read many articles and follow many websites that were dedicated to increasing personal productivity. But I realized at some point that it was all irrelevant to me. For example having a clean desk and working in a quiet environment is recommended by many productivity-related sources, but in my case my productivity had nothing to do with these things.

So instead I developed an empirical program where I kept track of my habits to determine what increased my productivity and what decreased it. For example I discovered that having caffeine (such as a strong coffee) in the afternoon made me less productive the next day, so I stopped doing that. I also realized that having a large breakfast or lunch reduced my ability to work, so these days I only have one major meal per day at around 4 PM or after. Before that I only have small amounts of food, such as an apple in the morning.

The most important productivity thing you can do is to keep track of how many hours you worked, and how many hours you read, every day, and to keep track of how the things you do affects these things (the meals you eat and their size, where you spent your work, what hobbies you engaged in). You can keep track of these things in an Excel spreadsheet, and eventually you may notice some patterns and find out how to best maximize your productivity. Without having empirical data on your performance it may be very difficult to find out what is benefiting and what is harming your productivity, since we are not naturally inclined to take into account what we did yesterday when we think about why we are not productive today.

IslamQA: The separation of church and state in Islam

What is your opinion on separation of church and state. Is such thing possible in Muslim countries?

Separation of church and state only matters if one envisions the state as an authority that forces certain behaviors on the population. This is mainly a concern for elitist intellectuals who think that a small number of intellectuals in the government should have the right to dictate to the rest of the population how to manage their lives. And since most of these intellectuals (in countries like the US) are secular, anti-Christian, highly elitist, and highly hostile toward ordinary citizens, they believe that the separation of church and state should be promoted because they do not want the values of ordinary citizens to affect their plans for managing the country according to their own ideologies.

In other words, these elitist intellectuals have a top-down view of government: they think they should be the moral authorities over the population. They do not want the population’s own morality to seep into the government.

But if we envision government in a non-elitist way, as merely a reflection of the will of the people, then the idea of the separation of church and state becomes irrelevant. A government is merely a tool for making life more stable and manageable, it is similar to the management of a business. The way that the people of a village can come together to manage their village’s affairs, the people of a country can come together to manage their country’s affairs. A government should not be a force from the top forcing certain behaviors on the people, it should simply be a reflection of the people themselves and their values and desires.

The smallest unit of government is a family, as the philosopher Hegel recognized. The idea of separating church and state within the family is absurd because the way the family manages its affairs is guided by its values, which naturally means its religious values among others. These values are not forced on them, it is their own democratically chosen values. And if we get a large number of families in a community, we have a government.

If by the separation of church what is meant is that a small number of religious authorities should not dictate to the rest of the population how they should live their lives, then I fully support that. But I reject the idea of anyone forcing a way of life on any other, so this should not be a problem to begin with. It is not the separation of church and state that is the problem, it is the forcing of the values of a minority over a majority.

In my view an ideal Islamic society would be a truly federalist version of the way the United States is today: each state, and even each city, would democratically choose its own laws. In this way the government of each city would simply be the desires and values of the people of that city reflected in their laws. Separation of church and state is completely irrelevant here because it is the people themselves choosing their own laws. No one is forcing it on them.

So the crucial value for ensuring a lack of oppression is not separation of church and state, it is this: a lack of the use of force by one group in the country to change the way of life of another group. This is the higher issue. Separation of church and state is simply a sub-category of this concern. The higher concern is non-domination.

As Treebeard said to Merry and Pippin in The Two Towers:

‘I am not going to do anything with you: not if you mean by that ‘‘do something to you’’ without your leave. We might do some things together.

In a perfectly harmonious society, no one would to use force on others. When people talk about the separation of church and state what they mean is that they worry about religious authorities controlling people’s ways of life. But if we reject the very idea of control from the state, if we say that the government should be nothing more or less than a reflection of the people’s desires and values, then there is no control involved. The secular would not control the religious, and the religious would not control the secular. People would respect each other’s rights to have different laws. A city with a religious majority can choose to have more religious values reflected in their laws, while a city with a secular minority can have secular values reflected in their laws.

But to elitist intellectuals this is unacceptable since what they really want is to force secularism on all to prevent the possibility of any community making its own moral choices. The moral choices, in their view, should all be made at the top by those who control the government.

So a skeptical thinker would realize that “separation of church and state” is merely another way of referring to the domination of the secular over the religious. I reject all domination, whether of the secular over the religious, or the religious over the secular. If both types of domination are ended, then there remains nothing to “separate”.

So what we should call for is not the separation of church and state, but non-domination. If non-domination is made law, then that automatically includes what separation of church and state is supposed to accomplish (a lack of the use of force in religious matters).

But non-domination also includes the destruction of the power of the intellectual elite to control the population’s ways of life. So rather than accepting the terms of the argument chosen by them (“separation of church and state”), we must instead move the terms to a higher plane: non-domination. In this way we give these elitist intellectuals a taste of their own medicine: taking away their power to dominate others.

As Muslims, we must seek a humanist, consensual community where we deal with non-Muslims as equally valued humans, never wanting to do things to them, but wanting to do things with them. And as for those who call for the separation of church and state, they either belong to the class of elitist intellectuals who know exactly what they are doing (they are calling for the domination of the elite over the average citizen), or they have naively bought into the ideology of the elite without fully analyzing its intentions and implications.

IslamQA: If God does not make mistakes, why does He allow homosexuals to exist?

If Allah created everything he surely did not make mistakes. For he is perfect and all knowing. If Allah knows everything why would he deny a homosexual? Did Allah not create that person to be that way? you are born that way. If Allah brought you into this world why would man tell you, you need to change who u are to be closer to Allah. Muslism women cant vote or go to school. Thats not Allahs will, he warned of the shaytaan and deceptions. Allah loves all and accepts all. We are all the same

There are people who are born psychopaths, meaning that they can take great joy from making others suffer and even from killing them. The fact that this natural desire exists in them does not make it OK. If God brought you into this world to enjoy murder, does that mean you get a free pass to do it?

And the fact that a man may have a very strong natural desire for another man’s wife does not make it morally OK for him to act on this desire. The desire is natural, but he is required to control it for the greater good of everyone else.

The idea that God “does not make mistakes” is irrelevant. He created a universe where all kinds of extremely harmful natural desires and natural aberrations from the norm can exist (such as congenital abnormalities that make life miserable for some people). The conclusion should be that God intentionally created these things as a test. God does not “nanny” nature to make sure nothing ever deviates from the norm; He allows it to happen and leaves it to us to deal with it. For more on this see my essays:

Why God Allows Evil to Exist, and Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

Reconciling Islam and Darwinian Evolution: Al-Ghazali’s Matrix and the Divine Template

Similarly, in the animal world the killing of infants is very common among certain species. Male lions, for example, regularly kill the cubs that have been sired by other lions. The fact that this is perfectly natural and biologically beneficial among lions does not make it OK among humans.

For this reason the transgender activist Joan Roughgarden (who was a male who changed to a female) states many times in her book Evolution’s Rainbow that just because something is natural it does not make it moral. While her book is entirely dedicated to defending homosexuality and transgenderism, she makes it clear time and again that morality and nature are separate and that we should not take our moral ideas from what is natural.

So if the greater good of society is served by restricting homosexual relationships, then such restrictions make sense whether such relationships are natural or not. Similarly, while it is natural for people to desire sex outside of marriage, for the good of themselves and society they are required to suppress these desires. For a discussion of why Islam suppresses homosexuality see:

The Philosophical Reason why Homosexual Relationships are “Wrong”

IslamQA: Reciting al-Baqara so the home does not become a graveyard

Assalamualaikum, when it is said that recite surah Bakra so that your houses don't become graveyards, does one have to recite it loudly or by heart is fine too?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

The hadith that mentions that (Sahih Muslim 780) is a single-companion hadith that has no supporting hadiths from other companions, so it does not represent an essential part of Islam because single-companion hadiths are inherently doubtful (they do not represent certain knowledge according to the scholars of legal theory). What this means is that the hadith represents merely a recommendation rather than an unchallenged fact. As for whether one should recite it by heart or aloud, the hadith does not clarify it. It uses the word qaraʾa (”to read”, “to recite”), which is used in classical Arabic mostly to mean recitation aloud. But there is no reason to think that only recitation aloud would work for this purpose. We simply do not know with certainty since there is only one hadith on this matter.

IslamQA: She wants to convert to Islam while enjoying her bisexual lifestyle

Hello, possible convert here. I have one issue and it's this. I'm a bisexual teenage girl, I've enjoyed a relationship with another girl and I don't want to suppress that part of me or rule out the possibility of marrying a girl. I've read some of your articles on LGBT+ stuff in Islam and that's one of the only things I find to be an obstacle in this. I don't want to suppress that side or be ashamed of it, so I'm not quite sure what to do.


The point of religion is to find out how to be an ideal servant of God. If God exists and if He does not approve of homosexual relationships then there is no recourse. There is no higher power that can make it OK. So it is a question of whether you prefer God’s wishes to your own or not. I do not doubt that homosexual relationships can be highly satisfying and meaningful, and I do not doubt that for some people homosexual relationships can be far more satisfying than heterosexual ones. But the purpose of this life is not the attaining of personal satisfaction. The purpose of this life, as the Quran tells us, is for us to worship God:

I did not create the jinn and the humans except to worship Me. (The Quran, verse 51:56)

This life is not meant to be Paradise. It is meant to be a place where we suppress many of our deepest desires for the sake of God, expecting His reward in the afterlife. Those who prefer Paradise to their desires are rewarded, while those who prefer their desires to Paradise are punished.

As for him who was defiant.

And preferred the life of this world.

Then Hell is the shelter.

But as for him who feared the Standing of his Lord, and restrained the self from desires.

Then Paradise is the shelter. (The Quran, verses 79:37-41)

We could wish to be in more benign world where we could follow our desires and still get rewarded. But whether we like it or not, we are stuck in a terrible game where the stakes are infinitely high; depending on our performance in this life, we will either get infinite rewards or infinite punishment. There is no way to escape this game and withdraw from it. We have to accept it as it is and try to attain success in it whether we like it or not.

So when it comes to someone who likes Islam but strongly prefers homosexual relationships, they will have to make a choice between the two; either preferring the satisfaction of this life or the next.

Best wishes.

IslamQA: OCD is making their practice of Islam difficult

Selam I have a problem I suffer from OCD scrupulosity aspect of it. To be honest my personal relationship to Islam is so messed up I don't know where to start. With my prayer and wudu I am in constant doubt. I repeat multiple times because i think I passed gas or ect. I find no peace what so ever, it has become quite an agony. I feel completely overburden with rules too. How to eat how to sleep how to enter bathroom ect. At night I don't sleep cause I constantly think i must make dua/zikr to GOD to thank him. I get up and face mekkah (not sure if I have to for dua) but i feel I must do wudu also. Of course by then I am awake and cant sleep. My job has big responsibility I am afraid I will make mistake. I am so tired from lack of sleep. I must be honest I am thinking about giving up on Islam. I read what these sheikhs have to say and its all about haram all the time. I feel so overburden, I don't want to leave my faith but I just can't go on like this anymore. I have read, though by some Shia scholars who say that person that suffers OCD should not repeat prayer or clean the impurity like urine even if person believes he is certain of it due to the nature of disease OCD. That could help me but not sure if that ruling is OK. Please if you can offer some advice I would appreciate it.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I strongly recommend that you get medical help. There are drugs that can help greatly with your condition. It is abnormal to worry about the Islamic way of eating, sleeping and entering the bathroom; these are all recommended things, not obligatory, so you do not have to worry about them. It is not Islam that is at fault, it is your mental condition. So your first focus should be on addressing your condition through medical help.

You can also search online for supplements for OCD. Buy them and give them a try.

I also recommend that you read the Quran daily and make it the center of your life. Stop worrying about the unimportant things and focus on what the Quran tells you.

Also see the previous articles on: Islam and OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)

Best wishes.

IslamQA: The ruling on women riding alone in a taxi car or on a motorcycle

Salaam. In my country, there is this public transportation service called ojeg (pronounced OH-JACK). It is basically a motorcycle taxi that only counts to 1 passenger per motorcycle unit. In Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) times, he rode a camel together with a woman behind him, with a note that the Prophet and the woman rode the same camel, but the camel hump separates them two. When I took a ride with an ojeg, which majority of them are male riders, is it similar to when our Prophet rode a camel and gave a women a ride with him? The difference is it was then using a living creature with a hump and it is now using a mechanical transportation with nothing to separate the rider and the passenger. I have gotten opinions from several of the local ustadh, but most of them agree that it is not allowed for a woman to take an ojeg ride. They also do not allow woman to take a taxi ride alone. The ojeg riders and taxi drivers in my country are all harmless and take their passenger with utmost manner and no bad intentions at all, but those ustadh are saying that it is not allowed for us women to do a ride alone. I am completely cannot relate to their opinion. How do you perceive of this matter? Thank you very much for your time. May Allah Bless you.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There are different opinions on this issue. According to the Palestinian scholar Dr. Ziyad Miqdad this is no a matter in which the ruling of either halal or halam applies (i.e. it is not a black and white issue). In his opinion if the woman’s safety and dignity are guaranteed, then there is no issue with a woman riding alone in a taxi.

Shaykh al-Albani’s opinion is that if the following three conditions are satisfied, then it is permitted for a woman to ride alone in a taxi:

  1. The ride should be “in the middle of the city” (he probably means that the ride should not be to an isolated or out of the way place, or to a different city).
  2. The driver should be a religiously observant person.
  3. The woman should be safe from kidnapping.

According to both al-Albani and the Jordanian Fatwa Authority, a woman’s riding in a taxi is not a form of khalwa (being alone with the opposite sex) that is forbidden, since a taxi is a public place due to not providing much privacy from the public. By bringing these opinions together, I believe we can express the requirements for such rides being permissible as follows: If the woman’s safety and dignity is preserved, and if such a ride is acceptable in her society and culture and is not considered scandalous, then it is permitted.

I believe al-Albani’s requirements that the ride should be in the city center and with a religious person are only heuristic recommendations meant to ensure a woman’s safety and dignity. If her safety and dignity are preserved in another way, then these requirements will not be necessary (for example by riding in a car that belongs to a company that carefully monitors its drivers and perhaps has a video camera inside the car).

As for riding on a motorcycle, the same rulings would apply. If her safety and dignity is preserved, and if such a ride is not considered scandalous in her society, and if there is no physical contact involved, then it may be acceptable.

IslamQA: On the Prophet PBUH cursing those who cross-dress

Salam alaikum. Brother, what is the context of a hadith that says Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) curses men who wear women's clothes and women who wear men's clothes? Could it be taken literally or is there any condition that applies to the hadith to take effect? Thank you.

The relevant hadiths do not provide much context, so it is left to the scholars to interpret them:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) cursed the man who dressed like a woman and the woman who dressed like a man.

Sunan Abi Dawud 4098 (Considered sahhi by al-Albani)

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) cursed those men who are in the similitude (assume the manners) of women and those women who are in the similitude (assume the manners) of men.

Sahih al-Bukhari 5885

The common interpretation is that it is forbidden to intentionally act or dress in a way that is like the opposite sex. While some interpret this as meaning that, for example, women should not wear pants since pants are commonly worn by men, the proper interpretation I believe is that people should act or dress in a way that in their particular time and culture would make them look like the opposite sex. So it is not referring to any particular style of behavior or clothing, it is referring to anything that might confuse others as to one’s sex in their time and culture.

IslamQA: Should you repeat the salah if you forget a raka?

If I accidentally pray only 3 rakats for a 4 rakat Salah would I need to repeat the prayer

If you forget one of the essential parts of salah, such as a raka, and some time passes, and later you remember and know with certainty that your salah was deficient, then you must redo the salah.


IslamQA: Can you be a good Muslim woman without wearing the hijab?

Can I be a good muslim woman without a hijab?

Not wearing hijab is like any other small sin; we all have our sins. You can still practice Islam and plan in your heart to one day wear the hijab when you have the strength of character to do it. But there is no way to be a perfect Muslim as a woman without wearing the hijab because your submission to God will always be flawed and lacking. There is no way out of this situation without wearing the hijab, since wearing the hijab is an obligation and there is no way to make it go away.

But God is merciful and forgiving and He may accept your excuses if you sincerely wish to wear the hijab and plan do it when you can. But this is not an ideal situation to be in, since we must all strive to be as perfect in our faith as possible.

IslamQA: Repenting from using magic

I have a relative who got someone to do black magic on her son in order for him to stay with his wife. What is the punishment in Islam and will my relative be forgiven as they didn’t mean any harm

It is sufficient for her to sincerely seek repentance and God will accept it inshaAllah.


IslamQA: Should women cover their feet during prayer (salah)?

As salam alaikum, I had a question regarding prayer. Are women required to have their feet covered during prayer?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Of the four schools of Islamic law, three have the view that a woman’s feet should be covered during the prayer. The exception is the Hanafi school, where it is believed that the feet do not have to be covered during the prayer because they do not consider it part of her ʿawra.


IslamQA: How to determine the end of menstruation in Islam

aselamaleikum can a woman start praying after her menses when blood stops flowing, but there comes discharge to clean the blood out? Does she have to wait until everything is all clear?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

After bleeding stops, if she wipes her inner labial lips with a tissue and sees only white or clear discharge, then that means the menstruation has ended. But if there is any color (reddish or yellowish), then that means she is still menstruating.


IslamQA: Wanting to be good but having bad instincts

I have a sort of personal question i feel like by nature im a very bitter and harsh person i cant help but hv cruel thoughts while im never willfully malicious to ppl i always have the urge to very mean and antisocial it makes me feel very bad and i try to be nice but i feel so fake knowing that im not a genuinely big hearted person i hate feelng jealous i know its a sin but i cant help it i want to know how can i work on these negative feelings so i dont hv them anymore

You are not your instincts. If your instinct is to be harsh and cruel, then with a good soul you can override these instincts and be good and kind regardless of how you feel. That is what God rewards us for; to struggle against our instincts and have a high character regardless of our feelings.

You are a good person with bad instincts. We are all like that, it is just different people have different bad instincts. The goodness of your soul is what matters; live in your soul, connect with God and control the animal part that all of us humans have. This is the greatest and most important struggle in life; to be better than your instincts.

I recommend reading the Quran daily (an hour a day if you can), it is the most helpful thing I have found for developing a high character and correcting character flaws. The Quran shows us all of our weakness and sees through all of our illusions and excuses and forces us to face the reality of our shortcomings so that we can improve them. The Quran is exact opposite of a safe space or comfort zone, it is an arena where your character will be tested and will be made to grow and mature.

Best wishes.

IslamQA: How to make up a Ramadan fast broken due to masturbation

during ramadan i have masturbated in the middle of the day i really regret doing that and i know it's a big sin but i want to know should i fast 120 days or just one day and what else should i do ? i hope you can help me

It is sufficient to make up just one day of fasting if the fast is broken due to masturbation. Nothing else is necessary.

IslamQA: Can you donate cash you find on the street?

Assalamualaikum, my mother tends to find cash on the street floor randomly every once in a while, she gives it to charity after picking it up but my friends say it is wrongful to pick it up and do anything with it, even if it's to give to charity? Is this valid?

If the amount is small, it is permitted to pick it up and use it for one’s own benefit, or to donate it in charity. The definition of a small amount is different among the scholars. Imam Ahmad and some others say that the amount is not specified and depends on the custom of the people, while Imam Malik and Imam Abu Hanifa say the amount should be less than the price of 0.875 grams of gold (which amounts to $37.18 USD in current prices).

But if you pick it up and then the owner comes looking for it, it is obligatory to give it back to them.

If the amount is more than that, then the ruling is to keep the money for one year and to make it public that you have found money without telling people the amount. If the owner does not appear after one year, it is permitted to spend the money. But if the owner appears and can convincingly argue that it is their money, then it is obligatory to give it back to them, whether during that year or afterwards.

As for whether it is better to pick up found money or to leave it where it is, the scholars differ on this. Imam Ahmad believes it is better to leave the money, while the Imams al-Shafii, Abu Hanifa and Malik believe that picking it up is better.


IslamQA: When lying is justified in Islam

As-salamu alaykum Regarding one of the previous asks about lying to turn someone down: are there not circumstances where it is forgivable? I am unsure what kind of invitation the previous asker was wondering about, but in my own life there are circumstances where strange men may ask me personal information and whether I'm available and I feel I have to lie - even about my name - for my own safety. Of course I try to limit my encounters, but I can't avoid going to work or class or using the metro

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Honesty is one of the most important values in Islam. If you fear for your safety, then in such a situation lying may be justified. According to a saying of the Prophet PBUH, lying is justified in three cases: 1. in times of active war 2. in order to mend relationships between people and 3. white lies between a husband and wife when telling the truth may be damaging to the relationship (thus a man is allowed to tell his wife she is beautiful even if at that moment he does not find her beautiful).

According to a quotation provided by Imam al-Ghazali, lying is also justified in order to save someone’s life (the example he gives is this: if you meet someone who wants to kill an innocent person, it is obligatory to lie to them for example by telling them the person is not where they are so that the killer will not find them). Since in your case it is a matter of safety and possibly life and death, it seems to me that lying may be justified.


IslamQA: She is hesitant to convert to Islam

I feel an incredible sense of comfort in Islam. I read the quotes and I'm in the process of learning Arabic and understanding the Quran, and it's safety.I've been getting waves of depression and anxiety so having something feels very nice. But I'm not Muslim. I grew up not having a religion and I'm already 16, it's difficult to really fall into something like that. I'm not sure if converting to Islam is right for me or if I'm just fascinated by the religion. May I ask your advice regarding this?

Converting to Islam can be a multi-year process, so there is no need to hurry. But once you believe in your heart that the Quran is truly from God and that Muhammad is His final messenger, then you are Muslim whether you officially convert or not. At that point you can start practicing Islam little by little, the most important part being performing the five daily prayers. I recommend reading a beginners’ book on practicing Islam, such as Being Muslim in order to know how to start.

Think of Islam as just a tool that helps you know God and worship Him in the best way possible. The point is not Islam, the point is knowing God. So your focus should be on God before anything else, and reading and understanding the Quran is a great step toward that, so it is great that you are trying to learn Arabic and understand the Quran.

But keep in mind that Islam is not a miraculous cure for depression and anxiety. Islam helps you achieve your purpose in life, which is to be an ideal servant of God. There will be good times and bad times, and there will be tests and hardships. Islam helps you deal with these difficulties and will help you find meaning and consolation, but it will not take the difficulties away.

Best wishes.