Answers to questions on Islamic topics. Ask a Question.

IslamQA: Can a Muslim also be a free thinker?

Can a Muslim also be a free thinker?

It depends on what you mean by “free thinker”. “Freethinker” usually means someone who rejects revelation; if that is the meaning used here then one cannot be a Muslim and a freethinker since the two would be contradictory. But if by it you simply mean being skeptical and believing strongly in reason and logic then that is not opposed to Islam.

IslamQA: The ruling on using alcohol in cooking

What is your opinion on cooking with alcohol, like wine etc. I know most Muslim ruling is NO on the subject. I am personally liberal in general in life and on this subject also. You simply can't get drunk on the food cooked with alcohol.

As discussed in this previous answer, vanilla extract that comes in alcohol is halal since it is not possible to get drunk on it. As for using alcohol in cooking, I believe this is closer to the forbidden side because when used in cooking, the point is to consume the alcohol itself, unlike vanilla extract where the alcohol is merely a carrier for the vanilla, and the Prophet PBUH says that anything that causes intoxication in large amounts is forbidden in small amounts.

The alcohol in the house may also act as an encouragement for your family members to try it, especially teenagers.

IslamQA: The baby name Irsyad

Does Irsyad has good meaning? I can’t find it in your website but in others website has it. So would like to confirm. Thank you.

Irysad seems to be an Indonesian (or similar) spelling of the Arabic word Irshād, which means “to guide”, “the act of guiding”. This is a good name.

IslamQA: On conspiracy theories

What are your thoughts on conspiracy theories?

According to a former US government official the CIA invented the phrase “conspiracy theory” to discredit US dissidents who criticized certain actions of the US government. It is, for example, widely known that the Roosevelt government did its best to plunge the US into World War II; they even knowingly allowed the Pearl Harbor attack to happen in order to mobilize US public opinion against the Japanese. But if someone had stated these facts in the 1940’s or 1950’s, they would have been attacked and called unpatriotic, and later they would have been called conspiracy theorists.

A very effective way of discrediting dissidents is to first call them conspiracy theorists, and second fund and promote crazy conspiracy theories about the Illuminati, aliens, ancient Egyptian technology and so on. In this way the “real” conspiracy theories are mixed with obviously false and silly theories, helping discredit them all.

So when dealing with conspiracy theories, one should remain aware of all of these facts. Just because something is a “conspiracy theory” does not mean it is false; and just because someone claims to stand up for truth and justice does not mean their crazy conspiracy theory is right. One should be skeptical and critical and try to read as widely as possible in order to be able to tell truth from falsehood.

IslamQA: The baby name Tanzima

Assalamu alaykum. What is the meaning of the name Tanzima? And is it a good name for a female child? Jazakumullah khairan.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Tanzima appears to be a feminization of the Arabic word Tanẓīm (“to put into order”, “to compose”, “to organize”). It is common in languages like Urdu to feminize Arabic words like this, but this is not done in Arabic itself. The name is appropriate to use since it has a good meaning.

IslamQA: Is covering the hair necessary when reading the Quran?

Assalamu alaykum Please I want to know it it's obligatory for Muslim women to cover their hair whenever they want to recite the Quran

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

It is not necessary to cover the hair or any other part of the body when reading the Quran as there is no legal evidence on this issue. But it is recommended to cover up as a way of respecting the Quran.


IslamQA: Question about jobs for a “Sodiq”

what are the job that Sodiq can do or train

I am not sure if you are asking about the job prospects of someone named Sodiq or whether you are asking about the type of jobs that a good Muslim can have. If the first is meant, there is nothing in Islam that tells us names have an effect on a person’s future. If the second, any job that is necessary or beneficial to the community is a good job if it does not break any of Islam’s rules.

IslamQA: Sea and water-related baby names

Are there any names with meanings related to the ocean, sea, water - I am from an island nation and I want to name my child with an element from Allah's creations that most resonates with our lives and environment

Please check out the following names:

IslamQA: A daughter’s duty to financially support her parents

Salam, I am an unmarried woman and a single child. To what extent do I have to financially provide for non-elderly parents who live way beyond their means? When they are elderly, am I expected to continue to pay for their self-imposed financially unsustainable lifestyle? Finally, if I were to become a housewife, how would financial support to my old parents work since I'd have no income and am an only child? Thank you for your time!

There are differences of opinion on the financial responsibility of a daughter toward her parents. Al-Shāfiʿī says the duty only belongs to sons, not daughters, while Abū Ḥanīfa says the duty is equally shared between sons and daughters.

The responsibility is only according to your own ability and according to your parents’ need. If they can survive without your help then anything you give to them is charity; it is not strictly a duty. If they live beyond their means, you do not have to support this but only give them enough to survive on unless you want to be generous.

If you marry, your duty is only according to the amount of money you personally have. If you have no income then you are not responsible for supporting them. However, you still have the duty of caring for your parents within your means, and if your husband would be willing to support them if you ask for it, then this is something that maybe you should look into.

Your first duty is toward yourself and your family (husband and children). Parents come after that.

Source for a daughter’s financial responsibility toward her parents:

IslamQA: Why does God let us pray for blessings when they can harm us?

Why did God give us the chance to ask anything we want when there can be a downside to it?

We already enjoy an incredible number of blessings; the very fact of existing is a blessing that cannot be repaid. It makes no difference to God to increase these blessings for us; if we submit and constantly seek His guidance then we will be safe from the downsides.

It is natural for humans to desire to have more than they already have. God does not tell us to completely suppress this desire since it is a morally neutral thing. It pleases God to give us blessings since it is a place where His attribute of the Most Generous is expressed.

IslamQA: The income of a father who works in a usurious bank

Salaam. My father works in a bank, to which we all know that no bank is free from usury. When I have enough courage to tell him that his job involves usury, he made an excuse that it is totally fine. My question is, does this make his effort to make a living for the family haraam or will God Forgive him for trying to sustain his family?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

It is your father’s duty to seek other employment. The money he earns is not entirely haram, it is a mix of halal and haram since the income of a bank comes from various sources, both halal and haram.

As for you benefiting from that money, according to a fatwa from the Qatari Fatwa Authority it is permitted for the child to benefit from such income since it is a mix of halal and haram. Benefiting from mixed parental income is not clearly forbidden in Islam, although you should try to encourage him to purify his income.

As for whether God accepts his excuses and forgives him, this depends on his intentions and his ability to find other jobs. If he prefers working at a bank because that is where he can make the most profit, then that is more morally condemnable than if he has no other job prospects.


IslamQA: Responding to insults against the Prophet PBUH

Brother, I wanted to ask if Muslims are offended when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is being mocked, how should we respond to it? Is it correct if we condemn the person mocking or do we have to stay calm and brush it off?

The Quran’s message is clear with regards to dealing with such situations; we should ignore them and turn away from them. No good is served by getting upset and condemning the person(s), since this will only make them feel more powerful. Since they do not have the decency to respect what we consider holy and sacred, they will enjoy the feeling that they are causing us anger and upset.

They are those whom God knows what is in their hearts. So ignore them, and admonish them, and say to them concerning themselves penetrating words.

The Quran, verse 4:63.

When you encounter those who gossip about Our revelations, turn away from them, until they engage in another topic. But should Satan make you forget, do not sit after the recollection with the wicked people.

The Quran, verse 6:68.

Follow what was revealed to you from your Lord. There is no god but He. And turn away from the polytheists.

The Quran, verse 6:106.

Be tolerant, and command decency, and turn away from the ignorant.

The Quran, verse 7:199.

So proclaim openly what you are commanded, and turn away from the polytheists.

The Quran, verse 15:94

IslamQA: Learning martial arts in mixed-sex company

Assalamu'alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh. Hello, I'm a South East Asian Muslim women. I have a question, and hopefully you'd answer. Is it okay for me to learn martial arts? If so, then would it be permitted for a male teacher to teach me (side note: we learn it in group, not private one-on-one), while martial arts is a full physical thing and, one thing for sure, that we will come in contact with non-mahrams? Also, I have contacted a sunna-based martial arts teacher (Aikido, with Islamic principle of male and female not able to train or spar due to avoid physical contact with the opposite sexes), but they replied that the female teacher is currently not available. It is rare to have a female martial arts teacher. Due to such matter, can I just choose whatever martial arts dojo (place for training) regardless of the principle? The general manner of the people in my country is welcoming and caring, both men and women, so my personal opinion is that I'm safe enough to learn from male teachers. but I'm still unsure. What do you reckon? Pardon the long explanation and thank you very much for taking your time and I respect whatever opinion you have to offer regarding this.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There are no strict rules in Islam regarding the mixing of the sexes in public spaces. If the atmosphere of the dojo is respectful and dignified, then there is no reason why you cannot join it as a woman provided that this is something socially acceptable in your culture and approved by your parents and relatives.

Regarding touching between the sexes during lessons, this should be avoided.

IslamQA: Using the name “Niam” for boys

Hi, I would like to know if the name Niam can also be used for boys. On your website it says it's a girls name, but on other websites I see it's a boys name. What determines if a name is for a boy or girl? Kind regards


It is only social and cultural customs that determine whether a name is for boys or girls. In some places for example a name is mostly used for boys while in others the same name is used mostly for girls. There is no religious ruling about this; it is your own choice based on where you live. I searched online and it looks like Niam is used for boys in Indonesia.

IslamQA: The morality and immorality of sexual fantasies

Sexual fantasies is not the same thing as having a "wet dream" where you are literally asleep and can't control your dreams. To fantasise means your are leading your thoughts to imagine and visualise and thus stimulate yourself. To entertain such thinking is not moral and thus not normal or healthy. Instead of answering hormones as if they are moral we should understand what sex really is and that only via romantic love does it ever serve a moral purpose. Train the libido, do not pander to it.

Also, by that reasoming, hormonal state excuses what we think or do. I am sorry but that is grossly irresponsible a thought. God made us capable of choosing what we say or do irregardles of how we may feel or how our hormones behave. What about bipolar? A hypomanic episode doesn't mean they lose their mind and no longer understand right from wrong. Your libido kicking up does not excuse what you CHOOSE TO DO. Our hormones are a part of God testing us, not excusing us doing something immoral.

Having sexual fantasies is not normal or healthy. And further more they are not necessary.Our hormones may act out but that doesn't mean you need to reply to them with the wrong answer.Your libido raising up doesn't mean you have to answer it. That is like saying a woman has to eat chocolate because their hormones are making them crave something fatty. I have that "emotion" and I ignore it because eating a ton load of chocolate isn't healthy, and it isn't what I really want.

When my libido raises I just ignore it and it goes away. Don't obsess over it. Ignoring it is not hard when you truly understands it has no value without a truly loved and wanted significant other. Entertaining a fantasy is just as bad as if one had done it. The imagination is a powerful thing, what God gave us is no joke. Any sexual act outside of us being with the person we romantically love and are willingly engaging with is not necessary. Do something good to get rid of that energy.

We sadly live in a world where sex is constantly given a value and role it does not deserve. Partly because people do not actually understand sex. It truly isn't the biggest way to express love or to feel good. Beauty shouldn't be the ignition to want intimacy, love should be, love born from knowing someone for who they are. People raised by other flawed people to think love is sex and beauty equals sex, instead of being taught love is so much more than the extra of sex….

..God granted us to enjoy with our significant other. People are raised to think sex is everything and thus people behave like it is, and it absolutely isn't. Raised to act on every feeling they have "do what ever you feel like doing, do not challenge yourself or master your body and mind". God tests us in so many ways, our bodies are one way. We are supposed to deny the impulse to do wrong, just because one has a hormonal spike such as this does not excuse one, we aren't animals.

To entertain sexual fantasies really is dirtying oneself, it is no better than masturbation.What should be a beautiful and intimate act meant to happen, if it is meant to happen, with your loving spouse, is turned to just another act of self indulgence and blind lust. The imagination is so SO powerful, it is very real. God gave it as a gift for good, not this.Raise people to be strong not weak. This is not a place to say that God only gives us what we can bear,

God does not make us fantasise. Us fantasising is us choosing to fantasise. We take something normal like a libido and we feed it with our chosen thoughts. If we simply ignore the libido the libido is not a burden but a mere passing hormonal occurrence. It is part of the normal hormonal cycle yes, but it does not need to be met like thirsting for water is needing to be met.

With how we perceive things we lower our libido's activity, if one constantly answer their libido with fantasies the libidos activity is prolonged. If one thinks a woman/man is a walking talking reminder of sex, their libido is constantly awakened. When the libido is not pandered to it goes away quickly. If one has problem with the libido passing they can find healthy ways to make it pass like exercising.

If the libido is very high, then it may speak of hormonal imbalance, even mental health issues such as bipolar, one should be directed to consult a doctor and receive help. The libido or our hormones in general shouldn't be treated as an force that we must surrender to and let choose for us above free will. The body has hormonal responses both independent and soul bound (example, hormonal imbalance caused feeling of unhappiness vs. unhappy event+understanding said event= feeling truly unhappy).

Example, an aware bipolar patient recognises the manic episodes as completely not their own emotions and purely as "hormonal emotions", and the soul, the sentience, is feeling its own feelings, but the body is in mania and produces hormones of euforic happiness and even aggression. The patient still has a choice, knowing right from wrong, they refrain from the bad and steer towards the good. God has given the greatest aid besides the second aid of medication, Knowledge of Him, of what is Right.

By these I try to give examples of the soul triumphing over the test. One must want to do good for God and thus learn Right from wrong and act upon Right no matter what. To say no way but God's way will do, in every matter.When we know right, understand right, act upon it, we become better and can recognise far better what is truly us, who God made us to be, and what we shouldn't be doing. Ultimately we choose what we do, the sentient creation who follows Sentience Himself Who teaches us Right

Thank you for your time if you read all these asks, I felt compelled to say something on the matter. Salam.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I understand your position. To me it is about a cost-benefit analysis: I believe that teaching people to obsess about the wrongness of sexual fantasies is more harmful than teaching them it is a morally neutral thing.

Since we do not have any clear texts on the moral wrongness of sexual fantasies, and since the brain has a strong natural tendency to generate sexual fantasies during the right physiological state, the balanced position is tell people not to worry about it.

Every strict moral ruling we create adds to the cost of religion, until a point comes when a person feels the religion is too demanding, inhuman, and irrelevant to their own inner experience. So I believe telling young people to feel guilty about giving in to sexual fantasies does more harm than good. When it comes to something neutral like this, the path we take should be one of easing things rather than making things more difficult.

Note that I do not recommend religious laxity just to make religion sound more easy to people. As I discuss in my essay The Philosophy of Pornography and Masturbation, since we have good reasons to consider pornography and masturbation wrong, we can take a strict stance toward them. But as for sexual fantasies, I am not at all convinced that a strict stance would be helpful.