IslamQA

Answers to questions on Islamic topics. Ask a Question.

IslamQA: Does it make you a bad Muslim to have doubts about Islam?

Salaam, I read Quran daily, pray 5x on time and read durood. Yet sometimes I get these terrible thoughts and doubts about Islam and I don't want these thoughts. I am terrified that I am hard hearted and Allah will be unhappy with me. Jazak khair Allah for any advice

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

That’s perfectly natural. I have read many books by atheists and they would occasionally make me doubt things. Just keep sincerely asking God for His guidance and He will find the right way to guide you. That’s all you need, a sincere desire to seek the truth, and the humility to ask God for guidance.

IslamQA: How to be hard on yourself and easy on others

Salam, I know there’s an idea that you should be hard on yourself and easy on those around you. How can/do you identify when you’re being too easy on yourself? Should the majority of my life be focused on self improvement? I feel like I’ve dedicated a lot of time to this but it hasn’t really been all that successful and I also don’t like treating myself like some sort of self improvement project.. if you have any insight on this, how we should consider ourselves and our actions, wud appreciate

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

If you find out a friend committed a sin, you should be willing to forgive them immediately. But our own sins should be more serious to us. And while you can accept it of others to not read the Quran much or pray tahajjud, you should try to do these things yourself daily. Put yourself through the hardship of worship and God will ease other things in your life for you. This has been my experience.

Best wishes.

IslamQA: Is looking at celebrity pictures spying?

Assalamualaikum, is reading and looking at pictures of celebrities spying?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

If the pictures are taken in public places or shared by the celebrities themselves then no. But if the photographer had to spy on them to take the photo, then yes, you would be engaging in spying by looking at the photos.

Assalamualaikum, thanks for the answer about seeing pictures of public figures, just to clarify does this mean public events that they attend or just pictures of them generally in public? Sorry for asking so much about this, this kind of thing is just not usually talked about.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

It just means pictures of them in public places, rather than pictures taken secretly when they were expecting privacy, as in pictures of them secretly taken when they were at home.

IslamQA: Is it permitted for Muslims to enjoy Christmas songs?

Assalamualaikum. I grew up watching a lot of cartoons and I still really like them because to me, animation is like a fusion of storytelling and illustrating (2 of my favourite things). So, I remembered watching Barbie in A Christmas Carol and took a liking in Christmas songs; like Jingle Bells and We Wish You A Merry Christmas. I didn't know the songs' meaning that time, so I thought it was okay.

But, I found that I still like their melodies and listen to them occasionally although I already knew the meaning. So, is it forbidden to listen to Christmas songs? I’m not exactly sure what’s my intention, but I always see it as a childhood memory. But if it’s forbidden, I’ll try to stop. Thank you 😀

I can’t think of any explicit teaching in the Quran or Sunna that would forbid that. The Prophet PBUH did recommend at a few times not to engage in behaviors in which a Muslim copied non-Muslims for no good reason. I loved Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and have no issue with reading it again myself. But I cannot really say if listening to Christmas songs is OK or not. I don’t mind it if they come on on the TV. But to actually seek them out to listen to them, I think it’s just a matter between you and God. It seems like an innocent enough pleasure to me, and I’m sure God is intelligent and sensitive enough to know that you mean no harm by it. But maybe don’t do it before other Muslims or tell them you do that since they may doubt your faith. And probably avoiding it altogether is the better choice just to avoid doing things that may be in a gray area.

IslamQA: Are savings accounts halal if you give away the interest in charity?

Assalamualaikum, most reputable banks near me gives interest for a savings account, there are 2 Muslim banks but they don't have the best customer service reviews. I need to open a savings account but I don't want any Interest attached. A Muslim friend of mine with the same issue opened an account but records the amount of interest added each time and doesn't spend that amount. Is this allowed? Jzk

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Why not just keep it in a checking account? Unfortunately even when keeping money in a checking account, we are still involved in usury because the bank uses the money to make interest-bearing loans to other customers. So ideally we should use Islamic banks if this option is available at all.

It is not considered a good thing to do anything that earns interest even if you give away the interest in charity. But if a person has no choice, then it is permitted to do so and give the money away.

Another option would be to keep the money in a mutual fund that earns money from Islamic bonds, such as the Azzad Wise Capital Fund (WISEX). This in general has higher earnings than savings accounts and helps fund halal projects, but it is slightly riskier, although nowhere as risky as investing in stocks. To invest in WISEX, you just need a free account from a site like TD Ameritrade, then you can deposit money into the account and “buy” shares in the mutual fund. It can all be done online.

IslamQA: Can we give sadaqa (alms) to non-Muslims?

Salam, brother! my question is whether we can give alms, sadqa to non Muslims? or is it obligatory to be given to only Muslims?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Absolutely, we are required to take care of the needy regardless of their religion. The only controversial issue is whether the obligatory zakat alms can be given to non-Muslims. It is generally believed that Muslims should be given preference when it comes to giving zakat, but if there are non-Muslims in extreme need then they too can be given it to save their lives.

But when it comes to ordinary charity, we can give it to anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim, and for any cause that is meant to make the world a better place.

References:

IslamQA: Can women do dhikr without hijab?

Brother 1. Can women do tasbeeh and tahleel and adhkar without covering the head? 2. Also i have often heard people say that you go to Kaaba by invitation. You will ONLY go for Hajj when invited by Allah. Is that true?

Yes, women can do all of those and also read Quran without wearing hijab. A woman should only cover up for salah. Regarding being “invited” by God, it just means that when God wants you to go, then He will make the means possible. And if He doesn’t want you to go, then there is no power in the world that can make it possible.

IslamQA: How long does maghrib last?

How long does maghrib last? For example here in the uk sunset is at 3:51. For whatever reason something delayed us would praying at say half 4 still be valid?

Maghrib lasts from sunset to the end of the evening twilight (i.e. until the time of the Isha athan). The time in which the maghrib prayer is valid is usually a little over an hour after the maghrib athan.

IslamQA: The Islamic view of the Netflix series The Messiah (Dajjal)

Salam! Have you seen the new series netflix trailer called 'the messiah"? They're apparently making a show about Dajjal!

Second question: What is your take on the Netflix trailer of a show called messiah which people are saying it’s about the Dajjal? a lot of negative reactions and people saying they are scared, but Allah already told us about this

I think they are just trying to make money. I do not consider Dajjal important and I am skeptical of most of the hadiths about him, so he is the last thing I would worry about. I hope to one day do a thorough study of the hadiths to find out what exactly the truly authentic hadiths tell us about him. Most of the hadiths are rather low quality, so most of what you have heard about Dajjal is probably just superstition, fabrications and things learned from Christians about the anti-Christ.

IslamQA: Is meat from Christians halal?

I'm a revert and my parents always cook non halal meat for dinner (no pork). A somali brother said to me it's ok as it's "christian" meat. What can I do? because out of respect and manners I eat it. Doesn't this invalidate my salah or du'a?

Unfortunately meat and poultry from Christians is not halal because they do not follow Biblical laws on food. Only meat that is kosher-certified (”halal” for practicing Jews) is also halal to Muslims. So any meat or poultry in the West that’s not certified halal or kosher is unlawful for Muslims to eat according to the European Council for Fatwa and Research, and I prefer their opinion. They studied the way animals and birds are slaughtered in Western countries and found out that the methods used do not satisfy Islamic requirements. Only kosher and halal-certified meat and poultry satisfy Islam’s requirements.

The only relevant opinion I can find on the issue of whether one’s prayer will be valid is by the 19th century Maliki jurist Muhammad al-Desouki, who says that if someone eats pork by mistake, they should try to throw it up if it is still in their stomach, otherwise their prayer will not be valid. But if the meat has passed the stomach, the person’s prayer will be valid since there is nothing they can do about it.

You can try to find halal or kosher butchers in your city and ask your family to get their meat from there.

Best wishes.

IslamQA: The proper way to sit during salah and where to gaze during tashahhud

Salam! I have two questions about prayer: during tashahud, do you have to look at your raised finger and does not looking invalidates the prayer? What about the tashahud position: do you have to sit on your left foot? I find that that position difficult and I've always sat on my both crossed feet, is that wrong? Thanks!

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There are different opinions on that and I prefer the Maliki opinion that there is no need to look at the finger during tashahhud, and I prefer the opinion that we can look comfortably ahead and down (such as at the place where we put our foreheads at prostration, although it doesn’t have to be strictly there, just whatever is most comfortable).

As for the sitting position, it is permitted to sit in any comfortable position as long as it generally resembles the common way people sit in the prayer. So according to Imam al-Nawawi and others there is no issue with sitting on your crossed feet, which is in fact what I do. Sitting on the left foot is considered Sunna, it is not obligatory.

References:

IslamQA: Is it bad to get doubts about Islam?

Salaam, I read Quran daily, pray 5x on time and read durood. Yet sometimes I get these terrible thoughts and doubts about Islam and I don't want these thoughts. I am terrified that I am hard hearted and Allah will be unhappy with me. Jazak khair Allah for any advice

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

That’s perfectly natural. I have read many books by atheists and they would occasionally make me doubt things. Just keep sincerely asking God for His guidance and He will find the right way to guide you. That’s all you need, a sincere desire to seek the truth, and the humility to ask God for guidance.

IslamQA: Is it permitted to listen to Christmas songs?

Assalamualaikum. I grew up watching a lot of cartoons and I still really like them because to me, animation is like a fusion of storytelling and illustrating (2 of my favourite things). So, I remembered watching Barbie in A Christmas Carol and took a liking in Christmas songs; like Jingle Bells and We Wish You A Merry Christmas. I didn't know the songs' meaning that time, so I thought it was okay. [p1][p2]But, I found that I still like their melodies and listen to them occasionally although I already knew the meaning. So, is it forbidden to listen to Christmas songs? I’m not exactly sure what’s my intention, but I always see it as a childhood memory. But if it’s forbidden, I’ll try to stop. Thank you 😀

I can’t think of any explicit teaching in the Quran or Sunna that would forbid that. The Prophet PBUH did recommend at a few times not to engage in behaviors in which a Muslim copied non-Muslims for no good reason. I loved Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and have no issue with reading it again myself. But I cannot really say if listening to Christmas songs is OK or not. I don’t mind it if they come on on the TV. But to actually seek them out to listen to them, I think it’s just a matter between you and God. It seems like an innocent enough pleasure to me, and I’m sure God is intelligent and sensitive enough to know that you mean no harm by it. But maybe don’t do it before other Muslims or tell them you do that since they may doubt your faith. And probably avoiding it altogether is the better choice just to avoid doing things that may be in a gray area.

IslamQA: Meaning of taqwa

Salam. Please explain about تقوى

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

It just means to be “cautious” about God, meaning that you keep His presence in mind so that you act respectfully toward this presence, for example by not committing sins.

IslamQA: Is it permitted to recite Quran on graves?

What are the etiquettes of visiting graves? on two separate Islamic websites one says it is permissible to recite Quran and on another it says this is not permissible.

The etiquette is to treat the grave with respect, as if you are dealing with a living and hearing person, such as by saying salam when you approach the grave. Reciting Quran on graves is permitted according to the mainstream scholarly opinion (which I prefer).

References:

IslamQA: Is it permissible for a daughter to dislike her father?

All fathers do a lot for their daughters even after they get married. In our culture it is a way to keep respect of ur daughter at her in laws. But my father didn't even give me dowry and now he doesn't even give a penny after marriage. Even if I tell him u humiliate me in front of my in laws by doing this. He says I'm not his duty anymore. I despise him for this. am I wrong or my father? can't I despise him for this and all of his other agonizing treatments that he has done with me and my mama?

I’m sorry that your father is like that. It is true that legally he is not required to give you money (since you have a husband now), but it is highly dishonorable for him to think that this means he can just forget about your needs.

You are free how you think of your father, and you are not required to control your feelings toward him. You are only required to not cut ties with him, to be as respectful as you can be when dealing with him, and to do what you can for his welfare (whether he deserves any of these things or not). Consider these things acts of charity that God will reward you for (inshaAllah). If you feel he doesn’t deserve these things, that makes the charity even greater.

Best wishes.

IslamQA: Should parents scold a child who doesn’t pray?

Salamu alaikum. I have a friend whom confided in me and wants to ask two questions to you: 1) Is it appropriate of a mother to scold her children for not praying on time, while she never taught her children about religion properly since their parents were gone to work and left their children with a babysitter at home; 2) How far can a parent force a religion to their children, if all the children's life are shown how their parents aren't giving constant good example of establishing it?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I discuss that issue in detail in my essay Why Your Teenager Hates You. We can only lead our children by example. We cannot force them to practice it. And whether they practice Islam or not, we are required to continue to love them and take care of them.

I don’t think scolding or shaming them will do much good. We should give them the freedom to discover and appreciate Islam on their own. Once we reassure them every day that we will love them whether they end up religious or not, they will be much more likely to want to follow our example.

IslamQA: How to know which Islamic banks to trust

Salam brother. There has been a mushroon growth of islamic banks in the muslim world both arab and non arab countries. We as laymen, dont know if their mechanism are "really" islamic. We dont know behind the scence it is just riba by another name although they get fatwas from islamic scholars of the country who endorse those banks too. Is it ok to trust them and do banking on these banks??? Jazak Allah

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

You just have to research the specific bank to find out how good they are. If they have the support of many respected scholars then you can trust them. But if they only have one random scholar’s fatwa then I wouldn’t trust that. So Al Rayan Bank in the UK seems pretty legitimate due to all the scholarly support they have.

IslamQA: The story of how I met my wife

Tell us the romantic tale of how you met your wife 😊 Masha'Allah you seem so happy!

We met on OpenDiary, a social media site where we made diary entries daily. That was in 2007. We married when I was 19 and she 23. I was unfortunately extremely immature at the time, so it took me many years to become a reasonably good husband. This is why I recommend women should prefer men older than 25. With age men become more gentle and mature (hopefully). Alhamdulillah our relationship is almost perfect now, I cannot think of any way it could be better. The biggest thing I’ve learned is to always treat her the way I want to be treated. Since she has the same attitude, we can work through any problem. I don’t think we have had a single argument in the past many years. She knows I do not differentiate between her interests and mine, and I know she is the same way.

IslamQA: Children who remember past lives

Salam! Could you please watch the YT video called '10 Mysterious Kids Who Remember Their Past Lives' and explain how this phenomenon is explained from an Islamic point of view? Do you think there are jinn involved?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I have read about that, and there was this very interesting Reddit discussion where people mentioned their children remembering past lives. One child remembered someone’s plane crash who lived in a different state and had no relationship with their family.

Islam as far as I know has nothing explicit to tell us about this phenomenon. We believe our souls exist outside the universe. This is the only way to have free will, if we were parts of the universe we would have always responded to our instincts. But by having souls that are outside the universe, the souls can make brand new decisions that have nothing to do with their circumstances. So even if everything around us makes us want to commit a crime, we always maintain a bit of independence that enables us to overcome these forces and avoid the crime. So maybe these souls that exist outside the universe have a way of communicating together that we don’t know about.