IslamQA: Muslim women may bare their arms if necessary for work

According to a fatwa by the Islamic Moroccan Council in Scandinavia, Muslim women working as nurses are permitted to bare their arms if necessitated by their workplaces. Below are some of the main points from their fatwa:

  • It is widely agreed by scholars that the Islamic dress code for women requires covering the entire body except for the face and hands.
  • The great Ḥanafī jurist Qāḍi Abū Yūsuf permitted Muslim women to bare their arms when they performed jobs that required it, such as working as kitchen aids and laundry workers.
  • There is no strong evidence that prohibits Muslim women to keep their arms covered in all circumstances. The evidence permits for making exceptions when absolutely necessary.
  • The harm to Muslim women in being prohibited from working in healthcare is much greater than the harm of their baring their arms.
  • There is a hadith in Ṣaḥīh al-Bukhārī which mentions Muslim men and women performing wuḍūʾ (ablution) together, which implies that Muslim women bared their arms in front of men for that purpose. There are other authentic narrations that mention groups of Muslim men and women all performing ablution using the same water container (some say that this was before the hijab was made obligatory, but the hadiths do not say that).
  • There is an authentic narration that mentions a woman who was neither a wife nor close relative of the Prophet PBUH performing ablution side by side with him using the same water container.
  • The narrations that some people use to refute the above narrations are unathentic.
  • Baring the arms is not a very important matter and it is not worth a woman losing her job over it.


IslamQA: Muslim women are permitted to work outside the home

According to a fatwa on the website IslamOnline (which is overseen by the respected Egyptian scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi), it is permitted for Muslim women to work outside the home. Below are some points from the fatwa. A link to the full (Arabic) fatwa is at the end of this article.

  • Muslim women are permitted to work outside the home because she is a full human and enjoys all the rights that come with that, and because there is no clear text in the Quran or hadith that forbids this.
  • Working outside the home for a woman is not only permitted, it can also be a religiously desired thing based on her circumstances.
  • Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, used to help her husband with taking care of his horses.
  • Muslim society as a whole has a need for certain types of female professionals, such as female doctors and teachers. Society is therefore strongly encouraged by Islam to produce at least some female doctors and teachers.
  • A married woman’s career should not conflict with her duties toward her children and husband.


IslamQA: Why do Muslims use Jewish names?

Salaam,my mom said after she gave birth to me she named me "Yakup" after that she said she fall asleep and she saw a dream,she said "I was in water and there was a lot of people in the water with her too,water was so clean and then everybody told me" Look that's prophet Yakup" and I turn my back and I saw prophet Yakup and he smiled at me" what does it mean? Can you tell,we are Muslim but my mom gave me Jewish prophet name and I love my name...

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I have no knowledge of dream interpretation. As for your name, Yusuf (Joseph) and Isa (Jesus) are also Jewish name and millions of Muslims use them. Since they were all God’s prophets, we consider them all to belong to the same nation as ourselves:

And Ishmael, and Enoch, and Ezekiel; each was one of the steadfast.

And We admitted them into Our mercy. They were among the righteous.

And Jonah, when he stormed out in fury, thinking We had no power over him. But then He cried out in the darkness, “There is no god but You! Glory to You! I was one of the wrongdoers!”

So We answered him, and saved him from the affliction. Thus We save the faithful.

And Zechariah, when he called out to his Lord, “My Lord, do not leave me alone, even though you are the Best of heirs.”

So We answered him, and gave him John. And We cured his wife for him. They used to vie in doing righteous deeds, and used to call on Us in love and awe, and they used to humble themselves to Us.

And she who guarded her virginity. We breathed into her of Our spirit, and made her and her son a sign to the world.

This nation of yours is one nation, and I am your Lord, so worship Me.

But they splintered themselves into factions. They will all return to Us.

Whoever does righteous deeds, and is a believer, his effort will not be denied. We are writing it down for him. (The Quran, verses 21:85-94)

IslamQA: Do you have to pray witr in order to pray tahajjud?

Salaam, do you have to pray witr in order to pray tahajjud? or can we skip it and just wake up for tahajjud

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

The witr prayer is meant to be the last prayer of the night before the fajr prayer. You do not have to pray witr in order to pray tahajjud, and ideally witr should be prayed after tahajjud. But it is permissible to pray witr, go to bed, then wake up for tahajjud as mentioned in this previous answer.

IslamQA: Can a Muslim enter Paradise if they do not pray?

If a Muslim doesn't pray but they are a good person will they still go to jannah?

There is no simple answer to that question. According to a fatwa from IslamOnline, those who abandon the prayer are two types of people:

  • Those who abandon it because they reject the Quran’s teachings and do not consider its commandments binding. Such people are considered disbelievers/apostates by the majority of scholars and there is little hope that such people will be forgiven by God.
  • Those who abandon the prayer out of weakness of character, laziness, busyness with other things and being overwhelmed by worldly concerns and desires while feeling guilty about it and wishing that they prayed. Such a person is a great sinner but they are not disbelievers according to many scholar. Therefore there is more hope for them.

The first type of person rejects the prayer out of arrogance and pride (they think they know better than the Quran or that the Quran does not deserve to be followed), while the second type of person is not exactly rejecting the prayer but neglecting it.

The Quran says:

On the Day when the Shin will be exposed, and they will be called to bow down, but they will be unable. Their eyes subdued, shame will cover them. They were invited to bow down when they were sound. (The Quran, verses 68:42-43)

The Quran also makes abandoning the prayer a sign of disbelief:

And when it is said to them, “Kneel [in prayer]”, they do not kneel. Woe on that Day to the rejecters. (The Quran, verses 77:48-49)

However, we also have hadith narrations like the following:

A bedouin came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and asked him, "O Messenger of Allah, what are the two imperatives which lead to Paradise or Hell". He (ﷺ) replied, "He who dies without associating anything with Allah will enter Paradise, and he who dies associating partners with Allah will enter the Fire". (Sahih Muslim 92)

So that matter is not simple. A person who abandons the prayer exposes themselves to a great danger, but ultimately their judgment is with God and He will decide what to do about each individual.


IslamQA: 30 years old, Muslim and hopeless about life

Assalamu alaikum. I am a 30 year old male from the USA. I fear that Allah has abandoned me. He has given me test after test for years now. I am a good, practicing Muslim, I am involved in my community and do good work. I am without a spouse and fear I never will obtain such. I do not have any hope for the future. I cannot deal with this pain and hardship anymore. My only options are to continue to suffer living this hell of a life or end my life and have an eternity of hell.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Sorry to read about your situation. It sounds like you suffer from depression, which can be caused by loneliness, neglect and trauma during childhood, or other things. I recommend that you see a mental health professional. The right treatment and medications can help you feel good enough to work to change your situation. Another thing that could help is having a friend that you talk to daily. Having close friends can significantly reduce depression and increase the joy you take in life. I will be happy to be your friend. Send me your phone number and I will add you on WhatsApp and we can talk more there.

Also check out my two essays below:

God has not abandoned you

Islam and Depression: A Survival Guide

IslamQA: Should one support one’s mother or grandmother in a conflict?

Asalam aliekum my mom is not nice to my grandma, should i support my mom or my grandma.what does islam say on this, please reply as family is going through lot of stress

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Sorry to read about your difficult situation. The Quran says:

As for those who believed afterwards, and emigrated and struggled with you—these belong with you. And as for family members, some of them are nearer than the others in the Book of God. God is Cognizant of everything. (The Quran, verse 8:75)

The above verse and others and hadith narrations all tell us that our duties toward family members increase with their degree of closeness. So you have a greater duty toward your mother than your grandmother.

But the Quran also says:

O you who believe! Stand firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even if against yourselves, or your parents, or your relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, God takes care of both. So do not follow your desires, lest you swerve. If you deviate, or turn away—then God is Aware of what you do.

So we should try to balance our duties toward family members with our duty toward truth and justice. If your mother is unjust to your grandmother, do your best to avoid supporting her in this injustice. And if it is more just to support your grandmother, do it in a way that avoids upsetting your mother. Try to keep good relations with both of them (which I know can be difficult when you have to make a choice between two relatives).

IslamQA: Can you perform the prayer (salah) according to the Quran alone?

Assalamualaikum,I want to start namaz,but I want to make my namaz according to the Qur'an,I am not one that fits the sects,only the Qur'an, Allah and the Prophet.I see as my guide,the Quran is not mentioned very clearly from namaz, the number of rakats and prayers to be read is not said.So that's mean that I can do it on my own? Can I read which prayer I want and how many rakats I want to do? According to the sects the namaz confuses my mind and makes me forget that I worship Allah

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There is no way to perform the prayer (namāz / ṣalāh) according to the Quran alone because God intentionally left out its details in order for us to learn it from the Prophet PBUH. The Quran says:

So obey God, and obey the Messenger. But if you turn away—it is only incumbent on Our Messenger to deliver the clear message. (The Quran, verse 64:12)

Think about why the details of the prayer are not in the Quran. God could have placed them in the Quran but He did not. The lesson from this is that we should rely on the non-Quranic evidence for finding out the details of the prayer. Of course the non-Quranic evidence is not perfect, but it is extremely unwise to just throw it all out because it is not perfect. It is imperfect, but there is sufficient guidance in it to teach you how to pray properly.

God does not ask you to do the impossible. Learn the prayer from a respected source and follow it and that is sufficient. But if you simply abandon the proper way to perform the prayer because the sources are not perfect then God will not accept this excuse of you. On the Day of Judgment He can always point to the hundreds of millions of Muslims who prayed properly because they humbly chose to follow the Prophet’s teachings PBUH rather than rejecting it just because there are differences about it.

You can check out the way the Maliki school performs the prayer (maybe get Asad Tarsin’s Being Muslim which follows the Maliki school). While the other schools are based on the Quran and hadith, the Maliki school follows something additional called ʿamal, which refers to the way the people of Medina practiced Islam during the time of Imam Malik (who lived one generation away from the Companions of Prophet Muhammad PBUH). This ʿamal is information (recorded in Maliki sources like al-Muwaṭṭaʾ) about practicing Islam is taken from thousands of the descendants of the Companions who lived in Medina at that time and continued to practice Islam as it was taught to them by their parents and grandparents. Since this record is based on the actual practice of thousands of early Muslims rather than on transmitted hadiths, it does not suffer from any doubt on its authenticity simply because it is incredibly unlikely that thousands of people all continuously practicing Islam would somehow forget the proper way to do things like performing the prayer.

I do not consider myself a Maliki person exactly but I consider ʿamal a valid and important form of evidence on the proper way to practice Islam.

IslamQA: Why is there little mention of mental illness in Islam?

Assalamualaikum, why is there so little mention of mental illness in Islam? Even though I know the science for it, since Islam hardly mentions it whenever I feel depressed or anxiety unexplainably I feel it is somehow invalid because Allah swt didnt comment on it much? I think especially depression and anxiety is becoming increasingly prevalent amongst people these days, do you have any idea why this could be? Or is it our new awareness of it that makes it seem like the rate is increasing? Jzk

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There is little mention of any kind of illness in Islam. From the Islamic perspective illness, whether physical or mental, is part of the hardships and tests of life similar to poverty. Islam gives us enough guidance to be successful in seeking the afterlife, leaving everything else to our own thinking and creativity.

I have never considered the Quran’s silence on mental illness as somehow invalidating the struggles of people who suffer from it. God knows us better than anyone else and knows our struggles and sympathizes with us. Trusting in His mercy and compassion is sufficient for us to trust that He is aware of what we go through and will make it a cause for the expiation of our sins.

Narrated `Abdullah: I visited Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) while he was suffering from a high fever. I said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! You have a high fever." He said, "Yes, I have as much fever as two men of you." I said, "Is it because you will have a double reward?" He said, "Yes, it is so. No Muslim is afflicted with any harm, even if it were the prick of a thorn, but that Allah expiates his sins because of that, as a tree sheds its leaves." (Sahih al-Bukhari 5648)

One important reason why depression and anxiety is increasing is that families are becoming smaller. Studies show that the more siblings you have, the lower your chances of getting depression will be. By having fewer relatives around us we are deprived from the chance of having that one close relative whom we can trust and rely on, and this leads to feelings of loneliness and neglect, which leads to high inflammation and stress hormone levels. And if this state goes on for years, a person can slowly lose their hope in life, become depressed and also get physical illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. For more on this you can check out the book Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by the scientist John T. Cacioppo and Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score.

As Muslims, we can benefit from all the scientific information that is out there about depression, while also benefiting from the hope and consolation that Islamic spirituality brings us (as I discuss in my essay Islam and Depression: A Survival Guide).

Best wishes.

IslamQA: Do eye drops break the fast?

Hello, does using eye drops break the fasting?

There are different opinions on whether eye drops break the fast or not. The Mālikī and Ḥanbalī opinion is that it breaks the fast. The major Ḥanafī scholars believe it does not break the fast. According to Dr. Ali Gomaa (Egypt’s Grand Mufti from 2003 to 2013) says that the Ḥanafī and Shāfiʿī opinion is that it is permissible. He issued a fatwa saying that eye drops do not break the fast even if the person senses a taste in their mouths from the eye drops. However, the Jordianian Fatwa Authority (representing the Shāfiʿī school) issued a fatwa saying eye drops break the fast.

Due to the differences of opinion on this, it is best to avoid it using eye drops when fasting.


IslamQA: Should a person watch erotic videos to avoid sex outside of marriage?

Salaam,I'm 19 years old,I hope this is not sounds dirty or weird but I don't wanna do zina and I don't want to marry,but I have to do something so I'm watching erotic videos,is it sin? But if I don't watch these I know I will do some bad things,so I'm rather watching erotic videos,is it sin? If it is what can I do?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Please see the following answer where I discuss the philosophical reason why watching pornography and reading erotica is wrong and should be avoided. The reasoning is not merely Islamic, it transcends religion and applies to all people: Is reading erotica permitted in Islam?

As for what you should do: do your best to avoid obscene pleasures. Islam does not ask you to do the impossible. If you fail and give in to your desire, move on as soon as you can and do something good to make up for it (such reading Quran and other acts of worship). There is no final solution for this as long as you are young and have strong sexual urges. But giving in to these urges will always have a negative on your character. There is no way to normalize this so that you can enjoy obscene pleasures while also remaining a deeply spiritual and self-respecting person. The two are opposed and cannot coexist in a person. If you want to maintain your dignity and self-respect, do your best to enhance your spiritual side by dedicating an hour of every day to extra worship (such as by performing tahajjud or reading Quran). The stronger your spiritual side becomes the easier it will become to resist temptations.

But even if you do that you will likely still fail sometimes and give in to the temptations. But what makes the difference between an admirable young Muslim and a failed one is that the admirable one continues to resist and does not let their character be defeated. With every failure they will work to rebuild their character through working to reconnect with God.

Best wishes.

IslamQA: The Islamic ruling on aborting a fetus after four months to save the mother’s life

Salam, I know that abortion is allowed in Islam before 4 months of pregnancy. But after 4 months, it is not permitted even if there is absolute certainty that the mother will die if she continues with the pregnancy. How can this be? What about the mother's other children? Why must the mother face certain death for an unborn child which may or may not even be healthy at birth?

Abortion before 4 months is somewhere between strong disliked and prohibited (rather than allowed), unless there is a strong justification for it (please see this previous answer for details).

As for aborting a fetus after four months, this is permitted if it is medically shown to be necessary to save the mother’s life. This is according to a fatwa on IslamOnline, a website that is overseen by the respected Egyptian scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi.


IslamQA: Moving out against the mother’s wishes

I want to move another apartment by myself,I want to live alone,but my mom doesn't like this idea,she thinks I'm not gonna look her when I move and she thinks my dad her and I should live together,I don't want to marry I just want to live alone,what should I do...Do I have to look her? I mean I'm gonna send her money...

Technically you are allowed to live on your own. But the pious thing to do is to continue living with your parents. The same way that your mother was there for you as a child, you should be there for her as an adult and try to do what pleases her even if you do not particularly like doing it. It appears that your mother has an emotional need to have you close by. It may make her sad or even depressed if you move out and leave her with your father. If you put her needs before yours then God will reward you and bless you for it. You could consider moving to a bigger house with them if they would agree to that so that you can have more room to yourself.

We are not required to be slaves to our parents’ wishes in Islam. But while they are alive, you have a great opportunity to gain God’s rewards by trying to please them. Even if you find their presence inconvenient, God will make it up for you by making other parts of your life easy and successful. Many of the happy and successful Muslims you meet will be people who put their parents’ needs before their own.

IslamQA: On thinking that Muslims are ignorant and contribute little to science

Maybe it will sounds so hateful but as a Muslim I think most of the Muslims are ignorant and uneducated,our religion is about love and kindness but most of the Muslims are so hateful,they treats womens bad,they treat animals badly,they have no respect for others,they are judging Christians Jews and Gays,but they don't do anything for love and kindness,they think heaven is only for Muslims,they don't do anything for science and art,do you think Allah proud of this?

In 2017 Iran produced more scientific research (if we count published scientific papers) than Switzerland, Poland, Sweden, Belgium or Denmark. Indonesia’s scientific output went from 1262 papers in 2007 to 18683 papers in 2017. Your ideas about Muslims not contributing to science are rather outdated. In the century starting with 2100 Muslims could easily be producing over half of all the science produced in the world if we judge by present trends.

Rather than comparing Muslims to some imaginary ideal, compare Muslims to how they would be if they were not Muslims. Of course Muslims have their problems, but if you compare them to non-Muslims of the same country, you will see that they are actually similar to or better than the non-Muslims. Egypt’s Coptic Christians are in no way nicer, kinder or more pluralistic than Egypt’s Muslims. India’s Hindus are no better than its Muslims. Turkey’s secularists are no better than Turkey’s devout Muslims.

The problem is not with Islam but with their local cultures. Culture takes time to change and things have greatly improved over the past 100 years. Indonesia went from having 6500 university students in 1950 to having 4.2 million university students in 2009. This is going to lead to tremendous cultural change over time.

There are over 100,000 British converts to Islam in Britain. Do you think that by becoming Muslim they magically start to treat animals and women badly and become less kind toward others? If you have met many converts to Islam in the West (like I have) then you will know that they continue to remain authentically European/Western. They continue to care about the things they cared about before Islam (things like animal rights) while becoming much better people due to their increased spirituality and their decreased worldliness.

When it comes to good non-Muslims, they become even better with Islam.

As for Muslims thinking that only Muslims go to Paradise, there are tons of Jews and Christians who think the same of their own religion. And there are many Muslims who believe that the good and faithful people from other religions will also go to Paradise.

IslamQA: Does referring to God as “He” sexualize Him as a male?

Salaam,please don't get me wrong,I can't speak English goodly but I want to tell you something,I just saw some of your posts and I saw your posts sexualizing Allah,like this "By the amount that you honor God, glory to Him, He will honor you" Allah has no gender,Allah is a miracle not a men or women,posts like this always makes me uncomfortable and y'all think if Allah has a gender God would be a man? That's sexist and uncomfortable,please don't get me wrong just a friendly reminder.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

The Quran itself uses the male pronoun to refer to God. In gendered languages “he” can either be male or non-gendered while “she” always has a connotation of femininity. People intuitively understand that “He” in the case of God does not refer to gender. The vast majority of people have no problem with it, including the vast majority of women.

IslamQA: Seeking repentance from sins you have forgotten

Salamalaikum. How do you repent from major sins you don't remember? Because when I do taubah I focus on the sin in question and there is guilt associated with my contemplation. I can't get that same feeling from all the unknown sins I have forgotten when I ask forgiveness for all my sins. I keep getting signs from Allah to repent and ask forgiveness but I am at a loss as to what to do next.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

According to a fatwa on IslamWeb (operated by the Qatari Islamic Affairs Ministry), it is sufficient to perform a general repentance from all sins. This would apply to the sins you remember and the sins you have forgotten. There is no need to go over them one by one.

It is, of course, best to make it a habit to ask for God’s forgiveness many times every day, both for recent sins and past sins. From Sahih al-Bukhari:

I heard Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saying: "By Allah, I seek Allah's forgiveness and repent to Him more than seventy times a day." (Sahih al-Bukhari 6307)

Hardships are not always punishments. They could be tests meant to help form your character into something even better by teaching you lessons and showing you your own flaws and errors.

Best wishes.


IslamQA: Can you take breaks between prayers in Islam?

AssalamuAlaikum, is it okay to take breaks between the units of prayer? I tend to get fatigued easily and find I need to wait before continuing. Also sau I have prayed 4 rakats of Isha and I leave to assist a family member in something quick before doing the next 4. Is that okay? I can't find any information online for this.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

You cannot take breaks within the prayers (as you seem to know already), but you can take breaks between them. A prayer that is 4 rakats cannot be broken up, but you can take a break before performing the voluntary prayer after that. And if you are performing tahajjud you can perform 2 rakats, take a break, then go on to perform the next 2 rakats.


IslamQA: Can one take medications when fasting?

hello, i know ramadan is months away but i wanted to ask this before i forget, can we take medication while fasting? without water of course, because i get really bad migraines and i need pills to calm them

Taking medications by mouth is not permitted when fasting. You could try taking the medication before the start of the fast. There are also migraine medications that are injected once a month, those would be permissible since medication injections do not break the fast according to respected sources like the Egyptian Fatwa Authority, Dr. Atiyya Saqr and Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi. However there is a great deal of disagreement on injections. But monthly injections would be the least problematic because it could be done when you are not fasting, and even though it continues to cause medication to reach your bloodstream throughout day and night, it would be similar to eating a meal before the start of the fast (which continues to cause nutrients to reach your bloodstream throughout the fasting day).


Best wishes.

IslamQA: Is democracy permitted in Islam?

Is the democracy system considered haram in Islam?

Managing a country is similar to managing a business or a village. People should do whatever works best in their circumstances. There is a hadith that says the Muslims will eventually establish a caliphate, but as I discuss here, that hadith is unauthentic. The reality is that Islam forces no particular type of government on us, leaving it to our own judgment. What matters is to minimize oppression, spread justice, and ensure that people’s religious freedom and integrity is maintained. A society that already follows Islam properly will be better off if it is ruled by a democratic system than by a tyrant who does whatever he or she likes. If they are good and pious Muslims, they will vote for politicians who are good and pious like themselves, and in this way the system will be both democratic and ruled by pious people.

Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi says:

The essence [of democracy] is for the people to choose who rules them and directs their path, rather than a ruler forcing a certain direction on them of despite their refusal. This is what Islam recommends through commanding rule by shūrā [counsel] and bayʿa (people giving their vote of allegiance to a ruler), and through criticizing pharaohs and tyrants, and through recommending the choosing of one who has a strong, trustworthy, reliable and knowledgeable character [as a ruler or authority], and through recommending rule by al-sawād al-aʿẓam [the majority], and through saying that God's hand is with the majority. [...]

It is the right of every nation to advise the ruler, to encourage it to do good and forbid it from doing evil, following the proper etiquette in doing these things. [It is also its right to] obey the ruler in good and disobey him in clearly evil things, since there is no obedience to a created being in disobedience of the Creator. [...]

The method of elections and the preferment of those who get the most votes, which democratic systems have settled on, is a method that is good and proper in general terms, even if it is not free from faults. It is better than its alternatives and should be defended against liars, hypocrites and fraudsters.

As for the claim of certain religious people that democracy is against God's rule since it is rule by the people, we say to them: what is meant by the rule of the people is that it is opposed to the absolute rule of the individual, meaning the rule of a dictator. Its meaning is not that it is opposed to the rule of God, since we are speaking of democracy in a Muslim society that is already following God's law.