Answers to questions on Islamic topics. Ask a Question.

IslamQA: Organ donation is permissible in Islam (with conditions)

According to a fatwa by sheikh Dr. Ikrima Sabri (mufti of Palestine), the following points apply to organ transplantation and donation:

  1. Sales of human organs is not permitted
  2. Transplantation of organs is permitted if it does not threaten the donor’s life.
  3. Transplantation of sperm or egg-carrying organs (testicles and overies, for example) is not permitted due to causing the confusion of lineages.
  4. It is not permitted for a dead person’s family to donate his/her organs unless the person had stated their desire and willingness to do so while alive.
  5. Organ transplantation should only be used as a last resort.
  6. Organs grown inside pigs are not permitted to be transplanted into humans.

Source (Arabic PDF): Fatwa from IslamOnline

IslamQA: Is placing patients on life support (and taking them off when brain dead) permissible in Islam?

Is it haram to have someone on life support? Since their bodies only are living of a machine

The sources I have looked at all approve of it. The sources do not consider that a matter of debate, what they debate is whether taking a brain dead or almost brain dead patient off life support is permissible or not. Some sources allow it (the Saudi fatwa says if three doctors pronounce the patient brain dead or almost brain dead and say that there is no hope of recovery, then life support can be ended). The Qatari fatwa however considers it unjustifiable and forbidden regardless of whether there is hope or not for recovery. The Kuwaiti fatwa has the same opinion as the Qatari fatwa and says that a person must not be pronounced dead until all their tissues are dead.

According to Dr. Mashhur Fawwaz’s fatwa a patient can be declared dead and taken off life support if their brain function is known by experts to have been completely and irreversibly damaged so that there is no hope of regaining function or consciousness.

I do not know of any respected scholar who is opposed to life support. As for taking patients off life support, due to the disagreements on the issue, it is best if it is avoided.

Sources (Arabic): Fatwa 1 (Qatar Islamic Affairs Ministry) | Fatwa 2 (Saudi Fatwa Council) | Fatwa 3 (Kuwait Fatwa Council) | Fatwa 4 (the Palestinian scholar Dr. Mashhur Fawwaz)

IslamQA: Is it haram to have a non-Muslim girlfriend?

My boyfriend is Muslim and I’m not. Is it haram for him that we’re together?

If you are marriageable according to Islamic law then what I say below on secret romantic relationships applies:

Secret romantic relationships in Islam

The conditions that apply to a Muslim man marrying a non-Muslim woman

And if you are not marriagable, then he is doing something that could be considered sinful.

And if you two are sexually intimate, then Islam considers that adultery, which is one of the greatest sins.

You may also be interested in this answer: A non-Muslim woman who was impregnated by her Muslim boyfriend

IslamQA: A non-Muslim woman who was impregnated by her Muslim boyfriend

Hi. Assalamalaikum. I have a boyfriend who is a Muslim. Im not.. And now I got pregnant. He is not ready to tell his parents. So we are keeping everything in a secret. I don’t know what to do 😔

A boyfriend-girlfriend relationship is just a highly primitive form of marriage that lacks most of the protections and privileges that a married couple enjoy. The best thing to do is perhaps for him to marry you in secret if he is unable to shoulder the responsibility of telling the truth to his parents. However certain conditions apply (see: The conditions that apply to a Muslim man marrying a non-Muslim woman). If you do not satisfy the conditions now, you can “repent” and re-embrace your faith (if any, or embrace Islam) so that you satisfy them. Otherwise there is no way except for the two of you to separate. He will, however, be required to provide financial support for the child and for you too during your pregnancy and nursing period.

If you are marriageable to him according to Islam but he refuses to marry you, then if you want to have a wholesome relationship and a good foundation for a future marriage then you should refuse to be intimate with him and should keep the relationship formal (difficult as it is). Allowing him to enjoy the benefits of marriage without marrying you will take away his incentives for wanting to marry you. You, as a human, should have enough self-respect to refuse to live in such a situation. You deserve to be known to his parents and family and respected and cared for by them. You are making yourself vulnerable to an extremely abusive dynamic by allowing him to enjoy being with you without shouldering the responsibilities of a husband. You are responsible to your future child and they deserve to have a proper father. If you let the present situation continue, you will be responsible for it and for the negative consequences on the child.

Best wishes.

IslamQA: The conditions that apply to a Muslim man marrying a non-Muslim woman

According to the respected mainstream Islamic scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the following conditions apply when a Muslim man is considering marrying a non-Muslim woman:

  • She must have faith in the Abrahamic God, the Day of Judgment and must follow one of His religions (i.e. Christianity or Judaism). He cannot marry an agnostic even if she was born to Christian parents. She must take her religion’s items of faith (God, the Day of Judgment) and main commandments seriously.
  • She must be the type of person who believes in the importance of loyalty and fidelity to the marriage. A woman who thinks it is OK to flirt with other men while married, for example, is not considered worthy of marriage.
  • The must not belong to a nation that is in active war against Muslims. This means, for example, that a Muslim man today cannot marry a Jewish settler or Zionist due to their aggressive, anti-Muslim agenda. Marrying a Jew who does not identify with Israel’s expansionist plans may be considered acceptable (although in al-Qaradawi’s opinion every Jew is a potential Zionist. This, while generally true, does have exceptions, therefore I believe that there is a minority of Jewish women who can be considered acceptable according to Islam)

Source (Arabic): Archived essay from IslamOnline

IslamQA: Singing and playing musical instruments is permissible in Islam

assalamu aleikum, is it haram to play instruments? like violin or the piano

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Since there is no irrefutable evidence banning singing and playing musical instruments, the mainstream opinion is that they are permissible. There is some evidence that certain early authorities strongly disapproved of them or prohibited them, but that evidence is counterbalanced by strong evidence of early jurists and hadith scholars approving of it. Since this is a matter of debate, and since there is no conclusive evidence for a prohibition, and since both singing and playing musical instruments can have wholesome and beneficial uses, the reasonable conclusion is that they should be permitted.

In this article I will only mention the evidence that supports the permissibility of singing and playing musical instruments. I use an essay on IslamOnline (a website belonging to the famous mainstream scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi) as the source for these opinions. See the essay (linked below, Arabic) for discussion and refutation of evidence that supports prohibiting these things.

Among scholars who permit singing and playing musical instruments are: the Shafi`i theologian Abu Mansur Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi (d. 1037-1038 CE) who lived during the time of Ali bin Abi Talib [ra]. According to al-Shawkani (d. 1839 CE), some early Medinan jurists also approved of singing and playing instruments.

According to al-Shawkani, among the jurists who approved of singing and musical instruments are:

  • al-Qadi Shurayh (important judge in Kufa during the reign of Ali bin Abi Talib)
  • Saeed b. al-Musayyab (a great early hadith transmitter and one of the most revered figures among the Salaf / Pious Predecessors)
  • Ataa bin Abi Rabah (d. 732 CE), important early jurist and hadith scholar
  • Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri (d. 741-742 CE), important early Medinan jurist (born the year that Aisha–wife of Prophet Muhammad PBUH–died, may God be pleased with her)
  • Aamir bin Sharahil al-Shaabi (d. 723), a jurist, hadith scholar and member of the Pious Predecessors.

According to Imam al-Juwayni (d. 1085 CE) and Ibn Abi Dunya (d. 894 CE), the young Companion Abdullah b. al-Zubayr (d. 692 CE), nephew of Aisha, had musical instruments.

Ibn Hazm (d. 1064 CE) mentions narrations that mention Ibn Umar (son of Umar b. al-Khattab) approving of musical instruments.

The Shafi`i scholars al-Ruyani (1100-1101 CE) and Abu Mansur al-Azhari (d. 981 CE) mention that the Malikis approved of musical instruments.

It is mentioned that al-Minhal bin Amr (early hadith scholar, d. c. 729-733 CE) listened to music.

According to Ibn Tahir al-Qaysarani (d. 1113 CE), all Medinan jurists agree that playing musical instruments is permissible.

Al-Mawardi mentions that some Shafi`i jurists approve of playing the oud. According to him the Companions and Successors were all agreed on the permissibility of singing.

Source (Arabic): Archived PDF

Assalamualaikum warrahmatullah wabarakatuh. Regarding the musical instruments, since it is in a "grey" area (i.e. some prohibit, some don't ), isn't it better to just stay away from it, then?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

If it was in a gray area according to the Quran or Sunna, it would have been good to avoid it. But it is only in a gray according to the culture of the Muslims that came after the Prophet PBUH.

Some of them had a very negative view of musical instruments because they knew of no wholesome use for them. To them it was always associated with dancing and drinking alcohol, for this reason they considered them evil by association.

In Islam we should not blindly follow the opinions of past scholars. We should instead try to work out the evidence that they relied on for their opinions. When we do such a study, we find that it was all a matter of cultural biases.

Generally, according to my understanding, to put something in a gray area there needs to be two things: first, evidence from the Quran and Sunna and second, something in our reason and conscience that tells us that thing is not good. When it comes to musical instruments both of these are lacking. There is neither enough evidence to put it in a gray area, nor is there anything in our reason and conscience that makes musical instruments repulsive in themselves.

As a person who enjoys both classical Persian and Western music, I tend to agree with Bach when he says:

The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.

All beautiful music celebrates God (as I discuss here: The two salvations: How erotic beauty is a false category of beauty) according to my theory of Islamic aesthetics. So music is not just neutral, it actually has positive value in helping us connect with God (I am not referring to religious music specifically, any music whose beauty moves us helps us experience God).

Music can also have utilitarian benefits that give it a positive value, such as music that a programmer listens to to enhance focus (I personally listen to certain video game soundtracks when programming, such as that of Half Life and Medal of Honor Underground) or that is used during exercise.

Of course singing and music can be taken to excess or be done in inappropriate ways. And the celebration of beauty causes too many people to think that their appreciation for it somehow takes away their duty to submit to God and abide by His restrictions. But what I am saying here is that it is possible to be a devout and conservative Muslim who reads the Quran daily and who has a place for music in their lives.

IslamQA: Are student loans, mortgages and credit cards haram in the West?

Are student loans haram? what if one is unable to pay for school? are credit cards/mortgages in the West haram?

Yes, they are all haram unless a person is unable to avoid them. Ideally a Muslim who is able should avoid all of them. They fall on a spectrum when it comes to how bad each of these things is. It depends on a person’s situation. For example using a credit card to buy a bigger television is unjustifiable and therefore extremely disliked by God. But a person whose family is hungry and needs to buy groceries and has no money except credit may use it and God can be expected to forgive it.

So, in general, all interest-bearing loans are a way of dealing with usury, which Islam forbids. It is an evil thing that may be excused due to great need. Ideally we should always try to reduce our use of them and plan to completely avoid them if possible.

Mortgages may be considered to be on the “extremely evil” side because a person takes out a mortgage in expectation of gain and avoidance of loss, rather than due to immense need. They always have the option of renting. (Today there are companies like Guidance Residential that offer halal mortgages).

As for a student loan, because a degree is so important for one’s future, it may be considered “moderately evil”. Since they are so necessary for a good career, it can be argued that they are justified. This is a choice that each person should make for themselves, but personally I do not condemn someone who uses them.

Car loans depend on a person’s need for it. If that is the only way they can get to work or get to the places they need (for example if they live in certain US suburbs where the closest store is many miles away) then that is justifiable. But a person who does not have a strong need for it is spiritually better off if they use public transport. And a car loan is especially bad if a person uses it to upgrade their car when there is no strong need for it.

IslamQA: Secret romantic relationships in Islam

Hello, i have a question.I have a boyfriend and he loves me i also love him and he wants to marry me and he has told this about his family. I'm not really sure about get married but i also can't share this with my family because they are sooo strict. And this problem makes me so anxious. What am i supposed to do please give me some ideas. Thank you!

I understand the difficulty of your situation and hope that you will find a satisfactory solution.

There are good reasons why Muslim parents do not approve of such relationships, as I explain in my essay: The Point of Marriage in Islam (and the Problem with Romantic Relationships Outside of Marriage)

My general advice on such relationships is either to make them known to one’s family as soon as possible, or to end them and wait patiently until the time when he can propose to you formally. Some cultures allow the couple to get engaged (perform the nikah ceremony) without getting married. This allows the relationship to be halal, it gains the approval of their families, and the couple can wait years before they finally move in together and are considered married. But not every culture practices this (even though it is perfectly fine according to Islam). For more on “halal” dating see my answer Dating and Relationships in Islam: What is Allowed and What is Not.

It is not good for your soul to live in an in-between situation like this. If it is impossible that your family could approve of the relationship (maybe you are too young and they do not expect you to marry for the next few years) then the admirable thing to do is to end the relationship and wait patiently until you can marry / until he can propose publicly. This is what a respectable, pious Muslim person would do. We do not all have the same spiritual strength and patience, so I am not saying you should do this–just that this is the spiritually ideal thing to do (even if it leads to suffering). Whether we can live up to the ideal is a different matter and changes for each person.

Here are some words I wrote to someone else who asked a similar question. In their case the relationship was secret from both of their families:

The main point is that the relationship between a man and a woman is not meant to be only between the two of them--arranged privately by them. The families on both sides should be involved so that they can say whether they approve of the relationship or not, because if they do not, then your relationship can tear your family apart and cause lifelong estrangement from your family or his family. Even if both families get to accept the relationship and forgive the fact that it was kept secret from them, they may continue to hold onto the feeling of betrayal. This often reflects especially badly on each of you from the perspective of the other’s family.

The right way is to do things in a way that gains the approval of your family and his family, so that there are no resentments or hatreds or feelings of betrayal once the relationship is discovered or made public.

I understand that your situation is difficult and that you have an emotional need for this relationship. I cannot tell you what to do. It is true that you are not violating any strict rulings of the Quran or the Sunna as far as I am aware. But having such a relationship can end in disaster. It can also have a happy ending, you never know. But you are taking a risk and you can never be sure how it will work out. The more pious and dutiful thing to do is to abide by your parents' restrictions even though you find them narrow-minded and unsuitable. This would be the admirable thing to do.

The question therefore is whether you prefer your personal emotional needs or prefer doing the right and honorable thing. It is not an easy choice and will likely take you from one status of suffering to another. But this is life. We often find ourselves in situations where there is no satisfactory choice. We just have to do the best we can. And God will reward those most who prefer spiritual ideals to their immediate needs.

For more on dealing with difficult situations in general, please see my essay: The Road to Maturity: On Dealing with Life’s Unsolvable Problems

IslamQA: Is it haram to be embarrassed by your parents?

So sorry this is such a weird “question”, but I have an ill parent at my home and tomorrow my friends are coming over. But I am shy and kind of embarrassed to have my ill parent here while my friends are here because I will have to go check on her every 30 min and help her out with the smallest things.. is it haram to be embarrassed by your now sick parent?

As humans, it is perfectly natural to feel embarrassed by our relatives at certain times. But as Muslims, the more spiritual we are, the more we are able to transcend our human nature.

In your case, the closer you are to God, the less you will care what your friends will think and the more content you will feel with your parent being there. Feeling normal human emotions is not forbidden. Islam just points the way toward something better. Through things like daily Quran reading we can get close enough to God to overcome the base parts of human nature so that we can be something better and more admirable.

We all have a human nature that has its own instincts. God tells us not to be content with this and to aim to be something greater.

IslamQA: Is surrogation permissible in Islam?

Assalammualaikum, I wanna ask, is it haram for us muslim to do surrogation?'

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

As far as I can find it is unanimously prohibited by Sunni scholars for a husband and wife to use a surrogate woman to carry the conceived fetus or to use donated egg or sperm. I have looked at fatwa authorities from Jordan, Egypt and Qatar. I have also looked at the opinions of independent scholars.

Sources (in Arabic): Fatwa 1 | Fatwa 2 | Fatwa 3 | Fatwa 4 | Fatwa 5 | Fatwa 6 | Fatwa 7

IslamQA: How to convince parents to agree to marrying that person?

Asalaamualaykum, how do I convince my parents to accept the woman I want to marry? The basis of their rejection is bc she has a different cultural background. She is a practising muslimah, and her family approve, but mine are being difficult? Any advice?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Parents can have good reasons for not liking the idea of their child marrying into a different culture, as discussed in this answer. The only course I can think of is to be patient. As the months pass, if they see that you are serious about her and that this is not just a passing infatuation, they will likely start to warm up to the idea. I know this can be very difficult for one who is eager for marriage. But there is no way force the issue; your parents are humans like yourself and have the right to form their own opinions freely.

Rather than thinking of forcing them to change their opinions, we should think of ways to persuade them. And persuasion is done far more by actions than words. Constantly speaking to them about the issue can actually harden their opposition to the marriage. It is best to be mostly silent unless they themselves bring up the matter, and to show them by your actions that you are patient and dedicated.

IslamQA: Can a Hanafi person pray the Asr prayer according to Shafii time?

I pray asr according to the hanafi time. Is it permissible for me to pray the shafi time if I know I will miss asr salah?

That depends on your beliefs. If you are convinced the Hanafi time is the only correct one, then the Shafi`i time will not work since it is much earlier. But if you study the matter and conclude that the Shafi`i time is correct, or if you ask a scholar you respect and they convince you the Shafi`i time is correct, then you can pray at either of those times without issue since the Hanafi time is later but still within the confines of the Shafi`i time.

But you want to limit yourself to the Hanafi school and wish to do everything their way, then you cannot use the Shafi`i time.

IslamQA: It is permissible to attend Christmas celebrations as a Muslim (with conditions)

assalamu aleikum, so my grandmother’s side of the family are christians and she lives in our home country and we live in europe, she rarely gets the chance to come visit us and so do we, but she came for the holidays season and she’ll spend christmas and new year’s eve here, she wants to celebrate and organize a family dinner because she does back home with the rest of the family, is it haram if we just do that not to break her heart?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There is some difference of opinion on the permissibility of attending non-Islamic religious celebrations. Among the scholars who permit it are the Egyptian al-Azhar-educated sheikh Ahmad al-Shirbasi and the important Maliki scholar sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah. Egypt’s fatwa authority, which is run by al-Azhar-educated scholars and issues fatwas for all of Egypt, also issued a fatwa permitting celebrating Christmas with Christians. The respected European Research and Fatwa Council also issued a fatwa permitting it.

No alcohol should be present at the celebration while the Muslims are there (it is not permitted to sit in a gathering where people drink alcohol). The celebration should also not include anything else that Islam forbids, but this should be obvious.

Therefore since there are highly respected scholars who permit it, and since there is nothing in it that reason or conscience objects to, I would say it is safe to do it.

Sources (all in Arabic): Collection of relevant fatwas from various scholars | European Research and Fatwa Council’s fatwa

IslamQA: Does God reward good deeds in the worldly life too?

I’ve searched the web for tafseer on Surah 16, Ayah 97. Does Allah promises us good life here if we are believers? Can you explain, please?

Yes, it says that believers who do good deeds will have a good life. The Quran mentions worldly rewards in other places. For example when it comes to Prophet Yusuf:

When he reached his maturity, We gave him wisdom and knowledge. We thus reward the righteous. (The Quran, verse 12:22)

Since Yusuf was righteous, he was rewarded in the worldly life with wisdom and knowledge. It also speaks of giving Yusuf a position in Egypt’s government as a “reward” for his righteousness:

And thus We established Joseph in the land, to live therein wherever he wished. We touch with Our mercy whomever We will, and We never waste the reward of the righteous. (The Quran, verse 12:56)

And when it comes to Prophet Musa, we see the same dynamic:

And when he reached his maturity, and became established, We gave him wisdom and knowledge. Thus do We reward the virtuous. (The Quran, verse 28:14)

It also speaks in the same way about Prophet Nuh:

75. And Noah called out to Us, and We are the Best of responders.

76. And We saved him and his family from the great calamity.

77. And We made his descendants the survivors.

78. And We left mention of him among those who succeeded.

79. Peace be upon Noah among all people.

80. We thus reward the righteous. (The Quran, verses 37:75-80)

The Quran clearly indicates that being righteous in this life will have worldly consequences, not just consequences in the afterlife. A person will be rewarded for their righteousness with knowledge and guidance, and with a wholesome and meaningful life as the verse you mentioned says.

IslamQA: If loved ones go to Paradise after death, why do the religious cry for them?

Death is known to be the most natural thing to happen. Yet, why do muslims suffer when someone they love dies? I, myself wish soon and beneficial death to the person I love, so he won’t have to face sins anymore. But then, as far as I know, our Prophet (peace be upon him) cried when his uncle Hz. Hamza (radiallahu anh) died. Why would our Prophet (sallallahu aleyhivesellem) cry , if he already knew that his uncle was granted a place in the Paradise?

That is because Islam does not replace our humanity. When we lose someone we lose a source of love and comfort, and that hurts. It is true that spiritually we can tell ourselves that they are now in a better place. But that does not change the material facts. We rarely feel so spiritual that the worldly life stops affecting us.

So intellectually one can say that the death of a loved person is not a tragedy. But since Islam does not replace our humanity, we still feel what any human feels, but our spirituality prevents us from going to excess in our grief.

Also, a person is not necessarily better off spiritually if they die sooner rather than later. The remaining years of their lifetime can offer them many opportunities to raise their spiritual status much higher than it is now. Since what we do in this world decides the qualify of our life in the afterlife forever, a person could wish to have as much time as possible to do good deeds and ask for forgiveness. It is therefore best to leave it to God to decide the best time for someone to die. We can never say with certainty that a person will be better off if they die now rather than later. Maybe God has great plans for them to help them attain His forgiveness and rewards.

IslamQA: Dealing with a toxic work environment as a Muslim

(Part 1): Salaam, I am currently in a toxic work environment at my new job. My coworkers, teachers who are Muslim women, have been gossiping about me and spreading rumors. What is your advice to rise above it, Islamically? Are there any duaas I can make to relieve the worry I feel when they talk about me?

(Part 2): Also, our work requires collaboration. Despite my treatment I find myself wanting to be kind and share my work with them. Would this be okay for me to do, Islamically, or should I be doing something else because of my treatment? I am very conflicted. Thank you for your help.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

The ideal way to behave (although it is very difficult at times) is to be kind, compassionate and generous regardless of what other people do. The way to rise above any worldly situation is to keep a strong connection with God, and this requires constant, daily work. I recommend an hour of tahajjud every night for this who are able (as I discuss in this essay). Reading the Quran without tahajjud for an 30 minutes to an hour every day can also have powerful similar benefits.

When we have established a close connection with God and work on it daily, then we will require no willpower to be kind, to avoid being rude toward those who are rude toward us, or to avoid sinning. All of these will become almost automatic for us. So it is a close relationship with God from which all these other benefits come.

Regarding sharing work with them, that sounds perfectly fine and God will reward you for it even if they do not appreciate it.

I should mention that Islam does not require us to be martyrs when it comes to abuse. Islam allows us to try to counter the abuse and to hold the people responsible. But it also tells us that while this is fair and just, we can aim for a higher ideal (generosity, meaning to forgive and be kind despite their abuse and cruelty). It is up to each person to decide between justice and generosity, sometimes justice makes more sense. But those who are closest to God will always try to be closer to generosity even if justice is more satisfactory to their human instincts.

34. Good and evil are not equal. Repel evil with good, and the person who was your enemy becomes like an intimate friend.

35. But none will attain it except those who persevere, and none will attain it except the very fortunate. (The Quran, verses 41:-34-35)

It is not necessary to memorize any specific prayers for dealing with fear and worry. Having a close connection with God, and sincerely talking to Him, is all that is required. Some people recite the three very short final chapters of the Quran (112-114) in times of fear and worry.

Best wishes.

IslamQA: Is dawah obligatory when it is awkward and rude?

Is da'wah an obligatory to all Muslims? What if I am the type of person who dislikes approaching people to give da'wah about Islam, while I myself have an inner turmoil about Islam I need to calm down and fix? It's the religious people in my country whom insists that it is obligatory for Muslims to meet others face-to-face and spread Islam with tongue, but I find it uncomfortable to do it. Am I sinning? I'm still learning Islam, but not from their source.

The type of dawah (proselytization) you mention is not obligatory and is in fact more likely to do harm than good. Those who believe in knocking on people’s doors and having really awkward interactions with them where they try to pass on Islam to them have a very demeaning attitude toward fellow humans. They think of other people as instruments for furthering their own agenda. That is neither a humane nor Islamic attitude to have.

Religion is a very personal matter and most of the time it is rude and unproductive to bring into a conversation. The way you call people to Islam is first through being a good example yourself, and secondly, you can do it through speech with those you are on intimate terms with, or those who have come to you asking you to speak to them about religion.

As for inconveniencing people to try to sell them religion, the Quran never tells us to do that. The Prophet Muhammad PBUH was merely calling his own extended family to Islam rather than knocking on strangers’ doors. And Moses, when he was calling the Pharaoh to become a believer, was actually talking to his own family, since he was raised in the Pharaoh’s family.

I am not against someone going to a park where people usually hold speeches and trying to speak to people about Islam. This does not inconvenience anyone and people are free to listen or leave. A person who has the motivation and ability to do that can do it. But this is not for most people.

For the average Muslim, “calling people to Islam” means to be a good example. When it comes to people you are very close to, such as a close friend, you can try to encourage them to be better Muslims, or if they are not Muslim, to inform them about Islam and why you believe in it. But this should be done when it comes up naturally in conversation. One of the main examples of dawah in the Quran is in that of the two friends talking in Surat al-Kahf:

His friend said to him, as he conversed with him, “Are you being ungrateful to Him who created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then evolved you into a man? (18:37)

The Quran makes it clear that they were already talking, and that this was a natural and relevant addition to the conversation; he was not just randomly bringing up religion. The irreligious friend had said this before:

And he entered his garden, wronging himself. He said, “I do not think this will ever perish.”

“And I do not think the Hour is coming. And even if I am returned to my Lord, I will find something better than this in return.” (18:35-36)

The friend brought up religion, and the religious friend used that as an opportunity to try to tell him to come back to fearing God.

And if a Muslim has a friend who is a Christian and who is not interested in speaking about religion, then harassing them with religious talk should be the last thing we do. They are humans just like us; we should never treat them like objects, trying to change them into something else without their own willingness and participation.

A good rule of thumb, therefore, is that if dawah feels rude, uncivilized and awkward, then it is wrong. Only when it comes up naturally and when the other person is interested in listening is it right to do it. Dawah in public places, where it is not a nuisance and when people are completely free to listen to it or to ignore it, is also fine.

IslamQA: How to balance worldly goals and religious goals?

How to balance worldly life and deen? I have a lot of personal worldly and spiritual goals. But sometimes I feel I give too much time to either my worldly or spiritually side. I end up confused and end up not “working” on any of it at all. Any advice? Sorry if it’s too confusing

I used to suffer from similar doubts. My solution is that if you do sufficient extra worship every day (about an hour) so that you feel close to God throughout the day, then the rest of the time you are free to work on worldly goals. If you are (or become) a very spiritual Muslim then everything you do would be in some way aimed toward becoming the best agent of God on earth, what I call a steward of God. You can seek worldly goals as part of your job as a steward. This could be trying to progress in your career, for example.

I constantly read works on philosophy and evolutionary science and I enjoy it. Even though this is not Islamic worship, it is part my job as a “steward”, and therefore in a way it is worship. A steward’s job is to do the best with what they have where they are while maintaining a close relationship with God. It is not his or her job to spend the whole time in religious worship, in fact this is strongly criticized by many scholars. We are meant to be workers who try to improve the world, not mere worshipers.

So as I said, if you do sufficient worship to stay close to God, then you are free to use the rest of your time for whatever beneficial purpose you can think of.

I discuss stewardship in detail in my essay The Muslim Plan for Western Civilization.

Best wishes.

IslamQA: Constantly redoing prayers in fear of having made errors

SalamAlaykum I have problem I hope you help inshAllah Sometimes I will pray and I will think I make mistake and I will redo again again even though I don’t make many mistake I will read sorah and feel I make mistakes so I start over over again My mind wants to make do everything perfect, it is very tiring and hard Makes me not wanna do at all. Maybe OCD?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

That may be a psychiatric issue like you suggested. Maybe taking the right drug or supplement can help put an end to that. Here is a study that discusses NAC, a cheap and widely available supplement, that helps reduce OCD symptoms.

Making mistakes in prayer does not necessitate that you redo the prayer. There is something called sajdat al-sahwu (prostration of error), two prostrations you can do right before the end of the prayer (before saying the final salam) if you fear you have made an error in the prayer. However, even that prostration is not considered obligatory by many of the schools. It is only recommended and not doing it does not nullify the prayer.

So if you fear you have made a mistake while still inside the prayer, you can continue with the prayer and if you remember, perform the two extra prostrations before the final salam.

Minor errors do not require redoing the prayer. Major errors, such as not saying al-Fatiha, or performing the wrong number of units, require it, but only if you are certain of the error. If there is doubt and there is the possibility that you did things correctly, then it is not necessary to redo the prayer.