Answers to questions on Islamic topics. Ask a Question.

IslamQA: Islam’s view of having non-Muslim friends

What said islam about having friends with different religions or even atheists ones? I know that we have to respect the opinion of each one but can we be closer freind?

When referring to interacting with non-Muslims, the Quran says:

As for those who have not fought against you for your religion, nor expelled you from your homes, God does not prohibit you from dealing with them kindly and equitably. God loves the equitable. (The Quran, verse 60:8)

The Quran does not have anything more specific than that to tell us and does not define limits on friendship, which can be taken to mean that it leaves it to our own judgment. One non-Muslim can have a beneficial influence on you while another may have a harmful influence. So they should be judged just like we judge Muslim friends. If we find that our character is harmed by association with them, then it does not make a difference whether they are Muslim or non-Muslim.

However, it is not good to befriend an atheist who has a snarky attitude toward religion, or a non-Muslim who dislikes and looks down on Muslims. But this should be obvious.

IslamQA: Child lied to parents about finishing college

(Part 1) Assalamualaikum, I need some advice. I failed my first year of university and had to repeat it. Alhamdullilah I passed and am continuing with my education now. My degree was 3 years but now it's 4. However I didn't tell my parents, are rather strict and negative minded, also always complain about my older brothers struggling with finding jobs or eduction. CONT.

(Part 2) And I didn’t want to hurt or disappoint them. I planned to take a course of another subject privately. So I just told my mother that I will be taking an extra year of university and also studying Law. Does this mean I lied to her? Sorry if this is a difficult position to answer for.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Yes, that is a lie. Most of the time it is better to tell the truth even if it upsets people, because that upset can be a cause for them to mature and improve as they try to deal with the difficult facts. So it is likely that you parents would have been spiritually better off if you had told them the truth (even if it was to make them sad and upset for a while).

But since you had good intentions, then God is likely to forgive it if you ask Him for forgiveness. It is best to try to tell them the truth as soon as possible and tell them that you did it because you did not want to upset them. Living a lie is highly damaging to your soul and your relationships with others even if materially it supposedly helps avert a problem or conflict.

The best solution I can think of it is to try to have a close relationship with God (as I discuss here). Once you have this connection with God, your heart will tell if and when it is the right to tell them, and it will also give you the courage to do it and face the consequences, since a close relationship with God helps make worldly problems and fears appear small and insignificant.

Best wishes.

IslamQA: Can a Muslim woman divorce without the husband’s approval?

Is it true that a woman can’t divorce a man unless he says “we are divorced”? What if the woman has ood reasons wanting to get divorced

In classical Islamic law while a man had the right to divorce his wife of his own initiative, a woman had to get her husband’s approval, and if not, a judge’s approval. The judge can either be a government-appointed judge, or it can be two people, one from each of their families. Ibn Qudama (a famous Hanbali jurist) says that if a woman fears that due to her dislike for the marriage she cannot carry out her duties as a wife, then she has the right to divorce.

So the difference was that a man could divorce without a judge or judges’ approval, while a woman could not. This has been recently challenged, such as by the Kuwaiti scholar and intellectual Khaled Abou El-Fadl, who believes that a woman should have equal rights to divorce. I have not studied divorce sufficiently to know who is right in the debate.

Regarding what you said about his saying “we are divorced”, that is part of the formal divorce ceremony done before witnesses. But if he does not approve of the divorce, then his approval is not needed; the judge or judges can force an end to the marriage based on the woman’s request regardless of the husband’s opinion.

Sources: Essay by Al-Qaradawi | Fatwa 1 | Fatwa 2

IslamQA: Her intended does not want to pay for the honeymoon

Assalamualaikum, I am getting married very soon, and we are planning for our honeymoon. So, anyway, I know one of the responsibilities of man is to provide a safe place for his wife to stay. am i right? but, recently, we wanted to book the hotel for our honeymoon. and suddenly, my man asked me to pay for it. I was shocked. I thought he was supposed to provide me the place to stay as its part of his Nafkah? He insists saying providing a place for our honeymoon isnt his nafkah and responsibilities

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

It is very strange that he should say that. It sounds like you have very different ideas about marriage. You should try to get on the same page and clarify these issues, or reconsider the marriage if you discover that he is just irresponsible or ignorant about the way marriage works in Islam. It is also possible that he may be having financial difficulty and hoping that your paying for the honeymoon could ease his burden.

Maybe he expects you to contribute your money to the marriage rather than being solely responsible for finances. But if that is the case then he should make it completely clear to you, and it will only be accepted in Islam if it is with your full knowledge and willingness.

Try to get to know what his thinking is and based on that maybe you can decide whether you are happy with the type of marriage he has in mind.

IslamQA: Islam and nightmares

assalamu aleikum, i came here to ask if you know what can cause nightmares? my family has noticed that sometimes (rather rarely but when it happens its kinda intense) i talk and scream during my sleep, this night i woke up shaking and screaming just because my sister accidentally touched my foot, i cant imagine what causes such episodes because every night before going to sleep i recite ayat al kursi, al falaq, an-nas, al ikhlas and al fatiha, and we always put on al baqara all night long (pt 1)'

(pt 2) i have always had trouble sleeping even when i was a little kid i used to sleepwalk/talk. but now its a little scary because my father even told me he once heard me woke up in a fury and make suffocating noises as if i just saw someone standing before me, but i can never remember anything. should i go see an imam?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Nightmares can be caused by sleep apnea. These are especially nightmares in which you find yourself paralyzed and unable to move or speak. The fact that your father mentioned you making suffocating noises strongly suggests that you have sleep apnea. If you sleep on your back, start sleeping on your side and that could help put an end to it. If you find that you roll on your back during sleep, you can start sleeping in the fetal position with your hands lodged between your thighs.

If your problem continues, then I suggest seeing a sleep doctor. I would check out all possible medical explanations before trying to find mystical ones.

For more on why we should avoid mystical explanations for such things please see: The Islamic Case for Scientific Empiricism and Skepticism toward Supernatural Phenomena


IslamQA: Is it haram to hang pictures in a room?

Is it haram to hang pictures up in a room where one doesn’t use the room to pray?

Part 2: is it also haram to have stuffed animals in a room you don’t use to pray in?

The mainstream view is that there is nothing wrong with either of those. I do not see anything wrong with having a teddy bear in the room where you pray (my children have something like 10 stuffed animals in the living room where I pray).

According to a fatwa on IslamOnline (which is overseen by the respected Egyptian scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi):

We’d like first to state that there is nothing wrong in drawing as long as the images do not depict nudity or other indecent representations. Also, the picture or image should not be revered or glorified. The detested pictures and images are only those, which are worshiped and revered.

Within these restrictions drawing humans, animals, natural scenes, etc. is permitted. What is prohibited is making a statue or a sculpture of a living being that has shade (depth or three dimensional).

Another fatwa by Dr. Khalid b. al-Munim al-Rifai mentions that there is nothing wrong with children’s toys regardless of whether the toys depict humans, animals or other things.


For more please see these articles website:

A Traditionalist Critique of the Islamic Prohibition on Taṣwīr (Making Drawings and Statues of Humans and Animals)

Is it permissible to draw and paint in Islam?

IslamQA: How to have a halal marriage when there are so many haram outlets?

Asalam Aleikum WaRahmatullah Almost everyone I know, who is married and Muslim, began their relationship in a haram manner (dating, calling, texting ect.) for years before marrying. I am afraid that it will be really hard for me and a lot of people in today’s society to get to know a possible future spouse in a Islamic manner, and I’m afraid I will “give in” to a haram relationship

Any advice?

My answer: Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah, It is true that we have many more ways available to us to give in to that kind of temptation. The thing to do is to hold onto God through daily remembrance (for example reading the Quran for 30 minutes every day). As long as we are close to God, we can resist our desires with relative ease. If we do end up succumbing to that temptation (maybe after justifying it to ourselves, saying it is halal to just talk), then we can try to correct our course as soon as we can.

But even we arrange a marriage through means that are not entirely “Islamic”, the result can still be good. So the realities are complicated. Merely talking to a stranger over the phone is not a clearly defined sin, although it is a betrayal of one’s family and a doorway to sinful things. The temptation will always be there to try to get closer to someone we desire. This is just a fact of life that we will have to accept like all other temptations. Holding fast to God is the best way to resist such temptation.

IslamQA: Catching a child watching pornography as a Muslim parent

What should I do if I catch my children watching pornography?

I assume you were speaking of adolescents. Two things about adolescents makes it especially difficult for them to resist looking at pornography even if they know it is wrong and even if they wish to avoid it; they have poor impulse control. The brain’s ability to control impulses does not fully mature until after the age of 25. The other thing is that adolescents have very high levels of sex hormones which makes pornography especially attractive to them.

There are good reasons to limit their access to pornography as you already know. But if they manage to bypass you one day and get to look at some, it is best to forgive and forget it. No good can be achieved by punishment if they are well-behaved children otherwise. Desire and curiosity overcame them and punishment will not stop this desire or curiosity. Instead of making a big deal out of it, it is best to make sure they cannot do it again without humiliating them about it.

Our aim should not be completely control their lives so that watching of pornography may never happen. There will likely be occasions when it happens despite our best efforts, and making a big deal of it may only increase their curiosity and their desire for it. Rather, we should have sensible policies in the home (such as no unmonitored Internet browsing) that make it habitual pornography-watching impossible. Beyond that, there really is not much we can do. Most Muslim children grow up to be decent humans even if they succumbed to their desire to view pornography a few or many times in their youth. As long as the pornography watching is not habitual and as long as the parents do make sure they do not have so much freedom that they can easily watch it, then it is not a big problem to worry about.

IslamQA: Getting braces is permissible in Islam

Is it okay to have braces? Some says it's haram.

Making cosmetic changes to one’s appearance is considered acceptable by most scholars if it is done to correct a defect (such as misaligned teeth). Therefore there is no issue with braces.

There are also scholars who approve of cosmetic changes meant for enhancement (and not just for correction), provided that it is not taken to excess.

For details see: Cosmetic surgery is permissible in Islam (with conditions)

IslamQA: Are the signs of end times (such as al-Mahdi) in Islam authentic?

Salam, If it's not too much of a bother to you, would you mind talking about the end of times and it's various signs? What are your interpretations of them and possible thoughts on its implications that are manifesting in our world already? Not all hadith is as authentic as it initially seems which is why I'm a little skeptical of descriptions made by some imams and scholars. I was curious to know what you have to say on this topic, being someone I respect intellectually and religiously.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I have always been skeptical of end days narratives that are not mentioned in the Quran. Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi says that since the Mahdi is not mentioned in the Quran nor explicitly in the Sahihs of al-Bukhari and Muslim, the concept should not be taken seriously. He says that since this is a very big addition to Islam, and since the support for it does not come from Islam’s main sources, the addition should be rejected. There are many respected scholars who believe in it. But it is not a matter of consensus despite the claims of some. If a single highly respected and qualified scholar disagrees with the rest on something, this automatically breaks the consensus.

I have not done a detailed study of these matters since what the Quran says about Day of Judgment has always been sufficient for me. I see no benefit in concerning ourselves with epic narratives when the Quran constantly stresses the Day of Judgment itself rather than what takes place in the days and years before it. I do not say the whole literature is false, I will have to do a detailed study to find out what can be trusted and what cannot. If there are authentic narrations coming from multiple Companions (rather than a single Companion) and multiple chains that speak of something, then that is strong support for it. But if it comes to us from a single Companion then skepticism is required (there is much disagreement on this, but scholars of legal theory accept this, while scholars of hadith are often less skeptical).

Source for al-Qaradawi’s opinion (Arabic PDF)

Discussion of multiply-and-singularly transmitted narrations (Arabic PDF)

IslamQA: It is permissible for Sunni Muslims to marry Shia Muslims (with conditions)

Do you think Sunnis and Shias can get married?

According to the scholar sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi as long as the couple can respect each other then they can marry since there is not sufficient evidence to prohibit it. From the Sunni point of view, there is only an issue if the Shia person is an extremist who believes in attacking the Prophet’s Companions who are respected by Sunnis (as an example). If they are a pluralist and respect Sunnis then there is no issue.

However, like all multi-cultural marriages there can be issues. Even if the couple themselves have no problem with each other, it is possible that their families might have problems. Even if the couple are pluralists, the families may contain some who dislike Shias/Sunnis and this will not lead to an ideal atmosphere. But if both sides are open-minded then these problems will likely be minor.

Source: Fatwa in Arabic

IslamQA: How to memorize long verses like Ayat al-Kursi

Salam, do you have any tips on how to memorise surahs? I'm currently trying to learn Ayatul kursi, but I'm finding it difficult as Arabic is not my first language.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

The method I have used for myself is to split the material into logical units. For example this part from the beginning of Ayat al-Kursi can be memorized on its own:

اللَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ
God! There is no god except He, the Living, the Everlasting.

Once you memorize that, you can go on to memorize the next unit:

لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ
Neither slumber overtakes Him, nor sleep.

Once you memorize three units, go back to the first and recite from there from memory. Once you have reached the fourth unit and memorized it, you do not have to go back to the first, you can recite from the second unit to the fourth.

So the way I do it is to memorize a unit/piece, go back to the unit before last and try to recite from there. Once I master that, I memorize a new unit, go back to the one before last and recite from there from memory.

In this way, it becomes easy to memorize since you only deal with small units of text, but since you always go back to recite previous units, they all become linked in your mind rather than remaining isolated. And when it comes to suras with shorter verses, each verse can be a unit.

There might be other good ways to memorize. That is how I have done it.

IslamQA: Overcoming doubts on becoming Muslim

‏السلامعليكم! I have been considering taking shahada for almost 10 years now, yet there’s always something that seems to be holding me back. My values and beliefs are inherently Islamic-influenced and I have read and understood the Qur’an multiple times as independent study. I’m just unsure of what’s holding me back and making me apprehensive. Any advice?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

In order to become Muslim you need to take a “leap” of faith. No amount of knowledge is sufficient to force faith upon a person. The act of becoming Muslim is an act of the heart, it is something you feel in your chest when you accept to stand face-to-face with God, open your heart to Him, and embrace His presence regardless of the risks and fears you feel.

The process is two steps; first you need to feel God’s presence. You have to come face-to-face with Him. But that is not enough. Once that presence is felt, one needs to embrace it, to “leap” into it.

As I discuss in my essay on beauty, the most beautiful things take us face-to-face with God. Therefore rather than looking for faith in books, when you experience beauty and feel it in your heart, know that it is God who is looking back at you. From there it is just a very small step to leap into His presence. Many people, when they experience such beauty that it brings tears to their eyes, know that the universe is offering them something, but they do not know what that is. I say that that is God who is offering you His hand. You just need to take it.

As for Islam, it is merely a tool to help you know the manners of interacting with God and people. The point of Islam is God, so it is God who comes first. When you have experienced Him and embraced His presence, then embracing Islam, if you have understood it, is the logical next step (for some Christianity works in the same way), since Islam offers a beautiful and logical system that teaches one the best way to interact with God and with humanity.

Best wishes.

IslamQA: Why is God not helping me?

im going thru something hard in life and hope you will make dua for me. I understand everything happenes by the decree of Allah swt, but I don’t understand why this is happening to me, astagfiruallah, but it doesn’t seem “fair”, I have very hard time understanding and accepting why. I first become closer to Allah and make dua and have patience. but nothing has happened and nothing helped me yet. so I feel unmotivated to stay close, astagfiruAllah. please any advice and dua. asselamalaikum

Sorry to read that. I know what you mean by hardship not feeling fair. I discuss this in detail in my essay on depression. Please check out that essay in which I discuss how to find meaning when suffering feels meaningless.

Best wishes inshaAllah.

IslamQA: Is it permissible to have hobbies in Islam?

Assalamu Aleikum, I always wondered if it is dangerous to have passions/hobbies? For instance I love movies, I spend a lot of time watching films and learning about cinema, it’s become part of my personnality really, but I never ever felt that it distracts me from my religion. Are passions and hobbies like music, where we are specifically told that it’s haram because of the harm and distraction it causes to our faith?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

As long as they do not get in the way of your religious practice then they are neutral and can even have a positive value. We know that Prophet Sulayman asked God to give him the world’s greatest kingdom and that he liked fine horses. These interests were worldly interests as far as we can see, but God did not condemn them.

The Quran says:

31. O Children of Adam! Dress finely at every place of worship, and eat and drink, but do not be excessive. He does not love the excessive.

32. Say, “Who forbade God’s finery which He has produced for His servants, and the delights of livelihood?” Say, “They are for those who believe, in this present world, but exclusively theirs on the Day of Resurrection.” We thus detail the revelations for people who know. (The Quran, verses 7:31-32)

These verses seem to support the idea that it is fine to enjoy the good things in life as long as it is not taken to excess.

A good way to ensure that the things you enjoy do not have a negative influence on you is to dedicate an hour or so of every day to extra worship that involves reading Quran (as I discuss in my essay on tahajjud). If you do this then you will be protected from sinful things and the good things you enjoy in life will not take you away from God.

Best wishes.

IslamQA: On Muslim migrant criminal and uncivilized behavior in the West

Why are Muslim migrants so destructive to whatever nation harbors them? They actually use their faith to justify their criminal behaviour, leeching off the welfare state, and anti-western sentiments. Catholic South America is just as bad but those who do the same don't justify it with their faith; there's no crusade mentallity against 'infidels' when they migrate. Though majority of Muslims aren't terrorist, vast majority (in South Asia and parts of Africa) hold wahabi-like backwards views.

The problem is not Islam. There are millions of Iranian immigrants in California that no one hears about because they are just like ordinary, middle class American. The same applies to most of the Muslims in Canada.

The problem is letting in immigrants who have a high rate of criminality in their home countries, and this changes from country to country. If the migrants in Germany had all been Malaysian there would have been then 95% of the current problems would not have existed.

Similarly, if any Muslim population you look at has a high rate of criminality, then neighboring non-Muslims who are genetically and culturally similar will be just like them in criminality. A good case is Indian Muslims versus Indian Hindus. Indian Hindus are in no shape or form superior to Indian Muslims. Whatever problems Indian Muslims have, Indian Hindus have them too. If Indian Muslim immigrants are more criminal than the native population in a country like Germany, then Indian Hindus too would be more criminal than the native population.

My point is that the socio-economic status of a Muslim population tells us everything we need to know about their rate of criminality; Islam is irrelevant here. In fact Islam has a positive contribution; a country like Egypt is doing far better in criminality and scientific output, for example, compared to Christian countries of similar socio-economic status (mostly in Latin America). The same applies to Iran compared to Armenia (which has a higher IQ and is Christian). Iran has a lower homicide rate and produces far more scientific research per citizen compared to this neighboring Christian country.

We can also compare Senegal (Muslim majority African country) to neighboring Christian countries. Senegal is doing far better than them, the rate of rape for example is an order of magnitude lower than a Christian African country of similar socio-economic status I compared it to some time back.

I know people like to blame Islam for the problems they see among Muslims. This is what I call amateur sociology; it is done by people who are completely ignorant about standard scientific practices like controls and comparing like for like.

To put it another way, problematic Muslim populations would be even worse if we take away Islam from them. Do you think the criminals among these migrants are devout Muslims? The criminal underclass of the Middle East is only Muslim in name, and it fits the propaganda purposes of anti-Muslim sources to contribute their criminality to Islam when we can actually make the argument that their criminality is due to their lack of Islam; due to the fact that they have never taken Islam to heart, never pray and never read the Quran.

I agree that many, especially in Pakistan, hold Wahhabi-like views. This is thanks to a Saudi-US-Pakistani program to spread Wahhabism in that country for geopolitical reasons (see Professor Andrew J. Bacevich’s America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History). A recent study I read said that there were over 100 Saudi-funded madrasas in a single Pakistani state. The people of Pakistan have been used like chess pieces by American war planners who wanted to weaken the Soviet Union by creating an army of intolerant jihadists. And the Saudis like to extend their power all over the Islamic world by producing Wahhabi ideologues submissive to their commands. And the Taliban, which literally means “the Students”, were the products of this Saudi-US-Pakistani project.

Winston Churchill was giving Ibn Saud (the founder of modern Saudi Arabia) an annual sum of 100,000 British pounds to help him succeed in his war on the rest of the Muslims of Arabia even as he, Churchill, acknowledged in the British Parliament that his fighters were bloodthirsty and utterly intolerant (see Professor Mark Curtis, Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam) . And more recently it has been American support that has been keeping them in power. Blaming Muslims for Wahhabism is a perfect case of blaming the victim. This ideology has been a tool of power for different states wishing to gain power and manipulate Muslim populations. A primary reason it was adopted by the Saudis originally in the 18th century was that it gave them the right to attack and enslave fellow Muslim tribes, something that mainstream Islam prohibited. It helped free them from all the limitations of Islamic law by defining all Muslims who disagreed with them as worse than animals. Ibn Saud considered the Karbala massacre of 1802, in which thousands of innocent men, women and children were slaughtered by Wahhabis, a great success.

The majority of people in whatever Muslim country you look at are not Wahhabis, not even in Saudi Arabia. Wahhbabism can only exist when there is a power forcing it on people from above (or paying people to adopt it, as in Pakistan). Most Muslims just want to get along and are not obsessed with religion. Generally the media gives all of its attention to the 0.01% of extremist and intolerant Muslims and ignores the 99.99% who are just ordinary people.

I do not know if any statistics exist, but I would be highly skeptical of any claim that more than a few percent of people in Pakistan actually follow Wahhabism or similar versions of Islam. There may be many wannabe Wahhabis; many in Pakistan probably mistakenly think it is a “pure and authentic” version of Islam (not realizing that the people of Mecca and Medina strongly disliked the Wahhabis when they took over in the 1920′s and had no respect for them. Ibn Saud had to import clerics from Egypt because the people of the Hijaz would not listen to Wahhabi clerics). But even among those who mistakenly think Wahhabism is pure and authentic Islam, only a small number of them will be willing to actually learn about it and follow it. Most of them will continue to listen to music, watch cartoons, and do whatever else their cultural common sense tells them regardless of what the Wahhabis say.

It is my belief that if the Saudi funding for Wahhabism is cut off, it will immediately collapse wherever it is because Wahhabism has never spread anywhere in the world organically. It has always had a political power behind it, and when that political power is removed (as happened in the 1840′s in the town of Dawmat al-Jandal in Arabia), people automatically revert back to a more sensible and tolerant version of Islam that fits their culture (Wahhabism wants to wipe out culture so that everyone may become a Homo Wahhabicus with nothing in their brains except Wahhabism, while mainstream Islam respects culture and does not expect people to stop being human in order to be Muslim).

IslamQA: Sexual fantasies in Islam

What is your advice for young people struggling with sexual daydreams?

The Prophet, peace be upon him, says:

God has pardoned for my community what comes to their mind, so long as they do not act or pronounce words to that effect. (Sunan Abi Dawud 2209, various forms of this hadith are also present al-Bukhari, Muslim and others)

Sexual fantasies are a natural consequence of having high levels of sex hormones. They are not sinful in themselves, but they can lead to sinful behavior. If they become a nuisance then fasting or reducing calorie intake is said to help. You can also search for “how to lower sex drive” and many articles will come up on dealing with an overactive sex drive.

And if they are causing you to do sinful things then this answer may help: What is the best way to avoid habitual sins?

Best wishes.

IslamQA: Which sura must be recited after al-Fatiha? What to do in prayer if you haven’t memorized much Quran?

Is there certain surahs we must recite in salah? I usually just recite surah Al-Kafirun and surah ikhlas because I do not know any other off by heart.

You can recite anything you wish after al-Fatiha; it can be a whole sura or a verse or two (such as the Throne Verse by itself).

Assalaamu 'Alaikum, I'm confused about what you're allowed to recite after Fatiha during salah. I've been told you need to recite entire surahs after. there's also the fact that the longer the surahs you use the more blessings from God. This is disheartening for me because so far I only know of few short surah since memory isn't my strong suit at all. I yearn to pray tahajjud but I don't know enough to surahs to recite off the top of my head. I feel my prayers hold less value to God due to this.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

You can recite anything you wish. In the Shāfiʿī, Ḥanbalī and Mālikī schools whatever you recite after al-Fātiḥa is considered voluntary rather than obligatory (so you can simply recite al-Fātiḥa). The Ḥanafī school considers it wājib, which is a degree lower than farḍ (obligatory) but close to it.

It is recommended that you recite a full sura. But reciting a single verse is also permissible. Imam Aḥmad (founder of the Ḥanbalī school) recommends that if you recite a few verses then they should be long ones.

It is also permissible to recite multiple suras after al-Fātiḥa if you feel like it. This is what some of the Companions used to do.

One way to pray tahajjud when you have not memorized much Quran is to perform two units, then take a break to read a few pages of Quran, then get up to pray some more.

You can also hold a book of Quran in your hand and read from it during prayer. Aḥmad says there is no issue with doing this in voluntary prayers, while al-Zuhrī,(an important early Medinan scholar) says “the best of us used to do that” (to read from a book of Quran during voluntary night prayers in Ramadan).

Sources for these opinions (all in Arabic): Fatwa 1 | Fatwa 2 | Fatwa 3 | Fatwa 4

IslamQA: Do the consequences of other people’s sins affect us?

Aselam Alaikum, hope your well in shaa Allah. In Islam does the consequences of another persons sin, affect oneself? My aunt, who has been very absent, rude and hating towards my family and I, and disowned us for years, has now fallen ill. And out of all, I have ended up being the one taking care of her. It has effected me badly since I can’t work or be with friends ect, since I’m home all day taking care of her, for months now. How may it be that the consequences of her sin affects my life

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Another person’s sin can certainly affect you materially. A person who steals something is sinning, but the sin also affects the victim who will now lack that thing. If your aunt has been bad toward your family and is now reliant upon you, that could be God’s way of repaying you by helping you earn the great rewards of taking care of someone who has hurt you in the past.  The Quran refers in this way to those who do good toward those who have done them harm in the past:

But none will attain [this virtue] except those who persevere, and none will attain it except the very fortunate. (The Quran, verse 41:35)

I know it can be tiring and dreary to have to take care of someone, even someone you love. But assuming you have no choice but to continue in this way, then the best thing to do is to make this an occasion for rising your status in God’s sight.

Every person’s life contains certain “unsolvable” problems; it might be a chronically ill child or parent, or an abusive spouse, or a bad job that a person can find no way to leave. There are two ways of dealing with such problems: one way leads to discontent and spiritual stagnation, and the other leads to growth and maturation. For more please see my essay below which is dedicated to this topic:

The Road to Maturity: On Dealing with Life’s Unsolvable Problems

Best wishes.

IslamQA: Is it sinful to cherry-pick which scholars you listen to?

Is it sinful for me to cherry-pick what kind of da'wah I want to hear and accept? I don't enjoy and accept some of the 'ulama here in my country for their way of speaking or delivering the speech, even if it's true. I kinda disappointed by the traditionalist point of view and I want to start to build my own perspective to perceive Islam the way I really want to see and feel about it. I dislike the feeling of extremism that emerges every time I try to accept them, and so I stopped listening.

Actually according to Imam al-Ghazali it is obligatory upon you to build your own Islam out of all the pieces you can gather rather than trying to follow the opinions of others. So what you are doing is perfectly fine. If you are not satisfied with what you hear, that means you are intelligent enough to seek knowledge on your own and to surpass them in understanding. Become a scholar yourself.

I recommend reading Western scholarly works about Islam’s great scholars and thinkers, such as Imam al-Ghazali, Rumi, al-Shafi`i, Imam Malik and others then reading the books they cite, and you will find a whole new world open up to you.

Check out these books if possible:

Al-Ghazali’s Philosophical Theology

Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy

Malik and Medina: Islamic Legal Reasoning in the Formative Period 

A Muslim in Victorian America: The Life of Alexander Russell Webb

The First Islamic Reviver: Abu Hamid al-Ghazali and his Revival of the Religious Sciences

The Canonization of Islamic Law: A Social and Intellectual History 

The Rise of Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West: With Special Reference to Scholasticism

What Is Islam?: The Importance of Being Islamic

The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology