IslamQA

Answers to questions on Islamic topics. Ask a Question.

IslamQA: Women may attend distant universities without a mahram

What about a muslim woman who moves out of town far from her mahrams to attend university?

Note that the restriction on women traveling without mahrams only applies to traveling. A woman is allowed to go to another city or country to attend university without a mahram going with her if she is able to safely reside there (for example among fellow Muslim women) and there are no great moral hazards to her religion.

References:

IslamQA: On the vast memories of past Islamic scholars

As-salaamu 'alaykum, wa rahmatu-llaahi wa barakaatuh. Al-hamdu li-llaah, this website is very beneficial. One of my interests has been "human memory." I have read that some Muslim scholars of the past memorized an extraordinary number of Hadith - up to one-hundred thousand, or more, memorized by one individual. Then, there are scholars like Imaam ash-Shaafi'ii, may Allaah have mercy on him, who had a photographic memory. My question is: throughout your reading, have you come across examples of modern individuals who have had similar capacities for memorizing information, such as a photographic memory? Jazak-Allaahu khayran.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

No, I haven’t come across that. Also, I would be skeptical about the miraculous level of memory that’s attributed to some scholars. It is often based on rumors without strong chains of transmitters (and sometimes without a chain at all). Writers of biographies liked to attribute such qualities to the scholars they admired, so they wrote such things down even if they were based on unverifiable rumors.

I have not studied the matter in detail, so there might really be scholars with amazing memories. But personally I’m skeptical of the notion that classical scholars enjoyed memories that is nearly impossible for people today to have.

IslamQA: On getting depressed about the state of Islam and Muslims

I get so depressed whenever I think about the state of the Islamic world. Some of the biggest degenerates in the world somehow have the word " Islam" attached to them. All Muslim countries are suffering from some sort of disease. The rich are disgustingly rich, the poor are pathetically poor. Its so uncomfortable. Im so scared about what will become of us. It feels like the whole world is bleeding, how are we supposed to act in times like these?

Personally I’m extremely optimistic about the present state of Islam and Muslims and about their future. God is in charge of history. Everything happens according to His plan, and there is no one who can get in His way. This is exactly where God wants us to be. History is like a film directed by Him. I never worry about the future of Islam and Muslims because of my belief that history is managed by God. Our task is simply to do the best where we are with what He has given us. God wants this world to be a test, to bring out the best and worst in us, and this requires the world to offer all kinds of opportunities for people to be kind or cruel.

You may also be interested in these two articles where I discuss related issues:

On thinking that Muslims are ignorant and contribute little to science

A Muslim’s view of climate change

IslamQA: Should women perform ghusl after masturbation?

Salam if a girl happens to masterbate is she supposed to perform ghusul after? And if she should is it the same as the one she does after finishing her period? If asking for a friend jazakAllah kheir

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

For a woman masturbation requires ghusl only if she orgasms and her orgasm is accompanied by ejaculation (according to the Shafi`i opinion). A woman’s ejaculation is a discharge that comes out in quick spurts similar to a man’s ejaculation. Also, note that inserting fingers in the vagina does not require ghusl afterwards.

There is just one kind of obligatory ghusl, all you need to do is ensure that all of your hair and body get drenched in water. There are some voluntary sunna acts that you can do, but like I said they are voluntary. The sunna way is to wash your palms, then your private parts, then perform wudu, then wash your head three times, then wash the rest of your body.

References:

  1. Fatwa from the Qatari Fatwa Authority (Arabic PDF)
  2. The Kuwaiti Encyclopedia of Fiqh, Kuwait, second impression (1986), vol. 6, 333.
  3. IslamOnline fatwa (Arabic PDF)
  4. Saudi fatwa (Arabic PDF)

IslamQA: The hadith that commands to kill homosexuals is a weak hadith

A few years back JAKIM ( Department of Islamic Development Malaysia) circulated a Hadith that said Muslims are obliged to kill homosexuals. Thoughts?

That hadith comes through Amr b. Maysara who is considered a weak transmitter by Imam Malik and others. So the hadith is not strong enough to be used in Islamic law.

I believe in the modern world, Islamic countries should have two kinds of law, constitutional law that applies to all citizens, and Islamic law that applies to Muslims. Islamic punishments should only apply to those who freely choose to live under the Islamic legal system, and leaving Islam should be a right. I don’t believe in killing for any sexual crime, you can read more about that here on my site.

IslamQA: Islam’s approach to child brides and pedophilia

I seek to know more about Islam. What is the approach to child brides and Forgive my word; Pedophilia. I’ve heard conflicting sides and I seek a solid answer regarding it as to put to rest any concerns surrounding it. I thank you.

Islam lets each culture determine the age of marriage for themselves. Generally in non-technological cultures marriages happen a few years after girls start menstruating. In warm areas where menstruation happens at 9, marriages happen around 12, and in cold areas where it happens at 17, marriages are around 20. 

Islam permits Muslim countries to pass laws to determine a minimum age of marriage. Islam requires that the woman be old enough to give her informed consent to the marriage (or refuse), but what is considered old enough may change from one country to another. Women should also always have the right to get a divorce if they want.

If you are referring to the Prophet’s marriage PBUH, please see this article on my site: A Hadith Scholar Presents New Evidence that Aisha was Near 18 the Day of Her Marriage to the Prophet Muhammad

IslamQA: How to repent from major sins

Assalamu'alaikum how to repent from a major sin you knowingly committed... Jazak Allah khairun

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

If the sin doesn’t involve the rights of other people then all you need to do is repent and you will be forgiven inshaAllah. But if it involves the rights of others, as in stealing, then it is necessary to repent and return the stolen thing.


IslamQA: What minor sins can turn into major sins?

assalamualaikum what are examples of minor sins that can become habits and be a big sin? Examples will help me be wary of it in my own life. Like is doing something that is not even considered a "sin" excessively then become a sin?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

If you pray regularly and read Quran, then you will inshaAllah be protected from minor sins turning into major sins. When venturing to commit a major sin, God gives you many opportunities to repent and turn back, and if you have a good relationship with Him, He will also place many obstacles before you to prevent you from committing the sin.

A minor sin that could turn into a major sin is watching pornography. A person may go on from there to pay to watch live webcam erotic performers, and it may be an easy step from there to set up an actual in-person meeting. Being very sexually aroused weakens our ability to control our actions and makes sinful things appear good and beautiful, so minor sexual sins have the danger of easily turning into major sins. You may be interested in my essay: The Philosophy of Pornography and Masturbation

IslamQA: Does God send us signs to help us with decisions?

Alslam alikum I’d like to hear your opinion in universe signs do U believe that there is such a thing that Allah sends us sometimes signs that helps us with decisions?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Almost everything that happens to you can be considered a sign since it is God who arranges what happens to you. But sometimes we do get specific signs, for example a person may want to do something sinful but if God wants to protect them, He makes it difficult for them. They may want to buy something sinful but they find out the store has run out of that thing, they go to another store and it is closed, and so on, until they realize that God doesn’t want them to get that thing.


IslamQA: Do Muslim women need a mahram to go on a journey?

Salaam. Do Muslim women need a mahram to go on a journey?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There is a strong hadith that comes from multiple Companions that says a woman shouldn’t go on a journey that takes a day and night (24 hours) unless there is a mahram with her. It is allowed (by Ibn Jibrin) for a mahram to drop off a woman at an airport and let her travel alone to the destination where another mahram picks her up. The scholar al-Baji says the restriction only applies to young women, elders may travel alone (although other scholars disagree). I haven’t studied the hadiths on this matter in detail, so I don’t have a personal opinion on it.

IslamQA: Islam and academic plagiarism

Ao, I feel very confused and sinful, for my class I used a website to write an essay, but a previous student had done the same thing the year before and the teacher thought I had used the students essay. I admitted to using the website, but I turned the essay on it into a guide, although i barely changed anything (kept all the information like who wrote it and where it was from) I just put it into bullet points so it looked more like a guide, I feel really bad how sinful is it that I edited it?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I’m not sure I understand exactly what you did, but if you are afraid you committed plagiarism: I would confess to the professor everything that I did and ask him/her if they can give me a chance to do the assignment again. Talk to him face-to-face, doing it in writing may require him to report it to the higher ups and get you into more trouble.

And if you want to be extra safe, before you do that, you can talk about it face-to-face with another professor unrelated to that class and see what he/she advises.


IslamQA: Recovering from fellow Muslims making you dislike Islam

Salam. I want to ask of you, my brother, how to recover from trauma of being around religious Muslims? I was a part of an Islamist group in the past and when I joined them I got to see the bad side of Muslims. I know that they are only humans, but I cannot get over how they behave like they own the truth but hurt people with their tongue. I am not generalizing all of them like that, but the scar is still there. I cannot accept that I am also a part of those kinds of Muslims. I need your advice.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Sorry about what you’ve been through. I think the solution is to learn more about Islam on your own so much that you start to feel like it’s your own personal religion, like you own your own brand of Islam. I was forced to do that myself after seeing many ridiculous ideas associated with Islam, I had to make my own understanding that made it perfectly clear how my religion was not what those extremists and narrow-minded people thought it was. I recommend that you read my essays where I describe Islam as I understand it. You could also try reading some of the books on my Islamic studies reading list.

IslamQA: Is it written for us which person we will marry?

Alslam alikum I have some confusions about the love stuff in alslam,we should believe that what ever is written for you will come at the right time,me as a Muslim girl I cannot approach the guy I like ,and also I don’t want Haram relationship so what should I do?be realistic or duaa , P.S I never talked to this guy but I know a lot about him I will be happy to hear your personal opnion Thank u

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

What is written for you can change, this is something that many Muslims don’t realize. You and God make your fate together, it’s like a team project. You choose, and based on that, God decides what happens next, and based on how you respond, He decides what happens next, and so on. For those who are pious, God arranges their circumstances in such a way that they have meaningful and joyful lives despite their hardships. But if these same people become impious and start sinning, they will run into all kinds of aimlessness and useless suffering, since God will stop arranging their circumstances favorably for them.

Regarding relationships, Islam doesn’t forbid women from approaching men. In the right circumstances you can ask a man to ask your family for your hand in marriage. Apart from that you can rely on your relatives, friends, and halaqa sisters to find you a match. Most social circles have women who love matchmaking. And if that doesn’t work, you can use sites like halfourdeen.com to find Muslim men. As long as your family is involved there is nothing bad or haram about using such sites.

Best wishes.

Alslam alikum I read what you answered the girl about love and Islam and destiny,I got confused too😂 Did you mean that if I don’t work for it or stressed out and started looking for a guy or someone to set me up with I won’t necessarily get married 😱?i always thought that what meant for you will come to you

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

It’s like a team project, like I said in the previous answer. You and God manage your destiny together. You can leave it to Him and He will place the right things in your path. But you can also help matters along when the right opportunity is there. God helps you help yourself. If you are in a city where you never run into other Muslim men, then using a website like halfourdeen.com may be the way God wants you to find the right man.

IslamQA: She fears no man will find her attractive

Salam. Lately, I just find myself spending a lot of time seeking validation from guys. Maybe it's just this age or hormones, but I get really scared that if no one finds me admirable or attractive, then I might miss out on finding someone, and these thoughts consume my mind for longer than I'd like to admit. Do you think I might lack the ability to form deep, meaningful relationships because I'm shallow?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Life is like being inside a ship piloted by God. Your task is to react to what happens inside the ship in the best manner possible. It is not your task to manage where the ship goes next. If you are God-fearing, He will take you to the best places. Each time time you are kind, generous and noble, you improve the ship’s direction. You cannot directly pilot the ship, but God looks at how you behave and respond to decide where to take the ship. If you try to be a saint, you will have a meaningful and wholesome life. God will take care of the details. Try to have a deep connection with God (such as by reading the Quran for an hour daily), and then when the time is right, He will choose the right one for you and will force them into your life whether you want it or not.

I don’t mean that we shouldn’t do anything to better our lives. We should do everything in our power. But the wider story-arc is in God’s hands, and if we are good, He will ensure that we will get good results.

Some people mistakenly think that since God is in charge of the world, this means that there is nothing they can do about what happens to them. In reality it is like a team project, you and God together manage the direction of your life. You do it by passing tests and trying to be the best you can be in any situation, and He does it by deciding what happens to you next based on your performance.

I have had that happen to me many times. My life would seem to go nowhere for years, and suddenly everything would change without my having to do anything. Pass the boring test of being a good person everyday and He will take care of making your life interesting.

IslamQA: How to repent from intentionally missing Ramadan fasts

Alslam alikum The last Ramadan I was upset from big problems that happened to me so I started to get far from Allah ,I didn’t fast even one day Now I regret it I don’t know what to do

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Simply repent sincerely, that’s all that you need to do, and try to be better from now on. You can make up for it with voluntary fasts, although there’s a well-supported opinion that intentionally missed prayers and fasts don’t need to be made up. See: Do Muslims need to make up prayers intentionally missed for years?


IslamQA: She rejected a suitor because she likes another man

Alsalm alikum There is guy who came to my dad and asked to marry me ,but I don’t want him although he is a good guy ,I just didn’t feel the chemistry was there ,I know it’s maybe silly but I’m waiting for some guy who I like a lot,we never talked but we see each other often I make duaa that Allah to choose for me I started to feel confused ,help

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

That’s all natural. If this is in any way appropriate in your family/culture, maybe find a way to ask the man you like to ask your family for your hand in marriage, although of course how the man will take this depends on his character and culture. If he is an honorable man, he will give you an answer and if it is yes, then great, and if no, then you can move on to other men.


IslamQA: Defining modesty in clothing in Islam

can you please help us define modesty? today, many people have fitted fashion around modesty and it's difficult to tell what is define as "modest clothing" or not. thank you!

A modest costume for a woman is one that doesn’t grab men’s sexual attention. If you pass a group of young men and none of them find anything in you to admire sexually, then you’re modestly dressed. Of course some men will leer at a woman regardless of how she’s dressed, but the point is to do your part and leave the rest to God. Islam wants men and women to interact as equals in public spaces, without sexuality intruding.

IslamQA: Difficulty in praying due to a mental block

I don't know how to word this properly, but for a really long period of time, I just feel when troubles come up in life, I get extremely emotional and overly sensitive. I can't focus on school and my worth ethic drops and I spend all my time crying or distracting myself. A lot of people have been telling me that I'm too overly-sensitive, but then again I take that as an offence and get hurt when people tell me my reaction is bad or too much. Am I prideful? Do I think my feelings are more valid?

2/x This is a continuation of my previous question about being too emotional. I also don’t pray all five times a day. I know it’s important and I know there is lots of emphasis on the Qur'an on it, and I honestly do care and try my best. Do you think maybe because I get so sad and lonely and angry at times is because I don’t fully establish prayer?

It sounds like you might suffer from depression. Wanting to do something (such as wanting to pray) but not being able to do it due to some mental block is a clear symptom of depression. I recommend that you see a mental health professional and possibly get on a medication if you need it. That can give you back your energy and motivation and take away your emotional issues.