Movies on the Lives of the Companions

Shaykh Jamir Meah is asked about watching movies of the lives of the companions.

Through the years, I have seen many serials depicting the life of the Companions of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, come out, though they do not show the Prophet himself, blessings and peace be upon him.

I was wondering if it is permissible to watch them as some of them have been based on true stories of the past and could teach Muslims the stories of their Companions, Allah be pleased with them.

I have also been told that watching some actor depict a Companion could create wrong perceptions in our imagination and would lead us to embed the on screen face in our head. I would like to receive a clarification on this issue.

Thank you.

Ma‘ssalam

Our teachers have said that it would be impermissible to watch television shows or movies which depict the Companions, Allah be pleased with them all. This is because the mere act of a person portraying one of the Companions is lowering their noble station, a rank which cannot be done justice no matter how good and respectful the actor or the production.

Each character, their every word, their voice, their facial expressions, their mannerisms, their actions, and each event in their lives, is portrayed through the understanding and lens of the actor or the filmmaker, which may not always be true, and in fact, may be grossly incorrect and a disservice.

Islamic Serials and Movies

Though I’m sure that there are good intentions in some of these productions, and that they do have an obvious appeal to many people today, the nature of dramatics, whether the theatre, television or the film industry, is exactly that, drama, a relentless desire and attempt to do one better, to excite, to push the boundaries of art and entertainment.

This is why we have seen, in true Disney fashion, productions go from cartoons to live action, and then mediocre serials to the current trend of lavish Islamic productions. These have gone from biographies of well-known historical figures, scholars and saints, to depictions of the Companions (including all the major companions), then of previous Prophets, and then finally the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, himself! And we seek refuge in Allah.

In many ways, these serials feel like a devaluing of our rich history and beloved and noble figures, who gave everything they had, even their lives, so the word of Allah and his Messengers could be preserved and reach us today. We should honor and guard this by learning and preserving our connection to the prophets and the companions through the oral and textual traditional, which were protected and transmitted in the most meticulous manner by men and women of pure hearts.

While this may lack the heightened entertainment factor that modern shows offer, ultimately, somethings should be left alone and respected, and this is one of them. Instead, we should explore the means of human interaction to attain knowledge and insight, to read books to form our own opinions, and the power of the mind and imagination to find meaning and inspiration.

Alternatives

An alternative and a middle ground for those who feel they need to watch something, is to look for Islamic television shows where a scholar or presenter talks about the lives of the Companions or the Prophets, such as Amr Khaled’s popular series on the lives of the Companions, which had a huge following among the youth in Egypt and is available with English subtitles.

Additionally, good quality and inspiring audio lecture series are available on similar topics by notable speakers. These also make excellent family listening.

And Allah knows best.

Please also refer to this answer which deals with some of the topics we have discussed: Does Drawing the Prophet Muhammad or Any Other Prophet Entail Disbelief?

Warmest salams,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Does Profanity Entail Shirk?

Ustadh Farid Dingle clears up a misunderstanding about profanity, swearing, oaths, and shirk.

I’d like to ask about swearing (as in taking an oath). I used to have a habit of using English profanity a lot of times. I’m currently working on it, and Alhamdulillah, I’ve made progress. Instead of using vulgar words, I usually use the more toned-down version of them, like “oh man,” “oh boy,” “darn,” etc.

I’ve read from various sources that swearing in the name of someone or something other than Allah is considered shirk. What does it mean by taking an oath not in the name of Allah? Is saying “minced oaths” included? Does saying, for example, “Oh boy, I’m so mad at this” count as one?

I’m having a hard time understanding the link between the connotation of these phrases and how the law should be applied, since English is not my first language. Thank you for your help.

Such words do not constitute oaths. An oath is when you swear by Allah.

Please see What is the Difference Between a Promise, an Oath, and a Vow?

Training yourself to be grateful

It is worth trying to force yourself to say things like “alhamdulillah” instead because the tongue teaches the heart, and one should thank Allah for everything, and not object to His decree. Please also see Divine Decree, Contentment, and Lessons From the Prophet’s Life.

Over time, if you strive to force yourself to thank Allah for the calamities that befall one, it because easier and easier as if it were are part of the way you are.

Watching One’s Tongue

The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “When the Son of Adam awakes, all of his limbs denigrate his tongue. They say, ‘Fear Allah concerning us (limbs of the body), for we are only with you (after all). If you go straight, we go straight, and if you go crooked, we go crooked.’” (Tirmidhi)

May Allah make our hearts, minds, bodies and tongues pure and true. Amin.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Photos of the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat answers questions on images of the Prophet found online.

I am confused. The photos that are on Google and YouTube of the Messenger of Allah, blessings and peace be upon him, are they real or are they just uploaded by others to misguide Muslims?

I pray you are well.

Depicting the Prophets and Companions

Is is not permissible to depict the Messenger of Allah – or any other prophet, Allah bless them all and give them peace, in picture or video format. This is a matter of consensus and the verdict issued by al-Azhar University in 1968, the Islamic Research Council in 1972, the Egyptian Fatwa Ministry in 1980, and others more recently.

There are many reasons for this. One of them is that it opens the doors of derision directed to the prophets, Allah bless them and give them peace; whereas Allah has honored them to the highest degree. We live in a time where anyone and everyone can comment on matters online. Sadly, there are those whose vile comments are leveled against the greatest of people – due to ignorance, animosity, or sheer malice.

Therefore, the aversion of this is given precedence over any and all other potential benefits. Looking at such images, therefore, would have the same rulings.

Any pictures you do find, if they are there to depict his beauty, they cannot do it justice. And if they are there for any other vile purpose – it is best not to sully your sight with them.

The ruling has also been extended to depicting the Companions. Many of the sources used to produce such material are not sound, therefore there is the element of falsely ascribing events and quotes to people in this. There are other matters which further support this ruling.

Seeing the Messenger, Blessings and Peace Be upon Him

I recommend that you study the beautiful life and qualities of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. Those who throw themselves into this and those who send many blessings upon him, are often blessed with seeing him in their dreams.

In a narration found in Sahih al-Bukhari, he said, “Whoever sees me in a dream will see me in a waking state; Shaytan cannot take my form.” Some of the ulema, such as Imam al-Suyuti, have commented on this hadith saying that some of the righteous – such as Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili and others – see him in a waking state during their lives. For the generality of believers, this usually happens at the point of death, and through this great blessing they attain a good death. (Jassus, Qasim; Sharh Shamaʾil al-Tirmidhi)

May Allah honor us with the vision of His beloved, Allah bless him and give him peace, in this life before the next. Amin. 

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Calumny and the Prophetic Response

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat details the evils of calumny and how to respond.

I want to know what Shari‘a says of a women who falsely accuses husband of impotence and rejects all medical evidence. Not only that, she has spread word about the impotence of the husband throughout the community, thereby bringing him into disrepute.

I pray you are well.

Calumny

What you are describing is calumny (buhtan). It is a serious sin. Sins against oneself are bad – but sins against others are much worse.

The Messenger of Allah said, “Five particular sins have no expiation: Worshipping another besides Allah (this can be extended to disbelief in general), unjustly killing a person, calumny against a believer, fleeing from a battle, and a false oath causing a believer to lose his property.” (Ahmad).

What is understood from the hadith is that good deeds, Ramadan, etc., usually expiate and remove sins from a believer – even if he does not repent from them. These sins, however, are not expiated automatically. Whoever commits them must repent from them specifically, otherwise he will have to answer for them on the Day of Judgement.

The Prophetic Response

The best thing you can do is to respond as the noble Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, did, with patience and forgiveness.

Abu Hurayra narrated that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace said, “No wealth has ever been diminished by charity; and Allah has never raised a servant due to his pardoning [those who wrong him] except in honor; and whoever humbles himself for the sake of Allah – Allah raises him.” (Bukhari). These are tried and tested truths – do your best to follow this advice.

You are not, however, expected to be a doormat to anyone. The believer does not allow people to humiliate him. If there is active harm coming your way from people you can do what you need to prevent it, and preserve your reputation. But beware of going to excesses in your response. We are human, and emotionally charged situations can take people there.

Get out of harm’s way, and keep forgiving internally to please Allah; and whatever happens externally will go in your favor – that I guarantee you.

May Allah inspire us to adopt the prophetic response in all situations.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Kaffara for Broken Oath If Genuinely Forgotten

Ustadh Farid Dingle answers a question about expiation for broken oaths.

I have been gaining weight recently. In an attempt to curb that, I made an oath to Allah, saying “Wallahi, I will not drink any soda for the month of December.” However, at work, I just went about my day and having completely forgotten about my oath, went to the deli and purchased a can and drank it. I remembered over a day later that I had indeed made the oath. Am I liable to pay kaffara, feed the poor, or fast?

Maybe this connection is not right, but I know during Ramadan, you can accidentally eat an entire meal and if in your mind, you have truly forgotten that you were fasting, you can stop when you remember and complete your fast with no sin incurring on you. Please let me know if my breaking my oath requires expiation.

Jazak Allah khayr.

No, there is no expiation for someone who breaks their oath forgetfully in the Shafi‘i School. (Asna al-Matalib)

The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “My nation has been forgiven their mistakes and that which they do out of forgetfulness or force.” (Ibn Majah, al-Bayhaqi, and others, deemed sound by Imam al-Nawawi)

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Listening to Qur’an While Solving Math Problems

Ustadh Farid Dingle is asked about listening to the Qur’an while doing something else.

I pray this note finds you in the best of spirits insha Allah

Alhamdulillah, I love Islam and try my best to practice it in the best way possible.

In my eagerness to do more at the same time, I sometimes listen to Qur’an while solving math problems. Is that permissible or it is against the adab of Qur’an?

Please advise.

Jazak Allah khayr

It is permissible, but the proper way to listen to the Qur’an is to give it your full attention and ponder on its meanings.

Allah Most High says, “So when the Qur’an is recited, then listen to it and pay attention that you may receive mercy.” (Sura al-A‘raf 7: 204)

One of the scholars that I that asked about this was actually a mathematician and felt it farfetched that someone could ‘pay attention’ while working on something that is very mentally taxing.

Another quoted the verse of the Quran, “Never has God endowed any man with two hearts in one body.” (Sura al-Ahzab 33:4) That is to sat that one cannot focus on two things at the same time.

So, it is not the best way to listen to the Qur’an, but it is not forbidden and certainly better than listening to something inappropriate.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Have I Divorced My Wife?

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan untangles doubts about a divorce pronounced in anger.

I have issued my wife with Talaq three times during a single incident.

This was following an argument where I became so angry that I wanted to strangle her but instead I picked up the kettle and swung it, dropping all the water and hitting a de-icer bottle on the work top. In the anger, I said, “Talaq, talaq, talaq.” The whole incident lasted a matter of 10-20 seconds.

This is not the first time I have lost control of my temper and almost instantly flown of the handle. On numerous previous occasions I have abused my wife, charged at her, made threats, got in her face, and been physically violent.

My family knows I have a problem with my temper and I have in the past had sessions of hypnotherapy for it with intentions of attending anger management.

I lost control of my senses and did not consider the consequences. I deeply regretted my actions that same day in what I can only describe as a moment of complete madness driven by loss of my emotions and reason.

I have three children and I would like to know if I am able to take my wife back?

Thank you for writing to us.

  1. Most divorces are issued in anger and are valid. The scholars would generally only consider a divorce issued in anger as invalid when his anger has reached such a state that he is not aware of what he is saying or doing. Thus he is similar to a madman (majnun) or legally intoxicated (gayr muta’addi bisukrihi). Based on your question, it would not seem that your anger reached such a state and you would thus be liable for your words.
  2. A valid divorce requires one to address his wife saying, “You are divorced” or “I divorce you,” emphasis on “you.” In your question, you mentioned that all you stated was, “Talaq, talaq, talaq” or “Divorce, divorce, divorce.” If it is such as you described, then the divorce was not valid and you are still married.
  3. Islam stresses respect and honor of women. Being abusive to one’s spouse under the pretext of having anger problems is not an excuse. I strongly suggest that you go for anger management or counseling sessions.

May Allah protect us all, Amin.

Abdurragmaan Khan

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Meeting College Bursary Requirements

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat clarifies rulings on accepting college bursaries.

I wanted to ask a question about money that I gained from college.

My college gives bursaries to eligible students which comes to £20. I was eligible for such bursary. Now when the winter months started to come, I had to find a way to pray without missing the prayer time, so I spoke with my personal tutor and was able to leave classes about 10 minutes early to prepare to go and pray.

The reason I went early was to avoid praying Asr in the disliked time just before Maghrib. Now for some time I did read Asr and then later pray Maghrib and it may have been okay for me to actually delay Asr but that may have been for a short period. As time went by, if I delayed Asr I would either be in the disliked time or missed the prayer. Now I think I found out that it would have been okay to delay asr into disliked timing as it was out of necessity.

I ask this because one of the conditions of bursary is that the attendance be around 94% which mine still was. Based upon this, would the money I got be halal or haram? As I thought that I should be praying out of disliked times but then someone said that out of necessity it could be done, so I’m not sure that in a way whether I was entitled to that money and the benefits that came from that (such as free college meals, printing credit).

I contacted the college asking whether late marks affect attendance and the response was that they don’t. Based upon this would what I used to do with regards to my prayer result in the money I still got be halal, or would it be considered haram. And if the latter, how should I go about repaying this?

(Will the same apply to those times where it would be okay for me to actually delay Asr close to Maghrib without falling into makruh timings?)

I pray you are well.

It is fine for you to take the bursary, especially since they said had that punctuality, etc, does not affect the arrangement. Usually, only actually attendance is what matters.

Do your best to pray asr before the makruh time enters, work hard, show good character, and be an ambassador of Islam to the people around you with the intention to please Allah. “And whatever you send ahead for yourselves of the good, you will find it with Allah to be better, and much greater in reward; and ask for Allah’s forgiveness. Indeed Allah is the Forgiver of Everything, and Ever-Kind.” (Sura al-Muzammil 73:20)

May Allah grant you every success of this world and the next.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Halal Relationship at School

Ustadh Salman Younas gives advice on marrying against the wishes of parents.

There are sometimes you love a lady and the lady loves you too and is ready to live with you. but the problem is from both parents. They are not ready for you to get married since you are still a student and poor. And the parents of the girl want someone rich for their daughter.

Is there any possibility to make your relationship halal since parents are against it and two of us are true lovers? Due to fear of Allah we want to make the relationship halal, but due to parents avoidance it might lead to something bad as the barriers are only the parents not the two of us.

The dilemma that you find yourselves is understandable. On the one hand, you have found someone that you would like to marry, but given your age and status, it is proving difficult to convince the parents. 

In this situation, the default is that one should not go forward with a marriage that is kept secret from the parents. Rather, one should have patience, put the relationship on hold, and then have a frank discussion with their parents regarding the situation they find themselves in.

This is admittedly not easy, but parents have rights, and they are entitled to our respect as the Qur’an and sunna clearly affirm. To go behind their back and get married would generally be seen as a contravention of this. 

Similarly, marriage comes with responsibilities. One cannot simply rush into a marriage based on feelings alone without being able to fulfill these responsibilities. 

I would advise you to read the following answer for a more detailed answer on this issue, which relates to a case similar to yours: Can We Get Married Without Involving Our Parents?

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Can I Perform Umra without a Mahram? (Shafi‘i)

Shaykh Jamir Meah is asked if a wife can perform umra without her husband present.

I want to perform umra with my husband and children but he drinks alcohol so can I perform umra by myself? He can only travel with me and stay in the hotel while I go and do my umra.

In the Shafi‘i school it is permissible for a woman to travel alone to perform her obligatory hajj and umra. The permissibility to travel alone only applies to obligatory (first time) pilgrimages, and not sunna pilgrimages. (Bushra al-Karim)

 

If your husband travels with you and stays in the hotel, this would suffice in regards you traveling with a mahram, even if he ordinarily sins. Perhaps you could ask him to at least refrain from drinking to and during the trip out of respect, if you feel comfortable or safe enough to ask him.

Alternatively, you may ask another mahram to escort you, such as your father, adult brother, adult son, uncle etc.  

You may also find the following answer helpful for your situation: My Husband Is Not Practicing: What Can I Do To Make Him A Better Muslim?

I wish you all the best. 

Warmest salams,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.