Grave Visits

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: My husband offers only Friday prayers and their family belongs to a sect. They visit shrines. Is my marriage valid?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

Yes, your marriage is certainly valid.

Missing prayer is sinful but a person does not become a non-Muslim due to it. You should gently encourage your family to perform their obligatory prayers when the right moment presents itself for presenting such advice.

Similarly, visiting shrines is permissible. It is no different from visiting any other grave.

Marriage is only invalidated through divorce, annulment, a khul’, or the apostasy of one of the spouses. The latter case has a very high threshold. We do not rule Muslims as disbelievers unless there is decisive and clear evidence in that regard. The issues you mention do not relate to belief/disbelief.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas was born and raised in New York and graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. Ustadh Salman’s personal interests include research into the fields of law/legal methodology, hadith, theology, as well as political theory, government, media, and ethics. He is also an avid traveler and book collector. He currently resides in Amman with his wife.

Is Euthanasia Permissible?

Shaykh Jamir Meah answers a question related to Euthanasia and its ruling in Islamic law.

Question:

My question is regarding the medically assisted death option which patients in hospitals are choosing. I’m completing a clinical pastoral education unit in a hospital and was recently asked if I would assist patients who have chosen medically assisted death and without any confusion or hesitation I said yes. However, I’m wondering if as a Muslim that is problematic or not. I don’t think so but I just need to speak to someone who is in the field and is a Muslim to provide some kind of comments, feedback or advise. Please let me know your thoughts.

Thank you

Answer:

Assalam ‘alaykum, thank you for your question.

Euthanasia is of two types, active and passive. Active euthanasia is deliberately performing an act that will cause the person to die, such as administering a fatal injection. Passive euthanasia entails leaving a person to die without any action being taken to preserve life.

Active Euthanasia, Suicide, and Assisted Suicide

Active Euthanasia, the direct and deliberate act performed to kill the patient maybe involuntary, such as when the patient is unconscious and the decision to end their lives is taken by the family or physician, or voluntary, in which case it is termed suicide, or assisted suicide if a third party assists the person in the act.

Active Euthanasia, suicide, and assisted suicide, are unlawful in Islamic Law, even if the person is suffering.

This is based on the words of God, ‘And take not life, which Allah has made sacred, except by way of justice and law’[6: 151], and, ‘Do not kill yourselves. Verily, Allah is ever Merciful unto you’. [4:29].

Alongside the prohibition, the person who deliberately caused death would have committed homicide.

Vegetable States

The ‘exception’ to the prohibition on involuntary euthanasia is when the patient is in a severe vegetable state, such that the medication, feeding (i.e. hydration), or life support machine, is the only thing keeping the person breathing, and without it, it has been concluded that the person would be dead or will not function. In these cases, it would be permissible to stop treatment if qualified physicians state that this is the case and there is no hope of recovery.

Passive Euthanasia

Passive euthanasia, where no action is taken, entails stopping medical treatment. The vast majority of scholars have held that it is recommended for a person to seek medical treatment but it is not obligatory. Therefore, if a person chooses to stop treatment, and they are left to die naturally, then this would be permissible. However, it would not be permitted to starve the person to death (or self-starvation). And Allah knows best.

Do Not Desire Death

It is disliked for a person to desire death, as the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Let none of you wish for death on account of an affliction that befalls him. If he has no alternative, let him pray, O Allah! Give my life so long as the life is good for me, and take away my life if death is good for me.’ [Al Bukhari and Muslim]

Role of the Muslim physician

The Muslim physician holds a very important yet precarious role. It is essential that any person wishing to treat or care for patients first learn the rulings of sacred law (fiqh) that apply to their job, as well as study some central tenants of Islamic belief (‘aqida).

Though it can be very difficult, Muslim physicians should always encourage patients, Muslims and non-Muslim, to have hope in something greater than their suffering, for hope is often far greater a cure than any medicine can afford.

[al Majmu’, Tuhfatul Muhtaj, Mughni al Muhtaj, Tarshih al Mustarshidin]

 

Please also refer to the following answer:

I wish you all the best in your affairs.

Warmest salams,

Jamir

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabanni


 

Estate with No Muslim Heirs

Ustadh Farid Dingle advises on how to apportion one’s estate and designate one’s heirs when one is the only Muslim in the family.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am the only Muslim in my family, as I am a convert. My immediate family have passed away including my brother. My brother had a daughter, but she said that she does not believe in God. I have learnt that it is important to leave a will and was wondering who I can leave my estate to if I die?

Many thanks.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

You should just leave your estate to a good and reliable Muslim charity that benefits Muslims. That is what is supposed to happen in Muslim countries: when someone dies without any heirs, the money goes to the Muslim common fund for the general benefit of society. If that doesn’t exist, as is the case in question, then as long as it goes to the benefit of some Muslims somewhere then it is acceptable.

You may also put in your will that it goes to any friend or family member, even if they are not Muslim, such as your niece. However it can only one third of your total heritage. If you have this recorded legally, you should make sure it says that.

I pray Allah grant all of your family and friends faith in Him and His Messenger. Amin.

Farid

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.
 


 

Last Words of the Dying

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat is asked about the last words of a Muslim and those of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray this finds you well.

When I was growing up, and recently as well, I heard that the last words should be tahlil. But I recently learned from reading a Sira that the last words were al-Rafiq al-‘Ala.

Can you please comment on why there is a discrepancy?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Famous Last Words

Yes, you are correct is stating that we are encouraged to to say the tahlil (la ilaha illa Allah – There is no god but Allah) just before death, and to encourage those dying in our presence to do the same. This is because of the hadith narrated Muʿadh ibn Jabal, “Whoever’s last words are ‘There is no god but Allah’ will enter the garden.” (Abu Dawud).

This is taken as a good indication for the person who is blessed with ability to say it, that he will enter the Garden without punishment. This is the hope we have for ourselves and all of the believers, because we simply do not know where we will end up. All believers will enter Paradise eventually, but we want to be of those who enter it without any sort of difficulty or punishment on the Day of Judgement.

The Passing of Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and grant him peace, was with him saying “al-Rafiq al-Aʿla” – The Highest Company. This was because he was given a choice to stay on earth or to be in the presence of the Highest Company. He chose the latter, which some scholars say means the Archangels and other special servants of Allah; others hold it to mean the company of Allah Almighty Himself, which seems more fitting here.

Had he not been given this choice, he would have, undoubtedly, said the tahlil. However, His ultimate fate was know to him and us, as many verses in the Qurʾan point to the great felicity that will come to him, Allah bless him and give him peace. Therefore, he was beyond the need of trying to end his life with these blessed words.

Some Advice

I noticed in your question that you abbreviated the written blessings on the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, to “saw.” Regardless of the fiqhi discussion on it, it is always superior to write it out fully in Arabic or another language. Doing so consciously is an active expression of the veneration the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, deserves. The righteous also tell us that the more veneration we have in our heart for him when sending blessings on him, the greater our blessings are, and the more we receive in return.

The same also applies when saying it verbally. Some people mumble the blessings such that it sounds like “sal-sallam” which, in all honesty, has no meaning. This is usually a bad habit picked up from others, and some active attention is enough to rectify this.

One of the greatest scholars of Tafsir is sayyid Mahmud al-Alusi, may Allah be well pleased with him. His great love for Allah and His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, is clear from his great work. Something of note is that he always writes out the blessings on the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, whenever he is mentioned – even if it a pronoun in a word which refers to him, Allah bless him and give him peace. May Allah grant us the kind of deep love he had for Allah and His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace.

The Fruit of Service to Allah and His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace

Imam Abu Zurʿa al-Razi, a revered authority in hadith, and the teacher of the illustrious Imam Muslim, was on his deathbed. His students, unwilling to command him to say the tahlil started to ask one another about the hadith mentioned above as a hint to their teacher. In his dying moments he started narrating the hadith with all the narrators until he got to “…that Muʿadh ibn Jabal narrated that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Whoever’s last words are “There is no god but Allah…’”

At that point he passed away without completing the narration. What a beautiful end!

May Allah make us all of those who He grants entry into the highest stations of Paradise, in the company of His loved ones, without any trial or reckoning out of His infinite mercy. Amin.

(Muhammad Abu Shahba, al-Sira al-Nabawiyya; Nabahani, Saʿadatu al-Darayn; Alusi, Ruh al-Maʿani)

Abdul-Rahim.

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Past Debts, Preparation of Will and Funeral

Ustadh Farid Dingle is asked about paying past debts, how to prepare one’s will including instructions for one’s funeral and what must be done.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

1. In the past I wronged my employer, I recently explained to him what I did and offered to pay him back what I owed him, he forgave me and refused to take the money. I have other debts I must pay off like zakat of previous years etc., can I use the money he refused to pay of those debts?

2. I have many years of prayers and fasts to repay, in case I pass away before completing this I want to write in my will the total for every missed prayer and fast and instruct my family to pay this amount to charity – is the correct and valid?

3. What is the sunna for the passing of someone? Where I live when someone passes the person is prayed over then buried then the funeral will last for 3 days, the relatives must wear black and the 40th day after the passing of the deceased is a highlighted day in my culture the family will either do a mawlid on this day or something like this. If none of this is Islamic I would prefer to not have any of it done and I will instruct this in my will.

4. Also, I was told that if you go to someone’s funeral and hit yourself out of grief the deceased will be punished, is this true? If it is I will also instruct in my will for nobody to do this when I pass away.

Jazak Allah khayran.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

1. Yes.

2. Yes. Please also see What Can We Do about Missed Prayers of a Deceased?

3. You should just write in your will that you want everything to be done by the Sunna. Please see What You Need to Know About the Fiqh of Burial, by Imam Tahir Anwar.

Regarding the forty day event, please see Is It Permissible to Complete the Qur’an Forty Days After Someone’s Death?

As for the relatives wearing black, it is permissible, but only for three days, but better not to be done. (Ibn Abidin)

4. That is true.

The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Whoever slaps their face, tears their clothes, or cries out [with over exaggerated claim] of the pre-Islamic era is not of us.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

I pray this helps.

Farid

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

My Mother Is in a Coma. Is It Permissible to Stop Hydration?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

My mother has been diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). There is no known cure. Two weeks ago she was put on an IV in order to receive hydration. For 10 days she has been in a coma. Her doctor has recommended that we stop hydration to let her go. Is it permissible to stop hydration?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Please forgive me for the delay.

Istikhara

As you have correctly described, the decision to stop hydration for your mother is up to you and your family. Because CJD does not have a cure, then it is permissible for you to stop hydration, as it is akin to medication.

To help ease your heart, I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Guidance up til 7 times in regards to stopping hydration for your mother.

I pray that Allah grants your mother the highest rank in Jannah, and that He grant you and the rest of your family strength, patience, and acceptance of His Decree. May you all be reunited in Jannahtul Firdous.

Please see:

Extending Life Support When No Recovery is Expected

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

Should We Visit the Grave for the First 40 Days After the Burial?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

Is there a ruling or recommendation to visit the grave for the first 40 days after the burial?

We have observed growing up that someone from the family should visit the grave daily for the first 40 days.

Answer: assalamu alaykum

I have not come across any specific tradition or ruling concerning visiting the grave for forty days following the burial.

If it is done with the belief that it is a specifically established religious practice, then it would be considered blameworthy. However, if there is no specific religious intention behind it, it would be permissible.

I should point out that even if your family are performing such a practice with the belief that it is a specifically established religious practice, there are still guidelines concerning correcting them. One does not, for example, seek to argue with them in a manner that proves harmful and of no benefit. For more on this, please see:

The Criteria of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.