Speaking Harshly

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Today after jummah prayer was over I was looking for a women who I had told I would give her money, so I was looking for her and a man came and asked me for money and he claims that he’s the person I “promised”, so he basically lied. I got angered and spoke harshly to him. Am I sinful for speaking to the man harshly?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

The answer to this question would depend on the nature of your harshness and what exactly you stated.

Anger is not only a natural human emotion but a necessary one for essential human functioning. However, because it is so easy for a person’s anger to become a “swelling ocean” and exceed the bounds, our religion has placed great emphasis on controlling and moderating one’s anger. Thus, the Prophet (blessings upon him) counselled his companions not to become angry. [Bukhari], and many great scholars when asked to summarise good character said it was to leave aside anger. [al-Ghazali, Ihya Ulum al-Din]

Imam al-Ghazali mentions that anger is acceptable only:

i. at the right time,
ii. in the right place,
iii. for the right reasons, and
iv. with the right intensity.

Falling short in any of these points will lead to imbalance and a type of anger the Prophet warned against – one that is not entailed by religion nor the intellect. This imbalanced and blameworthy anger is dangerous because of what it leads to: mockery, insults, demeaning and abusing others, envy, hatred, backbiting etc.

If your anger involved any of this, it should be considered sinful and you should repent. However, if it was merely an expression of firmness and frustration at this person’s act of lying that did not exceed the bounds, it would not be sinful.

But it is often superior to hold back and put up with people in the type of situation you describe and to still seek the forgiveness of God. Imam Ahmad stated, “Good character is to not get angry or enraged. Good character is to patiently endure what comes from people.” [Ibn Rajab, Jami al-Ulum wa’l-Hikam] The spiritual masters of Islam advise people to resist the impulses of their self (nafs) as a form of training it. In other words, when it gets angry, a person should strive to conquer it through good moral character and a display of gentleness. [al-Qushayri, al-Risala]

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas was born and raised in New York, 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.

What Is The Difference Between God’s Will And His Love And Mercy?

Answered by Ustadh Farid Dingle

Question: What Is The Difference Between God’s Will And His Love And Mercy?

Answer: Dear questioner,

Thank you kindly for your question, and may Allah increase you in light, knowledge and ambition.

Short answer:

Allah’s will is what we term one of Allah’s attributes [sifat], and its role is to specify how and when things come into existence. This is an attribute of His essence, and which He does not acquire by using it. He has always had a will.

His love and mercy, in technical terms, are simply a combination of His will and power when they result in something describable as loving or merciful from the slave’s point of view.

Fuller answer:

The use of theology (Ilm al Kalam)

Theology developed to clearly define exactly what we believe as Muslims, and to defend those beliefs. Because it is based on debate, it is purely academic, and puts aside much of the spiritual side of the Qur’an and its rhetoric. This is necessarily so because when things are not spelt out very pedantically, it defeats of the object of the science, which is precisely being very clear and pedantic.

This kind of approach is excellent when engaging in debate with a trinitarian, materialist, or agnostic, etc. : both sides define their terms, and work with some logical reasoning, and actually get somewhere. This is what Islamic theology does.

As such, the science of theology does not help us understand the nature of Allah’s love and mercy vis-a-vis our experience of it, because it is not the subject that it deals with.

Contextualising theology (Ilm al Kalam)

Since Islamic theology is just one among many traditional Islamic sciences, it is not necessary the only way to talk about Allah, nor it necessarily the more direct way to get to know Him in all His glory.

Reading the Quran and applying its teachings in one’s life — come weal or come woe — would probably be more helpful. (That’s not to say that there is anything un-Qur’anic about Islamic theology.) So too, losing a child, and working on one’s contentment with Allah’s will would teach things about Allah that no theologian could either put a definition to. Getting to know Allah on a spiritual level, is completely different knowing how to say certain very exacting things about Him in a technical way.

Islamic theology, like many other sciences such as grammar, hadith criticism, inheritance law, has a certain function in the preservation of the whole religion, and is not so useful outside of that function.

Dissecting the unfathomable

To make things very clear, the Muslim theologians breakdown Allah’s attributes into categories — with full knowledge that no one could ever understand His true reality.

They say that He has attributes that are eternal and that He never acquired. These describe His being. They are:

His existence
His beginninglessness
His endlessness
His oneness
His self-substistance (not needing anything, place, time, or determiner)
His utter dissimilarity to other beings
His power
His will
His knowledge
His hearing
His seeing
His speech
His life
(Jawharat al Tawhid, Laqqani)

Every other attribute or name of Allah can be categorised, technically speaking, into one or two of these attributes. So, for example, when we say and acknowledge tha Allah is forgiving: His forgiveness can be reduced to three attributes: knowledge, will, and power. He knew that the slave sinned, repented, and will enter Paradise; He willed that the slave sinned, repented, and will enter Paradise; and created the slave and his actions (the sin and the repentance) and entered him, by His omnipotent power, into Paradise.

Such attributes really describe what Allah does, and not what attributes He has. For this reason, they are called attributes of action.

So no one is claiming, or ever claimed, that Allah was not merciful or not loving, but it just served certain academic goals to reduce everything to the simplest level for our own human understanding.

Allah’s names and how He shows himself

Allah Most High says in the Qur’an, ‘And Allah’s are the most beautiful of names, so call on Him by them.’ (Qur’an, 7:180)

And the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘Verily Allah has ninety-nine names. Whoever grasps them, will enter Paradise.’ (Bukhari and Muslim) Hakim narrates the same hadith with two different chains that mention the ninety-nine names that we are all familiar with. For more detail, please see: Understanding the Most Beautiful Names: The 99 Names of Allah Explained in Detail

Contemplating upon these beautiful names, calling upon Him by them, and seeing and feeling them in one’s life, this is the really way to know Allah.

When you get you your paycheck, for example, and you thank Allah for providing you with a livelihood, He is showing you how he is al-Razzaq [the Ever-Providing]; when you see someone who does not worship Allah, He is showing you His names al-Khafid and al-Mani [the Abaser and the Withholder].

The more you recognise His names, the stronger this sense becomes, and you see that He is al-Qarib [the Close]. Even though you were not aware of Him, He was never unaware of you, and you feel the meaning of His name al-Wadud [the Loving-One].

‘Grasping’ Allah’s names has been explain by Abu Sulayman al-Khattabi his book on supplications to mean one of four things:

1. to recount the names so that one calls upon Him by each name.

2. to master them so that you ‘keep them in mind, and keep to their limits.’ meaning that one, for example calls upon Allah by His name al-Rahman [the Merciful One] bearing in mind that He is actually merciful, hoping for His mercy, and never giving up hope of his forgiveness.

3. to comprehend them and take them as a firm belief.

4. to recites the whole Qur’an thereby reading out each of Allah names. (Shan al-Dua, Khattabi)

All in all, the comprehension and internalisation of His beautiful names is not an academic process, but rather a journey of putting them into practice, and deeping one’s appreciation of who and what He is.

Allah the Loving

In his book, Khattabi explained what Allah’s name al-Wadud means. He said that is derived from al-wudd [love], and has been understood in two ways:

The first is that is that has the sense of the passive participle, in that Allah is ‘the object of love of those who are close to Him by dint of their unceasing receipt of kindness and benefits from Him.’

The second acceptation is that it has the sense of the active participle in that ‘He loves His righteous slaves, in as much as He is content with them and accepts their deeds.’ (Shan al-Dua, Khattabi)

Raghib in his work on Qur’anic vocabulary adds another side to His love: His care and nurture of them. He quotes unknown hadith qudsi in which Allah says to Musa (upon whom be peace), ‘Never am I heedless of the small just because they are small, nor am I heedless of the elderly because they are elderly: I am the Loving [al-Wadud] and the Appreciative.’ (Mufradat Alfadh al-Quran, Raghib)

Conclusion

Although we do not technically count Allah’s love and mercy as one of His attributes, both stem from His names, and He is most definitely Merciful and Loving.

Our experience and appreciation of the names grows by learning about them, and keeping to their practical and spiritual implications.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to crafts lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.

Friday Prayer

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaikum, I am currently in a course and my classes are rigorous and the lunch break that we have doesn’t coincide with the time for the Jummah prayer at the masjid nearby. Leaving the class to go and pray would mean that i will have to be gone for an hour. Can you please advice what I should do regarding jummah?

Answer: Assalam ‘alaykum,

The Friday prayer is an obligation upon every able Muslim man. In the same way one is not permitted to miss the Dhuhr prayer, one cannot miss the Friday prayer with its additional conditions. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘People must cease from abandoning the Friday prayers or Allah will seal their hearts and then they will be among the negligent.’ [Muslim]

Given the above, explore the following options in order:

1. In the Hanafi school, the Jumu’ah prayer may be performed by three people. If there is three or more male Muslims in the course or college, then arrange to perform the Jumu’ah prayer on site. Please refer this brief answer and this detailed answer.

2. If there are not three or more Muslim males on site, then consider asking Muslims in the local vicinity, such as shops.

3. Find out if the course is run at other times, such as evenings and weekends.

4. Speak to the course instructors or classmates and discuss your options. Perhaps you could attend the Jumu’ah at he mosque and have another diligent student takes notes and go through the parts you missed at the end of the day with you.

5. If none of the above are options, then it leaves you in a difficult situation. The general ruling is if a job or training is necessary, there is no way to attend the Friday prayer, and to leave it to attend the prayer would result in much hardship, then there is some scope for missing the Friday prayer until the issue is resolved. However, given that your course is 15 weeks, and it is not clear if it is essential for you to take, the situation is problematic.

If the course is not essential for your livelihood, then I would explore other similar courses which permit you to attend the Friday prayer.

If the course is essential for your livelihood and no other option exists, then there may be some leeway to miss the Friday prayer and perform the Dhuhr prayer instead. This is akin to having to sit a crucial exam during the time of the Friday prayer. Some of our esteemed teachers stated it would be permitted to miss the prayer for this reason, as an extended analogy to what the fiqh books mention in regards missing the prayer due to fear of one’s food burning in the oven, or even due to some even milder excuses. However, one should do their upmost to explore other alternatives. And Allah Most High knows best.

Please pray Salatul Haja (The Prayer of Need) and something will open up for you insha’Allah. May Allah make things easy for you.

Warmest salams,

[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. He travelled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years privately studying a range of Islamic sciences under the foremost scholars and muftis from the Ribat Tarim, specializating in Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies under many of Amman’s most prominent scholars, in a range of Islamic sciences, including Islamic theology, logic, legal principles and precepts, hadith studies, grammar and rhetoric, seerah, Quranic studies and tafsir. He is also an experienced homeopath.

Prayer Of The Traveler

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: When travelling and combining prayers, do the Zuhr prayer and the Asr prayer need to be prayed during Zuhr time or can they both be prayed during Asr time? 

Answer: assalamu alaykum

In the Hanafi school, there is no ‘real’ combining of prayers for a traveler, i.e., prayers are not actually prayed outside their time.

The Hanafis understood the combining of the Prophet (blessings upon him) as one that involved delaying Dhuhr to the very end of its time, performing it while its time was still in, and then performing Asr immediately after in the time for Asr. The same applied to Maghrib and Isha.

The other schools differ and allowed for real combining outside the time of a respected prayer. For the Shafi`i and Maliki schools, you can refer to these two detailed answers:

What Are the Methods for Combining (Jam’) and Shortening (Qasr) Prayer for Travel? [Shafi’i School]

Joining Prayers in the Maliki School

Wasalam,

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas was born and raised in New York, 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. His 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.

Prayer Timings In Places Far From the Equator

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question:

Assalamu alaikum, I’m considering moving to Anchorage, Alaska in a few months and i’m concerned about prayer timings. I know that fatwas have been issued about fasting in such regions, but I’m curious as to how prayer works in general. Have any fatwa in the Hanafi school been issued on this matter?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Praying in the summertimes is a challenging issue for those who live in higher latitudes across the world. Given that Anchorage is situated beyond approximately fifty degrees north of the equator, the days are very long in summer, and consequently, prayer times are very close together through the night.

The first thing which becomes clear is that there is an actual sunset on every day of the year. Accordingly, the sunset prayer (maghrib) would need to be prayed at its proper time, and nothing else will do. This is because the prayer only becomes due when the legal cause (sabab) is realised, namely, the setting of the sun.

Determining ‘Isha and Fajr Times

The difficulty arises in determining the beginning times for both the nightfall (‘isha) and dawn (fajr) prayers. The reason for this is that the normal signs for both are absent, or at least unclear for the latter prayer. The later Hanafi school concluded that the nightfall prayer (‘isha) remains binding even in places where the legal cause isn’t found. This is what Muslims in such latitudes do, and it is the more precautionary position.

Given that is the case, the question is how to calculate the beginning of the time. If the shift to the position of Imam Abu Hanifa’s two companions (sahibayn) isn’t possible or practical, which is clearly the case because of your geographical location, then an alternative would be to follow a dispensation (rukhsa) from another legal school (madhhab) in order to pray without much delay after sunset. Thereafter, if you would like to uphold precaution (ihtiyat), you may make up (qada’) one nightfall prayer (‘isha) after the summer period is over, and when actual times have returned. The reason for this is that the prayer would only enter your dues on the first day of the period after the entry of the dawn prayer (fajr), and thus praying before the legal cause has been met would have been invalid. According to the Hanafis, in the case that the prayer time does not enter, the nightfall prayer (‘isha) would enter your dues after the entry of the dawn prayer (fajr), but determining if this is in fact the case is normally a little more complex.

As for the dawn prayer (fajr), there are two primary methods proposed by senior contemporary scholars: (a) closest day (aqrab al-ayyam), where the last real time for dawn is maintained, and (b) half the night (nisf al-layl), where the night is split into two halves. For all intents and purposes, the difference between these positions is nominal, and both are acceptable to follow. The latter position is arguably more precautionary, but the common Muslim won’t be held responsible on the Final Day for scholarly differences of opinion as the expectation is merely that he follows upright, learned, righteous, respected scholars.

Resting Well and Planning Ahead

Practically, and if we take the summer solstice as an example, you could sleep till midnight, then rise to awaken for the sunset prayer (maghrib). According to my calculations, the second half of the night would begin at approximately 2am. Thus, you’d only be up for about two hours at this time, give or take some, in order to pray these three prayers. This could incidentally be the time you engage in remembrances (adhkar), recitation, supplication or other acts of devotion too. Alternatively, you could pray the sunset (maghrib), and then arise for the dawn prayer (fajr) later and towards the end of its respective time, ensuring to pray the nightfall (‘isha) prayer before it.

So this is certainly something that you should consider well as being able to take care of your religious duties is important. If you have decided to move, then consider researching how the local community deals with this issue, and pray the Prayer of Need (salat al-hajah) regularly, seeking divine facilitation in fulfilling your obligations. I’d also suggest following the sunnas of sleep with greater rigour, taking a midday nap (qaylula), resting well after work, and trying out alternative medicines, if needed, to help find a suitable cure for your condition. Allah Most High says, “And whoever is mindful of Allah, He will make a way out for them.” (Sura al-Talaq 65:2)

If, despite trying, you find much hardship in following all of this, you can consider following a different legal school (madhhab) in this matter, if there is more leeway therein, in order to make your religious life more manageable. Undoubtedly, matters like this are more difficult for some than others, and you aren’t bound by a particular position, as long as, at the end of the day, you follow sound, reliable scholarship correctly by meeting all conditions (shurut) and integrals (arkan).

Finally, there are many nuances to this discussion, and differing possibilities, so the aforementioned is clearly not an exhaustive study of the topic. In the context of community prayers and the mosque, there may be other factors which need to be taken into consideration, so please bear that in mind. For a detailed and comprehensive treatment of this issue, I’d recommend Dr. Asim Yusuf’s “Shedding Light on the Dawn.”

(Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (2.506); Marjani, Nazurat al-Haqq; Tahtawi, Hashiyat al-Durr al-Mukhtar)

Please also see: How Should I Pray in a Country Where the Sun Doesn’t Set? and: How Can I Know the Time for Fajr in a Country Where There Is No Real Darkness? and: Fasting in Extreme Latitudes

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam was born and raised in Ipswich, a small town on the east coast of England. He memorized the Qur’an in his youth and has led congregations in tarawih prayers at home and abroad. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Management from the University of Leicester, serving as the head of the university’s Islamic Society. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Amman, Jordan, to study the Islamic sciences full-time with a variety of distinguished traditional scholars. He is now an experienced teacher himself, answering religious questions regularly, and teaching students of knowledge privately and online. Presently, he is pursuing advanced studies and specialization in Amman where he resides with his wife and children.

We Created You In Pairs Meaning

Answered by Ustadh Farid Dingle

Question: So the concept of everyone being created in pairs, how does it apply to modern day life/ this generation? Many divorces/ separations/ men having more than one wife. So how does the concept of Allah creating us all in pairs work?

Answer: Assalamu alaykumwa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Regarding the verse of the Quran ‘And of everything single things we have created in pairs.’ [51: 49], Imam al-Alusi says,

‘This means two types that are different and distinguishable from its other, such as the male and the female, the sky and the earth … light and darkness, white and black … salvation and damnation … all of which indicate that all created beings are composite, and that they need a creator and that He alone is the One … As has been explained by Al-Kharraz (Allah sanctify his soul) that the meaning of Allah’s godhood and oneness is that He creates things in combinations, and less all singularity to Himself.’

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to crafts lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.

Lost My Faith Due To Doubting About God And Holy Quran

Answered by Shaykh Abdul Rahim Reasat

Question: Recently i was reading the last verse of Surah Baqarah and started to have lot of doubts. Now i have lost my faith [iman] and i am questioning God and i absolutely hate it. I feel empty inside, feeling that i don´t have a purpose and constantly confused and crying. I feel like Allah doesn’t like me and i keep on thinking I am going to hell. Can you please advise me on what to do?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

Turn to Allah

First and foremost, it seems to me that you are a believer who is undergoing a very difficult trial. Your dislike of the matter is proof of this. I advise you to turn to Allah and to ask for help. Say, “O Allah, I believe in You, and all you command me to believe in, in the way you want me to believe it.”

The pain of your situation must be immense, and the confusion must be making the matter worse. Affirm your faith in Allah as I mentioned and know that the doubts will not do anything to you. You question evinces the existence of true faith; otherwise, why would you feel empty?

Problems Do Not Appear From a Vacuum

The doubts and questions you have certainly did not appear out of the blue, or simply because you happened to read a verse on a given afternoon. Although your question does not give us the details of your issues – let alone the causes.

I cannot tell what they are, but generally there are causes which need to be addressed. From dealing with a number of cases on this matter, it has become clear that two issues usually play a role in scenarios like this.

The first is a lack of requisite knowledge of Islam. People grow up with a cultural understanding of God and His religion, and this understanding is occasionally used by people to manipulate others. Sometimes people do not understand the wisdom and purpose of tests. We found that in places where the masses had a healthy relationship with the ulema, such as Syria, and where the majority of people were literate in Islam; its worldview, teachings, and wisdom; in such places the the laymen were like rocks when tested.

This is what is missing from the Muslims today. The benefits of Islamic education stretch far beyond knowing the obligatory actions of wudu, and knowing how to pay you zakat. When properly in place, they allow one to see that we are all under the care and protection of Allah.

Trials of the Messenger of Allah

Feeling that Allah hates you is an indication of the second issue: trauma. But before moving on to that let us look at the beloved Messenger of Allah, Allah blessed him and give him peace. We know that Allah loved him more than anyone, and that ʿAʾisha noticed that his prayers would swiftly be answered. Does this, however, mean that he wasn’t tested with difficulty? No.

He grew up without his parents. He went from being the most respected member of Quraysh to being someone the idolaters publicly mocked and insulted daily for years on end. They threw rubbish on him. They threw entails of animals on him. Blamed him for the problems they experienced. Blamed him for families being split. Made nasty rumours about him and spraed them amongst all the tribes in the Hajj season.

His life was threatened multiple times. He was chased out of a city by slaves and children. Stoned until his clothes were bloody. His friends and close relatives were killed and mutilated before him. The list goes on and on. Perhaps the greatest trial a person can endure in this life is to watch one’s own child die. Of the seven children he had, he lived through the deaths of six of them, Allah bless him and give him peace.

Having problems doesn’t mean Allah does not like you. On the contrary, it means that He loves you (Bukhari), and that through these problems He is taking raising your rank in a way which would not have happened otherwise.

The second issue is trauma. People go through difficulties and struggle to understand what is happening. Sometimes the unresolved emotional trauma leads to developing certain symptoms which cause a lot of pain and difficulty.

Seek Help

I suggest you speak to a local scholar who has experience is helping people. Get answers to your doubts if answering them helps. If it just brings more doubts then don’t try to answer them.

Seek out some form of therapy which is helpful, and, if Allah wills, the doubts will disappear and their oppressive persistence will lost its power over you.

If you keep in mind that Allah loves you, and that He will always bring about that is best for you – that is what you will find. “I am as my servant thinks me to be – and I am with him when he remembers me.” (Bukhari). Disregard the doubts, disregard the thoughts; turn to Allah, and ask. You’ll find that He responds – even if it takes some time to manifest. And you’ll find He was with you all along.

May Allah bring the best end to your difficulties in the shortest time. Amin.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. He moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time, such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies in Fiqh, Usul al Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil. In the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

Satan And Mary

Answer by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu Alaikum, I read this hadith: “Satan touched every son of Adam the day his mother beareth him, save only Mary and her son.” What is its proper meaning in relation to the life of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) and his Exalted Spiritual Station?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. I pray you’re well insha’Allah.

The hadith, ‘When any human being is born. Satan touches him at both sides of the body with his two fingers, except Jesus, the son of Mary, whom Satan tried to touch but failed, for he touched the placenta-cover instead’ is a sound hadith found in al Bukhari.

However, to conclude from this hadith that one prophet is better than the other, namely Sayyidina Isa (peace be upon him) is superior to Sayiddina Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) because of this, is incorrect thinking.

Incorrect conclusions

To understand why the above assumption is incorrect, please consider the following:

1. We affirm that Allah Most High gives to whom He pleases whatever He pleases.

2. Allah Most High tells us in the Qur’an, ‘The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], “We make no distinction between any of His messengers.” [2.285].

3. Using the logic that if God gives x something and he doesn’t give the same thing to y, x must be better than y, or to put it in another way, if God singles out x for special treatment in a matter, x must be superior to y because y does not receive the same special treatment in the same situation, is incorrect. This would mean the following:

a) That any prophet given something unique is better than others, such as Sayyidna Sulaiman (peace be upon him) is better than all other prophets because God granted him a kingdom and power over creation not given to anyone after him, Sayyidna Yusuf because of his manifest beauty, Sayyidna Adam (peace be upon him) is better than Sayyidna Isa (and all other prophets) because not only did Satan not touch him, but he was created directly by Allah, and even the four that spoke in the cradle, including Jesus because they spoke as babies, etc.

b) That Sayyidina Musa (peace and blessings be upon him) is better than all prophets because of the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), ‘Do not say I am better than Moses for mankind will faint on the Day of Judgment and I will be the first to recover, and Moses at that time will be holding the side of the Throne. I do not know if he would faint and recover before me, or if Allah will make an exception for him.’ [Muslim]

4. It is an integral part of our faith that we believe that all the Prophets were infallible and divinely protected (ma’sum). If a person is infallible and it is impossible that they sin, then this means that satan has no power of them. As such, it makes no difference whether satan touches them at birth or not! There must then be another reason for Sayyidna Isa being excluded from the norm.

5. It is documented in various instances that each person has an accompanying devil, and that the devil accompanying the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) not only had no control over him, but became Muslim!

Why Satan was unable to touch Maryam and her son

Imam al Qurtabi tells us that the touch of satan at birth is the beginning of his trying to control the person, but Allah protected Sidtina Maryam and her son through the blessings of Maryam’s mother’s du’a, ‘Verily, I seek refuge for her and her offspring from the cursed Satan’ [3:36], and Maryam had no progeny other than Isa (so the result of her supplication could only descend upon him). [Fathul Bari]

From the few simple examples above, it is clear that it is erroneous to conclude that because of an event, namely, Sayyidina ‘Isa not being touched by satan at birth, then it must mean that he is more exalted than the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him). Rather, Sayyidna ‘Isa was given a special exception in this situation through a) the Wisdom and Will of Allah who gives to whomever He pleases, and b) as an acceptance of his pure mother’s du’a for her offspring which God chose to answer in this way. Thus it was an honour for mother and son, not a sign of their superiority over others.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is the leader of all the Prophets and the leader of all mankind. ‘I will be the leader of the sons of Adam on the Day of Resurrection and the first for whom the grave will be opened and the first to intercede and the first whose intercession will be accepted.’ [Muslim]

His chest was open, his black spot (found in all hearts) was removed, and his heart was cleansed with Zamzam water on numerous times, not because he was blotted somehow by the devil. The removal of the spot was the removal of a matter found in everyone, as well as a means to make us know what is what is inside our hearts so we may be aware of the danger of letting it grow and spread.

As for the purifying of his blessed heart, this was never because of its need to be purified, but rather, it was in preparation for the tremendous gifts, bestowals, favours, strength, knowledge, wisdom, love and compassion that Allah Most High wished to pour into him, and to prepare him for the greatest experience ever bestowed upon anyone, the ascent to the heavens and the beatific vision of his Lord, an experience not given to any prophet before.

Warmest salams,

[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. He travelled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years privately studying a range of Islamic sciences under the foremost scholars and muftis from the Ribat Tarim, specializating in Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies under many of Amman’s most prominent scholars, in a range of Islamic sciences, including Islamic theology, logic, legal principles and precepts, hadith studies, grammar and rhetoric, seerah, Quranic studies and tafsir. He is also an experienced homeopath

Can Muslim Women Be Imams?

Answered by Ustadh Farid Dingle

Question: assalam alaykum, I´m from Italy and here some people think that Islam is for man and the woman have a second place in Islam. I see a program in tv, about one woman can be Imam, and they say this is a revolution inside Islam. So my question are: woman can be Imam in a community? she can be Imam for women and men? where in the Holy Qur’an say that woman can’t be Imam for the Ummah?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Gender equality in Islam

All looks at everyone equally and everyone is welcomed to draw near to him in sincerity, dedication, fear and hope. Whoever excels another in these is greater in Allah’s eyes, regardless of race or gender.

Allah Most High says, ‘Verily, Muslim men and Muslim women, believing men and believing women, worshipful men and worshipful women, true men and true women, patient men and patient women, humbled men and humbled women, men and women who give in charity, men who fast and women who fast, men who protect their chastity and women, and men who remember Allah much and women, Allah has prepared for them [indescribable] forgiveness and a tremendous reward.’ [33: 35]

So Allah men and women are equal before Allah, irrespective of gender.

That said, Allah has also told us in the Quran that he has not given everyone in this life the same provision, and rights and responsibilities:

´It is We who have divided up each person’s livelihood in the Lower Life, and we have raised some over other whole categories such that some should be subject to others. And your Lord’s mercy is better than that which they amass’ [43: 32]

Some people are rich, and that gives them the right to buy things that others can’t; that also gives them the responsibility to support others. Some people are strong and healthy, and that gives them the right to enjoy their health, and the responsibility to defend the weak. Some people are really intelligent and have the ability and therefore the responsibility to fulfill certain communal obligations, such as being a brain surgeon or a mufti. Some others do not have such capabilities, such opportunities, etc., and this is all from the wisdom and mercy of Allah.

None of this “favouritism” reflects how Allah looks at His slaves: they are all equal and their true and ultimate rank is how they are morally.

And one such way that Allah has apportioned and organised temporal life in this “Lower Life” is that He has not made men and women the same, and has not given them the same rights and responsibilities.

Allah has said in the Quran, ‘Men are in charge of women because We have given more to some than others.’ [4: 34]

Men are not women, and women are not men. Allah has made two genders to compliment one another, and has put one in charge of the other in this life, even though they are equal before Allah’s eyes in the next.

Well, to what degree are men in charge of women?

Generally speaking, no man has any control or say in what another man or woman does. However the general tack in Islam is that men are in charge of leadership roles, such as being the caliph, judgeship, leading the household, and leading the Eid and Friday prayers.

Woman can be and do many things: they can be politicians, muftis, CEOs, millionaires, writers, revolutionists, mothers, astronauts, you name it! But there is a general hierarchy in things that touch the structure and performance of the Muslim community.

This responsibility, dictates that one follow the other, and the other show mercy, consideration, stewardship to the other in light of the grave responsibility that rests on his shoulders. This hierarchy is for everyone’s benefit: emotionally, physically, financially, politically, economically …

Responsibility means answerability: so men, or women, who abuse their rights and do not fulfill their what is required of them, must provide an answer for their transgressions before a Sharia court in this life, and Allah’s court in the next.

For more details on Women’s active role in the authority, please see: Do the Hadiths Say Women Can’t Be Leaders?

Can women lead the prayer

Please see: How a Female Imam Should Lead a Congregation of Women in Prayer? [Shafi’i School]

An Explanation of the Hanafi School’s Position on Women’s Congregational Prayer

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to crafts lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.

Heart Break and Looking for a Bless Marriage

Answered by Ustadh Farid Dingle

Question: I fell in love with someone married and we work in the same company. I don’t know what to do. Every time I see him with his wife it kills me inside. I have become depressed and I keep having mental break downs. Please advise me. Should I marry him? Should I leave him?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Practical steps

If I were in your shoes, I would just relations with him, and try my best to work in another company. You would not be doing anything haram, but it would make the heartbreak much easier if you just distanced yourself as much as possible.

It doesn’t sound like being a second wife will work out.

Please see: Can the Man I Love Take Me as a Second Wife Despite His Mother’s Disapproval? 

Building on love

We all know the adage ‘Love is blind.’ We all have to direct our deep feelings of love, adoration and obsession to the wider plain of being that it belongs to: Allah Mighty and Majestic.

The is a Persian maxim that goes: Fake love without real love is pointless, yet real love without fake love is pretty difficult. It means that loving this world or its creatures is a fake love that does not mean anything and is just worldliness. However, it is very hard to love Allah and worship Him fully if you have never tasted love, and usually, heartbreak.

Try and make a habit of reciting Surah ‘Qul huwa Allahu ahad’ and focus on Allah as the One to which your heart really turns to and needs.

I would also advise getting the book Reclaim Your Heart by Yasmin Mogahed.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to crafts lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.