Dealing With Infertility

Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja

Question: I haven’t been able to have children, and so I was wondering: 1. What are the best duas to make in this situation? 2. How to deal with the various emotions and keep oneself inspired in the light of Quran and Sunnah? 3. Everything is absolutely in Allah’s hands, but how to deal with the guilt that a woman remained unable to give her husband children? 4. How to deal with various social pressures such as people belittling you, suggesting this is some kind of punishment, or suggesting that a husband should remarry again? 5. How to respond to the constant irritating questions from people about children?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

1. Some supplications to make to bear children are the following:

(a) The prayer of Sayyidna Zakariyya in the Qur’an,

رَبِّ لَا تَذَرۡنِى فَرۡدً۬ا وَأَنتَ خَيۡرُ ٱلۡوَٲرِثِينَ

“O Lord! Do not leave me single (childless, without an inheritor), and You are the best of inheritors” [Surat al-Anbiya, 89]

(b) Some scholars suggest the verse

وَٱلَّتِىٓ أَحۡصَنَتۡ فَرۡجَهَا فَنَفَخۡنَا فِيهَا مِن رُّوحِنَا وَجَعَلۡنَـٰهَا وَٱبۡنَهَآ ءَايَةً۬ لِّلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ إِنَّ هَـٰذِهِۦۤ أُمَّتُكُمۡ أُمَّةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬ وَأَنَا۟

رَبُّڪُمۡ فَٱعۡبُدُونِ

“And (remember) her [Maryam] who guarded her chastity. We breathed into her of Our spirit her and her son a sign for mankind and jinn. Truly, this is your religion, the one religion, and I am your Lord, so worship Me.” [Surat al-Anbiya, 91-92]

Follow this by the following prayers on the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace):

اللهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ طِبِّ القُلُوبِ وَدَوائِها وعَافِيَةِ الأَبْدانِ وَشِفَائِها ونُورِ الأَبْصارِ وضِيائِها وعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ وَسَلِّمْ

“O Allah, send blessings upon our master Muhammad, the medicine of hearts and their cure, the health of bodies and their healing, and the light of eyes and their illumination, and upon his family and companions, and send peace.”

(c) Also see this previous answer: Invocations to Bear Children.

2. Many of the most beloved people to Allah, such as Prophets and the wives of Prophets, were given the trial of not having children. As with any trial, one can draw closer to Allah through it by having patience and contentment, or one can be driven further away from Allah by becoming bitter and discontent. Many Prophets (may Allah be please with them) faced the trial of not having children and their correct response to the trial is what continued to increase them in degrees with Allah.

The Prophet (may Allah’s blessings be upon him), when asked about who suffers the greatest tribulations, answered, “The prophets, then those who come next to them, then those who come next to them. A man is afflicted in accordance to his religion. If his religion is firm, his trial is severe; if there is weakness in his religion, then it [the trial] is in accordance. Trials will continue for a servant until he walks on the earth having no sin.” [Tirmidhi]

He also said, “Trials will continue for the believing man and the believing woman, in person, property and children, until they meet Allah free from sin.” [Tirmidhi]

Remember Allah’s word in the Qur’an, “O you who have believed! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer: for certainly Allah is with those who patiently persevere. [Surat al-Baqara, 153]

Remember that each person has their own trial. Allah is the One who Gives, as He is the One who Withholds. If He withholds children from you, know that He has given you other innumerable blessings that require your gratitude. Likewise, though He has given others children, He has also withheld from them other blessings.

3. A wife should not feel guilty about not being able to give her husband children because the matter is ultimately in the hands of Allah. Just as every person’s rizq (provision) in money is determined, one’s rizq in other things in life has also been divinely apportioned. How many children one has is part of Allah’s decree.

Allah Most High says in the Qur’an, “To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows female (offspring) for whom He wills, and bestows male (offspring) for whom He wills. Or He joins them (bestows both), males and females. And He makes barren whom He will: for certainly, He is All-Knowing, All-Powerful.” [Surat al-Shura, 49-50]

4 & 5. The questions and hints you will receive from others about your personal struggle with infertility is out of your control. However, there are some things you can do to mitigate these awkward situations. You can answer that Allah grants children at the time He wills. You should answer confidently and in a manner that shows that you are pleased with what He has decreed. You can also curtly reply that Allah is the best of planners. If you don’t give further information, the other person should realize that it is not their concern and leave the matter. If you feel comfortable enough with the person, you may also simply ask them to make du`a for you for a healthy, righteous child.

May Allah grant you ease and increase you in closeness to Him.

wassalam,
Sulma

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Selling Clothes Partially Made of Silk

Answered by Sidi Tabraze Azam

Question: At the moment I am working at a store where the main merchandise are clothes. However, recently they started selling clothes for men made out of 10% silk and the rest is cotton, which is not harmful according to what I know. Also, among some of the shirts there are images of birds or animals but not any human beings. My main job is to put the clothes in the shop floor and help the customers to choose the clothes. Would it be permitted for me to continue working here?

Answer: Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you’re well, insha’Allah.

It is permissible to wear clothes that are partially made from silk as long as the majority of the material used is other than silk. [Nahlāwi, ad-Durar al-Mubāha] As such, selling such clothing and assisting in their selling would also be permitted.

The basis according to the Hanafi school is that it is impermissible for men to wear silk. It is related from Abu Musa al-Ash’ari that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) made gold and silk permissible for the women folk of his nation (ummah) and made them impermissible upon its men folk. [Nasā’i, Sunan]

However, the Hanafi scholars interpreted this as being applicable to a single cloth whose silk content is the majority. Therefore, the prohibition does not apply to clothing wherein the silk content is not the majority. In such a case, a certain amount of silk is permitted, such as for embroidery or horizontal weaving.

Mulla Ali al-Qari mentions in his Fath Bab al-Inaya that a possible reason for the permissibility of such an amount is “to let the servant know what Allah has prepared for him in the hereafter, from Himself, so he (the servant) strives in that which will be a reason for him attaining it”.

The Issue of Pictures

As for the clothing with pictures of living beings imprinted on them, there is a difference of opinion in the issue. Some scholars have stated that they (pictures) are impermissible. This is the more cautious opinion. Others have stated that they are permissible. The best thing to do would be to avoid actively assisting customers in the actual purchasing of such items, namely avoiding actually encouraging customers to buy these items. As for merely showing them the item or putting clothes on the shop floor, this would not be impermissible as it is not directly assisting in the sale of somthing sinful. However, even then, the difference of opinion on the issue of pictures gives one leeway to continue such a job on a normal capacity.

And Allah knows best.
wassalaam,
Tabraze

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Attracting the Youth to the Religion

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: Can you give some advice on how to attract youth to practicing Islam?

Answer: Wa alaikum salam,

May Allah Most High reward you for the concern you have for Muslim youth.  The youth of our societies are a treasure-trove of potential: they can be harnessed to benefit society and beautifully exemplify Islam, or they can be left to spiritually wither away when untapped, or even steered in the wrong direction by those who don’t guide them to a holistic approach to Islam.

Focus on the Love of Allah

If you want to attract youth to practicing Islam, inspire them towards the Greatest: Allah Most High.  Call them to rediscover their primordial relationship with Him- to feel and understand that when they do come closer them, it is Allah who is lovingly bringing them back to Himself.  There should be no other worldly or personal goal beyond this, nor any temporal issue nor slogan nor controversy to rally around.

Only when someone loves Allah Most High, can they truly obey Him.  Otherwise, without this love, youth are following a set of rules, or wearing an identity on their sleeves, or engaging in blind protest, without a deeper context of what their true purpose should be, and hence, their practice seems hollow to outsiders, and their character seems sorely and obviously deficient, and they burn out after some time.

Shaykh Abu’l Hasan said, “Whoever calls you to the world has deceived you. Whoever calls you to actions has tired you. Whoever calls you to Allah has given sincere counsel.”

Build Their Love for the Messenger (peace be upon him) and His Example

Youth today, other than an increasingly-marginalized minority, are generally sick of polemics and debate, and of being defined only in opposition to an “other”, or of having to prove themselves to someone or group.  The way of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was one of mercy, of uniting the hearts and attracting people through a beautiful example.  Similarly, youth must be taught to love the Messenger (peace be upon him), so that they can fully embody his Message.

Give encouragement to everyone, especially those who are down or beginners.  Overlook minor faults.  Assume sincerity of people and think well of them.  Gently correct misunderstandings.  I can’t sum it up better than the Prophet (peace be upon him), when he advised his Companions who were going out to attract others towards Islam:

“Make things easy [for people], and don’t bear down hard [on them].  Give good news [about the religion], and don’t chase [people] away.  Agree with each other, and don’t [constantly] differ with one another.”  [al-Bukhari, Saheeh]

This narration alone speaks volumes and volumes.  Combine this with relevant advice from qualified scholars and leaders, circles of teaching and learning appropriate to the youths’ level of understanding, wise counsel and encouragement in worldly affairs, and interesting and spirit-building activities and – Allah-willing – the youth of your community will be attracted towards practicing Islam in a wholesome and balanced way that will be a light for the entire society around them.  And Allah knows best.

Wassalam,
Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Joy at the Birth of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace): The Narration Concerning Abu Lahab

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: Can you shed a bit of light on the issue of the hadith that says something to the effect that Abu Lahab will be given an easement from punishment on Mondays because he was so overjoyed by the birth of the Prophet (Allah bless him) that he freed a slave of his. I have heard that it is in Bukhari, yet I have read elsewhere that is isn’t sahih. This has confused me quite a bit. Insha Allah you can share a bit of clarification.

Answer: Wa alaikum salam,

Thank you for your question.

The hadeeth you are speaking about is definitely rigorously-authenticated (saheeh) and it is found in the Saheeh of al-Bukhari.

‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr narrated a long hadeeth and mentioned Thuwayba, the first wet-nurse of the beloved Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) and slavewoman of his cruel uncle, Abu Lahab.  ‘Urwah adds a note at the end of his narration, saying:

“And Thuwayba was the freed slave of Abu Lahab. Abu Lahab freed her, and then she nursed the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).  So when Abu Lahab died [in disbelief], he was shown to someone in his family [in a dream] in the most wretched of conditions, and [that relative – they say it was ‘Abbas] said to him: ‘What did you find [after death]?’ So Abu Lahab replied, ‘I didn’t find [any rest] since I left you all, except that I was given to drink *this little amount* because of my freeing Thuwayba.'” [al-Bukhari, Saheeh]

On the day the Prophet (peace be upon him) was born, Thuwayba rushed to her master Abu Lahab in joy and said, “Have you heard?!  Aminah has just given birth to a son, for your brother Abdullah!” As was the custom of Arabs to show generosity at receiving good news, and since this was the newborn son (peace be upon him) of his recently deceased brother, Abu Lahab gestured with his thumb and forefinger, saying to Thuwayba, “Go, for you are free.”  For this, his punishment in the Hereafter is lessened by a small sip of water equal to what could be held in the small curve of flesh at the base of the thumb till the forefinger [‘Abdur-Razzaq, Mussanaf].

Some say that because this portion of the hadeeth does not name the link in the chain of narration between ‘Urwah and the one who saw the dream, it is therefore automatically inauthentic and disregarded, since scholars postulate that it was ‘Abbas who saw the dream, and ‘Urwah was only 6 years old at the time of his death.  This does not mean however, that ‘Urwah had never heard it with a sound chain, or the incident should be written-off, or not true – in fact, being one of the seven main jurists of Madina in his time, ‘Urwah would not have added this portion unless he was confident and aware of its authenticity.

Ibn Hajr, al-‘Ayni and al-Qastalani, when analyzing this hadeeth in their commentaries on al-Bukhari, never once commented whether the incident happened or not, rather, only whether this narration could be used as proof that a non-believer could be rewarded for their good deeds after death.  They said that if we assume there was an unidentified link missing, then it would not be of the strength to change an established ruling, but they also balanced that by saying the narration could be fully connected and acceptable, but even so, a dream cannot be used as proof to change, or even effect, a legal ruling, especially when conflicting with a Qur’anic verse, as is the case here.  In the end, they all recognized that this lightening of punishment was an exception made for Abu Lahab, the way it was made for Abu Talib.

Ibn Hajr closed his analysis by saying, “I declare: the final point of all this is that the above-mentioned divine grace occurs, due to [Allah’s] pure magnanimity, on those of the non-believers from whom occurs an act of kindness to him [peace be upon him], and the likes of that – and Allah knows best.” [Ibn Hajr, Fath al-Bari]

It is essential to understand that the polemics around this hadeeth today are no longer whether or not non-believers are generally rewarded for their good deeds in the Hereafter, but rather, whether there is a reward for celebrating the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and about expressing joy over the occasion.

To disprove this in modern times, people have criticized this hadeeth, though other times they would adhere very strictly to everything narrated in al-Bukhari.  Since al-Bukhari’s collection is the most authentic book in Islam after the Qur’an, would al-Bukhari not have realized if he was including a baseless, disconnected, dream-based report alongside such a strong main narration, and be the only one out of the 6 most authentic compilers to do so?  Obviously, his including it is a testament to his stance on its acceptability, plausibility and ability to edify the ummah on something beneficial – like the rest of his compilation.

Ibn al-Mulaqqin in his commentary states that both al-Bayhaqi and al-Baghawi point out that this narration was “mentioned by al-Bukhari in his Saheeh”, and that “they both meant: in the main portion of the hadeeth itself”- in other words, the narration was understood to take the ruling of the longer rigorously-authenticated hadeeth it was part of.  The incident had been accepted by the ummah thereafter and is cited regularly in seerah works such as those by Ibn Katheer and Zayn al-Deen al-‘Iraqi, and even by Ibn Taymiyya in al-Sarim al-Maslul and Ibn al-Qayyim in Tuhfat al-Mawdud.

Having said this, instead of leading people into polemics, would it not be better for us to remember the upshot of this all?  As Hafiz Nasir al-Deen put it:

“If this was the disbeliever, on whom condemnation came,

And ‘his two hands perished’ in the eternal flame,

And it comes that every Monday, repeated till no end,

His torment is lessened, for the joy he felt in Ahmed.

Then what of the servant who, his whole life did lead

In joy for the birth of Ahmed, then died believing in Divine Oneness? ”

[quoted by al-Zurqani, Sharh Mawahib of al-Qastallani]

Wasallam,
Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Pork Gelatin: Permissible or Not?

Answered by Sidi Salman Younas

Question: There seems to be a debate nowadays about the issue of pork gelatin. Since it is not the meat of the pig some say it is halal. Others, say it is part of the pig therefore it is impure. Can you please settle this and provide me with factual evidence like from a hadith or Quran?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

I pray you are well.

It would not be permissible to consume something that contains pork-gelatin based on the reasoning given in the question.

The pig is considered “essentially filthy” (najas al-`ayn) according to the Hanafi scholars. This means that every part of the pig is impure, whether its meat, hair, bones, or tendons.

This opinion is derived from the verse, “Say: I do not find in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden for an eater to eat of except that it be what has died of itself, or blood poured forth, or flesh of swine – for verily it is filthy (fa innahu rijsun)-…” [6: 145] Here, the attached particle “it” (hu) refers back to the word “swine”, not merely the word “flesh”. This is based not only on precautionary practice (ihtiyat) but also the fact that the prohibition of the flesh of a pig is already indicated by the category of “what has died of itself”, since the pig is not capable of being slaughtered.

Ibn Nujaym, commenting on this verse, adds that the statement “verily it is filth” is a legal cause for the prohibition of the flesh of swine. Stating that the attached particle “it” refers back to “flesh” would lead to deeming the legal cause as being the very filth of the flesh itself, adding nothing of substantial value. This is because the prohibition of something that can be eaten, which is the flesh of the pig in this case, already indicates its filthy nature. The legal cause, as such, must be something other than the flesh itself being filthy since this is already known. Therefore, the scholars stated that the particle refers back to “swine” as a whole, which would stipulate the legal cause of prohibition being the fact that the flesh is a part of the swine, and since the whole swine is filthy so is the part. [Ibn Nujaym, Bahr al-Ra’iq]

As such, according to the Hanafi school, it would not be permitted to consume gelatin made from any part of the pig. The only time it would be permissible is when the pig undergoes an essential transformation. However, since gelatin does not undergo such an essential transformation it will remain prohibited to consume if made of pig or any other unslaughtered animal.

Wassalam
Salman

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Making Up Missed Prayers: A Point of Scholarly Consensus

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Is making up missed prayers necessary?

Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

The position of all four Sunni schools is that it is obligatory (fard) to make up all missed prayers, regardless of why they were missed. Prayer is the first thing we will be questioned about on the Day of Judgement, as the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) informed us in sound narrations.

Imam Nawawi stated:

“There is consensus (ijma`) of the scholars whose opinion counts that whoever leaves a prayer intentionally must make it up. Abu Muhammad Ali Ibn Hazm differed with them on this, saying that such an individual cannot ever make them up and it is not at all valid to make them up. Rather, he said, one must do much good works and voluntary prayer in order that one s scales be heavied on the day of judgement and one must seek Allah s forgiveness and repent. This position of his, along with being in opposition to scholarly consensus (ijma`), is invalid in terms of the proof.

Among the proofs for the obligation to makeup is: that if makeup prayers are obligatory for the one who left the prayer forgetfully, then doing so for the one who left the prayer deliberately is more obviously incumbent.” [Majmu` Sharh al-Muhadhdhab (3.86)]

Imam Nawawi is referring here to the hadith related by Anas that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

“Whoever forgets a prayer must perform it when they remember it.”  [Bukhari (597); Muslim (684)]

After Imam Nawawi’s time, the aberrant position of Ibn Hazm was embraced by certain individuals and soundly rejected by the scholars in their time and after.

Wassalam.
Faraz Rabbani.

قال الإمام النووي في المجموع شرح المهذَّب:  (3/76)     ( فَرْعٌ ) أَجْمَعَ الْعُلَمَاءُ الَّذِينَ يُعْتَدُّ بِهِمْ عَلَى أَنَّ مَنْ تَرَكَ صَلَاةً عَمْدًا لَزِمَهُ قَضَاؤُهَا وَخَالَفَهُمْ أَبُو مُحَمَّدٍ عَلِيٌّ بْنُ حَزْمٍ فَقَالَ : لَا يَقْدِرُ عَلَى قَضَائِهَا أَبَدًا وَلَا يَصِحُّ فِعْلُهَا أَبَدًا قَالَ : بَلْ يُكْثِرُ مِنْ فِعْلِ الْخَيْرِ , وَصَلَاةِ التَّطَوُّعِ لِيَثْقُلَ مِيزَانُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَيَسْتَغْفِرُ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى وَيَتُوبُ , وَهَذَا الَّذِي قَالَهُ مَعَ أَنَّهُ مُخَالِفٌ لِلْإِجْمَاعِ بَاطِلٌ مِنْ جِهَةِ الدَّلِيلِ , وَبَسَطَ هُوَ الْكَلَامَ فِي الِاسْتِدْلَالِ لَهُ , وَلَيْسَ فِيمَا ذَكَرَ دَلَالَةٌ أَصْلًا . وَمِمَّا يَدُلُّ عَلَى وُجُوبِ الْقَضَاءِ حَدِيثُ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رضي الله عنه { أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَمَرَ الْمُجَامِعَ فِي نَهَارِ رَمَضَانَ أَنْ يَصُومَ يَوْمًا مَعَ الْكَفَّارَةِ } أَيْ بَدَلَ الْيَوْمِ الَّذِي أَفْسَدَهُ بِالْجِمَاعِ عَمْدًا . رَوَاهُ الْبَيْهَقِيُّ بِإِسْنَادٍ جَيِّدٍ وَرَوَى أَبُو دَاوُد نَحْوَهُ , وَلِأَنَّهُ إذَا وَجَبَ الْقَضَاءُ عَلَى التَّارِكِ نَاسِيًا فَالْعَامِدُ أَوْلَى

Supplication During Qunut

Answered by Sidi Salman Younas

Question: Can you give example of supplication which can be read instead of Dua Qunut?

Answer: assalamu `alaylum

An individual who does not know the Qunut supplication can recite:

يَا رَبُّ or اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي each three times.

 or

اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

This would be permitted to do, although it is optimal in the Hanafi school to recite the supplications that have come in the primary texts themselves. The most optimal one is:

اللَّهُمَّ إنَّا نَسْتَعِينُك وَنَسْتَغْفِرُك وَنُؤْمِنُ بِك وَنَتَوَكَّلُ عَلَيْك وَنُثْنِي عَلَيْك الْخَيْرَ كُلَّهُ نَشْكُرُك وَلَا نَكْفُرُك وَنَخْلَعُ وَنَتْرُكُ مَنْ يُفْجِرُك اللَّهُمَّ إيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَلَك نُصَلِّي وَنَسْجُدُ وَإِلَيْك نَسْعَى وَنَحْفِدُ نَرْجُو رَحْمَتَك وَنَخْشَى عَذَابَك إنَّ عَذَابَك بِالْكُفَّارِ مُلْحَقٌ

 One can also recite:

اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِنِي فِيمَنْ هَدَيْت ، وَعَافِنِي فِيمَنْ عَافَيْت ، وَتَوَلَّنِي فِيمَنْ تَوَلَّيْت ، وَبَارِكْ لِي فِيمَا أَعْطَيْت ، وَقِنِي شَرَّ مَا قَضَيْت ، فَإِنَّك تَقْضِي وَلَا يُقْضَى عَلَيْك ، وَأَنَّهُ لَا يَذِلُّ مَنْ وَالَيْت ، تَبَارَكْت رَبَّنَا وَتَعَالَيْت

 These two are the most emphasized supplications relating to the Qunut. The scholars stated that joining these two supplications would generally be recommended. [Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Ibn Nujaym, Bahr al-Ra’iq]

 It has also been narrated that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) stated:

اللَّهُمَّ إنِّي أَعُوذُ بِرِضَاك مِنْ سَخَطِك ، وَبِمُعَافَاتِك ، مِنْ عُقُوبَتِك ، وَأَعُوذُ بِك مِنْك ، لَا أَحْصَى ثَنَاءً عَلَيْك ، أَنْتَ كَمَا أَثْنَيْت عَلَى نَفْسِك

Benefit: The scholars differed regarding whether one should also send blessings on the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) after reciting the Qunut supplication. Abu’l Qasim al-Saffar said that one should not. However, Abu’l Layth al-Samarqandi said that one can. The latter was chosen as the fatwa position by Imam Haskafi in his Durr al-Mukhtar

Wassalam

 Salman

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Making Up Missed Prayers: I Believed but Did Not Utter the Testimony of Faith

Answered by Sidi Salman Younas

Question: I converted to Islam about a year and a half ago. However, I have been studying Islam for years, and I knew I wanted to become a Muslim for a while. Since I was living with my parents earlier and they absolutely forbade me from converting, I did not pray, fast, or say the shahadah out loud, even though I believed it. This went on for a a few years until I entered college and finally had the freedom to start practicing Islam. Do I need to make up the prayers and fasts that I didn’t do during those three and a half years? I wasn’t officially Muslim yet in that I hadn’t said the shahadah, and I didn’t know how to pray properly. Some say that I have to make up these prayers and fasts, while others say that because I wasn’t really Muslim then (since I didn’t say shahadah) I don’t need to make them up since my sins have been forgiven through repentance and me taking my shahadah. Please advise.

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

I pray you are well and in the best of spirits.

May Allah bless you with your new found faith and grant you success in this life and the next. It is beautiful to hear how you persisted in your faith despite all the obstacles and difficulties.

As for your question, it would be best to make up the prayers you had missed, if you are able to do so, and to do so in the most effective of ways.

There is a difference of opinion between the scholars regarding the testimony of faith (shahada) and its relation to faith (iman). There are three major opinions:

1. It is a condition (shart) for the soundness of one’s faith (iman).
2. It is an actual part (shatr) of faith, which would render it similar to the first position, namely that faith without it is not valid.
3. It is a condition for worldly rulings to apply to a person, not for faith itself.

[Bajuri, Jawharat al-Tawhid]

According to the first two positions, an individual who believed but did not pronounce the testimony of faith to enter into Islam never entered it to begin with. According to this position, since the individual never entered Islam there would be no obligation to make up missed prayers as they were missed while the individual was still a non-Muslim.

According to the third position, having conviction and accepting Islam in one’s hearts would suffice for one to be considered a Muslim with Allah. However, the testimony of faith is a condition for worldly Islamic rulings to apply to the individual, such as issues related to marriage, burial, giving Zakat, and so forth. This is because though inward conviction suffices in the knowledge of Allah, the Muslim community requires an outward indicator of an individuals Islam before applying the laws of Islam to them.

All three of these positions are strong and have been held by great scholars throughout our tradition.

As such, the more cautious approach would be to make-up such missed prayers. You should try to do this gradually, viewing it as an opportunity that Allah has given you to draw closer to Him. There is no need to overburden yourself. Rather, the best actions in the eyes of Allah are the ones that are consistent, even if small.

May Allah facilitate you to do what is best for He is the best of facilitators.

Wassalam
Salman

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Hadith About Seclusion (khalwa) and Unmarriageable Kin (mahram)

Answered by Sidi Salman Younas

Question: I recently came across a hadith in English that says, “[t]he man must not be alone with a woman except in the presence of her mahram.” Would you happen to know the book of hadith in which this saying is found. I have not been able to locate it. Also, does “khalwa”, which I’m assuming the hadith pertains to, include a man and woman together in a public place?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

I pray you are well.

Ibn `Abbas said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) give a sermon. He said, ‘A man should not seclude himself with a woman except that there be with her someone who is of unmarriageable kin (mahram).'” [Bukhari, Muslim]

As for the situation you described, it would not be considered “seclusion” (khalwa). Seclusion is defined as a man and a woman, who are not unmarriageable kin (mahram), being alone in an enclosed area in such a way that a third party cannot easily enter upon them.

As such, a public place will not be considered a place of isolation, though one should take caution in their interaction with the opposite sex in such a setting, doing so only when there is benefit or need, while maintaining proper etiquette.

Wasalam
Salman

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Can I Delay Prayers During Emergency Situations?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Is it permissible for one to become a fireman or a paramedic? I would like to pursue one of these careers but what concerns me is not being able to pray on-time due to emergency situations. Is there a ruling that deals with this?

Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

These are very noble professions, as one is assisting people in distress.

Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him)  said, “A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. He should not wrong him nor let them down. Allah will take care of the needs of anyone who takes care of the needs of his brother. On the Day of Rising Allah will dispel the anxiety of anyone who dispels the anxiety of another Muslim. On the Day of Rising Allah will veil anyone who veils another Muslim.” [Agreed upon] In such hadiths, “Muslim” is used incidentally–the scholars mention that they apply to assisting both Muslims and non-Muslims.

As for praying on time, in genuine emergencies–such as when one is saving another’s life or limb–one could delay the prayer, though one should take reasonable means to strive to pray on time.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani