Looking at One’s Spouse

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question : Looking at one’s spouse

Answer : Each spouse can look at the whole body of their spouse, without any dislike. However, it is inferred from the sunna that it is superior to avoid looking at the other’s private parts directly. It is related by Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) that she never looked at the private area of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), nor he at her’s. This is an expression of modesty, and not an emphasized sunna. A number of Companions themselves mentioned that there is nothing “wrong” with such looking.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani.

What is the Dua to Say When Looking at One’s Self in the Mirror?

Answered by SeekersHub Answers Service

Question : What is the Dua to say when looking at one self in the mirror?

Answer: Assalam aleykum,

According to what is in Imam an-Nawwawi’s ‘al-Adhkaar,’ this dua is related in a sahih hadith.

ابن السني عن عليّ رضي الله عنه
أن النبيّ صلى الله عليه و سلّم كان إذا نظر في المرآة قال: الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ ، اللَّهُمَّ كَمَا حَسَّنْتَ خَلْقِي فَحَسِّنْ خُلُقِي

AlhamduLlilahi Allahumma kama hassanta khalqi fahassin khuluqi

When the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) looked in the mirror, he said, “Praise be to Allah. Oh Allah, as you have beautified me, beautify my character.”


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Tightness of Clothes

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Tightness of Clothes

clothingAnswer: Tightness is, indeed difficult to specifically define. The tighter clothing is, the more disliked it would be–and when it is reasonably likely to attract undue looks as a result of the tightness, then it would become sinful as well.

Caution is best. This does include the legs with very high boots, though “regular” boots wouldn’t be considered disliked (as they are being worn for good reason, and aren’t typically considered “unduly attractive”).

The outer garment should be loose around the chest area, yes.

One should strive to hold oneself to the “higher” ways of greater modesty and decorum, while making excuses for others, and seeking whether we can gently and positively encourage them towards what is better.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

Chapter on the Supplication for the One Invited and the Guest to the Hosts When Finished Eating’

From Imam an-Nawwawi’s al-Adhkar:

Question: Chapter on the Supplication for the One Invited and the Guest to the Hosts when finished eating

Answer : اللهم بارك لهم فيما رزقتهم ، واغفر لهم وارحمهم

Allahumma baarik lahum fima razaqtahum wagfir lahum warhamhum

‘Oh Allah, bless them in what You provided for them and forgive them and bestow mercy upon them.’

Leaving Food on One’s Plate

Answered  by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Is it sunnah not to finish all the food on your plate, and to leave some food for next time? I ask because someone told me this is a very good thing to do, and someone else said this is illogical. Please clarify this, insha’Allah.

leftover-food-plateAnswer : The sunna is to finish all the food one took on one’s plate.

Leaving food is from wastefulness: leaving just a little is better not to; leaving more than this is blameworthy; that which would be considered ‘excessively wasteful’ is sinful.

This is if the food on one’s plate got there of one’s own accord. Otherwise, the waste is from the one who gave too much.

Walaikum assalam,
Faraz Rabbani

Throwing Away Food

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Kindly could you elaborate on the issue of throwing away food? For example, if one has cooked food that is edible in itself but distasteful, what should one do about it? Can one throw it away? What about bread crums and crums of biscuits? Can one throw them in the garden i.e the crums and left over small bits of food?

Lastly, is one responsible in anyway in picking up food seen thrown away in one’s path? Please correct me if im wrong, was there Prophetic Sunna related to picking up own’s own food that falls to the ground and eating it after one says Bismillah? Insh Allah look forward to your response.

leftover-food-plateAnswer: 1. The sunna is to only take the amount of food one is sure they can eat. Taking more than this is improper. Not finishing one’s food simply because it doesn’t taste good is disliked. Not doing so because one is genuinely full is excusable, though one should take heed and be more careful the next time.

Crumbs and left over bits of food should be eaten. As the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, that is where the baraka may well be, and this is an expression of one’s recognition of the blessing of food.

2. If one sees food on the ground, it is recommended, if possible without preponderating secondary considerations, to pick it up.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

Knowledge Versus Ignorance

Answered by Aftab Ahmad Malik (excerpt from “The State We Are In”)

If many non-Muslims suffer from ignorance about Islam, some Muslims are also ignorant about their own tradition. Expressed as an ideology anchored in opposition to the West, and determined to wage a universal jihad, these Muslims reduce Islam to a violent anti-intellectual force. Even when retaliating against transgressions by an enemy, the classical Islamic jurists not only understood that acts of terrorism (hirâbah) were punishable by death, they viewed these acts as cowardly and even contrary to the ethics of Arab chivalry.

TheStateWEAREIN-AFTAB-MALIKFar from what we see on our TV screens today, the overriding imperative in Islam is mercy and compassion. Muslims have always known that aggression and excess are forbidden and that mercy, compassion and forbearance are the benchmarks of human dignity. There are innumerable commandments that urge Muslims to show these qualities at all times, despite the conditions in which they may find themselves in, such as: { On those who show compassion, God is the most compassionate } (Qur’an 12:64); { Wrong not, and you will not be wronged } (Qur’an 2:279); { If you pardon and overlook and forgive, then surely God is Forgiving, Merciful } (Qur’an 64:14). Likewise, the hadith literature, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad God bless him and grant him peace, are replete with words urging the believers to be just, compassionate and merciful. The Prophet related that God said: “O My servants, I have forbidden Myself injustice, and have made it forbidden to you; so do not be unjust.” He also said: “Whoever is guilty of injustice against a fellow human being, whether in regard to his honour or anything else, let him seek his pardon for the Day of Resurrection [ … ]”. In another saying, he said: “God is Compassionate and loves those who are compassionate. He is gentle and loves those who are gentle to others. Whoever is merciful to creatures, to him is God Merciful. Whoever does good for people, to him will God do good. Whoever is generous to them, to him will God be generous. Whoever benefits the people, God will benefit him”.

Knowing full well that the Qur’an teaches Muslims not to allow hatred to drive Muslims to aggression, the Prophet’s words are clear: “Have mercy on people so you may receive mercy; forgive people so [that] you may be forgiven.” The Qur’an does not demand that everyone be Muslim, but rather, the Islamic message is that of honouring humanity and bestowing dignity upon the whole of humankind. The Islamic doctrine teaches that dignity of humanity precedes that of faith or even no faith. Having faced thirteen years of oppression in Makka, the Prophet Muhammad God bless him and grant him peace, migrated to Medina at the request of its tribal leaders and found himself in a multi-ethnic, multi-tribal, multi-cultural and a multi-religious setting. The Jewish Rabbi, `Abd Allâh ibn Salâm went to see the Prophet and to hear what he had to say. He narrated that the first sermon that the Prophet delivered in Medina was: “Oh Humanity, spread peace. Provide nourishment for people. Pray in the night when people are asleep and you will enter into Paradise in security and Peace.”

Muslims today must be strong and frank. We need to be supporters of justice even if it is against our very own selves, as the Qur’an instructs. Islam teaches that with infliction comes the strengthening of belief, not its corruption. When faced by threat and persecution, Muslims turn to the prayer of Prophets: { God is enough for us – and what an excellent Guardian! } This is how faith is articulated when we have trust in God at all times. When faith is replaced by tribalism, the response is different; Muslims experience the states of hopelessness, blame, resentment and helplessness. Prayer is substituted for rhetoric and rhetoric leads to hate. In this state, Islam has been enmeshed by the emotions of anger, hate and revenge; emotions which Islam views as detrimental to the human soul. The Qur’an warns against senseless killing saying: { Whoever has killed a single human without just cause, it is as if he has killed the entire humankind. }

While many people in the West have a certain degree of fear of Islam, many Muslims hold onto resentment, and by allowing a small group of people to manipulate these emotions, these tribes intend that people across the world should speak in absolutisms: “hating Islam” and “hating the West”. Tribal religion and tribal nationalism should be rejected in favour of seeing the human race as an extension of the family of Adam and Eve, with every member of the family having an inherent and inalienable right to dignity and honour.

Taken from livingislam.org with permission.

‘True’ Dreams Are 1/46 of Prophecy

Answered by : Shaykh Gibril Haddad

Question:’True’ dreams 1/46 of prophecy

Answer: Muslims use two value-laden Arabic words for “dream”, ru’ya and hulm, respectively “vision” and “fantasm” — both of which are mentioned in the Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah — which differ widely in application and significance, the first one being good and the latter either bad or meaningless.

When the dream originates from a higher spiritual source — such as God or the angels — it is a “truthful vision” (ru’ya sadiqah). This is the term the Mother of the Believers Aisha used when she described the beginnings of the descent of revelation upon Prophet Muhammad upon him and his family blessings and peace. Such visions are not only uplifting as a rule, but they also present meaningful disclosures which are invariably confirmed in a wakeful state: “He would never see a vision,” she continued, “except it subsequently came true as surely as the cleaving of the dawn.” The Prophet saw in his dream that he had conquered Mekah long before the conquest took place, after which the Quranic verse was revealed: { “Allah has fulfilled the vision of His Messenger in very truth” } (46:26). Similarly, Prophet Joseph saw 11 planets prostrating to him (12:4), which stood for his 11 brothers who eventually came under his sway.

If, however, the dream originates from a lower source such as one’s ego (nafs), the devil (shaitan) or a collaboration of both, it is considered either insignificant or harmful. Examples of nafs-bound dreams are sexual fantasies, dreaming of water when thirsty, wealth or other preoccupations rooted in one’s psyche as well as incoherent narratives. Examples of satanic whisperings are dreams that affect one’s spirit negatively. All such phenomena the Qur’an calls { “a confused jumble” } (12:44, 21:5), hence the Prophet himself made the semantic distinction: “Ru’ya is from God while hulm is from the devil.” He recommended to recount only dreams of the first type. As for bad dreams, we are ordered to keep their harm at bay by seeking refuge in God from them and strictly never retelling them to anyone.

Islam forbids the interpretation of dreams to all but experts. This prohibition is in recognition of the positive or negative effect dreams can have on our wakeful state and also because of the ineffable connection between their interpretation and reality in light of the Prophetic hadith, “Dreams are one out of 46 parts of Prophecy.” A similar hadith states: “Nothing remains of the beginnings of Prophethood except the good vision a Muslim may see.” Among the few people to whom the Companions confided their dreams were the Prophet himself and his close friend Sayyiduna Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, both of whom were expert interpreters. Among the Muslims of the succeeding generation, the most eminent interpreter was Ibn Sirin, who warned against amateurs: “This matter is connected with religion, so look well from whom you take your religion!” When Imam Malik was asked whether anyone could interpret dreams, he replied: “What! Is religion a plaything?”

Perhaps the most ironclad guarantee of a good dream in Islam is the Prophet’s statement that “Whoever sees me in a dream has truly seen me, for the devil cannot impersonate me”. However, apart from his direct contemporaries, how can one be sure that one is seeing Prophet Muhammad and not something else he imagines to be the Prophet? The ulema answered: Know the Prophet’s characteristics so you can be sure. This is why Imam al-Tirmizi compiled al-Shamail al-Nabawiyya, the most famous collection of hadiths (about 400) on the physical and moral Attributes of the Prophet, which he closed with the above-cited narrations on the high status of truthful dreams in Islam and the warning of Ibn Sirin against unqualified interpreters. In this respect, the Shamail is a manual on how to see the Prophet — a momentous glad tiding, dearly to be wished in the life of a Muslim.

Sunnahs of Eating

Answered by  Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: This question is regarding your mention of the sunnah of eating, implying being seated on the floor, eating with one’s hands, etc. How do the scholars determine which of these practices are considered rewardable sunnah, as opposed to happenstances related to the Holy Prophet’s time and place, peace be upon Him? I.e., how do we answer the question, were the Prophet (s) alive today, would he still eat without utensils, etc.

Answer: The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is unconditionally our exemplar. Everything he did or even approved of is an example for us.

The “sunnas of habit” are rewarded if followed. Some of them are more emphasized than others, which is why we need fiqh and depth of understanding.

Utensils existed in the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace); people sat at tables… but he showed us a way of elegant simplicity. This is a value and a practice.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

The Reality and Importance of Intention

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: The Reality and Importance of Intention

Answer: Ibn Raslan (Allah have mercy on him), author of al-Zubad, a blessed thousand-line poem in Shafi`i fiqh explained some important principles by saying,

1. So correct intentions before actions,

And make them at the beginning of actions.

2. Then, if you sustain your intention until the very last,

You will attain complete reward on the Last Day.

3. Intentions, words, and actions too, are not accepted

If they are not according to Prophetic guidance.

4. Thus, whoever does not know must ask,

And whoever cannot find a teacher must travel.”

In the first line:

So correct your intentions before your actions,

And make them at the beginning of actions.

a) The correct intention, in Hanafi fiqh, entails two matters:

i) to specify what you are doing, in your heart

– this is a condition for validity in actions where intention is a condition, such as prayer, fasting, or zakat.

– for example, to specify in your heart that you are praying the obligatory Asr prayer.

ii) to seek to draw closer to Allah by this action

– this is a condition for reward

– this is what distinguishes actions and makes them of ultimate consequence, and this is where the secret of sincerity that is in the hearts of those seeking Allah is found.

b) The place of intention is right before one initiates an action.

In the second line:

Then, if you sustain your intention until the very last,

You will attain unto complete reward on the Last Day.

a) The scholars say that it is recommended to actively sustain one’s intention till the end of one’s worship, both the minimal intention and the intention of doing it for Allah. [Ibn al-Humam, Fath al-Qadir Sharh al-Hidaya, 1.35; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar, 1.124 (Ilmiyya ed.)]

b) This is why Sayyidi Ibn Ata’illah said, ‘Actions are but lifeless forms, and their life is the secret of sincerity within them.’ [ Hikam]

c) This is part of the definition of spiritual excellence given by the Beloved of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) when he was asked by Jibril (peace and blessings be upon him), “It is to worship Allah as though you see Him, and (to know that) if you see Him not that He sees you.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

In the third line:

Intentions, words, and actions too, are not accepted

If they aren’t according to Prophetic guidance.

a) Allah has given us an absolute criterion for the good and bad, the consequential and inconsequential, the accepted and rejected: the guidance of His Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). That which corresponds to it is good, ultimately consequential, and accepted by Allah; that which does not, is not.

b) The guidance of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is general and detailed. The general guidance can be known by every Muslim through their reading and interaction with the Qur’an and Sunna. This represents the general values of Islam, shared by all. The details of the Prophetic guidance, however, require that one gain it from those of deep understanding, the scholars of Islam, whom the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself referred to as, “The inheritors of the Prophets.” [Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi]

In the fourth line:

Thus, whoever does not know must ask,

And whoever cannot find a teacher must travel.

a) It is obligatory that one seek the knowledge that makes one’s worship, dealings, transactions, and relationships valid according to the Shariah.

b) When one does not know a ruling, Allah tells us: “Ask the people of remembrance if you know not.” (Qur’an, 16.43) The basic manners of asking about matters of religion is that one does so seeking guidance, and the means to the good pleasure of Allah Most High. Thus, one’s questioning should be relevant and respectful, and one should seek to apply it as if one was taking it from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself.

c) This is why it is of tremendous importance to be careful where one takes one’s knowledge from. Imam Muslim relates that Ibn Sirin (Allah have mercy on him) said, “Verily, this matter is your religion (din), so be very careful as to whom you take your religion from.” [Sahih Muslim, introduction] Thus, one should be careful to seek the guidance of those who are clear in their following of the well-trodden Sunni path, which has been the way of the inheritors of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), and will remain their way until the Last Day. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself told us, “There shall always remain a group in my community manifest on the truth, unaffected by those who oppose them, until the last day.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

d) The characteristic of such scholars is that they follow one of the four schools of Sunni law; they follow traditional scholarship in matters of faith, not reformist or modernist ideologies; and they see the importance and necessity of spirituality, for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) told us that, “Verily, Allah does not look at your faces or forms. Rather, he looks at your hearts and deeds.” [Muslim, and Ahmad] They are people of good character, noble manners, and wisdom. We see them promoting good rather than controversy, and the sunna rather than reformist innovations.

e) Finally, the legal principle is that the necessary means to fulfilling obligations are in themselves necessary, for means take the rulings of their goals. [Taqi al-Din al-Subki, Fatawa, 2.342; Buhuti, Kashshaf al-Qina`, 6.213; Khadimi, al-Bariqa Sharh al-Tariqa, 4.199] As such, if one is unable to access the religious knowledge one needs in one’s daily life and worship, it would be obligatory to take the means that enable one to do so, even travel if necessary.

And Allah alone gives success.

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
Faraz Rabbani.