Marriage Decision: Following One’s Heart

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: I’m having trouble deciding on whether to marry a particular individual–and I’ve had this trouble before. He is good in his religious practice, seems compatible (I quite like him), and is financially stable. But…

Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

This would appear to be a case where you should follow the words of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk), “Seek an answer from your heart, even if people give you answer after answer.” [Ahmad, and others]

Asking your heart entails asking yourself what decision honestly appears to be most likely to be most pleasing to Allah in the immediate and long term. This is also at the essence of what we seek in the prayer of seeking guidance (salat al-istikhara), if you reflect on its words.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) advised us to seek someone of religious concern (deen) and good character.

The sign of religious concern is that they appear to strive to seek the pleasure of Allah in their worship, conduct, and life dealings.

The sign of good character is that they’re gentle, easy-going, and can control themselves in anger and negative situations. Marrying such a person will facilitate for you the good of this life and the next.

May Allah facilitate for you the right choices, and place blessing and good in them for you, your family, and humanity.

And Allah alone gives success.
Faraz Rabbani

Giving & Receiving Gifts

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: What does our tradition say about gifts?

Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

It is sunna to give gifts. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Exchange gifts (frequently), and you’ll grow to love one another.” [Bukhari]

It is also sunna to accept gifts. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) did not accept charity, but he did accept gifts and wouldn’t refuse them. [Bukhari]

Gifts are given as expressions of love, appreciation, maintenance of ties, and in reciprocation, and are accepted for the first three of the above meanings.

One wouldn’t reject gifts unless there is a negative meaning greater than the good of gift exchange–such as when the gift is a means to harm; or it is excessive; or imposes an undue burden on the giver or recipient.

The gift belongs to the one who receives it. It is their right to give it away. However, discretion, tact, and the feelings of the giver should be considered carefully (both with regards to whether and how the gift is given away).

And Allah alone gives success.
Faraz Rabbani

Muslim Standard Time: Punctuality & Being Late

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Muslims have a habit of being late to everything. What are the rules governing punctuality and being late?

Answer: Wa Alaykum Assalam wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu,

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful & Compassionate

Agreeing to be somewhere at a given time is akin to a promise and the fiqh of promises therefore applies to it. It is improper to make a promise without firm resolve and reasonable surety of fulfilling it. However, it is not sinful if it is due to secondary issues that may arise and prevent one from fulfilling it.

However, contractual matters such as jobs, classes, and appointments are different. Allah says: “Oh you who believe, fulfill your contracts”. The scholars have explained that “contracts” here refers to every type of commitment. It is obligatory (fard) to be on time if this is the expectation. Even being a little late is at least improper, and is unbecoming of a Muslim. Undue delay is otherwise sinful. Slight delays that are customarily overlooked are not.

The believers should uphold themselves to the most excellent of character. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said “The closest of you to me on the Day of Judgment are those best of character.”

Shaykh Muhammad Qaylish mentions that when the Shariah is distant from society, such as in our times, we are ambassadors of Islam and must act in order to uphold a favorable impression of Islam. This entails:

1. upholding commitments with excellence

2. being easy-going without being lax.

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

Calling People of Other Beliefs to Islam

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: I was recently speaking to a Christian neighbor of mine about the Deen and he cited something from the Bible which says, “But even if we, or an angel from the heaven, preach any other gospel to you other than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:10, New Testament) This is the first time I have come across this from a Christian (I am surrounded by them, being that me and my family are the only Muslims in the area). He basically cited this to discredit the revelation of the Qur’an by Jibr’il (as) to Sayyiduna Muhammad (saaws). I did not know how to properly reply to this statement. Can you guide me to how to properly reply to this, because I am constantly being bombarded by Ahl ul Kitab trying to convert me to their beliefs?

Answer: Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Thank you very much for your question.  Firstly, I want to commend you for your concern to speak the Truth in a way that it will be received best.  Secondly, I want to commend your entire family for upholding the Deen although you are the only Muslims in your area- may Allah Ta’ala make you all a light and an example for your neighbors.

Your question touches on a few different points, so it is important to treat the answer in parts.   The general answer to all of this is that if you are surrounded by practicing Christian neighbors, it is not productive to engage in tit-for-tat debate on every little religious point.  It wastes your time from more beneficial pursuits, creates an atmosphere of competition, and spoils relations between neighbors.

Know Your Own Beliefs Well

A non-expert Muslim cannot be expected to respond to every single verse thrown at them – our piety does not lie in argumentation at any rate – so it is best to study our own ‘aqeedah very well, and understand the Islamic narrative of Jesus and Mary (peace be upon them) and the concern and respect that the Qur’an has for Christians.  Know that the true message of each prophet of God was the same.  After becoming well-grounded in that, teach it to your family as well.

Get to the Heart of the Matter: Allah and His Oneness

Almost all of Muslim-Christian debate these days is stuck in secondary issues of scriptural critique, verse-slinging, history and controversial issues that will never end, when the heart of the matter, namely God and His exalted nature, is all that really needs to be discussed.  The rest would solve itself once it becomes clear whose view of the Divine is the necessarily correct one.

Traditional Muslim scholarship explained long ago that it is impossible, not just inappropriate, for God to violate His Divine Perfection by taking a son or incarnating Himself as a created being.  Although the later scholars wrote complex treatises rooted in the Qur’an and hadeeth to address theological challenges in their day, Divine Oneness was the real essential point of da’wah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself made to those who claimed to follow Christ (peace be upon him).  To learn about this, I highly recommend the ‘Aqeedah course at Seekers Guidance being offered this semester – I am still benefitting from this.

Beautify Your Character

The other important aspect is to actively work to purify yourself from bad inner traits and adorn your character with beautiful qualities, for Allah’s sake.  By pursuing Islamic spirituality, you improve your inner condition, and the fruit of that is manifest in beautiful behavior and actions which reflect the pristine sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him).  As one of our beloved shaykhs said, one reason why good character is so heavy on the scales with Allah is because it is the best da’wah – it attracts people to the Truth sometimes without a single word.

Don’t Feel the Need to Argue or Debate

If you want to respond with something though, unless you plan on devoting years to the field of apologetics, respond by giving your neighbor well-written articles or books on the subject of Christian-Muslim debate that are not pushy or offensive. Do not feel obligated to continue the argument if you can’t respond yourself, or you feel that the listener doesn’t truly want to benefit – we cannot open people’s minds or change their hearts unless they are sincere, and unless Allah Ta’ala wants to guide them.

You mentioned being overwhelmed by proselytization- you should only live in communities where you feel secure in your faith without undue pressure, otherwise, if you feel that you or your family’s faith or well-being is at risk from constant proselytizing, if possible, relocate to another neighborhood where you feel more comfortable and where you can live well alongside your neighbors.  That won’t be running away; it would be a hijrah for Allah’s sake to preserve your faith.

However, if you have established your practice as Muslims, can actually serve Allah fully, are happy with your neighbors, and your remaining there is as a beacon of truth, make your intention to contribute to your community for Allah’s sake, and make your home one of solace and peace for all, a dar-al-islam.

Live the Message

Learn about how Muslims are supposed to treat their neighbors, read about how accommodating the Prophet (peace be upon him) was with people of Christian faith, and fill yourself with a loving concern for your neighbors’ well-being, both in this life and the next.

Study and know the Truth well for your own self first, and learn and do what is right and good, because the tongue of one’s inner state is more eloquent than the tongue of speech, and more convincing than any rebuttal we can make.

Wasalam,
Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Home Financing

Answered by Shaykh Taha Abdul-Basser

Question: What are the principles to be used when getting a home loan that is in accordance to the Shariah from the various Islamic Banks?

Answer: Al-hamdu li-llah wa-s salatu wa-s salamu `ala sayyidina muhammad wa-`ala alihi wa sahbihi wa-man ihtada bi-hadyihi ila yawm d-din

There are several principles that one should be aware of and attempt to apply when going about obtaining property financing from a Shari`a-compliant financing institution:

1. Intention

1.1 As is the case for all acts of obedience (ta`at), one should make the effort to obtain financing from a Shari`a-compliant financing entity for Allah’s sake, wanting to please Him by sticking to the permissible (halal) and avoiding the impermissible (haram).

2. Choosing a Financing entity

2.2 One should restrict oneself to a financial institutions that have each engaged a Shari`ah review board (/hay`at al-riqaba shar`iyya/). A Shari`ah review board is a independent body, composed of 3 or more /fuqaha’/  who specialize in and are known for their expertise in the application of /fiqh/ to contemporary financial issues.  The Shari`ah review board advises, examines, audits and monitors the products and services that the financial institution offers for compliance with the precepts (/mabadi’/), established principles (/qawa`id/) and ethico-legal values (/ahkam/) of the Shari`ah.

1.3 One should look for and prefer to do business with financial institutions that openly commit themselves to adherence to the AAOIFI (Auditing and Accounting Organization of Islamic Financial Institutions) Shari`a Standards. The AAOIFI Shari`a Standards are painstakingly drafted by a council of leading /fuqaha’/. They document the preponderant (/rajih/) and adopted (/muqarrar/) /fiqh/ positions that are 1) the basis for actual practice and 2) form the content of the ethico-legal /responsa/ of our leading specialist-fuqaha’ in the area of the application of /fiqh/ to contemporary financial issues.

1.4 One should restrict oneself to financial institutions that publish (e.g. on their website) their Shari`ah review boards’ certificate of compliance (CoC), i.e. the /fatwa/ that states that a set of products or services as Shari`ah compliant, i.e. halal (permissible).

[Ref: AAOIFI Shari`a Standards, AAOIFI, Manama, Bahrain, n.d.]

And Allah knows best.

Wa s-salam.
The Needy Slave of Allah
Taha Abdul-Basser
Framingham, Massachusetts
6 Muharram 1431

Notes

1. Since the banks and financing companies that offer Shari`ah compliant property financing do not *lend* money, per se, but typically finance the acquisition of property through various sales-based transactions, “home loan” is not technically correct. Rather “home financing” or a similar term is more accurate.

Is Obeying the Prophet in Every Matter Obligatory (fardh)?

Answered by Sidi Waseem Hussain

Question: [1] Is obeying the Prophet in every matter fardh or wajib? When is it fardh, when wajib?Example, Hanafi scholars say the beard is wajib but the Prophet ordered us to wear it. [2] I suffer from horrible obsessive compulsive disorder and am always obsessed with kufr and shrik, always worrying if I fall in them. What can I do to help myself?

Answer: Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullah,

1. We are supposed to do our utmost in following the Prophet (may Allahs peace and blessings be upon Him) in every single aspect. However, in some cases it is incumbent, while in others it is something we should strive as much as possible to do.

The categorisations of whether something is fard or wajib is subtle and relates to difference in the strength of the proofs and their possibility of interpretation. The differentiation between these is something that the scholars outline for us. This is for instance why we study fiqh, such that we can get clarity of how to properly follow in the footsteps of the Prophet (may Allahs peace and blessings be upon Him) and his companions.

2. One of the best ways to cure doubts about kufr and shirk is to recite surah al-Ikhlas, since it entails the core of the divine oneness that we as muslims believe in. If you understand that Allah is eternal and one, that he has no partners, son or simlitude then your aqeeda is sound and safe, and you need not worry that you are commiting kufr or shirk.

You should consider trying to find sound reliable scholars that teach aqeeda and benefit form their teachings.

And Allah knows best,

Waseem Hussain

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Menstruation, Prayers And Make-Ups

Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja

Question: If I delay Isha by two hours, and after that time my period occurs, do I have to make qada of that salaah, when I return to my normal state of praying? Secondly, whilst my intention is to recite the entire Quran and then it is brought to my attention that a group of Muslims are doing khatam of the Quran such that everyone is required to complete a certain portion (juz) would it be good adaab to continue reciting my Quran as well as joining the group of Muslims? Would it be disrespectful?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

I pray this reaches you in the best of states.

1. In the Hanafi madhhab, a women who has not performed the current prayer that is due upon her when her menstruation begins is not responsible for that prayer. For example, if Isha time enters at 7 PM and her period begins at 8 PM and she has not prayed Isha yet, then she does not have to make up this prayer later. This is because what is considered is her state at the end of the prayer time. At the end of Isha time, she was not responsible for praying Isha because she was menstruating. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

2. There is nothing wrong with reciting the Qur’an with multiple intentions. One can recite with the intention of one’s personal khatm as well as for a khatm that is being done by a group. This is a situation in which there is much leeway. Upon finishing one’s recitation, one can, for example, ask Allah to grant the reward of what one has recited to a specific person, or for those struggling in the way of Allah, etc., and this will in no way diminish from one’s own reward.

And Allah knows best.

Wassalam,
Sulma

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Evil Consequences of a Pessimsitic Outlook: What Should I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja

Question: A lot of times, I am very pessimistic about my life and I end up saying destructive things I don’t mean and I begin cussing. How do you advise I stop?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I hope this email reaches you in the best of health and states. Thank you for your very important question.

There are two different issues that seem to be at hand in the situation you described. First, there are feelings of pessimism, and second, there are the resulting inappropriate words.

A believer who feels pessimistic should remember the amazing blessing of belief and all of the glad tidings that Allah has given the believers. And he should remember the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), “How amazing is the matter of the believer! All of his matter is good, and this is not for anyone except the believer. If ease comes his way, he is thankful, so it is good for him. And if hard times hit him, he is patient, so it is good for him.” [Muslim]. The believer must have hope and a good opinion of Allah in what He has destined for him. Despair is not an option, as Allah says, “And who despairs of the mercy of his Lord except the for those astray?” [Al-Hijr: 56]

The second issue of speaking inappropriately is a matter of self-restraint. Holding oneself back when one has the urge to say something harmful or distasteful is a trait that is acquired with practice. One should work on it until they reach the point where they are able to consider what they say before it slips out. The scholars mention that a practical way of going about this is to determine to stop the blameworthy act, watch over oneself carefully, and if one slips and does the act, then one makes sincere repentance and takes oneself to account for it. This is a process that takes consistent effort. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Forbearance is only attained by attempting to be forbearing.” Lastly, one should study the numerous teachings of the Prophet in which he speaks of the grave matter of the tongue and protecting it from blameworthy speech. Of these is his saying, “A believer is not a defamer nor a curser nor coarse nor obscene.” [Ahmad, Musnad; Tirmidhi, Sunan]

May Allah grant you and us success.

wassalam,
Sulma

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

How Should We View & Treat Climate Change?

Answered by Sidi Waseem Hussain

Question: How should we view and treat climate-changes?

Answer: Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullah,

It is a religious duty to preserve the earth and not cause damage to it.

The earth is a trust in our hands and Muslims have a religious duty of striving to protect and preserve the environment both as a community and in cooperation with society at large.

The concept of preservation is inherent in Islam, and is explained by the scholars in the five fundamental goals of the shariah:

1.      Preservation of Islam

2.      Preservation of Life

3.      Preservation of Intellect

4.      Preservation of Honor

5.      Preservation of Property

The key in preserving something is to make it last for the future. This can only be realized if we act with concern for our surroundings, environment and planet as a whole and present a sustainable future for upcoming generations.

In this, Allah has given mankind the responsibility of taking care of the earth:

Allah says:

“And when your Lord [Allah] said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to place a viceroy [man] on earth”  [Baqara 2:30]

“He it is Who has placed you as viceroys of the earth and has exalted some of you in rank above others, that He may try you by (the test of) that which He has given you.” [An’aam 6:165]

“We offered the trust unto the heavens and the earth and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man assumed it. Lo! he hath proved a tyrant and a fool.” [Ahzab 33:72]

Thus the earth is given to us as a trust, making it a responsibility in our hands. And the way to deal with something one has been entrusted is to take due care of it, without ruining or destroying it.

Which Allah makes clear saying:

“Do not mischief on the earth, after it has been set in order” [‘Araf 7:56]

Therefore, treating the earth well, with concern and wisdom, is our responsibility, and we should all have concern for our planet and the climate-changes that are affecting it.

We seek the guidance from the Prophetic example in ensuring a sustainable future for our planet.

The Prophet (may Allahs peace and blessings be upon Him) said:

“Whoever plants trees or grows crops whereupon a bird, human or animal will eats from it, will be rewarded [for planting and growing it]” (Bukhari 2195)

Following the Prophetic advice and taking due steps for a sustainable future would be recommended and rewarded.

[Shah Waliullah, Hujjatullah al-Baligha; Izz ibn Abd al-Salam, Maqasid al-Sharia; Izz ibn Abd al-Salam, al-Qawaid al-Kubra]

And Allah knows best
Waseem Hussain

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Approaching a Potential Spouse

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq

Question:  You said: “If a person sees someone they would like to approach for marriage and they have no idea who this person is or how to contact their family, then common sense would dictate that they establish some sort of communication.” My question is: Can a guy talk to a girl and get to know personal things about her without the consent and awareness of her guardian? The reason why I’m asking this question is because it’s very easy to slip and get intimate with each other. If this happens and the guy proposes marriage and the guardian refuses him, there might be problems. Isn’t it better to let the guardian know about this from day one?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah descend on the Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions, and those who follow them.

Dear Brother,

Assalamu alaikum,

Thank you for your follow-up question. I’m glad we’re on the same page. I would certainly not encourage young people to talk without the knowledge of their parents. I think you misunderstand the point I’m making.  As long as a young man and woman are talking in a public setting about legitimate business, one cannot say such conversations are unlawful. I’m not encouraging people to form relationships and become intimate. I’m saying that it can’t hurt to discreetly inquire if the other person and their family are open to the subject of marriage.  If you want to communicate with the young woman’s family, it helps to ask her (or someone who knows her) how to contact her guardian. You certainly don’t have to have any further conversation. And if the environment is such that people are easily slipping and making mistakes, then you should definitely continue all further conversations with her in the presence of her family.

Again, what I’m talking about is discreet, respectful conversation that will help you to assess if there’s any basis for even discussing marriage. You don’t want to approach the young woman’s family and you know absolutely nothing about her, then you realize that she is not what you are looking for, and then the family is hurt. This can happen too.

May Allah reward you,

Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq

December 10, 2009
Dhul-Hijjah 23, 1430

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani