How Do I Protect Myself From The Evil Eye?

Shaykh Farid Dingle answers a question on how to protect oneself from the evil eye.

 

Question:

Salam,

How do we protect ourselves from the evil eye and jealousy, but without being excessive? For example if you have a child and you want to protect him/her from evil eye, do you just not post a photo of your baby? I don’t understand how to be moderate in it without being excessive in it. Please provide some guidance on this matter.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

The Evil Eye

Please read this article first: http://seekershub.org/ans-blog/2010/03/19/the-evil-eye-a-reality/

Ostentation

Showing off in one’s acts of worship, or in worldly possessions or achievements is forbidden. What is wrong with it is that one looks at a blessing that is from Allah, and ascribes it to one’s ownself. Then one seeks that it be seen by others so that one’s rank my rise in their eyes. This results in pride, and has been compared to polytheism: ‘Indeed even a slight amount of showing off is worshipping gods besides Allah.’ [Hakim]

Talking about one’s baby and showing pictures to others can be ostentation and haram. You have to look at your heart when you are doing it and after when people respond. If you are eager to get likes on your Facebook page, for example, or you are waiting for someone to show that they are impressed, or the opposite, you are crestfallen when you don’t get the attention you wanted, then it is ostentation.

If you feel this, you have to get it out of you heart and change your intention before you take an action. Otherwise, you will be acting upon ostentation and doing something forbidden and hated in Allah’s eyes.

It can also be a way of sharing the joy and thanking Allah. If all you want is to show others how happy you are with Allah, and there is not hankering in your heart for their praise then it is not ostentation, inshaAllah.

Breaking others’ hearts

Sometimes, even if we don’t mean to, we break other people’s hearts by mentioning a blessing in our lives that others don’t have. You mention how your baby is staying to coo and you hurt the person you are talking to because she doesn’t have a baby, or her baby has a disability.

This is not sinful if you don’t intend to harm them and you don’t know that it will hurt they feelings, but you do have to be careful.

‘The Most-Merciful only shows mercy to those who are merciful. Show mercy to those on Earth, and He upon high shall show you mercy.’ [Tirmidhi and others]

So you have to look at the scenario, and many other similar scenarios, from these three angles.

I pray this helps.

Farid

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


 

What is the Etiquette in Warning Others from Slandering?

Shaykh Farid Dingle outlines the approach and etiquette that one should adopt when advising others to stop slandering.

 

Question:

As-salaam alaikum,

If someone is being slandered by someone else and I defend them saying that what the person who’s slandering is saying is wrong by way of insulting the words that they used to refer to the person slandered. Does that mean I slandered that person by insulting what they said?

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

An even keel

The believer sees the world and other people from a certain vista that prevents him from lowering his standards to harsh words or insults.

Allah Most High has described his slaves:

‘And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk lightly upon the earth, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say, ‘Peace!’ ‘ [25: 63]

And the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘The believer  neither curses, nor backstabs, nor is he immoral in words, nor foul.’ [Tirmidhi and Hakim]

In light of this, the believer does not respond in an insulting, demeaning, or pontifical way to anyone, be they on the right or wrong. The believers hatred to directly solely to the actions or words that are being done or said, no the person who is saying or doing them.

The case at hand

If one were to hear, for example, some say, ‘Zayd is an idiot.’ and then you defended him by saying, for example, ‘No, you are the idiot,’ that would be verbal abuse and it would not be halal. If you were to say, ‘These are stupid words,’ or ‘That is a stupid thing to say,’ you are attacking the action (the initial insult), and what you are saying is true.

If what you said was clearly condescending or vulgar, then it would be a different kettle of fish.

I pray this helps,
Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Difficulties with Hijab in the West

Ustadah Raidah Shah Idil is asked if it is better not to observe hijab when living in the West due to possible harassment and conflict.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

It has been increasingly bothering me that I do not wear a hijab. I think it is fair to assume that covering a woman’s adornments is for protecting herself and the honor of her husband – am I right in saying this?

Following that, given today’s world and especially living in a xenophobic generation where there is so much conflict, scrutiny and violence against women who wear hijab/niqab etc. Doesn’t it go completely against the idea of protection for a woman in the first place? For example at airports while passing through security, while walking around in a town where Muslim women wearing hijabs are stared at as opposed to being left alone.

I guess my question really is, is it not better for a woman to protect herself by not wearing a hijab and therefore protecting herself by not being scrutinized or stared at, than her wearing one blindly without thinking about its repercussions, especially and limited to the western world and not Middle Eastern countries, where I believe it is absolutely better for a woman to wear her hijab i.e. cover her adornments, than not.

I’ve tried so much to find the right answer regarding this topic and I really need someone to help me out. Since I believe in the hijab and women generally covering their adornments, however I also believe in being sensible and doing their best to be aware at all time and safeguard ones self and their family and avoid any kind of conflict, but I also believe in speaking the truth always and standing up for what is right, but I also want to avoid as much unnecessary conflict from people who simply will not understand and if anything, it is valuable time best spent doing something good in this world that will actually have good results.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assaalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Difficulties Wearing Hijab

Dear sister, you raise many very good points about the real tribulation faced by many women who wear hijab. None of it is easy, nor is any of it lost on Allah.

Please know that despite these real hardships, hijab remains an obligation in today’s world.

We observe hijab because Allah commanded us to, just like He commanded us to pray, fast, perform Hajj if one is able to, and so on.

Please refer to this link: Is Hijab Obligatory?

Priorities

Those whose souls the angels take while they had wronged themselves, the angels say (to them), “In what business were you (involved)?” They say, “We were oppressed in the earth.” They say, “Was not the earth of Allah wide enough for you to emigrate to it?” Those people are such that their refuge is Jahannam. It is an evil place to return.” [Qur’an, 4:97]

If you are living in a deeply Islamaphobic part of the world, and this is preventing you from wearing hijab – then please set the intention to move somewhere else. InshaAllah Allah will place barakah in your decision, because you have chosen to prioritize what pleases Him.

I realize, of course, than it is no easy matter to just pack up and leave one’s livelihood. The alternative would be for you to put your trust in Allah, wear hijab, and adjust to your new reality. No change is easy at first, but anything is possible through Allah.

Internal Shifts

I strongly suggest that you perform the Prayer of Need, and ask Allah to help you come to hijab. With great difficulty comes great reward, inshaAllah.

Conflict over Hijab

It is not your responsibility to explain or advocate for hijab. Keep it simple. Your responsibility is to wear it, while also upholding the inner aspect of hijab. Take each day as it comes, instead of catastrophising about the worst possible outcome. InshaAllah with dua and commitment, Allah will keep you safe.

Please see Can I Remove My Hijab for My Safety? and Am I a ‘Dayyuth’ If I Let My Wife Go out Without Hijab and How Do I Maintain Protective Jealousy (Ghayrah)?

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Intentions Purely for Allah

Ustadh Salman Younas explains how one can improve one’s intentions and how to make them purely for the sake of Allah.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

How do I know that I am doing things for God? How do I set my intentions?

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assaalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Being sincere in our actions – especially religious ones – is something we are commanded with in the Qur’an: “They have not been commanded except to worship God, sincerely devoting their religion to Him.” (98:5)

Imam al-Ghazali describes sincerity as “the purification of an an action from all blemishes… until the goal is exclusively to draw nearer to God with no other motive.” (Ihya’ Ulum al-Din) This can only arise from someone who constantly opposes the desires of his self, is well-acquainted with the ruses of the devil, loves God, and solely concentrates on the Hereafter such that the world is no longer desirable to him.

This particular degree of sincerity is extremely lofty and rare. Indeed, Sah al-Tustari when asked what was the most difficult thing for the self replied, “Sincerity, because the self has not share in it.” (al-Qushayri, al-Risala) For most, our acts of worship are admixed with intentions and motivations that are not god-centered. Some of these are apparent and easy to detect, while others are more subtle. Thus, for example, acting religious in order to impress a prospective spouse is clear ostentation. On the other hand, take the example of a person whose public acts of worship are sounder and better than when he is in private. He feels ashamed at such a discrepancy between his actions in front of people and when he is alone. So, he strives to make sure his private actions are just as good. This is a blemish on his sincerity since he pays heed to people and rectifies his private acts to feel better about his public ones.

Even though the rank of true sincerity is difficult to attain, this is not meant to discourage the believer in striving to attain it. God is merciful and aware of our limitations, our efforts, and sincerity. He will judge us based on our sincere efforts. Some practical steps we can take to ensure our intentions are pure:

(i) Ask God for sincerity in all of your actions. The core of sincerity is returning to God in all matters.

(ii) Exercise self-vigilance over your actions. One of the approaches recommended by some of my teachers is the ‘what/why/who’ approach. Before every action, ask yourself what you are doing, why you are doing it, and for whom it is being done. Keep at this and it will become second nature to be more aware of one’s actions and the motivations that underlay them.

(iii) Keep reminding yourself of death and the hereafter in order to diminish the value of this world.

(iv) Have a steady routine of good works that you do and especially works that no one is aware of. As Imam al-Qushayri mentioned, “Sincerity is to protect one’s actions from being observed by people. It is also true that sincerity means pious concealment [of one’s good deeds] from being observed by people.” (al-Risala)

(v) Always consider your deeds as imperfect and seek God’s repentance. Boasting and being proud of one’s actions even to ones self alone is a sign that it not fully sincere.

(vi) Surround yourself with people who keep your intentions in check and motivate you to oppose your self.

Salman

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Prayer, Past Sins, and the Hijab

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat gives valuable advice on how to make up prayers and not burn out.

I’m sorry. I sent a question through earlier about making up missed prayers. I also wanted to ask, if I should be including the nafl prayers for dhuhr, maghrib and isha in my makeup prayers, or can these be left out without any further sin?

As I have years of prayers to make up, would it be sinful for me to do anything outside this in my spare time. For instance, would reading a fictional book, watching a film, going out with family, be sinful for me? Should I only be using spare time to make up prayers? I’m feeling overwhelmed because I feel like I will not be able to do anything else without sin or guilt.

Also, I am trying to learn the prayer as I go along if this takes me some time and I miss a current prayer in the process am I making my situation worse?

I am also trying to work towards wearing the hijab, but again I feel overwhelmed. I initially thought covering my hair and wearing loose clothing that fully covers me would be sufficient. I was going to stick to wearing long skirts and loose tops, dresses that fall below my knees with leggings, jeans–trousers with loose tops that fall to my knees or below my knees. But now after reading some things I’m doubting if I’d still be sinning as I’m not wearing a jilbab, and trousers may not be modest enough or even leggings with dresses below the knees.

I’m starting to get depressed, as I feel like I’m going to have to make loads of changes at once. Everything I read makes me find another obstacle. I’ve always kept my hair shorter as I find it easier to manage, and I’ve now read it’s also haram for me to cut it. If my hair is going to be covered by a scarf, can I not keep it short for ease and comfort, as no one will see it?

In the past I had the bad habit, and I think I may have broken some fasts due to this. How do I figure out how many I may have broken, and do I need to fast 60 days as well as making the individual fasts up? If I can’t remember exactly when I started puberty, how do I calculate how many prayers I need to make up?

I work. If I delay a prayer and have to do qada due to this am I digging a deeper hole for myself?

Please advise me on what I need to do. Does the fact I have sinned in the past mean I have to give up all my free time for prayer. I don’t know if that’s something I’ll be able to do.

Jazak Allah khayran.

I pray you are well.

Leaving nafl prayers is not sinful. If you have fard and wajib (witr, for example) prayers to make up it is be best to leave the nafl and focus on the fard and wajib.

It’s best to ask Allah for help, make a routine which you can practically manage daily, and make up your missed prayers methodically. A constant drip of water over time can split a rock; whereas a big splash of the same amount just makes it wet.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Apostasy and Good Deeds

Ustadh Salman Younas unpacks the question of the deeds of an apostate who returns to Islam.

My question is on the deeds of the apostate. I know that apostasy invalidates good deeds but I want to know the opinion of the majority of scholars and maddhabs; whether they are returned to him when he repents and reverts back to Islam?

Also, when he or she does return back, is it necessary to repeat Hajj because I find it against the mercy of Allah Most High to wipe out all good deeds and keep his sins even if the apostate repents because apostasy is very easy to fall into so how can one word of kufr destroy all hard work even if one repents?

The first thing to point out is that apostasy is absolutely not a very easy state to enter into. While some people and texts may give such an erroneous and dangerous impression, scholars are quite clear that the conditions for deeming a person out of the fold are extremely stringent. When it comes to supposed acts or statements of kufr by a person, any excuse or interpretation that keeps him or her inside the fold of Islam is favored over those that do not.

As for the deeds of the apostate – someone who is shown to have decisively left the faith – there are two main positions on the issue:

  1. The deeds of the apostate who returns to Islam are not invalidated. Thus, he or she would not be required to repeat Hajj if they had already performed it before their apostasy and while Muslim.
  2. The deeds of the apostate who returns to Islam are invalidated. Thus, he or she would be required to repeat the Hajj even if they had already performed it before their apostasy while Muslim.

There is also a difference on the reward for previous acts. Some scholars stated that the rewards for the actions an apostate performed while Muslim are also nullified (and this was stated even by those who opined that such a person does not have to repeat acts the apostate did while Muslim, such as Hajj), while others stated that if he returns to Islam, he or she may continue to possess these rewards in some form. (al-Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim; Ibn al-Arabi, Ahkam al-Qur’an; Ibn Abidin, Hashiya; al-Shafi‘i, Kitab al-Umm)

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Reading Romance–Erotica with One’s Spouse

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan gives the ruling on reading romance–erotica with one’s spouse.

Is it halal or makruh to read romance or erotic stories with one’s wife?

Thank you.

Thank you for your question.

The reading of romantic or erotic novels essentially leads one to draw images of romance or sexual relations to mind. If, when reading such stories, each spouse draws an image of the other to mind, then the reading of such novels will be permissible. If, however, the reading of these erotic encounters causes one or both of the spouses to imagine having relations with other than his or her spouse, then this would not be permissible as it constitutes intentional reflection upon haram. Yes, thoughts that appear unintentionally in ones mind are overlooked, but this is not the case with intentional thoughts.

In his Adhkar, Imam al-Nawawi said, “Thoughts that are established or does not settle in one’s mind are overlooked by the agreement of the scholars. This is so, since he has no control over them and there is no way for one to avoid it completely.” Accordingly, thoughts that are entertained or intentionally brought to mind will not be overlooked and one would be held accountable for that.

And Allah knows best.

Abdurragmaan Khan

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Movies on the Lives of the Companions

Shaykh Jamir Meah is asked about watching movies of the lives of the companions.

Through the years, I have seen many serials depicting the life of the Companions of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, come out, though they do not show the Prophet himself, blessings and peace be upon him.

I was wondering if it is permissible to watch them as some of them have been based on true stories of the past and could teach Muslims the stories of their Companions, Allah be pleased with them.

I have also been told that watching some actor depict a Companion could create wrong perceptions in our imagination and would lead us to embed the on screen face in our head. I would like to receive a clarification on this issue.

Thank you.

Ma‘ssalam

Our teachers have said that it would be impermissible to watch television shows or movies which depict the Companions, Allah be pleased with them all. This is because the mere act of a person portraying one of the Companions is lowering their noble station, a rank which cannot be done justice no matter how good and respectful the actor or the production.

Each character, their every word, their voice, their facial expressions, their mannerisms, their actions, and each event in their lives, is portrayed through the understanding and lens of the actor or the filmmaker, which may not always be true, and in fact, may be grossly incorrect and a disservice.

Islamic Serials and Movies

Though I’m sure that there are good intentions in some of these productions, and that they do have an obvious appeal to many people today, the nature of dramatics, whether the theatre, television or the film industry, is exactly that, drama, a relentless desire and attempt to do one better, to excite, to push the boundaries of art and entertainment.

This is why we have seen, in true Disney fashion, productions go from cartoons to live action, and then mediocre serials to the current trend of lavish Islamic productions. These have gone from biographies of well-known historical figures, scholars and saints, to depictions of the Companions (including all the major companions), then of previous Prophets, and then finally the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, himself! And we seek refuge in Allah.

In many ways, these serials feel like a devaluing of our rich history and beloved and noble figures, who gave everything they had, even their lives, so the word of Allah and his Messengers could be preserved and reach us today. We should honor and guard this by learning and preserving our connection to the prophets and the companions through the oral and textual traditional, which were protected and transmitted in the most meticulous manner by men and women of pure hearts.

While this may lack the heightened entertainment factor that modern shows offer, ultimately, somethings should be left alone and respected, and this is one of them. Instead, we should explore the means of human interaction to attain knowledge and insight, to read books to form our own opinions, and the power of the mind and imagination to find meaning and inspiration.

Alternatives

An alternative and a middle ground for those who feel they need to watch something, is to look for Islamic television shows where a scholar or presenter talks about the lives of the Companions or the Prophets, such as Amr Khaled’s popular series on the lives of the Companions, which had a huge following among the youth in Egypt and is available with English subtitles.

Additionally, good quality and inspiring audio lecture series are available on similar topics by notable speakers. These also make excellent family listening.

And Allah knows best.

Please also refer to this answer which deals with some of the topics we have discussed: Does Drawing the Prophet Muhammad or Any Other Prophet Entail Disbelief?

Warmest salams,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Can Father Arrange Prepubescent Daughter’s Marriage without Consent?

Ustadh Farid Dingle answers a question about a father forcing his prepubescent daughter to marry.

From what I have read on another website, a father can forcefully arrange his daughter’s marriage without her consent if she is prepubescent. Why is this allowed?

Even if this marriage is supposed to have a clear interest for her, this does not mean she is ready to be married. If she is forced to be married when she doesn’t want to, then she will be trapped in an extremely miserable, depressing, and ungrateful life.

Is there any way she can get out of a marriage she does not want to be in so soon? Please answer.

Dear questioner

While it may be true in principle that the father has the right to marry his prepubescent daughter to a suitable match even without her consent, it is not the Islamic teaching, and is not what is applied by most Sharia-influenced laws applied in many Muslim countries.

The Islamic teaching here is to have the daughter’s full, un-coerced approval. “The Prophetic example is that the guardian asks her permission before marrying her off.” (al-Ikhtiyar)

Many Islamic family law codes stipulate that the daughter be 18 years old and that she give her explicit approval. I would suggest you have a scholar discuss this issue with your guardian and family.

Please also see: My Father Is Emotionally Blackmailing Me to Get Married. What Do I Do?

N.B. I wouldn’t agree wholeheartedly with the statement in the answer above that “Your marriage contract is invalid if you are forced into it,” as we have mentioned.

I pray this helps

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Memorizing the Qur’an and Intercession

Ustadh Farid Dingle is asked about a particular reward for memorizing the Qur’an.

Could you please clarify the scholarly position as to whether or not the person who memorizes the Quran might be able to intercede for ten family members.

Barak Allah fik.

Dear questioner,

Intercession on Judgment Day

Intercession is a general grace that Allah will grant for the righteous of His slaves. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul, none will plead Allah for any right more than the believers will do on the Day of Rising in their plea for their brethren who are in the Hell-Fire. They will say, “Our Lord, they used to fast with us, and pray and perform Hajj.” It will be said to them, “Take out [from the Hell-Fire] whomever you used to know.” So their forms will be protected from the Hell-Fire, and they will bring out a great number of people. Then Allah Mighty and Majestic will say, “The angels have interceded, the prophets have interceded, and the believers have interceded, and none remains save the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy.” He will grab a piece of the Hell-Fire and take out from it a people who never did any good whatsoever. (Muslim)

So we can learn from this hadith and many others that righteous believers will be granted intercession for believers they knew, such as their family, in this life.

This applies directly to someone who learns and applies the Qur’an.

Interceding for ten people

As for the specific mention of intercession for ten people of one’s household, such a hadith does exist, but it is weak: Imam al-Tirmidhi and others narrate form the Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace:

Whoever recites the Qur’an and memorizes it by heart, and deems licit what it make licit, and forbidden what it makes forbidden, Allah will enter him into Paradise and allow him to intercede for ten of his family members who had been condemned to Hell.

Tirmidhi notes that this hadith has not reached us through a sound chain of transmission.

Upshot

Regardless of the weak hadith, we hope and pray that we all memorize and learn as much of the Qur’an as we can, and apply it in our lives, and intercede for ten, twenty, a hundred Muslims of our families and ancestors who would otherwise be in the Hell-Fire for a long time.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.