Am I a Kafir for Not loving Allah?

Ustadh Farid Dingle advises on feeling no love for Allah and how to rectify this.

I used to love Allah but my iman got weaker and now I feel indifferent to Allah. I don’t love or hate Him. Partly because I used to blame Allah for things. This is a real lack of love, not just waswasa or a dip in iman.

Is it kufr to truly not love Allah? Please answer me immediately.

Belief in Allah means that you know He exists and accept it as a fact. This is called iman. If you do this, you are a believer.

Whether one fears, loves, reveres, or hopes in Him as you really should, is another issue. Worshipping Allah as you really should is called ihsan.

Please see Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali’s Commentary on the Hadith of Gibril for more detail.

It is not disbelief (kufr) to not love Allah, but it is sin and lack of ihsan that one must strive to work on. If you don’t feel like you fear or love Allah, at least act like you do, because the hand teaches the heart.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Photos of the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat answers questions on images of the Prophet found online.

I am confused. The photos that are on Google and YouTube of the Messenger of Allah, blessings and peace be upon him, are they real or are they just uploaded by others to misguide Muslims?

I pray you are well.

Depicting the Prophets and Companions

Is is not permissible to depict the Messenger of Allah – or any other prophet, Allah bless them all and give them peace, in picture or video format. This is a matter of consensus and the verdict issued by al-Azhar University in 1968, the Islamic Research Council in 1972, the Egyptian Fatwa Ministry in 1980, and others more recently.

There are many reasons for this. One of them is that it opens the doors of derision directed to the prophets, Allah bless them and give them peace; whereas Allah has honored them to the highest degree. We live in a time where anyone and everyone can comment on matters online. Sadly, there are those whose vile comments are leveled against the greatest of people – due to ignorance, animosity, or sheer malice.

Therefore, the aversion of this is given precedence over any and all other potential benefits. Looking at such images, therefore, would have the same rulings.

Any pictures you do find, if they are there to depict his beauty, they cannot do it justice. And if they are there for any other vile purpose – it is best not to sully your sight with them.

The ruling has also been extended to depicting the Companions. Many of the sources used to produce such material are not sound, therefore there is the element of falsely ascribing events and quotes to people in this. There are other matters which further support this ruling.

Seeing the Messenger, Blessings and Peace Be upon Him

I recommend that you study the beautiful life and qualities of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. Those who throw themselves into this and those who send many blessings upon him, are often blessed with seeing him in their dreams.

In a narration found in Sahih al-Bukhari, he said, “Whoever sees me in a dream will see me in a waking state; Shaytan cannot take my form.” Some of the ulema, such as Imam al-Suyuti, have commented on this hadith saying that some of the righteous – such as Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili and others – see him in a waking state during their lives. For the generality of believers, this usually happens at the point of death, and through this great blessing they attain a good death. (Jassus, Qasim; Sharh Shamaʾil al-Tirmidhi)

May Allah honor us with the vision of His beloved, Allah bless him and give him peace, in this life before the next. Amin. 

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Donating the Reward of Khatm al-Qur’an

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked about donating the rewards for Qur’an recitation to the deceased.

I pray this note finds you in the best of spirits, insha Allah

My beloved mother passed away this year in March. May Allah grant her the highest station of Jannah, amin. As a tradition, all my siblings started a monthly Qur’an khatm to dedicate to her. One of my cousins is requesting that we donate this Qur’an khatm to her mother as well, i.e., adding two beneficiaries to one Qur’an khatm. I am totally willing to do this as long as this does not diminish my mom’s reward.

Question:

  1. Does adding another person’s name to the Qur’an khatm dedication list diminish the reward of my mother?
  2. What is the Hanafi ruling on donating one Qur’an khatm to multiple deceased members ?

Appreciate your guidance in this regard.

Jazak Allah khayr.

May Allah Most High grant your mother a tremendous forgiveness, and enter her into the gardens of the righteous forever.

It is permitted and praiseworthy to donate the reward of your recitation to your mother, to your cousin’s mother, and to any other Muslim likewise. Doing so will not diminish your reward, nor the reward of any of them.

Ibn Hajar al-Haytami was asked whether the reward of a recitation of the Fatiha at a graveyard would be shared between its inhabitants, or if each person would get the full benefit. He responded that a great number of scholars held the latter.

This entire matter is quite expansive by the Grace of Allah Most High.

(Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar)

Please also see Donating Reward to the Dead: A Detailed Answer.

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Telling Future Wife about Pornography Addiction

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil advises on pornography addiction and honesty towards one’s spouse.

I have been struggling with a pornography addiction for a few years now and it’s something that has taken a toll on me, I would be able to go for periods of five weeks without problems and then I’ll return to this horrendous habit.

The problems return during times of stress. Every time it spiritually drags me down. I have a good idea of the root problems of this addiction and how I can control it, it is just easier said than done. I am currently looking for a spouse, would this be something I would have to mention to my future wife?

Jazakum Allah khayr.

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

Honesty about pornography

Dear questioner, my sincere advice is for you to be honest about your pornography addiction to your future wife. The right wife for you would welcome your honesty, and be your supporter in your journey towards healing. We all all wounded in some way, and our spouses help us along our healing journeys.

It is normal to feel ashamed. It is courageous to admit that you need support.

Please let me share something from someone who was honest with his future wife about his own pornography addiction:

Allah is teaching him how to surrender herself completely to Him. As an addict, his addiction is often overpowering, and it can only be overcome by surrendering to Allah completely. For example, when thoughts to act out come to him, he should realize that he has not control over these thoughts and must surrender to Allah at that moment. He must have the determination and patience to transform his life into one of complete surrender to Him. This requires guidance which she can find via addiction programs like Purify Your Gaze. He will relapse many times but he shouldn’t focus on it. He should focus on discovering himself and the underlying causes that drive his addiction. It is a difficult road but his addiction would be a blessing in disguise if it is a means for him to know himself and thus know his Lord.

Marriage is a blessing, but life in this dunya is stressful. There is no escape from stress, and relapses are part and parcel of your healing. Imagine how even more stressed and ashamed you would feel, if you hid this from your wife.

I encourage you to prepare for marriage through this course Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages.

Commit to healing

Please commit to a path of healing, and start with Purify Your Gaze. This is an excellent resource for you.

Allah’s Forgiveness

Anas, Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon him be blessings and peace, said, “Allah, the Exalted, has said: ‘O son of Adam, I forgive you as long as you pray to Me and hope for My forgiveness, whatever sins you have committed. O son of ‘Adam, I do not care if your sins reach the height of the heaven, then you ask for my forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of ‘Adam, if you come to Me with an earth load of sins, and meet Me associating nothing to Me, I would match it with an earthload of forgiveness.’” (Tirmidhi)

Never, ever, ever lose hope in the mercy of Allah. Perhaps Allah is testing you with this because through overcoming your addiction, you can attain closeness to Allah. And nothing in this dunya can compete with that sweetness.

I pray this has been helpful. May Allah grant you healing and the gift of a loving wife who can be your helpmate to Jannah.

Please see A Reader on Pornography and Masturbation and A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah.

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Kaffara for Broken Oath If Genuinely Forgotten

Ustadh Farid Dingle answers a question about expiation for broken oaths.

I have been gaining weight recently. In an attempt to curb that, I made an oath to Allah, saying “Wallahi, I will not drink any soda for the month of December.” However, at work, I just went about my day and having completely forgotten about my oath, went to the deli and purchased a can and drank it. I remembered over a day later that I had indeed made the oath. Am I liable to pay kaffara, feed the poor, or fast?

Maybe this connection is not right, but I know during Ramadan, you can accidentally eat an entire meal and if in your mind, you have truly forgotten that you were fasting, you can stop when you remember and complete your fast with no sin incurring on you. Please let me know if my breaking my oath requires expiation.

Jazak Allah khayr.

No, there is no expiation for someone who breaks their oath forgetfully in the Shafi‘i School. (Asna al-Matalib)

The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “My nation has been forgiven their mistakes and that which they do out of forgetfulness or force.” (Ibn Majah, al-Bayhaqi, and others, deemed sound by Imam al-Nawawi)

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

The Point of a Shaykh and a Path

I have learned from this shaykh since I was a little boy. This shaykh is very pious, masha Allah, and he has never done anything harmful to me or anyone. But lately people have been telling me that he dislikes me or avoids me and it is effecting me. So I went to my shaykh and asked him: “Do you dislike me?” and he said, “No. I do not dislike you.” I keep on bothering him with my doubts and I feel as if it is effecting my relationship with him.

I do not want a new shaykh because I already benefit from my shaykh and he is the one who taught me about Islam and is a blessing from Allah Mashallah. But he does have a lot of favorite students and those are the ones that tell me that he dislikes me. I know he doesn’t but I ended up falling for their lies. I am not one of my shaykh’s favorites but behind my back I know my shaykh once said that he worries about me a lot and then during the day he does put time aside to talk to me.

I was wondering if you could tell me how to make sure he does not dislike me and how to fix my relationship with him?

Your relationship with your shaykh should not be a personal one: he is not your buddy, and it does not matter whether you “like” each other.

The point of the shaykh is to direct to Allah, and help you get through the obstacles that stop you from being a true slave of Allah. As long as that is happening, don’t worry about anything else, and don’t listen to anyone else either.

Let it be just you, your shaykh and Allah, until it is just you and Allah, and then just Allah. That is the point of a shaykh and a spiritual path.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Criticizing a Companion

Shaykh Jamir Meah is asked about speaking ill of the Companions.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh.

If one has the i‘tiqad of Ahl al-Sunna, but criticizes, or speaks ill, or curses a Companion of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, what is his state?

  1. Is he still among the Ahl al-Sunna, but with an opinion of Ahl al-Bid‘a?
  2. Or is he totally Ahl al-Bid‘a, because the i‘tiqad of Ahl al-Sunna cannot be separated, as iman (belief) cannot be separated?

Jazak Allah khayr.

I pray you’re well insha Allah.

While love and veneration of the Companions of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, is not a fundamental tenant of Sunni doctrine, it is nevertheless a benchmark of one’s belief in, love and obeisance of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, which is a central component of Islam.

Insulting the Companions

Those who insult or disrespect the Companions have disobeyed the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, and have a serious issue in their faith. This is clear from the many pre-emptive narrations of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him. Among them:

Do not abuse my companions, for if one of you were to spend the weight of mount Uhud in gold it would not surpass a small amount of their charity or even half of that. (Bukhari)

The best people are those living in my generation. (Bukhari)

The Ansar: no one loves them but a believer and no one hates them but a hypocrite. Whoever loves them, Allah will love him, and whoever hates them, Allah will hate him. (Bukhari)

Ruling on Those Who Insult the Companions

While Sunni scholars do not state that those who insult the Companions fall out of the pale of Islam, the position on such people are stern. Illustrious Imams such as al-Hafidh ibn Hajr and al-Dhahabi explicitly call such people zanadiqa (sing; zindiq), which is another name for a hypocrite (munafiq). (Al-Isaba fi Tamyiz al-Sahaba; al-Kaba’ir)

Warmest salams,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Breaking Fast without Knowing the Rules

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat is asked about making up broken fasts.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh.

I had a question related to how I can make up missed fasts.  I’ve always fasted since I’ve hit puberty.  But due to an increased sexual desire when I was a youth, I often masturbated while fasting and there were times that I ejaculated. At the time I didn’t know that this invalidated the fast.

When I learned that this in fact does invalidate your fast, I began calculating and realized that there are perhaps hundreds of fasts that I might have invalidated unknowingly while under the impression that I was in fact fasting.

My question is, how do I make up these fasts? Am I required to fast 60 days for each missed fast? I certainly will not be able to do that because of the sheer number of fasts that I’ve invalidated. Your guidance on the subject will be much appreciated.

PS: I’m a Hanafi.

I pray you are well.

Making Up Fasts

Masturbating only breaks one’s fast if there is ejaculation. If this happened during a fast in Ramadan one would only have to make up the fast, as is the case with any other fast. No expiation (kaffara) is required. You should make a good guess about the number of fasts which need to be made up, and do so. Winter is perfect for making up fasts due to the shorter days. (Shurunbulali, Maraqi al Falah)

Repenting 

Due to His infinite mercy, Allah has made repentance after a sin a means for us to draw closer to Him, just as He has made good deeds an avenue for that too. In fact, repentance is one of the acts which people who Allah loves has: “Indeed Allah loves the frequent repenters, and He loves those who purify [themselves].” (Sura al-Baqara 2:222) Turn to Him – especially when you are about to break a fast at sunset – and you’ll see wonders.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Men, Women and Perfume

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked why it is men may wear perfume when women, it seems, may not.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Why can’t women wear perfume when men can? Back then at the time of the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him, this was done by men and in those days perfumes were different. Nowadays some perfumes have special substances that the other gender find sexually attractive. By that I would understand why women shouldn’t wear it, but then nor should men certainly? Yet back then it was prohibited for women too ? Why? I don’t understand it.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

In principle, both men and women can wear perfume.

Generally, ladies were interdicted from perfuming themselves before leaving the home. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “The perfume of men is a scent without color, and the perfume of women is colored without scent.” (Abu Dawud) Scents of color were perhaps something specific to their time, but the important part is the idea of manifest smell.

Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari, the famed Afgani polymath, writes in explanation of this tradition (hadith) that women aren’t permitted to wear fragrant scents when leaving the home, namely, if doing so will attract the undue attention of the opposite gender. The reason for this is that such unwarranted attention goes against the meaning of concealing one’s beauty or adornment in public settings. Allah Most High says, “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their chastity, and not to reveal their adornments except what normally appears.” (Sura al-Nur 24:31)

Similarly, when it comes to personal care products and the like, such as strong smelling detergents, the same ruling would generally apply. But in situations where you won’t be around any unrelated men, such as whilst on a family picnic in a secluded spot, it’s fine to wear such scents even if you’re leaving the home.

As for merely making yourself smell customarily pleasant and normal, in a manner which clearly doesn’t invoke the undue attention of the opposite gender, this is acceptable. But you should err on the side of caution lest you fall into religiously problematic territory, namely, dislikedness (karaha) at the very least.

There is somewhat of a fine line between not smelling unpleasant, by regular personal upkeep and the like, and adorning oneself beyond the need. Accordingly, each person should follow the prophetic advice to honestly “seek a ruling from your heart.” Usually, the scholars were firm on this issue with some even listing it among the enormities, given the emphatic warnings against it, so it’s good to exercise a little restraint. 

As for men, the basis is that their perfume is noticeable, as understood from the earlier tradition and many other statements of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. He once remarked, “Four things are from the way of the prophets: modesty, perfume, the tooth-stick and marriage.” (Tirmidhi) Rulings are based on the normative case and not the exception, and here, it is women who have been called upon to be more reserved in their displays of adornment in public. 

There are many rulings which assign a certain duty to men or women for one reason or another, or in a similar fashion, limit something, and what we should strive to realize is our servitude in this temporary life, whilst acknowledging that the Sacred Law is full of wisdom, even if we don’t seem to perceive it. 

(Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih Sharh al-Mishkat; Ibn ‘Ashur, al-Tahrir wa al-Tanwir)

Please also see Kohl and Perfume While Fasting, and Women Wearing Perfume and Can We Use Deodorants, Creams, and Perfumes That Contain Alcohol?

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Contemplating Suicide Because No One Will Marry Me

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil answers a question on how to deal with suicidal thoughts and feeling despair about not being able to find a marriage partner.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray five times a day but feel like my life is coming to an end. Allah has not given me height, good looks, or wealth. I know that those who kill themselves are punished in Hellfire forever, but I am already going to hell because I am not a good Muslim anyway. Why am I suffering like this? I have been rejected so many times for marriage, and have given up on marriage because I am only 5 foot 4. I see only two options: kill myself or cut myself off from everyone I know like my family, and this world. Please help me.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us during your time of crisis.

Dealing with Thoughts of Suicide

Dear questioner, I cannot imagine the amount of pain you must be in right now. The fact that you are contemplating suicide shows me how overwhelmed you feel. It sounds like you have tried everything to make things better, but nothing is working. and you feeling that ending your life is the only way to release you from pain.

Do you have a plan as to how you wish to end your life? If so, I urge you to seek professional help. Please look up a suicide hotline in your locality and call them immediately.

If you do not have a plan, then please, consider the possibility that there is a way for you to feel better. You have listed only two ways forward, but there is a third option. You can only access the problem-solving part of your brain when you move out of your current state of fight or flight.

Allah’s Love For You

It was narrated from Mus’ab ibn Sa’d that his father, Sa’d ibn Abu Waqqas, said: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah , peace and blessings be upon him, which people are most severely tested?’ He said: ‘The Prophets, then the next best, and then the next best. A person is tested according to his religious commitment. If he is steadfast in his religious commitment, he will be tested more severely, and if he is frail in his religious commitment, his test will be according to his commitment. Trials will continue to afflict a person until they leave him on the earth with no sin on him.’” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

Dear questioner, please know that Allah tests those whom He loves, and the depth of your trials indicate to me how much Allah loves you. You probably do not believe me, but please know this to be true.

Love, especially Divine Love, does not mean getting everything you want. Sometimes, it is often an act of love to withhold. It is easy to forget sometimes, but we were not created to marry. We were created to worship Allah, and submit to His Decree even if – especially if — what He wants for us does not align with what we want for us.

Know that Shaytan is the one who despaired, and he wants you to despair too. Do not fall for his lies. None of us know whether we are destined for Hellfire or Paradise. That is why we strive, and have a good opinion of Allah.

Source Of Your Pain

Please know that the true source of your pain is disconnection from yourself, and disconnection from Allah. When you remedy these disconnections, then only then can you find lasting relief.

Self-soothe First, Counsel Next

When you are physiologically flooded, nothing I say to you will calm you down. You need to work on soothing yourself first.

What helps you relax? Does listening to Qur’an help? Nature sounds? Going for a walk? I recommend guided meditations from apps such as Calm and Headspace. Find your breath, and be connected to it. Imagine breathing in relaxation, and breathing out your pain. Being in nature is also very calming, so I recommend that too.

The deepest healing lies with dhikr and dua. I recommend that you consult with Aafiyah Healing as soon as you can. In the meantime, pour your sorrow out in dua: Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long.

Perspective

Perfectionism is a lie the world teaches us. So many of us believe that if we were only more attractive, more successful, more charming – anything – then we would finally get what we long for.

It sounds like you believe that the reason you are not married is because you are not tall and handsome. I invite you to consider this possibility: perhaps you are not married yet because Allah, All-Knowing, knows that you are not ready.

Marriage, and then child-rearing, is both blissful and difficult. I encourage you to learn better self-soothing and emotional regulation skills before you become a husband and a father. Too many men around the world unleash their unhappiness and anger upon their wives and children, causing them great trauma.

The greatest gift you can present your future wife and children is this – good character. Work on acceptance, contentment, gratitude, forgiveness, and other Prophetic qualities.

Born without Arms or Legs

In the modern day context, I encourage you to reflect upon the life of Nick Vujicic, who was born with no arms and no legs. His story is a deeply moving one. After a failed suicide attempt at 10, he drew meaning from his great hardship, and now touches the lives of millions of people around the world. He is also married, and has four children.

If he had succeeded in ending his own life, he would have missed out on marrying his loving wife, and fathering his children. He is not Muslim, and Allah blesses Him with blessing upon blessing. What wonders lie in store for you?

Please, dear questioner, choose life. Choose to have a good opinion of Allah. Trust in His plan for you.

I pray that one day, you will be playing with your children, smiling at your wife, and that your terrible pain will be a long forgotten memory.

Please see A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah and Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered.

Wassalam,

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.