How Should I Deal With Inappropriate Behaviour on Whatsapp?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Our family has a Whatsapp thread in which we all keep in touch with each other. There are male cousins on both sides, brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws etc. How can one keep participating in conversations where male cousins often jab, provoke, flirt with the female cousins/sister-in-laws on the thread?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

The Basic Ruling

In terms of having a Whatsapp group of this kind, the basic ruling is that it is not prohibited to have such a group in essence as it neither involves actual physical seclusion (khalwa) nor virtual seclusion that may lead to the impermissible.

Rather, the group you describe is composed of a number of family members, some of whom are of marriageable kin (non-mahram), such as cousins and in-laws, and others of unmarriageable kin (mahram), such as brothers, sisters, wives, husbands.

Your Circumstances

Yet, the manner of communication mentioned in the question is contrary to religious dictates. Flirtatious behavior is unacceptable. The same is the case with things like the “heart emoticons” (between other than siblings, spouses, etc.).

While our religion does not prevent people from being courteous and friendly with family members, it does prescribe guidelines regarding how gender interaction should occur, particularly when it relates to those of marriageable kin (non-mahram).

For more details on these guidelines, please see: A Reader On Gender Interaction

How to Respond

Regarding how you should respond, simply disengage when such conversations are taking place. If they do occur in the course of a conversation and you are unable to control it, simply pull back and do not be a part of it.

This does not necessarily mean that you have to leave the group entirely especially if it will cause problems between family members, but the least you should do is disengage when the conversations shifts in this direction.

It is also important here to take note of the principles governing promoting good and prohibiting that which is unacceptable. This would only be necessary if you feel that people will listen to you and your advice will not lead to a more negative consequences.

If you are reasonably sure that it will have a negative and harmful impact on others, then it is probably best to avoid advising these people.

You may, of course, try to discuss the issue in private with other family members who share the same concerns with you and then try your best to uphold a manner of conversation that is respectful, courteous, friendly, and within the limits of the religion.

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Is It Permissible to Use Charcoal as Teeth Whitener? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: Is it permissible to use charcoal (of wood) / charcoal (of wood) derivative as an ingredient for a tooth whitening powder?

Answer: Assalamu ‘alaykum,

I pray that you are well.

You can use anything to whiten your teeth that does not cause bodily harm, or is not itself impure.

If the items you have mentioned fit that description, there is nothing preventing their usage.

God knows best.

Shuaib Ally

Photo: Lord Mountbatten

Should the Entrance of a House Be Facing the Qibla? [Shafi’i]

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: Should the entrance of a house be facing the qibla? My husband believes that the prosperity of our household depends on it.

Answer: Assalāmu ʿAlaykum,

I pray that you are well.

You can have the entrance to your residence face any direction convenient, or available.

There does not appear to be any established reason in our primary texts or legal corpus that indicates that the entrance of a house should be facing the direction of the Ka’ba.

We have not been given reason to hold that prosperity in a household is related to its entrance facing a specific direction.

Please also see:Can a Kitchen Stove Face the Qibla?

God knows best.

Shuaib Ally

Photo: edward musiak

Can My Husband Force Me to Wear Abaya?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I got married recently and my husband says he follows the Hanafi school of thought, hence he wants me to wear a black abaya. I do not live in a country that requires wearing an abaya. I wear loose fitted clothes with a hijab. Only my hands, feet and face can be seen. In this kind of situation, would you recommend I wear the abaya or not?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking clarity on this issue.

Abaya

One of the cornerstones of a successful Islamic marriage is this – having sincere concern for your spouse. With that in mind, in order to preserve marital harmony, it is unwise for a person to force anything upon his/her spouse.

Please sit down and work through this as a team. Work on understanding each other’s point of view. Why does he want you to wear a black abaya? Living in the West, it is very possible to dress modestly without needing a black abaya, as you have described. Do the women in his family wear black abayas? Is this something he aspires for you? Consulting with your spouse is of the sunnah, and helps to foster love between the two of you.

As a Muslimah, it is praiseworthy to strive towards both outer and inner modesty. However, your highest intention must be for Allah. Being pressured into a choice yo do not want to make can harm the state of your heart, as well as your marriage.

I urge both of you to complete Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life to help you understand the spirit and the law behind a successful Islamic marriage. May Allah increase the tranquility and love in your marriage.

Please refer to the following link:

Modesty: Kohl, Jilbabs, and Allah

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: garycycles8

My Husband Lied to Me, Disrespects Me, Took Back and Spent Most of My Dowry. What Should I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My husband has some very good qualities but the bad ones are becoming increasingly unbearable. He treats me less respectfully than before. He pressured me into giving back my dowry and spent it. He misses his prayers. He ignores me and refuses to share the responsibility of birth control.

What should I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Dear sister, may Allah grant you the patience to bear with His Decree, until He grants you an opening. Please forgive me for this delay.

Marriage

The first year of marriage, especially the first few months, can be very challenging. However, from what you have described, it sounds like you have married someone who is harming you. He disrespects you, pressured you to return your mahr, will not take responsibility for birth control, and lied to you.

If the trajectory of your marriage continues like this, then you are likely to be unhappy for a very long time. Having a child will not necessarily make things better. The stress of a new baby can shatter an already fractured marriage.

Mediation

Is there a trustworthy community elder or scholar who can speak to your husband?

Please ask your husband to join you for marital counselling. Choose a culturally-sensitive counsellor who understands Muslims. Your husband has the capacity to change, but only if he wants to.

Istikhara

Please perform the Prayer of Guidance up to 7 times and ask Allah to help you decide whether to stay or leave. If your husband takes steps to improve himself and his treatment of you, then that is a sign for you to stay and work on your marriage.

If he continues to hurt you and shows no sign of remorse, then please consider speaking to a local scholar before deciding on divorce. Do everything within your power to save your marriage, but also know when to stop. Divorce is a last resort.

I know that no new bride wants the shame and stigma of divorce. Please keep in mind that although divorce is hated by Allah, it is still permissible. The Companions themselves married, divorced and remarried. If your well-being is at risk, then you must take action to protect yourself. It is forbidden to despair in Islam, and it is so easy to despair in the Mercy of Allah when your husband causes you so much heartache.

Moving forward

If you choose to leave your marriage, then please learn from this experience when you remarry, inshaAllah. Pray istikhara before you marry, and take heed of the red flags. If you come from a loving home, then a huge red flag is your family disliking your future husband. Marry someone who gets along with and respects your family. Observe how he behaves with other people, not just you. Is he kind and patient with his family? Does he treat people around him with respect?

Please complete this course to help you understand the spirit and law behind a successful Islamic marriage: Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life

Prayer of Need

Please perform the Prayer of Need as much as you can, in the last third of the night, and beg Allah for help.

Support

Allah Most High says about Himself in a Hadith Qudsi, “O My servants! I have forbidden oppression for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another.”

Please, please, please reach out for support. Have you made any new friends? Are you in contact with your loved ones? I am very concerned that because you have moved away from your loved ones, you are isolated and at risk of harm. It is so easy to start to feel diminished in your own marriage, when your husband disrespects you. Once you lose your voice, then it becomes very difficult to regain it. You are a woman of Allah, and your dignity matters to Him.

I pray that Allah blesses you with a peaceful home and righteous children; a home in which they see their mother being treated with respect, compassion and love.

Please refer to the following links:

What Can Help Endure a Difficult Marriage Due to Financial Issues?
Staying Connected to Your Purpose Even When Your Marriage is Rocky, by Ustadha Anse Tamara Gray

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Can a Child Wear a Necklace With the Verse of the Throne on It?

Answered by Shaykh Umer Mian

Question: As Salam Alaykum,

Is it permissible for a child who is not yet toilet trained (i.e. wears nappies) to wear a necklace with the verse of the Throne (ayat ul kursi)?

Answer: Wa alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

A Qur’anic verse written on a piece of paper (or the like) and worn on one’s person is called a ta’wiz (تعويذ) in Arabic. For a discussion of the general permissibility of using a ta’wiz, please see this answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Regarding putting a ta’wiz on those who are ritually impure, Ibn Abideen states the following in Radd al-Muhtar (the primary source of fatwa in the Hanafi madhab):

وَفِي الْمُجْتَبَى … وَلَا بَأْسَ بِأَنْ يَشُدَّ الْجُنُبُ وَالْحَائِضُ التَّعَاوِيذَ عَلَى الْعَضُدِ إذَا كَانَتْ مَلْفُوفَةً ا هـ (رد المحتار، كتاب الحظر والإباحة، فصل في اللباس)

“It is said in Al-Mujtaba (a well-known Hanafi fiqh text): … There is nothing wrong with a person in major ritual impurity (i.e. a junub or a woman in hayd) tying a ta’wiz on their arm, as long as the ta’wiz is wrapped.”

A small child is in no worse state than someone who is ritually impure. Therefore, it would be permissible to put a ta’wiz on a small child as well, as long as the Qur’anic verse is wrapped in something (e.g. a piece of cloth or paper).

Wassalam,
Umer

Photo: Wolfgang Sauber

Is Using a Ta’wiz (Amulet) Permissible?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Some people say ta’wizes [amulets] are impermissible and entail disbelief. What is the view of Sunni Islam regarding this matter?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum,

In the Musannaf of Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shayba, the permissibility of hanging a ta`wiz is reported from many of the Companions and early Muslims (Salaf), including:

Sa`id ibn al-Musayyib, `Ata’, Mujahid, Abd Allah ibn `Amr, Ibn Sirin, `Abayd Allah ibn Abd Allah ibn `Umar, and others (Allah be well pleased with them all). [Musannaf, 5.439]

As for that which is reported from some, including Ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him), that hanging ta`wizes is shirk, this is understood to mean those that resemble the one’s used in Jahiliyya, or if used thinking that it is the ta`wiz itself that cures or protects, not Allah, or if it contains impermissible invocations or one’s whose meaning is not known, as explained by Allama Abu Sa`id al-Khadimi in his al-Bariqa al-Mahmudiyya Sharh al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya. [4.171-172]

In the Fatawa al-Hindiyya, one of the primary references in the Hanafi school, it says:

“There is nothing wrong with hanging ta`wizes, but one should take them off before going to the toilet and before intercourse.” [5.356]

In the Mawsu`a Fiqhiyya (Awqaf, Kuwait), it states that the linguistic meaning of ta`wif is derived from seeking protection or refuge. The type that is prohibited is like the ones used in pre-Islamic times, and  is a major sin and can even lead to kufr. The type that is permitted according to the vast majority (jumhur) of the scholars is that which comprises the Words of Allah (Qur’an) or His Names, with the condition that the person not think that it has any effect by itself; rather, it protects or heals by the Will and Power of Allah.

And Allah knows best.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

My Brother Is an Extremely Controlling Husband. How Can I Help His Wife?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My brother believes that if one is to practice Islam in the most extreme way, one will avoid all family destruction. His wife is not allowed to leave their home, even to sit in the backyard. She cannot visit her family on her own. She needs permission to look out the window. She must be dressed head to toe with the face veil, even in their home. She is not allowed to speak in public. She has no social life and no freedom. When I encourage her to get help, she puts me down out of fear of losing her family and children. How do I help his wife?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Dear sister, may Allah reward you for seeking out an answer to this heartbreaking situation. Your sister-in-law is blessed to have you in her life.

Brother

Narrated Anas: Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace)! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” [Bukhari]

I am so sorry to hear about your brother. May Allah grant him complete healing. He sounds like he needs to see a culturally-sensitive counsellor.

You must do everything within your ability to stop his oppression, but do so with wisdom and tact. Sit down and talk to him. If he resists, who else does he listen to? Is there a community elder, or compassionate local scholar, who can talk to him?

Prayer of Need

When you have exhausted all avenues with creation, remember to turn to your Creator.

Abu Huraira reported that Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “The supplication of every one of you is granted if he does not grow impatient and says: I supplicated but it was not granted.” [Sahih Muslim]

Wake up in the last third of the night and perform the Prayer of Need. Beg Allah to help your family. Do this regularly, and be patient with Allah’s Decree.

Sister-in-law

Your sister-in-law sounds afraid, ashamed, and stuck. Think of ways to empower her with beneficial knowledge, but remind yourself that only she can make the changes. Being in an abusive and controlling marriage can rob women of their ability to take decisive action. Helplessness sets in. Some women take decades to leave an abusive husband. Some women never do.

Encourage her to complete Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life. Please encourage your brother to do the same. He sounds like he has no idea of what a successful Islamic marriage is.

Keep making dua for your brother, sister-in-law, and children. Be someone who reminds them to have hope in Allah. I pray that your nieces and nephews are able to regard you and your husband as healthier role models.

Patience

Look after yourself during this time, especially if you are the only confidante for your sister-in-law.

Trials from within our family are often the hardest to deal with. Trust that these trials give you the opportunity to draw closer to Allah. I pray that your patience will polish your heart, and raise your rank in Jannah.

Please refer to the following links:

What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
Positive Spiritual Thinking: Choosing Mindfulness (taqwa) and Embracing Trust (tawakkul) by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Can a Woman Travel Alone for More Than 48 Miles If There Is a Benefit?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: I want to attend a 2 weeks Islamic retreat which is around 200 miles away from my home.

Unfortunately I have been unable to arrange for a mahram to accompany me. Is it permissible for me to attend this retreat?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

You may attend such an event without a mahram provided the journey is safe, which is generally the case.

The ruling of the Hanafi school is stricter on this issue since it stipulates a mahram for any travel undertaken by a woman exceeding the travel-distance, which is 48 miles. Two-hundred miles would be included in this as it well exceeds such a distance.

However, the position I have seen adopted by my teachers and other scholars, is allowance of such a journey if there is: (a) need or benefit, and (b) the travel is safe. This has been mentioned as fulfilling the major conditions of the Maliki school according to Shaykh Rami Nsour who adds the condition that the actual journey itself should last less than 24 hours. Most travel today lasts less than this.

This position of permissibility is also lent support by some scholars in other schools, such as the Hanbali and Shafi’i schools. [Ibn Muflih, al-Furu (3:236); al-Nawawi, al-Majmu (8:342); Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari (4:76)]

Due to the difference of opinion on the issue, a number of contemporary scholars have permitted women to travel without a mahram for educational purposes, visiting parents, and so forth when the conditions of safety and security are met, which are generally fulfilled by modern modes of transportation. These scholars include Shaykh Qara Daghi, Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, and the European Fatwa Council.

Please see: Can a Women Travel Alone for Islamic Educational Purposes? [Maliki School]

And Allah alone know best
Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Are Formulas Recommended by Scholars to Achieve Some Goals Permissible to Use?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: The book ‘Remedies from the Quran’ contains different types of dhikr that can be done to achieve certain goals. For example it says that if you write Surah Yusuf on a piece of paper and wear it, your wife will increase in love for you.

Is it something permissible?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

Yes. These are permissible.

Although some of them may sound odd to people not part of the broader context of the scholars who prescribed such practices, there are two things to keep in mind when understanding the ruling of permissibility:

(a) The primary texts do not stipulate a specific form/wording of dhikr or du’a that is impermissible for a person to depart from. Rather, the command in the Qur’an to “remember God” is unconditional and, therefore, any form or wording of dhikr may be used provided it does not contravene what the shariah has clearly obligated, prohibited, or disliked.

(b) The formulas recommended by scholars that are mentioned in the question fall under the general permissibility of dhikr and du’a mentioned above. As for affirming that X verse or Y utterance has a particular effect, while this may not be explicated in the primary texts such an absence does not mean it is impermissible or baseless. Such formulations are generally based on the experiences of scholars who have seen particular benefits arising from specific verses and dhikr formulations. In other words, these scholars do not claim that these benefits and forms are specifically mentioned and prescribed in the shariah. This is important to keep in mind.

In light of the above, there is no issue in the practices mentioned in your question.

Please see: Is It Permissible To Seek the Aid of Jinn? and: The Concept of Bid’a in the Islamic Shari’a

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Photo: Teogomez