How Do I Deal With Racist Attitudes at Gatherings?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I stopped going to a Muslim gathering because the majority of the women are older African Americans talking about how much it is awful being black and how it is all the white man’s fault. I have quoted the Qu’ran and the hadith concerning this issue, yet they act like they are not being racist.

Is there a better way to address this?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking a response which is pleasing to Him.

Good character

Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “I was sent to perfect good character.” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]

You are right. There is a better way to address your dilemma. Your head-on, confrontational approach probably caused them to become defensive and deny being racist. There is an adab to giving advice, and I strongly urge you to read this excellent article, The Criteria of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil, by ShaykhUstadh Faraz Khan.

Arrogance

‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “He who has, in his heart, an atom’s weight of arrogance will not enter Jannah.” Someone said: “A man likes to wear beautiful clothes and shoes?” Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Allah is Beautiful, He loves beauty. Arrogance means denying the Truth and holding people in contempt.” [Muslim]

It is tempting to look down on others who display ugly character traits. This is not the way of Islam. This opens the path to falling into arrogance, which is a major sin. May Allah protect the ummah from this. A better response is to advise others out of sincere concern, instead of irritation or disgust. Before you give advice, check the state of your heart and your intention.

Solutions

1) Send them gifts and apologise for being confrontational. Explain that you would like to come back, and hope that more of their lesson will be beneficial.
2) If they persist in their racist speech, stand up, give salams and leave the gathering. You have done your part by pointing out their problematic behaviour, and the rest is up to them. Be a model of good character.
3) Perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah to guide these women, and to send you more circles of beneficial knowledge.
4) Seek out better gatherings of people of good character, who increase your love for Allah and His Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace).

Please refer to the following link:

A Reader on Calling to Allah, Giving Advice, and Commanding the Good

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Should I Repeat My Past Prayers Because I Was Not Following a Sunni School of Law?

Answered by Shaykh Umer Mian

Question: Assalam’aleykum

I was following an understanding of Islam outside of the four sunni schools of law. Now I am following the hanafi school. Do I need to repeat my past prayers? I was also wiping over normal socks for wudu.

Answer: Wa alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

As long as one’s prayers were performed correctly according to one of the four Sunni schools of fiqh (i.e. Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, or Hanbali), the prayers would not have to be made up. With regards to the ruling on wiping over normal socks, you should consult a Hanbali scholar, as the Hanbali school is the most permissive on this issue.

Please see:

A Reader on Following Schools of Thought (Madhabs)

Do the Differences Between the Legal Schools Render Our Worship Full of Errors?

Repeating Prayers in Maliki School for Not Doing “Dalk” in Wudu

Must I Repeat Prayers Behind an Imam With a Short Beard or Bare Head?

Wiping over Knitted Socks During Ablution (Wudu)

Wassalam,
Umer

Photo: irumge

How Can I Overcome Loneliness and Make Friends?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: How can I overcome loneliness? Does Islam allow us to make friends and spend time with them? Is there any supplication to get new friends?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah lift your loneliness and grant you the gift of good companions.

Friendship

Good friends are an important part of being a balanced Muslim. Please refer to What Are the Qualities of a Friend? by Ustadh Tabraze Azam to help you better understand friendship in Islam. Please also read Bringing Barakah Into Your Wealth and Life by Ustadh Abdullah Anik Misra.

Solutions

Please perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night, and ask Allah to cure your loneliness, send you good friends, and whatever else you wish. In addition to prayer and dua, please also take proactive steps in seeking out good company. Is there a community service program you can participate in? Is there a local circle of knowledge you can attend?One can often find good people at good places.

Please refer to the following links:

Dealing With Depression Caused by Unemployment and Loneliness
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Trey Ratcliff

I Am a Young, Unmarried Woman in a Chaotic Family Home. Is It Permissible for Me to Move Out?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I have brothers who have moved out and have children. Whenever they come and visit my parents and me they behave in an impolite and reckless way. I am financially supporting my parents, they are not. Is it permissible for me to buy my own home in order to avoid the resulting emotional anxiety and regular confrontations?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Dear sister, may Allah make a clear way out for you and grant you the tranquility which you seek.

Young adult versus mature adult

There is a difference between being a young adult, and a mature adult. Depending on the norms of your society or customs, it could be after 18 or after completing college.

Moving out

It is permitted for a mature adult woman to move out of home, but please do so with consideration and tact. When you are already frustrated with your family, it is tempting to pack up and leave without clearing the air. The short-term solution of moving out can cause problems in the long-run.

Please perform the Prayer of Need for Allah to lift this tribulation from you, and please perform the Prayer of Guidance up to seven times about whether to move out or not. If Allah makes it easy for you to leave, then that is an answer for you. If He makes it difficult, then that is an answer for you.

Is there a compassionate local scholar whom you can speak to and ask for advice?

Parents

If you do decide to move out, please do your best to allay your parent’s concerns. Your parents worry for you and want what is good for you, even if they struggle to express it. You may not always agree with what they do or say, but you must always treat them with respect and compassion.

Finances

If you move out, are you still able to support your parents, while taking care of the expenses in your own home? Please plan this carefully to save yourself heartache and stress.

If you are only able to support yourself, then it sounds like you will need to ask your brothers to take up the responsibility of financially providing for your parents. I pray that your brothers will learn to support your parents in a way which pleases Allah.

Patience

The people closest to us are often the biggest tests of our character. Even if your situation feels unjust, trust that nothing is lost with Allah. If your intentions are in the right place, inshaAllah you will be tremendously rewarded for supporting your parents, while keeping patient with your brothers.

That being said, your emotional well-being is important. If repeated interactions with your parents and brothers is bringing you down, is there a family or community elder who can help advocate for you?

Also, please consider seeing a psychologist or counsellor to help you cope with your emotional distress.

Please refer to the following links:

VIDEO: http://seekershub.org/toronto/2015/04/11/video-how-to-develop-meaningful-relationships-with-parents/

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Sean O’Flaherty aka Seano1

Are My Prayers Valid Even Though My Thoughts Are Elsewhere?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Often, when I am performing my makeup prayers, my mind wanders. There are moments in my prayers when I am focused. Are my prayers valid even though my mind wanders?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah bless you with complete focus in prayer, and success in completing all of your make-up prayers.

Validity

Even though your mind wanders, so long as you perform the integrals of prayer, your prayer is valid.

Please ask Allah Most High to increase your focus in prayer. Please reflect on this tremendously beneficial essay and video: SeekersNotes: Nine Keys to Presence of Heart in Prayer – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Please refer to the following links:

Should I Repeat My Prayer Because of Heedlessness?

How To Attain Presence of Heart in Prayer

Presence of Heart in Prayer: A Reader

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Chaoyue 超越 PAN 潘

I Am a Married Man Who Has Committed a Lot of Heinous Sins. Will Allah Ever Forgive Me?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I have committed a lot of sins. I curse myself in the hope that I will not fall into the same sin but I keep sinning. I am working in computer engineering, but have no success in my sales.


I have done a lot of supplications but I don’t see any changes. My wife is the provider, which makes me feel ashamed. Can you help me?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah help you make a complete repentance, and increase your provision.

Valid Repentance

The conditions for a valid repentance are:

a. One leaves the sin,
b. One feels remorse for the action committed,
c. One resolves to not return to it, and
d. One pays back or returns what one owes if the sin involves the rights of others.

[Nawawi, Riyad al-Salihin]

Have you hurt another person through your sin? If you have, then please seek to redress it. Examples of redressing harm to another are: returning stolen money/goods, seeking forgiveness from someone you have harmed, clarifying the truth if you have slandered another, etc.

As I am unsure about the nature of your sin, then I cannot give you more specific advice. Please seek out a compassionate local scholar and ask for help. If you are struggling with an addiction, then please seek out a counsellor or psychologist.

Hope

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) having said: “By Him in Whose Hand is my life, if you were not to commit sin, Allah would sweep you out of existence and He would replace (you by) those people who would commit sin and seek forgiveness from Allah, and He would have pardoned them.” [Sahih Muslim]

Please reflect on this beautiful hadith, and have hope in Allah’s Mercy. When you sin, instead of cursing yourself, ask Allah for forgiveness.

Haste

It was narrated from Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “It is necessary that you do not become hasty.” It was said: “What does being hasty mean, O Messenger of Allah?” He said: “When one says: ‘I supplicated to Allah but Allah did not answer me.'” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

Please keep on making dua and praying tahajjud, and please do so with patience. It can be very challenging to wait for an opening from Allah, but trust that He is listening, and will answer.

Provision

Please read Surah Al-Waqiah to increase your provision. Even though it is difficult for you, make shukr that you have a wife who has the ability to support you financially. InshaAllah you will be able to provide for her again in the near future. Remember the example of our Lady Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her), who was much older than the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) and much wealthier.

Please perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah to help you stop your sin, and for Allah to increase your provision. Trust that nothing is difficult for Allah.

Please refer to the following link:

A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?
Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

I Feel Depressed From My Cycle of Sin and Repentance. What Should I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: For several years, I have been struggling with sin. I repent and try to refrain from it, but I always end up repeating it. Now I don’t feel like repenting because it feels too late. I have no right to ask for forgiveness. I feel depressed and sick of this cycle. What should I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Dear sister, don’t despair in the Mercy of Allah. The fact that you even sent this question is a sign that Allah wants good for you. Alhamdulilah, you still care enough to ask.

Allah’s Mercy

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “Verily, Allah when He created the creation, He wrote with His Hand concerning Himself, that: ‘My mercy prevails over My wrath.’” [Tirmidhi]

When we are stuck in a cycle of sin and repentance, it is tempting to give into despair. Rather than give up, choose to look away from your state, and look to Allah. Have hope that His Mercy is tremendous, and more than enough to forgive you, along with all of creation, if He wishes.

Hope

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) having said: “By Him in Whose Hand is my life, if you were not to commit sin, Allah would sweep you out of existence and He would replace (you by) those people who would commit sin and seek forgiveness from Allah, and He would have pardoned them.” [Sahih Muslim]

Please on the beauty of this hadith. We are all prone to sin, and Allah loves to hear our repentance. Even if we get tired of asking for forgiveness, He does not tire of hearing our pleas.

When you feel paralysed by despair after repeatedly sinning, have hope in Allah’s Mercy. Do not focus on His Wrath. When you slacken and feel close to sin, then remind yourself of Allah’s Wrath.

Rewire

Our brains rewire, so you can break bad habits. It will take a lot of effort, so take it one step at a time, and please be consistent.

Investigate what triggers your sin. Is it the company you keep? Is your income halal? What kind of food are you eating? Are you more inclined to sin when you are feeling sad or lonely? Do you fall into sin during times of stress and anxiety?

I’m not sure what your specific sin is, so please do a thorough self-assessment of what causes it. Think of a plan to help you move forward. Use this time of remorse to help you plan for times of heedlessness.

Daily habits

Please aim to build healthier spiritual habits into your life. You know yourself best. Start with performing the obligatory prayers on time. Fast in Ramadan, give zakat, and save up and plan to go on Hajj if you are able.

Find healthier ways of self-soothing. If you feel tempted to do something sinful when you feel bad, ensure that you have something halal to do instead. Seek out better friends; friends who remind you of Allah.

A sign of true repentance is that there is no more sweetness left in the sin. Please have hope that Allah can make this happen for you.

I pray that Allah grants you a complete repentance, and raises your rank in Jannah.

Please refer to the following links:

A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Hamed Saber