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.

Does Profanity Entail Shirk?

Ustadh Farid Dingle clears up a misunderstanding about profanity, swearing, oaths, and shirk.

I’d like to ask about swearing (as in taking an oath). I used to have a habit of using English profanity a lot of times. I’m currently working on it, and Alhamdulillah, I’ve made progress. Instead of using vulgar words, I usually use the more toned-down version of them, like “oh man,” “oh boy,” “darn,” etc.

I’ve read from various sources that swearing in the name of someone or something other than Allah is considered shirk. What does it mean by taking an oath not in the name of Allah? Is saying “minced oaths” included? Does saying, for example, “Oh boy, I’m so mad at this” count as one?

I’m having a hard time understanding the link between the connotation of these phrases and how the law should be applied, since English is not my first language. Thank you for your help.

Such words do not constitute oaths. An oath is when you swear by Allah.

Please see What is the Difference Between a Promise, an Oath, and a Vow?

Training yourself to be grateful

It is worth trying to force yourself to say things like “alhamdulillah” instead because the tongue teaches the heart, and one should thank Allah for everything, and not object to His decree. Please also see Divine Decree, Contentment, and Lessons From the Prophet’s Life.

Over time, if you strive to force yourself to thank Allah for the calamities that befall one, it because easier and easier as if it were are part of the way you are.

Watching One’s Tongue

The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “When the Son of Adam awakes, all of his limbs denigrate his tongue. They say, ‘Fear Allah concerning us (limbs of the body), for we are only with you (after all). If you go straight, we go straight, and if you go crooked, we go crooked.’” (Tirmidhi)

May Allah make our hearts, minds, bodies and tongues pure and true. Amin.

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.

Making up Prayers and Fasts

Ustadh Farid Dingle clears up some confusion regarding making up missed fasts and prayers.

I’ve been reading your answers about making up broken fasts. In the Ramadan Reader it says we must fast sixty consecutive days for any deliberately broken fasts. But in the answers section it says no expiation is stipulated, however all broken fasts should be made up? Which is the correct one?

I don’t remember clearly if I have broken fasts. I know I used to have the bad habit and think that due to this I may have invalidated my fasts in the past. What’s the ruling here on figuring out how much were missed and making them up?

Also, I have neglected prayers in the past. I have never properly learned to read namaz and I am now working towards rectifying this, Insha Allah. What’s the ruling in making up the prayers, as I’m starting to learn to pray so I’m not sure if I will immediately be able to read all five prayers. Do I have to calculate how many were missed and whilst learning, if any are missed, add these to the overall number that need to be made up, too?

I feel embarrassed asking these questions, but I would like to know what I need to do to make up in these areas.

Jazak Allah khayr.

Expiation for missed or broken fasts

In the Hanafi school, no expiation needs to be paid if you simply don’t fast. The expiation is due for breaking the fast in Ramadan that you did actually start. See When Is Expiation Required For A Fast?

Breaking the fast by intentional ejaculation would break the fast and call for an expiation. You would have to make-up each fast you know for sure that you broke, and expiate for those days.

Praying five times a day

Praying five times a day is an absolute must, even at work or around others who do not pray. Try your utmost to perform all on time from this day forth.

Regarding missed prayers, once you get well established in performing the five daily prayers, start making up the ones that you have missed in the past at a consistent and moderate rate.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said in his farewell sermon: “Fear Allah, your Lord, pray your five prayers, fast your month [of Ramadan], give charity from your wealth, and be obedient to those in authority over you, and you will enter the Paradise of your Lord.” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi and others)

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Ishraq, Chasht, and Awwabin Prayers

Shaykh Jamir Meah explains the prayers of ishraq, duha, and awwabin, their virtues and rewards.

  1. What is the difference between the ishraq, chasht, and awwabin prayers. Why are these separately described in hadiths?
  2. When should we pray the ishraq, chasht, and awwabin prayers.
  3. What are the virtues mentioned in sahih hadith of praying the ishraq, chasht, and awwabin prayers?

I pray you are well insha Allah.  

There is a difference of opinion on whether the Ishraq prayer and the Duha prayer, termed “Chasht” in the sub-continent, are two distinct prayers or one and the same prayer.  

This difference of opinion is based on the varying hadiths which indicate the two possibilities, such as “In the morning when the sun rises to the same height as it is at the time of Asr, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, used to perform two cycles of prayer. When the sun rose in the east to the height where it is in the west at the time of Dhuhr, he performed four cycles of prayer.” (Tirmidhi)

Both prayers are prayed after sunrise. However, the majority of jurists held that they are one and the same prayer. They explain the apparent discrepancies in hadiths as referring to an “optimal” time to pray it, i.e. straight after sunrise, and a “permissible” time to pray it, i.e. any time before noon. However, if one prays them separately as two distinct prayers this would be valid. And Allah knows best.  

The minimum cycles of the prayer are 2, and the maximum cycles are 8 . Some hold the maximum to be 12, though 8 is preferable to all. Ideally, it is prayed in cycles of two or four. 

Benefits of the Ishraq–Duha Prayer

Among the benefits of the ishraq or duha prayer, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, mentioned that

  1. It helps you accomplish all responsibilities for that day.
  2. A castle of gold is built in Paradise for the person.
  3. One’s sins are forgiven even though they are as much as the foam of the sea.
  4. One obtains the reward of one Hajj and one Umra – if one prays Fajr in congregation, then remains seated in the same place while engaging in remembrance until after sunrise, and then performs two cycles of prayer. (Mishkat; Tirmidhi)

Salat al-Awwabin (The Prayer of the Righteous)

Salat al-Awwabin is a sunna prayer that is prayed between Maghrib and ‘Isha. This position is held by many scholars and is based on various chains of narrations, which though individually weak, when combined, lend weight, especially in regards to virtuous actions. One example of the weak ahadith is, “Whoever prays six cycles of prayer after Maghrib and does not say anything bad in between them, will have a reward equal to the worship of twelve years.” (Tirmidhi)

Furthermore, it has been established in sound narrations that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, did pray voluntary pray in between Maghrib and Isha; “Hudhayfa said, ‘I came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and prayed Maghrib with him. When he had finished the prayer, he stood and prayed, and he kept praying until he prayed Isha.’” (Ahmad) And it has been narrated in various reports that the Companions would pray between Maghrib and Isha.  

However, other scholars hold that Salat al-Awwabin is the same as the Duha prayer, based on the wording found in the hadith, “The Prayer of the Penitent (Salat al-Awwabin) is when the feet of young camels are scalded [by the heat of sand].” (Muslim)

Salat al-Awwabin is prayed in cycles of two or four. The minimum is two cycles of prayer and its maximum is twenty cycles.  

The benefits of praying Salat al-Awwabin include, all of one’s sins being forgiven even if they are as much as the foam of the sea, and if one prays six cycles, it would be equal to the reward of twelve years of worship. (Tabarani; Tirmidhi)

(Tarshi al-Mustarshidin; Bushra al-Karim; Ahkam al-Qur’an)

Warmest salam,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Diya for Car Accident Resulting in Death

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked about paying blood money and expiation due to the accidental death of someone.

If a Muslim is involved in a traffic collision which results in the death of an individual is he liable for diya and kaffara?

Usually, if a person unintentionally kills another, he is expected to pay the blood money (diya) and perform the expiation (kaffara). The former would commonly be paid with assistance from family members (‘aqila) over a period of time. However, there is some detail here depending on the nature of the accident, who did it and where it occurred.

Allah Most High says: “It is not lawful for a believer to kill another except by mistake. And whoever kills a believer unintentionally must free a believing slave and pay blood-money to the victim’s family – unless they waive it charitably…” and towards the end of the verse, “Those who are unable, let them fast two consecutive months – as a means of repentance to Allah.” (Sura al-Nisa 4:92)

Given the sensitive nature of the topic, I’d suggest consulting a local, reliable scholar with the specifics of the situation.

(Usmani, Buhuth fi Qadaya al-Fiqhiyya al-Mu‘asira (1.297); Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar; Mawsili, al-Ikhtiyar li Ta‘lil al-Mukhtar)

Please also see The Punishment for Murder: Reconciling Verses 4:93 and 4:116.

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam, Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Can I Perform Umra without a Mahram? (Shafi‘i)

Shaykh Jamir Meah is asked if a wife can perform umra without her husband present.

I want to perform umra with my husband and children but he drinks alcohol so can I perform umra by myself? He can only travel with me and stay in the hotel while I go and do my umra.

In the Shafi‘i school it is permissible for a woman to travel alone to perform her obligatory hajj and umra. The permissibility to travel alone only applies to obligatory (first time) pilgrimages, and not sunna pilgrimages. (Bushra al-Karim)

 

If your husband travels with you and stays in the hotel, this would suffice in regards you traveling with a mahram, even if he ordinarily sins. Perhaps you could ask him to at least refrain from drinking to and during the trip out of respect, if you feel comfortable or safe enough to ask him.

Alternatively, you may ask another mahram to escort you, such as your father, adult brother, adult son, uncle etc.  

You may also find the following answer helpful for your situation: My Husband Is Not Practicing: What Can I Do To Make Him A Better Muslim?

I wish you all the best. 

Warmest salams,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Having to Wait for Nikah

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat gives advice on marriage and the consent of parents.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh.

I have met a practicing man I wish to marry. We have been trying to get his parents to agree for almost nine months now and, alhamduliLlah, by the grace of Allah Most High, they have finally started to come to terms with it and his mother has called my mom. Their only concern is that nothing should happen until we both graduate, which is what my parents want as well.

The issue is that he graduates in three years, and keeping ourselves free of sin is really tough. We were wondering if it was possible to sign a nikah without telling our parents, just to free ourselves from further haram as the desires we have are very great. We would not let anyone else know (aside from the ones performing the nikah) and we would let our parents take their time in getting to know one another while we finish school, while secretly married.

Please advise us on what to do. We were hoping to follow Hanafi fiqh in this regard due to the lack of wali needed in some cases.

Jazak Allah khayr.

I pray you are well.

Turn to Allah

It is a huge blessing from Allah that the parents from both sides have agreed to the marriage. You should thank Allah profusely for this blessing. Thanking Allah is a means to an increase, because He Himself swore an oath saying, “[I swear], if you show thanks I will certainly give you an increase.” (Sura Ibrahim 14:7) Thank Him for this blessing and all others and you will certainly see more of what you like coming your way.

You should also turn to Allah with dua, and ask Him to facilitate matters in the best way for you. Allah answers all prayers – but according to His schedule, not ours, and in the way He deems best, not what we plan (Ibn ʿAtaʾillah, al-Hikam).

The Sunna of Marriages

In Islam, the sunna is that once a suitable match has been found, the nikah should take place as soon as possible. All the necessary discussions should take place first, and then when both parties are happy to proceed the nikah should be conducted.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “O Ali, three [particular] things do not delay: the [obligatory] prayer when its [time] comes; the [funeral prayer over] the deceased when [the body comes]; and [the marriage of] a lady when you have found her a suitable match.” (Tirmidhi).

You should try yourselves, or ask someone of authority in the community to convey this point to the parents on both sides.  Perhaps they can be persuaded.

A nikah does not mean that you have to move in together. It finalizes the contract and shuts the door for the devil to play any games with anyone. The rest of the marriage plans can follow the schedule agreed upon by both sides.

Prolonged engagements go against this sunna.

No Secret Marriages

Secret marriages are not something which should even be considered. Marriage is more than the union of two individuals. Both families are bound to each other through it, which is a blessing from Allah.

Also, many parents would feel extremely hurt and betrayed if they found out that their child had secretly entered into a marriage – even if it was with someone they had already approved of. In many cultures parents see the marriage of their child as a responsibility, which makes this a serious matter. Do not go down this route.

In some cases, the agreement can be called off, and if the prospective couple have secretly married, they find themselves in a very difficult position: neither family approves of the marriage – yet they are married. Revealing the matter means risking family ties being severed, and keeping it a secret can only go on for so long.

I once came across a case where a couple performed a secret marriage whilst waiting for the wedding date the families had agreed on to come, and in the meantime the husband divorced his wife three times. Imagine explaining that one to the parents.

May Allah facilitate what is best for you. Amin.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Friendship between a Boy and a Girl

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil answers questions about friendship before marriage.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh.

Months ago, I met a brother in a seminar. We kept in contact and built a friendship with a lot of respect. A few days ago, I asked him how he would react if his sister had contact to a strange guy he doesn’t know. He thought about the question and suggested to break off. (We have written over WhatsApp.) We both are Muslims and he understood it and showed respect to me and my family. But we promised to stay cool if we’re going to see us again.

Now my problem is, since this happened, I feel broken. I feel pain inside me. But it isn’t just because of him. I’m really under stress and feel that it wasn’t the right time to ask him this question even though it’s Islamically right. I’ve lost a good friend. I want to write him again but I don’t understand why it’s Islamically incorrect. I want to have a clear explanation. I’m aware of the relationship between men and women. But I need him right now as my friend. And thinking a lot of Islam makes me just more sad.

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

Friendship between Opposite Genders

Dear sister, I am sorry for your heartbreak. Please know that you have done what is pleasing to Allah, even if it hurts.

For a clear explanation, I encourage you to read this answer by Shaykha Zaynab Ansari: Can a Young Man and Woman be Platonic Friends?

Emotional Regulation

Because you are in pain, I encourage you to treat yourself with love and compassion. Soothe yourself through the different aspects of your being – the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical. You know yourself best, so write down the different things you can do for yourself, every hour, every day, until you feel more balanced.

I have some suggestions for you, to help you get started.

Spiritual Self-care

  1. Do everything in your power to have a good opinion of your Merciful Lord.
  2. Guard your obligatory prayers, and strive to perform them mindfully.
  3. Wake up in the last third of the night, even if it is 5-10 minutes before the entry of Fajr and pour out your sorrow to Allah.
  4. Perform the Prayer of Need as often as you need to.
  5. Read these duas as often as you need to: Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

Mental Self-care

  1. Write down your troubling thoughts so you can see them in front of you.
  2. Investigate your beliefs, which have often been installed from childhood. Do you believe that the world is a safe place? Do you believe that you are more than enough, as you are? Do you believe that Allah is there for you?

Emotional Well-Being

  1. Journal about how you feel, allow yourself to feel those strong emotions, and let them go. Remind yourself that feelings are signals, but not fact.
  2. Reach out to close family and female friends.
  3. Listen to guided meditations on apps such as Calm and Headspace.
  4. Store your worry on apps such as Worry Box.

Physical Well-being

  1. Walk every day.
  2. Ground yourself in nature.
  3. Strengthen and relax your body through pilates and/or yoga.

Possibility of marriage

Please know that we are all hard-wired for connection. Allah has set loving limits on gender interaction because He knows our easily we can fall. If you feel so strongly about this young man, and feel ready, could marriage be something to explore? Do speak to your parents first, if you think that could be the case. It is far better to have them on board, from the beginning.

Also, please remember that marriage is another big shift. It is not a silver bullet that will heal all of your pain.

In any case, I encourage you to prepare for marriage through empowering yourself with knowledge through this course Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages and reading this book Before You Tie The Knot.

I pray this has been helpful. May Allah ease your heartache, and gift you with a husband who is your dearest friend and your companion on the path to Jannat al-Firdaws.

Please see Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered.

Raidah

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.