Living Simple or Entertaining Ourselves to Death?

Too Much Laughter, Not Enough Crying

Part Three: Entertaining Ourselves to Death by Shaykh Farid Dingle

In order to get through life with ease, the Early Muslims (salaf) focussed on certain key ways of living that would make it spiritually & practically easier and more fruitful. They coined a term for the different and variegated rules that they lived by, a term that summarised the system of living for the Hereafter. They called it Zuhd: Unattachment in this world. For purposes of this article series, we have found the best match in terms of meaning to be asceticism. Other terms to describe Zuhd are being unconcerned for worldly matters, minimal living, or living simple. This is the third article from a series of articles and podcasts by SeekersGuidance scholar, Shaykh Farid Dingle.

Introduction to Asceticism (Part one)

Listening More, Talking Less (Part Two)

Since religion “lost” to enlightenment, and everything sacred became comical, we laugh at everything that was once taken seriously. We laugh at religion and politics, we laugh at the immoral, we laugh at the suffering of others, we laugh at the state of the modern family, we laugh at adultery, and we laugh at our parents & grandparents. While laughing seems to be conterminous with happiness, we actually uproot the very source of happiness (the Sacred) by treating everything as nauseously profane. This kind of mindset is deadly when it comes to being religious Muslims and taking life, death, and the Hereafter seriously.


Waki ibn al-Jarrah dedicated a chapter to the importance of laughing in moderation, and on the importance of laughter’s counterpart: crying.

He opens the chapter with the hadith in Bukhari and Muslim, ‘If you knew what I knew, you would laugh little and cry much.’ What does that mean? It means that if you truly appreciated how short life is, how many opportunities we miss out on to better ourselves on an eternal timeframe, and how much we do harm ourselves and offend our Cherishing lord – you would act differently, you would live your life in a different way, and you would pine for all the days, months, and years that you have wasted. This hadith is both informative and instructive: it tells what is wrong with us, and what we should do.

 

Cultivating Active Concern

It is extremely important to contrast productive shock and sadness with depression, and the dividing line is actually very easy to draw. When you focus on yourself, and what a dire spiritual, financial, relational, or medical predicament you are in – you fall to depression. You are a man in a box. By contrast, when you look to Allah Most High and His ability to save you from every mess you got yourself in, then you have an active concern. There is a way to relieve yourself from this kind of worry. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, it is reachable, and it will save you if you hold fast to Allah’s rope.

Echoing these words, Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-As advised of a way to harness active concern. He said, ‘If you knew what I knew, you would laugh little and cry much, you would shout out at the top of your voice until you could do so no longer, and you would remain in prostration until your back gave in!’ Getting serious about the obligatory prayers, about prayer in general, and focussing on the quality of your prostration are all ways to get to the other side of the tunnel. In fact, they are not merely means, but rather ends: Allah only puts us in difficulties to turn us to Him. The goal is not actually getting out of debt, or being cured of cancer, or getting through a difficult divorce. Rather the goal is being with Allah in happiness and sorrow, difficulty, and ease. But tears—or feeling the pain—is an important part of the journey.

 

Moist Eyes from Tears of Fear and Sadness

Tears were no strangers to the early Muslims. One of the early Muslims said,

‘I saw Abdullah ibn Masud cry so much that the pebbles near his feet were wet.’ Another said, ‘I have never seen people like us. We walk in crowds crying.’ For them, it was even something the rest of creation did. ‘Do you find it weird that I cry out of dread of Allah?!’ said Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-As. ‘Even this moon is crying for fear of Allah.’ 

It was natural to them because it was the example given to them by the Prophet. Someone was reciting, ‘Indeed, with Us [for them] are shackles and burning fire — and food that chokes and a painful punishment.’ (Qur’an, 75: 12-13) and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) fainted. What a stark difference this is to someone who just thinks of Paradise and Hell as a complete joke! For him, it was a palpable reality whose mere mention and description provoked emotional and physiological effects. Indeed crying at hearing or reading the Qur’an was something common to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) peace and his followers. Abdullah ibn Umar was reading Surat al Mutaffifin. When he got to the words ‘On the day that man will stand before the Lord of the Worlds’, he fell down in tears and could no longer recite.

Why would they cry? Doesn’t that make the Qur’an and Islam something bad because it makes people unhappy? In essence, they cried because they were genuinely connected. They were connected with their souls, with the sense of awe and gratitude due to Allah, with the utter doom of Hell, and with the unthinkable happiness and security of Paradise. For them, as we say, it was all too much. But not too much in a negative sense. Rather, as mentioned before, it moved them deeply, and it spurred them on to do and act. It didn’t make them lose their minds or give up and die.

Abu Hurayra said, ‘No one will enter the Hell-Fire who cries because of dread of Allah. Not until milk goes back into the udder!’ 

One of the most obvious reasons they cried was because of their sins, or shortcomings. Waki cites a narration from Prophet Jesus in which he says, ‘Good on him who cries over his sins, watches what he says, and stays at home.’ Abdullah ibn Masud told his son, ‘My son, when you remember your sins, cry.’ Mujahid even mentioned that Prophet David (upon whom be peace) cried after he “sinned” until everything around him started to shake.

Abdullah ibn Rawah once started to cry, so his wife started to cry too. ‘Why are you crying?’ he asked her.

‘I saw you crying so I started to cry too,’ she replied.

‘[I am crying because] I have been told that I will definitely come to [the Hell-Fire], but I have not been told that I will actually leave it.’

The reference he was making was to the verses ‘And there is none of you except he will come to it. This is upon your Lord an inevitability decreed. Then We will save those who feared Allah and leave the wrongdoers within it, on their knees.’ (Qur’an, 19:71-72) The thought of coming to Hell and not being of those who fear God who will be saved from it was enough for him to cry. Such was his fear, that his wife cried almost out of osmosis.

The mere grandeur of Allah and His creation was also enough to make them cry. Abu Dharr al Ghifari said, ‘The sky shook—and well it deserved to!—There is not a single handspan in it save that in it there is a prostrating angel. If you knew what I know you would not enjoy your women so much in bed, and you would get out to the highlands crying at the tops of your voice!’ He was not condemning sexual intercourse, as we know it is something encouraged in Islam. Rather he was referring to excessive interest in the opposite sex and this world in general. The augustness of the message, and what it signified & implied was also something that shook them up. When the verse ‘Do you laugh and show surprise at this discourse, and not even cry?’ (Qur’an, 53: 59-60) was revealed, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was not seen laughing or even smiling.

 

Limiting Laughter

How did they actively observe this state? Being conservative with laughter was certainly a habit that they observed. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did laugh, it was more of a smile. They would also try to make themselves cry. Abu Bakr said, ‘Cry, and if you cannot cry then feign crying.’ 

And it is of no serendipity that Waki added in this chapter the words of Abdullah ibn Masud, ‘Get into the habit of doing good things because goodness is acquired by habit.’ When you habitually ignore everything important, and habitually laugh at everything and anything, and fill your life with continual hits of entertainment. It is no surprise that you cannot get yourself to change and will never weep over your sins. And conversely, when you habitually reflect on death and what you are doing with your life, it is no surprise that change eventually seeps into your life, and that tears, be they of love or fear, accompany you hand in hand through life.

We can conclude this chapter with the words of Abu al-Abbas ibn Masruq who said,

The tree of fully recognizing and appreciating Allah (marifa) is watered by thinking hard about things while the tree of heedlessness is watered by the rank of ignorance. The tree of repentance is watered by regret.’

Physical tears, perhaps, could be said to be both the water and the fruit.

May Allah forgive us all.


About the Author

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to crafts lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language which can be found here. 

The corresponding podcast is due for release soon.

Ranks and Meaning of Paradise

Question: Why did Allah create Paradise and what is the best thing a human can ever do?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

Allah Most High created the creation, and Heaven and Hell to manifest Himself so that He would be known. The various experiences of Heaven and Hell conjoined with the varying ranks of those in them all demonstrate Allah’s attributes. This is how creation and Heaven and Hell “spell out” Allah.

Please see:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/haqiqat-al-muhammadiyya/

The ranks in Paradise commensurate with the qualitative levels of faith (al iman wa al ihsan). Spiritual excellence means that one abides by the Sacred Law inwardly and outwardly, alone and around others, in ease and difficulty, as if one was standing before Allah seeing Him directly. This is the highest Islamic virtue, and can also be done in Paradise where there is no Sacred Law to abide by.

Please see:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/ibn-rajab-al-hanbalis-commentary-on-the-hadith-of-gibril/

The greatest degree of Paradise is to look directly at Allah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “When the People of Paradise enter Paradise, Allah Blessed and Exalted will say, ‘Would you like anything else?’ They will say, ‘Have you not made us happy? Have you not made us enter Paradise and saved us the Hell-Fire?’
Then He will remove the veil, and they will not be given anything more beloved to them than looking directly at their Lord Mighty and Majestic. This is the more. Then he recited the verse ‘For those who have done good (ahsanu) is the best [reward] and more”(Qur’an, 10: 26) (Muslim).

Please also see:
https://seekersguidance.org/courses/habib-umar-on-the-path-of-spiritual-excellence-an-explanation-of-bal-faqihs-treatise-the-spheres-of-islam-iman-ihsan-and-irfan/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/the-soul-after-death/

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

 

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

The Stock Market and Madhhabs

Question: Is investing in the stock market permissible in the Shafi’i school?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

In principle, investing in the stock market is permissible in the Shafi’i school. One of the most significant scholars who worked on modern Islamic finance was the late Dr. Wahba Zuhayli, and he was Shafi’i.

Please see:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/hanafi-fiqh/investing-in-stocks-and-working-as-a-stock-broker/

In general, though, there have been many significant developments in Islamic finance and a lot of research has been put into creating a modern standard that is somewhat meta-madhhab. By this, I mean that the standards are taken from different madhhabs, and also demonstrate a level of refinement that is somewhat beyond what you would normally find in any traditional reference work in any individual madhhab.

For this reason, it is usually better to either rely on the specific fatwa of one’s own Muslim country and if not, then an internationally accepted body of Islamic finance standards such as the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) standards.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

 

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

The Devil’s Continual Disobedience

Question: If the Devil knows that he is damned to hell, why does he keep disobeying Allah? What does he hope to achieve?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

The Devil continues to disobey Allah and tries to send as many of mankind to hell as possible out of spite and revenge. Allah Most High tells us the story in the Qur’an:

‘[So mention] when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I am going to create a human being from clay.
So when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My [created] soul, then fall down to him in prostration.”
So the angels prostrated, all of them entirely.
Except for Iblis; he was arrogant and became among the disbelievers.
He said, “O Iblis, what prevented you from prostrating to that which I created with My hands? Were you arrogant [then], or were you [already] among the haughty?”
Iblis replied, “I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay.”
He said, “Then get out of Paradise, for indeed, you are expelled.
And indeed, upon you is My curse until the Day of Recompense.”
Iblis said, “My Lord, then reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected.”
He replied, “So indeed, you are of those reprieved
Until the Day of the time well-known.”
Iblis said, “By your might, I will surely mislead them all
Except for Your chosen/sincere servants among them” (Qur’an, 38: 71-83).

In another sura, in the Qur’an, the story is also recounted and the revenge that the Devil is trying to take against Allah is clearly mentioned:

Iblis said, “My Lord, then reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected.”
He replied, “Indeed, you are of those reprieved
Until the Day of the time well-known.”
Iblis said, “My Lord, because You have sent me astray, I will surely make [disobedience] attractive to them on earth, and I will mislead them all. Except, among them, Your chosen servants” (Qur’an, 15:36-40).

This is why the Devil keeps trying to disobey Allah by sending others astray.

On a deeper level, Allah created the Devil, his disobedience, and his attempts to lead us astray to separate the wheat from the chaff, the sincere and devout from the insincere and perverted. Although the Devil is trial and tribulation for us, he is also mercy for us because his efforts are an opportunity to prove our sincerity to Allah.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

 

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

 

Living Simple: Asceticism (Zuhd) – Listening More, Talking Less

Living Simple: Asceticism

Part Two: Listening More, Talking Less by Shaykh Farid Dingle

In order to get through life with ease, the Early Muslims (salaf) focussed on certain key ways of living that would make it spiritually and practically easier and more fruitful. They coined a term for the different and variegated rules that they lived by, a term that summarised the system of living for the Hereafter. They called it Zuhd: Unattachment in This World. For purposes of this article series, we have found the best match in terms of meaning to be asceticism. Other terms to describe Zuhd are unattachment or being unconcerned for worldly matters, or living simple. This is the second article from a series of articles and podcasts by SeekersGuidance scholar, Shaykh Farid Dingle.

Introduction to Asceticism (Part one)

This article deals with the importance of listening: listening to others and listening to sacred knowledge. One should only speak with knowledge and this requires that one has learned first. The microphone fever and desire to be the next best things bars one from benefiting oneself and others. 


Imam Waki ibn al-Jarrah opens this chapter with the words of Abdullah ibn Masud, ‘If you can, be a listener and not a talker.’

The self-centered ego loves itself, its ideas, and the sound of its voice. This is very dangerous. One has to train oneself to be a listener in relationships so as to give to others, and to be a listener to revelation so that one can learn, apply, and benefit. Ibn Ata Illah says, ‘Bury your existence in the earth of obscurity, for a seed that is not buried properly never grows properly.’ 

One has to train oneself to be a listener in relationships so as to give to others, and to be a listener to revelation so that one can learn, apply, and benefit.

In the Islamic sciences, this means that you listen to your teachers, read what books they guide you to read, and “absorb” their way of doing things. There is room for your own individuality, but not in the beginning. One has to listen a lot first.

In our public lives and on social media, this means being reserved and only expressing opinions that reflect wisdom and benefit to others. Continual reference to oneself, to one’s own opinions, and views that are neither based on religious nor worldly learning are often based left out. As Ibrahim ibn Adham said,

Whoever says whatever he wants kills himself.

Connecting this maxim to the specific sphere of learning Sacred Knowledge, Waki quotes Hasan al Basri saying,

Either be learned, a learner, a listener, or someone who would love to do that. Never be anything else lest you should be destroyed.’

Someone who acts without knowledge, or worse, preaches or teaches without knowledge is in great danger of falling into sin or misrepresenting the religion of Allah. One must listen first in order to learn and act according to the Sunna in a prophet fashion.

Umar ibn al Khattab gave words of encouragement to anyone even so much as trying to try to learn. He said, ‘Someone who is listening but cannot hear has the same reward as someone who is listening and can hear.’  The next hadith:

‘No man ever traveled in search of knowledge save that Allah made easy for him the way to Paradise. Whoever is slowed down by his deeds will not be sped up by his lineage. No people ever sat in one of Allah’s houses studying together the Book of Allah and learning it together save that mercy overspread them, the angels encircled them, and Allah mentioned them to those with him. They remain as His guest as long as they do not delve into something else.’

These words are of the utmost worth and encouragement. It tells us that the physically moving to go and listen to Sacred Knowledge is itself a means of divine help in overcoming one’s spiritual obstacles. Physically being with others is also very important, and not the same as merely reading an article or listening to a recording. This also applies to “being there” for someone: lending someone an ear on the phone is not like being there to give them a hug, and physical contact is a very important medium of communication. How often do we see the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) touch or hold someone he is teaching!

Physical contact is a very important medium of communication.

The hadith also emphasizes the importance of studying with others. The momentum gained by group effort, particularly when it is towards a religious goal that transcends the current generation is something truly felt by any student of knowledge. That is to say, the sense of being part of the tradition. There is, as is said, strength in numbers.

No One Was Born a Scholar

Furthering the theme of the need to listen before one talks (or learn before one teaches), Waki cites the words of Abdullah ibn Masud, ‘No one was ever born a scholar. Knowledge is only acquired by study.’ These words tie in very subtly with the previous hadith: just because you are born Muslim, or born into a “religious” family, it doesn’t automatically make you a scholar or religious. It takes personal effort to get where other people got. This person’s effort means listening, studying, memorizing, and eventually positive debate to order to truly take on and inherit the Islamic science one is trying to learn.

Waki quotes the Abu al Darda saying,

‘Learn before knowledge is taken away. Knowledge goes when scholars go. The scholar and the student have the same reward.’

These words tell us Sacred Knowledge is something rare and precious. It is not something that one can be careless or complacent about. It is not only because its source is divine, or that it can be very complex, it is also because it can only be taken from scholars, and no simply stored on someone’s hard drive. Someone who just reads by himself may when get lots of bytes of knowledge into their brain, but they can never fully understand and master the science without a teacher. 

This concept of inheritance is mirrored by another hadith: The scholars are the heirs of the prophets. The prophets do not leave as inheritance dinars and dirhams. All they leave is sacred knowledge. So whoever takes it, takes a mighty share.’ This “mighty share” must be “inherited” and not simply dug out of books. Through tutelage, listening, discussing, and spending time with teachers, the real inheritance process can happen. That said, it is definitely not true that books are of no use or have no role. The large and vast depositories of Hadith, Tafsir, Fiqh, Usul, Arabic language, and literature play an indispensable role in the inheritance process. It is just that cracking the role and use of all these variance pieces of information can only be threaded together by someone who has been truly trained in the tradition.

Through tutelage, listening, discussing, and spending time with teachers, the real inheritance process can happen

The author then concludes this chapter with the non plus ultra of learning: the Qur’an. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace said, ‘The best of you is he who learns the Qur’an and teaches it.’ The book of Allah is the core of all Islamic learning; its role in the life of the scholar, student, and laymen is central and paramount. It is the ultimate word to physically listen to, to intellectually listen to, and to listen to with one’s heart.

When the Qur’an is read, listen to it with attention, and pay heed.

(Qur’an, 7: 204)

The Prophet himself (peace and blessings be upon him) was told to listen to the Qur’an while it was being revealed and not to try and even mouth the words (Qur’an, 75: 16-19).

Although the author doesn’t mention it here, listening to oneself is also important. By “self” I mean soul and not ego. Jalal al-Din al Rumi invites the listener to listen to the internal pain of his own soul by saying,

Listen to the complaint of the Flute as it tells its story…

By putting the word “listen” at the beginning of his spiritual magnum opus, the Masnawi, we can understand that it is of the utmost importance to spiritual change. That is, if we do care to listen!


About the Author

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to crafts lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language which can be found here. 

The corresponding podcast is due for release soon.

Doubts About Purification

Question: If one has doubts about one’s purification (wudu or ghusl) during the prayer, does one have to restart the prayer?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

To answer this question properly, I will break this down into two sections.

Before and during the prayer

A. Doubts about breaking wudu

If one knows that one has wudu, and before or during the prayer starts to doubt whether or not one broke wudu, the prayer is perfectly valid. This is because the default assumption is that one has wudu, and one merely doubts whether or not one broke it, and certainty is given precedence over doubt.

B. Doubts about making wudu

If one knows that one broke one’s wudu, and before or during the prayer starts to doubt whether or not one made wudu after breaking it, the prayer is invalidated. One must go and make wudu, and start again. This is because one knows that one did not have wudu, and one merely thinks that one made wudu thereafter, and certainty is given precedence over doubt, as before.

After the prayer

Once one gives the salams, the default assumption is that the prayer is valid. So even if one knows that before the prayer one broke one’s wudu, and merely thinks that one made wudu thereafter, the prayer is still valid (Tuhfat al Muhtaj, Ibn Hajar al Haytami). This is assuming such thoughts only came to one’s mind after the prayer was finished and not before.

The reason for this is that the default assumption is that the prayer is valid, and the doubt is now regarding whether or not one actually had wudu, and certainty is given precedence over doubt, as mentioned above.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

 

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

Breaking Wudu by Touching Private Parts

 

Question: What constitutes touching private parts that break wudu?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

Touching means touching with the palm or inner side of the fingers without any barrier (Minhaj al Talibin, Nawawi).

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘When one of you touches his private parts with his hand when there is no barrier between the two, let him make wudu’ (Ibn Hibban).

A thick layer of cream would be a barrier that could be scratched off. A thin layer that can be felt but that does not form a layer over the skin would not.

For example, if someone put a thick layer of medication or cream on their own genitals or those of a baby, if they did not rub the cream in and left it as a thick layer, they would not really be “touching” the genitals. If they rubbed it in such that the layer of cream between their skin and the skin of genitals was no longer there, then it would break their wudu.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

 

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

Fate and The Bible

Planting Seeds of Faith

Question: If Allah destined that the Bible should be changed, does that mean that it was a good thing?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

Allah has determined and preordained everything, including good deeds and bad deeds, and including the adulteration of the Bible and loss of the true and original teachings of Prophet Jesus (upon whom be peace).

Everything that Allah chooses to happen can be described as wise, just, or kind. Good and bad mean that Allah praises whoever does something and rewards them, or that He blames whoever does something and may punish them (Jam al Jawami, Subki).  Therefore, to describe His actions and decisions as good and bad isn’t really very meaningful. It is only really meaningful to describe our actions as good and bad because it is only our actions that He praises or blames, or rewards or punishes.

So, we can say that people’s changing of the Bible was bad, and Allah’s allowing it to happen was wise and just. Similarly, Muslims’ preservation of the Qur’an and Sunna was good, and Allah’s allowing it to happen is wise and kind.

Please see: https://seekersguidance.org/answers/hanafi-fiqh/can-attend-class-speaking-christianity/

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/theology/confused-about-christianity/

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

A Recurrent Vow

Question: I made a vow to Allah that whenever I overate, I would fast the next day. What do I do if I end up overeating? What do I if this happens again and again?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

When someone says something like ‘Every time I smoke/swear/drink, I have to fast/pray/give in charity for the sake of Allah.’, then this is a deterring vow (nadhr lajaj).

If they end up doing the thing that they were trying not to do, then they have to either do the act of worship that they made incumbent upon themselves, or expiate (kaffarah) (Minhaj al Talibin, Nawawi).

If they end up doing it again, then they have to do an act of worship or expiate again. This is because they used the word ‘each time’/’every time’ etc.

If you merely make a promise to yourself without mentioning Allah in the vow, then it is not binding.

Please also see:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/islamic-belief/promises-vs-vows-and-oaths/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/hanafi-fiqh/expiate-broken-oath/

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

Doubting the Return of Jesus (upon whom be peace)

Question: If someone doubts whether or not Jesus (upon whom be peace) will return, are they still a believer?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

Short answer:

The return of Jesus is a point of faith. Please see:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/islamic-belief/where-is-jesus/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/islamic-belief/jesus/
https://seekersguidance.org/articles/knowledge/seekersnotes-crucifixion-of-christ-by-dr-umar-faruq-abd-allah/

Like any other fundamental point of faith, disbelief in or doubt regarding it would mean disbelief (kufr).

Ignorance as an excuse

That said, it is very important to understand that all this assumes that one is not simply ignorant of the discussion, such as a Muslim who simply hasn’t read the Qur’an or Sunna and just doesn’t know about the details.

For example, if someone was new to Islam and didn’t even know that Jesus or Moses (upon whom be peace) were even mentioned in the Qur’an, they would not be a disbeliever for not believing in them. They simply didn’t know that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) had spoken about them. Such a person is still a believer because they believe in Allah and all His messengers and prophets, it is just that they don’t know the specifics of who the messengers and prophets are.

Weird beliefs vs Clear Disbelief

Another very, very important condition, is that the person doubting the point of creed not have some alternative interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunna, even if it is invalid or far fetched.

An example of this would be someone who thinks that there is no such thing as a hijab in Islam. They read the Qur’an in English, for example, and made a cursory study of the hadith literature and came to the incorrect and invalid conclusion that Islam does not require women to wear the hijab. Now, such a person is wrong and sinful for speaking on behalf of Allah with improper learning, but at the end of the day, they do believe in Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him).

Now in the recent past, there were many things that were obvious to everyday lay Muslims. The basic ideas of Islam were clear, and rejecting them was tantamount to rejecting the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Nowadays, many of these basic things are now changing. For someone to leave Islam by rejecting something “necessarily known about Islam” (malum min al din bi al darura) in our times is very different from the past.

So, in summary, if someone doubts whether or not the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) are true, such a person is simply not a believer. But if they interpret the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in a really odd way, and come to the conclusion, for example, that Jesus (upon whom be peace) is dead and will never return, then they are a believer, albeit a sinful one.

Disbelief is very, very simple: the person flat out denies that the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) are true. Anything else, even if it is invalid, incorrect, or sinful, is still considered a belief in Islam.

Please also see:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/islamic-belief/universal-validity-of-religions-and-the-issue-of-takfir/

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language