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Can a Woman be President or Prime Minister?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question

Seeing as how many countries are now democratic instead of autocratic, would it be permissible for a woman to be prime minister or president?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Assalamu Alaykum

The common hadith that is cited to justify that a woman cannot be head of state is the statement of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) that, “No nation shall prosper who consign their affairs to a woman.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

However, leading modern scholars have stated that this only applies to a particular form of political authority, namely one that is autocratically exercised over a people that properly constitute a ‘nation’ (qawm). Modern democracies would not fall into this. [Quduri, al-Tajrid; Thanawi, Imdad al-Fatawa; Qaradawi, Min Fiqh al-Dawla fi’l-Islam]

With this said, the question of permissibility must also take into account the ideals and guidelines Islam has set down for each gender and whether such guidelines can be reasonably followed when occupying such a complex, public role.

[Ustadh] Salman

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas was born and raised in New York and graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. Ustadh Salman’s personal interests include research into the fields of law/legal methodology, hadith, theology, as well as political theory, government, media, and ethics. He is also an avid traveler and book collector. He currently resides in Amman with his wife.

Misquoting Islam

Misquoting Islam

Question: What do I have to do if I mistakenly quote Islam on something?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

All of us are ignorant, and all of us make mistakes. That said, truth is something august indeed, and religious truth is even more august.

Because of this, if we misquote Islam, such as quoting a hadith that is not a hadith or explaining something to do with the Sacred Law that is not accurate, we must make amends by correcting this misinformation. (Tashnif al Masami, Zarkashi; Rawdat al Talibin, Nawawi)

Now, if you are confident that the person you informed never believed you to begin with, or that given the situation, it is clear that others correcting the misunderstanding for you, then you do not have to reach out to them.

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.

Is K-pop haram if they do Satanic rituals in private?

Question: Korean pop singers appear extremely innocent. Do they perform satanic rituals before they sell their albums? When they sing, are they singing from Shaytan? Would it affect the soul if we can watch them without music instead of watching their music?

Answer:

Thank you for your question. Korean pop singers and K-Pop are contrary to the teachings of Islam, and I pray that you can eliminate them from your life.

Any music that features instruments uncovered men and women in music videos, intermixing, dancing, singing about impermissible or immoral things, and so forth is from the Shaytan. It is impermissible to listen to these or to watch them without sound. It is irrelevant whether they perform rituals in private or not. Impermissible music has a deep negative effect on the soul and clouds the heart. The job of every Muslim is to polish his heart by eliminating the haram and makruh from his life and pray for mercy and forgiveness from the Creator.  Please see these links:

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/getting-rid-of-fictional-books-movies-and-music/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/listening-to-islamic-songs-with-musical-instruments/

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “The stronger believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although both are good. Strive to seek that which will benefit you and do not feel helpless. If something overwhelms you, say, QaddarAllah, wa ma sha fa`al (It is the decree of Allah and what He wills He does). And beware of (saying) ‘If only,’ for ‘If only’ opens the door to Satan.” [Ibn Majah]

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

When is it obligatory to lower one’s gaze? To what extent does the prohibition of looking at people doing haram apply?

Question Summary

When is it obligatory to lower one’s gaze? To what extent does the prohibition of looking at people doing haram apply?

Question Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Lowering the Gaze: A Sunna of the Prophet

It is a Sunna of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) to lower one’s gaze. The companions (Allah be pleased with them) describe the Prophet saying, “His gaze was to the ground longer than it was to the sky.” [Tirmidhi]

He (may Allah bless him and give him peace) would lower his gaze from everything and anything that did not concern him, thus allowing him to keep his heart focused on Allah Most High at all times.

When is Lowering the Gaze Obligatory?

In summary, one must divert their gaze from the nakedness of others and/or looking at another with sexual desire (excluding one’s spouse).

The following are examples of where this applies:

1) looking at anyone (regardless of where of their person) or anything, other than one’s spouse, with sexual desire
2) looking at that which is legally considered nakedness (‘awra) of anyone besides one’s spouse
3) looking at areas of another’s the person that is normally permissible to look at when one fears falling into sexual desire
[Ala’ al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-`Ala’iyya]

Legal Limits of Nakedness

The following limits set by the Sacred Law delineate the areas of nakedness. These areas are obligatory to cover and impermissible to show and/or look at (following exceptions apply):

Men

The area between the navel and the knees (knees are included) is considered nakedness for a male. [Ibid.]

Women

The entire body of the female is considered naked except for the face, hands, and feet. [Ibid.]

Men looking at Men

Men can see other men the entire body except that which is between the navel and the knees (knees are included in the prohibition). [Ibid.]

Men looking at Women

A man can see of a non-direct relative woman only the face, hands, and feet. A man is permitted to see their spouse’s entire body, though propriety discourages any looking that goes against shyness – though it is not sinful. [Ibid.]

Women looking at women

Women may see another woman the entire body except that which is between the navel and the knees. [Ibid.]

Note that it is not permissible for a Muslim woman to expose any part of her hair or other parts to a Non-Muslim woman or a corrupt Muslim woman, without need, as they may describe how she looks to others. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Women looking at Men

A woman can see a man the entire body except that which is between the navel and the knees. A woman is permitted to see their spouse’s entire body, though propriety discourages any looking that goes against shyness – though doing so is not sinful. [Ibid.]

Note that save the spouse’s looking at each other, and looking that is accompanied by sexual desire or that will likely lead to sexual desire is strictly prohibited regardless of where on the person one looks. [Ibid.]

Thus, if a woman looks at a man’s chest or a man looks at a woman’s hair with sexual desire, this is strictly prohibited (haram) even though that part of the body is not considered nakedness and would be permissible had there not been any sexual desire.

Note that sexual desire is far more than a mere noticing of beauty (istihsan). [Ibid.]

The Difference Between Seeing and Looking

Looking at the opposite gender in an impermissible way/area is a sin when done intentionally. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) advised us to divert our gaze if we see something impermissible and stated that we are not accountable for that first (unintentional) glance. Still, we are accountable if we look again.

Thus, unintentional glances and seeing something in our peripheral vision are excused, and everything goes back to one’s intention. For this reason, one should not be overwhelmed with their surroundings, as they are only accountable for looking, not merely seeing.

Seeing Prohibited Actions

Regarding your question about watching movies/tv, see the following link:

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/living-religion/looking-at-women-not-wearing-hijab/

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.

Reconciling Western and “Islamic” women’s clothing

Question:

How can we reconcile the permissibility of wearing Western clothes with the hadith that says that any woman who wears tight clothes will not even catch the scent of Paradise?

Answer:

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your very important question.

As long as one’s clothes cover one’s body properly, it doesn’t matter whether they are Western or Eastern.

Western clothes

Islamic clothes are clothes that conform to the rules of the Sacred Law and the recommendations it teaches. Clothes worn in Muslim countries do not make them Islamic.

The details of this are found in the answer referred to in the question. Please see:

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/wearing-western-style-womens-clothing-and-dressing-modestly/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/hanafi-fiqh/sunna-entail-dressing-people-land-live/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/halal-and-haram/clothes-of-the-people-of-the-land/

The hadith

The hadith being referred to mentions ‘women who are dressed-naked, who tempt others’ and states that ‘they will not enter Paradise or even catch the scent of it, even though its scent can be smelt from very, very, very far away.’ (Malik and Muslim) Some of the narrations specifically mention ‘the distance traveled in 500 years.’

Among other interpretations, this hadith has been understood to mean women who do not dress properly. (Sharh Muslim, Nawawi)

Creed

When we say that non-mass-narrated hadiths (Khabar ahad) cannot establish a point of creed, we mean a new and unique point of creed. This is not the case here.

We already know from the Qur’an and that which is mass-narrated (mutawatir) from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) that there is a threat of punishment for committing sins, and we also already know that it is obligatory to dress properly. Therefore this hadith does not add any new and unique point of creed such that we should have to question whether or not it is mass-narrated (mutawatir).

The hadith means that this is a tremendous sin and that there is a threat of terrible punishment for any woman who does it.

But as we already know, anyone who sincerely repents and desists from sin will be forgiven by Allah. That is to say that even if a woman dressed inappropriately in the past, if she now repents, Allah will forgive her, and she will enter Paradise by His grace.

Please see:

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/what-is-the-difference-between-major-sins-and-minor-sins/

May Allah forgive all our sisters in Islam who do not dress properly, and forgive all the fathers, brothers, and husbands who are implicit in what they do by not changing it. Amen!

Conclusion

Islamic clothes cover one’s body correctly and conform to the Sunna, where it applies. Muslim women should dress properly, and all Muslims should encourage Muslim women who do not dress appropriately to change their ways.

‘We do not consider any of the people of our qiblah to he unbelievers because of any wrong action they have done, as long as they do not consider that action to have been lawful. Nor do we say that the wrong action of anyone who has belief does not harm him. We hope that Allah will pardon the people of right action among the believers and grant them entrance into the Garden through His Mercy, but we cannot be certain of this, and we cannot bear witness that it will definitely happen and that they will be in the Garden. We ask forgiveness for the people of the wrong action among the believers and, although we are afraid for them, we do not lose hope for them.’ (The Creed of Imam Tahawi)

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.

Christian wife dressing indecently outside

 

Question: Am I sinful if I let my Christian wife dresses indecently outside of the house?

Answer:

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

Given that a Christian does not have to undertake the religious obligations of Islam, she doesn’t have to wear a hijab. She should, however, dress in a way that does not harm your relationship and is not against Christian teachings.

Fuller answer:

There are three issues here: what is in keeping with Christian guidelines, what affects your relationship, and what you as the husband ask her to do.

If exposing the thighs, for example, in her denomination of Christianity is acceptable. It would, in principle, be permissible for the husband not to forbid to dress that way in public. (Kashf al-Qina, Bahuti)

Now, if her dressing immodestly in public affects the relationship, in that they live in a conservative society and it is causes of embarrassment, or that it leads to men looking at her excessively such that it is a genuine weight on the relationship, he could definitely forbid her from going out like that. (Mughni al Muhtaj, Khatib al Shirbini)

The third consideration is that, while he may not be obliged to tell her to dress properly, he would still have the right to do that, and she would be morally obliged to comply.

One practical approach would be to go with her to a Christian figure that she listens to and get his/her input on the discussion, and try to agree on some rules that you will keep from this point on.

You also have to look at the kind of relationship that you have. When the scholars of Islamic law talk about these kinds of thing, they are talking from two angles: the moral responsibility each partner has to the other, and the legal repercussions of the wife’s “disobedience”; that is to say, what can they ask of each other, do they have to “obey,” and if she didn’t, would that affect his financial obligations to her.

A relationship is not based on moral or financial rights; the discussion here is really quite different.

Conclusion

Try and work towards an agreement whereby she dresses in a way that does not harm your relationship and is not against Christian teachings. As head of the family, you do have to guide her closer to Islam as much as possible. ‘Each of you is a shepherd, and each of you will have to answer for his flock.’ (Bukhari and Muslim)

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

Forgiving Others for Murder

Question: What should you do if you cannot prove that someone murdered someone else? Should one try to forgive them?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

If someone is wronged in this life and cannot get their God-given right to justice before they die, they will be given their rights in full on Judgment Day.

However, it is more important to work on forgiving them in this life. To forgive and forget brings much more reward.

Allah Most High says, ‘Let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.’ (24: 22)

And He says, ‘And hasten to [an indescribable] forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous—Those who spend during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon others, and Allah loves the doers of good.’ (Qur’an, 3:133-4)

And Allah says in the context of murder, ‘And We ordained for them therein a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and wounds is legal retribution. But whoever gives [up his right as] charity, it is an expiation for [his sins].’ (Qur’an, 4: 45)

And the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘No man is ever injured and then graciously forgives [the wrongdoer] save that Allah elevates him to a whole new degree and wipes away a sin for him.’ (Ahmad and others) If this applies to an injury, then it applies to a greater extent to murder.

Please also see:
https://seekersguidance.org/articles/beneficial-knowledge/hopeful-verse-prophetic-forgiveness/
https://seekersguidance.org/articles/featured-articles/forgiving-abdul-rahim-reasat/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/calling-to-islam/forgiveness/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/can-forgive-someone-hurt-long-period-time/

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.

 

Am I Expected To Forgive the Man Who Sexually Abused Me as a Child Now That He Has Passed Away?

Question: I was molested by a family member when I was aged 6-9. Another then assaulted me at 17 years old. Both men were Muslim, and one was a family member. I now live with PTSD and get treatment, but this has affected all aspects of my life. I’ve hidden this from my family because my abuser was beloved to them and now deceased. The idea of a man hurting any child in any way makes me sick, especially when that person is a close and trusted relative. Does Allah expect me to forgive them? If so, how? I don’t think I can.

Answer: Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. I am so very sorry for your pain, and I pray that you can come out of this stronger than ever before. May Allah rewards you for your suffering, give you every type of good, and make you beloved to Him.

Forgiveness

Ramadan is indeed a time for forgiving others, and this is considered a noble character. Muslims are encouraged to forgive others so they don’t hold grudges in their hearts, and with that, they hope that Allah will forgive them on the Day of Judgment. Is it obligatory to forgive? No, but a person who truly heals and whose heart receives divine illumination can forgive.

Allah, Most High, says in His holy book, “Do not let the people of virtue and affluence among you swear to suspend donations to their relatives, the needy, and the emigrants in the cause of Allah. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love to be forgiven by Allah? And Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Qur’an, 24:22]

And He said, “Be gracious, enjoin what is right, and turn away from those who act ignorantly. [Qur’an, 7:199]

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, also said, “Neither nurse grudge, nor sever (the ties of kinship), nor nurse enmity.“ [Muslim]

Healing

That being said, your focus should not be on forgiveness right now. Your focus should be on healing from your trauma and surrounding yourself with loving and supporting people. I am not saying that you should tell your family about what your relative has done, but I can tell that keeping it hidden harms you and might impede your recovery. It would help if you discussed this with your therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist. It is sufficient for you to intend to forgive your assailants when you are capable and for the sake of Allah alone.

Take a look at these resources and learn the du’as from the link below:
https://casapalmera.com/blog/7-ways-to-heal-your-childhood-trauma/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/is-a-father-who-molests-his-daughter-still-considered-her-mahram-unmarriageable-kin/
https://seekersguidance.org/articles/general-artices/selected-prophetic-prayers-for-spiritual-physical-and-emotional-wellbeing-by-chaplain-ibrahim-long/

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Uncertain about becoming Muslim

Question: If one is trying to learn about Islam, is it normal to feel uncertain and feel that one could not possibly believe?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

Knowing that Islam is true is easy. Accepting it as an emotional fact can take time.

To know that Islam is true, you can ask yourself two questions very frankly. Given the existence of the universe, it possible that God doesn’t exist? Given the personal qualities of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), is it possible that he was a liar and wasn’t really the last messenger of God?

For me, these are two facts that I cannot get around. Islam is a fact, and that is it.

If you need to read more, listen more, get more exposure to really grasp the facts surrounding these two questions, do so. Get as much information as possible. At the end of the day, your answer to each question will either be a definite yes, or a definite no.

However, emotionally coming to terms with this is the challenge. This is a spiritual and moral jump that each of us has to take when accepting Islam. It is normal to waiver in this decision and to be of two hearts about it. It isn’t an easy decision, and for some of us, it can take time.

‘Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of God and what has come down of the truth?’ (Qur’an, 57: 16)

Please also see:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/islamic-belief/how-do-i-enter-islam-i-want-to-become-muslim/
https://www.overcome.tv/

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

Not Excommunicating the Excommunicators

Question: Are militant extremist Muslims who label other Muslims as disbelievers still themselves Muslims?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

Yes, even militant extremist Muslims who label other Muslims as disbelievers and who commit terrorist atrocities in the name of Islam are still Muslims.

A hallmark of moderate Sunni Islam is that we do not excommunicate (label as a disbeliever) those who label us as disbelievers. As long as they do not outright reject the Qur’an and Sunna, then they are believers. They may be bad, they may be ignorant, they may be great sinners, but they are still considered Muslims.

Because of this, if they die, they are still prayed over, and if their families still inherit their wealth.

For more information about how traditional Sunni Islamic views Islamic extremism, please see:
https://seekersguidance.org/articles/general-artices/defending-the-transgressed-mudafi-al-mazlum-by-shaykh-muhammad-afifi-al-akiti/
https://seekersguidance.org/articles/general-artices/modern-extremist/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/djihad-and-terrorism/can-termed-jihad/

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.