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How Should a Child Address His Elders?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

My question is regarding relationships and their titles.

I know of a single mother who is currently staying with her parents and has a 4 year old son. The mother delivered at her parents house since she was divorced while pregnant. Now the question is about the child’s maternal grandfather. He has taught the child to call him as the father and the wife as the mother. He has been taught to call both his uncles by their names. The child at times even calls his own mother by her name. Is it allowed?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

The child in question has not been taught the proper manners of addressing his elders, and this should be rectified. As for the child referring to his grand-parents as ‘mother’ and ‘father’, if this does not lead to him knowing who who his actual parents are, and if he addressed his own parents respectfully, then it should be fine as long as it does not lead to friction.

Maternal and paternal grandparents are considered to be one’s parents metaphorically, because on one level, they are the means through which we enter the world. This is they we are referred to as the ‘Children of Adam’ in the Qurʾan.

This whole situation should be tackled with wisdom and gentleness. Worsening relations in this situation really would be the worst case scenario.

Respecting Elders

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘He who does not show kindness to our young, respect to the elders among us, and due respect to our scholars, is not from us.’ (Tirmidhi). ‘Not being from us’ is an expression used to indicate that such a person is not following the guidance the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) on these matters, and that it something which should be rectified.

Titles

Children should be taught to refer to their elders with titles. Islam is not a military, so the titles do not have to overly aggrandised. Rather, the opposite is true. If we look at the way in which the prophet Yusuf addressed his father as a child, Yā Abati, two matters becomes very clear.

Firstly, there was respect in the address. The word ‘Yā’ is usually used to refer to someone who is far away, or metaphorically for someone who is high in rank. This is a recognition of his father’s rank.

Secondly , the word ‘abati’ could be translated as ‘my dear, beloved father’ (12:4-5). The word is full of love. Consequently, we can infer from this that children should be taught to love their parents, and to respect them. Both aspects are important.

In modern times some parents wish for their children to be friends with them – which is fine if done properly – but they sacrifice the respect element in the process. In the worst cases, this makes the children rude and disrespectful. According to social scientists like Dr Leonard Sax, children who are disrespectful end up with depression in many cases later in life because they do not know how to navigate simple relationships.

Give Respect To Receive It

The greatest way is that of the prophets. We see that the prophet Yaʿqub also spoke to his children with love and respect. He used the same particle ‘Yā’ to address his son, and he used the word ‘bunayya’ address him. This can be translated as ‘my dear little boy’, a term full of endearment and love.

Addressing someone with love and respect – even if it may be a child – brings the same sort of love and respect back. Children learn better this way. This was also the term used by Luqman the Wise when he advised his older son.

Allah knows best.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

Can I Change the Name of My Child After His Birth?

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I was used to call my son Abdul Hadi before his birth. But after his birth I want to name him Abdul Ahad.

Can I call him Abdul Ahad?

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

Depending on the circumstance, the changing of a name could either be impermissible, reprehensible, permissible, encouraged or compulsory. [Bujayrami]

Impermissible:
It’s haram to change a permissible name to an impermissible one, such as changing the name AbduLlah (slave of Allah) to AbdulMasih (slave of the Messiah)

Reprehensible (makruh)
It’s disliked to change a good name for a disliked one, such as changing the name Sa’id for Rabbah.

Permissible:
Changing one permissible name for another is permitted in Islam, such as in your case. You may change the name AbdulHadi to AbdulAhad.

Desired or encouraged:
When the name consists of self-praise, such as in the hadith transmitted by Abu Hurayrah that the name of Zaynab was barrah (pious) and people began speaking that she’s praising herself. The Messenger sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam then changed her name to Zaynab. [Agreed upon]

Compulsory:
Changing an impermissible name to a permissible one is compulsory, such as changing the name AbdulMasih to AbduLlah.

As stated above, it would thus be permissible for you to change your son’s name.

And Allah knows best.

Wassalam
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

What Should Be the Family Name of a Child After a Rape? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

1) If a women were to be raped and decided to keep the child, what would be the ruling on naming the child?

2) if a non-Muslim man who did not know the identity of his father,converts to Islam, and marries a Muslim woman, how will he and his children be named?

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

May Allah bless you.

I am assuming that you are referring to the surname or family name of the child, rather than the first name. Consequently, the vast majority of scholars held that no lineage is established between a child born out of wedlock and the biological father. Accordingly, the child’s lineage runs through his mother and he will thus carry her surname, irrespective whether the rapist is known or not.

With regards to the revert to Islam, his lineage between him and his family will not be severed. He – and his offspring thereafter – will continue to hold the same family name.

And Allah knows best
Wassalam
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

Do I Need to Make up the Prayer That I Did as a Child Without Proper Wudu?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

Do I need to make up the prayer that I did, before reaching puberty, without proper wudu?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Rulings of the Sacred Law (shari‘a) aren’t applicable to children in the sense that they aren’t completely responsible (mukallaf) for them.

But this doesn’t negate the parental duty to teach and discipline children [from approximately ten years old] so that they pray, fast and the like in order that they become accustomed to such actions, and have the desire to continue doing them after reaching puberty.

Therefore, you don’t need to make up any prayers which you may have invalidated during your childhood. Focus on your current dues, and anything else you owe since puberty, especially financial matters.

[ShaykhiZada, Majma‘ al-Anhur]

Please also see: A Reader on Missed Prayers

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

Should I Avoid Changing My Clothes in Front of My Child? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Should I avoid to change my clothes in front of my child?

Answer: Wa’alaikum assalam.

I hope this finds you in the best of states. Jazakum Allah khayr for your question. May Allah increase you in your striving to be diligent in the religion.

Covering one’s awra in front of one’s children

The awra of a man is what is in between his navel and knees (not including the navel and knees), though his navel and knees must be necessarily covered in order to cover the obligatory area. This is in front of all people, except himself and his spouse.

The awra of a woman in front of her un-marriageable kin (children, parents etc.) is also what is between the navel and the knees.

In terms of parent’s uncovering their awra in front of one’s children, then:

1. In regards very small children, what our teachers in Tarim taught us is that if the individual child shows awareness of what nakedness / awra is, then this is the time that parents should be diligent about not exposing the awra (what is between the navel and the knees). This usually takes place around 3-4 years old, but depends on the individual child. This also has the added benefit of ingraining in the child the importance of covering the awra.

2. If the child is at an age of discernment, which usually is about 7-8 years old, then one must not uncover one’s awra in front of their child, irrespective if they are aware of the concept of nakedness/awra or not.

To answer you specifically then, you have said that your child is one and a half years old. As such, there is no harm in your uncovering your awra in front of them, such as when you get changed or if you want to take a bath with them. However, you are obliged to cover your private parts (genital areas at the front and behind) regardless of the child’s age.

[Tufha al Muhtaj, Nihaya al Muhtaj]

May Allah grant you tawfiq and every good.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Could You Give Some Supplications to Help Me with My Infertility and My Stress?

Answered by Ustadha Shireen Ahmed

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I have one child and my last in vitro resulted in a miscarriage. I sold my late mother’s jewelry in a desperate attempt to fund another cycle. I am filled with immense regret. I’m so overwhelmed with stress. I have really detested being an only child and am desperate to provide a sibling for my daughter. I’ll use the money that I did get to try in vitro again. I feel like I lost a part of my mom.

Could you give some duas?

Answer: Assalam Alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuhu,

I pray this message reaches you in the best of health and iman.

Stress

May Allah Most High bless you and your family, and unite you together in Jannat al-Firdous, ameen. It is important to put things in perspective. Firstly, we all make mistakes, so one should not wish for “if only I had done such and such…”. It was in your destiny to sell your jewelry in the way that you did, and no amount of remorse or regret will bring that back. These kinds of blessings are given by Allah Most High, and He can take them back whenever He wills. So just be content with the decision, as that time has passed.

Secondly, be very grateful for the blessings you do have: a lovely little girl, your husband, a good place to live etc. Each child is a blessing, so if just one is decreed for you, then be grateful. One can take the steps to have another one, but in the meantime one trusts in Allah fully that whatever is best for one happens. He knows your state and He knows what is best for you. You may also want to consider if this is the best way to spend the remainder of your savings, as it could also be used for your daughter’s future or education.

Supplications

Some duas you can recite to help you have less anxiety:

Blessings on the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم such as “Allahumma salli ‘ala sayyidina Muhammad, wa ‘ala ‘alahi wa sahabehi wa sallam”

اللهم صلي على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه وسلّم

Allah is sufficient for me, and He is the Best of Providers “Hasbi Allah wa ni‘ma al-Wakil”

حسبي الله ونعم الوكيل

An excellent answer on this same topic can be found here: Struggling to Have Children: Ten Key Etiquettes of Du’a

May Allah Most High destine what is best for you, and grant you goodness in this world and the Next, amin.

Wassalam
[Ustadha] Shireen Ahmed (Umm Umar)

Ustadha Shireen Ahmed (Umm Umar) inspires her students as a living example example of what is possible when one is committed to gaining sacred knowledge.  Teacher, student, activist, mother, wife — Umm Umar shows that it is possible to balance worldly responsibilities with the pursuit of knowledge.

Umm Umar was born and raised in Canada, where she graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology. During her university studies, she was actively involved in MSA work at the local and national levels. After graduation, she set out to formally pursue sacred knowledge, studying Arabic at the University of Damascus and Islamic studies at Jamia Abi Nour and taking private classes in Qur’anic recitation, Prophetic traditions,, Islamic Law (Hanafi) and the Prophetic biography.

How Should I Deal With Gifts Given to My Child That I Can’t Store Anymore?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

I have a question regarding the toys and clothing of a child which they have outgrown, but were gifts. I have limited space to keep them all and they are no longer used.

Can these items, with the child’s permission, be given to charity with them seeking a reward?

If they are too young to make that decision, do I have to keep them?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah,

May Allah Most High reward you for your deep religious concern.

There are essentially two ways we can understand, legally, the relationship between the parent, the child, and the child’s clothes, toys and the like. The first is what can be termed ownership (tamlik), and the second, permission (ibaha).

The basis here is the words of the Messenger of Allah (Allah Most High bless him and give him peace), “There is no harm, nor reciprocating harm.” [Ibn Majah] Therefore, if we assume that the child owns the clothes and other items which are purchased for them, then technically, the parent does not have the right to dispose of such items without permission as this is something which constitutes a loss in wealth and property, and accordingly, is not in the child’s best interests. Yet in the same instance, the parent is responsible for the child, and has a say in matters related to him, his wealth and upbringing.

Thus, given (1) that such items can cause unnecessary clutter around the house, the place where the upbringing (tarbiya) is supposed to primarily be taking place, (2) that they cannot normally be sold for much, if at all, nor is doing so customary, and (3) that the parent is responsible for the child’s upbringing, it would seem that there is some degree of expansiveness in such a ruling. Practically, what this means is that he can rid the house of such items, without permission, as the child is effectively being compensated for that with the purchase of newer clothes and the like.

On the other hand, if we assume that the child was given permission by the parent to use these clothes, and play with the provided toys, for a customarily acceptable period of time or until they grow out of them, then the matter is fairly straightforward. Consequently, the parent retains the full right and disposal over such items, regardless of whether or not the child permits such an action.

However, it is also important to strive not to be come too legalistic in such issues because this is not how people have lived, or should do so. Rather, the basis is that the parent is responsible for the caring upbringing of the child in a manner which develops his humanity and character, in accordance with the Sacred Law. And this responsibility entails some level of generic permission to do what’s best, as long as the child is not wronged in any way.

[As understood from: Kasani, Bada‘i al-Sana‘i fi Tartib al-Shara‘i; Qadri Pasha, al-Ahwal al-Shakhsiyya]

Please also see: Rights of Children in Detail and: Raising Children with Deen and Dunya

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

Wassalam
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam was born and raised in Ipswich, England, a quiet town close to the east coast of England. His journey for seeking sacred knowledge began when he privately memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown at the age of 16. He also had his first experience in leading the tarawih (nightly-Ramadan) prayers at his local mosque. Year after year he would continue this unique return to reciting the entire Quran in one blessed month both in his homeland, the UK, and also in the blessed lands of Shaam, where he now lives, studies and teaches.

Is It Allowed to Call Anyone Son Except Your Child?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaikum,

I have a cousin brother who is around 7 to 8 yrs elder than me. He calls me betaa (son in urdu) for fun. I don’t like it. I even don’t like to tell him to stop.

Is it allowed in Islam to call anyone son except your child?


Answer:
Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

What is prohibited is denying your ascription and lineage to your father. As for somebody calling another person “son,” out of affection or love, there’s nothing wrong with it, as is the case if it’s said in jest.

Please also see: Can a Man Change His Last Name?

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Bengin Ahmad

Can In-Laws Force a Daughter-In-Law to Have a Child?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: In Islam, can in-laws pressure or force a daughter-in-law to have a child?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for clarifying this sensitive issue.

Force

No, in-laws cannot force a daughter-in-law to have a child. The issue of starting a family is a private matter between husband and wife.

However, it is only natural for aging in-laws to strongly desire grandchildren. As always, the key is balance.

Boundaries

It was narrated from Aishah that the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said:
“Allah is Gentle and loves gentleness in all things.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

My advice is to be gentle, and firm. When the topic of having children is forcefully raised, repeat the same thing. Come to a decision with your husband about what your response will be. You must both be on the same page. A possible response is, “May Allah reward you for your concern. Please make dua for us.”

Empathy

It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “The believer who mixes with people and bears their annoyance with patience will have a greater reward than the believer who does not mix with people and does not put up with their annoyance.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

Try to exercise empathy. Gently ask your in-laws what their concerns are. Some in-laws have valid concerns about infertility if other family members have struggled with this issue. Others are afraid they will pass away before they have a grandchild. It’s easier for them to mask their vulnerability with an angry order to hurry up and have children. Try your best to reassure them. InshaAllah, you will be rewarded for having patience with them.

Please refer to the following links:

A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

My Husband and I Argue a Lot in Front of Our Small Daughter and It Scares Her. What Should I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My husband and I argue a lot in front of our 3 year old daughter. She often gets scared seeing this. Many times my husband has called me names or told me to shut up in front of her. I am very worried about the impact this will have on her.

What should I do to protect her?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah lift this tribulation from your family.

Professional help

Dear sister, it sounds like you and your husband need professional help. It is traumatising for your daughter to see your husband disrespect you so openly. Unless this changes, when she grows up, your daughter will expect the same from her husband. Kind and respectful treatment from a husband will be strange to her. May Allah protect her and all children from this.

I urge you both to see a culturally-sensitive counsellor and get help. Your husband needs to learn anger management strategies, and you both need to learn conflict resolution skills.

Solutions

Please perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night and ask Allah to help heal your marriage.

When registration reopens, I encourage you and your husband to complete Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life. You must both learn and understand the spirit and law behind a successful Islamic marriage. Shouting matches have absolutely no space in a healthy marriage.

Please visit the #staymarried blog and study their resources, especially on conflict resolution.

Oppression

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

Allah has entrusted your daughter to you and your husband. If staying together will only cause even more oppression, then it is time to look at the future of your marriage.

Although divorce is the most hated of all permissible things to Allah, if it means your daughter will no longer be exposed to the trauma of watching her father oppress her mother, then it could be a mercy. That being said, please exhaust all options – counselling, dua, mediation by a trusted local scholar etc. Divorce is a last resort for you and your husband. You and your husband must do your best to make your marriage work. That being said, please don’t wait for decades before ending a destructive marriage.

Please write back if you have more questions.

I pray that Allah heals your marriage, and blesses your daughter with a loving and peaceful home.

Please refer to the following links:

A Little Fiqh on Controlling One’s Anger
Staying Connected to Your Purpose Even When Your Marriage is Rocky, by Ustadha Anse Tamara Gray

Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani