How Do I Deal with Obsessive Thoughts about Purity and Filth?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Religion has become really difficult for me. I fear becoming impure, which means I can’t offer my prayers.

If my husband touches the phone after intimacy I feel that impurity is transferred. I feel like impurity has travelled everywhere and I keep cleaning.

I feel Allah will not forgive me for this. If an impure hand touches a place do I have to wipe the place 3 times or just once is enough?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well.

May Allah grant you ease in your tribulation.

Purity and filth

Fiqh-wise, washing with water just once is sufficient to clean medium filth. Three times is recommended.

In the Shafi’i school of thought, examples of filth include:

-anything which exits the front or rear private parts other than sperm or female sexual fluid
-any animate life which dies without being Islamically slaughtered, other than aquatic life, locusts or human beings
-dogs, swine of their offspring (major filth)

from Al-Maqasid, Nawawi’s Manual of Islam

Certainty vs Doubt

There is a legal maxim in which certainty is not lifted by doubt. Suspecting that something has filth on it does not make it so. You must be absolutely certain that there is filth on your hand (you must be able to see it, smell it, etc), instead of suspecting that it is there.

Obsessive thoughts

Are you able to consult a skilled and compassionate therapist? It sounds like you are struggling with obsessive thoughts, and it is very difficult to overcome this on your own. Therapists are trained to help you manage these symptoms, and a good therapist can help you uncover and heal the root cause of your pain. In the meantime, please consider listening to this OCD treatment track on Hypnosis Downloads.

The rules of purity and filth in Islam are clear and simple, and are not meant to burden you in any way. To give you some peace of mind, please enrol in a fiqh class, either Hanafi or Shafi’i, and revise the rulings on purity and filth.

I pray that Allah helps you take the means to heal.

Please refer to the following links:

Key principles relating to certainty, doubt and baseless misgivings (waswasa)

Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

How to Strengthen Faith in Allah and Return to Him? A Reader

“Verily, Allah is more delighted with the repentance of His slave than a person who lost his camel in a desert land and then finds it.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

How Do I Strengthen My Faith and Truly Repent?

How Can I Strengthen My Iman When It Hits Rock Bottom?

Doubts About Islam: I Don’t Find Any Observable Effect or Peace in My Worship

Finding Allah with the Broken Hearted – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Weak Iman, Misgivings, and Loving the Messenger (Allah Bless Him and Give Him Peace)

Satanic Whisperings (Waswasa) as a Trial from Allah: Punishment or Blessing?

How Can I Strengthen My Belief in the Unseen?

Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

The Door to Good: Keep on Remembrance of Allah – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him), “Keep your tongue moist with remembrance of Allah.”

This call to remembrance is a consistent theme of the Qur’an and Sunna, because remembrance of Allah:

(1) renews faith;
(2) clarifies the purpose of life–namely, seeking Allah’s pleasure, love, and closeness;
(3) instills resolve to strive for excellence in one’s life and actions–through turning to the Prophetic example;
(4) safeguards one from harm–as one in remembrance of Allah is far less likely to disobey Him.

A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)

Related courses

The Heart of the Qur’an: Surah YaSin Explained

Principles of Islamic Spirituality

Is it Possible To Dispel Doubts About Islam by Increasing One’s Worship?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Khan
Question: For the last two years I’ve been having many doubts related to Islam.Rather than addressing these doubts, I have kept pushing these thoughts to the side, and increased my deeds. However, my questions have not gone away after doing these deeds. Should I temporarily put a pause on these actions until I find answers for the questions that I have?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and states. Please pardon me for the delay in answering your question.
The two are not mutually exclusive. You should continue with your acts of devotion and memorization of Qur’an, and you should also find someone qualified to address your questions/doubts.
Doubts are very normal, especially in our time and milieu of the (post)modern world, with its skepticism, relativism, and overall global hegemonic monoculture. But they are from the devil, or from genuine confusion, both of which are easily dispelled by scholars of intellect and spiritual depth. Moreover today’s skepticism and relativism are new in form, yet their essential content has existed for generations; and Islam has a very rich scholastic tradition that dealt with philosophical misgivings from its earliest times.
Please consider taking some related courses on SeekersHub online, and feel free to send us your specific concerns through the answers service.
Please see also: Doubts About Islam: I Don’t Find Any Observable Effect or Peace in My Worship and: What is the Ruling For Someone Who Has Thoughts of Disbelief Without Saying Them Aloud?
And Allah knows best.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

How Do I Strengthen My Faith and Truly Repent?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question:1) How can one be firm in faith? What causes faith not to stay firm in the heart?

2) I know we have to repent immediately for sins but my repentance is not sincere as there is no strong remorse, so how can I truly repent? Please help me.
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. You have asked a very important question – many of us are concerned about how to make our faith firm in our hearts, and how to truly repent. May Allah bless you manifold for your deep concern about such weighty matters.
Turn to Allah in Sincere Supplication
My first suggestion is for you to turn directly to Allah using this beautiful dua every time you start to feel a dip in your faith, and after each prayer:
Shahr ibn Hawshab (Allah be well-pleased with him) said, “I said to Umm Salama, ‘O Mother of the believers! What was the most frequent supplication of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and give him peace, when he was with you?’ She said, “His most frequent supplication was, ‘O Turner of the hearts, make my heart firm in Your deen!’” [Tirmidhi]

‏يا مقلب القلوب ثبت قلبي على دينك‏
Ya muqallibal-qulubi, thabbit qalbi ‘ala deenika

Faith and Knowledge
Ultimately, it is not knowledge, books, or teachers who can grant you lasting faith, but it is only Allah’s Mercy which descends and makes faith firm in your heart. Make it a point to study at least one book on belief with a qualified teacher (e.g. The Creed of Imam Tahawi) to strengthen your understanding of our belief as Muslims. I recommend the course on Islamic Belief on SeekersGuidance.
Attaining solid faith is a lifelong journey, so be kind and patient with yourself as you strengthen your faith. We live in a time of instant gratification, so remind yourself that attaining lasting faith is a tremendous gift which cannot be attained simply because we want it right now.
Keep your faith on the increase through daily good works using all of your limbs e.g. kindness with your tongue, charity with your wealth, service with your limbs. Link all of your actions to attaining Allah’s pleasure, and inshaAllah, your faith will strengthen. Do your best to avoid sin, because that darkens the heart and is a blow to your faith.
Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Verily, Allah is more delighted with the repentance of His slave than a person who lost his camel in a desert land and then finds it (unexpectedly).” [Bukhari and Muslim]
On the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) say: Allah the Almighty said: O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great at it. [Tirmidhi]
Know that Allah loves the repentance of His servants, and it is a sign of His Concern for you that you wish to make good your repentance. Attaining deeper levels of repentance takes continual practice. Please explore this brilliant reader on repentance. I pray it is of benefit to you.
To cultivate your heart, commit to saying “astaghfirullah” a 100 times every day. Pick a time where you can sit, face the qibla, be in a state of wudu, and be truly be present with your Lord. Before or after Fajr, or Isha prayer are often times of quiet. Even if it feels dry on your tongue, persist until it comes alive in your heart, and then all of your limbs will follow. Strive to rise before Fajr prayer, even if it’s for five minutes, to cry out to your Lord.
May Allah bless you and all believers with lasting faith, sincere repentance, and hearts alive with remembrance of Him.
Please refer to these following links:
Doubts About Islam: I Don’t Find Any Observable Effect or Peace in My Worship
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long
Weak Iman, Misgivings, and Loving the Messenger (Allah Bless Him and Give Him Peace)
I Have Baseless Misgivings (Waswasa) About the Soundness of My Faith and My Marriage
Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Struggling With My Faith: In Desperate Need of Guidance

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari
Question: I am a born muslim female who lives in America. I wear the hijab. I have hit rock bottom. I barely pray the five daily prayers and I find myself not wanting to listen to anything that has to do with religion. I have been struggling with this problem for quite a while now and I am extremely miserable. Nothing makes sense in my life anymore. I question everything that I thought I believed. Please help me.
Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful
Dear Sister,
Assalamu alaikum.
Thank you for your question.
Please consider everything that is going on around you. The situation you describe appears to go beyond a detachment from religion and points toward possible clinical depression. Have you thought about consulting with a mental health professional? If normally pleasurable activities (prayer, Qur’an, etc.) are no longer pleasurable, it could be an indication that something else is going on. Also, what are your relationships like? Has someone let you down? How much time are you spending online? There’s a constant barrage of anti-Islam vitriol on the web.
I’m asking these questions because it’s hard to give a clear answer without knowing more about you and your life.
Faith can wax and wane; rarely is it ever a constant. Even the Sahaba, as elevated as they were, were still mortals who dealt with episodes of spiritual uncertainty, low iman, and self-doubt.
The key is to not detach completely. Don’t stop listening to and reading the Qur’an. Don’t stop praying. Don’t isolate yourself from the community. Don’t stop listening to religious advice. If you do, something more fearful might replace these.
The Qur’an is a balm. Prayer is a medicine. Community can be a lifeline. And religious advice can be very centering.
I highly recommend you listen to the SeekersGuidance IslamCast with Shaykh Yahya Rhodus–click here. I listened to it at a very difficult time and it was calming.
May Allah grant ease,
Zaynab Ansari
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Waswas [Baseless Misgivings] Regarding Apostasy and Purity

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: I suffer from waswas regarding impurity and apostasy.
1) Regarding impurity: I have doubts regarding the cleanliness of a place or an area. For example I get a tought that I know that on this area of the bedsheet I wiped pus. That spot where I have wiped it has no signs of taste, colour nor smell but this place now gets wet with water. Will it make me impure?
Also where I live hairspray is used a lot. It gets on the floor and I wonder if it is impure or not because I have doubts regarding the spray containing impure substances or not. Also touching washroom doorknobs and all becomes hard for me. How do I deal with this?
2) Regarding apostasy: I am really confused about what kind of actions put someone out of the fold of Islam. So I experience a lot of waswas regarding a lot of actions and I have a tendency to overanalyse them by fear of committing Kufr. So I would like some knowledge regarding this subject.It would really help me.
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
I pray this reaches you in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
(1) You should ignore all of it. The sunna with misgivings and doubts is to completely ignore them. Even strong doubts are not acted upon. We act on the basis of certainty, and this is the sunna and what is called for. All else is contrary to the sunna and a sure way to make way for further woes.
(2) What takes you out of the fold of Islam is denying that which brought one into it. See ​: What is the Ruling For Someone Who Has Thoughts of Disbelief Without Saying Them Aloud?
Please see: I Have Baseless Misgivings (Waswasa) About the Soundness of My Faith and My Marriage…
And Allah alone gives success.
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Misgivings Regarding Apostasy and How to Deal with Them

Answered by Dr Asim Yusuf
Question: Alhamdulillah, I have been  through a lot of  hardship. I have been a Muslim Alhamdulillah for 8-9 years, because I wanted to accept the Islamic beliefs because I felt different and my heart found it to be from common sense to accept it. My heart says about the Islamic belief: “This is what you should accept”, so I accepted it. But after that,  I was with an islamic sect which was   preaching Takfirism on  other muslims, and making a bad image of Islam for many Muslims. But alhamdulillah I found out that they are deviants. Their belief is in contradiction to the beliefs of the Ahlus Sunnah. Then I found another sect, I thought they  were the real Ahlus Sunnah but then I found out that they are also wrong in their belief. 
I no longer remember how many times I left and then re-entered Islam.   This happened many times, all because I was talking without knowledge and saying many blasphemous words without realizing it. But for the last time, I went back to Islam again, because I want to stay Muslim and die as a Muslim. I’ve repented and I am still repenting for all that kufr beliefs I had. I want to stay Muslim. But I keep having these thoughts that I am not a Muslim, but rather a hypocrite and a disbeliever.  
When I have blasphemous thoughts, am I still a Muslim or an apostate?
Please help me with this, it is really distressing and I don’t know what to do.
Answer: Was salam Dear Questioner,
‘shifa al-‘ayy al-su’al (the cure for confusion is to ask)’ (Abu Dawud)
May Allah bring comfort to your heart – the tranquillity that comes through finding peace in Allah. May you be of those about whom Allah said in the Quran, ‘then, after distress, He sent down upon you tranquillity…’ (Aal Imran 3:175)
You have raised a number of issues in your email that I will address in brief. It should be noted that each of these points have been discussed at great length in our scholarly history, and where possible, I would point you to beneficial, balanced and succinct summaries of these discussions. What I’d like to you bear in mind right at the outset, though, is that you are not alone in any one of these dilemmas. I personally am aware of many people who struggle needlessly with the same issues for years before finally asking about them.
And there are yet many others who never do ask, remaining tortured by self-doubt till the end of their days. This is why I am very happy that you have had the courage to lay bare your heart and pose the questions that you have: through a single person’s sincere questioning, many others will derive benefit, and you will only realise how far the fruits of your endeavour have spread on the Day of Judgment.
1. What is ‘true Islam’?
On your journey to and through Islam, you have clearly encountered a number of groups, all of whom claim (no doubt sincerely believing it) that they represent ‘true’ Islam. It is an inevitable consequence of limited human minds coming into contact with the infinite grandeur of the Divine that many try to squash ultimate truth into their own worldviews, thereby distorting and limiting it. The great Sufi mystic and poet Rumi said, ‘everyone wanted to become my friend through their understanding of me / but they missed the secret within me!’
This is why Allah and the Blessed Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him and his family) warned about the dangers of attempting to interpret Revelation without deep insight, long training and outside of the collegiate consultation processes of the scholarly tradition. Our master, Ali, may God illuminate his countenance, gave us words of wisdom that are particularly relevant in your case: ‘truth is not known through people – rather, recognise the truth and you will know its people.’
Matters become more problematic when groups become exclusivist – claiming not just that the truth lies with them, but that the truth only lies with them and no-one else. Beware of those who narrow God’s mercy by declaring that the wide, clear, well-lit highway of Islam (mahhajatan bayda) is in fact a rickety bridge across an abyss! This has never been the way of normative Islamic belief – indeed the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him and his family) gave a severe warning about the dangers of accusing others of disbelief: ‘when one Muslim accuses another of disbelief, one of them certainly has disbelieved.’
He also severely castigated Usama bin Zaid (one of his most beloved young companions) for killing an enemy soldier on the battlefield despite the latter having shouted out the testimony of faith just before the deathblow. Even though the defeated man was most likely only trying to save his own skin, the Prophet (s) said to Usama, ‘did you look into his heart and ascetrtain the truth of the matter?!’ Both these hadiths indicate that faith should be assumed even with the smallest of signs.
Accordingly, one of the most widely accepted statements of belief in Islam, the Aqida Tahawiyya, clearly states, ‘we do not make disbelievers of any of those who pray towards our Qibla…’ Abu Hanifa, who was a great theologian as well as a legal scholar, is well-known to have said, ‘if a statement contains 99 meanings of disbelief and only one meaning of faith, then discard the 99!’
The scholars of the Ahl al-Sunna have been extremely wary about anathematizing people, as is clear from many of their statements. The groups that you mentioned in your email (whom I will not name here) are unfortunately well-known for this type of exclusivism, and whatever other benefit one might derive from their company (for Muslims of all stripes have a lot more in common with each other than differences) one should be wary of claims that ‘only we are going to heaven!’ There’s a lot more room on the ‘peace train’ of Allah’s mercy!
2. What entails disbelief
This subject is tackled in classical legal and doctrinal texts at some length; however, it boils down to a very simple principle: the only thing that can remove a person from Islam is clear denial of what brought them into it. This entails denial of what is necessarily known by every Muslim – scholar or lay-person – such as the unity of God, the Prophethood of our Master Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him and his family), the obligation of prayer, the prohibition of alcohol, and so forth.
You can’t trip up and stumble out of the religion by mistake; you really have to try! The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him and his family) said, ‘I have left you upon a wide, clear highway, whose night is [just as clear as] its day. None will deviate from it save one who destroys himself.’ I would advise you to take a course such as this one to further strengthen your faith. More detailed courses are also easily available on the Seeker’s Guidance website.
Much of what you are concerned about – having ‘apostated’ repeatedly, by ’talking without knowledge’ and ‘uttering blasphemous words’ – is most probably of no legal or doctrinal significance. Many people have obsessive doubts (waswasa) about having left Islam or blasphemed, whether because of thoughts that come to them, stray words or slips of the tongue. Unfortunately, this is sometimes compounded by unwise but zealous Muslims who have failed to understand both the breadth of God’s mercy and the moderate inclusivism of His Divine Law. Such people, unfortunately, are unwitting tools of Shaytan, who seeks to sow doubt where there was certainty, despair where there was hope, and weakness where there was strength.
Do not listen to them, nor the same whispers within your heart. Allah says, ‘the devil threatens you with poverty and commands you to obscenity; God promises you his forgiveness and blessings…’ As mentioned earlier, such doubts are part of the human condition, with some more affected by them than others. This is an extremely important subject that confuses many people, and is dealt with beautifully in this course. Our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings upon him and his family) has given us hope and guidance when afflicted in this way.
3. What does NOT entail disbelief
a. Blasphemous thoughts:
i. The sahaba came to the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him and his family) and said, ‘sometimes terrible thoughts occur to us and we fear that we have left Islam!’ He replied, ‘this is pure faith!’ (Sahih Muslim) Imam Nawawi explains that the fact that one is so troubled by these thoughts is a sure sign of one’s faith.
ii. The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him and his family) also said, ‘Allah has overlooked for my community the [sinful] whisperings of their hearts, so long as they do not act upon them or give them voice [believing in them].’ (Sahih Muslim)
b. Slips of the tongue
i. ‘Actions are only [judged] by intentions, and every person will be requited only for what they intended.’ This is the very first hadith of Sahih al-Bukhari and is known as the single most important hadith in the entire religion.
ii. Statements are always understood according to what was clearly meant, even if the words are mangled. A person who intends in their heart to pray Asr but accidentally says, ‘Oh Allah I intend to perform zuhr,’ does not need to repeat their prayer – it is accepted that he meant Asr. If this is the case for an action, it applies even more so for that which affects one’s very faith!
iii. Allah says, ‘Allah does not censure you for slips of your tongue in oaths, but rather for what your hearts have wrought.’
c. Unwitting statements
i. This is a slightly more controversial topic. If a person utters something clearly blasphemous without understanding that it is in fact blasphemous, have they left the fold of Islam. The understanding of the classical Sunni tradition is that they have not, because they did not intend blasphemy. However, sometimes zealous Muslims take statements of the scholars out of context to conclude the opposite. Examples of such statements (eg: ‘whoever engages in a pillow-fight whilst the jumua khutba is being delivered has committed kufr!’) are understood to mean ‘disbelief is feared for a person if they did or said such a thing intending to mock or belittle the religion.’
ii. If a person makes you fear you have left the religion because of such a thing, follow the advice of Abdullah Ibn Abbas. A man came to him and said, ‘people accuse me of being a disbeliever!’ He replied, ‘say, ‘there is no God but Allah, and make liars of them!’
In answer to your questions, then: a momentary doubt about Allah’s existence does not entail kufr, and a momentary ‘hesitation’ about belief in Allah is not kufr either. Both of these are satanic whispers (waswasa) and should be ignored or rebutted. Allah has already saved you from disbelief – dare to believe it and place your trust in Him. A person who fears not being Muslim is by definition a Muslim – in fact, they have tasted the sweetness of faith!
The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him and his family) said, ‘with three things is the sweetness of faith experienced: to love Allah and His Messenger more than anything else, to love one another for the sake of Allah, and to fear disbelief as one would fear being cast into a fire.’ Remember also that Allah’s capacity for mercy utterly beyond anything you can imagine, and far greater than your capacity to sin. He says, in a hadith Qudsi, ‘Oh my worshipper: if you come to be with a world’s worth of sin, I will come to you with a world’s worth of forgiveness!’
4. Parting advice
a. Be in the company of good friends – those who give you peace and certainty, and who do not fill you with despair and doubt.
b. ‘Leave that which causes you to doubt for that which leaves you in no doubt.’
c. Always remember that Islam is an easy and simple faith: there are no theological traps waiting to ensnare you here.
d. If the doubts persist, seek out the help of a well-respected, moderate and wise local scholar who can advise you specifically
e. If all of this does not work, remember that severe doubts are sometimes a symptom of a medical/psychological problem – don’t be afraid to seek professional help (says the Psychiatrist!)
f. Recite the Kalima, Sura al-Ikhlas and salawat on the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him and his family) in abundance – BUT NOT because you feel you have fallen into disbelief, but rather to increase you in faith, surety and love of Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings upon him and his family).
g. This is a religion of mercy – don’t ever despair of that mercy.
h. Lastly, make dua for me, my family and my teachers: for you are clearly a better Muslim than I!
Was salam
Abd Faqir
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Misgivings Regarding Intentions and How to Memorize Qur’an

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Im always getting doubts about my intentions, how do I know they are sincere? I keep getting shirk thoughts. For memorizing the Quran I basically don’t even tell my family that I want to memorize because I think I will be insincere. And can I memorize on my own without a sheikh? And in what order is it recommend to Memorize Quran which is easiest.
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
The basis is that we ignore misgivings.
Sincerity is something we are all striving for. We recognise our shortcomings, repent for the way things are, and then renew our resolve and intention and continue our efforts. The believers are people of action. The devil can easily trick us into making us doubt our intentions in everything such that we are left with nothing. Seek refuge in Allah, repent and renew your resolve regularly, and ask Allah for tawfiq and sincerity.
Please see: POSTS TAGGED ‘SINCERITY’ and: Intention: Validity And Sincerity and: The Reality and Importance of Intention and: Should I Remove the Hijab Because I Am a Bad Example for Others?
And consider taking: Purification of the Heart & Praiseworthy Character (from Ghazali’s 40 Foundations of Religion)
As for your specific questions:
(1) You can begin to memorize, but you should seek out a teacher. It is easy to delude oneself into thinking one has memorized correctly when the reality is otherwise.
(2) One suggestion would be to start with shorter surahs from the 30th Juz’, and then progress to the 29th Juz’, then 28th and so on. Once you are able to memorize quickly and comfortably, and have strong aspiration (himma), you can start from the 1st Juz’.
And Allah alone gives success.
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Is Someone Who Persists in Committing a Sin Considered a Muslim?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Is someone who is persistent in sin classed as Muslim. I always believed so but I recently came across this briefly:
1.Istihzaa- that is making a mockery of Deen.
2.Islihlaal- That is to regard something halal which is clearly haram in Shariah for example Interest.
3.Istikhfaaf- that is to treat the laws of Shariah lightly and with total disregard.
Is it correct to say that enjoying a sin (persistently/not persistently), such as watching a tv program with sin (violence) would constitute Istihzaa and therefore Kufr, even though they still believe the act is haraam and have not denied it? Could you also elaborate on point 3 on when this would occur?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
No, somebody who persists in sin remains a believer.
Doubts about Faith
Works alone do not take one out of the fold of Islam. And the basis is that someone is a believer. When in doubt, one should consult about the specifics. [see: What is the Ruling For Someone Who Has Thoughts of Disbelief Without Saying Them Aloud?]
Doubts and misgivings are nothing new. The devil has been in work for some time now, and he is well-aware of how to confuse people and sow the seeds for their self-destruction.
Some of the Companions once came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said, “We find within ourselves such notions that overwhelm any of us from speaking about it.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked: “Do you also experience it?” The Companions replied, “Yes.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied “That is real faith.” [Sahih Muslim]
Shaykh Nuh Keller comments, “As long as one has fear and disgust for passing thoughts of unbelief (kufr) and the like and does not make them convictions, they do no harm.”
[see: A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings) and: Good Deeds & Salvation: Putting Our Works Into Perspective ]
Disdain (istikhfaf) of the Religion
As for istikhfaf, of its meanings is disdain, scorn, neglect, or contempt which is defined as, “the feeling that a person or a thing is worthless or beneath consideration.” [Oxford]
Somebody who has istikhfaf of Allah, His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), or of anything he came with has committed apostasy.
Disdain (istikhfaf) can be with beliefs, words, or actions. For example, abuse or disdain of the sunna prayers, whether by heart or tongue, would be included here.
[al-Mawsu`ah al-Fiqhiyya al-Kuwaitiyya; `Ala’ al-Din `Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-`Ala’iyya]
Repentance and Turning to Allah
Returning to Allah is straightforward: sincere repentance and rectifying one’s error. It has three conditions: (a) to leave the sin, (b) remote of having committed the sin, and (c) to resolve never to return to it.
The door of repentance will remain open until the sun rises from the West. [see: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)]
Allah Most High says: “Say: My servants who have wronged yourselves, never despair of God’s mercy. God forgives all sins: He is truly the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” [39.53]
And He says, “Will they not then turn towards Allah in repentance and ask His forgiveness? And Allah is Ever-forgiving, All-merciful.” [5:74]
It is from the Supreme Mercy and Forgiveness of Allah that bad deeds are completely erased through repentance. And the sign of a truly sincere repentance is that you never return to that sin again.
Veneration and Respect
Veneration (ta`dhim) and deep respect of the symbols of Allah is from the religion. In general, this is venerating everything that has an ascription to Allah.
Allah Most High says, “Whoever honours God’s symbols shows the piety of their hearts.” [22.32] There is a connection between god-consciousness (taqwa) and veneration (ta`dhim). Increases in the former lead to increases in the latter.
Whatever happens in life, we should never forget this beautiful hadith of the beloved Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace): ’What an extraordinary thing the business of the believer is! All of it is good for him. And that only applies to the believer. If good fortune is his lot, he is grateful and it is good for him. If something harmful happens to him, he is steadfast and that is good for him too.’” [Muslim]
See also: Does Neglecting the Prayer Entail Disbelief? and: Performing Tarawih Prayers Again as an Imam
And Allah alone gives success.
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

How Do I Encourage My Siblings to Become Muslim?

Answered by Dr. Bano Murtuja

Question: I was blessed to accept Islam, but my siblings still haven’t done so.  How can I encourage them to become Muslim without being too aggressive or appearing wierd to my family.   Also, how can I tell them to become Muslim when I sometimes have doubts in my faith.  I feel hypocritical doing this.

Answer: Walaikum salam

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

In a well known aya of the Quran Allah (Exalted be He) speaks to the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) and tells him “Verily, you (Muhammad) guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills.” (Quran, al-Qasas, v. 56).

One of the most profound ways in which the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) and the companions spread the message of islam was through their character and practice. InshaAllah you should seek to maintain the best of character and continue to struggle in your own path.

Openly practicing your faith in front of your siblings goes a long way towards offsetting the obligation to inform them of the duties associated with Islam.

As they become more comfortable seeing you practice, the more interested they are the more they may be willing to approach you, and thus create opportunities to discuss your own thoughts further inshaAllah.

In addition to this, communicating with your siblings will be easier through stories of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him), his companions (may Allah be pleased with them) and about yourself.

To not look weird in front of your family, you first have to accept that your practice of Islam is not weird. It is simply a different choice than your siblings have chosen to make.

As for feeling hypocritical, one should not leave one good deed because another is not being observed. That said, dips in iman are natural, and provide us with an incentive to strive to attain the higher state we were once in. To perservere in practice despite struggling with ones iman is a very high state inshaAllah. To then talk of faith does not make you hypocritical.

Ultimately, know that Allah (Exalted be He) guides whom He wills, and as such, your greatest tool is dua.

May Allah (Exalted be He) make the path easy for you and your family bi’idhnillah.