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Dealing With Non-Muslim Parents (II)

Answered by Ustadh Faraz A. Khan

Question: My non-Muslim parents and relatives are against my practicing of Islam. Obedience and submission to God has no place in their mind. Since I am with them now, far away from scholars and people to ask for advice, my faith is terribly low. Here, I’m involved in sin because I don’t find the strength to tell my family I don’t shake hands with women and that I must fast in Ramadan. My mother seems to be unable to bear such changes because she had many trials in the last years. She cries almost every day. So I don’t know how to tell her that it’s not finished, there’s something more, it’s not just praying five times a day and not eating non halal meat and not having girlfriends.

I keep making supplication to be delivered from this situation but I think my faith is weak. I don’t uphold the prophetic character because it’s hard for me, having no living example around me, being sad and stressed for this situation, finding hard to communicate with people, particularly my parents, without starting talking about impermissible stuff, slandering, or things like that. Please advise me.

Answer:
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this reaches you in the best of health and faith. May Allah Most High shower you with blessings and ease for you your affairs, especially in the approaching blessed month of Ramadan.

Misgivings Regarding Weakness of Faith and Supplication Not Being Answered

In the Qur’an, Allah Most High calls the devil “the deceiver” [gharur], as he most often resorts to trickery and deception when casting misgivings in the breast of the believer. This is termed “satanic whispering” [waswasa], and is such a common tactic of the devil that Allah sealed His Book with the chapter that teaches us to seek refuge in Him Most High from such whisperings [Sura Nas].

Moreover, one of the aims of the devil’s whispering is to push the human being into despair and depression, making him feel so low as to lose all hope in Allah and His infinite mercy. When the believer entertains feelings of worthlessness and being undeserving of Allah’s compassion, he should immediately recognize those feelings as stemming directly from the devil and, as the Qur’an commands, “take him as an enemy” [35:6]. How does one respond to an enemy? Combat. This combat against the devil entails seeking refuge in Allah Most High, performing ablution, and turning one’s heart sincerely and solely to Allah Most High, in full hope, reliance, gratitude and love of the Divine. These lofty states of the heart are the most potent weapons against Satan, as he despises nothing more than a believer expressing love and gratitude towards Allah. Part of having true hope in Allah is to be certain that He will answer one’s supplication, as He Himself states in the Qur’an, “Call on Me, and I will surely answer you” [40:60]. This is a promise from Allah, and as He Most High states, “Allah never breaks His promise” [3:9].

Increasing the strength of one’s faith is a gradual process, and one should not get disheartened by slips and lapses in one’s practice, but rather take the means to ensure long-term growth and improvement. These include learning one’s religion, implementing what one learns to the best of one’s ability, and turning to Allah for help in obeying His commands. In light of your being a convert to Islam, I would recommend taking the steps outlined in the following answer with regards to dealing with your non-Muslim parents:

Love For Your Parents and When Not to Obey

Allah and His Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] exhort the believer to love his parents and family, whether they are Muslim or not. The believer’s attitude towards his family should reflect ihsan, or kindness and excellence in conduct, in all circumstances. Allah Most High says, “And We have enjoined upon man kindness to his parents” [29:8]. However, obedience to one’s parents is conditioned upon it being in accordance with the Sacred Law. As such, the verse continues, “But if they strive to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not.” Allah Most High gives the example of parents trying to compel their child to engage in the most heinous of crimes, namely, associating partners with the Divine [shirk], yet the verse extends to anything prohibited by Allah. This is supported by the oft-cited prophetic statement, “There is no obedience to creation if it entails disobedience to the Creator” [Tabarani]. On a practical note, I would strongly encourage you to take courses on Islamic law [fiqh] to learn the limits of the Sacred Law and when you can or cannot take legal dispensations when dealing with your parents.

Finally, to encourage the believer to be strong and steadfast in the face of such an overwhelming trial, that of refusing to obey one’s parents in sin while simultaneously displaying the kindness and excellence owed to them despite their attitude, Allah Most High ends the verse with the most important thing to keep in mind with trials, “To Me is your final return, so I will inform you of what you used to do.” [Nasafi/Madarik al-Tanzil] The believer’s destination is Allah, and as such his hope is in Allah, his heart is with Allah, his days are for Allah, his nights are for Allah, and his very breaths are for Allah. The believer desires nothing except to win the good pleasure of his Lord. Keeping one’s destination in mind alleviates the toils of the journey, no matter how arduous, especially when the destination is one of ultimate joy and felicity.

Feelings of Being Left Without Guidance

If your questions to scholars are not being answered immediately, be patient and have a good opinion of both those scholars as well as Allah. Allah would never leave a servant without guidance; rather, such delays are part of the trials of life that He gives us to test our patience and contentment with the Divine Decree. Have the very best opinion of your Lord, and you will find Him to be as you conceive of Him. If you have firm conviction that He is always with you and will always give you a way out of your troubles, then He will never leave you in a bind. Our Beloved Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] taught us that Allah says, “I am in the opinion of My servant” [Bukhari].

Remember also that such thoughts, that Allah would leave you without guidance, are again from the devil’s whispering, so take him as an enemy and never believe his vicious lies.

Fasting in Ramadan and Your Mother’s Feelings

If you are of sound health then you must fast in Ramadan. Do not worry about your mother’s emotions. Treat her with as much kindness, love and respect as you are able to, and leave the rest to Allah. The word for “heart” in Arabic is qalb, derived from a root meaning “to turn over or change.” Human hearts by their very nature are constantly changing, swaying from one emotion to the next, except those who Allah Most High makes steadfast on the truth. Remember that everything in this universe, including the emotional state of your parents, is in Allah’s hands. Our Beloved Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] is reported to have said, “The hearts of the children of Adam, all of them, are between two fingers of the fingers of the All-Merciful, like one single heart; He turns them whichever way He wants” [Muslim]. And Allah says in the Qur’an, “And verily, He alone is the One who causes laughter and causes crying” [53:43]. So consign the matter of your mother’s heart and emotional states to Him, and trust His wisdom and decree. He is in full control, and He will never let you down, inshaAllah.

Dealing with Hardship

Focus instead on your own heart and relationship with Allah. The above hadith regarding human hearts ends with the following beautiful supplication: “O Turner of hearts, make my heart steadfast on Your obedience.”

اللّهُمَّ مُصَرِّفَ الْقُلُوْبِ صَرِّفْ قُلُوْبَنَا عَلى طَاعَتِك

Along with this supplication, keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah, send abundant blessings upon the Messenger, and learn about his blessed life and character [peace and blessings be upon him]. The more one learns about his life, the more tranquility one finds in the face of hardship.

Lastly, remember the following words of our Beloved Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] and realize that the hardship you face brings much good for you in both this life and the next: “No toil, sickness, anxiety, sadness, harm, or stress afflicts a Muslim – even the thorn that pricks him – except that with it, Allah erases some of his sins” [Bukhari, Muslim].

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam
Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Faraz A. Khan has lived in Amman, Jordan, for several years studying and teaching traditional Islamic sciences, with a focus on Hanafi jurisprudence, hadith studies, theology, logic, and Arabic grammar. He translated and annotated the classical Hanafi primer “Ascent to Felicity” (Maraqi ‘l-Sa`adat) by Imam Shurunbulali, recently published by White Thread Press.

The Loss of a Child: Seeking & Turning to Allah in Difficult Times

Answered by Sidi Tabraze Azam

Question: Can you recommend any duas to restore strength or hope for parents who have lost a child through miscarriage or by stillbirth?

Answer: Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I hope you are in the best of health and spirits insha’Allah.

Firstly, take recourse with the words of Allah, Most High, “So truly with hardship comes ease. Truly with hardship comes ease.” [94:5-6] This is the promise of Allah.

Further, as we mentioned in a previous answer, “in times of difficulty, follow the Qur’anic advice, ‘Seek help through patience and prayer’ [2:45]. In such situations, it is call and a reminder from Allah to turn back to Him, be grateful for one’s blessings and to re-focus one’s heart to Allah.”

Turning to Allah in Supplication

Allah Most High states in the Qur’an, “If My slaves ask you about Me, I am near. I answer the call of the caller when he calls on Me.” [2:185] There are a number of prophetic supplications that one can make in this situation, such as:

أَسْأَلك الْهُدَى وَالتُّقَى وَالْعَفَاف وَالْغِنَى

“O Allah, I ask You for guidance, fearful awareness, chastity and self-sufficiency.”

اللهم أصلح لي ديني الذي هو عصمة أمري، وأصلح لي دنياي التي فيها معاشي، وأصلح لي آخرتي التي فيها معادي، واجعل الحياة زيادةً لي في كل خيرٍ، واجعل الموت راحةً لي من كل شر

“O Allah, put right for me my din in which lies the protection of my affair and put right for me this world in which lies my livelihood and put right for me the Next World in which is my future. Make life increase in every good thing for me and make death a rest for me from every evil thing.”

One should remember to make one’s supplications in a heartfelt manner, in absolute need of Allah and with a living heart that is engaged in intimate discourse with the Divine. Don’t feel obliged to make your supplications in Arabic, use any language you feel comfortable with and ask as He loves to be asked.

The Day of the Eclipse and the Passing of Sayyiduna Ibrahim (Allah be pleased with him)

It is related that al-Mughira ibn Shu’ba said, “There was a solar eclipse in the time of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, on the day that Ibrahim died and the people said, ‘The sun is eclipsed because of the death of Ibrahim.’ The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, ‘The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of anyone’s life or death. Rather they are two of the signs of Allah. When you see them, pray and make supplication to Allah.'” [Bukhari]

This hadith shows us how even the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was tested, the leader of the Prophets and the beloved of Allah. However, even therein he remembered and took recourse with his Lord. Therefore we should remember that we are being tested because Allah knows that we can handle it. “Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of God: for without doubt in the remembrance of God do hearts find satisfaction. [13:28]

The Intercession of the Child for their Parents

Scholars have mentioned that the children who pass away at a young age will be waiting for their parents on the day of judgement so they can take their parents by the hand into gardens of bliss.

Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, say, ‘If anyone has three of his children die young and resigns them to Allah, he will enter the Garden.’ We said, ‘Messenger of Allah, what about two?’ ‘And two,’ he said.” Mahmud ibn Labid said to Jabir, “By Allah, I think that if you had asked, ‘And one?’ he would have given a similar answer.” He said, “By Allah, I think so too.” [Bukhari, al-Adab al-Mufrad]

Khalid al-‘Absi said, “A son of mine died and I felt intense grief over his loss. I said, ‘Abu Hurayra, have you heard anything from the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, to cheer us regarding our dead?’ He replied, ‘I heard the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, say, “Your children are roaming freely in the Garden.” [ibid.]

Sahl ibn al-Hanzala, who had no children, said, “I would prefer to have a miscarried child while I am a Muslim and resign that child to Allah than to have the entire world and what it contains.” [ibid.]

This is an honour and a mercy to the parents and the child for which one should seek to be grateful, as thankfulness and patience increase one’s reward tremendously, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you.’ [14:7] If we only knew the reality, we would be drowning in joy.

Afflictions and the Muslim

Abu Yahya Suhayb ibn Sinan said, “The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, ‘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]

Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Believers, both men and women, will continue to be afflicted in respect of themselves, their children and their property until they meet Allah without any wrong actions at all.” [Tirmidhi]

This life is one of affliction, trials and tribulation and the next life will be one of tremendous bounty, everlasting happiness and eternal paradise for the one who attains it. There will be such bounty in paradise that when the inhabitants will be asked if they had any difficulty in the life of this world, they will say no, O Lord. Such will be there state in clothes of silk in gardens under which rivers flow. We say as our master Sayyiduna Ibrahim said to his Lord, ‘And place me among the inheritors of the Garden of Delight’ [26:85] May Allah make us all from amongst them. Amin.

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalaam,
Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Sidi Tabraze Azam was born and raised in Ipswich, England where he memorized the entire Qur’an.  He was awarded a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Management from the University of Leicester where he also served as the president of the Islamic society. In 2009, after a few years of private study, he left for Jordan for advanced studies of the Islamic sciences. He currently resides in Amman where he studies Arabic, fiqh, `aqidah, and tajwid, attaining ijaza in the recitation of Hafs.

Marrying a Potential Convert: Supplication, the Prayer of Guidance, and Following Allah’s Guidance

Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja

Question: I was working with a Catholic man and he has expressed an interest in becoming a Muslim, and wanting to marry me. He used to go to the mosque and was very close to becoming Muslim but his strict Catholic family didnt allow him to. Even when he said he accepted all the Islamic tenets, he couldnt deny Jesus dying on the cross. The last few months he again expressed an interest in becoming a Muslim and marrying me. I made a lot of supplication and prayed istikhara many times as I feel he would make an excellent Muslim and husband.  He is very pious, chaste, and charitable, and unfortunately I have allowed myself to form an attachment to this man. He has now moved abroad for a new job. To me this seems like a clear sign from Allah in answer to my istikhara that this man wasn’t for me. But how does one really know for sure if there istikhara has been answered?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I hope this message reaches you in the best of states inshaAllah. May Allah reward you for being concerned and seeking understanding in these matters of your life and may He guide you to that which is best for you in your religion, life, and hereafter.

It is not clear from your question whether the man has actually become Muslim or not. In either case, it is important to know that while you can make du`a that Allah guides him to Islam and brings you both together in marriage, you should not form an emotional attachment to him. Since this has unfortunately already happened, you need to realize that Allah does not want this of you and He only dislikes for His servants that which is harmful for them. Having conviction in this will help you to ease the pain in your heart and release your attachment to this man inshaAllah.

You should discontinue contact with the man in a polite manner suitable to the situation, since remaining in contact with him is not benefiting you. Please consider asking a Muslim male you trust, such as your brother or an Imam in the community, to keep contact with him in order that he has access to answers about Islam. Perhaps an Imam can explain to him the appropriate understanding of the Prophet Jesus (may Allah grant him peace) in Islam. Accepting that Jesus (may Allah grant him peace) did not die on the cross is something that is known by necessity to be a part of the religion. Allah says in unequivocal terms in the Qur’an:

“…and they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but so it was made to appear to them. And those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no knowledge, but only conjecture to follow. Of a surety they killed him not. Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself. And Allah is Exalted in Power and Wise.” [Al-Nisā’, 156-157]

Since his embracing of Islam and its tenets is a prerequisite to him being a potential husband for you, and it not clear that he is Muslim, it would not be proper to pray istikhara regarding marrying him, as you cannot supplicate for or seek guidance in something that is unlawful. Give the situation some time in order to allow yourself to pull out of the situation, physically (by involving someone you trust to sort out the man’s beliefs) and emotionally. Continue during this time to ask Allah for what is good for you. Then reevaluate the situation and move from there.

Regarding istikhara: The istikhara is a prayer in which one seeks guidance and good from Allah in a particular matter. This guidance and good as unfold on the plane of worldly causes and effects, not merely dreams and feelings – meaning that Allah facilitates what is best for one if one genuinely supplicates for the good and strives to do what is best. As Shaykh Faraz Rabbani describes,

“the sunna regarding actions is two-fold: (a) one takes the best and most effective of means; and (b) one places one’s trust and reliance on Allah. The istikhara is primarily related to the latter. It in no way negates one’s duty to take the proper steps in choosing a marriage partner of finding out the relevant details related to their worldly and religious life, their character, conduct, and personality.”

The hadith that you mentioned contains the Prophetic guidance to not despair in Allah’s mercy and to have conviction in His wishing well for us and His ultimate wisdom. If the slave truly understands their slavehood to Allah, they will never abandon supplicating to Him, because it is a manifestation of the realization of their poverty-stricken state and Allah’s supreme Richness, Completeness and Generosity. Supplication is furthermore an answer to Allah’s request, “…and call upon Me, I will answer you…” [Surat Ghafir, 60]. However, one has to know that Allah’s answering of a prayer comes in different forms.  Likewise the answer of our istikhara can be in a form that we do not anticipate. Allah may respond to one’s supplications by giving one what was supplicated for, or by withholding it in order to store up good for them in the Hereafter, or by withholding evil from one in his life. In a similar hadith the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) says,

“There is not upon the face of this earth a Muslim who calls upon Allah with a supplication except that Allah gives it to them or withholds from him a harm commensurate in measure [the the good he was seeking], as long as does not ask for the sinful or severing of kinship.” [Al-Tirmidhi]

May Allah guide you and us to that in which His pleasure lies.

Wassalam,
Sulma Badrudduja

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Dealing With Infertility

Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja

Question: I haven’t been able to have children, and so I was wondering: 1. What are the best duas to make in this situation? 2. How to deal with the various emotions and keep oneself inspired in the light of Quran and Sunnah? 3. Everything is absolutely in Allah’s hands, but how to deal with the guilt that a woman remained unable to give her husband children? 4. How to deal with various social pressures such as people belittling you, suggesting this is some kind of punishment, or suggesting that a husband should remarry again? 5. How to respond to the constant irritating questions from people about children?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

1. Some supplications to make to bear children are the following:

(a) The prayer of Sayyidna Zakariyya in the Qur’an,

رَبِّ لَا تَذَرۡنِى فَرۡدً۬ا وَأَنتَ خَيۡرُ ٱلۡوَٲرِثِينَ

“O Lord! Do not leave me single (childless, without an inheritor), and You are the best of inheritors” [Surat al-Anbiya, 89]

(b) Some scholars suggest the verse

وَٱلَّتِىٓ أَحۡصَنَتۡ فَرۡجَهَا فَنَفَخۡنَا فِيهَا مِن رُّوحِنَا وَجَعَلۡنَـٰهَا وَٱبۡنَهَآ ءَايَةً۬ لِّلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ إِنَّ هَـٰذِهِۦۤ أُمَّتُكُمۡ أُمَّةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬ وَأَنَا۟

رَبُّڪُمۡ فَٱعۡبُدُونِ

“And (remember) her [Maryam] who guarded her chastity. We breathed into her of Our spirit her and her son a sign for mankind and jinn. Truly, this is your religion, the one religion, and I am your Lord, so worship Me.” [Surat al-Anbiya, 91-92]

Follow this by the following prayers on the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace):

اللهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ طِبِّ القُلُوبِ وَدَوائِها وعَافِيَةِ الأَبْدانِ وَشِفَائِها ونُورِ الأَبْصارِ وضِيائِها وعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ وَسَلِّمْ

“O Allah, send blessings upon our master Muhammad, the medicine of hearts and their cure, the health of bodies and their healing, and the light of eyes and their illumination, and upon his family and companions, and send peace.”

(c) Also see this previous answer: Invocations to Bear Children.

2. Many of the most beloved people to Allah, such as Prophets and the wives of Prophets, were given the trial of not having children. As with any trial, one can draw closer to Allah through it by having patience and contentment, or one can be driven further away from Allah by becoming bitter and discontent. Many Prophets (may Allah be please with them) faced the trial of not having children and their correct response to the trial is what continued to increase them in degrees with Allah.

The Prophet (may Allah’s blessings be upon him), when asked about who suffers the greatest tribulations, answered, “The prophets, then those who come next to them, then those who come next to them. A man is afflicted in accordance to his religion. If his religion is firm, his trial is severe; if there is weakness in his religion, then it [the trial] is in accordance. Trials will continue for a servant until he walks on the earth having no sin.” [Tirmidhi]

He also said, “Trials will continue for the believing man and the believing woman, in person, property and children, until they meet Allah free from sin.” [Tirmidhi]

Remember Allah’s word in the Qur’an, “O you who have believed! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer: for certainly Allah is with those who patiently persevere. [Surat al-Baqara, 153]

Remember that each person has their own trial. Allah is the One who Gives, as He is the One who Withholds. If He withholds children from you, know that He has given you other innumerable blessings that require your gratitude. Likewise, though He has given others children, He has also withheld from them other blessings.

3. A wife should not feel guilty about not being able to give her husband children because the matter is ultimately in the hands of Allah. Just as every person’s rizq (provision) in money is determined, one’s rizq in other things in life has also been divinely apportioned. How many children one has is part of Allah’s decree.

Allah Most High says in the Qur’an, “To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows female (offspring) for whom He wills, and bestows male (offspring) for whom He wills. Or He joins them (bestows both), males and females. And He makes barren whom He will: for certainly, He is All-Knowing, All-Powerful.” [Surat al-Shura, 49-50]

4 & 5. The questions and hints you will receive from others about your personal struggle with infertility is out of your control. However, there are some things you can do to mitigate these awkward situations. You can answer that Allah grants children at the time He wills. You should answer confidently and in a manner that shows that you are pleased with what He has decreed. You can also curtly reply that Allah is the best of planners. If you don’t give further information, the other person should realize that it is not their concern and leave the matter. If you feel comfortable enough with the person, you may also simply ask them to make du`a for you for a healthy, righteous child.

May Allah grant you ease and increase you in closeness to Him.

wassalam,
Sulma

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani