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Someone Divorced Because of Me. Do I Need to Ask Forgiveness?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

I became like a brother to a married and pregnant woman, then her husband became jealous and divorced her. I never intended for this to happen. Do I need to ask forgiveness from him?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Gender interaction

SubhanAllah. May Allah heal the broken hearts of this woman’s household, and guide all of you to what pleases Him.

This tribulation is a painful reminder about the importance of observing the strict gender rules in Islam. Even though your intention was to help, you are not this woman’s mahram. It was a mistake for you to treat her like your older sister.

Yes, you must seek forgiveness from her husband. What he did to her was cruel, but you overstepped your boundaries with her by being an emotional support for her.

Emotional infidelity

This woman’s former husband sounds like a standard abuser: a jealous bully. Despite that, his anger is based on fact. His wife was emotionally involved with you. A healthier husband would have seen this as a red flag for his marriage and sought help through counselling. Unfortunately, he chose to act on his anger and lash back at her, instead of seeking help.

Take responsibility for your contribution to this, apologise to him, make a sincere repentance, and move forward. Learn from your mistakes.

It would have been much wiser for you to connect her with other Muslim sisters, instead of taking on that responsibility yourself. It sounds like she was lonely and she found solace in your companionship. This is how extra-marital affairs begin, as unimaginable as it may seem to you right now. Please see The Cheater’s Cascade and 5 Ways To Prevent Infidelity.

Moving forward

Unless you are sincere about marrying this woman, please end your relationship with her. It sounds like you were very close to her and even got to know her mother.

Marriage is the natural next step for you to make this relationship halal. Please enrol in and complete Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages.

It takes a real man to be a good husband and a loving stepfather. If you are not up to this, then end this chapter with apologising to her and her husband, and please do not contact her again. Each time you think of her, make istighfar, and make dua for her and her family.

I pray that Allah helps you make a sincere repentance, and grants all of you that which is pleasing to him.

Please see:

A Reader On Gender Interaction
A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)
Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered

Wassalam,

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

Is It Sinful for a Female Student to Be in Seclusion With a Male Examiner?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

As a female medical student I have to be in a room alone with a male examiner for examination.

Am I sinful? Does it mean that I can’t become a doctor?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

Being in seclusion with the opposite gender is prohibited. Scholars define “seclusion” as a man being alone with one woman who is not of unmarriageable kin (mahram) within an enclosed area in such a way that a third party is unable to see or enter upon them.

As I detailed elsewhere, the following scenarios would not be considered impermissible seclusion:

(a) a man and a woman being outside in public, such as a street or sidewalk.

(b) a man and a woman being in an enclosed area that people can and do routinely enter and exit without requiring permission, such as a mosque.

(c) a man and a woman being in an enclosed area that people cannot easily and routinely enter without permission but where they are visible to outsiders, such as a glass office whose door is closed.

(d) a man and a woman being in an enclosed area that people cannot easily and routinely enter without permission but where there is a barrier separating the two.

(e) a man and a woman being in an enclosed area that people cannot easily and routinely enter without permission but with another person present who is either (i) a mahram or spouse, (ii) an upright non-mahram man, (iii) an upright non-mahram woman, or (iv) a group of non-mahram woman.

[Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar (6:368) but interpreting category (e(iii)) as relating to very elderly woman; Nawawi, al-Majmu` (4:173-74); Mawsu`a al-Fiqhiya (19:267-68)]

As such, if you are in a room for your examination with only one other male with the door of this room being closed in a manner that people are not able to see you or enter upon, this would be considered seclusion.

However, in cases where there is a genuine need and no alternative for a non-seclusion examination setting, it would be permissible as an exception to the original rule. In your case, there is a genuine need. Therefore, there will be no blame upon you for sitting such an examination.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas 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.

Is It Permissible to Attend a Mixed Gathering? [Video]

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Is it permissible to attend a mixed gathering?

Answer:  Wa’leykum Salam,

Here is a video answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani to this question:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and Executive Director of SeekersHub Global After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersHub Global to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims (The Muslim500).

How Do I Give Da’wah to (Call to Islam) the Opposite Gender?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I am part of a da’wah effort in our city centre. Often, members of the opposite gender approach us and ask about Islam. Not all of their nudity is covered, and sometimes I have to look at them to communicate effectively. Is the odd glance permissible, or must I avoid looking at them altogether?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Da’wah

A general rule: It is wiser to make continual da’wah to a person of the same gender.

In the meantime:

1) Uphold the principles of gender interaction.
2) Involve Muslim sisters in ongoing da’wah effort with women, and aim to ‘hand over’ all ongoing interaction to said Muslim sisters.

Lowering gaze

In regards to your excellent question, please refer to this excerpt from Ustadha Zaynab’s answer:

Guarding your gaze is a good practice that fosters modest interaction between the sexes. The Quran commands both believing men and women to guard their gaze. Unfortunately, many Muslims have lost this practice. What guarding the gaze means is that you should refrain from staring at a woman’s face (if she’s not a member of your unmarriageable kin or your wife). It does not mean keeping one’s eyes glued to the ground. In Western societies, guarding one’s gaze can sometimes be interpreted as a lack of assertiveness or respect for the other person.


However, with Muslims, guarding one’s gaze indicates respect for the other person’s space and modesty of intention. Our scholars have said that looking at a woman’s face is permitted in certain occasions. For example, if you are seeking a woman in marriage, it is permitted to look at her face. If you work in any type of job that requires you to look at people and interact with them, looking is permitted as long as you don’t look with desire. If you are a teacher, looking at your female students is permitted as long as you don’t look more than necessary or with desire. In short, be modest and respectful.

Intention

At all stages of your da’wah work, please regularly remind yourself of your intention behind your actions, observe taqwa, and always strive to uphold good character. If anything begins to sit uncomfortably with you, then stop and reassess your situation, and ask for support.

Please see:

Can I Call Others of the opposite Gender to Islam?

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi‘i fiqh, Arabic, Sirah, Aqidah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajwid. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.

How Do I Interact With My Sisters-In-Law?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: What does the Shari’ah command us regarding interaction between a man and his sisters-in-law? How does one manage oneself in situations where interaction is unavoidable due to South Asian cultural settings?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking clarification on this important matter.

In-Laws

Uqba ibn Amir (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “Do not go near [non-Mahram] women.” A person inquired: “What about in-laws?” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) responded, “The in-laws are death.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

The Shari’ah commands you to observe respectful, modest and dignified interactions with all non-mahram women, especially your in-laws, due to their increased proximity.

I encourage you to read over and reflect on this excellent answer by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari: Guidelines for Interacting With the Opposite Sex.

In summary:

1) Khalwa – don’t be alone with your sister-in-law in a room, where nobody else can see you.
2) Guard your gaze – refrain from staring at your sister-in-law’s face when you do speak with her.
3) Don’t touch – handshakes or any other kind of physical contact is impermissible with your sister-in-law.
4) Cover awrah – ensure that your awrah is covered (from navel to knee) when you interact with your sister-in-law. If her awrah is uncovered, then be careful not to look at those parts of her.

Interactions

A general rule is to uphold good character when you are with your sisters-in-law at family gatherings. Return their salams, and sit with the men. It’s not necessary and potentially rude to ignore them completely. It’s also unwise to actively seek them out and interact unnecessarily. Use your discretion.

Be honest with yourself. Please forgive me for my bluntness, but if you feel any kind of attraction to either of your sisters-in-laws, then seek refuge in Allah from the whisperings of Shaytan, minimise contact with them, and make daily istighfar.

Please refer to Mixed Gatherings: A Detailed Response Regarding Gender Interaction by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari.

I pray that Allah grants you clarity on this matter, and guides you to what is pleasing to Him.

Please see:

A Reader On Gender Interaction

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

I Am in a Sinful Relationship With the Intention to Marry. Should I End It?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I am emotionally involved with a man. Even though we do not have a physical relationship, we are always meeting. He can’t ask for my hand until I finish university.

I worry that our marriage won’t work because a relationship started in a sinful way will have no blessings. What should I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Allah’s Mercy

Dear sister, have trust in Allah’s Mercy. When you repent, your sins are wiped clean. InshaAllah, if you choose to marry this man, it is not difficult for Allah to place tremendous barakah in your marriage. Don’t let shaytan trick you into despair.

Istikhara

I urge the two of you to come to a final decision about your relationship. Either approach your family and do your best to make it halal, or end your relationship.

Please perform the Prayer of Guidance and ask Allah to bring about what is best for you.

Give your family the chance to say yes or no. There are many Muslim college students who get married and make it work. Bring in a trusted community elder or local scholar who can help reason with your parents. Treat your parents with compassion and respect, and do your best to win them over.

Address their fears with wisdom and tact. Parents sometimes worry that marriage will prevent their daughters from completing their degrees, which may in turn make it harder for them to get a job. These fears are valid and stem from sincere concern for you. Help them see your perspective. Perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah to soften their hearts, and to help you make good on your repentance.

Please see:
How Do Students With No Money Deal With Sexual Urges?
A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)
Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: torange.biz

What Should I Do After Having Played With the Feelings of Someone?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I led someone on and lost interest in him. He got angry, upset, hurt, and depressed. I feel so horrible.


Can I just pray for him because confronting him will cause more issues? He knows my family so matters can get grave.

Answer: Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking clarity on your issue.

Confrontation

It is not always possible to ask forgiveness from someone we have hurt, especially over a sensitive issue such as yours. As confrontation with him is likely to cause more harm than benefit, then please do not seek him out. Rather, please give in charity with the intention of giving him the reward. Do this as much as you need to. Perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah to help him forgive you. Trust that He is the Turner of Hearts.

Make constant istighfar, make dua for Allah to hide your sins, and ask Allah to bring khayr into your life and his.

Consequences

The Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) advised, “Be mindful of Allah wherever you may be. Follow any bad deed with a good deed, and it will wipe it out. And deal with people through good character.” [Tirmidhi]

If he does tell your family, then be honest with them. Tell them that it was a mistake, that you’re sorry, and that you know better now. At the same time, please don’t torment yourself with fear that this will happen. Trust that Allah will not burden you more than you can bear. Repentance wipes your slate clean, so you are still a woman of honour.

Adolescence is a time of great emotional turbulence. I pray that Allah transforms your bad deeds into good deeds, and helps you learn from your mistakes.

Please refer to the following links:
A Reader On Gender Interaction

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Romel

My Fiancé Does Not Like Me Keeping in Contact With My Non-Muslim Male Cousin. What Should I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I am the only Muslim in my family. I have a close relationship with one of my male cousins. I have known him since he was a baby.

My fiancé feels it is inappropriate to maintain any relationship with my cousin. I cannot conceive of cutting off this relationship.

What do I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking out an answer which is pleasing to Him.

Family ties

Keeping family ties is an integral part of our deen, even if they are non-Muslim. Many of the Companions had non-Muslim relatives, and they showed exemplary good character towards their non-Muslim family.

However, your fiancé does have a point. How would you feel if he had the same level of closeness to his female cousin? Feelings of protective jealousy are healthy and normal in a spouse, but as always, balance is key.

Discussion

Sit down and have a honest talk with your fiancé. Try your best to understand his point of view, and calmly explain your perspective. Help him understand that by treating your non-Muslim cousin with compassion and showing good character, you are inviting him to Islam. From what you have described, you care deeply for your cousin, and there is no greater good than having him and his family embrace Islam.

Try your best to reach a middle ground which puts both you and your fiancé at ease. If Whatsapp audios make him feel uncomfortable, is there another way you can keep in touch? Is your fiancé willing to befriend him?

If these steps are not acceptable to your fiancé, then you need to make a decision about how to move forward. This issue will not go away until you deal with it. You know he disapproves of your relationship with your male cousin, so don’t expect him to change his tune after you marry him.

A cornerstone of a successful Islamic marriage is sincere concern for one’s spouse, even during times of disagreement. I encourage you and your fiancé to complete Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life to help you both learn how to deal with resolving conflict.

Limits

Although it is encouraged for you to maintain family ties, it is important that you do so with wisdom, and within the guidelines of the Shari’ah. Your closeness to your male cousin is problematic, despite your good intentions. He is not your mahram, and that emotional closeness is something only for your non-marriageable kin. There is wisdom behind that, even if we cannot see it right now. Trust that Allah wants only what is good for you, even if it causes you pain.

I pray that when you marry, your husband will be the coolness of your eyes, and your dearest companion. Over time, you may find that your heart will incline less towards your cousin, and more towards what pleases Allah.

Please perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah to help guide you in a way which pleases Him. Trust that whatever you give up for Allah’s sake, He will replace with far, far better.

Please refer to the following links:
Should Converts Break Ties With Non-Muslim Family Members?
Friendship With Non-Muslims: Explaining Verse 5:51
The Protective Jealousy (Ghayra) of Spouses
A Reader On Gender Interaction

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: 玄史生

Is It Permissible for a Woman to Drive a Women-Only Taxi?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: In my country a new company has decided to make women-only taxis drived by women instead of men. Most of my friends and family disapproved and called it ‘haram’. Are they correct?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

It would not be accurate to state that a women driving a women-only taxi service is engaging in something impermissible (haram).

In itself there is no problem with a woman (a) driving and (b) driving other women around as a service. Both of these actions are permissible. Rather, if the service is implemented effectively, this is something that many women may find quite useful.

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Greg O’Beirne

I Played With Someone’s Feelings. Can I Avoid to Ask for His Forgiveness in Person?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I led someone on and lost interest in him. He sent me a love quote, so I said that I was not interested. He got angry and depressed. We don’t talk anymore. I feel horrible to have played with his feelings. I fear he will tell my family that I was immodest.

Can I just pray for him instead of confronting him for his forgiveness?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking clarity on your issue.

Confrontation

It is not always possible to ask forgiveness from someone we have hurt, especially over a sensitive issue such as yours. As confrontation with him is likely to cause more harm than benefit, then please do not seek him out. Rather, please give in charity with the intention of giving him the reward. Do this as much as you need to. Perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah to help him forgive you. Trust that He is the Turner of Hearts.

Make constant istighfar, make dua for Allah to hide your sins, and ask Allah to bring khayr into your life and his.

Consequences

The Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) advised, “Be mindful of Allah wherever you may be. Follow any bad deed with a good deed, and it will wipe it out. And deal with people through good character.” [Tirmidhi]

If he does tell your family, then be honest with them. Tell them that it was a mistake, that you’re sorry, and that you know better now. At the same time, please don’t torment yourself with fear that this well happen. Trust that Allah will not burden you more than you can bear. Repentance wipes your slate clean, so you are still a woman of honour.

Teenagehood is a time of great emotional turbulence. I pray that Allah transforms your bad deeds into good deeds, and helps you learn from your mistakes.

Please refer to the following links:

A Reader On Gender Interaction

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Romel