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The Mother of My Friend Tries to Shake My Hand. Should I Avoid Visiting His Family?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Through my friendship with my friend and his muslim family, I embraced Islam. However, they don’t observe rules of gender interaction. When his mother and aunties try to shake hands with me and I refuse, they get upset. How should I deal with it?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for wanting to do that which pleases Allah.

Keeping ties

Abu Ad-Dardh narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “Nothing is placed on the Scale that is heavier than good character. Indeed the person with good character will have attained the rank of the person of fasting and prayer.” [Tirmidhi]

Alhamdulilah for your friend’s family being the means to your Islam. What a tremendous blessing! I encourage you to still visit them, but for special occasions e.g. Eid and Ramadan at a minimum. Explain to your friend why you feel uncomfortable when you visit. InshaAllah he can tactfully communicate that to his womenfolk, and they can learn to adjust if they wish to see you more often. Any relationship requires give and take. Your request is reasonable.

Make dua for Allah to guide them, give them gifts, be kind to them, and model good character. Allah has blessed them through you making good on your Islam; you have the opportunity to be a positive influence on them.

Please see:

A Reader on Calling to Allah, Giving Advice, and Commanding the Good

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: jakub

How Should I Deal With Inappropriate Behaviour on Whatsapp?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Our family has a Whatsapp thread in which we all keep in touch with each other. There are male cousins on both sides, brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws etc. How can one keep participating in conversations where male cousins often jab, provoke, flirt with the female cousins/sister-in-laws on the thread?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

The Basic Ruling

In terms of having a Whatsapp group of this kind, the basic ruling is that it is not prohibited to have such a group in essence as it neither involves actual physical seclusion (khalwa) nor virtual seclusion that may lead to the impermissible.

Rather, the group you describe is composed of a number of family members, some of whom are of marriageable kin (non-mahram), such as cousins and in-laws, and others of unmarriageable kin (mahram), such as brothers, sisters, wives, husbands.

Your Circumstances

Yet, the manner of communication mentioned in the question is contrary to religious dictates. Flirtatious behavior is unacceptable. The same is the case with things like the “heart emoticons” (between other than siblings, spouses, etc.).

While our religion does not prevent people from being courteous and friendly with family members, it does prescribe guidelines regarding how gender interaction should occur, particularly when it relates to those of marriageable kin (non-mahram).

For more details on these guidelines, please see: A Reader On Gender Interaction

How to Respond

Regarding how you should respond, simply disengage when such conversations are taking place. If they do occur in the course of a conversation and you are unable to control it, simply pull back and do not be a part of it.

This does not necessarily mean that you have to leave the group entirely especially if it will cause problems between family members, but the least you should do is disengage when the conversations shifts in this direction.

It is also important here to take note of the principles governing promoting good and prohibiting that which is unacceptable. This would only be necessary if you feel that people will listen to you and your advice will not lead to a more negative consequences.

If you are reasonably sure that it will have a negative and harmful impact on others, then it is probably best to avoid advising these people.

You may, of course, try to discuss the issue in private with other family members who share the same concerns with you and then try your best to uphold a manner of conversation that is respectful, courteous, friendly, and within the limits of the religion.

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Can a Muslim Boy Meet a Non-Muslim Girl in a Public Place, Unchaperoned, to Discuss Her Interest in Marriage?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Given the current Western society, if a Muslim boy were to meet a non-Muslim girl in a public space to discuss marriage and to gauge her interest in Islam, does she need to be chaperoned? She might not be comfortable with it.

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah grant you clarity in this matter, and reward you for seeking out an answer which is pleasing to Him.

Marriage

Narrated Abu Hurairah: The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “A woman is married for four things, i.e., her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be a losers.” [Sahih Bukhari]

Honesty with oneself is critical in matters of the heart. Is this a case of falling in love with a non-Muslim, and then hoping she will convert? Or is this a case of someone who is genuinely interested in Islam?

If she is interested in Islam, then part of nurturing that interest is helping her befriend a trusted Muslim sister. If feelings between the young man and young woman are already there, then it is even more important for a trusted Muslim sister to step in and assist.

Any Muslim looking to get married must know the spirit and the law behind a successful Islamic marriage. Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life is an extremely beneficial course. This course will help increase understanding about how to choose a suitable spouse, permissible ways of getting to know one another, and so on.

Meetings

It is unwise to begin the habit of unchaperoned meetings between a young Muslim man and a young non-Muslim woman. Shaytan is ever-present. This scenario has played out so many times, to so many young people. It often leads to sin, heartbreak, and nobody is closer to Islam.

It would be more appropriate for a Muslim woman to get to know her and ask her if Islam is something she is willing to explore. If she is serious, then introduce her to women who can encourage her to good. Ensure she receives authentic Islamic knowledge from traditional scholars, such as those on SeekersHub.

Once she embraces Islam, then give her time to make good her deen. Changing religions is already a very big adjustment, and the first year of marriage contains many ups and downs. This is why it is so important to remain emotionally unattached. If feelings are already present, then it is important to let go and give things time to run their course. If Allah has written marriage for them, then it will happen.

Comfort

Implementing Islam in our lives is not always comfortable. The Shari’ah is there to protect us from ourselves. It is designed to reduce harm, and to increase good, in both worlds. Remember that Allah is not in need of us, but we are constantly in need of Him.

Please refer to the following links:
Marriage in Islam: A Reader
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Matt Krause

Are Nose Rings and Nail Polish Permissible to Wear in Public?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Asalamu alaikum,

Are nose rings and nail polish permissible to wear in public?

The nose ring is quite common in my culture and within my family.

Also many times I’ll apply nail polish at home and then will need to go outside for some work…

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

The basis is that public beautification (zina) by women of themselves is impermissible.

Allah Most High says, “And tell believing women that they should lower their glances, guard their private parts, and not display their charms beyond what [it is acceptable] to reveal.” [24.31]

Therefore, the consideration in such matters is whether or not it would be considered a form of beautification, in your particular context (`urf), that will attract the undue attention of the opposite gender.

A discreet nose stud may be permitted, yet colourful nail polish may not.

Are There any Exceptions?

Obviously, in the privacy of your own home, with friends of the same gender, or in the presence of unmarriageable kin (mahrams), such matters are more expansive.

Similarly, such a general interdiction doesn’t negate the permissibility of dressing in a noble, respectable and dignified manner, yet at the same time, doing so in a way which doesn’t attract undue attention from the opposite gender.

Nevertheless, the basis is being rooted in modesty, as the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) informed us by his saying, “Modesty brings about only the good.” [Bukhari] and “Modesty: all of it is good.” [Muslim]

Please also see: What Kinds of Jewelry and Body Piercing Are Permissible for Men?

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Is It Better for a Woman to Avoid to Apply Henna If She Has to Appear in Public?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Asalamu alaikum,

Is it better for a woman to avoid to apply henna if she has to appear in public?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

In general, it is permitted for the woman to apply henna to her hands and feet. [Ibn Nujaym, al-Ashbah wa al-Naza’ir]

It would be recommended to do so to please her husband, as such beautification is sought from her in their relationship, or in other contexts because it is a feminine act that has benefits and precedence in the sunna.

However, if there is a possibility that unrelated men will see such henna after application, then the consideration would be whether or not it attracts their undue attention.

If it does, avoid adorning yourself with it in a public setting.

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

How Can I Regain the Friendship of a Man I Want to Marry?

Answered by SeekersHub Answers Service

Question: Assalam Alaikum,

I am at the age of marriage looking for a spouse and my mother urged me to make friends with this boy and I did. I did lots of istikhara and dua because I had warm feelings for this friend who said he could not commit because he was still in school. But due to my urging of the matter our friendship broke.

Now we don’t connect and it really breaks my heart. Can this decree be reversed?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

Can a young man and woman be platonic friends?

Islamic gender etiquette is strict, yes, but it is strict for a reason. Unfettered access to members of the opposite sex, including casual friendships, can lead to emotional dependency, infatuation, and the physical behaviors that are associated with falling in love.

Unchecked, these developments can have a devastating impact on young people, particularly if the relationship is broken off by one of the parties, or, in the worst case scenario, a physical relationship happens outside of marriage.

Can supplication change destiny?

[1] There is no doubt that the Divine Decree is eternal–beyond time–and therefore not subject to “change.”

[2] Du`a’ “changes” destiny in the relative sense: it is a means (like other means) towards the good, so it turns to flow of one’s life towards the good, by Divine facilitation, in accordance with the eternal Decree (qada’) of Allah.

[3] To understand this, one must appreciate that there are two types of decree (qada’):

(a) The absolute decree (al-qada’ al-mubram), which is what Allah willed in eternity. This isn’t subject to change, by definition; and

(b) The relative or conditional decree (al-qada’ al-mu`allaq), which is the direction in which the flow of life events seems to be going. This is what can change. This could be referred to as “apparent destiny.”

Please see: Can a Young Man and Woman be Platonic Friends? and: Can Supplication Change Destiny?

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam,

SeekersHub Answers Service

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

What Is the Ruling Regarding Sharing Food or Water With Non-Mahrams?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Could you share the ruling regarding sharing food or water with non-mahrams? I study at a co-educational university and my friends and I face instances where boys ask for water.

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

This would be permitted although it would be better to avoid when possible.

It goes without saying that our religion has particular guidelines when it comes to interacting with the opposite gender the details of which can be found in the links below:

A Reader On Gender Interaction

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

How Should I Deal with a Husband Who Gets Emotionally Involved with Other Women?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: How do you deal with your husband who when dealing with women (when I am not there) is free, and takes their problems as his own? He just feels when women tell their situations to him, that he needs to solve them. I am very uncomfortable with this.

Please give me some advice on how to go about this. Should I mention this to him?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

Spouses talking to the opposite sex without need or restraint can have damaging effects on relationships.

Seek out ways to strengthen your relationship, and ways to bond and spend more time together. Be tactful and see if you can indirectly get your point across.

If the problem persists, you need to have a frank discussion with him, and if need be, get some professional or religious assistance.

Pray the Prayer of Need (salat al-hajah), and ask Allah to facilitate that which is best. [see: How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)? and: Struggling to Have Children: Ten Key Etiquettes of Du’a

Please also see: What Are the Principles of Gender Interaction in Islam? and: A Reader On Gender Interaction

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Can I Call Others of the opposite Gender to Islam?

Answered by Ustadh Shuaib Ally

Question: As-salāmu ‘aleykum,

Can I call others of the opposite gender to Islam?

Answer: Yes, you can call others of the opposite gender to Islam.
You should at the same time keep in mind general guidelines related to what is considered appropriate interaction between the genders.

Please see this: A Reader On Gender Interaction

With that in mind, do what is good, and stay away from anything that falls outside the scope of your work, or does not sit well with you.
May Allah reward you for your effort and bless your work.

Shuaib Ally

What Is the Meaning of Khalwa (Seclusion) with the opposite Gender?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: What is the real meaning of khalwa (seclusion) with the opposite gender? Does this concept apply to any kind of seclusion like email or SMS? Is it permissible for a woman to communicate to a teacher or co-worker through email or SMS for work related purpose?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

Seclusion (khalwa) with the opposite gender has been prohibited in sound prophetic traditions. Ibn `Abbas stated, “I heard the Prophet (God bless him and grant him peace) give a sermon. He said, ‘A man should not seclude himself with a woman except that there be with her someone who is of unmarriageable kin (mahram).’” [Bukhari, Muslim]

The definition of seclusion (khalwa) that jurists provided was for 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.

Non-Physical Seclusion?

The legal cause for the prohibition of seclusion is the physical presence of specific individuals within a particular setting. The wisdom of the ruling is to prevent individuals from potentially engaging in unlawful actions.

It is important when determining whether the ruling of seclusion applies to virtual contexts to clearly differentiate between the legal cause of the ruling and the wisdom underlying it. The legal cause for the rulings on seclusion is essentially linked to being in a physical setting. When the legal definition of seclusion is realized (i.e. the legal cause), the prohibition would come into effect regardless of whether the potential to engage in unlawful actions is deemed high or low (i.e. the wisdom).

This is not the case when it comes to two individuals speaking over the internet through email or chat messages, since there is no actual common physical setting wherein which they are interacting. The prohibition established in the prophetic hadith does not apply to such non-physical modes of “seclusion”. The ruling of such non-physical modes of seclusion would not be unconditional prohibition as in the case of physical seclusion. Rather, it would vary from context to context.

For example, a setting that is reasonably conducive to inappropriate behavior would take the ruling of impermissibility. Chatting through a dating website is such a setting and would not be allowed as the primary purpose of such a setting is to engage in acts that the religion deems impermissible. Similarly, any sort of flirtatious interaction would also be impermissible.

Professional Communication

Privately communicating in professional and educational settings with colleagues and teachers is permissible. This is not considered seclusion, and as long as the interaction itself is proper there is nothing that would render it impermissible.

Our religion does not prohibit normalized gender interaction as long as it is done with proper etiquette and within the guidelines that the religion has prescribed. It is perfectly fine to be courteous and friendly when interacting with others.

I would recommend you read the following for more details on the manners of interacting with the opposite gender:

How Should I Interact With Non-Mahram (Marriageable) Males?

Women & the Workplace: Is it Impermissible for Me to Work Even If I Observe Proper Limits?

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani