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Am I a Disbeliever for Having Prayed Without Wudu or Ghusl (Ritual Bath)?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

I was in major ritual impurity at the Blue Mosque. The time for prayer came and I felt helpless at my condition of not being clean and went and prayed anyway knowing full well that my prayer will not be accepted.

There may have been a few other cases where I may have prayed without Ghusl or Wudu probably because I was embarrassed not to be praying when someone asked me to.

Am I a disbeliever because of this?

Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah,

No, the scenario described, namely, praying without ritual purification out of a sense of embarrassment or shyness, or even ecstasy, does not excommunicate a person from the fold of Islam. This stands as long as the person does not do the aforementioned (a) whilst deeming it permissible (istihlal), or (b) out of a sense of disdain (istikhfaf).

However, this does not negate the fact that praying in such a manner is a gross offence in the Sacred Law which requires sincere repentance from the doer. Nevertheless, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The one who repents from sin is like the one who never sinned.” [Ibn Majah] True repentance wipes out the sin and its traces, and leaves the person with a clean slate as if he did no wrong: a mighty blessing which deserves thanks.

I’d advise that you make a firm resolve from this day forward to pray every prayer as it is due, and at the same time, to make up every single prayer [and other duties for that matter] that you did not pray in the past. With that, commit to learning your religion soundly, from sound sources, and seek out some righteous company. Gatherings of knowledge and remembrance often have plenty of such folk. Ask Allah Most High to forgive your past out of His Grace, and then strive to live a life pleasing to Him.

[Lacknawi, Naf‘ al-Mufti wa al-Sa’il (170); Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (1.55)]

Please also see: Does Neglecting the Prayer Entail Disbelief? and: A Reader on Missed Prayers

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

Wassalam
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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

I Can’t Help Myself From Thinking About Statements of Disbelief. What Do You Advise?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I suffer from waswas and am forced to internally say things that are disbelief whenever I am praying or when I am in any kind of distress. I am not great at being patient and when I am in distress sometimes I intentionally say things internally that I shouldn’t. What do you advise?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

You should repent for your mistakes, have gratitude for the blessings in your life, and seek out some righteous company. Fill your time with the good, lest it be filled with the bad without your realising it. Stray thoughts and whispers come to those who spend much time alone, disconnected, and the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) warned us to stick to the group because the wolf only eats the stray sheep. Look for circles of benefit, knowledge and remembrance, and the people of Allah Most High. Seek refuge from the devil, and supplicate to Allah Most High that He remove these misgivings from your life.

Please see: A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings) and: What is the Ruling For Someone Who Has Thoughts of Disbelief Without Saying Them Aloud? and: I Have Baseless Misgivings (Waswasa) About the Soundness of My Faith and My Marriage… and: Struggling to Have Children: Ten Key Etiquettes of Du’a

Consider taking the following free class at SeekersHub: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Basic Hanafi Jurisprudence (STEP)

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Biswarup Ganguly

Is Sparring During Thai Boxing Training Sessions Disbelief?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: I practice Thai Boxing. As part of the training we have to spar with fellow Muslims. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that fighting with a Muslim is disbelief. Does this sparring come under the ruling of this hadith?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

Thai boxing would not fall into the warnings of this prophetic tradition.

What Is “Qital”?

The word referred to in the prophetic tradition is “qital”, which has the connotation of waging war and raising arms against one another. It does not refer to merely sparring for purposes of training and the like. This is clear from the fact that the Prophet (God bless him) engaged in wrestling. [Abu Dawud; al-Tirmidhi]

Additionally, the disbelief (kufr) referred to in the prophetic tradition is not to be understood as one the type that renders one a non-Muslim. Rather, many prophetic traditions mention particular actions as entailing disbelief but only to indicate the enormity of the act, among other potential interpretations. [Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim]

Important Considerations

It should be pointed out, however, that sparring and wrestling have certain considerations attached to them in order to be deemed valid. These include: (a) not being violent such that real harm is caused (b) not being of the type where the face is struck. Moderate forms of sparring for the purposes of gaining physical strength would be permitted.

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

What Does Islam Say About Evolution and the Big Bang?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: The theory of evolution is really pushed in schools and society as a whole. In our tradition, is evolution true, false or a difference of opinion? Can you please clarify the Islamic position on evolution and the Big Bang?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

1. According to most scholars, there is no problem accepting the Big Bang as it does not directly contradict any of the primary texts on the origins of creation. Some scholars have even cited Quran 21:30 and 41:11 as supporting the Big Bang theory.

2. As for evolution, the dominant – if not consensus – viewpoint among scholars is that it is in direct contradiction of the primary texts affirming an original and direct creation for Adam who was the first human being. These texts, such as Qur’an 38:71-76, indicate that Adam did not arise from a prior species. This was not because God could not have created humans through an evolutionary process but because He willed not to do so and informed us of this through revelation.

The Qur’an, however, does not state the same regarding non-human species. Consequently, some scholars have differentiated between human evolution and non-human evolution stating that the primary texts only affirm an original creation for humans, namely Adam, not non-humans. Therefore, the theory of evolution in relation to the latter poses no intrinsic problem whether at the level of macro-evolution or micro-evolution.

An important point that needs to be kept in mind is that even when evolution is accepted (i.e. for non-humans), it is still understood as an act of God stemming from His will and power. Evolution as random mutation and natural selection causally independent of God is decisively rejected whether the theory is applied to humans or non-humans.

Science and Religion

In any discussion on the relationship between science and religion, the first point that must be clarified is that the Qur’an was not revealed as a book of science. Nor was the sunna primarily interested in elucidating points of scientific fact. Rather, the purpose of both of these sources is to instruct humans regarding the manner in which they should live in order to recognize God and attain to felicity. In other words, the Qur’an and sunna are sources of guidance: “Indeed, this Qur’an guides to the straightest way and gives glad tidings to the believers,” (17:9) and “A book we have sent down to you so you may bring forth mankind from darkness to light.” (14:1).

With this said, there is no denying that the Quran and sunna make reference to the cosmos and natural phenomena. Debates over the interpretation of certain verses and prophetic statements that describe the cosmos is nothing new. For example, scholars have discussed issues such as the flatness of the Earth, the heliocentric nature of our galaxy, and so forth with a view towards what the primary texts indicate about these matters and what empirical evidence affirms.

A very basic framework that scholars forwarded when discussing contradictions between the primary texts and empirical evidence returned to notions of the decisive and probabilistic:

(a) a decisive text takes precedence over the probabilistic.
(b) a decisive text can only be conditioned by something that is decisive.

Consequently, the principle is that whenever a literal or outward reading of a verse of the Qur’an or a prophetic statement seems to contradict a decisively established point of fact, that verse or saying is interpreted in a manner that accords to this established point of fact.

Of course, it should be noted here that scholarly conceptions of decisiveness may vary and even change over time as it relates to certain issues. Even within the scientific community, the notion of scientific consensus, certainty vs. uncertainty, and so forth, can prove to be quite contentious. Therefore, while our tradition does not shut the door on utilizing the empirical to accurately understand the meanings of the primary texts, it does require grounding in and knowledge of the tradition, its principles, and an awareness of the complexities underlying empirical and scientific research.

Evolution Being ‘Kufr’

Following from the above, it is also important to address the fact that a number of scholars have stated that evolution as the theory claiming man evolved from a prior non-human species is disbelief (kufr), such as our teacher Shaykh Nuh Keller.

It is important to keep in mind here that:

(a) this does not necessarily entail that the proponent of such a view is in fact a disbeliever (kafir), and

(b) it is not even necessarily the case that the belief itself is literal disbelief (kufr) especially as it relates to Muslim evolutionists who continue to affirm God’s creative power and will, that Adam was a real human, and that he was in some manner created by God.

This latter point is important in light of the fact that disbelief is commonly defined as denial and disavowal (takdhib), which is not necessarily applicable to those who reach unsound conclusions based on erroneous-interpretations (al-ta’wil al-fasid) or ignorance (al-jahl).

For example, one cannot think of a clearer Qur’anic text than, “God is the creator of all things,” (39:62) and yet leading scholars have classically not affirmed the disbelief of groups such as the Mutazila and the Shia who opined that God does not create evil. This is because they do not actually deny the Qur’anic verse in question. Rather, they continue to affirm it but interpret it in an erroneous manner.

Indeed, a number of Muslims who affirm evolution do not seek to deny the Qur’an at all but interpret it in an erroneous manner. Therefore, it is difficult to apply the word disbelief (kufr) to the views of these individuals except as an expression of severe censure or in the meaning of their views having the potential to entail disbelief.

The details of the principles surrounding kufr and takfir have been detailed by al-Sharif Hatim al-Awni in his work Takfir Ahl al-Shahadatayn. Of course it goes without saying that not labeling a particular view as disbelief does not indicate that said belief is acceptable or sound.

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

How Can I Control My Urge to Internally Say Things Which Are Disbelief?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: I suffer from waswasa and am forced to internally say things that are disbelief whilst praying and when I am in any kind of distress. Sometimes I intentionally say things internally that I shouldn’t like statements of ingratitude and blasphemy. What do you advise?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

“Internal” thoughts, statements, whispers have no consequences on the faith of a person. They are to be ignored and one should take the means to rid oneself of such thoughts.

My advice to you would be:

(a) whenever such a thought comes and you recognize it, immediately seek refuge in Allah from the devil and the evils of the nafs.

(b) ensure that you are engaging in uplifting spiritual practices during the day, such as reciting the Qur’an, performing your obligatory prayers, engaging in dhikr, and so forth.

(c) try your best to remain on a state of purity.

(d) keep yourself distracted through positive things; seek the company of good people who provide you with support and busy you from reflecting on these negative thoughts.

(e) learn your religion properly from qualified scholars as ignorance may well be a cause for one’s waswasa

(f) seek the support of a professional doctor if things do not improve as waswasa – especially if regular and long-standing – may require the advice and guidance of such people.

I hope this will be of some help to you, inshaAllah.

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Does Jokingly Pretending to Convert to Cullenism or Not Liking Beards Make Me an Unbeliever?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam ‘aleykum,

(1) During my adolescence I became obsessed with the Twilight books. As a result I said, as a joke, ” I have converted to Cullenism,” and, “I won’t die before I see this movie”. Have I committed disbelief?

(2) In the past, I have said that I don’t like beards. Have I committed disbelief?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

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

(1) No, this is not disbelief (kufr). [See these related answers.]

(2) No. Please see the link at (1).

Consider taking the following free class at SeekersHub: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Basic Hanafi Jurisprudence (STEP)

And see also: A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings)

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: flickr.com/photos/larkyn/

Is It a Sin to Bend Unintentionally in Front of Someone? Am I “Prostrating” to Him?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaikum,

1. Is it a sin to stare at inanimate things like mountains, trees or cars?

2. Is it a sin to bend unintentionally in front of someone? Am I “prostrating” to him?

3. I keep getting bad images in my mind when I think of Allah. What should I do?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

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

(1) There is no harm in looking at such inanimate objects, particularly when the intention is to reflect and marvel at the Creating of Allah.

(2) No, ignore it. This is far from being prostration.

(3) Ask Allah Most High for forgiveness, seek refuge in Him from the devil, and ask Him to free you from such misgivings.

And consider taking the following free class at SeekersHub: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Basic Hanafi Jurisprudence (STEP) and: Excellence in Faith & Action (from Ghazali’s 40 Foundations of Religion)

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,
Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Can I Marry a Non-Practising Muslim Man?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Is it permissible for to marry a man who has an extremely good character, was raised as a Muslim but at one point did not believe in God?

Now he believes in God but he struggles to admit that revelation is Divine.

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah grant you clarity and ease in your crucial life decision.

Marriage

A good question to ask yourself when considering a prospective husband is this: Am I willing to accept him as he is, right now?

In marriage, what you see is what you get. Your family loves you and wants you to be happy, but there is no guarantee that this man will become more religious after marriage.

Validity

Your marriage contract is only valid to a Muslim man, even if he is sinful by not practising. If he is not Muslim, then your marriage contract would be invalid.

If he is Muslim, then the bigger issue here is whether or not you are willing to be married to someone with so many doubts about foundational issues of the deen. Marriage is more than just having a husband. What kind of father do you want for your unborn children? Choose wisely, not just for your sake, but for theirs.

Consultation

Please bring him to a reliable local scholar to help him clarify his doubts as well as help you both decide what to do. A successful Islamic marriage takes more than just good character. By choosing a husband who is not on the same religious page as you, you may be sowing the seeds for future heartache.

Marriage is a lifelong journey with many challenging decisions, and we make our decisions based on our values. The more shared religious values you have, the easier it will be to work as a team. Without a bedrock of common religious values, you may find yourself unable to agree on critical points e.g. establishing prayer at home, saving up to go to Hajj, which school to send your children too, observing halal food and income etc.

Character and Religion

The Messenger of Allah said: “When someone whose religion and character you are pleased with proposes to (someone under the care) of one of you, then marry to him. If you do not do so, then there will be turmoil in the land and abounding discord.” [Tirmidhi]

I strongly recommend that you give him some time in order to test his commitment and sincerity to the deen. Yes, having good character is a wonderful thing, but the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) called us to marry people who have both good character as well as deen. There is a reason behind this. Good character alone is insufficient to drive a marriage forward in a way which pleases Allah.

Practical Steps

1) Please perform the Prayer of Guidance (Istikhara) to help guide you to what is most pleasing to Allah. There is no need to look for a dream, but rather, watch how things unfold. If Allah facilitates your path towards marriage to this man, then that is a sign for you. However, if He throws obstacles in your path, then that is a sign for you.

2) Please pray the Prayer of Need and ask Allah for ease and whatever else you need.

3) Please encourage him to study more about Islam to clarify his doubts. There are many useful courses for him to explore on SeekersHub Global, once registration re-opens. A introductory course such as Being Muslim: A Clear Introduction to Islam will help him better understand Islam. It would be extremely beneficial for both of you to complete this course Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life. Through these courses, you will both have access to knowledgable scholars who can answer both of your questions.

I pray that Allah grants you both what is best in both worlds, and brings you both closer to Him.

Please refer to the following links:

Marriage in Islam: A Reader

Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Am I Sinful for Experiencing Unintentional ‘Images’ of God?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: When I was a child, someone showed me an image (of a person) and said ‘that’s God’. Since that time, I have flashbacks of this image when I think of the name ‘Allah’.

Is there any way that I can remove this image from my mind, and am I sinful for having this image in my mind?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

This is not sinful because they are images that your mind unintentionally produces during these moments.

The important thing is that your belief regarding God is one that recognizes His complete transcendence, that He is not a form, person, or in any way similar to human beings.

I would advise you to continue in your worship and remembrance of God. Eventually, as the heart of an individual is purified through sincere acts of worship, the traces of the world, which include these “images”, will disappear. Try your best to ignore them for now and when they do arise recognize that God does not take you to account for things not completely in your control, such as some of the thoughts you might have.

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Does Allah Hate Me?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I just started practising one year ago and a few months ago, Allah tested me with a big trial. To this day, I’m still trying to understand why it happened and I’m trying to move on.I did something wrong and regret it. I get thoughts of disbelief, and I’m so scared of being a disbeliever. Does Allah not like or want me anymore?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well.

Trials

“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested?” [Qur’an, 29:2]

Trials and tribulations are part of life in this dunya. Only Allah Most High knows the wisdom behind the tests He places us through. We may never know why certain things unfold in our lives, and that’s OK. Our job is to respond to trials in a way that pleases Allah. When we fall short and make mistakes, then we pick ourselves up, repent, and keep moving forward. Obsessing about past mistakes will not change the past.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “When Allah loves a servant, He tests him,” [Tirmidhi]

Failing a test from Allah can bring you closer to Allah, through the realisation that you are weak without Him. Remember that every human being alive today is tested in some way, and you are not alone in making mistakes. Turn to Allah and seek comfort in constant dhikr, dua, and waking up in the last third of the night.

Thoughts of disbelief

“Verily the religion is ease, and no one shall make the religion hard except that it will destroy him. So be balanced, do your best, and rejoice! And seek help in the morning, the early evening, and something of the night.” [Sahih Bukhari]

Having thoughts of disbelief does not make you a disbeliever. It sounds like you are experiencing baseless misgivings (waswasa). Please click here to read what you can do to combat these baseless misgivings. Remember that shaytan wants you to despair, so do not give into that. Ours is a religion of hope, love, and forgiveness. I pray that Allah soothes your sorrow, and elevates your rank in Jannah, inshaAllah.

Please refer to the following links:

How Do You Distinguish Between a Test From Allah and Punishment?
A Reader On Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings)

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani