Is the Income Earned Through Media Activities Permissible?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

Is the income earned through media activities permissible?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

Working in a media related field is permissible as long as the actual work that one is performing is not interdicted.

For example, being a broadcast journalist is in general a permissible line of work. Similar is the case with being a public relations manager, an editor, a writer, or social media manager. However, these jobs can be impermissible if you are dealing directly with something that is sinful, such as being a social media manager for a pornographic company, or a writer of a gossip column.

[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.

Afraid to get groceries? Ustadha Anse Tamara Gray on being a Muslim woman in today’s turbulent climate

Each time a high profile act of violence is committed by a Muslim or in the name of Islam, the fear of reprisal attacks rises acutely in Muslim communities. It has become almost par for the course, and the statistics prove the threat is real. Often, women who are visibly Muslim find themselves the primary soft target. Ustadha Anse Tamara Gray has been inundated with concerned messages from many who are directly and indirectly affected. From being afraid to leave the home to do basic, every day errands to fearing for their lives – this has become the sad reality for many. Ustadha Anse has some much needed advice.

Resources for seekers:

ISIS, Sex Slaves and Islam – reflections from Imam Zaid Shakir

As-Salaamu Alaikum,

Today’s New York Times’ (NYT) article highlighting ISIS’ sexual enslavement of Yazidi women has cast a critical light on the issue of slavery and Islam. The ensuing implications should concern all Muslims. This is so owing to the fact that ISIS presents its practices as normative Islam and accuses the masses of Muslims who reject their draconian interpretation of the religion as ignoramuses or cowards who are afraid to identify with “real” Islam.

ISIS’ practices and fatwas are based on a type of literalism that has never been part of normative Islam, both during its formulation and after its maturation. Why is this so? Normative Islam is based on both rulings and interpretive principles. Those who, like ISIS, separate the rulings interpretive principles both misrepresent Islam and open the door to varieties and degrees of harm that the religion strictly forbids.

The idea of understanding rulings in light of interpretive principles is implied by the Prophet, peace be upon him, when he stated, “Whosoever Allah desires good for, He gives him a good understanding of the religion.” By implication, one Allah desires to ruin is left void of any understanding. The relevant point here is that merely knowing a particular ruling is not sufficient. One has to understand it.

The first thing we should understand about slavery is that it is not an integral part of Islam such as praying, fasting, the prohibition of interest, etc. As such, it is amenable to being rejected without any sin falling on the one rejecting it. For this reason, every Muslim nation has legally outlawed slavery and there have been no noticeable protests or accusations of sin or disbelief levied at the ministries and scholars who oversaw the drafting of the relevant legislation. We remind Bernard Haykel that these prohibitions occurred long before the advent of ISIS, so they were not motivated by embarrassment.

The fact that slavery is not an integral part of Islam also means that fatwas associated with it are amenable to change with changing circumstances, something that factored into the prohibitions mentioned above. We can cite the following as an example of an issue calling for a change in a fatwa associated with sexual slavery. For those who argue that Islam has retained sexual slavery as a deterrent to other nations from going to war against Muslims; in the current context, the actions of ISIS are being used to fan the flames of war against Muslims as hatred and fear of not just ISIS, but Muslims in general grows. In that the ruling to re-institute slavery has lost its deterrent power, the ruing itself collapses. The legal principle relevant here is the following: “A ruling is associated with its legal rationale, implemented when the latter is present, voided when it is absent.”

The widespread rejection of slavery among Muslims approaches the level of irreproachable consensus as it has become the ‘Urf or convention of the Muslim people. In this case, such convention has legal authority. One indication of this is that ISIS had to publish articles rebuking its hesitant minions who were repulsed by the idea of enslaving and raping Yazidi women and girls.

Another relevant legal principle is consideration of the future harm resulting from implementing a ruling. This principle is subordinate to the principle of removing the means that lead to an unlawful end, even if those means, in some cases, are themselves lawful. In the case of ISIS and slavery, one of the frightening implications of their actions is that it is turning people away from Islam in droves, including many Muslims. Combined with the rise of an organized and aggressive Atheist movement, the murderous and rapacious actions of ISIS are becoming the poster child used to highlight everything that is wrong with religion in general and Islam in particular, in the view those attacking Islam from this angle.

The first and highest objective of Islamic law is the preservation of religion itself. When an action, such as sexual slavery, which in no way, shape, or form could be described as an essential of the religion, is undermining the religion, that action is to be rejected. Hence, we reject these repugnant actions of ISIS and urge all Muslims to do the same.

Our religion is not this hideous Frankenstein-like creation being cobbled together by ISIS and their ilk and endorsed by some Islamic studies professors at Princeton University. It is a beautiful gift of a sophisticated civilization, however, that gift will not be understood or understandable when the principles that allow us to make sense of various rulings are cast aside. May Allah grant us all understanding.

This was originally published on Imam Zaid Shakir’s Facebook page.


Resources on ISIS, sex slaves and related issues for seekers:

Imam Zaid Shakir’s khutbah on the Chapel Hill shooting

Imam Zaid Shakir addresses the Chapel Hill shooting in his Friday khutbah in Michigan.

See also, his comments shortly after the tragedy unfolded,

“May the deaths of these beautiful young people, and all others who have perished as a result of senseless, inexcusable violence, anywhere, not be in vain. May they motivate us all to do more to stop this insanity, because all of their lives do truly matter.”

…and advice for parents who are struggling to explain the incident to their children

Resources for Seekers:

Injustice Cannot Defeat Injustice
As He Breathed His Last – Imam al-Ghazali’s Last Poem
Do Something about it!
Anger, Restraint, Wisdom and the Prophetic Message in Our Times (Interview with Habib Ali)
The Soul’s Journey after Death and The Day of Judgement
On the killing of three young American Muslims

Imam Zaid Shakir on the Chapel Hill shooting

zaidshakir1As-Salaam Alaikum,

Our condolences to the families of Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu Salha and her sister Razan, the three young Muslims who were murdered yesterday in North Carolina.

May their entrance into Paradise be swift and sure, as is the case for the martyr (a martyr is an innocent victim of violence, not a suicide bomber).

Many are complaining of the lack of media coverage around this event. The sad fact is that the mainstream media that recently brought us “I am Charlie” has no interest in humanizing Muslims. The deceased were too full of life and positive energy to meet the stereotype of the evil, sneaky, not to be trusted Muslim. Why provide free humanizing coverage to the adherents of an evil ideology, hellbent on taking over the country. The smiles, vitality and genuine concern for others exhibited by the deceased will likely be dismissed as Taqiyya, self-serving deception.

As for their self-proclaimed atheist killer, Craig Stephen Hicks, there is no way he could be an adherent of an evil ideology. He probably never heard of Sam Harris or Christopher Hitchens or their humanized atheist ilk who openly call for the indiscriminate mass murder of Muslims. He’ll likely be declared insane, perhaps he went to view American Sniper and lost it.

May the deaths of these beautiful young people, and all others who have perished as a result of senseless, inexcusable violence, anywhere, not be in vain. May they motivate us all to do more to stop this insanity, because all of their lives do truly matter.

‪#‎MuslimLivesMatter‬ ‪#‎ChapelHillShooting‬

Imam Zaid Shakir
11th February 2015


Resources for Seekers:

Injustice Cannot Defeat Injustice
As He Breathed His Last – Imam al-Ghazali’s Last Poem
Do Something about it!
Anger, Restraint, Wisdom and the Prophetic Message in Our Times (Interview with Habib Ali)
The Soul’s Journey after Death and The Day of Judgement
On the killing of three young American Muslims

How to Respond to Setbacks in Islam’s Religious Discourse – Habib Ali al-Jifri

Original post can be found here.
The solutions to the setbacks facing Islam’s religious discourse require a unification of efforts and and an assumption of responsibility by all stakeholders involved.
They, the stakeholders, are: (1) the scholars/ulama (who have the largest share of the responsibility since every area has it own expertise and this is their area of expertise); (2) political leaders; (3) the media; (4) the wealthy, business people, and economists; and (5) academics who preside over the teaching, schooling and education of younger generations.
These five groups have a primary responsibility in redressing the setbacks. A secondary responsibility falls on the listener – i.e. he/she whom listens to and is a recipient of the discourse.
Habib-Ali-For example, if the listener observes that the speaker’s tone is repressive or inciting, he/she should bring it to the speaker’s attention that this is unacceptable and walk away in peace. The speaker, who is being seen as a representative of the Islamic tradition and applying it, will thus begin to feel that if he deviates from this path there will be no one left willing to listen.
The Prophet said, peace be upon him: “Verily God will not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people (from their hearts), rather, He will take knowledge away by taking away the scholars (by reclaiming their souls); so that when He leaves no scholar behind, people will take the ignorant as leaders. Then they are asked to deliver religious verdicts (fatwa) and they deliver them without knowledge. They go astray, and cause other to go astray”. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim).

Please ‘like’ the page ‘Habib Ali al-Jifri English‘ page on Facebook.

How Does Media Impact the Way You Teach?


mediaWe are constantly bombarded with news from the media related to Islam and Muslims, especially given the post-9/11 context in which we live. This highlights the need for students in Islamic schools to be media literate.

As an Islamic school teacher, you have a social responsibility to open up the eyes of your students to the outside world. It is important to give students the opportunity to question the ways in which Islam and Muslims are represented in the media.

Nazim Baksh is a journalist with expertise in media coverage related to Islam. In this video, he provides practical suggestions on how to incorporate media literacy in your classroom. See a short excerpt above.

Nadeem Memon, Director of Education for Razi Education wrote the above in 2011 and it remains are relevant as ever. Find out more about the Islamic Teacher Education Program.


Resources for seekers:

Beyond Flak Attack: A New Engagement with the Newsroom – Tabah Foundation

Beyond Flak Attack: A New Engagement with the Newsroom – Tabah Research – Tabah Foundation


This essay, by Ustadh Nazim  Baksh, is written for Muslim activists and scholars who are alarmed at today’s headlines and would like to engage the mass media in the hope of balancing its predominantly negative reporting with positive stories pertaining to Islam and Muslims.”


English version

Arabic version


Differences of Opinion & Determining Sound Scholarship

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq

Question: If we do whatever Allah asks us to do without questioning, why do different scholars have different opinions about different aspects of our religion? The permissible and impermissible is not clear and there are many different ways of interpreting something. Some scholars say watching Hollywood movies is impermissible, some say it is not. Some say music can be permissible or impermissible and different Islamic deeds have different levels of priority. Why didn’t Allah make his religion clear-cut to us so that we do exactly what He tells us to do? I know of some female Islamic scholars like Laleh Bakhtiar, Leila Ahmed and Amina Wadud who are very different in their opinions regarding many Islamic issues. They are also highly educated and against wearing hijab. Now, I am really confused about the image of Islam. Who should I consider to be trustworthy or a reliable scholar?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah descend on the Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions, and those who follow them.

Dear Sister,

Assalamu alaikum,

Thank you for your question. I pray you are in good health and iman.

Your questions are hugely important and I’m not sure I can do them justice in a brief response.

I disagree with your contention that Allah Ta’ala has not made this deen clear. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “That which is lawful is plain and that which is unlawful is plain and between the two of them are doubtful matters about which not many people know. Thus he who avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honor, but he who falls into doubtful matters falls into that which is unlawful, like the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary, all but grazing therein. Truly every king has a sanctuary, and truly Allah’s sanctuary is His prohibitions. Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh which, if it be whole, all the body is whole and which, if it be diseased, all of it is diseased. Truly it is the heart.”

One important lesson from this hadith is that one can safeguard her religion by avoiding what is doubtful. Much of popular entertainment falls into this category, while much of it is clearly unlawful. You bring up music and movies.  Most scholars concur that music, in its current form, is unlawful. However, they might also point to alternatives, such as traditional Islamic nasheeds, qasa’id, na’at, and mawlids. Similarly, with movies. I cannot think of too many qualified scholars who would encourage Muslims to watch movies, although there might be some exceptions. The bigger point here is that our scholars are in agreement on the essentials of our faith. But they might disagree on cultural issues and this disagreement can be healthy. Indeed, the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said that the disagreement of the scholars is a mercy for our community.

Last but not least, you need to be very careful about your exposure to media. The internet has given everyone a platform and not all who speak for Islam are the most qualified. Qualified scholars have a chain of transmission, or isnad, going all the way back to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. They do not contravene the generational consensus of the knowledgeable men and women of this deen. They are not swayed by pop culture trends. And they direct their students to that which is beneficial.

At the end of the day, which time is better spent? That listening to music and watching movies, or that spent seeking and spreading knowledge which is truly beneficial to ourselves, our families, and our communities?

I highly recommend you look into classes at SeekersGuidance and SunniPath. These classes are taught by highly qualified, God-fearing, balanced men and women. I can say this because I have worked with these people and can vouch for the way they present Islam.

May Allah Ta’ala bless you with beneficial knowledge,

Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq
May 18, 2010/Jumada al-Thani 5, 1431

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani