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How Should I Act When Working with Non-Muslims?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I am working and my workmates are non-muslims. Here in Philippines, muslims are only 14% in total population of our country. I am the only one muslim in the workplace. I want to have an advice from you regarding having non-muslim workmates. How can I deal with them without violating Allah’s command?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. I pray you’re well.

There is nothing in the religion which prevents personal and business dealings with non-Muslims, nor requires one to change the way they behave. However, Islam does generally command that Muslims do their upmost to exemplify the best of character and ethics, and to be praiseworthy examples for others, at all times.

Working with non-Muslims

In any situation, but particularly as a minority group in your country, Muslims should ensure that they represent the religion in a positive light. This can be achieved by simply working hard, honestly, and with integrity.

In regards personal interactions with non-Muslim colleagues, Allah Most High has said, ‘Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction’ [16:125]. However, do not make the mistake of preaching to them about the faith. Work is a place for work, not missionary duties. Instead, let genuine kindness, consideration, and amiability be your guidance.

There may be aspects of working with non-Muslims that are in contradiction to the religion, such as unnecessary mixing of genders, work events where alcohol is present etc. In these situations, treat each case individually, be gentle, tactful, but honest, and excuse yourself when needed. Insha’Allah they will respect you adhering to your principles, while being courteous.

In regards prayers, request for a designated area, even if just a corner of a room. Pray discreetly in that area without disturbing others. Ensure that the bathrooms are kept clean and dry if you have to make wudu there.

I wish you all the best.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Can I Attend My Nephew’s First Birthday Party When There Is Alcohol Being Served?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My non-Muslim family often have events where alcohol is the main feature of parties and get togethers. Most recently my brother is having a first birthday party for his son with alcohol on tap.

What should I do? We are often put down for our beliefs and feel like outsiders.

Answer:Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking out an answer which pleases Allah, and heal the rifts within your family.

Non-Muslim family

This is delicate situation. A gathering in which alcohol is present is not a place for a believer. However, they remain your family, and it is important to keep family ties in a manner which pleases Allah.

I would suggest that you apologise and explain that you are not comfortable being at events where alcohol is served. Instead of attending your nephew’s first birthday party, offer to take them all out for a meal, or a picnic at a park. Provide an alternative setting for them to enjoy your company. Be steadfast on this, and ask Allah to grant them understanding.

Boundaries

Boundaries are important in facilitating harmonious family ties. Make it known to them, calmly and respectfully, that you do not expect them to agree with your religious beliefs, but you do expect them to treat your Muslim family with basic respect.

If you do not stand up to them respectfully, they will continue to think it is acceptable to put all of you down. Your dignity as a believer is sacred. Be an example for your children to follow. Being assertive takes practice, and if you need to, see a counsellor, life coach or psychologist to help you.

Good character

‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb reported from his grandfather that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Shall I tell you about who among you I love the most and the one who will be seated closest to me on the Day of Rising?” The people were silent, so he repeated that two or three times. Then the people said, “Yes, Messenger of Allah.” He said, “The one among you with the best character.” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]

As challenging as it can be with your non-Muslim family, try your best to have good character when you are with them. Treat them with kindness, be patient with their shortcomings and make dua for Allah to guide them. The wheel of life is constantly turning, and it is not difficult for Allah to guide your entire family, if He wills.

Be assertive when you need to be, and always follow it up with acts of love and kindness. InshaAllah, through your patience with your family, your heart is being constantly polished. May your interaction with your family grant you a heart which pleases Allah, on the Day you meet Him.

Please refer to the following links:

Is Christmas Haram? Being Muslim in a Non-Muslim Family
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Joey Gannon

Open Our Hearts, Before We Open Our Mosques

As mosques around the United Kingdom open their doors for a national ‘Mosque Open Day’, Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said questions whether we have opened our hearts enough to truly receive those who walk through our open doors. Do we see all of humanity as Allah’s creation, to whom He sent the Prophet Muhammad “as a mercy”?

Shaykh Faid SaidShaykh Faid Mohammed Said is a jewel in the crown of traditional Islamic scholarship in the United Kingdom and we at SeekersHub are ever grateful for his friendship, guidance and support. He was born in Asmara, Eritrea, where he studied the holy Qur’an and its sciences, Arabic grammar and fiqh under the guidance of the Grand Judge of the Islamic Court in Asmara, Shaykh Abdul Kader Hamid and also under the Grand Mufti of Eritrea. He later went to study at Madinah University, from which he graduated with a first class honours degree. In Madinah, his teachers included Shaykh Atia Salem, Shaykh Mohamed Ayub (ex-imam of the Prophet’s Mosque, peace be upon him), Professor AbdulRaheem, Professor Yaqub Turkestani, Shaykh Dr Awad Sahli, Dr Aa’edh Al Harthy and many other great scholars. Shaykh Faid has ijaza in a number of disciplines including hadith, and a British higher education teaching qualification. He is currently the scholar in residence and head of education at Harrow Central Mosque, United Kingdom. Read his articles on the SeekersGuidance blog.

Resources for seekers:

Is Christmas Haram? Being Muslim in a Non-Muslim Family

Every year, the Is Christmas haram? debates happen full force. Whether you’re a convert to Islam or not, we hope you find the following resources helpful.

Is Christmas Haram? What about Thanksgiving and Other Festivals?

Friendship, Kinship and Family ties

Beliefs & Customs

Death and the Afterlife

 

Can I Give Alcohol I Have Found to Non-Muslims?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam ‘aleykum.

If one buys a property and finds alcohol on it, can he give the items to people of other faiths?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

No, you cannot gift it to others. Rather, you should dispose of it in a safe manner.

The legal maxim states, “what is prohibited to acquire is prohibited to give [to another].” Essentially, just as you cannot do something unlawful (haram), you cannot directly assist another person in doing the unlawful.

Allah Most High says, “Help one another to do what is right and good; do not help one another towards sin and hostility.” [5.2]

[Zarqa, Sharh al-Qawa`id al-Fiqhiyya]

Please also see: Assisting in Sin

And Allah alone knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

What Can We Learn From the Supplication of the Witr Prayer Regarding Our Relations With Non-Muslims?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam alaykum,

In one part of the supplication of the qunut (Hanafi) in the Witr prayer there is the line “we alienate and forsake those who disobey You”. I believe the Arabic is ونخلع من يفجرك. What is the meaning of this part, and what can we learn from it in terms of dealing with non-Muslims or non-practising family and neighbours?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

A superior translation of that line would be, “and we part and break off with all those who disobey You.” [see: What is the Preferred Method to Recite the Qunut Supplication?]

Imam Shurunbulali explains this line in his Imdad al-Fattah stating, “those who disobey You by denying Your blessings and worshipping other than You. We distance ourselves from them and their state by considering them to be non-existent out of supreme exaltation of You…we cast off their belief and their way, and we do not incline towards any of it.”

In those intimate moments of discourse, we affirm our belief in Allah Most High and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), and negate all meanings of disbelief and those who associate themselves with it, just as we do so, for example, by saying the testimony of faith during the sitting (tashahhud).

However, this is not the way we determine how to deal with our non-Muslim colleagues and neighbours, particularly as it is merely a phrase taken out of context. Rather, Allah Most High Himself tells us in the Qur’an how to deal with non-Muslims by saying, “and He does not forbid you to deal kindly and justly with anyone who has not fought you for your faith or driven you out of your homes: God loves the just.” [60.8]

For further discussion, please see: Is it Haram to Befriend Non-Muslims? and: Friendship With Non-Muslims: Explaining Verse 5:51

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Are Non-Muslims Our Brothers, as Mentioned in the Hadith?

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani was asked “According to a commentary I read on Hadith 13 (None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.] – this hadith is very broad and includes Non-Muslims. Should we then consider Non-Muslims to be our brothers and sisters?”

The question came from Shaykh Faraz’ class on Imam Nawwawi’s 40 hadith – take the course for free today.

 

How Should We Understand in Relation to Non-Muslims?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Could you please explain the state of the fitra in non-Muslims? For example, does the fitra change in essence when a person becomes “a Christian, Jew, or Zoroastrian”?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

Thank you for your question.

There has been extensive disagreement between scholars on the definition of the term fitra that impacts the way in which we understand the tradition, “There is no child except that he or she is born on the fitra, and it is the parents who make him Jewish, Christian, or Magian.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

I have listed some of the major interpretations below:

(a) Fitra refers to the sound natural disposition and constitution of the human being that allows one to discern the existence of God, His oneness, and His religion. In other words, the fitra is not a form of knowledge, nor an actual state of belief or disbelief.

(b) Fitra refers to Islam. In other words, every child is born a Muslim, namely in terms of recognizing God, or with an inclination towards Islam.

(c) Fitra refers to the decree of God in terms of the individuals being damned or saved. In other words, every child is born upon that state which God knows he will eventually die upon.

[Ibn `Abd al-Barr, Tamhid (18:65-84); al-Nawawi, Sharh Sahih al-Muslim (16:208); al-`Ayni, `Umdat al-Qari (8:178); al-Subki, Fatawa (2:361-62)]

In each of the interpretations above, the adoption of a religion other than Islam does not entail the removal of the fitra in its essence. This is most clear for the first and third interpretations, since a person always in some capacity possesses the ability to discern the truth and since decree of God is unchanging and based on His pre-eternal knowledge.

As for the second interpretation, it may be that the fitra is lost in its essence in so far as a person is in fact no longer on it i.e. he is not on Islam. However, even here, there still may be deep down a natural inclination towards the truth that can never be erased from the heart of an individual.

Salman

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

My Grandfather Died Before I Had the Opportunity To Talk to Him about Islam: What Can I Do Now?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalamu Alaikum,

My grandfather recently passed away. He was not Muslim but I am unaware exactly what his views were in regards to religion. Am I guilty because I did not manage to talk to him about Islam before he died even if I had the intention to do so? Is it possible he may be categorised as someone who did not hear the true message? Is there anything I can do for him now such as prayer or charity? And also what is the purpose of illness and pain for non-muslims?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

No, you are not at fault here.

You will, insha’Allah, get the reward of your intention as “The believer’s intention is better than his action.”

As for your question on pain and suffering, please see the following detailed article: Suffering and Divine Wisdom

And please also see: What is the Fate of Non-Muslims in the Afterlife?

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Will People Who Lived Between Prophets Go to Hell?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Salam,
I would like to know the people who lived in between the time of Prophet Jesus and Mohammad (Peace be upon them), will they go to paradise or hell? They never received a messenger to warn them…
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
Yes, those people who lived between Prophets and didn’t receive the message are saved. [Bajuri, Tuhfat al-Murid]
Allah Most High said, “No soul will bear another’s burden, nor do We punish until We have sent a messenger.” [17.15]
Sawi comments, “the generality of this verse indicates that the ahl al-fatra are saved by the Pure Generosity of Allah…” [Hashiyat Sawi `ala Tafsir al-Jalalayn]
Please see also: Are Non-Muslims Who Lived Good Lives Condemned to Hell? and: What is the Fate of Non-Muslims in the Afterlife?
And Allah alone gives success.
Wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani