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Schizophrenia – Fiqh Ruling

Shaykh Salman Younas is asked about the level or degree of religious responsibility of a person who is diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have schizophrenia as diagnosed by a doctor who is not Muslim. Am I held responsible in terms of prayer, fasting etc?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

We ask Allah to grant you health, well-being, and the strength to cope with this test.

It is not possible to give a definite answer without knowing and observing the details of your condition, especially in light of the fact that schizophrenia is a spectrum disorder.

General Ruling

Generally speaking, being sane and in control of one’s rational faculties, as well as being able to understand the message of God, are conditions for moral responsibility. Someone who is not sane or suffers from deficits in cognitive abilities that renders him unable to understand and carry out divine commands is not under any responsibility to fulfill these commands.

If an individual suffers this condition on a temporary basis, scholars state that he will not be morally responsible for that temporary period. Thus, someone suffering from schizophrenia may find himself not morally responsible for long stretches of time, while he may be obliged at other times, i.e. when his symptoms subside and are not as severe, to perform his daily obligations.

One should note, however, that this is the legal ruling on the matter. From a broader perspective, we recognize that God is infinitely merciful. He is not an entity merely checking off requirements given to us in an exam. God knows the struggles people are undergoing, the challenges we face, the hardship, that we slip sometimes and succeed on other occasions, etc., and He approaches and judges us accordingly.

Suffering in This World

Suffering in this world may seem like an eternity, but it will pass and eventually the door to actual eternity will be opened, and it is here that our suffering will, in the words of one of our teachers, “dwindle to nothing before the next [world] not only quantitatively, because of its eternity, but qualitatively because of its nature.” The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, described this saying:

The person who had the most pleasing life in this world, of any of the people of hell, will be summoned on Resurrection Day and utterly plunged into the hellfire, then asked, ‘O human being, have you ever beheld any good at all; have you ever felt a single joy?’ and he will say, ‘No by God, my Lord.’ And the most miserable sufferer in this world, of any of the people of paradise, will be summoned and utterly plunged into paradise, then asked, ‘O human being, have you ever seen any bad at all; have you ever experienced a single misery?’ and he will say, ‘No by God, my Lord: I have never seen any bad or suffered a single misery.’ (Muslim)

All we are tasked to do is try our best in the situation we find ourselves in and in the little time we are given. One should not lose hope. We should continue striving as best as we can and continue turning to God.

Going Forward

Finally, in your case, I would advise you to connect with family, local scholars, members of the community, and mental-health professionals in your area. Having people around one who care and encourage us to live our lives meaningfully is important because it gives us the strength to persevere. Given the stigma surrounding your condition, this may seem challenging and intimidating, but finding a trusted group of people who support you will be invaluable and necessary.

We ask Allah to make things easy for you and give you the strength to live a life that is pleasing to Him.

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


The Problem of Evil – Why We Suffer Series

“Why We Suffer” is a series that explores why there is suffering in the world, and how we should respond to evil according to Allah’s teachings. In this segment, Shaykh Hamza Karmali speaks about the so-called “Problem of Evil.”

The so-called “”Problem of Evil, is the name given to a false dilemma about suffering: If God is kind and good, then why is there so much evil in the world?

The root of philosophy began with the Ancient Greeks. The philosophers of the time came up with the idea of humanism, which was the idea that “man is the measure of all things.”  This meant that the person themselves determines whether something is good is bad, right or wrong.

This idea was rediscovered in the Renaissance, where the corrupt church would demand indulgences, or monetary favours in exchange for lessening the donor’s suffering in the afterlife. The church also had the idea of the “absolute rule,” of the monarchy, which the peasants had to unconditionally follow.

The peasants’ natural response would be, “What about me? Why is this oppressive ruler sanctioned by God over me? Why can’t I use my mind?”

As Muslims, we agree so far. We believe that rulers should not oppress the people, and we know that we are encouraged many times in the Qur’an to use our minds. We do not object to using rational thought, but rather  seek to understand it in its proper context.

However, the difference begins. Philosophers believe that life is divided into pleasure and suffering, which means that anything that causes suffering is bad. Muslims believe that this life is a combination of pleasure and tribulation, while the afterlife is filed with pleasure only.

Here lies the core of our approach to suffering. As Muslims, we believe that Allah sends us trials and suffering in order to tests us. These test are only temporary, and will be compensated for in the Hereafter. Having this perspective allows us to look at suffering in a positive and hopeful light.

About the Series

Shaykh Hamza Karamali (Dean of Academics at SeekersHub Global) and our founder Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explain the Islamic understanding of why there are tests, trials, evil and suffering in this life. They address questions such as: What is the wisdom and purpose behind evil and suffering in this life? How should we respond to evil, suffering, tests, and trials? What are the spiritual teachings of Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) to respond with trials?


Resources for Seekers

 

The Wisdom of Suffering – Why We Suffer

“Why We Suffer” is a series that explores why there is suffering in the world, and how we should respond to evil according to Allah’s teachings. In this segment, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani speaks about why we experience difficulty.

Shaykh Faraz opens the session by exploring the reasons behind tests and trials, and how we can benefit from difficulty, tests and trails.

Trials tend to bring out the hidden virtues, or vices, in people. These trials serve as an examination, allowing us to realise our potential and limits as human beings. But most importantly, trials and difficulties are a means of  getting to know our Creator.

The purpose of these tests can be found in the following verse of the Qur’an:

  [He] who created death and life to test you, which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving. (67:2)

Both the times of ease and times of difficulty teach us more about Allah and His different attributes, and help us build our connection to Him. Furthermore, they teach us that only Allah is in charge. When we experience suffering or some sort of difficulty, we are humbled to this reality.

Therefore, we are tested not just how we respond to the obvious tests of difficulty, but also how we respond to times of ease and success and happiness.

About the Series

Shaykh Hamza Karamali (Dean of Academics at SeekersHub Global) and our founder Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explain the Islamic understanding of why there are tests, trials, evil and suffering in this life. They address questions such as: What is the wisdom and purpose behind evil and suffering in this life? How should we respond to evil, suffering, tests, and trials? What are the spiritual teachings of Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) to respond with trials?


Resources for Seekers

Does Suffering From a Haram Act Remove the Sin?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I loved a girl and she married someone else. Whenever I see her my heart burns. It’s also true that she loved me. She still wants to keep in touch. I can’t console my heart. Shall I get Allah’s mercy and a reward for my suffering for my sinful act?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Thank you for your writing in to us.

Dear brother, I advise you to move on from this affair and get on with your life. While the situation may break your heart for now, over time and as new events occur, it will pass. Do your best please Allah by not disobeying Him and fulfilling your duties, and let Allah take care of the rest.

Understanding Misfortune

Hasan al Basri (may Allah have mercy on him) said, ‘Do not resent the calamities that come and the disasters that occur, for perhaps in something that you dislike will be your salvation, and perhaps in something that you prefer will be your doom.’ As such, while you may feel as if you have missed out on something, Allah knows the true reality of the situation and how things would have ended up. And Allah’s Decree is perfect.

Sin and Reward

To be forgiven for a sin, one must make a sincere repentance. Please refer to this Reader on Tawba (Repentance)

While the cause of your sorrow was from wrong actions, if you are tolerant and bear the experience for the sake of Allah and out of contentment with His Decree, then insha’Allah you will be rewarded for your patience.

What to do?

Make repentance from any wrong-doing and resolve not to have further communication with the young lady. She is married and her reaching out to you is wrong for many reasons. Take it as a lesson learnt and move on.

Be grateful to Allah for everything, and keep your tongue busy with saying ‘Alhamdulillah’ often.

Be patient with marriage. When it is the right time it will happen. Please refer to this answer which includes supplications for finding a spouse: Supplication for a Spouse

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.

How Can I Deal With the Pain of Failing to Marry?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalam alaykum

I suffer from autism and struggled greatly to form friendships over the years. I am now in my early 30’s and suffering from years of frustration due to lack of ability to marry and attract the opposite sex. I suffer from intense anger and bitterness and this feeling seems to have developed into eczema, hot flushes…

What do you advise?

Answer: Assalam alaykum.

Dear brother, Jazakum Allah khayr for writing to us. It’s obvious that you have been struggling and bearing difficulties on many fronts throughout your life. May Allah reward you for staying firm in your faith, and striving to overcome each hurdle, which takes a lot of faith and determination. Many would have given up by now.

There are three steps that I encourage you to take immediately:

1. Support and Treatment

A person cannot, and is not expected to, get through these sorts of issues on their own, especially if you feel that your personality is becoming aggressive and you have low self-esteem.

It is essential that you get professional support. This is the first step that must be taken. Please seek out a reliable counselor who can support you through all of this. Your local council or GP should be able to refer you to someone, preferably a Muslim therapist.

As you mentioned, the body is manifesting signs of your inner turmoil, so this is more reason to get things professionally treated. Alongside counseling, I would advise getting nutritional therapy or/and constitutional homeopathic treatment, which takes into account both the emotional and physical symptoms together, including various ASD levels. There is no harm in your case doing all of these therapies together, if it is possible, as you need both the emotional and nutritional support, and the medicine.

If finance is an issue, speak to a sensitive local GP who may be able to refer you to such therapists on the NHS, or family members who may help.

You may want to stop fasting, especially if you feel it is not helping and you’re losing weight, as fasting continuously for some people can be detrimental, and needs to supervised.

2. Company

Just as professional support and therapy is important, social company and the support of family and friends is vital. Don’t spend too much time alone or doing solitary activities.

Join hobby classes in your area which are of interest, or volunteer to do some community team work that interests you (such as working with children with difficulties or disabilities, the elderly, gardening clubs). Don’t feel shy or awkward doing these things, they can be very satisfying. These will not only keep you pre-occupied from your worries and physical needs, but they provide a sense of self-worth and belonging, and a productive channel for surplus energy.

If you’re into sports and exercise, which is important, then play team sports with friends, or join a sports club in the area. This would be better than exercising alone, can be fun, and a good way to make friends from different backgrounds.

3. Turn to Allah

May Allah reward you for attempting to stay on top of your religious duties and activities. While professional support and social company is essential, first and foremost, we must turn to Allah for all our needs, for nothing can change except through him.

“And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion.” [65:3]

Ensure that your obligatory prayers are all fulfilled, and on time. Make a short du’a after each prayer for Allah to help you, cure you, and fulfill all your needs. Try to do a small amount of dhikr and a small amount of Qur‘an recital every day, even if just very little. This will suffice for now, until you feel the yearning to do more.

Marriage

I’m sure it must be very frustrating and disheartening to not have been able to find a suitable spouse for marriage. Despite the disappointments, be patient, Allah knows what is best for us at each and every moment.

Despite the natural physical needs that you’re experiencing, I would advise that you follow the treatments mentioned above (nutrition/homeopathy) before looking for a spouse. You want to get these issues resolved before bringing someone else into your life. It is hoped that the therapies will bring balance into your life, which should help with controlling the physical desires better, until marriage becomes an option.

If treatments become established and things go well, then it may be time to look again for a spouse. At that stage, insha Allah, you will be feeling much more positive, confident and happy with yourself, and be in a position to give and share with another, without any of this in the background.

Solace in Hardships

Finally, when one finds that they are in continuous struggle, that the difficulties of life are unrelenting, then you should know that Allah wishes you only the very best.

The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, has informed us that, “If Allah intends good for someone, then he afflicts him with trials.” (Bukhari), and he, blessings and peace be upon him, said, “The servant will continue to be tried until he is left walking upon the earth without any sin.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi).

Take solace in this, and remain firm in your faith in Him. Allah Most High knows all your struggles, difficulties, and loneliness. Turn to Him, day and night, and make Him your intimate Companion.

I wish you all the best dear brother. Please do follow the above steps. May Allah grant you strength and healing, and happiness in this life and the next. You’re not alone, so do feel free to write to us again and let us know how you’re getting along.

Warmest salams and sincere du’as,
[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.

What Is the Wisdom Behind Allah’s Creating the Evil Eye?

Answered by SeekersHub Answers Service

Question:

Assalam alaykum, Why has Allah created evil eye? It sometimes harms innocents too and can drag someone to death. Is there any wisdom in this?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

The evil eye is a reality. It can be powerful. Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi al-Maliki and others explain that it is from Allah’s Will that sometimes He creates harmful effects from the evil or jealous glances and looks of others.

Please see, The Evil Eye: A Reality?

The Suffering of Others

The sufferings of the innocent, such as from natural disasters, disease, or the inhumanity of others, are temporary, and shall be a source of triumph in the next life, the infinite sphere of Allah’s name al-Rahim, the All-compassionate. Children who die find eternal bliss.

In this world, the sufferings of the innocent are equally a trial for bystanders and onlookers, who are not innocent if they can do something to alleviate them. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The believer is not someone who spends the night while his neighbor is hungry” (Mustadrak (5), 4.167. S). Scholars of Sacred Law mention that while some duties in Islam are of defined amount, such as the five daily prayers, fasting the month of Ramadan, the hajj once in a lifetime-others are equally obligatory but ofundefined amount, such as cooperating with one another in good works, feeding the hungry, helping the distressed, or providing disaster relief. Someone who can help a sufferer by spending his money, his time, his influence, his advice, or if nothing else, his prayers, must. From Allah’s wisdom, this too is of the trial of mankind “with good and evil, as a test” (Qur’an 21:35).

Please see: Suffering and Divine Wisdom

SeekersHub Answers Service

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Muslim Communal Obligation: Stories That Will Have You In Tears

Imagine spending years saving up for hajj. And then imagine, not being able to go because you gave all your money away, but Allah accepts your hajj anyway. This is the story of Ali, a humble cobbler from Damascus whose random act of sacrifice fulfilled the Muslim communal obligation – fard kifayah – of hundreds of thousands of others.
Imagine facing Allah on the Day of Judgement, while standing next to a man, woman or child from your community who suffered neglect, abuse, injustice hunger and deprivation. What will our excuse be? “I thought someone else would take care of it” might not cut it.

Every single Muslim needs to hear this khutbah by Imam Khalid Latif.


Imam Khalid Latif - Muslim Communal ObligationImam Khalid Latif is a University Chaplain for New York University, Executive Director of the Islamic Center at NYU, and a Chaplain for the NYPD. He is also the co-founder of Honest Chops, the first-ever all-natural/organic halal butcher in NYC, the Muslim Wedding Service, an agency specializing in providing charismatic and inspirational marriage officiants for wedding ceremonies. Sincere thanks to ICNYU for the recording of his Friday prayer sermon on Muslim communal obligation, or fard kifayah.

Resources on Muslim communal obligation:

How Can We Say Allah Loves Us, yet He Puts Us in Difficulty?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Allah is putting me through test after test.
I understand that life is meant to be a test but what I don’t understand is how you can test someone that you love? Surely if Allah loves us, He should try and help us and ease our worries. I have done a lot of acts of worship but things are only getting worse…

Shouldn’t we just all hope to die?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah grant you tremendous relief after all of your heartache.

Tribulations

“I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, which people are most severely tested?’ He said: ‘The Prophets, then the next best and the next best. A person is tested according to his religious commitment. If he is steadfast in his religious commitment, he will be tested more severely, and if he is frail in his religious commitment, his test will be according to his commitment. Trials will continue to afflict a person until they leave him walking on the earth with no sin on him.’ [Ibn Majah]

Trials are an inevitable part of this life. Reflect on the stories of the Prophets (upon them be blessings and peace), and how much they were tested. Being in the dunya can be unbelievably painful. It can also contain tremendous joy. All this passes – the good of it, and the bad of it. I pray that Allah grants you a multitude of ways to cope, out of His Mercy. InshaAllah your heartache is expiation for you, and an elevation of your rank in Jannah.

Losing hope

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “None of you should wish for death because of a calamity that has afflicted him, but if he must do something he should say: O Allah, keep me alive so long as life is good for me and cause me to die if death is better for me.” [Sahih Bukhari]

“Verily, with the hardship, there is relief.” [Qur’an, 94:6]

Dear sister, please do not despair and wish for death. For as long as you are alive, the doors of repentance remain open. Trust that Allah’s promise is true. Verily after every hardship is ease. Although you might not feel this right now, take a deep breath, exhale, and reflect on the moments in your life where Allah granted you ease after difficulty. Have a good opinion of your Lord. Shaytan wants to trick you into despair, so safeguard yourself from his trap.

Purpose of Hardship

Please take the time to read this brilliant explanation on Suffering and Divine Wisdom, and take the time to reflect on the role of suffering in our journey towards Allah.

Creation

One of the realities of being a created being is accepting that we cannot place demands on our Creator. Allah does whatever He wills. At the same time, remember His Mercy.

Alhamdulilah, all of your acts of worship are praiseworthy, so please continue them, but shift your attitude. Surrender to His Decree, instead of holding onto this idea of a transaction: “If I do x then Allah will give me y.” Allah is under no obligation to answer our duas on our timeline, as painful as this can be for us. Seek comfort in the reality that there is always, always, always wisdom in what He withholds, and in what He gives us, as much as it can hurt.

Solutions

1.Perform the Prayer of Need during the last third of the night. Come to Allah, brokenhearted. Beg Him for relief.

2.Reflect on your contribution to your difficulty. Do you need to repent? Is there someone you have wronged? Seek to redress these immediately.

3.Continue to give in charity and make dua for ease.

4.When you perform these acts of worship, do so with an attitude of humility.

5.It sounds like you are overwhelmed and in need of help. Could you find a kind therapist, psychologist or life coach to speak to? Do you have good friends or family members who can give you a listening ear?

6.Exercise daily, eat nourishing foods and get enough sunshine.

Please refer to the following links:

A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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:

As a Married Woman, Can I Long For Another Married Man—At Least as a Mate in Paradise?

Answered by Ustadha Umm Umar

Question: I am married to a man that I do not love. I work hard to be a good and faithful wife to him. I love another person, but do not see him and avoid anything that might lead to haram. I am a practising Muslim and spend much of my time doing dhikr, qiyam and fasting. However, I am unhappy in my marriage and in my heart I so wish I was married to the man I love and who loves me.

Is it permissible to make dua and ask Allah to let me marry the man I do love?

Answer: Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

I pray this message reaches you in the best of health and iman.

It would not be permissible for you to long to be the wife of someone else. It may be that the shaytan has not been able to lure you away from your dhikr, qiyam and fasting, but he has found this door from which to toy with your heart and mind, to distract you from a path pleasing to Allah Most High. To get out of this situation, I would advise you to:

(1) cut any ties with the second brother, such that you do not see or speak to him

(2) look at the good of your own husband, learn from his good traits and strive to be more pleasing to him

(3) remember that divorce is of the most hated things to Allah Most High

(4) in making dua, ask for the path and actions of those most pleasing to Allah – don’t ask for what you think is good for you, as ultimately you do not know what is best for you – only Allah Most High knows that, so put your complete trust in Him in what he has destined for you

(5) whenever you think of the second brother, just make dua that Allah the Exalted gives him the highest ranks of Paradise (this will discourage the shaytan from reminding you about him)

Please see also: A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah and: Why Has Allah Allowed Me to Fall in Love With Someone I Can’t Marry?

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to email me anytime insha Allah.

Umm Umar (Shireen Ahmed)

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani