Supplying Medication Containing Unlawful Substances

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalam Alaykum

I work as a pharmacist, sometimes doctors prescribe medication which contains unlawful substances such as alcohol or gelatin and this is what I have to supply to the patient, sometimes those patients are Muslim. Would I be sinful for checking off/ supplying such medication?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam, thank you for your question.

The onus to check if medical cases permit consumption of impure substances for treatment rests on the doctor, and the patient’s acceptance. Your checking the dosage, ingredients, and supplying the medication based on the doctors prescription would be permissible, if the doctor prescribing it is known to be qualified and competent. Patients also have the individual responsibility to look into what they are being prescribed and consuming.

However, it would be recommended for you to mention to Muslim patients that their medication contains such ingredients, so they have the choice to take it or refer back to the doctor for an alternative prescription. This way,  you have done what is in your capacity to inform them and allow them to make an informed decision. And Allah knows best.

Warmest salams,

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. He travelled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years privately studying a range of Islamic sciences under the foremost scholars and muftis from the Ribat Tarim, specializating in Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies under many of Amman’s most prominent scholars, in a range of Islamic sciences, including Islamic theology, logic, legal principles and precepts, hadith studies, grammar and rhetoric, seerah, Quranic studies and tafsir. He is also an experienced homeopath, having studied and been mentored under some of its leading practitioners.

Prostrating to Other Than Allah

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: My sister was taken to a saint’s shrine (darbar) when she was small. She said that they all prostrated (sajda) and she didn’t know what was going on and she prostrated too. Is prostrating out of reverence (Sujud al-Ta`dhim) to other than Allah impermissible (haram)? Is she sinful for doing this? Are they disbelievers (kafirs) now and will they be in Hell forever?

Answer: In the Name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful.

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

It is a foundational belief of Islam that worship is only directed to Allah Most High. This is a direct implication of the statement of faith: la ilaha illa’l Llah — there is no god but God, whose meaning is, “There is none worthy of worship but God.” [Bajuri, Tuhftat al-Murid `ala Jawharat al-Tawhid]

Prostration is an act of worship, and therefore impermissible for other than Allah. Allah Most High says, “Do not prostrate to the sun or the moon. Rather, only prostrate to God, who created them–if you indeed are true in worshipping Him.” [Qur’an, 41.37]

A Matter of Consensus
There is scholarly consensus that it is not permitted to prostrate to other than Allah. Without the intention of worship it is not outright disbelief (kufr), though it remains one of the greatest of sins. The adults would bear the sin until they repent.

Imam Ahmad Raza Khan has written a treatise entitled al-Zubdatul Zakiyyah li Tahrimi Sujud at-Tahiyyah concerning the prostration of reverence. In this treatise he has clearly shown with reference and evidence from the Qur’an and Hadith that:

1. The prostration of worship (sajda al-`ibada), for other than Allah, is undeniably disbelief (kufr);

2. The prostration of reverence or greeting (tahiyya), for other than Allah, is unlawful and a major sin.

And Allah knows best.

Faraz Rabbani

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