Monday, July 30, 2012

A great article on the Covenant of Madinah

This covenant is often over looked and ignored. This is a great article by the Grand Mufti of Al Azher Dr. Ali Gomaa:

Islam has not only spread its teachings about human behavior and noble manners among its followers, but it has rather taught Muslims practical adherence to it and persistence in acting upon it. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was the first to undertake practical application of the principles of tolerance toward non-Muslims as stated in the Glorious Qur'an. The earliest application of such a principle of tolerance occurred in Madinah since the Prophet's arrival to it in immigration from Makkah. Since his early stay there, the Prophet worked toward the establishment of the Islamic State, concluding in the first year of Hegira a covenant between Muslims and Madinah citizens of other religions. The covenant was the first political document ever concluded, and it included 47 articles regulating the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims. According to it, the scope of Muslims' interaction withhe reign of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), on the basis of the principle of tolerance, which is elaborated on in many verses of the Glorious Qur'an and illustrated in the Prophet's biography, in word and deed. non-Muslims increased during the reign of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), on the basis of the principle of tolerance, which is elaborated on in many verses of the Glorious Qur'an and illustrated in the Prophet's biography, in word and deed.

This covenant is considered the first document that contained articles maintaining rights of citizenship. Reviewing this constitutional document, we find that it recognized citizens' rights and duties, from the political, military, economic, and social perspectives. So, such bases can be perceived throughhe most important terms in the covenant, which run as follows: analyzing t
  1. The Prophet's saying that they "are one nation distinguished from all other people" establishes the principles of national unity among the citizens of the one state, being the subjects or the people of the state at that time.
  2. His saying that "anyone from among the Jews who joins us shall have our support and shall share equal rights with us and shall suffer no oppression and shall fear no alliance against them" states the necessity of supporting non-Muslim fellow citizens and taking sides with them in affirmation of their right to that support, being due on the part of Muslims, against any assault on them.
  3. His saying "The Jews of Banu `Awf shall be treated along with the believers as one community, with the Jews having their own religion and the Muslims having their own religion; this shall apply to them and their freedmen [i.e., allies], with the exception of those who act unjustly or sinfully. By so doing, they wrong themselves and their families" is a clear declaration of national unity among the different sects in society, with justice — not injustice — set as its governing law and with the unjust bearing the consequences of their misdeeds.
  4. His saying that "the Jews shall share expenses with the believers as long as they are at war [with others]" lays down the principle of equality among citizens, Muslims and non-Muslims, in economically supporting the state at times of war against enemies. It also accentuates the necessity of mutual support and assistance between the two parties against the enemy.
  5. His saying that "the Jews shall bear their expenses and Muslims shall bear theirs" asserts the principle of economic solidarity when distributing economic responsibilities among the different groups in society.
  6. His saying "The Jewish allies of the clans of An-Najjar, Al-Harith, Sa`idah, Jusham, Al-Aws, and Tha`labah shall enjoy the same rights as the Jewish allies of `Awf" involves a recognition of the principle of equality in rights and duties among Muslims and the rest of denominations in the territories under the rule of the Islamic State.
  7. This pact constitutes an ideal example of citizenship, recognizing the rights of all citizens in the same homeland and indicating that there should be no difference among them regarding responsibilities.
    Also, his sayings "They shall render support against anyone who fights any party to this pact" and "They shall owe it to each other to give mutual sincere counsel. Fulfillment of the articles of this pact shall prevent any violation of it. No one shall be held responsible for a sinful action perpetrated by his of her ally" establish the priorities of mutual support among the parties to the covenant against the enemies fighting them, which is a military defense concept. It also illustrates the necessity of cooperation in mutual exchange of view, advice, and consultation, being an essential social concept of citizenship.
  8. His saying "No unbeliever may take the property of Quraysh [the enemy] under his or her protection. Enemy’s property shall be surrendered to the State, and he may not be protected against a believer" prevents any cooperation between any group in society and the enemies of that society, be that related to protection of lives, honor, or property.
  9. His saying "No one shall be held responsible for a sinful action perpetrated by his or her ally" explains the principle of personal accountability and recognizes the rights of both the individual and society alike. Every person is responsible only for what he has committed, and this is one of the principles of tolerance in Islam. Thus, society is not punished or held accountable for the misdeeds of an individual. This principle springs from Allah's (Exalted be He) Sayings, (And no bearer of a burden shall bear the burden of another) (Al-An`am 6: 164), (Every person is a pledge for that which he has earned) (At-Tur 52: 21), and (Every soul is a pledge for what it has earned) (Al-Muddaththir 74: 38), and thus, it constitutes the perfect form of equality.
10. His saying that "Yathrib [i.e., Madinah] shall be an inviolable [sanctuary] for the parties to this pact" is a clear-cut proof from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) regarding delimitation of the concept of geographical citizenship and the citizen's belonging to his or her homeland.
11. His saying that "neither Quraysh nor their allies shall be given protection" indubitably interdicts any military cooperation with the enemies of homeland or their allies who assist them in their injustice.
12. Finally, his sayings "The parties to this pact are bound to help each other in the event of an attack on Yathrib" and "This document shall not [be employed to] protect one who is unjust or who commits a crime [against other parties to the pact]" represent a manifest declaration by the Prophet of an essential principle of citizenship, namely, the inevitability of defending homeland. These words also state that assistance is incumbent only in case of justice and equity and not in case of injustice or oppression. Hence, the right of citizenship does not give a free pardon to a citizen in case he or she commits an injustice or sin, because the religion of Islam maintains and takes sides with the right and forbids and encounters falsehood.

These are some of the provisions and articles established in the pact regarding rights of citizenship, as early as the lifetime of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). They promulgated that all citizens (Muslims and non-Muslims) are to be treated on a clear basis of equality, as there is no first-class, second-class, or third-class citizens. Favoritism on the basis of the citizen's faith was nonexistent, and all citizens were equal before Shari`ah and the rule of law, and they were all fairly alike as regards duties, with no discrimination whatsoever.

This pact constitutes an ideal example of citizenship, recognizing the rights of all citizens in the same homeland and indicating that there should be no difference among them regarding responsibilities. Under it, no one was granted any distinction at the expense of another on a racial or denominational basis. Islam maintains that the only criterion for distinction and honoring is doing good deeds, serving society, and preserving its safety and security.

What does Islam say about coexistence?

By Sheikh Salman al-Oadah

It is a sad fact that the idea of coexistence is far removed from the conceptual reality of certain sectors of Muslim society. We do not even have to go so far as to discuss coexistence between Muslims and people of other faith – there is a lack of willingness for some groups of Muslims to coexist with other Muslim who happen follow a different school of jurisprudence, or are affiliated with a different group, or are from a different country… or in some cases who belong to a different Arab tribe. These divisions sometimes erupt into violence, causing us to ask: What has torn us apart like this?

Too many people see the idea of coexistence as merely a strategy to resort to in times of weakness. This is not true at all. What we see if we observe the world is that coexistence really comes into full flower and sets its roots deep when there is strength. The societies which have the power to promote coexistence and peace are the same ones who have the power to instigate and successfully conduct a war. By contrast, those who are weak can neither conduct war nor bring about peace. It is, indeed, at times of weakness and instability that we find the noble idea of coexistence to be most imperiled.

It shows strength to be able to accommodate disagreements and dissention, to be able to encompass various outlooks, social tendencies, and aspirations while not having any group’s vested interests spiral into discord or civil strife. Strength is not about imposing one particular view by force.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The strong person is not the one who can wrestle another to the ground; the strong person is the one who can restrain himself when he is angry.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

When the Caliph `Umar b. al-Khattâb entered Jerusalem to receive the keys to the city, he was invited to pray inside the church, but he declined. He refused to do so, though he was in a position of strength and could do as he pleased. He refused, though he did not in any way disdain praying in the church. He said, showing great foresight and sensitivity: “I fear that if I pray inside, the Muslims of future times will wish to pray In the same spot and will cause discomfort for the church’s congregation.”

`Umar, instead, prayed outside the church and spoke a guarantee to the Christians for their lives and security.

Though Richard the Lionhearted had once killed 2,700 Muslim prisoners of war on a single occasion and hung their bodies around the walls of the city of Acre, breaking the agreement he had made with the Muslims, we see that Saladin, when he retook Jerusalem, guaranteed the lives of everyone, Jews and Christians alike, though he was more then capable of exacting revenge. He instead entered into the Treaty of Ramla with Richard on 2 September 1192, whereby the city would stay in Muslim hands but would remain open to Christian pilgrimages. This is one of the hallmarks of coexistence in medieval history.

Muslim history, which is full of periods of strength and victory, is at the same time a testament to coexistence in action. It is a history of peace treaties, agreements, and covenants with others.

Allah says: “O you who believe, uphold your covenants.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 1]

Allah says: “Keep the covenants. Lo! The covenant will be asked about.” [Sûrah al-Isrâ’: 34]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever kills a person who is under a covenant, that killer will not smell the scent of Paradise, though its scent can be detected for the distance of a journey of forty years.”

We can witness that the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw a funeral procession pass by. He stood for it. When he was told that it was the funeral of a Jew, he replied: “Was he not a human soul?” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

Look at how Ibn Taymiyah addressed the King of Cyprus:

It has reached me of the Cypriot King’s devoutness, his grace, his love of knowledge, and his studiousness. I have seen how Sheikh Abû al-`Abbâs al-Maqdisî has shown thanks to the King for his gentleness, kindness, and hospitality, and equally extended thanks to the priests and their peers.

We are a people who love goodness for everyone, and it is our hope that Allah will to bring together for you all good in this world and the next.
Ibn Taymiyah called upon him not only to free the Muslim prisoners of war that he had, but also the Tatars, Jews, and Christians, saying:
We wish for all those who are with you who are Jews and Christians and who are under our legal protection, that you free them. We will not abandon any prisoner who is our citizen, whether he be Muslim or not. And likewise know that all the prisoners of war that we have who are Christians, they all know of our goodness to them and our mercy, which the Final Messenger had enjoined upon us.
Sadly, some people who are overwhelmed with a sense of defeat, cannot see in the language of coexistence anything other than a justification for and acceptance of their defeat. Others look towards an idealistic notion of coexistence that has no practical expression. A true appreciation of coexistence can bring an end to this confusion.

The success of coexistence depends upon the airing of rational voices willing to engage in fruitful dialogue, through which desired results can be achieved with ease. By contrast, the failure of coexistence is ensured when irrational and foolish voices take over, of people who care nothing but for the gratification of their own interests. Such people rely upon the discourse of strength and coercion in their understanding of the world and in their decision making. Such are people who see conflict as the key to dealing with others. They cannot look at things from the vantage point of our shared humanity, our universal values, and the common needs and interests that all people have.

Warmongers never think except in the context of war. Their discourse comes inevitably to one sorrowful conclusion.

The purpose of religion – contrary to what some people seem to think – is not to cause conflict between people, but rather to give a moral shape and harmonious order to human interaction and to ensure successful cooperation in developing our lives on this Earth.

Allah says about humanity: “It is He Who hath produced you from the Earth and settled you therein” [Sûrah Hûd: 61]

When Allah created Adam (peace be upon him) he created him to develop the Earth, to explore it and cultivate it.

The angels at first objected to the creation of the human being, saying: “Do you place therein those who will cause strife and bloodshed, while we glorify You with praise and exalt You?” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 30]

The angels knew full well that Allah hates strife and bloodshed. Certainly, Allah did not create humanity and give us the scriptures so we could fight each other.

The duty the Muslims have to spread the Message of Islam requires winning over people’s hearts and minds. They need to know about Islam as it really is. We as Muslims need to exercise patience and forbearance. We need to respond to abuse with goodness, as Allah has commanded us on a number of occasions in the Qur’ân.

“The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel evil with what is better, then lo! he, between whom and you there had been enmity, will become like a bosom friend.” [Sûrah Fussilat: 34]

This is how Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) won over the hearts of his enemies. He responded to their harshness and coarseness with kindness, until their hearts softened and they were receptive to hear the truth.

Kind treatment, genuine concern and friendship, treating others well in word and in deed – these are the ways to bring an end to hatred and reconcile people. Allah says: “And no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint, none but persons of the greatest good fortune.” [Sûrah Fussilat: 35]

Coexistence preserves human life. It opens the doors to dialogue. It is the atmosphere in which the Message of Islam prospers, where it can present itself with the reason, evidence, and logic that so enriches the Qur’ân.

What's Islam say about dancing?


As-salamu `alaykum. Is dancing prohibited in Islam? That is, dancing with a group of people like bhangra, by oneself, or dancing with females. Thank you for your time. Jazaka Allahu khayran.


Wa `alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

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

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear questioner, we would like to thank you for showing keenness on learning the teachings of Islam, and we appreciate the great confidence you have in us. We hope our efforts meet your expectations.

Islam is a religion of moderation and does not approve of either extremism or negligence. It does not prevent people from having entertainment; however, it provides the rules that regulate this entertainment. At the same time, Islam does not tolerate any kind of entertainment that contains haram (unlawful) or even leads to haram behavior.

Dancing can be either between women, between men, or mixed between both sexes. It is allowed for women to dance together unless it involves revealing any of the woman’s `awrah – that is, the parts of the body between the navel and the knee – in front of other women. It is also allowed unless the dancing means that mandatory obligations will not be carried out or if it coincides with unlawful acts.

In this regard, Dr. Su’ad Salih, professor of Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) at Al-Azhar University , states:
Islam is a religion of moderation; it does not prevent singing and dancing, but it forbids anything that stimulates people’s desires, whether it be among men or women. Women are supposed to observe good manners if they dance in front of other women. They should not exceed the limits by doing anything that stimulates desires and incites evil. There are many cases where women are tempted by other women.
However, if a woman dances in front of her husband, then there is no restriction, as it is a way of cementing relations between spouses – and this a key pillar of establishing the Muslim family.
Moreover, Dr. Salim Ahmad Salamah, Dean of the Faculty of Usul Ad-Deen at the Islamic University, Gaza , adds:
It is permissible for women to dance and sing as long as there are no males around. In addition, the words of the song should be free from any foul words or vulgarity. Thus, as long as the words of the song are pure and clean and there are no males, there is nothing wrong in dancing.
By analogy, men are allowed to dance together as long as they cover their `awrah (the parts of the body between the navel and the knee) and there is no fear of temptation.
Men and women dancing together is absolutely haram in all cases, except when a wife dances in front of her husband. The reason behind this prohibition is that with mixed dancing bodily contact is close and improper sexual desires are aroused. This has been strictly forbidden by Islam in an attempt to block the way against evil. If men and women were permitted to dance together, a lot of haram acts could occur. That is why mixed dancing is not allowed.

Is music haraam or halaal? Part 2


Assalamualaikum Shaikh I have a few questions I hope you can help me with. First of all is it disliked to listen to nasheeds when you do not understand the meaning of them? Like if the nasheed is in arabic but you know that it is praising Allah and honoring the Messenger (pbuh)? Secondly I understand when you say that we can acknowledge birthdays as long as we do not go overboard but I have heard that the celebration of birthdays may have pagan origins is it still okay to celebrate them and give greetings and such?Thank you so much for your help and may Allah reward you greatly.


In regard to your question on nasheeds, I cannot do any better than citing one of my earlier answers on a similar question:

"I don't believe that music in itself is considered haram (prohibited); it is just like all other forms of entertainment; the haram of it is haram, and the halal (permissible) of it is halal. How can Islam prohibit all forms of music when it is based on balance, and harmony and has a sound nature?

Islam forbids music that contains themes or messages that are profane, immoral, and degrading to the human spirit. So any music that falls into this category shall be considered haram. On the other hand, any music that uplifts the human spirit, and contains noble and ethically sound themes is considered permissible.

Having said this, we must also point out the following:

If a person is addicted to music in such a way that he is distracted by it from fulfilling his important religious duties or other obligations, it shall be considered haram for him to listen to it.

So we cannot say that qawali itself is considered haram, for it contains noble themes of praising Allah and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). However, I must also point out that sometimes they border on excessive veneration in praising the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him); so we must be careful of such tendencies, but this should not prevent us from benefiting from those parts of qawali that are sound and uplifting.

Now coming to the final point, whether we are allowed to listen to Western music, let me state: We are allowed to listen to any type of music that fulfills the following criteria:

1. Its message is noble and ethically sound in Islam;

2. It is not addictive or distracting from one's important duties or obligations;

3. It is not over-done; in other words, one must never indulge in it except as an occasional outlet, for a believer has other important things in life that he/she must focus on, so do not use it except as an occasional outlet or diversion. As reported in tradition, 'You should have occasional outlets!"

As for birthdays, it cannot be declared as haraam, if it is simply practiced as a custom. According to the rules of jurisprudence, unlike acts of worship, people are free to innovate customs, as long as they do not violate any of the fundamental principles of shari'ah. Thus, we see all sorts of customs practiced in Muslim countries, which are not condemned by scholars. For even in Saudi Arabia, which is highly puritanical in its doctrines, they continue to celebrate the birth of their nation; it is also common for Muslims in many countries to celebrate the silver or golden jubilees of their institutions or movements. However, it is important to point out that any such celebrations should be free of any un-Islamic practices and wastage.

Is music haraam or halaal? Part 1

Okay I myself am quite confused on this issue. Because there's numerous conflicting fatwas and views. Right now I'll just post a fatwa from Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.


As-Salamu `alaykum! In his fatwa " Does Islam Go against Laughter? ", Sheikh Yusuf `Abdullah Al-Qaradawi stated that when Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq (may Allah be pleased with him) tried to stop two young girls from singing in the Prophet’s house, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told him: 'Let it be, for we are now in the feast.' However, Sheikh Qaradawi did not refer to the following hadiths: Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) used to swear by Allah that the ayah "And of mankind is he who purchases idle talk to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah . . .” (Luqman: 6) referred to singing. Abu ‘Amir and Abu Malik al-Ash`ari (may Allah be pleased with them) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Among my Ummah will be those who make permissible al-hira (adultery), silk, khamr and musical instruments . . .” (Reported by al-Bukhari; see al-Fath, 10/51). Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “In this Ummah there will be punishments of earthquakes, showers of stones and deformity (transformation into animals); that will be when the people drink khamr, listen to female singers and play musical instruments.” (See al-Silsilah as-Saheehah, 2203; attributed to Ibn Abid-Dunya, Dhamm al-Malahi; the hadith was narrated by at-Tirmidhi, no. 2212). Also, Sheikh Qaradawi did not mention the following facts: It is reported in a Sahih hadith that the Prophet's laughter was never more than a smile. (Reported by Ahmad) According to another hadith, he (peace and blessings be upon him) used to remain silent for long periods, and laugh little. (Reported by Ahmad) ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) laughing so heartily that his back teeth showed; he would only smile.” (Reported by Abu Dawud) Now, don't the readers have the right to know the other side of the coin too? But then again, perhaps I am wrong about it. I would however, appreciate it, if the fatwa issuer could reply to my objections. Wassalam


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

First of all, we would like to thank you for the great confidence you have in us. We hope our efforts meet your expectations.

Given that your objection revolves mainly around music and why it is permissible, here is the clarification for that in the light of fatwa issued by Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi:

The whole issue of singing is controversial, whether it is with musical accompaniment or not. Some issues succeeded to gain the Muslim scholars’ agreement, while others failed. All scholars have unanimous view on the prohibition of all forms of singing and music that incites debauchery, indecency, or sin. As for musical instruments, given the weakness of the evidence indicating that they are forbidden, the rule to be applied here is the one states that all things are originally deemed permissible as long as there is no Shari`ah text that prohibits them.

Singing is no more than melodious words; if these are good, singing is considered good; but if they are bad, such singing is deemed bad. Talk that contains forbidden content is prohibited. What if that talk is accompanied with rhythm and melody?

Scholars agree on the permissibility of singing without instrumental accompaniment and where the content is not prohibited. This sort of singing is allowed only in certain occasions such as: weddings, feasts, welcoming a traveler, and the like. This is based on the hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) that states: “He (peace and blessings be upon him) asked, ‘Have you given the girl (i.e., the bride) anything as a present?’ They (the attendants) replied, ‘Yes.’ He asked, 'Did you send a singer along with her?' 'No', said `A'ishah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) then said, 'The Ansar are a people who love poetry. You should have sent along someone who would sing: Here we come, to you we come, greet us as we greet you.'" In this case, we can say that a woman can sing only in front of women and her non-marriageable male kin.

In the subject of musical instruments, scholars disagree on the matter. Some of them permit all sorts of singing, be it accompanied with musical instruments or not, and even consider it recommended. A second group of scholars permit singing only when is not accompanied with a musical instrument. A third group declare it to be prohibited whether it be accompanied with a musical instrument or not; they even consider it as a major sin. In supporting their view, they cite the hadith narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari on the authority of Abu Malik or Abu `Amir Al-Ash`ari (doubt from the sub-narrator) that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, 'From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk (clothes), the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful.' Although this hadith is in Sahih Al-Bukhari, its chain of transmission is not connected to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and this invalidates its authenticity. Ibn Hazm rejects it for that very reason. Moreover, the sub-narrator, Hisham Ibn `Ammar is declared ‘weak’ by many scholars of the Science of Hadith Methodology.

Besides, this hadith does not clearly prohibit the use of musical instruments, for the phrase 'consider as lawful,' according to Ibn Al-`Arabi, has two distinct meanings:

First: Such people think all these (the things mentioned) are lawful.

Second: They exceed the proper limits that should be observed in using these instruments. If the first meaning is intended, such people would be thus disbelievers.

In fact, the hadith in hand dispraises the manners of a group of people who indulge themselves in luxuries, drinking alcohol and listening to music. Therefore, Ibn Majah narrates this hadith from Abu Malik Al-Ash`ari in the following wording: "From among my followers there will be some people who will drink wine, giving it other names while they listen to musical instruments and the singing of female singers; Allah the Almighty will make the earth swallow them and will turn them into monkeys and pigs.” (Reported by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih)

Conclusion on Permissibility of Musical Instruments

In the light of the above, it is clear that the religious texts that stand as a basis for those who maintain that singing is haram are either ambiguous or inauthentic. None of the hadiths attributed to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is valid as evidence on the judgment of prohibition. Moreover, all these hadiths are declared ‘weak’ by the followers of Ibn Hazm, Malik, Ibn Hanbal, and Ash-Shafi`i.

In his book, Al-Ahkam, Al-Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn Al-`Arabi says, “None of the hadiths maintaining that singing is prohibited are considered authentic (by the scholars of the Science of Hadith Methodology).” The same view is maintained by Al-Ghazali and Ibn An-Nahwi in Al-`Umdah. Ibn Tahir says, “Not even a single letter from all these Hadiths was proved to be authentic.”

Ibn Hazm says, “All the hadiths narrated in this respect were invented and falsified.”

Proofs of Those Who Maintain that Singing is Halal:

First: The Textual Proofs:

They base their argument on some authentic hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). One of these hadiths is the following:

`A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated: “Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him, came to my house while two girls were singing beside me the songs of Bu`ath (a story about the pre-Islamic war between the two tribes of the Ansar, the Khazraj and the Awus). The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) laid down and turned his face to the other side. Then Abu Bakr came and spoke to me harshly saying, ‘Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)?’ Thereupon, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) turned his face towards him and said, ‘Leave them.’ When Abu Bakr became inattentive, I signaled to those girls to go out and they left.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

This indicates that these two girls were not so young as claimed by some scholars. If they were, Abu Bakr would not have been angry with them in such manner. In addition, in this hadith, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) wanted to teach the Jews that Islam has room for merriment and that he himself was sent with a moderate and flexible legislation. There is also another important lesson to learn here. It draws our attention to the fact that one needs to introduce Islam to others in a good fashion, along with displaying its moderateness and magnanimity.

Moreover, we can also cite as corroborating this Allah’s words that read, “But when they spy some merchandise or pastime they break away to it and leave thee standing. Say: That which Allah hath is better than pastime and than merchandise, and Allah is the best of providers.” (Al-Jumu`ah: 11)

In this verse, Allah Almighty joins pastime with merchandise. He does not dispraise any of them, He just only rebuked the Companions who left Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone giving the khutbah (Friday Sermon), when they all rushed to attend to the caravan and beating of the drums celebrating its arrival.

Second: In Respect of Islam’s Spirit and Basics:

It is a fact that Allah had prohibited for the Children of Israel some of the good things of this worldly life as a punishment for their misdeeds.

He says, “Because of the wrongdoing of the Jews, We forbade them good things which were (before) made lawful unto them, and because of their much hindering from Allah's way. And of their taking usury when they were forbidden it, and of their devouring people's wealth by false pretences. We have prepared for those of them who disbelieve a painful doom.” (An-Nisa’: 160-161)

Before sending Prophet Muhammad, He Almighty referred to him in the earlier scriptures as, “Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, whom they will find described in the Torah and the Gospel (which are) with them. He will enjoin on them that which is right and forbid them that which is wrong. He will make lawful for them all good things and prohibit for them only the foul.” (Al-A`raf: 157)

Thus, Islam left nothing good or sound but declared it to be halal (lawful). This is a sign of mercy to this Ummah (nation or community), moving along the line of its comprehensive and eternal message. Allah Almighty says, “They ask you (O Muhammad) what is made lawful for them. Say: (all) good things are made lawful for you.” (Al-Ma’idah: 4)

If we are to delve deeply into this matter, we will find that love for singing and melodic voices are almost a human instinct. We can observe an infant lying in his cradle soothed and sleeping by the sound of a lullaby. Mothers and nannies are always in the habit of singing for babies and children. Moreover, birds and animals respond to nice voices and rhythmic melodies.

Thereupon, if singing is thus a human instinct, it is not for Islam to defy humankind’s instincts. Islam came to refine and promote the human instinct. Ibn Taymyiah says, “Prophets were sent to polish and discipline man’s instinct and not to change or modify it.” This is pursuant to the hadith that reads, “When Allah’s Messenger came to Madinah, he found them (i.e., the people of Madinah) celebrating two days. He said, ‘What are these days?’ They replied, ‘We used to rejoice in these days during the pre-Islamic era.’ He (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘Verily, Allah Almighty has given you two alternative days which are much better: these are Al-Adha and Al-Fitr days (`Eids).’” (Reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i)

Moreover, if singing is to be considered rejoicing and play, these are not haram; this is in pursuant to the famous idea that man needs some time to relax a bit and rejoice. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to Hanzalah who thought himself to be a hypocrite for his attendance to his wife and children and the change that affected him when he was apart from Allah’s Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), “O Hanzalah! Part of your time should be devoted (to the worldly affairs) and part of time (should be devoted to prayer and meditation).” (Reported by Muslim)

`Ali Ibn Abu Talib says, “Amuse yourselves for some time, for if hearts are exposed to too much strain, they turn blind.”

Abu Ad-Darda’ said, “I refresh myself with some amusement in order to make myself stronger on the path of right.”

Imam Al-Ghazali answered someone who asked him: “Isn't singing some kind of play and rejoice?” He said, “Yes. But, all that exists in this present life is mere play and rejoice. All that takes place between a husband and his wife is play, except sexual intercourse that is the direct cause of reproducing children. This has been reported from Allah’s Messenger and his honorable Companions.”

In fact, leisure time is refreshing to the heart and alleviates its tensions at the same time. Excessive strain and efforts render the heart bored and blind. Amusing the self refreshes and renews its strength and vigor. One who continuously works hard at something should take a break for a while in order to restore and regain his energy and firm will lest he totally collapses in future. When one takes a break, he thus restores his strength and vigor. Only Prophets can stand absolute seriousness. Having leisure time is a form of treatment for diseases of the self, weariness and boredom. But, leisure should not be excessive. This will go against the whole issue of rejoicing hearts to make them able to go on.

One who is familiar with and experienced in the nature of the human heart and self knows for certain that recreation and relaxation are necessary treatments for one’s well-being.

These proofs on the permissibility of singing are extracted from the texts and rules of Islam, and these are sufficient to clarify the issue.

In addition to this, the people of Madinah, who were very pious and God-fearing, the Zahiriyyah, who were very literal regarding the textual proofs, and the Sufis, who were very strict and rigid, were all quoted to have declared the permissibility of singing.

Imam Ash-Shawkani says in his book “Nayl Al-Awtar”, “The people of Madinah and those who agreed with them from among the Zahiriyyah and the Sufis maintain that singing is permissible, even when it is accompanied by a musical instrument such as the lute or the flute. Abu Mansur Al-Bughdadi Ash-Shafi`i narrate that `Abdullah Ibn Ja`far saw nothing wrong in singing, and he, himself, used to compose the music for his own slaves who used to sing these melodies in his presence. This took place during the time of Commander of the Faithful, `Ali Ibn Abi Talib. Abu Ja`far Al-Bughdadi narrates the same after Al-Qadi Shurayh, Sa`id Ibn Al-Musaiyb, `Ata’ Ibn Abu Rabah, Az-Zuhri and Ash-Shi`bi.”

Ar-Ruwaiyani narrates on the authority of Al-Qaffal that Malik Ibn Anas maintained that singing with musical instruments is permissible. Also, Abu Mansur Al-Furani quotes Malik as maintaining that playing the flute is permissible.

Abu Al-Fadl Ibn Tahir narrates, “The people of Madinah never disputed over the permissibility of playing the lute.”

Ibn An-Nahwi narrates in his “Al-`Umdah”: “Ibn Tahir said, ‘The people of Madinah showed consensus over this (issue). Also, all the Zahiriyyah maintained the same.'”

Al-Mawardi attributes the permissibility of playing the lute to some of the Shafi`i followers and students. This has been narrated also by Abu Al-Fadl Ibn Tahir after Abu Ishaq Ash-Shirazi; and it is narrated by Al-Isnawi after Ar-Ruwaiyani and Al-Mawardi. Again, this is narrated by Al-Adfuwi after Sheikh `Izz Ad-Deen Ibn `Abd As-Salam. It is also narrated after Abu Bakr Ibn Al-`Arabi.

All these scholars consider singing that is accompanied by musical instruments permissible, but as for singing that is not accompanied by musical instruments, Al-Adfuwi says, “In some of his jurisprudence-related books, Al-Ghazali narrates the consensus of the scholars on its permissibility." Also, Ibn Tahir narrates the consensus of the Prophet’s Companions and those who succeeded them on this very topic. Ibn An-Nahwi states in Al-`Umdah that singing and listening was deemed permissible by a group of the Companions and the Followers.

Conditions and Terms:

There are some conditions and terms that should be observed regarding listening to singing, as follows:

1. Not all sorts of singing are permissible. Rather, the permissible song should comply with the Islamic teachings and ethics. Therefore, the songs praising the tyrants and corrupt rulers disagree with Islamic teachings. In fact, Islam stands against transgressors and their allies, and those who show indifference to their transgression. So, the same goes for those songs that imply giving praises to such attitude!

2. Also, the way the song is performed weighs so much. The theme of the song may be good, but the performance of the singer – through intending excitement and arousing others’ lusts and desires along with trying to seduce them – may move it to the area of prohibition, suspicion or even detest. The Glorious Qur’an addresses the wives of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) saying, “O you wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty (to Allah), then be not soft of speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease aspire (to you), but utter customary speech." (Al-Ahzab: 32) So, one has to show caution to music when there is softness of speech accompanied with rhyme, melody, and special effects!

3. Singing should not be accompanied with something that is prohibited such as alcohol, nakedness, mixing of men with women that is common in pubs and nightclubs, etc.

4. Islam has declared excessiveness as prohibited in everything. The same goes for excessiveness in leisure and recreation even though these things are permissible ! This indicates that the emptiness of the mind and heart has to be observed and tackled during man’s short-term life. One should know that Allah Almighty will ask every one about his life and his youth in particular.

There are some things in which one is to be his own judge and Mufti. If there is some kind of singing that arouses his own lust or desire, and takes him away from the real life, he should avoid it then and block that very gate from which the winds of trial and seduction may come and erase his religion, morals and heart. If he does this, he will live in peace and tranquility.

Warning against playing with the word “haram”

To conclude, we address the respectful scholars who tackle the word “haram” easily and set it free in their writings and fatwas that they should observe that Allah is watching over them in all that they say or do. They should also know that this word “haram” is very dangerous. It means that Allah’s Punishment is due on a certain act or saying, and should not be based upon guessing, whims, weak Hadiths, not even through an old book. It has to be supported by a clear, well-established text or valid consensus. If these last two are not found, then we revert the given act or saying to the original rule: "permissibility governing things". We do have a good example to follow from one of our earlier pious scholars. Imam Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: “It was not the habit of those who preceded us, the early pious Muslims, who set good example for the following generations, to say, 'This is halal, and this is haram. But, they would say, ‘I hate such-and-such, and maintain such-and-such, but as for halal and haram, this is what may be called inventing lies concerning Allah. Did not you hear Allah’s Statement that reads, 'Say: Have you considered what provision Allah has sent down for you, how you have made of it lawful and unlawful? Say: Has Allah permitted you, or do you invent a lie concerning Allah?” (Yunus: 59) For, the halal is what Allah and His Messenger made lawful, and the haram is what Allah and His Messenger made unlawful

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Are Muslims allowed to use utensils when eating or does it have to be by hand?


Can a Muslim eat with utensils like forks and chopsticks or is this forbidden?


The Prophet (peace be upon him), his Companions, and the pious predecessors all used to eat with their hands. They did not employ any other means to bring food to their mouthes.

However, this is really a matter of regional custom. There is no blame on a person who eats by another method according to his habit or his custom. It is important, however, that he gives preference to his right hand, even if he is eating with a utensil.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded: "Mention Allah's name, eat with your right hand, and eat from what is in front of you." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

And Allah knows best.

What's the ruling on celebrating birthdays?

Okay so there's different views regarding this. To be honest I haven't celebrated my birthday since I was 9 or 10. But sometimes my family likes to go out for dinner when a member's birthday comes.
I'll be posting two fatwas on this.

The first one:


What is the ruling on celebrating birthdays?


If you mean formally celebrating the likes of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) or Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) as a devotional act, then this is clearly unlawful. Such festive days are newly contrived innovations that conflict with the dictates of Islamic Law.

Such rites are from the traditions of the People of the Book. They have a devotional purpose and are carried out seeking nearness to Allah. This is the reason I view such occasions to be unlawful and prohibited.

If, on the other hand, you mean celebrating personal birthdays, then this is something different, since it is not intended as a devotional act or an act of worship. Therefore, it is not as serious a matter.

Still, personally I tend to regard it as something disliked for people who are not already accustomed to celebrating this event in their culture, but do so merely to blindly ape cultural practices that are outside of their own experience and understanding.

All the same, birthday parties are not religious occasions and do not have an overtly religious cast to them.

A birthday party is not a festival of the nature of an `îd that is a general festive day for the entire community. It is merely a personal occasion that means nothing more than a remembrance of something dear. Therefore, it is permissible.

And Allah knows best

And the second one from:


I am 21 years old. I don't celebrate my birthday with birthday parties. But is it acceptable in Islam if I invite some friends and relatives of mine and treat them with food without telling them that the foods are for my birthday? To what extent celebrating birthday is haram in Islam?


Celebrating birthdays has been a contentious issue among scholars: While one group opposes it, others approve of it as long as one refrains from all objectionable rituals and practices. Those who approve of it are basing on the principle of jurisprudence, which states that customs cannot be deemed as haraam unless forbidden by Shari'ah; or unless there are evils associated with it. The case is different with religious rituals and beliefs, which can never be instituted except by the clear sanction of the Law-Giver.

In light of light of the above, if it is a custom in your culture or country then you may do it as long as you stay away from the following: 1. Wastage and extravaganza; 2, Music and un-Islamic rituals and practices. In case of celebrating the birthday you may do well to give thanks to Allah by giving charities to the poor, and reading some Qur'an and offering du'as and supplications.

Are wedding anniversaries considered biddah?


Are wedding anniversaries an innovation?


Some young couples, when the date of their wedding comes around again, like to celebrate that day. The husband often presents a romantic and affectionate gift to his wife. Sometimes, they rent a room in a hotel for the night and spend a romantic time together.

Some Muslims, however, look upon this with suspicion, wondering if this comes under the prohibition of observing holidays aside from the established `ids.

Celebrating one's anniversary in the manner described above is not in any way intended as a religious observance. I see no objection to it at all.

There is no way that the question of innovation can even come up, since an innovation in Islam is to introduce something unprecedented into a matter of religious observance or a matter of devotion to Allah.

As long as the observance of one's wedding anniversary is just a customary occasion - neither intended as an expression of religious worship nor established as a formal festival or rite - then there is nothing wrong with celebrating it.

And Allah knows best.

Can women wear colorful clothing?

The clothing is not limited to just the abaya, but can be all types of clothes.


Can you tell me the ruling on women wearing a red or yellow `abâyah? Does she have to wear black?


There are no restrictions in Islamic Law regarding the colors and patterns of women’s clothing. A woman should only avoid colors that are unusual or bizarre and that consequently make her look out of place among the people. What is unusual is determined by the customs in the country where the woman lives. Something might draw attention in one country and be completely ordinary in another. People should adhere to the customs of their countries in this matter and avoid drawing attention to themselves.

For example, we can consider Saudi Arabia. It is the custom in Saudi Arabia for women to wear the black `abâyah. In deference to this custom, a woman living in Saudi Arabia should wear black and not any other color as long as she is residing in that country. Otherwise, she would look out of place. This is the reason why women in Saudi Arabia should not wear other colors. Islam does not place restrictions on the colors of women’s clothing. It is simply a question of the local norms and customs in Saudi Arabia. Local custom should be respected and observed in these matters.

And Allah knows best.

What is Islam's stance on rape?


What is the punishment for rape in Islam? What happens to the rape victim?


If it is confirmed that a man engaged in sexual intercourse with a woman by threatening to kill her or by using some kind of drug or anesthetic, then his crime will be more serious than that of consentual sex.

The punishment thereto is death by execution. He will not be entitled to any pardon or reprieve whatsoever, regardless of whether he was single or married.

The one who forces sex upon someone else under threat of death is an evil and vile member of the society and should be purged. He is involved in an act of open violence and transgression against others and the spread of mischief throughout the land. His is the fate of bandits and highway robbers:

Allah says: “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution or crucifixion or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 33]

A woman will not be punished if there is any reason to believe that she was forced into the act. The least evidence in this regard will be sufficient to save the woman from punishment. Our Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah has pardoned my people for the acts they do by mistake, due to forgetfulness, and what they are coerced into doing” [Related by Ibn Mâjah and authenticated by al-Nawawî, Ibn Hajr, and al-Albânî].

Also, it was related by Ibn Abî Shaybah through Târiq b. Shahâb that a woman accused of adultery was taken to Caliph `Umar. The woman pleaded that she was asleep and woke up to find the man over her. `Umar released the woman. [The narration was approved by al-Albâni]. Ibn Qudâmah stated in his book al-Mughnî: “There is no punishment on the woman who was coerced into adultery.”

Are we allowed to write ficticious stories?


I am a comedy writer, a stage performer, a director, and a dramatic actor. I read a hadîth in which the Prophet spoke of woe on a person who makes others laugh by speaking lies. I stopped all of my activities and now look forward to you for fatwâ on comedy writing.


Al-Salâm `Alaykum wa Rahmah Allah wa Barakâtuh.

The hadîth that you mention is referring to the telling falsehoods about supposedly true events. This could be by changing the facts about something that actually took place or by imagining something that never took place and then telling others that it had actually occurred. The actual forbidden act is to tell others of false and untrue events.

However, if you imagine a story which is known to your readers or listeners to be ficticious , this is not the same as telling lies. This is only an expression of your imagination.

I hold the opinion that it is permissible for you to write comedy stories, particularly if you aim to use them to highlight moral behaviors and for other positive objectives.

Our Islamic nation is in need of intellectual and artistic activities that promote decent values. By doing so, you are in fact providing a lawful alternative to the bad and immoral messages that are so widespread in the arts these days.

Here's another similar question:

I had been reading some novels that were written with an Islamic outlook. I was impressed by them and recommended them to a friend of mine. When he heard me praising these novelse, he said to me: "Don't you know that fiction is unlawful, becuase it is a type of lie and lying is forbidden?" Please inform me of whether or not what my friend said is true.


With respect to fiction as a literary form, it does not constitute a form of lie. The reason for this is that the fictitious narrative does not fall under the category of an allegedly factual “report”. It is more akin to citing parables. The reader is fully aware that the author is not intending to impart a strictly factual account of something that actually took place. The author is merely telling a tale to bring some meanings across to the reader.

Even though the individual events mentioned in the narrative may be everyday events, it is not necessary that they actually took place with the same details and in the same sequence with the same individuals that they occur in the story.

And Allah knows best.

Do democracy and Islamic law go hand in hand?

The term “democracy” is taken from the Greek language and literally means “the rulership of the people”.

We should bear in mind that direct participation of the entire populace in the government is virtually impossible. It was so in the days of the ancient Greeks when the state was very small and it is even more so in the much larger states of today. The solution for this has been some form of representative democracy wherein representatives carry out the legislative, executive, and judicial functions of the government on behalf of the people who elect them. These officials always claim to be carrying out the will of their constituencies. Democracy cannot flourish except in an atmosphere of freedom of opinion and a multiplicity of political parties.

Since it is unlikely that all of these representatives are ever going to agree with each other, democracy today is the rule of the majority out of the small group of representatives who are elected to government.

Even with this, there is still no consensus among those nations that call themselves democratic on a number of important principles relating to what democracy entails. For one thing, there has historically been – and still is – considerable disagreement over who has the right to vote and who has the right to seek political office. Some set the minimum voting age at eighteen, others at 21. Women have been excluded from elections in certain democratic countries, blacks in others. Some countries prohibit people in the armed forces from participating in elections.

Democracy takes many forms. There is republican democracy, parliamentary democracy, and even constitutional monarchies that are considered democracies.

We should also be aware of the fact that the term “democratic” is often used merely as a term of praise or ridicule among various political factions. One person or faction is described as either democratic or undemocratic, depending on whether its supporters or detractors are speaking.

When we talk about democracy from the vantage point of Islamic Law, we must first define what we mean. If we mean that we can use a democratic approach to government to override the laws of Islam – to permit what Allah has forbidden and prohibit what Allah has made lawful – then we are talking about something that is impermissible in Islam. If we go further and believe that doing so is improving upon Islam, then we fall into unbelief.

Allah says: “The rule is only for Allah. He commands that we worship none but Him.”

Allah says: “Is it the rule of the times of ignorance that you desire? Who is better than Allah at ruling for a people who have certainty of faith?”

If, however, we mean to use a democratic approach merely as a system of governance that we employ within the context of Islamic Law, using it only for matters that are open to interpretation, juristic discretion, and human decision making, then there is nothing wrong with it.

And Allah knows best.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Should Muslims vote and run for office in non-Muslim countries?

My own Imaam said its mandatory for Muslims to take part in politics. Because that way people will know who we are and what our needs are.


Are Muslims allowed to participate in voting in a non-Muslim country's elections? Can Muslims run for election in such a country?


I hold the opinion that it is lawful to participate in elections, as this may reduce suffering, and it is a way to choose the better among the availible candidates. I believe participating in elections will, in any event, contribute to the reduction of evil and be a forum for countering bad policies and exposing their deficiencies, as well as being an opportunity to present proposals of a different kind that may help people.

As for participation in politics itself, we should consider that if the parliaments and congresses of these countries do not have any Muslim members, then this will pave the way for the opposition to come forth with their harmful views and policies, which will consequently be incorporated into the laws of their countries and bring harm to the Muslims.

Therefore, it is better to endeavor to face these views before they become laws which will be much more difficult to revoke once they are passed.

I hold this opinion to participate in elections and to vote for those who seem to be good or at least less harmful than others.

However, there is another opinion on this matter held by some prominent scholars. This issue is a matter of disagreement among scholars.

And Allah knows best.

Are women allowed to work in the same offices as men?

A continuation of the male-female interaction fatwas.


I have just recently graduated from university in July. While at university, I became more aware of Islam and my role within it. I am looking for a job. I have come across conflicting views about women working and am really unsure whether I am allowed to work. I have been told it is better for me to learn sewing or design because this is a non-Muslim country and it is better for a woman not to work in an office. Some say it is unlawful for me to work in an office without wearing a face veil.


A woman may work in hospitals, offices, and other work environments even though there are men present. Working in mixed environments is not unlawful as long as the woman feels safe and is secure from trials.

You may uncover your face and your hands in the country where you are staying now because of the practicalities of the situation that you have explained.

It is better for a woman to continue working if abandoning work would bring hardship upon her or upon those she is supporting.

Are Muslim women commanded to stay in their homes?

I submitted this question to the Ask a Mufti site. Because sites like Islam QA (whom we exposed before) like to use this verse to tell Muslim women today to stay in their houses.

Salaam, I know many Muslim scholars who say women are allowed to work and visit friends and all, providing they're properly clothed, but what does this Quran verse mean? "O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty (to Allah), then be not soft in speech, lest he is whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy or evil desire for adultery, etc.) should be moved with desire, but speak in an honorable manner. And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance, and offer prayers perfectly (Iqamat-as-Salat), and give Zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah wishes only to remove Ar-Rijs (evil deeds and sins, etc.) from you, O members of the family [of the Prophet (SAW)], and to purify you with a thorough purification." (Al-Ahzab 33:32-33) I know this tells women shouldn't wear attractive/provocative clothing, but what does it mean by "stay in your houses"?

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

The wives of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihe Wa Sallam were treated with an extra layer
of protection and honor as their rewards are increased as well.

Allah has addressed the mothers of believers to a higher level of commands by commanding
them to restrict themselves to their homes and not to leave the homes unnecessarily.
With regards to the rest of the believing women, if they are required to leave their homes for

work, visitation, necessities etc... then it is permissible.

And Allah knows best.
Mufti Ikram ul Haq
Darul Ifta of Rhode Island
2 Ramadhan 1431/ August 12 2010

Click here for the link

What does "lowering the gaze" exactly mean? Part 2

I'll post two fatwas (from the same site) concerning the same issue.
Here's the first:

There seems to be something of a fashion nowadays for sisters to give talks in front of men at Islamic events (without barrier). is this permissible in light of shariah? many of these female speakers are young, and not ugly (speaking honestly). that aside, it doesn't 'feel' right - isn't this going against modesty, which rasoolallah (SAW) said was the sign of our deen? whatever happened to lowering the gaze, or does that only applies to wonder bra adverts now?

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
Note that women speaking on stage does not mean that you are now somehow allowed to look with desire.
Given this, the obligation of lowering one’s gaze does not apply only to bra ads: it applies any time you fear that your looking is with desire (i.e. inclination of the heart in a physical way). [Nabulsi, Sharh al-Tariqa]
Faraz Rabbani

And now the second:

What is the popular position in regards to looking at the non-awrat parts of a woman (face and the hands)? (i.e. if I look at a [non-mahram] woman's face more than once)

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
1. In the Hanafi school, it is permitted (though disliked without need) for a man to look towards the face or hands of a woman, and for a woman to look towards the non-nakedness of a man, if there is no fear of desire or physical inclining.
2. If one looks out of physical desire or inclining, or fears this, then it is unlawful to look.
3. The exception is in cases when it is unavoidable, such as for witnesses in court or to look at someone one is intending to marry when there is hope of the marriage taking place, but only if one’s intention is to fulfill one’s objective, even with desire, not to fulfill one’s desires.
4. The definition of ‘desire’ is: any physical inclination of the heart.
5. It is not a condition that it be strong physical desire, or that it be accompanied by sexual thoughts or physical arousal.
6. Lack of desire is that one looks towards them as one would towards one’s child or towards a beautiful tree.
[Source: al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya (5.329-330); Ibn Abidin/Haskafi, Radd al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (bab shurut al-salat )]

More proof lowering the gaze refers to when lust is felt:

"If any Muslim happens to look at a woman's beauties and then lowers his eyes, Allah will produce for him an act of worship whose sweetness he will experience." (Al-Tirmidhi #3124)

What does "lowering the gaze" exactly mean? Part 1

There is some confusion as to what lowering the gaze really means. Ibn Katheer says in his commentary “This is a command from Allaah to His believing slaves, to lower their gaze and avoid looking at that which is forbidden to them so that they only look at that which they are permitted to look at (hands and face). If it so happens that a person’s gaze accidentally falls upon something haraam, he should turn his gaze away from it quickly."
Many scholars today will say if an unrelated woman walks infornt of a man he should lower his gaze. But thats not true. Lowering the gaze only refers to if you have a lustful feeling towards that person. A person can't have any lust towards a woman who's wearing hijab, as Ibn Katheer wrote it's permissble to look at a woman's hands and face (though of course not unnecessarily). So who does this refer to then? Well I'm going to be a little harsh. These shameless Western women who have no respect for themselves or their surroundings (NOTE: I DO NOT MEAN ALL WESTERN WOMEN. JUST THE ONES WHO DRESS PROVOCATIVELY). It's mandatory for Muslim males to lower their gazes when these woman are around.

To expand on this I'll post a fatwa from Sunni Path (affiliated with the Muslim Village site).

I don't know how to handle my situation. I am an undergraduate student. I can't focus on my studies because of the environment I am in. If I walk from one part of the campus to the other, even if I lower my gaze, and a woman comes in my site of vision, do I have to say Astaghfurullah? Sometimes I may be walking and just because someone is sitting near me, I look up, but without ill intentions, and if it is a female do I have to repent? Also, at times I may look up while walking outside and I cant tell what my intentions were for looking up and if I see a woman, should I repent? I find my self asking Allah Talla the following a lot: "Please forgive me for any ill intentions." I use this dua to cover up those actions which I don't know if I have ill intentions also ( I think sometimes I substitute an "if" in the dua). I don't know what to do, my mind is busy with this urge to repent constantly due to my environment, which makes me unable to focus. My parents want me to work hard and I don't know how happy they are with my performance. They are paying a lot of money for this. There are so many women on campus that it's as if it is impossible for me to do this. In my classes, it's hard for me to get the notes if I missed a class due to illness or out of town for a necessary reason. It's hard to ask your neighbor for a recording of a lecture if you ignored her many times be 4. It's hard to make friends when they have friends which are girls also, and sit with girls also. I'll put it straight forward.....I'm nearly failing. I'm a hard worker. I made a drastic change in my life. I use to make good grades, but I was not very religious. Now I am a better slave for Allah Alhumdullilah (ofcourse there is much room for improvement insh'Allah), but I can't perform well in school. I am thankful for being a better servent for Allah Talla but how could I improve this situation. Allah Talla willed for all these women to be on campus, he knows how hard it is for me to work on this campus without interacting with them and have the feeling to repent whenever I see them. My parents are so stressed out about me. May Allah Talla forgive me if I said anything wrong or far-fetched in this e-mail, I'm trying to describe my situation to you. I never thought I would have to do this but I may have to put an e-mail up on one of my class conferences asking $10 for the recording of 2 lectures. Money does not grow on trees. I don't know many people, and it's getting expensive. It's easy for me to sit back and be a pious kid, and then sit and watch my parents working like crazy. I feel like I have no room to breath, no room for correction, no room to try and to make a mistake, which is what learning is all about. I'm not perfect, I want to be constantly aware of Allah Tallas presence, but it's so hard to focus and be like a superstar all the time, I'm no superstar, I just want to study for the sake of pleasing Allah Talla, so I can please my parents for the sake of pleasing Allah Talla. May Allah Talla please guide us all. Ameen.
This also kind of relates to the topic, if one used to interact with a particular opposite gender like a friend, and then the person's character changes, they basically end up cutting off ties with this person without explaining to them why, is this the right approach? What if that person harbors ill will in their hearts toward the Muslim who used to be their friend. What should a muslim do in this case?

May Allah Talla forgive everyone at SunniPath for their past sins, may he grant all of you Jannah Al-Fardos, and a long healthy life and protection from calamities. Ameen

(should one say Insh'Allah after a dua' like this).

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

Dear Brother,

I pray this message finds you in good health and strong iman.

I apologize for taking so long to reply.

Thank you for your question.

I appreciate your concerns. Navigating college campuses poses certain challenges to practicing Muslims. Nevertheless, I am confident that you can rise to these challenges and figure out the best way to deal with the abovementioned issues.

1. On the issue of repenting and saying "Astaghfirullah" when you see a woman:
It's a good practice for all Muslims to make istighfar, that is, seek Allah's forgiveness, even when they haven't done anything wrong. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, used to seek Allah's forgiveness one hundred times a day, and he was protected from sin! Seeking forgiveness softens one's heart and helps to heal its diseases.

However, you don't have to seek forgiveness if you happen to see a woman. There's nothing wrong with happening to glance in someone's direction. The scholars say that the first look is allowed because it's unintentional. After that, you should lower your gaze. But please note that a measure of common sense is called for. What are your intentions in looking? Obviously you're not trying to bother the women. So why get agitated when you see them? There's no way you can function on a college campus and not see women. What's important is that you follow the adab of interaction with the opposite sex. Lower your gaze, be modest, and maintain a polite distance. Also keep in mind that lowering your gaze does not mean keeping your eyes glued to the floor. It means averting your gaze from women who are not dressed properly and avoiding any type of staring or ogling.
According to an answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, "In the Hanafi school, it is permitted (though disliked without need) for a man to look towards the face or hands of a woman, and for a woman to look towards the non-nakedness of a man, if there is no fear of desire or physical inclining." Please see the complete answer at
Keep in mind that it is permissible to look at a woman's face and hands if there is a need, and as long as you look without desire. In other words, just be respectful. It's a given that you will have to interact with female college professors and your fellow classmates. This brings me to the second part of your question.

2. May Allah Most High reward you for your sincere efforts in His path. Please keep in mind that Allah does not place on us a burden greater than we can bear. You have to function effectively in your environment. As a student, you have to interact with your fellow classmates, male and female. There is nothing wrong with being friendly to the women in your class. And there is no need to ignore them. As Muslims, we are enjoined to treat everyone with dignity, kindness, and respect. You can behave modestly and still be polite with people. Don't put yourself in a position where you can't ask for help or get someone's notes if you need to.

3. Some general advice for dealing with women on campus: Brothers need to be careful about how they come off when dealing with women. Let me give you an example. When I was in school a few years ago, there were brothers who made a big deal of maintaining their distance from women. Whenever they saw a woman, they would scowl and turn their backs. They never greeted any of the women, Muslim or otherwise. Some non-Muslim students observed this and came away with a bad impression of gender relations in Islam.

Remember: your behavior can be a powerful statement about Islam, particularly to non-Muslim women. You want to be a good example of dawah, or calling to the way of Allah. This is difficult to achieve if one does not exercise basic courtesy with people, regardless of their gender.
As Ustadha Shazia Ahmad said in a previous answer, "dont think that you have to be cold to the opposite sex, for Muslims that hold contempt for one another does not make for a unified ummah." You can view the complete answer at

4. Dealing with former non-Muslim friends: This is a situation that requires some amount of tact. Once again, you have to strike a balance. Islam discourages free intermingling of the sexes. However, this doesn't mean that you have to give people the cold shoulder. If the person in question seemsupset, then explain to them in a nice way that you are not trying to hurt their feelings, but rather, you are trying to respect their space and privacy. Don't go from being really friendly to complete avoidance. A courteous greeting and an inquiry after their health can go a long way in dispelling ill will. After that, just keep on going.

Last but not least,here is agood article on SunniPath:
Gender Interaction On Campusat
May Allah Most High bless you in yourefforts and give you tawfiq in your studies.
And Allah knows best.

Can men and women talk to each other if there's no temptation?

I'll give a few fatwas concering this issue.

Are men and women allowed to speak together for practical reasons if they avoid flirtation and unnecessary chatter?

It is permissible for men and women to speak to each other for a legitimate reason as long as temptation is avoided.

When men and women speak, there should be no inordinate softness or complaisance of speech.

Allah says: “O wives of the Prophet! you are not like any other of the women; If you will be on your guard, then be not soft in (your) speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease yearn; and speak a good word.” [Sûrah al-Ahzâb: 32]

This verse was sent with respect to the Mothers of the Believers, then how much more should its ruling apply to other women who are lower in honor than they were?

Women used to come the Prophet (peace be upon him) and talk to him in the presence of the Companions, and he had never refused to speak with them.

For example, Zaynab, the wife of Ibn Mas`ûd, asked Bilâl to ask the Prophet (peace be upon him) about giving Zakâh to one’s husband and children. [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

Asmâ’ bint Yazîd asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about ghusl after the end of menstrual period and after having sexual intercourse. Umm Sulaym asked about a woman having a wet dream and for the ruling thereto. [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

Moreover, it was related that Abû Hurayrah spoke to a woman objecting to her for wearing strong perfume in public while going – or coming back – from the mosque. [Sunan Abî Dâwûd with good line of transmission]

There are many more examples, and all such talk can take place when needed if temptation is avoided, and the parties refrain from being soft and complaisant in speech.

Also, a man and woman should never be in seclusion together.

And Allah knows best.