Archive for the ‘Family, Relatives and Friends’ Category

The role of intention

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

I read this somewhere that we will be judged by God because of our INTENT (نیتنا). Do you believe that INTENT نية is more important than performance? (as reported by Ali and Ja`far As-Saadiq, may God have been pleased with them).

If you’d agree with me then should I keep going? I still haven’t made a decision. If I choose not to, it won’t be because of my situation (calamity). I swear to my dear Lord that it’s not about misfortunes of my life. Maybe everyone hates me, even my family, all people except kids.

I just wanna see the truth, wanna see God, wanna see my Dear Lord because I believe that it would be enough for me, I’ll endure those flames just for that sight of Him. Then I’ll rest even in hell.

That will be the INTENT behind my action, so tell me as a man of God, not personal answer, as someone who knows the truth (Allah) and have a task to share that, is this forbidden too to make such a decision?

I’ve nothing to contribute, because of your perfect site, but pray. May our Dear Lord bless your soul.

Thank you for you kind words about the blog and for your prayer for me. May God accept it and give you same.

How do you know that you will see God? There is no evidence that this will happen except for the people of Paradise. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “When the people of Paradise enter Paradise, God will say to them, ‘Do you want more I can add for you?’. They will say, ‘Did You not admit us to Paradise and save us from the Fire?’. Then the veil will be uncovered. They would never be given anything more beloved to them than looking at their Lord.” Narrated by Suhayb ibn Sanaan and reported by Muslim who rated it authentic. In another narration of the same hadeeth, he subsequently recited, “For those who did good is the best reward and more.” (10:26)

Thus, you assumption that you may see God either way has no basis. If what you are talking about is committing suicide, God forbid, then you should know that it is the only terminal sin in Islam. All other can be remedied in time.

It is also unforgivable, regardless of the intention behind it. One day, in a battle, a man was quite the warrior. His fellows were praising his valor, but the Prophet (PBUH) surprised them by saying, “He is in the Hellfire!” Shortly thereafter, the man was so badly wounded and in so much pain that he killed himself. Now the Sahaba understood the Prophet’s prophesy about him. The Prophet (PBUH) also said that a man from the prior nations had a painful open wound, so he committed suicide. Then God said, “My servant preempted Me with himself; I have forbidden him Paradise.” (Narrated by Jandab ibn Abdillah and reported by Al-Bukhaari). If, God forbid, you should commit suicide, you would lose both this world and the Hereafter. I pray that you come to your senses and expel Satan who is whispering such delusions into your ears.

The reality of this world can certainly be hard. God made that clear to Adam, “So, We said, ‘O Adam, verily this (Satan) is an enemy to you and to your spouse, so do not let him evict you from the Garden lest you should suffer.'” (20:117)

But does that mean we should abandon living and renounce the world? If that were true, how come the Prophet (PBUH) and all his noble companions were fully engaged in the world, in spite of all its trials, tribulations and unpleasantness? The Prophet (PBUH) had uncles who cursed him and even plotted to kill him. And what did he do? He kept friendly relations with them to the end. As a matter of fact, he practiced forgiveness, largess and graciousness.

If renouncing the world was a teaching of Islam, don’t you think that God, or His messenger, would have told us so?

This world was meant to mix the good and the bad, the wholesome and the filthy, the right and the wrong, guidance and loss. How else would the free will that man took on be exercised or tested? Why do you think God keeps telling us in the holy Quran to endure, keep the faith and do good? It is precisely because human nature would lead man to despair, lose faith and detach from the world otherwise. Maybe even drink to forget. Satan is counting on it!

Life is a finite opportunity to gain God’s approval and earn His reward. This can only be done if we maintain the right faith, remain steadfast on the Straight Path, fulfill our obligations, accumulate good deeds, expiate sins and call upon God to accept what we do right and pardon what we do wrong.

Finally, the role of intention is to validate good deeds. A charity could be intended for show-off. It may still be beneficial but it ceases to be a good deed – the kind that gets recorded in one’s book of deeds. A sin remains a sin regardless of the intention that preceded it. Intention is what differentiates the sincere from the hypocrites. That is why God judges by it, and only He fully knows it.

Answers to quizzes 19-25

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

19. Noah (PBUH) to his son who remained a disbeliever and tried to escape the Great Flood by taking shelter in a high mountain. Verse 11:42.

20. Prophet Shu`ayb (Jethro)’s daughter. She recommended Moses (PBUH) to her father as a hired hand for he is “strong and trustworthy.” Verse 28:26.

21. Righteous man Luqman preaching to his son. Verse 31:18.

22. Prophet Saalih (Mesoselah), PBUH, to his destroyed people who refused to believe in his message. Verse 7:79.

23. Young Abraham (PBUH) to the idols in his city’s temple. Subsequently, he axed them all, but the biggest one, to make the point to his people that these statues they worship cannot even defend themselves. Verses 37:91-92.

24. Pharaoh’s sorcerers, impressed by the magic performed by Moses. They included his brother Aaron too, although Aaron is not mentioned performing any magic. Verse 20:63.

25. Joseph (PBUH) after the wife of the nobleman kept pursuing him for an illicit affair. Verse 12:33.

Can we pray with hypocrites?

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Let us suppose a person states they do not go to the masjid (mosque) because they do not want to pray with hypocrites. They would rather pray alone. I told the person that we do not go to pray with the hypocrites but go to pray to Allah. And I continued stating that our prayer may soften the heart of others.

What does one say to a person whose heart is hardened against fellow Muslims? These are serious questions. This person does not take well much hadeeth. This person does not trust scholars.

I honestly believe some of us are given the gift of joy in this life under all conditions. I feel this is one of my blessings. On the bleakest of moments I find something joyful in it. Even if it is the benefit of the experience in its darkest depths.

What a beautiful way you finished your question! A blessed person sees blessings in the bleakest moments, while a deprived person sees deprivation in the most opulent moments.

From the other things you wrote to me about this person, I’m getting the impression that they have grown cynical or depressed. I’m not surprised, given their illness, may God heal the sick as only He can and save us all from similar afflictions.

You are right in approaching this delicately. God teaches us in the holy Quran that the call to Him must always be done gently, even with an enemy. You recall how He instructed Moses and Aaron to call upon Pharaoh: “Then say to him a soft uttering perhaps he will remember or fear.” (20:44) Remember or fear, see? That is what you and I hope for your friend.

So, when you get a chance, remind your friend that they have an excuse to pray sitting down and explain how this is done if they don’t know how. Don’t press it. Let them sleep on it and keep praying for them. Also assure them that they can always make up for all missed prayers, and should, unlike what many fatwas have ruled.

Life is too short to waste on cynicism, apathy or despair. A true believer never despairs, “Verily, they do not despair of the grace of God but the disbelieving folk.” (12:87) Life can end at any time, and suddenly, and be replaced by the sobering reality of the Hereafter and Judgment. Cynicism would not be of any help then. Cynicism is an escape from unpleasant reality, but it achieves nothing but ill mood. Optimism and positive activity on the other hand, warm the heart and set the mind to find solutions to problems and fixes for what is wrong.

As for your other question, none know who is hypocrite and who is not. A fellow Muslim is not a hypocrite just because one doesn’t like what they say or do! God told the Prophet (PBUH) that there are hypocrites around him, that He will tell him the names of some of them but will withhold the names of others! (see 9:101). And the Prophet (PBUH) did likewise when Huzhayfa ibn Al-Yamaan (RA) asked him to tell him who were hypocrite. The Prophet (PBUH) made him promise not to tell anyone.

Why is that? Because being a hypocrite many not be the end of the story. A hypocrite may become a good, committed believer later. Affairs of the heart constantly change and God is the “turner of the hearts.”

Can I participate in non-Muslim celebrations?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

My mother was born and raised Catholic but converted to Islam when she married my father. Although she embraced Islam as her religion it didn’t affect her very close relationship with her family. So, whenever there are occasions like Christmas, All Saint’s Day, and birthdays we would usually go as a family. Even after my mother’s passing we still continue the tradition. Are we committing any sin?

Being kind and courteous to your family and relatives is something that Islam emphasizes a lot, even if the family is non-Muslim. What Islam warns against is participation in Zoor (lies and falsehood). God says in the holy Quran,

“And those (worshipers of the Beneficent) who do not witness falsehood, and when they pass by frivolity, they pass dignified” (25:72)

The reason for this warning is that participation in such activities, sooner or later, affects one’s beliefs and may taint his faith. Islam has made it clear that Muslims must express Walaa’ (allegiance) to the truth and Baraa’ (detachment) from falsehood.

It is because of Baraa’ that Asmaa’ bint Abi-Bakr, may God have been pleased with both, refused to receive her mother, Qateela bint Abdil-`Uzza, who was a polytheist, who traveled from Mecca to Medina to see her and brought her a gift. Asmaa’ would not let her in her house and would not take her gift! Just then, God revealed verses 60:8-9,

“God does not forbid you from those who did not fight you because of religion and did not expel you from your homes – from being cordial toward them and acting with equity toward them. Indeed, God loves the equitable.
God only forbids you from those who fought you because of religion and expelled you from your homes and aided in your expulsion – [forbids] that you ally with them. And whoever allies with them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers.” (60:8-9)

The Prophet (PBUH) promptly ordered Asmaa’ to receive her mother, accept her gift and be kind and hospitable to her. These verses correct the misunderstanding that some Muslims have about Walaa’ and Baraa’. These teachings do not imply hatred of non-Muslims; they teach that Baraa’ is the separation from hostile enemies of Islam and that Walaa’ is the allegiance with those who testify to the truth about God.

So, to answer your question, you are not committing a sin if the celebrations you attend are free from falsehood. If a celebration starts to take a religious inclination in which false theology is uttered or blasphemous acts are practiced, then you should immediately excuse yourself and leave, after wishing your relatives well.

My aunt keeps telling me about Jehovah

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Hello, I have a Jehovah’s Witness aunt whom I think is trying to convert me. No one in my family knows that I’m a Muslim, being that I’m only a 15 yrs old convert. My aunt who’s a Jehovah’s Witness gave me a Jehovah’s Witness book for young people which I still read, because it has good moral messages which comply with Islamic morals and I find nothing wrong with them. But I just feel a lil uncomfortable when she’s telling me about Jehovah God and how he’s blessing me etc. What should I do? How should I respond to this? Should I tell her I’m Muslim and talk to her about the Quran? Thanks

Your aunt loves you and if she’s trying to convert you, she’s doing it out of her belief and out of her love for you. You should be kind to her as you have been. You are probably too young to tell her about Islam though, but it’s your call. If she’s a supportive kind of person, you may tell her. But bear in mind that many people nowadays have a negative view of Islam because of the media, so if she’s the kind of person who believes what she hears on TV, you’d be better off not telling her.

Jehovah did bless you! The name Jehovah is the English pronunciation of the Hebrew word Yahweh, which means “O You who is He!” The reason for this name is that many Jews took the third Commandment very seriously and thought it meant to never say God’s name. What the commandment actually teaches is that a believer should not swear by God’s name unless he means what he says and will honor what he promises. This is the same teaching in the Quran,

“And do not make God a subject to your oaths…” (2:224)

And God explains this verse further in the following verse,

“God does not chastise you for what is unintentional in your oaths, but He chastises you for what your hearts have earned. And God is Forgiving and Forbearing.” (2:225)

And the Prophet (PBUH) explained oaths etiquette by saying, “Whoever is going to swear, let him swear by God or be silent.” (Narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar and reported by Al-Bukhaari who rated it authentic).

So, Jehovah is Allah and He blessed you by guiding you to Islam.

Can I travel alone?

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Asalamu alaikum, brother! So good to finally get in contact with you alhamdulela. I left the forum that you used to post on after you. I couldn’t find anything worth reading so I’m here on your blog now. 🙂

I have a question. My parents have a great issue with me traveling on my own. I am now 21 years old and have not been anywhere on my own for more than a day. Now that I’m graduating inshaa Allah and would like to continue my studies perhaps abroad, I’m finding it very hard convincing them to let me go on a leisure trip let alone to another country! In my opinion and although they say it is because I’m without a mahram, I think this is more culture than Islamically. So I need to prove that I don’t need a mahram so they would have no excuse inshaa Allah!

JazakAllah khairan! 🙂

Welcome to the blog, sister. It’s good to hear from you again. I enjoyed reading your posts on that forum.

The issue of women traveling alone is more than culture or tradition. Many of the hadeeths that forbid it are authentic, narrated by Ibn Umar, Abu-Sa`eed Al-Khudri and Ibn Abbaas and reported by Al-Bukhaari. These hadeeths all say that a woman may not travel by herself, only with a mahram (chaperon) if the trip will take two or more days of walking.

Why is that? To answer this question, one needs to picture Arabia in the Seventh Century. Traveling between any two points was hazardous even for men, but at least men carried their swords and could defend themselves from thieves and thugs along the uncharted roads. How could any woman by herself?

That is the contingency of the hadeeths. If there are no risks to a woman’s dignity or property while traveling by herself, then the hadeeths do not apply.

Can such assurance be made today? While there will always be some risk, because there are always thugs and rapists out there, one has to admit that the risk has become much less than it was in Seventh Century Arabia. Airports and airplanes are packed with security. There are police officers in every town. Roads are well lit.

And nowadays, there are many ways a woman can defend herself. I always recommend to whomever asks me that a woman carries in her handbag defensive weapons, such as mace, pepper spray or “shriek alarms” and learn martial arts techniques.

If you are going to travel abroad, learn all you can about the crime rate where you will be living and seriously take precautions, passive and active. Passive precautions are things like not going out at night, always closing doors and windows after dark, etc.

Your parents will be constantly worried about you while you’re abroad, so stay in touch with them. Modern technologies and communications make this easy. Get them cell phones with webcams if they don’t have them already and call them daily so that they can see and hear you and know that you’re doing well and are safe.

My father wants me to cheat

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

My dad wants me to get a good education. But he’s doing it the wrong way. He’s making me skip a year without doing all the college work and pushing me to university with a passable grade. I’m so conflicted since I highly disagree with this method. I insisted I attend classes and rightfully earn the marks needed, but he flat out said “No.” I’ve tried to talk with him, but he keeps pushing away my thoughts and says it’s for my future. I’m so depressed because this method is unfair to other students and is against my principles. To me, it feels like cheating. You can’t suggest to attempt talking to my dad or using Quranic sources because I know he knows it’s wrong, and he has a temper. My dad loves me, but this isn’t the way.

I’m applying for every college I can get, hoping they’d accept me and that I needn’t follow my dad’s way, that I’d go through the whole year. But then he says I shouldn’t because he already has a seat for me. I cry and cry and ask Allah for help. I know this is not halal. I’ve asked help from people, but they can’t help. I’m so scared my education won’t be halal. I’m so scared of punishment. And it’s not even my fault.

Your dad found a shortcut afforded by the educational system and he is taking advantage of it so that you’d graduate sooner. That’s NOT cheating. It is not unfair to the other students, because they too can do the same thing, if they want to. If it would ease your soul, tell all your friends about this shortcut, so that they too can peruse it should they decide to.

Taking a shortcut on the highway is not cheating other drivers. It is available to all drivers. They can know about it if they call the highway ministry. Get it?

Your dad indeed loves you and wants the best for you. Obey his wishes.

He died before paying Zakah

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

My father passed away and left us inheritance. He did not pay Zakah on his money for several years. Can we his children pay the Zakah for him? How much would that be? I assume if we do, we have to deduct it from the estate before it is distributed to heirs?

Another problem is that part of the inheritance is in certificates of deposit that pay interest. That is haraam (forbidden), isn’t it? What do we do with the interest portion of the inheritance?

Zakah is an obligation that must not be skipped. You certainly can pay it for him. A man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said to him, “My sister vowed to perform the pilgrimage but she died before she could do it. Can I perform it for her?” The Prophet (PBUH) answered, “If she owed money, would you pay it for her?” He said, “Certainly.” The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Debt owed to God has more priority!” Narrated by Abdullah ibn Abbaas (RA) and reported by Al-Bukhaari. Similar hadeeths have been reported by Muslim about making up for a deceased mother’s missed fasting. The analogy clearly applies to Zakah equally.

If your father, may God have mercy on him, kept financial records, you may be able to figure out what his networth was each of the years he did not pay the Zakah and deduct 2.5% of it. The financial records for the CDs are available from the issuing financial firm. You can deduct the interest and donate it, but keep the face value of the CDs.

If you cannot estimate his networth in those years, you can use the latest networth for your calculations.

Finally, and I’m sure you’re doing this already, pray to God to forgive your father for neglecting the Zakah and ask Him to accept your compensation for it. May God bless your family.

Is this a contradiction in the Quran?

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

The Quran states that the family of Pharaoh has been cursed and are going to Hell. But it also says that Pharaoh’s wife, Asia, was a role model for believing women. Is that a contradiction, or an exception?

The Quran does not condemn the family of Pharaoh, it condemns “Aal” of Pharaoh. The difference is that the word Aal, which is often translated as “family of” or “house of”, actually means “followers of”. Asia was not one of those. She was a believer and a follower of Moses, not of Pharaoh. Thus, while she was from the family of Pharaoh, she was not from his Aal.

In each prayer, we Muslims acknowledge that God has blessed Aal of Abraham. We do that a minimum of nine times everyday! But we know that Abraham’s father is declared in the Quran as “an enemy to God!” (9:114) Therefore, he cannot be from Aal of Abraham! Sarah, Haajar, Isaac, Ishmael, etc. are.

This is further confirmed by the story of Noah (PBUH) and his son. Noah thought that his son would be saved from the Flood, but God explained to him that Noah’s son “is not from his family!” See verses 11:40-49.

I read this poem on another forum and thought it articulated this concept quite well,
The Aal of the Prophet are the followers of his religion,
Be they foreign or Arab.
If his Aal were only his kinsmen,
We would be praying for his tyrant uncle Abu-Lahab!

New to Islam and lonely

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

As a new Muslim, I am happy with my decision but I’m unhappy with the loneliness I now feel. My friends left me. My family is not speaking to me and fellow Muslims prefer to talk to each other in their native language and hardly ever talk to me.

I fully concur with you that many Muslims-since-birth alienate new Muslims with their behavior or attitude. That is the opposite of what the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, when he said, “A Muslim is the brother of every other Muslim; he does not wrong him, he does not fail (or abandon) him and he does not demean him.” Narrated by Ibn Umar and reported by Muslim and Al-Bukhaari.

That said, often times the reason for this alienation is social awkwardness or language intimidation! Many Muslims-since-birth speak English with difficulty and are poor at translating from their native language to English and back. While they may want to do the courteous thing and translate, they just don’t know how and it becomes a burden, so they don’t do it. Also, many Muslims-since-birth feel nothing in common with new Muslims: the culture, language, history, interests, etc., are all different. In this case, it is a social matter, not religious.

The way to break this ice, IMHO, is to break it purposely. I know it’s hard to ask someone to do the courteous thing, but you should. If you wait for them to start, you may wait forever. If you feel indignation, you have the right but you will alienate yourself faster. Better to make the initiative and join in as best you could. Sooner or later, your foreign-language-speaking friends will feel embarrassed enough that they’re leaving you out of the conversation and will make the extra effort to translate for you. If they don’t, look for more courteous friends.

Remind them of what the Prophet (PBUH) said about this. He said, “If there are three of you, let not two have a private conversation excluding the third, for it saddens him.” Narrated by Ibn Umar and reported by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim.

As for your family and friends, it is a sad situation that I pray will change in time. Keep good relations with them, especially your parents, and hopefully they will soon realize that you are the same person they know and love and connect with you again.