Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Is friendship between a man and a woman allowed in Islam?

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

This question is actually the second of three very related questions:

  1. Can a man talk to a woman whom he can legally marry (non-Mahram)?
  2. Can non-Mahram men and women be friends?
  3. Can a non-Mahram man and a non-Mahram woman be alone together?

The reason these three questions are related, and the reason this is an issue at all, is because of the intensity of the physical attraction between men and woman, which, if not controlled, almost certainly will lead to sex. Sex between men and women who are not married to each other is a major sin in Islam. The Quran calls it a debauchery and lists it as one of the very few offenses for which it has set a legal punishment.

To answer the third question above, the Prophet (PBUH) made it unambiguously clear that the answer is no. He said, as narrated by Ibn Abbaas (RA), “Let not a man be alone with a woman, except if with them is a Mahram (a man whom she cannot marry)”, authenticated and reported by both Al-Bukhaari and Muslim.

Why is that? After all, if people are respectful of each other and are God-conscious, they can be trusted not to engage in sin, right?

Wrong! The best people sin, because they’re human and because Satan has taken upon himself to seduce them into sin with whatever means available to him. You will hear people say, in justification of falling into the sin of fornication, “We did not plan this. It just happened!” They did not plan it, but it did not just happen! It was what was sure to happen.

To illustrate this point further, think of this parable. You are going to walk down Baker Street to get to a grocery store. I know that there is a great deal of construction work being done on Baker Street and that there are no warning signs. I know that even if you were careful where you step, you are almost certainly going to fall into one of the many holes there. If you decide to ignore my advice and take Baker Street anyway, and then fall in one of its pits, whom would you blame?

Therefore, if you can say with complete confidence that being face-to-face friends with a woman will never result in the two of you having sex outside matrimony, then the answer to the second question is yes!

But can you? The odds are against you.

If the friendship is not face to face, then the odds improve considerably. That is because a man is visually stimulated.

Bear in mind too that human emotions, such as love and loneliness, and desires, such as lust, often develop in an irrational way.

Similarly, we can answer the first question: if talking one-on-one to a woman will never lead to the two of them having sex, then the answer to that question is yes. Many scholars have ruled against it though, because they fear the worst, do not trust human nature, or simply to be on the safe side.

So, in summary, you can be friends with a woman whom you legally can marry if you can fulfill all of the following conditions:

  • Neither of you will ever engage in a suggestive dialog,
  • Neither of you will ever make an advance at the other, and
  • The two of you will never be alone together anywhere.

That being said, knowing human nature, especially if you are a young man, and knowing the constant whispering of Satan, the above conditions practically rule it out.

The perils of the wrong mindset

Monday, July 8th, 2013


I understand that riba (usury) is wrong. I understand that riba is like gambling. I understand that there are many views on insurance.

But, I need to have a fundamental understanding of why speculation is wrong. I know we have to work for our money.

I need to have the sin explained to me. Trust me I have done my share of reading on the matter. Yet, I do not have the basic definition of the sin of riba and gambling and it seems that they share the same root.

Indeed they do, and the Quran calls it Al-Maysir. The word means tools for easy gain.

It is not the ease that is wrong though. It is the belief in it. The central point, IMHO, is what you alluded to when you said that we have to work for our money. The biggest problem with all games of chance, and speculation is one of them, is that they set the wrong mindset. They entice people to believe that there is a shortcut out there. That is contrary to the laws of God which state that means, not gimmicks, lead to results. Gimmicks may work sometimes, or else no one would have ever tried them. But they are short lived and cause more harm than good.

Even Wall Street knows that, or at least they used to. When you open a trading account, you have to sign forms that can fill a book. Forms to explain to you the risks involved, some may even exceed the value of the entire portfolio! When you open an investment account, on the other hand, there are far fewer forms to sign. That is because, even though investments too carry risk, they are natural risks, whereas speculative risks are random. The difference between the two is that investments involve an asset: property, product or service, while speculation is a bet on how such investment will do. In financial circles this is called a derivative. We all know from the global financial crisis of 2008, the extent of harm speculative derivatives can do.

That is the peril of the mindset that is convinced that there is a shortcut to riches that requires no work, no sweat, and no asset. There is no such thing, but speculators won’t accept that disappointing conclusion, just like a gambler keeps telling himself that the next time he will recoup all his losses.

Investments can be win-win affairs, while speculation is always a zero-sum game.

Usury fits that profile too. It stems from the wrong mindset that treats money as a commodity and thus finds what it thinks is a great business model: buy money cheap and sell it for more. That’s right; economists actually call interest the price of money! Money is price, it doesn’t, and shouldn’t have a price.

While you did not ask it, other readers may be wondering: how else can an economy run? How can banking be done without interest? How does an Islamic system finance start-up companies or real estate purchases, etc.?

The answer is quite simple: partnerships. A financier may decide to finance a project in return for a percentage of its equity and profits. But that also means sharing the risk. That is a natural mechanism in the law of God that makes a financier scrutinize the project like his networth depends on it. The result is that frivolous projects won’t find financing, but quality ones will. Mortgage lenders would never lend money to home buyers whom they are almost sure cannot repay the loan, which is what caused the foreclosure crisis of 2008. On the flip side, rich people will still put their money in worthwhile and promising projects, which by their nature benefit a lot more people than the stakeholders.

That, in a nutshell, is Islamic finance. It brings wealth to investors and far reaching benefits to society, advancement of the economy and, most important of all, the right perception of money and finance. It is not a game for clever quants to play, it’s life enhancement for millions of people.

I apologize for not having a MBA. Your response was detailed, as usual. However, I need to go to a simpler and deeper understanding.

My question thus becomes this: How does interest oppress those who are the meek and poor. How is usury a tool of the oppressor.

In other words how is this haraam (forbidden). On a grand scale I see the consequences of poor decision making, giving loans to those who do not have the means of paying back thus leading to bankruptcy. But break it down for me.

For example the issue of adultery is simple to understand as it does destroy the fabric of the family.

I am not trying to be stubborn or argumentative. I need to be able to place my finger on the essence of the sin of interest.

Many people question why adultery is a sin. If the reason is, as you stated, that it breaks up families, then divorce should also be a sin, because it too breaks up families. But it isn’t. It is only strongly discouraged.

Many scholars, past and modern, have attempted to find material reasons why adultery is a sin. Some postulated that it results in paternity uncertainty. If that’s the reason, then modern science can solve this problem with a DNA test. Would that make adultery OK? Of course not.

Some suggest that the reason is unwanted pregnancies. If that’s the reason, then foster homes can solve this problem. Does that make adultery OK. Of course not.

Some guess that the reason is sexually transmitted diseases. If that’s the reason, then immunizations and other protections can take care of this risk. Would that make adultery OK? Of course not.

The interesting thing is that God already told us why adultery is a sin. He says in the holy Quran, “And do not approach fornication; it is a debauchery and a wretched path.” (17:32). It sets a wrong mindset. It makes people view sex, women and marriage differently from God’s moral law. That is what makes it a sin. Sin is violation of God’s law. God designed His laws for maximum benefit to mankind. When man breaks God’s law, it is an objection to God. Adultery sets the sinner on an evil path because he is deviated from the Straight Path and is distanced from God and becomes an easy prey to Satan.

You will observe the same about other sins prohibited in the Quran. Intoxication and unearned gain are prohibited in 5:90. God explains why in the next verse, “Satan only wants to sew between you enmity and hatred with intoxicants and unearned gain, shun you from the remembrance of God and from prayer. Are you ceasing?” (5:91)

God doesn’t say that intoxication can ruin your liver, or that it may endanger other people when you drive drunk. God doesn’t say that gambling can wipe out one’s life savings. God doesn’t mention that both are addictions that are very hard to be free from. God’s reasons are moral. Other material reasons may apply, but they are not why something is a forbidden sin. Intoxication sets a wrong mindset. It makes a person “drink to forget” his problems, instead of heading them on and solving them, gaining strength of character and wisdom in the process. Unearned gain sets the wrong mindset. It makes a person view others as “marks”, to borrow from con artists vocabulary. The right mindset that Islam encourages is that others are fellow human beings, dignified, worthy of respect and care, and having full capacity to be good and contribute to positive human progress.

The sin of interest is that it sets the perception and belief that you can have your money work for you instead of you working for your money. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “None of you would eat better food than food he earned by the work of his hands. God’s prophet David, upon him be peace, did.”, narrated by Al-Miqdaam ibn Ma`dikarib and reported and rated authentic by Al-Bukhaari.

I find it fascinating that God quotes people who have argued that usury is like trading. He does not refute their argument! Instead, He states unequivocally that He made trading lawful and usury unlawful (2:275). God doesn’t want us to be distracted by arguments why something He forbade is bad for us.

I beg you to help me with this. Where do trust funds find themselves. And what is the difference in Islam between a trust fund and inheritance?

Trusts are called Waqf in Islam. The word means holding an asset from being sold or donated and dedicating its income and facilities to designated people or purpose.

Waqf has two types: (1) Waqf Khayri (charitable trust/endowment) and (2) Waqf Ahli (familial trust). The first type is very highly praised in Islam. The Prophet (PBUH) has famously said, “All the work of a child of Adam ceases with his death, except three: an ongoing charity, a knowledge that benefits and a righteous child who prays for him.” Narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported and rated authentic by Muslim. This has motivated multitudes of Muslims throughout the ages to found thousands of charitable projects and endowments. The result was that nearly all needs of society were taken care of without the government having to do any of it! A stranded traveler knew that he can find a hostel where he could stay the night, warm and safe, at no cost. Orphans and widows didn’t have to be scared or hungry. Desert travelers knew there would be plenty of water wells they could drink from.

Waqf Ahli, on the other hand, has been controversial for a good part of a century now. It is banned by many Muslim countries, such as Turkey, Syria and Egypt. The reason is that they saw much abuse of it. They saw it as a way to concentrate wealth in a family, instead of letting it into the economy. Many people used it as a way to circumvent inheritance law. With familial trusts, they could favor some relatives over others, whereas inheritance law fixes heir eligibility and distribution amounts of an estate.

IMHO, abuse of a system is no reason to ban it, but rather is reason to regulate it. Waqf Ahli has been allowed, even suggested, by the Prophet (PBUH) when one has needy relatives, as has been reported about Abu-Talha dedicating his best garden to his poor relatives after he heard this verse, “You shall not attain godliness until you spend from what you love” (3:92). It is a good way to take care of one’s poor relatives while one is still alive, as well as after he, the trustee, dies. That is the difference between trusts and inheritance. The other difference is what I mentioned above about allotment of shares and designation of beneficiaries.

Nobody ever owns the asset under Waqf and the trustee’s heirs are supposed to carry on the upkeep of the trust. Perhaps that’s why many Waqf assets were neglected to the point of deterioration. That was another reason governments moved to ban them. It would’ve been better IMHO if governments took over the maintenance.

The noble relationship between husband and wife

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Assalaamu alaikum WR WB Akhi

I want to know the concept of Islam with regards to the relationship of Husband and wife in Islam.
We all know that Hawwa was created from Adam (PBUH). I heard some one saying that every girl on the face of the earth is created from her husband. Is this true according to Islam?
The ones who publish this concept do take the verse as their Daleel, which says that every thing is created with their pairs.
Is the bond of husband and wife so noble, which is already being predestined with a special treatment as they say?
Plz throw light Insha Allah
Fee Amanillah

Wa Alaykum Assalaamu wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakatuh, Sister.

The relationship between husband and wife is indeed a noble one, but it is not predestined because it involves initiative from one and approval from another, both are freely made decisions.

God does say that He created all creatures in pairs, “And of everything We created pairs, that they may remember.” (51:49). A pair has two of a kind, each complementing the other and is not complete without it. That is the metaphor for marriage.

If every girl on earth was created from her husband, then how were the girls who remain unmarried created?! The notion that for every one there is a soul mate out there somewhere is sweet and romantic, but cannot be proven. Many people married more than once and had a happy marriage every time. How come those people have many soul mates?

Folks who interpret 51:49 and similar verses to mean an exclusive pairing of mates, are entitled to their interpretation, but you should recognize that it is nothing more than an interpretation. If God wanted to teach this notion, He would have explicitly stated it. In fact, what God says in 4:1 clearly refutes that theory. The verse says, “O people! Watch out for your Lord who created you from one soul and from it He created its mate, and He spread out from them many men and women.” (4:1) Only Eve was created from her husband. The rest of us were created from both of them.

Divorce: Who’s Guilty?

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

In all the divorce cases (may Allah save us from them), we always hear from the wife’s side that the husband was not a good person, was abusive, he did this and that. When you talk to the husband, he says that the wife was this and that.

I recently saw a marriage destroyed becase the husband lost his job. If you ask the wife, she says that the husband was lazy and didn’t want to earn a living… etc.

If you ask the husband, he says that on top of being unable to find a job, the wife was making his life hell by taunting him daily.

So my question is, how do you find out what the real problem is?

I like the fact that you see that the real problem could very well be something else completely!

That is why God’s advice is so valuable when a divorce is imminent. He says in the holy Quran,

“And if you fear dissension between the two [spouses], send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, God will harmonize between them. Indeed, God is ever Knowing and Well Acquainted [with all things].” (4:35)

The word God uses for arbitrator is حكما which means “firmly rooted”, “balanced”, “judicious”. Thus, the two arbiters are not given to emotions, are not easily swayed or agitated, and can reach a sound judgement even if it was against their client.

This is how to know the real problem. When one is speaking out of emotion, one could be narrating all of one’s grievances instead of focusing on the question asked. Marriage counselors know this well. That’s why they are paid the big bucks 🙂

One very interesting aspect of this verse is its deliberate syntactic ambiguity! The phrase “if the two of them desire reconciliation” is ambiguous about who the two are: the two arbitrators or the two spouses! As always with syntactic ambiguity in the Quran, it is thusly stated in order to include both interpretations. That is, if the two spouses truly want to reconcile and save the marriage, God will help them save it. If the two arbitrators also want to do their job faithfully, God will make their effort successful.

Why can’t Muslim women marry non-Muslim men?

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Allah gives men permission to marry chaste Jewish and Christian women. So obviously this might mean that Muslim women can marry chaste Jewish or Christian men.

The permission, in verse 5:5 is gender specific, so generalizing it to the other gender is not possible without another specific permission. Instead of another permission, we have an explicit prohibition, in verse 60:10.

Can Muslim women marry non-Muslim men? And if not why not? Honestly I feel they should be able to because if a man married a Muslim woman, and if he really loved her, he should respect her religion. Please I want to know. Thanks!

That question was answered before in this post. I answered the sister as follows,
“Why does Islam prohibit Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men? This is based on the influence Islam assumes that the man has in the family. If he is not Muslim, the odds are high that the children won’t be either, and there’s a good chance the wife may leave Islam too, if her husband pressures her to.

The flip-side can also be true! A Muslim man who is highly influenced by his non-Muslim wife, may leave Islam for her sake. That is why many of the Salaf have opined that Muslim men, though allowed to, should not marry non-Muslim women. I personally agree with them.”

Your view is kind of romantic, and would be fine if reality wasn’t so different. While God teaches us what should be, He legislates for what is, not for what should be.

Why can’t I get married?

Monday, July 18th, 2011

My friend told me I should email you. She believes I need you. Below is a summary of my current state of mind. What do I do next? Where can I find answers?

Welcome to the blog. Thanks for posting your question. I’ll sure try to be of some help.

I’ve been trying to get married, and it hasn’t happened. In fact, my mother told me there is no one she knows who can help me get married, including imams (she asked), friends, relatives, etc. I actually told my mother to ask more learned people in the community and she said no, there is no point.

You’ve been trying to do the right thing. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Marriage is my way (Sunna). Whoever desires other than my way does not belong to me!” Narrated by Anas ibn Maalik and reported by Al-Bukhaari who rated it authentic.

Do not despair, nor should your mother. Recall the story of Jacob, after he lost his dearest son, Joseph, peace be upon them. His other children kept telling him to give up his hope of ever seeing Joseph alive again, even as they knew he was alive! And what was the old man reply? He said,

“He said, ‘I only bemoan my anguish and grief to God, and I know from God what you do not know.‘ ” (12:86)

That is the essence of faith in God. The certain knowledge that He has your best interest at heart, so to speak. You don’t know what God knows. You could have been saved from some horrible husbands. You may have been spared some ingrate children. Your very faith may have been protected from coming apart.

I find myself questioning Allah SWT. I have prayed a great deal for marriage but it never happened. My parents did not help, either. I live in a non-muslim country; in fact, I was born here. I wonder, if there is no leeway for a muslim girl to marry a non-muslim man.

While your dismay is natural, it is not healthy for your faith. The name of our religion means the willing surrender to God’s will. Our ambition is to please God, not to have God please us. The irony is that when we do please God, we become so pleased ourselves, nothing else seems important!

Why does Islam prohibit Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men? This is based on the influence Islam assumes that the man has in the family. If he is not Muslim, the odds are high that the children won’t be either, and there’s a good chance the wife may leave Islam too, if her husband pressures her to.

The flip-side can also be true! A Muslim man who is highly influenced by his non-Muslim wife, may leave Islam for her sake. That is why many of the Salaf have opined that Muslim men, though allowed to, should not marry non-Muslim women. I personally agree with them.

Why did my parents immigrate to this country and have children, only to tell me that getting married is not possible? I don’t think that is fair.

I’m sure your parents did not do that on purpose! I’m sure there are parents like them whose daughter is now married. Find out about those and learn how they did it!

I read a lot of dua, but lately when I am speaking to God during my dua, I feel like in my heart it will not come true. After all, I’ve been reading the dua for over 15 years. In my dua, I ask Allah to please make 2011 more joyous than 2010 (I was briefly happy in 2010 because of someone I met, and had some hope then but it fell sharply). It is now July 2011, and I am still so sad. When I make this dua, I feel like I am “testing” God, because I know that He has not answered that prayer for me. When I ask my elders about getting married, they say to do dua because there is no other way. Am I being sinful for questioning my dua? Its been so many years that I have been praying, and I also do Istikhara and Salaat ul Hajaat. To me, it appears that God has given me His answer for now. Is it sinful to think that way?

Thoughts do not become sins until they are translated into words or action, so don’t worry.

How about thinking instead, “What wonderful things God has in store for me, if He has not written for me marriage?”, “Have I been missing the forest for the trees?”, “Did I meet the right man, but didn’t even notice him?”

Try to escape the box you’re in. Think outside it and inspiration will dawn on you.

I have also been experiencing “resentment” towards Islam lately. I had to question myself – if I want to get married, but the muslim community does not help me nor do my parents, will God nevertheless send me to Hell because I had no other options?

As much as marriage is an emphasized Sunna, it’s not a sin to fail to get married. There will be a few bachelors in Paradise 🙂

Will God punish the muslim community for failing to create marriage opportunities for muslim women like myself?

That may be true only if they stand in the way of a good marriage opportunity. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “If a man comes to you [asking for your daughter’s hand in marriage], and you approve of his religion and character, then accept his marriage proposal.” He then recited, “If you do not, tumult will be in the land and much mischief.” (8:73)

That hadeeth, narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Al-Albaani who rated it Hasan (sound), makes clear what the primary criteria are for a good Muslim marriage: commitment to Islam and good conduct. Other factors, which most families hold higher in importance, are less important and should not stop the marriage from taking place. Things like wealth, social status, family name, career, looks, etc.

The same principle was emphasized by the Prophet (PBUH) for the suiter’s side. He said, “Women are married for four reasons: their beauty, their wealth, their lineage and their religion. Win the one with the religion, or else you will be miserable!” Narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Abu-Daawood who rated it acceptable.

I just feel so guilty for harboring these thoughts. To be honest, I feel a bit like I want to “take a break” from all this dua and begging God, as it has left me emotionally and spiritually exhausted. Is that sinful?

No, but it’s not healthy. Your attitude toward dua (supplication) can use some refinement. A Muslim calls upon God for something, because God is the source of all things. But a Muslim also accepts what God grants him or her. A Muslim lets God answer his or her dua the way He sees best. Your dua may have already been answered, but you’re wearing blinders, so you can’t see it.

Will God have mercy on me because I am undergoing a test in life,

Certainly. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “No harm that hits a believer, even a pin on the road that stings him, but God will expiate by it of his sins!” Narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Al-Bukhaari who rated it authentic.

I have prayed for a family of my own but those prayers have not come true and I now have to face a life alone? I must be honest that I am angry about that…angry because I did everythign right, I was obedient to my parents, relied on them for everything, and they did not take this aspect of my life seriously. Will God punish me for being angry?

Not unless the anger translates into words or actions that displease Him.

When we work hard for a goal and it never happens, it could be because we didn’t go about it correctly, even if we thought we did. It could be because it was not meant for us, for a wisdom that only God knows. It could be that the goal was achieved in another format and we are yet to recognize it.

I’ll end with these poems by Rumi,

“How could we know what an open field of sunlight is? Don’t insist on going where you think you want to go.”

“Give up to grace. The ocean takes care of each wave till it gets to shore.”

“You miss the garden, because you want a small fig from a random tree.”

Does Islam allow marriage to children?

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Why the need to exploit children via..child brides? Does it not say in the Quran what puberty is? What are the motives behind child brides and its popularity? Who are the scholars who would preach such strange ideology? This is serious.

It sure is serious and must end, for it violates human rights, offends Islam, which is absolved of it, attributes abhorrence to the Prophet (PBUH), who is totally innocent of such foul charge, and contradicts the Quran!

The Muqallid scholars (strict followers of predecessors) are the ones who allow child brides. They are trapped by a Hadeeth that is rated authentic, attributed to `Aa’isha (RA) in which she is reported to have said that she was engaged at age six and married at age nine.

Despite the fact that that hadeeth was rated authentic, it has numerous problems. For one, it is solely narrated by her maid. The Arabs were mostly illiterate. They could not read, write or count. That goes double for their women and goes triple for the slaves. If we believe the Matn (content) of the hadeeth, it is most likely an error in counting: mixing six with sixteen and nine with nineteen, as I postulated in this previous post.

Hadeeths narrated by only a few narrators, called Aahaad in Hadeeth discipline, are not to be relied on for mandates or prohibitions. This hadeeth should never have been relied on for allowing what is obviously wrong.

But the problems with this hadeeth do not end there. It is contradictory to the Quran. The Quran has consistently referred to wives as “an-nisaa'”, the same word for women. Not girls. Children are referred to as “al-atfaal” and nowhere in the Quran or the authentic hadeeth is there any mention of allowance to marry a child!

You’re right that puberty is what transitions a girl into a woman. Verse 24:59 makes it clear that this is what ends childhood.

Taqleed (strict following of predecessors) is the culprit in this atrocity. People who follow blindly, even if what they’re following is abhorrent, illogical or factually false, will do wrong and think they’re doing good! What misguidance!

I read your previous post.

Child brides make no sense. No sense. But, in my manner I wish to bring this to light for Muslim women. We have many good and educated women with time on their hands. Insha’Allah I may be able to write an article and bring this light.
Is this hadeeth in Bukari..or Muslim?

Why are we so preoccupied with the age of Aisha. It seems to be one of the major stumbling blocks in our faith. I do not mean to be childish but we are stuck on it.

The Hadeeth is reported in both books. That’s why it’s so problematic. It defies the established consensus that all hadeeths in these two books are authentic. But the reality is that most hadeeths in these two books are authentic, but not all. For two centuries after the two authors, no one has said that all hadeeths reported in the two books were authentic. All they said was that the two books contain more authentic text than all other books, save the Quran.

It wasn’t until the Fifth Century A.H. (After Hijra, the Islamic calendar), that scholars started to declare that all hadeeths in Al-Bukhaari and Muslim were authentic. That broad statement did not go unchallenged, however. Ibn Hazm Azh-Zhaahiri, a highly regarded Sunni Imaam, has written and showed how some of the hadeeths in these two books were not authentic and should not have been included in them. More recently, Sheikh Al-Albaani, a very well known and very respected Hadeeth scholar made the same conclusion.

Once you free yourself from unwarranted assumptions, such as that one, you’re not stuck anymore. The Quran clears up any confusion, if you’re willing to make it judge any issue.

I’m in a custody battle. What should I do?

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

My ex-husband has abandoned our son. He is in the country illegally and now wants to see him. My current husband, who loves my son, refuses to let my ex see the child. I know that my ex loves our son and would not hurt him and I’d like my son to know his biological father.

We are now in a custody battle, which I’m sure I will win, but should I forbid my ex from ever seeing his son? What I want to do is arrange for visitations where I work, in a public library, supervised by me.

Seveing the relationship between your son and his biological father is the one thing you should never do. Your son is, and always will be, his biological father’s son. In fact, he must have his last name, per 33:5.

If you’ll have custody and visitation will be supervised by you and in a public place, this sounds like an excellent arrangement.

I told my husband about what I wanted to do and he got very upset. I think I remained calm and did the best I could in talking to him.

At least I feel better after telling him.

I get so confused sometimes about when to be obedient to my husband and when I should argue back with him. I feel like a slave sometimes and I’m not sure if this is how a Muslim marriage should be.

No, it’s not. Obedience is not derogatory as it has come to mean to many people. Obedience to husband means trusting his good judgment and delegating leadership to him. That does not preclude good counsel. We are all human and therefore can err, misconstrue or let our emotions cloud our judgment. That is where the Book of God and the authentic Sunna can help the most. They have the decisive argument. A Muslim, by definition, is one who has committed to obeying these sources above all other.

You probably heard this story before. One day, while Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may God have been pleased with him, was giving the Friday sermon and he declared that dowries have been excessive and should therefore be capped. A woman rose up at the back of the mosque and said to him that he couldn’t cap dowries because God says in the holy Quran, “and you gave one of them (women) a kantar (a hundredweight) [in dowry], do not take from it at all.” (4:20). How did Umar, the caliph, reply to her? He said, “The woman is right and Umar is wrong!” As author Abbaas Al-Aqqaad put it in his famous book “The genius of Umar”, “Umar ibn Al-Khattaab (RA) always stopped at the Book of God.”

Continue to communicate with wisdom, calmness and good evidence with your husband. Insha-Allah (God willing), he will realize that the decision you’ve arrived at is the right thing to do and will support it.

When to end a debate?

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

I was at a friend’s house and we started a discussion on marriage. He said it’s not right to look at the girl before marriage because it creates fitnah (seduction) in your mind. I said, “No. There is an authentic hadith which tells us it’s recommended to look at her before marriage.”

He fully agrees that there could be a hadith he doesn’t have knowledge of. We debated a little but then I don’t want to keep argument, so I said, “What you are saying might be better, but I don’t know enough agree or disagree with you so I won’t argue with you.”

How far should we go in argument? And if the person is not in agreement, is it Ok to say something like I did to end the argument?

You were right to end the debate, because without evidence on either side of the two of you, a debate is a battle of opinions and that gives rise to the ego. You are to be commended on your Islamic attitude toward your brother and giving him the benefit of the doubt.

As for the question you were asking about, the Prophet, peace be upon him, advised a man seeking marriage to look at the woman he intends to marry and he gave the reason: “It is likely then that a bond will form between you.” Narrated by Al-Mugheera ibn Shu`ba and Anas ibn Maalik and reported by At-Tirmizhi, Ibn Maajah, Ibn Hanbal, Ad-Daarimi and Ibn Hubbaan. Rated authentic by Al-Albaani.

Did Muhammad marry a six year old girl?

Monday, September 6th, 2010

There is a hadeeth that says that Lady `Aa’isha was six years old when the Prophet (PBUH) married her and that he consummated the marriage when she was nine. I find that hard to believe, but it is widely accepted. Adversaries of Islam have a field day with that one. Do you have any thoughts on this?

This is a common misconception. It is known that `Aa’isha, may God have been pleased with her, was ten years younger than her sister Asmaa’ and that Asmaa’ was 27 years old when she was helping her father and the Prophet (PBUH) in their migration to Medina. That makes `Aa’isha 17 years old at Hijra. We also know that the Prophet (PBUH) married her at the year 2 A.H. which makes her 19 years old at her wedding.

There are many books, classic and modern, that state that Asmaa’ bint Abi-Bakr, may God have been pleased with them, was born at the year 27 B.H. and died at 73 A.H., at the age of 100, a few nights after her son Abdullah ibn Az-Zubayr (RA). Most of those books also state that she was ten years older than her sister `Aa’isha (RA).

Some of these books are:

الإصابة في تمييز الصحابة، لابن حجر

سير أعلام النبلاء، للحافظ الذهبي

عز الدين بن الأثير، أسد الغابة في معرفة الصحابة

محمد البوهي، ذات النطاقين أسماء بنت أبي بكر

الأعلام للزركلي

الطبقات لابن سعد

السيرة النبوية لابن هشام

المعارف لابن قتيبة

Ibn Qateeba has documented in his book المعارف that `Aa’isha (RA) died in the year 58 A.H. at about 70 years of age.

Hope this helps.

The error about her age comes from her own narration which she said when she was old. It is therefore quite possible that she dropped the “teen” from the numbers, i.e., she said “six” when she meant to say “sixteen”. That’s a reasonable explanation. I sometimes say “last year” when I mean to say “last week”