Archive for the ‘Love’ 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.

Can faith go up and down?

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Brother, I pray this finds you in high eman (faith) and good health.

Here is one of my serious questions. I did not know where to start the research.
I pray. I believe in prayer. I try not to miss my salat (prayer).

I got sick. I could not pray. I do not mean physically. There arose the problem. I could not make myself pray. I put it off. I blamed the physical lethargy. I could not understand nor rationalize the blockage.
The inability to pray ran down to my soul. I could not find an answer.

To try and sum it up in words: Why do we have periods of such low eman (faith) that prayer becomes difficult? It is not the total abandonment of prayer but a temporary inability to pray. Does this even make sense? I understand that the body hurts but the soul hurts more when prayer is ignored. It was as if I felt I was abandoned.

Point the passages in the Quran for me to ponder on this one. I know others who have the same blockage. It is not that you do not want to pray..but something prevents you from praying.

You’re asking why is this happening to you. The answer is simple: Satan got to you. Don’t panic; it happens to everybody. Satan never tires of trying to get to people so that they may follow him instead of following God. In the holy Quran, God quotes Satan challenging Him and saying, “I will come to them before them, behind them, at their right sides and at their left sides, and You will not find most of them thankful!” (7:17)

What do you do about it? You show Satan who’s boss! You fight him on it. You drag yourself to pray if necessary and cry to God in your prayer to help you win that fight. It is not an easy fight, it’s a jihaad (struggle). And if you just start it, God promises He will be on your side, “And those who struggle in Us, We shall surely guide them to Our ways.” (29:69)

Prayer is the second most emphasized notion in the Quran, after the oneness of God. Why? Because once you understand who God is, you certainly want to find out how to communicate with Him.

Prayer is an audience with God that He invites you to five times everyday. It is a privilege given to every believer, similar to the privilege God gave to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on his Mi`raaj (ascension journey to heaven). Unlike audiences with human dignitaries, you don’t make an appointment first, you don’t need intermediaries, you can stay as little or as long as you want, and you can ask for anything and be sure that an answer will be given right away and in the way that fits you best.

Prayer, therefore, is much more than a duty upon every believer toward His Maker, it is a fabulous opportunity; like a freebie you get five times a day and all you have to do is open the door to get it. No strings attached.

Prayer is a chance to thank God five times a day for the many more than five favors He has given you that day.

Belief does not go up and down, but faith does. Belief is binary :-), you either believe or you don’t. Faith, on the other hand, is the practice, cordially, mentally, verbally and manually, that proves the belief and affirms it. Since all of these can go up and down, that’s why faith can go up and down. God defined believers as follows, “Verily, believers are only those who, when God is mentioned and His verses are recited to them, it increases their faith, and upon their Lord they rely.” (8:2)

To make your faith go up, you increase the rate at which you affirm your belief. Cordially, you contemplate God’s love and grace often. Mentally, you reflect on God’s creation and bounties often. Verbally, you do Zhikr often, and manually, you perform the rituals, charity and good deeds often. The more you commit yourself to that, the easier it gets, because Satan will find you a tough nut to crack and will look for an easier prey, just like a car thief doesn’t bother with cars that have a powerful alarm.

The Prophet (PBUH) often said this supplication, “O turner of hearts, steady my heart on Your religion! O diverter of hearts, direct my heart to obeying You!”

And he always said this supplication after ending each prayer, “Allahumma a`inni `ala zhikrika wa shukrika wa husni `ibaadatika” (“O God, help me to remember You, thank You, and comply well with your ordinance.”)

Three plateaus of contentment

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Quick question: When we acquiesce to the call of Allah swt, there is a word in Arabic that sounds phonetically like ridah and roughly translated I believe means the tranquil acceptance of Allah swt’s will.

Could you expand on this, please.

“Tranquil acceptance” is an excellent translation of Ridha.

I usually translate it as contentment. Contentment can be motivated by several motivations. It can be motivated by surrender to reality. In such case, it is more like coping rather than contentment. It is then pragmatic. The motivation here is literally Islam (surrender), which some do willingly and others unwillingly. Consider,
“So is it other than the religion of God they desire, while to Him have submitted [all] those within the heavens and earth, willingly or unwillingly, and to Him they will be returned?” (3:83)

Contentment can be motivated by peace of mind; that feeling that everything is in order and taken care of by the Supreme Caretaker (Al-Qayyoom). In such case, it is tranquil acceptance. It is then rational. With that mental attitude, one is in harmony with other creatures, swimming downstream. The motivation here is Eeman (faith).

Contentment can also be motivated by pleasure; that feeling that God, being the source of everything, is the source of whatever happened and therefore it must be good for the person even if it doesn’t look that way at first. In such case, it is love. Contentment here is two-sided! As God has said in the holy Quran, “…God is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. That is the grand win.” (5:119). With that mental attitude, one is in heaven on earth; one has that elusive inner peace. The motivation here is Ihsaan (benevolence).

God has mentioned several times in the holy Quran how Ridha is the ultimate reward. Take for example His praise of a pious, charitable, unselfish person, “But the most watchful [of God] will be averted from it (the Hellfire). Who gives [from] his wealth purifying himself. And no one has a favor with him to be rewarded. Except seeking the Countenance of his Lord, the Highest. And he shall contend.” (92:17-21).

Spiritual balance

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Assalaam alaikum,

I have been active in reading the Quran. It is becoming a little easier.

Have many things on my mind. I believe there comes a point in life where all our decisions are made to please Allah subhana wa taala. I have developed a great love for the Prophet Nuh. I can not image living to 950 years. I do not have the patience for humanity that he did. Yes, all prophets and messengers are of the same cloth of sabr.

I am seeking a balance in life. Need your input on spiritual balance. What does a believer do when you feel so alone in the duyna.

Wa Alaykum Assalaam. Being active in reading the Quran is being active in getting closer to God, for the Quran is the word of God. It is the memento God has graciously given us to remember Him by and to remind us that He is always there (As-Samad)), always alert (Al-Hayy), always listening and watching (As-Samee`, Al-Baseer), always welcoming (At-Tawwaab), anxious to forgive us (Al-Ghafoor) and eager to make our wishes come true!

When one realizes that fully, how can one then feel alone? It is only when we let our dark side win over the good side, even briefly, that the feeling of loneliness creeps in, because the light of God does not cohabit with the darkness of ego in the same heart.

One of the repeatedly taught principles of Islam is balance. Extremes on either side are rejected by God and His Messenger (PBUH). And within every aspect of life, balance is also required. One day three people asked about the worship style of the Prophet (PBUH). They were not impressed with the answer! They thought that he did not do much worship because he could afford to; because he has been forgiven all his sins already. So, one of the three said, “I will stay up every night praying.” The second said, “I will fast everyday.” The third said, “I will vow chastity and never marry.” The Prophet (PBUH) heard about that and got upset. He said, “By God, I am the most observing of God among you and the most watchful of Him. But I fast some days and eat some days. I pray part of the night and sleep the rest of it. And I marry women. He who desires a way (Sunna) other than mine does not belong to me.” Narrated by Anas ibn Maalik (RA) and reported and rated authentic by Al-Bukhaari.

When our decisions in life are aligned with God’s teachings, we sail through life. We feel as if we’re under a protective wing. We weather storms. Tumult and confusion that often lead people astray or desperate do not dent us. And we can recognize blessing when it comes. God says in the holy Quran, “Whoever does righteously, male or female, and is a believer, then We shall give them a good life.” (16:97) Otherwise, it’s an uphill battle that makes the world seem to us like a lawless jungle. God says in the holy Quran, “And whoever turns aside from My remembrance, then verily for him is an arduous living.” (20:124)

Did you notice in the story of Prophet Nuh (Noah), peace be upon him, that God told him one day that there will not be any more people who will believe in him? (11:36) That is when he instructed him to build the ark. Noah didn’t stop preaching until God told him to! And even then, he kept hoping against hope that he may be able to save his son who hasn’t accepted God. As the flood waters were rising and the ark was about to sail out, he called upon his son, “O dear son, ride with us! Don’t be among the disbelievers.” (11:42) He knew the son will not believe, because God said so. Yet, he still tried. It wasn’t second guessing God; it was a desperate human effort of a loving father. It didn’t work of course and could not have.

We do not have the privilege that Noah had. We do not know when to stop calling for God with our words and deeds. Therefore, we must keep trying.

A disproportionate reward?

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Hope you are doing good by the grace and blessings of Allah(SWT).

I was asked this question by one of my friends recently and he asked me whether life in paradise is finite or eternal? I gave him the answer saying eternal. But then he put forward a question saying, when this life we live for(say about 60-70yrs) is finite, then how come righteous people are rewarded with infinite time in the paradise? I had given it a thought and I did derive at an answer. But I would like to hear it from you too brother.

Secondly, I would like to know about Islamic rulings on Movies? And related to Music, Is melody, slow songs, love songs, songs that stir your emotions allowed?

Usually, this question is asked about the flip side: is punishment of the hellfire disproportionate? The answer to both sides of this question is no, for the simple reason that “God does not do a spec’s weight of injustice” (4:40).

One may look at a good deed and think that it is rather minor, but God sees it as fabulous, and because He does, He rewards it more generously than the person who did it ever hoped for. The flip side of this is also true: one may say or do something that he doesn’t think is too bad, but God sees it as a grave sin, and because He does, He punishes it far more severely than the person who committed it ever feared.

To give you an example. God says in the holy Quran, “Did you not see how God strikes a parable of a good word like a good tree: its foundation is firm and its branch is in the sky. It delivers its food every season with the permission of its Lord!” (14:24-25). Did you get the reason for the seemingly disproportionate reward? It is a deed that constantly breeds good deeds. Its benevolent effect does not only positively touch the lives of many contemporary people, but goes on and on for all generations to come. That is why God rewards it so much. And bear in mind that the good deed referred to in this verse appears minor. It is just a good word!

As for your question about music, songs and stirring of emotions, it depends on the environment where the music is played, the lyrics of the songs and the emotion that is stirred and what that leads to. Music is neither good nor bad on its own, as Sheikh Shaarawi once said, may God bless his soul. If it is accompanied by lewd or violent acts or lyrics then it’s forbidden. Otherwise, how can it be bad, when we know that it soothes the soul, puts one in a good mood, a romantic mood or a patriotic mood? Documented evidence is plenty that music speeds up healing of wounds and calms the nerves of patients about to undergo surgery! See the Music category for more posts about this.

Likewise are love songs and love movies. It depends on whether they contain indecent lyrics or scenes. The emotions stirred by music, poetry, motion pictures, or art works in general can be benign and can be malicious. Art is neither good nor bad in the absolute. Art stems from love of beauty and awe at God’s creation and it is in fact an unconscious desire to connect with God, as the late President of Bosnia, Alija Izetbegović wrote in his book “Islam and the West.”

Struggling to surrender

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Thanks for answering my previous question.

You say,
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?”

I have tried, over the years, to see a life beyond love and companionship, to be open to an alternative existence.

My friend and blog member Aapa recently mentioned a saying, “Life is a flower. You can’t force it to bloom.” That hit me so hard. Because throughout my 30s, I was waiting for my life to bloom, even though I desperately tried to convince myself it was already blooming. Year after year, i tried to create a life for myself, one where friendship, activities, travel, faith, books, sports, prayer and parents replaced love, babies, companionship and intimacy.

It didn’t work.

Sometimes the goals we work so hard for never materialize. As I mentioned previously, the cause could be that we went about it wrong, or that we did not take opportunities when they came. Those we can fix and try again. But the cause could also be that we were not meant to have it. That one we have to accept as Muslims, because we trust that God only deprives us of what is not good for us.

It’s been almost a year since I lost the man I loved and with whom my destiny was not meant to unfold. It was on the eve of Ramadan last year, and throughout Ramadan 2010 and the following September I convinced myself I did the right thing in breaking ties, and that God would bring me something better — even if “better” means peace with not being married.

Acceptance is an attitude. It doesn’t come naturally to some people. Dr. Jeffrey Lang wrote a book on the subject. He called it “Struggling To Surrender!” Indeed, it’s not easy. But it is the substance of our religion. Perhaps because you have not quite fostered it in yourself that God has been giving you this hard exercise.

I told you that I am somewhat disheartened by prayer. But I think more than anything, the cold hard reality that my life did not bloom is hitting me in the face.

Your life did bloom, but you just don’t want to see it that way. That’s the problem.

My best friend abandoned me. She has not called me once in the last 10 months to ask how I am. Although I remain active in sports, I really don’t have a lot of friends. I may do one social activity a month. I find that my life consists of work, prayer, eating meals, and visiting my elderly parents. I do engage in some hobbies, like art etc, but again, i come home and I am alone. Although I work in an office, I don’t work in a team. I am a nice, friendly person.

It is painful. It is painful, as I sit here and type this, alone in my home, with absolultely no one to call or talk to or love or be loved by.

Why did your best friend abandon you? That may be indicative of something that you unconsciously do that keeps you lonely. Examine your own personality and conduct as if a therapist is asking you questions. Some people, as you probably know, demolish their goals unconsciously out of fear of failure or even fear of success.

Now, the life I was trying to avoid all these years has come true! What I tried throughout my 30s to avoid happening – happened! I am truly alone in the world.

What you keep thinking about tends to happen. That’s because the brain and the psyche are geared to achieve what you obsess about! Dr. Wayne Dyer has a very nice program called “The Power of Intention” where he elaborates much more on this point.

Change your thoughts and your life will change. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you want to escape the life you dislike, you must.

When I was with the man I loved, my life felt like it was in bloom, because all of a sudden I felt loved, I had a companion, I could plan for the future, etc. Now, in addition to the grief, the emotional vacancy is that much more potent. The things that kept me busy before…those things are not present anymore. I can’t find a replacement. How can one find a replacement for love?

You’re assuming that no other love will come your way. That’s despair from the mercy of God. Don’t think that way. Jacob’s life was empty when he lost his son Joseph. He wept so hard he became blind. Yet, he never despaired of the mercy of God (see 12:87). His faith was rewarded when he was reunited with Joseph in Egypt. Think like him, peace be upon him.

So how can I possibly, possibly embrace what you are saying and agree that there is so much better in store for me now, that I have been unable to see the forest but for the trees?

You do that out of faith. That is what makes it possible. It is a state of the heart.

Where am I? Where did all my prayers and desires and conformity to “the rules” get me????

It got you plenty of entries in the credit column of your Kitaab (register of deeds), which will delight you on the Final Day, when most people will be in panic. That is, unless you wipe them out with loss of faith, God forbid.

Approaching Islam through mysticism

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

I am very interested in Islam now. I have been a religious seeker for many, many years, and even became an Eastern Orthodox Christian 3 years ago. However, I keep stumbling over the Atonement theory, the Incarnation, and the Trinity. The principle of tawhid appeals to me so much, as does having a direct connection to God without needing intermediaries (eg the priesthood). The Oneness of God seems an essential religious tenet to me now.

As an esoterist, being mystically inclined by nature, I wonder how most Muslims feel about Sufism. I know that there are more traditional Sufi orders, grounded in the Quran and Islam, and psuedo-Islamic Sufi orders, which I feel inclined to stay way from. I originally became an Orthodox Christian primarily because of theosis, the principle of achieving oneness with God or participating in the life and energies of God. There are hesychasts, particularly on Mount Athos, who live very ascetic lives and who invoke the name of Jesus Christ as a practice (called Prayer of the Heart). They’re the Christians who’ve made me want to be one! However, as I’ve said, I’ve been intellectually stymied due to theological and doctrinal issues.

How do most people here feel about Sufism? Is it considered heretical? Is it something that interests most Muslims?

Welcome. You have your heart in the right place.

Achieving union with God is a slippery road. That is why many Sufis deviated from the Straight Path and delved into transcendental imaginations. While that did produce some fabulous poetry, it is overall harmful to their souls. Why? Because Islam is a religion that balances this world and the Hereafter, materialism and spirituality, the individual and the society, the heart and the mind. It does not lean toward any of those.

Getting close to God and experiencing His love, on the other hand, is the ultimate aim of Islamic rituals. In a holy narration (Hadeeth Qudsi) God says: Whoever comes near Me a cubit, I come near him a fathom. In the same narration, He says: My servant keeps approaching Me with extra good works until I love him. When I love him I become his eyes with which he sees, his ears with which he hears, his hands with which he reaches, and his legs with which he endeavors. And when he asks Me, I surely will answer him, and when he seeks refuge in Me, I surely will give him refuge.

Does that sound like what you’re looking for? It’s all metaphorical of course. The danger is when one starts to believe that it has become physical or metaphysical.

Is the practice of dhikr (remembrance of God) recommended for all Muslims, or just Sufis? Is the repeated invocation of the Name of God a basic feature of Islam?

If by that you mean mantras, like what the whirling dervishes do, the answer is no. But if you mean the frequent remembrance of God then the answer is a definite yes. God says in the holy Quran,
“And mention God much, that you may prosper” (62:10)

And the Prophet, peace be upon him, advised, “Let your tongue remain moist with the remembrance of God”, reported by At-Tirmizhi and Ibn Hanbal.

Are there any Muslim mystics that are universally appreciated? For example, Shaikh Ahmad Al-Alawi or Al Ghazali? Are saints recognized in Islam?

Yes. Jalaal-ud-Deen Ar-Roomi, known as Rumi, is one that jumps to mind. His poetry is out of this world, and you can see from some of it how he ventures into dangerous transcendental territory and that’s why many Muslims have strong reservations about him.

Saints are called Awliyaa’ in Islam. The word means allies [of God]. Muslim history is filled with them. Some were Sufi, but the majority were regular folks who had a job or business, raised families, taught and/or authored books on the many disciplines of Islamic knowledge, theology and law. And some were heads of the state!

Can people express themselves in Islam?

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

How can people express themselves fully or explore their creativity in Islam when there seems to be only very specific things that are allowed? For example, in music, I heard that rap music is haram (forbidden)? I also heard that it is not allowed to write love letters to the opposite sex. Not to mention prohibitions regarding taking pictures, painting/drawing objects and regulations regarding what sort of clothes to wear. Islam seems to enclose its followers to certain emotions they should/ could only feel. I don’t know.

If Muslims could not express their creativity, there wouldn’t have been the Blue Mosque, Taj Mahal, Arabesque, abstract art, calligraphy, etc.

Not all Muslims agree that all music is forbidden. Music that invites lewdness or violence is. Furthermore, it’s the lyrics that need to be watched. In Islam, expression and speech are allowed but within limits of decency. Lewdness, lies, profanity, insults and blasphemy are not allowed in order to protect society from those ills.

Love letters are allowed between couples who have been formally engaged or are married, not before that because they can quickly get out of hand. Again, the principle is to protect people from sin without constricting them.

Painting is allowed but not of lewd images or of living creatures. The prohibition against painting or sculpting living creatures is to protect people from developing pagan tendencies. Even in this modern day of ours, people bow down before statues as if these statues can actually benefit them in the least. In Islam, you only bow before God.

Clothes can easily be a source of seduction. Fashion designers actually depend on it! Seduction leads to sin and that’s why Islam controls dress. It’s not to limit freedom, it’s to protect people from sin.

The word Islam means surrender to God. When you accept Islam, you willingly and lovingly agree to comply by God’s rules not by man’s. Why? Because you can trust that God knows what’s best for you and man doesn’t. Man is only guessing and he has been wrong more often than he has been right and when he was wrong horrendous things happened.

I do not know why I’m still not satisfied. If I were Muslim I’d be a disobedient little sinner. Perhaps that’s why I’m not?

It’s not easy.  Just like relationships need work and patience, your relationship with God, the one who loves you the most, needs work and patience.

However I think we as humans should be able to express or explore themselves fully, or explore the extent of our  creative prowess.

If people explore the effects of drugs fully, they can be addicted. If they explore sex fully, they may catch a fatal disease. If they speed up on the highway to experience the thrill, they may kill themselves and others! Full exploration is not necessarily a good thing. The right limits have been set by the only one who has the full picture: God.

How would we be able to fully know outselves?

There is no reason you can’t. But you don’t have to kill yourself or others to find out! When you raise your child, you prevent him or her from full exploration if it’s going to hurt them, don’t you? That’s how God, the Beneficent, the Merciful, guides us to what is good and forbids us what is bad. Only He knows which is which.

With regards to music, and clothing, I think in general if people have a good idea of themselves, or have good internal control, external sources, which could cause them to sin shouldn’t be a problem?

That’s a big if! Do people have a good idea of themselves, or internal control? If that were true then how come they ruin their lives and the lives of millions? It’s precisely because they don’t have sufficient controls that the world is in such a mess. Only by following God’s guidance can the world come back to balance. God says in the holy Quran,
“And do not corrupt in the earth after it has been put in order!” (7:56) and,
“And if they are told: Do not corrupt in the earth, they reply: But we are doing good!” (2:11)

Did you find peace in Islam?

Sunday, April 8th, 2007

I am searching for peace.

So, my first question is how did you find peace in Islam? when did you realize it?

One of the most fascinating things in the Arabic language is how certain concepts that at first blush appear different are linked together because they use the same word root. Case in point is Islam. The word means surrender or delivery. It comes from the same root word for Salam which means peace or soundness!

Thus one can conclude that through genuine surrender to God in the way He instructed us one achieves peace.

A perfect clue to how one would experience peace is what God said in a holy Hadeeth. He said “My servant keeps approaching me with voluntary good deeds until I love him. When I love him, I become his eyes with which he sees, his ears with which he hears, his hands with which he works and his legs with which he walks. If he asks me I shall most assuredly give him and if he seeks refuge in Me I shall most assuredly protect him.”

Every time you do a voluntary good deed you come closer to God which is the only way to find peace. A good deed could be as simple as a smile.

For such a long long time I have been so unhappy, and I have been trying to find peace and happiness in my life. Like I said I am looking for peace in my life and I am hoping to find it in Islam.

There are many reasons why one may be unhappy. You must have heard of people who despite being healthy, wealthy and beautiful are unhappy, while other people who are sick or poor are happy. Your self image and what you keep telling yourself is often the reason why you stay unhappy. If you start believing differently about yourself, your role in life, and the people around you, you will start to feel differently. Happiness is achieved when what you think, say and do are in agreement and are moving toward God.

Is Islam too strict and hard to commit to?

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

It seems to me that Islam is too strict and has a lot of rules, do’s and don’ts. Is this a wrong perception?

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “This religion is easy! And no one would play tug of war with it but it will defeat him. So, make things easy and don’t make them hard. Find points of agreement or closeness [with people].”

Islam does have many requirements, but they are all within our capacity. God says, “God does not charge a soul except what is within its capacity” (2:286). He also makes worship easier on the worshipers who do them wanting, and He rewards worship generously, which makes the worshiper eager to offer worship.