Social Interaction

  • Celebrating Christmas for Muslims – Halal or Haram?

    Right I think it’s about time I answered this issue, it seems to have been escalated beyond the remit of a respectful debate. A humble request for everyone (including myself) to check the content of any messages and comments posted publicly…

    Now regarding the celebration of Christmas by Muslims. In a nutshell this is not permitted in the remit of Islam.

    Now I’m not going to give a scholarly discussion, there seems to be plenty of ‘Muftis’ to give you the scholarly rulings and I’m sure they have far more knowledge than I do!

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  • Question:


    assalaumu alaikum..

    i want to kknow all the details regarding halal kamai ,as tommorow i have an ijtama at my home town where i need to speak some points regarding this,

    kindly help me out …



    Assalamo Alaikum,
    This is a very long and complicate question that is best addressed by speaking to your local alim.
    Assalamo Alaikum
    Halal or Haram Team
    Answered by Shaykh Rahil Mumtaz
  • Tight or Revealing Clothing on Men and Women

    It is better for a man to wear loose slacks and something (whether a longer shirt, a coat or a jacket) that covers his rear.

    Somewhat tight jeans would be at least somewhat disliked and blameworthy. Form-fitting jeans that fully define the shape and form of a part of the body that must be covered with clothing (awra) during normal wear would be sinful to wear and prohibitively disliked.
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  • Slander and talebearing are prohibited (haram).

    Allah Most High says, “O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, for some suspicions are a sin. Do not spy on one another, nor backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, you would abhor it, [so similarly, avoid backbiting]. And fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Qur’an, 49:12]

    And He Most High says, “Woe to whoever disparages others behind their back or to their face.” [Qur’an, 104:1]

    Hudhaifa reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “A slanderer will not enter the Garden.” [Bukhari; Muslim]

    Ibn ‘Abbas reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) passed by two graves and said, “They are being punished and not for anything very great. One of them did not guard himself from urine and the other was involved in backbiting.” [Bukhari; Muslim]

    Imam Nawawi said, “Slander and talebearing are two of the ugliest and most frequently met with qualities among men, few people being safe from them… Every legally responsible person should refrain from saying anything except when there is a clear advantage to speaking.” [Keller, Reliance of the Traveller]

    The scholars say there is nothing like safety. Therefore, one should remember the words of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last day, let him say the good or remain silent.” [Bukhari; Muslim]

    And Allah alone gives success.

  • Is Selling Lottery Tickets Haram?

    It would not be permissible for an individual to sell lottery tickets in his or her store. This would be considered directly assisting in sin, which is prohibited.
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  • What is the Islamic Stance on Having a Dog?

    According to the Hanafi school, it is permitted to have a sheep dog, a hunting dog or similar. [Nahlawi, al-Durar al-Mubaha]

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  • The Criteria of Promises

    According to the prophetic hadith, one of the signs of a hypocrite is that “when he makes a promise, he breaks it.” [Muslim] Imam Khalil Nahlawi explains that what is meant by this hadith is that it is unlawful for one to make a promise while intending to break it, as such an intention is deemed hypocrisy.

    If one intends to fulfill it, then making a promise is permissible.

    One should strive his utmost to fulfill a promise, as doing so is sunna. Breaking a promise that one intended to fulfill, then, is disliked and unbecoming of a believer. (And if the promise were depended upon by another to make a financial commitment or significant undertaking, then it would be religiously binding to fulfill, as contemporary scholars clarify.)

    [Nahlawi, Durar Mubaha fil Hazr wal Ibaha]

    The above criteria would apply as well when making an internal promise to Allah Most High, without verbally pronouncing a vow or oath, as breaking the latter would necessitate expiation [depending on the vow/oath].

  • The General Ruling

    First-cousin marriage is completely fine and lawful according to the Qur’an and Sunna. There is scholarly consensus (ijma’) on its permissibility.

    In Sura Nisa’ (4:22-24), Allah Most High lists all the categories of women that one cannot marry, which does not mention first cousins, and then says, “Lawful to you are all besides those mentioned.”

    From the Noble Sunna, we know that our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) married his daughter Fatima to his first cousin Ali (Allah be well pleased with them both). And the Prophet himself (peace and blessings be upon him) married his first cousin Zaynab bint Jahsh (Allah be well pleased with her).


    The Shari’a As Mercy

    Our scholarly tradition, from the very outset, has recognised that the fundamental principle underlying the whole of the Divine Law is mercy, which is defined as ‘the intending of good to those in need.’

    Allah says that, ‘the All-Merciful taught the Qur’an,’ and the commentators on this verse explain that the guidance contained within its verses is the greatest explicit manifestation of His ineffable mercy [cf Qurtubi: al-Jami’]. One of the aspects of our beloved Prophet Muhammad’s (peace and blessings upon him) honorific ‘Mercy unto the worlds,’ is that he was sent with a way that is a manifestation of pure mercy; and one of the understandings of the hadith, ‘the religion [in its entirety] is pure well-wishing,’ is that the shari’a is nothing but the manifestation of Allah’s intending pure goodness for human beings [ibn Rajab: Jami’ al-‘Ulum wa’l Hikam].

    Foundational concepts such as this are crucial for our own understanding of our religion; they ground us in our relationship with Allah, and transform what can seem mundane, repetitive tasks into transcendent signs (ayat) that point to the Creator. In addition, however, they provide a framework with which to explain our religion to others. It is the failure to discern the general wisdom underlying specific rulings of the Sacred Law – and our failure to express it – that puts many people off Islam as a whole.

    To a non-Muslim, making the point that ‘Islam is mercy,’ might come across as an easy platitude. It is important, therefore, to understand that our ulama took this fundamental truth and laid bare  its operation at the very core and marrow of the shari’a. Behind every specific ruling of the shari’a, they discerned a deep wisdom, which they summed up as follows: ‘the basis of the rulings of sacred law is to avert harm and accrue benefit’ [al-Izz: Qawa’id al-Sughra (paraphrase)]. They further specified the higher purposes of the shari’a as being: ‘the preservation of religion, life, intellect, lineage and wealth.’ [Ghazali: al-Mustasfa].

    With this in mind, we note that fiqh rulings – and especially specific fatwa – give particular weight to sciences such as medicine as a means of determining where benefit and harm lie. For example, the obligatory fast of Ramadan may actually be prohibited to individuals who – in their physician’s considered opinion – are at significant risk of serious harm. In this case, the avoidance of (physical) harm takes precedence over the acquisition of (spiritual) benefit. In cases where one’s actions are likely to result in harm to others, this principle is even more emphatic. For example, it would be impermissible for an HIV positive man to have unprotected intercourse, because of the high risk of infecting his wife (and unborn child) with a lethal disease.

    Consanguinity (Close Relation Marriages)

    The upshot of the preceding paragraphs is that the shari`a legislates in the best spiritual and material interests of individuals and societies, and medical evidence is a valid means of determining where benefit and harm lie. The pertinent question, then, is: what does the medical evidence indicate about consanguinity? The field of genetics is an extremely complicated and rapidly expanding one, with new findings being regularly presented and critiqued. Currently, there have been about seventy major peer-reviewed studies performed on consanguinity, and their consensus findings would certainly suffice as evidence on which the fuqaha might base legal rulings.Their conclusions can be briefly summarized as follows:

    1. One-off consanguineous relationships lead to a slight increase in the risk of genetic defects. As the incidence of many of these defects is very low anyway, the absolute risk still remains low.

    2. Repeated cross-generational consanguineous relationships (known as endogamy) have a significantly higher risk of genetic defects (up to 10 times in some studies).

    3. Most of these defects are mild to moderate, and can manifest in childhood developmental disorders (such as deafness or mild mental retardation) or adult illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and mental disorder.

    4. The major problem occurs with consanguineous relationships in the context of certain rare hereditary illnesses known as Autosomal Recessive conditions. These are severely disabling conditions for which there are few effective treatments, often resulting in early death. Consanguineous relationships mean that both spouses are likely to be carriers of the defective gene, which in turn leads to a greatly increased risk of children suffering with these severe illnesses. As an example, if a couple such as this had three children, there would only be a 30% chance of all three escaping unaffected.


    Thus in summary, one might state that:

    1. The shari`a permits first-cousin marriage because the absolute risk of harm to the child remains low.

    2. Endogamy is a cultural practice not specifically encouraged by the shari`a, and although it has been widely practiced by Muslim societies, major figures such as Imam Ghazali (citing Sayyidina Umar, no less) have cautioned against excessiveness in this – precisely because it ‘weakens the offspring.’  [Ghazali: Ihya XII]

    3. In specific cases, where medical evidence indicates a very high risk of harm to future children, such marriages might even be deemed unlawful.

    4. Prospective couples felt to be at risk of transmitting such genetic defects to their children would be expected to take the means to quantify the risk (though genetic counselling and medical consultation) and then seek expert legal opinion in their specific case.

    5. Thus, as with most matters, the shari’a takes the middle path – between an excessive reliance on medical evidence that is nuanced in its findings, and a willful rejection of science as somehow antithetical to trust in the Divine.

    ‘And so have We made you a median nation, that you may be witnesses to mankind, and We have made the Prophet a witness over you.’

    ‘Allah desires ease for you; He does not desire hardship for you … that you might glorify Allah for what he has guided you to, and that you might be thankful.’

    was salam

  • Some Hadiths on the Matter

    In his masterful collection of Prophetic hadiths, Riyadh al-Salihin [Gardens of the Righteous], Imam Nawawi placed an entire chapter called “The Prohibition of Going to Soothsayers, Astrologers and Diviners, and of Seeking Omens.”

    Some of the hadiths in that chapter are as follows, all of which clearly indicate the immense gravity and seriousness of the sin:

    “If one goes to a soothsayer, asks about something, and believes it, his prayer will not be accepted for forty days.” [Muslim]

    “Divination and taking omens from the flight of birds are types of idolatry.” [Abu Dawud]

    “If one takes knowledge from the stars [i.e., astrology], he in fact takes a branch of sorcery. The more knowledge he gains [of that], the more sin he gains.” [Abu Dawud; commentary from Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir]
    And Allah alone gives success.

  • Question:

    What are the  guidelines for Interacting with the opposite sex?


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

    Praise be to Allah. May His peace and blessings shower upon our beloved Messenger. May Allah reward you for seeking knowledge of His deen.

    In Islam, interactions between the sexes are permitted within certain limits specified by the Quran and the Sunna. To some, these limits might appear to be very strict. However, there is a divine wisdom underpinning the limits set down by the Shariah. In adhering to the boundaries set by the Sharia, we can uphold the Quranic command to the believing men and women to be awliya of one another, or protecting friends, while at the same time maintaining the modesty and purity of heart that come from obeying Allah and His Messenger in this regard.

    In brief, when interacting with a woman who is not a member of your unmarriageable kin or your wife, you must avoid khalwa, or seclusion; guard your gaze; and obviously, avoid any physical contact.

    In more detail:


    Khalwa takes place when one man or more than one man are alone with one woman in a place where no one can see them or enter. If there are two women and a man, for example, this is not khalwa. However, when there is only one woman, this situation is considered as seclusion, and becomes unlawful. Obviously, this is for the protection of the woman and the man (or men) so that a situation will not arise where the male becomes tempted and the woman possibly harmed.

    If you are in a situation where you are in a room with two or more women, this is not khalwa and there is no need for you to be uncomfortable.

    Guard Your Gaze

    Guarding your gaze is a good practice that fosters modest interaction between the sexes. The Quran commands both believing men and women to guard their gaze. Unfortunately, many Muslims have lost this practice. What guarding the gaze means is that you should refrain from staring at a woman’s face (if she’s not a member of your unmarriageable kin or your wife). It does not mean keeping one’s eyes glued to the ground. In Western societies, guarding one’s gaze can sometimes be interpreted as a lack of assertiveness or respect for the other person.

    However, with Muslims, guarding one’s gaze indicates respect for the other person’s space and modesty of intention. Our scholars have said that looking at a woman’s face is permitted in certain occasions. For example, if you are seeking a woman in marriage, it is permitted to look at her face. If you work in any type of job that requires you to look at people and interact with them, looking is permitted as long as you don’t look with desire. If you are a teacher, looking at your female students is permitted as long as you don’t look more than necessary or with desire. In short, be modest and respectful.

    If You Can’t Look, You Can’t Touch

    According to the Shariah, where looking is not permitted, then touching is also unlawful. This can be a sensitive topic for Muslims living in the West where handshaking is commonplace and is considered a polite thing to do. Shaking the hand of someone from the opposite sex is unlawful.

    According to our scholars, the Prophet, peace be upon him, never shook the hand of a woman who was not a member of his unmarriageable kin or his wife. So you should do your utmost to avoid shaking hands. But try to do it in a way that does not offend the other person. For many non-Muslims, if you simply explain to them that your religion (or culture) does not permit shaking hands and that you mean no offense, then usually people are okay with that.

    Covering the Awrah (Nakedness)

    Covering the awrah or one’s nakedness. Another requirement of interaction between the sexes is that everyone should observe Islamic modesty or covering the awrah. For men, this means covering what’s between the navel and the knee. For women, this means covering the whole body except the face and hands. Obviously, this is possible in a Muslim gathering. But there are very few places in this world where you will encounter women who are always covered. Obviously, if you live and work in the West, everyday you will see women who are not properly covered. What you need to do here is to simply be modest, behave respectfully, and avoid looking at women without need.


    In conclusion, when you find yourself in a situation with women, Muslim or otherwise, simply be modest and respectful. There is no problem with talking to a member of the opposite sex or working with that person when there is a need. As long as we adhere to these boundaries, inshallah everything should be fine.

    There is no need to be uncomfortable when there are women around. I have seen some Muslim brothers who when they sight a woman or hear her voice, immediately start scowling or act very tense. This is unnecessary. I have also seen Muslim brothers who feel very comfortable chatting with non-Muslim women, but as soon as a Muslim woman comes around, they ignore her and won’t even give salaams. This too is unnecessary and looks very strange to the non-Muslim observers.

    What’s important to remember here is the example of our Prophet, peace be upon him. He was modest, respectful, and kind to everyone. He also interacted with women when there was a need to do so. He is the best example for us.

    And Allah knows best.

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