Ask a Muslim Scholar Volume 1

This is the section where you, the reader gets to ask a Muslim scholar a question and if we think your question can benefit the community, we will feature it on this section.

Question 1: Salaam Sheikh, I am going to Umrah InshaAllah next week. What is the minimum requirement to trim hair? Is it okay if I just trim hair evenly all over or does it HAVE to be 1/3 of my finger length?
Answer 1: You have one of three options:


1. The first and the ideal one is to shave the head; you should do this if this is your first Umrah.

2. The second option is to get a haircut; it does not matter how short.

3. The third, which is the minimum requirement, according to some scholars is to take a few hair locks (at least three from any side).


Allah orders us in the Qur’an to come out of ihram (in the case of either hajj or umrah) after performing the essential rites by shaving our heads or cutting our hair short:  Allah says, “After that, let them bring to an end their state of consecration (ihram).”(Qur’an: 22:29)  “With your heads shaved or your hair cut short” (Qur’an: 48:27).

And the Prophet further explained it saying, “May Allah have mercy on those who shave their heads (repeating it thrice) and then, may Allah have mercy on those who cut short their hair.” (Reported by Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Abd Allah b. Umar)

Question 2: Is it haram (unlawful) to perform a non-religious ceremony after having done a nikaah? And is it haram for a Muslim bride to walk down the aisle and perform this type of ceremony?
Answer 2: There is nothing wrong for you in making a marriage ceremony with a justice of peace for legal purposes if you have already performed the Nikaah as required by Islam. It is also equally permissible for Muslim bride to walk down the aisle for the same reason.
Having said this, however, it had been ideal and advisable for you to get everything done in one simple ceremony: combining both religious and legal if you are living in a city where there is a mosque; for generally the imams have the license to solemnize marriage according to the laws of the province; and so he would be able to complete both requirements, religious and legal, in which case no such question would ever arise.
Question 3: Dear Sheikh. My husband’s younger sister lives with us (18 years) and not her parents. If she is doing something unlawful without our knowledge because of the lack of authority we have is the sin upon us or the parents? And if I know my sister is doing something unlawful on the internet do I have an obligation to tell her brother or her parents?
Answer 3: It is your duty to do everything possible to save your sister-in-law from spiritual death even as you would have saved her from killing herself through drowning, etc. No doubt through such activities, she is corrupting her morals and thus destroying herself spiritually. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:  ”If you see someone doing wrong correct him by taking actions; if you cannot prevent it that way, speak against it; if you cannot do that as well, you should hate it in your heart. This is the lowest degree of faith.”

I advise you first to have a friendly chat with her and make her aware of the consequences of her actions; if she accepts your advice and refrains from it, then forgive her. If, however, this does not work, you should inform her elder brother– if he is wise enough to handle the situation without making it worse. If he is too emotional, then your best bet is to get the help of someone who is wiser, whom she may respect.

Perhaps the first thing you should do to put an end to this would be by getting internet security features that would block her activities; or cancel the internet altogether if there is no other way.

I pray to Allah to inspire us all to love that which is good and practice it, and to detest evil and shun it.


Question 4: There is this guy that I’ve known for a while now and we want to get married someday but he isn’t Muslim. He considered converting but it would only be to marry me(not necessarily because he is passionate about Islam) and it isn’t guaranteed that my parents would let me marry him even if he did convert because he has a dirty past etc. My question is is there any way that I can still marry him as a non-Muslim without defying the Islamic religion?
Answer 4: Islam does not sanction conversion for the sake of marriage; if he does convert for the sake of marriage that is not acceptable or valid.

Islam also does not allow a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim; all schools are unanimous on this issue. If in spite of this you do marry him, it is not considered valid in Islam.

Therefore, your parents are right in refusing permission for this marriage. After all, marriage is all about life-long commitment. A shared spiritual vision and values are essential ingredients of a happy marriage. The Prophet, peace be upon him,  told us to look for faith and character as the main criteria for choosing a marriage partner.


Question 5: Why are so many Muslims so anxious to give their lives in the name of suicide bombings?
Answer 5: An explanation for this must be sought elsewhere, and not in the sound understanding and practice of Islam.

Islam for a fact does not allow anyone either to take his/her own life or to take the life of an innocent person no matter what the cause maybe.

Those who claim that by killing oneself and killing innocent people they are doing jihad, are clearly wrong. They are simply violating the explicit teachings of Islam. For according to the explicit teachings of the Qur’an, taking a single life unjustly is akin to taking the life of all of humanity.

Therefore, it is clear that those who do such heinous crimes in the name of jihad are indeed abusing this noble concept. As is well known to jurists belonging to all of the well-established schools of jurisprudence in Islam, in order for jihad to be valid, it must be declared by a legitimate authority. In other words, jihad can never be confused with the erratic or whimsical
Therefore, all of us must seek explanations for the phenomenon of rising number of suicide bombers—a phenomenon which by no means is peculiar to Muslims alone–not in the teaching of Islam but elsewhere. Perhaps political scientists, objective journalists or social psychologists can tell us about the factors that drive people to such acts of violence, which is unthinkable for human beings to contemplate under normal conditions.


Email your questions to or you may call and leave a message at 612-605-4655

We can all share the hasanaat and the blessings that come from educating our community on the deen.


About our Muslim Scholar

Ahmad Kutty was educated in the traditional Islamic Sciences at the Islamic University of Madina Munawwarah.  He earned his M.A from the University of Toronto and pursued doctoral studies at McGill University, Montreal.

Ahmed Kutty was named in the 500 most influential Muslims by the Muslim500 in 2012.

Over the past 30 years, he has been Director of the Islamic Center of Toronto, Director of the Islamic Foundation, Toronto, Canada, and has served on the Fiqh Council of North America.