Ask a Muslim Scholar Volume 7

Q: Is it disrespectful to exercise on machines while listening to Qur’an instead of music?

A: Although we should treat the Qur’an, the Mighty Revelation of Allah, with utmost respect by giving full attention to it while reciting or listening to it, there is nothing wrong for us in listening to it while doing chores that does not require full attention; for the rule of the Shari’ah is that if we cannot have something in its entirety by fulfilling all of its requirements, it does not mean that we should leave it altogether; so even though you are not able to pay full attention to the Qur’an, still you should not be depriving yourself of whatever benefits you can possibly obtain from reading or listening to it in your given circumstance or situation in life. Moreover, it is definitely far better than listening to music or other mundane activities. Nay, by consistently listening to the Quran in this way you certainly stand to gain tremendous spiritual and moral benefits. The same rule applies to listening to the Qur’an or while doing chores at work in the kitchen, etc. Insha Allah, as many people would vouch for it that such an act when consistently followed through is bound to go a long way in elevating ourselves spiritually. Moreover, in this way we will be transforming our physical exercise into a full exercise of body, mind and spirit. 

Let me further add: Listening to the Qur’an is an excellent idea to follow by those who are in the habit of jogging or walking as well. Thus they can use the time beneficially by listening to the Qur’an or engaging in dhikr. May Allah make us all among those who fill our waking hours with dhikr as much as possible so that we may be included at least among those about whom Allah the Exalted will say, take out from hellfire every single person who has celebrated My remembrance at least a single day of their lives-amen.

Q: Is it Halal to have intercourse with a husband who doesn’t pray? He always promises to do so. Also, he sometimes drinks, but Al-Hamdulillah he is not an addict. He promises he’ll quit as his wife is a good Muslim and tries to help him. His character is good but his only faults are these two matters: laziness in praying and drinking from time to time. What is Islam’s view on this?

A: There is no doubt that your husband is committing the most heinous sin by neglecting prayers. Prayer is indeed the most fundamental pillar of Islam after the Shahadah. These are our means of salvation as the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is reported to have said: “There is no guarantee of protection from the hell-fire for someone who does not pray.” 

It is therefore important to remind your husband to establish prayer and thus return to Islam faithfully. 

Drinking, as everyone knows, is the mother of all evils. Allah wants us to shun it totally for He says that this is the only way to prosper. 

Having said this, I must say that your husband is still considered a Muslim so long as he does not consider his sins as lawful and permissible. Committing a sin is one thing but considering them Halal is another issue. Therefore, since your husband does not fall in this category ( i.e. Kufr) he is still considered a Muslim but a sinful one. 

It is therefore permissible for you to be married to him and fulfill your conjugal duties to him. You are not permitted in Islam while remaining as his wife to refuse to have conjugal relations. By doing so, you will be guilty of driving him further into sin. So continue and advise your husband and persuade him to embrace Islam fully and wholeheartedly, and do not refuse to cohabit with him. 

May Allah inspire us with wisdom and piety.

Q: Is there an Islamic remedy for procrastination and laziness? 

A: The perfect remedy for procrastination is to nurture sound faith in the manner of the salaf al-salih (pious predecessors). Prior to Islam, they were a people without any sense of human achievement or performance, but once they were exposed to the empowering message of the Qur’an, they became energized and utterly transformed; they shook off their complacency and lethargy, and became peak performers and achievers. Whatever they touched was changed anew through their dynamic faith. The Qur’an spoke thus about their faith, “Is he –who was once dead and then We revived him (through the message of Islam) and thus We appointed for him a light whereby he walks among people– comparable to one who is steeped in darkness, never able to come out of it?” (al-Qur’an: 6: 122)

The remedy for fighting procrastination, therefore, is to nurture such dynamic faith. For a description of the full implications of this faith see the work of Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah entitled Kitab al-Iman (Book of Faith).

Coming to precise tips based on such a vision that one can readily apply in order to empower oneself and shake off the habit of procrastination, let us state the following:

1) Procrastination is a learned habit; habits are formed by repeated acts. So the best way to fight procrastination is to take immediate steps to do the thing one is postponing. So every time one is tempted to procrastinate, one must do whatever it takes to do just the opposite. It may be hard in the beginning, but by repeating it over and over, one learns to break the habit. This process must continue until one has learned the new habit and thus it becomes a second nature. 

2) As you rise in the morning put yourself in a positive mind set by counting the blessings of Allah thus emulating the beautiful example of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him), and praying to Allah to grant you a successful day full of blessings.

3) Try to start your work after Fajr for the Prophet (peace be upon him)prayed to Allah, “O Allah, bless my Ummah in their morning endeavors.” 

4) Turn to Allah in supplication and ask His help in fighting sloth, laziness and helplessness through the followingprayers(du’as): 
Allahumma innee a’dhu bika mina al-‘ajzi wa al-kasal wa al-jubun wa al-bukhl wa ghalabati al-dayni wa qahri al-rrijaal
(O Allah, I seek refuge in You from helplessness, sloth, cowardice, niggardliness, and burden of debts and domineering men.)


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