Ask a Muslim Scholar September 2018

Q: Is it ok if I memorize the Quran using a transliteration?

A: It is not at all advisable or recommended to memorize the Qur’an by simply relying on transliteration; it may even be wrong to do so, since it may condition oneself to making major mistakes in reading/pronunciations and thus one may end up distorting the noble Qur’an.

The Qur’an properly should be learned from the mouth of a qualified teacher. In the event of someone not being readily available, the next best thing to do is to buy a taped recitation of a well known Qaari (reciter) and follow his recitation for practice.
In the modern world, since there are numerous teaching aids are available in the form of videos or cassettes or computer software, there is no excuse for people for relying on transliteration. Remember, once we condition ourselves in reading the wrong way, it would be very hard to unlearn it.

Therefore, we might as well begin it right. Although a little hard in the beginning, practice, InshaAllah, will make it perfect. The Prophet, peace be upon him, assured us that when a person tries hard to learn the Qur’an, he receives great rewards. Allah says, “Verily, with every hardship comes ease!” (Q.94: 5).


Q: I sent out a greetings card to all my contacts in my mailing list with generic greetings which read as follows HAPPY HOLIDAYS MERRY CHRISTMAS WE WISH EVERYONE A HEALTHY HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS new year. The question is someone has accused me of being a KAFIR to send this type of email??? Is this accusation correct?

A: Muslims are to greet others as we would like them to greet us. The generic Islamic greeting is to wish for peace, which in Arabic is: assalaamu alaikum. We are told this is the greeting that Allah taught Adam: He was told to greet with it the angels first; he was also told, “This is the formula of greeting for you and your offspring.”

Having said this, there is no harm in using the standard greeting that are common to people. If you are greeting Christians you may wish them Happy or Merry Christmas. This does not in any way mean that you are adhering to the specific Christian dogmas of trinity, crucifixion, etc., unless you definitely intend it. We are not to project onto words meanings that are not commonly understood by them. Just as Christians greet Muslims happy ‘E’id, we can definitely greet Christians merry Christmas. Islam is all about reciprocating kindness with kindness. The Qur’anic mandate for Muslims is clear:

“But when you are greeted with a greeting [of peace], answer with an even better greeting, or [at least] with the like thereof. Verily, Allah keeps count indeed of all things.” (Qur’an: 4; 86).

Now coming to your sending the greeting card as described, if you have sent these cards to the Christians, there is nothing wrong, or undesirable about it; but if you had sent them to everyone, it would have been better for you to wish them Happy Holidays, or Happy New Year, etc., which would be appreciated by all.

But to allege that because of your simple mistake in this gesture of goodwill, you will go out of the fold of Islam is indeed a grave error. We are not allowed in Islam to put out people from faith because of such unintended mistakes/errors. As Imam Abu Hanifah and others said, people go out of the fold of  Islam either by denouncing it or by denying its obvious fundamentals. The Islamic creedal statement reads, “We do not arrogate to ourselves the right to declare anyone who prays towards the qiblah (i.e. Ka’bah) as an infidel.”

I pray to Allah to purge our hearts off ill-feeling and rancour, and implant tolerance and love for one another–aameen.


Q: I have lost my will to live but I know I don’t have the right to take away my life. So what do I live for? I want nothing I have no purpose no desire. What should I do?

A: I really empathize with your situation.  It is all too easy for all of us to fall into a state of despair when we face hardships in life. However, instead of giving up hope and resigning ourselves to despondency, we have another choice: to mobilize the resources of our faith and summon courage and patience in face of the trials of this life. Allah tells us in the Qur’an, “O My servants who have wronged their souls, do not despair of Allah’s mercy, for Allah forgives all sins. He truly is the Forgiving and the Merciful. Turn towards your Lord and surrender to Him before the punishment overwhelms you, for then you will have no one to help you.” (Qur’an: 39: 53).

So in face of your trials, you need to turn to the Qur’an for comfort and solace at all times, for it is the true source of healing and mercy. I urge you to read surah yusuf. As our pious elders have said, reading surah yasin is bound to soothe the hearts of the grieving and bring joy to the distressed. You should also comfort yourself by thinking of the transient nature of this life and look towards the hereafter which alone is the abode free from toil and strife.

The following tradition of the Prophet is worthy of pondering: On the day of judgment, Allah will summon a person who had the best of times in this world. After dipping him for an instant in the hell, Allah will ask him, ‘son of Adam, have you experienced any joy in your life before?’, he would reply, ‘never! For his experience of the hell made him forget all the joys he had known.  Later, Allah will produce another man, who had only endured pain and suffering. After exposing him for an instant to the blissful experience of heaven, his Lord will ask him, ‘son of Adam, did you experience any suffering in your life?’, the man will reply, ‘never have I!” For his instant exposure to the bliss of paradise made him forget all the suffering he had ever endured!

So never fail to turn to Allah through regular prayer. The Prophet described prayer as an oasis bringing joy to his heart. Also, supplicate to Allah to remove your feeling grief, despair and despondency and replace them with joy and peace:

Allaahumma ij’ali al-Quran al-azheema rabee qalbee wa noora sadree wa jalaa huznee wa dhahaaba hammee

(O Allah, render the great Qur’an for me the spring of my heart, light of my chest, and the remover of my grief and worry.)

allaahumma rahmataka arjoo falaa takilnee ilaa nafsee tarfata a’ynin

(O Allah, I beg for your mercy; have mercy on me, and do not abandon me to my own devices even for an instant.)


Q: What is the Islamic ruling regarding in-vitro fertilization? We have not been able to conceive a child for the last years and neither of us have a serious medical condition

A: It is permissible for your wife to resort to in-vitro fertilization to conceive a child– provided the sperm and egg involved in the process have been extracted from both of you while you are still married and alive, and not from a third party.

To desire to have an offspring is a genuine human instinct. Islam is a natural religion which takes in to account all of the legitimate human instincts, and therefore it considers the desire to have a righteous offspring as a commendable one. The Qur’an tells us that the Messengers of Allah, who are the true role models of humanity, desired for the gift of righteous offspring and prayed to Him for the same. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, also taught us to pray to Allah thus, “O Allah! I ask of You to grant me the best of what You grant Your righteous servants: blessed offspring and wealth.”

It is no wonder then that Islam considers procreation as one of the stated objectives of marriage in Islam if, when and where possible. It is therefore lawful on your part as married couple to resort to all lawful treatments and therapies which may facilitate this. In-vitro fertilization is one of such methods; scholars who have deliberated on such issues, have ruled that resorting to it for conception is permissible so long it is done within the permissible boundaries.

The strict stipulations for the permissibility of in-vitro fertilization include the following: Both the sperm and egg involved in the procedure must be extracted from married couple solely for themselves. In other words, it is not permissible if, for instance, either the sperm or egg is taken from a third party or from them for the benefit of a third party, for both these procedures entail the grave sin of mixing the lineage and tampering with it, which is considered as akin to adultery. Likewise, it is forbidden if both the sperm and egg were taken from couple who were married once, but were divorced at the time of extraction and conception. The last case also involves procreation out of wedlock.

Therefore, as long as the above safeguards are taken, there is nothing unlawful about using the method of in-vitro fertilization in order to conceive a child. This has been the standard ruling adopted by various Fiqh councils in the modern world. Scholars have arrived at such a decision following due considerations of the evidences of the Shari’ah in this respect.

For further details, you are advised to refer to answer to question (#99) on this site.


Q: I have been talking to a guy for more than 3 years and next year January we planned to get married. But last month he told me that he wants to have more than one wife when he is able to financially and physically. He wants me to be okay with that before we marry. But I rejected his offer because I know how much of a jealous person I am. Now he is saying I am not encouraging him to follow sunnah from the messenger(PBUH) and that I am going away from sunnah. I don’t know what to do. Please clarify this matter.

A: Marrying more than one wife is not one of the essentials of religion; it is only an exception given to those in special circumstances. He is wrong in comparing himself with the Prophet (peace be upon him).

A Muslim can lead an ideal Islamic life while practicing monogamy. To say that one is compromising the ideal by being married to a single wife is incorrect, for Allah already told us, if you cannot do justice, then you are allowed to marry only one.

Now let us ask ourselves the question: In modern industrialized societies, with all the stresses of work and life, who can do justice to more than one wife and kids from them? My own experience as an imam and counselor for over three decades tells me that most men find themselves unable to balance their work and family life even with one wife and children.

Therefore, it is my conviction that only a person who has not experienced marriage and family life would dare to think in such simplistic terms.  Marriage is not all about sexual fulfillment; it is laying the foundation for a healthy family and nurturing future generations.

Furthermore, Islam teaches us to abide by the laws of the land; the laws of Canada do not allow us to marry more than one.

If he still insists on this condition, you are best advised to leave him.


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