Ask a Muslim Scholar November 2018

Question: What do you do with papers that have prayers written on them that come in the mail (i.e. Ramadhan schedule, etc.) after you are done with them? Do you throw them away, or do you burn them?

Answer: Once we are done with papers or magazines with writings of Qur’anic verses or prayers or names of Allah, etc. we must not simply throw them or discard them as we would do with any other ordinary stuff; rather we must dispose them off in a respectable manner.

The ideal way of disposing such materials off is by shredding them and then trashing them. If that is not possible, then the next best thing to do is to trash them after cutting and slicing them into tiny pieces.

Burning is not recommended as it may be highly risky especially indoors. If, however, it is extremely safe to so, and, once done under strict supervision, there is no harm in burning them.

Question: Is visiting the graveyard on Eid-ul-Fitr considered Bid’ah or Sunnah?

Answer: Visiting graves is a great sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him; there is no fixed time limit for it, one is free to do so any time as long as it is done in good spirit while observing the requisite manners and etiquettes.

There is nothing in the authentic sources to state that it is a reprehensible innovation to visit the graveyard on Eidul fitr. It is natural for people to think of their beloved ones who have passed away on the days of celebration.

However, some scholars consider it undesirable for the simple reason that it might interfere with the celebration of Eid, lest it bring back memories of their loved ones in such a way that it interferes with the celebrations of Eid. There is no doubt that renewal of grief and mourning in such a way as to interfere with the spirit of celebration is undoubtedly undesirable, and must be avoided. If, however, that is not the case, then there is no harm in paying visit to the graves in order to renew one’s memory of them, and in order to offer prayers for them.

Question: My husband and I disagree about whether our daughters can play sports (ie on a team in public). One daughter just turned 11 and has not reached puberty the other is just 8. They both wear proper hijab and loose fitting clothing. My husband makes them wear abayas outside as well. I feel it should be okay for them to play sports so long as they wear loose & covered clothes & keep their hair covered (for the older daughter at least). My husband is completely against this. Our other practicing Muslim friends allow their daughters to play (covered properly) so my daughters feel left out even resentful. I am concerned that this is too restrictive in the US and I don’t want them to rebel in later years for what they are missing out on for what I believe is no good reason except “culture”. Please advise.

Answer: Your husband is looking at the strict side of religion, while you are looking at it from the practical aspect.
Both of you need to consider the future of your children in the society they are living and thus help them realize their full potential by keeping in mind the universal teachings of Islam. Mind you, Islam is not limited to a particular culture or place; rather it is for all times and places.

Your girls, like all others, need to have lawful outlets to express themselves as long as they are doing so within the acceptable Islamic guidelines. There is nothing in Islam preventing them from doing so.

A close reading of the sources reveal: women during the time of the Prophet, peace be upon him, actively participated in all areas of life; they were even present in the battlefield; while doing so they did not follow all of the stringent restrictions they normally followed. So we read in the sources that in the battlefield while A’ishah, the mother of the faithful, and Umm Sulaym were giving water to the wounded soldiers; they were lifting their long gowns a little–even to the extent of partially exposing their legs– by virtue of the necessity of their particular task.

Don’t take me wrong: I am not suggesting that your girls can take off their hijab for sports. But what I insist on saying is: hijab is the modest dress that covers the whole body excluding face and hands; it does not have to be abaayaas or long gowns. As long as they wear loose pants that are modest, neither transparent nor revealing the contours and shapes of their bodies, they can wear them. It is perfectly acceptable in Islam.

So my humble advice is: Your girls should be allowed to participate in sports with other girls wearing the modest attire as described above, and there is no need for them to wear abaayaas.

Question: Please answer sheik. I am a married man with children. I have feelings for another woman. Why do I have these feelings? Should I pursue this other woman as polygamy is allowed in Islam. Are my feelings for this other person from Allah as a sign that I should marry her. She seems to be a better match for me than my present wife. What does the Qur’an mean when it states that men may wish to replace one wife with the other..please advise.

Answer: You are not allowed to get carried by the inclination you feel towards another woman. If we were allowed to act in this way, then there won’t be any family life. So we need to bridle our passions and focus on works that are productive.

Although polygamy was allowed in Islam, it is not a general permission applicable for all times and places. The Qur’an has already set monogamy as the norm, and hence polygamy is an exception. Allah says, “If you fear that you cannot do justice, then you may marry only one.” Now it behooves us to consider the specific conditions of the modern age. Stresses of life now are so overwhelming that an ordinary individual can hardly rice to meet the challenges of doing justice towards more than one wife. We can never exaggerate the fact that family life involves heavy responsibilities. It demands undivided attention to care for one’s family and the children. Hence, given the conditions of the modern life, undoubtedly monogamy is the ideal to follow.

So, I urge you to curb this desire and be loyal to your wife.

We cannot take the Qur’anic verses out of context. The verse you have cited is applicable only when a person fails to resolve marital conflicts and therefore has no other option but to divorce his wife and marry another. That is not the case with you. If we were allowed divorce our wives every time we feel that there is a more beautiful one, then we would end up destroying the family life, and thus human civilization as we know would cease to exist.

Therefore, I urge you to curb your passions, take steps to put your marriage on the right track by being loyal to your wife and children, and focus on productive work.

Question: Are we allowed to donate organs in Islam?

Answer: Organ donation is permitted in Islam if it is done within the permissible limits prescribed by the Shari’ah.

The following are the conditions scholars have stipulated for donation:

Conditions associated with a living donor:
1. He/she must be a person who is in full possession of his/her faculties so that he/she is able to make a sound decision by himself/herself;
2. He/she must be an adult and, preferably, at least twenty-one years old;
3. It should be done on his/her own free will without any external pressure exerted on him/ her;
4. The organ he/she is donating must not be a vital organ on which his/her survival or sound health is dependent upon;
5. No transplantation of sexual organs is allowed.

Conditions associated with donors who are deceased:
1. It must be done after having ascertained the free consent of the donor prior to
his /her death. It can be through a will to that effect, or signing the donor card, etc.
2. In a case where organ donation consent was not given prior to a donor’s death, the consent may be granted by the deceased’s closest relatives who are in a position to make such decisions on his/her behalf.
3. It must be an organ or tissue that is medically determined to be able to save the life or maintain the quality of life of another human being.
4. The organ must be removed only from the deceased person after the death has been ascertained through reliable medical procedures.
5. Organs can also be harvested from the victims of traffic accidents if their identities are unknown, but it must be done only following the valid decree of a judge.

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