Note: This is not meant to be a generalization about Muslim women, if it applies to you then take benefit, if it does not then use it to assist others who it might apply to, but do not take offence as that is not my intention. I debated with myself for many months on whether to write about this topic or not. It is a controversial issue and many people might misunderstand the article. Nonetheless, recent developments in the lives of some Shuyukh that I know personally made me realize the importance of writing about this topic.

When I first began studying Islam and getting involved in Islamic work, one of the major motivators for me was that this field would keep me away from the fitnah of the opposite gender. For every young man and woman, one of the greatest trials we face is dealing with members of the opposite gender without falling into sin. Originally, and it was naive of me, I thought Islamic work would put me in a position in which I would not have to deal with these situations. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

There is a trend among contemporary, practicing Muslims which I find rather disturbing, this trend is what I call a “Shaykhy Crush”. I have noticed at many Islamic events, from classes to conferences, practicing Muslim women who follow the Deen in dress and Ibadah, developing crushes and falling in love with the speakers and teachers. This has led to many dangerous scenarios.

The following are a few real life examples I have encountered:

1) At an Islamic course, some sisters were discussing how handsome the Shaykh is. When an elderly sister told them not to talk about him like that as he is married, they responded, “So what? We can still marry him,” and continued their discussion.

2) At an Islamic conference, many sisters were not discussing the content of the lectures but how beautiful the imam sounded with his gorgeous French accent, or how “handsome and sweet” another Shaykh's smile was. “It melts my heart” were words I heard.

3) Recently, a Shaykh took a second wife, this triggered a discussion online between sisters who admitted they were “going gaga” over him and wished they were his second wife.

4) A sister recently told a Shaykh that she is no longer satisfied with her husband as she is only attracted to students of knowledge now. A married sister told her teacher that she is unsatisfied with her husband and had a dream that she was married to him.

5) A Shaykh deleted his Facebook account because married women on Facebook were claiming to have fallen in love with him.

These are just few of many such incidents that I have encountered in this field. As to what is the cause of this, Allah knows best. Perhaps some of our sisters can shed some light on this for us in the comments section. It could be that studying Islam has been glamorized and students of knowledge are treated like celebrities or it could be that some Shuyukh unintentionally do things that attract women. Many times these feelings may be natural as Muslim women may see an ideal man in a married teacher of knowledge but acting upon this feelings is unwise. Furthermore, social engineering promoted by sites like Facebook makes behavior, like comments, that would never be acceptable face to face, seem normal. We have to remember that there is still a human behind that wall with a family. I do not know the exact causes but this is definitely a growing problem in Western countries.

The problems that arise from this situation are multiple; here are some of the major issues:

1) Corruption of a student of knowledge's intentions. We, students, are human and love women just as much as the next man (I'm going to get in trouble for saying that), so when we are trying to teach Islam and keep ourselves and our thoughts chaste, the female fans don't make it easy for us. I noticed many students of knowledge starting to dress smarter and act differently when they realize they have the attention of the single sisters and there is a major chance that this can affect their intention of teaching for the sake of Allah.

2) Too many single sisters want to marry a Shaykh, and some begin to consider polygamy. The problem here is that the Shaykh might not be interested in such a relationship, and in an extreme case or two, a Shaykh rejecting such a notion has led to jealousy and harassment of the Shaykh and his wife.

3) Married sisters begin to develop crushes on their teachers and start to compare their husbands to the teacher, which leads to dissatisfaction in their marriage and eventually marital conflicts.

4) Sometimes the Shaykh and his wife have a happy marital life until a sister (or two) ask him if he wants a second wife, without considering his current wife's feelings. This can cause problems between the Shaykh and his wife, as well as jealousy and could lead to the breakdown of a once-happy marriage.

5) There is always the potential danger of Zina, even with students of knowledge especially if the attraction is mutual.

These are just some of the negative consequences of this trend. I would like to conclude with some advice for both the sisters and the Shaykhs.

Advice to sisters who are seeking knowledge:

1) Lower your gaze: Remember that he is your teacher, a man of Islamic knowledge and a married man too. So look at him with respect, not desire.

2) Purify your intentions: When attending a lecture, make a sincere intention to learn and benefit from the teacher for the sake of Allah, and do not attend just because Shaykh Yusuf is teaching and you love the sound of his voice. I do not want to discourage any sister from seeking knowledge, just gently reminding them of Shaytan's plot.

3) Walk in her shoes: Think about his wife and her feelings and do not say or do anything that could cause a problem in their marriage.

4) Choose a husband realistically: Not every woman can marry a Shaykh, so focus on finding a good Muslim man who will care for you and do not compare him to the Shuyukh. Find a good guy and thank Allah for allowing you to marry him and appreciate his efforts to please you.

5) Modesty is key: Remember that talking about how handsome the Shaykh is against haya and not befitting students of knowledge to discuss their teacher in such a manner with each other.

Advice to young Shuyukh in dealing with this Fitnah:

1) Lower Your Gaze: Do not look at the sisters in the audience too much. Focus your gaze on the men in your audience. If there is a sister who attracts you or you know is attracted to you, do not look at her at all (without being rude or disrespectful).

2) Purify Your Intention: Always remember that you are teaching for the sake of Allah and not to attract a female fan club so behave appropriately and modestly.

3) Avoid any unnecessary interaction with women. Do not keep single sisters on your instant messenger contact list, or talk to them for hours on the phone, and if they catch you in the hallway to ask a question, keep it brief, polite and to the point.

4) Think about your wife: Anytime you are attracted to a student of yours, think about your wife and everything she does for you. Think about her sacrifices and this will fill you with guilt for even feeling such attraction to another woman.

5) Dress up better for your wife than others: It should not be such that whenever you go out to teach a class, you are dressed in your best thowb with your best Itr, while at home you do not bother looking (or smelling good) for your wife. Remember the example of Ibn Abbas and deal with your wife accordingly.

6) Get married: If you are serious about polygamy, do it the right way so that people do not gossip or spread rumors about you and you avoid breaking any sister's heart.

I hope these tips help us all to remain firm on the straight path. Remember the devils spend more time trying to mislead those who are walking the righteous path and so we need to be careful of these pitfalls of Shaytaan in which he tries to use our good deeds (teaching, studying) to lead us to commit sins.

Anything good I have said is from Allah, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of fitnah.

569 Responses

  1. BintKhalil

    Assalamu alaikum

    It could be that studying Islam has been glamorized and students of knowledge are treated like celebrities

    I think this, right here is key. The celebritydom that is being built around rockstar shuyukh has many ill repercussions, and the wavering of intentions might be the least serious of them.

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    • Imrana

      I was a sister who didn’t know I was in love with a student of knowledge. After I married I was upset that i did not like my marriage, I just finished my divorce. I read this and over night I thought hard and come to feel that the reason is that i fell in love with a student of knowledge. The reality is the younger ones don’t help us women! They give us love and they sometimes give us the ‘eye’ first. I vow now never to look another lecturer in the eye. It takes a broken marriage to realize. This should be read by all women and lecturers.

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      • Muslimah

        Subhan Allaah sister.. may Allaah ease your pain..

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    • A

      I totally agree with this comment. you can see how crazy the world is about celebritties and muslims are no different after all they are human beings as well.
      This is why nasheed singers and shaiks are being glamorised aas well.
      Also, what I find now there is a constant competition of which sheikh you follow, how many courses you go to. Which then makes people obsess after a shaikh or two.
      Where are the good old days when you coulg get cds and books. If you do go to courses then have it complted segregated so that women cannot see the sheikh.
      It’s not just women who are fault but the every single muslim who promotes the glamour of these courses!!

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      • Ayah

        Asalamu alaikum

        I agree about having the teacher separate from the sisters. We are dealing with men and women here. Separate but equal will keep our minds on the studies at hand and will be less likely to lead to other thoughts.

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      • Sumi

        i think its not a matter of segregation and it doesn’t require that the sisters are in a separate room where they can’t see the lecturer/sheikh or teacher!!..because its already segregated if you go to a proper lecture!!…but its a matter of Taqwa and fear of Allaah the Most High…the All Hearing All Seeing! And coming in the first place with the right intention..i mean we are all accountable for our actions in front of Allaah Ta’ala so we should fear the Day we’ll meet Him “Glory be to Him, and highly exalted is He above what they ascribe (to Him)”!!

        and we need to remember here the fundamental solution to these problems is lowering the gaze and Allaah Ta’ala addressed first the believing men to lower their gaze and then He Ta’ala ordered the believing women to lower their gaze…and am sure if this was observed we wouldn’t be discussing these strange situations!

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    • waheed rasheed

      In every matter of our deen there is a tribulation. For example If we get serious about our deen and start praying,fasting etc…satan/nafs can mix it up with arrogance and vanity. You will see yourself as better than others. The same applies to seeking knowledge, and the burden is more on the Shaykhs as they need to hold higher standards for themselves and if they cannot, they must seek solitude and annonimity just like Imam Ghazzali(RA).
      It is also important to focus more on purification of the nafs as the most importnat science to be tought. This science has been proven and will address this issue for both the student and the teacher.
      In this day and age when the outward is all that matters, and the youth and pounded with images edging towards pornography, it is very hard to claim immunity. The eye is the greatest fitna.
      There also needs to have support groups for grils to discuss these issues in complete confidentiality and help them get over such crushes and purify thier souls.
      I don’t think the situation is avoidable, but needs to be addressed in the most appropriate way.
      Waheed.

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    • Ashique Khan

      Assalaamualikum, sister. I just wanted to point out the fact that back in the  centuries close to Salaf, the Shuyukh were the real celebrities. People really cared for the knowledge of Deen and looked up to and followed the Shuyukh, just like today’s people follow misguidance (e.g., rock and movie starts). I am sure, the Shuyukh (and the pupils) then had the same struggle. Our Shuyukh, their appearance and words, remind us of Allah. Alhumdulillah, we, who are trying to learn the Deen, do really love our Shuyukh with our heart and it is important. Not only it helps our learning immensely (we follow whom we love), but also it is for the sake of Allah. We just have to strive to keep our intention clear and actions appropriate, that all that we are doing is to please Allah and within the rules He set. MashaAllah, this article is a great wake-up call to us all. But, I do believe that our Shuyukh are the true celebrities, and should be treated that way, within Allah’s rules.

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      • Ashique Khan

         I was replying to the 1st comment by BintKhalil.

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  2. Zamzam Bayian

    Do you think that sheiks and students of knowledge are angels , and not human beings?
    They are humans. As long as they live they will face trials.
    The important thing is that we all do our best to purify our intentions after asking Allah for help.

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  3. Tariq Nisar Ahmed

    I think this article is going to get a lot of likes, shares, tweets, crawls, etc. It will be good if people realize that the problem and the solutions apply not just to shuyukh and female students of knowledge, but also to daaees, and frankly to people generally.

    After all, interactions between nonmehrams will always need to be scrutinized. And the pursuit or lack of marital fulfillment are human problems. Failing to avert the gaze as well as failing to be modest oneself — very much human problems and very much problems facing modern society.

    I think the article and all of us would benefit a lot from contemplating the example of the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam, and the Khulufaa Rashidun. Not just in how they interacted with female constituents, etc., but also how they cultivated strong marriages while serving the ummah in literally the best possible way.

    And Allah Knows best.

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  4. Uni

    I totally agree and respect what the writer has written in this post. I, being a sister myself has found myself wishing something on the lines of “Oh I wish the person I get married to is someone like Brother XYZ” (based on knowledge and how much I would benefit from that knowledge). But even if I had this kind of thought process, it would be idiotic to go and actually ACT upon it.

    Furthermore, if I go to a lecture with this thought process as my MAIN thought, then I have corrupted the intention very nicely. So now, it’s not about Allah’s Pleasure, but it’s about mine.

    Reasons?
    Glamorization of the events, the lectures, Facebook Likes, comments etc.

    JazakAllah.

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    • Muslimah

      So true.. The glamorization of the lectures has A LOT to do with how people start perceiving things there

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  5. Abu Samaiyah

    Interesting, but I dont really think this is a big issue. Not many women get a chance to get close to the lecturer at a conference or event. However, the bigger problem lies with the volunteers at the events. I have been to a few Al-Maghrib courses. I have noticed that many people are always acting differenyl because they know there are single ladies right beside them. I saw a good brother masha Allah who was very active in these events speak with a female volunteer. I was standing with my children and wife looking in the direction that these two volunteers were talking. I cold see that she was interested in him. I remember thinking to myself, subhanallaah these eevnts dont do enough to segregate te men and women. I was goin towards the men section to take my wife to ladies section. When I droped off my wife with the kids, I noticed all the makeup on the ladies. I quickly walked away t some friends. Also, I have noticed that some people do dress differently when theyb notice the ladies are watching, but its the volunteers and attendees at the Al-Maghrib courses, not the lecturers. Granted not all are like this, but you if go to class next time and pay attention, its like everyine is gostling to get married.

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    • shahgul

      We will segregate Al-Maghrib (which is already segregated), but how will we segregate the school these kids go to and see their classmates making out? It is a good thing that like minded Muslim men and women meet people like themselves at Al-Maghrib and get married. If the boy and girl who were talking to each other at Al-Maghrib were considering marriage, Al-Maghrib was an ideal place to meet. They were not alone, and they were not able to do anything haram, and yet were able to talk to each other and find out if they were suitable for marriage or not.
      Let us not delude ourselves by thinking that these US brought up young ones will marry someone they have never talked to.
      When did wanting to get married become a bad thing? Instead of blaming the kids why don’t we look at where society went wrong. Why have we made getting married so difficult? Why are we even having these discussions when we know that NOT BEING ABLE TO MARRY IS THE ROOT CAUSE OF THIS FITNA.

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      • Abu Ilyaas

        Among some etiquettes of seeking marriage are that the guardian of the female should be fully aware of any male seeking approval; any discussion between a young man and woman, should be supervised by a third person – in the case of marriage, a wali – and discussions between non-mahram men and woman should be kept professional, to the point and polite.
        There are clear and basic guidelines. for inter-gender interactions.

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      • mszn85

        Abu Ilyas,

        Have you ever considered that this may have been the only forum for those two people to communicate with each??? Maybe the only place where they have even met each other and realise they may share the same general interests?? Therefore, the two having a conversation could have happened rather spontaneously, on the spur of the moment. Or lets put it another way, after meeting each other, how is the brother/sister supposed to contact the other without atleast getting some basic contact details with which they can contact family/relatives without speaking to them?

        It’s no surprise that young Muslims may want to communicate with others who are ‘like-minded’ and also attend events, seeking knowledge. Where else are they supposed to find a life partner when they are a minority in the western countries they live in. Lets not make life anymore difficult for them than it already is. Taking into account certain etiquettes, If they talk to someone in a public place, full of people, they should be able to converse. As you say, professional, to the point and polite. If they find someone whom they believe to be a potential candidate for them and then pursue this through their family, then we should be supportive of them.

        I agree partly with Shahgul, not being able to marry is the root cause of many ills.

        Allah knows best

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      • sidney

        Its OK for unmarried men and women to try find life partners in religious classes, these are good places blessed by angels. I mean we are not expecting our sisters to find marriage partner in a nightclub or disco are we ????

        Most likely muslim sisters either find suitable marriage partners through introductions by family and friends at work place or family gatherings or religious classes, mosques and so on. No problem. I mean if a sister get a marriage partner in mosque or religious class, that is a most blessed thing. and it may not be the sheikh but could be other religious minded brothers attending the class.

        So dont criticize sisters wishing to find marriage partners in a mosque. Sorry to say I find some of the views by our muslim brothers and sisters here rather warped, and in fact not really islamic or realistic. You can go to mosque with intention of seeking knowledge and suitable marriage at the same time, Its not a sin, not wrong. all sisters must try to find suitable marraige partner and in fact mosques and religious classes the best places to find like minded suitors. especially in the era HIV and AIDS are spreading like fire.

        The important thing is not to transgress, cross the boundary and we all know what that boundary is : not to be all alone together and commiting khalwat or zinah. the punishment for zinah which is proven, let me remind all, is stoning to death for married man and woman, but for non married, is a hundred ;lashes or so. So know the law and dont transgress the boundary, thats all. if you like the sister, just marry her to avoid any sin, if you dont like, you have the right to reject any marriage proposal. and for the wives of shaikhs, they should emulate the wives of the prophet and stop complaining because polygamy is allowed by Allah.

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      • Abu Samaiyah

        Allah azza wa Jall does not say do not commit zina rather he says dont go near zina. I cant rememeber the exact name of the person in this story, however it goes something like this. There was a man knwon for his righteousness. Two brothers had asked him to watch over their sister while they are away. This righteous man never went into the house of the woman, he brought her what she needed and left. The over time the shaytaan came to him and each time made him go closer to the woman. Eventually they spoke to each while inside the room, and then committed zina. After that, the man found out that the woman was pregnant. So he killed her. When the two men came back they asked about their sister adn the righteous man repsonsed with some form of an answer. The shaytaan went to the two brothers in a dream and informed them of what happened. And so forth.

        I am sorry I dont remember the exact details of the story, however, I hope you get my point. So you claim that this is the best way for people to find marriage partners. Well I disagree. I remember a story I heard from an Al-Maghrib instructor who said that two respected religiously committed Muslims were involved in the MSA on campus. They worked with each other and eventually they started a relationship to the point that they committed zina and the lady had a baby. The guy didnt be a man and take care of them but rather abandoned them. the shaytaan can come to anyone and make the impossible possible.

        Dont be fooled by your claims that this is the best way to find marriage partners. The best wesy as mentioned is through the family. That way you will find people who are liked minded. Trying to find a wife at Al-Magjrib or MSA events will only lead to problems.

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      • Your sis

        Having people find spouses through family is a pretty unrealistic solution these days. Most often, our parents have either grown up in a completely different society and culture than us and other times, our parents are not even Muslim. All of this will affect what they are searching for in their child’s mate, but their children may actually have different criteria. My parents, for example, are not particularly religious, thus they do not put as heavy an emphasis on deen as I do. And the opposite it is true as well.

        I don’t see why there is anything wrong with people trying to find mates in an MSA, at lectures or conferences. These are the main outlets we have nowadays to search for spouses, and they have in fact proven to be successful outlets multiple times. As long as things are conducted in a respectful matter, what’s really the problem? Sure, there have been incidents where people have fell into haram, but what makes you think the same couldn’t occur if the families were involved or had found a suitor for their son/daughter?

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      • ibn Insaan

        May Allah guide us all, and have rahma on our souls!

        We need to be truthful to ourselves: Which is more likely to lead to haram:

        a- the set up that has been the main practise of Muslims for centuries, with families looking for their daughter with her instructions – and no exchange of private messages/txts/secret mobile chats between the suitors and the girls

        or

        b- a style adopted after compromise due to being in a predomiant hollywood/hypersexualized/ and non-Muslim culture?

        the second is for most intents and purposes a free for all, with each person being allowed to essentially look at anyone, on the basis that they could be a potential suitor

        We need to be honest about this inshallah, so we can all get to Jannah together.

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      • Syeeda

        With the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

        As salaam alaikum wa rahmatullah My dear Brothers and Sisters,

        Regarding the proper vs practical procedure of finding a spouse, I believe all the preceding viewpoints can be implemented. Firstly, our deen comes from the Quran and the Sunnah, and we are allowed to use modern means that do not interfere/contradict those two things. I believe meeting/finding a suitable match at an Islamic is event is perfectly fine, but we must also remember to beware of the bounds set by Allaah (Azza wa Jal) while implementing the sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sal Allaahu alaihi wa salam).
        Scenario:
        You see a sister/brother you find attracted [due to whatever reason, preferably deen ]. You find someone to ascertain their/their wali’s contact info. Sisters will then have that information given to their wali/wakil. At a later time (or even at that event) the male and the wakil will then begin to have discussion with the sister. This is all halal, and chaperoned, but still happened in a pragmatic way.

        Islam is so beautiful and comprehensive. There is no situation in life that the Shariah or the Sunnah will not be able to address once we have internalized it and realize it is “a modern-day remedy.”
        I love you all for the sake of Allaah. May we all continue to strive for His ta’ala pleasure, and always work to purify our hearts and deeds.

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      • sidney

        But if what you say is right, why did the honourable Khadijah approach the Prophet for marriage first, Khadidah proposed marriage to Rasullulah right, not the other way round? She must have had the chance to know him or hear of his good character, if I understand correctly, he helped her do some business transactions in his youth, Khadijah was impressed with him. she got to know his good character and she proposed to him, I think sent a representative to propose….and the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, accepted her proposal and she became his most beloved wife !! The Prophet is far advanced of his time, he did not laugh or make fun of Khadidah for her being so bold as to propose to him, a much young man ! But today, in our Islamic world, this would have been criticised for the following reasons (1) how can a woman be so powerful? businesswoman, a boss ! (2) how can a woman have the opportunity to know a man character if you are not supposed to know any man, you must be separated from the world of man, the world of business ! (3) how can a woman have the boldness to propose to a man (4) how can an older woman marry a young man, that’s impossible !
        See, these are all the warped and backward mentality of our Muslim brothers and sisters today. The Quran said time and again God does not like transgressors, those who go over the boundaries, thats all. But Muslims today should not bring their paganistic and pre-islamic culture into Islam, because you may not realise it, but all this is damaging for the religion, why dont they just get rid of all these cultural baggages. Anyway you are supposed to follow the Prophet’s example. But few people today want to mention about the Prophet and Khadijah because its too liberal-minded for them to accept. But as for sisters want to marry sheikh, its not wrong either, but is it realistic? If a sheikh knows his religion, he should know he must provide for all his wives equally and not just letting the woman work, but a sheikh is just doing dakwah usually, he’s not a businessman, he’s not rich. How can a Sheikh be rich. and by the way, its actually wrong for a sheikh to accept money for teaching the Quran, if we go by the pure deen of Islam. so it would be strange for a sheikh to be so rich as to own several houses and can marry several wives, if he received donation, a good sheikh would be redistributing it for the poor, not for himself or his family to become richer. In fact in today”s modern world, where we live in cities, not in deserts, so even though I support polygamy, it is not realistic for a sheikh to have many wives, if you are a businessman, maybe yes, you can. So I hope the sisters who dream of marrying sheiks, please understand this reality that most likely a sheikh (religious teacher) is not rich enough to practise polygamy and its not fair for the sheikh to let u work to support yourself, he would be a cripple in Heaven later !
        Now for the wives who find themselves falling in love with sheikhs, I advise you to stop attending the religious class where the sheikh is teaching because its clear that the class is bringing more harm than good for these wives, and its a betrayal to their husbands. so even tho seeking knowledge in a mosque is good, but if it brings harm, then it should be avoided, there are other ways of seeking knowldge, through husband attending the lecture instead and informing the wife later, or reading books etc on Islam. Dont let satan destroy your good intentions and deeds.

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      • Stacey

        Khadijah approached the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasalaam) for marriage before there were any rules or regulations sent down regarding the methodology of approaching someone so no matter what her methodology was – it’s a moot point because we have been given a clear one which came after the time when she proposed.

        Similarly, she passed away before prayer became obligatory so she didn’t pray either but that isn’t an excuse for you an me not to pray! She had a valid reason she lived properly within the standards and regulations of her day and time.

        She also passed away before the ayaat about hijab were revealed but this doesn’t mean that we follow her example in not maintaining hijab (nor do we criticize her because again she lived properly based on the knowledge that had been revealed in her lifetime but there was much more passed along to us after her demise that we have to take into account.)

        People try to use her as a reason to be a certain way but the reality is that there was A LOT of revelation that came after she passed away and that you see implemented by the other wives of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasalaam) and pointing this out is NOT pointing out a flaw in Khadijah rather it is pointing out a flawed mentality many people (especially women) have in their understanding of the order of events and how they affect the behaviors of the wives and companions and so forth.

        Another obvious example is that of alcohol (intoxicants). Some companions drank it before there was a prohibition on it revealed by Allah. None of us would look at those who drank it before the prohibition was set forth and assume that because they drank it in their lifetime that it is all of a sudden permissible! We recognize that they weren’t doing wrong when they drank it because there was no revelation regarding it in that time and that when one came, the majority of people gave it up and so we see the progress towards the completion of the religion.

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      • Olivia

        Actually,I think the root cause of this problem is being emotionally and sexually frustrated–Period. People get married and then their marriages start to wax and wane and they being longing for something to fulfill what their marriage isn’t.

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    • osman

      Yeah, i was at an AlMaghrib marriage class, and the speaker made one brother and one sister stand up and play a “game” with each other, i.e., one would say the word that immediately comes to mind in response to the other’s word.

      IMO, these “Islamic” classes, lectures, events, etc., are just becoming a way to fulfill the desires of the nafs under an “Islamic” pretext.

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      • Dean

        …under an “Islamic” pretext.

        I agree.

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      • Brother

        Yeah, i was at an AlMaghrib marriage class, and the speaker made one brother and one sister stand up and play a “game” with each other, i.e., one would say the word that immediately comes to mind in response to the other’s word.

        This is very disturbing brother, maybe you should have advised the speaker in private about this. I have seen such things happen at MSA meetings, but those who were running the show were kids themselves. It is a whole different story when you have the shaykh giving a seminar do that type of thing. Very scary indeed, may Allah protect us from the fitan.

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      • Mariam

        I think it is very distrpectful of persons to mention institutions by name when they are speaking distastefully about them.

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      • Brother

        I don’t think it was disrespectful. The brother was just mentioning an incident which happened with him. Perhaps mentioning the name of the institution might get the brothers and sisters who are running it to address such issues.

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      • osman

        Hm, I agree with you, insha’Allah i won’t do so in the future.

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      • Sumi

        what???? Al-Maghreb?? are you sure??….Astaqfirullaaha wa atubu ilayh!!!!..what class was this exactly and what year/date???and if possible by WHO???…cause i did watch the one by our respectable sheikh Yasir Birja!! and the rules were very clear and everyone was reminded to maintain Hayah (modesty/shyness etc) i mean even the very modern marriage course would never do such a thing…so i don’t know where your claim is coming from!!…but Allaaaha Al-Musta’aan!!

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    • Tricia

      “I cold see that she was interested in him.”

      This by itself is speculation and your own assumption. islamically this is not enough to base anything on.

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  6. Zamzam Bayian

    Generally speaking, a married man or woman won’t try to build relationship out of wedlock except if there is a missed thing in his/her marriage relationship. Therefore, they may try to build a new relationship instead of finding the missed thing in their marriage.
    Another thing is that many (notice that I say many not all) sheiks and students of knowledge isolate themselves and focus only on seeking and spreading knowledge. They do not have knowledge about matters in this world such as relationship, politics…etc. When they face temptation from the opposite sex, they become confused, and may easily fall preys to the temptation.

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    • Abu Ilyaas

      Another thing is that many (notice that I say many not all) sheiks and students of knowledge isolate themselves and focus only on seeking and spreading knowledge. They do not have knowledge about matters in this world such as relationship, politics…etc. When they face temptation from the opposite sex, they become confused, and may easily fall preys to the temptation.”

      Aren’t parts of seeking knowledge in politics, seeking relationships and manner?

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    • Stacey

      I don’t think someone has to be unhappy with their marriage or missing something to ruin it with an extramarital relationship. The Shaytaan is there specifically to cause discord and make you think you are not satisfied with your spouse or to point out his or her flaws and to encourage comparisons which is one of the main reasons that it’s advisable to avoid the opposite gender as much as possible.

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  7. Joseph Cinque

    Edited Our political and financial institutions aren’t the only social institutions that have become corrupt.

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  8. FS

    Okay, seriously now. The sahaba would learn from rasool Allah and teach their women in their homes. And I think we need to stick to that sunnah.

    Sisters, you know it was coming all along..

    STAY AT HOME! Learn from your husbands what was covered by the Shaykh. And if you dont’ have a husband, learn from the Sheikh’s wife.. but leave the shuyook alone..

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    • Amad

      Are you trying to incite a female riot here? :)
      Stay at home, don’t learn from the shaykh?? I hope you realize that there are many sisters out there who have a GREATER interest in learning than their husbands.

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      • Hena Zuberi

        True that, not every sister who wants to learn has a husband who wants to learn as well. And not everyone is blessed with a local Shaykh who has a wife, let alone a learned wife. Plus this issue doesn’t just happen in a class- youtube/online lectures, we don’t have to be in a class for this to happen. We have made our Shuyookh into celebrities and as much as I want my children looking up to Shuyookh as their role models, it is getting ridiculous. Our culture esp here in the West, has become so that we only want to take our knowledge from Shuyookh who entertain us or speak well, or are good looking, lesser known or less eloquent ‘speakers’ are not flocked to because we think they are ‘boring’.

        One of the greatest scholars that I heard in Pakistan could barely speak because of a respiratory problem but his knowledge was so vast, and the few words he does utter changes hearts ( with Allah’s permission).

        Respect and honor and genuine love for our teachers is something to aspire to but this crushing on Shaykhs is definitely a fitnah. May Allah Subhan na wa ta’ala keep our intentions pure.

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      • MW_M

        We have made our Shuyookh into celebrities and as much as I want my children looking up to Shuyookh as their role models, it is getting ridiculous.

        True that. There’s a not-so-thin line between being a fanboy/girl and giving our scholars respect. Seems like people have a hard time staying on the right side of that line.

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      • fazmida

        who said they have no rights to seek knowledge?atleast they could stay at home and listen to the lectures through audio.this also will help them gather knowledge.since almost most of the people have the net.this could reduce some fitnah.
        no one wants to act bad but shaytan can mislead.

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    • Ismail Kamdar

      The sahaba would learn from rasool Allah and teach their women in their homes.

      Actually, the prophet (peace be upon him) would have a special Halaqa once a week exclusively for women, so the female Sahabah studied directly from him and not always from their husbands. In fact, some of them were more knowledgeable than their husbands.

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      • Maryam D

        Sapan Allah, I am so glad that you mentioned this!
        Every muslim, whether male or female has the right to seek knowledge!
        & quite frankly, from a revert and an attendee of many halika’s & lectures, the information from
        our husbands is not always correct. Sometimes I’m not sure who is learning about the truth of this wonderful deen, myself or my husband, when I come home & share all the information
        I am learning.

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      • osman

        But the brother’s original statement, that the sahaaba would teach their wives what they learnt from rasool Allah (SAW), is true. Also, when the wives of the prophet (SAW), the sahaaba, the tabi’een, etc., used to teach/learn from the opposite gender, they did so from behind a curtain.
        IMO that’s what we should really be talking about – why isn’t there a curtain?

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      • Umm Naz

        Attraction to other gender is normal. Its nothing new. We know in a hadith that a woman offered herself to Rasul SAW. Its natural that a good woman would be attracted to a good man. As long as they channel their thought and emotions according to shariah (lowering gaze, avoid khulwa, segregation is practiced, mahram is present, etc) , the problems that comes is a side effect and a test from Allah.

        One thing in our control that should be banished is glamorizing the shoyookh. Thats not the way you respect a scholar.

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    • Hafsa

      FS- can you give the references for this? I am sure many sahabiyat went to the mosques to learn. Aisha ra taught in the mosques themselves.

      Many shaykhas do not share their knowledge so women have no choice but to learn from the men.

      Advice to the shaykhs- be careful and dont court the attention- some of them do- I have seen it with my own eyes!

      Advice to sisters- get married honey!

      Advice to shaykhs and sisters who enjoy the celebrity culture- Allah is watching you!

      Love the Prophet Muhammad sas!!

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      • hellow0rld

        After the time of Nabi (SAW), the level of emaan of the people decreased (despite the fact that they were sahaaba!), and Umar (RA) eventually forbade women from going to the mosque. (Note: this doesn’t mean they couldn’t seek Islamic knowledge. They still sought Islamic knowledge in other ways, like going to homes, etc.) Anyhow, some women came to Aisha (RA) and complained to her. Aisha (RA) told them that if Nabi (SAW) were to see the women of their time, he would have forbidden them from coming to the masjid. Also, the wife of Umar (RA) said, “We used to go out when people were still people.” There were exceptions, however, such as old women. Now, keep in mind these people are the best generation to ever walk on the face of the earth – the sahaaba, tabi’een, and tabi’ tabi’een. If the best generation thought of themselves that way, just imagine us.

        Furthermore, the clothing that the women wore at the time of the Prophet (S) was much different than the clothing (even hijabs/niqabs) of today. Their clothing was loose and shabby, and did not have anything to attract attention on them (like you see some niqabs today with designs and patterns on them).

        *THAT SAID* the scholars of our time have said that, in Western countries, because women do not know the basic duties and obligations (faraa’idh) of Islam, they may come to the masjid in order to learn them. *HOWEVER* of course we should still observe as much proper Islamic separation between genders as possible. We shouldn’t use the ‘excuse’ of ‘seeking knowledge’ to bring a ton of young, attractive, unmarried Muslim women into the masjid for a ‘lecture’ in which they look at the shaykh and the shaykh looks at them. Such an act would an insult for the example which our pious predecessors have set. Instead, just as there was in the time of the sahaaba, tabi’een, and tabi’ tabi’een, there should be a curtain between the opposite genders. Imam Hasan Al-Basri (RA), a famous tabi’ee, said that he took knowledge from 50 (or 30?) women. There’s a great history of big female Islamic scholars. However, the interaction between teachers and students of the opposite gender was generally behind a curtain.

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      • Brother

        Umar (RA) eventually forbade women from going to the mosque

        Umar never forbade women from going to the masjid. You should be more careful as to where you get your knowledge from and make sure that it is authentic and not just random claims.

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      • hellow0rld

        Read a book called “Women in the Masjid and Islam” by the Majlis-e-Ulema of South Africa.

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      • Imtyaz

        @ Hello World

        ” Read a book called “Women in the Masjid and Islam” by the Majlis-e-Ulema of South Africa ”

        Salaam

        I’m a Brother From SA

        The Majlisul Ulema are a group of Radical Deobandi Scholars – Based in Port Elizabeth.
        They Print a Few booklets & Distribute a Newspaper called ” the Majlis “.
        They are Affiliated to a group in Jo’burg Called the YMMA.

        I was into the stuff about 10 years ago – I now enforce a Ban on their books in my home.

        They are famous for amongst other tings :
        – Their extreme stance on Women’s affairs – often spilling over into misogynism
        – Refering to the Bareilwis & other Sufis who visit Dargahs as ” Qabr-Pujaaris ”
        – They also have harsh opinions on the Niqab when both eyes are showing.
        – I’ve read a copy of the Majlis that quoted a Blog (Back in ’97) & concluded that Coca-Cola is Haraam
        – I received an Email from them condemning greeting & Embracing after Eid Salaah between Men as a Bid’a

        I was put off them when I read a YMMA Publication that said that women should not even be taught geography & I thought Hazretiya Aisha Sidiqa Radiyallahu Anha narrated a third of the Ahadith & she was just 1 female scholar.

        This discussion seems 2 be concentrated in the States – where I assume you guys pray 5 – 6 Salaah / week in a Masjid.

        Most South-African Muslims are concetrated around Masajid & hear between 1 & 3 Azaan for each Salaah.
        Also it’s a National Phenomenon that Businesses Close for Jummua.
        The Majlis is an Extremist Fringe here

        If your environment is that different – How does importing an extreme, Hardline view assist to encourage the Next Generation of Muslims into their Role of establishing the deen in your Land.

        This is a Challenge – There is a Correct Adab of seeking knowledge based on the Deen
        & yet it has to be in a manner that is not just Correct, it serves the greater purpose of creating a Dynamic AMERICAN Muslim Community.

        That there should be a Curtain is Correct – Chasing women out of the Masjid in your Cultural context could be a disaster if there is no alternative created – it could effectively ammount to cutting off half of the Community & the Educators of the next Generation of Muslims from the Deen.

        Also I think something has to be said about developing Alternatives in other aspects of our Community lives -Medina was a Community not a legalist project.
        You have to have a Marriage facility –
        If you find a Spouse in a NightClub – It’s Bad
        If you find a Spouse in the Masjid/Madressa – It’s Bad

        Was Salaam

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    • khadija

      SubhanAllah brother, listen to yourself. Islam encourages men and women alike to seek knowledge, and your comment is very degrading to women. ‘Stay at home’ (because you can’t control yourselves and shouldn’t be allowed out). If you are married, then I sympathize with your wife. I know a sister whose husband teachers her wrong information purposefully so he can get his way with her and control what she does (by telling her what is ‘allowed’ and what ‘is not’. When someone tries to indirectly enlighten her, she says oh no, my husband told me xyz and he is very knowledgable. This is not extremely common alhamdulillah, but it is definitely not unheard of. There is also always room for error. Someone relating information to another person usually has a high chance of getting certain facts wrong. And then you have the interest aspect. Many wives want to seek knowledge but their husbands may not be into it. What can the wife do, force her husband to go to the lecture, and then take perfectly detailed notes and bring them back home to her? So now I hope you have realized how thoughtless and pathetic your statement is. Unfortunately, most men are NOT like the sahabah…

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      • Stacey

        The brother is correct – the sahabah did teach their wives and the wives of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasalaam) taught from behind a screen and we are already informed that OUR HOMES ARE BETTER FOR US from the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasalaam) who does not speak of his own desires. He said this regarding prayer – an ibadah – a time when we have arguably the most sincere intentions. We may not always want to be at home and we may like to go here or there but we should not try to muddle the general reality that the place where we can benefit and be of most benefit is in our homes. Furthermore, there are TONS of options for learning from home. Books, audio files, videos, online classes… the list goes on. There are numerous major scholars who make themsevles available for further questions on the subjects that they teach and write about.

        No one is claiming that it is haraam for women to sit in a class. No one is barring them from learning or taking classes but the point that there should be a screen between the genders and the point that we were informed that our homes are better for us and were warned against all the various forms of fitnah which come with mixing shouldn’t be ignored or overlooked.

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    • sk

      The sahabah also used to learn from a women – Aisha RA – when Prophet peace be upon him passed away.
      And not every husband I know goes to or has time to attend events/lecturers. It may not be his interest.

      This comment made me smile….I think you did an extreme generalization right there. And maybe 1% of the females would act upon such thoughts mentioned in the article.

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      • Sumi

        i agree 110%!……SubhanaAllaah!…..unnecessary things are being discussed!
        ppl are forgetting that the roots of these problems are lack of Hayah and fear of Allaah! and of course LOWERING THE GAZE!!…Allaaha Al-Musta’aan!

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    • Sumi

      so thats your solution.. very interesting, well let me tell you something, if the problem was the sisters alone it wouldn’t have a affect would it????…now i don’t want to blame the du’aat but the hard reality is everyone needs to maintain hayah and implement lowering the gaze

      btw! seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim and sorry but you can’t certify or limit! the “hows” to solve some problems!! neither the Word of God nor the Sunnah of His prophet sallAllaahu alyhi wa alihi wasalam put limits as to where the women should seek knowledge…Rasoolullaah sallAllaahu alyhi wasalam used to teach the women some days and the men some other days…and when he sallAllaahu alyhi wa alihi wasalam passed away the companions radiyaAllaahu anhum used to go to for example Aisha RadiyaAllaahu anha…now she didn’t say…go call your wives am gona teach your wives and they can teach you later!!!

      So the thought of “go learn from your husbands” is just narrow mindedness I mean if your husband happens to be a sheikh or at least a dedicated student of knowledge then Falillaahi Alhamd! But if not then Allaah did not confined you to his knowledge or ignorance!!

      Alhamdulillaahi Wahid Ad-Dayyan!!…

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  9. AnonyMouse

    Spot on.

    Another reason is that the Sheikh has been idealized. The sisters do not see him as a mere human being, but as something “more” – they think he is perfect, that he does not have any faults (unlike their own husbands), and that if only they could marry him, they would live happily every after.

    What 99.9% of these women don’t realize is that life as the wife of a sheikh is nowhere near easy. The sheikh who is a husband must necessarily sacrifice a great deal of his time in preparing lectures, traveling, counseling, studying, and writing. He may have to give up weekends and even weeks on end – his job is not a regular 9-to-5 (which he may have in addition to his sheikh-y duties) with summer breaks and regular weekends; it’s a 24/7 job which tends to have an unpredictable schedule.

    It’s not a fairy-tale marriage where they’ll have knowledge-filled days and romance-filled nights. They will run out of milk, be late with rent, lose their tempers with each other, have nights where the baby (or babies) will not sleep well… in essence, it will be a HUMAN marriage!

    Sisters, don’t glamourize and idealize the students of knowledge – they are not your Prince Charming in a thawb! They’re just regular guys like the other dudes at the masjid, albeit blessed by Allah with the opportunity to seek and spread knowledge. Don’t make life difficult for yourself or for them by obsessing over them and pursuing them inappropriately.

    (And no, I’m not the wife of a sheikh, but I am the daughter of one and know how hard it was for my mom when my father would barely have time for us due to how much time was consumed by his work and volunteer duties.)

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    • Amad

      I agree with u Zainab, I am only a “shaykh” by name :), but I have been very close friends with a few of them. The wives have to have incredible amount of patience with shaykh travel/time availability, let alone dealing with the crushes issue.

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    • Ismail Kamdar

      This is something many women are not aware of or prepared for until they are married to the Shaykh then it leads to tension in the marriage.

      The reality is that many shuyookh just do not have enough time for family life, it is not that they don’t want to be with their families but the field of Islamic Studies is such a demanding field that it is hard to balance that with family life.

      Sometimes a Shaykh’s wife and kids might not see him for a full month and even when he is at home, he is busy researching and preparing lectures and classes.

      Indeed the wives of Shuyookh make many sacrifices for the Deen that most people are unaware of, but Allah knows their sacrifices and will reward them for it too.

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    • amina

      assalamu alaikkum warahmathullahi wabarakathuhu,
      The same thought was going on in my mind for quite sometime.May Allah,subhanata’ala reward the writer immensely and make the readers who read this article understand it in its true sense. Whenever i hear a lecture , i always wonder and admire about the “wife ” of the lecturer . How much time is taken away from her time and her children’s time with the speaker.

      Few things which i personally follow is to

      Listen to an elderly scholar than to the younger ones.

      If I think that the speaker is maashaAllah good-looking, listen to the voice rather than starring at their video. You can do this by listening to speech while doing your regular household work (for example, a home-maker can hear a lecture while cutting vegetables, — you need to look where you are cutting .).

      When the thought , how perfect the speaker is and how not so perfect your husband comes along —- firstly seek refuge in Allah(swt) and secondly , nobody is perfect. The sheiks are doing their job well. And how would you feel, if a female coworker of your husband thinks that he is perfect for her because she has seen him being great at his job ( an intelligent techie, or an amazing doctor or an excellent business man).

      May Allah,subhanata’ala keep us safe from the evil thoughts and protect us and prevent us from turning these evil thoughts into actions.

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      • Ismail Kamdar

        Subhanalllah! You have mentioned some extremely valuable advice here. I hope people read your comment and take benefit from it.

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      • Muslimah

        May Allaah bless you sister for your valuable comment :)

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      • Abdullah Munawar

        Walaikum Salaam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,

        If a shaykh appears very desirable then that is just the superficial view of the situation. You never see the shaykh’s wife….so marrying him will actually limit the interaction with him as he has very little time for his family. Better stay as his student and benefit from his knowledge.

        And if some negative thoughts do come up then a bit of control will help.

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      • Sumi

        Barakallaahu feeki!…for the great advice!! and interesting ideas…

        may Allaah reward the composer of the article indeed they raised awareness of a much needed topic!! but ppl didn’t focus on what was needed!!! which was the fear of Allaah and lowering the gaze cause am sure if those two elements were observed we would not be discussing ths!!…may Allaah Ta’ala keep us save and sound and protect us from al fitan ma thahara minha wama badhan!!

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    • brother

      very interesting article with the comments even more interesting as i myself am one of the so-called Sheikhs!!and i agree with the above comment 1oo % as a `sheikhs` life is not all glitz and glamour! I have to give a lecture tomorrow and will be travelling for 4 hours just to get to the place! Would have preferred just to rest at home on one of my very few weekends that i get free from my imamat and teaching duties and the preparation involved is also very time consuming.

      A very simple solution to the problem mentioned in the article is segregation in such a way that the speaker cant see the women and vice versa as will be in tomorrows lecture.

      By the way i`m happily married and have no aspirations of a second marriage……..YET!! ; – )

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  10. Ali Al-Afghani

    May Allah reward and protect the brother who wrote this article. This was a long overdue article/advice and i think he did an excellent job publishing it.

    I have taken several classes with different institutes and all with well-known students of knowledge. I believe the root cause of all of this fitnah is:

    First the lack of proper separation between the brothers and sisters. Almost all of the classes and seminars are conducted in an open area where the brothers are in the front, sisters in the back and the sheikh giving the lecture.

    Not only is this a cause of fitnah for the sheikh but also for the brothers (and for the sisters). Because of this poor setup, lowering of the gazes is nearly impossible and bumping into one another is a common scene.

    Second, frankly speaking the shuyookh are not doing enough in taking the initiative in making clear to organizers that they want a complete separation between the Br./Sis. And the one who actually promotes this kind of a set up is either looked down upon as backwards, not being invited again by the organization and/or there is poor attendance and hence less support for him.

    I strongly believe that the shuyookh should do their best in going back to the Sunnah of the Prophet and how he taught his companions, since afterall this is what they are all propogating (the Sunnah).

    Allahu ‘Alim

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    • Umm Khalid

      I believe the best way to do this is to follow the sunnah and put aside a day where the women can learn from the sheikh directly. This way, there will only be one man among the women instead of many. Another benefit of this is that hopefully the husbands of these women will be free to take care of their children while the women learn, just as the women will be free to take care of the children on the days their husbands are learning.

      As a sister, I know what happens when you put the women in a back room with no men around- the children run around like wild when their fathers aren’t around, and the women can hardly hear a thing, so they end up speaking the whole time asking each other ‘did you hear what he said?’. and to top it off, the speaker systems often cut out and we leave after not learning much of anything.

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      • Jeremiah

        This setup of a separate day for sisters on works if the community has people of knowledge in their community. Typically, a community brings someone in for a day or two and tries to get as much out of them as possible.

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      • Stacey

        Excellent suggestion, sister. TabarakAllah.

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    • MW_M

      I often wonder, but wouldn’t a non-separated seating cause less fitnah? Hear me out: if there’s not a separate sisters and brothers section, I’d be sitting with my (real) sisters, mother, etc, if they’re in attendance. Trust me, you’d drop your gaze quick if you started staring at a sister and saw her brothers glaring back at you.

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      • theoriginalfish

        I agree… otherwise wouldn’t aspects of the umrah/hajj have been segregated? As always Allahu a3lam. This might be a little contraversial but I would rather fancy a Shaikh than a singer; it’s a sign that we appreciate knowledge.

        I’ve been in lectures where sisters have informed others that a shaikh is married. I think we should stop judging each other (and perhaps the Shaykh’s should stop flattering themselves…) we need to purify our intentions and not make a mountain out of a mole hill.

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      • Reply @ MW_M and theoriginalfish

        The point is… Prophet Mohammad PBUH showed us how to do each and everything. Where there was a need for segration, he showed it. Where there was not, he showed it.

        When he offered prayers…. Females were SEGREGATED and BEHIND THE ROWS OF MEN.

        Same was for, when he used to give lectures and khutbas (friday and eid)… Females were SEGREGATED ans BEHIND THE ROWS OF MEN.

        But different for Umrah and Hajj… were a female should NOT cover her face in general. Plus females should also be away from men when doing tawaaf, so that shoulders dont touch. And females should also not try to kiss the black stone when its surronded by men.

        Please do what our Role Model did, and not try to use our limited thinking and come up with new rules.

        Neither my way, nor your way, lets follow the Prophets way :)

        Jazaak ALLAHU Khairan.

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      • Stacey

        We were taught a methodology for our religion by our beloved Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasalaam) so to assume that there is a better way to handle something that has already been handled is a serious infringement.

        On the topic of covering the face in Hajj – there is a difference of opinion and most of the prominent scholars of the past were of the opinion that it was obligatory but that a specific face covering (niqaab) is what is disallowed. Just as men still have to wear clothes in Hajj but that they cannot wear stitched clothes for example. Ibn Taymiyyah writes on this in some detail. “It is permissible for the woman who is in a state of Ihraam to cover her face with an adjoining/alternative (cloth) other than the niqaab and the burqa’.” [Ikhtiyaaraat al-Fiqhiyyah min Fataawaa Shaikh ul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah page 117]

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      • Brother Hamood

        I went to a muslim conference when i was in university…it was a small group of men and women…about 50 people

        When it was time for prayer, the men formed rows in front and the women began forming rows behind us

        I found it very distracting to pray this way

        I was not comfortable at all and the whole time I was conscious of the fact that there were women right behind me….I felt aware of my awrah as I was wearing pants and not a loose fitting piece of clothing like the “thowb”

        I wasnt focused in my prayers at all

        its true that in the time of the Prophet, peoples prayed this way

        But I just felt super uncomfortable and self conscious….

        But when I pray with men only….I am more focused, I can be myself….i am not self conscious

        Allah knows Best

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  11. Gal

    Salam,

    I’ve experienced interest in wanting to listen to a certain shaykh more but actually talking to one is still very difficult because of my shyness. I honestly think sometimes Shukh have a humility problem. They make themselves, their lives, their kids sound so amazing and thoughtful and obviously because they have the mic more people are listening and agreeing. Plus it is probably more incumbent on the Shaykh to work on his haya because as a Shaykh he needs to work on himself a lot anyway, there isn’t much he can do about his fans.

    This also highlights the need for more and better women scholars to teach women. I know its bad to say but women scholars, and I’m generalizing here, lack the dynamic nature of the men. Their talks are more likely boring, their appearance more likely dowdy and I believe it probably because they have to compete with males Shukh and be super serious that women just aren’t as interested. I wish there were more better, female scholars, as a woman there is a friendship intimacy and confidence that is hard to have with a male, Shaykh or not.

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    • Hena Zuberi

      This is the solution – we need women scholars to teach women. This tradition needs to be revived and if we have daughters, we should encourage them to pursue Islamic Studies over Hifdh.

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      • Ismail Kamdar

        I agree, I hope from our generation, many dynamic female scholars arise who can take over teaching women and this will serve multiple purposes including solving this fitnah.

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      • Sabeen Mansoori

        The tradition of female scholars desperately needs to be revived but they should not have to choose between Islamic Studies and Hifdh. I am sure there are many women out there who could do both, just as many of the male shuookh have.
        Excellent article! I applaud the wives of the scholars and the imams for their sacrifices but having other women swoon over their husbands is not a sacrifice that they should be required to make. Sadly, some of these “shaykly crushes” have caused irreparable damage to marriges and destroyed the lives of the children involved.

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      • Amad

        I do find it shocking that AlMaghrib for e.g. doesn’t have a female teacher till now. I am curious… is it because there is really a lack of it, or is AlMaghrib still uncomfortable with it (which I can respect but would like to know).

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      • Ayesha

        they can always do hifdh along with their Islamic studies…trust me hifdh helps a great deal in learning evidences and link subjects with their quranic ayahs.

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    • AnonyMouse

      Completely agree!

      It’s really important for female students of knowledge to be – amongst women, of course – both serious in their knowledge (the most important) and attractive… not in the “Hollywood actress” way, but rather in the way of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), by beautifying their manners and taking care of their appearance.
      Furthermore, having Islamically knowledgeable but “hip” sisters helps attract the younger girls – preteen and teens especially – and makes learning the Deen more appealing.

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      • UmmSarah

        Sr. Yasmin Mogahed is awesome and also, Farhat Hashimi of AlHuda, a great woman scholar of our time. These women are very inspirational and knowledgeable.
        Although it is difficult for women to take on a full time role of a scholar because of family responsibilities, there are women who have successfully managed their personal life with scholarly pursuits.

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  12. Abdullah's father

    @Ismail Kamdar – what advice do you have for the wives’ of those shuyookh, who got in to this trap? Isn’t it fair for them to be angry (like one ustaaz narrates of his experience. my wife sees the sister who is trying to be little more cozy in a social gathering with me at a doorstep and I could see the arrows of anger from her eyes and isn’t even comfortable him teaching to his female students but have compromised on that part.)

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    • Ismail Kamdar

      Yes, they have every right to be angry but that anger should be channeled into something constructive, rather than destructive. Perhaps they should get their husbands to read this article then discuss the issue with them.

      I think it would be better for a woman to advice them though.

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      • AnonyMouse

        From my personal experience, my father’s way was to get my mum active in the community as well. Many times she was the middleI(wo)man between women and my father; she would take their questions unless it was something very serious (such as marital counseling, etc.). She also helped him immensely in organizing events and preparing various outings etc. The women of the community would therefore be able to turn to her for help on many issues rather than running to my father for small matters and increasing the risk of fitnah.

        Usually, it helps when women are aware that the sheikh’s wife is between them, amongst them, and aware of their giggling whispers about her husband – it makes them feel some shame about hitting on the sheikh!

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      • Sisterem

        Absolutely agree if sheikh’s wife can be present at any lecture/meeting, that would certainly help out in lowering high intensity crush-behavior! And maybe squash it altogether in some cases due to reality check. Some sisters are in la la land thinking they don’t love their wife, thinking they could be separated (fantasy), etc. I am happy I am married to a good man who is not a sheikh in these times, and may Allah be with the wives of these shyookh, ameeen.

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  13. kishwar

    a wonderful aarticle mashaAllah
    i agree with each and every word …and it is human tl get attracted to the ppl of knowledge because they are inspiring ppl, but one should always be on guard and protecyt their thoughts and feelings. i completely agree that their should be knowledgeble women top teach women and men for men…..more sisters should get higher education in islamic studies and serve this purpose….
    good article anyways .

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  14. Kashif

    This is also a problem for the elder generation of shuyukh.

    I have a running joke with and an elderly, grey-bearded shaikh whom I meet once a year at our conferences. At some point during the conference I’ll jokingly ask him how many proposals he got this year? One time he replied he received 5 on the first day!

    JZK brother Ismail for this article – I wish you had published it earlier!

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    • amina

      I thought this won’t happen for elderly sheiks. Oops.. I am wrong.

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  15. Noorul Hasan

    Assalaam Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah

    This is indeed a great fitnah. Subhan Allah, shaytan has always new tricks to lead people astray. I think sisters have lot of responsibility on them when they come to such a gathering to have proper intentions and not give in to the way of Shayatan. In such a gathering proper etiquette is very important so that the time is spent in good deeds. My opinion on this matter is that sisters should attend the lectures but should not interact with the shuyukh directly (as far as possible). There must be an intermediary between the shuyukh and them. The social media is also a big fitnah so sisters should not interact directly with shuyukh via facebook, twitter, email etc. If there is a need for interaction then it should be done via their husbands or other mahrams. There is a great need of women scholars for the sisters so we should encourage our wives, sisters, daughters to learn the deen so that this problem is tackled correctly in future.
    Allahu Alam

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  16. Umm maryam

    Bismillah,
    Assalamu alaikum,
    Barak Allah , Jazak Allahu khair for such an excellent and helpful article.
    May Allah protect us from the evils of our nafs and especially from the tricks of Shaytaan Ameen.

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  17. Um Abdullah

    take separation seriously. this shows that just because ppl are studying a noble topic it doesn’t mean they cant get distracted and do really retarded things. also the shaykh or whatever shouldn’t be too nice with women. i know that sounds harsh but its true. women fall for nice men.

    also this is somthing pretty specific to the west since the west has this whole hollywood/fan culture where ppl idolize anyone for their talents. so you have girls just coming off of their crushes of a musician or actor, and they carry that same mentality with them when they become more religious and start learning about islam. we need to know that talking about men and looking at them is wrong.

    when girls says “omg he’ so cute” or whatever, they need to realize that goes against islamic etiquette. its not innocent or cute or normal. we need to lower our gaze just like men have to. it goes both ways.

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    • MW_M

      when girls says “omg he’ so cute” or whatever, they need to realize that goes against islamic etiquette. its not innocent or cute or normal.

      Yeah, try convincing the sisters of that. You’d be shocked (I know I was) of how many sisters don’t think there’s anything wrong with fawning over a guy and discussing how he looks. Their defense? “We’re just looking and talking, it’s not like we do anything. Unlike Muslim guys who are so terrible……” and then the topic shifts to faults of Muslim brothers.

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    • Meena

      whole hollywood/fan culture where ppl idolize anyone for their talents. so you have girls just coming off of their crushes of a musician or actor, and they carry that same mentality with them when they become more religious and start learning about islam

      totally agreed! growing up in the west, girls are FORCED to have these odd and creepy crushes on celebrities. so when you get a girl who goes from being immersed in the western culture to wanting to become serious about Islam, it’s only expected for that same mentality she’s grown up with to transfer over. i’ve seen it happen to others, and it has happened to some degree to myself as well.

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  18. AR

    A nice article which is written in an extreme manner. If a sister likes a good quality in a shaykh, it doesn’t mean that its a “crush”. It may also mean that she is reminded of a father, a brother, an uncle who talks similarly and guides her to good. And one who guides her to good can never guide her to zina.

    Especially, a follower of Sunnah, certainly reminds the listeners of Allaah and his prophet (pbuh) with whatever he says and does (at least in public and during a lecture)

    For example,
    Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “When your servant brings your food to you, if you do not ask him to join you, then at least ask him to take one or two handfuls, for he has suffered from its heat (while cooking it) and has taken pains to cook it nicely.”
    [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 7, Hadeeth No. 370]

    This and such ahadith which tell us about the character of the Prophet (pbuh), whenever one reads them make you say, “Oh how sweet our Rasoolullaah (saws) was!” Because Islaam in not a religion of just praying and fasting.

    This hadith was just an example, but if a sister sees a shaykh doing something which actually reminds her of Allaah (swt) she will certainly admire him. Now if this admiration is purely for the sake of the good in him which reminds her of Allaah or has in it a Satanic effect called a “crush” is what the sister and Allaah alone know!

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    • AR

      Plus, lack of female Islamic teachers in institutions is the main reason for such a thing. When a shaykh is over conscious about the fact that every female who talks to him would fall in love with him, it makes difficult for sisters to seek knowledge in the right way. And similarly if a sister feels that her doing well in studies will make the shuyookh fall for her, it causes difficulties for the teachers too..

      I don’t say that what is written in this article never happens anywhere. It does, but sometimes the perception is far from the truth!

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  19. Mahwish

    Learning through these communication modes:

    1. Face to Face – Physical proximity in the same room/hall

    2. Live Appearance on TV Channel, Internet, Phone [Eg. Sheikh Salah at Huda TV Q/A program]

    3. Recorded Lectures on TV, Internet, Cassettes, CDs, etc

    Recommended Solutions:

    1. Become a female teacher yourself. Whatever you learn, teach it to other ladies (your mother, sisters, daughters, relatives, friends, etc…) Great example is Farhat Hashmi, she taught religion to her daughters and to hundreds of women around the world. Fathers should take the lead role in giving knowledge to the mahrim ladies in their house hold. This way the cycle will continue for generations to come.

    2. As a rule of thumb, Home is best for females. One can download ample amount of authentic resources at the finger tip. A lady can learn knowldge easily in the privacy of her home at her own convinient time. But i have a question here, doesnt the Ulama usually say, to learn knowlege in the presence of a learned person rather than reading or listening to literature by oneself? Cause when one reads/hears a confusing statement he/she can right away ask the teacher, rather than learn the wrong or remain confused forever.

    3. Everyone knowns themselve better. A mother of four kids might be least interested in Abdul Raheem Green beauty compared to a 22 year old who is looking for a lifepartner. Cause you know youself best, thus decide what mode should you choose, so to ward off shaitaan and close the doors of fitna. Always remember the Sheikhs are not your enemies, it is the Shaitaan. Shaitaan attacks ALL including the Sheikhs and the students. So ask ALLAH for refuge ALWAYS. Make your intention pure and ONLY for ALLAH. If some Sheikhs have a higher student following than others doesnt mean he has become a celebrity. ALLAH has created everyone UNIQUE, so are the Sheikhs UNIQUE from each other in many ways. The lesson here is, to be HUMBLE. Before appearing infront of public, Sheikhs should read the dua to protect themselves from evil eye and from fitna. Also before starting the lecture, etiquttes about Haya and lowering gaze, should be mentioned to the audience (live or recorded, with video or no video, cause at times a person voice can also be a fitna).

    4. If men are around, Partition and Niqaab (nose piece) has to be observed. Its easier for a sheikh to teach ladies in Niqaab than with out Niqaab. ALLAH has made women beautiful. Sheikh is a Human, not an Angel. Lovely faces of women, do distract the Sheikh, and the Shaitaan takes this oppurtunity to whisper. When the lecture is conducted online, the chat should be disabled and strictly monitored by admins.

    5. Promote authentic matimonial companies so males/females seeking spouses can be guided to the right channel for marriage (E.g Baba Ali Matrimonial site). Handout flyers or play their ads during TV breaks or on your website.

    Lastly, Indeed, if a woman is not married and has become 35 years of age and is seeking a lifepartner desperately, and is listening to lectures by Zakir Naik, Abdul Raheen Green, Baba Ali, Asim Al Hakeem, Sheikh Salah, etc… then wouldnt her heart yearn eagerly to get a husband like them? Its natural ! The reason why a female gets inclined to such Sheikhs are cause she can see an Alive, Walking, Talking, Practicing Muslim Man in front of her eyes. If one has a sincere likness for the sake of ALLAH for other, then approach Islamically (Eg. Khadeeja proposal to Prophet). Do not talk lude or imagine stuff about that sheikh. Control your urges by fasting. Also remember, Prophet Mohammad PBUH was one and only, he was the best. Women of that times, many of them wives of Sahabas, did not think of seperating from their husbands, and offering themselves to the Prophet. They did not compare or found faults in their husbands. Also note, even the virgin girls at that time did not line up outside his house having crushes and requesting for marriage.

    Man and Woman, ALLAH has made your better half. And He knows whats best for you. So ask HIM! I know every one wants the best for themselves. So ask ALLAH to give you what is BEST for YOU :)

    May ALLAH guide us all to his true path.

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    • Umm Abdullaah

      I am glad someone raised this point….
      There is nothing wrong with wanting to marry the Muslim man you see who appears to be knowledgeable and sincere, if he has less than four wives. Just do it the proper way – get your Mahram to propose to the Shaykh!
      As for the wives if such men, may Allaah grant them fortitude but they should trust their Muslim husbands, and expect good from them.

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      • Ismail Kamdar

        It could be wrong to want to marry him if he is content with one wife and happily married then a sister proposes and it puts a strain on his marriage because his wife is not comfortable with other women eyeing and proposing to her husband.

        Polygamy is no longer a norm or something most Muslims can handle.

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      • Umm Abdullaah

        I am sorry if I came across as glib on an issue which is obviously a sore point with the American Muslim community.
        That said, as a woman who once overheard another sister comment that her (my) husband – who os NOWHERE near the caliber of Amarican da’ees – was the only man who could make her consider being a second wife; i still maintain there is nothing wrong in a woman desiring to marry a man – Shaykh or otherwise.
        Should she put herself forward, flirt with him, stalk him or try to hurt his wife in any way? NO.
        But making a proposal through her Wali is not haraam. All he has to do is refuse…
        And work extra hard to make his wife realise how satisfied he is with her!

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      • Marie

        You will see many normal, nice sisters married to very nice, ordinary, average muslim men — obsessed with the thought of him marrying someone else.

        They may or may not be focused on meeting their full duties to their husbands, yet they are definitely obsessed with an imagined scenario of him marrying another.

        There are sisters who are very jealous, destructively jealous, even some are violently jealous. There are sisters who would rather divorce her husband than accept a second wife, others who would accept her husband to commit adultery or go to prostitutes or “marry” poor virgins in the village for a week rather than take another wife. Right or wrong, this is some women’s emotional reality. If a man has married such a woman, then it is HIS responsibility for the choice he has made.

        If a jealous wife’s emotions hold the marriage hostage, so that if there is any talk or remote possibility of second marriage their marriage is threatened with destruction…that is on HIM for his choice.

        If he then puts himself in a situation where he interacts with hundreds of good, practicing Muslim women every month, or year — and after that if he gets some proposals over time, or if he finds himself wanting to take another wife — it is on HIM to deal with the consequences. Do not blame others.

        If a man has agreed to a marriage contract where the wife can divorce him in the case he marries a second, then again it is on him to deal with that choice he made.

        Allah swt has every right to test this situation. So you chose, then face the test. Do not make accusations against others.

        It is unjust to turn around and say any muslim woman who offers herself in marriage (how is a separate matter) is trying to ruin the first marriage. It is unhealthy for the husband and wife in such a case to make their marriage bond about accusing other women of giving them the eye, or being shaytanic or “tempting” the husband as if sisters have fornication in mind rather than marriage — all this for choices and restrictions they themselves have put on themselves.

        Even in the case of the legality question, there are plenty of countries where this is legal and if the need and ability is there it can be implemented.

        The wife’s job is to protect HER OWN chastity, to make sure she is not meeting with people without her husband’s approval, make herself available to fulfill his needs upon request, obey him in halal matters and so on — she is not a prison guard over her husband or prosecuting attorney of her fellow muslims.

        The husband is the leader of the household. Face your choices. If you INSIST to deal with hundreds and hundreds of women and put yourself in that situation, be honest. Do you need a second wife or third wife? If you do, then protect yourself and your family by getting a second or third wife. This will PROTECT yourself and your families, and by extension all the other women you deal with.

        If you really DO need a second wife (and this is not just physical, but emotional and psychological caretaking, need for company, especially for those who travel a lot), but because of your own choices and restrictions you CAN’T or WON’T, or because you have an image of yourself as monogamist, culturally you disapprove of polygyny and you don’t want to admit your real situation — then go ahead follow that course, but don’t pretend you don’t need a second wife and then give off marriage-interest vibes, end up breaking hearts by having emotional affairs with innocent women who only want what is halal or making false accusations against others.

        Making your marriage an “us against the world” situation, where “the world” are the other muslim sisters is not right. And don’t fulfill your needs by adopting other avenues for getting them met. You narrowed the field of halal to please your first wife, so deal with it. Take all the precautions you can, but don’t be shocked that Allah swt is going to test what you have done.

        (But if you really do need a second wife and pretend you don’t, then at least do not sponge up for free the emotional, psychological, and physical goodies of the sisters you encounter — looks, smiles, jokes, comforting talks, intimate sharing, close contact, caring, cooking, etc – whom you have no intention of marrying. And if you have led on women while soaking up emotional freebies that make you feel good and fulfilling your emotional needs on the down low, then do not be surprised if they get upset when you bail out on them when it comes to marriage talk time!)

        If you really don’t need a second wife and don’t wish to have a second wife, then take your precautions, consistently announce your status in a serious but non-arrogant and non-insulting way, direct any marriage traffic towards other matchmaking venues, reassure your wife, try to teach her about the destructive nature of jealousy and suspicion, spend more time with your family, reduce and strictly control your dealings with other women, and so forth. And yet if you shift to needing a second wife, then you have to realize the situation changed and re-think your situation.

        The bottom line is everyone’s rizq is determined, no one will get another’s rizq, no one will ever, ever take what was not written for her, and no one will ever, ever prevent the rizq from reaching another sister no matter how ardently one tries.

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    • Umar

      Re: end of point 2, there are many Islamic qa websites, which have answers to questions. You input keywords and most likely your exact question will already have been asked.

      Just make make sure you find reliable websites. Not every website set up by Muslims contain authentic information.

      General Rule: Don’t use google. Don’t trust forums.

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    • hellow0rld

      Masha’Allah. Can you…uh, write an article yourself?

      Jazakumullahu khairan

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  20. Imnottelling

    Salam, so we are all human beings, and this is a little side-track, but… there should be HALAL matrimonial match-making things/dinners/get togehters/whatever at these events (like once a year). Each institute, local branch of whatever masjid, should hold a yearly matchmaking thing – maybe a few organizations can co-sponsor one in a given locality. I mean muslim guys salivate over muslim girls too at these conferences, classes, whatever. There is a need in the community and it is human nature to seek that wherever it may be. Whenever a large amount of muslims get together – who are single, it is on the mind – it needs to be addressed Islamically at these same functions on a regular basis.

    I am speaking from an early twenties single muslim guy (on the hunt) so… you could take what I am with a grain of salt?… or someone could read this and a light bulb can go off… Or everyone can join halfourdeen dot com, or everyone can do both… We all gotta pray more I think – and may Allah help us.

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  21. Imam Zia

    Agree whole-heartedly with the article. It’s got to a point where the actual speech of the “shaikh” is so hollow and without any basis or foundation, but that is overlooked because of the artistic delivery of the speech. As the Prophet SAW said, “Indeed some speech is a form of magic”.

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    • Marie

      Speakers who study and use techniques from NLP, marketing, public speaking, change therapy, coaching, communication…are delving into powerful stuff. Some of these techniques put audiences into mild hypnotic trances, activate strong subliminal messaging, and no doubt are designed to attract and hold audiences. Intention might be ‘good’, but it is a double-edged sword in its effects on opposite gender.

      The more popular a teacher or lecturer, I assume he is that much more charismatic — naturally or enhanced through practice and study of how to target and influence an audience — and take even more precautions as to my internal reactions.

      For the record, even if I am listening to a lecture on youtube in my home, I wear hijab and look away or down from a male speaker. In case of phone call or email, I do not respond right away and deliberately take a day to respond (if possible, or the max. amount of time if it is time sensitive), and reply only in the daytime even if it is only to email.

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  22. MW_M

    Type in “Yasir Qadhi s” into google. Second or third suggestion is, “Yasir Qadhi second wife.” Try typing in any well known scholar followed by the letter “w” or “s” and almost always, you’ll get “blank scholar wife” or “blank scholar second wife”

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  23. Maria

    We all know Shaytan will always find ways to make us fall into small sins beause he an’t sway us in the bigger ones.
    There is a REASON men and women are to be segregated, a REASON we are asked to lower our gaze. There is ALWAYS an attraction between the opposite sex. Thus what Islam has taught us is to NOT harbor whatever you feel. Feelings will arise yes, but IF you go through with it, exploit it or remain in that fantasy, that will be your responsibility.
    It was ones own fault to have looked at the Shaykh or remained listening if she found his voice attractive and to go further with it is a transgression.
    Hijaab also covers your voice if you didnt know. So cover your identity, your face, your voice et.

    IF a lady likes a shaykh for him being a knowledgeable and a good Muslim, she should try to shun those feelings. If that is not possible then she should find another way to seek knowledge and avoid that Shaykh.
    Talking about marriage may be lawful and better than what is fahash but the WAY and HOW they are talking is unlawful.

    This is indeed a transgression if it were me, I would avoid it at all costs. I hope those sisters would too.

    May ALLAAH guide us all to be better Muslims and Muslimah. ANd may ALLAAH forgive our sins and transgressions. Ameen

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  24. MW_M

    Also, we’re hearing reports of “imams” abusing their position and taking advantage of sisters who come to them like this. Insha’Allah they’re isolated incidents, but it just reinforces the point of the article–Sisters, observe the same etiquette around scholars and students of knowledge as you would around other brothers!

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  25. Daniel

    Other causes:

    1. Too many romantic films (Western and Indian) , making sisters (and brothers too) believe that romance can be perfect.
    2. A celebrity-obsessed Western society which has made Muslims in the West want to replace Western celebrities with their own celebrities: idealised, sanitised Shuyukh, nashid bands, etc…
    3. Dumbing-down of Islamic knowledge. It means the audience can’t distinguish between real scholars and middle-of-the-road tullab. A lot of the so-called Shaykhs aren’t particularly knowledgeable but people can’t tell.
    4. Idealising the unknown. When you only know someone’s public persona it’s easy to idealise that person. But the same shaykh who is adored in public is going to have his own problems when he’s at home.

    There’s probably more.

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  26. R..........

    I agree with the reasons put forward in the article but for some it it is a combination of a few of the reasons. I as a woman can tell u that there are some men and women who are single and wish to marry but due to a lack of good/knowledgeable and practising men and women in their own community or lack of access these gatherings are seen as an opportunity to find a similar thinking islamic spouse. Also some of the married women may be married to men who lack islamic knowledge and are more culture orientated so are already in unsatisfiying or unhappy marriages already. They may bellieve a shayk will fulfill the role of husband better with islamic knowledge and so approach the sheiyks with that intention. The sheiks/students represent the ideal husband women are looking for in todays society.Many men do not attend these lectures with their wives because of work or other commitments or even simply becos thay are not interested. This means the wife’s knowledge of islam increase and she sees ideal men/student males around her and it grows questions in her mind regarding the husbands attitude towards her. If she goes home and shares watt she learnt then some men don’t listen and apply it or listen then ignore etc. If the wives gain more islamic knowledge than husbands it will cause issues in marriages. Both husband and wife need to attend these course together. I’m sure married men may also have these issues but they usually choose to leave their wives at home to look after kids while they go mix with women outside in these conferences.

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  27. aA

    This cannot be a contemporary issue.

    I’d like to know how scholars in the past dealt with this. Anyone?

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    • Amatullah

      I’ve read multiple times that shuyookh in the past have had this issue as well, but usually it was through the woman’s wali. I’m not quite sure how they “dealt” with it, but it’s definitely not a new issue. It may have increased during these times but it is not something that just started happening these past few years.

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      • ibn Insaan

        Salam alaikum ,

        Could you please guide us to the reference(s) where these incidents can be located. I have honestly not come across any such pattern in my reading so would be curious to learn if this is truly the case.

        Many thanks, and may Allah reward you, and them for their efforts for this deen.

        Wassalam alikum

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  28. Abu Suhaib

    OMG! The Tablighis were right!!!

    Seriously though, I know shuyookh whose families were destroyed due to this. This is serious business. I don’t agree with keeping the sisters in a room and watching a video relay of the class but there has to be a wall or some type of separation between the brothers and sisters. There also needs to be very limited conversation between the sister and the shaykh. Sisters shouldn’t go to these shuyookh to get marital advice or even counseling. They need to find others and preferably sisters they can trust and confide in.

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    • hellow0rld

      “OMG! The Tablighis were right!!!”

      Lol. It’s just Qur’an and Sunnah man, having a partition. Not part of any group. Tabligh’s just bringing it back.

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      • Brother

        Having a partition is Quran and Sunnah?! I thought people knew that a partition is not from the Sunnah, although it is permissible if there is a need for it.

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      • hellow0rld

        Nah, it is – there’s at least one saheeh hadeeth in which Nabi (SAW) draws a curtain between himself and the women. Not to mention ahadeeth of it being practiced by the wives of the Prophet (S) and the sahaaba. (Some people say “Oh that was just for the wives of the Prophet (S), not for all Muslim women” – but the commentators of that ayah mention that it does indeed apply to all Muslims.) Not to mention other narrations of the curtain being practiced by tabi’een, tabi’ tabi’een, etc.

        Hasan al-Basri (RA) mentioned that he took knowledge from 50 (or 30?) women. How’d he do that? From behind a curtain (if they were non-mahram women), not sitting there staring at them.

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      • Brother

        there’s at least one saheeh hadeeth in which Nabi (SAW) draws a curtain between himself and the women

        Well where is it?! Care to provide us with the hadith or at least a proper reference!

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      • Stacey

        The partition isn’t a Sunnah for prayer in the masjid although the vast majority of scholars past and present were not against this concept. The partition between men and woman in general is something Islaamic and it is based on (among other things) the ayah of the Qur’an instructing women to speak to men from behind a curtain/barrier and as was mentioned the tafsir says that this applies to women in general not just the wives of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasalaam). I don’t know of any hadith where the Prophet put a curtain between himself and women – Allahu alam but it’s certainly an accepted practice and one which has general backings if not a specific one with him and women whom he taught.

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      • hellow0rld

        I’m not at home so with some Google searching, found this in an e-book:

        A woman extended her hand from behind a curtain to
        hand a piece of paper to the Prophet (S). The Prophet
        (S) pulled his hand back and said, “I don’t know if it is
        a man’s or a woman’s hand.” She said that it was a
        woman’s hand. The Prophet (S) responded, “If you
        were a woman, you would have coloured your nails with
        henna.” (Abu Dawud, Nasai)

        I’m sure you’ve read this hadeeth before elsewhere.

        I’m not an aalim, but if anyone is here, would they please provide any more ahadeeth on the topic? Jazakumullahu khairan.

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      • Brother

        A woman extended her hand from behind a curtain to
        hand a piece of paper to the Prophet (S). The Prophet
        (S) pulled his hand back and said, “I don’t know if it is
        a man’s or a woman’s hand.” She said that it was a
        woman’s hand. The Prophet (S) responded, “If you
        were a woman, you would have coloured your nails with
        henna.” (Abu Dawud, Nasai)

        This hadith is not proof that the Prophet peace be upon him used to put up a curtain between him and women, and the fact that he didn’t know if the hand was a man’s or a woman’s hand is indicative of that.

        I am not saying that putting up a curtain/barrier is not permissible, but to claim that it is sunnah is something which needs proof.

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      • hellow0rld

        Oh, I’m not saying that the Prophet (S) always put a curtain between himself and women whenever he interacted with women. I don’t know about that. However, the hadeeth does show that the Prophet (S) approved of this curtain. Besides, the wives of the Prophet (S) put a curtain between themselves and the male sahaaba, and this comes from a clear ayah of the Qur’an.
        Sunnah is not only something that the Prophet (S) did himself, but also what he approved of. It also doesn’t mean only those things which the Prophet (S) did every time without exception. There are some sunan which the Prophet (S) did only certain times.
        Also, the fact that the Prophet (S) did not know whether it was a man’s hand or a woman’s hand does not give any indication of how much the Prophet (S) had a curtain between himself and women. There are other instances of the Prophet (S) and the curtain which you can ask a qualified ‘aalim about.

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  29. Abu Suhaib

    Another solution for the shaykhs is to take the wife with them when they travel. if they have a family and could travel by car, do it! Stay with your family.

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  30. Bilal Abdul-Aziz

    Assalaam alaykum,

    I salute my teacher – brother Ismail – for writing such an enlightening article. The problem challenges the paradigm of lives of all Muslims, really, and I think it has introduced a topical issue posing sort of a big test to the Muslim ummah today.

    The article treks through a real time problem affecting Muslims today, which I think needs serious intentions and actions to address.

    Thanks for the article on the all-time topical issue brother!

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  31. Umm Reem

    Br. Ismail, would you rather have these girls have a crush on a Hollywood celebrity or a shaikh? : ) (had to say it, couldn’t resist!)

    Although, JazakAllah khair for a wonderful article. You have given some very practical and logical advice.
    There are a couple of things I want to point out:

    Perhaps some of our sisters can shed some light on this for us in the comments sect

    There is a lack of good husbands in our ummah. Hence, when women hear and see a shaikh talking about high standard of living and advising men about treating women kindly etc. they assume that he lives up to his words and admire him for his ikhlaaq and habits. If these sisters are in a bad marriage then it is only natural for them to develop feelings for the shaikh. Just my own observation while dealing with sisters.

    Sometimes the Shaykh and his wife have a happy marital life until a sister (or two) ask him if he wants a second wife, without considering his current wife’s feelings. This can cause problems between the Shaykh and his wife, as well as jealousy and could lead to the breakdown of a once-happy marriage.

    I think if the shaikh, with the knowledge and the status Allah has blessed him with, take control of the situation wisely, he can keep his wife on “his side”. Like, take his wife in his confidence, keep her as a mediator between him and his female students, gives her passwords to his accounts/phones, make it publically known that he is not interested in polygamy etc. I know of 2 shayookhs who have done this in the past, and their wives enjoy a peaceful life.

    I like al-Maghrib’s policy. From what I have been told, the teachers have to sign a contract that they will not marry any al-maghrib student.

    a Shaykh rejecting such a notion has led to jealousy and harassment of the Shaykh and his wife.

    This has happened the other way too. When a female student rejects the proposal, she gets harassed by her teacher. Of coruse these are isolated incidents, but the problem is when a shaikh does such things then it can be more harmful then a student harassing the teacher.

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    • Ismail Kamdar

      Barakallah Feek for your comments.

      I noticed that the lack of suitable brothers is a cause of this. It pains me everytime a female student asks me if I know of any good potential husbands for them and I can’t find any among my male students. Its only natural then that they start considering polygamy.

      At the same time, we can’t blame a teacher for being a good practicing Muslim and trying to be a role model for the men in his community.

      The problem lies in more women practicing Islam than men these days. I’m not saying the women should stop, rather many men need to wake up!

      I think Al-Kauthar has the same policy about marrying students. Its an excellent curb to this fitnah.

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    • hellow0rld

      “I like al-Maghrib’s policy. From what I have been told, the teachers have to sign a contract that they will not marry any al-maghrib student.”

      Noble intentions, Sister, but a contract will not youthful hormones curb.

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  32. Yasir Qadhi

    Salaam Alaikum

    Jazak Allah khayr Ismail for a very frank and much-needed article.

    Don’t even get me started on real stories….

    May Allah protect us all!!

    Yasir

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    • Sahardid

      Assalaamu alaykum,

      I remember the queue for your lecture at the GPU lecture last year. People stood there for an hour or so…

      I was really amazed, shocked and somehow relieved. Because I’d rather see muslims queue for an islamiclecture of a student of knowledge, than a muslims doing ‘itiqaaf at a sale, new movie release or Justin Bieber concert.

      Walhamdulillah

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    • Suha

      ASLM. This article was indeed a revelation to me. I guess in our society we do not have many scholars and are dependent on visiting scolars, cds, webinars etc.. In fact when there is a scholar who visits it is house-full. We have had Green, Zakir Naik, Hussain Yee, Mufti ismail Menk, Yusuf Estees, Yusuf Ismail, and a few others. Old and young, women and men flocked to hear them, starved of real scholarship and wanting to learn, listen, increase their Iman..no one would dream of wanting to marry them or entertain such ideas..perhaps all they will think ‘how nice if our husbands could also be so iman filled’. But I guess it is different in the west with many classes available and ‘mixed masgids’.
      They would comment on how great he was or fabulous lecture and if he did turn out to be good looking they would say that and quickly say asthafirullah or change the topic, alhamdulilah. Interesting comments and valid ones posted here, but I can understand the problem . Good men are hard to find but are women so desperate they would even accept being a second wife!!!! ^^.. And women or girls who have turned to Islam would love to marry a scholar but I would be terrified about if I would meet those high standards! However I am very surprised that the girls would be so forward as to want to seduce them or even chase them.. Auoozubilla..The attraction is natural but the environment it is conducted in contradicts the exact purpose..May Allah protect us all and the sheiks ameen.

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  33. Working Muslim

    Assalam alaikum,
    Brother Ismail, excellent article- jazakum Allah khair. And dare I say it so true… I have seen this happen to skayhook. My advice, is all communication should have a third party- I always cc in my husband when emailing a brother. With the global village of communication that is now here, we need to remember that Allah is aware of everthing- our feelings, our thoughts and our intentions.

    I would add that unfortunately the same crushes is true of brothers to sisters as well, you get a sister who is doing good work in her community, a brother decides he wants to marry her (even though she is already married) and then either starts stalking her or sending crude messages.

    Wasalaam,
    Saiyyidah

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  34. WAJiD

    Interesting topic for a good article mashaAllah.

    Out of all the comments, I am surprised that no one has yet mentioned the shocking state of Muslim men as one of the prime causes for Shaykhy crushes?

    I’m a guy (and do not hold myself exempt from this generalisation) but even I feel sorry for the sisters when looking around the guys section. They have to choose from:
    – the gym fanatic who wears ever tighter T-shirts to highlight his latest muscular development
    – the excessively shy and nerdy introvert who is socially incompetent and plays video games even in his 20’s
    – the football fanatic who lives, sleeps, talks football non-stop
    – the liberal Muslim professional who is into securing his career at the expense of his akhirah
    – the freshy Muslim guy for whom cricket, bollywood and pakistani culture is a holy trinity that makes sense
    – the religious Muslim guy who thinks all women should stay at home or else…
    – the religious Muslim guy who thinks all women need to be liberated by him personally…
    – the slacker Muslim guy who thought it would be an excellent career move to be a bum
    – the Muslim guy who is marrying you because his parents didn’t agree to Alicia etc…
    – the overweight Muslim guy who smokes and is on a one-man mission for a heart-attack in his 30’s

    So when a Muslim brother who is practising and has his head screwed on comes along he is so rare that he immediately becomes the focus of attention. And this goes doubly for the shuyookh. If us men sorted ourselves out a little bit, maybe the shuyookh wouldn’t be quite such rare examples of Muslim men with faith, hygiene and charm.

    (disclaimer: like I said, total generalisation… but on a serious note, I do feel that there is an imbalance out there in the genders even if I haven’t put it across very well.)

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      • Iamnottelling

        I think this article stems from a great muslim marriage difficulty for people to find spouses. Thus agree with the comment – The same is true for the sisters in return.

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    • Nahl

      this post deserves its own article!

      so true!

      you hit the nail right on the head!

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    • Khidr

      MashAllah you spoke my exact thoughts brother. Being a brother myself I can see the same habits amongst my brothers. SubhanAllah I now see the wisdom of the pardah that a shaykh i go to puts up, actively saving himselfs and his female students from this fitnah, furthermore saving his male students from mixed intentions as well. A simple solution inshAllah i would hope for is that my brothers wake up and start taking their akhira seriously and my sisters keep their intentions truly for the sake of Allah. On a side note someone mentioned it already but just to restate it many students of knowledge are mistaken as shuyook because people just don’t know the difference. And i feel that is reason many incidents might happen with these So called Shaykhs falling into these traps. Allah swt help them in their tests as well as us. Ameen

      P.S. Jazakallah Kairan brother Ismael for another refreshing article that no one truly has addressed.

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    • Trivial

      Add to that list… a guy who judges other guys on their outer appearance and apparent behavior and thinks he’s got it all figured out! – May Allah give us all the toufeeq to look beyond the ostensible and into the real – only then can someone hope to transcend crushes and towards admiration for the right reasons.

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    • I am

      So Mr. Wajid to which category you belong and to all those males who are commenting over here … which category you people belong too

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    • I am

      This list also applies to females also but in a modified and different way …. I am working on that list and will post it soon

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    • I am

      Oh please ….. stop bashing males all the time ….. Females are also equally responsible … They aren’t the same women anymore just like in the times of prophet …

      Why does everything comes down to male bashing

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  35. Dawud Israel

    A friend told me sisters could care less about him before he became a student of knowledge, but then when he started studying and became known, suddenly they get all crazy about him. Its all about fame I guess. Maybe this is why there are high divorce rates?

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  36. Rabiya

    Assalamualaikum wr wb.

    I fully agree with Brother Ismail kamdar. I feel the Shuyooks need not have their photos included in their articles. if it is a video lecture, then at some point they can talk about their children and their loving wife whom they adore much. These days young unmarried girls attend Islamic lectures, conferences , seminars etc. with their peer groups. If they are brought by their fathers also since the seating is separate they end up sitting with their friends only. That gives them a lot of freedom to talk about the looks and voice of Shuyooks and their impressive personalities. I know of an 18 year old who was mesmerized by the knowledge, looks and the Islamic knowledge of a class mate’s husband that she ended up marrying him to be his second wife. That brother married her only for household help and not for love. Imagine the shock the girl suffered when she realized that she was given the status of a house maid and nothing more. Young girls should be advised to also keep away from married men, because these men are as eligible as young and unmarried youth. I don’t know how far this is true, but I’ve heard one 50 year old man say that the dying wish of an elderly man also will be to attract and have relations with a young girl. So, both parties better beware. Allah knows best. I welcome comments and wish to be corrected if I am wrong.

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  37. Yusuf Smith

    As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    One answer to this is for women to wear niqaab to Islamic functions and gatherings even if they do not normally, particularly if the function is not segregated, like a convention (dhikr meetings and the like which are in mosques or people’s houses are usually segregated). Shaikh Nuh Keller asks female students to wear niqaab when at the suhba gatherings, around him and the other brothers (and also while in Syria and Jordan, though it is their choice elsewhere in the world); he says that people who are spiritually inclined are more likely to be attracted to similarly inclined people of the opposite sex, so that a sister in hijaab but no niqaab would be a bigger attraction than some of the half-dressed females seen elsewhere.

    I used to know a sister who wore niqaab normally who covered her eyes as well when at Islamic events. I am not saying they should all do this, but it makes sense to cover more when in religious company than when in the streets.

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    • F

      Walaikum Assalam,

      But isn’t the bigger issue the other way around — women still being able to see shyuookh and having a crush on him?

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      • Amad

        exactly. We aren’t really talking about shayookh spotting a “fresh” sista, but rather a fully covered, munaqiba, having a crush… that’s not unheard of.

        Mb the shayookh should wear niqab?? :)

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      • Ismail Kamdar

        I considered wearing it many times, but airport security are just not ready for a male niqaabi!

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      • bint Abdul Khuddose

        Hilarious! But I so wish there was a niqaab for males as well, as it might have reduced this sort fitnah!

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      • hellow0rld

        yeah it’s called having a purdah (partition) between the men and women.

        the ummah will continue suffering from ‘shaykhy’ crushes, broken hearts, destroyed marriages, and other disasters until we come back to the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

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      • Sister R

        How we dress *usually* affects how we think and act. I wore nikab for a while and I actually felt and acted more modest.

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    • shahgul

      I agree. The dress rules should be stricter both for men and for women at these gatherings.

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    • Mariam

      My husband is considered by many to be a shaykh of knowledge. He was approached by a niqabi to consider her for a second wife without a wali by a personally written message.

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      • Mahwish reply @ Mariam

        Volume 7, Book 62, Number 24:
        Narrated Sahl bin Sad As-Sa’idi:

        A woman came to Allah’s Apostle and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I have come to give you myself in marriage (without Mahr).” Allah’s Apostle looked at her. He looked at her carefully and fixed his glance on her and then lowered his head. When the lady saw that he did not say anything, she sat down. A man from his companions got up and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! If you are not in need of her, then marry her to me.” The Prophet said, “Have you got anything to offer?” The man said, “No, by Allah, O Allah’s Apostle!” The Prophet said (to him), “Go to your family and see if you have something.” The man went and returned, saying, “No, by Allah, I have not found anything.” Allah’s Apostle said, “(Go again) and look for something, even if it is an iron ring.” He went again and returned, saying, “No, by Allah, O Allah’s Apostle! I could not find even an iron ring, but this is my Izar (waist sheet).” He had no rida. He added, “I give half of it to her.” Allah’s Apostle said, “What will she do with your Izar? If you wear it, she will be naked, and if she wears it, you will be naked.” So that man sat down for a long while and then got up (to depart). When Allah’s Apostle saw him going, he ordered that he be called back. When he came, the Prophet said, “How much of the Quran do you know?” He said, “I know such Sura and such Sura,” counting them. The Prophet said, “Do you know them by heart?” He replied, “Yes.” The Prophet said, “Go, I marry her to you for that much of the Quran which you have.”

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  38. Anonymous

    Assalamualaiykum Brothers and Sisters,
    Firstly Jazakarallah Brother Ismail for publishing this article as I believe it was much needed. One comment stated that women should stay home and learn off their husbands, brothers etc; I just want to say that I have experienced this first hand as I was told what he had ‘learnt’ and when I asked questions or didn’t understand something, I was attacked and told that I was being disobedient and had to just accept whatever I heard. I now know how wrong it is to blind follow anyone, so I believe it is very important for women being the main source of bringing up the next generation to be able to seek knowledge without being pressured to follow specific sources as there are many interpretations. I understand this may not always the case but I do know of many women who are faced with this attitude. I don’t see that solving the problem discussed in the article.
    I think that there needs to be more young female scholars so that women don’t have to subject themselves to temptations, even though many times sisters do not go with those intentions, we know the shaytan will work very hard to make us fall into sin.
    Alhamdulilah Dr. Billal Phillips and his team are doing an amazing job with the Online University because it gives muslim women who do not want to be a product of fitnah a chance to learn about Islam, so Inshallah can teach other women in future.
    Men and women need to be educated more about Polygamy in regards to rights, responsibilities and etiquette because it seems it has been misused and creating more negative issues as a justification for lack of haya. ( some men justify staring at other women and interrogating them with their wife present because they are thinking of another wife!)
    Please accept what is good, anything I said that was wrong may Allah SWT forgive us and keep our intentions to please HIM.

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    • Ismail Kamdar

      So all the sisters reading this should join our BAIS program at the Islamic Online University. See you all in class next semester! :)

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      • shahgul

        Wallahi brother,

        Are you trying to promote your online program by writing this article? And some women may find your picture cute, and try to contact you online, so why don’t you post the picture of an inanimate object to avoid the fitnah?

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      • bint Abdul Khuddose

        I would rather want someone to write about the attention some shuyooq crave!

        This is what exactly I was going to leave a response on! Few shaykhs carving for attention!!

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      • hellow0rld

        the inevitable 300-pound gorilla in the room. gotta respect the moderators for allowing that comment though. i got hella censored for things like that at shaykh suhaib webb’s blog.

        freedom of speech <3

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  39. Anne

    We had a pretty well known Sheik come to our community – he actually comes every couple of months or so. I was excited to hear him speak. Women were on one side, men on the other. I do not think women should be locked away watching over tv, we should have equal access. Men can behave themselves, as can the ladies.

    But after hearing him speak – which he is obviously knowledgeable but was totally unprepared – I no longer respect as a teacher. He was jotting down notes as he started his presentation almost an hour late! But I digress.

    His behavior with the ladies was atrocious. This guy is married, has children. He does not need to talk privately with a sister in the women’s section (completely off limit to men – usually), nor does he need to go to dinner with a gaggle of muhajababes in tow. While he does not churn my butter, it is obvious he is a rock star to some of the women. He too, by his obvious disregard for Islamic etiquette in timeliness, preparation, and gender interactions – had a bit of a complex himself. Attendance at his presentations have dropped markedly over time because of these behaviors. Now I am very liberal when it comes to gender interactions but I was mortified by how freely he would allow these women to hang off of him.

    What if one of these women with their shakey love offer to be his wife, with no rights, except the pleasure of his company when he is in town. Who would be to blame if he said yes? Her for offering, or him the learned man for accepting such an arrangement? Just curious what others think. I find many put the onus on women – like Yusuf above – where we should stay come, cover head to toe, stay out of sight, etc. I think it is largely on him – to practice what he preaches – and not get such an inflated ego.

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    • MW_M

      Hmm, I hope this is an isolated incident. I’m fairly confident I know which sheikh you’re referring to because I felt the same way when he visited our town in regards to all the aspects you mentioned. From the other speakers who’ve visited our community (which is many) I think he’s definitely in the tiny minority. May Allah protect all our scholars.

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    • MW_M

      Who would be to blame if he said yes? Her for offering, or him the learned man for accepting such an arrangement?

      Oh, and I place the blame squarely on him. You’re going to get women going ga-ga over celebrities (which is unfortunately what many scholars have become), it’s up to him as a scholar to not abuse his position.

      Reminds me of this.

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    • Suha

      Yes the Quran does first address the men and ask them to lower their gaze.

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  40. n

    Some very nice solutions have been put forth:

    -have female scholars
    -work on more separating etc.

    For now, i think the sheikhs themselves can nip this in the bud.

    I remember working with a sheikh way before he is popular the way he is now. Mash’allah this brother was very serious but polite. I remember asking him a few questions after that at some of his conferences and mash’allah this man was EXTREMELY serious in a polite way.
    I remember he turned down an offer from a female volunteer to help him with some research or somethig and made it clear that his wife is not cool w/ him working with females. Clearly the guy wasn’t looking for a second wife (im not saying there’s anything wrong w/ that).

    Y’ani if the brother himself is very down to the point w/ the women, women’s hearts may not be moved also..u get what im saying?

    I think the problem comes when the sheikhs themselves may be moved and don’t close the door. The closing of the door has to come from them.

    I remember another young student of knowledge who was a popular speaker as well and may Allah bless him and his family, he would always turn sideways when speaking to a younger sister. I remember with my mom, he would talk normally but with me, his manners were much more serious (not rude).

    One of my main teachers I learned from, may Allah bless him, he was ABSOLUTELY amazing at the concept of lowering his gaze, even though he was slightly an older man but still, the shaitan can come to anyone and there’s a REASON why Allah decreed this rules for us, that so many muslims now ridicule others for following.

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    • Amad

      I think the whole separation solution is a HUGE red herring. Think about it. Women will STILL see the shaykh if it is side by side. If they don’t see him on stage, they’ll see him on Youtube… And are we really talking about women being in a room where they can’t see the shaykh at all. Have you actually sat in a lecture without the lecturer being there? It’s a huge turn off. But I digress.

      Usually it is not because the shaykh has superstar looks that entices the sisters… it his knowledge, his authority and above all, his popularity… wow, so cool to be the “shaykh’s wife”. So, what does separation have to do with the solution completely escapes me.

      I can accept if we want to talk about classroom styles and we bring up the separation issue as a reasonable thing to discuss, but really, no offense to the few commentators who brought this up, I can’t see the connection. At all.

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      • Siraaj

        Er, I think you accidentally replied to the wrong comment bro :)

        Siraaj

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      • Stacey

        LOL @ not being able to see the lecturer being a big turn off… I think that’s the point! Seriously, I know what you’re saying – you do have to pay more attention when you can’t see the person’s face or gestures but we’ve been doing it for yrs while working or in the car via audio files so it can be done it is just something to get used to and generally the benefit outweighs the potential problems.

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    • Sister R

      As a female teacher of male students I agree: it is primarily on the teacher to deal with these situations in the most dignified way. There should also be a protocol in institutions to deal with students who inappropriately approach teachers and/ or their families. It can be a clause in the contract or in the rules of attendance.
      I have attended classes where the female students would swoon over the teacher and jokingly(?) bad-mouth his wife – even though they didn’t even know her! It was weird.

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  41. Amal

    Assalamu alaykum Brother,

    Jazak Allah khairan for this article, as it does highlight a big problem that is being faced in the Ummah today, but sadly as is often the case, it only tells one half of the story and once again it seems as if the finger is being pointed at the sisters for causing the fitnah.

    I’m not denying that there are many sisters who do say inappropriate things about the Sheikhs and some of them do pursue them, but this problem isn’t a one sided one the sisters are often pursued and treated in manners that aren’t befitting.

    Like many stories, there are two sides to everything and more care should be taken from both sides to fear Allah and behave appropriately.

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    • Ismail Kamdar

      That is why I asked the sisters to comment and explain to us what the Shuyookh might be unintentionally doing wrong that attracts ladies. I accept that at times it could very well be a Shaykh’s fault too.

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      • Amal

        This is a very difficult question to answer, as it is difficult to answer properly, as again it seems to imply that what the sisters are doing is intentional and what the Sheikhs are doing is unintentional. And from my experience there is blame on both sides.

        But what I would say is that one of the main things that causes the problem is that many of the Sheikhs don’t seem to realise what it is that attracts a woman’s heart. When they give talks they dress in a smart manner that is attractive to women, speak in an appealing voice, make their talks lively and interesting with amusing stories, talk about how well they treat their families, and show the way to Jannah. What woman wouldn’t be interested in a man that presents themselves and the deen in that way!

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      • bint Abdul Khuddose

        I donot know if it is intentional or unintentional (Allahu Aalim), but few Shaykhs create a stardom for themselves!! they would create a ‘FAN’page and ask more and more people to LIKE it! here the shaykhs have to check their INTENTION, are they doing it for ‘fame’? or are they doing it for spread of Islam? I have no problem with Shaykhs creating their fan page regarded their intentions are right.

        Secondly, they should avoid uploading much pics on social networking sites/FAN pages.

        Thirdly, they should NOT entertain PMs (Personal Message) asking for personal details etc (which are not related to the deen) and should speak to the point.

        I hope and pray that Allah guide us all to the right path. Ameen!

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      • Amatullah

        Sometimes the shaykhs and the daees smile at the sisters and act too friendly. They should be more formal and talk straight to the point. And if theyre teaching a class that is mixed, they should avoid making too many jokes so that you dont get some sisters laughing their heads off when there are brothers in front. And also, avoid looking too much at the sisters, but rather look at the males at the front.

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  42. Mahwish

    Look at the Poll results…. 127 votes so far…

    77 ladies saying they havnt had a shaykhy crush.

    whereas 33 + 9 + 8 = 50 ladies who have had a shaykhy crush.

    Participate, if you havnt….

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    • MW_M

      Gotta keep in mind, MuslimMatters readers aren’t a representative sample. You’d be surprised at how many mildly religious to non-religious sisters are attracted by scholars

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  43. jock

    This is a rather bizarre issue to me, I must admit. Somehow I didn’t really think Scholars to be the ones getting the ladies’ attention. Average Muslim men must try and make themselves more attractive/ interesting/ responsible if this is to be solved.

    There’s no point trying to blame women exclusively for this or to pretend as though more segregation is going to solve this

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    • Ruby

      They don’t usually get the ladies’ attention. It’s just a very VERY VERY small section of the general ummah that they get the attention of. It’s a certain demographic – the knowledge-religiously-inclined sisters of the ummah (sadly, there aren’t that many sisters like this out there, just as there aren’t that many brothers of this type). Therefore, it’s natural they feel like this, but I hope this article doesn’t deter some students of knowledge out there, as it’s not a major issue that happens, but they should know it happens. Just be prepared for it when it does happen.

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    • MW_M

      There’s no point trying to blame women exclusively for this or to pretend as though more segregation is going to solve this

      Please tell me then, what are the shuyookh doing wrong to attract the attention of sisters? I keep hearing it’s not a one-sided problem but people have yet to point to one thing wrong the shuyookh as a group are doing (I’m not talking about the exceptions who’s faults are clear, I mean those shuyookh who are getting chased by sisters despite not wanting the attention)

      Agree that segregation is not going to help this an iota

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      • hellow0rld

        Well, for one thing, having a partition between the shaykh/shaykha and the opposite gender helps immensely with this.

        Like, real talk: if you’re an attractive shaykh (you know you are), and a bunch of beautiful, unmarried, virgin girls are looking at you, admiring your speech – come on. Any man, shaykh or not, is going to be affected by that. Even a non-Muslim could see why that is. Because it’s not a question of Islamic knowledge – it’s a question of being human.

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  44. Ruby

    You know, if the sisters develop a crush on a shaykh – it’s their hearts. They can’t control their hearts. Now what’s wrong with it is acting on it. It’s just like if a co-wife gets jealous with the other co-wife. Her feelings are permissible because she can’t control her heart, but acting on that feeling can make her blameworthy.

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    • A

      agreed. I was surprised nobody said that earlier.

      Crushes are normal, on the shaykh and the non shaykh. It happens. Get over it.

      It’s the way people act on those crushes that is disturbing.

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      • ibn Insaan

        Assalam alaikum wa rahmatullah,

        @Ruby

        You’re right to some extent.

        I tried to write a post ealier in the day, but on submission it disappeared :(

        It’s true that you can’t control your heart *entirely*, but what you are accountable for, is the actions that also lead to the sentiment being conjured. so yes, if you’re lowering your gaze from the male daa’ie/shayks; fasting if necessary; working on the quality of marriage relationship (for those already married), and selecting the appropriate speakers’ talks to attend (each person knows herself’s weakness in this regard) – then yes, the person is not particularly to blame, and it’s the actions after that that count. But none of that abdicates responsibility for the actions that, in some cases, allowed/lead to the shaikhy crush happening.

        In all cases, the only solution from the situation is to flee to Allah; to work on strengthening one’s relationship with Him in private as well.

        Allah knows best

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  45. Fazle

    This issue should be brought to attention to the student of knowledge and there should be some general guideline which should be followed during lecture, public talk etc. This article remind the story of the poor Muhajin who used to call Athan and finally ended up leaving islam, committing zina followed by accidental death.

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  46. Nadia Mohd-Spruill

    This is indeed disturbing article for several reasons, 1st and the most important is the misleading &confusing message that article is sending; though, it give a clarification that it is not a general accusation but still conflicting the s…tatus that is build on trust and accountability that most of any Muslim community individuals have with their Shaykh/authorized religious personal/khateeb/Imam/ lecturer and so on… The 2nd issues: which is valid in it’s importance as the 1st, Why disturbing the individuals who seek Islamic knowledge with certain Islamic scholar, for their permeable and acceptable choice to go where there Islamic institute or lecturer are, for their outstanding knowledge in Deen, their mental capacity to obtain all others need for advises and guidance, for their patience and kindness in handling with trust and privacy some individuals personal/public issues, for their righteous and just stand between conflicted parties, and for other more depending in the knowledge student needs,
    My last concern and it is truly a sensitive towards our Muslims community, isn’t enough that we revive the attacks from non believers? I consider such article as a new kind if misleading disturbing, and false accusation towards why Muslims follow such and such,
    I personally admires certain Muslim scholars,Imams, shayokh, lecturer for their comprehensive educative style, their absorbency to the main issues that conflicts Muslims social status, and their moderate ability to provide solutions. I feel bad for such article that send such unacceptable image about the sisters who chose to follow certain shaykh, and I believe that my brothers and sisters in this time and age are more educative, tolerant, and peace makers
    Some other issues that bothered me regarding this article: the person who posted this article, Ismail Kamdar, I wonder how did he collected his information; especially, is all about sisters talking with other sisters who talked about the handsomeness of their lecturer. The statement ” We can still marry him” sounded more teenage girls talk, not mature and educative practicing women.
    Then, the story about the married woman who complained about her husband’s status and she is attracted with students of knowledge, to start with this matter; . Many women left their husband after a number of years for the lack of understanding and communication; So What? to share her interest with the authorized shaykh, and with all trust and comfort to talk about her dissatisfaction with her husband and her developed interest with knowledge seeker. She is not committing adultery. If it was a man who got attracted to intellectual female speaker won’t that be the same, admiring her knowledge and brain assets, and develop interest on her to marry her, I don’t see any haram of that.
    My personal views regarding this article, as sensitive as it is, Harsh kind of on the sisters, and got that kind of depressed life style.
    I find it myself commenting on this article as much cause it bothered me, that I didn’t read any comment confronting the article aspects. I have a teen age kids, my son and my daughter, if one of them expressed to me their admiration for a person of knowledge and Eman and Taqwa, I won’t reject that, I will actually encourage it as long as that going to keep them in the Islamic environment, time after time they will comprehend and will process the information they hear from this or that. The point is, stop that kind of destructive criticism that might make it hard on the sisters to follow their shaykh, seeking the benefits of his Islamic education. I will follow the Shaykh’s halaqa/meeting/confrence/course as long as his lectures and khutbah benefit my Deen and my brain
    We all have the right to chose where and with whomever to learn about our religion without handling doubts and suspicious looks from
    Others just cause they maintain intellectual level they want to keep up with…See More

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    • Ismail Kamdar

      I think you missed the point of the article and took it the worng way. Nowhere did I claim all women are like this, or that women should stop studying with men.

      I am just pointing out a basic truth of something that happened in many communities, so that male and female students of knowledge can prepare themselves to deal with it and avoid fitnah.

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      • Nadia mohd-spruill

        Well, the article was very clear. You didn’t say it but it sound like…any way, for each his own opinion, we need to respect that though not to agree with it….

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      • Sssshh

        ASalaamu alaikum waramatulahi wabarakatu

        I have SEEN and HEARD sisters comment on men’s beard, looks, body, and DEEN AT Masjids/halaqas/classes and conferences…. MARRIED men, shuyook. It’s happened with and without partitions. Not everyone, not even a lot however, it HAS happened.

        Some sisters want that bearded bro, some want that caramel complected bro, others want the African American or White convert.

        Either way it DOES exist in ALL ways, in many environments. I didn’t take it as a blame at us women since I, nor many of my companions, act/think this way I know it’s not accusing all women just bringin it to the limelight if you will.

        This is not an attack on a sisters, sisters or brothers, nor is there even a real solution. Women and men, we both need to work on lowering the gaze, not free mixing and checking our intentions.

        Are we going to see the speaker or are we going to learn? When option A is above option b we need to stay home cleanse our heart and read instead.

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    • hellow0rld

      Well, if you look at one of the early comments, there’s a sister who said her marriage was destroyed because she got into a shaykhy crush and wasn’t attracted to her husband anymore.

      Some people learn the easy way, some people learn the hard way. May Allah (SWT) make us of those who learn the easy way, ameen.

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  47. HenaZuberi

    Alhamdulillah, so far I am so proud of our Sisters for discussing this issue civilly and not getting offended or thinking that Brother Ismail has a misogynist, anti women agenda unlike when we post articles on problems with Muslim men and get accused of being shameless, liberal ultra-feminists.

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    • Inqiyaad

      @ Sister Hena Zuberi,

      Maybe something else also contributed to the difference in the quality of commentary.

      This article was balanced, in the sense that it advised both parties about the importance of Taqwa.

      Some articles here on this blog advise one party about their duty toward Allah and assume that everything with the other party is good and wholesome (I am talking about the final post and not what they believe). Some use overly sensational language.

      If you do not address one parties (Islamic) duties and obligations you can be labeled as biased. Sometimes this labeling may be implicit in the form of calling a person ‘feminist’, ‘liberal’, or whatever…because it is based on the assumption that the bias resulted from ‘feminism’, ‘liberalism’, etc.

      The extrapolation may be wrong but it was the deficiency in the article that offered the scope for such assumptions and commentary in the first place.

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  48. Safia Farole

    Great post Br. Ismail,

    I want to add that we shouldn’t forget that women are human – its natural to admire/infatuate over
    others. Although I don’t condone the celebratizing of shuyookh by the masses, and I don’t condone sisters going up to shuyookh and actually expressing these feelings and desires, I see the feelings as being a natural of human emotion.

    And is it me, or does it seem like there is more of a scarcity of good brothers than sisters? Is this a phenonmena (not scientifically mesasured) that others notice as well? I think some readers that posted above have also caught on to this underlying root cause. I mean, I think alot of what is driving this is just sisters feeling that many brothers lack the qualities they are looking for in men. So, when they see a shaykh routinely exhorting people to be upright in character, perhaps it is not an impossible leap of imagination that they come to perceive the shaykh as embodying those principles – thus leading to a natural attraction.

    Again, I think it only becomes a problem when people actually start acting on these feelings.

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    • MW_M

      I think it’s more of a perception of more good sisters than brothers than reality. At least in my community, it seems to be the exact opposite. Or maybe I’m just in a unique community :-).

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      • Umar

        Don’t want to come across as too judjemental, but if you take the beard/hijab to be a yardstick, a far greater proportion of females don the hijab, than males growing their beards. Therefore outwardly females can seem more religious.

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      • Brother

        Personally, I don’t think that there are more practicing sisters than there are brothers. I know in most seminars there are more sisters usually, but that only tells us that the sisters prefer that type of avenue to seek knowledge than the brothers. Brothers that seek knowledge might prefer some of the other ways of doing so like watching lectures online and reading books, or going to the local masjid and learning from the lectures there. The class that I give at the local masjid in my community is mainly attended by brothers and I don’t think that a sister has ever come to any of those lectures. I have also noticed though that most of the brothers who are interested in seeking knowledge are usually older in their thirties or forties and are already married and have children. That being said, I do think part of the issue is the fact that sisters might be more active in seeking knowledge at a younger age than brothers.

        Also some of the brothers that are students of knowledge might be seeking knowledge at a university of some where abroad in one of the Muslim countries, so all these factors might be part of the reason as to why there are always more sisters at seminars than there are brothers. And perhaps for older brothers and sisters who have kids, if the sister is usually at home all week long taking care of the kids, come the weekend she would want to go out of the house to attend a seminar or something, but for the brother who has been working all week long, the weekend might be the time to stay in and rest rather than go to a seminar.

        I know that it might be hard for many of the sisters to find a good brother so this makes it seem like there aren’t that many out there, but speaking personally and from the brothers who I know, I see that many of the practicing brothers are also having a hard time finding a good sister to marry. I think one of the main problems that we face is a lack of proper channels to find some one for those who are seeking marriage.

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      • Amatullah

        I recently moved to a new community in Canada, and the proportion of sisters to brothers at islamic classes is mind boggling. I would say there are about 125 sisters to 25 brothers.

        It is true though that there are ‘good’ brothers around, but they may not come to these events or classes.

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      • Ismail Kamdar

        My community is the same (more practicing women than men). At my last Youth Program that I hosted, 12 sisters and 3 brothers showed up. At another course I taught, 30 women and 2 men showed up. The local Al-Kauthar course gets around 30 men and 100 women.

        Add in that most of the men are married and most of the women are not, and the problem is further compounded.

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      • Noor

        ’12 sisters and 3 brothers’ shows the wisdom behind the 4:1 ratio :P

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  49. A single brother willing to enrol to become a shaykh

    Wow.. Am I living in a parallel universe?! This didnt even cross my mind *scratches head in confusion*

    Quite frankly I would like to give up on my MBBS and enrol to a shaykh course :P

    Sorry #couldntresist :D

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    • Meena

      I think that a lot of brothers probably don’t realize this until it’s “too late.” It should be the responsibility of their teachers/community leaders to fill them in on what will probably happen and for them to advise them and help them lay down some rules/guidelines that will help them manage this fitnah.

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  50. SabrunJameel

    Lol, this post made my day mashAllah.

    On a serious note though, this is in my opinion a very important topic. If I tried to put myself in the shoes of our pious predecessors, I would never have imagined such a problem. Just a few nights ago I was discussing this with a fellow organizer, when the topic of entertainers came up. The shuyookh are probably a more complicated case, since they teach the essentials, but when we where talking about entertainers this topic of glamorized islam came up. I’m not going to be hypocritical and call the same entertainers I call out to events fitna’s or useless, but I really do strongly advise them to think twice about their career/hobby. Having to be in the public eye is very tough, especially when it’s something that isn’t really essential. I would encourage our talented muslim brothers and sisters to consider alternatives such as writing; it’s what our ‘ulamaa did! With the rise of technology people probably do want Youtube videos with effects and even a face to see, but subhanallah it really does create problem. Problems like sisters not lowering their gaze, struggling with nafs and pride, jealousy, unwanted ‘ayn …so on and so forth. I realized it even causes division within some of our communities because some brothers are more esteemed than others and so much more. It destroys humility and humbleness even when we intend good, because no good muslim really intends corruption when wanting to be a comedian or poet and so on. Having to see muslim fanatics similar to what the non-muslims do to Hollywood and all somehow does bug me. I think it’s exactly the whole Hollywood/ Bollywood Syndrome that has just manifested itself into the Muslim community, but just as it has its ups, I think it hurts on the long run even more. It creates a path for Shaytaan to come through with so many issues, and that’s his goal. As for the issue of Shuyookh, I think it’s a tough one, but I also very much agree to the fact that muslim sisters should start educating the other sisters much more. I know there are lots who have great potential mashAllah, and inshAllah it will only bring about lots of khair if we encourage them to teach .
    Wallahu Ta’aala A’lam

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    • Amatullah

      This is not a new issue, it has been happening for a very long time. I think now it has increased, but shuyookh of the past would also receive proposals from women – probably in a less forward way. Allahu a’lam.

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      • SabrunJameel

        That’s true, and yea probably in a much different way as well… I agree when it comes down to the fact that peeps do need to get a grip on themselves though. Having admiration, loving and highly esteeming our mashaykh is bound to happen and is normal and not a man-shaykhy crush . However when it comes to these kind of situations, whereby the sisters are married , the sexes are segregated and the shaykh is still a finah big enough to cause ”indecencies”, that’s when the problem isn’t from our public speakers or everything else that can play a role in it like ourselves who hype it up…it comes down to the core; to the heart and taqwa. It’s good to see the different perspectives such as from a shaykh’s wife herself and addressing it; I think these are the things we just overlook and kind of notice but don’t take seriously enough….until we hear the real stuff going on and how much of a problem it causes subhanallah

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      • ibn Insaan

        I’m sure that comment could be right; but would you be able to show us what lead you to this conclusion regarding the scholars of the past.

        Jazakum Allah khairan

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  51. Sarah

    I really like the number of diverse opinions on this issue. Just FYI I started a #ShaykhyCrush hashtag on Twitter today. Good way to share mini-anrcdotes and extend the discussion to another platform.

    JazakAllah Khayr for a very thought-provoking article.

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  52. Cartoon M

    I, a man, have been star-struck by shaykhs (shaykhy man-crush?) in the past, so I can understand how a woman could get a shakhy crush.

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    • Ismail Kamdar

      I think Shaykhy man-crushes are not as problematic, although they can affect the Shaykh’s ego and cause fitnah in that manner.

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  53. Amani

    Number 1 – ew.

    Number 2 – Peeps need to get a grip on themselves, sisters and shuyukh alike. However, this does not warrant a total separation. In fact, I think thats part of the problem. If we learned how to interact with each other on some decent level despite our gender differences and not sexually objectify one another so much this would happen much less. I think more decent exposure would lead to a better outcome. In other words, we need to have workshops that deal with interacting with the genders in a balanced manner and not just totally black out one another.

    Number 3 – I have known of shuyukh or du3aat who have manipulated the feelings of young girls and women and that needs to be addressed more than it is in our circles. We have too much taboo baggage going on its disgusting. The pink elephant in a thobe is in the room but nobody wants to point it out! Its time to point it out and soon inshaAllah

    Number 4 – I highly advocate Woman Scholars not just for this issue but because Women need to be empowered with knowledge too. I see nothing wrong with women teaching men either in the spirit of Ummahatul Mu`mineen – however not every sister can do that just as not every brother can be a shaykh (a right one anyway).

    Number 5 – Mashaykh, please involve your wife! Wives of shuyukh should be known in the community and be visible. I think its a form of hypocrisy when a man is all out and about and doesnt allow his wife to be apparent (respectfully of course, just as he should be). Women need more exposure and especially the wives of the mashaykh to lead that example and to help our community overcome its sexist ideas (and yes, we have a lot of these – thats another can of worms, however) and to help alleviate this issue.

    I think it would help a lot if the shuykh had group meetings, something to the effect of a group therapy session or a shrink together, to let out these problems, discuss them and find ways to deal with them. With communal support, this should help drive away that issue as well. Workshops and seminars on that issue should be given to aspiring shuykh and I think that it would be wonderful if they were open with their wives about it and solve the issue together to safeguard their marriage. This is the most important of all points, I think – spousal openness in communication and support.

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    • Umm Khalid

      i agree with this, especially point number 5. If the shaikh’s wife is available, then it should be known to the sisters that they can bring their questions to her either for her to answer or for her to pass along to the sheikh for them, and reply them by email.

      If the sheikh’s wife is not available, he should mention her, with her good qualities. Women tend to be jealous, and I think some women will start to believe that they are more deserving of being the sheikh’s wife because they assume they are religious and wanting to learn more than anyone else.

      The shuyook should try to make it publicly known that, as AnonyMouse mentioned, the life of the wife of a sheikh or student of knowledge is not all glamorous as sisters imagine. The wife may feel like the husband already has 3 other wives- their names are ‘Seeking Knowledge’, ‘Spreading Knowledge’, and ‘Travelling’. My husband is not a scholar, but has been in the MSA and even that was trying for me so I can imagine the difficulties of the wives of scholars and duat.

      Also, I have seen the wives of shuyook struggling with all their children by themselves and trying to listen to their husband’s lecture. And most of the time, the sisters do not know who the sheikh’s wife is, or that she is even there. If anything, I see people looking down on her, backbiting her, saying things like ‘why does she bring all her kids to the masjid? if she cant control them she should stay at home’… when in fact, it is her husband speaking, she has more right to listen to him than anyone else.

      I don’t believe one gender is better than the other… men and women were both taught by their mothers. But women know deep down that whether we like it or not, the husband is the leader of the family, and he has the power to make our lives happy or miserable. A man can travel alone, leave the kids with his wife and go out by himself any time, but the same is not true for a woman. She is the one who carries the babies in her tummy, she is the one who nurses them, she is the one who looks after them while her husband is at work, and she is the one the children form a strong attachment to. When they cannot be with her, they cry, and in her heart, she cries too. It’s much harder for a woman to just walk away from a bad marriage, because in the west she is going to have raise her kids alone and work to support them, while the divorced man will go back to bachelor life.

      So marriage is a huge risk for sisters- women have much more to loose if they make the wrong choice. And these days they are mostly left to it on their own since their wali do not make the effort to help them find a suitable spouse and get to know him to make sure he’s good.

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      • Safia Farole

        “And these days they are mostly left to it on their own since their wali do not make the effort to help them find a suitable spouse and get to know him to make sure he’s good.”

        You hit the nail right on the head. Allahu Akbar.

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      • shahgul

        Or there are not enough doctors for all our desi girls to marry.

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      • Umm Zayd

        Masha’Allah sister, you made some good points.

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    • Mayubelle

      Hey Amani,
      I think you’ve raised some excellent points, and I agree with all of them. Respectful and modest interaction between the genders is the way to go…. asking women to stay home, and follow lectures on the internet isn’t a particularly thoughtful or considerate solution- in fact its not a solution at all. Extreme segration can also quite understandably lead to increased sexual tension and strained interaction between men and women. Women aqcuiring knowledge and extending it to others is needed in itself, quite apart from the gendered dimension of it, in terms of instructing female students. I also think that the Sheikhs wife should also have a strong and active presence and in the community; not sidelined or hidden while the husband gets the spotlight.

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      • Amani

        Thank you Mayubelle,

        Also I would like to say that at the end of the day, it takes two to tango. If someone were to fall into that pit, the shaykh most presumably, or hopefully anyway, should help the sister by not succumbing and also help himself by not taking part into something of that effect. I know theyre not made to be supernatural human beings of some sort and its not like we’re built in with emotional switches that we can easily turn off either but somebody’s gotta put things in place. Who else would it be if it isnt the shaykh since he has relatively more authority and perhaps less at stake (depending on how you see it anyway)?

        And if we truly love someone, we will not aid them in haram – this goes for all parties and beyond shuyukh and their female ‘fans’ (I cringe at using that word)- this issue may as well work for gender relations in general or those who are perceived to be pious or active and are hailed for it, as my friend Meena highlighted in another post. Yeah I know it can be hard sometimes but its not impossible inshaAllah if precautionary steps are taken to make that falling harder. May Allah swt hide our faults and forgive our shortcomings.

        :^)

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  54. Me

    In my 6 yrs since I started practicing and started taking Islamic classes I have NEVER heard of married sisters falling for a shaykh, yes I have seen some sisters say a shaykh is good looking or how they wished they were married to him but I don’t think that’s wrong.. I honestly don’t believe this article… I have many friends and traveling across the country to take classes.

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    • Ismail Kamdar

      Alhamdulillah, your community is protected from this Fitnah.

      May Allah keep it that way and protect us all from fitnah.

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  55. Meena

    I’ve read through half/more than half of the comments and one thing I didn’t notice is the idea the general tendency of girls/women having crushes on their teachers/professors. I’m sure that many of the reasons why women crush on their teachers will be the same as the reasons why Muslimahs crush on Islamic figures. Maybe a reason why shaykhy crushes exist is because this deen is so amazing aH, that any ilm we try to seek becomes so addictive. When you have a person teaching this kind of knowledge, it may be hard for the sister to separate the knowledge from the person (which is what I think is true when any student crushes on her professor/teacher).

    Also, it could just be that the sister wants that kind of knowledge so bad, that by marrying this person, she feels like she will possess the knowledge almost by “possessing” him. I think it’s time for the sisters to have faith in themselves and to go out and get the Islamic education they want. We should be empowered enough to seek an Islamic education, instead of having to rely on our husband or another man to acquire it for us and then to run off and ask them about every question we have.

    I also think that because I am relatively young, the people I know and talk to about these sorts of things are also relatively young, so I don’t see college age Muslimahs having a problem with crushing on shuyukh as much as they do as the shaykh’s homey, who is also around the same age. From what I can tell for my peers, the guy who’s always chilling with the shaykh or getting special shout-outs is more of a fitnah than the shaykh (who is old!!!) himself.

    I think that this “celebrity culture” around the shuyukh isn’t too much of a factor here, I think we have more problems with “shaykhy crushes” at the local masjid, etc. And that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a “shaykhy” crush, but rather any legit brother who is a student of knowledge and teacher or an activist or very involved in the community. I also kind of want to expand this into the realm of MSAs, because I also see this happening all the time. Different groups of sisters dig different kinds of guys. Among a certain group of sisters, they will all fawn over the religious brother. Among another, they will go crazy over the brother who is a hardcore activist. Maybe this guy is a current student, or maybe he’s an alumni who has become a “legend.” So this “shaykhy crush” issue also becomes a problem among the sisters who are involved in student groups.

    May Allah protect us all from this and its related fitnahs!

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    • Amad

      From what I can tell for my peers, the guy who’s always chilling with the shaykh or getting special shout-outs is more of a fitnah than the shaykh (who is old!!!) himself.

      Really?? I have been a homey to more shayookh than most… I’d put my “homeyness” in the 99th percentile level. And somehow the attention escaped me! Man, I must have been doing something terribly wrong :) or all the shayookh i was with were young too!

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      • s

        Yeah and it’s funny when you almost always see the same brother getting married a month later…
        all cuz of the special shout out

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      • Amad

        But my experience doesn’t vindicate this sentiment… and I knew a lot of other “homies”… I don’t think the rub-off effect is that serious. Homies just do the work, without getting any extra rewards or fitnas!

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      • MW_M

        Yeah, I don’t think the shout-outs do much. Definitely not in my community. Maybe it’s because the shuyookh seem to be almost otherworldly (since the sisters don’t know them other than what they see behind the podium) but the “homie” is known to be a normal person so doesn’t get any reflected glory. Switch that around, I bet the sisters who knew the shuyookh before they became shuyookh see them in a normal light and are less likely to fawn over them.

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      • Muslimah

        This is definitely true… I, alongwith a small group of sisters, were fortunate enough to study with a Shaykh in our local community before he became a “celebrity”.

        I thank Allah ‘azza wa jal that we were able to benefit so much from his knowledge, and I also know, that none of us would even consider having a “shaykhy-crush” on him, as we know him as a regular human being, who has a family, a job, and issues in his life – like the rest of us. It’s pretty hilarious to see how perfect people think he is.. He’s a wonderful man masha Allah.. but he’s no angel.

        Having said that, the number of people with real knowledge and actual PRACTICE of Islam is so few, that when sisters (and brothers!) come across those of the opposite gender that appear to have those qualities, it is but natural for them to admire that and wish to have it (or them) for themselves. There’s nothing wrong with that per se – we just need to NOT act upon it in a manner that isn’t befitting of a Muslim.

        I feel that as an ever-growing community we need to:

        Purify our intentions, lower our gazes and fear Allah ‘azza wa jal….

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  56. Susu

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    I’m sorry but I found this article very offensive and baseless. First of all, after taking the poll for this topic, it is clear that this is no where near the majority of women. This article serves as a dangerous tool for jealous husbands that may not have the same craving for knowledge as their wives do, to forbid them from attending lectures. Which in turn will prevent their children and friends from gaining the knowledge the women could provide them. I think we need to take precautions before we write articles based off what we’ve “seen” or “heard” without having concrete evidence especially when, as I stated above, this is not the majority. As a Muslim MAN you do not know the context in which you heard these very few sisters talking–could have been a joke or just someone they hope their future husband could emanate.

    Sure you may have some hormonal nutty sisters attend the lecture just like you may have a hormonal brother hanging outside the masjid waiting to check out any sister as exits, but I can tell you right now, the MAJORITY of sisters–especially married ones that are worried about the future of their children, just want to gain knowledge.

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    • Amad

      Susu, did the author say that a majority were afflicted? Did I miss something? I think the fact that 40% have had “shaykhy feelings” on our poll of a sample that consists of relatively more conservative Muslims than average says a LOT to me. Including the fact that more than one or two actually approached the shayookh (per the poll). I am actually quite surprised by the 40% number. I was expecting 10% or so.

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      • Susu

        I think those sisters are honestly putting their human feelings down, and since the majority would never actually act on them, there is no reason to write an entire article based on what seems like 5% of sisters–and Allahu Allem if that’s even accurate.

        There are much more obvious and important issues that could be addressed.,and like I said since this is clearly not the majority and will NEVER be the majority, this article can be used for more harm than good–a dangerous tool in the hands of husbands, fathers, etc. The author is definitely creating a mountain out of a mole hole.

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      • Siraaj

        Susu, point taken; however, not every article can (or should) address the majority of the Muslim population. Some may address specific niches within the community, and this happens to be one of them.

        Judging by the comments and the polling from that niche, it appears there is some validity to what has been put forth. In my own experience (speaking with my wife), there do exist sisters, married sisters, who crush on their teachers, or talk about the hotness of some teacher openly with other sisters (my wife didn’t tell me who, obviously, only that she had encountered it with some frequency).

        Siraaj

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      • Anon

        I commend the Shaykh for writing the article. This may not be seen by some as “an issue” or seen as an isolated one, but it’s better to try nip it in the bud than leave it to spread. There is definitely an avenue for Shaytaan there and we should, cautiously and moderately, try to address it and mitigate against it. Neither should we say “we’ve got bigger problems to deal with” and ignore it till it becomes rife, nor should we react harshly and stop women from benefiting from Shuyukh. Let’s adopt middle ways, many of which have been suggested.
        If people only wrote about “the big issues”, we’d never be able to prevent small ones becoming big. Besides, it’s not exactly on the Prevention better than cure. If the article corrects even ONE brother or sister’s intention/conduct, it is worth its weight in gold.
        JZK to all

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      • Mahwish

        Reply @ Anon

        If the article corrects even ONE brother or sister’s intention/conduct, it is worth its weight in gold.

        So True, and thats what the aim of the article is. This article should make every single reader ask himself or herself one basic question…. i.e. THEIR INTENTION/CONDUCT in the light of Islam!

        I was justing a video lecture, and i remmebered this article and the comments. And i quickly lowered my fixed qaze at the speaker in video and tried to ONLY and SOLELY focus on his words and meanings.

        Alhamdulilah.

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      • Hala

        Really? You’re surprised that 40% percent admit to having ‘shaykhy’ feelings? I fail to see what is so shocking about that. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that a poll re: students having crushes on fellow students/professors and teenagers having crushes on the Justin Biebers of our time would illicit a much higher percentage, or, at the very least, similar results. I don’t think ‘conservative’ Muslims are immune to such a natural reaction. And, as usual, a small minority take it further – again, totally predictable I think.

        The results make absolute sense to me.

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  57. HT

    Alsalamu alaikum,

    I remember taking a seminar where one of the first things the instructor told the class was not to have feelings of “hero worship” towards him.
    At first I thought it was a strange statement but then the reality hit me when I heard certain people (sisters and brothers) talking about how in awe of him (and many other shuyookh) they were.

    In most of the cases I’ve known where sisters had these crushes, (none of which have been extreme alhamdulillah) it’s basically been sisters who credit one or a few shuyookh for making them want to learn about Islam; their “heroes” that led them to the deen.
    Usually, they are not sisters who have been students of knowledge for a long period of time but sisters who have just started learning about and practicing Islam properly so to them, these shuyookh are a big deal.

    We must also keep in mind that we come from a culture that is celeb-crazy and when people begin practicing Islam full throttle, they look for people to fill that niche so they can emulate them a.k.a. the “Muslim versions.”

    With sisters, most of the time if it went to a full on crush mode, what I usually heard was “He’s religious so he’d probably be a great husband as well.” or if he is married “He probably IS a great husband.” This is not always the case as even some of our scholars of the past have shown (I remember learning that Al Imam An-Nawawi never married and one of his reasons was that he knew he would not be able to give a wife her full rights what with spending so much time with his studies.)

    We’re only seeing this problem like this now, in my opinion, because Shuyookh are no longer older men with long white beards who speak only Arabic, Urdu or etc. who live in Saudi or Egypt or Pakistan or etc.
    Alhamdulillah, we now have young(er) guys who can crack jokes and add in pop culture references but still keep it all halal and still keep you reminded of Allah; this of course only adds to the appeal.
    Plus the da’wah world is heavily male dominated so the sisters usually feel they HAVE no other resorts to learn from so again, these shuyookh are their anchors. And the last reason for this may be like one sister said to me about not having a whole lot of really great Muslim MEN hanging around so they look to these religious men as examples of “good Muslim men”.

    I truly believe the main thing is that we need to ALWAYS purify our intentions.
    Ask yourself: “Am I going to this lecture because I think the Shaykh/speaker is attractive or do I really want to learn about topic XYZ?”

    If it’s both, prepare yourself beforehand. Lower your gaze throughout or if it’s that strong of a degree but you want the notes, ask a friend to go for you and share hers.
    If not, then pick the path of least Shaytaan whispers.

    And as sisters, if we hear things like this, keep each other in check!
    I’ve had to do so when one sister told me she wanted to marry one popular local lecturer (who many others have also admitted to pining after). I did to her what I did to the rest of the sisters who told me the same: I asked her what she knew about him & why she thought he would work for her. All she could say was “He’s religious…..” and that was it.
    It was tough love but she snapped out of it eventually. She was one of those just coming into the world of the students of knowledge.
    We need not be extreme and say all sisters should be banned from the presence of males or so on. because a lot of sisters (myself included) do not feel that way towards these shuyookh. To us, they are more like father, uncle or brotherly figures whom we respect and are grateful to learn from and nothing more.

    Anyway I’m running long so I’ll just end by asking Allah to allow us to keep doing things with ikhlaas and ihsaan and in sha Allah we can keep ourselves away from the haram often.

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    • Dean

      We’re only seeing this problem like this now, in my opinion, because Shuyookh are no longer older men with long white beards who speak only Arabic, Urdu or etc. who live in Saudi or Egypt or Pakistan or etc.
      Alhamdulillah, we now have young(er) guys who can crack jokes and add in pop culture references but still keep it all halal and still keep you reminded of Allah; this of course only adds to the appeal.

      This is the problem. (And Allaah knows best.) I think it adds to the wrong appeal.

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  58. Muslim

    I think it is natural for people to have feelings for public figures. The way they entertain those feelings or even express them to others is another story.

    The situation described in the above article speaks to the lack of modesty in society these days. Especially in the west. A lot of times, when people become religious outwardly, they think they have reached the pinnacle of modesty and don’t have to change their behavior, thoughts, and interactions with people.

    I have seen sisters who wear hijab and hang out at the Muslim associations or classes who have no shame at staring directly into the eyes of males as they walk by. They speak loudly and laugh out loud a lot and giggle everywhere they go, do the best they can to look as cute as possible in their hijabs and add like 20 accessories to it and try to put their hijab on in any way that makes it seem as if it isn’t really a hijab. They wear thick coatings of make up, eye liner, paint their eye lids so much that you can tell they have yellow or green or purple color on their eyes from 20 feet away. Many of them don’t have anything else to talk about with each other except boys, boys and boys and who they will marry or who looks cute on campus from the “brothers”. And this usually lasts from freshman year until they graduate or get married or whatever comes first. A lot of them will carry on “online halal” relationships where they are just trying to see if they are compatible with a boy which usually requires 200 long e-mails and hundreds of chat sessions. They go out in groups of “sisters” and have “sisters” night out and chill at restaurants, hooka lounges and hang out on campus until late at night and drive around wherever they please. A lot of these sisters also get together and go on vacations over night at Islamic conferences or anywhere else their parents let them go. And most of them have more courage to speak to the opposite sex than the brothers have these days. Matter of fact, a lot of the times its the sisters who approach the guys or give them so much eye contact its impossible to not realize she is looking at you. But they are deceiving themselves into thinking they are modest or religious because they wear a hijab or attend a class or two or don’t get drunk and have sex like the “other” girls.

    My point in mentioning the above is that all of that behavior is normal. It is normal for WESTERN non-Muslim women. And we have to admit that Muslim women, living in the western world, have adopted these character traits that would not be acceptable from an Islamic perspective. Would the Prophet Sall Allahu Alayhi Wasalam ever condone young Muslim sisters getting together in a car and going on vacation together for a few days to have fun and relax? Even if it is an Islamic conference or lecture, who girls at that young age be allowed to go by themselves? Would women be allowed to wear make up? Would women giggle and and joke about how handsome a man looks as he is talking about God fearing topics??

    The thing is, you can’t separate the genders physically anymore than we already have. I mean classes are usually segregated. The problem is not the physical barriers or physical hijab. Most of these sisters are covered, but they are not “covered”. Just because you physically walk into an Islamic class, physically cover your hair, and spit out Islamic jargon, doesn’t mean you have achieved any form of modesty. Although a lot of guys might be fooled into thinking that you do. Unfortunately, many of us have lost any sense of REAL modesty. There is no longer an internal hijab. Our characters, our stares, our behaviors and thoughts all speak to the fact that we kind of LOST that modesty.

    And the same goes for the brothers as well. The other day, a few couples were sitting in a living room and having a discussion and the conversation went into what celebrity was gay and who that person was having a sexual relationship with and how he was caught, etc. The weird thing was that it was completely normal for “religious” muslim brothers and sisters to sit there and frankly talk about these topics with each other without even being a bit embarrassed. I could never imagine my mother being able to talk frankly about something so sexually explicit like that in front of her husbands male friend. Forget about that, she wouldn’t even talk about it with her sister friends. That generation just had a modesty that unfortunately we all just lost.

    Whether it is because of TV and shows like 90210 or Melrose place or Sex in the City or movies like “Borat” or XXX porn on the internet or freedom of gender interactions or whatever. All I know is that we have to ADMIT that we lost Modesty/Hiya as a Muslim society.

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    • Um Abdullah

      very good point. complete lack of haya is prevalent all over the muslim ummah nowadays, but more so in the west. this loss of haya is definitely something relatively recent. what was ‘ayb 20 years ago is completely acceptable today, such as women oogling other men, or openly speaking about their attractiveness.

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    • Rakah

      This article basically states what I’ve been thinking for sometime and the posted response above describes the state of some of the new breed of Muslim communities who are just using religion to cover up their true self so that they are not criticised.
      These Muslim communities are using these events as social meeting places where they can listen to some lectures, gain some knowledge but mainly hang out, socialise and at the same time even show off the fact that they are so religious!
      They also use these events to get away from their family issues, whether it’s parents, spouse, in-laws,etc..
      This shows the selfish and careless elements that are emerging within Muslim communities.

      In the last 10-15 years, people have been glamourising religion just to show they are pious, while in actual fact they are riddled with faults. Many of these people think by wearing a hijab/jilbab and sporting a beard they are immune to the social/human issues and are pure. However, like any human, it is your intentions that should be pure. This is what helps you to be modest and pure internally, in your thoughts, and in your actions, not pieces of clothing.

      We live in western societies where segregation is not understood, hence it is important to build these boundaries within oneself, again showing intentions are important, i.e. having the intention to control and discipline our emotions and senses and making dua to make this possible. I have practised this myself as I talk from experience at school, university and working in the male-dominated IT sector for 15 years.
      I am now instilling these values in my 2 daughters, as it is vital to raise our children with this understanding, since they are easily drawn to the materialism within society. Most importantly, we should be role models as parents, rather than taking the easy way out, and making a shaykh a role model!

      Also, no marriage is perfect but being grateful for what you have is important, the same as being grateful for being one of the 25% of the world’s population that live above the poverty line. We as practising muslim are still too materialistic, selfish and unsatisfied with what we have.

      Unfortunately we are still not understanding the importance of disciplining our human/animal nature, our Nafs!! Why do we forget that when we fast, it is to understand how we should control and discipline ourselves. We can not enforce discipline in a military style as is done in “Islamic states”, it is the responsibility of each and every Muslim to do this.

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      • Abu

        I have to say I disagree with much of what you have said.

        By saying that Muslim communities are using these events to ‘show off how religious they are’, you are judging an entire community. That is quite an unfair statement to make. As a person who frequents Islamic courses and seminars, my experience is that the vast majority of people are there because they genuinely want to improve themselves first and foremost.

        Furthermore, if someone uses these seminars to socialise, then what is wrong with that? Isn’t is much better to socialise with practising Muslims who are God conscious as opposed to with people who could potentially bring your emaan right down? Furthermore, the environment at courses and seminars is generally halal, which allows people to socialise with one another without having to worry about compromising on their beliefs. And if people are gaining knowledge at the same time, what could possibly be better? Going to an event which involves free-mixing, music, and people not in hijaab??

        If people are using these events to get out of family issues, then they are making a huge blunder. One of the key things for Muslims to realise is that their family has a right over them, especially their parents. However, it amazes me when families are obstructive to muslims who want to attend Islamic courses. Many of the great scholars of Islam, such as Imam Bukhari and Imam Malik, had the full support of their mothers. Their mothers encouraged them to sacrifice their lives for the deen. Why then do we face so much obstruction then just to attend a few courses? The key thing is that the Muslim has to allocate time to the various facets of their life. Our spouses, parents and siblings all have a right over us. But we also have a right upon ourselves to further our knowledge of the deen. For doing so brings us closer to Allah, and that is our ultimate goal.

        I also disagree with your statement that the purpose of glamorising religion is for people to show off their piety. Again, you are judging people’s intention. Whilst I myself do feel that occasionally limits are crossed in the glamour factor, the intention behind it is to show people (especially the youngsters) that actually, following the deen is pretty cool. I work very closely with the very people who work to make these ‘glamorous’ courses happen and let me tell you, they are some of the most sincere people I know. We are all riddled with faults, and I have personally seen these people weeping on contemplating their faults (I’ve caught them do this when they thought no-one was looking!)

        I agree that in Western Society segregation is not understood, and unfortunately it is not understood by many Muslims. In the West, when we are interacting in the wider world, we should control our nafs, you are quite right. So for example, we should lower our gaze, and limit our interaction with the opposite sex. However, when we return back to our local Muslim communities, surely we should practice the segregation between men and women as stated in the Qur’an and Sunnah? This is the ultimate form of purity. It saddens me to see Muslims who think this is a ‘extreme’ practice when it couldn’t be mentioned clearer in the Qur’an. Men and women did interact in public places during the times of the prophet, but even then, it was done only on an as needed basis. In private (Eg Homes) segregation was observed. Why can’t we implement this today?

        I agree parents should be role models first. But Our children have many role models. Yes they look up to their parents, but then they also look up to Bollywood film stars, singers, footballers and the like. Children are influenced by these celebrities for sure. I would rather a situation where I am my child’s primary role model, but then him/her taking a Sheikh as a secondary role model, as opposed to some sleazy celebrity.

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      • Muslim

        Salaam Abu,

        I agree with you. These classes and seminars are a must. No matter what takes place, is there any other forum or way of teaching the religion? Meaning, just because certain wrong things take place at an event, doesn’t mean the event should be looked at as negative. Especially when there is really no other way to have the event.

        We live in the west, there are not 50 women scholars to every 50 males scholars. And even if it was, it doesn’t mean that women should not be able to attend classes of a male scholar because maybe that scholar is an expert in a something that there might not be a female scholar around to teach, etc.

        I also agree with you about the sincerity of the people organizing these classes. It is not easy task to set these classes up and the volunteers and organizers who work to have these classes are doing so many good things at once and insha’Allah gaining the pleasure of Allah SWT.

        Having said this, I think that we still have to admit that we lost our Hiya in a society. Meaning, the only way to bring it back would be to first admit we lost it. And when I say we lost it, I am not saying we only have 10% left, I am saying we lost all of it, like we only have 1% and that is the physical barriers we put up in our gatherings or the dress the people wear specifically to those gatherings and that is about it.

        Most Muslim youth in the west DON’T attend these classes. And we are not even talking about what problems they might be in. We are talking about the modesty of the religiously aware youth, who attend classes to learn about their religion and spend money and take time out of their schedules to do so. I am saying even that (including myself) group has lots it modesty.

        To me, the most obvious sign of that modesty being lost is when it is manifested in the women of a community. And some of the things I mentioned above might seem very normal in our western societies, but they are NOT normal when compared to Islamic values. And like someone mentioned, it wasn’t always like this. Changes took place very quickly.

        Maybe some might think that the examples I posted above are all just normal and I am making a big deal about it, but I believe that what was once considered a vice or inappropriate behavior has become completely normal.

        I also think that when the Muslim community measures its morality compared to western society and culture, it is a very dangeorous thing. Meaning, the argument, “well she goes out to clubs, wears short shorts and does whatever she wants, so what is the harm in me wearing these skinny jeans?” will actually destroy the moral standards of the Muslim community. One, because a lot of the time, the prevalent culture that is out there is very exaggerated through the lens of the media. A lot of the times, what MTV portrays high school kids doing, ISN’T what high school kids are doing. Yet, the Muslims living in this country and even overseas in Muslim countries, does THINK that is what is going on in the west. The second reason why that is detrimental to the Muslim community is because there is not even a solid culture we are comparing ourselves too. There is no idealogical or cultural or religious basis to “western culture” these days. It is whatever the major corporations and entrepreneurs of the month make it to be. One day everyone thinks it is slutty to show cleavage and wear skin tight jeans, the next day everyone is showing cleavage and skin tight jeans. One day miniskirts were worn by adult women going to night clubs and having “fun”, the next day all high school girls are wearing miniskirts. Etc, etc.

        The most dangerous excuse and justification for doing something is to say, “well they are doing this which is 100X worse than what I am doing”. And this takes place explicitly and implicitly. A father might not say anything to his teenage daughter for wearing things that are revealing when he sees other teenage girls on the street wearing things even he has to lower his gaze from even though he is 60 years old.

        And I am not focusing on men because if women are this way, the men or brothers are obviously worse.

        I think we have a tendency to focus on the phsyical aspects of Hijab, which are very important. But we tend to stop at that which is wrong. I have even heard young Muslim girls talking about their elders in a self righteous way saying how they cover their hair but their mothers barely put a scarf over their head. Yea, that is true, but everything else about their mothers was 20 times more modest than them.

        And modesty is not just in gender relations. There are many different aspects to living a modest life, and I am just realizing that our younger generation here has lost it. We need to talk more about modesty.

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      • Abu

        Well said Muslim.

        I agree, I think the most dangerous thing Muslims can do is compare themselves to those who typify western culture. The moment we say, to quote you ‘“well she goes out to clubs, wears short shorts and does whatever she wants, so what is the harm in me wearing these skinny jeans?’ we have already started to dilute our beliefs.

        Some people also try to protect the youth from ‘Western culture’ by sheltering them from it altogether, and instead expose them to ‘Eastern culture’. IMHO, the image portrayed by Bollywood and its music is just as bad, if not worse than Western Culture.

        Ultimately, the standard which we need to judge ourselves by is the Quran and Sunnah. The only way we can understand that standard is by seeking knowledge, and for those of us living in the West, these courses and seminars are the only way of achieving that. The reality is that seeking knowledge is the only way to protect oneself from the dangers of western culture…

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      • Rakah

        Unfortunately, Abu, you have not only miscontrued my comments but made an assumptions and judgements that I am against them. I said SOME of the Muslim communities.
        I have been wanting to attend these course but I find these are geared towards the younger generation who have less responsibilities and more time to spend a whole weekend at these courses. Unfortunately I don’t, and would prefer a 2-4 hour course for one day.
        However this does not mean you would go to a non-muslim place to socialise, you can always have a talk/lecture at home by inviting others, socialise with the extended family and do other HALAL activities.
        I am not judging intentions, it is this article that judges the intentions of the women attending these courses. Too be honest, you have judged me in your reply.
        I do not see segregation as ‘extreme’, neither do I disagree with practising this at home, however it is near impossible in the western workplace, but again if the intentions are pure then Allah SWT helps you.
        My concern is that I have seen and still see too many parents who think just because they are practising their children will learn but that doesn’t happen. True colours start showing once these children reach teenage. Plus I do not agree that all children see celebrities as role models.

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      • Abu

        Rakah

        I apologise if I came across as judgemental, but I perceived the tone of your article to be suggesting that on the whole people use these courses in the wrong way. From my experience that is far from the truth. I appreciate your clarification on what you were trying to say. JazakAllahu Khairan, and I apologise if I offended you in any way. I honestly haven’t judged you in any way. How can I possibly judge you, when I myself will be judged by Allah? I was merely articulating where I disagree with you.

        Again, though, I will say that these courses are not geared solely towards the younger generation. They are actually run in quite a professionaly fashion, and certainly in the brothers section, I have seen mature adults attending these course. Many of the people who do attend have children and large families, and sometimes they even bring their children with them and make it a family day out. What a great way to spend a day as a family, going to an Islamic course, meeting good Muslims who can inspire you to better yourself?

        Having circles of knowledge within the home are a great idea too. However, its really important to have these circles delivered by someone who has some authority to speak on the religion. All too often these circles within the home are delivered by some elderly aunty or uncle from down the road, who are perceived to be religious by their communities, but they themselves haven’t really studied the deen formally. We need to take our religion from those who have studied the religion through authentic scholarship, and unfortunately these people are few and far between. Hence why courses and seminars are so appealing to those who are serious about seeking knowledge in the West.

        Perhaps I to need to clarify my position on celebrities as role models. People are influenced by such people to varying degrees. Some like to copy their celebrity role model to the T, whilst in others the influence can be much more subtle. I remember as a child looking up to Waqar Younis, and I used to copy his bowling action, his run up, and even the way he wore his cricket outfit. To not be influenced by celebrities whatsoever is extremely difficult. The only way to avoid the influence is to avoid them totally, and learn about the role models within our religion. Our children should actually learn to use the Prophet and his wives as role models. How the they conduct themselves in public, and private. How were they with their families. How did they eat, drink and dress?

        The bottom line is you are always going to get people in all walks of life who don’t have the clearest of intentions, be that at Islamic courses, the workplace and even family. The reality is that this article was addressing an issue which only affects a small proportion of individuals who attend Islamic courses. Despite that, the issue needed to be highlighted to raise awareness so we can be mindful of it.

        I hope you can someday attend a course and see how amazing they really are, and a place where you can meet some fantastic and inspiring people :)

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      • Muslim

        @Rakah you bring up really good points.

        1.) Back in the day, parents could hope that their lifestyle and example would pass on to their children without the having to explicitly tell them. However, the world we live in these days is different. There are 20 different messages at one time hitting kids as they grow up. And those messages are very vocal, explicit and most of the time confusing. Whether it is their teacher at school pushing them to believe something, the students at school that come from all different walks of life influencing them, the television with all of its mixed messages, the interent with hundreds of websites with hundreds of opinions on life or random lectures at college campuses that sway studnets’ minds, we have to admit that people are being brainwashed from all different view points in our society. Which is why Muslim parents need to realize they have to change the way they parent. Although living as a good, hard working, practicing Muslim is very important, parents need to go on a brainwashing campaign directed towards their children, just like every one else does. It has to be in a wise way. Wether family gatherings, daily talks, guiding kids towards good kids to hang out with, enrolling children in specific classes, researching schools and teachers they will be exposed to, etc etc. Parenting got 10 times harder in the world we live in. Part of this process are these Islamic classes that are offered.

        2.) In regards to segregation, I think it is very important. I actually don’t find it clashing with western culture or society as you can do what you want in your religious place of worship. If there is ONE place that is segregated, it has to be the Masjid and Islamic functions. Now the way segergation takes place needs some widsom. You can’t put women in a 2nd class room, where kids are running rampant and the sound system sucks and they can’t even see the lecturer. We have to realize that, just like I said in point # 1, that this is not back in the day. Your women will not be okay if you seclude them from everything and keep them at home with the kids. Men need to do their Islamic, God given jobs and run a campaign directed towards their women, especially their daughters. Education is KEY. The more educated women are about Islam, the more educated your children will be about Islam and hopefully practice what they learn and become moral citizens in a society.

        However, segregation is key. It has a psychological effect on the community and reminds people that there is SOMETHING wrong with sitting around and looking at, talking with and being physically close to women of the opposite sex who are NOT your Islamic relatives. It is obvious that other places in a persons life there is no segregation, but if the Masjid has to be the final abode, then so be it. But again, with wisdom. Why do women get sent to the back? I have seen many lectures in Pakistan, where thousands of people are attending and the men are on the left and the women are sitting on the right with a small partition that is just enough to keep unwanted stares away. And mashAllah, the population of the women sitting in the lectures is either the same as men or even more.

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    • hellow0rld

      Masha’Allah, this comment should be made into an article and I hope it gets as many views as this one.

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  59. shahgul

    When it is time for a girl to have a crush, she will have it on the first figure available that she can look up to. These girls are crush ready. It is in their fitrah. That is how Allah Subhanahu wa taala has made them. If they don’t fall for a sheikh, they will fall for a rock star, or a basketball hunk. These crushes are not confined to the US. When I was growing up in Pakistan, every other girl in town had a crush over Imran Khan. Someone they had never even seen in person. Only, the girls in the US are not bound by the unwritten laws of silence and decorum binding the women in the East.
    Does it mean women should be prevented from going to halaqat? Does it mean they should be bundled away behind a wall? No.
    Why?
    Firstly, if they can mix with men outside of the Islamic community and meet them and watch them, then we are only creating a fool’s paradise by segregating masajid and halaqat. At least in this situation they are having crushes on Muslim men, men who have a lot of or some fear of Allah, so there is lesser chance of fitnah.
    Secondly, these ladies need to marry. If they are too young to marry, then they should be accompanied by their mothers or maharim.
    Thirdly, this is not something new. We have at least one daleel of a sahabiyah offering marriage to the Prophet peace be upon him. When the women of the town talked about that sister, a sahabi shut them up by telling them that the woman was better than them because at least she proposed to the Prophet, peace be upon him.
    Another way to prevent fitnah is to raise the bar. I have previously commented, specifically on Al-Maghrib, that they need to redesign their curriculum and make reading assignments and tests an integral part of it. That will either discourage the kids looking for Islamic entertainment, or at least force them to acquire knowledge.

    In any case, we must remember that these girls are growing up in a unique situation. They live in an unislamic environment and we expect them to become good Muslims just by visiting a mosque or halaqa. We need to exercise more sabr and hikma.

    No, the shuyookh should not be severe, because the Prophet, peace be upon him said that a soft mannered teacher was better than a rough mannered teacher. One skill of a good teacher is also to catch and hold the interest of the audience. Let the sheikhs do their best teaching. If we take the worst out of it, it is our fault.
    Perhaps, one reason Al-Maghrib does not have female teachers is that women have been prevented from the knowledge of Islam under these same pretexts.

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  60. Abdullah's father

    I had crush on couple of female authors online without looking or knowign them thinking how much great it would be to have such a pious(?) person as a wife and mother to your kids. It was all bluff# because all are human with their weaknesses. Why only Shaykh’s , the authors at MM face crushes every time. They are human too. may Allah protect and preserve them. Why show women’s faces in some intensive program promo learning the book of Allaah or any Peace TV programs? They did not come there for that…. Why introduce Shaikhs in the beginning with this and that accomplishments? Subahan Allah. Shaykh’s might want to take a leaf from the habits of married americans sometime by constantly mentioning about how happily married they are and their children, mash Allah. Almaghrib needs to increase the Shaykh travel expense by making them travel with their families but I don’t see that happening without increasing the tuition… may Allah grant patience and understanding to the shuyookh’s families, for so much they go through. One more point is that sisters in the US are really outspoken. They are allowed to look at guys in these classes, as per sitting environments but not the vice versa ( for obvious reasons). Its a good idea to scroll down while listening to YouTube video, because Hijab is not just for women or just worthy of a jilbab/niqab its much more than controlling your iradah that becomes your niyyah and control before it becomes hamm or worse an actual action that one actually would regret. I hope I made some sense…

    I am afraid MM is becoming Muslim front of TED, in a good way……

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      • Umm Reem

        @ Abdullah’s Father:

        One more point is that sisters in the US are really outspoken. They are allowed to look at guys in these classes, as per sitting environments but not the vice versa

        I don’t think it is only a US problem, I think it happens pretty much everywhere when you put two genders together.

        A friend of mine is married to a Qatari who is a chemistry professor at Qatar University (he studied in US) and my friend told me that her husband is quite sick of how the female students act around him, especially the freshmen coming from a total segregated school. For first few years, he actually took his wife as a TA (since she has MA in the same field) but now she can’t anymore with all the domestic responsibilities she has. So I think the teacher/student crush exist everywhere.

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      • AnonyMouse

        Agreed… the girl-student on a guy-prof crush is pretty much a well-known theme of “romance” books and movies…

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      • Amad

        Yeah, I wanna know more… yaani someone argued homies get attention—> nope. Now MM authors… must be REALLY missing something here :) lol

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  61. fitriani Rahmah

    ya I think female students are so annoying if they can not lower their gaze…they even can destroy a household.. there is no obligation for man covering his face… so both men and girls.. lower ur gaze

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  62. umm-ubaid

    Assalam wa alikum,

    Masha-Allah a very good article by brother Kamdar. Subhan Allah what he has written is so true. Sisters do tend to give extra importance to their teachers or mashaikhs

    Only we know being a wife of a sheikh, how much sacrifice and patience is needed when our husband’s are busy with dawah and teaching. We don’t need the extra tension knowing that out there a sister wants to become a co-wife. It will definitely create a problem in the household……………

    Jazakallah brother kamdar for writing this excellent article, may Allah (swt) reward you insha-allah.This is worth putting up in places where fitna like this is tend to happen due to the short comings of the mashaikhs or the sisters.

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  63. Khadeeja

    Sheikh crushes are lethal…. may Allah protect us all from this.

    Alhamdulilah, despite having many ‘girly’ crushes when growing up, I thank Allah that I was saved from having my sheikh crushes, maybe because by the time I got serious with knowledge I realised that marriage with these sheikhs are not a romantic fantasy.. its a big test.

    Anyway, what’s the solution?

    I think if things really get out of hand then maybe they should be mentioned in the class rules, e.g. I know alkauthar has a set of class rules before beginning. Maybe there can be something written about this to save our sheikh from the fitnah.

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  64. s

    Great article mashaAllah.
    I don’t know of any sisters personally who have actually wanted to marry the shaykh or were already married and wanting to be with him, however I have met a few sisters who have ‘crushed’ on a few, and I think the only thing that bothered me was them telling me about it. I don’t think it is very necessary to tell everyone about it because it’s something that should be controlled and kept inside as just a thought, and not into any type of fantasy or dramatic romance….and even if it is a joking manner I have tried countless times to avoid the subject..but have failed many attempts.

    In my opinion, I don’t think the shaykhs’ looks play a huge factor in this because generally men notice physical beauty first and are attracted to it, whereas women definitely take in the personality, character, knowledge of a man to a higher degree of importance. These are normal men whose religiosity/manners only make them that much more attractive for the next gal. I don’t think there’s anything the shaykhs can do to help with this..it’s not like they come to class with a glamorous outfit that would make the sisters swoon for days, they don’t flirt or share a big part of their personal life with their students. They’re pretty professional as teachers and I honestly can’t think of anything they’re doing wrong except by being outwardly religious… It may be rare, but definitely no faults in that.

    The whole ‘Shaykh being like a celebrity’ thing doesn’t only pertain to sisters, it also pertains to brothers..I know of many instances where it was so cool to be able to get ‘in’ with the shaykh or be pointed out by him in front of everyone..I don’t necessarily think it is a huge underlying factor in this specific issue.

    I would also love to see more female scholars in the community, locally and globally available. It would be nice to look up to someone as a role model as a women figure. But at the same time I understand the sacrifice it also takes to be one, which is why it is so scarce. But it should definitely not be so rare as it is today.

    Anyways, all I can suggest is for those sisters who have had the crushes, to renew your intentions as to why you are seeking knowledge from a specific person. I don’t really know what else except to bring up issues like this and have a frank conversation about it so people can be more aware of their actions.

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  65. Umm Mohammad

    What about the daees running Islaamic organizations?. I’ve come across some who try to impress young women on networking sites.Some even end up in haraam relationship in their attempts to search for a wife!

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  66. Nabeel Azeez

    MashaAllah, very important topic. Jazakallahu khairan.

    There is a very prominent Egyptian sheikh (fortunately or unfortunately for him, he is very beautiful in khalq and khuluq) who once told us that he gets many marriage proposals over the phone on his fatwa show, leading to many awkward situations.

    He also told us that he would never ever consider marrying such women as they have little, if any, haya.

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    • Nabeel Azeez

      I also wanted to point out that this is not a US or “Western” phenomenon. It’s all over the place.

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  67. M.

    Asalaamu alaykum!!!

    This is why the Prophet salla Allaahu alayhi wa salam said to get married asap!!! and if u can’t, then fast. there may be unmarried sister who r looking for a righteous husband, husbands that don’t about their deen are not worth it!!! when they see a shaykh who has a lot of knowledge and his personality shows through, then you may have a deadly fan club of sisters that luv u !! what more can a sister ask for than a righteous husband. these are natural feelings that are acted upon.

    just look at how a righteous person is like in islaam. the person who follows it is such as sweetheart!! lol. so when a shaykh displays his personality and his knowledge, there may be sister who think he is like the sweetheart muslim, and then like him. these scenarios are possible, not all sisters are like this of couse not!!!!!!

    Asalaamu alaykum!.

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  68. Aisha

    hilarious but true, so sad for the sisters and I think the popular sheikhs should not have an FB or youtube account which I have seen many floating around and making their emails easily accessible.

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    • traveller

      Agreed!!
      Especially facebook accounts!
      sheikhs may Allah bless you all and your family..
      .if you want to give dawah you dont have to put up your picture and keep updating your status. If you want to do dawah on facebook please do so by creating a group with some name instead of your name. Maybe something like “know a path straight and short to eternal bliss” or you know what i mean.

      Your focus should be spreading the message of haqq and so you DONT have to upload your pics and if you have an account please dont add any female to your freinds’ list. may Allah grant us all ikhlaas!

      your sister in islam.

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      • Khadhija

        Allah bless you traveller. Exactly what I wanted to say. Many islamic teachers NEED to GUARD their MODESTY.

        Subhanallah.Doesnt it get to their head that THEY ARE FITNAH FOR THE LADIES.Especially the ones who seeks ilm.

        Dont add girls to your contacts and dont talk casually,let alone flirtatious to them.

        I hope the silly shaikhs realize.

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      • Chris Caras

        JazaakAllahu khairan Traveller. This is an excellent suggestion, maa shaa’Allah. Afterall, it’s the job of the du’aat to connect people to Allah, not to themselves. Having FB “fan pages” with their own names/pics seems to suggest the opposite. Honestly, most students of knowledge at Madeenah and probably elsewhere discuss with each other about the fitnah of female attendees to duroos and remind each other about sincerity and “family first”, but a moment’s ghaflah can lead to their weakness getting the best of them at moments. Knowing many du’aat and students personally, I believe that they all want to spread the message of Islam to as many people as possible and get the ajr of turning people’s lives around and raising their iman and connecting them to the deen of Allah ta’alaa, but of course we may lack the hikmah in doing that in the best and safest way possible, so this is an excellent suggestion, much appreciated, JazaakAllahu khairan.

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  69. aisha abdul lathyf

    asalam alaikum warahamtullahi wabarakatuh,

    with everyday research & studies, i tend to listen to lectures based on topic wise, so that i may take what corresponds with quran & hadith, take what is good & let the other be… in that manner alhamdulillahi i have a lot of collection of lectures & books…

    once a sister asked me to revert her Ipod like mine alhamdulillahi. i was more than happy to share. I put on the best of the best lectures I had on the Ipod and returned it back…

    Subhanallahi! the next day I got a complain, “what is this & that lecturer on the Ipod, whose recitation is this?” it didnt stop there… “ewww! his voice sounds so awful, some have back ground noise”… i kept patient & i advised her to listen to the content in order to gain the knowledge that you want to seek out…

    but NO! she demanded those horrible ugly voices to be removed & it to be filled with particular sheikh’s lectures & particular shiekh’s recitation…

    i didn’t say much thinking very well, understandable when she said dreamy voice “aint this sheikh’s voice so beautiful? me & my friends had gone to his lecture when he came over her… sigh! we all were gaagaa over him. he is so so handsome. i only want to listen to his lectures. sigh!” & there came many more criticism towards other sheikhs, the bench mark was about how beautiful or not their voices sounded.

    i had quiet an extensive collection of his lecturers & had listened to them but by coincidence i had put only handful of lectures on her Ipod. & alhamdulillahi, when she was saying all this, i had no idea how he looked like…

    that stopped me on my tracks of being understanding, & that led me to give her a bit of a heated lecture with as much kindness as I could muster, in order to bring her focus back on the task at hand. this is about learning the knowledge, this is not about become a “FAN” to a certain mufti/sheikh/aalim.. this is about getting the best possible fatwas on a topic that you are learning or have a question about. If you want click on the like button, click it inside your heart towards Allah s.w.t & rasoola s.a.w…

    & it was followed by an extensive period of ignore mode from her & i was more than happy to let her be stuck with the Ipod that actually had content rather than sugar coat & put only the handsome, beautiful voices to listen to…

    but alhamdulillahi! she returned back with somethings learned from those lecturers in due time…

    its sad that this is the extend to which the tharbiyya of us students have gone to, & the tharbiyya of the ummah as a whole has gone to…

    its more of like imitating the moves of a sheikh putting his hand on his chest, or a loud clap before asalam alaikum or the way a shiekh dresses that we are learning instead of actually learning anything…

    & i can’t start on the shock i have got from the whole sect divisions & the way these people are so proudly mentioning and correcting others when they question, are you a muslim, no no, i am Moor Muslim (means i am superior as i am mixed from arabic descendants) & another I am Borah Muslim (means mix of indian & pakistani, so lower than arabic descendants)… & I just have to look bewildered and say ok! i am quiet a thin Muslim…

    allah knows the best… may allah s.w.t guide us & keep us steadfast on our deen. fi amanillahi!

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  70. sister

    Salamu alaykum

    Umm Salama said, “I was with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when Maymuna was with him. Ibn Umm Maktum came, and that was after we had been commanded to veil ourselves.

    The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Veil yourselves from him.’ We said, ‘But Messenger of Allah, is he not blind and therefore not able to see us or recognise us?’ The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Are you two blind? Do you not see him?'” [Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]

    And they are our mothers, the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him), the purest women.

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    • MW_m

      Sh. Albani considers this hadith weak. In addition, it contradicts a saheeh hadith in Bukhari

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      • Massoud V.

        Allah knows best, but Insha’ Allah the Isnad of this Hadith in Sunan Abu Dawud (#4112) and Jami’ At-Tirmidhi (#2778) is Hasan. At-Tirmidhi said, “This Hadith is Hasan Sahih.”

        Nabhan, who is the disputed narrator in this Hadith, was the freed slave of Umm Salamah. He was classed as Thiqah (trustworthy) by At-Tirmidhi, Adh-Dhahabi, Al-Hakim and others.

        Zubair Ali Za’i, the Pakistani Muhaddith, classed this Hadith as Hasan and said:

        “Nabhan is Hasan (in narrating) Hadith according to the stronger opinion.”

        And Allah knows best.

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      • Massoud v.

        Allah knows best, but it is wrong to assume that such a narrator (Nabhan) is Majhool (unknown) considering the fact that so many scholars testified to his trustworthiness.

        Also refer to Nayl Al-Maqsood (#3928) by Zubair Ali Za’i, where his research proves Nabhan’s reliability.

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      • Massoud V.

        A few other points as well:

        1. The number for the Hadith provided in the link for Riyadh As-Salihin, #1626, is wrong. The correct number is #1634.
        2. There is no contradiction between this narration and the ones found in Sahih Al-Bukhari. Imam Abu Dawud explained this Hadith saying (in his Sunan, #4112): “This ruling applied only to the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) . . .”

        And Allah (Most High) has said:

        “Oh wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women . . .” (Al-Ahzab: 32)

        So this ruling was specific to them only, and not all women in general, as wrongly assumed.

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      • HadithCheck

        Brother Massoud, to say that this ruling only applies to the wives of the Prophet peace be upon him is problematic because of the incident where the Prophet peace be upon him allowed his wife Aisha may Allah be pleased with her to watch some Ethiopian men play in the masjid. If you can also email me at hadithcheck at gmail, there is certain information that I would like to share with you regarding the authenticity of this hadith but I think it would be better to do so over email rather than here.

        On a different note, here is an authentic narration which shows how much haya’ the mothers of the believers (may Allah be pleased with them all) had:

        ‘Aisha said: “I used to enter the room where the Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) and my father (Abu Bakr) were later buried in without having my garment on me, saying it is only my husband and my father. But when ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab was later buried in (the same place), I did not enter the room except that I had my garment on (because of) being shy from ‘Umar.”

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      • Massoud V.

        Insha’ Allah, will do so dear Hadith Check.

        But I’ve heard some arguments from both sides in terms of the authenticity of this Hadith, especially the words of Al-Albani in his’Irwa Al-Ghaleel, and his student Ali Al-Halabi merely quoted what his Sheikh said when presenting the authenticity of this Hadith in his Tahqeeq of Riyadh As-Saliheen.

        I’ll also ask about Nabhan too Insha’ Allah.

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      • Massoud

        I hope you’re aware of how ridiculous it is to value scholarship merely from Ijazahs, which even young children receive.

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  71. Wife of a shaykh

    Salaam

    Jazak Allah khair for this overdue article.

    As a wife of a Shaykh who frequently travels and gives lectures to both brothers and sisters (and someone whom most of you know) I would like to say that this is definitely a serious issue. While I know he tries his best to be a good husband- may Allah reward him for this- this issue has caused countless arguments and undoubtedly caused a type of rift in our relationship.

    Many sisters simply see a “Shaykh” as a pious person. They forget that he is still a MAN. A man with desires, a man who naturally like any other man gets excited with female attention. Women (especially unmarried ones) really underestimate how sexual men are. Hijab and not-softening your voice are rules there for a reason, but they forget this and just see him as too “pious” to even think anything of that nature. Women are the biggest test for men, and when a man becomes a da`ee shaytan works on him even harder. So infact the complete opposite is true- as he is pious- shaytan is working on him harder so even more of a reason women should be careful when interacting with them!

    Furthermore, he travels alone due to me having children’s commitments (school, etc), so there being no halal outlet for his desires compounded with sisters attention boosts his sexual libido even more. Second wives are not a solution as already we see each other half the time because of his dawah. I am sorry to be explicit but I want to make it clear how serious this issue is.

    Many sisters look at the shaykhs jokes and manners and think that they can never lose their temper or get into petty marital arguments. But again since they are human coupled with their hectic lifestyles- both partners are stressed. Life as a Shaykh’s wife is filled with lonely nights, relationship based on texts/emails/calls, raising children alone and dealing with sisters telling me how “wonderful” he is!! I am not complaining- I know I am his silent supporting partner and I hope to get reward from Allah – but I wanted to make it clear that life as a shaykh’s wife is NOT filled with private Islamic tutorials and praying tahajud together. Yes it is true that I get access to him and his knowledge anytime I want but not the way that most young girls imagine.

    It is filled with nights thinking about which young, pretty sister is asking a fatwa from him. It does fill me with anxiety as every woman knows ageing is a difficult aspect of life for us to cope with. And having young women constantly surrounding your husband makes it even worse.

    In the beginning he used to tell me some of what happened to him from sisters in his classes, because he wanted my support, but then when he saw that it was hurting me, he kept it too himself and he tries his best to bottle it up. But this is not healthy too!!

    My fellow sisters! The person you have a crush on is already married!! He already has a loving wife and he loves her too. Alhamdulillah I do believe he is a very good husband to me but it is not easy being the wife of a famous and always-busy husband.

    Subhanallah, may Allah reward him for his patience, he tries very hard to be a supportive husband. I often think he will not enter the highest of Jannahs just because of his dawa, but primarily because of his patience in this matter! After having been married to him for so many years, I am beginning to understand how difficult it must be for him to always control himself and act professionally and Islamically, despite being around girls who have crushes on him. He has told me many times that this is his biggest problem that he is constantly battling with.

    I wish there was a way that all sisters who felt such crushes could read this article and talk to a Shaykh’s wife. I think that would solve this issue and make life easier for all of us.

    ws

    – Wife of a Shaykh

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    • Hena Zuberi

      Asalamaliakum

      Jazikillah sister for writing this- May Allah Subhan a wa ta’ala accept your sacrifices for the deen, may you enter Jannah al Firdaus before the rest of the Mu’minas, may Allah make it easy for you and your husband. I know how hard it is when my husband comes back from the hospital with stories of nurses hitting on him, so can understand a bit of what you are feeling.

      I would love to make this into a follow up post with your permission.

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      • Wife of a shaykh

        Wasalaam

        Jazak Allah khair for your duas.

        Yes of course, please use my post- I think it should circulated as much as possible :)

        ws

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      • A single brother (who was willing to enrol to become a shaykh - not anymore)

        After reading all of this I dont want to get married anymore. Meh..

        (I can now appreciate more why getting married can lead you to completing half your deen, given all the responsibilities and the tests :D )

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    • Another Shaykhs Wife

      I was just in the middle of writing a response when I read this comment. MashaAllah, ukhti, you mentioned many of the points that I had in mind, but just to share my thoughts anyways:

      1) Most of us married our husbands and fell in love with them before they were public figures. The qualities in them that we love have nothing to do with how “famous” they are. We would feel the same way about them if they worked at a call center! Can the sisters “crushing” on them say the same thing? If they worked at a call center instead of teaching classes would you even look twice at them?

      2) If anything them becoming public figures just puts strain on the marriage. We are human and they are human. It is only natural for us to be protective over our husbands and feel jealousy. No matter how great of a husband they are and how many times they reassure you that they would never marry anyone else when you have young, childless, sisters offering to give up all their marital rights just to marry them how you can you not think that maybe they will go for it one day in a moment of weakness? After all they are just human. This in return causes arguments and tension that doesn’t need to be there!

      3) As sister Anonymouse mentioned before being married to a shaykh is not knowledge all day and romance all night. The reality is that we almost never see our husbands or get the opportunity to learn from them. They spend most of their time teaching others and preparing course materials so when they do get the chance to come home the last thing on their mind is studying more. As far as the romance part goes, it’s just a regular marriage! There are arguments, money problems, broken appliances, children screaming and throwing tantrums, dinners burning, and at times even tempers flaring!

      4) I honestly think the cure for all these crushes is a series on “a week in the life of a shaykhs wife”. If only these sisters knew the sacrifices these wives have to make, subhanAllah. Imagine having dinner by yourself more than half the year. Imagine having to be the only one at family events, and community functions, without your husband. Imagine listening to your children complain on a constant basis how it isn’t fair their friends fathers are home but theirs isn’t. Imagine never having your husband home on weekends because they never take weekends off….and the list can go on and on.

      So to sum it all up; as a shaykhs wife you are married to a great guy however you are a single parent 70% of the time, a regular wife 30% of the time, and constantly worrying about other sisters tempting your husband.

      -Another shaykhs wife

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      Reply
      • Ismail Kamdar

        Jazakallah Khair to both of you for these important comments.

        I really hoped a wife of a Shaykh would comment as it would put things into perspective and have a bigger impact on people than an article from a brother.

        May Allah make things easy for you two, and all Shuyookh and their families, and protect us all from Fitnah.

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      • Tariq Nisar Ahmed

        Jazakum Allahu Khayran to both of you sisters. Alhamdolillah, the comments of these two sisters are more weighty than the article and all the other comments — combined!

        May Allah strengthen your marriage, keep your husband’s heart soft towards you, and make your words convincing nasheeha to both men and women alike to rectify their behavior. Ameen for each of you.

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      • Just an observer

        Assalaamu alaikum,

        Yes Barakallahu feeki sisters for your posts,

        Just to add, a close family member of mine is a shaykh and come to think of it I realized everything you pointed out. I remember not long ago teasing his wife for putting up a calendar that said ” (Wifes name) and (daughters name) time ONLY! ” on particular days and times…I looked up and the entire calendar was full of ”hifdh boys at…” “Tajweed at….” and of course work that takes up a chunk of your day. I try to take advantage of him and though it would be easy, but it’s not. Often my uncle’s travels would cut the ambitious hifdh, tajweed , arabic and hadith schedules we would try to schedule… and that was when he was single with no wife and daughter responsibilities to take up. Sometimes when I hear comments like ”you better be back right after salah!” I say to myself why the fuss! But once I laughed at it and she said to me that leading salah usually= halaqa after salah then next salah and coming home late lol. So ya mashAllah the wives put up with a lot and don’t have the kind of paradise-like life we imagine ourselves, and may Allah SWT reward them for their patience and grant them both and their khayr families Firdaws al A’laa !

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      • bint Abdul Khuddose

        As-salam-alaikum

        JazakAllahu khair to both the sisters. I am really moved by your comments. I never had a crush nor did I compare any shaykh with my dad or my husband BUT I always thought a wife and a daughter of a shaykh to be lucky, because her husband/father was knowledgeable and she can have access to it anytime! I never thought about the problems faced by them maybe because I never gave a deep thinking over it.
        I ask Allah SWT to give patience to all the wifes and daughters of Skaykhs, to make things easy for them, to accept their sacrifices, to strengthen their close relationships,give baraka in their TIME and to grant them Jannatul-Firdaus.

        wassalam:)

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      • sidney

        Understand your viewpoint sister, but as i wish to point out to here, if polygamy happens, any wife has to accept it as God’s will. Remember that polygamy is allowed in islam. It’s mentioned in the Quran, a man may marry more than one, two or three up to four, but if cannot be fair, then one only. I am just worried about the trend of Muslims now following western mentality and criticizing God’s laws. esp sisters who are married to a sheikh, then they should be even more abiding to God’s laws. Polygamy is in the Quran and the Prophet also practised it, so polygamy is good and right.

        Islam also says clearly, punishment for extramarital affair is heavier for married people than for unmarried ones. so we must be clear that islam is more strict about married people, including married women, so married women should by right use even heavier purdah to avoid attention from other men, because they are already married, belong to somebody and have responsibilities. But for unmarried sisters are they required to be same heavy purdah as the married women and stay at home all day, let’s be realistic here.

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      • aliya

        polygamy and monogamy are both allowed. If a man chooses to be in a monogamous relationship then people must respect that, else they are only the cause of annoyance. If the man is open to polygamy then well and good, his wife must accept that. Point of the matter is, we must respect the man’s decision and act accordingly. If a scholar openly announces his wish to be monogamous then why should we go against his wishes and remind him of an alternative lifestyle which he does not want to adopt?

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    • Muslimah

      Subhanallah thank you so much for your enlightening response. I pray that you, and “Another Shaykh’s Wife” who posted below, are rewarded immensely for all that you have sacrificed for the cause of spreading Islam and knowledge. May Allah give you and your children sabr and protect your marriage from any type of fitnah.

      I think your response is very important to re-post because it gives people a reality check. It helps young women understand that life isn’t all roses for the wife/children of a shaykh, and lets men who are pursuing Islamic knowledge for the sole purpose of being “famous” and important in Islamic circles know the reality of what it’ll cost them.

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      Reply
    • Nabeel Azeez

      As-salamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

      Jazakillahu khairan for giving us a glimpse into your lives.

      I have a question though. You said second wives are not an option because you already only see each other half the time. Why?

      Forgive me if you guys have already thought this through but:
      Assuming an ideal financial situation, if he did get a second wife, wouldn’t he be able to take one of yous with him on his travels and alternate accordingly? The one left behind would take care of the kids during this time. That way you’d get to see him more than you probably do now and to satisfy his physical needs (and yours) while he’s out fee sabeelillaah.

      This might be even easier, logistics-wise, if there were four wives rather than two because there are more “staff” to look after the kids.

      Just some food for thought. I would advise him against marrying any “groupies” though.

      And Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala knows best.

      May He have mercy on the shuyukh and their families.

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      Reply
      • Ruby

        He can’t force one of the wives to watch the other wife’s kids. It would be a nice gesture and all, but no one can force her to do it.

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      • sebkha

        not to mention the utter coarseness of adding on to the family in order to acquire more “staff”. what a great solution for the kids as well-they’re already deprived of their father’s attentions and time, why not throw another woman into the mix, who is entitled to her fair share of time and attention, but the cost of doing so means less time and attention to the children that are already there. sounds peachy.

        a more viable solution, if possible, could come from family, that’s already there. if grandparents, aunts and uncles, older cousins, etc were able to help a shaykh’s family by assisting with the children every now and then, it could help the wife be able to spend some more time with her husband, travel with him every now and then, that kind of thing. extended family help at home too could help, with mundane chores and other tasks around the house already done, so that when a shaykh is finally home with his family, not all of his time is eaten up by that kind of stuff. he could focus more on his relationships within his family and bonding with them, rather than having to spend an entire afternoon cleaning the gutters or doing yardwork.

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      • Nabeel Azeez

        Following the Sunnah of polygyny is coarse? MashaaAllah.

        I based my solution off two simple assumptions, 1) financial capability and 2) that the sheikh/talib/da’ee understands and implements his responsibilities toward each family.

        Your “solution” assumes a lot as well. So how’s it more viable than mine?

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