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Muslim Culture vs. Pop Culture: Halaal Alternatives


ihijab.jpgIt does seem as though we have an obsession with lists, eh? :P

Well, here’s another relevant subject forall of us living here in the West: for teenagers and young adults especially, there is sooooo much haraam going on around us… we have to struggle with such basic things as food, clothing, and entertainment. There is such a great deal of fitnah that sometimes it can be very hard to resist it all, and some of us even fall into the trap of giving in to Shaytaan and his whispers – may Allah protect us and strengthen us, ameen.

This subject and the suggestions I’m about to post below have been taken from the IslamWay Sisters forum (SISTERS-ONLY!!!! – in case you couldn’t figure that out on your own! ;) ).

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Eating out (McDonald’s, KFC, etc.): Go to a halaal restaurant if there is one around; if there isn’t, stick to what we’re allowed to eat (veggie wraps, salads, seafood).

Music: Qur’aan and anasheed (without musical instruments).

Movies: Ummah Films! Make your own halaal movies – all you need is a video camera (and maybe someone with video editing skills)!

Novels (for those of us who like to read): Islamic novels – surprisingly, there are several Muslim writers out there who’ve written works of Islamic fiction. The Jinn in the Clock, The Wicked Wazir, and Umm Zakiyya’s “If I Should Speak” trilogy are amongst my favourites!

Clothing (guys have it easier than girls!): The best solution to our numerous clothing issues: Wear an ‘abaaya or jilbaab! That way, you don’t have to worry about whether your skirt or blouse is long enough or simple enough; wear whatever you like and just throw on a lovely, simple ‘abaaya/jilbaab over it! There are sooooo many great stores around – online and in many areas in Canada/ the States/ the UK – from where you can buy great quality and great looking ‘abaayas and jilbaabs. If you know of any great online stores, please leave a link in the comments section!

Dating: MARRIAGE!!! Mind you, there’s a lot more to it than just going out and getting married to the first random Muslim dude (or dudette) you meet on the way to the Masjid; keep in mind the many different issues each individual faces! But, for those of us who can’t get married ASAP: fast!

The Prom/partying: Have a sisters-only party! Dress up, wear sparkly hijaabs, blast anasheed from the boombox, play fun and silly games (cheesy classics are classics for a reason – they’re ALWAYS fun!), and take a moment to read aloud some ayaat or ahadeeth to remind ourselves of our ultimate purpose on this earth. Errrr, right – let’s not forget the brothers! Ah, well, I’m sure their XBoxes and Wii’s are keeping them plenty entertained… :D

Shopping: Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with shopping in moderation… but far too often we find ourselves doling out moolah on things that are neither neccessary, nor even wanted. Why not spend that money fee sabeelillaah (for the Sake of Allah) instead? Donate to your local masjid, food bank, or any other beneficial cause, and invest in your ASP (Aakhirah Savings Plan)!

Makeup: For sisters, please keep in mind that we’re only allowed to wear makeup in the home, in front of our mahrams. And y’know, makeup isn’t all that important anyway. One of the amazing benefits of hijaab is that it liberates us from the culture of cosmetic judgement, from people liking us based on our ability to look like Barbie dolls.

Gossipping: Instead of saying mean things about each other, why not find GOOD things to say about each other? Remember the old adage: “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all!” And: “He who fears Allah and the Last Day, should speak good or keep silent.” Let’s work to strengthen our Islamic brother- and sisterhood, not weak and destroy it!

Teen/ tabloid/ shopping magazines: Instead of stupid things like CosmoGirl, get a subscription to al-Jumu’ah Magazine or SISTERS magazine for Muslim women. These are amazing efforts by our Muslim brothers and sisters, with a great deal to benefit from in every way. So, rather than wasting money on something that’s ultimately useless (do we need to know whether TomKat’s marriage is holding up, or what Paris Hilton’s latest misdemeanour was?), let’s spend our money flipping through pages of benefit, insha’Allah!

And now, dear readers, it’s up to you! List your own halaal alternatives to the above habits/ hobbies, or mention other habits/ hobbies and halaal alternatives for them!

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Zainab bint Younus (AnonyMouse) is a Canadian Muslim woman who writes on Muslim women's issues, gender related injustice in the Muslim community, and Muslim women in Islamic history. She holds a diploma in Islamic Studies from Arees University, a diploma in History of Female Scholarship from Cambridge Islamic College, and has spent the last fifteen years involved in grassroots da'wah. She was also an original founder of



  1. Hassan

    May 16, 2007 at 11:14 AM

    KFC and McDonalds are haraam??? Gee why 9 out of 10 scholars I asked say its halaal.

  2. iMuslim

    May 16, 2007 at 11:52 AM

    Oldie alert: who is TomKat?

    I know who Paris Hilton is, UNFORTUNATELY. :roll:

    On Clothing…

    One thing sisters (including me) get all confused about when we start observing hijab, is the clothing issue. Even if we wear jilbab/abayah, we automatically think that all of our old clothes are somehow unsuitable, and start chucking them out! STOP! Just wear them underneath the hijab!
    Even though most girls get ‘dressed up’ for a reason, i.e., a wedding, party, Eid, to impress certain someones… it still feels nice to do it for yourself as well. Admittedly, it is something i do very rarely, but every so often, i do like to go a little ‘crazy’, and wear something very girly (usually in pink, haha), and go the whole hog, with matching jewelery, hair clips, some light makeup, handbag… actually, i am not really a bag person, so scratch that! I obviously don’t leave the house like this; this is an indoors-only activity. :)

    Anyway, it is fun, and can cheer you up when you’re feeling down. Usually just after you’ve watched something on the news about some gorgeous, celebrity bimbo… ahem. *grin*

    On Music…

    As far as i am aware, you’re allowed to sing, right? As long as the lyrics are not dodgy, and there’s no music, and you’re not singing in front of non-mahrams? I like to sing. I have a terrible voice, but that doesn’t stop me. ;)
    You could recite poetry… add some rhythm to it, and you’re rapping, baby! haha

    On Shopping…

    If you can’t stop yourself shopping, then why not buy things for other people, like family members? Buying gifts for others can be more gratifying than buying them for yourself. And spending on family and the Ummah is not considered a waste of money, because it is part of upholding ties, and spreading love. Alhamdulillah!
    OK, Mouse… i’m waiting for my gift in the post now (Clodhoppers, i believe?). ;)

    On Magazines…

    Who needs a magazine when you have MuslimMatters?
    {whispers: you can send the cheque, with the Clodhoppers, Mouse}

  3. iMuslim

    May 16, 2007 at 11:53 AM

    Heeeey… i think Askimet ate my comment! Someone please retrieve it. I ain’t no spammer! :P

    Unspammed… I think you had too many smilies, the blog likes to appear serious :) -MM

  4. Amad

    May 16, 2007 at 12:19 PM

    Here you go with another ‘softie’ post… now muslim_gal has been all but vindicated.

    Instead you should have written about end-times, losing a favorite toy or some other serious stuff…

    Btw, my next post is going to be about the pet I never had, and why little boys shouldn’t be teased about playing with deals… prepare to shed some tears…

    Ok, the preceeding was in jest. (just for muslim_gal)

  5. Sequoia

    May 16, 2007 at 12:19 PM

    Is it universally accepted my scholars that music is haram? As a non-muslim obviously I am not schooled on this topic, but I am curious. Is it in the Qu’ran? Thanks for any info!!

  6. iMuslim

    May 16, 2007 at 1:11 PM

    I think you had too many smilies, the blog likes to appear serious

    Are you kidding me? This is ANONYMOUSE’S entry… serious is not the word i’d use. ;)

  7. Amatullah

    May 16, 2007 at 1:37 PM

    I highly recommend friends to take classes/halaqaat together. You’ll grow together, increase your knowledge together bi’ithnillah and inshaAllah you will only be friends for the sake of Allah ta’ala…inshaAllah tasting the sweetness of emaan.
    Also listen to a lecture and then discuss it together. These can be alternatives for gossipping.

    Instead of those annoying chain emails, you can send out a hadith a day or an ayah, or a nice reminder. Allah azza wa jal says, “Remind! For verily the reminder benefits the believers” (Surah Dhariyaat) My friends know that I send out emails like that lol. I even send out some nice Qur’an recitation I find.

    wa Allahu ta’ala ‘alam.

  8. Abu Bakr

    May 16, 2007 at 2:29 PM

    It is the opinion of the vast majority of the classical scholars of Islam, including the Four Imams of the famous Four Schools of Thought, that music which is accompanied by musical instruments is prohibited. The basis for this is a hadith of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) which can be found in Sahih al-Bukhari and is accepted as authentic by the vast majority of the scholars and the verdicts of a number of Companions (many of the scholars consider the legal opinions of the Companions to be legally binding precedents if they do not contradict any text of the Qur’an or the Sunnah and if there is no contradicting opinion amongst the Companions).

  9. Faraz

    May 16, 2007 at 4:03 PM

    On a community-basis, I think it’s important to offer viable alternatives to most of the social events that we have to go through during adolescence, and even as adults.

    Our city hosts an annual Muslim Graduation Dinner to honour all the Muslim University graduates, providing them with a halal environment to appreciate the efforts of the hundreds of Muslim students everywhere. People like to dress up and go to formal events on these special occasions, so this gives them a nice alternative where they can get by in a suit or a jalabiyya, and not have to worry about dancing and mixing and alcohol and all that other bad stuff.

    And for the lucky graduates of 2006, they got to be entertained by my bad jokes as their host!

    It wasn’t all bad, actually …

  10. abu ameerah

    May 17, 2007 at 7:37 AM

    WHAT?! I can’t go to the prom now!

    After I just rented a tuxedo and everything! I guess I can just sit in the limo by myself and cry now…

    Whatevvver! (said with a “Valley Girl” accent)

  11. Umm Reem

    May 17, 2007 at 9:08 AM


    Yet another good post mouse!
    Speaking of proms, I have a class for girls every Friday. Last Friday, some of them told me they went to the prom! They said it was like going to any party (as long as they dont interact with other guys), they sat in their own group, some muhajibas some non-muhajibas. I guess any ‘regular’ desi party has pretty much everything same, music mix gathering etc.

    Keeping their back ground in mind, I suppose they didn’t see anything wrong with going to prom…

  12. Umm Reem

    May 17, 2007 at 9:18 AM


    “And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allah, the Verses of the Qur’an) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-Fire).” (31:6)

    Ibn Masood (ra) said about this verse “I swear by the One other than Whom there is no God that it refers to singing [ghinaa].”, and he repeated this three times.

    Ibn Abbaas (ra) said it refered to ‘singing and the like’.

    Many taabi’oon such as Mujaahid, Ikrimah, Mak-hool and Umar ibn Shu’ayb viewed it as a censure of music and song.

    -Allah knows best

  13. zaynab

    May 17, 2007 at 11:10 AM

    MAC has monthly events for highschool kids in my city. They do fun things like bowling, laser tag, etc.

    Sometimes we get a little freaked out by mainstream culture, but alhamdulillah there are tons of fun and halal things to do. Since the haram, or makrooh things are advertised so greatly it just takes a little bit more effort finding halal fun.

  14. Amad

    May 17, 2007 at 12:56 PM

    I should add though, on the subject of music, that although I agree that it is prohibited based on what has already been mentioned… it is still something that would be on the lower rungs of the ladder of prohibitions. That is, it is not in the ranks of alcohol, fornication, leaving prayers, etc. So, it is important to keep priorities in mind.

    I say this so that if there any folks who are interested in Islam and music is their only obstacle, then by all means don’t worry about it. I am not underestimating its prohibition, but at the same time, if we look at Muslim nations and our Ummah, is music our biggest worry? Indeed, it is not!

  15. AnonyMouse

    May 17, 2007 at 11:08 PM

    Hassan: Ummmm, the McDonald’s and KFCs here aren’t zabiha… we have no guarantee that they’ve been slaughtered by a Jew or a Christian (Ahlul-Kitaab) – they could very well be slaughtered by a Hindu or an atheist, for example – and they don’t have the name of Allah read over them, and they’re rarely slaughtered the way zabiha meat is. Brother Amir (?) of had a great post pointing out how/ why the meat you find at restaurants and fastfood places here can’t be considered halaal for consumption.
    If someone else could also comment on this, I’d appreciate it…

    iMuslim: TomKat = Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes (don’t ask how I know!). Clodhoppers? What Clodhoppers? *Shifty eyes*

    Amad: You’re sending chills up my spine already!

    Abu Ameerah: Awwwww, I’m sure your wife thinks you look great with your tux… so the money you spent on the rental wasn’t a *total* waste!

    The rest of you: Great suggestions, masha’Allah – keep’em coming! :)

  16. Hassan

    May 18, 2007 at 1:00 AM

    Sister AnonyMouse, I have asked many scholars who are very respected by community and other scholars, who consider them halaal (they have their evidences). I think I have probably listened to 9 or 10 scholars opinion on this issue, all except 1 or 2 consider it halaal, and those who do not consider them halaal, have evidences as well, but they respect the other scholars and their difference of opinion.

    So as layman, you and I should not state our opinions as the only opinions.

    Also, frankly, kindly correct me if I am wrong, salaf unanimouly agreed that a muqalid can not be scholar. So if someone is “scholar” that is doing taqlid, I would not give much attention to him, even if he agrees with what I believe, rather I would listen to scholar who bases his opinion on Quran and Sunnah with his research, even if it goes against what I do, and I would insha’Allah change. But as I mentioned the true scholars I asked, even differed on this issue, with 70% or more saying it is halal.

  17. Faraz

    May 18, 2007 at 9:12 AM

    Also, frankly, kindly correct me if I am wrong, salaf unanimouly agreed that a muqalid can not be scholar.

    I’m curious, but who are the salaf you refer to here?

    Regarding McDonalds, KFC, and other Western fast food joints … the meat is definitely not zabihah, and are usually killed by shocking. No tasmiya is performed at the time of slaughter, and literally thousands of animals are slaughtered together at once. Everything is cooked on the same grill as the pork and bacon products. Beef fat is used for fries at McDonalds. An alcohol-based “beer batter” is often used for the fish products in Western restaurants (though not McDonalds, as far as I’m aware). The kitchen conditions are typically filthy in these fast-food places.)

    I’d really like to know how 9 out of 10 scholars can justify this. Who are these 10 scholars? I can’t think of a single scholar that considers this stuff halal without offering a poorly reasoned “ahlul-kitaab” argument that does not take into consideration any of the clearly defined rules of slaughter stipulated in the Quran. The few times I have heard it being justified, with respect to the use of non-zabihah meat in Saudi Arabian restaurants, the answer was always “well, we have to trust our scholars, this is Saudia after all.” And these same scholars are the ones who will criticize “blind taqleed”! Is this not the blindest of taqleed right there?

  18. iMuslim

    May 18, 2007 at 9:38 AM

    Without straying onto a topic i have little knowledge of (i.e., the whole Ahlul kitab slaughter thing), i would say at the least, this is a doubtful matter, because we have scholars on both sides of the argument.

    What we take into our bodies does not only affect our health, but also our worship. There is a hadith where Rasoolallah, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa salam, questions the dusty, exhausted traveller who begs Allah for help, but his clothes are haram, his food is haram, his wealth is haram, so what does he expect from Allah?

    There is also the good advice he, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa salam, gave about leaving doubtful matters.

    We don’t need to eat at McDonalds & KFC as a matter of survival. Not unless we were literally starving, and there was no other food source available (and in this circumstance, even a bite of pork would be halal!). We don’t even need to eat meat, to survive.

    It is important not to cross the line of saying “this is haraam”, and “that is halaal”, when we are not sure. But we can say for certainty, that this is a doubtful matter, which can be easily avoided, either by eating in halal restaurants, or just avoiding take aways altogether, and eating at home.

    And Allah knows best.

  19. Hassan

    May 18, 2007 at 10:35 AM

    Faraz. I would get the quote for the salaf statement insha’Allah soon. But I want to modify what I said, because I remember the exact statement which is “its ijmaa of all salaf scholars that a muqalid can not be a mufti”.

    I did not say taqlid for layman, I talked about taqlid if a scholar does. Thats different. I am layman, and I do not mind asking scholar for fatwa and following it. But I do mind scholar reiterating his madhab position like parrot.

    I do not want to list the names of scholars, but many of muslimmatters editors and contributors know them, and have high respect for them.

    iMuslim position is slightly more balanced than people who dictate that its 100% haraam.

    Here is AMJA links, and you can see the difference of opinion yourself, there may be more links, you can search yourself:

  20. AnonyMouse

    May 18, 2007 at 2:15 PM

    Brother Hassan, what I stated wasn’t just my opinion; it’s what I’ve been told/taught by my father (a graduate of the Islamic University of Madinah).

    Amongst the reasons for why it’s considered haraam are: no guarantee it’s been slaughtered by a Jew or Christian; no guarantee that it’s been hand-slaughtered (and in most cases it isn’t); and more.

    This link may also be helpful:

    (BTW, if Sheikh Chao or Abu Bakr could comment on this, I’d really appreciate it… jazakAllahu khairan in advance!)

  21. Hassan

    May 18, 2007 at 3:57 PM

    Sister Anonymouse, no way I suggested that the opinion that it is haram, is pulling rabbit from hat, infact I know respected scholars who hold this opinion while many respected scholars holding otherwise. So a layman should not put simply a blanket statement like that it is haraam.

    If you are scholar (I am not), then you are more than welcome to give your opinion, with evidences, I would rather have scholars debate this among themselves. I can easily refute all your claims (so far that you have put), but as I said, I am not scholar, and there is no point for me to discuss and I can not debate the issue in depth without having full knowledge of sharia.

    And again the reason I put my comment is not that I think you are wrong in following your father’s valid opinion, but lack of acceptance that there exist another opinion. Its like 4-5 years ago, I would consider muslim women not covering face as totally wrong and I would consider it totally wrong, and then I realized that no matter if I have come to know one opinion (that niqab is fardh), does not mean the other opinion does not exist (niqab is mustahab). You see what I am saying..

  22. Hassan

    May 18, 2007 at 4:12 PM

    By the way I know what opinion Sh Yaser Qadhi holds, he shared his opinion 2 years ago in Light of Guidance, Al-Maghrib class in Houston. But even if its one way or another, that does not mean, the other does not exist.

  23. Abu Bakr

    May 18, 2007 at 4:42 PM

    Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr has cited the ijma that the muqallid is not a scholar.

    With all due respect to all sides, this is one of those issues that tends to be heated and it should not be taken as a divisive matter.

    With regards to Tasmiyah in the case of Muslims slaughtering, the majority considers it a requirement (with some making exceptions for the one who forgets), while the Shafi’is regard it as Sunnah Mu’akkadah. In other words, one ought not to neglect it, but if he does so, the slaughtering is still halal. I personally follow the first opinion that it is a requirement.

    With regards to the Ahl al-Kitab, there are essentially two opinions about meat that they slaughter without mentioning Allah’s Name: prohibition and permission. Those who say it is prohibited do so because they say if the Muslim’s slaughtering cannot be eaten without mentioning Allah’s Name, how can we do so with the kitabi?

    Those who say it is permissible have said that Allah permitted it for us without making any such stipulation. Furthermore, for the Shafi’is, they did not consider it a requirement in the first place for the Muslim.

    Personally, I am inclined to this second opinion although I am not certain of it. The reason is that the Christians of that time, including the Arab Christians, mostly believed in either the Trinity or that God and Jesus were the same. Given this belief of theirs, it seems to me their tasmiyah is rather meaningless.

    What is more, the Companions used to eat the meat of the Christians that they came into contact with and considered it permissible. There was some disagreement concerning the Christians of Bani Taghlib in particular. It seems that Ali was opposed to eating their meat because he said, “The only thing they adopted from Christianity is drinking khamr.” The majority of the Companions however, permitted eating their meat.

    In any case, as I said, I am inclined towards this second view that their meat is permissible without tasmiyah, but I am not certain of it. That is one of the reasons I do not eat their meat.

    There is another issue as well that has been brought up by one of the brothers. There is the possibility that when you are eating their meat you could actually be eating maytah because of the way in which they slaughter, and it is not something that concerns them. Oftentimes, the same machines that are used for grinding up and slicing pork are used for beef. When it comes to cooking, they will cook pork and beef side by side or in the same vessels.

    The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was asked, “We are in a land of People of Scripture, should we eat in their vessels?”

    The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “No, unless you do not find any others, in which case wash them and eat in them.” [Agreed Upon]

    A narration reported by Abu Dawud and Ahmad adds “they eat pork and drink khamr in them”

    Given the conditions under which they cook and tools with which they slaughter in their slaughterhouses, etc., I personally do not like to eat their meat or go to their restaurants (even to eat something besides meat).

    If you do order something like pizza, for example, I personally advise that you make sure to request that they use clean utensils.

    Also, with respect to the Saudi scholars, many of them are against the bringing in of meat from non-Muslim countries because, the Hanbali position is that tasmiyah is a requirement for the Ahl al-Kitab’s slaughtering. In fact, I have Sh. Salih al-Fawzan’s PhD dissertation which was on the fiqh of food issues and he endorses that view. Not everything that happens in Saudi Arabia, happens with the approval of the scholars!!

    In any case, we should respect others when they choose to follow the opinions of the scholars they trust.

  24. ibnabeeomar

    May 18, 2007 at 4:42 PM

    oh no not the meat issue!!

  25. Abu Bakr

    May 18, 2007 at 4:46 PM

    Although, I should say, I don’t think that sister Anonymouse’s original article was offensive. She simply expressed the view that she follows. I think everyone knows this matter is a source of heated dispute (as puzzling as that is to me).

  26. Hassan

    May 18, 2007 at 4:51 PM

    Jazak-Allah brother Abu Bakr. My point was to make people realize there are other opinions as well.

  27. Abu Bakr

    May 18, 2007 at 5:18 PM

    Wa iyyak. My original point when I started writing was just to point out the different opinions, somehow or another it turned into a lengthy explanation of my own personal perspective on the matter which is not what I originally intended.

    In any case, I forgot: “And Allah Knows Best!”

  28. Ruth Nasrullah

    May 18, 2007 at 5:21 PM

    Asalaamu alaikum. Br. Hassan, your comments were eye-opening. I had no idea about the scholarly opinions you mentioned.

    However, I can’t help but wonder what circumstance a person would be in that they would need a scholarly opinion as to the propriety of eating fast food. It’s not healthy anyways.

  29. AnonyMouse

    May 18, 2007 at 5:34 PM

    JazakAllahu khair for all involved… brother Hassan, I apologize if I offended you… indeed, I have a lot to learn!

  30. Hassan

    May 18, 2007 at 6:11 PM

    Sister Anonymouse, No, I am not offended, there is nothing to be offended about. Infact there is much more to this issue then covered here, the scholars that I attend to have much more evidences (for and against). I was just little surprised, but I realized it can happen, as it happened to me on issue of niqaab.

    Sister Ruth, yeah people can make their choices to eat or not to eat, either based on fiqhi opinion or health concern. As far as the circumstances, there could be many, specially if someone is a student with no family, working all day or going to university, so fast food is cheap way to eat.

  31. Amad

    May 18, 2007 at 6:39 PM

    Amazingly, I had no idea that your dad was a madinah grad… So yasir and him share more than just a relation to the blog…

  32. AnonyMouse

    May 19, 2007 at 1:21 AM

    Yep… graduate of ’94, Faculty of Usool ad-Deen wad-Da’wah… (not that I’m bragging or anything! ;) )

  33. Faraz

    May 19, 2007 at 1:46 PM

    I didn’t mean any offense.

    I just find it a bit frustrating how the same people who would call me an innovator and a munafiq for not making masah on cotton socks or praying witr in the Hanafi way are the same people who become so defensive about differences of opinion when others disagree with them. If these scholars are going to use the “difference of opinion” argument, then they should apply it equally.

  34. Amad

    May 19, 2007 at 2:11 PM

    ASA, Hassan you said:

    “its ijmaa of all salaf scholars that a muqalid can not be a mufti”.

    I am not sure if this is true. A muqallid can be a mufti if his fatawa are on issues outlined in the madhab. Perhaps you meant that a mujtahid mutlaq or mujtahid faqt cannot be a muqallid?


    I just find it a bit frustrating how the same people who would call me an innovator and a munafiq for not making masah on cotton socks or praying witr in the Hanafi way

    Faraz, I am offended by these people and their statements. Those are doing calling you such in matters of mere fiqh (and even in matters of aqaid, they would be equally wrong to say so) are obviously completely ignorant themselves no matter how “non-muqallid” they believe they are. Whether one admits it or not, we do some form of taqleed to a contemporary scholar or other. In any case, the brouhaha against following of madahibs was one of those unfortunate mistake many of us were led into over the last two decade.

    Alhamdulillah, we are maturing into letting it be— that there is essentially nothing wrong with doing so, and in fact is recommended in many cases. On the other side, people are also maturing and understanding that the lack of ‘taqleed’ by those who claim it is really not technically true, and some form of it is happening between them and their ‘ulemah’. The problem comes when some ‘intellectuals’ choose to abandon all forms of taqleed while they possess zero knowledge, leading to the idea of ‘progressiveness’ and other forms of misguidance. May Allah protect us from that.

    Finally on the halal meat issue, it is the first question that I heard when I landed in American more than 15 years ago… and unfortunately people haven’t quite gotten over it. Yaani, many Muslims don’t pray, don’t fast, don’t follow basic Islamic tenets, yet we are still arguing about halal food… This is one issue where there is clear ikhtilaaf, not along the lines of madahibs vs ahl-hadith, but instead there is overlap in opinions regardless of methodology. So, whatever makes you comfortable, whoever scholar you follow (whether a muqallid scholar or not), do what you feel is right. Let’s not fall into what is a joke but is a good point for reflection, “me and my girlfriend only eat halal meat”.

  35. Hassan

    May 19, 2007 at 3:48 PM

    Amad bhai, Abu Bakr quote it above:
    “Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr has cited the ijma that the muqallid is not a scholar.”
    I heard the statment that I quoted from a sheikh that you know very well in his khutbah “ijma of salaf scholars is that muqalid can not be mufti”, ofcourse he can reiterate what his madhab position is.

    Faraz, I am not sure what you are talking about, I clearly distinguished 2 kind of people layman and scholar. And I standby my statement that a person who is muqallid can not be scholar. And if I need some fatwa I would rather go to a scholar than a person who is reiterating what he been taught to follow. If my statement frustrates you, I can not help you.

  36. ruth nasrullah

    May 19, 2007 at 4:04 PM

    Asalaamu alaikum. What is a muqallid and what is taqleed?

  37. Abu Bakr

    May 19, 2007 at 5:13 PM

    Shaykh ibn Uthaymin defines Taqlid thusly in his “Al-Usul min ‘Ilm al-Usul”:

    “It is to follow someone whose opinion is not binding proof.”

    This is admittedly not a detailed definition, but he deliberately defined it this way to exclude the opinions of Companions, because according to some usuliyyin, in certain circumstances, the opinion of the Companion is a binding proof as is the opinion of the scholars when there is a consensus on a matter. As for the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), there is no question that his statements constitute binding proof in the religion.

    He says that taqlid takes place in two circumstances: by the layman who is unable to know the ruling himself, therefore it is obligatory for him to make taqlid due to the verse “Ask the people of dhikr if you do not know.”

    The other circumstance is when the mujtahid scholar is presented with a new issue which must be dealt with immediately, in which case he makes taqlid.

    He also quotes the consensus cited by ibn Abd al-Barr, and ibn al-Qayyim’s discussion of it. According to ibn al-Qayyim there are three opinions concerning the muqallid making a fatwa:

    (1) it is not permissible, and this is the view of the majority of our companions (the Hanbalis) and the majority of the Shafi’is

    (2) it is permissible in relation to his own personal matters only

    (3) It is is permissible in case of need when there is no mujtahid available. According to ibn al-Qayyim, this is the strongest view, and it is the one that is customarily implemented.

  38. amatulwahhaab

    May 19, 2007 at 8:58 PM

    assalaamu alaykum dear sister anonymouse, jazaakillaah for an excellent post! i just have a small request from you in shaa Allaah, if you have time, please e-mail me a list of other good muslim novels u know about or links to sites i can find more info regarding such books, because i’ve been looking for some for a while now… jazaakillaah in advance :)!

  39. Faraz

    May 20, 2007 at 1:53 AM

    In any case, the brouhaha against following of madahibs was one of those unfortunate mistake many of us were led into over the last two decade. Alhamdulillah, we are maturing into letting it be— that there is essentially nothing wrong with doing so, and in fact is recommended in many cases.

    Amad, out of curiosity, who is the “us” and “we” you are referring to here?

    And if I need some fatwa I would rather go to a scholar than a person who is reiterating what he been taught to follow. If my statement frustrates you, I can not help you.

    Hassan, I think you’ve misunderstood me. My frustration lies in the double-standards that are applied, as the ones who reject taqleed entirely are usually the same ones who are so quick to label people who adhere to the four mathhahib as munafiqs and innovators. I’ve personally been attacked for holding a view on masah on socks, citing a different scholarly opinion that was against the Saudi position. (Come on, all I did was make a point to remove my socks and wash my feet! How does that negate my imaan?) But often, circular logic is applied in dismissing scholars of the four madhhahib and their opinions: basically they say they can’t be scholars because they encourage the following of a madhhab, so because they’re not scholars, their opinions on madhabs hold no weight.

    But I don’t quite understand your statement that “I would rather go to a scholar than a person who is reiterating what he has been taught to follow.” I never said anything about not going to scholars. That is one of the most fundamental aspects of anyone who follows a madhab, to follow scholars. It’s just that you seem to be only considering those people as scholars who hold your view. There are probably more scholars who hold the opposite view on meat, (it’s definitely not 9 of 10 as you said), but by your understanding, they cannot be considered scholars because they encourage taqleed for laymen. So those numbers are terribly skewed, and ignores the overwhelming majority of Islamic scholarship outside Saudi Arabia.

    The rejection of taqleed really comes down to making taqleed of different scholars; it’s still a matter of following someone whose opinion is not binding. Taqleed has never meant “blindly following” without making any judgement of one’s own; it is simply a mechanism to ensure that whatever we follow is firmly based upon annals of scholarly research based out of Quran, Sunnah, and consensus of companions, and not based on our own personal desires. So whether one follows a mathhab or not, the objective is the same. It’s still the same idea, people just give it different names. And that’s fine, alhamdolillah, as long as we’re not yelling at each other because of it.

    I really wish there were still people like Shaikh Abul Hasan ali Nadwi rahmatullahi’alayhi living in this world, who were universally respected, and helped break the terrible “us versus them” mentality we suffer from. It seems like we have two separate worlds right now, with one rejecting the existence of the other, and no one is willing to bridge the gap.

  40. nuqtah

    May 20, 2007 at 3:26 AM

    I hear ya! Brother Faraz.

  41. Hassan

    May 20, 2007 at 11:29 AM

    Faraz, I still do not understand what you are trying to say, perhaps you are not understanding what I said. So let me clarify it, and if you disagree, just say disagree first, so I can understand whether you are disagreeing with me or not.

    The issue of halal meat or any other fiqhi issue, true scholars (the one I consider true scholars) may disagree with one another. So I never said that there can not be any scholar who is true scholar but oppose eating KFC, McDonald. If you took time to read AMJA fatawas, it was almost half/half. So thats not issue. Same goes on masah, two scholars can genuinely disagree on it.

    However as I am saying repeatedly, if I need fatwa, I would ask a scholar who does not repeat position of his madhab, but rather tell me strongest opinion even if it goes against his madhab (basically all scholars specialize usul of one madhab). By the way I believe large number of scholars are like that not other way around.

  42. Hassan

    May 20, 2007 at 11:38 AM

    Faraz you said, “I’ve personally been attacked for holding a view on masah on socks, citing a different scholarly opinion that was against the Saudi position. “, hmm, I am not sure how to understand this statement of yours. Why you relate masah issue to country? I hope you do not follow islam based on race. I am sure you do not, kindly clarify. (by the way I know large number of Pakistani/Indian and also non-Saudi Arab scholars, who hold the view that you can do masah on any socks, but I am not condemning you for taking socks off either)

  43. Amad

    May 20, 2007 at 11:59 AM

    Amad, out of curiosity, who is the “us” and “we” you are referring to here?

    salam Br. Faraz… if you read that ‘famous’ (notorious for others :) ) and interesting series on Umar Lee’s blog, you would understand who I am referring to. If you didn’t read that, what I am referring to many students of knowledge and their followers who took the position that it was prohibited to do taqleed (as was the position of Alama Albani, Shawkani, others), which was in the minority even from their ulemah versus the majority opinion of it being allowed and valid and many times even recommended (as from Sh. ibn Uthaymeen). This emphasis on the issue of taqleed was in retrospect a reflection of lack of prioritization, esp. for Muslims living in the West. Hope its clearer now.


  44. khawla hurayrah

    May 20, 2007 at 1:26 PM

    On the issue of halal meat, it is a matter of personal choice what to feed our body and soul based on the guidance we are given. I can only say from my ‘layman’s’ perspective of what I saw while working part-time at a meat processing plant in order to supplement my student income some many good years ago and it made me sick just thinking about it; and also recently my friend’s college age son worked at a different slaughter house in Texas. He discovered what I have already known then that, how the animals were made to go to sleep by tranquilizer first and then they shot the head by drilling the brain. This way they thought it was humane.
    I promised myself that I would never feed my tummy and my family with that kind of meat anymore unless there is no other food in the world.

    Sorry for the gruesome picture. Anyways, we can see that there are several opinions on this issue and we don’t need to get into yet more arguments with our fellow beloved Muslims brothers and sisters.

    Ok then, another fun point to add to the list:
    Support our own brothers in faith halal meat business…. buy

    And don’t mess with Texas….. well, I mean don’t mess with Islam

  45. Faraz

    May 20, 2007 at 5:15 PM

    I think the most important underlying principle should be to “leave that which is doubtful” when we have legitimate alternatives available. Which, as the original article points out, we do, alhamdolillah.

  46. inexplicabletimelessness

    May 20, 2007 at 5:51 PM

    As Salaamu alaikum

    Sister Khawla hurayra, that’s cool how Texas has that halal label on halal foods! :) It would be beneficial if in the long run, Halal labels would be widespread across N. America. InshaAllah, may that day come soon, ameen!

  47. inexplicabletimelessness

    May 20, 2007 at 5:53 PM

    p.s. About fast food, after reading Fast Food Nation and watching movies like Super Size Me, not just me, but many, many Americans, regardless of religion, do not eat fast food anymore…. we’d rather puke

  48. inexplicabletimelessness

    May 20, 2007 at 5:57 PM

    Oh and responding to AnonyMouse:

    One alternative that is very beneficial, inshaAllah, is instead of sending kids to regular summer schools during the summer, why not send them to Islamic summer schools during the summer?

    For example, our local masjid has had monthly summer programs such as this, and hopefully inshaAllah, we are trying to make the program even better this year, by having picnics, fieldtrips, games, etc…..for the kids, along with the regular, intensive Islamic studies, Qur’anic memorization, Arabic, etc. (sorry for saying “etc” too much :) )

    So yeah, I know summer school isn’t “pop culture” per say but it’s still an aspect of American daily life that can be interchanged with Islamic summer programs in the summer. :D

  49. Mujahideen Ryder

    May 21, 2007 at 9:04 AM

    It’s a good list, but I’ll add one more: Mawlid/Hadra/Dhikr



    Edited Comment– P.S. I am glad you added he smilies and the LOL ;) -Amad

  50. Sequoia

    November 23, 2007 at 9:08 AM

    mepecrype…..good addition to discussion. Maybe tommorow you can give us other fascinating points of knowledge you “discovered” all by yourself at Little Green Footballs. And maybe if we are all so lucky, you can give us a weeks round-up from Jihad Watch. I am anxiously awaiting all your wisdom and cleverly laid out arguments.

  51. Pingback: Open Thread Sunday 5/11/2008 |

  52. Mandy Candis Despina

    October 27, 2008 at 9:08 PM

    Wow!!! That is so weird that you are not allowed to do all of those things. I mean, I have rules but I wouldnt even to able to think about not whearing make up or anything like that. If youre not able to wear any make up or show your figure/face then how do you meet a guy? How do you know that they like you? Do you believe in premaritiable sex? There are so many questions I can ask you right now!!!

  53. Rifai

    October 27, 2008 at 10:36 PM

    “I mean, I have rules but I wouldnt even to able to think about not whearing make up or anything like that.”

    Its not as hard as it seems, but might not be easy. Once you believe in whats required of you , you can with Gods help accomplish it. You can get to the point where you feel a strange sense of contentment even while staying away from such things.

    “If youre not able to wear any make up or show your figure/face then how do you meet a guy?”

    Its considered non of a guys business to be eyeing a woman figure, or her face. A guy is supposed to look away from a girls face , though he can look if hes interested in marrying her.And thats the key point, he has to be ready to commit if he wants to go further.

    Women on their part are to keep their modesty and not reveal their figures. This tends to be very helpful to the guys mentioned above, as you can imagine.

    For the most part, girls and guys don’t mix socially , at least those who are more religious.

    As for meeting guys, families occupy a more prominent role in our cultures and help arrange meetings with proper men – again only with the focus on marriage. Casual friendships with the opposite sex are religiously not accepted as proper , due to the desire to take precautions against improper relationships resulting.
    Premarital sex is not allowed, the guy and gal have to commit to each other through marriage. No try before you buy in this regards!

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