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Fatwas Regarding Women

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

Questions Related to Aqidah (Faith).

The Ruling Concerning Celebrating Birthdays

Question: What is the ruling concerning celebrating birthdays?

Response: Celebrating birthdays has no source whatsoever in the pure shariah. In fact, it is an innovation, since the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,

"Whoever introduces anything into this matter of ours that does not belong to it shall have that action rejected."

This was recorded by both al-Bukhari and Muslim. In a version recorded by Muslim and by al-Bukhari in definitive muallaq form1,

"Whoever performs a deed which is not in accord with our affairs, that deed is rejected."

It is well-known that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not celebrate his birthday at all during his lifetime nor did he ever order it to be celebrated. Nor did he teach such to his Companions. Therefore, the rightly-guided caliphs and all of his Companions did not celebrate it. They are the most knowledgeable of the people concerning his sunnah and they are the most beloved to the Prophet (peace be upon him). They were also the most keen upon following whatever the Prophet (peace be upon him) brought. Therefore, if one is supposed to celebrate the Prophet's birthday, this would have been made evident at their time. Similarly, not one of the scholars of the best generations2 celebrated his birthday nor did they order it to be done.

Therefore, it is known from the above that such a celebration is not from the Law that Allah sent Muhammad (peace be upon him) with. We ask Allah and all Muslims to witness that if the Prophet (peace be upon him) had done so or ordered such to be done, or even if his Companions had done so, we would rush to do it and call others to do it. This is because, and all praises are due to Allah, we are the most keen in following his sunnah and respecting his commands and prohibitions. We ask Allah, for ourselves and for all of our brethren Muslims, steadfastness upon the truth, avoiding everything that differs from Allah's pure shariah. Verily, He is Generous and Noble.

Shaikh Ibn Baz


1. Mualaq is where al-Bukhari did not record the entire chain of the hadith. However, if it is in "definitive mualaq form," it shows that he considered it authentic back to the one he is quoting from.-- JZ

2. The first three generations of Islam, that is, the generation of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the following two.--JZ

How Does One Behave Toward a Relative who Does Not Pray?

Question: I have a brother-in-law who rarely prays. I live with my husband's family and [the female members of] his family sit with him even if the Imam is praying. What should I do? I am not one of his relatives (mahram). Is there any sin upon me since I do not have the ability to advise him?

Response: If he does not pray, then he is deserving to be boycotted. You should not greet him nor should you respond to hit greeting, until he repents. This is because not praying is a great form of kufr [that takes one out of the fold of Islam]. This is true even if the person does not deny that it is obligatory. This is according to the most correct opinion among the scholars. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

"The covenant that is between us and them [the disbelievers] is the prayer. Whoever abandons it has committed blasphemy."

This was recorded by Ahmad and the compilers of the Sunan with a sound chain. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said,

"Between a man and disbelief and polytheism is the abandoning of the prayer."

This was recorded by Imam Muslim in his Sahih.

However, if a person denies the obligation of the prayers then he is a disbeliever according to the consensus of the scholars.

Therefore, it is obligatory upon his family to advise him and to boycott him if he does not repent. It is also obligatory to take his matter to the ruler for him to be asked to repent. If he repents, [that is accepted from him]. If he does not repent, he is to be killed. This is because Allah has said in the Quran,

"But if they repent and offer prayer perfectly and give zakat, then leave their way free"

(al-Tauba 5).

Also, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

"I have been prohibited from killing those who pray."1

These evidences show that one who does not pray is not to have his "way left free" and there is no prohibition against killing him if he is taken to the authorities and he does not repent.

And Allah is the One who provides guidance.

Shaikh Ibn Baz


1. Recorded by Abu Dawud. Some of the narrators in its chain are unknown. However, due to supporting evidence, al-Albani has called this hadith sahih. See Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani, Sahih Sunan Abu Dawud (Riyadh: Maktaba al-Tarbiya al-Arabi li-Daul al-Khaleej, 1989), vol. 3, p. 931. He discusses it in some detail, although without mentioning that it is recorded by Abu Dawud, in Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani, Silsilat al-tihadirh al-Sahiha (Riyadh: Maktaba al-Maarif, 1991), vol. 5, p. 493.-- JZ

Ruling About Hiring a Non-Muslim Maid [or Servant ]

Question: I sent requests asking for a maid to help my wife with her housework. I discovered, through letters, that they did not find a Muslim in the country that I wanted a maid from. Is it allowed for me to hire a non-Muslim maid?

Response: It is not allowed to have a non-Muslim maid or a non-Muslim male servant, or a worker who is non-Muslim for anyone living in the Arabian Peninsula. This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered the Jews and Christians to be expelled from that land. He ordered that only Muslims should be left there. He decreed upon his death that all polytheists must be expelled from this Peninsula.

Furthermore, hiring disbelieving men and women is very dangerous for the Muslims, their faith, their behavior and the upbringing of their children. Therefore, such must be prevented in obedience to Allah, the Glorified, and His Messenger (peace be upon him), and to prevent a source of evil and immorality.

And Allah is the One who provides guidance.

Shaikh Ibn Baz

Ruling Concerning Putting a Piece of Animal Skin or Leather Upon a Baby's Stomach

Question: Is it allowed to put a piece of animal skin, leather or such upon the stomach of a breast-feeding baby boy or girl or older child? We in the South of Saudi Arabia put such a piece of leather upon the stomach of the girl, small child or older. We hope that you will benefit us on this matter.

Answer: If that piece of animal skin is put on the child as a kind of amulet to protect the child from harm or to bring about some good, then that is forbidden, and could even be a form of shirk. If it is put for a sound reason, such as to keep the navel from bulging or to strengthen the back, then there is no harm in that.

The Standing Committee

The Ruling Concerning Putting a Knife On a Child in Order to Protect Him

Question: I have seen some people placing a knife on their small children and saying, "This is so the jinn do not come to him." Is this practice correct?

Response: This is an objectionable act and there is no sound source for it. It is not allowed to do such a thing. What is legally sanctioned is to seek refuge from them by Allah's complete words from every devil and poisonous pest, as has been confirmed from the Prophet (peace be upon him). He used to seek protection by those words for his grandsons al-Hasan and al-Husain Ibn Ali. It is also sanctioned to make dua for them by asking Allah to protect them from every evil. As for putting a knife or something similar, of iron, wood or other substances, with the belief that such will protect them from the jinn, it is an evil practice that is not allowed.

Similar is the ruling with respect to hanging an amulet over them, which is what is called al-tama'im. This is not allowed because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

"Whoever hangs an amulet, Allah will not complete[his affair] for him"1

In another narration, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

"Whoever wears an amulet has committed shirk."2

May Allah bestow understanding of the religion upon all Muslims, and steadfastness in the religion. We seek refuge for ourselves and them3 from everything that differs from His pure law.

Shaikh Ibn Baz


1. Recorded by Ahmad, Ibn Hibban and others. Salih al-Usaimi concludes that it is hasan. See Salih Ibn Abdullah al-Usaimi, al-Dural-Nadheed fi Takhreej Kitab al-Tauheed (Dar ibn Khuzaima, 1413 A.H.), p. 38.-- JZ

2. Recorded by Ahmad and al-Hakim. Al-Usaimi also concludes that this hadith is hasan. See al-Usaimi, p. 39.-- JZ

3. In English, the more proper manner is to invoke for others first and then for oneself. However, in Arabic, the opposite is considered the proper manner of speech.-- JZ

Ruling Concerning Hanging and Possessing Pictures

Question: What is the ruling concerning hanging a picture on a wall? What is the ruling concerning owning pictures of people?

Response: It is not allowed to hang a picture or keep a picture of any being that possesses a soul. It is obligatory to destroy such pictures. This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) told Ali,

"Do not leave any image, but [instead] efface it."1

It is also confirmed in the hadith of Jabir that,

"The Prophet (peace be upon him) prohibited having pictures in houses."2

Therefore, all pictures meant for remembrance should be torn to pieces or burned. However, pictures that are needed out of necessity, such as for official identification purposes and so forth, may be kept.

Shaikh Ibn Baz


1. Recorded by Muslim.-- JZ

2. Recorded by al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad. Al-Albani says it is sahih.

Ruling Concerning the Papers that Contain the Name of Allah

Question: We find some of the verses of the Quran printed in the newspapers or writings, as well as, "In the name of Allah, the Compassionate. the Merciful",l at the beginning of some papers or letters. What do we do with such verses after we are finished reading the newspaper or letter? Should we tear it up or burn it or what should be done?

Response: It is a must, after one is done with the papers or pages that contain Allah's name, to safeguard the papers, by burning them or burying them in clean soil. This is to protect the Quranic verses and Allah's names from being degraded. It is not allowed to throw them into the garbage heaps or into the street to use them as different kinds of sheets, such as table cloths. Otherwise, one is degrading the names and verses and not safekeeping them.

Shaikh Ibn Baz


1. Of course, the question is talking about these words being written in Arabic.--JZ

Ruling Concerning Crying due to Illness

Question: I am ill and sometimes I cry because of what happens to me after my illness. Is this kind of crying consider an act of opposition to Allah and not being pleased with what He has decreed? I do not do this action willfully. Similarly, does ruling also include when I talk to my relatives, telling them about my illness?

Response: There is no harm in crying if it is simply tears coming from the eyes, without wailing. This is based on Prophet's statement, when his son Ibrahim had died,

"The eye tears, the heart grieves but we do not say anything except what is pleasing to the Lord. We are, by you departure Ibrahim, certainly grieved."1

Hadith with that meaning are many. There is also no harm in talking to your relatives and friends about your disease as long as you praise Allah, thank Him and extol Him, and ask Him for health, following the permissible means. We advise you to have patience and hope for reward from Allah. I give you glad tiding as Allah has stated,

"Only those who are patient shall receive their rewards in full without reckoning"

(al-Zumar 10).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said,

"A Muslim is not afflicted with fati8ue, sorrow, disease, sadness, or hurt, even if it be the prick of a them, except that due to it Allah expiates some of his sins."2

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) also said,

"If Allah wants good for a person, he afflicts him with trials."3

We ask Allah to grant you a cure and health, as well as goodness of the heart and deeds. Verily, He is the Hearer, the Responder.

Shaikh Ibn Baz


1. Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.-- JZ

2. Recorded by Muslim.-JZ

3. Recorded by al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad. Al-Albani says it is sahih.

The Ruling Concerning Picture Making

Question: What is the ruling concerning picture making? What are the Ahadith concerning that topic? According to the strongest opinion among the scholars, is there a difference between pictures which have a shadow [three-dimensional pictures and statues] and those which do not [two-dimensional drawings]?

Response: Picture making is to make a representation of a living, willing, moving animal, such as a human, horse, animal and so forth. The ruling concerning that is that such representation or depiction is forbidden. The evidence for that is what is found in numerous Ahadith. In the Sahihain, al-Bukhari and Muslim, it is recorded from Ibn Masud that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,

"The people with the severest punishment on the Day of Judgment are the picture makers."

Ibn Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,

"The people who make these pictures will be punished on the Day of Resurrection. It will be said to them, 'Give life to what you have created."'

This was also recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim. Muslim also recorded from Ibn Abbas that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

"Whoever makes a picture in this world will be held responsible to breathe a spirit into it and he is not one who can breathe such."

It is recorded by Muslim on the authority of Ibn Abbas that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

"All the picture makers would be put into Hell. For every picture he made, a soul would be created and punished".

It is also recorded on the authority of Abu Talha from the Prophet (peace be upon him) who said,

"The angels do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or statues." (Muslim)

These hadith and others are general for every kind of representation, whether it has a shadow, like a figure, or if it does not have a shadow, which is like a drawing on a wall, paper, clothing and so forth. It is confirmed that the Prophet (peace be upon him) entered the Kaabah and it contained pictures and he asked for a pitcher of water and he began to efface them, saying,

"May Allah destroy those who make pictures of what they do not create."1

An exception to this ruling during this time is money containing the pictures of kings as well as passports and identification cards. Due to the need and necessity of these items, it is allowed to carry them according to need. And Allah knows best.

Shaikh Ibn Jibreen


1. 'This is recorded by al-Tayalisi and Dhiyaal-Maqdisi. Al-Albanihas concluded that it is "confirmed". See Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani, Silsilat al-Ahadith al-Sahiha (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 1979), vol. 2 p. 731, hadith #996.-- JZ

Ruling Concerning Wishing for Death due to Harm that Has Come

Question: I have faced so many difficulties in my life that it has made me hate this life. Every time I turned to Allah, I pleaded for Him to take my life away from me at the earliest. This is my wish until now as I do not see any solutions to my problems except death; it is the only thing that can save me from this punishment. Is this behavior forbidden for me?

Response: When a person wishes for death because of something that has afflicted him, he is doing something that the Prophet (peace be upon him) has prohibited. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

"None of you should hope for death because of some harm that has come to him. If he has wish such, he should say, 'O Allah, give me life if You know that life is better for me. And give me death if You know that death is better for me."'1

Therefore, it is not allowed for anyone to wish for death because of some harm, hardship or difficulty that has come to him. In fact, he should have patience and expect a reward from Allah for what he is passing through. He should also wait for relief to come, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) has said,

"Know that victory comes with patience, relief with distress and ease with hardship."2

The one who is afflicted with any affliction should know that those afflictions expiate some of the sins that he has committed. No believer is afflicted with any kind of worry, grief or pain except that Allah expiates sins for him due to that, even the pricking of a thorn. When the person has patience and expects rewards from Allah, he reaches the stage of being among the patient. This stage is a very elevated stage. Allah has stated about its inhabitants,

"And give glad tidings to the patient. Who, when afflicted with calamity, say, 'Truly, to

Allah we belong and, truly, to Him we shall return"' (al-Baqara 155-156).

The woman in the question feels that there is no solution for her problems except death. I believe that this is a mistaken view. Death does not solve any problems. In fact, the situation of adversity may get even worse. How many humans die while being afflicted with pain and problems but they had been wronging themselves and did not give their sins and repent to Allah. Then his death is just a quicker coming of his punishment. If he remained alive, perhaps Allah would have guide him to repentance, seeking forgiveness, patience, facing the problem and expecting relief. This all would have been good for him.

Therefore, you, the questioner, must be patient and expect relief from Allah. Allah says in His book,

"So, verily, with the hardship there is relief. Verily, with the hardship, there is relief"

(al-Sharh 5-6).

And the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated, in an authentic narration,

"Know that victory comes with patience, relief with distress and ease with hardship."'

Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin


1. The wording in the Arabic text is not quite exact, but this hadith is recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.-JZ

2. Ibn Uthaimin is probably referring to a lengthy hadith recorded by Ahmad. As a hadith by itself, these words, without the words, "Know that," are recorded by al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi. According to al-Albani, is an authentic hadith. See al-Albani, Sahih al-Jami al-Sagheer, vol. 2, 1151.-- JZ

Ruling Concerning Mixing with the Disbelievers in order to Call Them to Islam

Question: Is it allowed to mix with the disbelievers, Christians, Hindus and others, and to eat and talk to them or even to be amicable with them as a means of calling them to Islam?

Response: It is allowed to mix with the disbelievers, sit with them and be polite with them as means of calling them to Allah, explaining to them the teachings of Islam, encouraging them to enter this religion and to make it clear to them the good result of accepting the religion and the evil result of punishment for those who turn away. For this purpose, being a companion to them and showing love for them is overlooked in order to reach that good final goal.

Shaikh Ibn Jibreen

The Reward for Women in Paradise

Question: Whenever I read the Noble Quran, I find in many verses Allah giving glad tidings to His believing male servants of al-hooral-ain who extol in beauty. Does the woman have any partner in Paradise other than her husband? Furthermore, most of the statements concerning bounties in Paradise are directed toward the believing men. Is the reward of the believing women in Paradise less than that of the believing men?

Response: There is no doubt that reward in the Hereafter encompasses both men and women. This is based on the following statements of Allah:

"Never will I allow to be lost the work of any of you, male or female" (al-lmran 195).

"Whosoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he(or she) is a true believer, We will give a good life" (al-Nahl 97).

"And whoever does righteous good deeds, being a male or a female, and is a true believer, such will enter Paradise" (al-Nisa 124).

"Verily, the Muslims, men and women, the believers, men and women... [up to the end of the verse where Allah says:] Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward" (al-Ahzab 35).

Allah mentions them entering into Paradise together,

"They and their wives will be in pleasant shade" (Ya Sin 56).


"Enter Paradise, you and your wives, in happiness" (al-Zukhruf 70).

Allah also mentions that He will-recreate the women in the verse,

"Verily, We created them of special creation and made them virgins" (al-Waqia 35-36).

That is, Allah will recreate the elderly women and make them virgins. Similarly, Allah will recreate the elderly men and make them youths. It is also mentioned in the hadith that the women of this worldly life have a superiority over al-hoor al-ain due to the acts of worship and obedience that they performed [in this world]. Therefore, the believing women will enter Paradise just like the believing men. If a woman had a number of husbands and she enters Paradise with them, she will choose among them and will choose the one with the best character and behavior.

Shaikh Ibn Jibreen

Purity and Ostentation

Question: Many times a person thinks about doing a good deed and then Satan comes to him and whispers to him, saying, "You are doing that ostentatiously, to be seen of men and for a good reputation." Therefore, he makes us go away from the good deed. How can one remain free of such occurrences?

Response: One can remain free of such occurrences by seeking refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan, as well as by continually performing good deeds. He should not pay attention to such whisperings that make him stop doing good deeds. If he turns away from such whisperings and seeks refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan, such whisperings will stop by the permission of Allah.

Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin

Ruling Concerning Celebrating Mother's Day

Question: Every year we have a holiday on a particular day and it is called Mother's Day. It occurs on March 21. All the people gather and celebrate that day. Is this permissible or forbidden?

Response: Every holiday or celebration that differs from the shariah celebrations is a newly-invented innovation that was not known during the time of the Pious Predecessors. Furthermore, it may have begun as an imitation of the non-Muslims. Therefore, in addition to it being an innovation, it may also be an act of resembling the enemies of Allah.

The shariah holidays are well-known among the Muslims. These are the Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adhha and the weekly Eid [Fridays]. There is no holiday or festival in Islam other than those three. Every holiday that is invented besides them is to be rejected as an innovation and falsehood in the shariah. This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

"Every deed introduced into our affair that does not belong to it is rejected."1

That is, it is rejected from that person and it will not be accepted by Allah. Another wording of the hadith states,

"Whoever does a deed that is not what our affair is upon, will have it rejected."2

Since that is clear, the holiday that is mentioned by the questioner, known as Mother's Day, is not allowed. It is not allowed to have during such a day any kind of public display and celebration, happiness, giving of presents and so forth.

It is obligatory upon a Muslim to have pride and honor in his religion. He should also limit himself to what Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) have restricted this upright religion to. This is the religion that Allah is pleased to have His servants follow. There can be no addition or subtraction from this religion.

Furthermore, a Muslim should not be a kind of weak person that follows every Tom, Dick and Harry. Instead, his personality should be that defined by the Law of Allah, such that he is followed and not a follower, such that he becomes an example and not a disciple. This should be the case because the law of Allah, praise be to Allah, is complete and perfect in all aspects. Allah says in the Quran,

"This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion" (al-Maidah 3).

Furthermore, the mother has much more right than to have just one day in the year as a celebration for her. In fact, the woman has a right upon her children, that they will care for her, look after her, obey her in anything which is not sinful, during all times and at all places.

Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin


1. Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.-- JZ

2. Recorded by Muslim; also recorded by al-Bukhari in mualaq form.-- JZ

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