FAQs & Fatwas Islamic Studies

9 Questions from Our Youth: Suhaib Webb

Asalamu alaykum,

I’ve been blessed to visit a number of communities in the last few weeks. Here are some of the questions that the youth asked. Inshallah, I plan to post other questions in the near future. I would like to eventually amass a database that can be used and referred when answering our youth’s questions.

1. Are religious programs on T.V Halal? Is watching T.V Halal?

Great question! Yes, religious programs are Halal and something that I encourage everyone to try and see. Regarding television, there is a simple principle in our faith that states, “The origin of a thing is permissible, unless there is a text [from Quran, Sunna or scholarly consensus] that prohibits it.” This principle is applied to anything related to our daily lives outside of ritual acts of worship. Thus, one cannot say that T.V is categorically prohibited. However, it is important to make sure that one does not watch anything that goes against the Islamic life. Thus, one should be careful and avoid watching programs that are show violence, nudity, sex and gratify bad behavior towards others. Another problem with television is time. When I was young I remember watching television for some 6 hours a day! Time is a great blessing. And it is one of the things that, when it’s gone, one can never get it back. Thus, my advice is that it is fine to watch television, but watch responsibly. A simple way to gage if what you are watching is correct is to do the following: Once you’ve decided to watch a program imagine that the Prophet [peace be upon him] is sitting next to you. If you are able to watch the show without feeling to uncomfortable then you should be fine.

2. Imam, what should a brother do if he got a non-Muslim girl pregnant and she does not want to convert to Islam?

If you were man enough to have such a relationship with her, then you should be man enough to marry her. Your child is your responsibility and you have to step up to the plate and look after him/her. I take the opinion of a small group of scholars that this child should be given your name and is yours. This was the opinion of Ibn al-Qayyim and Dr. Muhammad Rifat ‘Uthman, a professor in my university. Secondly, I would advise you to marry this woman, develop a sincere relationship with her and, Inshallah, one day she will see the light of truth and become Muslim. Finally, don’t lose hope in yourself akhi. All of us make mistakes and fall into error. Repent to Allah, beg Him for His mercy, and seek to redevelop your relationship with him. I’m here for you and if you need further counseling please don’t hesitate to contact me through the medium of this website. All posts are strictly confidential and, Inshallah, you will find me here for you. We fall into these sins and mistakes because we are hurting inside. Allah sent Islam to give us peace and cure those gaps in our hearts. Turn to Him and your will find His mercy waiting for you. I hope and pray that all will work out for you.

3. Asalamualaykum brother:I’m in high school and want to know what if I’m in class and the opposite sex wants to start a conversation w/you? What do I do? Jazakallahu khayran.

May Allah reward you for this question. Recently I gave a few speeches at different university and high school settings and must admit that I admire the fortitude of our young Muslim brothers and sisters. WOW! I really felt a drop in my faith and began to think of who difficult it must be to maintain one’s fidelity in such situations.

There are three things to keep in mind:

1. The one asking the question (who is this person)
2. The intent of the one asking the question
3. Your relationship with Allah

As for number one, then all of us know the difference between and friendly conversation, “How are you?” and when someone is trying to hook it up, “Waz up? How ya doing?” Thus, you have to be careful and understand the intent of the questioner. It is not unlawful talk with your classmate and friends as that is something that you cannot get around and a reality of your daily life. Thus, if you feel that it is a natural conversation with no strings attached and that your faith and morals will not be comprised then it should be fine. May Allah bless you and make things easy for you.

4. What is the best way to stay away from a girl that you have known for awhile?

First, I really feel honored that you trust me and feel comfortable to ask me this question. I pray for you and ask that you do the same for me. One thing that I’ve noticed about our young brothers in sisters while reading their questions is that they do a lot of soul searching. Soul searching is one of the greatest signs of faith and reflects a concern for one’s relationship with Allah.
This is not an easy one and I don’t claim to have the answer. However, my advice would be to try and distance yourself from this girl as much as possible. The outcome of that is that you are going to find an empty space in your heart for her. That is really where the challenge lies. Scholars described the hearts as vessels. Thus, if you have to empty out your feelings for this girl and struggle to replace them with something else. First and foremost I would advise you to surround yourself with good people who will understand what you’re going through and try and walk you through this process. You need support and an environment that will act as crutches that will carry you when your weak, wings wing you can’t fly and comfort you when you need to rest. Secondly, increase your worship. Prayers are a means of cooling the soul and worship in general helps one to rise to new heights. Finally, stay in touch with me and we can talk on a regular basis. Contact me through this site and let’s develop a life plan that will, Inshallah, allow you to overcome this challenge.

5. Some of us who are considered leaders also face trials. What can we do when faced with very serious trials and threats to our faith?

I would like to thank you for your frankness in asking such questions and let me tell you that you are not the only one. All of us, at every level, are struggling not to drown under the deep waves of such trials. At time I feel my own that my own feet are unstable and I fear that the next wave could take me out to sea. During such times I try and reflect on my relationship with Allah and what that means to me. As a leader, your relationship with Allah is the fabric that makes you who you are. Secondly, I see support through my wife, children and those close to me. I’ll be quite honest and say that this year without my family was one of the most difficult ever. My anchor was gone and the hole left by my children’s absence was impossible to replace. However, there were a number of good brothers and sisters who assisted me and I was, by Allah’s will alone, able to pull through. What leaders need are programs designed to assist their growth and tarbiyah after they’ve passed the initial stages of Islamic work. Islamic workers are, perhaps, some of the most over worked and, at times, get so got up in giving that they fail to get for themselves. For that reason I encourage you to join a MAS usrah program. These weekly halaqas are the dialysis for your heart and enable you to interact with other group leaders, share failures and follow a systematic tarbiyah process that was designed with the Western Muslim in mind. The usrah system offers you the tools to give and, at the same time, continue your own growth as a leader. At MAS we are not only offering youth a chance to change, but we are offering them tools and resources that will assist them . We recognize that, “Every human makes mistakes” and are here for you, Inshallah. Please contact me and I will direct you to a local MAS leader in your community. Let’s get you in weekly halaqa. Finally, always remember to seek Allah’s forgiveness. Allah says, “Be upright and seek His forgiveness.” What this very means is be upright and see forgiveness at the same time. Scholars explained that this is because no one can be upright without having shortcomings and faults.

6. Imam Suhaib! When one thinks of Allah, what should he think of.

This is a really good question. Many people are so busy that they never think of Allah. Allah says, “And don’t be like those who forgot Allah and they forgot themselves.” It is impossible to imagine Allah’s awesome nature and essence. However, what you should do is think about His names and attributes such as The Merciful, The Almighty and The Protector. By knowing His names and attributes you can harness a truly unique relationship with Him. Thus, for example, if you feel scared you can remember that He is the protector. If you feel depressed and heartbroken because of your sins and errors, you will remember that He is The Merciful. In short, His names and attribute are your support and assist you in building a personality that reflects the power and greatness of the Creator. Imam al-Ghazzali wrote and interesting book that not only detailed the meanings of each and every one of Allah’s names, but he [ra] explained how correct cognition of such names creates a truly praiseworthy personality.
Another important thing to do is to think about, and ponder, on the signs in His creation. Go look at the starts, take a hike in the mountains or visit the beach. By reflecting on God’s creation you will, Inshallah, know Him find and find freshness in your heart.
Is food from McDonalds and Burger King Haram?
No and Yes! Okay, really, this is a really cool question. We all know the story of the people of the cave found in the 18th chapter of the Qur’an. It is interesting to note that the first thing they asked for when they awoke from the long sleep was, “Pure food.” The scholars have differed over the issue and it is one that represents an open legal issue. I personally try my best to stay away from eating such food and, however, according to the safer opinion it is a disliked act and not forbidden. However, if it is your parent’s wish that you don’t eat such food then you must listen to them and obey them.

7. What brought you to Islam?

I was introduced to Islam through Hip-Hop music. Krs-One states that Hip means to be aware or up one what is going on in the world and Hop means to be active in engaging remedies for the problems the world faces. This was the Hip Hop that I grew up on and, although I was in the streets tripping, Hip-Hop gave me an awareness of many things and one of them was Islam. As a D.J I always had two copies of every record and that meant that I used to listen to them all the time. “All praise be to Allah and that’s a blessing.” Eric B. and Rakim “Asalamu alaykum wa alaykum al-Salam!” The universal greeting of the people of our kind.” Poor Righteous Teachers and others started to give me an awareness of Islam and ultimately lead me to search and find the Qur’an. After a few years of reading the Qur’an my heart was touched and I became Muslim. It is important for Muslim artist to think deeply about their role in delivering a positive message to the masses. I’m saddened when I see Muslim artist who fail to stay true to our community, sell us out and change their style in order to please others. Stay down, keep your message clean and reflect the Qur’anic teaching through your art.

8. What is a good age to get married? I have other family members that got married at a young age but divorced after a couple of years.

I think we are framing the questions about marriage in the wrong way. It is not an age thing but a maturation thing. Meaning marriage is something related to one’s mental maturity and not someone’s age. Thus, what we need to examine is the state of mind of a person, who is an adult and believes that he or she is ready to get married. It is here that I think the problem lies in many of the early divorce cases we are seeing in our communities. Although you men and women are physically ready to get married we have to ask ourselves if they are mentally ready for marriage.

9. Why is it bad to have a girlfriend/boyfriend you don’t do anything bad?

There is nothing wrong with being friendly with people. However, Islam promotes an important principle and that is that, “Prevention is better than cure.”For that reason one has to be careful when dealing with a member of the opposite sex [who he/she is eligible to marry]. This does not mean that one has to be an ogre when dealing with others but our Creator has set guidelines that protect us from falling into things that will harm us. For that reason one is allowed to be friendly with all people, but one should avoid getting to personal with those who he/she could fall into danger with. There is no getting around interacting with ones co-workers, classmates or others. But remember that it is always wiser to play it safe and observe the correct limits. Thus, when you feel that you are getting close to a zone that make you uncomfortable, think of the statement of the Prophet [peace be upon him], “And whoever falls into the doubtful issues, falls into haram.”

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.

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  • These questions portray a diverse spectrum of interests among Muslims and I am glad that you shared them with us.

    And Alhamdulillah, it was great meeting you this past weekend!

    May Allah grant you success in your future endeavors and I hope we can meet again in Jennah!

    Wa Jazak Allahu Khairan
    Ameen !

  • I just wanted to make a comment about MAS’s usrah program.

    I’m involved in an usrah here in Canada with MAS’s sister organization MAC (Muslim Association of Canada), and alhamdulillah everything Shaykh Suhaib said about the program was correct.

    The sisters have really been a lifeline for me to get through some difficult times, as well as helping me to grow spiritually in good times.

    The most amazing thing for me was that I had so few people who I could talk to about issues in the deen, or have interesting conversations with. And the usrah provided me an outlet to really think and expand my horizons. Alhamdulillah, I would highly recommend it.

  • As-Salaam Alikuum

    Brother Suhaib I really enjoyed your talk the past weekend in Chicago, and also your reply to many of the question may Allah bless you and your family. You said that you would put the Dua of the Prophet on your site Insshallah I would love to learn it. As-Salaam Alaikuum

  • Regarding the question of zikr – subhanallah it really touched my heart. That is exactly what i used to do as a youngster, i used to ponder upon Allah’s creations. That then lead me to ponder upon verses in the Quran, how Allah see’s, hears and knows our inner most deepest thoughts (i mean if Allah can create such magnificent things then of course he’s gonna know me inside and out!!!).
    It then took me to a level of pure submission to Him – i stayed away from bad company (Allah will ask me why i stayed with them). My eyes wouldnt dare look up from the ground (in case they saw something haram, and Allah knows i’ve seen them). My whole thinking was only for Allah swt.

    Subhanallah, then i reached a level i can never describe to anyone fully. I felt Allah’s presence wherever i went and whatever i did. If i was travelling by car somewhere – i felt Allah was right behind me. And when i pray salat, i get the shivers. I cant look up from my prayer mat. My whole body shakes. I am in such awe because i’m standing in front of the most Supreme. Even though my eyes cant look up, i can feel Him right in front of me looking into my soul. Words cant describe it.
    Whilst everyone around me was sitting around watching tv – i was on my own, very consience of Allah presence.
    Believe me, now i fully understand why the Prophet (saw) used to spend many nights in the mountains on his own. That is exactly what i used to do – spend most of my time on my own. I used to take many long walks and just let my mind wonder, take in the beauty and most importantly, get closer to Allah (swt)

    O brothers and sisters, PLEASE make time to ponder and do zikr. You dont know what you are missing.

  • I couldn’t understand some parts of this article 9 Questions from Our Youth: Suhaib Webb, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

  • salam brother, when will you visit the UK(london)?brother we have recently had Eid, and some of our local mosques were closed due to the fact that they have side that they havent sited the moon, andtherefore cannot celebrate eid and cannot follow saudi. My family and i followed saudi.My question is how can one close the doors of place of worship and not allow people to pray?

  • As salamu alaikum Imaam,

    Regarding your advice for TV – something rele bothers me about TV…its all well and good saying we should watch Islamic TV and be in control..but anyone who is human knows that it just doesn’t happen that way! I can not believe that one would buy satelite TV out of deep talb for Deen! TV is for entertainment – Deen programs are only successful if they are entertaining as well. If there is one thing that is destroying our youth – its TV. Fine, there are relihous programs out there and benefit to gain – but how much benefit? When you look deep into it you find that infact persuing this benefit denies you the infintely greater benefits in the masajid and the real company of pious people. Like smoking – if you want to give up you use Nicotine patches – its werid since nicotine is the bad stuff in cigrettes, yet in patches you are using it to stop smoking…BUT NOT INDEFINTELY! You use patches with the intention of giving up and moving on. We want our youth to become strong in Imaan and Ilm, like Imaams like yourself mashAllah – and sitting on ones backside for half the day watching Islam Channel is never going to omake one anything in Deen. From the TV you get maarifah – information – but the Noor of the maarifah lies only in the actual mujlis of Ilm. The great Ulama of the past STRUGGLED for Deen – they had VALUE for Deen – they would travel the world for a Hadith! So Allah Ta’ala Elevated their status. WE want the Deen to come to our living rooms, with popcorn in one hand and our feet up – will we ever really be successful this way? Is the concept of ‘Islamic TV’ thus a mirage and deception? Wallahu Alam

  • Asa. I follow up on alot of what you write Alhamdulillah I must say you are gifted by Allah and are trying your best to guide people. But something I find wrong in your lectures is that you are giving alot of freedom to the youth to intermingle. When you allow ‘friendly’ chats, usually ITS NOT about studies or work, its about this joke and that gossip and the list goes on. Non mehram interaction is strictly forbidden bcuz NO1 is aware of their limits, only when they’ve crossed them, they realize it.
    And as for TV, these days, even the cartoons arent safe. The language, modelling, alluring by decorating themselves even if its just their hairstyles, its grabbing people towards them. I know of a boy who was sittin with his sisters. He said himself that men who watch a ‘harmless’ cooking shows eventually, they want to see their wives just like these girls. How so? They want them to cook amazing food, look very nice (no sweating over the pot), and still have that amazing waist. So, for me. Tv is a big no no and so is interaction between the opposite sex. I’ve had many problems with my husband as far as ‘friendlyness’ goes.
    I dont mean to oppose you but I too Alhamdulillah have tried to aquire much =). If I am wrong in anything please do let me know. After all, we are all learning from each other.

    • Asalamu alaykum,

      Many thanks for your amazing advice. I’m not sure I’m aware of the mixing that you mentioned? If you could highlight some examples it would be great for me to take benefit. Most of the events I speak at I do not organize so it might be best to talk with the organizers.

      If you oppose me in something wrong, then there is nothing but benefit to gain.

      Thank you for your comments,

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