Ask Dr. Bilal



A: In general, interest or haram earnings should be given in what is of general benefit to the community i.e. building toilets for the masjid, building roads etc. It is not considered sadaqah for anyone.



Q: Are those Muslims who do not offer their daily prayers, still considered to be in the fold of Islam?

A: A majority of scholars hold that he still remains a Muslim, but a minority holds that if his abandonment of prayer is deliberate, then that is enough to take him out of Islam, because the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The covenant that distinguishes between us and them is the prayer, and whoever neglects it has disbelieved.”[1]

The majority of scholars interpreted this to mean that he becomes a disbeliever in actions. The Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever goes to a fortuneteller and believes what he says, has disbelieved in that which was revealed to Muhammad (peace be upon him).” [2]

So, if you pick up a magazine and read the horoscope which is easily accessible to all of us, that is the act that disbelievers do, and if a person does it, it doesn’t mean that he becomes a disbeliever until he accepts whatever is in the horoscope.

And Allah knows best.


Q: Is hip hop or rap music with unlawful lyrics alright as long as it is not accompanied by musical instruments?

A: Music, if accompanied by musical instruments, is haraam, whether what you’re singing about is halaal or not. That which is not accompanied by musical instruments becomes haraam if the content is haraam.

“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).” [1]

Narrated Abu ‘Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash’ari that he heard the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) saying, “From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks, and the use of musical instruments [ma’aazif] as lawful. And (from them), there will be some who will stay near the side of a mountain, and in the evening their shepherd will come to them with their sheep and ask them for something, but they will say to him, ‘Return to us tomorrow.’ Allah will destroy them during the night and will let the mountain fall on them, and Allah will transform the rest of them into monkeys and pigs and they will remain so till the Day of Resurrection.” [1]

Note: Here Rasulullah (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) has mentioned music with drinking of alcohol and fornication (zina), which are of the MAJOR (kabair) sins!


Q: There is a principle of ‘removing difficulty’ in Islam. What are its limits?

A: There was an article in the newspaper wherein a woman was being tried for murder. She video recorded the killing; she tied two young men (16 or 17 years old) to a tree and shot them in the head with a gun. Later, she claimed that she killed them to live; that this was her defence, “I killed them to live”, since her claim was that the person who was recording the video had threatened her. He threatened that he would kill her if she didn’t kill them, so in her fear she killed them for her own survival.

In Islamic law this is not acceptable. This is not a defence because the forbidden act now is going beyond yourself. You cannot take the lives of others to survive yourself. Harm cannot go beyond yourself. If you are on a raft and there are three or four of you on a raft, and there is no more food, Islam does allow you to eat human meat at that time though normally eating human flesh is forbidden. If one amongst you on the raft dies then you may eat a part of him to live. Islam allows it only under those circumstances, however, it would not be allowed for you to sit as a group and decide that so and so is the weakest amongst us, so we’ll kill him and eat him. No! You can’t. Do you understand where the border has to be drawn? There is a line that has to be drawn, that is, in the case of a situation of dire necessity; you may be allowed to do certain things which are normally prohibited.


Q: Nowadays, lots of jobs are cheaply outsourced to India and people in the West are unemployed.

Is this exploitation in any manner?

A: There is nothing Islamically wrong for a business man to try and get the cheapest sources of labour for his product. However, in the case where it ultimately harms his own society, Islam does interfere to some degree for the economics functions of the society. For example, if people are unemployed and are unable to take care of their families, there would be some restrictions on companies in order to protect the interest of the society as a whole, prevent them from artificially raising prices, and protect customers from being deceived.

In this regard, Islam had an impact on places like Indonesia and West Africa as it spread. People were used to a particular way of trade, which was in reality a deceptive way. The nature of the business men was to sell defective products; however, when those tradesmen became Muslims, they changed and told their customers about the defects in their products. The traders became trustworthy individuals rather than deceivers. This was how Islam spread. People were impressed with the religion which tells them to be truthful even in business.


Q: What is the logic behind polygamy in general? No woman likes to have a co-wife and it was demonstrated by the Prophet’s wives as well.

How can a woman handle the jealousy that arises in such situations?

A: The permission is a general permission based on the need of human society, which is surplus of women in society, and Allah knew the need when He created the world so He created the nature of male to be attracted to more than one female and nature of female is that they tend to be attracted to a single male.

These are complementary natures necessary to work and this is something which was being practiced throughout the history in every corner of the world. Norm for human society; thus Islam came and regulated it, put certain limits, and gave rights to the people involved. Islam didn’t introduce it but organised it. Islam regulates polygamy to maximise the benefit and minimise the harm.

Muslim woman should trust that Allah is all Wise, and when He made it permissible for the man to have up to 4 wives with justice, respect and keeping the rights, that will be good for sure; it is not only by emotions as even the jealousy that many women feel, it will add another kind of love.


Q: Is it permissible to pray two rak’ah of sunnah at the masjid even after the iqamah for Fajr has been pronounced; after which they join Fajr prayer with the imam?

A: That is not correct, because we are allowed to pray those sunnah after the fardh. The recommended two units of Sunnah prayer before the Fajr prayer can be done after the fardh, though normally Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said:

Narrated by Imam Muslim in his Saheeh (832) from ‘Amr ibn ‘Abasah, that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said to him:

“Pray Fajr, then refrain from praying until the sun has risen and become high, for when it rises, it rises between the horns of the Shaytaan and at that time the kuffaar prostrate to it. Then pray, for the prayer is witnessed and attended until the shadow of a spear falls directly north (i.e., noon). Then refrain from praying, for at that time Hell is stoked up. Then when the shadow moves forward, pray, for the prayer is witnessed and attended, until you have prayed ‘Asr. Then refrain from praying until the sun has set, for it sets between the horns of the Shaytaan and at that time the kuffaar prostrate to it.”

This was done to prevent people from misunderstanding as it may appear to others as sun worship because those who worship sun offer prayers at those times. However, it’s recorded authentically that:

Umm Salamah, narrated that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) prayed two rak’ahs after ‘Asr. He was asked about them and he said: “O daughter of Abu Umayyah, you asked about the two rak’ahs after ‘Asr. That is because some people from ‘Abd al-Qays came to me and distracted me from the two rak’ahs that come after Zuhr; these are they (i.e., I prayed them just now).” 

So praying the sunnah prayer of Fajr after Fajr prayer, is permissible.

Moreover, Ibn Maajah (1154) narrated that Qays ibn ‘Amr said: the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) saw a man praying tworak’ahs after he had prayed Fajr prayer. The Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Are you praying Fajr twice?” The man said to him, “I did not pray the two rak’ahs that come before it, so I prayed them now.” The Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) remained silent.

So as we have an option to pray after Fajr, we should not have gone to other options for performing these Sunnah prayer as to the point to miss the part of our obligatory prayer.


Q: How often should one recite the first or last ten verses of Surah Kahf?

A: There is no special instruction with regard to it. Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) only asked to learn, memorise and guard it. Other than that, there is nothing specifically mentioned. However, the whole Surah is to be recited every Friday.

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:

“The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever reads Surat al-Kahf on the day of Jumu’ah, a light will shine for him from beneath his feet to the clouds of the sky, which will shine for him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will be forgiven (his sins) between the two Fridays.’” 

However, scholars have considered this last statement, i.e., “he would be forgiven for his sins between the two Fridays”, to be a statement of the companion, Ibn ‘Umar, and the attribution of this statement to Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) is not authentic.

But on the other hand, scholars looking at Ibn Umar says, that such a statement is highly unlikely to be said by Ibn Umar himself, as the information is related to matters of the unseen (ghayb) world, and no one has the authority to make such a statement, without having any proof. So when a companion makes an explanation of this nature, then it is assumed, that it came from Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam).


Q: What is the religious ruling on profit?

A: Say, I buy  Saudi gold and sell it elsewhere in another country for a profit, I may be able to make profit from it. Islam has not put a limit on how much profit you may make. But there are rulings that concern basic staples, luxury items and the issue of market price and deception.

If the goods that you are selling are needed goods, in the sense of what we call the basic staples, however it will be prohibited for you to put it at a price which makes it not available to the masses of the people. The examples of ‘basic staples’ include rice, meat, things which people need for their basic existence. If you are trading in this, to raise the price so the average person cannot buy and only the rich people can to prioritise your profit is prohibited.

In fact, in Islamic society the government will step in and take control of your business to ensure that these vital products are made available to the society. [1] However, in luxury items where a person may take it or leave it, you can sell for whatever price, or it is preferable to set it at the price of the market.

Naturally this is what you are going to be forced to do anyway, unless you are deceiving people, otherwise you will sell it at the price of the market. For example, you might buy gold, the gold here is a certain price, but in Sri Lanka that gold is sold at a higher price, for you to sell it at a price that it is commonly sold at the market is perfectly allowable, even though it may mean that you are making a thousand percent profit, it is perfectly allowable.

However, you will not raise the price, because you are giving them something that is not available, something that is likely to deceive them in one way or another, only for carat, in fact when it is only 22k. As long as you are dealing with the luxury items then there are no limits on the profits that you may make, with the condition that no deception is involved in your sale.