Resolution No. 23(11-3)


Quote: The Council of the Islamic Fiqh Academy holding its third session, in Amman, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, From 8 to 13 Safar 1407 H (11 to 16 October 1986); 

Having taken note of the questions submitted by the International Institute of Islamic Thought in Washington, DC (USA), and the answers prepared by the Members and

experts of the Council: 


To request the Secretary General of the Academy to convey to the Institute the following rulings of the Council: 


What is the ruling concerning a marriage between a Muslim woman and a non Muslim man, especially if she is hoping that the marriage may be instrumental in his embracing Islam? There are many women who claim that, most of the time, not enough compatible Muslim men are available, and that without marriage, they run the risk of deviation or living under extreme hardship. 


Marriage between a Muslim woman and a non Muslim man is prohibited by the Book, the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) and the consensus of Muslim jurists. It is void, even if it has already taken place. It will not benefit from the effects of a valid marriage. In the view of Islam, the children from such marriage are not considered legitimate. The hope in Islam of a non-Muslim man does not change the rule in any way. 


What is the ruling if marital relationship continues between a wife who has embraced Islam while her husband has remained non-Muslim? She has chilren from him and she is afraid of losing them to disbelief and deviation if she separates. Furthermore, she hopes and expects that her husband may embrace Islam if the marital relationship continues between them. Would the ruling be different if she had no hope in this accepting Islam and he treats her well and she may not find a Muslim husband if she leaves him? 


A marriage is suspended simply by a wife embracing Islam and her husband refusing to do so. It is not permitted for her to continue marital relationship with him. However, she must wait for him during the waiting period (Iddah). If he accepts Islam during this period, she must join him under the suspended marriage contract.

However, if the Iddah period expires and he did not embrace Islam, then the marriage is dissolved. If he later accepts Islam and desires to go back to their marriage, he will do so under a new marriage contract. The good or bad treatment she receives from her husband is of no relevance in permitting the continuation of the marriage. 


It is not allowed for us to bury our dead except in licensed graveyards. What is the ruling concerning burying Muslims in non-Muslim graveyards, if Muslim graveyards are not available, which is the case in most of the United States of American and European countries? 


Burying Muslims in non-Muslims graveyards is permissible as a necessity in non-Muslim countries. 


What is the ruling concerning selling a mosque “if Muslims leave the area where it is located and the mosque may deteriorate or may be expropriated as a result”? Often, Muslims buy a house and convert it into a mosque and when the majority of the Muslim community leaving in that area leave for work related reasons, the mosque is deserted or neglected and possibly others may seize it. Is it possible to sell it and build another mosque in a location with Muslim population? What is the ruling concerning such a sale or replacement? In the event it is not possible to replace it with another mosque, then what is the most appropriate way to utilize the funds from the sale? 


It is permissible to sell a mosque which is not being used or when Muslims have migrated from the area where it is located or when it is threatened of expropriation by non-Muslims, provided the proceeds of the sale are used in buying another mosque in another place. 


Some women and young girls are compelled by work conditions or education to live alone or with other women who are not Muslims. What is the ruling concerning such mode of living? 


According to Shari’a, it is not permitted for a Muslim woman to live alone in foreign land. 


Most women living in the United States say the maximum they can cover of their body is all except the face and hands. Some of them are prohibited by their employers to cover their head. What are the parts of her body a woman can expose in front of strangers in places of work or study? 


The covering or a Muslim woman according to the majority of Muslim jurist is all her body except her face and hands, provided she doe not apprehended harassment. If, however, she expects harassment; she may cover them as well. 

QUESTION NO.10 & 11 

Many Muslim students in this county (the USA) are compelled to work to cover their educational expenses because, for the majority of them, money received from their relatives is not enough; thus work becomes from them a necessity they cannot do without. In the majority of the cases, they do not find work except in restaurants or shops which sell alcoholic drinks or serve food containing pork or other prohibited products. What is the ruling concerning working in such places? 

What is the ruling concerning a Muslim selling alcoholic beverage and swine or distills intoxicants and sells to non Muslims? Please note that some Muslims, in this country, have made it their profession. 


It is permitted for a Muslim to work in non Muslim’s restaurants, only if he cannot find any other work which is permissible by Sharia’a, provided he does not directly serve, carry, manufacture or trade in alcoholic beverage. The ruling is the same with regard to serving swine meat or other forbidden things. 


There are many medicines which contain different quantities of alcohol, ranging between 1% to 25% and most of these medicines are for the treatment of cold, cough, sore throat or other such common diseases. Approximately 95% of medicines for these types of diseases contain alcohol, which make finding medicines free from alcohol very difficult or nearly impossible. What is the ruling concerning using such medicines? 


It is permitted for a Muslim to take medicine containing a percentage of alcohol, if he cannot find any other medicine free from this substance, provided a trust-worthy and competent physician prescribes it. 


Some yeast and gelatins contain very small quantity of substances extracted from swine. Is it permitted to use such yeast or gelatins?


It is not permitted for a Muslim to use yeast or gelatins containing extracts from swine in foodstuffs. Yeast and gelatins extracted from vegetables or permissible animals are good enough substitute. 


Many Muslims are compelled to celebrate the wedding ceremonies for their daughters in their mosques. Often these ceremonies include dancing and singing. There is no other place available to them and large enough for holding such functions. What is the ruling concerning celebrating such ceremonies in mosques? 


It is recommended to conclude the marriage contract in mosques. However, it is not permitted to hold ceremonies in mosques if it includes prohibited acts such as men and women freely missing, women flaunting, dancing and singing. 


What is the ruling concerning a marriage of a Muslim student (man or woman), which the contracting parties do not intend to keep permanently? Their intention is to terminate it at the end of their studies and return to their place of permanent residence. However, the marriage contact, normally, is a usual one and in the same form as for a permanent marriage? 


The presumption in a marriage contract is continuity, permanency and formation of an everlasting family tie until and unless something causes its dissolution. 


What is the ruling concerning a woman who appears in place of work or education having plucked hair from her eyebrows and put kohl makeup in her eyes? 


Wearing kohl is permitted by Shari’a, for men and for women. However, plucking one’s hair from parts of the eyebrows is not permitted unless its presence really disfigures the appearance of a woman. 


Some Muslim women feel alienated by refusing to shake hand with men who come to their places of work or schools. Thus, they shake hand with them to avoid embarrassment. What is the ruling concerning such handshake? 


A handshake between a man and a grown up girl, or vice versa, is forbidden by Shari’a.. 


What is the ruling concerning renting of churches for performing the five prayers, the Friday prayer or Eid prayer, which statutes and other things normally found in a church being present? It is to be noted that churches- mostly are the least expensive places, which can be hired from the Christians, and using some of them is permitted free of charge by some universities and charitable organizations. 


Renting churches for performing prayers is permissible if necessary. The prayer should not be performed in front of statues and pictures, which should be covered if they are in the direction of the Qibla. 


What is the ruling concerning the slaughtering of the People of the Book – the Jews and the Christians – and the food offered in their restaurants, noting that we have no knowledge of their pronouncing the name of Allah at the time of slaughtering? 


The slaughtering by the people of the Book is permitted if done in a manner acceptable by Shari’a. The Academy recommends for a more detailed report on the subject for discussion in the forthcoming session.  


Many functions where Muslims are invited serve liquor or have mixed gathering of men and women, and Muslims isolation from such occasions may lead to their separation from other members of the society and loss of some privileges. What is the ruling concerning attending such functions without participating in drinking liquor, dancing or eating pork? 


It is not permitted for a Muslim, male or female, to attend functions in which intoxicants are served or participate in meetings of evils and disobedience. 


In most parts of North American states and Europe, sighting of the lunar crescent, for the months of Ramadan and Shawal, is either impossible or very difficult. The advanced technology and scientific knowledge available in most of these countries enable to predict, on the basis of astronomical calculations, with great accuracy, the birth of the crescent. Is it permitted to rely on these calculations in these counties? Is it permitted to get assistance from observatories and accept the words of a non Muslim scientist working there, noting that it is more probable that they will be telling the truth in such matters? 


In compliance with the tradition of the Prophet (PBUH) and scientific realities, it is important to rely primarily on the sighting of the crescent and then seek help from astronomical calculations and observatories. If sighting of the crescent in one city is confirmed, all Muslims must abide by it. Difference of horizon is irrelevant because of the generality of the command to start and end fasting. 


What is the ruling concerning a Muslim’s employment in the USA or any other non Muslim government ministry or any other agency, especially in such important industrial fields as atomic energy or strategic studies, etc. 


It is allowed for a Muslim to accept a job, permitted by Shari’a in a non Muslim government agency or department, provided such job does not cause any harm to Muslims. 


What is the ruling concerning a Muslim architect who designs buildings for non Muslims, such as churches, etc. noting that such is part of his assignment in the company in which he works and in case of his refusal he may be lose his job? 

What is the ruling concerning a Muslim individual or organization donating to an educational Christian missionary organization or a church? 


It is not permitted for a Muslim to design or build places of worship for non Muslims or contribute financially or physically in it. 



In many Muslim families, men engage in selling liquor, pork and similar things. Their wives and children do not approve of it. Noting that their livelihood depends on the earning of the men, are they committing any sin? 


A wife or children who are unable to earn their living by ‘halal’ (lawful) means can get sustenance from the husband’s or father’s haram (unlawful) earnings from the sale of liquor, pork or other “haram” (unlawful) sources, as a matter of necessity, and after having tried to convince him to find another job and earn living by “halal”(lawful) means. 


What is the ruling concerning the purchase of a house for living therein, a car for personal use or home furniture, through contracting loan from a Bank or institution which imposes a fixed profit on such loans and uses such assets as collateral for the repayment, noting that, in the case of a house, a car or furniture, generally the alternative to the purchase is leasing on monthly installment, which customarily is higher than the monthly installment charged by the Bank? 


This kind of transaction is not permitted by Shari’a. 

Verily Allah is All-Knowing - Unquote 

(From the Book "Resolution and Recommendations of the Council of the Islamic Fiqh Academy (1985-2000)”: (Resolution does not contain answer to Question No. 1,2,7, 15 & 22) 

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