How Can I Practise Islam in the University Environment ?

How Can I Practise Islam in the University Environment ?


Al Salamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu.
In general, my questions revolve around practicing islam in a non muslim country, specifically in universities. Although the same applies to many muslim countries nowadays. * I’m really sorry for the long text and the long questions, but they all connect to each other and are really a big problem for me. The answers would improve my life. I’m a 22 years old man. I’m studying in the second semester at a german university. As I was a kid, my parents didn’t allow me to socialise like other kids. I wasn’t allowed to see my friends outside the classroom. My parents used to change my school every 1-2 years. They wanted me to not have any social life but focus on studying. I was forced to live this way until I became 18 and finished the school. I then decided to live independently and went to study university abroad (in Germany). As I went out I found that I had no social skills. I don’t also know how to deal with other genders or people with other ways of life. For that my parents and family don’t really consider islamic teachings regarding their daily life, I can’t ask them for advice regarding my semi-daily problems. I found a huge amount of information online. Some say halal and some haram to the same question. For that reason I don’t whicht ruling is right or wrong. These are some of my daily life problems. I hope that you help me know the right way to deal with them. 1. How should I deal with female university colleaugues? I made a lot if german male friends. Sometimes they bring a female friends with them or so. I don’t how to act according to islam. For that reason I sometimes great and talk normally. Sometimes I ignore them completely. Or sometimes a female asks me something about the class and immediately, a conflict arises in my head. Shall I answer, shall I not? What if she was not interested in the answer, but wants to talk to me and get me to do zina, or what if me talking to hear is haram and I would be punished. Or such things. I hope you instruct me on this matter! 2. This problem revolves around the drinking habit non-muslims in general. Most of my colleagues drink alcohol. I’ve read somewhere that a muslim is not allowed to sit with them while they’re drinking it. For that they drink alcohol (mostly beer) like all the time, I would live alone and never go outside my apartment. If I invite them to me, they would bring their drinks with. If I get invited to them, they would be drinking. If we go for a walk, they would grab a beer. In university, sometimes they drink beer in the class. Even if we go to play ping pong or billiards, they would drink alcohol. What should I do? How should I succeed in social life in accordance to my religion? 3. In all of the events that the university provides there would be an obligatory intermingling. At least, I would be surrounded with many girls. This is also the same with the events from the islamic community club in university. Muslims there, boys, girls (hijabis and non hijabis) go there, have fun, talk with each other, become friends, learn or do something together etc.. What is the islamic ruling on each one of these and am I allowed to participate in such activities? 4. Is it allowed that a muslim goes to a bar with his friends, when he only drinks cola or so? What about going to university partys, city discos and so, if someone doesn’t drink alcohol or commit zina? 5. Is it halal to join the university gym and workout there? Or generally, is it allowed to join a gym, in which men and women wourkout, when there’s no men only gyms? 6. What should I do in this situation? When now is Asr time (e.g. 5 p.m.) and I’m in class. Do I have to leave class and go pray, or am I allowed to postpone the prayer until the end of class? Knowing that the class ends before Maghrib prayer time and that there would be enough time to pray Asr. 7. Am I allowed as a muslim to call non-muslim colleagues friends? Or like in arabic, we are used to say hey habibi or so to our friends and acquaintances? And how about considering one of them a close friend? 8. What is the ruling for eating in non muslim restaurants? There are restaurants that are labelled halal. But when I want to eat in an italian or german restaurant, I don’t know the ruling. Is it allowed to eat beef or chicken there? Am I allowed to consider the restaurants halal since Germany is a christian country or at least a country with majority of christians? And how about eating at KFC, McDonalds and so here? 9. I met a lot of muslim friends. The problem is that most of them drink alcohol and/or commit zina, don’t live according to our religion so they do anything they desire. This makes me cautious and worried dealing with them and sometimes I cut ties with them because of them doing haram things. Am I allowed to have such friends or shall I cut ties with anyone who commits the big sins (aka zina ect.)? For that I don’t have good answers to these questions, I’m living a lonely life. I’m really lonely and feel miserable having nobody to do something with aka socialise. I don’t regularly go to university and spend most time at home. Since I feel that everything mentioned is haram and I’m not allowed to come near to. I thank you for your patience and jazakom Allahu khayran. Best regards, Mohammad


In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Brother in Islam,

It is pleasing to note your zeal and enthusiasm to practice Islam. We make du’aa that Allah Ta’ala protect your Iman and make you a means of guidance for others. Ameen.

In summary, you refer to the following issues:

1) Non-Muslim friends and the university
2) Female friends
3) Attending the bar
4)Attending the gym
5) Salat-ul-Asr
6) Eating at non-Muslim restaurants

Brother, you state your parents were strict on you and only concentrated on your studies. Thus, in result, you lack social skills. In this era of Absent Parent Syndrome, it is encouraging to note your parents focus and attention on your upbringing and education. If your parents did not focus on your education and did not monitor your progress, you could have fallen prey to the evils of the environment. You would have learnt social skills. However, in the cause, you could have lost your Islamic moral values, as is evident in many children today. Your parents conservative and protective nature has saved you from being a victim of the evil that surround us.

At present, you are and adult and your Islamic values are intact and in order. It is due to the conservative and Islamic upbringing that you enquire about the issues in reference.

We will address the issues you refer to in order of priotiy

1) Non-Muslim Friends

As muslims, we are sensitive to our Iman and Islamic values. We guard and protect our Iman to the best of our abilities.  As humans, we are affected by our environment and associates. Therefore, we should be careful in selecting our company and associates. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam is reported to have said

ﷺالمرء على دين خليله فلينظر أحدكم من يخالل (رواه الترمذي : ۲۳۷۸) عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال قال رسول الله

Translation: Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “A man is upon the religion of his friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends. (Tirmidhi, 2378)

Shariah permits interacting with non-Muslims. It is permissible to deal with them and enter into business transactions. In addition, it is encouraged to be kind to them and assist them in their challenges of life. However, it is not permissible to maintain a close bosom relationship with a non-Muslim that may lead one to compromise on his Iman and Islamic values. This is clearly stated in the following verses of the Holy Qur’an:

يا أيها الذين آمنوا لا تتخذوا اليهود و النصارى أولياء (المائدة: ۵١)

TranslationO you who have Imaan, do not take the Jews and Christians as friends. (Al-Maidah: 51)

لا تتخذوا الذين اتخذوا دينهم هزوا و لعبا من الذين أوتوا الكتاب و الكفار أولياء(المائدة: ۵٧)

Translation: O you have have Iman, Do not take as friends those who make a mockery and made fun of your deen from those who have received the book before you and the kuffar. (Al-Maidah :57)1

Our advice is when you interact with non-Muslims at the university, make Da’wah your primary focus and objective. Be kind and humble to your non-Muslim colleagues with the intention to draw them closer to you and Islam. Thereafter, apply wisdom and diplomacy in inviting them to Islam. In essence, in dealing with non-Muslims, protect your Iman and invite them to Islam.

2) Female Colleagues

Take note of our points in interacting with non-Muslims. Interacting with females is more severe.  A human being is naturally attracted to the opposite gender. If the contact between genders is not limited, it will lead to immorality. Allah States in the Holy Qur’an:

ولا تقربوا الزنا انه كان فاحشة (الإسراء: ٣٢)

Translation: And do not even draw near to fornication. It is truly an indecent act. (Al-Israa: 32) 1

Furthermore, prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam has stated:

قَالَ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَتَبَ عَلَى ابْنِ آدَمَ حَظَّهُ مِنَ الزِّنَا، أَدْرَكَ ذَلِكَ لاَ مَحَالَةَ، فَزِنَا الْعَيْنِ النَّظَرُ، وَزِنَا اللِّسَانِ الْمَنْطِقُ، وَالنَّفْسُ تَمَنَّى وَتَشْتَهِي، وَالْفَرْجُ يُصَدِّقُ ذَلِكَ كُلَّهُ وَيُكَذِّبُهُ (رواه البخاري: ٦٣١۵)

Translation: Abu Huraira ‘narrated from the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)who said “Allah has written for Adam’s son his share of adultery which he commits inevitably. The adultery of the eyes is the sight (to gaze at a forbidden thing), the adultery of the tongue is the talk, and the inner self wishes and desires and the private parts testify all this or deny it

(Bukhari, 6315)

It is precisely for this reason that Shariah has prohibited mixed gender gatherings.2 Shariah has made segregation of sexes and laws of hijab compulsory. If one is put in a compromising situation, one should adhere to the laws of hijab to the best of one’s ability by at least lowering ones gaze3, as stated by Allah in the Holy Qur’an:

قل للمؤمنين يغضو من أبصارهم ويحفظ فروجهم (النور:۳۰)

Translation: Tell the Mu’mineen men that they should lower their gazes

 (Al-Noor: 30)

The prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is also reported to have stated

لا تتبع النظر النظر فإن الأولى لك وليست لك الآخرة (رواه أحمد: ١٣٦٩)

Translation: Do not repeatedly glance as the first is permissible for you whilst the second is not (Ahmad: 1369)

We advise you to avoid being with females. If you come across a female, lower your gaze. Furthermore, if there is a need to talk to them, you may do so while lowering your gaze.4 The non-Muslims will observe your modesty and nobility and will in turn respect you. It will hopefully serve to portray the conduct of Islam to them.

3) Attending the Bar

Drinking alcohol is explicitly prohibited in the Qur’an. It is the root of all evils. Furthermore, clubs, discos, university parties, and all such types of places are places of immodesty and indecency. These places are not befitting for any Muslim to go to. The evils of these places include but are not limited to loud blasting indecent music, lude and indecent clothing, unlawful relations between men and women, and drinking of alcohol. Thus. it will be impermissible to go to such a place even if you do not indulge in anything that is unlawful. Furthermore, the prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is reported to have said

من كثر سواد قوم فهو منهم و من رضي عمل قوم كان شريك من عمل به (النصب الراية)

TranslationWhomsoever increases the mass of a group will be regarded amongst them and whomsoever is content with the actions of the people will be a share in what is being done


4) Attending the Gym

While it is important to keep physically fit, due consideration must be paid so that the orders of Allah are not broken while doing so. The environment of a gym has certain elements that make it inappropriate for a Muslim to attend. For example, generally, there is music blasting, there are women wearing revealing clothing, and there is no proper segregation between male and female.

There are many ways to keep oneself healthy other than the gym. We thus recommend that you look for another place to exercise, either try to find an all males gym or join an all males sports team. Alternatively, you may also try chose to carry out your exercise at home.

5) Asr Salah

The ending time for Asr Salah is just before sunset. If you are in class at the beginning time of the Asr Salah and you perform Asr Salah after your class before sunset, your Asr Salah will be valid.6 However, keep in mind that you should endeavor to perform your Salah with congregation and avoid delaying the Asr time until the makrooh time. The makrooh time is when the glow and brightness of the sun goes away. We advise that you try to perform you Asr Salah before that time.

6) Eating at Non-Muslim Restaurants

Shariah has advised us to eat halal and wholesome foods. Consider the following:

Allah Ta’ala mentions

يا أيها الرسل كلو من الطيبات واعملوا صالحا (المؤمنين: ۵١)

Translation: O prophets, eat from the pure things and do good acts. (Al-Muminun: 51)7

يا أيها الناس كلوا مما في الأرض حلالا طيبا (البقرة : ١٦٨)

Translation: O People! Eat of the lawful and pure things of the earth (Al-Baqarah: 168)

Furthermore, the prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) has mentioned:

إنَّ الْحَلَالَ بَيِّنٌ، وَإِنَّ الْحَرَامَ بَيِّنٌ، وَبَيْنَهُمَا أُمُورٌ مُشْتَبِهَاتٌ لَا يَعْلَمُهُنَّ كَثِيرٌ مِنْ النَّاسِ، فَمَنْ اتَّقَى الشُّبُهَاتِ فَقْد اسْتَبْرَأَ لِدِينِهِ وَعِرْضِهِ، وَمَنْ وَقَعَ فِي الشُّبُهَاتِ وَقَعَ فِي الْحَرَامِ (رواه البخاري: ۵٠)

Translation: That which is lawful is clear and that which is unlawful is clear, and between the two of them are doubtful matters about which many people do not know. Thus he who avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honor, but he who falls into doubtful matters [eventually] falls into that which is unlawful. (Bukhari: 50)

Sahl Rahmatullah Alayh has also mentioned.8

من لم يحسن أدب الأكل لم يحسن أدب العمل (سراج الطالبين)

Translation: Whoever does not perfect himself in matters pertaining to his diet, will not perfect himself in good deeds (Siraj Ut-Talibeen).

Moreover, the principle in meat related issues is that consumption is prohibited until proven the meat is proven Halal.9 Therefore, it is not permissible to eat from KFC, Mcdonalds, and other food outlets. In addition, you cannot regard the food to be halal merely because the owner is Christian.

In principle, Allah Ta’ala has allowed eating meat of the people of the book on condition that they recite the name of Allah on the animal before slaughter. Nowadays, Christians do not pronounce the name of Allah on their animals.10 Thus, eating the meat of the Christians will not be permissible. Furthermore, many are under the impression that the people in Western countries are Christians. However, in reality, they do not have firm beliefs in God, a revealed book, etc. Therefore, they are only Christians by name. These people cannot be considered the people of the book and their meat will be Haraam. 

For further reading on the meat of the people of the book you may refer to the following links.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mirza-Zain Ibn Ameer Baig

Student - Darul Iftaa

Montréal, Québec, Canada

Checked and Approved by,

Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

Adapted from Ma’ariful Quran pgs 54-61 1

Ma’ariful Quran: Maktaba-e-Darul-‘Uloom : 2: 54-61

2  فتاوى دار العلوم زكريا عزوا إلى مفهوم الاختلاط بين النساء والرجال: ٤

الإختلاط: هو اجتماع الرجل و المرأة التي ليست بمحرم, او هو اجتماع الرجال و النساء  غير المحارم  في مكان واحد يمكنهم فيه الإتصال فيما بينهم بالنظر أو الإشارة أو الكلام فخلوة الرجل بالمرأة  الأجنبية التي ليست من محارمه على أي حال من الأحوال تعتبر من غلإختلاط و هو محرم و هو من اخطر الأمور التي حذر الله منها المسلمون

المبسوط للسرخسي: دار النوادر: ١٠: ١۵٢-١۵٣ 3

لا يباح النظر إلى شيء من بدنها و لأن حرمة النظر لخوف الفتنة و عامة محاسنها في وجهها  فخوف الفتنة في النظر الى وجهها أكثر منه إلى سائر ألاعضاء

و فيه أيضا: و قال لعلي رضي الله عنه لا تتبع النظرة النظرة فإن الأولى لك و الأخرى عليك يعني بالأخرى أن يقصدها بشهوة

  رد المحتار على در المختار: دار المعرفة: ٩:٦٠٩4

و لا يكلم الأجنبية إلا الأجنبية  إلا عجوزا عطست أو سلمت فيشمتها و يرد السلام عليها و الا لا

 البحر الرائق: مكتبة الشاملة

فَإِنَّا نُجِيزُ الْكَلَامَ مَعَ النِّسَاءِ الْأَجَانِبِ وَمُحَاوَرَتِهِنَّ عِنْدَ الْحَاجَةِ إلَى ذَلِكَ

فتاوى محمودية : مكتبة محمودية : ٢٨: ٧٧

ضرورت کے درجہ مین اگر ایسا جواب دیا جائے جس سے فتنہ مین مبتلا ہو  نے کا اندیشہ نہ ہو تو اس کی اجازت ہے

روح المعاني : دار الكتب العلمية : ١٠:٢٢٦

ووجد من دونهم امرئتينى تذودان قال ما خطبكما ) وفي سؤاله عليه السلام إياهما دليل على جواز مكالمة الأجنبية فيما يعني.)

احكام القرآن : إدارة القرآن و العلوم الإسلامية: : ٣:٨۵

قلت: و يشترط  فيه  الأمن من الشهوة من الجانبين بغلبة الظن و إلا فاكتساب سبب المعصية معصسة

و قال أيضا: و كذا ينبغي أن لا يتداخل في مكالمة الأجنبية الا لحاجة كما ههنا

        نصب الراية معزيا الي ابي يعلى:مؤسسة الرياسة:٣٤٦: ٤5

المقاصد الحسنة : دار الميمنة : قال محققه الشيخ سفيان بن فؤاد باسويدان : و هذا الحديث مداره عل الرجل المبهم فهو ضعيف:١٨١:  ۵

Although the scholars of hadeeth have declared this hadeeth as weak, however, because of it being aided by other such reports, the meaning of this hadith is substantiated.

 الأصل للإمام محمد بن الحسن الشيباني رحمة الله عليه : دار ابن حزم:١:١٢٢6

و قال أبو حنيفة: لا يدخل وقت العصر حتى يصير الظل  قامتين  و آخر وقتها غروب الشمس قلت فمن صلى العصر حين تغيرت الشمس قبل أن تغيب أ تر يجزيه؟ قال نعم, يجزيه, و لكن أكره له أن يؤخرها إلى أن تتغير الشمس

 أحكام القرآن: إدارة اشرف التحقيق و البحوث الإسلامية: :١٦:۵٦ 7

المسآلة الأولى : الأكل أمر ديني أدبه أدب العمل

في احياء العلوم: قال بعض السلف الصالحين كما صرح به صاحب القوت قدمه الله على العمل جل شانه

8 سراج الطالبين على منهاج العابدين إلى جنة رب العالمين : دار الكتب العلمية : ٢٩ : ٢

و كان سهل يقول من لم يحسن أدب الأكل لم يحسن أدب العمل

   قضايا فقهية معاصرة: مكتبة معارف القرأن: ٤۳٦9

الأصل في اللحوم المنع

   قضايا فقهية معاصرة: مكتبة معارف القرأن: ٤۳٦10

الثابت يقينا ان النصرى لا يذكرون اسم الله عند الذبح