Studying works of literature that include aspects of Shirk
Fatwa No: 280261

  • Fatwa Date:7-1-2015 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 17, 1436
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Question

Asallam u alaikum, My daughter 16 year old had to study a book for her English exam called 'Lord of the flies' about some boys stranded on an island and how they try to survive there. She had to do some coursework on the book and didn't have a choice. If it contains some bad things like the boys are scared of an imaginary beast in the story and they make an offering to it. Is this shirk/or kufr to read this.(Naozubillah). She never believe any of this.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

In principle, it is impermissible to read or study books that contain doctrinal deviations based on the prohibition reported in this regard and in order to avoid exposing one's heart to doubts and misconceptions.

Mataalib Uli An-Nuha reads: "It is prohibited to read the scriptures of the People of the Book because it has been reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, got angry when he saw ‘Umar (ibn Al-Khattaab) with a sheet containing verses from the Torah, and he said to him, 'O ‘Umar! Are you in doubt?' The same applies to reading the books written by the advocates of religious innovations and those containing both falsehood and truth because this may corrupt people's beliefs. It is permissible, though, to read the books on religious innovations for those well-versed in the Quran and Sunnah and who possess solid religiosity, intelligence and ability to deduce religious evidence to refute misconceptions and false claims so that the ignorant are not deceived by the corrupt misleading words of these advocates of religious innovations. The Imams among the best Muslims have done this; they presented compelling arguments to the people who read them to which they were unable to articulate a response. They also studied the Torah and deduced the glad tidings of the coming of the Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in different passages of the Torah. This is a sound opinion that can be adopted and acted upon." [End of quote]

There is no doubt, though, that merely reading such books is not considered an act of unbelief or idolatry as long as the reader does not accept or approve of such unbelief or idolatry in them.

Based on that, if studying this book is compulsory and your daughter has adequate religious awareness and knowledge of the sound Islamic Creed and the falsehood of the aspects of idolatry in the book, then it is permissible for her to study it.

The Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fataawa was asked: "Is it permissible to study philosophy, logic and theories that mock the verses of Allaah? Is it permissible to attend places that offer these studies? Or is that included in the verse that reads (what means): {And it has already come down to you in the Book that when you hear the verses of Allaah [recited], they are denied [by them] and ridiculed; so do not sit with them until they enter into another conversation. Indeed, you would then be like them.} [Quran 4:140]?"

The answer reads: "If a person is knowledgeable enough and confident in his beliefs to the extent that there is no fear of falling into Fitnah (tribulation) in religion by studying them and mixing with those who teach them, and if his intention in studying these subjects is to refute the falsehood contained in them, then he is permitted to study them. Otherwise, it is prohibited for him to study them or to mix with those who teach them, in order to avoid falsehood and its people and in order to avoid Fitnah."

Allaah Knows best.

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