Asking hypothetical questions is disliked
Fatwa No: 360034

Question

Assalaamu alaykum rahmatullaah, dear Brother. If I were in the situation that there are only three people in this world: my mother, my wife, and myself, and my mother and my wife are drowning in the sea, and I can save only one of them. Who should I save? Please reply in the light of the Quran and the Sunnah. May Allah reward you.

Answer

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

Please note that the early Muslim scholars held that it is disliked to ask hypothetical questions about things that have not taken place, and they emphasized the forbiddance in this regard.

As-Saffaareeni  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote:

"Al-Bayhaqi said in his book Al-Madkhal that the early scholars held that it is disliked to ask about a matter that has not taken place unless it was addressed in the Quran or Sunnah. It is allowable for a scholar to practice Ijtihaad (independent reasoning) if there is a necessity, and there is no necessity if the matter has not taken place. Also, the scholar's view may differ when it does take place due to the change in circumstances and context. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, 'An aspect of the perfection of one’s Islam is his keeping away from that which does not concern him.' Moreover, Taawoos narrated that ʻUmar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said, 'It is not lawful for you to ask about what has not happened...'" [Ghithaa’ Al-Albaab]

Allah knows best.

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