Permissibility of Admiring a Person or His Qualities Depends on the Person Admired and His Qualities
Fatwa No: 433456

  • Fatwa Date:8-12-2020 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 23, 1442
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Question

can you admire male/female and want the same things as them but not like them romantically ? What I mean by that is, can you admire someone for their work, ideas, personality, hobbies etc. and not like them romantically, and if you wanted the same things as them such as if you wanted the same kind of car, same kind of clothes etc. and want to do the same hobbies because you like those things they have and do but not in a jealous way or being jealous of them only because you like those things and you want the same

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 ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

We summarize our answer to your question in the following points:

First: admiring something means being pleased with it and holding it in high regard. Ash-Shawkaani  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in Fat-h Al-Qadeer (2/422) regarding the interpretation of the Saying of Allah, The Exalted, (which means): {So, let not their wealth or their children excite your admiration} [Quran 9:55]: “As for His Saying {So, let not their wealth or their children excite your admiration}, admiring something means to be pleased and content with it and marvel at its beauty or goodness. It was also said that such feeling is accompanied by a sense of pride and the belief that nothing is equal to it.” [End of quote]

If admiration means to be pleased and satisfied with something, then the religious ruling on admiring a person – whether male or female – differs according to the admired person, whether they are a believer or a disbeliever. It is permissible to admire and be pleased with a believer, whereas the disbeliever is not to be pleased with or admired even if he is skillful or intelligent. This is different from admiring the skill or quality itself rather than the person. According to the most likely correct opinion, there is nothing wrong with admiring a good quality such as intelligence or good looks. Allah, The Exalted, Says about admiring the physical appearance of the hypocrites (what means): {And when you see them, their forms please you…} [Quran 63:4] It means to admire their figure and physical appearance, i.e., they have (good) bodies that are admired by the beholders because of their beauty and glow, as explained by Quran commentators. This is an example of the admiration of the quality rather than the person (the hypocrite himself).

Second: (the ruling on) wishing for what others have differs depending on the situation. It is impermissible for a person to wish to have distinct blessings and endowments conferred by Allah, The Exalted, on others in particular. For example, a woman should not wish to have the distinct skills and merits bestowed upon men in particular. Allah, The Exalted, Says in this regard (what means): {And do not wish for that by which Allah has made some of you exceed others.} [Quran 4:32] Ibn Jareer At-Tabari  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his Tafseer book: “Allah, The Exalted, means by this, ‘Do not covet what Allah favored some of you over others with.’ It was mentioned that the verse was revealed in relation to women who wished to have men’s status and to have the like of what they have. So Allah forbade His Slaves from having false aspirations and commanded them to ask for His Bounty instead, since such aspirations beget envy and transgression without right.” [End of quote]

With regard to wishing to have the permissible things with which Allah blessed others in general without being characteristic of them, according to the opinion of the majority of the scholars, there is nothing wrong with that as long as it is done out of Ghibtah (wishing to have the like of what others have of blessings) and no envy is involved.

Al-Qurtubi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his book Tafseer Al-Qurtubi (5/162): “Allah, The Exalted, forbade the believers from wishing for what others have because it involves preoccupying one’s mind with the things he wishes for and makes him forget about death. Scholars held different opinions as to whether or not the forbiddance in this regard applies to Ghibtah, which is wishing to have the like of what others have of blessings without wishing for them to lose such blessings. The majority of scholars held that it is permissible … The covetousness that is forbidden in the verse comes under this heading. An example of that is when a man covets someone else’s state of religiosity or worldly blessings provided that the other person loses them, regardless of whether or not you wish to have such blessings instead. This is the essence of envy that is dispraised by Allah, The Exalted, when He Says (what means): {Or do they envy people for what Allah has given them of His bounty?} [Quran 4:54] … Some scholars held that Ghibtah is disliked and that it is included under the forbiddance, but the sound view is that it is permissible.” [End of quote, summarized]

Allah Knows best.

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