1. DEAR ABE: Why do Muslims say "God willing" when discussing future events? Are they saying that they are not responsible for their actions? --T.S., INDIANA
DEAR T.S.: Muslims are following one of God’s commands by saying “God Willing.” It demonstrates their acceptance that everything happens in accordance with God’s will . By saying this they are reminded that even if they have the intention for something to happen, it will not take place if God does not will for it to occur. The phrase could be misused as an excuse for not trying, but then this would constitute an abuse of God’s name . God knows the intentions of every individual and will hold each of us accountable for our intentions.
Relevant Quran Verses:  18:23-24, 10:61, 3:109, 68:25-29, 4:126;  2:224-225, 5:89 .
2. DEAR ABE: I have a Muslim friend who is not allowed to have a dog because her family does not allow it in their household. Is this a part of the Muslim religious law? --CARRIE, TENNESSEE
DEAR CARRIE: God never forbade dogs in the household, some Muslims say it is forbidden by their religion but this would not be a Scriptural regulation by God. There is actually an example in the Quran of a dog sleeping beside its owners , as well as passages that describe the lawfulness of eating food which a trained dog retrieves for you. This implies that the dog’s mouth will be wrapped around the food, germs and all, which is more intimate than the dog just being in the family . Any rules stating that dogs are unlawful in any way are clearly not God’s laws.
Relevant Quran Verses:  18:18, 18:22;  5:4 .
3. DEAR ABE: My husband told me today that he knows for a fact that Strawberry shakes are Haram for Muslim consumption. I take my kids to fast food restaurants for play dates on occasion, and I almost always order a strawberry milkshake. I would be so sad if I couldn’t order it anymore, is it really forbidden to have? --NABEELA, WASHINGTON D.C.
DEAR NABEELA: Some strawberry milkshakes in the fast food industry are given their distinct red color using Carmine (prepared by boiling dried cochineal insects then treating this solution with cream of tarter or other agents). This is why some Islamic “scholars” prohibited the milkshakes. However, in the Quran there are only four distinct dietary prohibitions; of which bug juice is not included . We are also advised in the Quran not to ingest intoxicants, and again, insect based dyes do not fall into this category . Therefore, this seemingly unappetizing method of adding the color does not make the milkshake forbidden according to the Quran .
Relevant Quran Verses:  2:172-173, 6:145, 6:121, 5:3;  2:219, 5:90-91;  5:87, 10:59-60, 2:168-169 .
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