1. DEAR ABE: Salaam. I want to ask if I can fast this year for my dead father? The reason is because I wish for God to give the rewards of the fasting to my father. --MAHA, NEW DELHI
DEAR MAHA: In this life, everyone is accountable for their own actions. Nobody can take responsibility for anyone else . Once a person passes on from this life, their test is completed. On Judgment Day they will be held responsible for their actions only . Intercession is a myth and we can not gain from nor give benefits to others. In the end, I find no Quranic support for earning fasting credits or transferring credits to others . So it is quite comforting to know that God is the Most Merciful, the Kindest, Forgiver, the best Judge, and is never unjust . He forgives actions that we, as flawed humans would not forgive . The instructions for us to follow regarding praying for others is to ask forgiveness of the sins of all the believers .
Relevant Quran Verses:  17:15, 53:38-42, 29:12;  60:3, 19:39, 39:68-70, 82:17-19;  9:80, 35:18, 39:7;  10:109, 3:182, 22:65, 40:3, 25:70, 9:102, 25:70, 10:26-27;  39:53, 42:34;  2:110, 47:19.
2. DEAR ABE: I am a young student who is interested in a Muslim brother. He is a young student as well. We were dating for a year and a half on and off. I was not practicing Islam at that time because I was young and naïve (not looking for excuses). The first time we broke up was because the brother told me he was trying to practice the deen, which includes not dating. I didn't want to lead him astray and make him sin. So I accepted this and got on with my life. A couple of months down the line, I began practicing the religion and gave up on boy’s altogether, because I felt so hurt from the break up. Soon after, the brother got back in contact with me and told me he missed me. I was not strong enough to say no, because I was in love with this brother, so we met up and got back together. My guilt got to me, because I was trying to practice the deen, so we broke up a second time. Currently, the brother and I talk on the internet as friends. I really did not think I would ever see him again. But by the will of Allah, I was attending a talk in a different school, and I saw him there. I was so flustered; I did not know what to do. I hid from him. The next day I saw him face to face, so I explained to him that I did not talk to him earlier because I’ve changed and am trying to practice Islam. To avoid sin, I told him I am not interested in any sort of boyfriend/girlfriend situation. In reality, I am in love with him and want to marry him. I avoided saying anything about this because I was scared of his reaction. Since then I have not spoken to him. I do want to talk to him but I do not know what to say. I do truly love him but don’t want to go about it the wrong way. Please Help me??? --A YOUNG STUDENT IN THE UK
DEAR YOUNG STUDENT: Congratulations on you’re striving to maintain righteousness and remain chaste . If your friend is sincere, then he’ll understand and respect you for striving to please God. But he cannot read your mind. There is nothing wrong with telling him that you still have feelings for him, and want to have a righteous relationship with him. According to the Quran, sexual behavior between you is forbidden, unless you are married . If he loses interest in you because of your decision to obey God, then you are better off taking time to get over him. If you put your trust in God to provide the best situation, one day God will either guide you and this brother to get married, or God will bring someone more righteous into your life for marriage .
Relevant Quran Verses:  7:26, 24:30-31;  2:235, 23:5-7;  13:2, 14:27, 17:60, 2:245, 3:160.
3. DEAR ABE: Does the Quran prohibit an early marriage at a young age? We are both a little over 20 yrs old. I don't have a permanent job yet, but can I just give her my financial assistance (dowry) later after I have a work? Is this ok? -- PAUL, MALAYSIA
DEAR PAUL: For marriage; both individuals should be mature enough to make judgment calls in determining attraction, deciding family and parenting issues, and determining the absence of idol-worship in their prospective spouse . The Quran does not specify a marriage age, so one must use common sense to conclude if they are ready to marry. Regarding the dowry; it should be mutually acceptable for both individuals, and settled before consummating the marriage. In the Quran, it seems dowry is something material that one has in hand presently, and not some future hope of things to come . Please notice that verse 4:25 advises that “to be patient is better for you.” I suggest you consider waiting for marriage, unless the bride is willing to accept a small token as her dowry .
Relevant Quran Verses:  4:24, 2:221, 2:228, 2:235, 5:5, 24:3, 24:32, 30:20-21, 33:52 ;  2:236-237, 4:24-25, 33:50, 60:10;  4:25.
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