Greeting with Salam is mustahab responding to it is wajib

Question 062: Why shouldn’t we greet fellow Muslims with Salam on Ashura day? Is it a cultural tradition or there’s an Islamic justification to this?

Answer 062: There is a tradition narrated from Ali bin Ibrahim from his father from al-Nawfeli from al-Sakooni, from Imam Sadiq (as) that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) says: Greeting with Salam (peace) is recommended and voluntary, but responding to it is obligatory.[1] The Prophet (s) also says: Do not give answer to one who doesn’t initiate saying Salaam before his speech.[2]

Arabic version of this hadith is as follows:

السَّلَامُ تَطَوُّعٌ وَ الرَّدُّ فَرِيضَةٌ.

  1. Greeting is one of the desirable acts that have been recommended. It is not makrooh (abominable) to greet someone from this perspective. However, according to some religious authorities (maraje’), if not doing an action such as shaking hands is considered in common view as a way of mourning and expressing grief, it is better not to do it.[3]
  2. Imam Baqir (as) was asked about how we should console each other on the Day of Ashura? The Imam answered: Say: May God increase our rewards as a result of what has befallen us through Hussein’s sufferings. May God make both you and us men who seek vengeance for him together with his great successor (wali), the Imam, the Mahdi from the family of Muhammad (a).[4]

The Arabic version of this recommendation:

“أعظَمَ اللهُ اجورَنابمُصابِنابِالحُسَینِ،وَجَعَلَناوایّاکُم مِنَ الطّالِبینَ بِثارِهِ مَع وَلیّهِ الامامِ المَهدیِّ مِن آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ”

  1. The word ‘Salaam’ has been mentioned 22 times and the word ‘Assalam’ 7 times in the holy Quran. Some of the verses in which the word has been mentioned are as follows:

– When they entered into his presence, they said,” Peace!”” Peace!” He answered,”[5]

– Certainly Our messengers came to Abraham with the good news, and said,” Peace!”” Peace!” He replied.[6]

– Peace is to me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I am raised alive.”[7]

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answer:

Index: Ways to Greet in Islam with Muslims and Non-Mahram, answer 369.

Index:  Lamentation: Normal mourning for Imam Hussain (as), answer 049.

[1] . Kulainy, Muhammad bin Yaqoub, al-Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 644, H. 1.

[2] . Ibid, H. 2.

[3] . Tabrizi, Jawad, New Isteftaat, vol.1, p. 454, Qom, first edition (date and place of publication not known).

[4] . Tusi, Muhammad bin al-Hasan, Mesbah al-Mujtahid wa Selah al-Muta’abbed, p. 772, Fiqh al-Shi’ah, Beirut, first edition, 1411 A.H.

[5] . Surah adh-dhariyat, verse 25.

[6] . Surah Hood, verse 69.

[7] . Surah Mariam, verse 33.


Glossary 505: Delaying Death and Called before its Time

Original Post: Delaying Death and Called before its Time

Related Code: 505

Glossary 505: Ahadith[1], Quranic[2], Ajal[3], Ajal muallaq[4], Ajal hatmi[5], Lawḥ[6], Ithbāt[7], lawh mahw wa ithbat[8], Umm al-Kitāb[9], Pbuth[10], Gheib[11], Imam Sadiq[12], Mulla Sadra[13], Harakat Jowhariyah[14], Tawaffi[15], Ruh[16], Nafs[17], Wafat[18], Faut[19], Mawtehââ[20], Anfos[21], Manameha[22], Imam Hussain[23], Maḥw[24], Ajal musamma[25]

[1] . – Ahadith:  One of various reports describing the words, actions, or habits of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The term comes from Arabic meaning a “report”, “account” or “narrative”.

[2] . – Quranic: It is used to describe something which belongs or relates to the Holy Quran.

[3] . – Ajal: Term. Life Time. Preordained Time. Specified Date.

[4] . – Ajal muallaq: The conditional ajal. Suspended Lifespan.

[5] . – Ajal hatmi: Cannot be changed. Definite Lifespan.

[6] . – Lawḥ: Tablet. The Book of Allah’s Recorded Knowledge.  Tablet of wood or stone used for writing.

[7] . Ithbāt: Affirmation. Writing.

[8] . – lawh mahw wa ithbat: The knowledge which is capable of erasure and substitution; The knowledge which is Liable to change from time to time.

[9] . – Umm al-Kitāb: The Mother Book, The Basis of the Book, The Original of the Book.

[10] . – Pbuth: Peace be Upon Them (The Infallibles).

[11] . – Gheib: The Unseen.

[12] . – Imam Sadiq: Imam Jaʿfar ibn Muḥammad al-Ṣādiq (as), commonly known as Jaʿfar al-Sadiq or simply al-Sadiq, is the sixth Shia Imam.

[13] . – Mulla Sadra: Ṣadr ad-Dīn Muḥammad Shīrāzī. He was an Iranian Shia Islamic philosopher, theologian and ‘Ālim who led the Iranian cultural renaissance in the 17th century.

[14] . – Harakat Jowhariyah: substantial motion.

[15] . – Tawaffi: This word is derived from the root word “وفی” which means to receive something in a complete way. “توفیت المال” means that I received all of the money with no shortage. The Quran refers to death with this term in 14 verses and this means that first: man has a metaphysical aspect and it is because of this aspect that man never ceases and is delivered completely to the angels at the moment of death.

[16] . – Ruh: Spirit.

[17] . – Nafs: Soul.

[18] . – Wafat: complete reception. In Farsi it is وفات.

[19] . – Faut: ceasing. In Farsi it is فوت.

[20] . – Mawtehââ: Death.

[21] . – Anfos: Souls.

[22] . – Manameha: Sleep.

[23] . – Imam Hussain: – Imam Hussain: Al-Ḥussain ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (as), was the grandson of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), and the son of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and lady Fatimah al-Zahra (pbuth) the daughter of the Prophet.

[24] . – Maḥw: Erasure; Rubbing something out.

[25] . – Ajal musamma: The definite ajal. Specified term. Fixed time. Fixed Term.


Delaying Death and Called before its Time

Question 505:  Asslamoalikum. I wanted to know can death be delayed or can be called before time, in any way?

Brief Answer 505:  As far as whether one can delay his death or not, one must say that the ahadith and Quranic verses speak of two types of “ajal” (time of death); “ajal muallaq” and “ajal hatmi” which have also been referred to in the ahadith by other names.

The “ajal muallaq” of a person is the time span he is given to live in this world. However, this period may be lessened or prolonged. For example, by giving charity or visiting relatives one can delay his “ajal muallaq”. Similarly, by not visiting them or being cursed by his parents, this period will be shortened. On the other hand, “ajal hatmi” cannot be changed. Therefore, ajal muallaq has been written in the Tablet of Lawḥ and Ithbāt while the latter is written in the Umm al-Kitāb.

Since, death is one of the Unseen nobody knows when he will die, unless the Infallibles (pbuth) except for some messenger whom He approves of

Detailed Answer 505:  In the holy Quran Allah (SWT) says: “Knower of the Unseen, He does not disclose His Unseen to anyone, except (a few of the unseen) to an apostle He approves of. Then He dispatches a sentinel before and behind him.  So that He may ascertain that they have communicated the messages of their Lord, and He comprehends all that is with them, and He keeps count of all things”.[1]

As death is one of the Unseen, only Allah, the Almighty knows when our souls certainly taste of death. Nobody knows when he will die except the Infallibles (pbuth), however they knew well that whenever Allah (SWT) wished their souls would certainly taste of death.[2]

Note: The majority of Shi’a scholars argue relying on the above mentioned verse of the holy Quran that the special servants of Allah can be informed of the Gheib on occasions which this knowledge is necessary.  This meaning is also indicated in the ahadith of the imams.  Imam Sadiq says in this regard: “When an imam wills to know something, Allah will teach him.”[3]

The answer to this question that if we realize at the time of death that we are going to die or not is that We all, but the Infallibles (pbuth), don’t know the real time of death until when it overtakes one of us. At that time, those who are not the real believer say: Send us back, my Lord, send us back.[4]

Delaying Death: In Islamic literatures, each description about death explains a certain aspect of it. Before observing the material we find about death in these texts (Quranic verses and the ahadith), we will cite and explain the words of a few philosophers in regard to this issue.

Avicenna says: “Death is no more than the body leaving the tools and means that it used in this world and what is meant by the tools are the different organs that together form the body.”[5]

The great Philosopher, Mulla Sadra said: “Death means that the soul simply leaves the body when the soul reaches a stage in “Harakat Jowhariyah” (substantial motion) that it no longer needs the tools and organs of the body. The body is like a ship that the soul employs in its journey towards God amongst the dryness of objects and the sea of souls. Once it has passed this stage, it is no longer in need of the body, and this is when death comes into the picture. Therefore, contrary to what many doctors and physicians believe one does not die because his physical energy has finished or that he lacks instinct heat. Death is something natural for man, and brings about perfection for it, and anything that promotes perfection for it, is its right, thus death is man’s right.”[6] Along these lines, in deeper discussions it is said that death is: “مفارقة النفس للبدن بانقطاع تعلقها التدبيرى”[7]. At all events, this was the philosophical viewpoint in this regard. Now, we will refer directly to the ahadith and Quran to observe them as well.

1- The Quran explains death as losing life and its effects such as thinking and willing. Obviously, losing life only applies to things that can come to life. The Quran says: “و كنتم امواتاً فاحياكم ثم يميتكم” “You were lifeless and He gave you life, then He will make you die.”[8]

Or about the idols it states: “اموات غير احياء” “They are dead, not living”[9]. Such a description of death is correct in the sense that man is comprised of the body and soul and when the body dies, the physical aspect has died. Thus, one could say that man has died. However, to think that the Quran implies that man’s soul will cease is wrong, it does not imply that angels, which have no physical body will ever cease.[10]

2- Another description mentioned in the Quran is the term “tawaffi”[11]. This word is derived from the root word “وفی” which means to receive something in a complete way. “توفیت المال” means that I received all of the money with no shortage. The Quran refers to death with this term in 14 verses and this means that first: man has a metaphysical aspect and it is because of this aspect that man never ceases and is delivered completely to the angels at the moment of death. This metaphysical/spiritual aspect is referred to in many verses as “ruh” or “nafs”. It is this aspect that will continue to live, and second: the true essence of man is not his body, because the body gradually disintegrates[12] and is not delivered to the angels. Other proof for this claim is that the Quran attributes acts that a live person does, such as speaking with the angels, and yearning and asking after death, to the soul, illustrating that man’s true essence is not his lifeless body. It is the true essence of man that is received by the angels.[13] In short, death is “وفات” (complete reception) and not “فوت” (ceasing).[14] Therefore, death is an existential matter that can be created and this is why the Quran says that even death is a creation of God.[15]

In verse 42 of surah Zumar, the Quran says: “الله يتوفى الانفس حين موتها و التى لم تمت فى منامها”

“Allah takes the souls at the time of their death, and those who have not died in their sleep. Then He retains those for whom He has ordained death and releases the others until a specified time.” The pronouns in the words “موتها” and “منامها” seem to refer to “انفس”, but they actually refer to the bodies of humans; because it is the body that dies and not the soul.

Death is simply a long form of sleep and sleep is a shorter form of death. In other words, death is no different from sleep except for the fact that in sleep the soul is temporarily taken away, meaning that the soul is granted permission to return to the body.[16]

It is also understood from verses 60 and 61 of surah Waqi’ah that death is moving from one home to another and from one stage of creation to another, not ceasing.[17] Therefore, death is a second birth.

In this regard, the Prophet says: “You were not created for annihilation, but rather to remain. You will only go from one house to another (when you die).”[18]

Imam Ali describes death as follows: “Death is leaving the world of annihilation (the world of limited life) towards the world of endurance for eternality Therefore, a wise man must be prepared for the next world befittingly”.[19]

In a very elegant saying by Imam Husayn, he uses the metaphor of death being a bridge that a believer passes to be relieved of all pains and difficulties to reach the great heavens.[20]

As far as whether or not one can delay his death, one can say that Islamic texts mention two types of ajals (times of death) for each person.[21] The Quran says: “قضى اجلاً و اجلٌ مسمى عنده” “then he ordained the term [of your life] the specified term is with Him…”[22] This means that man has an indefinite ajal[23] that can be changed and a definite ajal that cannot be changed. The fact that the second ajal cannot be changed is understood from taking the word “عنده” into consideration, because the Quran also states: “و ما عند الله باق” “What is with Allah shall last…”[24] This is the ajal that the Quran makes reference to in verse 49 of surah Yunus which states: “There is a time for every nation: when their time comes, they shall not defer it by a single hour nor shall they advance it.”

If we consider this point along with verse 39 of surah Ra’d which states: “لكل اجل كتاب يمحو الله ما يشاء و يثبت و عنده ام الكتاب”[25](25) we can conclude that ajal muallaq (the conditional ajal) is that which is recorded in the “Umm al-Kitāb” and ajal musamma (the definite ajal) is in the Tablet of Maḥw and Ithbāt.

The Umm al-Kitab can be identified with stable and unchanging events in essence; meaning events from the perspective of them being related to general causes that inevitably entail their respective effects. The Tablet of Mahw and Ithbat identifies with events from the perspective of their relation with partial causes that will take effect only if no barriers get in their way. Thus, sometimes the non-musamma and musamma ajals are the same and sometimes they differ and the one that eventually takes place is the musamma ajal.[26]

At all events, ajal muallaq can be delayed and if the ahadith speak of performing certain acts and delaying death, it is referring to delaying ajal muallaq.

The hadith says: “يعيش الناس باحسانهم اكثر مما يعيشون باعمارهم و يموتون بذنوبهم اكثر مما يموتون بآجالهم” “People live more by their good deeds than they live by their lifetime (meaning that they can postpone their ajal muallaq with their good deeds) and die more due to their sins and evil deeds then they do by their times of death (meaning that before the time of their ajal hatmi comes, they die on their ajal muallaq because of their evil deeds).”[27]

For example, charity[28] or maintaining family ties have been counted as means of delaying ajal muallaq and prolonging one’s lifespan.[29]

For more information in regards to deeds that may prolong one’s lifetime, please refer to relevant books.[30]

Related Link: Glossary 505.

[1] . Surah Jinn, verses 26-28

[2] . Tafsir al-Mizan, Vol 20, Pg. 83.

[3] Kuleini, Usul Kāfī, vol. 1, chapter on when the imams wish to know something, they know it, hadith 3.

[4] . Surah al-Momenoon, verse 99.

[5] Avicenna, Risalat al-Shifa’ min Khawf al-Mawt, pp. 240-245.

[6] Mulla Sadra, vol. 9, p. 238.

[7] If the connection between the soul and body is lost, such that it loses all control of the body, this is called death.

[8] Baqarah:28.

[9] Nahl:21.

[10] See: Al-Mizan, vol. 14, p. 286.

[11] Nahl:32; Anfal:50; An’am:60; Zumar:42.

[12] Verse 60 of surah An’am reads: “هو الذى يتوفاكم” meaning it is He who receives you. Here, the pronoun کم denotes ‘me’ and ‘the self’ which is always the same and doesn’t change.

[13] See: Shahid Mutahhari, Majmu’eye Asar, vol. 2, pp. 503-511.

[14] See: Jawadi Amoli, Abdullah, Tafsire Mozu’iye Quran, vol. 3, pp. 388-397 and vol. 2, pp. 497-509.

[15] “الذى خلق الموت و الحيوة…” Mulk:1 and 2 (He who created death and life…) (please refer to Payame Quran, vol. 5, pp. 430 and on).

[16] See: Payame Quran, vol. 5, p. 433).

[17] See: Al-Mizan, vol. 19, p. 133 and vol. 20, p. 356.

[18] Majlisi, Bihar, vol. 6, p. 249.

[19] “الموت مفارقة دار الفناء و ارتحال الى دار البقاء” He also says: “خذوا من ممركم لمقركم” meaning take provisions from this temporal world for your eternal world (Nahjul Balaghah Subhi Saleh, p. 493) The world is a place of passing through and the Hereafter is a place of residence and when you are dying, you will be taken there: “الى ربك يومئذ المساق” (Qiyamat:26-30).

[20] Majlisi, Bihar, vol. 6, p. 154; Ma’ani al-Akhbar, p. 274; Mizan al-Hikmah, vol. 9, p. 234 “…فماالموت الاقنطرةٌ تعبربكم عن البؤس و الضرّاء الى الجنان الواسعة…”.

[21] See: Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 5, p. 139.

[22] An’am:2.

[23] The nakirah (indefinite) word here (being اجلاً) implies ambiguity.

[24] Nahl:96: “That which is with Allah is stable and enduring”.

[25] “There is a written [schedule] for every term. Allah effaces or confirms whatever He wishes and with Him is the Mother Book”

[26] See: Tabatabai, Al-Mizan, vol. 7, p. 8-10.

[27] Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 5, p. 140; Mizan al-Hikmah, vol. 1, p. 30.

[28] Muhammadi, ReyShahri, Mizan al-Hikmah, vol. 1, p. 30.

[29] Muhammadi, ReyShahri, Mizan al-Hikmah, chapters 1464 and 1467.

[30] Muhammadi, ReyShahri, Mizan al-Hikmah, vol. 6, p. 549, chapter 2932.


Looking at non-Mahram Body for Marriage

Question 611: Salam. Is a person allowed to look at the hair of her fiance once before marriage? Need answer from ruling of Ayatollah Khamenei and ayatollah Sistani?

Answer 611: Generally, it is haraam for a man to look at the body or hair of the Non-Mahram women, regardless of whether it is with the intention of pleasure or not, and whether there is a fear of falling into sinful act or not. It is also haraam to look at the faces and the arms, up to the wrists, of such women with the intention of pleasure, or if there is fear of falling into sinful act, and the recommended precaution is that one should not look at their faces or arms even without such an intention. Similarly, it is haraam for a woman to look at the body of Non-Mahram man, except places which are customarily not covered, like, his face, hands, head, neck and feet. She can look at these parts of a man without the intention of deriving any pleasure, or if there is no fear of being entrapped in any sinful act.[1]

But, it is permissible for a man to look at a woman whom he intends to marry provided that: 1- it is not with the intention of pleasure, 2 – it is to find out about her beauty or her defects, 3 – there should not be any barrier or hurdle to the marriage, 4 – he considers it problem that the girl will not reject him[2], in which case he can look at a woman’s face, hands up to the wrists, hair and a part of her body (neck and upper part of the chest).[3]

It should be noted that grand Ayatollah Saafi believes that: as an obligatory precaution, he must suffice to looking at her face and hands up to the wrists.[4]

Sayyid Sistani (ha) says: It is permissible for a man to look at the attractive features of the woman he intends to marry. Similarly, it is permissible to talk to her before proposing. So, it is permissible to look at her face, hair, neck, hands and wrists, and legs and other parts of her body, provided that he does not so without sexuall gratification.[5]

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answers:

Index: Essential Requirements of a Successful Marriage in Islam, answer 515.

Index: Premarital relation with non-Mahram is impermissible, answer 082.

Index: Chatting on the internet with non-Mahram, answer 350.

Index: Shaking Hands with non-Mahram Man or Woman, answer 603.

[1] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), rules regarding Marriage » Looking at non-Mahram.

[2] – Khamenei, Sayyid Ali, Ajwebat al-Istiftaat, question 525; Sistani, Sayyid ali, Minhaj al-Salehin, vol.2, Nikah (Marriage), issue No. 28; Bahjat, Muhammad Taqi, Resalah Tawzih al-Masail, issue No.1944; Makarem Shirazi, Naser, Ta’liqat Alaa al-Urwat al-Wuthqa, Nikah (Marriage), issue No, 26; Fazel Lankarani, Muhammad, Ta’liqat Alaa al-Urwat al-Wuthqa, Nikah (Marriage), issue No. 26.

[3] -Makarem Shirazi, Naser, Ta’liqat Alaa al-Urwat al-Wuthqa, Nikah (Marriage), issue No, 26; Ali bin Abi Talib Religious School, Qom; Sistani, Sayyid Ali, Minhaj al-Saalehin, vol.2, Nikah, issue No. 28; Tabrizi, Jawad, Isteftaat, question 1580, p. 355, Sarwar Publications, Sitara Publications, 3rd edition, 1385 (2006); Bahjat, Muhammad Taqi, Resalah, Tawzih al-Masail, issue No. 1944, p. 386, Publications of the Office of the Supreme Leader, Amir Printing Press, 18th edition,Qom, 1378 (1999). Tawzih al-Masail (with annotation by Imam Khomeini) vol.2, p. 485, issue No. 2433; Imam Khomeini, Sayyid Rohullah, Tahrir al-Wasilah, vol.2, Nikah (marriage), issue No. 28, Payam Printing House, fifth edition, 1365 (1986).

[4] – Saafi, Lotfullah, Hidayat al-‘Ibad, vol.2, Nikah (Marriage), issue No. 28; Adopted from IQ.

[5] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), rules concerning Marriage » General Rules.


Zayd ibn Ali the brother of Imam Baqir according to Shia

Question 056: What is the Ithna Ashari view on Zayd Ibn Ali, brother of Imam Baqir?

Answer 056: According to Sheikh Mofid (r.a), Zayd ibn Ali ibn al-Hussain was the son of Imam Sajjad (a.s), the grandson of Imam Hussain ibn Ali (as), and great-grandson of Imam Ali (as). Zayd was born in Medina in 695 and martyred in Kufa.[1] He was one of the greatest figures and prominent personalities among his brothers after Imam Baqir (a.s), in the School of Ahlulbayt (a.s) and the entirety of the Islamic world.

He was very pious, jurisprudential, generous and brave. He rose with the intention of directing others to enjoin what is lawful and forbid what is unlawful.

He also intended to take revenge on those who killed his grandfather Imam Hussain ibn Ali (a.s). The reason he was called Halif al-Qur’an, was because he was so well acquainted with and continuously recited the Holy Qur’an.[2] Zayd al-Shahid, Zayd the martyr was his another title, because he was martyred in an uprising against tyranny.[3]

Imam Sadiq (a.s) said such things as: “May Allah (swt) bless my uncle”. Imam Ridha (a.s) said such things as: “Zayd ibn Ali was one of the great scholars of the Ahlulbayt (a.s)”.

He was angered for pleasure of Allah (swt), fought in holy war against enemies of Allah (swt) and was martyred in the way of Allah (swt).[4]

[1] . ‘Umraji, al-Hayat al-Siyasat wa al-Fikriyyat Lil Zaydiyyat fee al-Mashriq al-Islami, Pg. 30; Saberi, Tarikh Firaq Islami, Vol. 2, Pg. 64.

[2] .Ibid, Pg. 43; Esfahani, Maqatil al-Talebin, Pg. 127.

[3] . Maqatil al-Talebin, Pg. 127.

[4] . Ahmad bin Ali ibn al-Hussain, (birth 288 A.H), Omdatul Mataleb, Pg. 255. Uyūn akhbār al-Riḍā (Arabic: عیون اخبار الرضا), Vol. 1, chapter 25, Pg. 248. Allamah Tabatabaee, Shia in Islam, Pg. 66.


Prophet Noah cursed Blacks / The Story of Noah’s Sons

Question 198: Question: What does Islam say about blacks? What is their position among people seeing as they bear the azab of their progenitor Ham?

Answer 198: In book Elalul Sharaye’a, the story of Noah’s sons are mentioned as follows:

One day the Prophet Noah (as) fell asleep in his ship. A wind was blowing and pushed aside his clothes. His private parts became exposed. Ham and Japheth were laughing at him, but Shem forbid them from laughing at their father. Shem covered his fathers private parts, but they pushed the cloth aside again. Suddenly, Noah (as) woke up and saw what happened. He asked, “Why are you are laughing?” Shem replied to his father, the story!

Noah raised his hands and said, “O Allah, change the loins of Ham, and Japheth” and Allah (swt) changed it. This is why why all black people come from Ham’s generation; all Turkish people and Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj (Gog and Magog) come from Japheth’s generation; and all white skinned people come from Shem’s generation. “O Allah, set the children of Ham and Japheth as slave’s for the children of Shem, until the Day of Judgment”.[1]

The Arabic version of this narration is as follows:

عَبْدِ اللَّهِ الْكُوفِيُّ قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا سَهْلُ بْنُ زِيَادٍ الْآدَمِيُّ قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْعَظِيمِ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ الْحَسَنِيُّ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ عَلِيَّ بْنَ مُحَمَّدٍ الْعَسْكَرِيَّ ع يَقُولُ عَاشَ نُوحٌ ع أَلْفَيْنِ وَ خَمْسَمِائَةِ سَنَةٍ وَ كَانَ يَوْماً فِي السَّفِينَةِ نَائِماً فَهَبَّتْ رِيحٌ فَكَشَفَتْ عَنْ عَوْرَتِهِ فَضَحِكَ حَامٌ وَ يَافِثُ فَزَجَرَهُمَا سَامٌ ع وَ نَهَاهُمَا عَنِ الضَّحِكِ وَ كَانَ كُلَّمَا غَطَّى سَامٌ شَيْئاً تَكْشِفُهُ الرِّيحُ كَشَفَهُ حَامٌ وَ يَافِثُ فَانْتَبَهَ نُوحٌ ع فَرَآهُمْ وَ هُمْ يَضْحَكُونَ فَقَالَ مَا هَذَا فَأَخْبَرَهُ سَامٌ بِمَا كَانَ فَرَفَعَ نُوحٌ ع يَدَهُ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ يَدْعُو وَ يَقُولُ اللَّهُمَّ غَيِّرْ مَاءَ صُلْبِ حَامٍ حَتَّى لَا يُولَدَ لَهُ إِلَّا سُودَانٌ اللَّهُمَّ غَيِّرْ مَاءَ صُلْبِ يَافِثَ فَغَيَّرَ اللَّهُ مَاءَ صُلْبِهِمَا فَجَمِيعُ السُّودَانِ حَيْثُ كَانُوا مِنْ حَامٍ وَ جَمِيعُ التُّرْكِ وَ السَّقَالِبَةِ وَ يَأْجُوجَ وَ مَأْجُوجَ وَ الصِّينِ مِنْ يَافِثَ حَيْثُ كَانُوا وَ جَمِيعُ الْبِيضِ سِوَاهُمْ مِنْ سَامٍ وَ قَالَ نُوحٌ ع لِحَامٍ وَ يَافِثَ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ ذُرِّيَّتَكُمَا خَوَلًا لِذُرِّيَةِ سَامٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ لِأَنَّهُ بَرَّ بِي وَ عَقَقْتُمَانِي فَلَا زَالَتْ سِمَةُ عُقُوقِكُمَا لِي فِي ذُرِّيَّتِكُمَا ظَاهِرَةً وَ سِمَةُ الْبِرِّ بِي فِي ذُرِّيَّةِ سَامٍ ظَاهِرَةً مَا بَقِيَتِ الدُّنْيَا

It is also said that since the Noah’s Deluge happened in the month Dhil Hijjah and the Ark reached Bayt al-Haram (the temple of Mecca), Noah (as) recommended the people of the Ark not to have intercourse with their wives during this time. He then cursed those who disobeyed and said that Allah changed their loins. Therefore, when Ham did so his loin had been changed.[2]

According to Tabari, Ham had a happy ending, because, the Prophet Noah (as) had mercy on him and prayed for him, that his generations will get affection from their brothers.[3]

Accordingly, a question that may now arise is, “Is it mentioned in the holy Quran that white people are better than yellow, red, brown and black colored races?”

A: The verse mentioned above does not say that white people are better than other races, actually it has nothing to do with the abovementioned issue, the words used in the verse may seem to relate to races but they have a meaning other than being black and white. In Arabic people who reach salvation and prosperity are called “white faced people” and those who do not are called “dark/black faced people”, these sorts of expressions and other similar ones such as “a dark heart” or “the night was pitch black” that have nothing to do with races are not only found in Arabic, but in other languages as well.

In respect to the hadith cited above, aside from the fact that some parts of it aren’t in conformity with Islamic teachings, and its chain of narrators isn’t a decent one, making its authenticity disputable, we must pay attention to the fact that although youth, health and beauty aren’t of Islam does not deny that white skin is more beautiful and attractive, but it denies the notion that being white is a spiritual advantage and value; therefore it makes complete sense for black people to turn white when entering heaven. Add to above that this hadith is not considered authentic.

Actually, there are many verses in the Quran which clearly explain that despite the differences that are found among humans, they are all from the same root and nothing will make one more valuable or respectful other than his righteousness and piety, let it be physical features, family ties or gender, some of these verses are as follows:

1- “O mankind! Indeed we created you from a male and a female, and made you nations and tribes that you may identify yourselves with one another. Indeed the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most God wary among you.”[4]

2- “O mankind! Be wary of your Lord who created you from a single soul, and created its mate from it, and, from the two of them, scattered numerous men and women. Be wary of Allah, in whose Name you adjure one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is watchful over you”[5]

The Arabic version of this verse:

“يا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذي خَلَقَكُمْ مِنْ نَفْسٍ واحِدَةٍ وَ خَلَقَ مِنْها زَوْجَها وَ بَثَّ مِنْهُما رِجالاً كَثيراً وَ نِساء ”

3- “It is He who created you from a single soul”[6]

The Arabic version of this verse:

” وَ هُوَ الَّذی أَنْشَأَکُمْ مِنْ نَفْسٍ واحِدَة”

Imam Ali would equally pay people their share which was three “dinars” from the “Beitulmal” (the treasury). A man from the Ansar came to him and received his three dinars and then a black person came and received the same amount of money.

The man from the Ansar was surprised and protestingly said: “Up until yesterday this black man was my servant, does it make sense for me to get as much money as he does?!” The Imam replied that the argument had no reasoning and that none of the two was higher than the other.”[7]

In a similar story the Imam faced his brother “Aqil” that said: “Do you think my share equals the share of a black man?!” The Imam strongly denied such a notion and replied: “It is only if you are more righteous and have done more for Islam that will make you more respectful and valuable, otherwise you are completely equal to him.”[8]

According to Tabari, Ham had a happy ending, because, the Prophet Noah (as) had mercy on him and prayed for him, that his generations will get affection from their brothers.[9]

Also, all mankind are the same as each other. There is no superiority. They are equal to each other in worshiping Allah (swt) the Almighty, as Allah, the Almighty says: “Surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty) Surely Allah is Knowing, Aware”. [10]

The Arabic version of this holy verse:

“يا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْناكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَ أُنْثى وَ جَعَلْناكُمْ شُعُوباً وَ قَبائِلَ لِتَعارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقاكُم”

In the Holy Qur’an, Allah (swt) has never used the words, O White people! Instead, Allah (swt) has always said, “O mankind! Worship your Lord, who created you and those who were before you, so that you may be God wary.” [11]

Although, the hadith mentioned in Alalul Saraye’a is considered as Sahih in its chain of narration, but it is also said that Ham had a happy ending, because, the Prophet Noah (as) had mercy on him and prayed for him, that his generations will get affection from their brothers. [12]

Therefore, according to the previous mentioned verses of the holy Quran and Ahadith narrated from Infallibles (pbuth) and according to Tabari that Ham had a happy ending we can come to this conclusion that all mankind are the same as each other. And there is no superiority. They are equal to each other in worshiping Allah (swt) the Almighty, as He (SWT) says: “Surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty) Surely Allah is Knowing, Aware”. [13]

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following link:

Related Link: Facebook.

[1] . Elalul Sharaye’a, Vol. 1, Pg. 32.

[2] . Abu Hisham, Book al-Tijan fee Muluk Hamir, Vol. 1, Pg. 34, San’a, 1979;  Tabari, Tarikh (History), Bierut, Vol. 1, Pg. 188;  Abul Fat’h Razi, Rawz al-Jinan wa Rooh al-Jinan fee tafsir al-Quran, Vol. 10, Pg. 270, Muhammad Jaafar Yahaqi, and Muhammad Mahdi Naseh, Mashhad;  Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayat wa al-Nihayat, Vol. 1, Pg. 116, Beirut, 1190 / 1411 A.H.

[3] . Tabari, Masoodi, Beirut, Vol. 1, Pg. 204. Tabari’s name is Muhammad bin Jarir ibn Yazid ibn Kathir bin Ghalib, although he appeared to be Sunni due to Taqiyah and the condition that was obtained there, however he was a follower of the School of Ahlul Bayt (pbuth) and loved them. For more information, please refer to: Rawzatul Jannat; Shahabi, Ali Akbar, Tehran, Tehran University, Publisher Institution, Third edition.

[4] . Surah al-Hojorat, verse 13.

[5] . Surah Nisa, verse 1.

[6] . Surah An’am, verse 98.

[7] . Muhammad ibn Yaqub Kuleini¸ Kafi, vol. 8, pg. 69, hadith 26.

[8] . Ibid, vol. 8, pg. 182, hadith 204.

[9] . Tabari, Masoodi, Beirut, Vol. 1, Pg. 204. For more information, please refer to: Rawzatul Jannat; Shahabi, Ali Akbar, Tehran, Tehran University, Publisher Institution, Third edition.

[10] . Surah al-Hojorat, verse 13.

[11] . Surah Baqarah, verse 21.

[12] . Tabari, Masoodi, Beirut, Vol. 1, Pg. 204.

[13] . Surah al-Hojorat, verse 13.


Praying for non-Muslims in Qunoot of Witr prayer

Question 197: Asslamoalakum! Could we add the names of non-muslim people while mentioning the names of 40 people dead/alive in Qunoot of Witr in Namaz-e-shab (nawafilatu-layl)? Also, could we recite Sura Fatiha while passing through the graves of non-Muslims? This include mentioning name of non-Muslims among 40 names in qanoot of witr too, only if they were harmless towards Muslims right? What if that non-Muslim is alive, could we mention him/her in qunoot of Witr?

Answer 197:  Given the supposition made in the answer, there is no difference between mentioning them in Qunut. According to the verses of the Holy Quran, if those non-Muslim who have not fought Muslims on the account of Religion and have not driven us out of our Homeland, Allah (SWT), the Almighty does not forbid us from doing good and regarding justice to them. Therefore, we can visit their graves and ask Allah, the Almighty for His forgiveness and pray for them. However, Allah (SWT) forbids us only from having Friendship with those who fought us on the account of Religion and Drove us out of our homeland; and helped one another in driving us out; We are forbidden to have friendly Relation with them; and whoever among us does so, then he is regarded as One of the disbelievers. Because, in the Holy Quran Allah (SWT) says: “The Prophet and the faithful may not plead for the forgiveness of the polytheists, even if they should be [their] relatives, after it has become clear to them that they will be the inmates of hell”.[1]

Our maraja have different opinions in this regards:

Sayyid Sistani: You are not allowed to pray for non-Muslim in order that Allah (swt) don’t punish them.

Makarem Shirazi: There would be no problem to recite surah al-Fatihah and pray for them if they have not fought Muslims on the account of religion.

Khameneni: There would be no problem in it per se.

Safi Golpayegani: Reciting salawat and seeking Allah (swt) for his forgiveness is not permissible.

The qunut of witr prayer is one of the highly rewarded mustahab acts and stress has been laid on prolonging it. It has been narrated from the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him and his family, that he said: “Whoever prolongs the qunut of his witr prayer in the world, will be at ease at the station of judgment.”[2] In Qunut, first pray for forgiveness of forty or more Mu’mineen who are either dead or living in the following manner. For example, you should say:

“اللهم اغفر لفلان

“Allahumma ighfir li-fulan”.

Instead of ‘fulan’, you should mention the name of the individual whom you want to pray for. Or recite:

اللهم اغفر للمؤمنین و المؤمنات

Allahumma ighfir lil-mo’meneen wal-momeenat.

“استغفر الله ربی و اتوب الیه‌”

Then recite seventy times “astaghfirullah rabbi wa atubu elayh.” Then recite:

“هذا مقام العائذ بک من النار”

Haza maqamul a’eze bika minan nar.

Then say three hundred times:


Al-Afw. Then the following dhikr is recited:

“رب‌ّ اغفرلی و ارحمنی و تب علی‌ّ انک انت التواب الغفور الرحیم‌”

Rabbi ighfirli wa irhamni wa tub ‘alayya innka antat tawwab al-ghafoor al-rahim.[3]


For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answer:

Index: Praying for non-Muslim Parents, answer 516.

Index: Ways to Greet in Islam with Muslims and Non-Mahram, answer 369.

Index: The night prayer or Salat al-Layl (Tahajjud, Night Prayer), answer 234.

Index: Reciting Dua or Dikr in any language during the Prayer, answer 579.

[1] . Surah Mumtahina, verses 8 & 9; Surah Tawbah, verse 113.

[2] . Tabatai Yazdi, Muhammad Kazem, Urwat al-Wuthqa, vol.1, p. 544 – 545, Dar al-Tafsir.

[3] . Adopted from answer: The night prayer or Salat al-Layl (Tahajjud, Night Prayer), answer 234.


Shia Believe Ahlus Sunnah are Muslim not Kafir!

Question 203: Assalamu Alaikum. Do Shia believe Sunni followers (Ahlus Sunnah) are kafir or nonbeliever?

Answer 203: The first degree and step in Islam, which is the necessary condition to being Muslim, is to admit to the two principles of tawhid (the oneness of Allah (swt)) and nubuwwah (prophethood). The concept of لا اله الا الله (there is no God but Allah (swt)), is the true essence of Islam and its most important doctrine, containing all of the different dimensions of tawhid in it, and admitting to the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), is the acknowledgement that he is the seal of the prophets and that his religion is the final one to come, nullifying all other religions before it (meaning that these religions can no longer be followed, although they might have been the religions to be followed before the advent of Islam). The rest of the degrees of higher faith start from here, which is to follow the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in all of his teachings and decrees without any questioning.

One who bears witness to the two principles mentioned above, has embraced Islam and parted from all other religions. When such takes place, all rulings pertaining to Muslims (such as the permissibility of marrying other Muslims, having transactions with them, the taharah (being pure and not najis) of their bodies and their children’s bodies, will all pertain to him/her as well[1] and his/her life and possessions will be respected and defending him/her will become a responsibility of the Islamic governor and the Muslim society. As was said, this is the least that every Muslim must bear and others can no longer call such Muslims Mushriks or Kafirs anymore, even though their faith is the lowest one can have, but then again, it is faith.

In addition to what was said above, according to the ithna’ashari sect, considering the different verses and hadiths that imply this matter, accepting all twelve individuals as imams, leaders and successors to the holy Prophet (pbuh) after him is one the most important conditions of faith and the acceptance of our actions and worship from Allah (swt), because accepting the holy Prophet (pbuh) and the Quran as the final revelation to the prophet (pbuh) which hasn’t been changed and falsified till today, necessitates the precise and complete practice of the teachings of the Quran and the prophet (pbuh). One of these teachings and guidelines which is of extreme importance, is for us to obey the imams. Therefore, in reality, disobeying them is equal to disobeying the Prophet (pbuh) and Allah (swt) because they are the ones who have ordered us to follow them.

Imam Sadiq (as) recommended his followers to be good and behave nicely toward ahdlul Sunnah, offer their prayers at Ahlul Sunna Mosques, visit their (ahlul sunnah) patients, go to their funeral, and if possible be their Mukabbir (one who pronounces takbir and other Dhikrs in congregational prayers). The Imam (as) says: If you did so they would say, you are the followers of Ja’afari sect. May Allah, the Almighty Ja’afar’s soul rest in peace. How good the Imam educated his followers.[2]

Thus, the Sunni followers are not considered as Kafir. They have only the lowest level of faith! They are not the true believer.

For further information in this regards, please read the following answer:

Index: The differences and similarities between Shia and Sunni, answer 187.

Index: Ask Islam: How to become a Muslim, answer 527.

Index: Shia answers: The Term Shia in Quran, answer 129.

[1] . Of course, there is a difference of opinion regarding the purity of the bodies of the people of the book, which you can learn about by referring to the different risalahs of various marjas; Sayyid Sistani (ha) says: The Ahlul Kitab (that is, the Jews, the Christians and the Zoroastrians) are ritually pure (tahir) as long as you do not know that they have become ritually impure (najis) by coming into contact with an impure object. You can follow this ruling when dealing with them.

[2] . Man La Yahduruhul Faqih, al-Sadoup, Vol. 1, Pg. 267, H. 1128.


Mutah and Zina: Shia consider Temporary Marriage permissible

Question 201:  What is mutah and zinah??

Answer 201: Zina denotes copulation with other than one’s legal spouse (permanent or temporary), which the Quran labels as a grave sin, about which Allah has said: “Do not approach fornication. It is indeed obscene and an evil way.”,[1] Temporary marriage refers to a marriage in which a man and woman without any restrictions of getting married, willingly, along with mentioning a specific mahr (dowry) and time length for the marriage, perform a marriage contract. This type of marriage has no talaq (divorce) and the couples are separated when the marriage contract’s time ends. Read More


Betting on Football Horse Riding and Shooting

Question 607: Salaam Sheikh. I want to know if betting on football is halal or haram?

Answer 607: It is permissible to engage in sports games with balls like football (soccer), basketball, volleyball, table tennis, handball, etc. It is also permissible to watch such games at the sports stadiums or on various displays and monitors with payment or without payment as long as that does not entail a harãm act, like looking with lust, or neglecting an obligation like salãt.[1] But, it is not permissible to play it, if it involves betting.[2]

Also, playing in gambling tools, such as chess, dominoes, backgammon, and betting on them is haraam; even playing chess and backgammon [and the like] without betting is haraam.[3]

Note: Shooting or Archery and Horse riding are permissible even if they involves betting.[4] The property gained through the betting is halal. However, betting is allowed for those who take part in the competition only not for the onlookers and owners of the horses.[5]

[1] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), rules concerning Games.

[2] . Tawzih al-Masael of maraja’ (annotated), Vol. 2, Pg. 962, al-Nashr al-Islami Instirution, al-Tab’ah al-Thaminah (eighth edition), Qom 1424 A.H; Mahmoodi, Sayyid Mohsin, Masael Jadid az Didgah Ulama (new issues from the view points of scholars and maraja’), Vol. 1, Pg. 107, Sahib al-Zaman Cultural and scientific publication , fourteenth edition.

[3] . Ibid, Gambling.

[4] . Refer to: Tawzih al-Masael of maraja’ (annotated), Vol. 2, Pg. 962, al-Nashr al-Islami Instirution, al-Tab’ah al-Thaminah (eighth edition), Qom 1424 A.H; Mahmoodi, Sayyid Mohsin, Masael Jadid az Didgah Ulama (new issues from the view points of scholars and maraja’), Vol. 1, Pg. 107, Sahib al-Zaman Cultural and scientific publication , fourteenth edition.

[5] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), rules concerning Gambling.