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The Best Traits of Women are the Worst Traits of Men

Question 632: Assalamu Alaikum! Can someone explain this to me? In Nahjul-Balagha #234 it is written, “The Best of women’s attributes are the men’s worst; self-conceit, cowardice and miserliness. So if a women is self-conceit, she will not let one approach her in (in bed). If she is miserliness, shesafe gaurds her wealth and that of her husband. And if she is a coward, she is scared of anything displayed before her. So, is this saying Sahih that The Best Traits of Women are the Worst Traits of Men?

Answer 632: Amir al-Mu’minin (peace be upon him) said: The best traits of women are those which are the worst traits of men. These attributes are as follows: Vanity, Cowardice and Miserliness. Thus, since the woman is vain, she will not allow anyone access to herself; since she is miserly, she will preserve her own property and the property of her husband; and since she is weak-hearted, she will be frightened with everything that befalls her.[1] Read More

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How to cure the Evil Eye

Question 176: Hi. I’ve been afflicted by evil-eye. My left eye is swollen. I’ve done self ruqyah, but it didn’t helped me. I am going to do the wudu method. Now, I don’t know if I am afflicted by the evil eye or my cousin? Can I pour my own wudu water over myself?In case I request my cousin’s wudu water, do I have to reveal her the truth of evil eye?
1. How do I pour and collect the wudu water? 2. Should I pour over the entire body or on the swollen place? 3. What do I say before? Finally let me know How to cure the Evil Eye according to the holy Quran and traditions?

Answer 176: The evil eye is a part of the influence of the soul. There is no reason to negate it as it has occurred repeatedly in the concrete external world. There are some traditions which explicitly state that the influence of an evil eye is real. It is narrated from Durr al-Manthur that the Holy Prophet (saws) said, “The influence of an evil eye is a fact…” He also said, “An evil eye puts a healthy man into the grave and a perfect camel into the cauldron.”[1] Read More

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Rules on eating Sea Creatures: Shrimp and Prawns are Halal

Question 647: Salaam. Are prawns and shrimp same or different? Which one is halal? I want to know the rules on eating Sea Creatures and made sure if Shrimp and Prawns are Halal?

Answer 647: It is not permissible to eat from marine animals anything except fish that has scale; shrimp is considered from that category [of permissible sea animals]. But other than fish that does not have scale is forbidden.

No marine animal is halal, except fish that has scales, amongst which are prawns. As for other animals, other than fish, like carp as well as other kinds of fish that have no scales, it is not permissible to consume. [1]

When it comes to the general guidelines about halal and haram animal, there are many criteria and standards stated in the narrations of the Infallible Imams (a.s.); for instance, certain rules and guidelines have been explained for terrestrial animals, birds and aquatic animals. The criterion mentioned for halal aquatic animals is that they should have scales. It has reported[2] that Muhammad bin Muslim asked Imam Baqir (a.s.): “They bring us fish without scales (what should we do)?”

Imam Baqir (a.s.) replied: “Eat the fish that has scales and do not eat the fish that does not have scales?” Scales are the small, thin horny or bony plates protecting the skin of fish and reptiles, typically overlapping one another.[3]

It should be noted that the fish should be from the category of scaly fish and there is no objection, if the fish have lost their scales due certain environmental factors or the way the fish live as stated in the narrations.[4]

As for shrimps, we have special narrations according to which “eating shrimps is allowed and that shrimps are a kind fish.”[5]

As for the philosophy of the permissibility of eating shrimps, there are different probabilities which are enumerated as under:

  1. Shrimps are from the category of scaly fish though we do not see the scales with naked eyes.
  2. Shrimps have had scales in the beginning but they have lost their scales over time.
  3. Despite the fact that, essentially shrimp don’t have scales, from the legal perspective it is set within the category of fish that have scales. In other words, for reasons we are not aware of, it has been considered as an exception and consequently halal, although it does not have scales.[6]

In addition, we have a hadith that states the impermissibility of crab: “Eating jerī (type of fish), turtle and crab is haram.”[7] It is clear that crabs are not from the category of scaly fish.

Note: The terms shrimp and prawn are common names, not scientific names. They are vernacular or colloquial terms which lack the formal definition of scientific terms. It seems the both are amongst fish that have scales. If so, there would be no problem to eat them.

For further information on this matter, please read the following answers:

Index: Halal and Haram Meat / The impermissibility of eating rabbit meat, answer 418.

Index: Ruling on foods and drinks containing alcohol / Vanilla Extract, answer 578.

Index: Cheese and Walnuts / Eating cheese in the morning is Makruh, answer 593.

[1] Tawzih al-Masael of Maraja, Vol. 2, Pgs. 590-591, issue 2615; Imam Khomeini, Tahrir al-Wasilah, vol. 2, pg. 137, book of foods and drinks, issue 2; Ibid (translation), Vol. 3, Pg. 274, issue 2; al-Mukhtasar al-Nafi’, pg. 251; Sharayi’ al-Islam, pg. 169; Tawzih al-Masael (annotated by Imam Khomeini), Vol. 2, Pg. 593, special issue according to Ayatollah Makarem, issue 2255; Majma al-Masael, Ayatollah Golpayegani, Vol. 3, Pg. 64.

[2] . Wasail al-Shi’ah, vol.16, pg. 397, and 398, hadith 1, chapt.8.

[3] . Ibid, hadith 3 & 7.

[4] . Ibid, chap.10 (Haram Foodstuffs), pg. 405.

[5] . Wasail al-Shi’ah, pg. 408, hadith 5 & 12 (Haram foodstuffs).

[6] . Footnote of Wasa’il al-Shia, pg. 408.

[7] . Wasa’il al-Shia, vol. 24, pg. 146, book of foods and drinks, chapter 16, hadith 1.

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Marrying a fornicator who repented

Question 640: Aoa sheikh, I have a very serious question. If a women has lost her virginity in the past wrongfully by committing sin or been in relationship.  Can’t she be forgiven in the eyes of Islam?  Should a man accept such a women as her life partner?  What does Islam say about Marrying a fornicator who repented?

Answer 640: Although adultery is a great sin according to the Holy Quran, as He, the Exalted, says: “Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils)”[1], but one point of dire importance, is the special favor and grace which Allah, the Almighty bestows upon someone who repents; repentance destroys and effaces all of the sins and negative consequences of sins before Allah. Read More

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How to get rid of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Question 643: Salam un alaikum wa rahmatullahi wabarkatuh. I am 19 year old girl suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder. I keep getting weird blasphemous thoughts about my faith and beliefs.i fear excessively of losing my faith ,dying as a kafir or going against the holy prophet Muhammad saw and the holy imams as .I want to know what is the cure for this disease islamically and also I tend to keep getting back to the sins i had once left…I feel extremely uneasy at heart and feel like my heart has hardened..I feel away from Allah SWT and feeling the love of ahlulbayt decreasing in my heart…I try to pray daily …but it’s just become an excercise without any khushu. However, such is not the case always…I keep oscillating between spirituality and feeling distanced from my Deen… please help me out,it seems like I’m not making any progress in life and am getting farther away from my Deen…I don’t want to loose my Deen and wilayat of ahlulbayt ever… please guide me as to how to keep a balance between wordly and spiritual life and also help me with my OCD ,will Allah punish me for such thoughts…or is it a punishment or a test ?So, please tell me how to get rid of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Answer 643: We must know that one who is serious about his relation to God and is submissive in his heart to the will of Allah, he will not be affected by any doubts concerning religious issues even if those doubts are very serious. In fact, as the Holy Prophet (S) says, the emergence of such a condition can be a sign of his sincerity and religiosity.[1] That is because only a pious and practicing individual gets concerned about his spiritual situation. Read More

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Wilayah al-Takwini according to Shia

Question 302: Would anyone explain about Wilayah al-Takwini according to Shia? I am sunni and recently heard about it. I am so confused. Prior hearing about it i was seriously considering to convert to Shia Islam. I will be grateful if anyone explain it to me.  W. Salam.

Answer 302: Wilayah is an Arabic word derived from the word (ولی). In Arabic Wilayah means the coming of something right after another, without any space existing in between them. This calls for the closeness and nearness of these two to each other. Read More

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Cursing the enemies of Ahlul Bayt

Question 301: What is correct academic views from Ahlulbait AS about sending lanah upon their enemies? Is Cursing the enemies of Ahlul Bayt bring heavenly reward for us?

Answer 301: Literally, the word “Laanat” means ‘to curse’, ‘make far’, or ‘to separate’. It is an offensive word or phrase used to express anger or annoyance. Also, Lanat means to angrily make somebody far from himself or make him far from good.[1] Read More

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Categories of Hadith and their Meanings

Question 059: What does ‘hadith’ mean? What are the different categories of Hadith and their Meanings?

Answer 059: The Arabic word ‘hadith’ means, statement or talk. In the Shari’ah, the word hadith means, those things or actions, which the Holy Prophet (saws) said or did.

A collection of traditions containing sayings of the Holy Prophet (saws) which, with accounts of his daily practices (I.e. the Sunnah), constitute the major sources of guidance for Muslims apart from the holy Qur’an.

Hadith is the collections of the teachings, deeds and sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws) and the infallible Imams (a.s). The term comes from the Arabic: حديث, plural: أحاديث, meaning “report,” “account” or “narrative”.

The hadith literature is based on oral reports. Hadith also refers to the speech of a person.

Hadith is known as the second religious source after the Holy Quran. It is widely known among Muslims all over the world that any specific wording of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) on a given topic or theme of subject is known as a “Hadith”. It is obligatory upon every disciple of Islam to know, act upon and spread the Proverbs of Rasulullah (pbuh) as these are the words full of wisdom which result in one`s success both in this world and in the hereafter.

Hadith, according to the late Shia scholars, divided into two categories: Sahih and non-Sahih. This means that they whether accept a hadith which is known as Sahih or reject it as it is considered as non-Sahih.[1] But, now, Hadith in general is composed of three basic components which are given below:

  1. Matn/Content: It is the main passage which is the actual centre of attraction for the reader. It normally tells about the right way of actions in different circumstances of life.
  2. Isnad/Sequence of Reporters: A series of correspondents through which Hadith has spread.

These are the necessary three constituents which need to be present in any text for naming it as a Hadith.

Categorization of Hadith

The taxonomy of the Prophetic (PBUH) axioms has been very carefully devised according to different sets of classifications along with their further kinds. Following are the five basic arrangements of Ahadiths on the basis of particular grounds:

  1. According to reference to a particular Authority
  2. According to the links of Isnad
  3. According to a number of reporters
  4. According to nature of Matn and Isnad
  5. According to Authenticity of Correspondents

Now let us briefly discuss these classes of Hadith one by one:

  1. i) According to Reference to a Particular Authority

According to careful research, Hadith is divided into four additional kinds under this category:

  1. Qudsi: meaning “Divine”. It is a Heavenly text which was directly sent upon the Holy Prophet (PBUH), Who passed it on to His followers Himself.
  2. Marfu`: meaning “Elevated”. It has got very important status in Islam as it was directly heard from the Messenger (PBUH) of God Himself by His companions and was brought forward.
  3. Mauquf: meaning “Stopped”. It is a kind of command which was directly given by Rasulullah (PBUH) to His cohorts who forwarded it.
  4. Maqtu`: meaning “Severed”. It is a form of Instruction which is plainly described by Successor in his own words.
  1. ii) According to the links of Isnad

Hadith is further divided into six groups under this category:

  1. Musnad: meaning “Supported”. Isnad being reported by a well-known companion of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) although final narrator might not be with Him at that time.[2]

The Hadith Musnad is, according to the existence of the name of Infallible (as) based on its Sanad, divided into two kinds: Mudmar and Musarrah. Mudmar is when the narrator of a Hadith has not specifically mentioned the name of Imam by mentioning only pronoun. Like “Sa’altahu’, ‘Qa’la’ or ‘An’hu’.[3]

  1. Muttasil: meaning “Continuous”. The one with undisturbed Isnad relating back to rightful friend or its heir.
  2.  Mursal: meaning “Hurried”. It missed a connection between the storyteller and the Infallibles (pbuth).[4]
  3. Munqati`: meaning “Broken”. Hadith with a link being absent before it reaches the Successor of the actual narrator.
  4. Mu`adal: meaning “Perplexing”. The one in which narrator misses multiple reported in an order in Isnad of the Hadith.
  5. Mu`allaq: meaning “Hanging”. It fails to spot the complete Isnad of the Hadith.

iii) According to a number of reporters

It is divided into two more sub-groups:

  1. Mutawatir: meaning “Consecutive”. Hadith being reported such a large number of rightful companions that it is agreed upon as authentic.
  2. Ahad: meaning “Isolated”. The one which has been narrated by a countable number of people.[5]

It has been further categorized into these followings sub-types:

  1. Mash’hur: meaning “Famous”. Hadith which is related by more than two individuals.
  2. Mustafidh: meaning that the number of narrators are two or more than three but not as much as Mutawatir Hadith.[6]
  3. Aziz: meaning “Rare yet Strong”. The one having only two reporters in its Isnad.
  4. Gharib: meaning “Strange”. Saying of Holy Prophet (PBUH) with only one narrator in its Isnad.
  1. iv) According to nature of Matn and Isnad

It is split into two major kinds:

  1. Munkar: meaning “Denounced”. A Hadith belonging to a weak reporter.
  2. Mudraj: meaning “Interpolated”. The one having some adding up of words to the authentic Hadith by its narrator.
  1. v) According to Authenticity of Correspondents

It has the following three categories:

  1. Sahih: meaning “Sound”. A hadith reported by a trustworthy reporter known for his truthfulness, knowledge, correct way of narrations and all of them are Just and follower of the Twelve Shia Imams (pbuth). [7]
  2. Da`if: meaning “Weak”. A hadith ranking under that of Hasan because of failing to.[8]
  3. Hasan: meaning “Good”. The one whose reporters are known and is clear-cut and all of them are Just and follower of the Twelve Shia Imams (pbuth).
  4. Da`if: meaning “Weak”. A hadith ranking under that of Hasan because of failing to address the Isnad properly.[9]
  5. Maudu`: meaning “Fabricated”. Hadith having wording opposite to the confirmed Prophetic (PBUH) traditions.

In short, Hadith is an integral part of Islamic teachings through which Muslims all over the world get insight about many aspects of life. Therefore, one must know about its different kinds so as to become able to distinguish the authentic ones from the rest which have weak links in its key constituents.[10]

[1] . Seifi Mazandarani, Ali Akbar, Miqyas al-Rivayah fee Elm al-Dirayah, Pg. 44, Islamic Publication Institution, Qom, 1421 A.H.

[2] . Usul al-Hadith, Pg. 175.

[3] . Usul al-Hadith, Pg. 100.

[4] . Farhang Istilahat Hadith, Pg. 121.

[5] . Al-Fadli, Abdul Hadi, Usul al-Hadith, Pg. 72, Ummul Qura Institution, Beirut, 1420 A.H; Ibid, Pg. 82.

[6] . Farhang Istilahat Hadith, Pg. 123.

[7] . Jabal A’meli, Jamal al-Din Hassan (son of Shahid Thani), Muntaqi al-Jaman, Vol. 1, Pg. 4, Nash Islami Institution, Qom.

[8] . Ibid, Pg. 4.

[9] . Usul al-Hadith, Pg. 108.

[10] . For further information in this regards, please refer to: Al-Fadli, Abdul Hadi, Usul al-Hadith; Farhang Istilahat Hadith.

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Definition of Bid’ah in Islam

Question 273: Salam, My question is what is the definition of Fitna especially in modern world. Is there anything called Bidat e Hasana? What is the definition of Bid’ah in Islam?

Answer 273: Bid’ah literally means something new, as the Quran describes Allah (swt) as the originator of the heavens and the earth (بَدِيعُ السَّمَوتِ وَالاَرضِ)[1] (badi’ meaning originator and bid’ah are words of the same root) and in Islamic terms, means to relate to religion what isn’t part of religion.

There are two points regarding the description of bid’ah:

1- Bid’ah is a type of bringing about change in religion by adding or omitting something from it. Therefore, any type of change and newness that has nothing to do with religion and is considered something normal isn’t bid’ah. For instance, if a nation chooses a certain day as a day of celebration and joy, not with the intention of relating such matter to religion and saying that religion has asked for such a thing, it isn’t considered bid’ah, although it needs to be analyzed from other points of view to make sure that it isn’t haram for any other reasons (but it isn’t bid’ah).

One can conclude from this that many of the developments and innovations that take place in arts, sports, industry etc. have nothing to do with bid’ah and the only thing that needs to be determined about them is if they are halal or not, nothing more.

2- What is meant by something being new and of no previous record in Islam is for it to not have any accordance with any Islamic laws and in no way fit under any of its guidelines or not be considered an application and instance of an Islamic assertion or doctrine.[2]

In other words, if one says that a certain act is haram or wajib or mustahabb or makrooh, while nothing in religion can be found to justify and explain what relationship this act has with religion, it is bid’ah, or else it isn’t. According to this explanation, many of the doubts and questions that might come up on bid’ah for many can easily be solved and answered. For instance, a great deal of Muslims all over the world celebrate the birthday of the holy Prophet (pbuh) while some consider this act as bid’ah! But according to what we said, bid’ah doesn’t apply here because even if we assume that such an act hasn’t been encouraged (although we might be able to say it has been) by Islam, yet it fits under another category that we are sure that Islam has indeed encouraged and is one of the clear principles of our religion, which is the showing of love and affection to the Prophet (pbuh) and his household (as).

None of the different Islamic sects have ever doubted that bid’ah is extremely forbidden and haram. Naraqi, one of the great Shia scholars says: “There is a consensus by all Muslim nations that bid’ah is haram and its being haram is a clear Islamic principle.”[3] The biggest reason for bid’ah being haram are the many hadiths that can be claimed that they reach the level of tawatur (when a hadith has been narrated so much by many different narrators, in a way that one becomes sure that all of the narrators can’t be mistaken or lying and that the tradition is authentic) that both Shias and Sunnis have narrated saying: “Adding something to religion that has no previous record in religion is bid’ah and all bid’ah is misguidance and all misguidance is in the Hellfire.”[4]

Although all Islamic sects see bid’ah as haram, but since its essence isn’t completely clear, sometimes some groups and individuals have gone too far in confronting it and have accused other Muslims of being kafirs while such accusations are incorrect.

A certain group consider any form of worship that wasn’t practiced during the time of the Prophet (pbuh) or the khalifas as bid’ah and haram, and believe that one should stay away from these acts. For instance, a famous Hanbali scholar had announced theology haram and called it the root and cause of all bid’ahs and misguidance.[5] He writes that any inner knowledge that people claim they have that can’t be found in the Quran and tradition is bid’ah and no one has the right to act according to it and invite others to it. He calls upon all Muslims to return to the old religion that was in practice during the time of the first three khalifahs.[6]

These radical beliefs were strengthened in the theories of Ibn Teymiyyah and after him, by Muhammad ibn Abdil-Wahhab and ended in many Muslims being seen as innovators in religion and even mushriks (polygamists). Suleiman ibn Sahman al-Najdi, the grandson of Muhammad ibn Abdil-Wahhab, speaks of the common bid’ahs of the Muslims saying: “The four altars that are built in the mosques for each of the four Islamic sects (Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafe’i and Maleki), reciting the Quran with a high voice, sending blessings on the Prophet (pbuh) (salawat), reciting supplications and doxologies after the adhan and on the night of Friday, the nights of Ramadhan, the night of Eidul-Fitr and Eidul-Adha, gathering for birthdays and deaths of great religious individuals and singing songs on birthdays with a specific tone, mixing poems with sending blessings on the Prophet (pbuh) and Quranic recitation and reciting them after Tarawih prayers, holding dhikr beads for saying dhikr, raising one’s voice while saying the dhikr of لا اله الا الله during taking the dead for burial and while splashing water on their graves after burial, wearing long sufi like clothes, hanging swords and flags in Huseiniyyahs and other places where gatherings are held, beating on tambourines and other musical instruments that make the same sounds such as trumpets, repeating the great name of Allah and His other names etc. are all bid’ah.[7] These fanatical beliefs have caused the killing and massacre of Muslims all over the world.

In response to these extremist beliefs, we say that if we are to look at the laws of Islam like this, then we can no longer accept any change in Muslim lives. We would all have to pray using the same clothes worn during the advent of Islam, think of the same things that they would think of, and pay respect to our dead the same that they would. It is clear that this type of being religious is accepted by no Islamic scholar. All scholars, including Shia scholars have been against these overindulgences and have criticized them in their books.

Because of this, Shia scholars and some Sunni scholars, have divided bid’ah into two groups; haram and halal bid’ah. The author of Jawahir says that some scholars like Muhaqqiq and Sheikh Tusi say that bid’ah is of two types; haram and halal.[8] Shafe’I has been quoted saying that bid’ah is of two types; desirable and undesirable. Bid’ah that is in accordance with Islamic tradition is desirable, while bid’ah which against it is undesirable.[9]

The great Allamah Majlisi says: “In Islamic law, bid’ah refers to something innovated in religion after the demise of the Prophet (pbuh) (that one considers as a part of religion) and there is no general or specific law or principle that applies to it.”[10] Naraqi, also a great Shia scholar, accepts this viewpoint saying: “Bid’ah means for someone other than the Shari’ (the true legislator of Islamic law, being Allah) to falsely claim that something is part of religion without any religious proof or evidence. But if a certain act that hasn’t been specifically “legislated” by religion is done by someone not in way that shows that it is part of religion, it is no longer forbidden because of being bid’ah, although it might be haram because of another reason (but it surely isn’t bid’ah).[11] Shatebi, a Sunni faqih (fiqh expert), has the same viewpoint and says: “Bid’ah is a way in religion that has been added and has no base in Islamic law. But on the outside, it looks like it is part of Islamic law and is mistaken with it.”[12] Therefore, if a Muslim practices something new that isn’t part of religion without relating it to religion, and without doing it with the intention that it is part of religion, it is permissible.

[1] . Surah Baqarah, verse 117.

[2] . With the help of Manshure Aqa’ed of Ayatullah Subhani, pp. 219 and on.

[3] . Awa’idul-Ayyam, pp. 319, quoted by Dr. Yaqub Ali Burji in the weblog of religions and sects.

[4] . Biharul-Anwar, vol. 2, pg. 126. “کل محدثة بدعة و کل بدعة ضلالة و کل ضلالة في النار”.

[5] . Tabaqatul-Hanabilah, vol. 2, pp. 19,27, 34, 37 according to the site of The Islamic Encyclopedia.

[6] . Tabaqatul-Hanabilah, vol. 2, pg. 35, according to the quote of Dr. Yaqub Ali Burji in the weblog of religions and sects.

[7] . Majmu’atul-Tafsir of Ibn Teymiyyah, pg. 340, quoted by ibid.

[8] . Jawahirul-Kalam, vol. 11, pg. 300, quoted by ibid.

[9] . Fathul-Bari fi Sharh Sahihul-Bukhari, vol. 17, pg. 10, quoted by ibid.

[10] . Biharul-Anwar, vol. 74, pg. 202: “و البدعة في الشرع ماحدث بعد الرسول ]بماانه من الدين[ و لم يکن فيه نص علي الخصوص و لايکون داخلاً في بعض العمومات”.

[11] . Awa’idul-Ayyam,pg. 110, quoted by Dr. Yaqub Ali Burji in the weblog of religions and sects.

[12] . Al’I’tisam, Library of Maktabatul-Riyadh al-Hadithah, vol. 1, pg. 127 quoted by ibid.