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Cut ties with family who constantly commit sins

Question 138: I am a Muslim who has a relative that is an admitted alcoholic. According to Ayatollah Sistani what are the laws about keeping a relationship with this relative in this state? Is it permissible to tell others that he is a medically documented alcoholic? What are my rights to him as he falls under the category of a sibling to one of my parents?

Answer 138: It is obligatory to temporarily cut ties with family who constantly commit sins and that pay no attention to what Allah (SWT), the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the Infallible Imams (pbuth) have said. If discarding this relationship can possibly cause him to avoid committing sins. This is a type of al-amr bi-l-maʿrūf (bid what is right) wa-n-nahy ʿani-l-munkar (forbid what is bad). Otherwise, you are not allowed to do so.[1]

There is a hadith of Imam Zain al-A’bedeen (a.s) as He recommended His son Imam Baqir (as) to avoid establishing communication with those who commit sins and Islamic laws don’t make sense to them.[2]

However, he committed such sin, but try all your best to help him find the right path and leave drinking alcohol, if you can. Also, try not to abandon him and leave him in this situation where he stymied.

It is recommended to restrict your relationship with him in a way that you just say Salam to him and let him know why you make such decision.

Imam Baqir and Imam Sadiq (pbuth) said, “Maintaining good relations with the relatives (Arham) purifies the deeds, increases the wealth, prevents calamities, makes the accounting easy (on the Day of Judgment) and delays death.[3]

For further information, please read the following answer:

Index: Estrangement from people or being with them, answer 060.

[1] . Tawzih al-Masaiel of Maraja’, Vol. 2, Pg. 772, question 1058; Ibid, Vol. 1, Pg. 76.

[2] . Al-Kafi, Muhammad ibn Ya’qubal-Kulayni, Vol. 2, Pg. 376, H 7.

[3] . Usul al-Kāfī, vol. 2, pg.150 & 151.

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Definition of Dua, Means and Intercession

Question 148: Sometimes when I’m looking up or finding dua’as to be said for special reasons, I get frustrated. I don’t get why shia dua’as are so different than Sunni dua’as. They aren’t including caliphates or anything, they are all just supplications to God. Like I was looking up dua’as to remove worry and anxiety. There was no common one between Sunni and Shias. The Sunni dua’as are said to be told by the Prophet (SWT) and some Shia dua’as are said to be done by the Imams (AS). Does it really matter if its a supplication just between you and Allah?

Answer 148: Dua or supplication is a relationship out of need between the servant and his lord, for worldly and otherworldly needs. Just like every other phenomenon, the answering of one’s supplication has conditions and formalities that when met and observed, will result in the answering of the dua, and in the case of the dua lacking them, or in the case of other barriers not allowing the dua to be answered that we aren’t aware of, even the best duas known for being answered quickly and certainly can be ineffective.

Means: When it comes to the meaning of ‘means’ in the holy verse “O you who believe! Fear Allah and seek means of nearness to Him” Allamah Tabatabai explains the term as such, “The reality of the means of nearness to Allah is to comply with demands of His path with knowledge and worship, pursuit of virtues and fulfillment of recommended acts. It is a sort of joining together, (i.e.) a spiritual joining which connects the slave with his master; there is no link that connects man with his Lord except the submissiveness of worship and veneration. Therefore, the means of nearness means ensuring the reality of veneration and turning the face of humility and poverty to His direction – therefore, Wasilah (means) in the above verse refers to the link that joins the servant to his Lord.

Intercession: The concept of imploring or interceding with the Prophet (SWT) or Imams (AS) or Allah’s saints is to make recourse to the high position of these great people because they are dear and near to God and if their intercession is sought, God will, for their sake, grant His servants the position of proximity.

We can’t bring the text of the duas here, but here we will only list them without mentioning their texts:

(1) The dua of Tawassul. (2) The dua of Faraj. (3) The dua of Ism A’dham. (4) The dua of Muqatil bin Suleyman from Imam Sajjad (AS). (5) A dua with the name of “Sari’ul-Ijabah” (which literally means ‘quickly answered’) by Imam Kadhim (AS) which reads, “اللهم انی اطعتک فی احب الاشیاء الیک و …”

(6) A dua from Imam Sadiq (AS); the imam (AS) says whosoever says “Ya Allah” (یا الله) ten times, will be told [by Allah (SWT)]: “Here I am! What is your wish?” (7) Imam Sadiq (AS) has been narrated saying: “Whosoever repeatedly says “Ya Rabb Ya Allah” until he runs out of breath, will be told: “Yes! What is your wish?!”

These duas have been mentioned in the book of Mafatihul-Jinan, under the title of “Quickly Answered Duas” or “Sari’ul-Ijabah Duas”.

It is said we can make dua without interceding with the Holy Prophet (SAWS) and the infallible Imams (AS) (i.e.) just between us and Allah (SWT).

How to make Dua: There are some conditions for one who wishes to make dua’a should observe, in order that Allah (SWT) will grant his\her dua as follows: things we ask God mustn’t be haram; recite salawat before and after each dua’a, we shouldn’t hurry up, so that Allah (SWT) grant our duas anytime He wants; all dua’as that are not in contrary with the Shia belief, are considered as valid.

We ought not to accept all Sunni dua’as nor to reject them. There is a rule which says those dua’as that aren’t in contrary to the Shia belief are accepted, whether or not it is narrated or not. This means, if it doesn’t include haram things and other conditions that have been mentioned above, there would be no problem to apply it.

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

Index: Evaluating the chain of narration of Dua Muqatil bin Sulaiman, answer 150.

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

Index: Seeking one’s need from someone other than Allah, answer 005.

Index: Intercession and calling Imam Musa al Kadhim Bab al Hawaij, answer 159.

http://duas.org/

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Disownment by parents / How to deal with them

Question 280: I know we are to be kind and compassionate to our parents and to see after them in their old age, I moved my parents in with me in 2009, my dad passed in 2010, and my mom remains with me, she has now gotten to a point where she needs more than I can provide is it permissible for me to find a quality nursing home to place her in? What does Islam say about Disownment by parents?

Answer 280: Disownment by parents means to do an act that would make them angry, cause them distress and injure their feelings. Certainly, hurting one of them also causes the child to be disowned.[1] Although parents enjoy special respect in all religions and cultures, Islam has enumerated, over and above to the rights considered by other religions, a wide range of moral rights for the parents. The rights considered by Islam for the parents are so extensive that even hurting them is regarded as a kind of violating their rights. In addition to the moral rights, Islam has considered a number of jurisprudential rights for the parents which a child should uphold and fulfill. For example, if a child’s parents are needy and helpless, it is obligatory on him to take care of them and pay for their maintenance (food, clothing and medical expenses).

There are different interpretations relating to the parents’ rights on the child. For example, God, the Exalted, says:
“And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve (any) but Him, and goodness to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say not to them (so much as) “Ugh” [fie] nor chide them, and speak to them a generous word.”[2]

As it is clear from the above verse, in addition to belief in God and not ascribing any partners to Him, God, the Exalted, has commanded us to be kind to our parents and not to cause them distress by even using a word of contempt while talking to them. Although the narrations have counted disownment by the parents as one of the great sins[3], they have not fixed any limits for it in the same way as the Quranic verses. The narrations simply state that causing distress and discomfort to the parents is forbidden.[4]

Hence, therefore if an action causes distress to the parents, it can be considered as a criterion for violating parents’ rights. [5]If a child disagrees with his parents on some matters which cause them distress, he has provided the means for his disownment by his parents. However, sometimes disagreeing with parents or disobeying them is not severe to the extent that may cause them distress, in this case it is better for him to act in accordance with their opinion.

Yes, there are various cases which are not considered to be a part the child’s obligation to obey his/her parents. For example, if a man’s parents order him to do an act which is against the divine command or religious and Islamic law, it is not necessary for him to obey them. This disobedience does not cause the child to be disowned.

Therefore, we can conclude that the criterion with respect to the parents’ rights is to fulfill their demands to the extent that not doing them does not morally cause them distress and discomfort and that their orders should not involve doing a religiously forbidden act or avoiding an obligatory one. Certainly, there are certain acts which are not obligatory but it is better, not wajib, to get the parents’ consent in them. In order for a person to know the Islamic viewpoint about each case, one should refer to his own Marja’ (the religious authority whom he follows) and act according to his fatwa (verdict).

As a result, if it is possible for you to see after her at your house you are supposed to satisfy her as much as you can. Otherwise, if it is better for her to be at the nursing home and you are sure such act wouldn’t make her angry, cause her distress and injure her feelings there would be no problem to do so.

[1] . Muhaddith Qommi, Shaykh Abbas, Nuzhat al-Nawzer fi Tarjomat Ma’den al-Jawaher, pg. 128, Islamic Publications, Tehran, 1st edition.

[2] . Al-Isra, 23.

[3] . Ubaid bin Zurarah says: ‘I asked Imam Sadiq, peace be upon him, about the great sins. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) replied: “In the book of [Imam] ‘Ali, they are seven: disbelieving in Allah; killing a person; causing distress to one’s parents; dabbling in usury; unlawfully confiscating the property of the orphan; running away from the battle-field in jihad; at-ta’arrub ba’d al-hijra.” Then he asked, “So these are the most major of sins?” See: Amili, Muhammad bin Hasan, Wasail al-Shi’ah (translation of Chap. Jihad against the Carnal Soul), translation by Sehat, pg. 198, Nas Publications, Tehran, 1364 (1985).

[4] . Imam Sadiq, peace be upon him, said: “If there was anything less than “fie” to cause distress and discomfort to parents, he would prohibit it and “fie” is the lowest level of hurting parents. One of the instances of causing distress is to gaze at the parents. See: Muhammad bin Ya’qub, Usul-e Kafi (translated by Mustafavi), vol.4, pg. 50, Islamic Book Store, Tehran, 1st edition.

[5] . Some Istiftas (religious enquiries) also refer to the same point. Here are some questions which have been asked from the religious authorities: “What does ‘disownment by parents’ mean? How does disownment take place? What are the effects of disownment?” Answer: “Any act that causes distress and discomfort to the parents amounts to disownment by parents except for the cases where there is an obligatory duty to be done or a haram act to be avoided. If the parents order the child not to do an obligatory act or to do a haram act, it is not necessary for the child to obey them even if it causes distress to them.” See: New Questions and Answers (Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi), vol.3, pg. 559. Another example: If a mother orders her son to divorce his wife, otherwise he would become a disowned child and her milk would be haram to him, what is the son supposed to do?” Answer: “In the Name of God: It is not obligatory on him to obey his mother in such matters.” See: Serat al-Nijat (Ayatollah Tabrizi), vol.6, pg. 257.

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Ziyarat Nahiya Muqaddasah

Question 147: I was reading Ziyaret Nahiyah and I came across a part of the Ziyaret that says, “I will continue to weep morning and evening and weep for you with tears of blood.” Can someone give me the tafsir on this Ziyaret and the meaning of this statement?

I was reading Ziyaret Nahiyah and I came across a part of the Ziyaret that says, “I will continue to weep morning and evening and weep for you with tears of blood.” Can someone give me the tafsir on this Ziyaret and the meaning of this statement?

Answer 147: The ziyarah of Nahiyah Muqaddasah is an ‘absolute’ or ‘unconditional’ ziyarah, meaning that it can be recited anytime; on Ashura or any other day.

This ziyarah begins with greeting the Prophet of Islam (pbuh), the other Prophets and the Imams (as), and is followed by greeting Imam Hussain (as) and his loyal companions. Afterwards, the ziyarah explains in detail the honorable characteristics, traditions and way of life of the Imam before his rise, the affection of Imam Mahdi (aj) for him, the circumstances that led to his rise, gives a description of what took place in Karbala, tells us of his martyrdom and the tragedies he suffered and underwent, and about the mourning of all earthly and heavenly creatures for him. The ziyarah ends with a tawassul (asking for mediation and intercession) to the imams and supplications to Allah (swt).

The famous Ziyarah Nahiyah Muqaddasah has an authentic and reliable chain of narrators [sanad] and has been issued by Imam Mahdi (as) to one of his “special” representatives [one of the four representatives that were specifically appointed by the imam (as) himself in the third century (ah) during his minor occultation] in the form of a tawqi’ [letters written by the imam in response to questions that were asked from him].

This ziyarah was passed down to great scholars such as Sheikh Mufid and Sayyid Murtadha through Shia narrators, and from them to others like Ibnul-Mashhadi. Finally from them on to later scholars, namely, Sayyid ibn Tawus and Allamah Majlisi.

In this Ziarat Imam Mahdi (ajtf) has said:

«فَلَأَنْدُبَنَّكَصَبَاحاً وَ مَسَاءً، وَ لَأَبْكِيَنَّعَلَيْكَ بَدَلَ الدُّمُوعِ دَماً،حَسْرَةً عَلَيْكَ وَ تَأَسُّفاً عَلَىمَا دَهَاكَ وَ تَلَهُّفاً، حَتَّىأَمُوتَ بِلَوْعَةِ الْمُصَابِ وَ غُصَّةِالِاكْتِيَاب»

Transliteration: “Fala’andubannaka šabāħan wa masā’ā, wa la’abkiyanna lakabadalad-dumū3i damā, ħasratan 3alayka wa ta’assufan 3alā mādahāka wa talahhufā”

Translation: “I will, therefore, lament you morning and evening, and will weep blood in place of tears, out of my anguish for you and my sorrow for all that befell you”.

We can figure out how much the above mentioned phrases allusively indicate Imam Mahdi’ (ajtf) anguish for Imam Hussain (a.s). This doesn’t mean, that its the actual meaning of such phrases. Imam Mahdi (ajtf) wouldn’t like to weep blood by using external devices. He wants to shed many tears in a way that make his eyes bloody, instead. Weeping and moaning is not damaging yourself when you are filled with a lot of grief, especially when it is related to divinely religious affairs.[1]

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

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

Index: Evaluating the chain of narration of Dua Muqatil bin Sulaiman, answer 150.

Index: Ziyarat Ashura, Arabaeen, Ameenullah and Warith, answer 253.

Index: Ziyarat of Imam Hussain when you are far away from Karbala, answer 057.

Index: Every day is Ashura and Every Place is Karbala, answer 071.

[1] . Ibn Mashhadi, Muhammad bin Jafar, al-Mazar al-Kabir, editor and researcher: Qayoumi Esfahani, Jawad, Pg. 501, Qom, first edition 1419A.H. – Al-Mazar, Pg. 27 & 496. – Noori, Hussain, Khatimatul Mustadrak, Vol. 1, Pg. 360, first edition, Alul Bayt institution,Qom, 1415 A.H. – Qomi, Sheikh Abbas, al-Alqab, Vol. 1, Pg. 409, Maktabat al-Sard, Tehran, Bita. – Al-Mazar, introduction, Pg. 6.

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Rules on adultery and its punishment

Question 238: Assalam aleikum wa rahmatu Allah wa barakatuhu. I would like to ask a question concerning rape. I live in Finland and now there have been lots of reports of rapes happening. In all the cases the rapist is an asylum seeker. Latest rape happened in Sweden where a swedish woman was raped and after she was raped she walked for 100 meters and was raped again by another asylum seeker. This made me think, what is the punishment of rape according to ahlulbayt (as)? May Allah bless you all.

Answer 238: Adultery is a great sin according to the Quran. God, the Exalted, says: “Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).”[1] In this short verse, three important points have been mentioned:
A) The verse says “do not get near adultery” which not only incorporates an emphasis but it also connotes that the evil of adultery normally has certain preliminaries which drives a man to adultery gradually. An unlawful gaze, nudity, immodesty, reading sex stories, watching porn movies, bad company, privacy with a non-mahram (a man’s being together with a woman in a private place) and finally not taking action for marriage and unreasonable restrictions imposed by both sides in this regard serve as preliminaries leading a person to adultery. The aforementioned short verse forbids all of the above in an implicit manner. However, the Islamic traditions forbid each one of them separately.

  1. B) The sentence “إِنَّهُ كانَ فاحِشَةً” [verily, it is a shameful (deed) and an evil] consists of three emphasis (The term ‘verily’ plus the past tense of the verb ‘kana’ and the term evil) makes further tangible the greatness of this tangible sin.
  2. C) The sentence “ساءَ سَبِيلًا” [it is a bad way] indicates that this evil act opens the road to other evils in society.”[2]

In any event, both zina (which is intercourse taking place between a man and woman who aren’t married (permanently or via mut’ah) and the other acts that lead to it and are usually done before it are great sins, and the practical difference between the two is that in the former (zina), the Islamic governor or judiciary can carry out the hadd on the fornicating individual (which is a punishment specified in the Quran)[3].

On the other hand, if the man and woman haven’t committed zina and what they have done are other unchaste acts between each other, they have still sinned and the judiciary can punish them; the punishment’s harshness depending on the greatness of what they have done (this type of punishment is called ta’zir).

Note: If a man has raped a woman he would be executed, according to Islam.[4] If the woman has no choice but to kill him there would be no problem to do so. Considering the man’s blood is wasted, if she kills him there is no need to pay his blood money.[5]

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[1] . Isra (Night Journey), 32, وَ لا تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنى إِنَّهُ كانَ فاحِشَةً وَ ساءَ سَبِيلًا As for the prohibition of adultery/fornication, see: Al-Furqan, 68 and 69; Al-A’raf, 33; Al-An’am, 151; Kulayni, Ya’qub, translated by Mustafavi, Sayyid Jawad, Usul-e Kafi, vol.3, pg. 391, Wafa Publications, 1382 (2003); Najafi, Muhammad Hassan, Hurr Amili, Wasail al-Shi’ah, vol.28, Kitab al-Hodud, Jawaher al-Kalam, vol.41, pg. 260 and 258, Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, Lebanon, 1981.

[2] . Tafsir Namuneh, vol.12, pg. 103.

[3] . Nur:2 “الزَّانِيَةُ وَ الزَّاني فَاجْلِدُوا كُلَّ واحِدٍ مِنْهُما مِائَةَ جَلْدَةٍ وَ لا تَأْخُذْكُمْ بِهِما رَأْفَةٌ في دينِ اللَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَ الْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَ لْيَشْهَدْ عَذابَهُما طائِفَةٌ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنينَ” (As for the fornicatress and the fornicator, strike each of them a hundred lashes, and let not pity for them overcome you in Allah’s law, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day, and let their punishment be witnessed by a group of the faithful).

[4] . Imam Khomeini, Tahrirul Wasilah, Vol. 2, Pg. 439, Hadd al-Zina, al-Ikrah ala al-Zina; Khuei, Sayyid Abul Qasim, Mabani Takmelah al-Minhaj, Pg. 194, question 153. There is no difference between Mohsen (married man) and other than that.

[5] . Makarem Shirazi, Naser, Istiftaat (legal advice) Jadid (new), Vol. 3, questions 899 and 900, the school of Imam Ali bin Abi Talibs (as) publication, Qom, second edition, 1427 A.H.

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Spiritual and Material Beauty and the Light of Faith

Question 245: There are hadith that state that you can recognize a mumin by characteristics of his face. Are these physical characteristics or more of the metaphysical realm that only one on the same level could recognize? I have heard that praying fajr prayer on time causes a light/glow to emit from one’s face. Is this referring to the energetic attraction we feel towards others as their spirit uplifts ours?

Answer 245: According to Islam, beauty is divided into two divisions: Spiritual and material. Getting the spiritual beauty has been more emphasized by Islam, though the material beauty has also been recommended.

An important thing that should be taken into consideration is that the spiritual beauty can be accessible by spiritual affairs like prayers and the material beauty would be available by some material affairs.

The following are some recommendations our Infallibles (pbuth) have suggested us to observe:

– Imam Ali (as) has said, “The beauty of a man can be seen in his patience, because, the patience gives our soul tranquility by which our ethics and behavior would become beautiful and brilliant if it is faced with afflictions and difficulties.”[1]

– Imam Ali (as) has said, “The beauty of a believer is his\her self-restraint, virtue and piety.”[2]

– The Holy Prophet of Islam (saws) has said, “Whomever offers Salatul Tahajjod, his\her face would become brilliant in the day.”[3]

– Imam Ali (as) has said, “Night prayer (salatul tahajjod) makes the face brilliant.”[4]

– Imam Sadiq (as) has said, “The night prayer can make our face look bright.”[5]

– Imam Sadiq (as) has said, “The repetition of performing wudu, upon the last wudu is like the light (noor) upon light.”[6]

– Imam Ali (as) has said, “If you sleep less at night and worship Allah (swt) the Almighty during the night, your face would become brilliant.”[7]

– The Imam (as) has also said, “The believers brilliant face is because of the kindness that Allah (swt) has given him. If you seek Allahs (swt) goodness, you have to worship Him by doing the righteous deeds and avoiding forbidden acts.”[8]

Note: The Holy Qur’an says, “Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light to whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is knowing of all things.”[9]

There is a special light that Allah (swt) gives believers in order to become brilliant if they do the righteous deeds. This light is the light of knowledge. The method in which we can get such divine light, is to do what Allah (swt), the Almighty bids us and avoid of what Allah (swt) forbids us.[10]

When Muslims want to describe the spiritual characteristics of a believer, they say we see the light of faith in his face. According to this definition, it doesn’t matter which color your skin is, if you are white or black, red or yellow, if you act based on the above recommendations, your face would get the light of faith.

This is not physical light that we can see easily. This is the light of knowledge that anyone with any skin color can have, if given by Allah (swt), the Almighty. Anyone, even those who have the lowest level of faith, can recognize it.

As you know, Hazrat Adam and the Holy Prophet (pbuth) had tawny skin. Luqman Hakeem from Ethiopia was a black man and Imam Jawad (as) had dark-colored skin, however all people became captivated when they saw them. It’s because of the light of faith.

Let’s mention some recommendations of Practical Irfan that Imam Ali (as) has suggested us to observe:

– Imam Ali (as) explained the concept of spiritual wayfaring with such words, “The true arif is the one who has enlivened his intellect and who has mortified his desires, till the point where his coarseness has become broken and his severity has been softened. A luminous light is lit for him which illuminates the path towards God for him and under its guidance he goes forward…”[11]

– Imam Ali (as) has also said, “O’ creatures of Allah! The most of Allah is he whom Allah has given power (to act) against his passions, so that his inner side is (submerged in) grief and the outer side is covered with fear. The lamp of guidance is burning in his heart. He has provided provisions for the day that is to befall him.”[12]

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

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

Index: Whoever knows himself knows his Lord / Man Arafa Nafsahu, Faqad Arafa Rabbahu, answer 274.

Index: Making Wudu when you are going to bed, answer 032.

[1] . Tamimi Amedi, Abdul Wahed bin Muhammad, Ghurarul Hikam, Pg. 285, H. 6392, office of Tablighat publication, Qom, 1987.

[2] . Ghurarul Hikam, Pg. 269, Hadith 5862.

[3] . Toosi, Abu Jafar, Muhammad bin Hasan, Tahdhib al-Ahkam, Vol. 2, Pg. 119, Hadith 217, Darel Kutub al-Islamiyah, Tehran, fourth edition, 1407 A.H. «مَنْ صَلَّى بِاللَّيْلِ حَسُنَ وَجْهُهُ بِالنَّهَارِ».

[4] . Shaeeri, Tajuddeen, Jame’ al-Akhbar, Pg. 72, Radhi Publication, Qom, 1984.

[5] . Hurr Ameli, Muhammad bin Hasan, Wasael al-Shia, Vol. 8, Pgs. 151 – 152, Hadith 10278.

[6] . Ibn Babawayh, Muhammad bin Ali, Man la Yahdhuruhul Faqih, Vol. 1, Pg. 41, Office of Islamic Publication, Qom, second edition, 1413 A.H.

[7] . Mustadrak al-Wasael, Vol. 6, Pg. 340.

[8] . Ghurarul Hikam, Pg. 346.

[9] . Surah Noor, verse 35.

[10] . Tafseer al-Mizan, Vol. 15, Pg. 168.

[11] . Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 210.

[12] . Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 86.

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Islam answers: How to get Rid of Prejudice

Question 125: How do I find a way to get rid myself of prejudice?

Answer 125: 1. Since some people influenced by the belief that other are inferior because they belong to a particular race, color and tribe, Racism and Racial discrimination had existed among them before the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) and even during the time of the Prophet.

When Hazrat Muhammad (P.B.U.H) sent on a mission as a Prophet, all racisms and prejudices has been condemned by Allah the Almighty. “Surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty) Surely Allah is The Informed Owner of Knowledge.” Allah the Almighty said.

Therefore, nowadays if someone presented himself as a Muslim and a follower of the Islamic religion he/she must stop discriminating against others and avoid racisms and prejudices and then obey Allah’s orders without any delay. In addition, the one must knows that the criterion of the superiority over others is only based on the faith in Allah and fear of Him. Otherwise, they disobey Allah’s orders and thus the Islamic religion doesn’t approve their actions and manners. As a result they will punish in The Hereafter.

  1. It should be noted that Hazrat Adam and the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) had tawny skins. Also, Luqman Hakeem from Ethiopia was a black man with thick lip and Imam Jawad (a.s) had a dark-colored skin. Therefore, color skin cannot be the criterion of the superiority over others and give us the privilege in our life including our marriage to make it a distinction between us and people.

The first important thing we should take into consideration and concern about in our life especially marriage is the piety, faith and moral. Which means our joint life can be desirable and beautiful if we try our best to be concerned about our faith, piety and moral in every aspect of our life. However, there are many people with white faces who couldn’t bring happiness and prosperity for their wives, but make their life full of angry instead.

In other hand, there are many black men with their faith and good moral who made their wives’ life so pleasant and provided the opportunity in which they can reach their wish, happiness and prosperity as well.[1]

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

Index: Prophet Noah cursed Blacks (as) / The Story of Noah’s Sons, answer 198.

Index: Whoever knows himself knows his Lord / Man Arafa Nafsahu, Faqad Arafa Rabbahu, answer 274.

[1] . «إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقاكُمْ», Surah Hujorat, verse 13.

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Meaning of Jihad in Islam and the holy Quran

Question 296: I want to ask what’s the actually meaning of Jihad? Give me references too.

Answer 296: Jihad means to strive or struggle. It is divided into two divisions: Jihad Akbar (major) and Jihad Asghar (miner). Jihad Asghar means to confront and strive hard against unbelievers and hypocrites whom they are Islam’s enemies.[1]

Jihad Akbar means to strive hard only for our own soul and purify our soul from sin (i.e. the soul that forces us to commit sin. This kind of soul is called Nafs Ammarah). We don’t have to despair of the mercy of Allah and withhold our soul and bear patiently that which befalls us.[2]

According to the Holy Quran, Jihad means to strive and endure difficulties and hardships, however the higher level of Jihad is for those who strive hard with their property and their persons in the way of Allah, the Almighty.[3]

Some say it is divided into some divisions as follows:

  1. Jihad in general: “Allah shall grant to the strivers above the holders back a mighty reward”[4]
  2. Jihad in the way of Allah: “Surely those who believed and those who fled (their home) and strove hard in the Way of Allah, these hope for the mercy of Allah And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful”[5] Also, “And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them in Our ways And Allah is most surely with the doers of good”
  3. Higher Jihad: “And strive hard in (the way of) Allah”.[6]
  4. According to practical mysticism, Jihad means to persuade ourselves to endure hardships and difficulties which are the cause of effectiveness on health and create bodily exhaustion.[7]
  5. Jihad for soul in the way Allah’s orders: the Holy Prophet (pbuh) has said: Striver is one who strives hard for his own soul in the way of Allah.[8]
  6. Striving for providing livelihood. Striving for providing livelihood is one of the most important tasks and struggles as it is narrated: Whomever strive for providing livelihood for his own family is like one who strive in the way of Allah.[9]

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

Index: Whoever knows himself knows his Lord / Man Arafa Nafsahu, Faqad Arafa Rabbahu, answer 274.

[1] . Surah Tahrim, verse 9; Surah Tawbah, verse 73.

[2] . Surah, Ankabout, verse 6.

[3] . Surah Baqarah, verse 218

[4] . Surah Nisa, verse 95.

[5] . Surah Baqarah, verse 218.

[6] . Surah Hajj, verse 78.

[7] . Ibn Arabi, Al-Fotouhat al-Makiyyah, Vol. 2, Pg. 132, Dar e Sader, Beirut.

[8] . Nahj al-Fasahah, Pg. 778, Donyae Danish Publication.

[9] . Sadr al-Din Shirazi, Shrhe Usul al-Kafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 433.

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Disclose Unlawful Relations to a Potential Wife!

Question 053: Should a man disclose unlawful relations to whom he wants to get married? Is he allowed to lie in order to get rid of evil if she asks about his past relations?

Answer 053: Islam, however introduce the trustfulness and honesty as the biggest capital in a couple’s life and says that where there is honesty in a family, there is no ground for any misunderstanding and misconception and if a husband and wife want to betray or deceive each other and tell each other lies, then there is no way they can trust each other, but one mustn’t disclose his sins (small or big) to anyone. He must keep his secrets (regarding his sins) to himself. From Islam’s perspective the self-respect a person has for himself is so significant that he can only confess his sins before Allah in the sense of asking for forgiveness.

Not only will he not lose his respect but by confessing before Allah he will gain more. This is something solely restricted to Allah , for no other person even if he were to be a trustworthy person, is capable of returning one’s respect (that has been lost when he confesses to that person), let alone increasing it.

On top of that, based on the tawhidi (monotheistic) viewpoint in Islam the sole cause for everything in this world is Allah [1] and no one can do anything without his permission especially granting forgiveness and pardon which has not been assigned to any individual or character in Islam other than Allah (swt) himself.

In this regards, Imam Javad (as) says: If you come to know about the secrets of each other no one of you would bury one another. This means that after knowing your friends’ secrets you would fed up with them in a way that never bury their bodies.[1]

In order to avoid discrediting others and spreading prostitution no one is allowed to disclose his/her unlawful relations with others, according to Islam. One must only confess his/her mistakes and sins before Allah (SWT) and truly ask for His forgiveness, then Allah (SWT) will forgive him/her. In the holy Quran Allah (SWT) says: “Say: O My servants! who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah Surely Allah forgives the faults altogether Surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful”.[2]

Note: Once someone said in front of Imam Ali (as), “Astaghfirullah” (I ask Allah’s forgiveness), then Imam Ali (as) said, “Your mother may lose you! Do you know what ‘istighfar’ (asking Allah’s forgiveness) is?”[3]

‘Astighfar’ is meant for people of a high position. It is a word that stands on six meanings:

  1. To repent over the past.
  2. To make a firm determination never to revert to it.
  3. To discharge all the rights of the people so that you may meet Allah quite clean with nothing to account for.
  4. To fulfill every obligatory act which you ignored (in the past) so that you may now do justice with it.
  5. To aim at the flesh grown as a result of unlawful earning, so that you may melt it by grief (of repentance) till the skin touches the bone and a new flesh grows between them.[4]
  6. To make the body taste the pain of obedience as you (previously) made it taste the sweetness of disobedience. On such occasion you may say: ‘astaghfirullah’.[5]

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

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

[1] لا مؤثر فی الوجود الا الله

[1] . Sheikh Sadouq, Muhammad bin Ali, Amali, Pg. 446, Aalami Publication, Beirut, 1400 A.H.

[2] . Surah al-Zumar, verse 53.

[3] . Biharul Anwar, Vol. 93, Pg. 285.

[4] . Adopted from answer 139 (Index: How to Repent from Sins (high on drug) committed in the month of Ramadan).

[5] . “الجنة محفوفة بالمکاره و جهنم محفوفة باللذات و الشهوات” Wasa’ilul-Shia, vol. 15, pg. 309, section 42 (the section that speaks of refraining from haram desires and pleasures).

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Whoever knows himself knows his Lord / Man Arafa Nafsahu, Faqad Arafa Rabbahu

Question 274: Salam, “Man Arafa Nafsahu, Faqad Arafa Rabbahu” One who truely knows himself has already come to know Allah. Could you please eleborate further on that? How can one know Allah if he recognizes himself? What does that mean? What is the “self” (nafsu) which makes us recognize God? Does this mean that if we recognize the true purpose of our existance in this world we have recognised God i.e True existance belings to Him because He is independant and Needless and He alone is worthy of being worshiped. Everything belongs to Him and under his control (InaliAllah wa ina ilayhe rajaoon)?

Answer 274: The Holy Prophet (PBUH) has said: “Whoever knows himself knows his Lord.[1]

The Arabic version of this hadith is as follows:

«قَالَ النَّبِیُّ(ص) مَنْ عَرَفَ نَفْسَهُ فَقَدْ عَرَفَ رَبَّهُ ثُمَّ عَلَیْکَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ بِمَا لَا یَصِحُّ الْعَمَلُ إِلَّا بِهِ وَ هُوَ الْإِخْلَاص.  وَ قَالَ عَلِیٌّ (ع) اطْلُبُوا الْعِلْمَ وَ لَوْ بِالصِّینِ وَ هُوَ عِلْمُ مَعْرِفَةِ النَّفْسِ وَ فِیهِ مَعْرِفَةُ الرَّبِّ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ.»

The following are some different interpretations regarding this noble hadith.

  1. This hadith refers to the Argument of Design. This means that if one discovers wonders of his spirit, soul and body and detects the secrets and mysteries of the complex system of the creation then a way of knowing Allah (SWT) would be opened for him to know Allah.
  2. The hadith refers to the Argument of Necessity and Contingency, meaning that if we pay attention on ourselves we would definitely realize that all parts of our body -such as knowledge, power, ability, consciousness, health and etc. are dependent on Allah, the Almighty. Therefore, considering the previous mentioned issue, if we know ourselves we would know Allah, the Almighty because it is impossible to imagine a dependent creature without an independent creator (i.e. Allah, the Almighty).
  3. This hadith can refer to the argument of Nature (fitrat). This means that if we deeply discover our spirit, soul and heart the Divine and Tawhidi Light which is in our nature (Fitrat) would be appeared. In other words, we will reach to the level of knowledge that we can know Allah by knowing ourselves even without considering any reason and argument.
  4. According to some scholars, since knowing soul is impossible knowing Allah is impossible too. According to them, there are some verses of the holy Quran that improve their opinion. 1) “And they ask you about the soul Say: The soul is one of the commands of my Lord, and you are not given aught of knowledge but a little”[2] 2) “So when I have made him complete and breathed into him of My spirit, fall down making obeisance to him”[3]. Therefore, when it is impossible to know the soul that is created by Allah, the Almighty then how is it possible to know Him, especially when Allah has said “you are not given aught of knowledge but a little”.
  5. According to most of scholars, since the human beings have been created by Allah and breathed into them of His spirit, then knowing human being’s spirit require knowing Allah, the Almighty.[4] In this regards Imam Sadiq (as) has said: “Servitude is a gem whose core is Lordship [rubūbiyyat]. Whatever is lost of servitude is found in the Lordship, and whatever is hidden of Lordship is obtained by servitude.” [5]
  6. The other meaning we can take from this hadith is that the human being’s spirit is as the same as its creator, so recognizing Allah’s attributes and names can be possible through recognizing the spirit affairs such as essence, attributes and etc. as Imam Ali (as) has said: “He is with everything but not in nearness. He is different from everything but not in separation.”[6] In other words, perceiving this issue that Allah (SWT) is present in everything can be obtained through self-knowledge.

The Arabic version of this saying:

مَعَ کُلِّ شَیْ‏ءٍ لَا بِمُقَارَنَةٍ وَ غَیْرُ کُلِّ شَیْ‏ءٍ لَا بِمُزَایَلةٍ

There are three ways for acquiring knowledge of Allah (awj). In other words, the intellectual or gnostic journey of the philosopher or the spiritual wayfarer [respectively] could fall under one of three categories:

  1. The traveller (salik), the path (maslak), and the goal (maslk ‘ilayh) are distinct; such as if one reaches the conclusion [that Allah (awj) exists] by observing and contemplating the order and harmony of the universe, by realizing that all things are needy and so there must be something needless they depend on, hence the Originator. Some Qur`anic verses encourage people to take up this method.[7]
  2. The traveller and the path are one and the same; such as if one contemplates the world within himself, addressing questions such as, “Who am I?”; “Where am I from?”; “Why aren’t my inclinations, my allegiances under my control?”; “Why can I not tame my wild mind so as to control what memories it recalls?”

Imam ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (ع) alludes to this method in the following words: “I came to know Allah by observing the strong wills that trembled, the difficult entanglements that were disentangled, and the decisions that were crushed.”[8] In another instance he says, “Whoever comprehends himself has indeed comprehended his Lord.”[9]

  1. The path and the goal are one and the same. That is, the traveller—the philosopher or the spiritual wayfarer—by contemplating the destination discovers the object of his desire (maqsud). This is the most profound way of understanding, for it transcends the levels of extroversive and introversive journeys, thereby realizing, through contemplating the Absolute Witness, that Allah (awj) is the Absolute Witness.

The Quran states:

“Is it not sufficient that your Lord is witness to all things?”[10]

First, He is witnessed and comprehended, and then [in His light] all other things, for He is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth. The Essence of Unicity [i.e. Allah (awj)] is the clearest witness to and proof of Himself and as such, renders unnecessary any intermediary for comprehension of Him.[11]

So it is that in addressing His messenger He says,

“You were certainly oblivious of this. We have removed your veil from you, and so your sight is acute today.”[12]

The veil is removed from the individual, not from the reality or from Allah (awj).

In the Supplication of ‘Arafah, Imam Husayn b. ‘Ali (ع) deals with this third method. He says, “O Allah!  Do others possess a light that You lack so that they must shed light upon You? When have You been absent so as to be needy of proof? When have You ever been distant so that Your effects and creatures should move us close to You?”[13]

The same theme resonates in the following couplet: “You have never distanced Yourself so that I should seek Your presence. You have never been hidden so that I should make You manifest.”

And again in the words of Imam Husayn b. ‘Ali (ع), “Blind be the eye that does not behold You … It is You whom I beseech in seeking union with You, and it is Your own existence that I seek as proof for Your existence.” In this phrase, it is expressed that for the spiritual wayfarer, Allah (awj) is more manifest than the sky, the earth, the leaves of trees, etc.

Imam Ja’far b. Muhammad as-Sadiq (ع) alludes to this point in the following words: “When someone is present and manifest, we first know him through his self, then we get to know his attributes. But in the case of something absent, knowledge of its attributes precedes knowledge of its essence … Just as in the case of Yusuf’s brother, they studied Yusuf himself and recognized it was him. They asked him, ‘Are you really Yusuf?’ They did not formulate their question the other way around[14] (14); meaning, they reflected on the qualities of the person whom they were confronted with and realized that he was Yusuf. They did not ask others to identify Yusuf for them.”[15]

Based on the aforementioned explanations, it has been concluded that contingent existents are realities whose existence is nothing but their relation to the Necessary Existent. Otherwise, they would be needless in their essences which would in turn mean that they would be necessary by their essences, which is obviously false.

Thus, they are in their entire existence dependent on the Necessary Essence and it is impossible to view the relation [i.e. the creature, for as previously mentioned the contingent existent is nothing but that relation] without the object to which it is related (marbut ‘ilayh). That is, comprehending the effect independent of its cause is impossible. Thus, the comprehension of everything, even purely material existents, is concomitant with comprehending the Necessary Existent.

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

Index: Estrangement from people comes about as a result for knowing them too well, answer 060.

[1] . Allamah Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 2, Pg. 32, Al-Wafa Institution, Beirut, 1404 A.H.

[2] . Surah Asra, verse 85.

[3] . Surah al-Hijr, verse 29.

[4] . Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 57, Pg. 324.

[5] . YazdanPanah, Yadullah, Mabani wa Usul Erfan Nazari (the principle and fundamental of theoretical Mysticism), Pg. 67, Imam Khomeini Institution, Qom, first edition.

[6] Nahj al-Balaghah, Vol. 1.

[7] Surat al-Baqarah (2), Verse 164:

} إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمٌوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلاَفِ اللَّيلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَالْفُلْكِ الَّتِي تَجْرِي فِي الْبَحْرِ بِمَا يَنْفَعُ النَّاسَ وَمَا أَنْزَلَ اللٌّهُ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مِنْ مَاءٍ فَأَحْـيَا بِهِ الأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا وَبَثَّ فِيهَا مِنْ كُلِّ دَآبَّةٍ وَتَصْرِيفِ الرِّيَاحِ وَالسَّحَابِ الْمُسَخَّرِ بَيْنَ السَّمَآءِ وَالأَرْضِ لآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُون{

[8] Nahj al-Balaghah, Short Saying 250:

عَرَفْتُ اللٌّهَ سُبْحَانَهُ بِفَسَخِ الْعَزَائِمِ وَحِلِّ الْعُقُودِ.

[9] Jawahir al-Saniyyah, pg. 116:

مَنْ عَرَفَ نَفْسَهُ فَقَدْ عَرَفَ رَبَّهُ.

[10] Surat al-Fussilat (41), Verse 53:

} أَوَلَـمْ يَكْفِ بِرَبِّكَ أَنَّهُ عَلـى كُلِّ شَيءٍ شَهِيدٌ {

[11] Surat Ibrahim (14), Verse 10:

} قَالَتْ رُسُلُهُمْ أَفِي اللٌّهِ شَكٌّ فَاطِرِ السَّمٌوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ {

[12] Surat Qaf (50), Verse 22:

} لَقَدْ كُنْتَ فِي غَفْلَةٍ مِنْ هٌذَا فَكَشَفْنَا عَنْكَ غِطَاءَكَ فَبَصَرُكَ الْيَوْمَ حَدِيدٌ {

[13] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 95 pg. 226; also Mafatih al-Jinan:

أَيَكُونُ لِغَيْرِكَ مِنَ الظُّهُورِ مَا لَيسَ لَكَ حَتَّى يَكُونَ هُوَ الْمُظْهِرَ لَكَ؟ مَتَى غِبْتَ حَـتَّى تَحْتَاجَ إِلـى دَلِيلٍ يدُلُّ عَلَيْكَ؟ وَمَتَى بَعُدْتَ حَتَّى تَكُونَ الآثَارَ هِيَ الَّتِي تُوصِلُ إِلَيكَ؟

[14] It must be pointed out that in Farsi and ‘Arabic in asking if the person being addressed is the same one the former had heard about or known previously, he can put the question forth in two ways. He can say, in the case of ‘Arabic, a anta fuln (lit. Are you …?) or a fuln ant (lit. Is… you?). The latter case is not used in English. Therefore, the reasoning forwarded in the text should be understood in the context of the ‘Arabic language. (Tr.)

[15] Tuhaf al-’Uqul, pg. 327:

إِنَّ مَعْرِفَةَ عَيْنِ الشَّاهِدِ قَبْلَ صِفَتِهِ وَمَعْرِفَةَ صِفَةِ الْغَائِبِ قَبْلَ عَيْنِهِ. قِيلَ: وَكَيْفَ نَعْرِفُ عَيْنَ الشَّاهِدِ قَبْلَ صِفَتِهِ؟ قَالَ (ع): تَعْرِفُهُ وَتَعْلَمُ عِلْمَهُ وَتَعْرِفُ نَفْسَكَ بِهِ وَلاَ تَعْرِفُ نَفْسَكَ بِنَفْسِكَ مِنْ نَفْسِكَ. وَتَعْلَمُ أَنَّ مَا فِيهِ لَهُ وَبِهِ كَمَا قَالُوا لِيُوْسُفَ: }إِنَّكَ لأَنْتَ يُوسُفَ قَالَ أَنَا يُوسُفُ وَهٌذَا أَخِي{ فَعَرَفُوهُ بِهِ وَلَمْ يَعْرِفُوهُ بِغَيرِهِ.

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Permissibility of doing Matam for those passed away

Question 051: According to the hadith in the attached meme, from how I understand it, a person was killed and the Prophet Muhammad (saws) saw women doing matam due to the person being killed and he said for them to stop doing matam and only ghum and crying are accepted. So, is matam really allowed?

Rough translation of the attached meme, “One time the Prophet (saws) was passing from near Sham and saw women doing matam on a killed person. The Prophet (saws) called the owner of that qabila and asked him, why have you not told them that they cant do this; only weep and ghum a lot. Go and tell them to stop.”

Answer 051: There are many traditions narrated from our Infallibles (pbuth) in which we are allowed to do matam. Like what has been mentioned in Dua Abu Hamza Thumali.[1]

Given the supposition made in your questions, this Hadith is narrated from Imam Ali (A.S) not the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The following is the hadith I have translated it:

The tribe of Hamdan was one of the three tribes having the largest number of combatants in the army of Hadrat Ali (as). In one of the encounters in Siffin, members of this tribe, being on the right flank, had shown their unique firmness especially eight hundred from among their youth who remained steadfast till their last breath. One hundred and eighty of them were martyred and wounded; eleven among those who attained martyrdom were commanders.

When the Imam (as) was passing from Hamdan, He asked why they are mourning? Nasr replied: they are mourning for those of their family killed in Siffin Battle. Imam (as) has said, “I witness (and guarantee) that every one of them who were killed, were very patient and his Shahada (martyrdom) is accepted”. Then. Imam Ali (as) was passing from Sham (Syria) and heard some women mourning loudly. Harb Bin Syurahbil approached Imam Ali (as). The Imam has said to him: “Do your wives overcome to you? You cannot prevent them from mourning? Harb replied, “O Amir al-Momenin, if it was one, two or three persons we could do so, but one hundred and eighty of this tribe were martyred.” Imam Ali (as) said to him, “May Allah bless your martyrs.”[2]

The Arabic version of this hadith is as follows:

نصر عن عمر قال حدثني عبد الله بن عاصم الفائشي قال لما مر علي بالثوريين يعني ثور همدان سمع البكاء فقال ما هذه الأصوات قيل هذا البكاء على من قتل بصفين فقال أما إني أشهد لمن قتل منهم صابرا محتسبا بالشهادة ثم مر بالفائشيين فسمع الأصوات فقال مثل ذلك ثم مر بالشباميين فسمع رنة شديدة و صوتا مرتفعا عاليا فخرج إليه حرب بن شرحبيل الشبامي فقال علي أ يغلبكم نساؤكم أ لا تنهونهن عن هذا الصياح و الرنين قال يا أمير المؤمنين لو كانت دارا أو دارين أو ثلاثا قدرنا على ذلك و لكن من هذا الحي ثمانون و مائة قتيل فليس من دار إلا و فيها بكاء

The following verses of the Holy Qur’an tell us there is no problem to do matam for those who have passed away or have been killed.

In the Holy Qur’an Allah (SWT) says: And he turned away from them, and said, “Alas! My grief is great for Yusuf!” And his eyes turned white due to weeping [and he kept his anger within Himself.” They said, “By Allah! You will go on remembering Joseph until you wreck your health or perish.” He said, “I complain of my anguish and grief only to Allah. I know from Allah what you do not know.”[3] Thus, according to the Holy Qur’an, there is no problem to do matam.

For further information regarding other traditions in which such mourning is considered as makruh, please refer to:

– Mustadrak al-Wasael wa Mustanbit al-Masael Vol. 2, Chapter Mourning, Pgs. 456-457 & ….

Index: Mourning for Imam Hussain (as) while you are grieving, answer 047.

[1] . Mafatih al-Jinan, Dua Abu Hamza Thumali.

[2] . Biharul Anwar, Vol. 79, Pg, 89, Chapter 16.

[3] . Surah Yousef, verses 84-85 &86.

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How to Express Condolences in the Month of Muharram

Question 050: What are we supposed to say to each other during Muharram, it’s a time of mourning?

Answer 050: Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) was asked if we want to condole others in the month of Muharram, especially on the Day of Ashura, how and what do we say? The Imam replied, “Say: May Allah (SWT) increase our rewards of our mourning for Imam Hussain (as) and let us be one of the companions of Imam Mahdi (ajtf) to take our revenge against the killers of Imam Hussain (a.s)”.

(A’adhamallahu ujurana wa ujurakum bi musaabina bil Hussain alayhis salaam)

The Arabic Version is:
“عَظَّمَ اللَّهُ أُجُورَنَا بِمُصَابِنَا بِالْحُسَيْنِ ع وَ جَعَلَنَا وَ إِيَّاكُمْ مِنَ الطَّالِبِينَ بِثَأْرِهِ مَعَ وَلِيِّهِ الْإِمَامِ الْمَهْدِيِّ مِنْ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ ص”

It is noteworthy that sacred months which are known as Ḥarām months are Dhu al-Qidah, Dhu al-Hijjah, Muharram-ul-haram and Rajab-al-Murajjab. The reason we say Muharram-ul-haram is because fighting in this month is forbidden.[1]

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

Index: Qama Zani / How the Infallible Imams (pbuth) mourned for Imam Hussain (as), answer 507.

Index: Mourning for Imam Hussain (as) while you are grieving, answer 047.

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

[1] . Kamil Al-Ziyarat, al-Nass, Pg. 175; al-Misbah al-Kaf’ami (Jannatul Aman al-Waqiyah), Pg. 482; Wasael al-Shia, Vol. 14, Pg. 509, H 19709; Biharul Anwar, Vol. 98, chapter 24 (how to visit the Holy Shrine of Imam Hussain on the Day of Ashura.); Mustadrak al-Wasael wa Mustanbit al-Masael, Vol. 10, Pg. 316, Chapter 49 (recommendation of crying over martyrdom of Imam Hussain (as)).

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Benefits of Beard / Fiqhi Reason on Shaving Beard

Question 590: Salaam. I want to ask that what are the benefits of beard?

Answer 590: Rulings of the divine religion of Islam are legislated based on the real benefits and harms behind actions, meaning that if Islam orders for something to be done, or for something to be refrained from, one can be sure that all of the different effects and dimensions of such an action have been weighed up and taken into consideration; the obligation of keeping the beard being no exception.

According to all of the maraji’, the permissibility of shaving the beard entirely, is disputable and cannot be verified[1], but for something to be called a beard doesn’t mean that it has to be kept long and thick. One can also trim it short and neaten it in a way that it is not said that it has been shaved off, or to somehow trim it in a way that won’t be harmful to one’s conjugal relationship and also brings about the wife’s satisfaction to an extent.[2]

Only shaving or trimming facial hair (beard)[3] with shaving machines in a way that people say there is no beard anymore, is impermissible based on obligatory precaution.[4] Also, shaving a portion of the beard has the same ruling as shaving all of it.[5] Thus, shaving the hairs on the cheeks or neck and behind the neck which aren’t considered part of the beard, and also the hairs under the armpits, etc., using such machines is permissible.

It is noteworthy that Islam pays special attention to cleanliness and has emphasized on getting rid of excess body hair.[6]

[1] Of course, some of the maraji’, such as Ayatullah Khu’i (rah) consider keeping the hair on the chin (which is also referred to as a ‘goatee’) and shaving the rest of the facial hair to suffice. See: Sirat al-Najat (of Ayatullah Khu’i annotated by Ayatullah Tabrizi), vol. 2, pp. 284-285.

[2] . Adopted from answer 1952 IQ (Index: The beard and its impact on conjugal life).

[3] The growth of facial first happened after Prophet Adam’s dua saying: “O Lord! Increase my beauty!” Allah (swt) answered I made the beard the zinah (adornment) of you and your children till the Day of Judgment.” In a hadith by the prophet of Islam, he says to keep the beards long in order not to resemble the Jews and Zoroastrians. See: Hilyah al-Muttaqin, fifth book, fourth and fifth chapters.

[4] Istifta’at of Imam Khomeini, vol. 2 (makasib muharramah), pg. 30, issue 79, pg. 31, issue 81, and pg. 32, issue 84.

[5] Is it permissible to have a goatee? All of the maraji’ (except Ayatullahs Makarim and Tabrizi): No, it doesn’t suffice and is the same as shaving the entire beard. Imam Khomeini, Istifta’at, vol. 2, makasib muharramah, issue 84; Ayatullah Wahid Khorasani, Minhaj al-Salihin, vol. 3, issue 43; Ayatullah Khamenei, Ajwibah al-Istifta’at, issue 1413; Ayatullah Sistani, www.sistani.org, beard shaving, questions 1 and 3; Ayatullah Safi Golpaygani, Jami’ al-Ahkam, vol. 2, issue 1743; Ayatullah Bahjat, Tawdih al-Masa’il, miscellaneous, question 4; Ayatullah Nuri, Istifta’at, vol. 1, issues 492 and 493; Ayatullah Fazel Lankarani, Jami’ al-Masa’il, vol. 1,issues 955 and 957.

[6] . Adopted from answers 3313 IQ – 1952 IQ.

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Lamentation: Normal mourning for Imam Hussain (as)

Question 049: What measures should we take so that Mola Hussain (as) will accept our Azadari? What is the normal mourning for Imam Hussain (as)?

Answer 049: What has been mentioned with great emphasis in the verdicts of grand jurists and religious authorities is that mourning, lamentation, crying and being sad at the sad martyrdom of the Chief of Martyrs, Imam Hussein (a) is good and profusely rewarded. It should be noted that different cultures, communities and people hold different forms of mourning and ceremonies in commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (a). No special form of mourning has been recommended in the traditions. Taking off clothes which is customary in some countries or places are subject to the same area’s customs and habits; they have no special virtue or value nor has any special emphasis been laid on them. In fact, at places where there are women and these ceremonies are held in their presence, it is better and more appropriate to hold these ceremonies without taking one’s shirts.[1]

In any case, what has been mentioned in the fatwa of most the grand jurists about taking off one’s shirts and beating the chest indicate that it is permissible to take off one’s shirts, if one is not taking them off in front of non-mahram and if it does not entail any corruption.[2]

It is worth mentioning that taking off shirts (in its current manner) is not considered to be derogatory. In case, it is considered to be derogatory in some countries, it is not permissible.

Latmiyya literally means hitting the face and body with the palm.[3] Considering the traditions about mourning for Imam Hussein (a), none of the jurists have ever forbidden Latmiyya or beating the chest in mourning for Imam Hussein (a) and other infallibles; rather, they have emphasized on its desirability.[4]

It goes without saying that permissibility of beating the chest is allowed only to some extent. Firstly, it should not involve self-crime. Secondly, it should not entail desecration and derogation of Islam and Muslims.[5]

For more information on this issue, please read the following answers:

Index: Qama Zani / How the Infallible Imams (pbuth) mourned for Imam Hussain (as), answer 507.

Index: Mourning for Imam Hussain (as) while you are grieving, answer 047.

[1] . Answer provided from Porsman Software.

[2] . Gulpaigani, Lotfullah Saafi, Jami’al-Ahkaam, Hazrat Ma’sumah Publications, Qom, fourth, 1417 A.H.; Khomeini, Rohullah, Istifta’at, vol.3, Miscellaneous Questions, question NO.46; Fazel Lankarani, Muhammad, Jami’ al-Masail, vol.1, question 2163 and 2165; Bahjat, Muhammad Taqi, Tawzih al-Masail, Issue No.1937; (Ayatollah Makarem: If there are women present, it is haram to take off one’s shirts and if there are no women, it is problematic i.e. a matter of objection. Refer to his website at the following address: persian.makarem.ir/estefta/index.php.

[3] . Farahidi, Khalil bin Ahmad, Kitab al-Ain, vol.7, pg.433, Hijrat Publication, second, Qom, 1410 A.H; Ibn Manzur, Abul Fazl Lesan al-Arab, vol.12, pg.543, Dar al-Fikr Publiations, third, Beirut, 1414 A.H.

[4] . A number of authors, Fiqh-e Ahlulbayt Magazine, vol.49, pg.201, Islamic Jurisprudence Encyclopedia Institute, Qom, first; Tabrizi, Jawad, New Questions and Answers, vol.1, pg. 452, Qom, first; Lankarani, Muhammad, Jami’ al-Masail, vol.1, pg.579, Amir Qalam Publications, Qom, 11th.

[5] . Shirazi, Naser Makarem, New Questions and Answers, vol.2, pg.247, Imam Ali bin Abi Talib Institute, Qom, 2nd, 1427 A.H.

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Mourning for Imam Hussain (as) while you are grieving

Question 047: Is mourning for Imam Hussain (a.s) while you are grieving allowed?

Answer 047: There are no restrictions limiting the time of mourning for Imam Hussain (as) to the Day of Ashura. When you are grieving for any worldly things and want to forget about them you can remember the tragic incidents that took place in Karbala against Imam Hussain (as) and His family and Followers.

In this regards, Imam Reza (as) said: O Son of Shabib! If you want to cry over something, then do so over Husain bin Ali bin Abi Talib (as). This means that if you are grieving you would be recommended to mourn for Imam Hussain (as).[1]

Arabic version:

يَا ابْنَ شَبِيبٍ إِنْ كُنْتَ بَاكِياً لِشَيْ‏ءٍ فَابْكِ‏ لِلْحُسَيْنِ‏ بْنِ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ ع‏

Also, there is a hadith in which Imam Ali (as) said: If you cannot be patient, then act as if you are patient (i.e. behave like a patient person), because it is very unlikely that a man make himself like a group of people but does not become like one of them.[2] We can find a similar saying suggested by psychologists: Fake it till you make it.

Arabic version:

إِنْ لَمْ تَكُنْ حَلِيماً فَتَحَلَّمْ فَإِنَّهُ قَلَّ مَنْ تَشَبَّهَ بِقَوْمٍ إِلَّا أَوْشَكَ أَنْ يَكُونَ مِنْهُم

So, according to the previous mentioned ahadith, you can mourn and cry for Imam Hussain (as) anytime you want even when you are grieving.

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

Index: Cry or Pretend to Cry over our Sins, for Imam Hussain (as) or Fear of Allah (SWT), 048.

Index: Qama Zani / How the Infallible Imams (pbuth) mourned for Imam Hussain (as), answer 507.

[1] . Al-Amali of Sheikh Sadouq, al-Nass, Pg. 130; Uyūn akhbār al-Riḍā (as), Vol. 1, Pg. 299; Wasael al-Shia, Vol. 14, Pg. 502; Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 44, Pg. 286.

[2] . Nahj al-Balaghah, H. 203.

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Praying for non-Muslim Parents

Question 516: Can I as a Shia Muslim pray for my dead parent who is a non-Muslim? They were Ahl al-Kitab. If so, can you provide sources and scholarly opinions? Thank you.

Answer 516: We have already sent a similar question to the office of grand maraja’, whether it is permissible to solace to non-Muslims who have passed away and send salawat, recite surah al-Fatiha and pray for them?

Our maraja’ have different opinions about it. Some say, it is permissible if they have not fought Muslims on the account of Religion and have not driven us out of our Homeland. Others say, it is permissible to solace, though asking Allah, the Almighty for His forgiveness and pray for them is not permissible.

Ayatollah Khameneni: There is no problem in it per se if they have not fought Muslims on the account of Religion.

Ayatollah Sistani: It is impermissible to ask Allah, the Almighty for their forgiveness and pray for them.

Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani: Sending Salawat and praying to Allah (SWT) to forgive them are not permissible[1].

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”.[2]

It should be noted that the loss of a family member is a difficult challenge to overcome. However, one can overcome this situation by doing the following points:

A: Having patience: Patience is mans’ greatest friend in life.[3] Patience in the face of calamities is one type of patience.[4] The ahadith speak of a great reward for patience in such situations. To pay attention to its results and rewards which are mentioned in the Quran and ahadith is one of the ways to overcome a loss. We will mention some of these Quranic verses and ahadith below:

1- In the Quran, God says: “Peace be to you, for your patience.” How excellent is the reward of the [ultimate] abode!”[5] “We will surely test you with a measure of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth, lives, and fruits; and give good news to the patient. Those who, when an affliction visits them, say,” Indeed we belong to Allah, and to Him do we indeed return. It is they who receive the blessings of their Lord and [His] mercy, and it is they who are the [rightly] guided”[6]

2- Imam Ali says “Having patience when calamities strike stems from one’s wisdom.”[7]

“Amongst the treasures of belief is having patience when calamities befall one.”[8] “Having patience at the time of catastrophes elevates one to lofty spiritual levels.”[9]

B: We must understand that death will take place for all of us: “Every soul shall taste death. Then you shall be brought back to us.”[10] Because all creatures are manifestations of Go Godl’s existence and attributes and they have come from him, they will all go back to him “Indeed we belong to Allah, and to Him do we indeed return.”[11]

One of the results of having belief in God is that when catastrophes strike, a believer reminds himself of the abovementioned verse. The better and deeper one understands the truth mentioned in the verse, the easier he will be able to overcome such issues.

C: The ahadith have mentioned certain acts to be carried out for the dead. Some of them are wajib and some are mustahab. We will mention some examples of these ahadith below:

First: Paying charity; A man from the tribe of Bani Saedah came to the Prophet after his mother passed away and said: “My mother passed away during my absence. If I pay charity on behalf of her, will her soul be rewarded?” The Prophet replied: “Yes.”[12]

Second: Reciting Quran; The Prophet stated: “Whoever passes by a graveyard and recites surah Ikhlas eleven times and sends the reward for the dead, he will be rewarded by the number of people that are buried there.”[13]

Third: Doing good deeds; Imam Sadiq said: “The reward of charity, supplicating and good deeds will reach the dead as well as the one who carried them out.”[14] “Whenever a Muslim does good deeds on behalf of the dead, God will multiply his reward and also give the dead the reward of the good deed.”[15]

Fourth: Performing Wahshat prayer; It is mustahab to pray two raka’ats on the first night of burial.[16] The details of this prayer are mentioned in the law books of the maraji’.[17] Therefore, it is musthab to perform this prayer only on the first night and not all nights. For the other nights, one may perform other acts for his mother to send her the reward and make her soul calm and happy in the other world.

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

Index: Visiting non-Muslim graves and Praying for them, answer 103.

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/510247479126564/permalink/546002345551077/)

[1] . Adopted from answer 35827.

[2] Surah Mumtahina, verses 8 & 9;  Surah Tawbah, verse 113; Adopted from Index: Visiting non-Muslim graves and Praying for them.

[3] For further information, refer to the topic “Increasing Patience”, Question 8418 (site: 9091).

[4] Daylami, Shaykh Hasan, Irshad al-Qulub ila al-Sawab, vol. 1, p. 126, Sharif Radhiyy Press, Qum, first edition, 1412 AH.

[5] Ra’d:24.

[6] Baqarah:155-157.

[7] Tamimi Amidi, Abd al-Wahid ibn Muhammad, Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, p. 283, hadith 6299, Islamic Propagation Office Press, Qum, 1366 (solar).

[8] Ibid, p. 282, hadith 6298.

[9] Ibid, p. 262, hadith 6269.

[10] Ankabut:57 “كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ ثُمَّ إِلَيْنا تُرْجَعُون”.

[11] Baqarah:156 “إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَ إِنَّا إِلَيْهِ راجِعُونَ”.

[12] MullaHavish Aal Ghazi, Abd al-Qadir, Bayan al-Ma’ani, vol. 1, p. 203, Taraqi Press, Damascus, first edition, 1382 AH; Qurtubi, Muhammad ibn Ahmad, Al-Jami’ li Ahkam al-Quran, Nasir Khosro Press, Tehran, first edition, 1364 (solar).

[13] Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 10, p. 368, al-Wafa Institute, Beirut, 1404 AH.

[14] Amili, Shaykh Hurr, Wasa’il al-Shia, vol. 8, p. 279, Aal al-Bayt Institute, Qum, 1409 AH.

[15] Hilli, Ibn Fahd, Uddat al-Da’i, p. 146, Daar al-Kutub al-Islamiyy, Qum, 1407 AH.

[16] Amili (Kaf’ami), Ibrahim ibn Ali, Al-Misbah, p. 411, Daar al-Radhiyy Press, Qum, second edition, 1405 AH, Wasa’il al-Shia, vol. 8, p. 168.

[17] Musawi (Imam Khumayni), Sayyid Ruhullah, Tawdhih al-Masa’il, vol. 1, p. 348, researched/edited by: Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Bani Hashimi Khumayni, Islamic Publications Office, Qum, eighth edition, 1424 AH.