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Rules of Transgender according to Shia

Question 381: A/S. One of my boss is transgender and she has locker in ladies locker room. I ve never seen her changing there but she does her makeup there. I usually change as fast as I can since I am very particular about changing in female locker room. My nightmare is what if I am changing and she walks in? What is the fiqh ruling in this situation? If I have no other choice, & im trying to change as quick as possible into uniform, is she still considered a male? What is the rules of Transgender according to Shia?

Answer 381: There are four types of people can be imagined for Transsexual people that each has special rules that has been explained in Islamic Laws. If you are not sure which type your boss is you are supposed to observe hijab in front of it. Otherwise, if you know that your boss is really a woman you would be allowed to change your clothes even in front of her. For further information, please refer to the detailed answer.

Most of Islamic laws are for men and women. In other word, some of rules are specialized for men and others for women. There is no doubt that most of people are men or women. The following are four types of sexuality can be imagined for the human being.

  1. Transsexual: These types of people experience a gender identity in a way that they see themselves in a transition between being women or men. In other word, some men psychologically or mentally identify themselves as a woman and some women mentally as men. Although, they don’t have any deficiency or defect about their physiological body, but they are mentally and psychologically ill. They sometimes, don’t know which they are, women or men.

In response to a question that what is the criteria for such types of people about their sexuality? Are they considered as men or women? We can say that the basis on determining sexuality is its physical appearance. So, if they have male sexual organs, they would be men, however they mentally belong themselves to opposite gender. If they have female sexual organs they would be women, however they are mentally or intellectually men.

Rules concerning them: They have to observe hijab and other rules related to women if they have female sexual organs, however they are mentally men.

Note: We must observe the rules relating to woman or man if we encounter with them. E.g. we would be able to get married to such people after getting the confirmation of a physician who approved which are they women or man. If they are considered as women according to the doctor confirmation we can get married to them.

  1. Hidden gender: Some people have hidden gender. This means that they have male sexual organs inside of his stomach, but apparently considered as women. And even they have long hair, breast, having no hair on face and generally looks like a woman.

According to scholars, the sexual criteria for such people is its real organs not apparent.

Therefore, if a person’s gender is hidden and one itself is aware of such circumstances, one has to observe Islamic laws according to its real gender (which is hidden). E.g. if they have male sexual organs inside of their body they are considered as men and then must act like men. Otherwise, they are women and have to act like woman. For instance, they have to observe hijab in front of non-mahram.[1]

  1. After changing gender (Sex Reassignment Surgery): If one seek medical assistance and aligned its body in order to identify its sex or gender, has done such surgery and become a man or woman the sexual gender criteria would be determined after the surgery. For example, if it becomes man he must act like a man and observe rules relating to men.
  2. Hermaphrodite (Khuntha): They are of two types: 1. Have both male and female sexual organs. 2. Have none of the both organs. The second type is known as Mamsooh.

According to physicians, the medical assistance can help them align their body with their identified sex or gender, including: Hormone replacement therapy, Sex reassignment therapies, mentally factors and sexual organs.

According to scholars, the criterion by which they can be determined as men or women is sexual gender. That’s why, there have been declared some signs in order to make sure which they are. For example, if one has both male and female sexual organs but urinate from one of the both it would be considered as the criterion. Therefore, if one urinates from male organs it would be considered as man.

There are other solutions have been explained in Islamic laws in order to identify their sex and gender as follows:

Urination (that just explained),  overtaking urination of female or male canal, interrupted urine delay in male or female urination canal and finally to be cautious and act like men and women if the previous mentioned criterions didn’t work and observing the rules of men and women are not beyond their capacities.[2]

Conclusion: Since, you are not sure to which of the above mentioned types your boss belong, you are supposed to observe hijab as well as the other rules in this regards if you see it.

[1] . In this regards, refer to Mutahhari, Ahmad, Mustanad Tahrir al-Wasila (al-Masael al-Mustahdathah), Pgs. 191-192;  Tahrir al-Wasila of Imam Khomeini (ra), Vol 2, Pg. 559, Q 2.

[2] For further information in this regards, please refer to Sadr, Sayyid Muhammad, Mawara al-Fiqh, Vol. 6, Pg. 135.

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Permissibility of getting a permanent or temporary Tattoo

Question 626: Asallamu ailikum. I would like to know is permanent tattoo on the body Haram and impure and does it invalidate prayers?

Answer 626: Sayyid Sistani (ha) says: Tattoos are permissible and they do not affect wudhu irrespective of whether they are permanent or temporary.[1]

Most of the grand jurists have said in regards to having tattoos: If tattoos are mere color or they are done under the skin and there is no substance on the skin to prevent water from reaching the skin, wudhu, ghusl and prayer are in order.[2] If there are substances on the skin that form obstruction and prevent water from reaching the skin, wudhu, ghusl and prayer would be invalid. [3] In the latter case, the obstruction should first be removed and then one should take action for ghusl.

In case, the tattoos contain any substances or ingredients which prevent water from reaching the skin, it is necessary to remove them before wudhu or ghusl.[4] In case, the tattoos do not contain any substances that would form obstruction, there is no problem. Therefore, hajj acts like Tawaf (circumambulation), and prayer of Tawaf which need ritual purity (wudhu or ghusl) are in order in such a case.

Sayyid Sistani (ha) was asked if it is permissible for a woman to get her eyebrows tattooed. His Excellency replied: “Since the tattoos are done under the skin, there is no problem. However, if they are considered zinah (adornment) in common view, she must cover them from non-mahram men.”[5]

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

Index: Number of things which invalidate Wudu (ablution), answer 556.

Index: Number of things which invalidate the prayer, answer 626.

Index: The validity of Ghusl even a barrier finds out after a week, answer 031.

Index: Rules on drawing according to Islam, answer 226.

[1] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Q&A: Tattoos.

[2] – Tawzih al-Masail (with annotation by Imam Khomeini) vol.1, pg.205.

[3] – Ibid. 201

[4] – Majma’ al-Masail (by Ayatollah Gulpaigani), vol.1, pg. 65.

[5] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Q&A: Tattoos.

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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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Wearing Gold and Silk is forbidden for a Male Muslim

Question 485: Assalamu alaikum! Could you please advise if wearing gold-plated (only surface of the watch is covered by gold dust) watch is halal or haram.

May Allah bless you!

Answer 485: According to maraja’, it is not permissible for men to adorn themselves with whatever is called gold irrespective of whether the gold is yellow or red or white.[1]

There is no objection in making the frame of gold for a watch, and keep it with oneself (while offering prayers).[2]

But, if it is a gilt watch, maraja have different opinion about it as follows:

Khamenei (ha), if it is considered as gold it would be impermissible for men to wear it.

Sistani (ha), there is no objection in it.

Safi Golpayegani (ha), if it really contains gold it is impermissible.

Note: If there is a little gold used in it that it is not considered to be gold in the common view (Urf), there would be no problem in wearing it.[3]

If it is not hanging, though it may be in pocket, there is no objection in it! [4]

Regarding other metal, if it is known through checking a metal with an expert that it is white gold, it is haram (forbidden) for men to wear it. As for wearing silver, there is no problem in wearing it.

If a metal is called white gold, it is in fact the yellow gold which becomes white when a white metal is blended with it; therefore it is haram. In case, however, there is so little gold in it that it is not considered to be gold in the common view, there is no problem in wearing it. As for wearing platinum, there is also no objection in wearing it.[5]

Silk: The garment of men, while offering prayers, should not be made of pure silk, rather it is not lawful for men even when they are not offering prayers, although, according to the more cautious opinion, it is something which alone is not sufficient for offering prayer, as a waistband or a cap or the like. Pure silk also includes what is made of raw silk, such as a waistband or a cap or the like. Pure silk also includes what is made of raw silk, though it is permitted for women, even when offering prayers, and for men in the event of necessity or war.

What is for bidden for men is wearing garments made of silk, but there is no objection in making silken carpets or bed sheets and lie on them or blankets etc. and cover themselves with them when sleeping. So also there is no objection in stitching buttons of garments with silk, or decorate the garments with braids and laces made of silk, in the same way as it there is no objection in making the covers for wounds, abscesses and preventives for those suffering from incontinence of urine.

Rather, there is no objection even in patching garments with silk or making the borders of the garments with silk, provided that they are not to the extent that they may be called silken, and in case of borders for garments, it is more cautious that they should not exceed four fingers when joined together in width. Rather it is more cautious to observe this measurement even in case of the patches of silk on the garments.[6]

If a person doubts whether a garment or ring is made of gold or anything else, it shall be permissible to wear them, and offer prayers wearing them.[7]

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[1] . Tawzih al-Masael of maraja’ (with annotation of Imam Khomeini) Vol. 2, Pg. 927, Issue 443.

[2] . Tahrir al-Wasila of Imam Khomeini (ra), Vol. 1, Pg. 168 (English version), issue 14;  Tawzih al-Masael of maraja’ (with annotation of Imam Khomeini) Vol. 1, Pg. 462.

[3] . Ajwabat al-Istiftaat (in Farsi language), Pg. 90;  Tawzih al-Masael of maraja’, Vol. 1, Pg. 140, Q 255.

[4] . Tahrir al-Wasilah of Imam Khomeini, Vol. 1, Pg. 169; Tawzih al-Masael of maraja, Issue 833, Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani (ra), Q 846.

[5] . Ajwebat al-Istiftaat (Farsi Answers to Religious Queries), pg.90, Tawzih al-Masail (with annotations by Imam Khomeini), vol.2, pg. 927, issue No.443.

[6] . Tahrir al-Wasilah of Imam Khomeini, Vol. 1, Pg. 169.

[7] . Ibid, Pg. 170.

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Copyrights / Steal from Non-Muslims

Question 608: I am interested in this ruling saying parade video games are permissible to download. Would you be able to comment on what differentiates this from other forms of theft? Here in Australia there was an advertising campaign where they showed downloading pirated movies alongside other forms of theft. “You wouldn’t steal a car”, “You wouldn’t steal a wallet”, “Piracy is stealing”, read the captions. I have my own answer to this but am interested in one from a religious perspective.

Answer 608: Usurpation and forcible acquisition of the property of non-Muslims in non-Muslim countries is not permissible, if they are not at war with Muslims. And even if they are at war with Muslims it is still better that Muslims not do that, according to Ayatollahs Makarim, Khamenei, Fadhil Lankarani and Bahjat (ra).

It is neither permissible to steal from the private as well as the public property of non-Muslims, nor vandalize it, even if that stealing or vandalizing does not tarnish the image of Islam and Muslims. Such an act is counted as perfidy and violation of the guarantee given to non-Muslims indirectly when one asked permission to enter or reside in that country. And it is forbidden to breach the trust and violate the guarantee in regard to every person irrespective of his religion, citizenship, and beliefs.[1] But, regarding pirate video games or other software from non-Muslim companies in non-Muslim countries that don’t have any contract with Islamic countries for observing the mutual rights, our maraja’ say: You are allowed to download such products without their permission. Also, if there is a link by which everyone except our Islamic nations whom such companies made an order to stop us from downloading there would be no problem to download such products.[2]

Sayyid Sistani (ha) says: Copyrights must be respected; it is not permissible to copy a software product, if it is against the law. His Excellency also says about using cracked software: If someone else has cracked the software, you can use it.[3]

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

Index: Rules concerning Pirate Video Games from companies, answer 001.

[1] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Dealing with laws in non-Muslim countries » General Rules.

[2] . Ayatollah Khamenei, Ajwabat al-Istiftaat, rules concerning Copy Right. Adopted from answer 001.

[3] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), rules regarding Copyrights.

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Greeting with Salam is mustahab responding to it is wajib

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

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

Arabic version of this hadith is as follows:

السَّلَامُ تَطَوُّعٌ وَ الرَّدُّ فَرِيضَةٌ.

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

The Arabic version of this recommendation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[2] . Ibid, H. 2.

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

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

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

[6] . Surah Hood, verse 69.

[7] . Surah Mariam, verse 33.

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Praying for non-Muslims in Qunoot of Witr prayer

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

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

Our maraja have different opinions in this regards:

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

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

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

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

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

“اللهم اغفر لفلان

“Allahumma ighfir li-fulan”.

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

اللهم اغفر للمؤمنین و المؤمنات

Allahumma ighfir lil-mo’meneen wal-momeenat.

“استغفر الله ربی و اتوب الیه‌”

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

“هذا مقام العائذ بک من النار”

Haza maqamul a’eze bika minan nar.

Then say three hundred times:

“العفو”

Al-Afw. Then the following dhikr is recited:

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Usul al-Din and Furu al-Din in Islam

Question 223: Dear Shaykh, would you know when in time the five usul al-din were formalized? When I read the ahadith of the Imams on beliefs or read the reports where the disciples of the Imams discuss or ask the Imams for the constituents of sound belief or present their beliefs to the Imams, I have yet to see a neat five-fold categorization!

Then, I wonder when and how the furu’ al-din became ten in number?! The furu’ al-din refers to the acts – fiqh which are so many in number!

I wonder what happened! I’ll be very grateful for any suggestions. Thank you!

Answer 223: Usul al-Din (Principles of Religion) is a theological term and the set of beliefs that formalize the basis of Islamic religion, and by believing in them we are considered as Muslim, according to scholars.

The reason why scholars named these terms as Usul al-Din is that some of the Islamic sciences like Hadith, Fiqh and Tafsir are based on it. In other words, Islamic sciences are based on accepting the Holy Prophet (pbuh), and accepting Him is based on knowing these Usul al-Din.

There hasn’t been mentioned the name of Usul al-Din and Furu al-Din in the Holy Quran and Traditions. It has came into existence by theologians.[1]

Usul al-Din in Ahadith: It has been mentioned in some ahadith that Islam has some basic Principles, as follows:

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) has said: Islam has been built on five [pillars]: 1) Testifying that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. 2) Performing the prayers. 3) Paying the Zakah. 4) Making the pilgrimage to the House (kaaba). 5) Fasting in Ramadan.[2]

Imam Sadiq (as) has been asked what are the Basic Principles of Islam and what kind of affairs we as Muslim must get knowledge of them, and if a person is shortcoming in perceiving them, his religion and beliefs would be worthless, so that Allah (SWT) would not accept his deeds? The Imam (as) has replied: These are as follows: 1&2) Testifying that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. 3) Admitting what has been sent down from Allah (swt). 4) Paying the Zakah. 5) Wilaya of Aale Muhammad (pbuth) that this one has a special place among them.[3]

Imam Baqer (as) has said: Islam has been built on five pillars: 1) Prayer. 2) Zakah. 3) Fasting. 4) Hajj 5) Wilaya. The Wilaya is more important than the others.[4]

Considering that the above mentioned ahadith are Sahih in Sanad, we can at least conclude that the term Usul al-Din has come into existence during the second century of the Hegira.

When exactly the Term of Usul al-Din came into existence:  When the term Usul al-Khamsa (The Explication of the Five Principles) apparently being applied by Abul Huzail Alaf, the Mu’tazila theologian for the first time, the term of Usul al-Din has probably came into existence. It is said that this term had become more familiar as such term during the earlier third century of Hegira. Because, Ibn Nadeem had attributed a dissertation with the name of Usul al-Din to Abu Musa Mordar.[5]

The Fundamentals and Principles of Islam:  Like all other divine religions, Islam consists of three main domains e.g. beliefs, codes of practice and moral rules. The difference between Islam and other religion is that Islam incorporates all these domains in the most comprehensive and most exhaustive manner as compared to the religions before it. That is because Islam is the only religion that has been sent by God on all the prophets from Adam to the Last Prophet – peace be upon them. All what have been presented in Abraham’s scripture, Dawood’s Psalms, Moses’ Torah and Jesus’ Gospel have been presented in the most comprehensive way in Prophet Muhammad’s Holy Quran.[6] Unlike the previous scriptures which have been tampered with, the religion of Islam is immune to any kind of distortions and alterations.

The Islamic beliefs are the fundamentals of Islam and the roots of Islamic faith. They are Divine Unity (oneness of God), justice (God as the Just Creator), prophethood (guidance of humanity through a prophet), imamate and resurrection.

When it comes to the beliefs, a Muslim must in addition to admitting wholeheartedly the oneness of God, should also testify to the prophethood and messengership of Prophet Muhammad (s); otherwise he will not be a Muslim. There is no doubt that testifying to the oneness of God and prophethood of Muhammad (s) also requires, by extension, believing in the prophethood of other prophets, believing in the Day of Resurrection (Day of Judgment), finality of the religion of Islam, believing in the angels, the unseen and in the truthfulness of the claims of the Prophet of Islam. In addition, it is necessary that one should believe in the conspicuous and self-evident doctrines of Islam. If one does not believe in any of the above, he will go out of the pale of Islam. Since Islam is the religion of fitra (God-gifted nature) and reason, it does not accept imitation in the fundamentals of faith. Therefore, everyone is required in Islam to believe in the fundamentals of the religion with his own insight and understanding.[7]

When it comes to the practical laws of Islam or what is known as “ahkaam” in Arabic terminology, we must say that every act that a duty-bound (mukallaf) does is either wajib (obligatory), or haram (prohibited), or mustahab (recommended) or makrooh (abominable) or mubah (allowable). This part of the religion is also termed or described as the branches or rites of the religion which include the prayers, fasting, Hajj, Zakat, Khums, Jihad, bidding the good and forbidding the evil, Tawalla (loving the Ahlul-Bayt) and Tabarra (detaching oneself from the enemies of the Ahlul-Bayt). Acting upon these and adhering to them guarantee man’s eternal felicity.

The reason judges that either the person himself should be an expert to act according to his own insight and understanding or he should turn to an expert e.g. a qualified Mujtahid to seek his advice and act according to his verdicts.

When it comes to ethical and moral rules also, Islam – as was stated above – has some of the most humane moral instructions. Morality in Islam is so important that the Prophet of Islam (s) announced that the object of his prophetic mission was to perfect the moral virtues.

Furu al-Din:  It is a term versus Usul al-Din that consist Islamic Practical Laws. As Usul al-Din is related to knowledge along with certainty the Furu al-Din is preceded by it. This means, when there is no belief and knowledge (i.e. Usul al-Din), practice (Furu al-Din) doesn’t make sense. That’s why these Islamic Laws have been named Furu al-Din. According to Feyz Kashani, Usul al-Din is like a tree and Furu al-Din is its fruits.[8]

What the reason the Furu al-Din became eight or ten in number is due to the importance of these Islamic Laws in Ibadat (acts of worship), however, there are many rules related to transactions and etc. which are completely related to Islamic Laws, but the following are the most famous ten branches of religion (Furu al-Din). 1) Prayer. 2) Fasting. 3) Khums. 4) Zakah. 5) Hajj. 6) Jihad. 7) Amr bil Maroof (bidding what is right). 8) Nahi Anil Munkar (forbidding what is wrong). 9) Tawalla. 10) Tabarra.[9]

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

Index: Principles of Religion: Usul al-Din in Quran, answer 230.

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

[1] . Allamah Helli, Hasan, Sharh e Bab Hadi Ashar, Vol. 1, Pgs. 4-6, Tehran 1991.

[2] . Bukhari, Muhammad, Sahih, Vol. 1, Pg. 8, Istanbul, 1981.

[3] . Kuleini, Muhammad, al-Usul min al-Kafi, Vol. 2, Pgs. 19-20, with effort Ali Akbar Ghifari, Tehran, 1388 A.H.

[4] . Ibid, Pg. 18.

[5] . Ta’ligh Sharh al-Usul al-Khamsa, Pgs. 122-123, with effort Abdul Karim Uthman, Najaf, 1383 A.H; Ibn Nadim, al-Fehrest (contents), Vol. 1, Pg. 207.

[6] – The difference among divine religions in the methods and shari’ah which the Holy Quran describes them as one: “Surely, the religion with Allah is Islam.”; Aal-e Imran, 19, See: Javadi, Amuli, Abdullah, Man’s Expectations from the Religion, pg. 178.

[7] – Tawzih al-Masail of Maraaje’, issue No.1.

[8] . Fayz Kashani, Mulla Musen, Ilmul Yaqin fee Usul al-Din, Vol. 1, Pgs. 4-5, Bidar Publication.

[9] . Majmoe Asar Shahid Motahari, Vol. 17, Pg. 220;  Maaref and Maareef, Vol. 4, Pg. 1715.

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Ask Islam: How to become a Muslim

Question 527: Do I have to cut my hair to become Muslim? What are the conditions for one to become a Muslim?

Brief Answer 527:  The first degree, which is referred to as “Islam”, can be reached when one says the shahadatain (the two statements of “There is no God but Allah” and “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah), admitting to its meaning, resulting in that person officially becoming Muslim.  His/her body will be pure (no longer najis) and so will the bodies of his children, marriage with other Muslims will become permissible for him and he/she can have transactions with other Muslims, his/her wealth, life and honor will all be respected etc.  Of course, saying the shahadatain and admitting to its meaning necessitates acting and practicing Islam (e.g. performing the wajib acts such as prayer, fasting, Hajj, Khums and Zakat, and believing in the angels, the hereafter, paradise and Hell and accepting all of the divine prophets as messengers of Allah (swt)), which is the next level of faith which is higher than just plain “Islam” and being Muslim.

Therefore, there is no need to cut your hair in order to become a Muslim.

Answer 527: “Islam” literally means submission and obedience.  This term refers to the religion brought by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) from Allah (swt) as the final divine religion to come, which is a universal and eternal one (meaning that no other religion will come after it that abrogates it until the day of judgment).

The most important thing that sets a difference between this religion and other ones, is the belief of the oneness of the great Lord, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) being the seal of all prophets, and its teachings on true tawhid.  Believing in Islam and having faith in it, has different degrees which are as follows:

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

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

Therefore, what some sects such as the khawarij have done by considering Muslims who don’t completely practice their faith and commit great sins as Kafirs, not respecting their lives and blood and allowing their killing, or what the Mu’tazilah have done by not considering the abovementioned neither kafir nor Muslim, or what the Wahhabis have done by announcing those who prostrate on the turbah during prayer or kiss the holy shrines of the imams or prophet (pbuh) mushriks (polytheists), or those who call anyone who differs with them in their beliefs mushriks, are all wrong and in misguidance!

In addition to what was said above, according to the ithna’ashari sect, considering the different verses and hadiths that imply this matter, accepting all twelve individuals as imams, leaders and successors to the holy Prophet (pbuh) after him is one the most important conditions of faith and the acceptance of our actions and worship from Allah (swt), because accepting the holy Prophet (pbuh) and the Quran as the final revelation to the prophet (pbuh) which hasn’t been changed and falsified till today, necessitates the precise and complete practice of the teachings of the Quran and the prophet (pbuh).  One of these teachings and guidelines which is of extreme importance, is for us to obey the imams.  Therefore, in reality, disobeying them is equal to disobeying the Prophet (pbuh) and Allah (swt) because they are the ones who have ordered us to follow them.  In Quranic terms, the degree of iman comes after the degree of Islam.  Thus, the first degree of iman is higher than the degree of Islam.  Iman also has different degrees and all degrees of iman aren’t the same.  The holy Quran says that the least that is needed to obtain the degree of iman is for one to have faith and belief in five things; 1- Allah (swt) 2- the day of judgement 3- the angels 4- the book (the Quran) 5- the prophets.[2]  The Quran also counts hypocracy and shirk (polytheism) as turning away from Islam and the causes of eternal chastisement in the Hellfire[3].  Therefore, one is Muslim who:

1- Has accepted tawhid in all of its dimensions.

2- Believes in the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and him being the seal of the prophets.

3- Accepts all of his commands, including the command to follow the imams and accept their authority.

4- Believes in the hereafter and its details as the Quran, the prophet (pbuh) and the imams have explained (of course, those details that we are sure the Prophet (pbuh) and the imams have described).

Nevertheless, although admitting to all of these things cause one to be considered Muslim, as long as Islam isn’t truly practiced through abiding and acting according to its rulings and teachings, such an Islam won’t do any good to its possessor and will not bring him/her any guidance or prosperity in the hereafter.  That is why the Quran says that reaching the prosperous life in the hereafter depends on faith and good acts together.[4]

One who only has one of the two resembles a bird that possesses one wing while lacking the other.  Clearly, such a bird isn’t capable of flying to high altitudes, and the same goes with such a person; he/she will never be able to reach the high peaks of eternal prosperity through good deeds only or faith only.  The only solution for such an individual is to change his/her course of action and to combine his/her faith and acceptance of Islamic teachings with good actions in order to get nearer to Allah (swt) and abide in His heaven.  As the believer’s knowledge of Islam, faith, and the teachings of Allah (swt) and His prophet increases, and as his/her practice in relation to what Islam has asked him also increases and gets purer, his degree of faith will also rise, taking him to higher levels of faith.

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

Index: Usul al-Din in the Holy Quran, answer 230.

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/AskShia/permalink/611602922324352/)

Index: Usul al-Din and Furu al-Din, answer 223.

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/AskShia/permalink/608324169318894/)

Index: Cut or take care of the hair, answer 213.

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/AskShia/permalink/603012016516776/)

Index: Evidences of the superiority of Shia Islam, answer 383:

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/AskShia/permalink/673875309430446/)

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

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/510247479126564/permalink/589379637880014/)

Index: Abu Bakr and Umar according to Shia, answer 265:

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/AskShia/permalink/615018671982777/)

Index: Shia consider Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman as Hypocrit, answer 248:

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/AskShia/permalink/615018671982777/?comment_id=616038685214109&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R0%22%7D)

Index: Shia commit shirk by worshiping Ali (as), answer 215:

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/AskShia/permalink/598504176967560/)

Index: Khalifahs according to Shia, answer 214:

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/AskShia/permalink/598504516967526/)

Index: Sahih Bukhari and Muslim according to Shia, answer 068:

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/AskShia/permalink/780675182083791/)

Index: Shia view of Mutazila and Wasil bin Ata, answer 095:

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/510247479126564/permalink/550397965111515/)

Index:  Shia Beliefs about Aisha, answer 180:

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/510247479126564/permalink/586056318212346/)

Index:  Meaning of the Word Shia in the Holy Quran, answer 108:

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/510247479126564/permalink/534626313355347/)

Index:  Abu Hanifah according to Shia, answer 098:

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/510247479126564/permalink/515101085307870/)

Index: The term Shia in Quran, answer 129:

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/AskShia/permalink/780833482067961/)

[1] Of course, there is a difference of opinion regarding the purity of the bodies of the people of the book, which you can learn about by referring to the different risalahs of various marjas.

[2] Baqarah:177 and 285; Nisa:136.

[3] Nisa:140 and 145.

[4] Nahl:97; Baqarah:103; Nisa:57 and 122.

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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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Organ Donation / Brain death and Donation of an Organ

Question 404: What is the ruling on organ donation after death?

Answer 404: According to Sayyid Sistani (ha), it is not permissible, as a measure of precaution, to cut an organ of a dead Muslim if he bequeathed, unless a Muslim’s life is in danger.[1]

The grand maraja’ opinions regarding donating or removing the organ of a patient who suffers from brain death are as follows:

Ayatollah Khamenei: Generally speaking, if a patient suffers from irreversible brain damage which results in the disappearance of all kinds of neurological activities associated with deep coma plus inability to respire and response to all motor sensory stimulations and volitional move and if the removal of the organs from the patient described in the question would precipitate his death, it is not permissible. Otherwise, if the removal of such organs is made with his prior permission, or the use of the removed organ is the only way to save a respectful life, there is no objection to it.[2]

Ayatollah Sistani: There is some detail in this matter. If the removal of the particular part or organ would inflect serious harm [on the donor], as in the case of removing an eye or amputating a hand or a foot, it is not permissible. Otherwise, it is permissible, as in the case of skin graft and bone marrow or one kidney, in case the other kidney is healthy assuming that its owner is consenting to it. That is only when the donor is not a child or an insane person. If it were permissible, taking money for it would have also been permissible. It is not permissible to remove any organ from a dead body of a Muslim, such as an eye or the like to transplant it in another’s live body. If such an act was carried out the person who did it must bear the responsibility of paying compensation. It is necessary to bury the severed organ. However, it is not obligatory to remove it after it has been transplanted where the spirit has entered it.

If a patient has died neurologically while his heart and liver are still functioning with the help of a medical apparatus, he is not considered to be dead. Therefore, it is not at all permissible to remove his organs and transplant them to another needy patient.  If the doctor pulls out the plug and the Muslim patient dies because of it, he will be considered killer. There is a problem in enforcing the will [of the deceased] and in allowing the removal of the organ.

Sayyid Sistani (ha) also says: It is permissible to donate our organ upon our death, but it is not permissible, as a measure of precaution, to cut an organ of a dead Muslim if he bequeathed, unless a Muslim’s life is in danger.

Note: An organ extracted from the body is ritually impure (najis) irrespective of whether it came from a Muslim or a non-Muslim. And when it becomes, by rejuvenation, part of a Muslim’s body or of someone who is considered a Muslim, it becomes tãhir.[3]

Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi: If brain death is certain and definite and the person is pronounced to be like a dead body (although some of the rules like Ghusl, prayer, shrouding and Ghusl of a dead body do not apply to him), there is no problem in removing his organ to save the life of a Muslim.

Whenever brain death is completely certain and the patient is never likely to reverse to normal life, there is no problem in removing some of his organs (like heart or kidney or other organs) to save the life of a Muslim irrespective of whether he has made a will in this regard or not but it is better to get the consent of the dead body’s guardian.

Ayatollah Saafi Golpaygani:  According to me, it is not permissible to remove the organ of a Muslim who has not died yet, though it is certain that his brain is dead.

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

[2] . For further information, please refer to: the official website of the office of the Supreme Leader, rules regarding Organ Donation.

[3] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), rules concerning Organ Donation.

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Shaking Hands with non-Mahram Man or Woman

Question 603: Salamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatahu. Generally what is the ruling on Shaking Hands with non-Mahram? Can a woman shake her hands with a non-Mahram provided that she is wearing gloves? I am looking for the Fatwa of Ayatullah Sistani on this issue.

Answer 603: Shaking hand without a barrier, such as gloves is not permissible, unless refraining from shaking hands will put you in a considerable harm or unbearable difficulty. In the latter case, you are allowed to shake hands to the extent of necessity only.[1]

What is clear and for sure is that one’s encounter with a non-mahram must be in a way that there is no sin or fear of sin involved.[2]

As far as physical contact between a non-mahram man and woman and shaking hands goes, one must say:

The great maraji’ have said in general: “Shaking hands with a non-mahram is impermissible, unless there is something that prevents direct contact [like gloves], or secondary rulings apply to the situation, such as Darurah (urgency and having no choice).”

For instance, Imam Khomeini says: It isn’t permissible for a man to touch the body of a non-mahram, even if it is the hands or face, unless it is done with gloves or over a cloth, given that there are no bad intentions and that the hand of the woman isn’t squeezed. The same goes for a woman in regard to a non-mahram man.

Also, it is permissible for a man to touch a woman and vice versa in extenuating circumstances (Darurah) when the only solution is physical contact, like in the cases of medical attention and saving one who is drowning or on fire[3]. Nonetheless, even in these cases, one should only confine himself to the amount of contact needed for the situation and no more.[4]

Considering the above mentioned issues, the circumstances aren’t urgent ones and Darurat doesn’t apply, therefore, if you are going to do so, you must somehow block direct contact using gloves and the like in order to refrain from haram.

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

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

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

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

Index: Impermissibility of confirming marriage tie with others during Iddah (waiting period), answer 554.

Related Link: Facebook.

[1] . The Official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), rules concerning Hand Shaking.

[2] Tawdih al-Masa’il of the maraji’, vol. 2, issue 2442; Ibid, pg. 809, second question; Masa’ele Jadid, vol. 1, pp. 137-138.

[3] For further information, see: Tawdih al-Masa’il (annotated by Imam Khomeini), vol. 2, questions 36 and 37; Jami’ al-Masa’il, Ayatullah Fazel, vol. 1, issue 1717; Ajwibah al-Istifta’at (Farsi version), question 1310, pg. 290.

[4] Nijat al-Ibad, Imam Khomeini, pg. 364, issues 23 and 24.

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Ayatollah Khamenei’s Hajj 2017 message

Question 601: We would appreciate you sending us the new message of Supreme leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei (ha) issued on the occasion of the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage season? I.e. Ayatollah Khamenei’s Hajj 2017 message.

Answer 601: The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei (ha) issues a message on the occasion of the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage season as follows.

His Excellency demanded an end to the catastrophic incidents in Islamic countries and stressed: the most important duty of Muslims is to save Palestine.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master Muhammad – the Final Prophet – upon his immaculate household and upon his chosen companions.

I thank God Almighty for bestowing, this year as well as previous years, the blessing of performing hajj on an abundant number of believers from throughout the world so that they can benefit from this refreshing and blessed spring and so that they can be in the vicinity of God Almighty’s House engaging in worship, supplication, dhikr (remembering God) and taqarub (seeking closeness to God) on days and nights whose precious and auspicious hours can touch hearts and purify and ornament souls like a miraculous medicine.

Hajj is a mystifying act of worship, a holy dwelling, a position full of divine blessings and an embodiment of Allah the Exalted’s signs and symbols. Hajj can help pious, humble and wise servants of God achieve spiritual positions. It can make them become lofty and enlightened individuals. It can make them become insightful and courageous elements who are prepared to take action and engage in jihad (endeavor for the sake of God). Both spiritual, and political, individual and social aspects are completely outstanding and visible in this unique obligation and today the Muslim community is in dire need of both of these aspects.

On the one hand, the magic of materialism is busy beguiling and annihilating by using advanced instruments and on the other hand, the policies of the system of domination are instigating sedition and fueling the fire of discord among Muslims and turning Islamic countries into a hell of insecurity and disagreement.

Hajj can be a cure for both of these grave maladies that the Islamic Ummah is suffering from. It can purge hearts of impurities and enlighten them with the light of piety and understanding, it can open eyes to the bitter realities of the world of Islam, it can strengthen one’s determination in order to confront those realities, it can make one’s steps firm and it can prepare hands and minds.

Today, the world of Islam is suffering from insecurity: moral, spiritual and political insecurity. The main factor behind this is our negligence and the brutal invasion of the enemies. We Muslims have not carried out our religious and our rational duties in the face of the invasion of the vicious enemy. We forgot to be both “Strong against unbelievers” and “Compassionate among one another” [The Holy Quran, 48: 29].

The result of this is that the Zionist enemy is provoking sedition in the heart of the world of Islam’s geography while by ignoring the definite duty of saving Palestine, we Muslims are busy with domestic wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Bahrain and with confronting terrorism in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the like.

The heads of Islamic countries and political, religious and cultural personalities in the world of Islam have heavy responsibilities on their shoulders: the responsibility of creating unity and preventing everyone from tribal and denominational conflicts, the responsibility of informing nations of the enemy’s methods and the treachery of arrogance and Zionism, the responsibility of equipping everyone for the purpose of confronting the enemy in the various arenas of hard and soft wars, the responsibility of urgently preventing catastrophic incidents in Islamic countries – the bitter example of this today being the affairs in Yemen which are a source of sorrow and protest- the responsibility of offering determined support for the oppressed Muslim minorities such as in Myanmar and other such minorities, and most importantly the responsibility of defending Palestine and offering unconditional cooperation and assistance to a people who have been fighting for their usurped country for nearly 70 years.

These are important responsibilities which fall on our shoulders. Nations should demand these from their governments and outstanding personalities should try to achieve them with firm determination and pure intentions. These tasks are the complete embodiment of helping God’s religion which will definitely be followed by divine assistance on the basis of God’s promise.

These are the lessons of Hajj and I hope that we can understand and act on them.

I ask God to accept your hajj. I would like to commemorate the martyrs of Mina and Masjid al-Haram and I ask God the Beneficent and the Generous to raise their positions.[1]

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy

Sayyid Ali Khamenei

Shahrivar 7, 1396 (August 29, 2017)

Dhul-Hijja 7, 1438.

For further information, please read:

Index: The First Message of Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, answer 570.

Index: The Second Message of Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, answer 571.

Related Link: The message of Imam Khamenei to world Muslims on 2017 Hajj pilgrimage in different languages.

[1] . Refer to: Khamenei.ir.

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Mixing between men and women at Fitness Centers in College

Question 595: 1. To stay healthy is it alright to participate in a college class where women and men are exercising together, playing a sport (i.e. basketball, soccer, volleyball) ? All the Fitness Centers in College are male/female mixed and expensive, you have to travel very far to participate with other Muslim brothers to exercise in a halal way, and cannot afford equipment of your own. What should you do to prevent disease, laziness, and lethargy in this case.

Answer 595: Firstly, these sports you named are not necessary for a person to exercise. Secondly, in order that you want to stay healthy and prevent disease and laziness you can do other sports like walking. But, if those females participated in such sports have at least observed Islamic hijab in some cases and you are also completely sure that you don’t engage in a forbidden act and this doesn’t harms your beliefs and commitment to the faith (which is what normally happens) nor entails any harãm act you would be allowed to participate in such sports.

According to Sayyid Sistani (ha), one must refrain from going to such places where people go about half-naked is if it entails a harãm act. Based on obligatory precaution, one must refrain from going to such places, even if it does not entail a harãm act like looking with lust and the like.[1]

[1] . For more information, please refer to: The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Youth’s issues » General Rules.

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Take Husbands surname on Marriage

Question 545: What is the Islamic ruling on the wife changing her last name after marriage? Is it recommended or wajib to take Husbands surname on Marriage?

Answer 545: As for a family name is typically a part of a person’s personal name it follows the law or custom obtained in each country. It is passed or given to children from father’s family name or from both of their parents’ family names. The laws vary around the world.

Traditionally in some countries for the past few hundred years, it was the custom or law that a woman would on marriage use the surname of her husband and that children of a man would have the father’s surname. But, Islam has neither suggested us to change our last name after marriage nor mentioned any records in which a woman has ever taken her husband’s surname on marriage.

However, we can see in some countries that when a man from a lower-status family married an only daughter from a higher-status family, he would often adopt the wife’s family name.

In a few countries like the US, upon marriage, men can easily change their surname to that of their wife’s or a combination of their two names with the federal government, through the Social Security Administration, but may face difficulty on the state level in some states. In some places, civil rights lawsuits or constitutional amendments changed the law so that men could also easily change their married names (e.g., in British Columbia and California). Though other countries laws permits neither spouse to change surnames.

When we refer to the names of the Infallibles’ (pbuth) wives we see that they never changed their own families after marriage. They always get called by their own first or family names. E.g. Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Fatima bint Muhammad, Ja’da bint al-Ash’at and etc.

In regards to calling a step-son, in the Holy Quran Allah (SWT) says: “Call them by the name of his Father; That is more just with Allah.”[1]

As a result, having an independent name can be considered as one of the symbols of Self Independence and autonomy which always follow the laws and custom obtained in each country. This is a personal issue that everyone is, according to the law and custom obtained in his/her country, allowed to do it. It is not something related to Fiqhi or other Islamic issue that Islam should have a rule about. Therefore, this is not recommended nor wajib. It is only considered as Mubah (i.e. is it ja’iz).

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

Index: Ahkam al-Khamsa / Wajib, Haram, Mustahab, Makru and Mubah, answer 341.

[1] . Surah Ahzab, verse 5.

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Ajwabat al-Istiftaat: Risalah of Ayatollah Khamenei

Question 192:  Do you know where I can find the risalah of Ayatollah Khamenei online? Is there another name for risalah? Maybe I am searching for it wrong. Any help would be appreciated.

Answer 192:  Ayatollah Khamenei did not publish His risalah yet, but a number of people left him with no other choice. They knew his fatwas and wrote a risalah according to his fatwa and published it.

There are two volumes of the book of Ajwabat al-Istiftaat that have been translated from Arabic to Farsi and English languages.

In order to find his own fatwa you can refer to the following references:

  1. The book Tawzih al-Masael of Maraja’s (where the verdicts of twelve marja’s have been gathered).
  2. The book Ajwabat al-Istifta’at (which are available in Farsi, Arabic and English[1] languages).
  3. A new book called educational risalah (Risala’ye Amoozeshi) which is available in Farsi language.[2]
  4. To ask your question or correspond with him, you can refer to or call his office.[3]
  5. In case you have got any question you will be able to submit it through his Website.[4]
  6. You can also refer to Tahrir al wasilah and the Fiqhi books (which is available in English Language) on his website.[5]

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

Index: Ways to obtain the verdict of a Mujtahid, answer 555.

[1] . English version of Ajwabat al-Istiftaat that is knows as Practical Laws of Islam; PDF version.

[2] . http://farsi.khamenei.ir/news-index?nt=56

[3] . Qom, Shuhada (Safaeeyeh) Street, office of Ayatollah Khamenei, PO Box. 4141.

[4] . http://www.leader.ir/en/istifta.

[5] . For further information in this regards, please refer to “A Guide to Religious Laws, According to the Religious Verdicts of Imam Khomeini with Verdicts of Sayyid Ali Khamenei”.