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Rules of keeping animal like Pigeons at home

Question 376: Is it allowed to have pets in Islam? For our own entertainment, we imprisoned them. If feels inhuman a bit. Need your guidance in this regard. But, I’ve read a saying of Imam Jaffar As Sadiq a.s to have Pigeons in homes because Shaitan remains away due to the sound feathers of the bird make. So, has Imam a.s ordered to imprison Pigeons? What is the rules of keeping animal like pigeons at home?

Answer 376: According to maraja’ (ha), there is no objection in keeping animals, but it is befitting for faithful individuals to have a (rational) purpose behind keeping them, but the rules concerning purity and offering prayers should be observed. Hence, if the hair of an unclean animal like dog is with a person, the prayers which he offers would be void. Its excretion and urine are Najis (ritually impure).[1] Read More

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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. Read More

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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. Read More

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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). Read More