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Fast in countries with long days

Question 106: As salaamu alaikum. How should Shi’ites who live so high up north on the planet fast in Ramadan? I mean the sun only sets for an hour and the sky stays bright the whole time, how/when to pray Isha and Fajr also?

Answer 106: The dignified religious authorities have different verdicts in this regard. There is no unanimity as to the fast in countries with long days. The issue is unconventional and based deduction.

Different jurists relying on the authoritative sources have given different answers. Some of them say that it is necessary for a person living in such places to act according to the timetable of a region that has ‘normal’ day and night hours. They are of the opinion that when it comes to abnormal subjects we must do what is normal in other places. There is no particular place which sets the standard for breaking fast.[1]

Some other jurisprudence say, “If a Muslim lives in a city where the days are abnormally long, it is still obligatory on him to fast and offer his prayers according to the horizon of his own place of residence, if he has the ability to do so. If he is not able to fast because the days are long or because fasting is unbearably difficult for him, in which case the obligation is forfeited and he should perform the qadhā later on. According to them, if you cannot fast at all due to such problems, the fast is not obligatory upon you, however, you have to make your missed fasts up later (E.g. in the winter).[2]

Sayyid Sistani (ha), says: 1. As for the first case, it is obligatory for a duty-bound [mukallaf] to move during the month of Ramadhan to a place with ‘normal’ day and night so that he can start fasting, if not, he should move after that month to fast as qadha (making up the missed fast).

  1. When it comes to the second scenario, in case the darkness recedes (decreases) little by little after sunset and then it starts increasing once again – be it after two or three hours –, when it starts increasing, it is then the starting time for fasting. And if the darkness or brightness presumably remains the same from the time of sunset until sunrise, the precaution is to take the middle point as the starting time for fasting and abstention from eating and drinking. The duty-bound can get rid of this precaution by moving to another city or place where regular dawn precedes sunrise. He should observe fast there or else he must go on a journey and observe the qadha of missed fast later.
  2. As for the third case, it is still obligatory on the duty-bound [mukallaf] to fast from dawn to dusk, if he has the ability to do so and if it does not put him to difficulty which is normally unbearable. He can also go on a journey so that he may not have to observe fast during the month but he will have to observe the qadha later. If fasting is not possible for him, he should either travel or should make niyyah of fasting at dawn and should abstain from eating and drinking until it becomes extremely difficult to fast in which case it is permissible to eat or drink at the time of extreme hunger and thirst, respectively, and the precaution is that he should suffice to the necessary amount (of food or water). He should continue fasting for the rest of the day, and he should also observe the qadha of that day after the month of Ramadhan and he will not be liable to any kaffara. God knows best.[3]

The late Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani (ra) said: They must fast. If they cannot fast or there is a fear of harm for health, they can break their fast and give the Qaza later.[4]

Note: please, remember that if fasting is not unbearably difficult for you, but you can’t fast all day long you are able to fast according to the timetable of a region that has ‘normal’ day and night hours.

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

Index: Things from which a person keeping fast must abstain & Kaffarah (Expiation), answer 372.

Index: Studying in the month of Ramadhan is not a valid excuse to escape fasting, answer 572.

Index: Using Asthma Inhaler does not break the Fast, answer 575.

Index: Number of things which are disapproved (Makruh) for a person observing fast, answer 566.

Index: Fasting and prayers of a traveler who travel after Zuhr, answer 384.

Index: Qada Fast for a person reverted to Islam, answer 196.

Index: Rules of prayers and fasting performed without ghusl, answer 034.

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Other Translation:

نمایه: روزه گرفتن و نماز خواندن در مناطقی که طول روز و شب زیاد است، سوال شماره 17

[1] . According to Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi (ha).

[2] . According to Ayatollah Khamenei (ha).

[3] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani, rules concerning Fasting and Long days.

[4] . The official website of the office of Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani (ra), rules of Fasting.

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Offering congregational prayers behind a Sunni Imam

Question 237: Salam, wanna ask if I am praying behind a Sunni imam then do i need to recite all in my own words or its same like as behind a Shia imam, any other difference?

Answer 237: Congregational Prayers is one of the most important recommended acts, and it is one of the greatest Islamic rites. Great emphasis has been laid on it in the narrations. It is recommended that obligatory prayers, especially the daily prayers, are performed in congregation, and more emphasis has been laid on congregational prayers for Fajr, Maghrib and Isha, and also for those who live in the neighborhood of a mosque, and are able to hear its Adhan.[1]

There is no problem in attending Sunni congregational prayers; it is permissible and there are some reports according to which one who stands in the first row of their congregational prayers is like one who has offered his prayers standing behind the Holy Prophet (S) in the first row.[2]

In any case, if possible, one should offer his prayers according to Shia way and if there is no need for Taqiyah (dissimulation) and one offers his prayers in Sunni way, he must repeat his prayers. Of course, there are some scholars who are of the view that if the conditions for practicing Taqiyah are not met, one must repeat his prayers under all circumstances.

Index: Some grand religious authorities have also replied to the same question. Their answers are as follows:[3]

Grand Ayatollah Khamenei (may Allah grant him long life): In the said case, if using turbah is not in opposition with practicing Taqiyah, it is necessary to do Sajda on something which is allowed for prostration.

Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi (may Allah grant him long life): If you are associating with them, there is no problem in offering prayers with them to protect yourself provided that they do not express enmity against Shia. However, doing Sajda on carpet is not allowed except where one practices Taqiyah in Sunni mosques.

Grand Ayatollah Noori Hamedani (may Allah grant him long life): If possible, one should do Sajda on things which are allowable for Sajdah but there is no problem in offering prayers behind a Sunni prayer leader and one is not, in the said case, required to repeat his prayers.

Grand Ayatollah Safi Golpaygani (may Allah grant him long life): If you are not in the state of Taqiyah, it is not sufficient and it would be necessary to repeat the prayers.

According to Khoei (ra) and Tabrizi (ra): “It is permissible to go to Sunni mosques and offer congregational prayers with Sunnis provided that one himself should engage in reciting Hamd and Surah.”[4]

Tabrizi (ra): “If a person stands at a place in a Sunni mosque where part of the floor is covered with stone (slates), it is mandatory to do Sajda on the same stone.”[5]

Sayyid Sistani (ha) says: It is permissible but you must recite Hamd and Surah yourself even though the recitation may be in low voice.[6]

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

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

Index: Shia Believe Ahlus Sunnah are Muslim not Kafir!, answer 203.

Index:  Saying Āmīn during prayer in validate the prayer, answer 017.

Index: Number of things which invalidate the prayer, answer 547.

Index: Miss a Sunni Imam in Ruku in congregational Prayer, answer 270.

Index: Qualification of an Imam of congregational prayers, answer 021.

[1] . Imam Khomeini, Tauzihul Masail (with annotation), vol.1, pg.767-768, Issue No.1399.

[2] . Kulayni, Muhammad bin Ya’qub, Al-Kafi, vol.3, p. 380, Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyah, Tehran, fourth, 1407 A.H. The Arabic version of the tradition is as this: (عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ: مَنْ صَلَّى مَعَهُمْ فِي الصَّفِ الْأَوَّلِ كَانَ كَمَنْ صَلَّى خَلْفَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلی الله علیه وآله و سلم)

[3] . This question has been sent to the offices of grand Ayatollah Khamenei, grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, Grand Ayatollah Saafi Gulpaigani and Grand Ayatollah Noori Hamedani, may Allah grant them long life.

[4] . Khoei, Sayed Abul Qasim, Serat al-Najat (with connotation by Tabrizi), vol.3, pg.74, Al-Muntakhab Publication Office, qom, 1st edition, 1416 A.H.

[5] . Ibid.

[6] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Question & Answer » Prayer behind a Sunni Prayer Leader.

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Direction of Qibla: Offering prayers on a plane

Question 327: Question : If someone is traveling on a plane & time of prayer falls within his/her travel time, what will be the direction of Qibla he/she should turn his/her face for salat? According to me, usually Qibla will be downwards (but not east, west, north or south) when you are on a flight….so do you know what is the ruling of major marja-e-keram about this? How offering prayers on a plane should be toward Qibla?

Answer 327: Under no circumstances or conditions is it permissible to discard Salah, as it is wajib. Salah must be offered in any possible situation. If possible, a person who is in flight, space, or any other means of travel should try to settle in a fixed location using the available means in order to complete salah. If a person cannot do that, then they should offer their salah in any way possible, even if they can only use motions.

If the one stands facing towards earth, then they are facing the Qibla and they should pray in that direction, but if they could not distinguish the earth’s position, then they must pray in all four directions (if possible). If all directions are not possible, then they must pray in as many directions as possible.[1]

As far as wudhu goes, if they can or if it is possible then they should make wudhu. If it is not possible to make wudhu then they should make tayamum. If making tayamum is also not possible, then they should take precaution and make salah without wudhu or tayamum, but later they should make up the Qaza prayers for the salah which was performed without wudhu or tayamum.[2]

In addition, regarding complete salah vs. traveler’s salah: if an astronaut were to know that they were going to stay in one area of space for at least ten days then they should make his salah complete. In any other instance, they should shorten their salah. If being an astronaut is a persons occupation, then as long as after the first trip, they don’t stay in his hometown or outside of his hometown for more than ten days, then on their second trip their his salah will be complete. If however, they were to stay in his hometown or other than his hometown for ten days or more, then if they traveled to space again, they would have to shorten their salah.[3]

In reply to this question that how can we say our obligatory prayers in an aircraft, especially if we do not know the direction of the qiblah taking into consideration the instability of the floor [because the plane is in motion]? Sayyid Sistani (ha) answers: As for the qiblah, it is possible to identify its direction by asking the captain or the airhostesses because their answers usually carry validity and are a source of assurance. One should therefore act accordingly.

As for the stability of the floor where salat is to be performed, that condition will be waived when it is not possible to achieve it. However, other conditions of prayers should, wherever possible, be observed. Under no circumstance should the prayer be delayed beyond its appropriate time span.[4]

[1] . Imam Khomeini (May Allah have mercy on his soul), Istiftaat, Questions: 28&29; Tawzihul Masael of maraja’, Vol. 1, Pg. 434, Question 784.

[2] . Tawzihul Masael of maraja (with annotation of Imam Khomeini), Vol. 1, Pg. 381, Question 686; Ibid, Question 339.

[3] . Ibid, Vol. 1, Pg. 705, Question 1312.

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

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Miss Sunni Imam in Ruku in congregational Prayer

Question 270: assalam alaykum. when a shia is in a sunni jamaat prayer And lifts his hands for Qonoot in the second rakaat as they go for rokoo is it still considered as a jamaat prayer?

Answer 270: If you know that if you complete qunut, you will not be able to join the Imam in his Ruku, yet you purposely recite qunut, and miss the Imam in Ruku, your congregational prayer will be void, and should act accordingly to the rules of Furada prayers.

Otherwise, if you are sure that if you recite qunut you will not miss the Imam in Ruku, but when you recite qunut and miss the Imam in Ruku, your congregational prayer is in order.

As you know it is Mustahab that qunut be recited in all obligatory and Mustahab prayers before the Ruku of the second Rak’at. So, if you don’t recite it there would be no problem in it and your prayers would be in order.[1]

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

Index: Number of things which invalidate the prayer, answer 547.

Index: Qualification of an Imam of congregational prayers, answer 021.

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

Index: Offering prayer behind a Sunni Imam, answer 237.

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/AskShia/permalink/612343082250336/

[1] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), obligatory acts relating to Namaz, issues 1452&1453;  Tawzih al-Masael of maraja’, Vol. 1, issues 1117-1121.

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Definition of Dua, Means and Intercession

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://duas.org/

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Add anything in Adhan as blessing

Question 285: obviously who thinks about it before reciting that,”I’m about to recite this but not as a part but as a blessing”.Its either you do it or don’t. Its absolute. But what about those sources which say Bilal actually included Ali un waliullah in the adhan during the adhan in Ghadeer Khumn?

And also as per the blessing logic, why can’t I simply add anything in adhan as a blessing? I can say Gabriel is the supreme angel ,Ibrahim was a great imam and prophet etc.I mean,all of these would also bless me.I still don’t get the logic.

Answer 285: There are some particular traditions in which we are allowed to recite the third testimony in Adhan as a blessing and with the intention of Qurbat, however there has not been mentioned any reliable hadith saying that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) has ever recited it to His Adhan or even allowed others to do so.

Although, in book “al-Salafa fee Amrel Khilafa” mentioned that when Salman Farsi added the third testimony in Adhan one complained to the Holy Prophet (PBUH), He Said: “You heard a kind word”. In this book it is also mentioned, after Ghadir Khum when the Holy Prophet heard that Abadar Ghifari added it to the Adhan, He said: “What was the meaning of the Sermon on that hot weather I addressed You? Didn’t it mean that Ali Amirul Momenin is Waliullah?”[1]

But, first of all this book is not accessible to search about the reliability of the ahadith mentioned there and second these traditions haven’t found before seventh century, so we ought not to discuss about their Sanad whether they are reliable or not.

There are some traditions in which reciting the third testimony is permissible in Adhan as follows: Imam Sadiq (as) has said: When Allah has created the heavens and the earth said, O harbinger Witness to the three testimony.[2]

In addition, we come across narrations in our textual resources which say that whenever a person testifies to the prophecy of Holy Prophet (pbuh), he should also testify to the successorship (wilayah) of the Commander of Faithful, peace be upon him.
In any case, the reason why Shiite jurists allows the recitation of the third testimony in Adhan, not as a part, lies in the unrestricted narratives which say: “Whenever you testify to the oneness of God and the prophecy of Muhammad, you should testify also to the mastership of Ali bin Abi Tablib (a.s.).” Since this narrative is absolute and unrestricted, it includes Adhan and Iqamah also.

Note: Considering that bid’ah means adding to the religion what is not a part of it, reciting other things no hadith prove it is treated as Bid’ah.

Adding the third testimony in Tashahud:  As the prayer is Tawqifi act we must not add anything other than what shariat allowed us to do.

Since, the third testimony is not a part of prayer we are not allowed to add it in tashahud.[3]

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

Index: Number of things which invalidate the prayer, answer 547.

Index:  Saying Āmīn during prayer in validate the prayer, answer 017.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/AskShia/permalink/615016361983008/?__mref=message_bubble

[1] . Maraghi Mesri, Sheikh Abdullah, al-Salafa fee Amrel Khilafa, Pgs. 32 & 33.

[2] . Kuleini, Muhammad bin Yaqoub, Al-Kafi, researcher and editior, Ghifari, Ali Akbar, Muhammad, Vol. 1, Pg. 441, Darel Kotob al-Islamiya, fourth edition, 1407 A.H; Sheikh Sadouq, al-Amali, Pg. 604, A’lami, Beirut, fifth edition, 1400 A.H.

[3] . Imam Khomeini, Istiftaat, Vol. 1, Pg. 167.

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Makeup after wudu doesn’t void prayer

Question 157: Salaam to everyone. I have a question and I hope someone can shed some light or answer my question. Recently my teenage daughter asked me “mum if someone did their ablution before They go college and read the salah there and then put on muscara after their ablution would that salah be void or would it be accepted”? Now I was kind of confused as to what answer do I give. Because as the ablution was done with no mascara on but then the salah would be read WITH muscara on. Please, guys would appreciate the answer. Jzk to all.

Answer 157: According to maraja’, her wudu and prayer are treated as valid as it is not among those unclean things which invalidate wudu (ablution)[1]. However, for a matter of precaution, she should not perform her prayer in a place, where non-mahrams can see her makeup, but it doesn’t void her prayers.

The wudu is accepted because the mascara was applied after. There is not really a problem with the salah being offered with the mascara as its the ablation that is important and the wudu was accepted. What I would focus on next is what your marje says about makeup. Sayyid Sistani (ha) says it is fine to wear khol/mascara as long as it’s not done with the intention to attract attention and if it does then to remove it.[2]

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

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

Index: Doubts during prayer whether wudu was performed or not, answer 036.

Index: Wiping performed on socks invalidates Wudu, answer 037.

Index:  Impermissibility of making Wudu after Ghusl, answer 035.

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

Index: Philosophy of Hijab during prayer, answer 020.

Index: Men and Women: Covering body in prayers, answer 594.

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

The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Q&A, Wudhu.

[1] . Tawzih al-Masael of maraja’ (annotated by Imam Khomeini), Vol. 1, Pg. 188.

[2] . Refer to: http://www.sistani.org/english/qa/01265/

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Qadha prayers of a father is obligatory on the eldest son

Question 410: Salaam. My Question is that Can son performed prayers of his late father? If possible tell me about all point of views.

Answer 410: According to most of maraja’ (ha), it is obligatory upon an eldest son to compensate all prayers have been missed by his father.

Ayatollah Sistani (ha) says: If a person did not offer some of his obligatory prayers, and did not care to give qadha, in spite of being able to do so, after his death, it is upon his eldest son, as an obligatory precaution to perform those qadha, provided that the father did not leave them as a deliberate act of transgression. If the son cannot do so, he may hire someone to perform them. The qadha prayers of his mother is not obligatory upon him, though it is better if he performs them. But, if the eldest son doubts whether or not his father had any qadha on him, he is under no obligation.

If a dying person makes a will that someone should be hired to offer his qadha prayers, and if the hired person performs them correctly, the eldest son will be free from his obligation.

As is the case with other types of worships, it is permissible to hire someone to offer prayers owed by the deceased with the intention of offering them on behalf of the deceased in the same way as it is permissible to offer the prayers owed by others voluntarily.

The person offering the prayer on behalf of another, whether against payment or voluntarily, shall do so with the intention of doing it on behalf of the other person and in place of the act of the other in order to absolve him of its liability, seeking closeness to Allah and a reward to be bestowed on the other person.

It is also a condition that the person offering the prayer on behalf of another should have the intention (Niyyat) of seeking closeness of the other person to Allah and not his own closeness to Allãh. He shall not obtain closeness to Allah (by offering prayer on behalf of an other), except when he intends by seeking closeness of the deceased to Allah to have done a noble deed and thereby obtain closeness to Allah, the Exalted (as a reward for his noble deed). So also a person may obtain closeness to Allah, as one offering prayer on behalf of another voluntarily, if his intention were such. As regards the receipt of reward by a person hired to offer prayer on behalf of another, as mentioned in some Traditions, it is merely with the beneficence of Allah. It is also obligatory to specify in his intention (Niyyat) the deceased on behalf of whom a person is offering the prayer, even if specified briefly, as saying: “on behalf of the owner of the remuneration paid”, or the like.[1]

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

Index: How to make up for Qada (missed) prayers, answer 009.

[1] . Tawzih al-Masael (with annotation of Imam Khomeini), Vol. 1, Pg. 764, Issue 1397; Ibid, Pg. 766, Q 544;  The Official Website of Sayyid Sistani (ha), rules concerning “Qadha prayers of a father is obligatory on the eldest son”;  Tahrir al-Wasilah of Imam Khomeini (ra), chapter of prayer, Rules Concerning Hiring for Offering Prayers, Pg. 258 (English version);  Wasael al-Shia, Vol. 5, Pg. 368, chapter 12;  Mostamsik Urwa-Tul-Wusqa, Vol. 7, Pg. 137; Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 88, Pgs. 133-134.

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keeping or hanging pictures ascribed to the Imams

Question 144: What is the Shia view on religious and non-religious pictures (like for creative arts or illustration)? What about depictions of the Prophets (saws), and Imams (a.s)? I want to know the permissibly of these things, as well as whether they are liked or makrooh.

Answer 144: The religious authorities’ (grand jurists) answer in this regards: As per the Islamic law, there is no problem to keep or hang those pictures which are ascribed to the Infallible Imams (a.s) and the Holy Prophet (pbuh) in our houses or Hussainiyah, if it is not considered desecrating or disrespectful according to Urf (custom) nor opposed to the status of them.

According to Ayatollah Sistani, If it does not involve desecration of them, there is no problem.

Note: The jurists have said: Offering prayers is makrooh (abominable) at certain places including “facing the picture or statue of living creatures, unless it is covered. It is makrooh to offer prayers at a place where there is a picture, even if it may not be placed in front of the person who offers prayers”.[1]

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

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

[1] . Ajwabat al-Istiftaat (Answers to Religious Queries), vol.2, pg. 38. Tauzihul Masail of Sayyid Roohollah al-Moosavi al-Khomeini (with connotation), vol.1, issue No.898.

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Spiritual and Material Beauty and the Light of Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[8] . Ghurarul Hikam, Pg. 346.

[9] . Surah Noor, verse 35.

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

[11] . Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 210.

[12] . Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 86.

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Adding the third testimony in Tashahud

Question 268: Why do Usooli Shia Muslim consider Tashood cannot be changed with 3rd Sahada of Imam Ali AS. If azaan is added with Ali Un Wali Ullah.

Answer 268: As the prayer is Tawqifi act we must not add anything other than what shariat allowed us to do. Since, the third testimony is not a part of prayer we are not allowed to add it in tashahud.[1]

There are different narrations regarding zikr (recital) of Tashahhud. However, all jurisprudents consider what they have mentioned in their Manuals of Islamic Laws (Resalah) as sufficient. When it comes to reciting more azkar (plural of zikr) in Tashahhud, if one recites them without the intention of wurud (i.e. doing an act which has no religious origin or validation), there is no problem in it but if he recites with the intention of wurud, some scholars have allowed reciting an additional zikr keeping in view that some of the narrations have been accepted and others have not.[2] However, most of the jurisprudents have sufficed to the zikr that has been mentioned in the Manuals of Islamic Laws.

Fatawa:

Makarem Shirazi (ha): The precaution is that Tashahhud has to be recited as usual.

Saafi Gulpaigani (ha): Tashahhud has to be recited in the same way that has been prescribed in the book of Islamic Laws.

Noori Hamedani (ha): There is no objection in reciting the azkar without intention of wurud.

Sayyid Sistani (ha): The third testimony must not be recited in Tashahhud, as an obligatory precaution. It is recommended to recite the following zikr the second testimony in Tashahhud: “Arsalahu bil haqqi bashiran wa naziran bayna yada yis sa’ah, wa ashhadu anna rabbi ne’mar Rab wa anna Muhammadan ne’mar Rasul and then recite the salawat.”

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

Index: “Ashhadu anna aliyyan waliyyullah” in Adhan and Iqamah, answer 276.

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[1] . Imam Khomeini, Istiftaat, Vol. 1, Pg. 167.

[2]  Grand Ayatollah Sistani (ha).

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“Ashhadu anna aliyyan waliyyullah” in Adhan and Iqamah

Question 276: Can someone provide the Sahih riwayahs from the Shi’i books which mention of Ash’hadu anna Ali’ un wali Ullah and the other phrase not included in conventional Aa’dhan?

Answer 276: In order to give a precise answer to the question, we shall follow up the discussion in three parts:

1) Is it basically okay to recite “Ashhadu anna alian waliullah” in Adhan or is it totally wrong and false?

2) If it is supposedly correct, is it a part of Adhan or not?

3) If it is not a part of Adhan, is there any problem in reciting it in Adhan without considering it as a part?

In order to reply to the first part of the question, it would first be necessary to deal with the meaning and import of the word “wali”.

Meaning of “wali”:

  1. A) Wali in the sense of being a guardian or custodian: There are many Quranic verses in which the word “wali” has been used in the same meaning e.g. “You have not besides Him any guardian or any intercessor”.[1]
  2. B) Wali in the sense of being a close friend[2]: There are also verses in the Quran with the word “wali” meaning friend. One of those verses is the following: “The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo! he, between whom and thee there was enmity (will become) as though he was a bosom friend.”[3]
  3. C) Wali in the sense of helper and aide[4]: The Holy Quran says, “And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends one of another.”

Without doubt, there is no objection or problem in using “Waliullah” for believers in the second and third meaning (friend and helper). In fact, there are traditions transmitted by both Shiite and Sunni narrators with the word “wali” used in these meanings.[5]
As for the first meaning, it should be said that there are many narratives in which Ali (a.s.) has been introduced as the guardian, master and more entitled to be in authority in the same way as Holy Prophet (pbuh) was. Of course, Ali is a divinely-appointed leader; he was appointed as guardian and master of the Ummah by God in the same way as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was appointed as the Messenger of God.

As for whether “Ashhadu anna aliyyan waliyyullah” is a part of Adhan or not, there are narrations from the Ahlulbayt (a.s.) which expressly state that Adhan consists of eighteen sentences. Those sentences are the following:

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar; Ash hadu an la ilaha illal lah, Ash hadu an la ilaha illal lah; Ash hadu anna Muhammadan Rasu lul lah, Ash hadu anna Muhammadan Rasu lul lah; Hayya’alas Salah, Hayya’alas Salah; Hayya’alal Falah, Hayya’alal Falah; Hayya’ala Khayril ‘Amal, Hayya’ala Khayril ‘Amal ; Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar; La ilaha illal lah; La ilaha illal lah.[6]

Thus, “Ashhadu anna aliyyan waliyyullah” is not a part of Adhan. Shia jurists have issued verdicts on the basis of these narrations saying that the third testimony is not a part of Adhan.

Sayyid Sistani (ha) says: Ash hadu anna Amiral Mu’minina ‘Aliyyan Waliyyullah ( I testify that the Commander of the faithful, Imam Ali (AS) is the vicegerent of Allah) is not a part of either Adhan or Iqamah. But it is preferable that it is pronounced after Ash hadu anna Muhammadan Rasulul lah with the niyyat of Qurbat.[7]

Imam Khomeini (may Allah bless him) says in this regard: “Adhan consists of the following 18 sentences: Allahu Akbar four times; Ash hadu an la ilaha illal lah; Ash hadu anna Muhammadan Rasu lul lah; Hayya’alas Salah; Hayya’alal Falah; Hayya’ala Khayril ‘Amal; Allahu Akbar; La ilaha illal lah each two times.” Then he says, “Ash hadu anna Aliyyan Waliullah is not a part of either Adhan or Iqamah.”[8]

The next question that has to be dealt with is: Does reciting “Ashhadu anna alian waliullah” affect the prayers or not?
Obviously, there is a problem in reciting the third testimony as a part of Adhan. Some have said that if it is recited in such a way that it does not sound to be like one of the sentences of Adhan, there would be no problem.[9] At the most, the spurious argument that is likely to be raised is that reciting the third testimony is a mere bid’ah (innovation).

Considering that bid’ah means adding to the religion what is not a part of it, if someone considers this sentence to be a part of Adhan and recites it with such an intention, it is bid’ah and forbidden. However, since none of the Shiite jurists and grand scholars considers it as a part of Adhan and if someone recites it in a way such that it does not turn out to be like one of the sentences of Adhan and Iqamah, it would not be bid’ah and there would be no problem in it.

In addition, we come across narrations in our textual resources which say that whenever a person testifies to the prophecy of Holy Prophet (pbuh), he should also testify to the successorship (wilayah) of the Commander of Faithful, peace be upon him.

In any case, the reason why Shiite jurists allows the recitation of the third testimony in Adhan, not as a part, lies in the unrestricted narratives which say: “Whenever you testify to the oneness of God and the prophecy of Muhammad, you should testify also to the mastership of Ali bin Abi Tablib (a.s.).” Since this narrative is absolute and unrestricted, it includes Adhan and Iqamah also. Therefore, whenever someone testifies to the oneness of God and prophecy of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), he will also testify to the wilayah (guardianship) of the Commander of Faithful, Ali (a.s.) and this does not at all imply that the third testimony is a part of Adhan.

Also, there are special narrations which confirm the validity of reciting the third testimony in Adhan.[10] Hence, considering the lofty rank and position of the Commander of the Faithful, there would be no problem in reciting “Ali waliullah” in Adhan and in the Talqin (a funeral rite) of a dead body with the intention of Qurbat (seeking nearness to God) or Tabarruk (as a blessing), not as a part.

It is to be noted that many Sunni scholars admit that the sentence “al-salaatu khayrun min al-nawm” (prayer is better than sleep) is not a part of Adhan and it is one of the innovations of the second caliph. It has been reported from Malik bin Anas that the Muezzin (one who calls for prayers) went to Umar to wake him up for Fajr prayers. He saw Umar sleeping. Then he said, “al-salaatu khayrun min al-nawm”. Umar then ordered him to recite this same sentence in Adhan also.[11]

The question is that what justifies the recitation and inclusion of this sentence (i.e. al-salaatu khayrun min al-nawm) in the Adhan for Fajr prayers by Sunnis? Is it comparable with what the Shiites are reciting and which has many narrations authenticating and confirming it?

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

-1 Facebook.

-2 Facebook.

[1] . Al-Sajdah: 4.

[2] . Tabari Kiyaharasi, Abul Hasan Ali bin Muhammad, Ahkaamul Quran (Al-Kiyaharasi), vol.3, pg.83, Darul Kutub al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, 1405. A.H.

[3] . Fussilat: 34.

[4] . Ibn Mazur, Muhammad bin Mukram, Lesan al-Arab, vol.15, pg.407, Dar Sadir, Beirut, 3rd edition, 1414 A.H.

[5] . Ibn Abi Hatam, Abdur Rahman bin Muhammad, Tafsir al-Quran al-Azim (Ibn Abi Hatam) vol.2, pg.675, published by Maktabat Nazar Mustafa al-Baz, 3rd edition, 1419 A.H.

[6] . Saduq, Man La-yahzuruhul Faqih, vol.1, pg.289-291, Jame’ah Mudarresin Publications, Qom, 1413 A.H.

[7] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Rules of Namaz » Adhan and Iqamah.

[8] . Tauzihul Masail (with connotation), vol.1, pg.519, issue No.918.

[9] . Ibid.

[10] . Vide: The Third Testimony in Adhan, Iqamah and Prayers.

[11] . Malik, Muwatta, vol.1, pg.210, al-Islam website: www.al-islam.com.

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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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Offering prayer for the dead over one’s body who committed suicide

Question 597: Salaamun Alaykum, is it permissible to offer the prayer for the dead over Muslim’s body how committed suicide? What about reciting Surah Al Fatiha or Namaz e Wahshat for a those who committed suicide?

Answer 597: It is obligatory to offer prayer for every Muslim (dead person), even if he belongs to the opposite (non-Shiah) sect. However, if he is an infidel of any category whatsoever, even if he is an apostate, or one who is declared a non-Muslim even if he unduly assumes the title of Islam like Nawasib (openly hostile to Ahl-i Bayt) or Khawãrij (.i.e, those who oppose Imam Ali), it is not permissible to offer prayers on their dead[1].

Reciting Surah al-Fatiha and offering Wahshat prayer are mustahab. So, one can do these previous mentioned acts for the deceased Muslim as such people are in dire need of asking for mercy from Allah, the Almighty.[2]

As we said, it is obligatory to offer ‘the prayer for the dead’ over a deceased Muslim’s body, even though he has committed suicide. According to maraja’, saying this following phrase, which is considered as Mustahab, is not obligatory be recited. “Alla humma inna La Na’lamu Minhu (for female: Minha) Illa Khayra”.

The followings are fatawa of our maraja regarding this issue:

Ayatollah Khamenei (ha): In any case, the prayer for the dead is obligatory be offered over the deceased Muslim’s body.

Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi (ha): Although such persons have committed the capital sin (i.e. suicide) that he/she has to repent from, but all the rules concerning offering prayer for the dead are applying to him/her too. Considering that the word “Khayr” means the faith of being Shia, it is also permissible to be recited for the deceased Muslim who has committed suicide.

Ayatollah Noori Hademani (ha): Given the supposition made in the question, offering prayer for the dead is obligatory for the deceased Muslim. There is no problem to recite the above mentioned phrase.[3]

How to Offer the Prayer for the Dead:

Procedure for Offering Prayer for the Dea: The prayer for the dead (is performed in Arabic and) consists of five Takbirs (saying: Allah-o-Akbar, (Allah is greatest)). The first Takbir is followed by the two Testimonies, the second by sending Blessings on the Prophet and his Progeny, the third by praying for the believing men and believing women, the fourth by praying for the dead, the fifth by concluding the prayer.

Less than five Takbirs are not permissible, except by way of Taqiyyah (dissimulation of one’s faith in the face of threatening death). The prayer for the dead has no Adhãn (the Call for prayer and no iqãmat (the short Call just before beginning Prayer), no Qirã’at, no “Ruku” (Kneeling), ‘Sajdahs” (Prostrations) and no ‘Tashahhud’ (reciting the Two Testimonies) and no “Salãm” (i.e., the Three Salutations at the end of the usual Prayer). It is sufficient to name those referred to in the four Takbirs. So after the first Takbir one should say: “I bear witness to that there is no God but Allah, and I bear witness to that Muhammad is (his Servant and) His Messenger; after the second Takbir: “O Allah, send Blessing on Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad”; after the third Takbir: “O Allah, Forgive the Believing Men and Believing Women”, and after the fourth Takbir: “O Allah, Forgive this dead person”. Then one should (recite the fifth Takbir) saying: “Allãh-o- Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest), and (thereby) conclude (the prayer).

It is better that after the first Takbir one should say (in Arabic) “I bear witness to that Allãh is One. He has no Partner. He is One god, the Matchless, the Eternal, the Single one, the Everlasting, the Endless, the Ever- Enduring. He has no Female Companion, nor a Child. And I bear witness to that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger. ‘He has sent him with Guidance and True Faith, so that he may make it prevail over all the beliefs, even if it be undesirable for the Polytheists’ (see Sürah Al-Saff, verse No.9).”

After the second Takbir one should say (in Arabic): “O Allah, send Blessing on Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad, and send benediction on Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad, and have Mercy on Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad, even more than Thou sent Blessing and Benediction, and had Mercy on Abraham and the Progeny of Abraham. Certainly Thou art Praiseworthy and Glorified. And send Blessing on all the Prophets and Messengers.

After the third Takbir, (one should say in Arabic): “O Allah, forgive the believing men and believing women, and the Muslim men and the Muslim women, the living from among them and the dead. O Allah, let them and us be followed by Virtues. Certainly thou hast Power over every thing.

After the fourth Takbir, (one should say in Arabic): “O Allah, this shrouded man in front of us is thy servant, son of thy servant and thy maid servant. He has come down to thee and thou art the best of those to whom one may come down. O Allah, thou hast taken out his soul to thee. He needs thy Mercy, and thou art in no need to punish him. O Allah, certainly we have no knowledge about him but of virtue, and thou hast better knowledge about him than ourselves. O Allàh if he was virtuous,

then increase his good deeds. If he was an evil doer, forgive his evil deeds, and forgive us and him. O Allah judge him among those who are friendly to him and love him and keep him away from those who keep away from him and who loathe him. O Allah affiliate him with thy Prophet and introduce him to the Prophet and the Prophet to him, and have Mercy on us when we die, O Lord of the Universe. O Allah write down his name among those having the highest status with thyself, appoint as his successor behind him those who are left behind, place him among the friends of Muhammad and his purified Progeny, and Bless him and us with thy Mercy, O Most Merciful among the merciful. O Allah, (we ask) thy Pardon, Thy Pardon, Thy Pardon.”

If the dead be a female, then in the above prayer, instead of the words: “This shrouded man ….thy maid servant”, one must say: “This shrouded woman in front of us is thy maid servant, and the daughter of thy servant and maid servant”, and instead of masculine pronouns use the feminine pronouns.

If the dead were a child, in the fourth part of the prayer, one must pray for its parents and say “O Allah make him for his parent and for us an excessive reward in advance.”

The masculine pronouns can be used for both the males and females. Masculine may be used in view of the words for the dead and the person are masculine in Arabic, while the word “Janãzah” (meaning the bier or funeral procession) is a feminine noun in Arabic and so one can use feminine pronouns for it.

In case it is not known whether the dead is a male or female, it makes matters easy, and in that case there is no need of repeating the prayer and pronouns.

If a man doubts between the minimum and maximum Takbirs in prayers for the dead, according to the more cautious opinion, he shall recite both the minimum and maximum Du’ãs with the intention of hope (that it would be desirable to Allah). If, for example, he doubts between two and three, he shall decide in four of the minimum (i.e. two), and send Blessing on the Prophet and his Progeny, Blessing and Peace be upon them and pray for the believing men and women, and then recite Takbir and pray for the believing men and women, and pray the dead and recite Takbir and with the intention of hope (that it would be desirable to Allah), he shall pray for the dead and recite Takbir.[4]

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

Index:  Ask Islam: Ruling on committing suicide, answer 122.

[1] . Tahrir al-Wasilah of Imam Khomeini (ra), Vol. 1, rules concerning Offering Prayer for the Dead.

[2] . For further information on this issue, visit: the official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Rules related to a dying person » Namaz-e-Wahshat.

[3] . A similar question has sent to the office of Grand Ayatollahs: Khamanei, Makarem Shirazi, Noori Hamedani (May Allah grant them long life) by IQ.

[4] . Tahrir al-Wasilah of Imam Khomeini (ra), Vol. 1, rules concerning Offering Prayer for the Dead.

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Men and Women: Covering body in prayers

Question 594: Salam. I wonder what obligatory parts men and women need to cover when performing Salat?

Brief answer 594: While offering prayers, a man should cover his private parts even if no one is looking at him, and preference is that he should also cover his body from the navel up to the knee.

A woman should cover her entire body while offering prayers, including her head and hair. As a recommended precaution, she should also cover the soles of her feet. It is not necessary for her to cover that part of her face which is washed while performing Wudhu, or the hands up to the wrists, or the upper feet up to the ankles. Nevertheless, in order to ensure that she has covered the obligatory parts of her body adequately, she should also cover a part of the sides of her face as well as lower part of her wrists and the ankles.[1]

Detailed answer 594: In case of ability, it is obligatory to cover the private parts in prayer and its appurtenances like the Rak’at offered by way of caution, and according to the stronger opinion, the compensatory prayer for the forgotten portions, and according to the more cautious opinion, the two prostrations due to inattention, as also in the supererogatory prayers excluding the prayer of the dead, though, according to the more cautious opinion, also including it, while caution must not be given up during the performance of the circumambulation.

If the private part of a person becomes visible due to wind or negligence, or it was visible from the beginning of the prayer without the knowledge of the person offering praying, the prayer shall be valid. However, the person should cover it immediately, if he comes to realize about it during the prayer. It is more cautious to finish it, and start it anew.

The same rule applies in case he forgets in both cases.

The private parts of a man which are required to be covered and are forbidden to look at during prayer are the anus, the penis and both the testicles. It is more cautious to cover the indistinct figure of the private parts visible from behind the clothes without distinction of the color.

As regards the parts of a woman which are required to be covered during prayer, they include her entire body including even her head and hair excluding the part of her face which is required to be washed for ablution and both her hands upto the forearms and both feet upto the ankles. It is obligatory to cover a little of the parts mentioned as excluded from being covered.

It is obligatory on a woman to cover her neck and the lower part of her chin including even that much of it as can be seen after wrapping the scarf (khimãr).

A slave girl and small girl are treated at par with a free and adult woman, except that it is not obligatory on them to cover their head, hair or neck.

It is not obligatory to cover the private parts from below. Of course, if one is standing at the corner of the roof or net where a person may possibly pass and have a look at the private parts in case he looks up, then, according to the more cautious, rather stronger opinion, one should cover the private parts from below too, even if presently there is no person looking there.

In case, however, there is a net under which no person is expected to look from under as a.net on a well, then, according to the stronger opinion, it is not obligatory (cover the private parts from below), except when there is a person looking in the net.

The hiding from sight may be obtained through any means which may hide a thing from sight, including even a hand, coating with mud or dipping in water. Even both the hips are sufficient to cover the anus.

The hiding of the (private parts) in prayer is not sufficient by means of the things mentioned above, even in case of an emergency.

As regards covering (the private parts) by means of leaves, grass, cotton, and unwoven wool, according to the stronger opinion, it is permissible generally, though caution must not be given up in case of the first two.

According to the stronger opinion, if a person finds nothing to (cover his private parts), even grass or leaves, it is permissible for him to offer prayer, though it is more cautious for a person who finds something to coat with to add to his own condition the condition of one who could find something (to cover his private parts). [2]

When a person offers the forgotten Sajdah or tashahhud, he should cover himself in the same manner as in prayers, and the recommended precaution is that he should also cover himself at the time of offering Sajda-e-Sahv.

If while offering prayers, a person does not cover his private parts intentionally, or on account of not having cared to know the rule, his prayers is void.

If a person realizes while offering prayers, that his private parts are visible, he must immediately cover them, and it is not necessary for him to repeat the prayers. As a measure of precaution, he should not continue performing any part of the prayers, as long as the private parts are visible. If he learns after the completion of prayers that his private parts were visible, his prayers would be deemed valid.

If the dress of a person covers his private parts while he stands, but it may not cover them in another posture like in Ruku or Sajdah, his namaz will be valid if he manages to conceal them by some other means. However, the recommended precaution is that he should not pray in such dress.[3]

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

Index: Philosophy of Hijab during prayer, answer 020.

Index: The best place for a woman to pray is at home or mosque, answer 015.

[1] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Rules of Namaz » Covering the body in prayers, Q: 796-797.

[2] . Tahrir al-Wasilah of Imam Khomeini (ra), Vol. 1, Third Preliminary of Prayer: Permissible Garment of the Person Offering Prayer; Tawzih al-Masael of Maraja’ (annotated by Imam Khomeini), Vol. 1, Pgs. 441-445.

[3] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Rules of Namaz » Covering the body in prayers, Q: 798-801.

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The Secret of Prayer / Sirr us-Salat

Question 589: Salaam. I want to ask what the reason behind the every act of Namaz? What is the Secret of Prayer (Sirr us-Salat)?

Answer 589: Without doubt every divine ruling has its philosophy and reason, but we do not have to investigate every ruling and find its philosophy. A true Muslim must surrender before the message of revelation. This character of submission and acceptance creates perfection in the human being and essentially some rulings are obliged upon mankind to test and gage his level of obedience and faith. God’s command to Ibrahim (A.S.), to sacrifice his child Ismail, is a fine paradigm.

What you will realize in this brief response is that every Islamic ruling and worshipping code in Islam has its philosophy.

Firstly: because of hundreds of Quranic verses and hadith which encourage people to think and ponder.[1]

Secondly: one of the strongest criticisms of the Quran against mushriks and idol worshipers is that they blindly and unreasonably follow their ancestors.[2]

Thirdly: the Quran itself has mentioned rulings along with their philosophy.[3]

The infallible imams have attended to disclosing these secrets in the traditions received from them and Muslim scholars have written books on these secrets and philosophies.

In light of these points one must add:

  1. It isn’t indispensible that all people in all times know of all of these philosophies.
  2. We must be aware not to solely perceive the philosophy of Islamic rulings as material and worldly benefits and simply focus on the financial, sanitarian, etc., facets and neglect the spiritual and moral effects.
  3. One who believes that God is wise and obliges his rulings upon mankind accordingly, should not look for reasons and explanations and rely on the wisdom of his lord. However, reasons and philosophies have been mentioned regarding prayer, some of its essentials (arkan), details and recitations such as intention (niyyat), tashahud, ruku’, sujud, salam, etc. Here, we will point out a few examples.

Prayer Prohibits Evil

The Quran says: Prayer prohibits from evil and vice.[4]

Prayer and Effacing Negligence

In another section we read: Keep up prayer for My remembrance.[5]

Prayer and Tranquility

It also reads: By Allah’s remembrance are the hearts set at rest.[6]

Battle Against Pride and Arrogance

Prayer, which is the remembrance of the source of every greatness and appeal to the center of power and greatness, eliminates self pride and arrogance. In other words, prayer shatters pride and arrogance; because one who prays seventeen raka’ts of prayer in a 24 hour time span and places his forehead on the ground in humbleness in every raka’t, perceives himself as a tiny creature before his lord and tears open apart the veil of being self-conceit. This is why, after faith, Imam Ali (A.S.) describes the first and most important worship with this same goal, to be prayer: Allah has obliged faith to cleanse man from uncertainty and prayer for cleansing him from arrogance.[7]

Developing the Habit of Punctuality and Organization

Prayer develops the habit of punctuality; because this ritual must be done in certain times and performing it earlier or postponing it will invalidate it. The same goes for other parts of the prayer such as, intention, qiyam, ruku’, sujud, qu’ud. etc., which facilitate the tendency to be punctual and organized in other aspects of life.

Remembrance of Resurrection

One who prays remembers the hereafter and its greatness when reciting “Master of the Day of Judgment”. It reminds him that there is a world other than this one which is the result and manifestation of our actions and deeds in this world.

Expressing Love to the Good and Disassociation and Aloofness from Evil

Expressing love to the good and disassociation and aloofness from evil is one of the philosophies of reciting the verses of the holy surah of Al-Hamd. One who prays and recites “ایاک نعبد و ایاک نستعین، اهدنا الصراط المستقیم صراط الذین انعمت علیهم”, is seeking the friendship and closeness of God Almighty, the Prophets, the right doers, martyrs and the righteous and moves to their side and by saying “غیر المغضوب علیهم و لاالضالین”, distances himself from the mislead and deviated.

In the end we must point out that: the reason for the obligation of prayer is the remembrance of and admitting to Allah being our lord, battling with shirk and idol worshipping, standing before Allah in humbleness, admitting to our sins and asking for forgiveness and placing the forehead before Allah and His glory. Some of the other main reasons for praying are to be constantly aware, not allow negligence to takeover, become proud of oneself and self-conceit, humbleness and for our blessings to blossom.[8]

These were some of the Quranic verses and ahadith which unveil some of the secrets and philosophies of prayer.

Before concluding it is necessary point out that numerous books and articles have been written about the secrets and philosophies of prayer by different authors and Shiite scholars.[9]

Sources for further research:

Ilal al-Sharaye’, Sheikh Saduq

Sirr al-Salah and Ādāb al-Salah, Imam Khomeini

A Glimpse at the Philosophy of Prayer, Mohsen Qara’ati

For further information on this issue, please refer to the following sources:

The Secret of Prayer, Sirr us-Salat, by Imam Khomeini (ra). (PDF version)

Ilal al-Sharaye’, Sheikh Saduq

A Glimpse at the Philosophy of Prayer, Mohsen Qara’ati

[1] Nahl:44; Aal Imran:191.

[2] A’raf:173.

[3] Ankabut:45; Baqarah:183.

[4] Ankabut:45.

[5] Taha:14.

[6] Ra’d:24.

[7] Nahjul-Balaghah, saying 252. “وَ قَالَ (ع) فَرَضَ اللَّهُ الْإِيمَانَ تَطْهِيراً مِنَ الشِّرْكِ وَ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْزِيهاً عَنِ الْكِبْر”.

[8] Sheikh Saduq, Man la Yahduruhu al-Faqih, vol. 1, pg. 214, Jame’eye Mudarresin, Qum, second edition, 1404 AH; Sheikh Saduq, Ilal al-Sharaye’, vol. 2, pg. 317, Davari, Qum, first edition, “إنّ علة الصلاة أنها إقرار بالرّبوبية للّه عزّ و جلّ، و خلع الأنداد و قيام بين يدي الجبّار جلّ جلاله بالذّلة و المسكنة و الخضوع و الاعتراف، و الطّلب للإقالة من سالف الذّنوب، و وضع الوجه على الأرض كلّ يوم إعظاما للّه جلّ جلاله و أن يكون ذاكرا غير ناس و لا بطر.و يكون خاشعا متذلّلا راغبا طالبا للزيادة في الدّين و الدنيا مع ما فيه من الإيجاب، و المداومة على ذكر اللّه عزّ و جل باللّيل و النهار و لئلّا ينسى العبد سيّده و مدبّره و خالقه، فيبطر و يطغى و يكون ذلك في ذكره لربّه عزّ و جلّ، و قيامه بين يدي”.

[9] . Adopted from answer 13873 IQ.