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Grave of Prophet Musa: When and How He died

Question 186: At what age did Nabi Musa (as) die? Please, also Let us know the story of Prophet Musa and Malak al-Mawt?

Answer 186: When the Prophet Musa and Aaron (pbuth) passed away in the wilderness. It is narrated that the Malak al-Mawt (Azrael) shaped in the form of a human and digged the grave of the prophet. That’s why the Bani Israel don’t know the exact place where the prophet (peace be upon him) is buried. The holy Prophet (pbuh) was asked where is the grave of the prophet Musa? He said: it is on a great path by the way near the red sand hill (al-Kathib al-Ahmar). And there was a difference of 500 years between the prophet Musa and Dawood (David) (as) and 1100 years between Dawood and Prophet Isa (pbuth). Read More

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Common and Specific A’amaal for three nights of Qadr

Question 637: What are the common and specific A’amaal we the Muslim can perform during the three Nights of Power (Laylatul Qadr)?

Answer 637: The Night of Power (Laylatul Qard) is the night, which is the most blessed and excellent of all nights. A prayer during this night is superior to the prayer of a thousand months.[1] The destiny for the year is decided (decreed) on this night.[2] That is why the Du`as for this night ask for special favours in the decree for the year. Believers are encouraged to stay awake the entire night, and pray for blessings and forgiveness. It is the holiest night of the year, and it would be unwise to be heedless of the tremendous benefits of this night. The Angels and Roohul Ameen (a highly dignified Angel) descend on this earth, with the permission of Allah (swt) & call on the Imam of the time, and what is ordained (by Allah) for everybody is presented before the Imam.[3] Read More

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When to Break a fast: After Maghrib prayer or before?

Question 389: Salamualekum members. Please, in the month of Ramadan, is it always required to break our fast before magrib prayer or we should pray before breaking the fast?

Answer 389: In the holy Quran Allah (swt) says: And eat and drink until the whiteness of the day becomes distinct from the blackness of the night at dawn Then complete the fast till night And have not contact with them while you keep to the mosques These are the Limits of Allah, so do not go near them Thus does Allah make clear His communications for men that they may guard (against evil).[1]

Fasting means that a person must, in obedience to the commands of Allah, from the time of Adhan for Fajr prayers up to Maghrib, avoid those things from which a person keeping fast must abstain.[2] Read More

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Rules concerning tooth brush (Miswak) during fasting

Question 391: Salamualekum members. Please what is the view of ahlulbat on chewing stick (miswak) whiles fasting?

Answer 391: One of the things which is considered as makru for a person observing Fast is to clean his teeth with a wet toothbrush.

If a person, who is fasting, takes the tooth brush (Miswak) out of his mouth and then puts it back into his mouth, swallowing its liquid, his fast will be void, unless the moisture in the tooth brush mixes up with the saliva in such a way that it may no longer be called an external wetness.[1]

When one rinses his mouth with water because it has dried due to thirst or to get rid of a bad smell of mouth and the water uncontrollably goes down one’s throat and one has already known it that if he\she does so the water will go down his\her throat, qadha has to be given.[2]

A fast is not invalidated by swallowing the saliva which has gathered in the mouth, even if it has gathered due to recalling something. Likewise, according to the stronger opinion, (a fast is not invalidated) by swallowing the phlegm which has not yet reached the cavity of mouth, without there being any difference whether it has come down from the head or has emerged from the chest (or lungs). As regards the phlegm which has reached the cavity of mouth, caution must not be given up by abstaining from swallowing it. If the phlegm has come out of the mouth, and then a person swallows it, his fast shall thereby be rendered void. The same rule applies to saliva. Rather, (the same rule shall apply) if there is a pebble in the mouth of a person, and he takes it out, and there is some saliva on it, then the person puts it again into his mouth and swallows it. (The same rule shall apply), if a tailor wets a thread by his saliva, then puts it back into his mouth, and swallows it along with the moisture on it. (The same rule shall apply), if a person uses the tooth brush, and it comes out wet with saliva, and then he puts its back into his mouth and swallows the moisture etc., on it, and his fast shall be rendered void.

Of course, if the moisture on the tooth brush is mixed up with his saliva in a way that it may not be said that he has swallowed his saliva with something other in it, there shall be no harm. The same rule applies to tasting broth, chewing the food or the amount of water left after rinsing. Likewise, there is no harm in chewing the bark of a tree, according to the more valid opinion, even if its taste has remained in his saliva as long as it is not due to the scattering of its particles, even if they are absorbed in the mouth.[3]

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.

Index: Fast in countries with long days, answer 106.

Index: Niyyat for Fasting: How to make intention to Fast Ramadan, answer 627.

[1] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), rules regarding Fasting, Eating and Drinking.

[2] . Tawzih al-Masael (with annotation of Imam Khomeini (ra)), Vol. 1, Pg. 892, Q  1573; Ibid, Pgs. 895-942, Q 1582&1690; the Official website of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Rules concerning Fasting, occasions on which it is obligatory to observe the Qadha only;  Tahrir al-Wasilah of Imam Khomeini, Vol. 1, Pg. 272.

[3] . Tahrir al-Wasilah of Imam Khomeini, Vol. 1, Chapter on Things Which Must Be Refrained in a Fast.

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Masturbation and forget performing Ghusl in Ramadan

Question 141: If you masturbate during the night and forget to do ghusl, can you still perform ghusl when you wake up and fast that day?

Answer 141: The grand maraja’ answer in this regards is as follows: If one who becomes jonob during a night of the holy month of Ramadan and is sure or probably knows that if he goes to sleep he will wake up before morning Adhan (call to prayer) and do ghusl. So, if he falls asleep with the decision till Adhan, his fast would be considered as valid.

If one goes to sleep and wakes up later and knows or guesses that if he wants to go to sleep again he’ll wake up before morning adhan with the decision to do jinabat ghusl but he won’t wake up till adhan, then one must make his fast up.

There is no need to give Kaffarah even if he wakes up of the second sleep and goes to sleep for the third time and won’t wake up till adhan.[1]

Note: Masturbation is defined as self-stimulation of the sexual organ till one achieves emission of semen or orgasm. This applies to both men and women. This Self-satisfaction which is referred to as Istimna’ (masturbation) is a major sin and haram. It has a heavy punishment. If one has committed such forbidden act repentance and seeking God’s forgiveness would be sufficient for forgiveness.[2]

It should be noted that masturbation is one of the forbidden act which a person keeping fast must abstain. Ejaculation of the Semen, whether by masturbation, touching, kissing, rubbing (the male organ) on the thighs (of another person), or such other acts which are intended to cause discharge of semen. Rather even in case when the discharge of semen is not intended, but it was the usual consequence of the said act, in that case too it shall render the fast void. Of course, if ejaculation takes place without doing something which causes ejaculation in a person as a matter of his habit even without any intention on his part, it shall not render the fast void.[3]

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

Index: Rules concerning Janabat during night or day time in the month of Ramadan, answer 394.

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

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

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

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

[1] . Tawzih al-masa’il (al-mohasha), vol 1, p 912, question 1627 . Ibid, p 914, question 1630.

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

[3] . Tahrir al-Wasilah of Imam Khomeini (ra), Vol. 1, Chapter on Things Which Must Be Refrained in a Fast.

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Niyyat for Fasting: How to make intention to Fast Ramadan

Question 627: Is it necessary for a person to pass the niyyat for fasting through his mind or to say that he would be fasting on the following day?

Answer 627: Intention (Niyyat) is a condition in fasting, so that a person intends to perform that ‘Ibãdat (devotional service) prescribed by Shari ah, and determines to keep himself away from all those things which invalidate it with the intention of obtaining closeness (to Allah).

If a person intends to abstain from all those things which vitiate a fast, but does not know that some of things have such effect, as, for example, enema, or considers that they have no such effect, but does not practice them, his fast shall be valid.

Similarly, if he intends to abstain from things which he knows are included among those which invalidate the fast, according to the stronger opinion, his fast shall be valid.

In a fast, after the intention of closeness to Allah and sincerity of purpose, there is no further condition in the intention except specifying the fast which one intends to keep in obedience to the command of Allah.

While keeping fast in the month of Ramadãn, it is sufficient to have the intention of keeping fast the next day without specifying it Rather, even if he has an intention of keeping fast other than of Ramadãn in that month due to negligence or forgetfulness, the fast shall be valid, and shall be counted among the fasts of Ramadan, contrary to the one who knows it, so that if he has such intention with knowledge, his fast shall be counted neither as a fast of Ramadãn nor otherwise.

According to the stronger opinion, it is indispensable in case of a fast for other than the month of Ramadàn to specify the particular category of the fast, such as for expiation, compensation or general vow (Nadhr) or a special vow.

It is sufficient to specify briefly, as when it is obligatory on him to keep a special category of fast, and he has the intention to keep fast which he owes, it would be sufficient.

Apparently there is no condition of any specification in a generally recommended fast, so that if a person has the intention of keeping fast the next day for the sake of Allah, it shall be valid, if it is the proper time for it, and the person be one for whom it is valid to keep fast voluntarily.

The same shall be the case if it were a specially recommended fast too, so that it is specified for a particular time, as the blank days (when there is no moon), Friday or Thursday.

Of course, in order to obtain a special reward, it is a condition that the person should keep fast at that particular day and with that special intention.[1]

Sayyid Sistani (ha) says: It is not necessary for a person to pass the niyyat for fasting through his mind or to say that he would be fasting on the following day. In fact, it is sufficient for him to decide that in obedience to the command of Allah he will not perform from the time of Adhan for Fajr prayers up to Maghrib, any act which may invalidate the fast. And in order to ensure that he has been fasting throughout this time he should begin abstaining earlier than the Adhan for Fajr prayers, and continue to refrain for some time after sunset from acts which invalidate a fast.

A person can make niyyat every night of the holy month of Ramadhan that he would be fasting on the following day, and it is better to make niyyat on the first night of Ramadhan that he would fast throughout that month.[2]

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.

Index: Fast in countries with long days, answer 106.

[1] . Tahrir al-Wasilah of Imam Khomeini (ra), Chapter on Intention (Niyyat); Tawzih al-Masael of Maraja’ (with annotation of Imam Khomeini), Vol. 1, Pgs. 881-905.

[2] . The Official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Fasting, Niyyat for Fasting.

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Wisdom of placing the Holy Quran on our head

Question 112: What is the wisdom and narrations of placing the Holy Qur’an on top of your head? When are the appropriate times during the year to do this?

Answer 112: As we Shia follow the traditions of the Infallibles (as), we all follow whatever they have been told us in this regards.
Ali bin Yaqteen narrated from Imam Kadhim (as) that the Imam (as) said: “Take the holy Quran in your hand and place it on top of your head and then say:

اللَّهُمَّ بِحَقِّ مَنْ أَرْسَلْتَهُ إِلَى خَلْقِكَ وَ بِكُلِّ آيَةٍ هِيَ فِيهِ وَ بِحَقِّ كُلِّ مُؤْمِنٍ مَدَحْتَهُ فِيهِ وَ بِحَقِّهِ عَلَيْكَ وَ لَا أَحَدَ أَعْرَفُ بِحَقِّهِ مِنْكَ يَا سَيِّدِي يَا سَيِّدِي يَا سَيِّدِي

Then say “یا الله” (O Allah) for ten times, “بحق محمد” (by the right of Muhammad (pbuh)) ten times, and then continue saying each name of the Infallible Imams (pbuth) ten times. After all has been mentioned ten times, beg Allah whatever you want. So, Allah, the Almighty will grant all your wishes.

It is said (in traditional resources) that whenever you face any problems try to offer two Rakats, place the holy Quran on top of your head and mention the name of Allah (SWT), Holy Prophet (pbuh) and ahlul bayt (pbuth) ten times, so Allah. The Almighty will grant your wishes. [1]

While placing the qur’an on the head. Remind yourself that true salvation can only be achieved by always keeping the rules of qur’an ahead of us to follow. The fact that we put the Qur’an on our head is a sign of respect and reverence. We beseech Allah by the thaqalayn – the speaking and the silent Qur’an.[2] Pray for Aql/Intelligence to be Kamil (complete), it is Kashe (submits) to quran & acquires Noor (light) from it.

O Allah! I appeal to Thee in the name of this Qur’an and the Rooh that was sent along with it, and in the name of the Momin (believer) whose praise is contained in this Book and The obligation that is on them. No one else recognizes the right and truth more than Thee

Transliteration:

“Allaahumma be haqqe haazal Qur’an we be haqqe man arsaltahoo beh, Wa be haqqe kulle momenin madahtahoo feeh, we be haqqeka alaihim fa-laa ahada a’arafo be haqqeka mink”[3]

Note: There are no restrictions limiting the times of placing the holy Quran on top of our head. However, it is more recommended to do so during these holy Nights of Power (19th, 21st or 23rd or 27th night of Ramadan / or 15th night of Shaban).

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

Index: The sign of Laylatul Qadr, the Night of Power, answer 065.

Index: Definition of Dua, Means and Intercession, answer 148.

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

[1] . Sheikh Hurr Ameli, Wasail al-Shia, Vol. 8, Pgs. 125-126; Sayid bin Tawoos, Radhi al-Din Ali, al- Al-Iqbāl bi l-aʿmāl al-hasanah, Vol. 1, Pg. 186-187.

[2] . Holy Qur’an (39:56).

[3] .Refer to: http://duas.org/.

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The sign of Laylatul Qadr, the Night of Power

Question 065: Are there narrations that state that the sky should be completely white during sunrise, in order to confirm Laylatul Qadr? If there is, can you provide the narration(s) and its source(s)? And or are there other indications of confirmation?

Answer 065: When Imam Baqir (a.s) was asked, “What is the Sign of Laylat Al Qadr (The Night of Power)”, he replied:

“علامتها ان یطیب ریحها، و ان کانت فی برد دفئت، و ان کانت فی حر بردت فطابت”

Translation: “The sign for the night of power (Laylatul Qadr) is that a sweet smell of this night is spread everywhere. If it is in the winter its weather will be changed to hot and gentle. If it is during the hot summer it will be changed into the cool and temperate weather”. [1]

According to Allamah Tabatabaee, when the sun rose on the following morning, it had no (visible) rays[2].

Imam Sadiq (as) said: Every year we have the Night of Power. Its days are as the same as its nights.[3]

[1] . Wasaiel al-Shia, Vol. 7, Pg. 256.

[2] . al-Mizan, Vol. 4, Pg. 332.

[3] . al-Fusul al-Muhimmah fee Usul al-Aemmah (Takmilatul Wasael), Vol. 2, Pg. 165; al-Tahzib, Vol. 1, Pg. 445; Biharul Anwar, Vol. 95, Pg. 121.

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Fasting and prayers of a traveler who travel after Zuhr

Question 384: Salam Alaikum! There is someone who lives in Stockholm and they work there too. But they decided during The Month Of Ramadhan to live outside the city, which that city is 50 km aways from Stockholm .But I know they can fast if they travel after Salat Aldhur ; here is the question, will the traveler’s Salat be Qasar or tamam?

My Marja: Ayatollah Al-Udhma Sayed Ali Al-Sistani

Answer 384: If they travel after Dhuhr (noon) their fast is treated as valid. If they have decided to stay in that city for 10 days they would have to offer their prayers tamam and fast till they are there for 10 days. Otherwise, they should offer their prayers Qasr and not to fast other days in this state.

According to Sayyid Sistani (ha), if a fasting person travels after Zuhr, he should, as a precaution, complete his fast. If he travels before Zuhr and had an intention from the previous night to do so, he cannot fast on that day. As a precaution, he cannot fast on that day even if he had no intention to travel from the previous night. In both the cases, he cannot break the fast till he has reached the limit of Tarakkhus. If he does, he will be liable to give Kaffarah.

If a traveller in the month of Ramadhan, regardless of whether he was travelling before Fajr, or was fasting and then undertook the journey, reaches his hometown before Zuhr or a place where he intends to stay for ten days, and if has not committed an act which invalidates a fast, he should fast on that day. But if he has committed such an act, it is not obligatory on him to fast on that day.

If after covering a distance which would add up to make 8 farsakh on return, the traveller abandons the journey, and if he decides to remain at that place, or to return after 10 days, or is undecided about returning or staying there, he should offer full prayers.

If a person abandons the journey after reaching a distance which would add up to make 8 farsakh on return, and decides to return, he should offer shortened prayers even if he wants to stay there for less than 10 days.

For the shar’i distance needed to travel in order for one’s prayer to become shortened, the fuqaha (Jurisprudents) have various rulings. Some say the distance necessary is approximately 22.5 kilometers.[1] Others say that the distance is approximately 21.5 kilometers.[2] Another group says that it is approximately 22 kilometers.[3]

A Farsakh is equal to three miles, while a mile is equal to four thousand cubits, whose length is equal to the breadth of twenty four fingers, and each finger is equal to the width of seven grains of barley, and each barley is equal to the breadth of seven average hair of a Turkish horse (or a pony). If the distance is less than that, even if to a minimal extent, the person on journey shall offer unreduced prayer.[4]

Note: A traveler for whom it is obligatory to shorten a four Rak’ats prayers to two Rak’ats, should not fast. However, a traveler who offers full prayers, like, a person who is a traveler by profession or who goes on a journey for a haram purpose, should fast while travelling.[5]

[1] Imam Khomeini, Ayatullahs Bahjat, Khamenei, Fadhil Lankarani, Safi and Nouri. Tawdhihul-Masa’el (of Marja’s), vol. 1, issue 1272.

[2] Makarem Shirazi, Tawzihul-Masa’el (of Maraji’), vol. 1, pg. 684.

[3] Tabrizi, Sistani and Vahid Khorasani, Minhajul-Salehin, issue 884.

[4] . The Official Website of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Prayers of a traveller » Prayers of a traveller (Musafir) & Fasting by a traveler; Tahrir al-Wasila of Imam Khomeini (ra), Vol. 1, Chapter on a Traveler’s Prayers and its Relevant Rules.

[5] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Fasting » Fasting by a traveller.