Reza

Important Questions - ANSWERED!

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[MOD NOTE:  Thank you to the SC Development Team for participating in this topic.]

Important questions will be raised here with a nice, short, high quality, informative answer. This will include a range of subjects and topics. We're going for the pressing, the relevant, the captivating, and the important. Discussions happen all the time, but I feel like good, concise answers are in short supply within the post forest. Perhaps that's why the same questions keep getting raised. The confusions aren't being cleared up in our info saturated world! If you have any questions that want to be answered, please inform a Development Team member, and it may show up here. So expect good learning, concentrated in one thread!

No discussing, no typing. Just reading! You can always discuss in other topics.

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Question #1: What are the key differences between Islamic temporary marriage (mut'a) and prostitution? Is mut'a not susceptible to abuse?

 

Wa alaykum as-salaam,

Sadly, abuse exists in all religions including our own. It's no mystery that mut`a is continually abused, partly because it is such a hush-hush topic, and so its rules are not clearly delineated in our communities. The 'M' word is rarely uttered in our mosques, and it's not talked about by most parents. This allows mut`a to be twisted and stretched beyond recognition. This is unfortunate in a time when unaccounted sex is prevalent everywhere, and mut`a can be a tool to regulate the situation - if used correctly. There are many failed permanent marriages, but this does not mean that the institution itself is a failure. We just need guidance on how to make marriage work, both permanent and temporary.

Plainly put: anyone who is pimping out young girls in the name of "mut`a" is disgusting, and deserves to have the book thrown at him. Mut`a, if practiced properly, is not the same as prostitution for the following reasons:

  • Mut`a marriages require an `idda afterwards, which means that a woman cannot marry a new partner for two cycles.
  • Mut`a requires the permission of a guardian (Muslim father or Muslim grandfather) as well as the woman's expressed permission. This applies to virgins, but also, according to Sayyid Sistani, it even applies to non-virgin women who have never consummated an Islamic marriage before. So a girl is legally a virgin in fiqh until she has consummated a marriage that fits the proper conditions.
  • A woman names her own dower, and she receives the entire dower, and does whatever she pleases with it.
  • It is either makrooh or haram to perform mut`a with a woman who is famous for fornication. It should only be performed with women who are convinced of its moral applicability.
  • A woman in mut`a has no obligation to have sex with her husband.
  • Any children born out of mut`a must be provided for by the father.
  • Men can only perform mut`a with women who profess Islam, Christianity, Judaism.
  • According to Sayyid Sistani, if a man is married, he must seek the permission of his wife before he performs mut`a with a Kitabiyya.
  • A married woman cannot perform mut`a with another man under any circumstances.

People who fornicate or commit adultery under the guise of "mut`a" are only fooling themselves - this applies to both men and women.

Source: ShiaChat post by Bro Qa'im

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Question #2: I often hear about the concepts of "human rights", "social justice", and "oppression" in the news media. As a Muslim, I am confused about all of this. What distinguishes human rights and justice in the Islamic perspective from the common secular perspective everyone around me believes? What is oppression really?

 

The problem with engaging in theoretical discussions like this is because we can take this one word - "justice" - and realize that this word has completely different meanings in the Islamic conception and the modern secular conception. The word "rights," as well. If you go and read Imam Sajjad's "risalat al huqooq" (treatise on rights), you will see that the Islamic conception of rights is not about what you must demand and whine about but rather the rights that others have over you!

Likewise with justice, there is a big difference between justice that takes man as its fountainhead and a justice which takes God as its fountainhead. This is the case regardless of one's religious tradition; many Muslims have also chosen this man-centric conception of justice, and likewise non-Muslims can also look back to a time when their idea of justice was not drowned in nonsensical secular ideas.

The definition of oppressed is also very different. For example if people are proud of sinful behavior and use this as a vehicle of political protest, this group cannot be called oppressed. Marginalized is an ethic studies word which fortunately has not found its way into the Islamic vocabulary. But back to oppression. 

The basic principle behind oppression in Islam is: each individual must focus on not oppressing others as well as not oppressing themselves. This has many many elements, from the lofty political ideas, to the smallest and seemingly most insignificant. For example: if someone is at your home, it is recommended to not stop eating until he is finished. Why? So he does not feel bad to eat more. This is the level of depth with which a believer must consider other's rights over him.

Backbiting is a greater sin than zina (adultery). The idea behind this is: with the latter you destroy yourself, with the former you destroy your fellow believers. 

Of course, Islam also has something to say about tyrants. But only one of our Imams took up arms against tyrants. The others used different means to undermine them. I think there is a wisdom in this: the single-minded focus of establishing justice by overthrowing a tyrant is DOA. Because it takes the onus off of people from establishing justice on an individual level. At the end of the day, Ataturk, Saddam, Mohammad Reza Shah, Zia al Haqq and the likes, could not have ruined their countries alone. There were many partners in this endeavor. 

We have narrations that in the time of Imam Mahdi, a believer will stick his hand in the pocket of another, take his wealth, and he will not have a problem with it. We also have narrations that salawats will become the currency. Some folks from the outside looking in may see this in a pseudo-socialistic light. But it is much greatere than what they conceive. These narrations are referring to a people who consider everything in their possession to belong to God; but not in a lukewarm theoretical way but rather with firm unbreakable faith.

So anyway yeah: if i could use two terms to describe Islamic justice: it would be "God-centric" and "all-encompassing".

Source: ShiaChat post by Bro baradar_jackson

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Question #3: Everyone keeps asking me, why weren't the 12 Imams of the Ahlul-Bayt (a) specifically mentioned BY NAME in the Holy Qur'an? Sunnis and non-Muslims are hounding me. I don't have a clear answer and it's giving me doubts and anxiety. After all, this is a significant part of my faith and you would think the Qur'an would be clearer about this, and make the matter unambiguous, to stop all the fighting and arguing. I thought the Qur'an was supposed to be the complete guide for everything? WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THIS?

 

But as to why the Imams (ع) have not been mentioned by name, at least two answers could be propounded.

Firstly, the normal pattern of the Qur`an is to deal with issues in a general tone, providing the general principles and rules, without getting into the explanation of the minute details. This is the method the Qur`an takes up in many instances and it is for this reason that when Imam Ja’far b. Muhammad as-Sadiq (ع) was asked about this question, he replied that, “It is the same case with the daily prayer, the zakat, and hajj: Allah has mentioned only their general rules in the Qur`an but has not elucidated the details. It was the Prophet (ص) who expressed the precise method of carrying out such duties and their related details. In the same vein, regarding the question of succession, the Prophet (ص) himself specified the names of ‘Ali and his household (ع) as his successors and so there was no need for their names to have been expressed in the Qur`an itself.

Secondly, in such an issue, where there was a good chance of opposition, prudence necessitated that the Qur`an mention the issue indirectly and through allusions for there was the possibility that opposition to the issue of Imamate might lead to opposition to the Qur`an and the main core of Islam, which was certainly not in the interest of the Muslims. That is, if there were a verse specifying the succession of ‘Ali (ع), the opponents would have distorted it out of their opposition to him, and this would have violated the value of Islam and the Qur`an as the final religion and the eternal and divine book. For, it should be borne in mind that one of the ways by which the Qur`an could be preserved—for Allah (awj) has asserted, “Indeed We have sent down the Reminder [i.e. the Qur`an] and indeed We will preserve it.”[295]—is to remove the natural motives for opposition and distortion.

Hence, the Qur`an, firstly, refrains from expressing the names of the Imams (ع); and secondly, places the verses that are related to the question of Imam ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (ع) successorship, the Verse of Tabligh (which regards the official announcement of Imam ‘Ali b. Abi Talib’s (ع) successorship), and the Verse of Tathir (which regards the infallibility of the Prophet’s household) between other apparently unrelated verses so as to diminish, as much as possible, the motives for distortion and in so doing secure the Qur`an against all possible attacks.

Source: 

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Question 4: What does the Shi'i belief of taqiyyah entail and what is the proof for it?

Taqiyyah, for the Shi'as, is simply the concealing or disguising of one's beliefs in a situation where openly expressing their beliefs may lead to bodily or material harm. The history of Shi'ism is filled with tyrants that killed and maimed the followers of the Ahulbayt simply for their beliefs and the practice of taqiyyah allowed them to live under these oppressive rulers by hiding their true belief when under the threat of violence. It is, however, not an all-out permission to lie.

As for where the Shi'as derive this belief from, there are various aHadith from both the Prophet and the Imams to this effect but the best reference for this belief is the Qur'an itself. Moreover, there are various Sunnis sources which, themselves, lend credence to such a practice. Amman ibn Yasir was one of the earliest converts to Islam and one of the Prophet's most prolific companions. It is well known among all Muslims that after his conversion to Islam, Ammar and his parents were taken captive by the pagans of Mecca and tortured so that they may leave the fold of Islam and denounce the Messenger of Allah. Indeed, his parents were the first martyrs of Islam as a result of this torture until only Ammar was left alive. As a result of the repeated torture, Ammar finally broke down and praised Hubal, one of the pagan gods.

Once he was released from captivity, he rushed to the Prophet and confessed his crime, after which the Prophet asked him, "How do you find your heart to be?" Ammar replied, "Comfortable with faith.” So the Prophet (S) said: "Then if they come back for you, then do the same thing all over again.” As such, not only did Ammar have the permission of the Prophet himself to lie about his belief when his life was in danger but, soon after, Allah (SWT) himself revealed verses supporting Ammar:

[16:106] Whoever disbelieves in Allah after his belief... except for one who is forced [to renounce his religion] while his heart is secure in faith. But those who [willingly] open their breasts to disbelief, upon them is wrath from Allah , and for them is a great punishment;

This is a well-known incident recorded among both the Shi'a and the Sunnis, from authors such as  Abd al-Razak, Ibn Sa’d, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Mardawayh, al-Bayhaqi and many others and is undisputed among all Muslims. As such, the Shi'i belief of taqiyyah is not only supported by Shi'i hadith but also by the Qur'an, the words of the Prophets and the conduct of the sahabah. Thus, arguing against taqiyyah would be synonymous to arguing against the word of Allah (SWT), Himself.

Source: A Shi'ite Encyclopedia: Al-Taqiyyah (Dissimulation)

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Question 5: What is Khums and what is it paid on? Please give examples of things on which Khums is payable.

Khums literally means “one-fifth or 20%”. In Islamic legal terminology, it means “one-fifth of certain items which a person earns by means of trade, industry, agricultural work, research or any other ways of earning, like, if he earns some money by working in a government department, and if it exceeds the annual expenses for maintaining himself and his family, he should pay Khums (i.e. 1/5) from the surplus, in accordance with the rules.

Khums is one of the mandatory rites of the religion of Islam and it is an essential obligation like Jihad[1]. The importance given by the Quran to the issue of Khums can be understood from the following verse: "And know that out of all the booty that ye may acquire (in war), a fifth share is assigned to Allah, - and to the Messenger, and to near relatives, orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer, - if ye do believe in Allah and in the revelation We sent down …"[2]

It should be noted that the rules regarding certain important obligations like fasting and Hajj have been given in very few verses of the Holy Quran. There are not more than three or four verses about them in the Quran. Likewise the Quran has not made mention of the obligatory parts or segments of such obligations, their basic elements, conditions etc. that are important. All those details have been relegated to the Prophet (pbuh) and his righteous successors.

The grand religious authorities (jurisprudents) relying on Quranic verses as well as traditions have said that Khums is obligatory on the following seven things:
Profit or gain from earning.
Minerals.
Treasure trove.
Amalgamation of Halal wealth with Haraam.
Gems obtained from the sea diving.
Spoils of war.
As commonly held, a land which a zimmi (a non-Muslim living under the protection of Islamic Government) purchases from a Muslim.

However, what is frequently asked about and is an issue faced by most Muslims across the world concerns the first part i.e. “profit or gain from earning” about which the jurisprudents say:
“If a person earns by means of trade, industry or any other ways of earning, like, if he earns some money by offering prayers and fasting on behalf of a dead person, and if it exceeds the annual expenses for maintaining himself and his family, he should pay Khums from the surplus in accordance with the rules.”[4]  For further information in this regard, you can refer to index: 690 (Payment of Khums and Permission of Maraje’) on our website.

For instance, if an employee receives his first salary at the end of January and spends all his annual income in a regular manner for maintaining himself and his family until the end of the month of January of the next year, Khums is not payable on his income. In case his income exceeds the annual expenses for maintaining himself and his family at the end of January next year (though he may economized and been frugal or for example he has deposited it in his bank account), he should pay 1/5th of it to the office of the Marja (qualified Mujtahid) whom he follows so that he (Marja) will have to spend it for such purposes as deemed appropriate by him.

Notes at the website:

http://www.islamquest.net/en/archive/question/fa22366

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Question 6: Who are the Mahram and Non-Mahram for boys and men and who are the Mahram and Non-Mahram for girls and women?

Issue 443: A Mahram is that person who one is allowed to look at - to a certain extent - more than others, and with whom marriage is Haram.

Issue 444: The following people are Mahram for boys and men:

• Mother and Grandmother

• Daughter and Granddaughter

• Sister

• Niece - Daughter of one's sister

• Niece - Daughter of one's brother

• Aunt (Father’s sister) - One's own aunt, his father’s aunt and his mother’s aunt

• Aunt (Mother’s sister) - One's own aunt, his father’s aunt and his mother’s aunt

The above group of people, by blood relations are Mahram; and there is another group which are also Mahram by means of marriage for the boy or man and these include:

• Wife

• Wife's Mother (Mother-in-Law) and the wife’s Grandmothers

• Wife of her father (Stepmother)

• Wife of her son (Daughter-in-Law)

• The wife of one’s brother and the sister of one’s wife are Non-Mahrams.

Issue 445: These people are Mahram to a girl and woman:

• Father and Grandfather

• Son and the son of her child (Grandson)

• Brother

• Nephew - Son of one's sister

• Nephew - Son of one's brother

• Uncle (Father’s brother) - One's own uncle, her mother’s uncle and father’s uncle

• Uncle (Mother’s brother) - One's own uncle, her mother’s uncle and father’s uncle

The above group of people, by their own blood relations are Mahram, and another group is also Mahram by marriage on the girl or woman. These include:

• Husband

• Husband's Father (Father-in-Law) and the husband’s Grandfathers

• Husband of one's daughter (Son-in-Law)

• The husband of her sister and the brother of her husband are Non-Mahrams.

With the exception of those who have been listed, it is possible that others - by the way of marriage and with certain conditions - may also become Mahram of each other, and these instances are mentioned in the detailed books of Fiqh.

Issue 446: If a woman breast feeds a child according to the specific conditions that are mentioned in the books of Fiqh, then that child will become a Mahram for that woman and certain others. For a better understanding of this rule, please refer to the “Islamic Laws” rule number 2483.

Looking at Others

Issue 447: With the exception of the husband and wife, it is Haram to look at any other person with the intention of deriving pleasure or lustfully, even if that person is of the same sex. For example, a man looking at another man; or someone of the opposite sex, for example, a man looking at a woman, whether or not he/she is a Mahram or a Non-Mahram, and this rule applies for looking at any part of the body.

Issue 448: Boys and men may look at the complete body with the exception of the private parts, of a woman who is their Mahram as long as it is without lust or the intention of deriving pleasure.

Issue 449: Boys and men are not allowed to look at the body or hair of a Non-Mahram woman, but to look at the hands up to the wrist, and the face, in that amount that must be washed in Wudhu - without the intention of pleasure or lust, is no problem.

Issue 450: Girls and women are allowed to look at the head, face, hands and feet of Non-Mahram men, in that amount which is normally uncovered, as long as it is not done with the intention of deriving pleasure.

https://www.al-islam.org/simplified-islamic-laws-young-adults-ayatullah-lutfullah-safi-al-gulpaygani/looking-others#mahram-and-non-mahram

Hameedeh, Reza, bano and 3 others like this

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Question 7: What does Taqleed mean? 

Translated into English, 'Taqleed' means 'imitation' or 'to follow' the actions of another person. In the Shia Imamiyah school, this relates to the following of a 'mujtahid' by a 'non-mujtahid' in Islamic rulings (Sharia' law) and matters relating to 'Furu' Al-Deen.' The ShiaChat team has always promoted Taqleed but there are a few people who do not accept Taqleed and they are following their own version of Islam. These are two topics created by Team members to explain Taqleed:

 

 

Links to the websites of prominent Shia Ulema are included in the Grand Ayatullahs topic:

 

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Question 8: What is the difference between jealousy (Hasad) and envy (Ghibta)?

When a person learns that the Almighty Allah has bestowed a person with a new blessing, he experiences either of the two conditions:

1- First type is that he is angry for the fact that he has received that bounty and he hopes that it would be taken away from him. Such a condition is known as jealousy (Hasad). That is to oppose anyone from getting any blessing and a hope that it is taken away from him.

2- The second type is that he is angry, because someone else has received some blessing and he is also not hoping that the person may lose his blessing. On the contrary he wants to have the same blessings. Such a condition is known as envy (Ghibta) in Arabic terminology.

Thus it is narrated from Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s.) that he said: A believer may feel envy (Ghibta) but he never feels jealousy (Hasad). On the contrary, the hypocrite feels jealousy (Hasad) and never envies (Ghibta).11

Jealousy (Hasad) is of four types:

In the first stage, the one who feels it (Hasad) desires that the blessing should be taken away even though it may not bring any benefit to him. It is the worst type of jealousy.

Another type is that in which he wants that blessing to be taken away from that person so that he may get it instead. For example a person is having a beautiful house or a pretty wife and another person wants to get hold of them somehow. Therefore, there is no doubt in the unlawfulness and evil of this type of jealousy.

Thus the Almighty Allah has said:

وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ

"And do not covet that by which Allah has made some of you excel others...”
(An-Nisaa, 4:320)

 

The third category of Hasad is that one aspires for that which others possess and which he is not having; but when he is unable to obtain that he wishes that the other person should also lose it. So that he also becomes like others. If this person is capable, he would do this himself.

The fourth category of Hasad is also somewhat l ike the third category. But that person, even though he is able to take away that blessing, he does not make an effort for it, because religion and reason stops him from that; on the contrary he is angry on himself. Thus there is hope for salvation of such a person. And his selfish desires are due to hi s own anger, and he is angry at his own condition, the forgiveness of Almighty Allah can come to his rescue. Therefore to gain more knowledge about the types and causes of Hasad one may refer to books of morals and ethics.

A point is worth mention with regard to Ghibta, which is ignored by most people. It is that a Ghibta which is lawful is that which does not reach to the level of Hasad. And mostly the danger from Ghibta is that because if someone tries to obtain the blessing that another person is having, without desiring to snatch it from him, he will either get that blessing or not. If he does not reach it, sometimes his selfish desires make him want to feel that it should be taken away from him so that he may also become like others, because it is unbearable for him to see someone else taking precedence on him. Therefore this condition will make one imbued with the third and fourth kind of Hasad . And very few people are safe from this condition, except those who are bestowed with perfect ethics and whom the Almighty Allah has kept away from evil traits. Such persons do not raise objections against divine destiny.

https://www.al-islam.org/82-questions-ayatullah-sayyid-abdul-husayn-dastghaib-shirazi/miscellaneous-questions#question-79

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Question 9: What kind of prayer is the night vigil prayer? Please explain all the rules and issues regarding night vigil prayer or what is known as Salat al-Layl.

The night prayer or Salat al-Layl is one of the acts of worship and prayers which have been greatly stressed upon and recommended.  With this prayer in the middle of the night close to dawn when there is utter silence and the daily uproar and commotion have seized, one gets a very special state of concentration and excitement which is unique and indescribable. That is, the friends of God always choose the pre-dawn moment for invocation and supplication for they are composed and at rest at this time and there is no intention of showing off. At this time, one gets the best of concentration which extraordinarily helps build and revive the spiritual self. That is why the Holy Quran has promised those who offer the night prayer to grant them a position of great glory (maqam mahmood):
"وَمِنَ اللَّیْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِ نَافِلَةً لَّکَ عَسَىٰ أَن یَبْعَثَکَ رَبُّکَ مَقَامًا مَّحْمُودًا"
"And during a part of the night, pray Tahajjud beyond what is incumbent on you; maybe your Lord will raise you to a position of great glory."[1]
 
How to offer the Night Prayer
The night prayer consists of eleven rak'ats. Out of the 11 Rak'ats of the night Nafilah, 8 Rak'ats should be offered with the niyyat of the Nafilah, 2 Rak'ats with the niyyat of Shaf'a, and 1 Rak'at with the intention of Witr.  All of these  eleven rak'ats can be offered in short and long forms.
 
Short form: 
In the short form of the night prayer, one can suffice to reciting only Hamd, the opening chapter (without Surah) in the prayers.
 
Long form: 
 In this method, in the first initial rak'ats one should recite Hamd followed by a Surah (like Surah al-Kafiroon, Tawhid etc. which have been recommended).  Indeed, according to some traditions, the Surah of Tawhid has been recommended to be recited up to ten times.
When it comes to the rak'ats of Shaf'a prayer, it is better to recite Surah Falaq after Surah Hamd in the first rak'at and to recite Surah Naas after Surah Hamd in the second rak'at. There remains one rak'at of witr prayer in which it is better to recite Surah Tawhid thrice after Surah Hamd along with Surah Falaq and Surah Naas. One can suffice to reciting only Surah Tawhid and then perform Qunut.
Qunut: 
The qunut of witr prayer is one of the highly rewarded mustahab acts and stress has been laid on prolonging it. It has been narrated from the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him and his family, that he said: "Whoever prolongs the qunut of his witr prayer in the world, will be at ease at the station of judgment."[2] In Qunut, first pray for forgiveness of forty or more Mu’mineen who are either dead or living in the following manner. For example, you should say:
"اللهم اغفر لفلان
"Allahumma ighfir li-fulan". 
Instead of 'fulan', you should mention the name of the individual whom you want to pray for. Or recite:
اللهم اغفر للمؤمنین و المؤمنات
Allahumma ighfir lil-mo'meneen wal-momeenat.
"استغفر الله ربی و اتوب الیه‌"
Then recite seventy times "astaghfirullah rabbi wa atubu elayh." Then recite:
"هذا مقام العائذ بک من النار"
Haza maqamul a'eze bika minan nar.
Then say thirty times:
"العفو"
Al-Afw. Then the following dhikr is recited:
"رب‌ّ اغفرلی و ارحمنی و تب علی‌ّ انک انت التواب الغفور الرحیم‌"
Rabbi ighfirli wa irhamni wa tub 'alayya innka antat tawwab al-ghafoor al-rahim.
Then you should bend for ruku and go down for prostration (sajda) and salam.
Indeed, there are many mustahab dhikr and supplications which one can recite in all the rak'ats of the night prayer. Should you like to learn more about those recommended dhikr, you can refer to special sources or to the following index:
1. Mafatih al-Jenan, late Sheikh Abbas Qummi.
 
[1] Al-Isra (17): 79.
[2] Tabatai Yazdi, Muhammad Kazem, Urwat al-Wuthqa, vol.1, p. 544 – 545, Dar al-Tafsir.
 
 
MOD NOTES:
1. Surah Tawhid is Surah 112, also known as Surah al-Ikhlaas.
2. In the qunoot it is acceptable to say simply one Ya Allah or one AstaghfiruAllah.
3. If somebody cannot wake up during that period of time then he can perform it before going to bed any time in the night and if somebody misses praying it he or she can perform it in daytime as Qaza. The amount of blessings from offering salatul'layl is inconceivable. 
Hameedeh, Reza, Ayeza and 3 others like this

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Question #10: In my previous correspondences, I inquired regarding Islam’s approval of the continuation of the practice of slavery. You had replied in summary and for a more thorough answer had referred me to volume six of your “Al-Tafsir al-Mizan”. But I did not find my answer there.

Let me repeat my question. In the early years of Islam, due to certain circumstances, slavery was condoned. But then, considering that the progress of human reason would one day compel him to renounce the enslavement of human beings by other human beings as inhuman and irrational, why was it allowed to endure

If the reason for sanctioning the subjugation of infidels in captivity was to reform their souls in the Muslim community, then why were their children, although Muslim confined to bondage? To reply that Islam had at the same time established a variety of measures to facilitate their freedom would not justify its sanctioning of slavery in the first place and its subjecting many of the slave’s religious matters to his master’s discretion.

Answer

You write that you did not find your answer in volume six of “Al-Tafsir al-Mizan”; that the progressive human mind condemns slavery, which is to rob a human being of freedom; that slavery is not rational; that if Islam sanctioned the subjugation of the infidels to reform their souls in the Muslim society, for what sin were their children sentenced to the same plight in spite of their embracing Islam? To reply that Islam had established certain measures to facilitate their freedom is insufficient, for the main problem lies in sanctioning slavery in the first place. Evidently, the discussion I referred to in “Al-Tafsir al-Mizan” was not read with due attention. Thus, it seems necessary that I repeat the explanation.

To begin with, the human being, although endowed with the faculty of volition and thus a free creature, can never pursue his liberty uninhibited. As a social creature he is at all times bound by laws that are enacted to ensure the society’s wellbeing and as such he cannot enjoy unrestrained freedom. Therefore, human liberty is always confined within the framework of laws and regulations.

In other words, human freedom is partial not absolute. Common people in a society are not free in abiding by the laws of that society. In addition to this universal restriction on freedom, there are certain circumstances that to a large extent curtail personal freedom. The insane, the mentally incompetent [safih], and children may not exercise even the partial freedom that sane and competent adults enjoy. In the same vein, a society’s enemies and criminals are perforce deprived of their liberty.

The next issue to deal with is what bondage denotes, regardless of what word we may employ in designating it. Bondage denotes depriving an individual of freedom in making decisions and carrying them out. Obviously, the will and action of one so bound are considered the possession of another. This is the meaning of the slave trade that was so prevalent in previous times.

In pre-Islamic times, an individual could be enthralled in one of four ways: 1) the guardian of a family was entitled to sell his children into bondage, 2) a man could give his wife to another man either as a lease or as a gift, 3) the ruler of a people considered it his right to enslave at will whomever he desired (it was for this reason that kings were often referred to as “possessors of slaves”), 4) in times of war, soldiers of the vanquished army were at the mercy of the victorious party, who could enslave the enemy combatants, free them, or slay them.

Of the four ways, Islam abolished the first three by delimiting the rights of the parents and the husband and by advocating the spread of a just Islamic government. The fourth way, however, it sanctioned, for it would have been against human nature to do otherwise. No individual in his right mind would remain silent in facing an enemy intent upon effacing his identity and desecrating what he holds sacred. Similarly, he would not, after gaining victory, let his enemy free. He would, rather, subject his enemy to captivity (another name for bondage) unless exceptional circumstances or factors call for pardon.

This has been the dictate of human nature from time immemorial and will remain so as long as human nature remains unchanged. Thus, your claim that it is against reason for one human being to subjugate another is only correct in the case of the first three ways of enslavement, as was just explicated.

You have also said that the modern human mind deplores slavery. This statement, although you may have not consciously intended so, implies that the modern world—i.e., the West—condemns undermining individual liberty, which might be supported by the fact that 80 years ago11 and only after many a struggle a universal abolition of slavery was proclaimed, thus ostensibly removing this stigma from the face of humankind.

In doing so, the modern world held all other nations—including the Muslim nations, whose religion, it perceived, condoned slavery—beholden to it. One must, however, consider more carefully the extent to which the “humane” governments of the modern world have actually respected this universal abolition of slavery in practice.

It is true that the first two forms of slavery (i.e., selling one’s children or wife), which were prevalent in Africa and some other parts of the world, have been effectively abolished (of course, 12 centuries after Islam declared them illegitimate), but have the modern governments in question put an end to the third form, which Islam abolished along with the first two? Are not the millions of Asian and African people who have been suffering under Western imperialism for centuries, robbed of their independence and the fruits of their toil, in effect slaves of the modern governments? The only difference is the reluctance to employ the word ‘slavery’. But in point of fact, the harm pre modern slaveholders inflicted on individuals, the modern governments inflict on entire nations.

After the end of World War II, Western imperialist powers slowly granted liberty and independence to a number of their colonies whom they patronizingly deemed politically matured. But that only proved that they claimed liberty their prerogative (to say nothing of the reality of this ostensible liberty, which was merely a new name for the same bondage disguised in a different shape, as the brand of servitude with which these modern states had smeared the face of the oppressed would not easily be erased, not even if the water of the seven seas were consumed), depriving of independence the so-called barbarous and backward nations, treating them as slaves who must, as long as they exist, serve their masters, the standard-bearers of modern civilization.

Moreover, what path have these modern states pursued vis-à-vis the fourth form of slavery—to divest of freedom prisoners of war? This question may be answered by looking at the situation that followed the Second World War. The Allied Forces, after subduing their enemies and forcing them into an unconditional surrender, poured into the enemies’ countries, appropriating whatever they deemed useful of the enemies’ heavy industry.

They captured of the enemy all those whom they thought useful and killed at will those they thought dangerous, enforcing their domination on the defeated nations in every respect they perceived necessary. 

Today, 20 years since the end of the war, there is no indication that the subdued nations would enjoy total freedom in the near future. The problem of East Germany still persists, and German scientists are still being held in the Soviet Union against their will.

The Allied Forces did not limit their retributive measures to the adult and the able-bodied; they subjected the enemies’ children, including those born after the war, to the same bondage their parents were made to suffer. The fact that the adults fought the war did not relieve the children’s plight.

Their purported logic in such treatment was defending their very existence and safeguarding their future. The enemy cannot be forgiven right when it lays down its arms and yields to unconditional surrender, and its children cannot be exonerated, for subsequent generations are inextricably tied to their predecessors unless extraordinary circumstances sever such ties. This logic has been with human societies since time immemorial. It is the logic that still persists and will definitely endure, for it is unreasonable to pardon, out of pity, an enemy intent on one’s destruction.

In this light, Islam has also endorsed this natural human treatment vis-à-vis prisoner of war, resolving with courtesy, honesty, and kindness what secular governments achieve ruthlessly and unscrupulously through political stratagems. Thus, Islam is correct in sanctioning the captivity of hostile infidels, in its refusal to absolve them on the basis of their alleged conversion to Islam, and in its subjecting the children to the status of their parents, while at the same time providing for their comfort and facilitating their freedom with all possible means.

 

https://www.al-islam.org/islam-and-contemporary-man-muhammad-husayn-tabatabai/chapter-2-some-philosophic-and-scientific#question

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Question 11: I have free will to choose good or evil. But Allah knows what choice I will make. If that's true, then it means it doesn't matter what choice I try to make (because no matter what I do, Allah knows I will make X choice even though I'm trying to make Y choice). Thus X choice is imposed upon me no matter what I do... So where's the free will?

One of the satisfactory answers to this question was given by Mutahhary, he said that God’s prior knowledge is not separated from cause and effect system in the universe, that is, God’s prior knowledge of what will happen in the future is not separated from factors which lead to that specific fate or result, consequently, God’s knowledge doesn’t force any one to go through specific direction, rather, God knows that what direction will be chosen by every individuals at will not by force, its undeniable fact, that human will is one of the main factor to take an action and choose a direction in every step of our life. 

To clarify this fact I can give an example. Imagine that a person is going to travel to Europe next month, you and me are aware of his traveling. Now, can one say that our previous knowledge forced him to travel to Europe or change his mind? The answer is ‘’no’’ we know that he will travel at will.The case is the same with God’s prior knowledge.

With regards to the limits of free will against predestination, the teaching of the Ahlul Bayt is that the matter is in between the two (Neither compulsion nor complete freedom, but a matter in between the two). We have been created by Allah with free choice, so we are compelled to be free. At the same time all of our faculties, abilities and powers are from Allah and dependent on Him, so whatever we do is not outside of His will. 

A tradition in this regard:

From Imam Baqir and Imam Sadiq: Allah is more merciful to his creation than that He would compel them to sin and then punish them for it, and He is more mighty than that He would will something and it wouldn't happen. They were asked: Is there between compulsion and absolute freedom a third station? They replied: Yes, vaster than that which is between heaven and earth. (Al-Kafi, Book of Tawhid, section 30, hadith 9).

Saduq: 'Ali b. Ahmed b. Muhammad b. 'Imran narrated to us, he said: Narrated to us Muhammad b. Abi 'Abdillah al-Kufi, from Khanis b. Muhammad from Muhammad b. Yahya al-Khazaz from al-Fadhal b. 'Umar from Abi 'Abdillah Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq(as), he said: No Jabr(predestination) and no Tafweedh(absolute free will), but rather a matter in between the two(i.e in the middle of predestination and absolute free will). I said: And what is the matter that is between them? He(as) said: Just like a man that you see committing a certain sin then you order him to stop committing it. Yet he still persists in committing it(i.e he deliberately refuses to listen to you) so you abandon him. And him refusing to listen to you and then you abandoning him for that is not as if you have ordered him to commit the sin.

Commentary: This is implying that when you order him from committing the sin but he continues to persist in committing it and so you abandon him  would not be that you are the one who ordered him to commit the sin. The same case is with Allah Almighty. He forbids His slave from committing a sin but if the slave refuses to continue committing it then it's not as if He is the one who entered him upon the sin and forced it on it. Because Allah left him(i.e to make his own decision on whether he should continue committing the sin or not), so there is no Jabr(predestination). At the same time, He is also capable of preventing him from committing the sin if He wishes, so there is no Tafweedh(absolute free will).

Source: SC (paraphrased) posts of brother Al-Hassan and brother dawudansari2

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Question #12 One of the Imams was once asked, “What proof is there for the contingency of the world?” The Imam replied, “Behold the egg; it consists of two liquids from which both male and female chicks of various types develop. This is proof of the createdness of the world.” The reply seems to have convinced the questioner, for he remained silent. However, how does this reply prove the contingency of the world?

 

The egg’s composition of two distinct liquids and the generation of male and female chicks of various types from it indicate a higher cause. One cannot consider the numerous forms and shapes of this world, which produce so many tantalizing effects, illusory as the skeptics do. They are real: realities with distinct essences and properties. The orderly and intricate system that governs the interrelation of these realities leaves no doubt that their existence is not fortuitous and without a higher cause; they are realities contingent on a higher cause.

As the differences between the existents of this world are real, they cannot be attributed to simple and homogeneous matter. To try to salvage this hypothesis by proposing that the disparate forms may have come about by a difference in composition or motion of simple matter is in vain, for then the question will be, from where did the difference in composition and motion come? Thus, we have no choice but to conclude that the inherent dissimilarity of the various forms and shapes is due to a higher cause that transcends materiality and the material world.

The egg is no exception. Its complex combination and numerous properties evince its contingency on a higher cause. This truth holds true for all the existents and phenomena of the world, for they are all shaped out of prime matter, which is in its essence in need of a form, a shape. Thus, the entire material world with its expansive system is contingent on a higher cause.

 

https://www.al-islam.org/islam-and-contemporary-man-muhammad-husayn-tabatabai/chapter-2-some-philosophic-and-scientific#question

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Question #13  Is the world ever left without the presence of a representative of God?

The Almighty Allah in Surah 5, Ayah 19 states:

“O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Now has come to you Our Messenger (Muhammad) making (things) clear unto you, after a break in (the series of) Messengers, lest you say: “There came unto us no bringer of glad tidings and no warner. ” But now has come unto you a bringer of glad tidings and a warner.”
 

Also, in Ayah 6 of Surah 36 we recite:

“In order that you may warn a people whose forefathers were not warned, so they are heedless”.

From the above and similar Ayaat, the majority of our scholars conclude that the era between the ascension of Prophet Jesus (a.s) and our Holy Prophet (s) was the era of Fatra (break in series of Messengers). That means during that period God had not sent any Messengers. However, as the abovementioned Ayaat negate the existence of ‘a messenger’ (who would come with a new Message and Scripture) some scholars – such as Sh. Sadooq and Allamah Majlesi – suggested that there have been prophets without any official and public missions. They rely on some narrations to prove their points. For example, Sh. Al-Kolayni narrated from an unauthenticated person called Bashir al-Nabbal that Imam Sadiq (a.s) is quoted to have said:

While Allah’s Messenger was sitting a lady walked in. The Holy Prophet (s) welcomed her, took her hand and sat her down and said: (She is) the daughter of the prophet Khalid Ibn Senan.” (al-kaafi, 8:342)

However, as these narrations lack authenticity there is no unanimity on this opinion.

As for reconciliation between the abovementioned Ayaat and the narrations that confirm the earth will never be vacant of any ‘divine proof’ we need to bear in mind that:

1. The ‘divine proof’ is not limited to ‘a prophet or a messenger’. Their successors are also divine proofs on earth.

2. Besides, ‘the proof of God’ does not have to necessarily live among people. Therefore, Imam al-Mahdi (atfs) has been the ‘divine proof’ for the last 1200 years while in occultation. All Muslims believe that Khidr (a.s) is alive and has been alive since and perhaps before the time of Prophet Moses (a.s). Thus, it is possible for Khidr (a.s) to be the ‘divine proof’ during that era. Imam Ali (a.s) says in the third sermon of Nahjul-Balagha:

“Yes indeed, the earth will never be vacant from ‘someone who stands for Allah’s sake with a proof’ whether he be apparent or hidden.” (Nahjul-Balagha, maxim 147)

3. Also, as Muslims we believe Prophet Jesus (a.s) was not crucified and is still alive though in a kind of occultation.

And God knows best.

http://www.askthesheikh.com/is-the-world-ever-left-without-the-presence-of-a-representative-of-god/

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[MOD NOTE: For mature readers only.]

Question #14  Is Family Planning allowed in Islam? 

Family Planning in Islam

Family Planning in Islam 1

Family planning as a private measure to space or regulate the family size for health or economic reasons is permissible in Islam. There is neither any verse in the Qur`an or ĥadīth against birth control, nor is it obligatory to have children in marriage. Moreover, there are several ahadith which categorically prove that birth control is permissible.

It is narrated from Imām °Alī : “One of the two (means) of affluence is to have few dependents.”‘2

It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) : “(Imām) °Ali ibn al-°usayn saw no problem in coitus interruptus and he used to recite the verse that ‘When your Lord took from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their descendants…’3 So from whatsoever (seed) Allāh ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì has taken a covenant, it is sure to be born even if it is (spilled) on a hard rock.”4

According to the above tradition, creation is in the hand of Allāh ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì alone. Whether or not we practice birth control, if Allāh ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì wills, the child will be conceived.

In conclusion, the above aĥādith demonstrate that birth control is permissible.

Methods of Contraception

There are a number of different methods of contraception. The most commonly used ones will be examined below to determine whether their use is permissible in Islam or not. Permissibility has been determined by the definition of the beginning of pregnancy according to the Islamic point of view, which is when the fertilized ovum is implanted onto the lining of the uterus. Therefore, whatever prevents implantation is permissible and whatever terminates pregnancy after implantation is an abortion and haraam.

It is necessary to note that these methods have been studied from the fiqh point of view only. For the medical opinion about the reliability or possible side-effects of these methods, please consult your doctor.

Permissible Methods

The following methods do not involve surgical operation and are also reversible. A man or woman using these methods can stop using them at any time in order to conceive a child.

1. Oral Contraceptives

Birth control pills prevent conception by inhibiting ovulation. The pills alter hormonal levels and suppress the hormonal signal from the gland for the ovaries to release an ovum. These pills are taken orally on a precise schedule for 20 or more days during each menstrual cycle. Since all such pills inhibit ovulation, they are permissible; however, the individual must consult the physician about possible side-effects.

There are some pills which work after the intercourse has taken place, for example, the ‘morning-after pill’ or the recently developed RU486 pill. Again, since the use of such pills prevents implantation, it is permissible. Therefore, the pills like the ‘morning-after’ and RU486 may be taken after the intercourse BUT not after feeling or knowing that pregnancy has already occurred.

2. Depo-Provera

Depo-Provera works exactly like the pills, but instead of taking it orally it is injected once every three months. This and other similar contraceptive methods by injection are also permissible.

3. Intrauterie Devices (IUD)

IUDs are plastic or metal objects, in a variety of shapes, which are implanted inside the uterus. The medical experts do not exactly know how IUD works. Presently there are two opinions: one says that IUD prevents fertilization; and the other says that it prevents the fertilized ovum from implantation onto the uterus. Since the pregnancy begins at implantation according to the Islamic point of view, the use of IUD as a birth control device is permissible, irrespective of the above differences among the medical experts.

4. Barrier Devices

All barrier devices prevent the sperm from entering the uterus. This is done by sheathing the penis with a condom, or by covering the cervix with a diaphragm, cervical cap, or vaginal sponge. The use of spermicidal substances which kill the sperm before reaching the ovum is also a barrier device. All of these are permissible forms of birth control.

5. Abstinence during fertile period

There are three basic procedures to predict ovulation, in order to avoide sexual intercourse during the approximately six days of a woman’s most fertile monthly phase.

These three methods are as follows

a. Ovulation Method: A woman learns to recognize the fertile time by checking the difference in the constitution of the cervical mucus discharge. The cervical mucus discharge signals the highly fertile period; and thus avoiding sex during this time prevents conception.

b. Rhythm Method: A method similar to the first, but it depends on observing the monthly cycles for a whole year to determine the fertile days.

c. Temperature: In this method, besides keeping a calendar record of her cycle, a woman also takes her temperature daily to detect ovulation. She can know her ovulation whenever her basal body temperature increases.

NOTE: Another more advanced option is to predict ovulation using an ovulation test, which are designed to predict the most fertile days to become pregnant.

6. Withdrawal (Coitus Interruptus):

Coitus interruptus means withdrawing the penis just before ejaculation. This was the most common method of birth control before the invention of modern devices.

It is narrated that Muĥammad bin Muslim and °Abdur Raĥmān bin Abi °Abdillāh Maymun asked Imām as-Ŝādiq (as)  about withdrawal. The Imām said: “It is up to the man; he may spill it wherever he wants.”5

However, in another ĥadīth, Muĥammad bin Muslim narrated from fifth or the sixth Imām as follows: “In case of a slave-girl, it is allowed, however, in case of a free woman, I dislike it unless it had been so stipulated at the time of marriage.”6

Based on the above ahadith, the majority of our mujtahids believe that coitus interruptus is allowed but Makrūh without the wife’s consent.7

7. Sterilization

Sterilization involves surgical operation. Sterilization in men, known as a vasectomy, involves the severing or blocking of the tube in the male reproductive tract. This tube or duct passes sperm from the testes to the prostate and other reproductive organs.

Sterilization in women, known as tubal ligation, involves the blocking or severing of the fallopian tubes which transport the ovum.

Sterilization is not free from objection, although it is permissible if it does not entail the prohibited methods outlined below.8

Prohibited Methods

Any method of birth control is prohibited under the following circumstances:
a) When it poses serious harm to a woman’s health, such as removing certain organs like the ovaries.
b) When it involves a ĥarām act, such as a male touching or looking at the private parts of a woman that are forbidden for him to look at, is prohibited.

These conditions can only be overridden in extreme circumstances, when it is absolutely necessary.

Consent between husband and wife

According to the legal aspect of Islamic law, the wife has full right to the use of contraceptives, even without the consent and approval of her husband.9 However, she should not use a method which may come in the way of her husband’s conjugal rights. For example, she cannot force him to use a condom or practice coitus interruptus.

This rule is based upon the principle that the extent of the husband’s conjugal rights over his wife is just that she should be sexually available, responsive, and cooperative. This right does not extend to that of bearing children for him. Bearing children or not is a personal decision of the woman, and therefore, she may use contraceptives such as pills, injections or cleansing of the vagina after intercourse as they do not interfere with her husband’s conjugal rights.

Conversely, the husband has no right to force his wife not to get pregnant if she wants to, by forcing the use of pills, injections or the use of an IUD. However, he is permitted to use a condom as long as he has obtained her consent for that. Additionally, he does have the right to do so by practising coitus interruptus during intercourse.

On a practical level however, such decisions are best made with mutual consultation between the husband and the wife; otherwise, it could lead to misunderstanding and mistrust. The legal aspect is to protect the basic rights of women, but in the real world, man and woman must base their life on love, mercy and cooperation as it is stated in Surat al-Rūm (30), Verse 21:

 وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً 

“And He ordained affection and mercy between you.”

Chapter 4: Family Planning

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Question #15: Whereas we know that the children born due to illegal relations have no role in their illegitimacy and have not committed any sins, then also according to Islamic traditions they are not treated fairly. And they are not allowed to take the important posts like that of a judge, Imam-e-Jamat and Maraja etc.

Why a person who has not committed any sin, just because the fault of his parents, should be ill-treated and kept away from important posts in the society?

Some people also say that such children will neither go to Paradise nor see any goodness. Is it right? Whereas we also know that Allah will not write one person's sin in another person's account?

And no soul earns (evil) but against itself, and no bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another…1

Answer: Before we give the answer it is necessary to discuss the following points which are the basis of this topic and then we can conclude from it.

(1)    Due to illegal relationship, the relation between father and son is finished from the point of view of law and economics and thus it cuts off the family relationship and sentiments, which is the basis of a society. Sometimes the female doesn't know that from the sperm of which man she had become pregnant.

In this way a child does not know his father, grandfather, grandmother and relatives. And generally many ethical, psychological, social, training, family, financially and sentimental defects come into existence because of it. This is the reason that the Holy Prophets (s.a.w.a.) and laws makers of the society prohibited things, which are against sanctity; the Shari’ah also prohibits the illegal relationship.

(2) In every community there are rules of marriage; that is why to establish illegal relationships is against the law. This is the reason that the person doing this type of deed feels guilty due to this, which stems from the sinful soul and has bad results, which arise from this type of deed.

And when a person repeats this deed or due to other factors the guilt of the person becomes less or if the fornicator does not have the feeling of guilt, then also there is a thief present in his inner self, and he become ill mannered, breaks the law, and deviates.

(3) According to the law of inheritance, like the other physical effects, inner qualities and thinking of the mother and father is also transferred to the children. In the same way the special traits of the parents are transferred to children like the color of eyes, hair, shape of the eyebrows etc.

In reality inheritance is the base for a person's future and makes the personality of an individual and prepares the ground for them for their good or bad fortune.

From these points we can derive the following results:

Illegitimate children inherit bad manners, breaking of laws and sins from their parents. For them the ground for sins and crime is more feasible. As compared to others they are more prepared for sins and if they personally get wrong training or if the environment is not good, then it is enough for them that their polluted soul, like sparks beneath the ash become fire and burn their good fortune.

As for the question about social posts for illegitimate persons, it is a logical precaution for the protection of social good on the basis of whatever is said above about their psychological state.

Islam gives much importance to persons who are supposed to take these social posts, for acquiring the confidence of the people. Therefore those families which have some defects or whose past is not praiseworthy have been deprived of posts that require spiritual purity.

But we should not be that a person of illegitimate birth has the license to commit all sins and go against the Shari’ah, and that he be deprived of true Islamic teachings and training, and he by following the right principles cannot be fortunate - No, it is not like that.

Illegitimate children also like natural and lawful children are free to choose the right or wrong path. They also with their intentions and powers can choose the path of righteousness and goodness and acquire salvation and be one of the Heavenly people. It is not that they are born criminals and at any cost cannot be freed from the web of crimes and sins, but as Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said:

When an illegitimate child is prepared to perform his duties and able to do work of training, if his deeds are good he will get rewards for it and if he does bad he will be punished.

Although the rebellious nature of illegitimate children (which have more interest and are more inclined to break the laws and commit sins) makes it difficult for them to avoid sin, and it is also difficult for them to perform their duties, but if they go against their desires and follow the orders of Almighty and right principles they will be given the best of the rewards.

That is why Islam reproaches illegitimate children. It is so, to make them aware that they are facing a dangerous situation; they should fulfill their duties, remain away from sins and take precautions. It doesn't mean that knowledge and training has no effect on them and they will certainly go to Hell.

In other words those children who are illegitimately born are like those children who are born to the parents having diseases (T.B, and sexual disorders). These children have more chances of contracting these diseases and if they are not cured as early as possible they are more likely to get these diseases. This is the reason that to protect the interest of the people, those children who are possible to contract the disease of T.B. should not be given whatever food and other things are available.

Like the ill parents, illegitimate children are also prepared to break the laws and fall into crime if their training and studies are not provided in the right environment and healthy intentions. It is possible they may fall into a great depth and ally with the criminals. For those reasons, in order to protect the social cause, precautions should be taken that they remain away from some posts.

Although it is wrong as some people think that illegitimate children will never be happy, lucky and acquire salvation. They can also be fortunate and happy like other people, but as we have told earlier their inner self in comparison to others is not favorable for this; that is why they should be stricter and take more precautions.

Just as it is not necessary that consumptive person's son should also be consumptive; maybe he follows the rules of health becomes stronger than other people and may remain away from the diseases. The result is that the ground for sins is not necessarily proof for doing them but with strong intentions and good training it can be avoided.

It is important to mention that such illegitimate children if they remain staunch on the good path can acquire higher positions and a better life because they have practiced more self control.

1. Surah Anam 6:164

https://www.al-islam.org/philosophy-islamic-laws-nasir-makarim-shirazi-jafar-subhani/question-15-why-illegitimate-children

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Question #16: Who is a kafir? Are they najis?

The Kafirs

What is the meaning of “kafir?” Kafir (pl. kuffar) means an infidel, an unbeliever as opposed to a Muslim, a believer. “Muslim” is defined as a person who believes in Oneness of God, prophethood of Prophet Muhammad, and the Day of Judgment. A person who rejects any of these three principles is a kafir.

From Muslims' perspective, the kuffar are divided into two main groups: kafir dhimmi and kaf'ir harbi. “Kafir dhimmi” is a kafirwho lives under the protection of an Islamic government. “Kafirharbi” is a kafir who does not have such a protection. I must also mention a third, but rare, category of kafir: murtad. “Murtad” means an apostate; there are two types of murtad: “Murtad fitri” a person who was born of a Muslim parent, but then declared his disbelief in Islam. “Murtad milli” a non­ Muslim who had accepted the religion of Islam and then apostates from it.

While discussing the ritual purity or impurity of the non-Muslims, the mujtahids divide all the kuffar--dhim­mi, harbi, murtad fitriand milli-into two distinct groups: mushrik and ahlu '1-kitab.

Mushrik (pl. mushrikin) means a polytheist, a person who believes that God has partner(s). It is used for the idol-worshippers also. The followers of Hinduism, of most far eastern religions and of the tribal religions fall in the category of mushrikin. Ahlu ' l-kitab means the people of the Book; it is a name given to those who believe in any of the Books revealed by Allah before the Qur'an. Under Islamic system, the Ahlu '1-kitab have a preferred status in comparison to other non-Muslims. The people who are unanimously counted as Ahlu '1-kitab are: the Jews, the Christians and the Zoroastrians.

As for the mushrikfn, the mujtahids are unanimous that they are najis. This is so because Allah has clearly declared in the Qur'an that:

“O you who believe! The polytheists (mushrikun) are indeed unclean; therefore, they should not approach the Sacred Mosque after this year of theirs (i.e., 9 AH).” (9:28)

Some Muslims try to interpret the word “unclean” in spiritual sense only. They are wrong because one cannot ignore the literal meaning of a word unless the context supports the departure from a literal to a symbolic meaning. The context of the verse does not leave any room for an exclusively symbolic or spiritual interpretation of the word “unclean.” It immedi­ately says that “they should not approach the Sacred Mosque.” This reflects the physical uncleanliness. How­ever, our interpretation does not exclude the spiritual impurity of the mushrikin along side the physical, ritual impurity.

When we move on to the Ahlu ' 1-kitab, we find that the mujtahids disagree about their ritual purity or im­purity. There are three different views on the Ahlu 1-kitab.

(1) A minority group says that the Ahlu '1-kitab are pure and tahir, just like Muslims. To this group belong the late Ayatullah al-`uzma Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim at ­Tabataba'i (d. 1970) and the late Ayatullah ash-Shahid Sayyid Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr (d. 1980). 10

(2) The majority view says that the Ahlu '1-kitab have become corrupt in their beliefs and are not different from mushrikin; therefore, they are najis. Those who belong to this group from the present mujtahids are: Ayatullah al-`uzma Sayyid Ruhullah al-Musawi al-Khumayni and Ayatullah al-`uzma Sayyid Muhammad Riza al­Gulpaygani. 11

(3) The third group is of those mujtahids who theoretically agree with the first view but when it comes to issuing a fatwa for their followers, they tread on the path of precaution and side with the majority. The most prominent among this group is the Ayatullah al­`uzma Sayyid Abu '1-Qasim al-Musawi al-Khu'i.

Ayatullah al-Khu'i, in his lectures on fiqh, says: “It is apparent from what we have discussed above that the purity (taharat) of the Ahlu '1-kitab was taken for granted by the narrators of hadithtill the end of the era of our Imams [i. e., till the minor occultation], and whatever they asked the Imams concerning the works of the Ahlu '1­kitab was just because of the doubts they had about external najasat which might have affected them.

“Therefore, it is difficult to give a fatwa on basis of the ahadithwhich apparently say that the Ahlu '1-kitab are najis; however, on the other hand, to gave a ruling on basis of the ahadith which say that they are tahir is even more difficult because the majority of our jurist companions, both from the early days and the later days, believe in the najasat of Ahlu '1-kitab. And so there is no escape from a binding precautionary measure on this issue.” 12And there­fore we see that while issuing the fatwa for his followers, Ayatullah al-Khu'i writes, “As for the kiadbi (kafir), the famous view says that he is najis; and it is precautionarily necessary (to consider him as such).” 13

With all due respect to the great marja ' of our time, I would just repeat what the famous mujtahid of the 10th Islamic century, ash-Shahid ath-Thani Shaykh Zaynu'd ­Din al-`Amili, said on this issue: “To act in contradiction to the majority view is difficult but to agree to their view without any convincing proof is even more difficult.” 14

Irrespective of the view to which I am inclined, the reader is advised to follow the opinion of his own mujtahid on this issue.

There are three other groups -ghulat, nawasib, and khawarij- who are also considered kafir and najis by the Shi'ah fiqh, in spite of the fact that these groups were off shoots of Muslims during the early stage of the Islamic history.

Ghulat (s. ghali) are those who declare their faith in Islam but exaggerate in their beliefs about some prophets or Imams, e.g., those who believe that an Imam is an incarnation of God. This is against the fundamental belief of Islam that God cannot incarnate into anyone or any­thing.

Nawasib (s. nasibi) are those who declare their faith in Islam but display enmity toward the Ahlu'1-bayt (peace be upon them). This goes completely against the Qur'anic order which says,

“(O Muhammad) say, `I do not ask from you any reward for it(i.e., conveying the message) except the love for my near ones.” (42:23)

The Prophet has said, “Whosoever dies in enmity to the family of Muhammad, dies as an unbeliever (kafir). Whosoever dies in enmity to the family of Muhammad, will not smell the scent of Paradise.” 15 However, one must realize that if a person is not a Shi'ah Muslim it does not automatically follow that he also hates our Imams. There are many Sunnis who do not believe in our Imams as the leaders and the caliphs after the Prophet, but neither do they hate them---on the contrary many of them respect and even love the Imams of the Ahlu '1-bayt.

Khawarij (s. khariji) are those who rebelled against Imam 'Ali bin Abi
Talib in the battle of Siffin. Finally, Imam 'Ali had to fight against them in the battle known as Naharwan. They believed that Imam 'Ali had become a kafir by accepting the intermediaries during the battle against Mu`awiyah. The verse and the hadith mentioned above is equally applicable to the khawarij, and therefore, they are also kafir and najis.

There is one more category of a kafir. The person who rejects the unanimously accepted tenets of Islam (for example, the obligation of salat or haj), is also regarded as a kafir and najis. Such a person will become kafir provided he realizes that rejecting such Islamic tenets amounts to believing that the Qur'anic verses on salat and hajj are not part of Allah's Book, and this in turn means that Prophet Muhammad had not been faithful in fulfilling the mission of Allah. In short, such a person becomes a kafir only if he realizes the consequence of his rejection of the unanimously accepted tenets of Islam. However, one must note that negligence and rejection are two different things; so if a person believes in the unanimously accepted tenets of Islam but neglects them, he is not a kafir, he is only a sinner.

Footnotes at the source

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Question #17: Why is the word 'Ibrahim' in Surah al-Baqarah spelled differently than it is in every other surah?

There is an expression in the science of calligraphy of the Holy Quran علم رسم الخط that is called: فرش الحروف It means there are certain words (الحروف here means الکلمات) that there is no proper rule for writing them, the scribes have relied on the way the Prophet (P) has pronounced them. For example, the word ایِها is usually with الف at the end of it, but in three different parts of the Quran it is written without it, like in Surat al-Rahman سنفرغ لکم ایهّ الثقلان, why? Because the Prophet (P) has recited it like that. The term Ibrahim is also another example.

In fact, this is another miracle and proof that the present Quran is exactly as it was revealed to the Prophet (P) and the Scribes of the revelation did not make any changes in it, rather they wrote it down as heard from the holy lips of the Prophet (P).

Source

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Question #18: When was "hasten his reappearance" added to 'salawat' (greetings) and what was the reason behind it?

An inquiry into the traditions reveals that the phrase “hasten his reappearance” or “may Allah hasten their reappearance” was added to salawat in the time of the Holy Prophet (S) and pure Imams (AS). Here are a few reports to mention:
1. In a supplication named “Dua-e Hariq”[1] reported by Imam Sadiq (AS) from the imams before him it has been stated that Gabriel descended upon the Prophet of Islam (S) and taught him this supplication[2] which reads partially as such: “…اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ أَهْلِ بَيْتِهِ الطَّيِّبِينَ وَ عَجِّلِ اللَّهُمَّ فَرَجَهُم …”[3] O Allah send blessings and benediction upon Muhammad and his pure household. O Allah, hasten their reappearance….
2. Imam Hussein (AS) narrates a supplication from Imam Ali (AS) part of which reads as such:
«الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعالَمِينَ وَ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَى طَيِّبِ الْمُرْسَلِين ... ‏صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ عَجِّلْ فَرَجَهُم‏...».[4]
Ishaq bin Ammar says, “I said to Imam Sadiq (AS) that I was afraid of scorpions. Imam (AS) after mentioning certain manners, said: “Say thrice: “«اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّ أَسْلَمَ‏ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ عَجِّلْ‏ فَرَجَهُمْ‏...» [5]
4. In another tradition Imam Sadiq (AS) says: “Whoever says after Dawn and Midday prayers: «اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ عَجِّلْ‏ فَرَجَهُمْ‏»، He will not die except that he will live in the time of the reappearance of the Riser from the family of the Prophet (S). [6]
Amr bin Abi Meghdam says: “Imam Sadiq (AS) taught me a dua and said: “The good of the world and the hereafter are gathered in this dua. Part of the dua reads:
«اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ عَجِّلْ‏ فَرَجَهُمْ‏ وَ رُوحَهُمْ وَ رَاحَتَهُمْ وَ سُرُورَهُمْ وَ أَذِقْنِي طَعْمَ فَرَجِهِمْ وَ أَهْلِكْ أَعْدَاءَهُمْ مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَ الْإِنْس»[7]
The reason has been to appeal for getting rid of grief and sorrow and to ask for ease in the affairs of the AhlulBayt (AS).

Footnotes at the Source

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Question #19: What is the iddah for women?

IV. The Waiting Period ('Idda)

When a woman is divorced or her husband dies, she must wait for a prescribed period of time before she can remarry.

If the woman's husband has died, the waiting period differs according to whether or not she is pregnant; if she is not, she must wait four months and ten days. Such things as her physical maturity, whether or not she has reached menopause, and whether or not the marriage has been consummated are irrelevant.

If the woman is pregnant, according to the Sunnis her waiting period terminates when she gives birth to the child; according to the Shi’a , she must wait either four months and ten days or the term of her pregnancy, whichever is longer.72

If a woman's husband should be away on a journey when she hears of his death, according to the Sunni schools her waiting period begins on the date of his death; the Shi’a hold that it begins on the day she receives the news.73

The waiting period for divorce differs according to circumstances and the views of the different schools. A woman with whom the marriage has not been consummated has no waiting period. A girl less than nine years old has no waiting period according to the Hanbalis and the Shi’a; but the Malikis and Shafi'is hold that if she was mature enough to participate in sexual relations, she must wait three months; the Hanafis hold that in any case her waiting period is three months.

A woman who has gone through menopause must wait three months in the view of the Sunni schools, but the Shi’a say that she has no waiting period. A woman who menstruates and who is not pregnant must wait either three tuhrs (periods of purification after menstruation) according to the Shi’a , Malikis, and Shafi'is, or three menstrual periods according to the Hanafis and Hanbalis. A woman who is old enough to menstruate but who does not or who is in the state of mustaraha must wait three months. A woman who is pregnant must wait until she has delivered her child.74

Footnotes at the source

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Question #20: Why does Allah hate divorce so much?

Considering the antithesis between divorce and marriage, in order to learn of the reason why Allah hates divorce so much, we must first see why marriage bears so much significance in His eyes.[1]

In the Quran, the creation of people in pairs has been mentioned as one of Allah’s signs, which is a means of their peace and calm.[2] In the narrations of the infallibles also, marriage bears great significance, to the extent that the prophet of Islam (pbuh) says: “No institution has been established in Islam more beloved to Allah than marriage.”[3]

In addition, one of the benefits of marriage is procreation and the continuation of the human race. Thus, since divorce is the termination of marriage and it is by divorce’s means that the family is torn apart, and in some cases, the children, who once felt the warm hand of the mother and father stroking their heads, are left without someone to take care of them that they can go to and are left to themselves, and it is usually these same children who end up being criminals and felons in society. These and other reasons, such as divorce contradicting the philosophy of creation are why Allah despises divorce so much.

Of course, please do note that divorce is despised when it is done without an acceptable excuse,[4] but if there is a good excuse for divorce, it will no longer be hated, and that is what divorce is for; for when there is no other way out.

Notes at the site:

http://www.islamquest.net/en/archive/question/fa20162

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Question #21: What about dreams? 

The Prophet(S) said, 'When any of you sees a good dream, then go ahead and interpret it and inform others of it, and if you see a bad dream, then neither interpret it, nor inform others of it.'

Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, 'There are three types of dreams: glad tidings from Allah for the believer, ominous dreams from Satan, and muddled dreams.'

Imam al-Rida (AS) said, 'When the Prophet (S) used to wake up in the morning, he used to first ask his companions, 'Are there any good news?' meaning any good dreams.'

http://www.hadith.net/en/post/33930/dreams/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

They [spiritual philosophers] state that dreams are of several kinds:

- Dreams that are related to the bygones, inclinations and desires - and these constitute a major portion of man's dreams.

- Dreams that are distressing and incoherent; these are an outcome of delusion and imagination (although it is possible that they could possess psychological reasons)

- Dreams that are related to the future and provide information in connection with it.

Undoubtedly, dreams that are related to the past and the embodiment of the scenarios that man has seen in the course of his life do not possess any particular interpretation.

Similarly, distressing dreams - technically referred to as أََضْغاَثُ أََحْلاَم - which are an outcome of disturbing thoughts and are similar to the thoughts that manifest themselves for man in the state of delirium, too cannot possess any particular interpretation in connection with the future issues of life.

As for the dreams that are related to the future, they too are of two kinds: One kind consisting of dreams that are plain, clear and explicit, and which do not require any interpretation whatsoever; and amazingly enough, at times, materializing exactly as witnessed either in the near or distant future - without the slightest of differences.

The second kind are those dreams which prophesize future events but, due to the influence of certain mental and spiritual factors, have undergone a change of form and hence need to be interpreted.

https://www.al-islam.org/180-questions-about-islam-vol-2-various-issues-makarim-shirazi/18-what-reality-dreams

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you have a dream that is bad or scary, ask Allah for help and do not mention your dream to anyone except to a trained professional, such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, alim or sheikh.

If you have a good dream, then thank Allah and keep it to yourself or tell someone that you trust who won't backbite you.

In all cases, you can give sadaqah (charity). 

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Question #22a: Is sarcasm okay?

Sarcasm

Sarcasm is to imitate people’s words, deeds, or gestures so as to degrade or mock at them. Because such deeds of sarcasm create enmity, malice, and spoiling of the social relations, Islam has forbidden them. It is quite strange for one to mimic, degrade, or find fault with a believer sarcastically since every individual, except the Sinless¹, must have some defects. Besides, every man may become the target of sarcasm and mimicry.

“Believers, let not a group of you mock another. Perhaps they are better than you. Let not women mock each other; perhaps one is better than the other. Let not one of you find faults in another nor let anyone of you defame another. How terrible is the defamation after having true faith. Those who do not repent are certainly unjust (49:11).”

“The sinners had been laughing at the believers. When passing by them, they would wink at one another and, on returning to their people, boast about what they had done. On seeing the believers, they would say, "These people have gone astray" (83:29-32).”

The Prophet (S) said: “Do not inspect the flaws of the believers. Allah will surely inspect the flaws of him who inspects the believers’ flaws. Allah will surely uncover the flaws of him whom He inspects, even if he hides himself in the middle of his house².”

Imam as-Sadiq AS said: “For him who mimics a believer for the purpose of disgracing him, abusing his personality, and making people disrespect him, Allah will dismiss him from His custody to the Shaitan’s, who, too, will not accept him³.”

It is related that, “Allah hides His disciples among His servants; hence, you should not disregard any of the servants of Allah, for it happens that he is one of the disciples of Allah while you do not know his reality.”

Footnotes at the source:

https://www.al-islam.org/ahlul-bayt-ethical-role-models-sayyid-mahdi-sadr/sarcasm

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Question #22b: What legal reference do we have for Eid Nowruz?

Eid Nowruz is one of the holidays that Persian speaking countries like Iran and other neighboring countries celebrate along with Kurdish speaking people in Iraq, Turkey and Syria.

This eid is an ancient one, marked and celebrated before the emergence of Islam.

Among the references that we have available, we weren’t able to find a hadith or saying from a faqih regarding this holiday before Sheikh Tusi (460 H.), who has narrated a hadith in Misbah Al-Mutehajjid from Mu’alla bin Khanees, from Imam Sadeq (as): On the day of Nowruz do ghusl and put on your cleanest and purest clothing, use perfume and fast for the day. After praying the nawafil (extra recommended prayer) and dhuhr and asr prayers perform four raka’ts of prayer. In the first raka’t recite Surah Hamd once and Surah Al-Qadr ten times, in the second raka’t recite Surah Hamd once and Surah Al-Kaferun ten times, in the third raka’t recite Surah Hamd once and Surah Attawhid ten times and in the fourth raka’t recite Surah Hamd once and Surah Annas and Surah Al-falaq both ten times and after prayer go to sajdah and do shukr (thanks) to Allah and ask Him to forgive the sins of fifty years of your life.[1]

Yet again, in Muhadhab, the same narrator narrates that Imam Sadeq (as) said: Nowruz is the same day that the Prophet (saw) got baya’t (allegiance) for Amir Al-Mu’mineen (as) on the day of Ghadir and everyone acknowledged his wilayah and those who remained loyal to it are blessed and those who broke it are doomed and it is also the same day the messenger of Allah (saw) sent Ali to the valley of jinn to get their pact and the day of his victory over the people of Nahrawaan and the day he killed Dhu-Thadiyyah. It is the day our Qaa’em (The Awaited One) of our progeny will emerge with his companions and may God defeat the Dajjal with his hands and hang him on the synagogues of Kufah. Nowruz never comes without us unless we anticipate relief and deliverance in it, because it originally belonged to us, but the Persians maintained it and you ruined it. (He then continued) a prophet from Bani Israel (the children of Israel) asked the Lord to revive thousands of people who had fled from their homes out of fear of death that had died, so God revealed to him to sprinkle water on them and that day he poured water on them and they amazingly came back to life; they were 30 thousand individuals, from that day on, sprinkling water became a tradition and only the knowledgeable are aware of its origin and that day was the first day of the Persian calendar. Mua’lla says: (The Imam (as)) dictated this to me and I wrote it down.[2]

The majority of late faqihs have acted according to this hadith and therefore given the fatwa to the fadhilah (recommendation) of ghusl (ritual washing) on the day of Nowruz. The author of Jawaher states: the recommendation of ghusl on the day of Nowruz is popular among the late scholars based on the hadith of Mua’lla bin Khanees from Imam Sadeq (as) that has been narrated from Misbah, in addition to the fact that we have not seen any opposition to this issue.[3]

However, the late Ayatullah Khu’i has not accepted the hadith since it is mursal (a hadith whose chain of transmitters lacks one or more narrators) and asserts that: The hadith of Mua’lla bin Khanees is mursal and therefore unacceptable unless one accepts the rule of Tasamuh fi Adillah al-Sunan which we don’t concede to.[4]

Based on the above we cannot introduce this eid as a completely religious one.

Although, we must note the question that assuming that Allah has not introduced and announced this eid as an Islamic eid, has he forbidden us from celebrating it and considered it to be haram?

In response: Ibn Shahr ashub has mentioned a hadith in his book, Manaqeb that says: it has been narrated that Mansur Dawaneqi had sent a messenger to Imam Musa bin Ja’far (as) to ask him to be present in a ceremony and sit beside him while the people would bring gifts for the occasion of Nowruz. The Imam replied: I reviewed the ahadith of my forefather, the Messenger of Allah and didn’t find any hadith for this occasion, this is a Persian tradition that Islam has put an end to, and we seek refuge to Allah to revive something that has been diminished by Islam.

Mansur said: We merely celebrate this day as a political approach to keep our army content and I swear you to Allah to attend the ceremony and sit beside me. His holiness attended and the ministers, commanders, lieutenants and army men would bring gifts and greet them….[5]

It is evident that the value of this hadith is weak and unacceptable because Ibn Shahr Ashub has not mentioned the chain of narrators and starts it with “و حکی (and he recounted)” and this proves it to be unreliable.

We must note that the issue of celebrating Eid Nowruz was a common and frequent matter that would have been explicitly mentioned and forbidden with emphasis by the imams (as) in the case of them not approving of it. Clearly, there would be mention of Nowruz in the presence of the imams, but they wouldn’t forbid it and count it as falsehood.[6] Without doubt we cannot rely on a single hadith, given that it is also mursal, to eliminate a long known and well rooted tradition. Hence, this matter must be categorized among the mubahat (things that which are permissible) especially because this time coincides with the renewing days of nature’s astonishing beauty, God’s greatness and the reviving of life which is reminiscent of the resurrection. Moreover, on these days, people perform rituals that are religiously encouraged, such as: cleaning the house, visiting relatives and family, celebration by the  mu’mineen (believers), removing enmity and hatred between each other, freeing prisoners, etc. Yes, there are a few traditions like jumping over fire that not only do we not have any Islamic proof of their legitimacy, we must actually try our best to abolish them for they are superstition (made up rituals that are not backed by religion) rather than acts of religion.

Regarding this issue, as a good ending for this article, Imam Ali (as) says that: Every day in which we do not disobey Allah, that day is eid.[7]

Footnotes at the source:

http://www.islamquest.net/en/archive/question/fa5132

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Question #23: Why is the inheritance of women half that of men?

In a tradition, Imam Ja’far b. Muhammad as-Sadiq (ع) was asked as to why women take one portion of inheritance when we see that they are weaker than men and they are more in need of help than them? Why is it that a man, who is stronger than a woman and whose body is more powerful than hers should get a double share of inheritance? Imam Ja’far b. Muhammad as-Sadiq (ع) replied that the reason for this is that a man has more responsibilities and he must go to war, enduring many expenses in the process. Aside from his own expenses, a man must also take upon himself the expenses of his spouse and children. What’s more, he must give money to the family of a person accidentally injured by one of his family members.

In another tradition, Imam Ja’far b. Muhammad as-Sadiq (ع) emphasized the fact that it is the man which must give dowry to the woman—this being a recompense to the loss incurred by her in her inheritance.

Islam’s position on inheritance is in reality to the benefit of the woman. In the Age of Ignorance, the daughters and wives of the deceased were deprived of inheritance and all of the wealth of the deceased went to his sons. Islam, however, came and annulled the laws of the ignorant times and made women amongst the inheritors of the deceased. From its inception, Islam gave women an independence in ownership and monetary matters, this being a matter that has only but recently entered the laws of European nations.

Even though apparently the inheritance of a man is double that of a woman, when we probe into the matter more thoroughly, we find that the inheritance of a woman is two times that of a man. The responsibilities that have been placed on the shoulders of men necessitates that they spend half of their income on women. Any given man is obligated to spend money on his spouse’s home, clothes, food, and other expenses, while the cost of living of himself and his children are on his shoulders.

[More information at the source.]

Difference in inheritance of women and men in Islamic Jurisprudence

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