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Important Questions - ANSWERED!

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Question #24: Was Prophet Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha a pedophilic relationship?

A friend of mine is very anti-Islam and has a very negative attitude towards Islam and Muslims. One of his arguments is about the age of Aisha, one of the Prophet’s wives. He says that she was only 9 years old when the Prophet Muhammad married her, while he was much older, and hence this was a pedophilic relationship (God forbid).

What can be said about this?

Answer:

Please consider the following points in reply to the above allegations and accusations:

1. Women have traditionally married at younger ages than men, although the average age of marriage has increased for both sexes with time.

2. If Prophet’s marriage to a 9 year old girl is pedophilia then the history of western countries has recorded a lot of pedophilic relations. Margaret Beaufort (mother of Henry VII of England) was married to John de la Pole at the age of 7 in 1450. Likewise, Anne de Mowbray, 8th Countess of Norfolk, was married to Richard of Shrewsbury, the first Duke of York at the age of 6 in 1477. Also, Margarethe of Austria; the daughter of Emperor Maximilian I, was not even 3 years old when she became the fiancée of the French Crown prince Charles! And the list goes on.

3. Historically girls were married at a much younger age than nowadays. Such marriages were more proxy marriages and the girl would be betrothed with the consent of her father.

4. As for the age of Aisha – the wife of the holy Prophet Muhammad (s) – at the time of her marriage, unlike the common mistake, she was most likely around 17 years of age for the following reasons:

a. Historians asserted that her older sister ‘Asma’ was 10 years older than her (Ibn Katheer, vol.8 p.345). Asma was born 25 years before the migration of the holy Prophet (s). That means her younger sister in the year of the Prophet’s migration was 15 years old.

b. Bukhari (vol. 3, pl. 3606) quoted from Aisha that she was engaged to the holy Prophet (s) 3 years after the demise of his first wife ‘Khadija’, which is the first year of his migration, when Aisha was 15 years old. The holy Prophet (s) married Aisha two years later when Aisha would be 17 years of age.

Source

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Question #25: What do we say when others spread that Rajab is not special and amal is bid’a (innovations)?

Laylatul Raghaib is said to be a special night that falls on the first Thursday night of the month of Rajab.

Some believers have recently been circulating a message that says:

– There is no narration about the amaal of Laylatul Raghaib from any of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).

– There is one weak tradition without an authentic chain of narrators.

– This tradition is by a certain Anas who is known to have been a fierce enemy of Imam Ali (a.s.) and even denied that Ghadeer ever occurred.

It has been narrated by Imam Sadiq (as) in Al Khisal that Anas ibn Malik was one of the 3 fabricators of hadith, along with Abu Hurayra and a certain woman.

Furthermore, Sunni commentators and narrators such as Ibn Taymiyyah say that the hadith of Laylatul Raghaib (The Night of Wishes) is fabricated and that the amaal (worshipping acts) of Laylatul Raghaib are bid’a (innovations). They go as far as to say there is no special day in the month of Rajab.

Please comment.

Answer:

1- It is not enough to reject a hadith if it is mursal (its chain of narrators back to the ma’soom is incomplete). The text of a hadith is more important than its chain of narrators. Many hadiths form the basis of fiqh fatwas (jurisprudential edicts) and yet may not have authentic narrators.

2- Nor is it enough to have a well-known chain of narrators while the content of the hadith is contradictory. It was a common practice of fabricators to quote the names of famous narrators to legitimise their fabrications.

3- If one were to only use the concept of narrators being weak, this would render almost 90% of the mustahab (recommended) practices of Islam invalid.

4- Allamah Hilli looked at the content of hadiths, and if they were not contradictory to the principles of Islam, they were accepted.

5- There is a principle in Jurisprudence (‘Leniency with regards to the evidence of Mustahabbat’) that states that if you are told of a recommended act and you performed it, you will be rewarded even if in reality the Prophet (s) had not said this.

6- There are numerous hadiths – that were relied upon by jurists – that are muwassaq (narrated by Sunni narrators), yet the narrators were considered truthful. Anas ibn Malik may have narrated this hadith from the Holy Prophet (s) before he deviated.

7- Some of the current maraaje (jurisprudential authorities) are not convinced of the abovementioned principle. They cannot therefore confirm that the hadith on Laylatul Raghaib fits the technical definition of mustahab (recommended). They however suggest it be approached with the intention of raj’a matlubiyyah (do it with the hope that it may be a Godly desired act). So this is far from considering this hadith as a bid’a (innovation), especially as they continue to narrate and recommend such actions extensively in their risalah (book of jurisprudential edicts).

8- The narrations that Anas ibn Malik was a fabricator are mursal hadith too.

Source

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Question #26: What is the procedure of ghusl e janabat?

Manner of Performing Ghusl

Ghusl is a ritual bath; it involves washing of the whole body. There are two methods of performing ghusl. One is known as ghusl tartibi, and the other is known as ghusl irtimasi.

Ghusl Tartibi:

“Ghusl tartibi” means an ordinal bath, performed in three stages.
After washing away the najasat (e.g., semen or blood) from the body and after niyyat, the body has to be washed in three stages: First, head down to the neck; then the right side of the body from the shoulder down to the foot; and lastly, the left side of the body.
Each part should be washed thoroughly in such a way that the water reaches the skin. Special care should be taken while washing the head; the hair should be combed (e.g., with your fingers) so that water reaches the hair-roots. While washing the right side of the body, some part of the left side must be washed too, and also, while washing the left side of the body, some part of the right side must be washed.

Ghusl Irtimasi:

“Ghusl irtimasi” means a bath involving immersion of the whole body in the water. It is needless to say that such a ghusl can only be done in a body of water, e.g., a pool, river, lake or sea.
After washing away the semen or blood from the body and after niyyat, the whole body should be completely immersed in the water all at once, not gradually. One has to make sure that the water reaches all parts of the body, including hair and the skin under it.

However, ghusl tartibi is preferred to ghusl irtimasi.

More information at the source:

https://www.al-islam.org/islamic-marriage-syed-athar-husain-sh-rizvi/major-ablution-ghusl-janabat#manner-performing-ghusl

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Question #27: Hadith about the death of Abdullah of Hijaz and the reappearance of Imam Mahdi, are they authentic?

Question: There are some ahadith doing the rounds on social media, can you tell us if they are authentic or if they can be applied to the present situation?

1. From the Messenger of Allah (pbuhaf): Hijaz (Saudi Arabia) will be ruled by a man whose name is the name of an animal(Fahad/leopard), when you see him from a distance, you would think he has a lazy eye, and if you get close to him, you do not see anything (wrong) in his eyes. He will be succeeded by a brother of his, named Abdullah. Woe to our Shia (followers) from him! Woe to our Shia (followers) from him! Woe to our Shia (followers) from him! – he repeated it three times – Give me the good news of his death, and I shall give you the good news of the appearance of the hujjah (Imam Mahdi). Reference: Two Hundred and Fifty Signs, sign number 122

2. From Abi Baseer who heard from Imam Sadiq (pbuhaf): Whoever guarantees for me the death of Abdullah, I will guarantee for him the Qa’im (Imam Mahdi). When Abdullah dies, then people will not gather/agree on anyone after him, and this matter will not except for your companion (Imam Mahdi) inshallah, and the kingdom of years will be over, and it will become the kingdom of months and days. So I asked: Will that be prolonged? He said: No. (Biharul Anwar, Volume 52, page 21)

Answer:

The following is a brief response on these narrations:

Before delving into the meaning of a Hadith we have to be confident that it is narrated from a Ma’soom through a reliable chains of narrators.

The narration mentioned in the book of 250 Signs: The author of this book claims that its primary source is Mosnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal; which is a Sunni source and hence not reliable for us. Most Wahhabis in their Fiqh follow this book and its author. By the way, I checked Mosnad Ahmad but I could not find it in it! Besides the sign of fabrication is clear in it.

The narration quoted from Abu Baseer: the primary source of the Hadith is al-Ghayba written by Sh. al-Tousi (r.a.) pl. 447. Here is the actual Arabic text of the Hadith with its chain of transmitters:

الْفَضْلُ عَنْ عُثْمَانَ بْنِ عِيسَى عَنْ دُرُسْتَ عَنْ عَمَّارِ بْنِ مَرْوَانَ عَنْ أَبِي بَصِيرٍ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا عَبْدِ اللَّهِ (ع) يَقُولُ مَنْ يَضْمَنْ لِي مَوْتَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ أَضْمَنْ لَهُ الْقَائِمَ ثُمَّ قَالَ إِذَا مَاتَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ لَمْ يَجْتَمِعِ النَّاسُ بَعْدَهُ عَلَى أَحَدٍ وَ لَمْ يَتَنَاهَ هَذَا الْأَمْرُ دُونَ صَاحِبِكُمْ إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ وَ يَذْهَبُ مُلْكُ سِنِينَ وَ يَصِيرُ مُلْكَ الشُّهُورِ وَ الْأَيَّامِ فَقُلْتُ يَطُولُ ذَلِكَ قَالَ كَلَّا. (الغيبۀ للشيخ الطوسى ص 447)

The following are my comments on it:

The chains of its transmitters are very problematic. Interestingly two of its narrators (i.e. Othman Ibn Eisa, and Dorost) are Waqefi; meaning they did not believe in any of the Imams after Imam Kadhem (as)! In fact, Othman Ibn Eisa was one of the leading figures of Waqefi sect. He used to be the Wakil of Imam Kadhem and after the martyrdom of the Imam, claimed all the funds (Khoms and the like) to himself and to justify that he denied the Imamat of Imam Redha!

Regardless of the narrators, who would be this “Abdullah”, is this his real name or the Imam is using that title to make it anonymous? None of these are clear. Let me give you an example: one of our very eminent scholars of the 8th century A.H (about 600 years ago) whose name is Sh. Ali Ibn Yousof al-Hilli (he is the older brother of al-Allamah al-Hilli) he quoted the above Hadith in his book ‘al-‘Adadul-Qawiyyah’ p.77 and then concludes: “Indeed most of the Signs (of Reappearance) have already appeared such as… the death of Abdullah being the last Abbasid king”!

The Hadith does not mention the territory of that (supposedly) king, so one may claim it’s meant for King Abdullah of Jordan! And why does it have to be a king in our time?!

Abdullah could be also just a nickname, as it means ‘slave of Allah’. In Arabic its quite common to use this expression when they don’t want to mention an actual name.

As Shi’a we believe in the concept of al-Bada’ which means it is always possible that the Almighty Allah postpones an event or brings it forward, even if it was prophesized otherwise.

Conclusion:

As the followers of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s) we are bound to believe in the coming of our Saviour al-Mahdi (may God hasten his reappearance) and we hope it happens in our time, and we believe that it is near. However, we are forbidden to specify any date for it. Also, instead of delving into dubious narrations we are instructed by our holy Imams (a.s) to prepare ourselves- in all aspects- for his global government and to endeavor to be among his supporters by supporting his cause. Imam Sadiq (a.s) said to Zorarah: “Make sure you know the Imam of your time, for surely if you know the Imam of your time, it does not harm you whether this matter (the reappearance of al-Mahdi) happens in your time or not (you will be counted among his companions).” (al-Kaafi vol1. P.371)

Source here

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Question #28: Why are shrimps halal and crabs haram? What makes one of them halal and the other haram despite the fact that both of them are from the same category?

When it comes to the general guidelines about halal and haram animal(s), there are many criteria and standards stated in the narrations of the Infallible Imams (a.s.); for instance, certain rules and guidelines have been explained for terrestrial animals, birds and aquatic animals. The criterion mentioned for halal aquatic animals is that they should have scales. It has [been] reported[4] that Muhammad bin Muslim asked Imam Baqir (a.s.): "They bring us fish without scales (what should we do)?"

Imam Baqir (a.s.) replied: "Eat the fish that has scales and do not eat the fish that does not have scales?" Scales are the small, thin horny or bony plates protecting the skin of fish and reptiles, typically overlapping one another.[5]

It should be noted that the fish should be from the category of scaly fish and there is no objection, if the fish have lost their scales due [to] certain environmental factors or the way the fish live as stated in the narrations.[6]

As for shrimps, we have special narrations according to which "eating shrimps is allowed and that shrimps are a kind fish."[7]

Quotes are from Wasail al-Shi'ah.

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[MOD NOTE: For mature readers only.]

Question #29: What is the Shia view on contraception?

Answer: This needs a careful and slow reading to make sure you understand what is halal (permissible), makruh (discouraged) or haram (prohibited) under certain conditions. 

The Contraceptive Methods

The contraceptive methods during our time work in different ways. We shall examine some of the most commonly used contraceptive methods and determine whether they are permissible in Islam or not. It must be mentioned that we are studying the permissibility of these methods from the shari'ahpoint of view only. For the medical opinion about the reliability or any side-effects of these methods, the reader must consult his or her physician.

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, there is absolutely no problem in using them. 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. Since in our definition, pregnancy begins at implantation, use of any pill which may prevent implantation is alright. 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. Intrauterine Devices (IUD)

IUDs are plastic or metal objects, in a variety of shapes, that 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 shari' pregnancy begins at implantation, there is no problem in using IUD as a birth control device 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. There is absolutely no problem in using these contraceptives either.

5. Abstinence During Fertile Period

There are three basic procedures to predict ovulation so that sexual intercourse can be avoided 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 the fertile days prevents pregnancy.

(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.

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.

Muhammad bin Muslim and 'Abdur Rahman bin Abi 'Abdillah Maymun asked Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq about withdrawal. The Imam said, "It is up to the man; he may spill it wherever he wants."17However, in another hadith, Muhammad bin Muslim quotes the fifth or the sixth Imam 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."18

Based on this hadith, the majority of our mujtahids believe that coitus interruptus is allowed but makruh without the wife's consent.19

All methods mentioned above do not involve surgical operation and they are also reversible. A woman (or man) using these methods can stop using them at anytime in order to have a child.

7. Sterilization

Sterilization involves surgical operation.

Sterilization in men, known as vasectomy, means 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.

The permissibility of sterilization depends on whether or not it is reversible. At present, the rate of reversibility (40%) is not good enough to make sterilization permissible. Greater success may be achieved with improved micro surgical techniques. And until we achieve at least 80 percent reversibility, it is difficult to permit sterilization.

Can a woman practice birth control without the consent of her husband?

The wife has full right to the use of contraceptives even without the approval of her husband. 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 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 provided they do not come in the way of her husband's conjugal rights.

This was the legal aspect of the shari'ah. But on a practical level, 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 the Qur'an says,

"And We have created between you love and mercy."(30:21)

See Chapter 4 here:  Get PDF

https://www.al-islam.org/marriage-and-morals-islam-sayyid-muhammad-rizvi

Note: IF you want your spouse to use contraception and you do not feel confident that she/he will do that, you must take the responsibility to use contraception. When the two of you are both agreed on having a child, contraception can be stopped. 

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Question #30: Have The 313 Already Been Chosen? Is it true that the 313 companions have already been chosen and that we cannot be from amongst them nor make an intention to be from amongst them?

Answer: If the list was full, the Imam [AS] would have come. Don’t worry, there is still room InshAllah (God willing)! Try to get in.

Source

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Question #31: What is the best verse in the Quran? Can we say the best Ayah or we should say that all ayāt are best depending on purpose?

Answer: 

Before dealing with the main question, we must say that the Quran itself is the best book and superior to all heavenly books. All of its verses (ayāt) are at the highest level of perfection and significance.  Hence, we cannot differentiate between them by telling that a particular verse is better and at a higher degree than another or other verses. The entire verses of the Holy Quran are full of miracles, full of guidance and full of light. Therefore, we cannot single out a verse saying, in an absolute way, that it is better in every aspect than the other verses of the Quran.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that it is possible that some of the verses or Surahs of the Quran might enjoy greater significance from a particular aspect than other verses and Surahs. For instance, some of the Surahs of the Quran such as Surah Yusuf is more beautiful than other Surahs in terms of beautifully constructed and rendered historical stories.  Likewise, some of the Surahs of the Quran have been described and declared as “Umm al-Kitab” (The mother of the Book) and “Qalb al-Quran” (the heart of the Quran) etc. which indicate the superiority of those Surahs over other Surahs.

1. The Holy Prophet of Islam (pbuh) said:

«أَنَّ النَّبِیَّ(ص) قَالَ لِجَابِرٍ أَ لَا أُعَلِّمُکَ أَفْضَلَ سُورَةٍ أَنْزَلَهَا اللَّهُ فِی کِتَابِهِ قَالَ (بَلَى) عَلِّمْنِیهَا فَعَلَّمَهُ الْحَمْدَ أُمَّ الْکِتَاب‏»

It is narrated from Jabir (may Allah bless him) that Rasulullah (pbuh) said: “O Jabir, shall I inform you about the best Surah revealed in the Qur’an?” Jabir said: “O Messenger of Allah, please inform me.” The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “It is Fatiha tul Kitab.”[1]

2.  It has been narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that he said:

« عَنْ أَبِی عَبْدِ اللَّهِ (ع) قَالَ: قَالَ إِنَّ لِکُلِّ شَیْ‏ءٍ قَلْباً وَ إِنَّ قَلْبَ الْقُرْآنِ یس....‏»[2]

“Everything has a heart and the heart of the Quran is Surah Yaseen.”

3. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) has been narrated as having said:

«وَ عَنْهُ (ص)‏ لِکُلِّ شَیْ‏ءٍ عَرُوسٌ وَ عَرُوسُ‏ الْقُرْآنِ‏ الرَّحْمَن‏»[3]

“Everything has a bride, and the bride of the Qur'an is Surrah Al-Rahman.”

The author of Majma’ al-Bayan narrates a tradition in which the Holy Prophet (pbuh) introduces verse 30 of Surah Ash-Shura is the best verse of the Quran:

«وَ ما أَصابَکُمْ مِنْ مُصیبَةٍ فَبِما کَسَبَتْ أَیْدیکُمْ وَ یَعْفُوا عَنْ کَثیر»[4]

“Whatever misfortune happens to you, is because on the things your hands have wrought, and for many (of them) He grants forgiveness.”

The text of the tradition is as follows:

«و روی عن علی(ع) أنه قال، قال رسول الله(ص) خیر آیة فی کتاب الله هذه الآیة یا علی ما من خدش عود و لا نکبة قدم إلا بذنب و ما عفا الله عنه فی الدنیا فهو أکرم من أن یعود فیه و ما عاقب علیه فی الدنیا فهو أعدل من أن یثنی على عبده»[5]

Imam Ali (a.s.) says:  “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said that the best verse in the Quran is this verse (verse 30 of Surah Ash-Shura). O’ Ali, there is no bruise and no falling on the ground except that it is because of a sin which man commits. God is greater than to punish the sinner in the hereafter while He has forgiven him in this world and He is more just than to exact double satisfaction for the same offence.”

As you see, it is because of the Lord’s mercifulness that this verse is considered to be more significant and superior to other verses.

Footnotes at the source

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Question #32: What is the philosophy behind the prohibition of (consumption of) liquor?

There are many reasons for this prohibition including the following.

Effects of alcohol upon age

A distinguished Western scholar claims that for every 51 deaths amongst youths aged between 21 and 23 years who are addicted to alcoholic beverages, there are not even 10 deaths amongst those youths not addicted to alcohol.

Another reputed scholar has proved that a significant number of 20 year-old youths, who are expected to live up to the age of 50 years, do not live beyond 35 years as a result of consumption of alcohol.

According to experiments conducted by 'life insurance' companies, it has been established that the life-span of those addicted to alcohol is 25 - 30 percent less than that of those not addicted to it.

Another statistic reveals that the average age of those addicted to alcohol is between 35 years and 50 years, whereas the average age of non-addicts, when hygienic and sanitary issues are observed, is above 60 years.

The effects of alcohol upon the offspring

If a person happens to be intoxicated at the time of conception, 35 percent of the acute alcoholic effects are passed on to the child and if both - the husband and the wife - were to be intoxicated, 100 percent of the acute effects are transferred to the child. In order that the effects of alcohol on children are better comprehended, we seek to present some statistics here:

Of the children having been born prematurely, 45% of them had fathers and mothers, both of whom were alcoholics, 31% had mothers who were alcoholics and 17% had fathers who were alcoholic.
6% of infants, who died shortly after birth, had alcoholic fathers while 45% of them had alcoholic mothers.

75% of children possessing stunted growth had parents who were addicted to alcohol while 45% of them had mothers who were addicted to it.
Amongst the children who suffered from a lack of sufficient intellectual and mental abilities, 75% of them had alcoholic mothers while 75% of them had alcoholic fathers.

Effects of alcohol upon the morals

Attachment towards the family and the love for the wife and children diminishes so much in an alcoholic person that it has been repeatedly observed that fathers have killed their children with their own hands.

The social harms of alcohol

Statistics compiled by The Legal Medical Institute of the city of Neon in 1961 of social crimes reveals that alcoholics were involved in 50% of all of homicide cases, 77.8% of violence and physical abuses, 88.5% of thefts, and 88.8% of sexual offences. These figures reveal that an overwhelming majority of crimes and offences are perpetrated under the influence of alcohol.

The economic harms of alcoholic drinks

A celebrated psychiatrist says:  Unfortunately, the governments only take into consideration the monetary and tax benefits derived from alcohol but fail to consider the enormous funds spent to rectify its evils.

If the governments were to take into account the increased psychological sicknesses in the society, the losses of a decadent society, the waste of precious time, the driving accidents resulting from intoxication, the corruption of generations, the laziness, idleness and nonchalance, the cultural backwardness, the troubles faced by the police, the reformatories for the guardianship of alcoholic children and the hospitals for them, the judicial setup to look into crimes committed by the alcoholics and the prisons to house the offenders, and other losses that stem from the consumption of alcohol, collectively, they would realize that the income derived from the taxes imposed on alcoholic drinks is nothing compared to the above-mentioned losses.

Besides, the deplorable consequences of alcohol consumption cannot be gauged in terms of just money, for death of near ones, breaking up of families, lost ambitions and loss of intellect can never be compared to money.

In summary, the harms of alcohol are so numerous that according to one scholar, if the governments guarantee to close down fifty percent of the public houses, it can be guaranteed that we would not be in need of fifty percent of the hospitals and asylums. (Even) if the alcoholic drinks trade were to be profitable for man - upon the assumption that the forgetting of his sorrows  and a few moments of insensibility could be viewed as a benefit for him - nevertheless, its harms are so much more immense, extensive and protracted that the two just cannot be compared.11

At this juncture, we present some other points in the form of statistics in connection with the enormous consequences of this harmful act:

i. According to statistics published in England in connection with delirium tremens, when this condition was compared to other forms of insanity, it was found that as opposed to 2249 cases of delirium tremens, there were only 53 cases of insanity which were caused by other factors!12

ii. Figures procured from American asylums indicate that alcoholic patients constitute 85% of those suffering from psychological disorders.13

iii. An English scholar by the name of Bentham writes: “In northern countries, alcoholic beverages make a person fatuous and imbecile, while in the southern countries, it makes them insane. He then adds:  The religion of Islam has prohibited all kinds of alcoholic drinks and this is one of the distinctive features of Islam.”14

iv. If statistics were to be compiled of those, who, in intoxication have committed suicides, perpetrated crimes, destroyed houses and dashed the aspirations of families, the figures would be truly staggering.15

v. In France, 440 people die as a result of alcohol, everyday!16

vi. According to another piece of data, deaths in the United States resulting from psychological disorders in a period of one year are twice that of the casualties suffered by it during World War II, and according to researchers, alcohol and cigarettes play a pivotal role vis-à-vis psychological disorders in that country!17

vii. According to statistics published by an individual by the name of Huger on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the magazine Sciences, 60 percent of intentional murders, 75 percent of violent and physical abuses, 30 percent of immoral acts (including incest with the immediate relatives!) and 20 percent of thefts are related to alcohol and alcoholic drinks. According to another set of figures compiled by this same scholar, 40 percent of juvenile offenders have an alcoholic record.18

viii. From the economic point of view, in England itself, the losses incurred every year as a result of absenteeism on the part of employees due to alcoholism has been estimated to be around 50 million dollars, which, by itself, is sufficient for the building of thousands of kindergartens, primary and secondary schools.19

ix. As per statistics published in connection with the losses arising as a result of alcoholic beverages in France, alcohol burdens the French budget by 137 billion francs per year (not including the personal losses incurred by the individuals), details of which are as follows:

60 billion francs spent towards courts and prisons.
40 billion francs expended for social benefits and charities.
10 billion francs utilized for covering the expenses of the hospitals for alcoholics.
70 billion francs for maintaining social security!

Thus, it becomes plainly clear that the number of psychologically diseased individuals, hospitals, homicides, violent disputes, thefts, offences and accidents are directly proportional to the number of public houses that exist.

https://www.al-islam.org/180-questions-about-islam-vol-1-practical-laws-makarim-shirazi/philosophy-behind-some-prohibited#32-what-philosophy-behind-prohibition-consumption-liquor

(Footnotes in link)

2021

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Question #33: What Does ‘Salawaat’ On Prophet Muhammad & His Family Mean? Why does it hold such a high importance in our faith?

Answer:

The Almighty Allah SWT orders in the Holy Qur’an all believers to join Him and the angels in sending Salaam and Salawaat to the Holy Prophet (SAW):

إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا

“Verily, Allah and His angels send Salawaat on the Prophet. O you who believe, send your Salawaat on him, and submit (to him in all that he has brought for you) a thorough submission” (33:56)

Meanings of Salawaat:

Salawaat is the plural form of Salat which literally means ‘to call’ (Du’a) – a call to someone to try to get their attention.

In Arabic language, this type of calling, if done by someone with a higher status is called ‘Rahma’ (mercy and blessing), and if done by someone from a lower status called ‘Du’a’ (pray).

It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s) in explaining the meaning of Salawaat:

الصَّلَاةُ مِنَ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ رَحْمَةٌ وَ مِنَ‏ الْمَلَائِكَةِ تَزْكِيَةٌ وَ مِنَ النَّاسِ دُعَاءٌ

“Salat from the Almighty Allah means a ‘mercy’, and from the angels ‘exoneration’, and from people a ‘prayer’.” (Sadooq, Ma’anel-Akhbar, p. 368)

Salawaat of Allah SWT and that of the believers:

It is proven in Islamic mysticism that the noor (light/essence) of the Holy Prophet of Islam (SAW) is the first creation. That means, his holiness is on the peak of the cone of creation. Existence began from him and reaches the rest through him (peace be upon him and his pure progeny). Thus, the Salawaat of the Almighty Allah SWT upon the Prophet (SAW) means sending His constant ‘mercy of existence’ to him. This divine mercy reaches the rest of the creation through the Holy Prophet (P) and hence he is ‘a mercy for the worlds’ (Rahmatan Lel-Aalameen). Likewise, people’s invocation does not reach the Almighty Allah SWT unless through His Messenger (SAW). Thus, when believers send their Salawaat to the Holy Prophet (SAW) they are in fact calling for the divine mercy through His Messenger (SAW). Therefore, the benefits of Salawaat eventually return to the believers themselves.

Salawaat of the Angels:

As stated in the above mentioned narration, the Salawaat of the angels is ‘tazkiya’ which means ‘to exonerate’. The spiritual status of the Holy Prophet (SAW) is higher than all the angels. Therefore, the Salawaat of the angels means that they constantly exonerate Holy Prophet (SAW); in that he is completely free from their own deficiencies and beyond. Thus, it was for this reason that the angels were commanded to prostrate before Adam in whose physical lineage the Seal of the Prophets would be born.

How to perform the Salawaat:

While the Holy Qur’an commands the believers to send Salawaat to the Holy Prophet (SAW), there is no instruction on how to perform this ritual. Similar to most of other Islamic rules the Holy Prophet (SAW) has taught Muslims the method of performing Salawaat.

The Shi’a and the Sunni scholars have narrated from Ka’b Ibn Ojra who asked the Holy Prophet (SAW):

يا رسول الله قد علمنا السلام عليك فكيف الصلاة عليك قال: قالوا اللهم صل على محمد و على آل محمد كما صليت على ابراهيم و على آل ابراهيم انك حميد مجيد و بارك على محمد و على آل محمد كما باركت على ابراهيم و آل ابراهيم انك حميد مجيد. (صحیح البخاری ج6 ص 217 و تفسیر البرهان ج4 ص 489)

“O Allah’s Messenger! We know how to say Salam to you, but how is Salat on you? He said: Say: ‘O Allah! Send your Salat onto Mohammad and the Family of Mohammad, as You sent your Salat onto Ibrahim and the Family of Ibrahim, surely You are worthy of all praise, the Glorious, and bless Mohammad and the Family of Muhammad as You blessed Ibrahim and the Family of Ibrahim, surely You are worthy of all praise, the Glorious.”
(Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 6 p. 217, and Tafsir al-Borhan, vol. 4 p. 489)

In addition to the above prophetic instruction, the Holy Prophet (SAW) has warned the believers against excluding his holy household when sending Salawaat to him.

The famous Sunni scholar; Ibn Hajar al-Haytami narrated:

أنّ رسول الله صلّى الله عليه وآله قال: لا تُصلُّوا عَلَيّ الصلاةَ البَتراء، قالوا: وما الصلاةُ البَتراء ؟! قال: تقولون: اللّهمّ صلِّ على محمّدٍ، وتُمسِكون، بل قولوا: اللّهمّ صلِّ على محمّدٍ وعلى آلِ محمّد. (الصواعق المحرقۀ، ص 87)

“Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: Do not send an incomplete Salat on me. The Companions asked: What is the incomplete Salat? He explained: to say: “O Allah send Salat onto Mohammad”, and then you stop. Rather you should say: O Allah send Salat onto Mohammad and the Family of Mohammad.”

(al-Sawa’equl-Mohreqah, p. 87)

The merits of Salawaat:

Although the merits of sending Salawaat are more than what I can mention here, I’d like to conclude with a few only:

“There is no (recommended) act more precious than Salawaat onto Mohammad and his Family.” (al-Kaafi, vol. 2, p. 358)

“Whoever is unable to find a compensation for his sins then let him send Salawaat on Mohammad and the Family of Mohammad repeatedly, for surely it will destroy the sins thoroughly.” The Imam then added: “Salawaat onto Mohammad and his Family equals Glorification, Unification and Exclaiming God’s greatness.” (al-Amali, p.73)

اللهـــم صل على محمــد و آل محمـــد و احشـرنا مع محمــد و آل محمــد

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Question #34: What is meant by Al –Fajr-ul-Kadhib (false dawn) and Al-Fajr-ul-Sadiq (true dawn)? According to which one of them do we offer Salah (Prayer) and how can we ascertain the time of the true dawn?

The rising of fajr is ascertained by the appearance on the horizon of a light which ascends towards the sky. This is known as al-fajr al-kazib (the false dawn). When the light spreads on the horizon (and becomes like a white cotton),  this is known as al-fajr as-sadiq (the true dawn), and is known by the spreading of the light on the horizon after it had been ascending towards the sky.

All the contemporary scholars agree with this definition of the false and true dawns; the difference is only in the style and clarity. As Ayatullah al-Khu'i says, “There is no dispute or difference among Muslims in the fact that the beginning time for fajr prayer is the true dawn. However, there is a dispute concerning the time-frame in which it materializes, and this is a discussion related to the minor premises of this issue.”

In other words, the problem is not in finding the religious commandment about the timing of subh prayer, rather it is in the application of that religious view.

By referring to the ahadeeth  on this issue, all the narrations describe the true dawn as a phenomenon or an occurrence which can be observed and seen by the common people, and as a light which spreads over the horizon and makes it distinct. The Imams of Ahlu 'l-Bayt (a.s.) have used the words like “seeing it” and “observing it.” This can even be seen in the Qur'anic verse about the beginning of fasting which says that you can eat and drink “until the white thread becomes distinct unto you from the black thread at dawn.” (2:187)

The words “unto you” emphasize that the people in general (not just the astronomers and scientists) should be able to observe the true dawn. This is also supported by the fatwa of Ayatullah al-Imam Khumayni when he says, “...the occurrence of fajr is a hissi (commonly perceptible) occurrence, not 'ilmi (scientific) occurrence.”  

A video describing the above (starting from 1:40) in which it can be noticed that whiteness ascends vertically but then settles down:

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Question #35: What is the Fast of the Month of Ramadan?

O Believers! Fast is prescribed for you as it was for those before you so that you may ward off evil. (Fast) a certain number of days… (Holy Qur'an: Chapter 2, Verses 182-183)

Every year in the ninth lunar month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims around the world abstain from food, drink, vain talk and certain other actions from before sunrise until after sunset.

Fasting is prescribed in the Abrahamic faiths

The Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions all enjoin fasting. Moses observed a fast of forty days at Mount Sinai at the time of the revelation of the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 24:18) Although less common now, it is Jewish tradition to fast when mourning or when in danger. Most practicing Jews still fast on the Day of Atonement and for the one-week commemoration of the destruction of Jerusalem in 597 B.C. Jesus of Nazareth, peace be upon him, also fasted on the Day of Atonement and the forty days of Moses’ fast to ward off Satanic temptation.

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” (Matthew 4:2)

Many Christians observe a forty-day pre-Easter fast, although now it includes abstention from only certain food items rather than all food and drink. Muslims fast the month of Ramadan and may, optionally, fast on most other days of the year.

The One God prescribes fasting for the faithful; and it has many benefits. Material pleasures can be generalised into food and drink, sexual pleasures, and vanity. Fasting requires abstaining from these, going against the natural instinct of Man to observe the commandment of God.This builds and strengthens a person's self-control, nearing them to their Creator. Other benefits of fasting include:

 Fasting instills patience, teaches self control and discipline.

 Fasting increases compassion for the less fortunate.

 Fasting builds focus on spirituality and deminishes focus on materialism.

 Fasting has many health benefits.

 Fasting can be atonement for sin and can earn great reward.

 Fasting is part of a strong spiritual and physical renewal plan.

 Fasting commemorates important sacred religious events.

The Muslim fast of the month of Ramadan is a continuation of the long history of fasting in the Abrahamic faiths. The self-improvement benefits of fasting make it an important means of improving one’s faith and practice of religion.

“And men who fast and women who fast…God has prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward.” ( Holy Qur’an 33:35)

What does the fast of the month of Ramadan entail?

In short, the fast involves abstention from all food, drink, vain talk, and sexual intercourse for married couples from the time before dawn when the sky becomes light enough to distinguish a black thread from the white thread of the horizon, until after sunset when redness leaves the Eastern half of the sky. Some people are not to able to fast due to age, health, child-bearing conditions, etc., and instead give charity, and/or make up the days of fast they missed at a later time.

However, the true spirit of the fast of the month of Ramadan is more than just abstention from a few things. It is a time of sustained, amplified effort toward spiritual perfection.

Thirst and hunger you undergo, feel and live through, here and now, to bring to your mind the severity and sharpness of the drought and starvation that will be the order of the day on the Day of Judgment.

 Give alms to the poor and destitute.

 Treat your parents and elders with respect.

 Be kind and loving to your children and juniors.

 Take care of and look after your relatives.

 Keep from giving tongue to that which should not even be whispered.

 Shut your eyes to that which is indecent to have an eye for.

 Turn a deaf ear to that which is too slanderous to be all ears to.

 Be compassionate, gentle and benign unto orphans so that after you, your children, if need be, receive the same treatment from others.

 Turn repentant to God and seek His nearness.”

 Holy Prophet, peace be upon him and his family

In addition to fasting and aiming for excellent moral character, Muslims devote as much time and energy as possible in the month of Ramadan toward prayer and supplication to the One and Only God. During some of the nights of this month, Muslims will remain awake the whole night in worship.

After the last day of the month of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid ul Fitr to commemorate the completion of the fast. They get together for prayer, food, and modest gift exchange (particularly for children). However, it is a day of mixed feelings, because the most blessed month of Ramadan with all of its opportunities for forgiveness and reward are gone for another year.

“I take refuge with Thy kindest disposition, O Lord, lest the dawn of this night breaks forth, or the month of Ramadan comes to an end, and I still stand as an accused (unforgiven) sinner, liable to be punished, on the Day I am presented before Thee.”

[From a prayer of the last night of the month of Ramadan, taught by Imam Jafar as-Sadiq, peace be upon him]

Why is fasting prescribed particularly in the month of Ramadan for Muslims?

The month of Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar. Since a lunar year is about a week and a half shorter than a solar year, the month of Ramadan cycles backward through the seasons. It is a sacred month because God ordained it for the revelation of sacred texts. Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq quotes the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him and his family, as saying,

“The Books of Abraham were revealed on the first night of the month of Ramadan; the Torah was revealed on the sixth of the month of Ramadan; the Gospel was revealed on the thirteenth of the month of Ramadan . . ., and the Holy Qur’an on the twenty-third of the month of Ramadan.”

It is also considered sacred because it contains the Night of Power (Laylatul Qadr). “Qadr” literally means destiny, and on this night God determines each and every event to occur during the next year to any and all of His creation.

Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, informs us that,

“During Laylatul Qadr, the angels, the spirit, and the trusted scribes all descend to the lower heavens and write down whatever God decrees that year, and if God wishes to advance something or postpone it or add thereto, He orders the angel to erase it and replace it with whatever He decrees.”

The Holy Prophet of Islam, peace be upon him and his family, tells us about the great blessings of the month of Ramadan.

“[The month of Ramadan is] overflowing with advantages, merciful, ready to put up your sins of omission and commission to God for obtaining his forgiveness. Its days, nights and hours, in the estimation of God, are more select, refined and important than the days, nights and hours of other months. It surpasses all months in merits and favors.…. So, sincerely, free from evil and sinful thoughts and actions, with clear conscience, pray and request that God may give you heart and confidence to observe fast… throughout this month..”

Conclusion

Muslims observe fast, as in any act of devotion, to seek nearness to God, seek His pleasure and Forgiveness, and generate a spirit of piety in Man. Fasting in this month honors the revelation of God’s word and purifies one in preparation for the night of decrees and in hope of forgiveness. Fasting is a yearly spiritual renewal, given abundant reward in this month of God’s Mercy, that is part of the Islamic path to the ideal self.

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Question #36: Did Imam Ali (AS) fight all innovations [for example Taraweeh] when he was in power?

Allamah Majlisi (ra) has dedicated a section of his book to this topic explaining why the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS) did not reverse some of the innovations in his time.[3] He points out some of the hindrances and obstacles to the combat against the innovations.

Late Kulayni (ra) makes mention of a lengthy narration and narrates Imam Ali's sermon about the innovations and why he did not take action to change them. The narration is interesting to read:

"The caliphs before me deliberately opposed the Messenger of Allah doing things that led to alteration of his tradition (sunnah). Should I embark on stopping people from what they have innovated and make them adopt the tradition of the Prophet (S), no army will remain for me, except myself and a few of followers…".

Thereupon, Imam Ali (AS) makes mention of most of the innovations and concludes:  Did you see that when I stopped them from performing Taraweeh (mustahab prayers which Sunnis perform in jama'at), some of those who fought alongside me in my army shouted, "O Muslims, Umar's tradition is gone" and the army was going to fall apart and follow the leaders of misguidance.[4]

This is Imam Ali's grievance and complaint which somehow give us an illustration into the Muslim society of his time as well as of Muslims who knew nothing about the difference between tradition and innovation nor about those who deliberately embarked on derailing the prophetic society and putting it on a wrong track. The Ummah (people) of his time identified themselves largely as a nation practicing those innovations and made no difference between Ali (AS) and those before him; rather they preferred the previous caliphs over him because of their temporal precedence.

Therefore, Imam Ali (AS) fought all the innovations; he stood up against them and his opposition to those innovations have been documented in history. His special friends and companions also did not act upon those innovations as far as they could; they rejected the innovations and denied them but a large segment of the society did not follow suit. Not only they did not accompany the Commander of the Faithful in the fight against the innovations but they also opposed him.

Notes and more information.

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Question #37: What is Zikr? Some people mention it all the time. 

Zikr is remembrance of Allah. 

This is one of the other features of the pious and it is of two kinds; remembering God in the heart and remembering Him by the tongue.

Remembering God has been frequently recommended. It is with the remembrance of God that man can somehow make up for the blessings that God has given him and express his gratitude to Him.

There are many Quranic verses about ‘Zikr’ or remembrance of God, whether by the heart or the tongue: “Therefore, remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me.”1

Elsewhere, God says: “O you who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance.”2

Mohammad ibn Moslem, who was a great narrator, has reported Imam Sadiq (AS) as saying: “The tasbeeh (glorification) of Lady Fatima is a frequent Zikr ordered by God Almighty.”3

Elsewhere in the Holy Quran, God says: “O you who believe! Let not your wealth, or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah; and whoever does that, these are the losers.”4

Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “God revealed to Moses (AS): ‘Do not rejoice at much wealth. Do not leave My remembrance under any conditions. Surely, the abundance of wealth makes forget sins (be indifferent when committing sins), and leaving My remembrance makes the hearts hard.”5

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported as saying: “O Ali, the best deed has three features; justice on your part, helping and consoling your brother in faith in the way of God Almighty, and the remembrance of God in all conditions.”6

In another tradition, we read: “Remembering God is not to say: ‘glory be to Allah, praise be to Allah, there is no god but Allah, and Allah is the Greatest’ alone, but if a man intends to do something unlawful and he fears God Almighty at that moment and gives it up, it will be Zikr.”

Another narration of this tradition is that if a man, who intends to commit a sin, remembers God Almighty and this remembrance creates a distance between him and the sin, it is Zikr. This is the meaning of the verse: “Surely, those who guards (against evil), when a visitation from Satan afflicts them they become mindful, then lo! They see.”

In another tradition, we read that Imam Ali (AS) has said: “In every place that you remember God, He will be with you.”

Imam Ali (AS) says: “Remember Allah Almighty frequently when you go to marketplaces and when people are engaged in businesses, for it (the remembrance of God) is a ransom for sins and an increase in good deeds, and you are not recorded among the unmindful.”

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