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  1. http://www.al-islam.org/shiism/17.htm Visiting the Shrines of the Prophets and Imams Touching or kissing the shrines of the Prophet and the imams does not imply shirk, nor does it associate that particular person with Allah, because Allah has the ultimate sovereignty in this universe, and Muslims submit to, worship, and seek help only from Him. Visiting the shrines is merely a gesture of respect. If the Prophet or the imams were alive then out of admiration people would shake their hands or kiss them. Since they are dead and people know that their shrines contain their sacred bodies, and perhaps their souls, then touching or kissing their shrines is a way of renewing allegiance and loyalty to these leaders. People are well aware of the fact that such shrines are made of ordinary material and the worshippers know that it has no power of benefit or harm; nevertheless, the respect and tribute is for what the shrines represent—the souls of these great personalities. Besides, being present within the precincts of the sacred shrines gives the worshipper a sense of being in a sacred and holy place. The Noble Quran teaches that when Prophet Yaqub cried over the separation of his son, Yusuf he lost his eye sight. Years later, Yusuf sent his shirt with one of his brothers and told him to put it on the face of his father so that he would regain his sight. The Quran says: Go with this shirt of mine and cast it over the face of my father. He will become seeing. And bring to me all your family. And when the caravan departed (Egypt), their father (who was in Palestine) said, “I do indeed sense the smell of Yusuf, if only you think me not sane.” They (his family) said, “Certainly you are in your old error.” Then when the bearer of glad tidings arrived, he cast it (the shirt of Yusuf) over his face, and he became seeing. He said, “Did I not say to you that I know from Allah that which you know not?”[271] Although Yusuf's shirt was made of regular cotton material, which most of the people wore at that time, Allah made it bear His blessings because it touched the body of Yusuf. Thus with Allah's permission and authority, this shirt, when it was put on his face, enabled Yaqub to see. If touching the shrine of the Prophet or Imam Ali or Imam Husayn is shirk (because these shrines are made from iron) then why do millions of Muslims touch the stones of the Holy Ka'bah? Were these stones brought from Paradise or were they ordinary stones used from the land of Hijaz? All Muslims agree that the Prophet kissed al-Hajar al-Aswad, the Black Stone on the Ka'bah, whereas he certainly did not go around kissing the stones in the alleyways and streets of Makkah, even though they may have been more alluring than the Black Stone. Today, in most countries, both Muslim and non-Muslim, the flag of a nation is so sacred that soldiers, even civilians kiss it and put it on their faces. Does that mean they are worshipping a piece of cloth? Certainly not! The moral behind these examples is that they are glorifying the ideas behind the stones or the shrines or the flags, and these are the principles and etiquette which were carried by the great leaders and countries. Imam al-Bukhari narrates that whenever the Prophet did the ablution (wudhu'), the Muslims used to gather and collect the remaining water and pour it over their faces for blessings.[272] He also narrates that even the sweat of the Prophet was collected, in the following incident, “Um Salamah was putting some cloth under the Apostle of Allah when he slept. There was a lot of perspiration from his body. She brought a bottle and began to pour the sweat in that. When the Apostle of Allah woke up he said, 'Um Salamah, what is this?' She said, 'That is your sweat which we mix in our perfumes, and they become the most fragrant perfumes.'”[273] --------------------------------- Lamentation and Mourning the Tragedies of the Prophet and His Family In general, the Noble Quran praises the act of crying and those who cry for a rightful cause. The Noble Quran describes many of the prophets and their followers by saying, “When the verses of the Most Gracious were recited unto them, they fell down prostrating and weeping.”[276] Similarly, it also describes certain believers as follows, “And they say, 'Glory be to our Lord. Truly, the promise of our Lord must be fulfilled,' and they fall down upon their faces weeping, and it adds to their humility.”[277] The prophet has been narrated to have cried over the deaths of several members of his family, such as his son Ibrahim, Imam al-Bukhari narrates: The Messenger of Allah said, “A child was born unto me this night, and I named him after my father, Ibrahim.” He then sent him to Um Sayf, the wife of the blacksmith, Abu Sayf. He (the Prophet) went to him, and I followed him until we reached Abu Sayf who was blowing fire with the help of bellows, and the house was filled with smoke. I hastened my step and went ahead of the Messenger of Allah and said, “Abu Sayf, stop it, as here comes the Messenger of Allah.” He stopped, and the Apostle of Allah called for the child. He embraced him and said what Allah had desired. I saw that the boy breathed his last in the presence of the Messenger of Allah. The eyes of the Messenger of Allah shed tears, and he said, “Ibrahim, our eyes shed tears, and our hearts are filled with grief, but we do not say anything except that by which Allah is pleased. O Ibrahim, we grieve over you.”[278] The Prophet is also narrated to have wept for his uncle Hamzah: When the Prophet returned from the Battle of Uhud and witnessed the women of Ansar weeping for their martyred husbands, he stood up and said, “But nobody is weeping for my uncle Hamzah,” so the women understood that the Prophet desired people to weep for his uncle, and that is what they did. The crying for all the others ceased, except the crying for Hamzah.[279] For his cousin Ja'far ibn Abi Talib[280] and his grandson Imam Husayn: Lady 'A'ishah narrates that when Husayn was a child, he came into the presence of the Prophet and sat on his lap, and Jibrail descended and told the Prophet that some of his nation would kill him (Husayn) and brought him a sample of the soil of Karbala, and said that the land was called al-Taff. When Jibrail left, the Prophet went out to his companions with the soil in his hand, and there were Abu Bakr, 'Umar, Ali, and Hudayfah while he was weeping. They asked him why he was weeping. He said, “Jibrail has informed me that my son Husayn will be killed in the land of al-Taff,” and he brought me this soil from there and informed me that his final resting place will be there.[281] Weeping for Imam Husayn is considered seeking nearness to Allah, because the tragedy of Imam Husayn is inextricably bound to the great sacrifice he endured for the sake of Allah. The Prophet, who knew the fate of his grandson, cried at his birth, cried when he was a child playing, and cried at his last moment before he died. It is a natural act for people to show sympathy and affection towards those whom they love when they are stricken by grief and calamity. The Noble Quran says, “Say (O Muhammad): 'I do not ask any reward from you for this (preaching the message) but love for my relatives.”15 The Messenger of Allah explicitly told the Muslims that this verse refers to his Ahlul Bayt—Ali, Lady Fatima, Hassan, and Husayn (for further information, see section on “Ahlul Bayt”). Thus, it is incumbent upon the Muslims to show love and sympathy for these individuals and the trials that they endured for the sake of Allah and to safeguard the religion of Islam. None of the Ahlul Bayt died a natural death; all of them were either poisoned or killed by the sword in their struggle to defend Islam. None can fail to feel sorrow and pain for their tragedies. How can someone hear about the tragedy of 'Ashura, when Imam Husayn sacrificed 72 members of his family and companions for the sake of Allah, and was killed in such a tragic manner. The tragedy continued, when the women of his household—the family of the Messenger of Allah—were taken captive and dragged from city to city, accompanying the severed heads of Imam Husayn, his relatives and companions; how then can a person not cry? Even those who are not Muslim shed tears when hearing this story. If Muslims will cry over their own relatives, then how can they not cry over the family of the Prophet of Allah? Imam Husayn was not killed to be cried for; he gave his life to save the message of Islam and was martyred to fight tyranny and corruption. But the tears and sadness for Imam Husayn brings about a solemn pledge to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet and his family. Showing sympathy about the tragedy of Imam Husayn and others from the Ahlul Bayt is neither an innovation nor is it a bid`ah. It must be noted that following the path of Imam Husayn is more important in the school of Ahlul Bayt, than merely crying for him. - ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Temporary Marriage (Mut‘ah) Discussing the legality of temporary marriage should not in any way be perceived as encouraging youths to engage in such a practice. Permanent marriage is the norm which is recommended and encouraged in the Noble Quran and in the traditions of the Prophet and his Ahlul Bayt. Temporary marriage is the exception and should be used as a last resort whenever permanent marriage cannot be afforded or things become extremely difficult to bear (for one who can not get married). This section does not intend to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of such a marriage; but rather, to address its Islamic legality with respect to the Noble Quran and the traditions of the Prophet. Marriage in Islam is a sacred institution, a commitment, and a pledge by two individuals to respect and uphold each other's will, dignity, honor, and aspirations. Marriage is of two types: permanent and temporary. Both share the same rules and restrictions and both need a prescribed form of proposal and acceptance, and marriage—even the permanent one—is open to conditions and restrictions. If the marriage is not confined to a period of time, then it would be considered as a permanent one, and if it is conditioned by a period of time, then it is a temporary one. While disagreeing on the matter of temporary marriage, the scholars of other schools of thought agree that if a man intends to marry a lady for a short period of time without telling her that he will be divorcing her after a period of time and hides his intentions then the marriage is still valid. In such a case, temporary marriage seems more logical since the couple can actually agree on the terms and conditions beforehand with full honesty. In essence, temporary marriage is a 'normal marriage' with a mutual agreement that is conditioned by a period of time. The conditions for this marriage include the following: a proposal and acceptance, a dowry for the woman, both parties have to consent and both have the freedom to accept or decline, both have to be sane, and a virgin woman must have her father's or guardian's approval. However, in temporary marriage, there is no obligation for sustenance or inheritance unless it is stated and conditioned in the marriage contract. Regarding this practice, the Noble Quran says, “So with those whom you have engaged in mut'ah (temporary marriage), give them their dowries as prescribed.”[290] In the tradition of the Prophet, scores of hadiths state the permissibility of temporary marriage. Imam al-Bukhari narrates, “There came to us the declarer of Allah's Messenger and said, 'Allah's Messenger has granted you permission to have temporary marriage,'—that is mut'ah with women.”[291] He also narrates: We were on an expedition with Allah's Messenger and we had no women with us. We said, 'should we not have ourselves castrated?' He (the Prophet) forbade us to do so. He then granted us permission to contract temporary marriage for a stipulated period giving the women garments; and 'Abdullah then recited this verse, “O you who believe, do not make unlawful the good things that Allah has made lawful for you, and do not transgress. Allah does not like the transgressors.”[292] Imam al-Bukhari also narrates: “We went out with Allah's Messenger on the expedition to Banu al-Mustaliq. We were suffering from the absence of our wives, so we decided to have temporary marriage with women but by observing 'azl (outside ejaculation). But we said, 'We are doing an act whereas Allah's Messenger is amongst us - why not ask him?' So we asked Allah's Messenger and he said, 'It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will definitely be born (and nothing can prevent this from occurring).'”[293] Imam Muslim also narrates instances of temporary marriage being done at the time of the Prophet[294] and gives clear reference that temporary marriage was lawful during the Prophet's time, the time of the first caliph Abu Bakr, and during part of the time of the second caliph—who was the one who prohibited it. Even after that time, it was still accepted by some Sunni scholars, such as al-Qurtubi who considered it as a lawful form of marriage and that it had been agreed upon by the predecessors and the successors (the salaf and the khalaf).[295] The leaders of the Ahlul Bayt argue that according to the Noble Quran no one has the authority to make any act lawful or unlawful by his own desire. If there were an interest in banning temporary marriage then Allah, the All-Knowing would have done so through His Prophet.
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