Theatre and Cinema
Q1. Is it permissible to use the uniform of the Islamic clerk and judges in making moving pictures? Is it permissible to make films that deal with religious and mystical issues, especially those talking about the lives and achievements of the late or contemporary clerics while observing their dignity and the inviolability of Islam? All of these are aimed at portraying noble Islamic values and explaining the idea of mysticism (‘irfān) and the rich Islamic culture; it is also an attempt to stand up to and stem the onslaught of the adverse culture of the enemy. I should add that the introduction of such subjects through effective cinematic techniques has a great impact that would attract a wide audience, especially the youth?
A: In view of the fact that cinema is a medium through which enlightenment and information could be spread, there is no harm in showing anything of useful effect for the intellectual development of the youth and others or in promoting Islamic culture. Included in this is the introduction of religious scholars and their special life histories as well as that of officials and other scholars. However, it is obligatory to observe their particular status, respect, and sanctity of their right to privacy. This should not be used as a means to disseminating any anti-Islamic propaganda, as well.
Q2. We intend to make a film portraying the story of the martyrdom of Imam Ḥusayn (a.s.), especially the principles for which he sacrificed his life. It is noteworthy that the actor who will play the role of the Imam is not going to appear in the flesh, i.e., just a luminous person. Is it permissible to make such a film?
A: Should the story of the film be based on reliable sources with utmost consideration of the sanctity of the subject and the integrity and status of Imam (a.s.), his companions, and household, there is no harm in that. However, since it is very difficult to tackle the subject carefully and accord due reverence to the integrity of the martyred Imam and his companions; one has to observe caution in this matter.
Q3. What is the view on men wearing women’s clothes and vice versa for the purpose of acting on theatre or in films? And what is the view on the opposite sexes mimicking the voice of each other?
A: It is not remote to be permissible for the opposite sexes to wear each other’s clothes or mimic the voice of each other in acting and expressing the characters of a real person provided that it does not cause corruption.
Q4. What is the ruling in the matter of women wearing make-up for acting purposes in performances which are attended by men as well?
A: If applying make-up is undertaken by the person herself, or by another woman, or by one’s maḥram, and it does not entail any corruption, there is no objection to that. Otherwise, it is not permissible. Of course, their face with make-up should be covered in front of non-maḥrams.
Painting and Sculpture
Q5. What is the view on making dolls and sculpture, or drawing living beings (plants, animals, and human beings)? And what is the view on selling, buying, acquiring, and exhibiting these items?
A: There is no harm at all in the sculpture, photography and drawings of living beings whether or not they have a soul. Also, it is permissible to sell, buy, or keep pictures and statues. There is no objection to showing them in an exhibition as well.
Q6. In the new curriculum, there is a subject called self-reliance. Part of the subject deals with sculpture. The teachers ask the students to make dolls of rabbits, dogs, and the like from cloth or other items. What is the ruling in this matter? What is the ruling on the teachers’ instructions in this regard? And to what extent does the completion in full-size of these dolls affect the ruling?
A: There is no problem in making a statue or ordering another person to do so.
Q7. What is the ruling in the matter of children drawing pictures of Qur’anic stories such as that of the People of the Elephant and the cleavage of the sea for Moses (a.s.)?
A: There is no objection to it in itself. However, it must be based on the truth, making sure to avoid dabbling in falsehoods and not to impinge on the sanctity of the subject matter.
Q8. Is it permissible to manufacture dolls and statues of beings having spirits like human beings by using machinery?
A: There is no harm in it.
Q9. What is the ruling in the matter of making jewelry in the form of statuettes? And does the material which goes into the making of the jewelry have any bearing on the ruling, in that it may be ḥarām?
A: It is permissible to make statuettes regardless of the material used in making them.
Q10. Is returning the parts of a dismantled doll, such as hand, leg, and head to it included in the impermissibility of making a statue? And could it fall in the category of making statues?
A: Making limbs or returning them to their places per se is not considered as sculpture. At any rate, making a statue is no problem.
Q11. What is the view on body tattooing which is usually done by some people and it is a method of obtaining marks or designs on the skin that are not removable? And does it constitute any barrier to water, used for ghusl or wuḍū’, reaching the skin?
A: Tattooing is not ḥarām and the mark it leaves under the skin does not form a barrier to water reaching the skin. Thus, ghusl and wuḍū’, with a tattoo on any part of the body, are valid.
Q12. A married couple of famous painters make a living of restoring paintings. Most of these paintings depict Christian society; some of them portray the crucifix, Mary and Jesus Christ (a.s.) Some companies and institutions or even some people on behalf of Churches refer to them for this purpose. Is it permissible for them to carry out the required restoration work on such paintings and get paid for it, knowing that it is their only way of making living and they are devout Muslims?
A: There is no harm in the mere restoring of such paintings, even if they depict Christian society or portray Jesus Christ and Mary (a.s.). Nor is there any harm in taking fees for such work or taking up such a profession and earning a living from it unless it contributes to promoting falsehoods or misleading ideas or leads to other vile deeds.
Satellite Television Equipment
Q13. Is it permissible to buy, keep and use satellite television equipment to receive programs? And what is the ruling if a person gets such equipment for free?
A: By virtue of its nature, a satellite receiver is a medium to access television programs whether the latter are ḥalāl or ḥarām. Thus, they are treated as instruments that serve a dual purpose in that it is ḥarām to buy, sell, or acquire them in order to use them for ḥarām purposes. Conversely, they are ḥalāl if they are used for ḥalāl ends.
However, since satellite equipment makes it so easy for its owner to receive ḥarām programs, and sometimes leads to other corruptive matters, it is not permissible to buy or keep them unless for a person who is absolutely sure that he is not going to use the equipment for ḥarām purposes and the availability of such equipment at home is not going to lead to any bad consequence.
Q14. Is it permissible for those who live outside the Islamic Republic to buy and sell satellite television equipment to receive the channels of the Islamic Republic?
A: Despite the fact that the said equipment is regarded as that serving a dual purpose, which could be used for ḥalāl aims, it is, in the main, used for ḥarām purposes; in addition, it may entail other evil practices if used at home. It is, therefore, not permissible to buy and use at home unless for one who is absolutely sure that it is not going to be used for ḥarām purposes and that installing it at home is not going to lead to any other evil practice.
Q15. What is the view if the satellite equipment is programmed in such a way that it receives the channels of the Islamic Republic, news bulletins and useful programs of the Persian Gulf television stations plus all Western and corruptive channels?
A: The criterion for making it permissible to use this equipment for receiving television programs is what we have just outlined, regardless of whether the station is Western or otherwise.
Q16. What is the ruling in the matter of installing satellite television equipment to receive scientific and Qur’anic programs or the like that are broadcast by Western countries or others?
A: Although the use of such equipment to watch scientific and Qur’anic programs via satellite is not objectionable in itself, programs broadcast by the satellite television stations of Western and most of the neighboring countries often contain misleading poisonous material and misrepresentations of the truths as well as programs of lahw and corruption and even watching [the so-called] Qur’anic and scientific programs could lead to corrupt and ḥarām practices. Accordingly, it is ḥarām as per Islamic law to make use of satellite television equipment to watch these programs unless the programs are useful and pure scientific or Qur’anic ones so that watching them does not entail any corruption or ḥarām act.
Q17. I repair television and radio receivers. Of late, many customers have been approaching me to install and/or repair their satellite equipment. What should I do? And what is the ruling in the matter of selling and buying spare parts for such equipment?
A: It is not permissible to repair, buy, sell, install, or operate this equipment or spare parts should the end use of the equipment be ḥarām — which is often the case — or that you are sure it is going to be used for a ḥarām purpose.
Non-maḥrams’ Pictures and Films
Q18. What is the ruling in the matter of looking at pictures of non-maḥram women who are not wearing ḥijāb? What is the view on viewing women appearing on television? Is the ruling different whether these women are Muslims or non-Muslims and whether or not it is a live broadcast?
A: Looking at the picture of a non-maḥram woman does not have the ruling of looking at the woman herself. Accordingly, there is no objection to it unless looking is accompanied by lust, there is fear of falling victim to temptation, or the picture belongs to a Muslim woman known to the mukallaf.
As a matter of obligatory caution, one should not view pictures of non-maḥram women on television that are broadcast live. As for that which is not broadcast live, there is no problem in it provided it is done without ill intentions and the fear of falling in ḥarām.
Q19. What is the view on watching satellite programs? And is it permissible for the people living in the provinces neighboring the Gulf States to watch those states’ television stations?
A: Programs broadcast via Western satellite television stations and those of most neighboring countries teach misleading thoughts and misrepresentations. They also contain lahw and corrupt items and watching them often leads to corruption, going astray and committing ḥarām acts. So, it is not permissible to access these channels to watch the programs they broadcast.
Q20. Is there any problem in watching or listening to comical programs broadcast from radio and television?
A: There is no problem in listening to satire programs and humorous shows or watching them unless they involve insult to a believer.
Q21. In my wedding party a number of photographs were taken of me without my wearing ḥijāb. These pictures are now with my friends and relatives. Should I retrieve these pictures?
A: Should the keeping of these pictures by others entail no vile effect or it is difficult for you to collect the photos, you have no obligation in this regard.
Q22. Is there any problem for us, as women, in kissing the pictures of the late Imam Khomeini (May his soul rest in peace) or the martyrs, as they are non-maḥrams to us?
A: As a whole, the pictures of people do not have the same ruling of the people themselves. Therefore, there is no problem in kissing these pictures as a mark of respect, love, and blessing provided that no evil intentions are harbored and no fear of falling into sinful act is there.
Q23. Is it permissible to look at pictures of semi naked or naked women, unknown to us, such as those appearing on films and television?
A: Generally speaking, watching moving pictures and photographs does have not the same ruling as looking in reality at people non-maḥram to you. Accordingly, there is no objection to it, as per Islamic law, if it is not done with lust, evil intention, and does not lead to a bad result. However, since watching obscene pictures is inherently intertwined with looking with sexual urge, and it is a precursor to committing ḥarām acts, it is, therefore, ḥarām.
Q24. In wedding parties, is it permissible for a woman to arrange for taking pictures of herself without the permission of her husband? Assuming that it is permissible, is it obligatory on her to observe proper ḥijāb?
A: Taking photos, per se, does not depend on the permission of the husband. However, if there is a possibility that non-maḥram men may see her pictures and that not observing proper ḥijāb could lead to a bad deed, she should observe it.
Q25. Is it permissible for a woman to watch men wrestling?
A: It is not permissible if the watching is done by attending the ring, with lust and questionable thoughts, or the fear of falling victim to temptation. Watching it through live television broadcast is not permissible by obligatory caution. Otherwise, there is no harm in it.
Q26. In a wedding party, should the bride cover her head with a light, transparent veil, is it permissible for a non-maḥram man to take pictures of her?
A: Should taking pictures entail ḥarām looking at a non-maḥram woman, it is not permissible. Otherwise, there is no problem.
Q27. What is the ruling in the matter of taking pictures for women mingling with their maḥrams? And what is the view if there is a possibility that a man who is non-maḥram to them is going to see these pictures while they are developed and printed?
A: There is no problem if the photographer who looks at them to take pictures is one of their maḥrams. There should also be no problem in developing and printing these pictures by a person who does not know them.
Q28. Some youth look at obscene pictures. They put forward a number of justifications for doing so. What is the view in this matter? Should looking at these pictures contribute to dulling the desire and, in turn minimizing the tendency to committing that which is ḥarām, how should one go about it?
A: Should looking at the pictures be with ill intentions or when the looker knows that it will lead to sexual excitation, the fear of falling into ḥarām, or bad consequences; it is ḥarām. Trying not to commit an act of ḥarām by allowing oneself to fall prey to that which is ḥarām at the outset is not a valid justification to embark on the practice.
Q29. What is the view on attending wedding parties for filming, knowing that there would be music and dancing? What is the view of filming by a man in men-only parties and a woman in women-only parties? What is the view on developing films of wedding parties by men, regardless of the fact that the producer of the film knows the family? And will the ruling be different if the developer is a woman? And finally, is it permissible to use music in editing these films?
A: There is no harm in attending wedding parties, nor is there any harm in men filming in men-only parties and women filming in women-only parties provided that this does not entail listening to a ḥarām kind of music and singing; this should also not lead to the commission of any other ḥarām act. However, filming parties by the opposite sex is not allowed if it leads to looking with ill intentions or falling into other kinds of bad consequences. The use of lahwī music, which deviates one from the way of Allah, in editing wedding parties’ films is also ḥarām.
Q30. Given the nature of movies — be they foreign or local — and music which are broadcast from the television of the Islamic Republic, what is the view on watching and listening to them?
A: Should the listener or viewer conclude that the music that is broadcast from radio and television is of the lahwī type which deviates people from the way of Allah, or that watching the movie which is broadcast from television would necessarily lead to vile consequences, it is not permissible to either listen to or watch. Broadcasting from radio and television per se is not a shar‘ī reason for it to be permissible.
Q31. What is the ruling in the matter of printing and selling the pictures which ostensibly portray the Prophet (s.a.w.) and Imams Ali and Ḥusayn (a.s.) for putting them in government offices?
A: From the shar‘ī point of view; there is no objection to it in itself. That said, this should not entail any insult or degrading act in common opinion, or detract from the status of those luminaries (a.s.).
Q32. What is the ruling in the matter of reading obscene books and poems arousing one’s sexual passion?
A: It should be avoided.
Q33. Satellite television stations broadcast soap operas that deal with social problems in Western societies. Inevitably, they treat things like the mixing of the sexes, adultery, etc., as a matter of course. Watching these programs started to have its undesirable effects on some believers. What is the view on watching such programs by those who possibly may be affected by what they watch? Would the ruling be different if the person previews them in order to criticize these programs and to inform people of their negative points persuading people not to watch them?
A: It is not permissible to watch them with lust, nor is it permissible to do so if there is a possibility that one is going to be affected by what he sees or if a fear of depravation exists. As for watching these programs to prepare a critique and show people the dangers and negative aspects they contain, there is no harm in it provided that the critics are qualified to do the job and guarantee that they are not going to be affected by these programs or fall victim to corruption.
Q34. Is it permissible to look at the hair of a female newsreader that normally appears with make-up and without covering her head/chest?
A: There is no harm in watching per se provided that one is careful not to look with lust, there is no fear of committing a ḥarām act of falling into corruption and that the broadcast is not live.
Q35. Is it permissible to watch films that are bound to excite one’s imagination and sexual urge if the person is married?
A: If watching these films is intended to stir one’s desire or watching them leads to such a thing, it is not permissible.
Q36. What is the ruling in the matter of married men watching films which give instructions about how best they can make love to their pregnant wives provided that it does not lead to committing a ḥarām?
A: It is not permissible to watch such films that normally are accompanied by lustful watching.
Q37. What is the view on the work of the officials of the ministry of guidance which involves checking films and printed material to ascertain that they do not contain harmful scenes/material for eventual release, noting that the process involves watching and listening attentively?
A: There is no problem in censorship officials watching, and listening to, them attentively as far as necessity requires, so long as this is part of their legal job. However, they should be vigilant not to fall victim to looking lustfully or with ill intentions. Furthermore, these officials should be subject to authorities’ control and guidance both ideologically and spiritually.
Q38. What is the view on watching video films which contain unsavory scenes for the purpose of censorship and eliminating the corrupt scenes before showing them to others?
A: There is no problem in that, should it be for reforming the film and removing its dissolute scenes provided that the person entrusted with the job should be immune against committing a ḥarām act.
Q39. Is it permissible for married couples to watch pornographic films in their own home? And is it permissible for a person with a severed spinal cord to do so in order to be able to make love to his wife?
A: It is not permissible to stimulate one’s sexual urges by way of watching video films containing sexual scenes.
Q40. What is the ruling in the matter of secretly watching films and pictures banned by the Islamic state if it does not entail bad results? And what is the ruling for the young couple?
A: In the light of the ban, it is problematic.
Q41. What is the ruling in the matter of watching films that contain material showing irreverence towards that which the Islamic Republic holds sacred and dear or viewed as insulting to His Holiness, the Leader of Muslims?
A: It must be avoided.
Q42. What is the view on watching Iranian films that were produced after the triumph of the revolution, showing women wearing imperfect ḥijāb and which sometimes contain harmful scenes?
A: There is no problem in watching these films in itself if the viewer does not intend watching them with lust or ill intention and it does not cause him to fall victim to bad consequences. It is noteworthy that the producers of these films should avoid producing films which go against valuable Islamic teachings.
Q43. What is the ruling in the matter of distributing and showing films, which are passed by the ministry of guidance? And what is the view on distributing musical cassettes in the universities, especially, after the distribution has been sanctioned by the mentioned ministry?
A: If the mukallaf thinks that these films and cassettes contain lahwī — by the common view — songs and music which deviate people form the way of Allah, it is not permissible to distribute, sell, watch, and listen to them. Approval by the competent authorities per se is not a valid reason to make it permissible for the mukallaf, so long as he views the matter differently from the authorities licensing the material.
Q44. What is the ruling in the matter of buying, selling, and keeping magazines of women’s fashion, which normally contain pictures of non-maḥram women, especially when the aim is choosing and making dresses?
A: The mere presence of pictures of non-maḥram women in such magazines should not make it objectionable to sell, buy, or make choices for women’s fashion unless the pictures are of the kind that entails bad consequences.
Q45. Is it permissible to buy or sell television cameras?
A: There is no harm in selling and buying television cameras provided that it is not intended for a ḥarām use.
Q46. What is the ruling in the matter of buying, selling, and renting video films showing explicit sexual scenes and the video machine itself?
A: Should these films contain sexually stimulating scenes which are bound to lead the viewer astray and to depravity, or contain lahwī songs and music that deviate people from the way of Allah, it is not permissible to produce, sell, buy, or rent them out. Nor is it permissible to rent the video recorder to be used for these purposes.
Q47. Is it permissible to listen to news bulletins or scientific and cultural programs broadcast by foreign radio stations?
A: There is no objection to it unless it leads to corruption and going astray.
Music and Ghinā’
Q48. What are the criteria by which one can distinguish ḥalāl from ḥarām music? Is classical music ḥalāl?
A: Any music which is lahwī and deviates people from the way of Allah is ḥarām whether it is classic or not. To distinguish the subject of a ruling depends on the view of the mukallaf as a part of common people. There is no objection to other kinds of music in itself.
Q49. What is the ruling on the issue of listening to cassettes sanctioned by the organization of Islamic propagation or other Islamic institutions? What is the ruling on the matter of using musical instruments, such as a violin, or flute?
A: The permissibility of listening to a cassette depends on mukallaf’s view. If he maintains that it does not contain ghinā’and lahwī music — which deviate people from the way of Allah — or untrue speech, then there is no objection to listening to it. Therefore, its sanction by the Islamic Propagation Organization or any other Islamic institute does not serve by itself as a shar‘ī proof of being permissible. It is not allowed to use musical instruments to produce ḥarām lahwī music which deviates people from the way of Allah. However, it is ḥalāl to use them for rational purposes. To distinguish the instances rests with the mukallaf.
Q50. What is meant by lahwī music which deviates people from the way of Allah? And how best can one recognize it?
A: Lahwī and deviating music is that which due to its characteristics keeps human beings away from Allah, the sublime, and away from moral merits and drives them towards sinful acts and carelessness. Its recognition rests with the common people.
Q51. Do such things as the personality of the musician, the place where music is conducted, and the aims of the music have any say in the ruling in the matter of music?
A: The ḥarām type of music is lahwī music which deviates people from the way of Allah. However, the personality of the musician, the vocalized words accompanying the music, the venue, and all other circumstances may contribute to place it in the category of ḥarām, lahwī, and deviating music, or another ḥarām category, e.g., if the music, due to the mentioned things, leads to certain corruption.
Q52. Is lahwī nature of a particular type of music the only criterion for judging that it is ḥarām or should one considers the element of excitement also? If it causes the listener to feel sadness and eventually make him cry, what is the ruling then? And what about listening to love poems that are vocalized to the accompaniment of music?
A: The criterion is to observe how the music is being played in all its characteristics and whether or not it is lahwī and deviates people from the way of Allah. Any music categorized due to its nature as lahwī and deviates people from the way of Allah is ḥarām, irrespective of whether it contains the element of excitement or not. Whether it engenders in the listener a state of melancholy and crying is also immaterial. Should reciting love poems to the accompaniment of music take the form of ghinā’ and lahwī songs which deviates people from the way of Allah, it is ḥarām to sing, or to listen to, them.
Q53. How do you define ghinā’? Is it just the human voice or does it cover the sound of musical instruments?
A: Ghinā’ is the voice of the human being, which is produced in a rise and fall pattern and deviates people from the way of Allah. It is ḥarām to engage in this type of singing; as well as to listen to it.
Q54. Is it permissible for women to rap on things, other than musical instruments, such as kitchen utensils, in wedding parties? And what is the ruling if the sound is heard outside by men?
A: Such [rapping] should be judged by the way it is conducted, i.e., if it is of what people used to do in traditional wedding parties, is not considered lahw and deviating from the way of Allah, and no bad effect follows it as a consequence, there is no problem in doing so.
Q55. What is the ruling in the matter of women using the tambourine in wedding parties?
A: To use musical instruments to play lahwī and deviating music is not permissible.
Q56. Is it permissible to listen to ghinā’ at home? And what is the ruling if one does not get affected by such songs?
A: Listening to ghinā’ which is lahwī and devites people from the way of Allah is absolutely ḥarām, be it at one’s home alone or in the presence of others, even if one does not get aroused.
Q57. Some youth, who recently became mature, follow in taqlīd some mujtahids who are of the opinion that music is absolutely ḥarām, even if it is broadcast from the official radio and television of the Islamic state.
What is the ruling in this matter? Is sanctioning, by the Jurist Leader, of certain ḥalāl types of music enough by itself, as a government ruling, to override the fatwā of the other mujtahids who espouse a different view? Or should those youth follow the fatwā of their respective marji‘s?
A: Passing a fatwā in favor of, or against, listening to music is not a hukm — governmental ruling — rather a shar‘ī jurisprudential one. It is the duty, therefore, of every mukallaf to adhere to the fatwā of his/her marji`. However, should the music not be of the type which is lahwī, deviates people from the way of Allah, and leads to bad consequences, there is no evidence for making it ḥarām.
Q58. What is the definition of music and ghinā’?
A: Ghinā’ involves the rise and fall of the voice in a way that is lahwī and deviates people from the way of Allah. It is a sinful act, which is ḥarām for both the singer and the listener.
As for music, it is to play musical instruments. If it is done in a way that is lahwī and deviates people from the way of Allah, it is ḥarām for both the musician and the listener. Otherwise, it is permissible in itself and there is no objection to it.
Q59. I work for an employer who made a habit of listening to ghinā’ played from a cassette recorder. I find myself listening to what is being played, although unwillingly. Is it permissible for me to do so?
A: Should the cassettes contain lahwī ghinā’ or music which deviate people from the way of Allah, it is not permissible to listen to them. However, if you are forced to attend such a place, there is no harm in your going and working there provided that you do not listen to the ghinā’, albeit the sound reaches you and you hear it.
Q60. What is the ruling in the matter of music that is broadcast from the radio and television of the Islamic Republic? And is there any truth in what has been circulated that the late Imam Khomeini (may his soul rest in peace) ruled that music in general is ḥalāl?
A: Attributing the ruling of absolute permissibility of music to the late great leader Imam Khomeini (q.) is baseless and a fabricated lie. He was of the opinion that a piece of music, which is suitable for the gatherings of sin, is ḥarām. However, the difference of opinion stems from varying identification of rulings’ subject matter which rests with mukallafs.
For example, the musician may disagree with the listener’s point of view. In this case, what the mukallaf regards as lahwī which deviates people from the way of Allah is ḥarām for him to listen to. As for the sounds which fall in a grey area, the ruling in their regard is that it is permissible to listen to them. The mere broad-casting [songs and music] by the radio and television is not legitimate evidence that it is ḥalāl and permissible.
Q61. From time to time radio and television broadcast music that, I think, is suitable for gatherings of lahw and sin. Is it incumbent on me not to listen to such music and should I prevent other people from listening to it?
A: If you are convinced that it is a lahwī type of music which deviates people from the way of Allah, you are not allowed to listen to it. As for preventing other people from listening to it, by way of forbidding that which is the evil, this depends on their view, i.e., if they consider it a ḥarām type of music as well.
Q62. What is the ruling in the matter of listening to Western lahwī songs and music and working as a distributing agent for such products?
A: It is ḥarām to listen to ghinā’ or music that is lahwī and deviate people from the way of Allah, regardless of the language it is composed in or the country of origin. Accordingly, it is not permissible to buy, sell, or distribute such cassettes, should they contain the lahwī ḥarām type of music and singing. By the same token, it is not permissible to listen to them.
Q63. What is the ruling in the matter of men or women singing in the way of ghinā’ on radio or cassettes, and irrespective of whether or not such singing was done to the accompaniment of music?
A: Ghinā’ is ḥarām if it is lahwī and deviates people from the way of Allah. Thus, it is neither permissible to sing ghinā’ nor to listen to it, regardless of whether the singer is a man or a woman. Whether singing is broadcast live, or to listen to its cassettes, and whether it is accompanied by tunes from musical instruments or not, does not change the ruling in any way.
Q64. What is the ruling in the matter of playing music to serve sensible lawful aims in a holy place like a masjid?
A: It is not at all permissible to play lahwī and deviating music, even in venues outside the masjid and for a sensible lawful reason. However, there is no objection to revolutionary martial chanting to the accompaniment of musical tunes in holy places on the occasions which warrant that provided that it does not go against the sanctity of the place or pose any nuisance to the worshippers and praying persons in such places as masjids.
Q65. Is it permissible to learn to play music, especially a dulcimer? What is the ruling on encouraging other people to do so?
A: There is no objection to using musical instruments to play non-lahwī tunes if it is for revolutionary or religious chanting or carrying out useful cultural and other programs aiming at rational and ḥalāl purposes provided that no bad consequence may result. Also, learning and teaching playing music for the above mentioned causes are no problem.
Q66. What is the ruling in the matter of listening to a woman's declamation, regardless of whom the audiences are, i.e., men or women, old or young? And what is the view if the woman is one’s maḥram?
A: If her voice is considered as ghinā’ which is lahwī and deviate people from the way of Allah, listening to it is not driven by lust, or it leads to a bad consequence, it is not allowed. What is mentioned in the question makes no difference.
Q67. Is traditional national Iranian music ḥarām?
A: Should it, according to the common view, be judged as a lahwī form of music that deviates people from the way of Allah, it is absolutely ḥarām, regardless of the nationality of music, i.e., whether Iranian or otherwise, traditional or otherwise.
Q68. Some Arabic broadcasting stations air musical tunes. Is it permissible to listen to such tunes for the love of the Arabic language?
A: Listening to lahwī deviating music is absolutely ḥarām. Yearning to listening to the Arabic language per se is not a shar‘ī justification for such an act.
Q69. Is it permissible to recite poems which are being sung but without the music?
A: Ghinā’ is ḥarām, even if it is not carried out to the accompaniment of music. What is meant by ghinā’ is that type of vocalizing with rise and fall which deviates one from the way of Allah and is suitable for dissolute gatherings of sin. As for reciting poetry in itself, there is no problem in it.
Q70. What is the ruling in the matter of buying and selling musical instruments? And what are the limits of their use?
A: There is no problem in buying and selling musical instruments that serve dual purposes, intending to use them in playing non-lahwī tunes.
Q71. Is it permissible to recite the Holy Qur’an, supplication, and adhān, in a ghinā’-like manner?
A: Ghinā’ — i.e., a voice accompanied by a rise and fall, which is suitable for gatherings of lahw and sin — is absolutely ḥarām, even if it is used in reciting supplications, the Holy Qur′an, adhān, elegies, etc.
Q72. Nowadays, music is used to treat a host of psychological diseases, such as depression, anxiety and sexual problems of females. What is the ruling in this matter?
A: Should sincere medical opinion be supportive of this, in that treating an illness depends solely on it, there is no problem in that provided it is in keeping with the requirements of the treatment.
Q73. If listening to ghinā’ stimulates man’s sexual desire for his wife, what is the view on that?
A: Increasing husband’s libido per se is not a lawful excuse for listening to ḥarām ghinā’.
Q74. What is the ruling in the matter of a woman singing in a concert with a women orchestra in the presence of an all-women audience?
A: If singing is accompanied by deviating lahwī rise and fall of voice or the music accompanying it is lahwī and deviates people from the way of Allah, it is ḥarām.
Q75. If the criterion for ruling that a music is ḥarām is its being lahwī and suitable for gatherings of lahw and sin, what is the ruling in the matter of tunes and chanting which may cause some people to move their body with joy, even the non-discriminating child? Is it permissible to listen to vulgar cassettes in which women sing in the form of ghinā’ if it is not enrapturing? And what should passengers, who use public buses whose drivers play such cassettes, do?
A: With due consideration to the status of the musician or the singer during playing music or singing, the content, and the nature of music or song, any lahwī type of music or vocalization with a rise and fall in voice that is suitable for the gatherings of lahw and sin is ḥarām, even if it does not lead to stimulation in the listener. The users of vehicles and buses must not listen attentively to what is being played of ḥarām lahwī music and ghinā’ songs; they should also practice forbidding the evil.
Q76. Is it permissible for a man to listen to a non-maḥram woman’s ghinā’ in order to enjoy being with his wife? Also, is it permissible for the wife to sing ghinā’ for her husband and vice versa? Is there any truth in what is said that the Divine Legislator made ghinā’ ḥarām because it is intrinsically tied in with the gatherings of lahw and la‘ib and that such a prohibition made because such gatherings are themselves ḥarām?
A: It is absolutely ḥarām to listen to ḥarām ghinā’ which is characterized by rising and falling voice which deviates one from the way of Allah, even if it is done by wife or husband for the other. The purpose of enjoying being with one’s wife per se is not a justifiable reason to make listening to ghinā’ permissible.
However, prohibition of ghinā’, and the like has been proven by way of being bound to Sharī′ah law and it stands on firm ground in Shi′ah jurisprudence. Thus, it is not contingent on imaginative reasons and psychological and social factors. Rather, as long as the word “ghinā’” or the like is applied to a case, it is ruled to be absolutely ḥarām and should be avoided.
Q77. As a requirement of the curriculum of a major subject, students of the college of education have to take music classes whereby they are introduced to an outline of the subject of revolutionary music and chants. This includes classes in musical notations and playing the organ. What is our duty in respect with buying and using such a musical instrument? And what is the view on learning this subject as part of the compulsory program? What is the obligation of female students who are required to practice before the opposite sex?
A: In itself, there is no problem in using the musical instruments for composing revolutionary recitals, making religious programs, and holding useful cultural and educational activities, nor is there any harm in buying and selling these instruments for these stated purposes. Also, there is no objection to teaching and learning it for such aims, nor is there any objection to female students attending such classes provided that they uphold the obligatory ḥijāb and other Islamic regulations.
Q78. On the face of it, some songs give the impression that they are revolutionary, and the common view suggests that as well. However, one cannot tell whether the singer is really aiming at instilling revolutionary values or entertaining the audience. What is the view on listening to this type of songs, especially if the singer is not a Muslim, yet his songs are national and contain words which denounce occupation and encourage resistance?
A: If the listener maintains that as per common view they are not lahwī and deviating from the way of Allah, there is no problem in listening to the songs. Thus, neither the intention of the singer nor the content has anything to do with this ruling.
Q79. A person works as a trainer and an international referee in some kind of sport. His work could require his presence in clubs where ḥarām kind of music and singing are played. Is it permissible for him to carry on with this work, especially, if it provides him with some income where jobs are hard to come by?
A: There is no harm in this person’s work, albeit it is ḥarām for him to listen to ghinā’ and lahwī music. In circumstances where he is compelled to enter places where the ḥarām type of singing and music are taking place, he is allowed to do so provided he avoids listening to them. There is, though, no problem in hearing such singing and music involuntarily.
Q80. Is listening to music alone ḥarām, or is hearing also ḥarām?
A: The ruling on hearing ḥarām lahwī singing and music is not the same as that of listening to them except in certain situations when, according to the common view, hearing amounts to listening.
Q81. Is it permissible to recite Qur’anic verses while playing music using instruments other than those usually suitable for gatherings of lahw and la‘ib?
A: There is no objection to reciting Qur’an in a beautiful and melodious voice commensurate to the greatness of the Holy Qur′an; it is, indeed, preferable so long as it does not amount to unlawful singing. However, playing music, while the recitation is in progress, has no shar‘ī justification.
Q82. What is the view on beating on drum in birthday parties and similar occasions?
A: The use of musical instruments in a lahwī manner that deviates one from the way of Allah is absolutely ḥarām.
Q83. What is the ruling in the matter of musical instruments used by groups of chanting composed of school students overseen by the department of education and culture?
A: Musical instruments which, according to the common view, are of dual — ḥalāl and ḥarām — purpose, can be used in a non-lahwī manner for lawful purposes so that it does not deviate one from the way of Allah. Instruments, which the common view regards as special to the production of lahwī deviating music, are not permissible to use.
Q84. Is it permissible to: (a) work in manufacturing the dulcimer, a musical instrument, in order to make a living; (b) to teach Iranian classic music in order to revive and promote it?
A: There is no harm in the use of musical instruments to play tunes for revolutionary chanting, national anthems, or any other ḥalāl and useful pursuit provided it is not lahwī nor deviates people from the way of Allah. Also, in itself, there is no problem in manufacturing musical instruments or teaching and learning music for the aforementioned purposes.
Q85. Which instruments are considered as lahw and therefore not permissible to use at all?
A: Instruments used mainly for lahw and producing what deviates people from the way of Allah, which causes deviations in thoughts and beliefs and have no ḥalāl benefit, are regarded as lahw instruments.
Q86. Is it permissible to charge money for making copies of cassettes that contain ḥarām material?
A: It is ḥarām to copy any audiocassette listening to which is considered ḥarām, or to charge for that service.