Q 1041: What is the rule concerning initiation of jihad against infidels during the occultation of the Infallible Imam (a.)? Is it permissible for the qualified mujtahid who possesses state power [the Leader of Muslims] to declare it?
A: The opinion that affirms the permissibility of such a declaration for the qualified mujtahid who has the position of administering the affairs of Muslims, when he sees that expediency requires it; is not improbable. Rather, it is the strongest opinion.
Q 1042: What is the rule concerning defending Islam when it is felt to be in danger, but without the parents’ consent?
A: To defend Islam and Muslims is obligatory and does not depend upon the parent’s permission. Nevertheless, it is advisable to try to obtain their consent as far as possible.
Q 1043: Does the rule of dhimmī apply to the People of the Book who live in Islamic countries?
A: As long as they obey the rules and regulations of the Islamic government under which they live and do not do anything contrary to the treaty, their rule will be the same as that of mu‘āhids, [those who have a peace treaty with the Islamic state].
Q 1044: Is it permissible for a Muslim to take possession of any non-Muslim person whether kitābī or non-kitābī, man or woman, in a non-Muslim country or in an Islamic one?
A: It is not permissible. In case the infidels attack Islamic lands and a group of them are captured by Muslims, deciding the fate of the prisoners of war rests with the Islamic ruler and Muslims as individuals do not have such powers.
Q 1045: If, supposedly, the preservation of the genuine Islam of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.) depends on shedding the blood of a respected soul, is it permissible to do so?
A: According to Islamic law, shedding the blood of a respected soul without any right is forbidden and contradicts the rules of genuine Islam of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s). Therefore, it does not make sense to say that the preservation of the genuine Islam depends on killing an innocent person. But if what is meant is the mukallaf’s commitment to jihad in the way of Allah, the Almighty, and defense of the genuine Islam of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s) in cases in which he may be killed, the cases differ. If the mukallaf feels, on the basis of his judgment, that the very existence of Islam is in danger, it will be obligatory for him to rise for its defense, even if there is fear of being killed.
Music and Ghinā’
Q1121. 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.
Q1122. 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.
Q1123. 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.
Q1124. 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.
Q1125. 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.
Q1126. 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.
Q1127. 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.
Q1128. 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.
Q1129. 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.
Q1130. 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.
Q1131. 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.
Q1132. 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.
Q1133. 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.
Q1134. 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.
Q1135. 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.
Q1136. 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.
Q1137. 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.
Q1138. 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.
Q1139. 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.
Q1140. 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.
Q1141. 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.
Q1142. 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.
Q1143. 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.
Q1144. 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.
Q1145. 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.
Q1146. 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’.
Q1147. 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.
Q1148. 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.
Q1149. 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.
Q1150. 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.
Q1151. 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.
Q1152. 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.
Q1153. 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.
Q1154. 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.
Q1155. 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.
Q1156. 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.
Q1157. 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.
Q1158. 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.
Q1159. 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.
Q1160. Is it permissible to dance the traditional dancing in wedding parties and what is the view on taking part in such parties?
A: Men's dancing is – by obligatory caution - ḥarām. If a woman's dancing among women is categorized as lahw - e.g. the woman's gathering becomes a dancing gathering, it is problematic and should be – by obligatory caution – avoided. If dancing entails sexual excitation or committing a ḥarām act (like ḥarām music/singing), a non-mḥram man is there, or leads to bad consequences, it is not permissible. As far as this rule is concerned, there is no difference between wedding parties and other gatherings. If participating in dancing parties is done by way of supporting the commission of ḥarām by others or leading to committing a ḥarām act, it is not permissible either. Otherwise, there is no harm in it.
Q1161. Is dancing without music in women’s gatherings ḥarām or ḥalāl? If it is ḥarām, should those present leave?
A: If a woman's dancing among women is categorized as as lahw - e.g. the woman's gathering becomes a dancing gathering, it is problematic and should be – by obligatory caution – avoided. It is also ḥarām if dancing entails sexual excitation, the commission of a ḥarām act, or leads to bad effects. Accordingly, leaving the party as a kind of protest against the ḥarām act is obligatory if it is a case of forbidding evil.
Q1162. What is the ruling in the matter of traditional dancing in either mixed groups of men and women, men only, or women only?
A: Men's dancing is – by obligatory caution - ḥarām. If a woman's dancing among women is categorized as lahw - e.g. the woman's gathering becomes a dancing gathering, it is problematic and should be – by obligatory caution – avoided. It is also ḥarām if dancing entails sexual excitation or committing a ḥarām act (like ḥarām music/singing), a non-mḥram man is there, or leads to bad consequences.
Q1163. What is the view on watching men or little girls dancing on television and so on?
A: It is not permissible if watching it leads to exciting sexual passion, supporting the action of the wrongdoer, daring them to do so, or entails bad effects.
Q1164. Attending wedding parties is carried out as a courtesy of the social norms. Is there any objection to doing that if there is a possibility of dancing taking place?
A: There is no objection to attending wedding parties where dancing may take place provided that it is not regarded as a manifestation of approval, on the part of the partaker, of the misdeeds of the wrongdoer and does not entail the commission of any ḥarām act.
Q1165. Is the dancing of a wife for her husband and vice versa ḥarām?
A: Should it be done without the commission of any ḥarām act, there is no harm in it.
Q1166. Is it permissible to dance in one’s offspring’s wedding party?
A: If it is of the ḥarām type of dance, it is ḥarām, even though the parents do it in their offspring’s wedding party.
Q1167. A married woman dances in wedding parties before non-maḥram people, without the consent of her husband. She is adamant not to give up the habit, despite repeated advice, enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, by her husband. What could one do in this regard?
A: Dancing of a woman in the presence of non-maḥrams is absolutely ḥarām. Going out of her home without her husband’s permission is also ḥarām in itself; she is regarded as rebellious. Accordingly, she does not enjoy the right of maintenance.
Q1168. What is the ruling in the matter of women dancing in the presence of men in rural wedding parties where musical instruments are played? And what should one do in this regard?
A: Dancing of women before non-maḥram men and every dancing which may entail a bad effect and arousal of sexual desires are ḥarām. Playing music and listening to it is also ḥarām if it is done in a lahwī manner and deviates one from the way of Allah. In this case, the onus is on the mukallaf to forbid the evil.
Q1169. What is the ruling in the matter of dancing of a discerning child, male or female, in the gatherings of men or women?
A: There is no obligation on the child, male or female, which has not attained age of ritual maturity yet. However, it is not good for adults to encourage the child to dance.
Q1170. What is the view on establishing dance-teaching centers?
A: Establishing centers for teaching and promoting dancing goes against the objects of the Islamic system.
Q1171. What is the view on men or women dancing in the company of their mḥrams of opposite sex whether in-laws or blood relatives?
A: What is forbidden of dance is universal, i.e., irrespective of whether it is done by a man, a woman, or in the presence of one’s mḥram or non-mḥram.
Q1172. Is fencing with sticks in wedding parties permissible? And what is the view if it is carried out to the accompaniment of music?
A: There is no problem in it in itself, should it be a kind of recreational sporting game, and provided no harm would befall the participants. As for the use of musical instruments in a lahwī deviating (from the way of Allah) manner, it is not permissible.
Q1173. What is the rule on dabke?
A: If it is considered as a kind of dancing as per common view, the rules of dancing are applied to it.
Q1174. Is it permissible for women to clap in happy occasions like wedding and birthday parties? Assuming that it is permissible, what if the sound of their clapping reaches outside and is heard by non-maḥram men?
A: There is no problem in clapping in the manner which is generally accepted by the common view, even if the sound is heard by non-maḥram men provided that it does not lead to any bad effects.
Q1175. What is the ruling in the matter of clapping which normally accompanies songs of praise of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and his Household (a.s.) and recitation of salawāt in birth parties of the Infallibles (a.s.) and other religious festival? And would the ruling be different if these celebrations were held in places of worship, such as masjids and prayer rooms in government departments and institutions?
A: Generally speaking, in itself there is no problem in clapping in the way common in such celebrations, or as a gesture of encouragement, or expression of approval and the like. However, it is more meritorious to adorn the celebratory atmosphere with the sound of chanting salawāt on the Prophet (s.a.w.), and his progeny (a.s.) and Allahuakbar especially when the event takes place in masjids and similar places of worship so that the participants would reap more reward.
Non-maḥrams’ Pictures and Films
Q1176. 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.
Q1177. 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.
Q1178. 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.
Q1179. 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.
Q1180. 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.
Q1181. 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.
Q1182. 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.
Q1183. 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.
Q1184. 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.
Q1185. 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.
Q1186. 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.
Q1187. 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.
Q1188. 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.
Q1189. 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.).
Q1190. What is the ruling in the matter of reading obscene books and poems arousing one’s sexual passion?
A: It should be avoided.
Q1191. 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.
Q1192. 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.
Q1193. 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.
Q1194. 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.
Q1195. 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.
Q1196. 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.
Q1197. 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.
Q1198. 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.
Q1199. 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.
Q1200. 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.
Q1201. 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.
Q1202. 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.
Q1203. 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.
Q1204. 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.
Q1205. 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.
Satellite Television Equipment
Q1206. 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.
Q1207. 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.
Q1208. 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.
Q1209. 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.
Q1210. 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.
Theatre and Cinema
Q1211. 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.
Q1212. 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.
Q1213. 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.
Q1214. 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
Q1215. 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.
Q1216. 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.
Q1217. 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.
Q1218. 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.
Q1219. 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.
Q1220. 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.
Q1221. 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.
Q1222. 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.
Magic, Conjuring, and Evocation of Spirits and Jinn
Q1223. What is the view on teaching, learning, and watching conjuring? And what is the view on performing (to an audience) illusionary tricks which depend on quick handwork?
A: It is ḥarām to learn or teach or learn conjuring which is considered as a kind of magic. As for entertainment accompanied by sleight of hand and quick movement that are not considered magic, there is no harm in them.
Q1224. Is it permissible to learn fortune telling, geomancy, jafr, and similar things which tell about the unseen?
A: Nowadays, people’s knowledge of these sciences cannot be relied on — with absolute certainty — in discovering the unseen. However, there is no harm in learning sciences like jafr and raml (geomancy) in the proper way provided that it does not lead to vileness.
Q1225. Is it permissible to train in magic and apply it? And is it permissible to evoke the spirits of humans, angels, and jinn?
A: Magic is ḥarām, so is training in it unless it is taken up for a sensible and legitimate reason. Regarding evocation of spirits, angels, and jinn, the ruling varies in terms of cases, means, and objectives.
Q1226. What is the view on believers seeking healing with spiritual healers (those who utilize spirits for treating diseases) if the patient is sure that they do not do but good?
A: There is no harm in it in itself if the process is achieved through lawful means according to Islam.
Q1227. Is it permissible to take up divination by means of the sands and earn a living thereof?
A: Telling a lie is not permissible.
Q1228. Is it permissible to do hypnosis?
A: There is no harm in it if it is done for a sensible motive, with the consent of the person to be hypnotized and it is not associated with any ḥarām act.
Q1229. Some people took to hypnosis not for healing purposes, rather to display human spiritual power. Is it permissible? And is it permissible for those who have some experience in this field, yet not specialists, to do it?
A: Generally speaking, there is no objection to be trained in hypnosis, nor is there any objection to using it for ḥalāl, reasonable, and significant purposes provided that the consent of the person to be hypnotized is obtained and that no considerable harm for him is expected.
Q1230. What is the ruling in the matter of selling and buying lottery tickets? And what is the view if any prize is won in the process?
A: Buying and selling lottery tickets are, by obligatory caution, ḥarām. It does not belong to the person winning the prize, nor is he allowed to receive it.
Q1231. What is the ruling of buying tickets in the name of ‘social welfare gifts’ which are distributed among people?
A: There is no shar‘ī objection to publishing and distributing tickets for collecting people’s contributions and using them in charity and encouraging the contributors through stipulation of drawing lots. Also, paying for such tickets with the intention of participating in charitable matters is no problem.
Q1232. A person offered his car for sale by way of lottery. It works like this: Those willing to take part in the draw buy the ticket for a certain amount. After the specified period is up and the target money achieved, the draw takes place. The holder of the winning ticket would own the car. Is this way of giving the car through drawing a lot permissible in the Islamic law?
A: Buying and selling those tickets are, by obligatory caution, ḥarām. The prize (car) does not belong to the person winning the prize; rather, for its ownership, the car's owner should transfer its ownership to him through a valid shar‘ī contract, like selling, presenting, or ṣulḥ.
Q1233. Is it permissible to sell bonds destined for collecting people’s charitable donations with the intention of making a draw at a later date, then some of the money collected would be distributed among the participants as gifts and the remaining proceeds are dedicated to projects of public benefit?
A: Naming this work as “selling” is incorrect. However, there is no harm in distributing these bonds in the avenues that serve charitable causes. It is permissible to encourage potential donors by promising them prizes by way of a draw provided that people obtain these bonds with the intention of taking part in charitable causes.
Q1234. Is it permissible to buy lotto tickets, noting that the company running the enterprise are privately owned and only 20% of its profit goes to women’s charitable institutions?
A: Buying and selling them is, by obligatory caution, ḥarām and the money obtained by the winners does not belong to them.
Teaching, Learning and Their Proprieties
Q1310. Should man be held guilty for abandoning the gaining of knowledge about religious issues which are usually encountered by him?
A: He would be considered as a sinner if it results in his neglect of an obligatory deed or committing a ḥarām act.
Q1311. A theology student has finished the first stage of his study. He is confident that he can carry on attaining the level of ijtihād. Does it become obligatory on him, as an ‘aynī obligation, to finish his studies?
A: There is no doubt that to gain religious knowledge and to peruse it up to the attainment of the level of ijtihād is a great merit in itself. However, the mere ability to reach the level of ijtihād does not make it an ‘aynī obligation on the student to do so.
Q1312. What are the avenues of reaching certitude in matters of the fundamentals of religion?
A: It is often reached through rational proofs and evidence. However, the proof varies in accordance with people’s intellects. If it so happened that someone had reached certitude through a different avenue, this would be sufficient.
Q1313. What is the ruling in the matters of lethargy in gaining knowledge and time wasting? Are they ḥarām?
A: Wasting one’s time by doing nothing is a problematic issue. Should the student be benefiting of the grant and concessions normally accorded to the students, he should have no alternative but to be bound by the curriculum. Otherwise, he is not allowed to avail himself of student grants, scholarships, etc.
Q1314. In the school of economics the professor, in some lectures, deals with certain matters pertaining to ribā-bearing loans and compares the ways of borrowing with interest in trade and commerce. What is the ruling in the matter of teaching this subject and getting paid for it?
A: Teaching and discussing the subject pertaining to ribā-bearing loans per se, is not ḥarām.
Q1315. What is the right way for the devout specialists and other professionals in imparting their knowledge to the people in the Islamic Republic? And who, in government departments, is entitled to have access to important information and technology?
A: There is no objection to anyone learning any discipline; provided that it is done for legitimate and sensible reasons and that there is no risk of getting corrupted or causing corruption, except for those sciences and information about whose teaching and learning the Islamic state has passed some laws.
Q1316. Is it permissible to teach and study philosophy in Islamic seminaries?
A: There is no objection to learning or studying philosophy for those who are confident that it would not weaken their firm religious beliefs. Indeed, in certain circumstances, it becomes obligatory.
Q1317. What is the ruling in the matter of buying and selling misleading books such as “The Satanic Verses”?
A: It is not permissible to sell, buy, or keep misleading books unless for a person who wants to answer/refute their contents and is knowledgeable enough to do so.
1318. What is the view on teaching and storytelling of fables and fictions that deal with human beings and animals if there is any benefit that could be gained from doing so?
A: There is no harm in it if it is understood from the context that it is imaginary.
Q1319. What is the ruling on enrolling in a university where men mix with women, especially when some of the women are not wearing ḥijāb?
A: There is no objection to going to educational institutes for acquiring knowledge and teaching. However, it is incumbent on women and girls to observe ḥijāb; it is equally incumbent on men to avoid looking in ḥarām way and keeping away from mixing with the opposite sex, which normally leads to temptation and corruption.
Q1320. Is it permissible for a woman to learn driving with the help of a non-maḥram instructor if she observers ḥijāb and chastity throughout?
A: There is no objection to learning driving with the help of a non-maḥram instructor provided that she observes ḥijāb and chastity and ensures that no vile deed is going to be committed. However, it is advisable that one among her maḥram should accompany her. Indeed, it is even much better if she learns driving with the help of a female instructor or one of her maḥram.
Q1321. University students of both sexes meet each other and discuss matters ranging from study to exchanging light-hearted jokes. Of course this is done without any questionable intentions or sexual pleasure. Is it permissible?
A: There is no objection to it provided that female students observe proper ḥijāb, no questionable intention is involved, and one is immune from corrupting practices. Otherwise, it is impermissible.
Q1322. Which scientific specializations are more beneficial to both Islam and Muslims these days?
A: It is advisable that scientists, professors, and university students pay due attention to all useful scientific fields, which Muslims need, so that they have no need of foreigners, especially those who harbor enmity to Islam and Muslims. To determine which field is the most beneficial is the responsibility of the officials concerned, taking into consideration the existing conditions.
Q1323. What is the ruling in the matter of reading misleading books or the books that belong to other faiths in order to acquire insight into them and get more knowledge and information about them?
A: If it is done just to get acquainted with them and increase one’s information, it is problematic to rule it permissible. However, it is permissible for a person who is capable to sift through such books with a view to distinguishing falsehoods and refuting them provided that one is absolutely confident not to go astray.
Q1324. What is the ruling in the matter of enrolling one’s children in schools that teach false beliefs, assuming that they are not going to be affected by what they are taught?
A: There is no objection to it if there is no risk of the children’s belief, it does not contribute to promoting falsehood, and they can skip the study of false and misguiding subjects.
Q1325. A university student is in his fourth year in the school of medicine. He has a burning desire to be a theology student. Is it obligatory for him to continue with his study of medicine or can he make a change?
A: The student has the choice to follow any discipline he prefers. However, it is important to stress that although religious studies are important for providing a service to the Islamic society, training in medicine is also important in order to provide medical services to the Islamic nation, to treat sick people, and to save their lives.
Q1326. A teacher severely punished one of his students in front of his classmates. Is the student justified to retaliate against him?
A: He does not have the right to retaliate in a way violating the status of the teacher. Indeed, it is obligatory on the student to preserve the dignity of the teacher and keep order in the classroom. However, he can solve the problem through legal ways. By the same token, the teacher should preserve the dignity of the student before his classmates and accord due regard to the Islamic code of teaching.
Q1327. What is the ruling in the matter of reproducing books and articles of foreign origin, or those published inside the Islamic Republic, without the permission of the publishers?
A: As regards reprinting, or offset, of books printed outside the Islamic Republic, it is governed by bilateral agreements reached by the two countries in this regard. As a matter of caution the rights of the publishers inside the country should be preserved by way of asking their permission to reprint their books.
Q1328. Is it permissible for authors, translators, and artists to claim to be remunerated for the time, money, and effort they put in such works?
A: It is within their right to demand from the publisher whatever they like for delivering their first original manuscript or piece of work to the publisher.
Q1329. Suppose that the writer, translator, or artist received a fee for the first edition of their piece of work, and, at the same time made a provision that they are to be given a share in the proceeds from selling the subsequent edition. Are they justified in demanding a share of the proceeds of subsequent sales? And how should the money, received in such a way, be treated?
A: In case the owner of the work has made a provision in the contract reached for delivering the original one that he should receive an amount of money for the subsequent editions or the law requires so, then there is no objection to receive it and the publisher is obliged to observe the provision.
Q1330. Suppose that the author did not specify anything regarding the subsequent editions, is it permissible for the publisher to reprint the material with neither his permission nor paying him for it?
A: If the contract signed between the two parties is confined to printing the first edition only, it is a caution to preserve his right and ask his permission for the subsequent editions.
Q1331. In case the compiler is absent due to travel, death or the like, who should one approach for permission to reproduce his work and to whom should the money be paid?
A: By caution, the permission of the compiler’s representative or legal guardian must be obtained. In the event of his death, his heirs’ permission must – by caution - be obtained.
Q1332. Is it permissible to reprint books without the permission of their owners, especially with the existence of the phrase "All rights reserved"?
A: It is a matter of caution that the rights of both the author and the publisher must be respected through obtaining their permission to reprint the material. Of course, in cases that there is a rule, it should be observed. It should be observed in the following issues as well.
Q1333. Some cassettes containing Qur’anic recitation and religious songs bear the phrase "Recording rights reserved". Is it permissible to make copies of such cassettes and give them to people who are interested in acquiring them?
A: As a matter of caution one should obtain the permission of the original publishers to make copies of the cassette.
Q1334. Is it permissible to make copies of computer disks? Assuming that it is ḥarām, is this confined to disks produced in Iran or does the ruling go beyond that to cover imported disks, especially when we know that the prices of some of these disks are very high because of their contents’ importance?
A: It is a caution to respect the rights of the owners by seeking their permission to make copies of the computer disks produced in Iran. In case they are produced abroad, it depends on the contract signed.
Q1335. Do trademarks of supermarkets or companies belong only to their owners so much so that others have no right to use the same trademarks for their businesses? To give an example, suppose that a person owns a business bearing the name of the family. Is it permissible for another member of the same family to use the same name for their business? And is it permissible for another person, who does not belong to the same family, to trade under the same name?
A: If the government, according to the ongoing laws gives the trademarks to someone who requested it earlier than the others and the trademark is registered in their names in administrative files, then, it is not permissible for others — including the family members of a person who acquired that trademark — to use it without the permission of its owner. Otherwise, there is no objection to doing so.
Q1336. Is it permissible for the owner of a photocopier to photocopy some material, on the pretext that they can be of benefit to the believers, without the permission of the owner of the printed matter? And would the ruling be different if the owner of the photocopier knew that the owner of the printed matter would object to people copying his material?
A: As a matter of caution, one should not take the initiative to photocopy the material without the permission of its owner.
Q1337. Some believers hire videotapes from a video shop. Upon viewing the material, they fancy it and accordingly make a copy of it without the permission of the shopkeeper. They do so on the understanding that the majority of the mujtahids do not recognize copyright. Are such people justified in what they are doing? On the assumption that it is not permissible, should those who have made copies hasten to seek the permission of the owners of the tape or is the wiping of the contents of the cassette sufficient?
A: As a matter of caution, one should not copy a videotape without the permission of its owners. However, if a person has already done so without the permission of the owner of the tape, it is sufficient to wipe the recorded material off the tape.
Dealing with non-Muslims
Q1338. Is it permissible to import Israeli goods and advertise them? If there is no other choice, is it permissible to sell such goods?
A: It is forbidden to embark on any dealings that may serve the interests of the usurping state of Israel which harbors enmity towards Islam and Muslims. It is not permissible for anyone to import and promote its goods, production and selling of which benefits the Israelis. Nor is it permissible for Muslims to buy such goods, because it entails bad effects and is detrimental to Islam and Muslims.
Q1339. Is it permissible for merchants to import and promote Israeli goods in a country that has lifted the boycott of Israeli goods?
A: They have to refrain from importing and promoting goods whose production and selling would benefit the deplorable state of Israel.
Q1340. Is it permissible for Muslims to buy Israeli goods that are on offer in a Muslim country?
A:It is incumbent on every Muslim to refrain from buying and making use of goods whose production and sale would benefit the Zionists who are at war with Islam and Muslims.
Q1341. Is it permissible to set up travel agencies in Muslim lands with a view to selling tickets for travel to Israel? And is it permissible for Muslims to buy tickets from such agencies?
A: It is not permissible, for it is detrimental to Islam and Muslims. Nor is it permissible for anyone to do anything that may constitute a violation of the Muslim boycott of Israel which is the enemy of Muslims and is at war with them.
Q1342. Is it permissible to buy the products of Jewish, American, or Canadian companies if there is a probability that they are supportive of Israel?
A: If the proceeds from the sale and purchase of these goods would contribute to supporting the occupying, wretched state of Israel or to opposing Islam and Muslims, it is not permissible for anybody to buy or sell such things. Otherwise, there is no objection to it.
Q1343. Should Israeli goods be imported to a Muslim country, is it permissible for retailers to buy some of them and sell them to the public and advertise them?
A: It is not permissible for them to do that because it constitutes corruption.
Q1344. Should Israeli goods be available on the open market in a Muslim country, can Muslims buy them, especially when it is possible to buy other goods imported form other countries?
A: It is incumbent on every Muslim to refrain from buying and making use of goods, production and sale of which would benefit the Zionists who are at war with Islam and Muslims.
Q1345. Some importers of Israeli goods falsify the documents and re-export such goods as though they belong to another country, such as Turkey and Cyprus, which imported them in the first place. They do so to deceive Muslims who, once they know that the goods are of Israeli origin, would not buy them. What should the Muslims do in these circumstances?
A: Muslims should refrain from buying, promoting, and using such goods.
Q1346. What is the ruling in the matter of buying and selling American goods? Is the ruling universal, i.e., does it cover other Western countries, such as France and Britain? Is it to observe this ruling only in Iran or is it universal?
A: Should the buying of goods, which have been imported from non-Muslim countries, and using them contribute to strengthening the infidel and colonizing states which are the enemies of Islam and Muslims or provide them with financial support they may use to attack Muslims or Islamic lands all over the world, it is the duty of Muslims to refrain from buying and using such goods. The nature of the goods or their countries of origin is immaterial so long as such countries harbor enmity towards Islam and Muslims. The ruling is not confined to Iranian Muslims.
Q1347. What is the position of people working in factories and establishments that would generate income for the infidel states and that would in the end render them strong?
A: In itself, there is no objection to dealing in legitimate business, even if it leads to generating profits for non-Islamic states unless the state is at war with the Muslims and exploits their labor to serve its war machine.
Working for Oppressive States
Q1348. Is it permissible to work in the government sector in a non-Islamic country?
A: The permissibility thereof hinges on the job in being permissible per se.
Q1349. A person works for the traffic administration in an Arabic country. Among his responsibilities is to sign for imprisoning of those who violate traffic rules. Is such work permissible? And what is the ruling on the salary the person gets from the government for doing such a job?
A: Observing laws and regulations passed — even by a non-Islamic government — for maintaining social order is a must. There is no objection to receiving salary for ḥalāl work.
Q1350. Is it permissible for a naturalized Muslim living in the States or Canada to join the army or to take a job with the police? Is it permissible for such a Muslim to work in government departments, municipality, and semi-governmental institutions?
A: There is no objection to it if doing such a job does not entail any bad effect, committing a ḥarām act, or abandoning an obligation.
Q1351. Does a judge, who has been appointed by a tyrannical regime for judgment, have legitimacy? Should his judgment, therefore, be obeyed?
A: It is not permissible for any person, who is not a qualified mujtahid, to be a judge and settle disputes between people unless he has been appointed by a qualified authority who has the right to appoint him. [If not], members of the public should not have recourse to such a judge and any judgment passed by him is not binding except for the necessary cases.
Rules on Clothing and Conspicuous ones
Q1352. What is the criterion for what are called “conspicuous clothes”?
A: They are the types of clothes that are not suitable for wearing, be it for their color, design, being worn, or any other reason. The yardstick is that when the person wears such clothes they would definitely attract the attention of other people, so much so that their look would be conspicuous.
Q1353. What is the ruling in the matter of the sound of tapping produced by a woman’s shoes while walking?
A: There is no harm in it in itself provided that it does not draw the attention of other people and lead to vile consequences.
Q1354. Is it permissible for a young woman to wear clothes that are dark blue in color?
A: There is no objection to it in itself unless it attracts the attention of other people and leads to bad consequences.
Q1355. In wedding parties or the like, is it permissible for women to wear transparent or tight clothes that show the contours of their bodies and other types of dresses that show most parts of their bodies?
A: If women are insulated from the gaze of men who are non-maḥram to them, and are immune to falling victim to vile deeds, there is no harm in their wearing such clothes. Otherwise, it is not permissible.
Q1356. Is it permissible for a devout woman to wear glittering black shoes?
A: There is no harm in wearing any type/color of shoes unless the color or the design attracts the attention of non-mḥrams, or makes her conspicuous.
Q1357. Is it incumbent on the woman to choose black colors for her clothing, e.g., headscarf, trousers, and dress?
A: The ruling mentioned in the previous answer is applied to the woman’s clothing, i.e., its color, shape, and design.
Q1358. Is it permissible for a woman to wear a kind of ḥijāb or dress objects that could trigger the attention of other people or unleash their desire, e.g., to wear a chador in an unconventional way or choose socks with color or material which unleash the desire?
A: It is not permissible for women to wear anything, whose color, design, or manner of wearing may be attractive to non-maḥram’s attention or could eventually lead to bad effects or committing that which is ḥarām.
Q1359. Is it permissible for men to wear women’s clothes and vice versa inside one’s house without the intention of emulating the opposite sex?
A: There is no harm in it provided that they do not take it as though it were their own dress.
Q1360. What is the ruling in the matter of men buying or selling women’s lingerie?
A: There is no harm in it in itself provided that it does not result in immorality and social decay.
Q1361. Is it permissible to make, buy, and sell transparent stockings?
A: There is no objection to making and trading in them provided that they are not intended for women to wear before men who are non-maḥram to them.
Q1362. Is it permissible for unmarried men to work in boutiques selling women’s clothes and cosmetics provided that they abide by religious as well as ethical norms?
A: The permissibility of legitimate work and earning ḥalāl living is not confined to one group of people. It is, therefore, permissible for anyone to go about their business provided that they abide by the Islamic norms and ethics. However, should the competent authorities require special conditions for trading in certain sectors, which may have been designed to protect the public interest, they have to be observed.
Q1363. What is the ruling in the matter of men wearing chains?
A: If they are made of gold or for the exclusive use of women, it is not permissible for men to wear them.
Smoking and Narcotics
Q1388. What is the view on smoking in government departments and public places?
A: It is not permissible if it is in contravention of the regulations in force in those departments and public places, nor is it permissible if it poses a nuisance to others or endangers their health.
Q1389. My brother is a drug addict and trafficker. Is it obligatory on me to report him to the official authorities in order to prevent him from doing so?
A: Upholding the obligation of forbidding the evil is obligatory upon you and you are required to help him give up the addiction and desist from trafficking in drugs. If informing the competent authorities would benefit him in any way or be considered as a preliminary step to forbid the evil, you should inform them.
Q1390. Is it permissible to use snuff? And what is the view on getting addicted to it?
A: Should there be a considerable danger from using it, it is not permissible to use, let alone to get addicted to it.
Q1391. Is it permissible to buy, sell, and smoke tobacco?
A: There is no objection to buying, selling, and using tobacco per se. However, should it spell a noticeable harmful effect to one’s well-being, it is not permissible to smoke, buy or sell it.
Q1392. Is hashish pure? And is it ḥarām to use?
A: Hashish is pure. However, it is ḥarām to use it.
Q1393. What is the ruling in the matter of using narcotics, such as hashish, opium, heroin, morphine, and marijuana, be it by way of eating, drinking, smoking, injecting or applying them anally? And what is the view on selling, buying, and dealing in them in general, i.e., carrying, transporting, storing, or smuggling?
A: It is ḥarām to use narcotics in any way because it results in considerable adverse effects in terms of personal health and social cost. By the same token, it is ḥarām to deal in narcotics in any way, i.e., carrying, transporting, storing, selling, buying, etc.
Q1394. Is it permissible to use narcotic drugs for the treatment of diseases? And assuming that it is permissible, is it absolutely permissible or in case that it is the only way of treatment?
A: There is no objection to it provided that the treatment and the eventual recovery are dependent on their use and it is prescribed by a trustworthy physician.
Q1395. What is the ruling in the matter of growing those plants that produce narcotic drugs like opium, heroin, morphine, hashish, and cocaine?
A: There is no objection to doing so for the sake of considerable ḥalāl purposes like producing medicines and treatment.
Q1396. What is the ruling in the matter of preparing drugs, whether natural, such as morphine and hashish, or synthetic, such as LSD?
A: It is not permissible.
Q1397. Is it permissible to smoke tobacco that is sprinkled with a kind of alcoholic drink? And is it permissible to inhale its smoke?
A: There is no objection to it provided that smoking that kind of tobacco would not, by the common view, be considered as though one is consuming an intoxicating drink. Also, it should not lead to drunkenness or a considerable harmful effect on one’s health. However, it is, as a matter of caution, advisable not to smoke it.
Q1398. Is smoking ḥarām to start with? And, if one, who is addicted to smoking, gives it up, is it ḥarām to goes back to it after a week or so?
A: The ruling varies according to the degree of damage resulting from smoking. Generally speaking, it is impermissible to smoke cigarettes in the amount that proves considerably harmful to one’s health. Also, if one knows that upon starting it, he will reach such a level, it is not permissible.
Q1399. What is the ruling in the matter of illicit money, such as that earned through trafficking in drugs? If we do not know about its owner, can it be considered as that of an anonymous owner? Should this be the case, is it permissible to have the right of making use of such money with the permission of the authorized religious authority or his representative?
A: If the person who gets hold of the money knows that it is illicit, they should return it to its rightful owner if they know him, albeit among a small group of people. Otherwise, they should give it away in charity on behalf of its rightful owner. Should the illicit money be mixed with the one’s licit money, without knowing its amount and owner, it is obligatory on him to pay khums on it which is to be paid to the authority in charge of khums.
Shaving the Beard
Q1400. What is meant by jaws on which growing a beard is obligatory? Do they include the cheeks?
A: The criterion is that the common view recognizes it as a beard.
Q1401. What should the minimum and maximum length of a beard be?
A: There is no definite measure. However, the criterion is based on what the common view recognizes as a beard. That said, it is disliked to let it grow longer than one’s own grasp.
Q1402. What is the view on lengthening one’s moustache and shortening the beard?
A: There is no harm in doing so in itself.
Q1403. Some men leave the hair around the chin grow, i.e., goatee, and shave the rest of the beard. What is the view on such practice?
A: The ruling on shaving part of the beard is the same as that passed on shaving the entire beard.
Q1404. Is shaving the beard considered as sin?
A: According to obligatory caution, shaving the beard is ḥarām. Therefore, rulings and consequences of a sinful act are applied to it as a matter of caution.
Q1405. What is the view on shaving one’s moustache? Is it permissible to let it grow long?
A: There is no objection to shaving the moustache, nor is there any objection to leaving it to grow long. However, to let it grow long in such a way that the hair comes into contact with food and drink while one is eating or drinking is disliked.
Q1406. What is the view on an actor, who, due to the nature of his work, is required to be clean-shaven either with a blade or a machine?
A: If shaving fits the label of beard shaving, it is, as a matter of caution, ḥarām. However, if his artistic work is regarded necessary for the Islamic society, there is no objection to his shaving his beard in a measure proportionate to the necessity of the work.
Q1407. As a public relations officer in one of the companies which belongs to the Islamic Republic, I have to buy and present shaving tools to the guests to shave their beards with. What should I do?
A: As a matter of caution, it is ḥarām to buy and give to others tools to be used for shaving beards unless necessity requires it.
Q1408. What is the ruling in the matter of shaving one’s beard if growing it would lead to denigration?
A: For a devout Muslim, growing a beard should not be a cause for feeling inferior or lowly. It is not, as a matter of caution, permissible to shave it unless growing it leads to putting oneself in harm or causes unbearable hardship.
Q1409. Is it permissible to shave one’s beard if it proves an obstacle to one’s achieving a legitimate goal?
A: The mukallaf must obey Allah’s injunctions, except in circumstances of facing unbearable hardship or noticeable harm.
Q1410. Is it permissible to buy, sell, and produce shaving cream, which is mainly used for shaving the beard although it is used for other shaving purposes?
A: Should it be acknowledged that this cream is used for lawful purposes other than that of shaving the beard, there is no objection to produce and sell it for this purpose.
Q1411. What is meant by the phrase “It is ḥarām to shave the beard”? Is it that when the hair is fully-grown and one shaves it, or is it true of shaving the facial hair grown in part?
A: Generally speaking, it is ḥarām, on basis of caution, to shave any part of the beard which is universally recognized as shaving a beard. However, there is no objection to shaving some of the hair which does not fit the label of shaving a beard.
Q1412. Is the money the barber charges for shaving a beard ḥarām? Assuming that it is so and that this money is mixed with ḥalāl money, is it incumbent on the person concerned to pay khums on it twice?
A: As per caution, it is ḥarām to receive any money for shaving a beard. If the amount of illicit money is known, it should be returned to its original owner — if he is known — or a settlement should be reached with him. If the owner is not known — even as a person among a small group of people — it is incumbent on recipient to give it to the poor in charity. If the amount of ḥarām money is not known but the owner is, it is obligatory on the person to reach a settlement, in any way possible, with the original owner.
Should neither the amount nor the owner be known, he has to purify his money from what is ḥarām by paying the khums. One should pay the khums of the left over money if it was an income and is not spent up to the end of the khums year for the yearly expenses.
Q1413. Sometimes people come to me to fix their shaving machines. Since shaving the beard is ḥarām, is it permissible for me to repair such machines?
A: Since this machine can be used for purposes other than shaving a beard, there is no harm in repairing it and getting paid for the work provided that it is not intended to be used for shaving the beard.
Q1414. Is it ḥarām to shave the hair of the cheeks or remove it in any other way, i.e., by using a string or tweezers?
A: It is not ḥarām to remove the hair growing on the cheeks, even by way of shaving.
Attending Gatherings of Debauchery
Q1415. From time to time parties, attended by professors and students alike, are held in the universities in foreign countries. It goes without saying that alcoholic drinks are served in such parties. What should be the position of the students who want to attend these parties?
A: It is not permissible for anyone to attend any gathering where alcoholic drinks are consumed. You should not take part in such activities to let it be known to those people that since you are Muslim, you neither drink alcoholic drinks nor attend gatherings where such drinks are served.
Q1416. What is the ruling in the matter of taking part in wedding parties? Is attending today’s wedding parties where dancing is commonplace tantamount to condoning the action, which can have the same punishment as those who have committed that action (consequently we should not participate in such parties)? Is it permissible to attend these parties without taking part in dancing and the other functions?
A: There is no problem in attending such gatherings provided that the gatherings do not fit the definition of "the gathering of sin and lahw" and taking part in them should also not entail any vile deed. However, the action should not be seen in the common view, as though one is supporting what is not permissible.
1) What is the ruling in the matter of taking part in ceremonies where men and women attend their respective gatherings and dance and play music?
2) Is it permissible to take part in wedding parties where dancing and playing music is commonplace?
3) Should one uphold the duty of forbidding the evil where dancing is taking place, especially when the people concerned are impervious to such counsel?
A: It is not permissible to dance if it excites sexual passion, is accompanied by, or entails, a ḥarām deed or non-maḥram men and women dance together. It makes no difference whether it is a wedding party or else. Similarly, it is not permissible to attend sin gatherings if it involves committing ḥarām deeds such as listening to lahwī music that deviates people from the way of Allah or understood as supporting that which is sinful. As for the duty of enjoining the good and forbidding evil, it ceases to be obligatory when it certainly falls on deaf ears.
Q1418. Suppose that a man attended a wedding party where there is, among those present, a woman without ḥijāb. Since the man knows that the woman is not going to listen to his forbidding her from the evil, does it become incumbent on him to leave the party?
A: Leaving the gathering of sin, in protest against what is taking place there, becomes obligatory when it amounts to the obligation of forbidding evil.
Q1419. Is it permissible to take part in gatherings where morally corrupt songs of ghinā’ are sung? And what is the ruling if someone is doubtful as to the nature of the songs and he cannot stop it?
A: It is not permissible to attend parties where lahwī ghinā’ and music that deviate one from the way of Allah take place when this leads to listening to such singing and music or supporting it. However, when someone is doubtful about their nature, there is no harm in attending and listening to them per se.
Q1420. What is the ruling in the matter of attending gatherings, where perhaps religious luminaries, the officials of the Islamic Republic, or other believers are being slandered?
A: There is no objection to attending such gatherings per se, i.e., without being afflicted with committing what is ḥarām, such as listening to backbiting, or promoting/condoning any evil deed. However, forbidding evil is a duty that has to be upheld if its conditions are available.
Q1421. In non-Muslim countries, alcoholic beverages are normally served in seminars and conferences. Is it permissible to participate in such seminars and conferences?
A: It is not permissible to be present in any gathering where alcoholic beverages are consumed. In case of necessity, the participation should be limited to that which is necessary.
Writing Supplications and Istikhārah
Q1422. Is it permissible to pay or receive money in return for writing supplications?
A: There is no harm in paying or receiving money for writing authentic supplications.
Q1423. What is the ruling in the matter of supplications whose writers allege that they are found in old books? Are these supplications lawfully recognized? And what is the view on referring to the writers?
A: If the supplications transmitted from the Imams (a.s.) or their contents are right, there is no harm in seeking the blessing from them. Nor is there any harm in seeking blessing in the ones whose authenticity is in doubt in the hope that they might have emanated from the infallible Imams (a.s.).
Q1424. Is it obligatory to act upon istikhārah?
A: Acting upon istikhārah is not binding as per shar‘. However, it is preferable not to act against its outcome.
Q1425. According to common belief, there is no place for istikhārah in doing charitable work. Is it, therefore, permissible to rely on istikhārah in order to determine the best way to go about doing this work or with a view to circumventing unforeseen problems in the process? And is istikhārah a means of knowing the unseen or does no one, apart from Allah, the Exalted, know about it?
A: Istikhārah should be embarked on as a way of overcoming indecision over doing lawful things, regardless of the nature of indecision, i.e., whether it is emanated from the nature of the intended action or the route taken to do it. Accordingly, doing charitable work, which does not call for indecision, should not necessitate resorting to istikhārah. Istikhārah is not a means to foretelling the future of the person or the work.
Q1426. Is it right to resort to istikhārah by way of consulting the Holy Qur’an in matters such as divorce? And what is the view on not acting on the result of istikhārah, having done it?
A: The permissibility of doing istikhārah by consulting the Holy Qur’an, or by way of prayer beads, is not confined to certain issues to the exclusion of others. Istikhārah could be made in all lawful circumstances where the person concerned is unable to decide upon the matter. It is not lawfully binding to follow the result of istikhārah, although it is advisable not to go against it.
Q1427. Is it proper to resort to istikhārah, by consulting the Holy Qur’an or by prayer beads, in decisive matters, such as marriage?
A: For making a decision on a matter, it is preferable to ponder about it and to consult experienced trustworthy people about it. If these steps fail to remove his/her indecision, one can resort to istikhārah.
Q1428. Is it right to take istikhārah more than once for the same issue?
A: Since istikhārah is sought as a means of removing the state of indecision, a goal that should have been achieved by the first one, there is no point in repeating the same. However, should the subject of istikhārah change, one can do istikhārah afresh.
Q1429. Sometimes a person comes by some leaflets containing some information about miracles of Imam Riḍā (a.s.). The publishers of such leaflets usually make a request that the reader makes more copies of them for distribution to other people and in so doing they would achieve what they aspire to. Is there any truth in this? And is it obligatory on the reader to comply with the request of the publishers?
A: There is no evidence in Islamic law that this has any weight. The reader has no obligation towards acceding to the publishers’ request.
Hoarding and Extravagance
Q1458. What are the things that are ḥarām to hoard? And do you authorize the imposition of financial penalties on hoarders?
A: According to transmitted traditions and the most famous view, things that are forbidden to be hoarded are confined to the four crops (wheat, barley, dates, and raisins) and animal / vegetable fat which are commonly used by different sections of the society. However, if the public interest necessitates, the Islamic state has the jurisdiction to ban the hoarding of all that the people need. There is no objection to imposing financial penalties on hoarders if the judge thinks fit.
Q1459. It is said that using up electricity more than one’s requirements is not considered extravagance. Is it true?
A: There is no doubt that consumption beyond one’s requirements is regarded as wastefulness, including the use of electric power. The truth is contained in the Prophetic tradition, "There should be no extravagance in good".
Miscellaneous Issues in Business
Q1596. If a finished product has been assembled, using different components then put for sale as the product of a particular foreign country, does this amount to cheating and deception? Assuming that it is, would the deal concluded between the seller and the buyer be valid in case the latter does not know about it?
A: Should the components or the very product be identifiable by the buyer, there is no case for swindling. However, promoting these products contrary to their nature amounts to lying and is, therefore, ḥarām. Should the sale be concluded, in that their description does not reflect reality, the deal is valid. But, if the purchaser discovered the truth about the goods, he has the right to revoke the sale agreement [and return the goods].
Q1597. Is it permissible for manufacturers and traders to label their products using a foreign language in order to attract the attention of potential buyers?
A: There is no harm in doing it provided that it is not designed to dupe the buyers, and that it is not considered propagating alien culture.
Q1598. What is the ruling in the matter of cheating, lying, and deception in dealing with non-Muslims with a view to benefiting financially or scientifically?
A: Lying, deception, and cheating in any sort of dealing, even if the other party is non-Muslim, are not permissible at all.
Q1599. What is the acceptable maximum margin of profit in trading?
A: There is no specific ceiling for that in itself. There is no harm in it provided that it does not lead to overcharging the buyer. However, it is preferable, if not mustaḥabb that the seller be satisfied with a margin of profit that is sufficient for his provisions.
Q1600. An owner of a source of water sold the same quantity/ quality of water to different buyers at different prices. Are we justified in complaining about the differential treatment?
A: If the vendor of water is the rightful owner or he has a right to it according to Islam, concluding separate deals with the buyers, the buyers have no right to object to the difference in the sale price.
Q1601. Can I resell the goods that I bought at a government-subsidized price for, say, three times the original price?
A: There is no harm in it provided that there is no official ban on doing so and the sale price is not exorbitant.
Q1602. I produce computer hardware. Am I justified in selling the products at the market price that is governed by the forces of offer and demand?
A: If the prices are not fixed by the government, there is no objection to selling goods at the price concluded between the vendor and the purchaser as long as it is not exorbitant.
Q1603. What is the Islamic ruling in the matter of capitalism? Is it permissible for a person to become ultra-rich provided that they meet their religious obligations, i.e., by paying the dues of the poor and the needy? Is the war waged by Islam against capitalism confined to the wealth of those people who do not pay khums and zakāt, or is it a total war? And is it feasible for anyone to be excessively rich, although they pay religious dues on their wealth?
A: The religious dues that should be payable by the wealthy are not confined to zakāt and khums only. Islam is not against the creation of wealth provided that it is earned through lawful means and that one should be committed to paying all religious dues. Investing such wealth should be in the interest of Islam and Muslims. Provided people adhere to those principles, there is no objection to their becoming wealthy in the process.
Q1604. Someone asking another to buy him a car is commonplace in this day and age. Upon buying the car, the second party asks the first one to top up the purchase price by a particular amount. This extra amount is in return for the effort and time the second party had put into shopping around and getting the best deal. Is such type of a transaction proper?
A: Should the second party act as agent in purchasing the car, it is not within his right to ask for an extra amount over and above the purchase price. That said, he has every right to ask for remuneration for acting as agent. If the second party buys the car with his own money and sells the same to the first party, he has the right to sell it for the price both the parties agree to. It is to be noted, though, that the second party must not lie about the actual purchase price. Yet, lying would not detract from the validity of the sale.
Q1605. Car mechanics and repairer men are approached by car dealers to do shoddy jobs, aiming to reduce the cost and be able to sell them at good prices. Are they justified in what they are doing?
A: It is not permissible if it leads to duping the potential buyer into not seeing the defects of the car.
Rules Concerning Ribā
Q1606. A driver was interested in buying a truck. He approached another person to give him the money. The driver bought the truck in his capacity as agent for the money owner. The latter sold the truck to the driver by installments. What is the ruling in this matter?
A: There is no harm in such a transaction if it was concluded on behalf of the owner of the money, who sold it [the truck] to the agent by installments. That said, both the parties should be serious in making the deal, i.e. their intention should not be to find a way out of ribā.
Q1607. What is ribā? And is the amount calculated as a percentage taken by the people who have deposits with the banks regarded as ribā?
A: As an expression, a ribā-bearing loan involves paying an extra amount by the borrower to the lender. The profits arising from the investment of the money deposited with a bank for safe keeping, which is used by the bank on behalf of the saver by virtue of an Islamic contract, is not considered ribā and, thus, is not problematic.
Q1608. What are the boundaries of ribā-based transactions? And is it true that ribā is confined to loans?
A: Ribā can arise from selling and buying in the same way it may arise from a loan. Ribā arising from a sale transaction is to sell an item — normally sold by weight/ volume — in exchange for something of the same category in Islamic law plus extra.
Q1609. In as much as it is lawful for a person, in an emergency, to eat the meat which is not ḥalāl, is it permissible for a person, in a similar situation, to deal in ribā-based transactions to make a living?
A: Ribā is ḥarām. Eating non-ḥalāl meat, in an emergency, is different because the person who is forced to eat the meat has no other source to continue to live.
Q1610. In the open market, postage stamps are sold for more than their nominal value. Is such sale valid?
A: There is no harm in it. Such an increase is not considered ribā. That is because usurious transaction is the one in which two things — normally sold by the weight / volume — are exchanged and one of them is more than the other. This kind of transaction is invalid.
Q1611. Is ribā ḥarām across the board, i.e. for all legal/personal entities, or are there special cases?
A: Generally speaking, ribā is ḥarām, except for a ribā-bearing loan between a father and his child, between a man and his wife, and that taken by a Muslim from a non-Muslim who is not dhimmī.
Q1612. A deal was concluded between two people at a given price. However, both parties agreed that the buyer should pay an extra amount over the specified price if he wrote a post-dated check. Is this permissible?
A: If the deal was concluded at a given price and the extra amount was for the delayed payment to settle the original amount, such an increase is ribā which is unlawful. Nor can it be ḥalāl because the parties agreed to it.
Q1613. Suppose a person is in need of a loan. They cannot get a ribā-free loan. Is it permissible for them to, for example, buy goods on credit and sell the same to the seller on the spot for a cash price that is less than the original price of the goods?
A: This type of transaction is nothing but a play to circumvent a ribā-based loan transaction. It is both ḥarām and invalid.
Q1614. In order to escape the involvement in a transaction that is based on ribā, and get returns for my money, I bought property for a particular price. The real value of the property was much higher. I agreed with the other party that if they changed their mind and wanted to withdraw from the deal within five months of the sale, they may do so provided that they return the money I parted with as a price for the property.
Having concluded the sale, I rented out the same property to the seller for a given rent. Four months later, I came across verdict by the late Imam Khomeini which makes such type of transactions unlawful. What is the ruling in your opinion?
A: If the two parties were not serious in the entire business, in that it was just a formality to allow the seller to get the loan and the buyer the returns on his money, such a transaction, which is to circumvent the issue of a ribā-bearing loan, is both ḥarām and invalid. In such transactions, the buyer has the right to retrieve only the original amount he paid as a price for the property.
Q1615. What is the ruling in the matter of adding an extra amount to the money with a view to avoiding the involvement in ribā taking?
A: It does not affect the ruling of a ribā-bearing loan. It is not going to be deemed ḥalāl by adding an extra amount to it.
Q1616. Is there any problem in receiving an old-age pension from the state, after years of contributions deducted from the wages of the employee during his long years of service? It is to be noted, however, that what the person receives as pension is not only the contributions he made during his service, rather an amount increased by way of government contribution.
A: There is no problem in receiving the pension. The extra amount paid by the government to the pensioner over and above what he has contributed is neither interest nor ribā.
Q1617. Some banks give some house owners a loan — named ju‘ālah — to refurbish their property. The recipient of the loan has to pay it back plus an extra, within a given period, by installments. Is such borrowing shar‘ī? And how can one call it ju‘ālah?
A: If the advance payment is made as a loan to the house owner for refurbishing his property, giving it the label of "ju‘ālah" does not make sense. It is, therefore, not permissible to pay back more than the actual amount of the loan, although in essence giving the loan is in order.
But, there is no objection if the house owner compensate [to make a compensation (ju‘l)] to the bank as the bank has refurbished his house. This compensation is not equal to what the bank has paid for the refurbishment but the whole amount the bank receives by installments in return for refurbishment.
Q1618. Is it permissible to buy goods by installments for a price that is higher than the cash price? And does this amount to ribā?
A: There is no objection to selling and buying goods by installments for more than the cash price. The difference is not considered ribā.
Q1619. A person sold some property by way of a revocable sale. However, he could not return the money to the buyer so that he could revoke the deal. A third person paid the money so that the seller could revoke the transaction on the condition that he would get his money back plus an extra amount in the form of a compensation for his work. What is the ruling in this matter?
A: There is no harm in what the third person did if he acted as an agent for the seller insofar as returning the money to the buyer and revoking the transaction are concerned. However, this should be done by lending the seller the amount to be returned to the buyer, then paying the same to the latter and revoking the transaction on behalf of the seller. There is also no harm in receiving the extra money for acting as an agent. However, if the amount the third person paid to the buyer had been in the form of giving a loan to the seller, he has no right to demand from the seller anything more than what he actually paid.
Right of Pre-emption
Q1620. When two persons share in an endowed property and one of them sells his share — in a case he is allowed to do that, does the other enjoy the right of pre-emption? If two people rent some property — whether or not it is an endowment, then one of them transfers his right to the other through either a rent or ṣulḥ contract, does the other have the right of pre-emption? To give an example, one of the partners sold his share to a third party where it is shar‘ī to do so. And is it permissible where renting is involved? To give an example, two people jointly rented some property or an endowment. Is it permissible for either party to transfer their share by way of sub-letting the property to a third party?
A: Pre-emption is confined to the partnership in things themselves [not in using something as in the rent] if it is shar‘ī for one of the two partners to sell his share to a third party. Therefore, there is no right of pre-emption in an endowed property in which two people share even on the assumption that one of the two parties is allowed to sell his share to a third party. Nor is there such right in situations where some property was rented out to two people and one of tenants transfers his share to a third party.
Q1621. From Islamic texts one can deduce that pre-emption is a means for either party of a partnership to sell their share to a third party. Accordingly, could the encouragement, by one of the parties, of a potential buyer to buy the share of the other partner, making it known in the process that he is not going to exercise pre-emption if the third party bought the share of his partner, be considered a relinquishment of pre-emption?
A: The initiative taken by the partner to encourage the third party to buy the share of the other partner per se does not run counter to exercising pre-emption. Indeed, even his promise of not exercising it, by virtue of the transaction of sale between him [the third party] and his partner, does not necessarily take away pre-emption, after the transaction has gone through.
Q1622. Is dropping pre-emption right before one of the partners sells his share to a third party, perceived as unlawful?
A: Forgoing pre-emption is not valid unless it actually takes place, i.e. by the partner selling his share to a third party. However, there is no objection to the partner’s giving an undertaking in an Islamically binding contract that he is not going to resort to pre-emption when his partner sells his share.
Q1623. A person rented one floor of a two-storey building. The property is owned by two brothers who are indebted to the tenant for a sum of money. Despite repeated requests by the creditor, the two brothers have been avoiding payment of the debt for the past two years. He concluded that it is within his right to retrieve his money by deducting it from the rent. The value of the property is higher than the value of debt. He assumed in so doing he became a partner in the property of the two brothers. Can he exercise pre-emption on the rest of the property?
A: As the question goes, there is no case for pre-emption. Pre-emption can be exercised by one of two partners who sold his share to a third person provided that the intention to sell was there. It cannot be acquired as a result of becoming a partner by virtue of buying the share of one of the partners or owning it as a result of settling a debt. Furthermore, pre-emption cannot be activated unless one of the two parties sells his share. That is, in property owned jointly by two people only.
Q1624. Two people jointly bought some property whereby it was officially registered in their names. However, in a separate contract, they partitioned the property into two, each with its own boundaries. Has either party the right to exercise pre-emption over the property of the other partner, in the event of sale, by virtue of having an official document pointing to the joint ownership of the property?
A: If the sold share, at the time of sale, was clearly defined and demarcated as an independent one, the mere fact they are neighbors, it was one single property before, or they have only one legal document does not bring about the right of pre-emption.
Q1668. Is it permissible for a person, who has no funds in the bank, to write a check with a view to standing surety for someone else?
A: There is no objection to doing so. The validity of a surety deed and giving a check as a surety does not depend on having a positive bank balance at the time of standing surety and making out the check.
Q1669. I lent someone a sum of money, which he did not pay back. A relative of his wrote me a post-dated check for the amount of the debt provided that I allow him some time [to settle the debt]. Thus, he undertook to pay me back the debt if the original debtor defaulted. The debtor ran away without leaving a trace, so much so that I lost every contact with him. Is it shar‘ī that I get back the whole amount of debt from the surety?
A: If the person stood as surety in a shar‘ī way, should the debtor default, you are permitted, after the date of repayment has passed, to demand the repayment of the whole amount of the debt.
Pawning and Mortgaging
Q1670. The owner of a mortgaged property died and left behind minor children. The loan was not fully paid. The lender repossessed the property, which is worth much more than the outstanding amount of the loan. How should the extra amount [from the proceeds of selling the property] be treated? And how should the minor children restore their right?
A: Where it is possible for the mortgagee (lender) to sell the property to get his money back, the property should be sold for the highest price possible. If the property has fetched more than the amount of debt, the lender can take what is his and pay the remainder to the rightful owners. As the question goes, the surplus amount should go to the inheritors.
Q1671. A mukallaf borrowed a sum of money from a person, and undertook to pay it back within a specified period of time in return for mortgaging his property. Having done that, the owner rented the same property from the person for a given rent and a particular period. Is it permissible for him to do so?
A: There is a problem in renting some property to its owner. Furthermore, this type of transaction is nothing but a ploy to circumvent the involvement in a ribā-bearing loan transaction that is both ḥarām and invalid.
Q1672. A person mortgaged a plot of land to another in return for a loan. The situation continued for forty years during which both parties died. Now, the heirs of the landlord are demanding from their counterparts to return the land to them. They refused to agree to their request, claiming that they inherited the land from their father. Can the heirs of the landlord restore their right in the land?
A: If it is proved that the mortgagee who kept the land as collateral for the loan had the right of possessing the land in settlement of the loan, that the value of the land was either equivalent to, or less than, the amount of debt, and that it was at his disposal until he passed away, it is apparent that the land is his.
Accordingly, after his death, it should become part of his estate, where the inheritors have a right to it. If this is not the case, the land should revert to the ownership of the inheritors of the mortgagor. Thus, they should have the right to get it back. They are required, though, to pay back the money their father owes to the heirs of the mortgagee.
Q1673. Is it permissible for a person who rented some property to mortgage it with a third party, or is it a condition, in order for the transaction to be valid, that the property belongs to the mortgagor?
A: There is no objection to that provided that the landlord has authorized the tenant to mortgage the property.
Q1674. I mortgaged some property to another person as collateral for the debt I owed him. In the contract, we agreed that the period of the mortgage is one year. However, I verbally promised to let him have the right of disposal in the property for three years. Which of the two is valid, i.e. the written agreement or the verbal pledge? Assuming that the transaction is not valid, what would the position of the two parties be?
A: As far as the period of the mortgage is concerned, the written paper, promise, and the like are of no consequence. The yardstick is the loan contract. If it was for a given a period, it lapses by the end of the appointed period. If not, it remains effective until the debt is settled or the mortgagee releases the mortgagor from the debt. If the mortgage is done with, or the contract proved to be lacking to start with, it is permissible for the mortgagor to ask from the mortgagee to give him back his property. For his part, the latter should have no right to refuse to return the property and to consider it as a valid mortgage.
Q1675. My father pawned a piece of jewelry with a pawnbroker in return for a loan. Shortly before his death, my father gave permission to the pawnbroker to sell the pawn in settlement of a debt. However, the pawnbroker was not aware of this permission. I offered to pay the money back in return for the pawn. My intention was not to repay the debt, rather to get the piece of jewelry back and pawn it with another person. The pawnbroker refused to accept my protestation unless all the heirs agree to the proposal. Some of the heirs did not consent to the proposed course of action. When I approached him again with the money, [he received it, yet] declined to hand me back the pawn, claiming that it is within his right to keep it in settlement of the debt.
Is it permissible for the pawnbroker to refuse to return the pawn after he got his money back? Has he the right to refuse to return to me the money I gave him, under the pretext that it was in settlement of the debt? And is he justified in making the return of the pawn dependent on the agreement of all the heirs?
A: If paying back the money to the pawnbroker was intended to settle the debt the deceased owes the broker, the deceased would be absolved of the responsibility of the debt and the pawn retained by the broker for safekeeping. However, since the heirs now jointly own the pawn, the pawnbroker cannot return it to some of them unless they all agree to it.
If the money given to the pawnbroker was not intended to pay back the debt owed by the deceased, as it is understood from the broker’s admission, he is not justified in retaining the money under the pretext that it was in settlement of the debt. It is obligatory on him to pay the person, who gave him the money, his money back, especially after he has demanded that. In the meantime, the piece of jewelry should remain pawned with the broker until the heirs come up with the money to settle the debt of the deceased and release the pawn, or give permission to the pawnbroker to sell the pawn to recover his debt.
Q1676. Can a mortgagor mortgage the collateral to another pawnbroker before the first one is terminated?
A: As long as the first contract is not terminated, the second mortgage is suspended without the permission of the first mortgagee and becomes valid only if he authorizes it.
Q1677. A person pawned his land with someone as a surety for a loan he was supposed to give him. After getting hold of the land, the pawnbroker apologized for not having the money the landlord asked for. However, they settled for ten sheep to be given to the landlord instead of the money. Now, the mortgagor wants to get his land back by paying the debt to the broker. The broker is insisting on getting repaid in kind, i.e. the same ten sheep he gave the owner of the land when they concluded the deal. Is what he is demanding shar‘ī?
A: Mortgage is for something already loaned not for a future debt/loan. According to the question, the land and the sheep should be returned to their owners.
Q1678. I contributed to the capital of a company and appointed the owner of the company as my agent in so far as the investment is concerned provided that he pays me a fixed monthly sum of money. A year later, I settled for a plot of land he gave me in return for the money I put into the company and the profits thereof. Is this shar‘ī?
A: As you invested in the company and authorized him to deal with it, there is no objection to receiving ḥalāl proceeds.
Q1679. A number of people bought an object collectively. They agreed between themselves to draw a lot to determine the owner. What is the ruling?
A: If the intention behind the draw is granting each individual’s share in the object to the person who wins it, there is no harm in it. Yet, if the intention is transferring the joint ownership to the person who wins the lottery per se or their intention is mainly wining and losing, it is not shar‘ī.
Q1680. Two people jointly bought a plot of land. They have been cultivating the land for some twenty years. One of the partners sold his share to a third party. Has he the right to do so? If he refuses to sell his share to his partner, can the latter do anything about it?
A: The partner has no right to force the other partner to sell him his share. Nor has he the right to object to the partner’s selling his own share to another party. However, he can resort to pre-emption, provided that the prerequisites are available and the transaction is concluded.
Q1681. What is the ruling in the matter of dealing in shares in the stock exchange? It is to be noted, however, that the share itself is subject to the deal, rather than the capital of the company and that the price of the shares might go up as well as down. And what is the view if the activities of some companies are either ribā-based or doubtful?
A: If the value of the shares of a company or a bank is based on the shares themselves and their credit was issued by an authorized person, there is no objection to buying and selling them.
If the value of the shares is regarded as the value of the entire plant, mill, company, or bank as the capital thereof, in that each share constitutes part of the capital, there is no objection to buying and selling such shares provided that the total number of shares is known, besides other information with a view to avoiding any risk that could be thus perceived in the common view.
Q1682. As a result of a disagreement between the three of us, we decided to sell the poultry business we own as partners at auction. One of us won the bidding. Ever since, he has been procrastinating with regard to paying us our money. Can this transaction still be deemed shar‘ī?
A: Getting the auction underway and tendering a higher price by one of the partners, or any other party for that matter, is not sufficient to complete the sale and own the business. Therefore, if the sale of shares has not been concluded properly and in a shar‘ī way, the partnership should remain intact. However, if the sale has gone through in a proper manner, the delay in paying the price for the business by the buyer should not render the sale transaction invalid.
Q1683. A group of people set up a company by way of partnership. The company was officially registered with the authorities. However, I relinquished my share in favor of another person who bought it from me. He paid me the price by five checks which bounced. When I approached the buyer, he took the checks from me and restored my share in the company, but he remained officially the stockholder. It transpired that he sold the share to another party. Has he the right to do so? And do I have the right to demand the restoration of my stake in the company?
A: If the buyer, who revoked this sale after he had got his checks back, sold the share to a third party before the cancellation, this sale is valid. If he had sold the share after the cancellation, this sale cannot go through unless you sanction it.
Q1684. Two brothers inherited a house from their father. They couldn’t reach a settlement as how to divide the inheritance. The case was submitted to the court to decide it. The court consulted an expert, who advised that the property couldn’t be divided and that it would be mustaḥabb for either of them to sell his share to the other or for the house as a whole to be sold to a third party. Accordingly, the property was sold at auction and the proceeds given to the two brothers. Is this sale shar‘ī and can the two brothers receive their respective share of the proceeds?
A: There is no problem in that.
Q1685. One of the partners of a company bought some property with the company’s money and registered it in the name of his wife. Who has ownership of the property? And is the wife legally bound to register the property in the name of the partners, even though her husband will not let her do it?
A: If the husband [partner] bought the property for himself or his wife on credit, then paid for it with money from the company, the property is his and his wife’s. However, he becomes indebted to the rest of the partners insofar as their shares are concerned. If he exchanged it with the very company’s money, the [validity of the] transaction proportionately hinges on the consent of the other partners.
Q1686. Is it permissible for some of the inheritors, or their agent, to have the right of disposal, in any way, in the estate that is still jointly owned by the heirs without the agreement of the rest of the heirs?
A: It is not permissible for any of the partners to have the right of disposal in a jointly owned property without the agreement of all the heirs. Nor is it permissible for any one of them to engage in any transaction concerning the property unless they secure the permission of all the partners.
Q1687. Some partners in a jointly owned property sold it without securing the agreement of all the shareholders. Is the sale valid and, therefore, binding on the other shareholders to agree to it, albeit they are not happy with the deal? And should the agreement of all partners be a condition? Does it matter whether the company was a commercial enterprise or a civil one, in that agreement must be secured for the latter and not the former?
A: This sale is valid and, therefore, enforceable insofar as the share owned by the party who sold it or gave permission to sell it. As for the remaining shares, this is dependent on their respective permissions, irrespective of how the company came into being.
Q1688. A person took a loan from the bank and built a house. The property was insured. After part of the property was damaged due to flooding, the bank does not want to admit liability. For its part, the insurance company says that the damage cannot be covered because it falls outside the terms of the insurance policy. Whose responsibility is it then?
A: The insurance company cannot indemnify for the damage because it falls outside the remit of the policy. The cost of repairing the property, and indemnifying for any loss which is not the responsibility of others, should be borne by the owner. As for the bank, if it is a civil partner in the property, it should bear a share of the cost of repair proportionate to its stake unless the damage occurred due to somebody’s default.
Q1689. Three people jointly bought a string of business properties. One of the partners refused to agree with the other two partners to be part of any business conducted therein, to sell, or to rent them out. Is it permissible for any partner: (a) to sell or lease his share without the permission of the other two partners? (b) to occupy the property without the permission of the other two partners?, and (c) to pick and choose any property for himself and leave the rest for others?
1. It is permissible for any partner to sell his own share without any need to obtain the permission of the other partners.
2. It is not permissible for any partner to occupy a jointly owned property unless he secures the permission of the other partners.
3. It is not permissible for any partner to choose his own share of the jointly owned property without the permission of the other partners.
Q1690. A group of people wants to build a ḥusayniyyah on a green piece of land. Those who have a stake in the land do not agree to the project. What is the ruling in the matter, especially when there is a possibility that the land could be anfāl or a public facility?
A: If the land is a common property, any involvement in it hinges upon consent of all those who have a vested interest in it. If it is anfāl, the decision concerning it should be left to the Islamic state. It is not permissible to have any involvement in the property without the government permitting it. If it is a public utility, the same ruling is applicable.
Q1691. A number of people inherited an orchard. One of the inheritors refuses to sell his share. Is it permissible for the other shareholders, or a government department, to force him to do so?
A: Neither the other partners nor anyone else can coerce the partner to sell his share, especially where partitioning is possible. In this case, each of the partners can demand from the others to partition their share unless the law of the Islamic government does not permit the partitioning of the plantation. Such legal requirements have to be respected.
If the jointly possessed property cannot be demarcated, any partner can have recourse to the authorized religious authority to force the unwilling party to sell their share or buy the shares of the other partners.
Q1692. Four brothers live of a jointly owned property. Two of them got married and undertook that each would be responsible for bringing one of the younger brothers up and bearing the expenses arising from his marriage. However, neither kept his pledge. The younger brothers now want to have their share of the property and live independently. How should they go about distributing the possessions between themselves?
A: The elder brothers should compensate any amounts that have been spent of the jointly owned property, which the other brothers did not equally spend. They [i.e. the younger brothers] have the right to demand compensation. Then the remaining amount of the jointly owned property should be distributed equally among all the brothers.
Another way of distribution would be that each of those brothers, who have spent less than the others, should take an equal share of the property to be put on a par with those who have enjoyed spending of the jointly owned property. Once this is done, the remaining amount should be distributed equally between them.
Q1693. The tea company in the country has a policy of forcing retailers to become members in the company. Has the company the right to do so? And is such membership valid?
A: Should the company offer the members facilities and services and give them tea provided that they are its members and deal only with it, there is no objection to that. Nor is there any harm in such membership.
Q1694. Is it permissible for the management of a company to spend its profits in charity without seeking the permission of the shareholders?
A: Making a decision about dividends rests with the shareholder himself. Thus, if someone else spends the dividends without either power of attorney or permission from the shareholder, he should be held responsible to compensate the shareholder, even though the income is spent in charitable causes.
Q1695. Three people set up a joint business venture. One of them contributed half of the capital and the other two a quarter each. They agreed that the profits should be distributed between them each according to their shares. The two partners, who contributed a quarter each of the capital, run the business full-time, whereas the partner, who owns half of the company’s capital, seldom works. Is this partnership valid?
A: For shareholders, it is not necessary to have equal shares in the investments. However, there is no objection to distributing the profits equally between the partners, regardless of the percentage of their respective shares in the company. As regards running the business, each of them will be renumerated for his work if nothing is stipulated in the contract in this regard.
Q1696. Both the public and the private sectors jointly own a company. The shareholders appointed the management team. Is it permissible for the company staff to use the company cars for their personal business?
A: Using the transport means and other company property in non-company business is dependent on the permission of the shareholders or their official agents.
Q1697. According to the company charter, a committee, whose responsibility is to settle disputes, has to be set up. The committee cannot be set up because 51% of the shareholders have forgone their rights. Is it obligatory on those shareholders who have relinquished their rights to demand the formation of the committee so that the rights of the existing shareholders are upheld?
A: If the members — as required by the company charter — undertook to form the arbitration committee when it is necessary to do so, they have to abide by their undertaking. The issue of some shareholders relinquishing their rights should not be taken as a pretext for not honoring the pledge concerning the setting up of the arbitration committee.
Q1698. Two people set up a company. Both of them had a stake in the business to meet the setting-up cost including sarqoflī that had been paid for the property. One of the two partners left the business, taking with him his share of the capital. The other partner has continued running the business. The partner who opted out is claiming that he should be given a share of the transactions concluded by the existing partner. What is the ruling in the matter?
A: In itself, partaking in the ownership and sarqoflī of a commercial place is not sufficient for having a part in the [actual] trading and getting a share of the profits. The yardstick is to have a share in the running capital. Accordingly, if the continuation of one of the partners in running the business has occurred after they decided to divide the jointly owned capital in a proper way so much so that one of them took away his share, the latter should have no right in the transactions his [former] partner has concluded. However, should there be any transactions before the actual breaking up of the company, the partner has a right in the commercial activity of his partner in a measure equivalent to his stake of the capital.
Q1699. Is it permissible for me to deny my sister the right to take away her share in the company for fear that she might use the funds she will acquire in projects that serve to spread un-Islamic practices?
A: No partner has the right to prevent any of the other partners from getting their share and also it is not permissible to deprive them of access to their property fearing that they might use their property in the avenues of evil, disobedience, and other unlawful activity. The partners must accede to the request of any partner wanting to break ranks. It is to be noted, however, that the partners who want to go it alone should be mindful of their duty as not to utilize their property in bankrolling forbidden activities. For their part, the other partners should forbid them from evil if they use their property in any avenue that is deemed ḥarām.
Presents and Gifts
Q1700. Is it shar‘ī to use a present given by a minor orphan?
A: It hinges upon the permission of his shar‘ī guardian.
Q1701. Two brothers jointly own a plot of land. One of them gave his share by way of gift to his nephew who took possession of it. Is it permissible for the heirs of the gift giver to lay claim to the property, considering it part of the estate of their father?
A: If it is proved that the deceased gave his share in the land to his nephew as a gift, and that he handed it over to him, leaving it at his disposal, the inheritors should have no right in it.
Q1702. A person built a house for his father on land that belonged to the latter. With the permission of the father, he built another storey on top of the house for himself. Both the father and the son died. There is neither evidence nor a will that could lead to proving its owner. How could this issue be resolved?
A: If the son had paid all expenditure arising from the building of the second storey, which was at his disposal and remained so throughout his lifetime, it should be his and part of his estate after his death according to shar‘. Accordingly, it is transferred to his inheritors.
Q1703. Before his death, my father officially registered some property in my name when I was eleven years old. A plot of land and half of another property were registered in the name of my brother; the other half of the property was registered in the name of my mother. Now, the rest of the heirs are laying a claim to my property, alleging that it is not mine by shar‘, whereas they recognize the ownership of the land and the properties of my brother and mother. My father did not leave a will, nor is there a witness. What is your view?
A: During his lifetime, whatever the father had given by way of gift to some inheritors, who took possession of it in a proper manner, so much so that he transferred it into their respective names, that gift is the recipient’s by shar‘. Therefore, the other heirs have no right to claim it for themselves unless it is proved in a reliable way that the father did not grant his son the [disputed] property and that the registration of the official document in his name was not accompanied by any real intention to transfer it to him.
Q1704. During his lifetime, my husband built a house. I contributed to the completion of the building by donating my labor which had resulted in saving on building costs. He told me many times that I was his partner in the property and that he would register a share equivalent to two sixths of the house in my name. Unfortunately, he died before he could conclude the registration. I do not have any written document like a will to substantiate my claim. What should I do?
A: Helping in building the house and promising a share in the property does not amount to becoming a partner in the ownership of the property. So unless it is proved beyond doubt that your husband had given you a share during his lifetime, you have no right in the property.
Q1705. While enjoying full mental capacity, my husband called in the bank manager and gave me, by way of gift, all the money in his account. This has been done with his own signature on the papers in the presence of the bank manager to the effect of giving me the right of withdrawal. Accordingly, the bank provided me with a check book which I used to withdraw money from the account. A month and a half later, his son accompanied him to the bank. When he was asked whether the money in the account was his wife’s, he nodded, "Yes". When he was asked another question as to whether the money was his sons’, he nodded, indicating the affirmative. It is worth mentioning, though, that he was not mentally well then. Does the money belong to me or to my stepsons?
A: Since taking possession of the thing given by way of gift is a condition to owning it, and the transfer of the money in the bank by way of signature and issuing a check book cannot be regarded as sound, the said grant cannot be deemed shar‘ī. However, what you have withdrawn of money, while your husband was mentally well, is rightfully yours. Your husband’s remaining money in the bank should be part of his estate. Therefore, it has been transferred to his inheritors, on his death. Furthermore, his undertaking, while in a diminished mental capacity, is of no consequence.
Q1706. Are the things bought for a mother by her children during her lifetime considered part of the estate after her death?
A: If the things, bought by the children for their mother, have been given to her by way of gift and put at her disposal, they are rightfully hers and, therefore, regarded as part of her estate after her death.
Q1707. Are the items of jewelry, bought by a husband for his wife, considered part of his estate after his death so that they can be distributed amongst his heirs, including his wife?
A: If the items of jewelry have been at the disposal of the wife, so much so that she does with them as though she were the owner, they are rightfully hers unless it is proved otherwise.
Q1708. Do the presents, given to the husband and his wife during their married life, belong to the wife, the husband, or both of them?
A: It depends on the type and nature of the present itself, on whether it is exclusive to men, women, or is for both of them. So, that which is destined for the husband or the wife should be exclusively his/hers. That which is apparently destined for both of them should be jointly owned.
Q1709. In the event of divorce, is it permissible for the wife to take away the things, such as linen, carpets, and clothes, which she brought with her from her parents’ home?
A: Things that the wife brought with her from her parents’ home, that she bought for herself, or that were given to her as a present are rightfully hers. It is within her right to demand that it be given back to her if they are still available. She has no right, though, to demand from the husband to return to her the things which have been given as gifts to the husband by the family or relatives of the wife. If they exist, the granter of the gifts should decide. That is, it is within the granter’s jurisdiction to revoke the gift transaction and take it back provided that the husband is not a blood relative of the granter.
Q1710. After I divorced my wife, I took away all the jewelry, make-up, and other things which I bought her during our married life. Have I the right to do with them whatever I like?
A: If you gave them to your [ex-] wife, by way of loan or gift provided that it is still in its pristine condition, and that she is not among your blood relatives, you can cancel the gift transaction, retrieve the property, and use it. Otherwise, it is not permissible.
Q1711. My father gave me a plot of land by way of gift. The title deed of the land is officially in my name. A year later, he regretted his decision. Is it permissible for me to make use of the land?
A: If your father changed his mind and revoked the gift deed after you received the land and occupied it, the land is yours by shar‘. Your father has not right to demand it back. And if he had second thoughts before you took possession of the land, he has the right to rescind the gift. If this is the case, you do not have any right to the land. Registering the land in your name is not sufficient for actually taking hold of the gift which is necessary in a gift deed.
Q1712. I gave a person a plot of land by way of gift. He built a house on part of the land. Is it permissible for me to ask him to give me back what I gave him, or compensate me, or return to me what’s left unbuilt of the land?
A: After the recipient has taken possession of the land with your permission and has practically occupied it by building a house, you have no right of revoking the gift. Nor have you the right to get back the land or the price thereof. And if the house was built on a part of the land, nevertheless due to proportionate area of the land it is considered by common view that he took the whole land, you are not entitled to claim back any part thereof.
Q1713. Is it permissible for a person to give all his property to one of his sons to the exclusion of the others?
A: Should this result in creating discord and strife between the offspring, it is not permissible.
Q1714. A person gifted his property to five people in return for something else. The gift deed stipulates that they build a ḥusayniyyah to be used for this purpose for ten years after the building has been completed. Should they wish to treat it as endowment after that, they may do so. They built the ḥusayniyyah with the help of the public. In the endowment deed, they gave themselves wide-ranging powers, including the appointment of the trustees of the endowment. Is it incumbent on the others to abide by their decision as to the choosing of the person who should take overall charge of the trust? Is there any legal obstacle to non-compliance with the provisions in the endowment deed? And what would the position be if one of the five-member committee goes against endowing the ḥusayniyyah?
A: They have to abide by the conditions laid down by the benefactor in the gift deed. If they do not follow the conditions he laid down regarding ḥabs or endowment, the gift giver or his heirs have the right to rescind the gift. And as far as the conditions they laid down in the endowment deed are concerned, such as the right to appoint the general supervisor, if the five-member body were acting according to the authority vested in them by the gift giver himself, these conditions have to be adhered to and acted upon. Should some members of the committee refuse to declare the ḥusayniyyah an endowment, the other members should toe the line provided that according to the gift giver a unanimous vote for rendering it as endowment is necessary.
Q1715. A person gave one third of his house to his wife by way of gift. A year later, he leased the entire property to someone for fifteen years. After a while, he passed away without leaving behind any children. Are both the gift and the lease valid? If the deceased was in debt, is it going to be paid off from the entire property or from the two-thirds and the remainder distributed according to inheritance law? Should the creditors wait until the expiry of the lease?
A: If the donor let her take possession of part of the house she owned — albeit while making use of the entire house — before leasing it to the third party provided that she was among his blood relatives or the gift was in return for something else, it is valid and, therefore, enforceable as described [i.e. concerning the part of the house]. However, the lease is valid in so far as the remaining part of the property is concerned.
Conversely, the lease, coming hard on the heels of the gift, would invalidate the gift. In this case, only the lease deed concluded after the gift is valid. As for the debt of the deceased, it should be settled from the property he owned at the time of his death. What he leased during his lifetime, the lease holder has the right to make use of throughout the period of the lease. While the house itself would be part of his estate that could be used to pay off his debts and the remainder falls to the inheritors, but they cannot use the leased property until the end of the lease.
Q1716. A person directed in his will that all his immovable property should be given to one of his sons provided that the son pays him and the members of his family a certain amount of rice each year in return. A year later the father gave the son the said property by way of gift. Would the provision, regarding the transfer of the property, made in the will remain valid because it preceded the gift and, therefore, enforceable in one third, in which case the remaining two-thirds would be rendered part of the estate, i.e. after the death of the giver? Or could it be the case that it is deemed invalid because it was superseded by the gift? It is noteworthy that the property is now under the control of the son.
A: If the gift was given to the person, with the permission of the granter during his lifetime, so much so that the recipient took possession of the gift and went about handling it as though he was the owner, this would have been bound to render the will invalid because it would have been deemed a revocation of the will. That is, the property given to the intended person should have been rightfully his, i.e. the other inheritors have no right in it. Otherwise, the will would remain valid unless it is proved that the testator had changed his mind about it.
Q1717. Is it permissible for an inheritor, who donated his share in the inheritance to his brothers, to claim it back from them after several years? And what is the opinion if they refuse to give in to his demand?
A: It is not permissible for him to do that if he has already handed it over to them, and they took possession of it through which the transaction was concluded. However, if this has not been the case, i.e., before any transfer and receipt of the property, he is entitled to revoke the gift.
Q1718. One of my brothers gave me, by way of gift, a part of his share in our inheritance. He retracted his decision before the estate was divided among the inheritors. What is the ruling in the matter?
A: If he had changed his mind before you received what he granted of his share in the inheritance, his action should be deemed shar‘ī. Accordingly, you have no right in his share. However, if he changed his mind after your receiving what he had given you, he cannot revoke his decision, and, therefore, has no right to the gift.
Q1719. A woman gave her land away by way of gift to a person, on the condition that he would perform hajj for her, in the belief that hajj was incumbent on her despite the fact that her relatives didn’t agree with her analysis. Then, she granted the same land to one of her grand children, and passed away a week later. Which of the two donations is valid? And what would the position of the first person, who was granted the land insofar as the performance of hajj is concerned, be?
A: If the first person was among the woman’s blood relatives and took possession of the land with her permission, the first gift deed is valid and, therefore, binding. It is incumbent on the person to perform hajj on her behalf. As regards the second gift deed, it is dependent on his agreement.
If the first person was not among the woman’s blood relatives or did not take possession of the land, the second gift deed would be considered a revocation of the first one. Therefore, it is deemed valid, rendering the first one invalid. Accordingly, the first person has no right in the land and is, therefore, not required to perform hajj for the woman.
Q1720. Can someone give his right to another one as a gift before he is entitled to such a right? At the time of the marriage contract, a woman forwent all the financial obligations that may become due to her by her husband. Is such a transaction valid?
A: There is a problem in, if not an objection to, such a type of grant. There is no harm if this foregoing of the wife’s future rights is considered as a ṣulḥ contract or as a term stipulated in the contract that she would relinquish the rights after being entitled to them. Otherwise, it is of no effect.
Q1721. What is the ruling in the matter of exchanging presents with non-Muslims?
A: There is no objection to it in itself.
Q1722. A person gave his grandchild all his property during his lifetime. Does this gift cover all that he left, so much so that one cannot spend of it for his funeral?
A: If the grandchild took possession of the property later during the life time of the grandfather with his permission, the gift deed is effective regarding all gifts he took possession of.
Q1723. Are the things given to people who were wounded or maimed in the war, considered as gifts?
A: Yes, they are, save that which is paid to them as wages for their work, which is compensation of their work.
Q1724. To whom does the ownership of the presents given to the families of martyrs belong, i.e. to the heirs or their guardian?
A: It [the present] belongs to the person it was given to as intended by the giver.
Q1725. Some companies and other quarters, be they national or international give gifts to agents or middlemen when concluding commercial deals of any sort. Since this may make the recipient lean toward favoring the donor, is it permissible to accept and have ownership of such presents?
A: It is not permissible for the agent or the middleman in a sale, purchase, or a contract to accept any presents from the other party of the deal.
Q1726. Suppose a company gave a present, in exchange for another one which was presented to them and paid for by public funds. What is the ruling?
A: Should the present have been given in return for another one paid for by public money, it should be deposited in the public coffers.
Q1727. Should the present leave an adverse impact on the recipient, especially when security matters are concerned, is it permissible to accept and use it in any way?
A: It is not permissible to have such a present. Rather, one must decline to accept it.
Q1728. Should there be any doubt that the present to be given to someone is intended to be used as a carrot to curry favor with them and make them blow trumpets in his praise, is it permissible to take it?
A: If the intended publicity is in accordance with the law and shar‘, there is no objection to it and there is no harm in accepting the present in return for making the publicity. Of course, in office environments the related rules should be observed if any.
Q1729. If a present is intended to influence the recipient and make them turn a blind eye to an offence or curry favor with the official to approve of certain practices, is it permissible to take it?
A: To say that it is permissible to accept such a present is problematic if not prohibited. Generally speaking, it is not permissible to accept the present, rather it is obligatory to turn it down if it is geared to achieving that which is not shar‘ī or legal, or to curry favor with the official to make him agree to do that which he is not entitled to. The officials should take necessary steps to stem such a practice.
Q1730. During his lifetime; is it permissible for the paternal grandfather to give all his property, or part thereof, to his son’s children and his daughter-in-law? Have his daughters the right to object to his decision?
A: It is permissible for him, in his lifetime, to grant his son’s children or daughter-in-law all his property or part thereof. His daughters have no right to object to that.
Q1731. A childless person, who does not have any parent’s brother or sister, wants to give away his property by way of gift to his wife or her relatives. Is it permissible for him to do that? If so, is there a particular amount of his property that he could part with?
A: There is no objection to the property owner’s giving away as a gift either all his property or part thereof during his lifetime to whomever he wished whether or not they are his would be heirs.
Q1732. The establishment looking after the affairs of martyrs gave a grant to the family of a martyr (my son) to meet the expenses of holding a memorial service for him. If I accept it, would this make me sinful or detract from the Allah’s reward to the martyr?
A: There is no harm in accepting these grants. It should not detract from reward of the martyr or his family.
Q1733. A hotel staff set up a joint fund to collect all the tips the guests give them. They agreed to distribute the income equally between themselves. However, some senior members of the staff have requested that they be given a bigger share. Naturally, this is bound to create some friction between members of the group. What is your opinion?
A: This is a matter for the person who gave the tip. That is, if he gave it to a particular person, it should be that person’s alone. And if the tip was for all members of the staff, it should be divided equally between them.
Q1734. Do the presents, including money given to the children, belong to them or their parents?
A: If the father, on behalf of the child, receives it, it is the child’s.
Q1735. A mother, who has two daughters, wants to give her grandchild — to the exclusion of her second daughter — a piece of arable land she owns. Has she the right to do that? And has the second daughter the right to demand a share of her mother’s estate after her death?
A: If the mother gave away the property to her grandchild in her lifetime so much so that the grandchild took possession of the granted property, it is rightfully his and no one else has the right to object to that. However, if she has instructed in her will that the property be given to her grandchild, after her death, this should be confined to one-third of the estate. Adding the remaining two-thirds to the grandchild’s share is dependent on the consent of the heirs.
Q1736. A person gave part of his land to his nephew on the condition that the recipient marries his two stepdaughters to the donor’s two sons. The recipient refused to honor his undertaking regarding the marriage arrangements of the second stepdaughter. Can the gift still be valid and binding?
A: The said gift deed is both valid and binding. However, the condition laid down is invalid because the stepfather has no jurisdiction over the marriage of his stepdaughters. The matter is entirely theirs if they have no father or paternal grandfather. That said, if the condition required the stepfather to do his best to persuade his stepdaughters to agree to the marriage, the condition is valid and, therefore, binding. If the recipient did not uphold the condition, the donor has the right to annul the gift deed.
Q1737. I transferred the ownership of my residential flat to my younger daughter. After I divorced her mother, I reconsidered the matter and transferred the same property to my son from a second marriage before my daughter attained the age of eighteen years. What is the ruling in this matter?
A: If you had given away the property to your daughter, and took possession of it on her behalf as her guardian, the gift is valid, binding, and irrevocable. Yet, if the gift deed was not really concluded, but was merely the change of the name in the title deed of the property to that of your daughter’s, this is not sufficient to conclude the gift deed and transfer the ownership to her. Indeed, the property is yours and you can do with it whatever you like.
Q1738. When I was very ill, I distributed my property among my offspring and put everything in writing. However, after I had recovered, I demanded that they return to me some of the property I gave them. They declined. What is the ruling in this matter?
A: Writing a document is not a sufficient proof of ownership of the property by your sons and daughters. That said, if you had given them the property and they took possession of and control over it, it is rightfully theirs; you have no right to demand it back. But, if there was no gift involved at the outset, or they had not yet taken possession of it, the property should remain in your ownership and at your disposal.
Q1739. A person donated all his possessions inside his house to his wife. Among them was a book he wrote. Has the wife the copyright of the book or should it be the common ownership of all the inheritors?
A: The copyright of the book belongs to the person who owns it. So, if the author, during his lifetime, gave the book to someone or directed in his will that it would be his and the intended person took possession of the book, all rights concerning the book belong to him.
Q1740. From time to time, some government departments give their employees gifts. Since the source of funding for these gifts is not known, is it permissible for the employees to accept them and eventually have the right to use them?
A: There is no objection to giving gifts that have been funded by public money provided that the official who is giving these gifts is authorized to do so. And if the recipient thinks it is possible to a considerable extent that the donor has such authority, there is no harm in accepting the gift from them.
Q1741. For the gift deed to be valid, is taking possession of it sufficient, or does it have to be registered in the name of the intended person, especially in things like land and property?
A: What is really meant by the “taking possession of it” is not putting the matter on paper and signing. Rather, it is the actual handing over of the thing, so that the recipient can have full control over the property which is sufficient for the gift deed to be concluded and for the realization of ownership, irrespective of its nature.
Q1742. On the occasion of marriage, birthday, etc., a person gave his friend some presents. Several years later, he changed his mind and asked the recipient to return it. Has he the right to do so? And can someone, who donated some money to be used in holding commemoration/celebration assemblies for the Imams’ anniversaries, demand it back?
A: So long as the very present is available in its state, it is permissible for the donor to ask for it to be returned to them. That is unless the recipient is a blood relative of the giver or the gift is compensated for as in a deed of reciprocal present. However, after the gift has been either disposed of or changed in any way from its condition at the time of deed, the donor has no right to demand it back. Nor has he the right to get compensation for it. Also, the money one pays for the sake of Allah and to get nearer to Him, he has no right to get it back.
Debt and Loan
Q1743. A friend of mine, who owns a factory, borrowed from me a sum of money. After a while, he returned the money with an extra amount which he paid of his own free will. It is worth mentioning, though, that we did not sign an agreement to the effect that he should give me that extra money. For my part, I didn’t expect him to give me extra. Is it shar‘ī to take that additional amount of money?
A: If, after the owner had sanctioned the very sale, he sanctioned the receipt of the money as well, the person who concluded the deal should pay the price plus inflation to the original owner. If the owner had rejected the sale, the seller should try his best to return the same property to its owner if possible. Otherwise, he should compensate the owner whether with a similar property or with its value. As based on caution, however, he must reach a settlement with the owner about the difference between the price at the time of payment and the price at the time of transaction.
Q1744. A person who borrowed a certain amount of money refused to pay it back. The lender took him to court to recover the debt. The court ruled in favor of the lender. Accordingly, the borrower had to pay back the debt; he also paid a tax for law enforcement. Is the lender responsible for that according to shar‘?
A: If the procrastinating debtor has to pay the tax of law enforcement, the creditor is liable to nothing in this regard.
Q1745. I gave my brother a loan. On moving to a new house, he gave me a carpet which I, in retrospect, mistook for a present. When I demanded the money back, he claimed that he had given me the carpet in settlement of the debt. Is he justified in his action, despite the fact that he didn’t inform me of his intention at the time?
If I don’t agree with him, should I return the carpet to him? And due to a decline in purchasing power of the currency, can I ask him to pay me back the debt plus an additional amount to make up the difference in the purchasing power of the currency?
A: For settling the loan, it is not sufficient to give a carpet or other things which are not of the same kind as the loan. As long as you do not consent to have the carpet in return for the loan, you should return it to him, as it still belongs to him. As to the decrease in purchasing power, you may demand compensation for it plus the original loan.
Q1746. What is the view on paying off a debt with ill-gotten money?
A: The debt is not considered settled by paying it off with other people’s money. Accordingly, the debtor remains indebted.
Q1747. A woman borrowed a sum of money equivalent to one-third of the value of the house she bought. Both the parties, lender and borrower, agreed that the borrower should return the money when she could afford it. However, the woman’s son gave the lender a check for the amount of the debt as surety. In the past four years, both parties died. Their respective heirs want to settle the matter. How should they go about it? Is it by way of relinquishing possession of one-third of the property to the lender’s inheritors or would the amount written in the check do?
A: The lender’s heirs have no right to the property. They are entitled to get the amount of the debt (considering compensation for the decrease in purchasing power of the money) from the borrower’s heirs if she has left sufficient money to settle it.
Q1748. We borrowed a sum of money from a person. After some time, he disappeared so that we no longer know his whereabouts. What can we do?
A: You have to wait and enquire [to try to locate him] to pay him or his heirs the money they owe. If it is beyond hope to find them, you can approach the authorized religious authority or give it as alms on behalf of the owner.
Q1749. Is it permissible to ask the debtor to pay the expenses of the law suit to prove the case and to recover the debt?
A: According to the law of Islam, the debtor is not required to compensate the expenses borne by the creditor.
Q1750. Should the debtor spare no effort to pay back the debt owed to other people, is it permissible for the creditors to recover the debt from his property, e.g., in secret?
A: If the debtor denies the debt owed or avoids payment without any excuse, the lender has the right to recover his debt from the debtor’s property.
However, if he does not know that he owes or doubts that; it is problematic – or rather impermissible – for the lender to recover his debt from the debtor’s property.
Q1751. Is the debt of the deceased considered among the right of people so that his heirs have to pay it from the deceased’s estate?
A: Irrespective of whom he owes to, i.e., be it to a real or legal entity, their rights have to be upheld. Therefore, it is obligatory on the heirs to pay the creditors or their heirs the debt from the deceased’s estate. Furthermore, they have no right to make use of the estate before they have settled the outstanding debts the deceased owed to other people.
Q1752. Someone is owed a sum of money. He owns a plot of land. The building on the land is not his. Is it permissible for the creditors to seize both the land and the property to recover their debt?
A: They have no right to seize any property which does not belong to the debtor.
Q1753. Suppose a person is in debt. Is the property he and his family live in excluded from seizure to pay the debt?
A: All that which the debtor needs — according to his status — in his day-to-day life, such as a house, furniture, car, and telephone, remain out of bounds insofar as paying the debt off.
Q1754. A businessman became bankrupt. All what is left for him is a building that he put in the market for sale. The proceeds from the sale of the building would not be sufficient to pay off half of the total debt. Is it permissible for the creditors to force him to sell the property, or should they wait for him to settle his debts gradually?
A: If the debtor and members of his family do not take the building as a residence, there is no objection to forcing him to sell it to pay off his debt, even though the proceeds would not be sufficient to settle the debt. For this part of the debt, it is not obligatory on the creditors to give him a period of grace. Nevertheless, they should wait for him to pay them back when he can afford it as far as the rest of the debt is concerned.
Q1755. Is it obligatory on one government department to pay the debt it owes to another?
A: Such a debt has the same ruling as any other debt insofar as its settlement is concerned.
Q1756. If a person pays off the debt of another person without telling them, is it incumbent on the debtor to compensate the person who paid off their debt?
A: The person, who paid off the debt of the other person, without telling him, has no right to demand compensation from the debtor. For his part, the debtor does not have to pay compensation in return for settling the debt.
Q1757. Should the borrower postpone the payment of a loan, is it permissible for the lender to ask him to pay an extra amount over and above the amount of the loan?
A: He can demand the loan plus compensation for decrease in purchasing power of the money.
Q1758. In a bogus transaction, my father gave a person a sum of money. In reality it was a loan. Every month, the borrower used to pay a sum of money, ostensibly, in the form of profits. After the death of my father, the borrower continued paying the money regularly until his death. Should such money be deemed ribā and, therefore, refunded to the borrower’s heirs from the estate of the lender, i.e., my father?
A: Assuming that the money he received was a loan, if the amount paid as profit was not more than inflation, it is no problem. Otherwise, the amount, which is more than inflation, is considered as ribā which is ḥarām in Islam. They should pay the surplus plus its inflation to the debtor or his heirs from the creditor’s estate.
Q1759. Is it permissible for any person to deposit funds with others and charge monthly interest?
A: If the deposited money was with the intention of investment in accordance with a shar‘ī contract, there is no harm in that, nor is there any objection to receiving the profit as a result of the investment. However, should it be intended as a loan, the loan deed is correct in principle. Yet, the stipulation of earning ribā is invalid. Accordingly, any interest thus earned amounts to ribā which is ḥarām.
Q1760. Someone borrowed a sum of money to set up a business. If the business proved a success and made profits, is it permissible for the borrower to give the lender a share of the profits? And is it permissible for the lender to demand from the borrower a share of the profits?
A: The lender has no right in the profits generated by the business. Nor has he any right in demanding from the borrower any share of these profits. However, if the borrower decides, of his free will, i.e. without any prior agreement with the lender, to pay him some money over and above the amount of the debt as a favor, there is no objection to that, rather, it is mustaḥabb.
Q1761. A person bought merchandise from another. They agreed that the buyer should pay for the goods in three months’ time. However, the buyer could not pay the debt on time. Both the parties agreed that the debtor should be given another three months to come up with the money provided that an additional amount is paid on top of the original debt. Is this transaction shar‘ī?
A: Such an increase is deemed ribā which is ḥarām.
Q1762. Ali takes a ribā-bearing loan from Muhammad. A third person writes down the deed and its terms. A fourth one keeps the accounts. Is the accountant considered as the accessory to the fulfillment of the ribā-bearing loan so that his job and the compensation he gets for it are ḥarām as well? Also, there is a fifth person, the auditor, to check the account book to see whether there has been a mistake in the ribā-bearing transaction to inform the accountant without writing down anything or transferring anything to the account book.
A: The work that contributes, in any way, to a ribā-bearing loan, such as finalizing the transaction, collecting the ribā from the borrower, is ḥarām; and the worker is not entitled to a wage for such work.
Q1763. Because of lack of funds, the majority of Muslims find themselves forced to borrow money from non-Muslims and pay it back with interest. Is this shar‘ī?
A: The ribā-bearing loan is absolutely ḥarām even if it is procured from a non-Muslim. However, the loan deed is correct in principle.
Q1764. Someone borrowed a sum of money for a year on the condition that he meets the expenses arising from the lender’s travel, e.g., for performing hajj. Is this transaction valid?
A: To stipulate a condition in the contract to bear the expenses arising from the travel of the lender or the like is the very stipulation of ribā in the loan deed. Therefore, it is both ḥarām and invalid. However, the loan deed is correct in principle.
Q1765. When giving loans, ribā-free loan institutions make the condition that if the borrower falls behind with his repayments for two or more installments, the lender has the right to demand the settlement of the remaining debt at one go. Is it permissible to lend money stipulating such a term?
A: There is no objection to doing so.
Q1766. A cooperative society is set up with joint capital from its members. The society provides ribā-free loans to its members. The objective of the society is to help the individuals. What is the view on the work carried out by its members in order to help and to maintain ties of kinship among the blood relatives?
A: There is no doubt that it is both permissible and commendable to work jointly towards providing loans for the believers along the lines described in the question. However, if the money was provided by the member as a share in the capital of the company on the condition of giving the member a loan in the future, this is not permissible, even though the loan deed is correct in principle [so that the borrower owns the money and owes it is to the lender].
Q1767. Some ribā-free loan institutions deal in real estate. Since some depositors do not agree to their money being used for this purpose, is it permissible for such institutions to take possession of the deposited money? And are such dealings shar‘ī?
A: If the money was deposited in trust with these lending institutions to lend it to others, using it to buy real estate and other things is considered as fuḍūlī* should be dependent on the owners’ approval. But if the money was lent to the institution, there is no objection to its officials buying real estate and other things according to their responsibilities.
* of a contract, e.g., a purchase or a marriage, concluded on behalf of somebody without their permission.
Q1768. Some people borrow an amount of money from others and give them an amount monthly as profit without this being based on any Islamic contract. It is done on the basis of mutual agreement. What is the ruling in this regard?
A: Such transactions are considered ribā-bearing loans. The condition to get ribā is invalid. The increase is regarded as ribā and is, therefore, ḥarām and not permissible to be taken.
Q1769. A borrower paid off the loan he had taken from a ribā-free loan institution. He paid an extra amount to the institution of his own accord. Is it permissible for the officials of the institution to take possession of the money and use it in building work?
A: If, on paying back the loan, the borrower paid the amount of his own free will as a mustaḥabb action when settling a debt, there is no harm in taking it. As for spending it in building work and the like, it should be left to the officials to deal with according to their responsibilities.
Q1770. The administrative committee of a ribā-free loan institution bought property with money borrowed from a person. A month later, the institution paid back the loan with money deposited in its trust by other people without their permission. Is this transaction shar‘ī? And to whom should the ownership of the property belong?
A: There is no harm in purchasing the property with the money lent to the institution if the members of its administrative committee were going about their business according to their brief. Thus, the purchased property should be in the ownership of the institution and its shareholders. Conversely, the purchase is fuḍūlī and hinged upon the approval of the owners of money.
Q1771. What is the ruling in the matter of paying a fee when taking a loan from the bank?
A: If, at the time of taking the loan, the payment made by the borrower to the bank is considered a fee in return for the administrative work like to write it in the book, documentation, and other expenses of the bank such as water and electricity bills and does not amount to ribā on it, then there is no harm in paying the fee. Nor is there any harm in receiving and giving such a fee and taking the loan.
Q1772. A fund gives out loans on the condition that the member deposits a certain amount of money in the fund where it has to be left for three to six months. At the end of this period, the member can take a loan up to double the amount he deposited. After the member pays off the debt, his money is returned to him. What is your view?
A: If depositing the money in the fund was under the title of loan for a particular period, on the condition that the fund grants him the loan, or lending him some money was made conditional on his depositing a certain amount of money with the fund, this condition amounts to ribā and is, therefore, ḥarām and invalid. However, the very loan deed is valid for both parties.
Q1773. As part of their lending policy, ribā-free loan funds require potential loan borrowers to be members in the fund, i.e., to having savings accounts with it and deposit a certain amount in it, and to be resident of the area where the fund is located. Do these conditions amount to involvement in ribā?
A: There is no harm in making the condition of membership or residence in the area, and others which confine the granting of loans to certain people. There is also no harm in opening a savings account with the fund if the aim was to restrict granting the loan to certain people. However, if this condition was an attempt to link granting the person a loan, sometime in the future, with his depositing an amount of money with the fund, the condition amounts to demanding a return on the loan, in which case it is invalid.
Q1774. Is there a way out of ribā in banking transactions?
A: The solution lies in adopting Islamic contracts whereby all the conditions have to be upheld.
Q1775. Is it permissible to spend a loan that was procured for a particular purpose in other avenues?
A: If what the bank gives the individuals is really a loan and stipulates that it should be spent for certain issues, it is not permissible to violate the stipulation. Also, if one receives some money form the bank as silent partner to be invested in a certain project, he cannot use the money in another project.
Q1776. An ex-serviceman, who is now disabled, approached the bank with a view to obtaining a loan. Since such people enjoy certain privileges commensurate with the degree of their disability, in that the greater the disability the greater the concessions and privileges, the person in question wants to utilize this. Although they do not agree with the degree of disability, which was determined by people in the medical profession, can the disabled people use the certificate in enjoying the concessions and privileges?
A: Should the degree of disability have been determined by specialist doctors in accordance with their diagnosis, and according to the law this is the yardstick for the bank in granting the facilities, there is no objection to making use of the certificate outlining the degree of disability, which was determined by the doctors, although in the person’s opinion his disability is less than what they think.
Q1777. In a ṣulḥ deed, a man agreed with his wife to relinquish the ownership of all he owned in her favor. He also made her the guardian of their children. After his death, have the husband’s parents any right in demanding a share of his estate?
A: If it is proved that the deceased has, during his lifetime, given his wife or any other party all his possessions in a ṣulḥ deed, so much so that he did not leave anything for himself till the moment of his death, there is no case for the parents, or the rest of heirs, i.e. they are not entitled to any inheritance. Thus, they have no right to demand from the wife anything of the property which became hers during her husband’s lifetime.
Q1778. In a ṣulḥ deed, a person gave his son a part of his property. Two years later, the father sold the same property to his son. After the father had passed away, his heirs produced a medical report to the effect that the father was not in his full mental capacity. Did the sale of the same property, which was relinquished by the father to the son, supersede the agreement between the two parties? And suppose that the ṣulḥ still stands; is it enforceable in one-third of the property, which was relinquished, or in all of it?
A: The ṣulḥ deed is valid and enforceable .Unless the right of revocation by the giver has been proved, it is binding (irrevocable) as well. As a result, its subsequent sale by the donor at a later date was invalid, even in case the donor was enjoying full mental capacity. The ṣulḥ deed, which was materialized and ruled as both valid and binding, is enforceable in all the property that was relinquished.
Q1779. In a ṣulḥ deed, a person relinquished all his possessions, including his rights, and financial dues with the establishment of medical services. For its part, the said establishment argued that he had no right to transfer his entitlements with it. Thus, they declined to comply with the request. The person in question admitted that he was not frank, claiming that the whole thing was a ploy to extricate himself from paying the debts due from him to others. What is the ruling in this matter?
A: To bring about a ṣulḥ deed involving the property of other people or which others have a right in is dependent on the permission of the owners of the property or the one who has the right to it. Should the ṣulḥ deed concerning the absolute property of the person have been designed to avoid the payment of debts due to others, ruling that it is valid and enforceable is problematic, especially in the light of the fact that there is no hope that he could get further funds to settle his debts.
Q1780. In a document, it is written that a father transferred and turned part of his property over to his son through a ṣulḥ deed. Is such a document valid in shar‘?
A: The document per se is not shar‘ī evidence or proof that the ṣulḥ deed was made and what its mechanics were unless one is confident about its contents. However, if there is any doubt that the ṣulḥ deed was not concluded in a proper manner — while we are sure the owner made it — it should be deemed valid. Therefore, the property is the recipient’s.
Q1781. At the time of our marriage, my father-in-law gave me a plot of land in return for a sum of money through a ṣulḥ contract and turned it over to me. The particulars of the agreement were written down, signed and witnessed. Now my father-in law claims that he really did not intend the agreement and it was not genuine. What is your view?
A: The said agreement is deemed valid. The claim that it was not genuine does not carry weight unless the claimant substantiates it.
Q1782. During his lifetime, my father made a ṣulḥ contract to the effect that all his property transferred to me in return for a sum of money that I should pay my sisters after his death. For their part, my sisters agreed to the arrangement and signed the will. After my father had passed away, I gave my sisters their shares of the agreed amount. Is it permissible for me to take ownership of the property and use it? And if my sisters are not happy with the arrangement, what should I do?
A: There is no harm in this agreement. The relinquished property is rightfully the recipient’s. Dissatisfaction of the rest of the heirs is of no consequence.
Q1783. A person gave his property to one of his sons through ṣulḥ in the absence of some of his children and without the agreement of those present. Should such an agreement still be valid?
A: For the owner to give one of his [would be] heirs some property through ṣulḥ during his lifetime is not dependent on the approval of the rest of the heirs. They have no right to object to it. However, it is not permissible if it causes discord among the children.
Q1784. A person gives some property to another through ṣulḥ on the condition that the recipient makes use of it personally. Is it permissible for the latter to give it to a third-party, for the same purpose, or enter into a partnership for that matter, without the agreement of the previous owner? Should this be shar‘ī, can the previous owner rescind the agreement?
A: It is not permissible for the recipient to disobey the conditions to which he was a party. Failure to do so would result in giving the previous owner. who made the ṣulḥ the right to cancel the agreement.
Q1785. Is it permissible for the owner, who concluded a ṣulḥ with another person, to withdraw and conclude another ṣulḥ with a third party, involving the same property without informing the person who was party to the first ṣulḥ?
A: If the ṣulḥ was concluded in a proper manner, it should be binding on the owner. Thus, he has no right to withdraw unless he has reserved the right to rescind the ṣulḥ. So, if he enters into a ṣulḥ with another party, its validity becomes dependent on the approval of the person who was party to the first ṣulḥ.
Q1786. After the death of a woman, her estate was duly distributed among her children. After the lapse of some considerable time, one of the daughters claimed that during her lifetime, the mother gave all of her property to the daughter. To substantiate her claim, she produced an unofficial document bearing her signature and that of her husband, alongside the alleged thumb print of her mother. She is now claiming to be the inheritor of all the property that belonged to her mother. What is the view on this matter?
A: Unless it is proved that the mother relinquished ownership of the property during her lifetime in favor of her daughter through a ṣulḥ deed, she has no right in what she is claiming. And the mere existence of such a document is not valid unless its contents are substantiated.
Q1787. A person gave his children the whole property he had through a ṣulḥ deed on the condition that he would remain in charge of the property throughout his life. I have the following questions to ask:
a) Is this agreement valid, considering the stipulated condition?
b) Assuming that it is valid and, therefore, enforceable, is it permissible for the proprietor to change his mind? Suppose that this is the case, is it permissible for him to sell part of the property to some of the parties to the ṣulḥ deed, and would this amount to canceling the ṣulḥ deed? And finally, suppose that it is a cancellation of the ṣulḥ deed, should such cancellation extend to all the property or is restricted to the sold part?
c) What does the phrase, “to be in charge of property throughout the donor’s life”, imply? Does it mean the right of revocation, the right of transferring the ownership of the property to others, or the holding of actual control of the property and use it for life?
a) The said ṣulḥ deed is valid and enforceable, even though it contains such a condition.
b) A ṣulḥ deed is among the contracts that are binding. The giver is, therefore, not allowed to cancel it unless there is a condition in the contract, giving him the right to do that. So, without such a condition, the sale of a part of the shared property to one of the shareholders is deemed invalid insofar as buyer’s share is concerned. And regarding the shares of the other shareholders is considered as fuḍūlī and its validity depends on their approval.
c) Apparently, the phrase, ‘‘to be in charge of the property throughout the donor’s life’’, means the right of handling the property physically, to the exclusion of the right of cancellation and the right of transferring the property to the others.
Q 1804: The Imam Khomeini Aid Committee has put many containers and boxes in houses, streets, and public places at different cities and villages to collect mustaḥabb alms and hand it over to the poor. Is it permissible to pay the personnel working for this committee a certain percentage of these boxes’ money as a bonus in addition to their monthly salary and allowances? Also, is it allowed to give some of this money to those who play a role in collecting it, although they are not regular employees of the charity?
A: Paying an amount of money collected through charity boxes to the personnel and employees of the committee as a bonus in addition to their salaries paid by the committee is problematic. Rather, so far as the consent of the owners of the money regarding this is not confirmed, it is impermissible. But there is no problem in paying those who help in collecting the boxes’ contents as their standard wages provided that their help is needed for collecting the money and giving it to needy persons and it is apparent that the money owners agree upon this. Otherwise, it is problematic to use the collected money but for the poor people.
Q1805: Is it allowable to give alms to the beggars found in streets or those who knock on doors asking for money? Or is it better to pay it to orphans and the poor or to give it to the Imam Khomeini Aid Committee?
A: It is preferable to give mustaḥabb alms to the humble and religious needy person. Also, it is no problem if you give it to Imam Khomeini Aid Committee even by throwing it in the alms boxes. But obligatory alms should be handed over to the deserving poor individually by the person himself or by his attorney. However, in case one knows that those who are in charge of the Imam Khomeini Aid Committee collect money from boxes and give to the deserving poor persons, there would be no problem in putting obligatory alms in these boxes.
Q 1806: What is one's duty with respect to the beggars who live on money and food they beg and make a bad impression of the Islamic society especially after the government's decision on gathering them? Is it permissible to give them alms?
A: Try your best to give alms to those needy persons who are humble and religious.
Q 1807: I am a servant in a masjid. As my work increases during the month of Ramadan, some of the benevolent people give me some money as assistance. Am I allowed to take it?
A: what they give you is a kind of favor which is ḥalāl for you and there is no objection to receiving it.
Deposits and Loaned Properties
Q1808. A fire gutted a factory. Among the losses were goods that were deposited in trust in the factory. Should the person in charge of the factory or its owner be made to pay compensation to the owners of these goods?
A: If the fire was not attributed to anybody’s action, nor was there negligence in safeguarding the deposited goods in the factory, no one should be made to pay compensation for the loss of goods.
Q1809. A person deposited his will with another person. It was agreed that after the death of the testator, the person entrusted with the will would hand it over to the deceased’s elder son. He refused to do so. Does this amount to a breach of trust?
A: Refusing to hand the deposit over to the party appointed by the depositor is a kind of treachery.
Q1810. While I was doing my national service, I received some personal effects. However, after completing my service, I failed to hand those items back to my military unit. What should I do? Would it be sufficient to pay the value of the items in money to the Treasury?
A: In case the items were given to you by the army barracks as a loan, it is obligatory on you to return the very items if they are still with you. If not, in that they have been either damaged or lost due to negligence or delay in returning, you have to pay them the equivalent value of these items. Otherwise, you need not worry.
Q1811. A trustworthy person was asked to carry a certain amount of money to deliver it to some people who live in another town. While en route, they were robbed. Should they indemnify the loss?
A: The person entrusted with the money should not be held responsible to compensate it as long as their negligence or improper handling of the money is not proved.
Q1812. I received, from the trustees of a masjid, funds that were donated for the purpose of carrying out certain repairs to the building of the masjid. However, the funds, alongwith my personal belongings, were lost. What should I do?
A: The person entrusted with the money should not be made to pay compensation if there was no negligence or improper handling on their part in safeguarding it.
Leaving a Will
Q1813. Before their martyrdom, some soldiers directed in their wills that one third of their estate should be spent bolstering the defenses [of the Islamic Republic]. And since the purpose behind such work has ended, how should one go about dealing with such a provision?
A: Assuming that the purpose could no longer be served by the provision in the will, the money earmarked for the goal should revert to the inheritors. However it is, as a matter of caution, better spent in charitable work with their permission.
Q1814: In his will, my brother has directed that one-third of his estate should be spent in looking after the people who were displaced by the war in a particular town. Since there are no such people left in that town, what can be done?
A: The money must be given to those people who were displaced and found refuge in that town, even though they might have already been repatriated to their hometowns or housed somewhere else. Yet if the spending is confined to the displaced people who are living in that town at the time being, the money should revert to the inheritors.
Q1815. Is it permissible for someone to stipulate in their will that half of their estate be spent on holding a memorial service for them after they have passed away? Or it is not permissible because Islam has specified special ceiling for it.
A: There is no objection to providing for one’s funeral as there is no ceiling to that as per shar'. However, the provision in the will of the deceased is enforceable in only one third of the entire estate. Any amount over and above the one-third share should be subject to the consent and permission of the heirs.
Q1816. Is leaving a will obligatory so much so that one could be sinful if they do not do it?
A: If the person keeps other’s belongings, owes something to somebody or he should perform some missed rituals (missed prayers, fasts, khums, zakat, kaffārah, maẓālim, haj), of which they could not discharge their responsibility, it is obligatory for them to leave a will. Otherwise, it is not obligatory.
Q1817. A man directed in his will that something not more than one-third of his estate should go to his wife. He made his eldest son the executor of the will. However, the rest of the would-be inheritors objected to this arrangement. What should the executor do?
A: If the share being designated amounts to one-third, or less, of the estate, there is no case for the inheritors′ objecting to it. Indeed, it is obligatory on them to abide by it.
Q1818. What is the ruling in the matter of the denial, by the inheritors, of the existence of a will?
A: It falls to the person who claims the will to prove that in a shar‘ī way. If it is established, it has to be adhered to provided that the matter is confined to one-third or less of the estate. Accordingly, neither the denial of, nor the objection by, the inheritors is of any consequence.
Q1819. A person instructed in his will that some of his property should be spared to pay for religious tithes such as khums, zakat, kaffārah which he owes as well as rituals like missed prayers, fasts, and haj. This was witnessed by a number of trustworthy people, including one of the man’s sons. However, some of the inheritors did not agree to this arrangement, demanding the distribution of the entire estate amongst the heirs. What can be done?
A: Assuming that the will is proven, by way of shar‘ī evidence or the inheritors admitted the will, they have no right in demanding the inclusion, in the estate, of property that was earmarked by the testator in his will to be spared if it is less than one third of the entire estate. It is obligatory on them to spend it in the avenues the testator had set forth.
However, if it is established according to shar‘ that the deceased owed money to other people, or religious dues of financial nature, such as khums, zakāt, kaffārah or of both financial and physical nature like hajj, or the inheritors admitted that although the deceased did not provide for the same in his will, it is obligatory on them to set aside a sum equivalent to these debts from the whole estate and divide the remainder amongst themselves.
Q1820. A person directed in his will that his arable land should be used for repair work of the masjid. However, his inheritors sold the property. Can the will still be valid? And have the inheritors the right to do so?
A: If the will means that the arable land, itself, is to be sold to spend the proceeds in repair work for the masjid and the value of the property is not more than one-third of his estate, the instructions in the will should be implemented and there is no objection to selling the land. But, if the testator meant that the profit from the land would be spent in this avenue, the inheritors had no right to sell the land.
Q1821. A person instructed in his will that a plot of land, among his property, should be reserved to pay for hiring someone to perform prayer and fast, which he missed during his lifetime, and in other charitable causes. Is it permissible to sell this land or should it be deemed an endowment?
A: Unless it is known that the testator’s intention was to leave the land as it is and spend the returns, i.e. rather, he wanted the very land to be spent for him, the [provision in the] will should not be construed as that concerning endowment. Accordingly, there is no harm in selling the land and using the proceeds in the avenues he directed provided that the total value does not exceed one-third [of his estate].
Q1822. Is it permissible for someone to set aside one-third of his estate or deposit the same with another person to be spent in his cause after his death?
A: There is no objection to it provided that the remainder of his estate, i.e. the inheritors’ share, is equivalent to double the amount that has been set aside.
Q1823. A person asked his father, as a provision in the will, to hire someone to perform prayer and fasting for him. Now, that the person has disappeared, is it obligatory on his father to execute the will?
A: Unless the death of the testator is established in any shar‘ī way or the executor is convinced that this is the case, hiring someone to perform the lapsed prayer and fasting on his behalf is not valid.
Q1824. My father has directed in his will that a masjid should be built on one third of his land. Since there are already two masjids adjacent to that land and because of the pressing need for school buildings, is it permissible to build a school on the land instead of a masjid?
A: It is not permissible to act contrary to the will by building a school instead of a masjid. However, if it is known that the deceased’s intention was not building a masjid on that particular land, there is no objection to selling it and spending the proceeds in building a masjid somewhere else where it is needed.
Q1825. Is it permissible for someone to make a provision in his will that, after his death, his body is to be put at the disposal of medical students for dissection or is it ḥarām to do so as it amounts to muthlah?
A: It seems that the religious sources indicating prohibition of muthlah or the like are dealing with some other affairs and do not include dissection of the deceased’s body in which an important interest lies. Apparently, there is no objection to dissection on the provision of observing respect for the Muslim deceased’s body, which serves as an axiom in this type of issues.
Q1826. If someone has instructed in their will that certain parts of their body be donated to the hospital, or a particular person, is such a will valid?
A: The validity and enforceability of such a will cannot be ruled out so long as the removal of the parts from the body does not amount to disrespect to the body itself. Therefore, there is no objection to enforcing the will.
Q1827. Is the permission of the inheritors, during the lifetime of the testator, to spend more than one third of the estate sufficient to make the will enforceable? Assuming that it is sufficient, is it permissible for the inheritors to change their mind after the death of the testator?
A: The permission of the inheritors, in the lifetime of the testator, is sufficient to make the will valid and enforceable insofar as the excess amount to the one-third share is concerned. It is not permissible for them to revoke the permission after the death of the testator. Such retraction is of no consequence.
Q1828. In his will, a person has instructed that the prayer and fasting he missed during his lifetime should be performed after his death. He got martyred in the war, leaving behind a furnished house. If his possessions were to be sold to pay for hiring a person to do the job, this would leave his inheritors facing hardship, especially his fledgling children. What should the inheritors do about the will?
A: If the martyr did not leave any property, it is not obligatory on anyone to act upon the will. However, it is obligatory on the eldest son, among his children, to perform the missed prayer and fasting on behalf of his father when he reaches the age of shar‘ī puberty. If the deceased left behind an estate, one third of it should be spent in the avenues he prescribed. The need of the inheritors, and the fact that they are still young, are not shar‘ī reasons for not complying with the will.
Q1829. In order for the will to be valid, should its named beneficiary exist at the time of writing it?
A: In order for the will to be valid insofar as the transfer of property [from the testator to the beneficiary] is concerned, the beneficiary should exist, even if it is an unborn fetus, even before the stage of ensoulment so long as it will be born alive.
Q1830. In a written will, a person appointed an executor to enforce his will. He appointed another person to act as an overseer without specifying his scope of power, is it only to know about executor's acts anther or not they are in accordance with the terms of the will or should the executor act according to the opinion of the overseer? What should the boundaries of the authority of this overseer be?
A: Assuming that the power given to the executor in the will is absolute, it is not obligatory on the executor to consult the overseer in any matter, although it is closer to caution. However, the overseer’s role is to supervise the work of the executor.
Q1831. In his will, the deceased appointed me as the supervisor and his son as the executor of his will. Since the death of the son, I have become the only administrator of the will. However, for personal reasons, I have become increasingly busy, so much so that I hardly have time to attend to matters relating to the will. Is it permissible for me to change the areas in which the returns of one-third of the estate is going to be spent by giving them to a certain department to spend the income in charitable causes and for the poor and the needy registered by that department?
A: The supervisor has no right to independently implement the provisions stipulated by the deceased in the will, even after the first executor’s death, unless he becomes the executor after the death of the first executor as provided for in the will. Otherwise, the supervisor should resort to the authorized religious authority with a view to appointing someone else to replace the dead executor. At any rate, it is not permissible to encroach upon the will of the deceased or alter it in any way.
Q1832. Someone has instructed in his will that they pay a sum of his money to someone else to recite verses of the Noble Qur’an in the Eminent City of Najaf or he endowed a property for the same purpose. The executor of the will or the person in charge of the endowment cannot [for reasons beyond their control] send the money to Najaf to hire someone to do so. What should they do?
A: If it is feasible to spend the money for the recitation of the Noble Qur’an in the Eminent City of Najaf, albeit in the near future, it is obligatory to execute the will.
Q1833. Prior to her death, my mother instructed me to spend the proceeds from the sale of her jewelry in charitable avenues on Thursday nights. I have done so ever since her death. What should I do in the event of traveling to a non-Muslim country?
A: Unless it is known that her intention was to spend the money on Muslims and non-Muslims alike, the spending should be confined to the Muslims only, albeit by depositing the money with a trusted person in a Muslim country to spend it for Muslims.
Q1834. In his will, a person has instructed that parts of his land should be sold and the proceeds spent in holding memorial services and other charitable causes. The sale of the land to a third party would put the inheritors in an unbearable situation. So, is it permissible for them to buy the land for themselves and pay for it by installments whereby they can spend the money in the avenues the testator had named with the knowledge of both the executor and the supervisor?
A: In itself, there is no objection to the buying of the land by the inheritors themselves. As for paying for it by installments, there is no harm in that provided that an equitable price is paid for the land, that both the executor and the trustee see that an interest is served [in this way], and that the installments are not going to be a hindrance to the [smooth and timely] execution of the will. All of this, though, is dependent on the knowledge that the intention of the testator was not the selling of the land for cash and spending the proceeds in the first year.
Q1835. On his deathbed, a person appointed two people, one as executor and the other deputy. However, later on he changed his mind and informed both the appointees of his new decision. He wrote another will whereby he appointed one of his relatives in his absence as the executor. With the existence of the second will, would the first one still be valid? Suppose that the first two people, who were appointed by the deceased as his executors in the first will, acted according to the now revoked will, would their action be unlawful, so much so that they must repay the second executor what they had already spent from the deceased’s property?
A: After the deceased had changed his mind, during his lifetime, and dismissed the first executor, the latter should not have acted upon the will, after he had been told of his dismissal. However, any disposal of property by the dismissed executor should be dependent on the agreement of [the shar‘ī] executor. If the latter did not approve it, the dismissed executor must be made to pay compensation.
Q1836. In his will, a person directed that certain property should be given to one of his sons. Two years later, this person changed his will. Would this change of heart be shar‘ī? And suppose that the person is ill, to such an extent that he needs care, would the responsibility of providing such care fall on the shoulders of his eldest son, who is the executor of his will, or should it be shared among all his inheritors?
A: There is no legal impediment to changing one’s mind regarding the will one wrote provided that one does it while still enjoying a healthy mental condition. In this case, the recent will is valid according to shar‘. As for the provision of care, it has to be catered for by employing a nurse with money paid by him [the father]. If he cannot afford it, the responsibility should rest equally with all those, among his children, who can afford it. Therefore, it should not fall solely on the shoulders of the executor.
Q1837. In his will, my father has appointed me as the executor. After the estate was divided, one third of it was put aside. Is it permissible for me to sell it to be spent in the avenues he named?
A: If he had directed that one third of this estate should be spent in the avenues he so described, there is no objection to selling the share, having taken it out of the entire estate, and using it in the avenues described in the will. However, if the instruction was specifically confined to the disposal of the returns of the share of one-third, it is not permissible to sell the property itself, even for spending the proceeds in the avenues stipulated in the will.
Q1838. A person appointed an executor and a supervisor. However, he did not specify what the appointees should do, especially in matters relating to the bequeathed share of one-third of his estate. What should the executor do regarding the administration of the share? Can the executor separate the one-third of the estate and spend it on charities and public services? Does it suffice for being entitled to the one-third of the estate to make a will and appoint an executor so that the executor is obligated to separate the one-third and to spend it?
A: If it is at all possible to discern the intentions of the testator, even by weighing the evidence and consulting the local tradition and custom, the executor should act according to his understanding of the testator’s intention and the areas of expenditure. Otherwise, the will would be deemed void due to its ambiguity and because the areas of expenditure are not specified.
Q1839. In his will, a person has directed that all fabrics, whether sewn or unsown, and others should go to his wife. What could the word "others" mean? Does it imply his movable properties or those of a value less than fabrics?
A: Unless the meaning of the word "others" that is mentioned in the will is known from the context, and the intention of the testator fathomed, this word cannot be acted upon because of its loose, as well as ambiguous, meaning. As for applying it to any of the assumptions outlined in the question, this is left to the approval of the heirs and their satisfaction.
Q1840. In her will, a woman directed that one third of her estate should be spent on performing eight years of prayer that she had missed during her lifetime. She further instructed that the remainder should be spent on khums, repayment of maẓālim, and in other charitable causes.
However, the executor knew for sure that she didn’t have to perform any prayer. Yet, he hired a person to perform prayer on her behalf for two years and paid them from the share of one-third of the estate; he spent the remainder in the war effort, khums, and repaying maẓālim. What is the position of the executor?
A: It is obligatory that the provisions of the will are adhered to as the deceased has stipulated. It is not permissible for the executor to overlook any of it. Any money the executor spent contrary to the testator’s wish should be compensated with the executor’s own money.
Q1841. In his will, a person has instructed that the two executors he appointed should act according to the provisions stipulated therein. However, clause 3 of the will requires that all the property left by the testator be collected, that his debts be paid, and that his share of one-third of the estate then be set aside and spent according to clauses 4, 5, and 6. There was another requirement, i.e., after the lapse of 17 years, the remaining amount still outstanding from the share of one-third of the estate be given to the poor among the heirs.
Both the executors of the will could not manage to set aside the share of one-third of the estate, let alone act according to the above quoted provisions, even after the lapse of the appointed period of time. The inheritors claimed that the will has become void due to the time lag and that the executors have no right to remain in control of the estate of the deceased any more. What is your opinion about the matter? And what should the executors do?
A: Neither the will nor the power of the executors become void due to the delay in executing the will. Indeed, it is obligatory on the executors to act upon the will in spite of the time that may have passed. It is not permissible for the inheritors to harass the executors to execute the will unless their authority has been restricted by a time span and it is expired.
Q1842. The inheritance of a person was divided among his heirs, each of whom had officially registered his own share with the authorities. Six years later, one of the inheritors claimed that the deceased had verbally instructed him to give part of a house to one of his sons. A number of women testified in his favor. Should such claim carry any weight?
A: Neither the time factor nor the official completion of the distribution of the inheritance should detract from the validity of the will provided that it [the claim] is proved in a shar‘ī way. So, if the claimant succeeded in proving his claim, all the parties have to act upon it. Otherwise, it is obligatory on each and every inheritor who admitted the will as being genuine to abide by the provisions of the will insofar as their respective share of the inheritance is concerned.
Q1843. In his will, a person appointed two people, one as executor and the other as overseer. This official appointment was confined to performing hajj on his behalf with money paid from the proceeds of selling a piece of land belonging to the testator. Meanwhile, a third person claimed that he had already performed hajj for the deceased of his own accord, i.e. without informing the executor or the overseer. After some time, the executor passed away. What should the overseer do in this case? Should he spend the proceeds to perform hajj for the deceased or give it to the claimant as compensation? Or he is obligated to do nothing in this regard.
A: If it was incumbent on the deceased to perform hajj and he wanted to discharge his responsibility by appointing a person to do it on his behalf, the performance of hajj by the third person would be sufficient. However, the latter should not demand payment from anybody for what he has done.
Otherwise, both the executor and the overseer should act upon the will of the deceased by arranging for hajj to be performed on his behalf with money paid from the proceeds of the sale of the land. Should the executor die before executing the will, the overseer should consult an authorized religious authority.
Q1844. Is it permissible for the heirs to make the executor pay a certain amount towards performing any outstanding prayer and fasting on behalf of the deceased? And what should the executor do in this respect?
A: Acting upon the provisions of the will of the deceased rests with the executor. He must go about the fulfillment of those provisions as he sees fit. However, the heirs have no right to meddle in his affairs.
Q1845. A person wrote a will which he kept with him. He got killed in a fire. No one knows the contents of the will. Someone does not know whether he is the only executor or whether there might be another executor as well. What should he do?
A: Having established the will, the executor must act upon those provisions of the will he is certain were not altered in any way and pay no attention to the possibility that another person may be the executor as well.
Q1846. Is it permissible for the testator to appoint an executor who is not among his immediate inheritors? Has anybody the right to object to that?
A: Choosing and appointing an executor whom the testator thinks fit for the job is the latter’s prerogative alone. The appointee should not necessarily be among his heirs. The heirs should have no right to object to that.
Q1847. Is it permissible for some of the inheritors, without consulting other inheritors or seeking permission of the executor, to defray hospitality expenses from the estate?
A: If they wanted to enforce the provisions of the will, this is the responsibility of the executor of the will and they have no right to do so without the permission of the executor. Yet, if they want to spend from the shares of the inheritors in the estate, this should be met with the approval of all the inheritors. Otherwise, it will be deemed usurpation of the shares of other inheritors.
Q1848. A testator named three different executors in his will as the first, the second, and the third executor. Who among them is considered the executor? Is it the first one or all of them?
A: This depends on the intention of the testator. So, unless it is known from the evidence that they are jointly, or successively, responsible for executing the will, they should reach a consensus to act upon the will jointly.
Q1849. Someone appointed three persons to enforce his will jointly, but they failed to agree on the execution of the will, how would their differences be reconciled?
A: In case there are multiple executors, if the executors of a will failed to agree on the execution of the will, they should consult ḥākim of shar ‘.
Q1850. I am the eldest son of my father, hence I am responsible for performing any outstanding prayer and fast my father owed. However, my father has directed in his will that one-year of prayer and fast should be performed. How should I go about the fact that more than one year of prayer and fast is outstanding?
A: The instructions of the deceased to clear any outstanding prayer and fast should be catered for from his share of one-third of the estate if he has directed thus. Accordingly, it is within your right to hire a person to perform the outstanding prayer and fast. Should the outstanding duration be more than what he directed in his will, you have to perform it on his behalf, albeit by hiring a person to do it with money paid from your own pocket.
Q1851. A testator has directed in his will that his eldest son should perform hajj on his behalf with money paid from the proceeds of the sale of a piece of land he left. However, since the son could not secure the government permission to go to hajj at a good time and due to the spiraling cost of the journey, the proceeds of the sale of the land have become insufficient to pay for the expenses of hajj. Since this is the case, is it obligatory on the rest of the inheritors to help the eldest son out in order to enable him to act upon the will of the testator, or is it his responsibility alone as he is obligated to perform hajj on behalf of his father?
A: As the question goes, the rest of the inheritors should not have any responsibility towards bearing any expenses arising from the journey to hajj. However, if performing hajj did become obligatory on the testator and the proceeds of the sale of land are not sufficient to meet the expenses of hajj by proxy, even from the mīqāt, the shortfall of the expenses of a hajj, performed from the mīqāt, has to be met from the whole estate.
Q1852. An inheritor can provide a proof, by way of a receipt or a testimony that the testator has paid an amount of money as religious tithes. Should the inheritor still be liable to pay the religious tithes of the estate?
A: The existence of a receipt or a testimony of witnesses that the deceased was paying religious tithes is not a legal proof of a disclaimer that he did not owe any religious tithes. If he declared that such tithes were still outstanding, or the inheritors came to such a conclusion, it is obligatory on them to clear what the deceased had admitted to, or they themselves have concluded to be the case, by catering for it from the whole estate. Of course, they are not required to pay anything else.
Q1853. A person has directed in his will that one-third of his property be set aside to be spent on his behalf. However, in a footnote to the will, he mentioned that the one-third share should be met from the proceeds of the sale of a house, which he instructed to be sold after 20 years from his departure. How should this share be calculated? Should it be confined to the house or the entire estate, especially if the proceeds of the sale of the house were not sufficient to make the one-third share?
A: By what he wrote in the will and its footnote if he meant to determine only the house as the one-third while its value does not exceed the one-third after the debts are deducted, then, the one-third includes only the house to which the deceased is entitled. The same ruling is applicable if he wanted to earmark the house for the one-third expenditures, while the value of the house is equal to the one-third of the estate after debt deduction. Otherwise, some other properties among the estate should be added to the house to make it one-third of the estate.
Q1854. After 20 years of the death of her husband, and 4 years since her daughter sold her share of the estate, the wife of the deceased produced a document claiming that the entire estate of her husband belonged to her. However, she has maintained that she was in possession of this document all these years, yet she preferred to remain silent.
Should the division of the estate among the heirs be ruled invalid, and so, the sale of the daughter’s share? Assuming that it is void, is it correct to annul the subsequent property deed which is held by the buyer of the property that was sold by the daughter?
A: Even if we assume that the will, which has been produced by the mother, is genuine beyond any doubt, her silence and non-objection all this period since the death of her husband, and her daughter’s receipt of her share of the estate and its subsequent sale, are considered a tacit agreement by her to what has taken place.
Accordingly, she has no right to demand from her daughter to return what she had received of the estate. Nor has she the right to demand the return of the property from the buyer. Thus, the sale of the property by the daughter is deemed valid and it can, thus, remain in the ownership of the buyer.
Q1855. A martyr has directed in his will that his father should sell the house which belongs to him to pay for his debt in case he was unable to do that without selling the property. He further instructed that a certain amount of money should be spent in charitable avenues, the proceeds from the sale of the land should be given to his uncle, expenses arising from hajj by his mother should be paid, and that money should be paid on his behalf to perform a number of years of outstanding prayer and fast that he missed.
However, his brother married his widow and moved to live in the same house, which she bought in part. The brother incurred some money as a result of repairs he carried out to the property, with money paid in part from the proceeds of the sale of the gold coin which belonged to the son of the martyr.
What is the view on the brother’s having a free hand in the estate of the martyr and the property owned by his son [orphan]? And is he justified in making use of the salary allocated to the martyr’s son, noting that he is raising him and catering for his needs?
A: All the property of the martyr should be pooled. After the payment of any debts owed by him, one third of the remainder should be allocated to carry out the provisions made in the will, i.e. the performance of prayer and fast on his behalf, the payment of expenses arising from sending his mother to perform hajj, and suchlike. The remaining two-thirds and whatever left over from the one-third share should be divided among the inheritors of the martyr, i.e. his parents, son, and widow in accordance with the Holy Book and Sunnah.
However, all actions concerning the house and all other possessions of the martyr should be carried out with the agreement of the inheritors and the legal guardian of the minor child. Whatever the brother has spent on the repairs carried out to the house, without the permission of the legal guardian of the child, has to be borne by him alone, i.e. without deducting them from the property of the child.
Similarly, he can neither spend the proceeds of selling the gold coin, nor the salary of the child on the expenses arising from the maintenance work carried out to the property. Furthermore, he has no right to spend any money that belongs to the child, either on himself or on the child unless he obtains the permission and agreement of the legal guardian of the child. Failure to do so should result in his indemnifying anything paid from the child’s belongings. Purchasing the property should meet with the permission of the inheritors and the legal guardian of the child.
Q1856. A testator has stipulated in his will that all his property, including three hectares of fruit groves, was subject to muṣālaḥah, thus after his death: Two hectares should go to some of his children, and one hectare allocated to the special provisions he has made for himself. However, after his death, it transpired that the total area of the groves is less than two hectares.
Should the instructions, he outlined in his will stand as they are, or should they be treated in a general sense, i.e. a will concerning his estate after his death? And after the discovery that the area of the groves is less than two hectares, should they be allocated to his children, thus making the provision of the one hectare redundant, or should the matter be tackled differently?
A: Unless it is ensured that, during his lifetime, the muṣālaḥah was materialized in a valid way, in that both the benefactor and the beneficiary had agreed to the muṣālaḥah, the instructions contained in the will would be treated as a will [in a general sense].
Accordingly, the provisions he made in the will with regard to the shares of the fruit groves for his children and himself should only be applicable to one third of the entire estate. Anything in excess of the one-third share is dependent on the permission of the inheritors. If such permission is not forthcoming, the excess amount would be treated as inheritance for them.
Q1857. A person transferred all his property to the ownership of his son, on the understanding that after the death of his father he would pay his sisters certain amounts of money, in lieu of their shares of the inheritance. However, one of his sisters was not present at the time when the distribution of the inheritance took place. She returned home and demanded from her brother that her share be paid. The brother turned down the request. After several years he offered to give her the specified amount of money, but after the currency has lost much of its purchasing power. The sister insists that she be paid the real value of the sum of money; her brother accuses her of demanding the payment of ribā. What is the ruling in the matter?
A: Provided that the transfer of the property to the ownership of the son, and the provisions made in the will for paying the females certain amounts of money were done properly and according to shar‘, each of them is only entitled to receive the particular amount allocated to her. However, if the purchasing power of money at the time of the father's death was higher than that at the time of payment, it is necessary to take it into consideration and it is not regarded as ribā.
Q1858. During their lifetime, my parents directed that a plot of arable land they own should be allocated, as their legitimate share of one-third of the estate after their death, to pay for the expenses arising from their funeral, others relating to the performance of prayers and fasting they may have missed during their lifetime, and the like. Being their only son, and since they had no cash left after their death, I paid all the expenses from my own pocket. Is it permissible for me to retrieve what I spent from the share of one-third they have provided for in their will?
A: It is permissible for you to defray the expenses you incurred as a result of acting upon the provisions of the will provided that you had the intention of deducting the same from their share of one-third of the estate. Otherwise, it is not.
Q1859. In his will, a person has directed that one third of the property, which has been occupied by his wife, should be allocated to her after his death, as long as she remained unmarried. Since the widow did not marry after the lapse of her waiting period, and she does not contemplate marrying again for the foreseeable future, what would the position of the executor and the inheritors be vis-à-vis the execution of the will?
A: For the time being, they should give the property to the widow as directed in the will. However, this transfer of property should be made contingent upon the widow not remarrying. If she gets married, the inheritors have the right to revoke the arrangements and retrieve the property.
Q1860. Having decided on the division of our joint inheritance from our father, which he in turn had inherited from his father so that our uncle and grandmother have a share in it, they produced a thirty-year-old will, stating that, besides the share of the inheritance, they should be given a certain amount of money of his estate. However, they paid themselves the specified amount of money at the current rates. The result has been that they got much more than the original amounts that had been provided for in the will. Are they legally justified in what they have done?
A: In the given case, it is necessary that the decrease in purchasing power of money is paid.
Q1861. A martyr has directed in his will that the carpet he owned be donated to the Holy Shrine of Imam Ḥusayn (a.s.) in Karbalā, Iraq. However, should we leave this carpet for safekeeping in the house, until such a time comes when we would be able to take it to the shrine, as directed by the will, it might sustain damage. So, is it permissible for us, in the meantime, to leave it in the masjid to avoid any damage it could sustain?
A: Should the preservation of the carpet from any damage be dependent on keeping it in the masjid, on a temporary basis, then there is no objection to doing so.
Q1862. A person has directed in his will that specified amounts of profits from his property should be donated to the masjids and other charitable avenues. However, all his property was usurped. Salvaging the property would require some expense. Is it permissible to defray the expenses from the estate? And is the possibility of restoring the property from usurpation sufficient for the will to be deemed valid?
A: There is no objection to providing for the payment of the expenses arising from salvaging the property from the hands of the usurper from the profits of the property left by the testator pro rata. It is sufficient for the validity of the will that the property can meet the expenses arising from the provisions of the will, even after the efforts put into retrieving the property from the hands of the usurper. That is, even by spending some money in the process.
Q1863. A person has directed in his will that all his property, movable and immovable, should be transferred to the ownership of his only son, thus denying his six daughters their shares in the estate. Can such a will be deemed enforceable? If not, how should one go about distributing the estate among the six daughters and one son?
A: There is no objection to considering the said will valid in a general sense. However, it should be enforced as far as one third of the entire estate is concerned. The dispensing of any thing over and above the one-third share is dependent on the permission of all the inheritors. Thus, if the daughters object to giving their consent, each of whom should receive a share of inheritance of the remaining two thirds of the estate.
Accordingly, the distribution of the estate of the father should be divided into 24 parts. The son should receive 8/24 of the estate as one third and 4/24 thereof as his share in the remaining two thirds. Each one of the daughters should receive 2/24. In other words, one half of the entire estate goes to the son, whereas the second half should be divided between the six daughters.
Q1864. A person bought a piece of land. He noted the sale on a piece of paper in which the name of his minor child is written as the buyer. After being mature according to shar‘, the child sold the land to a third party. The inheritors of the person laid a claim to the land to the effect that it was theirs. Are they justified in contesting the right of the third party, given the fact that the name of the father is not mentioned in the document?
A: Mentioning the name of the child in the document per se is not a yardstick for ownership. However, if it is established that the father bought the land with his own money, and then relinquished it to his son by way of gift or ṣulḥ, the land is rightfully his. If, after his shar‘ī puberty, he sold it to a third party in a proper way, no one has the right to contest the buyer’s ownership of the land or take it away from him.
Q1865. I have been among a chain of people who changed hands in buying the same plot of land. However, I built a house on the land. A person has come forward, claiming that the land is his. He produced a document, dating back to the days prior to the revolution, to this effect. Accordingly, he filed a lawsuit against me and a number of my neighbors.
Would my exercising the right of ownership over this land amount to usurpation?
A: Buying the land from the previous proprietor should, according to the sharī‘ah, be deemed correct, and so is the ownership of the land. So unless the claimant establishes his legal ownership of the land in court, he has no right to contest the ownership of the present proprietor of the land.
Q1866. In order to minimize the amount of tax levied on the property, the father made arrangements to put the name of his minor son as the owner in the official document. After his shar‘ī puberty, the son is now claiming that the property is his. It is a fact that, all along, the property has been at the disposal of the father and he says he has bought the land for himself with his own money. If the son takes control of the property and exercises the right of ownership over it without the permission of the father, would he be deemed a usurper?
A: If the father, who bought the property with his own money, still has the property at his disposal, i.e. even after the son became mature according to shar‘, the latter should have no right to contest the right of ownership of the property of his father, nor should he have it at his disposal. That is unless the son establishes that his father gave him the property by way of gift and transferred its ownership to him, for the presence of his name in the property deed per se is not a sufficient proof of ownership.
Q1867. Fifty years ago, a person bought a plot of land. Since the name of "The High Mountain" is mentioned in the property deed as the boundary of the land, he is claiming the ownership of millions of square meters of common land and scores of old houses built on it. It is to be noted, however, that the person did not use those lands and the houses. Furthermore, there is no evidence that could indicate the ownership of those lands for the last centuries. He further alleges that the prayer of the people conducted on this land and property is not shar‘ī because of the alleged usurpation. What is the view on this matter?
A: If the land that falls between the land that has been bought and the said mountain is derelict land with no previous owner or some people had it at their disposal and transferred it to the present occupiers, any party who actually exercises the right of ownership over any part of the land or the properties is deemed the rightful owner of what they have control over. Thus, all the actions concerning the property they take are deemed correct and shar‘ī. That is unless the claimant establishes, with a competent judicial authority and in accordance with the shar‘, that he owns the land and property.
Q1868. Is it permissible to build a masjid on a piece of land that had been confiscated by a court injunction without the consent of its previous owner? And is it permissible to hold prayers and other acts of religious worship in such a masjid?
A: If the land had been taken away from its previous owner by the order of a shar‘ī court, or in accordance with law that is being enforced by the Islamic state, or the shar‘ī ownership of the claimant is not proven, using the land is not contingent upon the permission of the person who is claiming ownership or the previous owner. Accordingly, there is no objection to building the masjid on the land. Nor is there an objection to holding prayer and other religious rituals there.
Q1869. Some property was in the hands of the heirs for generations on end. The property was usurped by someone who became the owner. After the triumph of the Islamic revolution, the property was taken away from the usurper. Should the ownership of the property revert to the inheritors or have they precedence over others to buy it from the state?
A: Having control over something by way of inheritance should not necessarily mean the actualisation of ownership. Nor should it give [the inheritors] the right to buy the property. Nevertheless, it is a shar‘ī indication of ownership unless the contrary is proven. If it was proved that they did not own the property or, for that matter, it was proved that the property belongs to some other people, they [the inheritors] have no right to claim it back or ask for compensation. Otherwise, they should have the right to restore the very property or the compensation thereof by virtue of their being holders of the actual control.
Placement under Guardianship and Signs of Maturity
Q1870. A man died and left behind a daughter and a son who is a ward due to incompetence. Is it permissible for his sister to have the right of disposal over his property by virtue of being his guardian?
A: One person does not have guardianship over one’s incompetent brother. However, should he have no paternal grandfather and if the dead father did not leave a will appointing someone to be the guardian of the brother, the guardianship over him and his property rests with the authorized religious authority.
Q1871. What is the criterion for determining the age of maturity for boys and girls, is it the solar year or the lunar one?
A: The yardstick is the lunar year.
Q1872. In order to know whether a person has matured according to shar‘, how can one determine the specific date of birth in accordance with the lunar year, i.e. the day, the month, and the year?
A: It can be reached at by calculating the difference between the lunar year and the solar one if the date of birth according to the solar year is known.
Q1873. Is it right to consider a boy below the age of 15 years, who had a nocturnal emission, as mature by shar‘?
A: Yes, he can be considered as mature by shar‘ due to nocturnal emission, because it is one of the signs of maturity.
Q1874. If there was a ten percent chance that the other two signs of adulthood, i.e. other than the age of shar‘ī puberty, appeared before the specified age of shar‘ī puberty how can one go about it?
A: The probability that they appeared first is not sufficient to conclude that maturity has set in.
Q1875. Does sexual intercourse count as a sign of shar‘ī puberty which, in turn, leads to the upholding of obligatory religious duties? If the person in question was not aware of the law, until three years later, should they perform ghusl? Would those acts of worship they performed during this period, whose acceptability is dependent on their being ritually pure, be considered void and one should perform their qaḍā’?
A: Having a sexual intercourse per se, i.e. without ejaculation, should not count among the signs of shar‘ī puberty. However, it is a good reason for having ghusl, which should be performed once the person is mature. Moreover, should there not be at least one sign of shar‘ī puberty, they cannot be declared mature by shar‘. Therefore, they are not duty-bound to embark on any religious obligations. If the person, who was not yet mature, became junub by way of a sexual intercourse and performed prayer and fasting without performing ghusl after becoming mature, it is obligatory on them only to repeat the prayers — not fasting — provided that they were not aware of janābah.
Q1876. A number of students, boys and girls, of our institute became mature in terms of their age. However, having noticed that they were not mentally capable, I arranged for them to take an IQ test. As a result, their mental age was less than normal by at least one year. Yet, some of them cannot be declared as being insane outright, because many of them are aware of social and religious matters. Should such diagnosis be considered on a par with a conventional medical examination?
A: The criterion for religious duties becoming obligatory upon any person is their shar‘ī puberty, in addition to being recognized, as a sane person. The varying levels of intelligence and comprehension are not a criterion and have no bearing whatsoever on this matter.
Q1877. In some religious texts, a discriminating child has been defined thus, "The child who can differentiate between good and bad". What is meant by "good and bad", and what is the age of discrimination?
A: The yardstick for determining what is good and what is bad is the common view. However, the child’s circumstances and the local customs, tradition, and ethical code should be taken into consideration. As for the age of discrimination, it varies from one person to another, especially, in terms of talent, discernment, and intelligence.
Q1878. Is the experience of having a period by a girl who has not yet completed her ninth year, a sign of her shar‘ī puberty, especially if the blood has all the properties of menstrual blood?
A: This is not a sign of her shar‘ī puberty, nor is the blood treated as that of menstruation, even if it has the properties of menstrual blood.
Q1879. Before his death, a person gave a sum of money to his nephew as a gesture of appreciation for the services he performed. However, the property of the deceased person had been frozen by a court injunction. The nephew spent the money his uncle had given him on the expenses of the funeral and other matters concerning the deceased. Is the court justified in demanding that the nephew return the sum of money he got from his uncle?
A: Should the money that was given by the uncle be among his frozen property, or it was the property of others, the uncle should not have given it to his nephew. By the same token the recipient should have no right of ownership over the money. Accordingly, the court has the right to demand the return of the money. Otherwise, no one has the right to retrieve the money.
Q1880. Is silent partnership in other than gold and silver currencies permissible?
A: There is no objection to a silent partnership being conducted in banknotes that are used nowadays. It is not permissible, though, to be conducted in merchandise.
Q1881. Is it all right to make use of a silent partnership contract in domains such as production, services, distribution, and trade? And are the contracts of present-day silent partnerships outside the commercial arena concluded under this definition, legal?
A: A silent partnership contract should be confined to investing the capital in trade, i.e. buying and selling only. Using it under this title in the domains of production, distribution, services, and others is not permissible.
However, there is no objection to resorting to other shar‘ī contracts such as ju‘ālah and ṣulḥ.
Q1882. I took a sum of money from a friend of mine by way of a silent partnership. It was agreed that I would return the money with an extra amount added to it after a period of time. I gave part of this money to another friend who was in need of it. It was agreed with the latter that he would settle one-third of the mark up. Is this type of dealing legitimate?
A: Taking money from someone on condition that it would be paid back after a while with an extra amount added to it does not fall under the silent partnership type of contract. It is a ribā-bearing loan that is ḥarām. Taking the money as silent partnership does not amount to borrowing. The money will not become the property of the working partner. In other words it remains the property of the original owner. However, the working partner can still trade in it. They [the owner and the working partner] share the profits made in accordance with the partnership they agreed. The recipient of the money has no right to lend any of it to a third party, nor has he the right to give it to the others under a silent partnership deal unless it is done with the consent of the owner.
Q1883. What is the view on borrowing money under the title of "silent partnership" from people who charge between 4% and 5% monthly as a "profit" according to the contract?
A: Borrowing money in this way has nothing to do with silent partnership. Indeed, it is borrowing with ribā that is ḥarām. It will not become ḥalāl by deceptively giving it another name, although the loan contract is correct and the borrower becomes the owner of the money he borrowed.
Q1884. A person gave another a sum of money to trade in it on the condition that he pays the lender a monthly sum as profit and bear the loss. Is this kind of deal legitimate?
A: There is no harm in the agreement between the two parties if it is based on a proper and shar‘ī silent partnership. Nor there is any harm in making a provision in the process that the working partner gives the owner a monthly portion of his proportional share of profit on account and bears the loss.
Q1885. I gave a person a sum of money to import a number of vehicles on condition that we equally share the profits arising from the sale. After a while, he gave me a sum of money, saying that it was my share of the profit. Is it permissible for me to take that money?
A: If you gave him the money by way of a silent partnership, he then bought the vehicles and sold them, and paid you your share of the profit, the money is yours by shar‘.
Q1886. A person deposited a sum of money with another person to trade in it on the condition that he would receive a sum of money on account. At the end of the year they agreed to prepare the profit and loss account of the business. If the owner of the money and his partner agreed to settle the profit and loss, is this acceptable?
A: There is no harm in the payment of money to the person if it was based on a proper and shar‘ī silent partnership deal, and the owner of the money took from the working partner monthly a portion of the profits on account so that the exact amount would be calculated later. Nor is there any harm in the partners’ settling their dues at the end of each year. Yet, should it take the form of a loan on the condition that the borrower would pay a monthly share of the profit to the lender, then they would make a settlement at the end of the year of what each of them owes the other, this indeed is a ribā-bearing loan that is ḥarām. Accordingly, the provision contained therein is void, although the loan contract is correct. Moreover, it shall not become ḥalāl for them because they agreed to settle their respective dues. Therefore, the lender has no right to receive any profit, neither is he obliged to bear any loss.
Q1887. A person took a sum of money from another by way of a silent partnership. It was agreed that the working partner takes two thirds of the profit and one third goes to the owner of the money. The working partner bought goods and sent them to his hometown. On the way, the goods were stolen. Who should bear the loss?
A: The loss of capital or trading money wholly or in part shall be borne by the owner provided that the working partner, or any other party, is not to blame for acting unjustly. However, it is defrayed by the profit unless it was agreed that the working partner bears the loss.
Q1888. Is it permissible to give or take money with the intention of trading and making profit that is to be shared between the two parties as they see fit, without this being described as ribā?
A: If giving or taking the money was done with the intention of trading by way of a loan, all the profit should go to the borrower. Any damage or loss should be borne by him too. The lender has a right to nothing apart from the compensation for the actual money he lent, i.e. he should not demand any share of the profit. Yet, if the money was given or taken by way of silent partnership, getting any returns thereof should be dependent on the materialization of a proper and legal contract between the two parties, in accordance with all required conditions. Among them is the agreement that each receives a certain percent of the profit. Otherwise, both the money [capital] and the profits made from trading with it should go to the owner. The worker should receive compensation for his labor.
Q1889. Since banking transactions cannot be considered a true silent partnership because the bank does not bear a share of any loss, should the money received by the depositors as profit for their money be considered ḥalāl?
A: The bank may not be party to sharing the loss arising from money it has made available to businessmen by way of a silent partnership. Yet, this should not necessarily mean that such a partnership is invalid. Nor should it mean that the partnership contract is merely nominal and formal. There is no legal barrier to the owner, or his agent, stipulating, within the framework of the contract, that the working partner bears the damage and loss of the money owner. Therefore, the silent partnership espoused by the bank, as the agent of the depositors, is ruled sound and the profits made thereof, that go to the money owners, are ḥalāl unless it is proved that the transaction was nominal and invalid for a reason.
Q1890. I gave a sum of money to a jeweler to invest in buying and selling. Since the jeweler always makes a profit, i.e. without a loss, is it permissible for me to demand from him the payment of a certain amount of money by way of profit? If this proves problematic, is it permissible for me to take some items of jewelry instead of the profit? Should there still be a problem; can the payment of the profit be made to me through an intermediary? And finally should it still be problematic, can the payment of the money be made to me by way of a present?
A: For the silent partnership to be operative, the determination of the share of profit due to the money owner and the working partner should be made by any ratio, such as one third, one fourth, one half, etc. In other words, the partnership shall not be sound if it is entered into on the basis of the monthly payment of a certain amount of money to the owner as a profit of the capital he provided, irrespective of whether the monthly amount is paid in cash or in goods. Whether the owner received the amount of money directly or through an intermediary is immaterial. The same goes for the receipt of a certain amount of money as a share of the profit or by way of a present from the working partner in return for trading with the owner’s money. However, there is no objection to stipulating that the owner may receive monthly a portion of the profit on account, after it is made, so that the exact amount is calculated at the end of duration of the silent partnership.
Q1891. A person collected a sum of money from different people with the intention of trading with it and giving them proportionate shares of the profit. What is the view on such a deal?
A: There is no harm in that provided that combined their money for trading with the permission of the owners.
Q1892. Is it correct to stipulate in a binding contract that the working partner pays the provider of the money a certain amount of money each month as his share of the profit and to make muṣālaḥah as to the difference between this amount and the actual proportionate share of money owner in the profit? In other words, is it permissible to include, in a binding contract, a condition that goes against the provisions of a silent partnership?
A: There is no objection to that if the condition is to make muṣālaḥah over the owner’s proportionate share of the profit, after it is made, in return for a certain amount of money payable to him each month. Yet, should the condition be to determine the owner’s share of the profit as the monthly amount, this runs contrary to the nature of the silent partnership and is, therefore, invalid.
Q1893. A businessman received a sum of money from another as part of the capital of a silent partnership. It was agreed that the recipient gives the provider of the money a particular percentage of the profit. The businessman added the received amount to his existing capital and carried on doing business with the combined funds. However, at the outset he knew that it would be difficult to determine the monthly ratio of the profit the added amount could make. Thus, both the parties agreed to do muṣālaḥah over any decrease/ increase in the amount. Is the silent partnership contract legally sound?
A: The inability to determine the amount of the monthly profit that could be made from the invested capital should not affect the validity of the silent partnership contract provided that it fulfils all the other conditions that are necessary for its validity. So, there is no objection to that if the two parties agreed on investing the money by way of a silent partnership according to the legal framework and then agreed to make muṣālaḥah regarding dividing the made profit, i.e. after they gained the profit, the capital owner agrees to exchange his share of the profit for a certain amount of money in a ṣulḥ contract.
Q1894. A person gave another a sum of money to be invested in a silent partnership. It was agreed that a third party stood as a surety. If the man entrusted with the money disappears, has the provider of the money the right to demand compensation from the surety?
A: There is no objection to requiring a surety for the funds provided for a silent partnership, as the question goes. Should the working partner run away with the money that has been provided as capital for the partnership, or should he willfully and unjustly damage it, the money owner has the right to demand compensation from the surety.
Q1895. A worker who was entrusted with the money of several people by way of investment in a silent partnership lent a sum of money, either from the pooled funds or from that which belongs to a particular person, without the permission of the owner/s. Can he be considered un-trustworthy by virtue of having an unwarranted free hand in the money at his disposal?
A: His trustworthiness can turn into dishonesty if he gave a loan to another person without the permission of the owner. He should then indemnify the loan, in case it is not repaid. However, he should still be considered trustworthy insofar as the rest of the funds are concerned; unless it is proved that he has acted unjustly.
Q1981. Should one be coerced into endowing something, can it still be valid?
A: If the donor was coerced into making the endowment, such an endowment cannot be valid unless the consent of the person in question followed. Yet, even if the consent was later granted, the question remains problematic.
Q1982. Some Zoroastrians built a hospital and set it aside as an endowment for charitable causes for one thousand years. However, in view of the mechanics of Shi‘ah jurisprudence, is it permissible for the trustees of the endowment to act contrary to the conditions laid down in the endowment deed, which stipulates that if the proceeds from the hospital were more than the expenditure, extra beds have to be bought and added to the existing ones in the hospital?
A: Setting up an endowment by a non-Muslim is as valid as that set up by a Muslim. Accordingly, assigning the hospital by way of an endowment for charitable purposes for one thousand years is legally sound, even though the end of the duration is specified. Therefore, it is obligatory on the trustees to act according to the provisions laid down in the endowment deed.
They should have no excuse for ignoring or trampling them.
Conditions Concerning the Trustees of Endowments
Q1983. Is it permissible for the trustee who has been appointed by the donor of the endowment or the judge to be remunerated for the services he is rendering and can he pay someone else who is doing the work on his behalf?
A: The trustee of the endowment, whether appointed by the endower or the judge, is entitled to receive normal wages from the proceeds of the endowment if no specific wages is determined by the endower.
Q1984. A court ordered that another person, beside the official trustee, be appointed to oversee the administration of the endowment. Is it permissible for the official trustee provided that he is authorized, to appoint his successor without consulting the person who has been appointed by the court?
A: If the court order in appointing the supervisor alongside the official trustee to oversee his work was to cover all aspects of the administration of the endowment even the appointment of the new trustee, he has no right to go it alone in appointing the successor without consulting the supervisor.
Q1985. The owners of the properties adjacent to a masjid donated parts of their property to be annexed to the masjid with a view to extending it. After consultation with the Islamic scholars, it was agreed that a separate title deed be drawn up for the newly donated land. However, the person who built the masjid, and who is the current trustee, refused to agree to this arrangement, requesting that the donated land be noted on the title deed of the existing endowment trust. He further demanded that he should be the trustee of the entire endowment. Has he the right to demand that and is it obligatory that his demands are met?
A: The jurisdiction over the land that has recently been annexed to the masjid, the drafting of the endowment deed, and the appointment of the endowment trustees should all belong to the new donors. The existing trustee should have no right to object to that.
Q1986. The trustees of a ḥusayniyyah wrote a bylaw. If some provisions of the bylaw run against the spirit of the endowment deed itself, would it still be legally binding to abide by them?
A: The trustee of the endowment has no right to adopt any provisions that could contravene the nature of the endowment. It is also not permissible to abide by the counter provisions.
Q1987. Should there be a group of trustees entrusted with the running of the endowment, is there a shar‘ī justification for some of them to run the endowment without consulting the remaining trustees? Should there be a dispute between them, are they justified in sticking to their own positions without having recourse to the authorized religious authority?
A: Should the endower have appointed them as trustees without specifying anything else and there is no evidence that some of them or the majority of them could act independently of others, none, and not even the majority, can have independence in running the entire endowment or parts thereof. Indeed, it is obligatory on them to reach unanimity through consultation. Should there arise a dispute or a difference of opinion among them, it is obligatory on them to take recourse, in the matter, to the authorized religious authority who should make it binding on them to agree.
Q1988. If some trustees oust other trustees, is it effective?
A: It is not effective and valid unless the endower has delegated him the right to do so.
Q1989. If some trustees accused one or more of the other trustees of being dishonest and insisted on discharging them, how could the issue be resolved?
A: It is obligatory for them to approach the authorized religious authority to investigate the case.
Q1990. A person set aside property by way of a public endowment. According to the endowment deed, he appointed himself a trustee of the endowment and after his death his eldest son. In it, he drew up a list of duties and responsibilities to facilitate the administration of the endowment. Has the Department of Endowments the right to deprive the trustee of all his responsibilities or part thereof?
A: As long as the trustee appointed by the endower is doing his job in accordance with the provisions of endowment deed, administrating of endowment rests with him as the endower stipulated in the deed and as per Islamic law; it is not valid to alter his remit laid down by the endower within the endowment formula.
Q1991. By way of endowment, a person designated a piece of land for a masjid to be built. He directed that its trusteeship should be his own offspring for generations to come. In their absence, he further instructed that the trustee should be the imam of the masjid who can hold the five daily prayers at the masjid. As a result, the imam was the trustee. But he had a stroke that prevented him from holding congregational prayers in the masjid. The board of imams appointed another imam to lead the prayers there. Should the trusteeship of the ill imam cease? Or should he maintain his office as trustee and appoint a replacement?
A: Assuming that he was trustee in his capacity as the imam of congregational daily prayers in the masjid, his trusteeship should cease by virtue of his incapacity to be imam of the masjid because of illness or for any other reason.
Q1992. A person dedicated the proceeds of his property to be spent, by way of endowment, in certain charitable avenues, such as the provision of financial help to the descendants of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and holding commemorative assemblies. Now, even with the higher rate of returns from the rent of the property, some interested parties insist on offering less rent than the market price for cultural, political, social, or religious reasons or because of the unfavorable financial position of potential tenants. Has the Endowments Department the right to lease the endowment as a going concern for less than the market price?
A: It is obligatory on the trustee and the officials of the Endowments Department to act in the interest of the endowment when renting the property to potential tenants and agreeing on the rent. However, there is no objection to renting the property at a discounted price with due regard to the special circumstances of the tenants, or because of the importance of the work being conducted on the rented premises, so that it should eventually serve the purpose of the endowment. Otherwise, it is not permissible.
Q1993. The late Imam [Khomeini], may his soul rest in peace, has ruled that there can be no trustee for any masjid. Does this fatwā cover the property that forms part of the masjid itself, such as that dedicated to holding preaching sessions? Assuming that this is the case, and in recognition of the fact that many masjids have properties that are designated for charitable causes and have official trustees — who have a working relationship with the Endowments Department — is it permissible for the trustees of such endowments to abdicate their responsibility, especially in the light of the fatwā of the late Imam that stresses the fact that the trustee cannot relinquish his responsibility and should abide by the provisions laid down by the donor in the endowment deed without prejudice?
A: The ruling that the masjid cannot lend itself to a trusteeship is confined to the masjid proper. It does not go beyond that to cover the properties endowed to the masjid, let alone those endowments that are dedicated to preaching in the masjid and the like. Therefore, there is no objection to the appointment of trustees for private and public endowments, even in such cases like endowments for providing furniture, lighting, and water to the masjid or to keep it clean.
The appointed trustee – by obligatory caution - has no right to abdicate his responsibility of running the trust. Indeed, in discharging his duties, the trustee should be guided by the provisions laid down by the donor in the endowment formula, even if it is done by appointing a deputy to discharge them for him. It is not permissible for anyone to interfere or make problems for him.
Q1994. Is it permissible for people other than the shar‘ī trustee of the endowment to meddle in the affairs of the trust, so much so that they change the provisions laid down in the endowment deed? Are such people justified in their demands from the trustee to hand over the land to a person whom the trustee does not deem fit?
A: The running of the endowment in accordance with the provisions laid down by the donor in the endowment deed is the exclusive preserve of the shar‘ī trustee. In the absence of an appointed trustee by the donor, the trusteeship belongs to the ruler of Muslims. Thus, other people have no right to interfere in the matter. Furthermore, no one, including the shar‘ī trustee, should have the right to alter the beneficiaries of the endowment or the purpose for which the profit is spent, nor has anyone such right as to change or amend the provisions laid down in the endowment deed.
Q1995. Should the donor appoint someone supervisor of the endowment and make it conditional that they are not discharged only by the wal ī amr of Muslims, have they the right to resign their office?
A: By obligatory caution it is not permissible for the supervisor of the endowment, after he has accepted the appointment, to resign his office. Nor is the trustee of the endowment permitted to do so.
Q1996. In an endowment deed, some of which is private and some public, the donor has stipulated that in the event of death of the present trustee, the trusteeship should be vested in the next eldest and most competent member among the male generation for generations to come, giving preference to the first generation over the second. A person of the first generation is suitable to assume the role of trustee, yet they declined to hold the office, agreeing that his younger brother, whom they think competent, to take over. Is it permissible for the younger person to be the trustee of the endowment, especially if they can fulfill all the requirements?
A: It is permissible for the person, who is qualified to be a trustee, not to accept it. But, if he accepts it, he cannot resign by caution. However, if it is not specified that he himself should do the job, he can appoint someone to run the trust on his behalf provided that the latter is trustworthy and capable. It is not permissible for the person from the next generation to assume the trusteeship of the endowment when there is someone else from the previous generation who is qualified and accepts to act as trustee.
Q1997. Some beneficiaries of the endowment, who deemed themselves suitable to be trustees, approached the authorized religious authority with the request to sanction their appointment to a trusteeship. The authorized religious authority did not accede to their request, as he was not impressed that they are up to the challenge. Can they still object to the appointment of the person who is more suitable to be a trustee, under the pretext that he’s younger than them?
A: He who is not entitled to be a trustee has no right to apply for the office of trustee. Nor has he the right to object to the appointment of another person who is more suitable to be trustee.
Q1998. The appointed trustee of an endowment was found to be negligent and irresponsible. Is it permissible to discharge him and appoint someone else in their place?
A: Negligence and irresponsibility alone cannot be sufficient legal grounds for discharging the appointed trustee and replacing him. The matter has to be referred to the authorized religious authority who can order him to properly discharge his responsibilities vis-à-vis the endowment deed. If this was not forthcoming, he would order him to choose a suitable person to run the endowment on his behalf or the authorized religious authority would appoint that second person alongside him.
Q1999. Who should take overall charge of the upkeep of the tombs of the descendants of the Imams (a.s.), that are scattered across Iranian towns and villages, and the collection and expenditure of the donations and vows? And has anyone the right to claim the ownership of the land where the descendants of the Imam are buried and the immediate area around their tombs that is used as graveyards, from old time?
A: The trusteeship of the holy places and public endowments, that have no trustees, belongs to the the wal ī amr of Muslims. The authority to appoint trustees for such endowments has now been vested in his representative in the Office of Endowments and Charitable Affairs. The land where the descendants of an Imam are buried and the surrounding area used from old as a burial ground for Muslims are deemed public endowments unless the contrary is proven by shar‘ī evidence before a judge.
Q2000. Is it permissible for all the beneficiaries of an endowment, who happened to be Muslim, to put forward to the Endowments Office the name of a non-Muslim with a view to appointing him as trustee of the endowment?
A: Appointing a non-Muslim a trustee of an Islamic endowment is not permissible.
Q2001. Who can be called an appointed trustee by the donor and who cannot? And should the donor appoint a trustee for the endowment and give him the authority to appoint a successor, can the successor be called a fully-fledged trustee?
A: The appointed trustee is the person appointed by the donor when uttering the endowment formula. If the donor made a provision, at that time, authorizing the trustee to appoint the next trustee; there is no objection to his appointing a successor after him. The person who is appointed by the original trustee is deemed as though the donor appointed him.
Q2002. Is it permissible for the Endowment Office of the Islamic Republic to dismiss the trustee of an endowment? If yes, in which conditions?
A: The Endowment Office may interfere in endowments with special trustees as much as legal regulations permit.
Q2003. The court appointed a person to oversee the work of the trustee of an endowment who was accused of negligence in running the endowment. After the trustee had been exonerated, and since passed away, has the supervisor the right to have a say in the decisions and actions taken by the deceased trustee, especially when such decisions and actions were taken years before the appointment of the supervisor? Is it right to say that the remit of his responsibility should be confined to the period between the date of the court appointment and the date the trustee died? Since no action was taken by the court to relieve the supervisor of his responsibility after passing judgment proving the innocence of the trustee, should he relinquish his responsibility from the date of the judgment, or should this hinge on the order of the court?
A: If the appointment of the supervisor alongside the official trustee was because he was charged with negligence in his duties to run the trust, he should have no right to meddle in or express any opinion about anything outside the remit of his responsibility. His authority as overseer of the work of the accused trustee should have come to an end with the passing of the sentence of exoneration. Furthermore, in view of the death of the previous trustee, and transfer of trusteeship to someone else, the said supervisor should no longer have right to interfere in the running of the trust. Nor has he the right to oversee the work of the new trustee.
Conditions Concerning Endowed Properties
Q2004. A group of people raised a sum of money with a view to buying some property and using it as a ḥusayniyyah. Should their work in raising the money entitle them to set up the endowment under the title of ḥusayniyyah or do they have to take a power of attorney from the donors? A property can be made waqf only by the owner or someone who is ruled as the owner while they are not the owner, is by fund raising, now they are ruled as the owner and eligible to endow it?
A: If they were acting as agents for the donors in preparing the property to be used as a ḥusayniyyah after they had bought it, setting up the endowment deed in their capacity as agents of the donors would be valid.
Q2005. Can natural forests and public grazing lands — that no one did anything to bring them into existence — be designated as endowment trusts, especially when they are enshrined in Article 45 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic as anfāl?
A: For the endowment to be valid, the property has to be lawfully owned by the would-be donor. Since natural forests and public grazing lands, that constitute anfāl and public property, i.e. not private property, no one has jurisdiction over designating them as endowments.
Q2006. A person bought a share of arable land and registered it in the name of his son. Is it permissible for him to endow the land he bought for his son?
A: Registering the property in the name of someone is not a criterion for shar‘ī ownership of the person in whose name the property was registered. Should the father, having bought the land and registered it in the name of his son, have granted the land to his son whereby the latter actually took possession of it, he has no right to set it aside as endowment because he is no longer the owner of the land. Yet, if he had transferred the title deed to the name of his son and remained the de facto owner of the land, he would still be its shar‘ī owner. He should, therefore, have the right to assign it as an endowment.
Q2007. If the officials of the Oil Company and Civil Land Organization allocate some lands under their control for building masjids/seminaries and recite the endowment deed and deliver the lands for the same purpose, Are the lands considered as endowed properties to which endowment rules are applied?
A: If the lands are among public property of the government and are allotted to certain usage, one cannot endow them. However, if they are dead lands without any owner but under the control of the Oil Company or Civil Land Organization, there is no problem in changing them into usable lands by building majids/seminaries or the like with the permission of the authorities.
Q2008. Is it permissible for the Municipality to endow its land for public establishments?
A: This is subject to the remit of the authority of the municipality and the nature of the property. Should it be among the properties which can be endowed by shar‘ for public establishments, such as dispensary, hospital, masjid, etc., there is no objection to that. However, the municipality should have no jurisdiction over the lands earmarked for its sole purposes.
Conditions Concerning the Beneficiary of Endowment
Q2009. A group of people built a masjid on a plot of land donated by Lands Organization. However, a dispute erupted among them as to the nature of the endowment, i.e., whether to make it public or private. What is the ruling in the matter?
A: The masjid is among public endowments. The beneficiaries are not confined to a particular group, or tribe. As for giving it a name, there is no objection to naming it after one person or a group of people. However, the people who took part in building the masjid should not contest that.
Q2010. The leader of a misguided sect endowed all his property for the group. In view of the fact that the validity of any endowment hinges upon that it should serve a legitimate interest and the fact that the aims, beliefs and deeds of this sect are corruptive, erroneous, and false, is the endowment deed valid and eventually the use of the endowment legitimate?
A: If it is proved that the purpose behind setting the endowment up is a ḥarām one and subservient to committing that which is sinful, such an endowment deed is void and null. Thus, the use of the property in such a lawfully forbidden avenue is invalid.
Q2011. Has the public at large who take part in commemorative assemblies, and in whose interests the ḥusayniyyah was established, the right to interfere and come up with certain interpretations to the clauses of the endowment deed?
A: In trying to understand the provisions laid down in the endowment deed, should they be of an opaque nature or an ambiguous one, reference has to be made to the context and common view. Therefore, no one has the right to interpret them according to their opinion.
Q2012. A building was endowed for the use of theology students and at the time being some of them stay there using its facilities. Is it permissible for the public at large to make use of it?
A: If the place was endowed for the exclusive use of theology students or for theology studies, it is not permissible for others to make use of the place.
Q2013. In an endowment deed, the following provision was made, "There should be an elected board of trustees from the people". Does this phrase indicate who the electors should be? However, assuming that this is not the case, who should be eligible to elect the trustees?
A: Apparently the said phrase means that the public must take part in the election of the board of trustees. In any rate, if the endower has not specified the elector/s in his endowment deed, then, if it has a certain trustee, he appoints the board of trustees. If it has several specific trustees who are not in agreement or the endower has not specified any trustee, they refer to ḥākim of shar ‘ in this regard.
Q2014. The description of "The senior and most suitable" could be a prerequisite to making the eldest among the beneficiaries take overall charge of an endowment. Is it obligatory to prove such seniority and suitability, or does the mere fact of being the eldest allow us to suppose that both the qualities do exist?
A: All requirements for becoming a trustee should be assured.
Q2015. A person endowed all his property for holding assemblies commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Ḥusayn (PBUH). In the event of his death, he directed that his sons, and their descendants after them, should be the trustees of the endowment. He further instructed that one third of the profit of the property be allocated to the trustee of the endowment. If, at any stage, there were children, male and female, of the first, second, and third generations, can they collectively be deemed trustees? Assuming that the trusteeship of the endowment is vested in them, should the distribution be equal among both the sexes?
A: In the absence of any indication in the context that the pecking order among the inheritors be respected, i.e. the older generation should take precedence over the younger one, all the generations, at any given time, should collectively and equally be trustees, and one third of the profit is divided among them equally irrespective of whether they are male or female.
Q2016. If the donor directed that the trusteeship of the endowment, after his death, be vested in the Islamic scholars and mujtahids, has anyone among the Islamic scholars, who has not attained the level of ijtihād, the right to be trustee?
A: If there is no evidence that the donor has confined the meaning of "Islamic scholars" to the mujtahids among them, there is no objection to anyone of the Islamic scholars to be the trustee, even though they might not have attained the level of ijtihād.
Rules of Endowment
Q2017. A group of people pulled down the library building to annex it to the masjid. The library is situated between the school of the masjid and the kitchen of the ḥusayniyyah that is adjacent to the masjid. The result is that the newly created space has become part of the masjid. They did this without obtaining the approval of the appointed trustee. Can their action be sanctioned as valid? And is it permissible to hold prayer in the newly created space?
A: If it is proved that the land, where the library used to be, was dedicated to the library, no one should have the right to change its use or annex it to the masjid. Nor is it valid to hold prayer in that place. Whoever was involved in tearing down the library building has to restore it to its original state. Conversely, there is no objection to holding prayer in the place.
Q2018. Is it permissible to endow a piece of land to be used as a masjid temporarily e.g. for ten years so that it would become the property of the owner after that?
A: If they rent a land for a long time, say, fifty years or more and build a masjid on it, it is ruled as a masjid during this time.
Q2019. A piece of land, which is held in trust, is adjacent to a cemetery. The cemetery has no more space to accommodate more graves. The site of the land makes it ideal to be annexed to the graveyard. Is it permissible to go ahead and turn it into a graveyard?
A: It is not permissible to change the use of the land that is held in trust to that of a graveyard if it was originally dedicated to some other use. However, if it was held in trust so that the proceeds are to be spent for a purpose, there is no objection to leasing it from its shar‘ī trustee for the purpose of using it as a burial ground. That is, if the trustee is of the opinion that it is in the best interest of the trust.
Q2020. Some plots of endowed land were in a site that was appropriated by the state for a development project to build new roads, state buildings, and public parks. The appropriation was made without the permission of the shar‘ī trustee and without compensation. Is this permissible?
Can one conclude that the party benefiting from these lands should be made to compensate the price of the lands and the proceeds that would otherwise have accrued from them? Is it obligatory that the permission of the authorized religious authority be sought to pay the compensation or allocate other lands in replacement of the appropriated ones? And finally is it permissible for the Endowments Office or the shar‘ī trustee to agree on the amount of compensation, without losing sight of the interest of the endowment?
A: No one has the right to make use of the endowment without the permission of the shar‘ī trustee. Nor should anyone have control over an income-generating property of endowment, before it has been leased from the shar‘ī trustee. It is not permissible to sell or exchange the endowment — utilizable for the purpose it has been donated — for another. Should someone damage the endowed property, the perpetrator has to stand to pay compensation.
Should anyone make use of the endowment without permission o the shar‘ī trustee, they have to pay an equitable rent. Such payments should be made to the shar‘ī trustee who should spend it in the avenues identified in the endowment deed. In doing so, there is no difference between a person, establishment, or government department. It is permissible for the trustee of the endowment, without approaching the authorized religious authority , to agree with the party currently making use of the trust, or that which has caused damage/loss to it, the amount of rent or compensation provided that it is in the interest of the endowment.
Q2021. There is a public footpath on land that is held in trust. Since residential houses have been built on adjacent private land, it has become necessary to widen the footpath. Is it permissible to widen the footpath from both its sides on a 50-50 basis? Supposing that this is not feasible, is it permissible to lease the required area of the land from the trustee to go ahead with the widening project?
A: It is not permissible to [build] a footpath or a road on the endowed land unless it is absolutely necessary or building the road would be subservient to the endowment itself. However, there is no objection to leasing the land held in trust to widen the footpath, safeguarding the interest of the endowment in the process.
Q2022. Twenty years ago a plot of land was donated, by way of endowment, to be used as a graveyard. The donor made himself trustee and after his death a cleric, whose name was mentioned in the original charter of the endowment, should be appointed a trustee. He further directed that, after the death of the cleric, the trustee should be elected according to a certain mechanism. Has the present trustee the right to alter all, or some of, the provisions laid down in the endowment deed or add new ones to them? And should this change affect in any way the main objective behind setting the endowment up, such as turning the land into a car park, would the endowment still be valid?
A: Neither the endower nor the trustee has the right to change or alter the purpose of the endowment, especially after it has been realized by actual transfer of it. It is not permissible for endower or trustee to change some of the provisions laid down in the endowment deed or add new ones to them. It does not cease to be endowment following the change in its purpose.
Q2023. A person donated his shop for setting up a fund — affiliated to a masjid — for the granting of ribā-free loans. The donor passed away and the shop remained closed down and in a state of disrepair for several years. Is it permissible to utilize it in some other way?
A: If the shop’s endowment for setting up the ribā-free loan fund has been concluded, since now there is no need for such a fund in that particular masjid, there is no objection to making use of it for setting up such a fund for other masjids. If there is no need for that as well, it can be used for any good purpose.
Q2024. By way of endowment, a person gave a plot of arable land for the recitation of the story of martyrdom of Imam Ḥusayn (a.s.) and holding commemorative gatherings on the occasion of the martyrdom of Imam Ali (a.s.) in a certain masjid. However, in his will, he asked one of his inheritors to put the land at the disposal of the Ministry of Health to build a dispensary on it. What is the ruling in the matter?
A: It is not allowed to change the endowment from one that is generating income to be spent for a purpose to another in which the very endowment property is used. However, there is no objection to leasing the land to build the dispensary and spend the profit in the avenue the original endowment deed has specified provided that it is in the best interest of the trust.
Q2025. Is it permissible to build a place for prayer or ḥusayniyyah on already endowed lands?
A: The endowed land cannot be the subject of a new endowment deed for the purpose of building a masjid, a ḥusayniyyah, or anything else. It is not permissible to give it away for free to build a place for prayer or any public facility. However, there is no objection to leasing it from the shar‘ī trustee to build a place for religious worship, a school, or a ḥusayniyyah on it. The rent generated should be spent in the avenues specified in the endowment deed.
Q2026. What is meant by a public endowment and a private endowment? Some people are of the opinion that it is permissible to change the advantage of a private endowment to that not intended by the donor, by, say, making it a private property. Is this true?
A: The generality or specificity of the endowment is determined by the purpose for which it was originally set up. A private endowment is that which is dedicated to one particular person or certain people, such as an endowment for one’s offspring or for somebody else and their offspring. A public endowment is that which is set apart for a purpose of public interest, such as masjids, recreation places, and schools. The third type of endowment is that which has at heart the welfare of a particular group of people, i.e. under a generic title, such as the poor, the orphans, the sick, and the financially destitute traveler. In essence, there is no difference in all these three types of endowments. There are, though, differences in the rules and effects of each one of them. For example, for the endowment of public services, as well as the generic title one, to be concluded, it is not a condition that there should exist the beneficiary at the time of uttering the endowment formula. Yet, in a private endowment it is considered as a prerequisite. Furthermore, public utility endowments, such as masjids, schools, graveyards, and bridges cannot be sold under any circumstance, even if they fall into a state of disrepair. This is contrary to the private and generic title endowments whose income is to be spent for specified purposes, in that it is permissible to sell and replace them in certain exceptional circumstances.
Q2027. There is an old copy of the Holy Qur’an in a manuscript form that was donated to the masjid. Since it is now showing signs of wear and tear, is it obligatory to obtain the approval of the Religious Authority to restore it?
A: There is no need for a special permission from the Religious Authority to restore the covers and the papers of the Holy Qur’an and keep it in the same masjid.
Q2028. Does usurping an endowment and disposing of it in avenues other than those specified in the endowment deed call for compensation? And does damaging the property held in trust precipitate the compensation in kind or the value thereof, such as demolition of the property or turning the land held in trust into a road?
A: In a private endowment, such as that dedicated to serving the interests of [one’s] offspring, as well as in an income-generating public endowment, the usurpation of the endowment and having a free hand in it in avenues other than those specified in the endowment deed, or without the permission of the beneficiaries in the first one, and the permission of the shar‘ī trustees in the second one, calls for compensation in kind as well as the compensation of the benefit reaped.
Therefore, the profits from which the rightful users are prevented, whether or not used by the usurper, should be compensated for. The endowment property should be returned if it still exists or the kind/value thereof if it has been damaged, lost, or disposed of [by the usurper]. The compensation received in lieu of the returns should be spent in the avenues specified in the endowment, and the compensation for the actual property held in trust replaces the lost endowment.
In the case of usurping a public utility endowment, such as masjids, schools, bridges, and graveyards whose beneficiaries are the public at large or the endowment whose beneficiaries are named groups of people [such as the poor and the sick], the usurper, who had used the benefits from these endowments for a different purpose, should stand to compensate the profits in kind insofar as the schools, and public baths are concerned, but not those of the masjids, graveyards, holy places, and bridges. If the actual property held in trust is damaged or lost, the usurper should stand to pay compensation in kind or the value thereof. The value should be spent in replacement of the lost endowment.
Q2029. A person designated his property, by way of endowment, for holding assemblies commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Ḥusayn in the village. Since it is no longer feasible for the trustee to hold such assemblies in the village itself, can he do the same in the town where he lives?
A: If the endowment is specifically for holding the commemorative gatherings in the village itself, and as long as it is feasible to comply with the instructions [contained in the endowment deed] in the village itself — albeit by appointing someone else to do so on his behalf — the trustee should not resort to moving the function to some other place. Indeed, it is obligatory on him to appoint someone else to hold these gatherings in the village.
Q2030. Is it permissible for the neighbors of a masjid to make use of the electricity supply of the masjid for their own private business provided that they pay the cost, if not more, of the power used to the supervisors of the masjid? And is it permissible for the masjid’s administration to give permission to others to use the power supplied to the masjid?
A: It is not permissible to make use of the electricity supplied to the masjid for private purposes. Nor is it permissible for the administration of the masjid to grant such permission.
Q2031. For many years now, a water spring has been set apart, by way of endowment, for public use. Is it permissible to supply its water through a pipe grid to different places, including residential homes?
A: There is no objection to making use of the water provided that installing the water pipes does not change the endowment, that the use is not made in avenues other than those specified in the endowment deed, and that this does not constitute any hindrance to the beneficiaries having access to the water. Otherwise, it is not permissible.
Q2032. A land was held in trust for the purposes of holding commemorative gatherings and serving the interest of theology students. This land is situated to the side of the main road of the village. Some villagers want to build another road on the other side of the land. Suppose that the building of the new road will lead to the appreciation of the price of the land held in trust, is this permissible?
A: The rise in the price of the land held in trust as a result of building the new road on part of it is not a shar‘ī justification to occupy it, i.e. by making it a road.
Q2033. A house that is annexed to the masjid was designated by way of endowment as a residential home for the imam of the congregational prayers. However, the house is no longer capable of accommodating the increasing number of the imam’s family, let alone his guests. The imam has a house that needs some repairs. He also ran into debt arising from the house. Is it permissible for him to rent the house held in trust and spend the rent in settling his debt or repairing his house?
A: If the house was held in trust for the use of the imam of congregational prayer to live in, he has no legal right to rent it, even by way of making use of the rent in settling his debt or repairing his house. Should the house not be big enough to meet his family requirements, those of his guests and members of the public who visit him; he can devise a schedule to use the house for consultation during different times of the day and night. He could also make the house available to another imam of congregational prayer to live in.
Q2034. A caravansary was endowed to generate income from travelers passing by. The trusteeship of, and proceeds from, the endowment used to be vested in the imam of a masjid situated opposite the inn. In view of the fact that the matter was not properly explained to the mujtahids at the time, the inn was demolished and a ḥusayniyyah built on the same site. Should the proceeds of the new place be used for the purposes of the original building?
A: No one has the right to change the caravansary held in trust as a public endowment, whose proceeds were intended for special purposes, to an endowment dedicated to serve a public interest, such as ḥusayniyyahs. It is, therefore, imperative to restore the building of the inn to its original state so that its facilities can be rented to the caravan owners and travelers and the proceeds spent in the avenue specified by the donor. However, it is permissible for the shar‘ī trustee [to forgo the previous arrangement], should he see that the interest of the trust is best served, now and in the future, by renting the [new] place to hold acts of religious worship and spend the rent in the avenue specified in the endowment deed.
Q2035. A shop was built on a piece of land that forms part of the precinct of a masjid. Is it permissible to ask for the payment of sarqoflī?
A: This should be left to the jurisdiction of the shar‘ī trustee who should take the interest of the trust into consideration. That said, the building of the shop on the site that belongs to the masjid should have been carried out in a proper and shar‘ī manner. Conversely, it is obligatory that it is pulled down and the land restored to the precinct of the masjid.
Q2036. For planning or technical reasons precipitated by the need to develop certain sites into projects such as dams, power stations and public parks, some government departments find themselves appropriating endowed land. Should the executing parties of these projects be liable for paying compensation or rent?
A: Insofar as private endowments are concerned, the beneficiaries have to be approached with a view to buying or leasing the endowed land from them. As for the endowments whose proceeds are dedicated to certain groups of people, they have to be rented from the shar‘ī trustee. The proceeds from the rent should be spent in the avenue prescribed in the endowment deed. However, if the property is disposed of in any way, compensation should be paid to the shar‘ī trustee so that he can buy another property in replacement of the original endowment and the proceeds generated thereof spent in the avenue specified in the endowment deed.
Q2037. A few years ago, a person leased a business property that was half built. The tenant paid the landlord sarqoflī. He then finished building the property with money from the rent of the property with the permission of the landlord. During his tenancy, the tenant bought from the landlord half of the property. The sale was officially registered. The landlord now claims that the property was an endowment. The trustee is demanding the payment of sarqoflī again. How do you adjudge the matter?
A: If it is proved that the land on which the property was built is an endowment, or that the tenant admitted that, all the concessions conceded by the so-called landlord should no longer be binding. Indeed, it is obligatory to sign up to a new contract with the shar‘ī trustee so that the tenant could continue making use of the said property. The tenant can demand the so-called landlord to pay him back.
Q2038. If we know that a certain property is an endowment, although the avenue in which the proceeds are to be spent is not known, how should the residents and farmers, making use of the land, go about the matter?
A: Should the endowed land have a trustee, the parties making use of the land should approach him with a view to leasing the land. Otherwise, they should bring the matter up with the authorized religious authority. As to the avenues for which the endowment should be spent, there are different cases as follows:
a) we doubt whether the beneficiaries belong to category a, b, or c but there are some people who belong to all the possible categories, then, we should spend the proceeds for them e.g. the property was endowed for the descendants of the Holy prophet (a.s.), the poor, or religious scholars, then we give it to the poor religious scholars among the descendants of the Holy Prophet (a.s.);
b) the foresaid case but we cannot find some people who belong to all the possible categories then three cases are recognized:
1) the categories are maḥṣūrah, in which case, we should draw a lot to determine the beneficiaries;
2) The categories are not maḥṣūrah but are related to some groups of people, e.g. it is endowed for offspring of an anonymous person among many people, in which case, the proceeds are ruled as the property of an anonymous owner. It is obligatory to give them to the poor;
3) The categories are not maḥṣūrah but are related to some purposes like a masjid, a bridge a shrine, etc, in which case, it is obligatory to spend the proceeds for projects of common interest which serve at least one of the purposes.
Q2039. A piece of land has been used for many years now as a public graveyard. The dead body of one of the descendants of the Imams (a.s.) is buried there. Some 30 years ago a bathroom was built to be used for performing ghusl for the dead bodies. It is not known whether the land is held in trust as a public graveyard or a private one — for the tomb of the descendant of the Imam. Nor is it known whether the building of the bathroom was shar‘ī? Is it permissible to use the bathroom for performing ghusl to the dead?
A: It is permissible to wash the Muslim dead in that bathroom, as they have been doing all this time. It is also permissible to lay the dead to rest in that land that constitutes part of the precinct of the mausoleum unless one is sure that it is against the purpose of the endowment.
Q2040. It is widely believed that some lands in our area used for agriculture are an endowment of the mausoleum of one of the descendants of the Prophet (s.a.w). The trustees of the endowment are the living descendants of the Prophet (s.a.w), residing in the area. However, there is no proof pointing to the fact that the lands were endowed. It is said that they used to have a title deed that was lost in a fire. Under the previous regime, members of the public had testified that the land was endowed just to spare the lands any pending distribution. It is also said that the lands were donated to the existing trustees by one of the region’s ruler, as a mark of respect, and in order to exempt them from paying taxes. What is the ruling in the matter?
A: The availability of a written document is not a condition to prove the endowment of the property. Indeed, the declaration of the person who has the land at his disposal, or his heirs after his death, that it is an endowed property is a sufficient proof of endowment. Precedence is another way of proving the endowment, i.e. any action with regard to the property in its capacity as a trust. The testimony of two just men, or the common knowledge that leads to peace of mind that it is in their ownership is an admissible way to prove the same. On the availability of any of these proofs, the property is ruled to be an endowment. Otherwise, the property should be deemed privately owned by the holders of the actual control.
Q2041. Can a five-century-old endowment deed be relied on as a proof of the property held in trust?
A: The endowment deed alone cannot be relied on as a legal proof of the endowment of the property unless one is certain that its contents are correct. However, if among the old people the property is famous as an endowment or the person in control of the property admits its endowment so that it may make one know it for sure or to become certain about it, or there is an established practice, i.e., they went about running the property as an endowment, the property is ruled to be an endowment. At any rate, passage of time should not render the endowed property to cease to be so.
Q2042. I inherited three shares of river water from my father. I have been given to understand that the said shares were part of 100 shares, 15 of which are endowments. It is not known whether the three inherited shares were among the seller’s privately owned shares or constituted part of the 15 endowment shares. What should I do? Should the sale of the three shares be rendered invalid, thus giving me the right to return them to the seller, who is still alive, to refund me the sale price?
A: If, at the time of sale, the seller was the rightful owner of the water shares he sold, even though he did not know that the shares he sold were his own private property or those of the trust, the sale can be ruled valid, the purchaser should be the rightful owner of the purchased shares, and the property can be transferred, by way of inheritance, to the deceased’s heirs.
Q2043. A cleric donated part of his property, of fields and groves, to be a private endowment. He noted in the title deed of the trust that he has observed all necessary requirements for a valid endowment deed and has recited its formulae. This was witnessed by ten Islamic scholars. Is this arrangement sufficient to render the endowment valid?
A: If it is proved that, in addition to drawing up and finalizing the endowment deed, the donor handed over the actual property to the beneficiaries or the shar‘ī trustees, who in turn had the property at their disposal, the said endowment is ruled valid and binding.
Q2044. A piece of land was donated to the Health Office to build a dispensary or a health centre on it. The officials have not started the project. Is it permissible for the donor to retrieve the land? And is handing the land over to the Office per se sufficient to realize the endowment, or should this hinge on the building itself?
A: Should the handing over of the land by the landlord to the Health Office have been done after endowing it in a shar‘ī manner so that it was at their disposal as the shar‘ī trustees, he has no right to revoke his decision and retrieve the land. Yet, if at least one of the two conditions was not realized, he has the might to get his land back.
Q2045. A plot of land was donated by its owner for building a masjid on it. This was witnessed by the cleric of the neighborhood and two just witnesses. After a while, a group of people took control of the land and built houses on it. What should those people, as well as the trustees, do?
A: If, after the endowment is done, the land that was meant to be held in trust was handed over to the shar‘ī trustee or the beneficiaries of the endowment, all the rules and conditions governing endowments should apply. Therefore, others building houses for themselves on the land would amount to usurpation. Thus, they should pull down the buildings and relinquish the land to the shar‘ī trustee. Conversely, the land should still be in the ownership of its rightful owner and any action over the land by other parties is dependant on the permission of the owner.
Q2046. Eighty years ago, a person bought a plot of land. After his death, his inheritors carried out certain transactions in connection with it. The buyers passed away. Their inheritors became the holders of the actual control. Forty years ago, they officially registered the land in their names and built houses on it. A person has now come forward, claiming that the land has been endowed for the benefit of the children of the original owner and that he did not have the right to sell it. It is worth mentioning that during the eighty years no one laid a claim to the ownership of the land. There is neither a document nor a testament that could be relied on to prove the claim. What should the position of the rightful owners of the land be?
A: If the claimant is unable to prove in shar‘ī way his claim of endowment and impermissibility of selling the land, all the transactions carried out are valid and the holders of actual control of the property should be deemed as the owners.
Q2047. The Municipal Authority leased, from the shar‘ī trustee of an endowment, two irrigation canals that pass through some arable land. The third canal, which was held in trust for the benefit of theology students of the neighborhood and the offspring of the donor, has dried up. As a result, the land surrounding it became bāyir (derelict). The Lands Authority wants to take control of the land considering it as mawāt because it was not cultivated for many years. Can this be right?
A: The land held in trust cannot be stripped of its title as a result of leaving it uncultivated, even for years on end.
Q2048. There are lands endowed for the Holy shrine of Imam Riḍā (a.s.). There is also in the sanctuaries of this property grazing patches and forests. Some official departments issued an order rendering the grazing patches and forests as though they are some kind of anfāl. They did so in compliance with the rules and regulations governing grazing lands and forests. Are the sanctuaries deemed part of the land held in trust?
A: The grazing lands and forests bordering the lands held in trust are treated in the same way as the endowment lands if they are part of their precincts. Accordingly, the rules and regulations governing anfāl and public property should not apply. The final arbiter in identifying the sanctuary and its area is local tradition and expert opinion.
Q2049. Forty years ago I donated a property to build a refuge for orphans on it. The trust, verified by the Office of Endowment, has been running ever since. Of late, someone has produced a copy of a document stating that the land had, for the past three centuries, been held in trust. Since the original document does not exist, the document in question does not mention the name of the trustee, there has never been a precedent of any practice that the land had been held in trust then, and since the holders of the actual control reject the claim, can this document be a hindrance to the continuation of the existing endowment for the purpose it was set up to serve?
A: The endowment deed alone, whether original or copy is not a legal proof of the endowment. So long as the previous endowment cannot be established in a valid way according to Islam, the existing one is deemed valid and fully operational.
Q2050. A person donated a piece of land for a ḥusayniyyah to be built on it. However, the land has become a public road leading to the village. What is left of it is an area of 42 square meters. Is it permissible for the owner to restore it to his ownership?
A: Should this have happened after the endowment formula is uttered and the property turned over to the trustees or the beneficiaries, the remaining land should still be deemed part of the entire land held in trust. Therefore, it is not permissible for the donor to rescind his decision. Otherwise, it should remain part of his own property; he also can exercise the right of disposal over it.
Q2051. Is it permissible for an inheritor who has a share in the estate to donate it all by way of endowment? And is it valid to draw up the endowment deed in his name alone?
A: It is valid in his share of the estate alone. As for the shares of the rest of the heirs, this is ruled as fuḍūlī and dependent on their permission.
Q2052. A person bequeathed his property to his sons by way of endowment. After his death the Religious Endowments Authority, without due attention to the provisions laid down in the endowment deed, registered the endowment in the names of the man’s children, i.e. male and female. Should this mean that the daughters become eligible to have shares of the land?
A: Registering the names of the females alongside the males in the title deed of the land held in trust is not sufficient for their entitlement to shares of the proceeds of the land. If it is proved that the land was bequeathed exclusively to the male children, it should be theirs alone.
Q2053. A century ago, a property situated on a riverbank was held in trust. In compliance with the law banning the sale of lands held in trust, an official title deed was issued confirming that the said property is held in trust. However, the government turned the property into a mining site. Does this render it anfāl or should it remain an endowment?
A: If it is proved that the land was legally made an endowment, no one, whether individual or government has the right to appropriate it. It should, therefore, remain an endowment, coming under the umbrella of the rules governing endowments.
Q2054. In a teaching centre, there is a laboratory. The land on which the laboratory was built used to be part of an adjacent cemetery which is still in use. The employees use the laboratory to say their prayer. Is the prayer performed in that place valid?
A: Unless it is proved that the land of the existing laboratory is held in trust as a burial ground, there is no harm in saying prayer there. Nor is there any harm in having the right of disposal over the place in any [legitimate] way. However, if it is proved by way of valid evidence that it is an endowment designated only for burial of the dead, it should be restored to its original state and made available for that purpose. Rulings of usurpation are applicable to the installations erected on the land.
Q2055. There are two adjacent business properties that are held in trust, each of which has its own donor and endowment deed. In other words, they are two independent entities. Is it permissible for the tenant of both the properties to open up a door between them?
A: Making use of the property held in trust and having free hand in it, albeit with the interest of the other endowment property, should be according to the provisions laid down in the endowment deed and subject to the permission of the trustee. The tenant, therefore, has no right to go it alone by opening a door between the two properties to pass through because he happened to be the tenant of the next-door trust.
Q2056. Some priceless manuscripts and books that are found in some centers and private homes are held in trust in those places. Some of these gems are on the road to ruin because of neglect. Is it permissible to transfer these manuscripts and books to a special room in the central library to preserve them from wear and tear, and eventual loss, without changing the nature of the original charter of the endowment?
A: It is not permissible to move these priceless books to another place, so long as it was made conditional, at the time of finalizing the endowment deed, that the benefit derived from them should be where they are kept provided that it is viable to keep them in good condition. Alternatively, there is no objection to transferring them from where they belong to some other place where they can be maintained in good condition.
Q2057. A person donated some grazing land by way of endowment for the sole benefit of the holy places. The trustee of the endowment leased part of the land to some people. Over the years, the tenants built residential houses and business properties on the land that was not suitable for pasture. They also developed the grazing land into arable land for crops and fruit trees.
a. In view of the fact that natural grazing lands are considered a kind of anfāl and public property, was the original endowment valid and can it still be so?
b. Since there has been a change of use and a development of the site which made it more attractive, how should one go about fixing the rent?
c. Since the grazing land has been developed into fully fledged groves and fields by the tenants themselves, should the tenants pay the same rent, i.e. that of grazing land, or should the rent be on a par with the existing state of the land?
A: After it has been established that the pasture was endowed, as long as it is not proved that the grazing land was a kind of anfāl at the time of setting up the endowment, and if the donor was the rightful owner of the land, setting it up as endowment is ruled correct and shar‘ī. Therefore, it cannot be stripped of its title as endowment by the mere fact that the tenants have turned it into fields, groves and residential property. Indeed, if they have secured the right of disposal over the land held in trust by way of leasing it from the shar‘ī trustee, it is obligatory on them to pay the rent agreed in the original lease contract. The trustee should spend the rent in the avenue specified in the endowment deed. Should putting the land at their disposal have been done without a proper permission from the shar‘ī trustee, the tenants are liable to pay an equitable rent for the duration they had actual control.
However, if, at the time of declaring the trust, the land was derelict or anfāl or the donor was not its rightful owner, the endowment is invalid. That which the holders of actual control have reclaimed of the land by virtue of developing it into fields, orchards, and residential houses for themselves in accordance with the laws and regulations is rightfully theirs. As for the remaining parts of the land that maintained its original state, i.e. remained derelict, it is considered part of the natural resources and anfāl. It should, therefore, be put at the disposal of the Islamic state.
Q2058. A woman, who has a one-sixth stake in some jointly owned land, sets up an endowment trust for the entire property. Can this arrangement be deemed valid, or is it so insofar as her share is concerned? Assuming that it is valid, is it correct to hold the jointly owned land in trust before partitioning/ distributing it? And if holding the share of the jointly owned land in trust before the distribution is valid, what should the position of the other partners be?
A: There is no legal barrier to setting up a trust concerning the share in a jointly owned property, even before partitioning it provided that it can be of use to the beneficiaries, even after partitioning. However, endowing the entire property by one of the joint owners is dependant on the permission of all the owners. The partners have the right to demand the partitioning of the property to have their shares separate from that of the endowment.
Q2059. Is it permissible to change the provisions laid down in an endowment deed? And should it be so, what are the boundaries for such a change? Can passage of a long period of time be a determining factor in abiding by the provisions of the endowment?
A: It is not permissible to flout the shar‘ī provisions laid down by the endower in the endowment deed unless it is impossible or unbearably difficult to observe those provisions. Length of time has no part to play in the process.
Q2060. Some lands that are held in trust have watercourses that have stones and mineral deposits. Do these stones and mineral deposits form part of the endowment?
A: Big rivers and flood water courses, that border the lands held in trust or cut across them, are not part of the endowment, except those areas that have, by tradition, been deemed sanctuaries of the endowment. Such sanctuaries should be accorded the same treatment as the endowment itself. As for the stones and mineral deposits found in the streams that are held in trust, they should be treated as though they were part of the endowment.
2061. A theology school building fell into disrepair. The proceeds, from its endowment, were deposited in the bank. Since rebuilding the school with these proceeds takes a long time, can the money be deposited in a savings account where it can yield some returns?
A: It is the legal duty of the trustee to spend the proceeds of the endowment in the avenues specified in the endowment deed. However, there is no problem in leaving the money with the bank, in a savings account, until such a time when it becomes possible to spend it appropriately provided that this would not lead to any delay in spending it in the avenues of the endowment in due course. Nor is there a problem in making some profit from the deposited money to spend it for the purposes mentioned in the endowment deed provided it is made by way of a legal contract.
Q2062. Can the land, endowed for the Muslim public good, be leased to a non-Muslim?
A: If the endowment is of the income generating type, there is no objection to leasing it to a non-Muslim provided that it is in the interest of the endowment.
Q2063. A few months ago, the dead body of a cleric was buried in endowed land. This was done with the permission of the endowers. Someone has come forward, claiming that the burial was not permissible in the land. What is your view on the matter? Supposing that the claimant was right, would paying money in compensation for using the land for burial solve the problem?
A: There is no problem in that provided that the burial of the dead body in the endowed land does not contravene the purpose of the endowment. Conversely, it is not permissible. In the latter case, if a dead body is buried there, they should exhume it to be buried somewhere else before it is decomposed unless exhumation is unbearably difficult or violates the sanctity of the dead believer. In any case, paying money or compensating for the land in kind would not change this ruling.
Q2064. Some property was held in trust for the exclusive benefit of the male children/offspring of a donor for generations to come. Should the endowment cease as a result of the beneficiaries relinquishing, for any reason, their rights in the endowment? How should the succeeding generations react to this relinquishment? What should the position of the shar‘ī trustee of the endowment vis-à-vis the rights of future generations be?
A: The endowment does not cease to exist by the beneficiaries' foregoing their rights. Such relinquishment by the former generation should not affect the rights of the succeeding generations. Nor should it render the endowment redundant. When their turn to benefit from the endowment comes, the succeeding generations have every right to demand their share in full. Even if it was legally permissible for the older generation to sell the property held in trust, they should have bought a replacement property for the benefit of the future generations. The trustee should run the endowment with the interest of all the generations at heart.
Q2065. In the matter of lack of evidence as to how to go about dividing the proceeds of endowment between the beneficiaries, among the offspring, which procedure should come into play here? Would the law of inheritance apply or the division be equal?
A: If it is not known that the endowment is designated equally between all of the beneficiaries or in accordance with their share of inheritance, it is ruled as an endowment for them equally and the proceeds are given to male and female beneficiaries of each category equally.
Q2066. For many years now, it has not been possible to send the proceeds of an endowment to the beneficiary — an Islamic seminary in a particular city. Substantial amounts have since accrued. Is it permissible to spend the proceeds on other Islamic seminaries in other cities? Or we must keep them until it is possible to be spent according to the endowment deed.
A: The duty of the shar‘ī trustee or the Endowments Authority is to collect the proceeds of the endowment and spend the same in the avenues specified in the endowment deed. However, if, temporarily, it is not feasible to send the money to the city where it should be spent, it has to be kept until such a time comes when it would be possible to send it to its intended destination. If it becomes impossible to send the proceeds to the Islamic seminary designated in the endowment deed, even in the near future, there is no objection to spending it on the Islamic seminaries in other regions.
Q2067. A person made his land ḥabs for a shar‘ī purpose in the hope that they would have it again at the end of the duration of relinquishing it for charitable purposes. Is he become the owner at the end of the time? Can they benefit from the reacquired land in the same way they act with their other property?
A: If the donor was the rightful owner of the land and they made it ḥabs according to the shar‘ī rules and regulations, the ḥabs is valid. Thus, all the provisions and consequences should apply. After the duration of the ḥabs came to an end, the land should revert to the ownership of the owner and be treated like any other property of theirs. As a result, he owns its benefits.
Q2068. The owner of some property made it permanent ḥabs for a purpose for which one can make waqf or directed in his will that one-third of his property to be permanent ḥabs so that the proceeds would be spent for a particular purpose, but his inheritors considered it as inheritance, put their names in the title-deed and sold it to others without a shar‘ī excuse. Do the rulings of endowment — i.e. it is ḥarām to treat it as one’s own property and sell it to others — apply to ḥabs property a well?
A: The property or one-third estate which was made ḥabs permanently has the same rulings as an endowment. Therefore, dividing it among inheritors as inheritance and selling it are invalid.
Sale of Endowment and Changing its Use
Q2069. A person donated a piece of land for a ḥusayniyyah to be built on it. The ḥusayniyyah was built. However, a group of people turned a part of the ḥusayniyyah into a masjid. They are now holding congregational prayers in the place as though it were a masjid. Can their action be sanctioned, and should it follow that the rules governing masjids can apply to what seems to be a de facto masjid?
A: Neither the donor nor anyone else has the right to turn the ḥusayniyyah, that has been the subject of the endowment, into a masjid. Thus, it cannot be deemed a masjid. Nor can the rules and regulations governing masjids be applied to it. However, there is no problem in holding congregational prayers there.
Q2070. A person sold a piece of land they inherited and signed a binding contract to this effect. After a while, it transpired that the land was held in trust. Would this revelation render the sale null and void? If this is so, should the vendor compensate the buyer for the price he paid for the land, at the time of sale, or should he pay the current market price?
A: After it had been found that the sold land was an endowment and that the vendor had no right to sell it, the sale is invalid. Accordingly, it has to be restored to its original status, i.e. a trust. The vendor has to pay back the price he received from the buyer for the land plus compensation for decrease in purchasing power of the money.
Q2071. A century ago, a person made his property endowment for his male offspring. He made a provision in the endowment deed that in the event of any of beneficiaries becoming poor by shar‘ī definition, they should have the right to sell their shares to the other beneficiaries. A few years ago some of them took this option and sold their shares to the other shareholders. Some people have raised some objections as to the legality of such a sale on the grounds that the property was an endowment. It is to be noted, however, that this is a private endowment. That said, would the sale and purchase, which were carried out in accordance with the provisions laid down by the endower, be sanctioned?
A: There is no objection to any beneficiary who has become poor to sell his share to the other beneficiary provided that the condition stipulated by the endower in the endowment deed is proved. Accordingly, such a sale should be deemed valid.
Q2072. I donated a piece of land to the Ministry of Education to build a school on it. However, after further research and consultation, I have found out that if the land were sold, it would fetch a price sufficient for building several schools in other parts of the town. I approached the said Ministry with a view to selling the land under its auspices in order to build a number of schools in the southern part of the town or in deprived areas. Is it permissible for me to do that?
A: If, after the endowment deed is concluded, the land was actually handed over to the Ministry of Education, in its capacity as the recipient of the endowment, you have no right of disposal over the land any longer. Nor do you have the right to revoke the trust. However, if the special formula of endowment — even in a language other than Arabic — was not uttered, or if the Ministry did not take actual possession of the land, it would still be in your ownership and you have the right of disposal over it.
Q2073. The gold, weighing 3 kg. adorning the domes of the holy shrine of an Imam's offspring, had been stolen on two occasions. However, it was retrieved on both occasions. In order to prevent future robbery, is it permissible to sell the gold and spend the proceeds on repairing/expand the building of the holy shrine?
A: The mere fear of losing the gold, whether as a result of robbery or in any other way, is not a shar‘ī reason to sell it. However, if the shar‘ī trustee sees it considerably feasible — due to some evidence — that the gold has been kept [as a reserve fund] to spend on the maintenance of, and other expenditure on, the holy shrine, or it was absolutely necessary to repair the building, and there were no funds available to carry out the work, there is no objection to selling the gold and spending the money in carrying out the necessary repairs to the holy shrine. It is advisable for the Endowments Authority to supervise the maintenance work.
Q2074. A person set up an endowment trust of arable land and irrigation water for the benefit of his sons. Since he has many sons, the cost of cultivating the land is high, and the yield is low, nobody seems to be keen on tilling the land. If the situation remains thus, the land would turn into a wasteland. Is it permissible to sell the property and spend the proceeds in charitable causes?
A: It is not permissible to sell or alter the endowment so long as it is feasible to benefit from it in the avenue specified in the endowment deed, even by leasing it to some of the beneficiaries or to a third person with a view to spending the rent in the appropriate avenue. Another way could be by changing the use of the property held in trust. If it is not at all feasible to make it of use, it is permissible to sell it. However, should this course of action be taken, it is obligatory to buy other property with the proceeds made in order to spend the same in the avenues specified in the endowment deed.
Q2075. A pulpit was endowed to a masjid. It transpired that it is not feasible to make use of the pulpit because of its height. Is it permissible to exchange it for another suitable one?
A: There is no objection to modifying the pulpit if it is not at all possible to make use of it in its present form, neither in the intended masjid nor in other masjids.
Q2076. Is it permissible to sell the land held in a private trust that was acquired by the donor by virtue of the execution of the Land Reform Act?
A: If, at the time of endowing the land, the donor was the rightful owner of the property, and his action was done in a proper and shar‘ī manner, neither he nor anyone else can sell, buy, change, or alter the property held in trust, even though it is a private endowment. That said, it is perfectly shar‘ī to sell or buy the property in exceptional circumstances.
Q2077. My father endowed a piece of land that boasts a few palm trees with the intention of using the proceeds in feeding the public during the commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Ḥusayn (a.s.) on the tenth of Muḥarram and the Night of Destiny (Qadr) in Ramadan. A century on, the palm trees can hardly yield anything. Being the eldest son of my father, executor of his will and his appointed agent, is it permissible for me to sell the land and build a school/ ḥusayniyyah with the proceeds of the sale so that it can be a source of continuous charity for his soul?
A: If the land is held in trust, it is not permissible to sell or exchange it under the pretext that the trees have become fruitless. Indeed the trees should be exchanged for palm seedlings — even by spending some money on it — with a view to spending the proceeds in the avenues prescribed in the endowment deed where possible. Otherwise, the land has to be put to use in some other way, such as leasing it — either for cultivation or building houses, in order to spend the proceeds accrued in the appropriate avenues.
Generally speaking, it is not permissible to sell, purchase, or exchange the land, so long as it is feasible to make use of it in any way possible. However, there is no objection to selling the palm trees, should they have become fruitless. The proceeds from the sale can pay for new palm shoots where possible. If this is not feasible, the proceeds could be spent in the avenues described in the endowment deed.
Q2078. A person donated building materials to a masjid. Some of these materials have become surplus to the requirements of the building. Is it permissible to sell the extra materials and use the proceeds in settling the outstanding debts incurred by the masjid management and in meeting its needs?
A: Should the building materials and machinery have been designated for the purpose of building a masjid and were no longer the donor’s own property, the useful ones cannot be sold — even for another masjid. Instead, what could be used of these materials, in the intended masjid or in other masjids, should be directed to serve those purposes. If the donor has confined the use of the materials to building this very masjid, the surplus materials should revert to his ownership where he can have the right of disposal over them.
Q2079. A person made his private library an endowment for his male offspring. Since none of his offspring has become a clergyman, the books were left to gather dust. Termite damaged some. Others are on the road to ruin. Is it permissible for the inheritors to sell those books?
A: Should the person have made the endowment conditional on his sons becoming theology students and eventually clergymen, such kind of endowment is null and void to start with, because it was made dependant on a particular requirement. If the endowment was set up for their benefit, yet none of them had the capacity to do so, even sometime in the future, such kind of endowment is valid.
It is, therefore, permissible for them to put the books at the disposal of other people who have the capacity to benefit from them. The same applies if the endowment was made for the benefit of those who can use them, in which case the sons, should they be the trustees; have to put the books at the disposal of those people. However, they have no right to sell the books.
Q2080. A piece of arable land, which is held in trust, was higher than the adjacent lands. Therefore it was impossible to water it. Now it is leveled out. The extra soil was heaped in the middle of it, preventing any efforts to cultivate it. Is it permissible to sell the extra soil and spend the proceeds on an adjacent holy shrine?
A: Should the surplus soil prove a hindrance to making use of the land held in trust, there is no objection to clearing and selling it with a view to spending the proceeds in the avenue specified in the endowment deed.
Q2081. A number of business properties, built on a land held in trust, were leased to the existing tenants without charging them sarqoflī. Can the tenants ask potential tenants to pay such sarqoflī? Assuming it is permissible for them to do so, to whom should the sarqoflī go, i.e. to the tenants or to the endowment trust — so that the proceeds could be spent in the avenues specified in the endowment deed?
A: If the shar‘ī trustee, while not losing sight of the interest of the endowment, gave permission to charge sarqoflī, the latter should be treated as part of the proceeds of the trust. Such income should, therefore, be spent in the avenue described in the endowment deed. Should the trustee withhold such permission, any transaction would be deemed unlawful. Accordingly, if the contracts were concluded, the recipient of the money should return it to the buyer. However, the existing tenants, who had no right to ask for the payment of sarqoflī in the first instant — yet sublet the properties for sarqoflī, should have no right to appropriate this money.
Rules Concerning Graveyards
Q2082. What is the ruling in the matter of appropriating a public cemetery with a view of building private property on it? What is the view on procuring a title deed to this effect? Is such a cemetery considered a type of public endowment? Should holding actual control of the land by private individuals amount to usurpation? Should the holders of actual control of the land pay rent? If this is so, where should the proceeds be spent? And finally, what should be the fate of the buildings erected on the land?
A: Procuring the title deed of the public cemetery per se is not a shar‘ī proof of ownership. It does not act as an excuse to usurp it either. The fact that it is a public cemetery is not a shar‘ī proof that it is a kind of endowment for the purpose of burying the dead in it either. However, if, according to common view, the place is a kind of public facility used as a burial ground, or any similar use, or there is shar‘ī evidence that it is a kind of endowment for burying the Muslim dead, the control exercised by these people over the land for their own personal use should be treated as usurpation, which is ḥarām to embark on. Thus, they should relinquish control of the burial ground, demolish the installations, and restore the land to its original state. Yet, holding them liable for payment of rent for using the land is not proven [not a clear-cut matter].
Q2083. A 35-year-old cemetery was demolished by the Council and turned into a public park. During the era of the previous regime, a number of buildings were erected on the land of the cemetery. Is it permissible for the competent authority to rebuild such facilities?
A: It is not permissible to have any one of these in the land: Build any installations, hold actual control of it, or make any change or alteration. That is, if [a] the land is endowed for the purpose of burying the Muslim dead, [b] the building work would entail exhuming the dead bodies or desecrating the graves of the pious, the scholars, or the believers, or [c] the land is a public facility needed to be used by the public. Otherwise, it is permissible in itself.
Q2084. A piece of land was endowed for burying the dead. The cemetery contains the graves of one of the descendants of the Imams (a.s.) and some martyrs. Since there is no suitable land to use by the youth for outdoor sporting activities, is it permissible to use the graveyard for this purpose provided that Islamic code of practice is upheld?
A: It is not permissible to change the cemetery into a playground. Nor is it permissible to have right of disposal over the land held in trust in avenues other than those specified in the endowment deed. Furthermore, it is not permissible to desecrate the graves of Muslims and the beloved martyrs.
Q2085. Is it permissible for the visitors of one of the holy shrines to park their cars inside a century-old cemetery that is no longer used as a burial ground? Taking into consideration that the people living in the village or elsewhere were burying their deceased relatives in this cemetery but now they have chosen another place for this purpose.
A: There is no harm in it provided that the act is not tantamount to desecrating the graves of Muslims, as seen in the common view. It should also not constitute a nuisance to the visitors of the holy shrine.
Q2086. Funeral directors prevent the digging of new graves beside some existing ones. Is there a shar‘ī reason for that? Are they justified in what they are doing?
A: No one has the right to reserve land around the graves of their relatives and, thus, prevent the believers from burying their dead in the public cemetery provided that the latter is held in trust or made available for the public to bury their dead.
Q2087. By virtue of a court order, a person came to own a piece of confiscated land. It is situated beside the cemetery that is no longer capable of accommodating more graves. Is it permissible to use the land for burial of the dead, after securing permission of the current landlord?
A: If the actual owner can be deemed the rightful owner of the land, there is no objection to making use of it with his consent and permission.
Q2088. A person donated a piece of land to be used as a burial ground and made it a public cemetery for Muslims. Is it permissible for the board of trustees to charge people a fee for burying their dead there?
A: They have no right to demand payment of anything for burying the dead in a public graveyard that has been designated as an endowment. However, there is no objection to their charging a fee for providing any sort of service to the cemetery or the relatives of the dead in connection with burying their loved ones.
Q2089. Due to the non-availability of a piece of land in the town centre to build an information centre on it, is it permissible to build the centre in the derelict part of an old cemetery?
A: It is not permissible if the public cemetery was designated as an endowment for burying the Muslim dead, or the building of the centre would entail exhuming the dead bodies or desecrating the graves of Muslims. Otherwise, there is no objection to that.
Q2090. As a mark of respect for the martyrs, who were residents of our village and are buried elsewhere, it is planned to install memorial stones carrying their names in the village cemetery. Is this permissible?
A: There is no objection to building symbolic graves. However, it is not permissible to prevent other people to bury their dead in that place. This should be so if the land is held in trust for the purpose of burying the dead.
Q2091. We have planned to build a medical centre on a piece of derelict land situated on the periphery of the cemetery. However, we could not absolutely conclude that the land was not used, sometime in the past, as a burial ground. This is borne out by the fact that the residents disagree among themselves one way or the other. What they seem to agree on is that there are dead bodies buried around the piece of land intended for building the medical centre. What should we do?
A: There is no objection to it unless it is [a] proved that the land is held in trust for the purpose of burying the Muslim dead as an endowment, [b] the land is a designated public place for the residents to hold ceremonies on it, or [c] building the medical centre would lead to exhuming the bodies of the believers or subject their graves to an act of desecration. Otherwise, it is not permissible.
Q2092. The area where we live is in need of a masjid or a health centre. There are no lands available to build any of these two projects, apart from an unused piece of land that belongs to the cemetery. It is intended that the proceeds from leasing the piece of land to these public services be spent for the needs of the cemetery itself. Is it permissible to lease this land, especially since nothing is known about the specific nature of holding it in trust?
A: If the land was held in trust for exclusive use as a burial ground, it is not permissible to lease or use it to build a masjid, a medical centre, or any other facility. However, it is permissible to put the land to use in any way that could render a service to members of the public in the area provided [a] it is not known by way of evidence that it has been held in trust for burying the dead, [b] it has not been designated as a public place for use as a burial ground for the residents, [c] it did not contain any grave, and [d] its owner is not known.
Q2093. The Water and Electricity Board intends to harness the power of water in generating electricity by building a number of dams. Among these projects is building a dam across the Karoon River. The area, which will be flooded by the dam lake, contains an old cemetery. Going ahead with the project is dependant on tearing down the graves in this cemetery. What is your view on the matter?
A: There is no objection to tearing down the old graves, containing bodies already turned into dust. It is not permissible to pull down the graves, containing bodies that have not yet turned into dust. Nor is it permissible to exhume the bodies that have not yet turned into dust. However, there is no objection to building the project at the same place if, considering economic or social situations, it is necessary to do so and moving the project from that area to another one, or sparing the cemetery by rerouting the course of water, is proved very difficult or unbearable.
That said, this should be carried out by moving the graves, containing bodies that have not yet turned into dust to some other place provided that the exhumation as such is not realized, in that it could be done by moving the bodies along with the surrounding soil. Should any dead body get exposed in the process, it should be moved and buried somewhere else.
Q2094. There is a plot of land that is adjacent to an existing cemetery. There seems to be no sign of any graves in the said land. However, at some stage in the past, it might have been a cemetery. Is it permissible to have disposal over this land by building a facility for social services?
A: If the land is part of the public cemetery that is held in trust for the purpose of burying the dead, or is considered, in the common view, the precinct of the cemetery, it should be treated in the same way the cemetery is. It is, therefore, not permissible to hold actual control of it.
Q2095. Is it permissible for anyone to buy a piece of land to be used for burial and building a grave over it before one actually dies?
A: If the place where the grave will be built is lawfully owned by others, there is no harm in buying it. Should the piece of land be held in trust for the purpose of burying the believers’ dead, it is not right to buy or reserve it for oneself, for it entails preventing others from making use of the land to bury their loved ones.
Q2096. Is it permissible to open up a walkway for pedestrians through the cemetery where it could lead to removing a number of twenty-year-old graves?
A: There is no objection to building a pathway through the graves provided that the ceremony is not an endowment, and this would lead neither to exhuming the dead bodies of Muslims, nor desecrating the graves.
Q2097. Is it permissible to build a masjid on the land of a derelict cemetery, especially when it is not known whether or not it is held in trust?
A: There is no objection to doing so provided that the land of the cemetery is not: [a] an endowment, [b] private property, [c] a facility for the public at large, or [d] a piece of land for holding ceremonies and building the masjid does not entail desecrating the graves or exhuming the bodies of Muslims.
Q2098. A piece of land has been a burial ground since a century ago. A few years ago, excavations in the land revealed the ashes and bones of the dead. Is it permissible for the Council to sell this land?
A: It is not permissible to either sell or buy the land if the cemetery was endowed. However, if the excavations lead to exhuming the bodies of the dead, this is also ḥarām.
Q2099. The Ministry of Education partitioned a somewhat old cemetery for the purpose of building a school on the partitioned land. The Ministry has done this without obtaining the approval of the residents. However, the school is now up and running. The students perform their prayer at the premises. What is your view on the matter?
A: There is no harm in making use of the school, nor is there harm in holding prayer at the premises provided that there is no evidence pointing to the fact that the land on which the school was built was endowed for the purpose of burying the dead, that it is not a public service facility for burying the dead or for some other use, and that it is not private property.
of a person in whom piety is so deeply embedded that he does not commit a sinful act on purpose.
a member of the sect that believes that Imam Ali (a.) is Allah.
to loan something — which you have the right to use — to somebody for free.
the third daily prayer said by a Muslim.
a religious festival celebrated as a happy occasion.
‘Īd of Aḍḥā
the tenth day of the last month of the lunar calendar. On this day the Muslims in Minā sacrifice animals.
‘Īd of Fitṛ
a religious festival celebrated on the first day after the month of Ramadan by Muslims.
‘Īd of Ghadīr Khum
the eighteenth day of the last month of lunar calendar. On this day Imam Ali (a.) was declared by the Holy prophet (s.a.w.) as his successor.
the fifth daily prayer said by a Muslim.
the time when a woman stops menstruating provided that she has completed fifty years (for a sayyidah sixty years).
nifās , i.e., usually only a few days of puerperium.
a poor person
a person who does not have, and is not able to acquire, enough money/property to pay his yearly expenses or that of his dependants.
a brother of Imam Ḥusayn (a.).
(to perform religious rites) on time.
the call to prayer.
the Household of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.).
one of the epithets of the last Imam (a.).
the property you owe to an unknown/inaccessible person.
an āyāt prayer
an obligatory prayer performed on the occurrence of eclipses, etc. detailed information about which is available in the chapter on āyāt prayers.
a part of the property at the disposal of an infallible imam (a.) or his vicegerent due to their rule over the Muslims.
the Five Infallibles (a.).
authorized religious authority
a competent mujtahid or his representative.
the verses 255-7 of the baqarah chapter.
of the Ba‘th Party which ruled Iraq during the Saddam era.
certain volunteer forces.
it is the abbreviation for ‘bismillāhir raḥmānir raḥīm’.
compensation paid to the heirs of a killed person or to somebody who is injured.
repetition of qaḍā’ prayers to ascertain their performance in order.
de facto contract / transaction
a contract/transaction concluded practically and not by pronouncing its special formula.
any expression containing the remembrance of Allah. The ṣalawāt upon the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.) and his household is one of the best dhikrs.
a non-Muslim among the People of the Book who lives under the protection of an Islamic government under special terms.
a gold coin weighing 3.6 grams.
a certain supplication in which one asks the help of Allah through the intercession of the Infallibles.
to allocate some property to be used — whether the very property or its profit — by certain people or for a public cause.
before the morning adhān a brightness (called false fajr) appears on the eastern sky, when it expands (called true fajr), it is the starting time for the morning adhān/prayer.
a unit of distance equal to 5.125 km.
the first chapter of the Holy Qur’an.
a mujtahid’s clear cut opinion about a jurisprudential issue.
Fātimah al-Zahrā’ (a.)
The beloved daughter of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) who married Imam Ali (a.).
of a contract, e.g., a purchase or a marriage, concluded on behalf of somebody without their permission.
voice of a human being produced in an undulating pattern to create the effect of rapture that is suitable for gatherings of merrymaking and sin. It is ḥarām to engage in this type of singing; as well as to listen to it.
taking a bath/shower in certain manners intending nearness to Allah.
to keep and hoard goods needed by people expecting a rise in the price while there is no other centre to supply it.
not fatwā; the order of the Jurist Leader regarding administration of the Islamic Country or issues related to Muslims in general.
a transaction similar to waqf (endowment). However, unlike waqf, you may make something ḥabs temporarily.
a word of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) or that of the Infallible Imam (a.).
a set of rites that pilgrims to Mecca perform in the last month of the lunar calendar.
of a work permissible to do or food allowed to eat.
forbidden, an act which leads to Divine punishment.
of a descendant of Hāshim, the Holy Prophet’s ancestor, through paternal lineage.
nursing and bringing up a child.
girls’ covering in accordance with rules of Islam.
of affairs to which the Legislator does not consent to be neglected and rest with the Jurist Leader or his representative, like managing the property of an orphan who does not have a shar‘ī guardian.
a place dedicated to religious ceremonies about Imam Ḥusayn (a.).
to stay and fast in a masjid at least for three days in order to worship Allah.
(enjoying requirements) to infer shar‘ī rules from the Glorious Qur’an, traditions, etc.
a chapter of the Glorious Qur’an.
Imam Riḍā (a.)
the eighth Imam (a.).
a special dhikr to be said after adhān and before prayer.
of a member of the sect that believes that Ismā‘īl — a son of the Sixth Imam (a.) — was his successor.
in some cases the blood women see is referred to as istiḥāḍah.
istikhārah literally means to ask [Allah] for good. It is a way of removing a state of indecision through consulting the Glorious Qur’an or prayer beads. One may resort to istikhārah if pondering and consulting experienced trustworthy people fails to remove the state of indecision.
a kind of divination.
a masjid built in the city for the gathering of most of the residents of that city without being specific to a particular tribe or group of people.
the state of being junub.
a kind of contract in Islam, e.g., a person declares that he will pay certain amount of money as compensation to whoever does a certain work.
the compensation determined in a ju‘ālah contract.
of a person after having sexual intercourse or discharging manī.
the cube-shaped holy building at Mecca, to which Muslims face when they pray.
atonement done/paid for a sin.
being disliked in Islamic law but not forbidden.
twenty percent of annual savings from one’s income or that of certain properties. It contains two equal portions: the imam’s portion and the sayyids’ portion.
of an obligatory act which is discharged if performed by anyone.
kitābī (plural : the People of the Book/ahl al-kitāb)
A non-Muslim with a Book, i.e., a Jew, a Christian, a Zoroastrian or a Sabaean. A non-Muslim other than the above-mentioned is referred to as non-kitābī.
of an amount of water not less than 384 liters in volume.
game; jest; fun.
irrational useless acts.
The beloved daughter of the seventh Imam (a.) whose shrine is located in Qum.
the money one spends on himself and his dependants provided that it does not exceed one’s station as judged by common people.
a liquid that comes out after foreplay. It is pure and does not invalidate wuḍū’.
starting time for the fourth daily prayer, i.e., when the redness in the eastern sky disappears.
a person who is ḥarām for one to marry and/or it is permissible for one to see them without ḥijāb. There are three categories of maḥrams: a) blood-maḥrams like aunts and uncles; b) maḥrams by marriage like spouse, mother in law, father in law, son in law, daughter in law; and c) maḥrams through breast feeding.
of an act disliked but not forbidden in Islamic law.
certain liquid discharged from a mature person at the time of orgasm.
a qualified Islamic scholar you consult about jurisprudence.
the state of being a marji‘.
one of a few select places where a pilgrim to Mecca dons special clothing and starts the rituals.
of an animal which has not been slaughtered, hunted or fished in accordance with Islamic law.
the act of receiving khums and lending it back to the giver by the authority in charge of khums or the marji‘ when the giver owes some khums but is not able to pay.
the first month of the lunar calendar on the 10th of which Imam Ḥusayn (a.) and his companions were martyred.
a great scholar in Islam who is able to do ijtihād.
a sane person who has reached the age of shar‘ī puberty.
of an act desired in the shar‘ but there is no punishment in case you neglect it.
reconciliation and mutual agreement; the name for a certain contract in Islamic law.
of a person who is mujtahid only regarding some issues in Islamic jurisprudence.
to cut off a person’s ear, nose, or lip.
to commit oneself to a course of action, which is desired in the shar‘, by reciting a special formula.
the state of being najis.
not pure. One should not eat najis food. Wearing najis clothes during prayer makes it invalid.
The 20th/21st of March corresponding to the New Year’s Day in the Islamic Republic of Iran celebrated in some other countries as well.
of a person who is not maḥram to somebody else.
of an obligatory action not performed on time.
of an amount of water less than 384 liters in volume.
a person appointed by the authorized religious authority or specified in the will of the deceased to be in charge of affairs of a ward.
the direction toward the Ka‘bah.
punishment of a killer or a person who injured someone else to the same extent by the injured party or by the heirs of who was killed.
a part of prayer performed in the second rak‘ah in which a supplication is recited.
the property made as security for a debt/loan; deposit made at the time of renting a house.
a part of prayer consisting of one rukū‘, two prostrations, etc.
a kind of divination.
rebelliousness (of a wife)
not observing the rights of one’s husband.
there are two kinds of ribā:
a) Loan ribā, i.e., the mark up paid by the borrower to the lender. It is ḥarām if the loan contract is concluded on the explicit/implicit condition of the mark up.
b) Ribā of a sale transaction, i.e., to sell an item – normally sold by weight/ volume – in exchange for something of the same category in Islamic law plus extra.
a book on practical laws of Islam according to a certain marji‘.
to do a good act/worship intending for other than Allah in order to show off and seek status among people.
a part of some forms of worship such as hajj or prayer that are so necessary that the worship becomes invalidated if it is neglected even unintentionally.
a part of prayer in which one bows down and puts the hands on the knees.
to walk to and fro between Ṣafā and Marwah in a long passage adjacent to the Masjid al-ḥarām.
the time before the morning adhān.
to buy something for which you pay now but receive the goods later.
the Islamic greeting of “peace”.
salām of the prayer
the last part of the prayer.
a right or preference that in some countries a businessman or shopkeeper is maintained to have to his place of work due to his making it popular, attracting customer, or that he was the first man who rented the place, etc.
a male descendant of Hāshim – the Holy Prophet’s ancestor/ the grandfather of ‘Abbas, Ja‘far, Abū Tālib, Ḥārith, ‘Abdullāh – through paternal lineage.
a female descendant of Hāshim – the Holy Prophet’s ancestor/ the grandfather of ‘Abbas, Ja‘far, Abū Tālib, Ḥārith, ‘Abdullāh – through paternal lineage.
the month before Ramadan.
a two-rak‘ah mustaḥabb prayer said before watr prayer.
shar‘ or sharī‘ah
the Muslim code of religious law.
in accordance with the Islamic law.
the Islamic law.
the month after Ramadan.
solar hijrī year
a type of calendar common in the Islamic Republic of Iran starting on the first day of spring and calculated from the migration of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) to Medina.
word, act or confirmation of the infallibles.
an epithet for the Twelfth Imam (may Allah bring forward his reappearance.
"Allāhumma ṣalli ‘alā Muhammad wa āli Muhammad".
a contract through which both parties declare their agreement on something such as the transfer of some property, discharge from debt, or relinquishment of a right.
the punishment whose quantity and quality – unlike ḥadd – is determined by the authorized religious authority.
tab‘īḍ in taqlīd
to follow one marji‘ on some issues and (an)other marji‘/s on other issues.
to sit in a special position as if ready to stand up, i.e., in a congregational prayer when the imam is saying tashahhud but it is not the time for the follower to say it due to delay the latter sits in this way.
Phonetics of the Arabic language.
the first takbīrah with which the prayer starts.
a certain place for religious ceremonies.
to follow a mujtahid as far as Islamic law is concerned.
a place outside the city from where a traveler may shorten his prayer and break his fast in some cases, i.e., where one cannot hear the city’s adhān.
the phrase ‘subḥānallāhi wal ḥamdu lillāhi wa lā ilāha illallāhu wal lāhu akbar’ said in the third and forth rak‘ahs of a prayer.
a part of prayer said in the second and the last rak‘ah of a prayer in a sitting position.
to say something intending other than what is normally understood from it, this is a way to refrain from telling a lie.
the dry ablution.
the Ja‘farī jurisprudence
Islamic law according to Imam Ṣādiq (a.) observed by the shī‘ah denomination.
the People of the Book
earth from the grave of Imam Ḥusayn (a.).
a state of having ghusl and wuḍū’; a state of not being najis.
A liquid that occasionally comes out after discharging semen. It is ruled pure and does not invalidate wuḍū’.
A liquid that occasionally comes out after urinating. It is ruled pure and does not invalidate wuḍū’.
a one-rak‘ah prayer said as the last part of the mustaḥabb night prayer.
a city/place where you were born and grew up or which you choose as your permanent residence.
the special authority the Prophet (s.a.w.) and the Infallible Imams (a.) enjoy over human beings, etc.; the custody/guardianship of a ward by certain people.
a religious tax paid on certain crops, animals, and gold and silver coins under certain conditions. This term is also used for what Muslims pay at the end of the month of Ramadan.