Importance and Conditions of Prayer
Q 337: What is the rule concerning a person who intentionally refrains from performing prayers or someone who belittles prayer?
A: The five daily obligatory prayers are among the most important obligations in Islamic law; rather, they constitute the pillar of the faith. According to shar‘, forsaking their performance or belittling them is ḥarām and one who does so deserves divine punishment.
Q 338: Is performing prayer obligatory for a person who lacks the means of wuḍū’ and tayammum, viz. water and any thing with which doing tayammum is correct?
A: Prayer must be performed on time, according to caution; and afterwards, it is made up in qaḍā’ with wuḍū’ or tayammum.
Q 339: In your esteemed opinion, what are the instances for changing the intention, i.e. to change one’s prayer, during obligatory prayer?
A: Changing one’s intention is obligatory in the following instances:
i. From `aṣr to ẓuhr prayer before the special time for the `aṣr prayer when one realizes during prayer that they have not performed the ẓuhr prayer.
ii. From ‘ishā’ to maghrib prayer before the special time for the ` ishā’ prayer when one realizes during prayer, and before passing the point for changing one’s intention, that one has not performed the maghrib prayer.
iii. When one is obligated to perform two qaḍā’ prayers that are to be performed in order (like the qaḍā’ of ẓuhr and aṣr prayers of a single day), but forgetfully begins with the latter before performing the former.
Changing one’s intention is permissible in the following cases:
i. From an obligatory daily (adā’) prayer to an obligatory qaḍā’ one (however, it is an obligatory caution, if they owe just one qaḍā’ prayer, to shift to the qaḍā’ one, especially if it is of the same day).
ii. From an obligatory prayer to a mustaḥabb one for the purpose of joining congregational prayer and getting its reward.
iii. From an obligatory prayer to a nāfilah on Friday noon if one forgets reading the sūrah of Jumu`ah (Friday), starts reading another sūrah and reaches the middle of it or passes the middle.
Q 340: Which one of the following should be done by a person who wants to perform the Friday and the noon prayers together on Friday:
i. Perform each of them for the sake of nearness to Allah without intending that they are obligatory?
ii. Or to offer one of them both for the sake of nearness to Allah and that it is obligatory and the second only for the sake of nearness.
iii. Or perform the both for the sake of nearness to Allah and that they are obligatory as well?
A: Performing each of them with the intention of doing it for the sake of nearness to Allah suffices and it is not necessary to intend that they are obligatory.
Q 341: If the mouth or the nose keeps bleeding from when the time of an obligatory prayer begins until it is about to end, what will be the prayer rule?
A: If one is unable to purify one’s body and fears the expiration of the time of the obligatory prayer, he can perform this prayer in that state.
Q 342: Should the body stand still completely while reciting the mustaḥabb dhikrs of prayers?
A: There is no difference between obligatory and mustaḥabb dhikrs as far as the observing of the obligatory stillness and calmness during prayers is concerned. However, for dhikr which is not said as a part of the prayer, it is possible to say it in moving state.
Q 343: A catheter is put for some patients in hospitals to gather urine. When the catheter is in place the urine comes out of patient’s body unintentionally, whether the patient is asleep, awake, or is performing prayers. In light of this, please answer the following question: Is it obligatory for him to repeat the prayer later, or does the prayer performed in such conditions suffices?
A: His prayer is valid and it is not obligatory for him to repeat it or perform its qaḍā’ if he performs it, in such a condition, in accordance with his real shar‘ī duty.
Q 344: What is the proof on which the Shī‘ah rely concerning the times of daily obligatory prayers? As you know, at the beginning time of the ‘ishā’ Sunnīs say that the maghrib prayer has lapsed and has become qaḍā’; and so is the case with the noon and the afternoon prayer. Accordingly, they believe that when the time of the ‘ishā’ prayers begins and the imam stands up to perform it, the person who prays behind him cannot perform the maghrib prayer with him in order to perform both prayers side by side.
A: The proof is represented by the generality of Qur’anic verses and the noble Sunnah in addition to the traditions that specifically indicate the permissibility of performing such prayers together. Moreover, Sunnīs also have some traditions that prove the permissibility of performing the two prayers during the time of one of them.
Q 345: Keeping in mind that the time of the afternoon prayer ends at sunset and the time of the noon prayer ends a little before sunset when there is just enough time to perform the afternoon prayer, I would like to ask what is meant by “sunset”? Is it the setting of the sun or when the adhān of maghrib prayer is said (according to the local horizon)?
A: The time for the afternoon prayer ends upon the disappearance of the sun.
Q 346: How many minutes is the time gap between sunset and the time for adhān of maghrib?
A: Apparently, it varies with the change of the seasons of the year.
Q 347: Since I work until late at night I cannot return home before 11 p.m. and it is not possible for me to perform the maghrib and ‘ishā’ prayers while working due to the large number of clients. Is it correct to perform the maghrib prayer and the ‘ishā’ after 11 p.m.?
A: There is no problem in it insofar as it does not entail their postponement beyond ‘midnight’. But try to perform them no later than 11p.m., rather offer prayer as soon as its time begins if possible.
Q 348: For our prayer to be considered as adā’ and make it possible for us to perform it with adā’ intention, at least how much of the prayer should be done at its proper time? And what is the rule in the case of doubt as to whether that portion has been performed within the time or not?
A: Performing a single rak‘ah of the prayer at the end of its time is sufficient for considering that it is adā’, and if you doubt whether the time is enough for performing at least one rak‘ah or not, you will perform the prayer with the intention of your real duty.
Q 349: The embassies and consulates of the Islamic Republic of Iran based in other countries have prepared a timetable for the designation of shar‘ī times in major areas and cities. My question is that, to what extent are these timetables reliable?
A: The criterion is the certainty of the mukallaf and if he is not convinced about the correspondence of these timetables with reality, it will be obligatory for him to observe caution and wait till he is sure that the shar‘ī time has set in.
Q 350: What is your opinion on the issue of the true fajr and the false fajr? What is the duty of the praying person in this regard?
A: The shar‘ī criterion with respect to the time of praying and fasting is true fajr, and its determination is the task of the mukallaf.
Q 351: In a full-time secondary school, the authorities conduct noon and ‘aṣr prayers in congregation at 2 p.m., shortly before the start of the afternoon classes. The reason for the delay is that the morning session ends 45 minutes before the shar‘ī noon and keeping students till the shar‘ī timing of noon is difficult. Having this in mind, what is your esteemed opinion, given the importance of performing prayer at the beginning of its time?
A: There is no problem in delaying congregational prayer so that those who want to perform prayer can gather assuming they are at school when prayer time begins.
Q 352: Is it obligatory to perform noon prayers after the adhān of noon and ‘aṣr prayers when its time has arrived, and to do the same with respect to maghrib and ‘ishā’ prayers?
A: After the time arrives, the mukallaf has the choice either to perform the two prayers together successively or to perform, each at its prescribed most excellent time of virtue.
Q 353: Is it obligatory to wait for 15 to 20 minutes for performing morning prayer during moonlit nights? Given that the time of prayer could be determined by clocks and it is possible, then, to obtain certainty concerning the occurrence of the fajr?
A: There is no difference between nights, moonlit or otherwise, as regards fajr arrival, the time of morning obligatory prayer, and the obligatory time of abstinence for fasting, though it would be good to observe caution in this regard.
Q 354: Is the amount of difference of the shar‘ī times among various provinces, which is caused by the difference of their horizons, the same with respect to the time of all three daily obligatory prayers? For example, suppose that the difference between the noon prayer timings of two provinces is 25 minutes. Does this difference remain with respect to other timings and is it the same amount? Or does it vary for the timings of morning, maghrib and ‘ishā’ prayers?
A: The sole similarity of the amount of difference between them with respect to the occurrence of fajr, noon, or sunset does not necessarily imply similarity with regard to all the other timings. Rather, the amount of difference between various cities often differs in relation to the three praying times.
Q 355: Given that Sunnīs perform maghrib prayer before shar‘ī maghrib, is it permissible for us to perform prayers behind them during hajj season and at other times? Do these prayers suffice?
A: It is not certain that their performance of prayer is before the arrival of its time. Joining them in their congregational prayer and praying behind them do not involve any problem and it is sufficient. However, it is necessary to wait for the specified time of prayer to arrive unless the time issue is also a matter of dissimulation.
Q 356: The sun rises in Denmark and Norway at 4 a.m. and sets at 23 p.m. Then by adding the time for morning payer and the gap between sunset and maghrib, the time for fast comes to about 22 hours. What is my duty with respect to performing prayers and fasting?
A: It is obligatory to observe the particular horizon of that area as far as the timing of daily prayers and fasting are concerned. If fasting is impossible or causes unbearable hardship due to the length of the day, it will cease to be obligatory in its time, and instead, it should be performed later as qaḍā’.
Q 357: The sunlight reaches the earth in about 7 minutes. Which one is the criterion for determining the end of the time of morning prayer: sunrise or when the sunlight reaches the earth?
A: The criterion of sunrise is its visibility on the local horizon of the praying person.
Q 358: Shar‘ī timings are announced by mass media a day before. Is it permissible to rely on these announcements and consider the broadcast or the telecast of adhān as the basis for the arrival of prayer time?
A: If the mukallaf becomes confident about the beginning of the time by this means, he can rely on it.
Q 359: Does the time of prayer start as soon as adhān begins to be recited, or is it obligatory to wait till adhān is over? And is it permissible for a fasting person to end his fast as soon as adhān begins or is it obligatory for him to wait until it ends?
A: If one is certain that adhān started when the time arrived, it is not necessary to wait until its end.
Q 360: Is the prayer of someone who has performed the second of two prayers before the first — such as the ‘ishā’ before the maghrib — correct?
A: In case that he performed the second prayer first by mistake or unintentionally and he remembered only when he had completed the prayer, then it is correct. But if he did so intentionally, it is invalid.
Q 361: Does the time of the afternoon prayer extend until the adhān of maghrib or does it end just at sunset? Also what is the exact time of shar‘ī midnight regarding ‘ishā’ prayer and passing the night at Mina in hajj?
A: The end limit of the time of the afternoon prayer is sunset. For calculating shar‘ī midnight, one should consider the length of the night from sunset till fajr.
Q 362: What is the duty of the person who becomes aware during the afternoon prayer that he had not performed noon prayer?
A: If he starts saying the afternoon prayer thinking that he has said the noon prayer and during the prayer he notices his mistake, then if that happens at the time which is common between noon and afternoon prayers, he should, immediately, change his intention to the noon prayer and finish it and, then, perform the afternoon prayer. If that happens at the specific time of the noon prayer [which starts at noon time and last for a few minutes just enough for offering noon prayer, i.e. enough for four rak‘ahs for the resident person and two rak‘ahs for the traveling one], it will be an obligatory caution to change one’s intention to the noon prayer and complete it, but he should perform both the noon and afternoon prayers later in order. The same duty is applicable to maghrib and ‘ishā’ prayers, if one has not bowed to the rukū‘ of the foruth rak`ah; otherwise, they should, by obligatory caution, complete the prayer and, then, offer both the maghrib and ‘ishā’ prayers in order.
Q 363: Please answer the following questions:
i. It is stated based on some books on Islamic law that the sun is exactly above the Ka‘bah on two days: the 28th of May and the 16th of July. In such a condition, is it possible to determine the direction of the qiblah by fixing a pole in the ground at the time of adhān in Mecca? In case the direction of qiblah in the prayer niches of masjids differs from the direction of the pole’s shadow, which one is more correct?
ii. Is it correct to rely on a compass to find the qiblah?
A: It is correct to rely on the pole or compass provided that it makes the mukallaf confident with respect to the direction of qiblah and it should be acted upon. Otherwise, they would pray to whichever direction they think that it is more probable to be the direction of qiblah, like the probability acquired by the direction of a masjid's niche (mihrāb).
Q 364: Is it correct to perform prayer in any direction in the course of a fierce battle when it is not possible to determine the direction of qiblah?
A: If all directions are equally probable and there is enough time, one should perform prayer in four directions, as per obligatory caution. But in the shortage of time one should repeat the prayer to every direction that he thinks it may be the correct one as much as time allows.
Q 365: How should one face the qiblah at the point which is the opposite to the Holy Ka‘bah on the other side of the earth so that the line drawn from the Holy Ka‘bah passing through the center of the earth comes out of the other side of the earth at this point?
A: The basis in facing the qiblah is to turn towards the Free House [Ka‘bah] in such a manner that someone who stands on the surface of the earth faces the Holy Ka‘bah that is built upon the earth’s surface in Mecca. Therefore, if one stands at a point on the earth where the straight lines emanating from it in four directions and passing over the earth’s surface towards the Holy Ka‘bah are equal in distance, he can pray to any direction he wishes. But, if the distance in some directions is shorter to the extent that the realization of facing qiblah varies according to common view, it will be obligatory to choose the direction of the shorter distance.
Q 366: What should a person do in a place where he does not knows the direction of the qiblah for sure or with probability, i.e., all four directions enjoy equal chances to be that of the qiblah?
A: In the given question it will be obligatory, as per obligatory caution, to perform the prayer in all four directions and if there is not enough time for offering four prayers, one should perform the prayers in as many directions as time allows.
Q 367: How is the direction of the qiblah determined and how should prayer be performed at the north and South Pole?
A: The criterion in determining the direction of qiblah at the two Poles is to find the shortest line from the location of the praying person to the Ka‘bah passing on the surface of the earth and then, to face qiblah along that line.
The Place of Praying
Q 368: Is one permitted to sit in, perform prayers in, or pass through places that have been usurped by a tyrannical regime?
A: Assuming certainty about usurpation, the rules and consequences of the usurped [places] will apply to it.
Q 369: What is the rule with respect to performing prayer on land that used to be an endowment in the past and the government has taken it over and built a school on it?
A: If there is a considerable probability that the said making use of the land by the government has been due to a shar‘ī justification, there will be no problem in performing prayers on it.
Q 370: I lead the congregational prayer in some schools. The schools are built on the lands without the consent of the landlords. What is the rule of my prayer and those of the students there?
A: If it is considerably probable that the related official has built schools there on the basis of legal and shar‘ī permission, to say prayer there is no problem.
Q 371: A person performed prayers, for a period of time, on a prayer mat or in a dress out of which khums was to be paid. What is the state of these prayers?
A: So far the prayers he said wearing them are valid.
Q 372: Is it true that men should stand in front of women while performing prayer?
A: By obligatory caution, there should be a distance of — at least — one hand span between a man and a woman who are praying. In this case, their prayers are valid if they are in the same row or she stands in front of him.
Q 373: What is the rule with respect to hanging the photographs of Imam Khomeini (q.) and the martyrs of the Islamic Revolution in the masjids, given that Imam Khomeini (q.) expressed his desire not to have his photographs fixed in the masjids and there is also a view that considers such an act as makrūh?
A: There is no objection to doing so. But if they are in the place where people say their prayers, it is better to cover the photographs at the time of prayer.
Q 374: A person has been living in a house owned by the government and after the allotted time for his residence is over, he is given a notice to vacate it. What is the rule pertaining to his prayers and fasting after the deadline fixed for its evacuation expires?
A: If he is not allowed by the concerned authorities to reside in the house after the deadline, all kind of making use of the house will be considered as acts of usurpation.
Q 375: Is it makrūh to perform prayer on a prayer mat that has pictures on it or on clay [turbah] with engravings?
A: It is not problematic in itself but if it provides an opportunity for those who always accuse Shī‘ah, it will be obligatory to refrain from manufacturing such things and performing prayers on them. Also, if it entails absent mindedness and loss of concentration during prayer, it will be makrūh.
Q 376: The place we perform prayer is not pure but the place of prostration is. Is our prayer correct?
A: If the najāsah of the place does not transfer to one’s clothes or body and the place of prostration is pure, there will be no problem in performing prayer there.
Q 377: The present building of the office where we work used to be the site of a graveyard in the past. About forty years ago it was abandoned and thirty years ago this building was constructed. Now, all the lands around the office have been built on, and there remains no sign of the graveyard. Please clarify whether it is correct for the employees to perform prayer in such an office from the viewpoint of Islamic law?
A: The different kinds of making use of such an office and performing prayer in it are allowed without any problem unless it is proved through a shar‘ī way that the ground upon which this office has been built is an endowment for the burial of the dead and it has been used for building through illegal ways as per shar‘.
Q 378: Some faithful youths have decided to hold prayers in parks on one or two days of the week for the sake of enjoining the good. Some respected and elderly people objected to it saying that the ownership of such places is not clear. What is the ruling with regard to performing prayer in such places?
A: There is no problem in using present parks and the like for such activities as holding prayers, etc. The mere probability of usurpation is not to be taken into consideration.
Q 379: The land of a high school belongs to a person. According to the city plan, it was decided to change it to a park. However, due to pressing need and agreement of the officials, a high school was built there. The owner does not agree that the government uses his land and declared his objection to say one's prayer there. What is your respected opinion in this regard?
A: If they got the land in consistent with the laws passed by The Islamic Consultative Assembly and ratified by the Guardian Council, there is no problem in using it / saying one's prayer there.
Q 380: In our city, there were two adjacent masjids separated by a wall. Some time ago, some pious people removed a large part of that wall with the purpose of connecting the two masjids. This became the cause of doubt for some people with respect to performing prayers in both masjids. They still doubt. Please advise what is to be done in this case?
A: The destruction of the wall separating the two masjids does not cause any problem with performing prayers in them.
Q 381: There are some restaurants on the roads next to which there exist places for performing prayer. If one does not eat in those restaurants, will he be allowed to perform prayer in those places or does he have to seek permission from the owners of the restaurants?
A: If there is a probability that the place for performing prayer belongs to the owner of the restaurant and that the right to take advantage of it is exclusive to those who eat in that restaurant, it will be obligatory for him to ask for permission.
Q 382: Will the prayer of a person be valid if he performs it on usurped land while standing on a prayer mat or a wooden board or something similar?
A: The prayer performed on usurped land is void even if one stands on a prayer mat or something else put on the land.
Q 383: In some governmental companies and institutions, there are some people who do not attend congregational prayers held in them with the excuse that such places were taken over from their owners upon the orders of a shar‘ī court. Please state your honored opinion in this matter?
A: If there is a probability that the judge who issued the confiscation order enjoys legal competence and did so according to shar‘ī and legal criteria, then his act will be considered valid, and therefore, it will be permissible to carry out every kind of activity in that place and the rules of usurpation do not apply to it.
Q 384: If there is a masjid next to a ḥusayniyyah, will it be correct to perform congregational prayer in the ḥusayniyyah? Are the rewards of such prayers equal in both places?
A: There is no doubt that the merit of performing prayer in a masjid is more than that performed in any other place. However, by itself there is no shar‘ī obstacle to performing congregational prayer in a ḥusayniyyah or in any other place.
Q 385: Is it correct to perform prayer in a place where forbidden music is being played?
A: If it entails listening to a ḥarām kind of music, staying there is not permissible, although performing prayer is considered valid. If the sound of music distracts one’s attention and concentration, performing prayer there will be makrūh.
Q 386: What is the rule concerning the prayer of those who are sent on a mission in a boat when the prayer time begins in such a way that if they do not pray there, they will not be able to perform it thereafter in its specific time?
A: In the mentioned condition it is obligatory for them to perform prayer at its time in any possible way even inside the boat.
Rules of a Masjid
Q 387: Given that performing prayers in the neighboring masjid is mustaḥabb, is there any problem in leaving the neighboring masjid in order to go to the jāmi‘ masjid of the city to perform congregational prayer?
A: There is no problem if one abstains from going to the local masjid in order to attend the congregational prayer of another masjid, particularly the jāmi‘ masjid of the city.
Q 388: What is the rule with regard to performing prayers in a masjid which some people who participated in its construction claim that they built for themselves and their tribe?
A: After being built as a masjid it does not belong to a specific nationality, group, tribe, or individuals, and it is permissible for all Muslims to make use of it.
Q 389: Is it more preferable for women to perform prayer in a masjid or at home?
A: The merits of performing prayer in a masjid are not restricted to men.
Q 390: At present, there is a short wall between Masjid al-Ḥarām and the passage between Safā and Marwah. This wall measures half a meter high and one meter wide and is shared by both the Masjid and the passage of sa‘y. Could women sit on this wall during their period when it is not permissible for them to enter Masjid al-Ḥarām?
A: There is no problem in programs like educational classes if they are not against the dignity of the masjid nor disturb holding the congregational prayers and the praying persons.
Q 391: Is one permitted to do sports exercises or sleep in a local masjid? What is the rule of doing so in other masjids?
A: A masjid is not a place of sport exercises and any practice incompatible with its standing and prestige should be avoided. Also sleeping inside a masjid is makrūh.
Q 392: Is it permissible to use the yard of a masjid for providing youngsters with intellectual, cultural, ideological and military (through military lessons) information? And what is the shar‘ī rule of practicing these actions in the portico of a masjid (taking into account the shortage of places designated for such purposes)?
A: It depends on the conditions of the endowment of the yard and portico of the masjid and it is obligatory to seek the advice of the congregational prayer imam and the board of trustees of the masjid in this regard. Of course the presence of the youth in masjids and setting up religious classes upon the permission of the imam and the board of trustees are desirable and mustaḥabb matters.
Q 393: In some areas, particularly in villages, people hold wedding ceremonies in masjids. That is, they perform all celebrations involving dance and music at home, but serve lunch or dinner in the masjid. Does Islamic law permit this?
A: There is no problem, in itself, in serving food to guests in a masjid.
Q 394: A cooperative builds residential quarters and it is initially agreed upon that those areas include public places such as masjids. Now that residential units are prepared and have been submitted to the company’s shareholders, could some of them breach their agreement by saying that they are not content with building the masjid?
A: If the company builds the masjid upon obtaining the agreement of all of its members and the masjid is constructed and endowed, the withdrawal of some members from the previous agreement will have no effect. If, however, their change of mind occurs prior to the realization of the masjid’s endowment, construction of the masjid using members money on the land which belongs to all members without their consent will be impermissible unless it is stated as a condition in a binding contract that a part of the land is allocated for the construction of the masjid and the members have accepted this condition. In such a case, they have no right to change their minds and their withdrawal will have no effect.
Q 396: In order to combat the non-Islamic cultural invasion, we gathered about 30 students from elementary and high schools in the form of song bands in the masjid. The members of these bands participate in classes on the Qur’an, the practical laws of Islam, and Islamic ethics appropriate to their age and intellectual level. What is the rule regarding such activities? What is your ruling on playing a musical instrument called organ by this band? And what is the rule of playing this instrument in the masjid while observing shar‘ī standards?
A: There is no problem in having classes on recitation of the Holy Qur’an, practical laws of Islam, Islamic ethics and practicing religious and revolutionary songs in a masjid. But it is obligatory to show appropriate respect for the status, sacredness, and position of the masjid and refrain from things which are against the dignity and positoin of the masjid. It is also impermissible to annoy and disturb the praying persons.
Q 397: Is there any objection, according to Islamic law, to playing cheerful music in the masjid on the occasion of the birthdays of the Infallible Imams (a.)?
A: The masjid has obviously a distinguished shar‘ī status. Therefore, if playing music is not appropriate to its status; it will be ḥarām even if the music being played is not lahwī.
Q 398: When is it permissible to use loudspeakers of a masjid to broadcast programs outside? And what is the ruling with respect to playing Qur’anic cassettes and revolutionary songs prior to adhān?
A: There is no problem in relaying the recitation of the Holy Qur’an over the loudspeaker for a few minutes prior to adhān when it does not cause discomfort and disturbance for neighbors and the residents of the area.
Q 399: How do you define a jāmi‘ masjid?
A: It is a masjid built in the city for the gathering of most of the residents of that city without being specific for a particular tribe or group of people.
Q 400: A roofed section of a masjid has been left vacant and no prayers have been performed there for the last thirty years. Now, it has become a ruin and a part of it is used as storage. Recently, some repairs have been done in this masjid by the Basīj Forces that have been headquartered in its roofed section since approximately 15 years ago. The reason for these repairs was the inappropriate condition of the building, especially that the roof was about to fall. Since the brothers in the Basīj Forces were unaware of the rules of masjid, and those who knew the rules did not guide them, the brothers built a number of rooms in a part of this section spending large amounts of money on the project. Now that construction operations are nearly completed, we would be grateful if you clarify the shar‘ī rule concerning the following matters:
i. Assuming that those in charge of this project and those supervising it were unaware of the rule, are they considered liable, according to shar‘, for the expenditures spent out of the public assets of Muslims? And are they sinners or not?
ii. Given that the expenditures were obtained from the public assets of Muslims, would you allow — as long as the masjid does not need this part and no prayers is performed there — that these rooms are used, in full compliance with shar‘ī rules and restrictions concerning a masjid, for educational purposes like teaching the Holy Qur’an and practical laws, and for other affairs of the masjid? Or is it obligatory to destroy those rooms?
A: It is obligatory to restore the roofed part of the masjid to its original condition by demolishing the rooms that were built in it. As regards the expenditures, it is not certain whether anyone is responsible for them as long as there was no extravagance, wastefulness, wantonness and negligence. There is no problem in using the roofed section of the masjid for holding classes of the Holy Qur’an, laws, and Islamic theology and engaging in other religious ceremonies as long as such activities do not disturb those who are performing prayers and are held under the supervision of the imam of the masjid. The imam, the Basīj Forces, and other persons in charge of the masjid should cooperate to preserve the attendance of Basīj Forces in the masjid as well as to prevent any disorder in its worship related duties such as prayers, etc.
Q 401: Several masjids are located inside the area covered by a road-widening project. Therefore, it is necessary to demolish some of these masjids completely and some others partially in order to facilitate the traffic of motor vehicles. Please clarify your esteemed opinion in this regard.
A: It is not permissible to demolish a masjid or a part of it except when there is a specific advantage which cannot be neglected and ignored.
Q 402: Is it permissible for people to make personal use of a small quantity of a masjid’s water, which is specifically there for performing wuḍū’. For example, could shopkeepers use it for drinking cold water, making tea, or for their cars, given that the masjid has no single endower who can prevent people from doing so?
A: If it is not known that the masjid’s water is endowed to be used for wuḍū’ only by those who want to perform prayer, and in the masjid’s area the neighbors and passers-by usually use such water, there will be no problem with it, although observing caution in this regard is preferred.
Q 403: There is a masjid near a graveyard. When some believers come to pay a visit to the graves of their dead, they take water from the masjid to pour over the gravestones. We do not know whether this water has been endowed for the masjid or may be subject to general use. And assuming that we know that the water is not endowed for the masjid, and we do not know whether or not it is allocated for use in wuḍū’ and toilet uses, is it permissible to use the water in the said way?
A: There will be no problem in taking water from the masjid for pouring over the gravestones located outside if it is commonly practiced, nobody objects to doing that, and there is no evidence suggesting that the endowment was specifically for wuḍū’ and purification only.
Q 404: Is the permission of the authorized religious authority or his attorney required when a masjid needs to be repaired?
A: For the voluntary repair of a masjid — spending one’s own money or the money of charitable contributors — there is no need to acquire any permission from the authorized religious authority.
Q 405: Is it permissible for me to make a will that I should be buried in the local masjid to which I have made many contributions? That is because I would like to be buried in that masjid, whether inside or in its yard.
A: If the burial of a dead is not excepted at the time of pronouncing the formula of the endowment, it is not permissible to bury anybody there, and therefore, your will in this regard has no validity.
Q 406: A masjid was constructed about 20 years ago and decorated with the lovely name of Ṣāḥib al-Zamān, (may Allah hasten his reappearance). Given that it is not known whether this name was mentioned in the endowment formula of the masjid, what is the rule of changing the masjid’s name from ‘Ṣāḥib al-Zamān’ to jāmi‘ masjid?
A: There is no problem in the mere change of the masjid’s name.
Q 407: Some masjids have been equipped with electricity and air conditioners by using nadhr money and believers’ gifts to these masjids. Whenever one of the neighboring residents dies, ceremonies for reciting the Fātiḥah are held for him in the masjid and the masjid’s electricity and air conditioning system are used during the service but the organizers do not pay anything towards the expenses of such usage. Is this permissible according to Islamic law?
A: The permissibility of using the facilities of the masjid for special mourning events and the like is dependent on the conditions of the endowment or donation of those facilities as nadhr for the masjid.
Q 408: There is a newly built masjid in a village (on land where the old masjid stood). Due to the lack of knowledge, a room was constructed for making tea in a corner of this masjid, the land of which was a part of the old masjid. Furthermore, a library was built on the rooftop of the terrace that exists inside the masjid. Please express your honor’s opinion on this matter and also the completion of, and how to use, the interior half of the building?
A: Building a tearoom on the land of the old masjid is not correct and it is obligatory to restore the place to its previous status of being a masjid. The same rule applies to both the rooftop of the masjid and the masjid itself and all rules and shar‘ī effects pertaining to the masjid also apply to its rooftop. However, there will be no problem in setting up bookcases there and gathering there for the purpose of reading books if such things do not disturb praying persons.
Q 409: In a village, there is a masjid which is going to be ruined. Since this masjid does not obstruct any path or route, there is no justification for demolishing it. Is it permissible to demolish this masjid completely? Besides, this masjid has certain equipments and properties. To whom should these things be given?
A: It is not permissible to demolish and destroy a masjid. Generally speaking, a masjid does not cease to be a masjid merely due to demolishing it. As for the assets of the masjid, if there is no need for using them there, there is no problem in transferring them to other masjids so that they are used.
Q 408: Is it permissible, according to Islamic law, to build a museum in a corner of the hall of the masjid without interfering with the masjid’s building itself, just like a library that constitutes a part of the masjid’s construction at the time being?
A: It is not permissible to build a museum or a library in a corner of the masjid’s hall if it is against the specifications of the endowment of the masjid’s hall, or results in a change in the masjid’s building. It is preferred that you build another place adjacent to the masjid for the said purpose.
Q 411: There is an endowed place where a masjid, a school for Islamic studies, and a library are built and all of them are currently operational. This place is a part of the map of the places that are to be demolished by the municipality. How could we cooperate with the municipality for the destruction of these places and obtain clearance from them to build better places?
A: If the municipality demolishes them and compensates for them, there is no objection to it. However, the very demolishing of an endowed masjid or school is not permissible unless there is a more significant interest that could not be overlooked.
Q 412: In order to enlarge a masjid here, it has become necessary to cut down some of the trees which exist in its yard. Given that the masjid’s yard is quite big and it has numerous trees, is it permissible to do so?
A: There is no problem in it if cutting the trees is not considered an alteration in the endowment.
Q 413: What is the ruling with regards to the land that was originally a part of the roofed section of a masjid but was altered to a street after the masjid was included in the municipality’s development plan and a part of it was demolished due to necessity?
A: The rules for masjids do not apply to it if the probability of the restoration of the land to its original status of a masjid is zero.
Q 414: There was a masjid that had been destroyed and its traces are completely effaced or another building has been built in its place and there is no hope that the building of the masjid will be restored, for example, all surrounding buildings are ruined and the people have moved to another area. Is the act of making this place najis ḥarām and is purifying it obligatory?
A: In the given question, it is not ḥarām to make this place najis, although it is a caution not to make it najis.
Q 415: I have been conducting congregational prayers at a masjid for a while having no information about the details of the masjid’s endowment. Given that this masjid is presently facing numerous financial difficulties, is it permissible to rent out its basement to do something that fits the masjid’s status?
A: There is no problem in it if the title of ‘masjid’ does not apply to the basement, the basement is not considered a part of the facilities that the masjid needs, and it is not endowed to be utilized itself.
Q 416: The masjid does not have any properties through which its affairs could be run. The supervisory board has proposed digging a basement under the roofed section of the masjid in order to build a small factory and facilities for public utilities for the service of the masjid. Is this permissible?
A: It is not permissible to dig a basement under the roofed section in order to set up a small factory or the like.
Q 417: In general, is it permissible for non-Muslims enter Muslims’ masjids even for the purpose of visiting ancient monuments?
A: According to shar‘, they should not enter Masjid al-Ḥarām. If their entrance to other masjids is considered to entail disgrace and disrespect to the sanctity of the masjid, it is, also impermissible; in general, they should not enter any masjid.
Q 418: Is it permissible to perform prayers in a masjid built by non-Muslims?
A: There is no objection to performing prayers in it.
Q 419: Is it permissible to accept the money or other kinds of donations offered by non-Muslims for building a masjid?
A: There is no objection to it.
Q 420: What is the duty of someone who enters a masjid at night, sleeps there, and has a nocturnal emission but cannot leave the masjid after he wakes up?
A: If there is no way that he can leave the masjid and go to somewhere else, it is obligatory for him to perform tayammum at once which makes it permissible for him to remain in the masjid.
Rules Regarding Other Religious Places
Q 421: Is it permissible to register a ḥusayniyyah under the names of certain persons?
A: It is impermissible to register a ḥusayniyyah that is endowed for holding religious ceremonies as private property and there is no need to register it — as an endowment — under the names of specific persons. In any case, registering it as an endowment under the names of some persons is better done after obtaining the permission of all those who contribute in its construction.
Q 422: It is stated in the books on practical laws that it is not permissible for a junub person or a menstruating woman to enter the shrines of the Imams (a.). Please explain whether what is meant by the shrines is only the area beneath the dome or does it include all buildings connected to that area?
A: The shrine means the area under the blessed dome and that which is commonly recognized as the shrine and the holy place where an Imam (a.) is buried. As far as the attached building and porches are concerned, they are not subject to the rules of the shrine; therefore, there is no problem in the entrance of a junub person or a menstruating woman in them except those sections that have the title of masjid.
Q 423: A ḥusayniyyah was built next to an old masjid. At present, this masjid does not have enough space to accommodate all of the people who want to perform prayer. Is it permissible to incorporate the said ḥusayniyyah to this masjid and use it as a part of the masjid?
A: There is no problem in performing prayers in the ḥusayniyyah. However, if the ḥusayniyyah has been endowed correctly, according to shar‘, as a ḥusayniyyah, it is not permissible to transform it to a masjid or incorporate it to the adjacent masjid under the title of masjid.
Q 424: Could the carpets and properties donated — as nadhr — to the shrine of one of the descendants of the Imams (a.) be used in the jāmi‘ masjid of an area?
A: There is no problem in it provided that they are in excess of the needs of the shrine and its visitors.
Q 425: Do the rules of a masjid also apply to the takiyahs that are founded under the name of Abulfaḍl (a.), etc.? Please, clarify the rules of such centers.
A: The rules of a masjid do not apply to takiyahs and ḥusayniyyahs.
Clothes of the Praying Person
Q 426: Will my prayer be invalid if I perform them in clothes that I doubt are najis?
A: Clothing which one doubts its being najis is considered pure and it is correct to perform prayer in it provided that we are not sure that it was najis before the time of doubt.
Q 427: I purchased a leather belt from Germany. Is there any shar‘ī problem in performing prayers with it if I doubt whether it is made of natural or synthetic leather or whether the leather belongs to an animal that is slaughtered ritually? And what is the ruling with respect to the prayers that I performed while having the belt on?
A: If you doubt whether it is made of natural leather or not, there is no problem in performing prayers with it on. But, if you know it is made of natural leather but doubt whether it is from an animal that was ritually slaughtered or not, even though it is ruled as pure, it is unlawful to pray in it. Nevertheless, the prayers performed in the past are considered valid and there is no need to make them up if you were ignorant of this ruling.
Q 428: If someone is sure that there is no najis substance on his clothes or body and performs his prayer but realizes afterwards that his body or clothes were najis; is the prayer he performed invalid? What will be the ruling if it becomes najis during the prayer?
A: If someone is not aware at all that his body or clothes are najis and comes to know it only after the end of the prayer, it is valid, and it is not obligatory for them to repeat, or perform the qaḍā’ of that prayer. But, if it becomes najis during the prayer, it will be obligatory for them to remove the najāsah from their body or take off the najis clothing during the prayer — provided that they can do so without committing anything that contradicts the prayer — and complete their prayer. If they are unable to remove the najāsah while preserving the status of the prayer and there is enough time, it is obligatory for them to break the prayer and resume it after the removal of the najāsah.
Q 429: A person used to perform his prayers for a period of time while wearing clothes made of the leather of an animal about which there was doubt as to whether it was ritually slaughtered while the prayer is invalid with that leather. Should he say the prayers again? In general, what is the ruling on an animal about which there was doubt as to whether it was ritually slaughtered?
A: The rule for such an animal is similar to the rule for an animal that was not ritually slaughtered in that it is ḥarām to eat the meat or to perform prayer with the leather, but it is considered pure. Nevertheless, if the previous prayers were performed in ignorance about this rule, they are ruled as correct.
Q 430: A woman realizes during her prayer that some of her hair is unveiled and immediately covers it. Is it obligatory for her to repeat that prayer?
A: In the given case that she immediately covered it, it is not obligatory to repeat that prayer.
Q 431: Due to urgency, a person is compelled to clean his urinary outlet using a piece of wood, stone or something else. Then he washes that part with water after returning home. Is it obligatory for him to change or purify his underwear in order to perform prayer?
A: It will not be obligatory for him to purify his clothes if they have not been made najis by the wetness of the urine.
Q 432: Some imported industrial machines are installed with the assistance of foreign experts who are considered, according to Islamic law, non-Muslims and najis. The activation of these machines is accomplished through their lubrication or other actions done by hand. Therefore, these machines cannot be pure. Given that workers’ clothes and bodies always touch these machines during the work, and they do not have enough time throughout working hours to purify their cloths and bodies completely, what is their duty with respect to performing prayer?
A: Due to the probability that the non-Muslim who activates the machines is from the People of the Book, who are considered pure, or that he wears gloves while working, no certainty emerges concerning the najāsah of the place and machines merely by knowing that they are activated by a non-Muslim. However, if there is certainty about the najāsah of the machine and that workers’ bodies and clothes contact it with transmitting moisture while working on it, it is obligatory to purify their bodies and purify or change their clothes for prayer.
Q 433: If a praying person carries a handkerchief or something similar that is made najis by blood or has such things in his pocket, will his prayer be void?
A: If the handkerchief is too small to cover one’s private parts, there is no problem in it.
Q 434: Is it correct to perform prayer in clothes that are scented with modern perfumes containing alcohol?
A: There is no problem in performing prayer in it as long as the perfume in question is not known to be najis.
Q 435: How much of the body a woman should be covered in prayer? Is there any problem with short-sleeved clothes and in not wearing socks?
A: Women should cover the whole body except the area of the face washed during wuḍū, the hands up to the wrists, and the feet up to the ankles provided that the dress should really cover the body. In the presence of a non-maḥram the feet should be covered as well.
Q 436: Is it obligatory for women to cover their feet during prayer?
A: Covering the feet up to the ankles is not obligatory as long as no non-maḥram is there.
Q 437: Is it obligatory to cover one’s chin completely when wearing ḥijāb and performing prayer or is it sufficient to cover the lower part of it? And is the obligation of veiling the chin a preliminary step for the obligatory face veil in shar‘?
A: It is obligatory to cover the lower part of the chin not the chin itself, because it is a part of the face.
Q 438: Does the rule relating to the correctness of prayer prayed with an extrinsically najis thing that is not enough to cover one’s private parts apply only to the cases of forgetting of, or ignorance of, the rule or the subject, or does it cover cases of ambiguity with respect to the case or to the rule?
A: The rule is neither specific to the case of forgetfulness nor to that of ignorance. Rather, it is permissible to perform prayers along with carrying an extrinsically najis thing which is not sufficient to cover the private parts even if one knows about it.
Q 439: Does the existence of the hair or saliva of a cat on a person’s clothes cause his/her prayer to be invalid?
A: Yes, it invalidates the prayer.
Wearing and Using Gold and Silver
Q 440: What is the rule of wearing gold rings by men, (particularly during prayers)?
A: A man is not allowed to wear a gold ring at all, and the prayer he performs while wearing it is void as per obligatory caution.
Q 441: What is the rule of wearing white gold rings by men?
A: If the so-called white gold is the known yellow gold which is mixed with a substances that makes its color white, it is ḥarām. While if the amount of gold in it is so small that in the common view it is not called it gold anymore, it is not forbidden to wear it. Platinum is also no problem.
Q 442: Is there any problem, according to shar‘, in wearing gold when it is not for beautification purposes and the gold is not visible to others?
A: It is absolutely ḥarām for men to wear gold whether ring or something else even though it is not for adorning purposes and the gold is hidden from others.
Q 443: What is the ruling with respect to wearing gold by men for a short period? We ask this question because there are some people who claim that there is no problem in wearing gold for a short period such as the time of marriage.
A: Wearing gold is ḥarām for men, whether for a short period or a long one.
Q 444: Taking into consideration the rules regarding the clothes of a praying person and that wearing gold as an adornment is forbidden for men, please answer the following two questions:
i. Does adorning with gold mean any use of gold by men even in bone surgery and dentistry?
ii. Given that, according to a tradition in our area, newly married youths wear engagement rings made of yellow gold, and this action is by no means considered by ordinary people as an adornment for men, but as a sign of the beginning of the individual’s marital life, what is Your Eminence’s opinion in this regard?
i. The criterion in the prohibition of wearing gold by men is not that it falls under the category of adorning, rather it includes all forms and purposes of wearing gold. Therefore, it is ḥarām even if it happens to be an ordinary or wedding ring, chain, etc. However, there is no problem in the use of gold for men in bone surgery and dentistry.
ii. Wearing rings made of gold is ḥarām for men in all cases.
Q 445: What is the rule of selling and making golden jewelry which is specifically to be used by men and not worn by women?
A: Making golden jewelry to be specifically used by men is ḥarām. Similarly, it is not permissible to buy and sell it for that purpose.
Q 446: We see in some parties that sweets are served on silver plates. Is this action considered an example of eating from a silver plate? And what is its rule?
A: If to take food or the like from a silver plate for the purpose of eating is considered as eating from a silver plate, it is ḥarām.
Q 447: Is there any problem in having one’s tooth covered with gold? What is the rule of having it covered with platinum?
A: There is no problem in having one’s teeth covered with gold or platinum. However, a problem arises in the case of covering the front teeth with gold for the purpose of adornment.
Adhān and Iqāmah
Q 448: In our village, the person who says the morning adhān during the blessed month of Ramadan always does so a few minutes before the beginning of the time so that people may continue eating and drinking until the middle or end of the adhān. Is it correct to do so?
A: If raising the adhān does not lead to people’s confusion, and is not intended as an announcement of the arrival of the time of fajr, there will be no problem in it.
Q 449: Some individuals have started, with the aim of announcing prayer time arrival, to say adhān in groups in public places. All praise be to Allah! This activity has had a great effect in preventing overt corruption in the area and in encouraging people, especially the youth, towards the timely performance of prayers. However, someone has stated that this action is not specifically mentioned in the sources of Islamic law, and therefore it is an innovation. This statement has caused some doubt. What is your esteemed opinion?
A: Reciting adhān (declaring the beginning of the time of prayer) at the beginning of the times of daily obligatory prayers and its repetition by the listeners are among the most highly mustaḥabb actions in the viewpoint of shar‘. There is no problem in saying the adhān in a group form around public places as long as it does not lead to obstruction of the way or harassment of others.
Q 450: Since saying adhān loudly is a religio-political act which involves a great reward, the believers decided to do so on the roofs of their houses without using a loudspeaker at the time of obligatory prayer, particularly the morning prayers. What is the rule of such an action in case of objection by some neighbors?
A: There is no problem in saying the adhān in a conventional form on the roofs of houses.
Q 451: What is the rule with respect to relaying the special programs of saḥar in the holy month of Ramadan through the masjid’s loudspeakers so that everyone hears it?
A: There is no problem in doing so in areas where most people are awake during the nights of the holy month of Ramadan for reciting the Holy Qur’an and supplications, attending religious ceremonies and so on. But if it annoys the masjid’s neighbors, it will be impermissible.
Q 452: Is it allowed in masjids and other centers to broadcast Qur’anic verses before morning adhān and supplications after with such a very loud volume that it is heard from a distance of several kilometers, given that this occasionally continues for more than half an hour?
A: There is no problem in broadcasting the adhān in a usual and common way by means of a loudspeaker to announce the beginning of the time of morning prayer. But it is impermissible to broadcast Qur’anic verses, supplication, and the likes using the masjid's loudspeaker when it annoys the neighbors.
Q 453: Is it permissible for a man to suffice, for his prayer, with the adhān of a woman?
A: It is problematic for him to suffice with her adhān.
Q 454: What is your esteemed opinion on the third testimony for the master of believers, Imam Ali (a.), as being the commander and the leader, in the adhān and iqāmah of obligatory prayers?
A: Saying “Ashhadu anna ‘Aliyyan Waliyyullāh” in adhān and iqāmah with the intention of being a symbol for the Shī‘ah school of thought is good and important and it should be said only for the sake of nearness to Allah, but it is not a part of adhān and iqāmah.
Q 455: I have been suffering from back pain for a long time which sometimes becomes so severe that it prevents me from praying while standing. Taking into consideration that if I want to perform my prayer at its beginning time, I will be compelled to do it in a sitting position, while if I wait, it may be possible for me to pray it at the end of its specific time in standing position, what is my duty in this situation?
A: If there is a likelihood that you will be able to offer your prayer standing late in its time, it is an obligatory caution that you must wait until that time. But if you had performed your prayer sitting at the beginning of its time due to an excuse that continues until end of the time, your prayer is correct and you do not have to repeat it. However, if you are not able to pray in a standing position early during prayer time and you are sure that this excuse will continue until the time ends but it disappears and praying in standing position becomes possible before the time expiration, you are obliged to repeat your prayer standing.
Recitation [of the Fātiḥah and the Other Chapter] and its Rules
Q 456: What is the rule regarding the prayers in which our recitation of al-Fātiḥah and the other chapter is not loud?
A: It is obligatory for men to recite the chapter al-Fātiḥah and the other chapter loudly in the morning, maghrib, and ‘ishā’ prayers, and their prayer is void if they intentionally recite them quietly, but if they do so unintentionally, out of ignorance, forgetfulness or for being unaware of the rule, their prayer is correct.
Q 457: While performing the qaḍā’ of morning prayer, should the ‘recitation’ be done loudly or quietly?
A: It is obligatory for males to recite al-Fātiḥah and the other chapter loudly in morning, maghrib, and ‘ishā’ prayers whether the prayers are performed on time or later and at all times even if their qaḍā’ is being performed during the day. If one intentionally does not recite them loudly, his prayer is void.
Q 458: We know that each prayer consists of intention, takbīrah al-iḥrām, the Fātiḥah, the other chapter, rukū‘, and prostration. On the other hand, it is obligatory to recite quietly the noon and afternoon prayers, the third rak‘ah of the maghrib, and the last two rak‘ahs of ‘ishā’ prayers. However, in the Radio and the TV, the dhikrs of rukū‘ and prostration of the third rak‘ah are read loudly. Given that these rukū‘ and prostration are parts of a rak‘ah in which quiet recitation is obligatory, what is the rule regarding this matter?
A: The obligation of loud recitation in maghrib, ‘ishā’ and morning prayers and of quiet recitation in the noon and afternoon prayers are limited to the recitation of the Fātiḥah and the other chapter, just as the obligation of quiet recitation in the rak‘ahs other than the first two rak‘ahs of maghrib and ‘ishā’ prayers applies only to the recitation of the Fātiḥah or the tasbīḥāt al-arba‘ah of those rak‘ahs. As for the dhikrs of rukū‘ and prostration and also tashahhud and salām and other obligatory dhikrs of the five daily prayers, the mukallaf has the choice to recite in either way, loudly or quietly.
Q 459: If someone wants to perform, in addition to the seventeen daily rak‘ahs, another seventeen rak‘ahs of qaḍā’ prayers by way of caution, will it be obligatory for him to recite loudly or quietly in the first two rak‘ahs of morning, maghrib, and ‘ishā’ prayers?
A: With respect to the obligation of loud or quiet recitation in daily prayers, there is no difference between adā’ or qaḍā’ prayers even when their qaḍā’ is performed by way of caution.
Q 460: We know that the word "ṣalāt" [prayer] ends with "t" but in adhān it is said: "ḥayya ‘alaṣṣalāh" [hurry up for prayer] ending with "h". Is this correct?
A: There is no problem in ending the word "ṣalāt" with "h" while stopping at the end of the word. Rather, it is obligatory.
Q 461: Given that, in his commentary on the blessed chapter of the Fātiḥah, Imam Khomeini (q.) prefers the word "malik" over "mālik" is it correct to pronounce the word in both ways while reciting this holy chapter in obligatory and non-obligatory prayers for the sake of caution?
A: There is no problem in observing caution in this respect.
Q 462: Is it correct to stop, without immediate transfer to the rest of the sentence, after reciting "ghayr il-maghḍūbi ‘alayhim", and then start reading "Wa laḍ-ḍāllīn"? And is it correct, while reciting "Allāhumma ṣalli ‘alā Muhammad wa āli Muhammad" in tashahhud, to stop after the word "Muhammad" (s.) and then to continue by reciting "wa āli Muhammad"?
A: It does not harm as long as it does not reach the point of disturbing the integrity of the sentence.
Q 463: The following question had been directed to Imam Khomeini (q.): “Considering that there are several opinions on the pronunciation of the Arabic letter ‘Ḍād’ in the science of tajwīd, what is your view?” Imam replied: “It is not obligatory to know the points of articulation of letters according to the opinions of tajwīd experts; rather, one should pronounce every letter in a way that it is considered correct according to the common view of the Arabs.”
My question is:
i) What is the meaning of the phrase “that it is considered correct according to the common view of the Arabs”? And is it not correct that the rules of tajwīd — like Arabic grammar rules — have been derived from the Arabs’ usage of the language? If so, how can we say that the two are separated from their root?
ii) If someone is sure — based on a reliable method — that he does not pronounce or articulate the letters correctly from their appropriate places while he has the ability and opportunity to learn this science, would it be obligatory for him to learn the proper pronunciation as much as possible?
A: The standard for correct pronunciation is its compliance with the way the native speakers, from whom the rules of tajwīd have been derived, pronounce the letters when they read. Therefore, if a difference of opinions among scholars of tajwīd as to what constitutes the correct pronunciation stems from a difference in understanding of how native readers recite, the practice of the native readers itself will be the standard. But if the difference of opinion stems from the actual diversity of their method of pronunciation, the mukallaf may choose the opinion he wishes to follow. The person, who thinks that his recitation is incorrect, is obliged, as far as he can, to learn the correct recitation of the Qur’an.
Q 464: Someone had the intention of reciting the Fātiḥah and Ikhlās chapters at the beginning or is accustomed to reciting them. However, he happened to recite the basmalah and forgot to specify the chapter. Should he intend a specific chapter and then recite the basmalah?
A: It is not obligatory for him to repeat the basmalah. Rather, he can consider the basmalah that he already recited sufficient for any chapter he wants to recite afterwards.
Q 465: In obligatory prayers, is it necessary to pronounce all the words properly? Can a prayer be considered correct when the words are not pronounced correctly in the Arabic language?
A: It is necessary to pronounce all the obligatory dhikrs of prayer including Al-Fātiḥah, the other chapter, and other parts correctly. If a praying person does not know the correct pronunciation in Arabic, it is obligatory for him to learn it. However, if he is unable to learn, he is excused and should recite them as he can and it is a mustaḥabb caution to offer the prayer in congregation.
Q 466: Does the word ‘reading’ also apply to the recitation of words in one’s heart without uttering them?
A: ‘Reading’ does not apply to this and expressing the words in a way that can be called ‘reading’ is obligatory in prayers.
Q 467: According to the opinion of some commentators of the Qur’an a number of its chapters, such as “Fīl” and “Quraysh”, and “Inshirāḥ” and “Ḍuḥā”, are not considered complete chapters. They believe that whoever reads the chapter “Fīl,” he should certainly read the chapter “Quraysh,” and the same rule applies to chapters “Inshirāḥ” and “Ḍuḥā” that should be read together. If someone reads the “Fīl” or “Inshirāḥ” chapter alone in prayer and does not know this rule, what will his duty be?
A: The previous prayers are correct if he was not negligent in learning the rule.
Q 468: If someone inadvertently reads the Fātiḥah and another chapter in the third rak‘ah of noon prayer, for example, and notices his mistake after finishing the prayer; will it be obligatory for him to repeat that prayer? And if he does not even notice his mistake, will his prayer be correct?
A: In the given case, the prayer is correct.
Q 469: Can women recite the Fātiḥah and the other chapter of the morning, maghrib and ‘ishā’ prayers loudly?
A: They can recite them loudly or quietly. But if a non-maḥram hears their voice, it is preferable for them to recite quietly.
Q 470: According to Imam Khomeini (q.) the criterion for reciting quietly in the noon and afternoon prayers is avoidance of jahr [loud] recitation. Given that all Arabic letters, except ten of them, are jahr letters, if we have to pray the noon and the afternoon with quiet recitation, then what will happen to the eighteen jahr letters? Please explain the rule.
A: The criterion in ikhfāt [quiet recitation] is not to forsake the voice’s substance but to avoid expressing it; in contrast to jahr which means expression of the voice’s substance(1).
Q 471: How could foreigners, whether men or women, who embrace Islam and are not familiar with Arabic language perform their religious duties, including prayers, etc.? And basically, is there any need to learn Arabic in this case or not?
A: It is obligatory to learn takbīrah al-iḥrām, the Fātiḥah, another chapter, tashahhud, and salām of prayer, and also everything for which Arabic recitation is a condition.
Q 472: Is there any proof for the opinion that mustaḥabb prayers of loud prayers should be recited loudly? What about quiet recitation of mustaḥabb prayers pertaining to the quietly recited prayers? If yes, suppose that a mustaḥabb prayer which belongs to a loud prayer, for instance, is recited quietly. Will it be correct? What about the reverse case? We would appreciate your kind reply.
A: It is mustaḥabb to recite the mustaḥabb prayers of loud obligatory prayers loudly and those of quiet ones quietly. If they are recited otherwise they are also correct.
Q 473: Is it obligatory in prayer to recite a whole chapter after the Fātiḥah or does it suffices to read a part of the Noble Qur’an? And in the former case, is it permissible to recite some Qur’anic verses after the chapter?
A: In daily obligatory prayers, one should – by obligatory caution – recite one complete chapter after the Fātiḥah and recitation of some verses of the Noble Qur’an does not substitute for the recitation of a whole chapter. However, reading some verses of the Glorious Qur’an after the recitation of a whole chapter with the intention of reading Qur’an is no problem.
Q 474: If someone makes some mistake — due to his negligence or accent — in the recitation of the Fātiḥah and the other chapter, or in the pronunciation of the vowels, for example, ‘yūlid’ instead of ‘yūlad,’ what will be the rule of such a prayer?
A: If he makes this mistake intentionally, his prayer is void. Also, if he is a blameworthy ignorant person (who can learn it), his prayer is, by obligatory caution, void. However, if he was a non-blameworthy ignorant person and offered the previous prayer like that thinking that it was the correct way, his prayers are ruled as correct and he is not required to repeat, or make up for, it in qaḍā’.
Q 475: Someone is thirty-five or forty years old. His parents did not teach him how to perform prayers. Although he is illiterate, he tried to learn how to say prayers in a correct way. The problem is that he cannot express the prayer’s words and dhikrs in a correct manner. Moreover, he is not able to pronounce some of its words at all. Are his prayers correct?
A: His prayers are correct if he recites what he is able to.
Q 476: I used to pronounce the words of prayers in the way I had learned from my parents and in secondary school. After a while, I found out that I had been pronouncing some words in a wrong manner. Is it obligatory for me — according to the fatwā of Imam Khomeini (q.) — to repeat the prayers? Or are all prayers that I performed in that way correct?
A: In the mentioned case that you did not think you were making a mistake and you offered them like that being sure that it was the correct way, all your previous prayers are correct and you are not to repeat or make them up in qaḍā’.
Q 477: Are the prayers performed in gesture by a dumb person, whose senses function properly despite his inability to speak, correct?
A: His prayers are correct and valid in the mentioned case.
(1) ‘Jahr’ has two meanings. What is mentioned here is jahr in talking/recitation, while as far as jahr letters are concerned, it is equal to the word ‘voice’ in phonetics, i.e. a sound produced by vibration of the vocal cords, used in the pronunciation of vowels and certain consonants.
Dhikr of Prayer
Q 478: Does intentionally changing the dhikr of rukū‘ for that of the prostration and vice versa make any problem?
A: If they are recited as a general dhikr of Allah, then it is no problem and the rukū‘, prostration, and prayer are all correct. However, one should say their special dhikr as well.
Q 479: If a person mistakenly recites the dhikr of prostration while in rukū‘, or conversely says the dhikr of rukū‘ in prostration, and realizes his mistake and corrects himself immediately, will his prayer be void?
A: No, there is no problem and his prayer is correct.
Q 480: What is the ruling in the case of a person who realizes after his prayer, or during it, that the dhikr of rukū’ or prostration was incorrect?
A: If he has passed the point, that he remembers it after rukū’ or prostration, there is no problem.
Q 481: Does it suffice to recite the tasbīḥāt al-arba‘ah just once in the third and fourth rak‘ah of prayer?
A: Yes; although it is a caution to recite them three times.
Q 482: The tasbīḥāt al-arba‘ah are recited three times in prayer, but if a person by mistake recites them four times, will his prayer be accepted by Allah?
A: There is no problem in it.
Q 483: What is the ruling in the case of a person who does not know whether he has recited the tasbīḥāt al-arba‘ah three times or more or less in the third and fourth rak‘ahs of prayer?
A: Just once is sufficient, and nothing is obligatory for him. And if he has not yet been in rukū‘ state, then he may assume the lesser number and repeat them until becomes confident about saying them three times.
Q 484: Is it allowed to say "Biḥawlillāhi wa Quwwatihī Aqūmu wa Aq‘ud”... in prayer while one is moving? And is it correct to say it while getting up?
A: There is no problem in it. Indeed, the above-mentioned dhikr is essentially recited while rising for the next rak‘ah of prayer.
Q 485: What is meant by the term ‘dhikr’? And does it include the ṣalawāt upon the Prophet (s.) and his progeny (a.)?
A: All expressions containing the remembrance of Allah are counted as dhikr; and the ṣalawāt upon Muhammad (s.) and the progeny of Muhammad (a.) is one of the best dhikrs. However, obligatory dhikr in rukū‘ is to say subḥāna rabbīal 'azīmi wa biḥamdih once or three subḥānallāh and that in prostration is subḥāna rabbīal 'alā wa biḥamdih or three subḥānallāh. Instead, one may say other dhikrs like alḥamdu lillāh, allāhu akbar in the same amount.
Q 486: In watr prayer [the one-rak‘ah prayer included in night prayer] when we raise our hands for qunūt and ask Allah for our needs, is it wrong if we ask for them in Persian?
A: No, there is nothing wrong in supplicating in qunūt in Persian. Moreover, in qunūt one can supplicate in any language.
Rules of Prostration
Q 487: What is the ruling on performing prostration and tayammum on cement or concrete tiles?
A: There is no problem in doing prostration, and tayammum on it, although it is a caution to refrain from doing tayammum on cement and concrete tiles.
Q 488: In prayer, is it incorrect to place one’s hands on perforated floor tiles?
A: No, there is no problem in it.
Q 489: Is there any problem in using, for prostration, a turbah blackened and dirty in such a way that the stain covering it obstructs the forehead from touching the turbah?
A: If the stain on it is so much as to form a barrier between the forehead and the turbah, the prostration is void and so is the prayer.
Q 490: If a woman does prostration on a turbah while her forehead (the place of prostration in particular) is covered by her ḥijāb; is it obligatory for her to repeat this prayer?
A: If she was not aware of the obstacle during her prostration, then it is not necessary to repeat the prayer.
Q 491: A woman after putting her head on the turbah realizes that her forehead is not in complete contact with it due to her scarf or the like. So she raises her head and places it again after having removed the hindrance. What is the ruling on this issue? Moreover, if this last action of hers is counted as a separate prostration, then what becomes of the prayers that she has done (in this manner)?
A: She is not allowed to raise her head. Rather, it is obligatory for her to reposition her forehead or pull out the barrier which separates her forehead from turbah until contact, by the area of the pad of the last joint of the index finger as a minimum, is made with the turbah without raising the head from the ground. Now if she raised the forehead — to put it again on the turbah — absent-mindedly or out of ignorance and she did so only in one of the two prostrations of each rak‘ah, then her prayer is correct and there is no need to repeat it. But if the action was done on purpose or it was done in both prostrations of a single rak‘ah, then her prayer is void and it is obligatory for her to repeat it.
Q 492: While performing prostration it is obligatory to place the seven body parts of prostration on the ground. But we are not able to do this due to our particular physical problem (as disabled veterans who use wheelchairs). So for the purpose of prayer we either raise the turbah to our forehead or place the turbah on the arm of our chair and perform prostration on it. Is this practice correct?
A: If it is possible for you to place the turbah on the arm of the wheelchair or a similar thing, like a pillow or a stool, and do prostration upon it, then do so and your prayers are correct. If this is not possible, you should raise the turbah by your hand and put your forehead on it. Alternatively if you cannot bow at all, you should gesture with your head instead, and if this also proves infeasible, gesture with your eyes. May Allah, the Almighty, grant you success.
Q 493: What is the rule of performing prostration on marble (with which the yard of some sacred shrines is paved)?
A: There is no problem in performing prostration on marble.
Q 494: What is ‘the ruling on placing toes on the ground in addition to the big toe while doing prostration?
A: There is no problem in it.
495: Recently a turbah for prayers has been manufactured that it counts the rak‘ahs and prostrations for the person praying and it removes doubt to some degree. Please clear the matter for us with your opinion, considering that when the forehead is placed on it, it moves down a little due to the presence of a metal spring beneath it. Is it correct to do prostration on it?
A: If it is made of a material upon which it is correct to do prostration and after putting the forehead on it and pressing it down, it comes to a stable position, there is no problem in performing prostration on it.
Q 496: Which foot should we place upon the other while sitting down after prostration?
A: It is mustaḥabb to sit on the left thigh and place the right foot on the sole of the left foot.
Q 497: What is the best dhikr to recite after the obligatory dhikrs of prostration and rukū‘?
A: The repetition of the same obligatory dhikr is the best and it is preferable for it to end in an odd number (of reciting the dhikr). In addition it is mustaḥabb in prostration to say "Allāhumma ṣalli ‘alā Muhammad wa āli Muhammad" and to supplicate concerning the needs of this world and that of the hereafter.
Q 498: What is one’s shar‘ī duty upon listening to a verse that requires prostration when the reciter is not present, as from a radio, TV or recording instrument?
A: In the given case making prostration is obligatory.
Things that Invalidate Prayer
Q 499: Does testimony concerning the wilāyah of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (a), in the tashahhud invalidate the prayers?
A: The prayer including the tashahhud should be recited in such a way that our great marji‘s of taqlīd (May Allah increase them) mentioned within their books of Practical Laws of Islam and one should not add anything to it even if it is a true and correct phrase.
Q 500: A person is afflicted with riyā’ in his worship and he is now struggling with his self to overcome this riyā’. Is this also counted as a form of riyā’? How can he keep away from riyā’?
A: Any action done for Allah including fighting against riyā’ is not considered riyā’. To get rid of riyā’ one must think of the greatness of Almighty Allah, the weakness of his own self and his and others’ dependence on Allah, and his and their subservience to Him, the Exalted.
Q 501: When attending congregational prayers with the Sunnī brothers, the word “āmmīn” is pronounced loudly after the imam finishes reciting the Fātiḥah. What is the ruling on this?
A: If dissimulation requires saying “āmmīn” in the said situation, there is no problem in it; otherwise, it is not permissible.
Q 502: In our obligatory prayers is it allowed to say some of the words of the Fātiḥah, of another chapter or a dhikr in a loud voice in order to warn a child who is doing something dangerous or to make the occupants of the house aware of the situation so that they may remove the danger? In addition, what is the status of the person’s prayers during which he, through gestures of the hand or raising of the eyebrows, informs another person of something or answers his question?
A: If the raising of the voice when reciting a verse or dhikr (for the purpose of warning others) does not cause one to lose the status of being in prayer, then there is no objection to doing so, on condition that the recitation and the dhikr are done with the intention of recitation and dhikr. If moving the hand, eyebrows or eye is brief and does not ruin the necessary composure and stillness or the prescribed form of the prayers, it would not lead to invalidation of the prayer.
Q 503: Does it invalidate the prayers if a person laughs in the middle of his prayers upon recalling a joke or due to a humorous event?
A: The prayer will be invalid if the laughter is intentional and loud (guffaw).
Q 504: Does the passing of hands over the face [wiping] after the qunūt invalidate the prayer? And in case of its being void is it also considered to be a sin?
A: It is makrūh, but it does not invalidate the prayer.
Q 505: Is it allowed to close one’s eyes during prayers? (Because, keeping them open distracts one’s attention from the prayers.)
A: There is no shar‘ī problem in shutting eyes during prayer, although it is makrūh to do so in other than rukū‘.
Q 506: During my prayers I sometimes recall the spiritual heights and elevations that I experienced on the days of confrontation with the infidel Ba‘thist army and this helps me to increase my humility in prayers; does doing so invalidate the prayers?
A: It does not harm the validity of the prayer.
Q 507: Are the prayers invalid during the first three days in which two persons have quarreled, and broken ties? Does the same hold for fasting?
A: No, disagreement and enmity between two people invalidate neither the prayers nor the fasting, although it is disliked in shar‘.
Rules of Greeting in Prayers
Q 508: What is your opinion with regards to answering a greeting that is not in the form of "al-salām ..."?
A: It is not permissible to reply to it during prayer, but if he is not in prayer then it is closer to caution to return the greeting when it is oral and is considered to be a greeting by common view.
Q 509: Is it obligatory to respond to the greeting of children whether boys or girls?
A: It is obligatory to reply to the salām of children (male and female) who can distinguish right from wrong in the same way as it is obligatory to do so in response to men and women.
Q 510: A person was greeted with the salām but did not reply due to inattention or some other reason so that a short span of time passed, is it still obligatory for him to respond to it?
A: If the delay is of such a length that a reply is no longer considered a reply (to the greeting), then it is not obligatory.
Q 511: A person enters upon a group of people and salutes them with the words "al-salāmu alaykum jamī‘an (peace be upon all of you)". If one of the people in the group is praying, is it obligatory for him to answer the salutation even though someone else in the group has already replied to the greeting?
A: If someone has already done so, the praying person should not respond.
Q 512: If someone is greeted repeatedly with the salām, whether by one person or by many people at the same time, is it sufficient for him to reply once for all these greetings?
A: In the first instance a single reply is sufficient. In the second, one reply in the plural form (with the intention of answering all their greetings) would suffice.
Q 513: What is the religious duty of a person who realizes after a number of years that his worship was invalid, or doubts its correctness?
A: Doubts after the performance of a deed are ignored. In case, he is certain of its invalidity, he must perform the qaḍā’ of what is possible.
Doubt in Prayers
Q 514: A person in the third rak‘ah of his prayer doubts whether he has performed the qunūt or not. What should they do? Should he complete the prayer or should he break it when the doubt occurs?
A: The doubt should be ignored. His prayer is correct and there is no obligation upon him in this case.
Q 515: Should a person pay heed to doubts that occur in nāfilah prayers (other than the doubt concerning the number of performed rak‘ahs)? For example, he is unaware whether he has done one prostration or two.
A: The rule of doubts in the words and deeds of nāfilah prayer is the same as those of obligatory prayers, i.e. the doubt is heeded if its pertinent place has not passed, and is ignored after that.
Q 516: Knowing that those who doubt excessively are not to pay heed to their doubts, what are they to do if the doubts occur during prayer?
A: They must posit the occurrence of the act which they doubt unless doing so would lead to the invalidation of their prayers, in which case they must hold the opposite to be true. There is no difference whether the doubt is with regard to the number of rak‘ahs, the words or acts of prayer.
Q 517: What is the religious duty of a person who realizes after a number of years that his worship was invalid, or doubts its correctness?
A: Doubts after the performance of a deed are ignored. In case he is certain of its invalidity, he must perform the qaḍā’ of what is possible.
Q 518: Does the prayer of a person become void if he mistakenly performs some parts of his prayer in the place of other parts, or looks away at some point during the prayer, or speaks by mistake?
A: Unintentional acts in prayer do not bring about its invalidation. In some cases, they call for the performance of two prostrations of inadvertence or some other rulings. But, of course, the prayers are invalidated if a rukn of the prayer is repeated or missed. The same rule is applied if a person is no more in the state of saying prayer.
Q 519: What is the duty of a person who forgets to perform a rak‘ah of his prayer and then remembers it in the last rak‘ah? For example, thinking first rak‘ah of his prayer to be the second one, he performs the third and the fourth rak‘ah; then in this last rak‘ah he realizes that it is really only the third rak‘ah. What should he do?
A: It is obligatory for him before reciting the final salām of the prayer to perform the rak‘ah he has missed and then recite the salām. As he had not done an obligatory tashahhud in its proper place, it is obligatory for him to perform the two prostrations of inadvertence for the forgotten tashahhud and, based on caution, to make up for it in qaḍā’ before the two prostrations of inadvertence. Moreover, if he says salām in the third rak`ah, thinking that it is the last rak`ah, it is an obligatory caution to perform another two prostrations of inadvertence which should be done after the qaḍā’ of the tashahhud.
Q 520: How can a person know the number of rak‘ahs of caution prayers he is liable to perform? (That is whether it is one rak‘ah or two).
A: The number of rak‘ahs of caution prayers corresponds to the number of rak‘ahs that he may have missed in the obligatory prayer. So when it is doubted whether two rak‘ahs were performed or four, then it becomes necessary to perform a two-rak‘ah prayer of caution. However, if he doubts whether he prayed three or four rak‘ahs, then a one-rak‘ah prayer of caution must be done in standing position or a two-rak‘ah one in sitting position.
Q 521: Do two prostrations of inadvertence become obligatory if a word of the dhikrs of the prayer, of the verses of the Holy Qur’an, or of the supplication of qunūt is mistakenly recited?
A: No, it is not obligatory.
Q 522: I was about seventeen years old and I did not know anything concerning seminal emission, ghusl, and the like. I had not even heard from anyone anything about these things. I did not understand the meaning of janābah or the necessity of ghusl. So if my prayers and fasts until that time were wrong, what is my duty now?
A: It is obligatory to do qaḍā’ of all the prayers that you did in the state of janābah. However, the fasts that you kept in this state without knowing any thing about the state of janābah are correct and sufficient, and there is no need to do their qaḍā’.
Q 523: Unfortunately, due to my ignorance and lack of will power I had got into the evil habit of masturbation, and so I did not perform prayers at times. But I do not know how long I abandoned prayers, as it was not one continuous period (I would not have prayed when I was junub until I took ghusl, although it may have been delayed for a while), but I think that it lasted for six months. I have made up my mind to perform the qaḍā’ of my prayers for this period. Is it obligatory to perform qaḍā’ of these prayers?
A: You must perform the qaḍā’ of all daily prayers that you know you did not perform or you performed while you were junub.
Q 524: Some people do not know whether qaḍā’ prayers are due on them or not. Assuming that they are really responsible for some qaḍā’ prayers, are their mustaḥabb or nāfilah prayers considered as qaḍā’ prayers?
A: Nāfilah and mustaḥabb prayers do not count as qaḍā’ prayers and if any qaḍā’ prayers are due upon someone then they must perform them with the intention of qaḍā’ prayers.
Q 525: It has been about six months since I reached the age of shar‘ī puberty. Up until some weeks before my age of shar‘ī puberty I was under the impression that there was only one sign of ritual maturity, i.e. the completion of fifteen lunar years. Then I happened to read a book which spoke of the signs of maturity for boys. I read there of other signs of maturity which I really possessed but do not know the date of their occurrence. So, do I now have to perform the qaḍā’ of my prayers and fasts? Taking into consideration that I would sometimes perform prayers and that I fasted the whole of Ramadan last year, what is the ruling in this case?
A: It is obligatory to perform the qaḍā’ of all the prayers and fasts that you are certain you missed after becoming ritually mature.
Q 526: If a person performs janābah ghusl three times in the month of Ramadan, say for example, on the twentieth, twenty-fifth and twenty-seventh of the month, and afterwards becomes certain that one of these ghusls was incorrect, what is the ruling with respect to his prayers and his fast?
A: His fast is correct, but it is based on caution that he must perform the qaḍā’ of some prayers so that one becomes certain that he has discharged his obligations.
Q 527: What is the ruling on the prayers and fasts of a person who for some time, due to ignorance of the ruling, did not observe the proper order in performing his ghusl?
A: If he was performing his ghusl in a manner which is void according to Islamic law, he would be obligated to do qaḍā’ of all his prayers that he prayed without a valid ghusl. But regarding fasts, if he thought that his ghusl was correct, his fasts are ruled to be correct.
Q 528: How should one perform the qaḍā’ prayers of one year?
A: He can start with one of the prayers and perform it in the same sequence as he performs the five daily prayers.
Q 529: If a person has a lot of qaḍā’ prayers due on him, is it permissible for him to perform them in the following manner:
i. To perform morning prayers, say twenty times;
ii. The noon and afternoon prayers, twenty times;
ii. maghrib and ‘ishā’ prayers, twenty times, continuing in this way for a year?
A: There is no problem in performing the qaḍā’ prayers in the manner described as the noon prayers are offered before afternoon ones and the maghrib prayers before ishā’ ones.
Q 530: Someone’s head was injured causing damage to a part of his brain. As a result, his left hand and foot as well as his tongue were paralyzed. Moreover, he has forgotten how to pray and is not able to learn it either. But he can make out the different parts of prayers by following a book or by listening to a tape. Presently, he is faced with two problems with respect to his prayers. First, he is not able to make his urinary outlet pure or to perform wuḍū’. Second, he has a difficulty with recitation in prayers. What is the ruling in this case? And what about the prayers he has not performed over the last six months?
A: If he is able to do wuḍū’ even with the help of somebody else, or to do tayammum, then it is obligatory for him to perform his prayers as he can, even if he has to listen to a tape, or look at a book, or whatever it may be. As for the purity of his body, if he is not able, even with help of others, to wash his body pure, he must say his prayer with najis body and his prayer is valid. It is obligatory for him to perform his missed prayers in qaḍā’ unless he was unconscious and the unconsciousness took the whole time of prayer.
Q 531: In my youth I missed my noon and afternoon prayers more than maghrib, ‘ishā’ and morning prayers. But I do not know their number, order or sequence. Should I perform dawr prayers in this case? What are dawr prayers? Please clarify this matter for me.
A: It is not necessary – in other than noon and afternoon prayers and maghrib and ‘ishā’ prayers of the same day - to observe the order, and it is enough to perform as many prayers as you are certain you have missed. Dawr, i.e. repetition of the prayers to ascertain their performance in order, is not obligatory for you.
Q 532: After marriage, I occasionally experienced emissions of a liquid which I thought to be najis, and therefore, performed janābah ghusl having its intent in mind and then offered prayers without performing wuḍū’. This liquid is called madhi in the books on practical laws of Islam, and now, I do not know the rule regarding the prayers I performed without wuḍū’ but with janābah ghusl while I was not junub?
A: It is obligatory to make up for all of the prayers which you offered without wuḍū’ but with janābah ghusl after experiencing the liquid’s emission.
Q 533: A non-Muslim converts to Islam after a period of time, is it obligatory for them to make up for the prayers and fasts they missed?
A: it is not obligatory.
Q 534: Due to misguiding propaganda of communists, some people did not perform their prayers and other obligatory duties for some years. But, after reading Imam Khomeini’s letter to the leaders of the USSR, they repented. Now they are not able to make up for their missed obligations. What is the rule regarding them?
A: It is obligatory for them to make up for the missed obligatory prayers and fasts as much as possible and to make a will for those whose qaḍā’ they are not able to perform.
Q 535: A person died while he had to perform the qaḍā’ of some fasts of Ramadan and some prayers. He has no son. However, he left behind a certain amount of wealth. If this wealth is spent for the performance of the qaḍā’ of his missed fasts, the qaḍā’ of his prayers will remain outstanding and vise versa. In this situation, which one of the two should be given priority over the other?
A: None of the fasts and the prayers has any priority. It is not obligatory for the heirs to spend his wealth for making qaḍā’ of his fasts and prayers unless he left a will that someone is hired, out of the one third of his wealth, to perform of his qaḍā’ prayers and fasts as much as 1/3 of his wealth can afford.
Q 536: Most often I offered my prayers and performed the qaḍā’ of those which I missed either because I was asleep during their times or my body and clothes were najis and I failed to clean them due to laziness. Now, how could I calculate the number of the missed daily, āyāt, and shortened prayers due on me?
A: It suffices to perform qaḍā’ of these prayers as much as you are certain you missed. Among them, perform some shortened and āyāt prayers as much as you are certain that they were shortened or āyāt prayers and offer the remaining as [normal] daily prayers. There is nothing else obligatory for you.
Qaḍā’ Prayers of the Parents
Q 537: My father had a brain stroke. As a result, he remained ill for two years and was unable to distinguish between good and bad. That is to say, he lost his mental senses. During this two year period, he was not able to perform his prayers or fasts. Since I am the family’s eldest son, is it obligatory for me to perform his missed prayers and fasts? Of course, I know that if he were fine, it would be obligatory for me to perform those missed prayers. I would appreciate your advice in this regard.
A: If his mental defect did not reach the level of insanity and he was not unconscious through out the whole time of prayers, you would be obliged to make qaḍā’ of his missed prayers and fasts, otherwise there is nothing obligatory for you.
Q 538: Who should give the kaffārah for missed fasts of a person after he dies? Is it obligatory for the sons and daughters of the deceased person to give the kaffārah or could somebody else give it as well?
A: With respect to the kaffārah of missed fasts that was due on the father, if he could have the choice between fasting or feeding, the kaffārah should be taken out of the wealth he has left if possible; otherwise, the fasting – by obligatory caution - rests with the eldest son.
Q 539: An elderly man left his family due to certain reasons and it is difficult for him to contact them. He is the eldest son of his parents. During that period, his father passed away and the son is unaware of the number of prayers and other duties his father might have missed. He does not have enough money to hire somebody to perform those missed duties for his father either. Nor does he have the ability to perform them himself due to his elderliness. What should he do?
A: It is not obligatory to do qaḍā’ of the missed prayers of the father except for the prayers the eldest son knows for sure that they have been missed. In this case, it is obligatory for the eldest son to perform his father’s missed prayers by any means possible. If he is unable to do so, he has no responsibility in this regard.
Q 540: If the eldest child of a deceased person is a female and his/her second child is male, is it obligatory for this son to perform the missed prayers and fasts of the mother and the father?
A: The criterion is that the male son being the eldest among the sons, if the parent has any son. As for the assumption in question, it is obligatory for the son, i.e. the father’s second child, to perform the missed prayers and fasts of his father and – by obligatory caution - those of her mother.
Q 541: If the eldest son — whether mature or not — dies before his father, will it become obligatory for any of the other sons to perform the missed prayers of his father?
A: The performance of the father’s missed prayers and fasts is obligatory for the eldest son who is alive when his father dies, even if he is not the father’s first child or son.
Q 542: I am the eldest son of the family. Is it obligatory for me to investigate and acquire information from my father about his missed prayers so that I can perform them for him? Or should he inform me of the numbers outstanding and if he does not, what will my duty be?
A: It is not obligatory for you to investigate, but it is obligatory for the father to perform them while he is alive or, if he could not, to specify it in his will. In any case, it is a duty of the eldest son, after the father’s death, to perform fasts and prayers he is certain his father missed.
Q 543: Someone dies while owning only a house where his children live and he has some missed prayers and fasts to perform. His oldest son cannot do so for him because of his daily occupations, is it obligatory to sell the house and have his missed prayers and fasts performed?
A: In the given case, it is not obligatory to sell the house. But the performance of the missed prayers and fasting, which were obligatory for the father, is the duty of his eldest son in all cases except if the deceased person ordered in his will that someone be hired by the third of his estate for that purpose and that amount is sufficient for all of the prayers and fasts that are obligatory for him. In this case, it will be obligatory to spend one third of the property left for this purpose.
Q 544: If the eldest son who had the obligation to offer his father’s missed prayers dies, will this obligation pass on to the eldest son’s inheritor or to the grandfather’s second eldest son (the brother of the eldest son)?
A: The performance of the father’s missed prayers and fasts, which were obligatory for his eldest son, will not become obligatory for the latter’s son or brother upon his death after that of his father.
Q 545: In case a father never performed any prayer, will his prayers be considered as all missed and obligatory for his eldest son to offer?
A: It is based on obligatory caution that doing their qaḍā’ is obligatory.
Q 546: If a father forsakes all of his worship duties intentionally, will it be obligatory for his eldest son to perform all of the prayers and fasts his father missed over 50 years?
A: In this case, it is a caution to perform their qaḍā’ as well.
Q 547: If the eldest son already has the obligation to perform some missed prayers and fasts of his own when the performance of his father’s missed prayers and fasts is also added to his obligations, which one of the two will have priority?
A: He has the choice in this situation; therefore, it is correct for him to start performing either of them.
Q 548: My father has some qaḍā’ prayers due but he cannot offer them and I am the family’s eldest son. Is it permissible — while he is still alive — that I perform his missed prayers or hire someone to perform them?
A: It is not correct to perform the missed prayers and fast on behalf of a living person.
Q 549: What should a congregational prayer imam say in his intention? Should he perform it with the intention of a congregational or individual prayer?
A: If he wants to acquire the benefits and reward of a congregational prayer, then he should have the intention to lead the prayers. However, if he enters the prayers without the intention of leading, then his prayer is correct and there is no problem for others to read their prayers behind him.
Q 550: Because of the work they have at hand, some people do not attend the prayer which is held during working hours at the bases of the armed forces. Knowing that they can do that work later on or even the following day, can this action of them be classified as belittling the prayer?
A: To acquire the merit of offering prayer early at its time and that of the congregational prayer, it is preferable to make a proper arrangement of office hours so that this divine duty could be performed in the form of congregational prayer in the shortest necessary period of time.
Q 551: What is your opinion as regards performing the mustaḥabb actions such as nāfilah prayers, Du‘ā’ Tawassul and other supplications in governmental offices before, after and during prayers? These acts usually take longer time than the actual congregational prayer itself.
A: Any mustaḥabb action which is performed with the congregational prayer would be considered problematic if it becomes a cause for wasting time and delay in the performance of official duties there.
Q 552: Is it permissible to start a second congregational prayer in an area near to another congregational prayer in which a lot of people participate and the sound of its adhān and iqāmah is quite clearly heard?
A: There is no problem in starting a second congregational prayer in such a situation, although it is preferable that the believers come together and attend a single congregational prayer so that the greatness of the congregation can be expressed.
Q 553: What is your rule regarding a person or people who come to a masjid to offer the prayers individually while prayer is being held in congregation?
A: If this act is seen as something which weakens the congregational prayer or leads to disrespect towards its imam or is insulting to him who is considered just the by people, it will not be permissible.
Q 554: There are several masjids in our area and congregational prayer takes place in all of them. There is a house between two masjids. On one side between the house and the masjid there are ten other houses while in the direction of the other masjid, the distance is of only two houses. A congregational prayer takes place in this house also. What is your ruling regarding this congregational prayer?
A: congregational prayer is offered to create unity and closeness not to cause disunity and division. Anyhow the neighboring houses are permitted to start a congregational prayer as long as it does not become a cause of division and conflict.
Q 555: Is an individual allowed to lead congregational prayer without the permission of the appointed Congregational prayer imam who has been appointed by the center which runs the affairs of the masjids?
A: Holding congregational prayer is not dependent on the permission of the permanent congregational prayer imam. However, it is preferable that no one would prevent the imam from leading the prayer at the time of his presence in the masjid. If he is obstructed then that action could be defined as ḥarām if it becomes a cause of division and ignites conflict.
Q 556: Does the justice of the congregational prayer imam become void if he says or makes a joke that is not appropriate for a scholar of Islam?
A: If what he has said does not contravene Islamic law, then it has no effect on his justice.
Q 557: Is one allowed to start to pray behind a congregational prayer imam about whom one has no information and does not know?
A: If he knows — through any shar‘ī means — that the Imam is ‘ādil, it is permissible to pray behind him and the congregational prayer is correct.
Q 558: A person considers another one as just and pious and at the same time considers him as an oppressor because on certain occasion he has oppressed him. So can this person consider the other as ‘ādil in the common sense of the word?
A: Until it is not clear that the person, whom he has considered an oppressor, has done that action knowingly, by choice and without any religious excuse, it is not permissible to label him unjust.
Q 559: Can one pray behind a person who has the ability to enjoin the good and forbid evil but does not?
A: The mere abstention from enjoining people to do good and forbidding them from evil, which in itself could be due to some reasons acceptable for the person who has this duty to perform, neither becomes a cause for invalidating the person’s justice nor does it become an obstacle for others to perform prayer behind that person.
Q 560: What is the meaning of justice in your opinion?
A: It is a psychological state due to which a person always enjoys piety which prevents him from neglecting obligatory duties or doing things forbidden according to Islamic law. To recognize the state of justice, it is sufficient that one sees the apparent goodness of the person.
Q 561: We are a group of youngsters who gather in some religious places and whenever it is time for prayers, we appoint one among ourselves who is ‘ādil and perform prayers behind him. There are some people who confront us and say that according to Imam Khomeini’s ruling, one should not perform his prayer behind a person who is not an Islamic scholar? What is our duty?
A: Whenever an Islamic scholar is available, one should not pray behind one who is not an Islamic scholar.
Q 562: Can a congregational prayer be conducted by two individuals?
A: If you mean that one is the imam and the other is the follower, there is no objection to it.
Q 563: Although it is not obligatory for him, a follower recites the Fātiḥah and another chapter in congregational noon and afternoon prayers so as to better concentrate on his prayers. What is the ruling regarding his prayers?
A: In the prayers which should be said quietly, e.g. the noon and the afternoon prayers, he, by obligatory caution, is not permitted to recite the Fātiḥah and another chapter even if it is to protect oneself from losing his concentration on the prayer. It is mustaḥabb, instead, to say dhikr.
Q 564: Although he complies with all the regulations of traffic, a congregational prayer imam rides a bicycle to the place of congregational prayer. What is your ruling in this regard?
A: This action harms neither justice nor correctness of leading the congregation.
Q 565: There are times when we attend the congregational prayer and the imam is reciting the tashahhud of the last rak‘ah. Here to get its reward, we can say takbīrah al-iḥrām, sit, recite tashahhud with the imam and stand up when the imam finishes his salām, to start the first rak‘ah. Can we do the same thing in the tashahhud of the second rak‘ah of a four-rak‘ah prayer?
A: The above mentioned procedure is specific to the final rak‘ah of the congregational prayer so that one may acquire the reward of the congregation.
Q 566: Is it permissible for the imam of congregational prayer to receive money for doing preliminaries of congregational prayer?
A: It is no problem.
Q 567: Can an imam say a single prayer — whether an ‘īd or a daily prayer — twice in congregation?
A: As far as the five daily prayers are concerned, he is permitted to perform the same prayer again in congregation but with another group of followers. In fact this is mustaḥabb. However, regarding an ‘īd prayer, there is a problem in doing so.
Q 568: Does a person have to read the Fātiḥah and another chapter loudly when he is doing his second rak‘ah while the imam is in his third or fourth rak‘ah of ‘ishā’ prayer?
A: It is obligatory for him to read them quietly.
Q 569: After the completion of a congregational prayer, the verse which declares ṣalawāt on the Holy Prophet (s.) is recited. After that, the praying persons recite ṣalawāt upon the Holy Prophet (s.) and his Household (a.) three times. After that they say Allāhu Akbar three times and then chant political slogans (in form of supplications) loudly. Is there any problem in this?
A: There is no objection to reading the verse, and saying ṣalawāt for the Noble Prophet Muhammad (s) and his Household (a), rather, it is desirable and yields rewards. Also it is desirable to chant Islamic slogans and that of the Islamic Revolution (i.e. Allāhu-Akbar, etc) which remind all of the messages and aims of the Islamic Revolution.
Q 570: An individual arrives at a masjid when the congregational prayer is in its second rak‘ah. Due to his ignorance of Islamic rules, he does not perform the tashahhud obligatory for him in the following rak‘ah. Is his prayer correct or not?
A: The prayer is correct but he should, by obligatory caution, perform the qaḍā’ of tashahhud. He should also perform the two prostrations of inadvertence as he failed to perform the tashahhud. However, it is an obligatory caution that he makes the qaḍā’ of the forgotten tashahhud before performing the two prostrations of inadvertence.
Q 571: Does one need to acquire the permission of the person behind whom one wants to pray? Can one perform or start his prayer behind a follower — i.e. a person who is himself being led in the prayer?
A: One does not need the permission of the prayer imam to follow him in the prayer. It is not correct to start one’s prayer behind a follower, while he continues to be a follower.
Q 572: There are two people and between them they select one as the imam and the other follows him in the prayer. A third person enters and starts his prayers behind the one who is following thinking that he is the imam. As soon as the prayer finishes, the third person realizes that the person was not the imam but in fact he was following the imam. What is the rule regarding the prayer of the third person?
A: To start one’s prayer behind someone who is himself following an imam is not correct. However, if one starts his prayer behind such a person due to ignorance but regarding rukū‘ and prostration he fulfills all requirements of one who prays individually, i.e. without increasing or decreasing a rukn intentionally or unintentionally, the prayer is considered correct and valid.
Q 573: Is it correct to perform one’s ‘ishā’ prayer behind one who is performing the maghrib prayer?
A: There is no objection to doing so.
Q 574: Do the prayers of the followers become void when the imam is at a higher position than them?
A: If the place where the imam is standing is too higher than that of the congregants to be permissible in Islamic law (i.e. by one span or more), this would invalidate the congregational prayer.
Q 575: One of the lines of congregational prayer was made up completely of people who were travelers (saying shortened prayers) and behind them was a line of people who were saying complete prayers. The former, having finished their prayers after two rak‘ahs, stood up to offer the next prayer, did the prayers of the line behind them remain as congregational prayer or not?
A: In the above situation that they join the congregation immediately, the status of congregational prayer remains intact.
Q 576: Is it permissible for one who is joining at one of the ends of the first line to enter the congregational prayers prior to those between him and the imam?
A: When the followers standing between that person and the imam are completely ready to enter the prayer after the imam has started his prayer and are about to do takbīr, that person is permitted to start his congregational prayer.
Q 577: A person joins a congregational prayer in the third rak‘ah. However, he does not read anything, thinking that the imam is in the first. Does this person have to repeat the prayer?
A: If he realizes this before rukū‘, then it is obligatory for him to recite the Fātiḥah and another chapter. However, if there is no time for both, he should recite the Fātiḥah only and join the imam in his rukū. If he happens to realize it in rukū‘ or later, then the prayer is correct and there is no need to do anything. Even though, according to the mustaḥabb caution, he may perform two prostrations of inadvertence for missing out the recitation unintentionally.
Q 578: There is a great need for congregational prayer imams to hold congregational prayer in governmental offices, schools, etc. Other than me, there is no scholar in this area. That is why I perform one obligatory prayer several times at different places. All marji‘s have permitted the imam to lead two congregational prayers. Can one lead more congregations with the intention of performing qaḍā’ of possibly missed prayers for caution?
A: As for the given assumption, it is not correct to lead congregational prayer with the intention of performing of possibly missed prayers for caution.
Q 579: A college arranges a congregational prayer for its staff in a building within the complex of the college. It is located next to the town’s masjid and they are fully aware that at the same time there is a congregational prayer held in the masjid. What would the rule be regarding one’s participation in the congregational prayer being conducted in the college?
A: When one maintains that a congregational prayer enjoys the conditions required for following and congregation; he can participate in it, even though it is close to a masjid in which a congregational prayer is held simultaneously.
Q 580: Is it permissible to offer one’s prayer behind a person who is a judge but has not reached the stage of ijtihād?
A: When his performance as a judge is based on an appointment by the person who has the authority to appoint, then there is no objection to saying prayer behind him.
Q 581: What is your rule about a person who follows Imam Khomeini in taqlīd concerning traveling prayer, if he prays, especially Friday prayer, behind an imam who follows another marji‘?
A: The difference in taqlīd does not prevent one from correctly starting his prayer behind someone else. However, it is not correct to offer one’s prayer behind an imam in a prayer which should be offered as shortened according to the follower’s marji‘ while it should be offered completely according to that of the imam or vice versa.
Q 582: What should the follower do if the imam accidentally goes to rukū‘ immediately after saying takbīrah al-iḥrām?
A: If the follower realizes this after entering the congregational prayer, and before going to rukū‘, he should do the intention of offering the prayers individually and then read the Fātiḥah and another chapter.
Q 583: What is the rule regarding congregational prayer of the adult persons who stand after the children standing in the third and fourth lines?
A: If they know that the children's prayer is correct, they may pray behind them offering their prayer in congregation.
Q 584: A congregational prayer imam performs tayammum in place of janābah ghusl due to an excuse. Is it sufficient for the purpose performing congregational prayer?
A: If his inability is justifiable by Islamic law, then he can perform prayer as imam of congregation with tayammum instead of ghusl. It would also be permissible to start one’s prayer behind such a person.
Rule of Incorrect Recitation by a Congregational Prayer Imam
Q 585: Is there any difference in the ruling regarding the correctness of recitation undertaken by the imam, the followers, or a person praying individually? Or do the rules apply to the cases in the same manner with regards to its correctness?
A: When one’s recitation is not correct and they are not able to improve it, the prayers they perform are correct. However, it is not correct for others to pray behind them.
Q 586: Some imams are unable to pronounce some letters properly. Is it, therefore, correct for a person who can pronounce the letters properly to perform prayer behind them? Some people say that it is possible to recite one’s prayers in congregation. But it is necessary to repeat this prayer individually. However, I do not have the time to repeat these prayers. What is my duty in this situation? Do I have the permission to recite the Fātiḥah and the other chapter quietly while participating in the prayer?
A: If the follower maintains that the imam is not pronouncing properly, then to perform prayer behind him would not be valid and would cause the congregational prayer to be void for him. If the person does not have the ability to repeat the prayer, then there is no problem in not joining the prayer. To read quietly in a prayer which should be recited loudly in order to give the impression that one is joining the congregational prayer is not correct and does not fulfill one’s obligation.
Q 587: Some people suggest that the recitation of some imams is not correct because either they do not pronounce some consonant letters as they are or they alter the related vowels which change the consonant letters as well. Is it correct to offer one’s prayers behind such a person without repeating it?
A: In recitation the standard is observing the movements and sukūn of letters and originating them from their appropriate places in such a manner that the native speakers (Arabs) recognize the letter and do not confuse it with another. Observing the rules which provide betterment of pronunciation (tajwīd) is not necessary during prayer. If the follower finds that the imam’s pronunciation does not meet the specified standard and is incorrect, they cannot perform prayer behind him. If they perform prayer behind him, their prayer is not correct and it would be obligatory for them to repeat it.
Q 588: An imam has doubts about the pronunciation of a word after it is said. After he completes the prayer, he realizes that there was in fact an error in its pronunciation. Are the prayers of the followers and that of the imam valid?
A: The prayers are ruled to be correct.
Q 589: What is the religious duty of an individual, especially a teacher of Qur’an, who is certain that as far as tajwīd is concerned the imam reads his prayer wrongly? At times when this person does not participate in the congregational prayer, he is subjected to much slander?
A: Observing the rules which provide betterment of pronunciation is not necessary. But if the follower considers the recitation of imam to be incorrect, and, as a result his prayer is also incorrect, they should not perform prayers behind him. However, there would be no problem with pretending that one is taking part in the prayers for a rational purpose.
Q 590: What is the rule about performing prayers behind an imam with paralysis of a leg/hand?
A: It is a caution not to do so.
Congregational Prayer Led by a Person Lacking a Body Part
Q 591: I am a student of Islamic studies. My right hand has been amputated by a surgical operation. Recently, I came to realize that Imam Khomeini (q.) did not consider it correct for a person who has a part or parts of his body amputated to lead prayer for people who are normal. I would be grateful if you advise me about the rule regarding the prayer of those who offered their prayers behind me during this period?
A: The previous prayers of those who followed you are correct if they did their prayers behind you without knowing the shar‘ī ruling. They are not to repeat them whether the time is expired or not.
Q 592: I am a student of Islamic studies. During the fight in defense of the Islamic Republic of Iran, my feet were injured and the big toes were amputated. At present I am leading prayer at a ḥusayniyyah. Is there any religious problem in this or not? I am hopeful that you will give me an explanation for my problem.
A: The defect — as much as mentioned — in an imam does not harm the state of leading the congregational prayer. Yes, it is problematic in case a hand or foot is completely amputated.
Women’s Attendance in Congregational Prayer
Q 593: Has the Divine Legislator encouraged women to take part in congregational and Friday prayers in masjids in the same way as it has done in the case of men? Or is it considered more preferable for women to perform prayers at home?
A: There is no problem if women go there to attend congregational and Friday prayers. Moreover, they would acquire the rewards for performing prayer in congregation.
Q 594: When can a woman be a congregational prayer leader?
A: A woman can lead congregational prayer for women only.
Q 595: What is the ruling of participation of women in congregational prayer as far as being makrūh or mustaḥabb is concerned?
i. What are the rules if women stand behind men?
ii. Do women need to have something separating them from the men when they are standing behind them?
iii. Is there any need for something to veil the women when they are offering prayer along side the men?
iv. It must be noted that to separate women from men, even when they are behind the men, during the prayers, the speech, etc is humiliating and insulting to women.
A: There is no problem in women’s attendance and participation in congregational prayer. There is no need for anything to separate the women from the men if they are standing behind the men. However, if women are performing prayers along side men, then it is preferable to have something to separate them to eradicate the karāhah arising due to the association of men with women in prayer. It is merely an assumption and baseless to say that separation affects the status and dignity of women. Furthermore, it is incorrect to enter one’s own opinion in jurisprudential matters.
Q 596: How should the lines of men and women be connected when there is no curtain between?
A: Women can stand behind men without any separation between them.
Performing Congregational Prayer behind Sunnīs
Q 597: Is it permissible to perform one’s prayer behind a Sunnī imam?
A: It is permissible to perform one’s prayer in congregation behind them for the sake of maintaining Muslim’s unity.
Q 598: I work in an area which is predominately Kurdish. Most Friday and congregational prayer leaders in this area are Sunnī. What is the rule with respect to performing prayers in congregation behind them? Is one permitted to backbite?
A: There is no problem in attending the prayer with them in their Friday and congregational prayer to maintain the unity. As far as backbiting is concerned, one should refrain from it.
Q 599: I associate with Sunnī people and perform the daily prayers with them. On certain occasions I practice according to them, e.g. cross my hand, not observing times of praying and do prostration on a carpet. Is it necessary to say them again?
A: If maintaining the Muslims’ unity demands of you to perform the prayer in that manner including prostration on a carpet and the like, then it is correct and valid. But it is not permissible to cross one’s hands during prayer unless a necessity requires such an action.
Q 600: In Mecca and Medina, we perform prayers in congregation with the Sunnī brethren relying on the verdict of Imam Khomeini (q.). On certain occasions to acquire the reward of performing prayer in a masjid, we perform our afternoon and ‘ishā’ prayers after noon and maghrib prayers in Sunnī masjids while doing prostration on the prayer mats and without a sajdahgah. What is the ruling for such a prayer?
A: In the given case, one should prostrate on a thing on which it is correct to prostrate unless it contradicts the duty of dissimulation.
Q 601: Can we the Shī‘ahs attend the Sunnī’s congregational prayer in other countries when they perform their prayers with their hands crossed? Would it be necessary for us to follow them in keeping our hands crossed or should we perform our prayers with our hands released?
A: It is permissible to perform one’s prayers with Sunnīs when it is required for maintaining Muslim unity and it will be considered correct and valid but it is not obligatory to cross one’s hands, rather it is not permitted unless a necessary requires it.
Q 602: While praying in Sunnī congregational prayer every participant places his little toes close to those of the next persons, they consider it necessary to do so. What is its ruling?
A: This is not obligatory. It does not invalidate one’s prayer either.
Q 603: The Sunnī brethren do their maghrib prayer prior to our maghrib adhān. Is it correct during the occasion of Hajj or on other occasions to perform our prayer with them and consider that prayer sufficient?
A: It is not certain that they actually do their prayer prior to its time. However, if a person is not certain that it is time for prayer, it is not correct for them to join it unless taqiyyah calls for maintaining Muslims’ unity.
Q 604: What is your opinion regarding one’s participation in Friday prayers nowadays when the Twelfth Imam is not present? Is it obligatory or not for someone to attend Friday prayers when they do not believe that the Friday prayer imam to be just?
A: Even though Friday prayer is considered an alternative obligation during this period of time and it is not considered obligatory for people to participate in it, one should not deprive oneself of the blessings gained through attending the prayer solely due to doubt about the justice of the imam or due to irrelevant excuses.
Q 605: What is meant by alternative obligation concerning Friday prayer?
A: It means that one has a choice to perform either Friday or noon prayer.
Q 606: What is your opinion regarding someone who does not participate in Friday prayer due to lack of concern?
A: It is inappropriate by shar` not to attend/participate in this religious and political Friday prayer due to not considering it important.
Q 607: There are some people who do not take part in Friday prayer because of difference or baseless excuses. What is your opinion about this?
A: It is inappropriate by shar` not to participate in the Friday prayer for not attaching importance to it.
Q 608: Is it permissible to perform noon prayers in congregation at the time of Friday prayer at a place near to that of the Friday prayer?
A: In itself there is no objection to doing so and the followers would have fulfilled their duties because the Friday prayer is considered an alternative obligation at the present time. However, performing the noon prayer in congregation on Friday close to the place where Friday prayer is proceeding may become a cause of division of the believers and people might consider such congregational prayer as an insult to, and disrespect for, the imam of the Friday prayer and an indication of lack of care and due attention for the Friday prayer. That is why it is preferred for the believers not to do so. In fact, if a depravity or ḥarām act may result, it would be obligatory to abstain from it.
Q 609: Can an individual offer his noon prayer in the time between Friday and afternoon prayers? Furthermore, is one allowed to recite one’s afternoon prayer behind a person other than the Friday prayer imam?
A: Although Friday prayer discharges one from the obligation to perform the noon prayer, there is no problem with performing noon prayers out of caution. There is no objection to saying one’s afternoon prayer behind a person other than imam of the Friday prayer; however, when one wants to say the afternoon prayer in congregation, then the absolute caution is to read it behind the individual who has read the noon prayer after Friday prayers according to caution.
Q 610: Are the followers allowed to pray their noon prayers when the imam of Friday prayer does not perform it after Friday prayer?
A: They are permitted to do so.
Q 611: Is it obligatory for the imam of the Friday prayers to acquire permission from the authorized religious authority? What is meant by the authorized religious authority? Does this rule apply to far cities?
A: Basically, the leadership of Friday prayer does not depend on permission. However, the Imam’s ruling does not apply unless he is appointed by the Leader of the Muslims. This rule applies to all lands and cities where the Leader governs and people are obedient to his rule.
Q 612: Can an Imam of Friday prayer appointed for a certain place lead the Friday prayer in another place where he has not been appointed when there is no obstacle or contending Friday prayer?
A: For him to lead a Friday prayer in another place is permissible in itself. However, the rules specific to an appointed imam would not be applicable.
Q 613: Does a temporary imam of Friday prayer need to be appointed by the Jurist Leader? Or does the permanent Friday prayer imam have the right himself to appoint people as temporary imams of Friday prayer?
A: The Friday prayer imam has the right to appoint anybody as a temporary Friday prayer imam. However, the rules applicable to an imam appointed by the Jurist Leader do not apply to such a person.
Q 614: If a mukallaf does not consider the appointed imam of Friday prayer as just or has doubts about his justice, then are they allowed to perform their prayers behind him just to maintain the unity of the Muslims? Furthermore, can a person who does not attend the Friday prayer discourage others from attending it?
A: It is not correct for a person to perform prayer behind one who is not considered as ‘ādil or about whom the follower doubts his justice. Nor would his congregational prayer be considered correct. However, for the sake of unity, there is no problem in joining the congregational prayer. But this person is not allowed, under any circumstances, to encourage others not to join the Friday prayer.
Q 615: What is the rule regarding not participating in Friday prayer when it is established for the mukallaf that the imam is a liar?
A: The contradiction in the speech of the Friday prayer imam is not evidence for that. It is possible that he may have made a mistake, an error of judgment or even taken the side of tawriyah. One should not deprive oneself of the blessings of the Friday prayer just due to imagination that the imam is not ‘ādil anymore.
Q 616: Is it necessary for the follower to check or be certain about the justice of the Friday prayer imam who has been appointed by Imam Khomeini or the ‘ādil Jurist Leader? Or is the mere fact that he has been appointed to lead Friday prayers sufficient to determine his justice?
A: If the appointment as imam of Friday prayers makes the follower certain and confident of the imam’s justice, then it is sufficient for the follower to consider his praying behind him as correct.
Q 617: Should the imam of a masjid be selected by trustworthy scholars or appointed as the imam of Friday prayers by the Jurist Leader, is it considered as evidence that he is ‘ādil? Or is it necessary to investigate his justice?
A: If the appointment makes the followers certain about the imam’s justice, then it is permissible for them to follow him in prayer.
Q 618: Is it necessary to repeat the prayers one has prayed behind a Friday prayer imam whose justice is questionable or, Allah forbid, if it is established that the imam is not ‘ādil?
A: If doubt about the imam’s justice or certainty about the lack of justice is acquired after completing the prayer, then it is not obligatory to repeat the prayers and they are considered correct.
Q 619: What is the rule regarding one’s participation in Friday prayers — offered in Europe and other places — conducted by university students from Islamic countries and most of the participant and the imam of Friday prayer are usually Sunnī brothers? And is it obligatory — in this case — to offer the noon prayer after the Friday prayer?
A: There is no objection to participating in it for the sake of safeguarding unity and Muslim solidarity and it is not obligatory to pray the noon prayer.
Q 620: In one of the cities of Pakistan there has been a Friday prayer for nearly 40 years. Now a person has started another one without taking into consideration the necessary shar‘ī distance between the two congregations. This has created a conflict between the people who come for prayers. What are the shar‘ī ruling regarding this act?
A: It is not permissible for one to create such a situation, thereby causing a conflict and separation between believers, especially when it is related to the Friday prayer which is a sign of Islam and shows the strength and unity of Muslims.
Q 621: It was announced by the religious speaker of the Jāmi‘ Ja‘farī masjid in Rawalpindi that Friday prayer will not be offered there due to construction work. Now that the work is finished, we face a problem. At a distance of 4 kilometers a Friday prayer has been started in another masjid. Taking the distance into consideration, would it be correct to do the Friday prayers in the mentioned masjid?
A: When the distance between the two Friday prayers is not one shar‘ī farsakh1, the secondly offered Friday prayer will be void while if both of them started at the same moment, both of them are void.
1. One farsakh is about 5125 m.
Q 622: Could one perform Friday prayer, which is held in congregation, individually by performing it side by side with those who are performing it in congregation?
A: One of the requirements of Friday prayer is that it should be performed in congregation. Therefore, Friday prayers will not be valid if said individually.
Q 623: When a mukallaf whose duty is to pray shortened, wants to perform his prayer behind an imam of Friday prayer, will this action of his be valid?
A: Friday prayer said by a traveling follower is valid and discharges his obligation of performing the noon prayer.
Q 624: Is it obligatory to mention the name of Fātimah al-Zahrā’s (a.) as an Imam of Muslims in the second sermon, or is it obligatory to mention her name with the intent of being mustaḥabb?
A: The concept of Imams of Muslims does not apply to Fātimah al-Zahrā (a.), and it is not obligatory to mention her blessed name in the Friday sermon, but there is no problem in seeking blessings through mentioning her noble name (a). It is, in fact, a required thing and makes one gain rewards.
Q 625: Could a follower perform an obligatory prayer other than the Friday prayer behind the imam who is performing the Friday prayer?
A: The validity of such a prayer is problematic.
Q 626: Is it correct to deliver the two sermons of the Friday prayers before the time of shar‘ī noon?
A: It is permissible to deliver them before shar‘ī noon [i.e., the time when the sun crosses the meridian].
Q 627: A follower has not been present during any of the two sermons and joined the prayer when the imam has started. Will his prayer be valid and discharge him of his obligation?
A: His prayer is alright and valid even if he joins the imam a moment before the rukū‘ of the last rak‘ah of the Friday prayer.
Q 628: In our city, Friday prayer is held one and a half hours after the noon adhān. Does this prayer discharge us of our obligation to perform the noon prayer, or is it necessary to perform the noon prayer too?
A: The time of Friday prayer begins at the beginning of the shar‘ī noon, and according to the obligatory caution it should not be delayed beyond the beginnings — according to common view — of the time of noon prayer.
Q 629: It is not possible for an individual to attend the Friday prayer. May he perform the noon and afternoon prayers at the time’s beginning, or is it obligatory for him to wait until the end of Friday prayer and then perform his prayers?
A: Waiting is not obligatory, and he may perform the noon and afternoon prayers at the beginning of the time.
Q 630: If the appointed imam of the Friday prayers is well and present on the site, may he order the temporary Friday prayer imam to lead it? Is it correct to pray behind the latter?
A: There is no problem in performing the Friday prayer behind the deputy of the appointed imam even for the appointed imam himself.
The Two ‘Īd Prayers
Q 631: What kind of obligatory duties are the two ‘īd prayers in your opinion? What about Friday prayer?
A: The two ‘īd prayers, i.e. ‘Īd of Fitr and ‘Īd of Aḍḥā are not obligatory; rather, they are mustaḥabb in the present period. However, Friday prayer is optionally obligatory.
Q 632: Does any increase or decrease in the qunūt of ‘īd prayers make them invalid?
A: Prayers are not invalidated by this if the meaning of increase or decrease is to elongate or shorten the qunūt itself. While if it means increases or decrease in the number of the qunūts, one should offer the ‘īd prayer as it is mentioned within the books of jurisprudence.
Q 633: In the past, every imam of congregational prayers used to perform ‘Īd of Fitr prayers in his masjid. Is it permissible for imams of the masjids in the current period to hold the two ‘īd prayers?
A: It is permissible for the representatives of the Jurist Leader who are permitted by him to hold ‘īd prayers, and also for the Friday prayer imams, who have been appointed by him, to hold ‘īd prayers in congregation during the current period. As for any other individual, it is based on caution to perform them individually, and it does not matter if he performs them in congregation as something hopefully — not surely — desired in Islamic law. If it is deemed exigent that only one ‘īd prayer be held in a city, it is preferable not to be led by anyone other than the Imam of Friday prayer appointed by the Jurist Leader.
Q 634: Is there any qaḍā’ for the ‘Īd of Fiṭr prayer?
A: It does not have any qaḍā’.
Q 635: Does ‘Īd of Fiṭr prayer have any Iqāmah?
A: It does not have any Iqāmah.
Q 636: If an imam of Friday prayer recites Iqāmah for ‘Īd of Fiṭr prayer, what will be the rule of his prayers and that of others who are praying behind him?
A: It harms neither the ‘Īd prayer of the imam nor those of the followers.
A Traveler’s Prayer
Q 637: Does the obligation of saying shortened prayer by a traveler apply to all obligatory prayers or is it limited to some of them?
A: The obligation of shortened specifically applies to some daily prayers, i.e., noon, afternoon and ‘ishā’. As for the morning and the maghrib ones, this rule does not apply.
Q 638: What are the conditions for the four-rak‘ah prayers to become obligatorily shortened on the traveler?
A: They are eight conditions:
i. The traveled distance should be at least eight continuous shar‘ī farsakhs, either going or returning, or altogether provided that the going distance is not less than four shar‘ī farsakhs.
ii. The intent to travel the distance should exist from the time of departure. Hence if one does not intend to cover the distance, or intends a shorter one and then intends to travel to another place after reaching his destination, whose distance from the first destination is less than the shar‘ī distance, but more than the shar‘ī distance from his home, one will not pray shortened.
iii. The continuation of intent until the distance is covered. Thus if one changes his mind before covering four shar‘ī farsakhs or hesitates, the rule of travel will not apply to him after that, but the shortened prayers he performed before changing his intention must be said again by obligatory caution.
iv. That there be no intention to interrupt one’s journey while covering the distance by passing through one’s hometown, or by intending to stay ten days or more in another place.
v. That the journey be a lawful one according to Islamic law. Thus if the journey is a sinful or ḥarām one, whether it is such in itself like fleeing a holy war, or its purpose is ḥarām, such as traveling to commit highway robbery, for example, the rule of the traveler will not apply to it.
vi. That the traveler not be one of those who live a migrant life, like some Bedouins who do not have a fixed location and wander through deserts and stay near water, grass and pastures.
vii. That traveling should not be one’s job, such as a driver, a sailor, a person who hires out animals of burden, and so on. One whose job is done in traveling is also treated like the aforementioned.
viii. Reaching the tarakhkhuṣ limit, namely the point from where one cannot hear the town’s adhān which is normal and said without a loudspeaker.
Someone for Whom Traveling Is a Job or a Preliminary for the Job
Q 639: A person travels as a preliminary to his job, should he perform his prayer complete, or does this rule apply only to someone whose job is traveling? What do marji‘s such as Imam Khomeini mean by the phrase "one whose job is traveling". Is there anyone whose job is to travel? This is because the jobs of a shepherd, a driver, a sailor, etc. are to look after the sheep, or to drive, or to sail, respectively. Basically, there is no one whose job is traveling as such.
A: Whoever travels as a preliminary to his job and at least once every ten days goes back and forth between his home and place of work should perform his prayer complete and his fasting is valid. The phrase "one whose job is traveling" in the statements of mujtahids, may Allah be pleased with them, means someone whose job itself involves traveling, like the jobs mentioned in the question.
Q 640: There are people who take residence in a certain city for a period exceeding one year, or the soldiers who have to reside in a city for one or two years in order to complete their military service. Is it obligatory for them to intend to stay there at least for ten days after each travel so that they can perform their prayers in full and fast? What rule applies to their prayers and fasting if they intend to stay for less than ten days?
A: In the given case, they say full prayer and fast in that city.
Q 641: What rule applies to prayer and fasting of fighter pilots who, on most days, fly from their air bases and travel a distance much more then the shar‘ī distance and return again?
A: Their rule in this regard is the rule of car drivers, sailors, and pilots, i.e., during their traveling, they pray in full and their fasting is valid.
Q 642: Some tribes live in a winter resort for three or four months and in a summer resort for the rest of the year or vice versa. Are these two places considered their watan? When they are residing in one of them, they may have a trip to the other. How should they pray?
A: If they intend to continue going back and forth permanently between the summer and the winter resorts, spend some days of the year in one and other days in the other one, and choose both places as their permanent settlements or for many consecutive years, then both places are regarded as their watans. If the distance between the two watans equals or exceeds the shar‘ī distance, while traveling from one watan to the other, their rule is that of other travelers.
Q 643: I am an employee at a government office in a city, and the distance between my work place and residence is about 35 km. Every day, I travel this distance to reach my work place. How am I to perform my prayers when I have a special assignment and intend to stay in the city (place of my work) for several nights? Is it obligatory to perform my prayer in full? If, for example, I travel to the city of Semnan on Friday to visit my relatives, is it obligatory to perform my prayer in full or not?
A: If the journey is not for the sake of your job for which you travel daily, the rule of traveling for work will not apply to it. But if the journey is for the sake of the job itself and during it you do other things in the place of your work, such as visiting relatives and friends, and sometimes you stay there for one or more nights, the rule of traveling for work will not change because of this, and you will perform your prayers in full and fast.
Q 644: If I do certain personal work at my place of work after the time of my official assignment for which I have traveled (for example, I do my office work from 7 a.m. till 2 p.m. and do personal work after 2 p.m.), what will be the rule of my prayer and fasting?
A: Doing personal work during travel for official assignment, after completing the office work, does not change the rule of travel for official assignment.
Q 645: What rule applies to the prayers and fasting of the soldiers who know they will stay in a certain location for more than ten days, but have no control over their own affairs and situation? Please clarify Imam Khomeini’s fatwā too.
A: When they are sure that they will stay for ten days or more, it is obligatory for them to perform their prayers in full and fast. This is also the Imam’s fatwā.
Q 646: What rule applies to prayers and fasting of the personnel of the army, or that of the Islamic Revolution’s Guards Corps, who stay for more than ten days in garrisons and the same in border areas? Please explain the Imam’s fatwā, also.
A: If they decide to stay more than ten days in a location, or know that they will do so, it will be obligatory for them to perform their prayers in full and to fast. This is the Imam’s fatwā also.
Q 647: It is stated in the risālah of Imam Khomeini (q.), in the chapter on the traveler’s prayer, the seventh condition, "It is obligatory for the driver, except during his first journey, to perform prayer in full. During the first journey, his prayer is shortened even if it takes long." Does the first journey mean the beginning of travel from the watan till returning to it or it ends when one reaches his destination?
A: If the act of going to the place of work and returning back from it is considered as one trip in the common view — e.g. the driver who has just a single destination and, for example, wants to take a load to a city and return to his hometown, to go and to return altogether is considered as the 1st trip. However, in case the common view does not consider them as one trip — like the driver who travels for transporting goods to a place and departs from there to transport travelers or goods to another destination, or if his intention was so from the beginning and then returns to his watan — the first trip ends at the first destination.
Q 648: Does the traveler’s rule apply to persons whose permanent jobs are not driving, but driving has become their duty for a short term, such as soldiers in garrisons etc. who are assigned to drive cars, or is it obligatory for them to perform full prayers and fast?
A: If common people consider driving as their job during this temporary period, they have the same rule as that of other drivers.
Q 649: If a driver’s car breaks down and he travels to another city to buy spare parts to repair his car, should he perform prayer in complete or in shortened during such a trip, considering that he does not take his car with him?
A: In the given case, this is considered as a work travel in which his prayer is full.
Rule of Students
Q 650: What rule applies to university students who travel at least two days a week for the sake of studying, or to employees who travel weekly to their jobs? Given that they travel every week but occasionally stay in their watan for a month during college or office vacations and they do not travel during this period, will their prayers be shortened during the first journey (according to the rule), when they resume traveling, and be said in full after it? What is the rule if he has traveled for entertainment before this work travel?
A: As far as prayer and fast during a travel for studying are concerned, the rule is based on caution, whether their trip is weekly or daily. As for a person who travels for job, whether official or private, if he travels to and fro between his watan/residence and his workplace at least once every ten days, he should perform his prayers in full and his fasting is also valid. However, if he stays for ten days in his watan or in another place, between two trips to work, during the first work trip after the ten days he should shorten the prayers and
willhis fast is not valid. However, if, before this work trip, he goes for a private trip, he should offer shortened prayers during this private trip. As far as the work trip after the latter trip is concerned, he should not neglect the caution by offering both full and shortened prayers
Q 651: I am working as a teacher in my hometown. Now I got an admission to a higher educational center which is located in a far city to which I should travel and stay three days a week as a professional mission. The other days of the week I teach in my hometown. What is the rule of my prayer and fasting in this travel? Does the rule of students apply to me or not.
A: If education is a part of your job, you should pray in full and fast is valid.
Q 652: If a student of Islamic studies intends to do propagation of Islam as his job, may he perform his prayers in full and fast while traveling? If someone travels for a purpose other than propagating Islam and guidance or enjoining the good and forbidding evil, what will be the rule concerning his prayers and fasting?
A: If propagating Islam, guidance, enjoining the good and forbidding evil are considered to be his job, while traveling for that work his rule is that of others who travel for their jobs. If he occasionally travels for a purpose other than propagating Islam, during such a journey his rule is that of other travelers, namely his prayer must be shortened and his fasting will be invalid.
Q 653: What is the rule of the prayers and fasting of those who travel for an indefinite period, such as the students of Islamic studies who go to the Islamic seminaries, or government employees who are transferred to a certain city for work purposes for an indefinite period?
A: In the given case, if they are to stay there for one or two years, their prayer is full and they should fast there.
Q 654: A student of Islamic studies lives in a city which is not his watan, and before making the intent of staying for ten days he knows in advance, or decides himself, that he would go every week to a masjid near the city. Can he make the intent of staying for ten days?
A: At the time of deciding to stay for ten days, it does not harm this decision if a person intends to leave this place for another location at less than the shar‘ī distance in a manner which, according to common view, does not contradict staying at this place for ten days, e.g. he wants to travel during these ten days for less than the shar‘ī distance and come back, 2-3 times for half of a day each time.
Intent of Traveling the Shar‘ī Distance and Staying for Ten Days
Q 655: I work in a place which is less than the shar‘ī distance from the nearby city. Since none of the two places is my watan, I make the intent to stay ten days in my place of work in order to perform full prayer and fast there. When I decide to stay in my place of work for ten days, I do not intend to leave for the neighboring city during those ten days or afterwards. What is the shar‘ī rule in the following situations:
i. If I leave for the nearby city in an emergency or for a business before the end of the ten days, and stop there for about two hours before returning to my place of work?
ii. If I leave for the city after the end of the ten days, visiting one of its districts without passing the shar‘ī distance, and stay there for a night before returning to my residence?
iii. If I leave for the city after ten complete days, intending to visit a certain district, but I change my mind after reaching it and decide to go to another point which is at more than the shar‘ī distance from my city of residence?
A: First and second: If one does not have a primary intention to leave the place, after staying in the place is materialized, leaving it for another place at less than the shar‘ī distance, in one or more days, does not harm the intention of staying for ten days, whether he leaves it before or after completing the ten days. Therefore, he should perform full prayers and fast until he starts a new journey.
Third: In the given case that no shar‘ī travel has been materialized, the intention of stay remains intact.
Q 656: After leaving his watan, a traveler passes by a place where he can hear the adhān of his watan or see the walls of its houses, will it affect the distance covered?
A: This does not harm the distance covered as long as he does not pass through his watan itself and his journey is not discontinued by it. But the traveler’s rule does not apply to him while he is at this very place.
Q 657: The place where I live presently is not my original watan, and its distance from my original watan exceeds the shar‘ī limit. I did not adopt this place of my work as watan, and I may stay there only for some years. Sometimes I leave it two or three days a month to make a job-related trip. Is it obligatory for me to make the intent to stay for ten days whenever I return to the city of my residence after traveling more than the shar‘ī distance? If so, what is the distance I can cover on the city’s outskirts?
A: In the given case, you are not ruled as a traveler there, your prayer is full and you should fast there.
Q 658: A person lives four kilometers far from his watan for several years, visiting home weekly. What is the rule of his prayer if he travels a distance of 21 km. from his watan and 20 km. from the place in which he studied for several years?
A: If he leaves his own watan for the said destination and is considered as a traveller in his place of study, his prayer should be shortened.
Q 659: A traveler intends to travel to a place at three shar‘ī farsakhs, but his intention, at the beginning, is to travel a shar‘ī farsakh along a side road to accomplish some business and then return to the main road to continue his journey. What rule applies to the prayers and fasting of this traveler?
A: The traveler’s rule applies to him. It is sufficient, in order to complete the shar‘ī distance, to add what he covered [along the side road] from the time he departed the main road to the time he returned to it.
Q 660: According to the Imam one should pray shortened and break the fast when travels a distance of eight shar‘ī farsakhs. If the going distance is less than four shar‘ī farsakhs but for returning one is forced to cover a distance of six shar‘ī farsakhs (due to unavailability of a car or difficulties of the road), should one shorten the prayer and break the fast?
A: If the going distance is less than four farsakhs and the return way alone is not equal to the shar‘ī distance, he should say full prayer and fast.
Q 661: A person travels from the place where he lives to another place within the shar‘ī distance and several times a week goes from the second place to other places so that the total distance exceeds eight shar‘ī farsakhs, what is his duty?
A: If he does not intend to travel the shar‘ī distance when leaving his home, and the distance between his first destination and the subsequent ones is not equal to the shar‘ī distance, the traveler’s rule would not apply to him.
Q 662: If one leaves his town heading towards a certain place, and on getting there goes around here and there, would his going around be added to the distance which he has traveled from his home?
A: Going about within the place of destination is not counted as part of the distance covered.
Q 663: When one intends to be in a place for ten days, is it permissible to have in mind to leave it for another place of less than shar‘ī distance?
A: The intention of leaving does not harm the intention of staying for ten days if the intention of leaving the place of ten-day-stay for less than the shar‘ī distance, does not contradict his staying there for ten days, like to intend to leave this place during this ten-day period - for less than the shar‘ī distance, 2-3 times for half of a day each time - and return to it.
Q 664: One who travels to and fro between his place of residence and work — they are far from each other by more than 20/5 km — must perform prayers in full. Will his prayers remain full-length if he leaves the city of work and travels less than the shar‘ī distance, whether to another city or not, and then returns to his place of work before or after noontime?
A: The rule of one’s prayers and fasting in the place of work does not change simply on leaving it for a place within the shar‘ī distance, even for a purpose not related to the daily work, regardless of whether one returns to the place of work before or after the noon.
Q 665: One travels to a city. The distance between the two cities is less than the shar‘ī distance. However, the distance to the place (say, the house of his friend) he wants to go in the destination city is more than the shar‘ī distance. Which distance should be taken into account for calculating the shar‘ī distance; to the beginning of the destination city or to the place he wants to go?
A: If his destination is a certain point in a way that he enters the city in order to reach that point, he should consider the distance to that point. However, beside that point as his destination, if he should do something else in the city as well so that to reach city means to reach the destination, then the criterion is the beginning of the city.
Q 666: I travel every week to the city of Qom on a visit to Holy Ma‘ṣumah’s (a.) shrine and also in order to perform the rites of the Jamkaran Masjid. Should I offer full prayers or do shortened prayers during these journeys?
A: Your rule during such a journey is similar to that of other travelers and you shorten the prayer.
Q.667 Say, someone travels from his hometown to another town, and the distance from his hometown to the outermost limits of the town that is his destination does not meet the canonically specified travel limit (masāfat sharʻī), but the distance to the particular point that is his final destination does. Now, the question is this: Should this person calculate the distance to the outermost limits of the town (in which case he is not a traveler in the canonically defined sense) or to the particular point within the town that is his final destination (in which case he is a traveler in the canonically defined sense)?
A: To determine the distance of one’s travel relative to the canonically specified travel limit (masāfat sharʻī), one must calculate the distance between the outermost limit of the town from which one departs to the outermost limit of the town of one’s destination (not the particular point within the town to which one is headed). The only exception to this rule is if one’s true destination is not actually a point within the town but a point outside and independent of yet near the town, such that in the common perception of the general public the town is not seen as one’s true destination but an intermediate point through which one must pass to arrive at one’s destination. Such is the case with regard to certain colleges and military bases that are actually viewed as destinations independent of their adjacent towns or cities. In the latter case, the travel distance is calculated from the outermost limit of the town from which one departs to the particular point at which one’s travel terminates.
Q 668: Someone makes the intention to stay for ten days, either because he knows that he would stay for ten days or decides to do so. Then, after the rule of full prayer applies to him through performing a four-rak‘ah prayer, he decides to travel. May he do so, if this travel is not a necessary one?
A: There is no problem in his traveling, even though it is not necessary.
Q 669: Someone travels to visit the shrine of Imam Riḍā (a.). Despite knowing that he will stay there for less than ten days, he makes intention to stay for ten days in order to perform his prayer in full. What rule applies to him?
A: If he knows that he will not stay for ten days, it does not make sense to make an intention to stay for ten days, this intention would be of no effect, and he should shorten the prayers there.
Q 670: Some employees travel less than the shar‘ī distance to reach their work place. They never stay there for ten days. Should they shorten their prayers?
A: In the given case, if they do not intend to stay in a place for ten days, it is considered as their work travel and they say full prayers in the pace of residence/work, and on the way.
Q 671: Someone travels to a place without knowing whether they are going to stay there for ten days or less, how should they say the prayers?
A: They should shorten their prayers for thirty days then pray in full even if they want to leave on the same day.
Q 672: What rule applies to the prayer and fasting of someone who is propagating Islam in two locations and intends to stay in that area for ten days?
A: If they are considered as two locations according to the common view, it will not be correct for him to make the intention of staying for ten days in both of them, or in one of them as long as he intends to go back and forth between the two during the ten days.
Q 673: In Germany and some other European countries, the distance between some cities (that is, the distance between the exit sign board of one city and the entry sign board of the other) is not even a hundred meters, and the houses and streets of the two cities are totally connected to one another. What is the tarakhkhuṣ limit in such cases?
A: Assuming that two cities are connected to each other so that people consider them as one single city, the rule of such cities is similar to that of two localities of one city. Thus, leaving one for the other is not regarded as traveling and there is no need to consider the tarakhkhuṣ limit.
Q 674: The criterion of the tarakhkhuṣ limit is the visibility of the city’s walls and audibility of its adhān. Are both of them together necessary or one is sufficient?
A: The tarakhkhuṣ limit is a place in which you cannot hear the normal adhān of the city said without a loudspeaker.
Q 675: What is the criterion of the tarakhkhuṣ limit, the audibility of the adhān from the houses of the area in which the traveler first arrives or from the centre of the city?
A: The criterion is the audibility of the adhān from the city’s end where the traveler leaves the city or enters it.
Q 676: There is a difference of opinion among the residents of an area concerning the shar‘ī distance. Some believe that the criterion is the walls of the area’s last connected houses. Some others believe that the distance should be calculated from the factories and scattered townships which are located beyond the city’s houses. The question is where does a city end?
A: The determination of a city’s end depends on the common view. Thus, if the factories and scattered townships are not considered as part of the city, according to the common view, the distance should be calculated from the last houses of the city.
A Travel for the Purposes of Committing a Sin
Q 677: If one knows that they will be engaged in sinful and ḥarām conduct during the journey they are about to make, will their prayer be full or shortened?
A: If neither the journey nor its purpose is a sin but some harām practice is done during it, it is not ruled as a journey for sin and during it one should offer prayers in full form. Of course, if the sinful practice is done during the whole journey (except for few hours) so that the term "a journey for disobeying Allah" applies to it, it is a caution to offer the prayer in both full and shortened form.
Q 678: If someone travels without the intent to commit a sinful act, but on the way he pursues his journey for a sinful purpose, is it obligatory for him to shorten the prayers? Are the shortened prayers he performed on the way correct?
A: It was obligatory for him to perform prayer in full from the time he intended to continue his travel for committing a sinful act. If he changed his intention before reaching shar‘ī distance, he must repeat in full the prayers he performed shortened before/after continuing the journey for a sinful purpose. However, if he changed his intention after reaching shar‘ī distance, he must repeat in full only the prayers he performed shortened after continuing the journey for a sinful purpose.
Q 679: What is the rule that applies to a picnic made for pleasure, or a journey for purchasing the necessities of life, supposing that one will have no access during the journey to a place for praying or carrying out its preliminaries?
A: If he knows that he will have to forsake a prayer obligation during the journey, it is a caution to refrain from such a trip unless that results in harm or causes an unbearable hardship. Anyhow, it is impermissible to neglect one’s prayer for any reason.
Rules Regarding the Watan
Q 680: My birthplace is Tehran but my parents are originally from the city of Mahdishahr. They usually travel to Mahdishahr several times a year, and I go with them. As I do not intend to return to my parents’ town to live there, but have decided to stay in Tehran, what rule is applied to my prayer and fasting?
A: Based on the above assumption, your prayer and fasting in the original watan of your parents will be in accordance with that of a traveler.
Q 681: I live six months in one city during the year, and six months in another which is my birthplace as well as my place of residence and that of my family. However, my stay in the first city is not continuous, but intermittent. For example, I stay there for two weeks, ten days, or less, and then return to my birthplace where my family resides. My question is: Does the rule of a traveler apply to me if I intend to stay in the first city for less than ten days?
A: If you live there for a period of time so that you are not considered –according to common view - as a traveler there, your prayer there is full and your fast is valid.
Q 682: Someone wants to stay in a place temporarily, how long should he intend to be there so that his prayer is full and his fast is valid?
A: If he is to live there for one or two years at least, his prayer is full and his fast is valid.
Q 683: A person’s watan is Tehran. Recently he decided to take up residence in one of the towns near Tehran and make it his watan. But, since his daily business and work is in Tehran, he cannot stay in this city for ten days, let alone six months, so that it may become a watan for him. He goes to his work every day and returns at night to this town. What is the rule of his prayer and fasting in this town?
A: For a place to become one’s new watan, it is not a condition to stay there continuously after deciding to consider it as his/her watan and place of residence. Rather, after selecting a place as a new watan and residing there with this intention — even only at nights — for a while, it becomes his/her watan.
Also, if he does the acts that normally one does so when he wants to make it as his watan, like preparing a house and choosing a place for work/business, it is considered as his watan even before staying there for a while.
Q 684: My wife and I were born in the city of Kashmar. After my employment in a government office, I moved to the city of Neyshabour, while our parents still live in our birthplace. At the beginning of our move to Neyshabour, we abandoned our original watan (Kashmar) (i.e. we ceased to consider it as our watan anymore), but fifteen years later we changed our mind. Please answer the following questions:
i. What is our duty with respect to our prayers whenever we visit our parents and stay with them for several days?
ii. What is the duty of our children, who were born in our current place of residence (Neyshabour) and now they are ritually mature, during our visit to our parents’ town (Kashmar) and in the course of our several days’ stay in Kashmar?
A: After you 'abandon' your original watan (Kashmar), it is not considered as your watan any more unless you return to it and decide to live there permanently, for a long time (even several months per year) or without determining the period of stay, provided that you prepare life requirements for yourself there or stay there for a period of time. As far as your children are concerned, the rule of watan does not apply to this city, and they are ruled as travelers there.
Q 685: Someone has two watans. Therefore, he performs full prayer in both places and fasts. Please answer this question: Do his dependants, i.e. wife and children, have to follow their guardian in this matter, or may they act independently on their own?
A: It is permissible for the wife not to adopt the new watan of her husband as her own, but as for the children, if they are minors and dependent in making decisions and in earning money, or they are subject to their father’s decision with respect to this matter, the new watan of their father will be considered their watan as well.
Q 686: If a mother, to deliver her baby, has to travel for a few days to a maternity hospital located outside the watan of the baby’s father and return after the delivery, where will be the baby’s watan?
A: Simply being born in a city is not sufficient to make it its watan. The baby’s watan will be the parents’ watan where it is brought after birth, lives in with its parents and grows up.
Q 687: Someone has been living in Tehran for several years, but he has not taken it as a second watan. What will be the rule of his prayer and fasting in this city when he leaves Tehran, travels more or less than the shar‘ī distance and returns?
A: In the given case that he is not considered as a traveler as per common view, he should make full prayers and fast there.
Q 688: I am an Iraqi and would like to abandon Iraq as my watan. Should I take Iran as a whole as my watan, or one of its areas, and do I have to buy a house so that I might take a watan?
A: For taking a new watan, it is necessary to make the intention of adopting a particular city as watan and to do the act which one normally does for taking a new place as watan, e.g. to buy/rent a house or to get a shop for business or to stay there for one-two month.
Q 689: A person migrated from his birthplace to another city before being ritually mature, and was not aware of the issue of abandoning ones watan. Having reached the age of maturity now, what is his duty concerning his prayer and fasting in his birthplace?
A: If he migrated from his birthplace following his father, and his father intended not to return there for living, the watan’s rule will not apply to him in that place.
Q 690: Someone has a watan where he does not live at present, but goes there sometimes with his wife. Should his wife perform full prayer there, like him, if she goes along with him to that place? What rule will apply to her prayer if she goes there alone?
A: The mere fact that a place is the husband’s watan does not entail that it is a watan for the wife as well so that the watan’s rule should apply to her while being there.
Q 691: Does the rule of watan apply to one’s place of work?
A: To work at a place does not make it one’s watan. However, one is not ruled as a traveler and he should perform full prayer and fast there if one resides there and is to stay there for one/two years.
Q 692: What is meant by abandoning one’s watan? If a girl gets married and travels with her husband to the place he wishes, will it amount to abandoning her watan?
A: It is materialized by leaving one’s watan with the intention not to return to it or if he knows/is confident that it is not possible to return. Her mere going to the husband’s house in another city does not entail abandoning her original watan.
Q 693: Please explain your opinion on the issue of original and second watan.
A: The original watan is the place where one grows up and flourishes for the most of his early life (means childhood and adolescence). While the second watan is a place where one surely decides to live there permanently, for a long time (even several months every year) or without determining the period of stay.
Q 694: My parents are from the city of Savah. However, they were born and resided in Tehran. After marriage, they went to Chalus and resided there because my father was working there. Therefore, I was born in Tehran but I did not reside there. How should I pray in Tehran and Savah?
A: In the given case, you are ruled as a traveller there.
Q 695: I was born in Kermanshah but have been living in Tehran for six years. I have not abandoned my original watan, while I intend to adopt Tehran as watan as well. If I move from one locality of Tehran to another every one or two years, what rule will apply to my prayer and fasting while I am here? Since we have been living in the new locality (inside Tehran) for more than six months, does the watan rule apply to us here? How will our prayers and fasting be when we travel between different areas of Tehran during the day?
A: If you make the intention to take the present Tehran, or one of its areas, as watan, it will be your watan as a whole, and the watan rule, namely the obligation to perform prayer in full and validity of fasting, will apply to you in all areas of the present Tehran, and the traveler’s rule will not apply to your traveling around inside present Tehran.
Q 696: Someone belongs to a village but works and lives in Tehran at present. His parents live in the village where they own some land and wells. He travels to the village to visit his parents or to help them, but is not interested at all in returning to live there. Given that he was born in this village, what is the rule of his prayer and fasting there?
A: If he does not want to, rather he has resolved not to, return to that village to live there, the watan rule will not apply to him there.
Q 697: Is one’s birthplace considered their watan even if they do not live there?
A: If they stayed there for a period of time (i.e. during childhood and adolescence), grew up and flourished there, the watan’s rule will apply to it unless he abandons it; otherwise, it will not.
Q 698: What rule applies to the prayer and fasting of someone who has been living for a long time (nine years) in a place which is not his watan and is presently forbidden from returning to his watan, but is certain that he will return some day?
A: In the given case, he is not ruled as a traveler and he should say full prayer and fast there.
Q 699: I spent six years of my life in a village, and eight years in a city before I came to Mashhad, where I now study. What is the rule of my prayer and fasting in each of these places?
A: You should say full prayer and fast in the village of your birth if it is considered as your original watan as per the common view. If there is doubt about its being considered as your watan, you should observe caution. If you were not born there and doubt about its being considered as your watan, the rules of watan are not applicable. As for the city where you resided for several years, if you took it as your watan, the watan rule will apply to it as long as you do not abandon it. But Mashhad is not considered as your watan unless you make the intention of making it your watan. However if you are to reside there for at least one/two year(s), you should say full prayer and fast there.
Wife’s and Children’s Following as far as Watan Is Concerned
Q 700: Should the wife follow her husband with respect to watan and ten-day stay?
A: Matrimony alone does not make the wife follow her husband involuntarily. Therefore, the wife may choose not to follow the husband with respect to the adoption of watan or the intent of ten-day stay in a place. However, if the wife is not independent in her decisions and living, and she submits to her husband’s will with regard to taking a watan and abandoning it, her husband’s intent will suffice for her in that regard, and the city to which her husband moves with her, intending to adopt it as his watan to live there permanently, will be her watan as well. Similarly, the husband’s abandoning their earlier watan, along with leaving it for another place, will also be considered as her abandoning her watan. Concerning her staying for ten days during travel, assuming that she submits to her husband’s wish, her knowledge of the husband’s intent of ten-day stay will be enough, even if she is compelled to accompany her husband during the period of his ten-day stay there.
Q 701: A young man married a girl from another city. Should the girl pray shortened or full prayers when she goes to her father’s home?
A: Her prayer is full while in her original watan, as long as she does not abandon it.
Q 702: Are wife and children covered by the ruling no.1284 of the risālah of Imam Khomeini (q.) according to which, it is not necessary for them to make the intention of travel (along with the husband or the father) in order to be travelers? Does the father’s watan cause the prayers of those who follow him to be full?
A: In case they follow the father in traveling, though by compulsion, the father’s intention to cover the distance will suffice them if they know about it. But as far as adopting a watan and abandoning it are concerned, if they are not independent in their decisions and living, in the sense of dependence on the father’s will in that regard, they will follow the father with respect to abandoning watan and adopting the new watan where the father has shifted with them to live.
Rules of Large Cities
Q 703: What is your opinion concerning large cities with respect to the conditions of the intention of making them a watan or of staying there for ten days?
A: There is no difference between a large city and an ordinary one in respect of the traveler’s rules and the intention to make a place as one's watan or to stay for ten days. On making the intention to take a large city as one’s watan and prepare for living requirements in it or staying there for a period, the watan’s rule will apply to the whole city. Similarly, if one makes the intention to stay in such a city for ten days, the ruling of offering full prayers applies for him in all its quarters, whether he chooses a special quarter of it to live or stay or not.
Q 704: Until the Revolution a person had no knowledge of Imam Khomeini’s (q.) verdict considering Tehran as a large city. What rule will apply to the prayers and fasts that he had performed in the usual way?
A: If he continues to do taqlīd of the late Imam (q.) concerning this issue, it will be obligatory for him to repeat the past acts which did not conform to his verdict, by making the qaḍā’, in shortened form, of the prayers performed in full while his duty was to shorten them, and making the qaḍā’ of the fasts kept while he was a traveler. However, he may refer to a living mujtahid in this issue in which case there is no need to repeat the past prayers.
Prayer Performed by Hiring
Q 705: I am unable to perform prayer. May someone else pray on my behalf? Is there any difference between taking a representative for a wage and without it?
A: According to Islamic law, it is obligatory for every living mukallaf themselves to perform their obligatory prayers in any possible way. And an agent’s prayers, whether it is for a wage or without it, do not relieve them of this obligation.
Q 706: Someone is hired to perform prayer on another’s behalf, how is he to go about it?
i. Is it obligatory for him to recite the adhān, the iqāmah, the threefold salāms, and the complete tasbīḥāt al-arba‘ah?
ii. If he performs the noon and afternoon prayers, for example, one day and performs the complete five daily prayers on the next day, will it be necessary to observe their order?
iii. Is it necessary to mention the specifics of the deceased person for the prayer performed on their behalf?
A: Mentioning the specifics of the deceased person is not necessary. Order should be observed only between noon and afternoon and between maghrib and ‘ishā’ prayers of the same day. If, in the hiring contract, the person hired to perform the prayers is not ordered to follow a particular method, he is just required to perform the obligatory parts of the prayers.
Q 707: What is an āyāt prayer and what makes it obligatory according to Islamic law?
A: It is comprised of two rak‘ahs, with five rukū‘s and two prostrations in each rak‘ah. According to Islamic law, it becomes obligatory due to solar and lunar eclipses, even partial ones; an earthquake; and any abnormal phenomenon which scares most people, such as an unusual black, red, or yellow storm, an intense darkness, landslide, a cry (from the heavens), and the fire which sometimes appears in the sky. Āyāt prayer is not made obligatory by that which does not frighten most people, excepting eclipses and earthquakes, or by things which scare exceptions among people.
Q 708: How is an āyāt prayer performed?
A: Āyāt prayer has several forms:
i. After making intention and saying the takbīrah al-iḥrām, one recites the Fātiḥah and another one, and then performs rukū‘. After rising from the rukū‘, one recites the Fātiḥah and a chapter, and again performs rukū‘. One keeps on doing so until he performs five rukū‘s, each preceded by the Fātiḥah and another one. After that, he rises up and performs two prostrations, then stands up and performs the second rak‘ah in the same manner as the first one, completing with two prostrations, followed by tashahhud and salām.
ii. Only one Fātiḥah and sūrah is to be recited in each rak`ah. it is said as follows: the other sūrah is divided into five parts and, after making intention and saying takbīrah al-iḥrām, one recites the Fātiḥah and one part of the other sūrah (be it one complete verse, a part of it or more than a verse), then performs rukū‘ (of course, it is an obligatoy caution not to count Bismillah as a part of the sūrah and bow to rukū‘ after it). Then rising from the rukū‘, one recites another part of that sūrah without the Fātiḥah, followed by the second rukū‘. Then raising his head, he continues this procedure so that he completes the other sūrah just before the fifth rukū‘. Then after the fifth rukū‘, he performs two prostrations, then stands up and performs the second rak‘ah in the same manner as in the first one, finishing with tashahhud and salām.
iii. One performs one of the two rak‘ahs in one of the above two forms and the other rak‘ah in the other form.
iv. One completes the sūrah, of which he recited a part in the first standing state, in the second, third, or the fourth standing state, for instance. Then it will be obligatory for him, after raising his head from the rukū‘, to repeat the Fātiḥah in the following standing state, and to recite with it a sūrah or a part of it, in case of which he must complete that sūrah before the fifth rukū‘.
Q 709: Is the obligation of āyāt prayer limited to those who are in the city of occurrence of the phenomenon, or does it apply to any mukallaf who comes to know about it without being in that city?
A: It is obligatory only for those who are in the phenomenon’s city at the time of its happening.
Q 710: If someone is unconscious when an earthquake occurs, and becomes conscious after its occurrence, will the āyāt prayer be obligatory for him?
A: As for the given assumption, it is an obligatory caution that he offers the āyāt prayer.
Q 711: After an earthquake in an area it is often observed that dozens of tremors occurs there in a short period of time. What is the rule with respect to āyāt prayer in such cases?
A: Each quake, whether violent or mild, requires its own āyāt prayer provided that it is considered as an independent quake.
Q 712: The center of seismography reports the occurrence of several mild earthquakes in the area we live, mentioning their number, though we felt none of them. Is āyāt prayer obligatory for us in such a case?
A: If it happens in a way that no one feels its occurrence and it is only understood by using an instrument, the āyāt prayer will not be obligatory.
Q 713: Should nāfilah prayers be recited loudly or quietly?
A: It is mustaḥabb to perform the daytime nāfilahs quietly and the nightly ones loudly.
Q 714: Is it permissible to perform night prayers as follows: two four-rak‘ah prayers instead of four two-rak‘ah ones, then a two-rak‘ah one, followed by the watr prayer?
A: It is not correct to perform the night nāfilah in the form of four-rak‘ah prayer.
Q 715: Is it necessary to perform the night prayers in the dark and in such a manner that nobody knows that we do it?
A: It is not required to perform it in the dark or to hide it from others. However, it is not permissible to show it off.
Q 716: Having performed the noon and afternoon prayers during the nāfilah’s time, occasionally we perform their nāfilahs, should the intention be to make qaḍā’ or something else?
A: In such a case, it is based on caution to perform them for the sake of proximity to Allah, the Exalted, not with the intention of adā’ or qaḍā’.
Q 717: Please explain in detail how to perform the night prayer?
A: Night prayer comprises eleven rak‘ahs in all. Eight of these rak‘ahs, which are performed two by two, are called night prayer. The next two-rak‘ah prayer performed like morning prayer is called shaf‘ prayer, and the last rak‘ah is known as rak‘ah of watr. It is mustaḥabb, in the qunūt of the rak‘ah of watr, to seek Allah’s forgiveness, to pray for believers, and to make appeals for fulfillment of requests to the Beneficent Allah, in accordance with what is mentioned in the books of supplications.
Q 718: How are the night prayers performed in respect of the chapters, begging Allah’s forgiveness and supplications?
A: The recitation of a certain chapter, repenting, or supplication is not a necessary part. After making intention and saying takbīrah al-iḥrām, it is sufficient to recite the Fātiḥah in every rak‘ah, perform rukū‘ and prostration, say their dhikr, and terminate it by tashahhud and salām, although one may recite a chapter of the Holy Qur’an after the Fātiḥah if one wants to.
Miscellaneous Issues of Prayers
Q 719: How should one wake one’s family members for morning prayer?
A: In this case, there is no particular way with respect to family members.
Q 720: What rule applies to the prayer and fasting of those who belong to different groups that are jealous of and even hostile to one another for no reason?
A: It is not permissible for a mukallaf to nurture envy, enmity and hostility towards others, but doing so does not invalidate one’s prayers and fasting.
Q 721: If combatants on the warfront cannot recite the Fātiḥah or perform prostration or rukū‘ due to the intensity of battle, how should they say prayer?
A: They should perform prayer in any possible way and if they cannot perform rukū‘ and prostration, it will suffice to do them through gestures.
Q 722: At what age must parents teach their children the rules of Islamic law and the rites of worship?
A: It is mustaḥabb for the guardian of children to teach them the rules of Islamic law and the rites of worship when they reach the age of discrimination.
Q 723: Drivers of some passenger buses that travel between cities do not care about their passengers’ prayers. So they do not stop the bus at the passengers’ request so that they may perform prayers. That may cause the passengers’ prayers become qaḍā’. What is the duty of bus drivers in this respect, and what is the passengers’ duty concerning their prayers in such a situation?
A: If the passengers fear the lapse of a prayer’s time, it will be obligatory for them to ask the driver to stop the bus at a place appropriate for praying, and it will be obligatory for the driver to accept their request. If he refuses to stop the bus for an acceptable reason, or no reason, the passengers, if they fear the lapse of the prayer’s time, should perform the prayer on the bus while it is moving, and observe qiblah, standing position, rukū‘ and prostration as much as possible.
Q 724: Does the statement, "One who drinks wine has neither prayer nor fast for forty days" mean that it is not obligatory for them to perform prayer during that period, and that they should make qaḍā’ for what they miss? Or does it mean that they should do adā’ (perform it in time) as well as qaḍā’? Or that it is not obligatory for them to make qaḍā’ and adā’ will do, though its reward is less than the other prayers?
A: It means that drinking wine prevents the acceptance of prayers and fasting1, not that it exempts them from the obligation to perform prayers and fast on time and it becomes obligatory for them to perform their qaḍā’ instead, or that it is obligatory to perform them both adā’ and qaḍā’.
Q 725: What is my shar‘ī duty when I see someone performing some acts of prayer wrongly?
A: If he is ignorant about the prayer parts and terms which if performed wrong do not harm the validity of the prayer, you are not required to inform him. However, if it concerns the prayer parts and terms which if performed wrong , even out of ignorance, they invalidate the prayer and make it necessary to repeat it, like wuḍū', ghusl, timing, rukū‘ or sujūd, then one should inform him about the correct ruling.
Q 726: What is your opinion concerning the praying persons doing shaking hands with each other immediately after the prayer? It is noteworthy that some eminent scholars have said that nothing is narrated on this subject from the Immaculate Imams (a.), and therefore there is no basis for shaking hands. But at the same time, we know that shaking hands increases friendship and affection among those who gather for prayer.
A: There is no problem in shaking hands after the salām and finishing the prayer. In general, shaking hands with a believer is mustaḥabb.
1. The meaning of the phrase "drinking wine prevents the acceptance of prayers" is that no reward is given for such prayers. However, if one offers prayers correctly, he is not ruled as prayer forsaker and will not be punished for forsaking prayer, but he will not be provided any reward for it.
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 deviating people from the way of Allah which is suitable for gatherings of merry making 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’, lahwī music — which deviates people from the way of Allah and is suitable for merrymaking gatherings — 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 lahwī mutrib music which is suitable for gatherings of lahw and sinful acts. 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? 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 and is suitable for merrymaking gatherings of sin. 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 deviating from the way of Allah and appropriate to the gatherings of lahw, and sin. Any music categorized due to its nature as lahwī 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 are suitable for gatherings of lahw, 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 suitable for the gatherings of lahw and sin. 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 no bad effect follow 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’ 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 suitable for dissolute gatherings of sin, and leading 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 suits the gatherings of lahw. 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 common in gatherings of lahw and sin, 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 ghinā’ or lahwī music which suites gatherings of lahw and sin, 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, which is the case according to our standpoint as well. 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 lahw and suitable for gatherings of sin 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 and is suitable for lahw gatherings, 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 a piece of music that is lahwī, and suitable for gatherings of lahw and falsehood, 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 absolutely ḥarām. 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 that is suitable for the gatherings of lahw and sin, 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 a rational and ḥalāl purposes provided that no other bad consequences 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 it does not amount to ghinā’, listening to it is not driven by lust, and it does not lead to a bad consequence, there is no problem in it whatsoever.
Q1140. Is traditional national Iranian music ḥarām?
A: Should it, according to the common view, be judged as a lahwī form of music that is suitable for the gatherings of lahw and sin, 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 music that is suitable for the gatherings of lahw and sin 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 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 lahwī rise and fall of voice (ghinā’) or the music accompanying it is lahwī, i.e. deviating from the way of Allah and suitable for gatherings of sin, 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 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 ghinā’ which is characterized by rising and falling voice which is deviating one from the way of Allah and suitable for gatherings of lahw and sin, 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 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 is suitable for gatherings of lahw and sin 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. Instruments, which the common view regards as special to the production of lahwī 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 does not entail lahw which is deviating from the way of Allah and suitable for the gatherings of sin. 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 la‘ib 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 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 has 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 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 has bad consequences.
Q1163. What is the view on watching 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-mḥram 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. 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 the others entail no vile effect or in the case it entails, you did not have any role in giving them the photos, 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 is suitable for the gatherings of lahw and sin, 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 is suitable for the gatherings of lahw and sin, 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 without ḥijāb?
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 if the couple is young?
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 suitable for gatherings of lahw and sin, 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 are suitable for the gatherings of lahw and sin, 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 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 (divination by means of figures or lines in the sand), astronomical almanac 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 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.
1313. What is the ruling in the matter of lethargy and time wasting in gaining knowledge? Is it 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.
1314. 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.
1317. What is the ruling in the matter of buying and selling misguiding 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 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.
1325. 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 on 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.
1326. 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 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.
Q1339. 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: The permission of the compiler’s representative or legal guardian must be obtained. In the event of his death, his heirs’ permission must 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 it happens out of 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.
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 other people, 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 attend sin parties if it leads to a vile consequence or committing ḥarām deeds such as listening to lahwī music that is suitable for gatherings of sin and lahw 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 ghinā’ and lahwī music, that is suitable for gatherings of sin and lahw take place when this leads to listening to such singing and music or supporting it. However, when someone is doubtful about the nature of them, 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 reciting them?
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: In the given case that the additional amount was not stipulated in the loan deed and the borrower gave it to you willingly, you are allowed to use it.
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 difference in purchasing power, there is a caution to reach a settlement.
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 from the borrower’s heirs if she has left sufficient money to settle it. As to the difference in money value, there is a caution to reach a settlement.
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: According to shar‘ī, he is not entitled to demand any extra payment over and above the amount of the loan.
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, any amount paid as profit is considered ribā which is ḥarām in Islam. They should pay the same money or its equivalent 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 out a 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 borrow money from such institutions?
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 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.
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 shareholders.
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 its contents are proved authentic. 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 part of the shared property to one of the shareholders is deemed invalid insofar as buyer’s share is concerned. And the same goes for the shares of the other shareholders unless they approve the transaction.
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 especially when it is apparent that the money owners agree upon this.
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 unless the spending is confined to the displaced people in that town in particular, 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?
A: There is no objection to providing for one’s funeral as there is no ceiling to that. 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: Should the person keep other’s belongings or have in their possession some property that carries a liability, be it to the people or in the form of religious dues, of which they could not discharge their responsibility, it is obligatory on 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 due from him. This was witnessed by a number of people of impeccable character, 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?
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?
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: If the executors of a will failed to agree on the execution of the will, they should consult authorized religious authority.
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?
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 had materialized that, during his lifetime, the muṣālaḥah he has made is correct and legal, 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 at the ratios of two hectares and one hectare respectively of the actual area of the groves. 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 her share of the inheritance, 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, based on caution, the two parties should reach a settlement on the difference in the value of currency, i.e. when the payment was made and at the death of the testator, should the currency have depreciated. This 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: It is a caution that they reach a settlement regarding the difference in purchasing power of the currency.
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 for his minor child. He noted the sale on a piece of paper. 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 child, 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 transfer its ownership to his minor son. 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. 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?
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 as the profit of 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.
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?
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 land 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 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, or [c] a facility for the public at large 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 player 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.