Social and Cultural Issues
Backbiting (Ghībah) Definition
Backbiting (ghībah) is to talk about a hidden (as recognized by `urf) fault of a Muslim behind their back, provided that it is said intending to belittle the individual or it is recognized as belittling by the `urf (common view).
Permission of the Backbited Person
The permission of the backbited person does not change the rule and it is not permissible to backbit even in this case.
Cutting Ties with Blood Relatives
Cutting ties with blood relatives is ḥarām. However, maintaining ties of kinship with them is not confined to visiting them, but it also could be done through other means like phoning, sending letter, etc.
To Break Ties with a Sinner Blood Relative
It is not permissible to break ties with a sinner blood relative unless you think that cutting relations temporarily may make your relative refrain from sins. In this case, it is obligatory for you to do so to forbid evil.
To Help Beggars
If helping beggars would spread lying, unemployment, begging and violating law in the society, one should avoid it. One may send their contributions to the reliable charities established for such activities.
The rule on smoking cigarette or hookah depends on the degree of harm it causes. If it causes a considerable harm, annoys/hurts others or is against law, it is impermissible.
Considerable Harm in Enjoining the Good
If the mukallaf fears considerable harm for himself in enjoining the good or forbidding evil, it will not be obligatory for him.
Reply to Salām
It is obligatory to reply to the salām of adults and that of the children who can discriminate between right and wrong.
To Disunite Muslims
Nowadays, it is ḥarām according to shar` to say any word, do anything or have any behavior that would give a pretext to the enemies of Islam or create difference among, and/or destroy the unity of, the Muslims.
Clapping in Religious Ceremonies
Generally speaking, in itself there is no problem in clapping in the way common in religious ceremonies, or as a gesture of encouragement, or expression of approval and the like. However, it is better to adorn the celebratory atmosphere with the sound of reciting salawāt on the Prophet (s.a.w.), and his progeny (a.s.) and Allahuakbar especially when the event takes place in masjids, ḥusayniyyahs and places of worship so that the participants would reap more reward.
Although there is no reliable tradition to the effect that Nawrūz is considered among religious festivals or holy days. However, there is no harm in celebrating or visiting one’s relatives on this day. Rather, as it reinforces ties among relatives, it is recommendable.
Holding mourning ceremony in its traditional way is no problem, or rather, desired. However, one should avoid any act that entails disgrace to our school of thought.
Playing the Story of 'Ashūrā’
There is no problem in playing the story of 'Ashūrā’ provided that it does not involve lying or materials which disrespect our denomination. However, it is better to mourn this occasion by holding preaching gatherings and delivering sermons.
Wearing Blak in Mourning Ceremonies
There is no proof that wearing blak clothes during the mourning ceremonies of Ahl ul-Bait (a.s.) is makrūh. Rather, if wearing them is intended for veneration of divine symbols, it deserves reward.
Musical Instruments in Mourning Ceremonies
Using musical instruments is inappropriate for the commemoration ceremonies of the Master of Martyrs (a.s.). It is preferable to hold commemoration ceremonies in the traditional way. However, there is no harm in using drums or cymbals in the traditional way.
Using Mourning Standards
There is no problem in using mourning standards in mourning the martyrdom of Imam Ḥusayn (a.s.) in itself. However, this should not be perceived as a part of the religion.
A) Qamazanī is absolutely impermissible.
B) In addition to the fact that hitting oneself / head with swords (qamazanī / tatbīr) is not held in the common view as a manifestation of mourning and grief and it has no precedent at the lifetime of the Imams (a.s.) nor after that and we have not received any tradition quoted from the Infallibles (a.s.) to support this act, this practice would, at the present time, give others a bad image of our school of thought. Therefore, there is no way that it can be considered permissible.
Recounting the Events of Karbala
Recounting the events in ceremonies commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Ḥusayn without any evidence of an authoritative account or quoting from a reliable ḥadith has no basis in Islamic law unless he says it is his perception of the story and there is no evidence against it.
Exaggeration in Praising the Infallible a.
In praise of the infallible a., it is not permissible to exaggerate their status. One should avoid promoting panegyrists, who exaggerate, and avoid attending their ceremonies.
Using Newspapers Containing Qur’anic Verses
In some newspapers, some sacred words and Qur’anic verses are written. It is not permissible to sit on them, use them instead of a tablecloth and put food on them, or throw them into the garbage if it is considered in the common view as disrespect.
How to Omit the Holy Names
There is no problem in burying the holy names and Qur’anic verses, or converting them with water, into pulp when there is a need to do so. But burning them is problematic and, when considered disrespect, impermissible. It is not permissible either to cut up Qur’anic verses and the holy names, when it is considered disrespect. Even if it is considerd otherwise, it is not enough to cut them up unless it leads to their being effaced.
The Picture of an Imam a.
As to the pictures, said to be those of the infallible Imams (a.s.), there is no proof that they belong to them. Anyhow, insulting these pictures is impermissible.
To Shave One's Beard
To shave beard with a blade or a machine that gives a similar result is, by obligatory caution, impermissible.
The ruling on shaving part of the beard is the same as that passed on shaving the entire beard.
According to obligatory caution, it is ḥarām.
Compensation for Shaving Other's Beard
According to obligatory caution, it is ḥarām to receive compensation for shaving other's beard.
Defnition of Ḥarām Music Signing
Any sort of music or signing, which keeps human beings away from Allah, the Sublime, and away from moral merits and spirituality and drives them towards lechery, futility, carelessness, and sinful acts, strays human beings from the path of Allah, the Exalted, is considered as lahwī and ḥarām.
Criterion for Ḥarām Music
Any music categorized due to its nature as lahwī and straying human being from the path of Allah, the Exalted, is ḥarām, irrespective of whether or not it is exciting. Whether it engenders in the listener a state of melancholy and crying is also immaterial. Should the music not be of the type suitable for gatherings of sin and lahw, nor lead to bad consequences, there is no evidence for issuing it as ḥarām.
Ḥarām Music/Signing in Wedding Parties
As far as the ruling on the ḥarām music or signing (i.e. lahwī one, which strays human being from the path of Allah, the Exalted) is concerned, there is no difference between wedding party and other occasions.
Military March and National Anthem
There is no objection to military music (march), music in patriotic singing and the like as well as to being paid for playing them.
Hearing versus Listening to Music
If a ḥarām piece of music is being played in a place leaving which proves unfeasible or unbearably hard for you, pay no attention to it even though it reaches your ears unwillingly.
To Play Tambourine
The rule on playing tambourine depends on how to use it. It is ḥarām to play it in a lahwī manner suitable for sinful merrymaking gatherings. As far as religious ceremonies/occasions are concerned, the sanctity and status of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s.) sould be observed.
To Use Musical Instruments
By itself, there is no objection to using musical instruments to play tunes for revolutionary chanting, religious programs or carrying out useful cultural educational activities.
Also, learning and teaching playing music as well as selling and buying musical instruments for the above mentioned causes are no problem.
Buying/Selling Multi-purpose Musical Instruments
There is no problem in buying and selling musical instruments that serve dual purposes, intending to use them in playing non-lahwī tunes.
Music as Treatment
Should a trustful medical specialist say that treating an illness depends solely on music, there is no problem in it provided that it is in keeping with the requirements of the treatment.
To Listen to a Woman's Voice/Ghinā’
There is no difference between a man's ghinā’ and that of a woman. It is not ḥarām to listen to a woman's voice which is not ghinā’ unless it is accompanied by ill intention or leads to a bad consequence. However, it is impermissible to listen to a woman's singing as usually involves a vile consequence.
To Listen to Ghinā’ of One's Spouse
It is absolutely ḥarām to listen to ḥarām ghinā’, even if it is done by one's spouse.
Women's Reciting Elegies
In the places where the woman knows that her voice is heard by non- maḥrams, then if it attracts non- maḥrams’ attention, arouses their sexual passion, or leads to another vile consequence, she is not allowed to recite elegies or the like.
To Change a Man's Voice
It is not free of problem if a man makes his voice similar to that of a woman or to use an apparatus for the same purpose.
By obligatory caution, it is ḥarām for a man to dance. If a woman's dancing among women fits the definition of lahw, e.g. it becomes a dancing gathering, one should avoid it by obligatory caution. It is ḥarām to dance if it entails sexual excitement, leads to a vile consequence, is accompanied by a ḥarām act (e.g. ḥarām music / singing) or there exist a non-maḥram man. It makes no difference whether or not it is a wedding party.
To Attend a Dancing Party
It is ḥarām to attend a dancing party if it is considered as accepting the ḥarām act of others or entails committing a ḥarām act. Otherwise, there is no harm in it.
Leaving the party as a kind of protest against the ḥarām act is obligatory if it is a case of forbidding evil.
A Wife's Dancing for Her Husband
Should the dancing of a wife for her husband be done without the commission of any ḥarām act, there is no harm in it.
Dance Teaching Centers
Establishing centers for teaching and promoting dancing goes against the objectives of the Islamic system and it is impermissible by obligatory caution.
To Attend Sinful Gatherings
If attending gatherings, where sins are committed, entails perpetrating a sinful act or supporting it, one should leave this gathering or not attend it. The same rule applies if forbidding evil is dependent on leaving the place or not going there at all.
To Attend a Drinking Gathering
It is not permissible to be present in any gathering where alcoholic beverages are consumed. In case of necessity, being there should be limited to that which is necessary.
To Wear a Tie
In general, it is not permissible to wear a tie or the clothes which are considered as the clothing of non-Muslims so that wearing them amounts to promoting the low western culture.
Promoting Culture of Non-Muslims in Clothes/Make-up
It is not permissible to wear clothes whose tailoring style, color, etc. are considered imitation and propagation of the invading culture of non-Muslims. It is not permissible to wear an ornament in a way that is regarded as imitation of the culture of enemies of Islam and Muslims.
A Man's Make-up/Shaping Eyebrows
It is impermissible for a man to wear make-up or shape their eyebrows if it amounts to simulating women, leads to vile consequences or is considered as a means of spreading the low western culture.
Tattooing is not ḥarām unless it leads to considerable harmful effects.
To Watch Insulting Films
Watching films that contain material showing irreverence towards that which the Islamic Republic holds sacred must be avoided.
It is not permissible to read books or watch films that are sexually arousing.
Watching Immoral Movies
Watching immoral movies that contain obscene scenes does strengthen one's satanic whims, weaken their will and faith and precipitate for vile consequences and perpetration of sinful acts and, therefore, it is totally impermissible.
To Stimulate One’s Sexual Urges
It is not permissible to stimulate one’s sexual urges by way of watching video films containing sexual scenes, even for a husband and his wife.
Instruments of Gambling
Generally speaking, it is not permissible at all to play with what the mukallaf sees as instruments of gambling. Playing with other things while betting is involved has the same ruling. However, there is no problem in playing with instruments, which are not considered as gambling ones when there is no betting.
To Play Cards
Playing with gambling instruments including cards is ḥarām even though it is done without betting.
If the mukallaf recognizes that nowadays chess is no longer a gambling instrument, there is no problem in playing it without betting.
If billiards is played with betting or if playing it leads to social or moral bad consequences or entails committing ḥarām practice/s, it is impermissible.
Visiting Advertising Websites
Visiting advertising websites and taking money as a gift are no problem unless it entails corruptions like spreading lies and showing false and wrong subjects.
Although satellite dishes are ruled as dual-purpose instruments [as they are medium to access both ḥalāl and ḥarām television programs],
since they make 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 except 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. However, the related laws and regultions, if any, should be observed.
To Instal/Repair Satellite Dishes
It is not permissible to repair, buy, sell, install, or operate satellite equipments or to sell the 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.
To Provide Internet Services
If one knows that the client is going to use internet for ḥarām purposes, he is not allowed to provide them with such a service. It is also problematic to earn by providing this service. However, if one doubts that it would be used for ḥarām purposes, it is no problem.