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IS ARBAEEN WALK TO KARBALA AN INNOVATION ?

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Question

By the Grace of God I have been going for the Arbaeen walk in the last few years but recently a very disturbing and confusing video has been forwarded to me showing a public speaker who calls the walk a carnival and an innovation similar to Salat-al- Tarawih. He said this is an innovation which has shackled us. He also says ‘the walk was supposed to be a private practice for every individual to do it in their own good time’. He also said the Hadith says ‘walk from Euphrates to the Haram of Imam Hussein (as)’.

Please shed some light on the significance of the walk on Arbaeen. Is this really an innovation?!

Answer:

This is not the first time or the first person who has attempted to extinguish the ‘Light of God’:

“They wish to extinguish God’s Light with their mouths, but Allah will not allow except that His Light should be perfected.” (Chapter 9, Ayah 32)

Although one of my colleagues has answered the above misgiving in a very academic manner, I will Inshallah shed some more light on this issue for your further information.

1. The abundant merits of visiting the holy grave of Imam Husain (as) is promised in numerous words of the Imams of AhlulBayt (as). One of the best and the most authentic primary sources on the merits of visiting the holy graves of AhlulBayt (as) is the book of ‘Kaamelu-Ziyaraat’ written by ‘Ibn Qulawayh’ who was one of the main students of Sheikh Al-Kulayni and the teacher of Sheikh Al-Mufid. The author has compiled over 500 narrations on the merits of visiting the holy grave of Imam Husain (as). The followings are only a few examples:

1.1: Mo’awiyah Ibn Wahb (a very prominent narrator) narrated from Imam Sadiq (as):

“Do not abandon the ziyarat (visitation) of al-Husain (as). Do you not like to be among those for whom the angels pray?!” (Kamelu-Ziyaraat, P. 119)

1.2: Mo’awiyah Ibn Wahb also said:

“I entered the house of Imam Sadiq (as) and I found the Imam on his prayer mat. I waited until he finished his salat (prayer). Then I heard the Imam saying in his supplication: “O Allah!… forgive me and my brethren and the visitors of the grave of my father al-Husain; those who spend their wealth and return (to his grave) in person (frequently)…” (Ibid, p.117)

1.3:  Imam Sadiq (as) said:

“Verily, Fatima; the daughter of Muhammad (P) attends the visitors of her son al-Husain (as) and seeks God’s forgiveness for their sins.” (Ibid, P. 118)

1.4: Visiting the holy grave of Imam Husain (as) is equally recommended for both men and women. Um Saeed al-Ahmasiyah; a very learned female companion of Imam Sadiq (as) narrated:

“Imam Sadiq (as) said to me: O Um Saeed! Do you visit the grave of al-Husain (a.s)? I said: Yes. She further added: Imam then said to me: “Do visit him, for surely his visitation is a covenant on men and women.” (Ibid, P.122)


2. Significance of walking to holy sites in Islam
:

Walking towards the holy sites is a much recommended rite in Islam. It is a gesture of humbleness and homage. Walking to the mosque (Wasaelu-Shi’a, vol.5, p.201), going on foot for Eid Prayers (Ibid, Vo.16, p.152), walking to Haj and hence one of the virtues of AhlulBayt (as) was their frequent pilgrimage to Haj on foot, also walking for stoning the Jamaraat in Haj, and even going on foot to visit a believer (Thawabul-A’mal, p.32) are examples of its significance.


3. Significance of walking to visit the holy grave of Imam Husain (as) in particular
:

Ibn Qulawaih has dedicated chapter 49 of his book to the merits of visiting Imam Husain (as) on foot. In one of its narrations it is quoted from Imam Sadiq (as):

Whoever leaves his house aiming at visiting the grave of al-Husain Ibn Ali (as) if he is on foot, Allah will write for him for every footstep a good deed and will erase an evil (for him) until he reaches the al-Haer (the vicinity of the grave)…” (Ibn Qulawaih, P. 132)

Unfortunately the speaker has mistakenly assumed that the walk is supposed to start from the Euphrates! As you can see from the above narration one may start walking from his home if possible, for the longer walk the more rewarding. The recommendation of walking from the Euphrates which is in the vicinity of today’s city of Karbala is about walking barefooted, not just walking. Here is the text of the Hadith in Arabic:

فَإِذَا أَتَيْتَ الْفُرَاتَ فَاغْتَسِلْ وَ عَلِّقْ نَعْلَيْكَ وَ امْشِ حَافِياً وَ امْشِ مَشْيَ الْعَبْدِ الذَّلِيل‏.. (کامل الزیارات، ص 133)

“Then when you reached the Euphrates River perform your Ghusl (of Ziarat), hang your shoes around your neck, walk barefooted and walk like a very humble slave…” (Ibn Qulawaih, p. 133)

4. Walking on Arbaeen is a pure Islamic tradition NOT an innovation:

Walking to the holy grave on the 40th of Imam Husain (as) is a well-established Sunna and one of the signs of being a true follower of Ahlul-Bayt (as).

4.1:  Sh. Al-Mufid  (4th century A.H) narrated from Imam al-Askari (as):

The signs of a believer are five: praying 51 Rak’at daily, Ziarat Arbaeen, wearing a ring on the right hand, prostration on soil, and pronouncing the Bismillah loudly.” (Al-Mazar, P. 53)

‘The believer’ in the above narration is an expression for ‘a Shi’a’, and thus the above five mentioned practices are mainly observed by the Shi’a.

4.2:  Safwan; one of the trustworthy companions of Imam Sadiq (as) narrated a ‘visitation’ from Imam Sadiq (a.s) for visiting Imam Husain (as) on his 40th. (Mesbahul-Mutohajjid, vol. 2, p.788)

4.3:  Jaber Ibn Abdillah al-Ansari; who was a prominent companion of the holy Prophet (P), along with Atiyyah al-Oufi, who was also a prominent companion of Imam Ali (as) are the first main visitors of the holy grave of Imam Husain (as) on Arbaeen. At the time of the tragedy of Karbala, Jaber who had an impair vision due to aging was residing in Medina. Upon hearing the martyrdom of Imam Husain (as) he made a trip all the way to Kufa. Attiyah narrates the story: “I left Kufa with Jaber on foot heading to Karbala to visit the holy grave of Imam Husain (as). (Besharatul-Mustafa, p. 74). Note that today Kufa is part of the holy city of Najaf, from which the main walk begins. We believe the choice of Jaber to visit the holy grave on the 40th was not accidental.

Therefore, walking on Arbaeen to visit the holy grave of Imam Husain (as) is:

a) a strong recommendation of Imam Sadiq (a.s),
b) a sign of a true believer according to Imam al-Askari (a.s),
c) is practiced by prominent companions of the holy Prophet (P) and Imam Ali (as),
d) and practiced by many Shi’a scholars throughout history when possible. Then how can one dare calling it an innovation and compare it with ‘Salat-al- Tarawih’ which its innovation is unanimously accepted?! In fact, Ziyarat Arbaeen is not an innovation even according to the Sunni principles, for it has been practiced by one of the companions of the holy Prophet (P); i.e. Jaber Ibn Abdillah. Perhaps that is why every year we witness more participation in this heavenly procession by Muslims of different denominations.


5. Ziarat Arbaeen is NOT supposed to be a private practice
.

Unlike the false assumption of the speaker, a glance at the numerous narrations of AhlulBayt (as) certainly suggests that the visitation of Imam Husain (as) has to be publicized and globalized. I wonder how can a Muslim speaker echo the voice of secularism which calls ‘religion a private affair and should be kept that way’?!! It will not be surprising for such mentality to call the global Muslim pilgrimage to Haj another innovation and suggest that ‘it’s supposed to be a private practice to do it in your own good time’. Then Friday and daily congregational Prayers have to be also private practices! Muslim ladies also should not be allowed to practice their Islamic dress code, for ‘religion is supposed to be a private affair’. And the list goes on!

I heard from one of the Iraqi brothers: “During the reign of Saddam we had to keep the Arbaeen walk hidden and private, otherwise we could be put in prison or executed!” I cannot fathom how a Muslim speaker promotes ‘Saddam’s policy’?!!


6. Ziarat Arbaeen has NOT shackled us, it has liberated and united us.

Unlike the blasphemous claim of the speaker who claims Arbaeen walk is ‘an innovation which has shackled us’, the Shi’a history proves otherwise. Nay, even Gandhi said: “I learned from Husain how to be wronged and be a winner, I learned from Husain how to attain victory while being oppressed.”

I sincerely invite the speaker for the next Arbaeen procession to witness how Muslims of different denominations along with Zoroastrians, Sabians and others walk on this heavenly worshipping act hand in hand. Instead of making such unprofessional and derogatory comments please do join ‘the world’s largest and peaceful annual pilgrimage’ and witness for yourself a utopia where its citizens are the most generous, the most caring, the most sacrificing, and yes the most loving people for our dear al-Husain (as). And finally I humbly appeal to such speakers to follow the wise recommendation of Imam Sadiq (a.s) where he says:

“Remain quiet on matters unclear to you, for it is better than indulging in utter destruction.” (al-Kafi, vol. 1 p. 68)

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

WHAT PROOFS DO WE HAVE FOR THE RETURN OF PROPHET JESUS AT THE TIME OF IMAM MAHDI?

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Question:

Can you please provide proofs for the belief that Prophet Jesus will return at the time of the reappearance of Imam Mahdi aswell? Ayaat from the Quran and Hadiths would be appreciated.

Answer:

The Return of Jesus in Islam

Muslim scholars irrespective of their denominations are quite unanimous that upon the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (May God hasten his reappearance) Prophet Jesus will also descend to Earth from the heavens. During that time Jesus and Imam Mahdi will spread peace and justice on Earth, and the Earth will attain unprecedented peace, justice and welfare. Jesus will be like the minister for Imam Mahdi and his main mission will be to correct the dogma of Trinity and to clarify his humane personality and servitude to God.

The Islamic doctrine of the descension of Jesus to Earth is derived from a couple of Ayaat in the Quran and many Ahadith which are narrated by both Shi’a and Sunni narrators. The following are the most important reasons for this doctrine:

1. Jesus is still alive

The holy Quran in a unique style denotes the false dogma of crucifixion. The holy Quran clearly states that Allah raised Jesus to Himself. Thus, Jesus has not tasted physical death as yet. On the other hand, ‘every creature shall have a taste of death’. [29:57]. In conclusion, Jesus must return to earth to live a physical life and die a physical death.

2. The People of the Book believe in Jesus before his death

The Almighty Allah states: “And there will be none of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) but must believe in him before his death and on the Day of Resurrection, he will be a witness against them.” [4:159].

Most interpreters of the Quran agree that the above Ayah is with reference to the time of the return of Jesus to Earth. During that time there will be no Jews or Christians, but rather those who believe in Jesus as a Messenger of Allah and a human being. According to this interpretation, the pronoun in ‘before his death’ returns to ‘Jesus’ not a Jew or a Christian.

Shahr bin Houshab narrated: “Hajjaj bin Yusuf said to me: “There is an Ayah in the Quran that I’m baffled as to its meaning. I said: O Amir! Which Ayah is that? He said: “And there will be none of the People of the Book …” By Allah! I have ordered the execution of many Christians and Jews and I have witnessed their death, but none of them believed in the humanity of Jesus before his death.” Shahr said: “I said to Hajjaj: This is not the meaning of the Ayah. (He meant the pronoun in that phrase returns to Jesus not the Jews and Christians). The meaning of the Ayah is that Jesus will descend to Earth before the Day of Resurrection and there will be no Jews or Christians but believers in Jesus, and he will pray behind Imam Mahdi.” Hajjaj asked from whom I had learnt that interpretation from. I replied: Imam Baqir, son of Imam Sajjad, son of Imam Husain, son of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib narrated this to me.” Hajjaj said: By Allah, you gained it from a pure spring.”
3. The followers of Jesus will be superior over disbelievers

Almighty Allah states: “And when Allah said: O Jesus! I will take you and raise you to Myself and clear you of those who disbelieve, and I will make those who follow you superior to those who disbelieve till the Day of Resurrection. Then you (believers and disbelievers) will return to Me and I will judge between you in the matter in which you used to dispute.” [3:55].

The above Ayah is one of the controversial Ayaat in the story of Prophet Jesus. Some Christian preachers use this Ayah to prove the superiority of Christians over the adherents of all other religions whom they also call ‘disbelievers’ until the Day of Judgment.

Christians assumed the Quranic phrase ‘those who follow you’ equals Christians. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Christianity today is in essence very different from the actual teachings of Prophet Jesus. The followers of Jesus were those who truly followed his teachings. According to the Quran, the dogma of Trinity is in full conflict with the teachings of Prophet Jesus. Thus, how could Trinitarians be regarded as the followers of Jesus?!

The examples of ‘those who follow you’ from the time of Jesus till the advent of Islam are those sincere believers who believed in Jesus as a Messenger of Allah and followed his teachings. With the rise of Islam, Muslims who believe in Jesus as a Messenger of Allah are the true followers of Jesus. The disbelievers in return are those who never believed in Jesus as a Prophet such as the Jews or even the Christians who believed in the divinity of Jesus. Thus Almighty Allah has made the true monotheists who believe in Jesus as His Messenger superior in their ideology over the disbelievers who do not believe in Prophet Jesus.

Another meaning for the Ayah is to say when Imam Mahdi (a.s) reappears and Jesus returns to Earth, the true followers of Jesus who include all Muslims, Jews, Christians who truly followed Jesus, will be superior to the disbelievers.

4. Prophetic narrations confirm the descent of Jesus

Numerous Narrations in both Sunni and Shi’a sources confirm and detail the descending of Jesus at the same time as Imam Mahdi.

Renowned Sunni narrators such as al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Maajah, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Abu-Dawood and many others have narrated the narrations of the return of Jesus at the time of Imam Mahdi, and that he will pray behind Imam Mahdi.

Ibn Jouzi in his book ‘Tathkeratul-Khawas’ narrated: “Mahdi and Jesus will reunite. When it’s the time for Prayers, Mahdi will ask Jesus to lead the Prayers, but Jesus will say: You are more preferred to lead the Prayers. Then Jesus will pray behind him.”

According to the narrations of his return, Jesus will break the cross and abandon the meat of the pig. He will also abolish the Jazyah for the People of the Book of his time who will have no excuse to adhere to their false principles. They have to either convert to Islam and hence no Jazyah will apply to them or will be executed by Jesus. Jesus will live on the Earth for 40 years before he dies. Imam Mahdi will pray on his body and will attend his burial in pubic.

The Return of Jesus and the Seal of Prophet-hood

One of the theological problems about the return of Jesus is the paradox between this concept and the seal of Prophethood. Undoubtedly, Prophet Muhammad was the last Prophet and Messenger of God. With Prophet Muhammad, prophethood ceased to continue. Then how could one of the previous prophets return to earth after Prophet Muhammad?

The answer to the above paradox is that Prophet Jesus will not return to Earth to bring a new Shari’a Law. Thus, he will pray behind Imam Mahdi. In fact, Imam Mahdi who is the 12th and the last successor of the Prophet of Islam will lead the world. The main purpose of the return of Jesus to Earth is in order for him to prove to the Jews and the Christians the truth about himself.

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

What is the Meaning of Laylatul Qadr ?

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Question:

What is the meaning of Laylatul Qadr?

Answer:

In order to answer this question, we must consider Surat al-Qadr, chapter 97 of the Holy Quran.

إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ ‘We revealed it in the Night of Qadr’ (97:1)

In this Surah Allah (swt) does not disclose what He revealed. ‘إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ’, the ‘hu’ is the pronoun, and therefore it is translated as ‘We revealed it…’.

The interpreters of the Quran are unanimous however, that the pronoun of ‘hu’ refers to the Quran itself. In the beginning of Surat ad-Dukhan (chapter 44), Allah (swt) mentions that إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُبَارَكَةٍ ‘We have revealed it in a blessed night’. Again here, we have the same problem of ‘Innaa anzalnaahu. But what we understand from these Ayaat is that something is revealed in the Night of Qadr, and that Night is a blessed night.

As the Ayaat of the Quran interpret each other, in Surat al-Baqarah (chapter 2), we find that when Allah (swt) talks about the obligation of fasting in the month of Ramadan, He says that شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ ‘The month of Ramadan, (in which) the Quran was revealed’ (2:185). So when you put the so-called pieces of the puzzle together, it becomes meaningful. One of the conclusions we derive is that the Night of Qadr must be in the month of Ramadan.

A question arises here though: what is the meaning of Laylatul Qadr? Laylah means night, but what does Qadr mean?

Very often in English translations of the Quran, they write the Night of Power. That is one of the seven possible meanings that I will list here, but it is not the best translation. According to the narrations and supplications of Ahlul Bayt (a.s), there is a better translation for al-Qadr. The term ‘al-Qadr’ in the Quran is used in different contexts with different meanings.

1) The Night of Power

One of the meanings of ‘al-Qadr’ in the Quran is power, there is no doubt about this. إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ ‘Surely God has the power to do all things’ (24:45 and others). قَدِيرٌ ‘Qadeer’ is from the same root of قَدْرِ ‘Qadr’. So it is possible to translate Laylatul Qadr as ‘the Night of Power’.

2) The Night of Decree/Destiny

Another meaning of Qadr used in the Quran is when the Almighty God is decreeing the destiny of humans. E.g. نَحْنُ قَدَّرْنَا بَيْنَكُمُ الْمَوْتَ (It is Us (referring to God’s majesty) that is decreeing death among you) (56:60). No matter what you do, eventually we are all mortal beings and thus destined to die. So the final destination that I will meet (i.e. death) is decreed by God. This ordainment by God is called ‘al-Qadr’ or ‘Divine Decree’ and ‘Destiny’.

In the beginning of Surat Dukhan Allah (swt) emphasises that فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ (in it (this night) every matter of ordainment is decreed). That is why I said that according to the narrations and supplications of Ahlul Bayt (a.s) – which are numerous and unique on this issue –Laylatul Qadr means ‘The Night of Decree’ or ‘The Night of Destiny’, the Night when all our destinies will be determined. This is the best translation of Laylatul Qadr.

The question here is: what is the meaning of The Night of Destiny? What if I fall asleep on Laylatul Qadr and miss out on the worshipping acts that have been recommended? It raises issues related to determinism and free will. Is our destiny in our hands or is God decreeing and determining it on Laylatul Qadr? The Quran clearly states: فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ (in it (this night) every matter of ordainment is decreed). In addition, the narrations of Ahlul Bayt (a.s) are very clear about this, so what is meant by The Night of Destiny?

In a nutshell, the answer is that the Almighty God, due to His wisdom and knowledge, determines all matters, whether you like it or not. Someone came to Imam Sadiq (a.s) and asked the same question, attempting to be philosophical to the Imam during the Night of Qadr. He said ‘O’ dear son of the Messenger of God, you said that matters will be decreed, but isn’t this determinism, you tell us there is no absolute determinism?’ The Imam replied that ‘that’s how the reality of the matter is, and tonight is not the night for debates’.

However, it can be said that yes, the Almighty God determines the affairs, but at the same time, He has favoured the believers by introducing them to Laylatul Qadr, letting us know that there is a very blessed and holy night in the month of Ramadan – which is either on the 19th, 21st, or 23rd of Ramadan – in these nights, seek Allah’s forgiveness, seek whatever you need and want from God. So God is saying that yes, I am the One that decrees all matters, but I have also introduced to you Laylatul Qadr. Take the opportunity to worship Me and ask for forgiveness and your needs, before I decree your affairs. If one falls asleep, takes a nap, and does not ask God for his needs, then he has no one to blame but himself. The Merciful God has reserved a place for every person in Paradise, but unless you ask Him, it may not be given to you!

3) The Valuable Night

‘Qadr’ in the Arabic language is something that has ‘qeemah’ or value. So Laylatul Qadr means ‘The Valuable Night’.

SubhanAllah, look at the beauty of God’s work. The whole month of Ramadan is a beautiful excuse to get use to waking up for suhoor, to train and show us that we can also be like those friends of God. Some of the youth tell me that they find it too difficult to wake up for the Night Prayers (Salatul Layl), yet when the month of Ramadan comes even many children are awake during that time! Eating Suhoor is only an excuse to get us into the good habit of waking up at dawn. So, if you can get up for suhoor, surely you can get up for the night prayer – especially since this prayer elevates your status.

Why is the night of Qadr a valuable night? Because it is the night in which the Quran was revealed, or it is the night of the commencement of the revelation of the Quran.

It is also a valuable night because Allah (swt) says that: إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُبَارَكَةٍ ‘Surely we have revealed it in a blessed night’ (44:3). Because Allah (swt) is the Source of all blessings, the words of God are also blessed, and so is the night in which the words of God were revealed.

Consider this example: a cup with water in it has no smell, but if that same cup is filled with perfume instead, then surely that cup will now emit a fragrance. Similarly, the Night of Qadr is no different to other nights – in the normal sense of the term night – yet the difference is in what happens in it. Because in the Night of Qadr the Quran is revealed, then this night has a different fragrance and smell. It becomes a blessed and valuable night, because of what happens in it.

Another proof for the great value and importance of Laylatul Qadr, hence consistently attracting the believers to the mosques and houses of God, can be seen in the way Allah (swt) converses with the Prophet (s): وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ ‘And what will make you comprehend what the Night of Qadr is?’ (97:2).

God is talking to the Prophet (s) who receives the revelation – the knowledge of the Prophet (s) is of no comparison to anybody else, yet the Quran says وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ ‘And what will make you comprehend what the Night of Qadr is?’. That means that it is such a wonderful, blessed, and important night. The narrations say that after the Prophet (s) received that revelation, he said ‘(Indeed) I do not know what it means’.

Another reason why Laylatul Qadr is so important and valuable is because – again referring to Surat al-Qadr – Allah (swt) refers to it as the only night of the year in which angels – not one but many – and ‘al-rooh’ descend to Earth for every matter. In other words, if you seek something this is your opportunity on this night.

And finally, it is also ‘The Valuable Night’ because it is the night of peace (salam).

4) The Night of the Quran

It is for this reason that on Laylatul Qadr, we put the words of God; the Quran, on our heads out of respect. We then ask Allah (swt) by every letter and sentence of the Quran.

Why the Night of Quran though? Because the Quran is revealed in this night. Think of the cup and perfume example I gave earlier.

There is a bit of calculations behind this as well. The words of Surat al-Qadr are 30 words, the same number of the Ajzaa’ or sections of the Quran. In addition, the letters of Surat al-Qadr are 114, the same as the number of chapters in the Holy Quran. Mind you, the interpreters of the Quran disagree on the counting of the various words and letters of the Quran, but when it comes to Surat al-Qadr, there is amazingly no dispute: 30 words and 114 letters!

5) Laylatul Qadr is the Night of Wilayah

Whatever Allah (swt) decrees in this night, He does it through the means that He has introduced to us, that is, the Ahlul Bayt (a.s), who are the direct link between us and the Almighty God.

My teacher Ayatollah Hassan-Zadeh Amuli said in one of his lessons:

‘I spent so much time trying to understand the meaning of Laylatul Qadr, and I could not come across something convincing. I asked my teacher about the meaning of Laylatul Qadr, and he told me to consider the hadith that is narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s) about Laylatul Qadr, in which the Imam introduces the Night to mean Fatima (a.s)!’

The narration referred to by Ayatollah Hassan-Zadeh’s teacher is in a one-volume Tafsir compiled more than 1,000 years ago, Tafsir Furat al-Kufi. Under the interpretation of Surat al-Qadr, it is narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s) that ‘whoever comprehends the status of Fatima al-Zahra (a.s) as she deserves to be known, he/she has comprehended Laylatul Qadr.’

So the Night of Qadr is the Night of Wilayah as well. It is for this reason that after we place the Holy Quran upon our head and ask Allah (swt) by every word and letter (to grant us our needs), we go to the 14 Ma’sumeen, ‘Bi Muhammadin, Bi Alliyyin, Bi Fatima…’, because nothing comes to us and our prayers will not be elevated to the Almighty God unless the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) have endorsed it.

6) Laylatul Qadr means Qadrul-Laylah

In other words, the Almighty God found an excuse to call all of us to the mosque, so that we value the nights of our lives. I have made a bit of calculations according to Surat al-Qadr:

If someone lives for 80 years or more, I’m sure you would agree that he/she has been lucky and lived a long life. When the Quran says that Laylatul Qadr is better than 1,000 months, 1,000 months equals about 83 years. Let’s assume it is 80 years. If I live for 80 years in this world, half of it are days, the other half are nights on average – 40 years of days, 40 years of night. As for the days, we are busy with our own affairs. So for 40 years, we spend it on worldly matters or other things that have to be carried out. As for the nights, we said that they are on average 12 hours (12 hours per night over 40 years). Now ask any doctor, you don’t need more than 6 hours sleep. If you sleep for a good six hours, your body will be rejuvenated and you will be alright. More than that is laziness and habit. Surely you can reduce it to six hours. I tell you that you can also reduce it to less than 6 hours if you want, but 6 hours is good average sleep. So if 6 hours are spent on sleeping, then that is 20 years all up from the 40 years of night. What about the other 20 years of night in my life? What have I been doing in those 20 years?

So Laylatul Qadr is meant to get me to think: am I valuing the nights of my life or not? Some people spend it on chatting on the net, browsing on different sites, some just watch movies. Just killing time, with no plan for their lives. Hanging around with their friends, wandering around in the city – they have to somehow pass time and they don’t know what to do with it. Laylatul Qadr has a message for us: my friend, we are talking about 20 years! You can do so much with this time! Students who succeed at school or university know that the difference is made at night. When his classmates are asleep, he is up studying, and that is how he can make a difference.

Whether for worldly gain or the hereafter, those who are awake at night can make a difference, and they can proceed faster. So in a nutshell, Laylatul Qadr is to teach us to value the nights of our lives, and not to allow them to pass by and go to waste.

7) Laylatul Qadr as in ‘Dheeq’ (lack of space)

Finally one of the possible meanings of the Night of Qadr is the Night of lack of space. According to some narrations so many Angels are descending to Earth for every matter during that night, which will make it as if there is the congestion of Angels!

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

Significance of the Month of Rajab

In the Name of the Almighty Allah

Significance of the Month of Rajab

“Rajab is the name of a river in Paradise whiter than milk and sweeter than honey.

Those who fast one day of (the month of) Rajab, Allah will satisfy them from that river.”

Imam Musa al Kadhem (as)

On Monday evening 19 March 2018 we will Inshallah enter the sacred month of Rajab of the Islamic calendar, which along with the two following months (Sha’ban and the Holy Month of Ramadhan) signify the most important months of the year.

The merits of these months are numerous and the recommended rites in them are in abundance. Rajab is the month of multiplied savings for our abode in the Hereafter.

It is narrated from the holy Prophet Muhammad (saww) to have said:

“Behold! Those who fast one day of Rajab they deserve the Great Pleasure of Allah and will be destined from His Wrath, and will close one of the Gates of Hell.”

It is also narrated from the holy Prophet (P): “Rajab is the month of repentance for my Community, so repent to Allah much.”

This month is also blessed by the birthday anniversary of Imam Baqir (as) on the 1st day (according to some narrations), Imam al-Jawad (as) on the 10th and the birthday of Imam Ali (as) on the 13th of this month and the Mab’ath of the holy Prophet of Islam (saww) on the 27th of this month according to the famous opinion. We also have two sad occasions to commemorate; the martyrdom anniversary of Imam al-Naqi (as) on the 3rd, and the martyrdom anniversary of Imam al-Kadhem (as) on the 25th of Rajab.

Remember, however, this is a sacred month which means in as much as the rewards for good deeds in it are in abundance; the punishment of sinning is also more severe.

The following are just some of the main worshipping acts that are recommended in this sacred month.

  1. Fasting:

Salem says: I met Imam Sadiq (a.s) in the last few days of the month of Rajab. When he saw me he asked: O Salem! Have you fasted at all in this month? I replied: No, by Allah, O son of the Prophet! The Imam said: “Verily, you have missed so much reward that only the All-Knowing Allah knows its amount… I said: O son of the Prophet! If I fast the remaining days of this month would I gain any reward? The Imam replied: O Salem! Those who fast the last day of Rajab that (fasting) will be a security for them from the agony of death….”

 

  • Fasting of the first day of Rajab destines the faster one year away from the Hell.
  • Fasting of three continuous days (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) of Rajab has the reward of 900 years of worshipping (out of Rajab).
  • Fasting of the 13th, 14thand 15th of Rajab has rewards in abundance! (Pray to God to bless you for it)
  • Fasting of the last three days of Rajab (or at least the last day of it) will avail (Inshallah) from the agony of death, the fear of death and the punishment of the grave.

Note: If you have any Qada (lapsed or owing) fasting, make an intention for Qada and you will also enjoy the promised rewards of fasting in Rajab.

  1. Salaat

Salaat is the means of nearness to God for every pious believer.

  • Every night of the month after the Isha Prayer, offer two Rak’at Prayers. In every Rak’at, recite Surah al-Hamd and Surah al-Kafiroon once and 3 times: Surah Ikhlaas
  • On the first Thursday evening of Rajab (Thursday 21 March 2018 this year) there is a special Salaat called ‘Salaat Laylatul-Ragha’eb’. Refer to the books of Du’a for its performance. For this discussion about the validity of Salaat Laylatul-Ragha’eb click here.

Note: Those who have Qada prayers, still they can offer the above Salaat although it does suffice for their obligatory Qada Salaat.

  1. Supplications

There are numerous recommended supplications for the month of Rajab. Some of them are as follows:

Astaghferullah Wa As’aluho Tauba (I seek Allah’s forgiveness and ask Him for repentance)

After every Daily Prayer recite:

“Ya Man Arjooho Lekolle Khayr, Wa Aamano Sakhatahou Enda Kolle Sharr. Ya Man Yo’tel-Katheera Bel-Qaleel. Ya Man Yo’tee Man Sa’alah. Ya Man Yo’tee Man Lam Yas’alhu Wa Man Lam Ya’refhu Tahannunan Menhu Wa Rahma. A’teni Be Mas’alati Eyyak Jami’a Khayre-Donya Wa Jami’a Khayrel-Akhera. Wasref Anni Be Mas’alati Eyyak Jami’a Sharre-Donya Wa Sharrel-Akhera. Fa’ennahu Ghayro Manqosen Ma A’tayt Wa Zedni Men Fadhleka Ya Kareem.”  Then say: “Ya Zaljalale Wal-Ekram. Ya Zal-Na’ma’e Wal-Jood. Ya Zal-Manne WaTaul, Harrem Shaybati Ala-Nar.”

  • Also on the 15thof Rajab, there is a special Du’a called Du’a Omme Dawood. Refer to the books of Du’a for the details of this Du’a.
  1. Visitation (Ziyarat)

The first and foremost important Ziyarat in this month is Ziyarat of Imam Husain (a.s).

Visiting Imam Redha (a.s) also is very rewarding in this month.

Pilgrimage for Umra is also very rewarding in this month.

For the quick reappearance of Imam al Hojjah (af) please recite Salawat

Is Laylatul Raghaib Really Mustahab To Observe?

curtesy of ask the sheikh.com

Question:

Laylatul Raghaib is said to be a special night that falls on the first Thursday night of the month of Rajab.

Some believers have recently been circulating a message that says:

– There is no narration about the amaal of Laylatul Raghaib from any of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).

– There is one weak tradition without an authentic chain of narrators.

– This tradition is by a certain Anas who is known to have been a fierce enemy of Imam Ali (a.s.) and even denied that Ghadeer ever occurred.

It has been narrated by Imam Sadiq (as) in Al Khisal that Anas ibn Malik was one of the 3 fabricators of hadith, along with Abu Hurayra and a certain woman.

Furthermore, Sunni commentators and narrators such as Ibn Taymiyyah say that the hadith of Laylatul Raghaib (The Night of Wishes) is fabricated and that the amaal (worshipping acts) of Laylatul Raghaib are bid’a (innovations). They go as far as to say there is no special day in the month of Rajab.

Please comment.

Answer:

1- It is not enough to reject a hadith if it is mursal (its chain of narrators back to the ma’soom is incomplete). The text of a hadith is more important than its chain of narrators. Many hadiths form the basis of fiqh fatwas (jurisprudential edicts) and yet may not have authentic narrators.

2- Nor is it enough to have a well-known chain of narrators while the content of the hadith is contradictory. It was a common practice of fabricators to quote the names of famous narrators to legitimise their fabrications.

3- If one were to only use the concept of narrators being weak, this would render almost 90% of the mustahab (recommended) practices of Islam invalid.

4- Allamah Hilli looked at the content of hadiths, and if they were not contradictory to the principles of Islam, they were accepted.

5- There is a principle in Jurisprudence (‘Leniency with regards to the evidence of Mustahabbat’) that states that if you are told of a recommended act and you performed it, you will be rewarded even if in reality the Prophet (s) had not said this.

6- There are numerous hadiths – that were relied upon by jurists – that are muwassaq (narrated by Sunni narrators), yet the narrators were considered truthful. Anas ibn Malik may have narrated this hadith from the Holy Prophet (s) before he deviated.

7- Some of the current maraaje (jurisprudential authorities) are not convinced of the abovementioned principle. They cannot therefore confirm that the hadith on Laylatul Raghaib fits the technical definition of mustahab (recommended). They however suggest it be approached with the intention of raj’a matlubiyyah (do it with the hope that it may be a Godly desired act). So this is far from considering this hadith as a bid’a (innovation), especially as they continue to narrate and recommend such actions extensively in their risalah (book of jurisprudential edicts).

8- The narrations that Anas ibn Malik was a fabricator are mursal hadith too

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

Can you provide reliable Shia/Sunni sources on martyrdom of lady Fatima Al-Zahra (a.s.)?

Question:

Can you please provide reliable Shia and Sunni sources on the event that led to martyrdom of Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a.s.)?

Answer:

The Eminent Sheikh At-Tusi wrote: “One of the denied facts is that they (Umar and his followers) hit Fatima (the blessing of Allah be upon her) although it has been narrated that they flogged her with a strip and a famous opinion that no one amongst the Shia scholars dispute about, is that Umar hit her on her stomach (womb) until she was forced to have a miscarriage, where the miscarried baby was named Mohassan. The narration (of the event) is even famous amongst them (the Sunnis), as well as the narration of their intention to burn her house when a group of sincere companions who had refused to pay allegiance and sought refuge to her house. And no one can deny this narration because we have proven it from amongst the Sunni sources through the narration of Al-Balathari and others, and the Shia narrations are numerous and our scholars indisputably accept them.”
(Talkhis Al-Shafi 3:156)

The following are some of the related narrations from the Shia and Sunni sources:

A. Sunni narrations

1) The purity of Fatima Zahra in the words of the Prophet:

a. Allah, The Exalted says: And those whom inflict harm on the Messenger of Allah will receive a chastising punishment. (Surat At-Tawba, verse 61).

The Messenger of Allah said: Fatima is part of me, whosoever angers her angers me! (Fat-h Al-Bari fi sharh sahih al-Bukhari 7:84, Sahih al-Bukhari – in the chapter ‘alamat an-nubuwwa 6:491, the last part of Kitabil Maghazi 8:110)

b. O Fatima! Verily Allah is angered by your anger and is pleased when you are pleased. (Mustadrak Al-Hakim 3:154, Majma’ Al-zawa-id 9:203)

c. O Fatima! Are you not pleased to be the leader of the ladies of the worlds, and the leader of the ladies of these people (ummah) and the leader of all believing ladies. (Mustadrak Al-Hakim 3:156)

2) The sacredness of Fatima’s house

a. The Messenger of Allah recited the following verse: “In houses which Allah has ordered to be raised, in them His Name is remembered”. A man approached him and asked him, “Which houses are they O Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “The houses of the Prophets”. So Abu Bakr asked him while pointing to the house of Ali and Fatima: “Is this house included amongst those houses?” The Messenger of Allah replied: “Yes, it is the best amongst them!” (Ad-Dur Al-manthur 6:203, Ruhul Ma’ani 18:174)

b. The Messenger of Allah used to recite the following verse at the door of Fatima’s house for six months, and according to other narrations nine months: “Verily Allah chooses to keep impurity distant from you Household (of the Prophet) and purify you a thorough purification.” (Ad-Dur Al-manthur 6:606)

3) The sacredness of Fatima’s house after the demise of her father

a. Abu Bakr bin Abi Shayba (born in 159 A.H., died 235 A.H.), the author of the book, Al-Musannaf, has narrated in a reliable narration: After the Prophet died and people pledged their allegiance to Abu Bakr, Ali and Zubayr used to approach Fatima, and consult her regarding their affairs.

When this news reached Umar bin al-Khattab, he went to approachFatimaand said to her: “O daughter of the Messenger of Allah, I swear by Allah that there is no one more beloved to us than your father and there is no one more beloved to us after your father than you. And by Allah, that will not prevent me from ordering your house to be burnt on them if they gather with you (at your house)”.

Abu Bakr bin Shayba said: When Umar left, they (Ali and Zubayr) returned to her. She said to them “Umar had just come to me and said that if you were to return here, he will burn the house on you, and I swear by Allah that he will do exactly what he has said.” (Al-Musannaf – Kitabul Maghazi 8:572)

b. An-Nassabi, commonly known as Ahmad bin Yahya Jabir Al-Baghdadi Al-Balathari (who passed away in the year 270 A.H), the author of Ansabul Ashraaf, narrates: Abu Bakr sent for Ali to pledge allegiance to him (Abu Bakr), but he (Ali) refused. So Umar came (to his house) with a fire-lamp. Fatimaencountered him at the door (of the house) and said: “O Ibn Al-Khattab, are you going to burn the door on ME?” He said “Yes! And this (burning the house) makes what your father had come with stronger…” (Ansaabul Ashraaf 1:586)

c. The famous historian Abdullah bin Muslim bin Qutayba Dinwari (who died in the year 276 A.H) has narrated: Abu Bakr realised that a group of people who were with Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) did not pledge allegiance to him (Abu Bakr). So he (Abu Bakr) sent Umar to them who called for them while they were in Ali’s house, but they refused to come out (to pledge allegiance). So Umar ordered his men to get wood and said: I swear by the One whom Umar’s soul is in His power, you have to get out (of the house) or I will burn it down on whosoever is inside it!” Someone said to him: “O Aba-Hafs, but Fatima is inside!” Umar replied: “So what!!” And he walked with a group of his men until he reached the door ofFatima’s house and knocked on it. When she heard their voices she cried loudly: “O father! O Messenger of Allah! What is being inflicted upon us after your death from ibn Al-Khattab and ibn Abi-Qohafah?!”

When the people (who were with Umar) heard the voice and the cry of Fatima, some of them left. Umar with a few members of the group remained, forced Ali out of the house, took him to Abu Bakr and told him “Pledge your allegiance!” He (Ali) replied, “And if I don’t then what?” They replied, “By Allah whom there is no other God but Him, we will cut off your head!” (Al-Imamah was-siyasah 13&12)

D. THE FAMOUS HISTORIAN MUHAMMAD BIN JARIR AT-TABARI (WHO PASSED AWAY IN THE YEAR 310 A.H) NARRATED: UMAR BIN AL-KHATTAB WENT TO THE HOUSE OF ALI. TALHA, ZUBAYR AND SOME MEN FROM THE MUHAJIREEN WERE ALSO INSIDE. HE (UMAR) SAID: BY ALLAH, I WILL BURN THE HOUSE ON YOU UNLESS YOU GO TO PLEDGE YOUR ALLEGIANCE (TO ABU BAKR). SO ZUBAYR CAME OUT WITH HIS SWORD DRAWN, BUT HE TRIPPED AND THE SWORD FELL FROM HIS HAND, SO (THE MEN WITH UMAR) CAPTURED HIM AND TOOK HIM. (TARIKHUL TABARI 2:443)
e. Ahmad, who is known as Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih Al-Undulosi, who is the author of the book Al-‘Iqdul Farid (who passed away in the year 463 A.H) has said: As for Ali, Al-Abbas and Zubayr, they remained in the house of Fatima until Abu Bakr sent Umar to force them out. He (Abu Bakr) instructed Umar: “If they refuse, then fight them!” So he (Umar) approached them with a burning flame to burn the house on them. So Fatima addressed him and said: “O ibn Al-Khattab! Have you come to burn our house?!” He said “Yes! Unless you do what the people have done!” (ie. pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr). (Al-‘Iqdul Farid 4:93)

The attack on her house occurs

f. Abu Ubayd Al-Qasim bin Salaam (who died in the year 224 A.H) has narrated on the authority of Abdul Rahman bin ‘Ouf that Abu Bakr bin Abi Quhafa said: I wish that I did not raid the house of Fatima and that I left it even if the door was closed to (plan) war. (Al-Amwaal 144)

G. ABUL-QASIM SULAYMAN BIN AHMAD AT-TABRANI (WHO DIED IN THE YEAR 360 A.H), THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK AL-MU’JAM AL-KABIR, HAS NARRATED FROM ABI BAKR IBN ABI QUHAFA: AS FOR THE THREE THINGS THAT I WISH I NEVER DID, WAS THAT I WISH I DID NOT RAID FATIMA’S HOUSE AND I LEFT IT …. (AL-MU’JAM ALKABIR 1:62)
h. Ibn Abd-Rabbih Al-Undulosi has narrated in his book, Al-‘Iqdul Farid, from Abdul Rahman bin ‘Ouf that Abi Bakr ibn Abi Quhafa said: And I wish that I did not raid the house of Fatima for any reason even if they had the door closed to (plan) war. (Al-‘Iqdul Farid 4:93)

i. Ibrahim bin Sayyar al-Nazzam; the Mu’tazali (who died in the year 231 A.H) narrated: On the day of pledging allegiance (to Abu Bakr) Umar hit the stomach of Fatima until she miscarried Muhassan. (Al-Wafi bil Wafiyyat 6:17)

j. Muhammad bin Yazid bin Abdil Akbar Al-Baghdadi (who died in the year 285 A.H), the famous author of the book Al-Kamil, narrated from Abdil Rahman bin ‘Ouf from Abi Bakr bin Abi Qohafa: I wish I did not raid Fatima’s house and that I left it even if the door was closed to (plan) war. (Sharh Nahjul Balagha li-ibn Abi Al-Hadid 2:46)

k. Al-Masudi (who died in the year 325 A.H) has narrated in his book titled Muruj Al-thahab: Abu Bakr said at the time of his death: “I wish I did not seek to raid the house of Fatima”, and he mentioned many things about that incident.” (Muruj Al-Thahab 2:301)

l. Ibn Abi Darim (who died in the year 357 A.H) has narrated in his book Mizan Al-I’tidal: Umar kicked Fatima until she miscarried Muhassan. (Mizan Al-I’tidal 3:459)

m. The contemporary historian, Abdul Fattah Abdul Maqsood, stated in his book ‘Imam Ali’: That Umar bin Al-Khattab said “I swear by the One whom Umar’s soul is in His power, they must come out of the house or else I will burn it on whoever is inside it …!”

A group of the people (who were with Umar) who feared Allah and guarded (the teachings of) the Prophet said: “O Aba-Hafs, Fatima is inside!”

He carelessly screamed: “So what … !” He then approached and knocked on the door, then he hit the door open and invaded it … and Ali appeared to him … at that moment Fatima’s voice was heard from the doorway of the house … she was crying for help … (Abdul Fattah Abdul Maqsood: Ali bin Abi Taleb 4:276)

n. Moqatil ibn ‘Atiyyah narrated in his book ‘Al-Imamah wal Khilafah’: After Abu Bakr took the allegiance of people by force, using his sword and power, he sent Umar and Qunfuth and a group of men to the house of Ali and Fatima. Umar collected wood and put them at the doorway of Fatima’s house and burnt the door down … (Al-Imamah wal khilafah 160-161)

B. SHIA NARRATIONS

As for the Shia narrations, it suffices to mention a few of them.

1) Ibn Qawlawayh narrated in his book ‘Kamilul Ziyarat’ in a reliable hadith from Hammad Bin ‘Uthman from Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s.): On the night of the Prophet’s ascension, it was said to him (the Prophet): “Allah will test you in three things” and he started counting them… then he said “as for your daughter, she will be oppressed and deprived (of her right) and her right (to Fadak) that you will give to her will be seized from her and she will be hit while she is pregnant, and her house (and privacy of her family) will be entered without permission, then weakness and humiliation will be inflicted upon her and she will not be able to prevent it, and she will miscarry her baby from all the hits she will suffer, and she will die as a result of those hits … and the murder of Muhassan bin Ali will be the first crime that the killer (Umar) will be accountable, and then Qunfuth, so they will both attend (the judgement).” (Kamilul Ziyarat 232)

2) Yunus bin Ya’qub has narrated from Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s.) that the Imam said: O Yunus! My grandfather the Messenger of Allah said “Cursed is the one who will oppress my daughter Fatima after I die, and seize her right and kill her!” (Kanzul Fawa-id 1:149)

3) Al-Kulayni has narrated from Abi Basir from Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s.) who said: Amir Al-mumineen (i.e. Imam Ali) said: “Your miscarried babies whom you do not name before they die, will meet you on the Day of Judgement, and the baby will ask it’s father “Did you not give me a name?” Verily the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) named Muhassan before he was to be born.” (Al-Kafi 6:18)

4) Muhammad bin Harun Al-Talakbari has narrated in a reliable narration from Abi Basir from Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s.) who said: Fatima was born on the twentieth day of Jamadil-akhira, forty-five years after the birth of the Prophet. And the cause of her death was that Qunfuth, the slave of the man (i.e. Abu Bakr), by the command of his master (Abu Bakr), hit her with his sword, from which she miscarried Muhassan, and she became severely ill from this event. And she did not allow anyone of those whom harmed her to enter her house. There were two of the companions of the Prophet (i.e. Umar and Abu Bakr) who asked Amir Al-mumineen (Imam Ali) to intercede on their behalf (and ask Fatima to allow them to enter). He (Imam Ali) asked her and she permitted (for them to enter). When they entered, they remarked “How are you O daughter of the Messenger of Allah?” She replied “I am well, praise to Allah”. Then she told them both, “Have you not heard the Prophet say “Fatima is a part of me, whosoever hurts her has in fact hurt me, and whoever hurts me has in fact hurt Allah”?” They both affirmed that. She said “I swear by Allah that you have both hurt me.” So they both left the house and she was displeased with them. (Dala-il Al-Imamah 45)

5) Sayyed Bin Tawoos has narrated in his book Al-Turaf on the authority of Imam Al-Kathim (a.s.) who said: When the Messenger of Allah was in the last stages of his life, he summoned people of the Ansar and told them “Verily Fatima’s door is my door and her house is my house, whosoever violates it has in fact violated the sanctity of Allah.” The Imam cried for a while and could not continue his words, then he said: “I swear by Allah, the sanctity of Allah has been violated! I swear by Allah, the sanctity of Allah has been violated! I swear by Allah, the sanctity of Allah has been violated! O my mother, blessings of Allah upon her!” (Bihar Al-Anwar 22:476).

Allah’s peace and blessings be upon Lady Fatima, the day she was born, the day she passed away, and the day she will be resurrected.

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

Did Fatima Al-Zahra Threaten to Take off her Hijab?

Question: Did Fatima al-Zahra threaten to take off her Hijab after the attack on her house?!

Answer:

What is narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s)-without any authentication as the chain of its narrators is not mentioned- is that Lady Fatima (s.a) said:

“Surely if you do not leave him (Ali) alone, I will certainly dishevel my hair and for sure put the shirt of the Messenger of Allah on my head and will certainly cry to the Almighty Allah (in curse them)”

“Disheveling” the hair (opposite of platting it) in Arabic is a metaphor for the one who is in a great catastrophe and pleads to God. Nowhere in the text it says about her taking off her Hijab, especially the fact that at least Salman (r.a) was very close to her, as mentioned in the story. In fact, it clearly states that part of her threats was ‘to put the shirt of the Prophet (P) on her head’ while this is also a sign of her very close relation to the Messenger of Allah (P), it clearly indicates that she never threatened to take off her Hijab.

Even an ordinary pious woman would never threatens to commit a mortal sin (of taking off her Hijab before non-Mahram) when fighting for justice! Fatima al-Zahra is the one who did not remove her Hijab even before a blind person.

In general, I disagree with sharing such unauthenticated stories especially without a proper explanation. It can be well misunderstood by the general public and could even give a wrong image to our young girls that as if when you want to get out of a trouble you can threaten to take off your Hijab!

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

IS DUTY OF WEARING HIJAB STATED IN THE QURAN?

Question:

Regarding the hijab (Muslim woman’s headscarf), some people argue that it’s not Islamic, but rather a Jewish thing, and that it is not actually specified in the Quran that a female must cover her hair.

In addition, they say that the ‘Khimar’ was a cape used back in the old days, rather than it actually referring to something that ‘covers’.

Can you please address these points?

Answer:

The argument is very simple:

When they say ‘there is no obligation’ do they mean:

1. It is recommended, or

2. It does not exist in Islam at all

Either way what is their proof?

We say its obligatory for the following reasons:

1) “And they shall draw their head scarves all over their necks and chests..” (Holy Quran: Surat Noor, Ayah 31) is an imperative verb and hence it means that it is obligatory.

Khimar literally means whatever that covers the head; scarf. For example, wine is called ‘Khamr’ in Arabic as it covers and conceals the intellect of a drunk person, due to its effect on the person’s brain.

2) “And they shall not show off their beauty…” (Holy Quran: Surat Noor, Ayah 31) is also a strong command.

3. The fact that all practicing Muslim women throughout history have been practicing the act of covering the head – irrespective of their Islamic denomination- confirms that the issue is one of the necessities of Islamic practical laws.

4. A law that is so directly related to the modesty of the society cannot be optional unless the law-makers wish to suggest that maintaining social modesty is optional. If so, they should not oppose their wives, daughters, and sisters if they do not wish to be modest and chaste. Well, it is optional, not obligatory!

5. In expressing Islamic views we must be fearing God to Whom alone we return, not our immediate personal worldly interests.

For more info. on the Hijab please see here

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

HOW DO I STOP WASTING TIME?

Question:

In the age of computer gaming, smart phones, endless numbers of Apps, and Whatsapp – in other words, a world in which there has been an explosion in the amount of information we are exposed to everyday – many of us find it hard to manage our time the way we probably should be Islamically. So what does Islam say about time-wasting and making full use of one’s time?

This question is especially relevant for say, the youth who spend several hours straight every day playing computer games, or any other thing which is of no real benefit – neither for their worldly life, and more importantly, for their afterlife. So in addition to the first question, what can we say to such youths in particular in order to motivate them to make better use of their time before their youth is over?

Answer:

Whether they play on Xbox or online, video game players enter fictional worlds filled with witches, elves, dragons, or war games which promote killing, hatred with a passion, racism and not to mention vulgar language, etc. Like any other industry, video game designers aim to make profit, which means they want you to play more. Thus, whether you play as a single player or online with multiplayers, your games are designed to get you addicted, because you have to either complete the mission or aim for a higher score, and hence these games will have no ending. That is why most gamers are obsessed with video games and spend far too much time playing. A teenager was referred to me by his mother for spending 17 hours every day on video gaming! I think we are soon heading towards rehab hospitals for virtual game addicts!

Treatment

To treat Internet and game addiction like any other behavioural disorder, it is essential to be educated about their negative effects and then implementing a bit of will power to make a change.

Most of us are unaware of the personal and familial repercussions from computer games and social media until we are addicted and have lost our health and family.

If you feel restless or irritated when you are unable to play or attend your social media, if you are lying to friends and family members regarding the amount of time you spend playing or messaging, and if you are depressed and enjoy isolating yourself from others in order to spend more time gaming, lo and behold! You are already addicted and your health and family are at stake!

Due to the lack of education as to how and when we may use the Internet, cyber family and friends are replacing real family and friendship. Many people build relations with strangers at the cost of losing their near of kin. Imagine a man who is leaning on his couch in the dining room texting his virtual friends. He often laughs or wonders. His wife on the other side of the room tries to speak to him but he is too indulged in his virtual conversation! It is irritating, isn’t it?! As a result, her initial love turns into disliking her husband. As much as love is associated with trust, hatred begets suspicion and thus their family turmoil begins. Alternatively, this becomes a norm and the wife begins her own virtual world of family and friends.

Suggested Treatments

1. Your capital is melting!

Time is the fourth required passage of existence to specify an event. The other three being spatial coordinates. Every one of us enjoys only a limited and finite units of time and hence we are all mortal beings. It is such a precious asset that the Almighty Allah takes an oath by it: “By the time.”! (The Holy Qu’ran, Surah 103)

Time is the only worldly capital that is invisible yet irreplaceable. It is the only capital from which all worldly and hereafterly capitals stem. Time is our main capital to buy our eternal abode and infinite prosperity in the hereafter. It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s): “When we wake up to every new day (or enter a night), it will be said to us: “O son of Adam! I am a new day, and I witness you, so say and do good in me to testify for you on the Resurrection Day. Surely, you shall never see me again”. (al-Kaafi vol. 2 p. 523)

How strange that when a few dollars are stolen from us we cry and complain, yet we generously hand over our life capital for video games and Internet surfing?! How strange that we grieve over the loss of a few dollars in a deal but so generously give out hours of our life?! Isn’t this strange that we don’t even treat our ‘time’ as money?! Abu-dhar asked the holy Prophet (P) about ‘time wasting’. Allah’s Messenger said: “O Abu-dhar! Be stingier on your ‘time’ than your dollars and cents.”

Sheykh Mohammad Z. Razi (died in 925AD) was an Iranian chemist and philosopher. He has written a book in ethical psychology called ‘Spiritual medicine’. In the preface of his book he says: “This book is not useful for those who do not value themselves and their life!”
Unfortunately, most of us do not value the time in our life until we lose it all. Thus, it is narrated that most of the cries of the people of Hell is ‘their regret for delaying’. Thus, one of the names of the Resurrection Day is a ‘Day of Regret’!

When I was a student I used to read short Arabic stories to improve my Arabic. The following is one of the stories I will never forget:
On a hot burning day, a man was selling blocks of ice. He was calling out: “O people! Have mercy on me whose capital is melting!” Perhaps that is why the Almighty Allah states: “By the time! Certainly man is in a manifest loss.” (Surah 103). We really do not value the time in our life.

2. Islam is the religion of time management

Islam theoretically and practically has been disciplining its adherents to manage their time. The Daily Prayer is the most significant worshipping act in Islam, yet God has allocated a fixed and limited time for it. Muslims are not expected to spend all hours of their days for praying. Fasting is another important worshipping act, yet, God has designated a special month and fixed hours to its observance. Likewise, Hajj is an obligatory pilgrimage only for limited days.

The Imams of Ahlulbayt (a.s) advised their followers to manage their time wisely. Imam Sadiq (a.s) said: “Surely an intelligent person divides his days to gain a provision for his hereafter and to make living and the third is seeking some permissible pleasure.” (al-Mahasan, 2:345)

Once an old man made an appointment to seek some knowledge from Imam Sadiq (a.s). As soon as the Imam answered his questions, the holy Imam let the person go and excused himself by saying “I am very stingy for my time, so you may leave please.”

3. Manage your time

On the Day of Judgment we will all be asked about ‘how we spent the days of our lives? It is only wise to mark yourself before being marked. Before you shut down your day, check your mobile and tablet and find out how many hours you have spent today for games and social media? Then sincerely ask yourself what did you gain in return? Did you really need to know all that you were told today?! There are many project management software you can use to manage the hours of your days. Use one of them, and next time when you want to start a game or an Internet chat, click on ‘billable meeting’! Remember even ‘Salaat’ has a fixed and limited time! Repeat to yourself several times a day ‘it is ok to turn my mobile off’. You don’t have to be available at all times.

4. Find a replacement

One of the behavioural syndromes of the ‘only child’ where both parents work is to naturally resort to games and social media. Some psychologists refer to being an only child as a ‘disease in itself’. A child who has no siblings to play with nor receives enough parental attention will naturally look for alternatives. Even at a family get together a lot of their time is spent in silence in front of a television or computer screen! Honestly, we parents are the first to be blamed. We all like to take a break from work, school, even family and children, but when was the last time you took a break from your mobile phone?!

A couple came to my office yesterday for counselling. The man was complaining that he cannot tolerate his rival! “My wife spends far more intimate time with him than me,” cried the man! I thought she was having an affair, but then I realized his rival was her mobile phone! She sleeps with it, wakes up with it, goes shopping with it, and even goes to the bathroom with it!!! Parents and couples need to take a ‘social media vacation’ and spend more time together in real activities. Social media are more of intervening agencies, causing more separation between those who live under one ceiling, yet connecting those living physically far from each other! Most people use games and social media to fill up their free time. Time management and implementing real activities for leisure kicks futile games out of your life.

5. Watch your spiritual food

The Almighty Allah states: “Then let man look at his food.” (Surah 80, Ayah 24). Any information sent to us is a kind of food we take. As many of us watch our food diet, we also need a media diet, Internet diet, and gaming diet! Make sure you are very selective of your online games and chats. Don’t let ‘others’ decide what you play and what you read. Let your intelligence and religious conscience scan them first.

6. Observe piety of media

Today you no longer need to pop into your news agency to see a porno magazine or walk in Oxford Street to see nudity. No need to go to your local RSL Club for gambling. They are all available at your fingertips and in the privacy of your smart phone! Today’s technology is yet another divine challenge to filter true Muslims from hypocrites whose Islamic speech and appearance impresses you but in their so-called privacy they are the worst creatures of God because they lack the piety of media! Before you press a button or touch your mouse remember what God says to you: “Knows he not that Allah does see (what he does).”(Surah 96, Ayah 14)

Remember we are mortal beings and usually no notice of vacancy will be given. Death suddenly falls upon us. What will happen if you die whilst playing a haram game or engaged in a haram chat?!

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei