Is Not Khums a Cause For Social Difference?

khumsQuestion: A communist leader has been reported to have said: I have studied all the religions so that I may be attracted towards one of them. Thus I found the religion of Islam to be superior to other faiths.

But I regret to say that in this too I found a weak aspect. It is that Islamic law gives preference to the descendants of the Holy Prophet (S) over other Muslims and has made Khums as their prerogative?

Answer: As mentioned in the reply to the previous question, basically there is no difference between Khums (which is the share of Sadaat) and Zakat.

That is, both are related to the needy people of the society. Each is paid according to their needs and whatever is left is considered a part of Bait al-Mal. The only thing is that since the descendants of the Holy Prophet (S) have a sort of superiority that is why their needs are fulfilled not by the name of Zakat but by different name.

It is also obvious that the Sadaat on the basis of their relationship cannot ignore even a little bit any of the Islamic laws and from the aspect of social laws there is no difference between them and other people.

The gist of this discussion is that contrary to what people think the law of Khums is not in any way a distinction for Sadaat and from the monetary point of view there is no difference between Khums and Zakat (which is for other poor people). That is the needy Sadaat are not given a higher monetary assistance than other people, and neither is Khums given for well-to-do Sadaat.

Philosophy of Islamic Laws:Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi, Ayatullah Jafar Subhani

Is Khums The Recompense of Prophethood?

money jpgQuestion: There is no doubt that the Holy Prophet (S) has not demanded anything in return of the efforts and hardships he had borne to guide the humanity. He has sought the recompense of this only from the Almighty Allah.

But we see that in some Qur’anic verse, like the verse of Mawaddat the love of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) is termed as the recompense of Prophethood due to the fact that this love is a favor upon the people themselves and a channel for their guidance because wilayat (Guardianship) of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) becomes a cause to follow the words and actions of these noble personages.

This itself is a kind of guidance and righteousness, which is bestowed on the people through a medium. But what is the reason for making Khums obligatory (half of which is the share of Sadaat)? Is it not a price for Prophethood?

Answer: As well all know Khums is not for every Sadaat. It is only for those who are needy. If the amount of Khums exceeds the needs of Sadaat it has to be deposited in the Islamic treasury (according to the commands that have reached us) so that it can be spent for common food of the people. In the same way if the needs of the poor Sadaat is more than the Khums paid by the people the deficit has to be made up by the Baitul Maal (Islamic treasury). On the other hand the Sadaat are prohibited to receive Zakat which is the right of other needy people (Even if the Zakat is taken from rich Sadaat).

Therefore actually Khums is in place of Zakat which is paid to other needy people and the requirements are same as for the recipients of Zakat. But in order to maintain the honor of the Holy Prophet (S) and as a mark of respect its payment has been given another form and another title (Khums instead of Zakat). It is a mark of respect for the esteemed position of the Holy Prophet (S) and it is not in any way a sort of recompense or price. Obviously, there is a wide difference between maintaining respect of honor of exalted personalities and paying a price.

Philosophy of Islamic Laws:Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi, Ayatullah Jafar Subhani

Do Dreams Have Any Truth?

dreamsQuestion: Sometime dream scrolls are prohibited by the caretakers of the Prophet’s shrine. These scrolls prohibit people to commit sinful acts and in addition to this it also informs about the progeny of the Prophet (s.a.) that the reappearance of Imam az-Zaman (a.s.) is going to be within a year. Is there any truth about such publications?

Answer: Unfortunately the above evil act is being done by the enemies of Islam since many years. Every year the caretakers of the Prophet’s shrine see a new dream while they do not have any personal merit. They issue a new date for the reappearance of Imam az-Zaman (a.s.). When the dream is proved wrong they see another dream.

Apparently these falsifiers of dreams, on the basis of their defective beliefs intend to create doubts in the reappearance of Imam az-Zaman (a.s.) so that simple-minded people are influenced by this propaganda. But they are ignorant of the fact that Muslims (however simple minded people they may be) never pay attention to these concocted things. In any case even if someone really has such dreams, it is certainly not reliable from the religious point of view.

Philosophy of Islamic Laws:Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi, Ayatullah Jafar Subhani

What Is The Islamic View Regarding The Sneeze?

sneeze_1764739cQuestion: Has Islam commended that while beginning a particular work if someone sneezes the work has to be postponed?

Answer: There is no such command in Islam and basically the spirit of Islam does not agree with such superstitions. Rather it commands that if you are going to begin some work and someone is doing divination against it, you must not pay attention to that person, you must rely on Allah and begin your work. Islam has even considered divination a sign of polytheism.

Although it is commanded with regard to the sneeze that if one of you sneezed one should utter Alhamdo lillaah (Praise be to Allah) and the others should say Yarahamokumllaah (May Allah have mercy on you). The person will then respond with the prayer: Yaghfirullaaha lakum (Allah shall forgive you).

However, to refrain from doing something or to delay for even a little, or to discriminate between one or two sneezes are all baseless things. Therefore a true Muslim should avoid such useless superstitions.

Philosophy of Islamic Laws:Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi, Ayatullah Jafar Subhani

Is The Universe Dependent Upon Allah For Its Continued Existence?

Earth-the-universe-stars-435Question: Some readers say that today some materialist people raise objection whose complete answer is not in our knowledge. You requested to give a satisfactory reply: “It is possible that we accept system of the Universe depended on the wise and powerful Creators. But the existence and continuity of this system there is no need of the Creator because when the Creator of the universe has made it in proper measure and subject to the system of cause and effect, whether the creator remains or not, this system will endure.

It is in the same way like a watch that shows the correct time. It will continue to tick even if its maker is no more. A space rocket moves ahead in space year after year and continues to send reports to us. While those who had made it are no more?

Answer: It is not a new objection that they materialists of today have presented. Rather its mention has also been made by the people of the past ages. And its reply is given in the books of philosophy and scholastic theology. In any case this objection is presented with two conditions.

Firstly An existing being which has a particular system is needful for a cause in the beginning of its creation. But for its survival it is not in need of a cause, whether it is the same cause or some other.

It is the same thing that the past philosophers believed. And imagined that just as a building is not in need for its builder for it endurance, in the same way any being is not in need of a cause to exist.

If objection is raised in this manner the reply is absolutely clear. Because according to the view of philosophy the survival of an existing thing is different from its initial creation. And in more clear words it can be said that the existence of everything is present in every time in addition to its being. The presence of a being in the time is like a drop of water in the sea whose shape goes on changing but its apparent form remains the same.

In others words just as an existing thing has parts and whose every part is not present without a cause. In the same way it has age and expanse with regard to the time who’s each moment is in need of cause. Thus if any of the parts is not in need for survival it should not have been needy for its initial creation. Because there is no difference between the present moment and the time of its initial creation.

Please allow us to explain this in more detail: (Harkat-e-Jauhari and Izaafaat discussion). According to the last conclusion of the research of our philosophers, time distance is one of the four elements of the things. Thus as it is possible that with regard to the length, breadth and depth, two things may differ in distance, and one of them may be big and the other small. In the same way it is possible with regard to the time also that the distance of two things are different and just as any kind of increase or decrease is not possible in the distance of a body, in the same way the length of time and the age of things and happenings are in need of a cause.

Therefore if we say that a thing is not in need for a cause for its continuity it is like saying that a body 100 meters long was created only for the first meter and the remaining 99 meters came into being automatically. Can anyone accept this?

As far as the example of the “Clock and the Clock maker” and other such spurious examples we should remember that the clock is also dependant for its existence and creation on a cause. For its creation it depends on its maker, and for its existence it depends upon the parts of the metal that make it up and how strong is the metal of the parts. Therefore depending upon the difference in the durability of the parts the life a clock will differ. It is a clear proof a thing is dependent on a cause for its coming into being and also for its continued existence.

From whatever is mentioned above we can derive only one conclusion and it is that “Just as things and happenings are dependent on a cause to come into being, in the same way a cause is needed for their continued existence whether the cause of continuance is the same as the cause of its creation or something else. If anyone denies the necessity of a cause for continuance, he denies the principles of causation itself.

Now pay attention so that we can present the second part of the objection, which is a basic part of it (please note):

It is possible that some people say: We agree that every system is in need of a cause for its creation as well as its continuance but it is not necessary that the cause of creation is also the cause of continuance. What prevents the Creator from the aspect of this knowledge and Intention to devise a system by which the world of cause effect is dependent upon one another and each of them is merged to the other that they can themselves continue to exist. As mentioned in the example of the clock that a knowing person brings it into existence with the help of solid matter and even are his death the clock continues to exist. The result is that the existing world was in need of a Creator to bring it into existence but for its continuity of existence it is subservient to a natural cause and a decreed movement.

If the question is presented in this form the reply has to be given in this way (please note):

When it is kept in mind that time is on the fourth stage of distance that is a natural existence passes a new stage of its existence in every passing moment. That is, every moment is a different existence from the previous and the later moment and according to another comparison the universe is a compound of “incidents” and “possibilities” so in these circumstances, thus in every movement a natural existence and the continuity of its special ones require a cause. An existence of such a cause which is eternal. And not a cause which itself is dependent on another cause.

Please allow us to explain this with the help of an example: Let us see an electric bulb. This bulb is in need of electric powerhouse for its illumination, now was this cause necessary for it only in the initial period? Certainly not!

If for a period of time—however less it may be— the connection of the bulb with the powerhouse is interrupted, it will go off and with this, it’s light and all the effects of its movement will come to an end. It is possible that the bulb is obtaining its necessary power from the wires, but it is obvious that wires themselves do not posses electricity and they also receive this power from the electric powerhouse.

On the basis of this it is said that all the existing things or incidents and effects are in need of such a real initiator on which they could depend every moment so that this universe can continue to exist because we know that all the things in the universe, their effects and their attributes have not come into being from inside themselves.

All these are happenings (that is they are brought into being) and before this they were non-existent. The system of this universe depends on natural causes but it is absolutely necessary that these natural causes depend upon an eternal cause. That is, it is necessary that the luminosity of existence should continue to reach them every moment from that eternal life source and if for a moment this connection is broken they will become non-existence.

That is what we are saying:

The Almighty is every moment and in every place with all the things. So much so that all the existing things of the universe cannot exist without Him even for a moment. The world of existence is not an eternal and everlasting world, it is a created world which is having relation with an eternal and everlasting cause and this relationship is a part of the existence of this universe like the connection of a bulb with the powerhouse.

A great misunderstanding regarding the making of the clock is that the clock maker has certainly not created the material with which he has constructed the clock. He has just shaped the material and joined together the different parts. But if he had created the actual material of the clock, and if he had brought it from non-existence into existence, then in the event of his death the material would have also have become non-existent.

In the same way the builder is not creator of building material. He just gives it a shape and if he has brought the material from non-existence into existence, that is the material had relations with the builder while it came into existence, it would have come to an end with the death of builder.

If we desire to mention this in philosophical style we shall say the world is Mumkinul Wujood (Liable to exist) and not waajibul Wujood (self-existent). On the basis of this the Mumkinul Wujood is in need of wajibul wujood for its creation and its continued existence and if it becomes needless of everything for its continued existence, it should be wajibul wujood while this is impossible for a Mumkinul wujood to change into wajibul wujood.1

  • 1. For more details refer to Rationality of Islam, by Ayatullah Behishti and Hujjatul Islam Bahonar. Published by the Islamic Seminary Karachi.

Philosophy of Islamic Laws:Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi, Ayatullah Jafar Subhani

Has Islam Prescribed The Duties of Woman?

Duties of WomanQuestion: According to the decree of Islamic jurisprudence, the housework and breastfeeding of children and their care is not obligatory for the woman. Also, it is obligatory on the husband to arrange for the maintenance of the wife. On the basis of this, she does not need to work outside her home. Therefore, neither is it obligatory for her to earn nor is she bound to do the housework.

What is the duty of woman in the society?

Answer: If Islam has not made housework, breastfeeding and care of children on woman obligatory, its aim was that the position of women should be elevated in society.

And in order to do this they were given a free hand so that she does all this willingly. And if she desires she can take recompense for all this. But we should remember that if a particular thing is not obligatory it does not mean that she has been reframed from doing it.

Doubtlessly in order to elevate the status of women, Islam has not made housework obligatory on them. So that they are not reduced to a maidservant. Actually it has based these things on her conscience and natural desires.

Apparently mothers love their children no end. This motherly feeling makes them fed them with the juice of her body and brings them up.

Women are by nature inclined towards the beautification of the house and this inclination is itself a surety of the well being of house. Thus nearly fourteen centuries have passed since the dawn of Islam and the same customs continue between Muslim men and women. Muslim women should continue to fulfill these natural duties, and in times of need they have been capable that to gain benefits from their legal rights.

Philosophy of Islamic Laws:Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi, Ayatullah Jafar Subhani

How Can We Control The Misuse of Polygamy?

polygamyQuestion: It is correct that when man observes rules and justice with regard to divorce and polygamy, that is he does not divorce his wives unreasonably and does not put many women to trouble, the position, personality and rights of women are secured.

And she is saved from humiliation and oppression. And many a times conflicts arising out of the inequality of sex is cured by relying on justice.

But in our times when unfortunately many of the Muslims are in name alone, and very few follow the religious rules, they take unfair advantage of the law of polygamy. In such circumstances, question arises that in Islam what is the prophecy regarding such shameless people. And how their misuse limited?

Answer: As per principle no matter how eager and sensible are the desirous of laws, till the time there is guarantee of their organs they cannot be sufficient for the well-being of the society.

Though it is possible that education and training and faith upon God should discourage people from breaking and misusing law. But in spite of this the following actions can never make a person loyal to the Islamic law and aware of their duties. Somehow or the other such people appear who act against the law and it take undue advantage from it.

Therefore in order to assure social justice and protection of law and help of the oppressed, it is necessary that there should be a responsible ruler (governor) who can keep an eye on the actions of the people and take steps to implement the laws. It can only be the Islamic government.

For achieving this aim, Islam has given wide rights to the Islamic government. So that when people are not capable enough to recognize their duties and responsibilities and want to exceed their limits, and if they take undue advantage of religious laws, the Islamic government has the right that for helping the oppressed and supporting the law it should take steps and to being in control those who have exceeded the limits.

In this regard there is no difference between the laws of divorce and polygamy and other laws. That is just as Islamic government is the helper and supporter of oppressed and inimical to the oppressors in the same way if divorce and polygamy is a cause for injustice upon the woman, and though their her rights are trespassed, the Islamic government has the right that in territories within its control, it should refrain the man from misusing the law of polygamy and help he women.

Apart from this regarding various sections of Islamic law it must necessarily be remembered that the laws of Islam are connected to each other like the links of a chain. And we should never see one of them in isolation and then start argumentation and criticism. The laws of Islam must be studied keeping in view the prevailing circumstances. Where Islam is ruling and where its laws are in force. For example the punishments and penalties, judgment and wisdom and marriage and divorce laws of Islam should be seen the society where all the Islamic laws are absolutely in force.

From this aspects if all the Islamic laws are applied fully no one would go against the law and trespass on the rights of others. And men will never consider polygamy as forced control over women. Rather they will have to follow all the Islamic laws and rules.

Philosophy of Islamic Laws:Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi, Ayatullah Jafar Subhani

Why The Youth of Today Avoid Religious Gatherings?

YouthQuestion: What are the factors that cause a section of youth to remain aloof from religious gatherings? Is not time ripe that we take steps to remove this difficulty? What is the method of solving this problem? And what course of action can be adopted to attract the youth to religious gatherings?

Answer: In our view many youths keep away from religious programs due to a number of factors. Two of them are most important.

First of them is poisonous propaganda that foreign agents have unleashed on our young people since a long time. This had made them suspicious of our religious gatherings and spirituality. Because facts are presented to them in a distorted form.

Another thing is the lack of discipline in the religious program. And in many programs there is lack of attention to Islamic principles through the exalted knowledge of which the thirst of curious youngsters is quenched.

These two factors are such that due to their effect many of our young people have become distanced from those programs. But fortunately in recent years there has been awakening in our youth. And they have realized the evil intentions of those foreign elements, which have been used to poison their minds. That is why that youth attend the religious programs in large numbers and we see them present in those programs with our own eyes.

Regarding the second factor of repulsion of the youth steps have been devised and no there is no lack of people who keep the changing times in view and through Islamic logic can solve the mental confusion of the young Muslims. Though we agree that their number is not as required by the present circumstances.

Philosophy of Islamic Laws:Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi, Ayatullah Jafar Subhani

What Are The Causes of Advancement of The Muslims In The Past Ages And Their Downfall In The Modern Era?

AdvancementQuestion: What were the causes of the advancement of the Muslims in the past ages? And what are the reasons for their backwardness and downfall? What is the reason that once upon a time the Muslims were ruling over many cultured nations and were the leaders of the caravan of civilization. Now they have become dependent on developed nations.

Answer: This question certainly is worth attention and it is one of the delicate questions, and it is worth writing a book on this. In Dairatul Marif, Farid Wajedi has mentioned ten reasons for the scientific advancements of the Muslims. And other intellectuals have also discussed this subject.

But actually the basic reason of the advancement of the Muslims is nothing but Islamic knowledge and the cause of their backwardness is aloofness from Islamic teachings. In the beginning of Islam the Muslims used to benefit from Islamic teachings in every field of science.

But today most of the Muslims have deviated from the true path of Islam. And it can be said that they are not true Muslims but their geographical Muslims. The basic cause of their backwardness is this. In addition we shall discuss some of the causes of their advancement and backwardness.

The Spirit of Sacrifice

1. The Muslims of the early period of Islam were ready to give all types of sacrifices. In their view the religion of Islam and its commands were more respectable to him than his family, wealth and property.

They used to sacrifice all their material possessions on Islam. And the history of Islam, especially the battles fought by the Messenger of Allah (S) are living testimonies of this. But now many people have left religion on one side and this spirit of sacrifice is nowhere to be seen.

For some people Islam in sacred only to the limit that it is not a hurdle to their wealth and position. On the other hand there would be very few people who would refrain from something profitable just on the basis of religious law.

Because the Muslims of the early period had to pay a heavy price for Islam and they had purchased it in exchange of the lives of their dear ones, they used to value it, but we have received Islam as inheritance from our parents. This is the reason why practically we do not accord it much importance.

2. On one hand is unity and agreement and on the other hand are controversies and differences are the two causes of advancement and backwardness. In the beginning of Islam the Muslims were united and agreed on most issues and according to the Qur’anic command they were as brothers.

But after the demise of the Holy Prophet (S) some differences that arose, in spite of this Amir al-Mu’mineen (a.s.) and his sons used wise diplomacy and did not allow them to halt the progress of Islam. They became aloof from the usurpers of their rights because they desire that at least the principles of Islam should remain safe.

But now hypocrisy and controversies of the ruling elite had reached to its zenith. In the recent centuries there has been a considerable increase in intersect animosities. And every sect considers others apostles and infidels, and try their best to insult and degrade them. Today differences and controversies between the Muslims have intensified and the true face of Islam has been concealed behind the veils of misunderstandings and misconceptions. In the circumstances is it possible that Muslims would be able to regain their lost glory?

Familiarity with prevailing circumstances

3. It was one of the important causes of the advancement of Muslims in the past centuries. They used to equip themselves with latest knowledge and the most developed weapons. At the time of the battle of Hunain the Holy Prophet (S) received the information that in Yemen a new weapon has been invented which can destroy fort and raze strong fortifications. He at once prepared some people that they travel to Yemen and learn of the techniques of manufacturing and operating it.

The Muslims of the early centuries translated the books of science, philosophy, medicine and astronomy into Arabic and added their research and investigations advancing them further. Also, they established great universities and libraries. Thus they became needy of the scientific advancement of others and themselves became the torchbearers of knowledge.

For a long time Baghdad, Shaam (Damascus), Misr (Cairo) and Andalusia quenched the thirst of those who flocked there in search of knowledge but today the majority of the Muslims have ignored the prevailing situations and disregarded the demands of the present age.

They desire that they should make do with ancient customs and methods and also to claim superiority over the whole world. While in the world there are new changes every day and the sciences, arts, culture and civilization all are moving towards development and perfection. But the method of Islamic propagation and spread of Islamic teachings still follow the old methods.

These three factors are a part of the causes due to which the Muslims of the early period trod the path of progress. Apart from this there were other causes also that had a role to play in their progress. We shall not mention the details of all of them here and end this discussion with the following ayat in which the Muslims have been informed of the causes of advancement. The Almighty Allah addresses the Muslim Community and says:

And be not infirm, and be not grieving, and you shall have the upper hand if you are Believers.1

In the view of the above ayat and the forgone discussion the reply to the second question is also clear. That is there any hope Muslims will regain their past glory?

The reply to this question is clear if we study the reply to the previous questions. Because the factors that caused advancement and progress of the Muslims in the past centuries if again they are revived and Muslims seek benefit from them they will again be able to obtain that same glory.

If the Muslims of the present age have the spirit of sacrifice like the ancient Muslim and maintain unity among themselves, and Muslim readers understand well the scientific trends of the modern age, they can again attain progress and success.

However, it is necessary that every type of development and change should be within the limits of Islamic law. It should not be that understanding the recent trends could be made an excuse of throwing to the winds the established code of law of Islam.

  • 1. Surah Aale Imran 3:139

Philosophy of Islamic Laws:Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi, Ayatullah Jafar Subhani

Questions of An American Muslim/15

Questions-of-An-American-MuslimQuestion 15

Do the Islamic laws prefer general insurance over trade insurance? If a Muslim can opt for trade insurance at a lower cost, what is his duty? Can an American Muslim purchase these insurance shares?

Answer: According to Islamic law trade insurance (since it is an agreement and general laws are applicable to it) is valid and legal and from this aspect there is no difference between this insurance and general insurance. Therefore a Muslim can opt for trade insurance and also purchase the shares.

Philosophy of Islamic Laws:Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi, Ayatullah Jafar Subhani