Questions of An American Muslim/4

Questions-of-An-American-MuslimQuestion 4

It is said that if a person recites Kalima Shahadat (formula of faith) that is Ash hadu an laa ilaaha illalLaah wa Ash hadu anna Muhammad-ar-rasululLah. He becomes a Muslim. If this is the only condition of becoming a Muslim, can this be a standard of Muslim? For example how can we consider a person Muslims Who can neither prays nor fasts or gives Zakat. He doesn’t even refrains from the things made haraam by Allah. Aren’t such people Muslims only in name?

Answer: There are many grades of being Muslim. The first is faith in the oneness of Allah and the Prophet hood of the Holy Prophet (S) which the two sentences of Kalima Shahadatain states. The next stages are related to the Islamic rules and regulations and the things which are the cause of everlasting happiness are the good deeds related to the faith.

Therefore if one has the faith in the above-mentioned two principles, that is Tawhidand Nubuwwat but his actions are not in conformity with Islam he will have the rights in the society that are fixed for a Muslim but he cannot be a true Muslim eligible for salvation and the goodness of hereafter.

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

Questions of An American Muslim/3

Questions-of-An-American-MuslimQuestion 3

Does an American Muslim woman need to wear some special dress for praying in the mosque or her usual dress is sufficient? And if some special dress is necessary, what is the reason for it?

Answer: It is not necessary for Muslim woman that she must wear some special dress. What is necessary is that during prayer she has to cover the complete body except the face hands from wrists onwards.

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

Questions of An American Muslim/2

Questions-of-An-American-MuslimQuestion 2

In view of the working hours in western countries is it possible to perform the Friday prayer on Thursday evening or on Sunday when people are free? And is it allowed to use musical tones in Mosques?

Answer: Like other Islamic worship acts whose time is fixed the Friday prayer can also be performed in its appointed time, that is on Friday afternoon and it cannot be recited on Thursday, Sunday or any other day or time.

From the Islamic point of view playing musical instruments is not allowed. Therefore in Mosque or any other place the use of musical instruments is not allowed.

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

Questions of An American Muslim 1

Questions-of-An-American-MuslimSometime ago an American Muslim had sent us a lot of questions most of whom were informative. Therefore we shall mention the fifteen questions and their replies as follows:

Question 1

In the different states of America there are different law and rules in force for marriage and divorce. But their principles are almost same. Because there is no such Islamic religious representative in America who can register the marriage of Muslims. Therefore in such a condition what is the duty of the Muslims there?

Answer: American Muslims men and women can appoint such a person for themselves who can recite the formula of Nikah and if the counsel recites the formula their marriage shall be Islamic. And if such a person is unavailable they can themselves recite the formula of Nikah and if they cannot recite Arabic they can use English language.

It is not necessary according to the Islamic law that the Mahr (dower) has to fixed at the time of marriage. Even if it is not decided at that time the lady can later on demand reasonable Mehr from her husband. On the basis of this it is necessary to pay the Mehr to the wife but if she likes she can forgo a part or whole of it.

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

What is The Ruling about Sports like Boxing?

Question: Are sports like boxing etc. are haraam in Islam or not? And also those who take it up as a profession and work for it, what is the position of this action of theirs? Is it permitted?

Answer: Basically all those games and physical exercises are permitted that are beneficial to the health and do not cause any danger provided they are not connected to the illegal acts.

Because every dangerous act by which there is a danger to himself or some other person is prohibited from the Islamic point of view and the game of boxing is not without any risk.

Therefore we must refrain from these games. And we all know many young people have lost their lives in boxing and many lives have been lost. On the basis there is no harm if one participates or works for the games which are beneficial to the people and society in general. Other than this all games are illegal.Therefore we must refrain from these games. And we all know many young people have lost their lives in boxing and many lives have been lost. On the basis there is no harm if one participates or works for the games which are beneficial to the people and society in general. Other than this all games are illegal.

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

Prostrating To The Imam’s Tomb?

Question: Is it permitted to prostrate to the graves of Imams (a.s)?

Answer: As we have explained in the reply to one question prostration is restricted only for the Almighty Allah and except for Him, whoever it might be, it is not allowed. And if some people do it, it is due to their unfamiliarity of the rules of religion and they should be explained that it is not permitted to prostrate to the Imam or the grave of the Imam.

Also, it should be remembered that prostration on tablets of soil prepared from the soil of the graves of some holy personalities is not the prostration of these holy ones. Rather according to the tradition of Islamic leaders, prostrating to Allah with intention of more humility we must touch our head on the ground or that which grows out of the earth (and not used in eating or it is not a minerals). And the soil of Imam Husain’s (a.s) grave (Khak-e-Shifa) is also that pure soil on which Imam Husain (a.s) camped for revival of Islam. On the basis of this it has attained a great merit.

Especially when a person prostrate on a tablet of the soil of Kerbala, it renews for him the remembrance of the sacrifice of Imam Husain Ibn Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s). And it invites the pure souls to follow the lofty exemplar and makes their feelings of sacrifice and faith stronger.

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

How Can Latin Speaking People Perform Prayers?

Question: In the countries where Latin languages are spoken if the people of those countries become Muslim and want to pray Prayers or recite supplications, is it possible for them to learn the proper Arabic language with the correct pronunciations?

Answer: As we already know most of them are literate for whom it is not difficult to learn the Qur’an and Prayers in Arabic. They are even interested to learn Eastern sciences and even learn Arabic in many universities of that country. Just as when we learn their language we try to learn their exact pronunciation and tone.

As far as their illiterate minority is concerned, they can learn Arabic words according to their capacity and whatever they have learnt or can learn, the Almighty Allah does not demand anything more from them. Though it is necessary that all Muslims should learn the Qur’an and Prayers with proper Arabic pronunciation but it is up to the personal capacity of the people. Islam does not demand anything beyond ones capacity.

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

What Is The Decree Regarding The Game of Chess?

Question: Is there in Islam any problem in playing chess? Indeed you know that generally there is no betting in chess. It can almost be claimed that in some cases this game presents gambling. Keeping this in view, nowadays, chess is considered a mental exercise and it is becoming popular day by day. I request you to give me a reply supporting by proofs.

Answer: In the view of our scholars it is a decided matter that playing with the instruments of gambling is not permitted even if there is no betting. It is possible that in the background of this decree is the philosophy that contact with those instruments needlessly make man attracted to gambling and especially regarding chess numerous traditions of Imam (a.s) have reached us that the use of the instruments of this game is prohibited in every way and by giving it the title of mental exercise it does not affect the prohibition of chess.

Because it is possible that other kinds of gambling can be performed by naming it mental exercise. Because along with playing cards there are many kinds of gambling that have an aspect of mental exertion. But their evils cannot be denied.

The detailed discussion is that chess is a form of gambling. It was invented for this very purpose. Finally it can be said that gambling is of two kinds.

Deliberation is not needed in some cases and the winning of the game is based on chance. While in other games deliberation is also needed. Chess is from the second kind of games.

In addition to this chess is an imagination game because it presents the sketch of an imaginary battlefield which is a reminder of the historical periods of man. Therefore one of the defects of chess is its imaginary nature.

The views of the above statements no doubt remain regarding the prohibition of chess. Even though there are some people who do not accept anything unless they get its confirmation from the western world. Therefore we consider it necessary that those points should be mentioned that we have found in the writings of western scholars. May be this would help in the spread of chess, which has unfortunately spread to every corner of our country and it is played with an excuse that it helps in the power of deliberation and concentration.

This is the discussion of the famous French chess player, Shantal Shaw Dossian regarding whom it is said: “No one can achieve the distinction to be the world champion of chess except Shantal and the international press and especially the Russian sports writings have praised his expertise and superiority.

Let us see what Shantal himself says:

“It is sufficient to prove that chess is a tiring game by saying that after the 40th step if there is no result the game is postponed as happened in Reg or Veg and it was calculated that after the first four steps the total possible tricks were 318976584 and in the first ten step were 169518829100544…

Then he mentions those people are champions of chess Regarding them he says that it is possible that apart from chess in other matters their capability might be less than the medium stage. That is what I want to say is that chess is really a dangerous game, because it makes the other mental functions useless and weak. It can be said that chess creates mental disturbance.

After this Shantal quotes the statements of another Champion Kheel who always said: In order to win you have to hate your opponent. And in addition to other Leases of chess it is an undesirable ethical harm.

We must remember that chess is a kind of gambling. Here we must understand that Islam has prohibited gambling even if there is no winning and losing. Why is it so? It is because actually no gambling is without the condition of losing and winning. The truth is that when there is no question of winning or losing money, this win and loss is in the mind of the contestants.

Moral Harms

If the remembrance of Allah leaves ones heart and this love and affection that is there and there is no faith in a person, then what remains? The only thing that remains is evil thoughts accomplishment by a restless, fearful, sorrowful man.

The experts of moral science are unanimous on the fact that the true happiness and success of man is hidden in the balance of his feelings. This is compared to justice. And this word actually denotes the making of one’s life compatible to the way shown by the Almighty. This is the straight path or Siraatul Mustaqeem. Because the soul gets peace and tranquility here alone.

In a tradition quoted from our leaders there is indication towards these interesting points: The true man is that who has faith.

Gambling is one of those varied actions by which man becomes forgetful of the remembrance of Allah becomes deprived of faith and good deeds.

Amir al-Mu’mineen (a.s) saw some people who were busy playing chess. He told them the sentence that idol-breaker Ibrahim (a.s) used to say:

What are these images to whose worship you cleave?1

In the Islamic law it is haraam to play chess to make others play it and buy or sell the instruments of Chess. This is found in a number of traditions.

1. Surah Anbiya 21:52

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

Why Do We Pray Facing The Qibla?

Question: Why is it necessary to stand facing the Qibla during Prayer? While the Almighty Allah is present everywhere. And He is not in any one particular direction.

Answer: Facing the Qibla during prayers is not because Allah is in a particular place or direction. Like the Holy Qur’an has specially mentioned twice in the verses regarding the Qibla and said:

‘And Allah’s is the East and West, therefore, whither you turn, thither is Allah’s purpose…”1

and again He says:

Says: The East and the West belong only to Allah: He guides whom He likes to the right path.”2

It is necessary to stand facing the Qibla during Prayer because man is helpless as he has a body. That he has to face somewhere during Prayer. Even though Islam desires that one should earn as much benefit as possible, because we all know that the Holy Ka’ba is the oldest center of worship of Allah. It is the house whose foundation was laid by the stalwart of Monotheism, Hazrat Ibrahim Khalilullah. And it has always remained the center of attraction for all the holy personalities and divine prophets.

Facing this center of Monotheism during prayer is like facing to Allah. It is correct that Allah is not in a particular place. Even though one who is standing before the center of Monotheism he is more attentive towards Allah than he would have been if he were facing some other direction. And he considers himself present in the Court of Allah.

Apart from this the paying attention of all Muslims around this sanctified center five times a day elevates in their heart the spirit monotheism and Oneness and it helps in the unity of community and Islamic brotherhood. It links the Muslim Communities which are spread to the four corners of the earth and it shows their distinction and grandeur. And lastly it gives the message of the Universal teachings of Islam to the world in the form of the Unity of belief and views.

If a person looks from on outside the earth the arrangement of the rows of Muslims in prayer he would see that all their rows are in form of circles whose center is one and the same and in the heart of those circles is the Ka’ba and it is an indication of the Unity of Muslims.

  • 1. Surah Baqarah 2:115
  • 2. Surah Baqarah 2:142

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

Prayer At The Earliest Hour

Question: In order to prove the merit of praying at the earliest hour some scholars have said that Imam az-Zaman (a.s.) prays at this time and then people who pray at this hour their prayer is also accepted by Allah due to the barakah (bounty) of the prayer of Imam (a.s.).

But we also know that different areas fall in different time zones. Leave alone the different countries sometimes one country has many times zones. In this condition only the prayer of the people of that area is with Imam (a.s.) where he is praying. Apart from this the Prayer timings of other people cannot be same as that of Imam (a.s.). How can we solve this problem?

Answer: Those who have presented this argument to prove the merit of praying at the earliest hour, they mean to say that the prayer which is prayed the earliest hour those prayers are equal to the prayers with Imam (a.s.) because he (a.s.) also prays at the earliest hour. And it is due to this equal value, the prayers of others are also accepted by Allah.

This is in no way connected to the matter of time zones etc. In other words it does not mean that prayers have to be performed at one single time. Rather it denotes the fact that all the Prayers have been performed at their respective earliest hours, which every person performs according to his time zone.

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