What is The Aim of the Verse: He Deviates Whomsoever He Likes And Guides Whomsoever He Likes?

AnswersMedium3Question: The Justice of Allah is a principle of our faith and we believe that Allah does everything on the basis of Justice and equity. Then what is the aim of the 93rd verse of Surah Nahl that: He causes to err whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases, and other such ayats and traditions? If guidance and error is from Allah, how for is it related to divine justice that we should be punished for error and rewarded for being guided?

Answer: Some Qur’anic verses explain others. There are many ayats, which should be studied along with other ayats in order to reach the correct interpretation.

The captioned ayat which mentions error and guidance is also this type. Therefore in order to understand it correctly we have to refer to other ayats that also mention error and guidance.

This ayat says that Allah guides whom He likes. In another ayat, for example in the 26th ayat of Surah Baqarah it said:

He does not cause to err by it (any) except the transgressors.

In addition to this the 34th ayat of Surah Mo-min says:

Thus does Allah cause him to err who is extravagant, a doubter.

These two ayats explain how some people become deprived of the mercy and favors of Allah and how they deviate from the straight path of life and righteousness. Keeping in view these two verses we can understand the meaning of the ayat in question. When we study this ayat with other ayats of the same topic we realize that those who are deprived of divine mercy are none but transgressors, extravagant and unjust people.

Therefore we must keep it in mind that the deprivation of sinful people from Divine mercy is a natural thing. The goodness of every person is related to the fact that he must train all his physical and spiritual capabilities in the proper way. According to literary terminology these capabilities are termed as action.

And the best way of achieving this is to act on the law sent by the Almighty on the Holy Prophet (S) for the humanity. Those who ignore these laws and teachings and fall into sinful deeds. They are deprived from goodness. They do not remain eligible that Allah should bestow His mercy on them and that they should be guided. They lose their eligibility for getting Tawfiq (Divine assistance) and in the previous ayats mention that they are left in error due to their sins.

In the 79th ayat of Surah Nisa this is mentioned in another way. The Almighty Allah says:

“Whatever benefit comes to you, it is from Allah, and whatever misfortune befalls you, it is from yourself…”

In other words this means that the deeds of man himself are responsible for his deviation and deprivation from Divine mercy.

The ayat in question mentions the guidance (He guides whom He pleases) in the same sense. This guidance denotes the same favor and mercy of Allah which are for the righteous servants. These people act upon the heavenly laws and teachings and day by day they increase their ability and eligibility for receiving these bounties and they become more and more deserving of them.

The conclusion of this discussion is that divine guidance means divine assistance (Tawfiq) in good actions and righteousness. And it is only for those who tread the path of truth and those who strive in this way.

And (as for) those who strive hard for Us. We will most certainly guide them in Our ways.”1

Error means depriving from Tawfiq and the breaking off of the Divine help and this is only for the sinful, the oppressors and the faithless people. Otherwise the Almighty Allah neither guides anyone nor deprives anyone of His guidance without any reason.

  • 1. Surah Ankabut 29:69

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

Is Sacrifice And Offering Possible?

askQuestion: It is said that all the actions of man are to gain some material or spiritual benefit or to protect himself from some harm. So much so that even those acts which are apparently benevolent like helping the widows or training of children etc., they are also not exempted from this rule because by helping others and expressing love for them, man obtains consolation for his own soul and comforts his heart which had become restless after seeing their deplorable condition.

Keeping this principle in view that all the actions of man are caused by the desire to obtain some material or spiritual benefit, why is it so that some actions are termed as sacrifice, offering and selflessness etc?

The motherly love is the best example of sacrifice and a mother obtains peace by expressing her natural motherly feelings. If she does not rare and train her child she would be hurt. In such a case how can we say that motherly love is pure of every selfish motive and how can we call this a selfless sacrifice?

Answer: This question can be answered in two ways:

1.   Sacrifice and offering means that a person does something for the benefit of an individual or the society without any motive of getting anything in return. The opposite of this is to do something with a motive of profit or recompense and a person does this to obtain material gains.

Just assume that there is a person who feels very sad on seeing the conditions of widows and orphans or by helping them he experiences happiness. When this person helps them without show off and that too with no more money than is needed by them this action of his is called sacrifice and selflessness.

It is correct that this action frees him from the pangs of conscience and gives him pleasure and satisfaction. But since the motive of this act is not any worldly benefit and the desire for recompense has not made him do this, therefore this action of his is very meritorious both from the point of view of intellect as well as the Shariah and it is counted as a type of sacrifice.

In other words in order to find whether a particular act is an act of sacrifice or not we must see what are the motives behind it. Those sentimental or human acts which are called sacrifice or offering are those in which there is calculation of profits. At the time of performance man does not keep the material gains in view and the motives of this are deeply etched into his heart. He does this without paying attention to be an example or to show off. He doesn’t do this for any sort of acclaim by the society.

But while doing something if someone does not ignore the material benefits, and he does it for gaining something in return from an individual or the society, then this is a type of give and take and one who does this regarded as a trader.

The second reply to this question is that sometimes a person loves something or someone to such an extent that except for this love he forgets everything. He even forgets himself and this type of person also forgets his personal gain. It is the instance when man does not recognize anything except his beloved thing or person. He thinks nothing else except the pleasure of his beloved.

He absolutely ignores the aspect of gain and recompense where something is taken in exchange of something else. His sacrifice reaches such a stage that at this time he also forgets his beloved and the aim of his sacrifice whose imagination imparts comfort to his body and soul. The reason for this is that leave alone the physical and spiritual pleasures, he does not even see or recognize himself in this condition. It is the stage which is sometimes called the stage of annihilation.

Many of our leaders were having this type of condition with regard to the Being of Allah. And this same condition used to cause them to worship Him for Him only. And they used to seek His proximity and had imaginable devotion for Him as His being is pinnacle of perfection. They used to lay down their lives for His pleasure.

A tradition narrated from Amir al-Mu’mineen Hazrat Ali (a.s.) regarding worship, probably indicates this:

“O my Lord! I do not worship You for the fear of Hell or for desire of Paradise. I worship You because I find You are deserving of worship.”

The best example of devotion was Ali (a.s.) himself and he used to be so much engrossed in prayers that he did not feel any pain when an arrow was extracted from his feet. Such a person cannot think of his gain or loss at the time of worshipping Allah. Because when he sees he sees Allah and whatever he does he does it not for his personal gain, he does it for the Lord.

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

Did Amir al-Mu’mineen Ali (a.s.) Ever Depend On The Tradition of Ghadeer To Prove His Caliphate?


Question: As we know, on the day of Ghadeer, the Holy Prophet (S) announced the vicegerancy and Caliphate of Amir al-Mu’mineen (a.s.) and made obedience obligatory on all Muslims. Now the question arises:

“When the successorship of Amir al-Mu’mineen (a.s.) was declared on this, why didn’t he use the hadith to prove his Caliphate?”

Answer: Opposite to the assumption in the above question, Amir al-Mu’mineen (a.s.) had during his lifetime many times quoted the tradition of Ghadeer to prove his successorship. He used to mention the tradition of his Ghadeer to his opponent whenever it was appropriate according to circumstances and in this way he used to make people aware of his status.

And not only Imam (a.s.), the honorable daughter of the Holy Prophet (S), her sons, Hazrat Imam Hasan-al-Mujtaba and Chief of the Martyrs, Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.) and many other exalted personalities like Abdullah Ibn Ja’far, Ammar Yasir, Asbagh bin Nubata, Qays bin Saad, Umar bin Abdul Aziz, the Abbaside Caliph, Mamoon and even the opponents like Amr Aas etc. had quoted this tradition.

Therefore the tradition of Ghadeer had been used since the time of Ali (a.s.) himself. In every age his followers had considered the tradition of Ghadeer to be one of the proofs of his Imamate and Wilayat (Guardianship). Here we shall mention of these instances by way of examples.

1.       On the day of shura (The shura was designated by the second caliph in such a way that everyone was knowing that someone other than Ali (a.s) would become the Caliph) when the ball of Caliphate was thrown by Abdur Rahman Awf to Uthman, Ali (a.s) delivered a speech to render the decision of shura invalid:

“I am presenting such an argument that none of you can deny.” Then he said:

I put you under the oath of Allah and ask you is there anyone among you regarding whom the Holy Prophet (S) has said: Of whomsoever I am the master; this Ali is his master too. O Allah love those who love Ali and help those who help Ali, And those who are present here should convey this to those who are absent. 1

On this juncture the members of shura confessed that this distinction was solely for Ali (a.s).

Without any doubt this was not the only occasion that Ali (a.s.) had argued with this tradition. He had employed this argument at other times also as mentioned below:

2.   One day Amir al-Mu’mineen (a.s.) was delivering a sermon in Kufa. During the speech he turned towards the people and said:

“I put you under the oath of God, if one who was present in Ghadeer must have himself heard the Holy Prophet (S) had bestowed on me the distinction of his successorship, he should stand up testify this. But only those people should stand up who had themselves heard this from the prophet (s.a.) and not those who have heard it from others.”

At this moment thirty people stood up and testified that they had heard the tradition of Ghadeer.

We should remember that at this time twenty five years had passed since the event of Ghadeer and some of the Companions of the Holy Prophet (S) were not in Kufa at this time or they had died before this. It is also possible that some people had refrained from giving testimony due to various reasons; otherwise the number would have been higher.

The Late Allamah Amini has recorded numerous sources of this tradition in his flawless book, Al Ghadeer. Those who wish may refer to this book.2

3.   During the Caliphate of Uthman two hundred senior people from the Muhajireen and Ansar were present in the Prophet’s mosque and were discussing various topics. The subject of the superiority of Quraysh, their foremost position and migration came up. Thus every tribe of Quraysh began to express their superior personalities.

This gathering started from the early morning and was on till the noon. During this many people gave various statements but Amir al-Mu’mineen (a.s.) only heard their discussion and did not say anything. On this moment the people turned to him and implored him tom say something.

Due to this insistence Ali (a.s.) stood up and spoke about his relationship with the Holy Prophet (S) and his distinctions. Inter alia he said:

You must remember that on the day of Ghadeer when Allah told the Holy Prophet (S) that just as he has explained the rules of Prayer, Zakat and rituals of Hajj he should declare my leadership.

And to fulfill this duty the Holy Prophet (S) delivered the following sermon:

The Almighty Allah has commanded me to perform a duty and I was fearful that some people will falsify my conveying of divine command. However, the Almighty commanded me. Convey the message and also assured me security from the mischief of the people.

Yes! O People! Do you know that Allah is my master and I am the master of the believers? And I have more authority on them than they themselves have:”

On this moment the Prophet (S) said:
Ali, get up! And I stood up. Then the Holy Prophet (S) turned towards the people and said:
Of whomsoever I am the master; this Ali is also his master. O Allah! Love those who love Ali and hate those who hate Ali!

At that moment Salman Farsi asked the Messenger of Allah (S): What type of authority does Ali have on us?

The Prophet (S) replied: Ali’s mastership on you is same as my mastership upon you. On whosoever’s life I have authority, Ali also has the authority.”

4.      It is not only Ali (a.s.) who had argued with the tradition of Ghadeer. The Daughter of the Messenger of Allah (S) also said on a historical day to the companions when she was demanding her rights from them:3

“Have you forgotten the day of Ghadeer when the Prophet (s.a.) said: Of whomsoever I am the master this Ali is his master too?”

5.      When Imam Hasan (a.s.) decided to make truce with Muawiyah he stood up and delivered a sermon in which he said:

The Almighty Allah preferred the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) through the medium of Islam. And he selected us and kept us away from every type of impurity.
Then he said:
All the people heard that the Holy Prophet (S) addressed Ali: Your position to me is as the position of Haroon with Musa (a.s.)

Everyone has heard and seen that on the day of Ghadeer the Holy Prophet (S) held the hand of Ali (a.s.) and said:

Of whomsoever I am the master; this Ali is his master too. O Allah! Love those4

6.   Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.) addressing a large gathering at Mecca wherein some Companions of the Holy Prophet (S) were also present said:

“I put you under oath of God. Do you know that on the day of Ghadeer the Holy Prophet (S) selected Ali (a.s.) for Caliphate and guardianship and said: Those who are present should convey this message to those who are not.”

All the people testified this.

In addition to this many Companions of the Prophet (S), like Ammar Yasir, Zaid bin Arqam, Abdullah bin Ja’far, Asbagh bin Nubata (may Allah be pleased with them) and other people used to argue the Caliphate and guardianship of Ali (a.s.) with the tradition of Ghadeer.5

  • 1. Manaqib Khwarizmi p. 217 etc.
  • 2. Al Ghadeer vol. 1 pgs. 153-171
  • 3. Faraedus Simtain Chap.58 Ali (a.s.) has also quoted this tradition on the day of Rahba, the day of Jamal in the incident of hadithur Rikban and also in Siffeen.
  • 4. Yanabiul Mawaddah pg 482.
  • 5. For more information on these debates and sources refer to Al Ghadeer (vol. 1 pg. 146-195). This book has recorded 22 such debates

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

Tawalla And Tabarra

Ask word spelled out in letters formed by a microphone cord to illustrate questions and answers, interviews, reporting and a podcast or radio interview

Question: What is the meaning of Tawalla and Tabarra that we are taught as principles of faith? Can we act upon them in the modern age?

Answer: Generally Islam is compared to a blooming tree whose roots are equivalent to the principles of belief and the practical laws are like the branches. Generally ten branches of religion are mentioned.

Also the system of acts and worship acts in Islam is very vast. It is not limited to these ten. However, keeping in mind the importance of these ten they are given priority.

Three of these: Prayer, Fast and Hajj are connected with the worship acts, Prayers and attachment with the Almighty. Two of them (Zakat and Khums) are related to economics and pledge of Allah and five (Jihad, Amr bil Ma’roof, Nahy Anil Munkar, Tawalla and Tabarra) are associated with social, military and political problems.

Here the topics of discussion are the last two; Tawalla (to love) and Tabarra (to express aloofness). That is we love some and hate some. We should love the friends of Allah, those who desire truth, righteous people and supporters of truth and justice and we should hate the evildoers, oppressors, lovers of enjoyment and enemies of Allah, His Prophet and humanity.

Why shouldn’t we love all of them? Why shouldn’t we behave nicely with all of them? Can we forgo the method of living with amity in the present age? However, those who are in favor of having friendly relations with all must be asked:

In the world which has oppressors and oppressed, the unjust and the victims of injustice, the tyrants and the weak, the equitable and the usurpers, the pure and the dirty; shall we love all of them? Shall we remain pleased with all of them? Shall we help all of them? Can any human logic permit us to do so? Can the living conscience permit this mixing up?

These two principles are included in the basic principles of Islam so that the followers of truth, justice, freedom, purity and goodness can create unity among their ranks and that the impure, oppressive, and the unjust ones are boycotted and in way they are socially and morally subjugated by the unity of the good people.

Does the human body accept any sort of food? Isn’t the sense of taste a device to discriminate between tasty and harmful substances? Isn’t it a kind of Tawalla and Tabarra? Does the human body accept the poisonous substance or in case of cholera does it not throw out the harmful matter in vomit? Or does it accept everything and take the person to death? Doesn’t it express distaste of harmful substances and separates it from useful matter?

Are not the capabilities of attraction and repulsion necessary for survival of the universe? Then why should the human society be exempted from Tawalla and Tabarra?

If instead of acting upon the two principles everyone agrees with every school of thought, every condition is accepted and human society does not get close to useful things and does not keep away from harmful things, the humanity will soon be destroyed.

That is the reason that the Holy Prophet (S) has said: “The strongest support of faith is to love for Allah and to express hatred for the sake of Allah.”

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

Following (Taqlid) The Religious Maraja (Mujtahid)

AskQuestion: There are among us such people also who do not think that doing Taqlid in Islamic law is obligatory. They argue that it is incumbent on all to derive the laws of the Shariah from the Holy Qur’an and other sources. Because:

1.       The Holy Qur’an is opposed to any kind of following (Taqlid) and it is absolutely against blindly following anyone.

2.       Taqlid is to follow without question, and reason and wisdom do not like this type of following.

3.       Taqlid is the cause of disunity among the Muslims because there are usually more than one Maraja and their legal rulings are not the same.

Answer: We think that the source of all these objections is one. It is that there are two meanings of the word ‘Taqlid’. One of them is a general meaning which is the usual connotation.

It has another literary meaning with which discussions are initiated in the books of Jurisprudence and principles. The previous and the present objections are regarding the first meaning while there is no connection between the first meaning and the second meaning.

The explanation of this is usually Taqlid is used for improper actions in everyday life which people usually do by initiation without any proper thought or justification. To imitate foolish people is certainly a greater foolishness. It is neither sanctioned by reason nor by Islamic law. And no sane person is ready to follow any other person blindly.

It is the same Taqlid with which the idolaters used to justify their idolatry. They used to say that their ancestors used to follow that custom and they were not prepared to forgo the customs of their ancestors.

The Holy Qur’an has mentioned their argument in the following verses:

Surely we found our fathers on a course, and surely we are followers of their footsteps.1

They used to justify their foolish custom (of worshipping wooden and stone idols) by saying that their ancestors also did that. They used to blindly follow their customs. It is that same type of Taqlid that is responsible for the spread of social evils like racing, fashion and sexual perversion.
Maulana Rumi has indicated this same type of Taqlid: “Their foolish Taqlid has destroyed the people”.

As mentioned above most of the objections with regard to Taqlid are there due considering the first meaning of Taqlid which is used in general sense. However, the second meaning of Taqlid, used in religious terminology is completely different. It can be expressed in one sentence: “Following the specialists by non-specialists people in some matters.”

That is, those who are not having the knowledge of religious problems, which require specialization and years of study they have to compulsorily follow the religious Mujtahid and act upon their rulings. In this sense is the meaning applicable for Taqlid—that is the following of a learned person by a less learned person. It is the basis of human life in all the fields, be they agriculture, manufacturing or medicine.

If at any time this is taken out from human life, that is a patient does not visit a doctor, or people do not consult lawyers for legal advice, one does not consult the engineers and architects, one does not use the services of artisans, mechanics and experts of other fields, the social structure of the world would be endangered and every field will become extinct.

The religious problems are not exempted from this system. Without any doubts, in the principles of faith like Tawheed, Adl, Nubuwwat, Imamat and Qiyamat, everyone has to do proper research themselves and their justification is nothing difficult and complicated also.

Every person can do this according to his or her understanding capacity. However, for the Islamic practical laws: Worship acts, business transactions and politics like Prayer, fasting, holy war, penalties and punishments, relations and blood money marriage and divorce and thousands of other day-to-day matters.

Not everyone can obtain the knowledge of all these laws individually, neither all can derive benefit from the sources of Islamic law, like the Holy Qur’an, traditions, Reason and Consensus.

Therefore people have no option but to follow the religious scholar for these problems. The scholars who have put in years of study and have gained deep knowledge of the book of Allah, the practice of the Prophet, and the sayings and writings of the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).

From this discussion we conclude that following a Mujtahid is not blind following without justification. This Taqlid has the logical and reasonable proof as follows:

The view of a scholar, a wise man and specialist and that also that it is harmless; it is usually nearest to the truth and generally it is not away from the truth.

And even if there is a mistake in it the error is limited while a non-learned person tries to act on his own he will do most of things in a wrong way.

For example when a sick person goes to a doctor he usually takes a prescription and it is possible that the doctor might commit an error in it. However, his error will not have very serious repercussions in the prescription. (Here doctor denotes a knowledge and learned person).

However, if man stops following the advice of doctors and whenever he is sick he takes whichever medicine he likes, then indeed he would be performing a risky thing. He has put his life into danger.

The result of this discussion is that the layman following a specialist is logical and reasonable proposition.

This is also established that this type of following and seeking benefits is not a sign of helplessness of man; it is rather a proof of his capability. Because we know that the sphere of knowledge is so vast that every field has hundreds of specialized branches and even if a person has the age of Nuh (a.s.) and the brain of Avicenna he cannot even specialize in 1/100 of the sciences. Thus there is no other option but that he follows the specialists in the fields in which he himself is not an expert.

For example if an engineer falls sick, he goes to a doctor and when a doctor wants to construct a house he goes to his favorite architect so that he may construct a plan for him. And when these two have some problem with their cars they go to an automobile mechanic. Also, those who are not specialists in Islamic law they follow the Mujtahids.

Now the point remains that when people refer to the religious scholars and one dispensed appropriate advice why are they not allowed to ask questions?

It is like saying that: What is the problem in the patient asking for explanation and justification of all the medicines that the doctor has prescribed for him. Is it possible for the doctor to explain all the prescriptions to his patients? Even if we presume that the doctor agrees to do so, but what use would it be for a person who is neither an expert in biology nor pharmacology and how would he accept all this to be true?

Those who utter such things are indeed ignorant of the vastness of Islamic sciences. They don’t know that to understand the Holy Qur’an and hundreds of thousands of traditional writings is not a job of a layman. Years of study is required to understand the verses of Holy Qur’an, the traditions, the narrators of traditions and the system of knowing whether a particular tradition is correct or not; the interpretation of the sayings of the Prophets. All this requires specialization.

Sometimes it also happens that to find the solution to a problem related to marriage, divorce or rearing of children one has to see many verses of Qur’an and refer to tens of traditions. Then one has to closely study the accounts of tens of narrators of traditions in the books of Ilm ar-Rijal. Can everyone really have this much expertise? Does it not mean that everybody should leave their work and get busy in studying religious law? While we do not even know if all the people have the ability to reach to the level of Ijtehad or not. Whether they have the capacity to derive the laws of the Shariah or not. It is possible that in most of the people have different abilities.

And to say that following different Mujtahids causes disunity is indeed a strange allegation!

1.       In every period there is only one or a few Maraja who are well known to all. But if all the Muslims express their views regarding the Islamic law there would be chaos in the community.

2.    There is difference of opinion among the scholars in only the third or fourth level problems. There is no controversy regarding the basic laws and principles. That is why you see people who follow different Mujtahids standing together in the same row during congregational prayers. The partial difference in laws does not prevent their coming together of Jamat Prayers. All of them go for Hajj in the same days and perform the Hajj rituals and the difference in religious decree (Fatwa) does not inconvenience a single man of the caravan.

All these things indicate that the differences in religious decree are only in the matters that do not affect Communal unity.

  • 1. Surah Zukhruf 43:23

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

Maturity of Boys And Girls

MaturityQuestion: Physiology has almost proved that there is difference between males and females from the aspect of their physical and intellectual capabilities. In spite of this Islam has prescribed the completion of 9 years as maturity for girls and imposed all religious duties on them, while for the boys the age of maturity in completion of 15 years. What is the philosophy behind this law?

Answer: The only fact proved by scientific research is that a woman grows faster than man. Therefore the stage which a man reaches at 15 years is reached by a female in 9 years. And this is not confined to only man and woman. Rather, in animals and plant kingdom also the weakest of them reach their maturity at the earliest. For example the Niloufer grows up faster than the Chinar tree.

The gist of this discussion is that the weaker is the creature the faster is its growth. This is the reason that many girls of 13 or 14 years are capable of motherhood while most of the boys generally haven’t reach puberty yet at this age.

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

Is Man Superior To Angels?

question-and-answer.Q&AQuestion: When we say man is the most superior creature (Ashraf al-Makhluqaat) does it mean that from all the things. Created by Allah, man is the best, even greater than the angels?

Answer: Like the other creations. Man and angels are also the creatures of Allah. The only difference is that Man has some extraordinary capabilities, which the angels do not have. In addition to this the angels are created in such a way that they are free from selfish desires. Apart from this the animals do not have reasoning capacity, they only possess animal desires but both these abilities are present in Man.

Because Man has these two opposite qualities his responsibility is also serious and dangerous. Therefore if Man follows the intellect and if he recognizes Allah and becomes faithful and suppresses his wrongful desires he can become better than angels. If he follows his base desires and becomes aloof of the guidance of intellect and also dissociates from truth, goodness and faith he becomes worse than animals.

This is the reason that we read in the Qur’an that when the Almighty Allah created Adam (a.s.). He commanded all the angels to prostrate before him and ordered Adam (a.s.) to tell the angels what he knew and in other words Allah made Adam (a.s.) the teacher of the angels.

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

Should The Good People Also Pray?

the-prayerQuestion: We know that Prayer stops us from evil deeds. However, if without saying prayers we able to refrain from bad acts do we still need to say the prayers?

Answer: Prayer is an absolute and obligatory command for all the people. And even if we presume that one can avoid evil deeds even without praying, then too he shall not be exempted from this law. He must offer the obligatory prayers, because if this is allowed many people will get an excuse to avoid it altogether.

Apart from this there is no guarantee that one would be able to save himself from sins without prayers because prayer is the greatest medium of being attentive to the Almighty. Experience shows that people who do not pray, cannot be safe from any type of sinful acts. At least they are not particular about personal hygiene.

In addition to this prayer and attention towards the Almighty play a very important role in the perfection of faith and in the gradual development of spirituality. Abstaining from sins also contribute to the spiritual upliftment of man.

In any case, it is obligatory upon all able Muslim men and women, without any exception that they must perform the duty of prayers.

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

Why Is There Still Ignorance Despite So Many Efforts For Popularizing Knowledge?

ignoranceQuestion: Though the Holy Prophet (S) has invited people towards knowledge and wisdom and encouraged them to fight against ignorance and obtain knowledge, in spite of these we find that today the majority of the people are ignorant?

Answer: Till the time the Muslims had not become aloof from Islamic teachings knowledge and science were progressing among them very fast. Our assertion is proved by the presence of great Islamic universities and libraries that are mentioned in history.

At the time when paper was not manufactured so widely and there were no printing presses, there were four hundred thousand books in the library of Muragha and four million books in the library of Baitul Hikmah of Baghdad.

In the same way the libraries of other countries were also overflowing with books. Till the time the Muslims were subjugated by dictators and western powers, there were a large number of intellectuals and educated people among them. For example, before France occupied Algeria, the majority of the people there were literate. However, after French occupation the government went into foreign hands, the situation changed.

In the near past when some leaders of Islamic countries began to fight among themselves and outsiders also fanned the flames of hypocrisy, the Muslims started experiencing a period of ignorance and decline. Their culture stopped developing and progressing and a majority of the Muslims remained illiterate. A great part of who were also unable to read and write.

We hope that Muslims would once again derive the benefits of Islamic principles and resume their intellectual mission as nowadays we can see the signs of revival among them.

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

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