How should we address someone who is sharply critical of everyone?

CriticalQuestion: For quite some time, my mother has become a sharp criticizer. She cannot bear to see a bit of wrong in anyone. In this state, she has become a point of tittle-tattle and the source of family disagreements. My friends do not visit me because of her. We do not dare to speak up frankly against her, especially since she became angry with my sister who tried to do that once. We do not know how to deal with her. She is correct in her criticism of others, but we do not want to become involved in troubles because most people nowadays do not accept criticism, much less that of my mother’s which is without courtesy and is sharp and stinging. We hope to benefit from your opinion in this concern.

The answer: Old people often suffer from weak nerves; therefore, they cannot bear things that annoy them. If they are religious, sins and disobediences make them angry; if they are not, things that are contrary to their thinking and desires make them angry; if they are sick, loud sounds and noises make them angry…and so on.

As for your mother, one of these reasons leads her to such criticism that causes troubles. As a cure, I suggest:

1. You have to keep her away from what may excite her nerves, and thus, nothing that leads her to criticism will take place before her.

2. You can tell the persons that meet her often to not do anything that will excite her criticism and nerves.

3. You have to excuse her and think of her as if she were psychologically sick and realize that she needs your care, tolerance, and patience.

4. Let most of her food be that which is cold in its nature, such as yogurt, fruits, vegetables, and the like.

5. You have to look for some person who will have influence over her through friendship and wisdom, for however much a man is fanatic, he may change and become more moderate due to a friendship.

6. You have to take her to meetings where preaching takes place. You can agree with the preacher to talk about what may reform her thinking. The preacher may discuss three main points:

First, making mistakes is natural in man’s life. Man is neither an angel nor a beast; he is some of this and some of that. The Prophets, who were sent to reform people, were ordered to be kind to them.

Incidentally, it is mentioned that one day the screens were removed from the sight of one of the Prophets for sometime. Whenever he saw unlawful acts inside people’s homes, he damned them and prayed to Allah to afflict them with torment. Allah revealed to him, ‘I am more aware of them than you are and I am worthier of damning and torturing them than you are, but My mercy has preceded my wrath. I have sent you to them in order to invite them to My mercy and not to invoke My wrath against them’.

Talking about the Divine Mercy may cure cases of extremism and censure in people like your mother, as talking about the Divine Torment may cure cases of excess in committing sins.

Second, enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong should be in a kind and acceptable way; otherwise it itself becomes wrong.

A good preacher is he who explains to people like your mother that criticism must be offered in a frame of courtesy, smile, wisdom and attractiveness; otherwise its purpose is not realized, and then the problem becomes complicated and this is a mistake worse than the first mistake.

Third, the conducts of the Prophet (S) and the infallible Imams (a.s.) in dealing with wrongdoers should be mentioned to her. Allah has said, (Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and reason with them in the best manner).

Regarding these points, I want to say that advising, enjoining the right, and forbidding the wrong are required because they are religious obligations, moral necessities, social needs, and civil behaviors. However, wisdom, good manners, and the skill of argumentation are required in this concern. He, who does not possess these three means, would be better off in keeping silent because he may complicate the situation and spoil the purpose of criticism. Islam does not want an archer without a bow or a scholar without knowledge.

My father is always angry with us at home, but he is very good with others elsewhere. How do you explain this duality?

DF-03383Question: My father is always angry with us at home, but he is very good with others elsewhere. How do you explain this duality?

The answer: This feature stems from his dissatisfaction with himself and his marital life. This means that he had hoped for something in his life but he was disappointed, whether with himself or with his family. This matter causes a great pressure on his heart, mentality, and nerves. Whenever he remembers his ambition, his nerves become tense and he becomes upset, and because he is so, he becomes angry at anything even if it is trivial. Therefore, he pours his anger on the ones closest to him because he knows that they will not leave him, whereas others would turn away from him if he were angry with them. He pours his anger on those in the house lest he lose his friends outside the house.

Man, in his nature, likes good morals; therefore, by his good manners with others, he tries to cover his failure, which continues to sting him. Anyway, whatever the reason is, I recommend you to be patient with him, bear his behavior, and treat him with respect because he is psychologically sick and a sick one needs a lot of care. If it is possible, you should try to help him in achieving his ambition, if it is lawful, and then he will become calm and you will all be at ease.

How can I save myself from worry, distraction?

worriedQuestion: Would you please tell me how to save myself from worry, distraction, absent-mindedness, and forgetfulness? I will be grateful to you.

The answer: Here are twenty points; if you follow them, I myself will be grateful to you:

1. Wake up early enough to give yourself sufficient time to go about your appointments or tasks without hurrying!

2. Have a good breakfast and do not eat in a rush!

3. Do not put off the work of today until tomorrow, for every day has its work!

4. Make friends with those who do not live in psychological troubles!

5. Assign a time everyday to, while in solitude, ponder over moral matters and worships and think deeply about the answer to these questions: Where have I come from? What am I now? Where shall I go after death?

6. Everyday, practice some physical exercises even if it is for just half an hour!

7. Thank Allah for the blessings you have and do not exaggerate your problems!

8. Write down what you want to do everyday!

9. Before talking, think deeply about the consequences of your talks!

10. Give your body some relaxation and rest and practice swimming!

11. Breathe as deeply as possible!

12. Do not worry about what you cannot get!

13. Live your life truly and think of your state and your surroundings!

14. Laugh little, and when you cry, cry much! Let your laughter and cries be for the delight of your heart and the comfort of your nerves.

15. Do not eat more than your needs!

16. Do not promise anyone that which you cannot fulfill, and when you make promises, say “Inshallah”!

17. Do not feel shy to say: “I am sorry, I cannot…I do not know” when you really cannot or do not know!

18. Be a good listener most of the time, and when you talk, talk as little as necessary to convey the concept you want to declare! Try to make your speech eloquent and nice!

19. Read and look for political, scientific, and cultural news as much as you possibly can!

20. Think of Paradise and its pleasures and bliss and imagine that you will stay in it forever, but always remember that you pay its price (in cash) at the present!

What is the solution to stop quarrels and disrespect among siblings?

dedmamishvilebiQuestion: I am a twenty year-old girl. I live on my nerves to a degree that I have no confidence in my abilities to lead a happy life. Our house is like a wrestling ring full of crying and shouting amongst my sisters and brothers. We do not agree with each other on most things. We stand against each other in every situation and always frown at each other. None of us respects the other. All of us know that this is bad morale, but we do not know how and why we have been so! What is the way to change our state? Please, do you have a solution to our complicated problem?

The answer: Disagreement between people is somewhat natural because each of them thinks independently and consciously. However, if this independence does not submit to moral teachings, it gets to what you now see in your house, which is similar to a jungle or a zoo. It is too natural that this state makes you live on your nerves and causes failure to all, you being one of them.

The reason often is because of:

1. The lack of a religious atmosphere in the house, such as recitation of the Qur’an, supplications, religious meetings, and reading Islamic and historical books

2. Carelessness of parents to plant love and spirit of cooperation in their children

3. The feeling of children that there is no justice or fairness in dealing with them (by parents)

4. Excessive interference in their affairs which makes them accustomed to laziness and dependence, whereas children should be taught to be self-confident to solve their problems and to achieve their needs

5. Wishing and looking forward to what is not possible except by hard toils

6. Narrowness of the house and the lack of requirements that are common between the members of the family

The way to deliverance is in the following steps:

1. A strained person should relax.

2. He should be away from the place of disagreement or quarrel when it is beginning.

3. He should associate with good neighbors, make friends with good persons, and visit them from time to time.

4. He should go for lawful amusement and spend some time in watching beautiful scenes of nature.

5. He should mention Allah, recite the Qur’an and supplications, and read good books.

6. He should read some comic books when feeling tired or exhausted, because how often it is that a quarrel melts away because of a joke or a laugh.

Here, I mention a situation that once happened in front of me in the home of one of my relatives. We were in the sitting room and the remote control of the TV was in my hand. Whenever a sound of singing or music appeared, I changed the channel or I muted the sound. At that time, one of the boys asked me about the view of Islam about music and I replied to him that it was unlawful. He argued with me and I explained to him the many harms of listening to music. He argued with me again. His father became angry at him. Then, before his father could increase his insults towards him, I directed the remote control towards the father’s mouth as a way of turning the sound down! I made him laugh and then they all laughed with him. It was a moment of delight and joy instead of being a moment of quarrel and disagreement. After that, I explained in greater detail about music and its harms.

How can modern young women acquire and maintain good moral traits?

Enjoying the afternoon at Trafalgar Square.

Question: I am a young woman from a religious family and all my interests are religious, thanks be to Allah! I have a friend in school who often sits with me, but she is not religious. All the time, she is interested in news of singers, athletes, issues of teenagers, molestations, and exchanging letters with young men, though she is still too young. She is sixteen years old. Would you please warn the youth, fathers, and mothers with the necessary Islamic advices? Many thanks for your interest in guiding us to what will make us happy in this life and the afterlife.

The answer: Thank you very much O daughter of faith and abstinence! Your feelings to save your friend and your care for your religion show your true upbringing. I hope that you continue on this path until you arrive at the eternal bliss.

The problem you have mentioned is a fact from the bitter reality that fathers and mothers try to ignore, thinking that they can cover the behaviors of those teenage girls. I think that indifference towards such girls encourages them to continue in corruption and covering up this concern is stupidity because such girls are exposed before others and scandal moves from mouth to mouth.

Let me say frankly that the problem firstly belongs to fathers and mothers, for they, in bringing up their children away from religion and love, have thrown the children into the way of corruption, and then when the tragedy takes place, they hurry to look for solutions but they will not find any even if they shed tears of sorrow and regret.

If only those fathers and mothers, who have turned their backs on religion and slept on the pillow of irresponsibility and have failed to satisfy their children with love and sympathy, would read the sayings of even Western scholars.

Dr. Raymond Page says, ‘The first picture a child draws in his mind about Allah comes out of his relation with his parents. Also, the first concept that comes to his mind about obedience, forgiveness, and straightforwardness is connected strongly with the behavior of his family…parents may not have a suitable opportunity to educate their child and develop his thinking, so they have to introduce Allah to their children in the best way with strong determination, will, and watchfulness. In this concern, they can depend on two good sources: religion and nature.’

Dear daughter, as for your situation towards your deviant friend:

First, deal with her as if she is sick, and she really is sick but she does not know. A sick one needs care, and you, with your faith, morals, and patience, can offer her religious advice and talk to her with the language of nature and conscience. You should tell her that the purpose of her existence is to arrive at the pleasures of Paradise. Islam does not prohibit the pleasures of this life provided that they are obtained lawfully.

Second, if she can get married, you can arrange the procedures of this by consulting with other religious women who understand such matters.

Third, when advising and warning her, depend on the frightening aspects of Islamic teachings – I mean what concerns death: the pressing of grave, its loneliness, and darkness for those who disobey Allah. It is mentioned in traditions that “he, who fears Fire, avoids unlawful things”. Tell her that Allah the Almighty will stand man in the difficulties and horrors of the Day of Resurrection to punish him for all his doings. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, (Surely, the hearing, the sight, and the heart, all of these, shall be questioned about that).

There are many stories that affect one’s conscience that you can use to guide her to the right path and surely you will be rewarded by Allah.

Stories of accidents in our present time show that most of those who die are unsuspecting youths. Death is a sudden visitor and defeating comer. Isn’t it?

Finally, if she does not listen to you and you find that she may influence you or do wrong to your good reputation, you have to cut your relation with her bravely and without any kind of courtesy for “a strong believer is better than a weak believer,” as the Prophet (S) has said.

source :For a Better Future

What do you have to say about modern girls being more sexually aggressive even outside of marriage?

Question: We have heard before that boys molested girls in the streets and via the telephone, but nowadays we see the opposite.
My only son, whom I wish to study at the university and graduate with a high degree, is chased by the ringer of the telephone, which rings five, six, or seven times every day even at the times of rest, though the caller (girl) neither speaks nor does she refrain even after all my abuses. I asked my son if he had a relation with some girl and he denied it. I am sure he was truthful. We agreed that he would pick up the telephone and attract her so that we might know who she was. The telephone rang and my son lifted the telephone. I came near him to hear. She said softly, ‘I have admired you and my life is like hell without you. I only want your love. Do you appreciate love?’

My son, whose face reddened and whose voice hesitated, said to her, ‘Alright! But, how can I see you? What is your name and address?’

When she felt assured, she introduced herself. She was the daughter of our neighbor, with whom we had no relation at all. I am astonished at fathers and mothers that they do not watch their children. Where have shyness and abstinence gone? Where are religion and protectiveness? Is this the value of a Muslim girl? Please, tell me, is there no conscience bearing purity and dignity?
The answer: In this question, there is a complete answer for him who has a heart or lends his ear with full intelligence.

Yes! The problem set forth in this painful question reveals the educational looseness and religious weakness. The crisis is knocking at the doors, if it has not already entered some houses!

I know many who suffer from these bad things that have come to us via foreign movies. Bitterer than this are some Arabic movies that have played a great corruptive role since the fifties. The satellite TV stations in our countries are still showing these movies whereas their actors are being burnt in the fire of Hell.

Alas! A Muslim country, Muslim artists, and great monies from the treasury of the Muslims are spent in disobeying Allah and taking Islam away from the life of the Muslims for generations after generations!

The curse of Allah be on the first one who has established the basis of injustice, corruption, and deviation among the Muslims and on the last one of his followers!

Those fathers who are careless as to the honor of their daughters are often victims of those misleading films and media. Then, what do you expect their daughters to be?

As for the cure of this problem, I think it lies in talking with the family of the girl to marry her early, because when a ripe apple is not picked, it will decay and fall to the ground, and then it is trodden on or is eaten by animals. So is a (lover) girl. She should be married; otherwise, she will be like the fallen apple.

This is not understood by most parents in this bad age. The reason is that they have driven religion away from their lives.

Dear sister, as for your son, you have to speak to him frankly. If he can continue his studies without thinking of the other sex, this is better for him, but if he suffers from the pressure of incitements, he would be better off getting married to devote himself to his study; otherwise, he will neither succeed in his study nor will he be in a good psychological and physical health.

Yes! It is somehow difficult to compromise between study and the requirements of marriage, but this will be easy with a strong will, a will of the men who defeat difficulties and conduct their marriages contentedly with simple procedures and avoid high and expensive costs.

Let the reasonable one put the advantages of this kind of marriage in a scale, and the disadvantages of the pressing lust in another scale, and then follow what his reason and religion guide him to.

source :For a Better Future

How do I talk to a friend about a bad quality and still keep his friendship?


Question: I have a friend who is good in all aspects. He is kind and our relationship is very good, but he has a bad quality that makes me turn away from him while I do not want that. I cannot speak out frankly to him about this bad deed which he often commits. I am confused as to how to tell him about it. This bad quality is called by the Holy Qur’an as treason of the eyes.

Yes! My friend knows well that looking at foreign women (not mahram) is unlawful, and when it is repeated, it changes into an arrow in his eye, heart, and soul. However, he looks at women stealthily and from the corners of his eyes. He casts his eyes and then looks again. What is bitterer than that is that when he visits me (at home) or when I go out with him to visit our friends (in their houses), he does not cast his eyes down towards the ground in the manner of faithful people, but he raises his head and looks here and there without caring that maybe the door of a room is open or that it might have mistakenly been opened by a child, and then his eyes come across women and honors. How often this thing has happened! He looked (at women), lowered his head and then he looked again (from under his eyes). He did not refrain from doing this!

I do not want to cut my relationship with him, and at the same time, I do not wish to continue my friendship with him much longer while he does this thing repeatedly. If I can learn the solution due to religion and reason, the problem will end. Would you please guide me to the most effective way to reform him?

The answer: If you can end your embarrassment by reminding him of the values and morals of the believers and the pious, you should do so without hesitation, otherwise you have to write your thoughts in a letter with a disguised handwriting. Then, you should send the letter by post without any sign indicating it is from you so that Allah may make this way the solution that pleases you and saves him from his plight.

Man, sometimes, becomes accustomed to a bad quality, and then it becomes difficult to remove it from him in a short period of time. Therefore, you should try to advise him, in the same way, after some time if you find that he has not changed.

Write to him, in your letters, about the values he believes in and warn him of the evil end of continuing this bad quality. Mention to him the torment of the treason of the eyes on the Day of Resurrection. Speak, in your letters, to his conscience and tell him that his personality will become degraded before his friends if he continues this bad behavior.

This is what you should tell him in your unsigned letters, but what I want to say to him and to those like him in the following lines is:

Dear brother, what would your situation be if one of your friends looked at your wife, daughter, or sister, etc?

What would your situation be if someone said to you angrily and violently before others: do you not feel shame to look at my wife?!

What would your situation be if your close friends turned away from you and you were exposed before all?

Imagine that your bad quality was in others besides you! Would you not become angry with them and try to advise them? And if they did not refrain, would you not cut your relation with them? But before all that, remember this saying of one of the poets:

“Do not forbid (others) from a behavior while you practice it,

It is a great shame if you do it.”

Imam al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) has said, ‘It suffices you as politeness that you do not do what you dislikes others to do.’

Here, I invite this friend to ponder on the traditions of these infallible ones who want good for him.

The Prophet (S) said, ‘(Unlawful) looking is an arrow from the Satan’s. Whoever avoids it for fear of Allah, Allah gives him faith, the sweetness of which he can feel in his heart.’

He also said, ‘Whoever fills his eyes with unlawfulness, Allah will fill them with nails of fire on the Day of Resurrection.’

Amīr ul-Mu’minīn (Imam Ali) (a.s.) said, ‘Beware of treason, because it is the worst of disobedience. A traitor will be tortured in Fire for his treason.’

He also said, ‘He, who sets his eyes free, tires out his mind. He, whose looks follow one after another, his sighs continue.’

source :For a Better Future

How can I overcome this fear and also avoid his fate?

fearQuestion: I am a young man. I want to get married, but I fear that I may fall into the same predicament my brother fell in. In the beginning, his wife had good morals, but later on, her morals became bad. Many problems occurred between them until they became a bad example in the family. I do not know how to convince myself and pass over my difficult psychological state to get married and live happily!

The answer: Dear brother, with the scenes you have seen, your worry is very natural. However, you should be certain that problems are not always repeated because each person has his own independent personality if he has a will. Your will is stronger in the stage of youth, and you can take lessons from your brother’s experience. Instead of being desperate about this experiment, you can read about the successful experiments of millions of people who have gotten married and lived happily. In order to attain this happiness, you should read books about the happy marital life to learn the qualities of a good wife who can help you lead a happy life. Do not place in your mind an imaginary picture of an infallible girl who has no defect, because first, you yourself are not so, and second, there is no such a girl in this world at all. Yes, such a girl is in Paradise and her name is “Houri”.

When you determine to get married inshallah, please make note of the following points:

1. Man acquires most of his habits from the environment he lives in. Therefore, we have to excuse others as we would like others to excuse us.

2. Some disagreements that result from the differences in knowledge, beauty, health, and lineage do not harm marital happiness. This is like the differences between day and night or between the four seasons for example. One complements the other so that life continues with ultimate wisdom. Spouses, who want their life to continue happily, have to think in this way about their differences that are beyond their wills.

3. As for acquired habits that harm the marital relation, spouses have to try their best to get rid of them and to not be indifferent towards them.

source :For a Better Future

How can I make reason defeat lust and avoid opportunities and temptations for sinning?

Question: I am a young man in the university from a wealthy family. I have all the means of luxury, and, of course, most of them are unlawful. In my fight between reason and lust, I do not know how to make reason defeat lust. Would you please guide me to the right way?

The answer: First, strengthen your determination with sincere repentance to Allah, and then watch yourself according to the following method, which I have quoted from what Allama at-Tabataba’iy, the author of Tafsir al-Mizan, had written to a young man like you:

“First, in the morning, when you wake up, determine not to do anything that does not please Allah! Think well before deciding to do anything whether or not it benefits you in this life and afterlife! If it pleases Allah, do it; otherwise, leave it, regardless of whether or not you like it.

Second, do so until you go to bed at night, and then think of all you have done in the day, one by one. Thank Allah for your good deeds and pray to Him to forgive your bad deeds!

Third, continue doing this for several days. You may feel tired at the beginning, but then, it will gradually become easier for you and you will enjoy it morally and spiritually. Of course, the body follows the soul in comfort.

Fourth, before sleeping, perform wudu’ and recite the following suras: al-Hadeed (57), al-Hashr (59), as-Saff (61), al-Jum’ah (62) and al-Taghabun (64). If you cannot, you should recite al-Hashr only. With this action, you shall find that the pleasure of lawful things is sweeter than the pleasure of unlawful things. Then, you will laugh at those who pant after unlawful pleasures, and feel sorry for them and the mirage they walk in towards Hell.”

In the following tradition, Imam Ali (a.s.) mentions the qualities of the faithful and pious people, who follow sound reason and walk in the right path. Imam Ali (a.s.) says,

‘A faithful one is truthful in the worldly life, with an insightful heart. He keeps to the (moral) limits. He is a vessel of knowledge, with perfect thinking. He is generous, good-hearted, patient, and openhanded. He spends liberally. He is charitable, honey-tongued, and smiling. He ponders much, sleeps little, and laughs little. He is with good manners, free from greediness, and away from fancy. He is ascetic in this life. He looks forward to the afterlife. He likes guests. He is merciful to the orphans. He is kind to the young. He has regard for the old. He helps the needy, visits the sick, and escorts the dead. He respects the holiness of the Qur’an, prays to the Lord, cries for sins, enjoins right, forbids wrong, eats little, drinks little, moves with politeness, speaks with advice, and preaches kindly. He does not fear any except Allah and expects no one save Him. He is busy in thanking and praising Allah. He is neither negligent nor is he proud. He is not proud of the properties of the worldly life. He is busy thinking of his own defects away from the defects of others. Prayer is the delight of his eyes. Fasting is his job and occupation. Truthfulness is his habit. Gratefulness is his ship. Reason is his captain. Piety is his food. The worldly life is his prison. Patience is his home. The night and day are his capital. Paradise is his abode. The Qur’an is his speech. Muhammad is his intercessor and Allah the Almighty is his entertainer.’

How should I move to a life that I have not known before?

Question: I want to get married, but I want you to advise me. How should I move to a life that I have not known before?

The answer: Dear young man, marriage is a great and important decision in one’s life. When a reasonable man decides to take such an important decision, he has to think deeply and wisely.

Dear brother, first, you have to prepare for all the requirements of marriage, and then do not act, when choosing the partner of your life, as if you are buying something from a store. This is also said to a young woman when choosing the partner of her life. You have to be very precise in choosing the qualities of your future wife in order to be happy and successful and to win the good end.

It is mentioned that one day a young man, whose name was Ibrahim al-Karkhi, asked Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) a question like yours. Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said to him, ‘See where you will put yourself, who you will make a partner in your wealth, and to whom you will reveal your religion and secrets…’

In another tradition, Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said, ‘Woman is like a necklace. See what necklace you put on!’

Then, advance to take the other steps and beware of aiming at just beauty or wealth, because these two things may disappear by accidents, which will not tell you before they take place. If you do not concentrate your choice on faith and morals, you will face a dark fate.

Do not misunderstand me and think that Islam does not pay attention to beauty and wealth, but Islam warns of making them the priority when choosing one’s wife (or husband). The Prophet (S) has said, ‘From the happiness of a Muslim man is…a beautiful woman who is religious.44’ He has also said, ‘A Muslim man does not profit from anything, after Islam, better than a Muslim woman, who pleases him when he looks at her, obeys him when he orders her, and is devoted to him in keeping her honor and his wealth when he is absent.’

Outward beauty may give pleasure, but religious and moral beauty gives more pleasure. Therefore, it is mentioned that one day a man asked Imam Hasan (a.s.), ‘To whom should I marry my daughter?’ Imam Hasan (a.s.) said to him, ‘Marry her to a pious man, because if he loves her, he will honor her, and if he hates her, he will not do wrong towards her.’

The beauty of morals and piety defeats the crises that throw marital life into melancholy. O dear young man who are about to get married, you have to read about these principles and values and then rely on Allah. We would like to say to you and to your wife: congratulations on your marriage!