Masturbation
Question :

What is the ruling of the person who misunderstood the ruling of masturbating and had complete faith that masturbating during the fast was appropriate according to the Islamic laws? Does he have to fast again?

Answer :

Masturbation is prohibited at all times, and invalidates the fast if the semen is ejaculated. However, if he sees that it is permissible in the Sharia mistakenly then this does not invalidate the fast even if ejaculation takes place.

Not fasting for Many Years
Question :

I have not fasted during the month of Ramadan for many years deliberately. Is there a way I can repent for this and be forgiven?

Answer :

Fasting is among the obligatory pillars that Islam was built upon. Not performing it is amongst the big sins for which Almighty Allah has threatened to punish with hellfire. However, Almighty Allah has also opened the doors of mercy for his slaves when he said: "Say: O My slaves who have wronged their own selves! Despair not of the mercy of Allah, Who forgives all sins. Lo! He is the Forgiving, the Merciful." (53:39). We ask Almighty Allah to forgive all believers and bless us all.
However, alongside this, it is obligatory to make up for all the fasts missed, as well as undertaking the Kaffara and paying the Fidya, as explained in detailed in the treatise of Islamic laws.

Invalidation of Fasts
Question :

If a person does not know that a particular action invalidates the fast, such as using liquid enema, will the fast still be invalidated? Does the same apply to masturbation without knowledge that it invalidates the fast?

Answer :

If the fasting person commits one of the things that invalidates the fast without knowing that it does, his fast is not invalidated.

Fragrance during I'tikaf
Question :

Regular soap and toothpaste has fragrance in it; can it be used by those sitting in i'tikaf?

Answer :

It is not permitted for the person during the state of i'tikaf to smell fragrance with enjoyment. Based on an obligatory precaution a person during the state of i'tikaf should completely avoid all kinds of fragrance. If the use of toothpaste causes this, one should refrain from it; if it does not then it is permissible.

One Does not Make up the Missed Days
Question :

What is the ruling if one does not make up for the days he missed in Ramadan before the next Ramadan?

Answer :

One must make up the days that he missed after the current month of Ramadan. Furthermore, a sum of 900 grams of wheat, oat, rice or the like must be given to the needy believers for each missed fast, and it is better to give wheat.

Fasting of a Pregnant Woman
Question :

Is it obligatory for a pregnant woman to fast in the month of Ramadan?

Answer :

There are three possibilities:
First: If fasting harms the pregnant woman or harms her fetus, then it is prohibited for her to fast, and she should make up the missed days later.
Second: If she is close to delivery, and fasting is a strain for her, she is permitted to break the fast and pay the fidya, and make up for the missed fasts later.
Third: If fasting does not harm the pregnant woman or her fetus, then it is obligatory on her to fast.

Two Homes
Question :

I have two homes, one in a city and another at my native village, and the distance between them is about 200 km. I mainly work and live in the city and visit my village every month or so for a few days. What is the ruling of fasting and praying there?

Answer :

As long as the native village was your hometown where you used to live and you did not abandon it – i.e. you still consider it as your home town – then your prayer must be offered in full and you can fast as well while you are staying there.

Living in two Cities
Question :

I live in two cities; the distance between is more than 4 Farsakhs – approximately 23 kilometers. I live for two days in one of them and five days in the other every week. Am I considered as a traveler?

Answer :

If the two cities are both your permanent hometowns, then you should fast in both of them. If your hometown was one of them and your connection to the other city is temporary, for a month or two for instance, then you should fast in your hometown and not fast in the other.

Janaba During the Fast
Question :

If I am fasting and I slept and had ejaculated semen, what do I do so my prayers will not be invalid?

Answer :

You should perform the ghusl of janaba before you can pray, and the fast is not affected.

Moon Sighting Issue
Question :

I have noticed a great commotion in regards to moon sighting issues. The Maraji have various edicts on this, which has led to some confusion and doubts in regards to Marja’iyyah and the concept of Taqleed. To remedy this, is it possible for the Maraji to get together to reach one conclusion and one edict on this issue?

Answer :

What has happened in recent years is because of the differences in the ijtihad and in interpretations of the sources and narrations from the Imams of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them). Some religious authorities – including his Eminence Sayyid Al-Hakeem (may Allah prolong his life) – have the opinion that the narrations from the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) prove that most countries can have one Eid in such a way that if the crescent was seen in a country, it is sufficient to establish Eid in other countries as well, even if the distance between the two countries is relatively far. The details of the verdict of his Eminence are explained in his books of Islamic Laws. However, some other Maraji have the opinion that seeing the crescent in a country will prove it to be the night of Eid for other countries only if they share a horizon, so such sighting does not necessarily prove the Eid in other distant countries.
If the differences in the edicts originate from the differences in Ijtihad and understanding of religious texts, then it is unavoidable, since a Mujtahid cannot change his opinions that are based on his own Ijtihad and research simply because of social pressure or similar reasons that are not related to what the religious texts indicate as per his understanding. As a matter of fact, doing so is considered as compromising against his duties in finding religious realities. Differences of these types indicate the authenticity of the Shia sect, and the piety and sincerity of its followers.
The Marja’ tries his best – via his research and teaching – to reach the religious realities. At the same time, the believers try their best to find out the most knowledgeable Mujtahid who fulfills all the criteria of the Marja’ and to act upon his edicts. This shows the strength of faith that these two groups possess.
Difference in opinions should not lead to conflicts or aversion. It should rather be dealt with calmness and wisdom for the sake of unity and the general interests of the believers.

Sighting of the Moon
Question :

What is the ruling of his Eminence on the sighting of the moon? Must it be seen in the same horizon, or does the sighting anywhere in the world confirm the beginning of the new month?

Answer :

If the crescent was seen in one of the countries of Europe, Asia, Africa or Australia, then the beginning of the month is confirmed in all the countries of the world. However, if it was seen in the continents in North or South America, the month is not confirmed in other continents.

Sighting the Moon in Canada
Question :

In Canada, it is very difficult to see the New Moon of Ramadan and Shawwal with the naked eye, so can we depend on scientific calculations?

Answer :

If the new moon has been ascertained through the religiously valid way in any place in the Americas, then one should act upon it in all the regions of the Americas. If the sighting of the new moon has not been established, but there is certainty derived from scientific calculations that the new moon has reached the level where it is possible to be seen by the naked eye, then one should act upon that too. If there is no such certainty, then one should assume that the month is continuing until the completion of thirty days.

Making up Prayers and Fasts
Question :

Though my father is Muslim, I was not raised in a religious household and was not taught anything about Islam until I was about twenty years old, at which point I began praying, fasting, etc. Should I make up the prayers and fasts that I missed from the time I became baligh until the time I began to practice Islam?

Answer :

It is obligatory on you to make up the prayers and fasts for the years that you missed after reaching the age of adulthood as defined by Islam. You should also pay the fidya for the delay in making up the missed fasts.

Missed Fasts and Missed Prayers
Question :

If somebody has missed fasts for years and missed prayers for years, does he have to make up the missed prayers and then the missed fasts?

Answer :

One must make up the missed prayers. It is also obligatory to make up missed fasts. Making one of them up before the other is not obligatory.

Fasting and Masturbation
Question :

What is the ruling on masturbating during fasting of fasts other than the month of Ramadan, such as fasts obligated due to vows and non-obligatory fasts? Does masturbation also invalidate the non-Ramadan fasts?

Answer :

Masturbation is prohibited at all times, and invalidates all types of fast if semen is ejaculated.

Intentionally Enters the State of Janaba
Question :

During the month of Ramadan, if somebody knows that he will not be able to perform ghusl until dawn and he intentionally enters the state of janabah, will his fast be valid?

Answer :

The fast is not valid in the said case.

Wudhu outside the Mosque
Question :

If a mosque does not have the facility of performing wudhu within the specified mosque boundary, can the person doing i'tikaf step out of the mosque to do obligatory or recommended wudhu?

Answer :

He is permitted to leave the mosque to perform the wudhu and come back.

The Ghusl of Touching the Corpse
Question :

If a person is required to perform the ghusl of touching the corpse, but does not do so until after dawn, can he fast that day?

Answer :

The fast is not nullified by this, so he may fast.

Guest During Ramadan
Question :

If a guest comes during the month of Ramadan, can I feed him, as he is not fasting?

Answer :

It is permissible to feed the guest during the day in the month of Ramadan if such a thing does not violate the sanctity of the month or encourage committing a sin.

Using Miswak while Fasting
Question :

When fasting, is it permissible to use a miswak, a toothbrush, or a toothpick, or to put a pen in the mouth?

Answer :

It is permissible to use the miswak or the like when fasting, but one should avoid swallowing the liquids from outside the mouth. For example, when one uses the miswak and it becomes wet from saliva, if it is taken out of the mouth and placed back in the mouth again, the wetness on the miswak will be deemed to be from outside the mouth, and swallowing such liquid will invalidate the fast.