Question : Is it permissible to kiss the hand of a scholar out of respect? Some narrations seem to discourage such action.
Answer : It is permissible to kiss the hands of a religious scholar out of respect because of his knowledge and piety. There is a narration that indicates clearly the permissibility to kiss the hand of a person and intending by doing so to kiss the hand of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny). Apparently, this applies to the scholar who is knowledgeable in the Sharia.
Question : I wanted to ask your viewpoint of Islamic unity with Sunni?
Answer : There is no doubt that Islam is one religion that was revealed by Almighty Allah to the Seal of Prophets (peace be upon him). He suffered much pain and harm in order to deliver the message of Islam to the nation. He directed his nation to the right direction after his death when he ordered them to guard the teachings of the Quran and the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them). He guaranteed that if both were adhered to, they will never be misguided. Part of the nation of Islam abandoned the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) and the differences between the nation of Islam became a reality. We, as followers of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) should act upon their teachings and uphold their directions to the right path, while dealing with the rest of the Muslims with good manners and etiquettes, and not raise the differences or cause hatred against them, since we all believe in Almighty Allah and His Messenger and the common religious obligations, like prayers, zakat, fasting, pilgrimage, etc., in order to preserve the general entity of Islam. The teachings of the Imams (peace be upon them) emphasize this in various ways.
Question : If a jurist (Marja) does not find a solution from the Quran and Sunnah, then on which basis does he present a verdict?
Answer : The scholars discuss this issue in detail in the "Principles of Jurisprudence". We can say here that when the Quran and Sunnah does not directly provide a solution, the jurists still refer to the verses of the Holy Book and the narrations of the Prophet and the Imams (peace be upon them) to get the general guidance in such situations in order to arrive at the practical duty in them.
Some narrations can be used to reveal basic principles denoting the practical duty of the individual in certain cases, like "everything is permissible unless one knows that it is prohibited".
Question : Is the taweedh allowed in Islam?
Answer : If the taweedh consists of supplications and verses of the Quran, then it is permissible.
Question : Is Fatima (peace be upon her) a source of Sharia law as any of the Imams?
Answer : The role of the Legislator is for the Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) only. Lady Fatima (peace be upon her) is infallible as the twelve Imams are, and they were all conveying the Islamic teachings from the Holy Prophet. However, what has been narrated specifically from Lady Fatima Al-Zahra (peace be upon her) is very little.
Question : To convert from being a non-Muslim to a Shia Muslim, what Kalima is to be recited?
Answer : One should recite the two testimonies â€“ the testimony of oneâ€™s belief that there is no god but Allah, and the testimony that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) is the Messenger of Allah. In addition, one should belief in the guardianship (wilayah) of Imam Ali and the other eleven Imams (peace be upon them).
Question : Can an invalid transaction also be considered to be a sin?
Answer : Some invalid transactions are prohibited like selling wine, corpses and pigs. Other invalid transactions are not sinful, like selling an unknown product. In both cases, it is a sin to spend the money that one acquires from it.
Question : How do we explain the punishments imposed by the Sharia for various crimes, such as the death penalty for apostates, while the Quran says that there is no compulsion in religion?
Answer : Applying the Sharia-defined punishments is the duty of the Prophet and the Imams (peace be upon them). No doubt, applying them is a form of justice and not an oppressive act. The punishment is set in the Sharia after the evidence is established and becomes clear in such a way that the noncompliant is considered as an oppressor against himself and the society. As such, the Sharia-defined punishment is not considered against the human rights.
The verse alluded to refers to the fact that the religion is based on beliefs and beliefs are not imposed, and does not indicate that there is no punishment imposed by the Sharia for disbelief out of stubbornness and transgression.
Question : I am becoming more interested in our religion and wish to read more on it, not having much knowledge. What books do you suggest for me?
Answer : There are lots of religious book that include religious teachings like Nahjul-Balaghah. Similarly books of narrations are also available like Al-Kafi, which consist of collections of narrations from the Infallibles. We advise you to read what relates to the general aspects of the religious knowledge like ethics, biography of the Prophet and the Imams and the narrations on the superiority of the Ahlul-Bait (peace be upon them) and their high rank. The details of the practical religious laws as explained by the jurists â€“ as they are the experts in this field â€“ are available. You are advised to refer to the treaties of the practical Islamic laws of the jurist that you emulate in order to know the specific rulings.
Question : Are the essential fundamentals of the religion and the Shia sect determined by consensus of present and past Shia scholars?
Answer : There is no set criteria in establishing what are amongst the essential fundamentals of the religion. Consensus on an issue is an indication that it is one of the essential fundamentals.
Question : Is it allowed for a Muslim to debate and discuss the differences between the schools, or should this be the job of scholars? And if it is allowed, are there any criteria which one should have to engage in these debates? And what is your opinion concerning young Shia Muslims, who engage in these discussions?
Answer : A Muslim is expected not to speak in the matters of the Sharia without knowledge or without proof. There is no difference in this issue between the expert scholars and the regular layman. The difference is that the experts can obtain the evidences through their research.
Question : Can you explain to me what is the method of determining what is an innovations (bidaat) in religion?
Answer : The innovation in religion is relating what is not part of the religion to it, like for example the prayers of Taraweeh, since the supererogatory prayer is not legislated to be offered in congregation. Offering it in such a way is considered as innovation in religion.
Question : Is it permissible for a person who is not a mujtahid to teach from books like Usool al-Kafi and Bihar al-Anwar?
Answer : It is not permissible to inform about religious issues without knowledge, whether such information is in on religious jurisprudence or beliefs. Yes, it is permissible to search and study the religious sciences and learn about the narrations of the Ahlul-Bait and other related material.
Question : It is said that many books of jurisprudence were destroyed which may have had information, but Allah completed the religion on the Day of Ghadeer. Does not the completion of the religion include us knowing every rule in Islam?
Answer : The completion of the religion on the day of Al-Ghadeer was the appointment of the Imam to succeed the Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) and represent him in propagating the Sharia and leading the nation. The Imams (peace be upon them) paid a lot of attention towards informing all the aspects of the religion especially the practical laws of the Sharia. The companions of the Imams propagated their teachings, and compiled the narrations (ahadeeth) in books. Although some of these books were destroyed, these traditions and narrations have survived and still act as a main source of Islamic research. Scholars have continuously strived to pass on these teachings from generation to generation for the sake of protecting the religion and its laws. As a result, the jurist can give their edicts in any practical issue, in such a way that the individual is not left unanswered.
Question : What is Irfan? And is it permissible in Islam to practice it, I also believe that Sufis practice Irfan?
Answer : It is not right to depend on other than the holy Quran and the authentic narrations of the Prophet and the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) in the religionâ€™s matters including Irfan. There are lots of such narrations that explain the recommended worship acts and the kind of relation a man should have with the almighty Allah. Muslims are encouraged to gain the religious and godly knowledge from these original sources only.
Question : Are the rules of Sharia only valid for Muslims? Is it allowed for an Islamic country to enforce Non-Muslim women to wear hijab, for example?
Answer : Almighty Allah made the religious laws of worship, like praying and fasting, and other laws like the obligation of wearing hijab and the prohibition of consuming wine, general to all mankind. The Muslim that does not obey the Almighty Allah in observing one or more of those laws will be punished for this disobedience. Non-Muslims will be punished because of their refusal to believe in Almighty Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him. If the non-Muslim can present an acceptable justification for his refusal to believe, then this justification will also apply even more so for his disobedience of Allah Almighty. If he cannot present a justification before Almighty Allah for his refusal to believe, he would have a lesser chance to do so for not observing the Sharia laws.
It is the responsibility of the infallible Imam to implement and apply the Islamic laws on non-Muslims, as he is the most knowledgeable in implementing the Godly obligations.
Question : The differentiation in social class between Sayyids and non-Sayyids, where for example the Sayyid scholars wear black turbans and non-Sayyids wear white turbans, and that Sayyids cannot take Sadaqa (charity) from non-Sayyids, is this not a non-Islamic class system with social discrimination and racism, where oneâ€™s lineage decides what class he is in? How can this be justified?
Answer : Wearing the white turban is to show that the person wearing it is not related in lineage to the Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny). Likewise wearing the black turban is to show that the person wearing it is related to him in lineage. There is no social discrimination in such a thing. However, one can understand from some rulings that have been legislated the merit of being related to the Prophet, such as the impermissibility of the Sayyids to take charity from non-Sayyids, and the like. As such, it is good to respect the Sayyids due to their genealogical relationship to the Prophet and his Ahlulbait. This, again, is not social discrimination, as it is only in order to strengthen the respect of the Prophet in the hearts of the believers. So, just as it is recommended to recite the Salawat on the Prophet whenever his name is mentioned, it is also recommended to respect and venerate his offspring. In doing so, the Great Prophet and his Ahlulbait (peace be upon them all) will remain respected and revered in the hearts of the believers. Having said this, it does not mean that whoever is related to the Prophet and his Ahlulbait will not have his deeds accounted for; rather this increases his responsibility in abiding to good deeds and the truth, and avoiding sins.
Question : Most scholars say that only Muslims will be rewarded heaven and no non-Muslim will go to heaven because what virtue they did, were awarded accordingly in this world and have therefore No reward in hereafter. What are your views about them?
Answer : There is no doubt that Almighty Allah does not accept any religion but Islam. Almighty Allah said:â€And whoso seeks as religion other than Islam it will not be accepted from him, and he will be a loser in the Hereafter" 3:35.
Question : I am wondering what happened if someone converts from Islam to Christianity what happened to him? I was born in the west and no one teaches me
Answer : Almighty Allah has sent Prophets to mankind to guide people to believe in Him. The last amongst them and their seal is the master of Prophets and Messengers Mohamed, the son of Abdullah (peace be upon him and his holy progeny). Clear evidence to this prophecy is the Holy Quran. It has great qualities that prove its revelation from God.
"And whose seek as religion other than Islam it will not be accepted from him, and he will be a loser in the Hereafter" 3: 85.
Question : Are Faraedh and Wajebaat one and the same thing or is there some difference between the two?
Answer : It has been reported in some of the narrated texts that the Imams of the Ahlulbait explained the term "Faraedah" to refer to what almighty Allah has obligated in the holy Book and the term "wajib" refers to all obligations - in general - including those derived from the narrations of the prophet and the imams (peace be upon them) and those from the Holy Quran.