Donating Money
Question :

I have a question regarding donation of money to mourning Imam Hussein (peace be upon him). Can we spend this money in other good deeds like constructing a Hussaniya or a mosque?

Answer :

Donations must be spent in the way the donor wants. However, if the donation is more than what the beneficiary requires and if postponing their spending leads to wasting the donation, it is permissible to spend them in other ceremonies of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him).

Reenactment of the Tragedy
Question :

It is permissible to include in the reenactment of the tragedy of Karbala a horse as a symbol of the horse of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him)?

Answer :

It is permissible as long as it does not associate with another prohibited act.

Loud Speaker
Question :

Is it permissible for me to play a speech of a preacher on a cassette player and put its speaker before a microphone that is connected to a loud speaker, so that it could be played loudly for my neighbors and people living in my vicinity to hear?

Answer :

The said act is permissible, but one should not annoy others as this may harm the reputation of the acts of commemorating the Ahlul-bait (peace be upon them).

Beating the Chest
Question :

My question is about beating our chest in month of Moharram, is it permissible?

Answer :

Beating the chests in the ceremonies of Moharam is one of the examples of expressing the sadness and grief to what happened to the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) in the tragedy of Karbala.

Gatherings of Muharram
Question :

I want to ask if it is permissible or suitable in the gatherings of the month of Muharram to serve food items that are used also during marriage parties or other happy occasions.

Answer :

Serving food in Muharram is permissible, but one should refrain from overspending in the prohibited way. It is better to have such gatherings with sadness and grief that associate with Ashura, so it may correspond to the emphasis of the Imams of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) on expressing such feeling on these days.

Wearing Black Clothes
Question :

What is the proof that wearing black clothing is permissible in mourning Imam Hussain (peace be upon him), considering there are some narrations from the Imams (peace be upon him) that tell us not to wear black clothing, as it is the clothing of Pharoah or the people of Hell? I ask this because some Muslims from other sects point out this inconsistency in order to criticize the Shias.

Answer :

It is important to notice the following issues in answering this question:
First: Those who dislike the followers of the Ahlulbait do not care whether the Shia wear black clothes, but what bothers them is that believers mourn the oppression that took place against the Ahlulbait. By this, they ignore the orders of Almighty Allah and antagonize the Prophet (peace be upon him) intentionally or unintentionally, since Almighty Allah considered the love for the Ahlulbait as the reward for the Prophet's efforts in guiding mankind when He said: "I ask of you no recompense for this, but to love my kinsfolk." (42:23) and the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered us to love his household, and he is the one who cried and mourned for what will happen to his Ahlulbait after Almighty Allah informed him about what is going to happen to them.
Therefore the objection is not against the wearing of black. Rather, their objection is against the sorrow and grief that we have for the Prophet and his household (peace be upon them all). Lots of people wear black clothes and nobody object such a phenomena.
Second: Some narrations forbid the wearing of black clothes by itself, but not for the sake of mourning. Other narrations state also that it wearing black was a symbol of Abbasids, and the forbidding from wearing black could be for this reason. In a narration, Imam Ja'far Al-Sadiq (peace be upon him) stated after he wore the black clothes when he was called to meet the Abbasid caliph - as it was obligatory at that time to wear black clothes in the presence of the caliph: "I wear it although I know it is the dress of the people of Hellfire" in reference to the Abbasids. After the end of the Abbasid state, this attribution ended.
Third: Even if it is disliked to wear black clothes, even if it is not the symbol of the Abbasids, there is no doubt that it is recommended to wear black clothes if it was to express the grief in the mourning for the Prophet and his household (peace be upon them) since this a form of commemorating them and expressing grief for them and for the tragedy that took place. This has great benefits to the religion and strengthens it in the hearts of believers, whether this is achieved by wearing black clothing, or hanging black cloth in public areas, and the like.

Fasting the Day of Ashura
Question :

What his Eminence's view on fasting on the day of Ashura?

Answer :

Many narrations exhort and urge the believers to cry and express grief and sadness on the day of Ashura for what happened to Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) on that day.
It is also narrated that it is recommended during the day to refrain from dealing with livelihood issues, and from eating and drinking without the intention to fast, and then eat and drink in the late afternoon even by a sip of water.

People Beat Themselves
Question :

I have converted to Islam 5 years ago, and I am interest in becoming a Shia. However, I have been battling in my heart if I should be Sunni or Shia, and I quire guidance from scholars to clear confusion. My question is about the videos I see of people beating themselves with whips and swords sometimes until they bleed. Is this practice from the Sharia of the Shia faith, or is this practice something innovated by a small group of people who are following their own desires instead of any real authority in al Islam. If it is from the Sharia and it is one of the beloved actions to Allah then would you kindly explain this act to me, as it confuses me.

Answer :

Thank you for contacting us and we emphasize our interest in submitting what can be to serve the truth and reality. We want to draw your attention to an important issue in your journey to seek the truth and pick the right path which is that you should search for the evidences that each side claim to prove the correctness of its view. So you should search for what the Shia give as a proof to the obligation of following the Ahlulbayt after the death of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) and do not look for the details at the present stage. Once the arguments were proven to you and you choose to follow the Ahlulbayt, then you can look for explanations to their practices. If you are convinced, you can practice them, otherwise you can refuse to practice them. If you were to start searching for the explanations to the details of the practices then this might confuse you more. The thing that the Imams of the Ahlulbayt emphasized on is the mourning and expressing pain and passion because of the oppression that the Ahlulbayt were subjected to, and the tragedies and hardships they faced. The course of practice that believers choose to express the mentioned obligation is entirely personal. Some express their feelings towards Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) and his companions and his household by crying, expressing their sadness and wearing black clothes. Others do so by slapping their chests. Some others self-flagellate to the extent of bleeding as a way to express their grief and sorrow, mourning for the Imam and his family and companions as they were killed and stabbed with spears, swards and arrows.