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Is khums due on the money deposited into an employee savings account, such as a 401-K or IRA account? The savings in these accounts increase over time as a small percentage is taken from the employee’s salary and the employer adds a similar percentage to it. Both are then invested and the entire savings are given to the employee upon retirement.
Khums is immediately due on the percentage that is contributed from the employee’s salary. On the other hand, the amount contributed by the employer and the investment profits are not subject to khums until received by the employee and they have exceeded the expenses for the year of receipt.
Some believers work in supermarkets or restaurants where their duties may include transporting containers of wine or washing glasses in which wine will be served to those who consider it permissible. Is such work permissible for a person who is desperate for a job?
It is not permissible to transport wine or serve it to anyone, even to those who consider it permissible. Furthermore, it is not permissible to wash the dishes or give them to others if the purpose is to drink wine. It is not permissible for a Muslim to perform such prohibited work or accept any wages for it, as it is unjustifiable in Islamic law. God says [65:2-3], “Whoever is wary of God, He shall make for him a way out [of the adversities of the world and the Hereafter] and provide for him from whence he does not count upon. And whoever puts his trust in God, He will suffice him.” Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hp) is reported to have said, “Know that Jibrail has inspired [God’s message] in my heart that no soul shall die until its sustenance is completed. Therefore, be wary of God and be moderate in seeking [sustenance]; and let not the delay in getting your share of the sustenance make you seek it through disobeying Him, for the Blessed and Almighty God has divided the sustenance among His creation by means that are permissible and not through those that are prohibited. So, whosoever is wary of God and has patience, He will provide them with sustenance from lawful [means]; but whosoever tears apart the curtain of propriety, makes haste, and acquires their portion from unlawful [means], it will be deducted from their lawful sustenance and they will be held accountable for it on the Day of Resurrection.”
Is it permissible to congratulate or give greetings to non-Muslims on their holidays? Furthermore, is it permissible to participate in their celebrations?
It is permissible to congratulate or greet people of the book (i.e., Christians and Jews) or other religions on the occasions they celebrate, such as New Year’s Day, birth of Jesus (p) on Christmas, and Easter. And there is no problem participating in their celebrations per se, unless it entails engaging in impermissible practices or the promotion of false beliefs.
Women often gather for various religious and general activities during which the time for prayer falls. They wish to perform it in congregation to earn its reward and the social benefits that it provides. However, some ladies inquire whether it is permissible for a woman to raise her voice in the call to prayer (adhan) and for one of them to lead congregational prayer, such that she recites the iqamah and takbir aloud and the other women follow her.
It is permissible for a woman to follow another woman in congregational prayer provided that the woman leading it meets the conditions of being just (i.e., performs her obligatory duties and avoids sins), reciting correctly, and other requirements. Moreover, the woman leading the prayer must stand with the rest of the women in the first row and not ahead of them based on obligatory precaution. As for a woman raising her voice in the call to prayer, it is permissible provided that it does not entail softening and beautifying such that it would normally arouse the listener.
These days, video games attract many youths, including children and adolescents, and as it happens, some adults as well. There are many different types of games. Some involve playing cards or chess, with or without betting, some are in the form of sports (e.g., soccer) teams that compete against each other, and others include group participation in simulated violence, murder, theft, fraud, and similar acts. What is the ruling on playing these games, and buying, selling, or renting them?
Anything that is considered gambling and betting is forbidden, whether it is done by external means (i.e., using gambling/betting devices) or electronically. It is also forbidden to engage in such activities even if it does not involve betting based on obligatory precaution, and it is not permissible to deal with it [in any form of trade]. Other than these games, there is no problem in playing, for example sports competitions, provided that it does not contain/constitute something forbidden, leads to moral corruption, or leads to addiction to that game or others similar to it. As such, they must be avoided if they cause a person to neglect their religious duties, such as performing prayers in their prescribed times, or have detrimental psychological effects like making the player aggressive towards others, or similar effects.
- video games
Believers often encounter difficulty in getting enough water to purify themselves beyond the urinary orifice when using public restrooms where faucet water is not available [near the toilet]. Thus, for example, is it permissible to purify oneself from feces by wiping with toilet paper?
The urinary orifice must be washed with water once in order to purify it, and should be washed twice, or even three, times as a recommended precaution. As for the fecal orifice, it can be purified by wiping it once with any object (such as a cloth, tissue paper, or something similar) that will remove the impurity, provided the impurity does not spread beyond the orifice. If the impurity spreads to other parts of the body (i.e., surrounding the orifice) then water must be used to purify.
Rental apartments (for residing, while traveling, etc.) are sometimes equipped with household furniture and appliances such as refrigerators, mattresses, utensils, and so on. What is the ruling of ritual purity when it comes to these items, especially when we know that the previous tenant or guest in most cases is not a Muslim, such as someone from the people of the book, a Buddhist, a Hindu, or even someone without a religion, who does not believe in the existence of God, prophets, and messengers?
They should consider everything pure as long as they do not know for certain, or have contentment, that the item has become mutanajjis (i.e., ritually impure due to contact). Strong presumption (dhan) of the ritual impurity of something should be disregarded.
Air travelers often face difficulty in performing prayer, determining the qiblah, and sometimes finding a stable place to pray due to the movement of the aircraft or turbulence, especially when traveling for long distances. What is their obligation in such cases?
The obligatory prayers are never revoked and it is not permissible to delay them beyond their allotted time under any circumstance. As for the qiblah, if it is difficult to determine, then the duty-bound person can ask the captain or flight attendants, and if their answer creates contentment or strong presumption that it is as they describe, then it is necessary to act accordingly. As for the condition of stability during prayer, it is revoked when it is impossible to maintain. In any case, a person must fulfill all the requirements of prayers to the extent they are able to do so.
What is the view of the religious authority regarding participation in elections (i.e., voting) and candidacy for political office?
Participation in elections (municipal, local or federal, or for representative councils or other such bodies) is of great importance in shaping the future of a country, society, and future generations. Whoever does not participate in elections to express their view, passively allows others to shape their future and the future of their children; this is a mistake that no citizen should fall into.
In fact, the critical interests of Muslims in non-Muslim countries may require that they seek membership in political parties. In such cases, it is permissible for Muslims to engage in these activities to the extent that it is needed to serve the interest [of the Muslim community], which should be determined by consulting the trustworthy experts in the community who have familiarity with such matters.
- sociopolitical matters
What is the advice of the religious authority to Shia Muslims in various countries of the world, including the West, about their societal role?
The religious authority believes in the [harmonious] coexistence of all citizens of any nation regardless of their different religions, sects, and viewpoints. In addition to the importance of preserving their religious identity and noble traditions, Shia Muslims should integrate into the society of their home-countries, wherever they may be. Accordingly, the religious authority wants Shia Muslims to manage their day-to-day affairs [within the boundaries of Islam] by referring to the trustworthy experts in their country, and according to what suits them and their circumstances. Hence, the religious authority does not interfere in their affairs unless requested by them, and provided that its involvement is beneficial to them given their conditions and circumstances.
- social issues