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Do you have permission from al-Sayyid al-Sistani to collect and distribute zakat al-fitrah? When disbursing the zakat al-fitrah, do you withdraw the money sent to you by the believers from the bank right away? Please describe how you disburse the funds because al-Sayyid al-Sistani states that online payment of zakat al-fitrah is not acceptable unless the money reaches the poor on the day of Eid.
1- Please refer to the official and documented permission issued by His Eminence al-Sayyid al-Sistani (may God prolong his life) to IMAM. We are honored to have his permission to serve the believers in the fulfillment of all their religious needs, particularly in those matters, financial and otherwise, that require the permission of the qualified jurist (al-hakim al-Shari’). Regardless, as you may be well aware, offering zakat al-fitrah is the responsibility of the individual, and as such, it does not require the permission of the jurist. Hence, a person can allot zakat al-fitrah on the night of [before] Eid and proceed to distribute it to the deserving recipient on the day Eid.
2- Indeed, as you indicated, sometimes there is an issue when transferring some types of religious dues electronically. Therefore, if you notice the announcement issued by IMAM, you will see that we offer this service for those people who are unable to disburse it themselves. In using this service, they send an automatic payment ahead of time to IMAM, and as part of the official process, delegate IMAM to allot zakat al-fitrah on their behalf on the night of Eid. The zakat al-fitrah is then disbursed on the eligible recipients on the day of Eid. We prefer that each individual performs this task on their own, and IMAM bears this responsibility only to provide a necessary service to the respected believers. Note that IMAM disburses zakat al-fitrah to those in need in the United States, this is because, contrary to what is widely believed, there are poor and needy people in the United States who need zakat al-fitrah and have the highest priority to receive it based on religious criteria.
- zakat fitrah
There is a message being circulated amongst some believers since the outbreak of COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus) stating that the jurists/religious authority have provided a putative cure. The message, which uses the names of various jurists and scholars, states that Grand Ayatollah al-Sayyid al-Sistani saw a dream that Imam al-Mahdi (p) came to him and instructed him, and all Shia, to open the Holy Quran and search for a hair within its pages. That hair is suggested to be of the infallible himself. Once found, the person should soak the hair in water and thereafter put it back where they found it in the Holy Quran. They should then drink the water to protect themselves from the coronavirus. This message is spreading rapidly among the believers across the world and many are believing that this will save them from the virus. More importantly, they are not taking the necessary precautions as strongly recommended by health care experts and believe that the content of this message is truthful and drinking this water will protect them.
Unfortunately, these messages and other similar chain-messages are based on false information and when examined carefully reveal that there is no evidence establishing their validity. They are entirely contrary to the teachings of Islam and result in confusion and chaos among the community of believers. Instead, the believers should heed the recommendations and advice of the health professionals and experts who provide sound guidance in these circumstances. Islam always advises the believers to seek the help of people who have expertise in the respective worldly matters, especially when it comes to health. We urge the respected believers to verify any news or information that is attributed to the religious authority by referring to the office of his eminence al-Sayyid al-Sistani in Najaf or any of the affiliated offices and/or his eminence's esteemed representatives. We must all realize that speaking without knowledge and spreading false and unauthentic news is not permissible; therefore, every precaution must be observed.
There are two types of adoption:
1) To claim a child as your own and register him/her legally in your name. This is considered forgery and it is prohibited in Islam.
2) To take full care of a child (sponsorship) by raising them and providing for them, and even though the child is treated as your own and registered legally as such, making sure to inform them through suitable means that they are not your biological child, and preserving and upholding non-mahram rules when the child reaches bulugh (religious puberty/maturity). This type is permissible, rather it is highly rewarded by God.
Yes, it is permissible to expose the feet to a mahram as long as it is not with the intention of seducing and it does not lead to haram. As far as exposure to non-mahram is concerned, the entire foot must be covered.
- non mahram
My physician has prescribed me omega-3 fish oil to control my blood triglyceride levels, which is higher than the normal range. However, as far as I know the packaging doesn't indicate what type of fish is being used for the supplement. Can I consume these pills?
It is not permissible to consume fish oil unless you know that the oil was extracted from lawful fish, and only scaled fish are lawful (halal).
- halal food
Could you please explain the rule of mutanajjis? If my left hand has urine on it and I touch a door handle, is the door handle the first mutanajjis or second? Then if my right hand touches the door handle, is my right hand the third mutanajjis or first?
What comes into direct contact with a najasah is called a mutanajjis, and it is the first mutannajis. Therefore, if the urine itself is transferred to the door handle from your hand the door handle is still a first mutanajjis.
If your left hand is wet with water and the wetness of that hand mixes with the urine and then you touch the door handle [with that wetness], the door handle is deemed as second the mutanajjis. If your right hand then touches the door handle and there is enough moisture on your [right] hand or the handle then your right hand becomes the third mutanajjis.
NOTE: if the najasah itself transfers to an object, that object is considered the first mutanajjis, which means there can be multiple first mutanajjis); if the first mutanajjis comes into contact with a pure object, that object is considered the second mutanajjis. Similarly, the second mutanajjis will make a pure object impure if it comes into contact with it, this is the third mutanajjis. However, the third mutanajjis can no longer make other items impure, irrespective of whether it is wet or dry.
If there are foods without ingredients noted on their label, is it permissible to eat them if you don't know whether or not they have a by-product of meat (such as gelatin, L-Cysteine, etc)?
Yes, it is permissible to eat those foods since you do not know the ingredients (as long as you know the food is not meat itself).
- halal food
- haram food
The only way I can fully explain my personal growth and interest in religion to people is by first saying that I did not grow up with much religious knowledge and admitting to the shortcomings of my mother. My mother is okay with me telling people that, so is it still considered backbiting my mother by revealing a fault of hers even though she is fine with me doing so?
If saying such things entails that your parents are not religious while they appear religious, then it is considered backbiting regardless of whether your parents are okay with saying that or not. The criteria for backbiting is revealing hidden faults of a believer in their absence whether they are okay with it or not. It is better to avoid those details about growing up in a non-religious environment. Instead, you can say that after growing up you started to have more interest in religious education.
- religious education
I have a question regarding slaughtering the animal during Eid al-Adha in the U.S. How should I divide or distribute the meat equally if I do not know any poor/needy families around us in the U.S. Also, do we need to slaughter two animal for each individual or one with niyyah for both (i.e. my wife and I)?
Adha qurban or animal sacrifice is not wajib on non-pilgrims and you can share one with your wife and distribute it as you like.