Question and Answers
Question: Is it permissible
for us to give the Imam’s portion of khums for the marriage of a
believer (mo’min) in the West, knowing that the amount of money that is
given here [for this one marriage] can be used for marriages of more than one
believer [in the Muslim countries], and there are many needy believes, in
Muslim countries? Is it not necessary that most possible numbers of deserving
people should be helped from sahm-e Imam?
Answer: Although providing for the marriage of needy
believers is among the avenues covered by the portion of the Imam
(a.s.), one is not permitted to utilize it for this or its other purposes
without the permission of the marja‘ or his representative.
It is not necessary to use the sahm-e Imam to serve the interests of the most possible number of deserving people; what is important is to prioritize the important causes. This prioritization varies according to circumstances.
Question: Is it sufficient for a
non-Arab to pronounce the marriage formula in Arabic without understanding the
meaning of the words, even though we know that the purpose for uttering those
words is to solemnize the marriage in the right way?
Supposing that just the utterance is sufficient, is it necessary to say it in Arabic without having the need to say the marriage formula in another language?
Answer: It would be
sufficient, provided that the person has some understanding, even roughly, of
the meaning of the Arabic words based on obligatory precaution, it would not
be sufficient to pronounce it in another language.
Question: Is it valid to pronounce the
marriage formula through a telephone?
Answer: It is valid.
Question: Is it possible [for a witness]
to give evidence using the telephone or fax or letter?
The rules and consequences that apply to the bearing of witness in presence of
a judge cannot materialize without the physical presence of the witness. As
for the testimony that just deals with describing the incident the way it
occurred, the methods mentioned above, and other methods similar to them, are
sufficient, provided that they are secured from fraud and error.
Question: Is it permissible to look
carefully at the body, with exception of the private parts, of the woman one
intends to marry with sexual motivation or without it?
It is permissible to look at the woman’s features like the face, the hair, and
the hands but without lustful intention. And [it is permissible], even if one
knows that lustful thoughts will naturally occur [by looking at her]. When a
person has come to know about her features by the first look, it is not
permissible to look again.
Question: Some Western governments allow
the daughter to be independent of her parents, after she has passed the age of
sixteen. If she seeks her parents advice, it is only for seeking their opinion
or out of respect for them. Is such a virgin girl allowed to marry, be it
permanent or a temporary marriage, without the consent of her
Answer: If this means that
the father has allowed her to marry whomsoever she wants or that he has
withdrawn from interfering in the matter of her marriage, it is permissible
for her to do so; otherwise, based on obligatory precaution, it is not
Question: If a woman is over thirty
years of age, and still virgin, is it necessary for her to seek the permission
of her guardian for marriage?
If she is not independent, it is obligatory on her to seek his consent.
Rather, even if she is independent, she must seek his consent, as a matter of
Question: Is it permissible for a virgin
girl to use the light beauty powder in order to draw attention [to herself] in
ladies only gatherings? What if she does so with the purpose of seeking
marriage — wouldn’t it be counted as concealing physical defects, [if there
Answer: It is permissible
for her to do that and it would not be regarded as “concealing the physical
defects”. Even if it were, it would not be haram unless she was intent
on deceiving the person who wants to marry her.
Question: When is it permissible for a
wife to ask for divorce through the religious judge? Is it permissible for a
wife — whose husband constantly treats her badly or a wife whose is sexually
not satisfied by her husband to an extent that she fears committing that which
is haram — to ask for divorce and be divorced?
It is permissible for her to ask for divorce through the religious judge, if
her husband refuses to fulfill her marital rights and also refuses to divorce
her after the religious judge has ordered him to do one of the two. In such a
case, the judge would pronounce the divorced the wife.
The circumstances in which this could happen are the following:
When the husband refuses to provide for the wife and also
refuses to divorce her. This would include the case of a husband who is
unable to provide for his wife and also refuses to divorce her.
When the husband harasses the wife, treats her unjustly, and
does not behave with her kindly as Almighty Allah has ordained.
When the husband abandons her completely and she becomes like
a suspended woman, i.e. neither married nor free to marry.
As for the case where he does not fully satisfy her sexual needs to an extent that she fears committing the haram, then, based on compulsory precaution, the husband must fulfill her needs or consent to her demand for divorce. However, if he does not do that, then the wife has to bear the situation patiently and wait [for a better future].
Question: There is a Muslim woman whose
husband has left her for a long time now so much so that there is no hope of
their getting reunited in the near future; she claims that she cannot stay
without a husband because of the difficulty in living as a single woman in the
West where she fears robbery and stealing by break-ins into the house. Can she
ask for divorce through the religious judge so that he may pronounce the
divorce, whereby she can, remarry whosoever she wants?
If the husband has abandoned her, she can take her case to the religious judge
who will then force the husband to choose one of two courses: either end the
abandonment or release her [by divorce] so that she can marry someone else. If
he refuses to do any of the two, and it is not possible to force him to adopt
one of the two alternatives, the religious judge has the right to pronounce
the divorce at her request.
But if the wife is the one who has left her husband without any [valid] justification, there is no way for the religious judge to pronounce her divorced.
Question: A Muslim couple got separated
for a long time. Is it permissible for him to marry, temporarily or
permanently, a woman from Ahlul Kitab without the knowledge of his
Muslim wife? Is it permissible for him to marry, with the permission of
his Muslim wife?
Answer: For a Muslim
man to marry a woman from Ahlul Kitab permanently is against the
compulsory precaution in any circumstance.
And his temporary marriage to a Jewish or a Christian woman is allowed, only if he is not already married to a Muslim wife. If he has a Muslim wife, temporary marriage with an Ahlul Kitab woman is not permissible without her consent; nay, even with her consent, it is not permissible, based on compulsory precaution.
Question: A Muslim man who is married to
a Muslim woman migrated from his country. After a longthy stay in the West
country, he wants to embark on temporary marriage with a woman from Ahlul
Kitab just a few days after divorcing his Muslim wife. Is this permissible
for him, espeually when his Muslim wife is still in her waiting period
temporary marriage mentioned in the question is considered invalid because the
wife who is in the waiting period of a revocable divorce is still considered
as a wife. It has just been mentioned that to temporary marry an Ahlul
Kitab woman while one has a Muslim wife is not permissible [as a matter of
Question: Is it obligatory to inform the
man who wants to marry a woman from the Ahlul Kitab or a Muslim woman
that she has not yet observed the waiting period (‘idda) of a divorce
of a previous marriage, or that she is still in the ‘idda [during which
marriage is forbidden for her]?
Answer: It is not obligatory.
Question: Is it permissible for a Muslim
man to marry a non-Muslim woman who is still married to a non-Muslim man? Is
there an ‘idda period for her when she separates from her non-Muslim
husband? What is the period of that ‘idda? Is it permissible to have
sexual relations with her during the time when she is in the ‘idda from
her non-Muslim husband? If she embraces Islam, how long will her ‘idda
be, if she intends to marry a Muslim man?
Answer: It is not permissible to marry her while she
is married to a non-Muslim in a marriage which is recognized by them because
she is a married woman. It is permissible to marry her temporarily after her
divorce and after the completion of the ‘idda from her non-Muslim
husband. (The period of her ‘idda is not different from the
‘idda of a Muslim woman.) Therefore, it is not permissible before the
completion of the ‘idda.
If she becomes a Muslim after having
had sexual relations with her non-Muslim husband and the husband has not
embraced Islam, it is precuationarily obligatory for a Muslim not to marry her
until after the completion of her ‘idda. But if she became a Muslim
without having ever established sexual relations with her non-Muslim husband,
then their marriage will be annulled immediately and there is no ‘idda
in such a case.
Question: What is the meaning of
“justice” required by religious law in dealing with one’s
Answer: The justice that is
required [in dealing with polygamy] is related to the division [of time
between them] in the sense that when he spends a night with one of them then,
he must spend one night each with the rest of them in every four
The justice that is required as a recommendation is equality in spending money, giving attention, cheerfulness, and fulfillment of their sexual needs, etc.
Question: If a Muslim woman commits
adultery, is it permissible for her husband to kill her?
Answer: Based on obligatory precaution, it is not
permissible for him to kill her, even if he sees her in the act of committing
Question: What is meant by the
expression “an adulterous woman known for adultery” that is used in the
Manuals of Islamic Laws?
means that such a woman is known among the people for committing
Question: Is it permissible to be party
to temporary marriage with a woman who is “known for adultery”, if no other
woman is available and the person is in desperate need of
Answer: Based on obligatory
precaution, one should refrain from marrying such a woman except after her
Question: What is the meaning of the
expression used by the jurists that “there is no waiting period (‘idda)
for an adulterous woman because of her adultery”?
It means that she is allowed to marry after having committed adultery without
observing the ‘idda; and, if she is married, then it is permissible for
her husband to have sexual relations with her without observing the
‘idda except in the case of al-wat’i bis-shubha (sexual relation
established based on mistaken identity or ignorance of the law).
Question: A man lived with a woman whom
he intended to marry and also had sex with her without entering into a
marriage contract (‘aqd); thereafter he married her in the proper
religious way. Is their co-habitation before the ‘aqd considered
marriage in the eyes of religious law? Does the subsequent ‘aqd have
retroactive effect? What will be the status of the children born before the
Answer: In [an Islamic]
marriage, the spousal relationship is established by the verbal expression of
the proposition and the acceptance. More over no action or deed that reflects
the intention of marriage can be a substitute for the spoken words.
Consequently, the marriage mentioned in the question is not valid except after
the pronouncement of the religious marriage formula that does not have any
As for the children, they will be considered
legitimate if the parents did not know the law [requiring the ‘aqd]
because their relationship will be classified as “wat’i bis-shubha”.
But if both were aware of the law, their relationship is considered
adulterous. Consequently the children will be deemed illegitimate. However, if
only one knew about the law without the other, the children will be deemed
legitimate in relation to the ignorant parent only.
Question: Certain circumstances demand
that the use of insemination between husband and wife in order to increase the
chances of pregnancy; this process of insemination requires exposing the
private parts before the doctor. Is this allowed?
Exposing the private parts for the purpose mentioned above is not allowed.
However, if there is a need that compels one to have children, and having
children requires exposing the private parts, it is allowed. An example of
“need” is when enduring childlessness becomes an unbearable difficulty for the
Question: A woman who does not want
children asks the doctor to tie her falopian tubes. Is this permissible for
her—regardless of whether or not it is reversible; and whether or not the
husband agrees to it?
Answer: It is
permissible for her, provided that it does not involve any haram
touching or looking, irrespective of whether or not it is reversible. The
permission of the husband is not required; of course, his permission might be
required for other considerations.
Question: In the West [more precisely,
in Italy] an ovum of a woman was fertilized in the laboratory, then the
fertilized egg was implanted in the womb of the mother; the feotus developed
in and was born from the grandmother’s womb. Is it permissible to implant a
feotus [or the fertilized ovum] in its grandmother’s womb? And who will be the
child’s mother according to the shari‘a?
Answer: It is difficult to consider it permissible in
principle, even if we overlook the haram looking and touching that is
involved in this kind of procedure. And if this process takes place and the
child is born, then in determining who is to be considered the child’s mother
from the genealogical perspective —the genetic mother or the biological
mother— there are two views. It is prudent to observe caution in regard to
both women. [That is, fulfill the rights of mother in regard to
Question: Sometimes the sperm of a man
is preserved in a sperm bank. Is it permissible for a divorced Muslim woman to
use the sperm of a strange man [to artificially inseminate herself] with or
without his permission and without recitation of marriage formula? What is the
ruling if the sperm is that of her ex-husband, and she intends to use it
during the waiting period or after it?
Answer: It is not permissible for a woman to
inseminate herself with the sperm of a strange man; and it is permissible to
do so with the sperm of her husband, even during the waiting period but not
Question: A man is put in a situation
that he either pleases his family or pleases his wife: should he divorce his
wife in order to please his family or should he do the
Answer: He should adopt the
situation that is best for his religion as well as his world, that he should
be inclined towards justice and equitability, and refrain from injustice and
violation of the rights [of others].
Question: What is the meaning of
“obligatory maintenance” that a husband must provide for his wife? Should the
level of the support be according to the social standing of the husband, the
standard of life that the wife was used to in her father’s home, or other than
Answer: The criterion is the
level that would be appropriate for her status in relation to that of her
husband. [That is, the level that would be appropriate for her “as the wife of
Question: The wife has certain rights
upon the husband; now if the husband neglects some of those rights, is it
permissible for the wife to ignore his sexual advances?
She does not have such a right; if counseling and then warning do not help [in
changing the husband’s attitude], she can take her problem to the religious
judge who should take appropriate action.
Question: On embarking on a journey or
coming back, a Muslim traveller embraces and kisses his wife in public.
Is this permissible for him?
It is not haram to do that, if the rules of appropriate covering [of
the clothes] and hijab are observed and as long as it does not entice
lust [in other people]; it is preferable to refrain from this kind of
Question: Legal divorce according to
Western laws had already taken place between a man and his wife. The husband
is not willing to uphold her religious rights, neither does he pay any
maintenance money for her. He refuses to listen to the religious authorities
who work as a go-between. What should the wife do, knowing well that her
patience under such circumstances will surely cause her [unbearable]
Answer: She should
present her problem to the religious judge or his authorized representative
who will then advise the husband to either provide for her or grant her
religious divorce—even by appointing someone else to do that. If he refuses to
do either, and it is not possible [for the religious judge] to provide for her
from the husband’s wealth, the judge or his representative will pronounce the
divorce for her.
Question: Is it permissible to have sex
with a non-Muslim woman —from Ahlul Kitab or others— without doing the
religious marriage on the basis that her country is in a state of war,
directly or indirectly, with the Muslims?
Answer: This is not allowed.
Question: A wife neither obeys her
husband nor fulfills her marital duties; she also goes out without his
permission to stay with her own family for seven months. Then instead of
having recourse to Islamic laws, she goes to a non-Islamic court in order to
get spousal maintenance, custody of the children, and divorce from her
husband. Does such a wife have the right in getting anything from her husband?
In such a situation, when she goes to non-Islamic court it will apply
non-Islamic laws to grant her divorce and her rights (spousal support and
custody of children), does she deserve her full spousal
Answer: The wife mentioned
above does not deserve the spousal maintenance from a shari’a point of
view. But her mahr (dowry) and her right of custody of children (under
the age of two) should not be suspended because of her
Question: A young lady had gone through
an operation in which her womb was removed, and consequently she had stopped
having her menses for more than fifteen years. Then she married a man in
temporary marriage for a length of time that has now ended. Is it necessary
for her to observe the waiting period (‘idda)? And if yes, what would
be the time length of her ‘idda?
Answer: If she still is in the age of women who
usually see their menses, then her ‘idda in the temporary marriage
would be forty-five days.
Question: Sometimes a non-Muslim woman
would verbally bear witness [of belief in Islam] for the sake of marriage
which does attract plausible credence for others that she has really believed
in Islam. Can the others [who have doubt about her belief] still treat her as
they would treat Muslims?
Yes, the Islamic treatment would be applied to her as long as she does not say
or do something that would contradict [her declaration of the
Question: Sometimes the fertilized ovum
of a woman is transplanted in the womb of another woman. Is this allowed? If
pregnancy occurs, whose child will this foetus be considered?
Answer: There is no problem as long as the
haram touching and looking is not involved. And whether the
genealogical mother of the child will be the genetic mother (who provided the
ovum) or the biological mother (who carried the foetus in her womb), there are
two views. Based on obligatory precaution, caution should be exercised in
regard to both of them.
Question: The foetus swims in the liquid
that is in the mother’s womb. This liquid comes out at the time of birth or
just before it, sometimes with blood, at others without blood. Is this water
considered ritually pure, if it comes out without blood?
Answer: Yes, it is ritually pure (tahir) in
Question: When is it permissible to
abort a feotus? Does the age of the foetus have anything to do with
Answer: Abortion is not allowed
after the implantation of the [fertilized] ovum [on the lining of the womb],
except if the mother’s life is in danger or the continuation of pregnancy will
cause difficulty for her that is not normally bearable and there is no other
solution but abortion. In this case, it would be permissible to abort the
foetus as long as the soul has not entered into it; after the entering of the
soul, it is not permissible at all.
Question: Sometimes the doctors reach
the following conclusion: This foetus is afflicted with a very serious
disease; it is therefore preferable that it should be aborted because if that
child is born, it will be deformed or will die soon after birth. Is it,
therefore, permissible for the doctor to abort the foetus? Is it permissible
for the mother to agree to the abortion? And who of the two will become liable
Answer: Just the fact
that the child will be deformed or that it will not live for a long time after
his birth does not ever justify the termination of the pregnancy. Therefore,
it is not permissible for the mother to consent to the abortion just as it is
not permissible for the doctor to go ahead with the procedure. And whoever
performs the abortion will become liable for the payment of
Question: Is a mother allowed to abort
the feotus, if she does not want it while the soul has not yet entered it and
there is no serious danger to the mother’s life?
Answer: She is not allowed to do that, except if the continuation of the pregnancy would harm her health or put her in an unbearable difficulty.