Q & A

Responses to the Frequently Asked Questions

Fiqh - Islamic Laws

Q. Can we wear cologne that has alcohol in its ingredients?

A. Yes, since the alcohol used is synthetic. If one does now know what kind of alcohol is used, it is considered pure due to the Law or Purity.

Q. How should I deal with non-religious siblings and family members who do not practice any religion and do not observe even the minimum wajibat (obligations)? To what extent do we have to get along, especially if the sibling does not show much love to you? Am I obligated to keep ties with them or do I have to cut them off?

A. You should not cut off your ties with your siblings completely. You should keep formal ties with them, greet them when you see them, have dinner with them and so on. You are not required to hang out with them and spend a lot of time with them. Yes, it is recommended for you to try to have a positive influence on them, come up with creative ways to guide them, and show them what religion means in their lives. God will highly reward you for that.

Q. Are tattoos haram?

A. Tattoos are not haram if they don’t block water from reaching the skin (because if they do, then one’s ablution and ritual shower will be invalid), but they are Makrooh (unrecommended).

Q. Are we allowed to donate organs?

A. According to a number of scholars, one may make a will to have his organs donated if two conditions are met. First, the life of the recipient must depend on receiving this organ, and by donating this organ after death the life of the recipient is saved. Second, the donor must be pronounced completely dead before his organs are cut from his body. If he is brain dead but has a heartbeat then he is not dead yet.

Q. What happens to someone who curses or slanders a deceased believer?

A. It is a sin to curse a believer, even if their deeds were bad. The Imam (a) teaches us to never condemn a believer but instead condemn their bad deed (if it warrants condemnation of course, as there are conditions and sometimes it is a sin to expose a believer). Now if someone curses a believer knowing that the person he cursed was a believer (whether that person is alive or dead), then that curse will deflect back at him and he will be cursed. But if one did not really know and made a mistake or it was not deliberate, then Allah forgives if one seeks His forgiveness.

Q. Is it permissible to pray with nail polish or false nails? Or must you do wudhu prior to applying false nails/nail polish?

A. If the type of substance used in nail polish blocks water from reaching the fingernails (which is the case with most types of nail polish), then according to the vast majority of scholars the polish must be removed before doing Wudhu. Performing Wudhu with the polish on any of the fingers would invalidate the Wudhu. As for the toes, at least one toe must be wiped, so it is ok to have polish on all the toes except one toe in each foot. So there is a difference between fingernails and toenails. The same applies to false nails.

Q. What is the ruling for all paper material with the names of Allah (swt) and Ahlulbayt (a) on them which I do not need and want to dispose of?

A. What we have to observe when discarding such papers is to make sure that they are not desecrated. If placing them in the bin that gets recycled (and not dumped in a landfill) protects them from being desecrated, then it is permissible. Otherwise, one must either erase, cover, or fully cross out those names or words, or cast them in a river or lake. As for shredders, if people consider using them to be desecration of those names, then it would be haram.

Q. My cat batted me with its paw when I was in sujood (prostrating during prayer). It was in front of me so is my prayer valid?

A. If the cat touches you while praying, your prayer is valid even if it was wet. That is because the cat is pure. However, most scholars have ruled that cat fur on your prayer clothes will invalidate the prayer. Some scholars, such as Ayatollah Sistani, believe having cat hair on one’s clothes does not invalidate the prayer (though it is unrecommended to have them on one’s clothes during prayer).

Q. What about burning paper with Qur'an and Ahlulbayt a.s. names written on them?

A. Some scholars say it is not permissible to burn them, since they view that as a form of desecration. Another alternative is using a paper shredder if society does not view it as a desecration. It’s best to cast the paper in a body of water like a stream or lake.

Q. Is playing with Dice Haram?

A. Playing a game that involves a dice is not haram. Yes, if it’s a gambling game then it is haram. Chess is a gambling game. Backgammon was historically a gambling game, so such games are haram according to the majority of scholars.

Q. Is playing chess forbidden (haram)?

A. We have numerous hadiths that forbid playing chess, and hence the majority of scholars have ruled that playing it is forbidden and sinful. In the past, chess was primarily a gambling game that led to negative consequences. Even if no betting is involved and one plays with the intention of doing mental exercises or just for leisure, most scholars still consider it haram. There might be many negative effects to playing chess that one day science will discover. Some studies show that it’s very addictive, may lead to negative emotions, and might have some concerning impacts on the brain. Allah knows best.

Q. What is the ruling of wearing silk for men? Is it permissible to wear? Is it only not allowed if it is pure silk?

A. Pure silk is haram for men to wear, but if it’s 50% silk, for instance, then it’s fine. Deliberately wearing silk for men in Salat invalidates the Salat.

Q. A sister has inquired about the ruling on eyebrow tattoos. Are they allowed?

A. Tattoos are not haram (they are Makrouh) so she can get eyebrow tattoos

However, if the eyebrow tattoos will be such that they draw attention and are considered as Zeena, then from this aspect it would be haram. The tattoos should also not put a barrier on the skin, as this would prevent her from Wudhu and Ghusl.

Q. I have a family member whose health is very poor, and we don’t think life support will help him recover. Are we required to still put him on life support?

A. According to many scholars, if there is no realistic hope for him to survive, then it’s not mandatory to put him on life support. But if you do put him on life support then you cannot have it removed until the patient dies. Removing life support after putting it is not permissible according to many scholars.

Q. Is a swimming pool considered plain or mixed water (keeping in mind chlorine is present in it)? Also, if it is considered mixed water, if a drop of Najasa (impurity) falls in it, does the entire swimming pool become Najis or just that part where the Najasa fell?

A. It’s still considered plain water even if there is chlorine in it, so a drop of Najasa would not make the entire pool Najes.

Q. Is buying and selling cryptocurrencies like bitcoin is halal?

A. There is no evidence in Islamic Law that it’s haram. The Qur’an states in 5:1, “Honor your contracts,” and buying such currency does not fall under any haram category, so it’s possible to buy and sell them.

Q. If a surrogate mother carries a fetus during pregnancy, who is considered the mother, the owner of the egg or the surrogate mother who carries the baby?

A. Some scholars state the surrogate mother who carries the baby is the mother. Some say the owner of the egg is the mother. Yet many scholars today state that both are considered the mother (so the legal rulings of motherhood would apply, such as both being Mahram to the baby, the laws of inheritance, and so on...)

Q. Several minutes after using the bathroom, I noticed that a drop of discharge came out, but I don’t know if it’s urine or something else. Is it Najes and did it break my Wudhu?

A. If after urinating you cleared your urethra from urine, then this drop of discharge is considered pure and your wudhu is not broken. But if you did not clear it from urine, you must consider it Najes and your wudhu is broken. To clear the urethra from urine, the middle finger of the left hand is slid three times from the anus up to the scrotum. Then the thumb is placed on the penis and the forefinger is placed under the penis, and the thumb and forefinger are pulled three times along the penis up to the point of circumcision. Finally, the tip of the penis is pressed three times.

Q. Is it Makrouh (discouraged) to keep my fingernails long?

A. It is recommended for females to keep their fingernails long. However, if they have nail polish on them, they should not make them visible to unrelated men, since it is considered Zeenah (adornments). As for men, they should keep their fingernails short.

Q. Is collagen supplement halal?

A. If the collagen is taken from a non-halal animal, then it would not be halal. It would only be halal if it goes through istehala (complete transformation) while being processed. However, it is not proven that it goes through istehala, and so by default it would not be halal.

Q. I recently took the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. I will have to take the second dose during the month of Ramadhan. Will this break my fast?

A. No, taking a vaccine shot does not invalidate the fast. It is not a form of eating or drinking. You may fast and take the shot, and your fast will be valid.

Q. Does verse 5 of Sura al-Ma’idah mean the meat of the People of the Book is halal for us?

A. Most scholars agree that what is meant by food in this blessed verse is food that does not include meat. We have hadiths from the Ahlulbayt (a) that state what is meant by the word “food” (ta’am in Arabic) in this verse is grains (such as wheat). Meat must be slaughtered halal in order for it to be permissible for us to eat even if it is from the People of the Book.

Q. In some parks, there is a kind of 'fortune wheel' where you put money to play, and you win a variable number of tickets for different rides. Is this considered gambling?

A. If it’s guaranteed that the player will receive a ticket, then it’s not gambling. But if it’s by luck (sometimes they’ll win a ticket and sometimes they won’t) then yes that’s gambling.

Q. Can I wear a silk tie?

A. Wearing pure silk for men is prohibited in Islamic law. There are two exceptions: 1- If the piece of cloth is too small to cover the private parts, then it can be made of pure silk and men can wear it. 2- If the silk is not 100%. A man can wear a shirt that is 60% silk, for example, since it is not pure silk.

Q. Is laser hair removal haram?

A. No it is permissible.

Q. I have heard that if someone drinks alcohol, he cannot pray for 40 days. Is that true?

A. No, this person is still obligated to pray. If he prays correctly while sober, his prayer will be valid. However, he might receive a lesser reward for the prayer because he drinks.

Q. Am I allowed to keep a dog as a pet in my house?

A. It is not haram to keep a dog as a pet in your house. However, you must know that a dog makes your house najes if it gets wet or licks anything in the house. Hence, you must make sure that the place where you pray on, your body and your clothes are all pure before you start your prayer. If a place becomes najes by your dog, the easiest way to purify it is to pour water on it from a hose. Yes, it is Makrouh (discouraged) to keep a dog in the room that you live in. You can make a separate room for your dog.

Q. What kind of singing is haram? Sometimes we read the Qur’an and Americans say we are “singing” the Qur’an. So, does that make reciting the Qur’an haram too?

A. Singing that has been mentioned in our Hadiths is called Ghenaa’ غناء in Arabic. Whatever is considered in one’s soceity to be Ghenaa’ then it’s haram, since the hadiths forbid us from the label Ghenaa’.

In English, singing is a more general term. The birds sing. When we say the Adhan or read the Qur’an some Americans would say they are “singing” the Adhan or signing the Qur’an. We don’t go by the general word singing in English. We go by the specific singing that takes place in “entertainment” gatherings like concerts or discos. That is haram singing. So any type of singing that is typical of such entertainment gatherings and the Arabic label Ghenaa’ applies to it then it’s haram.

Q. Why are atheists considered Najes (ritually impure)?

A. The foundation of our life on earth is belief and faith. It defines the most important aspect of our life. Non-believers can have a big negative impact on believers. Islam discourages believers to get too close to non-believers and have an atheist roommate or take an atheist as a best friend, for example. By considering them Najes, it becomes quite impractical to live with them and get too close to them. The danger of an atheist taking you away from God is serious, so this is a type of insulation to protect believers. It may be seem harsh to some, but remember that the sin of rejecting God is very serious. God creates you, blesses you, gives you everything, then you reject His existence? This is a huge offense.

Islam encourages us to promote peace and love and positive interaction, but not at the cost of losing your faith. Today you see people keeping social distance because of the coronavirus, right? The virus of disbelief is a greater danger because it ruins your infinite life in the hereafter. So, Muslims must be careful and not let their guard down. Yes, you may keep formal ties with them and show the the manners of the Ahlulbayt (a) in hopes of guiding them.

Q. If a boy stole an item before the age of religious puberty, does he have to return the stolen item now that he is an adult? If it is obligatory to return the item, and he does not have access to the owner, what can he do to rectify his mistake?

A. Yes, the stolen goods must be returned to their owner, even if it happened during childhood. The owner of the stolen item must be searched for until he is found. If he is unable to find the owner, then you give the goods or their value to charity on behalf of the owner.

Q. Is it haram to listen to classical music?

A. Scholars differ in their opinion on classical music. Many of them say if it’s calm, classical music, and it’s not the type that’s used in entertainment gatherings like concerts or discos, then it’s halal.

Q. When we recite a verse that contains a mandatory sujud in the Qur’an, do we have to recite anything while prostrating?

A. You are not required to say anything in this Sujud, but it’s recommended to say the following:

لا إله إلا الله حقا ، لا إله إلا الله إيمانا وتصديقا ، لا إله إلا الله عبودية ورقاً ، سجدت لك يا رب تعبدا ورقا ، لا مستنكفا ولا مستكبرا ، بل أنا

Q. Upon reciting a verse with a mandatory sajdah, is it mandatory to prostrate instantly? And do we have to do sujud on the ground or can we just lift the turba and bring it to our forehead?

A. It is mandatory to prostrate immediately after reciting those verses, and one must actually prostrate on the ground for it to count as Sujud. Standing and lifting the prayer tablet to the forehead does not count.

Q. Why do Sunnis say “Ammeen” after Surah al-Fatiha in prayer? And why don’t Shias say it?

A. Sunnis have hadiths in their books that state it’s mustahab (recommended) to say it. The Imams of Ahlulbayt (a) have said that it’s not part of Salat and it’s not mustahab to say it, and the Prophet (s) never said it nor did he ever command his companions to say it. Hence, Shia do not say it.

Q. Does Islamic law require me to have a beard? Are there any Qur'anic verses to support this?

A. We don’t have a verse on it but we have hadiths that command Muslim men to keep a beard. A minority of Shia scholars believe it’s permissible to shave clean (as they believe those hadiths were circumstantial given the conditions of those times), but the vast majority state it’s not permissible to clean shave.

Q. Is it haraam to not reply to the Salam from your enemy?

A. If they are Muslims and you have a personal dispute with them, you should still reply back to them. But if they are evil enemies of God then yes you can decline to reply back to them.

Q. A friend gave me a gift. I know that my friend does not make all of his money in a halal manner. Can I keep this gift?

A. Yes, it is permissible to keep the gift.

Q. A dog liked a spoon or fork. How do I purify it?

A. You rinse it with sand/dust then wash it with water twice.


Q. Who Created the Qur'an? 

A. The Qur'an is the literal word of God. He revealed it in Arabic to Prophet Muhammad (s) throughout a period of 23 years.

Q: I have read that it’s haram to give Sadaqa to Sayeds. Let’s say I am sick and I want to give Sadaqa to a Sayed so Allah heals me, is that haram? Or would I have to give it as a gift?

A. There are types of Sadaqa. Some types of obligatory Sadaqa like Zakat al-Fitra and the mandatory Zakat, a non-Sayed cannot give it to a Sayed. Yes, all other types of financial dues such Kaffaras or Fidyas can be given to a Sayed. Also, the Mustahab Sadaqa that one gives can also be given to a Sayed. Some scholars have made an exception for the Mustahab Sadaqa. They say that the Sadaqa given to the Sayed should not compromise the dignity of the Sayed. For example, let’s say you give 50 cents as Sadaqa to a Sayed for protection, and in the eyes of the public this brings some sort of humiliation to the Sayed, then it should not be given to them. The idea is that the Sadaqa should preserve the respect of the Sayeds since they are the progeny of Prophet Muhammad (s)

Q. What is Zakat?

A. Zakat in its general sense means any financial obligation we have in Islam—whether Zakat, Khums, Kaffara or Fitra. Zakat linguistically means “to purify,” and by paying religious dues we purify our money. In its specific sense, Zakat is mandatory charity that’s paid on livestock, crops and gold/silver coins (it’s usually 2.5%). According to the school of Ahlulbayt (a), the obligatory Zakat only applies to these categories. If one does not own livestock, crops or silver/gold currency coins, then one does not have to pay Zakat.

Q. Do I have to pay khums if I have student loans to pay?

A. If you have extra money at the end of the year that you didn’t use towards your expenses, nor did you use it to pay your student loan, then most scholars say yes you’d have to pay Khums on it even if you have outstanding student loans.

Q. If I do not know whether I owe $500 in Khums or $1000, then do I have to pay $1000 to be on the safe side?

A. One of our legal principles in religion is called the Law of Exemption (Bara’ah). It basically means you are required to fulfill a known obligation, and anything unknown is lifted from you. Hence, when paying Khums, you can go with the lower estimate ($500) since you are certain you owe it, but you don’t know whether you owe more. The Law of Bara’ah states you don’t have to pay the higher estimate.

Q. Why is it not permissible for the Ahlulbayt (a) or their descendants to take Zakat/Charity?

A. Allah wanted to honor Prophet Mohammad’s (s) family and progeny and protect them from having to beg (when they would be in need), so the mandatory charity (Zakat) is haram for them to take. Allah wanted to protect the dignity of the poor members of the Prophet’s progeny, and so He compensated them with Khums.

Q. At what age is Khums wajib?

A. Many scholars say that there is no minimum age for Khums to be due. If a child gets money and it’s not used for one year but rather it’s saved, Khums applies to it. Now either the parents have to take out the khums on it as some scholars say, or when the child becomes balegh (religious mature), he/she pays its Khums.

Q. I bought a $900 suit, but I didn’t wear it to work or any other place. I just tried it in my room. My Khums date has now come. Do I have to give Khums on my suit?

A. Yes, Khums is due on your suit since you did not really use it as an expense. By simply trying it at home, you did not actually use it. Hence you must pay Khums on it. Note that you pay Khums on its market value on the day of your Khums date, not the price you purchased it for.

Q. My friend told me I have to pay Khums immediately when I receive my paycheck. Is that true?

A. It is optional. You may pay Khums immediately upon receiving your paycheck, or you may wait till your khums date and if you have any savings/profit left you pay Khums on

Q. I help my parents by giving them money. Do I have to pay Khums on this money or is it considered an expense?

A. Money that’s given to parents is considered an expense and is therefore exempt from Khums.

Q. Are students required to give khums on student loans which they take out to cover the cost of their studies?

A. No, Khums does not apply to loans. Hence, Khums does not have to be paid on student loans.

Q. I have a debt that I have to pay in one month. I have not paid my Khums yet. Is it allowed to pay my debt and then pay my Khums? Or must I pay my khums first and then pay my debt?

A. If your Khums date has arrived, you cannot delay it. You must pay your Khums. Now it you choose to pay your debt now before your Khums date, you can do that and paying your debt would be considered an expense and Khums would not be due on the amount of your debt.

Q. I heard that Sadaqa (charity) will only have its effects (i.e., Allah’s protection) once received by the deserving person, and that putting Sadaqa in an envelope or money box at home doesn’t count. Is this true?

A. The act of making the intention to give Sadaqa to the poor is in itself an act of worship and will be rewarded by Allah. Even if the box ends up being lost or stolen, you would be rewarded for making the intention to help the poor. Now when the deserving poor person receives it, the full effect of the Sadaqa takes place. This is obvious, because now your Sadaqa went to help a poor, deserving person. It brought happiness to his heart. It helped him with his poverty. So, the full effect takes place.

Q. Who was the prophet during the time of As-habel Kahf (People of the Cave)? Any hint in Qur'an?

A. The story of the People of the Cave occurred between Prophet Jesus (a) and Prophet Muhammad (s), so there was no official prophet during their era. There were successors to prophets, but no known/universal prophets. The People of the Cave were on the path of Prophet Jesus (a).

Q. I know our body parts will speak for us on the Day of Judgment. Does this also go for our internal organs such as our lungs concerning people who smoke?   

A. The Qur’an confirms that our body parts will speak on the Day of Judgment (for instance see 41:20). The Qur’an specifically mentions the hands, feet, skin, tongue, ears, and eyes. The lungs are not mentioned in the Qur'an, but we can conclude that everybody that was used to sin will speak on the Day of Judgment. Of course, this will occur is if one does not repent in this life. If one repents, Allah will conceal that and not expose him or her. If one smokes to the point where excessive damage is done to the lungs, then this is considered a violation of the right that our body has over us. Allah has forbidden us from putting our body into extreme harm.

Q. What do I tell someone who says there is proof we are descendants of apes? I’ve read that apes came from Allah’s wrath upon disobedience.

A. The Qur’an tells us about some sinners from Bani Isra’eel who were morphed into apes as a punishment to them, but that does not mean this is how apes were created. Apes have existed for millions of years. As for evolution, there is no evidence that we humans are the descendants of apes. Yes, it is very likely that species went through a process of evolution, but God created Adam (a) directly without having descended from any other beings. Our hadiths tell us there were many human-like species who existed before Adam, so Adam was not the first human.               

Q. My Arabic is not that great and I struggle to read the Qur’an, but I want to read Qur’an as much as possible in the month of Ramadhan, so should I read it in english or arabic? If I read in Arabic, I do not understand everything, so does this still count?   

A. First read the English translation to understand the meaning of the verses, then it is advised to read the same verses in Arabic. It is very effective to read the Qur’an in Arabic because it is the actual word of God. Translations lose some effect because they are the words of humans. Read the translation and also the Arabic text is most recommended.   

Q. Upon reciting a verse that contains a mandatory Sujood, is it mandatory to prostrate instantly, and do we have to do Sujood on the ground or can we use just use the Torbah (prayer tablet) and bring it to our forehead?           

A. One must actually prostrate for it to count as a Sujood. Standing and lifting the prayer tablet to the forehead does not count. And yes, one must prostrate instantly and not delay it.     

Q. When we read those verses of the Qur’an which contain a mandatory Sujood, do we have to say anything specific?

A. You are not required to say anything in this Sujood, but it’s recommended to say the following: لا إله إلا الله حقا ، لا إله إلا الله إيمانا وتصديقا ، لا إله إلا الله عبودية ورقاً ، سجدت لك يا رب تعبدا ورقا لا مستنكفا ولا مستكبرا بل أنا عبد ذليل ضعيف خائف مستجير         

Q. When Allah mentions in the Qur’an that in heaven, we’ll wear green silk garments, wear gold bracelets and sit on special sofas, does that mean we will be in human form there?        

A. Hadiths and Qur’anic verses indicate we will be in physical form in heaven, though our bodies will be quite different than this earthly body. It will still will be a type of body, and so will have some kind of human form.                       

Q. What does the Qur’an mean by lowering the gaze in Sura an-Nour?      

A. Lowering the gaze means that you do not see members of the opposite gender with lust or desire. This applies to both men and women. Men should not fix their gaze at the face/body of a woman, and women should not fix their gaze at the face/body of men. Some reasons why lowering the gaze is encouraged: 1- Gazing at the opposite gender can lead to haram relationships 2- It can create a burning desire in one’s heart that causes one to suffer from longing/desire 3- Our hadiths teach us that such gazes are among the “arrows of the devil.

Q. What is the longest word in the Holy Qur’an?     

A. The longest word in the blessed Qur’an is the word فَأَسقَيناكُموهُ found in Sura al-Hejr, verse 22. It is composed of 11 letters in Arabic. The word means “so we have provided you water to drink.” The word teaches us that if it weren’t for the blessing of rain, we could not store water to survive. This word contains a conjunction “fa,” a past tense verb “Asqayna,” a direct object “kom,” and a second direct object which refers to the water

Q. In the Qur’an Allah swt tells us that Prophet Ibrahim (a) attained the status of Imamah after already being a Prophet, so does this make the status of Imamah higher than Prophethood?

A. According to 2:124, the highest status one may reach is the status of Imamate, which means universal leadership granted by God. Prophet Ibrahim was already a prophet and messenger when he became an Imam, so we know that the status of Imamate is the highest status. Prophet Mohammad (s) was also an Imam since Allah chose him to be a universal leader.

Q. Why didn’t Habil defend himself when Qabil attacked him and he just let his brother kill him?

A. In 5:28 of the Qur’an, Habil didn’t mean to tell Qabil “If you kill me, I won’t defend myself.” He meant to tell him: if you want to be a murderer, then I am not like you. I refuse to commit such a crime. Secondly, some books of Tafsir indicate Qabil killed Habil when Habil was sleeping, so that’s why he didn’t defend himself. It is also possible that Habil had special permission from Allah to be die oppressed.

Q. Upon reciting a verse with a sajdah- is it mandatory to prostrate instantly and do we have to sujud on the ground or can we just use the turba and bring it to our forehead?

A. One must actually prostrate for it to count as a Sujud. Standing and lifting the prayer tablet to the forehead does not count.

Q. Do we have to say anything specific while in mandatory sujud when reciting Qur’an?

A. You don’t have to say anything in this Sujud, but it’s recommended to say the following

: سجدت لك يا رب تعبدا ورقا لا مستكبرا عن عبادتك ولا مستنكفا ولا مستعظما بل أنا عبد ذليل خائف مستجير


لا إله إلا الله حقا ، لا إله إلا الله إيمانا وتصديقا ، لا إله إلا الله عبودية ورقاً ، سجدت لك يا رب تعبدا ورقا لا مستنكفا ولا مستكبرا بل أنا عبد ذليل ضعيف خائف مستجير

Q. What is Surah al-Adiyat (chapter 100) about?

A. This Surah was revealed when 12,000 pagan fighters from the Dry Valley decided to make an attack on Medina and kill Prophet Mohammad (s), Imam Ali (a) and other Muslims. The Prophet dispatched Imam Ali to fight them and stop their aggression. The battle that took place became known as Dhat al-Salasel in the 8th year of the Hijra. Allah gave Imam Ali victory, the war quickly ended, and Islam was saved.         

Q. What practical lessons can we learn from Surah al-Adiyat (chapter 100)?

A. Here are some brief lessons to learn from this blessed chapter:

-Be fast in doing good deeds, just like trained horses that run fast towards their destination.

-Anything that you dedicate for God and use to do good with becomes holy. God makes an oath in these fast horses because they were used to obey Him and defend Islam.

-Do not be stingy with your Lord. Give back. Be generous. Don’t lose patience in times of tragedy.

-Remember the Day of Judgment when we will rise from our graves and God will reveal what we would hide in our hearts in this world.

Q. Is the headscarf mentioned in the Qur’an?

A. Yes in Sura Noor, verse 31, Allah mentions the word “Khimaar.” In Arabic, the word Khimaar means a headscarf. It is a piece of cloth that covers the hair on one’s head. Believing women are commanded to cover their hair.

Sawm - Fasting

Q Does a pen/marker mark on the skin invalidate Wudhu?

A. Most types of pens do not have ink that acts as a barrier on the skin. Therefore, the water reaches the skin and Wudhu or Ghusl (ritual shower) is valid. If the ink, however, leaves a thick coating that blocks water from reaching the skin, then it must be removed before performing the ablution.

Q. Is it permissible to wet the face and arms prior to performing Wudhu? I have seen people who do this and their reasoning is that the water during Wudhu spreads easier on wet skin.

A. Wetting the face or hands before Wudhu is fine. The head and feet must be dry.

Q. If I’m on Wudhu and I shower, does my Wudhu become invalid?

A. No, your wudhu is valid.

Q. Is it required to take water and wipe your arms twice in Wudhu, or is wiping once enough?

A. A number of scholars state washing your face/arms in Wudhu once is better than twice, but twice is acceptable.

Q. If there is cream or gel on the hair when wiping it for Wudhu, does that invalidate the Wudhu?

A. If the cream acts as a barrier for the water to reach the skin (like many gels) then it would invalidate the Wudhu. In this case one would have to touch the scalp when wiping the head or remove the cream then wipe the hair.

Q. Why does sleeping or becoming unconscious invalidate the Wudhu?

A. When we sleep or become unconscious our soul somehow separates from the body (see Qur’an 39:42), and this separation of the soul from the body requires us to do Wudhu because that purity is broken when the soul separates from the body.

Q. Can I perform Wudhu if there is ink on my hands?

A. Most inks don’t block water from reaching the skin, so they would be ok. If you are unsure, test it and see if water passes through (such as on a piece of paper or any other method).

Q. Usually when I wake up in the morning, I find that some discharge came out of my private part. I was told that I had to do Ghusl all those years and repeat my prayers. Do all scholars agree on this?

A. The discharge that comes out is considered pure, you don’t have to do Ghusl and all your previous prayers are valid. You only have to do Ghusl if semen is discharged (which comes out during ejaculation). Any other type of discharge is pure.

Q. I wear lash extensions. Do they invalidate my Wudhu?

A. When performing Wudhu, water must reach all parts of the face, including the eyelashes. If the eyelash extensions do not block the water from reaching all parts of your original eyelashes, then the Wudhu is valid. If they do block water from reaching the point where the extensions connect to your eyelashes, then the Wudhu is invalid.

Q. In Wudhu, during the wiping of the head, is it necessary for the water to reach the skin on the head?

A. No it’s not necessary unless the hair is quite long (like many women), then in this case the scalp must a bit exposed and the wiping is done on the scalp or the hair that is directly connected to the scalp. If the hair is short, then it is sufficient to wipe on the hair.

Q. Does vomiting invalidate fasting?

A. Unintentionally vomiting does not invalidate the fast. If it is deliberate, however, then it would invalidate the fast.

Q. If a person needed to use the inhaler to prevent or stop an asthma attack while fasting, will he still have to pay a Kaffara (penalty for breaking the fast)?

A. No Kaffara is required. Now if this is a temporary condition and after the month of Ramadhan this person can make up this fast before the next Ramadhan, then all he has to do is just make it up. But if this is a long-term condition and this person cannot make up these missed days, then he would just have to pay a Fidya of 750 grams of food like wheat for each day (which is about $2 per day in many parts of the world). If the inhaler does not generate moisture into the mouth that gets swallowed but rather the air from the inhaler is taken in by the lungs only, then it would not break the fast and no Fidya would be required. There are different types of inhalers so one much check how they work.

Q. I had to drive for work somewhere far past 16 miles from my city limit. Does this break my fast?

A. Yes, if you passed 16 miles and returned that same distance then you had to break your fast. However, keep in mind that the 16 miles are to be counted from the limits of your metro area or greater city, not from your house or neighborhood (according to most scholars).

Q. If someone is fasting and you notice they forgot and started eating something, are we supposed to remind them? I was told I shouldn't because it's their “Rizk” from God!     

A. You can remind them, but you don’t have to. There is a hadith that states if you forget and eat, don’t worry your fast is valid and it was Rizk (meaning sustenance or a blessing) from Allah, but this hadith does not indicate that you shouldn’t remind such a person. Now if this person is eating in the month of Ramadhan and he is eating publicly, and this either encourages others to break their fast or it violates the sanctity of the month of Ramadhan, then yes one must remind them.

Q. While fasting, can I have dental work done which requires injections?  

A. Injections do not invalidate the fast, but you must take care not to swallow anything.

Q. How do I know if I am too sick to fast? I try to fast but my migraines make me vomit, what should I do?           

A. If you have a genuine concern that fasting will make you sick, or it will exacerbate your sickness, or it will cause migraines that are very difficult for you to bear, then you break your fast. If your migraines are severe to the point where you are vomiting, then you break your fast.

Q. Do I have to make a new niyyah every day for fasting in the month of Ramadan, or can I make one niyah for all of the month of Ramadhan?   

A. You can make one niyah (intention) to fast the entire month of Ramadhan.

Q. Are we allowed to brush our teeth while fasting, and what happens if we swallow drops of water accidentally?  

A. If the person was confident that he would not swallow drops of water or toothpaste, then his fast is valid.           

Q. When fasting for 60 days for the Kaffara (penalty) of deliberately breaking the fast of the month of Ramadhan without an excuse, does it have to be 60 consecutive days? Is there an exception/different rule for females as they cannot fast 31 days consecutive because of their period?

A. he first 31 days have to be consecutive, then after that it doesn’t. Yes, there is an exception for women. For instance, if the period was 7 days, then the fasting would resume after the seventh day, and the 31-day count would be 38 in this case. In other words, once this person has fasted 31 days (and the 7 days fell in this time frame), then after that there is no need to fast the remaining 29 days consecutively.       

Q. I tell people that backbiting while fasting invalidates the fast. Do we have hadiths that explain this?

A. Backbiting does not technically invalidate the fast. However, it defeats the purpose of the fast and the one who backbites does not benefit from the spiritual rewards and effects of fasting. One reason why we fast is to keep away from sin, and backbiting is a major sin.

Q. What is the ruling on hugging the opposite gender in Islam? Is shaking hands with a man permissible, and will this invalidate my fast if this happens when I am fasting?         

A. Hugging a member of the opposite gender who is not related to you (such as a parent, sibling, uncle/aunt, spouse, child) is inappropriate according to Islamic law. The same applies to shaking hands. However, doing so does not invalidate the fast.

Q. I know I have a lot of Qadha fast to make up from my younger years, but I do not know how many days exactly, so what should I do? 

A. If you do not know how many days of fasting you missed, you only have to make up what you are certain of missing. For example, if you do not know whether you have 10 or 20 days of missed fasting, but you are sure of missing 10 days, then you only have to up 10 days.

Q. My daughter is really skinny and I want to tell her not to fast this year because she has to go to school, so what is the penalty if I make her stop?

A. If fasting poses harm to her health, and it is considered a medical danger, then she can break her fast and make up the missed days at another time of year when she can fast without having her health impacted. But if it does not harm her health, and rather it just makes her feel tired or fatigued, then she must fast. Breaking the fast would incur a Kaffara (penalty) of feeding 60 poor per each day missed, or fasting 60 consecutive days per each day missed.

Q. I breastfeed and when I fast my milk supply runs low, so should I stop breastfeeding to continue fasting?

A. You may stop fasting if the reduction in milk will affect the child. Then you would make up the missed days later. You would also give the equivalent of 750 grams of food (such as wheat or rice) to a poor person for each day missed.

Q. Can you please briefly explain what the difference is between kaffara and Fidya? If I break my fast unintentionally due to sickness do I have to pay anything?

A. Normally what is meant by Kaffara is when one intentionally breaks his fast in the month of Ramadhan without an excuse. The Kaffara is feeding 60 poor people or fasting 60 consecutive days. The Fidya is one is unable to fast due to a medical condition, for example, and one cannot make up the fast in the following year. The Fidya is feeding one poor person for each day missed. If you are sick and break your fast, then you simply make it up after the month of Ramadhan. If you make it up then you don’t have to pay anything.

Q. What is the penalty for not fasting one day in the holy month of Ramadan without a valid reason?

A. The penalty is feeding 60 poor people (the equivalent of 45 kilograms of food such as rice or wheat) per each day missed or fasting two consecutive months (the first 31 days have to be consecutive and the remaining 29 do not have to be such) per each day missed.

Q. Am I allowed to use chapstick while fasting, and is mouthwash, ok?

A. If the chapstick does not get inside the mouth and then swallowed, then it’s allowed. Otherwise, it should be avoided. As for the mouthwash, if not a drop of it is swallowed, then it is allowed. The presence of the aftertaste of the mouthwash is fine.

Q. If I am in a state of Janaba and wake up at fajr time without time to perform ghusl, can I still shower and fast? Is the fast accepted?

A. If you slept with the intention of waking up before Fajr to shower but you happened to wake up after Fajr, then you must shower and fast that day and the fast is accepted. However, if you woke up and went back to sleep without showering then you will fast that day, but you have to make it up after the month of Ramadhan (but there is no Kaffara). If you sleep the third time, then some scholars say you must pay Kaffara in addition to making it up. Now if you slept with the intention of not showering before Fajr, and you woke up after Fajr, then you have to make up that day and pay Kaffara.

Q. I never know how to calculate missed days of fasting because of menstruation? Can I fast even if I spot lightly?

A. If the spotting is within the days of Haydh (for instance if one has a fixed period of seven days and this spotting is in those seven days), then you do not fast. After the month of Ramadhan you make up these 7 days. But if the spotting is during the days of istihadha (such as spotting for one day, then the blood completely stops for a day or so, then there is spotting again, such that there is no continuous blood for 3 days, then this would be istihadha not haydh, as haydh must be at least 3 continuous days), then you will fast.

Q. For kids who are Mukallaf (religiously mature) and did not fast the previous Ramadan and did not make up the fast before the next Ramadan, do they have to pay a Kaffara? Or they just make up the fast?

A. Yes, Kaffara must be paid if they had no legitimate excuse for breaking the fast. If they did not know anything about Ramadhan and were not aware it is mandatory to fast, then they pay no Kaffara. They must make up all missed days, and if they don’t make them up before the following Ramadhan, then they must pay a Fidya.

Q. What are the obligatory fasts?

A. The main obligatory fasts are fasting during the Month of Ramadhan, fulfilling an oath made to Allah (Nadhr or Yameen), and fasting to fulfill a Kaffara.

Q. Is there such a thing as Haram fasting?

A. Fasting on the two major Eids, Eid Al-Adha and Eid Al-Fitr is haram, and it is also haram to fast the Day of Ashura with the intention of celebrating that day and expressing joy.

Q. When do we break our fast, when the sun begins to set or when it has completely set?

A. According to most Shia scholars, we break our fast when the sun sets and the redness of the sky in the eastern horizon fades away. This usually takes 12-16 minutes after sunset in many places of the world. Some scholars have ruled that one can break his fast as soon as the sun sets.

Q. Does lying invalidate fasting?

A. Lying is a sin, and one must repent from it. Lying negatively impacts one’s spiritual state while fasting, but it does not invalidate the fast. Yes, fabricating a lie and attributing it to Allah invalidates the fast (such as falsely claiming that Allah has said something in the Qur’an or Hadith, or that He made something halal or haram).

Q. While cooking Iftar I sometimes have to taste what I am cooking after which I spit it out, does this invalidate my fast?

A. Tasting food without swallowing it does invalidate the fast. Just make sure that you don’t swallow any of it and rinse your mouth to make sure you don’t swallow any traces of that food.

Hadith – Narrations

Q. Is Hadith Qudsi only from the time of the Holy Prophet or it goes back to other Prophets? How about after the Holy Prophet?

A. Hadith Qudsi is any hadith that directly quotes Allah’s words, whether from previous prophets, our Prophet, or from the Imams. So, any hadith that quotes God’s words speaking in the first person and is not part of the Qur’an is called Hadith Qudsi.

Q. Is there a quick way, saying a 'mark' to know how reliable each hadith is?

A. There is no quick way to verify if a hadith is authentic or not. It requires scholarly experience to analyze the source and the content of hadith to see if it is compatible with the Qur’an and the teachings of Islam, and that it does not conflict with any other hadiths. However, there are some books, like al-Kafi, that most scholars throughout history have deemed reliable. This doesn’t mean that every hadith in it is 100% authentic, but generally speaking they are authentic. So if the hadith comes from a trusted source like al-Kafi, then one can feel safe that it is pretty much reliable.

Q. What does this hadith from the Prophet (s) mean: “Bind knowledge by writing it?”

A. This hadith means preserve knowledge by writing it. We cannot rely on our memory, since over time we forget and information gets lost. The best way to preserve information is to write it. So, the Prophet (s) encouraged his companions to write down his hadiths so they would be preserved. Unfortunately, the rulers who came after the Prophet (s) banned the recording of hadith for many decades.

Ahlulbayt (PBUT)

Q. If I follow Sayed Sistani but I want to take the fatwa of a different Marja’ for something that differs from Sistani, is that permissible?

A. According to many scholars, if a Marja’ who is deemed the most knowledgeable gives a Fatwa on a matter, his follower cannot act in that matter on the Fatwa of another Marja’. But if he does not give a Fatwa and rather expresses a precaution (Ihtiyat), then yes you may refer to the Fatwa of another Marja’. You may also follow the Fatwa of another Marja’ if it is proven to you (by the testimony of expert scholars) that the other Marja’ is more knowledgeable in that particular ruling/field.

Imam Mahdi Aj

Q. Would it be permissible for someone to pray in his car sitting down if there is no place available to pray inside the workplace?

A. If it is a mandatory (wajeb) prayer like the five daily prayers, then you may pray inside your car only if there is absolutely no other place to pray and you cannot drive somewhere else to pray while standing. An example of that is in an airplane and they do not allow you to stand and pray because there is turbulence the entire duration of the flight, for instance. In that case you would sit and pray. Now if you cannot pray in your workplace but you can go somewhere else and pray standing, then you would have to do that. As for recommended prayers (such as Nawafil), you can pray them while sitting and driving even if you can go somehwere and offer them while standing.

Q. Do zohr and asr prayers become qaza right at maghrib or a few minutes before?

A. You have time to pray Dhuhr until 4 minutes before sunset, because those last 4 minutes are exclusively for the Asr prayer. So, let’s say sunset is at 6 pm. You have time to pray Dhuhr until 5:56 pm, then you have to pray Asr. Once the sun sets, the prayer becomes qadhaa.

Q. If there is alcohol in the home, is it permissible to eat and pray in such a place?

A. Praying in a house that has alcohol is not haram and does not invalidate the prayer. However, such homes are not blessed and the angels avoid them. Now if a person living in that house has no choice (as other family members insist on bringing alcohol) then that’s ok and Allah knows this. One should pray in a room away from alcohol for more blessings. As for eating and drinking, and must not use any utensils in that came into contact with wine since wine is impure (Najes). They must be washed and purified before being used.

Q. For making up prayers, can I do Fajr Qadhaa at 3 pm, then Dhuhr Qadaa at 4 pm and Asr Qadhaa at 5pm, or do they all have to be together?

A. Yes you can pray them separately as they do not need to be done together. The sequence between Dhuhr and Asr, and Maghreb and Ishaa, however, must be observed.

Q. Prostrating in Salat on the earth or what grows from the earth (as long as it is not worn or edible) is fine, and prostrating on paper is also fine. How about praying on concrete?

A. Yes, praying on concrete is fine because it is made from the earth.

Q. Can I do Qadhaa’ (missed) prayers on Laylatul Qadr (Night of Power).

A. It is highly recommended to pray 100 Rak’as on Laylatul Qadr. One can do 6 days Qadhaa’ (102 Rak’as) and say to Allah, “Since tonight is a blessed night, I ask you to give me the reward of the prayer of Laylatul Qadr,” and hopefully Allah will grant that high reward. But technically doing Qadhaa’ doesn’t guarantee one will get the exact reward of the prayer of Laylatul Qadr because they are two different prayers.

Q. When is Salat al-Ayaat (The Signs Prayer) mandatory?    

A. One must pray Salat al-Ayat if a certain event happens, such as an earthquake or an eclipse. Whenever an earthquake is felt by people in one’s area, it is mandatory to observe this prayer. It is also mandatory to observe it during a solar or lunar eclipse. As for other events, such as a meteor striking the atmosphere, a severe thunderstorm or hurricane or any celestial event that causes widespread fear, then some scholars say it is mandatory to observe this prayer while others say it is recommended (Mustahab).   

Q. I have a question about doing Qasr prayers when traveling for work. For those who have to travel 1-3 days a week or who are not full-time travelers, do they have to do Qasr prayers on the days they travel or do they perform regular full prayers since traveling is part of the job?         

A. Scholars have different Fatwas regarding what constitutes “frequent traveling” that makes your Salat Qasr (shortened). Ayatollah Sistani, for instance, says if you travel 10 or more days a month, then you are a frequent traveler. Some others state if you travel once every ten days then you are a frequent traveler. And some, like Ayatollah Shirazi, state if you regularly travel once a week then you are a frequent traveler. One must check with the ruling of the Marja’ he/she follows.

Q. If I step a little to the side during Salat to orient myself towards the Qibla better, does that invalidate my Salat? 

A. If it’s a small step and you don’t turn away from the Qibla then it’s fine.

Q. If a person is praying Wajib Salat and in the middle of the prayer, a child passes and the turbah on which he performs Sajdah is moved very far away, what does a person do in this situation?

A. If you can walk a few small steps (without moving your face and body away from the Qiblah) to find another turbah, piece of paper, piece of wood, or anything that one can do sujud on, then you must do that. Or if there is paper in your pocket, pull it out and do sujud on it. Otherwise, this person must restart the prayer.    

Q. When praying in a plane and it isn't possible to stand, can I pray in my seat?

A. First, you must do your best to try to stand, even if it means you go to the lavatory area and stand facing the Qiblah to pray. For Ruku and Sujud, if you cannot do them then just do Imaa’ (lower your head while standing to perform them). If standing is not an option, then pray in your seat, but you must face the Qiblah. If facing it is not an option then pray however you can. Do not wait until the time for the prayer expires.

Q. If one misses obligatory prayers on purpose, is it possible to make up for them by seeking repentance and asking Allah for forgiveness? 

A. Repenting is not enough. In addition to repenting, one must also make up the missed prayers. It is mandatory to make up missed prayers.        

Q. If while praying I realize I’m still wearing my watch with a leather band; can I take it off mid-prayer, throw it to the side and continue, or would I have to restart my prayer?

A. If you realized that you are wearing non-halal leather in your prayer, then you would have to stop your prayer, take it off, and then restart your prayer. But if you realized that after you finished your prayer, your prayer was valid and it doesn’t need to be repeated.

Q. Does skipping a part of Salat that is not a pillar due to ignorance of the rule invalidate the Salat?

A. If it is out of ignorance and it’s not a pillar then the Salat is valid. Skipping the pillars of Salat (such as the Ruku’, Sujud and Takbiratel Ihram) invalidates the Salat even if it’s out of ignorance.

Q. Is it permissible to hold a Duaa book or Qur'an during the wajib prayers (to recite a particular surah or supplication)? 

A. Yes that is permissible.      

Q. If someone in another country that is 10 hours ahead of my time passes away and is buried, do I pray Salat al-Wahsha for them during the day due to their day ending before mine? 

A. You pray for them when it’s maghreb your time, not their time. Salat al-Wahsha is to be prayed at night.

Q. When praying in the plane and it isn't possible to stand, can I pray in my seat or should I wait till I arrive and pray it Qadha?

A. First, you must do your best to try to stand, even if it means you go to the lavatory area and stand facing the Qiblah to pray. For Ruku and Sujud, if you cannot do them then just do Imaa’ (lower your head while standing to perform them). If standing is not an option, then pray in your seat, but you must face the Qiblah. If facing it is not an option then pray however you can. Do not wait until the time for the prayer expires.

Q. If I am praying and I accidentally talk during the prayer, is my prayer valid?      

A. Yes, your prayer is valid, but after the prayer you must perform Sajdatay as-Sahw. Basically, you do two sujuds, then Tashahud, then one short Taslim by saying: Assalamu Alaikom Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh

Q. I was traveling when the Duhur and Aser prayers became Qadha’. Now I am back home. When making up these missed prayers, do I pray them full because now I am in my home town? Or I pray them Qaser because when I missed them, I was traveling?

A. We have a hadith that states: ‎ "اقض ما فات كما فات" "Make up what you missed as you missed it.” This means that if you were traveling when the salat became Qadha’ then in reality the prayer became Qadha’ while in the state of Qaser. When you make it up you have to make it up Qaser even if you are now in your hometown. Similarly, if you are traveling and you are praying Qaser, if you want to make up prayers that you missed while you were in your hometown, you will pray them full because when you missed them you were in your home town. Even though you are traveling now you still have to make them up as full.

Q. I tried to remove my make up before praying. After I prayed, I realized I missed some spots. Is my prayer valid?  

A. If the makeup blocks the water from reaching the skin, then your Wudhu was invalid and you must make up the prayers you performed with that Wudhu.

Q. I used to live in Chicago for many years and now I have moved to Dearborn. If I visit Chicago, do I pray Qasr or full?

A. When you moved to Dearborn, if you still considered Chicago to be your hometown, and you still do, then you pray full when going to Chicago. But if you no longer considered it your hometown, (meaning you basically renounced it as your hometown), then you pray Qasr if you visit Chicago and stay there less than 10 days.

Q. I was in the state of Haydh when an eclipse occurred in my area. Do I have to offer Salatel Ayaat as Qadha’ when I become pure?

A. No you do not have to make it up

Q. I was sleeping and when I woke up, I came to know an eclipse occurred while I was sleeping. Do I have to offer the Signs Prayer (Salatel Ayaat) Qadha’?         

A. If it was a total eclipse then yes you must make it up. If it was a partial eclipse then you are not required to make it up.

Q. Is the Signs Prayer (Salate Ayaat) mandatory to observe during a penumbral eclipse?  

A. Salatel Ayat is mandatory if the the eclipse is visible to the eye. Hence, if a total or partial eclipse occurs, one must offer the Signs Prayer. A penumbral eclipse is very subtle, and thus the Signs Prayer is not required when it occurs.

Q. After finishing the Watr prayer, I noticed that I was a few minutes into Fajr. Is my Watr prayer valid?

A. Yes, it is valid.

Q. What time are we supposed to perform the nafilah prayers?

A. The Fajr Nafilha (2 units) is prayed at dawn before the Fajr prayer. The Dhuhr Nafila (8 units) is prayed before the Dhuhr prayer, and the Asr Nafilha (8 units) is prayer before the Asr prayer. The Maghreb Nafilah (4 units) is prayed after the Maghreb prayer, and the Isha’ Nafilah (2 units while sitting) is prayed after the Isha’ prayer. The Night Nafilah (Salat al-Layl, which is 11 units) is best prayed after religious midnight (midpoint between sunset and Fajr) all the way up to Fajr time.

Q. If a female prays in her home or she is alone and she is wearing a headscarf which is made out of a material that is slightly see-through, would this nullify her salah?     

A. If it is see-through to the point where her hair can be discerned (color and shape of hair), or her skin can be seen, then that would nullify the Salat. Otherwise, its ok.

Q. If while praying I realize I’m still wearing my watch with a non-halal leather band; can I take it off mid-prayer, throw it to the side and continue, or would I have to restart my prayer?

A. Scholars say you would have to stop your prayer, take it off, and then restart it. But if you realized that after you finished your prayer, then your prayer was valid and it doesn’t need to be repeated.

Q. I am not sure if I prayer the Dhuhr and Asr prayers today. Can I assume I prayed them or do I have to pray them now?

A. If the time for them has not expired (before sunset), then you must pray them. If the time has expired, then we have a Fiqhi law that states “time is a barrier,” which means you don’t have to pray them (meaning you can assume you prayed them).

Q. I heard that during Tahajjud of Salat al-Layl, you can pray your Qadha’ prayers and it would count as praying Salat al-Layl. For example, you can pray Dhuhr, Asr and Maghreb (11 rak’as).

A. A number of scholars have mentioned that you can pray your Qadha’ prayers after religious midnight and ask Allah to grant you the reward of Salat al-Layl, and by doing so the reward of your Qadha’ prayers will increase. The time of Sahar is a blessed time, so any deed offered during that time had a special blessing.

Q. Can I pray with a jacket made of feathers or with the feathers on me?

A. Feathers of birds are pure and you can pray with them. However, if the jacket contains skin (leather) then the bird must be halal for you to wear such a jacket.

Q. Does being negligent with prayer mean praying late? Or it means the quality of the prayer is low and there is no sincerity in it?

A. It can include praying late if one consistently prays late, but it mainly refers to those who skip prayer or offer a very low-quality prayer. Now if delaying it is occasional then it may not be considered as being negligent with one’s prayer. So, if one occasionally prays late (but still in time) then it’s ok. If one consistently delays his prayer, one will get a lesser reward for praying late and this could be a type or negligence.

Q. Is it obligatory to say the Bismillah when starting the Tashahud or can you just start by saying “Ashahdu alla ilaha illallah…?"

A. No you don’t have to say the Bismillah when starting the Tashahud. You can start the Tashahud right away.

Q. If you don't know the direction of the Qibla, is the only solution to pray in all four directions?

A. If you have no clue which direction it is, then yes according to most scholars you pray to 4 directions. If you know that it’s between two directions only but you don’t know which, then you pray to these two directions and there is no need to pray to all four directions

Q. When praying in congregation, can I recite a different Du’a in the qunoot than the Imam of the prayer?

A. Yes you may recite a different Du’a

Q. I start my prayer individually then I notice someone is praying in front of me. Can I switch my Niyyah (intention) to Jama’a (congregational prayer)?

A. No. Scholars have stated that one cannot switch the Niyyah of an individual prayer to a Jama’a prayer. Yes, the opposite is possible. If you start Jama’a then you have to break off from the Jama’a and continue on your own, that is permissible.

Salah – Prayer

Q. Is istihadha considered the blood you notice after your regular menstruation cycle? Also, what is the ruling for fasting and praying during istihadha?

A. Istihadha is any blood that a woman sees that is not considered Haydh. For instance, if one sees blood for less than three consecutive days, that is considered Istihadha. If the period stops and then after a week one sees blood that is also Istihadha. If the bleeding exceeds ten days it’s also istihadha. But any blood a woman sees between 3-10 days is Haydh. During Istihadha one must pray and fast. One would have to do Wudhu for each Salat if the blood is light. If it is medium then one must also do a Ghusl (shower) each day, and if it is heavy then three Ghusls are to be done each day.

Q. When a woman has a miscarriage, is the bleeding that is seen considered haydh or nifas?

A. It is considered nifas (postpartum bleeding). The maximum duration for Nifas is 10 days. Anything under 10 would be considered Nifas. Now if the postpartum bleeding exceeds 10 days, then she would consider the Nifas to be the same as the number of her period (such as 7 days), and the rest would be considered istehadha.

Q. Is it halal for a woman to get plastic or cosmetic surgery?

A. Plastic surgery in and of itself is halal, as we have no evidence to make it haram, so the Law of Exemption would apply. However, there are two points to consider: 1- The one performing the operation must be of the same gender. So a woman cannot do plastic surgery with a male doctor, because this is not considered a medical necessity. Only a woman may operate on her (and of course at no time can she show her private parts to the female doctor). 2- If the operation makes the woman appear as if she is adorned (زينة) and attractive, then she cannot show that to unrelated men. The guidelines of Hijab must be observed.

Q. During Istehadha, I experience heavy bleeding. I was told that I have to shower 3 times a day. Is this true?           

A. Yes, according to Islamic Law, if a woman is having heavy bleeding in istehadha (meaning after her period or haydh ended she continues to have bleeding), then she must do 3 ghusls: one before praying the Fajr prayer, one before the Dhuhr and Asr prayers, and one before Maghreb and Isha’ prayers. If showering 3 times is harmful or very difficult for you, then you can do Tayammum in place of the Ghusl.

Q. Can a woman seek cosmetic surgery under a male surgeon?      

A. If the area of surgery is on a body part other than the face or two hands, then it would not be permissible to have it done under a non-Mahram male surgeon if he will see those body parts.

Q. My doctor told me that my fetus has abnormal medical conditions. My baby might be born with a medical condition or might not survive. Can I have an abortion?

A. If your fetus has acquired a soul (usually this happens anytime between 12-16 weeks of pregnancy) then all scholars state you cannot have an abortion. If it is having not acquired a soul (for example before 12 weeks) and keeping such a baby is unbearable for you (it causes you unbearable hardship) then some scholars have stated an abortion is permitted.

Q. Why is it that I cannot enter the inner shrine area of the Imams while I am on my period but I can enter the same area at the shrine of Lady Zaynab (a)?

A. The shrines of the infallible Imams have a special ruling in religious law. Since the Imams are infallible leaders chosen by Allah and have the highest state of spiritual purity, a menstruating person should not enter the innermost area of their blessed shrines.

Q. When I am on my period, can I enter a Masjid?

A. A woman who is on her period cannot enter an official Masjid. That is because the Masjid is a sacred place of purity, and during menstruation a person is ritually impure. Hence, this person cannot enter the Masjid. It is interesting to note that in certain Jewish traditions, a woman is also not to enter the synagogue or Temple while menstruating.

Q. Can a woman do sujud on a turbah in a state of haydh after Ziyarat Ashura or just a sajda for any other reason?          

A. Yes, it is permissible for her to do sujud in such cases.

Q. Are women allowed to read the Qur’an while in their menstrual cycle (Haydh)?           

A. Yes, it is permissible for her to do sujud in such cases.

Q. I recently had an operation on my uterus, and I have been bleeding for two days. Do I consider myself in Haydh (menstruation)?          

A. No, such bleeding caused by surgery does not qualify as Haydh. You would pray and fast.

Q. I never know how to calculate missed days of fasting because of menstruation? Can I fast even if I spot lightly?

A. If the spotting is within the days of Haydh (for instance if one has a fixed period of seven days and this spotting is in those seven days), then you do not fast. After the month of Ramadhan, you make up these 7 days. But if the spotting is during the days of istihadha (such as spotting for one day, then the blood completely stops for a day or so, then there is spotting again, such that there is no continuous blood for 3 days, then this would be istihadha not haydh, as haydh must be at least 3 continuous days), then you will fast.


Q. I was in the state of Haydh when an eclipse occurred in my area. Do I have to offer Salatel Ayaat as Qadha’ when I become pure?

A. No you do not have to make it up.

Q. During Istehadha, I experience heavy bleeding. I was told that I have to shower 3 times a day. Is this true?

A. Yes, according to Islamic Law, if a woman is having heavy bleeding in istehadha (meaning after her period or haydh ended she continues to have bleeding), then she must do 3 ghusls: one before praying the Fajr prayer, one before the Dhuhr and Asr prayers, and one before Maghreb and Isha’ prayers. If showering 3 times is harmful or very difficult for you, then you can do Tayammum in place of the Ghusl.

Q. If I discover that my wajeb Ghusls (such as Janaba or Haydh) were not valid, do I have to make up all those prayers I performed with those invalid Ghusls?

A. When it comes to Ghusl, since purity is an integral condition of prayer, if one did not do it properly (even if it wasn’t deliberate) one would have to make up those prayers. Any time the Ghusl is invalid then the prayer is also invalid.

Q. If a woman who does not have a regular cycle does not check herself at the time of breaking her fast and she sees blood 2-3 hours later, is her fast valid?

A. As long as she is not sure that her cycle started when she was fasting, she can assume her fast to be valid.

Q. Is using perfume to smell good an act of worship? Are females alowed to put perfume?

A. Putting on perfume is highly recommended, especially when praying. Women can also wear perfume as long as they do not attract/arouse non-Mahram men with their perfume. If they go to a place where men are present, and they would sense her perfume and be attracted to them, it would not be permissible to do so.

Q. A girl did not know that she had do ghusl after finishing her period. No one told her and she was completely unaware of this ruling. What happens to her fasts and prayers during that time?

A. As for her prayers, they must be repeated because purity is a necessary condition for prayer. If she is sure that she prayed without ghusl, then she must repeat those prayers that were performed without ghusl. If she performed other ghusls like the Friday Ghusl or Janaba Ghusl, that gave her purity and the prayers she offered with those ghusls are valid. As for her fasts, they are all valid since she did not deliberately skip the ghusl.


Wudhu - Ritual Ablution

Dua & Ziyarah - Supplications

Q. Do we the Shia believe that all of the members of the Ahlulbayt (a) can see us, hear us and know what’s in our hearts? Or is that power given only to the living Imam of our time?

A. We believe that all the infallible Imams of Ahlulbayt (a) have been given this capacity by God to know our actions. Allah says in 9:105:

وَقُلِ اعْمَلُوا فَسَيَرَى اللهُ عَمَلَكُمْ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ

"And Say, 'Keep working: Allah will behold your works and so will His Messenger and the believers.'" The word “believers” here refers to the Imams of Ahlulbayt (a). They are witnesses appointed by Allah, and a witness can see the actions of people. Remember that Satan, who is the enemy of God, has the ability to observe our actions and even read our thoughts sometimes. Hence, when you make an intention to do good, Satan tries to discourage you from it. If Satan has such an ability, then one should not find it difficult to accept that God's represetatives have such an ability as well (even to a greater extent).

Q. When Imam al-Hussain (a) asked his sister to remember him in Salatul Layl (Midnight prayers), how did he mean it? In our prayers we ask God to forgive our deceased, so when remembering Imam Hussain (a) do we also ask for his forgiveness?

A: We can remember Imam Hussain (a) in Salat al-Layl, not by asking forgiveness for him (because he was sinless), but by asking Allah to elevate his status and by sending Salawat on his soul. Also, it is recommended to seek forgiveness for living ones in our prayers, not just the deceased.

Q. If Imam Redha (a) was martyred on the 17th of Safar, then why is it marked on the calendar the 29th?

A. There are two narrations about that. One states 17 Safar, and one states last day of Safar. In Mashad, it is traditionally commemorated on the last day of Safar, whereas in Iraq it is commemorated on the 17th of Safar.

Q. I've heard that it's obligatory to recite salawat after hearing Prophet Muhammad's (s) name. Can you confirm this? Also, is it obligatory to recite salawat after the names of the Imams of Ahlulbayt (a)?

A. It is highly recommended to recite the Salawat after mentioning the name of the Prophet (s), but it is not mandatory. Yes, if someone deliberately avoids saying it on a regular basis, then that is tantamount to rejecting the instructions of the Prophet (s). It is not mandatory to say it after mentioning the names of the Imams (a).

Q. Some say Lady Zaynab (a) was buried in Syria, some say in Medina and some say in Egypt. The shrine she has in Syria is that actually her final resting place?

A. This issue is disputed by scholars. There are multiple opinions on where she was buried, but the most accepted one is that she is buried in Syria.

Q. Who is Lady Zainab?

A. Lady Zaynab Daughter of Ali Her father: Imam Ali son of Abu Taleb Her mother: Lady Fatima daughter of Prophet Mohammad Year of birth: 5 AH / 626 AD Place of birth: Holy city of Medina Year of death: 62 AH / 683 AD Age at death: 57 Place of burial: Damascus, Syria, or Egypt, or Medina Husband: Abdullah the son of Jafar ibn Abu Taleb (son of Jafar al-Tayyar) Children: Ali, Aun and Mohammad Notable siblings: Imam Hassan, Imam Hussain, Um Kulthoum, Abbas, Jafar, Abdullah, Mohammad ibn al-Hanafiyya Notable titles: Aqilah of Bani Hashem (Aqilah means a woman who is very honorable and generous), the Scholar and the Virtuous.

Q. Who is an “Imam” according to the Qur’an?

A. Imams are universal leaders and the highest status a human can achieve. The highest status Prophet Ibrahim (a) achieved was an Imam (see Qur’an 2:124). Prophet Muhammad (s) was also an Imam since he is a universal leader. The 12 Imams are also universal leaders and so they are Imams. We believe the 12 Imams are higher in status than all prophets except Prophet Muhammad (s) because their knowledge and level of infallibility were greater. They received their knowledge from Prophet Muhammad (a) and they had the full knowledge of the Qur’an, and the Qur’an supersedes all previous scriptures.

Q. Did Imam al-Redha (a) have any other children besides Imam al-Jawad (a)? Did he have any daughters?

A. According to many scholars, he did not have any daughters. He had only one child: Imam Jawad (a). Shaykh Mufid states that he did not have any other children. Yes, one historian has mentioned that he had a daughter by the name of Fatima, but this is not proven.

Q. Is knowing the Ahlulbayt (a) part of knowing God?

A.It has been reported that Imam al-Sadeq (a) said, “Hussain son of Ali (peace be upon them) met his companions and said: O people, Allah the Almighty did not create the creation except to know Him. If they come to know Him then they worship Him. If they come to worship Him, then worshipping Him suffices them and they will not need to worship other than Him. A man said to him: O son of the Messenger of Allah, may the life of my father and mother be sacrificed for you, what is knowing Allah? The Imam (a) replied: The people of every era knowing their Imam whom they are obligated to obey.”

Q. Did Imam Redtha as died 16/17th safar why it’s marked on the calendar 29th?

A. There are two narrations about that. One states 17 Safar, and one states last day of Safar. In Mashad, it is commemorated on the last day of Safar.

Q. Was Imam al-Redha (a) martyred on the 17th of Safar or 29th? I see some calendars marking it on the 29th.

A. A. There are two narrations about the date of his martyrdom. One states the 17 Safar while another states the last day of Safar. In Mashad, it is commemorated on the last day of Safar.

Q. It said that the Ahlulbayt (a) have all the knowledge because the Qur’an has all the knowledge and the Ahlulbayt fully know the Qur’an. But in 6:59 Allah says he is the only one who has the keys of the unseen. So how do we reconcile these two?

A. Yes, those keys of the unseen are with Allah, and only He independently Has access to them. No one besides Him has independent access to them. But Allah can give that key to whomever he wants. In Sura al-Jinn, verses 26-27, Allah makes it clear that He chooses to share that unseen knowledge with those whom He is pleased with. The Ahlulbayt (a) are among those whom Allah is fully pleased with.

Q. In one of the Du’as of Rajab, there is a passage that states: ‎"لا فرق بينك وبينها إلا أنهم عبادك وخلقك" It’s saying there is no difference between Allah and the Ahlulbayt (a) except that they are His slaves and creation. What does this mean?

A. Here is how we can understand this passage:

1- Allah and the Ahlulbayt (a) are on the same team and connected to each other strongly. Obeying them is obeying Allah. Pleasing them is pleasing Allah. Their will is also the will of Allah because they don’t will what God does not will. They always will and want whatever Allah wants and wills. So, from this aspect there is no difference between their will.

2- The fact that they are his slaves makes all the difference. That’s like saying: there is no difference between a human and rock except that the human has intellect. Well, that’s the biggest difference. So, this is just another way of saying that there is the biggest difference between them, yet at the same time maintaining that they are connected to each other.

Q. I have heard that Imam Ali (a) did not take back the Land of Fadak because “when something is taken from the Ahlulbayt (a) it is not taken back from them.” Is this true?

A. We have hadiths that state Imam Ali (a) did not take back Fadak because the Ahlulbayt (a) don’t try to take back something which was taken from them even if it was taken unjustly. This is what the Prophet (s) did during the conquest of Mecca. He did not take back his house. Imam Ali (a) wanted to follow his footsteps. Secondly, the Imam did not want people to see it as a personal issue and that the Imam cares about materialistic things. Third, the Imam wanted the punishment of the usurper to continue and the reward of Lady Fatima (a) to continue. He wanted everyone to witness this act of injustice against Lady Fatima (a). Fourth, the Imam only ruled 4 years. There was no point in claiming it back when Muawiya and Yazid would confiscate it again.


Q. Who Is Imam Mahdi's (a) Mother?

A. Some narrations indicate she was the descendant of Sham'oon (Simon), the disciple of Prophet Jesus (a). Imam Mahdi's mother was the granddaughter of a Roman emperor. She fled to Iraq and married Imam Hassan al-Askari (a). She was a very noble and righteous woman. She has numerous names and titles, but her most famous name is Narjes. She is buried in the city of Samarra, Iraq.

Q. How old is Imam al-Mahdi (a)?

A. Imam Mahdi (a) was born in year 255 in the Hijri lunar calendar. Given that this year is 1440, that makes him 1185 years. In the solar calendar, he was born in the year 869, which makes him 1150 years old in 2019.

Q. What is the best way to establish a connection with Imam Mahdi a.j. in the month of Ramadhan?

A. It is recommended to pay charity on his behalf, read Qur’an and gift the reward of the recitation to him, recite Du’a al-Faraj frequently especially during the Nights of Power, and constantly ask Allah to hasten his reappearance. It is also recommended to gain knowledge on him, his occultation, and what is expected from us during his occultation by reading books, articles and listening to lectures on these topics.

Q. When the Raj’a (return) occurs after the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a), would the family of Imam Hussain (a) be revived aswell such as Ali Al-akbar, Al-Abbas, Sayeda Zainab, Al-Qasim etc.?

A. There is no hadith that specifically mentions they will return, but the hadiths that describe who will return definitely apply to them. One hadith states the likes of Salman and Ammar will return.

Q. Why is Imam al-Mahdi (a) in occultation?

A. One possible reason is for us to better appreciate our divinely appointed leaders. All eleven Imams before him were killed or poisoned. The more we appreciate our Imam and the more we realize that he is our only savior on earth, the more Allah will hasten his reappearance.

Q. Will Ya’juj and Ma’juj (Gog and Magog) appear before the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a) or after?

A. It is not known when exactly they would emerge. Narrations indicate they will emerge before the “hour” or the Day of Judgment. A number of scholars understand that this will happen after the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a). After he establishes his government, when the Day of Judgment gets closer, they will emerge and cause massive corruption on earth.

Q. Is it true that some of the 313 companions of Imam Mahdi (a) will be women? If yes, why is there a need for them?

A. Yes one hadith states that 50 of them will be women. In the end women play an important role in society, and they achieve things men cannot. They have their unique influence, so they will be given a chance to be among the 313.

Q. How can an ordinary person differentiate between the actual Mahdi (a) and the false impersonator at the time of his reappearance?

A. Those who did good in their lives and have the correct belief system, Imam Sadeq (a) says “it will be clearer than the sun” to them. Allah will guide us to the real Imam. Secondly, we need knowledge. The true characteristics of our Imam are mentioned in our hadiths. If we familiarize ourselves with these teachings, we will know the real Imam. The Imam’s way is the way of the Prophet (s) and Imam Ali (a). Those impersonators won’t follow the footsteps of the Prophet and Imam Ali. So, if we are even familiar with the teachings and ways of the Prophet and Imam Ali, we’ll easily know the Imam.

Q. If Imam Mahdi (a) is aware of our circumstances and needs, why do we write the Areedha (letter) for him?

A. The Areedha helps us connect with the Imam. It humbles our hearts. It reminds us we have a living Imam. We sometimes need tangible things to interact with. Abstract concepts are difficult to grasp for a lot of people. Secondly, it’s a formal way of communicating with the Imam. Sometimes you just call your friend and tell him: hey help me. Sometimes you write a nice a letter to him asking him for help. Which one is more effective sometimes? Writing an official letter is sometimes more effective.

Q. If it is written that Imam Mahdi (a) will reappear on a Friday, the 10th of Moharram, then why should we wait for him in the year during which the 10th of Moharram does not fall on a Friday?

A. The Imam reappearing on the 10th of Muharram, on a Friday, is contingent. Different factors can change that, like our deeds. It’s like saying: this year graduation is scheduled for June 20, but this date could be changed due to various school factors. So, we always have to be prepared. We should always be righteous and ready, because we can die any moment. So being prepared ensures we are saved.

Q. Imam Mahdi (a) is aware of what happens to us. But what’s the point in that when he cannot do anything? Children are dying in Yemen, so why isn’t he helping them?

A. The Imam assumes many roles in this life. The Imam works on behalf of Allah behind the scenes. Many bigger tragedies are avoided because of his blessings. Many believers are helped and guided and saved through him. But yes, life is a trial, so there is suffering as well. Doesn’t Allah see what happens in Yemen and elsewhere? Why doesn’t He do anything? First, He does. Second, it’s a trial. Allah wants people to come together and fight oppression. He doesn’t want to do everything for us. If you go to your final exam date and your teacher solves the questions for you, is he a good teacher? Allah doesn’t fix all of our mistakes. He fixes some of them. But we have to be responsible and stop the injustice. This is our trial.

Q. I have heard that the 313 companions of Imam Mahdi (a) must be complete for him to reappear. Why can’t it be that some righteous ones who passed away be resurrected and that way the 313 will be complete?

A. God wants the current generations to have 313 righteous companions. He wants us to work hard and achieve that. Then Allah will resurrect good people from the past to help. If the 313 would come from the past only, then many would not make the effort to be good and be among the 313. Many people would say: let’s just wait for those past ones to come and save us. That’s not healthy. Allah wants the people of each generation to work hard

Q. Is it true that we are responsible for the delay in Imam Mahdi’s (a) reappearance by sinning? I thought if people fill the earth with sins, the Imam will reappear faster?

A. The actual reappearance is a promise from Allah that must happen. The timing of it depends on many factors, one of which is our deeds. The more good deeds we offer and the more we realize we need a representative from Allah to guide us, the faster he will reappear. Yes, once most people become utterly careless and spread corruption to an excessive extent, he will reappear. But here’s the point: the world doesn’t have to be filled with injustice for the Imam to reappear. We don’t have to wait till it reaches this terrible point. We can avoid that and do good deeds and he will appear faster.

Mustahab Aamal

Q. Do you have to recite the Ziyarah of the Ahlulbayt (a) in Arabic if you do not read Arabic? Do you receive the same reward when you listen to someone else recite the Ziyarah on YouTube?

A. To maximize the benefit of any Ziyarah, it is recommended to read it in Arabic yourself. Of course, one who does not understand Arabic should read the translation first to know what he/she will be reading. One gets the reward for hearing it be recited, but the effect of reciting it yourself is greater. It is recommended to recite the words of the Ziyarah as you hear them being recited.

Q. Is Du’a al-Tawassul authentic?

A. As for Du’a Tawassul, we do not have a solid chain that goes back to the Imams. Allamma al-Majlisi states that he came across this Du’a from a trusted book which attributes it to Shaykh al-Sadouq, and he is trustworthy of course, but we do not know what his chain was to the Imams. So, if the issue in question here is the chain of the Du’a, then it does not have a solid/strong chain. However, this does not mean that the Du’a is not authentic. Many scholars believe that the content of the Du’a is valid and verified by other hadiths.

Q. Who is the author of Ziyarat Ashura?

A. Imam Sadeq (a) narrates Ziyarat Ashura to us, but the Ziyarat is actually Hadith Qudsi. This means that Allah swt composed the Ziyarat, then Jibra’eel delivered it to the Prophet (s), then he delivered it to the Imams (a).

Q. What is the authenticity of Hadith al-Kisaa' as we know it in our books? There is no doubt that the first half of it happened but what about the details after Gabriel visits them?

A. It is disputed whether Hadith al-Kisaa’ has a verifiable, solid and strong chain. Some scholars believe it has a solid chain that goes through Bahrani. Others dispute that because they do not know if that was the actual handwriting of Bahrani. In any case, many scholars agree that the content of the second part of the Hadith is authentic, correct and verified by other sources. We have to remember that many hadiths and Duas did not survive in history, especially those that addressed the high virtues of the Ahlulbayt (a). The Shia were always persecuted and their enemies would make an effort to obliterate such Hadiths and Du’as. Hence, we may not have a solid chain of narrators for some of them, but once we study their content, we can verify the content through other authentic hadiths.

Q. Narrations recommend us to recite Ziyarat Ashura for 40 days when faced with difficulties, and we are asked to recite the La’n and Salam 100 times each. Even though I try, I usually fall short on completing this because of time constraints, so is there a shorter way? If so, will this minimize the benefits of Ziyarat Ashura?

A. There is not a specific hadith that recommends us to recite Ziyarat Ashura for 40 days. However, we have hadiths that indicate doing a good deed for 40 days has amazing benefits, and this applies to Ziyarat Ashura. Hence, scholars recommend reciting it for 40 days, and it has been proven to help with difficult situations. If one cannot say the La’an and Salam 100 times each, one may recite them once then say, “100 times.” Reciting Ziyarat Ashura this shorter way is effective, but reciting it with the full 100 times has a maximum effect.

Q. Are there any Du’as which help with clearing debts?

A. 1- Recite “Ya Razzaq” 360 times every day 2- Recite this Dua By Imam Zayn al-Abidin (a) ‎اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِهِ ، وَ هَبْ لِيَ الْعَافِيَةَ مِنْ دَيْنٍ تُخْلِقُ بِهِ وَجْهِي ، وَ يَحَارُ فِيهِ ذِهْنِي ، وَ يَتَشَعَّبُ لَهُ فِكْرِي ، وَ يَطُولُ بِمُمَارَسَتِهِ شُغْلِي‏ وَ أَعُوذُ بِكَ ، يَا رَبِّ ، مِنْ هَمِّ الدَّيْنِ وَ فِكْرِهِ ، وَ شُغْلِ الدَّيْنِ وَ سَهَرِهِ ، فَصَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِهِ ، وَ أَعِذْنِي مِنْهُ ، وَ أَسْتَجِيرُ بِكَ ، يَا رَبِّ ، مِنْ ذِلَّتِهِ فِي الْحَيَاةِ ، وَ مِنْ تَبِعَتِهِ بَعْدَ الْوَفَاةِ ، فَصَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِهِ ، وَ أَجِرْني مِنْهُ بِوُسْعٍ فَاضِلٍ أَوْ كَفَافٍ وَاصِلٍ. ‎اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِهِ ، وَ احْجُبْنِي عَنِ السَّرَفِ وَ الِازْدِيَادِ ، وَ قَوِّمْنِي بِالْبَذْلِ وَ الِاقْتِصَادِ ، وَ عَلِّمْنِي حُسْنَ التَّقْدِيرِ ، وَ اقْبِضْنِي بِلُطْفِكَ عَنِ التَّبْذِيرِ ، وَ أَجْرِ مِنْ أَسْبَابِ الْحَلَالِ أَرْزَاقِي ، وَ وَجِّهْ فِي أَبْوَابِ الْبِرِّ إِنْفَاقِي ، وَ ازْوِ عَنِّي مِنَ الْمَالِ مَا يُحْدِثُ لِي مَخِيلَةً أَوْ تَأَدِّياً إِلَى بَغْيٍ أَوْ مَا أَتَعَقَّبُ مِنْهُ طُغْيَاناً . ‎اللَّهُمَّ حَبِّبْ إِلَيَّ صُحْبَةَ الْفُقَرَاءِ ، وَ أَعِنِّي عَلَى صُحْبَتِهِمْ بِحُسْنِ الصَّبْرِوَ مَا زَوَيْتَ عَنِّي مِنْ مَتَاعِ الدُّنْيَا الْفَانِيَةِ فَاذْخَرْهُ لِي فِي خَزَائِنِكَ الْبَاقِيَةِ وَ اجْعَلْ مَا خَوَّلْتَنِي مِنْ حُطَامِهَا ، وَ عَجَّلْتَ لِي مِنْ مَتَاعِهَا بُلْغَةً إِلَى جِوَارِكَ وَ وُصْلَةً إِلَى قُرْبِكَ وَ ذَرِيعَةً إِلَى جَنَّتِكَ ، إِنَّكَ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ ، وَ أَنْتَ الْجَوَادُ الْكَرِيمُ 3- After the Morning Prayer, put your hand on your heart and say 70 times “Ya Fattah” يا فتاح

Q. What is Talqin تلقين? What impact does it have? Can the Duas of Ahlulbayt (a) be a form of Talqin?

A. Talqin means to repeat something (to someone or to yourself) until one understands it or memorizes it well.

Talqeen plays a big role in:

Strengthening one’s faith

Putting positive beliefs in one’s subconscious

Strengthening self confidence

It’s basically when a person constantly reminds himself of the truth, or what is right, or of God and the correct religion.

Du’as are definitely a great form of Talqin.

Modern marketing and advertising techniques use this method to market a product and make people buy it.

Q. Who authored Du’a al-Iftitah?

A. Sayed ibn Tawoos, in his book Iqbal al-A’mal, attributes this Du’a to Mohammad ibn Othman al-Amri, who was the second deputy of Imam al-Mahdi (a). This Du’a was found in his book of supplications. Many scholars believe that he took this Du’a from Imam al-Mahdi (a), since al-Amri would never compose anything of his own and he was keen on conveying the teachings of Imam Mahdi (a) to his followers.

Q. Who Authored Du'a al-Iftitah?

A. Sayed ibn Tawoos, in his book Iqbal al'A'mal, attribues this Du'a to Mohammad ibn Othman al-Amri, who was the second deputy of Imam al-Mahdi(a). This Du'a was found in his book of supplications. Many scholars believe that he took this Du'a from Imam al-Mahdi (a), since al-Amri would never compse anything of his own and he was keen on conveying the teachings of Imam al-Mahdi (a) to his followers.

Q. If I am in a state of Janabah, can I read any Du’as?

A. Yes, you may read any Du’as, such as Du’a Kumayl or Du’a al-Ahd. A person in the Janabah may also recite the Qur’an except for these 4 chapters: An-Najm, Iqra’, Fussilat and As-Sajdah.

Recommended Acts of Worship

Q. Did Imam Zain al-Abidin (a) teach Yazid Salah al-Ghufayla? Is it an authentic prayer?

A. Salat al-Ghufayla is an authentic and recommended prayer that is to be performed between Maghrib and Ishaa Prayers. As for the story that the Imam (a) taught Yazid to pray it, we do not have a solid chain of narration for this story, so we cannot verify whether it happened or not. It is a commonly told story, but we cannot find a source for it. Assuming it is a true story, Yazid asked the Imam (a) if God could forgive him for what he did. The Imam told him since God’s mercy is infinite, if one truly repents, then there is room for forgiveness. So, he asked the Imam (a) to teach him an act that can help him start repenting, and the Imam told him about this prayer. But the Imam knew Yazid was not serious and genuine, and he would not have the success to do it or repent. Yazid did not end up preforming this prayer.

Q. I know Salatul Layl and memorization of Surah Al Shams is for improving memory. Anything else to improve your memory?

A. Repeating Tasbeeh al-Zahra (a) 10-20 times after the Fajr Prayer helps with memory, and memorizing the Qur'an in general is also effective for improving memory.

Q. How do we recite Qunoot in Salah al Witr?

A. It’s mustahab to say in the Qunoot of Salat al-Watr the following: / Say 7 times - استجير بالله من النار / Ask Allah to forgive 40 believers, and try to mention them by name. / Say 70 times - استغفر الله واتوب اليه / Say 300 times – العفو

Q. Can I pray Salatul Layl (Night Prayer) before religious midnight, or do I have to wait until it is midnight?           

A. According to a number of scholars, it is possible to pray it before midnight, for any reason, though it is recommended to pray it after midnight. A number of other scholars, however, state that one can pray it before midnight only if he has an excuse, such as traveling or his sleep is too deep and hence, he cannot get up after midnight to pray.

Q. What is the best way to do Sajdah al-Shukr? What do we recite in this Sujood?

A. It is recommended after each of the daily prayers to prostrate and say “Shokran Lillah” (thanking God) three times. The more recommended way of observing this Sujood is by offering two Sujuds in the following manner: Prostrate on your forehead and say Shokran Lillah 3 times. Then without raising your head slide your forehead to the right side and say it again 3 times. Then without lifting your head switch to the left side of your forehead and say it three times. These two sides of the forehead are called Jabeen in Arabic, and the forehead is called Jabha. Then lift your head and put your right cheek on the ground and say it 3 times, then your left cheek and say it 3 times, then finally put your forehead on the ground and say it 3 times. In total you will say it 18 times, and the last time you put your forehead on the ground constitutes a second Sujood. Hence this act is called “The two Sujoods of Shokr” (Sajdatay as-Shokr in Arabic).

Q. What is Salat Jafar Al-Tayar? Can we pray it at any time?

A. It is a prayer Prophet Mohammad (s) taught his cousin Jafar son of Abu Taleb to honor his sacrifices. It can be prayed anytime but the best time is Friday before noon. It carries an immense reward and fulfills one’s needs. It is 4 units (rak’at), prayed two by two. In the first unit after Sura Fatiha, Sura Zilzila is recited, and in the second unit Sura Aadiyaat, and in the third Nasr, and in the fourth Ikhlaas. In each unit, the phrase, “Subhanallahi wal hamdulillahi wa la ilaha illa Allahu wallahu akbar” is recited 15 times right before Ruku’, and then 10 times in the Ruku’, right after standing from Ruku’, in the first Sujud, while sitting after the first Sujud, in the second Sujud and finally after the second Sujud while sitting down. The total number of times it will be recited in each unit is 75, and in all four units is 300.

Q. When we pray and gift the reward of the prayer to Prophet Muhammad (s), the Imams of Ahlulbayt (a), or deceased from our family, do we still get rewards?

A. Yes, you will receive the full reward. In fact, your reward will be multiplied because when you gift a prayer to the Ahlulbayt (a), out of their generosity they will gift you back.

Q. A family member requests prayers for a tough professional exam they are about to take. Any special prayers and Dua for such an occasion?

A. We recommend reciting this prayer 4 times

“Allahomma inni atawajjahu ilayka bi nabiyyika nabiyyil rahma wa ahle baytihi-lladheena ekhtartahom ala ilmin alal alameen. Allahomma layyin lee so'obataha wa huzunataha wakfini sharraha fa innakal kafil mo'afi wal ghailbol qaher."

اللهم اني أتوجه إليك بنبيك نبي الرحمة وأهل بيته الذين اخترتهم على علم على العالمين اللهم لين لي صعوبتها وحزونتها واكفني شرها فإنك الكافي المعافي والغالب القاهر

Q. If someone in another country that is 10 hours ahead of my time passes away and is buried, should I pray Salat al-Wahsha for him when it is Maghreb time there or when it is Maghreb time here where I live?   

A. You should pray Salat al-Wahsha for him after Maghreb your time.

Q. Is it permissible to recite the adhan and iqama into a baby’s ear over the phone?        

A. Yes, it is permissible. Reciting them into a baby’s ear is recommended (not mandatory).

Q. Is there a recommended Dhikr (prayer) to say in your Sujoud other than Subhana Rabbial A’la wa be-hamdeh?        

A. Yes, it is recommended to say the following Dhikr: اللهم لك سجدت وبك آمنت ولك أسلمت وعليك توكلت وأنت ربي سجد وجهي للذي خلقه وشق سمعه وبصره والحمد لله رب العالمين تبارك الله أحسن الخالقين or: يا خير المسؤولين ويا خير المعطين ارزقني وارزق عيالي من فضلك فإنك ذوالفضل العظيم

Q. Any recommendations to stop nightmares?

A. The following is recommended: 1- Perform Wudhu right before you sleep 2- Avoid eating at least 2-3 hours before sleeping 3- Read this Dua before sleeping: آمَنْتُ بِاللَّهِ وَ كَفَرْتُ بِالطَّاغُوتِ، اللَّهُمَّ احْفَظْنِي فِي مَنَامِي وَ فِي يَقَظَتِي 4- Read this Dua as well: أعوذ بما عاذت به ملائكةُ الله المقربون وأنبياءُ الله المرسلون وعبادُ الله الصالحون من شر رؤياي التي رأيت أن تضرني في ديني ودنياي Then blow to your left side 3 times

Q. Is it permissible to perform salaat almayyit (prayer on the dead) remotely, such as via Zoom?

A. It does not count. It must be in person in the presence of the body.

Q. Is it recommended to fast on the Day of Arafah?

A. Yes, it is highly recommended if it does not weaken you from observing the recommended acts of worship of that day. There are many recommended acts to observe on the Day of Arafah. If fasting does not weaken you, then it’s recommended to fast.

Q. What time can one pray the Eid prayer?  

A. The time for the Eid prayer is from sunrise to Dhuhr.

Q. Sometimes I experience boredom when I do recommended acts, such as recommended prayers. Should I pressure myself to continue or should I stop?          

A. A beautiful hadith from Imam Ali (a) indicates that when you feel you are being repelled from recommended acts of worship, then stick to the mandatory ones. When you feel you are being repelled or bored, take a break, and when you feel more interested to do the recommended acts, do so. Yes, always try to find creative ways to create more interest in recommended acts. Sometimes with creativity one gains a lot of interest.

Q. Are we permitted to mention the name of God or read Qur’an in the bathroom?

A. Yes, it is permissible to mention God’s name or read Qur’an in the bathroom. In general, it’s Makrouh (discouraged) to talk while using the bathroom, but remembering God is an exception. According to one hadith, Prophet Musa (a) said: Oh God, I consider you too exalted to mention you in the bathroom. God replied to him, “Mentioning my name is always good.”

Q. Salaam, can we do our Friday ghusl on Thursday night or is it recommended to only do it on Friday?

A. It is highly recommended to do on Friday but if for some reason you take a shower on Thursday night, then you can do ghusl.

Q. When you say ghusl for Friday, what kind of Ghusl do we do? Is it similar to janabat?

A. If you are asking the method for the ghusl then yes, it is the same. just the intention should be doing ghusl al juma to get Allah's qurb.

Q. My friend passed away in Lebanon. Do I pray Salat al-Wahsha when it is Maghreb time here or there?

A. You would pray Salat al-Wahsha after the sun sets in your city, not when the sun sets in Lebanon.

Q. How do I pray Salat al-Wahsha?

A. It is highly recommended to offer this prayer when someone passes away and is buried. You offer two rak’as. In the first rak’a, after the Fatiha you recite Ayatul Kursi (2:255-257). In the second rak’a, after the Fatiha you recite Sura al-Qadr ten times. When you are done you say:

اللهم صلّ على محمدٍ وآل محمد، وابعث ثوابها الى قبر _____

You recite the Salawat, then say: O Allah gift the reward of this prayer to the grave of (mention the deceased name).

Q. How can we be grateful to Allah and all the blessings He has given us?

1- Always recognize you can never really do justice to the blessings of Allah or show him full gratitude. Recognizing this in itself is a form of gratitude to Allah.

2- Write all the blessings of Allah in a long list in a notebook. Think of all the factors Allah created and how he brought them together so you can live. A quick example is a slice of pizza. The dough was made from wheat, and the wheat was grown by a farmer. The rain came from thousands of miles away. So much work was done on the land. Then the harvest came. Then the wheat had to be milled. Then it was sent to a factory, then to a store, and then someone made the dough…Then think of the cheese and how it was made, and then the vegetables. It is mind blowing how millions of factors worked together so you can eat a slice of pizza. Think of such examples. They make you grateful.

3- Don’t waste any food or resources.

4- Use Allah’s resources in His obedience.

Q. Is it recommended to wear black in Muharram? And for how many days, 10 days or 40 days? Any hadiths about that?

A. It is recommended to express sorrow and sadness for the tragedy of Imam Hussain (a). Hence, if wearing black conveys this sadness, it becomes recommended. We have a hadith that states:

لمّا قتل الحسين بن عليّ (عليه السلام)، لبسن نساء بني هاشم السواد

“When Hussain son of Ali (a) was killed, the women of Bani Hashem wore black.”

And Imam al-Sajjad (a) sanctioned them wearing black. We don’t have any hadiths that specify how long black should be worn (10 or 40 or 60 days). The number of days can be decided by your culture or your personal conviction in expressing sadness for the tragedy of Karbala.


Q. Do we have a timeline (years) as to when Prophet Noah (A) was alive? During what century? 

A. Based on our hadiths, we can estimate some 6-7 thousand years ago, so possibly 5000 BC.    

Q. Is Prophet Adam's a.s. son Abel was a prophet?  

A. Able (Habeel) was killed during the life of Prophet Adam (a). The successor of Adam was one of his other sons called Sheeth (Seth). His full name is Hebatollah Sheeth.        

Q. Was Luqman given a choice to become a Prophet?         

A. A hadith by Imam Sadeq (a) says he was given a choice to be a caliph or receive wisdom, so he chose the latter. Caliph here means a ruler. So, when he refused to be a ruler, Prophet Dawood (a) was given this offer and he accepted to be caliph.

Q. Was Jesus (a) married? Did he have children?     

A. Prophet Jesus (a) never married and did not have any children. His pure mother Lady Mary (a) also never married, nor was she betrothed to anyone.

Q. Were all of the Prophets born prophets? Or did some become prophets later on in their life?

A. Allah (swt) decrees Prophets at birth (and even before their birth), so when Prophets are born, they are prophets. Yes, often times the prophethood of Prophets is not announced until later in their lives. According to one hadith Shia and Sunnis have narrated, Prophet Mohammad (s) said, “I was a prophet when Adam was between clay and water.”

Q. If prophets know that they are chosen by God, how come Prophet Musa (a) was "scared" when he received revelation?     

A. He was not scared because he did know that he was a prophet or because he receiver revelation. He got scared because he had never seen anything like that staff turning into a snake, and so his emotion of fear kicked in. This is normal. Sometimes you know something but seeing it might impact you differently. If you are taken to a lion and you are told that the lion will not hurt you 100%, and you have no doubts about that, but if the lion gets too close to you, then you still inadvertently get scared.

Q. How was Prophet Zakariya related to Lady Maryam since he helped raise her?

A. He was the husband of Maryam’s (a) aunt, as his wife Elizabeth was the sister of Maryam’s mother Hannah.

Q. Was Prophet Yusuf's brother Benjamin also a prophet?  

A. Apparently, he was not. Some narrations indicate that after Prophet Yousef (a), prophethood continued through the sons of his other brother Lawi.

Q. How did the children of Prophet Adam (a) procreate?

A. We have hadiths from Imam al-Sadeq (a) that Allah created two females for Yafeth and Sheeth, who were Adam’s sons. Once they had children, their children married one another (cousins married their cousins) and that’s how the progeny of Adam multiplied. Another hadith also states that Allah created two females, one for Qabeel and one for Habeel. As for the theory that Adam’s children married each other (siblings married their siblings), this is rejected by a number of our Hadiths. In one hadith, Imam al-Sadeq (a) states that God would not have the progeny of His prophet come from incest, and that incest was immoral in all eras.


Q. What is the difference between a prophet and a messenger?

A. Every messenger is a prophet, but not every prophet is a messenger. A prophet simply means that he receives revelation from Allah. A messenger means he has a message (like a divine book) to deliver to his people. Most prophets were not messengers.

Q. Were all of the Prophets born Prophets? Or did some become Prophets later on in their life?

A. Allah swt decrees Prophets at birth, so when Prophets are born they are Prophets. Yes, oftentimes the prophethood of prophets is not announced until later on in their lives.

Q. If I am not wrong the prophets also know beforehand that they are chosen/special right? But how come for example nabi Musa (as) was "scared" when he (as) got the revelation?

A. He was not scared because he did know that he was a prophet. He got scared because he had never seen anything like that stick turning into a snake, and so his emotion of fear kicked in. This is normal. Sometimes you know something but seeing it might impact you differently. If you are taken to a lion and you are told that the lion will not hurt you 100%, and you have no doubts about that, but if the lion gets too close to you, then you still inadvertently get scared.

Q. How was Prophet Zakariya related to Bibi Maryam since he helped raise her?

A. He was the husband of Maryam’s (a) aunt His wife Elizabeth was the sister of Maryam’s mother.

Q. Was Prophet Yusuf's a.s brother Benjamin also a prophet?

A. Apparently, he was not. Some narrations indicate that after Prophet Yousef (a), the prophethood was transferred to the sons of his brother Lawi.

Q. If prophets are chosen by God, then how come Prophet Musa (a) was scared when he was chosen for revelation? Doesn’t this mean he did not know he was a prophet?

A. Prophet Musa (a) was not scared because he did know that he was a prophet. He got scared because he had never seen anything like that stick turning into a snake, and so his emotion of fear kicked in. This is normal. Sometimes you know something but seeing it might impact you differently. If you are taken to a lion and you are told that the lion will not hurt you 100%, and you have no doubts about that, but if the lion gets too close to you, then you still inadvertently get scared. This is a natural human emotion.

Q. What language did Prophet Ibrahim (a) speak?   

A. Some reports indicate he spoke Aramaic (a branch of it called Siryani), and later he also spoke some early variation of Hebrew.

Q. Were all prophets born prophets? Or they became prophets and infallible later in life?

A. In the school of Ahlulbayt (a), we believe prophets are sinless before and after they receive revelation. Hence, we believe all prophets were born prophets, but their prophethood would later be announced and would later take effect. In Surah Maryam verse 30, the Qur’an quotes baby Jesus (a) saying, “I am the servant of Allah, He has given me the book, and He has made me a prophet.” Jesus (a) was born a prophet, but he received revelation later in his life when his official prophethood started.

Hajj - Ritual Pilgrimage

Q. I have been hearing stuff lately that going on ziyarah to the Imam as us more blessing than hajj. Is it because one is sahib and the other is by choice?

A. The mandatory Hajj (once in a lifetime) is more important than Ziyarah because the Hajj is a firm obligation. However, if someone has performed the Hajj and fulfilled that obligation, then going to Ziyara has a greater reward. There are several reasons for that, but I will mention two: (1) Hajj survived because of the sacrifice of the Imams (a), and if it weren’t for those sacrifices, there would be no Hajj. Essentially, Hajj without proper beliefs and specifically the belief in divine leaders whom Allah Has appointed is not the Hajj that God wants from us. (2) In Shura verse 23, Allah tells the Prophet to ask for nothing (in return for Islam) except the love of his family (Ahlulbayt). The Qur’an uses the word “Ajr” which means price in Arabic. For any transaction to be reasonable and just, the price you pay and the product you buy should be of similar value. If you buy something that is worth $100 for $500 that is not a just transaction. This verse states that Islam is the product the Prophet (s) delivered, and the price we have to pay for that product is loving the Ahlulbayt. Islam is priceless. So, the product you are buying from the Prophet is priceless. The price we pay for that product is loving the Ahlulbayt. Hence, this pray we pay is also priceless and of equal value to Islam and at the same level of Islam. Ziyarah represents a form of loving the Ahlulbayt, and so it is priceless and the reward Allah gives us for Ziyarah is infinite. It is more than Hajj.

Q. What is the philosophy of going to Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca)?

A. The Hajj is a journey of servitude to the Almighty God. We observe rituals that teach us humility and bring us closer to God. We meet other fellow pilgrims and realize that we are all equal in humanity. As we walk on the holy lands of Mecca and Medina, we remember the legacy of Prophet Mohammad (s). The Hajj is also an opportunity to break away from the daily routine and distractions of materialism and focus on spirituality, worship, and self-reflection.

Q. What are some recommended acts one can do at home for those not able to make it to the Hajj?

A. There is a recommended prayer to be observed for ten nights from the night of the first of Dhul Hijjah till the tenth night. Observing this prayer has the reward of going to the Hajj. Between Maghreb and Ishaa’ prayers, you pray 2 rak’as (2 units). In each unit, you recite Surah al-Fatiha, then Surah al-Ikhlaas, then you recite verse 142 of chapter # 7 (Al-A’raaf). For more information see: http://www.duas.org/zilhajj/zil1to9.htm

Q. I have read one condition to going to hajj is to pay Khums on my money. What if some of this money was not acquired through halal means?

A. It is always important to be free of religious dues, whether going to Hajj or not. One of the conditions of the Hajj is for the clothes of Ihraam to be 100% lawful. Hence, if one owes Khums, it must be paid before securing it. If the money acquired was not through halal means, and one does not know the exact amount of the haram money, and one does not have a way of returning the money to its rightful owners, then one can pay Khums on it and the remainder of the money will be halal.

Q. Is it true that Prophet Ibrahim (a) started the tradition of Hajj, and is it like the Hajj we know of today?

A. God commanded Prophet Ibrahim (a) to take his wife Hajar and son Prophet Ismaeel (a) to Mecca. Later God commanded him to construct the Kaa’ba with his son. God also commanded him to invite people to Mecca to offer the pilgrimage, and since that day the tradition of the Hajj started. The Hajj we know today is very similar to the Hajj when it started, but after Islam some changes were made to it to make it more complete.

Q. How do we address the criticism of the Hajj practice of sacrificing a lamb, as some see this as cruelty to animals?

A. Pilgrims are encouraged to be charitable and to think of the poor. Hence, when they complete their pilgrimage, they are to sacrifice a sheep and offer it to the poor. Sacrificing a lamb is not an Islamic invention. It existed thousands of years ago in Jewish traditions and in other monotheistic faiths. If Islamic procedures of slaughtering the sheep are observed, the animal does not experience torture or cruel pain. The animal quickly becomes unconscious. Several scientific studies have demonstrated this point.

Q. Is it true that the Black stone came down from Heaven?

A. Yes, the Black stone, which is mounted on one of the corners of the Ka’ba, originally came down from Heaven. It was originally white, then due to the sins of humans it turned black. There is an angel by the Black stone who sees the pilgrims and will witness on the Day of Judgment for the pilgrims that they observed the Hajj.

Q. Some Muslims do not perform Tawaf al-Nisa’ of Hajj. Why is this step so important?

A. According to the Ahlulbayt (a) school of thought, it is mandatory to offer Tawaf al-Nisa’ at the end of the Hajj. When one enters the state of Ihram, having a relationship with one’s spouse becomes unlawful. One must complete the rituals of the Hajj and finally perform Tawaf al-Nisa’ for one’s spouse to become lawful again. Skipping this Tawaf means that one’s spouse remains unlawful.

Q. The place of my employment will not allow me enough time to go and perform Hajj this year, so am I obligated to quit my job in order to perform hajj? I have the financial means to go, but I am not allowed the time to leave work for more than two weeks.

A. If you have the financial means to go to Hajj, then you are obligated to go. Talk to your employer and explain to them this religious requirement that you must fulfill. If going to the Hajj means you will lose your job, and there is no other job you can seek later, or you will have to go through unbearable hardship to find another job, then you are not required to go. There are some Hajj groups that make the journey in less than two weeks, so that is also an option.

Q. How do I know my Hajj has been accepted?

A. If you observed the conditions of the Hajj, and when you finish the Hajj you yearn to go back again and worship God there, then this is a sign of acceptance Insha’Allah.

Q. My siblings have cut me off and even though I have tried for many years to reconcile they have refused. This has prevented me from going to Hajj since I am afraid that cutting ties with blood relatives may render my Hajj unacceptable. What should I do?

A. The Hajj is an important obligation, and this is not a reason to avoid going to the Hajj. If you have tried to reconcile with them and they have refused, then you have fulfilled your part, and you are not sinful in the eyes of God. Hence, you should go to the Hajj and your Hajj will be acceptable Insha’Allah.

Q. When seeing the holy Kaaba for the first time, typically people will say that the first dua you make is accepted. Is there any basis for this in hadith? Or is it simply due to the virtue of the Kaaba being the symbolic house of Allah swt?

A. There are hadiths that state one’s prayer is answered when seeing the Ka’ba. It doesn’t say only the first time, so any time one sees the Ka’ba, the chances of having one’s Du’as accepted will increase.

Q. I am looking to send someone to perform Hajj on behalf of my deceased father. Can I send a female or must the person be a male?

A. The person performing the Hajj (called Na’eb in Arabic) can be female.

Q. Is it haram to cut my hair during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah?

A. No it is not haram. However, if you plan on sacrificing a sheep (called Odhjiyya in Arabic), it is recommended not to cut your hair for the first ten days. It’s highly recommended to sacrifice a sheep on the 10th, 11th, or 12th of Dhul Hijjah.

Q. If somebody was to act as a proxy (Na’eb) for a terminally ill or deceased person who has not been to Hajj before, and the proxy has also not done the Hajj before, would the proxy get the reward for completing Hajj for himself as well, or would he only be rewarded for fulfilling the contract on behalf of another?

A. The proxy would get the reward for completing the Hajj himself, and he actually gets more reward than the person whom he does the pilgrimage for. Yes, if the proxy has not done Hajj before, then he would have to do it again when he is capable to go.

Ghusl - Ritual Shower

Q. Is there a mandatory Ghusl (ritual shower) that’s to be done on the 40th days after giving birth? I know according to Sunnis there is, but Shia do Ghusl al-Nifas on the 10th day after birth.

A. There is no such mandatory Ghusl that must be done on the 40th. In Shia law, the Nifas is not necessarily ten days. If the postpartum bleeding stops before ten days, then a ghusl is required. In Sunni law, the maximum is 40 days, not 10.

Q. When you do Ghusl (ritual shower), how do you wash the head and neck, the right side and the left side precisely if the entire body gets wet in the shower?

A. It is okay for the entire body to get wet in the process of washing those parts. You do not have to keep the water from reaching other parts. The point is to fully wash those parts, regardless of whether other parts get wet or not.

Q. Can we do our Friday Ghusl (ritual shower) on Thursday night, or it can only be done on Friday?

A. It is highly recommended to observe the Friday Ghusl on Friday, but if you cannot observe it on Friday because you might not have access to water (for example you are traveling), then you can take it on Thursday. And if you miss it on Friday, you can make it up on Saturday.

Q. When you observe the Friday Ghusl, what kind of Ghusl is it? Is it similar to the Ghusl of Janabat?

A. The method of doing the Friday Ghusl is exactly the same as Ghusl of Janabat. The only difference is in the intention. Ghusl of Janabat is mandatory while the Friday Ghusl is recommended.

Q. Can you combine the Ghusl of Friday with the Ghusl of Janaba? Can both these ghusls be done with one intention?

A. Yes, both of these Ghusls—Janabah and Jumu’a—can be combined in one intention and Ghusl.

Q. If a person is doing Ghusl and once, they finish the right side, they switch off the water due to a drainage issue. They resume the Ghusl after 5 minutes or so with their left side. Is the Ghusl valid?

A. Yes, the Ghusl is valid.

Q. Can we do our Friday ghusl on Thursday night, or is it recommended to only do it on Friday?

A. It is highly recommended to do the ghusl on Friday, but if you know that you won’t be able to do it on Friday, then you can do it on Thursday night.

Month of Ramadhan

Q. What are the best acts of worship one can do in the month of Ramadhan?      

A. The best acts of worship are: 1- Keeping away from sins (piety) 2- Praying 20 rak’as (ten prayers of two units) every night. This is the Nafilah of the month of Ramadhan 3- Reciting the holy Qur’an 4- Giving charity 5- Keeping ties with family members and visiting them

Q. Are you obligated to feed someone who is not fasting or praying? I keep telling my kids about the importance of these acts but they refuse to listen.  

A. If your children do not fast and don’t have a medical excuse, then you should not offer them food during the day. You can make food for them before Fajr or after sunset.

Q. I have read that it is recommended to pray 1000 Rak’as in the Holy Month of Ramadhan, with a certain amount each night. How is this performed? 

A. It is recommended to pray 1,000 rak’as in the month of Ramadhan. Each night you pray 20 rak’as. That’s 30 x 20 = 600 Then on the 3 Nights of Qadr you pray an additional 100 rak’as. That’s 3 x 100 = 300. So far, we have 900 rak’as. In the last ten nights, there is an additional ten rak’as each night, so that’s 10 x 10 = 100. The total is 1000. For the 20 nightly rak’as, it’s mustahab to pray 8 of them after the Maghreb Prayer and 12 of them after the Ishaa prayer. But you can pray them whenever you want at night. No need to say anything. Just fatiha and sura, and if you want to skip the second sura you can.

Q. What happens if I am not sure if tomorrow is the beginning of the month of Ramadhan or the last day of Shaaban? Which Niyyah do I make for fasting? Is this referred to as Yawm al-Shak, day of doubt?           

A. We must fast Yawm al-Shak with the intention of it being from Shaaban not Ramadhan. If it turns out to be Ramadhan, then it will have counted towards Ramadhan.

Q. What is meant by hadiths which say that the gates of hell are closed and devils are bound in the month of Ramadhan? Is this in the literal sense?         

A. One meaning is that the gates of Allah’s mercy and forgiveness are so wide open that people are easily forgiven for their sins. Another meaning is that when we fast in Ramadhan, we are less likely to sin, and we are more likely to observe the sanctity of the Month of Ramadhan. Hence, sinful behavior usually decreases in the Month of Ramadhan.

Q. The recommended worship for Laylatul Qadr can be overwhelming and I have to work early the next day, could you name the most important A’maal for me to concentrate on?     

A. Among the best A’mal for the Night of Power is: 1- Seeking knowledge (learn something about your faith, even if it is brief) 2- Recite Suras Ankabout, Roum and Dukhan 3- Put the Qur’an on your head and read the recommended prayer mentioned in books of supplication 4- Asking Allah to hasten the reappearance of Imam Mahdi 5- Praying for your parents, family members and all believers 6- Recite Sura Qadr as much as you can 7- Recite the Ziyara of Imam Hussain.

Q. During the month of Ramadan if a woman forgets to do her ghusl after her cycle and only has a few minutes left until fajr, can she do a quick tayamum and fast that day?         

A. If she deliberately delays the ghusl until Fajr then her fast would be invalid, but as long as she was not deliberate (she forgot), then she can do the ghusl when she remembers even if Fajr is just a few minutes away or Fajr actually set. She does not do Tayammum in this case. She does ghusl.       

Q. What does Ramadhan Mean?      

A. 1- One meaning comes from the root word “Ramdh” which means hot or to burn. The month of Ramadhan burns one’s sins (it purifies us from sins). 2- Ramadhan is also one of the names of Allah. Hence, when referring to the month of Ramadhan, we should always say “Month of Ramadhan” and not “Ramadhan” by itself.


Q. What is the dress code for Muslim girls when they are in front of other girls? My friends say you can show under the knees and wear sleeveless.

A. Only the private parts must be covered. Of course, it is advised that they dress appropriately.

Q. I really want to wear the hijab, but my mother is discouraging me for fear of being the target of discrimination at school. I do not want to disobey my mom, but at the same time I cannot ignore the command of Allah?

A. Try your best to convince your mother and have people whom your mother respect talk to her and convince her. Assure your mother that you are confident, you are strong and that if you encounter discrimination you will report it. Remind your mother how much you love her and respect her, but at the same time ask her to give you the freedom to obey the laws of God.

Q. If a lady wears the hijab but in an inappropriate way (tight clothes, showing arms, showing body tattoos) and she is in the presence of non-related men, does she still get a reward for at covering her hair?

A. We cannot say that she won’t get any reward for covering the hair, but Hijab is not just the headscarf. That’s one part of Hijab. The Hijab must be complete and must fall within the standards of Islamic modesty. Tight clothes that provocatively reveal the shape of the body, body tattoos, etc... violate the standards of Hijab. Men must also observe the standards of modesty. It’s haram for them to dress provocatively. The Qur’an is very clear that a woman cannot show her “Zeena” except to her relatives. Anything that socially qualifies as Zeena would be haram to show to non-Mahram males

Q. It’s haram to look at pictures of non-mahram female Muslim. In the current age of social media, what is the best way to cope with this? I have close cousins who are Muslims but don’t wear the hijab and they often share pictures of their families without hijab. Can a man see their pictures without Hijab?

A. If a Muslim woman doesn’t wear the hijab, and she is the type who “wouldn’t wear it if she were told to” as the hadith states, then you can see her and her picture—provided that no lustful feelings are involved and that it would not lead to any immorality. But if the woman wears hijab, one cannot see a picture of her without hijab. In any case, pious men do not fix their gaze at a woman who does not wear hijab or has make up on.

Q. Is it obligatory to observe hijab around one’s nephews? What about the children of one’s stepsisters from father’s first wife?

A. Nephews are Mahram, so a woman doesn’t need to observe hijab in their presence. As for stepsisters, if your father had another wife (not your mom) and that wife had sisters, and those sisters have sons, then those sons are not mahram to you, so you should wear hijab in their presence.

Food and Beverages

Q. Is lobster haram because it is boiled to death in water?

A. Most Shia scholars consider lobster haram, regardless of how it dies. As for those who do consider it halal, then it must die outside of the water to be halal since all sea animals must die outside of the water to become halal. Thus, if lobster is cooked in boiling water alive, it will not be halal. In addition to that, boiling lobster to death is inhumane and cruel. Other methods should be considered.

Q. I have recently come across a product called rennet which is used mostly in making different types of cheese. Being a cheese lover, I was wondering if its halal, since it’s an animal product. Would cheese made with this be halal?

A. Rennet itself is halal because we have hadiths that the rennet in a calf is pure even if the calf was not slaughtered the Islamic way. We don’t have certainty that the rennet was made Najes (impure) when it was extracted out of the stomach of the calf, so the Law of Purity applies. Yes, if you are confident that the rennet was made Najes (for instance the knife that was used to cut the non-halal calf became Najes and the same knife came in contact with the rennet), then cheese made with rennet would be haram.

Q. Is beef-extracted gelatin deemed haram or halal?

A. Scholars have stated that if gelatin undergoes a complete transformation (such that in the eyes of the people it is a completely different substance, like something burning and turning into ashes), then the gelatin would be halal. However, many Maraje’, based on their understanding of the process to make gelatin, believe that it does not undergo a complete transformation that would render it halal. Hence, if the beef is not halal them the gelatin extracted from it would not be halal. Some Maraje’ believe it goes through total transformation and hence say it is halal.

Q. Is there evidence of beef being Makrooh (not recommended)?

A. It’s not haram in Islamic Law, but it is Makrooh. Some scholars have said eating beef regularly is Makrooh, but if it’s occasional (once a week or once a month) then it’s ok. Lamb is highly recommended

Q. There is chewing gum with 2% sugar alcohol. Is it halal to consume it?

A. Sugar alcohol is halal and does not contain ethanol that makes one drunk

Q. Are we allowed to consume food that contains alcohol, such as vanilla extract?

A. According to a number of scholars, if the overall amount of alcohol in the product is less than 2%, then it’s permissible to consume it. If it’s more then it’s haram. One would have to check the product ingredients and see how much alcohol is in it. Note that this does not apply to wine or beer. Any concentration of wine/beer is Najes, and therefore makes the food Najes.

Q. If a non-Muslim who is not Christian or Jewish (People of the Book) offers me vegetarian food, can I eat it?

A. If the hands of this person came into direct contact with the food, and either his hand was moist/wet or the food was moist/wet, then the food becomes Najes and cannot be eaten (unless it’s washed—if that’s possible). But if you are not certain that he touched the food with moisture, the Law of Purity applies and you can eat the food. If you are confident, she touched the food with wet hands, or the food was moist/wet, then the food is najes. If you can wash it do so. If you can’t then yes do not eat it.

Q. My friend eats at a restaurant that fries its veggie burger with oil that is used to fry haram hamburgers. This makes the oil impure. Am I obligated to inform my friend?

A. You may inform your friend (and it is a good idea to do so) but you are not obligated to do so.

Q. Is imitation crab halal?

A. Most scholars state that crab is not halal, but imitation crab is halal because it usually made from starch and white fish. It does not have any crab part

Q. If haram food and halal food are cooked in the same oven does it all become najis from the moisture or would it not be najis as long as they do not mix? For example, if two pizzas are cooked in one oven and one of them contains haram meat, would the other one become najes?

A.  There is no certainty that moisture from the haram meat made the oven Najes, so the Law of Purity applies and the other pizza would be halal to eat.

Q. Is balsamic vinegar halal? What about red wine vinegar?

A. All types of vinegar are halal, even if they were made from wine. When wine changes over to vinegar, it becomes pure and halal.

Q. My nephew is not Muslim. I usually prepare food for him. Can I buy bacon and make it for him?

A. According to most scholars, offering pork to non-Muslims is not permissible. Hence, you should excuse yourself from buying bacon for your nephew. Offer to buy him alternatives such as beef.

Q. What are some recommended foods to eat according to our hadiths?

A. Some recommended foods to eat are honey, raisins (specifically 21 raisins first thing in the morning), dates, walnuts, pomegranates, quince, squash, lentils and vinegar. Among the meats, lamb is the most recommended to eat, but not every day. Eating meat every day is not recommended.

Q. If a food ingredient has been eaten that is potentially haram (say gelatin whose source is unknown) is it considered a sin due to negligence?

A. If one knowingly eats something haram it’s sinful. But if one didn’t know then it’s not a sin. And one is not obligated to investigate the ingredients found in products (though it’s recommended to do so). If one suspects he ate something haram, he can offer a good deed and ask Allah to use this deed to compensate for any potential negative spiritual effects incurred by eating it.

Q. If someone is sharing the kitchen with People of the Book, and one will be cooking his halal food in the same pan and oil that they will cook their non-halal chicken in, is this permissible?

A. Since the pan and oil will be najes (impure) because of the non-halal chicken, you cannot cook your food in it unless you thoroughly wash the pan and use new oil.

Q. What do scholars say about consuming gelatin that comes from a non-halal animal?

A. Most scholars say it’s not proven that gelatin goes through total transformation (istehala) such that it becomes pure and halal. Hence one should not eat gelatin from non-halal sources

Q. Is the drink Laziza halal?

A. There are different types of such drinks. If the drink goes through fermentation and alcohol is generated, even if it’s a small amount, then it’s haram. If it doesn’t go through fermentation then it’s permissible to drink it. Now if it says 0% alcohol on the label of the drink, then it seems that it doesn’t go through fermentation and would be permissible.

Q. I consumed a product and later discovered there was alcohol in it. I prayed a couple of hours after I consumed that product. Is my prayer valid?

A. Yes, your prayer is valid.

Taqleed - Following an Islamic Scholar

Q. Is it haram to work for a company that gives out loans based on interest?

A. If your role in that company is directly giving out the loan to the customer, such as negotiating the rate and offering the loan amount, then it’s haram. Otherwise, it’s halal (such as working in a department of that company that doesn’t directly put you in a position to give the interest-based loan to the customer).

Q. I have the option to work at Kroger. The problem is that they sell alcohol. Am I allowed to work there?

A. You are allowed to work there provided you do not stock the alcohol and scan it for the customers.

Q. I work as an Uber or taxi driver. Sometimes I have to deliver wine or alcohol. Is this permissible?

A. It is not permissible to deliver alcohol or wine. You must excuse yourself from taking such orders. If it happened that you were given such an order, cancel taking the order and avoid delivering it.


Questions Pertaining to Women

Questions Pertaining to Children

Q. There is a hadith that states when children become ten years old, “make them sleep in separate beds.” What does this mean?           

A. It means that Islam wants children to grow up with Haya’ (decency and sense of privacy). When they’re about to reach puberty, they should not sleep in the same bed next to each other, because it would not be too appropriate to have them sleep under the same blanket. Children who are about to physically mature sometimes want to explore their physical changes, so it’s better to have the sleep separately.    

Q. What happens to our children when they die? Does their soul experience Barzakh?

A. Children die sinless, earn the full forgiveness of Allah, and they meet their parents at the gates of paradise. In the meantime, hadiths indicate they are being taken care of by Prophet Ibrahim (a) and his wife Sara, or by Lady Fatima (a) in one of the heavens.

Q. When do boys and girls become religiously mature and obligated according to Islamic Law?

A. 1. For girls, most scholars state they become mature at 9 lunar years (so about 8 years and 8 months). Some scholars have said they become mature when they have their first period or when they turn 13 lunar years (whichever comes first).

2- For boys, they become mature when one of the following signs occur:

-They produce semen (such as in a wet dream)

-Coarse hair grows in their pubic area

-They turn 15 lunar years

Battle of Karbala

Family of Ahlulbayt (PBUT)

Companions of Ahlulbayt (PBUT)


Life of Prophet Muahammad (PBUH)

Lady Fatima (a)

Allah swt

Zakat, Sadeqa, Khums

Q. Is this something we should keep in mind when looking for a spouse: how many opposite gender friends they have?

A. It depends on what that friendship is. If they are too comfortable with those opposite gender friends, and they cross Islamic boundaries with them, then yes that could be a red flag. But if those friendships are strictly professional, they don’t get too close to each other, and Islamic guidelines are maintained, then it should not be an issue.    

Q. If one’s husband/wife dies, will the father-in-law and mother-in-law continue to be Mahram on the person?           

A. Yes, they remain Mahram for good.         

Q. What is your advice on taking an estekhara (kheera) for marriage?       

A. It’s advised that one does his/her best in researching about their potential spouse, consulting people with wisdom and knowledge, and then if they’re still stuck/hesitant and unable to make a decision then one could seek an estekhara.     

Q. What is a Khul’i divorce?   

A. By default, the normal divorce is the Raj’i, revocable divorce. In a revocable divorce, the husband initiates the divorce and he can return to his wife during the Iddah period (three cycles). A Khul’i divorce is when the wife seeks a divorce, but the husband does not prefer to divorce. In a Khul’i divorce, a wife gives up her dowry to get divorced, and her husband can no longer return to her during the Iddah period.                

Q. Is the husband responsible for his wife during the Iddah period after the divorce? And can the husband see his wife without Hijab during the Iddah?      

A. If the divorce is a regular, revocable divorce (Raj’i), the the husband is financially responsible to spend on his wife. He cannot ask her to leave the house, and he can see her without Hijab. In fact, it’s recommended for her to make herself presentable and dress up at home during the Raj’i Iddah.

Q. I am planning to marry a girl and her family knows, but we have not done the marriage contract yet (Katbe Ktab or Aqed). Can I express my love to her and have intimate conversations with her?

A. Even though you intend to marry her, as long as the marriage contract has not been made, she is not lawful to you yet. Hence, it would be haram to have intimate conversations with her and intimately express your love for her. Let your feelings develop and be romantic with her when she becomes lawful to you.    


Questions Pertaining to Marriage & Divorce

Q. I have heard that when you buy and sell gold, you could be committing Riba (interest). How does that work?

A. For example, if you sell a 200-gram 21 karat gold bracelet for a 300-gram 18 karat gold bracelet, that would be haram. It’s a type of interest in Islamic Law. In order to do this the halal way, make two separate transactions. Sell the first bracelet for an amount of money. Then buy the other bracelet separately. That would be permissible.

Q. I bought a parrot and I would like to return it. I am interested in what Islamic Law states about the customer’s right to return an animal.

A. In Islamic Law, by default, if you buy an animal, you have the option to return it and get a refund for three days. After the three days, the sale becomes binding and final.

Q. If I have a business partner who lies and cheats, is the profit coming from it halal for me? I don’t lie nor encourage him to do so.

A. If the money is not stolen money, and the business makes legitimate profits, then yes, your share is halal (and we assume the legitimate profits equal your share or are more). But if all the profits are illegitimate then it won’t be halal for you and you must end the partnership.


Questions Pertaining to Death

Laws of Inheritance

Islamic Law - Death & Dying

Q. My family doctor told me that fasting harms my health due to a condition I have. However, based on my research and consulting other doctors, I don’t believe fasting will harm me. Can I fast?

A. If you believe that fasting is not harmful to you, then yes you can fast.

Q. I have wajeb fasts to make up. Can I fast a recommended fast, such as the 27th of Rajab, to get its special reward?

A. If you have wajeb fasts to make up, you cannot offer a Mustahab fast. However, you may fast the 27th of Rajab with the intention of making up a missed fast and at the same time ask Allah to grant you the special reward of fasting that day. Allah is the most generous.

Q. I have Kaffara to pay for some missed days of fasting due to pregnancy. Can I distribute this amongst the poor, or do I have to give this money to a scholar to distribute?

A. The financial due is called a Fidya, which is feeding one poor person for each day (the minimum is 750 grams of food such as rice, wheat or dates). You may directly distribute it to the poor.

Q. If a woman is sure her cycle is over and does her ghusl and then fasts, but later on in the day she sees a small drop of blood, is her fast still valid or will she have to repeat that day?

A. According to a number of scholars, any blood a woman sees under ten days is considered Haydh. So, if she sees a small drop of blood after the ghusl, her Haydh continued and she would make up that day.

Q. What are the rewards for fasting?

A. Those who fast will receive a special intercession from Prophet Mohammad on the Day of Judgement. Fasting also illuminates the grave, protects from the fire or Hell, protects from Satan, and forgives one’s sins.

Q. While fasting in the month of Ramadhan, I did some sexual acts with my husband, and we both had sexual desire when we did that. We did not have intercourse. Do I have to make up this fast and how much is the Kaffara?

A. If intercourse or ejaculation did not take place then the fast is valid and no Kaffara needs to be given.

Q. Can I brush my teeth while fasting?

A. Yes, as long as you are confident that you won’t swallow any toothpaste, then you may brush your teeth while fasting?

Q. If I travel at 1 pm, do I break my fast or can I keep it? What about on my way back?

A. If you travel before the Adhan of Dhuhr, then you break your fast, and if you travel after Dhuhr you keep your fast. On your way back home, if you arrive after Dhuhr you have to break your fast that day, but if you arrive before Dhuhr then it’s optional for you to fast that day or break your fast before arriving your hometown.

Q. Can I moisten/lick my lips while fasting?

A. Yes that’s permissible. However, make sure that your lips are not wet when doing so because new moisture should not enter your mouth and swallowed.

Q. If I am observing a Mustahab (recommended) fast and one of my fellow friends invites me to eat with him, is it better to accept his invitation or keep my fast?

A. If accepting his invitation makes him happy, then it’s better to accept his invitation and you will be rewarded more. Al-Hujjah Islamic Seminary extends its sincerest congratulations on the birth of Imam al-Hassan (a). He was born into the purest household in history. His grandfather was the best of grandfathers, his father was the best of fathers, and his mother was the best of mothers. Imam al-Hassan was the symbol of generosity. Twice in his life he donated all that he owned to the poor, and three times he donated half of all that he owned to the poor.

Q. I performed Ghusl al-Janabah before Fajr. Later in the day I discovered there was a barrier on my skin and so the Ghusl was not valid. Is my fasting valid?

A. If you were not aware of the presence of the barrier then your fasting is valid.

Q. Does chewing gum break the fast?

A. If the gum is not flavored and sugar is not added to it, and one does not swallow any part of the gum, then chewing it would not break the fast.

Q. I travel 2-3 times a week for work and school. Do I break my fast during the month of Ramadhan when I travel?

A. Since you are a frequent traveler or you travel for work, you will have to fast while traveling.

Q. Does swallowing my saliva or mucus invalidate the fast?

A. No it does not.

Q. I have a dentist’s appointment in the month of Ramadhan, and my dentist will administer local anesthetics through a syringe into my gums. Will this break my fast?

A. This does not break the fast. However, make sure you don’t swallow any blood, liquids or dental material during the procedure.

Q. I regularly use eyedrops. Do they break my fast?

A. No, eyedrops do not break one’s fast.

Q. I struggled with an illness for several years and could not fast. Do I have to make up those days I missed due to my illness?

A. If one cannot fast due to an illness, and this illness continues until the following Ramadhan, then one does not have to make up those missed days. Only the Fidya would apply to each day missed (the Fidya is feeding the poor 750 grams of food such as wheat or rice).

Q. Does swallowing tears breaks one’s fast? Do I have to pay a Kaffara for that?

A. Deliberately swallowing tears breaks the fast and incurs the Kaffara. But if it wasn’t deliberate (meaning you didn’t intentionally swallow them, or you weren’t aware you were swallowing them), then your fast is valid and you don’t have to pay any Kaffara.

Halal Lifestyle



Is there a minimum number of courses one has to take?

For those who aspire to pursue a traditional seminary program and become scholars/speakers, they are recommended to take the courses in the phases we recommend on our courses page. For those who would like to enrich their Islamic knowledge or explore what a seminary program offers, there is no minimum number of classes to take.

Can I take these classes online?

Yes. All of our classes are recorded and offered online. Those who are out of state or in other countries can easily follow our classes online and take the exams online.

Is there an age limit?

The minimum age to register for these courses is 16.

Is there a course fee and are discounts offered?

Starting this school year, the fee for all courses is $50. Those who have financial difficulties paying the course fees may seek a sponsorship to have their course fee covered. We offer sponsorships to anyone who requests them. 


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