Branches of Religion
Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini
God-Almighty has determined a series of commandments and practical programs for us that if they are practiced, our lives of the world would be administered in an excellent manner and would be prosperous and would also make us prosperous and righteous in the hereafter. These commandments are called as branches of the religion (Fru‘-e-din). There are plenty of branches of religion but the most important among them consist of eight things named as: Prayer, fasting, charity, one fifth annual saving (khums), hajj, jihad, encouraging of good and forbiddance of evil.
The compulsory prayers consist of six types as follows:
1. Daily prayers
2. Prayer of signs
3. Prayer of the dead body
4. Prayer of circumambulation (tawaf)
5. Prayers which become compulsory upon an individual due to taking of an oath, promise, or offering a vow (solemnized to God).
6. Compulsory prayers that have not been offered by a father (but has not been done as a disobedience, and he was able to offer them as a make-up) thus are incumbent upon the elder son to offer them as make-up (qad’a) prayers.
Prayers are pillars of the religion and bring a servant nearer to the God; the Holy Prophet (S) said: “By God my intercession does not include anyone who considers the prayer insignificant and is negligent towards it.”1 It is incumbent upon each Muslim to offer five times prayers daily: in the morning two units, four units at noon, four units in the afternoon, three units in the evening and four units at night.
Time of Prayers
The time of Morning Prayer is from the breaking of the whiteness of dawn until sunrise. The time of the Noon and Afternoon prayer is from noon until sunset coinciding with the religious time of the evening prayer. The time of Evening and Night prayer is from sunset until religious midnight, which is approximately at eleven past fifteen minutes.
Before offering prayer one should perform ablution in the following manner:
1. He should make intentions (Niyyat) that he is doing ablution for the pleasure of God.
2. He must wash the face, from top down starting from the forehead where hairs start growing to the chin.
3. He must wash the right hand, from the elbow to the tip of fingers from the top down.
4. He must wash the left hand from the elbow to the tip of fingers from the top down.
5. He must pull the right hand with its own moisture to the front of head from the top down.
6. He must pull the right hand up with its own moisture over the top of the feet from tip of the toes to the leg intersection.
7. He must pull the left hand with its own moisture over the top of the feet from the tip of the toes to the ankles.
Adhan (Call to Prayer)2
It is recommended to recite the call of prayer before offering of prayer as follows:
1. God is greater than can be described (Allahu Akbar) Four times.
2. I bear witness that there is no god except God (Ashhadu ’an l’a ’ilaha ’illallah). Two times.
3. I bear witness that Muhammad is the Prophet of God (Ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasul Allah). Two times.
4. I bear witness that Ali is the Friend of God (Ashhadu anna Aliyun Wali Allah). Two times.
5. Come for prayer (Hayya ‘alassal’ah) Two times.
6. Come for salvation (Hayya ‘alal fal’ah) Two times.
7. Come for the best deed (Hayya ‘al’a khayril ‘amal) Two times.
8. God is greater than can be described (Allahu Akbar) Two times.
9. There is no god but God (L'a ’il’aha illall’ah) Two times.
Call for Establishing of Prayer
It is recommended to recite the call for establishing or readiness of prayer (’Iq’amah) before offering of prayer as follows:
1. God is greater than can be described (Allahu Akbar) Two times.
2. I bear witness that there is no god except God (Ashhadu an la ’ilah illallah). Two times.
3. I bear witness that Muhammad is the Prophet of God (Ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasul Allah) Two times.
4. I bear witness that Ali is the Friend of God (Ashhadu anna Aliyun Wali Allah). Two times.
5. Come for prayer (Hayya ‘alassal’ah) Two times.
6. Come for salvation (Hayya ‘alal fal’ah) Two times.
7. Come for the best deed (Hayya ‘al’a khayril ‘amal) Two times.
8. Get ready for the prayer (Qad q’amat as sal’at) Two times.
9. God is greater than can be described (Allahu Akbar) Two times.
10. There is no god but God (La’ilah’a illalla’ah) One time.
Instructions for Recitation of Prayer
In the prayer the followings acts should be performed as follows:
1. Intention (Niyyat)
After standing while facing Mecca (Qiblah), do intention, for example offering two units of the Morning Prayer for the pleasure of God.
2. Takbiratul ’ihr’am
2. Recitation of Glorification of God by Saying God is Great (Takbiratul ’ihr’am): After making the intention raise the hands to the softness of the ears and say “God is Great” (Allahu Akbar), then one should bring the hands down.
Having recited God is Great (Allahu Akbar), start recital of the Surah of Praise (al-Hamd) of the Holy Qur’an as follows:
1. In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
2. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds:
3. The Beneficent, the Merciful.
4. Owner of the Day of Judgment.
5. You (alone) we worship; You (alone) do we ask for help.
6. Show us the straight path:
7. The path of those whom You have favored; not (the path) of those who earn Your anger nor of those who go astray.
Alhamdu-lill’ahi rabbil ‘a’alamin*Arrahm’ani-rrahim*M'aliki yawmmid-din*Iyy’aka na‘abudu w a ’iyy’aka nasta ‘in* ’ihdin’a siratal mustaqim*Siratal ladhina ’an‘amta ‘alayhim ghayril maghdubi ‘alayhim waladdallin.
Having recited the Surah of Praise, one of the Surah from the Holy Qur’an is recited e.g. Surah The Purity3 as follows: In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
1. Say: He is Allah, the One!4
2. Allah, the eternally besought of all!
3. He does not beget nor was begotten.
4. And there is none comparable unto Him.
Bismil-l’ahir Rahma’ nir-Rahim
Qul huwa Allahu ’ahad* Allahus samad*Lamyalid walam yulad* Walam ya kun lahu kufu wan ahad.
First Reminder: The Praise and the second Surah in the first and second units (Rak‘ats) must be recited in all prayers.
Second Reminder: For the men it’s incumbent to recite the Surah Praise and other Surah in the Morning and Evening Prayers loudly.
Third Reminder: Raising of the hands at the time of recital of God is Greater than can be described (Allahu Akbar) at the time of starting the prayer i.e. saying Takbiratul ’ihr’a m is only recommended and is not mandatory (Wajib).
4. Bowing (Ruku‘)
Having recited the Surah Praise and another Surah, one should bow (Ruku‘) i.e. bending to the extent that that the hands reach until the knees, then one should recite: Pure and Glorified is my Lord, the Highest to Whom we offer the Praise. (Subhan rabbiyal-‘azimi wa bihamdihi).
Or should say three times: Glory be to God (Subhanallahi).
After completion of bowing (Ruku‘), one should stand up, take a short pause and it is recommended to recite: God listen to those who offer His praise (Sami‘a All’ahu-liman-hamidah).
5. Prostration (Sajdah)
Having offered the bowing (Ruku‘) we should go to prostration (Sajdah) i.e. putting the forehead upon earth or whatever is grown from it - except wearable thing, edibles, and minerals- in a manner that the two palms and knees, forehead and the two large toes of both feet should touch the earth, then we should recite: Pure and Glorified is the Lord, the Most Supreme to Whom we offer the Praise (Subhan rabbiy al-’al’a wa bihamdihi); or could say three times: Glory be to God (Subh’anallahi). After that we should raise our head and sit down a while, and should recite: I seek forgiveness from my God and toward Him do I turn in repentance (Astghfirull’aha wa atubu ’ilayhi); and then go to offer a second prostration and finish it like the first prostration. Then raise our head from the second prostration, sit a while and then stand up for offering the second unit (raka’t), and it is recommended that while standing up one should recite: With the Power of God I stand up and sit (Bihaw lillahi-wa-quwwati-hi- Aqumu wa ’Aq‘udu); then stand up completely and recite Surah praise and another Surah like the first unit (Rak‘at).
6. Submission (Qunut)
In the second unit (Rak‘at) having finished recital of the both Surahs, raise both hands in front of the face and recite the following of God’s remembrance (Dhikr), e.g. recite: O God bestow upon us bounties of world and as well as of hereafter and protect us from the punishment of hellfire (Rabbana ’Atin’a fidduny’a hasnatah wa fil ’Akhirati hasanah wa qin’a ‘Adh’a ban-n’ar).
Reminder: Recital of Submission (Qunut) is not mandatory but has distinction and reward.
7. Second Unit
7. In the second unit, in all prayers, after the head is raised from the second prostration, one must sit and should recite the testimonies in the following manner: All the Praise belongs to Allah, I bear witness that there is no god except God Who is One without any partner; and bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and His Prophet; O Allah send greetings upon Muhammad and his holy progeny (Alhamdulill’ahi ’ashadu an l’a il’ah’a illal l’ahu wahdahu l’a sharika lahu wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasuluhu; Allahummah salli ‘al’a Mumhamd wa ’Ali-Muhammad).
8. Salutation (Salam)
In the Morning Prayer after recital of the testimonies (Tashahhud) one should recite the salutation in the following manner: Salutation be upon you o prophet and blessings and bounties of God be upon you; salutation upon us and upon pious and righteous slaves; salutations upon you and blessing and bounties of God be upon you, (’Assalamu ‘Alayka ayyu han nabiyyu wa rahmatul l’ahi wa baRak‘atuhu; ’Assalamu ‘alayn’a wa ‘al’a ‘ib’adill’ahi ’Ass'alihin; ’Assal’amu ‘Alaykum wa rahmatull’ahi wa barak‘atuhu). After salutation it’s recommended to recite God is Greater than can be described (Allahu Akbar) three times while raising hands until the softness of the ears.
Reminder: In the Evening Prayer, after offering the first testimonies (Tashahhud) after second unit (Rak‘at), one should not offer salutation, but instead should arise. Recite the third unit then sit down and (after the second prostration) recite the testimonies and salutations. Also, in the Noon, Afternoon, and Night Prayers, after recital of the first testimonies in the second unit, one should not offer salutation, instead one should rise, offer the third and fourth units, then sit down after the second prostration and recite the testimonies and salutation.
9. The Four Praises
9. The Four Praises (Tasbihat-e-arba‘ah): In the third unit of the Evening prayer and in the third and fourth units of the Noon, Afternoon, and Night Prayer instead of recitation the Surah Praise and another Surah should recite three times the following: Glory to God, praise to God, there is no god except God and God is Greater than can be described, (Subh'ana Allahi wal hamdu lill'ahi wa l'a ’il'aha ’illal l'ahu wallahu akbar); or one may recite the Surah of praise one time without the recital of another Surah.
The body of anyone who is offering prayer should be clean; his dress too should be clean and lawful and should not have been prepared with an animal of forbidden meat (har’am) or dead.
In order to offer the prayer one should be clean from having passed gas (hadath), wet-dreams (’ihtil’am), in the state of having done sexual intercourse (janabat), monthly period (hayd) and bleeding (nif'as) at the time of delivery for women.
6.7. Essentials of Prayer
The prayer consists of five essentials as follows:
First: Intention (Niyyat).
Second: Recital of God is Greater than can be described (Allahu Akbar), Takbiratul ’ihr’am.
Third: Standing (Qiy’am) connected with bowing (Ruku‘) i.e. the standing position from which one goes in to the position of bowing and standing in the state of recital of Takbiratul-’ihr’am.
Fourth: Bowing (Ruku‘).
Fifth: Two Prostrations (Sajdah).
If anyone of these essentials are more or less, the prayer would be null and void, be it either intentionally or out of negligence.
Invalidities or Cancellation of Prayer
The following acts result in the cancellation of the prayer:
1. The ablution (Wudu) being as null and void either intentionally or negligently.
2. Intentionally crying for the world.
3. Intentional laughter.
4. Intentional eating and drinking.
5. Increasing and decreasing one of the essentials either intentionally or negligently.
6. Saying Amen (’Amin) after recital of the Surah Praise (al-Hamd).
7. Offering the prayer with your back towards Mecca (Qiblah).
9. Indulging in an act that makes the prayer as disorderly.
10. Placing two hands upon each other.
Prayer of a Traveler
The traveler must recite the four unit prayers as two units of prayers with the following conditions:
1. He should have the intention of travelling at least eight Farsakh5 or going four Farsakh and returning four Farsakh.
2. He should not be among those who travel very often like a driver or a boat runner whose profession is travelling.
3. He should not be a merchant who does business while travelling.
4. The journey should not be illegitimate like the journey undertaken for theft and murder, travelling of a wife without her husband’s permission or of a son without the permission of his parents.
5. He must not have the intention before travelling eight Farsakh, to pass through his homeland, or stay ten days at a place.
The traveler who intends to stay ten days or more at a certain place, so far he/she is there should offer complete prayer. A traveler, who stays at a place for thirty days with uncertainty or contradiction after thirty days must offer complete prayers.
A person who intends to travel until he has not crossed the border crossing of his/her homeland must not offer broken prayer and should not break his/her fast; as long as the traveler could hear the call of prayer of his/her home city, and could see the walls of his native place he/she has not crossed the border crossing and is not a religious traveler as yet.
Prayer of Signs
During the period of sun and moon eclipses, occurrences of an earthquake, or an unusual episode that make a majority of the people scared and afraid, it is incumbent upon each Muslim to offer the Prayer of Signs in the following manner:
1. After ablution one should stand towards Mecca (Qiblah) and make the intention to recite two units of Prayer of Sign for the pleasure of God.
2. Having made the intention he must raise both hands until the softness of his ears and must say: God is Great (Allahu Akbar).
3. We should recite the Surah of Praise and another Surah and then should go into bowing (Ruku‘) (bowing down on one’s knees during Salat (prayer) and must offer the remembrance (Dhikr-e- Ruku‘).
4. We should raise our heads from the bowing (Ruku‘) and should stand, recite the Surah of Praise and another Surah, should bow (Ruku‘) and repeat this procedure in the same manner until recital of five Surahs of Praise, five other Surahs, and five bows (Ruku‘s).
5. After the fifth bow (Ruku‘) one should go into prostration and should offer prostration like the fortnightly normal prayers.
6. Arise to offer the second unit of Prayer of Signs and perform it like the first unit and after offering the fifth bow (Ruku‘), one must offer two prostrations.
7. After offering the second prostration one must recite the witnessing and salutations.
The period of the Prayer of Signs that are recited for the sun and moon eclipses is from the time of their start until the end, but other prayers whenever they are offered are valid (ad’a).
Fasting is one of the mandatory commandments of Islam; the Holy Prophet (S) has said: “Fasting is a shield against hell’s fire.”6 God has said: “The fast specially belongs to Me and I would bestow its reward.”7 This worship has uncountable rewards: From the point of view of hygiene is the cause of providing rest to the digestive system of the body and thus helps in soundness of a human being; from the point of view of moral ethics is a sort of practice for piousness and steadfastness with respect to hardships; it reminds the wealthy about hungry and indigents.
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has said: “Fasting was mandatory so that the wealthy should feel taste of hunger and should think about the hungry, should be kind, and benevolent towards them.”8 It’s incumbent on each Muslim to observe fasting during the Holy Month of Ramadan; i.e. from the breaking of the white dawn until evening and they should prevent them from indulging in acts that would make their fast void. The following acts makes fasting void:
1. Eating and drinking.
2. Entering of dirt and thick smoke inside the throat.
3. Throwing up (vomiting).
4. Performance of sexual intercourse.
5. Taking an injection or enema.
6. Submerging the head under the water.
7. Telling a lie about the God and Prophet.
9. Remaining in the state of impurity (janabat) due to a wet-dream or sexual intercourse, menstruation or monthly period (hayd) and bleeding relevant to childbirth (nif’as) for females.
Reminder: The above mentioned acts if done intentionally would make the fast void, but if it is done due to negligence and unintentionally, it would not make the fast void; except remaining in the state of impurity in the state any sort of impurity, even it happens due the forgetfulness, would make the fast void.
Those who could break their Fasting
1. The sick person for whom the fasting might be harmful.
2. The traveler with the same conditions that have been described earlier for prayer.
3. A female who sees the blood from monthly period or bleeding relevant to delivery.
Reminder: These three categories must break their fasts and after the removal of the cause they should observe the makeup fast.
4. The pregnant women whose delivery is near and fasting might be harmful either for herself or for the child.
5. The mother who is giving milk to child whose observance of fasting might be harmful for child.
Reminder: For above mentioned two categories after removal of cause, the person should observe makeup fasting and for each fast that they have broken should pay ten seer9 of wheat to the poor.
6. Old men and women for whom observing fasting is difficult.
First Reminder: This group, if they could observe fasting after the Holy Month of Ramadan, they must observe makeup fasts, but if fasting for them is difficult, for them makeup fasting is not required, but for each fast they have missed, they must pay ten seer wheat to the poor.
Second Reminder: Whoever does fast breaking without any religious excuse, should observe the makeup for that fast and for every such fast which was not observed, he should observe sixty days of fasting or should feed sixty poor people.
Charity is one of the necessary mandatory requirements of Islam. Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has said: “Whoever does not pay charity is neither a believer nor a Muslim.”10 Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) has said: “God has placed charity equivalent with prayer in the Holy Qur’an, hence whoever offers prayer but does not pay charity his prayer too would not be acceptable.”11
Imam Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) has said: “Had people paid their charity of their wealth, no one would have been needy.”12 The payment of charity is mandatory upon: Wheat, Barely, Dates, Raisins, Cows, Sheep, Camels, Gold and Silver. Islam has determined an amount for each of these items that if it reaches to that amount, charity is mandatory otherwise it is not.
The amount required for Wheat, Barley and Raisins
The amount for these four items is 288 man13 of Tabriz and if it is less, it does not require charity. At the time of payment of charity whatever expenses were incurred for forming including the cost of seeds should be subtracted from the product, and one should pay charity for remaining amount.
Amount of Charity
If farming was done through the means of rain water, river, and aqueduct, one-tenth of it should be paid as charity; if it’s irrigated through the means of a well, motor, and bucket, one-twentieth of it should be paid as charity.
The Number or Quantity (Nis'ab) liable for Charity Tax for Sheep:
1. Forty sheep: One Sheep.
2. One hundred and twenty one Sheep Two Sheep.
3. Two hundred and one Sheep Three Sheep.
4. Three hundred and one Sheep Four Sheep.
5. Four hundred and above, should be counted into one hundred and then one Sheep for every one hundred should be given as charity.
Whoever is the owner of Sheep for eleven months should pay charity in the twelfth month; Charity upon Sheep is only mandatory with the condition that it should graze throughout the year or some period outside in the plains. If it feeds upon fodder cultivated with farming or clipped fodder, charity is not required.
The Number or Quantity (Nis'ab) liable for Charity Tax for Cows
Cows have two numbers:
First: Thirty Cows: The charity is one calf that should been entered in the second year.
Second: Forty Cows: The charity is one female calf that should have entered in the third year.
If the number exceeds forty cows, one must adopt the best of the above two criteria. It should be counted in thirties or forties or through both criteria, e.g. sixty Cows should be accounted as two sets of thirties; and seventy Cows should be accounted as one set of thirty and another set of forty.
It is mandatory that the cow for charity should not work throughout the year and should graze only fodder in the open pasture (not on collected feed).
The Number or Quantity (Nis’ab) liable for Charity for Gold
There are two numbers for Gold:
1. Twenty Religious Mithqal14 (18 Nakhud - Pea, 1/5 of a gram): When the gold reaches this much quantity, one-fortieth of it should be given as a charity.
2. When four Religious Mithqal is added to the above number; one-fortieth of total quantity should be paid as charity, but if the additional quantity is less than four Mithqal, charity should be paid in accordance with first criteria and charity is not incumbent upon additional quantity. After that whatever is added, if it reaches to four Mithqal charity should be paid for the total quantity; if less than four Mithqal is added charity should be paid in accordance with first criteria but the added quantity does not required charity.
The Number or Quantity (Nass’ab) liable for Charity Tax for Silver
There are two numbers for Silver:
1. One hundred and five Mithqal, twenty four peas; if Silver reaches to that amount one-fortieth of it should be paid as charity, and if it is less than that quantity, charity is not required.
2. If it is more than 105 Mithqal and the additional quantity reaches to 21 Mithqal, charity should be given for entire quantity, if it does not reach this quantity; charity is not required for additional quantity. Only charity should be paid for 105 Mithqal and whatever it increases if it reaches to 21 Mithqal, charity should be paid for entire additional quantity and it is less than charity should be paid in accordance with earlier requirement and in additional quantity charity is not required.
The charity upon Gold and silver is required only in condition when they are in the form of official currency and should remain in possession of owner for eleventh months.
The Gold and Silver, until it has not been exited from the required amount for charity; it should be paid for every year, even though charity has been paid for previous year.
Apparently the aim of Islam is that Gold and Silver currency should not be hoarded and kept in a safe, instead it should be used for economic progress and especially for production.
Utilization of Charity
Charity should be used for the following expanses:
1. Poor (Faqir): i.e. someone who does not have the annual expanses for himself and his family.
2. Destitute (Miskin): i.e. someone whose financial condition is worse than the poor.
3. Welfare Affairs that are beneficial to the general public: Like a mosque, school, bath, bridge, hospital, nursing home, dispensary, and roadways.
4. Someone who is struck in journey without money; he should be given as much to enable him to reach to his hometown.
5. A bankrupt person who is not in a position to pay his debt.
6. In the way of freeing slaves.
7. To an unbeliever about whom it is possible that through means of showing favors towards him, he might be inclined towards acceptance of Islam.
8. To someone who is assigned to collect charity by religious ruler.
Had people paid their due charities, it would have been possible for the religious ruler to confront poverty and unemployment and he could have seriously made efforts and endeavors in the affairs of civil development, habitation of cities and village and establishment of welfare organizations.
One-Fifth Savings of Yearly Income
One of the obligations of Muslims and financial rights of Islam is payment of one-fifth annual savings (khums). In seven instances it is incumbent upon a Muslim to pay one-fifth of his wealth as khums as follows:
1. Business Profit: Whoever through means of path of trading, agriculture, industry, worker, employee, and engaged in any other profitable profession earning a profit; whatever he spends in a year for food, clothing, house belongings, purchasing a home, marriage, invitation of guests, and travel does not require khums. However after his total annul expenditure, if some amount is still left its mandatory upon him to pay its one-fifth as khums.
2. Utilization from a Mine: Like gold, silver, oil, iron, copper, lead, salt, copper, sulfur, and alike.
3. Finding a Treasure
4. Spoils of War
5. Pearls: Those are obtained through the means of taking a dive into the ocean.
6. If a Jew or Christian purchase: A land from a Muslim should pay one-fifth of it or its price as khums.
7. Wealth mixed with illegitimate wealth (har’am): The wealth that is mixed with illegitimate wealth, if quantity of illegitimate wealth is not known and does not know its owner, one should pay one-fifth of entire wealth as khums so that the remaining becomes legitimate (hal’al).
Upon whoever khums is due he should pay it to a just jurisprudent, religious ruler, or his representative, so that it could be utilized in the path of propagation and grandeur of Islam as well as to take care of the Holy Prophet’s (S) poor decedents (S’ad’at).
Charity and khums are two very heavy amounts for the Islamic budget, which is a very significant amount; if its received accurately and reaches in the hands of a just, religious ruler enabling him to manage the social security affairs of the Muslims, he could combat with poverty, joblessness, and illiteracy, pay attention towards destitute, helpless and poor, and establish welfare organizations beneficial to the general masses in accordance to their needs such as: Hospitals, schools, mosque, baths, roads and bridges etc.
Every Muslim who possesses required physical and financial strength, it is incumbent upon him one time in his life to perform pilgrimage of the Holly Mecca to participate in great and magnificent congregation of Islamic nations. Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said: “Whoever dies without undertaking mandatory Hajj-pilgrimage without any religious excuse does not die as a Muslim; he instead would be associated in the ranks of Jews and Christians.”15
Hajj is one of the greatest worships of Islam and consists of profound and important benefits: A Muslim through means of undertaking a Hajj pilgrimage may strengthen his power of faith and could be connected with the origin of creation. He could learn a lesson of God-worshipping, humility, brotherhood, equality and self-forgiveness in that supreme class of Islamic nourishment.
Muslims from various countries participate in an international congregation thus becoming familiar with habits and traditions of each other; they should learn about the situations of Islamic countries, should become knowledgeable about difficulties and serious dangers facing the Islamic world; should enquire about social, economic, and cultural programs of each other; should discuss common interests of the Islamic world; a spirit of solidarity, intimacy, and friendship among them should be strengthened.
Hajj is incumbent upon someone who should have financial strength, i.e. if he has taken amount required for expanses of his Hajj-pilgrimage, after his return he should not become helpless and distressed and should be able to continue earning his living through his trade or profession like before.
Encouraging of Good and Forbidding of Evil
One of the important mandatory commandments of Islam is encouraging of good. It is incumbent upon each Muslim to endeavor in the path of propagation of Islam and its commandments; one should make people well familiar with religious obligations and good deeds. If he saw someone who is not doing his obligation he should persuade him to do his obligation. This is known as encouraging of good (amr bil m’aruf).
Forbidding of evil (Nahy ‘an al-Munkar) and is also one of the great mandatory commandments of Islam.
It is incumbent upon each Muslim to confront corruption and oppression; he should prevent others from evil and illegitimate acts; if he sees someone acting against the commandments and instructions of God he should warn him about the evil of that task and to the extent possible, he should do it seriously; he should stood against that task; this act is called as forbiddance of evil (nahy ‘an al-Munkar).
Encouraging of good and forbidding of evil is one of the greatest obligations of Islam. If this obligation is practiced the laws and commandments of religion would remain forever and would be executed. Islam expects all Muslims as personally responsible for the execution of religious commandments; it is mandatory upon all Muslims to be vigilant of each other. It is incumbent of Muslims to defend their religious commands and they should make efforts and endeavors for their preservation and implementation.
Every Muslim is obliged that he himself should perform good deeds, should persuade others to do good deeds; he should prevent himself from the performance of evil and illegitimate acts as well and should prevent others in indulging in divine forbidden acts. The relevant program is one of the grandeur of Islam and is accounted as one of special programs of the Holy Qur’an. It considers undertaking this heavy responsibility as a code of superiority of the Muslims. God said in the Holy Qur’an: “Ye enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency; and ye believe in Allah.” (The Holy Qur’an, 3:110)
Again He said: “And let there be from you a nation who invite to goodness, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency.” (The Holy Qur’an, 3:104)
Imam Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said: “Engage in encouraging of good and forbidding of evil. If you do not practice this obligation then wicked people would dominate you, then whenever your righteous pray and cry due to oppression and tyranny their prayers shall not be accepted.”16
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “So far as my community continues to encourage good and forbid evil and cooperate in this task, the status of their congregation would remain good and respectable, but when they would give up this obligation, blessings would be taken away from them, some of them would be dominated upon others and they would not find a redresser of their grievances upon the earth and heaven.”17
Imam Ali ibn abu Talib (a.s.) said to his companions: “If you are encountered with danger and hardship, let your wealth be sacrificed for yourselves, and if danger threatens your religion then sacrifice yourselves in support of your religion; know that the unfortunate is the one who let his religion go away from his hands, and the robbed one is a person who has allowed his religion to be stolen.18
The encouraging of good and forbidding of evil (amr bil ma‘ruf wa nahy ‘an al-Munkar) is done in the following stages:
First with polite manner gently, the goodness and evilness of a deed should be proven for a person and with admonishment and guidance he should be induced to undertake good deeds and to quit evil deeds.
If softness, politeness, guidance, and admonishment did not produce any fruitful result one must do the obligation of encouraging goodness and forbidding evil in a stern manner.
If sternness and a strict tone also did not produce any fruitful result, if he has the power to execute the obligation of encouraging goodness and forbidding of evil with every ways and means, whatsoever that he may have at his disposal, he should prevent that evil act.
If after the practicing of admonishment and guidance and sternness and anger, prevention of evil is still not possible for him, then his religious enthusiasm should appear upon his face with signs of severe disapproval and anger so that the person committing that evil deed should realize that he has become an object of isolation, resentment and anger in the sight of people because of his committing that evil deed.
Some of the Illegitimate Transactions
1. Buying and selling of filth itself like: Urine, excreta, blood and dead things.
2. Buying and selling usurped wealth.
3. Buying and selling resources and particular equipment for illegitimate deeds, like: Gambling equipment, and resources of music and debauchery.
4. Transactions containing interest.
5. Buying and selling alcoholic beverages, liquor, wine, beer, and other items that make a person drunk.
6. Buying and selling things that from the point of Islam are not considered as wealth like: Wild beasts.
7. Selling imitated items; i.e. it essence would have been mixed with other things, like Sheep oil that might have been mixed with cotton or vegetable oils and the buyer is ignorant of it.
8. Selling grapes, raisins, dates, and the like to someone who uses them to make liquor.
6.16. Unclean Things
Islam considers few things as unclean (najis) and orders the Muslims to stay away from them:
1, 2. Urine and excreta of animals classified of forbidden flesh (har’am) that at the moment of their beheading have jumping blood.
3. Semen of animals that have jumping blood.
4. Carcass of an animal that has jumping blood.
5. Blood of animals that have jumping blood.
6. Dogs other than those living in an ocean.
7. Pigs other than those living in an ocean.
8. Unbelievers, i.e. someone who does not believe in the Prophet and God.
9. Alcohols and liquors.
Some of the Purifiers
1. Water, everything that is polluted or filthy could be purified through the means of water.
2. Earth, if it is pure and dried could clean the sole of a shoe, its elevated heal, the bottom of cane or stick, automobile wheels, carts, and bicycles, with the condition that through means of walking, the actual filth should be removed.
3. The sun cleans earth, buildings, walls, doors, windows, trees, and similar things with the condition that the actual filth should be removed and its moisture should be dried through means of the sun’s rays upon it.
4. Removal of actual filth, when actual filth is removed from an animal’s body, it becomes clean and washing with water is not required.
5. Transformation (’istih'alah), if an unclean item transforms completely and should turn in the form of a pure thing, like if unclean wood burns and transforms into ashes or the dog into salt marsh or a mine transform into salt.
Compulsory Washing or Bath
The compulsory washing consists of:
1. Bath of impurity (janabat), bath for monthly period (hayd), bath for bleeding relevant to child birth (nif’as), bath for excessive menstruation (istih’adah), bath for dead body (mayyit), and bath for touching of dead body (mas-e-mayyit). Impurity (janabat) could happen in two ways: First sexual intercourse, and second discharge of semen (mani).
Instruction of the Bath (Ghusl)
There are few acts mandatory for bath:
1. Intention, bath should be taken for God and one should know which bath he is going to take.
2. After making intention, one should wash the entire head and neck in a manner that not a single spot should remain dry.
3. After washing head and neck all of the right part of body should be washed completely.
4. After washing the right side of body thoroughly, the entire left body part must be washed completely in a manner that no spots should remain dry.
Upon an unclean (junub) person, a few things are forbidden (har’am):
1. Any part of his body should not touch the writing of the Holy Qur’an, or the Name of God, and the name of Prophets and Imams.
2. Stoppage in mosques and tombs of the Imams.
3. Placing anything in mosque.
4. Reciting Surahs of Prostration.
5. Entrance into the Great Holy Mosque of Mecca (Masjid al-Har’am).
An unclean (junub) person should take a bath for offering prayer and fasting and also a woman who has seen the blood of menstruation (hayd) or bleeding relevant to child birth (nif’as) must take bath before offering prayer and fasting.
6.19. Instructions for Ablution with Earth or Sand
In ablution with earth or sand (tayammum) five things are required:
2. The palms of the two hands should be put upon the dirt.
3. One must wipe the palms of both hands all over forehead and its both sides from the point where the hairs of head start growing until the eye brows.
4. After that, the palm of the left hand should wipe the back of the right hand starting from wrist until end of finger tips.
5. After that, the palm of the right hand should wipe the back of the left hand starting from wrist until end of finger tips.
Where the use of water is harmful for a person, or one does not have access to water, or the timing of prayer is nearing, one must do tayammum for offering of prayer.
Upon dirt, pebbles, stones, and lumps of earth tayammum is permissible.
If one does tayammum instead of a bath, after wiping the forehead, once more the hands should be put upon the dirt and should wipe over the hands.19
Some of the Illegitimate Deeds
Oppression, lying, backbiting, usurpation of people’s wealth, faultfinding, gambling, usury, paying of usury, acting as a witness for taking usury, writing of usury receipts, adultery, sodomy, accusing someone for adultery, imitation in quality, hiding of testimony, false testimony, a breach of promise, escaping from the battlefield, drinking alcohol, eating the flesh of a pig, eating of dead things, eating sheep’s testicles, eating blood, eating impure things, propagation of corruption and lewd deeds, murder, annoyance of parents, perjury, dishonesty in selling through using smaller weights, helping a tyrant, treachery, misguidance of people, innovations in religion, insulting of a Muslim, hopelessness from God’s blessing, cursing, arrogance, taunting, hypocrisy, deceit, misbehavior with neighbors, harming people, bribery, masturbation, stealing, issuance of judgment against God’s commandments, decoration of men with gold like wearing a golden ring, or a golden chains for a wristwatch, utilization of gold and silver potteries, and…
Some of the Compulsions
Prayer, fasting, encouraging of good and forbidding of evil, charity, paying one-fifth from annual savings (khums), Hajj, helping an oppressed, offering witness, defense of the religion, self-dignity, reply to salutations, replying of a letter, obedience of parents, learning of religious commandments, keeping in touch with relatives and kith of kin, to keep one’s promise, and being committed towards one’s vow (solemnized to God).
Imitation or Following
God has revealed all commandments and laws which were required for our prosperity in this world and hereafter to the Holy Prophet (S) through means of revelation. The Holy Prophet (S) too has announced them to people and especially has left them as a trust near the infallible Imams (a.s.). The successors of the Holy Prophet (S) also to the extent it was possible for them made their best efforts and endeavors in the explanation and extension of commandments and have announced for people which have been preserved in the form of narrations and traditions in the books of narrations.
In this period since it is not possible to access Imam al-Mahdi (a.s.) so that commandments and obligation could be taken from him directly, inevitably we are helpless but to resort to the narrations of the Holy Prophet (S) and Ahl al-Bayt (a.s.) and should take our obligations and duties from them. But understanding narrations and verses of the Holy Qur’an and to diagnose true narrations from a false narration and summation between narrations is a very tedious and a difficult job that everyone is not competent enough to assume such a heavy responsibility.
However there are individuals who have expertise in this task, as a result of their suffering hardships in this path for prolonged years, and have learned lessons in different disciplines, which are required for the determination of commandments. They seriously engaged them day and night to such an extent in learning sciences; reviewed existing information and narrations with precise accuracy to achieve the specialty of determining divine commandments and laws. Such individuals are called as jurisprudents and scholars.
We should resort to the jurisprudent in order to determine our own obligations since they are experts and have expertise in this field and in general, intellectuals and wise people always consult relevant specialists in every task and besides, the infallible Imams (a.s.) themselves have recommended for us to resort to jurisprudents.
Of course in order to follow a religious leader (taqlid) we should select a jurisprudent that should be more superior, qualified, just, and pious with respect to others and then should act in accordance with his instructions. Jurisprudents in majority of issues have similar beliefs and do not have any differences; but in some secondary issues they have differences of opinion and issues, religious decrees which differ with others.
Here it would be necessary to warn about this matter that God with respect to each issue does not have more than one single command and the real command of God with differences of decrees does not change. The jurisprudent too does not say that God’s opinion follows their individual opinions and with differences of their decrees God’s opinion also changes accordingly.
Here it should be asked why differences in religious decrees started and why do jurisprudents have differences of opinions in some of issues? The answer to this question is: The reason for the differences in religious decrees (fatwas) could be from one of the following dimensions.
First: Occasionally one of the jurisprudents in his researching and understanding of God’s real command has doubts and was unable to issue a definite decision; due to this reason he has taken the side of precaution in order to preserve God’s command and the real matter should not be lost.
Second: Occasionally differences occur from this reason that in the understanding of a narration, which is basis of issuance of religious decree, there are differences of opinions. One says that: Imam (a.s.) in this narration says like this, while the other says: The aim of Imam (a.s.) is something else; due to this reason each one issues a decree in accordance of his own understanding.
Third: In some of the issues there exist several narrations in a book of traditions that have contradiction between them, of course a jurisprudent must prefer one of them over the other and should issue his decree accordingly.
Here it is possible that the point of view of jurisprudents may be different. One says: Because of this and that reason he prefers this tradition over the other while other says: Because of this and that reason this tradition has preference over that tradition and each one issues decree in accordance with his own understanding. Of course these secondary differences do not do any damage and among all experts and specialists in different fields these thing exists and are not unusual; you would not find two engineers who do not have any differences of opinion with respect to a certain technical problem.
Therefore with the above mentioned discussion it could be concluded:
1. To imitate (taqlid) is not a strange and new thing, instead everyone who is helpless, that is to say in affairs that he himself is not specialized, should consult the experts of that field, like in construction affairs we consult an engineer and in case of sickness consult a physician, and about price of commodities we seek consultation of those who are experts in that area. Regarding obtaining God’s commandments one must resort to the religious-authority (mar’aji‘-e-taqlid), who are specialist of this field.
2. The religious authorities do not issue decrees in accordance with the desires of their hearts and selfish whims instead their criteria in all such issues are the verses of the Holy Qur’an and the narration that has been left by the Holy Prophet (S) and the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s.).
3. The jurisprudents regarding overall Islamic commandments are unanimous and in the majority of cases, even in secondary issues, are unanimous and do not have any differences of opinion.
4. In some of the minor secondary issues that differences opinion among them are seen, they are not in the sense that they like to create differences, instead all of them endeavor to find out God’s real commandments which are not more than one and should present it to their followers; but from the point of view of in its determination and their understanding of the issue, regarding real commandment, they have differences of opinion.
And in that case they are powerless except to write whatever they have understood regarding that issue. Nevertheless the real commandment is not more than one and followers also do not have any other option except to follow the opinion of their religious authority (‘’alim) and therefore possess an excuse before God.
5. Since among all scholars and specialists of different disciplines difference of opinion exists, still people do not pay so much attention towards it and consider it as a normal thing and it has not caused any harm in their social affairs. The difference of opinion among jurisprudents in some of the minor and secondary issues is similar to the other fields and it should not be considered something unusual.
6. Therefore, one should follow a jurisprudent who is more qualified than all other jurisprudents, who is an expert in determining God’s commandments; the religious authority must be just, pious, he should act upon his obligations, and should endeavor in the preservation and guarding of religious laws.
1. Wafi, v.2, Part-5, p-13.
2. The sources of imitation (marajeh taqlid) have written that: The phrase Imam Ali (a.s.) is the saint of God (Aliyan waliyull’ah) is not the part of call and establishment of the prayer (Adh'an and ’Iq'amah) but it is recommended that after recital of Muhammad (S) is the Prophet of God, it should be recited with the intention of (making) a gift looked upon as bringing blessing or good luck (tabbaruk), Tawdih al-Mas'a’il issue #919.
3. Surah The Purity (al-Ikhlas or al-Tawheed) takes its name from its subject. It has also been called the essence of the Holy Qur’an. Some authorities ascribe this Surah to the Medina period, and think that it was revealed in answer to a question of some Jewish intellectuals concerning the nature of God. It is generally held to be an early Meccan Surah [Tr].
4. The One God, the unique God: Therefore the pronoun He is used and recited for dignity [Tr].
5. One Farsakh is equal to 6 kilometers [Tr].
6. Wafi, v. 2, Part-7, p-5.
7. Ibid., Wasail al-Shi’a, vol. 7, p-290.
8. Wafi, v. 2, Part-7, p-5.
9. Old unit of weight approximately equal to 75 grams [Tr].
10. Wafi, v.2, Part-6, p-5.
12. Wafi, v.2, Part-6, p-6.
13. It is a local unit of weight one man consists of 40 seer; while one seer is equal to 75 grams.
14. Unit of weight equal to about five grams [Tr].
15. Wafi, v. 2, Part-8, p-48.
16. Was’a’il al-Shi‘ah, v. 11, p-349.
17. Was’a’il al-Shi‘ah, v. 11, p-398.
18. Was’a’il al-Shi‘ah, v. 11, p-451.
19. Readers can consult the instructional journal (ris'alah ‘amaliyah) of their respective religious authorities (mar’aji‘).