By: Hojjat al-Islam Abdul Adheem al-Muhtadi al-Bahrani
How can a young woman trying to be modest and religious properly handle temptations to sin like those often encountered at university?
Question: I am a young woman at the university and I observe the veil. I notice certain things in my classmates that are closer to unlawfulness than to lawfulness. Some of them justify their relations with young men in the university as they will be their future husbands. It is clear that they deceive themselves with this speech. Many of them are in love with some youths and then after some time they decide to be in love with others according to their youthful fancies. Frankly, I say that the Satan whispers to me in these environments and he is about to defeat me. I do not know how to match my religion with the pressing physical needs in such an exciting environment! Would you please suggest a solution for me? It is worth mentioning that there are many other girls like myself but they are too shy to express themselves.
The answer: I will begin answering from the end of your question and say: dear sister, shyness is the strongest fort that protects chastity. A girl is precious due to her chastity, gravity, shyness, and veil. If these noble qualities are lost, the value of a girl is lost and she becomes a worthless thing even in the eyes of deceitful men. Who can accept that the partner of his life should be a girl whom the hands of other men have touched or whose charms their suspicious eyes have seen?
This thought is stronger in faithful men who have jealousy and dignity. Allah has honored woman, given her a high position, protected her with veil, and planted in her shyness to resist those who consider her as a cheap good. The corruption, which has spread everywhere and which has been planned by Zionism and its followers, has deprived girls of their shyness and made them the main source of deviation, family problems, and spouse troubles.
Woman has been preferred to man with ninety-nine portions of pleasure but Allah has granted shyness to her, as it has been mentioned in a tradition narrated from Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.). The media and the satellite TV stations, which resist the religion of Allah and fight moral values, have deprived woman of her shyness and then she has become excited, destroying the tranquility of families and bringing them numerous problems. Is it right for Muslim girls to cause this torment and destruction for the lives of young men and the lives of married men and married women?
When a university girl, from whom it is supposed that her scientific level will prevent her from doing wrong, puts off her veil and uncovers her charms, she does wrong against herself, people, and families. When she excites men’s lusts and attracts their hearts towards her, they cannot get her or they feel shy to approach her and tell the truth; therefore, their wishes and desires accumulate inside themselves, and later on their relations with their wives and children become strangled and then disagreements and quarrels take place that may end in divorce and the loss of children as often happens.
Let this unveiled girl, who does such wrongs to families, not forget that one day when she gets married to live tranquilly with her husband and children, another girl will come to influence her husband’s reason and emotions and will bring her life storms of problems. It has been mentioned in traditions, ‘As you condemn (others) you are condemned (by others).’ And this is what the imperialists want when they spread debauchery, shameful fashions, nightclubs, ballrooms, and immoral songs.
Let these girls also not forget that they do wrong towards knowledge when they excite lust in the university and school by busying the youths’ senses and their own senses and direct the attentions towards unlawful things, and then minds and hearts will have no inclination towards knowledge and its deep matters. Therefore, most university graduates are without good abilities.
Unveiledness, displaying of charms, and distracting hearts with immoralities – whether by young men or young women – are considered to be a great crime against man, family, society, religion, knowledge, and progress.
What do you think the punishment of this great crime will be on the Day of Resurrection?
The Prophet (S) of this umma, which has become detached from its religion, answers this question with his tears. Let every girl and woman who belongs to this religion ponder over the following tradition.
Imam Ali (a.s.) has said, ‘Once, Fatima and I went to the messenger of Allah (S) and found him crying bitterly. I asked, ‘O messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you! What makes you cry?’
He said, ‘O Ali, on the night (of ascension) when I was ascended to the Heaven, I saw some women from my community in great torment. I denied their affair. I cried when I saw the severe torment they suffered. I saw a woman hanging by her hair while her brain was boiling. I saw another one hanging by her tongue while boiling fluid was poured onto her back. I saw another woman hanging by her breasts and another one eating her own flesh while the fire was lit under her. I saw another one with her legs and hands tied together while snakes and scorpions were set against her. I saw a blind, deaf, and dumb woman in a coffin of fire while her brain came out of her nose and her body was cut because of leprosy. I saw a woman hung by her legs in an oven of fire. I saw a woman who was cutting her flesh from behind and in front of her with scissors of fire. I saw a woman with her face and hands being burned while she was eating her intestines. I saw a woman with a head of a pig and a body of a donkey suffering a million kinds of torments. I saw a woman who was like a dog while fire entered into her back and came out of her mouth while the angels beat her head and body with bats of fire.’
Fatima (a.s.) said, ‘O dear father, would you please tell me what those women have done so that Allah has placed them in such torments?’
The Prophet (S) said, ‘Dear daughter, as for the one who was hanging by her hair, she did not cover her hair before men (in the worldly life). The one who was hanging by her tongue hurt her husband. The one who was hanging by her breasts refrained from sleeping with her husband. The one who was hanging by her legs went out of her house without her husband’s permission. The one who ate her own flesh adorned herself for men other than her husband. The one whose hands and legs were tied together and snakes and scorpions were set against her was dirty (in the worldly life) with filthy clothes and she did not make ablution after janabah and menstruation, did not cleanse herself, and paid no attention to her prayers. The one who was blind, deaf, and dumb gave birth to children out of adultery and ascribed them to her husband. The one who cut her flesh with scissors of fire offered herself to men. The one whose face and body were burned while eating her intestines was a pimp. The one whose head resembled that of a pig and her body resembled that of a donkey was a talebearer and liar. The one who was like a dog and fire entered from her back and came out of her mouth was a singer, weeper, and envier.’
Then Imam Ali (a.s.) said commenting on the Prophet’s speech, ‘Woe unto a woman who makes her husband angry and blessed is she who makes her husband pleased with her. (Uyoon Akhbar ar-Ridha, vol. 2 p.65).’
Following the Islamic rulings and good morals, reviving one’s conscience, and thinking of death and the punishment on the Day of Resurrection are motivations to keep women, men, families, and societies safe from many dangers and corruptions.
Dear sister, what you see at the university, in material societies, in bad films, in the street, at the shores, or in any other place is to test your will and your faith in your religion. The value of a man becomes higher when being tried by difficulties in these areas. So you should be patient, stick to your studies, and continue on the way to success so that you will taste the sweetness of patience and straightforwardness throughout your life for Allah will not waste the reward of the patient.
This is what you notice in this tradition reported from Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.), though it addresses males but it concerns women too. Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, ‘Whoever looks at a woman and raises his sight towards the sky or closes his eyes, his sight will not come back to him until Allah will marry him to houris (Rawdhat al-Muttaqeen, vol.8 p.538).’
The tradition can be read in this way “whoever looks at a young man and raises her sight towards the sky or closes her eyes her sight will not come back to her until Allah will marry her to immortal youths (who remain young).’
Of course, this will be in Paradise, which one sets out towards from the first night in the grave, but the results of that before death are comfort and peace of the heart that bring good and respect in this life whenever you remember your purity and strong will.
If we suppose that there is a faithful young woman who cannot put a moral veil between her and the young men around her, and she wants, in order to keep some things more important, to have an honest relationship with a faithful young man who can be her husband in the future, then she can agree with him to a temporary marriage agreement where they both can recite its specific formula and then they would be better satisfied with talking with each other, without being alone or sleeping together. In other words, lawful relations should be bound by a legal agreement within their pressing needs and without going farther than that, for a virgin girl may open her eyes to find that she has lost the most precious thing she has and then she will live with black memories, sadly and melancholy!
Because this possibility may also happen to a virgin girl in a temporary marriage, most of our jurisprudents have prohibited it strongly. Therefore, I do not advise you to do a temporary marriage unless you fear falling into sin, in which case some of our jurisprudents have permitted it.
Two young people had relations before marriage, regret their sins, yet still want to marry even though it would be against the wishes of their families if they knew the truth about their relationship.
Question: Our neighbor has a fifteen-year old daughter. She used to send me love songs and invited me to friendship and even to … Whenever I turned away from her, she would increase seducing me in irresistible ways. At last, what was bound to happen happened and continued until “marriage” took place without a legal agreement of marriage. Now, she is regretful and so am I. Definitely, our families will not agree on our marriage if we tell them the truth because they will say that our ages do not fit the responsibility of marriage. I do not know where our secret relationship will lead us or what we will become! Please, judge our case and we will be grateful!
The answer: Since the beginning, you have stepped into the way of the Satan. The first thing that you must do is pray to Allah to forgive you your great sins, which will affect your life if you do not hasten to repent sincerely and suffer real regret. Nevertheless, your memories will still keep the ugly pictures of your sin to sting your consciences from time to time. This is first.
Second, you have to establish an agreement of temporary marriage secretly and decrease your meetings except at the time of need.
Third, you should prepare for the procedures of continuous marriage gradually and in a wise way that will not bring you troubles from your families.
Fourth, you should always think of this bad experiment and the outcome of sin and know that it obliterates moral happiness and mental tranquility. Others have to take a lesson from this vice.
Fifth, pray to Allah to forgive you whenever you remember your sin and ask Him to protect your offspring from the same sin and its like!
How should we reconcile the practical realities of being unable to marry early as Islam recommends but yet facing the challenges of sexual lust while unmarried?
Question: In Islam, early marriage is preferred, but life nowadays does not assure the opportunity of early marriage. The marital life does not begin except after finishing university study, getting a job, and then saving enough money. This means that one becomes more than thirty years old. And this also means that the youth suffer from sexual lust and the wish to satisfy this lust for more than fifteen years. Some of the youth practice this lust during these years and then get married after practical experiments, and others remain patient while the effects of suppression and deprivation appear on them. I do not know how to accord the opinion of Islam, which is the right opinion without any doubt, with the reality and its requirements and obstacles!
The answer: Dear brother or dear sister, your question shows the depth of the plot that the imperialists have planned against our Islamic community through imposing a system of living that is quite far from our religion and culture.
Our religion has become deserted and the culture of corrupters has controlled the behaviors of most Muslims. The Prophet (S) has said, ‘O people, Gabriel has revealed to me from the Kind, the Wise that virgins are like fruits on trees. If the fruits ripen but are not picked, they will be damaged by the sun and become scattered by the wind. So are virgins. If they become adults, there will be no treatment for them except to get married; otherwise, they will not be safe from corruption because they are human (Rawdhat al-Muttaqeen, vol.8 p.112).’ . Then, are the youth safe from the waves of corruption?
In spite of that, it is possible to achieve early marriage to avoid slipping into corruption. This is done after the satisfaction of both sides, the young man and the young woman, away from competing over unnecessary things and ceremonies that are full of excess and pride.
The Prophet (S) has said, ‘Whenever a young man gets married at early age, the Satan vociferates, ‘Woe unto him! Woe unto him! He has preserved two thirds of his religion from me!’ Let one fear Allah in the remaining third! (Bihar al-Anwar, vol.103 p.221).’
Responsibility lies with the clergy, writers, teachers, and instructors to guide society (fathers and mothers) to the Islamic values in facilitating and hastening marriage after explaining the principles of life and the marital responsibilities to the youth.
The matter should be explained with all its dangerous dimensions, especially the destructive effects on individuals, health, family, society, and religion when young men and young women are prevented from early marriage. What is known by all about the secret corruption of most teenagers of nowadays is just a small part of those destructive effects.
Let all efforts be directed towards opening a lawful way in order to prevent secret, unlawful relations. Islam has shown the lawful way by facilitating marriage and making young spouses understand their joint responsibilities. If we suppose that permanent marriage is not possible and the choice remains between unlawful relations behind curtains, or suppressing the sexual lust and causing physical and psychological diseases, or secret relations authorized by an agreement of temporary marriage, definitely the last choice is preferred. With this kind of relation, the two young spouses can continue their individual lives until they graduate, get jobs, and prepare themselves for the requirements of permanent marriage. However, if someone can clear his way with fasting and worshipping without practicing temporary marriage, it will be better.
I hope that we all can understand these Islamic solutions and dare with them to get out of our crises and change the ways of the Western life, which are foreign to Muslims.
What is your advice about a young man who seduces women and deceives them then abandons them after getting what he wants?
Question: I have a handsome friend who is twenty-two years old. He has had love relations with more than thirty girls since he became an adult, as he claims. Of course, they do not know that. He exchanges love affairs with each of them and promises to marry them in the future. He might even practice something unlawful with them; I am not sure, but I would not put that past him. He tells me that he, via the telephone, makes friends with them, deceives them, and then laughs at their naiveties. When he satisfies his desires, he fabricates an excuse to move on to his new quarry! He describes girls as an amusement and they are like toys in his hand.
I have advised him to give up these prohibited acts, but he often invites me to join his deceitful table saying: we have to enjoy our lives!!
Sometimes, he lifts the telephone and lets me hear the voice of a girl who has been deceived by his words of love. When I see this, I become so angry at the naivety of our girls. I myself know some of them who are from noble and honorable families, but I fear that troubles may happen if I tell their families about this.
O Sheikh, please tell me how to deal with this friend so that Allah may be pleased with me and that my conscience may be at ease, and also tell how to protect the honor of our girls from such beastly human beings!
The answer: Dear faithful brother, may Allah bless your protectiveness! As for your friend, though he really is not a friend, you should ask him: how would you like to see a young man do with your sisters or nieces the same thing that you do with the daughters of other people? In the future, when you get married and have daughters, and when your daughters grow up and become teenagers, how would you feel if you saw a young man doing with your daughters as you do with the girls of your society today?
Continue guiding him with the aid of clergymen and religious people, and do not let him play with the honors of people and Muslim girls! Be certain that the girls will thank you, even later on, and thank whoever tries to protect their reputations.
As for those girls whom you know, send them unsigned letters in which you advise them due to religion and protectiveness. Tell them that they are being deceived by one who deceives other girls at the same time.
I have a word to say to the oblivious fathers and mothers of these girls: awake from torpor and loss! Where are your conscience and jealousy? Where are your honor and magnanimity? Where are your dignity and morality? Why have you sunk into the pleasures of this world to the degree of vice and scandal? Do you not see death, the grave, and torment? Are there no graveyards in your town to visit and from which to take lessons from the people in the graves and ponder on their states under the ground?
Alas for the loss of good morals!
O our Lord, we seek Your protection from misleading fancies and from following the mirage of the Satan. O Allah, awake us from the torpor of ignorance and take us peacefully to the eternal abode near You!
I want to get married, but I want you to advise me. How should I move to a life that I have not known before?
Question: I want to get married, but I want you to advise me. How should I move to a life that I have not known before?
The answer: Dear young man, marriage is a great and important decision in one’s life. When a reasonable man decides to take such an important decision, he has to think deeply and wisely.
Dear brother, first, you have to prepare for all the requirements of marriage, and then do not act, when choosing the partner of your life, as if you are buying something from a store. This is also said to a young woman when choosing the partner of her life. You have to be very precise in choosing the qualities of your future wife in order to be happy and successful and to win the good end.
It is mentioned that one day a young man, whose name was Ibrahim al-Karkhi, asked Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) a question like yours. Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said to him, ‘See where you will put yourself, who you will make a partner in your wealth, and to whom you will reveal your religion and secrets… -Wassa’il ash-Shia, vol.14 p.14, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.103 p.232.’
In another tradition, Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said, ‘Woman is like a necklace. See what necklace you put on!’- Bihar al-Anwar, vol.103 p.232.
Then, advance to take the other steps and beware of aiming at just beauty or wealth, because these two things may disappear by accidents, which will not tell you before they take place. If you do not concentrate your choice on faith and morals, you will face a dark fate.
Do not misunderstand me and think that Islam does not pay attention to beauty and wealth, but Islam warns of making them the priority when choosing one’s wife (or husband). The Prophet (S) has said, ‘From the happiness of a Muslim man is…a beautiful woman who is religious. -Bihar al-Anwar, vol.103 p.217.’ He has also said, ‘A Muslim man does not profit from anything, after Islam, better than a Muslim woman, who pleases him when he looks at her, obeys him when he orders her, and is devoted to him in keeping her honor and his wealth when he is absent. -Bihar al-Anwar, vol.103 p.235.’
Outward beauty may give pleasure, but religious and moral beauty gives more pleasure. Therefore, it is mentioned that one day a man asked Imam Hasan (a.s.), ‘To whom should I marry my daughter?’ Imam Hasan (a.s.) said to him, ‘Marry her to a pious man, because if he loves her, he will honor her, and if he hates her, he will not do wrong towards her. -Makarim al-Akhlaq, p.204.’
The beauty of morals and piety defeats the crises that throw marital life into melancholy. O dear young man who are about to get married, you have to read about these principles and values and then rely on Allah. We would like to say to you and to your wife: congratulations on your marriage!
How can I make reason defeat lust and avoid opportunities and temptations for sinning?
Question: I am a young man in the university from a wealthy family. I have all the means of luxury, and, of course, most of them are unlawful. In my fight between reason and lust, I do not know how to make reason defeat lust. Would you please guide me to the right way?
The answer: First, strengthen your determination with sincere repentance to Allah, and then watch yourself according to the following method, which I have quoted from what Allama at-Tabataba’iy, the author of Tafsir al-Mizan, had written to a young man like you: “First, in the morning, when you wake up, determine not to do anything that does not please Allah! Think well before deciding to do anything whether or not it benefits you in this life and afterlife! If it pleases Allah, do it; otherwise, leave it, regardless of whether or not you like it.
Second, do so until you go to bed at night, and then think of all you have done in the day, one by one. Thank Allah for your good deeds and pray to Him to forgive your bad deeds!
Third, continue doing this for several days. You may feel tired at the beginning, but then, it will gradually become easier for you and you will enjoy it morally and spiritually. Of course, the body follows the soul in comfort.
Fourth, before sleeping, perform wudu’ and recite the following suras: al-Hadeed (57), al-Hashr (59), as-Saff (61), al-Jum’ah (62) and al-Taghabun (64). If you cannot, you should recite al-Hashr only. With this action, you shall find that the pleasure of lawful things is sweeter than the pleasure of unlawful things. Then, you will laugh at those who pant after unlawful pleasures, and feel sorry for them and the mirage they walk in towards Hell.”
In the following tradition, Imam Ali (a.s.) mentions the qualities of the faithful and pious people, who follow sound reason and walk in the right path. Imam Ali (a.s.) says, ‘A faithful one is truthful in the worldly life, with an insightful heart. He keeps to the (moral) limits. He is a vessel of knowledge, with perfect thinking. He is generous, good-hearted, patient, and openhanded. He spends liberally. He is charitable, honey-tongued, and smiling. He ponders much, sleeps little, and laughs little. He is with good manners, free from greediness, and away from fancy. He is ascetic in this life. He looks forward to the afterlife. He likes guests. He is merciful to the orphans. He is kind to the young. He has regard for the old. He helps the needy, visits the sick, and escorts the dead. He respects the holiness of the Qur'an, prays to the Lord, cries for sins, enjoins right, forbids wrong, eats little, drinks little, moves with politeness, speaks with advice, and preaches kindly. He does not fear any except Allah and expects no one save Him. He is busy in thanking and praising Allah. He is neither negligent nor is he proud. He is not proud of the properties of the worldly life. He is busy thinking of his own defects away from the defects of others. Prayer is the delight of his eyes. Fasting is his job and occupation. Truthfulness is his habit. Gratefulness is his ship. Reason is his captain. Piety is his food. The worldly life is his prison. Patience is his home. The night and day are his capital. Paradise is his abode. The Qur'an is his speech. Muhammad is his intercessor and Allah the Almighty is his entertainer. -Jami’ al-Akhbar, p.215.’
A brother of mine ended up in a bad marriage. This has made me afraid of marriage. How can I overcome this fear and also avoid his fate?
Question: I am a young man. I want to get married, but I fear that I may fall into the same predicament my brother fell in. In the beginning, his wife had good morals, but later on, her morals became bad. Many problems occurred between them until they became a bad example in the family. I do not know how to convince myself and pass over my difficult psychological state to get married and live happily!
The answer: Dear brother, with the scenes you have seen, your worry is very natural. However, you should be certain that problems are not always repeated because each person has his own independent personality if he has a will. Your will is stronger in the stage of youth, and you can take lessons from your brother’s experience. Instead of being desperate about this experiment, you can read about the successful experiments of millions of people who have gotten married and lived happily. In order to attain this happiness, you should read books about the happy marital life to learn the qualities of a good wife who can help you lead a happy life. Do not place in your mind an imaginary picture of an infallible girl who has no defect, because first, you yourself are not so, and second, there is no such a girl in this world at all. Yes, such a girl is in Paradise and her name is “Houri”.
When you determine to get married inshallah, please make note of the following points:
1. Man acquires most of his habits from the environment he lives in. Therefore, we have to excuse others as we would like others to excuse us.
2. Some disagreements that result from the differences in knowledge, beauty, health, and lineage do not harm marital happiness. This is like the differences between day and night or between the four seasons for example. One complements the other so that life continues with ultimate wisdom. Spouses, who want their life to continue happily, have to think in this way about their differences that are beyond their wills.
3. As for acquired habits that harm the marital relation, spouses have to try their best to get rid of them and to not be indifferent towards them.