Interaction in Social Life
Questions and Answers
- Question: Is it permissible
to participate in the funeral ceremony of a non-Muslim, if he
was, for example, a neighbour?
Answer: If the deceased and those organizing
the funeral are not known to have hatred towards Islam and Muslims, there
is no problem in participating in the funeral. However, it is better to walk
behind the coffin and not in front of it.
- Question: Is it permissible to exchange
greetings and gifts with a non-Muslim, if he is a neighbour or a co-worker,
Answer: If he does not express hatred
towards Islam and Muslims in words or actions, there is no problem in doing
what is required in friendship like being good and charitable towards him.
Almighty Allãh has said, “Allãh does not forbid you in regard
to those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion,
and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness
and deal with them justly; surely Allãh loves the doers of justice.”
- Question: Is it permissible for the
people of Ahlul Kitãb and other non-Muslims to enter
the mosques (masjid) and other Islamic places of worship [like
husayniyya or imambargah which are not masjid]? And is it necessarily
for us to enforce the hijãb on those [non-Muslim women] who
do not observe hijãb and allow them to enter [the mosque or
places of worship], if it is permissible?
Answer: Based on obligatory precaution,
it is not permissible for them [i.e., non-Muslims] to enter the mosque (masjid).
As for their entering the places of worship, etc, there is no problem in it.
If their entry [in imambargah or a husayniyya or a center] without
hijãb is considered as a sign of disrespect, hijãb
should be enforced on the [non-Muslim] women.
- Question: Is it permissible to harass
a Jewish, or a Christian, or an Atheist neighbour?
Answer: It is not permissible to harass
them without justification.
- Question: Is it permissible to give
charity to the poor among non-Muslims? Would a person get reward [thawãb
from Allãh] for this charity?
Answer: There is no problem in extending
charity to [a non-Muslim] who does not show hatred against Islam and Muslims;
and one who gives such a charity will be rewarded for this deed.
- Question: Is it obligatory to enjoin
the good (amr bi ’l-ma‘rűf) and forbid the evil (nahi ‘ani ’l-munkar)
in regard to those who are not followers of Islam or are from the
Ahlul Kitãb, who are receptive, without any harm coming our way?
Answer: Yes, it is obligatory, provided
that the other conditions also exist. One of those other conditions is that
the person to be admonished should not have an excuse for doing the evil or
neglecting the obligation. Being ignorant out of negligence is not an acceptable
excuse. So, such a person should first be guided to the right conduct, and
then if they do not act accordingly, they should be asked to do good or be
forbidden from doing evil.
However, if the evil deed is of a category that one knows Allãh does
not like it to happen in any circumstances —like creating corruption in the
earth, killing an innocent person, etc— it is necessary to prevent it, even
if the doer is ignorant out of innocence.
- Question: In European schools, there
are teachers who do not believe in any religion and reject the idea of God
in front of their pupils. Is it permissible for Muslim pupils to remain in
such schools, knowing that they can be greatly influenced by their teachers?
Answer: It is not permissible; and the
guardian of the child is fully responsible for that.
- Question: Is it permissible for male
and female pupils /students in elementary and secondary schools to mix when
one knows that this mixing will surely lead one day to a forbidden act by
the male or the female student, even if that is just [as minor an act as]
a forbidden glance?
Answer: It is not permissible under the
circumstances described [in the question].
- Question: Is it permissible for a Muslim
man to go to a mixed swimming pool with the knowledge that the women there
swimming suits form and would not listen to any admonishing?
Answer: Although looking without bad thoughts
or lustful intentions at the women who are indecently dressed (and who would
not listen to you if you wish to admonish them) is allowed, yet based on obligatory
precaution, going to such places is absolutely forbidden.
- Question: Is it permissible for those
who reside in the West to send their muhajjaba daughters to co-ed schools
(irrespective of whether or not education is compulsory) while there exist
non co-ed schools which obviously are expensive, located faraway or of a low
Answer: It is not permissible, [even]
if it [just] corrupts their character, let alone if it harms their beliefs
and commitment to the faith which is what normally happens!
- Question: Is it permissible for a Muslim
youth to accompany the girls who study with him in foreign universities for
walking together, in vacation tours, etc.?
Answer: It is not permissible, except
with surety that he will not commit a forbidden act.
- Question: Is it permissible to look
at a passionate scene taking place on the street?
Answer: It is not permissible to look
at it with lustful intentions or with ill thoughts; rather, based on obligatory
precaution, one should refrain from watching it totally.
- Question: Is it permissible to go to
a mixed [i.e., co-ed] cinema and other harãm places of entertainment
without having any guarautce that one will not engage in a forbidden act?
Answer: It is not permissible.
- Question: Is it permissible to swim
in a mixed swimming pool without having any lustful intention?
Answer: Based on obligatory precaution,
it is not permissible to go to the places of indecency at all.
- Question: Is it permissible to go to
sea beaches and public parks during sunny days for walking while one might
come across scenes which are against the norm of decency?
Answer: Without a guarantee that one will
not commit a forbidden act, it is not permissible.
- Question: In European countries, public
baths are built with certain considerations. Whether or not it is in the direction
of qibla is not one of their considerations unlike the situation in
- Is it permissible for us to use such facilities, if we do not know
where the direction of the qibla is?
- And if we know the baths do face the direction of the qibla,
is it permissible for us to use them? If it is not permissible, what is
- In the first case, based on obligatory precaution, it is not permissible
to use them except after failing to know the direction of the qibla
and that it is not possible to wait or that waiting would entail harm
and place the person in difficulty.
- In the second case, based on obligatory precaution, it is necessary
—while using the bathroom— to refrain from facing the qibla or
turning one’s back to it. However, in the event of emergency, one should
sit with their back towards the qibla. This is based on obligatory
- Question: Suppose that Muslim, residing
in a non-Muslim country finds a suitcase (full of clothes) with or without
the owner’s nametag on it. What should he do with it?
Answer:A suitcase of personal belongings
normally has the nametag through which the owner can be contacted. If he knows
that it belongs to a Muslim or a non-Muslim whose property is sacrosanct (or
even if there is a likelihood —a considerable likelihood— [that it belongs
to a non-Muslim whose property is sacrosanct]), it is necessary for him to
announce it for one whole year that he has found that item [so that the owner
can come forward and claim it]. If he cannot find the owner [even after the
lapse of one year], he should, based on obligatory precaution, give it in
However, if he knows that it belongs to a non-, it is permissible for him
to keep it provided that he is not legally bound to announce what he
finds in that country or to hand it over to the authorities, etc.1
In the latter case, he is not allowed to take possession of it; rather it
is compulsory on him to act in accordance with the legal undertaking.
- Question: If I find an item in a European
country without any distinctive sign on it [identifying the owner], is it
permissible for me to keep it?
Answer: If it has no distinctive sign
by which one can contact the owner, it is permissible for you to keep it except
in the case [of the legal undertaking] mentioned earlier.
- Question: Some people, be they Muslim
or non-Muslim, in the West approach you with expensive items for sale at a
price so cheap that the potential buyer is almost convinced that the item
is stolen. Is it permissible to buy it, if one knows for sure, or feel a strong
probability, that it is has been stolen from a Muslim?
Answer: If one knows or gets a strong
feeling that the item has been stolen from a person whose property is sacrosanct,
it is not permissible to buy it or keep it.
- Question: The price of cigarettes is
very high in Western countries. Would it be forbidden to buy them because
of extravagance and waste, especially when one knows that they are harmful
[to one’s health]?
Answer: It is permissible to buy them;
and using them would not become harãm for the reasons mentioned
[in the question]. Of course, if smoking causes great harm to the smoker
while quitting, it can comses him no harm or lesser harm, it is necessary
for him to quit it.
- Question: There are machines used in
telephone tapping. Is it permissible to use such devices without the knowledge
of the intended personin order to use it against them when the need arises?
Answer: It is not obligatory on one speaker
to ask the permission of the other speaker to record the conversation on the
telephone line. However, he is not allowed to publicize it or let others listen
to it if it will cause an insult of a mo’min or disclose his secret
— unless that is over-ridden by another equal or more important obligation.
- Question: A photographer is asked to
take pictures at a wedding reception where intoxicating drinks are served.
Is this permissible for him?
Answer: It is not permissible to take
pictures of the scenes of drinking intoxicants and other forbidden substances.
- Question: What are the limits of obeying
Answer: The duty of a child towards his
parents is of two kinds:
- The First: To be kind towards them by providing for them, if they are
in need. To provide for their day-to-day needs. To respond to their requests
that are related to their daily lives at a level that is normal and usual
for a human being, in the sense that if he refuses to fulfill them, it
would be regarded as “not being good to them” — and that would differ
depending on whether they are healthy and strong or ill and weak.
- The Second: To behave towards them kindly, by not offending them in
word or action, even if they are unjust to him. In some religious text,
it says, “And if they hit you, do not shun them; instead say, ‘May Allãh
This is as far as it relates to the parents’ situation. As for those issues
concerning the affairs of the child himself by which he could offend one of
the parents, these are of two kinds:
- The First: If the parent’s distress results from his concern for the
child, it is forbidden for the child to do something that would distress
his parent, irrespective of whether or not the parent has prevented him
- The Second: If the parent’s distress results from of his own evil characteristics
(for example, dislike for the good of this world or the hereafter for
his child), this kind of distress has no bearing on the child, thus, it
is not obligatory on the child to submit to this kind of desires.
It becomes clear from this that, on its own, obeying the parents in their
personal commands is not obligatory. And Allãh knows the best.
- Question: Some parents fear for their
concerning enjoining the good and forbidding the evil [and, therefore, ask
them not to embark on this road]. So, is it obligatory to obey them in this
matter, especially if the child knows that his advice will be effective and
there is no danger to him [in doing amr or nahi]?
Answer: When it becomes obligatory upon
the child [to do amr or nahi], with all the conditions present,
no creature can be obeued in exchange of disobeying the Creator.
- Question: A son argues with his father
or a daughter with her mother, over a serious day-to-day issue, in a heated
manner that causes distress to the parents. Is this permissible for the children,
and what is the limit when a child is not allowed to argue with the parent?
Answer: A child is allowed to discuss
with the parents in matters that he or she thinks are not right; but the child
must observe politeness and respect in the discussion; he or she should not
angrily look at them, nor raise his voice over theirs, let alone use harsh
words and expressions.
- Question: If a mother advises her son
to divorce his wife with whom she has differences, is it obligatory upon him
to obey her in this matter? What if she says, “You are an ‘ãq
child,2 if you do not
Answer:It is not obligatory on him to
obey her in this matter, and her statement [about him becoming disobedient]
has no effect whatsoever. Of course, as mentioned earlier, it is necessary
for him to hold back from any insulting statement or action towards her.
- Question: A father hits his child severely
that it leaves blue or red marks on his skin—is it obligatory upon the father
to pay indemnity for bodily injury? Is the rule different if the person who
hit the child was not his father?
Answer: The indemnity is obligatory upon
the one who hits [in the way described above], regardless of whether he is
the father or someone else.
- Question: If a Muslim is sure of his
father’s displeasure —although he has not heard him say no— in his travelling
abroad, is it permissible for him to travel, should he know that the journey
is good for him?
Answer: If being kind towards the father
—in the context mentioned earlier in the answer to a previous question— demands
that the son should be close to him, or that the father will be in distress
out of his concern for the son, he should not embark on travelling as
long as he will not be in loss; otherwise, it is not necessary for him to
refrain [from travelling].
- Question: Is it part of righteousness
for the wife to serve in-laws? Is it part of kindness for the husband to be
considerate of his in-laws, especially in foreign countries?
Answer: There is not doubt it is part
of righteousness and an example of kindness towards the husband or the wife;
but it is not obligatory.
1. Translator's Note: Agreement, in
the above context, means "the immigration agreement made between the host country
and the immigrant."
2. ‘ãq means a child
who is disobedient to his parents.