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