Questions and Answers

581. Question: Is it permissible to draw or produce a scene which shows the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), one of the past prophets or the infallible Imams (a.s.), or other luminaries and show it in cinema, on television or theatre?

Answer: If due deference and respect is observed, and the scene does not contain anything that would detract from their holy pictures in the minds [of the viewers], there is no problem.

582. Question: Is it permissible to give away as gift, copies of the Holy Qur’ãn, prayer books, and amulets to non-Muslims?

Answer: There is no problem in it, if such is not exposed to desecration and insult, and they are shown the requisite respect.

583. Question: How could one go about dispensing with papers carrying the names of Allãh or the Infallibles, as well as some loose pages of the Qur’ãn, when it is not possible for us to throw them in the sea or the river? That said, we do not know where would the garbage end up and what is done with it?

Answer: It is not permissible to put them in rubbish bins because that involves desecration and disrespect. However there is no problem in erasing the writings on the papers even by using some chemicals burying them in a clean place, or shredding them so that they turn into dust.

584. Question: Has istikhãra any basis in the shari‘a? Is there a problem in repeating the istikhãra [for the same intention] by paying alms [before it] in order to get a guidance that is to one’s liking?

Answer: One may resort to istikhãra (albeit with the intention of rajã’an) in situations where he is confused and cannot prefer one side [of the issue] to the other, after having pondered over it and having consulted [those who know about it]. Repeating the istikhara is not right, unless it is for a different issue.

585. Question: What is the limit that you have allowed your agents and representatives (wukalã’) to utilize for their personal use from the religious dues that they collect [from the people]?

Answer: In our ijãzas (authorizations for apportioning the religious dues), we have mentioned that the authorized person is allowed to utilize, for example, one-third or half of whatever he collects of religious dues for the purposes that have been defined by the shari‘a. This does not mean that the percentage mentioned [in the ijãza] is especially for the use of the authorized person himself, because it could happen at times that the use of that due would not apply to him at all — for example, if he is a sayyid while the religious dues that he has collected are from the charity of non-sayyid or other charities like it.

In the light of this, if the authorized person considers himself —in keeping with Allãh as the witness in this matter— eligible for the religious dues in accordance with the conditions mentioned in the Manual of Islamic Laws —for example, if he is needy in the religious definition and is among those who deserve the right of zakãt or sihm-e sãdãt or radd madhãlim etc— he is allowed to take from it according to his need and proportionate to his status and not more than that.

Similarly, if he is providing general religious services and strives for upholding the word of Islam, he deserves the sihm-e Imãm (a.s.) according to the level of his work and the service that he does for Islam.

But, if he is not spending the religious due that he has collected, he must utilize the percentage mentioned [in the ijãza] in its appropriate causes as defined by the shari‘a.

586. Question: If a person has doubts about the integrity of a representative of the marja‘ as a result of alleged misappropriation of religious dues;

   (a)Is he allowed to talk about it to other people, even if he is not certain about the truth of the allegations levelled against the representative? What if he is certain about them?

(b)Is he allowed to still pay his religious dues to that representative as long as he is uncertain about his not being trustworthy?

Answer: (a) It is not permissible for him [to talk to the others about it] in both situations. In the second case [of certainty], he can inform the marja‘ directly in complete confidence about the real situation so that the marja‘ may take whatever action he deems appropriate.

(b) He should rather pay his religious dues to a representative who is known for his integrity and honesty in acting according to his ijãza, i.e. in using some portion of what he has collected of it in their appropriate causes as mentioned earlier and sending the rest to the marja‘.

587. Question: Is it permissible to use the sihm-e Imãm (a.s.) without seeking the permission of the marja‘ if a person can ascertain the need of any kind for its use with which the Imam (a.s.) would be pleased?

Answer: It is not permissible; and one cannot attain the approval of the Imam (a.s.) by using his portion of the khums without seeking the permission of the most learned marja‘ —in that it is possible that the marja‘’s permission is part of the approval of the Imam (a.s.).

588. Question: Is it permissible to use the sihm-e Imam (a.s.) in charitable projects while there are tens of thousands of believers who are in need of bread, cloths, etc.?

Answer: In using the sihm-e Imam (a.s.), it is important to consider the principle of priorities. It is a matter of obligatory precaution, the determination of “most important vis-à-vis the more important” should be left to the discretion  of the most learned jurist who is well informed about the general situation.

589. Question: At times while washing the dishes, rice grains go down the drain. Is this allowed? Is it necessary to prevent the rice from going down the drain, regardless of the quantity, knowing that it is difficult to prevent it?

Answer: It is not permissible to let it go into the drain if its quantity is big enough to be used in feeding the animals. But if it is small or dirty, then it can be put in the dustbin in a way that is not   considered an disrespectfull, in eyes of the people, to the blessings of Almighty Allãh.

590. Question: Is it permissible for a poet to organize a gathering where poetry is recited and where he knows that women without hijãb and indecent dress would also attend?

Answer: By itself, there is no problem in it; but he must fulfill the duty of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, if the conditions exist.

591. Question: Students are asked to draw a human being or an animal; the requirement is such that it is difficult for the student to refuse the assignment. Are they allowed to do the drawing? What is the ruling if they are asked to do a sculpture work instead of the drawing?

Answer: Drawing a non-sculptured figure is allowed. Based on obligatory precaution, it is necessary to refrain from drawing a sculptured picture of a living being. And to say that it is a compulsory part of the school work does not justify violating the obligatory precaution. This prohibition is relaxed, only in the event of necessity; for example, if not carrying out such an assignment would lead to the student expulsion from the school and that would put him in difficulty of the kind that is normally untolerable.

592. Question: Is it permissible to buy a carving or statue of a totally naked human being, male or female?  Is it permissible to buy a carving or statue of an animal and hang it for decoration?

Answer: There is no problem in the second [case of the animal]; as for the first case, if it is [considered a way of] promoting indecency, it is not allowed.

593. Question: Fortune tellers and palmists claim to foretell a person’s future. Is it permissible for the palmist to do so, if the customer is going to plan [his life] according to his predictions?

Answer: Since the information given by the palmist has no value, it is, therefore, not permissible for him to give information with certainty, just as it is not permissible for the customer to plan according to it, except on legal or reasonable grounds.

593. Question: Is hypnotism permissible? Is invocation of spirits permissible?

Answer: If it puts a person in harm’s way, it is harãm, and therefore forbidden.

595. Question: Is invocation of the jinn with a view to solving the problems of the faithful permissible?

Answer: The same rule mentioned earlier is applicable here.

596. Question: Is cockfighting and bullfighting with permission of their owners allowed?

Answer: It is permissible but disliked as long as it does not cause loss of property.

597. Question: What is the [minimum] limit of the difficulty (al-haraj) that lifts the prohibition? Is exorbitant price [for a halãl item] that could still be bought with [financial] strain or by getting a loan a [valid] example that would make a harãm [but cheap alternative] item permissible religiously?

Answer: The circumstances are different in this [case], and the criterion is the extreme hardship that is not normally tolerable.

598. Question: What is the present day equivalent in mithqal or grams of the weight in gold known as “al-himsa”?

Answer: Al-Himsa is 1/24 of the mithqãl as-sayrafi; and the latter is 4.64 grams; so the weight of al-himsa will be 0.193 grams.