Ideological Questions & Answer
Q1: Are the prophets (a.s.), Imams (a.s.), their families and companions alive in the Next world?
Q2: Is it of the essentials of faith to believe that Imam Ali (a.s.) is superior to all prophets?
A2: No, it is not of the essentials of faith.
Q3: What are the different degrees of prophethood? Imam Ali (as) is not higher in rank than Prophet Muhammad (saws), but he is higher than the other prophets. What is the basis of this claim?
A3: Prophets can be divided into two categories: 1) The Arch-Prophets who were sent on a mission by Allah (swt). They are considered as the prophets of Law and religion. They include Noah (as), Abraham (as), Moses (as), Jesus (as) and Muhammad (saws), whose religions were spread in a wide area at their times. The Last Prophet, Muhammad (saws), is the last of the divine prophets who brought the universal religion, which will remain until the Last Day. There is no prophet after him. 2) The second category includes those prophets who propagated the religions of the Arch-Prophets. The extent of their prophethood and mission was not so great.
Imam Ali (as) is higher in rank than other prophets, because of his Imamate, but he is not higher in rank than the Prophet Muhammad (saws), because Muhammad (saws) was both Prophet and Imam and he was the best of all creations.
Q4: Can an Imam receive revelation? If yes, then what is the difference between a Prophet’s and Imam's revelation?
A4: None of the Imams (as) received revelation. On the demise of the Prophet (saws), Imam Ali (as) says in his book, Nahjul Balaghah:
"Your demise caused the discontinuation of something that the death of no-one else could cause; revelation and prophethood”. After Muhammad's (saws) demise, the Infallible Imams (as) were only in touch with Allah’s (swt) Angels, and this is not considered as revelation.
Q5: Is it permissible to ask for sustenance, protection, intercession, or a child, directly from the Infallible Imams (as)?
A5: No, we must ask Allah, the Exalted for whatsoever needed, but we can ask the Infallible Imams, who are immaculate and the nearest to Allah (swt), to pray for us, as Allah says in His book. It is similar, for example to a father who prays to Allah (swt) for his child, asking Him for something for the child. This is permissible.
Q6: I want some information about the meaning and origin of the word "Futrus", the name of the angel whose wings grew after touching Imam Hussain (as).
A6: According to the narrations and certain supplications, Futrus is the name of an angel whom Allah (swt) granted permission to go down to Earth along with the other angels who were going to visit the Prophet (saws) to felicitate the birth of Imam Hussain (as). On visiting the blessed infant, Futrus was given this blessing. Therefore it is a nice name to give a son. Finally, as far as we know, the name ‘Futrus’ has a Greek origin.
Q7: Why do we only say salams to the Holy Prophet (saws), Imam Hussain (as) and Hazrat Fatima Zahra (as)?
A7: Salams are pronounced on the Prophet (saws), Fatima (as) and all the twelve Imams. In the numerous narrations, it is written that if you are not able to perform pilgrimage to the shrines of the Holy Prophet (saws) and the Immaculate Imams (as), you can instead pronounce your salams on them from wherever you are and it will be as if you performed the pilgrimage. It is recommended to perform extra prayers and send salams on the Infallibles in our daily lives as much as is possible, and in this there is no difference between the Immaculate Imams (as).
Q8: Is the time for the appearance of the Awaited Imam (Dohur) soon?
A8: Only Allah (swt) knows the time for the appearance of our Imam (as). We should only be concerned with praying for it and asking Him to hasten it.
Q9: Can you comment on the fact that in the Quran it is said that Mariam umm Al- Massih(a) is Sayyidat Nissa' al- 'alamin but we Shia say that Fatima (a) is the Sayyida. Please answer.
A9: Firstly, the holy Prophet (S) when asked this question "Is Fatima (A. S.) the Sayyeda (Princess) of the women of her time? responded: "The one who is the Sayyeda of the women of her time is Maryam, the daughter of Imran, as far as Fatima, my daughter is concerned she is the Sayyeda of all women of all times." Bihar al Anwar, XLIII, p. 24.
Secondly, another explanation and exegesis for the noble verse exists. That is that Maryam, the daughter of Imran, from the point of view of the birth of Esa, is special. That is that she gave birth to a child without having sexual intercourse with a man. This characteristic is specific to her and no one else has it.
Q10: How can we prove that Imam Ali (AS) was born in the Kaba?
A10: It is narrated in all Shia and Sunni books, you can refer to them.
Q11: Is the time of Zohur (reappearance) soon?
A11: No body knows the time of reappearance except God.
Q12: If the Imams know everything, why did each father teach his son when his son knew the secrets of the world?
A12: Divine knowledge is granted by God. Having knowledge of everthing is possible, if Allah permits.
Q13: What is meant by Ismat? How can you prove Ismat from Qur'an and Hadith?
A13: Generally speaking, Ismat (infallibility) is that quality which Allah (tabarak wa ta`ala) has bestowed upon lofty individuals such as prophets (saw) and their progeny. They reach such a degree in faith and understanding that though they are fully able to commit sin, yet they never find the will to engage in sinful acts and they are sheltered from committing mistakes. Just as normal individuals might never find the will to engage in certain acts, Ismat is a degree the highest of which is bestowed upon prophets and their progeny. Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani has written a book on this subject which has been translated into Arabic. There he has explained the concept of Ismat based on Qur`an and ahadith.
Q1: How can I prove to my Sunni friends that Imam Ali (a.s.), son of Abu Talib, is the rightful successor of the Prophet (saws)?
A: If you understand Arabic, then by studying "Al-ghadir" and "Then I Was Guided" by grand scholars Amini and Tijani, respectively, and by reading Qur’anic commentaries and the like, you can accumulate knowledge. You can then talk to them explaining logically the reasons you have deduced from the above. If you do not know Arabic, please contact us and we will give you other references.
Q2: Who were the two true successors of the Prophet Moses (a.s.) and the Prophet Jesus (a.s.)?
A2: "Joshua' son of Noun" was the successor to Prophet Moses (a.s.) and "Simon son of Hamoun-es-Safa" was the successor to Prophet Jesus (a.s.).
Q1: Is heaven a planet?
A1: We have no information about it. Heaven is probably entirely different to our planet ‘earth’, as well as the other planets.
Q2: What do I need to do to enter Heaven?
A2: Do what you are ordered to do by Allah (swt) and shun what is forbidden by Him.
Q3: Are there sports in heaven like tennis or soccer?
A3: According to the Qur’anic chapters, "The Ornament": 71 and "The Distinguished": 31, you will find in Heaven whatsoever you wish and whatsoever the eyes enjoy looking at.
Q4: Is Heaven in this universe?
A4: According to the Qur’anic chapter "the Family of Imran” (3: 133) which says: "Hasten thou, to the mercy of Allah and to the Gardens that is as vast as Heavens and Earth, and is prepared for the pious ", the extent of the Gardens is equal to the present universe; therefore, our small world does not have enough capacity -if you refer to the solar system. For the exegesis of Qur’an 4: 69: “The Lord and His Messenger, then are along with whom are given mercy by lord, like prophets, truth tellers, martyrs, and benefactors", the experts have referred to traditions which say: "the believers will meet the Imams and the Prophets in Gardens". The word ‘seddiqin’, meaning the ‘truth-tellers’ in this verse refers to the Immaculate Imams (a.s.).
Q5: Is Heaven a planet like Earth? If so, are there different Heavens (planets) for different people?
A5: All that we know about the "Next world"; Heaven and Hell, is whatever has reached us through the narrations, but what we will actually encounter in the Hereafter is beyond our imagination.
Q6: Is Heaven a planet?
A6: We don’t know. Heaven is apparently different from the Earth and other planets.
Q1: The Qur’an states that Allah (swt) created the Earth and the planets in six days. Days are a human creation, i.e. minutes, seconds etc. A day is defined by the full rotation of the earth, but at that time the earth had not been created to be used as a means of measurement. Is there more than one earth?
A1: The word ‘days’ (ayyam) in the Qur’an does not refer to an ordinary day, as we know it, but rather as ‘stages’. Thus Allah (swt) created the universe in six stages.
Q2: Islamically, can a man be born twice in the world?
A2: If what you mean is, to be born again in this world, it will suffice to say, that it is possible only by a miraculous power as has been done before; for example, Jesus (as) who gave life to the dead, and is confirmed in the Qur’an. But if you mean incarnation (holul) and the transmigration of souls (tanasukh) - whereby the soul of a dead person comes to life in another body and enters the world - then Islamically and in actuality, this is a null-and-void theory.
Q3: I am proud of being a Muslim and I believe in all that God and the Prophet (pbuh) have said but I have a question; I know that God has created this world and human beings to live and obey his orders. I have heard that the difficulties in this world are tests from Allah. My question is why has Allah created the world and humand beings to test them. I mean why all these difficulties and tests? Some people have terrible diseases, some are very poor. Why has God created this world and these tests? Each person is tested differently but why? Please answer me.
A3: Most of these hardships and problems are created by men themselves. God did not ordain evil and pain for them. Poverty, diseases, wars and the likes of such mishaps have certain causes which cannot be explained here.
In any case, the world is a place for trial. Those who remain faithful despite the trials and tribulations, God will reward them profusely in the Afterworld which is a permanent abode. The philosophy of trials is the spiritual growth of successful individuals. Proximity to God, which is the principal objective of man's entire deeds, is found in these trials and tribulations.
The Attributes of God
Q1: Sometimes we see some people who while talking about the greatness of Allah, point their fingers or/and look towards the sky as if Allah is there! Is this prohibited or allowed? What are the limitations?
A1: Certainly, Allah is present everywhere we can imagine, and if somebody points at somewhere and means that Allah is limited to that certain place, he has done something wrong. But as a symbolic act to represent the greatness of Him, people raise their hands towards the sky. What they do is only as a token of Allah's dominance over the world. In some narrations this act is mentioned such as when we raise our hands in supplication (Qunut) in our prayers.
Q2: How, as Muslims, should we answer the question: "Where is Allah, is He everywhere?"
A2: You have found your answer if you believe that all creatures, great and small, or any system is in need of a prudent superintendent for them to work in an orderly fashion. You should then ask the question "Where can't we find Allah"? The answer to the question will certainly be negative, for wherever you go, and each scientific field you explore bears testimony to the fact that the signs of the Exalted One are visible everywhere.
Q1: What is wilayat-e faqih?
A1: Wilayat-e-Faqih means that at the time of the Greater Occultation, as stipulated by Imam Mahdi(a), the Faqih has some rights and authorities with which the problems of the Muslims would be solved.
Q2: Do the decrees (fatawa) of the wilayat-e-faqih override the decrees of other marja’s? If they do, then why do we need other marja-e-taqlid?
A2: The Wilayat-e-Faqih's decrees are, in the affairs related to the government, prior to the decrees of other faqihs, unless a certain faqih considers the wilayat limited. However independent of the Wilayat-e-Faqih, all the faqihs have reached a consensus that when a certain faqih has his own opinion, another faqih is not allowed to concern himself with it.
Q3: If I live in a foreign country, which is not under the rule of the wilayat-e-faqih, what are his duties to me and what are my duties to him? Should different countries have different wilayat-e-faqihs?
A3: According to the Iranian constitution, the wilayat-e-faqih can exercise his control across his own country, but religiously the wilayat-e-faqih is not confined to a particular region; therefore, a faqih (jurisprudent) can intercede, when it is advisable for Islam and the Muslims, even if he is not present in that country.
Q1: How and when did the Jews and the Christians change their books, the Torah and the Bible?
A1: Distortion of the Jewish religious books dates back to the beginning of Judaism. You can learn of such details in the Qur’anic chapters, such as 2: 58, 7: 161, 5: 46. When the teachings of Jesus (a.s.) opposed the benefits of the ruling oppressors, the Sacred texts of Christianity became distorted. The teachings found in their Holy Books do not reflect the true divine teachings brought by God’s Messengers. Such distortions can be proved through the discrepancies and contradictions, which are found in their texts.
Q2: Who changed the Bible and why? Does the true Bible still exist?
A2: It is clear that those who tried to murder Jesus (a.s.), distorted the Bible as well. The distortion of the Bible took place after the Crucifixion, and it was because the teachings of Jesus Christ were in opposition to the rulers of the time. All the versions of the Bible at this time were distorted, and not only at present, but also in the earliest Islamic era, the original version of the Bible was not available.
Q3: Are the present Jews and Christians considered as people of the Book (ahl-e kitab)? If yes, why? Isn't it clear that the books they follow (Torah and Bible) aren't the real holy books? So how can we consider them as people of the Book when their religious texts are neither authentic nor divine manuscripts?
A3: Yes, the present Jews and Christians are considered as people of the Book. Although their books have been distorted, the principal theme of their books such as worship of God, theism and the like, have not been changed. As a result, they are people of the Book because they believe in One God, the Resurrection, and the prophethood of one of the Arch-Prophets of Allah (swt).
Q3: Do the followers of Moses and Jesus go to Heaven?
A3: The true followers of Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them) go to heaven, if they have acted according to their duties until the time when their religion was abrogated and nullified with the coming of the next prophet. With the coming of the religion of Jesus, Jewism was abrogated and with the advent of the religion of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Christianity was abrogated. Only Islam is the accepted religion. We believe that there is no other religion after Islam and that only those who have acted upon the commandments of Islam will deserve to go to the Heaven.
Q1: Why do Shias combine prayers? Did the Holy Prophet (pbuh) combined his prayers?
A1: No one suggests that there is anything wrong with praying the individual prayers
separately. Zuhr and `Asr prayers and Maghrib and 'Isha' prayers can be offered either combined or separately. However, this practice of combining the two prayers by the Prophet (s) reflects the Divine Grace of Allah (swt) for the convenience of the ummah, and there are good reasons why it has become customary amongst the Shi'ah.
Combining Zuhr and `Asr prayers, and Maghrib and 'Isha' prayers, is in accordance with the Qur’an and permissible according to the sunnah of Prophet (s), besides being more convenient. The fact that this well-evidenced sunnah is not generally practiced by our Sunni brothers does not make it inapplicable in our lives.
The Sunni schools of law (fiqh) - with the exception of the Hanafi school - allow the combining of the obligatory prayers (al-jam` bayn al-salatayn) in the case of rain, travel, fear, or other emergencies. The Hanafi school of law prohibits the combination of the daily prayers at any time, with the exception of the prayers at Al-Muzdalifa during the Hajj. There is also a narrative
(Ñæí Çä ÇáäÈí Õáí Çááå Úáíå æ Çáå ÌãÚ Èíä ÇáãÛÑÈ æ ÇáÚÔÇÁ ÈÇáãÒÏáÝÉ ÈÃÐÇä æÇÍÏ æÇÞÇãÊíä )
There are also narratives that the Prophet (pbuh) combined his prayers when he was traveling. The Maliki, Shafi'i, and Hanbali schools of law all agree on the permissibility of combining the prayers when one is travelling, but have differences of opinion on other reasons. The Shi'ah Ja'fari school of law states that one can combine the prayers without any particular reason.
The Messenger of Allah (s) observed the noon and afternoon prayers together in Medina without being in a state of fear or in a state of journey. Abu Zubair said: “I asked Sa'id (one of the narrators) why he did that. He said: I asked Ibn 'Abbas as you have asked me, and he replied that he (the Holy Prophet) wanted that no one among his Ummah should be put to (unnecessary) hardship.”
Q1: I was looking through one of the Christian sites, and came across the article, which states that most of the Shia scholars consider present Quran as distorted. They claim that Shias believe that there was 115 surahs named "Nurayn". Could you write me an answer and give an opinion of prominent Shia scholars (on completeness of Quran), with references to their works, so that I could properly reply to them and convict them in lie.
A1: The opinion of the scholars of Islam, both Shi'a and Sunni is that the present Quran is the same one that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (s). To substantiate this claim you can refer to two undeniable proofs (In addition, several books and extensive research works have been written about this subject):
1) Compare several copies of the Quran in Iran, published before and after the Revolution, you will see that there is absolutely no difference between the Qurans published in Iran or abroad, not even one letter. You can refer to the Quran available on the Shia sites on the Internet.
II) You can show them a complete Shiite commentary of the Quran. They will see that this is the same existing Quran without any addition or subtraction with commentary from the beginning to the end.
For more explanation, you can refer to the book "Madkhal-- al-- Tafsir" by Ayatollah Fazil Lankarani. Three Quranic subjects are covered there. One of them is proving that the Quran has not been tampered with.
Q1: What do the Arabic jurisprudence words ‘sabban shadeedan’ mean?
A1: Whatsoever public opinion considers to be a blasphemous or a swear word, is called sabb.
Q2: Is Satan still alive, or is it his descendants which are causing mischief and trouble in the world?
A2: Satan is definitely alive!
Q3: What is the Shiah opinion regarding Sufism and can a Muslim study a Sufi text?
A3: Sufism has no religious basis in Shi’ism or in Islam generally. There is no sign of it in the teachings of the Prophet (saws). It is better to study the narratives by the Holy Prophet (saws) and texts such as Nahjul Balaghah by the Prophet’s (saws) successor Ali (a.s.). Books on the history of Islam can then be studied. You should follow the teachings of the fourteen Infallibles who are free from any error or sin. To fulfil your religious duties as ordered by the Exalted One, you can refer to a resaleh (Towdih-ol masa'el). It is necessary to point out that all the sects have been led astray since the demise of the Prophet (saws). Some groups have been set up in ignorance, to profit financially from them or to take advantage of some simple-minded and credulous people.
Q4: Which chapter in the Holy Qur’an starts with "Besmellah Qasem-el jabbarin", and what does "jabarin" mean? What is the ruling for a person that has left Islam for another religion?
A4: No Qur’anic chapter has been begun with such a sentence. ‘Jabbar’ means cruel. If a Muslim has deserted Islam and become an unbeliever (Kafir) he is considered as a pagan. The decree for atheism is stipulated in Islamic Jurisprudence: for example a person from Muslim parentage - whether one or both parents were Muslim - and has him/herself believed in Islam and then abandoned it, is a pagan and must be killed, and his/her wealth divided between their inheritors.
Q5: Which book would you recommend to a Sunni Muslim to learn about the truth of Shism?
A5: Refer to "Al-Morajeat" (The Right Path) by sayyed Sharaf-ud-din.
Q6: Could you please tell me from which source "Bismillah Qasem-el jabbarin" comes from? Why do some people use it when they begin a speech?
A6: The phrase needs no authentic source; the title is one of the names of the Exalted One, and means the One who breaks the necks of the cruel and oppressive tyrants. In the 'Iftetah’ supplication, recited in the nights of the Holy month of Ramadan, the phrase Qasem-el jabbarin is mentioned. Usually, it is used at the time when somebody writes a letter to a cruel person, or takes action against him, and the like. We recite ‘Bismillahir-Rahmanirrahim’ when we begin our usual daily tasks, however when we rise against a tyrant we begin in the name of Him Who breaks the tyrants necks.
Q7: Where does the debvil Iblis live?
A7: Iblis is from the Jinn (genie) and he can live anywhere in the world. No one other than God knows where exactly he is. If we want to make an interpretation of our own, we can say that he is living with the sinners and those alienated with God.
Q8: What is the real meaning of the following Qur’anic verse Tawba: 107
"And as for those who put up a mosque by way of harming and disbelief, and to disunite the believers, and as an outpost for those who warred against Allâh and His Messenger (Muhammad saws) aforetime, they will indeed swear that their intention is nothing but good. Allâh bears witness that they are certainly liars".
A8: The verse is about some hypocrites who built a mosque near Medina called "Zerar" aimed at sowing the seeds of discord amongst Muslims. You can refer to the Qur’anic interpretations on the verse for further information and explanation.
Q9: What does Islamic Science mean?
A9: Islamic science includes all forms of intuitive knowledge, which are written in the Qur’an, or transmitted through the narrations of the Prophet (saws) and his family members, which are interpreted and elaborated for us by our Islamic scholars, and Jurisprudents. This field is incredibly vast when compared to all the human sciences in the world.
Q10: Is the Satan Ibliss still alive or is it his children that are making trouble in the world?
A10: He is still alive.
Q11: What is Jinn?
A11: There is no specific or scientific method for telling what Jinn is.
Q12: How and when did the Jews and the Christians change their religious books: Talmud, Torah and Bible?
A12: The history of alteration of religious books, amongst the Jewish people goes right back to the beginning of Judaism. For more information, you can refer to Surahs, The Cows 2:58, The Elevated Places 161 and the Food 5:46 of the Holy Quran.
As far as Christianity is concerned, after Jesus (a.s.) (was raised to the heavens) because his teachings conflicted with the interests of those in power, they altered his heavenly book, the Injeel. What is certain, is that these books have been changed, and the proof of that is the material that is in those books and (fact) that the conflict with teachings of a divine messenger who is calling for monotheism and in the same manner the discrepancies in these books.
Q13: Who were the two true caliphs of the prophet Moses and the prophet Jesus?
A13:The Wasi of Musa (A.S.) was Yousha’ bin Noon and the Wasi of Isa (A.S.) was Sham’oon bin Hamoon Assafa.
Q14: Do Muslims believe in forgiving others that have angered them?
A14: One of the traits of Allah, the Most High is that He is Forgiving towards sinners and in the Holy Quran, He has commanded people to pardon others. In this regard, please refer to the commentary on the verses 109, 178 and 219 of chapter 2 (Surat Al-Baqarah), verse 199 of chapter 7 (Surat Al-A’raf) as well as 134 of chapter 3 (Surat Al-e Imran).
Also, in many traditions there has been enjoinment to pardon and forgive. This was the way of the Holy Prophet (S) and Infallible Imams (a.s.) and you can find these instances by referring to the books of history, their biographies as well as the traditions.
At the same time, mentioning this point is necessary, that pardoning and forgiveness does not extend to colonialists, those who have encroached on the rights of the society and those who will misuse over looking and fogiving, because forgiving these people means assisting those who tread on the rights of the people, which not only Islam opposes, but rather all divine religions as well as the wise people of the world.
Q15: Is the story of Qasim's marriage on the day of Karbala true?
A: No, it is not true.