Questions & Answers

What is the meaning of at-ta’arrub ba’d al-hijra which is one of the major sins? Question:
Some jurists have said that during our time, it applies to residing in countries that may cause the loss of faith. It means the migration of a person from a country -where it is possible for him to learn the obligatory religious teachings and laws, and where it is possible for him to fulfill his obligations and refrain from what is forbidden- to a country where this possibility does not exist fully or partially. Answer:
A believer residing in Europe, America and other similar countries feels estranged from the religious environment in which he was born and raised. Neither does he hear the voice of the Qur’an [recited from mosques] nor the sound of the adhan* coming [from the minarets]; and there are no holy shrines, and their spiritual atmosphere, that he can visit. Is leaving such an Islamic environment of his country and its positive aspects considered “loss of faith”? Question:
This is not the loss of faith that would make residing in a non-Muslim country haram for that person. However, staying away from such a religious environment may, with the passage of time, weaken the religious resolve of the immigrant to an extent that he may consider negligence of wajib deeds and committing of sins as insignificant. If a person has this fear that he might lose the faith in this manner, then it is not permissible for him to take residence in that country. Answer:
Sometimes a Muslim residing in Europe and America (and other similar places) indulges in haram activities that he would not have done, if he remained in his Muslim country. The manifestations of temptation in non-Muslim societies may attract a Muslim to committing haram deeds even if he is not inclined towards them. Does this come under the banner of “loss of faith” that makes it haram for him to stay in that country? Question:
Yes; unless the sins he sometimes indulges in, and without insisting upon them, they are of the minor category. Answer:
At-ta’arrub ba’d al-hijra has been described as “migrating to a country in which the religious knowledge of the immigrant will decrease, thus becoming more alienated from his faith.” Does this mean that a Muslim in such countries is duty bound to be extra vigilant lest he should become alienated from his faith? Question:
The extra care becomes wajib when not being mindful leads to loss of faith as described earlier. Answer:
If a religious preacher who is mindful of his faith starts facing more situations where he commits haram deeds because of the social environment (e.g., nudity and indecent exposures), is it haram for him to stay in those countries; that is, should he stop propagation (tabligh) and return to his own country? Question:
If he indulges in some minor sins occasionally, then it is not haram for him to stay in that country, provided that he is confident that he would not be tempted to commit more serious sins. Answer:
If an immigrant fears the loss of faith for his children, is it haram for him to stay in that non-Muslim country? Question:
Yes, the same rule applies to himself also. Answer:
Is it wajib on the immigrants in Europe and America (and other similar countries) to strive for teaching their children Arabic, and that ignorance of Arabic may lead in the future to ignorance of the main Islamic body of knowledge, and that will naturally lead to less familiarity with religious teachings and loss of faith? Question:
To teach them Arabic is wajib only to the extent which is necessary for performing their religious duties that have to be done in Arabic (e.g., recitation of the Opening chapter of the Qur’an, a second chapter, and other wajib recitations in salat). Teaching more than that is not wajib as long as it is possible to provide them with religious knowledge in a foreign language. Of course, it is recommended to teach them the holy Qur’an [in Arabic]; rather it is important to teach them Arabic in a precise form so that they may benefit from the basic sources of Islamic teachings, especially, and foremost among them, after the holy Qur’an, is the Prophetic sunna and the sayings of the Ahlul Bayt (peace be with them all). Answer:
If it is possible for a Muslim to reside in a Muslim country with some financial difficulty compared to his present situation, then is it wajib on him to travel to that Muslim country and leave leave his residence in Western countries? Question:
It is not wajib [to leave the Western country] except if he has no confidence in himself, in that he may lose his faith -as explained earlier- while residing in the foreign country. Answer:
If a person has the ability to propagate Islam to non-Muslims or to disseminate religious knowledge among Muslims in non-Muslim countries without any danger of losing his own faith, is it wajib on such a person to do propagation (tabligh)? Question:
Yes, it is wajib kifa’i upon him and all the others who have the ability to propagate [Islam]. Answer:
Is it permissible for a person to buy a passport [i.e., to illegally obtain a passport] or change the picture in the passport so that he may be able to enter a country, and then he would let the immigration officials of that country know the truth about his identity? Question:
We do not allow it. Answer:
Is it permissible for a person to reside in non-Muslim countries with all its temptations that confronts the person on the street, the school, the television and other media while he has the ability to migrate to a Muslim country although that transfer would cause difficulty in residence, loss of material wealth and comfort, and constrain the worldly aspects of his life? If it is not permissible to remain in such a country, would his efforts in propagation among the Muslims (reminding them of their obligations and encouraging them to refrain from haram) change the rule for him and allow him to remain in that country? Question:
It is not haram to stay in that country, if it does not create hurdles for him and his family in fulfilling their religious obligations presently as well as in future; otherwise, it would not be permissible even if he is engaged in some kind of propagation activities. And Allah knows the best. Answer:
The jurists tell us that it is wajib to emulate the most learned (a’lam) mujtahid, and when we ask the religious scholars in our area, “Who is the a’lam?” we do not get a clear-cut answer so that we may follow his fatwa. When we ask them about their answer, they say that they are not ahlul khibra and they also say that: “we have asked ahlul khibra* and have been informed that identifying the a’lam mujtahid requires the study of the books of the mujtahids and that obviously is a time consuming and difficult task; so go and ask the others.” If the problem of identifying the a’lam mujtahid is so difficult in religious circles, obviously the problem would be even more difficult in other countries like Europe and America. After a lot of difficulty when we convince the youths of these countries that it is necessary to abide by the shari’a laws, we reach to the question of who is the a’lam, and find ourselves lost for words. Is there a solution to this problem? Question:
If there are some ahlul khibra who refuse to identify the a’lam for one reason or another, there are other ahlul khibra who readily identify him. It is possible to contact those ahlul khibra through the religious scholars and others who are reliable and have contacts with religious seminaries and with the scholars in other countries. So, although identifying the a’lam is not without difficulty, yet it is not a serious problem. Answer:
How do we know who ahlul khibra are so that we may ask them about the a’lam mujtahid? How do we reach them since we are far away from religious seminaries? Is there a way that can simplify for us the process of determining whom we should follow in taqlid? Question:
The ahlul khibra are the mujtahids and those next in line in religious sciences, and they know quite well that one person in a limited group of mujtahids is the a’lam. And they have to consider the following three things to identify that a’lam: First: His knowledge concerning the methods for providing the authenticity of the hadith, and that involves ‘ilmu ‘r-rijal (the science of narrators of hadith) and ‘ilmu ‘l-hadith (the science of hadith). On this subject, issues like familiarity with the books [of hadith] and the ahadith that have been tampered with; knowledge of causes for fabrication [of ahadith]; variance in the manuscripts and distinguishing the most correct one; and being aware of confusion which sometimes occurs between the text of a hadith and the explanation of the compilers, are of utmost importance. Second: His ability to understand the meaning of the text by considering the general rules of speech, especially the style used by the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) in describing the laws. The science of ‘usûlu ‘l-fiqh (Principles of Jurisprudence), Arabic grammar and literature, as well as familiarity with the views of the Sunni jurists who were contemporaries of the Imams play an important role in the understanding of the hadith texts. Third: Soundness of his view in deriving the rules from the sources. And the method of getting acquainted with those in whom the status of a’lam is confined to having scholarly discussions with them or to referring to their books or to the transcripts of their lectures on Jurisprudence and the Principles of Jurisprudence. If a person cannot know the ahlul khibra by himself, he can come to know them through the religious scholars and others whom he trusts. The geographical distance should not be a barrier to establishing communication with them in this era where many fast means of communication are easily available. Answer:
Sometimes the heart feels at ease in regard to a particular mujtahid. Is this feeling sufficient to do his taqlid if the ahlul khibra have difference of opinion in determining the a’lam? Question:
If the ahlul khibra have difference of opinion in determining the a’lam, one must follow the view of those who are more qualified and capable among the ahlul khibra. This is the norm in dealing with all cases where the experts have difference of opinion. Answer:
If the ahlul khibra have difference of opinion in determining the a’lam mujtahid or just say that following any one from the given number of mujtahids is sufficient, can a person apply the fatwa of one mujtahid in one issue and another mujtahid in another until it becomes clear for him who is the a’lam? Question:
This question has three parts: First: That some ahlul khibra announce that “it is sufficient to follow one specific mujtahid or of a group of mujtahids.” This has no religious value at all. Second: That the ahlul khibra announce that two or more mujtahids are equal in knowledge and piety (in the sense of being careful in deriving the laws [from their sources]), then a lay person has the option of acting according to the views of any one of the mujtahids in all the issues. However, as a matter of precaution (ihtiyat) in some issues, if possible, one could act in such a manner as to fulfill the requirements of both views; for example, in the case of praying concessionary qasr and full (tamam) prayers. [That is, praying the same prayer in qasr as well as in tamam forms.] Third: That some ahlul khibra announce that mujtahid ‘a’ is the a’lam whereas others among the ahlul khibra announce that mujtahid ‘b’ is the a’lam. This can have two situations: A person knows that one of the two mujtahids is the a’lam but he does not know which one specifically. This is a very unusual situation and it has been discussed in detail in Minhaju ‘s-Saliheen, question No. 9. A person does not know which of the two is the a’lam in the sense that he thinks both are equal in knowledge. This refers back to the second of the three parts mentioned above, provided that the person is unable to identify the more Godfearing of the two mujtahids. If he is able to identify the more Godfearing of the two mujtahdis, he must follow the fatwa of that mujtahid. Answer:
If a person does not know the view of his marja’, in a certain problem, is it necessary for him to find out about it even if it involves expensive telephone calls? Or is it sufficient to act on the known view of any other mujtahid until he finds out the view of his own marja’? And in such a case what will be the verdict on the past acts [done according to the view of the other mujtahid] if it differs from the view of his own marja’? Question:
It is necessary for him to find out the view of his a’lam marja’ even through telephone contact as long as it does not cause him harm [physically or financially]. If it is not possible for him to find out the view [of his own marja’], it is permissible for him to refer in that particular case to the other mujtahids, taking into account the hierarchy of the al-a’lam and the next a’lam in line. The deeds performed according to the view of the second mujtahid would be valid even if the worshipper later on finds out that it was not in accordance with the view of his own marja’. Answer:
The earth is one of the purifying agents. Following the example of a shoe’s sole that can be purified by walking on the earth, would the same rule apply to car tires? Question:
The earth cannot purify the tires. Answer:
Where does the domino effect of mutanajjis items stop when it is no longer wet? Question:
The first mutanajjis item would make the item that comes into contact with it impure; similarly, the second mutanajjis would make the item that comes into contact with it impure; but the third mutanajjis can no longer make other items impure, irrespective of whether it is wet or dry. Answer:
If a dog licks my body or clothes, how should I purify it? Question:
It is sufficient to wash it once. However, if the water is little, it is necessary to rid it of the water by wringing. Answer:
Are the Sikhs considered to be among the followers of the past revealed religions like the Jews and the Christians? Question:
They are not counted among the People of the (Revealed) Books (the Ahlul Kitab). Answer: