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Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi’s tafsir lectures:

They Will Ask You

A Collection of Quranic Questions Presented to the


Messenger of Allah (s)

Collected by: Abu al-Qasim ‘Aliyannejadi

Translated by: Hamid Waqar

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Published by Muntazar Publications

www.muntazar.org

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Table of Contents

Introduction……….7

Chapter 1 – The birth of the moon……..13

Chapter 2 – Spending in the way of Allah……..23

Chapter 3 – War in the holy months………52

Chapter 4 – Alcohol and Gambling……….85

Chapter 5 – Confrontation with the orphans……..96

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Introduction

Continuing the custom performed in the blessed month of


Ramadan, which is the month that the Quran was
revealed, Allah gave me the opportunity to deliver lectures
about the commentary of the Quran this year (2007) as
well. The subjects of the lectures that will be delivered in
the Islamic year 1428 are Quranic questions and answers.
But, before entering this discussion and discussing the
relevant verses it is necessary to present an introduction
stating the necessity of the discussion at hand.

A. What Questions?

There are many questions raised and answers given in the


Quran which are not the subject of this discussion. Rather,
the questions that start with the phrase ‘they ask you’ are
the subjects of this discussion. It is worthy of noting that 15
verses of the Quran start with this phrase. Allah narrated
these questions from the people directed towards the
Prophet (s) and then presented their answers. These 15
verses are in regards to 12 subjects:

1. The birth of the new moon; what is the purpose behind


the creation of the moon and the stages it goes through?
This subject is discussed in the 189th verse of Surah
Baqarah.

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2. Charity; what should be given in charity? Who should
charity be given to? This subject is discussed in the 215th
and 219th verses of Surah Baqarah.

3. The sacred months; what is the ruling about fighting


during the sacred months? This subject is discussed in the
217th verse of Surah Baqarah.

4. Alcohol and gambling is another subject that is


discussed in the 219th verse of Surah Baqarah.

5. Orphans is another important subject that the people


asked the Prophet (s) about. Allah presented a question
and answer about orphans in the 220th verse of Surah
Baqarah.

6. Menstruation is another subject which is discussed in


the 222nd verse of Surah Baqarah.

7. Permissible food is another subject that the people


during the lifetime of the Prophet (s) had questions about.
This subject is discussed in the 4th verse of Surah Ma’idah.

8. The hereafter and the time of the hereafter are other


subjects that were asked about. These subjects are
discussed in the 187th verse of Surah A’raf and the 42nd
verse of Surah Nazi’at.

9. Charity is the ninth subject that is discussed. This issue


has appeared in the first verse of Surah charity.

10. The spirit is another subject that was asked about in


that age and is asked about in all ages. This subject is
discussed in the 58th verse of Surah Taha.

11. Mountains are another subject that is discussed in the


105th verse of Surah Taha.

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12. Dhul-Qarnayn is a historical subject that has been
discussed. It is discussed in the 83rd verse of Surah Kahf.

B. The Expansiveness of these Questions

Quranic questions and answers, which revolve around the


twelve topics mentioned above, are divided into nine other
categories. Some of them are theological, some of them
are jurisprudential, some of them are ethical – for instance
charity, - some of them are historical, and some of them
are philosophical.

The expansiveness of these verses and the multiple


subjects that are discussed in relation to them shows that
the Prophet of Islam was ordered to answer any question
raised to him. This means that no question remains
unanswered in Islam. Therefore, scholars allow youth to
ask their questions in order to increase their knowledge.
When man is born he does not know anything. As he
grows his ignorance decreases through asking questions;
he gains information in this method.

C. The Importance of Questions from the


Quranic Standpoint

It is sufficient to mention the following verse in order to


show the importance that the Quran gives to questions and
answers:

‫ﻓﺴﺌﺎوا اهﻞ اﻟﺬﮐﺮ ان ﮐﻨﺘﻢ‬


‫ﻻ ﺗﻌﻠﻤﻮن‬

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“…ask the People of the Reminder if you do not know.”1
The People of the Reminder have been explained as the
Ahl al-Bayt (a) in Islamic traditions,2 but there is no doubt
that they are exclusively the Ahl al-Bayt (a). But, since they
are the most perfect and knowledgeable beings they have
been mentioned in the traditions. Meanwhile, one must not
feel shy to ask questions. There is no shame in not
knowing something. Rather, not asking about something
that one does not know about is shameful. In its interesting
that the mentioned verse is about the People of the
Scripture. This means that even if a non-Muslim has
enough knowledge about a certain issue one should ask
him about it and benefit from his information.

D. Questions and Answers from the Standpoint


of Traditions

There are many traditions which express the importance of


questions and answers. Two of these traditions will be
mentioned:

1. The Messenger (s) said: “Knowledge is a treasure. The


key to this treasure is asking questions. Therefore, ask
about what you do not know; Allah will have mercy on you.
Four groups of people receive rewards regarding questions
and answers: the person asking the question, the teacher
who answers the question, the person present in that
sitting who listened to both the question and the answer,

1
Quran, 16:43 and 21:7
2
Tafsir Burhan, v.3, p.423

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and the person who was not present, but who loves such
an action.”3

2. Imam ‘Ali (a) said: “Ask me about whatever you want


before you will lose me. I know the paths of the heavens
more than I know the paths of the earth.”4

3. It has been narrated in the Nahj al-Balaghah that he (a)


said: “If you do not know a thing never hesitate or feel
ashamed to learn it.”5

It has been narrated in a tradition that shyness and feeling


ashamed has been divided into two categories: rational
shyness and idiotic shyness.6 Rational shyness is when a
person feels ashamed of Allah when he is faced with sin.
This causes him to refrain from committing the sin. Feeling
ashamed of sin is rational shyness, is praised shyness.
But, idiotic shyness is when one feels ashamed to ask a
question about something that he does not know. One
must be brave in asking questions, they must remove all
forms of shyness in this regard. Not only does on ask
about subjects that they want to ask about but they also
encourage others to ask.

Imam ‘Ali (a) entered the battlefield and a person came to


him. This person asked a complicated question about
tawhid. He asked: “What does it mean that Allah is one?”
Does it mean that he is one in comparison with two? Does
the oneness of Allah have any other explanation?”

3
Mizan al-Hikmah, v.4, section 1702; h.8040
4
Ibid, section 1705, h.8058
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Nahj al-Balaghah, short saying:82
6
Mizan al-Hikmah, v.2, section 992, h.4577

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Some of the companions complained about this person.
They stated that right now is the time for war, not for
questions and answers.

Imam ‘Ali responded: “We fight in order to make people


aware; in order to wake them up. Then, what problem is
there in answering this person’s question?” He then
answered his question in detail.7

The conclusion is that Islam gives great importance to


questions and answers. It gives everyone the permission
to ask about various subjects. It is irrational to have an
form of shyness in this regard.

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Mizan al-Hikmah, v.6, section 2628, h. 12356

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Chapter 1

The Birth of the Moon

The first question is about the birth of the moon, which is


the crescent. The moon starts very small and then gets
bigger and bigger until the night of the fourteenth day in
which it becomes a full moon. Then, starting from the night
of the fifteenth it becomes smaller and smaller until it is just
a sliver during the last nights of the month. What is the
philosophy behind these changes in the moon?

The answer to this question is given in the 189th verse of


Surah Baqarah:

‫ﻳﺴﺌﻠﻮﻧﮏ ﻋﻦ اﻻهﻠﺔ ﻗﻞ هﯽ ﻣﻮاﻗﻴﺖ ﻟﻠﻨﺎس و اﻟﺤﺞ و ﻟﻴﺲ اﻟﺒﺮ ﺑﺎن‬


‫ﺗﺎﺗﻮا اﻟﺒﻴﻮت ﻣﻦ ﻇﻬﻮرهﺎ و ﻟﮑﻦ اﻟﺒﺮ ﻣﻦ اﺗﻘﯽ و اﺗﻮا اﻟﺒﻴﻮت ﻣﻦ‬
‫اﺑﻮاﺑﻬﺎ و اﺗﻘﻮا اﷲ ﻟﻌﻠﮑﻢ ﺗﻔﻠﺤﻮن‬
“They question you concerning the new moons. Say, ‘They
are timekeeping signs for the people and [for the sake of]
hajj.’ It is not piety that you come into houses from their
rear; rather piety is [personified by] one who is Godwary,
and come into houses from their doors, and be wary of
Allah, so that you may be felicitous.8

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Quran, 2:189

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What is being asked?

The commentators of the Quran have presented two


possibilities regarding the principle question:

1. The question is not about religious law, rather it is about


the changes that are seen in the moon and its various
stages.

2. The question is about the creation of the moon.

Answer

It is known that the moon does not produce any light from
itself, rather it receives light from the sun. Therefore, the
part of the moon that is facing the sun is bright while the
other side is dark.

The moon rotates around itself once every month (30


days). Therefore, at the beginning a small portion of the
moon is illuminated and which grows gradually. This
continues until the middle of the month where the entire
moon is illuminated. Afterwards, the illumination decreases
gradually. Therefore, the changes that are seen on the
surface of the moon are the stages that the moon goes
through each month.

Allah answers the question regarding the moon by stating


that the moon is a natural calendar for mankind; a calendar
that was placed in the heart of the sky so that everyone,
wherever they are can use it as their own calendar. It does

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not matter how literate or intelligent the person is,
everyone can use the moon.

The calendar derived from the sun can secure the same
objective, but it is not universal. One cannot figure out what
part of the month it is by merely looking into the sky. But,
this is possible by looking at the illuminated and dark parts
of the moon.

This natural calendar was created with two purposes:

1. Giving order to life because life without order will result


in failure. Allah created the moon so that mankind would
act in accordance to a program; so that mankind would
have order in his life.

2. Religious worship is also in congruence with this


calendar. The first of the lunar month starts with the birth of
the moon. People fast from the first day of the month of
Ramadan and end their fast with the birth of the moon in
Shawal. This is ‘Id al-Fitr which is a day where fasting is
prohibited. After nine days pass from the start of Dhi al-
Hijjah the pilgrims travel to ‘Arafat. On the tenth day they
head off for Mina and perform the rites of Mina. Then,
when the twelfth day finishes they travel from Mina to
Mecca in order to perform the rites of Mecca.

In short, the birth of the moon gives order to one’s life and
the calendar stemming from it is used for one’s worship
schedule.

Circumstances of the Revelation of the Verse

The prominent commentators of the Quran provide various


circumstances of the revelation of this verse. Some believe

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that a group of Jews asked this question from the
Messenger (s) because they wanted to clarify what the
philosophy of the stages of the moon was.9

In the author’s opinion it does not matter who the person


asking the question was. It also does not matter whether or
not he was Muslim. What is important is the answer that
Allah gave. The philosophy of the stages of the moon is
having order rule over one’s life. The stages of the moon
also affect issues of worship, such as hajj and fasting.

It is interesting that the end of the verse points to an issue


which proves to be an example of how the people in the
Age of Ignorance did not have order. It states that there
was nothing left of the Abrahamic hajj during the Age of
Ignorance. Rather, it was mixed with all kinds of
superstitions. These superstitions are what the end of the
verse is referring to when it states: “It is not piety that you
come into houses from their rear; rather piety is
[personified by] one who is Godwary, and come into
houses from their doors.”10

The Quran rebukes this form of disorder; it is considered


negative. The Quran does not consider this a sign of piety
or righteousness. The people are ordered to enter from the
door before ihram.

Perform all Actions as they should be


Performed

9
Majma’ al-Bayan, v.2, p.27
10
Tafsir Safi, v.1, p.348

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It is understood from the end of the verse that all actions
must be performed in their own special ways.

Every action regarding the world and the hereafter has a


correct and rational way of being performed. The action
must be performed in this way if one wants a positive
result. Some traditions which state that the house is Islam
and the doors to the house are the infallibles (a)11 alludes
to this point. This means that entering the house of Islam
depends on a correct understanding which is only possible
through traveling on the correct path – the Ahl al-Bayt (a).
Therefore, the claims of some people who state that one
can reach salvation through them; who make the
permissible forbidden and the forbidden permissible are in
opposition to the verse and do not have credibility. If the
jurisprudents and religious authorities call people towards
taqlid they are doing so as the representatives of Imam
Zaman (a).

Model of Organization

The Quran teaches us organization in these verses. The


entire universe, including the moon and the sun, revolve
around a certain order. The earth, sun, moon, and the rest
of the planets in the solar system have been moving and
rotating along their own path for millions of years. They
have not deviated course for even one moment. If there
was not order these movements would not have continued.
Order is what keeps the universe together. Let us travel
from the large world into the small world – the world within

11
Al-Burhan fi Tafsir al-Quran, v.1, p.408

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ourselves. When one studies about the body he will find
that his body is organized.

The plant kingdom and the animal kingdom, even the


particulars of an atom are all controlled by order.
Therefore, the teleological argument12 is one of the most
important arguments for the existence of Allah and for
tawhid. Allah is not seen, but order points to power,
knowledge, and wisdom which in turn prove His existence.

Order in the Quran

Order is mentioned in many verses throughout the Quran.


For instance, one can refer to the 38th to 40th verses of
Surah Yasin:

‫و اﻟﺸﻤﺲ ﺗﺠﺮﯼ ﻟﻤﺴﺘﻘﺮ ﻟﻬﺎ ذﻟﮏ ﺗﻘﺪﻳﺮ اﻟﻌﺰﻳﺰ اﻟﻌﻠﻴﻢ و اﻟﻘﻤﺮ‬


‫ﻗﺪرﻧﺎﻩ ﻣﻨﺎزل ﺣﺘﯽ ﻋﺎد ﮐﺎﻟﻌﺮﺟﻮن اﻟﻘﺪﻳﻢ ﻻ اﻟﺸﻤﺲ ﻳﻨﺒﻐﯽ ﻟﻬﺎ ان‬
‫ﺗﺪرﮎ اﻟﻘﻤﺮ و ﻻ اﻟﻴﻞ ﺳﺎﺑﻖ اﻟﻨﻬﺎر و ﮐﻞ ﻓﯽ ﻓﻠﮏ ﻳﺴﺒﺤﻮن‬
“And the sun runs on to its place of rest: That is the
ordaining of the All-mighty, the All-knowing. As for the
moon, We have ordained its phases, until it becomes like
an old palm leaf. Neither it behooves the sun to overtake
the moon, nor may the night outrun the day, and each
swims in an orbit.”13

12
This argument argues that the universe’s order and complexity
are best explained by reference to a creator God. It starts with a
rather more complicated claim about the world, i.e. that it exhibits
order and design. [Wikipedia]
13
Quran, 36:38-40

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The phrase ‘orbit’ is one of the intellectual miracles of the
Quran. The reason behind this is that the astronomical
school of thought during the age of the revelation of the
Quran was that of Batlamius. This theory stated that the
sun, moon, and the planets of the solar system were held
in a larger substance and did not move. The movement
that is seen is due to this larger substance.

Modern science rejects this astronomical theory. But, the


Quran dismissed this theory fourteen hundred years ago. It
stated that the sun and the moon both have independent
rotations.

The 46th verse of Surah Rum, which depicts the order of


the universe, states:

‫و ﻣﻦ ءاﻳﺎﺗﻪ ان ﻳﺮﺳﻞ اﻟﺮﻳﺎح ﻣﺒﺸﺮات و ﻟﻴﺬﻳﻘﮑﻢ ﻣﻦ رﺣﻤﺘﻪ و‬


‫ﻟﺘﺠﺮﯼ اﻟﻔﻠﮏ ﺑﺎﻣﺮﻩ و ﻟﺘﺒﺘﻐﻮا ﻣﻦ ﻓﻀﻠﻪ و ﻟﻌﻠﮑﻢ ﺗﺸﮑﺮون‬
“And of His signs is that He sends the winds as bearers of
good news and to let you taste of His mercy, and that the
ships may sail by His command, and that you may seek of
His grace, and so that you may give [Him] thanks.”14

Wind

Wind has two important qualities which are only possible


through order.

1. The first quality is that it collects clouds which are


spread out. It centralizes oceans of water in the skies.

14
Quran, 30:46

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Then, by the decree of Allah, it allows these oceans of
water to fall down on dry land; land which needs water.
Then, the water from these clouds fall on the area, drop by
drop, in such a way that only minor damage to the land
occurs.

Is taking water from the oceans a small task? Is holding


oceans of water in the skies, above the heads of mankind
a small task? Is sending the clouds over dry land and
allowing the water to fall in the form of rain a small task?
Can these actions occur without order?

2. The second quality of rain, especially in ancient times


before mankind was able to take energy from coal, is the
ability to move ships in the sea. The captains of ships who
had sufficient knowledge about wind would put their ships
in the direction of the currents enabling them to take their
passengers and cargo to their desired destination. It would
not be possible to use such ships if there was not an order
to wind.

Us and Order

Dear sisters and brothers, dear readers, we are a part of


this expansive universe which is full of order. Is it possible
to live in this universe full of order without observing any of
its organization? If we do not live our lives with order won’t
we be cast away? Won’t we be condemned to
annihilation?

One of the disorders that some people have is not having


an organized sleep schedule. Allah mentions in the Quran

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that days are for activity and effort while nights are for rest
and comfort.15 Unfortunately, some people act in
opposition to this law and remain awake for a portion of the
night, sometimes they stay awake until it is almost time for
the morning prayers. Then, they sleep all the way until the
noon prayers. This disorganization in activity and rest
creates many problems and sicknesses.

Another important form of disorganization is the world’s


economy. Eighty percent of the wealth of the world is in the
possession of twenty percent of the people. The remaining
twenty percent of the world’s wealth is in the possession of
eighty percent of the people. This unjust dissaportionment;
this illogical distribution of wealth and financial sources is
economical disorganization. When governments decide to
place governmental property in the hands of private
business the twenty percent of the population take
ownership.

This is where man recognizes with all of his heart that


everything must move in an organized fashion. The order
that is found in our acts of worship state that if one prays
one minute before the time of prayer has set in or one
minute after the time of prayer has ended his prayer will
not be accepted. As long as one does not accept this
divine law within his soul problems will not be solved by
courts, punishment, or prison.

We must believe that we will not reach anywhere without


order; everything is achieved through order.

15
Quran, 10:67

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Order in the Lifestyle of the Noble Messenger
(s)

The Noble Prophet (s) was present in the funeral of Sa’d


bin Ma’adh. After he was bathed, shrouded, prayed over,
and after the talqin, the stone was placed over the grave
and dirt was poured over it. The Prophet saw that the
grave was not neat and smooth. He knelt down and
smoothed it with his own blessed hands and then said:
“Allah loves a servant who performs a task in an organized
and solid fashion.”16 The Prophet of Islam gave importance
to the order of graves.

Backwardness of Muslims

Question: Taking these commands into account,


commands which stem from the Quran, the lifestyle of the
Noble Prophet of Islam (s), the words of Imam ‘Ali (a), and
the words of other Infallibles (a), why have Muslims fell
behind in many fields? Why are non-believers advancing
on a daily basis?

Answer: The answer to this question is clear. The reason is


that Muslims have not acted in accordance to the
commands which would produce progression. Others have
acted in accordance to them and have prospered. If
Muslims sincerely act in accordance to them there is no
doubt that they would be living in better conditions.

16
Wasa’il al-Shia, v.2, p.883, h.2

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Chapter 2

Spending in the Way of Allah

The second question that will be examined is about


spending in the way of Allah. This discussion will be
examined from various dimensions. The verses are:

‫ﻳﺴﺌﻠﻮﻧﮏ ﻣﺎذا ﻳﻨﻔﻘﻮن ﻗﻞ ﻣﺎ اﻧﻔﻘﺘﻢ ﻣﻦ ﺧﻴﺮ ﻓﻠﻠﻮاﻟﺪﻳﻦ اﻻﻗﺮﺑﻴﻦ و اﻟﻴﺘﺎﻣﯽ و اﻟﻤﺴﺎﮐﻴﻦ‬


‫و اﺑﻦ اﻟﺴﺒﻴﻞ و ﻣﺎ ﺗﻔﻌﻠﻮ ﻣﻦ ﺧﻴﺮ ﻓﺎن اﷲ ﺑﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻢ‬

“They ask you as to what they should spend. Say,


‘Whatever wealth you spend in goodness, let it be for
parents, relatives, orphans, the needy, and the traveller.’
And whatever good that you may do, Allah indeed knows
it.”17

And:

‫و ﻳﺴﺌﻠﻮﻧﮏ ﻣﺎذا ﻳﻨﻔﻘﻮن ﻗﻞ اﻟﻌﻔﻮ ﮐﺬﻟﮏ ﻳﺒﻴﻦ اﷲ ﻟﮑﻢ اﻻﻳﺎت ﻟﻌﻠﮑﻢ‬


‫ﺗﺘﻔﮑﺮون‬
“…And they ask you as to what they should spend. Say,
‘All that is surplus.’ Thus does Allah clarify His signs for
you so that you may reflect.”18

17
Quran, 2:215
18
Quran, 2:219

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Brief Tafsir

“They ask you as to what they should spend.” A wealthy


Muslim visited the Noble Messenger (s) and asked: “What
should I spend? What is the limit of this spending? Who
should I give the money to?”

“Say, ‘Whatever wealth you spend in goodness.” The


answer to the first question was that one should spend in
goodness. Therefore, there is no limit to spending. One
can spend on anything good, such as writing books,
preparing the tools necessary for freeing innocent
prisoners, preparing the dowries for women who are ready
to marry, paying back the loans of people who cannot,
spreading knowledge, using one’s honor to solve disputes,
using one’s time to prevent the disruption of a marriage,
establishing or fixing mosques, hussayniyahs, seminaries,
schools, and hospitals.

Good has a general meaning which includes everything


that is positive. Spending is also not limited to money or
material items.

Answering the question as to who should be spent on, five


groups are mentioned:

1. “Parents.” One’s father and mother are the first people


who should be spent on. If a person’s father or mother has
a need and is unable to secure it, it becomes obligatory
upon their children to secure their needs. The children,
both male and female, must use their wealth to alleviate
their parents’ needs. Just as taking care of one’s wives’
and children’s monetary needs is obligatory, it is obligatory
to take care of one’s parents’ financial needs, if they are

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unable, as well. If one has sufficient wealth and has taken
care of all of their own financial needs it is best to spend
on one’s parents in order to make their lives more
comfortable.

2. “Relatives.” The second group that Allah orders one to


spend on is one’s family members. Keeping family
relations does not mean merely seeing one another and
asking about each other’s health. Rather, one of the
instances of keeping family ties is taking care of one’s
family member’s needs through spending money on them.

3. “Orphans.” One of the items that the Prophet of Islam (s)


ordered in the Sha’baniyah Speech was taking care of
orphans. Allah also encourages and emphasizes this in the
verse. If aid is given to orphans in an organized manner,
just as some orphanages are doing, this aid would
definitely be more beneficial.

4. “Needy.” The Arabic term miskin is used for one who is


living in the most dire of situations. This term stems from
the infinitive sakun. The reason such a person is termed so
is because they are so needy that it seems as if they have
fallen to the ground; it seems as if they are immovable
(sakin).

5. “Traveler.” Needy people who are on a trip is the fifth


group that this verse encourages one to spend on. A
traveler is one who has lost his money while on his trip, is
one whose money was stolen from him and has now
become impoverished. One should spend on him even if
he is rich in his own hometown.

Then Allah states: “And whatever good that you may do,
Allah indeed knows it.”

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The amount that should be spent

The previous verse generally mentioned who should be


spent on. The next verse mentions the amount that one
should spend on these people. It states:

“And they ask you as to what they should spend. Say, ‘All
that is surplus.’” The commentators of the Quran have
different opinions about the Arabic term afw. These
opinions are:

1. Balanced spending; not wasting money and not being


stingy.19 The Prophet of Islam (s) prepared himself to
perform the noon prayers. He washed one piece of his
clothing and hung it up to dry. He gave his other piece of
clothing to a needy person who knocked on the door of his
house asking for help. He did not have any other pieces of
clothing to wear in order to go to the mosque.

The Muslims were waiting for the Prophet in order to


perform congregational prayers. But, there was no news
about the Prophet’s (s) arrival. Here, the 29th verse of
Surah Isra’ was revealed which stated: “Do not keep your
hand chained to your neck, nor open it altogether, or you
will sit blameworthy, regretful.”20 21

The majority of people do not spend excessive amounts on


other people, rather they become stingy in regards to
spending on others. Their hands and their hearts shake
when they give a small amount of money to another
19
Majma’ al-Bayan, v.2, p.82
20
Quran, 17:29
21
Tafsir Namunah, v.12, p.91

26
person. According to this verse, stinginess and
excessiveness are rejected. Rather, the middle course,
balance, is encouraged.

2. Forgiveness: another possibility which was mentioned in


Tafsir Namunah, while no other Shia or Sunni
commentator of the Quran mentioned this, is the literal
meaning of the term afw. This would mean that one of the
cases and instances of spending would be overlooking the
faults and mistakes of others. This is the highest form of
spending; it would solve many disputes. Have you ever
thought about why the percentages of divorce are so high?
When cases of divorce are reviewed one finds that the
fighting started with very small, insignificant, issues. If one
would apologize for his mistakes, or if the other person
would overlook them, forgive them, then the problem would
have been solved in its embryonic stage. But,
unfortunately, the stubbornness and pride of the person
who made a mistake prevents him from apologizing and
the spiteful, revengeful spirit of the spouse prevents her
from forgiving. In conclusion, the problem will not be solved
and in turn it will grow on a daily basis until it culminates in
divorce and separation. Divorce has negative effects on
the two spouses, their children, their family, and the entire
society. Some of the negative effects are:

a. The first negative effect of divorce is the defeat of one’s


soul which the two spouses are faced with until the end of
their lives. This negative effect creates other negative
effects.

b. Such men and women will face problems in their future


marriages as well. When a divorced man courts another
woman she, and her family, will ask: “What negative traits
does this man have in which his previous wife was unable

27
to cope with? Why were they forced to divorce? What
assurances would I have that our marriage would not end
up in divorce when he is faced with the same problems?”
When a divorced woman is suggested for a man the same
questions arise. In conclusion, both the man and woman
will face problems in their future marriages.

c. If these spouses had children their future will be put in


serious danger. Statistics show that children of divorce
usually fall into crime because they were raised in
poisonous conditions – an environment filled with hatred,
revenge, and negativity.

d. Sometimes two families become enemies as a result of


this divorce. Each side ignites the flames of hatred
between the two families by incorrectly supporting one of
the spouses. Dear readers, take from this divine verse.
Solve the disputes that arise with apologies and
forgiveness. Do not allow them to grow. This would be
beneficial to your life in this world and the hereafter.

3. Extra Property.22 According to this explanation, Allah


does not encourage one to save extra property. One
should not spend his lifetime saving this property and then
have it transferred to his inheritors after his death. In this
case they will use the property and he will have to answer
for it. Rather, whatever is over and above the needs of a
person, his wife, and children, he should spend it in the
way of Allah.

4. Choice items.23 Although there is no problem with giving


away one’s used clothing, true charity is giving away that
which you cherish. According to the Quran, man reaches

22
Majma’ al-Bayan, v.2, p.82
23
Ibid

28
the stage of righteousness when he gives away his most
loved item:

‫ﻟﻦ ﺗﻨﺎﻟﻮا ﺣﺘﯽ ﺗﻨﻔﻘﻮا ﻣﻤﺎ ﺗﺤﺒﻮن‬


“You will never attain piety until you spend out of what you
hold dear…”24

If one choose his best piece of property to give in charity


he will be illuminated with a special light; his heart will be
full of an amazing sense of spirituality.

The divine saints always gave their best pieces of property


in charity. Sayyidah Zahra (a) gave away her wedding
dress on her wedding night to a poor person. She then
went to her new house wearing a normal shirt.25

“Thus does Allah clarify His signs for you so that you may
reflect.”

There are people who secure their hereafter by holding


fast to these verses and by contemplating over them. A
few days ago a person came to me and said: “I want to
spend a third of my wealth, which is equal to about 2.2
million dollars, before my death in a positive way through
your hands.”26 These are the lucky people; the people who
were able to spend their money on positive items.

Is wealth good or bad?

24
Quran, 3:92
25
Sirah Chahardah Ma’sumin, p.181
26
This money was used to purchase the land for the Imam
Kazim (a) Cultural Center in Qum.

29
Money is both good and bad. If it is spent correctly and
whatever surplus is spent on the needy and impoverished
then it is very good. But, if it deceives a person to such an
extent that he fights with his siblings regarding the
inheritance of his father; if he cuts his family relations for
years due to financial issues, it is very bad.

Wealth can create insanity. Some examples of this are:

a. A rich American man built a pool in his own private jet so


that he could swim when he is in the air.

b. A rich western man who did not know how to divide his
money after his death made a will stating that his entire
estate should be given to his favorite dog and cat.

c. A rich person went on a trip and stayed at a hotel. A few


days later the hotel manager asked him how long he
wishes to stay in the hotel. The man became angry at this
question and asked how much the hotel costs. He then
bought the hotel.

These are insane rich people. There are people who are
willing to destroy Afghanistan and Iraq in order to become
wealthy. They are willing to set fire to the world and
destroy whatever peace people enjoy in order to fill their
pockets.

Therefore, Islam gives importance to charity. It has


provided advice regarding how much should be spent, how
it should be spent, and how it should be received. Due to
the importance of charity and helping the needy, a more
detailed discussion needs to be provided. Before this
discussion is mentioned an introduction regarding the
correlation between the laws of nature and the laws of
Islam will be given.

30
The correlation between the laws of nature and
the laws of Islam

The laws of Islam are in congruence with the laws of


nature. Allah has a system of creation which is called the
laws of nature. He also has a religious system which is
called the laws of Islam. These two set of laws are in
congruence with each other. If Islam commands one to
give charity one can find beings in the universe that are
giving charity. Examples of these beings are:

a. The sun is in a constant state of giving charity to


everything in the solar system. As a result of this charity it
loses millions of tons of weight each day. This weight is
transformed into light and heat so mankind, and other
beings, can benefit from them. Also, it does not take
anything in return for this charity.

b. The earth constantly gives charity to everything living on


it, including mankind, animals, and other beings. Fruit and
other food items stem from the earth. What is given to the
earth in return? Not only are these gifts not answered,
mankind destroys the earth in return.

c. Large bodies of water are also in a constant state of


giving charity. The water turns into a vapor and then is
formed into clouds which travel over the earth and fall on
dry land.

d. Animals are not exempt from this law of nature. For


instance, cows provide 40-60 liters of milk every day. Only

31
a small amount of this milk is given to its young while the
rest of it is given to mankind.

A honey bee is another example which supports this claim.


Honey bees are the only animal that does not sleep. It is
busy working day and night so that it can provide the
sweetest and most beneficial food to mankind.

Allah says the following about these bees:

‫و اوﺣﯽ رﺑﮏ اﻟﻨﺤﻞ ان اﺗﺨﺬﯼ ﻣﻦ اﻟﺠﺒﺎل ﺑﻴﻮﺗﺎ و ﻣﻦ اﻟﺸﺠﺮ و‬


‫ﻣﻤﺎ ﻳﻌﺮﺷﻮن ﺛﻢ ﮐﻠﯽ ﻣﻦ ﮐﻞ اﻟﺜﻤﺮات ﻓﺎﺳﻠﮑﯽ ﺳﺒﻞ رﺑﮏ ذﻟﻼ‬
‫ﻳﺨﺮج ﻣﻦ ﺑﻄﻮﻧﻬﺎ ﺷﺮاب ﻣﺨﺘﻠﻒ اﻟﻮاﻧﻪ ﻓﻴﻪ ﺷﻔﺎء ﻟﻠﻨﺎس ان ﻓﯽ‬
‫ذﻟﮏ ﻻﻳﺔ ﻟﻘﻮم ﻳﺘﻔﮑﺮون‬

“And your Lord inspired the bee [saying]: ‘Make your home
in the mountains, and on the trees and the trellises that
they erect. Then eat from every [kind of] fruit and follow
meekly the ways of your Lord.’ There issues from its belly
a juice of diverse hues in which there is a cure for the
people. There is indeed a sign in that for a people who
reflect.”27

Therefore, the universe is in a state of giving charity.


Islamic law is also in congruence with the laws of nature.
Therefore, Allah orders mankind to put themselves in
congruence with nature and give charity to the needy in
their society.

e. The internal organs of the human body are also in a


constant state of giving charity. The human heart lives with
a small amount of blood. But, it works for years without

27
Quran, 16:68-69

32
taking any breaks to provide blood to all other parts of the
body.

The conclusion that can be made is that this large


universe, the universe outside of the human body, and the
small universe, the universe inside the human body, are
always in a state of giving charity. Mankind must also give
charity or else he would become an incongruent element
of the universe.

Charity in the Quran

There are many verses in the Quran about charity and the
different aspects of charity. Some examples will be
provided. These verses are so important that if one is not
able to memorize them, he should at least hold their
meanings dear to his heart; he should live his life in
accordance to them.

Meanwhile, a large portion of the verses about charity is


found in Surah Baqarah which was revealed in Medina. It
seems as if there were many Muslims who migrated from
Mecca to Medina leaving all of their household belongs
and property behind them. They entered Medina without
anything. The companions of Saffa (those who lived on a
porch next to the Prophet’s Mosque) are examples of
these people. Allah continuously ordered people to give
charity in these conditions. He encouraged Muslims to give
charity and help the poor in various methods. Consider the
following verses:

33
1. The incredible growth of charity

Allah states in the 261st verse of Surah Baqarah:

‫ﻣﺜﻞ اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ﻳﻨﻔﻘﻮن اﻣﻮاﻟﻬﻢ ﻓﯽ ﺳﺒﻴﻞ اﷲ ﮐﻤﺜﻞ ﺣﺒﺔ اﻧﺒﺘﺖ ﺳﺒﻊ ﺳﻨﺎﺑﻞ‬
‫ﻓﯽ ﮐﻞ ﺳﻨﺒﻠﺔ ﻣﺎﺋﺔ ﺣﺒﺔ و اﷲ ﻳﻀﺎﻋﻒ ﻟﻤﻦ ﻳﺸﺎء و اﷲ واﺳﻊ ﻋﻠﻴﻢ‬
“The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of
Allah is that of a grain which grows seven ears, in every
ear a hundred grains. Allah enhances severalfold
whomever He wishes, and Allah is all-bounteous, all-
knowing.”28

The Quran gives so much importance to charity that it


makes it grow at least seventy times. If the sincerity of the
person giving charity is greater and if he chooses to
provide for the most needy individuals then it is possible
that it would grow 1400 times or even greater.

It is interesting that the mentioned growth is for the person


who provides charity.

Question: Has there been a grain of wheat which produced


seventy seeds? Or do they only produce up to ten seeds
rendering this verse to be a mere hypothesis?

Answer: A few years ago in a farm in Bushehr a seed of


wheat produced a stalk which had over one thousand
seeds on it. Therefore, the verse is not a mere hypothesis;
examples of it can be seen in the world.

28
Quran, 2:261

34
Question: Are the merits of charity mentioned in this verse
exclusive to this world or does it include the hereafter as
well?

Answer: The verse is absolute; the merits of charity are not


limited to this world or the next. Therefore, charity causes
blessings in this world and rewards in the hereafter.

There is a tradition from Imam ‘Ali (a) which states that


when life becomes complicated and when one is faced
with financial difficulties giving charity will solve his
problems.29

This means that charity relieves one’s difficulties in this


world. One can even give charity while being
impoverished; he can give charity in accordance to his
ability so that Allah will solve his problems through His
grace.

2. Charity is the condition of faith and the sign of mercy

Allah paints a beautiful picture of the importance of charity


in ten verses of Surah Balad (verses 8 to 18). He states:

‫اﻟﻢ ﻧﺠﻌﻞ ﻟﻪ ﻋﻴﻨﻴﻦ‬


“Have We not made for him two eyes.”30 Have you thought
about the important and foundational role that eyes play?
Have you thought about how important they are? Would
you accept giving your eyes for the entire world?

29
Wasa’il al-Shia, v.6, p.259, h.20
30
Quran, 90:8

35
‫و ﻟﺴﺎﻧﺎ و ﺷﻔﺘﻴﻦ‬
“A tongue, and two lips.”31 The tongue is a huge blessing.
Those who do not have a tongue live a very difficult life.
Have you ever thought about your lips? If one did not have
lips he would not be able to pronounce half of the letters of
the alphabet. In addition to this, lips prevent molecules of
food from falling out of the mouth.

‫و هﺪﻳﻨﺎﻩ اﻟﻨﺠﺪﻳﻦ‬
“And shown him the two paths [of good and evil]?”32

This means that man was given the ability to decipher


between good and evil through the blessing of the intellect.
After mentioning these four blessings, as an introduction,
the Quran states:

‫ﻓﻼ اﻗﺘﺤﻢ اﻟﻌﻘﺒﺔ‬

“Yet he has not embarked upon the uphill task.”33

‫و ﻣﺎ ادراﮎ ﻣﺎ اﻟﻌﻘﺒﺔ‬
“And what will show you what is the uphill task?”34

‫ﻓﮏ رﻗﺒﺔ‬

“[It is] the freeing of a slave.”35

Question: Why does Islam confirm the system of slavery?

31
Quran, 90:9
32
Quran, 90:10
33
Quran, 90:11
34
Quran, 90:12
35
Quran, 90:13

36
Answer: Islam was not the founder of the institution of
slavery. Rather, during the advent of Islam, the system of
slavery existed in the world. Islam presented a plan to
gradually free slaves.36 This is seen through Imam ‘Ali (a),
the immediate successor to the Prophet (s), where he
freed 1000 slaves from the money he made through hard
work.37

‫او اﻃﻌﺎم ﻓﯽ ﻳﻮم ذﯼ ﻣﺴﻐﺒﺔ ﻳﺘﻴﻤﺎ ذا ﻣﻘﺮﺑﺔ او ﻣﺴﮑﻴﻨﺎ ذا ﻣﺘﺮﺑﺔ‬


“or feeding [the needy] on a day of starvation, or an orphan
among relatives, or a needy man in desolation.”38

Families must not forget about their orphans because the


divine throne shakes when an orphan cries.39 In the same
way, one should not forget about the impoverished and the
needy who have become homeless due to the severity of
their poverty.

‫ﺛﻢ ﮐﺎن ﻣﻦ اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ءاﻣﻨﻮا و ﺗﻮﺻﻮا ﺑﺎﺻﺒﺮ و ﺗﻮاﺻﻮا ﺑﺎﻣﺮﺣﻤﺔ‬

“While being one of those who have faith and who enjoin one
another to patience, and enjoin one another to compassion.”40

This verse means that helping those in need will increase


one’s faith. In other words, giving charity to the needy is a

36
For further information, refer to the tafsir of Surah Muhammad
in Tafsir Namunah
37
This has been mentioned in many traditions. It has been
st
repeated in the 41 volume of Bihar al-Anwar alone ten times. It
is interesting that this number is considered to be the number of
slaves he freed during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (s)
in one of the traditions.
38
Quran, 90:14-16
39
For more information refer to Akhlaq dar Quran, v.1
40
Quran, 90:17

37
precursor to faith and an encouragement to receiving
patience and divine mercy.

Many young people ask about how one should gain


proximity with Allah; about irfanic methods. Sometimes
they follow pseudo-mystics and distance themselves from
the truth. But, the Quran has provided an irfanic program in
clear terms.41 One of the best programs of gaining
proximity with Allah is giving charity for Allah. Acts of
worship, remembering Allah, reciting the Quran, and
seeking proximity with the divine saints are positive and
necessary, but a spiritual wayfarer will not reach anywhere
without helping the needy. Charity solves the financial
problems of the needy and then he prays for the person
who gave him charity. It also makes the world seem less
important and prevents the person giving charity from
attaching himself to the world. In addition to this, it
increases one’s compassion.

3 The role that charity plays in preventing destruction


Allah states in the 195th verse of Surah Baqarah:

‫و اﻧﻔﻘﻮا ﻓﯽ ﺳﺒﻴﻞ اﷲ و ﻻ ﺗﻠﻘﻮا ﺑﺎﻳﺪﻳﮑﻢ اﻟﯽ اﻟﺘﻬﻠﮑﺔ و اﺣﺴﻨﻮا ان‬


‫اﷲ ﻳﺤﺐ اﻟﻤﺤﺴﻨﻴﻦ‬
“Spend in the way of Allah, and do not cast yourselves with
your own hands into destruction; and be virtuous. Indeed
Allah loves the virtuous.”

Some people believe that these two commandments


(charity and not casting oneself into destruction) are two
separate commandments which do not have anything to
do with each other. But, the prominent commentators of

41
For further information refer to Akhlaq dar Quran, v.1

38
the Quran have said that they there is a relationship
between them: destruction is the result of not giving
charity.

The explanation of this is that when the custom of giving


charity to the needy becomes obsolete in a society the
classes of that society will grow farther apart. Every day
the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. The
distance between these classes will reach such an extent
that social uprising will take place resulting in the deaths of
some wealthy people. Therefore, when a wealthy person
does not give charity he might be causing his own
destruction. Therefore, in order to save himself from this
destruction he must give charity.

If the communists were able to take control of a portion of


the world it is because they misused the distances
between the classes. They took over part of the world by
taking refuge in the uprisings of the working class, of the
farmers, of the impoverished and weak against the rich.
They deceived people with deceptive slogans.

Although Islam does not accept this incorrect method, it


presents rational and logical methods of charity, for
instance obligatory and recommended forms of charity.
But, any incorrect action will bear distasteful results.

Imam ‘Ali (a) said the following in one of his beautiful


speeches about this issue: “Insure your property through
charity.”42

Why does Afghanistan make up for 80 percent of the


world’s opium source? Why has the harvest of opium
grown by 30 percent in Afghanistan since America illegally

42
Wasa’il al-Shia, v.6, p.7, h.16

39
occupied it? One of the main factors behind this incredible
economical deviation, which causes many forms of
corruption, is the poverty found in Afghanistan. This is a
country that has been oppressed by eastern and western
superpowers for many years. This oppression and civil war
has destroyed the country. The people living there are
forced to produce drugs; drugs which have polluted
America, Asia, and Europe rendering their youth weak
without any willpower.

The result is that refraining from giving charity might cause


man’s destruction.

4. Charity is a sign of piety


Allah states in the first verses of Surah Baqarah:

‫اﻟﻢ دﻟﮏ اﻟﮑﺘﺎب ﻻ رﻳﺐ ﻓﻴﻪ هﺪﯼ ﻟﻠﻤﺘﻘﻴﻦ‬


“Alif, Lam, Mim. This is the Book, there is no doubt in it, a
guidance to the pious.”43

The eloquence and textual strength of the Quran is at a


level that there is no doubt about it being divine. The
Quran proves itself, as the saying goes: ‘The sun came
and proved the sun.’

‫اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ﻳﺆﻣﻨﻮن ﺑﺎﻟﻐﻴﺐ و ﻳﻘﻴﻤﻮن اﻟﺼﻠﻮة و ﻣﻤﺎ رزﻓﻨﺎهﻢ ﻳﻨﻔﻘﻮن‬


“Who believe in the Unseen, and maintain the prayer, and spend
out of what We have provided for them.”44

According to this verse, there are three characteristics of


piety (which is the scale to weigh human beings45, the item

43
Quran, 2:1-2
44
Quran, 2:3
45
Refer: Quran, 49:13

40
needed in the hereafter46, and the key to heaven47). A
person is pious if he has these three qualities:

1. Signs of belief which is the belief in the unseen: the


belief in Allah and the Day of Judgment which
cannot be witnessed by the physical eye.
2. Signs of worship which is the performance of acts
of worship and having a relationship with Allah.
3. Signs of humanity which is giving charity in the
name of Allah to the needy. This charity includes
wealth, honor, credibility, knowledge, forgiveness;
in short whatever Allah has given to the person
giving charity

The importance of station of charity in Islam has become


clear through the four verses that were mentioned and the
summarized explanation of them. Now, the conditions of
charity will be discussed.

The conditions of Charity


Charity is conditioned. If the conditions are not followed it
will not be accepted. According to what has been
mentioned in the Quran there are at least four important
conditions for charity:

1: Not accompanied with reproach

Allah states in the 264th verse of Surah Baqarah:

‫ﻳﺎﻳﻬﺎ اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ءاﻣﻨﻮا ﻻ ﺗﺒﻄﻠﻮا ﺻﺪﻗﺎﺗﮑﻢ ﺑﺎﻣﻦ و اﻻذﯼ‬


“O you who have faith! Do not render your charities void by
reproaches and affronts…”48

46
Refer: Quran, 2:197
47
Refer: Quran, 19:63

41
The first condition of charity is that it is not performed with
reproach. The Arabic term for reproach is minnat which
stems from the root mann. Just as a kilogram weight or
mann (weight of three kilograms) causes something to
become heavy, reproach is heavy – meaning difficult – for
a poor person. Unfortunately, sometimes a person helps
another but does not forget about it for as long as he lives.
For instance, he tells the person that he helped: “If it wasn’t
for me you would not have a house.” Or, he says: “If it
wasn’t for my help you would be misfortunate.”

According to what has been mentioned in the Quran


reproach invalidates charity. Therefore, it is possible that a
person gives a mountain of gold in charity and then
invalidates it through saying one sentence of reproach.

Question: If reproach is negative, why does Allah reproach


His servants in some verses of the Quran, for instance the
164th verse of Surah Al ‘Imran:

‫ﻟﻘﺪ ﻣﻦ اﷲ ﻋﻠﯽ اﻟﻤﺆﻣﻨﻴﻦ ﺑﻌﺚ ﻓﻴﻬﻢ رﺳﻮﻻ ﻣﻦ اﻧﻔﺴﻬﻢ‬


“Allah certainly favoured the faithful when He raised up among
them an apostle from among…”49

Answer: Allah does not reproach with words; rather with


giving sustenance. When it is said that Allah reproaches, it
means that he gives. This is not negative. But, man’s
reproach is repeatedly mentioning his service in words
directly to the person that he served which causes that
person to become upset. This is negative. In short, this is
the first condition of charity – that it must not be
accompanied with reproach.

48
Quran, 2:264
49
Quran, 3:164

42
2. Should not be accompanied with harm
As was mentioned in the 264th verse of Surah Baqarah,
mentioned above, the second condition of charity is that it
should not be accompanied with harm; the needy should
not be harmed. Unfortunately, some people say the
following things to the needy while giving them charity:
“Take this and I do not want to see you again.” “Why do
you bother me every day?” “How big is your stomach that
you ask for so much?” These phrases hurt the needy
person and invalidate the charity, therefore they must not
be mentioned. The person giving charity does not have the
right to destroy the honor of the needy person in return for
his charity.

According to this the Quran, if a poor person asks


something from you and you cannot give it to him you
should say: “I am very sorry, today I cannot help you.
Please forgive me.” This is better than giving him money
and saying: “I do not want to see you ever again.”

The Quran considers seeking forgiveness to be better than


giving charity accompanied with harm. The needs of the
needy are not secured through apologizing, but their honor
is protected. Protecting the honor of a Muslim is very
important. The secret behind backbiting being so hated is
that the honor of the person who was backbit is put in
danger. Some people consider the protection of their honor
to be more important than their own lives; they would die
protecting their honor.

3. Given with sincere intentions


Another condition is that charity should be given with the
only intention of satisfying the Lord. It should not be given
to showoff, to attract other people’s attention in elections,
to become the praise of mankind, to attract customers, or

43
the likes. Rather, it should only be given with the intention
of pleasing Allah.

Two verses of the Quran will be quoted. In one of them


charity is given with a divine intention and in the other
charity is given in order to show off.

The 264th verse of Surah Baqarah describes charity given


with the intention of showing off as:

‫ﻳﺎﻳﻬﺎ اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ءاﻣﻨﻮا ﻻ ﺗﺒﻄﻠﻮا ﺻﺪﻗﺎﺗﮑﻢ ﺑﺎﻟﻤﻦ و اﻻذﯼ ﮐﺎﻟﺬﯼ ﻳﻨﻔﻖ‬


‫ﻣﺎﻟﻪ رﺋﺎء اﻟﻨﺎس و ﻻ ﻳﺆﻣﻦ ﺑﺎﷲ و اﻟﻴﻮم اﻻﺧﺮ ﻓﻤﺜﻠﻪ ﮐﻤﺜﻞ ﺻﻔﻮان‬
‫ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﺗﺮاب ﻓﺎﺻﺎﺑﻪ واﺑﻞ ﻓﺘﺮﮐﻪ ﺻﻠﺪا ﻻ ﻳﻘﺪرون ﻋﻠﯽ ﺷﯽء ﻣﻤﺎ‬
‫ﮐﺴﺒﻮا و اﷲ ﻻ ﻳﻬﺪﯼ اﻟﻘﻮم اﻟﮑﺎﻓﺮﻳﻦ‬
“O you who have faith! Do not render your charities void by
reproaches and affronts, like those who spend their wealth to be
seen by people and have no faith in Allah and the Last Day.
Their parable is that of a rock covered with soil: a downpour
strikes it, leaving it bare. They have no power over anything of
what they have earned, and Allah does not guide the faithless
lot.”50

There are two points to mention about this verse:

First, it has been mentioned in a verse that when the term


‘O’ you who have faith’ was recited all Muslims, moreover,
all of humanity said ‘Labayk.’ Everyone is being addressed
by the verses of the Quran and must act in accordance to
them.

Second, the actions of a person who performs actions to


showoff do not have any foundation. This is why they are
not stable. People quickly realize that he is showing off.

50
Quran, 2:264

44
This results in them losing their honor with Allah and with
the creation of Allah.

The above mentioned verse presents a descriptive account


of charity performed without the intention of seeking
proximity with Allah. But, the 265th verse of Surah Baqarah
depicts sincere charity:

‫و ﻣﺜﻞ اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ﻳﻨﻔﻘﻮن اﻣﻮاﻟﻬﻢ اﺑﺘﻐﺎء ﻣﺮﺿﺎت اﷲ و ﺗﺜﺒﻴﺘﺎ ﻣﻦ اﻧﻔﺴﻬﻢ‬


‫ﮐﻤﺜﻞ ﺟﻨﺔ ﺑﺮﺑﻮة اﺻﺎﺑﻬﺎ واﺑﻞ ﻓﺌﺎﺗﺖ اﮐﻠﻬﺎ ﺿﻌﻔﻴﻦ ﻓﺎن ﻟﻢ ﻳﺼﺒﻬﺎ‬
‫واﺑﻞ ﻓﻄﻞ و اﷲ ﺑﻤﺎ ﺗﻌﻤﻠﻮن ﺑﺼﻴﺮ‬
“The parable of those who spend their wealth seeking Allah’s
pleasure and to confirm themselves, is that of a garden on a
hillside: the downpour strikes it, whereupon it brings forth its
fruit twofold; and if it is not a downpour that strikes it, then a
shower, and Allah sees best what you do.”51

According to this verse, sincerity in charity instigates


positive ethical traits to form in man and distances man
from stinginess and the love of the world. Every action
must be performed seeking the pleasure of Allah in order
for it to bear fruit and raise positive ethical traits in man.
People who perform actions seeking the pleasure of Allah
are attractive. Such mosques are frequented, such books
are widely read, such schools produce important
personalities, all of these are signs of the sincerity of the
founder or author. The more his sincerity is the more
attractive his work will become.

Sincerity is the spirit of worship


Just as man has a spirit and soul, worship also has a spirit
and soul. The body of prayer is the takbir, ruku’,

51
Quran, 2:265

45
prostration, praise, recitation, tashahud, and salam. But,
the spirit of prayer is the presence of the heart – a heart
torn away from everything except Allah. The prayer which
is accepted by the Lord; which takes man into His
proximity and saves him from heinous crimes and
despicable actions; and which takes the believer to the
heights of divine merits is such a prayer. Therefore,
traditions state that the amount of prayer which is accepted
is the amount of prayer that one performed with a present
heart.52 In order to become familiar with the methods of
having a present heart, refer to the 14th volume of Tafsir
Namunah, p.204.

The body of fasting is refraining from eating, drinking, and


everything else which breaks a fast. But, the spirit of
fasting is reaching piety.53 If fasting enlivens the spirit of
piety in the person fasting than the body would be
performed along with the spirit. But, just as Imam ‘Ali (a)
said: “There are many people who fast but do not receive
anything other than thirst and hunger. There are many
people who spend the nights performing soulless acts of
worship. They do not receive anything other than being
tired.54

What is important is that one must pay attention to the


spirit of worship as well as the body of worship. Those who
only pay attention to the body of worship, disregarding the
spirit, are making a mistake and are in danger. The same
goes for those who do not give importance to the body of
worship thinking that they only care about the spirit of

52
Mizan al-Hikmah, v.5, p.2165, section, 2290, traditions, 10636-
10639
53
Refer to: Quran, 2:183
54
Mizan al-Hikmah, v.5, p.2230, section, 2356, traditions 10939
and 10941

46
worship. They are also making a mistake and are in
danger. They body of hajj is ihram, staying in ‘Arafat and
Mash’ar, the rituals of Mina, circumbulation, sa’i, shaving
the head, and slaughtering the animal, etc. Its spirit is the
transformation of a person when he returns from Mecca,
not that he brings a lot of money with him and purchases
undesired items made in China, America, and Israel. The
spirit of hajj is change produced in man’s spirit; that he
witnesses the effects of the Messenger of Allah (s). He
should read the history of how Islam was brought to life in
Mecca and Medina and should spiritually travel into the
heart of the history of Islam witnessing the time of the
Prophet. He should see how the Prophet (s) faced the
polytheists and the enemies of Islam with only Khadijah
and ‘Ali (a) at his side. How they performed their prayers in
front of Allah and did not think about anything other than
securing the satisfaction of their Lord. It is a shame that the
dry and fanatic Wahabis have destroyed many of the
historical artifacts in Mecca and Medina. They are also
thinking about destroying other artifacts as well.

One of the main problems of the Islamic world, which the


Islamic scholars must think about, is that the Islamic
artifacts in Mecca and Medina are in the hands of a
deviant group of people who make all kinds of mistakes;
people who have harmed the entire Islamic world many
times.

Charity also has a body and a spirit. The body of charity is


financial and non-financial aid that able human beings give
to the needy. But, the spirit of charity is sincerity and
seeking proximity with Allah.

Question: What do the intentions of people matter? So and


so person built a school, mosque, hussayniyah, or hospital.

47
What difference does it make that his intention was to
show off or to seek nearness with Allah?

Answer: There is a huge difference between someone who


built a hospital with the intention of satisfying Allah and
serving the deprived and someone who does so with the
intention of showing of. One of them does this in order to
seek proximity with Allah and the other in order to misuse
people. The difference between the person who builds
such a place in order to satisfy Allah or who travels to a
deprived area in order to satisfy Allah with someone who
does so in order to gain the praise of people is not hidden
from anyone.

The person who builds something in order to show off only


thinks about himself and the money that he spends in
order to gain popularity. It would not matter if the building
falls and endures financial or physical damage afterwards.
But, the person who builds for the satisfaction of Allah also
thinks about the future of his endeavor. These two forms of
thought showed themselves in the earthquake that Bam
suffered. Many government buildings which were built only
with money in mind were destroyed. But, the mosque of
the city, which was built with sincerity, was not destroyed.
Therefore, sincerity or insincerity effects the action.

An extensive amount of littleness


Actions which are performed because of Allah; sincere
actions seeking proximity with Allah yield enormous
amounts of reward. There are many examples of this
throughout the history of Islam and other religions as well –
a small sincere action yields an enormous amount of
benefit.

48
After Moses (a) was faced with certain events; after he was
chased by Pharaoh and was forced to leave Egypt in order
to save his life he traveled to Midian. He escaped the
hands of the rebel’s police in such a way that he did not
have any provisions for his travel. Also, he did not know
anybody in Midian. But, when he reached Midian, he
performed a small task for Allah which yielded a huge
change in his life. He was extremely tired and was sitting
under a tree watching sheep drink water. He was in a state
of supplication. He then realized that there were two young
girls amongst the young men who did not give them a turn
to allow their sheep to drink from the well. He went to the
well and asked the shepherds: “Why don’t you observe
these girl’s turn?” They went aside and Moses
singlehandedly took a large amount of water from the well,
an amount that a number of people would have had to
work together to take out. He performed this task because
he was helped by Allah. Then, he quenched the thirst of
the girls’ sheep and returned to his place under the tree.
He addressed his Lord and said:

‫ﻓﻘﺎل رب اﻧﯽ ﻟﻤﺎ اﻧﺰﻟﺖ اﻟﯽ ﻣﻦ ﺧﻴﺮ ﻓﻘﻴﺮ‬


“…My Lord! I am indeed in need of any good You may send
down to me!”55

The daughter’s of Shu’ayb56 told their father what


happened when they returned to their home earlier than
other days. Shu’ayb sent one of his daughters to go to
Moses and invite him to their house. In the end, Moses
was awarded a life, wife, and riches. He was also raised in
matters of prophethood by one of the great prophets of

55
Quran, 28:24
56
Presumably Hobab in the Bible.

49
Allah. Seeking the satisfaction of Allah by quenching the
thirst of some sheep gave him these blessings.

Another example is the story of Taw’ah. Muslim bin ‘Aqil,


Imam Hussayn’s (a) representative, was alone searching
for a place of refuge in the streets of Kufah after the
Kufans broke their pledge. Taw’ah had a disobedient son
who would come home very late. She would repeatedly
enter her yard to see if there was any news of her son.
When she opened the door leading to the street she saw a
stranger leaning on her wall. After asking him some
questions she realized that it was Muslim bin ‘Aqil, the
representative of Imam Hussayn bin ‘Ali (a). She invited
him in and took care of him for one night. There were many
wealthy people in Kufah who have been forgotten in
history. But, the name of this woman has become eternal
next to the name of Imam Hussayn (a) and the story of
Karbala. The reason for this is that she took care of the
representative of Imam Hussayn (a) for one night with pure
intentions. A small action performed with sincerity yields
enormous results.

Organized Charity
Individual actions are not sufficient in the modern world.
Therefore, they must be performed in groups. Hence, give
charity for Allah, help the needy of your area, and put
money in the charity boxes. But, at the same time, connect
yourself to groups which perform righteous deeds.

An example of such group work:

1. A group supports prisoners who have been


incarcerated due to bankruptcy, large dowries, or

50
unintentional accidents whose wives and children
are thrown into the society without being financially
taken care of.
2. A group supports orphans and children who have
lost their guardians.
3. A group supports people inflicted with terminal
diseases; people who cannot bear the price of their
medicine or treatment.
4. A group has taken on the responsibility of building
and taking care of mosques, schools, public
showers, and religious centers in deprived areas.
5. A group helps people in debt protect their honor.

It is necessary that the groups form to take care of the


following needs:

a. A group must be formed to provide the necessary


expenses for highly intelligent people from poor
families to study; students who are forced to leave
their studies in order to work and provide money for
their family.
b. A group must be formed to solve the housing crisis.
c. A group must be formed to help young men marry;
men who reached the age of marriage but cannot
marry due to low incomes.

Other groups must be formed to take care of the other


needs of the society.

I am hopeful that we can benefit from the illumination of


giving charity in the path of Allah; both on individual and
social levels. I am hopeful that the tribulations which befall
countries and people will be eradicated through this.

51
Chapter Three

War in the Holy Months

The third question, in order of what was mentioned in the


Quran, is the question about fighting in the holy months.
This question is asked in the 217th verse of Surah
Baqarah:

‫ﻳﺴﺌﻠﻮﻧﮏ ﻋﻦ اﻟﺸﻬﺮ اﻟﺤﺮام ﻗﺘﺎل ﻓﻴﻪ ﻗﻞ ﻗﺘﺎل ﻓﻴﻪ ﮐﺒﻴﺮ وﺻﺪ ﻋﻦ‬
‫ﺳﺒﻴﻞ اﷲ و ﮐﻔﺮ ﺑﻪ و اﻟﻤﺴﺠﺪ اﻟﺤﺮام و اﺧﺮاج اهﻠﻪ ﻣﻨﻪ اﮐﺒﺮ ﻋﻨﺪ‬
‫اﷲ و اﻟﻔﺘﻨﺔ اﮐﺒﺮ ﻣﻦ اﻟﻘﺘﻞ و ﻻ ﻳﺰاﻟﻮن ﻳﻘﺎﺗﻠﻮﻧﮑﻢ ﺣﺘﯽ ﻳﺮودوﮐﻢ‬
‫ﻋﻦ دﻳﻨﮑﻢ ان اﺳﻄﺎﻋﻮا و ﻣﻦ ﻳﺮﺗﺪد ﻣﻨﮑﻢ ﻋﻦ دﻳﻨﻪ ﻓﻴﻤﺖ و هﻮ‬
‫ﮐﺎﻓﺮ ﻓﺎوﻟﺌﮏ ﺣﺒﻄﺖ اﻋﻤﺎﻟﻬﻢ ﻓﯽ اﻟﺪﻧﻴﺎ و اﻻﺧﺮة و اوﻟﺌﮏ‬
‫اﺻﺤﺎب اﻟﻨﺎر هﻢ ﻓﻴﻬﺎ ﺧﺎﻟﺪون‬
“They ask you concerning warfare in the holy month. Say,
‘It is an outrageous thing to fight in it, but to keep [people]
from Allah’s way, and to be unfaithful to Him, and [to keep
people from] the Holy Mosque, and to expel its people from
it are more outrageous with Allah. And faithlessness is
graver than killing. And they will not cease fighting you until
they turn you away from your religion, if they can. And
whoever of you turns away from his religion and dies
faithless—they are the ones whose works have failed in

52
this world and the Hereafter. They shall be the inmates of
the Fire, and they shall remain in it [forever].”57

What are the Holy Months?


The holy moths are three months that come right after
each other. They are Dhi al-Qa’dah, Dhi al-Hijjah, and
Muharram, with the addition of Rajab. Muslims were
commanded to stop their wars, even if they were in the
right, during these months.

The History of the Holy Months


The prohibition of fighting during the holy months was not
exclusive to Islam. Rather, during the times of previous
prophets and during the Age of Ignorance fighting was
prohibited as well. But, the ignorant Arabs played with the
holy months and the rules pertaining to them. If they were
fighting with another tribe or country and the holy moths
came, they would tell themselves: “This year we will fight
during the holy months and next year we will make it up.”
The Quran termed this as nasi’, refer to the 37th verse of
Surah Tawbah:

‫اﻧﻤﺎ اﻟﻨﺴﯽ زﻳﺎدة ﻓﯽ اﻟﮑﻔﺮ ﻳﻀﻞ ﺑﻪ اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ﮐﻔﺮوا ﻳﺤﻠﻮﻧﻪ ﻋﺎﻣﺎ و‬


‫ﻳﺤﺮﻣﻮﻧﻪ ﻋﺎﻣﺎ ﻟﻴﻮاﻃﺌﻮا ﻋﺪة ﻣﺎ ﺣﺮم اﷲ ﻓﻴﺤﻠﻮا ﻣﺎ ﺣﺮم اﷲ زﻳﻦ‬
‫ﻟﻬﻢ ﺳﻮء اﻋﻤﺎﻟﻬﻢ و اﷲ ﻻ ﻳﻬﺪﯼ اﻟﻘﻮم اﻟﮑﺎﻓﺮﻳﻦ‬
“Indeed nasi is an increase in unfaith, whereby the
faithless are led [further] astray. They allow it in one year
and forbid it another year, so as to fit in with the number
which Allah has made inviolable, thus permitting what Allah

57
Quran, 2:217

53
has forbidden. Their evil deeds appear to them as
decorous, and Allah does not guide the faithless lot.”58

Unfortunately, people who follow their carnal desires


disobey the law when they are faced with legal obstacles.
They reach their desires.

The Philosophy behind the Prohibition of War


in the Holy Months
Islam is a religion of peace and compassion; it is opposed
to war and bloodshed. Therefore, it has considered
preventive factors even in regards to unwanted and forced
war. One of these preventive factors is the prohibition of
war in the holy months. If Saddam, the criminal, held the
sanctity of the holy months and refrained from fighting for
three months; and announced a cease-fire; if his soldiers
would perform the hajj at that time placing themselves in a
spiritual atmosphere, the war might have stopped. But,
unfortunately, this unprecedented criminal was not
religious.

The Afghan soldiers, who claim to be Islamic, might have


had a flourishing country if they would have held the
sanctity of these holy months. If this divine law was
observed in the first and second world wars the numbers of
killed and injured would have been very different; the
amount of financial destruction caused by the wars would
have been very different.

58
Quran, 9:37

54
The Meaning of Fitna
Fitna has two meanings when used in the verses of the
Quran.

1. In some verses it means torture. The polytheists of


Mecca tortured Muslims such as ‘Ammar Yasir.
‘Ammar’s mother and father were tortured so much
that they became martyred. According to this, it
would not be correct for Muslims to stop fighting in
the holy months while the polytheists are torturing
them.
2. Insecurity is another meaning for fitna in the verses
of the Quran. Insecurity is worse than a full-fledged
war. War is accountable, but insecurity is not.
Terrorists fill a car full of explosives and detonate it
in a Muslim marketplace. As a result, Men and
women, adults and children, Sunnis and Shias; all
are killed.

The Continuous War between the Arrogant and


the Muslims
The arrogant of the world will continue to bother the
Muslims. They move forward whenever the Muslims
retreat. They will only be satisfied with us when we leave
Islam. The Quran has mentioned this feeling of theirs, in
regards to the Jews and Christians:

‫و ﻟﻦ ﺗﺮﺿﯽ ﻋﻨﮏ اﻟﻴﻬﻮد و ﻻ اﻟﻨﺼﺎرﯼ ﺣﺘﯽ ﺗﺘﺒﻊ ﻣﻠﺘﻬﻢ‬


“Never will the Jews be pleased with you, nor the
Christians, unless you followed their creed…”59

59
Quran, 2:120

55
Therefore, we should not seek their satisfaction. Rather,
we should perform our duties.

The Necessity of Discussing War and Peace in


Islam
While discussing the prohibition of fighting in the holy
months, it is necessary to know what Islam’s opinion about
war and peace is. In order to do this briefly, we will look
over some verses of the Quran. This discussion is
necessary for two reasons:

1. Westerners, especially the church and Christian


leaders keep people away from Islam; they always
lie about Islam. They state; “Islam is a religion of
war; is violent,” or “Islam spread by the sword.” But,
the verses of the Quran state the opposite. Huge
Islamic countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia
became Muslim without one Islamic soldier setting
foot in them. They accepted Islam because of its
teachings. In short, in order to quell the effect of
this negative propagation against Islam, war and
peace must be studied from the original religious
sources.
2. The incorrect thoughts and actions of some
Muslims; or better stated some pseudo-Muslims,
lead us to this discussion. The negative actions of
the fanatic Wahabis introduce Islam as a religion of
violence. Their actions necessitate this discussion.
The harm that they caused Islam is unprecedented
throughout the entire history of Islam. Islam states
that one should not fight in the holy months even if
they are fighting disbelievers. Do the terrorist
activities of the Wahabis in Iraq ever stop? Do they

56
respect the sanctity of the holy months and stop
shedding Muslim blood in them?

In accordance with the first point, the negative propagation


against Islam necessitates the discussion about war and
peace in Islam. The second point states that the actions of
a small group of pseudo-Muslims necessitate this
discussion.

The Muslims’ Three Problems


Muslims have a very strong culture and benefit from strong
teachings. But, they have three main problems which must
be eradicated.

First, Muslims are not united. They have not acted in


accordance to the verses of the Quran and traditions about
unity. Sometimes all of the leaders of Islamic countries
gather at a conference. They speak with each other. But,
after the conference, they stab each other in the back.

Second, Muslims have not recognized who their friends


are and who their enemies are. In the Iran-Iraq war, all
Islamic countries came together and helped Iraq. They
wanted to destroy Iran. Was Iran an enemy to Islamic
countries? Did Iran occupy one centimeter of their land?
Did Iran unjustly kill one Muslim? Or, was America and
Israel their enemies? America and Israel occupied large
portions of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. They
have killed more than one million people in Iraq alone.

If Muslims recognized who their friends were and who their


enemies were the conditions would not be so unfortunate.

57
Third, communications between Muslims is very weak. The
Jews hold the majority of the world’s communication
technology. They publish and analyze the news in
whatever method they deem fit. Muslims make up one-
fourth of the world’s population. If they had a stronghold on
the media and were able to present the realities of Islam,
for instance the verses that are being discussed, to the
world, there is no doubt that the negative propaganda of
the enemies would be rendered void.

Disunity, not being able to recognize friends and enemies,


and not having a stronghold on the media are the three
main problems of the Muslim ummah.

The Purposes of War in Islam


Islamic war is in tune with man’s divine disposition. In order
to clarify this, verses of the Quran will be mentioned
because the Quran is the most important source of Islamic
teachings. Four purposes for war can be derived from the
verses of the Quran:

1. Defending Islam and Muslims


One of the purposes of war in Islam is defending one’s life,
property, or loved ones. If an enemy attacks us and targets
our lives, property, or loved ones should we remain silent?
Should we bear the attacks of the enemy? Should we
allow ourselves to be killed? Or, does the person being
attacked have the rational and legal right to defend
himself? There is no doubt that you would answer in the
affirmative to this. It is interesting to note that the majority
of wars in Islam were defensive wars. The Muslims of
Mecca during the first few years of Islam were put under
severe pressure by the polytheists and disbelievers. The

58
enemies would attack the Muslims in various ways. The
Muslims came to the Prophet (s) and asked him to issue
the permission for war; the permission to fight against the
enemies and the polytheists. But, the Prophet (s) told them
to be patient. The Muslims were then forced to migrate.
Then, in Medina, Allah gave permission to the oppressed
Muslims to defend themselves. Many verses about
defense were revealed in Medina. Some examples are:

1. The 39th verse of Surah Hajj: a number of the early


commentators of the Quran believe that this verse
was revealed about jihad:60

‫اذن ﻟﻠﺬﻳﻦ ﻳﻘﺎﺗﻠﻮن ﺑﺎﻧﻬﻢ ﻇﺎﻣﻮا و ان اﷲ ﻋﻠﯽ‬IµnÏ


‫ﻧﺼﺮهﻢ ﻟﻘﺪﻳﺮ‬
“Those who are fought against are permitted because they
have been wronged, and Allah is indeed able to help
them.”61

This verse clearly permits the oppressed to defend


themselves against the oppression of the oppressors.
What answer do those who say that Islam was spread by
the sword have about these verses?

2. The second verse which supports our claim was


also believed to have been revealed about jihad by
the early commentators of the Quran.62 It states:

‫و ﻗﺎﺗﻠﻮا ﻓﯽ ﺳﺒﻴﻞ اﷲ اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ﻳﻘﺎﺗﻠﻮﻧﮑﻢ و ﻻ ﺗﻌﺘﺪوا ان اﷲ ﻻ ﻳﺤﺐ‬


‫اﻟﻤﻌﺘﺪﻳﻦ‬

60
Tafsir Namunah, v.14, p.113
61
Quran, 22:39
62
Tafsir Namunah

59
“Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you, but do not
transgress. Indeed Allah does not like transgressors.”63

This verse clearly states that if one is attacked he could


fight back and defend himself. But, at the same time he
should not become fanatical in defensive wars.

In an Islamic war, the enemy’s women, children, elder


men, animals, trees, and drinking water are safe. It is
forbidden to use weapons of mass destruction.

The fact that we are not after an atomic bomb; the fact that
we consider it forbidden has religious roots. Atomic bombs
kill innocent and guilty people, kill women and men, kill the
sick and the healthy, kill adults and children, kill everyone.
How can the Islam that forbids one from preventing the
enemy from drinking water permit the use of atomic
bombs?

War has been legitimized in the contemporary world. The


west considers war and the destruction of human societies
to be civilization. They consider Islam to be of the past. Is
the way that Islam considers war better or the inhumane
actions of the west? The west dropped atomic bombs of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki which killed thousands of people.
They completely destroyed two cities. Many were injured
and still bear the difficulties of their injuries.

3. Another verse that clearly mentions defensive war is:

‫اﻻ ﺗﻘﺎﺗﻠﻮن ﻗﻮﻣﺎ ﻧﮑﺜﻮا اﻳﻤﺎﻧﻬﻢ و هﻤﻮا ﺑﺎﺧﺮاج اﻟﺮﺳﻮل و هﻢ‬


‫ﺑﺪءوﮐﻢ اول ﻣﺮة اﺗﺨﺸﻮﻧﻬﻢ ﻓﺎﷲ اﺣﻖ ان ﺗﺨﺸﻮﻩ ان ﮐﻨﺘﻢ ﻣﺆﻣﻨﻴﻦ‬

63
Quran, 2:190

60
“Will you not make war on a people who broke their
pledges and resolved to expel the Apostle, and opened
[hostilities] against you initially? Do you fear them? But
Allah is worthier of being feared by you, should you be
faithful.”64

According to this verse, the Muslims were ordered to fight


against those who started wars, who forced the Prophet of
Islam (s) and the believers out of their cities, and those
who disobey their pledges and contracts. Can such a war
be considered illegitimate in any religion or ideology?

It is true that there are people who exist who are opposed
to war and jihad in all cases, even in defense. These are
the misguided followers of the Baha’i religion. This religion
has two main principles in which all members believe.

First they believe that they should not get involved with
politics. Second they believe that war should be avoided.
The philosophy behind the existence of this misguiding
element is this. The occupying forces cannot cope with a
political Islam which accepts war. They consider such an
Islam to be a danger to their interests. Therefore, they
created a religion which does not get involved in politics
and does not fight. Recently, America pressured some
countries of the Middle East to erase three categories of
verses of the Quran from textbooks taught at schools.
These categories were: verses about jihad, verses about
martyrdom, and verses rebuking the Jews. They tell
Muslims: “The more you teach your children about such
verses the more they will be influenced by them.”

Islam prohibits Muslims from remaining silent when faced


with oppression. Muslims must stand up to oppression. If

64
Quran, 9:13

61
their numbers are small they should not be afraid because
Allah will help them.

The brave Iranian nation was able to defeat Iraq’s army


which was supported by the entire world. They were able
to become victorious because they relied upon Allah and
sought help from Him.

4. Another verse which confirms defensive war is:

‫اﻻ اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ﻳﺼﻠﻮن اﻟﯽ ﻗﻮم ﺑﻴﻨﮑﻢ و ﺑﻴﻨﻬﻢ ﻣﻴﺜﺎق او ﺟﺎءوﮐﻢ ﺣﺼﺮت‬
‫ﺻﺪورهﻢ ان ﻳﻘﺎﺗﻠﻮﮐﻢ او ﻳﻘﺎﺗﻠﻮا ﻗﻮﻣﻬﻢ و ﻟﻮ ﺷﺎء اﷲ ﻟﺴﻠﻄﻬﻢ ﻋﻠﻴﮑﻢ‬
‫ﻓﻠﻘﺎﺗﻠﻮﮐﻢ ﻓﺎن اﻋﺘﺰﻟﻮﮐﻢ ﻓﻠﻢ ﻳﻘﺎﺗﻠﻮﮐﻢ و اﻟﻘﻮا اﻟﻴﮑﻢ اﻟﺴﻠﻢ ﻓﻤﺎ ﺟﻌﻞ اﷲ‬
‫ﻟﮑﻢ ﻋﻠﻴﻬﻢ ﺳﺒﻴﻼ‬
“Excepting those who join a people between whom and
you there is a treaty, or such as come to you with hearts
reluctant to fight you or to fight their own people. Had Allah
wished, He would have imposed them upon you, and then
they would have surely fought you. So if they keep out of
your way and do not fight you, and offer you peace, then
Allah does not allow you any course [of action] against
them.”65

This verse permits war as long as the enemy fights.


Therefore, once the enemy surrenders his weapons,
Muslims must cease-fire. Such a ruling would not have
existed if Islam spread by the sword.

5. These verses also clearly indicate defensive war:

‫ﻻ ﻳﻨﻬﺎﮐﻢ اﷲ ﻋﻦ اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ﻟﻢ ﻳﻘﺎﺗﻠﻮﮐﻢ ﻓﯽ اﻟﺪﻳﻦ و ﻟﻢ ﻳﺨﺮﺟﻮﮐﻢ ﻣﻦ‬


‫دﻳﺎرﮐﻢ ان ﺗﺒﺮوهﻢ و ﺗﻘﺴﻄﻮا اﻟﻴﻬﻢ ان اﷲ ﻳﺤﺐ اﻟﻤﻘﺴﻄﻴﻦ اﻧﻤﺎ‬

65
Quran, 4:90

62
‫ﻳﻨﻬﺎﮐﻢ اﷲ ﻋﻦ اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ﻗﺎﺗﻠﻮﮐﻢ ﻓﯽ اﻟﺪﻳﻦ و اﺧﺮﺟﻮﮐﻢ ﻣﻦ دﻳﺎرﮐﻢ و‬
‫ﻇﺎهﺮوا ﻋﻠﯽ اﺧﺮاﺟﮑﻢ ان ﺗﻮﻟﻮهﻢ و ﻣﻦ ﻳﺘﻮﻟﻬﻢ ﻓﺎﻟﺌﮏ هﻢ‬
‫اﻟﻈﺎﻟﻤﻮن‬
“Allah does not forbid you in regard to those who did not
make war against you on account of religion and did not
expel you from your homes, that you deal with them with
kindness and justice. Indeed Allah loves the just. Allah
forbids you only in regard to those who made war against
you on account of religion and expelled you from your
homes and supported [others] in your expulsion, that you
make friends with them, and whoever makes friends with
them—it is they who are the wrongdoers.”66

This verse is argued in jurisprudence to prove that all


categories of disbelievers are respected, not only the
dhimmi disbelievers. The only exception to this is
disbelievers who are fighting against Islam.

According to this verse, Muslims do not have the right to


fight against countries or governments who are not fighting
them. Furthermore, they are ordered to hold positive
relations with them. The only time that ties of friendship
should be broken with other governments is when they are
fighting against Muslims.

6. Allah states:

‫و اﻋﺪواﻟﻬﻢ ﻣﺎ اﺳﺘﻄﻌﺘﻢ ﻣﻦ ﻗﻮة و ﻣﻦ رﺑﺎط اﻟﺨﻴﻞ ﺗﺮهﺒﻮن ﺑﻪ ﻋﺪو‬


‫اﷲ و ﻋﺪوﮐﻢ و ءاﺧﺮﻳﻦ ﻣﻦ دوﻧﻬﻢ ﻻ ﺗﻌﻠﻤﻮﻧﻬﻢ اﷲ ﻳﻌﻠﻤﻬﻢ و ﻣﺎ‬
‫ﺗﻨﻔﻘﻮا ﻣﻦ ﺷﯽء ﻓﯽ ﺳﺒﻴﻞ اﷲ ﻳﻮف اﻟﻴﮑﻢ و اﻧﺘﻢ ﻻ ﺗﻈﻠﻤﻮن‬

66
Quran, 60:8-9

63
“Prepare against them whatever you can of [military] power
and war-horses, awing thereby the enemy of Allah, and
your enemy, and others besides them, whom you do not
know, but Allah knows them. And whatever you spend in
the way of Allah will be repaid to you in full, and you will
not be wronged.”67

There are three important points which must be mentioned


about this verse:

a. Prepared with all of one’s ability and strength

Muslims are ordered to use all of their might to defend


against Islam and Muslims. The term power used in this
verse has an expansive meaning. Some believe that
power here only means military weapons (of course, other
than weapons of mass destruction which are forbidden in
Islam). But, the concept of power is more expansive; it is
not limited to military weapons.

This claim is supported by a tradition from Imam Sadiq (a).


The Imam explained this verse by stating: “And one of
them [the powers] is coloring the hair.”68 This means that if
an officer’s hair has become white he should color it. One
should try to look young in order to frighten the enemies.
According to this tradition, power includes the color of
one’s hair. This proves that the concept of power is
expansive.

Therefore, using methods of marketing and mass


communication and benefiting from politics, the economy,
and culture are all instances of this verse.

b. Strong military

67
Quran, 8:60
68
Man la Yahdaruh al-Faqih, v.1, p.70, h.282

64
Allah encourages Muslims to be prepared in all fields,
especially militarily, and especially with horses. The first
point was a general rule and the second point was
emphasis given to an instance of the general rule. During
the period of the Prophet of Islam horses trained for the
battlefield existed. In the contemporary era this would
include tanks, missiles, and airplanes.

c. Scaring the enemy

The third point, which is the conclusion of the previous


points, is scaring the enemy. Muslims must be so prepared
to defend themselves that the enemy would become
frightened of them; that they wouldn’t even think about
attacking them.

Did the enemies of Islam read this sentence and claim that
Muslims are warmongers? In Islam, being militarily
prepared is not for war and bloodshed; rather, it is to
prevent war. Do rational people consider this negative?
Islam tries to prevent war, which has negative spiritual and
financial outcomes, by encouraging Muslims to be so
strong that the enemy would not even think about attacking
them.

Therefore, one of the Quranic purposes of war is


defending Islam and Muslims.

2. Supporting the Oppressed


Islam orders Muslims to fight against the oppressors in
order to save the oppressed, even if he is not a Muslim.

The following verse supports this claim:

65
‫و ﻣﺎ ﻟﮑﻢ ﻻ ﺗﻘﺎﺗﻠﻮن ﻓﯽ ﺳﺒﻴﻞ اﷲ و اﻟﻤﺴﺘﻀﻌﻔﻴﻦ ﻣﻦ اﻟﺮﺟﺎل و‬
‫اﻟﻨﺴﺎء و اﻟﻮﻟﺪان اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ﻳﻘﻮﻟﻮن رﺑﻨﺎ اﺧﺮﺟﻨﺎ ﻣﻦ هﺬﻩ اﻟﻘﺮﻳﺔ اﻟﻈﺎﻟﻢ‬
‫اهﻠﻬﺎ و اﺟﻌﻞ ﻟﻨﺎ ﻣﻦ ﻟﺪﻧﮏ وﻟﻴﺎ و اﺟﻌﻞ ﻟﻨﺎ ﻣﻦ ﻟﺪﻧﮏ ﻧﺼﻴﺮا‬
“Why should you not fight in the way of Allah and the
abased men, women, and children, who say, ‘Our Lord,
bring us out of this town whose people are wrongdoers,
and appoint for us a guardian from You, and appoint for us
a helper from You’?”69

Therefore, in accordance to this verse, it is not strange that


Iran supports oppressed nations such as Palestine,
Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Bosnia. Iran is acting in
accordance to this verse. One must aid the oppressed
wherever they are in the world; if they are in America or
Africa, if they are in Europe or Asia. One must use all of
the facilities at his disposal to help them. It is amazing how
some Islamic countries act in direct opposition to this
verse. They do not support the Palestinians and they do
not help free them from the grips of Zionism. But, rather,
they establish relationships with their enemies. They
cooperate with the Zionists in order to destroy the
democratic government of Palestine.

In short, this verse states that one must support the


oppressed and save them from the hands of the
oppressors.

Supporting the Oppressed in Traditions


There are many traditions which present similar concepts
as this verse does. These are some examples:

69
Quran, 4:75

66
1. The Noble Prophet (s) said: “The one who obtains the
oppressed person’s rights from the oppressor will be with
me in heaven.”70

Many people will be in heaven, but not many people in


heaven will be next to the Prophet of Islam (s). Helping the
oppressed obtain their rights from oppressors is so
important that it will allow one to sit with the Prophet (s).

2. In another tradition the Prophet of Islam (s) says:


“Whoever does not answer the call of someone who cries:
‘O’ Muslims’ is not a Muslim.”71

This tradition is also general and includes non-Muslims.


Therefore, in accordance to this tradition, one is not a
Muslim who hears the oppression of an oppressed person
and is able to help him but does not. Compare this Islamic
principle to with those who worship and love the world in
the modern era. They clearly say: “We will invest in order
to profit. It is not important to us if hundreds of thousands
of people are killed in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We do not
have any interests in that region.”

Looking at these principles, is Islam a warmongering


religion? Or are those who are willing to burn down villages
in order to make a profit the warmongering people?

3. Imam ‘Ali (a) addressed his children Imam Hassan and


Imam Hussayn (a) and said: “Be an enemy to the
oppressor and an aid to the oppressed.”72

70
Bihar al-Anwar, v.75, p.359, h.75
71
Bihar al-Anwar, v.74, p.339, h.120
72
Mizan al-Hikmah, v.6, p.2350, section 2467, h.11483

67
This verse also does not mention Muslims. Therefore,
defending the oppressed is a duty for all Muslims; even if
the oppressed are not Muslims.

3. Ending wars amongst Islamic countries


The third purpose of war in Islam is ending fighting
between two Muslim tribes or countries.

This is what is known as peace keepers in the modern


world. The following verses mention this type of jihad:

‫و ان ﻃﺎﺋﻔﺘﺎن ﻣﻦ اﻟﻤﺆﻣﻨﻴﻦ اﻗﺘﺘﻠﻮا ﻓﺎﺻﻠﺤﻮا ﺑﻴﻨﻬﻤﺎ ﻓﺎن ﺑﻐﺖ‬


‫اﺣﺪاهﻤﺎ ﻋﻠﯽ اﻻﺧﺮﯼ ﻓﻘﺎﺗﻠﻮا اﻟﺘﯽ ﺗﺒﻐﯽ ﺣﺘﯽ ﺗﻔﯽء اﻟﯽ اﻣﺮ اﷲ ﻓﺎن‬
‫ﻓﺎءت ﻓﺎﺻﻠﺤﻮا ﺑﻴﻨﻬﻤﺎ ﺑﺎﻟﻌﺪل و اﻗﺴﻄﻮا ان اﷲ ﻳﺤﺐ اﻟﻤﻘﺴﻄﻴﻦ اﻧﻤﺎ‬
‫اﻟﻤﺆﻣﻨﻮن اﺧﻮة ﻓﺎﺻﻠﺤﻮا ﺑﻴﻦ اﺣﻮﻳﮑﻢ و اﺗﻘﻮا اﷲ ﻟﻌﻠﮑﻢ ﺗﺮﺣﻤﻮن‬
“If two groups of the faithful fight one another, make peace
between them. But if one party of them aggresses against
the other, fight the one which aggresses until it returns to
Allah’s ordinance. Then, if it returns, make peace between
them fairly, and do justice. Indeed Allah loves the just. The
faithful are indeed brothers. Therefore make peace
between your brothers and be wary of Allah, so that you
may receive [His] mercy.”73

The important points of these two verses are:

1. Muslims should not be indifferent to fighting between


two Muslims or two Muslim groups (which is unfortunately
the case many times). Rather, they must try to end the
fighting and bring peace to both sides.

73
Quran, 49:9-10

68
2. If a Muslim takes the responsibility to end the fighting
but one side is not ready, then it become necessary for all
of the Muslims to fight against the rebel. In this case he
would be forced to stop fighting.

3. When both parties surrender they should not be left


alone. Rather, it is necessary to examine and find out who
started the war. Then, one should destroy the roots of
division in order to prevent future fights.

4. Peace is in accordance to justice. It is not a personal


desire.

Circumstances of revelation
The two tribes Aws and Khazraj were parts of the Ansar
living in Medina. They fought against each other during the
Age of Ignorance. The extended war that they had came to
an end because of the blessings of Islam. But, lingering
feelings remained. Therefore, one day, these two tribes
argued with each other. Some believed that two people
from the various tribes got into a heated argument and
started to fight. Each tribe supported their tribal member
and the flames of war were ignited. The verse was
revealed about this event.

In short, it was about infighting between the Muslims. Have


those who accuse Islam of being a violent and
warmongering religion read these verses? Do they know
that peace and friendship are mentioned three times in
these two verses?

Do Muslims act in accordance to these verses? War has


been occurring in Afghanistan for many years. Various
Muslim tribes are killing each other. What have Islamic
countries done to try and stop this fighting? Iran is trying,

69
but it is unfortunate that other countries are not
cooperating.

The United Nations and the Security Council have peace


keeping forces. A number of soldiers from all countries of
the world are present in this center. They have performed
positive actions. But, Islam expressed the need of having
peace keeping forces over 1400 years ago. If Muslims
have not acted in accordance to the Quran they have
shirked their duties.

What is happening in Iraq right now? Various groups are


fighting each other. Some are merely witnessing what is
happening and some are even acting in opposition to
Quranic encouragement and are igniting the flames of war.

The Believer’s Responsibility towards one another


The situation between believers and Muslims is mentioned
in the Islamic traditions. The responsibility that they have
with one another is described. Take the following traditions
as examples:

1. The Messenger of Allah (s) said: “Believers are brothers;


they are like a single body. If one part feels pain the other
parts will also feel it.”74

According to this tradition, Muslims around the world are


one body. If a Muslim is in pain or hurt in one part of the
world, other Muslims should be affected by it; they should
try to solve his problems. If an earthquake hits Bam killing
thousands and making thousands of others homeless, if a
tsunami kills many in Eastern Asia and makes many others
homeless, if war has taken peace and comfort away from
the people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon –

74
Bihar al-Anwar, v.61, p.148, h.25

70
Muslims must show a reaction. They must strive to help
them with all of their ability. Whenever a part of the human
body is infected the entire body becomes sick.

2. Mufadal bin ‘Umar said: “Imam Sadiq (a) allotted me


with money in order to solve the financial disputes of his
Shia whenever they fell into them. I saw two Shias who
had a dispute. After I researched the matter, it became
clear that their dispute was over four hundred Dirham. I
gave them four hundred Dirham and their dispute was
solved. Then I told them: ‘This money was taken from the
allowance given to be by Imam Sadiq (a) for these
matters.’”75

The duty of Muslims is not to remain indifferent to the


problems of other Muslims. He should use all means in
order to solve their problems.

3. The late Shaykh ‘Abbas Qumi narrates a tradition from


the Messenger of Allah (s) in his valuable book Safinah al-
Bihar, under the term migration: “Whenever two Muslims
quell with each other for more than three days without
making peace and then die – they will not die as Muslims.”
The tradition continues to state: “Whichever one of them
tries to make peace first will enter paradise on the Day of
Judgment before the other one.”76

I know brothers who have not spoken with one another for
over 12 years due to differences of opinions regarding their
father’s inheritance. This is not acceptable for a Muslim,
especially if the reason that they are upset is a financial
issue. Making peace amongst fighting brothers is one of
the biggest forms of worship.

75
Al-Burhan fi Tafsir al-Quran, v.2, p.678, h.4205
76
Safinah al-Bihar, v.8, p.629

71
Council to Solve Disputes
Allah has predicted the need for a council to take care of
family disputes. The members of this council have been
determined in the Quran. If one acts in accordance to it
many of family disputes would be solved.

Allah states:

‫و ان ﺧﻔﺘﻢ ﺷﻘﺎق ﺑﻴﻨﻬﻤﺎ ﻓﺎﺑﻌﺜﻮا ﺣﮑﻤﺎ ﻣﻦ اهﻠﻪ و ﺣﮑﻤﺎ ﻣﻦ اهﻠﻬﺎ‬


‫ان ﻳﺮﻳﺪا اﺻﻼﺣﺎ ﻳﻮﻓﻖ اﷲ ﺑﻴﻨﻬﻤﺎ ان اﷲ ﮐﺎن ﻋﻠﻴﻤﺎ ﺧﺒﻴﺮا‬
“And if you fear a split between the two of them, then
appoint an arbiter from his relatives and an arbiter from her
relatives. If they desire reconcilement, Allah shall reconcile
them. Indeed Allah is all-knowing, all-aware.”77

Divorce is the last resort. Before divorce is finalized one


must try to amend the situation.

It is interesting that the members of the council for solving


disputes must be chosen from among the family. The
reason for this is that with them there is a bigger chance of
success. Two people from each family who are accepted
by all will try and solve the dispute. All of the disputes of
the family will be brought to them and they will try to solve
them through the knowledge that they have of both sides.

4. Fighting in order to Quell Corruption


Another one of the four reasons of war in Islam is fighting
in order to quell corruption. This is referred to in the
following verse:

77
Quran, 4:35

72
‫و ﻗﺎﺗﻠﻮهﻢ ﺣﺘﯽ ﻻ ﺗﮑﻮن ﻓﺘﻨﺔ و ﻳﮑﻮن اﻟﺪﻳﻦ ﮐﻠﻪ ﷲ ﻓﺎن اﻧﺘﻬﻮا ﻓﺎن‬
‫اﷲ ﺑﻤﺎ ﻳﻌﻤﻠﻮن ﺑﺼﻴﺮ‬
“Fight them until faithlessness is no more, and religion
becomes exclusively for Allah. But if they relinquish, Allah
indeed sees best what they do.”78

What is corruption (fitna)?


The term fitna has been used thirty times in the Quran.
These verses show that this term has taken on five
meanings.

a. torture: Historical sources show that in the past kings


would torture believers. They would fill barrels with fire and
bring the believers close to the fire making them renounce
Allah and their beliefs. Those who insisted upon their
beliefs and did not surrender to the kings were thrown into
the fire. This king and his followers were called the
Companions of al-Akhdud. Allah mentions them in this
verse:

‫ان اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ﻓﺘﻨﻮا اﻟﻤﺆﻣﻨﻴﻦ و اﻟﻤﺆﻣﻨﺎت ﺛﻢ ﻟﻢ ﻳﺘﻮﺑﻮا ﻓﻠﻬﻢ ﻋﺬاب ﺟﻬﻨﻢ‬


‫و ﻟﻬﻢ ﻋﺬاب اﻟﺤﺮﻳﻖ‬
“Indeed those who persecute the faithful men and women,
and then do not repent, for them there is the punishment of
hell, and for them there is the punishment of burning.”79

Therefore, torture is one of the meanings.

b. Examination: This is understood from the following


verse:

78
Quran, 8:39
79
Quran, 85:10

73
‫اﻧﻤﺎ اﻣﻮاﻟﮑﻢ و اوﻻدﮐﻢ ﻓﺘﻨﺔ و اﷲ ﻋﻨﺪﻩ اﺟﺮ ﻋﻈﻴﻢ‬
“Rather your possessions and children are a trial, and
Allah—with Him is a great reward!”80

Two questions will be asked on the Day of Judgment about


one’s wealth. The first is where did you get your wealth
from? The second is how did you spend your wealth?

Children are also a means of examination. Did we correctly


raise our children? Or, did you leave them to themselves?
Did we shirk our responsibilities? Blessed is the one who
passes this examination.

c. Divine punishment: Another meaning of fitna is divine


punishment. This is seen in the following verse:

‫و اﺗﻘﻮا ﻓﻨﺘﺔ ﻻ ﺗﺼﻴﺒﻦ اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ﻇﻠﻤﻮا ﻣﻨﮑﻢ ﺧﺎﺻﺔ و اﻋﻠﻤﻮا ان اﷲ‬


‫ﺷﺪﻳﺪ اﻟﻌﻘﺎب‬
“And beware of a punishment which shall not visit the
wrongdoers among you exclusively, and know that Allah is
severe in retribution.”81

According to this verse, divine punishment is not exclusive


to the oppressors. Those who witness the oppression of
the oppressors and do not forbid the wrong will also fall
into divine punishment. This does not include those who
acted in accordance to their religious obligations. It is also
incorrect to state that the fire will burn both the dry and the
wet because it is in opposition to divine wisdom.

In short, the term fitna was used to mean divine


punishment in this verse.
80
Quran, 64:15
81
Quran, 8:25

74
d. Misfortune. Another meaning of fitna is misfortune. This
meaning is found in the following verse:

‫و ﻣﻦ اﻟﻨﺎس ﻣﻦ ﻳﻌﺒﺪ اﷲ ﻋﻠﯽ ﺣﺮف ﻓﺎن اﺻﺎﺑﻪ ﺧﻴﺮ اﻃﻤﺎن ﺑﻪ و‬


‫ان اﺻﺎﺑﺘﻪ ﻓﺘﻨﺔ اﻧﻘﻠﺐ ﻋﻠﯽ وﺟﻬﻪ ﺧﺴﺮ اﻟﺪﻧﻴﺎ و اﻻﺧﺮة ذﻟﮏ هﻮ‬
‫اﻟﺨﺴﺮان اﻟﻤﺒﻴﻦ‬
“And among the people are those who worship Allah on
the [very] fringe: if good fortune befalls him, he is content
with it; but if an ordeal visits him he makes a turnabout, to
become a loser in the world and the Hereafter. That is the
manifest loss.”82

In funerals, the term which is used: “May this be your last


misfortune,” is baseless. It means that you should die
before all of your friends and family so that you do not
have any more misfortune. Therefore, man is faced with
many difficulties and misfortunes in life. He must live with
them; some of them are divine tests. He must stand strong
and not surrender to his problems. He will be rewarded by
Allah. In short, this is one of the meanings of fitna.

e. Corruption. This is found in the following verse:

‫و اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ﮐﻔﺮوا ﺑﻌﻀﻬﻢ اوﻟﻴﺎء ﺑﻌﺾ اﻻ ﺗﻔﻌﻠﻮﻩ ﺗﮑﻦ ﻓﺘﻨﺔ ﻓﯽ‬


‫اﻻرض و ﻓﺴﺎد ﮐﺒﻴﺮ‬
“As for the faithless, they are allies of one another. Unless
you do the same, there will be turmoil on the earth and
great corruption.”83

According to this verse, Muslims must stand up and face


fitna. At first, they must use their speech and forbid the
82
Quran, 22:11
83
Quran, 8:73

75
bad. Then they must strive culturally. If they are not
successful in eradicating corruption through peaceful
means, then they must use force and fight against the
enemies.

Fitna in this verse means a terrible form of corruption. This


form of corruption is considered worse than murder, as is
said in the Quran: “… for fitna is graver than killing.”84 Also,
refer to the verse: “…fitna is graver than killing.”85 The fitna
that the enemies spread in Iraq and Afghanistan; the fitna
which destroyed these nations’ security is more dangerous
than murder.

Fighting against People who Destroy Social


Peace
Two groups produce extensive amounts of harm to the
society. They perform this type of fitna. They are the
people who spread rumors and hoodlums who disrupt
social peace. The Quran states the following about them:

‫ﻟﺌﻦ ﻟﻢ ﻳﻨﺘﻪ اﻟﻤﻨﺎﻓﻘﻮن و اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ﻓﯽ ﻗﻠﻮﺑﻬﻢ ﻣﺮض و اﻟﻤﺮﺟﻔﻮن ﻓﯽ‬


‫اﻟﻤﺪﻳﻨﺔ ﻟﻨﻐﺮﻳﻨﮏ ﺑﻬﻢ ﺛﻢ ﻻ ﻳﺤﺎوروﻧﮏ ﻓﻴﻬﺎ اﻻ ﻗﻠﻴﻼ ﻣﻠﻌﻮﻧﻴﻦ اﻳﻨﻤﺎ‬
‫ﺛﻘﻔﻮا اﺧﺬوا و ﻗﺘﻠﻮا ﺗﻘﺘﻴﻼ‬
“If the hypocrites do not relinquish and [also] those in
whose hearts is a sickness, and the rumourmongers in the
city [do not give up], We will surely urge you [to take
action] against them, then they will not be your neighbours
in it except for a little [while]. Accursed, they will be seized
wherever they are confronted and slain violently.”86

84
Quran, 2:191
85
Quran, 2:217
86
Quran, 33:60-61

76
Two groups of people created fitna in Medina:

1. A group of hypocrites who would spread false rumors.


They would say: “The Prophet died.” Or: “The enemy
attacked Medina and captured the Prophet.”87

2. Some hoodlums were in the minority but ruined the


peace and comfort of the society. They would bother
Muslim women who would go to the mosque and perform
sunset and night prayers. They would hide in the night and
bother Muslim girls and women.88 It seems as if history
repeats itself because today these two groups are the
main enemies to the peace and comfort of the society.

The Quran severely warns these two groups. It states that


if the people who spread false rumors and the hoodlums
do not stop their fitna the Muslims should announce war.
Then, they should exile them from the society and kill them
wherever they find them.

The Quran confronted fitna in the society very harshly. The


reason is because life in such a society would be very
difficult. Therefore, everything must be spent in order to
obtain peace and security. This is why Islam permits war
against those who destroy the peace and comfort of a
society.

Peace in Islam
In Islam, the principle is peace. War is in opposition to this
principle; it is an exception. War incurs irreparable
damage; damage which can take up to a century to
overcome. This is especially the case in the modern world
where the damage incurred from war is even more severe.

87
Tafsir Namunah, v.17, p.426
88
Tafsir Namunah, v.17, p.426

77
History has recorded that during all of the Islamic wars that
occurred during the lifetime of the Prophet of Islam (s), the
number of people killed did not reach 1000 people. But, in
the First World War over 10 million people were killed and
over 10 million people were severely injured. In the Second
World War over 30 million people were killed and over 30
million people were injured. If, God-forbid, a Third World
War is started the causalities will be over 100 million.

Those who constantly threaten nations with war are


ignorant. Look at the war-stricken country of Iraq. They do
not have peace and security. They do not have enough
drinking water. They do not have sufficient electricity. The
numbers of killed and injured increase every day. This is
why Islam is so opposed to war; this is why it supports
peace. Muslims believe in peace until they are forced to go
to war. But, if they are attacked they will not shirk their
duties; they will fight bravely.

Peace in the Quran


There are many verses of the Quran which speak about
peace. Allah paints a beautiful picture of peace in these
verses. Some of these verses are:

1. Allah states:

‫و ان ﺟﻨﺤﻮا ﻟﻠﺴﻠﻢ ﻓﺎﺟﻨﺢ ﻟﻬﺎ و ﺗﻮﮐﻞ ﻋﻠﯽ اﷲ اﻧﻪ هﻮ اﻟﺴﻤﻴﻊ اﻟﻌﻠﻴﻢ‬


“And if they incline toward peace, then you [too] incline
toward it, and put your trust in Allah. Indeed He is the All-
hearing, the All-knowing.”89

The Arabic word for peace is salim and salam. Therefore,


in the Quran, except in one case, this term is used to imply

89
Quran, 8:61

78
peace. Meanwhile, the phrase ‘and put your trust in Allah’
might mean that you should be wise and not give the
enemy an opportunity to attack. Therefore, at the same
time that you accept the peace treaty of the enemy you
should be careful of him as well.

2. Allah states:

‫ﻓﻼ ﺗﻬﻨﻮا و ﺗﺪﻋﻮا اﻟﯽ اﻟﺴﻠﻢ و اﻧﺘﻢ اﻻﻋﻠﻮن و اﷲ ﻣﻌﮑﻢ و ﻟﻦ‬


‫ﻳﺘﺮﮐﻢ اﻋﻤﺎﻟﮑﻢ‬
“So do not slacken and [do not] call for peace when you
have the upper hand and Allah is with you, and He will not
stint [the reward of] your works.”90

There are two explanations of the term ‘call for peace.’ The
first explanation is that when you are about to become
victorious do not accept the peace treaty of the enemy.
This is exactly what Imam ‘Ali (a)’s ignorant army did in the
battle of Siffin. When the commander of the army of faith,
Malik al-Ashtar, was close to the tent of the commander of
the army of disbelief; when Mu’awiyah was about to fall,
the hypocrites put the Quran on their spears and asked for
peace. A group of Imam ‘Ali (a)’s soldiers gathered around
him and demanded that he stop the war and to make
peace with Mu’awiyah, who used the Quran as a shield.
He said that this type of peace is performed from a state of
weakness. He said that this was not the time for peace.
But, they insisted and the Imam’s life was put in danger.
He was forced to send word to Malik. He told Malik that if
you want to see your master alive again stop fighting and
return. In short, in accordance to this verse, when one is

90
Quran, 47:35

79
about to be victorious he should not accept a peace
agreement from the enemy.

The second explanation is that one should not be weak


while fighting the enemy. But, he should accept the peace
treaty of the enemy if it is requested during normal stages
of the war (not right before a victory).

3. Allah states:

‫و ﻣﻦ ﻳﻘﺘﻞ ﻣﺆﻣﻨﺎ ﻣﺘﻌﻤﺪا ﻓﺠﺰاؤﻩ ﺟﻬﻨﻢ ﺧﺎﻟﺪا ﻓﻴﻬﺎ و ﻏﻀﺐ اﷲ‬


‫ﻋﻠﻴﻪ و ﻟﻌﻨﻪ و اﻋﺪ ﻟﻪ ﻋﺬاﺑﺎ ﻋﻈﻴﻤﺎ‬
“Should anyone kill a believer intentionally, his requital
shall be hell, to remain in it [forever]; Allah shall be wrathful
at him and curse him and He shall prepare for him a great
punishment.”91

The commentators of the Quran stated that this verse was


revealed when the Prophet (s) sent a group of Muslims to
war. The Islamic army moved under orders from the
Prophet. On their way to the battlefield they saw a herder
and his sheep who were moving in their direction. When he
reached the Islamic army he greeted them and declared
the shahadatayn. A Muslim who had worldly desires
unsheathed is sword and killed the new Muslim. He then
took his sheep as war booty.92 The verse under discussion
was revealed and he was asked: “Why don’t you answer a
person who seeks peace in a positive way? Why do you
kill him in order to take his property? Muslims are ordered
to accept the call of peace from any human.

91
Quran, 4:93
92
Tafsir Ithna ‘Ashari, v.2, p.542

80
4. Another verse of the Quran which speaks about peace
is:

‫و اﷲ ﻳﺪﻋﻮا اﻟﯽ دار اﻟﺴﻼم و ﻳﻬﺪﯼ ﻣﻦ ﻳﺸﺎء اﻟﯽ ﺻﺮاط ﻣﺴﺘﻘﻴﻢ‬


"Allah invites to the abode of peace, and He guides
whomever He wishes to a straight path.”93

The late Tabarasi explained the ‘abode of peace’ in


Majma’ al-Bayan in two different ways.

a. The abode of peace means heaven. The reason for this


is that peace and love will be the only thing that exists in
heaven. Envy does not exist there. Competition does not
exist there. Deception does not exist there. Enmity does
not exist there. Therefore, it is called the abode of peace.

b. The abode of peace is in the world. Allah invites


mankind to a destination in this world which is full of peace.

Islam is termed Islam because it is a form of surrendering


to peace. The greetings of peace that Muslims give one
another are statements of peace and friendship.94

When Imam Hassan Mujtaba (a) realizes that war, in those


specific conditions, will not result in anything other than
bloodshed; when he realized that some of his generals
were bought, he wrote a letter to Mu’awiyah. In this letter
he said that there is no other option than peace. The same
people who were disloyal to Imam ‘Ali (a) turned their
backs on Imam Hassan (a) and killed Imam Hussayn (a).

The late ‘Allamah Majlisi narrates the reason behind the


peace treaty from Imam Hassan (a): “The only reason

93
Quran, 10:25
94
Majma’ al-Bayan, v.5, p.177

81
behind peace with Mu’awiyah was to save the lives of the
Muslims.”95

After the peace treaty was accepted they ridiculed the


Imam and criticized him for the very reasons that he was
forced to accept the peace treaty. Imam Hassan (a) lived
for many years with this pain. But, his peace treaty affected
the people and laid the foundations for the Ashura
movement and the movements after Ashura. It laid the
foundations for the destruction of the Ummayid dynasty.

Mercy on the Battlefield


Imam Sadiq (a) said: “When the Noble Messenger (s)
decided to send the soldiers of Islam to war he called them
over and mentioned a few points to them. If a soldier
disobeyed these points he would punish them:

“Go to the battlefield, but not because of carnal desires.


Remember Allah and seek His satisfaction. Act Islamically
with pure intentions; without any non-divine motivations.

“Do not be treacherous in war.”

There are three possibilities regarding the meaning of this


sentence:

1. Do not be treacherous in the distribution of war booty.


Some verses of the Quran mention this point. The booty
that is in relation to the government or leadership is
separated and the booty that is in relation to the soldiers is
distributed amongst them.96 Everyone will be given their
right; they should not be treacherous.

95
Bihar al-Anwar, v.44, p.30
96
Quran, 8:41

82
2. Islamic soldiers of the past should not be treacherous
with each other about anything else.

3. Furthermore, the Islamic soldiers must not be


treacherous with the enemy as well. He must fight them
honorably. The soldiers are prohibited from attacking and
maiming the dead bodies of their enemies.

It has been narrated from the Noble Prophet (s) that one
should not even maim a wild dog who is killed while trying
to attack him.97

The Muslims are then prohibited from being deceptive. If


one makes peace with the enemy and agrees to a cease-
fire he must respect the treaty. A Muslim is one who is
even loyal to the agreements that he makes with his
enemies.

Then the Muslims are prohibited from killing the weak;


those who do not fight on the battlefield. They are
prohibited from fighting the elderly, the children, and the
women. Muslims are also prohibited from chopping down
the trees of the enemy, unless they are forced to do so.

One will realize that Islam is not a religion of violence when


they study these advanced laws. These laws even include
the trees that are owned by the enemy. Therefore, the
Prophet, who is titled the mercy of the worlds, ordered his
soldiers not to destroy any plantlife during war. The
soldiers are ordered to respect nature. These trees are not
obstacles to the Muslim victory; but, there is no problem in
cutting down trees out of necessity – to the limit that is
necessary.

97
Bihar al-Anwar, v.42, pgs.246 and 257

83
The next command of the Messenger of Allah (s) shows
the deep level of mercy that he had on the battlefield. It
states: Whenever a Muslim, of any rank, gives refuge to an
enemy then he is protected. He must be taken to the back
of the battlefield. Then, with patience, Islam must be
explained to him. If he accepted Islam he would enter the
fold of the Muslims and would enjoy all of the rights of a
Muslim. If he did not accept Islam or wanted some time to
think about it, he must be returned to his country without
being harmed at all. Nobody has the right to bother him.

Of course, it is not easy to perform such a task. One must


have a strong level of faith to do so. Because of this, at the
end of his speech, the Prophet (s) orders his soldiers to
ask Allah to help them obey these commandments.

Does the world that claims to support human rights


observe these laws on the battlefield?

84
Chapter Four

Alcohol and Gambling


th
The 219 verse of Surah Baqarah contains four Quranic
questions and answers. It states:

‫ﻳﺴﺌﻠﻮﻧﮏ ﻋﻦ اﻟﺨﻤﺮ و اﻟﻤﻴﺴﺮ ﻗﻞ ﻓﻴﻬﻤﺎ اﺛﻢ ﮐﺒﻴﺮ و ﻣﻨﺎﻓﻊ ﻟﻠﻨﺎس و‬


‫اﺛﻤﻬﻤﺎ اﮐﺒﺮ ﻣﻦ ﻧﻔﻌﻬﻤﺎ‬
“They ask you concerning wine and gambling. Say, ‘There
is a great sin in both of them, and some profits for the
people, but their sinfulness outweighs their profit.’”98

The Gradual Presentation of Islamic Law


The Arab society in the Age of Ignorance was heavily
polluted with alcohol and gambling. Alcohol was the same
as water to them. Therefore, it would have been impossible
to take it out of the society in one instance. Hence, the
Quran presents a gradual process and the prohibition of
alcohol is presented in four stages. One must use this
Quranic method in matters of spiritual training as well.

If we want to stop a person, who has been addicted to


drugs or cigarettes for over ten years, from smoking it
would be impossible to do it in once instance. It would be
harmful for him as well. Rather, the person must slowly

98
Quran, 2:219

85
wean off of his addiction. The four stages of the alcohol
prohibition were:

1. In the first step, after mentioning the blessings of the


Lord, the Quran states:

‫و ﻣﻦ ﺛﻤﺮات اﻟﻨﺨﻴﻞ و اﻻﻋﻨﺎب ﺗﺘﺨﺬون ﻣﻨﻪ ﺳﮑﺮا و رزﻗﺎ ﺣﺴﻨﺎ‬


‫ان ﻓﯽ ذﻟﮏ ﻻﻳﺔ ﻟﻘﻮم ﻳﻌﻘﻠﻮن‬
“And of the fruits of date palms and vines, from which you
draw wine and goodly provision. There are indeed signs in
that for a people who apply reason.”99

Here, goodly provision is placed in opposition to


intoxicants. This is the first implication that there is
something wrong with alcohol. Here, man realizes that
alcohol is not positive, that there is something wrong with
consuming it.

2. The second step in the gradual prohibition of alcohol


was:

‫ﻳﺎﻳﻬﺎ اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ءاﻣﻨﻮا ﻻ ﺗﻘﺮﺑﻮا اﻟﺼﻠﻮة و اﻧﺘﻢ ﺳﮑﺎرﯼ ﺣﺘﯽ ﺗﻌﻠﻤﻮا ﻣﺎ‬
‫ﺗﻘﻮﻟﻮن‬
“O you who have faith! Do not approach prayer when you
are intoxicated, [not] until you know what you are
saying…”100

This verse shows that alcohol is in direct opposition with


prayer. It did not permit the Muslims at the advent of Islam
to pray while intoxicated. The verse also shows that
drinking alcohol and becoming intoxicated is not in

99
Quran, 16:67
100
Quran, 4:43

86
congruence with the intellect. The third point that this verse
mentions is that prayer is not the mere recitation of words;
rather the spirit of prayer is the presence of one’s heart.
Since an intoxicated person cannot have presence of the
heart; cannot understand what he is saying, Allah prohibits
him from praying while intoxicated.

3. The third stage is the verse under discussion. This verse


states that the consumption of alcohol is a greater sin,
even if there is profit in it for those who sell it. But, when
the benefits and the harms of it are compared the harms
outweigh the benefits. This verse confronts alcohol more
seriously and considers it a greater sin.

4. The final stage of expressing the prohibition of alcohol is


stated in clear terms. Refer to the following verses:

‫ﻳﺎﻳﻬﺎ اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ءاﻣﻨﻮا اﻧﻤﺎ اﻟﺨﻤﺮ و اﻟﻤﻴﺴﺮ و اﻟﻨﺼﺎب و اﻟﺰﻻم رﺟﺲ‬


‫ﻣﻦ ﻋﻤﻞ اﻟﺸﻴﻄﺎن ﻓﺎﺟﺘﻨﺒﻮﻩ ﻟﻌﻠﮑﻢ ﺗﻔﻠﺤﻮن اﻧﻤﺎ ﻳﺮﻳﺪ اﻟﺸﻴﻄﺎن ان‬
‫ﻳﻮﻗﻊ ﺑﻴﻨﮑﻢ اﻟﺪاوة و اﻟﺒﻐﻀﺎء ﻓﯽ اﻟﺨﻤﺮ و اﻟﻤﻴﺴﺮ و ﻳﺼﺪﮐﻢ ﻋﻦ‬
‫ذﮐﺮ اﷲ و ﻋﻦ اﻟﺼﻠﻮة ﻓﻬﻞ اﻧﺘﻢ ﻣﻨﺘﻬﻮن‬
“O you who have faith! Indeed wine, gambling, idols and
the divining arrows are abominations of Satan’s doing, so
avoid them, so that you may be felicitous. Indeed Satan
seeks to cast enmity and hatred among you through wine
and gambling, and to hinder you from the remembrance of
Allah and from prayer. Will you, then, relinquish?”101

There are ten forms of emphasis of the prohibition of


alcohol seen in this verse:

101
Quran, 5:90-91

87
First: The verse addresses the believers. This means that
faith and drinking alcohol are incongruent. A person who
drinks alcohol is not a believer and a believer does not
drink alcohol.

Second: Alcohol is mentioned next to clear instances of


prohibitions, such as gambling, idol-worship, and
stinginess. This is another emphasis about the prohibition
of alcohol.

A tradition states: “A person who drinks alcohol is similar to


an idol-worshiper.”102

Third: the term abomination is used to describe alcohol.


This emphasizes its prohibition.

Fourth: Drinking alcohol is introduced as a satanic activity.


This shows the negativity of this action.

Fifth: The phrase ‘so avoid them’ is clearly staying to


refrain from drinking alcohol. This is another emphasis on
the prohibition of this negative action.

Sixth: the phrase ‘so that you may be felicitous’ shows that
one will be successful if he refrains from drinking alcohol.
This is the sixth emphasis about the prohibition of alcohol
that exists in this verse.

Seventh: Satan wants to create enmity amongst mankind


through alcohol. Are the tools that Satan uses to create
enmity amongst mankind not prohibited? This is another
important emphasis of the prohibition of drinking alcohol.

Eight: The phrase ‘to hinder you from the remembrance of


Allah’ is another emphasis of our claim. Whatever causes

102
Bihar al-Anwar, v.47, p.217 and v.77, p.47

88
one to forget about Allah cannot be considered
permissible.

Nine: In addition to the mentioned negativities, alcohol


keeps man from praying. This is the ninth emphasis found
in this verse.

Ten: The last emphasis is the phrase ‘Will you, then,


relinquish?’ Will all of the negativities surrounding alcohol
make you refrain from drinking it?

The mentioned verse clearly prohibits the consumption of


alcohol and mentions the physical and spiritual
philosophies behind it. The conclusion is that Islam
gradually expressed its ruling about alcohol. It passed
through four stages in prohibiting alcohol. In the last stage
it presented the prohibition in clear terms.

Traditions about the Consumption of Alcohol


There are many traditions rebuking the consumption of
alcohol. One example is narrated from Shaykh Saduq in
his valuable Amali. He states that the Prophet (s) said:
“Allah cursed ten groups for consuming alcohol.”

1. Wine; the first thing that is cursed is alcohol itself.

2. The people who squeeze the grapes in order to make


wine is the second group.

3. The people who raise grape vines or palm trees with the
intention of preparing alcohol.

4. The people who drink the alcohol.

5. The person who pours the alcohol into a cup and hands
it over to the person to drink.

89
6. The person who sells alcohol.

7. The person who purchases alcohol.

8. The person who uses the profit made from the sale of
alcohol.

9. The person who transports alcohol to various places.

10. The person who holds the alcohol until its owner picks
it up.

There are only a few forbidden actions which are this


severe.

Question: The preliminaries to a prohibited action are


always prohibited and the preliminaries to an obligation are
always obligatory. Since the cases mentioned above are
all preliminaries to a prohibition, then it is not something
new. Is this correct?

Answer. Yes. But, listing each one of the preliminary


actions and announcing that each one of these people are
cursed by Allah shows the importance of this issue.

The Philosophy behind the Prohibition of


Alcohol
Question: Why do the verses of the Quran and the
traditions of the Infallibles (a) speak so strongly about
alcohol? What is the philosophy behind it?

Answer: There are many reasons for this. For instance:

Alcohol steals man’s intellect, which is the beauty of his


existence. Some believe that alcohol only takes away
one’s intellect when he is intoxicated. But, statistics show
that alcoholics gradually become clinically insane.

90
Alcohol is one of the main reasons for people losing their
minds; it puts mankind in the ranks of animals. One’s
misfortunes start when he loses his mind. It is possible that
he would commit numerous sins after this, for instance
murder, theft, rape, and much more.

Look into the role that alcohol plays in crime, disease,


sending people to prison, and causing people to end up in
mental hospitals. You will be amazed. Islam prohibited
alcohol in order to save mankind from these dangers.

A Few Questions
Question: Is it prohibited to consume very small amounts
of alcohol; so small that the possibility of intoxication does
not exist?

Answer: Many traditions state that the consumption of a


minute amount of an intoxicant is forbidden.

Therefore the quantity of the alcohol does not affect the


prohibition. The reason for this is that if the green light is
given to people of weak faith, they would break the sanctity
of this divine ruling. One person would say that it takes a
few drops to become intoxicated. Another would say that it
takes a small cup of alcohol to make one intoxicated. A
third would say that it takes a mug to make one
intoxicated. Another person would claim that they would
not become intoxicated even if they drank an entire pitcher
of alcohol. Therefore, all quantities are forbidden so that
people can be controlled.

Question: Is it permissible to drink non-alcoholic beer


which either has no alcohol at all, or has a very small
amount?

91
Answer: It is not forbidden if it is not an intoxicant and it
does not have any alcohol in it.

Question: Industrial and medical alcohol which cannot be


consumed are not spiritually impure (najis) and not
prohibited. What if one mixes it so that it can be
consumed?

Answer: In this case it would become both spiritually


impure and forbidden. Unfortunately, some criminals sell
this to the youth. Some youth have died as a result of this
and many others have become blind.

The Miraculous Law


This is of the signs of the greatness of Islamic law. It can
be interpreted as a miracle. This religion ordained laws
over 1400 years ago. These laws are valuable laws in the
contemporary world as well. For instance, the Messenger
of Allah (s) said regarding the superiority of mankind:

“There is no difference between Arab and non-Arab;


between black, white, or red. The only difference is in
piety.”103

This is what the contemporary world is after – a world full


of equality. They have been unable to implement this. The
African-Americans are still being mistreated in America.
The white Americans are still unwilling to give the African
Americans all of their due rights. Islam solved this issue
1400 years ago. It stated:

‫ﻳﺎﻳﻬﺎ اﻟﻨﺎس اﻧﺎ ﺧﻠﻘﻨﺎﮐﻢ ﻣﻦ ذﮐﺮ و اﻧﺜﯽ و ﺟﻌﻠﻨﺎﮐﻢ ﺷﻌﻮﺑﺎ و ﻗﺒﺎﺋﻞ‬


‫ﻟﺘﻌﺎرﻓﻮا ان اﮐﺮﻣﮑﻢ ﻋﻨﺪ اﷲ اﺗﻘﺎﮐﻢ ان اﷲ ﻋﻠﻴﻢ ﺧﺒﻴﺮ‬

103
Mizan al-Hikmah, v.11, p.4817, section 4163, h.22398

92
“O mankind! Indeed We created you from a male and a
female, and made you nations and tribes that you may
identify yourselves with one another. Indeed the noblest of
you in the sight of Allah is the most Godwary among you.
Indeed Allah is all-knowing, all-aware.”104

Other laws are the same. For instance, regarding alcohol


and gambling, which are the subjects of this chapter, it
states: “These two cause huge tribulations to the human
society.”

During the lifetime of the Noble Messenger (s), this


sentence was not understood. Alcohol became a norm of
the society. In the age of ignorance some people’s dowries
were alcohol.

But, it has been established that alcohol causes physical


ailments, hurts the society, and destroys one’s spiritual
state.

The Prohibition of Gambling


Allah mentions alcohol, gambling, and idol worship
together in the 90th verse of Surah Nisa’. Whenever items
are mentioned together in the Quran or in the traditions of
the infallibles (a) they are related to each other. Therefore,
these three items have a common element in them. The
common element is that they are irrational. Has a person
who has bought something which takes away his intellect
performed a rational action? Gambling is also a form of
insanity. Wealthy people have lost everything overnight
while gambling. They have become the poorest people on
earth all due to gambling. Is this not insane?

104
Quran, 49:13

93
Idol worship is another form of insanity. A human, who is
supposed to be Allah’s vicegerent on earth, makes an idol
with his own hands and then prostrates to it. Sometimes he
even sacrifices his own child in front of this idol. When he
is in need he eats the idol that he previously made out of
dates. Is this not irrational? Therefore, alcohol, gambling,
and idol worship all share in this insanity. Therefore, just as
alcohol and idol worship is prohibited, gambling is also
prohibited.

The Reason Gambling is Prohibited


Islam states that one must receive his livelihood from a
positive action. There are three types of positive actions.
These three types are: production, distribution, and
service. For instance, farming and industrial labor fall
under the category of production.

Business, which is purchasing the items from the


producers and selling them to the public or to retail stores
constitutes the second category of positive actions. Not
everyone is able to go to the factory or the farm and
purchase goods directly from there. Therefore,
businessmen and stores are necessary.

Doctors, nurses, drivers, and janitors are some professions


which constitute the third category. These three categories
are all beneficial.

But, a person who gambles and wins enormous amounts


of money while throwing his opponent into the poor house
does not perform anything useful for the society. Not only
has he not performed anything worthwhile, he has
performed a negative and satanic action. He is included in
this verse:

94
‫ﻳﺎﻳﻬﺎ اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ءاﻣﻨﻮا ﻻ ﺗﺎﮐﻠﻮا اﻣﻮاﻟﮑﻢ ﺑﻴﻨﮑﻢ ﺑﺎﻟﺒﺎﻃﻞ اﻻ ان ﺗﮑﻮن‬
‫ﺗﺠﺎرة ﻋﻦ ﺗﺮاض‬
“O you who have faith! Do not eat up your wealth among
yourselves unrightfully, but it should be trade by mutual
consent.”105

The conclusion is that gambling is not beneficial. Rather, it


is consuming property in an invalid manner. Hence, it is
forbidden.

The Harms of Gambling


Professional gamblers eventually become insane or
become inflicted with nervous disorders. They are always
in a state of excitement and the pressure that they are
under is always huge. If they win they are put under one
type of pressure and if they lose they are put under
another type of pressure. This is why they are inflicted with
numerous types of disorders. Some of them even commit
suicide. A person who enters a casino rich and leaves
without a dime cannot think of anything else to do.

Some gamblers gamble away all of the wealth of their


loved ones, in addition to their own wealth. Imam Sadiq (a)
said in a tradition: “In the Age of Ignorance, some people
would gamble away their property and their families.”106

Islam issued the prohibition of gambling in such a corrupt


environment. Is this religious ruling not a miracle?

105
Quran, 4:29
106
Bihar al-Anwar, v.79, p.234, traditions 11 and 12

95
Chapter Five

Confrontation with Orphans

The 220th verse of Surah Baqarah provides the fifth


Quranic question and answer that will be discussed. It
states:

‫و ﻳﺴﺌﻠﻮﻧﮏ ﻋﻦ اﻟﻴﺘﺎﻣﯽ ﻗﻞ اﺻﻼح ﻟﻬﻢ ﺧﻴﺮ‬


“… And they ask you concerning the orphans. Say, ‘It is
better to set right their affairs…”107

The Quran is comprehensive. Therefore, it uses the term


‘better’ while answering the question how orphans should
be treated. This term includes the physical, spiritual, and
financial aspects of the orphan. This term shows that one
must set right the affairs of all aspects of their lives.

Then the verse states:

‫و ان ﺗﺨﺎﻟﻄﻮهﻢ ﻓﺎﺧﻮاﻧﮑﻢ‬
“…and if you intermingle with them, they are of course your
brothers…”

107
Quran, 2:220

96
Allah permits intermingling in the affairs of the orphans
through this verse. He commands the believers to treat
them as their own brothers; to treat them as brothers who
will be their partners in life, work, and earnings. Each
person should use the portion that he deserves.
Sometimes this partnership is so sweet that it will be
continued by their children.

The verse continues:

‫و اﷲ ﻳﻌﻠﻢ اﻟﻤﻔﺴﺪ ﻣﻦ اﻟﻤﺼﻠﺢ‬


“…Allah knows the one who causes corruption from the
one who brings about reform…”

If mankind paid attention to this point he would never


intend to cause corruption.

The verse continues:

‫و ﻟﻮ ﺷﺎء اﷲ ﻻﻋﻨﺘﮑﻢ‬

“…and had Allah wished He would have put you to


hardship…”

The order would have been given to completely separate


the orphan’s property from their caretaker’s property, but
Allah did not issue such an order so that the caretaker’s life
could be easier. He gave the permission to intermingle
conditioned that it is accounted for.

Finally, the verse states:

‫ان اﷲ ﻋﺰﻳﺰ ﺣﮑﻴﻢ‬


“…Indeed Allah is all-mighty, all-wise.”

97
Orphans in the Quran

The Quran gives a great amount of importance to orphans.


Issues pertaining to orphans have been mentioned in over
twenty verses. A few examples of these verses are:

1. Precaution in the property of orphans


The 152nd verse of Surah An’am encourages precaution
when dealing with the property of orphans. The reason
behind this is that their property can be easily damaged
because nobody is there to protect it. The verse states:

‫و ﻻ ﺗﻘﺮﺑﻮا ﻣﺎل اﻟﻴﺘﻴﻢ اﻻ ﺑﺎﻟﺘﯽ هﯽ اﺣﺴﻦ ﺣﺘﯽ ﻳﺒﻠﻎ اﺷﺪﻩ‬


“Do not approach the orphan’s property, except in the best
[possible] manner, until he comes of age.”

The phrase ‘except in the best [possible] manner’ points to


the fact that one must chose the best manner to protect
the property of orphans if there are two good instances to
chose from. In accordance to this verse, one must use the
utmost amount of precision and precaution when dealing
with the property of orphans.

2. Eating fire
The 10th verse of Surah Nisa’ presents the reality of eating
the property of orphans in the form of a terrifying picture:

‫ان اﻟﺬﻳﻦ ﻳﺎﮐﻠﻮن اﻣﻮال اﻟﻴﺘﺎﻣﯽ ﻇﻠﻤﺎ اﻧﻤﺎ ﻳﺎﮐﻠﻮن ﻓﯽ ﺑﻄﻮﻧﻬﻢ ﻧﺎرا و‬
‫ﺳﻴﺼﻠﻮن ﺳﻌﻴﺮا‬

98
“Indeed those who consume the property of orphans
wrongfully, only ingest fire into their bellies, and soon they
will enter the Blaze.”

If the purgatory eye of one who oppressively eats the


property of orphans was open; if the reality of his actions
was made clear to him, he would see that eating their
property is equal to eating fire. Would a rational person put
fire into his mouth and eat it?

3. Respecting orphans
Allah discusses how orphans should be treated
compassionately and spiritually in the 18th and 19th verses
of Surah Fajr:

‫ﮐﻼ ﺑﻞ ﻻ ﺗﮑﺮﻣﻮن اﻟﻴﺘﻴﻢ و ﻻ ﺗﺤﺎﺿﻮن ﻋﻠﯽ ﻃﻌﺎم اﻟﻤﺴﮑﻴﻦ‬


“No indeed! Rather you do not honour the orphan, and do
not urge the feeding of the needy.”

An orphan who has lost his father, who has been deprived
of his love, who shares his grief with his mother is in need
of love. Therefore, Allah orders Muslims to respect
orphans and to make up for the lack of compassion that
they feel.

4. Never be angry with orphans


The sixth to ninth verses of Surah Duha also discuss the
issue of compassion towards orphans; it discusses how
orphans should be treated. Allah first mentions how the
Prophet (s) was an orphan and then the grace that He
showed towards the Messenger (s). Then, Muslims are
prohibited from ridiculing orphans. The verses state:

99
‫اﻟﻢ ﻳﺠﺪﮎ ﻳﺘﻴﻤﺎ ﻓﺌﺎوﯼ و وﺟﺪﮎ ﺿﺎﻻ ﻓﻬﺪﯼ و وﺟﺪﮎ ﻋﺎﺋﻼ‬
‫ﻓﺎﻏﻨﯽ ﻓﺎﻣﺎ اﻟﻴﺘﻴﻢ ﻓﻼ ﺗﻘﻬﺮ‬
“Did He not find you an orphan, and shelter you? Did He
not find you astray, and guide you? Did He not find you
needy, and enrich you? So, as for the orphan, do not
oppress him.”

5. Mistreating orphans is on the same level as disbelief


In the first two verses of Surah Ma’un, the Quran presents
earthshaking verses regarding the mistreatment of
orphans. The Quran states:

‫ارءﻳﺖ اﻟﺬﯼ ﻳﮑﺬب اﻟﺪﻳﻦ ﻓﺬﻟﮏ اﻟﺬﯼ ﻳﺪع اﻟﻴﺘﻴﻢ‬


“Did you see him who denies the Retribution? That is the
one who drives away the orphan.”

6. Portion of khums for orphans


In the previous verses the anger and mistreatment of
orphans has been prohibited. Muslims have been
commanded to respect orphans. They are encouraged to
practice precaution and be precise when it comes to the
property of orphans. In the 41st verse of Surah Anfal, the
economical source of funds for orphans is introduced.
Orphans who do not have a source of income; who are
impoverished are able to receive a portion of khums in
order to manage their lives. The verse states:

‫و اﻋﻠﻤﻮا اﻧﻤﺎ ﻏﻨﻤﺘﻢ ﻣﻦ ﺷﯽء ﻓﺎن ﷲ ﺧﻤﺴﻪ و ﻟﻠﺮﺳﻮل وﻟﺬﯼ‬


‫اﻟﻘﺮﺑﯽ و اﻟﻴﺘﺎﻣﯽ و اﻟﻤﺴﺎﮐﻴﻦ و اﺑﻦ اﻟﺴﺒﻴﻞ ان ﮐﻨﺘﻢ ءاﻣﻨﺘﻢ ﺑﺎﷲ و‬
‫ﻣﺎ اﻧﺰﻟﻨﺎ ﻋﻠﯽ ﻋﺒﺪﻧﺎ ﻳﻮم اﻟﻔﺮﻗﺎن ﻳﻮم اﻟﺘﻘﯽ اﻟﺠﻤﻌﺎن و اﷲ ﻋﻠﯽ ﮐﻞ‬
‫ﺷﯽء ﻗﺪﻳﺮ‬

100
“Know that whatever thing you may come by, a fifth of it is
for Allah and the Apostle, for the relatives and the orphans,
for the needy and the traveller, if you have faith in Allah
and what We sent down to Our servant on the Day of
Separation, the day when the two hosts met; and Allah has
power over all things.”

A portion of khums is for the needy orphans. This portion is


given to them under the supervision of the marja’ taqlid. In
short, Allah has mentioned various issues pertaining to the
orphans in over twenty verses of the Quran. He has made
Muslims aware of their situation through these verses.

The Philosophy Behind Respecting Orphans


No country, religion, or sect in the contemporary world has
insisted this much upon the rights of orphans. Therefore,
the laws of Islam are miraculous.

The verses of the Quran were revealed in a place where


instances of ignorance prevailed. Bloodshed, murder, theft,
and stealing the property of orphans were normal; were, in
some cases, considered positive. Therefore, the valuable
commandments of Islam being delivered to such a society
were miraculous. In any case, the philosophy behind these
commands and this repetition is:

a. Humane issues: orphans exist in every society. They are


in need of the help of others. Their deprivation (losing their
fathers) is awaiting other children as well. Nobody knows
what the future will behold. It is possible that your children
will become orphans tomorrow. Therefore, just as one
would want his children who have become orphans to be
treated well after his death, he must treat other people’s

101
orphans the same. Islam is a collection of love and
compassion. Rather, Islam is founded upon love.
Therefore, Imam Sadiq (a) said, in accordance to a famous
tradition: “Is there anything in religion other than love?.”108

In accordance to this, Islam orders Muslims to care for the


orphans. It states that Allah will write good deeds in the
amount of the strands of hair of an orphan whose head is
caressed by a Muslim.109

b. Social problems: If orphans are not taken care of the


society will face problems. If an orphan is left alone in the
society; if he is deprived of love and affection; if he is
deprived of financial support, he will be transformed into a
dangerous human being. There is a good chance that he
would become a criminal; he would sell drugs, murder,
steal, and cause problems for the opposite gender. Since
such people have not seen love and affection they will
decide to take revenge against the society. A large
percentage of murderers, sellers of drugs, and thieves are
orphans who were not taken care of by the society.

Human compassion, Islamic love, and social security


dictate that each and every one of us should think about
orphans. We should help them individually and collectively.

The Ahl al-Bayt (a) and helping orphans


One of the important merits of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) has been
mentioned in the verses of Surah Insan. 18 of the 31
verses of this Surah are about this merit. Some of these 18
verses are about the instance itself and the others and 14
others are about the rewards that this family will receive for
having such a merit.
108
Mizan al-Hikmah, v.2, p.215, bab.658, h.3097
109
Safinah al-Bihar, v.8, p.741, term yatim

102
Circumstances of Revelation
Imam Hassan and Imam Hussayn (a) became ill in
childhood. The Prophet (s) came to ‘Ali and Fatimah’s (a)
house in order to visit his sick grandchildren. When the
Messenger (s) saw them he turned to ‘Ali (a) and said:
“Make an oath so that Allah will heal your sick.” ‘Ali (a)
immediately responded: “Allah, if my children become
healed I will fast for three days.” Fatimah (a) made a
similar oath. Imam Hassan and Imam Hussayn (a), despite
being young in age, made a similar oath as well. Fiddah,
their servant, who was present probably made a similar
oath as well.

It did not take long for the Prophet’s (s) grandchildren to


get better. The Ahl al-Bayt (a) decided to act in accordance
to their oaths. They fasted the first day. ‘Ali (a) bought a
portion of barley to prepare the iftar for these three days of
fasting. He grinded it into flour and divided it into three
portions. The portion that was designated for the first day
was made into dough and bread was cooked in the
number of those who were fasting. At the time of iftar there
was a noise which was heard behind the door.

When they opened the door they saw someone who said:
“Peace be unto you Ahl al-Bayt!,” he continued: “I am
needy; I am in dire need. Help me.”

Imam ‘Ali (a) gave his portion of bread to the poor person.
Sayyidah Fatimah (a) did the same. The rest of the family
also gave their portions of bread to the needy person. That
night they drank water for their iftar.110

110
Today tables are filled with colorful food which, unfortunately,
is taken for granted sometimes. Sometimes if there is only one or
two types of food prepared the people will be upset. This is

103
The next day they fasted as well. They prepared bread
from the second portion of the barley. They were about to
eat iftar when they heard the sound of another needy
person at their door.

This person said: “Peace be unto you Ahl al-Bayt!” They


opened the door and asked: “Who are you and what need
to you have?”

The person replied: “I am an orphan from this city. I am


hungry, satiate my hunger.” ‘Ali (a) once again gave his
portion of bread to the orphan. The rest of the family did
the same with complete sincerity and in order to secure the
satisfaction of their Lord. They drank water for iftar this
night, just as they did on the first night.

The third day, in accordance to their oath, they fasted as


well. They prepared bread out of the remaining flour. This
time at the time of iftar a slave came to them asking for
help. Imam ‘Ali (a) and all of the members of his household
gave their iftar to this slave. They drank water for iftar on
the third night as well. This is how they carried out their
oath.

The Noble Prophet (s) saw Imam Hasan and Imam


Husayn on the next day. They were severely weak and
were even shaking from weakness. He became upset at
seeing this. Then he saw Sayyidah Fatimah’s eyes
retracted. This added to the Prophet’s sorrow.

He asked ‘Ali (a): “Ali! Why are the children so weak? Why
has my daughter Fatimah lost all of her color?”

dangerous. The conditions of Muslims during those times was


not good; the majority of Muslims would fill their stomachs with
bread and water.

104
Imam ‘Ali (a) told the Prophet (s) of what transpired.
Gabriel was sent down at this moment and the following
verses of Surah Insan were revealed:

‫ان اﻻﺑﺮار ﻳﺸﺮﺑﻮن ﻣﻦ ﮐﺎس ﮐﺎن ﻣﺰاﺣﻬﺎ ﮐﺎﻓﻮرا ﻋﻴﻨﺎ ﻳﺸﺮب ﺑﻬﺎ‬
‫ﻋﺒﺎد اﷲ ﻳﻔﺤﺮوﻧﻬﺎ ﺗﻔﺠﻴﺮا ﻳﻮﻓﻮن ﺑﺎﻧﺬر و ﻳﺨﺎﻓﻮن ﻳﻮﻣﺎ ﮐﺎن ﺷﺮﻩ‬
‫ﻣﺴﺘﻄﻴﺮا و ﻳﻄﻌﻤﻮن اﻟﻄﻌﺎم ﻋﻠﯽ ﺣﺒﻪ ﻣﺴﮑﻴﻨﺎ و ﻳﺘﻴﻤﺎ و اﺳﻴﺮا اﻧﻤﺎ‬
‫ﻧﻄﻌﻤﮑﻢ ﻟﻮﺣﻪ اﷲ ﻻ ﻧﺮﻳﺪ ﻣﻨﮑﻢ ﺟﺰاء و ﻻ ﺷﮑﻮرا اﻧﺎ ﻧﺨﺎف ﻣﻦ‬
‫رﺑﻨﺎ ﻳﻮﻣﺎ ﻋﺒﻮﺳﺎ ﻗﻤﻄﺮﻳﺮا‬
“Indeed the pious will drink from a cup seasoned with
Kafur, a spring where the servants of Allah drink, which
they make to gush forth as they please. They fulfil their
vows and fear a day whose ill will be widespread. They
give food, for the love of Him, to the needy, the orphan and
the prisoner, [saying,] ‘We feed you only for the sake of
Allah. We do not want any reward from you nor any
thanks. Indeed we fear from our Lord a day, frowning and
fateful.’”111

Many books narrated the circumstances of revelation of


these verses. The late ‘Allamah Amini narrated the
circumstances of revelations from 34 Sunni books.112 The
late Qadi Nurullah Shushtari narrated them from 36 Sunni
books.113 Therefore, these circumstances of revelation

111
Quran, 76:5-10
112
Al-Ghadir, v.3, p.107; ten of the cases that were narrated in
this book are: Nawadir al-Usul, p.64; Al-‘Aqd al-Farid, p.42; Al-
Kashf wa al-Bayan, pgs.307-427; Manaqib by Kharazmi, p.180;
Matalib al-Su’ul, p.31; Nur al-Absar, pgs.12-14; Fath al-Qadir,
v.5, p.338; Ruh al-Bayan, v.10, p.268; Al-Isabah, v.4, p.387; Al-
Durr al-Manthur, v.6, p.299
113
Ihqaq al-Haqq, v.3, p.157; ten of the cases that were narrated
in this book are: Kashaf, v.4, p.169; Asbab al-Nuzul, p.331;
Mu’alim al-Tanzil, v.7, p.159; Al-Tafsir al-Kabir, v.3, p.243;

105
have reached the level of being a multiply-transmitted
tradition.

Some Sunni scholars insist that this Surah was revealed in


Mecca and that Imams Hassan and Hussayn (a) were not
born at that time. But, Shia scholars and commentators of
the Quran, as well as many Sunni scholars accept the
circumstances of revelation that has been mentioned.

Some other scholars criticized these circumstances. They


asked how it would be possible for someone to live on
water for three days. The answer to this criticism is clear.
There are many people in the modern world that are found
who have survived on drinking only water for 40 days.

Such a story cannot be rejected. But, ignorance and


fanaticism proved a reason for rejection. There are some
Muslims who deny all merits narrated in favor of Imam ‘Ali
(a). These people do not have problems with historical
events; they have problems with Imam ‘Ali (a).

Point: Practicality is the goal of all religious discussions.


First, one must find the orphans in his family. If there were
none, then he should look for orphans in the families of his
friends, neighbors, and coworkers. If there still were no
orphans he should look to help in centers which take care
of orphans. This would help him in the hereafter.

The Ahl al-Bayt’s (a) Advice regarding Orphans


There are many traditions advising about orphans. Some
of these traditions will be narrated below:

Tadhkirah by Ibn al-Jawzi, p.322; Kafayah al-Talib, p.201; Tafsir


Qurtabi, v.19, p.129; Dhakha’ir al-‘Uqubi, p.102, Sharh Nahj al-
Balaghah by Ibn Abi al-Hadid, v.1, p.7; Tafsir ‘Allamah
Nayshaburi, v.29, p.5112

106
1. The Noble Prophet (s) said: “I will be in heaven with one
who takes care of an orphan and one who takes care of
the financial needs of an orphan.”114

Many people will enter heaven due to the righteous deeds


that they perform in the world. But, each person in heaven
will not be with the Messenger of Allah (s). The caretakers
of orphans are given such respect that they will be in close
proximity to the Messenger of Allah (s) in heaven. What
blessing is bigger than this?

2. After Imam ‘Ali (a) was struck in the head with the sword
dipped in poison; when he was on his deathbed, he issued
a will to his sons Imam Hassan (a) and Imam Hussayn (a),
as well as his other children. The first advice given in this
will is about the orphans. Then, he advises about one’s
neighbors, the Quran, prayer, the Ka’bah, and fighting on
Allah’s path. His advice regarding the orphans is: “Be
extremely aware of the orphans. Do not allow them to be
full sometimes and hungry at others. Do not allow them to
be die out of disregard while in your presence.”115

3. In another tradition the Messenger of Allah said: “There


is a castle in heaven called the castle of happiness. The
only people who will be allowed entrance are those who
pleased the believing orphans.”116

114
Safinah al-Bihar, v.8, p.740
115
Nahj al-Balaghah, letter 47
116
Mizan al-Hikmah, v.11, bab.4237, h.22883

107
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