318. Question: Is it permissible to participate in the funeral ceremony of a non-Muslim, if he was, for example, a neighbour?
Answer: If the deceased and those organizing the funeral are not known to have hatred towards Islam and Muslims, there is no problem in participating in the funeral. However, it is better to walk behind the coffin and not in front of it.
319. Question: Is it permissible to exchange greetings and gifts with a non-Muslim, if he is a neighbour or a co-worker, etc.?
Answer: If he does not express hatred towards Islam and Muslims in words or actions, there is no problem in doing what is required in friendship like being good and charitable towards him. Almighty Allãh has said, “Allãh does not forbid you in regard to those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allãh loves the doers of justice.” [60:8]
320. Question: Is it permissible for the people of Ahlul Kitãb and other non-Muslims to enter the mosques (masjid) and other Islamic places of worship [like husayniyya or imambargah which are not masjid]? And is it necessarily for us to enforce the hijãb on those [non-Muslim women] who do not observe hijãb and allow them to enter [the mosque or places of worship], if it is permissible?
Answer: Based on obligatory precaution, it is not permissible for them [i.e., non-Muslims] to enter the mosque (masjid). As for their entering the places of worship, etc, there is no problem in it. If their entry [in imambargah or a husayniyya or a center] without hijãb is considered as a sign of disrespect, hijãb should be enforced on the [non-Muslim] women.
321. Question: Is it permissible to harass a Jewish, or a Christian, or an Atheist neighbour?
Answer: It is not permissible to harass them without justification.
322. Question: Is it permissible to give charity to the poor among non-Muslims? Would a person get reward [thawãb from Allãh] for this charity?
Answer: There is no problem in extending charity to [a non-Muslim] who does not show hatred against Islam and Muslims; and one who gives such a charity will be rewarded for this deed.
323. Question: Is it obligatory to enjoin the good (amr bi ’l-ma‘rûf) and forbid the evil (nahi ‘ani ’l-munkar) in regard to those who are not followers of Islam or are from the Ahlul Kitãb, who are receptive, without any harm coming our way?
Answer: Yes, it is obligatory, provided that the other conditions also exist. One of those other conditions is that the person to be admonished should not have an excuse for doing the evil or neglecting the obligation. Being ignorant out of negligence is not an acceptable excuse. So, such a person should first be guided to the right conduct, and then if they do not act accordingly, they should be asked to do good or be forbidden from doing evil. However, if the evil deed is of a category that one knows Allãh does not like it to happen in any circumstances —like creating corruption in the earth, killing an innocent person, etc— it is necessary to prevent it, even if the doer is ignorant out of innocence.
324. Question: In European schools, there are teachers who do not believe in any religion and reject the idea of God in front of their pupils. Is it permissible for Muslim pupils to remain in such schools, knowing that they can be greatly influenced by their teachers?
Answer: It is not permissible; and the guardian of the child is fully responsible for that.
325. Question: Is it permissible for male and female pupils /students in elementary and secondary schools to mix when one knows that this mixing will surely lead one day to a forbidden act by the male or the female student, even if that is just [as minor an act as] a forbidden glance?
Answer: It is not permissible under the circumstances described [in the question].
326. Question: Is it permissible for a Muslim man to go to a mixed swimming pool with the knowledge that the women there swimming suits form and would not listen to any admonishing?
Answer: Although looking without bad thoughts or lustful intentions at the women who are indecently dressed (and who would not listen to you if you wish to admonish them) is allowed, yet based on obligatory precaution, going to such places is absolutely forbidden.
327. Question: Is it permissible for those who reside in the West to send their muhajjaba daughters to co-ed schools (irrespective of whether or not education is compulsory) while there exist non co-ed schools which obviously are expensive, located faraway or of a low academic standard?
Answer: It is not permissible, [even] if it [just] corrupts their character, let alone if it harms their beliefs and commitment to the faith which is what normally happens!
328. Question: Is it permissible for a Muslim youth to accompany the girls who study with him in foreign universities for walking together, in vacation tours, etc.?
Answer: It is not permissible, except with surety that he will not commit a forbidden act.
329. Question: Is it permissible to look at a passionate scene taking place on the street?
Answer: It is not permissible to look at it with lustful intentions or with ill thoughts; rather, based on obligatory precaution, one should refrain from watching it totally.
330. Question: Is it permissible to go to a mixed [i.e., co-ed] cinema and other harãm places of entertainment without having any guarautce that one will not engage in a forbidden act?
Answer: It is not permissible.
331. Question: Is it permissible to swim in a mixed swimming pool without having any lustful intention?
Answer: Based on obligatory precaution, it is not permissible to go to the places of indecency at all.
332. Question: Is it permissible to go to sea beaches and public parks during sunny days for walking while one might come across scenes which are against the norm of decency?
Answer: Without a guarantee that one will not commit a forbidden act, it is not permissible.
333. Question: In European countries, public baths are built with certain considerations. Whether or not it is in the direction of qibla is not one of their considerations unlike the situation in Muslim countries:
1. Is it permissible for us to use such facilities, if we do not know where the direction of the qibla is?
2. And if we know the baths do face the direction of the qibla, is it permissible for us to use them? If it is not permissible, what is the solution?
3. In the first case, based on obligatory precaution, it is not permissible to use them except after failing to know the direction of the qibla and that it is not possible to wait or that waiting would entail harm and place the person in difficulty.
4. In the second case, based on obligatory precaution, it is necessary —while using the bathroom— to refrain from facing the qibla or turning one’s back to it. However, in the event of emergency, one should sit with their back towards the qibla. This is based on obligatory precaution.
334. Question: Suppose that Muslim, residing in a non-Muslim country finds a suitcase (full of clothes) with or without the owner’s nametag on it. What should he do with it?
Answer:A suitcase of personal belongings normally has the nametag through which the owner can be contacted. If he knows that it belongs to a Muslim or a non-Muslim whose property is sacrosanct (or even if there is a likelihood —a considerable likelihood— [that it belongs to a non-Muslim whose property is sacrosanct]), it is necessary for him to announce it for one whole year that he has found that item [so that the owner can come forward and claim it]. If he cannot find the owner [even after the lapse of one year], he should, based on obligatory precaution, give it in charity. However, if he knows that it belongs to a non-, it is permissible for him to keep it provided that he is not legally bound to announce what he finds in that country or to hand it over to the authorities, etc. (1) In the latter case, he is not allowed to take possession of it; rather it is compulsory on him to act in accordance with the legal undertaking.
335. Question: If I find an item in a European country without any distinctive sign on it [identifying the owner], is it permissible for me to keep it?
Answer: If it has no distinctive sign by which one can contact the owner, it is permissible for you to keep it except in the case [of the legal undertaking] mentioned earlier.
336. Question: Some people, be they Muslim or non-Muslim, in the West approach you with expensive items for sale at a price so cheap that the potential buyer is almost convinced that the item is stolen. Is it permissible to buy it, if one knows for sure, or feel a strong probability, that it is has been stolen from a Muslim?
Answer: If one knows or gets a strong feeling that the item has been stolen from a person whose property is sacrosanct, it is not permissible to buy it or keep it.
337. Question: The price of cigarettes is very high in Western countries. Would it be forbidden to buy them because of extravagance and waste, especially when one knows that they are harmful [to one’s health]?
Answer: It is permissible to buy them; and using them would not become harãm for the reasons mentioned [in the question]. Of course, if smoking causes great harm to the smoker while quitting, it can comses him no harm or lesser harm, it is necessary for him to quit it.
338. Question: There are machines used in telephone tapping. Is it permissible to use such devices without the knowledge of the intended personin order to use it against them when the need arises?
Answer: It is not obligatory on one speaker to ask the permission of the other speaker to record the conversation on the telephone line. However, he is not allowed to publicize it or let others listen to it if it will cause an insult of a mo’min or disclose his secret — unless that is over-ridden by another equal or more important obligation.
339. Question: A photographer is asked to take pictures at a wedding reception where intoxicating drinks are served. Is this permissible for him?
Answer: It is not permissible to take pictures of the scenes of drinking intoxicants and other forbidden substances.
340. Question: What are the limits of obeying one’s parents?
Answer: The duty of a child towards his parents is of two kinds:
o The First: To be kind towards them by providing for them, if they are in need. To provide for their day-to-day needs. To respond to their requests that are related to their daily lives at a level that is normal and usual for a human being, in the sense that if he refuses to fulfill them, it would be regarded as “not being good to them” — and that would differ depending on whether they are healthy and strong or ill and weak.
o The Second: To behave towards them kindly, by not offending them in word or action, even if they are unjust to him. In some religious text, it says, “And if they hit you, do not shun them; instead say, ‘May Allãh forgive you.’”
This is as far as it relates to the parents’ situation. As for those issues concerning the affairs of the child himself by which he could offend one of the parents, these are of two kinds:
o The First: If the parent’s distress results from his concern for the child, it is forbidden for the child to do something that would distress his parent, irrespective of whether or not the parent has prevented him from it.
o The Second: If the parent’s distress results from of his own evil characteristics (for example, dislike for the good of this world or the hereafter for his child), this kind of distress has no bearing on the child, thus, it is not obligatory on the child to submit to this kind of desires.
It becomes clear from this that, on its own, obeying the parents in their personal commands is not obligatory. And Allãh knows the best.
Question: Some parents fear for their concerning enjoining the good and forbidding the evil [and, therefore, ask them not to embark on this road]. So, is it obligatory to obey them in this matter, especially if the child knows that his advice will be effective and there is no danger to him [in doing amr or nahi]?
Answer: When it becomes obligatory upon the child [to do amr or nahi], with all the conditions present, no creature can be obeued in exchange of disobeying the Creator.
Question: A son argues with his father or a daughter with her mother, over a serious day-to-day issue, in a heated manner that causes distress to the parents. Is this permissible for the children, and what is the limit when a child is not allowed to argue with the parent?
Answer: A child is allowed to discuss with the parents in matters that he or she thinks are not right; but the child must observe politeness and respect in the discussion; he or she should not angrily look at them, nor raise his voice over theirs, let alone use harsh words and expressions.
Question: If a mother advises her son to divorce his wife with whom she has differences, is it obligatory upon him to obey her in this matter? What if she says, “You are an ‘ãq child, (2) if you do not divorce her”?
Answer:It is not obligatory on him to obey her in this matter, and her statement [about him becoming disobedient] has no effect whatsoever. Of course, as mentioned earlier, it is necessary for him to hold back from any insulting statement or action towards her.
Question: A father hits his child severely that it leaves blue or red marks on his skin—is it obligatory upon the father to pay indemnity for bodily injury? Is the rule different if the person who hit the child was not his father?
Answer: The indemnity is obligatory upon the one who hits [in the way described above], regardless of whether he is the father or someone else.
Question: If a Muslim is sure of his father’s displeasure —although he has not heard him say no— in his travelling abroad, is it permissible for him to travel, should he know that the journey is good for him?
Answer: If being kind towards the father —in the context mentioned earlier in the answer to a previous question— demands that the son should be close to him, or that the father will be in distress out of his concern for the son, he should not embark on travelling as long as he will not be in loss; otherwise, it is not necessary for him to refrain [from travelling].
Question: Is it part of righteousness for the wife to serve in-laws? Is it part of kindness for the husband to be considerate of his in-laws, especially in foreign countries? Answer: There is not doubt it is part of righteousness and an example of kindness towards the husband or the wife; but it is not obligatory.
1 Translator’s Note: Agreement, in the above context, means “the immigration agreement made between the host country and the immigrant.”
2 ‘ãq means a child who is disobedient to his parents.