Q: What is the difference between men and women in Islam?
A: Man and woman are different physically, psychologically and emotionally. They may play different roles and responsibilities, but they are the same in humanity and they receive the same rewards for their good deeds. None of them is more or less important. They complete one another.
Q: I am coming to understand the grim history of North America and its founding. I am more interested in American Indian culture than my own white American culture. I love the old ways the Indians lived. They had a few flaws but overall, their community living was good until the Europeans brought their evil ways and ruined theirs. If I dress like the old native Indians would it be against Islam?
A: Most American Indians wear normal clothes in today's society! You can wear any clothes as they are modest and don't contain pagan symbolism. But keep in mind that taking their customs is also a form of cultural imperialism. By practicing Islam, you are doing the best thing to undo the damage of ignorance.
Q: I live in Africa. I have a son who is 25 years old, and he loves his cousin very much. I've been trying to convince him for a very long time to marry his cousin, but he kept saying no, until he gave me the reason. He was having (wal iyathu billah) a homosexual relationship with her half brother when they were 15 or 16 years old. The news came as a shock to me, and I kicked him out of the house for 2 months, but then I took him back after I knew that he repented and asked God's forgiveness a long time ago, and never did such a thing since. My son said that they never had anal sex (dukhul), and what they did was oral sex. My question is, if it is halal to marry the boy's half sister, whom he loves very much. He kept insisting that they never had sex in the anus, but for my peace of mind, I would like to know the hukum if there was any doubt if anal sex did really happen.
A: This is what our scholars say about this issue: if a mature person commits sodomy with a boy, the mother, sister, and daughter of the boy become haram for him. And the same law applies when the person whom the sodomy is committed is an adult male, or when the person committing sodomy is immature. But if one suspects or doubts whether penetration occurred or not, then the said woman would not become haram. In this case of your son did not involve sodomy, so it is okay for him to marry this girl.
Q: We have noticed with consternation the public displays of tatbeer and zinjeer during the recent 'Arbaeen celebrations in Karbala. Pictures of Iraqi Shi'a covered with blood and hitting themselves with swords have been broadcast to the entire world. There is no doubt that the non-Muslim world, and even much of the non-Shia Muslim world look upon these displays with revulsion and disgust. Such behavior does nothing to help the image of the Shi'a 'ulama to stand silent in the face of such extreme behavior, and it is well-known that self harm is not something allowed in Islam.
A: I absolutely agree with you. Tatbeer or doing something causing blood coming out of a person considered to be haram and many marjas have said that. Unfortunately these emotional practices still exist in some parts of the world (even among some Christians who do this out of their love for Jesus). I hope this will be stopped soon.