Q: I am studying Islam Civilization in history class. I need to know where the House of Wisdom came from. Did it come from Islamic beliefs and practices, the Umayyad dynasty, the Abbasid dynasty or Islamic achievements?
A: The word wisdom (hekma in Arabic) is mentioned in the Quran 20 times. It is considered to be a gift from God to His people. The mission of the prophet Mohammed (pbuh) was to teach the people wisdom and to do it with wisdom! "Invite all to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching (16:126)." Historically, "House of Wisdom" became a common title in the Muslim world for institutions doing scientific research. One of the most famous Houses of wisdom was in ancient Baghdad. It was founded by Caliph al-Ma'mun who came to power in 813 AD. A part of the mission of that House of Wisdom was to translate the cultural works of Greece: Plato, Aristole and the founders of Greek medicine, Hippocrates, Galen and Dioscorides. By the year 900, the House of Wisdom in Baghdad became an international scientific center. Among its most prominent scholars were al-khwarizmi and the sons of Musa. Those three brothers Mohammed, Ahmad, and al-Hasan lead the research in the area of mathematics, astronomy, and mechanics. The Fatimids established a House of Wisdom in Egypt and one in Jerusalem. These Houses of Wisdom in the Islamic World were not only centers of science, astronomy, philosophy, architecture, engineering, etc., but also intellectual centers of tolerance and security for scholars with different religious backgrounds. Since our God is the God of Wisdom and our mosque in Dearborn Heights, Michigan "The Islamic House of Wisdom."
Q: Is it haram to attend a folkloric dance show with music?
A: This is a controversial issue amongst the scholars, and one should follow one's religious authority in this issue. Some scholars say that same-sex dances where men and women do not mix are permissible, and some say that it is not. One should follow one's religious authority in this issue.
Q: Is it haram to go to a park that is owned by an alcohol company? A: If your visit does not directly contribute to haram things, then there is no problem.
Q: Is cloning haram, even if it was for educational purposes?
A: Islam is a religion of reason and therefore it endorses any scientific and technological progress that can serve human spiritual and physical life. If cloning will improve the health of the fetus or help the married women who can't have a baby to enjoy pregnancy and parenting, then such a harmless and productive cloning for any other reason seems to be dangerous for families and society so it would therefore be prohibited.
Q: If a person did something haram, but did not know it was haram until later, what should he do?
A: One should repent and ask forgiveness from God.
Q: Is dancing and singing that is related to culture and heritage haram?
A: This is a controversial issue. Some religious authorities believe that dancing is not haram by itself, except when it causes another haram thing. For example, women dancing in front of men may end to a haram situation.
Q: Is the sport of wrestling haram?
Q: What does Islam say about Horoscopes?
A: Astrology is discouraged. Astronomy is encouraged.
Q: Can someone buy something from a store that sells haram things?
A: If this doesn't encourage the owner to sell haram things, then it is OK.
Q: Is it haram to get a tattoo?
A: If this doesn't harm the body, it is not a problem.
Q: Is life insurance haram?
Q: In Surah 5 (Maedeh), Ayah 5 says: you are allowed to eat the foods that are provided by Ahl-Ketyab, which implies that their meat also is halal, and it does not need to be zabihag by a Muslim. What is your justification about this ayah?
A: There are two opinions on this. One says that the food referred to in this verse doesn't include meat. The other opinion says that if Ahl-Ketab are practicing their own religion, then it is OK to eat their food (including meat) if we mention the name of God before eating it. Based on this opinion, Kosher would be permissible.
Q: I would like to know if the method of predicting the future through palmistry is acceptable in Islam.
A: Fortune telling is not acceptable in Islam. It's a waste of money and time, don't do it! The Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) said that information obtained in these ways contains a mix of truth, falsehood, and it is impossible to know what is true and what is false. We should trust in the destiny of Allah. Istikhara is one way to get some help from Allah for future.
Q: The military's chaplain service for the National Guard here in Toledo has asked me if I could give them religious policy pertaining to the possibility death of the members; mainly me. Could you please provide me with a detailed guide as to what the Chaplain should do in case of the death of one of the Muslim brothers serving in the military? Also, who would they contact if something like that would happen? The IHW is my main source of Islamic education so I would like it to come from you. Thank you.
A: The most important thing for the chaplain to be aware of is that the dead body should be washed by a qualified Muslim brother and buried before nightfall. The local Toledo Muslim community would be best equipped to advice you on how to deal with a quick Islamic burial in your area. The Detroit area does have people who can do it but it might take too long to transport the body to Michigan. There are too many Muslim funeral parlors but many funeral parlors will allow Muslims to use their facilities for pre-burial rights. The rituals are somewhat complex: the body must be washed three times in a certain way, and the body must be covered with three pieces if cloth; one from the navel up to the knees, the second piece from the shoulders up to the middle calf, the final sheet to cover the whole body in a way that both ends could be tied. There is a special prayer for funerals, and then the body must be buried deep in the ground, in a way that its face remains towards the Qibla and its cheek placed on earthen pillow. There are some other traditions that we are encouraged to do, like prayer of Talghin, recitation of the Quran, salat of Wahshat, etc.
Q: I went to hajj 3 years ago, before I went I took care of my khumas. I recently found out that one is supposed to pay a separate khumas on his hajj. For example, I spent $5,500 for the trip. Do I need to pay the khumas on it now?
A: If the money you used for hajj is from the money which you had already paid its khumas, then there is no need to pay again.
Q: I love to design women's clothes. I draw only....is this OK? I want to be a fashion designer.
A: It is acceptable to draw illustrations for clothing design but try to avoid drawing faces.
Q: Is trading in the stock market allowed?
A: Yes, unless you are investing in something haram.
Q: My problem is that I have acne and it is a serious kind where cysts are formed under the skin and they scar the surface of the skin even if treated and not picked at. My doctor tells me that I may have these until I am in my 30'-40's and I am only 19! I want to take a medication, but it has lots of side effects but I am not sure that it would be Islamically acceptable. One usually takes the medication for 5 months and after that, all of the side effects disappear. There have been many people who have taken this medication and none of them have reported long term side effects, but I am afraid that if I ignore the possibility, that this may be Islamically wrong. Then I may be the first to suffer from long term side effects. I don't want to take my health for granted or do anything that does not agree with Islam. Is it okay to take medicine for acne? I have a doctor's appointment and I am really worried! Could you please give me your advice?
A: If you need this medication and if your doctor encouraged you to take it and he said no harm in doing it, then it is Islamically permissible for you to take this treatment. May Allah help you go through recovery very fast.
Q: I have a question about henna. Is it haram to have henna on your hands or feet? Does it prevent a woman from doing wudu? And I also have a question about a vow I made, I made a vow that I would not travel without my husband or kids, but I was wondering, if my husband says it's okay to go visit my family without him, would I be breaking my vow? Thank you for your time. Wa salaam Alaikum.
A: It is not haram to put henna on your hands or feet. It does not break your wudu either. Your travel plans depend your intention when you made the vow! If you meant that you would not travel without your husband's permission, you did not violate your vow, but if your intention was not to travel by yourself. Regardless, then you pay the kaffara, which is to feed sixty poor people. Before doing this, you can look at the nature of your vow. Did you get permission from your husband when you made this covenant? Apparently you want to pay from his pocket and you need to ask him before you make such a commitment. If you didn't get permission, then your vow was not valid and you don't have to pay anything!
Q: I got a Car Loan with 4% Interest. I have invested some money from this loan in business and also want more investment from money in Business. I do not know if interest money can be invested in business or not. What about the Car Loan?
A: This is a very controversial issue. Different scholars may have different approaches to this question, please ask the religious authority that you follow. He might be one of those scholars who would ok this loan if it was necessary and very crucial for your living, especially since you don't want to pay interest but it is imposed on you. Allah knows the best.
Q: Is it a sin to listen to music?
A: Not every music is haram.
Q: Could you tell me what sea foods are halal to eat? I am asking primarily about lobster, shrimp, and calamari (squid, octopus). Some say anything from the sea is halal; some say it has to have scales.
A: From seafood only the fish with scales are hall. There are almost 50 different kinds of fish that have scales and it is ok to use them as food. Shrimp is ok too.
Q: Now I am going to ask my main question. Please and please forgive me: Is it a sin to love somebody and think about him? Is it a sin to dream of somebody, whom you love?
A: If this will bring a halal marriage relationship, its fine, but if this will end up with doing haram things, you should take it out of your mind.
Q: I wanted to ask you if we could use the hair gel and when it's the time of salat can we do the wu'du on top of the gel or do we have to take a shower, as we live in UK we have to put gel each and everyday?
A: If the water reaches your hair while making wodu, you don't have to remove the gel.
Q: A friend and I were having a conversation the other day about eating or drinking forbidden [haram] food or drinks. We couldn't t come to an agreement on whether or not there is a waiting period for fasting if you eat or drink haram food or drinks. Can you please give me an answer on this?
A: There is no such a thing as a waiting period, regardless of what was taken before.The fasting must start at dawn and continue until dusk. However, if someone were still drunk at dawn, he would have to wait until the effect of the alcohol wears off before he could pray. I have not seen someone who cares for prayer and fasting, would ever drink alcohol.
Q: I currently follow Sayed Seestani for Islamic Jurisprudence [taqleed]. Over the last few years, I have grown very close to Sayed Ali Khamenei. I believe in politics and other areas Sayed Ali may be more learned while in other areas Sayed Seestani may be more learned. Is it permissible for me to switch to Sayed Khamenei for taqleed? Will it be accepted before Allah? Please respond soon. May Allah bless you and continue to guide you.
A: Based on the opinion that the condition of having the highest knowledge in Islamic jurisprudence [aalamiya] is a serious condition for a religious authority [marja] to be followed, you should be certain that the second marja has more Islamic knowledge, and then it's OK to do so.