Question to the Office of His Eminence Sayyid Ali Husayni Sistani and its Response concerning spreading issues about the fundamental beliefs of the faith (Usool-e-Deen) and the practical branches of faith (Furoo’-e-Deen).
IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE MOST BENEFICENT THE MOST MERCIFUL
To the Office of His Eminence, Supreme Marja, the Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani (May Allah prolong his life)
As-Salamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
We would like to submit to your Eminence that in the recent years there have appeared some people who claim to be learned, and who spread amongst our youths issues especially about the fundamental beliefs of the faith (Usool-e-Deen) and the practical branches of faith (Furoo’-e-Deen) for example:
1. the claim that salvation in the hereafter does not exclusively depend on embracing and believing in the religion of Islam;
2. that what is continuous and eternal is the spirit and essence of the Qur’an, and not the form of its teachings;
3. that perfection of religion was not possible to have been accomplished during the time of the Prophet (SAW);
4. that there is no reprehensibility in apostasy if it means conversion from an extremist Islam to another faith which promotes peace and love;
5. that there are imperative modifications required in ‘Ibadat for example salat, sawm, hajj according to the demands of our time;
6. that the Prophet (SAW) did not specify the final legislations in issues regarding buloogh (puberty), marriage, divorce, etc., and therefore there is no objection with what is known as civil marriage and civil divorce;
7. that there is need in this age to change the laws of inheritance and diyah (blood money) to ensure gender equality;
8. that the buloogh (wherein the religious obligations are applicable) cannot be specified by a particular age or specific physical signs rather it is based on the maturity of the personal capacity of the individual, male or female;
9. that the obligation for the woman to cover her head in front of non-mahram is not a general law rather it depends on type of looks of the male towards the female;
10. and that the religiously responsible individual in our age does not need to refer to the fuqaha (experts of Islamic jurisprudence) to determine his religious duty in many cases because he himself is capable of determining his duty as a result of his higher maturity and awareness, and development of his intellect.
And there are many other similar ideas. Some of them have established an academic institution to train religious students according to these and similar thoughts. This is in addition to them spreading these views from the mimbar or during lectures on religious and other occasions.
Therefore, we refer to office of the Supreme Marja (may God prolong his life) to guide our youths, male and female, in the Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaats (communities) on how to deal with such people who espouse the above-mentioned path.
With sincere appreciation and gratitude, World Federation of KSIMC, London
12th Feb 2019
In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
Many of the above mentioned statements contradict the explicit text of the holy Qur’an and the blessed Sunnah reported from the Great Prophet (SAW) and His Purified Progeny (AS); and some of these issues contradict with the most clear and authenticated (deductive) principles used in deriving the religious laws from their sources. So, nobody subscribes to such ideas except one who does not have sufficient competence in this field (of Islamic Jurisprudence) and, therefore, he is not qualified to teach them.
Secondly, it is not right for the one who addresses the general public to present to them specialist issues wherein the audience has no grasp of the prerequisites of the issue as per the required academic standards, even if the speaker is assumed to be qualified to engage in such discussions. Of course, the problem is compounded if the speaker himself is not qualified for such discussion as is the case regarding several of those who ascend the pulpit who have not been through the religious studies in well-established centers of knowledge, rather the maximum of their resources are some general religious knowledge.
Thirdly, the duty of the Muslim preacher (muballigh) is to invite people towards Usool-e-Deen and to spread its well established teachings as represented in the clear verses of the holy Book and the beautiful sayings of the Holy Prophet Mustafa (SA) and the Holy Guides (AS); and to enjoin people and to guide them so they can grow in faith in God and in preparation for the day of judgement, and to strive to spiritually develop their souls and to purge them from evil traits and moral vices, and to adorn them with moral virtues and noble traits; and to better their relations and interactions with others even with those who differ with them in faith and belief.
It is inappropriate for the religious preacher (muballigh) to use the mimbar to spread his personal opinions which create divisions and differences among the religious people. So, whoever adopts this style of teaching and lecturing, it does not behoove the believers (may Allah increase their honour) to be inclined towards them and to entrust them with the religious training of their children; rather it is their duty to refer to others who are reliable from among the people of knowledge, piety and righteousness.
And God is the Guide to the straight path.
Stamped: Office of His Eminence Ayatullah Sistani, An-Najaf Al-Ashraf
9th Jamadiul Thani 1440