Muhammad bin Abdullah bin Jafar wrote some questions regarding religious law in a letter to His Eminence, the Awaited Imam (a.s.).
The letter was as follows:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
May Allah (SwT) always keep you safe, happy and honorable. And may He perfect the favor of His blessings upon you. May He sacrifice me upon you before any evil befalls you. People compete with each other for scaling the heights of status but in my view whomsoever you accept has achieved true status. And whomsoever you reject is the one who is drowned and fallen. The deprived is the one who has been spurned away from your court. I seek the refuge of Allah (SwT) from such a condition.
There is a group of Shias in our city having the same social status. And by way of position and grades they are more proximate to each other. A letter that you wrote to a group of them commanding them to help “Suad”, but a person named Ali bin Muhammad Husain bin Malik, famous as Malik Baduke, who is also son-in-law of “Saud”, no letter was taken among them.
Therefore he has become aggrieved and requested me to convey it to His Eminence. In this way a sin has been committed by him. He should be prepared to atone for it. If there is some other reason for it, it should be announced to him so that he is satisfied. If Allah (SwT) wills.
This letter proves its writer is a person from the believers and one who was proximate to His Eminence (a.s.). Therefore he was cognizant of the position and value of the Imam (a.s.). In the end he poses the following questions:
Scholars of the progeny of Muhammad (S) have narrated for us that a question was asked regarding some people who were praying the congregation prayer behind the leader of congregation when suddenly something happened to him and he died. Then what should his congregation members do? He replied that some should go ahead and some move behind and complete their prayer and those who have touched him should perform the ritual bath.
One who has moved him aside with his hands has not to do anything except wash his hands. And if nothing extraordinary happens to break the Prayer, he should complete the Prayer with them.
The explanation of direction received from the Imam (a.s.) is as follows: If during a congregation prayer something happens to the congregation leader, like sudden death, the person who moves him aside is only obliged to wash his hands. This is so because to touch a dead body before it has cooled does not make one needful of ritual bath.
Also, among the people praying behind the congregation leader who has suddenly collapsed, one of them should step forward and stand in the place of the congregation leader and others should continue to pray behind and complete their prayers. In case, instead of sudden death the congregation leader collapses or become unconscious etc. and then again he recovers during the prayer he is obliged to redo the ablution and lead the congregation again in place of one who was substituting for him previously.
It is narrated from the scholar (Imam) that if one touches a dead body while it is still warm he is only obliged to wash his hands and if the corpse has cooled down and one touches it after that, one is obliged to perform the ritual bath of touching a dead body. The congregation leader who had just died is warm or may be the person who has moved him aside does not touch the body. He handles him from over his dress so how the ritual bath would become obligatory on him?
If he touches him while he is still warm, it is only necessary to wash his hands.
In Prayer of Jafar at-Tayyar if a person forgets to recite the Tasbihat al-Araba in standing, or bowing or prostration and later when he has gone ahead he remembers it. Does he have to recite the forgotten Tasbihat al-Araba now or he should continue his prayer?
Before we mention the reply of His Eminence, the Imam (a.s.) we shall describe the Prayer of Jafar at-Tayyar.
Prayer of Jafar at-Tayyar
Prayer of Jafar at-Tayyar is a very much-recommended ritual. It is also called as the prayer of Tasbih and Prayer of Habwa. Shia and Sunni both have recorded numerous traditions in recommendation of Prayer of Jafar at-Tayyar. The method of this prayer is as follows.
It is a four unit Prayer, divided into two parts. Pray each part exactly like the Morning Prayer, with the following adjustments:
(i) First Unit
After recitation of Suratul Faatihah, recite Suratuz Zilzaal
(ii) Second Unit
After recitation of Suratul Faatihah, recite Suratul Aadiyaat
(iii) Third Unit
After recitation of Suratul Faatihah, recite Suratun Nasr
(iv) Fourth Unit
After recitation of Suratul Faatihah, recite Suratul Ikhlaas.
(If you have not learnt by heart the second Surah of each unit, recite suratul Ikhlaas in all 4 units).
In each unit recite Tasbihat al-Araba
Subhaanallaahi wal hamdu lillaahi wa laa ilaaha illallaahu wallaahu Akbar.
[Glory be to Allah, Praise be to Allah, there is no god but Allah, and Allah is Great.]
(i) After recitation of Surahs… 15 times
(ii) In Rukoo… 10 times
(iii) In Qiyaam after Rukoo… 10 times
(iv) In the First Sajdah… 10 times
(v) While sitting after First Sajdah… 10 times
(vi) In the second Sajdah… 10 times
(vii) While sitting after second Sajdah… 10 times.
There are altogether 300 Tasbihat al-Araba in this prayer.
If he forgets it in one position and remembers it in another position he should recite it then and if he forgets some of the Tasbih recitals and is reminded later on, he should recite it then and his Prayer is correct.
Is it allowed for a woman whose husband dies to accompany the funeral procession?
It is allowed for a woman to leave the house to accompany the funeral procession of her late husband.
Can the woman visit the grave of her deceased husband while she is in the Iddah?
She is allowed to visit the grave of her deceased husband.
The Iddah of the woman whose husband has passed away consists of giving up embellishments she used to have previously. And it does not become a cause to prevent her from visiting her husband’s grave. Or those things that are a necessary part of her life and she is in need of them, she cannot forgo them. And its further explanation has come in the statements of Imam (a.s.).
Can a woman during Iddah period leave her house for necessary errands?
If it is necessary to do that job by going out of the house, she can do so but she must spend the night in her house.
It is narrated from scholars regarding the reward of Quran in its necessary and non-necessary aspects that he said: It is astonishing that a person who does not recite Surah Qadr in his prayer, how his Prayer is accepted?
It is narrated that: A prayer in which “Qul huwallaho Ahad” is not recited does not scale heights of honor.
It is narrated that: One who recites Surah Humazah in his prayers, he would get the reward equal to the whole world. Then is it allowed for one to recite Surah Humazah and omit other Surahs that we mentioned, while it is narrated that Prayer is not accepted without them? And the purity and loftiness of the Prayer is due to those Surahs?
Imam (a.s.) replies to the three questions as follows:
The rewards of the Surahs is on the same basis as narrated. If one leaves the Surah that is eligible for rewards and instead recites “Surah Qul huwalho Ahad or Surah Inna Anzalna” for their merits he would get the rewards of the Surahs he has recited as well as the rewards of the Surahs he has left. Although it is also allowed to recite a Surah other than these and his Prayer is correct but that he has omitted a meritorious deed.
When is the supplication of the Farewell to month of Ramadan recited? Because people have different views regarding it. Some say that it should be recited on the last night of the month of Ramadan while others say that it should be recited on the last day of the month of Ramadan at the time of viewing the new moon of Shawwal.
This ritual is for the last of the nights of the month of Ramadan and in the last night of the month of Ramadan. Therefore if one fears that the month will be reduced by a day, he should recite the supplication on last two nights.
Others Queries of Muhammad bin Abdullah
Muhammad bin Abdullah Himyari also sent other queries to His Eminence, the Imam (a.s.) and they are as follows.
When a person is praying and after the first Tashahud getting up to perform the third prayer, is it obligatory to recite Takbir (Allaho Akbar) or is it sufficient just to say “Bi hawlillah wa quwwatihu Aqoomo wa Aqud.” (By the strength and power of Allah I stand up and I sit)?
There are two traditions regarding this matter. One says that when one goes from one position to another one must say Takbir. Another tradition says that: If one raises ones head from the second prostration and says the Takbir and then sits down and then gets up and after the Qiyam, sits down again, he does not have to say the Takbir. In the same way it is in the first Tashahud and in every position whatever you do by way of acceptance is correct. Takbir during standing up after the first Tashahud and etc. is not obligatory and the person has the choice to say it or not.
A person purchases a sacrificial sheep for one who is not present and takes it to slaughter it in Mina. But at the time of slaughter he forgets the name of that person and just slaughters it on his behalf and later he remembers the name. Would it be considered to be on behalf of that person?
There is no doubt in it. The sacrifice would be considered on his behalf.
On the basis of this narration and similar reports from the Purified Imams (a.s.), jurisprudents have issued the verdict that if a person forgets the name of the person who has paid for a share in the sacrifice, it is no problem. If the sacrifice is made on his behalf it is sufficient.
Among us are those Magian weavers who eat carrion and do not perform the ritual bath of Janabat. They weave clothes for us. Is it allowed to pray in these clothes before they are washed?
There is no problem in it. Because there is no certainty that the Magian has touched the cloth with a wet hand. Even if there is a doubt in it, it should be considered pure. Therefore there is no problem in praying in these clothes.
If a person is praying in a dark and by mistake he puts his forehead on a cloth or a sack and does not do the Sajdah on a Mohr (soil) and he gets the Mohr only after he raises his head, would this prostration be sufficient?
Till the time he sits down completely after the prostration there is no problem if he picks up that object on which prostration is correct and performs the prostration again.
A person who is wearing Ihram removes the covering of the canopy but leaves the frame. Is it allowed?
There is no problem if he leaves the frame.
One of the things a person in Ihram has to avoid is shade. Thus if he rides a camel with a canopy or a bus with roof he has to pay the Kaffarah (Penalty) of sacrificing a sheep. But if the covering of the canopy or the bus is removed, leaving the frame and walls there is no problem in it.
If a person wearing Ihram shades himself with a sack or with something else to protect himself or his seat from getting soaked in rain, is it allowed for him to do so?
If he does this on the way with canopy the Kaffarah is obligatory on him. The penalty of a goat is due to the fact that the person has shaded himself from rain and to shade oneself is an omission for a person wearing Ihram.
Is it necessary for a person doing Hajj as proxy, to mention the name of the one whose Hajj he is doing at the time of Ihram? Is it obligatory that he must do separate sacrifice for himself as well as whose Hajj he is performing?
It is not necessary to recite it in details and one sacrifice is sufficient on behalf of the one whose Hajj he is performing.
It has come in the reply of Imam (a.s.) that taking the name of one whose proxy he is, is not necessary. Rather he makes an intention in his heart about the one whose Hajj he is performing and he does not even have to utter his name. It is sufficient. In the same way one animal on behalf of the person is sufficient because the person doing the Hajj is not doing for himself. He is a proxy of someone else. Therefore one sacrifice is sufficient.
Is it permitted for man to tie up the Ihram with a sheet of fur?
There is no problem, righteous and decent people have been Muhrim with it.
Ihram in a sheet of fur has no problem, but Ihram of soft wool of that animal whose meat is not eaten and it is prohibited to tie Ihram with its fur is impurity the extent of which is not condoned for a person who prays the prayer and the stitched cloth, as the jurisprudents have mentioned, is not allowed.
A man goes for Hajj with a group of opponents and they do not tie up the Ihram at Maslakh. Whether for this man who is from the companions, is it allowed to delay his Ihram till Zaat al-Arq so that he becomes Muhrim with them at that place?
It is necessary to become Muhrim from the Miqaat and say the Talbiyah softly and when he reaches the Miqaat with them he should make it obvious.
One who intends to perform Hajj or Umrah and is passing by the Miqaat he must become Muhrim at that Miqaat and he must not pass the Miqaat without Ihram. However, if tying the Ihram at the Miqaat frightens him due to the presence of those who do not consider it Miqaat, he must get into Ihram but keep it concealed.
How is wearing leather slippers, because people say that it is Makruh to wear them?
It is permissible and there is no problem.
A man is a treasurer in endowments, and he is careless. He considers as permissible for himself the endowments, which are under his control, and he does not abstain from them. Often when I enter his office and he is present or I enter his house and he is present he invites me to eat and if don’t eat at his place he would become inimical to me and say: such and such has not considered my food lawful that is why he has not eaten it. Now please tell me if it is allowed for me to eat with him and then later pay Sadaqah for it. And how much Sadaqah should I pay? Or whether it is allowed for me to accept a gift that he gives to me?
If this man is having other property in addition to the endowments he holds and has other occupations also you may eat with him and accept his gifts. If it is not so, you must neither eat at his place nor accept any gift from him.
If a person perfectly knows that so and so who is offering him food, it is from unlawful wealth, he must not partake it. But if he knows that the man possesses lawful as well as unlawful wealth, and the food or gift he is offering could be from unlawful or lawful money, then it is not unlawful for him.
A man is a Shia and considers Mutah and temporary marriage permissible and also believes in the Rajat (return) and all his family members are united. This man has made a vow that he would not take a second wife according to them and nor would he do Mutah. And he has spent 19 years with this vow. Now if he breaks his vow, does he become liable for a penalty or sin?
It is Mustahab (recommended) for him to do Mutah at least once for obedience of Allah (SwT) so that the sin of the vow is removed from him.
Vow and oath becomes valid when it is with relation to a preferable thing and not for something inferior and unlawful. On the basis of this if the action or leaving the action is inferior, these oath and vow shall not be valid in it. And Mutah, as it is legal and lawful in the view of Quran, to leave it through a vow or an oath is not allowed.
But the prohibition of Mutah is an opinion in comparison to textual command and therefore it is of no value. Although, regarding this, we have a detailed discussion and its lawfulness and legality has been proved on the basis of Quran and traditions.
The selection taken from “The Life of Imam Al-Mahdi” by Baqir Shareef al-Qurayshi.