Are the Shias responsible for killing Imam Husain?


Can one blame the Shia’s for killing Imam Husain (as)? Who is responsible for this tragedy of killing the grandson of the Prophet (P)?


Please consider the following facts:

1. This claim is self-contradictory! Shi’ah means ‘follower’. How could one follow a leader but fight against him? A follower fights for his Imam, not against him. A Shi’ah is the one who believes in the inerrancy (‘Esma) of the 12 Imams of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s) as the only successors of the Holy Prophet (P), takes his religion from them, and obeys them in all circumstances. He is at peace with those who are at peace with the Imams (a.s) and is at war against those who fight against them. He loves the Imams (a.s) and repudiates their enemy.

2. According to al-Tabari (vol. 5, p. 417) during the battle of Karbala, the criterion for being Shi’ah of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s) was whether they fought for or against Imam Husain (a.s).

3. Those who fought Imam Husain (a.s) in Karbala came from Kufa. However, it is not true that most Kufans were Shi’ah. The Kufan people of that time consisted of the following groups:

a) Sincere Shi’ah who believed in the inerrancy (‘Esma) of the Imams, such as Hāni bin Urwa, Mukhtār, Habib bin Modhāher, Muslim bin Awsaja, etc. These people were either killed prior to Ashura or imprisoned or with great difficulty reached Karbala and supported Imam Husain (a.s) until death.
b) Lovers of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s) who did not believe in the inerrancy (‘Esma) of the Imams, such as Sulaymān bin Sorad, Musayyab bin Najabah, etc. These people preferred the Ahlul-Bayt (a.s) over the Umayyad Caliphs and hence wrote invitation letters to Imam Husain (a.s). However, when Hani and Muslim were brutally killed, they were intimidated and abandoned the Imam, though they never fought against the Imam either. Furthermore, they regretted it later on and waged the Penitents Uprising (Thawrah al-Tawwābin). They were the same people who would choose to join the army of Imam Ali (a.s) and Imam Hasan (a.s) only if they agreed with their decision. Thus, Sulaymān bn Sorad abandoned Imam Ali (a.s) during the battle of Camel and opposed Imam Hasan (a.s) when the Imam signed a peace treaty with Mu’awiyah!
c) Omawis: The followers of the Umayyads, such as ‘Amr bin Hajjaj, ‘Amr bin Huraith, Umar bin Sa’d, etc. They along with their soldiers were among the main perpetrators of Karbala. It is interesting to note that they too, in an act of hypocrisy, signed invitation letters to Imam Husain (a.s)!
d) Khawarij; such as Shabath bin Reb’ee, Hajjar bin Abjar, etc. They too were among the perpetrators of the tragedy of Karbala.
e) laymen who just jumped on the bandwagon. They were people of Dunya whose motivation was their personal gain. They signed the invitation letters when things were promising for Imam Husain (a.s), but when faced with Ibn Ziad’s threats and bribery, they turned on their heels.
f) A religious minority of Christians, Jewish and Zoroastrians. I have not seen any historical evidence of their involvement.

5. Almost all historians have reported that when Imam Husain (a.s) left Makkah to Kufa, Yazid wrote a letter to the governor of Kufa, Ibn Ziad, ordering him to ‘either behead (Imam) Husain or take him as a slave!” and Ibn Ziad killed the Imam and sent his head to Yazid. (al-Zahabi, vol 3. P.305). Therefore, Yazid is the main perpetrator of the tragedy of Karbala.

6. Here are the names of the most famous murderers of Karbala: Umar ibn Sa’d, Shimr ibn Ziljoshan, Shabath ibn Reb’ee, Hajjar ibn Abjar, Amr ibn Hajjaj, Harmala ibn Kāhel. These are among the people who, when Imam Ali (a.s) declared that Salat al-Tarawih should not be held in a congregation, they opposed the Imam and cried: “The tradition of Umar (is being ignored!), the tradition of Umar (is being ignored)!” (Ibn Abil-Hadid, vol. 12 p.283). Would you call such people Shi’ah?!

7. I think the best person to answer that question is Imam Husain (a.s). He never referred to the criminals of Karbala as his followers or ex-followers! Rather, he called them the shi’ah (followers) of the children of Abu-Sufyan:
On the Day of Ashura when the holy Imam saw that they are intending to raid his tents, he shouted at them: “Woe to you O’ shi’ah (followers) of the children of Abi-Sufyan! If you do not adhere to any religion nor fear Resurrection Day, then (at least) act manly in your worldly affairs.” (al-Khārazmi, vol.2 p.38).

8. The murderers of Karbala also never introduced themselves as the lovers of Husain (a.s). They rather said: “Surely, we fight you for our hatred towards your father”! (al-Qondoozi, p.346). They also called Imam Husain (a.s) a liar! According to al-Tabari one of the soldiers of Umar bin Sa’d shouted at Imam Husain: “O Husain, O liar son of a liar!” (al-Tabari, vol.5 p.434).

9. Even the main perpetrators of the tragedy of Karbala never claimed that Imam Husain (a.s) was killed by his Shi’ah. Rather, they took pride in killing Imam Husain (a.s) and his Shi’ah.
After the tragedy of Karbala, Ibn Ziad ascended the Minbar in the Masjid of Kufa and said: “All praise belongs to Allah who revealed the truth… and killed the liar Husain son of the liar and his Shi’ah (followers)!” (Al-Mufid, al-Ershad, p.244)

10. Which lover, let alone a follower, would slay the infant of his beloved Imam?! Which lover, let alone a follower, would ride his horse on the chest of his beloved Imam and would proudly cry: “We levelled the chest and the back”?!! (Ibn Atheer, vol.4 p.80).

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

What is our duty towards the oppression of the Shia and occupied Palestine, which takes priority?

Question: In this time when countries with majority Shi’a populations are being attacked, what is our duty towards Palestine, and which issues takes priority?


What is important is to do what we can to help, whether it be in relation to Palestine or Iraq. The main priority is that we remain united and address both arenas, instead of competing as to which one should get more attention.

As far as our duty to Palestine, the following principles outline this duty.

1)      The Holy Quran obliges all Muslims to fight in the Way of Allah in support of oppressed Musim men, women and children:

2.  وَ مَا لَكُمْ لاَ تُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَ الْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَ النِّسَاءِ وَ الْوِلْدَانِ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هٰذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَ اجْعَلْ لَنَا مِنْ لَدُنْكَ وَلِيّاً وَ اجْعَلْ لَنَا مِنْ لَدُنْكَ نَصِيراً

“And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of Allah, and for those weak, ill-treated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help.” (4:75)

The above mentioned Ayah is one of the references for Shi’a jurists throughout the history on the opinion of obligation of defensive Jihad whereat a Muslim land is occupied irrespective of the faith of its residents. Palestine is a Muslim land which is occupied by the enemies of Islam and hence it is the duty of all Muslims-irrespective of their nationality and denomination-to fight against the occupiers. This is a unanimously accepted Fatwa, thus since the occupation of Palestine our eminent Maraje’ such as the late Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim, the late Sayyid al-Khoei, until the living ones including Ayatullah Sistani, have all agreed on.

2)      Sh. Al-Kolayni in al-Kaafi (vol. 2 p. 164) dedicated a chapter for ‘Significance of caring for Muslim affairs’. Here is only one of the narrations of that chapter:

عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ ص قَالَ: مَنْ أَصْبَحَ لَا يَهْتَمُّ بِأُمُورِ الْمُسْلِمِينَ فَلَيْسَ مِنْهُمْ وَ مَنْ سَمِعَ رَجُلًا يُنَادِي يَا لَلْمُسْلِمِينَ فَلَمْ يُجِبْهُ فَلَيْسَ بِمُسْلِمٍ.

“Whoever does not care about the affairs of Muslims is not from among them. Whoever hears a man calling ‘O Muslims (help me), and does not answer him, is not a Muslim.” (al-Kafi, v. 2, p. 164)

Surely, some Palestinians are Shi’a, and majority are Sunni, but they all give their testimony that there is no deity but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, thus they are all Muslims. In addition, the end of the above Hadith makes Muslims responsible towards the call of any oppressed person which again includes Palestinians.

3)      Imam Ali (a.s) in his final will said to his sons Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (a.s): “Be the enemy of any oppressor and the supporter of any oppressed.” Surely, Palestinians are oppressed.

4)      It was the practice of our Imams (a.s) to share their food with the poor and the needy irrespective of their faith and when once one of the companions of Imam Sadiq (a.s) commented that the recipient was not a Shi’a, the holy Imam replied: “Had he been a Shi’a we should have halved our wealth with him.” Most of our aids to Palestinians are usually food, medicine and clothing. Our dear Imams would not avoid anyone on those items.

5)      We share common interest with Palestinians. Should we abandon Palestinians the occupiers keep expanding their map until they occupy Lebanon, and then Syria, Iraq and the list goes on. Thus, our common enemies divide us often by our denominations, or nationalities, etc. and naive or careless Muslims accept it. They attack Palestinians and tell the rest of the Islamic world: you are not Palestinian so don’t bother. Then attach Lebanon and tell the rest of the world: you are not Lebanese why should you care. Then attack Syria and Iraq and …

6)      Most of the Sunnis in Palestine follow Imam Shafe’i who was interestingly born in Gaza. Shafe’is are well known for their love for Ahlul-Bayt (a.s). Yes, there may be some ignorant Palestinians who denounce Shi’a as non-Muslims, but like some of our Shi’a- they are mentally oppressed by our common enemies. Remember when an ignorant Syrian came to Madina and insulted Imam Hasan (a.s), how caring and generously did our holy Imam treat him until he acknowledged the true leadership of the Imam?!

May the Almighty Allah wake up our Ummah from their winter sleep!

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

Should I support Al-Quds Day?


Should I support the Al-Quds Day event and participate in the rallies?

Some Shia brothers and sisters I know don’t attend it because they take a sectarian look. They view Palestinians as Sunnis before being Muslims. While other Shias I know say that their participation in the rallies will not change anything anyway.

What is the correct Islamic view on this issue?


Muslims who don’t support Al-Quds issues in one way or the other are either ignorant or cowards. An ignorant person can be educated but I don’t have any treatment for the coward who only gives lip service to Islam, and whose practice of Islam rotates around his/her worldly interests.

As for educating the ignorant people you may consider the following points:

1. Although the Middle East is the cradle of all divine religions, Islam including all its sects is definitely the most heavily represented religion in the region. Thus, the destiny of the region is interwoven with the destiny of Muslims.

2. The Middle East has a rich abundance of natural resources. It has the world’s largest deposits of oil in an easily extracted form, especially in the neighbouring Persian Gulf countries, such as Iran, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait.

3. The western economy in general and the U.S. in particular rely greatly on foreign oil. Oil for the West is like blood for the heart, and the Middle East is its jugular vein.

4. It is possible that the occupation of Afghanistan with the excuse of overthrowing the Taliban is in fact related to American interests relating to Central Asian oil.

5. For the United States to secure control over oil and domesticate its military power in the region, the regime of Israel was illegitimately conceived in the Muslim land of Palestine in 1948. Moreover, pro-U.S. regimes were formed and attempts in preventing the formation of anti-U.S. powers or blocs have been on top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda. American hostility towards Iran in the last three decades is a prime example of that policy.

6. To expand its control from Palestine to the entire Middle East, the racist regime of Israel is on a mission towards ‘a Greater Israel’, the geographical definition of which is ‘from the brook of Egypt to the Euphrates’, comprising all of today’s Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, Oman, Yemen, most of Turkey, and all the land east of the Nile river, and hence the map of Israel is constantly expanding!

7.  The formation of Israel was only the start of a larger plot against Muslims and their territories. Its success or failure determines the rest of the story.

Conclusion: It is absolutely naive to think the issue of Israel is only a Palestinian Sunni issue. The destiny of the Shiites in Lebanon and elsewhere and the glory or the humiliation of the entire Muslim world depends on their stance on this issue.

Losing his hope in Arab leaders, the late Imam Khomeini (r.a) called upon the entire Muslim Ummah to wake up and take control of their destiny. They shall NOT leave it to their treacherous leaders, NOR shall they let their enemies divide them, or they WILL all be destroyed.

Please also consider a few jurisprudential facts in relation to your question:

1. Theoretically, the obligation of defending Islamic lands is an indisputable fact in Islam.

2. The Imams of Ahlulbayt (a.s) never allowed their followers to join the armies of their contemporary tyrant kings unless to safeguard the borders against invaders or to push back the occupiers. Imam al-Sajjad (a.s) used to pray for the frontiers of Islam irrespective of the denomination of Muslims living in those areas. Please see al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya-Supplication No. 27.

3. Whenever a Muslim land has been occupied our jurists have been reacting to it by:

a) calling for Jihad against occupiers such as the Fatwa of Seyyed Mohmmad Kadhem al-Yazdi when the north of Iran was occupied by the Russian troops and the south by the British.

b) Encouraging Muslims – irrespective of their denominations – to stay united against the occupiers. The late Ayatullah Kāshiful-ghita (died in 1953), who was the teacher of the late Sayyed Mohsin al-Hakim, in one part of his famous Fatwa for the liberation of Palestine states:

“(The) struggle to free the occupied land of Palestine is not just the duty of Arabs and Muslims, rather it is a humanitarian duty as the common sense dictates. O’ Muslims! Wake up before the tanks of your enemies wake you up… I confidently assert that whoever stands by Palestinians against occupiers is in line with the Muslim soldiers in the battle of al-Badr.” (Nāsekhu-Tawarikh, vol. 1 p.298)

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

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How can I prove to my Sunni friend that Imam Mahdi is currently alive?


How can I prove to my Sunni friend that Imam Mahdi (ajtf) is currently alive?


The easy way in short to prove the current existence of Imam Mahdi (ajtf) to a Sunni is the following:

Premise 1: All Muslims agree that the Holy Quran is very explicit and clear that the time will come when a universal and just Islamic state will be established, in which those who have been oppressed will lead the world. (Surah al-Anbi’a, Ayah 105)

Premise 2: It is narrated by Shi’a and Sunni narrators that:

a. The day of judgment will not come until a man from the offspring of the Prophet rises to spread peace and justice in the world. (Mosnad Ahmad 3:36 , H. 10920)

b. Whoever dies not knowing the Imam of his time has died the death of Ignorance (Kofr). (Muslim 3:239, H 1851)

c. Hadith al-Thaqalayn in which the Prophet (P) says: the Book of Allah and his Ahlul-Bayt (P) will never be separated until they join him at the Pool of Kouthar. (Mostadrak al-Hakim 3:10)

d. 12 Imams: The Prophet foretold that the Kholafa (successors after him) shall be 12 Imams, and that are all from Qoraysh. (Muslim 3:220, H. 1821). This hadith can only apply to the 12 Imams of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s). Also, there is no doubt that Imam Askari (a.s) was martyred and died. (More info. about the narrations regarding 12 Imams after the Holy Prophet)

Conclusion: if Imam Mahdi is not born yet, then: there will be a separation between the Quran and Ahlul-bayt (a.s) (violating premise 2/c), the Imams won’t be 12 (violation of premise 2/d.) and all contemporary Muslims die the death of Jahiliyah because there is no Imam of their time for them to know him (violation of premise 2/b).

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

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Is kissing the graves and shrines of the Imams/Prophets a form of shirk (polytheism)?


The shirt of Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) (a.s.) healed the blindness of the Prophet Yaqub (Jacob) (a.s.). Is there any benefit (either spiritual or physical) to kissing the graves of the Imams (a.s.) or any of the Prophets (a.s.)? If so, is this a form a shirk (polytheism)? If not, then why do we kiss the graves, and how do you reconcile the fact that the shirt of Prophet Yusuf (a.s) had healing properties?


As you indicated in your question, the material objects related to the holy Trustees of God may be given a special significance by Allah (swt), and so kissing the graves or shrines of the Imams (a.s) or the Prophet (saw) can allow us to benefit from these blessings. This is not a form of shirk, because kissing or holding the shrines or graves is not worshipping the graves or the owners of the graves, rather, it is trying to benefit from the holiness bestowed on the buried ma’sum (sinless person) and his grave by Allah (swt). In particular, we have numerous narrations regarding the holiness of the soil of Karbala and the abundant blessings that can be gained from it.

Answered by: Dr Ali Alsamail
Certified by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

What is the Shia view of the companions of the Prophet, especially the first 3 Caliphs?


What is the Shia view on the Sahaba (companions) of the Prophet (s), and specifically, the first three “Khulafa rashideen” (‘Rightly guided Caliphs’, and also the others which are considered extremely pious men by Sunnis?


The people who narrated the actions and words of the Prophet (pbuh) to us were his companions (ashab). Some of these were people who had met the Prophet only a few times or who did not have much interaction with the Prophet and they are called companions in a general sense. Others lived with the Prophet (pbuh) on an everyday basis and they were his companions in a specific sense.

When it comes to the companions, Sunnis and Shia have different beliefs.

The Sunnis believe that all companions were pious and that their word should be trusted and they should be followed. They have a false narration that says: ‘my companions are like stars, whichever of them you follow, you will be guided’. They also rely on the following Ayah:

وَالسَّابِقُونَ الأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالأَنصَارِ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُم بِإِحْسَانٍ رَّضِيَ اللّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُواْ عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي تَحْتَهَا الأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

“And (as for) the foremost, from among the Muhajirs and the Ansars, and those who followed them in goodness, Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them for ever; that is the mighty achievement.” (9:100)

They argue that if the Qur’an praises the companions, how can we blame or criticise any of them?

We answer by saying that we criticise some of the companions and praise others. This is because this is also what the Qur’an does. The Qur’an says ‘from among the Muhajirs and the Ansars’ not all of them. This is why it uses the word ‘min’. It is praising those of them that were pious and who did good deeds. However, those who did not do good deeds and who were not pious are criticised by the Qur’an like anyone else would be. It does not make sense that they should not be criticised for doing the wrong thing just because they lived with the Prophet- this is a form of prejudice and has no logical basis.

We too praise the companions, as Imam Sajjad does in his Sahifatul Kamila, but only those of them who do good deeds and are faithful.

Answered by: Dr Ali Alsamail
Certified by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

What is the Shia view on Sunni hadith books like ‘Sahih Bukhari’ & ‘Sahih Muslim’?


What is the Shia view on the Sunni hadith compilation books such as ‘Sahih Bukhari’ and ‘Sahih Muslim’? What makes them ‘not Sahih’ (unauthentic) in the Shia view and how authentic are the hadiths within them considered?


As you know, there are two major sources of information for Muslims. The first is the Holy Qur’an, on which all Muslims agree. The second is the Sunna, which includes the words, actions and confirmations of the Prophet (pbuh). Unfortunately, Muslims disagree greatly when it comes to the Sunna of the Prophet (pbuh). The Shia have their own books, while the Sunnis have other books and the narrations in the books differ greatly.

When we come to a narration about something the Prophet did or said, we need to analyse it to see whether it is true or not. One of the most important ways of analysing a narration is to look at the people who narrated it. The science of studying the life and trustworthiness of these narrators is called ‘ilmul rijal (narratological biography). Each narration has a chain of narrators, which begins at the Prophet (pbuh), then comes to his companion who lived at the same time as him and heard from the Prophet himself and then to the person he told that narration to and so on, until that narration reached one of our scholars who compiled it in one of the books of narrations which we still have today. When we want to know whether a narration is true or not, one of the best things we can do is to look at the names of all the people in the chain of narration and see what history says about them. Were they trustworthy and reliable narrators or not?

This is where the difference between the sects occurs. Each sect considers different people trustworthy and so differences occur.

The authors of Sunni Sihah (authentic books for Sunnis) have very often narrated from people who were known for their hatred and enmity for Ahlul-Bayt (a.s). Such people undoubtedly are sinners and their narrations should not be accepted. The following are only a few examples:

1. Abu-Horaira. He converted to Islam only about 20 months prior to the demise of the HolyProphet of Islam (p), yet, Sunnis have narrated over 5000 narrations from him, but only 58 narrations from Imam Ali (a.s) who had lived with the Prophet (P) from his childhood! Isn’t this strange?! Bukhari even narrated a Hadith from Abu-Horira that he has confessed it’s his fabrication! (Bukhari, vol.6 p.190, the Book of Nafaqat, chapter 1)

2. Umran Ibn Hattan: He was the head of al-Khawarij. His praising poem for Ibn Moljam who assassinated Imam Ali (P) is very famous. Yet, Bukhari very often narrated from him.

3. Umar Ibn Sa’d; the chief of the army of Yazid in Karbala.

4. Hariz Ibn Uthman: He would not leave the mosque after his prayers until he curses Imam Ali (a.s) 70 times! Ismaeil Ibn Ayyash narrated: “I accompanied Hariz from Egypt to Makkah. On the way he kept cursing Ali Ibn Abi-Tali (a.s). I said to him: How can you curse someone about whom the Prophet (P) has said: “You are to me as Aaron to Moses.” He (shamelessly) said: the narrator has misheard th eProphet. He had said: You are to me as Qaroon to Moses!!! Yet, Bukhari, Termethi, Nasaei and others have narrated from him.

The other major difference is that the Shia believe that there is no book of Hadith which is 100% authentic, and that all hadiths must be checked against the Qur’an and the established principles of Islam. In contrast, Sunnis believe that certain books, such as Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, are 100% correct and unquestionable. These books, however, obviously contain some Hadiths which go firmly against the principles of Islam and cannot be justified in any way, and therefore their claim is proven false through the content of the books themselves.

For more information, you can refer to Sheikh Mansour Leghaei’s course on the ‘Science of the Hadith’.

Answered by: Dr Ali Alsamail
Certified by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

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Why do Shia prostrate on turbah (pieces of clay)?


Some of my Muslim brothers and sisters ask why we pray on the turbah? Can you please elaborate, as to why we pray on it and on where this hadith came from?


1. TheEarth is a Place of Prostration

There is a narration narrated in Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari, as well as the Shia books, where the Prophet (pbuh) says:

“The earth is made for me as place of prostration and purification.”

(Bukhari1:209, Muslim 1:371, Wasa’elu-Shi’a 3:423)

From this narration, we understand that when we prostrate, it should be on ‘earth’ or something directly from the earth. This includes soil, sand, pebbles and minerals (except gold and silver). It also includes paper and leaves from trees because they grow from the earth. (Tissue is probably the last option if nothing else is available).

The other condition is that the thing we pray on must not be wearable or edible. Therefore, we cannot pray on leaves from plants which are edible or from which clothes can be made (e.g. cotton).

Imam al-Sadiq (as) says:

“Prostration is only allowed on earth or things that are from the earth, except those things which can be worn or consumed”. (Wasailul Shia, 3:591)

2. Why we do not pray on Carpet?

We do not pray on carpet because it is not earth and is not made from earth. The above narration says that we should pray on the earth, and therefore carpet is no something we can pray on. This is confirmed by other narrations. Abu Said al-Khudri narrates about the Prophet:

“We were in the mosque and the roof of the mosque was made of date palm branches so that we could not see up into the sky. One day it rained heavily. The Prophet (pbuh) led the prayer with us, so much so that I saw the marks of the mud on the forehead of the Prophet (pbuh…” (Bukhari, 2:386)

A’isha narrates:

“The Prophet (pbuh) never placed anything between his forehead and the earth…”

(Mosnad Imam Ahmad, 6:58)

At the time of the Prophet, carpets did exist and if the Prophet (pbuh) wished, he could have prayed on a carpet or laid the mosque’s floor with carpet. However, this never happened.

3. Narrations about the Straw Mat

We also have many narrations from Sunni sources that the Prophet (pbuh) would have a small straw square that he would prostrate on. It seems that when it was too hot to place one’s forehead on the soil, the Prophet would use a straw mat to prostrate on. As this is made from trees, it is considered a product of the earth.

Um Salama: ‘The Prophet would pray on a small strawmat’.

Anas: ‘The Prophet would pray on a straw mat’.

(Bukhari, 1:231)

Therefore, it is at least a precaution to avoid praying on carpet as the Prophet (pbuh) did not ever do this. Imam al-Sadiq (as) says:

“I prefer that he prostrates on the earth. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to like to place his forehead on the earth. I like for you what the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to like.”


Answered by: Dr Ali Alsamail
Certified by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

Can a Shia man marry a Sunni woman?


Can a Shia man marry a Sunni women? And how would they tell their parents about this as most parents do not prefer their child marrying from a different sect?


Although it is jurisprudentially permissible for a Shi’a man to marry a Sunni girl, it is not recommended considering the confusion interfaith marriages will bring to children. Also, in our modern society children are under great influence from their mothers – as they spend more time with them – and as such a Shi’a man should consider the possibity of their mother’s beliefs influencing the children. Experience has shown that the more compatibility between husband and wife, the more guarantee for a smooth future relationship.

Surely, compatibility of faith is a major issue. Those who pray together, live together. Consider the fact that the mosques where they pray, and observe their Islamic occasions, and celebrate Eid e.t.c, will be different. Their diet will be often different as in the Sunni Fiqh all seafood and Kosher are Halal etc.

This is all if the girl does not have an anti-Shi’a belief, otherwise it is forbidden. Imam Baqir (a.s) had a Sunni wife, but once she insulted Imam Ali (a.s) and the Imam divorced her. When he was asked for the reason, he said: “I did not like a piece of (hell) Fire touching my body.”

Also, for a Shi’a girl to marry a Sunni boy is not recommended.

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

About Ayah 4:59: why is the phrase ‘olil-amr’ only mentioned once in the Ayah?


I was discussing the verse 4:59 with a brother from the sunni school of thought and particularly the part relating to ‘olil-amr’. We believe that the ‘olil-amr’ is in reference to the Imams whereas the Sunni view is that it relates to leaders. My question is: why in the first part of the verse ‘olil-amr’ is mentioned but in the second part when discussing if there are differences, it says “refer to God and his messenger’ and ‘olil-amr’ is no longer mentioned?


Firstly, the phrase منکم (minkum) in اولی الامر منکم (olil-amri minkum) clearly indicates that the اولی الامر (olil-amr) must be a Mo’men (believer) because the Ayah is addressing the believers, so it definitely doesn’t apply to non-believers, as it doesn’t include the wrong-doers (الظالمین) either, because the almighty God in Surah Baqarah Ayah 124 has made it clear that His covenant of leadership does not include the wrong-doers. Therefore, the Ayah is commanding us to obey leaders who are divinely authorised. Obviously kings like Yazid in the past, and most of contemporary Arab leaders will be excluded. Thus, the assumption that the obedience of anyone who – in any way – leads a Muslim nation is totally foreign to the Ayah. At the time of the Imams of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s) they were the best examples of اولی الامر (olil-amr) and hence it would only apply to them, and during their occultation a just, pious and learned believer will be the example of اولی الامر (olil-amr) as a representative of the Imams (a.s).

For the same reason اولی الامر (olil-amr) are not mentioned as the points of reference in a matter of dispute, to show that the authority intrinsically rests with Allah and His Messenger, and the اولی الامر (olil-amr) get their authority from Allah via the Holy Prophet (P). The wisdom of this expression is – and God knows best- that when say today, someone argues that so and so are also examples of اولی الامر  (as a matter of dispute) we are bound to refer to Allah and His messenger. If that individual is not authorised by them, then he is a fake leader and he has usurped the position.

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei