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Ritual Prayers and Fasts

Q15: Is it permissible for a person to delay his prayers from their earliest time by participating in the commemoration ceremonies (majalis) of (Imam) Husayn established during the ten days of Muharram?

A: It is permissible, but it is best to perform the prayers at their earliest time, and the organizers of the majalis ought to arrange them in such a way as to avoid conflict with the performance of prayers at their earliest time. (MMS, pp. 35-36, Q74)

Q16: Is it permissible for a person who wakes up a few minutes before the time of morning prayer to go back to sleep if he knows or considers it a strong possibility that he will not wake up again before sunrise?

A: If this is considered a sign of contempt or trivialization with regard to prayers, then it is not permissible. (FM, p. 400)

Q17: A woman is performing prayer and she is unaware that some of her hair is outside of her head-cover. Is it obligatory for me to inform her of this during or after her prayer?

A: Certainly not. It is not obligatory for you to inform her. Even if she does not become aware of it until her prayer is complete, her prayer will be valid. If she becomes aware of it during (the prayer) and hastens to cover it (her hair), again her prayer will be valid. (FM, p. 400)

Q18: What about another (woman) who offers prayer while the upper part of her feet are exposed.

A: This is permissible for her since it is allowed for the upper part of the feet and the soles to be exposed in prayers. (FM, p. 431)

Q19: What is the ruling on a person who used to pray and fast but committed several mistakes in the major ablution (ghusl). He is absolutely sure now that some of his previous ghusls were void, but he does not know how many. As a result he is not aware of how many invalid prayers and fasts he offered with them.

A: His fasts are valid even if his ghusl is invalid. However, it is obligatory for him to offer qada of all the prayers he offered with the invalid ghusl. If he is unsure about the minimum and the maximum, he may limit himself to the minimum. (FM, p. 399)

Q20: A person fasts in the month of Ramadan for several years and he does not know, due to ignorance, that the ghusl of janabah is obligatory, so he does not perform ghusl.

A: His fast is correct and no expiation (kaffarah) is obligatory for him. (FM, p. 402)

Q21: Some allergy sufferers use an apparatus which we call an "inhalator" to assist them in easy breathing. After its placement in the mouth and pressing it, this apparatus emits what is like pressurized gas. Can this apparatus be used at the time of fasting?

A: Yes. One who uses this (apparatus) remains on his fast and his fast is valid. (FM, p. 402)

Q22: Food or serum in a plastic bag containing water, sugar and some medication is administered to a patient by injection directly into the blood -- due to sickness or some other reasons such as to provide nourishment. Is the fasting person obliged to avoid it?

A: It is not obligatory, although it is more appropriate (for him) to do so. (FM, p. 403)

Q23: Is it permissible to offer meals to those who are not fasting -- that is, those with and without an excuse for not fasting in the month of Ramadan -- whether in restaurants or in homes, if this offering is not considered disrespectful to the sanctity of the noble month?

A: It is permissible (to offer meals) to those who have an excuse (for not fasting) [but not to the others]. (FM, pp. 402-3)

Friday (jumu'ah) Prayer

Q24: Does performing Friday (jumu'ah) prayer compensate for noon (zuhr) prayer or not? Is Friday prayer superior to the noon prayer?

A: Performing Friday prayer in such a way that all appropriate conditions are fulfilled, according to the shari'ah, is superior to performing noon (prayer). If the mukallaf performs it (Friday prayer) as such, then it (Friday prayer) replaces it (zuhr). (MMS, p. 11, Q5)

Q25: Is one entitled to object to the holding of Friday prayer by claiming that the marjas of the Muslims in Najaf and Qum do not establish it, while knowing that in the city in which the mukallaf resides, most of the residents perform Friday prayer on the basis of their fiqh?

A: One is not entitled to do that. As for non-holding of Friday (prayer) by the marjas, who are of the opinion that it (Friday prayer) is superior to zuhr (prayer) and the former replacing it (zuhr), may be due to personal excuses or the like. This does not prevent others from establishing it (Friday prayer). God knows best. (MMS, p. 12, Q6)

Qiblah

Q26: The views of the ulama differ regarding the (direction of the) qiblah from New York and similar places in North America. Can you explain in some detail how we are to face the qiblah from there?

A: Facing the qiblah from distant places which have the curvature of the earth between them and the revered Ka'bah is determined by the parallel lines that commence from the front of the body of the person praying and the lines of curvature that arch around the surface of the earth in the direction of the revered Ka'bah, in such a manner that the lines end there (the Ka'bah), even if it is only by probability. The direction of the lines may be established on a globe by connecting the position of the person praying to the revered Ka'bah by a thread -- ensuring that it remains on a direct course, rather than veering left or right. According to our tests, the direction of this thread from areas such as New York in North America is to the East, yielding to the North by the degree indicated by the aforementioned thread.

As for those who say that Mecca lies beneath the 22nd parallel, New York falls above the 40th parallel, and this requires that the person in New York must face the direction of the honored Ka'bah by bearing to the South rather than to the North, the answer to this is as follows:

This holds true if one uses a flat map as opposed to a global one. The change in the direction of the abovementioned thread on a global model is a result of the portions lying between the two points, if it is viewed in relation to the North and South poles. The support for this is that, if we neglect and do not take into consideration the four cardinal points on the globe, and we turned around a global map putting Mecca in the summit, as if it were the North Pole, we would observe that the direction of the abovementioned thread (in a situation for a person in New York) would be exactly the same as that obtained by the earlier mentioned thread. The person in New York who wants to face the direction of the revered Ka'bah must take this direction and not veer towards the right.

In short, in our opinion, what is more likely in the method of facing the direction is as explained in the foregoing. It is clearly the better position also with regard to the necessity of observing the imaginary line that passes through the earth directly between the position of the person praying and the Ka'bah. Since it is not possible to face the direction of this (imaginary) line during prayer, it is necessary to follow the direction of the line of curvature parallel to it, and which goes over the surface of the earth. The parallel line just mentioned is the same as that which we already pointed out, whose direction from New York is towards northeast. Even so, however, the prayer of a person facing southeast would be valid if he is acting on a firm shar'i proof in his possession to that effect. God knows best. (MMS, pp. 9-11, Q1)

Imported Leather

Q27: A man is wearing a watch whose strap is made of natural leather imported from a non-Muslim country and he does not know whether the leather is from the skin of an animal slaughtered in the Islamic manner or not. The belt on his pants is made from the same kind of leather. Does he have to remove them when he intends to offer prayer?

A: His prayer is valid with them as long as there is a strong probability that the strap or the belt is from the skin of an animal whose flesh is edible and that was slaughtered in the shar'i manner. (FM, pp. 397-98)

Q28: What about a wallet placed inside the pocket during prayer if it is made of the same leather as the strap previously mentioned?

A: One is permitted to offer prayer with it. (FM, p. 398)

Q29: Suppose that he is confident that the strap or the belt is made from the skin of an animal that was not slaughtered in the Islamic manner but he prays with it due to forgetfulness and then remembers while praying, and immediately removes his watch or belt.

A: His prayer is valid unless his forgetfulness is due to carelessness and not giving due importance to the matter [in which case he is obliged to repeat his prayer]. (FM, p. 398)

Prostration

Q30: Sometimes I intend to pray and there are some white pieces of paper in my pocket. Is it permissible for me to perform prostration on them?

A: Yes, it is permissible for you to prostrate on them if they are ritually pure and made out of wood-pulp or similar material on which prostration is permissible. The same rule applies if they are made of cotton or linen. (FM, pp. 399-400)

Q31: . . . prostration on cement?

A: Likewise, it is permissible for you to prostrate on it. (FM, p. 400)

Q32: I listen to a tape recorder, radio or television emitting the voice of a reciter of the Qur'an, reciting a verse which demands prostration. Should I prostrate?

A: Certainly not. You are not obliged to prostrate yourself except when you hear it (the verse) from the reciter himself, not on his recorded tape. (FM, p. 400)

Crescent (hilal)

Q33: If I attain personal confidence that the astronomical calculations on the birth of the crescent (hilal) announced by the experts are correct, can I, relying on my confidence, confirm the first of the month and fast, or for the Eid and break my fast?

A: Confidence in the birth of the crescent and its visibility is of no consequence; rather, the actual sighting has to be confirmed by yourself or someone else. Yes, it is enough to confirm the actual sighting in another city if it shares the horizon of your city, such that a sighting in that city would necessitate a sighting in your city, if there were no barriers such as clouds, dust, mountains, etc. (FM, p. 403)

Traveller (musafir)

Q34: A student, worker or employee studies or works in an area situated at more than 22 km from his city. He goes daily to his workplace and returns to his city, and there is a possibility that this will continue for a year or more. What is the ruling in this case with respect to his prayers and fasts (siyam)?

A: He should offer complete (tamm) prayers and observe the fasts. (FM, pp. 400-401)

Q35: What if he were to travel three or four times a week during the year, not because his job demands travelling, but for other purposes like sight-seeing and tourism or for treating a patient, visiting the shrines of the Imams (a.s.), etc. What is the ruling on his prayers?

A: He should perform complete prayers and observe the fasts, since, given his situation he is considered a frequent traveller according to convention ('urf). If he were to travel twice a week and stay five days in his hometown [then it is obligatory for him to offer both the short (qasr) and the complete (prayers); and, in the month of Ramadan, to combine observance of the fasts in it (Ramadan) and their qada after it]. (FM, p. 401)

Q36: A mukallaf offers morning prayer in his city and then travels in a westerly direction. He arrives in a city in which the dawn has not yet appeared and then emerges. Or, he offers noon prayer in his city and then travels by air, arriving in a city where the sun has not begun to go down (noon), and only later begins its descent. Or, he offers the evening prayer in it (city), then travels to a city where the sun has not yet set, and then sets. Is he obliged to repeat the prayer in all these hypothetical situations?

A: There are two perspectives. It is a better precaution (to repeat the prayer), although apparently it is not (obligatory to repeat it). (MS, p. 464, Q81)

Q37: What is the ruling for a person who travels after noon (zuhr) during the month of Ramadan while fasting?

A: [He should complete his fast] and there is no qada on him. (FM, p. 401)

Q38: And if he travels before noon, having intended to do so and decided on the trip the night before?

A: [There is no fasting for him on this day]. He will break his fast after reaching the hadd al-tarakhkhus and he is obligated to offer its qada after that. (FM, p. 401)

Q39: What if he travels before noon but did not intend to travel and had not decided on it the night before?

A: The same ruling applies as in the previous case (Q38). (FM, pp. 401-2)

Q40: A traveler in the month of Ramadan returns to his hometown or place of residence after noon. Is it obligatory for him to abstain (from things that render a fast void) in the remaining part of the day?

A: It is not obligatory for him although it is more appropriate to abstain for the rest of the day. (FM, p. 402)

Q41: What if he returns before noon and has broken (the fast) on his trip?

A: The ruling is as previously mentioned (Q40). (FM, p. 402)

Q42: What if he returns to his hometown or place of residence and arrives before noon without breaking the fast on his trip?

A: It is obligatory for him to make the intention to fast and abstain from things that render a fast void for the remaining part of that day. In that case, there is no qada on him. (FM, p. 402)

Q43: What about one whose duty it is to fast while travelling. After dawn has appeared in his city, he travels by air with the intention to fast. He arrives in another city where the dawn has not yet emerged. Is he permitted to eat, drink, etc.?

A: Apparently, it is permissible. (MS, p. 466, Q85)

Q44: What about one who travels from his city in the month of Ramadan after noon and arrives in a city where the sun has not begun its descent. Is it obligatory for him to abstain (from things that break the fast) and complete his fast?

A: That is a better precaution. (MS, p. 466, Q86)

Q45: If a fasting person in the month of Ramadan travels by air in a westerly direction after maghrib -- without breaking (iftar) his fast in his city -- and arrives at a place where the sun has not yet set, is it obligatory for him to abstain from things (that break the fast) until maghrib?

A: Apparently, it is not obligatory although it is a better precaution. (MS, p. 464, Q80)

Q46: What about one whose duty is to fast while travelling. If he travels from his city, in which the crescent of Ramadan has been seen, to a city where the crescent has not yet been seen because of a variation in their horizon?

A: He is not obligated to fast on that day. (MS, p. 466, Q87)

Q47: What if he observes the Eid in a city in which the crescent of Shawwal has been seen, and then travels to a city where the crescent has not been seen due to a variation in their horizon?

A: It is a better precaution for him to abstain (from things that break the fast) for the rest of the day and, also, to observe its qada. (MS, pp. 466-67, Q87)

Boundaries of a City

Q48: There are extended cities with adjoining borders and sides which, in the past, were reckoned to be separate cities, but after prosperous growth, became one city. Do you regard them as one or several cities? A person travels from the farthest point in the East (of the city) with the intention of travelling to another place, and the time for prayer comes when he is at the farthest westerly point (of the city). He wishes to pray. Should he pray qasr or does he pray complete? And similarly, if he returns from a journey to the outskirts (of the city), and the time for prayer comes, does he pray qasr, or complete? What about the person who is fasting, and leaves (the city) or returns to it?

A: The hypothetical cities all count as one. The rulings of separate cities does not actually apply to this case. True, the rule with respect to computing the distance is from the point at which the term "traveller" (musafir) becomes applied to someone. Were this city truly one of the larger cities and the term ("traveller") is applied upon the exit of a person from his zone or area of residence, even if it is deemed to be inside the city, then the ruling of "traveller" applies on him. And the distance would be computed from this point, which is considered hadd al-tarakhkhus with respect to that person. If the term ("traveller") does not apply to him unless he leaves the (larger) city, then the last region of the city is to be counted as the beginning for distance measurement with respect to him. God knows best. (MMS, p. 32, Q64)

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