Free Will

path is determined by god alone, disregarding environmental influences. if this is unquestionably the truth, then basis for contradiction lies within the holy qur'an itself. the following passage is taken from the holy qur'an indicates that man's freedom, "the truth is from your lord, so let whoever believe, and whoever disbelieve".

what is the basis of evidence used to support these conclusions? a. al massih, canton, mi 48187

the question, whether man is free in his will or not, has occupied the minds of the scholars for centuries. in islam, two groups in particular have held an opposite view. one is called "mutazal" and the other "asha'irah". to explain two points of view, one has to consider the age of a person and the stage which he is going through. everyone since his/her birth goes through different experiences. some of them are under control and some are not. in this regard there are four technical terms to be considered:

  1. jabr: that is the action which is not in our control.

  2. ikhtiar: the action which is in our control.

  3. qadah: the action which is predestined by god.

  4. qadar: the action which is the result of some cause.

the verses of the holy qur'an differs in their reference to these four categories. asha'irah hold the view of jabr which means that we do not do anything by our own will, rather almighty god alone does. on the contrary, mutazalh say that we have total control of our action and god has no interference with our will. the shi'a point of view is that we have some control and almighty god's will can interfere in our will. for this purpose we have to study the verses of the holy qur'an and see to which of these categories they refer .

the holy qur'an says, " indeed god guides whoever he pleases and does not so whoever he pleases". (35:8)

also god says, " you do not wish, but god wishes for you".(81:29)

also god says, "whoever wishes to become a believer let him do so and whoever wishes to reject faith do likewise". (18:29)

also god says, "whoever does good it is for himself, and whoever harms he harm himself. your lord never treats people unjustly". (41:46)

and god says, " we have guided mankind the right way, it is upto him to be thankful or not". (76:3)

from these verses, we see that almighty god indicates the power of mankind to choose whatever he wishes and act accordingly. but the power of almighty overcomes the power of mankind. therefore, he can intervene and change the will of mankind, exactly as different seasons and environments effects on individual's will. therefore, we see man is able to enforce his will in particular environment and season while he is not able to do so in another environment or season.

the word guidance, in arabic "hidayah", has two meanings: one is to show the right path exactly as the sign does on the streets for a driver to locate and reach his destination. another meaning is to take a person to the actual final destination exactly like a guide of a tour and or a journey, who takes the visitors to different locations explaining the significance of each. the word guide in arabic has been used in both meanings in the holy qur'an.

therefore, there is no contradiction between the two verses: "god guides whoever he wishes and leaves whoever he does not". the qur'an 35:8

and the verse, "we have guided mankind to the right path". the qur'an 76:3

the first verse adopts the first meaning of guidance which means to take one to the final destination and the second verse adopts the second meaning which means to indicate and show the right direction.

Adoption: the islamic view

adoption means to claim blood relationship with one who has no blood relationship and consequently shall be subject to the rules and regulations based on blood relationship such as marriage and inheritance rights. in islam, this kind of pseudo relationship is not allowed because it is a mere lie. while islam encourages to help others and have someone be raised and grow with the family, i.e., it does not allow to call a person as father or son when he is not. the holy qur'an says, "the adopted children cannot be called children(of your own) as you say. god says the truth. call them children of their (own) parents. this is the just way to call them. if you do not know their parents, then call them brothers in your religion". (the qur'an 33:5).

in other words, almighty god says this is pseudo adoption. the child is not yours. therefore, you cannot lie either in speaking nor in claiming him your son. one has to call him brother without claiming any blood relationship. consequently, the rules and regulation for marriage and inheritance do not apply to this adopted child as a blood child.

How to repent

repenting in islam does not need any particular place, any person can repent at any time he thinks he should. sins are of three kinds, each has its own way of repentance:

  1. what belongs to people: such as stealing from other's property, whether small or large. its repentance is to return that to the person, if the owner is known or give it to the poor if the owner is unknown.

  2. what belongs to god: such as prayers and fasting. if they were missed, the repentance is to make up that prayer and fasting. in the case of fasting, it may apply some kaffara i.e., if one missed intentionally, he has to fast sixty days for each missed day or to feed 60 persons for each missed day of fasting.

  3. for forbidden actions and the grave sins: it differs from one to another such as to lie, drinking, etc. in general the repentance is to decide firmly not to go back to these actions.

certainly almighty god has laid down the rules as he says in the holy qur'an, "he accepts repentance from his servants and forgives their faults". the qur'an 42:25

can one join two prayers?

it is highly recommended to pray exactly on time. however, it is permitted to join two prayers at one time. for example, to perform the asr prayer immediately after the noon . or to delay the noon prayer to the later time before sunset. this also applies to the sunset and evening prayers.

the validity of such an opinion is based on many hadiths. among them is what is reported by al-bukhari that ibn abbas said ; "indeed the prophet did pray in madina seven and eight . the ( prayers of) noon, afternoon, sunset, and evening ." see bukhari, v 1, page 136, cairo.

muslim, in his work, reports that ibn abbas said that the messenger of allah joined (prayers) in madina without having any fear or being on a journey. when ibn abbas was asked about the reason, he said; "[the prophet] did not want to make it difficult for his nation ." see muslim, v. 2, page 151. cairo. should we prostrate on earth?

it is an obligatory to prostrate (do sajdah) on a pure surface of the ground or on whatever grows from the earth which is used neither for food nor for clothing . the prophet says ;

"the earth has been created to be used as place for prostration and as detergent, "i.e., for both sajdah and tayammum. see al-bukhari, v. 1 page 112, cairo.

nowadays, since the grounds of most of the mosques and residences are covered by carpets, it is necessary to have some pure soils or a pure rock to use it for sajdah. it behooves to have it from places which carry a religious memory such as soil of karbala which keeps alive the struggle against evil, injustice, and tyranny. for this reason, it is honored as for the similar reason muslims consider zamzam, a holy water because it carries the message of prophet ibrahim, the journey of his wife hager, and the struggle of their son ismail in their search for truth and justice.

can we join hands during prayer?

any additional element to the islamic prayer, if it is added by full intention to change the sunna, would invalidate the prayer. among them is considered "takfir." that is to put one hand on another because this was not reported in the teaching of the prophet when he taught an arab how he should pray; muslim reports via abu hurayra that the prophet said; "when you stand for prayer say "allahu akber" then recite whatever you can recite from the qur'an then perform "ruku" until you become calm, then continue in the same manner all of your prayers. see muslim, v. 2, p. 11, cairo. also, ibn maja, v.1, p. 326, cairo 1312. neither of this hadith nor the hadiths of ahlal byat have any indication to join hands during prayer.

how to perform ablution?

the holly qur'an reads:

"o you who believe, when you stand up for prayer, wash your faces and your hands to the elbows and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles," surah maida, v.6,ch. 5.

according to the school of ahl al-bayt, the verse refers to the area which should be washed. when one says wash your hands up to the wrists before eating, certainly he does not mean to start washing from the top of fingers and end up with wrists. rather he means to clean up all the area of palm, however it could be. the word "yad" in arabic usually means palm as it is used in the qur'an, chapter 5, v. 28. however, when the word "yad" is used to mean other than palm, it should accompany a clear evidence for the new meaning. this applies to the verses of ablution.

the preposition "to" is used to indicate the limit in which one should wash his hands. for example, if one says "wash the room to the door" he certainly means to wash the area without any difference between starting from door to the wall or vice versa. hadith of ahl al-bayt school of thought indicates that one should start with elbow and end up with fingers and it is the normal way of washing arms. see wassa'il by amili, v. 1, page 1271, beirut 1391. in addition, the arabic grammar requires that the conjunction particulars such as "wa," i.e., "and" should connect a word to the nearest word. no doubt, in the ablution verse, the latter immediately in the qur'an.

fakhr al-razi says; "ibn kathir, hamza, abu amr, and asim (as abu bakr reports) all have recited the word "feet" in genitive case. but, nafi ibn amir, and asim (as hafs reports) have recited it in accusative case. thus, we say that the in genitive case requires that the word "feet" should be related to the word "head." therefore, as it is obligatory to wipe the head, it would be the case for feet." see al-tafsir by razi, v. 11, page 161, cairo.

shaikh al-tusi explains that on the basis of both recitations, the verse would means to wipe instead of wash. see al-tibyan by al-tusi, v. 3, page 452, najaf 1376.

when adhan was announced?

"adhan" in islam is an announcement and call for prayer by reciting certain sentences which indicate the crucial points of the islamic creed and shariah law. therefore, many hadiths emphasize on the importance of adhan, the prophet (p) said: "reward of a mu'idhin (one who announces the prayer's time) is equal to the reward of a martyr who is far as away (from his family) in his blood for the sake of allah."

in another hadith, the prophet said:

"the mu'idhin will be forgiven as far as his voice and his sight reaches; everything will agree with him. for any prayer by which people pray because of the adhan, he will have a reward. obviously, this emphasis is based on the fact that the main goal of mu'idhin is the same. that is to carry the message of islam. there are two reports about the history of adhan:

(first) that it was introduced in madina in the first year of hijra. the reason, according to this report, was that abdul alah ibn zaid ibn abd rabbah had a dream of a man holding a church bell. abdul allah wanted to buy the bell in order to announce prayer's time. then the man taught him in the dream how to perform adhan. when abdul allah woke up, he went to the prophet and the prophet agreed with what was ordered by the unknown man. see sharh al-mughni by ibn quddamma, d. 682, v. 1, p. 389, cairo 1347.

this report, however, indicates that the prophet used to pray before that dream without adhan. (second) report is that adhan and iqamah, cannot be based on a dream, rather that the messenger of allah had received it by revelation during the mi'raj (the ascension) from jerusalem after the prophet's journey from mecca which took place in mecca, 27th of rajab, after the third year of his prophethood, i.e., 613 c.e. this is the common report of ahl al-bayt. see wasil al-shi'a by al-hurr al-amili, v. 4, page 679. al shaikh al-tusi said:

"adhan is based on revelation to the prophet not on a dream." see al-mabsut, v. 1, page 95. for details also see tafsir al-ayyashi, v. 1, page 157.

what is tathweeb?

all four islamic schools of thought agree that "tathweeb" is recommended in adhan. that is to add to adhan the following sentences: "prayer is better than sleep." ibn quddama says: "then say in the morning prayer two times "prayer is better than sleep." this is recommended in the morning prayer only after saying "come to success." this is called tathweeb. it is agreed upon by ibn umar, malik, thawri, ishaq and shafi. ishaq said that this has been added by people. al-tarmidhi said "this is the tathweeb that knowledgeable people dislike." see sarh al-mughni by ibn quddama, cairo 1347. al shawkani d. 1255 says:

"itrat ahl al-bayt and al-shaffi in one of his view say that tathweeb is an innovation in islam. it is reported that when imam' ali heard it, he said: "do not add to adhan what does not belong to it." see nayl ul awtar, v.2, page 18, beirut 1973.

what is the "best deed"?

al shawkani says: "in al-ahkam that it is the fact that the sentence "haya ala khayr il amal", i.e., come to the best deed, is used to be pronounced during the life of the prophet. it was occasionally used until the time of umar. al-bahaqqi in his sunan reports by another chain that abdallah ibn umar occasionally used to say in his prayer the following sentence "come to the best deed." see nayl ul awair, beirut 1973, v.2, p. 19. ibn majah says in his work that the prophet said: "be strong and know that prayer is the best of your deeds and no one can keep up ablution but a believer." see al-sunan by ibn majah, v. 1, page 1001, cairo 1372.

zaid ibn ali reports that his father used to say in his adhan "come to the best deed." see musnad zaid, page 93, beirut.

Is the third testimony as obligatory?

to say "i bear witness that ali is the commander of faithfuls," is like other invocations during adhan such as blessing the prophet whenever his name is mentioned.

shiites adhere to this in the adhan on the basis of hadith of imam al-sadiq that whoever says there is no god but god and muhammad is the messenger of god, he should also say: "ali is the commander of the faithfuls." this hadith covers every situation including adhan. however, the shi'te jurists agree that this is not part of adhan rather it is a recommended one. thus one can omit it from adhan." al sayyid in al-urwah said: "the testimony of leadership for imam ali as the commander of the faithfuls is not part of adhan." al sayyid al-hakim in mustamsak says: "nowadays this testimony is considered a sign of faith and a motto of shi'ism. thus, it is acceptable even it might be an obligatory but not as part of adhan.

in short, shi'ah look to this testimony as sunnis look to the sentence "prayer is better than sleep" which was added to adhan after the prophet's life. thus both shi's and sunni agree that both sentences are not obligatory, rather they are recommended for the followers of each school.

furthermore, one can describe imam ali by whatever phrases he was described in hadith such as leader, commander of faithfuls, the authority. the prophet says on ali "he is the leader of every believer after me." see tarmadhi, v. 2, page 297. bulaq 1290, musnad ibn hanbal, v. 4, 37, cairo 1313, tayalisi, v. 3, page 111. hayder abad 1321.

the prophet also described ali as commander of faithfuls and last successor. see hilyatul awliya, v. 1, page 63, cairo 1351. and as the authority: "i and this [ali] are the authority." see tarikh al-khatib, v. 2, page 88, cairo 1349.

in conclusion, the report of both schools of shi'a and sunni indicates that ali was the commander of faithfuls, the authority and the leader. therefore, one can consider the third testimony a recommended one according to teachings of ahl al-bayt as it is the case of sentence "prayer is better than sleep" which is added to adhan and considered recommended according to the teachings of four sunni schools.

what are the conditions of the friday prayer?

it is an obligatory prayer, when all its condition meets. the holy qur'an says: "o those who believe when there is a call to prayer at friday, move toward remembrance of god leave your business. that is better for you if you realize." ch. jum'a, v.9. r muslim jurists have different opinions about the terms and conditions on which friday prayer becomes obligatory. hanafids necessary to perform this prayer. see al-figha ala al-madhahip, v.1, page 379.

ibn rushd says: "some jurists believe that this prayer is an obligatory only on some people not on all. malik believes, according to an old report that it is recommended-not obligatory. the reason for this difference lies behind the saying of the prophet: "this day [friday] is the day which has been made an "id." abu hanifa considers both residency and ruler, two conditions on which this prayer becomes "an obligatory." see bidayat al-mujtahid, v. 1, page 159, 162, cairo 1389.

in addition to both conditions that hanafi holds, shi's add that the leader of the prayer should be a just person. therefore, anyone cannot lead prayer. however, at the absence of the muslim ruler who rules all muslims, jum'a prayer is not obligatory according to hanafi's and majority of shi'a, though some shi'a jurists hold that it is an obligatory because there is no restriction on independent opinion in shi's school.

performance of the prayer

jum'a prayer is performed similarly to the morning prayer, however, it is recommended to recite in the first unit chapter 62 of the holy qur'an, and in the second unit chapter 63. it is an imam's duty to deliver two sermons before the prayer in which, he must offer a praise to almighty god, bless the prophet, and his house, and preach according to the need of the islamic community in particular the need of the group which follows him. the most important conditions of the friday prayer are:

  1. consent of the just ruler.

  2. the congregation prayer.

  3. the number of the group should not be less than five.

  4. the distance between two jum'a prayer should not be less than five kms.

  5. the time starts exactly at noon until the shade of everything becomes as itself.

when one of these conditions is not met, noon prayer should be performed instead. An incomplete blessing ?

one of the obligatory rites in the daily prayers is to bless the prophet and his house at the final sit in the prayer. to this fact al-shaf'i refers in his poem:

"o the people of the house of the messenger to admire you is an obligatory duty from god in the revealed qur'an. it is sufficient of your great pride that whoever does not bless you in his prayer, his prayer will not be accepted." see al-diwan by imam al-shafi'i, page 723, beirut 1392. ibn hajar in al-sawa'iq reports that the prophet said: "do not bless me with an incomplete blessing."

then, the companions said: "what is the incomplete blessing ?" the prophet said: "it is to say 'god bless muhammad then you stop. rather, you should say: o god bless muhammad and his house '" see al-sawa'iq by ibn hajar, page 146, egypt 1375. finally, we ask almighty that he help us all to perform this islamic duty which is the pillar of religion and the symbol of muslim unity.


(a.) = greeting to him or her.

ashura = 10th of muharram (1st month of islamic calendar.)

fatiha = the opening chapter of the holy qur'an. also known as sura al hamd.

hijr = the migration of prophet from mecca to madina. islam dates its calendar from this event.

jam'at = congregational prayer.

kafir = infidel.

(p.) = peace be upon him and his family.

qibla = direction of the muslim prayer towards holy ka'aba, mecca, arabia.

wadu = ablution required for ritual prayer.