The Building of Shrines
The Sh:!a believe that it is permissible to erect building around the tombs and that it is recommended to build mosques and domes and shrines around the graves of the Prophet (N), the Pure Imams (a.s.), the faithful Companions of the Prophet (N), and the great Islamic personalities. Indeed, this is considered to be one of the best ways of drawing near to Almighty Alla>h. This is part of what is meant by Alla>h’s words: eAnd whoever magnifies the symbols of Alla>h it is surely of the piety of the heartsf173, and also his words regarding the youths of the cave: eAnd those who prevailed over their affair said: we shall surely build over them a place of worshipf174 This is also confirmed by traditions.
Building over tombs and graves was practiced by Muslims throughout the generations from the beginning of Islam, and the grave of the Prophet (N) in the holy city of Medina and the graves of the Imams (a.s.) and those of the righteous scholars in various Islamic lands are the best testimony to this.175
The Visiting of Graves
The Sh:!a believe that is permissible, rather, meritorious to visit graves. This is because the practise of visiting graves provides a lesson for those who wish to take heed or fear Alla>h. There are many traditions on this subject.176 Women and the Visiting of Graves The Sh:!a also believe that it is religiously recommended for women to enter the graveyard of Baq:! or other graves of Prophets, Imams, and righteous persons since women are equal to men in divine law except where there is a clear evidence to the contrary. In this case there is no evidence to the contrary and in fact the evidence points to it being permissible.177 Prayer in the cemetery of Baqi!
The Sh:!a also believe that prayer in the cemetery of Baq:! or in the resting places of the Prophets or Imams and righteous persons is religiously recommended in Islam and that there is no evidence for the prohibition of this.178 Almighty Alla>h has said in the story of the people of the cave: eWe shall surely make over them a prayer placef179
Weeping and Mourning for Imam Husayn
The Sh:!a believe in the permissibility, indeed, the merit of weeping for the tribulations of the Prophet (N) and his pure family (a.s.) and it is for this reason that they hold mourning ceremonies particularly for the martyred Imam .usayn ibn !Ali ibn Ab: ھ"lib (a.s.). The Prophet (N) ordered Muslims to weep for his uncle .amza the martyr of the battle of U9ud180, and he also wept for Imam .usayn before his martyrdom.181 This has been a normal practice for Muslims since the advent of Islam.
No to Slandering and Excommunication
The Sh:!a, then, in all these aforementioned matters have religiously legal and rational evidences which are mentioned in the detailed books which have been printed and are distributed in all Islamic countries. So we ask why is there, from some quarters, slandering of the Imami Sh:!a and attributing impiety and unbelief to them? A Muslim should not call another an unbeliever or impious or slander him or her simply because of differences in legal opinion. Rather, one should try to understand the evidences of the other party and its sources for religious rulings. In our opinion, Muslims should use their energies to unite and combat the enemies of Islam and rescue their lands from the pillagers, rather than false accusations of impiety and infidelity.
Mandatory Duties and Islamic Laws
The Sh:!a believe that it is necessary to establish prayer (s}ala>h), and fasting (s}awm), and to pay the mandatory tithes (khums) and alms (zaka>h), and to make the .ajj pilgrimage, and to struggle in the way of Alla>h (jiha>d), and to enjoin the good and forbid the evil, and to be allied with the friends of Alla>h (tawalli), and to be disassociated with the enemies of Alla>h (tabarri), and to fulfil all the mandatory acts, and abstain from all prohibited acts, and to keep away from vices and develop virtues. They believe that it is mandatory to implement all laws of Islam in all areas: acts of worship, social contracts, judiciary, testimonies, criminal punishments, reparations and all the other laws which are recorded in the books of Islamic jurisprudence and which come to almost one hundred thousand laws.
They also believe that all individual and social affairs should be consistent with Islam, in politics and economics, state and nation, morals and etiquettes, social interaction, marriage and divorce, crime and punishment and so forth.
The Sh:!a believe that it is incumbent to adopt virtuous morals and Islamic etiquettes and avoid ugly traits and religiously prohibited things. This is their habit and practice. Islamic morals are all those things which Islam promotes or makes mandatory such as truthfulness, trustworthiness, modesty, chastity, bravery, generosity, activity, action, good morals, spreading peace, solving disputes, amiability, brotherhood, abstinence and the like. Ugly traits are those which Islam warns against either by considering them to be undesirable or prohibited such as lying, backbiting, betrayal, bad character, laziness, drunkenness, eating prohibited things, usury, theft, adultery, sodomy, hoarding, causing corruption, miserliness, cowardice, immodest dress, improper singing, slander, inactivity and so forth. Morals are a way to orient the behaviour of a person which have been set down by Alla>h by making virtuous qualities such as truthfulness, reliability, and steadfastness recommended and keeping away from base qualities such as lying, betrayal and deviation.
The Single Nation
The Sh:!a believe that the Muslims – despite differences in schools of thought and their many different factions – are a single nation and that they are brothers in faith. Almighty Alla>h has said in the Qurv"n: eYou are the best nation brought out for the peoplef182 He has also said: eAnd you became, by the blessing of Alla>h, brothersf183 And he has said: eIndeed the believers are brothers, so make peace between your two brothersf184 Any attempt to bring about disunity between them in the name of minorities, nationalisms or sectarianism and the like is not permissible either religiously or rationally. The Sh:!a believe that differences in the ‘branches’ of religion between Islamic sects which arise out of differences in legal opinion, providing that the jurist-consult observes and adheres to the Qurv"n and the traditions, are no cause for disunity amongst the Islamic nation.
They also believe that it is incumbent to exert all efforts to unite Muslims under the banner of the Holy Qurv"n and the purified sunnah (or traditions) and that any legal ruling which is not derived from these two sources is false and should be rejected. It is also necessary to consolidate all energies to propagate Islam in the east and the west, and to raise it to the level of implementation. In this regard, as a prelude to that, it is necessary to:
Educate Muslims comprehensively in matters of religion and worldly affairs until they have a general awareness which leads in turn to a general opinion.
Cultivate Islamic intellectuals which move towards ongoing constructive action for the Islamic nation.
Co-ordinate efforts on various levels to move towards a common goal in the light of a single system.
Found Islamic institutions on the widest possible scale whether these be cultural, social, educational etc. These should be places for spreading light and coming together.
Industrialisation of Islamic lands with light and heavy industry so that they can be self-sufficient. Almighty Alla>h has said: eAnd to Allah belongs honour and to His Messenger and to the believersf185 The Prophet (N) said: ‘Islam should be above all and nothing should be above it.’186
Cleaning up Society
The Sh:!a believe that it is necessary to cleanse society from the evil and harmful things which have been prohibited by Islam such as intoxicants, singing, gambling, adultery, usury, hoarding, fraud, theft, murder and other things which have been prohibited in the Qurv"n and the traditions. They believe that rulers and people should combine their efforts to do away with these things, as Allah has said: eYou are the best nation brought out for the people, you enjoin the good and forbid the evilf187
Restoring the Glory of Islam
The Sh:!a believe that it is necessary, and possible, to restore the glory of Islam in society. Indeed Alla>h has promised this: eAlla>h has promised those who have faith amongst ye and do good works that He will surely make them successors in the land as he made those before them successors and he will establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them and He will replace their fear with security. They will worship Me and not associate anything with Mef188 However, this is conditional upon true faith and good works and among these good works is amiability, and avoiding disunity, and struggling in the way of Alla>h with one’s wealth and by word and deed. Whenever these conditions are fulfilled – faith and good deeds – the result promised by Alla>h will surely come about.
Invitation to Islam
The Sh:!ah believe that it is necessary to invite the people of the east and the west to Islam as Almighty Alla>h has said: eAnd let there be amongst you a nation who invites to the good and enjoins what is proper and forbids what is reprehensible. They are indeed the successful onesf189 The guidance of a single person to Islam is better in the sight of Allah than what is in the entire world as the Prophet of Islam has said.190
It is necessary then to form institutions, collect donations, send out missionaries, distribute books, and counter the attacks of the enemies of Islam both within and outside Islamic lands.
Awakening the Muslims
The Sh:!a believe that it is the duty of every Muslim individual, according to the words of the Prophet (N): ‘Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock’191, to work to awaken the Muslims so that they become the leaders of the world as they were previously. This is possible, indeed easy if the required effort is spent. Muslims have a number of advantages including large fertile populations, a strategic region, great wealth, healthy methodologies, and a strong, progressive way of life. If they were to, as a whole, make faith all encompassing, cleanse society of inappropriate things which Islam has forbidden, ensure freedoms, open the door of deriving legal opinions from the sources - the Qurv"n, the traditions, consensus and reason and make these four the only source of legislation, make the basis of government consultative with the just jurists who have knowledge of worldly affairs and the exigencies of the time, and bring back the idea of Islamic brotherhood as opposed to nationalism, sectarianism, or parochialism etc.
then the Muslims would return to power in the twinkling of an eye by the will of Allah. Almighty Alla>h has said: eIf you assist Alla>h He will assist you and He will make your feet firm.