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9320-1: Paying khoms on student loans and scholarships

Q: College students receive financial aid, which is not considered to be a form of income. Thus, it is simply an agreement between the student and the government, a sort of financial contract in which the student agrees to pay back the money when he has matriculated and has the wherewithal to do so. Granted the above noted stipulations, is it incumbent for the student to pay khoms on his property during this period? What happens if the student occasionally engages in work such as tutoring, etc. and earns an income?

A: Bismehi Ta’aala: Financial aid granted by the government to the student is not subject to khoms. If a student earns enough money that some is left over at the end of the year from tutoring and similar activities, then khoms is due.

9320-2: Paying khoms on a mortgage loan

Q: To the extent that a person borrows a sum necessary to purchase a private dwelling, will khoms be incumbent on him?

A: Bismehi Ta’aala: Whether one’s savings account is for living expenses or not, once the year has passed, khoms is due on it.

9320-3: Physical contact with non-Muslims

Q: Studying in the West necessitates contact and association with the unbelievers (kuffar). For example, a professor or other people invite a person to a social gathering. To decline [on religious grounds of not mixing with the kuffar] will be misunderstood, with the possibility of giving a negative impression (of Islam and oneself). In such a situation, what is the ruling on consuming food that has come in contact with them (on the condition of observing and avoiding all haram ingredients, such as non-Islamically slaughtered meat, etc. . .)? What is the ruling if there is a possibility in coming in (physical) contact with them?

A: Bismehi Ta’aala: The mere possibility of coming in contact with the moisture of an unbeliever’s hand is not sufficient to avoid them, because if you don’t have certainty of having come in contact [with their moisture], the ruling is to consider them pure (taher). If the kafir is from the ahl al-ketab (the Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians and Sabians), then there is no ruling of inherent impurity (nejaasa), and to touch the moisture of their hand does not impart impurity.

9320-4: Participating in university social functions where both alcohol and halal food are served

Q: In the collegiate environment [in the West], it is common practice (‘oref) for students and professors to get together for various occasions. In these gatherings, along with alcoholic beverages, halal food and drink is also served for the Muslim students. Now, it is certainly not obligatory to attend these gatherings, but to not attend may cause misunderstanding and lead to difficulties. On the other hand, attending such gatherings may create a positive impression of Muslims when they see us not consuming alcoholic beverages. Thus, with reference to the above explanation, what is the ruling on participating in such gatherings?

A: Bismehi Ta’aala: It is not permissible to participate in gatherings in which alcohol is consumed, nor is it permissible to adopt stances and explanations of dissimulation (taqiyyeh) of religious beliefs and divine responsibilities (takalif-e shar’i). This should not lead to any difficulty, God willing.

9320-5: Eating baked goods with uncertainty to the origin of the shortening

Q: Certain goods that are purchased at the store, such as sweet breads, are made with shortening which may be of vegetable or animal origin. If it is not indicated which type of shortening was used, and it is possible that either one was used, is it permissible to consume such a food?

A: Bismehi Ta’aala: Granted the above noted supposition, the ruling is that the food is pure and pardonable, and there is no problem in consuming it.

9320-6: Eating fish and canned fish when the presence of scales is not known

Q: There are some fish and canned fish in which it is not precisely known [to the consumer] whether or not scales are present (and hence permissible to eat). What is the ruling on such items?

A: Bismehi Ta’aala: As supposed above, the ruling is that it is, on the surface of things, pardonable to eat it.

9320-7: Permissibility of eating crab, clams, and mussels

Q: What is the ruling on the identification and permissibility of certain seafood such as crab, clam, and mussel?

A: With the exception of scale-bearing fish and shrimp, all sea creatures, what ever they may be, are haram meats.

9320-8: Eating food in a restaurant prepared by non-Muslims

Q: Is it permissible to eat food prepared in a non-Muslim restaurant when it is not clear if a kafir has touched the food while preparing it? In general, what is the ruling regarding food prepared by a kafir? Is one of the necessary criteria actually seeing a kafir prepare the food?

A: Bismehi Ta’aala: Further contact of food by the hand of a kafir from the ahl al-ketab (i.e. the Jews and Christians) does not cause it to be najis (ritually impure). Preparation or contact of food by the kuffar other than the ahl al-ketab, until definitively proven, is also not najis.

9320-9: Children in daycare playing with non-Muslims and eating their food

Q: If a (Muslim) child is in a (non-Muslim) daycare or kindergarten, may they eat the food that is served there if nothing in it is haram? Just how important is it for a child to avoid touching or coming in contact with the non-Muslim children?

A: Bismehi Ta’aala: There is no problem in eating their food if there are no haram components. The ruling regarding coming in contact with the kuffar was given above (ruling  9320-3).

9320-10: Staying in hotels and houses used by Buddhists

Q: Where we live, the majority of people are Buddhists. What is the ruling on purifying and cleaning a house that a (Muslim) student wishes to rent (from a Buddhist)? Is it necessary to purify and clean such a place? Please note that most of the house and its furniture are made of wood and it is not possible to purify such items. What is the ruling on staying in their hotels and guesthouses and using the appliances there in.

A: Bismehi Ta’aala: Until you obtain certainty of the wet hand or body of a kafar or non-ahl al-ketab coming in contact with such things, it is not ruled as najis (ritually impure). In the absence of certainty, it is not necessary to purify the hotel room or guesthouse that you are staying in. Rather, in a state of having moisture on the body, it is necessary to avoid coming in contact with these things while eating, drinking, and praying.

9320-11: Observing property rights of the non-Muslims in a non-Muslim city

Q: What is the ruling regarding observing the public and private property rights of the kuffar in a kafar city, by way of example, using certain facilities for educational purposes in a manner which is beyond the bounds of normal usage and permissibility?

A: Bismehi Ta’aala: It is of the utmost importance to strictly observe all public and private property rights. There is no difference between a kafar city and a Muslim one, or between kafar or Muslim possessions. In general, the usage and consumption of property in an impermissible way is a usurpation, and hence, haram.

9320-12: Brothers from different schools of jurisprudence leading each other in prayer

Q: Where we are, Muslims from all the various Sunni countries of the umma meet for group and Friday prayers. It is a very effective means of fostering brotherhood and unity among the various Muslims. However, most of the time, the prayers are led by laymen, and sometimes, by brothers not known to us. What is the ruling on saying prayers behind such people (as Shiites)? Is it necessary to repeat those prayers? If a Iranian (i.e. Shiite) is asked the lead the prayer (for a majority Sunni group) may he accept?

A: Bismehi Ta’aala: It is not a problem to prayer behind them. And if the group or Friday prayer is said out of a spirit of toleration, and to strengthen the ranks of the Muslims and present a front of solidarity, than that prayer is correct and permissible. There is no problem for an Iranian to accept an offer to lead the Friday prayer.

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