2. Marriage and Divorce

Q93: Civil divorce between a man and a woman is finalized according to Western laws, but the man refuses to grant shar'i divorce or provide maintenance to his wife, and refuses to accept shar'i mediation. What is the position of the wife knowing that her patience in this situation is absolutely a cause of hardship?

A: Her case should be taken to al-hakim al-shar'i or his representative who would advise the husband to abide by one of the two options -- either he provide maintenance or implement the shar'i divorce -- even if it is through a representative other than himself. If he refuses both options and it is not possible to provide maintenance for her from his property, then the hakim or his representative can divorce her. (MMS, p. 26, Q47)

Q94: Is it permissible to have a sexual relationship without a shar'i contract with women who are unbelievers from People of the Book, or without a religion, knowing that the government and state of their country are in a state of war with the Muslims, either directly or indirectly?

A: That is not permissible. (MMS, pp. 26-27, Q48)


Q95: You mentioned in a previous dialogue that masturbation is forbidden. Are the male and female alike in this ruling?

A: Yes. As it is forbidden for the man to titillate his genitalia until he ejaculates, so too it is not permissible for the woman to titillate her genitalia to orgasm. (FM, p. 431)

Q96: Certain illnesses require that the doctor may request the patient's semen for examination, and discharging it by the shar'i way is difficult because it must be discharged in the presence of the doctor.

A: If the patient is in dire need to do so, then he is allowed. (FM, pp. 431-32)

Q97: If a person desires to test his ability to have children and the doctor asks him to discharge the semen to examine it.

A: As long as he is not obliged to do that, it is not permissible for him to masturbate. (FM, p. 432)

Q98: A man cannot impregnate [sterile] and asks the doctor to determine the reason for his sterility through an examination of his sperm. The emission (of such semen) is obtained by the use of an instrument attached to his genitals and, by its movements, causes a discharge. Is this to be considered as masturbation and thus forbidden, or is it allowed for the purpose of the examination? And does it matter whether the patient is in difficulty or is acting out of necessity?

A: Yes, it is considered as masturbation. It is not allowed unless the examination requires it. It is equally so for reliance upon that except under the previous two situations [difficulty and necessity], assuming, as does your question that some definitive result can be determined from it. God knows best. (MMS, p. 14, Q11)

Sexual Fantasy

Q99: Thinking intentionally about women other than one's wife with an image in mind of having sexual intercourse, if the penis becomes erect without discharge of semen.

A: It is not prohibited if it does not lead to a forbidden act. (FM, p. 431)

Looking at non-mahram Women

Q100: These days women go out on public streets while some parts of their body that should be covered are exposed. Is it permissible to look at them without lust and sexual pleasure?

A: Yes, this is permissible if they do not desist from exposing themselves if asked to do so. (FM, p. 430)

Mixed Swimming Pools

Q101: Is a Muslim permitted to go to mixed swimming pools [men and women] without a suspicious motive, especially when they (women) remove the dress of modesty from themselves and would not desist if asked to do so?

A: Although looking without a suspicious motive and lust at those who are scantily dressed and would not desist if asked to do so is permissible, presence in these places of moral depravity is absolutely not permissible based on precaution. (MMS, p. 25, Q45)

Statues, Portraits and Films

Q102: Is it permissible to make a statue in the shape of a human being or an animal?

A: [No, it is not permissible]. (FM, p. 410)

Q103: What about drawing of human or animal portraits that are not three-dimensional?

A: It is permissible. (FM, p. 410)

Q104: What about buying and selling statues of human beings and animals, and displaying them for decoration?

A: It is permissible as well. (FM, p. 410)

Q105: Some students of the faculty of fine arts study sculpturing and similar things relating to corporeal objects of creation that possess souls. If they refuse to participate in making them, then they will be prevented from passing and graduating from the faculty. Is it permissible for them to do that?

A: Being denied success if they abandon it (i.e. refuse to participate in this activity) is not an appropriate justification for committing this act [which is forbidden by shari'ah]. (FM, p. 434)

Q106: Stuffing animals and placing them in the reception area or the living room for the purpose of decoration.

A: It is permissible (FM, p. 412)

Q107: Is it permissible to hang portraits of the Prophet (S), and Imams (a.s.) in the house? Is it correct to believe that they are their (a.s.) pictures?

A: It is permissible to hang them. But to believe that they (portraits) are in accordance with them (a.s.) is certainly a wrong belief. (FM, p. 418)

Q108: Some directors release historical films about the Prophet (S) or the Imams (a.s.). Is it permissible to represent the noble Prophet (S) before the people in his role as the Prophet (S), or to represent the Imam (a.s.) in his role as the Imam (a.s.)? If the answer is in the affirmative, is it necessary for the one representing them to be a believer (mu'min)?

A: It is permissible to represent them (a.s.) provided that it does not impugn their noble station and sacred personalities -- be it in the future -- in the eyes of the people. It is quite likely that the attributes and characteristics of the one playing the role will have some influence in this. (FM, pp. 418-19)


Q109: Giving a film, to a non-mahram man for developing and printing, that contains pictures of women who observe hijab but are unveiled (in the photos).

A: This is permissible if the one who will develop and print the pictures does not know the women pictured in the film, and such pictures are not suggestive or will not cause any attraction. (FM, p. 420)

Q110: Is she allowed to have a picture of herself taken without the hijab to place on a passport, for example?

A: If she is forced to place the uncovered picture on her passport or other official documents, then it is permissible. But, the one who takes her picture must be her husband or her mahram. However, should the need arise, it is permissible for her to have the picture taken by a non-mahram photographer. (FM, p. 420)

Q111: How about a woman who comes out in public and the upper part of her feet are exposed to the sight of non-mahram?

A: This is not permissible for her. (FM, p. 430)

Q112: Some husbands who are not religiously committed demand that their wives neglect prayers, remove the hijab, serve alcoholic beverages to guests, participate in gambling games, shake hands with guests, etc., forcing them (wives) to do it if they refuse. Is it permissible for the wife to leave his house in order to preserve her shar'i obligatory duties?

A: Yes, it is permissible for the wife to leave his house at that time to the extent required by the circumstances, and in spite of that, she is entitled to full maintenance. (FM, p. 427)

Q113: A woman faithfully observes the hijab but her husband prevents her from this and gives her a choice between abandoning the hijab and divorce.

A: It is not permissible for her to abandon her hijab even if the matter ends in divorce. (FM, pp. 427-28)

Q114: But divorce would entail for some of them (women) great difficulty, distress and hardship.

A: She should endure the difficulty and hardship, and recollect His saying, the Exalted: "...and whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah, He will make for him an outlet, and give him sustenance from whence he thinks not..." (Qur'an, 65:2-3). (FM, p. 428)


Q115: Some men shave their beard and leave some hair on the chin alone. Is this sufficient by the shari'ah?

A: [It is not sufficient]. (FM, p. 434)


Q116: It is normal these days for a woman to put on mascara and make-up, wear rings, necklaces and bracelets for beauty and then go out in front of people in the markets and streets.

A: This is not permissible for her except for mascara and rings provided that she is safe from falling into forbidden activities and does not intend by it to excite non-mahram men. (FM, p. 430)

Q117: Is it permissible for a woman to go out of her house for some errands perfumed, with the fragrance of her perfume reaching non-mahram men?

A: She ought not do that. It is not permissible if it tempts a non-mahram man or normally causes him excitement. (FM, p. 439)

Miscellaneous Rulings Pertaining to Women

Q118: Is it permissible for a woman to learn to drive a car with a non-mahram man, which necessitates being alone with him and going with him to places appropriate for practice, when these places are normally free from traffic?

A: This is permissible for her provided that she is safe from falling into a forbidden activity. (FM, pp. 419-20)

Q119: Is it permissible for a woman to look at the parts of the body of another woman between the waist and knees with the exception of the anterior and the posterior?

A: Yes this is permissible for her if there is no physical excitement. (FM, p. 428)

Q120: Embracing and kissing of women among themselves at airports, on public streets, in parks and at markets.

A: Embracing and kissing of women among themselves is permissible provided that it does not lead to a forbidden act. (FM, p. 430)

Q121: Does all fluid which issues forth from a woman during the state of passion or sexual arousal require performance of ghusl for her? Or are there distinguishing characteristics for it as some ulama have indicated? Does her ghusl exempt her from performing wudu'?

A: It is obligatory for her to perform ghusl when the fluid is discharged in a state of passion without regard to other characteristics -- like languor -- and it exempts her from wudu'. God knows best. (MMS, p. 20, Q27)

Q122: Is it permissible for a Muslim woman to display her hair in front of a non-Muslim woman?

A: That is permissible, but it is discouraged (makruh) if it is highly probable that she (non-Muslim) will describe the beauty of the Muslim woman to her husband. (MMS, p. 35, Q71)

Q123: Following the death of a beloved, women wear black as a sign of grief and beat their faces, chests, etc. Is that permissible?

A: Yes, that is permissible. (FM, p. 439)