Dancing is a natural behavior in many cultures; a way of showing happiness or sometimes sadness. In a theory raised by me! the release of energy by moving our body is dancing. But in a theory raised by a scholar "dance refers to a rhythmic movement of the body, usually for entertainment" . Now, let us take both of these definitions into consideration and see what kind of dancing in Islam is forbidden (Haram).
In the view of some Islamic scholars, it is not permissible for women to dance anywhere in any ceremony irrespective of whether it is a wedding or a birthday ceremony except for a woman's dancing for her husband.
In expanding the above ruling, it has been said that “there is no problem in dancing in itself. However, if dancing entails sexual excitation or committing a forbidden (Haram) act like listening to forbidden (Haram) music, or it is in the presence of non-mahram men, it is forbidden (Haram). And it does not make a difference as to the various types of music. Generally speaking, if dancing is done in a sexually exciting manner, and lead to the commission of a forbidden act, or involves a bad effect, or if it is happening in front of a non-Mahram it is forbidden (Haram)” .
If a woman dances for her husband or vice-versa, and the dancing is not accompanied by a forbidden (Haram) act, there is no problem in it .
In mixed parties where men and women are sitting together, the dance of men or women in front of others is forbidden. Some think that it is OK if men dance in front of women. But in fact, it is forbidden (Haram) for a man to dance. Dance of women in front of men and any dancing which may entail a bad effect and arousal of sexual desires are forbidden (Haram). Playing music and listening to it is also unlawful (Haram) if it is done in a lahwi, enrapturing manner.
No matter if men or women who are dancing together or in front of others are of their unmarriageable kin (maḥrams) of the opposite sex. What is forbidden about dancing is general, i.e., regardless of whether it is done by a man, a woman, or in the presence of one’s marriageable kin (non-maḥram) or unmarriageable kin (maḥram) .
Dance of women for women is permitted (Halal) if it is not done in a sexually exciting manner and does not lead to the commission of a forbidden act, nor entails a bad effect. However, it is forbidden (Haram) to attend a dance party if it is considered as accepting the forbidden (Haram) act of others or leads to committing a forbidden (Haram) act. Otherwise, there is no harm in it. Dance of a woman for other women is forbidden if her husband does not allow her to do so.
Some people think that the rulings of dancing do not apply to wedding parties as it is just one happy night. But there is no difference between a wedding party and other occasions. Dancing with music is forbidden (Haram) .
In the case of wedding parties, the dance of women in front of women is not forbidden (Haram) under the conditions mentioned above.
As mentioned before, by obligatory caution, it is forbidden (Haram) for men to dance.
Here we discuss the point of releasing energy by moving the body. Is it forbidden (Haram)?
If the movements of the body do not meet the criteria of forbidden (Haram) dance, and if it is not accompanied by forbidden (Haram) music, there is no problem in dancing in private or in groups of women for fitness. However, we have to make sure that such dancing is not happening in front of CCTV cameras or filmed by people who may show it to non-mahrams.
Aerobics and other sports that are based on rhythmic music are permissible if the music is not forbidden (Haram). If music does not cause ecstasy, there is no objection to it. The duty-bound (mukallaf) himself should distinguish whether the music is lahwi or not .
Establishing centers for teaching and promoting dancing goes against the objectives of the Islamic system and it is impermissible by obligatory caution .
- Sayyid Mujtaba Husseini, Questions and Answers by Students (Rules regarding Music), pg. 84
- Ayatullah Makarem-Shirazi, jurisprudential expressions, http://portal.anhar.ir/node/409#gsc.tab=0
- Sayyid Mas'ud Ma'sumi, Rules regarding Man-Woman Relationships, pg. 219
- Tawzih al-Masail (with annotations by Imam Khomeini), vol.2, pg. 970
- dance in Islam
- Dance infront of non Mahrams
Making pilgrimage to Karbala, where Imam Hussain (AS) and his loyal companions were bravely martyred, takes one of the highest places in a Shia’s wish list. All around the year, Karbala hosts the pilgrims who want to visit the holy shrine of Imam Hussain (AS). But the pilgrimage in Arbaeen is different.
“Arbaeen” takes place forty days later than “Ashura”. “Arbaeen pilgrimage” is actually one of the largest annual public gathering in the whole world. Millions of Shias and Sunnis or even many Christians, Yazidis and other faiths with various nationalities participate in this grand religious ceremony and gather from all around the world in the city of Karbala. A remarkable number of them takes this trip on foot and walks from Najaf to Karbala (approximately 80 kilometers).
Many Muslims try so hard to make it to Karbala on Arbaeen and many Iraqis do their best to serve the pilgrims. During these days, copious amount of food, water, as well as small medical facilities which is run by GPs and specialists, and tents for resting are available along the route and in the cities where the pilgrims stay and visit. These services are all provided free by the native people.
Considering this large number of pilgrims and the great amount of money and time that is spent for this pilgrimage, this question may pop into many minds: What is it for?
Many goals and reasons can be mentioned for why we _Shias_ take this trip and go to the Karbala. In this text, we mention one of these reasons which is of great importance.
Among the many goals of the “Arbaeen walk” ceremony, introducing Imam Hussain (AS) to the whole world seems to be the most significant one. The public gathering of Arbaeen gives us a precious opportunity to make people get to know Imam Hussain’s personality (AS) and understand his message. This unprecedented and unique event that happens only once a year can be so attractive for people around the world who yearn for finding the truth.
Arbaeen ceremony is a unique event in which people and society go through a huge change, which isn’t seen in any other part of the world. Millions of people gathering in three or four Iraqi cities in about twelve days just for visiting the holy shrines can be a disaster to any other similar countries, but Iraqi people host this ceremony without any difficulties. In these days unlike other times, money loses its meaning. For maintaining peace and discipline, people themselves are enough and there’s not much need for police forces. People won’t be hungry, homeless or harmed by any person. In these days, people are even braver compared to other days, because they dare to face many problems and dangers that are otherwise intolerable. Even when the ISIS was in Iraq threatening the pilgrims, millions of people participated in this ceremony (1).
In this regard Imam Sadiq (AS) says:
O God! Our enemies frowned on their journey and threatened them, but it didn’t stop our followers from getting up and departing towards us in spite of the enemy’s opinion (2).
When people around the world observe this great exhibition, they understand the truth about Islam and Shi’ism which the terrorists like ISIS tried to taint.
Furthermore, Arbaeen walk offers the whole humanity a glimpse at Islam’s suggested life style and civilized society: A society with no war, no poverty, hunger, and no discrimination.
As said before, introducing Imam Hussain (AS) is the most significant objective of this grand ceremony. The importance of this purpose lies in the fact that introducing Imam Hussain (AS) and his message is actually introducing our only awaited Imam, Imam Mahdi (As) to the whole humanity. By telling people who is Imam Hussain (AS), we are actually making people familiar with the Shia Imams and the massage of this faith. Shias believe their Imams are all like each other and they seek one goal, which is spreading the peaceful message of Islam to the whole world. This is actually the essential message of Islam, too. The Holy Quran says:
It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the true religion, that He may make it prevail over all religions, and Allah suffices as witness (48:28)
Certainly We sent Our messengers with manifest proofs, and We sent down with them the Book and the Balance, so that mankind may maintain justice (57:25)
Imam Mahdi (AS) is the last Imam who is destined to carry out this mission and we, as his followers, are obliged to raise awareness about His mission and himself. When people understand the message of Imam Hussain (AS) they actually understand Imam Mahdi’s message (AS) since there is no difference between them. The Holy Prophet (PBUH & HP) says:
Allah almighty created me and my Household [the twelve Imams] from one same light (3)Imam Sadiq (AS) also says:
There is always a justful successor among us who defend the religion against the falsification of the extremists, plagiarism of the disbelievers and the wrong understanding of the fools. (4)
According to the prophecies about the last Imam (AS) when he arrives and introduces himself to the people, all the world hears his voice in their language at the same time. Then, Imam Mahdi (AS) introduces himself as the descendant of Imam Hussain (AS):
O people of the world! Indeed my grand ancestor Hussain (AS) was killed while he was thirsty, O people of the world! Indeed he was left on the earth with no cloth, O people of the world! Indeed he was beaten so hard out of animosity (5)
Clearly, when people hear this voice, must know who is Hussain (AS); so, it’s our duty to make them familiar with him.
- this ceremony
- Thavab al-A’mal, Sheikh Saduq, Pg.94
- Avalim al-Olum, al-Bahrani, Vol.15, Pg.155
- Kafi, Koleini, Vol.1, Pg.32
- Ilzam an-Nasib, Al-Yazdi al-Haeri, Vol.2, Pg.233
Although all social systems try to conceal poverty from their society, poverty has always been an important challenge in different societies. Poor people have always existed in the world throughout history.
Some people may not like to give charity to others. Since they think that giving charity to the poor will make them more useless and will make the view of the society unpleasant. At the time of the prophet (PBUH), the same way of thinking existed. Concerning that, this verse of the holy Quran was revealed: “When they are told, ‘Spend out of what Allah has provided you,’ the faithless say to the faithful, ‘Shall we feed [someone] whom Allah would feed if He wished? You are only in manifest error.” (36: 47)
Quran uses different words while it encourages people to give charity. Mostly used words are as follows: Infaq, Zakat, Sadaqa.
Infaq is the general word that is used for granting something to others. This is not necessarily money. Infaq includes any kind of help that we provide for those who do not have it. For example, teaching something to someone who does not have the knowledge. Or even spreading positive feelings in different gatherings that make others feel better is a kind of charity . But sadaqa refers to those kinds of donations that are material (not spiritual).
In the Quran, it is repeatedly recommended that believers should give charity to ascend the steps of spirituality; “You will never attain piety until you spend out of what you hold dear, and whatever you may spend on anything, Allah indeed knows it.” (3: 92)
Giving Alms-tax (zakat) and Infaq are always followed by the order to pray the obligatory prayers. This shows the importance of this social act; “And establish prayer and give zakah, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah. Indeed, Allah of what you do is Seeing.” (Quran 2:110)
It is so important that Allah says in the Quran “Spend in the way of Allah and do not cast yourselves with your own hands into destruction” (2: 195). The destruction that is mentioned here can be the social consequences of the capitalist system.
There are two major types of charity in Islam. These are obligatory charity and voluntary charity.
As its name shows voluntary charity is any kind of charity or almsgiving that are not obligatory for people, but they intend to pay it out to help the needy. Those who give voluntary charity are not necessarily wealthy people. But they share whatever they have, even if not that worthy, with those who may need them too.
Obligatory charities are known as Alms-tax (Zakat), khums and Kaffarah. They are not compulsory for all Muslims unless they meet the necessary criteria to pay them.
“A person will be obliged to pay Zakat if he is grown-up, of sound mind and in possession of something… The amount of money that should be paid depends on the kind of the material through which Zakat has become obligatory; these are two kinds of metal- gold, and silver-, four grains- barley, wheat, date, and raisin- as well as three kinds of animal - cow, sheep, and camel.”
“Khums becomes obligatory in seven cases, but the one which is inscribed to income is considered as the most salient kind. In this case, one has to pay one-fifth of what has remained from his income after subtracting his own expenses on the exact date that he has paid Khums in the previous year.”
Kaffarah or Fidya is the penalty imposed by Islamic law for those who commit a sin or make a mistake and wish to make it up. Kaffarah is used in the following cases:
If someone breaks his/her obligatory fast (Sawm)
If someone breaks an oath
If someone makes some specific mistakes in his/her pilgrimage (Hajj)
If someone kills a person
Allah orders Muslims to pay their penalty for their mistakes by donating to the needy. This shows the importance and the value of helping the poor.
Giving charity ‘saves the society from destruction’ (2: 195) and causes the ‘enhancement in one’s wealth’ (2: 261). Those who give charity in the way of God ‘will have no fear, nor will they grieve.’(2: 274)
Some people pay charity as a means of ‘nearness to Allah and the blessing of the prophet,’ and Allah assures them that “it shall indeed bring them nearness, and Allah will admit them into His mercy.” (9:99)
And Allah (SWT) emphasizes that “And neither do they incur any expense, big or small, nor do they cross any valley, but it is written to their account, so that Allah may reward them by the best of what they used to do.” (9: 121)
Allah (SWT) mentions in the Quran, that the reason for which He made some people wealthy and some poor, is to test His servants; “It is He who has made you successors on the earth, and raised some of you in rank above others so that He may test you in respect to what He has given you.” (6: 165) He would test His servants to see if the rich would help the poor and try to erase poverty from the society. This wealth does not necessarily refer to material properties, but it also includes social or political position.
The reason for which Muslims should give different types of charity is mentioned in the Quran; “… so that they do not circulate among the rich among you.” (59: 7). In other words, God orders you to give charity so that unlike capitalist systems, the wealth of the society does not become the property of some particular people.
Allah mentions in different verses of the Holy Quran that whatever we have is from Him, and He can take it back anytime. Quran describes the story of two men “for each of whom We had made two gardens of vines, and We had surrounded them with date palms and placed crops between them.” One of them becomes proud of what he has and says to his companion “I have more wealth than you and am stronger with respect to numbers… I do not think that this will ever perish”.
As a result of his pride and arrogance “ruin closed in on his produce, and he began to wring his hands for what he had spent on it, as it lay fallen on its trellises. He was saying, ‘I wish I had not ascribed any partner to my Lord.” (18: 32-43)
- Tafseer-e nemoone, Hadid, 7