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Translated By Dara Malihi posted December, 2007

Q. Is it wrong for kids to listen to music?

 A. Dealing with these situations in the extreme is almost always counterproductive. In particular, do not tell them that all music is bad, or listening to any kind of music is wrong, period!   

As you are aware, scholars, both past and present, are of the opinion that some types of music are definitely inappropriate (i.e. those containing derisive messages, those that can set the stage for indecent behavior, etc.) However, it is not true that all types of music are inherently bad.   

Therefore, instead of making a categorical statements about it, may I recommend that parents make the effort to listen to the kind music their children are interested in before deciding on whether they should be allowed to enjoy that particular style of music or not.


Q. Marriage and social classes: what is a good mix?

 A. From my own personal experience, and study of our own socio-economic landscape, I can honestly tell you that whenever marriage has taken place between too distant socio-economic backgrounds, it has generally not been very successful. The reason for it is simply that, invariably, the partner from the less-affluent social rung would quickly come to the realization that he or she would have a hard time integrating with them, hence, sooner or later finds his or her feelings shattered, as a result. So, there certainly is something to be said about the compatibility factor here.

 Insofar as our own divine religious teachings, however, we are instructed to look for 2 main characteristics in our potential mate: 1) strong sense of “DEEN” or degree of religious understanding and behavior, and 2) his or her intellectual capacity. It is, indeed, hard to imagine how a person who is both of high intellect and religiously bound can have much difficulty achieving whatever his or her desired social and economic strata are under any circumstances.

Q. Are we responsible for our dreams while asleep? 

A. The Almighty has created us with a definite need for regular daily period of rest. In fact, should we decide to rob ourselves of adequate sleep, we would surely be held accountable for it. 

In terms of having dreams while in a state of sleep, also, I have to say we are generally not responsible, since we are neither in control of them, nor do they, in the normal course of our existence, tend to control or influence our lives in any significant manner.   

In very rare circumstances, however, we could (and, this needs to be verified by experts, to be sure) have certain visions that come to us in a form of a dream, perhaps as voices of conscience. Now, those visions or thoughts, can and often do cause major changes in our lives, if heeded. Such clearly was the case with the great 11th century philosopher-poet, Naser Khosrow, who after decades of being in a business of tax collection for Seljuk kings was struck by a heavenly call in his now-famous dream one night forcing him to quit his lucrative business at once, travel to holy cities of Mecca and Medina as well as a host of other destinations whose travelogue would eventually earn him a special distinction in the annals of science, philosophy and poetry for centuries to come. Those are the only types of dream that we can be held responsible for.       


Q. How is one able to achieve greatness?

 A. In the book “Morals of the Virtuous” Imam Ali (a.s.) mentions a single distinguishing characteristics of these great men: a constant, heartfelt desire to know the Almighty and His vast creation. Because, once one gets to know Allah (s.w.t.) nothing else can distract him from focusing on getting ever closer to Him. 

 Moreover, by doing so, one cannot help but see this world as becoming ever so smaller-- much the same way as a passenger looking down from an aircraft traveling at high altitude would view great cities on Earth as being no bigger than a breadbox—and, quite possibly, just as important, too!  


Q. How can we control our anger? 

A. A human being learns from experience. Even if he finds water harmful to him, he will quit drinking it. So, I am sure if one discovers just how greatly the extent one’s anger can damage one’s reputation, image and place in the society, his common sense would dictate that he soon take every necessary precaution in order to stop it from ever happening again.   

Surely, the best way to control one’s anger is to avoid the type of conditions that one already knows can lead to his emotions getting the better of him in the first place. For example, if conditions in certain environments are such that by going there one could lose one’s nerves which could result in things getting out of hand there, it is always best to simply avoid going to that place, altogether, rather than taking such huge risk.