Islam, the Luminous Way of Life

Book ID

In the Name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful

قرشی، باقرشریف، 1926- م

Qarashi, Baqir Sharif

الاسلام منهج مشرق للحیاة . انگلیسی.

Islam, the Luminous Way of Life \ Author: Baqir Shareef Al-Qarashi ; Project supervisor: Translation Unit, Cultural Affairs Department, the Ahl al-bayt (‘a) World Assembly ; Translator Translation Group .- Qum: The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly , 2016. 319 P.



فهرست نویسی بر اساس اطلاعات فیپا

اسلام -- بررسی و شناخت. الف. گروه ترجمه، مترجم. ب . مجمع جهانی اهل بیت (ع). اداره ترجمه. ج. الاسلام منهج مشرق للحیاة. انگلیسی. د. عنوان.

1394 504952الف 4ق / 11BP 07/297

Title: Islam, the Luminous Way of Life

Author: Baqir Shareef Al-Qarashi

Project supervisor: Translation Unit, Cultural Affairs Department Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly (ABWA)

Translator: Translation Group

Editor: Abuzar Ahmadi

Revised by: Badr Shahin

Proofreader: Rababeh Ghulami

Publisher: The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly

First Printing: 2016

Printed by: Mojab

Copies: 1,000

ISBN: 978-964-529-748-8

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly (ABWA)

All rights reserved.

Alley No. 6, Jumhuri Blvd., Qum, Iran,

Tel: 0098-25-32131221

No. 228, Keshavarz Blvd., Tehran, Iran,

Tel: 0098-21-88970171

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قَالَ اللهُ تَعَالَی:

إِنَّمَا یُرِیدُ اللَّهُ لِیُذْهِبَ عَنْکُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ وَیُطَهِّرَکُمْ تَطْهِیرًا

Indeed, Allah desires to repel all impurity from you, O People of the Household, and purify you with a thorough purification. (Surah al-Ahzab 33:33)

The most authoritative books on Hadith and Tafsir (Qur'anic exegesis), amongst both Sunni and Shi‛ah sources, cite Prophetic traditions that confirm verse 33:33 as being exclusively revealed in relation to the five who were ‘covered by the Cloak’; namely Muhammad, ‛Ai, Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn, (peace be upon them), to whom the term ‘Ahl al-Bayt’ (People of the House) is specifically attributed.

For instance, refer to the following reference books:

(1) Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241 AH), al-Musnad, 1:331; 4:107; 6:292, 304. (2) Sahih Muslim (d. 261 AH), 7:130. (3) Al-Tirmidhi (d. 279 AH), Sunan, 5:361 et al. (4) Al-Dulabi (d. 310 AH), al-Dhurriyyah al-Tahirah al-Nabawiyyah, p. 108. (5) Al-Nassa'i (d. 303 AH), al-Sunan al-Kubra 5:108, 113. (6) al-Hakim al-Naysaburi (d. 405 AH), al-Mustadrak ‛ala al-Sahihayn 2:416, 3:133, 146, 147. (7) al-Zarkashi (d. 794 AH), al-Burhan, pp. 197. (8) Ibn Hajar al-‛Asqalani (d. 852), Fath al-Bari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, 7:104. (9) Al-Kulayni (d. 328 AH), Usul al-Kafi, 1:287. (10) Ibn Babawayh (d. 329 AH), al-Imamah wa’l-Tabsirah, pp. 47, H. 29. (11) Al-Maghribi (d. 363 AH) Da‛a'im al-Islam, pp. 35, 37. (12) Al-Saduq (d. 381 AH) al-Khisal, pp. 403, 550. (13) Al-Tusi (d. 460 AH) al-Amali, H. 438, 482, 783.

For more details, refer to the exegesis of the holy verse involved in the following reference books of tafsir: (1) Al-Tabari (d. 310 AH), Book of Tafsir. (2) Al-Jassas (d. 370 AH), Ahkam al-Qur'an. (3) Al-Wahidi (d. 468 AH), Asbab an-Nuzul. (4) Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597 AH), Zad al-Masir. (5) Al-Qurtubi (d. 671 AH), al-Jami‛ li-Ahkam al-Qur’an. (6) Ibn Kathir (d. 774 AH), Book of Tafsir. (7) Al-Tha‛labi (d. 825 AH), Book of Tafsir. (8) Al-Suyuti (d. 911 AH), al-Durr al-Manthur. (9) Al-Shawkani (d. 1250 AH), Fath al-Qadir. (10) Al-‛Ayyashi (d. 320 AH), Book of Tafsir. (11) Al-Qummi (d. 329 AH), Book of Tafsir. (12) Furat al-Kufi (d. 352 AH), Book of Tafsir; in the margin of the exegesis of verse 4:59. (13) Al-Tabrisi (d. 560 AH), Majma‛ al-Bayan.

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Islam, the Luminous Way of Life

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قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صلی الله علیه و آله:

إنِّی تَارِکٌ فِیکُمُ الثَّقَلَیْنِ: کِتَابَ اللهِ وَعِتْرَتِی أهْلَ بَیْتِی، مَا إنْ تَمَسَّکْتُمْ بِهِمَا لَنْ تَضِلُّوا بَعْدِی أبَداً، وَإنَّهُمَا لَنْ یَفْتَرِقَا حَتَّی یَرِدَا عَلَیَّ الْحَوْضَ.

The Messenger of Allah (s) said:

“Verily, I am leaving among you two precious things [thaqalayn]: The Book of Allah and my progeny [‘itrah], the members of my Household [Ahl al-Bayt]. If you hold fast to them, you shall never go astray. These two will never separate from each other until they meet me at the Pond [hawd] (of Kawthar).”

This holy tradition has been narrated, with different paraphrases, by numerous Sunni and Shi‛ah sources:

Al­Hakim al­Naysaburi, Al­Mustadrak ‛ala al-Sahihayn (Beirut), vol. 3, pp. 109-110, 148, 533.

Muslim, al-Sahih, (English translation), book 31, hadiths 5920-3.

Al­Tirmidhi, al-Sahih, vol. 5, pp. 621-2, hadiths 3786, 3788; vol. 2, p. 219.

Al-Nassa’i, Khasa'is ‘Ali ibn Abi-Talib, hadith 79.

Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, vol. 3, pp. 14, 17, 26; vol. 3, pp. 26, 59; vol. 4, p. 371; vol. 5, pp. 181-182, 189-190.

Ibn al­Athir, Jami‛ al­Usul, vol. 1, p. 277.

Ibn Kathir, al­Bidayah wa’l­Nihayah, vol. 5, p. 209.

Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Qur’an al-‛Azim , vol. 6, p. 199.

Nasir al-Din al-Albani, Silsilat al-Ahadith al-Sahihah (Kuwait: Al-Dar al-Salafiyyah), vol. 4, pp. 355-8.

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Islam, the Luminous Way of Life

Baqir Shareef Al-Qarashi

Translated by:

Translation Group

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly

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قرشی، باقرشریف، 1926- م

Qarashi, Baqir Sharif

الاسلام منهج مشرق للحیاة . انگلیسی.

Islam, the Luminous Way of Life \ Author: Baqir Shareef Al-Qarashi ; Project supervisor: Translation Unit, Cultural Affairs Department, the Ahl al-bayt (‘a) World Assembly ; Translator Translation Group .- Qum: The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly , 2016. 319 P.



فهرست نویسی بر اساس اطلاعات فیپا

اسلام -- بررسی و شناخت. الف. گروه ترجمه، مترجم. ب . مجمع جهانی اهل بیت (ع). اداره ترجمه. ج. الاسلام منهج مشرق للحیاة. انگلیسی. د. عنوان.

1394 504952الف 4ق / 11BP 07/297

Title: Islam, the Luminous Way of Life

Author: Baqir Shareef Al-Qarashi

Project supervisor: Translation Unit, Cultural Affairs Department Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly (ABWA)

Translator: Translation Group

Editor: Abuzar Ahmadi

Revised by: Badr Shahin

Proofreader: Rababeh Ghulami

Publisher: The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly

First Printing: 2016

Printed by: Mojab

Copies: 1,000

ISBN: 978-964-529-748-8

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly (ABWA)

All rights reserved.

Alley No. 6, Jumhuri Blvd., Qum, Iran,

Tel: 0098-25-32131221

No. 228, Keshavarz Blvd., Tehran, Iran,

Tel: 0098-21-88970171

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Protecting Life—22

Retribution in Kind—24


Pregnancy Stage—33

Healthy food—35


Islamic rituals for newborns—37

Breast-feeding the infant—39

The food for a woman after childbirth—40

Recommendations for women after childbirth and nursing mothers—41

Weaning a child—44

Interaction with the baby—45

Nurture by the mother—45


Under the wings of family—47

Showing love and affection to one’s wife—51

Training children—51

Training adolescent children—54

Children’s duties towards fathers—54

Children’s duties towards mothers—55

Responsibility of a child towards Islamic Laws—56

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Commendation of Islam by Western physicians—62


Greater ritual ablution—65

Recommended Bathing—66


Advantages of wudu'—67

Brushing the teeth—68

Washing the excretory organs—69

Shortening the hair and cutting the nails—69





Physical advantages of the acts of ritual prayer—71

Benefits of fasting to public health—72




Moderateness in eating—75

Serious harms of overeating—77

How to eat—78

Prohibited foods—78




Terrible harms of consuming wine—87

Protective methods—89


Encouraging marriage—91

Today’s high dowries—95

Wives’ duties towards husbands—96

Husbands’ duties towards their wives—98

Sexual deviation—100

Terrible disadvantages of adultery—101

Severe punishment for adultery—102

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Punishment for homosexuality—103


Forbiddance of sexual intercourse with menstruating woman—104



Nature of Speech—108

Good wording—108

Nice speech—108

How to speak—109

How to speak with parents—109

How to speak with teachers and mentors—113

Types of speech—114


Different types of walking—131

Prohibited walking—133


Importance of friendship—137

Whom to befriend—138

Mutual Rights in Friendship—141


Blood Relations—147



Social consciousness—156


Development of self-determination—160

Patience as weapon—162

Types of patience—164








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Detestable attributes—187


Bad disposition—189




Caring for work—193

Wealth is Allah’s—194



Trading with illegal beverages and narcotic stuff—197



Fraud in measurement—198


Moderation in spending—199

Public treasury—199



Zakat al-Fitrah—204


Payment of Khums—205


Inevitability of death—207

Eternity of the soul—210



Contentment and tranquility—212

Turning the moribund towards the Kiblah direction—212

Teaching the professions of Islam—213

Preparations of the dead—214

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This book is dedicated to those who endeavor to disseminate the Islamic fundamentals. Likewise, I dedicate this effort to those who have discussed the original fundamentals of Islam that accompany human life in its entirety, with the hope that it will be beneficial and fruitful for them.

The Author

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The invaluable legacy of the Household [Ahl al-Bayt] of the Prophet (may peace be upon them all), as preserved by their followers, is a comprehensive school of thought that embraces all branches of Islamic knowledge. This school has produced many brilliant scholars who have drawn inspiration from this rich and pure resource. It has provided the Muslim nation with many scholars whom, following in the footsteps of Imams of the Prophet’s Household (‘a), have done their best to clear up the doubts raised by various creeds and currents within and without Muslim society and to answer their questions. Throughout the past centuries, they have given well-reasoned answers and clarifications concerning these questions and doubts.

To meet the responsibilities assigned to it, the Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly (ABWA) has embarked on a defense of the sanctity of the Islamic message and its verities, often obscured by the partisans of various sects and creeds as well as by currents hostile to Islam. The Assembly follows in the footsteps of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and the disciples of their school of thought in its readiness to confront these challenges and tries to be on the frontline in consonance with the demands of every age.

The arguments contained in the works of the scholars belonging to the School of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) are of unique significance. That is because they are based on genuine scholarship and

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appeal to reason, and avoid prejudice and bias. These arguments address scholars and thinkers in a manner that appeals to healthy minds and wholesome human nature.

To assist the seekers of truth, the Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly has endeavored to present a new phase of these arguments contained in the studies and translations of the works of contemporary Shī‘ah writers and those who have embraced this sublime school of thought through divine blessing.

The Assembly is also engaged in editing and publishing valuable works by leading Shī‘ah scholars of earlier ages to assist the seekers of the truth in discovering the truths which the School of the Prophet’s Household (‘a) has offered to the entire world.

The Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly looks forward to benefit from the opinions of the readers and their suggestions and constructive criticism in this area.

We also invite scholars, translators and other institutions to assist us in propagating the genuine Islamic teachings as preached by the Prophet Muhammad (s).

We beseech God, the Most High, to accept our humble efforts and to enable us to enhance them under the auspices of Imam al-Mahdi, His vicegerent on the earth (may Allah expedite his advent).

We express our gratitude to the late well-versed scholar Shaykh Baqir Shareef Al-Qarashi the author of the present book, and Translation Group, its translator. We also thank our colleagues who have participated in producing this work, especially the staff of the Translation Office.

Cultural Affairs Department

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly

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It is unfair to state that the Islamic message focuses only on such religious rituals as prayer, fasting, prescribed tax [zakat], and pilgrimage [hajj] and it does not care for issues regarding thought and behavior or it does not show any concern about governmental systems, administration, or economical and political affairs. This is in fact a baseless claim that is contradictory to the reality of Islam, which has comprehensively discussed every issue concerning humanity including spiritual and social matters. Islam has never ignored any aspect that concerns human life; it has identified the ideal state for everything –as reported in narrations– something that no one denies except the unreasonable and the ignorant. This Islamic research attempts to elucidate this fact using textual evidence.

Islam is a gift and blessing from Almighty God to his servants, it conforms to humanity’s needs, and guides them on the right path. It frees humankind from thralldom and creates a noble atmosphere for us in the world in order to develop our minds, improve our behaviors, and lead us to the straight and true path.

At the early stages, Muslims conquered many nations and freed them from servitude. They built up Islamic principles aiming at progress, innovation, security, peace, and dissemination of knowledge and they fought against ignorance, deprivation and poverty. They also formed Islamic unity between those nations and peoples despite the difference in their nationalities and

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languages, which consequently led to the abolishment of discrimination and put an end to iniquitous customs and traditions that promote backwardness. They live under the banner of Islam and drink from its pure waters consequently basing their lives on Islamic values and fundamentals. Thus, after horror and suffering, there came security; and after poverty and deprivation, there came wealth. Under the Islamic system and its trainings, they truly achieved the exalted life they desired.

Islam has a deep and inclusive perspective regarding humankind, which has accorded much hospitality and honor in addition to myriad sublime benefactions. Islam considers humans as God’s vicegerents on the earth. Humanity is a pennant towards which all creations flock, beings prominent among all other creatures of God. Indeed, God has granted amazing mental powers and aptitudes to humans and has made us superior to all other creatures. He has made human beings His own representative on the earth and the master of the all creatures. Indeed, Allah has enabled human beings to discover the universe, traverse the world, extract the treasures of the earth, and conceptualize every aspect of the world in which we live.

God wants humans, to whom He has granted all these capabilities, to be the source of goodness and benefaction to their brothers and sisters in humanity and aid them in all affairs. However, these intellectual gifts have turned into sources of animosity and suffering for all humankind through the invention of weapons of mass destruction that can obliterate all signs of life on the world.

In the development of governmental, managerial, and social systems, humans have never, under any circumstances, been successful in creating a system in which happiness is guaranteed and where peace, security and stability are provided. Human beings have not only failed to create such a system but

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have even contributed to the contrary especially in western societies where there is a lot of violence and unrest and where familial relations have disappeared. In families, fathers have little to do with their children and brothers keep away from their brothers to the extent that those advanced in years have to buy a dog to serve as their friend. What is more interesting to know is that there are special graveyards for dogs. What is more ruinous for human beings than for them to become intimate friends with animals in the place of other human beings?

Praise be to Almighty Allah, Islam has established an enlightening system where there is so much originality and innovation and has addressed all matters related to humanity in a methodological manner. Its teachings have penetrated into the minds and hearts of people. It stands as a barrier against all the evil instincts that plunge human life into a total darkness with no hope of light.

One method Islam uses to correct souls is to prohibit human beings from acting in an arrogant manner, envying each other, since this feeling causes much harm, endeavoring to hurt other people, practicing oppression in every aspect, deceit, and other evil acts that serve as barriers against progress and prosperity.

The mission of Islam for the reformation of all aspects of human life is not restricted to a singular comprehensive method. Islam has developed lofty life plans entailing human happiness and immunity from crises. Among these plans and procedures is the implementation of a preventive public health system. Accordingly, Islam forbids humans from excess in eating and drinking as well as in other necessities of life.

God Almighty has declared in the Holy Qur'an:

Eat and drink, but do not waste; indeed He does not like the wasteful. [7/31](1)

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1- . The English translations of the Holy Qur'an throughout this book are by Ali Quli Qara'i with minor alterations. [ed.]

It must be pointed out that medical research has proven that many diseases such as hardening of the arteries (i.e. atherosclerosis), high blood pressure, and diabetes are caused by excess in eating. We will discuss these issues and other related issues in later chapters.

Modern man is afflicted by moral and behavioral crises. The perspective of the modern man towards life is materialistic in nature. To this end humans cheat, practice usury, wrong others, and commit other crimes that ultimately lead to their own destruction. Truly, there is loss of spiritual values especially in politics and government administration. The superpowers, with all their weapons of mass destruction, have declared war against weak states in order to dominate their economic resources. They endeavor greatly to obliterate the religious and social consciousness of such countries in order to keep them under their influence.

It is not possible to get rid of this dark nightmarish perdition upon the colonized nations except through the spread of Islamic fundamentals and promotion of its true motives that are aimed at pure justice and truth.

The enlightening Islamic principles in the world of politics, government, and society define procedures for reforming the society and establishing a just and fair ruling system in which every one may enjoy its bounties.

There is nothing more comical than the false claim of some political administrations accusing Islam of supporting terrorism. This accusation is totally inapplicable to the virtuous religion of God, the torchbearer of which is Muhammad (s), the greatest of all the holy prophets (‛a), who has called for peace on the earth. Islam adamantly opposes terrorism and its advocates. There is no more valid proof of this than the saying of God the Most High:

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Indeed the requital of those who wage war against Allah and His Apostle, and try to cause corruption on earth, is that they shall be slain or crucified, or have their hands and feet cut off from opposite sides or be banished from the land. [5/33]

Verily, Islam has considered the requital and punishment of those causing corruption on earth to be severe that it should be outright death, crucifixion, amputation, or banishment.

This is how Islam looks upon terrorism: as a cause of corruption on earth and its punishment is torment and death.

This research investigates the Islamic movement with its everlasting values that address the entire human lifecycle from our birth, throughout our growth and maturity until our death. Islam has never neglected any aspect of humanity; it has presented methods to accurately and systematically train and reform us so that we return to the fundamentals of Islam bringing about happiness in life and superiority in behavior and all other affairs.

In my conception, no other heavenly religion has shown such great concern about human correction and intellectual and societal improvement like Islam, the religion of Almighty God, the religion He is pleased with and has chosen for His servants to guide them towards the straightest path. With the hope that Almighty Allah restores the noble grace of Islam and blesses Muslims through the administration of Islam. Indeed Allah is the Master and He has power over all things.

Imam al-Hasan Public Library

Najaf al-Ashraf

Written by Baqir Shareef al-Qarashi

Jumada al-Ula 27th 1425 AH

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Islam pays very much attention to humankind and distinguishes humans over all other living creatures. It has proposed an advanced system for human life in order to keep people away from evil and harm and to guarantee them a free and honorable life with security and welfare.

God the Almighty has honored humanity and distinguished us by granting us intellect –the noblest of His creations– in order to lead us to a secure, stable, and happy life. If human beings obey Him, the obedience shall definitely draw blessings.

By the power of knowledge, human beings have made use of other animals for their own benefits and to this end they have reached the depth of the oceans to extract its treasures; they have traveled into space overcoming all barriers; they monitor the earth from space taking pictures of all parts of the earth, including its layers, mountains, and oceans in order to discover the reason for phenomena such as earthquakes and eruptions. It does not end here. Humans have built spacecraft to search for inhabitable planets in which to live. Up to now, humans have discovered many uninhabitable planets.

This is the same human being whom God has honored with intellect and has made His vicegerent on Earth in order to establish justice and follow the path of righteous, to avoid sin and to behave in a balanced and acceptable manner, to refrain from evil deeds such as arrogance, greediness, and tyranny, to

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be pious and faithful, and to adorn themselves with virtue and merit.

Through its teachings and laws, this is what Islam exactly wants from human beings. It wants them to receive the respect of God and earn His vicegerency on the earth, to bear the responsibility that even the heavens, the earth, and the mountains were unable to bear. Human beings took the responsibility because they were ignorant oppressors: they did not fulfill their responsibility, except for some faithful believers who feared Almighty God.

According to our belief, these faithful were the Holy Imams from the household of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s), those who invited others to societal reformation in the Arab and Islamic world. These loyal believers were those who shouldered the burden and fulfilled it in the human society with faith and sincerity. They suffered different types of punishment, torture and persecution while defending Islam, the rights of Muslims, and the oppressed, and they were finally martyred in the line of duty with pride and dignity.

Back to the main topic; that is, human dignity in Islam, it has formulated the best and most authentic methods to exalt human beings, preserve their security, and realize their rights, some of which are as follows:

Protecting Life

Islam has resolutely banned unjustified bloodshed, considering it one of the most repugnant of crimes and most grievous of sins. Consequently, it warns murderers of eternity in hellfire, which is the harshest form of punishment. These are some verses of the Holy Qur’an in this respect:

Whoever kills a soul, without its being guilty of manslaughter or corruption on the earth, is as though that person had killed all humankind. [5/32]

Notice how the Holy Qur’an considers murder of a single soul

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equal to the killing of all of humankind.

Should anyone kill a believer intentionally, that person’s requital shall be Hell to abide therein [forever]; Allah shall be wrathful at such persons and curse them and He shall prepare for them a great punishment. [4/93]

Verily, murderers deserve eternity in hellfire, which is the hardest form of punishment and torment exercised by Almighty God.

Those who do not invoke another god besides Allah, and do not kill a soul whose life Allah has made inviolable, except with due cause, and do not commit fornication. But those who do this shall encounter its retribution, the punishment being doubled for them on the Day of Resurrection. In it they will abide in humiliation forever. [25/68-9]

The Holy Qur’an considers the crimes of polytheism, atheism, murder, and fornication similar in that they all entail double punishment and eternity in hellfire.

Like the Holy Qur'an, Prophetic traditions stressed the necessity of shunning murder. Below are some narrations cited in this respect:

1. The Holy Prophet (s) has declared: “As long as a person refrains from shedding blood, he will keep himself within the boundaries of religion.”(1)

In this respect, individuals are considered to be in the boundary of religion unless they commit murder. If someone does commit murder, that person is considered to be outside the bounds of the religion.

2. The Holy Prophet (s) also said: “The destruction of the entire world is easier in the sight of God than the murder of a

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1- . Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 18, p. 208.


3. The Holy Prophet (s) also stated: “Any sin might be forgiven by God, except that of a person who dies as an unbeliever or who intentionally murders a believer.”(2)

4. The Holy Prophet (s) said: “I swear by Him Who sent me with the truth, if any inhabitant of heaven or earth takes part in murdering a Muslim, or even consents to it, God will certainly condemn them to hellfire.”(3)

5. In his famous epistle to Malik al-Ashtar, Imam ‛Ali the Commander of the Faithful said: “Avoid blood and shedding it unjustly because nothing causes disaster and decreases the bounties and shortens the life span like shedding blood unjustly; indeed on the Day of Judgment God the most Glorious shall commence judgment with those who have shed blood.”(4)

Besides, numerous narrations menace horrible punishment for those who unjustly shed blood. In fact, this has demonstrated the importance Islam has given to life and its preservation.

Retribution in Kind [qisas]

Taking the life of murderers in retaliation for their offence is a fair commandment, which brings about security, stability and settlement of disputes. It also prevents such crimes. God, the Most High, has said in the Holy Qur'an:

There is life for you in retribution, O you who possess intellects! Maybe you will be Godwary! [2/179]

‛Abd al-Qadir ‛Awdah, a Muslim researcher, says, “There has been no punishment in the whole world whether in the past or at

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1- . Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 75, p. 101.
2- . Shaukani, Nail al-Awtar, vol. 7, p. 44. The narration was reported from Mu‛awiyah who, due to his political greed, murdered a lot of people and spread grief and misery throughout the Muslim countries.
3- . Al-Kafi, vol. 7, p. 272-273.
4- . Nahj al-Balaghah, p. 443.

present that is superior to retribution in kind [qisas]. It is the fairest of punishments and leads to security and order since criminals usually refrain from committing a crime when they realize their punishment would be the same as the committed crime. Generally, what seduces criminals into committing homicide and harming others is the struggle for survival and the temptation of superiority and dominance. Therefore, criminals prefer to refrain from killing to avoid retribution and remain alive since they know they won't stay alive if they kill someone. It may make them dominant at that moment, but later others will take the dominance. Therefore, they forego dominance through murder in order to stay alive. There are many real examples that we can witness in our daily life; for example, a man with a fiery temper who easily commits bad deeds usually refrains from showing an aggressive reaction in front of a strong rival who is more powerful and can retaliate. Moreover, an armed man who is ready to do anything in order to achieve his goals usually refrains from using his weapons when he finds himself facing an enemy with the same or more powerful weapons, someone who can fight back on equal grounds. Even warriors more often give up a fight in which the opponent is stronger or faster and only fights those that are weaker. This is, in fact, the nature of human beings.

This is the reason why qisas has been introduced in Islamic law. Qisas is a pre-emptive measure against the temptation of committing a sin. This reasoning is completely in line with modern psychological findings as well.”(1)

According to Qatadah, “God has made qisas a source of life and also of lessons to the unenlightened and the foolish. Many are the people who have been tempted to carry out schemes, but the fear of retribution prevented them from committing such plots. God has made people safe from one another through the law of retribution. God has never ordered us to do anything unless it is

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1- . At-Tashri‛ al-Jina’i al-Islami, vol. 1, p. 464-465.

beneficial to us in this world and in the Hereafter. Likewise, He has never prohibited anything other than corruption in the world and in religion. God knows best what benefits us.”(1)

In his commentary on the Holy Qur'an, Sayyid Muhammad Rida has said, “Astute persons who are concerned about the wellbeing of the nations and who look at issues on the basis of general human welfare and not according to personal interests or the interests of their country perceive qisasas -defined in Islamic law- to be just and equitable and to be a principle that evolves nations and tribes, the neglect of which gives criminals the audacity to shed blood. Fear of jail and punishment may be effective in preventing crime in many countries -European countries where welfare commonplace- but in other countries it might not be so effective since some ruthless people enjoy doing evil because they feel that prison is a better place than their home.”(2)

The belief that capital punishment contradicts personal freedom is a groundless belief since a person’s life is the sole property of that person. How can the law or the society tolerate such property being assaulted?(3)

Protecting life and the health of human beings and safeguarding their blood is only possible through the practice of retribution [qisas] against criminals in order to serve as lesson to others. An old Arabic proverb says: “Nothing is more destructive to killing than killing.” Indeed, the Holy Qur’an has announced the law of retribution with the best explanation. Thus, the Most High has said:

There is life for you in retribution, O you who possess intellects! Maybe you will be Godwary!

Murder must be encountered with the harshest of punishments;

p: 26

1- . Tafsir al-Tabari, vol. 2, p. 114.
2- . Tafsir al-Manar, vol. 2, p. 124.
3- . Al-Qisas fi al-Islam, p. 100.

that is execution. Definitely if it is implemented it will prevent much crime.

Blood Money for Murder: God has designated an amount as blood money financially equal to retribution, which many people cannot afford. Blood money consists of one of the following items:

1. One hundred aged male camels;

2. one hundred cows;

3. one thousand dinars –a dinar is equivalent to three quarters of one mitigal (weight unit equal to around 10 g) of coined gold;

4. one thousand sheep;

5. ten thousand dirham of silver coin; or

6. two hundred sets of clothes (each composed of two clothing articles).

Paying one of the aforementioned items is mandatory and must be deducted from the wealth of a murderer within one year.(1)

Notice the severity of retribution and blood money, which Islam has made incumbent upon murderers. Indeed, this indicates how important Islam deems prevention of deliberate murder, safeguarding lives, and protecting people against murder and aggression.

Prohibition of frightening and terrorizing: Among the Islamic commandments aimed at respect of human beings and preservation of their dignity is strict prohibition of terrorizing and oppressing people. Here are some narrations cited in this respect:

1. The Holy Prophet (s) has declared, “Whoever casts a frightening gaze at a Muslim unjustly causing fear, God shall

p: 27

1- . Imam al-Khu’i, Mabani Takmilat al-Minhaj, vol. 2, p. 198.

make that person fearful on the Day of Resurrection.”(1)

2. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) has said, “Whoever exercises power to terrify and harm a Muslim, shall be sent to the hellfire even if that Muslim is not harmed; and whoever exercises power to terrify and harm a Muslim and is successful in causing harm, shall be cast into the hellfire together with Pharaoh and his household.”(2)

The like of such narrations that prohibited terrorizing others is so many.

Prohibition of causing harm or humiliation: Islam has prohibited causing harm and humiliation because they are forms of tyranny and oppression. The prohibition of causing harm is reflected in the Holy Qur’an. God the Most High has declared:

Those who torment faithful men and women undeservedly, certainly bear the guilt of slander and flagrant sin. [33/58]

The Holy Prophet (s) has said, “It is not permitted for believers to cast looks at their brothers-in-faith that might irritate them.”(3)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) has declared, “Whoever humiliates and degrades a believer for their poverty, God shall degrade in front of all His creatures on the Day of Resurrection.”(4)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) has also said, “God shall not stop humiliating him who humiliates a poor or wealthy believer until he stops the humiliation.”(5)

Indeed, human beings hold a lofty position before God; therefore, He has prohibited all kinds of aggression, whether by word or by action.

p: 28

1- . Educational System in Islam, p. 350.
2- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 368.
3- . Majmu‛ah Warram, vol. 1, p. 98.
4- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 353.
5- . Ibid, p. 351.

Verbal abuse: Insulting human beings negates the dignity that was granted to them by Almighty God. Islam has forbidden Muslims from using profanity even against the enemies of the religion.

God the Most High has stated:

Do not abuse those whom they invoke besides Allah, lest they should abuse Allah out of hostility, without any knowledge. [6/108]

The Holy Prophet (s) has said, “Cursing the believers is evil, murdering them is disbelief, eating their flesh (i.e. backbiting or gossip) is a sin, and the dignity of their property is no less than that of their blood.”(1)

Imam al-Baqir (‛a) has reported, “A man from the Banu-Tamim tribe came to the Holy Prophet (s) seeking guidance. The Holy Prophet advised him to avoid cursing others as it creates enmity among people.”(2)

Imam al-Baqir (‛a) has also declared, “Whoever defames a believer, will die of the worst death and will never be blessed.”(3)

Indeed, cursing, blaspheming and slander are contrary to human dignity.

Exposing faults and flaws: Among the vices that contradict human dignity is exposing and publicizing the faults of others. Islam has absolutely forbidden this act and has called upon us to refrain from it as per the Holy Qur’an where God the Most High has stated:

Indeed those who want indecency to spread among the faithful –there is a painful punishment for them in the world and the Hereafter. [24/19](4)

p: 29

1- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, pp. 359-360.
2- . Ibid, p. 360.
3- . Ibid, p. 361.
4- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 357.

In addition to these traditions, there are many others that have forbidden this act, such as the following ones:

1. The Holy Prophet (s) has said, “O you who believe and have submitted in words without submission in heart! Do not seek out the lapses of Muslims because Almighty Allah will seek out the lapses of whoever does this. Whoever’s lapses God seeks out, will be exposed.”(1)

2. Imam al-Baqir (‛a) has said, “The virtue that will most quickly receive its reward is kindness and the vice that will most quickly receive its punishment is oppression. The failings suffice in persons who see a fault in people while they are blind it in themselves or blame people for what they are not able to desist from themselves or upset their companions for what does not concern them.”(2)

3. Imam al-Baqir (‛a) also said, “The closest state to unbelief is when a person probes others in their religion tracing their flaws to reproach them for those flaws some other day.”(3)

Degrading others: Among the vices Islam has warned against is degrading and reproaching other Muslims. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) is quoted as saying, “Those who encounter their Muslim brother or sister with reproach, Almighty Allah will reproach them in this world and in the hereafter.”(4)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) also stated, “Those who speak about a believer in order to degrade and destroy that person’s reputation before others, Allah shall oust them from His guardianship into that of the devil.”(5)

There are many other narrations that have been reported from the rightly-guided Imams (‛a), all of which have firmly

p: 30

1- . Ibid, p. 355.
2- . Ibid, pp. 459-460.
3- . Ibid, p. 355.
4- . Ibid, p. 356.
5- . Ibid, p. 358.

prohibited the violation of human dignity. It has also emphasized that the language of kindness, affection, friendship, and devotion should prevail among Muslims. There is no room for annoying or humiliating each other in Islam as it leads to disintegration and hatred among Muslims.

Oppression: Oppression against a fellow human being is another prohibited behavior in Islam. It lays emphasis on this prohibition because it conflicts with human dignity and violates the right to live safely without fear. The following are several examples of the many narrations from the Holy Prophet (s) and the Ahl al-Bayt (‛a) that emphasize this prohibition:

1. The Holy Prophet (s) has said, “Avoid oppression, since it is darkness on the Day of Resurrection.”(1)

2. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) has stated, “Those who disregard the oppression of an oppressor, Allah shall give dominance to the oppressor over them, He will not accept their supplications to Him, and He will not compensate them for the oppression.”(2)

3. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) has also said, “Oppressors, those who render assistance to oppressors, and those who consent to oppression are all partners.”(3)

Notice how oppressors are warned of retribution on the Day of Resurrection and what punishment God has determined for them. Islam desires a life of security and tranquility for all human beings in a world free of oppression, inequity, and aggression. These examples of narrations that are reported from the Holy Prophet (s) and the Ahl al-Bayt (‛a) clearly demonstrate the importance Islam places on human beings and their dignity; they also show that Almighty God wants human beings to be His vicegerents on an earth free of bloodshed, fear, sin, and misconduct.

p: 31

1- . Ibid, p. 332.
2- . Ibid, p. 334.
3- . Ibid, p. 333.


p: 32



In my opinion, except for Islam, neither a heavenly religion nor has any social creeds accompanied human beings throughout all the stages of their life. Islam is thus is a blessing from God upon His servants and it goes hand in hand with humans from even before our birth, when we are fetuses in our mothers’ wombs, and continues its companionship after our birth as we grow up and mature. It provides excellent plans for our upbringing and edification making us immune to moral deviations so that we become behaviorally normal human beings in accordance with family and society; that is to say, we become decent members of the society.

In a nutshell, we shall discuss some issues regarding medical and health procedures recommended by Islam in order to secure the health of the fetus in the womb and the person after her or his birth in addition to other issues related to the training and education of the child.

Pregnancy Stage


The initial stages of the formation of the human body are singular manifestations of the tremendous power and omnipotence of God the Almighty. They are one of the wonders of His creation of these living creatures. A human, in the beginning, is just a tiny cell that is produced as a result of an act of fertilization between the ovum and the sperm. When the two cells merge, a human

p: 33

person is originated. At that moment, God the Almighty determines whether the person is to be male or female. According to geneticists, in this stage of formation, all the genetic characteristics and traits of the person are determined.(1)

p: 34

1- . The many spermatozoa burst forth the ova for fecundation. As soon as those ova feel the rush, they prepare for selecting the most giant, powerful and active. Then the ovum shows a small puff on the surface from the side facing the most active spermatozoon. The shell therefore begins to be tender and tender so that the spermatozoon will hit from that puff and pierce with the head to penetrate to the center. As the spermatozoon’s tail is still outside, the ovum shrinks and shrivels till it excises that tail and the spermatozoon combines with the nucleus inside the ovum. Accordingly, the process of fecundation is achieved. After a while, the ovum descends to the uterus where it shrinks to one of its inner edges and begins to grow and move in its phases. In that period, the tissues and the organic devices compose, and the limbs, stems, and head emerge gradually. These progresses mostly occur in the second month of pregnancy. Then a compact membrane, called placenta -the function of which is protecting and nurturing the fetus via its capillaries spreading all over its walls- covers all of the set. These capillaries absorb the mother’s blood, which was menstruation before pregnancy. This nutrition is done through a marvelous chemical operation similar to the process of the plant roots’ absorbing water from the ground. As the placenta is perfectly formed, a faint yellow liquid called laminose is originated inside the placenta. This liquid comes from the hydrous leakage of the uterus and the encompassing membranes. The functions of this liquid, which encompasses the fetus in the uterus, are protecting the fetus against any shock or impact suffered by the mother. It also keeps the temperature proper to the fetus, expands the uterus neck at delivery, purifies and sterilizes the way for the fetus just before the delivery, and saves the fetus from the uterus pressure at travails in addition to many other functions. After the formation of the placenta, the liquid and the frame of the fetus, the navel rope, which is half a meter -or more- long, emerges next to the umbilicus. Its function is transferring the mother’s blood to the fetus for nurturing, and then it returns the blood to meet the mother’s in the blood circulation. The previous was the process of the fetus composition in the uterus. God the Exalted elaborates upon these processes by saying: And certainly, We created man of an extract of clay. Then We made him a small seed in a firm resting-place. Then We made the seed a clot, then We made the clot a lump of flesh, then We made in the lump of flesh bones, then We caused it to grow into another creation, so blessed be Allah the best of the creators. [Baqir Sharif al-Qurashi, the Education System in Islam, page 26, translated into English by Badr Shahin, published by Ansariyan Publications]

The following are some of Islam’s recommendations for pregnant women that affect their health and that of their unborn children.

Healthy food

Most certainly, consumption of healthy food by pregnant women is very effective for the healthiness and beauty of the newly born infant. For this reason, Islam lays much emphasis on the consumption of some foods by pregnant women.

Quince: Quince is one of the most delicious of fruits and is full of vitamins like vitamin A and B. It strengthens the heart and is beneficial for those suffering from tuberculosis, intestinal or gastric bleeding, and other illnesses.(1)

Islam recommends pregnant women to eat quince, justifying that it makes the infant smell better and improves the color of his or her skin.(2)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) once looked at a handsome youth saying, “The father of this young man must have eaten quince.”(3)

Indeed the rightly-guided Imams (‛a) have recommended pregnant women eat quince due to its benefits for the fetus.

Dairy Products: Dairies are nutritious foods the eating of which is encouraged by Islam for pregnant women.

p: 35

1- . Al-Ghaza’ La ad-Dawa’, p. 110.
2- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 15, p. 133.
3- . Ibid, p. 134.

The Messenger of Allah (s) has said, “Give milk products to your pregnant women because they increase the child’s intellect.”(1)

It is quoted from Jabir that someone asked the Holy Prophet (s), “Are our illnesses curable?” He replied, “Of course.” And he was cured. Indeed God has not sent down any illnesses unless He has provided a cure for it. Drink cow dairies because its source is all kinds of plants.”(2)

Many narrations are reported from the guided Imams (‛a), encouraging the drinking of dairies. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) has said, “Dairies are the food of Apostles.”(3)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) also told a person who was complaining of his physical weakness, “Drink milk products because they develop the muscles and strengthen the bones.”(4)

Modern medical research has proven the accuracy of the statements of the Imams (‛a) concerning the benefits of milk products. According to Russian researcher, Dr. Motshenkov, frequent use of dairies such as yogurt cleans the intestine of germs and prevents fermentation leading to food poisoning. It also delays signs of old age such as weakening, contractions, and spasms of the muscles. He tested these ideas on his own body by using a lot of diaries and noticed the benefits in it.

Regarding the importance of yogurt, there are pills containing dairy ferment in drugstores that doctors prescribe for those who suffer from intestinal infection.(5)

Milk products offer many other benefits. Therefore, the infallible Imams (‛a) encouraged pregnant women and others to have them, considering dairy products to be important elements

p: 36

1- . Ramz as-Sihhah fi Tibb an-Nabi wa al-A’imah, p. 10.
2- . Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 16, p. 374.
3- . Al-Kafi, vol. 6, p. 336.
4- . Al-Mahasin, vol. 2, p. 492.
5- . Al-Ghaza’ la ad-Dawa’, p. 443.

in corporal health.

Meat: Pregnant women must eat various types of meat because they contain proteins needed by the body.

Fruits and vegetables: It is good for pregnant women to eat a lot of vegetables and fruits because they are full of both vitamin A and iron.(1)

Oil and starch: Physicians caution pregnant women against eating oily and starchy food due to their considerable harm to them.(2)


When the formation of the fetus reaches its final stage and it is strong enough to enter into this world, God makes it painful for the mother. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) was quoted as saying, “Until its genesis (i.e. that of the fetus) is complete, its body becomes sturdy, its skin strong enough to tolerate air, and its eyes strong enough to endure light, the baby unsettles its mother and agitates her in a most intense and arduous manner.”(3)

The mother gives birth while undergoing a great deal of labor pain but her love for the baby makes it easy for her to tolerate the severe pain. By hearing the first cry of her baby, she forgets all the pain.

Indeed, this is part of human life, which occurs at the will and power of God and human beings have little control over the affair.

Islamic rituals for newborns

Islam advises us to perform some rituals for newly born Muslim babies. Some of them are as follows:

p: 37

1- . Islam’s Family System, p. 81.
2- . Hayat at-Tifl, pp. 7-8.
3- . Hayat al-Imam as-Sadiq, vol. 3, p. 337.

The Call to Prayer and Call to Commencement of Prayer [Adhan and Iqamah]: It is the duty of the father, mother, or any other person present to welcome the new baby into the world by reciting the adhan in his or her right ear and the iqamah in her or his left ear. The reason for this may be that the first sounds that enter the baby’s ear be these statements: “God is the greatest, there is no god but Allah” [allahu akbar, la ilaha illa allah].

These luminous words are the source of refulgence on earth; they are the everlasting song of Islam. It was reported in a narration that it serves as a barrier against Satan; it is a shield and protection for the child.(1)

Naming the infant: Islam has recommended the best and the most beautiful names for the baby whether male or female so that he or she feels virtuous and important within the family. Imam al-Rida (‛a) has said, “The first favor a man does to his child is to choose a good name for him or her. Therefore, each of you should give good names to your children.”(2)

It has been stated in some narrations that giving a child a good name is one of the duties of fathers towards their sons.

Once, a man came to the Holy Prophet (s) and asked, “What is my duty towards my son?” pointing at his son.

The Holy Prophet (s) replied, “Bestow upon him a good name and good conduct and give him a worthy position.”(3)

The best names in Islam are names declaring servitude to Almighty God; the Creator of the world and the One Who has granted all life; especially names like ‛Abdullah (servant of Allah), ‛Abd al-Khaliq (servant of the Creator), ‛Abd al-Rahman (servant of the Merciful), etc. Additionally, the names

p: 38

1- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 21, p. 405.
2- . Ibid, p. 288.
3- . Ibid, p. 290.

of the Imams (‛a), who are the guardians of the truth and the intimate servants of God on the earth, are among the best of names.

The names that are associated with suffering, bitterness, and war(1) are among the worst of names because they bear the denotation of violence, malediction, and ignorance. Indeed, all such names are in opposition to Islam. Moreover, names like Hakam, Khalid(2), Marwan, and other names used by the enemies of God and His Prophet are undesirable.

Sacrifice for the Newborn [‛aqiqah]: Offering a sacrifice to God on behalf of the seven-day old babies (by slaughtering a legally eaten animal and giving its meat to the poor) is one of the Islamic rituals. It serves as respect to the child and diverts calamity and misfortune away from him or her. Its meat is either distributed among the poor or is cooked and the poor are invited to eat the cooked food. This tradition comes from the Holy Prophet (s) when Imam Hasan (‛a), the leader of the youth of the paradise and the flower of the Holy Prophet (s), was born and the Holy Prophet sacrificed a ram on the seventh day after his birth.(3)

Shaving the head of the newborn: Shaving the hair of the head of the baby(4) and giving an amount equivalent to the hair in weight of gold or silver to the poor as charity [sadaqah] is one of the desirable religious acts that are encouraged by Islam.

These were some of the Islamic rituals that serve as a sign of respect and welcome to the newborn baby.

Breast-feeding the infant

Islam has made it incumbent upon the mother to feed her baby with her colostrum, i.e. the first milk after giving birth, and the

p: 39

1- . Ibid, p. 398.
2- . Ibid, p. 399.
3- . Hayat Imam al-Hasan, vol. 1, p. 53.
4- . Hayat Imam al-Husayn, vol. 1, p. 54.

mother must not avoid shirk this duty. Regarding this obligation, some jurists explain that an infant cannot survive without it.(1)

A short review on the composition of colostrum and its benefits to the baby and the mother can be beneficial.

Colostrum contains calcium-rich content meant to strengthen the bones of the baby. It also contains iron, which promotes formation of the red blood cells required by the baby’s body. Additionally, it contains proteins and vitamins that form most of the tissues of the body. These are the basic materials for building the body of an infant in the first days of its life. Colostrum also contains other constituents such as antibodies.(2)

The first milk is beneficial not only for the infant but for the mother as well. According to physicians, breast-feeding a baby after birth causes the decrease of nervous fibers in the womb. This decrease helps release the placenta from the walls of the womb and helps prevent bleeding from different parts of the womb.(3) In addition to these benefits, when a mother breastfeeds her baby she feels happy and forgets the pain she has undergone during labor.

The food for a woman after childbirth

Islam has paid special attention to mothers. It considers paradise to be under the feet of mothers. This is indeed a clear-cut indicative of the great respect and honor that Islam shows to mothers! Islam has recommended women to eat dates after childbirth due to the good effect on their health and that of their babies. Imam ‛Ali (‛a) reported the Holy Prophet (s) as saying, “Let dates be the first thing a woman takes after childbirth as Almighty Allah said to Mary: Shake the trunk of the palm tree,

p: 40

1- . Ar-Raudah al-Bahiyah fi Sharh al-Lum‛ah ad-Damashqiyah, vol. 5, p. 453.
2- . Family System in Islam, p. 86.
3- . Man’s Biologic Nature, p. 58.

freshly picked dates will drop upon you. [19/25]”(1)

One of the companions stood up and said, “O Messenger of God, what if it is not date season?”

The Holy Prophet (s) replied, “Seven dates from your cities since Almighty God has stated: I swear upon My Glory, My Greatness, My Excellency and My Exaltedness; a woman will not eat dates after childbirth but that her son or daughter becomes tolerant.”(2)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) has emphasized this by stating, “There is nothing like dates; it helps women recover their health after childbed. Indeed, Almighty God fed Mary with fresh dates after her childbed.”(3)

Eating dates and other fruits after childbirth plays an important role in the infant’s health as well as his or her mental and spiritual formation.

Recommendations for women after childbirth and nursing mothers

The following are recommendations for women after childbed and nursing mothers. They are very important and they have been mentioned in a previous book named Family System in Islam.

Washing and sterilizing clothes: They should wear clean clothes and drink sterilized water in order to avoid fever after childbed.(4)

Avoid anxiety: It is necessary for nursing women to avoid anxiety. They should keep this in mind because anxiety, stress and tension reduce a mother’s milk. Therefore, they should try

p: 41

1- . Al-Mahasin, vol. 2, p. 535.
2- . Ibid.
3- . Ibid.
4- . Nizam al-Usra fi al-Islam, p. 88.

to be calm and at ease at all times.(1)

Provision of comfort for the child: A nursing woman must create a peaceful atmosphere for her infant and expose him or her to clean air and light of the sun so that her infant is not affected with diseases such as enteritis, rickets, and other types of child diseases.(2)

Regulation of breastfeeding: Mothers must regulate their breast-feeding. They should not feed their babies continuously but should never deprive the child of milk either because of the detrimental effect on the child.(3) The guidelines of breast-feeding are as follows:

1. At the beginning after birth, the mother should breastfeed the child once every three hours.

2. As the child grows, she should breastfeed the child once every two hours. It is recommended in both cases to feed from both breasts. Moreover, the feeding must not be at the infant’s request or to keep him or her quiet, because this will made the child form the habit of crying for her or his satisfaction.(4)

Supervision of the child’s training by the mother: Psychologists have emphasized the importance of mothers supervising the training of their children; therefore, mothers must not only rely on teachers because the presence of the mother encourages the child and lessens the child’s anxiety.(5)

Presence of the mother: Continuous absence of the mother in the first years of a baby’s life leaves a detrimental impact on the mentality of the baby because the baby shall feel the absence of the mother, which in turn causes his or her misery.

p: 42

1- . Sihat al-Hamil, p. 190.
2- . Nizam al-Usra fi al-Islam, p. 88.
3- . Ibid.
4- . Ibid.
5- . Educational Psychology, p. 140.

Absence of a mother creates stress and tension in the baby—a fact that was proved by psychological studies. According to Bolbi, you could read the signs of horror and isolation on the faces of the children that were forced to move away from major cities during the Second World War, were deprived of the attention and care of their mothers, and were cared for by other people. These children showed no tendency to make friends with other children and even with their elders. They couldn't express their love to other people but rather felt alienated and hate towards the society. They were more difficult to treat than aberrant youths and juvenile delinquents.(1)

The absence of a mother from her baby makes the baby cry because he or she naturally feels the mother is the only one who cares for and loves her or him.

Refraining from physical maltreatment: Mothers should refrain from beating their crying babies because it implants fear in them. The Holy Prophet (s) has prohibited beating babies, which does not cause them to change their behavior rather the otherwise. In addition, it creates tension, stress, and fear in the baby.(2)

Breastfeeding by the mother: What is of paramount importance is breastfeeding of the baby by the mother herself because the baby acquires love and intimacy from the mother through breastfeeding. Medical research has proven that the rate of death is lower in babies that were breastfed by their mothers than those who were not and their bodies are stronger than other babies.(3)

Imam ‛Ali the Commander of the Faithful, concerning the importance of breastfeeding by mothers, has said, “There is no

p: 43

1- . Psychological and Mental Diseases , p. 79.
2- . Nizam al-Usra fi al-Islam, p. 90.
3- . Ta’amulat fi Suluk al-Insan, p. 110.

milk more valuable for babies than their mother’s milk.”(1)

Psychologists hold that breastfeeding is not only for satisfying biological needs, i.e. the need for food but it also is a social interaction that involves the mother and her baby where the baby interacts for the first time with a person with particular cultural traditions who dictates the method of drinking milk.

It is obvious that babies are influenced by the spiritual condition of their mothers while nursing. Thus, the mother’s health and the stability or instability of a mother regarding her maternal role and her family responsibilities affect the baby.

Clearly, peaceful breastfeeding creates security, optimism, and trust within the baby regarding the world because the mother is the first intermediary between the baby and this world. Therefore, if a mother behaves nicely with her baby, it increases the baby’s trust regarding the world. On the other hand, the baby will feel fear and alienation throughout his or her life if the mother's behavior is bad.(2)

Weaning a child

The best time for weaning a child is the indicated time by the Holy Qur’an. Almighty God has said:

Mothers shall suckle their children for two full years. [2/233]

The Holy Qur’an has specified two years as the period for breastfeeding but the weaning of babies before this age will be harmful to the baby's health.(3) Also, to delay the weaning period beyond the stipulated period will cause delay in the baby’s growth which is also harmful to the baby's health.(4) The weaning period is considered to be the critical period of a baby's life

p: 44

1- . Al-Kafi, vol. 6, p. 40.
2- . Psychological and Mental Diseases, p. 77.
3- . Educational Psychology, p. 128.
4- . Psychological and Mental Diseases , p. 77.

because weaning is not just replacing one food with another rather it is the separation of the baby from his or her mother’s breast where he or she receives care and love.

Interaction with the baby

After the weaning period, mothers should behave kindly and express their excessive love to their newly weaned child and should not prioritize their other children over the newborn baby. They should also observe the following points:

1. Laughing and smiling to their babies;

2. Placing much importance on the baby’s affairs; and

3. Compensating the baby with more love due to the deprivation caused by weaning.(1)

Children cannot develop free from mental complexes without receiving love and affection from their mothers, who are the sources of their lives after Almighty God.

Nurture by the mother

It is necessary for children to be nurtured by their own mother because this helps the development of their personality and it prevents them from delinquency. Mothers must observe the following points when raising their children:

1. Protecting the baby from dangers because the child is inexperienced in the world;

2. Addressing the needs of the child such as cleaning and washing his or her clothes and preparing his or her food;

3. Raising the child decently to be free of deviation or delinquency; and

4. Careful supervision of the child in order to prevent him or her from coming into contact with morally deviant kids.

p: 45

1- . Islam’s Family System, p. 97.


The training of girls should start from seven years of age while that of boys should start from the weaning period although some jurists hold that there is no difference between boys and girls and their training should start at the age of seven.(1)

Nowadays, some social schools maintain that children should be separated from their mothers after birth or during their childhood and kept in nursery schools to train and educate them because parent’s work in factories or offices prevents them from taking care of their children.

This theory is not in harmony with the traditions of life because according to psychologists and experts in the sciences, nursery institutions do not give love and affection to the child as much as mothers do. These institutions do not form important personality traits in the child such as peace and stability that are the most important factors in building a child’s personality. They believe that children who lack the love of their parents will end up with strong tendencies towards aggression, malefaction, and violation of other people’s rights and will suffer from incurable mental complexes.(2)

Practical experience has proved that a child that has grown up under his or her mother’s supervision is physically stronger, more affectionate, and cleverer than those who are brought up in nursery institutions.

Sayyid Qutb believes practical experience has proved that in nurturing and training a child no system can replace the system of family because such systems or institutions damage the formation of children’s personality and harms their training especially public nursery institutions that are based on artificial and authoritarian schools that strive to supplant the family system that was created for human beings by God the Almighty.

p: 46

1- . Sharh ar-Raudat al-Bahiyyah, vol. 5, p. 459.
2- . Islam’s Family System, p. 99.

These schools pervade throughout European countries due to the loss of the families of large numbers of children in a cruel war that was caused by Western ignorance unrestrained by religious thought, a war that did not differentiate between peace seekers and militants, and also because of the evil system where mothers are obligated to work under wrong beliefs regarding the suitable social and economic system for humanity. By giving them into the care of nursery institutions, this system deprives children of their mother’s care and attention and thus collides with the nature of children and harms their spiritual formation imbuing them with frustration and anxiety.(1)

A mother’s nurturing of her child is deemed to be a human necessity, a sin qua non of life, and those who reject maternal nurture are actually rejecting a life necessity.

Under the wings of family

One of the most important things in Islamic plans for reformation is the great attention they pay to the family. God has established family on a sound basis in order to allow its members to enjoy His bounty under its protection and to become blissful within it. Islam has established the following relationships within families:

Love: The type of family that was established by Islam is based on love, affection, and good relationships. God the Most High has said:

And of His signs is that He created for you mates from your own selves that you may take comfort in them, and He ordained affection and mercy between you. [30/21]

According to the Islamic point of view, every family must stick to the following requirements:

1. Continuous psychological solace; and

2. love and compassion, both of which fortify good behavior

p: 47

1- . Fi zilal al-Qur’an (second edition), vol. 3, p. 178.

between spouses. Love must grow among the children as well and the affection that parents have for their children must prevail among the children as well.

Psychological research indicates that a child who is brought up in a caring and integrated family is safe from arrogance and aggression. Also, scientists have examined the foundations of mental disorder and have found that they mainly originate from the first periods of childhood, i.e. the first five or six years of the child’s life which they spend with their parents before going to the school.

One of the recurring features of corrupt individuals is the extension of their childhood stage. Analytical-clinical research has shown that homes that are engulfed with love and understanding and are based on trust and respect are homes that can produce healthy individuals.

On the other hand, families that invoke rancor and animosity based on fear and anger within children can only produce misguided and disruptive persons, since those that are brought up in hostile environments cannot enjoy the feeling of affection in their adulthood regardless of where they seek it out.(1)

One of the main factors necessary to preserve the integration and unity of a family is the existence of love between spouses. Therefore, it is incumbent upon mature women to dedicate pure love to their husbands and fulfill all their needs; otherwise, they are putting their matrimonial life in risk.(2)

Cooperation: Cooperation between spouses in life affairs plays an important role in the unity of the family. Marriage does not only mean the partnership of a man and a woman in reproduction of offspring rather it is their cooperation in all family and non-family affairs. This requires each of them to ignore the mistakes committed by the other party and to

p: 48

1- . Psychological and Mental Diseases , p. 74 . 76.
2- . Islam’s Family System, p. 106.

disregard each other’s faults. The Holy Prophet (s) serves as an exalted example of cooperation with one’s wives. Despite his high status, he worked together with his wives in managing house affairs. He advised his followers thus: “The best of you is he who is best to his family and I’m best among you to my family.”(1)

Imam ‛Ali (‛a), the Holy Prophet’s successor, followed his ways as well and helped his wife, Fatimah (‛a), the flesh and blood of the Holy Prophet (s) and the supreme woman of the two worlds, in all house affairs. Indeed, their pure life is an exalted example of a sacred matrimonial relationship in Islam.

It is of note that women are not legally bound according to Islamic law to manage house affairs and to prepare food for their husbands and children rather it is done as a humane favor and service.

Avoidance of profanity: One of the important factors in unifying the family is avoidance of profane and aggressive words by the two spouses. They must comply with Islamic rules because foul language entails hatred among them and it is what mostly leads to the breakdown of matrimonial relations. Moreover, use of obscene language among spouses makes their children accustomed to bad habits and weak morals.

Psychological research has established that bitter words between spouses ruins the marital relationship and weakens the intimacy between them.(2)

Islam has prohibited women from responding to their husbands with words that distress or upset them. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) has said, “All the good acts of a woman who tells her husband, ‘I have not seen anything good from you,’ are nullified.(3)

p: 49

1- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 14, p. 122; Al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 50.
2- . I‛rif Nafsak, p. 202.
3- . Islam’s Family System, p. 108; quoted from Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 14 p. 115.

Islam desires the prosperity of families and the spread of love among its members. There is no doubt that exchanging decent words between spouses enhances their solidarity and promotes virtue among their children.

Avoidance of dispute: Another influential factor in maintaining family solidarity is avoidance of dispute between spouses because it causes agitation that in most cases results in the collapse of marital relations. It also inflicts severe harm upon the children since an unhealthy relationship between spouses eventually affects the children’s conduct and makes them feel that family life is a misery because it is built upon hostility and enmity. Definitely, such ill impressions will extend into their future and they will use the same perverted method they have witnessed in their childhood with their own spouses and children.(1)

Lenience and tolerance: Further factors that increase family unity are lenience and tolerance as well as avoidance of quarrels. If a spouse utters an indecent word, the other should tolerate it without following it up. The Holy Prophet (s) has stated, “Whoever is patient with a woman with bad behavior hoping for divine reward, Allah shall reward him with the rewards of those who express gratitude to Almighty God.”(2)

Lenience, tolerance, and refraining from reprisal greatly benefits the family because it lets the family live in an atmosphere full of love and harmony where the children can be brought up in a sound and healthy environment.

Honoring one’s wife: Islam has emphasized the necessity to respect and honor one’s wife because it entails her intimacy with her husband. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) has said, “May Almighty Allah’s blessing be upon he who establishes a kind relationship

p: 50

1- . Islam’s Family System, p. 109.
2- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 14, p. 124.

with his wife because Almighty Allah has given husbands authority over the affairs of their wives and has also appointed them as the guardians of their wives.”(1)

Verily, respecting one’s wife makes her sincere in her love and affectionate towards her husband and it also removes all hatred among them.

Showing love and affection to one’s wife

Another factor that fortifies the relationship between spouses is for husbands to show love and affection to their wives because women always desire that their husbands be sincere and affectionate with them. Monetary security and provision of material needs and luxury do not negate the necessity for a husband to be sincere and affectionate with his wife.(2)

Most of the influential factors that enhance unity in family factors have been mentioned in our book, Family System in Islam. In this book, I have mentioned factors that may lead to the collapse of the family and spread hatred among its members which may result in divorce.

Training children

The appropriate guidelines for training children that need to be implemented by parents are as follows:

Refraining from strictness: Parents should avoid using strict methods in training their children since this will cause severe damage to the child. Psychological studies indicate that parents need to avoid strictness as it causes children to feel their parents to be sources of suffering and pain. This, in turn, lessens the child's self-trust and trust in others.(3)

In fact, excessive strictness denies children their natural right for love and affection. This shortcoming also deprives children

p: 51

1- . Ibid, p. 122.
2- . Human Behavior, p. 206.
3- . Human Behavior, p. 206.

of mental health and tranquility.

According to Dr. Fakhir, statistics shows that the majority of criminals have been brought up in houses where aggression and strictness is the prevailing rule and beating and other types of aggression are the only means of child training.(1)

The best way to achieve sound training of children is to train them in a polite manner as it leads to good health of the child in terms of both body and mind.

Refraining from excessive lenience: Parents should avoid adopting excessive leniency while training their children since this causes no less harm than aggression and strictness. Showing too much lenience and ignoring the faults of children impels them to commit wrong both in the present and in the future leading them to an evil lifestyle. Mothers who, according to their nature, give ground to their children, become too flexible regarding their faults, and hinder the correct training of their children are making a great mistake. They are inviting disaster to their child and putting them in the path of tremendous evil.

Accustoming children to correct attitudes: Parents should implant good behaviors in the minds of their children to make them decent persons and the apple of their eye. Among the good customs to be implanted in children are the following: a. Refraining from recklessness; b. keeping away from abjectness; c. dealing with crises; and d. overcoming mental tensions and positively solving life problems through logical thought.

By implanting decent attitudes in the soul of a child, the parents have established many benefits in the child and created a perfect and complete personality in him or her free from evil thoughts, moral deviation, and inconsistency.

p: 52

1- . Islam’s Family System, p. 136.

Inspiring religious beliefs in the mind of the child: It is the duty of parents to establish the essence of religion in the soul of their children since religious belief is exactly what can keep them safe from evil deeds in their future life. Islam is the genuine source of spiritual virtues; it safeguards human beings from being corrupted by sins and makes them good exemplars for others to emulate. What is most important in Islamic training is to keep the child away from bad behaviors such as: a. Lying; b. theft; c. transgression against others; and d. evil acts. Parents must prevent their children from committing such misbehaviors.

Establishing equality among children: Islam has emphasized the necessity of equality in the status of each child. It considers equality to be one of the successful factors in training. Parents should not discriminate between their children because it leads to hatred and hostility among the children. Once, the Holy Prophet (s) rebuked a man who kissed one of his sons in front of the other, asking him, “You should have established equality between them.”(1)

Discrimination between children creates anxiety in the minds of the deprived ones and creates hatred of the parent and of the sibling in the child’s mind.

Avoidance of obscenity: It is incumbent upon parents to avoid obscene words and impolite behavior in front of their children since children imitate their parents and when they find their parents indifferent to virtues and morality, it certainly affects their behavior and creates problems and crises in their future life.

These are some methods set up by Islam for training of children. We have discussed this issue in our book, Family System in Islam.

p: 53

1- . Makarim al-Akhlaq, p. 220.

Training adolescent children

It is necessary to discuss, yet briefly, the method of training adolescent children that have recently passed the stage of childhood. There is an obvious change in the individual’s entire behavior. Some of these changes are as follows:

a. Becoming a thoughtful and perceptive person;

b. becoming a person with predefined behavior patterns; and

c. becoming attentive to the family.

Some changes occur in adolescents.(1) Training such an individual necessitates the family to be balanced and to possess sound relations that can satisfy the emotions of the youths and create a sense of self-confidence in them. Parents should also create mutual trust between the child and other family members and assure youths of their love and continual assistance in times of hardship. Youths should also be proud of their parent’s status in terms of thought, societal success, and attributes, which are causes for glory and honor. It has been observed that as children grow into adolescents, they become more sensitive to the social status of their parents as well as their lifestyle and material possessions.

Parents are required to help their children in building their self-confidence when they attain the adolescent stage; this protects the child from fears resulting from weakness and incapability in the different social domains.(2)

Children’s duties towards fathers

A father is a great gift from God to a child; without his love and guidance in the child’s affairs, the child could not exist on this earth. Islam has made it incumbent on children to obey their fathers and to carry out their will except if it is a sin against Allah the Most High. In his treatise on rights, Imam Zayn al-

p: 54

1- . Human Behavior, p. 182.
2- . Social Behavior, pp. 184-185.

‛Abidin (‛a) declares: “As for your father’s rights, you have to know that he is your root and you are his branch, therefore you wouldn’t have existed without him. Thus, if you find any thing in yourself that amazes you, be aware that the source of that blessing is your father. So praise Allah and be thankful to Him to the same extent. There is no power except that of Allah the Most High.”(1)

Children’s duties towards fathers are very great. It is a child’s duty to respect and honor his or her father, to obey his commands, and to provide his living expenses if he is in need, especially in his old age. It is the duty of children to serve and assist their fathers in order to make up for a part of their obligation.

Children’s duties towards mothers

How great the mother is and how great her kindness and favor to her children is. If it was not for her attention and affection, no human being could stay alive. She accepts her child wholeheartedly, takes the risks of the pregnancy and delivery, and devotes her entire life and sacrifices all her time and energy in order to protect her child. A mother has sleepless nights and sincerely serves her child until she or he grows up. In this respect, Imam Zayn al-‛Abidin (‛a) says: “As for the rights of your mother, you should know that she carried you in a way that nobody else would and fed you from the fruits of her own heart the way nobody else would. She steadfastly took care of you with her ears, eyes, hands, feet, hair, face and all other parts of her body with happiness and joy. She endured much suffering and pain in order to make you strong and to protect you until she brought you into the world. She was content for you to be full and she hungry, for you to be clothed and she clotheless, for you to be sated and she thirsty, for you to be in shadow and she under the sun, and she was satisfied to suffer hardships so that you could enjoy blessings and to stay awake

p: 55

1- . Risalat al-Huquq, vol. 1, p. 489.

so that you could enjoy the pleasure of sleep. Her stomach served as a container for you; her lap served as your holder; her breast served as your flask; and her soul served as protection. She endured the hot and cold of this world for your sake; therefore be grateful to her to the same extent she has suffered hardships. Verily, you are not able to acknowledge her endeavors except with the help of Allah.”(1)

No matter how hard human beings endeavor, even if we offer all services available to us to our mothers, we will not be able to fulfill even a small portion of the obligations we have towards our mothers. Someone carried his mother on his shoulders to complete the ritual circumambulation of the Ka‛bah while the Holy Prophet (s) was walking next to him. He asked the Holy Prophet (s), “Have I fulfilled my duty towards her?”

The Holy Prophet (s) looked at him and answered, “You are yet to repay a single of her wails.”

He had not compensated for a single wail of his mother who endured risks and calamities for his sake. A person asked the Holy Prophet (s) to advise him of a good act. The Holy Prophet (s) told him, “Heed your mother.” After repeating the same words three times, he said, “Heed your father.”

The rights of our mothers cannot be compensated no matter how much goodness we show them and no matter what services we render them.

Responsibility of a child towards Islamic Laws

It is mandatory upon a child who reaches the age of puberty to observe the Islamic laws, such as acts of worship. But before this age, Islamic laws are not incumbent upon youngsters. The age of maturity for boys is fifteen years and nine years for girls.

With this, we conclude the discussion on the genesis of human beings, their childhood, and other related affairs.

p: 56

1- . Tuhaf al-Uqul, p. 257; Risalat al-Huquq, vol. 1, p. 475.



Islam has methodologically addressed issues of public healthcare, the chief method of protecting human life, in an effective and careful manner. Most of the rules established by Islam are to protect Muslims against disease, basing the study of medicine primarily on prevention rather than healing. Before discussing these issues, let us consider several related matters:

The Holy Prophet and Imams (‛a) have seriously dealt with the field of medicine, which is one of the bases for stable life, endeavoring greatly in making such issues widely known. The following are some Narrations in this respect.

A. Profoundly and comprehensively, the Holy Prophet (s) commended medical science and invited people to get specialized in it. One day, the Holy Prophet (s) passed by a group of people who gathered round a person talking to them, everybody said something about that person. The Holy Prophet (s) asked the crowd who the person was. “He is a great scholar!” they replied.

The Holy Prophet (s) asked, “In which field of knowledge?”

“He knows about the wars of the Arabs,” they answered.

Considering this area of knowledge to be undesirable, the Holy Prophet (s) declared, “This knowledge neither benefits him who masters it nor harms him who know it. Indeed, true knowledge is only one of two kinds: religious knowledge and knowledge

p: 57

concerning the body.”(1)

Knowing the history of the occurrences and wars of Arabs that occurred during the Age of Ignorance does not benefit human beings because it is a knowledge that is not productive for thought and does not cause any progress in human life.

B. The Holy Prophet (s)ordered people to refer to physicians in order to receive treatment when they get sick. He said, “Receive medical treatment because God has not sent down any disease except that He has sent a cure for it too. Indeed, it is only death that has no cure.”(2)

C. The Holy Prophet (s) considered health to be the greatest blessing that is bestowed upon human beings. He stated, “After certainty (in belief of Almighty God), the best thing granted to man is good health.”(3)

The Holy Prophet (s) placed tremendous importance on medical science. As an example, we can refer to the general program known as “Prophetic Medicine” in which the Holy Prophet (s) defined some illnesses and their treatments. This program also includes the specifications and benefits of some foods, fruits, and meats.

The Commander of the Faithful (‛a), the great man of the Muslim nation after the Holy Prophet (s), the leader of the Islamic civilization and its intellectual development, has given instructions that if implemented will prevent sickness and free people from need for physicians.

He (‛a) once said to his son Imam Hasan, the leader of the youth in paradise, “O son, shall I teach you four points that will make you dispense with medical treatment?”

Imam Hasan (‛a) quickly replied, “Yes, you may, O

p: 58

1- . Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 1, p. 220.
2- . Da‛a’im al-Islam, vol. 2, p. 143.
3- . Kanz al-Umamal, vol. 3, p. 345; Musnad Ahmad, vol. 1, p. 7.

Commander of the Faithful.”

Imam ‛Ali (‛a) taught, “Do not eat unless you are hungry, stop eating before you are full, chew your food very well, and do not sleep before you use the toilet. If you put these into practice, you will not need medical treatment.”(1)

This golden prescription is full of splendid medical recommendations that modern medicine has proven as true, because overeating and not chewing food well are among the factors that lead to digestive disorders as well as many other harmful illnesses that cause suffering to human beings.

Within his advices to Kumayl ibn Ziyad in this regard, Imam ‛Ali (‛a) said, “O Kumayl! Do not fill your stomach with various types of food; rather, keep some space for water and some space for air. O Kumayl! Before eating, speak the name of the God in whose name no disease causes harm. He is the cure for all diseases. O Kumayl! Truly, the health of the body comes from less eating of food and less drinking of water.”(2)

According to al-Jahiz, a famous Arab man of letters, Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) filled the world with his knowledge and enriched Islamic thought with his God-given knowledge and genius. He had four thousand students in his school(3) where he taught various sciences including medical science. He taught the medical sciences in detail including the functions of different parts of the body, blood circulation, and some microbes that cause diseases.(4) He also lectured on the benefits of foods including fruits, vegetables, and meats. His discussions were published in a book titled Tibb al-Imam al-Sadiq (The Medicine

p: 59

1- . Al-Khisal, pp. 228-9; Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 16, p. 409.
2- . Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 16, p. 219.
3- . I have included profiles of 3563 of Imam Sadiq’s students in Mawsu‛at al-Imam as-Sadiq.
4- . Imam Al-Sadiq As Defined By Western Scholars. This book entails an all-inclusive study of Imam al-Sadiq’s knowledge and specialty in the field of medical treatment.

of Imam al-Sadiq) with commentary by Allamah Sheikh Muhammad Khalili.

It is worthy of note that Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) debated with the famous medical scientists of his time and entered into the subtlest medical discussions with them. As they failed to debate with him on the same level, they confessed that he was the most knowledgeable of them all and they were not acquainted with the details of this field of knowledge.(1)

He (‛a) disclosed the functions of different parts of the body that modern scientists are yet to discover with all their laboratories and researching tools. What is certain is that his discussions had a significant effect in the progress of the medical sciences. For example, Jabir ibn Hayyan wrote a book entitled As-Sumum (Intoxicants) regarding issues he learned from his master Imam al-Sadiq (‛a). This book is considered the first medical book discussing the characteristics of poisons.



Imam al-Sadiq (‛a), warning against excess eating, said, “Overeating is the cause of all illnesses.”(2)

One of the eating protocols in Islam is the prohibition of eating while walking. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) is reported to have said, “Do not eat while you are walking except in urgent cases.”(3)

Imam Rida (‛a) is a miracle of Islam for his God-given talent and genius. He was an expert in all sciences and knowledge. He was unique in his knowledge and no scholar of the Golden Age knew more than he did. One of these sciences is medicine. In the presence of Imam Rida (‛a), al-Ma'mun, the ‛Abbasid ruler, asked Jibril ibn Bakhtshu‛, the greatest physician of the ‛Abbasid era, to write a book on health care to serve as standard

p: 60

1- . I have referred to these amazing issues in the second part of my book entitled The Life of Imam Sadiq.
2- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 16, p. 411.
3- . Ibid, p. 421.

for public health. Jibril answered, “You gave me this assignment while Imam Rida (‛a) is the father of medical sciences, the greatest of all physicians, and superior to all scientists.” Therefore, the ruler tendered his request to Imam Rida (‛a) who accepted the mission. Thus, the Imam (‛a) wrote a treatise on medicine; it is considered one of the most distinctive books written in this field despite its briefness. The ruler ordered this book to be written in golden ink and gave it the title al-Risalah Adh-dhabiyyah fi at-Tibb (The Golden Treatise on Medicine). Al-Ma'mun greatly treasured and praised it. It is written within it: “I named it golden and after the family of Hashim and their children made copies of it, I placed it in the treasury of al-Hikmah (i.e. The House of Wisdom; the most important library and school of the time) because by management of food the body will become immunized, with the health of the body diseases will be repelled, and with the repellence of disease life will continue, and with life wisdom is obtained, and with wisdom life is obtained.

This treatise should be saved and be made accessible to people in order to get advice. It is a valid scientific source to serve as reference because it comes from the people that continually advise of the wisdom of the chosen Messenger, Muhammad (s), the narrations of the Holy Prophets (‛a), the guidance of Imams (‛a), the recommendations of the scientists, and the cure for hearts (i.e. mind and soul) and physical diseases.

I presented this book to scientists and physicians and some authors of intellect and thought, men of knowledge and wisdom, they all valued and praised it and rated it with the highest of ranks in order to be fair to the author and have confirmed all the points mentioned in the book.”(1)

Imam Rida (‛a) debated with groups of the great physicians of his time whom were assigned by al-Ma'mun to debate with him.

p: 61

1- . Tibb al-Imam al-Rida (‛a); I have written its commentary based on modern science.

The ruler promised them huge sums of money if the Imam was unable to answer their questions. He would have used this to make the Imam disreputable and to lower his social status; but they failed to contest with Imam and had to confess of the Imam’s skill and superiority in the field; as a result, some of them surrendered to his Imamate.

In any case, Islam has defined plans and programs for public health, which prevent human beings from being affected with many sicknesses.

Commendation of Islam by Western physicians

Western scientists are amazed at the Islamic rules in medicine; they commend the Holy Prophet’s skill and efforts in public health care. Some of these physicians are as follows:

1. Dr. Jorjodar Balano: He holds that Islamic obligatory and recommended duties are related to health and aim at two objectives: a religious objective and a health objective.(1)

2. Dr. San Jon Jir: He believes there is no doubt that treatment and health are the main issues the Prophet has considered. He himself had excessive knowledge in medicine.(2)

3- Dr. Rona Sandej: Dr. Sandej has commended Islamic teachings especially in the field of health care. According to this physician, Islamic religious teachings are models for healthcare. These teachings have called for contentment and enjoined people against excess in eating and in drinking. It has also called for cleanliness and purification with water five times a day before every prayer. Prayer is a collection of physical training. Islam has also ordered some people that suffer from stomach related illnesses to separate themselves from others. In fact, many Islamic sciences are on issues of health care.(3)

p: 62

1- . Al-Wajiz, vol. 1, p. 2.
2- . Ibid, pp. 2-3.
3- . Ibid, p. 3.

In any case, Islam has defined a series of general methods for healthcare that prevent human beings from contracting diseases. We will discuss them in brief as follows:



Cleanliness is one of the important components in healthy life and immunization against contagious diseases and deadly cholera. Islam has effectively defined this component. We shall take a look at some verses of Holy Qur’an regarding this.

Almighty God has granted His love to those who clean themselves:

Indeed Allah loves the penitent and He loves those who keep clean. [2/222]

…Therein are men who love to keep pure, and Allah loves those who keep pure. [9/108]

Is there anything better and more splendid than winning the love of Almighty Allah?

Many are the traditions that have encouraged Muslims to be clean. Some of these are as follows:

1. The Holy Prophet (s) has said, “Cleanliness is part of faith.”(1)

2. He (s) also said, “Almighty God is pure and likes purity. Also, He is clean and likes cleanliness.”(2)

3. He (s) also said, “Try your best to make yourself clean, because Almighty God has built Islam on the foundation of cleanliness.”(3)

4. Imam ‛Ali (‛a) said, “Purity is half of faith.”(4)

The aforementioned traditions are among many others that

p: 63

1- . Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 59, p. 291.
2- . Sunan al-Tirmidhi, vol. 4, p. 198.
3- . Kanz al-‛ummal, vol. 9, p. 277.
4- . Mustadrak al-Wasa’il vol. 1 p. 357.

encourage cleanliness and consider it a basic principle in the life of a Muslim.

The nature of cleanliness, which according to traditions is half of faith, is as follows:

1. Clean your body, wash off dirtiness, cut the fingernails, brush the teeth, and cut the hair: The Holy Prophet (s) said, “Comb your beard and cut your nails because devils(1) gather between the flesh and nails.”(2)

2. Clean your clothes and wash off dirtiness and insects that carry diseases: The Holy Prophet (s) said, “Wash your cloths and have your hair cut, brush your teeth, and beautify yourself with ornaments and be clean.”(3)

3. Clean the house, remove dirt, and clean bathrooms: The Holy Prophet (s) said, “Almighty God is pure and likes purity, He is clean and likes cleanliness, He is generous and likes generosity, and He is bountiful and likes openhandedness, so clean your yards and do not imitate the Jews.”(4)

4. Wash your food, including vegetables, fruits and other edibles.

5. Clean and sterilize drinking water.

6. Clean streets and alleys and remove dirtiness.

7. Avoid sitting in dirty places.

8. Avoid spitting in public places.

Islam has established the life of the people on the basis of health, which is one of the necessities of life. By considering the following decrees, the dedication of Islam to matters of

p: 64

1- . In many narrations, the word shaytan (i.e. devil, Satan) seems to indicate germs; that is, life forms that cause disease. [ed.]
2- . Kanz al-‛Ummal, vol. 9, p. 301.
3- . Ibid, vol. 6, p. 640.
4- . Sunan al-Tirmidhi, vol. 4, p. 197.

health and training become clear:

Greater ritual ablution (ghusl)

Islam has made complete washing of the body with water obligatory in the following cases:

1. Ritual impurity (jinabah): Impurity happens in both women and men after having sexual intercourse or a wet dream. God the Most High has stated:

If you are junub(1), purify yourselves. [5/6]

It has been proven by modern medicine that after sexual intercourse, the human body loses some vitality and it cannot regain it except through washing and bathing.

2. Menstruation (hayd): Menstruation is women’s period of bleeding. After menstruation, it is obligatory, according the Islamic Law, upon women to do the ritual ablution, wash themselves and remove dirtiness. With ablution and washing, a woman regains the vitality and strength that she loses during her menstruation.

3. Irregular bleeding (istihadah): A woman needs to perform ritual ablution once a day in case she has a medium amount of irregular bleeding. However, in cases of considerable irregular bleeding, woman must perform ritual ablution three times a day for prayer. Islamic laws relating to this issue have been explained in detail in books of jurisprudence (i.e. the practical laws of Islam).

4. Bleeding after childbirth: Puerperium is the blood that is discharged from the womb during or after the delivery of a child. It is obligatory for a woman to perform ritual ablution after the stoppage of the blood.

5. Touching human dead body: It is obligatory upon those who have touched a cooled off dead body before the completion

p: 65

1- . Junub is the state of ritual impurity. [ed.]

of the Ritual Ablution of the Dead [ghusl mayyit] to perform a ritual ablution. There is no difference in religious law whether the dead body belongs to a Muslim or to a non-Muslim or whether the dead is young or old.

The aforementioned cases are the obligatory ritual ablutions in which the body is cleansed of all dirtiness.

Recommended Bathing

Islam has deemed recommended washing the body on certain occasions, such as Fridays, the ‛Id al-Fitr and ‛Id al-Adha days, before wearing the uniform of ritual Hajj pilgrimage [ihram], on the ‛Arafah Day, on the Tarwiyah day, on the ‛Id al-Ghadir day, on the fifteenth of Sha‛ban,(1) and upon visiting the tombs of the Holy Infallible Persons.(2)

Of course, washing the body of such days is aimed at soundness of health and cleaning of the body from dirt and contamination.

Ablution (wudu')


The Holy Prophet (s) said, “Ablution is half of faith.”(3)

Ablution is obligatory as an introductory step for the five daily obligatory prayers and other obligatory prayers with the exception of burial prayer (salat mayyit). According to Shi‛ah Muslim jurisprudence, washing the whole face and the hands from the elbow downward and wiping the head and the top of the two feet are obligatory in wudu'. The recommended acts in ablution include but are not limited to washing the hands at the beginning of the ablution, rinsing the mouth with water, drawing water in through the nose.

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1- . The birthday of Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for him).
2- . Minhaj as-Salihin by the grand Ayatollah Sayyid ‛Ali Husayni Sistani.
3- . Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 1, p. 364.

Advantages of wudu'

Physicians have mentioned many benefits for ablution, some of which are as follows:

1. The water poured on the face and hands will make the facial skin capillaries contract and re-expand. This increases the heart rate and metabolic processes. It also strengthens breathing and increases the inhalation of oxygen and exhalation of carbon dioxide. In this way, the nervous system awakens and this awakening influences all the nerves in the heart, lungs, stomach, and glands.

2. It serves as protection of the eyes from soreness because they are washed by water several times a day.

3. It cleans the nasal cavities from microbes that settle therein; that is, if the worshipper performs the act of drawing water into the nose during the ablution.

4. It protects the skin against disease because the face and hands are uncovered and therefore exposed to epidemic diseases. If washed several times a day the skin will be able to resist microbes.

5. It protects the stomach from the microbes entering it via the mouth. Microbes find their way into the body through dirty hands. Therefore, if the hands are washed and are continuously clean, they will not carry any microbes into the body.

Diseases that may enter the body through dirty hands are digestive parasites, typhoid fever, and paralysis. Ablution is one of the important methods of protecting the body against dangerous diseases.

6. It reduces stress that according to physicians affects the nervous system due to anger. The Holy Prophet (s) said, “Truly, anger comes from Satan and Satan from fire. Fire is only quenched by water; so if any of you are in a state of anger, they

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should perform ablution.(1)(2)

Brushing the teeth

One of the methods of good health recommended by Islam is brushing the teeth. This is because of the active role the teeth have in the health of the body. Islam stresses the importance of brushing the teeth with chewing sticks (miswak). The Holy Prophet (s) said, “Had it not been that I deem it difficult for my nation, I would have ordered them to brush their teeth in the ablution for every prayer.”(3)

He (s) also said, “Brush your teeth because brushing is good as it strengthens the gums, removes the unpleasant odor of the mouth and keeps the stomach healthy.”(4)

He (s) also said, “Brushing of the teeth has eight benefits: It gives good aroma to the mouth. It strengthens the gums. It is good for eyesight. It prevents phlegm. It makes the angels happy. It pleases Almighty God. It amplifies ones good deeds and it keeps the stomach healthy.”(5)

He has emphasized brushing of the teeth with chewing sticks because they have many benefits and work better than toothpaste. Dr. Hamid al-Badri has enumerated some of its medical benefits. He has said that the tree of Arak (also known as the salvadora persica tree) is composed of cellulose tissues, some volatile fats, scented white resin and minerals; the most important of which are sodium chloride, i.e. edible salt, potassium chloride, and oxalates.

Therefore, the Arak tree is a natural toothbrush rich in minerals and scented matter and makes the teeth clean. The Holy Prophet

p: 68

1- . Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 7, p. 272; Sunan Abu Dawud, vol. 2, p. 434.
2- . Ruh ad-Din al-Islami, p. 400; Ruh as-Salat fi al-Islam, pp. 8283; Educational System in Islam, p. 310.
3- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 2, p. 17.
4- . Kanz al-‛Ummal, vol. 9, p. 314.
5- . Ibid, p. 315.

(s) and his companions used regularly this natural toothbrush to brush their teeth while the modern toothbrush came into use around AD 1800.

If human beings do not take care of their teeth, they will decay causing the formation of poisons that are absorbed by the body and cause many diseases.(1)

Washing the excretory organs

One of the health methods of paramount importance in Islam is washing of the urinary organ two times with water or preferably three times. As for the anus, duty-bound persons can either wash it with water or clean it with a stone or any other thing that can be used in completely cleansing all impurities.(2)

This is a great order that has an active role in human health and protection against disease. It must be noted that the Arabs of the Age of Ignorance did not clean themselves at all, neither with water nor with anything else, which is why they smelled offensive all the time.

Once, a perfume was given to a person that was about to marry. He started using the perfume on his private parts whereby he was told that those parts of body are not to be perfumed! He replied, “I have to do so because the foul odor is killing me.”

Shortening the hair and cutting the nails

Islam has recommended the cleaning of all parts of the body. In this respect, it encourages us to shorten our hair and to cut our nails. A tradition reads: “Five things are human nature: shaving the hairs of the private parts, circumcision, shortening one’s mustache, shaving the armpit, and cutting the nails.”(3)

It is certain that implementing these methods upon the body brings about sound health and frees from diseases.

p: 69

1- . Ruh ad-Din al-Islami, p. 401.
2- . Minhaj as-Salihin, vol. 1, p. 31.
3- . Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 7, p. 56.

In short, the cleanliness proposed Islam promotes public health and serves as preventive medicine. It is, in fact, what the developed countries and world health organizations are trying to promote among nations. In addition, cleanliness protects human beings from deviation and corruption.

According to the Englishman Bentham, Whoever constantly practices purification according to the religion of Islam is outwardly free from sin and is inwardly free from defects. I studied the criminals in prisons and found nothing but impurity of the body and dirty clothes in them.(1)

Here we conclude the discussion regarding Islamic public healthcare:



Exercise is one of the important factors for refreshing and giving vitality to the body. Sports are of different types:


Racing was permitted by Islamic laws during its early stages because it helped make people ready for battle. We have a number of narrations regarding its permissibility from the Holy Prophet (s) who said, “Competition is not recommended except in shooting of arrows, horse riding, or camel riding.”(2)

Racing is one of the methods that makes the body strong and enables growth of the muscles. Muslim jurists, considering this issue, have allocated separate chapters to this topic in Islamic books of law wherein they have addressed it in detail. Nowadays, car racing is considered part of public sports.


Shooting means training on fight. In olden days, shooting was preformed with bows and arrows but now it is carried out with planes, missiles, tanks, and other types of weaponry. This type

p: 70

1- .The Educational System in Islam, p. 312.
2- . Al-Raudah (fi Sharh al-Lum‛at al-Damashqiyyah) vol. 4, p. 421.

of exercise requires military information and provides power to the body and activeness to the muscles.


Hunting also strengthens the body because it requires running and quick jumping which are elements of physical exercise. The Muslim rulers at the beginning of Islam enjoyed hunting but their inducement was nothing except pleasure and wasting time. Jurisprudential sources have explained in details the Islamic laws concerning the prohibited and the permitted types of hunting in Islam.

Physical advantages of the acts of ritual prayer

Prayer is the most important act of worship in Islam and it has some physical benefits for the human body, as is also confirmed by some physicians:

Professor ‛Afif ‛Abd al-Fattah Tabarah has inquired from Dr. Mustafa Haffar, a specialist in digestive diseases, about the benefits of bowing down (ruku‛) and prostration (sujud) in prayer to which he replied, “Bowing strengthens the muscles of the stomach and as a result the stomach becomes small and its digestive function works properly. Also, it enables the intestine to send out extra matter naturally. As for prostration, it sends out the air from the stomach through the mouth releasing built up pressure and mitigating digestive problems and the resulting reactions of the heart.”(1)

Dr. Faris, a neurologist and a specialist in joint problems, is of the opinion that the act of prayer has healthy benefits for the body: “Prayer and its components, such as bowing and prostration, strengthen the muscles of the back and soften the movements of the spinal column. These benefits will be more obvious especially if a person prays from the beginning of his life. The other benefit is immunity against diseases caused by weakness of the muscles around the spinal column, a situation

p: 71

1- .The Educational System in Islam, p. 335.

that may lead to different types of nervous illnesses, severe pains, and muscle spasms.”(1)

These are some advantages of the ritual prayer. In addition to its physical benefits, prayer contributes to enhancing spiritual exercises and to strengthening the worshipper-Creator relationship.

Benefits of fasting to public health

Fasting is one of the acts of worship that plays an important role in enhancing good health of the body. It is one of the most important recommendations for the following illnesses:

Intestinal Spasms: Fasting is the best treatment for chronic intestinal spasms that is caused by fermentation of starchy and diluted substances.

Overweight: Obesity is caused by excessive eating coupled with little physical exercise. Fasting is the most effective way for losing weight.

High blood pressure: High blood pressure is caused by psychological problems and excessive pleasure. Fasting is the best treatment for this problem.

Diabetes: Fasting is the best treatment for diabetes especially for those who are affected with overweight. Before insulin was discovered, the only way to treat this illness was through fasting.

Nephritis: Fasting is very effective as a treatment for nephritis.

Cardiac illnesses and chronic inflammation of joints: According to some physicians, the aforementioned illnesses are curable through fasting.(2) A tradition reads: “Fast to be healthy.”(3)

p: 72

1- . Ruh as-Salat fi al-Islam, p. 137.
2- . Al-Islam wa Tib al-Hadith, pp. 3336.
3- . Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 7, p. 502.

According to another tradition, “There is a zakat [prescribed tax] for everything and the zakat of the body is fasting.”(1)

Fasting is not only the best treatment for various types of illnesses but also a mental treatment for the soul. Fasting is the best exercise of patience. It also strengthens the will.


One of the ways to keep healthy in Islam is taking a rest after hard work and getting tired of worldly affairs. Human beings should not cause themselves torment and should not work more than their ability because this may result in self-destruction. That is part of what Islam has prohibited. A tradition holds: “Your soul has a right upon you; your body has a right upon you; your wife has a right upon you; and your eyes have a right upon you.” According to another, “Your soul is like a mount, so be lenient with it.”

That is you should not employ and engage your soul more than its ability and you should treat it well. Verily, resting protects human beings from affliction with many diseases that are caused by hard work, pressure, and imbalanced behavior.

Here, we conclude the discussion on health care in Islam and we shall discuss other relative issues in the next chapter.

p: 73

1- . Man la Yahduruh al-Faqih, vol. 4, p. 416.


p: 74



Islam places great importance on food and beverages since we cannot survive without them. In this respect, Islam has cast light on all types of foods and beverages and called for moderateness and refraining from squandering them. It has permitted consummation of some foods and drinks and has prohibited others. The discussion in this respect is connected with the body’s health however we have given it a separate chapter due to its importance.



Food is an active factor in human life and Islam has devoted considerable and comprehensive attention to it. It has defined a specific method entailing much good for humans. Some of those methods are as follows:

Moderateness in eating

Islam lays emphasis on moderate eating and warns us about extravagancy. These emphases come in both the Holy Qur’an and in the traditions of the Holy Prophet (s).

The Holy Qur’an enjoins humans to be moderate and not squander while eating. God the Most High has said:

O Children of Adam! Put on your adornment on every occasion of prayer, and eat and drink, but do not waste; indeed He does not like the wasteful. [7/31]

All factors of health are pointed out in this Qur'anic verse where all types of extravagancy are prohibited, whether in eating,

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drinking or in sexual relations that all are extremely harmful to our body. General principle has been introduced in this holy verse in order to keep the body immune from illnesses, which is to be moderate in eating and in other issues.

According to traditions reported from the Holy Prophet (s) and the Imams (‛a), squandering has been prohibited. The Holy Prophet (s) has called upon his followers to be moderate in eating and drinking. He said, “Human beings always try to fill their stomach, and keep counting their bites, while these bites must be divided into three, one for their nutrition, one for their drinking, and one [to forgo] for their health.”(1)

He (s) also said, “Eat while having an appetite and stop eating while the appetite is still there.”(2)

“Your stomach is a place for pain and your diet is the cause of all illnesses; therefore, give your body whatever you have made it accustomed to.”(3)

Notice the considerable attention the Holy Prophet (s) has devoted to food and how he has enjoined people against overeating and extravagance so that humans can be protected from disease and illness.

It is worth mentioning that once Najashi (Negus), an Egyptian king, sent some gifts to the Holy Prophet (s), including a physician, in order to treat the illnesses of the Muslims but the Holy Prophet sent the physician back and said, “We, Muslims, never become ill because we do not eat unless we are hungry and we stop eating while the appetite is still there.”(4)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a), the great leader of the Islamic nation and the pioneer of its scientific movement, is reported to have said,

p: 76

1- . Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 73, p. 91.
2- . Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 10, p. 155.
3- . The Educational System in Islam, p. 314.
4- . As-Sirat an-Nabawiyyah by Zayni Dahlan, vol. 3, p. 72.

“If people are moderate in eating, their bodies will be more resistant.”(1)

“People are closest to God when their bellies are empty and farthest from Him when they are full.”(2)

In his book, al-Risalat adh-Dhahabiyyah, Imam Rida (‛a) says, “Look for what is compatible with you and with your stomach and makes your body stronger. Choose the type of food that your body needs most and prepare your meals with that type of food.”

He (‛a) adds: “Whoever eats an excess of food, it shall not benefit him but persons who eat sufficiently, no more and no less, shall benefit from their meals. The same applies to water as well. It is good to eat sufficiently and to refrain from eating while you still have an appetite since it is better for your stomach, your body, and it makes your brain sharper and your body lighter.”(3)

Serious harms of overeating

Excess eating entails many serious health problems and causes many diseases, some of which are as follows:

Obesity: Excess eating results in fatness which is one of the most dangerous of illnesses and exposes humans to many diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney malfunction, diabetes, and so on.

Digestive Disorders: Excess eating leads to many diseases in the human digestive system such as stomach enlargement, peptic ulcers, and colon disease.

Decrease in Procreation: One of the problems caused by excess eating is decrease of procreation. It has been established in modern medicine that eating oily foods affects a person’s

p: 77

1- . The Educational System in Islam, p. 313.
2- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 24, p. 239.
3- . Tibb al-Imam al-Rida, p. 47.

potency and reproductive system and may sometimes lead to infertility.(1)

Dullness: Among the harms of excess eating are dullness, absentmindedness, and vapidity.(2)

How to eat

Islam teaches us how to eat. The following instructions have to be followed in this regard:

Chewing food: Islam orders us to chew food well, considering it to be a way to guarantee health and freedom from doctors. Recent and modern medical researches indicate that not chewing food completely causes many diseases of the digestive system.

Cool food: Islam prohibits us from eating hot food and emphasizes the necessity for eating cool food. The Holy Prophet (s) said, “Let your food cool since there is no benefit in hot food.”(3)

He (s) also said, “Let your food cool in order for Allah to send benefits down upon it.”(4)

Nutritionists have established that eating hot foods leads to teeth diseases and other illnesses.

Eating after satiety: Islam prohibits eating after satiety. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) enjoins us against this, saying, “Eating after satiety causes leprosy.”(5)

Prohibited foods

Islam prohibits certain foods because they endanger our health and cause damage to our body. Islam has deemed obligatory to

p: 78

1- . Tabibuka Ma‛ak, p. 31.
2- . The Educational System in Islam, p. 314.
3- .The Educational System in Islam, p. 315.
4- . Ibid.
5- . Al-Kafi, vol. 6, p. 269.

eat clean foods because they contain healthy ingredients that do not adversely affect the body rather causing benefits and increasing the resistance of the body. This is reflected in the following Qur'anic verses:

O you who have faith! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with, and be grateful to Allah, if it is indeed He Whom you worship. [2/172]

You are prohibited carrion, blood, the flesh of swine, and what has been offered to other than Allah, and the animal strangled or beaten to death, and that which dies by falling or is gored to death, and that which is mangled by a beast of prey– barring that which you may purify– and what is sacrificed on stone altars to idols. [5/3]

Here we will briefly discuss the harm caused to our bodies by eating such prohibited foods base on medical and other sources:

Carcass: An animal carcass is the body of an animal that died before having been legally slaughtered according to the Islamic method of slaughtering animals. Carcasses are of two types; one type is the carcass of an animal that died out of illness. The harm of this type of carcass to the body has been mentioned by may physicians, one of whom says, “Naturally, the death of an animal has a cause. If the animal dies due to illness, there is no doubt that there are harmful particles that will remain in its body which are harmful to humans even if the meat is sterilized and its microbes are killed with fire. Such carcasses are like fermented food that is harmful to the body no matter how it has been sterilized, and may even cause the death of whoever eats it.”(1)

Another physician avers, “Carcass lacks all the nutritious elements of food that the body needs. If someone eats a carcass immediately after the death of the animal, they will be afflicted with stomach spasms and acute intestinal obstruction but if the

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1- . Islam and Modern Medicine, p. 17.

carcass is eaten a long time after the death or after it has become rotten, it will become a deadly poison that inflicts the body with irremediable harm such as sudden paralysis or death and it may sometime cause infertility.”(1)

Islam has prohibited eating the meat of carcasses in order to safeguard the body from such damages.

The other type of carcasses is that when the cause of death is due old age. In this case, its harm is similar to an animal that dies due to illness since old age disintegrates the body tissues which in turn makes some changes in the meat causing decrease in its dietary value and digestibility and leading to various types of diseases.

Pork: Pork is among the worst types of foods for human body. It afflicts the human body with trichinosis, a dangerous disease that is accompanied by severe diarrhea, or even dysentery, spasms, high fever, weakness and intense pain in the joints, dried throat, pain in the respiratory organs, swelling of the face especially around the eyes, weakness of the sight, and may eventually lead to death.(2)

James Paget, a British physician, discovered this dangerous disease while witnessing an autopsy on the body of a man who excessively consumed pork. After the conduction of many tests, it was found that the disease is caused by a worm called trichina that lives inside the intestine of some mammals such as mice, rats, dogs and pigs though it extensively propagates in pigs especially those that consume carcasses of animals with parasites. If human beings consume the pork that was afflicted with this disease, great quantities of the cysts containing the disease agent will inevitably enter their stomachs and after a while, worms will break out of the cysts and spread throughout

p: 80

1- .The Educational System in Islam, p. 316.
2- . Ibid.

the body eventually causing the aforementioned disease.(1)

It must be noted that this disease only exists in Western countries where consumption of pork is popular and permitted. Bennie Dickson has said that affliction with this disease is prevalent in France, Germany, England and Italy while it is rare in eastern countries due to the Islamic ban of consumption of pork.(2)

Some physicians have referred to many dangerous issues in consuming pork, some of which are as follows:

1. It is impossible to prove that a pig is not afflicted with this type of worm except if all its organs are tested under a microscope, which is not feasible for all pork meat.

2. A female worm lays around 1500 larvae inside the mucous membrane of the intestine, consequently millions of these larvae enter the blood circulation and spread all over the body. Then they congregate in the muscles, which will cause exquisite pain and inflammation in muscles.

3. This disease has no cure and its medicine is yet to be discovered. Consuming pork may afflict the consumer with some infectious microbes that cause acute poisoning accompanied by intense inflammation in the digestive system that sometimes leads to death in very few hours…(3)

The severe harms listed above caused by pork serve as a proof for the profundity and verity of Islamic law for announcing the prohibition of consumption of pork.

Strangled animals: Among the types of meat Islam has prohibited is the meat of a strangled animal, i.e. an animal that dies by suffocation, since suffocation spoils the meat immediately; its color becomes almost black and starts reeking.

p: 81

1- . Al-Qur’an wa at-Tib al-Hadith, p. 76.
2- .The Educational System in Islam, pp. 340341.
3- . Ruh ad-Din al-Islami, p. 405.

This is why Islam has prohibited it.

Animals beaten to death: Such an animal cannot be consumed since its meat is like that of a suffocated animal.

Animals falling from high places: This type of meat is not good for consumption; the meat of such animals spoils and turns black.

Animals gored to death: The meat of animals killed by other animals is not good for consumption because it blackens and spoils.

Animals half-eaten by beasts: Among the types of meat that is prohibited in Islam is the animal that is torn apart by a wild animal. This may be because hunting animals usually eat carcasses, which contains deadly microbes and transfers such microbes to its prey. As a result, the meat may become infected and consuming it may be harmful to human body.

These are some of the meats prohibited by Islam. Additionally, Islam prohibited the consumption of the meat of other animals like dogs, snakes, and some species of birds and fish. There is no doubt that the prohibition of such meats was imposed out of wisdom and for good reason since Almighty God allows us to consume various types of food that are not detrimental to the body.

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The consumption of some beverages is allowed by Islam while it is prohibited in Islam to consume certain beverages, due to the harm they cause to the body.


Water is the source of life; without it, the entire creation could have been annihilated. Water is one of the greatest gifts Almighty God has bestowed upon His servants. Now let us take a look at some narrations reported in this respect:

The importance of water: The Holy Prophet (s) said, “The supreme beverage in Paradise is water.”(1)

Imam ‛Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, said, “Water is the most superior of beverages in this world and in the Hereafter.”(2)

Water is not only superior to all other beverages in this world but also it is superior to other beverages in the Hereafter.

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said, “The taste of water is the taste of life.”(3)

It is true that the taste of water is that of life, since without water there would not even be any shadow in existence.

Enjoyment of drinking water: One should enjoy drinking water because it is the most important necessity of life. Imam

p: 83

1- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah vol. 25 p. 234.
2- . Ibid, p. 233.
3- . Ibid, p. 234.

Rida (‛a) is reported as saying, “Drinking water as cold is more pleasant than drinking it the otherwise.”(1)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said, “Whoever enjoys drinking water in this world, Allah shall make them enjoy the beverages of paradise.”(2)

Sweetening the mouth with water: It is recommended to sense the sweetness while drinking water. In this regard, Imam al-Husayn (‛a) is reported to have asked for some dates to eat. When he did, he drank some water immediately after that. “May my soul be sacrificed for you,” it was said to him, “Why did you drink water?”

He replied, “I only ate some dates in order to enjoy the water.”(3)

Manner of drinking water: Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) described how to drink water thus: “Three breathing intervals when drinking water is better than drinking water without stop.”(4)

Sulayman ibn Khalid asked Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) about a person who drinks water without pause. He answered, “This is unacceptable because it is similar to the manner of how a thirsty camel drinks water.”(5)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) is reported to have quoted Imam ‛Ali (‛a) as forbidding the guzzling down of beverages. He added, “A beverage must be consumed in two or three intervals.”(6)

Doxology upon drinking water: Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) quoted his ancestor, the Holy Prophet (s), as reciting the following doxology while drinking water: “Praise be to Allah for the clear pleasant water He has provided us with, not sour bitter water,

p: 84

1- . Ibid, p. 235.
2- . Ibid.
3- . Ibid, p. 237.
4- . Ibid, p. 246.
5- . Ibid.
6- . Ibid.

and has not admonished us for our sins.”(1)

Purity of water: Water is naturally pure in itself and it purifies other things that it copes with. Almighty God has said:

We send down from the sky purifying water. [25/48]

Water that is more than a kurr (i.e. a unit for measuring the quantity of water) in volume is not affected by impurity if it does not make any change in its color, taste, or smell. However, if a change occurs to any of these three features, then water is decided as ceremonially impure and it must not be consumed. In case that the quantity of water is less than one kurr and it is exposed to impurity, such as if a drop of urine or blood is intermixed with it, then it is decided as impure. Yet, it can be purified if it is connected with running water or other purifying agents listed by jurists.

In any case, water is a bounty from Almighty God upon His servants, and it is the best of all beverages.

Some other beverages have been prohibited by Islam due to the damage they inflict in our body. Those beverages include:



Wine is one of the filthiest and deadliest beverages prohibited by Islam. Here are some narrations involving the illegality of consuming wines. Before that, let us cite some Qur'anic verses regarding this issue:

O you who have faith! Indeed, wine, gambling, idols and divining arrows are abominations of Satan’s doing; so, avoid them, so that you may be felicitous. [5/90]

As wine is described by this Qur'anic verse as an abomination of Satan’s doing, no censure can be found greater than this one; therefore, it is obligatory to avoid drinking it.

Below are some traditions serving the same issue:

p: 85

1- .Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 25, p. 250.

The Holy Prophet (s) said, “Three groups of people are not admitted to Paradise: drinkers of wine, magic users, and persons who have abandoned their relatives.”(1)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said, “A wine drinker is like an idolater, since wine is the source of all sins. Those who drink it deny the Book of God Most High because they would have avoided all its prohibitions if they had believed in the book of God.”(2)

‛Ali ibn Yaqtin reported: I was present when the al-Mahdi the ‛Abbasid ruler asked Imam Musa ibn Ja‛far (‛a), “Has wine been prohibited in the Book of God? People believe it has been deprecated there and not prohibited.”

The Imam said, “Wine is forbidden in the Book of God.”

“In which part of the Qur'an is this prohibition mentioned?” the ruler asked.

The Imam (‛a) started quoting a number of Qur'anic verses in this regard, such as the following one:

Say: My Lord has only forbidden indecencies, the outward among them and the inward ones; and sin and undue aggression. [7/33]

The Imam (‛a) commented, “As for the outward among them, manifest fornication is meant, and by sin, the drinking of wine. Almighty God has declared elsewhere:

They ask you concerning wine and gambling. Say: There is a great sin in both of them, and some profits for the people, but their sinfulness outweighs their profit. [2/219]

Sin [ithm] in the book of God refers to wine and gambling. They are greater sins just as Almighty Allah has stated in the Holy Qur'an.”

p: 86

1- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 17, p. 244.
2- . Ibid, p. 256.

The ruler realized the truth; so, he could not hide his admiration of the Imam’s words. He said to ‛Ali ibn Yaqtin, “Is this one of the decrees exclusively known by the descendants of Hashim?”

‛Ali immediately replied, “Praise be to Allah Who has not allowed knowledge to leave you, O household of the Holy Prophet!”

The ruler replied, “You are right, Rafidi.”(1)

It is worth mentioning that al-Mahdi, the ‛Abbasid ruler, was very fond of drinking wine.

Traditions involving the prohibition of wine, as well as its disadvantages and punishment for drinking, buying, and selling wine are so numerous and uninterruptedly reported.

Terrible harms of consuming wine

Addiction to wine brings about great damages, as is maintained by modern medical textbooks. These harms can take the following forms:

Genetic damages: Medical research has proven that the effects of alcohol are genetically transferred to future generations. Those whose parents are alcoholic show many symptoms of physical weakness, and may be afflicted with dangerous convulsions that eventually lead to mental retardation or even total paralysis, and infertility. Sometimes it may result in the death of an infant after delivery. In addition, future generations of wine drinkers may be afflicted with agonizing and painful deformations such as asymmetric skulls, dwarfism, belated growth of mental abilities, weakness of the memory, mental incapacitation, and so on. Dr. Berjonous, Dr. Schawan, and Dr. Stocker have all established this fact.(2)

Damages to heart and blood: Researchers who have worked on wine have reached the conclusion that alcohol is the active

p: 87

1- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 17, pp. 140141.
2- . Principles of Health and Life, p. 287.

agent in wine and can easily enter the blood circulation. The wine that enters the stomach is dispersed and spread over the body tissues and organs. As for its effects on the heart, it has been proven that it increases the heart rate and when the rate reduces the heart loses vitality and the blood pressure increases inside the blood vessels which leads to perspiration.

Some physicians believe that alcoholism is one of the three factors that lead to arteriosclerosis, a dangerous illness that ruins the heart and ruptures the blood vessels inside the brain leading to paralysis or incurable disabilities.

Damage to the liver and kidney: After alcohol has been absorbed into the body, it reaches the liver via the blood stream. Alcohol is among the things that inflame and destroy liver cells. If a person is an alcoholic, this inflammation leads to distension and fibrosis of the liver. Dr. Hill Hewitt and Dr. Doth Hewitt have both referred to this effect. On the other hand, alcohol affects the kidneys by decreasing urine because it stretches the blood vessels within the kidneys. Excessive alcohol accumulates in the kidneys and results in dangerous kidney inflammation.

Damage to the stomach: It has been mentioned by physicians that after wine is mixed with the contents of the stomach, it will change into acidic matter that decomposes pepsin, which is an important element in digestion. Alcohol also inflames the mucous membranes of the stomach and stretches its blood vessels. It also deforms the stomach glands. Therefore, alcohol addiction affects stomach enzymes and leads to indigestion. That is why alcoholics complain of stomach pains.(1)

Physicians believe that alcoholism leads to the following diseases: 1. Liver inflammation resulting in chronic thirst, 2. nephritis (kidney inflammation), 3. paralysis, 4. hysteria (madness), 5. general anxiety, 6. lung disease, 7. lower

p: 88

1- . Al-Amal wa Huquq al-Amal fi al-Islam, pp. 19-21.

resistance to deadly diseases like typhoid, that eventually lead to death, that have no cure.

These are some of the health hazards related to alcoholism. Economic damages must be added to all these losses as well since no matter how tight-handed a drunkard is, such a person inevitably tends toward extravagancy and are likely to be a victim of many vices and evil deeds such as gambling and prostitution. Such persons are not ashamed of being notorious.

Protective methods

The following are some measures to fight this internecine addiction, which is one of the most destructive things for human life and health:

1. The ruling authorities should ban the consumption of alcohol, destroy the factories and distillation instruments, and punish strictly those who trade in it.

2. Mass media must be used for informing the public of its serious harms.

3. Clergymen and health organizations must fight addiction to wines and inform the public of its damages.

4. Gyms must be opened so that the youths are attracted to the different types of sports and useful entertainments.

5. Advertisements that invite people to its consumption must be stopped.

These were some of the ways to combat this destructive blight that ruins both common sense and moral virtues.

p: 89


p: 90



Islam pays very much attention to matrimonial life and sets great importance to it, considering it as the first organization in building an Islamic society. It has thus defined some laws regarding this issue in order to make it solid, consistent, and immune from sexual deviation—an illness that fills up hospitals and medical centers with millions of victims every year. In this respect, Islam has set some laws to protect human beings against deviation and crimes that may lead to ruination of matrimonial life.

Encouraging marriage

Islam has strongly and positively encouraged marriage and presented it as one of the most important factors in life. There are unanimous narrations in this respect, some of which are as follows:

Marriage is an Islamic tradition

Imam ‛Ali (‛a) encouraged marriage, considering it as one of the traditions of the Holy Prophet (s). He said, “Marry, because marriage is a tradition of the Messenger of God (s) as he would say: Whoever wants to follow my tradition should get married because marriage is one of my traditions. You should also seek to have children because with that my followers will become more numerous than other nations.”(1)

Marriage is one of the traditions of the Messenger of God (s) so

p: 91

1- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, chap. Marriage, vol. 20, p. 16.

those who do not marry are not following his traditions and they have deviated from his laws.

Marriage is a shield for religion

Obviously, marriage protects humans from evildoings that keep them away from the correct path of the religion. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) is quoted to have reported his ancestor, the Messenger of God (s), as saying, “Whoever gets married, has made safe half of his or her faith.”(1)

Marriage is a way not only to protect religion but also to protect human dignity and values and immunizes people from evil deeds.

Devotional acts of married people

Islam has considered the act of worship of married persons to be superior to unmarried ones. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) quoted his father, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (‛a), to have asked a man who came to him, “Are you married?”

“No,” the man answered.

The Imam (‛a) said, “I would not like to have the world and everything in it if I should spend a night without a wife.”

The Imam added: “A two-unit prayer of a married person is better than an unmarried person spending a whole night praying and spending a whole day fasting.”

The Imam then gave the man an amount of money in order to get married.(2)

The Imam (‛a) also said, “A two-unit prayer of a married person is better than seventy units of prayer of an unmarried person.”(3)

p: 92

1- . Ibid, p. 16.
2- . Ibid, p. 18.
3- . Ibid, p. 20.

The unmarried are the most disgraceful dead people

Islam has called for marriage and called Muslims to marry sooner rather than later. That is why it considers the most disgraceful death to be that of unmarried persons because some of them think of nothing except sexual affairs and engaging in what Almighty Allah has prohibited. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) quoted his ancestor, the Messenger of God (s), to have said, “The most disgraceful of deaths among you are those of unmarried ones.”(1)

Pious wife is the best of all gains

Islam considers marriage to a pious woman as one of the successes of a Muslim’s life. A tradition reads: “Nothing is more advantageous to a servant of God than a pious wife; she makes him happy when he looks at her and takes good care of his property and soul in his absence.”(2)

Early marriage

Islam has recommended early marriage for protection against sexual deviation. It has stressed the need for the girls to get married at the beginning of puberty. The Holy Prophet (s) said, “It is felicity for a man if his daughter does not menstruate in his house.”(3)

Delivering a sermon, the Holy Prophet (s) praised Almighty God and said, “O people! Gabriel has mentioned a subtle point to me: Virgin girls are like fruits on a tree; if fruit are not picked when they become ripe, they will be spoiled by sunlight and taken away by the winds. The same thing applies to virgin girls when they become mature, no one can solve their problem except a husband. If they do not marry, they are not protected against deviation and corruption because they are human beings.”

p: 93

1- . Ibid, p. 19.
2- . Ibid, p. 20.
3- . Ibid, p. 64.

A man stood up and asked, “O Messenger of God! Whom should I marry?”

“Marry a woman that is equal to you religiously and socially,” he (s) answered.

“Who is an equal woman to me?” the man asked.

The Prophet (s) answered, “Believers are matches of one another.”(1)

There are more traditions that encourage young boys and girls to marry at the early stage of maturity so that they will be protected from evil deeds.

Asking for proper dowries

One of the rights of a wife upon her husband is marriage portion, or dowry, which is regarded as assistance to the wife in her matrimonial life. Dowry is not one of the cornerstones in a marriage contract. However, if a dowry is not designated in the contract, it automatically changes to a portion befitting her station and it can be specified in the contract as either cash or any other type of benefit. Moreover, there is no limit for dowries, but some Islamic sects believe that they should not be less than the equivalent of ten dirhams (i.e. silver coins). Islam encourages women to ask for as less dowry as possible. The Holy Prophet (s) is reported to have said, “The best women of my nation are those whose dowries are little.”(2)

The Holy Prophet (s) gave in marriage his beloved daughter Fatimah, the leader of the women of the two worlds, to her cousin Imam ‛Ali, the Commander of the Faithful and the Portal to the Prophet’s city of knowledge, with a dowry of thirty dirhams. Their housing furniture consisted of some earthenware, a bed made of date skin, a leather water-skin and a

p: 94

1- . Ibid, pp. 61-62.
2- . Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 14, p. 160.

blanket of sheep wool.(1)

Thus, the Holy Prophet (s) established the marriage between his daughter and his cousin in such simplicity while they were both among the dearest ones to Almighty God. This is a lesson to his nation in marriage so that the young men and women do not deviate from the correct path through evil deeds.

Today’s high dowries

Unfortunately, dowries in the present day are so high that some people pride themselves on the dowries of their daughters as if dowry is the selling price of their daughters, and the more they increase the dowry the more they take pride. Some rich families are proud of the expensive furnishings and household appliances they purchase for their daughters. This has gone so far as to halt the marriage processes due to the inability of young men to afford such high expenses. Young women cannot marry due to the high dowries. Thus, in many families, there are single women and men who have advanced in age without getting married.

Girls have been turned into commodities. Morality and virtue have no longer been the basis of choosing husbands; rather, the questions about the proposing youths have been restricted to scientific certificate, bank accounts, kind of car, and expansive of houses.

The most important thing for them is that the suitor be rich and has a college degree, but they have no problem if he is immoral or is like an animal that seeks his wicked wishes through marriage and leaves his wife in a poor and miserable condition.

In the past, the virtuous ancestors would ask about the virtue and religiosity of the man who proposed their daughters and would prefer the poor to the rich. Historians report that Yazid ibn Mu‛awiyah proposed al-Darda', but her father rejected him,

p: 95

1- . The Life of Lady Fatimah al-Zahra', p. 134.

saying, “I fear lest Yazid’s mansions distract my daughter from remembering God the Almighty.” Afterwards, the father gave his daughter in marriage to a poor man.

It is worth mentioning that a lady asked the Holy Prophet (s) to give her an advice about Mu‛awiyah who had proposed her; so, the Holy Prophet said, “Do not marry him, because he is a pauper.”

Wives’ duties towards husbands

Obedience: Wives are required to observe certain duties towards their husbands. The most important of these duties is that they should obey them, carry out his requests, and avoid violating his prohibitions. Yet, if a wife challenges her husband, then it is decided as guilty and disobedient to the husband—a matter that deprives her of her financial rights.

Husband is the head of the family; while due to a Divine Wisdom, the Lord prepared wives for pregnancy, giving birth, and raising her children. In fact, these are difficult and hard missions. On the other hand, husbands are responsible for the financial affairs of their families. For this reason, they are the leaders of their household. A wife must obey her husband in all matters except those related to disobeying the Almighty Lord, since a general rule maintains that no human being should be obeyed in matters related to the disobedience to the Creator.

One day, a woman came to the Holy Prophet (s) and asked, “I have come to you on behalf of all women. You have mentioned tremendous rewards for men who practice jihad. Do we, women, have anything of such rewards?”

The Holy Prophet (s) replied: “The reward for your obedience to your husbands and your recognition of their rights is equal to the reward of jihad. Yet, few of you carry out their duties towards their husbands.”(1)

p: 96

1- . Islam’s Family System, p. 70.

According to other traditions, which are many in number, wives are required to obey their husbands and agree to their desires.

Staying at home: Another right of a husband upon his wife is for her to stay at home and not to leave it unless the husband’s permission is obtained, so that she may train the children and nourish them with noble behaviors and good attributes. Leaving the house without the husband’s consent often leads to disorder in the family system and negligence of the training of children.

Yet, wives are allowed to leave their houses without obtaining their husbands’ permission in cases of performing the obligatory Hajj pilgrimage, depending on the same general rule entailing that no human being should be obeyed in issues resulting in disobedience to the Creator. Yet, when a wife leaves her husband’s house after obtaining his permission, she is required not to wear makeup and ornaments and not to put on erotic dress, so that she may not attract the attentions of others; otherwise, such acts spread mischief and dissoluteness among the youths and others equally. In this respect, she is responsible before Almighty God. I definitely believe that many sexual and moral deviations of youths are due to the dissoluteness of women and their lack of moral purity.

In a nutshell, by making it obligatory on women to stay at home Islam does not mean to be harsh to them or to take away their freedom but to obligate them to train their children and to protect their honor and values against evils. If the intellectuals of the nation took this into consideration, they would put an end to this situation and thus protect people from all sorts of corruption.

Politeness: Another right of a husband over his wife is that she should be polite towards him, should not make disputes, and should not do anything against his wishes because by so doing she is putting her matrimonial life at risk and thus destroying the life of her children.

p: 97

Husbands’ duties towards their wives


Islam has defined the most splendid rights for women to guarantee their felicity, peace, and a stable life. Some of these rights are as follows:

Expenditure: Islam has deemed husbands responsible for the expenses of their wives. If a husband denies this right, she may refer her case to a legal judge so that the judge forces him to pay. If he continues to deny this important right, his property will be confiscated and the equivalent amount of her expenses shall be paid to her out of her husband’s property. In case the wife does not make recourse to the law, her expenses are regarded as a debt like any other and the husband is liable for such debts. Jurisprudent experts hold that if he is able to perform the obligatory Hajj pilgrimage but the wife’s expense is equivalent to that the money necessary for that journey he is regarded as incapable of performing the Hajj pilgrimage and must pay the expenses of his wife instead.

Types of Expenses of a Wife

It is obligatory upon husbands to pay their wives for the following expenses:

A. Housing

Having a home is one of the preliminary duties of husbands towards their wives. She can demand separate accommodations far from the husband’s family in order to guarantee her freedom and wishes.

B. Food

This includes all required foods such as meat, bread, fruit, and so on.

C. Clothes

The clothes needed by the wife should include winter and summer clothes.

p: 98

D. Furniture

The furniture includes suitable articles and facilities for the living room and the woman’s bedroom.

E. Ornaments

Ornaments consist of the many types of things a woman uses to beautify herself.

Shi‛ah jurists believe that all these expenses should be according to the woman’s status and situation. They also believe that the expenses of a woman have priority over the expenses of close relatives. They have defined two conditions for the necessity for paying the expenses of a wife.

First: The marriage contract should be permanent; therefore, the expenses of a temporary wife are not incumbent upon the husband.

Second: The woman should be obedient and should comply with her husband especially in sexual relations.

Fair and kind: Another right of a woman upon her husband is for him to be kind and fair to her. God has declared in the Qur'an:

Consort with them in an honorable manner. [4/19]

The Holy Prophet (s) has also encouraged men to be kind to their wives and to live in harmony with them. He (s) said, “The best of you is the one who acts the best with his family and I am the best of you all since I am the best to my family.”(1)

Most obviously, the husband should not hurt his wife's feelings and should not behave badly towards her or her family in word or deed.

Sleeping together: One of the rights of wife upon her husband is for him to sleep with her in the same bed. It is emphasized that this physical closeness is one of the factors that create and

p: 99

1- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 20, p. 171.

spread love and affection between them. The right of sleeping together, according to jurists, must be exercised at least one night in every four nights.(1)

Sexual Relations: One of the rights of a wife upon her husband is sexual intercourse. Jurisprudents have defined the minimum limit to be once every four months. If the husband refuses to do so he is guilty and she may refer her case to a legal judge.(2)

Enjoyment: Islam also advises on sexual pleasure. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) quoted his ancestor, the Messenger of God (s), as saying, “When one of you wants to have sexual relations with his wife, he should not behave like a bird; rather, he should take long without pauses in between.”(3)

Again, citing the Holy Prophet (s), he said, “When one of you wants to have sexual relations with his wife, he should not rush her.”(4)

Imam ‛Ali (‛a) said, “When one of you wants to have sexual relation with his wife, he should not hasten his wife because women also have needs.”(5)

Islam has solved all the issues concerning human beings and it has not leave any issue untouched. It has defined a luminous way for the felicity of human life.

Sexual deviation

Sexual deviation is among the strictest prohibitions in Islam and the most terrible calamities that not only destroys family life and human dignity but also is a danger to health; therefore, Islam has prohibited all types of sexual deviation. Some of these are as follows:

p: 100

1- . Islam’s Family System, p. 69.
2- . Al-Lum‛ah ad-Damashqiyah, chap. Marriage, vol. 5, p. 104.
3- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah vol. 20 p. 117.
4- . Ibid, p. 118.
5- . Ibid.

Adultery: Islam has decisively prohibited adultery due to the considerable problems it causes, some of which are as follows:

1. Adultery contributes greatly to the infiltration of betrayal to the family and to the dissolution of love between husbands and wives.

2. It results in the loss of fathers’ love for their children when they accuse their wives of cheating.

3. It creates hatred between husband and wife.

4. Because of adultery, youths refrain from marriage when they find their sexual needs by way of fornication.

Adultery is an animalistic behavior that destroys the whole meaning of humanity and significantly distances people from their human nature. God considers fornication to be as grievous a sin as polytheism and taking innocent lives. The Most High has said:

Those who do not invoke another god besides Allah, and do not kill a soul [whose life] Allah has made inviolable, except with due cause, and do not commit fornication. Whoever does that shall encounter its retribution, the punishment being doubled for them on the Day of Resurrection. In it, they will abide in humiliation forever. [25/68-9]

Do not approach fornication. It is indeed an indecency and an evil way. [17/32]

Adultery is one of the calamities that destroy family life and the most grievous prohibitions that destroy human life.

Terrible disadvantages of adultery

One of the most horrible harms of adultery to human beings is that it ruins health. The following is a list of some of the most horrible sexual diseases:

Venereal Diseases: One of the consequences of fornication is

p: 101

venereal disease, which severely affects all organs and systems of the body including the nervous, respiratory, lymphatic, digestive, and genital systems as well as the bones, joints, glands, skin, eyes, and ears. One who has contracted one of these diseases cannot be cured except in death. Medical books have described the dangers of these diseases in detail.(1)

Gonorrhea: Gonorrhea is a disease in urethra that may lead to blindness. Modern medical books have described many horrible consequences of this disease.

Syphilis: Syphilis is one of the worst diseases. It is also called the leech of diseases. It affects different parts and tissues of the body in various stages. In the first stage an ulcer is formed on the body. In the second stage, rashes can be seen on the body, and in the third stage, any part of the body may be attacked including the brain which could lead to insanity. Sometimes, the spinal cord is attacked by this disease and the patient is paralyzed; and at other times, heart and vessels are affected. Another effect of this disease is that if a pregnant woman contracts this disease, her baby may be born congenitally defected or even die in the womb.(2)

Soft Wound: Soft wound is a red incurable wound, which has bad effect on the body. Modern medical books have described it in details.

These were some diseases that affect those who commit adultery, which also destroys generation, dignity, grace, and family life.(3)

Severe punishment for adultery

Islam has defined the harshest of punishments for adulterers. According to the Islamic Law, those who commit adultery are stoned to death. Some Muslim jurisprudents even deem

p: 102

1- . Ruhu ad-din al-Islami, p. 445.
2- . Usus as-Sihat wa al-Hayat, pp. 218-220.
3- . The Educational System in Islam, p. 326.

probable that both lashing and stoning are applied to such people. This verdict is enforced for Muslims and non-Muslims, men and women. Yet, if the fornicator is unmarried, the punishment is one hundred lashes, as is derived from the Almighty Lord’s saying in the Holy Qur'an:

As for the fornicatress and the fornicator, strike each of them a hundred lashes, and let not pity for them overcome you in Allah’s law, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day, and let their punishment be witnessed by a group of the faithful. [24/2]

This severe punishment will put an end to corruption and serve as an obstacle for those who intend to commit such acts.

According to the French law, adultery is considered offence. However, the punishment is not the same for men and women. If a husband commits adultery in the house of his wife, he will be punished with payment of a fine. On the other hand, a wife is imprisoned if she commits adultery.(1) Obviously, this mild penalty will not eradicate adultery, which destroys the soul of millions of people.



Homosexuality is one of the most hideous acts that are prohibited in Islam, because it undermines the family system and spreads deviation and mischief on earth. One who commits this sin may be affected by venereal diseases endangering their health and life. In addition, it leads to sexual incapacity with women and causes youths to refrain from marriage.

Punishment for homosexuality

The punishment for homosexuality is the harshest. It includes killing by the sword, burning, falling a wall over the homosexual, or throwing from a high place. If the person on whom the act of pederasty has been committed is mature, of sound mind, and has committed this sin by his own will, then he

p: 103

1- . French Penal Law, pp. 337-339.

must be sentenced to death penalty. However, immature persons who commit homosexual acts should be warned with a lesser punishment decided by the judge.(1) This severe punishment will uproot this sin and prevent people from committing it.

Legality of homosexuality in Britain: The crime of homosexuality was in the past forbidden and punishable by the British Law, but it was recently made legal because of the insistence of the Parliament. In this way, the British government cast its people into great misfortune and opened the doors to deviation. This crime leads to destruction of family because men stay away from women and look for young men to marry. British newspapers publish notices for these types of marriages.


Also known as masturbation, the purpose of this crime is to satisfy the sexual instinct and ejaculate semen. Islam has prohibited it because it is unhealthy and harmful to the body. Masturbation leads to depression and physical weakness. I have presented some preventive measures for this in my book: The Family System in Islam.

Forbiddance of sexual intercourse with menstruating woman

Islam has prohibited sexual intercourse with menstruating women. This prohibition is mentioned in the Book of God that reads:

They ask you concerning intercourse during menses. Say: It is hurtful. So, keep away from wives during the menses, and do not approach them until they are clean. When they become clean, go to them as Allah has commanded you. Indeed, Allah loves the penitent and He loves those who keep clean. [2/222]

Modern medical studies have established that having sex with a

p: 104

1- . Ar-Raudah, Kitab al-Hudud, vol. 10, p. 144.

menstruating woman is harmful to both husband and wife since the blood coming as a result of menstruation contains various types of germs that are immediately transferred to the man and causes harmful inflammations in his body. During the menstrual period, internal layers of the woman are closed and they may be damaged through sexual intercourse. It may transfer germs from the womb to other parts of the body, which may harm the woman’s health. Sexual intercourse may also cause nervous tensions in such periods.(1) Islam’s prohibition of sexual intercourse with menstruating women has some important benefits for both men and women and it keeps them from developing some diseases.

p: 105

1- . Ruh ad-Din al-Islami, p. 412.


p: 106



Islam has cast light into every aspect of human life including motivations, wishes, and tendencies and it has offered some ways whereby human beings can become happy and successful thus blessing the society. Following these ways can help human beings avoid all evil tendencies and misbehavior that make them miserable and may lower their status. Islam is a gift from God to His servants. The Islamic law has defined some rules that exalt human beings to the highest degrees of perfection so that they can become the true representatives of God and superior to all creatures on earth. Among the actions that Islam has set rules for is speaking and walking. Here are some Islamic rules for these two actions.



Speaking is an innate disposition of humans and a part of their primeval nature.(1) God has coupled it with other blessings of creation for human beings, thus saying:

The All-beneficent Lord has taught the Qur'an. He created man, and taught him articulate speech. [55/1-4]

p: 107

1- . Logicians define human beings as talking animals. They believe that speaking is a distinguishing feature between humans and other animals. However, some logicians maintain that the definition of speech is perception. In my conception, I do not believe this interpretation to be true since all animals have the power of perception to some extent, all of them perceive danger and avoid or flee dangerous situations, and they try to withstand dangerous circumstances in order for their progeny to survive.

Nature of Speech

Speaking consists of thoughts and ideas derived from the soul and articulated by the tongue. Speech derives from the mind and the tongue represents the mind. God Almighty has made speech a way of mutual understanding between humans. It is thus a means through which people express their needs. With it, God has distinguished human beings from other animals. By means of speech too, new scientific discoveries are made and various languages are formed in the world. If there were no speech, civilization would not have come into existence on the earth. Through speech, humans carry out crimes and murders, and when they confess their crimes, debts and other things, they are obliged to them. It is said that the confession of a sound person against himself is bound on him and is permissible. The following are some rules and manners, which Islam has defined for speech.

Good wording

One of the subject matters of Islamic trainings is fine speech of Muslims with their family, relatives, neighbors, and other people. God the Most High has said:

To Him ascends the good word, and He elevates righteous conduct. [35/10]

Good wording ascends to Almighty God and it should be one of the Islamic training procedures for self-purification. It is obligatory upon all Muslims to avoid bad words and to talk with people using polite and nice words that will make the others appreciate and love them.

Nice speech

God has ordered His great Prophet Muhammad (s) to train Muslims on nice speech. He, the Most High, thus says:

Tell My servants to speak in a manner which is the best. Indeed Satan incites ill feeling between them, and Satan is indeed man’s manifest enemy. [17/53]

p: 108

And speak kindly to people. [2/83]

Speaking nicely includes using nice words with family members, neighbors, and members of the society, since this is one of the factors that brings about mutual affection, virtue, and courtesy.

How to speak

Islam has defined a manner of speaking with others. According to this manner and following the instructions of the Almighty Lord, we should keep our voice low and should avoid speaking loudly:

And lower your voice. Indeed, the ungainliest of voices is the donkey’s voice. [31/19]

Imam Musa ibn Ja‛far (‛a) quoted the Holy Prophet (s) to have liked the voice of men to be low and hated loud voices.(1) Some Arabs stood in front of the house of the Holy Prophet (s) and loudly called, “O Muhammad!” Discommending this phenomenon, the Almighty Lord revealed this Qur'anic verse:

Indeed, those who call you from behind the apartments, most of them do not apply reason. [49/4]

One of the Islamic manners by which humans can reach the highest ranks of humanity is to avoid talking too loudly or too quietly. This Islamic teaching expresses high moral principles and politeness.

How to speak with parents

Islam has remarkably emphasized the importance of respectful attitudes and honor towards parents. In this respect, it has coupled the obedience to parents with the obedience to God the Most High, Who says:

Your Lord has decreed that you shall not worship anyone except Him, and He has enjoined kindness to parents.

p: 109

1- . The Life of Imam Musa ibn Ja‛far, vol. 2, p. 331.

Should they reach old age at your side –one of them or both– do not say to them, ‘Fie!’ [17/23]

Respecting and acting piously towards parents is a duty that the Lord has made obligatory upon His servants; so, everyone will be responsible for this duty on the Day of Resurrection. Talking to parents must be in a completely polite and humble manner. The child has no right to talk aggressively to them in such a way that would hurt their feelings. Almighty God has said:

And do not chide them, but speak to them noble words. Lower the wing of humility to them, out of mercy, and say: My Lord! Have mercy on them, just as they reared me when I was a small child! [17/23-4]

Based on this method defined by Almighty God in His holy Book, it is obligatory on Muslims to try their best to do well in respecting their parents in a satisfactory manner. A son or daughter has no right to even utter a word that would make them sad even if it is as trivial as ugh!

Like kindness, it has also been greatly emphasized that one must take good care of one’s parents in their old age. One should pray in their favor for God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Numerous traditions that are reported from the Holy Prophet and the Infallible Imams (‛a) stress the necessity of rendering service to parents. Some of these are as follows:

1. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) is reported to have said that a man came to the Holy Prophet and said: “O Allah’s Apostle! I have big determination to practice jihad.”

The Holy Prophet (s) thanked him and said, “Undertake jihad for God’s sake, because in this case if you are martyred you will live on receiving your livelihood from Allah. If you are martyred your reward is upon God and if you return alive you will be innocent and sinless as the first day you were born.”

The man replied, “O Allah’s Apostle! I have old father and

p: 110

mother who love me and do not want me to go.”

The Holy Prophet (s) ordered him not to go to jihad and to stay beside his parents, saying, “Stay with your parents. I swear to the One Who has control over my soul, staying with one’s parents for one day and one night is better than fighting for one year in the cause of God.”(1)

The reward for treating one’s parents respectfully is greater than the reward of fighting in the way of God, which is one of the doors to Paradise. Describing fighting for God’s sake, Imam ‛Ali (‛a) said, “Jihad is a way that God opens for his special saints.”

2. After converting from Christianity to Islam, Zakariyya ibn Ibrahim went to see Imam al-Sadiq (‛a). He said, “I was Christian and now I am Muslim.”

“What have you seen in Islam?” the Imam (‛a) asked.

He answered: I have seen God’s saying:

You did not know what the Book is, nor what is faith; but We made it a light that We may guide by its means whomever We wish of Our servants. [42/52]

The Imam (‛a) raised his hands in prayer asking God to grant him success and guidance.

Zakariyya asked the Imam, “My parents are Christians and my mother is blind. Should I stay with them and eat with them from the same plate?”

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said, “Do they eat pork?”

“No,” the man answered. “They do not even touch it.”

The Imam answered, “It is not a problem. Take care of your mother and accord her respect. When she dies, do not leave her funeral affairs to others and carry out the responsibility

p: 111

1- . The Educational System in Islam, p. 84.


Having returned to his city, Zakariyya acted towards his mother so perfectly and piously that she was astonished at him. So, she said, “My son! When you followed our religion, you did not behave like this to me. Now that you converted to the Hanifiyyah faith (i.e. Islam), what has made you act so kindly to me?”

He replied, “A man from the Prophet’s descendents has ordered me to act this way.”

The mother said, “Is he a prophet?”

“No,” the man answered. “He is a descendent of the Holy Prophet.”

The mother said, “My son, this is one of the precepts of the prophets. Your religion must be the best of religions.”

She then asked her son to introduce Islam to her and consequently converted to Islam.(1)

Islam has been established on the basis of virtue and perfection; and all types of respect and kindness to parents have been defined in Islam.

3. Islam emphasizes on serving the mother more than the father. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) reported that a man came to the Holy Prophet (s) and asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! To whom should I act piously more?”

“Your mother,” the Holy Prophet (s) answered.

“Then to whom?” the man asked.

“Your mother,” the Holy Prophet (s) confirmed.

“Then to whom?” the man asked.

“Your mother,” the Holy Prophet (s) re-confirmed.

p: 112

1- . The Educational System in Islam, pp. 84-85.

“Then to whom?” the man asked.

“Then your father,” the Holy Prophet (s) answered.(1)

One is answerable for taking care of one’s mother and carrying out one’s duties towards her especially, because duties towards mothers are the most serious of all duties. In fact, man is too failing to carry out his mother’s duties as dutifully as required, even if he exerts all efforts possible.

A tradition reads that a man, who was carrying his mother on his shoulders and circumambulating the house of God, asked the Holy Prophet (s), “Have I fulfilled my duty towards her?”

The Holy Prophet (s) replied: “No, this has not even satisfied the right of a moan among her moans.”

Muhammad bin al-Walid, a Muslim scholar of jurisprudence, described the parents’ affections so nicely through some poetic verses, saying:

If a child were aware of the sorrows that his parents went through little by little at the time of separation!

A distressed mother is restless for the love she has for her child.

There is a tear in the corner of the father’s eye, for being away from him; they drink the glass of sorrow sip by sip.

They reveal their inner longings.

The grief of a mother who is ill inwardly and the cry of an aged man who is old in his essence, the child should replace pride with kindness likewise he should reward them with his pleasant behavior.

How to speak with teachers and mentors

A teacher deserves nice words from her or his students at all educational stages and levels. Students should respect and glorify their teachers, because teachers play an influential role in building and cultivating their personality. If not for their efforts, you would not have acquired any knowledge. Their

p: 113

1- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, pp. 161-162.

right is more than that of a father. Al-Shafi‛i says, “I was paging through a book quietly as that Malik (my master) would not be disturbed.”

A person should not call teachers by their first name and should tolerate their mistakes. Sufyan ibn ‛Uyaynah was told, “A group of people will come to you from afar but you will treat them with anger and they shall probably leave you and go away.”

He replied, “If they abandon benefit just for my bad temper, they are stupid.”(1)

Among the manners students should observe before their teachers is that they should not lean on a pillow in front of them and abstain from making fun of them or doing anything that degrades their status.

Types of speech

Speech is of various and different types some of them are as follows:

Honesty: Honesty is among the most distinguished kinds of virtue and perfection. It serves as a song of progress and nobility of a nation and likewise serves as a matter of pride and glory for every individual. God Almighty has called upon His servants to adopt such morals. He says:

O you who have faith! Be wary of Allah, and be with the Truthful. [9/119]

O you who have faith! Be wary of Allah, and speak upright words. [33/70]

Honesty is one of the necessities of life; through it, rights are claimed and souls and properties are protected. It beautifies life and it is superior to all spiritual excellences. The Holy Prophet (s) and the infallible Imams (‛a) have regarded honesty to be very important. Here are a number of some traditions in this

p: 114

1- . The Educational System in Islam, p. 186.


1. The Holy Prophet (s) said, “Honesty is the beauty of speech.”(1)

2. He (s) also said, “It is obligatory upon you to speak the truth because honesty leads to goodness and goodness leads to paradise, and a person will not continue speaking the truth but that her or his name is written among the most truthful ones before God.”(2)

3. Imam ‛Ali (‛a) said, “Adhere to honesty because it is salvation.”(3)

4. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said, “One who tells the truth purifies one’s deeds.”(4)

Honesty is one of the most important principles upon which Islamic life has been established. Taking transactions as an example, if there is no truth in them, it will lead to lack of trust between people and eventually to economic depression. For example, if a person sells a product and claims it to be sound and safe and it later becomes clear that his claim was false eventually this will ruin the communicative channels between people. In this respect, the law has defined the right of cancellation and return of the product to the owner in order to compensate for losses and damages.

Honesty has various forms and kinds that are interconnected with the lives of people and their social reality. Some of them are as follows:

A. Fulfillment of promises: To fulfill one’s promise is one of the most valuable characteristics of a human being. God has praised His prophet Isma‛il (‛a) for having this characteristic,

p: 115

1- . Man la Yahduruhu al-Faqih, vol. 4, p. 402.
2- . Nahj al-Fasahah, vol. 2, p. 550.
3- . Al-Khisal, p. 614.
4- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 104.


And mention in the Book Isma‛il. Indeed, he was true to his promise, and an apostle and a prophet. [19/54]

B. Trustworthiness: Another type of truthfulness is to fulfill a trust. The Holy Qur’an considers this to be an exalted attribute of a believer. Almighty Allah has said:

Certainly, the faithful have attained salvation… They are those who keep their trusts and covenants. [23/8]

C. Relationship in Social Affairs: Among the various kinds of truthfulness and the most important of them is honesty in social relationships since all acts of trade, purchase, sale, and other types of transactions depend on it. Truly, if truthfulness ceases to exist, all transactions will be affected.

Telling lies: A lie is an utterance that is contrary to reality. It is one of the most adamantly prohibited acts as well as being the source of all crimes and sins. Indeed, God has decreed lack of guidance for those that speak lies. The Most Gracious has said:

Indeed, Allah does not guide someone who is a profligate, a liar. [40/28]

Indeed, Allah does not guide someone who is a liar and an ingrate. [39/3]

He shall condemn liars to permanent suffering in the eternal life. God Almighty has also said:

Do not say, asserting falsely with your tongues, ‘This is lawful, and this is unlawful,’ to fabricate lies against Allah. Indeed those who fabricate lies against Allah will not be felicitous. A trifling enjoyment, and there will be a painful punishment for them. [16/116-7]

Lying is degeneracy and separation from sacred virtues. Almighty Allah warns us in His book about believing sinners and liars. Thus He, the Most High, has said:

p: 116

O you who have faith! If a profligate [person] should bring you some news, verify it, lest you should visit [harm] on some people out of ignorance, and then become regretful for what you have done. [49/6]

Our Holy Imams who are the light of Islam have also warned us against lying. Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (‛a) says, “God has locked evil deeds, and drinking wine is a key to that lock but telling lies is worse than drinking wine.”(1)

Imam al-Sajjad (‛a), advising his son, said, “Beware of telling lies, whether great or small, in earnest or in jest. Indeed, persons will find the nerve to tell great lies when they become accustomed to small ones. Do you not know that the Holy Prophet (s) once said some people keep telling the truth until Almighty God writes their names among the most truthful and some keep telling lies until Almighty God writes their names among the untruthful?”(2)

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (‛a) said, “Lies ruin faith.”(3)

Many other traditions threaten liars with God’s punishment on the Day of Resurrection.

Types of Lies: There are different types of lies, some of which are as follows:

1. Forging lies against the Holy Prophet and Imams: This hideous act is one of the worst types of lies that considerably harm Islam. Mu‛awiyah, the head of the Umayyad dynasty, established a number of committees to forge traditions against the Holy Prophet (s) who had already predicted this act and warned people against it. Mu‛awiyah thus follow two courses in this respect:

1. He forged traditions about the virtues of the Companions in

p: 117

1- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 325-326.
2- . Ibid, p. 325.
3- . Ibid, p. 326.

order to present them as more virtuous than the Holy Prophet’s household members (i.e. the Ahl al-Bayt), who are the center of the Divine Revelation and matches of the Holy Qur’an.

Mu‛awiyah thus employed some dishonest people to invent false narrations about fabricated virtues ascribed to the Companions of the Holy Prophet (s). Those people thus spread that the Holy Prophet (s) introduced his companions as guiding stars that people would be rightly guided if they follow any of them, while reality imposes that there were some hypocrites among those so-called Companions, like Samarah ibn Jundab, Abu-Sufyan, his son Mu‛awiyah, Marwan ibn al-Hakam, and others who had no hope of veneration from Almighty Allah. Those forgers also aimed at glorifying the so-called caliphs, introducing them as the elites of the Muslim nation. When such invented traditions were presented before Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (‛a), he rejected them and gave several reasons for their spuriousness.

2. Mu‛awiyah’s mercenaries invented false narrations aimed at degrading the high standings of the Ahl al-Bayt (‛a) and devaluing their dignity. They thus invented false narrations in condemnation of the Commander of the Faithful Imam ‛Ali (‛a) and invented others to reproach Abu-Talib, the supporter of Islam who raised the flag of monotheism, and to show people that he died as disbeliever. In fact, Abu-Talib was one of the foremost believers in Islam and the chief of the people of Quraysh. Had it not been Abu-Talib’s defense of the Holy Prophet (s), the polytheists of Quraysh would have annihilated Islam from its roots.

Thus, hundreds of false traditions were forged to give some of the Companions false virtues and to attack the perfect personality of the Holy Prophet (s). They went too far in this matter that they even preferred some so-called Companions to the Holy Prophet (s). Regretfully, these counterfeit narrations have been compiled in reference books of Prophetic traditions.

p: 118

If the compilers of these reference books had known the truth and had discovered that such traditions were forged and invented, they would not have written them in their books.

The Holy Prophet (s) was aware of the lies that would be said about him after his passing away; so, he declared during the last Hajj pilgrimage he performed (known as the Farewell Pilgrimage), “Many liars have been forging lies against me, and they will increase their activity after my passing away. So, whoever invents a lie against me should find himself a place in Hellfire.”(1)

Unfortunately, the false narrations have caused detriments to Islam, distorted its luminous reality, and led to disunity and discrepancies among Muslims.

Perjury: Another kind of lie is to give false testimony that may cause others to be deprived of their rights and to lose their lives. Perjury eventually leads to widespread corruption. Almighty God has established it to be on the same level with polytheism, which is one of the worst sins. He thus says in the Holy Qur'an:

Avoid the abomination of idols and avoid false speech. [22/30]

Praising the true believers, God the Almighty says:

Those who do not give false testimony… [25/72]

Historians have referred to the first perjury in Islam as the perjury that was committed during the rule of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam ‛Ali (‛a), the heir of the Holy Prophet and the Portal to the City of the Prophet’s Knowledge, when ‛A'ishah prepared an army in Makkah to fight against Imam ‛Ali and to conquer the city of al-Basrah. On her way to al-Basrah, ‛A'ishah was barked at by dogs. She inquired about the name of the place; and she was told that it was called Haw'ab.

p: 119

1- . Al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 62. There is consensus among the scholars regarding the verity of this narration.

Immediately, she recalled the Holy Prophet’s warning, because she heard him (‛a) saying to her, “Any of you who is barked at by the dogs of Haw'ab is on a misguided path.”

When ‛Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr heard what she said, he called upon forty witnesses to testify that the place was not Haw'ab. Consequently, ‛A'ishah submitted to their testimonies and led her army to fight against Imam ‛Ali (‛a).

Calumny: Another type of lie that Islam has prohibited is calumny; that is, to traduce another person for revenge and to discredit someone whom one cannot directly face. Its prohibition has been clearly expounded in the Holy Qur'an:

But whoever commits a mistake or sin and then accuses an innocent person of it, is indeed guilty of calumny and a flagrant sin. [4/112]

The Holy Prophet (s) said, “Whoever calumniates a faithful man or woman, and tells lies against him or her, God shall put them on a pile of burning fire until what they have said comes out of them.”(1)

Islam has prohibited calumniation in order to safeguard social relations and to prevent hatred among Muslims.

Breach of promise: Another type of lie is to break one’s promise. This vicious habit is mainly seen among hypocrites. The Holy Prophet (s) once listed some signs of hypocrites; breach of promise was one of them. He (s) has said, “Hypocrites have three signs: They lie when they talk, they break promises when they give their word, and they betray when they are given trust.”(2)

Breaching of promises is a behavior that is rooted in souls that have no exalted principles or fundamentals.

p: 120

1- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 12, p. 287.
2- . Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 14, p. 13; Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 1, p. 14; Sahih Muslim, vol. 1 p. 56.

It is worth mentioning that within the articles of the truce between Mu‛awiyah ibn Abi-Sufyan and Imam al-Hasan ibn ‛Ali (‛a), Mu‛awiyah accepted several conditions that led to their truce. However, later in a speech he said, “I offered some conditions to al-Hasan ibn ‛Ali. I now tread upon those conditions and will not fulfill any of them.” This shows the ignorance in which Mu‛awiyah was brought up.

Talebearing: This is a type of lie that creates unrest among people and promotes hatred, enmity, and hostility among them. Almighty God has ordered us to disregard what tattlers say. He has said:

Do not obey any vile swearer, scandal-monger, talebearer. [68/10-1]

A talebearer is a person who creates enmity and weakens kindness and love among the people. Many narrations have been reported about condemning talebearers and deprecating this evil habit. The Holy Prophet (s) said to his followers, “May I inform you of the worst person among you?”

“Yes, you may,” answered they.

He told, “Those of you who tattle; they separate friends and oppress the innocent.”(1)

Imam al-Baqir (‛a) said, “Paradise is forbidden to censorious and talebearers.(2)

When some people informed al-Mansur, the ‛Abbasid ruler, against Imam al-Sadiq (‛a), the ruler summoned the Imam who said to him:

Do not believe the talebearers whom Allah has forbidden to enter Paradise and decided them to be dwellers of Hellfire when they inform you against your relatives. A tattler is a perjurer

p: 121

1- . Al-Wafi, vol. 2, p. 164; Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 253.
2- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 274.

who helps the devil in deceiving people. Allah the All-blessed and All-exalted said,

O you who have faith! If a profligate person should bring you some news, verify it, lest you should visit harm on some people out of ignorance, and then become regretful for what you have done. [49/6](1)

Tale-bearing undermines the love among people and creates hatred and enmity. It also leads to the destruction of wealth, shedding of blood, and loss of dignity. The infallible Imams (‛a) have warned us of believing what tattlers say.

Muhammad ibn al-Mufaddal quoted that he said to Imam Musa al-Kazim (‛a), “May my soul be sacrificed for you! I was given unpleasant news about one of my friends, something that my friend denied when I inquired about it from him whereas the news was given to me by trustworthy people.”

The Imam (‛a) replied: “O Muhammad! Do not believe your own ears and your own eyes about your brother-in-faith even if fifty people bear sworn witness against him in any issue! Accept the word of your brother and give the lie to those people; do not spread something that will destroy his good name and cause him shame lest you be among those about which Allah said:

Indeed, those who want indecency to spread among the faithful there is a painful punishment for them in the world and the Hereafter, and Allah knows and you do not know. [24/19]”(2)

Islam pays very much attention to making love and affection govern Muslim communities so that rifts that may destroy their life do not grow between them.

So far, we have discussed several types of lying, which is one of

p: 122

1- . Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 47, p. 168.
2- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2 p. 358.

the most prohibited habits in Islam.

Backbiting: Backbiting is one of the types of utterance prohibited by Almighty God. Backbiting means saying something about other people that they do not like. This can result in the belittlement of a Muslim’s dignity and may ruin his or her social reputation. It should suffice as a censure that God has compared backbiting with eating the flesh of a dead human. Almighty God has said:

Do not backbite one another. Will any of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it. [49/12]

Regarding the prohibition of backbiting and the necessity to avoid it, many narrations have been reported from the Holy Prophet and Imams (‛a), some of which are as follows:

1. The Holy Prophet (s) said, “Backbiting ruins the religion of a Muslim even quicker than gangrene ruins the organs of the body.”(1)

2. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said, “Backbiting is telling something about a brother that God has concealed.”(2)

3. He (‛a) also said, “Do not backbite or you will be a victim of backbiting, do not dig a pit for your brother because you may fall into it, and be aware that you will be judged the way you have judged others.”(3)

Backbiting creates hatred and enmity. It damages unity and promotes mistrust among Muslims as well as many other bad attitudes that tear the solidarity of Muslims apart. However, scholars of Muslim jurisprudence excluded those who engage in debauchery overtly and proudly from the forbiddance of backbiting. Consequently, it is permitted to talk about those who publicly commit sins such as drinking wine. However,

p: 123

1- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2 p. 341.
2- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 267.
3- . Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 72, p. 248; also Am‛Ali al-Suduq, p. 420.

such a person cannot be defamed for any sin he or she is yet to commit.

The atonement for backbiting is to seek repentance from Almighty God and ask for forgiveness from the backbitten person if she or he is alive. If the person in question is dead, the backbiter should ask God for forgiveness for the backbitten person. This will serve as atonement for his backbiting. The Holy Prophet (s) was asked about the atonement for backbiting. He replied, “Seek God’s forgiveness for persons who you have backbitten whenever you remember them.”(1)

Mockery: This means ridiculing and degrading a person in order to make others laugh. The Holy Qur’an has warned us against mockery; and Almighty God has announced His anger against those who commit mockery. He has said:

O you who have faith! Let not any people ridicule another people: it may be that they are better than they are; nor let women ridicule women: it may be that they are better than they are. [49/11]

Indeed, the guilty used to laugh at the faithful, and when they passed them by they would wink at each other, and when they returned to their folks they would return jesting, and when they saw them they would say, ‘Indeed, those are the astray!’ [83/29-32]

The Holy Prophet and Imams (‛a) criticized this attribute. Below are some of their narrations in this respect:

1. The Holy Prophet (s) said: “O Ibn Mas‛ud, they reproach anybody who is bound by my tradition and God’s commandments. As God has said: But then you took them by ridicule… [23/110]”(2)

2. Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said, “A mocker shall never expect

p: 124

1- . Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 72, p. 249; Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 357.
2- . Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 77, p. 102.

truthful affection from people.”(1)

3. He (‛a) also said, “Whoever degrades a believer, poor or otherwise, shall be eternally degraded and humiliated by God until he or she refrains from their degradation.”(2)

Thus has Islam applied the most precautionary of measures in order to safeguard human dignity. It has forbidden humiliating human beings or destroying their reputation so that everyone lives respectfully and safe from enmity.

Faultfinding and using indecent titles: Another type of utterance detested by Islam is faultfinding and attribution of indecent titles to one another. Faultfinding means listing the shortcomings of a person in his or her presence in order to degrade him. Such attitude leads to enmity and hostility and that negates the Islamic brotherhood founded by the Holy Prophet.

Attributing indecent titles means calling a Muslim brother or sister by an improper name, whether the title is related to the person themselves, to their father, or to any of their relatives since this causes enmity and hatred among people. Indeed, God has prohibited these two attributes in His book when He said:

Do not defame one another, nor insult one another by calling nicknames. How evil are profane names subsequent to faith! And whoever is not penitent –such are the wrongdoers. [49/11]

Vain talk: Vain talk is another type of utterance that is detested by Islam. Islam wants Muslims to desist from it. It comprises idle talk and joking in speech and in action. This has been mentioned in the Holy Qur’an several times where God is describing his close servants. He has said:

And when they hear vain talk, they avoid it and say, ‘Our deeds belong to us, and your deeds belong to you. Peace

p: 125

1- . Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 75, p. 144.
2- . Ibid, vol. 72, p. 52; also al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 262.

be to you. We do not court the ignorant.’ [28/55]

Certainly, the faithful have attained salvation –those who are humble in their prayers and who avoid vain talk… [23/13]

Praising His pious servants, the Most High Lord says:

When they come upon vain talk, pass by nobly. [25/72]

One of the dignifying factors for Muslims that Islam has called for is to refrain from idle talk since it creates hatred among Muslims and wastes a lot of time without any benefit. It is evident that such foul habits are the results of indolence, joblessness, and lack of proper thought and culture.

Imprecation and badmouthing: Another type of unaccepted and banned utterances in Islam is imprecation. No one uses swearwords except despicable people that are immersed in ignorance and sins. The Holy Prophet (s) and the Ahl al-Bayt (‛a) criticized obscenity. Depreciating this evil deed, the Holy Prophet (s) said, “God has prohibited Paradise to shameless users of obscene language that do not care about what they say regarding others and about what is said regarding themselves.”(1)

He (s) also said, “The worst of God’s servants are persons whose company is not pleasant because of their vulgar words.”(2)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said, “Whoever people are afraid of because of their tongues shall abide in hellfire.”(3)

4. Addressing a group of Shi‛ite persons, Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said, “O you Shi‛ite people, be our ornament and be not a disgrace to us. Talk to people in a pleasant way; take care with your tongues; and keep them from vain and vile talk.”(4)

p: 126

1- . Al-Wafi, vol. 2, p. 160; Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 323.
2- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 313.
3- . Ibid, p. 315.
4- . Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 68, p. 310.

Badmouthing is to say bad things about others and accuse them of false things. Of course, this is a prohibited act in Islam.

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) had a friend who was always with him. The Imam went somewhere and he was accompanied by his friend as usual. This friend had an Indian who was following him. He did not see his slave after calling him for three times, and at the forth time, he angrily shouted at him, “Where are you, son of a sinful woman?”

This word enraged the Imam (‛a) very much that he said to the man, “Glory be to God! How strange this is! Do you defame his mother? Indeed, I thought you were a pious man, but now I have found there is no piousness in you.”

The man apologized and said, “May my soul be sacrificed for you! But his mother is non-Muslim.”

The Imam did not accept his excuse and said to him, “Get away from me! Do you not know that every nation has a legal marriage?” Then the Imam (‛a) separated himself from that man and never associated with him again.((1))

A defamed person has the right to complain to a judge in order to implement the measures stipulated by jurists.

Thus, we conclude the laws regarding speech in Islam, which has enacted the most splendid laws in this regard and deals with all its types.



Walking is one of the necessities of life. By walking, human beings strive on earth and work for their livelihood and that of their family. Islam has defined the most distinguished manners and laws in this regard. Some of them are as follows:

How to Walk: Islam has taught that we should walk in a gentle way and without pride, arrogance, and selfishness. God the

p: 127

1- ([1]) Al-Kafi, vol. 2, page 312.

Most High has said:

Do not walk on the earth with conceit and arrogance. You will neither pierce the earth, nor reach the mountains in height. [17/37]

This Qur'anic verse implies that people should not walk on the earth like a powerful and arrogant person because no matter how strong the steps you take, you can never break the earth and no matter how great your pride, you can never reach the height of the mountains.

God the Most High has said:

And do not walk exultantly on the earth. Indeed Allah does not like any swaggering braggart. [31/18]

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) is reported to have said that his grandfather the Holy Prophet (s), once, passed by a group of people gathering around a person. So, he asked, “What is the purpose of your gathering?”

They answered, “O Allah’s Apostle! We are gathered here to watch this insane man.”

The Holy Prophet said, “He is not insane, he is an afflicted person. Do you want me to clarify real insanity to you?”

“Yes,” answered they.

He (s) said, “The true insane people are those who walk swaggeringly, see only themselves, swing their shoulders, hope to win Paradise from Allah while they disobey Him, their evils cannot be saved, and nothing good is expected from them. There are the true insane people, while this one is only an afflicted person.”(1)

Walking arrogantly stems from the ignorance and pride of a person. In this regard, Abu’l-‛Ala' al-Ma‛arri, a famous Arab poet and wise man, composed poetic verses, saying:

p: 128

1- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 5, p. 44.

Walk gently because I do not see the crust of the earth as anything but corpses.

Ilya Abu-Madi, an Arab poet, composed:

The mud forgot for a moment that it was insignificant mud thus it became proud and rebelled.

Silk covered its body and it became haughty; its pocket became full of money and it transgressed.

Humans are created from mud. Their bodies will be covered by the earth. How can a person be taken with pride, despotism, and tyranny such that he or she digresses from uprightness to the extent that the person sees nobody deserving of life except herself or himself?

An example of this is the story of a man in fine clothes that came to the Holy Prophet (s) and sat beside him. Then a poor man who was clothed in rags arrived and sat beside the rich man. The rich man looked at the clothes of the poor man and distanced himself from him fearing that he might be affected by the dirtiness of the poor man’s clothes. This upset the Holy Prophet (s) who asked him, “Are you afraid of being affected by the wretchedness of this man?”

“No,” the rich man said.

“Then are you afraid of your clothes becoming dirty?” the Holy Prophet (s) asked.

“No,” the man answered.

“What has prompted you to do that?” the Holy Prophet (s) asked.

The rich man, finding nothing to say, stood up and said, “O Messenger of God! I have a companion -Satan- that beautifies evil deeds for me and makes what is good seem bad to me. Indeed, I shall bestow half of my property upon this man.”

The Holy Prophet (s) looked at the poor man and inquired from

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him whether he would accept the offer.

“No, O Messenger of God,” he replied.

“Why will you not accept the offer?” the Holy Prophet (s) asked.

The poor man replied, “I am afraid of getting affected by pride like this man.”

There was a dispute between Salman the Persian, the intimate companion of the Holy Prophet (s), and an Arab man. Trying to ridicule Salman, the Arab man asked, ““Who are you anyway, Salman?”

He answered him with logic and faith, “My beginning and yours was filthy semen. My ending and yours shall be stinking carcasses. When the Day of Judgment comes our actions shall be set upon a balancing scale. He whose scale weighs down is virtuous and he whose scale weighs light is wicked.”(1)

It is reported that an arrogant young man from the Umayyad clan used to walk in a prideful and dominant manner when he met a preacher who admonished him, saying, “What is all this pride from you while walking?”

The arrogant man shouted at him violently, “Do you know who I am?”

The preacher said, “Yes, I know you. Your beginning is filthy semen and your ending is a stinking carcass and throughout your life you carry filth within yourself.”

A ruler of the Umayyad dynasty looked at himself in the mirror and pride allured him; he therefore ordered a singer to be brought to his palace. When she came, he asked her, “Is there anyone in the world like me in youthfulness, health, and kingliness?” She replied, “You are the best if you remain eternally; however, there is no immortality for human beings.”

p: 130

1- . Amali as-Saduq, p. 610.

Before long, he died and the earth swallowed his body and all of his pride.

Al-Sharqi, and Arab poet, says, “The prideful will soon abandon their pride and pass away; and the sovereignty of rulers is buried within the earth.”

Different types of walking

Walking is of different types, some of which express obedience to God, while others express disobedience to Him:

Walking in obedience to God is further divided into different types, some of which are obligatory while others are recommended.

Walking becomes obligatory when it involves work and strife for living and for affording the prerequisites of one’s family members and dependants. It is thus discommended to sit at home waiting for sustenance, because God the Almighty has ordered us to struggle for our livelihood, saying in the Holy Qur'an:

It is He Who made the earth tractable for you; so walk on its flanks and eat of His provision. [67/15]

Likewise, it is obligatory to walk in search for water for performing the ritual ablution or the ritual bathing. Yet, this duty is expressed by scholars of Usul al-Fiqh (Principles of Muslim Jurisprudence) as secondary because it is part of the religious duty of performing the ritual ablution and the ritual bathing. In other words, this walking is obligatory when the carrying out of these religious duties is contingent upon it.

Also, walking is obligatory when it is required by performing the introductory acts of the obligatory Hajj pilgrimage when without such walking, it is impossible to perform such introductory acts.

It is recommended in the Islamic Law to walk for certain purposes. For instance, it is recommended to seek nearness to

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God the Almighty through walking to the Holy House of God.

Imam al-Hasan and his brother Imam al-Husayn, the chiefs of the youths of Paradise, used to go on the Hajj pilgrimage walking, while the best kinds of riding animals were driven before them. The riders asked Sa‛d ibn Abi-Waqqas to tell the two grandsons of the Holy Prophet (‛a) to either mount their camels or keep away from the road, because it is not good conduct to ride on while the grandsons of the Holy Prophet (s) are walking on foot. Sa‛d talked with them on this matter and they replied, “We are inclined to walk to the Sacred House of Allah while they are inclined to ride. Therefore we will keep away from this road.” So, they continued their journey on foot on another road.

Another type of recommended walking is to go on pilgrimage to Imam al-Husayn’s holy shrine on foot. This act is strongly recommended, because visiting the holy shrine of Imam al-Husayn (‛a) is regarded as one of the most preferred acts of worship of God among the Shi‛ah. Its reward surpasses even that of a recommended Hajj pilgrimage. Numerous narrations have been reported from the Holy Imams (‛a) in this respect, some of which can be found in Ibn Qawlawayh’s famous book: Kamil az-Ziyarat.

1. Al-Husayn ibn Fakhitah reported Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) as saying, “Whoever comes out of his house intending to visit the tomb of al-Husayn ibn ‛Ali (‛a) walking, for every step he makes, one reward is recorded for him and one sin is erased. When he reaches the shrine, Allah the Almighty record his name in the list of the successful and saved believers; and when he accomplishes the rituals of pilgrimage, Allah the Almighty record his name in the list of the winners.”(1)

2. Abu-Sa‛id al-Qadi reported: I visited Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) in a small chamber of him where I found Murazim and heard the

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1- . Kamil az-Ziyarat, p. 253.

Imam (‛a) saying to him, “Whoever comes to the tomb of Imam al-Husayn on foot, Allah will decide for him the reward of manumitting of a slave from the progeny of Isma‛il, for every step he makes.”(1)

It is worth mentioning that a virtuous scholar from the city of Qum has written a valuable and interesting book on the rewards and virtues of visiting the holy tomb of Imam al-Husayn (‛a) walking. In this book, he mentions a big number of traditions that decided such rewards and virtues.

Another type of recommended walking in Islam is to walk for having the requests of a brother-in-faith fulfilled. Historians report that Imam al-Hasan (‛a) was once circumambulating the Holy Ka‛bah when a person came to him and asked him to help him achieve his request. Immediately, the Imam (‛a) interrupted his ritual and hurried to help that man, justifying that such an act is even more rewardable and more important than circumambulating the Holy Ka‛bah.

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) is also reported to have hurried as swiftly as he could to help others achieve their requests. When he was asked about this manner, he used to say, “I fear lest another one helps that man before I do and thus I will miss the great reward of this act.”

Prohibited walking

It is prohibited in Islam to walk for certain purposes when they are related to forbidden acts. Such walking becomes forbidden because the commitment of an illegal deed is based on it; otherwise, walking in itself is generally legal. In other words, scholars of Principles of Muslim Jurisprudence express that certain acts, which are initially legal, become illegal when they serve as introductions to a forbidden act. For example, walking is in itself legal, but it becomes illegal and forbidden when it is purposed for doing an illegal act.

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1- . Ibid, p. 257.

The best example of illegal walking is that which involves slandering a believer. In fact, such an act is one of the most indecent acts that bring about severe punishment of the Lord. Walking to the center of the ruling authorities for the purpose of informing against a brother-in-faith is such a wicked act that deserves the severest punishment of God the Almighty. Definitely, no one can do such a thing except those who completely lack nobility and humanity, although such persons have always been many throughout ages.

A person informed against Imam Musa ibn Ja‛far (‛a) before the tyrannical ruler Harun. As a result, the ruler imprisoned the Imam (‛a) for such a long time that the Imam (‛a) was martyred in that jail.

Likewise, some people informed against Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) before the other ‛Abbasid tyrannical ruler al-Mansur Dawaniqi.

Verily, a slanderer is the most ignoble, wicked, and criminal of all people.

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) quoted his grandfather the Holy Prophet (s) as saying, “The evilest of all people is the three-fold criminal.” Explaining this term, the Holy Prophet (s) said, “He is the one who informs the ruling authorities against his brother-in-faith; so, he ruins three sides; namely, himself, his brother-in-faith, and the ruling authorities.”(1)

To explain, such a person ruins those in authority because he caused them to oppress an innocent believer; therefore, he brings to himself the punishment of the Almighty Lord. He also ruins himself because he is the cause of oppressing a brother-in-faith, the result of which is that he exposes himself to the punishment of the Almighty Lord.

Those who walk for committing such a sin as drinking illegal beverages or any other atrocity will definitely be punished by

p: 134

1- . Bihar al-Anwar, vol 72, p. 429.

God the Almighty. The same pertains to one who travels to commit a prohibited act. Such journeys are regarded as sinful and according to the law of Islam, the traveler must perform the prayers in the complete, not the shortened, form.

These have been some examples concerning prohibited walking. The prohibition in these cases is not due to walking itself, rather it derives from the purpose of the walk and punishment will be the result. For instance, in the case of walking somewhere in order to consume a forbidden drink, the walk is illegal because it is purposed for committing a forbidden act.

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Friendship is a social affair that no human being can do without it in any situation, because humans are not able to live apart from the society and be secluded from people without intimacy and friends that share their tendencies and inclinations; friends that will condole with them in times of pain and problems. Any persons living apart from society will eventually be affected with dejection and abnormality. Looking into the importance of friendship in social relations that are regarded as part of Islamic life, it is evident that Islam has attached great importance to social life, friendship, and the necessary attributes to be found in a friend. It has also thrown light on other affairs concerning friendship. These matters we shall discuss in the following pages.

Importance of friendship


Friendship is the adornment of the worldly life bestowed upon human beings. It is the most important achievement obtained by humans because it concerns their thought and social life.

When Mu‛awiyah ibn Abi-Sufyan came to power, it was said to him, “You have attained all types of worldly things; is there anything else you wish to attain?”

He replied, “Indeed, sitting together with friends and exchanging views with them is the best of all things.”

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said, “Surely, the rank of friendship is very great to the extent that those condemned to Hellfire shall seek

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out the friends’ assistance and implore them for salvation.”(1)

Almighty Allah, quoting those condemned to Hell, has said:

Now we have no intercessors, nor do we have any sympathetic friend. [26/100-1]

A wise man was asked, “Who did you like most, your brother or your friend?”

He said, “I love my brother if he is an intimate friend to me.”

Whom to befriend

The Holy Qur’an guides us to befriend the best of people and those who act only within the bounds of their religion. Almighty Allah thus says in the Holy Qur'an:

Content yourself with the company of those who supplicate their Lord morning and evening, desiring His Face, and do not lose sight of them, desiring the glitter of the life of this world. And Do not obey him whose heart We have made oblivious to Our remembrance, and who follows his own desires, and whose conduct is mere profligacy. [18/28]

Allah the Almighty thus orders us to befriend pious persons to adopt their virtue and good manners and to emulate their morals:

So avoid those who turn away from Our remembrance and desire nothing but the life of the world. [53/29]

A good friend is the explorer of good; one that calls for reformation and who is a trusted guide in achieving virtues and good manners.

Psychological impact of friend: Most surely, friends leave great influence on the adjustments of their friends’ lifestyle, including their ideational, social, and political aspects.

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1- . Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 71, p. 180.

A poet says, “Do not inquire about the behavior of a person but about that of his friend; because every person imitates their companion.”

An Arab teacher said, “Do not mix one who is affected by scabies with healthy ones, lest the healthy ones also become affected with scabies.”

Friends have effect on the thought of each other. Sociologists maintain that social life is a life of mutual influences; that is, every human being is influenced by those surrounding him.

Islam has encouraged friendship with those who possess noble attributes and exalted manners, such as honesty. In this regard, Imam ‛Ali (‛a) said, “I advise you to make friendship with truthful brothers-in-faith. Pursue them greatly because they are at your disposition in times of comfort and your shelter in times of affliction.”(1)

Truthfulness in speech and action is the best habit to describe a human being. Moreover, a person who is described with truthfulness is a good exemplar to others.

The other attribute to be found in friends is trustworthiness. Imam ‛Ali (‛a) encouraged people to befriend the trustworthy. He says, “As for trustworthy persons, they are helping hands, wings, family, and treasures. If you have trust in a friend devote your wealth and your soul to him or her. Be friends with the friends of your friend and be enemies with the enemies of your friend. Conceal her or his secrets and shortcomings and manifest his or her good attributes. Know that such persons are rarer than red sulfur.”(2)

Trustworthy persons are adornments of humanity and blessings of the society. Having connection with them is a recommended act that brings about blessings. They are the leaders toward

p: 139

1- . Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 71, p. 187.
2- . Al-Wafi, vol. 3, p. 105; Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 242.

Almighty Allah’s pleasure and obedience. Thus, human beings can achieve from them the good of this world and the Hereafter.

On the other hand, Islam detests befriending a person that is marked by a detestable attribute. In this respect, Imam Zayn al-Abidin (‛a) named some of these attributes in his will to his son, Imam al-Baqir. He (‛a) said, “O son! Be wary of five types of people and do not befriend them. Do not mingle with them and do not accompany them.”

Imam al-Baqir (‛a) asked, “Who are these five types of people, father?”

He replied, “Be careful and do not befriend liars because they are like a mirage that makes far things seem close and close things seem far. Be aware and do not befriend immoral persons because they shall sell you for a meal or even for less. Be wary and do not befriend misers because they will abandon you in times you need them the most. Be aware and do not befriend unwise persons because they will afflict you when they want to assist you. Be aware and do not befriend persons who break off relations with their family because I found them cursed by Almighty Allah in three places in His Book.”(1)

No good is expected from these categories of people, because befriending them brings about woe and regret. They cause the calamities to which the Imam (‛a) referred. In a similar manner, a believer must not befriend and love those who transgress against the limits of Allah and His Messenger, even though they are the closest person to you. The Most High has declared:

You will not find a people believing in Allah and the Last Day endearing those who oppose Allah and His Apostle even though they were their own parents, or children, or brothers, or kinsfolk. [58/22]

The Holy Prophet (s) said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the

p: 140

1- . Al-Wafi, vol. 3, p. 105; Al-Kafi, vol. 2, pp. 375-376.

Day of Judgment, should not take unbelievers as their friends and should not mingle with immoral persons. Those that take unbelievers as friends or mingle with immoral persons are unbelievers and immoral persons themselves.”(1)

Believers are required to distance themselves from these attributes, which have no connection with Allah. Befriending such people draws tremendous loss.

The Holy Prophet (s) said, “A person’s religion is relies on that of his or her intimate friend. So everyone should be careful of whom they befriend.”(2)

Limits of friendship: Speaking of the limits of friendship and its characteristics, Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) stated, “There is no friendship without these characteristics. Whoever encompasses these characteristics, friendship should be ascribed to them. Friendship should not be ascribed to those who do not hold these properties. First: Their heart and appearance should be one before you [i.e. a friend should be sincere]. Second: They should consider your merits as their own merits and also your faults as their own faults. Third: No position or wealth should change their behavior with you. Fourth: They should not prevent you from attaining something that they have within their grasp. Fifth: In addition to having all these attributes, they should not forsake you when in catastrophe.”(3)

These attributes are enjoyed only by those who have trained themselves on nobility and perfection.

Mutual Rights in Friendship

There are numbers of rights that must be observed in friendship. Imam ‛Ali (‛a) mentioned many such rights in his will (testament) to his son Imam al-Hasan (‛a). He said, “Compel yourself to keep relations with your friends when they are

p: 141

1- . Shaykh Saduq, Sifat ash-Shi‛a, p. 6.
2- . Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 71, p. 192.
3- . Al-Wafi, vol. 3, p. 104; Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 639.

breaking relations with you. Compel yourself to be affectionate and close to your friends when they keep their affections from you. Compel yourself to be generous with them when they keep their generosity from you. Compel yourself to become closer to them when they distance themselves from you. Compel yourself to be compassionate with them when they are in a rage. When they make a mistake regarding you make them apologize with your good behavior as if you were their servant and they the master… Do not befriend the enemy of your friend because it will cause enmity with your friend and be sincere towards him or her in advice for his or her actions whether the advice is good or unpleasant... If you want to break relations with your friend leave something of yourself with them as a reminder whenever they perceive it. Whenever someone has a good opinion towards you make their opinions reality. In honor of the relationship that exists between you and your friend do not violate the rights of your friend because those whose rights you violate are not your friends.”(1)

These golden advices deserve very much consideration. They show the civilization in Islam and the magnificent rights of a friend.

Elsewhere regarding friends, he (‛a) said, “A friend cannot be regarded as a friend until they protect their friend in three occasions: in calamity, in absence, and after death.”(2)

These are the criteria that differentiate between loyal friend and an unfaithful one whose friendship is worthless.

It is not advisable for persons to divulge all their secrets to their friends because there is no guarantee that the minds of a friend will not change and that Satan will not cast enmity and rancor between them resulting in the friend divulging a secret or bad act that was committed. In this respect, Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) has

p: 142

1- . Nahj al-Balaghah, ‛Ali’s (‛a) will to his son Hasan (‛a), p. 403.
2- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 12, p. 26.

advised some of his companion, saying, “Do not inform your friend of your secret except such information that when it gets to your enemy it cannot harm you, because a friend may one day become your enemy.”(1)

Imam Zayn al-Abidin (‛a) mentioned the rights of friends within his Epistle of Rights. He (‛a) said, “Regarding the rights of a friend, make friendship with prestige as much as you can, or at least be fair to your friend, respect your friend as he or she has respected you, and protect him as he has protected you. Also, you should not let your friend outstrip you in reverence and affection. If he or she does surpass you, you must make it up then. Do not curtail the cordiality your friend deserves. Compel yourself to advise your friend and assist him or her in obedience to the Lord and against negligence concerning disobedience to the Lord. Become a blessing to your friend, not a cause of agony. There is no strength except that of Allah.”(2)


With ultimate care and wisdom, Islam treats all the affairs relating to human beings. It has not left out any area of human life and has prepared splendid laws that put an end to our problems. Islam has prepared a secure and firm life for us, suffused with love and harmony. Neighborhood is among the sensitive issues through which a person can become either blessed or wretched. This is because if neighbors are believers and noble persons, their neighborhood will be a blessing. However, a neighbor that is ignoble and deviant in manner will draw woe and cause damage unto neighbors. Also, such neighbors will be a source of plague and punishment to for others in the area such that the neighbors of such persons will not have peace of mind except in their absence.

The virtue of a neighbor has a close connection with the cohesiveness of the society, which is one of the most important,

p: 143

1- . Ibid, vol. 2, p. 146.
2- . Risalah al-Huquq, vol. 2, p. 78.

concrete aims that are sought by Islam.

The Holy Qur’an advises us to protect and do good to our neighbors. The Most High has said:

Worship Allah and do not ascribe any partners to Him, and be good to parents, the relatives, the orphans, the needy, the near neighbor and the distant neighbor, the companion at your side, the traveler, and your slaves. [4/36]

Almighty Allah bids us to be kind to our close and distant neighbors. He thus matched between servitude to Him and the good relationship with neighbors, parents, orphans, the poor and to travelers.

The Holy Prophet and Imams (‛a) also confirmed the building of good relationship with neighbors:

1. The Holy Prophet (s) is reported to have said, “Kindness to neighbors makes the land thrive with people and extends the life span.”(1)

“A person is not of my community who sleeps satiated while his neighbor is hungry. Allah shall not bestow His blessing on the Day of Judgment to people of a village where a person slept in hunger.”(2)

“The Archangel Gabriel kept on bidding me to build good relationships with my neighbors so persistently that I believed that neighbors might inherit one another.”(3)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said: When Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, was taken away from his father, Prophet Jacob prayed, “O Lord! Shall You not have mercy on me? You have taken my sight from me and my son as well?”

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1- . Al-Wafi, vol. 3, p. 96; Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 667
2- . Al-Wafi, vol. 3, p. 96; Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 12, p. 129.
3- . Al-Wafi, vol. 3, p. 96, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 17, p. 8.

The Almighty Lord revealed to him, “If I take their lives, I will surely resurrect them and reunite you. Do you remember the sheep you slaughtered, roasted, and ate but you did not invite your neighbor who was fasting to it?”(1)

To this extend did the Holy Prophet (s) and the Ahl al-Bayt (‛a) pay attention to neighbors and the necessity of building good relationships with them.

As for as defining neighbors, Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) reported his grandfather the Holy Prophet (s) to have defined forty houses to the right, the left, the back and the front of one’s house as neighbors.(2)

It is reported that the neighbor of Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) in the city of al-Madinah had passed through a financial crises that made him offer his house to sale but he asked for a price as twice as its real. When he was asked about that, he said, “neighborhood of Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) is as valuable as the real cost of my house, because you can never find any neighbor like him.”

When the Imam (‛a) was informed of this answer, he gave him what he needed and kept him as his neighbor.

Out of his sublime manners, Imam Zayn al-Abidin (‛a) used to pray to God for his neighbors, saying, “O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household and attend to me with Thy best attending in regard with my neighbors and friends who recognize our right and war against our enemies! Give [my neighbors and friends] success in performing Thy prescriptions and taking on the beauties of Thy courtesy through acting gently with their weak, remedying their lacks, visiting their sick, guiding their seeker of right guidance, giving good counsel to their seeker of advice, attending to the one among them who returns from travel, hiding their secrets, covering over their shameful things, helping their wronged, sharing kindly with

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1- . Al-Wafi, vol. 3, p. 97; Al-Kafi, vol. 2, vol. 667.
2- . Al-Wafi, vol. 3, p. 97.

them in goods, turning toward them with wealth and bestowal of bounty, and giving what is due to them before they ask! Let me, O Allah, repay their evil doer with good doing, turn away from their wrongdoer with forbearance, have a good opinion of every one of them, attend to all of them with devotion, lower my eyes before them in continence, make mild my side toward them in humanity, be tender toward the afflicted among them in mercy, make them happy in absence through affection, love that they continue to receive favor through good will, grant them what I grant my next of kin, and observe for them what I observe for my special friends! O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, provide me the like of that from them, appoint for me the fullest share of what is with them, and increase them in insight towards my right and knowledge of my excellence so that they will be fortunate through me and I fortunate through them! Amen, Lord of the worlds.”(1)

Behold the lofty behavior, the virtuous morals, and the angelic spirit of this great Imam in whom can be seen the pure soul of the Messenger of Allah (s). Verily, this is the great and inspired Imam from the pure progeny of Muhammad (s). He is a treasure of Islam and is among the masters of the pure progeny, the equal of the Holy Qur’an and the guiding light of Islam.

I read in an ethics book about a person who had animosity against his neighbor and wished for the abatement of his wealth and for him to fall into calamity. Therefore, he bought a slave and bestowed great generosity upon him but he requested his slave to slaughter him on top of his neighbor’s house so that the blame will be cast upon the neighbor. Thus the slave climbed to the top of the neighbor’s house and started slaughtering the man. The neighbor quickly went to the top of the house when he heard something where he saw the slave facing down and slaughtering his neighbor. He apprehended him and handed the

p: 146

1- . Sahifah al-Sajjadiyyah, supplication 26, English translation by William C. Chittick in The Psalms of Islam with minor alterations.

slave over to the security men. The slave retold the story of his master and was pardoned. Thus, the man’s blood was spilled in vain. This is how stupidity and ignorance causes abominable acts.

The western society lives a life in which the relationship among family members and neighbors is obliterated. There is no familiarity or connection between neighbors and between parents and their children. They separate from their mothers and fathers when they attain the age of eighteen, whether male or female. Thus, they indulge themselves in luxury play and prostitution.

As for fathers and mothers, they take dogs as their companions when they become advanced in age and the municipality buries them when they die. Is this the civilization, which they disseminate in their mass media?

Surely the civilization which was bestowed upon humans is that of Islam and not the Westerners, which have strived to invade weak countries and plunder their economic strength.

Blood Relations

Assuredly, the solidarity of Muslims and affectionate relations within the family is the primary core for uniting the entirety of Muslims which is the fundamental aim Islam seeks through the Holy Book and the Tradition of the Holy Prophet (s). They have strongly emphasized the necessity of keeping relations with close relatives and forgetting grudges wherein they guarantee substantial benefits, among which includes prolonged life and increase of wealth. These are two important things that all humans favor. Let us now present some Qur'anic verses and Prophetic traditions that encourage people to strengthen their relationships with their relatives and warn against breaking off ties with their relatives.

The Holy Qur’an warns against breaking familial ties considering it to be a great crime and a destructive sin. The

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Most High has said:

May it not be that if you were to wield authority you would cause corruption in the land and ill-treat your blood relations? [47/22]

Almighty Allah thus couples breaking relations with relatives with corruption on earth; corruption which is considered to be an abomination and crime that deserves severe punishment.

The Most High also says:

Those who break the covenant made with Allah after having pledged it solemnly, and sever what Allah has commanded to be joined, and cause corruption on the earth –it is they who are the losers. [2/27]

But as for those who break Allah’s compact after having pledged it solemnly, and sever what Allah has commanded to be joined, and cause corruption in the earth –it is such on whom the curse will lie, and for them will be the ills of the ultimate abode. [13/25]

Allah Almighty has definitely commanded us to uphold ties with our blood relations. Breaking this command is like breaching Allah’s covenant after having pledged it solemnly. Those who do this are like those who strive to cause corruption on the earth; thus lost is their destiny.

As for Prophetic traditions, they emphasize the necessity of keeping relations with our blood relatives. There are two types of traditions in this regard:

The first type involves traditions that identify the tremendous rewards and great remuneration in this world and in the hereafter for whoever maintains their ties with blood relations:

The Holy Prophet (s) said, “I exhort those that are present and those that are absent –those in the loins of men and the uteruses of women until the Day of Judgment– among my nation to uphold their ties with their blood relations even if the distance is

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a year’s journey because this is a fundamental of the Religion.”(1)

He (s) also said, “Whoever guarantees me one thing I will surely guarantee them four things: Whoever observes family ties, Almighty Allah will love them, He will proliferate their wealth, He will increase their lifespan, and He will grant them entrance into the promised Paradise.”(2)

He (s) further said, “Whoever desires that Almighty Allah prolongs his lifespan and broadens his wealth should observe ties with their relations because the abstraction of family shall have a fluent tongue on the Day of Judgment. It will say: O my Lord! Uphold relations with whoever has upheld relations with me and break Your relation with whoever has broken relations with me.”(3)

Complaining about his relatives, a man is reported to have come to the Holy Prophet (s) and said, “My relatives reject me and rage against me; they have broken their relationship with me and revile me, shall I reject them?”

The Holy Prophet (s) answered, “If you do so, Allah will reject all of you.”

The man asked, “What is my responsibility?”

The Holy Prophet (s) answered, “Keep your relationship with whoever breaks relations with you, give gifts to those who have kept gifts from you, and pardon whoever has oppressed you. If you do this, you have an obvious proof against them before Allah the Most High.”(4)

The Holy Prophet (s) taught this man the spirit of Islam, the slogan of which is kindness and benevolence. He taught him to meet injury with lenience because some of his blood relatives

p: 149

1- . Al-Wafi, vol. 3, p. 93; Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 151.
2- . Al-Wafi, vol. 3, p. 94; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 71, p. 68.
3- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 125.
4- . Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 71, p. 66.

were taken by envy and behaved in an offensive manner.

Of course, wronging close relatives is more destructive to the soul than wronging distant ones.

Imam al-Baqir (‛a) said, “To observe family ties purifies one’s work, increases one’s wealth, wards off evil, makes easy one’s reckoning on the Day of Judgment, and extends one’s life span.”(1)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said, “I do not know of anything that increases one’s lifespan except observing family ties such that only three years of a person’s life may remain and it will increase by thirty years, making it thirty three years by just observing family relations. On the other hand, a person’s remaining lifespan may be thirty three years and will decrease to three by breaking off relations with family.”(2)

He (‛a) also said, “Observe your ties with your blood relations even if all you have to serve them is a mouthful of water. Know that the best type of observing familial ties is to avoid bothering them. To observe ties with relatives extends one’s lifespan and makes one attractive within the family.”(3)

“Verily, observing ties with your blood relations and dutifulness in regard to them makes one’s reckoning easy and protects one from sin; so observe relations with your relatives and be nice to your friends even if it is by a good greeting and a good reply to a greeting.”(4)

All these traditions, and many others, encourage Muslims to observe or to quickly mend their relationships with their kinsfolk because of its effect in increasing one’s wealth, one’s lifespan, and the pleasure of Almighty Allah.

p: 150

1- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 150.
2- . Ibid, p. 152 and 153.
3- . Ibid, vol 2, p. 151.
4- . Ibid, vol 2, p. 157.

The other type of traditions involves warning against breaking relationships with relatives and the penal consequences and damages it causes:

The Holy Prophet (s) said, “Four things quicken Allah’s punishment: When a person treats you evilly after you do good to them, when a person treats unjustly one who has treated them justly, when a mutual pledge is made and you fulfill it while the other betrays you, and when a person breaks relationship with a relative who has observed family ties with them.”(1)

Imam al-Baqir (‛a) quotes Imam ‛Ali (‛a) as saying, “There are three attributes that those who posses them shall not die until the evil results of their actions are visited upon them. They are: treating others unjustly, breaking family ties, and giving false oath by which a person engages in war with Almighty Allah.”(2)

Obedience to God may take different forms. The form of obedience that the reward of which comes more quickly than any other form the observation of family ties. A group of people can be decadent but their wealth will continue increasing if they observe family ties. Meanwhile, giving false oaths and breaking relations with relatives lays waste to one’s home and sickens wombs. Indeed, illnesses of the womb cause discontinuance of progeny.

Complaining about his relatives, a man came to Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) and said, “My brothers and cousins drove me out of my house and forced me to move to another house. Yet, if I face them, I will be able to take whatever they possess.”

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) instructed, “Be patient, for Almighty Allah will relieve you.”

The man left and after a while his relatives died because of an epidemic that inflicted them. He then came to the Imam (‛a) who asked him about them. The man answered, “All of them died without exception.”

p: 151

1- . Al-Khisal, vol. 1, p. 230.
2- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 347.

The Imam (‛a) commented, “This was the result of what they did to you when they ruptured their relationship with you.”(1)

Shu‛ayb al-Aqarqufi, a companion of Imam Musa ibn Ja‛far (‛a), reported that Ya‛qub al-Magzali was in the presence of Imam al-Kazim (‛a) who said to him, “Ya‛qub! Yesterday, you came upon me while you had a quarrel with your brother and insulted each other. Surely, this is neither my religion nor is it the religion of my forefathers; we have not ordered anyone to possess such manners. So, fear God the One Who has no associate. The two of you will be separated by death, as for your brother, he will die on his journey before he reaches his family and you will surely regret this because you have broken your relation with him and Almighty Allah shall shorten your lifespan.”

Ya‛qub asked, “May my soul be sacrificed for you! When will the end of my life be?”

The Imam (‛a) answered, “The end of your life has come but because you have given you paternal aunt that which you gave her, twenty years were added to your lifespan.”

Shu‛ayb commented: I was later informed by Ya‛qub that his brother died before he could reach home and he was buried on his way back home as exactly as the Imam (‛a) informed.(2)

Breaking one’s relationship with relatives bring about numerous consequences, one of which is that it takes the lives and accelerate one’s death, not to mention the sin committed by those who rupture their relationships with their relatives, because they have not observed the command of the Almighty Lord when He ordered of observing and building such relationships.

Finally, breaking one’s relationship with relatives turns the house into wasteland and causes the wrath of Almighty Allah.

p: 152

1- . Safinat al-Bihar, vol. 1, p. 516; also Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 346.
2- . Hayat al-Imam Musa ibn Ja‛far (‛a), vol. 2, pp. 264-265.


Through his creative principles, Islam adopts all noble attributes and exalted idealities that raise human beings to the highest ranks self-perfection. It intends to train the minds, to reform the souls, and to teach self-denial, dissemination of virtue, and administration of services and benefits to people. The best of people is he who benefits others, as is expressed by a Prophetic tradition.

The creative and generous energies that the Holy Prophet (s) found and raised has created a noble nation whose members raised the banner of Almighty Allah, did their best for His sake, enlightened the intellects, illuminated the path, and guided the other nations. This nation built a culture based on pure justice and truth. It raised the slogan of “Wish for others what you wish for yourself and do not wish for them what you do not want for yourself,” and raised the slogan of security and comfort for all people.

Hereinafter, we will cite samples of principles that Islam wants Muslims to adopt as elements and constituents of their personalities:


Self-denial and preference of the public interest to the personal whims are within the most prominent Islamic idealities. These two characteristics were enjoyed by the Holy Prophet (s) and

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embodied a part of his lifestyle.

Historians reports that a person came to see the Holy Prophet (s) but he was overcome by tremors due to veneration of the Holy Prophet (s) who said to him, “I am no more than a son of a woman from Quraysh who used to eat dried meat.”(1)

Thus was the modesty of the Holy Prophet (s) who did not care for any social aspect. Imitating their grandfather, the Holy Imams (‛a) also carried such modesty and stressed its necessity in many of their traditions, one of which reads: “Wish for others what you wish for yourself and detest for others what you detest for yourself.”

On this luminous lifestyle, Islam wants Muslims to base their conduct and manners.

Social consciousness

The spread of social and religious consciousness among Muslims is a manifest aspect of Islamic behavior. According to a famous and successively reported tradition, “Everyone is a custodian and everyone is accountable for custody.”

To neglect the public affairs of the community and the country is by no means an Islamic manner; rather, all Muslims are required to follow up profoundly the occurrences and political affairs that correspond with the interest of Muslims and to denounce any action that is detrimental to Muslims.

A sort of societal consciousness is the reflection on false issues and occurrences that are broadcasted by mass media with the aim of serving the benefits of the enemies of Islam. The Holy Qur’an ordered us not to accept news and information except after confirmation. The Most High thus says:

O you who have faith! If a profligate [person] should bring you some news, verify it, lest you should visit [harm] on some people out of ignorance, and then

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1- . Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 6, p. 22.

become regretful for what you have done. [49/6]



Reflection on issues is among the features of Islamic training that is necessary for Muslims to know and is supposed to be their method of life. Islam has prohibited reliance on suspicions and acting on them. In this regard, the Most High Lord says:

Most of them just follow conjecture; indeed conjecture is no substitute for the truth. [10/36]

He has also condemned those who act on suspicions:

They follow nothing but conjectures and the desires of the lower soul. [53/23]

Conjecture, which is not based on proof, usually draws a person into false thoughts. The disbelievers relied on it when denying Almighty Allah and the Day of Resurrection. Thus, according to the Qur’an:

They say, ‘There is nothing but the life of this world: we live and we die, and nothing but time destroys us.’ But they do not have any knowledge of that, and they only make conjectures. [45/24]

Such atheists are not carried away to this ridiculous ideology except through reliance upon conjecture, which can by no means serve as a substitute to truth.


Self-edification is among the Islamic methods of training that enables a person to dominate evil, which leads to wretchedness and destruction of a person. The Most High has said:

But as for him who is awed to stand before his Lord and forbids the soul from [following] desire, his refuge will indeed be paradise. [79/40-1]

(I swear) by the soul and Him who fashioned it and thus inspired it with discernment between its virtues and vices; one who purifies it, is felicitous; and one who

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betrays it, fails. [91/7-10]

There is in the human soul a gift from the spirit of Allah the Most High that pushes humans towards goodness and self-restraint from what is prohibited by Him. On the other hand, there is in them strong and severe satanic inclination that have no bounds or restrictions and push them towards the world of desire that will keep them from the correct way and captive them in a convoluted labyrinth of sinful life.

In this connection, an Iranian philosopher says in the presence of scholars, “The distance between me and God is only two steps, a step upon myself and the other upon Satan.”

Another philosopher stood up to say, “You have lengthened the path because there is only one step between us and God and that is upon ourselves, if we are able to dominate it, surely Satan will flee.”

Islam has accurately observed the activities of evil instincts, consequently restricted its activities and granted the power of good deeds to the soul, which is the continuous favor Almighty Allah has prepared for the pious. God the Most High has said:

Indeed, the pious shall be amid bliss, observing, as they recline on couches. You will perceive in their faces the freshness of bliss. [83/22-4]

Some faces on that day will be joyous, pleased with their endeavor; in a lofty paradise, wherein they will not hear any vain talk. In it there is a flowing spring and in it there are raised couches, and goblets set, and cushions laid out in an array, and carpets spread out. [88/8-16]

Behold the splendid description of the favor in Paradise that will prompt human beings to stand upright and not answer the call of selfishness and self-conceit. The Most High also describes the eternal favor in paradise thus:

On brocaded couches reclining on them, face to face.

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They will be waited upon by immortal youths, with goblets and ewers and a cup of a clear wine, which neither causes them headache nor stupefaction, and such fruits as they prefer and such flesh of fowls as they desire, and big-eyed houris like guarded pearls, a reward for what they used to do. [56/15-24]

As for those who have faith and do righteous deeds they shall have the gardens of Paradise for abode, to remain forever in them, from where they will not seek to shift. [18/107-8]

This tremendous reward unshackles the soul from irregularity and perversion and delivers it into a world of light. Almighty Allah has described the dreadful punishment that will be directed to those who have followed their selfishness and shirk remembrance of Allah the Most High. He has said:

These two contenders contend concerning their Lord. As for those who are faithless, cloaks of fire will be cut out for them, and boiling water will be poured over their heads, with which their skins and entrails will be fused, and there will be clubs of iron for them. Whenever they desire to leave it out of anguish, they will be turned back into it and told: ‘Taste the punishment of the burning!’ [22/19-22]

Behold the dreadful recompense for those who have strived to block the remembrance of Allah in selfishness and oppressed others. The Most High has said:

[The angels will be told:] ‘Seize him, and fetter him! Then put him into hell. Then, in a chain whose length is seventy cubits, bind him. Indeed he had no faith in Allah, the All-supreme, and he did not urge the feeding of the needy, so he has no friend here today, nor any food except pus, which no one shall eat except the iniquitous.’ [96/30-7]

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Is this a better hospitality, or the Zaqqum tree? Indeed We have made it a punishment for the wrongdoers. Indeed it is a tree that emerges from the depths of hell. Its spathes are as if they were devils’ heads. Indeed they will eat from it and gorge with it their bellies. Indeed, on top of that they will take a solution of scalding water. Then indeed their retreat will be toward hell. [37/62-8]

This punishment, which Allah the Most High prepared for the oppressors, fills the soul with terror, serve as a barrier against offending Almighty Allah and may keep the soul away from committing sins. Nothing can control the soul or dominate it apart from fear that takes leadership of the soul and keeps its deviations in check.

Development of self-determination

To develop one’s self-determination and strengthen it souls is something greatly important in Islamic training. Most surely, self-determination plays an active and influential role in building a strong personality—a personality that is required not to be perverted with misguided acts and not to split before the storm of occurrences and seditions. Islam granted people the power of determination to make them safe from weakness and terror through such acts like supplications.

The Holy Prophet (s) is the best example of self-determination. He stood firmly and singly against the actions of the ignorant tendencies led by Abu-Sufyan, the father of Mu‛awiyah and grandfather of Yazid. Devaluating all hardships, he continued his struggle alongside his uncle Abu-Talib—the defender of Islam, the believer of the Quraysh, and the hero of the invitation to Islam—and his cousin the great and exalted leader of Islam and the Commander of the Faithful, Imam ‛Ali ibn Abi Talib (‛a). On this path, Abu-Talib suffered great adversity. He was surrounded by the chiefs of Quraysh from all sides, threatening him with death if he would not persuade his nephew to stop his promulgation for Islam. One day, Abu-Talib transferred their

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threats to his nephew who replied with words that have continued forever to act as lantern for all reformers, saying, “O uncle! By Allah, if the sun was put in my right hand and the moon in my left so that I denounce this great message, I shall never denounce it until I die on this path or Almighty Allah brings about victory.”

With such strong determination and giant will, he overcame all obstacles, terminated the age of ignorance, smashed all idols, raised the word of Allah on the earth, and started a new life for all humans—a life founded on awareness and steadfastness on the path of truth.

The Holy Prophet (s) nourished his fellows with such self-determination; therefore they became as firm as mountains, defeated the powers of polytheism, and established the great Islamic government that upheld the rights of the oppressed and the persecuted on the earth. This Prophetic determination was inherited to Imam ‛Ali ibn Abi-Talib (‛a) who dispatched belligerent polytheists with his sword, abased the powers hostile to Islam, and suppressed the Jews. In this regard, he (‛a) declared, “Even if all Arabs waged war against me, I would never run away from them.”

This strong determination, which is one of the gifts of the Almighty Lord, manifested itself perfectly in the personality of the Holy Prophet’s grandson and the pioneer of freedom; namely, Imam al-Husayn (‛a). He stood firmly on the land of Karbala', displaying splendid heroism, which resembled the heroism of his father and grandfather. Addressing the gangs of polytheists and deviation, he declared, “Verily, I do not see death but felicity and I do not see life with the oppressors but adversity.”

Followed by the elites of his companions and family members, Imam al-Husayn (‛a) walked to the battlefield prestigiously and they all faced the armies of their enemies, showing matchless courage until they all were martyred.

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Lady Zaynab the Great, the Hashemite daughter and the Holy Prophet’s granddaughter, armed herself with patience and determination. She represented such heroism and resolve the life of which has never been witnessed throughout the history of humanity, and addressed the tyrant Yazid with these words: “Verily, I deem your power to be very minor and your reproach very great and I shall admonish you in abundance.”

Thus, she expressed the utmost belittlement and degradation of this tyrant who challenged all human principles. She changed the course of history through her eloquent sermon in the heart of the Umayyad power and in front of the crowds of the city of al-Kufah, clothing the Umayyad tyrannical ruling authorities the dress of distress and disgrace and dismissing them from the compass of Islam.

Back to the main topic, man’s value is defined through the scope of his self-determination and strong willpower; therefore, man loses his worth once he loses these two things. According to René Descartes, there is nothing in humans more closely related to their personality than willpower, which has complete influence on the composition and immortality of personality. It is therefore impossible for the weak-willed to achieve anything for themselves or for their societies.

Patience as weapon

Arming oneself with patience is an aspect of Islamic training and it calls for a balanced and unwavering personality, which shall not collapse before the tribulations and misfortunes of life. Islam encourages us to endow ourselves with patience, as is confirmed in many Qur'anic verses and Prophetic traditions.

As for the Holy Qur’an, it declares:

Indeed, the patient will be paid in full their reward without any reckoning. [39/10]

The verse states that Almighty Allah shall grant a great reward without any reckoning for those who have patience.

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On another occasion, the Almighty Lord states:

Allah loves the steadfast. [3/146]

There is no benefit to be gained by humans greater than being loved by Almighty Allah. Whoever is loved by Almighty Allah, He will allow him into Paradise and forgive all of his sins. Thus, the Almighty declares in the Holy Qur'an:

We will surely pay the patient their reward by the best of what they used to do. [16/96]

Almighty Allah grants the steadfast a reward greater than their good acts in the world.

Elsewhere in the Holy Qur'an, He states:

And amongst them We appointed imams to guide [the people] by Our command, when they had been patient and had conviction in Our signs. [32/24]

Steadfastness is a gift that the Almighty Lord to which His believing servants cling in order to protect themselves from ordeals and difficulties. Without patience, all powers collapse and people are too weak to indulge into the battleground of life. Due to the great importance of steadfastness, the Holy Qur’an mentions it in seventy verses, while no other attribute has been mentioned in this big number.

Following the teachings of the Holy Qur'an, the Holy Imams (‛a) encouraged us to hold fast to patience. Imam al-Baqir (‛a) said, “The road to Paradise is fraught with difficulties set by Allah and the necessity for patience; whoever has patience in the difficulties in this world shall enter Paradise. On the other hand, the road to Hell is full of pleasures and desires, whoever gives in to its pleasures and desires shall enter the hellfire.”(1)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said, “Patience to faith is like the head to the body. If there is no head the body is lost likewise faith is lost if

p: 161

1- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 89.

patience is absent.”(1)

He (‛a) also said, “When my father was close to death, he held me close to his chest and said: O son! Be patient upon the path of truth even if it is bitter, since you will be rewarded without any reckoning.”(2)

Imam ‛Ali (‛a) said, “Whoever is not rescued through patience shall be destroyed through impatience.”(3)

Besides, there are tens of traditions reported from the Holy Prophet and Imams (‛a) on the importance of patience. Through such traditions, they encourage people to have patience under all circumstances, because it brings about tranquility and help undergo all tribulations and misfortunes of life, since patience is a balm for hardships.

Types of patience

On the word of ethicists, patience is of different types, as follows:

1. Patience in times of calamity: The Holy Qur’an has encouraged us to hold fast to patience when misfortunes afflict us. Thus, the Holy Qur'an declares:

Give good news to the patient –those who, when an affliction visits them, say, ‘Indeed we belong to Allah, and to Him do we indeed return.’ It is they who receive the blessings of their Lord and His mercy, and it is they who are the rightly guided. [2/155-7]

2. Patience in obedience to Almighty Allah: About this type of patience, which is indeed the best of all types, Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said, ‘Be steadfast in obedience to Allah and also be patient against His disobedience because this world is just one moment. You feel no pleasure or pain from past moments and you know

p: 162

1- . Ibid, p. 87.
2- . Al-Wafi, vol 3, p. 65; also Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 15, p. 237.
3- . Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 18, p. 415.

nothing of future moments. So be steadfast in that one moment.”(1)

He (‛a) also said: When the Day of Resurrection comes, some people shall rise up and come to the door of Paradise knocking at it. “Who are you?” It will be inquired of them. They will answer: “We are the patient.” They will be asked: “Upon what were you patient?” They will reply: “We were patient in obedience to Almighty Allah and steadfast against offence to Him. Allah the Most High will say: “They have said the truth, let them enter Paradise”, and this is the declaration of Almighty Allah:

Indeed, the patient will be paid in full their reward without any reckoning. [39/10](2)

3. Another type of patience is that practiced in times of fear, such as battlefields and steadfastness in defense of life, honor, and wealth. Ethicists, however, have mentioned further types of patience.

In its broadest sense adopted by Islam, steadfastness is the most prominent and most beneficial mental virtue for human beings. It has been said that the most prestigious and elevated of nations as well as the most prestigious in authority is the nation that knows steadfastness, firmly holds to it in dangerous situations, and is resistant before storms of adversity.

To surrender before adversity and to fail to defend against it with legitimate means is not regarded as steadfastness. Likewise, to resort to resting while expecting your provisions to come by themselves is not steadfastness either, because it negates the commandment of Islam that orders us to strive on the earth seeking provision. Almighty Allah has said:

Walk on its flanks and eat of His provision. [67/15]

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1- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 459.
2- . Ibid, p. 75.

Thus, our duty is to strive to obtain our livelihood. Idleness is not permissible in any situation, because it is a manifestation of ignorance and thoughtlessness and a doorway to atrocities and depravity.(1)


An important component of human personality, courage leads to self-control in the face of calamities and adversities. Islam lays much importance on instilling this outstanding characteristic in the minds of Muslims and emphasizes its observance in every field of training. Various personages of Islam have braved the fields of sacrifice and competed with each other to embrace swords and arrows. Though they were few in number, they were able to defeat the great power of polytheism and atheism and establish the Islamic nation. The foremost of these people is the Commander of the Faithful Imam ‛Ali ibn Abi-Talib (‛a). He was the bravest and most steadfast of all people and the most connected with the soul. He showed exceptional courage especially during the battles of Badr, Ahzab, Uhud, Khaybar, and others. He never fell back from this position; rather, he strove forward in the cause of Almighty Allah while saying, “Numerous people revolving round me did not increase my prestige, likewise their separation from me did not make me fear and if all people surrender me, it will not make me to bow down.”

His heroism was known by all people of the world and all historians have agreed that he has shown the most magnificent form of courage and heroism in the world.

His son Imam al-Husayn (‛a), imitating his father, exalted in this field. He was the pioneer of the free and the leader of movement for freedom in Islam. He definitely shone like his father and no one in the world is like him in heroism. He received arrows and sword wounds in the land of Karbala' with

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1- . Educational System in Islam, p. 237.

a smiling face without fear of the martyrdom of his companions and his household. The oppressed stood firm like a mountain. He taught the most splendid lesson in honor, magnanimity, and selflessness to the entire world. He addressed the infidel soldiers from Umayyad thus: “By Allah, I will not give you my allegiance as it is a grace and I will never submit to you like a slave. Verily, I do not see death but felicity and I do not see life with oppressors but adversity.”

His enemies feared him even after he fell to the ground of the holy land of Karbala'. Sayyid Haydar, a poet, says, “No war has seen such a victim who even the heroes of battle feared.”

He remained firm and he did not become incapacitated before tribulations that even bring tremors to mountains. His great heroism brought about a tremendous victory for Islam. It is a shining light in the firmament showing the way of struggle to youths so they may gain their freedom and independence.


Bravery means to speak the truth loudly courageously and selflessly. This is what Islam wants from Muslims, i.e. speaking the truth without diffidence, fear, or apprehension. A tradition reads, “Speak the truth even if it is bitter.”

“Do not fear the censure of the censurer when you speak.”

Within is epistle to Imam al-Hasan, Imam ‛Ali (‛a) said, “On the path of truth, plunge into the heart of hardships in all conditions.”

Instructing the commanders of his army, he (‛a) said, “Plunge into the heart of truth.”

The Holy Prophet (s) said, “If you see my nation fearing an oppressor, tell them they are oppressors because they have reconciled with the situation.”

Abu-Dharr al-Ghifari, an intimate companion of the Holy Prophet (s), was distinctly known for his matchless bravery. On

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the strength of his firm faith in Islam, he announced the truth under all conditions and resisted the crooked and suppressive political trends. He resisted the Umayyad government under the leadership of ‛Uthman ibn ‛Affan who turned the Muslim countries into gardens for the Umayyad family and for the agents of his government. In this respect, Abu-Dharr thus shouted in his face and demanded him to establish justice, but ‛Uthman did not listen.

The outcry of Abu-Dharr expressed the cry of an aware Muslim who knew Islam very well and understood its goals; hence, he denied ‛Uthman and his policies that played with the nation’s destiny and wealth that he gave to his retinue at a time when the people of the nation suffered from draught.

In this connect, Sayyid Qutb, an Islamic man of letters, says, “The outcry of Abu-Dharr was one of the impulses of Islamic spirit. It was denied by those whose minds were corrupt and still denied by their likes in the present day. It was the outcry of an alert conscience unblemished from greed. Truly, excess amassing of wealth causes separation among the Islamic community and destroys the fundamentals that the religion seeks to establish.”(1)

Abu-Dharr struggled courageously and bravely to denounce the policies of the leader and chief of the Umayyad family. He manifested his anger over their behavior, which was contrary to the Book of Almighty Allah and the Prophetic traditions and teachings. Consequently, ‛Uthman exiled him to a barren land where he died in hunger while ‛Uthman possessed the treasures of the lands that he spent extravagantly on the Umayyad family and the family of Abu-Mu‛it, depriving Abu-Dharr the great personality of it, although he knew for sure that Abu-Dharr devoted his entire life to Allah the Almighty and that the Holy Prophet (s) said about him, “Abu-Dharr is similar to Jesus the

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1- . Al-Adalat al-Ijtima‛iyah, p. 211.

son of Mary in orthodoxy and manners.”

Bravery, the clearest form of which is condemnation of the dark policies that antagonized the truth has always been a distinctive characteristic of Shi‛ah leaders. In the past, they condemned the Umayyad policies with utmost bravery. A Shi‛ah leader; namely, Hijr ibn ‛Adi, revolted against the Umayyad tyrannical authorities and their agents and announced the words of truth. For this reason, Mu‛awiyah, the son of Hind, arrested and then executed him.

Likewise, ‛Abdullah ibn ‛Afif al-Azdi, a companion of Imam ‛Ali ibn Abi-Talib (‛a), revolted against the criminal tyrant ‛Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad who was responsible for the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn ibn ‛Ali (‛a), the chief of the youths of Paradise. From the al-Kufah Mosque, the criminal ‛Ubaydullah delivered a speech, beginning it with this phrase: “All praise be to Allah Who manifested the truth its people, gave victory to the chief of the believers and his partisans, and killed the liar and son of a liar, Husayn!”

Before ‛Ubaydullah could say anything more, ‛Abdullah ibn ‛Afif replied with a statement like a thunderbolt upon the head of the infidel. In a loud voice, he said, “Verily, the true liars are you, your father, the one who assigned you to this office, and his father. O slave of the Banu-‛Ilaj! O enemy of Allah! Do you talk in this form on the pulpit of the Muslims after killing the descendants of the Holy Prophet? Aid! Aid! Where are the sons of the Emigrants and Helpers? If they are here, they shall most surely avenge from you and from your tyrant, the accursed and son of the accursed (referring to Yazid and his father Mu‛awiyah) by the Holy Prophet?”

The best role-model of brave women, Lady Zaynab the granddaughter of the Holy Prophet (s) challenged ‛Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad, the sinful terrorist and the son of Marjanah the notorious fallen woman, when he gloated over the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (‛a). Referring to Imam al-Husayn and the

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martyrs from his family members and companions, Lady Zaynab said, “These were persons upon whom Allah has ordained death; so, they came to be in their resting place. Definitely, Allah soon shall join you and them in the same place. Your dispute will be taken before God. Then, see who will be vanquished one on that day. O son of Marjanah, may your mother be bereft of you!”

These words were like a thunderbolt on the head of these despicable criminals in the palace of the infidels where the son of Marjanah was displaying his arrogance and announcing his happiness over the annihilation of the progeny of Allah’s Messenger (s). Even though she was a captive, she stood up with all the daring in her historically eternal sermon saying, “Verily, I deem your power to be very minor and your reproach very great and I shall admonish you in abundance.”

She added, “Continue your deception and make every effort. However, by Allah, our remembrance shall not be lost, our lesson will not die, and you will not perceive time and its disgrace will not be rinsed from you. Is your flag not refuted? Your days are numbered and your fellows will be dispersed. That is day when a caller shall cry: Surely, the curse of Allah shall be upon the oppressors.”

The granddaughter of the Holy Prophet brought down and annulled the struggles of the infidel from his throne to his grave and he was not able to say even a word. She inherited this bravery from her father and grandfather who are the source of heroism on earth.

Another example of bravery is al-Kumayt, a famous Arab poet, who appeared in the scene of heroes. He criticized the Umayyad tyrannical ruling authorities with the harshest language and praised the virtues of Imam ‛Ali’s family, saying, “Those were true leaders who governed people with justice, unlike those who treated people as same as they treated sheep; namely, ‛Abd al-Malik, al-Walid, Sulayman, and Husham.”

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Criticizing the tyrant Husham ibn ‛Abd al-Malik, al-Kumayt composed some poetic verses, saying, “He acts according to his statements when he is on the pulpit, but he does wrong when he comes down. He says the words of prophets, but he does the acts of the ignorant people.”

He also criticized the Umayyad authorities baldly, saying, “Tell the Umayyad dynasty wherever they are and even if you fear the sword and estrangement: May Allah put in hunger whomever you feed and may He satisfy whomever you put in hunger!”

Although the Umayyad authorities persecuted him extremely, he increased nothing but more firmness and faith.

On the stage of heroism, another poet proved himself; namely, al-Farazdaq who criticized the Umayyad tyrants violently, and declared openly his support for the chiefs of the Ahl al-Bayt (‛a), the heralds of truth and justice in the world of Islam. His most famous honorable attitude was represented by the poet that he composed in praise of Imam ‛Ali ibn al-Husayn Zayn al-‛Abidin (‛a) and in condemnation of the Umayyad tyrant Husham ibn ‛Abd al-Malik who denied the Imam (‛a) before the people of Sham. Hence, al-Farazdaq, addressing the tyrant, said, “This person –meaning Imam Zayn al-‛Abidin- is the one whom all plains know his footsteps, and so do the House of God, the legal places, and the inviolable places. This is the son of the best of all creations; this is the God-fearing, the pure, the immaculate, and the most famous personality. Your claim that you did not know who he was will never harm him, because both Arabs and non-Arabs know him well.”

He thus exposed himself to the suppression and harm of the Umayyad rulers, but he did not pay the least attention to their persecutions; rather, he went on criticizing their tyrants courageously. Satirizing Husham, al-Farazdaq said, “He turns his head that has never been the head of a chief and turns his crossed eye that is full of defects.”

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Di‛bil Khuza‛i, the poet-defender of the oppressed and the persecuted, declared the truth openly and criticized the tyrants of the ‛Abbasid dynasty baldly, because they spared no efforts in wronging and oppressing the subjects. He thus satirized Harun, his two sons, al-Mu‛tasim, and Ibrahim the son of the ‛Abbasid tyrant al-Mahdi. However, the most brilliant satirizing poem and most expressive of firmness on the truth is that which he composed about al-Mu‛tasim, saying, “Then came a ruler who lacked true guidance, faith, and intellect. According to books, the ‛Abbasid rulers are only seven; and the books have not mentioned an eighth one. Just like the number of the People of the Cave who were seven virtuous persons, while the eighth of them was a dog. Yet, I elevate their dog over you, because you are a sinner, but the dog is not.”

Pushed by his true faith and creed, this great poet went on supporting the truth and criticizing the injustice of the tyrants. He satirized the oppressors of the ‛Abbasid rulers who subdued the nation and forcibly appropriated its wealth. No one was able to speak out the truth and defend the interests of the weak and poor except the Shi‛ah leaders who followed the course of the Ahl al-Bayt (‛a).


Forbearance, in the sense of suppressing anger, is an exalted attribute, the importance of which has been emphasized in Islam. The Holy Qur’an and the Prophetic traditions praised this attribute and advised people to enjoy it. As for the Holy Qur'an, many verses extolled forbearance. Some of these verses are as follows:

Good conduct and evil conduct are not equal. Repel evil with what is best. If you do so, behold, he between whom and you was enmity, will be as though he were a sympathetic friend. But none is granted it except those who are patient, and none is granted it except the greatly endowed. [41/34-5]

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The true forbearing person is the one who can repel evil with what is best; thus, the act of repelling evil with good conduct is the most manifest characteristic of the forbearing person. The result of this exalted virtue is that enemies who persist in their enmity will become sympathetic friends. The rightly guided Imams (‛a) behaved in this manner. They forgave those who persecuted them and showered good and courtesy upon them until their enemies became sincere friends of them.

Praising the true believers, the Holy Qur'an reads:

When the ignorant address them, they say, ‘Peace!’ [25/63]

One of the most prominent qualities of the forbearing persons is that when they unexpectedly meet ignorant people, they receive them with greeting and peace in order to avoid their evil.

The Most High Lord also says in the Holy Qur'an:

Those who…suppress their anger, and excuse the faults of the people; and Allah loves the virtuous. [3/134]

Suppressing anger and pardoning those who commit blunders against them are within the qualities of the forbearing persons who are loved by Allah the Almighty.

Mentioning the attributes of Prophet Abraham (‛a), the Holy Qur'an says:

Abraham was indeed most forbearing, plaintive, [and] penitent. [11/75]

Within His instructions to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s), Allah the Almighty says:

Adopt a policy of excusing the faults of people, bid what is right, and turn away from the ignorant. [7/199]

Forbearance is one of the most obvious mental qualities and most indicative of broad-mindedness and aspiration.

In many of their reported traditions, the Holy Prophet (s) and

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the rightly guided Imams (‛a) glorify forbearance and praise those that are attributed with it:

The Holy Prophet (s) said, “O Allah! Please bestow upon me knowledge and adorn me with forbearance.”(1)

He (s) also said, “Almighty Allah never elevated one with ignorance and He never reduced the patient.”(2)

Imam ‛Ali (‛a), the Commander of the Faithful, said, “There is no good in increasing your wealth and children; rather, betterment is in increasing your knowledge and forbearance.”(3)

He (‛a), once, heard a man insulting Qanbar his servant. Before Qanbar could retort, the Imam said to him, “O Qanbar! Leave alone he who has insulted you. This pleases the Most Merciful and angers Satan and serves as punishment to your enemy. By He who sprouts the seed and causes the wind, a believer cannot please his Lord more with anything but forbearance. Nothing angers Satan like silence and nothing punishes an ignorant person like silence.”(4)

Imam ‛Ali (‛a) also said, “The first reward of a tolerant person for his tolerance is assistance by the people against the ignorant.”(5)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said, “Patience is enough assistance for a person.”(6)

Imam Zayn al-‛Abidin (‛a) said, “Verily, I like men who practice upon forbearance when they are enraged.”(7)

The noble characteristic of forbearance was among the

p: 172

1- . Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 97, p. 368.
2- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 120.
3- .The Educational System in Islam, p. 238.
4- . Mufid, Al-Amali, p. 118.
5- . Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 19, p. 26.
6- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 120.
7- . Ibid, vol. 2, p. 120.

attributes of the Holy Imams (‛a). Imam al-Hasan (‛a), the grandson and fragrant flower of the Holy Prophet (s) and the chief of the youths of Paradise, is an exemplar of patience to whom even his enemy Marwan ibn al-Hakam testified. Marwan hurried to participate in the funeral ceremonies of Imam al-Hasan. Upon this scene, Imam al-Husayn (‛a) said to him, “I see you today participate in the funeral ceremony of my brother, but yesterday you made him swallow his anger. Why is that?”

Marwan said, “Truly, I do so because this man enjoyed forbearance as firm as mountains.”(1)

Imam al-Kazim (‛a) excelled all people in forbearance and open-mindedness. For this reason, he was given the title Kazim, meaning the suppresser of anger. He advised his children with this valuable testament, “O my children, I will give you a piece of advice; whoever puts it into effect, shall not go wrong. If someone says something wrong about you in your right ear but he makes an apology in your left ear and denies what he has just said about you, then you should accept his apology.”(2)

Reporting a depiction of Imam al-Kazim’s forbearance, historians recount that a man from the progeny of ‛Umar ibn al-Khattab used to vex the Imam and insult his forefathers. Some of the Imam’s companions sought permission to kill that wicked person, but the Imam warned them against so and instead inquired about his place of work. He was told that his farm was situated in the outskirts of al-Madinah. The Imam mounted his horse, proceeded towards his farm and met him there. The man shouted at the Imam, “Don’t lay foot on our farm.”

The Imam went to him with great respect and asked, “How much did you spend on your farm and how much do you expect to gain?”

The man replied, “I spent one hundred Dinars and since I do not

p: 173

1- . Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 4, p. 5.
2- . Kashf al-Ghummah, vol. 2, p. 218.

have hidden knowledge I do not know how much I will gain.”

“What do you expect as a gain from your farm?” the Imam asked.

The man replied, “I expect two hundred Dinars.”

The Imam (‛a) gave him a packet containing three hundred Dinars and said to him, “The farm is still yours and may Allah provide you with what you expected from it.”

The man stood up, kissed the Imam’s head and asked for forgiveness. The Imam smiled and left to the mosque where he found the man sitting and waiting for him. Upon seeing the Imam, the man stood up and said, “Allah knows where to assign His message and He gives it to whom He wishes.”

The Imam allowed him to sit and informed the audience what he did which in return changed the man’s attitude. He (‛a) added, “Which is better, what you intended to do or what I did? Verily, as you know, I have reformed his behavior and was exempted from his evil.”(1)

Forbearance solves many problems and puts an end to discord. It necessitates love and cordiality within people; this is why Islam considers it highly and enjoins Muslims to adorn themselves with it.


Kindness to people is one of the methods of training which Islam adopts, because it brings about cordiality and love within people. The heart is inclined towards whoever is kind to it. Some verses of the Holy Qur’an invite us to this characteristic:

Who has a better religion than him who submits his will to Allah, being virtuous. [4/125]

Whoever brings virtue, shall receive ten times its like. [6/160]

p: 174

1- . Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 13, pp. 28-29.

Indeed, Allah enjoins justice and kindness and generosity towards relatives, and He forbids indecency, wrong, and aggression. [16/90]

Whoever surrenders his heart to Allah and is virtuous has certainly held fast to the firmest handle. [31/22]

Whoever brings virtue shall receive [a reward] better than it; and they shall be secure from terror on that day. [27/89]

According to Islamic teachings, kindness is among the best means of spreading love and cordiality among people. It is a most important focus in building the Islamic society.


Pardoning the wrongdoers forgiving their faults is one of the noble moral standards to which Islam has called. The Holy Qur’an encourages us to adorn ourselves with this exalted attribute:

If you excuse, forbear and forgive, then Allah is indeed All-forgiving, All-merciful. [64/14]

Good conduct and evil conduct are not equal. Repel evil with what is best. If you do so, behold, he between whom and you was enmity, will be as though he were a sympathetic friend. [41/34]

Books of Prophetic traditions are full of narrations encouraging Muslims to pardon the wrongdoers. For instance, the Holy Prophet (s) is reported to have said, “Shall I inform you of the best morals of this world and the Hereafter? To pardon who has oppressed you, reconcile with who has broken relationship with you, and be kind to who offended you, and grant to who has deprived you.”(1)

He (s) also said, “I enjoin you to forgive, because forgiveness

p: 175

1- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 107.

increases your greatness, so grant forgiveness so that you earn Allah’s laudation.”(1)

The Holy Prophet (s) was characterized by this noble practice He pardoned those who offended him and acted kindly towards them, especially the polytheists of Quraysh who harassed and mocked him, ousted him from his house, lead soldiers to wage war against him, and inflicted severe punishment against whoever had faith in his message. However, when Almighty Allah gave a great and tremendous victory to the Holy Prophet (s) wherein he occupied the city of Makkah, he (s) addressed them thus: “What do you think I will do to you?”

They all said, “You are a merciful person and the son of a merciful one.”

He pronounced general amnesty and pardon, saying, “I pardon you and you are all free.”

An example of his exalted kindnesses, Anas ibn Malik reported: I was with the Holy Prophet (s) who was putting on a thick garment. A Bedouin pulled him from his dress so intensely that a sign was left on his neck, and said to him disrespectfully, “Muhammad! Pack my camels with these things which are part of Allah’s wealth with you because you will not give to me from your own wealth or from your father’s wealth.”

The Holy Prophet (s) answered, “This is true. The wealth is Allah’s and I am his servant.”

He (s) then said to the Bedouin, “Will you not be recompensed, O Bedouin, for what you have just done?”

The Bedouin replied in the negative.

“Why is that?” the Holy Prophet asked.

The Bedouin replied, “That is because you do not answer evil with evil.”

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1- . Ibid, p. 108.

The Holy Prophet (s) smiled and ordered one camel of the Bedouin to be packed with wheat and one with dates.(1)

The Holy Imams (‛a), the successors to the Holy Prophet (s), imitated their grandfather and behaved kindly to people. Historians report Imam Zayn al-‛Abidin (‛a), the leader of worshipers, to have been insulted by a man; but when those surrounding the Imam were about to punish that man, the Imam (‛a) intruded and said, “O man, I am more than what you have said about me and what you do not know concerning me is much more than what you know about me.”

The man became ashamed of the Imam, who stood up, gave his shirt to him as a gift and ordered one thousand Dirhams to be given to him. The man said, “I bear witness that this man is from the progeny of Allah’s Messenger (s).”(2)

Similar to this is a person from Damascus who came across Imam al-Hasan (‛a) and started insulting him, but the Imam received him with a bountiful smile and said, “O old man, I understand that you are a stranger. If you have a request from us, we will surely grant your request. If you seek guidance from us, we will definitely guide you. If you wanted us to carry you, we will surely carry you along. If you are in hunger, we will surely feed you. If you are in need, we will surely free you of need. And if you are been cast out we will surely provide you shelter.”

The Imam (‛a) did not cease his kind words until the evil mood was lifted from the soul of the man and he was not able to say more except to seek pardon from the Imam, saying, “Almighty Allah knows where to bestow His Message and to whom.”(3)

The same applies to the other Holy Imams (‛a), the lanterns of Islam. If we take a look at their histories, we will find them full

p: 177

1- .The Educational System in Islam, p. 243.
2- . The Life of Imam Zayn al-‛Àbidin, vol. 1, p. 76.
3- . The Life of Imam al-Hasan, vol. 1, p. 293.

of such exalted morals. They desisted from all forms of retaliation toward anyone that afflicted them and kept the following saying of the Most High in their minds:

They repel evil conduct with good. [13/22]


Islamic training has included every attribute that elevates human beings and makes the society felicitous. Among these exalted attributes is generosity, which stems from the nobility and soundness of soul and keeps one away from being afflicted by the disease of stinginess. The Holy Prophet (s) called upon his nation to adorn themselves with generosity. He (s) said, “An openhanded person gives out due to his good belief in God.”(1)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said, “Be generous to who deserves it and to who does not deserve it, so that you deserve generosity even if the person does not.”(2)

The Holy Prophet (s) also said, “A munificent person is closer to God, closer to the people, closer to Paradise, and distant from the hellfire whereas a miser is far from Allah, far from the people, far from Paradise, and closer to the hellfire. Almighty Allah loves an ignorant person that is openhanded more than a worshiper that is stingy.”(3)

Imam al-Kazim (‛a) said, “Generosity is a virtue and it is close to Allah. He will not abandon generous persons to their own means until they enter Paradise. Verily Allah has not sent any prophet or successor to a prophet except that he was an openhanded person and my father did not stop advising me to be generous until the end of his life.”(4)

Generosity is a noble characteristic if its aim is to assist the

p: 178

1- . Kanz al-‛Ummal, vol. 6, p. 392.
2- . Al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 27.
3- . Irshad al-Qulub, vol. 1, p. 136.
4- . Al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 39.

wretched and poor and erase the spirit of wretchedness from them. In this case, it is considered as performed for the cause of Allah the Most High and seeking His pleasure, which is the most elevated level of generosity. This noble tendency is the most obvious attribute of the Holy Imams (‛a). For instance, Imam al-Hasan (‛a) never rejected a requester. He used to say, “I am a requester of Allah and am eager for Him, and I would be ashamed to be a requester myself and to reject a requester. Verily Allah has promised to bestow His favor upon me and I promise Him to bestow His favor upon people. I fear that if I abandon this disposition He will also abandon His disposition.”

He also said, “A requester who comes to me is welcome to He whose favor is urgent and compulsory upon me, and to He whose favor is a favor to everyone that bestows favor. Verily, the best days of a youth are when the youth is asked for help.”(1)

Regarding the generosity of the Ahl al-Bayt (‛a), al-Kumayt composed, “They are the most generous and the most courageous; when people are afflicted by a draught, no one except them is the abode of orphans.”

Their history is full of generosity and openhandedness to the poor, which is indicative of their nature.


Altruism, or selflessness, is one of the noble attributes, which Islam has adopted as a method of training and as a lifestyle for the Muslim society. Many Qur'anic verses have praised certain Muslims for their altruism and preferring their brothers-in-faith to themselves:

They prefer the Emigrants to themselves, though poverty be their own lot. And those who are saved from their own greed. It is they who are the felicitous. [59/9]

This Qur'anic verse was occasioned on the incident of seven

p: 179

1- . The Life of Imam al-Hasan, vol. 1, p. 295.

people who fell wounded in the Battle of Uhud. They were seriously afflicted with thirst; so, some Muslims quickly brought water for them but the water was enough for one person only. When it was offered to one of them, he refused to drink and pointed to another one who probably needed it more than him. When the second sought to drink, he heard the voice of another one complaining of serious thirst; he therefore preferred his brother to himself. In this manner, each one of them preferred his brother-in-faith to himself. When they returned to the first one, they found him dead; and so were the rest of them.(1) It was Islam that inspired those people with such a tremendous spirit and kindled these noble ideals within their natures. They became exemplars of humanity along with the sublimity and exaltedness it holds.

Likewise, one of the most splendid pictures of altruism in Islam whose reminiscence and effect will remain forever is the sacrifice of the Holy Prophet’s family members; the matches of the Holy Qur’an and the arks of salvation for the Muslim nation. Their incomparable altruism has been immortalized by a Qur'anic chapter; namely, Surah al-Insan, which praised them for their altruism. Historians and exegetes of the Holy Qur'an have unanimously agreed that the reason for the revelation of this Qur'anic chapter was the following:

Al-Hasan and al-Husayn, the grandsons of the Holy Prophet (s), fell terribly sick; so, their grandfather, accompanied by some of his companions, paid them a visit to them and suggested to their father that he should make a vow to the Almighty Lord so that He should restore them to health. Acting upon this suggestion, Imam ‛Ali (‛a) vowed that he would observe fasting for three consecutive days if the Lord restores his two sons to health. The same vow was also made by Lady Fatimah al-Zahra' the chief of the women of the world and by their servant Fiddah.

p: 180

1- . Majma‛ al-Bayan, vol. 5, p. 960.

Shortly after that, al-Hasan and al-Husayn regained their health and all of the members of the household started fulfilling their vows and observing fasting for three consecutive days. The Imam did not have food in his house; so, he bought three measures of barley on credit. On the first day, Lady Fatimah (‛a) ground one measure of barley and baked bread with it. When it was time for them to break their fast, a needy person knocked on their door requesting for assistance. They gave the baked bread to him and spent the night without eating anything. On the second day, Lady Fatimah (‛a) ground the second measure of barley and baked bread with it. At the time of breaking their fast, an orphan knocked their door complaining of hunger. Again they gave up their meal. On the third day, she ground and baked bread with the remainder of the barley. At the time of breaking the fast, a bondservant knocked their door complaining of hunger. They yielded their meal while they were trembling of weakness.

That night, the Holy Prophet (s) visited them and saw how pale their faces were because of hunger. This scene disturbed him very much that he shouted, “Help! Muhammad’s household members are dying out of hunger!”

Immediately, the Archangel Gabriel came to the Holy Prophet (s) carrying with him Surah al-Insan(1) as an honor to the Ahl al-Bayt (‛a) for their sacrifice of a type that is hard to find in this world. They were being compensated by Almighty Allah with Paradise adorned with silver. He made their remembrance eternal in this world and made them leaders and exemplars for the entire nation until the end of time.


Chastity is a virtue for which Islam has called and one of the noblest attributes of souls. It means to preserve your stomach

p: 181

1- . Tafsir Fakhr ar-Razi, vol. 8, p. 392; Ruh al-Bayan, vol. 6, p. 546; Asbab Nuzul, p. 33; Yanabi al-Mawaddah, vol. 1, p. 93; and Ar-Riyyad al-Nudrah, vol. 2, p. 227.

and private parts from contamination with what is prohibited, because excess in eating and in sexual relations have disadvantages that reduce human beings from a state of honor to the state of an animal that knows nothing except the needs of the stomach and private parts.

Warning against excess satisfaction and too much inclination towards pleasure, the Holy Prophet (s), “The majority of those entering the hellfire in my nation do so because of two hollows: the stomach and the private parts.”(1)

Imam al-Baqir (‛a) said, “There is no act of worship before Allah that is better than abstinence in stomach and in the private parts.”(2)

A man said to Imam Baqir (‛a), “I am weak in performing good deeds. I pray little and I fast very little but I struggle to not eat except what is permitted and not marry except the permitted marriage.”

The Imam (‛a) honored him and said, “What struggle is better than abstinence of the stomach and the private parts?(3)

Chastity is the best attribute of the soul because it indicates nobility of the soul and the sublimity and exaltation of the person’s essence. It also makes the soul sound and frees it of greediness. Its evils reduce human beings to deep levels of depravity.


Contentment is one of the manifest exalted attributes that human beings can be adorned with. It gives humans peace of mind and felicity, repels distress from them, and rescues them from the evil of greediness. Regarding its loftiness, contentment is introduced as a treasure that never fades. Whoever is

p: 182

1- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 79.
2- . Ibid, p. 80.
3- . Al-Mahasin, vol. 1, p. 292.

attributed to it, is the richest person and is sufficed with the wealth Almighty Allah has bestowed. Imam Baqir (‛a) has advised contentment to some of his special companions, saying: Be aware and do not let your eye aspire towards what is above you, likewise suffice yourselves with what Allah the Great and Almighty has said to His Prophet:

Let not their possessions or their children impress you. [9/85]

Do not extend your glance toward what We have provided certain groups of them as a glitter of the life of this world. [20/131]

The Imam (‛a) continued: If anything comes to you in that respect you should remember the life of the Messenger of Allah (s) because barley was his foodstuff, dates were his sweets, and palm leaves were his fuel if he could get hold of them.(1)

He (‛a) also said, “Those who suffice themselves with what Allah has provided for them are the richest among the people.”(2)

Al- Khalil ibn Ahmad al-Farahidi, the great scholar, suffered much hardship in his economic life. Sulayman ibn ‛Ali, the ‛Abbasid authority, sent a message to him asking him for a high price to teach his child. In response, al-Khalil took out a piece of dried bread and said, “I do not have more than this and if I can obtain it I am not in need of Sulayman and others like him.” His messenger asked, “What do I tell him?”

He replied, “Recite him these poetic verses: Tell Sulayman that I am not in need of him that I am rich even though I have no money. You should know that wretchedness is in the soul not in wealth. Richness also is in the soul not in wealth. Provision from the powerful cannot be decreased by the weak. Likewise,

p: 183

1- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 137.
2- . Al-Wafi, vol. 3, p. 78; Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 139.

the power of an imposter cannot increase one’s provision.”(1)

The ‛Abbasid tyrant, al-Dawaniqi, sent a letter to Imam al-Sadiq (‛a), the great man of this nation and the pioneer of its civilization, intending to add him to his entourage. The following sentence was included in his letter: “Why do you not benefit us like you benefit others?”

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a), the descendent of the Holy Prophet (s), answered back, “There is nothing in this world that we can make you fear. You possessed nothing in the last day in which that we can make you hope. You possess no blessings for which we may congratulate you. You are not in difficulty for us to condole with you.”(2)

This implies that the Imam (‛a) did not have any worldly possessions, which he feared their confiscation by that tyrant ruler, who did not have any virtue that makes a person closer to Allah. His record was clear of any good act but full of oppression and inequity. So how would the Imam go to him? In reality, he just wanted to deceive the Imam; so, he wrote: “If you accompany us we would take advice.”

Behold the response of the Imam (‛a) and the wisdom in it: “Whoever is after this world would never advise you and whoever is after the hereafter would never accompany you.”(3)

Whoever hanker after prestige and wealth in this world would not advise that tyrant ruler and his likes; rather, he would like him to perpetrate oppression and sin. On the other hand, those who seek Allah’s pleasure would not accompany an infidel like this tyrant ruler.

‛Uthman ibn ‛Affan, The head and leader of the Umayyads, sent a bag of silver coins to the noble companion of the Holy

p: 184

1- . Safinat al-Bihar, vol. 1, p. 426.
2- . Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 12, p. 307.
3- . The Life of Imam al-Sadiq, vol. 7, p. 144.

Prophet, Abu-Dharr al-Ghifari, who was Islam-conscious and he believed in its fundamentals and aims. He thought he would accept it and stop opposing him, but Abu-Dharr rejected the bag from ‛Uthman’s slave, because he knew it as a deception. The slave insisted and urged him to accept it, saying, “Please take it, because your acceptance of it is my freedom.” Abu-Dharr answered, “Verily my acceptance of it is your freedom but it is my bondage.”

Of course, there was servitude of Abu-Dharr if he accepted this money, which would mean that he should stop his opposition to ‛Uthman who gave away the Muslims’ wealth to the Umayyads and the family of Abu-Mu‛it and left the burden upon the Muslims.

Detestable attributes


Above, we discussed good and noble attributes that were bestowed upon human beings to make life luminous; and we have mentioned some evil attributes during out discussion of acts detested by Almighty Allah—acts that draw human beings to low levels.

Islam commended the noble moral principles and prohibited their opposites. This indicates the extent of the importance Islam lays on human beings. It endeavors to elevate human beings to the highest stage of perfection. Here, we will summarily have a look at some of the detestable attributes that Islam discommended


According to Islamic teachings, anger is a vice, the source of sinning, and a key to all evils. A person, when angry, loses awareness and thought, turning into a predatory animal that insults, beats, and kills. In this case, Almighty Allah names forgiveness during anger as the attribute of the elect believers:

And they forgive when angered. [42/73]

The Holy Imams (‛a) warned against this vice in many of their

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traditions. Imam ‛Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, said, “Be wary of anger because it is a great soldier among the soldiers of Satan.”(1)

He (‛a) also said, “Anger is a form of madness since regret follows it. Persons who do not regret their anger, their madness is deeply rooted.”(2)

Imam al-Baqir (‛a) said, “Verily, a person that enters the state of anger will never be pleased until finally the person enters the hellfire.”(3)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) quoted his father to have said: A villager came to the Messenger of Allah (s) and said, “I live in the desert and want you to teach me words that comprise everything.”

The Holy Prophet replied, “Do not become angry.”

The man repeated his statement three times and the Holy Prophet (s) answered him the same.

The man then said, “The Messenger of Allah (s) did not order me except to what is good.”

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) commented: My father used to say, “Nothing can be more severe than anger. A person in a state of anger may kill a soul that God has prohibited to kill or accuse a decent woman falsely.”(4)

Reprehensible anger is the anger that takes a person away from moderation and into tremendous evil. Yet, to be angry with those who condemn Islam or those who slander the nobility of the chosen believers is not regarded as reprehensible anger, because such anger has been set in the right place and is regarded as a good act, enjoining of good, and forbidding of evil, if it does not cause any harm. Books of ethics enumerate

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1- Nahj al-Balaghah, p. 459.
2- . Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 19, p. 66.
3- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 302.
4- . Ibid, vol 2, p. 303.

causes of anger and ways to treat it.

Bad disposition

One of the detestable attributes, bad disposition is a despicable attribute that is alienated by everyone. The ill-manned is repelled by his or her friends and relatives. Addressing the great Prophet (s), God the Almighty says:

And had you been harsh and hardhearted, surely they would have scattered from around you. [3/159]

In his turn, warning against this bad quality, the Holy Prophet (s) said, “Refrain from having a bad temperament because without doubt the place of bad temperaments is in the hellfire.”(1)

On another occasion, the Holy Prophet (s) said, “Allah the Great and Exalted shall not grant repentance to persons with bad behavior.”

“Why is that?” he was asked, and he replied, “That is because after such persons repent they perform even greater sins.”(2)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said, “Those whose behavior becomes bad punish themselves.”(3)

Reference books of Prophetic traditions and Islamic ethics have recorded tens of such sayings that warn Muslims against being attributed with this detestable behavior.


Greed for worldly gains is an evil tendency that Islam condemns. It is a vice that prevents one from doing good acts, building positive relationships with one’s relatives, and acting charitably and kindly to the poor. The Holy (‛a) condemned this behavior, as is declared in many narrations, some of which are the following:

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1- . ‛Uyun al-Akhbar al-Ridda, vol. 2, p. 31.
2- . Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 321.
3- . Ibid.

Imam al-Baqir (‛a) said, “One who yearns obsessively for this world is like a silkworm; the more it spins threads around itself the harder it is to come out until it dies of sorrow.”(1)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said, “According to a Divine saying, if a human being possessed two valleys flowing with gold and silver, he would seek for a third one. O child of Adam! Verily, your stomach is a sea among seas and a valley among valleys; nothing fills it except soil.”(2)

Imam al-Hasan (‛a) said, “Human beings are ruined through three things: arrogance, obsession, and envy. With arrogance the religion is ruined, with it Satan was damned. Obsession is the enemy of the soul and with it Adam was driven out of the paradise. Envy is the pioneer of all evils, it caused Cain to kill Abel.”(3)

Greed for worldly gains drives human beings to toilsome struggles and arduous endeavors to seek wealth from any source. Such a person does not care whether it is by permissible or forbidden means. It prevents human beings from good acts, helping the poor, maintaining ties with relatives, and other acts that make a person closer to Almighty Allah.


Stinginess is a detestable attribute and the most evil human tendencies. The Holy Qur’an and Prophetic traditions have warned against it, because it encompasses all evil behaviors. As for the Holy Qur'an, many verses condemn stinginess or warn against it:

Those who are stingy and bid other people to be stingy, and conceal whatever Allah has given them out of His grace; and We have prepared for the faithless a humiliating punishment. [4/37]

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1- . Al-Wafi, vol. 2, p. 316.
2- . Man la Yahduruh al-Faqih, vol. 2, p. 418.
3- . Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 75, p. 111.

Almighty Allah has prepared hellfire whose fuel is human beings and stones for those who are stingy because they refuse to spend their wealth in His cause.

Ah! There you are, being invited to spend in the way of Allah; yet among you there are those who are stingy; and whoever is stingy is stingy only to himself. Allah is the All-sufficient, and you are all-needy, and if you turn away He will replace you with another people, and they will not be like you. [47/38]

Those who are afflicted with the disease of stinginess do not spend time or money for any good deed and they think only of how to accumulate money and amass wealth, unaware that stinginess is to their own detriment because the wealth which they greed after will be left behind when they go to their graves and the felicitation will be for others while the responsibility will be upon them.

Let the stingy not suppose that their grudging what Allah has given them out of His grace is good for them; rather it is bad for them. They will be collared with what they grudge on the Day of Resurrection. [3/180]

This Qur'anic verse relates the end result of those who act stingy towards the favor which Almighty Allah has bestowed upon them. They think that this is better for them but they know not that such wealth shall be a collar on their necks casting them into the hellfire on the Day of Resurrection.

Traditions of the Holy Prophet and Imams (‛a) also censured misers. Imam ‛Ali (‛a) said, “I am in wonder of misers in that they make headway towards the poverty which they seek to flee from and the wealth they seek misses them. Thus, they live in this world like poor persons and will be judged on the Day of Resurrection as rich persons.”(1)

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1- . Jami‛ al-Akhbar, p. 131.

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) quoted the Holy Prophet (s) as saying, “An openhanded person is closer to God, closer to the people, and closer to the paradise, whereas a miser is far from Allah, far from the people, and closer to the hellfire.”(1)

Explaining this Qur'anic verse, Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said:

Thus shall Allah show them their deeds as regrets for themselves. [2/167]

“This verse indicates a person who abstains from spending wealth in obedience of Allah due to stinginess then dies and leaves it for those who use it in obedience to Almighty Allah or in disobedience to Almighty Allah. If it was used in obedience to Almighty Allah, the Great and the Most Exalted, the person will see its interest on another person’s account and regret that that it had been his or her own wealth. And if it was used in disobedience to Almighty Allah, the person has strengthened the inheritors with that wealth so that it is used in disobedience of Almighty Allah.”(2)

These are examples of traditions indicating the punishment of the misers who draw severe punishment upon themselves especially if their greed is related to the money, which Almighty Allah has made it obligatory upon His servant to pay, such as the one-fifth tax (i.e. khums) and the poor-rate (i.e. zakat, because its reckoning will be tough and the punishment will be tremendous.

We have come to the end of the discussion on systems of training in Islam.

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1- . Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 7, p. 13.
2- . Furu‛ al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 42.



Islam has developed an advanced economic system for Muslims designated by comfort. This system resolves the needs of the people and puts an end to destitution and deprivation. It rescues nations from economic difficulties that storm societies and destroy their security and stability keeping them in a state of chaos, retardation and deterioration. Below are Islamic methods and stipulations for solving economic problems:

Caring for work


Work occupies an elevated position in Islam and even has traces of sanctification. It has thus raised such mottos like: (1) working is an honorable act, (2) working is the slogan of prophets, (3) work is holy duty, and (4) work is worship.

Islam has given work a sacred aspect because it is the sole source of creating benefits for society and because, without doubt, idleness creates many problems and paralyzes the economic development of a country. It is not possible for a country to advance when the civilization of the nation has sunk into the darkness of idleness and puts work aside. The Lord says in the Holy Quran:

He it is Who made the earth subservient to you, so go about in the spacious sides thereof, and eat of His sustenance. And to Him is the rising after death. [67/15]

In this respect, the Holy Prophet (s) embraced and kissed the hands of a worker saying, “This hand is loved by Allah and His Messenger.”

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Working hands build life and bring about production in all its forms and aspects, since it is one of the sources of economical life in the world. It is impossible for any nation to rise if it is weary and it resorts to rest and repose. In Islam, work is the pillar of economic advancement of civilization and Islam has emphasized the importance of agricultural production as being the backbone of the economy of its advent.

It is worth mentioning that Marxists consider work to be the cornerstone of all values. They built the majority of the fields of its philosophy on work, since this philosophy is mainly founded on resistance to individual possession in all of its forms, in its capacity as the factor that prevents the private sector from ownership. Marxism was a violent attack on world capitalism and was considered as the thief of youths.

I have mentioned in the book entitled Labor and Rights of Workers in Islam that the communist ideology is not based on sound belief. Many great world economists have made observations regarding this ideology that its assessments are not in line with the natural tendencies of human beings and expectations during life. The downfall of the Soviet Union, one of the global powers that propounded this belief, reveals its weaknesses.

To sum up, work is one of the most important focuses in Islam; with it, there is growth in life, agriculture, industry and crafts.

Wealth is Allah’s

Wealth in Islamic law belongs to Allah, the Most High, and human beings are allotted different proportions of it. Humans do not have the right to make wealth into playthings. The Holy Qur’an has emphasized this concept:

To Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. [2/284]

Say: “If you know, tell me to whom belong the earth and what is therein?” They will say: “To Allah.” Say: “Will

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you not then take admonition?” [23/84-5]

And give them out of the wealth of Allah which He has bestowed upon you. [24/33]

Wealth is owned by neither the private sector nor a nation. Islam looks deeply into this conviction and specifies precautionary measures regarding it, as explained hereinafter:

Wealth in the private sector: Wealth that belongs to the private sector is of different forms:

Enhancement of Wealth: Every human being is free to enhance and increase his wealth albeit through permitted and legal means, and this is referred to as lawful enhancement; however, human beings have been prohibited from increasing their wealth through the following means:


Islam has prohibited usurious gain because it results in spread of indigence and economic unrest, it stunts the economy, and it destroys the sense of love and compassion among people. Islam considers usury to be an evil that entails tremendous sin and its law strictly prohibits it. Almighty Allah has said in the Qur’an:

O you who have faith! Be wary of Allah, and abandon all claims to what remains of usury, should you be faithful. And if you do not, then be prepared to face war from Allah and His apostle. If you repent, then you may retain your principal, neither harming others, nor suffering harm. And if you the debtor is in straits, let there be a respite until the time of ease; and if you remit the debt as charity, it will be better for you, if you only knew. [2/278-80]

Those who devour usury will not stand except as stands one deranged by the Devil’s touch. [2/275]

These Qur'anic verses portray the condition of the usurer as one touched with insanity that goes around, giving and taking

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money without any consideration except to accumulate wealth and achieve domination over people and their wealth by taking it illegitimately.

Prohibiting usury, the Holy Prophet (s) introduces it as great crime. He (s) says, “Whoever devours usury, Allah shall fill his stomach with hell fire in the amount he has consumed and when he achieves something through usury, Allah shall not accept his works and he will not break free of the damnation of Allah and the angels even if only a carat is still in his possession.”(1)

Imam ‛Ali (‛a) said, “There is no difference between the devourer of usury, the agent that dispenses the usurious money, the writer of the usurious contract, and the witness to such a contract.”(2)

Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) said, “The sin of a dirham of usury is greater than seventy fornications with prohibited woman all committed in the House of God.”(3)

This intensification of the seriousness of usury and the severe punishment upon a usurer results because usury is regarded to be deprivation of the poor in the society. Usury is one means used by imperialists to establish economic invasion, which paves the way for military occupation in countries that take loans from capitalists and are subsequently unable to settle their debts.


Monopoly precludes the increase and enhancement of wealth and leads to the spread of misery and poverty among people. The Holy Prophet (s) said, “No one hoards foodstuff except a sinful person.”(4)

p: 194

1- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 18, p. 122.
2- . Furu‛ al-Kafi, vol. 5, p. 144.
3- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah, vol. 18, p. 123.
4- . Man la Yahduruh al-Faqih, vol. 3, p. 261.

He (s) also said, “He who hoards food for forty days has precluded himself from Allah and His Messenger.”(1)

Imam ‘Alī (‛a), within his golden precept to Malik al-Ashtar, speaks of monopoly, saying, “Know this, a lot of them (i.e. among the marketers and craft owners) are exorbitant, hoard goods, and dominate trade; indeed, this is detrimental to the general public and officials are held accountable, so prevent hoarding because the Holy Prophet (s) prevented it. Permit legitimate buying according to the balance of justice. Prices should not be biased towards the buyer or the seller of the goods. Whoever engages in hoarding after you have forbidden it should be made an example of but do not punish them in excess.”(2)

It is the duty of any Islamic government to prevent and protect the subjects from monopoly and to control the prices in the general interests without causing any harm to owners.

Trading with illegal beverages and narcotic stuff

Dealing in wine and narcotic substances, whether buying or selling, is a prohibited economic activity in Islam. This is because of the severe damage it causes to health and general life. We have mentioned the terrible damage caused by wine in previous discussions.


Islam has prohibited fraud and cheating in transactions. In other words, buying goods at less than the normal market price or selling at more than the normal sum is prohibited, whether or not the other party to the contract is aware of the real price, such as selling an item for fifty percent or more over the normal price. Consequently, Islam has given the right of revocation to the person who is defrauded in order to amend the damages caused to him.

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1- . Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 13, p. 273.
2- . Nahj al-Balaghah, p. 438.


A fundamental of economic activity in Islam is the prevention of exploitation of any human being by another human being. Likewise, it is not permitted for any nation to exploit a human being.

Fraud in measurement

Islam has warned against enhancement of wealth through fraud in weights and measures. God the Almighty says in the Holy Qur'an:

Woe to the defrauders, who use short measures; who when they measure a commodity bought from the people take the full measure, but diminish when they measure or weigh for others. Do they not know that they will be resurrected on a tremendous day—a day when humankind will stand before the Lord of all the worlds? [83/1-6]

Maintain weight with justice, and do not fall short in measurement. [55/9]

Wealth that come from fraud in measurement is usurpation and one is not permitted to use such wealth. It is also incumbent on the usurper to return it to its owner. The foregoing discussions were regarding prohibitions on expansion of individual wealth.

According to Islam, wealth is frozen and its owner is interdicted from spending it in the following cases:


Warning against squandering and spending money in illegitimate ways is one of the features of Islamic economy. The Holy Qur'an reads:

Do not squander wastefully. Indeed, the wasteful are fellows of Satan; and Satan is ever ungrateful to his Lord. [17/26-7]

When a squanderer wrongly disposes of his wealth, it becomes

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obligatory to freeze his wealth and deprive him of his wealth except in the amount that fulfills his needs. Likewise, Islam has forbidden giving wealth to the feeble-minded, because they might squander it and spend it illegally. The Holy Qur'an commands:

Do not give the feeble-minded your property, which Allah has assigned you to manage: provide for them out of it, and clothe them, and speak to them honorable words. [4/5]

The following are discussions appertained to private wealth and economic balance:

Moderation in spending

Islam guides people towards moderation in disposition and spending. It distances people from both stinginess and reckless spending. The Holy Qur'an reads:

Do not keep your hand chained to your neck nor open it altogether so that you become blameworthy, regretful. [17/29]

According to this Qur'anic verse, spending must be limited to the amount that fulfills the necessities of life.

Public treasury

Islam takes serious precautions with regard to the public treasury. Neither the president of a country nor any other member of the government has the right to use or amuse himself with the public funds; rather, they must use them unerringly for the interests of Muslims generally and for the following utilities particularly:

1. Spread of knowledge through building Islamic primary and secondary schools, colleges, universities and so on.

2. Tutors, teachers, professors, and researchers for which it is necessary to create a positive atmosphere in the economic system, like building houses for them and supplying other needs

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3. Establishment of hospitals, clinics, maternity wards, dispensaries and other medical needs that are necessities that cannot be forfeited in the contemporary age.

4. Reform projects, the most important of which is making known fundamental principles and the exalted exemplar of Islam and spreading the religion among the public through television, radio programs and local newspapers in order to reinforce the virtues of Islam in the young generation.

5. Payments to the poor among workers whose salary is not sufficient (it is the government’s duty to spend on the poor to meet their needs and this is one of the splendid aspects of the economic system in Islam).

6. Payment of debts of those who are unable to do so, including debts incurred for marriages, buying or building homes and other needs of this type, because the Islamic government is responsible to fulfill such needs. A tradition holds: “Whoever dies leaving behind a debt, it is upon us to settle it.”(1)

Imam Musa ibn Ja‛far (‛a) said, “Whoever seeks wealth through its lawful channels in order to spend it for himself and his family is like one who has fought in the cause of God, the Most High. If he is overcome [with poverty], he should request a loan for what will suffice his family and this is upon Allah and his Messenger. If he dies and is unable to settle the loan, then it is upon the Imam to do so. If it is not settled by the Imam, the burden is upon him nonetheless. Verily Allah the Great and most Exalted says:

Charity is only for the poor, the needy, those employed to collect and distribute it, those possible converts whose hearts are being reconciled to yours, for the freedom of captives and the debtors... [9/60]

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1- . Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 3, p. 223.

Surely, such a person is poor, in need, and a debtor.”(1)

7. Spending upon those who are unable to work due to sickness or old age, provided that person does not have money or children that are able to support him. Under such circumstances, it is the responsibility of the government to provide support in order that such people would not be forced to beg.

8. Spending upon the incapacitated is also the responsibility of the government in addition to other services. Within his instructions to Malik al-Ashtar, Imam ‛Ali (‛a) said, “Be mindful of God! Be mindful of God with regard to those in lower economic classes who have no power, i.e. the poor, the needy, the wretched, and those who are unable to work due to deformity; because some among this group beg but others do not beg even though their economic situation is difficult.”(2)



Taxes are among the Islamic economic provisions that are used to fight against poverty and destitution. Islamic taxes include:


Islam places great importance on zakat, thus it is coupled with obligatory prayer in the Holy Qur’an and there is no verse in which Allah has ordered prayer where it is not coupled with almsgiving. The Most High has said:

Maintain the prayer and give the zakat. [2/78]

Yet if they repent and maintain the prayer and give the Zakat, then they are your brethren in faith. [9/11]

It is an imperative obligation that governments take up arms with whoever refuses to pay the religious alms, because Islam has dedicated alms to be used to fight against poverty and misery, to provide individuals in the society their present and future needs and to guarantee them and their families a suitable

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1- . Hayat al-Imam Musa ibn Ja‛far, vol. 1, p. 223.
2- . Nahj al-Balaghah, p. 438.

standard of living.

Receiving alms should not be an unpleasant experience. In addition, it is not a handout from the government or from any individual; rather, it is the right of the poor and the needy. The Most High has said:

And there was a share in their wealth for the beggar and the deprived. [51/19]

The poor and the deprived have a right to a portion of the wealth of the wealthy and the poor do not become indebted to the wealthy in this regard.

The following is a concise discussion of this matter:

Who should pay the Zakat tax: Zakat is obligatory upon mature sane persons, but is not obligatory upon children and the insane due to narrations in this respect; likewise, it is not compulsory for a slave because a slave does not possess any wealth.

Things applicable to the Zakat tax: The things assessed for the Zakat tax are: (1) the three types of livestock: camels, cows and sheep; (2) the four types of crops: wheat, barley, dates and grapes, and (3) gold and silver coins.

It is yet recommended to pay the Zakat tax for other crops as well, like rice, lentils, Indian peas, chickpeas, etc. in the same compulsory quantity as the aforementioned items, which has been discussed in books of jurisprudence.

Beneficiaries of the Zakat tax: A Qur'anic verse has specified the beneficiaries of the Zakat tax:

Charity is only for the poor, the needy, those employed to collect and distribute it, those possible converts whose hearts are being reconciled to yours, for the freedom of captives and debtors, and in the way of Allah, and for the traveler. This is ordained from Allah, and Allah is All-knowing, All-wise. [9/60]

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Here, the Holy Qur’an has expounded those that are entitled to Zakat.

12. The poor and the needy: Neither of these groups possesses yearly provisions that are suited to their condition and that of their family. However, economically the condition of the needy is worse than that of the poor.

3. Those employed to collect alms: These people are engaged in collecting charity from various places and taxpayers. They must be paid for the job they do. These employees receive their wages from the alms whether they are rich or poor because every job has its wages.

4. Those whose hearts are being reconciled: These are Muslims that do not having strong faith for whom alms could impress Islamic fundamentals in their hearts.

5. Captives/slaves: These are captives whose price of freedom has been determined by contract but are unable to pay. In this case, there is no difference between conditional and unconditional contracts.

6. Debtors: Those who are indebted and are not able to pay their debts, on the condition that the money was not spent on a prohibited act.

7. Travelers: Travelers whose provisions have been exhausted and are not able to return to their own towns are given enough funds to return home.

8. In the way of Allah: This comprises all works in the way of Allah, such as constructing archways, mosques, schools, making reconciliation and other public services.

It is not necessary for alms to include all these eight divisions; rather, charity can be spent in one area. Indeed, almsgiving is a societal system that protects the balance between different levels of the people of a nation and precludes poverty and begging. It is the society’s guarantee to provide every needy

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person with all his basic needs and those of his family and dependents.

Zakat al-Fitrah

This type of tax is compulsory from the eve of the Ramadan feast (‛Id al-Fitr). The time of paying this zakat is from dawn of the feast day until midday. The compulsory amount to be given is one measurement (sa‛) of wheat, barley, rice, dates, grapes, etc.

Those that merit receiving this type of zakat are the same eight categories previously mentioned; however, it is prohibited for descendants of the Holy Prophet to receive this zakat although it is permissible that a descendant give this amount to another one of his relatives. Regarding the measurement, it amounts to three kilograms or its equivalent in cash. It is stressed that if the Muslims pay this zakat it will be sufficient to help large numbers of poor people and decrease neediness.

In fact, the problem of poverty is at the forefront of the Islamic economic system. Islam has provided many laws that help bring about the elimination of poverty. In addition to zakat, there are other injunctions regarding spending by the rich on their close relatives and other recommended charities and donations by the Islamic government, all of which are aimed to eliminate poverty from society.



Khums is an income tax with great importance due to tremendousness of its revenue that can be spent for Islamic institutions and other projects that benefit people. As for this tax, there is a clear text in its respect in the Holy Qur’an:

Know that whatever thing you may come by, a fifth of it is for Allah and the Apostle, for the relatives and the orphans, for the needy and the traveler, if you have faith in Allah and what We sent down to Our servant on the Day of Separation, the day when the two hosts met; and

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Allah has power over all things. [8/41]

Abu-Bakr has abolished this type of tax which is regarded by jurists as acting upon personal conclusion against the clear text of the Qur’an. In my opinion, political ambitions caused him to abolish the khums tax probably to weaken the partisans of Imam ‛Ali ibn Abi-Talib (‛a) so that they could not oppose Abu-Bakr. It was an economical war aimed at weakening the power of the political opposition. The supporters of the household of the Holy Prophet (‛a) remained true to this verse of the Holy Qur’an and other successive texts from the Imams of the Household of the Holy Prophet (‛a) regarding the obligation of this tax.

Payment of Khums

Items upon which the Khums tax is due are stipulated by the Shi‛ah jurists based on authoritative texts in this respect. These items include the following:

1. Spoils of war: Items acquired through war with the unbelievers, there is no difference whether the war is fought with the permission of the Holy Imam (‛a) or not, but the one-fifth rule does not pertain to the entirety of what is acquired from other than war, the one-fifth must be applied after expenditures.

2. Mineral resources: These include resources like petrol, gold, silver, brimstone, copper and any other mineral resources. The one fifth tax paid on the aforementioned resources must be paid when the value reaches a stipulated amount, which is twenty Gold Dinar--equivalent to three mitigals of gold, besides other conditions mentioned by jurists in their books on the practical laws of Islam.

3. Treasure: By treasure, we mean wealth that has been hidden under the ground or in other places, on the condition that the finder knows that it is not owned by a Muslim. In addition, there are other conditions mentioned in this respect by jurists.

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4. Items taken from the sea: These include things that are removed, for example by pearl divers, from the sea such as jewelry, sperm whales and so on, but not including fish and other sea animals.

5. Land bought from a Muslim by a free non-Muslim living under Muslim rule: It is compulsory to give the Khums tax on both farmland and other types of land in this regard.

6. Lawful wealth that is mixed with unlawful wealth: provided the unlawful amount is not known and cannot be discovered or its owner is not known, one fifth of the total amount must be removed before it can be used.

7. Surplus after annual expenditure: The Khums tax must be paid on surplus income of businesses, companies, farms, etc. This includes all surplus financial gains like gifts, donations, and income from specific and general mortmain properties. There are different types of endowment as mentioned by the jurists in this respect.

Beneficiaries of the Khums tax: In the Occultation Age (i.e. the era during which the Twelfth Imam al-Mahdi (‛a) is occulted from sights), those that can receive a portion of the Khums tax are two groups: the portion of the Imam and the portion of the Hashemites, their orphans, their needy and their travelers, although having faith in Allah is a general condition for receiving the Khums tax as well as poverty for orphans. As for the portion of the Imam, it is spent in such a way that it would please the Imam. The most important among such causes are spending the Khums tax to promote the religion, raise the banner of Islam, spread knowledge of its fundamentals and laws, print books that teach Islamic fundamentals and reply to criticisms against Islam. The spending of the Khums tax must be under the supervision of an Islamic authority i.e. a trusted jurist that knows what pleases the Imam of the Age.

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Accompanying human beings in all stages of their lives, Islam has not left any feature of the various aspects of life without providing a method for its betterment. It has formulated the most sublime laws for the final stage of humanity’s existence in this world. However, before discussing this issue, we will take a look at the view of Islam concerning death.

Inevitability of death

Death is inevitability for all living things and there is no doubt that every human being will drink the cup of death. The Most High has said:

Every soul shall taste death. [3/185]

Wherever you may be, death shall overtake you, even if you are in fortified towers. [4/78]

Human aspirations, pride, distinction brought about by wealth, knowledge and position all vanish. Shawqi, an Arab poet, composes these verses: “Pride has abandoned the proud and has indeed passed away. Today, the sovereignty of rulers is buried within the earth.”

All worldly enjoyment must cease to exist and everything advances towards nonexistence. Rich men must let go of their wealth, which will be owned by others after their deaths. Likewise, kings, presidents and ministers are buried under the soil. How splendid is the poem that Imam ‛Ali al-Hadi (‛a)

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attested before the ‛Abbasid infidel al-Mutawakkil, who indulged in debauchery and immorality throughout the entire days of his government. He demanded that the Imam (‛a) should recite some poetry for him, thinking the Imam would commend his kingship. Yet, the Imam (‛a) answered him with the following poem, which intoxicates the mind and put an end to al-Mutawakkil’s self-conceit and imprudence, and caused him to weep for his past deeds. The Imam (‛a) recited the poem as follows:

They spent the night at the top of the mountain while they were being secured by powerful men, but the hilltop did not benefit them

They were taken down after the pride of their high rank and laid in a hole; in truth, their descent was a bad one

The fragrant called upon them after they were buried: Where are the dynasty, the thrones, and the crown?

Where are the happy faces saturated in blessings, without which the protection and the crown is lost?

The grave makes clear the answer to the question: Here they are, where worms writhe.

Many years they passed in drinking and eating, now they are devoured themselves.(1)

This poem is splendid in its complete description of the world. Another is the composition of ‛Adi ibn Zayd:

O you that is deluded by time who is rejoicing for another person's misfortune, are you exempted from the misfortune or do you have a firm covenant with the days? Rather you are deceitful and ignorant. Who has seen anyone flee the vicissitudes of time? Who has seen death abandon somebody eternally? And what can prevent the oppression of the oppressed? Where is Khosrow and where is king Shabur that came before him? Where are the children of the honorable king

p: 206

1- . The Life of Imam ‛Ali al-Hadi, p. 260.

of Rome? There is nothing remaining of them worth mentioning. Where is the brother of Khidr when he built in Tigris where the waters of khabur flowed? It has ceased to exist because of the vicissitudes of time did not grant it leave. The king is dead and people have migrated from its gates. He built his palace from marble and adorned it with lime but now birds in nests atop its spires. Recall the lord of the Khawarnaq Palace who one day reigned supreme? Think and you will attain guidance. He was pleased with his condition and the abundance of what he had possessed to the sea in Sadir. Then he changed his mind and said: There is no happiness in a living being that speeds toward death. After success, kingship, and treasure the grave conceals them. Their destiny is to become as dried leaves and the breezes from the east and the west sweep them away.

This is an accurate description of the world, its deceit, and the annihilation of kings even with all their power.

Another personage worth mentioning here is the great Iraqi poet Muhammad Mahdi al-Jawahiri, who once passed by the Palace of the Lover in Samarra'. This place was the biggest and the most important palace of the tyrant ruler al-Mutawakkil because he had spent a lot of money on it. However, it has been dilapidated by the passage of time and nothing remains of it except ruins. Al-Jawahiri described it in the following poem:

The Palace of the Lover is deserted and its pillars have been demolished, just like a lover desolated by the loss of his beloved. I inquired of the time of its design, of its surfaces, of its breadth, and of its height. I was answered by Time that here is it these ruins and its perimeter used to extend the empty wastelands that are the drain if its aftermath. Be aware that when its star fell from the sky, it was trampled by the hooves of Time.(1)

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1- . Diwan al-Jawahiri, vol. 2, p. 38.

This is how the palaces of tyrants come to an end and nothing is left of them in the society and nothing will remain eternally except the truth. This is why the Imams from the Household of the Holy Prophet (‛a) are eternal, because they are the callers towards societal truth in the Islamic world.

Eternity of the soul

The soul is an essence for which non-existence and annihilation does not occur. It is the body and form of the human being that is destroyed. Al-Ma‛arri, the wise Arab poet, composed:

Human beings were created for immortality but people deem they will be annihilated; rather, they are transferred from the world of action and deed to the world hereafter where they will attain punishment or blessings.

Avicenna described the descent of the soul, its dwelling in the body and its separation from the body after death when it will see what the eye cannot envisage in the world. He said, “It descended on you from a high and elevated place that is fortified and protected. It is covered from the eyes; eyes that travel without veil. It has reached you in aversion but probably also hates separating from you though it was afflicted. It disdains and does not become a constant companion of the world, but when death comes its resting place is a wasteland. I think it forgot the covenant of the sanctuary and is not satisfied with leaving the status.”

He added, “Until when the journey is close to the sanctuary and the migration closes on the boundless territory. The journey is determined and indeed the cover is removed. Then the soul envisages what cannot be envisaged with the slumbering eye. It separates, leaving everything behind except the companionship of dust.”

The veil before human beings shall quickly open after death and they will discern with acuteness, just as is said in the Glorious Qur’an:

p: 208

We have removed your veil from you, and so your sight is acute today. [50/22]

This means the eyes will become able to see, such that persons can envisage all the acts they have performed in the world and will attain just remuneration.


It has been emphasized to make a will if a person feels close to the end of life. A will has parts that are compulsory and parts that are recommended. The compulsory aspect of a will regards payment of debts and other Islamic obligations like the Khums and zakat taxes that have not been paid during the person’s lifetime. The recommended aspect of a will includes making bequests to help the poor after one’s death or any other type of good deed such as visiting the shrines of the pure Imams (‛a) on behalf of the deceased.


It is recommended to repent to Almighty Allah for sins committed while on one’s sickbed. The Holy Prophet (s) is reported to have said, “Whoever repents a year before his death, Allah will forgive him.”

He then said, “Indeed, a year is too much, whoever repents a month before his death, Allah will forgive him.”

Then he said, “Indeed, a month is too much, whoever repents a day before his death, Allah will forgive him.”

He then said, “Indeed a day is too much, whoever repents an hour before his death, Allah will forgive him.”

Next, he said: “An hour is too much, whoever repents (pointing at his neck) when his soul has reached his throat, Allah will forgive him.”(1)

p: 209

1- . Wasa’il ash-Shi‛ah vol. 2 p. 461.

Contentment and tranquility


Believers are recommended to greet death with contentment and tranquility. They should not fear when it calls upon them, because it is an inevitable, inescapable phenomenon for everyone.

Take a look at the leader of the monotheists Imam ‛Ali (‛a) when he feels the sharpness of the sword of the criminal ‛Abd al-Rahman ibn Muljam when it severs his head. The honorable Imam (‛a) raised his voice in prayer in the house of Allah and said, “I am successful, by the Lord of the Ka‛bah.”

He is successful having the pleasure and contentment of Allah the Most High. In addition, he is successful in his meeting with Almighty Allah because he has considered separation from this life as great success due to the abundance of his good deeds.

Also, take a look at the leader of the youths of Paradise, Imam al-Husayn (‛a), when the criminal, the infidel, Shimr ibn Dhi’l-Jawshan put his knees on his chest cutting his honorable neck while the holy Imam was smiling. Shimr said to him, “You are smiling while I am cutting your neck!”

The Imam (‛a) replied, “I am going to meet Allah and my grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (s). Why should I not be happy in such a situation?”

That is the case of secure and tranquil souls, who meet death with a smile before meeting Almighty Allah. However, as for the souls that are perverted and stray from the fundamental path, death is disastrous for them. It has been reported that some kings feel regret when the time of their death comes, saying: “How I wish to be far away. How I wish I had never been created!” Why all this fear of death if the dying person did good work and feared the Lord.

Turning the moribund towards the Kiblah direction

In Islam, respect is accorded upon Muslims on the deathbed by turning the person to face towards the Kiblah. Imam al-Sadiq

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(‛a) said, “If a person dies among you, their face should be turned in the direction of the Kiblah.”(1)

Imam ‘Ali (‛a) said, “The Holy Prophet (s) entered the home of a man among the children of ‛Abd al-Muttalib who was close to death but was not facing in the direction of the Kiblah. He (s) said: turn him to the direction of the Kiblah, because by doing so the angels will face him and likewise Allah the Great and the Most Exalted will face him.(2)

It is obligatory upon the near relations when a Muslim is at the throes of death to turn his face to the direction of the Kiblah. There is indeed no greater reception and honor than this.

Teaching the professions of Islam

It is recommended to teach the professions of Islam to a person who is near death. Al-Halabi quoted Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) to have said, “If you are present when a person is approaching death, recite the two testimonies to him as follows: I bear witness that there is no god except Allah. He is one without any associate, and Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.”(3)

The last moment of a person’s life should end with the two testimonies, which are more exalted and supreme than all that is in this world. It is also emphasized that the testimonies are a fortification and honor for a Muslim. It is recommended, in addition, to recite some chapters of the Holy Qur’an at the person’s deathbed, and Surah al-Saffat and Surah Yasin have been mentioned in this respect.(4)

p: 211

1- . Ibid, p. 452.
2- . Ibid, p. 453.
3- . Ibid, p. 454.
4- . Ibid, p. 465.

Preparations of the dead

When a Muslim dies, the following ceremonies are carried out on his behalf:

Bathing: A dead person is bathed three times after removing all the dirt from his body as follows: (1) with sidr water, (2) with camphor water, (3) with pure water.

The essence of and how to do these baths with these three waters are mentioned in detail in the books on the practical laws of Islam.

Shrouding the dead body: It is compulsory to shroud a dead person with three clothes, they are: (1) Waist cloth: covers the navel to the knees, (2) Cloak: covers from the shoulder down to half of the shank, i.e. between the knee and the ankle, (3) Full shroud: covers the entire body.

In their books, jurists describe the conditions for shrouding and purification.

Escorting the dead body: Islam recommends escorting the dead body of a Muslim and carrying the body on the shoulder to take it to its last resting place. Numerous traditions have been reported regarding the reward for those that partake in funeral processions. In this respect, Ishaq ibn ‛Ammar reported Imam al-Sadiq (‛a) as saying, “The first gift of a believer in the grave is the absolution of those who accompany his corpse.”(1)

Imam al-Baqir (‛a) said, “Four intercessions will be given on the Day of Resurrection to one who accompanies a corpse.”(2)

Many such traditions have recommended escorting the dead body of a Muslim as a show of honor and respect.

Prayer of the Deceased: It is obligatory to perform the ritual Prayer of the Deceased on the dead body, whether male or

p: 212

1- . Ibid, p. 143.
2- . Ibid, p. p. 141.

female, a just believer or an immoral person or otherwise. This is a collective duty (i.e. when some carry it out, the others are exempted from responsibility). The method of this prayer is as follows:

1. Say allahu-akbar and the two professions of Islam.

2. Say allahu-akbar and the ritual invocation of Allah’s blessings upon the Holy Prophet and the Ahl al-Bayt.

3. Say allahu-akbar and a prayer for the believers.

4. Say allahu-akbar and a prayer for the dead person.

5. Say allahu-akbar and finish the prayer.

Ablution is not a condition for this prayer. Likewise, purification of the body is not obligatory. This prayer is a type of supplication and has rules as mentioned in books of jurisprudence.

Burying: It is obligatory to bury a Muslim under the earth to a depth where it is secure from predatory animals and its odor does not escape. It is also compulsory for the corpse to face the direction of the holy Kiblah and for others to seek forgiveness and blessing upon the deceased. His next of kin say the two professions of Islam for the deceased after the departure of those that have escorted the dead body.

In this way, a human’s time in this world is concluded: with shroud and a ditch. From Almighty Allah we come and unto Him we shall return.

It is recommended to observe prayer for the deceased the night of the burial and to recite some chapters of the Holy Qur’an for his or her soul.

We have come to the end of our discussion concerning Islam’s accompaniment of human beings in all stages of life. It is emphasized that no religion among the heavenly religions has showed interest in human beings like the interest showed to human beings by Islam.

p: 213

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