Ramadan is one of the most important months in the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims perform fasting (Sawm), one of the key practices in the religion of Islam. However, aside from being a month of fasting, Ramadan provides Muslims with the opportunity to engage more in their routine religious activities and have a fuller experience of an Ideal Islamic life. There is more to this month, then, that makes it a special time. Let’s see.
Ramadan is a door that has been opened to get Muslims nearer to Allah and to feel His presence more in their lives. This is the time when Allah forgives most and rains down His blessings more than any other time which can wipe away our sins and mistakes [i]. If we knew the real value of this month and were aware of all its rewards, we would wish every month to be Ramadan, as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) believed .
We are so close to Allah in this month and so occupied with his divine remembrance that no time will be left for us to think or do what is not good for us, or what is against Allah’s command. So the inward and outward evil stay far from us in this month of mercy, and it has been promised by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) that in Ramadan, “the gates of hell are sealed, and the gates of heaven are wide open, and the devils are chained” .
Ramadan begins with mercy, continues to bring forgiveness from Allah and ends in granting our wishes and salvation from what has contaminated our souls . It is a time to think about our past mistakes and to make up for them, to make them right.
One of the prominent attributes of Allah is His excessive forgiveness and mercy which reveals itself manifestly and in a fuller sense in the month of Ramadan. It is as if Allah has held us tightly in His embrace and washed away whatever has separated us from Him, and we would be like a child who has just been born, like a soul united with its source. So, when is a better time to be forgiven than this month? .
In this beautiful month, the whole content of the Quran was revealed to the heart of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) in an immediate revelation [ii],  & . Therefore, this month can be considered as the birth of the holy Quran [iii], and Muslims celebrate this birth through dedicating more time and attention to this holy book.
Thus, reading the Quran with careful consideration and pondering on its deep meanings is highly recommended during the month of Ramadan and it is considered to be more rewarding, to the extent that reading one verse of the Quran is equaled to reading all of it [iv]& [v]. In the month when Allah is closer to us more than ever, He desires to speak to us through the Quranic words, just as we speak to Him, through our prayers.
There are three nights in this month [vi], called the nights of Qadr [vii], one of which is considered to be the night when Quran was revealed to the heart of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) in an immediate revelation by the Archangel Gabriel. However, we are not sure which of these nights is exactly the night of Qadr. Therefore we commemorate all of these three nights.
According to the Quran: “The Night of Qadr is better than a thousand months”(97:3); in other words, the reward of any good deed in this night is a thousand times more than any other night or occasion . Muslims celebrate this night by staying awake throughout the night until the time of Dawn prayer (Salat al-Fajr), supplicating to Allah and asking for His forgiveness of their past deeds and guidance for their future actions.
The night of “Qadr is a celebration to commemorate the arrival of the final guidance for humans. It is a tribute to the commencement of the message revealed to mankind by their Creator, a message which shows them the way to achieve happiness in both worlds” .
Aside from being the night in which our sins are forgiven, according to some narrations (Hadith), the night of Qadr is also the night of our destiny; the night in which our fate in the next year is foreseen by Allah [viii], .
Finally, life is too short, and chances are slipping away from your hands like spring clouds . Ramadan is one of these chances, to look back and build a better future. It is a starting point, or shall we say a turning point! So embrace this holy month.
[i] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “The month of Ramadan is the month of Allah, and a month in which Allah highlights the virtues and wipes away the sins, this is the month of blessing” .
[ii] It is believed that there are two kinds of revelation for the Quran, the immediate revelation that occurred in one of the nights of Qadr and the gradual revelation which sent down to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) in the span of twenty-three years of his prophethood .
[iii] Imam Baqer (AS) said: “There is a spring for everything, and the spring of Quran is the month of Ramadan”. 
[iv] Imam Reza (AS) said: “whoever read a verse of Allah’s book [Quran] in the month of Ramadan, it would be equal to his/her reading of the whole of Quran in other months” .
[v] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Read Quran abundantly during the month [of Ramadan]” .
[vi] 19th, 21st and 23rd of Ramadan.
[vii]. Qadr literally means measure.
[viii]. Note that the concept of destiny or Qadr is not in conflict with human beings freedom of choice in Islam. For more information see Men and Destiney by Murtada Mutahari.
- Bihar al-Anvar, vol.93, p.340, 346 & 348.
- Usul al-Kafi, vol.4, p.67.
- Sheikh al-Sadugh, Amali, p.53.
- (44: 3), (97:1), (2:185)
- For further information, see: Al-Mizan, vol. 8, pp. 130-134; vol. 2, pp. 14-23; vol. 13, pp. 220-221.
- Usul al-Kafi, vol.2, p.360, Hadith no. 10.
- Sheikh al-Sadugh, Fazail al-Ashhar al-Salasah (the benefits of three months), p. 95.
- Muhammad ibn Hassan Tussi, Tahdib al-Ahkam, vol.4, p.332.
- Imam Ali (AS), Nahj al-Balaghah, wisdom no. 21.
- Shaykh as-Saduq, A Shi'ite Creed, p. 60.
The Holy Quran is said to be "the highest miracle of Islam". But why would a book turn out to be the proof of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) prophethood? What does it reveal about Islam's attitude toward the issue of learning or seeking knowledge? How does a true Muslim seek knowledge?
There are many verses in the Quran about acquiring knowledge. The very first verse of the Quran that was sent to our Prophet starts with an imperative form of the verb "read" (Ighra) . Literacy and having knowledge is so important in Islam that Quran equals illiteracy to being in darkness [i]. Accordingly, it is the duty of any Muslim to try to learn. Besides, many Islamic scholars advise Muslims to strive for achieving knowledge. One of them is a quotation (hadith) from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP): “Seek knowledge, even if it is in China”. Considering the distance between the Arabian Peninsula (where the Prophet lived) and China as well as the lack of transportation 14 centuries ago, one can imagine how arduous it was to travel there. In addition to many life-threatening dangers, it is no exaggeration to say that it took several months to arrive there. This shows the emphasis on the importance of learning.
When the prophetic mission of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) started, most people in his land were illiterate, so, he asked the literate ones to teach Muslims; even prisoners of war were granted freedom provided that they taught literacy to at least ten Muslims. It has been said that once, the Prophet (PBUH&HP) entered a mosque and saw two groups of people; one group was praying and the other was sharing knowledge. He stated that both of them were doing a good job, and then continued his speech by saying that he was sent to people by God “to teach” them. So he went and sat in the second group . When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was alive, there were places like schools where both women and men had the freedom to take part in classes. And, different fields of knowledge were learned including religion, literature, poetry, rhetoric, medicine, astronomy, etc .
A human being is curious by nature. We have been created with an inquiring mind. It has been said that all human beings are bestowed a gift, that is the brain as well as the desire for learning. The desire to learn is in our nature . In Islamic instructions, there is a huge emphasis on the value of seeking knowledge. It has been quoted from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP): “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave”. It is a must for every Muslim regardless of their age, race, or gender . All people must have the ability and liberty to learn, teach, exchange, and share information. It does not matter from whom you are learning. As long as they have the knowledge, it would be perfect. There is an Islamic hadith from the fifth Imam of Muslims, Imam Muhammed Al-Bagher (AS), quoted from Jesus Christ (AS) saying that: “Learn knowledge from someone who has it and does not look at their deeds.” There is no kind of prejudice whatsoever in choosing the teacher. The only important thing is the learning itself. Besides, ignorance has been known as the root of many miseries; and knowledge is like a vast amount of treasure that never runs out.
- Ahamiyate Danesh-Andoozi az Nazare Eslam Akhlagh va Irfan
- Morteza Motahari, "Talim va Tarbiyat Dar Eslam [Education in Islam]", Sadra, p. 22, 2008.
- Soheyla Jalali, Derakhsheshe Zanane Mosalman Dar Arseye Elm va Farhang Dar Sadre Eslam Pajooheshgahe Oloom va Farhange Islami
- Morteza Motahari, "Moghadame'I bar Jahanbiniye Eslami. [An Introduction to Islamic Ideology]", Sadra, p. 274, 2004.
- Faeze Azimzade Ardebili, Hghe Amoozeshe Zanan Dar Eslam va Gharb [The Right of Learning for Women from Islamic and Western Viewpoint
A healthy mind resides in a healthy body as they say, which may seem easy to practice but is often overlooked. Many of us are too occupied with the hurly-burly of city life that we neglect our peace of mind and physical health. But, good self-care is essential for improving your mood and reducing anxiety. Besides, every Muslim is entirely responsible for the health of both his\her body and soul: “and surely there are rights for your body over you” . To entirely commit to Allah’s commands and be able to worship Him devotedly, A Muslim requires a healthy and robust body. That is one of the reasons behind the importance of self-care and hygiene in Islam. Let’s see how one should take care of him\herself according to the Islamic guidelines.
Hygiene is a topic always emphasized in Islamic instructions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) advised maintaining health by any means possible . And this manner was highly observed by all the prophets sent by Allah . Moreover, maintaining hygiene in Islam is introduced as a way to live a longer life . According to Islamic instructions, personal hygiene can be summarized as follows:
In this regard, there are many teachings from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). Washing the head and body is of the rights of Allah almighty over every Muslim . One should not sleep at night without having washed his hands . After getting up in the morning, one should not touch any dishes unless having hands washed three times . Imam Ali (AS) advised washing the body with water to eliminate unpleasant body smell and care about hygiene and sanitation . Imam Sadiq (AS) emphasized on cutting hair to remove any filth and dirt .
Brushing teeth is repeatedly stressed as an important part of hygiene in Islam. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) considered brushing the teeth as one of the significant hygienic manners  and said that if it were not difficult for his people, he would have ordered Muslims to brush their teeth before each prayer (Salat) . Respecting oral hygiene is so important in Islam that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said, if you do not have a toothbrush available, use one of the fingers to brush your teeth . He criticized those who came to him without having the teeth brushed and with the mouth smelling unpleasant .
Some benefits for brushing the teeth include cleaning the mouth, improving the eyesight, pleasing Allah Almighty, whitening the teeth, preventing tooth decay, strengthening gums, increasing the appetite, eliminating the Phlegm, improving memory .
Moreover, using a toothpick to remove the food that remains from between the teeth was advised from the time of the Prophet (PBUH&HP). He has praised those who use the toothpick along with doing ablution (Wudhu) and after each meal . Imam Ali (AS) had also urged his (AS) family to use toothpick .
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) advised Muslim men and women to clip their nails regularly as it is where the dirt and grime aggregate . It is also strongly advised to clip nails on Friday and to say the following after that: “Bismillah wa billah wa ala sunnat e muhammadin wa aale Muhammad” .
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has several pieces of advice in this regard. He encourages faithful men and women to remove unwanted body hair regularly . Imam Ali (AS) has advised removing armpit hair to maintain hygiene and avoid unpleasant body odor .
Finally, you may find these instructions very basic and elementary, impossible not to know them. It may be so, but mentioning these guidelines in such details in Islam uncovers its holistic and perfect approach to life, considering all the facets of human life. On the other hand, sometimes we even forget to do these apparently simple things, and Islam reminds us of their importance despite being easy to do.
- Ibn Babawayh “Uyoun Akhbar Al-Ridha”, vol. 2, p. 158.
- M. Suyuti, "Al-Jami' al-Saghir", vol. 2, p. 688.
- Shaykh al-Harrani, "Tuhaf al-Uqul", p.442.
- Shaykh Mufid, "Al-Amali", p. 60.
- M. Suyuti, "Al-Jami' al-Saghir", vol. 1, p. 579.
- Shaykh al-Tabarsi, "Makarim al-akhlaq", p. 425.
- M. Suyuti, "Al-Jami' al-Saghir", vol. 1, p. 69.
- Ibn Babawayh “Al-Khisal”, p. 620.
- Shaykh al-Kolayni, "Al-Kafi", vol. 6, p. 484.
- Ibn Babawayh, "Kitab Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih", vol. 1, p. 53.
- Shaykh al-Kolayni, "Al-Kafi", vol. 3, p. 22.
- M. Suyuti, "Al-Jami' al-Saghir", vol. 1, p. 475.
- Kh. Al-Barqi, “Al-Mahasin”, p. 561.
- Shaykh al-Tabarsi, “Makarim al-Akhlaq”, p. 50.
- Qadi Nu'man, "Da'a'im al-Islam", vol. 2, p 120-121.
- Shaykh al-Tabarsi, “Makarim al-Akhlaq”, p. 153.
- Shaykh al-Tabarsi, “Makarim al-Akhlaq”, p. 66.
- Ibn Babawayh “Al-Khisal”, p. 391.
- Ibn Babawayh, "Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih", vol. 1, p. 119.
- Shaykh al-Harrani, "Tuhaf al-Uqul", p. 101.