Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was the last messenger of Allah Almighty sent to human beings to guide them towards a more prosperous and meaningful life: "O Prophet! Indeed, We have sent you as a witness, as a bearer of good news and as a warner. and as a summoner to Allah by His permission, and as a radiant lamp." (33:45-46).
You might be interested to know more details on his delegation (be' tha). So, follow us to find out more.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was born into the tribe of Quraysh, one of the prominent tribes of Mecca. He was known as an honest and faithful man such that he was called Al-Amin [i], meaning trustee.
He used to spend some hours alone out of town in Hira cave to worship, contemplate and reflect the state of people of that time and the aspects of creation. It was during one of these occasions that he received the divine message of prophethood. He was nearly 40 at that time. It was Rajab the 27th on 610 CE that the Archangel Gabriel (Jibreel) appeared before him and said: "Read." Muhammad (PBUH&HP) replied: "I am not able to read." This was repeated two more times. Then, the angel Gabriel recited the first verses of the Quran:
"Recite in the name of your Lord who created -
Created man from a clinging substance.
Recite, and your Lord is the Most Generous –
Who taught by the pen -
Taught man that which he knew not." (96:1-5)
And, his mission started there.
According to Imam Ali (AS), Allah Almighty sent Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) as a warner (against vice) for all the worlds and a trustee of His revelation. That was while the people of his time were following the worst religion. They resided among rough stones and venomous serpents, drank dirty water and ate filthy food, shed each other's blood, and did not care about their relationships. They worshiped and respected Idols, and sins were clinging to them .
Imam Ali (AS) sometimes accompanied Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) when he went to Hira cave. And, the day that the Archangel Gabriel appeared before the Prophet (PBUH&HP), Imam Ali (AS) was there, too. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said to Imam Ali (AS) that: "O Ali, you see all that I see and you hear all that I hear, except that you are not a Prophet, but you are a vicegerent and you are surely on (the path of) virtue." .
Afterward, being perplexed by this happening, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) went home to describe what has happened to his wife, Khadija (AS). She (AS) was the first woman who testified to the prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH&HP). And according to the authentic resources, the first man was Ali (AS) . Imam Ali (AS) has described the situation like this: "In those days Islam did not exist in any house except that of the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP) and Khadijah (AS), while I was the third after these two." .
In the beginning and according to divine guidelines, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) did not reveal his revelations publicly. Still, it was confined to a small circle of his family, close friends, and whoever he thought was eligible. In this period, the aim was to find real loyal fellows, although few. Of course, polytheists found about it, but they did not take it seriously .
Three years later, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) began to preach to his clan members by receiving the command to "Warn the nearest of your kinsfolk" (26:214). But he mostly received ridicule and mockery. Allah Almighty ordered him not to give up and make his mission publicly known: "So proclaim what you have been commanded, and turn away from the polytheists" (15:94).
The rich people of Mecca saw their power and wealth in danger with the ideas that Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) new religion proposed like social equality, sharing the wealth with needy people, and rejecting idols. On the contrary, people of the lower classes, slaves, and women were those who embraced Islam very soon .
According to the details above, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was chosen by Allah almighty at the time when humanity was at its dawn, and morality was long disappeared among humankind. He was the one who once more reminded human beings of the concept of humanity and the reason for creation.
[i] In the "Age of Ignorance" (before the advent of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP)), people did not trust each other much and did not care about the safekeeping of others' affairs. But, everyone in Mecca trusted Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), and when they went to business travels, they entrusted their valuable goods to him. So, he was given the nickname "Al-Amin." And, this title continued to be used for the Prophet (PBUH&HP) after the emergence of Islam, too, although some people had become against him since he fought idolatry.
- "Nahjul Balaqah", Sermon 26.
- Allamah Amini, “Al-Ghadir”, vol. 3, p. 236.
- "Nahjul Balaqah", Sermon 192.
- Jafar Morteza Amoli, “Al-Sahih Min Sirat Al-Nabi Al-Azam”
Some people ask why Muslims do not celebrate Christmas? Is that because they do not agree on the 25th of December as Jesus birthday? Or is that because they say Christians believe in Jesus as the son of God, while Muslims do not believe in Trinity, as well as they believe that Islam is the religion that is more complete than Christianity and all other religions that came in the past; the same way that Christians believe that Christianity is a more complete religion than Judaism.
But let’s put aside the issue of Islamic view on the date of birth of Prophet Jesus (PBUH). The most important fact that causes Muslims not to wish to celebrate Christmas is the matter of identity. Do Muslims expect Christians or Jews to celebrate Islamic occasions? Does it not sound logical that each culture celebrates its own occasions and rituals? Of course, people who were born Muslims in Muslim countries or communities would like to celebrate their own occasions.
But here we are discussing the issue of those who have converted to Islam. Or those who are Muslim and live in societies with a majority of Christians.
Prophet Jesus (PBUH) is among the Prophets whose names and stories have been mentioned in many chapters of the Holy Quran. This shows the high status of Prophet Jesus (PBUH) and his respected mother – Mary- for Muslims. Prophet Jesus (PBUH) and his mother are so beloved for Muslims that many Muslims name their children after them, and the Islamic society takes every possible chance to admire their position.
It is for this very high level of respect for the Prophet Jesus (PBUH) that Muslims will be offended when he is called the son of God. Since Allah says in the Holy Quran “ That they attribute to the Most Merciful a son. And it is not appropriate for the Most Merciful that He should take a son. There is no one in the heavens and earth but that he comes to the Most Merciful as a servant.” (19: 91-3)
In the same chapter, Allah says “The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded.” (5:75)
The ruling on taking part in Christmas parties is the same as taking part in any other party. It is allowed to participate in Christmas parties if there is no forbidden (Haram) act taking place; such as drinking, backbiting or forbidden (Haram) music, singing, or dancing [i], etc.
In Islamic jurisprudence, there is no harm in celebrating the birthday of Prophet Jesus (PBUH). Also if Muslims do not wish to celebrate Christmas among their cultural occasion, it is forbidden (Haram) to disrespect Christian rituals.
“And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination. But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness …” (31:14-15)
The above verses clearly define that respecting and caring for parents in the eyes of God is not because of their religion. But He says that you have to respect them, only because your mother carried you for nine months and fed you when you were a weak baby. Therefore non-Muslim parents have all the rights that Muslim parents have. And there is no difference between Muslim or non-Muslim parents if they ask you to do something which is not accepted by God. In those cases, you have to disobey them BUT keep respecting them and behave kindly towards them.
Congratulating Christmas to Christians is not forbidden (Haram), as long as it is not considered to be a confirmation of their belief in Trinity while keeping in mind that you believe that Islam is the last religion sent by God to complete the past religions, but it is rather recommended to respect our relatives, friends or neighbors who are Christians with congratulating them on their happy occasions.
Although we discussed that Muslims who live in Islamic countries or Western countries would rather celebrate their own cultural occasions among their Islamic communities, there is a duty upon those Muslims who live in the West and may live with non-Muslim friends and families.
It is a duty upon every individual Muslim to spread the words of God as much as possible. And if a Muslim has the position of clarifying the status of prophet Jesus (PBUH) as a prophet and not the son of God or as a god, then he/ she should not take this opportunity for granted and mention the fact that Jesus (PBUH) was not but a respected Prophet of God.
However, it is not obligatory for Muslims to speak out about this issue when they participate in Christmas parties (in which no forbidden (Haram) act will take place), but if there is a chance of talking about the issue, it would be good to mention the Islamic opinion about the Prophet Jesus (PBUH).
[i] Read about forbidden (Haram) music in the related article.
[ii] “This day [all] good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. And [lawful in marriage are] chaste women from among the believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you, when you have given them their due compensation, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse or taking [secret] lovers. And whoever denies the faith - his work has become worthless, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.” (5: 5)
All of us as human beings desire a peaceful and easy death; some people consider euthanasia as a way to achieve this end. The word Euthanasia comes from Greek origin (eu: well, good- Thanatos: death) and is commonly known as the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering. It is classified into three types: voluntary (with the consent of the patient), non-voluntary (the approval of the patient is unavailable) and involuntary (against the will of the patient). Voluntary euthanasia has been legalized in some countries such as Netherlands, Belgium and some states of America. It seems that proponents of euthanasia developed a strictly materialistic view of life and death; in other words, the existence of God and the value of human life are ignored. Moreover, the patient’s condition when consenting for euthanasia is not considered at all.
The first issue that can be argued against euthanasia is that being terminally ill does not seem to have a precise definition. There is no way to determine the life expectancy of a person even if he/she is diagnosed as terminally ill. There are cases in which the patient healed miraculously and without any explanation; the proponents of it seem to ignore the God’s will in the human’s life and death.
What's more, the consent that a patient who is suffering severely gives to end his/her life is not really of much validity. Obviously, due to the health condition of the patient, he/she is in a depressed mood and cannot think clearly. In some cases, such as an older adult who has lost his common sense, the consent given by him/her is apparently not valid. On the other hand, in non-voluntary in which a patient’s relative gives permission, the patient’s will is not included; it seems more like murdering rather than helping that patient.
Euthanasia activists ignore the value and importance of human life and the fact that the more you fight for life, the more precious your soul becomes. People who support this, often say that it is already considered permissible to take human’s life under some circumstances such as self-defense -e.g., in the case of wars- while, they miss this point that when one kills for self-defense, they are saving innocent lives either their own or someone else's. With euthanasia no one's life is being saved; life is only taken . Human beings have the instinct for survival and immortality; euthanasia is clearly against the nature of human being. Somehow, it overlooks the spiritual side of human beings. Besides, it is an absolute act of suicide which many religions including Islam do not approve of .
Finally, the decision to take someone’s life is not for anybody even that person to make; God has given life to us, and He will take it as He wishes . The proponents of Euthanasia have ignored moral issues and the spiritual side of human beings. Even in the hardest situations still, we can find hope if we have faith. By committing it, we lose the opportunity to see our unpredictable future; there may be a chance to embrace a beautiful life!