In Islam, there are some ceremonies and occasions which are held all around the world among Muslims. They all have religious backgrounds and are mostly referred to in the holy Quran. Muslim nations have been commemorating them in the course of history. Here we are going to have a glance at the most significant Islamic occasions based on the Lunar Calendar.
The month of Muharram is the first month of the year in the lunar calendar. On the tenth day of this month, Hussain Ibn Ali (AS), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), and his companions were brutally martyred, and their women and children were taken captive by the caliph of the time, Yazid ibn. Muawyah. Their story has been the source of inspiration for many new converts.
Arbaeen is the Arabic word for forty, and it marks the 20th of Safar, the fortieth day after Imam Hussain's (AS) martyrdom on the day of Ashura, who was martyred in the event of Karbala along with his companions in the cruelest and most inhumane way possible.
According to some historical accounts , some of the members of Imam Hussain's (AS) family after being released from the bondage of Yazid's forces returned to Karbala from Sham (today's Damascus) to visit Imam Hussain's (AS) grave. Also, some believe that Imam Hussain's (AS) head, which was taken to Sham by Yazid's army was brought back to Karbala on this day and buried with his body  & .
Every year, a few days before this day, a vast number of people from all over the world, Muslims or even non-Muslims, gather in Iraq to take part in a symbolic walk, to revive the teachings of Imam Hussain (AS) and commemorate his sacrifice in the way of Allah and humanity.
There is a disagreement concerning the exact date of Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) birthday. Some believe it occurred on the 12th of Rabi al-Avval, while others consider it to be on the 17th of Rabi al-Avval, the third month in the Islamic calendar. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was born in Mecca. All Muslims around the world celebrate his birthday and regard it as one of the important Islamic occasions. On this day, Muslims feed the needy, pray and recite the Quran, commemorate Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), and his challenges to deliver the messages of Allah to human beings.
The first day of the month of Shawwal, the tenth month of the Islamic calendar, is called Eid al-Fitr. After fasting for one month, during the month of Ramadan, remembering, worshipping Allah and trying to do fewer sins beside not eating and drinking from before the Call for Fajr prayer to after the Call for Magrib prayer, Muslims celebrate the first day of the month of Shawwal, for their success in submitting to Allah's command. They perform the Eid prayer first; then, they hold a feast inviting their loved ones, wear their best clothes, and visit their friends and family. The culture of feasting might be different in different Islamic communities, but one thing is for sure; no one is allowed to fast on this exceptional day. Allah also obliges Muslims to share their blessings and happiness with the needy with the money they donate to them.
Eid al-Adha is one of the most significant Islamic occasions. Some of the most important events of this Abrahamic religion happened on this day. On this Eid, similar to Eid al-Fitr, Muslims are not allowed to fast. The first is the sacrifice of Ishmael by his father, Abraham, for the sake of Allah. When Abraham and his son both surrendered, and he was ready to behead his son, Allah sent a ram and asked Abraham to kill that instead.
"So when they had both surrendered [to Allah's will], and he had laid him down on his forehead, We called out to him, 'O Abraham! You have indeed fulfilled your vision! Thus indeed do We reward the virtuous! This was indeed a manifest test. Then We ransomed him with a great sacrifice, and left for him a good name in posterity." (37: 103-108)
This day is also the last day of Hajj rituals, in which Muslims shall sacrifice an animal to feed the needy Muslims. On this day, those who attended Hajj have performed all their Hajj rituals, and with the great assistance of Allah, all their sins are wiped away, and Allah accepts their good deeds and repentance.
Many Muslims celebrate this day. They sacrifice an animal to feed the needy, even if they have not attended Hajj. If they do not have enough money to buy a sheep, they do other things and feed the destitute in different ways. This sacrifice is an expression of generosity and obedience to the commands of Allah. This Eid also reminds humankind of the characteristics, such as envy, rage, dishonesty, etc., they have to symbolically sacrifice in themselves to become the better version of themselves and be worthy of being Allah's best creation.
This Islamic occasion was a day in the last Hajj pilgrimage (Hajjat al-Vida'a) of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). When he was going back to Medina with all his companions and other pilgrims, he gathered everyone around a place called Ghadir and announced these words in which he appointed Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (AS) as his caliph and the Imam after himself following a direct order from Allah [i]:
"Whomsoever, I am his leader (Mawla), Ali (AS) is also his leader (Mawla). O' Allah! Love those who love him (Ali (AS)) and oppose those who oppose him" 
This is another important day in the Muslim calendar. On this day, Muslims can fast and again feed the needy, as an essential part of Islamic culture.
These are the most significant and most celebrated Islamic occasions. As one can see, feeding others and praying to Allah are the essential things a Muslim should do to celebrate a feast, which reveals the importance of caring for others in Islam that results from the devotion to Allah.
[i] Verse 67th of Surah al-Maedah known as Al-Tabligh Verse, and the third verse of the same chapter known as Al-Ikmal Verse.
- Ibn Athīr, Usd al-ghāba, vol. 3, p. 605; Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, vol. 1, p. 295; Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 110-111;
- Ibn Tawus, 'Ali b. Musa, Al-Luhuf 'ala qatla l-tufuf, Uswi, Qom, 1414 AH.
- Al-Biruni, Abu Rayhan, The Remaining Signs of Past Centuries, p.331.
- Qazi al-Tabataii, Muhammad Ali, A Research on the first Arba'een of the Leader of Martyrs (Imam Hussain (AS)), vol.3, p.304.
One of the significant aspects of responsibility in Islam is the responsibility towards ourselves and how we treat our bodies and souls. As discussed previously, every Muslim is responsible towards himself.
Since human beings owe their existence to their unique Creature, they should treat themselves as their Creator has commanded. The spiritual responsibilities of a human towards him\herself and some of the duties that one has towards his\her body were discussed in the previous part of this topic. Here, we continue the discussion on the rights of the parts of the body.
The eyes are the means of insight and awakening of the heart. Imam Ali (AS) said that a faithful person looks to learn, but a hypocrite looks to amuse . Thus, of the rights of the eyes and one's responsibility in Islam towards them is to lower the gaze from whatever that is unlawful (Haram) and not to look at everything and everywhere around, unless there is a lesson or advice behind . According to Imam Ali (AS), whoever closes the eyes from Haram, his\her heart will be relieved .
The legs are the means to walk towards the right path and to overtake others in doing good deeds. Hence, of the rights of the legs over one and the responsibility in Islam towards them are not going towards what is unlawful (Haram) or what humiliates him\herself .
Of the rights of the hands are not to do what is unlawful (Haram) with them, otherwise one will be punished in the Hereafter for what has committed by his\her hands, and will be blamed by others in this world; not to prevent the hands from doing what God has commanded to; and, to allow the hands to seek what is beneficial and useful for one .
Of the rights of the stomach are :
To be careful about what you eat (80:24);
Not to eat what is unlawful (Haram), neither a little of it nor too much;
Not to consider the stomach as a container and not to overeat while ignoring others who suffer from hunger; “eat and drink, but do not waste” (7:31);
To eat moderately even when eating lawful (Halal) foods because eating less is the key to good health ;
Not to forget that overeating makes one bored and lazy and stops him\her from doing good deeds. According to Imam Ali (AS), to eat less enlightens the mind ;
To remember that drinking too much will also cause indiscretion and absurdity;
Of the rights of the private parts are to protect them from what is unlawful (Haram). To do so, one requires lowering the gaze since the eyes affect the heart and mind greatly. Also, one should frequently remember the death and the afterlife. He\she should always have a fear of the divine punishment and ask God to help him\her to protect his\her private parts from sins .
Every human being is composed of a body and a soul. These two, together, help one to live a natural life. The health of the body is as important as the health of the soul. Devoting everything in life to prepare for the afterlife and depriving oneself of the God’s blessings in this world is blamed in Islam. In Surah Qasas verses 77, Muslims are advised to apply the capabilities and wealth that they have been given to do good deeds and to gain rewards for the afterlife.
But, they should also consider and benefit from the blessings of this world (28:77). Indeed, it is possible to consider both the physical needs as well as spiritual ones simultaneously. Although fulfilling the physical needs is known to be important in Islam, one should keep a balance in life and avoid being luxury-oriented. Otherwise, he\she will always be busy to increase his\her wealth, and this might force him\her to unlawful (Haram) ways of raising money.
- S. al-Harrani “Tuhaf al-Uqul”, p. 212.
- Imam Sajjad (AS), Treatise On Rights (Risalat al-Huquq).
- “Ghurar Al-Hikam Wa Durar Al-Kalim”, T. 9122.
- S. al-Harrani “Tuhaf al-Uqul”, p. 172.
- “Ghurar Al-Hikam Wa Durar Al-Kalim”, T. 8462.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 78, p. 321.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) has been sent as a perfect role model for human beings, both in deeds and behavior. This is emphasized in the Quran (33:21) and the sayings of Infallible Imams (AS): “Certainly, in the Prophet of Allah (PBUH and HP) was sufficient example for you and a proof concerning the vices of the world, its defects, the multitude of its disgraces and its evils” . Being mercy to all humans, Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH & HP) compassion included not only Muslims but every human being. This fact is evident in his manner towards opposers and how he dealt with the followers of other religions that we reviewed some of them in the first part of the topic and the rest will be introduced here.
As mentioned in the Quran, Islam is a religion for the people all around the world: “We did not send you except as a bearer of good news and warner to all mankind” (34:28). Hence, it was a duty over the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) to promote Islam in other parts of the world, too. As soon as his message had been spread in the region of Hejaz, and the Islamic government had been established after the settlement of conflicts among parties in dispute, Prophet (PBUH & HP) received the divine order to universalize his mission (9:33-48:28). Accordingly, he sent several messages to the governors of various countries. In these messages, he neither threatened to war nor obliged them to obey him. Instead, he used kind words to invite them to monotheism (Tawhid). About 185 messages are reported that had been sent to the leaders of countries, heads of tribes, and emperors, which all shared a peaceful approach .
All the messages he sent to Al-Muqawqis, the ruler of Egypt, Heraclius, the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, and Al-Najashi, the king of the Kingdom of Aksum, started with salutations and greetings. Then, they were asked to let their people hear the divine message that Prophet (PBUH & HP) had and decide freely whether they want to follow it or not. The reason behind sending letters to the heads of countries and tribes was that, if the leader of a group were convinced to change his\her mind and accepted Islam, then he\she would let his\her people hear the message of Islam and invite them more easily to Islam; like what happened with Al-Najashi. Hearing the Surat Maryam and realizing the truth, he let those Muslims who had moved from Mecca to Aksum to save their lives and settle down safely in his realm. This permission caused Islam to be spread readily in that land, and many people accepted Islam willingly.
This matches the principles of “peaceful coexistence” and “religious coexistence” that are encouraged in Islam : “Say, ‘O People of the Book! Come to a common word between us and you: that we will worship no one but Allah, that we will not ascribe any partner to Him, and that some of us will not take some others as lords besides Allah.” (3:64).
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) always encouraged Muslims to justice, fairness, respecting the rights, and avoiding harassment in dealing with the followers of other religions . He said: “Whoever oppresses who is in agreement with Muslims and imposes a burden on him more than his tolerance, I will be against him on the judgment day.”  and “whoever offends who is under the protection of Islam, has offended me.” . Those who were under the protection of Islam were the Jews and Christians who participated in providing the expenses of the Islamic government in return for being protected by paying money called “Jizya.” This shouldn’t be confused with paying for the right of life, but it means that the Jews and Christians were considered as common citizens who lived in a friendly ambiance with Muslims in the society, and no one was permitted to hurt them.
Moreover, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) cared about the living conditions of non-Muslims such that he ordered Muslims to give charity to the People of the Book (Jews, Christians, Sabians, and Zoroastrians) who were in need . This was an act of humanity, and not a religious obligation, that originated from Prophet’s (PBUH & HP) exemplary character.
He respected non-Muslims such that once he was among his companions that people brought the corpse of a Jew. Prophet (PBUH & HP) stood up as a sign of respect. The companions told that the dead one was a Jew. He answered that one should stand up to respect the dead body, whether it belongs to a Muslim or a non-Muslim .
From what has been discussed above, one can see that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) has truly represented the peaceful essence of Islam through his words and acts. And actually, many of his enemies and non-Muslims embraced Islam due to his lovely noble character.
- “Nahjul Balaqa,” Sermon 160.
- A. Ahmadi Miyanji, “Makatib al-Rasul,” p. 261-263.
- M. A. Amini, “The principle of peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims in Islam,” Ma’rifat Journal, no. 165, p. 35-52.
- S. Balaqi, “Justice and judgment in Islam,” p. 57.
- A. A. F. Thibarah, "Ruhuddin al-Islami," p. 276.
- Jafar Sobhani, “Introduction to principles of Islam,” p. 528-529,