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.
Our knowledge about Prophet Adam and his wife Eve, unlike our knowledge about other prophets, is very little. There are so many books written and so many films made about different prophets, but when it comes to Adam and Eve, we usually face a bunch of jokes about them; most common is that they were lucky not have any in-laws! And after all the jokes we end up blaming them for having sinned and having brought the human generation on earth in this miserable, sinful world.
It is a shame that we usually speak less about the status of Adam and Eve and there is not much information about them, available to the public, to show their status.
In this article, we will study the status of Adam and Eve and compare the Christian view on the concept of original sin with the Islamic viewpoint on the same topic.
In Christianity original sin is the rebellion of Adam and Eve in Eden, mainly in consuming from the forbidden tree, which resulted in the fall of man (from the state of innocent obedience to the state of guilty disobedience).
After huge discussions on the topic of original sin which was first raised by St. Augustine who stated “the deliberate sin of the first man is the cause of original sin”, Christian Catholic theologists accepted two main ideas about human condition in this world, believing in the fact that humans were supposed to live eternally in Eden; 
1. ‘Adam by his sin caused the fall of human generation on earth, and therefore as a result of this worldly life, he caused death for human generations.
2. Adam by his fault transmitted sin to human generation.’ 
According to Christian opinion, death and sin are transmitted to the human race by generation, "for as by the disobedience of one man, many [i.e., all men] were made sinners" (Romans 5:19). 
Now, let’s see how the story of Adam and Eve is explained in the Quran.
There are four major parts from the story of Adam and Eve described in the Quran:
1. The creation of Adam, ordering the angels to prostrate before him and Satan’s disobedience. (20: 61, 18:50)
2. Adam and Eve’s settlement in paradise, their temptation by Satan, tasting from the forbidden tree. (20: 120-3)
3. Adam, Eve and Satan’s fall on earth where “In it you will live, and in it you will die, and from it you will be raised [from the dead].” (7: 25)
4. Adam and Eve’s repentance and choosing Adam by God. (20: 122)
“When your Lord said to the angels, ‘Indeed I am going to set a viceroy on the earth,” (2:30) then He thought “the Names” to Adam and old the angels to prostrate for Adam, “they prostrated, but not Iblis: he refused and acted arrogantly, and he was one of the faithless.” (2: 34) Then God said: “O Adam, dwell with your mate in paradise and eat thereof freely whence so ever you wish, but do not approach this tree, lest you should be among the wrongdoers.” (2: 35)
Then Satan tempted them as he had sworn to tempt human generation, “Then Satan caused them to stumble from it, and he dislodged them from what [state] they were in.” (2: 36) Adam and Eve returned to God and asked for forgiveness based on their divine nature and “Then his Lord chose him, and turned to him clemently, and guided him.” (20: 122)
Unlike Christianity that discusses the concept of original sin from a theological aspect, almost all Muslim scholars discuss the issue based on the exegesis of the Quranic verses. It is also important to keep in mind that Muslims believe in the infallibility of prophets and to find out how the concept of original sin comes along with Prophet Adam’s infallibility.
Most important points about the concept of original sin from Muslim scholars’ viewpoint are as follows:
“When your Lord said to his angels, Indeed I am going to set a viceroy on the earth,” (2:30)
Based on the above verse and other similar verses, Fakhr-e Razi claims that Adam’s rejection from paradise was not because he sinned. Since God’s order to prevent them from tasting from the tree was not an obligation, but He said: “do not approach this tree, lest you should be among the wrongdoers.” (7: 19) And therefore they did not do a forbidden act.
In reply to those who admit the repentance of Adam shows that he committed a sin and therefore cannot be infallible, Fakhr-e Razi says that “prophets not only do not commit any sins but if they make a mistake they would repent from it as they know that these little mistakes would make the way broader for real sins” .
“Then Adam received certain words from his Lord, and He turned to him clemently. Indeed, He is the All-clement, the All-merciful.” (2:37)
As mentioned before, Allah (SWT) Accepted Adam and Eve’s repentance and turned to them. As Tabatabaei puts it, the necessity of accepted repentance is that the person would return to his/her previous situation, while Adam and Eve instead of returning to paradise stayed on earth and Adam was chosen and guided to be the guidance for his generation. 
Therefore according to Jawadi -Amoli tasting from the forbidden tree has been a part of the plan for Adam and Eve to be treated and prepared for living on earth where they have enemies, and they should not trust everyone as they trusted Satan; “He said, ‘Get down both of you from it, all together, being enemies of one another! Yet, should any guidance come to you from Me, those who follow My guidance will not go astray, nor will they be miserable.” (20: 123) 
Tabataei strongly disagrees with those who claim that the original sin made committing sins a necessity for the human generation. He states that the lordliness of God makes a space to order the right and forbid from wrong. Therefore, there will be punishment for wrongdoers and reward for righteous people.
He can also, based on His lordliness, bless those who commit a sin and repent of it. He continues that it is not logical to accept that human sin will go through generations and one’s sin will make others sinful as well.  As it is also mentioned in the Quran “, Every soul is hostage to what it has earned”, (74: 38) and not to what Adam (PBUH) or other human generations have done.
From the verse mentioned above, the concept of human free will is also concluded. Human beings will be punished or rewarded based on their acts. If human beings are forced to sin according to the concept of original sin, then the whole concept of human free will would be undermined. And as a result, the promises that God gives us about the hereafter and facing the results of our deeds will be meaningless. As Imam al-Sadiq (AS) mentions “God is more just than to force a servant on a (wrong) task and then punishes him because of that.” 
The story of Adam and Eve is not for us to find out if Adam was sinful or not. It is rather a symbolic story that should teach us lessons for having a successful life in this world. Our story from birth to death has a lot in common with the story of our father, Adam. We were born innocent. We grew up and started tasting from different forbidden fruits. We gradually descended from our human status, instead of ascending towards God; “We certainly created man in the best of forms; then We relegated him to the lowest of the low, except those who have faith and do righteous deeds. There will be an everlasting reward for them.” (95: 4- 6)
Every day is the time for us to repent of our sins and to beware of not being deceived by Satan.
‘O Children of Adam! Do not let Satan tempt you, like he expelled your parents from paradise, stripping them of their garments to expose to them their nakedness. Indeed he sees you—he and his hosts—whence you do not see them. We have indeed made the devils friends of those who have no faith.’ (7:27)
- original sin
- Fakhr-e Razi, Muhammad ibn Amr, Mafatih al-Ghayb, p. 17
- Tabatabaei, Muahmmad Hossein, Al-Mizan, vol. 8. P.46
- Jawadi – Amoli, Abdullah, Tasneem, vol. 3, p. 328
- Tabatabaei, Muahmmad Hossein, Al-Mizan, vol. 1. Pp.133-137
- Sadouq, al-Tawhid, Section al-Qadha wa al- Qdar, Narration No. 28
United Nations General Assembly in the 18th article of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.”
Also in the 19th article of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights freedom of expression is defined as follows: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” 
In this text, I would like to explore this article and find out to what extent it is right or wrong according to the Islamic viewpoint toward freedom of thought and freedom of expression.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights puts freedom of thought and freedom of belief alongside each other. While there is a major difference between these two.
Murtaza Mutahhari emphasizes the difference between “thought” and “belief”. He argues that “thought is a potential caused by having intellect” and because every human being has intellect, and the potential to think about different issues, thus they think and “discover some truths about universe according to their talent”.  While he states that “belief might be based on human’s interest towards something” or “it might be based on following other people’s opinion”. But the true belief is “based on thinking”. He believes that most of the people shape their belief based on worldly interests. And there should be thoughtful people among them to guide them in their way of thinking and choices .
So, in his definition of thought and belief, he points out the mistake of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He concludes that people should have freedom of thought. Yet, about freedom of belief, unlike liberalism, Mutahhari states that “freedom is not the ultimate political goal to be respected under any condition”.
The main goal of freedom as he declares is to “reach perfection”. And if one’s belief is against his path towards perfection, then his belief needs an evolution, and should not be left alone to carry on his path towards adversity. 
There are more than 300 verses in the Quran that encourage people to think, such as: “Indeed We have sent it down as an Arabic Quran so that you may exercise your reason.” (12: 2), “[This is] a blessed Book that We have sent down to you, so that they may contemplate its signs, and that those who possess intellect may take admonition.” (38: 29), “Do they not contemplate the Quran, or are there locks on the hearts?” (47: 24).
Freedom of thought is also mentioned in the Quran in choosing the path of life where Allah says: “There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong.” (2: 256)
This verse clearly shows the importance of freedom of thought in the eyes of God, and the freedom to choose a religion. It is noteworthy that the Quran gives specific guidelines for finding the truth and recognizing wrong and right. As it is stated in the same verse; “So whoever disbelieves in idolatrous and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it.” (2: 256)
Also, Allah introduces His best servants in the Quran as those who listen to different types of opinions without any prejudice, and then follow the opinion that is closest to the righteous way: “…So give good news to My servants, who listen to the word [of Allah] and follow the best [interpretation] of it. They are the ones whom Allah has guided, and it is they who possess intellect.” (39: 17-18)
When Allah encourages people to find their religion based on intellectual thinking, he keeps reminding them at different points about what is beneficial and what is harmful to human growth.
As stated above freedom of thought is encouraged in Islam as long as it does not lead people and society toward diversity. “The objective of speech and expression according to Islam is to build up love, tolerance, social harmony, and understanding among members in order to ensure a peaceful coexistence.” 
So, freedom of thought is permitted in Islam as long as it does not harm the society. There is a fundamental rule in Islam, to which other rulings must not be contrary. A Muslim should neither be harmed nor should he harm anyone else. When thoughts are harmful to people in the society, Islam limits freedom of expressing the thoughts that may create social disorder.
So far we discussed that The Quran invites people to think and choose their religion and belief accordingly freely. There is no force in choosing religion. Yet, freedom of belief and expression is not completely allowed according to that fundamental rule of Islam.
That is, a Muslim should not be harmed and nor harm others. Sometimes, one may not have enough information about a particular issue and as a result is not able to form an educated opinion or belief. Hence, if someone wants to express his/ her opinions that have no scientific or logical foundations, and may bring about doubt in ordinary people’s beliefs, Islam would stand against it and will not allow its expansion. 
- Human rights
- Mutahhari, Murtaza, About Islamic republic, p. 92-3
- Mutahhari, Murtaza, About Islamic republic, p. 97
- Rostami, Mohammad. Andisheh Sadegh, vol. 6
- Bhat AM (2014) Freedom Of Expression From Islamic Perspective. Journal of Media and Communication Studies 6: 69-77.
- Kassem AS (2012) The Concept of Freedom in the Quran. American International Journal of Contemporary Research 2, p. 165-173.