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.
“O ALLAH, bless Muhammad (PBUH) and his Progeny! Bless us in this day of our festival and our fast-breaking, make it one of the best of days that have passed over us.” Imam Sajjad (AS) - Sahifa Al-Sajjadiyya
Eid al-Fitr is the most important festival in the Islamic calendar. It provides us with an opportunity to offer thanks to Allah for having given us the will and strength to observe fast during the holy month of Ramadan. This Eid falls on the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal and marks the end of Ramadan.
On the day of the celebration, a typical Muslim family gets up very early to perform the following tasks:
It is recommended to recite the following Takbirs after performing the Dawn prayer (Salat al-Fajr):
"اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُاللَّهُ أَكْبَرُلاإِلَهَ إِلااللَّهُ وَاللَّهُ أَكْبَرُاللَّهُ أَكْبَرُوَلِلَّهِ الْحَمْدُالْحَمْدُلِلَّهِ عَلَى مَاهَدَانَاوَلَهُ الشُّكْرُعَلَى مَا أَوْلانَا"
‘AllaahuakbarAllaahuakbar la ilaahaillallaahuwwllaahuakbarallaahuakbarwalillaahilh’amd al ha’mdulillaaha’laamaahadaanaawalahushukrua’laamaaawlaanaa’
It means: “Allah is Great. Allah is Great. There is no god but Allah. And Allah is Great. Allah is Great. (All) praise be to Allah. (We) sing the praises of Allah because He has shown us the Right Path. (We) gratefully thank Him because He takes care of us and looks after our interests.”
Zakat al-Fitr is a mandatory religious tax paid by those who can afford it as a kind of charity at the sunset of Eid alFitr night (i.e. the night preceding Eid day), which is about three kilos of the item commonly eaten per person in the house (e.g. wheat, barley, dates, raisins, rice or millet, etc.).
You can also pay the price of one of these items in cash. Fitrah should be given to deserving believers whose income is not sufficient to spend on their families for one year. It is better to give it before the Eid prayer (Salat al-Eid).
The Eid prayer is performed in the morning, between sunrise and the Midday prayer (Salat al-Zuhr). It can be performed either individually or in a congregation and consists of two Rak’ahs (units). During the first Rak’ah, you should recite the first chapter of the Holy Quran (Surah al-Fateha).
Thereafter, you can recite another chapter of your choice. However, it is recommended to recite Chapter 91 (Surah al-Shams) in the first Rak’ah and Chapter 8 (Surah al-Ghashiya) in the second one following Surah al-Fateha; or alternatively, recite Chapter 87 (Surah al-A'ala) in the first Rak’ah and Chapter 91 (Surah al-Shams) in the second (following Surah al-Fateha).
After reciting the Quranic chapters, there are five Takbirs-i.e. ‘Allahu Akbar’- that needs to be said in the first Rak’ah and four in the second one - and along with each of these, you should recite a Qunut (raising hands in prayer).
After the fifth Qunut of the first Rak'ah, you should recite a Takbir (Allahu Akbar) and then perform the Ruku’ (bowing) and continue with the Sujud (prostration) twice. In the second Rak’ah, the actions of the first Rak’ah are repeated with four Takbirs. At the end of the prayer, upon the completion of the second Sujud, you should recite the Tashahhud and complete the prayer with the Salutations (Salam).
Although any recitation or Dua will suffice in Qunut of the Eid Prayers, it is recommended to recite the following Dua:
"اَللّهُمَّ اَهلَا لْکِبْرِيَاءِ وَالْعَظَمَةِ،وَاَهْلَا لْجُوْدِ وَالْجَبَرُوتِ، وَاَهْلَا لْعَفْوِ وَالرَّحْمَةِ وَاَهْلَا لتَّقْوٰی وَالْمَغْفِرَةِ،اَسْاَلُكَ بِحَقِّ هٰذَا الْيَوْمِ الَّذِی جَعَلْتَه لِلْمُسْلِمِيْنَ عِيْدًاوَلِمُحَمَّدٍصَلَّی اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ ذُخْراًوَكَرَامَةً وَشَرَفًا وَمَزِيْداً اَنْتُصَلِّیَ عَلٰی مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَاَنْ تُدْخِلَنِی فِی کُلِّ خَيْرٍاَدْخَلْتَ فِيْهِ مُحَمَّداً وَآلَ مُحَمَّدٍ،وَاَنْ تُخْرِجَنِی مِنْ کُلِّ سُوْٓءٍ اَخْرَجْتَ مِنْهُ مُحَمَّدًا وَآلَ مُحَمَّدٍ صَلَواتُكَ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَيْهِمْ اَجْمَعِيْنَ.اَللَّهُمَّ اِنِّی اَسْاَلُكَ خَيْرَمَاسَاَلَكَ بِهِ عِبادُكَ الصَّالِـحُونَ،وَاَعُوْذُبِكَ مِمَّا اسْتَعاذَ مِنْهُ عِبادُكَ الْمُخْلِصُوْنَ"
‘Allahummaahlalkibriya'iwal 'azamah, waahlaljudiwaljaburat, waahlal 'afwi war rahmah, waahlattaqwawalmaghfirah.
As alukabihaqqihazalyawmillazija'altahulilmuslimina 'ida ,waliMuhammadinsallallahu 'AlaihiwaAlihi, zukhranwasharafanwakaramatanwamazida an tusalliya 'ala Muhammad wa Ali Muhammad wa an tudkhilani fi kullikhayrinadkhaltafihi Muhammadan wa Ala Muhammad wa an tukhrijani min kullisu'inakhrajtaminhu Muhammadan wa Ala Muhammad salawatuka 'alahiwa 'alahim. Allahummainni as alukakhayra ma saalakabihiibadukassalihun, waauzubikamimmastaazaminhuibadukalmukhlasun.’
“O Allah, (belongs to You only) pride, glory, excellence, omnipotence. (You) grant amnesty and show kindness, (You are) Holy and Oft-forgiving, (so), I ask You in the name of this day which You have ordained as a day of happiness for the Muslims. An occasion for Muhammad (blessings of Allah be on him and his progeny) to plan ahead and grow strong to send blessings on Muhammad and on the progeny of Muhammad. And introduce me to every good that had been made available to Muhammad and Muhammad’s progeny. Educate me to keep from every evil as You kept safe Muhammad and Muhammad’s progeny from it. Your blessings are on him and on them. O Allah, I ask you to give me the good which Your pious servants had asked for. And I take refuge with You from that which caused Your pious servants to seek refuge with you.”
This is how Muslims joyfully celebrate the achievement of enhanced piety on this day of forgiveness, moral victory, and peace, of fellowship, brotherhood, and unity. Muslims not only celebrate the end of fasting but also thank God for the strength that He gave them during the previous month to help them practice self-control.
Happy Eid al-Fitr!
Those who do not know Islam very well and those who follow the propaganda of the media, especially in this period of time when several terrorist attacks have been committed by pseudo-Muslim groups, which do not have anything to do with Islam, accuse Islam of encouraging violence and terror. That is absolutely wrong. Islam is the religion of peace and intrinsically promotes peace. The reasons for that will be reviewed next.
The greatest miracle of Islam is the Quran; a Book. Books are among the most efficient and prominent means of connecting thoughts and minds. This means that Islam has chosen a very civilized way of communication with human beings; by having dialogues with them. By the means of the Quran, Islam, in the first place, deals with the thinking power of humans and then their emotions. In other words, Islam tries to communicate with people through common sense, mutual understanding, logic and reasoning which consequently prevents harshness or sudden actions caused by the outpouring of emotions. That is while “Book” and “communicating through words” did not serve like that regarding the previous divine religions [i].
According to Islam, one should truly believe in the Islamic principles and axioms. It means that one should accept these Islamic facts by reasoning and rational search and demonstrate his\her belief in every act and deed; otherwise, if one has not really changed his\her mind to accept Islam or accepts Islam in words but do not practice it, he\she will be a “Muslim” but not a “believer” (Mu'min). This shows that Islam educates the people who are adherent to rational and commonsensical rules and regulations and consequently prevents apostasy and chaos.
Many suppose that Immanuel Kant was the first who formed and introduced the Golden Rule, a rule of ethical conduct, while this ethical code has been among the teachings of Islam since 1400 years ago. Imam Ali (AS) and other Imams (AS) have emphasized this ethical advice by words and acts and encouraged people not to consider themselves superior to others or do not prefer their benefits to others .
Imam Ali (AS) has addressed Imam Hassan (AS) as such: “What you prefer for yourself, prefer for others; what you find objectionable for yourself, treat as such for others. Don’t wrong to anyone, just as you don't like to be wronged; do good to others just as you would like others to do good to you; that which you consider immoral for others, consider immoral for yourself” . There is no sign of injustice or cruelty among these words. On the contrary, this is an invitation to get along with others, to respect their preferences and not to expect too much from them. This is simply an encouragement to peace.
When hearing about Jihad, the first thing that strikes to mind is Al-Qaeda, ISIS and fire, and blood. Many people think that Jihad equals aggression, but that is wrong. Jihad has a clear definition. There exist two types of Jihad in Islam: Defensive and Offensive. Defensive Jihad, as can be guessed from the name, is for the aim of defending the Islamic territory against the assaults and intrusions of outsiders and invaders.
Offensive Jihad aims at liberating people from unjust oppressive regimes and allowing them to search, read and choose the right religion and lifestyle. Many Islamic jurists believe that the Offensive Jihad to invite to Islam is only allowed under certain circumstances; i.e. in the presence of the Imams (AS) and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). Otherwise, only Defensive Jihad is permitted which is actually obligatory to all Muslims in whatever condition. No one in the whole wide world would admit that defending oneself is aggression; Neither do the Muslims. Then, it is clear that unlike a widespread thought nowadays, Islam is against war and violence.
There is a theory in Islam: any harm to others or oneself is banned. It explains that a Muslim does not cause any harm to other people or do not misuse rules to cause harm to them . Through this theory, Islam protects the benefits and rights of others. This includes any individual or any group of people. It also covers both Muslim and non-Muslim societies and people, hence, this theory, in fact, reinforces and advertises the peace all around the world.
It was explained above that Islam also bans any harm to oneself. In this regard, suicide is illegal (Haram) in Islam. Some might suppose that they own their physical body while it is a divine trust offered to us to do good deeds (16:97), worship God (51:56) and practice the religion. This is another means by which Islam promotes peace all around the world.
Considering the Islamic approach described above in interaction with the humans, the efforts to establish ethical standards and to form the interrelationship among humans demonstrate the contribution and role of Islam to create a peaceful world.
[i] While Old Testament and New Testament are written by humans, the Quran is the divine revelation to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
[ii] Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated.
- Nahj al-Balaqa, Letter 31.
- peace in islam