The concept of the last savior and his advent exist in many religions, although with some fundamental differences. Here we review what expecting the last savior in Islam means, what are its requirements and how it improves the quality of one’s life.
Awaiting, in general, represents a situation where someone is hoping or watching for something to happen, especially for a long time. Awaiting the last savior means hoping for the last divine messenger who will reveal the truth and spread justice and peace in the whole universe. In Surah Qasas, it is stated that: “We wanted to confer a favor upon those who were oppressed in the land and make them leaders and make them inheritors” (28:5). This is a promising divine concept which enlightens the hearts, prepares human beings for receiving who they are waiting for, and brings hope to them .
We are surely living in an era that is filled with injustice; some people are at war, and many of them face discrimination and hypocrisy. From an Islamic point of view, even the physical presence of the last savior brings mercy over human beings, and all these shortcomings are due to his absence. Hence, a conscious human being, a creature that is a perfectionist in nature, does not tolerate these shortcomings and defects and tries to remove the barriers against the presence of the last savior.
Being a perfectionist and trying to achieve a better condition is an inherent quality of the human beings that regulates almost all activities of every human being towards perfection. Hence, a conscious human being is naturally inclined toward accelerating the coming of the last savior.
4. Making Efforts to Pass the Current Unfavorable Condition and to Reach a Desirable Situation
Hoping for a better future that the presence of the last savior will bring about is not sufficient. One should also make efforts and participate in the process of preparing the requirements of the advent of the savior.
Sometimes something is missed in our life, but we are not even aware of that. The very first step in the process of awaiting the last savior is to know that there is divine mercy that is absent.
One might be aware of the absence of the last savior but does not believe that human beings require his presence and guidance. Hence, waiting for the last savior requires one to contemplate and know what his presence will bring about for human society. In fact, this situation is like a divine test to see whether one will rely on his\her abilities and will to improve the current condition.
Those who do not believe in the advent of the last savior will undoubtedly not await for him. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and Imams (AS) have always tried to reinforce the belief in the advent of the last savior and to prevent any despair among human beings. In this regard is a narration (hadith) from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), which describes that The Judgment Day will not arrive until one of his descendants rises with the truth and makes his advent whenever Allah permits . One who believes in the advent of the savior in Islam should also wish that it happens, otherwise, he\she is not really awaiting his advent. This requires having a clear vision of the things that will happen if the last savior emerges. If one is afraid of that time, he\she will surely not await for him to come.
Although the items above make one await for the savior, believing that this might happen very soon will cause one to get ready to help the last savior in Islam in his peace plan.
- M. Musavi Isfahani,"Mikyal al Makarim", vol. 2, p. 235.
- Wasa’il ash-Shi’a, vol. 7, p. 325.
On the last days of the year, we usually look back at what we did and what were the things we gained in that 365 days that passed. Sometimes, we would regret the times that were wasted or the opportunities that were lost, but at the end of the day, we feel grateful for what we achieved and for having the chance to enjoy the rest of our lives.
Thanksgiving is one of those opportunities that make us stop for a moment and look closer at our life, embracing what has been given to us freely, that is the love and support of our family, and be grateful for what we have gained so far.
Let’s have a quick glance at the history of Thanksgiving and Islam’s attitude toward celebrating it.
Thanksgiving roots back to some traditions held during English Reformation in Britain. However, in 1621 the first Thanksgiving day was held by “the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians” in North America, after a successful autumn harvest. However, “It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November” .
Whatever be the history of this day – having some explicit or implicit negative points aside from its positive aspects -, Islam holds a positive attitude toward the concept of thanksgiving. In what follows we will have a brief look at this view of Islam.
As we said in the article on Halloween, Islam is not against celebrating and having fun. There are four points that we, as Muslims, should observe in any tradition or celebration that we intend to take part:
1. It should not be harmful to ourselves and others, physically and mentally. A superstitious ceremony which is not based on any logical reason, and has no benefit for our mind and soul is not considered a proper kind of celebration according to Islam.
2. It should not result in ignoring our Islamic duties. Meaning that participating in a celebration should not lead us toward doing what we are not supposed to do as Muslims (e.g., drinking alcohol, eating Haram food, wearing immodest clothes, etc.) or forgetting what we must do as Muslims (e.g., praying, fasting, etc.).
3. It should not be a worthless and aimless pleasure that would only waste our time. “Islam always recommends us to be aware of what we are doing and think about our intention before any action. Even when we are having fun, there should be something behind it that makes it worthwhile. When enumerating the characteristics of a faithful person in Quran, Allah also mentions those who avoid vain actions (23:3); i.e., those activities that have no use for us and would only waste our time” .
4. Participating in that celebration should not make us like atheists or those who are against the belief in one God. That is to say, “A Muslim’s life should mirror his beliefs in every aspect. So, if an action even in appearance, represents what is against Islam or far from its teachings, then it should be avoided by Muslims” .
Thanksgiving is one of those celebrations that are very close to Islamic teachings. Being grateful to the creator for the blessings He had bestowed upon us  and also thanking other people for what they did for us, is one of the encouraged manners in Islam.
Also, Thanksgiving is a chance to gather with family and relatives and enjoy their company which is very much recommended in Islam. Prophet Muhammad (PBUHHP) said that: “I command all the people of my followers (Umma), whether present or not, and those generations which are to come … to maintain family kinship even if they live at a distance of a year's journey.” . The family is one of the most significant blessings of Allah to us, so we should give thanks to Allah for this precious blessing.
As a way to thank for God’s blessings, some people would give charity to those who are less privileged or are under financial pressures . This is one of the most praised actions in Islam and is highlighted in many narrations [i] as well as verses of the Quran: “You will never attain piety until you spend out of what you hold dear, and whatever you may spend on anything, Allah indeed knows it.” (3: 92). Thus, Allah would consider helping others as an act of gratitude.
Some American families would watch football games together, and some would play football together. Some others would pack up and go on a journey. Islam always recommended having fun, playing sports and traveling [ii]. Muslims should not keep themselves from enjoying Halal and lawful activities [iii].
As Muslims, we should keep in mind that whatever we have is granted by Allah. Thus the ultimate one to whom we give thanks is Him. That is the least we can do in return for Allah’s blessings. According to Imam Ali (AS), those who worship Allah as a way to appreciate His favors, are the most free-spirited ones, comparing with others who worship Allah with other purposes .
Thanksgiving Day is only a reminder. We should always thank Allah, in every breath and every moment of our lives. A Muslim knows the reason that he/she is alive, and is enjoying all kinds of opportunities and blessings is only Allah. Therefore, every day is a Thanksgiving Day for a Muslim.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have the opportunity to be thankful for what they have. Sometimes we find more things to complain than to be grateful. While if we consider what we have instead of what we don’t, our life would be much happier and more satisfactory. So, giving thanks is itself a blessing that Allah bestows upon the ones who believe in Him. Thus He says in the Quran, “And few of My servants are grateful” (34:13).
The more we are thankful, the more blessings will rain down on our life . A simple Physics formula that every action will have a reaction. The result of our thankfulness will be Allah’s favor on us. Therefore, Allah says: “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]” (14:7).
Being thankful is not limited only to significantly great things. Even small or seemingly insignificant favors should be appreciated. Sometimes what we consider small or insignificant is far more important than what we think. Like having the chance of embracing our parents, kissing our kids, finding the nature’s beauties, being healthy or even breathing clean air. When we appreciate these favors and much more that are less seen by others, we realize Allah’s great love and care that includes every living creature, especially us.
It is not enough only to say you are thankful. You should show it in your actions as well. Whether it is God that you are grateful or your fellow human beings, you should do something that represent your thankfulness. Knowing that all we have is from Allah and not participating in sinful actions with the use of Allah’s blessings are only two ways of showing your thankfulness . Also, helping others and giving away to the needy are other ways of appreciating your privileges .
Having said that, don’t forget that expressing your gratitude in words is cherished by Allah and there are many recommended and specific manners in doing so. For instance praying to Allah, performing a two Rak’aa prayer (Salat) with the intention of giving thanks to Allah, repeating some Zikr (short Islamic phrases for praying; e.g. Alhamd-u-lillah (praise be to Allah), Shukr-an-lillah (Thanks to Allah), Allah-u-Akbar (Allah is the greatest), Subhan Allah (Glorious is God)), etc.
[i] Imam Reza (AS) stated in a narration that after having faith in Allah and his messengers, there is no better way of thanking Allah than to help your fellow human beings in their worldly matters .
[ii] Quran (29:20)
[iii] Quran (5:87)
“When I was younger, I always wondered how I could distinguish between love and lust. My father used to say “all these little or great worldly loves we go through, are all here for us humans to eventually experience The love, one drop at a time, and to increase our capacity for it. That’s why when we look back at our previous experiences of feeling in love, we laugh at our naivety for calling that love! And that the love we are feeling now IS the real thing. Ignorant of the fact that a little down the line, we will again be laughing at what we are calling love now.”So let us find out why has God made love? What kind of love, are we expected to feel? My father says “Love is a sign from God. Love is a miracle, and miracles are here to make us believe” .
I started my article on dating and falling in love using the introduction of a love story book. As any reader knows, love or dating and falling in Love is not something that can be accepted in some lands and be ignored in some others. Dating and Falling in Love know no borders. Every human being from the time he/she sets foot in this world would experience dating and falling in love in one way or other, with different things, people, pets! Lands, etc. It is actually the liveliness of love that keeps human beings move forward. This dating and falling in love could be for money, status, education, or opposite sex.
In this article, I would like to talk about Love for opposite sex and its rulings according to Islam and dating in Islam.
Love is an essential need for the human. Without love life is dark and colorless. Muslims, like any other human beings, fall in love and may spend days and nights weeping for their beloved, until they can unite with their loved ones.
However, the main point of being committed to any religion and obeying its rules is for human beings to gain control over themselves. Human beings in facing different issues of life should show this self-control, and love is one of these issues.
From what I have seen among most non-Muslim cultures and religions when they fall in love, they start dating. They meet each other at different places and make memories together. Then they can grow their love and go through sexual relationships. They would even feel so much in love that they decide to live together as lover partners. In some cases, this loving partnership may end up with a baby. And in very optimistic ways, one day their grown-up children will happily shout in a church that “I knew that mom and dad would finally get married!”. As I said, that is the optimistic side of it. Otherwise, at the end of some of these relationships, we have depressed single parents with unwanted children.
Since dating and falling in love takes one’s mind away, when a Muslim falls in love, by considering Islamic advice she/ he can avoid its negative consequences.
According to Islam, when someone feels fallen in love! with someone, he/ she should consider that person as his/ her “spouse to be.” So, the lover can determine if he/ she can live with his/ her loved one for the rest of his/ her life, and would they make a happy family and reach their goals? If the answer is positive, then they should start to get to know each other better. In most Islamic cultures, the starting point happens through families and dating in Islam is not very common. The boy proposes to the girl in a proposal ceremony. If the girl and the families are OK at this step, then the “bride to be” and “the groom to be” can start to know each other better.
Since dating in non-Muslim cultures may be followed by different kinds of sexual lust, such as touching, hugging, kissing, etc., Islam would call this sort of dating forbidden (Haram).
But this does not mean that the “groom to be” and the “bride to be” are not allowed to meet up and talk together for better recognition of each other. In Muslim families, they usually meet up at the girl’s house, where her parents are also around. Yet, some boys and girls may find it useful to go out together for a meal or talk in social places. That is for them to know each other better in different situations.
According to Islam, it is not forbidden (Haram) for a man and a woman to be together in a place where other people can come and go, and there is no fear of committing a sin. So, dating is Islam is not forbidden provided that the above conditions are observed. However, both parties should make sure to limit these meetups to a few sessions. At the end of these few sessions, they can usually decide if they want to marry or not.
And if they don’t want to marry, they should stop their meetings. Also, if they decide to get married, they should proceed to the next levels. This can be a temporary marriage for engagement period and then a permanent Islamic marriage contract. The engagement may take a few days or a few years. But they are known as a married couple during this time, and there is no prohibition for them to be together. “After the recitation of the marriage formula, the couple may enjoy each other unless a certain enjoyment is agreed to be delayed to the night of consummating the marriage, in which case he has to observe the specified term.” 
When two people start dating without a serious intention of marrying their partner, they start wasting their time on a useless relationship, solely for fun and enjoyment. Most of the time one of the parties is aware that he/ she does not see a future for this relationship. The other one keeps hoping for a marriage proposal. When it never happens, disappointment would fill his/ her life.
Also, people who keep dating with no intention for marriage would enjoy a relationship in which, unlike marriage, they are irresponsible towards their partner.
When other youths see how easy some people have fun with the opposite sex, they would be encouraged to date, too.
Usually, after many years of dating, when both parties have lost their younghood eagerness, they would shape a family. Although it is still very good to start family life, their life is much different from those who marry and have children at a younger age.
To conclude, dating in Islam for the sake of having fun with opposite sex and without a legal Islamic marriage contract is forbidden (Haram). But meeting up for further recognition is allowed (Halal). The main reason that makes dating in Islam prohibited is to protect both parties of possible damages of an unstable relationship. Thus, pre-marriage meetings (unlike dating) should be free of any kind of sexual lust, and only for the sake of finding a suitable spouse.
So, it is not forbidden (Haram) to fall in love according to Islam. But managing this love and controlling the self is of high importance. This would prevent people from committing great sins like adultery.
- Bahmanpour, Sedigheh, God Is Here, p. 1
- love in Islam