Each year in Ramadan, millions of Muslims around the world observe one of their religion’s most sacred practices, fasting (Swam). During this month, Muslims refrain from eating any food, drinking any liquid, smoking and engaging in any sexual activity from dawn to sunset. They also try to abstain from vices in favor of spirituality and seeking closeness to Allah. Here are some spiritual and social facts about fasting, you might find new:
Wouldn’t it be easier for you to refrain from unlawful acts when you deliberately avoid doing things which are lawful for you on normal days? Despite its physical benefits, fasting is much beyond mere abstention from foods, drinks and other physical wants. In fact, we have fully observed the practice of fasting only if we also keep your tongue, ears, eyes, hands, feet and all our other organs away from sin. So, fasting would be the most helpful if our soul also refrains from worldly desires [i].
“There are many people who get nothing out of their fasts but hunger and thirst, and many more who get nothing out of their night prayers but exertions and sleepless nights.” 
Patience is one of the most important virtues in Islam. Muslims have always been advised to learn and develop this characteristic in different aspects of their life. There are many verses in the Quran and narrations about the significance of patience. the Holy Quran says: “O you who have faith! Take recourse in patience and prayer; indeed, Allah is with the patient” (2:153). It is also narrated from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) that: “Faith is composed of two halves: One half is patience and the other is gratitude” 
As through fasting, we endure the pains of thirst and food deprivation patiently. We can also practice self-control and tolerance in other situations.
Many studies have shown that fasting can have many health benefits. These include lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, reduction in blood sugar levels, detoxification of the body, and brain and Alzheimer’s disease prevention, etc. . That is why fasting has now become one of the most popular diet trends around the world. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) says: “fast to be healthy” 
When fasting, we focus more on our inner self. We try to free ourselves from worldly desires, which makes us achieve contentment, happiness and inner peace.
One aspect of God’s favor upon the fasting person is that his/her request will be always fulfilled by Him. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said: “The invocation of the fasting person will never be rejected” . It is also narrated from Imam Ali (AS): “The sleep of the fasting person is worship, and his/her silence is deemed as glorifying, his/her prayer is answered and his/her good deeds are multiplied” .
By forbidding ourselves from eating, we begin to feel, although to a small extent, the pain of poverty a countless number of our fellow human beings suffer from. And this taste of hunger will make us feel we are all equals in one way or another. That is, when we will most probably have mercy on the poor and give in charity to support them.
What’s more, fasting, in a different sense, is a reminder of the deprivation we will undergo on the Day of Judgement.
Fasting is a manifestation of the Islamic unity. Muslims around the world start and end fasting nearly the same day. They also make visitations and gather together to break their fast, at Iftar. Inviting friends and relatives for Iftar is so recommended in Islam introducing it as one the most rewarding acts in Ramadan. “The reward of giving Iftar to a fasting person is the same as the reward of fasting.”  This enhances friendship and family ties among members of the Muslim community. It also brings them kindness, brotherhood, sympathy, compassion, and love, as well.
In a rather spiritual sense, fasting will grant us protection from the wrath of Allah and lead to salvation from hellfire in the hereafter. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has said: “Fasting is a shield that protects against hellfire” .
There is still more to fasting than the eight above-mentioned points. fasting is actually one the most important practices the religion of Islam has been built upon. In short, it is a sign of faith, to see which one of us is sincerely obedient to Allah. It is a way to renew our faith in Allah. To be more observant of our deeds, to get in touch with our inner self and our Creator once again. What other lessons do you think we can learn from Ramadan?
[i] Imam Ali (AS): “The most advantageous form of fasting is the abstinence of soul from worldly desires” .
- Tasnif al-Ghurar al-Hikam. Wa Durar al-Kilam, p. 176, Hadith 3346
- Nahjul Balagha (Peak of Eloquence), Sobhi Saleh, p. 495, Saying. 145
- Nahj al-Fasaha, Hadith 1070
- Health Benefit
- Nahj al-Fasaha, p. 547, Hadith 1854
- Nahj al-Fasaha, p. 547, Hadith 1856
- Da’wat, p. 27, Hadith 45
- Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, Kitab al-Kafi, vol.4, p.68, hadith no.1.
- ibid, p. 62.
The issue of art and drawings in Islam is among those topics that have not been directly mentioned and ruled on in the Quran. Therefore, one might wonder if drawings in Islam is allowed (Halal) or not and if yes, then are all types of drawings permitted (Halal)?
There are a few traditions narrated about drawings in Islam that are usually used to answer this question. However, since the answer can be derived from the Quran, this text tries to answer the question based on the Quranic verses.
Now, you might be asking how it is possible to understand the ruling on drawing while there is no direct mention of it in the Quran. The answer is clear; the Quran provides us with a set of fixed frameworks that work as a criterion for us. And whenever we come to a question that we think was not an issue at the time of the Prophet (PBUH&HP), we can study it, based on the Islamic criteria and find the answer.
Drawings in Islam and all other types of art are considered as tools to make things more beautiful and to create a feeling of admiration in their audience. Allah (SWT) has created this universe most superbly and has ordered all His creatures to admire and praise Him for this beautification. After creating the human, He looked at his creation and admired His own creation: “He formed you and perfected your forms, and provided you with all the good things. That is Allah, your Lord! Blessed is Allah, Lord of all the worlds!” (40:64)
Apart from the whole magnificent scenery of the universe, created by Allah (SWT), there are also some verses of the Quran that indicate the importance of beauty in the eyes of our Creator. And that is why the Prophet (PBUH&HP)’s saying, “Indeed Allah is beautiful and likes beauty” has become so famous . The importance of beauty in the eyes of Allah is visible in different verses of the Quran:
“O Children of Adam! Put on your adornment on every occasion of prayer … Say, ‘Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has brought forth for His servants, and the good things of [His] provision?’” (7:31-32)
Creativity is a blessing with which Allah (SWT) has provided human beings (not to mention all the artistic creations of other creatures). And therefore, human beings have always created new things using their creativity, the effect of which is evident in the history and the Quran, e.g., in building houses, castles, making clothes, or designing jewelry, etc.
However, the Quran does not admire all types of art. For example, making sculptures or figures to worship and as idols are considered to be negative. For instance, Prophet Abraham (PBUH), facing his people who were worshiping lifeless and dumb idols, addresses his father and says: “What are these images to which you keep on clinging?” (21: 52)
While in another Surah of the Quran, making statues and sculptures and other pieces of art so far as they are useful for human beings are referred to as positive and admirable. An example is when The Jinn built those pieces of art under the observation of Prophet Solomon (PBUH): “They built for him as many temples as he wished, and figures, basins like cisterns, and caldrons fixed [in the ground] …” (34:13).
Besides, the main ruling on doing artworks can be derived from a Surah in the Quran called Surah Al-Shu’araa’ which means Poets.
In this Surah Allah (SWT) clearly describes the essence of forbidden (Haram) and allowed (Halal) art with a direct mention of poetry which was popular in Prophet (PBUH&HP)’s time:
“As for the poets, [only] the perverse follow them. Have you not regarded that they rove in every valley and that they say what they do not do? Barring those who have faith, do righteous deeds, and remember Allah much often, and vindicate themselves after they have been wronged. And the wrongdoers will soon know at what goal they will end up.” (26: 224-7)
In these verses, Allah (SWT) states that only perverse people would follow and admire the poets. And in describing the poets, it is mentioned that “they rove in every valley,” meaning that they make up things from their imagination. At the time of the Prophet (PBUH&HP), ‘most poetries were about the beauty of women, adultery, and pervert behaviors.’ However, Allah (SWT) does not forbid poetry completely; rather, He ‘makes the exception of faithful poets’ in the next verse. ‘Those who use their art as a tool to defend justice and to reveal oppression and injustice.’ 
From the above verses of the Quran, we can conclude that any form of art or any other tool is allowed (Halal) provided that they are used in the way of Allah, and if used in the way of Satan, they are considered to be forbidden (Haram). Therefore, it is of utmost importance to be familiar with the Islamic jurisprudence to distinguish the right from wrong from an Islamic viewpoint.
Another point that needs to be considered about different forms of art and drawing is that they should not go against the Islamic jurisprudence. Including erotic pictures or scenes in drawings or illustrations is one example of what makes this form of art forbidden. Therefore, as long as the drawing or making sculptures do not have any adverse harm for human soul and improvement, the ruling is as follows: “There is no harm at all in the sculpture, photography, and drawings of living beings whether or not they have a soul. Also, it is permissible to sell, buy, or keep pictures and statues. There is no objection to showing them in an exhibition as well” .
- Al-Kafi. Vol. 6, p. 438
- Tafseer-e Noor, Qara’ati, M. Vol. 6, p. 381
- Painting and sculpture
“I have not been sent except to elevate the morality”  Morality is such an invaluable asset for humans in this worldly life and the Hereafter that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has introduced it as the only goal of his prophetic mission. It is also noticeable in the following verse of the Quran that Prophets were sent by Allah to improve humanity:
“Allah certainly favored the faithful when He raised up among them an apostle from among themselves to recite to them His signs and to purify them and teach them the Book and wisdom, and earlier they had indeed been in manifest error” (3:164)
Moreover, humans naturally seek and look up to role models who have successfully personified all the perfect qualities. One of the shining examples of such models to follow is undoubtedly the last Messenger of God, Muhammad (PBUH&HP) who possesses all the best personality traits:
“and indeed you possess a great character” (68:4)
“There is certainly a good exemplar for you in the Apostle of Allah (i.e., Muhammad (PBUH&HP))” (33:21)
Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH&HP) truthfulness and honesty were so famous among his most noble attributes, from his tender age and before he was chosen as the Messenger of God, that the people of that time would call him al-Amin (the trustworthy).
This characteristic of his reached the extent that almost everyone in Mecca would put their money, valuables, and savings in the hands of Prophet (PBUH&HP) for safekeeping. Even, after he was called for prophethood, despite all their hostility to him, the Quraysh[i] continued depositing their treasure with him.
In spite of all his responsibilities as a prophet, Muhammad (PBUH&HP) would do all his chores himself as well as helping his family with the household work; he used to patch his clothes, mend his shoes, and milk his goat with his own hands. He would eat simple food, wear simple clothes and travel in a simple manner.
It is not that he could not afford a luxurious lifestyle; there were stages in the prophet’s (PBUH&HP) life when he had a reasonable income from his trading. In fact, he chose to lead a simple life. He preferred to live on what was sufficient and as normally as any other simple Muslim. When he acquired great wealth, he did not hold on to it for himself. Instead, he gave it to the poor and spent it for the good of society.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) showed great orderliness in all aspects of his life, from his personal matters to all social, political, and economic affairs. He paid attention to his appearance, and was much fond of using perfume and spent so much money on that; he also encouraged his followers to do the same and to keep their bodies and houses clean.
One of the high values taught by the prophet (PBUH) was regarding the importance of time. He urged people to choose the right moment for carrying out specific activities; he would divide his day into three parts, one for saying prayers to God, one for his family, and a portion for himself, which he would share with people. He has mentioned in a narration about self-discipline that “God loves it if any of you does a job, he/she does it perfectly” .
In his social life as well as his family life, prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was always kind, affectionate, and respectful to people. He was known to have a pleasant smile on his face which never faded away. He took the lead to extend greetings to those he knew and those he did not know, including children and slaves.
The holy prophet (PBUH&HP) also showed significant love and tenderness to children; he seated them on his lap, put them on his shoulders, and kissed them. He was incredibly kind to his slaves too. He told people that the slaves were their brothers. He took a great interest in the welfare of all people, had great compassion for people in trouble, and would do his best to remove their sufferings .
Women in pre-Islamic Arabia would face nothing but neglect from society; all their personal and societal rights were disregarded to the extent that killing and burying female infants alive was a prevalent practice among them. But Islam, from its very beginning, recognized the importance of women and considered the lives of both men and women to be precious.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) commanded others to fulfill women's rights and to honor their individuality, and he showed a particular form of respect towards women himself while implementing these principles. An example of his respect towards women is his being helpful to his wives. He has said in this regard: “Beware, the best of you is he who is the best towards his women, and I am the best among all of you toward my women” .
Along with these few traits, he possessed so many other significant characteristics that anybody wishes to attain. His life was full of examples of perseverance, modesty, generosity, piety, love, mercy, forbearance, bravery, and many many other ones. Admittedly, that’s why God and His angels bless our Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP):
“Indeed Allah and His angels bless the Prophet; O you who have faith! Invoke blessings on him and invoke Peace upon him in a worthy manner” (33:56)
[i] A powerful merchant tribe that controlled Mecca and its Kaaba and that according to Islamic tradition descended from Ishmael. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born into the Banu Hashim clan of the Quraysh tribe.