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.
Some people ask why Muslims do not celebrate Christmas? Is that because they do not agree on the 25th of December as Jesus birthday? Or is that because they say Christians believe in Jesus as the son of God, while Muslims do not believe in Trinity, as well as they believe that Islam is the religion that is more complete than Christianity and all other religions that came in the past; the same way that Christians believe that Christianity is a more complete religion than Judaism.
But let’s put aside the issue of Islamic view on the date of birth of Prophet Jesus (PBUH). The most important fact that causes Muslims not to wish to celebrate Christmas is the matter of identity. Do Muslims expect Christians or Jews to celebrate Islamic occasions? Does it not sound logical that each culture celebrates its own occasions and rituals? Of course, people who were born Muslims in Muslim countries or communities would like to celebrate their own occasions.
But here we are discussing the issue of those who have converted to Islam. Or those who are Muslim and live in societies with a majority of Christians.
Prophet Jesus (PBUH) is among the Prophets whose names and stories have been mentioned in many chapters of the Holy Quran. This shows the high status of Prophet Jesus (PBUH) and his respected mother – Mary- for Muslims. Prophet Jesus (PBUH) and his mother are so beloved for Muslims that many Muslims name their children after them, and the Islamic society takes every possible chance to admire their position.
It is for this very high level of respect for the Prophet Jesus (PBUH) that Muslims will be offended when he is called the son of God. Since Allah says in the Holy Quran “ That they attribute to the Most Merciful a son. And it is not appropriate for the Most Merciful that He should take a son. There is no one in the heavens and earth but that he comes to the Most Merciful as a servant.” (19: 91-3)
In the same chapter, Allah says “The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded.” (5:75)
The ruling on taking part in Christmas parties is the same as taking part in any other party. It is allowed to participate in Christmas parties if there is no forbidden (Haram) act taking place; such as drinking, backbiting or forbidden (Haram) music, singing, or dancing [i], etc.
In Islamic jurisprudence, there is no harm in celebrating the birthday of Prophet Jesus (PBUH). Also if Muslims do not wish to celebrate Christmas among their cultural occasion, it is forbidden (Haram) to disrespect Christian rituals.
“And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination. But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness …” (31:14-15)
The above verses clearly define that respecting and caring for parents in the eyes of God is not because of their religion. But He says that you have to respect them, only because your mother carried you for nine months and fed you when you were a weak baby. Therefore non-Muslim parents have all the rights that Muslim parents have. And there is no difference between Muslim or non-Muslim parents if they ask you to do something which is not accepted by God. In those cases, you have to disobey them BUT keep respecting them and behave kindly towards them.
Congratulating Christmas to Christians is not forbidden (Haram), as long as it is not considered to be a confirmation of their belief in Trinity while keeping in mind that you believe that Islam is the last religion sent by God to complete the past religions, but it is rather recommended to respect our relatives, friends or neighbors who are Christians with congratulating them on their happy occasions.
Although we discussed that Muslims who live in Islamic countries or Western countries would rather celebrate their own cultural occasions among their Islamic communities, there is a duty upon those Muslims who live in the West and may live with non-Muslim friends and families.
It is a duty upon every individual Muslim to spread the words of God as much as possible. And if a Muslim has the position of clarifying the status of prophet Jesus (PBUH) as a prophet and not the son of God or as a god, then he/ she should not take this opportunity for granted and mention the fact that Jesus (PBUH) was not but a respected Prophet of God.
However, it is not obligatory for Muslims to speak out about this issue when they participate in Christmas parties (in which no forbidden (Haram) act will take place), but if there is a chance of talking about the issue, it would be good to mention the Islamic opinion about the Prophet Jesus (PBUH).
[i] Read about forbidden (Haram) music in the related article.
[ii] “This day [all] good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. And [lawful in marriage are] chaste women from among the believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you, when you have given them their due compensation, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse or taking [secret] lovers. And whoever denies the faith - his work has become worthless, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.” (5: 5)
All Abrahamic religions believe in the return of the savior, the liberator of the human beings and redeemer, in the End-Time. Prophets and divine messengers have promised the day that the whole universe will be full of justice and tenderness. Other religions also have similar beliefs, although they differ in some minor aspects, which will be discussed below. We go through references from different religions and faiths to examine their views about the last savior.
In Upanishads, which is a collection of ancient Sanskrit texts that contain some of the central philosophical concepts and ideas of Hinduism, the last savior is called Kalki. He is believed to be the tenth avatar of Hindu god Vishnu in the last of the four stages in the endless cycle of existence known as "Samsara," which is defined "as the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Or as the world of suffering and dissatisfaction (dukkha)" . He rides a white horse with a fiery sword. He will end the darkest and destructive period to remove adharma [i] and will usher in the Satya Yuga [ii].
Another reference talks about a just commander at the end-time who is the leader of angels and humans, who knows the truth and gets hold of everything from deep in the seas too high in the mountains, and no one greater than him will come to earth .
In Zoroastrianism, there are three saviors who each will rise in a thousand years. The last one is an eschatological savior figure who will destroy evil and will bring about the renovation of the world. He is called Saoshyant, which means the beneficent in its single form. Yet, in its plural form, it is considered to mean the redeemer. The Khorda Avesta describes this savior as such:
Whose name will be the victorious SAOSHYANT and whose name will be Astvat-ereta. He will be SAOSHYANT (the Beneficent One) because he will benefit the whole bodily world; he will be ASTVAT-ERETA (he who makes the bodily creatures rise up), because as a bodily creature and as a living creature he will stand against the destruction of the bodily creatures, to withstand the Druj of the two-footed brood, to withstand the evil done by the faithful. 
Accordingly, the Soashyant will rise at the end-time and fight against the vices in the world and spread justice and goodness far and wide.
In some of the Buddhist references, such as the Amitabha Sutra and the Lotus Sutra, we read about the future Buddha of this world, called Maitreya, who will be a successor to the present Buddha. In Sanskrit, Maitreya means kindness and love. According to Buddhist religious texts, Maitreya will be the fifth and last Buddha who will appear on the earth. The arrival of Maitreya is expected at a time in the future when the dharma will have been forgotten by most on the earth. That is when Maitreya will appear on the earth to achieve complete enlightenment and to teach the pure dharma .
The Taoist last savior, called Li Hong, is depicted as an ideal leader who would reappear to set right heaven (tian) and earth (dì) at a time of upheaval and chaos. Li Hong will appear at the end of the world cycle to rescue the chosen people, who would be distinguished by certain talismans, practices, and virtues .
The Jews belief in the savior is manifested in the idea of the coming of Moshiach (i.e., Messiah). This person is believed to be a descendant of King David, who will "gather the Jews from all over the world and bring them back to the land of Israel" . There are many verses in different scriptures and Talmudic [iii] literature which refer to this figure and enumerate his characteristics and manners [iv]. For instance, Isaiah says:
And there shall come forth a rod from the stock of Jesse [King David's father], and a branch shall grow from his roots; and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in fear of the Lord; and he shall not judge by what his eyes see, nor decide by what his ears hear. But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the humble of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
Those who follow Judaism believe that their savior has not been born yet. Therefore, they are eagerly awaiting the coming of the one who will save them and establish a just dominion in which "there will be world peace, no more wars nor famine, and, in general, a high standard of living" .
Christians believe that Jesus Christ (PBUH) is himself the savior of humankind, and he was born for this purpose. The name Christ literally means "the anointed one" or the Messiah . As the Gospel of Matthew says, Jesus Christ (PBUH) has been sent to "Save his people from their sins" (1:20-21). It is also believed that Jesus Christ (PBUH) had been crucified to atone the sins of humanity and lead them toward salvation. According to Christian sources, Jesus Christ (PBUH) was the savior who was awaited by the Jews as whose coming was predicted in the Torah as the Moshiach.
Another point which makes Jesus Christ (PBUH) the awaited savior in Christianity is the idea of his second coming or the Second Advent in the end-time to whose "day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Mark 13:32). This is the belief in "the future return of Christ in glory when it is understood that he will set up his kingdom, judge his enemies, and reward the faithful, living and dead" . Different gospels, including Matthew chapters 24–25; Mark, chapter 13; Luke, chapter 21:5–26, and John, chapter 14:25–29, are mentioned as the evidence for this belief. Moreover, according to biblical verses, there will be many signs indicating the end-time among which the second coming of Jesus Christ (PBUH) and the last judgment.
Therefore, like many other religions, Christians also believe in a savior or as they call it the Messiah, who will make this world a better place and free it from oppression and injustice.
In Islam, the belief in the savior is rooted in the fact that Allah never leaves His creatures, especially human beings, on their own and support them through sending His apostles to guide them toward the right path: "and there is a guide for every people" Quran (13:7). He had sent 124000 prophets (PBUT) first, followed by righteous leaders who continued the path of previously chosen messengers of Allah. As the Quran says, "Certainly We wrote in the Psalms, after the Torah: 'Indeed My righteous servants shall inherit the earth.'" (21:105).
Therefore, the earth will never become empty of Allah's guide, and people will benefit from these guiding lights either directly or indirectly. Imam Mahdi (AS), the twelfth leader of Muslims and a descendant of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), who is leading a secret life at the time, will ultimately rise and spread peace and humanity throughout the earth. "The Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) informed Muslims about his reappearance, telling his names, attributes, appellations, and peculiarities" . The time of his coming is unknown, and it is followed by the preparation of particular circumstances.
The signs that indicate his coming include "Widespread injustice and oppression, the advent of Dajjal (Anti-Christ) who would misguide the thinking of the people, the advent of Sufyani who is one of the pillars of mischief and corruption on the earth, the formation of the Islamic army, which would raise up black standards, the voice of the angel of the sky giving glad-tidings of his reappearance, the coming down on earth of Jesus Christ (PBUH) and his paying allegiance to and praying behind in congregation Prayers led by Imam Mahdi (AS)" 
This belief in the last savior, who would stand against tyranny and injustice and remind human beings of their real value, also, highlights Islam's optimism toward the future of the world.
Finally, we have reviewed the belief in the last savior or the person who will save humankind from the evilness and destruction in this world in different faiths and religions. On a more in-depth look, we can find many similarities between these beliefs. However, the Abrahamic religions had a more precise and more tangible attitude toward the idea of the last savior and the time of his coming. Therefore, the concept of the savior is one of the most essential and significant matters regarding the future of human destiny.
[i] Opposite to dharma, which includes unnaturalness, wrongness, evil, immorality, wickedness, and vice.
[ii] The period when humanity will be governed by gods and every manifestation or work is close to the purest ideal, and humanity will allow intrinsic goodness to rule supreme.
[iii] The central text of Judaism and the primary source of the Jewish religion.
[iv] Isaiah 2, 11, 42; 59:20, Jeremiah 23, 30, 33; 48:47; 49:39, Ezekiel 38:16, Hosea 3:4-3:5, Micah 4, Zephaniah 3:9, Zechariah 14:9, Daniel 10:14.
- the man on the white horse
- The Vishnu Purana, trans. Horace Hayman Wilson, London: Trübner & co., Book IV, Chapter 24.
- Khorda Avesta, Translated by James Darmesteter (From Sacred Books of the East, American Edition, 1898.), Part five
- Anna K. Seidel. "Perfect Ruler in Early Taoist Messianism: Lao-tzu and Li Hung." History of Religions, Vol. 9, No. 2/3
- The end of days
- what does christ mean
- second coming
- Sayyid Ali al-Husayni al-Milani, The Promised Savior: An inquiry into the imamate of Imam Mahdi (as) from the viewpoint of Muslim thinkers, part 1, p.8.
- Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi, The Life of Imam al-Mahdi, Trans. Sayyid Athar Husayn S.H. Rizvi, p.259-283. Pdf.