Once Imam Sajjad (AS), the fourth Shiite Imam, heard a beggar asking people for charity on the 9th day of Dhu al-Hajjah, the day of Arafah. Imam Sajjad (AS) was surprised and said:
Shame on you! Are you asking somebody for help other than Allah on this holy day? While on this day, even the fetus in the uterus hopes that Allah might grant them a happy future in the world (1)
As Imam Sajjad (AS) said, the day of Arafah is the day of Allah’s great mercy toward humanity. There are two important occasions in the Islamic calendar that are considered as the most important ones: the day of Arafah and the night of Qadr.
On the second day of their pilgrimage, hajj pilgrims must stay in the Arafat plain from noon until sunset, praying and seeking forgiveness from Allah Almighty and thanking Him for the opportunity to perform Hajj. This is known as “Wuquf in Arafat”. The Arafat plain is a special place near Mecca, and it is said that no one has ever sinned in this plain.
There is also a mountain named Arafah in this plain, also known as “Jabal ar-Rahmah” which means “the mountain of Mercy”. About this mountain, Imam Baqir (AS) said:
Anyone who stays on this mountain, Allah will grant them their wishes. For the good people, Allah will grant all their wishes whether they are about this world or the Hereafter but for the bad people, only their worldly wishes will be granted (2)
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) stood on this mountain in his last days and bid farewell to his followers.
The most important practice for all the pilgrims in Mecca and those who couldn’t make it there is praying.
Ibrahim ibn Hashim, one of the Shiite scholars, once saw Abdullah ibn Jundab, one of the pupils of Imam Kazim (AS), in the Arafat plain. He said, “I saw no one like him in the plain; his hands were up in prayer all the time, shedding tears that dropped onto the earth. When people left, I told him ‘I didn’t see no one praying like you in this plain’. Abdullah ibn Jundab replied ‘I swear to Allah that I prayed only for my brothers (other Shiites) because Imam Kazim (AS) told me that anyone who prays on this day for their brothers will be called from the heavens, and Allah has given them thousand more things than what they wished for their brothers’”. (3)
Imam Ali (AS) said:
It is not obligatory for the people to gather in the Arafah Day, except if they are in Mecca, but it’s no problem if people gather in the other cities and call upon Allah together. (4)
Sudair as-Sirafy, one of the pupils of Imam Sadiq (AS), asked him about fasting in the Arafah day. Imam Sadiq (AS) said “My father wouldn’t fast on this day [and I won’t neither]”. Sudair asked: “why don’t you?” Imam Sadiq (AS) said:
The Day of Arafah is a day of supplicant and prayer. Therefore, I worry that fasting would make me weak and I couldn’t pray enough, so I don’t want to fast on this day. (5)
There are some famous prayers narrated from the Shiite Imams that should be recited on this day. Imam Hussain (AS), before he moved to Karbala, stayed in the Arafat Plain and prayed humbly with his hands raised, asking Allah for forgiveness and mercy. This beautiful prayer is full of teachings about Allah and its recitation is highly recommended. Shias mostly go to holy places like mosques and shrines and recite this prayer together.
Imam Sajjad (AS) also has a prayer exclusively for this day, which is written in the book “Sahifah as-Sajjadiah”.
Other than praying, there are some rituals mentioned in the hadiths that one can do on this day:
• Those who can’t make it to Mecca can visit the shrine of Imam Hussain (AS) in Karbala. In this regard Imam Sadiq (AS) said,
Anyone who makes pilgrimage to Karbala and washes their body in the Forat (a famous river there), and then goes to the shrine of Imam Hussain (AS), for every step they take, Allah considers it like a pilgrimage of Hajj”. (6)
• Giving charity to the needy ones
• Performing ghusl (a ritual bath)
• Fasting. Imam Ridha (AS) said,
Fasting on the day of Arafah is equal to fasting for a year. (7)
However, as Imam Sadiq (AS) mentioned, if fasting weakens you and hinders your prayer, it’s better not to fast.
- Man la Yahduruhu al-Faqih, Sheikh Saduq, vol.2, pg.211
- Vasa’il ash-Shia, Sheikh Hurr al-Ameli, vol.13, pg.546
- Vasa’il ash-Shia, Sheikh Hurr al-Ameli, vol.13, pg.544
- Vasa’il ash-Shia, Sheikh Hurr al-Ameli, vol.13, pg.561
- I’lal ash-Shara’I, Sheikh Saduq, vol.2, pg.386
- Al-Kafi, Sheikh Koleini, vol.4, pg.580
- Al-Istibsar, Sheikh Toosi, vol.2, pg.133
“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.
Judaism in Islam is considered as one of the most significant monotheistic religions, and many verses of Quran are dedicated to describing the fate of the followers of this religion. In different verses of the Holy Quran, when Allah wants to mention people of Moses, He calls them “Children of Israel” (Bani-Israel). The reason for which is that they were the generation of Prophet Jacob or Israel (PBUH), who at the time of Prophet Joseph (PBUH), migrated to Egypt and settled there for years .
After Pharaohs gained power in Egypt, they started violence against the immigrant generation of Israel by “slaughtering their sons and sparing their women” (28: 4).
Then after so many years, during which Bani-Israel were waiting for a deliverer, Moses was appointed to save them and deliver them from Egypt to the holy land: “O my people, enter the Holy Land which Allah has ordained for you, and do not turn your backs, or you will become losers’” (5: 21). They did not accept to enter the holy land as they were afraid of the people of that land. Therefore, they lost their opportunity and were wandering in the deserts for years. There was no promise that if children of Israel do not act according to God’s orders, they will still inherit the holy land.
“We dispersed them into communities around the earth: some of them were righteous, and some of them otherwise, and We tested them with good and bad [times] so that they may come back” (7: 168).
Like any other monotheistic religion that has good or bad followers, the followers of Judaism are either virtuous or sinful according to the above verse of the Holy Quran.
The bad Jews, mainly known to be Zionists, are those who are committing great sins and have huge racist beliefs. Since they believe they are the higher race and others are somehow their properties. Zionism is not a religion, but a political branch that tries to gain power using any tools, even the religion of Jews.
The Holy Quran introduces all prophets as Muslims . Quran strongly defends Jewish believers like the believers of other religions; “Indeed the faithful, the Jews, the Christians and the Sabaeans - those of them who have faith in Allah and the Last Day and act righteously—they shall have their reward from their Lord, and they will have no fear, nor will they grieve” (2: 62).
Quran confirms the book of Moses and says: “We sent down the Torah containing guidance and light” (5:44). And in another verse, it says: “Yet before it, the Book of Moses was a guide and mercy, and this is a Book in the Arabic language, which confirms it…” (46: 12).
Although Quran confirms that all the prophets were from God and they had the same message, the problem, according to the Quran, is that the book of Moses was distorted by those ignorant and arrogant followers of him.
Accordingly, Islam was sent down to the followers of all prophets and the people of all nations and lands as a final and most complete religion, which was fundamentally the same as their religion. But all true believers and true followers of prophets should now be united in the way of worshipping One God and follow the book of Muhammad (PBUH), who has been mentioned in their books (7: 156-7).
God also warns Muslims that when they wish to convey His messages to the followers of other prophets, they should be respectful towards them: “Do not argue with the People of the Book except in a manner which is best, except such of them as are wrongdoers, and say, ‘We believe in what has been sent down to us and in what has been sent down to you; our God and your God is one [and the same], and to Him do we submit’” (29: 46).
As mentioned in the article on monotheism, from the Islamic point of view, the followers of other religions should realize the perfectness of Islam “despite the distorted image of Islam” in today’s world. They need to reach complete faith based on a firm understanding of Islam as the last and the complete way of life .
Since Jews were waiting for the last prophet and when some of them found him rise from among Arabs and not from amongst themselves, they denied him, since they had this thought that Islam must belong to a specific land or specific people, and it cannot be a complete universal religion for all lands at all times.
God mentions the rabbis with so much respect in the Quran and expects them to enlighten their people in worshipping one God and not to be fighting against each other while they worship the same God: “We sent down the Torah containing guidance and light. The prophets, who had submitted, judged by it for the Jews, and so did the rabbis and the scribes, as they were charged to preserve the Book of Allah and were witnesses to it...” (5: 44).
Going through the story of Prophet Moses (PBUH) and explaining it in details in the Quran had two major reasons:
1. Since when Muhammad was assigned as a prophet, Jews annoyed him in every possible way, God kept sending revelations regarding their past actions and their behavior towards Prophet Moses from whom they had seen many miracles.
2. The story of Jewish people and how they saw the miracles of their prophet and yet, they kept denying him, is repeatedly explained in the Quran, to be a lesson for Muslims. Muslims should remember that they had hard times, too, like the Jews, and they should not become arrogant because the last prophet was raised amongst them. Muslims should not make complaints against God’s orders, and by remembering the history of Jews, they should keep in mind that if they decline Allah’s commands, they will lose their opportunities since blessing is given to those who are God-wary:
“If the people of the towns had been faithful and God-wary, We would have opened to them blessings from the heaven and the earth. But they denied; so We seized them because of what they used to earn” (7: 96).
- The Quran, Yousof (12), 93
- The Quran, Al-Shourea (42), 13
- jews in Islam