“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.
Being exposed to the ever-alluring representation of “A Perfect Body” in media through the picture of celebrities and actors, we inevitably grow more careful about our own body and try to compare ourselves with that unrealistic image that is made real for us. And the only remedy we find to get closer to that so-called norm is to change our appearances with the help of cosmetic surgeries.
Some people see a perfect correspondence between their physical features and inner confidence and instead of working on their inner abilities to elevate their character, try to make a better look. But there may be cases in which one is forced to undergo this kind of surgery out of necessity. What is Islam’s view about this matter on the whole? Are we allowed to have cosmetic surgeries or not? What are the conditions?
In what follows we will try to find the answers to these questions.
Beauty is a very relative concept and can at least be divided into two kinds: the beauty of the body vs. the beauty of the soul. In Islam, both of these aspects are given importance. However the latter is regarded as being superior to the former; Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) says in a narration that, “Allah does not look at your faces but your hearts and deeds” .
The beauty of your character and the purity of your soul which is born with you and then can be elevated by following Allah’s guidance is far more valuable than your beautiful body. What gets you closer to Allah is your pious deeds, since: “…Indeed the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most God wary among you” (49:13).
Nevertheless, Islam is a religion that pays careful attention to the matter of personal hygiene and appearance. We have many narrations that emphasize this issue. For instance, Imam Sadeq (AS) always recommended his followers to “be neat and orderly, since Allah is beautiful and loves that which is beautifully provided that it is lawful (Halal)”.
As the best example of practicing Islamic teachings in its ideal form, prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) always appeared in his best shape both in society and at home and in this way showed Islam’s concern about the matter of appearance and outer beauty.
Having said all of the above, the idea of beautifying yourself through cosmetic surgery remains unresolved. According to most Islamic jurists, having this kind of operation is not forbidden (Haram) in itself, provided that it is done for medical treatment such as removing a burn mark or curing a deformed part of the body .
However, undergoing cosmetics surgery just for the sake of beauty and without any purpose of medical treatment is only allowed if it is done by a doctor of the same gender since it is not out of necessity. This is because in Islam patients can refer to a doctor of the opposite gender, only when no same-gender doctor is available, or his proficiency is lower than a doctor of the opposite gender. To have a better view of “Islamic Etiquette of Looking” as well as the matter of Mahrams, you can refer to the related articles.
It has been proved by many psychologists that having a better life, more often, is not related to your outward appearance; in other words, being beautiful does not necessarily make you happy. Instead, working on the inner beauty and elevating your soul leads you to a beautiful perception. However, this does not mean that Islam gives no importance to personal appearance and physical beauty. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) always rejected the notion of abandoning worldly pleasures altogether in favor of a solitary and monastic lifestyle [i].
[i] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “ There is no monasticism in Islam” .
- Mustadrak al Wassail, Vol 11, p. 264
- sul al Kafi , Vol 6 , p.442
- medical issue
- Na’aman Ibn Muhammad Tamimi Maqribi, Daaem Al-Islam, Egypt: Dar Almaaref ,Vol. 2, p.193
The month of Ramadan is one of the essential occasions in the Islamic calendar. It’s the month in which the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), it’s the month in which the most important nights of the Islamic year, the Qadr nights, or the nights of ordainment, are. It’s the month in which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) used to pray a lot. It’s the month in which practicing Muslims fast, keeping themselves from sins, evil acts, and their worldly desires. But why this month has a significant role in the Islamic calendar, and how does it play a role in the life of Muslims? Here, we are going to discuss this matter.
Fasting is not a thing just belonging to Islam. It’s been in the former religions, and it’s been referred to in other holy books. The Quran refers to the time when Allah ordered Mary not to speak to anyone, as a form of fast:
Eat, drink, and be comforted. Then if you see any human, say, ‘‘Indeed I have vowed a fast to the All-beneficent, so I will not speak to any human today. (19:26)
“Muslims are asked to be fasting in the month of Ramadan: O you who have faith! Prescribed for you is fasting as it was prescribed for those who were before you, so that you may be God-wary.” (2:183)
Also, Allah promises a great reward for both men and women who fast:
“Indeed, the Muslim men and the Muslim women, the faithful men and the faithful women… the men who fast and the women who fast, the men who guard their private parts and the women who guard, the men who remember Allah greatly and the women who remember [Allah greatly]—Allah holds in store for them forgiveness and a great reward.”(33:35)
As a result, the month of Ramadan is when Muslims begin to have a close relation with Allah and practice preserving themselves from evil acts, temptations, human passions, etc. In response, Allah promises to reward those who do so, with the best rewards.
As Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said, “The Month of Ramadan starts with mercy, goes on with forgiveness and ends with redemption.”  Therefore, this month is a chance for Muslims to ponder on their deeds, find where they have gone wrong, and ask Allah’s help and forgiveness to fix those mistakes and become a better version of themselves. Allah’s mercy includes everyone, at any time and anywhere. Yet, the month of Ramadan is when He pours down His blessings upon His creatures more than ever and is an excellent opportunity for the ones who are willing to benefit from it.
Qadr Night or the Night of Ordainment is highly sacred in Islam. On 19th, 21st, 23rd or 27th of Ramadan, Allah inspired the holy Quran to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), and it refers to this fact:
Indeed We sent it down on the Night of Ordainment. And what will show you what is the Night of Ordainment? The Night of Ordainment is better than a thousand months. In it, the angels and the Spirit descend, by the leave of their Lord, with every command. It is peaceful until the rising of the dawn. (97:1-5)
So, one of the significances of this night is the inspiration of the Holy Quran to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP).
The other significance of this night, according to the Imams (AS), is being known as the night of destiny. Imam Sadiq (AS) calls it the heart of Ramadan . He also says that in the night of ordainment, everything, from death to life, is predestined. So Muslims usually stay awake during that night, praying to Allah to excuse their sins, and they pray for their earthly and unearthly wishes. That is the night in which Allah has said He does listen to the prayers of His servants. That is the night when one can change his/her fate for better, praying and asking Allah to do so.
The month of Ramadan is a chance for anyone who wants to be closer to Allah, a better person, and a guided human being. There are many divine purposes for this holy month, and especially the ritual of fasting, which will be discussed in another article.
- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 93, p.342.
- Bihar al Anvaar, vol 58, p 376.