Those who do not know Islam very well and those who follow the propaganda of the media, especially in this period of time when several terrorist attacks have been committed by pseudo-Muslim groups, which do not have anything to do with Islam, accuse Islam of encouraging violence and terror. That is absolutely wrong. Islam is the religion of peace and intrinsically promotes peace. The reasons for that will be reviewed next.
The greatest miracle of Islam is the Quran; a Book. Books are among the most efficient and prominent means of connecting thoughts and minds. This means that Islam has chosen a very civilized way of communication with human beings; by having dialogues with them. By the means of the Quran, Islam, in the first place, deals with the thinking power of humans and then their emotions. In other words, Islam tries to communicate with people through common sense, mutual understanding, logic and reasoning which consequently prevents harshness or sudden actions caused by the outpouring of emotions. That is while “Book” and “communicating through words” did not serve like that regarding the previous divine religions [i].
According to Islam, one should truly believe in the Islamic principles and axioms. It means that one should accept these Islamic facts by reasoning and rational search and demonstrate his\her belief in every act and deed; otherwise, if one has not really changed his\her mind to accept Islam or accepts Islam in words but do not practice it, he\she will be a “Muslim” but not a “believer” (Mu'min). This shows that Islam educates the people who are adherent to rational and commonsensical rules and regulations and consequently prevents apostasy and chaos.
Many suppose that Immanuel Kant was the first who formed and introduced the Golden Rule, a rule of ethical conduct, while this ethical code has been among the teachings of Islam since 1400 years ago. Imam Ali (AS) and other Imams (AS) have emphasized this ethical advice by words and acts and encouraged people not to consider themselves superior to others or do not prefer their benefits to others .
Imam Ali (AS) has addressed Imam Hassan (AS) as such: “What you prefer for yourself, prefer for others; what you find objectionable for yourself, treat as such for others. Don’t wrong to anyone, just as you don't like to be wronged; do good to others just as you would like others to do good to you; that which you consider immoral for others, consider immoral for yourself” . There is no sign of injustice or cruelty among these words. On the contrary, this is an invitation to get along with others, to respect their preferences and not to expect too much from them. This is simply an encouragement to peace.
When hearing about Jihad, the first thing that strikes to mind is Al-Qaeda, ISIS and fire, and blood. Many people think that Jihad equals aggression, but that is wrong. Jihad has a clear definition. There exist two types of Jihad in Islam: Defensive and Offensive. Defensive Jihad, as can be guessed from the name, is for the aim of defending the Islamic territory against the assaults and intrusions of outsiders and invaders.
Offensive Jihad aims at liberating people from unjust oppressive regimes and allowing them to search, read and choose the right religion and lifestyle. Many Islamic jurists believe that the Offensive Jihad to invite to Islam is only allowed under certain circumstances; i.e. in the presence of the Imams (AS) and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). Otherwise, only Defensive Jihad is permitted which is actually obligatory to all Muslims in whatever condition. No one in the whole wide world would admit that defending oneself is aggression; Neither do the Muslims. Then, it is clear that unlike a widespread thought nowadays, Islam is against war and violence.
There is a theory in Islam: any harm to others or oneself is banned. It explains that a Muslim does not cause any harm to other people or do not misuse rules to cause harm to them . Through this theory, Islam protects the benefits and rights of others. This includes any individual or any group of people. It also covers both Muslim and non-Muslim societies and people, hence, this theory, in fact, reinforces and advertises the peace all around the world.
It was explained above that Islam also bans any harm to oneself. In this regard, suicide is illegal (Haram) in Islam. Some might suppose that they own their physical body while it is a divine trust offered to us to do good deeds (16:97), worship God (51:56) and practice the religion. This is another means by which Islam promotes peace all around the world.
Considering the Islamic approach described above in interaction with the humans, the efforts to establish ethical standards and to form the interrelationship among humans demonstrate the contribution and role of Islam to create a peaceful world.
[i] While Old Testament and New Testament are written by humans, the Quran is the divine revelation to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
[ii] Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated.
- Nahj al-Balaqa, Letter 31.
- peace in islam
“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
A healthy mind resides in a healthy body as they say, which may seem easy to practice but is often overlooked. Many of us are too occupied with the hurly-burly of city life that we neglect our peace of mind and physical health. But, good self-care is essential for improving your mood and reducing anxiety. Besides, every Muslim is entirely responsible for the health of both his\her body and soul: “and surely there are rights for your body over you” . To entirely commit to Allah’s commands and be able to worship Him devotedly, A Muslim requires a healthy and robust body. That is one of the reasons behind the importance of self-care and hygiene in Islam. Let’s see how one should take care of him\herself according to the Islamic guidelines.
Hygiene is a topic always emphasized in Islamic instructions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) advised maintaining health by any means possible . And this manner was highly observed by all the prophets sent by Allah . Moreover, maintaining hygiene in Islam is introduced as a way to live a longer life . According to Islamic instructions, personal hygiene can be summarized as follows:
In this regard, there are many teachings from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). Washing the head and body is of the rights of Allah almighty over every Muslim . One should not sleep at night without having washed his hands . After getting up in the morning, one should not touch any dishes unless having hands washed three times . Imam Ali (AS) advised washing the body with water to eliminate unpleasant body smell and care about hygiene and sanitation . Imam Sadiq (AS) emphasized on cutting hair to remove any filth and dirt .
Brushing teeth is repeatedly stressed as an important part of hygiene in Islam. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) considered brushing the teeth as one of the significant hygienic manners  and said that if it were not difficult for his people, he would have ordered Muslims to brush their teeth before each prayer (Salat) . Respecting oral hygiene is so important in Islam that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said, if you do not have a toothbrush available, use one of the fingers to brush your teeth . He criticized those who came to him without having the teeth brushed and with the mouth smelling unpleasant .
Some benefits for brushing the teeth include cleaning the mouth, improving the eyesight, pleasing Allah Almighty, whitening the teeth, preventing tooth decay, strengthening gums, increasing the appetite, eliminating the Phlegm, improving memory .
Moreover, using a toothpick to remove the food that remains from between the teeth was advised from the time of the Prophet (PBUH&HP). He has praised those who use the toothpick along with doing ablution (Wudhu) and after each meal . Imam Ali (AS) had also urged his (AS) family to use toothpick .
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) advised Muslim men and women to clip their nails regularly as it is where the dirt and grime aggregate . It is also strongly advised to clip nails on Friday and to say the following after that: “Bismillah wa billah wa ala sunnat e muhammadin wa aale Muhammad” .
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has several pieces of advice in this regard. He encourages faithful men and women to remove unwanted body hair regularly . Imam Ali (AS) has advised removing armpit hair to maintain hygiene and avoid unpleasant body odor .
Finally, you may find these instructions very basic and elementary, impossible not to know them. It may be so, but mentioning these guidelines in such details in Islam uncovers its holistic and perfect approach to life, considering all the facets of human life. On the other hand, sometimes we even forget to do these apparently simple things, and Islam reminds us of their importance despite being easy to do.
- Ibn Babawayh “Uyoun Akhbar Al-Ridha”, vol. 2, p. 158.
- M. Suyuti, "Al-Jami' al-Saghir", vol. 2, p. 688.
- Shaykh al-Harrani, "Tuhaf al-Uqul", p.442.
- Shaykh Mufid, "Al-Amali", p. 60.
- M. Suyuti, "Al-Jami' al-Saghir", vol. 1, p. 579.
- Shaykh al-Tabarsi, "Makarim al-akhlaq", p. 425.
- M. Suyuti, "Al-Jami' al-Saghir", vol. 1, p. 69.
- Ibn Babawayh “Al-Khisal”, p. 620.
- Shaykh al-Kolayni, "Al-Kafi", vol. 6, p. 484.
- Ibn Babawayh, "Kitab Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih", vol. 1, p. 53.
- Shaykh al-Kolayni, "Al-Kafi", vol. 3, p. 22.
- M. Suyuti, "Al-Jami' al-Saghir", vol. 1, p. 475.
- Kh. Al-Barqi, “Al-Mahasin”, p. 561.
- Shaykh al-Tabarsi, “Makarim al-Akhlaq”, p. 50.
- Qadi Nu'man, "Da'a'im al-Islam", vol. 2, p 120-121.
- Shaykh al-Tabarsi, “Makarim al-Akhlaq”, p. 153.
- Shaykh al-Tabarsi, “Makarim al-Akhlaq”, p. 66.
- Ibn Babawayh “Al-Khisal”, p. 391.
- Ibn Babawayh, "Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih", vol. 1, p. 119.
- Shaykh al-Harrani, "Tuhaf al-Uqul", p. 101.