One of the aims of sending Prophets (PBUT), including Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) , was to recite to faithful people the signs of Allah Almighty, to purify them and to teach them the Book and wisdom (3:164). Therefore, the Quran considers Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) as an excellent exemplar for the believers (33:21). It means that all his deeds and behaviors at the individual, social, political, and cultural levels and even with other nations of that era, are instructive and he (PBUH & HP) is a perfect role model to be followed. Besides, he (PBUH & HP) was sent as a mercy to all the nations (21:107), both Muslims and non-Muslims. Hence, his approach in spreading peace and concordance in the world can be an excellent model to be followed. Here, we review how Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) acted in this regard.
Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH & HP) Sunnah did not ignore other nations and their internal independence at all. On the contrary, Islam is a worldwide religion that has recognized other tribes and nations, whether inside or outside of the Islamic state’s territory. Clear evidence for that are the treaties that have been made between the Islamic state and different nations or tribes during the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP). In the pre-Islamic Arab era, fighting other tribes, killing, and bloodshed was a culture. But, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) made various treaties and emphasized on adhering to them to demonstrate how the tension between parties can be peacefully reduced and fighting back is the option only when invaded. The Islamic state was always faithful to the peace treaties as far as other parties were so.
As an example, as soon as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) arrived at Medina, he drew up a covenant among those who had emigrated with him from Mecca (Muhajirin) and the Jewish tribes of Medina including Aws and Khazraj (who were known later as Ansar (i.e. helpers, since they helped Muhajirin). This covenant was called the Constitution of Medina. This constitution aimed to guarantee the security and coexistence of various groups who lived in Medina and formed the basis of a multi-religious Islamic state. Some of its articles were:
• Muslims and Jews constitute “one nation” (Ummah Wahidah). Muslims are on their religion, so are Jews;
• Muslims and Jews are gracious to each other;
• The Jews adhered to this constitution should be protected and helped. No oppression upon them. No alliance with their enemies;
• Each party of this constitution should be allied with the other in case one of them is invaded;
• Both parties should ally whenever Medina is invaded;
• Both parties should take part in the expenses in case of a war. Muslims should pay their expenses, so do the Jews .
At the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP), Mecca was under the control of one of the most significant Arabian tribes called Quraysh, who were polytheists. They had forbidden Muslims to enter the city and perform Hajj rituals. After Prophet (PBUH & HP) had dreamed entering Mecca doing Hajj rituals with companions, this Ayah confirmed his (PBUH & HP) dream: “Certainly Allah has fulfilled His Apostle’s vision in all truth: You will surely enter the Sacred Mosque, God willing, in safety, with your heads shaven or hair cropped, without any fear.” (48:27). Hence, The Prophet (PBUH & HP) and a group of Muslims with some other Arabs of around Medina, marched peacefully towards Mecca without arms, in the hope of making a pilgrimage. At first, Quraysh prevented them from entering Mecca. Still, after some negotiations, a treaty called the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah was drawn up between the two parties, which helped to decrease the tension between them.
This treaty guaranteed a 10-year peace between Quraysh and Muslims and authorized Muslims to return to Mecca in the following year to perform a peaceful pilgrimage .
- M. A. Amini, “The principle of peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims in Islam,” Ma’rifat Journal, no. 165, p. 35-52.
Everybody has a name and is known by that name among his/her friends, family, and in the society. Names might seem as some letters simply put together that form a word, but there is more to names than that. Every name represents the identity of its owner and sometimes affects the personality of that person. In Islamic teachings, great attention is paid to the names, and a lot of advice exists on how to choose a proper name for the new-borns. Someone who converts to Islam is said to be a re-born, so, is he/she required to choose another name for him/herself after this new birth? and should he/she Chang his/her Name after Converting to Islam?
The answer to the question above depends on what one’s name means and the origin of that name. There is no need to change the names:
without any specific orientation like the names of the flowers, or the names which are popular in a region or area but without any ideological persuasion, etc.;
without any negative backgrounds;
that do not bear negative historical, conceptual or educational meanings.
On the whole, a convert is not obliged to change his/her name, unless in the above where he/she is free to decide. In this regard, considering the Islamic teachings in naming can be helpful.
Choosing a proper name is one of the children’s rights over the parents. A good name positively affects its owner’s mind, and its meaning unconsciously strengthens the features implied in it in the character of the owner . On the contrary, a funny or ridiculous name causes the owner to be laughed at or to be mocked by others.
This matter is of great importance in Islam that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said choosing a good name is a duty of the father . Also, giving the child a good name is known as the first gift a father gives to his child . In another narration, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) commands Muslims to choose good names for their children since on Judgment Day also they will be called by the names they have in this world .
But, what is a good name?
In Islam, the concept of being good and evil is first determined based on rationality and then according to the Islamic law (Shari’a), so do proper names. A good name should be therefore rationally pleasant.
Are Non-Islamic Names Allowed?
In Islam, some names like those of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and Imams (AS) are said to bring abundant blessings to its owner and his/her family . Choosing these names for children, according to a narration from Imam Sadiq (AS), is the sign of the devotion that one has for the Prophet (PBUH&HP) and his family (Ahl al-Bayt (AS)) .
However, choosing names other than these names are not prohibited by Islam. In other words, the meaning of the name, its history, and the educational effects it has on one’s personality, matter much more than the fact of being Islamic or not.
During the history of Islam, there existed some converts who had common non-Islamic names after they converted. Since they hold the names common in their regions or tribes and free of any negative concept, they kept their names after embracing Islam. Hence, there is no obligation in choosing an Islamic name.
- Name in Islam
- S. Hal-Amili, “Wasail al-Shia”, vol. 2, p. 618.
- S. H. al-Amili, “Wasail al-Shia”, vol. 15, p. 128.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 101, p. 131, T. 29.
- S. H. al-Amili, “Wasail al-Shia”, vol. 15, p. 129.
- Shaykh Sadouq, “Sawab-ul-Aamal wa Iqab-ul-Aamal”, p. 300.
The concept of the last savior and his advent exist in many religions, although with some fundamental differences. Here we review what expecting the last savior in Islam means, what are its requirements and how it improves the quality of one’s life.
Awaiting, in general, represents a situation where someone is hoping or watching for something to happen, especially for a long time. Awaiting the last savior means hoping for the last divine messenger who will reveal the truth and spread justice and peace in the whole universe. In Surah Qasas, it is stated that: “We wanted to confer a favor upon those who were oppressed in the land and make them leaders and make them inheritors” (28:5). This is a promising divine concept which enlightens the hearts, prepares human beings for receiving who they are waiting for, and brings hope to them .
We are surely living in an era that is filled with injustice; some people are at war, and many of them face discrimination and hypocrisy. From an Islamic point of view, even the physical presence of the last savior brings mercy over human beings, and all these shortcomings are due to his absence. Hence, a conscious human being, a creature that is a perfectionist in nature, does not tolerate these shortcomings and defects and tries to remove the barriers against the presence of the last savior.
Being a perfectionist and trying to achieve a better condition is an inherent quality of the human beings that regulates almost all activities of every human being towards perfection. Hence, a conscious human being is naturally inclined toward accelerating the coming of the last savior.
4. Making Efforts to Pass the Current Unfavorable Condition and to Reach a Desirable Situation
Hoping for a better future that the presence of the last savior will bring about is not sufficient. One should also make efforts and participate in the process of preparing the requirements of the advent of the savior.
Sometimes something is missed in our life, but we are not even aware of that. The very first step in the process of awaiting the last savior is to know that there is divine mercy that is absent.
One might be aware of the absence of the last savior but does not believe that human beings require his presence and guidance. Hence, waiting for the last savior requires one to contemplate and know what his presence will bring about for human society. In fact, this situation is like a divine test to see whether one will rely on his\her abilities and will to improve the current condition.
Those who do not believe in the advent of the last savior will undoubtedly not await for him. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and Imams (AS) have always tried to reinforce the belief in the advent of the last savior and to prevent any despair among human beings. In this regard is a narration (hadith) from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), which describes that The Judgment Day will not arrive until one of his descendants rises with the truth and makes his advent whenever Allah permits . One who believes in the advent of the savior in Islam should also wish that it happens, otherwise, he\she is not really awaiting his advent. This requires having a clear vision of the things that will happen if the last savior emerges. If one is afraid of that time, he\she will surely not await for him to come.
Although the items above make one await for the savior, believing that this might happen very soon will cause one to get ready to help the last savior in Islam in his peace plan.
- M. Musavi Isfahani,"Mikyal al Makarim", vol. 2, p. 235.
- Wasa’il ash-Shi’a, vol. 7, p. 325.