“Put a piece of meat in various parts of town and see in which place it will get rotten more slowly, that would be the proper place for a hospital.” That was the extraordinarily wise and innovative advice of a famous Iranian physician, who at that time lived in Baghdad, to the people who were in search of the most suitable place for building a hospital.This great physician is no one other than Muhammad Ibn Zakariya Razi, also known as Ar-Razi or Rhazes among European scholars, who for the first time in the history of medicine and chemistry, discovered a chemical substance, which served a great deal to these fields, called “alcohol.”
He was born in 865 A.D in the city of Rey, located in Iran. Though his father tried so hard to make him follow his occupation which was gold smithery, he finally pursued his interest which was alchemy and chemistry at that time.
Having spent many years of his life as an alchemist, he eventually found out that the only field worth learning and working in, was medicine. Moreover, as Al-Birooni  claimed, he lost his eyesight when he was occupied in alchemy, and finding a cure for this disability became his motive in turning his direction to medicine.
To learn medicine thoroughly, he left his hometown for Baghdad where the most advanced hospitals were located. He studied and practiced medicine at the local hospital. After spending many years in Baghdad and gaining experience, he moved back to his beloved hometown, Rey.
There, he became the head of its local hospital. He is known to have been the first person who introduced the method of teaching medicine in its modern form used today in our hospitals. As compassionate and devoted as he was, he never stopped curing sick people, rich or poor, and teaching medicine to the students of any background.
He died on the 15th of October in 925 A.D where he was born and spent most of his life, in the city of Rey.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica , he was the first physician who differentiated between measles and smallpox. Besides he is considered to be the father of pediatrics and a pioneer in ophthalmology- the study and treatment of eye disorders and diseases.
He also believed in treatment with proper diet rather than prescribing medicines to his patients. The translation of his most important works in medicine such as “Al-Hawi”  and “Al-Mansuri”  has long been taught in medical universities of European countries such as Germany and France.
He was a devoted Muslim who was profoundly influenced by the teachings of Islam. His idea about the importance of seeking knowledge with one’s full capacity is in close association with the idea of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when he said: “those who peruse knowledge, will be perused by heaven”  & .
The great Iranian Muslim physician, chemist, and philosopher, Muhammad Ibn Zakariya Razi, with his everlasting contributions in medicine and chemistry, did not remain limited to his time or geographical boundaries. He was the great physician of his time and is considered a respected and influential doctor of our age in all parts of the world.
- "ar-Razi." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.Jun. 2014
- Mahmud Najm Abadi, The History of Medicine in Iran and World of Islam.
- Mottaqi Hindi, Kanz al-Aamal.
- Muhammad, Mizan al Hekmah, vol. IV, Qum: Dar al-Hadith Institution, 1386. p.398.
On the last days of the year, we usually look back at what we did and what were the things we gained in that 365 days that passed. Sometimes, we would regret the times that were wasted or the opportunities that were lost, but at the end of the day, we feel grateful for what we achieved and for having the chance to enjoy the rest of our lives.
Thanksgiving is one of those opportunities that make us stop for a moment and look closer at our life, embracing what has been given to us freely, that is the love and support of our family, and be grateful for what we have gained so far.
Let’s have a quick glance at the history of Thanksgiving and Islam’s attitude toward celebrating it.
Thanksgiving roots back to some traditions held during English Reformation in Britain. However, in 1621 the first Thanksgiving day was held by “the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians” in North America, after a successful autumn harvest. However, “It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November” .
Whatever be the history of this day – having some explicit or implicit negative points aside from its positive aspects -, Islam holds a positive attitude toward the concept of thanksgiving. In what follows we will have a brief look at this view of Islam.
As we said in the article on Halloween, Islam is not against celebrating and having fun. There are four points that we, as Muslims, should observe in any tradition or celebration that we intend to take part:
1. It should not be harmful to ourselves and others, physically and mentally. A superstitious ceremony which is not based on any logical reason, and has no benefit for our mind and soul is not considered a proper kind of celebration according to Islam.
2. It should not result in ignoring our Islamic duties. Meaning that participating in a celebration should not lead us toward doing what we are not supposed to do as Muslims (e.g., drinking alcohol, eating Haram food, wearing immodest clothes, etc.) or forgetting what we must do as Muslims (e.g., praying, fasting, etc.).
3. It should not be a worthless and aimless pleasure that would only waste our time. “Islam always recommends us to be aware of what we are doing and think about our intention before any action. Even when we are having fun, there should be something behind it that makes it worthwhile. When enumerating the characteristics of a faithful person in Quran, Allah also mentions those who avoid vain actions (23:3); i.e., those activities that have no use for us and would only waste our time” .
4. Participating in that celebration should not make us like atheists or those who are against the belief in one God. That is to say, “A Muslim’s life should mirror his beliefs in every aspect. So, if an action even in appearance, represents what is against Islam or far from its teachings, then it should be avoided by Muslims” .
Thanksgiving is one of those celebrations that are very close to Islamic teachings. Being grateful to the creator for the blessings He had bestowed upon us  and also thanking other people for what they did for us, is one of the encouraged manners in Islam.
Also, Thanksgiving is a chance to gather with family and relatives and enjoy their company which is very much recommended in Islam. Prophet Muhammad (PBUHHP) said that: “I command all the people of my followers (Umma), whether present or not, and those generations which are to come … to maintain family kinship even if they live at a distance of a year's journey.” . The family is one of the most significant blessings of Allah to us, so we should give thanks to Allah for this precious blessing.
As a way to thank for God’s blessings, some people would give charity to those who are less privileged or are under financial pressures . This is one of the most praised actions in Islam and is highlighted in many narrations [i] as well as verses of the Quran: “You will never attain piety until you spend out of what you hold dear, and whatever you may spend on anything, Allah indeed knows it.” (3: 92). Thus, Allah would consider helping others as an act of gratitude.
Some American families would watch football games together, and some would play football together. Some others would pack up and go on a journey. Islam always recommended having fun, playing sports and traveling [ii]. Muslims should not keep themselves from enjoying Halal and lawful activities [iii].
As Muslims, we should keep in mind that whatever we have is granted by Allah. Thus the ultimate one to whom we give thanks is Him. That is the least we can do in return for Allah’s blessings. According to Imam Ali (AS), those who worship Allah as a way to appreciate His favors, are the most free-spirited ones, comparing with others who worship Allah with other purposes .
Thanksgiving Day is only a reminder. We should always thank Allah, in every breath and every moment of our lives. A Muslim knows the reason that he/she is alive, and is enjoying all kinds of opportunities and blessings is only Allah. Therefore, every day is a Thanksgiving Day for a Muslim.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have the opportunity to be thankful for what they have. Sometimes we find more things to complain than to be grateful. While if we consider what we have instead of what we don’t, our life would be much happier and more satisfactory. So, giving thanks is itself a blessing that Allah bestows upon the ones who believe in Him. Thus He says in the Quran, “And few of My servants are grateful” (34:13).
The more we are thankful, the more blessings will rain down on our life . A simple Physics formula that every action will have a reaction. The result of our thankfulness will be Allah’s favor on us. Therefore, Allah says: “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]” (14:7).
Being thankful is not limited only to significantly great things. Even small or seemingly insignificant favors should be appreciated. Sometimes what we consider small or insignificant is far more important than what we think. Like having the chance of embracing our parents, kissing our kids, finding the nature’s beauties, being healthy or even breathing clean air. When we appreciate these favors and much more that are less seen by others, we realize Allah’s great love and care that includes every living creature, especially us.
It is not enough only to say you are thankful. You should show it in your actions as well. Whether it is God that you are grateful or your fellow human beings, you should do something that represent your thankfulness. Knowing that all we have is from Allah and not participating in sinful actions with the use of Allah’s blessings are only two ways of showing your thankfulness . Also, helping others and giving away to the needy are other ways of appreciating your privileges .
Having said that, don’t forget that expressing your gratitude in words is cherished by Allah and there are many recommended and specific manners in doing so. For instance praying to Allah, performing a two Rak’aa prayer (Salat) with the intention of giving thanks to Allah, repeating some Zikr (short Islamic phrases for praying; e.g. Alhamd-u-lillah (praise be to Allah), Shukr-an-lillah (Thanks to Allah), Allah-u-Akbar (Allah is the greatest), Subhan Allah (Glorious is God)), etc.
[i] Imam Reza (AS) stated in a narration that after having faith in Allah and his messengers, there is no better way of thanking Allah than to help your fellow human beings in their worldly matters .
[ii] Quran (29:20)
[iii] Quran (5:87)
The debates and discussions regarding the relationship between ethics and economy in Islam are one of the most controversial and never-ending ones in the history of economics. To have a brief grasp of this issue, let’s take a look at some of the arguments and what Islam thinks of this relationship.
Many of the modern economists believe that economic issues, just like other materialistic ones, are only governed by specific natural and scientific rules that can be examined through empirical evaluations . Accordingly, since ethical and moral matters cannot be understood through scientific ways of assessment and are not empirical, then they cannot be in any way related to the science of economy and business.
While it is true that both the economy and natural sciences are based on the principle of causality, the nature of this relationship entirely differs in each one of them. That is, cause and effect work for natural phenomena in a deterministic way, while in the case of the economy, one party -human beings- in this relationship is capable of choosing based on his/her own free will .
In other words, in economic issues, this law of causality appears in an indeterministic way, since human beings are born naturally to be independent and free to choose. So, here comes the issue of ethics through which human values would be defined, and their choice would be directed.
Moreover, the other reason that some economists believe in the separation of economy and ethics roots back in their worldview, that is their view of human being and their relationship with the world and their Creator.
This opinion is mainly based on the humanistic and philosophical principles of capitalistic societies such as Deism, Humanism, Individualism, and Utilitarianism, all of which exclude God and spiritual matters and regard human beings and his desires as the sole purpose of life. On the other hand, according to the Islamic worldview, God is the center and pivot of the universe in which human beings are His successors .
Consequently, the whole of nature with all its resources is given to humankind as a kind of loan which he can only use for a specific period. Furthermore, Islam considers two aspects of human beings: one spiritual and the other material, both sides of him/her should be taken into account in all his/her activities, including business. As a result, he is bound to execute financial affairs concerning ethical and moral principles.
According to the Holy Quran, a person who observes moral and ethical principles in his financial affairs would develop some characteristics in his life regarding materialistic issues, such as
1. Being observant of other people’s economic interests and sometimes preferring their interests over his/her own ,
2. Not being dependent on his/her wealth, only using it with the intention of God’s satisfaction and serving the people in need ,
3. Showing self-restraint and patience when facing difficulties, not losing his/her control at the time of prosperity, and avoiding extravagance and ostentation ,
4. Having foresight and deep insight into the way he/she earns and spends money .
To conclude, an economic system without moral principles will have no result other than causing injustice and dissatisfaction both for each individual and the society in which he/she lives. Ethical issues, specifically of Islamic kind, should be salient in all aspects of the economy -e.g., production, distribution, spending, etc.- for the people in society to reach a desirable environment for lawful and satisfactory business and trading .
- Tafazzoli, Freydoon. Tarikhe Aghayede Eghtesadi (A History of Economic Ideologies). 1st ed. Tehran, Nei Publication
- for more information about Islam’s idea regarding human beings willpower see the Holy Quran: 18:29, 76:3 and 13:11.
- 1:265, 51:19
- 35: 29-30
- Iravani, Javad. Akhlaghe Eghtesadi Az Didgahe Quran va Hadith. Majaleye Takhasosie Elahiat va Hughugh 14, 1383. P 90-100.