“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.
Another year has come around and another Hajj (holy pilgrimage) period has started for Muslims from all around the world. Those who have decided to take part in this year’s Hajj may have already made some preparations for this holy journey or are in the process of gathering their stuff and making arrangements. But even when we think we are more than ready, we find ourselves saying: “Oh, I forgot that!” right on the way to the airport!
Hajj is a journey that every Muslim is required to participate and loves to do so. However, according to Islamic principles, before deciding to take part in this occasion, you should ask yourself these three questions:
1. Can you afford Hajj financially? [i] (This includes buying tickets, hotel expenses, and your expenses during your stay in Mecca and Medina, etc.)
2. Are you physically able to perform Hajj rituals? [ii]
3. Is the route to Mecca and Medina (to which I recommend you to travel and have a plan for it) safe and open? [iii]
If you are positive about all the above questions, you are considered to be Mustati (i.e., obliged to take part in Hajj) . Then you can start preparing yourself for this journey. If not, don’t get disappointed. Pray to Allah to give you the necessary abilities for participating in the next year Hajj.
Hajj is first and foremost a spiritual journey. A journey to the depth of your soul. If you don’t know why you are taking all these difficulties, then your effort will lose its meaning. Like any other action in Islam, you should perform Hajj with the intention of Allah’s satisfaction and surrendering to His will.
Search for a travel agency which offers various Hajj packages and consult with them about the necessary documents you need in order to ask for visa from Saudi Arabia. You can also visit the website of Saudi Arabia‘s Ministry of Hajj for more information.
You can also ask your friends or acquaintances who have taken this journey before about the best travel agency for Hajj. Or you can visit the nearest mosque or Islamic center in your city, and ask the Muslims there about travel agencies.
Either way, make sure you know about the date, duration, accommodation, your representative there, and the type of transportation your agency offers within Mecca and to Medina. You can find some useful questions to ask from travel agencies on this website.
The best way is to google it. Try to have a clear view of all the places you will visit during Hajj such as Mina, Arafat, etc. You can download a map and see the locations. Also make sure you check the weather, to know which clothing best suits you. Typically Saudi Arabia is hot during Hajj rituals so be ready for a hot and sunny journey!
Since Hajj rituals take much energy and need a healthy body to complete the tasks before everything visit your doctor and have a check-up. If there are any medicines that you should use during your journey, make sure you get the prescription from the doctor and buy the medicines beforehandedly.
Hajj is a one-month journey, so you will need many things during this time. Here is a list of some necessary or useful things to pack in your baggage for Hajj:
An extra set of clothing (white underwear, trousers, hijab, white socks, etc.)
Waist Pouch (Fanny Pouch)
slippers (flip-flops, thongs), sneakers
towels (2 large, 2 small)
elastic eye-glass holder
sunglasses (or clip-on sunshades)
travel alarm clock
A scent-free lotion or Vaseline
A scent-free sun protection free
A medical face mask
toothbrush and toothpaste
small shampoo bottle
some plastic bags
Saudi Arabia’s Money (Rials)
Guidelines for Hajj
pen, pencil, notebook
A praying mat
A small copy of Quran, prayer and Dua books, Tasbeeh
Foods/Snacks/Water (some light food, like biscuits, cereals, nuts, dried fruits, etc.)[vi]
During Hajj rituals you will walk a lot. You should walk around Kaaba, walk the distance between Safa and Marva, etc. So, it’s important to have enough strength and be physically in good condition to be able to keep up with this endeavor.
Try to do some exercises and eat healthier food sometime before embarking on your journey to Mecca.
Yes, you need to write a will! Even if you are 25! But don’t worry it doesn’t mean that you won’t come back home. It’s just a way to make sure you have arranged all your worldly concerns properly, and you can start a spiritual journey with light and free soul. Make sure you consult with your lawyer after writing your will and legalize it.
You remember what happened at Mina two years ago, right? Many families were worried about their children, husbands, wives, etc. but they couldn’t reach out to them. So, it is very important to predict a proper way of communication with your hometown. This can be a Saudi Arabia SIM card or even any other SIM Cards that work abroad. You can also ask the hotel staff for their WIFI information.
Have an idea of the actions you need to perform during Hajj. Salam Islam has a complete guide to these rituals: Hajj, The Holy Pilgrimage. You can also buy a booklet or download an ebook about these rituals to have it with you during the journey. Then, understand the reason behind those actions. You can read our Philosophy of Hajj Rituals, to get a better grasp of the reason behind these rituals. This way, you will remember them more easily.
Most of the rituals during Hajj are time-bound. For example, you have only a few hours to perform stoning Jamarat. Also, the process of Ihram and actions in the Arafat need to be done during a certain time. So, you need to work on your time management so that you won’t lose any of those actions.
Hajj is not an easy journey. It is not a summer vacation. It is an Islamic obligation and a life-changing journey. During this time, you will face many difficulties, and sometimes you may find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of interesting yet difficult physical activities or prayers you are required to do.
However, think of it as a chance to be purified and as an opportunity to strengthen your patience. For, every precious reward comes after consistency and patience.
As you are well aware, Muslims are not just of a certain nationality or country. In every country and with every nationality, you can find people who believe in Islam. Hajj is a chance for this huge community to gather together and be unified despite their differences.
So, during your journey, you may encounter people with different colors, languages, outfits, etc. Try to be respectful and modest toward everyone, no matter where they come from or how they look.
During Hajj you might have to join a group. And you will be with them every day of this one month period. You will accompany them in every ritual and action. So, try to prepare yourself for more cooperation and sacrifice. Sometimes you may need your roommate’s help, and in return, he/she may need yours. Try to be nice and generous.
After all, you want to participate in Hajj for a good reason: Self-awareness. This is a journey to find out who we are and why we are here. So, practice on the good in you and try to improve them. Be the best you can be. And prove that you deserve Allah’s invitation.
[i] One of the requirements for Hajj to be obligatory for a Muslim is financial ability – i.e., you have enough money to support yourself and your family on your journey .
[ii] Another requirement for performing Hajj is physical ability- i.e., Hajj is not obligatory for the sick, the old or those who are either unable or would face severe hardship .
[iii] Another requirement for obligatory Hajj is Sirbi ability - i.e., the route is open and safe .
[iv] To buy Ihram you can follow these links:
[v] Make sure about the kinds of medications you are allowed to have with you according to Saudi Arabia’s airport costume.
[vi] Make sure about the rules of Saudi Arabia with regard to carrying food in your packages at the airport.
- Hajj, The Holy Pilgrimage
“Imam Hussain is the leader of humanity” Rabindranath Tagore
People have looked into the movement of Imam Hussain (AS) from different aspects throughout the history of Islam. Some see it as a historical trajectory, where the teachings of Islam were distorted and violated by the tyrant caliph of the time, Yazid, thus Imam Hussain’s movement as a revolutionary act and sacrifice to revive true Islam.
To some others, yet, the most important lesson we can learn from the event of Karbala is its moral or ethical dimension. As Imam Hussain (AS) himself puts: “I seek to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil and follow the traditions of my grandfather (Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP)) and my father (Imam Ali (AS))” .
One of the moral principles that Imam Hussain (AS)’s movement represents and emphasizes is the Golden rule. Based on this rule you should treat others the way you would like to be treated by them: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” .
Although it is often said that the term ‘Golden Rule’ first started to be used in the 17th or 18th century , we can also find it much earlier in the words and acts of Imam Ali (AS) and the other infallible Imams (AS). Imam Ali (AS) tells his son Imam Hassan (AS) in his last will that: “like for others whatever you like for yourself, and whatever you dislike happening to you, spare others from such happenings” .
Imam Hussain (AS) also advises people (as a general rule and a decent way of life): “If you do not believe in any religion, at least be free-spirited and honest in your actions” .
A newer version of the Golden rule also says: “act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” .
So, for an action to be considered morally good, you should ask yourself whether you could always reason or defend it as a universal law. In other words, to be a good person, you must be good for goodness’ sake, no matter what.
Now let’s see how this ethical value was manifested in Imam Hussain (AS)’s conduct.
A question anyone might ask after reading about the event of Karbala is ‘why didn’t Imam Hussain (AS) take an oath of allegiance to Yazid to save his life? Why did he choose to be martyred?’ [i]
One clear answer to this question is that he was the perfect leader (Imam) and role model for the Muslim community. A role model is someone who serves as an example and whose behavior is emulated by other people. To be a good role model you have to observe all your acts so that you set proper examples for others to follow.
Now, if Imam Hussain (AS) had pledged allegiance to Yazid’s tyranny, would he be a good exemplar of resistance against injustice for people? Wouldn’t his compromise then make the tyrant ruler more powerful and dominant?
The answer is obvious. Imam Hussain (AS) chose not to follow the indecent tyrant of his time since he intended to act on that maxim he wished it would become a universal law.
On the other hand, some people criticize Imam Hussain (AS)’s decision, saying he could have pledged allegiance to Yazid while at the same time trying to fight him and his injustice over time.
This would also contradict Imam Hussain (AS)’s maxim and is paradoxical, too. In fact, Yazid’s deviations from true Islam and the moral norms were so many that Imam Hussain (AS) could not turn a blind eye to them.
Imam Hussain (AS) did not want to compromise with those so-called Muslims whose behavior and actions had nothing to do with Islam. Instead, he chose to do the right thing, which any free-spirited, wise and virtuous man would do. And with his movement, he invited us all to do the same and follow in his footsteps.
The other ethical lesson we learn from Imam Hussain (AS) is that he never disregarded human values on his way to achieve his purpose. And he always advised his followers to choose the right way in life. For him, the end did not justify the means. What mattered to him more than anything else was the values not the victory in its apparent sense.
As Imam Ali (AS) says: “The victory achieved through sins is not, in fact, a victory, the one who dominates with the help of evil is defeated” .
It is due to this ethical principle that Muslim ibn Aqil did not kill his enemy, Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad, before the event of Karbala (before the enemy declared war against them), when he had every chance of doing so in his friend’s house.
He did not kill him because the Holy Prophet (PBUH) forbade any guile: “Verily, Islam became an obstruction of deceit and an obstacle of trickery” . Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions were seeking to revive the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (AS). So, killing even the most wicked person on earth through deceit, and before he has shown an act of hostility against you, is not compatible with Islamic teachings.
In another account from the event of Karbala, Zuhayr, one of Imam Hussain (AS)’s companions, recommended fighting the enemy when they were fewer in number and so easier to defeat. But Imam Hussain (AS) replied he did not intend to start a war; [he would rather defend if a war was imposed on him].
The examples mentioned above manifestly show the behavior of a great role model. Imam Hussain (AS) only wanted to restore what was right, the true teachings of Islam which had been distorted by the tyrant ruler of the time. He tried to preserve human dignity and values.
He could have saved his life as well as that of his family’s and companions’ by accepting Yazid’s allegiance. But this would have been at the cost of ruining their dignity and living a life humiliation. Never would he put up with such disgrace.
So Imam Hussain (AS) made the most of every opportunity to invite people to the righteousness and prevent bloodshed. However, when he was left with two options, humiliation or death, and war was being forced upon him, he chose martyrdom and bravely fought against injustice.
[i] In one of his sermons to people of Kufa, Imam Hussain (AS) said: “Beware! Now this illegitimate son of the illegitimate father (Ubaydullah bin Ziyad) has stationed me between unsheathing the swords or then bear the humiliation, and far be it that we accept humiliation” .