On a cold winter day, I left the house for work while I really wanted to get back into bed. Cursing the heavy traffic, the crowded subway, and the noisy girls laughing loudly next to my ears, I finally arrived at my workplace, where my colleagues were talking about a thing called “Coronavirus.” At that moment, I never thought the issue might be so important. So, I ignored my colleagues and started to work.
A few days later, we heard about the lockdowns, the increase in the number of deaths caused by Covid-19, aka coronavirus. People were losing their dear ones, and they were afraid to participate in their burials and funerals. I could see with my own eyes the verses of the Holy Quran that say, “The day when a man will evade his brother, his mother and his father, his spouse and his sons, each of them will have a task to keep him preoccupied on that day.” (80: 34- 37)
We experienced days where everyone was worried about him/herself. Trying our best to buy and compile masks, soaps, and alcohol-based cleansers, we still thought that one of those Hollywood superpowers or the armies that save the world during the Armageddon would come and save the world. But, no one could do anything against these small viruses. That was where I could feel these verses of the Quran: “He had no party to help him, besides Allah, nor could he help himself. There, all authority belongs to Allah, the Real. He is best in rewarding, and best in requiting.” (18: 43-44)
Gradually, we stopped fighting the situation. We stopped panicking. We stayed home. Works and businesses were shut down. Schools and universities were closed. Visiting relatives and friends were forbidden. We were given some time for seclusion, some time to contemplate and come up with “what if” questions.
What if going to work and school and university are no more important? What if the isolation continues forever? What if the hospitals won’t let you in, even if you pay a significant amount of money? What if fame and wealth would no more be important?
Do we still care about what to wear in front of others or how to talk to present ourselves as high-class people?
All our routine acts become meaningless. Our social norms and behaviors are questioned. We realize that none of our worldly habits were worthy enough to hurt ourselves or others. Things should change.
In Coronavirus days and nights, we see ourselves so close to death. Any moment we may be diagnosed with Covid-19. When it attacks us, the worldly longings and belongings are not worthy anymore.
If we are influenced by the signs and messages that God is sending us through this disease, we don’t care about collecting more wealth. We don’t think about becoming more famous. The only One left for us is God. He is the one that won’t leave us alone in the hardest situations: the one “who created me, it is He who guides me and provides me with food and drink, and when I get sick, it is He who cures me; who will make me die, then He will bring me to life” (26: 78-81).
By these little viruses, as coronavirus, Allah (SWT) teaches us the most important lessons of life. He reminds us that we were not brought into this world to take the game so seriously since we should keep in mind that “The life of this world is nothing but diversion and play, but the abode of the Hereafter is indeed Life (itself)” (29: 64), and that we live in this world for a small amount of time to be prepared for our real life in the hereafter. So, Allah tells us: “…And whatever good you do, Allah knows it. And take provision, for indeed the best provision is God wariness. So be wary of Me, O you who possess intellects!” (2: 197)
The best provision is not what we keep compiling in our daily life. Money, positions and promotions, university degrees, social popularity, followers and likes on social networks, etc. are not what we have come to this world for. If they become our life priorities, we may become among those that Prophet Noah (PBUH) mentioned them as the one “… whose wealth and children only add to his loss.” (71: 21)
In many chapters of the Quran, Allah tells us the story of people of different nations who disobeyed their prophets, and the punishment of God destroyed them. However, Allah also mentions that to get out of the hardest situations you need to turn toward God: “If the people of the towns had been faithful and Godwary, We would have opened to them blessings from the heaven and the earth. But they denied, so We seized them because of what they used to earn.” (7: 96)
Therefore, the only way to escape the current situation is to return to God and live the way He wants us to live, for the best life in this world and the hereafter.
Returning to God does not mean to pray to him and ask for forgiveness and keep on having the same behavior as we had. To return to God is to try to quit our bad habits, revise our false behaviors, stay away from the forbidden acts, and stay committed to the obligatory commands and orders of Allah.
“Whoever is wary of Allah, He shall make for him a way out [of the adversities of the world and the Hereafter].” (65: 2)
Some people ask why Muslims do not celebrate Christmas? Is that because they do not agree on the 25th of December as Jesus birthday? Or is that because they say Christians believe in Jesus as the son of God, while Muslims do not believe in Trinity, as well as they believe that Islam is the religion that is more complete than Christianity and all other religions that came in the past; the same way that Christians believe that Christianity is a more complete religion than Judaism.
But let’s put aside the issue of Islamic view on the date of birth of Prophet Jesus (PBUH). The most important fact that causes Muslims not to wish to celebrate Christmas is the matter of identity. Do Muslims expect Christians or Jews to celebrate Islamic occasions? Does it not sound logical that each culture celebrates its own occasions and rituals? Of course, people who were born Muslims in Muslim countries or communities would like to celebrate their own occasions.
But here we are discussing the issue of those who have converted to Islam. Or those who are Muslim and live in societies with a majority of Christians.
Prophet Jesus (PBUH) is among the Prophets whose names and stories have been mentioned in many chapters of the Holy Quran. This shows the high status of Prophet Jesus (PBUH) and his respected mother – Mary- for Muslims. Prophet Jesus (PBUH) and his mother are so beloved for Muslims that many Muslims name their children after them, and the Islamic society takes every possible chance to admire their position.
It is for this very high level of respect for the Prophet Jesus (PBUH) that Muslims will be offended when he is called the son of God. Since Allah says in the Holy Quran “ That they attribute to the Most Merciful a son. And it is not appropriate for the Most Merciful that He should take a son. There is no one in the heavens and earth but that he comes to the Most Merciful as a servant.” (19: 91-3)
In the same chapter, Allah says “The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded.” (5:75)
The ruling on taking part in Christmas parties is the same as taking part in any other party. It is allowed to participate in Christmas parties if there is no forbidden (Haram) act taking place; such as drinking, backbiting or forbidden (Haram) music, singing, or dancing [i], etc.
In Islamic jurisprudence, there is no harm in celebrating the birthday of Prophet Jesus (PBUH). Also if Muslims do not wish to celebrate Christmas among their cultural occasion, it is forbidden (Haram) to disrespect Christian rituals.
“And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination. But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness …” (31:14-15)
The above verses clearly define that respecting and caring for parents in the eyes of God is not because of their religion. But He says that you have to respect them, only because your mother carried you for nine months and fed you when you were a weak baby. Therefore non-Muslim parents have all the rights that Muslim parents have. And there is no difference between Muslim or non-Muslim parents if they ask you to do something which is not accepted by God. In those cases, you have to disobey them BUT keep respecting them and behave kindly towards them.
Congratulating Christmas to Christians is not forbidden (Haram), as long as it is not considered to be a confirmation of their belief in Trinity while keeping in mind that you believe that Islam is the last religion sent by God to complete the past religions, but it is rather recommended to respect our relatives, friends or neighbors who are Christians with congratulating them on their happy occasions.
Although we discussed that Muslims who live in Islamic countries or Western countries would rather celebrate their own cultural occasions among their Islamic communities, there is a duty upon those Muslims who live in the West and may live with non-Muslim friends and families.
It is a duty upon every individual Muslim to spread the words of God as much as possible. And if a Muslim has the position of clarifying the status of prophet Jesus (PBUH) as a prophet and not the son of God or as a god, then he/ she should not take this opportunity for granted and mention the fact that Jesus (PBUH) was not but a respected Prophet of God.
However, it is not obligatory for Muslims to speak out about this issue when they participate in Christmas parties (in which no forbidden (Haram) act will take place), but if there is a chance of talking about the issue, it would be good to mention the Islamic opinion about the Prophet Jesus (PBUH).
[i] Read about forbidden (Haram) music in the related article.
[ii] “This day [all] good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. And [lawful in marriage are] chaste women from among the believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you, when you have given them their due compensation, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse or taking [secret] lovers. And whoever denies the faith - his work has become worthless, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.” (5: 5)
Each fruit of the tree you have planted will be appreciated by a reward from Allah.
Kanz al-Amaal, vol.12, p.341.
What is learned during youth, like an engraving on a stone, will never be forgotten.
Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 1, p. 222.
Heaven lies beneath the feet of mothers.
Mizan al-Hikmah, hadith no. 22691.
Respecting a Muslim elderly is like showing respect to Allah.
Usul al-Kafi, vol.2, p.165.
The elderly are the sources of mercy and divine blessing.
Nahj al-fasaha, p.222.
The most generous among you is the one who spreads what he has learned among people.
Mizan al-Hikmah, hadith no. 13825.
The faithful are tied in kindness and affection together like members of a body, one’s pain and hardship affect the others.
Bihar al-Anwar, vol.58, p.150
The one who gets married has completed half of his/her religion.
Kanz al-Amaal, hadith no.44403.
Indeed, I have been sent to revive the virtues and good morals.
Bihar al-Anwar, vol.16, p.286.
Playfulness during childhood will elevate one in wisdom in his/her adulthood.
Nahj al-Fasaha, p.564, Hadith no. 1940.
The kindest, most amiable, generous, patient, and just among you is the closest to me in manner.
Usul al-Kafi, vol.2, p.240-241.
Be childlike with children.
Man la Yahduruhu al-faqih, vol.3, p.483.
Love children and be kind to them and keep your promises to them since they only know you as their providers.
Usul al-Kafi, vol.6, p.49.
Allah’s love and praise be upon the one who helps his/her children by doing good to them, caring for, and educating them.
Mustadrak al-Wasaiil, vol.15, p.169.
There are five activities that I won’t leave off till I’m alive so that they would become part of my tradition. [One of them] is greeting children.
Makarem al-Akhlaq, vol.1, p.251.
Being like your father is one of the best blessings of Allah to you.
Bihar al-Anwar, vol.71, p.84.
The kind look of a child to his/her parents is as praying in Allah’s regard.
Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.46.
The best among you is the one who treats his family best, and I am better than all of you for my family.
Nahj-al fesaha, p.472, Hadith no. 1520.
Whenever Allah desires the best for a family, He raises their awareness about the religion. The younger ones respect the elders, they observe moderation in their expenses, and they would know about their faults to make them right.
Nahj-al Fasaha, p.181, Hadith no. 147
Whoever delights his/her parents, has delighted Allah and the one who displeases them has displeased Allah.
Ali ibn Abd-al-Malik al-Hindi, Kanz al-Ummal, vol.16, p.470.
Whomever I am his/her leader (Mawla), then Ali is his/her leader (Mawla).
Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, vol.4, p.370.
Women are held dearer in Allah’s regard than men, and Allah will highly reward any man who brings joy to his Mahram women.
Usul al-Kafi, vol.6, p.7.
Martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS) has ignited the hearts of believers with a pain that will never be subsided.
Jami al-Ahadith al-Shia, vol 12., p.556.
When Allah wants to pour His blessings upon you, He endows you with a Good Friend.
Nahj al-Fasaha, p.776.
When Allah chooses to favor someone, He makes him the source of satisfying other people's needs.
Fatima is of my flesh, who is the light of my eyes and the warmth of my heart.
al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Al-Amali, p.486.
If a Muslim plants a tree or any plant and a human, bird, or any other animals use it, Allah counts it as an act of charity.”
Mustadrak al-Wasaiil, vol.13, p.460.
Lying would negatively influence your livelihood.
Nahj al-Fasaha, p.373, Hadith no. 1087.
On the Day of Judgment, those who were most honest in their words, steadfast in their promises and kindest in their manners, will be the closest ones to me.
Al-Shaykh al-Tusi, Al-Amali, p.229.
Praying has seventy parts, the most important and biggest of which is lawful (Halal) earning.
Mustadrak al-Wasaiil, vol.13, p.12.
The most praised deeds in Allah’s regard is performing prayers (Salat) on their due time.
Kanz al-Amal, vol. 7, Hadith 18897.
The most desired companion is like a perfumer; his/her perfume would reach you, even if he/she didn't give you anything.
Kanz al-Amal, vol.9, Hadith 24676.
Eating less results in a healthier body and a more tender heart while overeating makes one sick and hard-hearted.
Mizan al-Hikmah, Hadith 579.
The words of “I love you,” said by a man to his wife, will forever be engraved upon the woman’s heart.
Wassail al-Shia, vol. 14, p.10.
36. Causing Harm
Causing harm to yourself and others is forbidden in Islam.
Usul al-Kafi, vol.5, p.292.
There are two blessings to which no one gives thanks: security and health.
The most grateful person is the one who thanks people most.
Nahj al-Fasaha, Hadith no. 312.