How high is the power of his religion that even 1400 years after his death, some people try to tarnish his personality? The religion of Islam brought and spread by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) is gaining more and more followers and lovers. This vast amount of conversion to Islam has negative consequences for the materialist and capitalist rulers in the world. By following Islam, people learn to stand for their rights and oppose the tyranny of oppressors. The rules of Islam question the rules made by the oppressor rulers in different societies.
Therefore, the increase in the number of people who embrace Islam and the Islamic lifestyle frightens those tyrant rulers, and they make plans to decay the status of Islam in different ways. One of the plans that they have been applying throughout the past decades was to introduce a violent personality of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). In this text, we will study the conduct of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and the representation of his manners and behaviors in the Quran to review his kind and merciful character better.
Sending messengers by Allah Almighty to people implies His deep care for them and His will to guide them toward prosperity. But His messengers were supposed to follow specific rulings in their invitation of people toward Him. Being kind and merciful to people is one of the characteristics that Allah Almighty ordered His messengers to observe.
When Allah was sending Prophet Moses and Aaron (PBUT) to Pharaoh, who claimed to be Allah, He told them that if they want their words to be heard, they should speak to him in a lenient manner: “Both of you go to Pharaoh, for he has indeed rebelled. Speak to him in a soft manner; maybe he will take admonition or fear.’” (20: 43-44)
Prophets were commanded to be patient with their people and never become angry at them. The only prophet mentioned in the Quran who became disappointed of his people and left them was Prophet Yunus (AS), who was punished by Allah for his impatience and disappointment: “And [remember] the Man of the Fish, when he left in a rage, thinking that We would not put him to hardship. Then he cried out in the darkness, ‘There is no god except You! You are immaculate! I have indeed been among the wrongdoers!’” (21: 87)
Therefore, when Allah Almighty’s criterion in choosing His messengers is mercifulness and kindness, how can He keep a violent prophet among His servants?
Like any other prophets, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) had the characteristics of a chosen prophet. He was kind and merciful by the Mercy of his Lord as mentioned in the Quran: “It is by Allah’s mercy that you are gentle to them; had you been harsh and hardhearted, they would have surely scattered from around you...” (3: 159)
But the kindness and mercy of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) throughout his call toward Allah (SWT) come to a point where Allah Almighty tells him to be easier oh himself: “You are liable to imperil your life [out of distress] that they will not have faith.” (26: 3)
When Allah Almighty sees the unfriendly behavior of people toward Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), He starts to point out and count Prophet’s kindly manners to people: “There has certainly come to you an apostle from among yourselves. Grievous to him is your distress; he has a deep concern for you and is most kind and merciful to the faithful.” (9:128)
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was not only merciful to the people in Arabia, but he was sent to be a caring for all human beings in all times: “We did not send you but as a mercy to all the nations.” (21: 107)
All presentations of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) in the Quran are about his great kindness and his caring personality. Allah describes his manner and behavior as being the perfect example for humankind: “and indeed, you possess a great character.” (68: 4)
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was so kind to people that even if they harmed him, he did not reply to them violently. It is narrated from Ibn Mas’oud, who said: I saw people hit the prophet and made his face full of blood, but while he was rubbing the blood off his face, he prayed, “O Lord! Please forgive my people as they are ignorant.”  In the early years of his prophethood, people kept harming the Prophet (PBUH&HP), but instead of cursing them, the Prophet (PBUH&HP) kept praying for their guidance.
The Prophet (PBUH&HP) never violated the heads of Quraish for their aggravation and torture and kept asking Allah Almighty to forgive them, until Allah Almighty by His knowledge of their persistence in remaining infidels sent him the following verse: “It is the same for them whether you plead for forgiveness for them, or do not plead for forgiveness for them: Allah will never forgive them. Indeed Allah does not guide the transgressing lot.” (63: 6)
Allah Almighty then described the characteristics of Muslims in a way that at the same time that they should not oppress anyone, they shouldn’t undergo any oppression, and defined the real Muslim society with the following manners:
“Muhammad, the Apostle of Allah, and those who are with him are hard against the faithless and merciful amongst themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating [in worship], seeking Allah’s grace, and [His] pleasure...” (48: 20)
Like any other human being, despite his great and kind personality, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) had to react in different manners with different people. Therefore, if he had any serious encounter with people, it was not because of his violent attitude, but because of the correct reaction that any sane and smart man should have in facing different people.
- Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 9, P. 20.
Have you ever taken part in a challenge of self-building for a certain amount of time? These challenges, be it individual or social, need a few elements to keep you move on and get over them. Thirty days of fasting in the holy month of Ramadan seems like both an individual and a social challenge.
In this text, we would like to discover the ways that keep us motivated to finish our challenge of fasting in Ramadan. How can we complete this challenge and take the most benefits out of it?
The challenge is to perform fasting for thirty (sometimes 29) days in the month of Ramadan. Fasting in Islam is to avoid eating and drinking and many other worldly desires and sins from the morning prayer (Salat al-Fajr) time until the dawn prayer (Salat al-Maqrib). It is noteworthy that committing some acts will make fast invalid. 
The main goal of fasting like any other type of worship is to purify the soul and improve human beings spiritually: “Felicitous is he who purifies himself.” (87: 14)
But any type of worship, apart from its ultimate goal, has other benefits and some minor goals in training the human soul. For example, one of the small goals of praying the obligatory prayers (Salat) during the day and at night is to teach Muslims to adhere to certain principles. It is mentioned in the Quran that one of the characteristics of true believers is that they are “those who are humble in their prayers” (23:2) and “are watchful of their prayers” (23:9). These two verses, mentioned in the same Surah, show that one level of being a believer is to reach a feeling of utter humbleness in front of Allah. However, at the same time, being watchful on prayers and trying to perform them on time while observing all of its rulings is another aspect that will lead to higher spiritual levels. The same example applies to any other type of worship, especially fasting in Ramadan.
I have personally tried many different challenges for forty days; for example, forty days of waking up before dawn, forty days of avoiding fast foods, forty days of doing half an hour exercise per day, etc. I’ve been able to make some of those challenges a habit. However, in all those challenges, I needed something or someone to keep me motivated and guide me with the issues that I was facing throughout the challenge.
Regarding the challenge of fasting in Ramadan, I think it is essential to find some ways to help us enjoy fasting, instead of solely experiencing hunger and thirst.
Different things can keep us motivated to have better spiritual experiences of fasting in Ramadan. Having a different routine in the month of Ramadan, avoiding some entertainment and starting some new useful habits such as reading the supplications and contemplating on them, specifying a certain amount of time on reciting the Quran with translation and interpretation, performing the recommended prayers (Nawafil), trying to help others in any possible ways, and any other act of goodness that we can accomplish.
While we try to perform good deeds during fasting, reciting the Quran has a powerful influence on all our acts. Allah (SWT) mentions in the Quran: “So recite as much of the Quran as is feasible. He knows that some of you will be sick, while others will travel in the land seeking Allah’s bounty, and yet others will fight in the way of Allah. So recite as much of it as is feasible, and maintain the prayer and pay the zakat and lend Allah a good loan.” (73:20)
Allah (SWT) tells us to recite the Quran as much as we can. Then He mentions that He is aware of different conditions that people may have; some of them may be sick, some maybe traveling and working outside their houses to gain Allah’s provision, some may be fighting in the way of Allah. But then He mentions again that in whatever situation you are, do not forget to recite the Quran. It does not need to be a lot of recitation. Just recite as much as you can, and it will help you by both its miraculous and extraordinary achievements.
To provide a better definition of the above phrases, it can be said that the miraculous effects of the Quran are those effects that everyone can gain them by reciting it, even if they are not contemplating on its verses. However, exceptional achievements are for those who recite the Quran thoughtfully and intend to understand the words of Allah (SWT) as much as possible.
In sum, when you start the challenge of fasting in Ramadan and hope to gain the best results out of it, you need someone to motivate you, to be your mentor, and to elevate your knowledge and wisdom while you are going through the hard days of your challenge. The Quran could be that mentor who speaks to you the words of Allah (SWT), gives you hope, sympathizes with you in your hard moments, and guides you through the way to reach your ultimate goal. “So recite as much of the Quran as is feasible.” (73: 20)
Muslims commemorate the fortieth day after the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions, called Arbaeen, meaning the fortieth day in Arabic. They all gather around the city of Karbala and Imam Hussain’s (AS) shrine, mourning and lamenting the unfair and cruel war between his comrades and those of Yazid Ibn Muawiyah, which led into the death of those pure men and the bondage of their families.
This commemoration happens every year around the city of Karbala. Muslims begin to walk to Karbala from other towns. They gather together in groups to pray, and especially to mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS).
This walk is a hard one. It takes at least three days and lots of energy and time. So, why do Muslims take that? What is the philosophy behind it?
To answer our questions, first, let’s have a review of the history behind this walk and then move to the other aspects of this commemoration.
The history of Arbaeen walk goes back to the first visitors of Imam Hussain (AS) after his death. On the day of Arbaeen, forty days after the tragic martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS), Imam’s (AS) son, sister and the remaining members of his family and that of the other martyrs came back to Karbala to lament the death of their dear ones besides their graves.
Their next visitor was Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari on the year 61 AH. Visiting Imam Hussain’s (AS) shrine was a tradition in Shiite culture until a short period after Morteza Anasari’s became the religious reference (Marja’) of Shiite Muslims. It was then lessened for some years and then revived. Some other religious references (Marja’) kept this tradition alive among their followers, until the government of Saddam Hussain, which banned all religious Shiite traditions to be performed publically .
The tradition was revived after the fall of Saddam, and it is still to be continued.
Visiting the holy shrines and going on pilgrimages on foot is not something new or belonging to our age. It’s got a long history, and Adam did the first pilgrimage on his visit to Mecca . It isn’t a tradition just among Muslims either. It is performed in other faiths and religions, too. For instance, Caesar made a vow to his God to go on a pilgrimage to the Dome of Rocks if he won the battle against the Empire of Persepolis (Iran). He performed his vow after his victory .
Pilgrimages are highly admired, and their act is seen as a way of getting closer to Allah by Imam Sadiq (AS). Visiting the holy shrines of the twelve Imams (AS) is even more praised, especially the sacred shrine of Imam Hussain (AS). Of course, it’s not these shrines themselves that are of value and importance, but the people who have been buried there. Thus, when one makes a pilgrimage toward these shrines, he/she finds the chance to think more about these great personalities who won Allah’s satisfaction and praise and were Muslims in the real sense of the word. So, in every step that a pilgrimage takes toward Imams' (AS) shrines, especially that of Imam Hussain (AS), he/she is getting closer to a source of spiritual blessing, bringing him/her thousands of virtues and wiping away thousands of vices from his/her mind and soul.
The Arbaeen pilgrimage is not merely a long walk. Instead, it is a kind of movement in which despite being in publics, pilgrims have their own private relationship with Allah and Imam Hussain (AS), which finds a new form of divine immaterial dependence and conformance. Thinking about the goals and the history behind the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS), the injustice and cruelty imposed on his family and the devotions of his faithful followers brings about many personal and social growth and improvements.
Meeting other Muslims, exchanging ideas, and making friendships with Muslims of the other countries is another social outcome of this pilgrimage. One finds out that they are not alone in their faith, and have friends all over the world. They may have differences, but they have one thing in common: Belief in Imam Hussain (AS) and his right cause.
The last and the most crucial point to mention this great gathering is it's a kind of preparation for the grand reappearance of Imam Mahdi (AS), the awaited savior among Muslims. The Arbaeen pilgrimage is to make the minds and souls ready for this great event. It is said that when Imam Mahdi (AS) reappears, he introduces himself as the son of Hussain (AS) , whose fame has reached many people through the Arbaeen Pilgrimage; one of the most significant religious gathering around the world, with the estimated number of 40,000,000 people participating in it, whose news is broadcasted all over the world .
- "The background of Arba'een rally/The importance of Najaf-Karbala rally from the scholar's viewpoint." Fars News. Archived from the original on 16 November 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
- Hor Ameli, Muhammad Bin Hussain Vasayel-o-Shia, Vol 11, p 132
- Sobhani, Jafar The Light of Eternity p. 696
- Kamel-o-Ziyarat: Pp 183, 184 and 185
- Philipson, Alice (19 January 2015). "The ten largest gatherings in human history." The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 6 October 2015. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
- Khademi Shirazi, Mohammad Yad’e Mahdi P16, P132