The responsibilities of a Muslim towards family, relatives and other Muslims in general, were already reviewed in an article. Here one's responsibility in Islam towards neighbors, friends, and enemies are discussed.
Doing good to neighbors is highly emphasized in Islamic teachings: “Worship Allah and … be good to … the near neighbor and the distant neighbor” (4:36). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) advised Imam Ali (AS) to honor the neighbors, even if they are disbelievers (Kafir) . Imam Ali (AS) said that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to invite repeatedly to doing good to neighbors such that we thought he (PBUH) was going to consider an inheritance for them .
To honor them in their presence, and to help and care about them when they are absent . It includes visiting neighbors when they are sick, to assist their funeral, and to offer them your tasty meals that smell good ;
To keep their secrets. It means that not to look for their faults and errors. And, if ever you become aware of some of their faults, do not reveal them but try to conceal their deficiencies ;
Do not leave neighbors alone in difficulties ; e.g., help them in case of financial needs ;
Do not be jealous of them if God grants them some blessings ;
Ignore their errors to yourself and forget about them. If ever they do wrong to you unintentionally, be patient and in peace with them ;
Do not let others talk behind their back and reveal the deficiencies of your neighbors here and there .
Giving priority to the neighbors. It is narrated from Imam Hassan (AS) that Lady Fatima al-Zahra (AS) used to pray firstly for the neighbors and then for members of the family .
According to Imam Sadiq (AS), having good behavior and interaction with neighbors increases the provision (Rizq) . Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) advised to respect neighbors as much as one should respect his\her mother  and he (PBUH) said: “God bless whoever does good to his\her neighbors” . On the contrary, whoever sleeps peacefully at night while one of the his\her neighbors is hungry, God will deprive him of his blessings on the judgment day . The same will happen to whoever annoys his\her neighbors .
Take your time and think about these attitudes towards the neighbors. Life will be surely much agreeable and peaceful if we improve our social interactions with our neighbors within the Islamic framework.
Having a good companion is known as a blessing; on the contrary, a bad one is like a disaster . Friends and companions have certain rights one over the other including:
To interact with them with generosity as much as you can, otherwise, be fair to them ;
To be smiling when you meet them and to receive them modestly ;
To respect them as they respect you ;
To be the first one who does good to the other one, otherwise, try to compensate properly ;
To help them in difficulties and whenever they are in need, as Imam Ali (AS) advised to ;
To hold them in great affection according to Imam Ali (AS) ;
Not to reveal their deficiencies and mistakes;
To encourage them in obedience to God and to prevent them from committing sins ;
To be honest with them and not to cheat ; e.g., nor to talk behind their back neither to reveal their deficiencies and to guard their secrets;
To be trustworthy whenever they rely on you .
The enemy here means a person whom one is in conflict with. There are some recommendations in Islamic resources on how to treat enemies and what is one's responsibility in Islam towards them:
To be fair with them . According to Imam Sadiq (AS), a real believer (Mu'min) does not oppress his\her enemies ;
To testify in favor of the enemies if they are right  even if your testimony is against yourself ;
To keep the promises you made to your enemies ;
To forgive and tolerate them, if possible . According to Imam Ali (AS), there is a virtue in forgiving enemies ;
To talk nicely and shortly with whoever you have complained of , to argue with them in a way that is best (16:125), and not to ignore their rights if ever you are wrong .
- M. Shoueiri “Jami’ al-Akhbar”, p. 84.
- Shaykh al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 7, p. 51.
- Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (AS), “Treatise On Rights (Risalat al-Huquq)”.
- responsibility towards others
- Shaykh al-Saduq, "Ilal Al-Shara'i", p. 181
- Shaykh al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 666.
- Shaykh al-Saduq, “Al-Amali”, p. 288.
- Shaykh al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 668.
- “Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim”, T. 4719-4720.
- “Nahj al Balaqa”, p. 494.
- “Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim”, T. 9665.
- Ibn Shu’bah, “Tuhaf al-Uqul”, p. 88.
- Shaykh al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 1, p. 47.
- Shaykh al-Saduq, “Sifat al-Shia”, p. 24.
- “Nahj al Balaqa”, p. 53.
- “Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim”, p. 435.
Mary is one of the outstanding personalities and a distinguished woman in the Abrahamic religions. In Islam, Mary is considered as one of the four celestial women of Paradise, an exemplary role model and a leader of the women of the universe
In the Quran, no woman has been mentioned by her proper name except Mary, and interestingly, her name occurs 34 times in the Quran [i]. Also, a chapter of the Quran was named after her.
Mary was a daughter of Imran and Hannah. Imran, a progeny of Solomon son of David, was one of the leading religious scholars of his time. According to the reports, following a prayer request of Hannah for a child, they were blessed at old age with a baby girl named Mary. However, Imran died before the birth of Mary.
Meanwhile, according to a narration , it was said that Imran had informed his wife of a son who by Allah’s permission could heal the blind and raise the dead to life. Thus, Hannah has vowed to devote the child to the service of the Lord in the Sanctuary.
The Quran says:
“When the wife of Imran said, ‘My Lord, I dedicate to You in consecration what is in my belly. Accept it from me; indeed You are the All-hearing, the All-knowing” (3: 35)
Meanwhile, since the conceived child was a girl, who could not be allowed to serve in the sanctuary due to her weakness and menses, Hannah was amazed, and she exclaimed bashfully:
“When she bore her, she said, ‘My Lord, I have borne a female [child]’—and Allah knew better what she had borne, and the male [child she expected] was no match for the female [child she had borne] —‘and I have named her Mary…” (3: 36)
However, contrary to her expectation, Allah graciously accepted her vow by permitting her daughter; Mary to serve the Lord in the Sanctuary:
“Thereupon her Lord accepted her with a gracious acceptance, and made her grow up in a worthy fashion…” (3: 37)
After that, Hannah took her baby to the Sanctuary, and she handed her over to the custodians of the House of God while she returned home.
There were disputes among the custodians of the Sanctuary about taking charge of the guardianship of Mary. Every one of them wished to take the responsibility, but Zakariyya told them he was more worthy of her since her aunt was his wife.
They later agreed on casting a lot by throwing their pens with which they wrote the Torah in water to decide the guardianship of Mary. In line with a divine will, only the Zakariyya’s pen surfaced over the water while the remaining ones submerged. Thus, Zakariyyah finally took charge of the guardianship of Mary.
“…and He charged Zechariah with her care…” (3: 37)
When Mary attained puberty, a separate room was built for her in the temple so that she may have a maximum concentration on her devotions. Thus, none was allowed to see her or talk with her except Zakariyya, who made provisions for her needs. According to the Quranic report, every time Zakariyya entered her sanctuary to see her, he found some food in her room.
“…Whenever Zechariah visited her in the sanctuary, he would find provisions with her. He said, ‘O Mary, from where does this come for you?’ She said, ‘It comes from Allah. Allah provides whomever He wishes without any reckoning.” (3: 37)
One day, the Gabriel in the guise of a handsome man [ii] appeared to Mary but she was frightened, and she sought refuge from Allah against him. But he responded that he was a messenger of her Lord to give her a glad tiding of a pure boy.
“…We sent to her Our Spirit, and he became incarnate for her as a well-proportioned human. She said, ‘I seek the protection of the All-beneficent from you, should you be Godwary! He said, ‘I am only a messenger of your Lord that I may give you a pure son.” (19: 17-19)
However, Mary enquired on the possibility of having a child while not being touched by any man. The Gabriel told her that creating a child out of a virgin and without a father is not difficult for God [iii]. After that, Mary by the decree of Allah became pregnant of Jesus, who shall be a sign for the humankind and a mercy to the world. In order to avoid people’s accusations, Mary retreated to a remote place where no one could see her.
However, at the time of childbirth, apart from loneliness, she went through severe pains to such an extent that she aspired for death [iv]. Then, a voice called unto her to console her not to grieve, and she was commanded by Allah to eat from the fresh dates, drink from the spring water and to refresh her eyes by the newly born baby [v].
In addition, Mary was henceforth commanded by Allah to refrain from talking to people for a particular time, but her child would be allowed to speak on her behalf and defend her chastity. Finally, Mary brought her miraculous baby to her people while carrying him in her arms. Some of them accused her of adultery [vi], but in line with divine command, she remained silent while pointing to her new baby.
Thus, Jesus while in his cradle testified to the divinity of Allah, his servitude to Him and finally attested to the chastity of her mother [vii].
In Islam, Mary is held in high esteem, and she acquired an elevated status among the women of the world. She was considered a perfect personality for emulation by the women of the world.
However, Islam in a very strong term repudiates the belief in the divinity of Mary or her being considered a mother of God. She is indeed a chosen and purified servant of God, and she was chosen above the women of the world.
[ii] (19: 17)
[iii] (19: 20-21)
[iv] (19: 23)
[v] (19: 24-26)
[vi] (19: 27-28)
[vii] (19: 30-33)
- Majlisi, Muhammad-Baqir, “Bihar-ul-'Anwar” (Beirut Edition), Vol. 14, P. 203, Hadith 15.
Discussing the issue of music in Islam sounds a bit controversial. If we suppose that music is food for the soul, we cannot easily say if it is allowed (Halal) or not. Unlike the issue of meat in Islam that is precisely explained in the Holy Quran, the issue of music has never been mentioned in the Quran. However, we cannot say that because God has not directly spoken about music, therefore it is allowed (Halal) or forbidden (Haram). Because music is something that does exist in this world and God has not left us without guidance in such matters.
Since there is no explicit information about music in the Quran, people keep questioning if the music is allowed in Islam or not.
Therefore, the goal of this article is to explain the characteristics of lawful (Halal) and forbidden (Haram) music in Islam, based on the rulings from jurists.
In the description of the music, it is said that “Music is the technique of mixing sounds and voices in a pleasant way that makes the listener enjoy as well as making an internal revolution for his/her soul” .
To distinguish between lawful (Halal) and forbidden (Haram) music, it is easier to find out what forbidden (Haram) music is. Then any kind of music that does not include the characteristics of forbidden (Haram) music is lawful (Halal).
Before explaining forbidden (Haram) music, it is useful to get familiar with a few related phrases:
Mutrib music: a sort of music that causes impulsive movement for the listener.
Lahwi music: a sort of music that is common or suitable for frivolous gatherings and carouses.
Apart from these descriptions, and to provide a better conceptual understanding for the phrases above, we could say that mutrib or lahwi music is that which due to its characteristics keeps human beings away from Allah, and away from moral merits and drives them towards sinful acts and carelessness.
The forbidden (Haram) type of music is suitable for dissolute gatherings of sin. Any music which is lahwi and mutrib in the common view is forbidden (Haram). Distinguishing the subject of this ruling depends on the view of each religiously responsible individual (mukallaf ), and there is no objection to listening to a song if it is distinguished as Halal; keeping in mind that the personality of the musician, the vocalized words accompanying the music, the venue, and all other circumstances may contribute to placing it in the category of forbidden (Haram), lahwi, mutrib music, or another forbidden (Haram) category; e.g., if the music, due to the mentioned things, leads to certain corruptions .
We Should Recognize Which Music Is Forbidden (Haram) for Us
In the controversial case of music, it is up to the Muslim person to realize if the music he/ she is listening to is forbidden (Haram) or not.
When we want to listen to a song we should see:
If it is mutrib music (immaterial)
If it is lahwi music and suitable for carouses (Irrespective of whether it contains the element of excitement or engenders in the listener a state of melancholy and crying.)
If it contains ghina in its singing
If it contains vain and useless concepts that create distance between God and us.
For example, the musician may disagree with the listener’s point of view. In this case, what the Muslim person regards as lahwi and suitable for gatherings of sin is forbidden (Haram) for him to listen to. As for the sounds which fall in a grey area, the ruling in their regard is that it is permissible to listen to them .
Any music that does not include the above characteristics is lawful (Halal), and there is no objection to listening to such music in Islam.
There is no objection in using musical instruments to play non-lahwi tunes if it is for revolutionary or religious chanting or carrying out useful cultural and other programs aiming at rational and lawful (Halal) purposes, provided that it results in no bad consequences.
At the same time, using musical instruments to play lahwi and /or mutrib tunes is not permissible .
Learning and teaching music for the above-mentioned causes are allowed (If it is for revolutionary or religious chanting or carrying out useful cultural and other programs aiming at rational and lawful (Halal) purposes).
Musical instruments which, according to the common view, are of dual - lawful (Halal) and forbidden (Haram) - purposes can be used in a non-lahwi manner for lawful (Halal) purposes. Instruments, which the common view regards as special to the production of lahwi music, are not permissible to use .
Also, in itself, there is no problem in teaching and learning music for the purposes mentioned above .
There is no problem in buying and selling musical instruments that serve dual purposes [i], intending to use them in playing non-lahwi tunes.
Accordingly, it is not permissible to buy, sell, or distribute CDs that contain mutrib and/ or lahwi music that is suitable for gatherings of carouse, regardless of the language it is composed in or the country of origin .
There is no harm in the use of musical instruments to play tunes for revolutionary chanting, national anthems, or any other lawful (Halal) and useful pursuit provided that it does not entail rapture and frivolity suitable for the gatherings of carouse and falsehood.
But with regards to singing with music, the musician should make sure that the music will not be accompanied by ghina .
Therefore, any type of music that is branded for gatherings of carouse is forbidden (Haram), even if it does not arouse sexual temptation. As a result, any kind of music that is not common for such gatherings is lawful (Halal), such as martial music.
Making these types of lawful (Halal) music for the use of Muslims and for the improvement of the community, or for spreading good values is lawful (Halal).
Overall, any kind of music that creates a distance between the soul and God is forbidden (Haram).
[i] Musical instruments are divided into two groups; 1- specific instruments, 2- dual-purpose instruments. The first group is those instruments that are known to be specifically used in carouse gatherings, while dual-purpose instruments are those which can be used for both lawful (Halal) and forbidden (Haram) purposes. Most jurists have named a few instruments as dual-purpose instruments such as a chime, drum, piano, dulcimer, etc. but in the case of specific instruments, they have not named any and have left the recognition to the Muslim person .
- Rouhollah Khaleghi, An overview on music, p.4
- music in Islam