Following the discussions on the concept of responsibility in Islam and Muslims' duties towards other human beings, this article reviews the duties towards the teachers, students, and young and older adults.
Teachers are acknowledged and valorized in Islam. It is said that God, angels, earth inhabitants and even the small ants in their nests and the fish in the seas, all salute the mentors who invite to goodness . Imam Ali (AS) said that whoever has taught me a word has made me “his slave”[i] . Regarding the Islamic resources, the rights of the mentor over the students are:
to be polite and grateful to the mentor, and honor him\her ;
to sit down politely in his\her presence such that to face him\her directly ;
to listen carefully to him\her and forget anything else during the session except what the mentor explains ;
not to answer the questions that the mentor has been asked about and let him\her to reply ;
to lower your voice when talking to him\her  as a means of showing the respect for him\her;
to ask in order to know and not to annoy the mentor or to mock him\her  and then to listen carefully to the answer of the question ;
not to talk and whisper to anybody in his\her presence  otherwise the mentor feels being ignored;
not to talk behind other people’s back with him\her  since this is an unpleasant act which also bothers the audience ;
not to let others insult the mentor or lie about him\her ;
not to reveal his\her deficiencies and to tell others about his\her positive characteristics .
Seeking knowledge is such important in Islam that according to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), trees, winds, clouds, seas and stars, plants and everything that the sunshine falls on, all ask for mercy for whoever seeks knowledge . Also, the Prophet (PBUH&HP) said that whoever seeks knowledge is beloved by God, angels, and prophets and good for them on the judgment day . Of the rights of the knowledge-seekers over their mentor are:
To be kind to them ;
To be humble and flexible to them ;
To know their names and some details about each of them . This helps to maintain a better relationship and consequently to better teach and educate them;
To respect their character and to consider their words and thoughts ;
To equally love them and pay attention to them . In this regard, mentors are almost like judges in Islam;
To teach with serenity and dignity , therefore, his\her lessons impress their mind and soul ;
To be tolerant of them and answer their questions properly ;
To consider and support kindly the newcomers ;
To honestly tell if he\she does not know the answer to a question  instead of saying what he\she is not sure about;
Of the rights of young people over older adults and their responsibility in Islam are:
To be kind to them ;
To be engaged in their education and training ;
To ignore and forgive their mistakes and hide their deficiencies ;
To tolerate them, be patient with them and help them in difficulties ;
If the young people do something wrong because they are naive, the older adults should not reveal that ;
To avoid arguments and conflicts with them .
The responsibility in Islam of the younger people toward the elderly include:
To respect them since they are older than you ;
If they argue with you, do not react unpleasantly ;
If you accompany each other on the way, do not overtake them ;
If they do not know about something, do not humiliate them ;
And, if they ignore you because you do not know something, keep calm and do not react as they are older than you .
[i] The word “slave” here does not mean servant, but is used to valorize the mentor and emphasizes the importance of respecting him\her.
[ii] Knowledge-seeker is used as a more general word than a student to cover whoever seeks knowledge.
- M. B. Majlisi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 61, p. 245
- M. Naraqi, “Jami' al-Sa'adat”.
- Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (AS), “Treatise On Rights (Risalat al-Huquq)”.
- “Nahj al Balaqa”, I. 320.
- Ibn Babawayh, “Ilal Al-Shara'I”, vol. 2. p. 334.
- H. al-Daylami, "Irshad al-Qulub", p. 164.
- M. Shoueiri “Jami’ al-Akhbar”, p. 37.
- Al-Shahid al-Thani, “Munya al-murid fi adab al-mufid wa al-mustafid”, p. 190-219.
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
Every age has its defining genius, every culture its own Aristotle, Leonardo or Goethe. For classical Islam, one of those figures is unquestionably Ibn Sina or Avicenna (his Latinized name). A marvelous man by whose eighteenth birthday his fame as a physician was so great that he was summoned to treat the dying Samanid king of Bukhara (976-97 A.C) when all the talented court physicians had given up hope of his recovery. To the great astonishment of all, he was given the privilege of using the court's remarkable library which was the highest award for his future successes.
It is hard to describe Avicenna in any word but superlative. He wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived. His intellectual achievements encompassed not only medicine, but philosophy, law, science, music, poetry, mathematics, and statecraft. Even his life was the stuff of legends.
The only source of information for the first part of Avicenna's life is his autobiography, as written down by his student Juzjani. Now let's have a glimpse at his life in his own words:
“My father Abdullah was from Bukhara. Bukhara at that time was one of the greatest cities in Persia. He was appointed as a Samanid governor married to my mother Setareh, and I was born there in 980 A.D. They called me Hussain, some years later my father was posted to Bukhara, where I received my early education in literature and Quran. From the very beginning I made such remarkable progress in my education that at the age of 10, I had completely memorized the Quran. Abu Abdullah al Natili, a leading philosopher of his time, visited Bukhara and stayed at our home. I learned logic, geometry, and astronomy from him. I soon surpassed my teacher and studied medicine, physics, and metaphysics by myself and mastered all these subjects before I was 17 years old. Then, I started writing at the age of 21”.
Ibn Sina's chief work is the monumental "Al-Qanun," which is over one million words in length, in medicine. The instructions of this book were Europe's pharmacopeia for five centuries after his death. Al-Qanun discusses the whole field of medicine in an attempt to codify all the existing medical knowledge.
Another important work, a commentary on the work of Aristotle, was designed to set out the philosophies of ancient Greeks. Al Kitab ash-Shifa (the book of healing) is the most extended treatise on philosophy ever written by a single man.
In the end, the repeated travels and exacting political and intellectual preoccupations of Ibn Sina deteriorated his health. He was suffering from colic, and he made some extraordinary efforts towards his treatment.
He became bedridden in Hamadan (Iran), and died at the age of 57 in 1037 A.D., being the victim of a disease in which he was a specialist. His grave in Hamadan is yearly visited by a large number of admirers.
As one of the historians said, Avicenna is like a meteor, which flashed across the sky, illuminating the whole world with his brilliance, and in whose afterglow we still perceive the world around us.