The last days of the year are perhaps the most hectic times of our lives. Everyone is busy wrapping up what has remained unfinished, an incomplete project, an undecided relationship or an unsaid word.
Among all these noises, one might stop for a moment and look back at the 365 days that have passed so quickly, and how they have gone by. “What have I accomplished? What are the mistakes that I am repeatedly making? Have I reached my goals? Have I become a better (or worse) person? Have I even changed? How much have I fulfilled my responsibilities as a Muslim?” these are the questions that we always ask ourselves at this time of the year.
And when the last seconds of the year come, we start thinking of the days that are before us; of our new resolutions, plans, and decisions. 2019 or 20 are not different if our days are not going to be more productive and better than before.
Islam recommends us to evaluate ourselves regularly and look back at our actions [i]. However, this does not mean that you should just remember your past mistakes, regret making them and do nothing. Every new day is a chance for us to put aside one bad habit and go toward the perfect version of ourselves, not being satisfied with our past achievements and always setting new goals.
According to Imam Ali (AS), you are a loser if your two days (or two years, two weeks, etc.), are spent the same, meaning that you have not improved or have not added anything to your life.
This could be reading a book, watching a worthwhile movie, planting a tree, caring more about your parents, etc. The worse thing is when you are degrading and your present day is no better than yesterday. This kind of person is cursed, Imam Ali (AS) believes.
You win the cup if you live a better and more productive day than yesterday! Of course a day, or two days, etc. are only metaphors, and they can mean any span of time. What is important is how you pass these moments, days or years.
The new year is also a chance to renew our goals and purposes. I know that it might sound like a cliche, yet it is impossible to deny the importance of motivation or a drive to push you and make you ambitious.
You might have many purposes, some long-term and some short-term, some financial or spiritual. And do not just think about your goals, but take action toward achieving them [ii].
Islam guides us toward becoming a better person and thus sets specific goals for Muslims to be aware of in their lives. A Muslim’s ultimate purpose which will spread in all aspects of his/her life and every decision and every move is to get as near as possible to that eternal source of blessing and peace, Allah, and be worthy of His worship .
Being ambitious is not enough. It is important to feel responsible as well. Islam differentiates three people as the ones to whom we hold some responsibilities, which have to be fulfilled simultaneously; including Allah, ourselves and others. Our first and foremost responsibility is toward Allah, our One, and Only Creator.
Perhaps a few minutes before the New Year is the best time to think of His blessings to us and decide to appreciate them more through worshiping Him sincerely and devote some time of our life to praying. Secondly, we are responsible for ourselves; taking care of our mind and spirit, having a plan for our life and continually following it, observing a healthy lifestyle, etc.
And finally, we have some responsibilities toward others, other human beings, other creatures, our surroundings, etc. To be a better person, we should be careful in our interactions with other people, be conscious of how we treat the environment and animals and strive to build a better world.
You can start a new year with a plan for your next 365 days. As Muslims, our life plans should always reflect our Islamic values. Having that in mind, think of what you want to achieve; how you can better fulfill your responsibilities toward Allah, yourself and others as enumerated in Islam (specify the actions that you should commit and the things you have to avoid doing to guarantee your commitment to those responsibilities), or where you want to be this time next year. Have a look at the big picture and set little goals which will lead you to that ultimate purpose and help you become a better Muslim.
Then, keep track of your plan during the year, observe your progress and see how much of your plan you have fulfilled and to what extent you have been devoted to your Islamic responsibilities. As Imam Ali (AS) beautifully puts, you should strive to build your life as if you have eternity before you, and at the same time be aware of the day (i.e., The Day of Judgment) that you will be questioned about your actions and manners in this world .
The last days of the year are like the exam days, but this time you would examine yourself. As Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) puts, when it comes to evaluation, you should be harder on yourself than when you are evaluating other people’s deeds . You would evaluate whatever you have done up to that time and how much of that big picture that you had in your mind has completed.
Finally, if we are willing to make the most of our lives, we have no other choice than be aware of our every step and every action that we take. And, every new year marks our promise to ourselves and Allah to be the best we can and continue going toward this goal.
[i] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Evaluate yourself before you would be evaluated [by Allah on the Judgment Day]” .
[ii] Imam Ali (AS) said: “Your efforts make you worthy” .
- Al-Hurr al-Aamili, Wasā'il al-Shīʿa, vol.16, p.99.
- Nahj al-Balaghah, Wisdom no. 47.
- Quran (36:61)
- Shaikh al-Hur al-Aamili, Wasā'il al-Shīʿa, vol.2, p.535.
- Ibid, vol.16, p.98.
“O believers, when the proclamation is made for prayer on the Day of Congregation (Friday), hasten to God's remembrance and leave trafficking aside. That is better for you did you but know.” (62:9)
What do you think as you see a crowd of people gathered in one place, in regular rows? Acting altogether, simultaneously and in a well-organized manner? And they are dressed beautifully and smell good? Especially when they are hundreds and thousands? I see this as a glorious union. You can find this kind of forgathering in a Friday prayer.
Islam emphasizes three congregations: Haj which is held annually in a large scale, weekly Friday prayers and daily congregational prayers. Hajj is God’s plan to bring huge amounts of people together in Mecca, to show the power of Islam and unite the Muslims; besides its specific spirituality. Imam Baghir (AS), the fifth Imam, mentions Hajj as one of the five bases on which Islam is founded. 
Friday prayer is of such high importance and value that when a person said to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) that he has got ready several times to go to Hajj but has not managed to, our prophet (PBUH) told him to attend Friday prayer which is Hajj of the poor. 
These show that Friday prayer has many characteristics of Hajj and can be influential in the same way, on a smaller scale though.
In several narrations from the last prophet (PBUH&HP) and his household, Friday is known as the best night and day of the week. It is recommended to perform full ablution (qusl), wear your best clothes, cut nails, brush your hair and beard, trim mustaches and wear perfume on this day. One of the main reasons for these recommendations is getting ready to show up among Muslims in Friday prayer.
Friday prayer (Salat al-Jumu’ah) is an Islamic ritual. It begins with two khutbahs (orations) by Imam al-Jumu’ah in which he advises people toward observing virtue. In the first one, he elaborates on religious concepts. In the second one, he discusses political and social matters of Muslims’ community.
Then Friday prayer is performed in congregation. It consists of two rak’ahs (parts). Each rak’ah has a qunut (raising hands); in the first rak’ah before ruku’ (bowing), in the second one after ruku’. Friday prayer and the two orations before that are a substitution to the four-rak’ah Salat al-Zuhr. After that, a four-rak’ah Salat al-Asr is performed. Please note that:
- Friday prayer cannot be performed individually.
- Except for the Imam, there should be at least four people for a Friday prayer to be held. 
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) says: “Surely God-may be blessed and exalted- made Friday prayer obligatory for you. If someone abandons it in my life or after my death, aiming to belittle or deny it, God will distress them and won’t bless them in their work; and know! their prayer is not accepted, and know! their alms-tax (Zakat) is not accepted; and know! their Haj is not accepted; and know! their good deed is not accepted until they repent.” 
In an ordinary situation, i.e. the presence of innocent Imam, Friday prayer is a determinate duty. That is the same duty should be done and it cannot be replaced by another one. But now that the twelfth and last Imam, Mahdi (AS) is absent, Friday prayer is a selective duty. Which means you can choose between performing Friday prayer or Salat al-Zuhr. 
Yet, considering its profits, Muslims should pay special attention to Friday prayer.
Imam Reza (AS), the eighth Imam, states the importance of Friday Prayer and its Khutbahs comprehensively: “Because Friday is a public rendezvous, khutbah on Friday has been arranged to be a means for governor to advise people and to encourage them to obedience and to warn them of disobedience and to inform them of God’s will about their interest of religion and world and let them know of what has happened to them in the world and of events in which they have disadvantage or advantage.”
- We are forgetful beings. We need to be advised repeatedly so that we may not neglect the afterlife, miss the path, and forget necessities of the society.
- See these daily and weekly prayers as the stages of a ladder. By each prayer, we should take a step upwards. By praying, we are communicating with God and by practicing in a regular program, we can enhance the quality of this communication.
- Al-Kafi, v.2, p.18
- Wassail al-Shi'a, v.7, p.300
- Wassail al-Shi'a, v.7, p.302
- Wassail al-Shi'a, v.7, p.344
Do you find your temper on a short fuse when confronting your teenage child? Do you get mad when somebody cuts you off while driving? Don’t these make you clench your jaws, have a rapid heart rate, sweat or tremble?
We all have experienced these physical reactions to anger. In fact, anger is a normal healthy emotion. But when out of control, it can turn destructive and lead to many problems. This article will help us learn how to keep our anger under control and to act more appropriately to lessen the impact it has on our daily life.
As defined in Cambridge dictionary anger is “a strong feeling that makes you want to hurt someone or be unpleasant because of something unfair or unkind that has happened” . It is typical of a human’s behavior to get angry when he/ she is deceived, irritated, attacked or mistreated. If used correctly, anger can be profitable in helping us distinguish between right and wrong.
It can also motivate us to make a change and speak up for ourselves. In some cases, however, it becomes really difficult to manage our anger. This will most probably affect our relationships and lead us to say or do things that we later regret.
That is why the religion of Islam attaches so much importance to controlling this natural human behavior. Imam Sadiq (AS) says in a narration that the one who has no control over his/her anger has no control over his reason .
Sometimes you get so angry that you cannot think straight and are unable to make sound decisions. That’s when anger could be a breeding ground for many evils. As Imam Sadiq (AS) puts: “(uncontrolled) anger is the key (that opens the door) to all kinds of vices” 
Based on vast scientific studies, anger can determine various mental or physical diseases and many other deadly risks. This includes the increase in the number of road accidents, violent crimes, etc.:
“Chronic anger and anxiety can disrupt cardiac function by changing the heart’s electrical stability, hastening atherosclerosis, and increasing systemic inflammation”  “Research also shows that even one five-minute episode of anger is so stressful that it can impair your immune system for more than six hours” . Studies have linked anger to mental health problems like depression, loneliness, anxiety, eating and sleep disorders, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive behavior as well. 
Since this emotional behavior is hard to control and sometimes makes us commit irrational deeds, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) introduces the most courageous person as the one who does not let these negative feelings take over and can overcome his/her anger . Such a person is virtuous in the eyes of Allah:
“those who spend in ease and adversity, and suppress their anger, and excuse [the faults of] the people, and Allah loves the virtuous” (3:134)
Fortunately, Islam recommends some ways to control and overcome anger in our life:
When you find something annoying, you can either choose to vent your frustrations or cool down and take a minute to think twice about the negative consequences that inevitably follow the expression of anger. Why don’t you find some way to put yourself in other people’s shoes? Don’t you want to give yourself a chance to turn that anger to love?
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) says: “the best people are those who do not get angry easily and get satisfied (calm down) quickly.”
Saying the prayer or any other act of worship can help you tame your anger. Pray for yourself and the person or the situation that has made you angry. Remember Allah and ask Him to soften your heart and help you in forgiving others.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) has said: “Anger comes from Satan, and Satan was created from fire. Fire is put out by water; so when you become angry, perform ablution (Wudu) with water” .
Nowadays scientists have proven how changing your posture can affect your mood, your energy level as well as the ability to generate positive and negative thoughts. “According to one study from Texans A&M University, lying down can reduce feelings of anger and hostility” .
It has also been reported from Imam Baqir (AS) that: “Verily, anger is a spark ignited by the Devil in the human heart. Indeed, when anyone of you gets angry, his eyes become red, the veins of his neck become swollen, and Satan enters them. Therefore, whosoever among you is concerned about himself on account of it; he should lie down for a while so that the filth of Satan may be removed from him at the time” .
A Chinese proverb says If you are patient in the moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow. So, it is not wise to be swift in seeking revenge. It has also been narrated from Imam Ali (AS) that the best revenge at the time of anger is to show forbearance . When you are fuming over something, before any reaction, ask yourself if you want to live a life filled with vengeful and angry thoughts or a peaceful and decent life in which you try to forgive patiently. Which one would you choose?
Imam Ali (AS) says: “Anger is a very bad companion, it reveals your flaws, brings the evil near and distances the good” .
It is narrated from Imam Ali (AS) that the most powerful people in recognition of the right are the ones who do not get angry .
Imam Ali (AS) introduces anger management as a way of developing wisdom . Since a wise person would never do anything regrettable at the time of anger.
Imam Sadiq (AS) has said: “If someone got angry with you three times but did not insult you, then choose him/her as a friend” . In another narration, Imam Ali (AS) says making your friend angry will lead to separation from her/him .
Imam Ali (AS) has advised us to keep silent at the time of anger: “Protect yourself from anger for its beginning is insanity and its end is remorse” .
Anger management will also make you close to the holy infallible Imams and follow in their footsteps. Then you will become a dignified person who deserves to be saved from Allah’s wrath both in this world and the hereafter.
“Muhammad, the Apostle of Allah, and those who are with him are hard against the faithless and merciful amongst themselves” (48:29)
As stated above anger can be constructive too. When managed well, anger has no or very few detrimental consequences. Instead, it is a warning sign of corruption or an evil action; that something around you is not right. It then motives you to take action to correct the wrong. In such cases, Muslims are recommended to express anger for the right, to defend the good, and only to gain Allah’s satisfaction.
Yet, how you end up handling the anger is of great importance, too. As Muslims, we are not allowed to violate anyone’s right or act indecently at the time of anger. All our actions should be based on rational considerations and the Divine laws. Imam Sadiq (AS) says in this regard: “A believer is a person who when angered, his/her anger does not lead him away from that which is true” .
- al-Kafi, v. 2, p. 305, no. 13
- al‑Kafi, vol. 2, p. 303, hadith 3
- happiness stress heart disease
- emotional wellness
- harmfull effects of holding anger
- Nahj al-Fasaha, p. 549, hadith 1872
- Nahj al-Fasaha, p. 286, hadith 660
- movement can feel you better
- Al-Kulayni, Usul al-Kafi, Vol. III.
- Tasnif ghurar al-hikam wa-durar al-kalim, p. 285, hadith 6400
- ibid, p. 302, hadith 6893
- ibid, p246, hadith 5062
- ibid, p. 242, hadith 4919
- Ma’dan al-Jawahir, p. 34
- Naj al-Balaqa (Sobhi Salih), p. 559, hadith 480
- Al-Amidi, Gharar ul-Hikam wa darar ul-Kalim, hadith 2635
- Al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 186, hadith 11
- anger in islam