Human beings by nature are social creatures, in need of companions and friends. Most of our lives depend on interactions with others, and man is therefore compelled to live in society and with other individuals. Friendship in Islam is considered one of the Divine blessings through which one overcomes loneliness and solitude.
Islam has placed tremendous importance on sociability and friendship. In the Quran [i], great emphasis has been placed on the concept of friendship because maintaining good company plays a pivotal role in shaping the life of the individual and it influences the path that will be chosen in life. Likewise, the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) and his Ahl al-Bayt (AS) on different occasions had clearly stated its importance, criteria for choosing a friend, characteristics of a good friend and the rights of a friend .
Friends are an integral and important part of our social life as they contribute greatly to the development of one’s personality and they affect many aspects of our lives. Islam, in complete harmony with man’s nature, deals extensively both in the Quran and the narrations (Hadiths) of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) with the issue of friendship in Islam.
In the Quran, Allah says:
“On that day, friends will be one another’s enemies, except for the Godwary.” (43:67)
The Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) while explaining the impact of friends says:
“Man is influenced by the faith of his friends. Therefore, be careful of whom you befriend.”
Similarly, the commander of the faithful; Imam Ali (AS) says:
“Try to have as many as possible true friends, for they are the supplies in joy and the shelters in misfortunes” 
Islam attaches great emphasis on the choice of a friend to be selected in life. For this purpose, it is expected that one should employ his/her judgment in a manner free from emotion and try to set aside the criterion for assessing his/her real worth. “One must know his/her inadequacies and weak points, his/her ideas, feelings, dislikes and infirmities. Ultimately, one must discover the human merits and desirable qualities that he/she carries in the depth of his/her spirit so that one may benefit from his/her outstanding virtues.”
Therefore, for the great good or bad influences friends can have on the characters and personality of each other, it is important for every man of reason to choose friends that are characterized by good mannerism and behavior.
Meanwhile, in accordance with the sayings of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) and his Ahl al-Bayt (AS), a Muslim must avoid certain sets of people as friends: transgressor, hypocrites, foolish, liar, sinful, stingy, and disregardful to his/her relatives. Similarly, non-Muslims should not be taken as intimate friends or allies .
However, there is no hindrance for a boy having a girl as a friend or vice versa, so far as the Islamic regulations (such as the Islamic Hijab, avoidance of indiscriminate touching, etc.) are observed and they avoid any sinful act.
In Islam, the followings are some of the characteristics to be looked forward to in a friend:
Uprightness and well mannerism
Following some narrations (Hadiths) , friendship entails certain trusts and duties. The one who observes them is a true friend while one who breach them is unworthy of friendship in Islam. Here are some of the rights of friends:
Respecting them and their personality 
Rendering material supports in the time of need 
Advising them when they need your advice 
Forgiving their shortcomings 
Concealing their lapses and faults from others 
Visiting them when they are sick 
Participating in their funeral when they die
Concisely, friends are integral parts of our social life, and it is important to be selective in the choice of companions and friends. The righteous ones who lead one to righteousness in this world and prosperity in the Hereafter should be considered as friends.
In contrast, hypocrites and ill-mannered individuals who are sources of plights in this world and in the Hereafter should not be taken as friends. Similarly, Islam teaches the Muslims to observe certain matters in friendly relations. This is because immoderation in this regard may lead to deplorable consequences and bring regret and pain.
[i] (9: 71), (25: 27-29), etc.
- Al-Amidi, Ghurar al-Hikam, P. 177; Mustadrak Wasa’il, Vol. 5, chapter 42
- Allamah Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 74, P. 192.
- Mahdi as-Sadr, The Ahlul-Bayt; Ethical role models, P. 290.
- Mujtaba Musavi Lari, Ethics and Spiritual growth, P. 211.
- (3: 28); (4: 144); (5: 51); (9: 23) etc.
- Imam Ali Zayn al-Abideen, Treatise on Rights, Right 33 (The right of the companion)
- Kulayni, Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, P. 198, Hadith No: 8.
- Al-Amidi, Ghurar al-Hikam, P. 775
- Ibid, P. 707
- Allamah Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 16, P. 233, Hadith 35
- Kulayni, Al-Kafi, Vol. 3, P. 173.
Our knowledge about Prophet Adam and his wife Eve, unlike our knowledge about other prophets, is very little. There are so many books written and so many films made about different prophets, but when it comes to Adam and Eve, we usually face a bunch of jokes about them; most common is that they were lucky not have any in-laws! And after all the jokes we end up blaming them for having sinned and having brought the human generation on earth in this miserable, sinful world.
It is a shame that we usually speak less about the status of Adam and Eve and there is not much information about them, available to the public, to show their status.
In this article, we will study the status of Adam and Eve and compare the Christian view on the concept of original sin with the Islamic viewpoint on the same topic.
In Christianity original sin is the rebellion of Adam and Eve in Eden, mainly in consuming from the forbidden tree, which resulted in the fall of man (from the state of innocent obedience to the state of guilty disobedience).
After huge discussions on the topic of original sin which was first raised by St. Augustine who stated “the deliberate sin of the first man is the cause of original sin”, Christian Catholic theologists accepted two main ideas about human condition in this world, believing in the fact that humans were supposed to live eternally in Eden; 
1. ‘Adam by his sin caused the fall of human generation on earth, and therefore as a result of this worldly life, he caused death for human generations.
2. Adam by his fault transmitted sin to human generation.’ 
According to Christian opinion, death and sin are transmitted to the human race by generation, "for as by the disobedience of one man, many [i.e., all men] were made sinners" (Romans 5:19). 
Now, let’s see how the story of Adam and Eve is explained in the Quran.
There are four major parts from the story of Adam and Eve described in the Quran:
1. The creation of Adam, ordering the angels to prostrate before him and Satan’s disobedience. (20: 61, 18:50)
2. Adam and Eve’s settlement in paradise, their temptation by Satan, tasting from the forbidden tree. (20: 120-3)
3. Adam, Eve and Satan’s fall on earth where “In it you will live, and in it you will die, and from it you will be raised [from the dead].” (7: 25)
4. Adam and Eve’s repentance and choosing Adam by God. (20: 122)
“When your Lord said to the angels, ‘Indeed I am going to set a viceroy on the earth,” (2:30) then He thought “the Names” to Adam and old the angels to prostrate for Adam, “they prostrated, but not Iblis: he refused and acted arrogantly, and he was one of the faithless.” (2: 34) Then God said: “O Adam, dwell with your mate in paradise and eat thereof freely whence so ever you wish, but do not approach this tree, lest you should be among the wrongdoers.” (2: 35)
Then Satan tempted them as he had sworn to tempt human generation, “Then Satan caused them to stumble from it, and he dislodged them from what [state] they were in.” (2: 36) Adam and Eve returned to God and asked for forgiveness based on their divine nature and “Then his Lord chose him, and turned to him clemently, and guided him.” (20: 122)
Unlike Christianity that discusses the concept of original sin from a theological aspect, almost all Muslim scholars discuss the issue based on the exegesis of the Quranic verses. It is also important to keep in mind that Muslims believe in the infallibility of prophets and to find out how the concept of original sin comes along with Prophet Adam’s infallibility.
Most important points about the concept of original sin from Muslim scholars’ viewpoint are as follows:
“When your Lord said to his angels, Indeed I am going to set a viceroy on the earth,” (2:30)
Based on the above verse and other similar verses, Fakhr-e Razi claims that Adam’s rejection from paradise was not because he sinned. Since God’s order to prevent them from tasting from the tree was not an obligation, but He said: “do not approach this tree, lest you should be among the wrongdoers.” (7: 19) And therefore they did not do a forbidden act.
In reply to those who admit the repentance of Adam shows that he committed a sin and therefore cannot be infallible, Fakhr-e Razi says that “prophets not only do not commit any sins but if they make a mistake they would repent from it as they know that these little mistakes would make the way broader for real sins” .
“Then Adam received certain words from his Lord, and He turned to him clemently. Indeed, He is the All-clement, the All-merciful.” (2:37)
As mentioned before, Allah (SWT) Accepted Adam and Eve’s repentance and turned to them. As Tabatabaei puts it, the necessity of accepted repentance is that the person would return to his/her previous situation, while Adam and Eve instead of returning to paradise stayed on earth and Adam was chosen and guided to be the guidance for his generation. 
Therefore according to Jawadi -Amoli tasting from the forbidden tree has been a part of the plan for Adam and Eve to be treated and prepared for living on earth where they have enemies, and they should not trust everyone as they trusted Satan; “He said, ‘Get down both of you from it, all together, being enemies of one another! Yet, should any guidance come to you from Me, those who follow My guidance will not go astray, nor will they be miserable.” (20: 123) 
Tabataei strongly disagrees with those who claim that the original sin made committing sins a necessity for the human generation. He states that the lordliness of God makes a space to order the right and forbid from wrong. Therefore, there will be punishment for wrongdoers and reward for righteous people.
He can also, based on His lordliness, bless those who commit a sin and repent of it. He continues that it is not logical to accept that human sin will go through generations and one’s sin will make others sinful as well.  As it is also mentioned in the Quran “, Every soul is hostage to what it has earned”, (74: 38) and not to what Adam (PBUH) or other human generations have done.
From the verse mentioned above, the concept of human free will is also concluded. Human beings will be punished or rewarded based on their acts. If human beings are forced to sin according to the concept of original sin, then the whole concept of human free will would be undermined. And as a result, the promises that God gives us about the hereafter and facing the results of our deeds will be meaningless. As Imam al-Sadiq (AS) mentions “God is more just than to force a servant on a (wrong) task and then punishes him because of that.” 
The story of Adam and Eve is not for us to find out if Adam was sinful or not. It is rather a symbolic story that should teach us lessons for having a successful life in this world. Our story from birth to death has a lot in common with the story of our father, Adam. We were born innocent. We grew up and started tasting from different forbidden fruits. We gradually descended from our human status, instead of ascending towards God; “We certainly created man in the best of forms; then We relegated him to the lowest of the low, except those who have faith and do righteous deeds. There will be an everlasting reward for them.” (95: 4- 6)
Every day is the time for us to repent of our sins and to beware of not being deceived by Satan.
‘O Children of Adam! Do not let Satan tempt you, like he expelled your parents from paradise, stripping them of their garments to expose to them their nakedness. Indeed he sees you—he and his hosts—whence you do not see them. We have indeed made the devils friends of those who have no faith.’ (7:27)
- original sin
- Fakhr-e Razi, Muhammad ibn Amr, Mafatih al-Ghayb, p. 17
- Tabatabaei, Muahmmad Hossein, Al-Mizan, vol. 8. P.46
- Jawadi – Amoli, Abdullah, Tasneem, vol. 3, p. 328
- Tabatabaei, Muahmmad Hossein, Al-Mizan, vol. 1. Pp.133-137
- Sadouq, al-Tawhid, Section al-Qadha wa al- Qdar, Narration No. 28
“Imam Hussain is the leader of humanity” Rabindranath Tagore
People have looked into the movement of Imam Hussain (AS) from different aspects throughout the history of Islam. Some see it as a historical trajectory, where the teachings of Islam were distorted and violated by the tyrant caliph of the time, Yazid, thus Imam Hussain’s movement as a revolutionary act and sacrifice to revive true Islam.
To some others, yet, the most important lesson we can learn from the event of Karbala is its moral or ethical dimension. As Imam Hussain (AS) himself puts: “I seek to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil and follow the traditions of my grandfather (Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP)) and my father (Imam Ali (AS))” .
One of the moral principles that Imam Hussain (AS)’s movement represents and emphasizes is the Golden rule. Based on this rule you should treat others the way you would like to be treated by them: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” .
Although it is often said that the term ‘Golden Rule’ first started to be used in the 17th or 18th century , we can also find it much earlier in the words and acts of Imam Ali (AS) and the other infallible Imams (AS). Imam Ali (AS) tells his son Imam Hassan (AS) in his last will that: “like for others whatever you like for yourself, and whatever you dislike happening to you, spare others from such happenings” .
Imam Hussain (AS) also advises people (as a general rule and a decent way of life): “If you do not believe in any religion, at least be free-spirited and honest in your actions” .
A newer version of the Golden rule also says: “act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” .
So, for an action to be considered morally good, you should ask yourself whether you could always reason or defend it as a universal law. In other words, to be a good person, you must be good for goodness’ sake, no matter what.
Now let’s see how this ethical value was manifested in Imam Hussain (AS)’s conduct.
A question anyone might ask after reading about the event of Karbala is ‘why didn’t Imam Hussain (AS) take an oath of allegiance to Yazid to save his life? Why did he choose to be martyred?’ [i]
One clear answer to this question is that he was the perfect leader (Imam) and role model for the Muslim community. A role model is someone who serves as an example and whose behavior is emulated by other people. To be a good role model you have to observe all your acts so that you set proper examples for others to follow.
Now, if Imam Hussain (AS) had pledged allegiance to Yazid’s tyranny, would he be a good exemplar of resistance against injustice for people? Wouldn’t his compromise then make the tyrant ruler more powerful and dominant?
The answer is obvious. Imam Hussain (AS) chose not to follow the indecent tyrant of his time since he intended to act on that maxim he wished it would become a universal law.
On the other hand, some people criticize Imam Hussain (AS)’s decision, saying he could have pledged allegiance to Yazid while at the same time trying to fight him and his injustice over time.
This would also contradict Imam Hussain (AS)’s maxim and is paradoxical, too. In fact, Yazid’s deviations from true Islam and the moral norms were so many that Imam Hussain (AS) could not turn a blind eye to them.
Imam Hussain (AS) did not want to compromise with those so-called Muslims whose behavior and actions had nothing to do with Islam. Instead, he chose to do the right thing, which any free-spirited, wise and virtuous man would do. And with his movement, he invited us all to do the same and follow in his footsteps.
The other ethical lesson we learn from Imam Hussain (AS) is that he never disregarded human values on his way to achieve his purpose. And he always advised his followers to choose the right way in life. For him, the end did not justify the means. What mattered to him more than anything else was the values not the victory in its apparent sense.
As Imam Ali (AS) says: “The victory achieved through sins is not, in fact, a victory, the one who dominates with the help of evil is defeated” .
It is due to this ethical principle that Muslim ibn Aqil did not kill his enemy, Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad, before the event of Karbala (before the enemy declared war against them), when he had every chance of doing so in his friend’s house.
He did not kill him because the Holy Prophet (PBUH) forbade any guile: “Verily, Islam became an obstruction of deceit and an obstacle of trickery” . Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions were seeking to revive the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (AS). So, killing even the most wicked person on earth through deceit, and before he has shown an act of hostility against you, is not compatible with Islamic teachings.
In another account from the event of Karbala, Zuhayr, one of Imam Hussain (AS)’s companions, recommended fighting the enemy when they were fewer in number and so easier to defeat. But Imam Hussain (AS) replied he did not intend to start a war; [he would rather defend if a war was imposed on him].
The examples mentioned above manifestly show the behavior of a great role model. Imam Hussain (AS) only wanted to restore what was right, the true teachings of Islam which had been distorted by the tyrant ruler of the time. He tried to preserve human dignity and values.
He could have saved his life as well as that of his family’s and companions’ by accepting Yazid’s allegiance. But this would have been at the cost of ruining their dignity and living a life humiliation. Never would he put up with such disgrace.
So Imam Hussain (AS) made the most of every opportunity to invite people to the righteousness and prevent bloodshed. However, when he was left with two options, humiliation or death, and war was being forced upon him, he chose martyrdom and bravely fought against injustice.
[i] In one of his sermons to people of Kufa, Imam Hussain (AS) said: “Beware! Now this illegitimate son of the illegitimate father (Ubaydullah bin Ziyad) has stationed me between unsheathing the swords or then bear the humiliation, and far be it that we accept humiliation” .