“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
If you have ever experienced such hard conditions in life that you see your life or other peoples’ lives completely purposeless or absolutely miserable and you may have thought of killing yourself or ending miserable peoples’ lives, then I suggest you read this text to the end and realize why suicide in Islam is strictly forbidden.
Although I know that if you are close to one of those highly hopeless phases of your life, you may even wish to kill me over the net!!! But, you probably have no important task right now, as you probably don’t care. So read on and do not lose your opportunity of accompanying me in this meaningless life!
Have you ever come across a person who is seriously ill, and his existence seems to be real trouble for himself and his family members? He stays all day in bed, with no capability of moving, or talking or transferring emotions or anything else, and he lives a plant life. Have you ever thought that killing such a useless and incapable person would bring more mental, physical and economic benefits to the society?
These thoughts and many other thoughts that may be on your mind, and may have remained unanswered for ages, can make life meaningless. But let us see how our creator answers these types of thoughts;
All human beings try to reach high positions in life, whether economic, social, political, educational, physical or spiritual. Some people reach those high positions, and many of them remain normal people in society. Among those who think that they have not achieved such reasonable positions in life, there is a group who has never set a real goal to achieve and have only dreamt of those situations.
But there are also a group of people who have set realistic goals and tried hard to achieve them, but they have never been successful. A percentage of the latter group may become disappointed and may think of this life as a pointless life, and some of them may think of suicide.
The tragedy that repeats in the history of humankind, and has been the reason for many suicide attempts is a broken heart, and not gaining the love of your life. People, who are not in love, may think that the suicidal decisions of disappointed lovers are very shallow and childish. But the person, who is trapped in the hands of powerful love, sees nothing more important than reaching the love of his/ her life.
The worldly loves may not be limited to the opposite sex only. Some people desire wealth, different jobs, cars, buildings, and towers, or even knowledge. This sort of love can also remain unattained and lead people toward disappointment.
Some people face problems in every aspect of their life. It can be individual problems such as debt, disease, family problems, loneliness, etc. Or it could be much bigger than that; social problems, war, the unjust power of imperialism and capitalism, environmental pollutions or the spread of oppression in the world.
These great issues are enough to make one totally disillusioned with living in this cruel world and to lead him toward ending his/ her life.
In all the issues mentioned above, that may take a person to the point of hopelessness, God gives us guidelines and answers. He says in the Holy Quran that most of the hardship that human beings go through is to test their level of faith and to distinguish those who are truthful and those who verbally talk about faith with no real belief in it (29: 2-3).
The life of this world is only a place for us to prove our capabilities and talents for greater eternal life, and in this path, only the patient will win;
“We will surely test you with a measure of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth, lives, and fruits; and give good news to the patient.” (2: 155)
Imagine that you have entered a challenge or a test. In the middle of the tackle, you find it really hard that you feel like you cannot take it anymore. Will you stop the challenge and decide to kill yourself, or will you think about your goals and keep going with the rest of your energy?
Usually, people who have set goals in life, will keep moving and find ways of overcoming problems. Therefore, the main problem of those who may think of suicide is that they don’t have a clear goal, nor they have a clear vision of the meaning of challenges in life.
From an Islamic viewpoint, the life of this world is full of different tests, and by going through them and passing the tests, people elevate their spiritual level and build their eternal life more comfortable. Therefore, the harder the tests are, the stronger the person will become, and he will have an easier life in the hereafter.
First of all, He wants us to choose the right path in life; “rectitude has become distinct from error.” (2: 256)
After choosing the path of righteousness, He wants us to follow the guidelines that He sent us through His messengers; “should any guidance come to you from Me, those who follow My guidance will not go astray, nor will they be miserable.” (20: 123)
Then, He promises that whoever sets his goals in the direction of helping the religion of God and gaining God’s satisfaction, He will show him/her the right way: “As for those who strive in Us, We shall surely guide them in Our ways, and Allah is indeed with the virtuous.”(29:69)
Therefore, whoever forms his lifestyle based on teachings of God, will never feel disappointed, since Allah says: “indeed no one despairs of Allah’s mercy except the faithless lot”. (12: 87)
When you face problems you should:
1. Revise your goals and lifestyle. If it is against the path that Allah has sent us, disappointment will overcome you at some points.
2. Remember God, knowing that it will give you strength; “—those who have faith and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah.’ Behold! The hearts find rest in Allah’s remembrance!” (13: 28)
3. Form a strong Islamic family to keep you in peace; “And of His signs is that He created for you mates from your own selves that you may take comfort in them, and He ordained affection and mercy between you.” (30:21)
4. Never hang around aimlessly and idly; “so when you are done appoint (to a new task).” (94: 7)
5. Keep in mind that the real life is to come after death. So live every day of your life knowing that it may be your last day. Many of us are the last minute people!!
And there are many other solutions that can help us get rid of satanic thoughts, if we just read the Quran while we are depressed and feeling suicidal.
Before the appearance of a group called ISIS, I always wondered if it is possible for people to easily behead men, to kill children and cut the bodies into pieces. I had repeatedly heard and read the event of the tenth day (Ashura) in Muharram of 61 AH, in which the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), who was the leader (Imam) of Muslims at his time, and the males of his family and companions were martyred, beheaded and cut into pieces.
While I was reading those events, I started thinking about what kind of a person is capable of doing such horrible acts? Who were the people of that era who stood against their leader and watched him getting martyred and beheaded, because he could not morally and ethically accept the caliphate of a corrupt leader over the Muslim society?
I found answers to my questions in the past few years when some terrorist groups began to take advantage of some of the verses of the Holy Quran and use it as a pretext for their evil purposes. These terrorist groups, the most recent of them Taliban, Al-Qaida and ISIS, are very much the same as those who considered themselves Muslims and stood against the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the leader of Muslim society, who was the manifestation of Islam, under the name of supporting the corrupt oppressor caliph; Yazid.
Having people with different attitudes who all believe that they are true Muslims makes it hard for truth-seekers to find the right path in life.
In this article, we will revise the reasons for which a group like ISIS would appear, grow and spread in the world in the name of Islam. We will try to clarify a few points by which we can make a border between the real Islam and the unreal Islam that is being used as the tool of terrorism.
To begin, let’s see what the main types of Muslims that we face these days are.
The passive depiction of Islam is the sort of Islam that is at peace with EVERYTHING in this world. Whatever happens, the passive Muslim will not show any reactions. These types of Muslims believe in having a safe and calm life. They have no considerable social or political involvements. If an issue arises in the community or the society, they prefer to remain silent and show no reactions toward it, as it may cause some harm to them or their benefits.
One may think that this type of Islam is the best as it does not harm the believer or others in the society. But the fact is that according to Islam or any other Abrahamic religion, he who remains silent, at a time when he has to stand against an oppressor or to help a human in a reasonable need, has no value in the eyes of God in this world or the other .
It is also firmly narrated by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that “whoever starts his day with no efforts on Muslims’ issues IS NOT A MUSLIM” . This is how Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) excludes passive Muslims from the true Islam.
In the same way it is stated in the Holy Quran that: “Why should you not fight in the way of Allah and the oppressed men, women, and children, who say, ‘Our Lord, bring us out of this town whose people are oppressors, and appoint for us a guardian from Yourself, and appoint for us a helper from Yourself’?” (4:75)
The wild representation of Islam is much worse, much more inaccurate and much further from the real context of Islam than the passive representation. Silent Muslims will cause damages to others by not helping them at the right time, while Wild people who act, using the name of Islam, will hurt the society, families, and a whole generation that is to come.
All terrorists who call themselves Muslims and make the world an unsafe place for human beings are amongst those wild creatures. They kill children, men and women all over the world by using their invented and wrong interpretations of a few verses of the Holy Quran, trying to demolish the religion of God.
They ignore all the verses of the Holy Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his successors that emphasize tolerance, kindness toward human beings and animals, protecting the environment, supporting the truth, gentle speaking, respecting the humankind, and observing the rights of the previous religions.
Facing this representation of Islam, one may think that these people are either very ignorant and indolent that will not even spend some time on understanding the real Islam, OR use some parts of Islam as a part of a bigger plot by which they can reach their hypocritical goals.
But put aside the passive and the wild representations of Islam, and let us find out what the true Islam is and how we can recognize the true Islam from among its different representations.
We do not insist that every truth-seeker should conclude accepting Islam as his religion, but there are hints and guidelines for every truth-seeker to realize the true path of life.
Here we will count a few of these hints:
A) Have no prejudice in searching for the truth
It is important that even those who have specific beliefs, start researching and rebuilding their mindset. If we do not keep thinking about our beliefs, we will be dogmatic people who have no logical answers to other people’s questions about their ideas.
Not being prejudiced about our views gives us an open mind. Therefore, if we face a belief that may be contrary to ours, but we find it closer to the truth than ours, we should be able to change our idea and follow the best route.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) says: “Avoid prejudice, as it begins with ignorance and ends up in regression” .
B) Support the truth
“Do not mix the truth with falsehood, nor conceal the truth while you know” (2: 42).
Most of us experience situations in which we have to choose between our benefits and the truth. This is what we call fairness. It is essential to be careful about taking the right side even if it is against our benefits. Although sometimes by supporting the truth we may lose our worldly benefits, it is important to remember that reaching the ultimate purpose of humanity is hidden in taking the right side.
C) Listen carefully and completely
“… So give good news to My servants, who listen to the word [of Allah] and follow the best [interpretation] of it. They are the ones whom Allah has guided, and it is they who possess intellect” (39: 17- 18).
Unfortunately, the wrong presentations of Islam come from the point where people take some advice from the Quran and leave the rest instead of looking at it as a whole. For example, those who stand for the rights of Muslim women and try to revive their rights, stick to a few verses of the Quran that are about women.
They do not understand Islam’s aim of ordering women to observe the Islamic dress code, so they start campaigns against it. While if they read the Quran as a whole alongside with the prophet’s teachings, and put different pieces of the puzzle together, they will realize that the Islamic dress code, plus men’s and women’s etiquette of looking, plus men’s role in supporting the family and women’s role in calming the atmosphere of the house, and many other pieces of the puzzle are to make the society a better place for all members to live in.
D) Animals’ Rights
According to the Quran, all the creatures [including animals] have been created to serve human being (2: 29). But if we need to use animals for our needs, we should not forget that we have a huge responsibility towards them as living creatures. The rights of animals are of much importance in Islam, and we have a lot of narrations from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his successors with regards to them.
An example is a narration by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): “When you stop riding an animal, do not keep sitting on them while having a [lengthy] conversation with others; instead, descend and [let the animal rest, and] then talk” .
E) Love for humanity
And finally, the Golden Rule that if we all follow, we will experience a peaceful life in this world and the hereafter is stated in the letter of Imam Ali (AS) to his son who said:
“O, my child! Make yourself the measure (for dealings) between you and others. Thus, you should desire for others what you desire for yourself and hate for others what you hate for yourself” .
At the beginning of this article, we read those who martyred Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions on the tenth day (Ashura) in Muharram of 61 AH, are the ones who took advantage of the name of Islam to gain their worldly desires. We discussed that the same thing is happening in our era and different terrorist groups, by misusing the name of Islam, try to divert people from the true guidance and the peaceful path of life.
This reminds me of the famous saying “every day is Ashura, and every land is Karbala.”; Which means the confrontation between right and wrong always exists. This may be a simple confrontation in family relations, at work or in the community, or it may be a more significant conflict between the countries.
No matter we are Muslim or Christian or Jewish. The fact is that the history repeats itself. And it is vital for us to be wise enough to realize the truth and support it. Imam Hussain (AS) on the tenth day (Ashura) faced the massive army of Yazid and told them:
“If you neither believe in religion nor fear the hereafter, then at least be free from tyranny and arrogance” .
- Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 74, p. 311.
- Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 164.
- The Quran, Chapter 4 (Al-Nisa’), verse. 75.
- Mizan al-Hikmah, vol. 4, p. 2770.
- Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 64, p. 173.
- Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 64, p. 214.
- Nahjul – Balagha; letter 31.
- wedMajlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.74, p. 91.