It might have happened to you that when there is a ladder leaned against a wall and as you want to pass under it, someone calls you and says: “Do not pass under a ladder!” You might think it's crazy, or you might find it acceptable and even follow it. Which one is true? If you decide to follow Islam as your faith, should you follow those superstitious beliefs or ignore them all at once?
Collins Concise English Dictionary defines superstition as an irrational belief usually founded upon ignorance or fear and characterized by obsessive reverence for omens, charms, etc. . Superstitious beliefs are not limited to a particular faith or region; all nations and clans have their own beliefs, followed by their fears and ignorance. They are mostly routed in the past of a nation, transferred from generation to generation.
Islam defines superstition as all the words, manners and beliefs without a religious or logical base and backbone .
The Quran defines superstition as a burden put upon the human mind and soul by his/her own hands. It introduces Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) to us as the last messenger of Allah, responsible to make things clear for his followers to see what to do and believe in, and what not to do and ignore .
"Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him - it is those who will be successful.” (7:157)
Shackles are those beliefs human beings had or might have, which made them do things and stop doing some others with no definite reason or scientific study and research. It is the duty of Islam to guide people to accept everything they believe in with their hearts and minds sure of it, which requires research and reasoning.
Well, there was a time when superstitions were limited to passing under a ladder or seeing a black cat. But now, superstitions are more woven in the lives of people. Reports have shown that a quarter of adults in the United States consider themselves to be so. American Youths are more superstitious than the elders, and 70 percent of them rely on luck charms for better academic results. According to some scientific research, this occurs because people think superstitions can relieve their anxieties, improve their performances and help them pay the extra costs of an adverse outcome, be it financial, mental, or whatsoever .
As you might also conclude, superstitions have not only been less common, but also they are becoming more frequent among young Americans. There are ways to overcome those beliefs which we are going to discuss in our next article. Still, aside from that, these words uncover one fact: when you follow superstitions and believe in them, they will take the lead in your life and the life of your children, family, friends, etc. One day you might come up with the fact that many of your friends' fears passing under a ladder, too.
The other outcome of following superstitious beliefs is a weaker mental belief in a superpower. Put simply, when you believe in superstitions, you see other powers, be it of Satan, natural elements, or any other thing, stronger and more effective than that of Allah. You might not mean or think that way, but being superstitious makes you so.
One last important aftermath of this system of thinking is a feeble religious mind, one which is easily broken, misled, and gone far away from the straightway of truth. Superstitions weaken your faith, and then they weaken you. A weak person goes forward with a slow speed.
These are the least consequences of superstitious beliefs. You might think about the ways of overcoming these thoughts and getting rid of them which we will discuss later.
So, Are you still afraid of passing under a ladder?
- Collins Concise English Dictionary at Word Reference Online Language dictionaries
- Mokhtaripour, Marziyeh Islam, Superstitions and their Prevention Pasdar Islam, Vol. 385
- Makarim Shirazi, Nemuneh Interpretation of Quran, Vol 1, P 184
- Sandoiu, Ana How do Superstitions affect our Psychology and Wellbeing September 2019
According to dictionary definitions salvation means “deliverance from the power and effects of sin” . Even some people believe that all Abrahamic religions have been sent to human beings to free them from the effects of their sins and guide them to the path of salvation. However, there are some major differences in the way that followers of different Abrahamic religions believe in the concept of salvation and that the above definition is not necessarily compatible with the Islamic meaning of Salvation. Therefore, this article is a study on the concept of salvation in Islam and tries to point out its major differences with Christianity.
Before starting the argument about the concept of salvation in Christianity, it is important to point out the two main ideas of Christian Catholic theologians:
1- ‘Adam by his sin caused the fall of the human generation on earth and as a result of this worldly life, he caused death for the human generation.
2- Adam by his fault transmitted sin to the human generation’ .
According to some Christians’ opinion, death and sin are transmitted to the human race generation after generation, "for as by the disobedience of one man, many [i.e., all men] were made sinners" (Romans 5:19) .
Now let us study how Christianity explains the concept of salvation for men who are all born sinners.
Some Christian sects believe that all men are born sinners, and it becomes more complicated when the belief comes to the point that says “no amount of human goodness, human works, human morality, or religious activity can gain acceptance with God or get anyone into heaven; the moral man, the religious man, and the immoral and non-religious, are all in the same boat” .
“In the Christian doctrine of salvation, God has rescued man through Christ (John 3:17). Specifically, it was Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection that achieved man’s salvation (Romans 5:10; Ephesians 1:7). It is explicitly stated in The Bible that salvation is the gracious, undeserved gift of God (Ephesians 2:5, 8) and is only available through faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12)” .
There are a few differences between the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible and the Quran, one of which is the concept of original sin in Christianity that is contrary to the Islamic teachings. According to Islam, we are all born pure and even if we consider Adam’s act as a sin [i], it is not logical to count it as an everlasting sin for the whole human generation. According to Islam, everyone is responsible for his/her own acts: “no bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another” (6: 164).
Therefore, according to Islam, salvation is not defined as the human’s deliverance from the original sin, but it is a path that guides human beings towards spiritual development and reaching God.
Even following the prophets in Islam, never means that the human generation can be saved by having belief in their prophethood, but it is by following their guidance and the rules of religion and by doing “righteous deeds” (7:42) that one can reach salvation:
“And those who have faith and do righteous deeds—they shall be the inhabitants of paradise; they will remain in it [forever].” (2: 82)
In the Quran, Allah introduces prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) as the one who rescues people from their burdens and shackles. (7:157). We need to find out what those burdens and shackles are and how the prophet is supposed to relieve people from them, which are all mentioned in the Quran.
By finding the answer to the above question, we will realize the Islamic viewpoint on the concept of salvation and the role of Prophets and people in attaining it.
The Quran exegetes have different interpretations of burdens and shackles that are mentioned in this Holy Book; including superstitions, wrong habits, and traditions, ignorance, discrimination, false rules of the society, oppression, and dictatorship of the government, etc. It is also said that these burdens were those hard rituals and laws that God had obliged over the Jews .
But the deliverance that prophet brings for people is not reachable by sacrificing himself. As it is mentioned in the Quran the duty of prophets is to invite people to the right path and teach them the book and purify them by giving them the guidelines for a successful life (24: 54). However, it is the human himself who has to choose and do righteous deeds to reach salvation.
Therefore, according to the Quran sins cannot be transmitted from one person to another, just as a prophet cannot take away the sins of his people by sacrificing himself; “No bearer shall bear another’s burden” (17:15).
Salvation in Islam opens the gate of hope into people’s hearts. Unlike Christianity, in Islam people are not sinful and can reach the closest levels to God and His messengers by doing righteous deeds, acting according to the religious rules and living a decent life. And having true faith in God and his apostle is necessary but not enough.
As mentioned in the Quran, the human is a creature that “its virtues and vices” are inspired to him and it is the human who chooses one and leaves the other behind . Therefore, in the Islamic doctrine, it is the human’s free will that makes his/her destiny; “one who purifies it (the soul) is felicitous, and one who betrays it fails” (91: 9-10).
To sum up, believing in Jesus and his sacrifice for the salvation of human race is not acceptable according to Islam. But the only way of salvation is the belief in the prophets, especially the last one, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), and in the messages that he delivered to us. These messages invite us to do righteous deeds based on our conscious act and choice. And if the belief is not accompanied by righteous deeds it will not lead to salvation.
[i]. Muslims believe in the infallibility of prophets. Also, the reason for which Muslims do not count Adam’s act as sin is that at his time there had been no religion and no specific frameworks for human behavior. And God had not ordered him not to eat of the forbidden tree, but He recommended Adam and Eve to keep away from that tree. Therefore, they had not committed a sin, to face punishment, rather they had chosen to take an action regarding the forbidden tree and they faced its consequences.
The taste of water is the taste of life.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.49, p.99.
Cleanliness is among the manners of prophets.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.78, p.335.
Any food that benefits the body and brings energy to it is allowed (Halal), and whatever harms the body and drains its energy is forbidden (Haram).
Baqir Sharif al-Qurashi, Al-Fiqh al-Radawi, p.254.
Try to divide your day into four parts; a part for praying to Allah, one for providing your livelihood, one for spending time with your friends and the ones you trust to tell your mistakes and love you sincerely, and a part for enjoying Halal pleasures which gives you the ability to fulfill the other parts.
Baqir Sharif al-Qurashi, Al-Fiqh al-Radawi, p.337.
The one who puts aside his/her world [ultimately] for the sake of his/her religion, or vice versa, is not among our followers.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.78, p.346.
Observe your manners in your relations with the ones older or younger than you.
Mirza Husayn Nuri, Mustadrak al-wasa'il, vol.8, p.354.
Whoever washes away a believer's grief, Allah will save him/her from despair on the Day of Judgment.
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.2, p.200.
Allah has commanded to express gratitude toward Himself and your parents; therefore, if you don't give thanks to your parents, you are not grateful to Allah.
Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Al-Khisal, p.156.
Reason is your best friend and ignorance, your worst enemy.
Ibn Shu’bah, Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.443.
You are ridiculing yourself if you ask for Allah's help, yet don't make any attempts [to reach your goal].
Muhammadi Reyshahri, Mizan al-Hikmah, hadith no.2790.
The one who greets a poor Muslim differently than a rich person will face Allah's wrath on the Day of Judgement.
Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Uyoun Akhbar Al-Ridha, vol.2, p.59.
From the two groups who face each other, victory belongs to the one that shows more generosity.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.71, p.452.
Modesty has different manifestations; one is for those who know their limitations, accept their position contently, like to treat people the way they expect to be treated, confront insult with benevolence, control their anger and forgive people. Allah loves the righteous.
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.2, p.124.
Allah will treat the one who holds an optimistic view toward Him, the same as his/her approach.
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.8, p.347.
Eating less and refraining from excessive use of food will protect your body against various diseases.
Al-Ma’mun ,al-Risa’la al-Dhahabiya fi al-Tibb, p.270.
Two groups are always sick; A healthy person who abstains from food and a sick person who does not abstain.
Baqir Sharif al-Qurashi, Al-Fiqh al-Radawi, p.340.
Whoever respects Allah's sanctuary, he/she will be respected, and whoever obeys Allah, will be obeyed.
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.1, p.137.
A generous person eats from other people's food [if invited], for people to eat from his/hers, and the ungenerous does not eat from other's food, to not offer his/her own food to others.
Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Uyoun Akhbar Al-Ridha, vol.1, p.15.
Respect the elderly, be kind to children, and pay a visit to your relatives.
Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Uyoun Akhbar Al-Ridha, vol.2, p.265.
Allah delays granting the request of a believer, since He is eager to listen to him/her praying, saying, "This is the voice I love listening to" and hasten in granting the request of a hypocrite, saying, "This is the voice I loathe hearing."
Baqir Sharif al-Qurashi, Al-Fiqh al-Radawi, p.345.
Whoever knows his/her value will never be devastated.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.72, p.66.
Fitr has been appointed as Eid for Muslims to come together as a community on this day in the presence of the Lord and thank Him for His blessings.
Ibn Qūlawayh, Kamil al-Ziyarat, p.522.
Visit each other regularly to create more love between yourselves, and hold each other's hands and wipe anger away from your hearts.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.78, p.347.
The one who borrows something with the intention of giving it back is under Allah's protection until he does so. However, if he doesn't have the intention of paying the debt back to its owner, he is considered a thief.
Baqir Sharif al-Qurashi, Al-Fiqh al-Radawi, p.268.
Patience, knowledge, and silence are signs of awareness. Silence is one of the gates to wisdom. It endows human beings with tenderness and guides them toward virtues.
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.2, p.113.
Wearing perfume is one of the manners of prophets.
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.6, p.510.
The one who repents from sin and repeats doing it seems like a person who is ridiculing his/her Lord.
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.2, p.504.
The value of worshipping does not depend on the number of prayers or fasts. Instead, true worship is pondering deeply on Allah and everything related to Him.
Ibn Shu’bah, Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.442.
The first step in serving Allah is knowing Him.
Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Al-Tawhid, p.34.
Whoever smiles at his/her fellow believer, will win Allah's reward.
al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Kitāb muṣādaqat al-ikhwān, vol.1, p.157.
The one who doesn't gratify a kindness received by others has not given thanks to Allah Almighty.
Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Uyoun Akhbar Al-Ridha, vol.2, p.24.
Insignificant sins lead into great sins and the one, who doesn't have any fear of Allah while committing the insignificant ones, won't feel any fear in doing the great ones.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.73, p.353.
You are not a devout worshipper if you do not seek forbearance.
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.2, p.11.
If your neighbor is not safe from your harm, you are not among our followers.
Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Uyoun Akhbar Al-Ridha, vol.2, p.24.
The one who breaks promises is prone to unfortunate incidents.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.67, p.186.
Verily, relief, and success comes after despair.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.52, p.110.
Faith includes knowing by heart, confessing by the tongue, practicing by all parts of your body.
Ibn Shu’bah, Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.422.
A believer does not leave aside what is right, when in anger, and does not go astray, in happiness, and does not take more than he/she deserves, while in power.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.75, p.355.
There is no peace for the stingy, no pleasure for the envious, no guarantee for the rulers, and no conscience for the liar.
Ibn Shu'bah, A Summery of Tuhaf al-Uqul, hadith no. 500249.
Doubt the faith of the one who shows off with his/her worships to Allah, since Allah Al-mighty abhors bragging about worship and appearance.
Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.70, p.252.