One of the significant aspects of responsibility in Islam is the responsibility towards ourselves and how we treat our bodies and souls. As discussed previously, every Muslim is responsible towards himself.
Since human beings owe their existence to their unique Creature, they should treat themselves as their Creator has commanded. The spiritual responsibilities of a human towards him\herself and some of the duties that one has towards his\her body were discussed in the previous part of this topic. Here, we continue the discussion on the rights of the parts of the body.
The eyes are the means of insight and awakening of the heart. Imam Ali (AS) said that a faithful person looks to learn, but a hypocrite looks to amuse . Thus, of the rights of the eyes and one's responsibility in Islam towards them is to lower the gaze from whatever that is unlawful (Haram) and not to look at everything and everywhere around, unless there is a lesson or advice behind . According to Imam Ali (AS), whoever closes the eyes from Haram, his\her heart will be relieved .
The legs are the means to walk towards the right path and to overtake others in doing good deeds. Hence, of the rights of the legs over one and the responsibility in Islam towards them are not going towards what is unlawful (Haram) or what humiliates him\herself .
Of the rights of the hands are not to do what is unlawful (Haram) with them, otherwise one will be punished in the Hereafter for what has committed by his\her hands, and will be blamed by others in this world; not to prevent the hands from doing what God has commanded to; and, to allow the hands to seek what is beneficial and useful for one .
Of the rights of the stomach are :
To be careful about what you eat (80:24);
Not to eat what is unlawful (Haram), neither a little of it nor too much;
Not to consider the stomach as a container and not to overeat while ignoring others who suffer from hunger; “eat and drink, but do not waste” (7:31);
To eat moderately even when eating lawful (Halal) foods because eating less is the key to good health ;
Not to forget that overeating makes one bored and lazy and stops him\her from doing good deeds. According to Imam Ali (AS), to eat less enlightens the mind ;
To remember that drinking too much will also cause indiscretion and absurdity;
Of the rights of the private parts are to protect them from what is unlawful (Haram). To do so, one requires lowering the gaze since the eyes affect the heart and mind greatly. Also, one should frequently remember the death and the afterlife. He\she should always have a fear of the divine punishment and ask God to help him\her to protect his\her private parts from sins .
Every human being is composed of a body and a soul. These two, together, help one to live a natural life. The health of the body is as important as the health of the soul. Devoting everything in life to prepare for the afterlife and depriving oneself of the God’s blessings in this world is blamed in Islam. In Surah Qasas verses 77, Muslims are advised to apply the capabilities and wealth that they have been given to do good deeds and to gain rewards for the afterlife.
But, they should also consider and benefit from the blessings of this world (28:77). Indeed, it is possible to consider both the physical needs as well as spiritual ones simultaneously. Although fulfilling the physical needs is known to be important in Islam, one should keep a balance in life and avoid being luxury-oriented. Otherwise, he\she will always be busy to increase his\her wealth, and this might force him\her to unlawful (Haram) ways of raising money.
- S. al-Harrani “Tuhaf al-Uqul”, p. 212.
- Imam Sajjad (AS), Treatise On Rights (Risalat al-Huquq).
- “Ghurar Al-Hikam Wa Durar Al-Kalim”, T. 9122.
- S. al-Harrani “Tuhaf al-Uqul”, p. 172.
- “Ghurar Al-Hikam Wa Durar Al-Kalim”, T. 8462.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 78, p. 321.
The young Muslims of today are facing an ever-increasing number of plights, one of the most important of which is drugs. But, what is Islam’s view on this issue? How should Muslims regard drugs? To know this, we must see what the Quran and the prophet’s and Imams’ conducts (Sirah) say regarding narcotics.
Since drugs were not known at the advent of Islam, therefore we cannot see any direct evidence in the Sirah on this issue throughout history; so the only way is referring to general rules and principles of jurisprudence.
In general, it has been indicated, firstly, that since drug consuming inflicts tremendous losses, it is considered as forbidden (Haram), unless medical emergencies and necessities require it. Secondly, buying and selling it, is forbidden except where rational, lawful benefits are received, such as medicine production. This form of usage must be under precise official supervision and control. Based on these facts, Muslim scholars hammered out four rational and crystal clear reasons for the forbiddance of drug consumption:
All intoxicants are regarded as forbidden because of their inebriant repercussions, as well as their physical-mental adverse effects on individuals and communities. Moreover, drug consumption causes moral degeneration, body and intellect corruption, inflicts severe cultural, social and economic losses and finally ruins societies.
Someone who suffers drug addiction is not able to oversee his behavior, loses his zeal, motivation and common sense, and as a result is ready to do anything to obtain drugs without any consideration. A Drug-addicted person, also, cannot fully adhere to his Islamic practices, since drugs turn him into an irresponsible and a total inefficacious human.
Wise men throughout history always avoided using drugs and this attitude is entirely in line with the Islamic law (Shari’a). Following in the footsteps of great personalities and considering their lifestyle is an authoritative way and a logical ground to reason against drug consumption.
This rule is one the most important and fundamental jurisprudential rules which is applied to a wide range of Islamic teachings. On this basis, people should not engage in deeds that inflict excessive losses. Today, we can say from experience that drug consumption encompasses significant social and individual damages and creates completely irresponsible generations. Accordingly, the rule of “No harming nor reciprocating harm” can provide us with the most rational ground to argue against drug consumption; its adverse effects are not only directed to the drug-addicted person himself/herself but also his/her family, relatives and even the whole society.
Furthermore, drug addiction is one of the most significant causes of self-destructing and life-ruining behaviors. We have a clear affirmation about this reality as Allah Almighty says: “and do not cast yourselves with your own hands into destruction” (2:195).
In Islam, every evil thing which results in heavy losses is forbidden (Haram); clearly, the drug with its many negative effects on a broad spectrum of people is categorized as highly harmful. There is a vivid indication on this claim in the Holy Quran: “He makes lawful to them all the good things and forbids them from all vicious things” (7:157).
The weakness in wisdom and perception power can be considered among the most important disadvantages of drug consumption; therefore, Islam names “common sense preservation” as the most important obligation for a Muslim. Now it is easy to understand why the Islamic law (Shari’a) bans all sorts of intoxicants like alcohol, drugs, etc.
It is noteworthy that based on the first-ever report on worldwide addiction statistics released by researchers, which uses data from sources including the World Health Organization and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, drug addiction has reached epidemic levels across the globe and there were 230 million drug users worldwide in 2015. The report found that drug takes a higher toll on “productive years of life lost” than does any other intoxicant. That means people dependent on drugs not only die younger but also have poor health over a more extended period. Drugs affect their work, relationships, and consequently reduce their quality of life .
These results prove how far Islam predicts the disadvantages of using drugs and why it is declared as forbidden (Haram) on almost all of the Islamic decrees.
Fasting is one of the most important rituals of Islam, and Muslims are required to fast during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
“O you who have faith! Prescribed for you is fasting as it was prescribed for those who were before you, so that you may be God wary” (2:183).
Now, as Ramadan is around the corner and the novel Coronavirus is continuing to spread globally, many Muslims worldwide are wondering if fasting could pose a higher risk of catching the COVID-19 virus, due to dehydration. They may raise some more questions, as is it safe to fast during this global pandemic? Doesn’t it weaken our immune system? And some wonder if they could be exempted from fasting to prevent catching this disease and remain healthy.
Let’s have a look at this question -to fast or not to fast? - from two different aspects: Science-based and religion-based.
According to the WHO and health experts’ recommendations, people are advised to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and stay healthy. Still, it will not prevent anyone from catching the new Coronavirus.
“Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious-diseases expert at Vanderbilt University, said the claims are incorrect. While medical professionals typically recommend keeping up fluid intake, Schaffner said drinking more water will not keep anyone from catching the virus. “We always caution anyone healthy and people who are sick to keep up the fluid intake and keep mucus membranes moist,” he said. “It makes you feel better; there is no clear indication that it directly protects you against complications.” 
No, in fact, many scientific studies have shown the wide-ranging health benefits of intermittent fasting in boosting our immune system and living a longer life. The New England Journal of Medicine has recently published a review of research on the beneficial effects of intermittent fasting on health, aging, and disease:
“Evidence is accumulating that eating in a 6-hour period and fasting for 18 hours can trigger a metabolic switch from glucose-based to ketone-based energy, with increased stress resistance, increased longevity, and a decreased incidence of diseases, including cancer and obesity.” 
Even more interestingly, although some study claims that prolonged water fasting could have a slightly detrimental effect on the immune system, it also shows that immunity returns to a better state soon after eating and drinking again. 
First of all, the obligation of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan is an individual duty, and anyone who has the conditions to do so must fast, regardless of whether it is obligatory for others or not. According to Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani, one of the well-known Islamic jurists, if a Muslim fears that he/she will catch Coronavirus, even if he/she takes all precautionary measures, he/she will be relieved of the obligation for each day he/she remains in fear of catching the disease – if he/she were to fast. However, if he/she can reduce the probability of catching the disease so that it becomes reasonably insignificant – even by staying at home and not mixing closely with others, using a mask, medical gloves, frequent disinfection and so on – such that it does not cause unbearable difficulties for the individual, his/her obligation to fast is not waived. 
Another Islamic jurist follows the same line and adds that if a doctor forbids someone from fasting, due to the high risk of getting this virus, that person is not allowed to fast. But this should not lead to disrespecting others that fast and eating in public . Many other Islamic jurists also confirm the fact that one should decide if fasting is risky for him/her or not. If “an individual has a reason to believe that fasting will cause illness, intensify or prolong an illness, or delay one’s recuperation,” he/she is not obliged to fast. But he/she should make up for the missed fastings later in the year . However, some other Islamic jurists consider fasting an obligatory practice whose obligation is not lifted in this period, except if one thinks there is a high probability of getting the disease by fasting .
After all, it is essential to note that fasting in Islam is expected of those who are healthy enough to do so: “Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire hardship for you” (2:185)
And sick people who fear that fasting may make them worse, risk their health or slow down their recovery are permitted not to fast:
“But should any of you be sick or on a journey, let it be a [similar] number of other days. Those who find it straining shall be liable to atonement by feeding a needy person” (2:184).
In conclusion, regarding the feedback received from the World Health Organization, fasting has nothing to do with the possibility of an increased risk of catching coronavirus. On the other hand, it is not easy to say for sure whether fasting offers some level of protection and immunity against the COVID-19 virus during this global crisis, so we’d better stick to the things we know would work: social distancing, avoiding gatherings, performing rituals separately, hand-washing, hygiene, and self-isolation.