In different cultures or religions, people pay special attention to some specific numbers. For example, numbers 7, 40, and 70 are amongst lucky numbers, and number 13 is known to be a cursed number in some cultures. However, the significance of the number 40 among many cultures and religions is very noticeable. Therefore, this question may arise that what is so special about this number? Can number forty bring luck and happiness to people? Is it a fact or just a superstition? Let’s have a quick look at the background of the number forty in different religions.
Number forty has been mentioned in the Bible in different verses:
1- Jesus (PBUH) fasted "forty days and forty nights" in the Judean desert. (Matthew 4:2, Mark 1:13, Luke 4:2).
2- Forty days was the period from the resurrection of Jesus to the ascension of Jesus (PBUH). (Acts 1:3).
3- Rain fell for "forty days and forty nights" during the Flood (Genesis 7:4). 
Number forty is mentioned in the Quran four times:
1 & 2- Prophet Moses (PBUH) spent 40 days on Mount Sinai, where he received the ten commandments (2: 51, 7: 142).
3- Prophet Moses (PBUH) and his people were lost in the desert for forty years. (5: 26)
4- As mentioned in the Quran, It seems that the age of forty should be the time when a human being is supposed to reach his/her intellectual perfection and understanding of life. This is the time when one can plan the rest of his/her life in a way to gain the most from this world for the hereafter:
“… When he comes of age and reaches forty years, he says, ‘My Lord! Inspire me to give thanks for Your blessing with which You have blessed my parents and me, and that I may do righteous deeds which please You, and invest my descendants with righteousness. Indeed I have turned to you in penitence, and I am one of the Muslims.” (46: 15)
It is narrated from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) that “When one becomes forty years old, Allah tells his two guardian angels, ‘From now on, be strict on him and note every small and big deed he does’” . The narration emphasizes that the age of forty shapes the personality of a person, and if he/she is still unable to manage his/her life, it is his/her fault for having wasted his/her life in the wrong way.
There are so many narrations from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) that mention number forty. Here we list a few of these narrations:
1- “He who purifies his faith for Allah for forty days, Allah will flow the springs of wisdom from his heart to his tongue” .
2- “The prayers of the one who drinks wine are not accepted for forty days unless he repents”  [i].
3- “The prayers of a person who gossips would not be accepted for forty days and nights” .
Some scholars say that number forty is used to emphasize the significant amount of something.
4- “One who leaves his house to gain a gate of knowledge by which he deviates the wrong towards righteous, or deviance to guidance, his deed is equal to forty years worship of a worshipper” .
In some cultures, it is a tradition that forty days after a passed-away person’s burial, close relatives and friends gather in a place with the family of the late person and remember the passed-away person and wish peace and patience for his/her family. In this manner, they show the family of the deceased person that they are not alone, and people will help them and support them when required.
It is based on this tradition, taken from the conduct of the Prophet (PBUH & HP) and his Progeny (AS) that Muslims travel to Karbala on the 40th (Arba’een) martyrdom commemoration of Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions; Not only to sympathize with the household of Prophet (PBUH & HP) on this event, but to show their gratefulness for their courage in preserving the true Islam and the conduct of the Prophet (PBUH & HP). More importantly, Muslims show that the aim of Imam Hussain (AS) is still observed and taken care of.
Based on the importance that some verses of the Quran and narrations of the Prophet (PBUH & HP) give to number forty, Muslim scholars, especially those who are fond of Islamic mysticism and self-purification, pay special attention to number forty in their conducts and life-style.
Therefore, there is nothing wrong with trying to benefit from the blessings that the number forty may have. And it is trustworthy because Allah and the Prophet (PBUH & HP) have mentioned it. However, normal human beings do not have a real knowledge of numbers and the wisdom behind them.
As mentioned in a narration earlier, the Prophet (PBUH & HP) says that if you purify your faith for forty days, you will see a great result.  The reason is that if one works so hard on his/her spirituality to be able to purify his faith for forty days, it will become a habit for him. Allah says in the Quran, “Be wary of Allah, and Allah will teach you, and Allah has knowledge of all things” (2: 282), which is very much relevant to the mentioned narration. Therefore, one interpretation of doing something for forty days is that whatever you do for this long period, with persistence, will become your habit, and after something becomes a habit, you can easily go on with it for the rest of your life.
To sum up, there is no such thing as lucky or cursed numbers. And instead of trying to find luck in numbers, one should work hard to develop his personality, spirituality, knowledge, and wisdom.
But the reason number forty has been mentioned by the Prophet (PBUH & HP), and Islamic scholars might be a symbol of enormousness, meaning that if you persist in doing something for a considerable amount of time, it will become your habit. However, the reason why they insisted on number forty might be because they wanted to spread unique conduct and a specific discipline among the believers.
[i] Some may think that if praying and fasting are not accepted for forty days after drinking, then it will be OK if they do not pray or fast for forty days after they drink. It should be noted that praying and fasting are still compulsory for the person who drinks. However, the sin is counted so huge that they should repent from it, deciding not to commit it again, and say their prayers and perform fasting and other obligations.
- number in religion
Al-kafi, Vol 8, P. 108
Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 67, p. 242
Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 17. P. 57
Al-Kafi, Vol. 6, p. 400
Amali- e Tousi, p. 118
Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 67, p. 242
We are far ahead of the time when people lived in actual social networks. People living in a town or village were in a strong relationship with one another, and of course, it served them well.
But, maybe people were too closely related back then. And it had its downsides, too. “Give me a break, please, I need some privacy!” That’s what we said to the social life of the past times. The modern way of life ascribed so much importance to our privacy. This, too, had its downsides and sometimes made us feel so lonely. It didn’t quench our need to see and be seen. We needed to share more.
But, modern life and technology also had the answer to that. They provided an unaccountably cheap and easy way of making relationships, without the need for getting quite out of our private zone; virtual Social Networks!
Well, that’s great! We can get to know about our family and friends without spending much time or money. We can easily make thousands of friends from around the world. We can share our ideas and lifestyle with them and get to know about theirs. Like all other inventions, there are many good ways to benefit from social networks. And there being many good ways to benefit from something, is somehow equal to its lawfulness in Islam.
“… who bids them to do what is right and forbids them from what is wrong, makes lawful to them all the good things and forbids them from all vicious things…” (7:157).
But is using social networks in Islam forbidden? Does Islam have any special resistance to these networks? Well, not really. And the rules on what we should do and what we should try to avoid are pretty much the same as the ones we need to observe in actual communications.
Therefore, as we are always careful to avoid any harm in our actual relationships , we should also do the same in these virtual sites of getting together, and try not to go for the bad things that might be found in there, nor spread things that might do more harm than good to others or to the society.
That means even if it is a boy-girl or man-woman relationship, there is nothing wrong with it as long as it is an upright, righteous, and honest one, and as long as you observe modesty and the rules of covering, the same way as a relationship between men and women in the outer world.
Also, Islam very much calls us up to mind the circles we move in , which are, more or less, a representation of our character and inclinations! Do our friends and groups in social networks –as well as in the real world– help us and change us for better? Or that they are just fun for a short time and may bring us lasting sorrows and regrets? 
You might have noticed that conventional social networks, being inherently so cheap and easy, tend to make everything cheap and easy in all respects… and maybe too much so sometimes!
Suppose you share a highly valuable and precious post on Facebook –which is the easiest way to share it, of course– and your friends would barely spend five seconds to look at it!
We are in the habit of taking everything easy in these virtual places; even our relationships. We don’t care that much about what we see or share, and sometimes about the kind of relationships we are making, while, to the contrary, a Muslim is always required to be watchful of his or her doings! 
So, apart from the benefits of being cheap and easy for use, they also make it easier to lie, to pretend, or to do any wrong. We may not be quite conscious that some of our relationships in the social networks could be, more or less, a kind of betrayal of our wedlock! Or a little too open to be modest and righteous! For, according to Islam, a husband’s level of modesty affects that of his wife and vice versa.  That means, the more righteous a spouse, the more so will be the other! That’s why it is even more important here never to forget that, little as it may be, a wrongdoing is always wrong, whether in a virtual social network or out there in the real world.
“So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it, and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.” (99:7,8)
- Wasa’il al-Shi’a, vol. 26, p. 14, Al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, vol. 1, p. 90
- Al-Amali, p. 518, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, vol. 4, p. 167
- Quran, 25:27,28
- Quran, 59: 18, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 74, p. 349
- Kanz al-‘Ummal, vol. 5, p. 317
Discussing the issue of music in Islam sounds a bit controversial. If we suppose that music is food for the soul, we cannot easily say if it is allowed (Halal) or not. Unlike the issue of meat in Islam that is precisely explained in the Holy Quran, the issue of music has never been mentioned in the Quran. However, we cannot say that because God has not directly spoken about music, therefore it is allowed (Halal) or forbidden (Haram). Because music is something that does exist in this world and God has not left us without guidance in such matters.
Since there is no explicit information about music in the Quran, people keep questioning if the music is allowed in Islam or not.
Therefore, the goal of this article is to explain the characteristics of lawful (Halal) and forbidden (Haram) music in Islam, based on the rulings from jurists.
In the description of the music, it is said that “Music is the technique of mixing sounds and voices in a pleasant way that makes the listener enjoy as well as making an internal revolution for his/her soul” .
To distinguish between lawful (Halal) and forbidden (Haram) music, it is easier to find out what forbidden (Haram) music is. Then any kind of music that does not include the characteristics of forbidden (Haram) music is lawful (Halal).
Before explaining forbidden (Haram) music, it is useful to get familiar with a few related phrases:
Mutrib music: a sort of music that causes impulsive movement for the listener.
Lahwi music: a sort of music that is common or suitable for frivolous gatherings and carouses.
Apart from these descriptions, and to provide a better conceptual understanding for the phrases above, we could say that mutrib or lahwi music is that which due to its characteristics keeps human beings away from Allah, and away from moral merits and drives them towards sinful acts and carelessness.
The forbidden (Haram) type of music is suitable for dissolute gatherings of sin. Any music which is lahwi and mutrib in the common view is forbidden (Haram). Distinguishing the subject of this ruling depends on the view of each religiously responsible individual (mukallaf ), and there is no objection to listening to a song if it is distinguished as Halal; keeping in mind that the personality of the musician, the vocalized words accompanying the music, the venue, and all other circumstances may contribute to placing it in the category of forbidden (Haram), lahwi, mutrib music, or another forbidden (Haram) category; e.g., if the music, due to the mentioned things, leads to certain corruptions .
We Should Recognize Which Music Is Forbidden (Haram) for Us
In the controversial case of music, it is up to the Muslim person to realize if the music he/ she is listening to is forbidden (Haram) or not.
When we want to listen to a song we should see:
If it is mutrib music (immaterial)
If it is lahwi music and suitable for carouses (Irrespective of whether it contains the element of excitement or engenders in the listener a state of melancholy and crying.)
If it contains ghina in its singing
If it contains vain and useless concepts that create distance between God and us.
For example, the musician may disagree with the listener’s point of view. In this case, what the Muslim person regards as lahwi and suitable for gatherings of sin is forbidden (Haram) for him to listen to. As for the sounds which fall in a grey area, the ruling in their regard is that it is permissible to listen to them .
Any music that does not include the above characteristics is lawful (Halal), and there is no objection to listening to such music in Islam.
There is no objection in using musical instruments to play non-lahwi tunes if it is for revolutionary or religious chanting or carrying out useful cultural and other programs aiming at rational and lawful (Halal) purposes, provided that it results in no bad consequences.
At the same time, using musical instruments to play lahwi and /or mutrib tunes is not permissible .
Learning and teaching music for the above-mentioned causes are allowed (If it is for revolutionary or religious chanting or carrying out useful cultural and other programs aiming at rational and lawful (Halal) purposes).
Musical instruments which, according to the common view, are of dual - lawful (Halal) and forbidden (Haram) - purposes can be used in a non-lahwi manner for lawful (Halal) purposes. Instruments, which the common view regards as special to the production of lahwi music, are not permissible to use .
Also, in itself, there is no problem in teaching and learning music for the purposes mentioned above .
There is no problem in buying and selling musical instruments that serve dual purposes [i], intending to use them in playing non-lahwi tunes.
Accordingly, it is not permissible to buy, sell, or distribute CDs that contain mutrib and/ or lahwi music that is suitable for gatherings of carouse, regardless of the language it is composed in or the country of origin .
There is no harm in the use of musical instruments to play tunes for revolutionary chanting, national anthems, or any other lawful (Halal) and useful pursuit provided that it does not entail rapture and frivolity suitable for the gatherings of carouse and falsehood.
But with regards to singing with music, the musician should make sure that the music will not be accompanied by ghina .
Therefore, any type of music that is branded for gatherings of carouse is forbidden (Haram), even if it does not arouse sexual temptation. As a result, any kind of music that is not common for such gatherings is lawful (Halal), such as martial music.
Making these types of lawful (Halal) music for the use of Muslims and for the improvement of the community, or for spreading good values is lawful (Halal).
Overall, any kind of music that creates a distance between the soul and God is forbidden (Haram).
[i] Musical instruments are divided into two groups; 1- specific instruments, 2- dual-purpose instruments. The first group is those instruments that are known to be specifically used in carouse gatherings, while dual-purpose instruments are those which can be used for both lawful (Halal) and forbidden (Haram) purposes. Most jurists have named a few instruments as dual-purpose instruments such as a chime, drum, piano, dulcimer, etc. but in the case of specific instruments, they have not named any and have left the recognition to the Muslim person .
- Rouhollah Khaleghi, An overview on music, p.4
- music in Islam