Let's start our topic with a question. What is the meaning of 'special' in your life? What days have been special to you, your family, or even to your community? The answer may vary from mere personal occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, etc. to more public ones such as New Year's Eve, Easters, or any National Day. The same is true about every religion, culture, or society. Different days of the year have different meanings in every religious community; such as Laylatul Qadr for Muslims.
"(He) Who perfected everything which He created" (Quran 32:7)
"…So whichever way you turn, there is the face of Allah! Allah is indeed all-bounteous, all-knowing." Quran (2:115)
"There is nothing in existence but beauty, for God created the cosmos only in His image, that is, in the image of His infinite beauty." Ibn Arabi [i], & .
This does not, however, mean that all creatures are the same! Can river stones be equal to those of precious pearls in the oceans? The world is the world of differences, and that actually makes it delightful and adventurous. This is also manifested in people's different languages and colors, which is a sign of Allah's balanced and sophisticated creation.
"And of His signs is … the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge" (Quran 30:22)
If every stone were like a pearl would have the pearl had the same value that it has now? How about the days of the year? God is indeed in All Days, but again this is God's plan for us to value specific days or nights more than others. The Islamic Holy scripture refers to a night that has the value as equal to a thousand months, called Laylatul Qadr, the Night of Decree. Likewise, the month of Ramadan or that of Dhul Hijja has special significance in Islam during which distinct rituals and etiquettes are prescribed for Muslims. What is it that really makes them unique? For that, we will have to take a look at Islamic resources.
As indicated earlier, certain nights and days are adored in Islamic culture.
In a week, Friday does not only mark the weekend, but it has a special meaning for Muslims. The Surah "al-Juma" in the Quran declares the importance of the Friday prayer that is a congregational prayer held at Friday noon, and it is also referred to as the "the pilgrimage of the poor" in Islamic traditions. 'Forgiveness of sins,' 'reduction of the difficulties in the Day of Judgment,' and 'great rewards for every step to the place of the Friday prayer' are only a scratch over the surface of the benefits of this ritual for those who attend it .
In a year, the three months of Rajab, Shaban, and Ramadan are highly appreciated. It is narrated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has said: "Indeed Rajab is the month of Allah, while Shaban is my month and Ramadan is the month of my community" . Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH&HP). It is also the month of fasting for Muslims .
In a grand tradition, the Prophet (PBUH&HP) narrates that Allah (SWT) said: "Fasting is for me, and I am the one who rewards for it" , "The gates of the fire are closed (in this month), so ask your Lord not to open them and Satans are in chains. So ask your Lord not to dominate them over you." This month is the best month in the sight of Allah, its days are the best, its nights are the best nights and its hours are the best hours… your breath in it (the month of Ramadan) is glorification (of God), and your sleep in it is worship" .
Moreover, it is in this month that the Night of Decree (Laylatul Qadr) is celebrated. A night that is regarded as equal to a thousand months, and it is when humankind's destiny is decreed for the coming year. It was on this night that the Holy Quran was revealed to the Prophet . Indeed, Ramadan is the best month, and the Night of Qadr (Decree) is its heart. Believers stay awake the entire night and pray for blessings and forgiveness. It is the holiest night of the year, and it would be unwise to be heedless of the tremendous benefits of this night. It is a grand opportunity that God has gifted us with; there is a night that our whole year is decreed and if praying that night, we can ask Him to bless us with a year full of the happiness, the spirituality, the health and the success and whatever good we want in our lives. That's how God gives us the chance to rebuild our destiny, and a new beginning of our spiritual calendars, to ask forgiveness for the sins we have committed in the past year while praying for a better fate in the coming year.
The above briefly indicates how some days, months, and nights are special in Islam. The question now remains how we are going to use them and benefit from them. When we are invited to such a special feast undoubtedly, we have to get prepared and plan for it; otherwise, we gain nothing but regret.
That's the beauty of having faith. Your days and nights are not equal. Each and every one of them has their own distinct meanings. It makes the spiritual journey of a servant sweeter and more enjoyable. He/she has always something to do to get closer to His Lord.
[i] An Arab Andalusian Muslim scholar, mystic, poet, and philosopher, whose works have grown to be very influential.
- Claude Addas, The Experience and Doctrine of Love in Ibn Arab, http://www.ibnarabisociety.org/addas1.html
- William C. Chittick, The Divine Roots of Human Love,
- divine roots
- Al-'Allama al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 86, p. 197, Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Man la yahduruh al-faqih, vol. 1, p. 427, Nuri,
- Al-'Allama al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 104, p. 123.
- The Quran 2:183&5
- Shaykh al-Hurr al-Amili, Wasā'il al-Shi'ah, vol. 10, p.400.
- Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Al-Amāli, p.95.
- The Quran, Chapter 97th.
Every age has its defining genius, every culture its own Aristotle, Leonardo or Goethe. For classical Islam, one of those figures is unquestionably Ibn Sina or Avicenna (his Latinized name). A marvelous man by whose eighteenth birthday his fame as a physician was so great that he was summoned to treat the dying Samanid king of Bukhara (976-97 A.C) when all the talented court physicians had given up hope of his recovery. To the great astonishment of all, he was given the privilege of using the court's remarkable library which was the highest award for his future successes.
It is hard to describe Avicenna in any word but superlative. He wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived. His intellectual achievements encompassed not only medicine, but philosophy, law, science, music, poetry, mathematics, and statecraft. Even his life was the stuff of legends.
The only source of information for the first part of Avicenna's life is his autobiography, as written down by his student Juzjani. Now let's have a glimpse at his life in his own words:
“My father Abdullah was from Bukhara. Bukhara at that time was one of the greatest cities in Persia. He was appointed as a Samanid governor married to my mother Setareh, and I was born there in 980 A.D. They called me Hussain, some years later my father was posted to Bukhara, where I received my early education in literature and Quran. From the very beginning I made such remarkable progress in my education that at the age of 10, I had completely memorized the Quran. Abu Abdullah al Natili, a leading philosopher of his time, visited Bukhara and stayed at our home. I learned logic, geometry, and astronomy from him. I soon surpassed my teacher and studied medicine, physics, and metaphysics by myself and mastered all these subjects before I was 17 years old. Then, I started writing at the age of 21”.
Ibn Sina's chief work is the monumental "Al-Qanun," which is over one million words in length, in medicine. The instructions of this book were Europe's pharmacopeia for five centuries after his death. Al-Qanun discusses the whole field of medicine in an attempt to codify all the existing medical knowledge.
Another important work, a commentary on the work of Aristotle, was designed to set out the philosophies of ancient Greeks. Al Kitab ash-Shifa (the book of healing) is the most extended treatise on philosophy ever written by a single man.
In the end, the repeated travels and exacting political and intellectual preoccupations of Ibn Sina deteriorated his health. He was suffering from colic, and he made some extraordinary efforts towards his treatment.
He became bedridden in Hamadan (Iran), and died at the age of 57 in 1037 A.D., being the victim of a disease in which he was a specialist. His grave in Hamadan is yearly visited by a large number of admirers.
As one of the historians said, Avicenna is like a meteor, which flashed across the sky, illuminating the whole world with his brilliance, and in whose afterglow we still perceive the world around us.
"Indeed Allah and His angels bless the Prophet; O you who have faith! Invoke blessings on him and invoke Peace upon him in a worthy manner." Quran (33:56)
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was the last messenger sent by Allah to guide human beings toward a more prosperous and meaningful life. His life was full of challenges and difficulties. However, he never gave up on his holy mission and strived to save as many souls as he could. His characteristics were unique and exemplary, which made him the best choice for prophethood, the beloved of Allah (Habibullah).
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was the son of Abdullah and Amina, the grandchild of Abd al-Muṭṭalib and from the Banu Hashim clan. He was born in Mecca about the year 570 A.C, in the month of Rabi’ al-awwal . Being taken care of by his paternal grandfather, Abd al-Muṭṭalib, and then by his uncle Abu-Talib, father of Ali (AS), who loved him a lot and regarded him dearer than his own children , he learned a little about the merchandise. He was well-known and called Al-Amin, meaning the trustee, due to his honesty and faithfulness . This reputation attracted Khadijah, and she proposed him for marriage. He married this 40-year-old woman at the age of 25 . This was a happy marriage, by all means. They lived a happy life, and they had many children, of which all the male ones passed away, and their most famous daughter is Fatimah (AS). Little is known about his youth before becoming a prophet. One fact is certain; he was absolutely against the discriminating behaviors and beliefs of the people of his era.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was a kind and generous man. He was known for his modesty, honesty, and trustworthiness. He never disrespected anyone and cared a lot about his appearance in society; although his clothes were mostly ragged, they were neat and clean. His hygiene was another important fact in his life. Family, as the smallest unit of society, was the most important thing for him. He had a deep respect for his wife and her daughters, especially Fatimah .
His political life started with inviting the members of his family and clan to Islam, and then, publically announcing Islam as the true faith sent by Allah for human beings. Soon after the public announcement, many of the heads of clans began to rise against him, and he migrated to Medina, and there, he formed the first Islamic government. His strategy was friendship and peace, and the Quba mosque was the center of his government . He never forced anyone to convert to Islam. Instead, he brought logical words and verses of the Quran and spoke gently with the people he wanted to invite. Even when he tried to ask people of the other religion to convert to Islam, he used their own words and verses from their holy books. All in all, he followed the steps Allah had taught him to guide human beings to the right path:
“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and proper instruction, and argue with them in the best way. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided." (16:125)
It was a tradition among some Hashemi Arabs, Called Hunafa, to go to the Harra cave during the month of Ramadan and then come back after the end of the month. Actually, it was Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH&HP) grandfather who made it up. Muhammad(PBUH&HP) was not an exception.
On the contrary, he was one of the fans of staying alone in that cave and worshiping Allah, his only God and the God of his fathers, up to prophet Abraham . On one of those nights of Ramadan, Gabriel descended to him and asked him to read. Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “I can’t.” Gabriel repeated, and he again denied. Then Gabriel recited the first verses of the Quran sent by Allah:
Recite in the name of your Lord who created -
Created man from a clinging substance.
Recite, and your Lord is the Most Generous –
Who taught by the pen -
Taught man that which he knew not. (96:1-5)
Muhammad’s (PBUH&HP) great mission had started. He found out that it was not a typical experience. He came back home and then returned to the cave. All of The Holy Quran descent to him in one of those holy nights:
"Indeed, We sent the Qur'an down during the Night of Decree." (97:1)
That Quran was descended to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) in one night and that he became able to read in a few minutes is not the only miracle of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). He had other miracles like dividing the moon into two, reviving the dead, the testify of stones in the palm of his hand, etc. we are going to discuss these miracles in our next articles broadly .
The fact is that the events of that night of Ramadan made Muhammad (PBUH&HP) a prophet. Later on, people interacted with him, saw, felt, and understood his truthfulness, and stepped on the path of Islam. His lifestyle, social, political, and even family interactions carried badges of acceptance and appreciation that were imitated by the truth-seeking people. He was not the prophet belonging to centuries ago, but of all guided human beings.
- "Early Years". Al-Islam.org. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
- Baqdadi, Ibn-Sad Tabaqat Al-Kubra Vol. 1, P 96
- Shirazi, Huhammad Sadiq The Prpphet Muhammad, a Mercy to the World at: <https://www.al-islam.org
- Ibid 2, P. 105
- A survey on Prophet Muhammad’s Behaviours, Hossun, Vol. 9 at:< https://hawzah.net
- Azizi, Musa Political Life of Prophet Muhammad Noghte PArgar Magazinem Pp 84-96 at: <http://hablolmatin.dmsonnat.ir
- Video Lecture of Yasir Qadhi at: < http://lifeofprophet.com/a-few-good-men-the-hunafa/>
- Abu Ibraheem. "Miracles of Prophet Muhammad". Why Islam. ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America). Retrieved 29 April 2019.