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.
There are many verses that mention Jews in the Quran. Quran recounts the story of the Children of Israel (Bani-Israel) who were children of Prophet Jacob (also known as Israel) and were waiting for a savior for many years. Prophet Moses (PBUH) was sent to them and rescued them from Pharaoh.
“[Remember] when We delivered you from Pharaoh’s clan who inflicted a terrible torment on you… And when We parted the sea with you, and We delivered you and drowned Pharaoh’s clan as you looked on” (2: 49 -50).
Allah mentions this blessing as a great gift for Jews in the Quran (Bani-Israel) and warns them not to forget God’s blessings:
“O Children of Israel! We delivered you from your enemy, and We appointed with you a tryst on the right side of the Mount … but do not overstep the bounds therein, so My anger should descend on you…” (20: 80- 1).
Now, let’s see what happens to them after they pass the sea by Moses’ miracle.
The Israelites crossing of the Red Sea, Second Half of the 19th cen. Found in the collection of the State Museum of History, Architecture and Art, Rybinsk.
“He (God) said, ‘O Moses, I have chosen you over the people with My messages and My speech. So take what I give you, and be among the grateful.” (7: 142) In this appointment, Moses was given the book which was “advice concerning all things and an elaboration of all things” (7: 145).
Moses had told his people that he would be going for a task for thirty days, but he came back after forty days. Ten days’ delay weakened Children of Israel’s (Bani-Israel) faith, and in Moses’ absence, they started to worship a calf made from their jewels. 
“The people of Moses took up in his absence a calf [cast] from their ornaments; a body that gave out a lowing sound.” (7: 148) However, when Moses returned and guided them again and they “realized they had gone astray, they said, ‘Should our Lord have no mercy on us, and forgive us, we will be surely among the losers’” (7: 149).
One of the most important points that have repeatedly been narrated about the Jews in Quran is the complaints that they used to make. In different orders that were given to them by Moses, Jews in the Quran kept questioning and complaining in different situations, some of which are as follows:
Asking to see God
After spending forty nights in seclusion and dedicated worship, Moses was given the Tablets in which there were guidance and mercy for the believers. One might expect that Prophet Moses’ companions were ecstatic to witness the unique historical moments of the revelation of the Torah. However, instead, they said, “O Moses, we will not believe [that] you [received the Tablets] unless we see Allah visibly” (2:55).
Naturally, Moses tried to convince the Children of Israel about the impossibility of seeing God visually. However, they insisted on that irrational demand and consequently, they were seized by a thunderbolt .
After the Israelites left the sea and started to march towards the promised land, Allah out of His mercy protected them from the blistering heat of the sun by sending clouds to move over their head, provided water for them from the miraculous stone, and sent the Mann and Salwa for them as food.
However, they complained to Moses that they no longer could put up with one kind of food. They asked him to call upon his Lord to make the barren land of Sinai produce edible vegetables such as green herbs, cucumbers, garlic, lentils, and onions.
Moses asked them which one would be better, to live free with honor and have one type of food or to live as slaves at the price of enjoying food variety?
“And when you said, ‘O Moses, ‘We will not put up with one kind of food. So invoke your Lord for us, so that He may bring forth for us of that which the earth grows—its greens and cucumbers, its garlic, lentils, and onions.’ He said, ‘Do you seek to replace what is superior with that which is inferior? Go down to any town, and you will indeed get what you ask for!’ So they were struck with abasement and poverty, and they earned Allah’s wrath. That, because they would deny the signs of Allah and kill the prophets unjustly. That, because they would disobey and commit transgressions” (2: 62).
After forty years of wandering in the wilderness, the Children of Israel eventually defeated the Amalekites under the leadership of Joshua and entered Jericho.
To thank this victory, Allah directed the Children of Israel to implore for divine forgiveness by entering with humbleness and by saying the word “hittatun.” The word “hittatun” was a plea for divine forgiveness. In return, Allah promised to accept their prayers out of His mercy and increase the rewards of the righteous. However, most of them refused to utter the word “hittatun” properly and instead changed it to “hintattun” which meant give us wheat. They were so materialized in their mindset that they were ready to exchange the mercy of God with a handful of wheat grains [i].
A mysterious murder happened among the Jews in the Quran. The murderer accused an innocent man and because the murdered person was his uncle he made a huge fitna over it.
The Israelites kept guessing who might be the killer. In a short time, the guessing became rumors, rumors became accusations, and those accusations led to serious dispute and hostility.
The elders came to Prophet Moses and asked him to resolve the case. Moses implored for God’s help. Honouring his request, Allah instructed him to ask the Children of Israel to slaughter a cow and strike a part of its body (the tongue) with the corpse of the murdered man. In this way, Allah would reveal the murderer’s identity.
“And when Moses said to his people, ‘Allah commands you to slaughter a cow,’ they said, ‘Are you mocking us?’ He said, ‘I seek Allah’s protection lest I should be one of the ignorant!’” (2: 67)
However, the Israelites started to ask ludicrous questions about the qualities of the cow they were supposed to slaughter to the extent that in the end, they barely found one cow with the exact attributes.
They kept making so many complaints, and most of them forgot their hard days and the blessings that God had sent down to them, as a result of which their hearts hardened “so they (their hearts) are like stones, or even harder...” (2: 74).
Therefore, many years after Prophet Moses had passed away, Jews started to use religion as a tool to gain power by deceiving ignorant people under the mask of religion. They did it using many ways, most importantly by distorting the words of God: “a part of them would hear the word of Allah and then they would distort it after they had understood it, and they knew [what they were doing]?” (2: 75)
They also started writing new books in the name of God’s book, in which they brought into the religion of Moses what they wished: “So woe to them who write the Book with their hands and then say, ‘This is from Allah,’ that they may sell it for a paltry gain. So woe to them for what their hands have written, and woe to them for what they earn!” (2: 79)
The huge amount of blessings and miracles that God gave exclusively to Bani-Israel made them believe that they are the higher race. Jews in the Quran were told in their book that the last prophet would be born in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, some of them migrated to that land to wait for him.
“Those who follow the Apostle, the untaught prophet, whose mention they find written with them in the Torah and the Evangel… they are the felicitous” (7: 157).
But when they saw that the last prophet was an Arab, they denied him. This racism existed among them from a long time ago and is remaining. They consider themselves as the superior race, “And they say, ‘The Fire shall not touch us except for a number of days.’ Say, ‘Have you taken a promise from Allah? If so, Allah will never break His promise. Do you ascribe to Allah what you do not know?’” (2: 80) “And they say, ‘No one will enter paradise except one who is a Jew or Christian.’ Those are their [false] hopes! Say, ‘Produce your evidence, should you be truthful’” (2: 111).
As they denied the last prophet out of ignorance and racist beliefs, God invited them to a challenge: “Say, ‘If the abode of the Hereafter was exclusively for you with Allah, and not for other people, then long for death, should you be truthful’” (2: 94).
Although the huge amount of racism among some of the Jews in the Quran is mentioned and is also observable these days worldwide, Allah excludes the real followers of Prophet Moses (PBUH) and emphasizes that “Among the people of Moses is a nation who guide [the people] by the truth and do justice thereby” (7: 159).
God would like the real Jews in the Quran who were not amongst the distorters of the book to know that their honest belief in God, His prophet, and the hereafter is accepted: “As for those who hold fast to the Book and maintain the prayer—indeed, We do not waste the reward of those who bring about reform” (7: 170).
In the next part of the article, we will see what happened to the religion of Moses (PBUH) that these days we face huge crimes and massacres in the name of Judaism. Is that Judaism or are a group of people, using the name of Judaism, trying to gain power using people’s purity and faithfulness?
[i] “And when We said, ‘Enter this town, and eat thereof freely whatever you wish, and enter while prostrating at the gate, and say, ‘‘Relieve [us of the burden of our sins],’’ so that We may forgive your iniquities and We will soon enhance the virtuous.’ But the wrongdoers changed the saying to other than what they were told. So We sent down on those who were wrongdoers a plague from the sky because of the transgressions they used to commit” (2: 58 -9).
- The Quran, Taha (20), 83-87
- The Quran, Al-Baqarah (2), 55
The responsibilities of a Muslim towards family, relatives and other Muslims in general, were already reviewed in an article. Here one's responsibility in Islam towards neighbors, friends, and enemies are discussed.
Doing good to neighbors is highly emphasized in Islamic teachings: “Worship Allah and … be good to … the near neighbor and the distant neighbor” (4:36). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) advised Imam Ali (AS) to honor the neighbors, even if they are disbelievers (Kafir) . Imam Ali (AS) said that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to invite repeatedly to doing good to neighbors such that we thought he (PBUH) was going to consider an inheritance for them .
To honor them in their presence, and to help and care about them when they are absent . It includes visiting neighbors when they are sick, to assist their funeral, and to offer them your tasty meals that smell good ;
To keep their secrets. It means that not to look for their faults and errors. And, if ever you become aware of some of their faults, do not reveal them but try to conceal their deficiencies ;
Do not leave neighbors alone in difficulties ; e.g., help them in case of financial needs ;
Do not be jealous of them if God grants them some blessings ;
Ignore their errors to yourself and forget about them. If ever they do wrong to you unintentionally, be patient and in peace with them ;
Do not let others talk behind their back and reveal the deficiencies of your neighbors here and there .
Giving priority to the neighbors. It is narrated from Imam Hassan (AS) that Lady Fatima al-Zahra (AS) used to pray firstly for the neighbors and then for members of the family .
According to Imam Sadiq (AS), having good behavior and interaction with neighbors increases the provision (Rizq) . Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) advised to respect neighbors as much as one should respect his\her mother  and he (PBUH) said: “God bless whoever does good to his\her neighbors” . On the contrary, whoever sleeps peacefully at night while one of the his\her neighbors is hungry, God will deprive him of his blessings on the judgment day . The same will happen to whoever annoys his\her neighbors .
Take your time and think about these attitudes towards the neighbors. Life will be surely much agreeable and peaceful if we improve our social interactions with our neighbors within the Islamic framework.
Having a good companion is known as a blessing; on the contrary, a bad one is like a disaster . Friends and companions have certain rights one over the other including:
To interact with them with generosity as much as you can, otherwise, be fair to them ;
To be smiling when you meet them and to receive them modestly ;
To respect them as they respect you ;
To be the first one who does good to the other one, otherwise, try to compensate properly ;
To help them in difficulties and whenever they are in need, as Imam Ali (AS) advised to ;
To hold them in great affection according to Imam Ali (AS) ;
Not to reveal their deficiencies and mistakes;
To encourage them in obedience to God and to prevent them from committing sins ;
To be honest with them and not to cheat ; e.g., nor to talk behind their back neither to reveal their deficiencies and to guard their secrets;
To be trustworthy whenever they rely on you .
The enemy here means a person whom one is in conflict with. There are some recommendations in Islamic resources on how to treat enemies and what is one's responsibility in Islam towards them:
To be fair with them . According to Imam Sadiq (AS), a real believer (Mu'min) does not oppress his\her enemies ;
To testify in favor of the enemies if they are right  even if your testimony is against yourself ;
To keep the promises you made to your enemies ;
To forgive and tolerate them, if possible . According to Imam Ali (AS), there is a virtue in forgiving enemies ;
To talk nicely and shortly with whoever you have complained of , to argue with them in a way that is best (16:125), and not to ignore their rights if ever you are wrong .
- M. Shoueiri “Jami’ al-Akhbar”, p. 84.
- Shaykh al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 7, p. 51.
- Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (AS), “Treatise On Rights (Risalat al-Huquq)”.
- responsibility towards others
- Shaykh al-Saduq, "Ilal Al-Shara'i", p. 181
- Shaykh al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 666.
- Shaykh al-Saduq, “Al-Amali”, p. 288.
- Shaykh al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 668.
- “Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim”, T. 4719-4720.
- “Nahj al Balaqa”, p. 494.
- “Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim”, T. 9665.
- Ibn Shu’bah, “Tuhaf al-Uqul”, p. 88.
- Shaykh al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 1, p. 47.
- Shaykh al-Saduq, “Sifat al-Shia”, p. 24.
- “Nahj al Balaqa”, p. 53.
- “Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim”, p. 435.