Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community. In this holy month Muslims fast from the food, drink, smoking, and sexual activity, and other specific activities drawn by Islam between dawn to nightfall until when the evening adhan is sounded in order to practice abstaining. There is definitely a higher purpose beyond not eating or drinking behind fasting. Fasting is one of the Principles of Islam, a religious duty commanded by Allah. Muslims who obey such commands or duties are said to receive thawab* each time for each good deed and receive redemption in the afterlife. Today we are going to discuss the real philosophy behind this Principles but at first, let us see some of the Quran verses pointing to fasting and its place in Islam.
O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous –
(The Holy Quran 2:183)
The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion
(The Holy Quran 2:185)
This principle is often emphasized in the principles of Islamic jurisprudence “The basis for the formation of all religious and divine rules is the interests and corruptions that philosophy is its cause”.
The second surah of The Quran (Al-Baqarah) clearly telling us the purpose of the act of fasting, talks about Divine bowing (verse 185), thanksgiving (verse 185), Benefiting from divine help (verses 45 and 153), benefiting from Allah (verse 184), attaining piety (Verse 183) and victory and success in deeds (verses 45 and 153) are among the wisdom and goals of fasting. We will discuss them deeply now:
Fasting has other benefits and effects, the most important one is identifying the sincere; Because fasting means abstaining from drinking and eating and sexual pleasures as well as other prohibitions, it is very difficult for many people who cannot wash their hearts of material pleasures and are only humble and submissive who give up by divine command. Therefore, it can be said that fasting is one of the most important divine tests through which sincerity can be recognized. Imam Ali (AS) says about this function of fasting: Allah made fasting obligatory in order to test the sincerity of the people. (1) Also, Lady Fatemeh (AS) says about the role of fasting insincerity: Allah has made fasting obligatory in order to establish sincerity. (2)
Other functions of fasting include the element of empathy; Because the fasting person understands the difficult conditions of others by fasting, and because of the suffering he suffers during the fast, he feels the suffering of the poor deeply now. Creating similar conditions and assimilating the living space with the lives of the poor, in the most important dimension, namely the lack of food and drink and other pleasures, causes a feeling of sympathy and provides the ground for financial benevolence and charity. Some rich people, for various reasons, including illness or intentionally not fasting, have to pay atonement, so one of the purposes of fasting is to reach a part of the wealth and property of the rich to the poor so that at least the life of the poor is provided and the level of class distance becomes slightly lower.
we can also refer to this wisdom that Imam Sadigh (AS) has stated about the obligation of fasting: Allah has made fasting obligatory so that the rich and the poor become equal (3) Imam Reza (AS) also says about this matter: People are commanded to fast in order to understand the pain of hunger and thirst, and through it to find the poverty and misery of the Hereafter. (4)
Another wisdom mentioned in the narrations for fasting is zakat of the body. In the sense that zakat is for everything; That is, just as it is zakat for property, which by paying for it provides the ground for proper growth and development of the body. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH&HP) said: Zakat is for everything and zakat on the bodies is fasting. (5) Also, our dear Prophet (PBUH&HP) said: Fast to stay healthy (6)
Medical research has proven today that fasting has a very effective role in eliminating diseases, especially cancer; this is because the lack of nutrients in the body has the first effect on cancer cells and dries out their roots. Therefore, in order to have a healthy body and all the organs of the body to work properly, we must accept fasting as a treatment and use it for the proper development of our body.
In the teachings of Islam, Jihad, especially its military one, has been set as a standard for other tasks due to its difficulty to achieve. Therefore, matters such as gaining halal, marrying well, and the like are considered and measured as jihad. Fasting is a difficult and arduous task because it is even permissible to step on carnal pleasures. Fighting against carnal desires and confronting erotic issues is one of the most important jihads known as the Great Jihad; and it is more difficult to fast in the heat of summer and under the sun and with work and labor. Such a fast is one of the best examples of deeds from the ideals of Prophet (PBUH&HP) that he said: Fasting in the heat is jihad. (7)
Imam Sadegh (AS) also says about fasting in extreme heat: Whoever fasts for Allah on a very hot day and becomes thirsty, Allah will appoint a thousand angels to touch his face and give him the good news until he breaks his fast. (8)
Achieving true fasting means that not just a person's body and tongue fasting, but also his heart and mind are fasting. Imam Ali (AS) says in expressing the best types of fasts: The fast of the heart is better than the fast of the tongue, and the fast of the tongue is better than the fast of the belly (9). So, in the real fast, all the organs of a person must be fasting from sin and mistakes. It is also narrated from Lady Fatima (PBUH) that: What is the use of fasting for a fasting person who has not preserved his tongue, ears, eyes, and joints? ** (10)
There is no point in Islam that hasn’t been checked by wisdom higher than human ones. If there are acts in Islam that are hard or pointless in our sight, that means we can’t see their higher purpose. Islam is always fresh and never gets old like other religions and it seeks human redemption so follow its orders to find yourself in the righteous path
- Nahj al-Balagha (verse 252)
- Bihar al-Anwar (96th volume – page 368)
- Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih (second volume – page 43)
- Wasa'il al-Shia (4th volume – page 4)
- Al-Kafi (4th volume – page 62)
- Bihar al-Anwar (96th volume – page 255)
- Bihar al-Anwar (96th volume – page 257)
- Al-Kafi (4th volume – page 64)
- Exalted Aphorisms and Pearls of Speech (first volume – page 417)
- Bihar al-Anwar (93th volume – page 295)
* Thawab means punishment and has been used in both good and evil deeds of the human, and of course it is often used in good deeds.
**Lady Fatima (AS) has made a Denial interrogation in this narration of hers that it makes it more understandable
Our knowledge about Prophet Adam and his wife Eve, unlike our knowledge about other prophets, is very little. There are so many books written and so many films made about different prophets, but when it comes to Adam and Eve, we usually face a bunch of jokes about them; most common is that they were lucky not have any in-laws! And after all the jokes we end up blaming them for having sinned and having brought the human generation on earth in this miserable, sinful world.
It is a shame that we usually speak less about the status of Adam and Eve and there is not much information about them, available to the public, to show their status.
In this article, we will study the status of Adam and Eve and compare the Christian view on the concept of original sin with the Islamic viewpoint on the same topic.
In Christianity original sin is the rebellion of Adam and Eve in Eden, mainly in consuming from the forbidden tree, which resulted in the fall of man (from the state of innocent obedience to the state of guilty disobedience).
After huge discussions on the topic of original sin which was first raised by St. Augustine who stated “the deliberate sin of the first man is the cause of original sin”, Christian Catholic theologists accepted two main ideas about human condition in this world, believing in the fact that humans were supposed to live eternally in Eden; 
1. ‘Adam by his sin caused the fall of human generation on earth, and therefore as a result of this worldly life, he caused death for human generations.
2. Adam by his fault transmitted sin to human generation.’ 
According to Christian opinion, death and sin are transmitted to the human race by generation, "for as by the disobedience of one man, many [i.e., all men] were made sinners" (Romans 5:19). 
Now, let’s see how the story of Adam and Eve is explained in the Quran.
There are four major parts from the story of Adam and Eve described in the Quran:
1. The creation of Adam, ordering the angels to prostrate before him and Satan’s disobedience. (20: 61, 18:50)
2. Adam and Eve’s settlement in paradise, their temptation by Satan, tasting from the forbidden tree. (20: 120-3)
3. Adam, Eve and Satan’s fall on earth where “In it you will live, and in it you will die, and from it you will be raised [from the dead].” (7: 25)
4. Adam and Eve’s repentance and choosing Adam by God. (20: 122)
“When your Lord said to the angels, ‘Indeed I am going to set a viceroy on the earth,” (2:30) then He thought “the Names” to Adam and old the angels to prostrate for Adam, “they prostrated, but not Iblis: he refused and acted arrogantly, and he was one of the faithless.” (2: 34) Then God said: “O Adam, dwell with your mate in paradise and eat thereof freely whence so ever you wish, but do not approach this tree, lest you should be among the wrongdoers.” (2: 35)
Then Satan tempted them as he had sworn to tempt human generation, “Then Satan caused them to stumble from it, and he dislodged them from what [state] they were in.” (2: 36) Adam and Eve returned to God and asked for forgiveness based on their divine nature and “Then his Lord chose him, and turned to him clemently, and guided him.” (20: 122)
Unlike Christianity that discusses the concept of original sin from a theological aspect, almost all Muslim scholars discuss the issue based on the exegesis of the Quranic verses. It is also important to keep in mind that Muslims believe in the infallibility of prophets and to find out how the concept of original sin comes along with Prophet Adam’s infallibility.
Most important points about the concept of original sin from Muslim scholars’ viewpoint are as follows:
“When your Lord said to his angels, Indeed I am going to set a viceroy on the earth,” (2:30)
Based on the above verse and other similar verses, Fakhr-e Razi claims that Adam’s rejection from paradise was not because he sinned. Since God’s order to prevent them from tasting from the tree was not an obligation, but He said: “do not approach this tree, lest you should be among the wrongdoers.” (7: 19) And therefore they did not do a forbidden act.
In reply to those who admit the repentance of Adam shows that he committed a sin and therefore cannot be infallible, Fakhr-e Razi says that “prophets not only do not commit any sins but if they make a mistake they would repent from it as they know that these little mistakes would make the way broader for real sins” .
“Then Adam received certain words from his Lord, and He turned to him clemently. Indeed, He is the All-clement, the All-merciful.” (2:37)
As mentioned before, Allah (SWT) Accepted Adam and Eve’s repentance and turned to them. As Tabatabaei puts it, the necessity of accepted repentance is that the person would return to his/her previous situation, while Adam and Eve instead of returning to paradise stayed on earth and Adam was chosen and guided to be the guidance for his generation. 
Therefore according to Jawadi -Amoli tasting from the forbidden tree has been a part of the plan for Adam and Eve to be treated and prepared for living on earth where they have enemies, and they should not trust everyone as they trusted Satan; “He said, ‘Get down both of you from it, all together, being enemies of one another! Yet, should any guidance come to you from Me, those who follow My guidance will not go astray, nor will they be miserable.” (20: 123) 
Tabataei strongly disagrees with those who claim that the original sin made committing sins a necessity for the human generation. He states that the lordliness of God makes a space to order the right and forbid from wrong. Therefore, there will be punishment for wrongdoers and reward for righteous people.
He can also, based on His lordliness, bless those who commit a sin and repent of it. He continues that it is not logical to accept that human sin will go through generations and one’s sin will make others sinful as well.  As it is also mentioned in the Quran “, Every soul is hostage to what it has earned”, (74: 38) and not to what Adam (PBUH) or other human generations have done.
From the verse mentioned above, the concept of human free will is also concluded. Human beings will be punished or rewarded based on their acts. If human beings are forced to sin according to the concept of original sin, then the whole concept of human free will would be undermined. And as a result, the promises that God gives us about the hereafter and facing the results of our deeds will be meaningless. As Imam al-Sadiq (AS) mentions “God is more just than to force a servant on a (wrong) task and then punishes him because of that.” 
The story of Adam and Eve is not for us to find out if Adam was sinful or not. It is rather a symbolic story that should teach us lessons for having a successful life in this world. Our story from birth to death has a lot in common with the story of our father, Adam. We were born innocent. We grew up and started tasting from different forbidden fruits. We gradually descended from our human status, instead of ascending towards God; “We certainly created man in the best of forms; then We relegated him to the lowest of the low, except those who have faith and do righteous deeds. There will be an everlasting reward for them.” (95: 4- 6)
Every day is the time for us to repent of our sins and to beware of not being deceived by Satan.
‘O Children of Adam! Do not let Satan tempt you, like he expelled your parents from paradise, stripping them of their garments to expose to them their nakedness. Indeed he sees you—he and his hosts—whence you do not see them. We have indeed made the devils friends of those who have no faith.’ (7:27)
- original sin
- Fakhr-e Razi, Muhammad ibn Amr, Mafatih al-Ghayb, p. 17
- Tabatabaei, Muahmmad Hossein, Al-Mizan, vol. 8. P.46
- Jawadi – Amoli, Abdullah, Tasneem, vol. 3, p. 328
- Tabatabaei, Muahmmad Hossein, Al-Mizan, vol. 1. Pp.133-137
- Sadouq, al-Tawhid, Section al-Qadha wa al- Qdar, Narration No. 28
Success is something that all human beings try to reach. In this world, some people are known to be successful. Others try to become like one of those successful people. And some people, who could never become like any of the successful characters, become depressed for the rest of their miserable, hopeless life!
People keep reading books about “how to become rich”, “how to become famous”, “how to become a great manager”, etc. And they define a successful person, as a person who is wealthy, popular and famous. But there are only a few people in the millions of world population who are well-known because of their wealth, eminence, and power, great scientific or athletic achievements. So, the majority of people are experiencing an unsuccessful, unhappy life. But is that the right definition of success?
In this article, I would like to share with you my understanding of success according to Islamic teachings. I will portray a description of success, without having to be a millionaire, a champion or a celebrity.
In the Holy Quran, the Arabic word for success “Falaah”. Falaah is translated as salvation because the person who attains success, has escaped and recovered from obstacles on the way to success. Having in mind the Quranic description of success, it is time to see what the Quran teaches us to become successful. Allah says in the Holy Quran “Certainly, the faithful have attained salvation” (23:1). And to describe one of the characteristics of those felicitous people, He says: “There has to be a nation among you summoning to the good, bidding what is right, and forbidding what is wrong. It is they who are the felicitous.” (3: 104)
However, an overall conclusion of all the Quranic verses about success could be defined in this Quranic phrase: “... and be wary of Allah so that you may be felicitous. (3: 200)
Also in chapter Baqarah Allah introduces the felicitous as those “who believe in the Unseen, maintain the prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them; and who believe in what has been sent down to you (prophet) and what was sent down before you, and are certain of the Hereafter. Those follow their Lord’s guidance, and it is they who are the felicitous.” (2: 3-5)
According to what we have said so far and what we are going to discuss, it would be better to classify some of the characteristics of successful people and some suggested methods for becoming successful.
In chapter Mu’menoon, Allah describes the characteristics of the successful or felicitous people as follows:
الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ ﴿2﴾
“Those who are humble in their prayers.”(23:2)
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَى صَلَوَاتِهِمْ يُحَافِظُونَ ﴿9﴾
“And are watchful of their prayers” (23: 9)
Not only in this chapter, but also in many other chapters, Allah emphasizes the on-time and humble prayer as a way to achieve success.
Apart from all the spiritual impacts of prayers on the human soul, practicing to pray on time and thus, to plan our daily routine based on our prayer time will help us have a disciplined program. Having the willpower to wake up at dawn for morning prayer is what distinguishes between successful and ordinary people.
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُون ﴿3﴾
“And avoid vain talk.” (23:3)
By having a quick look at the life of almost every successful person, we can realize that they do not spend much time on useless things. “Vain talk” as mentioned in the Quran may refer to watching TV, hanging around on the Internet, unnecessary chats with friends and acquaintances, gossiping and following the uncertain and useless news. Of course, people who have a certain goal and are trying to reach it would avoid vain talk.
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَافِظُونَ ﴿۵﴾ إِلَّا عَلَى أَزْوَاجِهِمْ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ غَيْرُ مَلُومِينَ﴿6﴾
“And guard their private parts, (except their spouses or their slave women, for then they are not blameworthy” (23: 5,6)
Since human beings find comfort in their soulmates, successful people preferably find their soulmates and shape a family instead of wasting their time flirting with the real or virtual opposite sex. Being committed to family life is another way to keep one’s life disciplined.
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِأَمَانَاتِهِمْ وَعَهْدِهِمْ رَاعُونَ ﴿۸﴾
“And those who keep their trusts and covenants” (23: 8)
Being honest with people in the society is an important characteristic of a successful person. But more important than that is to be honest with one’s self. To become successful, we have to be able to trust ourselves. If we make a plan between God and us, we have to fulfill it. This can be a promise to read a page of the Quran every day, or to do daily exercise, etc.
But what makes people successful is to be consistent with their covenants.
In many Quranic verses giving charity is one of the main characteristics of the felicitous; those who “spend out of what We have provided for them…” (2: 4) What is the secret in giving charity? How could spending out wealth, enrich people?
In another verse of the Holy Quran, the two important habits that can bring calmness and abundance into one’s life is to be wary of Allah, and to put trust in Him:
“…Whoever is wary of Allah, He shall make for him a way out [of the adversities of the world and the Hereafter], and provide for him from whence he does not count upon. And whoever puts his trust in Allah, He will suffice him. Indeed Allah carries through His commands. Certainly, Allah has ordained a measure [and extent] for everything.” (65: 2, 3)
Allah (SWT) gives us a hint of becoming popular among other people;
“Indeed those who have faith and do righteous deeds—the All-beneficent will endear them [to His creation].” (19: 96)
One may say that these descriptions are all related to the afterlife. And if we keep praying all the time and stick to spirituality, we will have no improvement in this life.
But it is important to note that Allah does not say that praying, giving charity, being modest, and respecting the values and morals are the only things that we must do in our lives. Rather, Allah emphasizes the importance of hard work and effort to achieve human goals;
“nothing belongs to man except what he strives for” (53: 39)
The characteristics of the felicitous as described above, are additional characteristics. Human beings should have them alongside their hard work to fulfill their worldly mission. Some other characteristics of a real believer as described in chapter Tawbah are as follows: “[The faithful are] penitent, devout, celebrators of Allah’s praise, wayfarers, who bow [and] prostrate [in prayer], bid what is right and forbid what is wrong, and keep Allah’s bounds…” (9:112)
Being successful in this world is not good enough for a human to be recognized as a good servant of God. Many successful people in the world, who are being admired by their fans, are not successful in the eyes of God.
“Say, ‘Shall we inform you who are the biggest losers in their works? Those whose efforts are misguided in the life of the world, while they suppose they are doing good.” (18: 103, 104)
It is important that which ways we choose and go through to meet our goals. Do we consider all the morals and ethics in our path to success? Or we ignore some values to meet our goal?
So, in every successful situation that we gain or are about to gain, we have to open our eyes. And see if this achieved success is true according to Islamic teachings. Or it is only true according to the capitalist viewpoint.
If a person tries to gain all those characteristics, he/ she starts the process of purifying him/ herself. And purifying the self makes the soul a prepared field, in which every human talent can be planted and bloomed.
“Felicitous is he who purifies himself. And celebrates the Name of his Lord, and prays.” (87: 14).
In fact, there is only one secret to become successful, powerful, popular and wealthy. And the secret is to obey the rules of Allah and to completely submit to His orders. The point is that if one can fulfill all his/ her duties towards Allah, then as a natural rule he/ she will see the result of his/ her actions: “Whoever brings virtue shall receive [a reward] better than it.” (27: 89)
In conclusion, I would like to mention this divine narration: “My servant! Obey me, and I will make you lordly. I am the lively who will never die, and I will make you lively, so you never die. I am the wealthy who will never be poor, and I will make you wealthy, so you never become poor…” 
- Al- Jawahir al-sunniyah, p. 709