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Character Building

Deeds Which Invite Happiness
Allah says in Surah al-Baqarah, Ayat 277:
Those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and establish regular prayers and regular charity, will have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
There are many deeds which, if done regularly make Allah pleased with the person who has done them.
We should do good deeds because other people benefit from us. By being good we are obeying Allah and pleasing Him. Also we will have a good feeling by helping others.
Some of these are listed below:
1. Waking up early in the morning for Salatul Shab, and Salatul Fajr.
51:15 As to the Righteous, they will be in the midst of Gardens and Springs,
51:16 Taking joy in the things which their Lord gives them, because, before then, they lived a good life.
51:17 They were in the habit of sleeping but little by night,
51:18 And in the hours of early dawn, They (were found) praying for Forgiveness;
2. When you wake up in the morning, say Salamun Alaykum to your parents and ask them if there is anything you can do for them.
3. Reciting Qur'an in the morning before going to school or work. Prophet Muhammad (S) has said:
"The best among you are those who learn the Qur'an and teach it to others."
He has also said:
"Let light shine in your house with the recitation from Qur'an, and do not turn your homes into dark vaults. For when Qur'an is frequently read in a house, the blessings of Allah descend, and those of the house live a life of ease and happiness, and the house shines in the sight of the heavenly creatures, the same way as the stars shine for the creatures on earth."
4. Giving help to those in need. Everybody gets help from Allah. Allah likes those people more who are kind to others and try hard to help them.
5. Giving to the poor. Allah has given you your wealth. You should be thankful to Him by giving it to others who need it.
6. To pray Namaaz ON TIME. Our 6th Imam (A) has said:
"Whoever does not pray on time is not of us."
7. To tell the truth at all times. Prophet Muhammad (S) has said:
"Leave falsehood and make speaking the truth a habit."
We are also told that lying is the mother of all evils, since when you lie, you will start to do other bad things as well.
8. To be a host (have a guest in the house). Prophet Muhammad (S) has said:
"When Allah wishes to do good to a family, He sends a gift to it. The gift is a guest who brings the sustenance of Allah with him and washes away the sins of the family when he leaves."
This does not mean that the sins of the family will disappear! It means that the guest gives a chance to the family to be good and hospitable. If the family are good hosts, Allah will be pleased with them, and with His mercy forgive them of their sins.
9. To wash your hands before and after meals.
10. To be in a state of Taharat (clean). Always perform wudhu before sleeping, eating, praying Qur'an or offering Namaaz.
11. To say Namaaz e Jamaat. Prophet Muhammad (S) has said that if you have already offered your Namaaz, and you come to a mosque where Namaaz is being recited in Jamaat, you should offer your prayers again to please Allah.

We have done those deeds which invite happiness before, but there are also deeds which are bad, and if you do them, they will lead to unhappiness.
Allah has made certain deeds wrong either because they are bad for us, i.e. our health, or they hurt or harm other people.
Some of these are listed below:
1. Missing to say your prayers on time without a good reason. If you are watching your favourite football match (e.g. the FA cup between Manchester United and Crystal Palace), and it is time for Namaaz, you should go to pray first, and then come back to watch the rest of the match.
Our 6th Imam (A) has said:
"Whoever does not pray on time is not of us."
2. Eating when you are already full. This is bad because you spoil your appetite, as well as making yourself overweight and you are putting extra pressure on your body to look after the extra weight. You also loose respect for food.
3. Sulking. This means to make a face when you don't get what you want. This is bad because you are being a spoil sport. If your parents refuse you something, they are only doing it for your own good.
4. Being stubborn. This means that you think only you are right and that everybody else is wrong and refuse to hear anyone else.
You should listen to others and think about what they are saying before you decide what is right and wrong.
5. Sleeping more than is required. If you sleep too much, then this is bad for you. The more you sleep, the more tired you get.
This means that if you become lazy and lay in bed for longer than you need, then you will become even more lazy. Time is very precious, and Allah has given it to you to spend usefully. Try not to waste it.
6) To tell lies. Lying is very bad, and can become a habit very easily. Lying is also like a key which opens the door to other bad deeds. Prophet Muhammad (S) has said:
"Leave falsehood and make speaking the truth a habit."
7. To be rude to others. This is bad because you hurt other people's feelings, also you will lose your self respect and you friends if you make a habit of being rude.
8. To think that you are better than others. This is one of the worst deeds and is called pride. This is why Shaitan was removed from the mercy of Allah, because he thought he was better than Prophet Adam (A).
However good you are, or however well you do, just remember Allah and thank Him, and you will stop yourself from becoming proud.
9. To laugh at other people's mistakes. This is rude as well as being proud. Everybody is human, and everybody makes mistakes. To laugh at other people is bad because you can hurt their feelings. Just think, how would you like it if other people laughed at you ?
10. To be in a state of Najasat (unclean). You should always try and remain clean and Pak. This means that you should wash yourself properly every time you go to the toilet, and make sure that your clothes do not get Najis. If they do, then you should clean them as soon as you come home. It is said that to be clean and Pak (Tahir) is from the habits of the prophets.

This means to try and LEARN and UNDERSTAND what people say to you and use it in the future. This is a very good habit.
You don't have to be wait to be told something to learn. You can always gain knowledge by watching what other people do, and learning from their mistakes, and picking up their good habits. You can also learn by picking up good points from books which you read, and from the television when you watch. Always be careful that you notice bad habits and avoid picking these up.
If someone says something to you, you should do three things
1. Listen
2. Learn
3. Understand
This means that next time you can use what you have learnt for your own benefit, and maybe even teach it to others.
The important thing about knowledge is that you should never become proud of it. No matter how much you know, there is always many times more that you do not know.
There was a King in days long gone by, who was very famous. One reason for his fame was that he had a wise old man for his councilor.
The councilor was walking down road when he was stopped by an old lady, the old said "I have a question for you."
The wise old man said "How can I help you?"
The old lady asked her question and the wise old man sat down and started to think. He scratched his head and moved one way and then another. Finally he said, "I don't know the answer."
The old lady said, "Huh, you are supposed to be the King's wise man, and you can not even answer an old woman's question!"
The wise old man laughed and replied "The King pays me for the answers that I DO know, if he was to pay me for the answers that I DO NOT know, all the kingdoms on the earth would not suffice."
This shows us that no matter how clever a person is, there is always room for him to improve.
The places where we learn are at home, school, the mosque, and Madressa. We should learn something new wherever we go. We should always respect the places which are specially for knowledge by acting properly and trying to not only to learn, but to enjoy learning.
For example, at school. We should respect the teacher, and at the same time try and enjoy doing the work. That way we will progress and have fun at the same time.
In the time of the Prophet (S), the Mosque in Madina was not only used as a place of worship, but the believers assembled here to learn. When the Prophet (S) was present, they heard his words of wisdom, benefited by his teachings. When he was not there, other faithful companions taught what they had heard from the Prophet of Allah.
Once the Prophet (S) entered the Mosque BEFORE THE PRAYER TIME. He found two groups in the Mosque. In one group, some were reading from the Qur'an while others were praying. The other group was in a corner busy learning. They learnt how the read and write and discussed the teachings of Islam and their application to their daily lives.
Looking at both, the Prophet (S) said: "They are both engaged in useful pursuits. But I am a teacher. I shall join the group assembled to learn."
And so he sat with the group of students.

Patience means to be able to wait quietly in times of difficulty and hardship. It also means to be tolerant.
The Arabic word for patience is SABR.
Our Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) has said that
Patience is half of faith.
This means that if a person can stay patient even after hardship, then that person has taken a BIG step towards understanding their faith.
Allah has said in Qur'an Surah 2 Ayat 156-157
"....and give glad tidings to the PATIENT ones who, when misfortune befalls them, say, "Verily we are God's and to Him shall we return." Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and His mercy; and they are the ones that are rightly guided."
In English, there is a saying,
Patience is a virtue.
It means that it is an EXCELLENT QUALITY for a person to have patience.
In Qur'an Surah 103 ayat 2-3, Allah tells us:
"Verily mankind is in a loss, except for those who believe, teach the truth and have PATIENCE."
This shows that in Islam, BEING GOOD BY YOURSELF is not enough to please Allah. You should teach others what you believe, and you should have patience.

People often translate Taqwa as "fearing God". This is not a proper translation, and can be taken to mean the Allah makes his creation afraid and scared, which is not true at all.
In Islam the concept of fearing God is NOT to be scared of HIM, but to be ashamed, scared or sad at doing something which would "displease HIM".
There is no English translation for this idea, which is known as TAQWA.
We all know that the most important duty of a Muslim is to believe in Allah and to have total submission to Him, i.e. His wishes are our commands. We also know that if we displease Him, then on the Day of Judgment we will have to answer for it.
The important thing is that if we ever do anything either accidentally or on purpose, we should be "aware" of what we have done and its consequences, and so should ask forgiveness from Allah.
TO reach this state of awareness is very difficult and we human beings would never have been able to reach it without Allah's help and guidance. Allah says in Suratul Baqarah "Worship me to ward off evil". This shows the concept of worship i.e. total submission and love of Allah is very important to keep away evil.
In Surah an-Nur, Allah says he will guide those who wish to be guided. This shows us that it is only through the love and worship of Allah that we will be guided on the "right path" to heaven.
Isn't that our main "Goal" in life ?

Forgiveness means to "let someone off the hook". It means to pardon someone for their mistakes towards you.
Forgiveness is a very good deed and shows that you have a big heart.
Allah tells us in Qur'an, Surah 64 ayat 14:
"....and if you forgive, and overlook and cover up (their ills) then verily God is Oft-forgiving, The Most Merciful."
This shows us that if you are kind enough to forgive someone who has done something against you, Allah, who is The Kindest of all will also forgive you.
Prophet Isa (A) said that you should do to others what you would like them to do to you. This means that if you want someone to forgive your sins towards them, you should first forgive their sins towards you.
Imam Ali (A) has said:
"A person who has asked forgiveness from Allah, that person is like a new born baby."
When a baby is born, it is pure and sinless. Everyone loves it because it has done no wrong, and it has harmed no one.
When Allah forgives a person, then that person becomes pure as well. Allah makes his heart and soul as clean as that of a new born baby.
Imam Musa al-Kadhim (A) has said that:
"Your activities are like business with God. If one begs forgiveness for a deed before 7 hours have passed, it is better for you."
If you treat your actions as if Allah counts them, then the minute you make a sin, you should seek forgiveness for it before you finish the day.
That way, when you go to sleep, at least you know that you have settled all accounts with Allah, and so you can sleep happy and at peace with yourself.

If you visit someone who is not well, you make them feel happy.
Why do they feel happy?
The reason they feel happy is that they know you care.
This means that the sick person knows that he/she has not been forgotten, and that there is somebody who worries about how they are feeling.
Prophet Muhammad (S) used to go to mosque everyday, and there was always one old lady who used to throw things at him from the window.
This used to happen everyday, and the Prophet (S) never used to say anything because he was respecting his elders.
Then one day after a long time, the lady didn't throw anything at the Prophet (S).
Prophet Muhammad (S) became worried, and went to see whether the old lady was all right. When he reached, he greeted her and asked how she was, and if there was anything he could do to make her feel better.
The old lady was so surprised and so happy that someone had come to see her, that she said sorry to the Prophet (S), and begged his forgiveness and became a Muslim.
This shows how important it is to visit sick people, you can make them feel very happy and when they get better, they will remember you and like you even more.
Have you ever been sick, and sent to hospital?
If so, how did you feel when people came to visit you. What did you feel when they brought you presents and gifts?
Why did you feel like that?

A need is when a person wants something, or has to have something so that he can live. Food and water are basic needs of all living creatures.
When we have something that others do not, then we should try and share what we have so that other peoples' needs are also met.
There are many different types of needs. If a person is poor, we should help them by giving them some money.
There are people who are disabled in some way. They might not be able to do things as easily as we can. They don't need money, but they need friendship and consideration. We should not laugh at these people, or make fun of them, but should go out of our way to be friendly with them and to make them feel that they are one of us, and not different.
Then there are people who are not very sure of themselves, and make mistakes often. Instead of laughing at them, we should help them and encourage them. When they make a mistake, do not tease them, but tell them how to improve. All they need are some true friends to help them.
There are also some people who are not lucky enough to have parents, friends or family who care for them, or to bring them up understanding Islam. They have parents, but they don't teach Islam properly.
What should we do when these friends ask us to do things wrong, like listening to music, or watching films which are not good, or eating food which we should avoid ?
We should explain to them properly why we should not do these things, and guide them to the way of Islam, so that they can live happily with the pleasure of Allah.
This shows that we should help everyone we know in one way or another. When we see the faults or problems in other people, we should also make sure that we look at ourselves and see that we do not suffer from the same faults. If we do, we should try and make ourselves become better people as well.

When you make an intention, it means to know what you are about to do and why you are doing it.
In Islam, intention plays a very important part in all our duties, because without a clear intention, almost any act is useless.
Imagine that someone was praying Namaaz, he could be praying correctly and still his prayer might not be accepted. This is because when we pray, we can be praying for many reasons, some of them are:
a. So that Allah will be pleased with us.
b. So that people will see how good we are.
c. Because if we don't, our parents will get angry.
Obviously, our prayer will only be accepted if we have the first intention.
The Arabic word for intention is NIYYAT. Every act we do should have a good niyyat. There is a hadith by our Prophet (S) that:
"Actions are governed by their intentions."
This means that the sins or blessings we get for doing something depends on WHY WE DID IT.
Another example is that suppose you gave a lot of money to charity in front of many people. There is nothing wrong in doing that depending on your niyyat. If you give the money so that everyone will see how rich and kind you are, then that action is not worth anything in the "eyes" of Allah; however if you give the money in front of people so that they can see you and so that they might follow your example, then that action is looked upon very highly by Allah.
So, no matter what we do, we should always have a good niyyat (intention) about it. We don't have to say anything as long as we know in our mind why we are doing something.
Whatever we do, there should always be one niyyat that should be in our minds, THE NIYYAT THAT WE ARE DOING SOMETHING FOR THE PLEASURE OF ALLAH.

To be clean means to be free from dirt. To be Tahir (Pak) means to be pure according to Islam. There is a big difference between these two words.
If you dress in new clothes, take a shower and put on some perfume or cologne, you will be clean. Then imagine you go to the toilet and do not wash yourself properly. You might still be clean, but now you are Najis. When we go to the toilet, we should wash ourselves 3 times to make sure that we are Tahir. It is no good using tissue paper BY ITSELF, because this may make us clean, but it will not keep us Tahir.
It is always a good habit to try and be Tahir (or pure). Our 8th Imam (A) said:
"To be pure and clean is amongst the habits of the Prophets."
also, Prophet Muhammad (S) has said
"Cleanliness and purity are part of faith."
The opposite of being Tahir is being Najis, and the opposite of Cleanliness in Uncleanliness. One should always try to avoid being both Najis and unclean. There are certain ways Islam explains us to be both Tahir and clean at the same time. These are shown below.
Islam tells us to wash ourselves before praying. This washing is known as wudhu. Some of the reasons why we do wudhu are, a. It keeps us clean, b. It refreshes us can concentrate and think clearly.
Means to clean the body with the niyyat of cleaning it spiritually.
There are times when Ghusl becomes wajib, i.e. when you touch a dead body. This means that you have to do Ghusl before you can pray Namaaz.
Daily Bath.
Islam is a religion which not only tells you to keep your soul clean, but to also keep your body clean.
You should take a regular bath or shower to keep your body clean.
Washing of Face and Brushing Teeth.
In the morning when you wake up, you should wash your face and brush your teeth. This makes you feel fresh as well as cleaning the dirt that forms overnight.
Prophet Muhammad (S) has said,
"Upon you is the brushing of the teeth, for surely it purifies the mouth, and pleases Allah, and brightens the eyesight. Indeed the angels hate the odour from a mouth not cleaned after eating food."
Clean Clothing.
A Muslim should never dress with dirty clothes. This does not mean that you wear your best and most expensive clothes. It means that even if you have one piece of cloth to wear, you should keep it clean.
When you wear clothes, you should wear it for yourself, and not for others to look at.
Cutting Nails.
You should always cut your nails because they grow very long and can get very dirty.
If you have long nails, dirt can get trapped underneath. When you eat, you will be putting that dirt in your food and swallowing it. This is very bad for your health and can lead to many illnesses.
Looking After Hair.
One should always comb his hair with a proper parting. You should never leave your hair messy and unkempt.
Prophet Muhammad (S) has said that if you can not look after your hair properly, you should shave it off!
This shows the importance of caring for your hair. This does not mean that you spend all your time making sure that each hair is in place. You should make sure that your hair is clean and tidy.
One important point about the above is that Islam has told us to keep our bodies clean because a clean body leads to a healthy body. If we do not look after our bodies we will get all sorts of illnesses. If you keep your body clean you will feel good, and fresh.
The same way we are told to keep our souls Tahir, since a clean soul also leads to a healthy soul.

Hard work means to concentrate and strive at something until you achieve it.
You must have all heard the English saying,
If at first you don't succeed, than try try try again
Islam believes in working hard. If you work hard at something, than you will almost always succeed. Another common English saying is
It is better to have tried and failed, than not to have tried at all.
A believer has to work harder than most people. This is because most people work only for this life, ie food, house, money, family etc...
However, the believer has to work for BOTH this life and the next life.
The way to work for the next life is to be fair in this life, to pray on time and to help those in need.
One of our Imams was once working on a field. It was hot and sunny, and Imam was digging the ground. He was working very hard.
A person passed by and saw Imam sweating and working away at the ground. He said to Imam, "Oh son of the Prophet, have you no shame!"
Imam looked up from his work and asked "Why, what have I done?"
The man answered, "You are working so hard for this world, and are forgetting your God."
Imam replied,
"Doing hard work which is halal is one of the best forms of worship."
This shows that Islam is a religion which helps us lead a well balanced life. Its rules are not just on recitation and Salaat, but also work and livelihood.

All people have feelings. There is nothing worse than a person who has his feelings hurt, because it takes a long time to recover.
If you throw a stone at someone, you will hurt them. The bigger the stone, the more they will be hurt. If you hurt their legs, then they won't be able to walk, or if you hurt their eye then they won't be able to see.
The tongue throws out words, and sometimes these words hurt more than stones. The stones hurt the body, but the tongue hurts the feelings.
There is a saying:
"The tongue is sharper than the sword."
This means that sometimes, when you say something it can hurt someone even more than a sharp sword.
If you call someone names, or insult them, or make fun of something about them then you hurt their feelings. This makes them sad, and then they feel that no one cares for them.
Think for a moment. Pretend that you were them. Would YOU like someone calling you names all the time, making life miserable for you. Would YOU like some laughing when you fell down, or someone telling tales at you. Would YOU like people making fun of your family, or the colour of your skin, or at the way you are.
Then why do it to others ?
Allah has created us all equal. Some are good at one thing, and some are good at others.
So next time you say something to someone else, even if it is only a joke. It might not be a joke to them. Think how it will affect their feelings before you say it.

Blabbering means to talk too much about things which are of no use or importance, without stopping.
You will notice that no-one pays attention to a person who talks too much. As a result he loses his respect. He will not have any close friends since people will try to avoid him. In general, he will be thought of as a child.
When a person talks too much, he is giving away all his secrets, and he does not even realise. This explains why Imam Ali (A.H.) has said:
"The heart of a fool lies behind his tongue."
This shows that the secrets (heart) of a fool is revealed when he speaks.
On the contrary the person who is wise will only talk when it benefits him, which is why Imam Ali (A) also said:
"The tongue of a wise man lies behind his heart."
Blabbering is something which many people do often. Certain people, when they get together start talking about useless things, talk about other people, talk about who is doing what and who is going where. All this just turns out to be gheebat and fitna. You should always try to avoid these types of meetings or groups, since you will come out without any benefit, and in the meantime, someone's name and honour would have been damaged.
Prophet Isa has explained us to treat our words as if they were gold. Would you throw away gold to anyone, and just treat it like sand. Well you should not throw your words away either. They are too expensive and important to be treated as dust, to throw away.

This is one of the most common problems in today's western world, and is the cause of a lot of violence, bad behaviour and vandalism amongst today's youth.
Allah tells us in Qur'an (Surah 17, ayat 23)
"Thy lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents."
This shows how important it is to obey your parents and shows us that it is definitely HARAAM to disobey them.
Question: Why should we obey our parents?
Answer : Our parents are older than us and so have had a lot of experience. They have given up so much for us. They also have our best interests at heart, so when they tell us something, they are telling us for our own good.
Allah said to one of His prophets:
"I swear by My Honour that anyone who does not obey his parents, even if he comes with the deeds of the Prophets in front of Me, I will never accept him."
If we disobey our parents, we are disobeying Allah and so we will not obey anyone. This means that there are no rules for us to follow, so we can do whatever we want!
This is what has happened to the western world today. The children do what they want and become spoilt and violent.
Since today's children rebelled against their parents, they did not learn how to behave, and as a result will make bad parents in the future when they have children.
This shows that if we disobey our parents, we are ruining our own lives because we will bring our children up to disobey us.
Ayatullah Khomeini (may Allah rest his soul) said that,
"Looking at the face of your mother or father with respect is like looking at the Kaaba, the reward is the same."
Imam Ali (A) has said:
"Respect your father and your son will respect you."

To lie means to say something that you know is wrong on purpose.
We all know that lying is a great sin. The bad thing is that we do not realise how often we are doing it.
Our Sixth Imam said that it is more difficult to repent for many small sins than for one big sin. Remember the story of the two men who came to Imam to repent for their sins.
Prophet Muhammad (S) has said,
"Leave falsehood and make speaking the truth a habit."
"If a person has a habit of speaking lies, he is a hypocrite until he rids himself of the habit."
To lie is haraam because you are deceiving others. There are many reasons why people lie, some of them are,
a. as an excuse to get yourself out of trouble,
b. to cheat somebody out of something you want,
c. to get someone else into trouble.
As you can see, all the above reasons are bad. If you have done something which gets you into trouble, then you should face it, and not lie your way out of it because that is being very irresponsible.
Qur'an also tells us not to lie,
(2:42) "And cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when you know (what it is)."
Prophet Muhammad (S) has also said,
"Beware of association with the liar for he is like a mirage which draws the far one nearer to you and the nearer far from you."
If you make the habit of lying, then you will lie very often without realising. You will lie to your family, your friends and everybody you meet. Then one day you will be caught out because you will have trapped yourself in a corner, and there will be no escape.
Also if you make a habit of lying you will start doing other things which are even worse. One evil leads you to another.

Another word for liquor is alcohol. When we say alcohol, we mean all beers, spirits, wines and ciders.
We all know that to drink alcohol is HARAAM.
Do we know why alcohol has been forbidden?
The answer is yes, and it is because alcohol is bad for us. We all know that Allah is the Most Gracious and The Most Merciful, so He would not forbid anything for us unless it was harmful.
The way in which alcohol is harmful is that it takes you away from your real self.
We have already discussed in previous lessons about the NAFS, and the way it tries to lead people towards sin. When a person drinks alcohol, even a little bit, it has an immediate affect on the mind, and the body.
The alcohol reduces the concentration of the mind, and so you are not able to have complete control over your NAFS. As a result you are more likely to commit a sin than you would have been otherwise. This lack of concentration also affects your mind, and your judgement. You can get very angry, you can do things which you can regret later on. All this is caused by the fact that your mind does not have total control over your body.
Alcohol damages the body by destroying the liver and slows down the reactions. This can cause accidents in many things, such as driving. Alcohol is also bad for society in general. The importance of this will be discussed in later classes.
Remember, Allah only forbids us those things which are bad for us and cause us harm, be it on the mind, the body or the soul.

To gamble is HARAAM. This sin is as bad as drinking and Allah has put them next to each other, when He tells us in Qur'an, surah 5 ayat 93
"O you who believe! Verily intoxicants and GAMES OF CHANCE, stones and arrows are only a abomination of Shaytan's handiwork, so stay away from it that you may be successful."
Surah 2 ayat 219:
They ask thee about wine and gambling. Say "In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; But the sin is greater that the profit."
Gambling is Haraam because a person can lose everything he owns without thinking, and put not only himself, but those who depend on him (ie wife, children) in hardship. Also it is ADDICTIVE (you can not stop once you have started).
When something is addictive, it means that you find it difficult, or almost impossible to stop. Never let yourself become addicted to anything, because then that thing can have control over you. Islam only want your mind to have control of the body, and nothing else.
If a person gambles, he keeps on gambling and forgets everything else, including his Creator, so his life will be in ruins.

Flesh means meat or part of the body of an animal. The word swine is another word for pig.
We all know that pork is haraam for us to eat, and so is any meat which is not slaughtered according to Islamic Law.
Everything which is made haraam for us by Allah is for a reason, and that reason is that it is bad for our health.
People have been asking for a long time why pork is forbidden and not beef. Many people did not know the answer until quite recently. Science has discovered that of all the meat people eat, that of the swine has the most diseases.
This is because the swine is a REFUSE EATER, it eats rubbish such as rotten fruit and potato peels which have insects and worms in them. Since the swine gobbles its food, the worms get inside the body and live in the meat of the swine.
When the meat is sold to the people, the meat is uncooked, so the tiny worms are still alive. If the meat is not cooked properly then the worms enter the human body.
This is why Allah has forbidden ALL REFUSE EATERS to be consumed by humans.
There are other meat which is also forbidden by Islam. We know that we are allowed to eat beef, but if that beef is not halaal beef than we can not eat it, it MUST be according to Islamic Law.
The most important lesson to learn about the above is that ANYTHING which is forbidden by Allah is for OUR OWN BENEFIT. He does not want us to damage our health, or to do anything which will be bad for us in the long run.
Some acts which Islam teaches us to avoid have still not been explained by scientists, but this does not mean that we should do them (eg listening to music). We should try and understand why they are haraam, but if we can't find the reason we should trust that it is for our own good.

Backbiting means to talk about a person, and say things about him when he is not there, in such a way as to displease him.
There are two words for backbiting, one is GHEEBAT, and the other is TOHMAT.
When you speak about someone, and what you say is TRUE, then this is GHEEBAT.
When you speak about someone, and what you say is FALSE, then this is TOHMAT.

The Holy Prophet (S) once said,
"O Abu Zar, keep yourself away from backbiting because it is worse than adultery...... After committing adultery, if one repents, Allah forgives him, but the backbiter can not be pardoned unless he has been pardoned by the one about whom he has been backbiting."
If you heard someone swear, and you told all your friends when that person was not there, then that is Gheebat.
In Qur'an Surah 49 ayat 12, Allah tells us:
"....And do not spy nor let some of you backbite others. Does one of you like to eat the dead flesh of his brother ?"
This shows us that backbiting is as bad as eating the flesh of your dead brother. This means that once someone you know, ie your brother/sister in Islam has done something bad, they have killed their own reputation. By telling others what they have done, you are enjoying and gaining at their loss. It is as if you are eating and feasting on the reputation they have already destroyed.
In the early days of the first few Imams, there were two men. Let us call the first one Haroon and the second one Khalid.
One day Khalid started telling everybody bad things about Haroon. He was spreading lies all around.
After a few days Haroon heard about this. The first thing he did was to go home and put all his money and gold and silver in a big bag and then took the bag to Khalid's house.
When Khalid saw Haroon coming he became scared because he thought that Haroon had come to beat him up. Khalid came out of his house and fell on his knees and begged to Haroon, "O Haroon, I am really sorry, I did not mean to tell tales about you, O please do not beat me!!"
Haroon said, "I have not come to beat you, I have come to give you this money, and this wealth."
Khalid had the shock of his life.
Haroon continued, " Khalid, I have come to thank you, here have this wealth of mine."
Khalid stood up and asked, "Why are you giving me wealth when I have insulted you and spoilt your name among the people?"
Haroon replied. "The Holy Prophet ( S) has said that if one person TALKS BEHIND THE BACK of another, the thawaab of the first person gets transferred to the second." he continued, "So now that you have spoken bad of me behind my back, I am thanking you for giving me all your thawaab. This money is too little for the amount of thawaab that you have given me."
This shows how bad Gheebat and Tohmat are.
Once there was a man who did tohmat of our Sixth Imam.
Imam did no know about it until a few days later when one of his `friends' came to him and said, " Oh Imam, I have heard terrible news. This person has been going around and saying this about you."
Imam became angry at his `friend'. He said, "Think of the person who did tohmat towards me as if he shot an arrow at my body. I did not hear him so it is as if the arrow missed me; But by telling me this news, you have picked up the arrow from the ground and have hit me with it."
It is the duty of a good Muslim to stop others from speaking ill of a person, and if that is not possible he should go away from the people who are talking ill.
Why are gheebat and tohmat haraam ?
They are haraam because they spoil peoples names and characters. When you speak badly of someone, you make others think badly of them.
Another reason why it is bad is because the people are not there to defend themselves. If you hear wicked things about others, you should give the others a chance to defend themselves by explaining, before you believe what you hear.

An ornament (in this context) is something that you wear. It can be a chain a ring or a bracelet etc...
It is HARAAM for a man to wear any golden ornament, even if it is mixed with other metals.
It is however allowed to have a gold tooth or filling.
NOTE: Gold is only forbidden for men. Women are allowed to wear golden jewellery and ornaments.
One of the reason Islam forbids the wearing of gold by men is that gold is often looked upon as something feminine. Islam does not approve of a male adorning himself with luxuries such as gold and silk.
This is because Islam does not approve of a man becoming attached to luxuries and riches. He should be strong and firm, and should work hard to provide for his family and those who depend on him. If he is well off, he does not need to show his wealth with luxuries.
The reason why gold teeth and fillings are allowed is because gold is the least reactive metal. This means that when you eat food, it does not matter what you eat, the tooth/filling will remain unharmed, and will not react with your food.

Sleeping on your stomach is a discouraged act (makruh) in Islam.
The reasons why we are told by Islam not to sleep in the above manner is for our own health.
Sleeping on your stomach causes strain on your heart and your chest. This is because you are putting extra weight on the chest, which has to move every time you breathe. As a result you are putting the whole weight of your body on your lungs which are not meant to take that amount of pressure.
After eating, sleeping on your stomach can affect your digestion and your breathing, and so after a heavy meal, you should sleep on your right side.
Islam has told us the above many hundreds of years ago, and medical science will eventually confirm them.

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