I do not think that there is someone who has not thought about the future! Even the insane, who have lost their minds, think of the future at least to the extent of their eating to remain alive. Normal human beings, regardless of whether or not they have religious beliefs, often think of the future. They always ask about tomorrow – how will it begin and how will it end?
Therefore, human beings persist in their daily routines and hence their cultures and environments determine their conduct in life – either to bring them happiness or to bring them wretchedness, depending on the kind of culture and upbringing they receive. It is narrated that Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) has said when interpreting the phrase “his food” mentioned in the Verse, (then let man look to his food),1 that it means the knowledge one receives from others2.
Hence, it becomes clear that culture and intellect are of great importance and that the deviate culture, which most people pay no attention to at all, is too dangerous.
At the same time when Islam has emphasized reading and researching through the Qur'an, the Sunna, and the conducts of its great leaders, we find the tragedy of aversion from reading in general and from reading the religious knowledge in particular. This is the state of many people who consider themselves Muslims whereas their Prophet (S) had encouraged and emphasized reading, seeking knowledge, mediation, pondering, and planning for the future. In fact, the Prophet (S) had spent his holy life educating the Umma with this principled method according to the verse that had been revealed unto him:
(He it is Who raised among the unlettered ones a Messenger from among themselves, who recites to them His communications and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom, although they were before certainly in clear error. And others from among them who have not yet joined them; and He is the Mighty, the Wise)3.
After this, is it not regrettable to say about ourselves that we are Muslims and we are from the community of Prophet Muhammad (S) while we feed on bad cultures and imitate foreign habits via misleading pens, pre-planned films, and immoral books and magazines that fish in the troubled water?
I do not deny that time and changes in technology have made a revolution in the life of man and made his requirements and ideas differ from those of man in the previous ages. However, I deny this to be a cause for man to become detached from religion, human nature, and morals, and then to submit to the news of the nowadays life and disregard what Allah has wanted from His people.
The cultural attacks and the foreign propagandas are like poisons mixed with cultural foods and with attractive colors that aim at depriving the Muslims, whether an individual, spouses, a family, or a society, of their Islamic values, pure education, and honest life. The foreigners market their goods in our countries to revive the economy in their countries. But all of that causes man to lose the eternal happiness in the afterlife.
The Muslim youth, and especially the girls, should pay close attention to these dangers and slips that are hidden behind the satellite TV stations, the internet, misleading films, meetings of amusement, singing and mixed dancing, private places, and even the public streets where there is mixing of sexes.
Beware of all that and do not be heedless for death is not negligent! Death precedes wishes and hopes, and the careless people will have painful torments (on the Day of Resurrection), and then neither regret will benefit them nor will they be allowed to return to the life to repair what they have ruined.
Allah says, when talking about the careless people at the time of death:
(Until when death overtakes one of them, he says: Send me back, my Lord, haply I may do good in that which I have left. By no means! It is a (mere) word that he speaks; and before them is a barrier until the day they are raised)4 and (And the day when the unjust one shall bite his hands saying: O! would that I had taken a way with the Messenger!)5.
Allah has announced before:
(…surely the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these, shall be questioned about that)6.
Then, why are these precious Divine blessings wasted in trivial amusements and used in attaining detrimental cultures contrary to what Allah has ordered? Why this deep torpor and apathy?
The “future” we mean in this book is two “futures.” One refers to this worldly life and the other to the afterlife because “the worldly life is the farm of the afterlife”, and according to the Islamic view they both are considered of equal importance towards man’s life and future. Allah says:
(Whoever does good whether male or female and he is a believer, We will most certainly make him live a happy life),
and this is the first future in the worldly life:
(and We will most certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did)7
and this is the second future in the afterlife.
It is reported that Amīr ul-Mu’minīn (Imam Ali) (a.s.) has said, ‘Whoever does good for his afterlife, Allah will make his worldly life good.’8
The worldly life and the afterlife are not separate according to the Islamic view. We make our afterlife good by being good in this worldly life. Our second future depends on our first future; if our first future is good, our second future will be good and if it is bad our second future will be bad too.
((As for) that future abode, We assign it to those who have no desire to exalt themselves in the earth nor to make mischief and the good end is for those who guard (against evil))9.
Dear reader, this book has between its lines the keys of the first and the second future, which is the best and which begins with you at the present moment. Yes, now and at every moment and with every breath you live your future. So with what thinking and culture do you want to live your future in this world in order to move, after it, happily to your second future in the afterlife, which has no equal at all?
That which your Kind, Wise Lord has revealed to your great Prophet (S) and that which your pure Imams (a.s.) have clarified is the truth that can make a happy and pleasant future.
Our present society, which is diseased with different kinds of cultural, psychological and behavioral diseases, will not recover, unless it makes a great effort to improve itself towards a better future!
This is clear in the saying of Allah:
(Surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they (first) change that which is in their hearts)10.
This is the law of life. Allah says:
(And that man shall have nothing but what he strives for, and that his striving shall soon be seen. Then shall he be rewarded for it with the fullest reward, and that to your Lord is the goal)11.
Let no Muslim man or Muslim woman think that he or she may be happy in his or her individual, marital or family life or that his or her offspring may be happy in this life and the afterlife without undertaking the responsibility of a very exacting task! Let him or her think deeply about the cultures on which he or she relies and on which he or she educates those around him or her in a way leading him or her to please Allah and gain His great contentment.
Dear reader, man and woman, whether you are single, married, or a father or a mother of some children! We have tried in this book to discuss the problems of your youth, marital life, and educational affairs in three chapters, trying our best to give correct answers derived from the Holy Qur'an and the Sunna of the Prophet (S) and the Infallible Imams (a.s.) in a scientific style and easy language to be understood by all.
Because the questions that have come to us through various formats (letters, oral questions, or studying the problems of people at large) concern different classes of society, we have given answers in an easy language that can be understood by all. We have cited the questions only from the letters that have details in order to not lengthen the book. We have not ignored the similar questions for sometimes they have different answers that are of further advantage.
I want to say something very important to the readers before they start reading this book. Let them imagine they are inside a pharmacy, which contains many different kinds of drugs. Readers know well that all the drugs are not meant as treatment for one person; instead, each person gets a drug according to his disease for which he went to the doctor and then to the pharmacy.
In the same way, this book is like a pharmacy containing different intellectual and educational drugs for different levels and different problems. A reader, who reads this book, has to take from it what satisfies his need. If an idea does not please him, let him not deny it nor deny the book for this very idea may please another whose problem is cured by it. One should rather place himself in the shoes of the one who has sent us the question and then ponder on our answer with an Islamic realistic eye to see whether it cures or distresses him!
One example is our position towards “temporary marriage” and “polygamy.” Perhaps there may be someone who does not like or denies it, but if he puts himself in the situation of the one whose cure is “temporary marriage” in order to not become involved in adultery or other unlawful things, then he will agree with us indulgently. At the same time, I disagree with the conduct of one who practices temporary marriage or marries a second wife while he suffers from no problem requiring that solution.
One who suffers pain in his stomach, for example, does not have to use the drug of one who suffers pain in his nose. Rather, if he does that, he may harm himself or he will get no benefit from the drug because he did not put a suitable thing in its suitable place.
Hence, wisdom is the basis of success and happiness in life. Allah says:
(…and whoever is granted wisdom, he indeed is given a great good) 12.
I pray to Allah to grant us success to do whatever He pleases and likes and to make our afterlife better than our worldly life by virtue of Muhammad al-Mustafa (S) and his progeny, the best of the human beings.
17, Rabee’ul Awwal, 1421 AH, the anniversary of the birth of the master of the Prophets, Muhammad bin Abdullah (S)
Abdul Adheem al-Muhtadi al-Bahrani