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Social and Moral Code of Islam

By Dr. Muhammad Sharif Chaudhry

CHAPTER 1

BASIC CONCEPTS

  1. Good and Evil

  2. Truth and Falsehood

  3. Reward and Punishment

  4. Halal and Haram

  5. Islamic Brotherhood and Unity

  6. Friendship

  7. Concept of Equality

  8. Enjoining good and forbidding wrong

  9. Moderation and Balance

  10. Concept of Success

  11. Social Justice

In this chapter we will explain some of the basic concepts which play key-role in founding the social and moral edifice of Islam. Without comprehending these concepts such as - good and evil, right and wrong, Halal (permitted) and Haram (forbidden), reward for good deeds and punishments for evil deeds – we can hardly be motivated to do pious acts, to adopt virtues and to shun vices, to observe good manners, and to discharge our obligations to others. A comprehensive discussion of these basic concepts would be made in the light of the Qur’an, the revealed book of Islam, and the traditions of Muhammad (PBUH), the Prophet of Islam.

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I – Good and Evil

According to plain dictionary meaning, good and evil signify a variety of things. However, in this section we are taking good and evil in their moral, ethical and religious sense and in the form of noun and adjective. Good means morally excellent, virtuous, having the right qualities, righteous, pious, meritorious, upright. Goodness means moral excellence, the state or quality of being good, righteousness, piety, uprightness, rectitude, virtuousness, probity, graciousness, humanness, generosity, kindness, honesty, integrity. Evil means morally bad, sinful, wrong, immoral, ill, wicked, mischievous, harmful, injurious, repulsive, characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering. Evil is in quality, intention or conduct like bad character, bad conduct, bad intention. In the form of noun evil signifies badness, sinfulness, wickedness, baseness, corruption, immorality, iniquity, malficence, malignity, maliciousness, sin, vice, turpitude, viciousness, villanity, wrong, wrongdoing.

In religio-moral sense, good and evil are basic values and it is not easy to define them in precise manners. While the basic concepts of good and evil remain the same, their standard may differ from age to age, place to place, society to society.

The terms ‘good’ and’ evil’ have not been defined by Islam. Neither the Qur’an nor the Ahadith of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) provide any exact definition of these terms. Without giving any definition of good and evil, the Qur’an and the Sunnah, however, throw a lot of light on what is good and what is evil as the concepts of good and evil are fundamental in the socio-ethical structure of Islam. Islam enjoins upon its followers to do good and refrain from evil. Things or actions which are good and which are bad have been clearly demarcated by the Qur’an and Hadith. The doers of good actions have been promised rewards whereas doers of evil actions have been threatened with awful punishment.

According to Holy Qur’an, the man may have many justifications for his actions but he knows what he is. This knowledge ‘he knows what he is’ is in fact human conscience which Almighty God has given to everyone. Conscience is a lamp which is enkindled in every human mind and which guides the man about what is right and what is wrong and what is good and what is evil. If this lamp is put off by continuous and prolonged wicked acts, then the voice or opinion of the people around one would help him to know what is right and what is wrong. It is said: You are good if the people say that you are good; and you are bad if the people say that you are bad.

Righteousness and sin have been explained by the prophet of Islam in a very precise but vivid way. When asked by a companion about righteousness and sin, the Prophet replied: Righteousness is good character, and sin is that which revolves in your heart about which you do not want people to know.

Let us now have a look at the relevant verses of the Qur’an and Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which throw ample light on the concepts of good and evil:

Verses of the Holy Qur’an:

In the following verses the Qur’an elaborates the things, actions and deeds which are good and which bring immense reward for those who perform them:

  1. And each one hath a goal toward which he turneth; so vie with one another in good works. Wheresoever ye may be, Allah will bring you all together. Lo! Allah is able to do all things.––2: Al-Baqarah: 148

  2. It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the Angels and the Scripture and the Prophets; and giveth his wealth, for love of Him, to kins folk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor-due. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the God-fearing”.––2: Al-Baqarah: 177

  3. Ye will not attain unto piety until ye spend of that which ye love. And whatsoever ye spend, Allah is aware thereof.
    ––2: Al-Imran: 92

  4. Those who spend (of that which Allah hath given them) in ease and in adversity, those who control their wrath and are forgiving toward mankind; Allah loveth the good;
    ––3: Al-Imran: 134

  5. And serve Allah. And ascribe nothing as partner unto Him. (Show) kindness unto parents, and unto near kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and unto the neighbour who is of kin (unto you) and the neighbour who is not of kin. And the fellow-traveller and the wayfarer and (the slaves) whom your right hands possess. Lo! Allah loveth not such as are proud and boastful,––4: An-Nisa: 36

  6. Lo! Allah wrongeth not even of the weight of an ant; and if there is a good deed, He will double it and will give (the doer) from His presence an immense reward.––4: An-Nisa: 40

  7. Whoso interveneth in a good cause will have the reward thereof, and whoso interveneth in an evil cause will bear the consequence thereof. Allah overseeth all things.
    ––4: An-Nisa: 85

  8. And whoso doeth good works, whether of male or female, and he (or she) is a believer, such will enter paradise and they will not be wronged the dint in a date-stone.––4: An-Nisa: 124

  9.  … but help ye one another unto righteousness and pious duty, Help not one another unto sin and transgression, but keep your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is severe in punishment.
    ––5: Al-Ma’idah: 2

  10. … So vie one with another in good works. Unto Allah ye will all return, and He will then inform you of that wherein ye differ.––5: Al-Ma’idah: 48

  11. Say: The evil and the good are not alike even though the plenty of the evil attract thee. So be mindful of your duty to Allah, O men of understanding, that ye may succeed.
    ––4: Al-Ma’idah: 100

  12. Whoso bringeth a good deed will receive tenfold the like thereof, while whoso bringeth an ill deed will be awarded but the like thereof; and they will not be wronged.
    ––6: Al-An’am: 160

  13. For those who do good is the best (reward) and more (thereto). Neither dust nor ignominy cometh near their faces. Such are rightful owners of the Garden; they will abide therein.
    ––10: Yunus: 26

  14. Establish worship at the two ends of the day and in some watches of the night. Lo! good deeds annual ill deeds. This is a reminder for the mindful.––11: Hud: 114

  15. Such as persevere in seeking their Lord’s countenance and are regular in prayer and spend of that which we bestow upon them secretly and openly, and overcome evil with good. Theirs will be the sequel of the (heavenly) Home,
    ––13: Ar-Ra’d: 22

  16. Lo! Allah enjoineth justice and kindness, and giving to kinsfolk, and forbiddeth lewdness and abomination and wickedness. He exhorteth you in order that ye may take heed.
    ––16: An-Nahl: 90

  17. Whosoever doeth right, whether male or female, and is a believer, him verily We shall quicken with good life, and we shall pay them a recompense in proportion to the best of what they used to do.––16: An-Nahl: 97

  18. Allah increaseth in right guidance those who walk aright, and the good deeds which endure are better in thy Lord’s sight for reward, and better for resort.––19: Maryam: 76

  19. These will be given their reward twice over, because they are steadfast and repel evil with good, and spend of that wherewith we have provided them.––28: Al-Qasas: 54

  20. Whoso bringeth a good deed, he will have better than the same; while as for him who bringeth an ill deed, those who do ill deeds will be requited only what they did.
    ––28: Al-Qasas: 84

  21. And it is not your wealth nor your children that will bring you near unto us, but he who believeth and doeth good (he draweth near). As for such, theirs will be twofold reward for what they did, and they will dwell secure in lofty halls.
    ––34: Saba: 37

  22. By the declining day, Lo! man is in a state of loss, Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.
    ––103: Al-‘Asr: 1-3

The reveled book of Islam, the Qur’an, in its following verses explains the concept of evil and elaborates actions and things which are bad and, therefore, should be avoided to save oneself from punishment and Hell.

  1. Nay, but whosoever hath done evil and his sin surroundeth him; such are rightful owners of the Fire; they will abide therin.––2: Al-Baqarah: 81

  2. They indeed are losers who deny their meeting with Allah until, when the hour cometh on them suddenly, they cry: Alas for us, that we neglected it! They bear upon their backs their burdens. Ah, evil is that which they bear!––6: Al-An’am: 31

  3. And those who earn ill deeds (for them) requital of each ill deed by the like thereof; and ignominy overtaketh them – They have no protector from Allah – as if their faces had been covered with a cloak of darkest night. Such are rightful owners of the Fire; they will abide therein.––10: Yunus: 27

  4. Deem not that Allah is unaware of what the wicked do. He but giveth them a respite till a day when eyes will stare (in terror),––14: Ibrahim: 42

  5. Then evil was the consequence to those who dealt in evil because they denied the revelations of Allah and made a mock of them.––30: Ar-Rum: 10

  6. 6.Whoso doeth an ill-deed, he will be repaid the like thereof, while whoso doeth right, whether male or female, and is a believer, (all) such will enter the Garden, where they will be nourished without stint.––40: Al-Mu’min: 40

  7. The guerdon of an ill-deed is an ill the like thereof. But whosoever pardoneth and amendeth, his wage is the affair of Allah. Lo! He loveth not wrong-doers.––42: Ash-Shura: 40

  8. Or do those who commit ill-deeds suppose that we shall make them as those who believe and do good works, the same in life and death? Bad is their judgment! ––45: Al-Jathiyah: 21

In the following verses, al-Qur’an exhorts its followers to repel evil with good i.e. to do good to even those who have done bad to them.

  1. 1.Repel evil with that which is better. We are best Aware of that which they allege.––23: Al-Mu’minun: 96

  2. 2.These will be given their reward twice over, because they are steadfast and repel evil with good, and spend of that wherewith We have provided them.––28: Al-Qasas: 54

  3. 3.The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo! he, between whom and thee there was enmity (will become) as though he was a bosom friend. But none is granted it save those who are steadfast, and none is granted it save the owner of great happiness.––41: Ha Mim, As-Sajdah: 34-35

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

1-       An-Nawwas b. Sam’an told that he asked God’s messenger about righteousness and sin and he replied, “Righteousness is good character, and sin is that which revolves in your heart about which you do not want people to know.” (Muslim)

2-       Huzaifah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Don’t be silly by saying: If people do good, we will do good; and if they do wrong, we will do wrong; but accustom yourselves to do good if the people do good and not to do wrong if they do wrong. (Tirmizi)

3-       Hazrat Ali said that the following was inscribed on the sword of the Holy Prophet: pardon one who does harm to you; join him who cuts you off, do good to him who does evil to you, and speak the truth although it be against yourself. (Ihya)

4-       Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: There are seven whom Allah will give shade under His shade on the day on which there will be no shade except His shade; a just leader; a young man who strives hard in the worship of Allah; a man whose heart is attached to the mosque when he comes out of it till he returns to it; two men who love each other for Allah, they come together for Him and separate for Him; a man who remembers Allah sincerely and whose two eyes are filled up with tears; a man whom a young girl of accomplishment and beauty calls (for sexual intercourse) and who says: “Certainly I fear Allah,” and a man who gives away alms and then keeps it concealed till his left hand knows not what his right hand spends. (Bukhari, Muslim)

5-       Jarir reported the Prophet as saying, He who is deprived of gentleness is deprived of good. (Muslim)

6-       Asma daughter of ‘Umais told that she heard God’s messenger say, “He is a bad servant who is proud and puts on airs and forgets the Most Great and Sublime One. He is a bad servant who is overbearing and overweening and forgets the Overpowering and Most High One. He is a bad servant who is neglectful and careless and forgets the graves and corruption. He is a bad servant who is corrupt and excessively dis-obedient and forgets the beginning and the end. He is a bad servant who uses religion for worldly ends. He is a bad servant who deceptively casts doubts on the religion. He is a bad servant who is led by greed. He is a bad servant who is misled by passion. He is a bad servant who is debased by worldly desire.” (Tirmidhi and Baihaqi)

7-       Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: There are three virtues for salvation and three vices for destruction. As for the virtues of salvation, they are the fear of Allah in secret and in public and speaking truth in pleasure and in anger, and moderation in wealth and in poverty. As for the destroying vices, they are the passion which is followed, niggardliness which is obeyed, and self conceit which is the worst of them. (Baihaqi)

8-       Abu Zarr reported: I went to the Messenger of Allah. He delivered a very long sermon. I said: O Messenger of Allah! Advise me, He said: I advise you to fear Allah as it is the best adornment for your whole affairs. I enquired: Advise me more. He said: You shall recite the Qur’an and remember the Most Glorious and Almighty Allah, because it is a means of your being mentioned in heaven, and a light for you in this world. I said: advise me more. He said: You should take to long silence, because it is a means of driving away the devil and a help to you in the affairs of your religion. I said: advise me more. He said: Be careful of excessive laughter, because it makes the heart dead and takes away the brightness of face. I asked: Advise me more. He said: Speak the truth though it is bitter. I said: Advise me more. He said: Don’t fear the slander of a slanderer for (cause of) Allah. He said: Let what you of yourself know guard you from (backbiting) men. (Baihaqi)

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II – Truth and Falsehood

Truth and falsehood are being taken as English equivalents of Arabic words ‘Haq’ and ‘Batil’. Truth is what is just, morally good, ethically right and conforms to fact, reason, or some standard or principle. Truth is in judgment, opinion, or action. Actuality, veracity; spiritual or philosophical verity, accuracy, exactness, equity, fairness, righteousness, genuineness, legitimacy are some of the words which describe some shades of meanings of truth. False is untrue; lie, incorrect, unjust, unfair act, opinion or judgment. It is wrong, not according to rule, wish, design or the like. Falsehood is the act of lying; something that is untrue, want of truth or veracity, not right according to moral law.

Truth and falsehood, like good and evil, are basic human values which cannot be defined so easily. Islam, therefore, elaborates the concepts of truth and falsehood without defining the same in words. Truth is light while falsehood is darkness, and as darkness vanishes when the light comes, the falsehood disappears when the truth comes. Falsehood, according to Islam is a great sin while truthfulness is a great virtue. Hence Islam enjoins upon its followers to shun falsehood and be truthful. Truth is to be rewarded while falsehood is to be punished. Truth breathes in six things i.e. in words, in motives, in intentious, in determination, in obedience, in action, and in religions duties. Truthful is he who is true is all these things.

Now let us reproduce some relevant Verses of the Holy Qur’an and Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to highlight Islamic view point on truth and falsehood or right and wrong.

Verses of the Holy Qur’an:

  1. Confound not truth with falsehood, nor knowingly conceal the truth.––2: Al – Baqarah: 42

  2. O People of the scripture! Why confound ye truth with falsehood and knowingly conceal the truth?––3: Al-Imran: 71

  3. And Say: Truth hath come and falsehood hath vanished away. Lo! falsehood is ever bound to vanish.––17: Bani Israil: 81

  4. Nay, but we hurl the true against the false, and it doth break its head and lo! it vanisheth. And yours will be woe for that which ye ascribe (unto him).––21: Al-Anbiya: 18

  5. That is because Allah, He is the True, and that whereon they call instead of Him, it is the False, and because Allah, He is the High, the Great.––22:Al-Hajj: 62

  6. Say: Lo! My Lord hurleth the truth. (He is) the knower of Things Hidden. Say: The Truth hath come, and falsehood showeth not its face and will not return.––34: Saba: 48-49

  7. Whoso doeth right it is for his soul, and whoso doeth wrong it is against it. And thy Lord is not at all a tyrant to His slaves.
    ––41: Ha Mim As-Sajdah: 46

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

  1. Abu Bakarah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Shall I not inform you about the greatest of great sins? Behold! Setting up a partner with Allah, disobedience to parents and false talk.
     (Bukhari, Muslim)

  2. Hassan-bin-Ali reported: I remembered from the Messenger of Allah: Give up what appears doubtful to you for what does not appear doubtful to you: and truth is peace of mind, and false-hood is doubt. (Ahmad, Tirmizi, Nisai)

  3. Babaj-bin-Hakim reported from his father from his grand father that the Messenger of Allah said: Woe to him who holds talk and talks falsehood to make people laugh thereby. Woe to him.
     (Ahmad, Tirmizi, Abu Daud, Darimi)

  4. Obadah-bin-Swamet reported that the Holy Prophet said: If you guarantee me six things from yourselves, I shall then guarantee you paradise. Speak the truth when you talk, fulfill trust when you are entrusted, guard your private parts, shut up your eyesight and withhold your hands. (Baihaqi)

  5. Abdullah-bin-Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah was asked: Who among men is the best? He replied: Everyone, pure of heart, truthful of tongue. They enquired: “Truthful of tongue” – we know it but what is ‘pure of heart’? He said: He is pure and pious upon whom there is neither sin, nor transgression, nor deceit, nor malice. (Ibn Majah)

  6. Malek reported: It has reached me that Loqman the wise was asked: How have you acquired what we see meaning excellence? He replied: Truth in talk, fulfillment of trust and giving up of what is of no use to me. (Muatta)

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III – Reward and Punishment

To keep its followers on the right track and to make them do good deeds and abstain from evil, Islam, like other religions and systems, follows policy of reward and punishment. Those who believe, perform righteous actions, worship Allah only, act upon religious injunctions and do good to others are promised high rewards and Paradise. But those who do not believe, do evil deeds, ridicule religious injunctions and violate rights of their fellow beings are threatened with painful doom and Hell.

Following are the Verses of the Qur’an and Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which highlight Islam’s policy of reward and punishment (stick and carrot):

Verses of the Qur’an:

In the following verses, policy of rewards to the doers of good deeds and believers has been illustrated:

  1. And those who believe and do good works: such are rightfull owners of the Garden. They will abide therein.
    ––2: Al-Baqarah : 82

  2. If ye believe and ward off (evil), yours will be vast reward.
    ––3: Al-Imran: 179

  3. And whoso doeth good works, whether of male or female, and he (or she) is a believer, such will enter paradise and they will not be wronged the dint in a date-stone.––4: An-Nisa: 124

  4. Then, as for those who believed and did good works, unto them will He pay their wages in full, adding unto them of His bounty; and as for those who were scornful and proud, them will He punish with a painful doom……––4: An-Nisa: 173

  5. Whosoever doeth right, whether male or female, and is believer, him verily We shall quicken with good life, and We shall pay them a recompense in proportion to the best of what they used to do.––16: An-Nahl: 97

  6. Say: Is that (doom) better or the Garden of Immortality which is promised unto those who ward off (evil)? It will be their reward and journey’s end. Therein abiding, they have all that they desire. It is for thy Lord a promise that must be fulfilled.
    ––25: A1-Furqan: 15-16

  7. Whoso bringeth a good deed, he will have better than the same; while as for him who bringeth an ill deed, those who do ill deeds will be requited only what they did.
    ––28: Al-Qasas: 84

  8. And as for those who believe and do good works, we shall remit from them their evil deeds and shall repay them the best that they did.––29: Al-Ankabut: 7

  9. Those who believe and do good works, them verily We shall house in lofty dwellings of the Garden underneath which rivers flow. There they will dwell secure. How sweet the guerdon of the toilers.––29: Al-Ankabut: 58

  10. And it is not your wealth nor your children that will bring you near unto Us, but he who believeth and doeth good (he draweth near). As for such, theirs will be twofold reward for what they did, and they will dwell secure in lofty halls.
    ––34: Saba: 37

  11. Say 0 My bondmen who believe! Observe your duty to your Lord. For those who do good in this world there is good, and Allah’s earth is spacious. Verily the steadfast will be paid their wages without stint.––39: Aa-Zumar: 10

  12. Is the reward of goodness aught save goodness?
     (55: Ar-Rahman:60)

In the following verses, the revealed book of Islam explains its policy of punishment to those who do not believe and who perform evil deeds.

  1. Nay, but whosoever hath done evil and his sin surroundeth ­him; such are rightful owners of the Fire; they will abide therein.––2: Al-Baqarah: 81

  2. It will not be in accordance with your desires, nor the desires of the People of the Scripture. He who doeth wrong will have the recompense thereof, and will not find against Allah any protecting friend or helper.––4: An-Nisa: 123

  3. For those who disbelieve and debar (men) from the way of Allah, we add doom to doom because they wrought corruption.––16:An-Nahl: 88

  4. Whoso bringeth a good deed, he will have better than the same; while as for him who bringeth an ill deed, those who do ill deeds will be requited only what they did.
    ––28: Al-Qasas: 84

  5. And as for those who strive against our revelations, challenging, they will be brought to the doom.––34: Saba: 38

Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

  1. Abu Huraira reported God’s messenger as saying, “Do you know the thing which most commonly brings people into paradise? It is fear of God and good character. Do you know what most commonly brings people into hell? It is the two hollow things: the mouth and the private parts.”
     (Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

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IV – Halal and Haram

Islamic conception of Halal and Haram governs all the economic activities of man especially in the field of production of wealth and consumption of wealth as well as consumption of food items. Certain means of earning livelihood and wealth have been declared unlawful such as interest, bribery, gambling and games of chance, speculation, short weighing and short measuring, business malpractices, etc. Unlawful means of earning are strictly forbidden and a follower of Islam is permitted to earn through lawful and fair means. Similarly in the field of consumption certain items of food are unlawful such as dead animals, blood, swineflesh and animals slaughtered in the name of other than that of Allah. Even expenses on certain items such as drinks, narcotics, debauchery, prostitution, pornography, things that promote obscenity and vulgarity, lotteries and gambling are strictly inadmissible.

Principle of necessity however makes temporarily an unlawful thing lawful. But this principle can be applied only where there is real necessity and not merely an excuse. For example if someone is dying of hunger and he has nothing to save his life except a dead animal or swine-flesh to eat, then he can take it. Similarly a sick person can take alcohol or wine provided a doctor certifies that he would die if he is not instantly given that. According to the Qur’an, following two conditions should be kept in view while making use of a forbidden thing, namely:

 (a)     That such a thing should not be taken with a view to rebel against Allah or to break the law of Allah and

 (b)     That such a thing should be taken only in a minimum possible quantity just with a view to save life.

Now let us glance through relevant verses of the Qur’an and Ahadith of Muhammad (PBUH), the Prophet of Islam, to highlight in brief the concept of ‘halal’ and ‘haram’.

Verses of the Qur’an:

  1. O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and wholesome in the earth, and follow not the footsteps of the devil. Lo! he is an open enemy for you.––2: 168

  2. O ye who believe! Eat of the good things wherewith we have provided you, and render thanks to Allah if it is (indeed) He whom ye worship. He hath forbidden you only carrion, and blood, and swine flesh, and that which hath been immolated to (the name of) any other than Allah. But he who is driven by necessity, neither craving nor transgressing, it is no sin for him. Lo! Allah is Forgiving. Merciful.––2=172-173

  3. And eat not up your property among yourselves in vanity, nor seek by it to gain the hearing of the judges that ye may knowingly devour a portion of the property of others wrongfully.––2: 188

  4. This day are (all) good things made lawful for you. The food of those who have received the scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. And so are the virtuous women of the believers and the virtuous women of those who received the Scripture before you (lawful for you) when ye give them their marriage portions and live with them in honour, not in fornication, nor taking them as secret concubines. Whoso denieth the faith, his work is in vain and he will be among the losers in the hereafter.––5: 5

  5. O ye who believe! Forbid not the good things which Allah hath made lawful for you, and transgress not, Lo! Allah loveth not transgressors. Eat of that which Allah hath bestowed on you as food lawful and good, and keep your duty to Allah in whom ye are believers.––5: 87-88

  6. O ye who believe! Strong drinks and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s Handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed. Satan Seeketh only to cast among you enmity and hatred by means of strong drink and games of chance, and to turn you from remembrance of Allah and from (His) worship. Will ye then have done?––5: 90-91

  7. To hunt and to catch the fish of the sea is made lawful for you, a provision for you and for seafarers; but to hunt on land is forbidden you so long as ye are on the pilgrimage. Be mindful of your duty to Allah, unto Whom ye will be gathered.––5:96

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

  1. Abu Huraira reported that the messenger of Allah said: Verily Allah is pure. He does not accept but what is pure…. Then he mentioned about a man disheveled in hair and laden with dust, making his journey long and extending his hands towards heaven: O lord! O lord! While his food was unlawful, his drink unlawful, his dress unlawful and he was nourished with unlawful things. How he can be responded for that?
     (Muslim)

  2. Abu Masud Al Ansari reported that the messenger of Allah forbade the price of dogs, earnings of prostitute and foretelling of a soothsayer. (Bukhari, Muslim)

  3. Jabir reported that the messenger of Allah cursed the devourer of usury, its payer, its scribe, and its two witnesses. And he said that they are equal (in sins). (Muslim)

  4. Abdullah-bin-Amr reported that the messenger of Allah cursed the bribe taker and the bribe giver. (Abu Daud)

  5. Jabir reported that the messenger of Allah …… forbade the sale of wine, dead animals, pigs and idols ……
     (Bukhari, Muslim)

  6. Abdullah-bin-Amr reported that the messenger of Allah prohibited intoxicants, games of chance, card-playing and Gobairah and he said: Every intoxicant is unlawful: (Abu Daud)

  7. Jaber reported that the messenger of Allah made unlawful (that is) on the day of Khaiber the domestic asses, meat of mules, every beast of prey having a fang and every bird having a talon. (Tirmizi (Rare))

  8. Khalid-bin-Walid reported that the Messenger of Allah prohibited the eating of the meat of horses, mules and asses.
     (Abu Daud, Nisai)

  9. Jaber reported that the Messenger of Allah said: There is no animal in sea which Allah has not but made pure for the children of Adam. (Darqutni)

  10. Ibn Omar reported that the Messenger of Allah prohibited the eating of filthy animals and their milk. (Tirmizi)

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V – Islamic Brotherhood and Unity

Islam believes and also stands for universal brotherhood of all Muslims all over the world. It also preaches unity among Muslims and wants to see them as they were a solid structure. Al-Qur’an, the revealed book of Islam, calls upon the believers, “And hold fast, all of you together, to the cable of Allah, and do not separate.” It also enjoins upon them. “And obey Allah and His messenger and dispute not with one another lest you falter and your  strength depart from you…” It tells the believers that they are naught else than brothers. Therefore they must make peace when there is some dispute between two brothers or two groups of brothers. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: A Muslim is brother to a Muslim. He does neither wrong to him, nor puts him to disgrace, nor he hates him. Every Muslim’s blood, property and honour are sacred to a Muslim. Spread peace among you, eat together and be not separate, because blessing is with united body.

Following are verses of the Qur’an and Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on unity and brotherhood of Muslims which are self-explanatory and need no comments:

Verses of the Qur’an

  1. And hold fast, all of you together, to the cable of Allah, and do not separate. And remember Allah’s favour un you how ye were enemies and he made friendship between your hearts so that ye became as brothers by His grace; and (how) ye were upon the brink of an abyss of fire, and He did save you from it. Thus Allah maketh clear His revelations unto you, that haply ye may be guided,––3: Al-Imran: 103

  2. And obey Allah and His messenger, and dispute not one with another lest ye falter and your strength depart from you; but be steadfast! Lo! Allah is with the steadfast––8:Al-Anfal: 46

  3. Lo! those who believed and left their homes and strove with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah and those who took them in and helped them: these are protecting friends one of another. And those who believed but did not leave their homes, ye have no duty to protect them till they leave their homes; but if they seek help from you in the matter of religion then it is your duty to help (them) except against a folk between whom and you there is a treaty. Allah is Seer of what ye do. And those who disbelieve are protectors one of another – if ye do not so, there will be confusion in the land, and great corruption. Those who believed and left their homes and strove for the cause of Allah, and those who took them in and helped them – these are the believers in truth. For them is pardon, and a bountiful provision. And those who afterwards believed and left their homes and strove along with you, they are of you; and those who are a kin are nearer one to another in the ordinance of Allah. Lo! Allah is knower of all things.
    ––8: Al-Anfal: 72-73

  4. He hath ordained for you that religion which he commended unto Noah, and that which We inspire in thee (Muhammad), and that which We commended unto Abraham and Moses and Jesus, saying: Establish the religion, and be not divided therein. Dreadful for the idolaters is that unto which thou callest them. Allah chooseth for Himself whom He will, and guideth unto Himself him who turneth (toward Him).
    ––42: Ash-Shura: 13

  5. The believers are naught else than brothers. Therefore, make peace between your brethren and observe your duty to Allah that haply ye may obtain mercy.––49: Al-Hujurat: 10

  6. Lo! Allah loveth those who battle for His cause in ranks, as if they were a solid structure.––61: As-Saff:4

Ahadith of Muhammad (PBUH):

  1. Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: A Muslim is brother to a Muslim. He does neither wrong to him, nor puts him to disgrace, nor he hates him. Piety is here (and he was hinting out to his breast three times). Despising his brother Muslim is enough evil for a man. Every Muslim’s blood, property and honour are sacred to a Muslim. (Muslim)

  2. Osamah-b-Sharik reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Whoso comes out to make division among my followers, smite his neck. (Nisai)

  3. Omar-b-al-Khattab reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Eat together and be not separate, because blessing is only with the united body. (Ibn Majah)

  4. Ibn Omar reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Allah will not gather together my followers (or He said: the followers of Muhammad) over misguidance, and the hand of Allah is upon the united body; and whoso become separate, will be separated in Hell. (Tirmizi)

  5. Abu Zarr reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Whoso departs from the united body even a hand’s breadth has indeed staken off the rope of Islam from his neck.
     (Ahmed, Abu Daud)

  6. Nu’man-b-Bashir reported that the Messenger of Allah said: you will see the believers in their mutual kindness, love and sympathy just like one body. When a limb complains, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever.
     (Bukhari and Muslim)

  7. Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Help your brother whether he is a wrong doer or is wronged. A man enquired: O Messenger of Allah! 1 may help him when he is wronged, but how can I help him when he is a wrong-doer? He said: You can prevent him from wrong-doing. That will be your help to him. (Bukhari and Muslim)

  8. Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: The rights of a Muslim upon a Muslim are six. It was questioned: What are those O Messenger or Allah? He replied: when you meet him, salute him; and when he calls you, respond to him; and when he seeks advise, give him advice; and when he sneezes and praises Allah, respond to him; and when he falls ill, visit him; and when he dies, follow him. (Muslim)

  9. Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah said: you shall not enter Paradise till you believe; and you will not believe till you love one another. Shall I not guide you to a thing? When you will do it, you will love one another. Spread peace among you. (Muslim)

  10. Abu Hurairah repoted that the Messenger of Allah said: It is not lawful for a Muslim to forsake his brother beyond three (days). So whoso forsakes beyond three (days) and then dies shall enter the Fire. (Ahmad, Abu Daud)

  11. Abul Kherash as-Solaml reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah say: Whoever forsakes his brother for a year is like one who sheds his blood. (Abu Daud)

  12. Sayeed-b-Zaid reported from the Holy Prophet who said: The most compound of usury is prolonging (tongue of evil) unjustly in respect of the honour of a Muslim. (Abu Daud)

  13. Waselah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Be not happy over (the sorrow of) your brother, lest Allah shows mercy to the latter and tries you. (Tirmizi (approved Rare)

  14. Ibn Omar reported that the Messenger of Allah said: A Muslim is brother to a Muslim. Neither he wrongs him, nor hands him over (to another). And whoso comes in need of his brother, Allah comes to his need; and whoso removes a calamity of a Muslim, Allah will remove a calamity from the calamities of the Resurrection Day, and whoso conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his sins on the Resurrection Day.
     (Bukhari, Muslim)

  15. Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah said: The duties of a Muslim towards another Muslim are five: to return greeting, to visit the sick, to follow the bier of a dead man, to accept invitation, and to respond to one who sneezes.
     (Bukhari, Muslim)

  16. Abu Sayeed reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Whoso Muslim clothes a naked Muslim, Allah will clothe him with green robes of Paradise; and whoso Muslim feeds a hungry Muslim, Allah will feed him from the fruits of Paradise; and whoso Muslim gives drink to a thirsty Muslim, Allah will give him drink from the closed-up Fountain. (Abu Daud, Tirmizi)

  17. Abu Musa al-Ash’ari reported the Prophet as saying, “Believers are to one another like a building whose parts support one another.” He then interlaced his fingers. (Bukhari and Muslim)

  18. Abu Huraira reported God’s messenger as saying, “Avoid suspicion, for suspicion is the most lying form of talk. Do not be inquisitive about one another, or spy on one another; do not bid against one another to raise the price; do not envy one another; do not hate one another; and do not speak evil of one another behind your backs; but be servants of God and brethren.” A version has, “Do not quarrel with one another.”
     (Bukhari and Muslim)

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VI – Friendship

Friendship is a valuable treasure and a good friend is a boon companion. A good friend is one who shares your misfortunes and sorrows and feels joy with you in your happiness. He conceals your secrets and faults, helps you in your good works and saves you from indulging in evil and impious acts. However selection of friends is not an easy task. Before choosing friends, one must look at the nature, habits, virtues and vices of the concerned persons and the families from which they hail.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is reported to have said: man is upon the religion of his friend and there is no good in friendship with one who does not see for you what he sees for himself. The Almighty Allah has prohibited friendship with the unbelievers, idol worshipers, polytheists, evil-doers such as drunkards, corrupt and wicked. The companionship with hypocrites and those non-Muslims who are working against Islam and against the interest of Muslims has also been prohibited. According to a saying, the liars, the illiterate, the foolish, the niggardly and the great transgressors should not be made friends, nor the proud, the flatterers, and the wicked be made friends.

Let us look at the verses of the Qur’an and Ahadith of the Prophet of Islam how do they guide us on this important subject:

Verses of the Qur’an:

  1. Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Whoso doeth that hath no connection with Allah unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, taking (as it were) security. Allah biddeth you beware (only) of Himself. Unto Allah is the journeying.
    ––3: Al-Imran: 28

  2. O ye who believe! Take not for intimates others than your own folk, who would spare no pains to ruin you; they love to hamper you. Haterd is revealed by (the utterance of) their mouths, but that which their breasts hide is greater. We have made plain for you the revelations if ye will understand.
    ––3: Al-Imran: 118

  3. O ye who believe! Choose not disbelievers for (your) friends in place of believers. Would ye give Allah a clear warrant against you?––4: An-Nisa: 144

  4. Your friend can be only Allah; and His messenger and those who believe, who establish worship and pay the poor-due, and bow down (in prayer). And whoso taketh Allah and His messenger and those who believe for friends (will know that), lo! the party of Allah they are the victorious.
    ––5: Al-Ma’idah: 55-56

  5. And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends one of another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay the poor-cue, and they obey Allah and His messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise.––9: Al-Taubah: 71

  6. Thou wilt not find folk who believe in Allah and the last day loving those who oppose Allah and His messenger, even though they be their fathers or their sons or their brethren or their clan. …… (58: Al-Mujadilah: 22)

  7. O ye who believe! Choose not my enemy and your enemy for friends. Do ye give them friendship when they disbelieve in that truth which hath come unto you ……
     (60: Al-Mumtahannah: 1)

Ahadith of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

  1. Abu Huraira reported God’s messenger as saying, “A man follows his friend’s religion, so each one should consider whom he makes his friend.” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud)

  2. Yazid b. Na’ama reported God’s messenger as saying, “When a man makes another his brother he should ask him his name, his father’s name and the stock from which he comes, for it binds friendship more closely.” (Tirmidhi)

  3. Imran-b-Khettan reported: I came to Abu Zarr and found him alone within the mosque covered with a black garment. Then I enquired: O Abu Zarr! Why is this loneliness? He said: I heard the Messenger of Allah say: Loneliness is better than a bad companion, and a good companion is better than loneliness; and the dictation of good is better than silence, and silence is better than dictation of evil. (Baihaqi)

  4. Abu Musa reported that the Messenger of Allah said; A good and a bad companion were like the bearer of musk and one who pumps out filth. As for the bearer of musk, he will either give you a share or you will get perfumed air from him; or you will purchase something from him, and for one who pumps out filth, he will either burn your clothes or you will feel filthy smell from him. (Bukhari and Muslim)

  5. Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah said: A man is upon the religion of his friend, and there is no good in friendship with one who does not see for you what he sees for himself.
     (Ibn Adi)

  6. Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Make good neighbourly connection with one who makes you neighbour, you will then be a (true) Muslim; and keep good company with one who keeps company with you, you will then be a (true) believer. (Tirmizi, Ibn Majah)

  7. Mu’dh b. Jabal told of hearing God’s messenger say that God most high has said, “My love is due to those who love one another for my sake, who sit together for my sake, who visit one another for my sake, who bestow things on one another for my sake.” (Malik)

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VII – Concept of Equality

  1. Islamic concept of equality is very peculiar. Islam treats all the people equal as human beings. Similarly all people are equal before Islamic law. However in the moral and religious fields, Islam discriminates on the basis of good conduct of the people. Similarly in economic field Islam recognizes disparities as natural but ensures equity and social justice.

  2. In an Islamic society all are equal as human beings. None is superior to the other on account of race, language, colour, place of birth or tribe. This is because all human beings come of the same human stock and are children of one parents. The Qur’an says:

“O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bare you). Lo! Allah hath been a Watcher over you.”
––4: An-Nisa: 1

Division of human beings into tribes and nations was ordained by the creator for the purpose of recognition otherwise nobody is superior to the other except on basis of piety. In one of its well known verses the revealed book of Islam states this fact: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you… (49 : 13)”. Thus this verses places all the human beings on the equal level and makes the pious and righteous superior to the wicked and evil doers on the basis of virtuous conduct.

  1. In the legal field also, Islam treats all the people equal. In the sight of law, all the citizens of the state are equal. They enjoy equal rights and in case of violation of law they are given equal punishment. In case of retaliation, murder, theft, adultery all are given equal treatment in respect of punishment. Similarly in civil matters and in case of rewards for actions, all are equal. The Qur’an says:

i) O ye who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered; the freeman for the freeman, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. And for him who is forgiven somewhat by his (injured) brother, prosecution according to usage and payment unto him in kindness. This is an alleviation and mercy from your Lord. He who transgresseth after this will have a painful doom.
––2: Al-Baqarah: 178

ii) As for the thief, both male and female, cut off their hands. It is the reward of their own deeds, an exemplary punishment from Allah. Allah is Mighty, Wise.
––5: Al-Maidah: 38

iii) Whosoever doeth right, whether male or female, and is a believer, him verily we shall quicken with good life, and We shall pay them a recompense in proportion to the best of what they used to do.––16: An-Nahl: 97

iv) The adulterer and the adulteress, scourge ye each one of them (with) a hundred stripes. And let not pity for the twain withhold you from obedience to Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of believers witness their punishment.––24: An-Nur: 2

  1. However in the moral and religious field, Islam makes distinction between the people and gives superiority to those who are good, pious, God fearing, observer of all religious practices, bearers of good moral character over impious, evil doers, bad characters, persons of loose morals, disbelievers and non-practicing believers.

There are many verses in the Holy Qur’an which differentiate between good and bad, between pious and wicked, and between seer and blind. Some of these verses are:

  1. Say: The evil and the good are not alike even though the plenty of the evil attract thee. So be mindful of your duty to Allah, O men of understanding, that ye may succeed.
    ––5: Al-Maidah: 100

  2. Is he who is a believer like unto him who is an evil-liver? They are not alike.––32: As-Sajdah: 18

  3. The blind man is not equal with the seer;
    Nor is darkness (tantamount to) light;
    Nor is the shadow equal with the sun’s full heat;
    Nor are the living equal with the dead. Lo! Allah maketh whom He will to hear. Thou canst not reach those who are in the graves.––35: Al-Fatir: 19-22

  4. Is he who payeth adoration in the watches of the night, prostrate and standing, bewaring of the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his Lord, (to be accounted equal with a disbeliever)? Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Are those who know equal with those who know not? But only men of understanding will pay heed.
    ––39: Az-Zumar: 9

  5. And the blind man and the seer are not equal, neither are those who believer and do good works (equal with) the evil-doer. Little do ye reflect!––40: Al-Mu’min: 58

  6. Or do those who commit ill-deed suppose that We shall make them as those who believe and do good works, the same in life and death? Bad is their judgement!
    45: Al-Jathiyah: 21

  7. O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.
    ––49: Al-Hujurat: 13

In his famous sermon delievered on the occasion of farewell pilgrimage, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) addressed the people as under: “O people, be aware: your God is one. No Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab, and non-Arab any superiority over an Arab, and no white one has any superiority over a black one, and no black one any superiority over a white one, except on the basis of taqva (piety). The most honourable among you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most pious and righteous of you”. Again, according to another tradition, the Prophet said: “You are all the children of Adam, and Adam was created from the dust. Let the people give up boasting of their ancestors, otherwise they will stand more degraded than a mean insect in the sight of Allah”. There is another Hadith; “Allah does not see your outward appearances and your possessions but He sees your hearts and your deeds.”

  1. In the economic field, Islam establishes equity, fairness and justice in the production of wealth, and in ownership of means of livelihood. However it recognises that like other natural things there is no equality among human beings as regards the economic means and possession of worldly wealth. This inequality has been presented by the Qur’an as a part of Divine Economic order. The Qur’an does not consider these inequalities in the distribution of Divine sustenance as punishment or reward and does not try to eliminate them, because no two individuals have been blessed with hundred percent equal mental and physical abilities.

Taking the existence of inequalities as a part of divine scheme, the Qur’an advises its followers not to covet those things in which Allah has made some of them excels others. By exalting some of you over others in rank or by favouring some of you over others in provisions, God in fact tries and tests the human beings whether they are thankful to Him in good circumstances and patient in bad circumstances.

The Qur’an highlights these inequalities in its following verses:

  1. And covet not the thing in which Allah hath made some of you exceed others. Unto men a fortune from that which they have earned, and unto women a fortune from that which they have earned………––4: 32

  2. He it is Who hath placed you as viceroys of the earth and hath exalted some of you in rank above others. That He may try you by (the test of) that which He hath given you ………––6: 165

  3. And Allah hath favoured some of you above others in provision ………––16: 71

  4. Lo! thy Lord enlargeth the provision for whom He will, and straiteneth it (for whom He will) ………––17: 30

  5. Is it they who apportion their Lord’s mercy? We have apportioned among them their livelihood in the life of the world, and raised some of them above others in rank that some of them may take labour from others; and the mercy of thy Lord is better than (The wealth) that they amass.
    ––43: 32

However, Islam does not permit the difference in possession of wealth to assume such proportions that few lucky live in ease and luxury controlling major portion of community’s wealth while the vast majority of people possessing negligible share in community’s wealth lives a life of abject poverty, misery and hunger. According to Islam, difference in wealth must not exceed natural and reasonable limits, because if it happens the community invites wrath of God and meets its natural end of self-destruction. The Prophet of Islam has said: If anyone spent a night in a town and he remained hungry till morning, the promise of God’s protection for that town comes to an end. Islam, therefore, does not allow the difference between the rich and the poor reach an uncontrollable limits so as to disturb the peace of society. Although it does not believe in complete equality in possession of economic means, yet it perfectly stands for socio-economic justice. It believes in fair and equitable distribution of incomes and wealth and ensures the same through posive measures like Zakat and Sadaqat (charity and almsgiving) and through prohibitive measures like prohibition of interest, hoarding of wealth, unlawful means of earning and business malpractices.

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VIII – Enjoining good and forbidding wrong

The followers of Islam have been directed to enjoin good and forbid wrong. It is because of the fact that they are the last Ummah (Community) and their prophet, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), is the final prophet. No prophet is to come after Muhammad (PBUH) and so the mission of the prophets regarding enjoining good and forbidding wrong will have to be performed by the followers of Muhammad (PBUH). According to the Qur’an, the last revealed book of Allah, Muslims are the best community that has been raised by Allah for the mankind and it is their duty that they enjoin good conduct and forbid the mankind from doing wrong.

Following are the verses of the Qur’an and traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which throw light on this subject making the followers of Islam duty-bound to enjoin good and forbid wrong.

Verses of the Qur’an:

  1. And there may spring from you a nation who invite to goodness, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency. Such are they who are successful.––3: Al-Imran: 104

  2. Ye are the best community that hath been raised up for mankind. Ye enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency; and ye believe in Allah.––3: Al-Imran: 110

  3. And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends, one of another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay the poor-due, and they obey Allah and His messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise.
    ––9: At-Taubah: 71

  4. (Triumphant) are those who turn repentant (to Allah), those who serve (Him), those who praise (Him), those who fast, those who bow down, those who fall prostrate (in worship), those who enjoin the right and who forbid the wrong and those who keep the limits (ordained) of Allah – and give glad tidings to believers!––9: At-Taubah: 112

  5. Those who, if We give them power in the land, establish worship and pay the poor-due and enjoin kindness and forbid iniquity. And Allah’s is the sequel of events. (22: Al-Hajj: 41)

Ahadith of Muhammad (PBUH)

  1. Hudhaifa reported the Prophet as saying, “By Him in Whose hand my soul is, you must enjoin what is reputable and forbid what is disreputable, or God will certainly soon send punishment from Himself to you. Then you will make supplication and not receive an answer.” (Tirmidhi)

  2. Al-Urs b. Amira reported the Prophet as saying, “When sin is done in the earth he who sees it and disapproves of it will be like one who was not present, but he who is not present when it is done and approves of it will be like him who sees it.”
     (Abu Dawud)

  3. Abu Bakr as-Siddiq said: You people recite the verse, “You who believe, care for yourselves; he who goes astray cannot harm you when you are rightly guided.” I heard God’s messenger say, “When people see something objectionable and do not change it God will soon include them all in His punishment.” (Ibn Majah and Tirmidhi)

  4. Jarir b. Abdallah told that he heard God’s messenger say, “If any man is among a people in whose midst he does acts of disobedience, and though they are able to make him change his acts they do not do so, God will smite them with punishment before they die.” (Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah)

  5. Abi b. ‘Adi al-Kindi said: A client of ours told us he had heard my grandfather telling of hearing God’s messenger say, “God most high does not punish the the common people for what the upper classes do till they see what is objectionable being done publicly among them and do not forbid it though they are able to do so. When they act thus God will punish both the common people and the upper classes.” It is transmitted in Sharh as-sunna.

  6. Abdallah b. Mas’ud reported God’s messenger as saying, “When the Bani Isra’il fell into acts of disobedience their learned men forbade them, but they did not refrain. They then sat with them in their gatherings, ate with them and drank with them, and God mingled their hearts with one another and cursed them by the tongue of David and Jesus son of Mary. That was because they disobeyed and transgressed.” Then God’s messenger who had been reclining sat up and said, “No, by Him in whose hand my soul is, until you bend them into conformity with what is right.” Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud transmitted it. In Abu Dawud’s version he said, “By no means, I swear by God. You must enjoin what is reputable, prohibit what is disreputable, prevent the wrongdoer, bend him into conformity with what is right, and restrict him to what is right, or God will mingle your hearts together and curse you as He cursed them.”

  7. Anas reported God’s messenger as saying, “On the night when I was taken up to heaven I saw some men whose lips were being cut with scissors of fire and I asked Gabriel who these were.” He told me that they were preachers of my people who commanded others to act righteously but forgot to do so themselves.” It is transmitted in Sharh as-Sunna and by Bhaihaqi in Shu’ab al-Iman. In Baihaqi’s version Gabriel said, “Preachers of your people who say what they do not do and recite God’s Book, but do not act accordingly.”

  8. Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported God’s messenger as saying, “If any of you sees something objectionable he should change it with his hand, but if he cannot he should do it with his tongue, and if he cannot he should do it in his heart, that being the weakest form of faith.” Muslim transmitted it.

  9. Jabir reported God’s messenger as saying that God Who is great and glorious revealed to Gabriel that he should overthrow such and such a city with its inhabitants, and he said, “My Lord, among them is Thy servant so and so who has not disobeyed Thee by as much as the glance of an eye.” He replied, “Overturn it on him and on them, for his face never once showed anger on my behalf.”

  10. It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) said: The most excellent Jihad (striving in the way of Allah) is when one speaks a true word in the presence of a tyrannical ruler.
    (Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi)

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IX – Moderation and Balance

The best of affairs is their mean’ is the golden principle of Islam. Al-Qur’an, the revealed book of Islam, calls the followers of Islam a middle nation. The Muslim are middle nation between other two nations – The Jews and the Christians – who believe in revealed religions, because the Muslims avoid extreme and follow middle path.

Islam enjoins upon its believers to follow middle way and act upon the principle of moderation and balance. The two extremes of every thing and every action are bad according to Islam and the believers should, therefore, strike balance between the two. The Qur’an, the Holy scripture of Islam, and Muhammad (PBUH), the Prophet of Islam, have recommended the Muslims to follow policy of moderation and balance in every walk of life, for example:

  1. Islam condemns monasticism and materialism and exhorts its followers to adopt middle path between these two extreme ways of life. A monastic lays all the emphasis on moral and spiritual aspect of life and ignores completely material aspect. According to him, all economic activity is a sinful act and acquiring of wealth and comforts of worldly life is a sin. A materialist is on the other extreme. He lays the entire stress on the material aspect of life ignoring moral and spiritual aspects. He devotes all his time and energy to the attainment of material ends. He justifies every mean – right or wrong – to acquires wealth and comforts of life. The Qur’an disapproves the actions of those Christians who adopt monasticism and condemns the Jews who are very materialistic and greedy for wealth.

  2. The principle of moderation carries paramount importance especially in the economic field. This principle is followed by the true believers in the production of wealth, as well as in the consumption and spending of wealth. Although earning of wealth through permitted (Halal) means is allowed, yet the piety demands that a Muslim should not become mad after amassing wealth like a greedy materialist. He should exercise restraint and earn wealth to meet his lawful needs. Extra wealth, if at all is earned by him somehow, may be spent in the path of Allah on charity and relief of the poor. Similarly, in the consumption and spending of wealth, the believer is recommended to strike balance avoiding miserliness and extravagance. Miser is he who does not even provide for the legitimate needs of himself and his family let alone spending on chairtable and noble causes. Extravagant or spend thrift is a person who squanders his wealth in luxury, gambling, drinking, and on lavish expenditure, on festivities, weddings, day to day living. Islam condemns both miserliness and extravagance and enjoins upon a believer to exercise moderation. The Qur’an appreciates those who exercise moderation in spending when it says: “And those who when they spend, are neither prodigal nor grudging; and there is ever a firm station between the two:” (25: 67)

  3. Islam advises moderation in the performance of religious acts also. One must not be hard on himself in the matters of worship like prayer, fasting, etc. Once the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) learnt that some companions had taken a vow to fast during the day, pass the night in worship, abstain from meat and fat and renounce intercourse with women. Thereupon he (peace be on him) delivered a sermon in the course of which he observed: “This is not my creed. Your body has rights over you. You should fast, but eat and drink also. Pray at night, but sleep also. Look at me. I sleep and I pray also. I both keep and omit fasts. I eat both meat and fat. So whoso does not subscribe to my way, he is not of mine.’

He (peace be on him) then said, “What has happened to people that they have renounced women, good food, perfume, sleep and worldly pleasure? I have never taught you to be a monk or a priest. In my Deen (Creed) there is no provision for renunciation of women or meat nor for abandoning the world. For self-control, I enjoin fast. All the advantages of asceticism can be had from the jihad of Islam.

  1. Even in matters of everyday life, Islam calls upon its follows to avoid extremes and follow principle of balance. In matter of food one should neither take too much nor too less; rather one should eat and drink, just according to his bodily needs to keep himself hale and hearty. In matter of speaking, one should neither speak too loudly nor too low to be heard. Loud voice has been likened by the Qur’an to that of an ass. In the matter of walking, one should show humility and avoid pride. In matter of charity, one should be neither extravagant so as to squander all wealth nor one should be miserly so as to hoard wealth out of channel of circulation. In matter of clothes one must spend according to means.

Let us now glance through the Verses of al-Qur’an and Traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which exhort the believers to adopt principle of moderation and balance in every activity.

Verses of the Qur’an:

  1. Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that ye may be witnesses against mankind, and that the messenger may be a witness against you…––2: 143

  2. O ye, who believe! Forbid not the good things, which Allah hath made lawful for you, and transgress not. Lo, Allah loveth not transgressors.5: 87

  3. O Children of Adam! Look to your adornment and every place of worship and eat and drink, but be not prodigal. Lo! He loveth not the prodigals.––7: 31

  4. And let not thy hand be chained to thy neck nor open it with a complete opening, lest thou sit down rebuked, denuded.
    ––
    17: 29

  5. .…… And thou (Muhammad) be not loud voiced in thy worship not yet silent therein, but follow a way between.
    ––17: 110

  6. And those who, when they spend, are neither prodigal nor gruding; and there is ever a firm station between the two;
    ––25: 67

  7. Be modest in thy bearing and subdue thy voice Lo! The harshest of all voices the voice of the ass.––31: 19

  8. Then We caused our messengers to follow in their footsteps, and We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow, and gave him the Gospel, and placed compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who followed him. But monasticism they invented. We ordained it not for them – only seeking Allah’s pleasure, and they observed it not with right observance. So We give those of them who believe their rewards, but many of them are evil – livers.––57: 27

  9. Let the man of means spend according to his means; and the man whose resources are straitened, let him spend according to what God has given him.––65: 7

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

  1. Good manners, delay and moderation form a part out of twenty-four parts of Prophethood. (Mishkat-ul-Masabih)

  2. Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Moderation in expenditure is half of livelihood, and love for people is half of wisdom, and good questioning is half of learning. (Bukhari)

  3. Matref-b-Abdullah reported that the messenger of Allah said: The best of affairs is their mean. (Baihaqi)

  4. Abdullah-bin-Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah said: When four things are in you, there is nothing against you in the world which may cause your loss; guarding of trust, truthfulness in speech, beauty in conduct, and moderation in food. (Ahmad, Baihaqi)

  5. Anas reported that three persons came to the wives of the Holy Prophet to enquire about act of piety of the Prophet, When they were informed of them, they considered them little as it were and said: Where are we in comparison with the Holy Prophet while Allah has forgiven his past sins and what will be in future. One of them said: As for me, I pray all night long. And another man said: I fast all the day long and donot break. And another said: I keep aloof from women and shall never marry. Then the Holy Prophet came to them and said: Are you the persons saying such and such things? Behold! By Allah, I fear Allah more than your selves and I am most dutiful among you to Him, but still I keep fast and break it, and keep up prayer and keep awake at night and take wives, So whoever turns away from my way is not of me.
     (Bukhari, Mulim)

  6. Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah used to say: Don’t subject yourselves to excessive hardship lest Allah inflicts hardship on you. Surely there was a people out of the children of Israil who put rigours on themselves, and consequently Allah also was severe on them. Those are their reminiscences in the synagogues and churches.

And monkery-they invented it, We did not ordain it for them; (5: 87Q). (Abu Daud)

  1. Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: When one of you leads the prayer for men, let him be short, because among them there are the sick the weak and the old; and when one of you says prayer for himself, let him prolong it as he pleases. (Bukhari and Muslim).

  2. Ayesha reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Act what you can, because Allah inflicts no trouble till you inflict.
     (Bukhari, Muslim)

  3. Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Let one of you say prayer cheerfully: and when he becomes tired, let him sit down. (Bukhari, Muslim)

  4. Imran-b-Hussain reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Pray standing, if you are unable then sitting, if you are unable then upon a side. (Bukhari)

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X – Concept of Success

Islam’s concept of success and Islam’s criterion to judge who is successful is different and innovative from the ordinary one. The normal and ordinary standard treats a person successful who is more wealthy, who is more powerful, who has more people under his command, who has more lands under his possession, who lives in a big house, who moves in a big car, who has more sons, who has a bigger tribe, or who is leading a life of luxury, ease, prosperity and plenty in comparison to other persons. But Islam does not treat such people as successful. According to Islam, successful is he who believes in Allah, in Muhammad (PBUH), and in other Prophets, in the Qur’an and Allah’s other revealed books, in the Day of Judgement and Hereafter, and who establishes worship of One God, who spends in the way of God, who performs all the practices, rituals and acts prescribed by Islam, who fears Allah and wards off evil, who is pious and does noble deeds, who refrains from prohibited things (haram), who fulfills all his duties toward Allah and towards human beings, who enjoins good and forbids wrong, and above all who leads life in accordance with tenets of Islam and attains success in the Hereafter.

From the following Verses of the Qur’an one can draw a picture of the man who is successful in the sight of Islam:

Verses of Al-Qur’an:

  1. Who believe in the unseen, and establish worship, and spend of that We have bestowed upon them; And who believe in that which is revealed unto thee (Muhammad) and that which was revealed before thee, and are certain of the Hereafter. These depend on guidance from their Lord. These are the successful.––2: Al-Baqarah:3-5

  2. And there may spring from you a nation who invite to goodness, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency. Such are they who are successful.––3: Al-Imran: 104

  3. O Ye who believe! Devour not usury, doubling and quadrupling (the sum lent). Observe your duty to Allah, that ye may be successful.––3: Al-Imran: 130

  4. O ye who believe! Endure, outdo all others in endurance, be ready, and observe your duty to Allah, in order that ye may succeed.––3: Al-Imran: 200

  5. O ye who believe! Be mindful of your duty to Allah, and seek the way of approach unto Him, and strive in His way in order that ye may succeed.––5: Al-Ma’idah: 35

  6. The weighing on that day is the true (weighing). As for those whose scale is heavy, they are the successful.––7: Al-A’raf: 8

  7. Those who follow the messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, whom they will find described in the Torah and the Gospel (which are) with them. He will enjoin on them that which is right and forbid them that which is wrong. He will make lawful for them all good things and prohibit for them only the foul; and he will relieve them of their burden and the fetters that they used to wear. Then those who believe in him, and honour him, and help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him: they are the successful.
    ––7: Al-A’raf: 157

  8. O ye who believe! Bow down and prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord, and do good, that haply ye may prosper.
    ––22: Al-Hajj: 77

  9. The saying of (all true) believers when they appeal unto Allah and His messenger to judge between them is only that they say: We hear and we obey. And such are the successful.
    ––24: An-Nur: 51

  10. But as for him who shall repent and believe and do right, he haply may be one of the successful.––28: Al-Qasas: 67

  11. So give to the kinsman his due, and to the needy, and to the wayfarer. That is best for those who seek Allah’s countenance. And such are they who are successful.––30: Ar-Rum: 38

  12. Those who establish worship and pay the poor-due and have sure faith in the Hereafter. Such have guidance from their Lord. Such are the successful.––31: Luqman: 4-5

  13. So keep your duty to Allah as best ye can, and listen, and obey, and spend; that is better for your souls. And whoso is saved from his own greed, such are the successful.
    ––64: At-Taghabun: 16

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XI – Social Justice

The term social justice is of recent vintage. It first appeared in political debate in the early nineteenth century. It was employed by political thinkers like John Stuart Mill and its use has since become widespread. Social justice implies that overall pattern of distribution in a society ought to be brought into line with principles of justice.

Islam, being religion of nature, understands that human beings are born with varying gifts. As they differ in their bodies and their features so they differ in their mental and other capabilities. Their environment, their circumstances and their hereditary gains also differ. In this situation there can be no possibility of economic equality. Thus the existence of economic inequalities among the human beings is but natural. It is also there because Islam allows individual initiative in earning wealth and gives right of private ownership of property.

However, despite recognizing inequalities as natural and part of Divine world order, Islam permits differences in wealth within reasonable limits only. It does not tolerate that these differences should grow so wide that some people live their life in absolute luxury while millions are left to lead a life of abject poverty and misery. It does not allow economic disparities turn into an extreme position wherein millions of have-nots’ become serfs and slaves in the hands of few ‘haves’ of the society. In other words, we can say that Islam does not believe in equal distribution of economic resources and wealth among the people rather it believes in equitable, just and fair distribution. It bridges the gulf between the rich and the poor by taking very effective measures to modify the distribution of wealth in favour of the poor.

Islam, on the one hand, ensures just and equitable distribution of wealth among the people and, on the other hand, provides social security to the poor and the destitute in the form of basic necessities of life. Besides that, Islam also protects the weak from the economic exploitation by the strong. All there are various aspects and manifestations of what is called Islamic social justice.

Thus social justice (which is also referred to as economic justice or distributive justice) according to Islamic conception includes three things, namely; (1) fair and equitable distribution of wealth, (2) provision of basic necessities of life to the poor and the needy, and (3) protection of the weak against economic exploitation by the strong.

  1. (1)For bridging the gulf between the rich and the poor and for ensuring just and equitable distribution of economic resources and wealth, Islam has taken very effective measures. Positive measures taken by it are Zakat and Sadaqat, laws of inheritance and bequest, monetary atonements, voluntary charities and compulsory contributions in the from of taxes and various levies. To prevent concentration of wealth in few hands, Islam has taken some prohibitive measures also. These include abolition of interest, prohibition of acquisition of wealth through illegal and unfair means, prohibition of hoarding of wealth, etc.

  2. (2)Islamic economic system guarantees basic human needs to all the citizens of the Islamic state. It enjoins upon the well-to-do to fulfill the needs of the poor and the destitute. According to Al-Qu’ran, the poor and the needy have share in the wealth of the rich. The Qur’an says: And in whose wealth there is a right acknowledged for the poor beggar and the destitute”.––70: 24 - 25

To the question as to how much wealth should be spent by the rich for the cause of the poor, the Qur’an replies: “…… And they ask thee how much they are to spend; say: “What is beyond your needs” – (2:219). Thus the revealed book of Islam expects from the rich to spend all their surplus wealth for their poor brothers if the circumstances so demand. Abu Zarr Ghaffari, a close companion of the Prophet, who is considered a great champion of the cause of social justice, holds the view that it is unlawful to keep any surplus wealth after meeting one’s personal needs and so the same must be spent on satisfying the needs of the deprived of members of the Muslim Ummah (community). In his view, so long as there is even one poor person who is unable to meet his basic needs of life, surplus wealth of the rich must be collected by the state and spent on poor.

According to some Muslim jurists, the Islamic state should provide social security cover to all its citizens and undertake especially to provide basic necessities of life to all those poor, destitute, deprived of, disabled and unemployed citizens who themselves are not able to provide for them and their families. If the Islamic sate fails to do so it has no right to demand allegiance from its citizens.

  1. Elimination of economic exploitation of the weak by the strong is another element of Islamic social justice. Many steps have been taken by Islam in this direction. Riba or usury is one of the worst instruments of human exploitation and this has been abolished root and branch. Other means of human exploitation such as bribery, gambling, speculative transaction, fraudulent practices, prostitution, embezzlement, etc. have also been prohibited in Islamic society.

Interests of the weaker classes of the society like women, orphans, slaves, labourers, tenants, consumers, etc. have been protected through detailed legislation by Islam.

Let us have now a look on some of the very relevant Verses of the Qur’an and Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which throw light on the basics of Islam conception of social justice.

Verses of the Qur’an:

  1. Give unto orphans their wealth. Exchange not the good for the bad (in your management thereof) nor absorb their wealth into your own wealth. Lo! That would be a great sin.––4: 2

  2. .…… Give full measure and full weight, in justice ……––6: 152

  3. And know that whatever ye take as spoils of war, Lo! A fifth thereof is for Allah, and for the messenger and for the kinsman (who hath need) and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer. If ye believe in Allah and that which We revealed unto Our slave on the Day of Discrimination, the day when the two armies met. And Allah is Able to do all things.––8: 41

  4. The alms are only for the poor and needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is Knower, Wise.––9: 60

  5. He placed therein firm hills rising above it, and blessed it and measured there in its sustenance in four Days, alike for (all) who ask.––41: 10

  6. And the sky He hath uplifted; and He hath set the measure, that ye exceed not the measure, but observe the measure strictly, nor fall short thereof.––55: 7-9

  7. Believe in Allah and His messenger, and spend of that whereof He hath made you trustees ………––57: 7

  8. We verily sent Our messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the scripture and the Balance, that mankind may observe right measure ………––57: 25

  9. That which Allah giveth as spoil unto His messenger from the people of the townships, it is for Allah and His messenger and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, that it become not a commodity between the rich among you.––59: 7

  10. And in whose wealth there is a right acknowledged. For the beggar and the destitute;––70: 24-25

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

  1. The Prophet of Islam is reported to have said: If anyone spent a night in a town and he remained hungry till morning, the promise of God’s protection for that town came to an end.
    (Musnad Ahmed)

  2. The Messenger of Allah said: The government is the guardian of anyone who has no guardian.(Abu Daud, Tirmizi)

  3. Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: One who strives for the widows and the poor is like one who fights in the way of Allah……(Bukhari, Muslim)

  4. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is reported to have said: The son of man has no better right than that he would have a house wherein he may live, and a piece of cloth whereby he may hide his nakedness and a piece of bread and some water.
    (Al-Muhalla by Ibn Hazm)

  5. Abu Saeed Khudhri reports that the Holy Prophet said: “Anyone who possesses goods more than his needs, should give the surplus goods to the weak (and poor); and whosoever possesses food more than his needs should give the surplus food to the needy and the destitute.” He further added that the Holy Prophet went on referring to different kinds of goods in similar manner until we thought that none of us had any right over his surplus wealth.”(Al Muhalla by Ibn Hazm)

  6. The Prophet of Islam is reported to have once said: One who has an extra camel (transport), should give it to the one who has no camel (transport); one who has surplus provision, should give it to the one who has none; one who has two persons’ food should take a third (as his guest), and if it is for four, he should take fifth or sixth person (as his guest).

  7. Caliph Umar once said: Each and every Muslim has a right in the property of Bait-ul-Mal whether he exercises it or not.
    (Kitab-ul-Amwal)

  8. Ali is reported to have said that “God has made it obligatory on the rich to meet the economic needs of the poor up to the extent of their absolute necessities. If they are hungry or naked or involved in other financial difficulties, it will be merely because the rich are not doing their duty. Therefore God will question them about it on the Day of judgement and will give them due punishment.”(Al Muhalla by Ibn Hazm)

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