Features Of Islam That Distinguish It From Distorted Religions
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Features Of Islam That Distinguish It From Distorted Religions
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Islam has explicitly stated that religion, to Allah, is one and the same, that the prophets sent by Allah to mankind complement each other, beginning with Adam, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, up to Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and that the messages of those prophets and messengers are in agreement about calling to the following:
Belief in the Oneness of Allah, glory to Him, with no associates, equals or likes.
Belief in Allah, His angels, books, messengers, and the Hereafter.
Good manners and refinement of the human self by guiding it to the way of reform and happiness in this life and the Hereafter.
Direct worship of Almighty Allah without the intervention of any intermediaries in worship.
The establishment of peace and love in human societies. Allah, glory to Him, says: “He has ordained for you the same religion which He commended unto Noah, and that which We have revealed to you (O 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 you call them.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Ash-Shura, 42:13)
The Islamic Religion is the final and concluding Shari’ah (Law) or way of life; there is no (other) religion to follow. Its primal constitution, which is the Glorious Qur’aan, is permanent and preserved and will remain up to the end of this world and living things as indicated in the Qur’an: “Lo! We, even We, have revealed the Reminder (Qur’aan) and Lo! We verily are its Guardian.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter An-Nahl, 15:9)
Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is the last of messengers. There is no messenger or prophet after him. Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said: “My similitude in comparison with the other prophets before me, is that of a man who has built a house nicely and beautifully, except for a place of one brick in a corner. The people go about it and wonder at its beauty, but say: ‘Would that this brick be put in its place!’ So I am that brick, and I am the last of the prophets.” (Bukhari)
Issa (Jesus the son of Mary), however, will come down in the last days of this world to fill the world with justice as it was filled with oppression and injustice. He will not be sent with a new religion of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, as indicated by the last Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him: “The son of Mariam (i.e., Jesus son of Mary) will soon descend amongst you as a Just Ruler: he will break the Cross, kill the pigs, put an end to jisya (i.e. taxation taken from rich non-Muslims for defending them in case they do not participate in defense of the country), and money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it.” (Imam Ahmad and Bukhari) To accept this universality, Muslims have been ordered to convey the Message of Islam and present it to mankind as stated in the Qur’an: “Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that you may be witnesses over mankind, and that Messenger may be a witness over you...” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Baqarah, 2:143)
Islam has completed and brought to perfection former religious ways of life which were spiritual in their roots. They addressed the human self and called to its purification, but did not take care or regulate worldly and living affairs, in contrast with Islam, which completed and regulated all aspects of life. It has covered all religious and worldly affairs, as will be made clear later. Allah has stated: “…This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion...” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Maidah, 5:3)
Allah, glory to Him, does not accept that devotion should be directed to other than Him or that anyone or anything should be worshipped as an intermediary between people and their Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer). He said: “And who so seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and he will be a loser in the Hereafter.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Imran, 3:85)
Islam is a universal message addressed to the whole humanity without exception everywhere and at all times, to people and jinn, Arabs and non-Arabs, blacks and whites, male and female, poor and rich. Allah, says:“And We have not sent You (O Muhammad) save as a bringer of good tidings and a Warner unto all mankind...” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Saba, 34:28) It is a universal religion: not revealed or sent exclusively to one race, class or nation. It unites all mankind, not on basis of color, language, region, or lineage, but on basis of a specific creed that combines and unifies them all. Everyone who believes in Allah as his Rabb, in Islam as his religion, and in Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, as his Messenger, has come under the flag of Islam. Allah, glory to Him, says: “Say (O Muhammad): 'O mankind! Lo! I am the messenger of Allah to you all...'” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-A’raf, 7:158) Allah’s Messenger peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “I have been conferred upon five (things) which were not granted to anyone before me (and these are):
1- I have been supported with awe (i.e. with fear that haunted the minds and hearts of the enemies of Islam) from the distance of one month travel.
2- The earth has been made a place of worship and purification for me, so whenever the time of prayer come for any one of my Ummah (followers) he should pray wherever he is.
3- The spoils of war have been made lawful for me.
4- I have been granted intercession. And
5- Every messenger was sent particularly to his own people, whereas I have been sent to all humankind.” (Bukhari and Muslim) This does not suggest lack of belief in earlier messengers or scriptures: Jesus perfected the religion of Moses, and Muhammad perfected the religion of Jesus, and Muhammad closed the chain of prophets and messengers; peace be upon them all. It is part of the perfect faith of a Muslim to believe in all revealed books and prophets before Prophet Muhammad, and anyone who does believe in all, or any, of them will be a non-Muslim. This is clear from the Prophet’s statement when he was asked about belief he peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “It is to believe in Allah, His angels, books, messengers, the Hereafter and divine destiny of Decree to good and evil.” (Muslim)
Islam is distinguished for its divine laws and instructions, which are not man-made and so they are free from defects and faults and from the impact of surrounding effects such as culture, heritage and environment. This is evident in reality: human laws and legislation are changeable - what fits one community may not fit another. For example laws and regulations of a capitalist society do not go well with the conditions of a socialist one, and vice versa. Each legislator would choose what is in agreement with his aspirations and inclinations. In addition, such laws are unstable, for a more informed and knowledgeable person may object, rescind or add to the work of an earlier legislator. Islamic law, however, is made by Allah. Its Legislator is the Creator of the whole universe and all beings. He is also Omniscient and All-Aware of all that is suitable for them and makes good all their affairs. Humans, however high their rank is, have no right to object to or change any divine law, whether by increase or decrease or choosing what agrees with their desires and whims. Allah, glory to him said: “And it becomes not a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided an affair (for them), that they should (after that) claim any say affair.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Ahzab, 33:36), “It is a judgement to a people of the time of (pagan) ignorance that they are seeking? Who is better than Allah for judgement to a people who have certainty (in their belief)?” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Maidah, 5:50)
Islam has introduced absolute, comprehensive and perfect rules and fundamentals that are not subject to change and revision with the elapse of time. It, nevertheless, left particulars and details that are not explicitly stated in the Qur’aan and Sunnah for responsible, authoritative and erudite scholars everywhere at any time to exert their effort to derive and infer verdicts and provisions that are in the public interest and suit the prevailing conditions in human societies at various times and environments. This Ijtihad, or religious reasoning and investigation, is not to be controlled by prejudices and desires but aims to reach truths that are of use to humankind, so that Islam should keep up with, and adapt its detailed regulations with every age and society. The role of the Muslim government is to bring those divine laws and rules into force and enforce them on everyone, with no distinction between the rich and the poor, the noble and the lowly, the president or chief and his subjects, the whites and the blacks, in all are alike and equal before the law.
Bukhari and Muslim narrated, on the authority of A’isha, may Allah be pleased with her, that Quraysh tribes were concerned about the case of a Makhzumi woman who was accused of theft. They said: Who will plead on her behalf with Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him? Some of them suggested: Who other than Usamah ibn Zaid, whom the Prophet loves very much, can do so? As such, Usamah represented her case to the Holy Prophet, who told him: Do you intercede in the matter of a grave crime involving punishment prescribed by Allah? So saying, he got up and delivered an address in which he said: “The people who preceded you were destroyed because they use to let off a rich (influential) person if he committed theft, and to punish a weak person who committed the same crime. By Allah, If Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad, had committed this offense I would have cut off her hand.”
Islam is distinguished by the fact that its text and sources are original, genuine and intact (with no addition or omission). They are of permanent, eternal authenticity and validity up till the Day of Resurrection. Basic sources of Islamic Shari’ah are the Holy Qur’aan and the Noble Sunnah (the traditions and teachings of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Allah, Exalted be He, has undertaken to preserve the Qur’an He said: “Lo! We, even We, have revealed the Reminder (i.e. the Qur’aan) and Lo! We verily are its Guardian.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter An-Nahl, 15:9) Since its revelation onto Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, up to the present, the Qur’aan had not undergone any change, distortion, increase or decrease. Many attempts have been made from the side of those who plotted against Islam to add or delete one word, but their efforts ended in failure. That is because it was preserved in books and minds as it was recited in prayer or as a form of worship. According to the Gracious Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, he said: “Whoever recites one letter from the Holy Qur’aan will get one good deed in recompense will be equal to ten good deeds. I do not say that ‘Alif Lam Meem’ (i.e. A,L,M) a letter, but A is a letter, L is a letter and M is a letter (i.e. it is equal to 3 letters).” (Tirmidhi) The Gracious peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, also said: “The best among you are those who have learnt the Qur’aan and taught it (to others).” (Bukhari) Therefore, Muslims hastened earnestly to teach the Holy Qur’an.
Many Western scholars admitted the excellence of the Qur’aan and its influence on human thought and sciences. Of such scholars there is Margoliouth, who was known for his prejudice against Islam, yet the greatness of the Qur’aan did not deter him from telling the truth when he pointed out that: “Researchers are all agreed that the Qur’aan occupied an outstanding rank among the dignified religious scriptures that made history, though the latest of them in revelation. It has surpassed all in its marvelous impact on man. It has created a new human thought and established a unique moral school.”
According to Jean Melia: “It is a must to discard the pretension of some French philosophizers. The Qur’aan should be recited slowly and deliberately. It has nothing of the charges of opponents that it preaches bigotry. Islam is a heavenly revealed religion, a religion of love, affection and honor, and the most tolerant of faiths.”
Hart Wighischfield held that: “One need not feel surprised if it is said that the Qur’aan is the source of sciences: All that the Qur’aan has talked about, such as the earth, human life, trade and craft, was the subject-matter of study by scholars and commentators who shed light thereon in their books and commentaries on the Qur’aan. This opened up a broad latitude of research and reflection which paved the way for the advancement of science with Muslims. Its influence was not limited to Arabs. However, it caused Jewish philosophers to follow in the steps of Arabs in metaphysical questions of religion. It is needless to mention the benefits that the Christian theology has derived from Arab research in theology.”
Likewise, the Prophet’s Sunnah (traditions, acts and confirmations) that belong, through an authentic chain of transmitters, to the Holy Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the second source of the Islamic Law and exponent of the Holy Qur’aan and its verdicts, has been preserved from abuse, invention and interpolation, through reliable chains of transmitters known for their integrity and soundness of memory. Such transmitters were upright scholars who devoted their lives to the study of Allah’s Messenger’s Ahadith…As such, they sifted all traditions (Ahadith, plural of Hadith) narrated from the Prophet and accepted only authentic ones, so they reached us pure and free from false narration. If one desires to know the way of Sunnah preservation, he can refer to books on Hadith Science that was established to serve the Holy Prophet’s Ahadith, so that he may make sure about the certainty and authenticity of the Prophets’ traditions we have received.
Islam considers all people as equal with regards to their origin and birth, both male and female. Allah, glory to Him, first created Adam, the father of all mankind, and created from him, his wife Eve - the mother of mankind and made them the origin of human offspring. The Qur’an declares human equality as to their origin: “O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Rabb, Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain has spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom you claim (your rights) of one another and toward the wombs (that bear you, i.e., kinship)…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter An-Nisa’a, 4:1)
Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “People are the children of Adam and Adam is (created) of dust.” (Imam Ahmad) The people who are existing or will exist on earth, are of Adam’s progeny. They began to have one religion and one language; but being big in number, they spread throughout the earth. This inevitably led to difference of color and nature (as an inevitable result of environmental impact). This entailed different ways of thinking and living and different beliefs. The Qur’an states: “Mankind were but one community, then they differed...” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Yunus, 10:19)
Islamic instructions place man, regardless of his race, color, tongue, religion and homeland, on equal terms with his brethren, all equal before Allah. However, differences and conflict arise among them in as much as they are close to, or far from, compliance with Allah’s Law and way of life. The Qur’aan states in this connection: “O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that you may know one another. Lo! The noblest of you in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct...” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Hujarat, 49:13) Based on this equality confirmed by Islam, all people are equal in freedom in the sight of Islamic Law. This slogan was launched by Caliph Omar Ibn Al-Khattab fourteen centuries ago when he said: “When did you enslaved people whose mothers had borne them free.”
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In Islam, all should have access to:
Freedom of thinking and opinion. The Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, required his companions to tell the truth and express their views fearing no blame when he peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “He who holds back from telling the truth is dumb devil.” The Prophet’s Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, put this principle into effect. One man addressed Omar Ibn Al-Khattab saying: “Fear Allah, Prince of the Believers!” One man protested saying: “You say this to the Prince of the Believers!” Omar (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “Let him say it. You are useless if you do not say it, and we are useless if we do not accept it from you.” On another occasion, when Omar was asked why he did not repute or reject Ali’s judgement, as it was in conflict with Omar’s, he answered: “had the matter been stated in the Qur’aan and Hadith I would have rejected it. But it is a matter of opinion and opinion is common and nobody is sure which of the two views is more right in the sight of Allah.”
Everyone is free to own property and earn his living as stated in the Qur’an: “…Unto men a fortune from that which they have earned, and unto women a fortune from that which they have earned…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter An-Nisa’a, 4:32)
Everyone should be given the chance to be educated, as stated by the Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him: “Seeking knowledge is every Muslim's duty.” (Baihaqi) Islam requires scholars to disseminate knowledge and not to hide it so that everyone may benefit by it. This is stated by the Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him: “whoso-ever is asked about some (religious) information, yet he conceals it will be bridled on the Day of Judgement with a bridle of fire.” (Abu Dawood and Thirmidhi)
Everyone has the right to utilize the resources deposited in this universe by its Creator. The Qur’an says: “He it is Who has made the earth subservient unto you, so walk in the path thereof and eat of His providence. And unto Him will be the resurrection (of the dead).” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Mulk, 67:15)
Everyone may have access to leadership in society if he is worthy and capable of it. Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “If a person is placed in authority over Muslims and he appoints a man over them out of prejudice (in favor of him), Allah’s curse be upon him, and Allah will not accept any good deeds from him, until He throws him into hell-fire.” (Al-Hakim)
All this should be within the framework of Islam, and no aspect of freedom should be in conflict with others’ freedom. Philosopher and Historian, A. J. Toynbee, in his book, “Civilization on Trial”, states that, “putting an end to racial discrimination and tribalism has been one of the greatest feats and prides of Islam. It is in fact the biggest need of this age. Undoubtedly, English speaking nations have achieved a certain degree of success in inter-linking of peoples and have given mankind good and mercy, but it should be admitted that they failed to get rid of racial and national sentiments.”
Islam has no independent spiritual powers like those given to the clergy in other religions. That is because, when it came, it eliminated all intermediaries that are placed or installed between God (Allah) and His servants. It criticized idolaters for their adoption of intermediaries in worship, as appears from the Qur’anic verse that relates their false argument: “We worship them only that they may bring us near unto Allah.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Sad, 38:3) Then Allah, Glory to Him, makes clear to them the true nature of these intermediaries: “Lo! Those whom you call besides Allah are slaves like you. So call on them now and let them answer you, if you are truthful.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-A’raf, 7:194) Thus Islam has established and stabilized the concept of direct God-man relationship on the basis of absolute belief in Allah and His revealed ordinances and way of life. Forgiveness must be sought directly from Him with no intermediator. Whoever commits a sin should raise his hands and prays humbly to Allah for forgiveness. This is clear from the following words: “Who so does evil or wrongs his own soul, then seeks pardon of Allah, will find Allah Forgiving, Merciful.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter An-Nisa’a, 4:110) Islam, unlike other religions, has no clergymen who permit and prohibit as if they were - and they actually consider themselves as- responsible on behalf of Allah for His servants. Consequently, they legislate for them, control their beliefs and admit into paradise whom they will and prevent whom they will. Allah, Glory to Him says about them: “They have taken as Rabbs besides Allah their rabbis and their monks...”(The Qur’aan, Chapter At-Tawbah, 9:31) Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, explained: “that they did not worship them; only they obeyed them when they made something lawful or unlawful for them (i.e., legislated for them).” (Tirmidhi)
Islam gives the individual rights due to him/her with society and rights due in the interest of all. The individual works in the interest of society and vice versa. The Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:“The bonds of brotherhood between two Muslims are like parts of a building, one part strengthens and holds the other. And he crossed the fingers of one hand between those of the other (to illustrate the point).”(Bukhari) However, in case of conflict between individual and collective interests, the latter are to have priority over the former, as in the case of demolishing a house about to fall or taking out part of it to be added to the street in the public interest (of course after compensating the owner of the house) For example, a man from the Ansar (Muslims immigrants) had a fruit garden. In that garden there were a number of palm trees owned by a man called Samura Ibn Jundub, who used to go into the garden for his palm trees, but he caused harm to the garden and its owner. The owner complained about that to the Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to Samura: “Sell him the palm trees.” Samura refused. The Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “Pull them out.” He refused. Therefore, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to him: “You are hurtful.” Then he addressed the garden owner saying: “Go and pluck out his palm trees.”
Islam is the religion of mercy, pity and sympathy. It called to giving up severity and rudeness and following Islam’s Prophet’s example as described in the Qur’an: “It was by the mercy of Allah that you were lenient with them (O Muhammad), for if you had been stern and fierce of heart they would have dispersed from about you…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Imran, 3:159) The Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said in this connection: “Merciful people are worthy of Allah’s Mercy. Show mercy to those living on earth and you will receive mercy from the One Who is in Heaven (Allah).” (Tirmidhi) Islam has established kind and merciful treatment for all people, even with enemies. This is clear in the Prophet’s peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, commandment: “Treat prisoners of war kindly.” If this is the Holy Prophet’s direction about prisoners of war who fight against Muslims, what would you expect his directions will be about peaceful people?
Islam extended its mercy and sympathy even to animals, as seen from the following tradition: “A woman was thrown into Hell-fire because she shut up a cat till it died. She neither gave it something to eat and drink nor let it pick up its food from the insects and other similar creatures of the earth.” (Bukhari and Muslim) Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, once saw a donkey which had been marked on its face (with fire), upon which he said: “Allah’s curse be on him who has tattooed it.” (Muslim) Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, once passed by some Qurayshi boys who had made a bird a target and were shooting arrows at it. Ibn Umar asked: “Who has done this? May Allah’s curse be upon the person who did this? Allah’s Messenger peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has cursed the man who makes a living thing a target for shooting. (Bukhari and Muslim) Once the Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, passed by a camel whose belly was sticking to his back (due to hunger). On this he remarked: “Fear Allah and observe your duty to Him as regards these inarticulate animals. Ride on them while they are healthy and similarly eat their meat when they are in good health.” (Abu Dawood) If such is Islam’s mercy towards animals, how then would be its mercy towards man, whom Allah has favored more than all other creatures and honored. Allah, glory to Him, says: “Verily We have honored the children of Adam. We carry them on the land and the sea, and have made provision of good things for them, and have preferred them above many of those whom We created with a marked preferment.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter 17:70)
Islam has not only required mercy for animals; it has also made it a way to forgiveness to sins and to Paradise. This is clear from the following tradition: “A man walking along a path felt very much thirsty, reaching a well he descended into it, drank water to his fill and came out, when he saw a dog with its tongue bulging out and trying to lick up mud to quench his thirst. The man said to himself that the dog was feeling the same extreme thirst as he had felt a little while before. So he descended once more into the well, filled his leather Hoosier with water and came up holding it by his teeth and gave the dog a drink. Allah appreciated this act of this man and forgave his sins. The Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was asked: Messenger of Allah, are we rewarded for kindness towards animals as well? He said: There is recompense for kindness to every living things.” (Bukhari)
Islam is not a religion of monasticism, celibacy, devotion of life for the sake of the Hereafter, and abstention from enjoyment of good things created by Allah for man. The Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “He also said: Allah, glory to him, is pleased to see the effect of his favors on his servant.” (Tirmidhi) It is not a religion that allows uncontrolled indulgence in this worldly life; it is a religion of moderation that embraces both religious and secular affairs and considers them as complementary to each other; no one aspect should prevail at the expense of another. Allah, glory to him, points this out: “But seek, (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on you, the abode of the hereafter, and neglect not your portion of the world, and be kind even as Allah has been kind to you.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Qasas, 28:77) The Glorious Qur’aan has enjoined, in several verses, balancing the spirit and the body, so it instructed man to remember his physical needs pertaining to earning his living while being busy with worship: “And when the prayer is ended, then disperse in the land and seek of Allah’s bounty…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Jumu’a, 62:10) It also called man, while preoccupied with worldly matters and concerns, to remember his spiritual needs by performing the devotions prescribed by Allah, He said: “Men whom neither merchandise nor sale beguiles from remembrance of Allah and constancy in prayer and paying to the poor their due; who fear a day when hearts and eyeballs will be overturned.” (The Qur’aan, An-Nur, 24:37)
Islam has introduced a way of life that preserves the rights of spirit, body and mind in accordance with a divine Law which keeps people away from going to extremes. As a Muslim is required to control his soul and bring it to account for its acts Allah said: “And whose does good an atom’s weight will see it then. And whose does ill an atom’s weight will see it then.” (The Qur’aan, Al-Zalzalah, 99:7-8) “A wise person is one who keeps a watch over himself and calls it to account and does good deeds in preparation for the Hereafter; whereas, a helpless person is one who pursues his desires blindly and yet expects from Allah the fulfillment of his futile desires.” (A Hadith narrated by Imam Ahmad) Man is also required not to fail to enjoy the good things made lawful for him by Allah, including food, drink, clothing and marriage, as stated in the Holy Qur’an: “Say: 'Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has brought forth for His bondmen and the good things of His provisions…'” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-A’raf, 7:32)
Islam has forbidden only what is harmful for man, in his body, wealth or society. The human soul has been created by Allah and made viceroy in the earth so as to abide by His Law Allah said: “He it is who has placed you as viceroys of the earth and has exalted some of you in rank above others, that He may try you by (the test of) that which He has given you...” (The Qur’aan, Al-An’am, 6:165) Allah has created for this soul or spirit a harmonious and integrated body. He says: “Surely We created man of the best stature.” (The Qur’aan, At-Tin, 95:4) That is in order that the soul should perform, by means of the body; devotions, rights, duties, construction and population of the earth as enjoined by Allah. Therefore, Allah has ordered that the body should be maintained and cared for:
By purification and cleanness, Allah said: “…Truly Allah Loves those who turn unto Him in repentance, and loves those who purify themselves.” (The Qur’aan, Al-Baqarah, 2:222) He has required ablution (wudu’) as a prerequisite to the integrity of prayer performed by Muslims five times a day the Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “No prayer is valid without performing ablutions (wudu’).” (Abu Dawud) It has also urged performing a ritual bath (ghusul) for Friday Prayer. The Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “Friday ghusul is a duty recommended for every adult (Muslim), along with miswak (natural toothbrush) and whatever amount of perfume possible.” (Bukhari and Muslim) Ritual bath is obligatory in case of major ritual impurity (janaba) Allah said: “…And if you are unclean (after sexual discharge or intercourse), purify yourselves (i.e. bath your whole body)..” (The Qur’aan, Al-Maidah, 5:6)
By cleanness; i.e. by cleaning both hands before and after meals, in compliance with the Hadith of the Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him: “The blessing of food is (realized) by ablutions prior to it and ablutions following it.” (Imam Ahmad) And also by cleaning the mouth, as recommended by the Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him: “Whoever eats is recommended to pick his teeth: whatever he picks he should expels it from his mouth and whatever he chews he should swallow it.”(Al-Darimi) And taking care of his teeth, the Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “Had I not feared that it would cause inconvenience to my people, then I would have ordered them to brush their teeth with a miswak before every prayer.” (Bukhari and Muslim) As well as removing what can be a breeding ground for germs and dirt, in accordance with the Holy Prophets’ peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, saying: “There are five practices of pure nature: removal of hair from private parts, circumcision, pulling out hair from the armpit, trimming of the moustache and clipping of nails.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
By instructing man to eat and drink only lawful things, as evidenced by the Holy Qur’an: “O you who believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you, and render thanks to Allah if it is (indeed) He whom you worship.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Baqarah, 2:172) Such eating and drinking of lawful things are conditional upon avoidance of extravagance where the bad effects of which are quite evident; Allah said:“… And eat and drink, but be not prodigal. Lo! He love not the prodigals.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-A’raf, 7:31) Prophet Mohammed peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “Man never has filled a worse pot than his stomach. However, if he insists on doing it (i.e., eating), a third (of his stomach) should be apportioned to his food, a third to his drink and a third to his breath.” (Imam Ahmad)
By forbidding him to eat or drink what is bad or unlawful (such as carrion (dead meat), blood, swine-flesh, wine, drugs and smoking) for securing the safety of the body. The Qur’aan says: “He has forbidden you only carrion, and blood, and swine-flesh, and that which has 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 All-Forgiving, All- Merciful.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Baqarah, 2:173)
By encouraging the practice of sports, such as wrestling (without exposing privet parts or hurting the others), swimming, shooting, horse riding and racing (body racing) According to Ayesha, the Holy Prophet’s wife, may Allah be pleased with her: “Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, raced with me and I won. That was before I grew fat. Later he raced with me when I was a little fat and he won.” He said: “tit for tat.” (Imam Ahmad) “Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, wrestled with Rukana and won.” (Abu Dawud) The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, also said: “Teach your children shooting, swimming and horse-riding.” (Muslim)
By treatment of the body in case of sickness. According to the Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, saying: “Take medicine, for Allah has never sent down a disease without sending down a cure for it, some people know it and others do not know it.” (Imam Ahmad)
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And by performing the prescribed devotions that provide the spirit with its nutrition and save it from anxiety which affects the body. Islam don’t prescribes neglect, torture or deprivation of the body. According to Anas Ibn Malik, May Allah be pleased with him; three men called at the houses of the Prophet’s wives to ask about his devotions. When they were told about them they found it less than they expected. They said: “What are we to compare with Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, whose lapses, past and future are forgiven?” One of them said: “As for me, I shall spend my nights praying forever.” The second said: “As for me, I shall fast daily forever and shall never break my fast.” The third said: “As for me, I shall abstain from women and shall never marry.” Then the Holy Messenger peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, came to them and asked them: “Is it you who said such and such? Listen, I swear in Allah, I am more pious and Allah-fearing than you, yet I pray and sleep, fast and break (my fast), get married to women. Whoever deviates from my Sunnah (way or line of conduct) does not belong to me.” (Bukhari and Muslim) According to Muslim German Scholar, Mohammed Asad: "Islam does not regard the world, like Christianity, through black binoculars, yet it teaches us not to over estimate the worldly life, like the contemporary western civilization. Christianity scorns and condemns this worldly life, while the contemporary west - unlike the Christian spirit - is highly involved and deeply interested in this life. Islam, on the other hand, neither scorns nor overestimates it; it gives it due respect and consideration and at the same time deems it as a stage of our journey to a higher life - just a means and not an end. Islam guides us to pray: “Our Rabb! Give unto us in the world that which is good in the hereafter that whish is good.” 
Islam promotes knowledge and learning, and at the same time it disapproves of, and warns against ignorance. It classifies sciences into two categories:
Sciences whose learning is an individual duty prescribed upon every Muslim - both religious and worldly.
Sciences whose learning is a collective duty prescribed upon an adequate number of people. The Qur’aan points out: “…Are those who know equal with those who know not?…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Az-Zumar, 39:9) “… Allah will exalt those who believe among you, and those who have knowledge, to high rank…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Mujadila, 58:11) “…And say, My Rabb! Increase me in knowledge.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Ta-Ha, 20:114)
The blessed Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “Seek knowledge even it were in China.” He also says: “On the Day of Judgement, Scholars’ ink will be weighed with martyr’s blood.” Monsieur Casanova, one of the senior professors of College de France in Paris, commented on these traditions (Ahadith) saying: “Many of us think that Muslims cannot assimilate our opinions or digest our concepts, forgetting that the Prophet of Islam is the one who stated that knowledge is superior to devotions. Who among the higher ranks of the clergy and priests has the courage to utter such decisive strong words, such words that are the essence of our contemporary intellectual life?” Islam also respects scholars and gives them their due rank and rights. This is evident in the Prophet’s peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, words: “A person who does not respect our elders, has no compassion for our children, and does not recognize the rights of our scholars is not from my people.” (Imam Ahmad) He peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “The excellence of a scholar over a worshipper is as equal to the excellence of I over an ordinary Muslim among you.” (Tirmidhi) Islam regards the search for knowledge and teaching an aspect of Jihad (i.e., Struggle in the cause of Allah) that is rewarded by Allah. This is stated in the following Hadith of the Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him: “A person who goes out (of his house) in search of knowledge is on Allah’s way and he remains so till he returns.” (Tirmidhi) He, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, also said: “If a person who follows a path for acquiring knowledge, Allah will make it easy for him the passage to Paradise.” (Muslim) Islam has not limited its exhortation of knowledge to religious sciences only. It has also encouraged secular sciences and considered learning them as aspects of worship that are rewarded by Allah (those considered as collective duty) as mankind is in need of such sciences or fields of knowledge. The Qur’aan says: “So let man consider from what he is created. He is created from a gushing fluid. That issues from between the loins and ribs.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter At-Tariq, 86:5-7) The Qur’aan also says: “Have you not seen that Allah causes water to fall from the sky and We produce therewith fruit of diverse hues, and among the hills are streaks white and red, of diverse hues, and (others) raven-black. And of men and beasts and cattle, in like manner, diverse hues? The erudite among His bondsmen fear Allah alone. Lo! Allah is All-Mighty, Oft Forgiving.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Fatir, 35:27-28) These verses contain an invitation to sound thinking and meditation which leads to recognition of the existence of a Creator of these things and to benefiting from the resources and treasures of this universe. Certainly, the “erudite” in this verse are not only religious scholars; they are also erudite scholars and scientists in all fields of human knowledge who own the ability to know the secrets and mysteries of this universe. For example the process of cloud formation or rainfall can only be understood through familiarity with chemistry and physics; the growth of trees, plants and fruits through familiarity with agriculture; the variation in the colors of the earth and mountains through familiarity with geology; the nature and character of people, their different races and the nature and instincts of animals, through ethnology and zoology. Seldillot stated in his book, ‘The History of Arabs’: “...Muslims in the Middle Ages were unrivalled in science, philosophy and arts. They disseminated such knowledge whenever they moved, then it was carried over to Europe where it led to its renaissance and advancement.” Dr. G. Lebon, in his book, ‘Arab Civilization’, states that: “We have never seen in history a nation so prominent in its impact as the Arabs, for all peoples that had relations with the Arabs embraced their culture even for a while.”
Islam is the religion of self-control. It trains its adherents to seek Allah’s pleasure in both their religious and worldly endeavors, as indicated in the Prophet’s peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, Hadith: “Fear Allah, whenever you may be, do a virtuous act after an evil act as the former will undo the latter, and behave well with the people.”(Tirmidhi) The way adopted by Islam in rooting the principle of self-control and internal monitoring is as follows:
It has made Muslims believe in One God Who has no partner in Sovereignty or equal to Him, i.e., Allah, Glory to Him. The Qur’an declares: “Say, He is Allah, the One; Allah, the Eternally Besought of All. He begets not, nor He is begotten; and there is none like unto Him.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Ikhlas, 112:1-4) This God is the Originator and Creator of this world, along with all things in it: animate and inanimate, Allah said in the Qur’an: “Glory be to Him Who created all the sexual pairs, of that which the earth grows, and of themselves, and of that which they know not!” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Ya-Sin, 36:36) This God is the Rabb and Owner of all creatures; to Him belong sovereignty, commandment and forbiddance, and He is ever able to do everything, Allah said: “Lo! Your Rabb is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then mounted Himself above the Throne (in the manner that suits His Majesty). He covers the night with the day, which is in haste to follow it, and has made the sun and the stars subservient by His command. Verily, His is all creation and commandment. Blessed is Allah, the Rabb of the Worlds!” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-A’raf, 7:54) This God possesses all attributes of perfection, Allah said: “…There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Ash-Shura, 42:11) He, glory to Him, knows well everything what is going on or taking place in this Universe at all times, He says: “…He (Allah) knows all that enters the earth and all that emerges therefrom and all that comes down from the sky and all that ascends therein; and He is with you where-so-ever you may be and Allah is All-seer of what you do.”(The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Hadid, 57:4) Moreover, His knowledge goes beyond visible and tangible physical things to thoughts and emotions. He says: “He knows the traitor of the eyes, and all that which the breast conceals.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Mu’min, 40:19)
Islam has implanted in Muslims the concept of resurrection after death and deemed it as one of its basic principles, Allah said: “Those who disbelieve assert that they will not be raised again. Say (unto them, O Muhammad): 'Yes verily, by my Rabb! You will be raised again and then you will be informed of what you did and that is easy for Allah.'” (The Qur’aan, Chapter At-Tagabun, 64:7)
Islam has established and rooted the idea that man is to be brought to account before Allah, glory to Him, for all his deeds and words whatsoever - small and big, good and bad, then recompensed according to his acts - good for good and evil for evil. Such feeling drives him to seek Allah’s pleasure by complying with Allah’s commands and avoiding His prohibitions, doing everything good and shunning anything bad, He said: “And whoso does good an atom’s weight will see it then, And whoso does ill an atom’s weight will see it then.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Zalzalah, 99:7-8)
Islam requires its followers to give precedence to obedience of Allah, seeking His pleasure and avoiding His prohibitions over everything and everybody else whosoever, even if this were in conflict with their desires, for the sake of winning Allah’s reward in Paradise and escaping His punishment in Hell-fire. However, Islam has not ignored the physical aspects of punishment and resort to violence against those who rebel against its instructions and disobey its directives. Some people would require force to deter them from committing violations that are harmful to them and to their society. That is why Islam assigns for each crime a punishment that matches with the extent of its seriousness. It has prescribed retaliation for intentional murder; Allah said: “O you who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered...” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Baqarah, 2:178) Unless the heir of the murdered forgoes, Allah said: “…And for him who is forgiven somewhat by his (injured) brother…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Baqarah, 2:178) And for robbery it has prescribed the cutting off the hand, He said: “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 All-Mighty, All-Wise.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Ma’ida, 5:38) When a thief is sure that his hand will be cut off if he steals, he will give up theft and thereby save his hand, and at the same time people’s property and money from robbery. It has prescribed flogging in case of trespassing upon honor and modesty, i.e., in case of illegal sexual intercourse, Allah said: “The woman and the man guilty of fornication, scourge you each one of them (with) a hundred stripes…?” (The Qur’aan Chapter An-Nur, 24:2) And for accusation of chaste women (of adultery), it has prescribed eighty stripes, Allah said: “And those who accuse honorable women (of adultery) but bring not four witnesses, scourge them (with) eighty stripes…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter An-Nur, 24:4) The Islamic Law sets a general rule for penalties, Allah said: “The recompense of an ill-deed is an ill the like thereof…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Ash-Shura, 42:40) “If you punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith you were afflicted…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter An-Nahl, 16:126) Islam has not made such penalties inevitable: it has left the way open to forgiveness, Allah said: “…Let them forgive and show indulgence…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter An-Nur, 24:22) “But whosoever pardons and amends, his wage is the affair of Allah…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Ash-Shura, 42:40) When it decides to implement these penalties, Islam does not aim at revenge and love of violence. It aims at preserving rights of people, establishing security and peace in society, and deterring those who intend to disturb its peace and stability. When a murderer realizes that he will be executed, a thief that his hand will be cut off, an adulterer that he will be flogged, they will be deterred from committing their crime and thereby maintain their own and other’s safety and security. The Qur’aan sums up this truth: “And there is life for you in retaliation, O men of understanding.” (The Qur’aan Chapter Al-Baqarah, 2:179) One may say that the penalties ordained by Islam for certain crimes are cruel! The answer is that everyone agrees that these crimes are evidently harmful to society and must be fought and retaliated against; conflict and disagreement consist in the kind of punishment. Let everybody ask himself and decide: Are the penalties prescribed by Islam more viable and effective to root out or minimize crime, or the man-made punishment?
Islam points out that good acts are multiplied and that good intention is to be rewarded even if it is not followed by action, Allah says: “whoso brings a good deed will receive ten-fold the like thereof, while whoso brings an ill-deed will be awarded but the like thereof.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter An-An’am, 6:160) The Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “Intention determines the worth of a person’s actions and he will attain what he intends.” (Bukhari and Muslim) Moreover, if a Muslim intends to do a good deed for fear of Allah’s wrath, he will be rewarded for that. The Gracious Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “One who makes up his mind to do a good deed but does not carry it out, is rewarded by Allah for one full measure of it, and if he then proceeds to carry it out, Allah rewards him from ten to seven hundred times and even many times more. He who is inclined towards an evil deed, but does not carry it out, is rewarded by Allah for one full measure of good deed. Should he carry it out, he is debited only by one evil deed.” (Bukhari and Muslim) In addition, habits and permissible things turn into rewardable devotions when associated with good intention. Food and drink, for example, when associated with the intention to maintain the body and preserve its strength for earning a living and performing the prescribed devotions, as well as providing for one’s family, will be regarded an aspect of worship that deserves Allah’s reward. The Noble Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “…To cohabit with your wife is charity.” He was asked: Is it possible that one of us should satisfy his desire and yet he would be rewarded? He said: Yes. If he satisfied his urge through illicit means, would it not be sinful? Likewise, when he satisfies it lawfully it is deserving reward.” (Muslim)
According to Islam, Hasanat (rewards) are multiplied and even the good intention, the Muslim will be rewarded for it even if he does not implement it, Allah said: “Whoever brings a good deed (Islamic Monotheism and deeds of obedience to Allah and His Messenger) shall have ten times the like thereof to his credit.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter An-An’am, 6:160)
According to Islam, sins are replaced with good deeds if sinners are sincere in their repentance and determined never to return to their sins. The Qur’aan states in this context: “And those who cry not unto any other god along with Allah, nor take the life which Allah has forbidden save in (course of) justice, nor commit adultery; and whoso does this shall pay the penalty. The doom will be doubled for him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein disdained forever. Save him who repents and believes and does righteous work: as for such, Allah will change their evil deeds to good deeds, Allah is ever Forgiving, Most merciful.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Furqan, 25:68-70) This is for what is due to Allah. As for the rights of people, they should have access to them and apology should be offered to them for any hurt or pain caused to them, such as beating, abusing, backbiting and slandering; but in case of trespassing on people’s property and the like, he will have to return it to them and also to ask their forgiveness. The Islamic Shari’a has addressed the sinner’s mind directly and treated his/her troubled mentality by opening for him/her the way to repentance so that he/she should be deterred from sin, Allah said: “Say: O my slaves who have been too sinful to their own hurt! Despair not of the mercy of Allah, for Allah verily forgives all sins.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Az-Zumar, 39:53) “Yet whoso does evil or wrongs his own soul, then seeks pardon of Allah, will find Allah ever forgiving, All-Merciful.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter An-Nisaa, 4:110) That is for Muslims. As for non-Muslims who embraced this religion, they will be given double reward on account of their belief in their own messenger, besides their belief in the message of Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the Qur’aan said: “Those unto whom We gave the Scripture before it, they believe in it. And when it is recited unto them, they say: We believe in it. Lo! It is the truth from our Rabb. Lo! Even before it we were of those who surrender (unto Him) These will be given their reward twice over, because they are steadfast and repel evil with good, and spend of that where with We have provided them.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Qasas, 28:52-54) In addition, Allah will erase all their sins which they had committed before their Islam, for the Gracious Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “Islam undoes all (ill-deeds) that have been done before (embracing) it.”
Islam ensures for Muslims the continuation of good deeds even after death through virtuous endeavors and ongoing charitable acts so long as they are beneficial to the whole society. The Gracious Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “After the death of a person his actions stop, except three things that he leaves behind: 1- Continuous charity. 2- Knowledge from which some benefit may be obtained. 3- And a righteous child who prays for him.” (Muslim) He peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “A person who invites others to righteousness shall have a recompense equal to the recompense of those who follow his guidance without reducing their recompense; whereas, he who invites others to error shall have a share of punishment equal to that due to those who follow him without reducing their punishment.” (Muslim)
Islam values the human mind highly and encourages sound reasoning. It liberates it from the fetters of heathenism and mental bondage. There is no need for anybody or anything to interfere or intercede with Allah on behalf of His creation - All are equal in the sight of Allah, Who addresses mankind: “Lo! In the heavens and the earth are portents (signs) for the believers. And in your creation, and all the beasts that He scatters in the earth, are portents for a folk whose faith is sure: And the alternations of night and day and the provision that Allah sends down from the sky and thereby revives the earth after her death, and the ordering of the winds, are portents for a people who have sense.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Jathiya, 45:3-5) It criticizes those who imitate and follow older generations without knowledge or guidance, Allah said: “And when it is said unto them: Follow that which Allah has revealed. They say: We follow that wherein we found our fathers. What! Even though their fathers were wholly unintelligent and had no guidance?” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Baqarah, 2:170) It is common in the Glorious Qur’aan to address the human mind: “Have they then no sense?” “Will they not then ponder…?” “Will you not then take thought?” Islam, however, has determined the domain of mental activity: The human mind should be used to perceive the visible and tangible; it has no access to the unseen which cannot be perceived by the senses, and engaging the mind with such things is a mere dissipation of efforts and energies.
Islam has liberated the human soul from being controlled blindly by others whomsoever, by imbuing it with conviction that no other than Allah can quicken the dead or cause death or harm. So no man, whatever his race, color, or position is, can benefit or harm, deprive or give, unless Allah, Glory be to Him, wills so. The Qur’aan states: “…And (they) possess not hurt nor profit for themselves, and possess not death nor life, nor power to raise the dead.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Furqan, 25:3) If Allah’s Messenger peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, despite his high rank with Allah, is subject to what applies to other people: How then would be the case for others. The Qur’aan says: “Say: For myself I have no power to benefit, nor power to hurt, save that which Allah wills. And if I knew the Unseen, I would have abundance of wealth, and adversity would not touch me. I am but a warner, and a bearer of good tidings unto folk who believe.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-A’raf, 7:188) It has also freed the human mind from anxiety, fear and confusion, by treating their causes:
If the cause is fear of death, it is stated in the Holy Qur’aan: “No soul can ever die except by Allah’s Leave and at a term appointed…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Imran, 3:145) However hard man tries to escape death, it is lying in wait for him. The Qur’aan says: “Say (to them, O Muhammad): Lo! The death from which you flee will surely overtake, will surely meet you…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Jumu’a, 62:8)
If it is fear of poverty, it is made clear in the Qur’an: “…There is not a beast in the earth but the sustenance thereof depends on Allah. He knows its habitation and its repository. All is in a clear record.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Hud, 11:6)
If it is fear of disease and misfortunes, it is stated in this regard, Allah said: “If Allah touches you with affliction, there is none that can relieve therefrom save Him, and if He desires good for you, there is none who can repel His bounty. He strikes with it whom He wills of His bondmen…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Yunus, 10:107) The Qur’aan also states: “No disaster befalls in the earth or in yourselves but it is in a Book before We bring it into being. Lo! That is easy for Allah. That you grieve not for the sake of that which has escaped you, nor yet exult because of that which has been given to you. Allah loves not all prideful boasters.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Hadid, 57:22-23)
Islam does not charge with tasks that are beyond the scope of human ability. It is the religion of facility, simplicity, moderate, reasonableness, and freedom from hardship. This is stated in the Glorious Qur’aan: “Allah tasks not a soul beyond its scope. For it (is only) that which it has earned, and against it (only) that which it has deserved…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Baqarah, 2:286) The Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “Allah has not sent me as a self-opinionated (messenger) nor to make others self-opinionated; but as a teacher and to facilitate things for people.” (Muslim) He peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “Make things easy and convenient and don’t make them harsh and difficult. Give cheers and glad tidings and do not create hatred.” (Bukhari) He peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “If I order you to do something, do what you can thereof.” (Buhari) Once a man came to Allah’s Messenger peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and said: “O Allah’s Messenger! I have been ruined.” Allah’s Messenger peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, asked: “What was the matter with you.” He replied: “I had sexual intercourse with my wife while I was observing fast.” Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, asked him: “Can you afford to manumit a slave?” He replied in the negative. Allah’s Messenger peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, asked him: “Can you observe fast for two successive months?” He replied in the negative. The Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, asked him: “Can you afford to feed sixty poor persons?” He replied in the negative. The Prophet kept silent and while we were in that state, a big basket full of dates was brought to the Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, He asked: “Where is the questioner?” He replied: “I am here.” The Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to him: “Take this (basket of dates) and give it in charity.” The man said: “Should I give it to a person poorer than I? By Allah; there is no family between its (Al-Madinah’s) two mountains who are poorer than I.” The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) smiled till his premolar teeth became visible and then he peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “Feed your family with it.” (Al-Bukhari) All principles and devotions of Islam are in harmony with human abilities, they do not tend to overburden them, so that people may have no excuse for neglecting such principles and devotions, taking into consideration that they can be dropped in cases of necessity. For example:
One of the obligatory acts of prayer is standing in case of ability. In case of inability to stand, a worshipper may perform prayer in the sitting posture; if not: in the reclining posture; if not: by gesture. Likewise, Congregational (or Jama’a) Prayer at Mosque is obligatory for men, but such an obligation is dropped in case of sickness, fear, extreme cold or heavy rain. Another example is relieving a woman in her courses or childbirth period of prayer until ritual impurity is over; she is not required to make up for missed prayer.
Payment of Zakat (the poor-due) is not required of those who do not possess the minimum amount of money, property or assets set for the imposition of Zakat.
A person who is too sick or too old for fasting is exempt from fasting and a person who is traveling, and a woman in her period or confinement, are exempted from fasting until such excuses are over. They can make up for the days they have not fasted.
Those who are incapable of Hajj physically or financially during Hajj season are exempted from this religious duty, until they are capable financially. In which case the physically incapable person will have to delegate someone to perform Hajj on his behalf. The Qur’aan states: “… And pilgrimage (Hajj) to the House is a duty unto Allah for mankind, for him who can find a way thither (i.e., can afford it)…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Imran, 3:97)
If a person is afraid he will die, he is allowed to keep himself alive with unlawful food or drink, such as carrion, blood, pork or wine, provided he finds nothing lawful to eat or drink. The Qur’aan says: “He has only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name has been invoked besides that of Allah. But if one is forced by necessity, without willful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits, then is he guiltless. For Allah is Oft-Forging Most Merciful.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Baqarah, 2:173) In his commentary on this verse, Sayyed Qutb said: “It is the creed which acknowledges man as human, not as an animal, angel or devil. It recognizes him with all his weaknesses and strengths, takes him as one entity comprising a body with its desires, a mind with its power of reasoning and a spirit with its hopes and aspirations. It also prescribes for him obligations that he can afford and observes balancing and coordination between obligations and ability without causing any hardship or overburdening him.”
Islam urges people to abstain from slander and to respect others feelings by refraining from insulting their religious beliefs. In the Qur’aan, it is stated: “Revile not those unto whom they pray besides Allah, lest they wrongfully revile Allah through ignorance…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-An’am, 6:108)
Islam encourages meaningful dialogue which guides to the Divine Path and good manners, Allah said: “Say: 'O People of the Scripture! Come to a word agreed upon between us and you, that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others for Rabbs besides Allah. Then, if they turn away, say: Bear witness that we are Muslims.'” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Imran, 3:64)
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Islam is the religion of middle-of-the-road and moderation in matters of both religion and worldly life. The Qur’aan states said: “Thus We have made you a medium nation (Ummah), that you may be witnesses over mankind, and that the Messenger may be a witness over you...” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Baqarah, 2:143) Thus Islam is:
Middle-of-the-road as regards prophets between those who held extreme views about them (like Christians) and those who were harsh to them (like Jews), since Muslims believe in all prophets and behave towards them with all due respect and love.
Moderate in all Shari’a - related matters: Islam is free from the strictness and burdens of the Jews and from the extreme indulgence and negligence of the Christians.
Islam considers every good deed performed by a Muslim an act of charity, as pointed out by the Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him: “Charity is necessary for every Muslim.” He was asked: “If a person may have nothing?” The Holy Prophet replied: “He should work with his own hands for his benefit and also give (something out of such earnings in) charity.” The companions said: “And if he may not be able to work?” The Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “He should help poor and needy people.” They said: “And if he cannot do even that?” The Holy Prophet said that: “he should urge others to do good.” The companions said: “And if he doesn’t do that also?” The Holy Prophet said: “Let him check himself from doing evil: That is charity also (for him).” (Bukhari) The Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “Do not consider even the smallest good deed as insignificant; even meeting your bother with a cheerful face (is a good deed).” (Muslim)
Islam orders Muslims to preserve the environment and refrain from causing any environmental pollution whatsoever:
By urging them to plant useful trees, the Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “If a Muslim plants a tree, then whatever is eaten from it be human or animals is a charity.” (Muslim)
By urging them to remove all that is harmful, the Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “Removing anything which causes harm from the path of others is charity.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
By urging them to apply free-will quarantine, as this is called for in the Prophet’s peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, words: “If you hear of (an epidemic of plague) in a land, then do not go there, and if you happen to be in a land (where this epidemic has erupted), then do not run away from it.” (Bukhari and Muslim) This is just to prevent epidemics and infectious diseases from being passed on to others and to save the lives of people.
By warning them against killing birds, animals or other creatures without reasonable cause or purpose. The Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “Whoever kills a bird in vain, that bird says to Allah Almighty on the Day of Judgement: O Rabb! Mr. So-and-so killed me just for fun and not for any good purpose.” (Imam Ahmad and Nasa’i)
By warning them against contaminating public utilities such as water sources, in view of the Prophet’s Hadith in this regard related on the authority of Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah’s Messenger peace be with him: “interdicted urinating in stagnant water.” (Muslim)
And, finally by warning them against any acts that cause environmental damage on earth. Allah, Glory to Him, says: “Work not confusion in the earth after the fair ordering (thereof), and call on Him in fear and hope. Lo! The mercy of Allah is (ever) near unto the good-doers.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-A’raf, 7:56) He also says: “And when he turns away (from you) his effort in the land is to make mischief therein and to destroy the crops and the cattle; and Allah loves not mischief. And when it is said unto him: Be careful of your duty to Allah, pride takes him to sin. So Hell will be enough for him (as punishment), an evil resting-place.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Baqarah, 2:205-206)
Islam is the religion of all-embracing peace, in the full meaning of the word. Both on the internal level of the Muslim society: (as pointed out by the Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “The perfect Muslim is one from whose tongue and hand all Muslims are immune, and (perfect) emigrant is one who leaves those things which Allah has prohibited.” (Bukhari and Muslim) Also: “A true believer is from whom people are safe.” And on the global level on basis of establishing friendly relations that are based on security, stability and non-aggression between the Muslim society and other societies, especially those societies that do not play with religion, as stated in the Qur’aan: “O you who believe! Come all of you, into submission (Islam) unto Him: and follow not the footsteps of the devil. Lo! He is an open enemy for you.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Baqarah, 2:208) In order to maintain such peace, Islam instructs Muslims to repel attacks and fight against oppression. This is stated in the Qur’aan: “… And one who attacks you, attack him in like manner as he attached you…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Baqarah, 2:194) To demonstrate its interest in peace and antipathy against oppression, murder and terrorism, Islam orders its adherents, even in case of war, to accept peace and stop fighting when the enemy requests that, Allah: “But if they incline to peace, you also incline to it, and (put your) trust in Allah. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Anfal, 8:61) While Islam is keen on peace, it does not mean that they should accept humility for the sake of peace. Rather, it instructs them to maintain peace while keeping their pride and dignity intact. The Qur’aan states: “So be not weak and ask not for peace (from the enemies of Islam) while you are having the upper hand. Allah is with you and He will never decrease the reward of your good deeds.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Muhammad, 47:35)
Islam makes it a rule that embracing it should emanate from full conviction, away from coercion. In the Holy Qur’aan it is stated: “There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Baqarah, 2:256) It also states: “And say: The Truth is from your Rabb. Then whosoever wills, let him believe; and whosoever wills, let him disbelieve…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Kahf, 18:29) It is part of Islam’s tolerance and justice to give people the freedom to choose their belief. It holds that mankind is free to accept or reject its teachings and that Jews or Christians who refuse to embrace it are completely free to practice their believes and doctrines without undergoing any kind of oppression or harassment that affects such practice. It is never allowed to ruin their churches or break their crosses, for the Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “Leave them to practice their own religion.” Islam also gives them the freedom to have the foods or drinks deemed lawful by their religion, so their pigs should never be killed and their wine should not be spilt. As for civil affairs, such as marriage and divorce cases and financial transactions, they have the full freedom to behave according to their beliefs. Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, put this into action: While he was once inside a church in Jerusalem, the call to prayer was announced, upon which he went out of the church for prayer and said to the Patriarch: “I’m afraid if I prayed within the church that Muslims after me would say this is the praying place of Omar and then demolish it and build a Mosque in its place..” (Narrated by Tabari) According to the famous historian, Tabari, Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, granted them a guarantee of security for themselves, their property, churches and crosses: that no damage or destruction shall be allowed to be inflicted on them, nor shall any coercion or oppression be practiced against them in matters of religion.
Islam is the first religion to call to the liberation of bondmen, while prohibiting all kinds of slavery. It closed all the doors to human bondage, except for one, i.e., through captivity, subject to conditions. This is clear from the fact that Islam narrowed down the sources of slavery and expanded the outlets for emancipation, such as slave liberation in expiation of certain sins like:
Killing by mistake (as stated in the Qur’an): “He who has killed a believer by mistake must set free a believing slave, and pay the blood-money to the family of the slain, unless they remit it as a charity. If he (the victim) be of a people hostile unto you, and he is a believer, then (the penance is) to set free a believing slave. And if he comes of a folk between whom and you there is a covenant, then the blood-money must be paid unto his folk and (also) a believing slave must be set free…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter An-Nisaa, 4:92)
The violation of one’s oath, Allah: “Allah will not take you to task for that which is unintentional in your oaths, but He will take you to task for the oaths which you swear in earnest. The expiation thereof is the feeding of ten of the needy with the average of that wherewith you feed your own folk, or the clothing of them, or the liberation of a slave…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Ma’ida, 5:89)
Zihar, i.e., declaring a wife to be like one’s mother, Allah the exalted said: “Those who put away their wives (by saying they are as their mothers) and afterwards would go back on that which they have said, (the penalty) in that case (is) the freeing of a slave before they touch one another…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Mujadila, 58:3)
Performing sexual intercourse while fasting in Ramadan.
Setting slaves fee, which was highly encouraged by Islam, with promises of great reward for the emancipator, Allah said: “Did We not assign unto him two eyes, and a tongue and two lips, and show him the two ways (of good and evil)? Why has he not attempted the Ascent (instead of spending his money in hostility to Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)? Ah, what will convey unto you what the Ascent is! -It is to free a slave).” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Balad, 90:8-13) The Holy Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “A person who frees a Muslim salve, Allah will deliver everyone of his limbs from the fire of Hell in return for each of the limbs of the slave.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Writing of emancipation (i.e., Mukatabah), which is an agreement between a master and his slave for emancipating the latter against an agreed amount of money. Certain jurists (especially Imam Ahmad) Allah’s mercy be upon him, held that in case a slave requests a writing of emancipation it will be incumbent upon his master to respond positively to them, as stated in the Qur’aan: “…And such of your slaves seek a writing (of emancipation), write it for them if you are aware of any good in them, and bestow upon them from the wealth of Allah which has bestowed upon you…” (The Qur’aan, Chapter An-Nur, 24:33) Furthermore, Islam has made slave and captive emancipation of the outlets for spending Zakat revenues or payment of one’s Zakat (poor-due) The Qur’aan states: “The alms (i.e., Zakat) are only for the poor and the 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 All-Knower, All-Wise.” (The Qur’aan, Chapter At-Tauba, 9:60)
Islam encompasses all aspects of life - ideological, political, social, economic and moral. The Qur’aan says: “…And We have sent down to you the Book (The Qur’aan) as an exposition of everything, a guidance, a mercy, and glad tidings for those who have submitted themselves (to Allah as Muslims).” (The Qur’aan, Chapter Al-Nahl, 16:89) Allah’s Messenger peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “(The Muslim) Faith consists of seventy some aspects, the highest of which is the testimony that there is no god but Allah, and the lowest is removing dirt or nuisance from the road. Modesty is one of the branches of faith.” (Bukhari) An evidence of such comprehensiveness is Islam’s interest in human conduct and those particulars related to people’s life. For example, Allah’s Messenger peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, explains etiquette when entering or going out of the toilet, by saying: “If one of you goes into the toilet, he should advance his left foot first and say: "Bismillah! Allahumma Inni Au’dhu bika minal Khubti wal-Khaba’ith." (Meaning, "In the name of Allah. O Allah! I seek refuge in You from vicious devils (both males and females)." When he goes out, he should put his right foot first and say: Al-hamdu Lillahil-Ladhiy ‘adhaba ‘annil-’aza wa ‘afaani. (Praise be to Allah, Who has relieved me of nuisance and made me well).” (Bukhari)
 Rew. G. Margoliouth, Introduction to the Koran. Rev. J. M. Rodwell. London 1918.
 Jean Melia: Le Coran Pour La France.
 Hartwig Hirshfeld: New Researches into Composition and Exegesis of the Qur’aan. London 1902, p.9.
 Adapted from Mohammed Asad: Islam at the Cross-roads, Fifth Edition, p.29.
 Holy Sepulchre Church.
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