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Today's Reminder

August 16, 2022 | Muharram 18, 1444

Living The Quran

Mutual Benefit
Al-Qalam (The Pen) Sura 68: Verse 24

So they departed, whispering to one another: "Let not a single needy person break in upon you into the garden this day."

The principle of "giving" or "spending on the needy" or "sharing" has been emphasized in the successive messages of God since early times. God calls on the human beings to worship Him only, and His messages, if truly understood, may take them away from their egotism and greed, and direct them towards sensitivity towards others and human togetherness. In the above verse, the owners of a garden combined their lack of God-consciousness with their refrainment from helping the needy. As their greed tempted them to forget God and to refrain from giving and sharing with the needy, they were reminded that God's will and might are above their planning. It was not only the poor and needy who could not receive their share of what God entrusted the garden's owner with, but the owners themselves were deprived of any fruits from the garden. The message is clear: the haves should give. It is a test for the rich and the poor, and God's guidance secures justice for all.

Everyone has to work hard to earn his/her own living, and those who may be deprived of any chance to secure their needs temporarily or permanently have to be supported by those who are prospering. The whole society contributes to the individual's wealth, and giving to the needy would add to the purchasing power and economic development. It is a circle of mutual benefit that is achieved by human co-operation and solidarity, whereas selfishness and greed lead to a deterioration of faith and morality as well as a decline and conflict in the society, and they result in human suffering in this life and the life to come. However, self-correction is always possible as long as one is alive.

Compiled From:
"Concepts of the Quran" - Fathi Osman, pp. 782, 783

From Issue: 1050 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Neighbours

Neighbours have rights, be they Muslims or non-Muslims. The Prophet of Allah said: "He is not a true Believer who eats his fill while his neighbour is hungry". (Bayhaqi.)

Thus, the quality of our Din and fate in the Akhira will also be determined by how well we fulfill our obligations towards our neighbours. In a hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, a man said:

"O Messenger of Allah, such and such woman has a reputation for engaging very much in Prayers, Fasting and Almsgiving, but she hurts her neighbours with her tongue quite often." He said, "She will go to Hell." Then he said, "O Messenger of Allah, such and such woman engages in only a little Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving and gives just a few pieces of cheese in charity, but she does not hurt her neighbours with her tongue". He said,"She will go to Paradise." (Ahmad, Bayhaqi.)

One class of neighbours is our relatives. Another class are those who are not our relatives and the third class of neighbours are those who sit with us, even for a few minutes. This third class of neighbours is a very wide group and includes those who sit by our side. If we are travelling in a taxi, bus, train or aeroplane the person who is sitting by our side is our neighbour. If we are in the office, our co-worker is our neighbour. If we are at school, our classmate is our neighbour.

Among the rights of your neighbour is that his life, property and honour must be protected. Violation of any of them is haram or unlawful. His life is inviolable. Remember that the life of a non-Muslim is as important as that of a Muslim. The Prophet Muhammad said that "One who kills a non-Muslim whose protection is pledged will never smell the fragrance of Janna, even though it reaches as far as 40 years distance". (Bukhari, Muslim.)

So the life of the non-Muslim is also inviolable, as is his property and his honour. All must be respected and safeguarded. This is especially important for us to consider because we live in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society and, unfortunately, there are many misconceptions prevailing among Muslims about the extent of their obligations towards non-Muslims. The Prophet himself used to pay special attention to the needs of non-Muslims even when there was poverty, hardship and difficulties in the Muslim community.

Compiled From:
"In The Early Hours" - Khurram Murad, pp.125,126

From Issue: 617 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Shariah and Fiqh

Fiqh is the legal science and can sometimes be used synonymously with Shariah. The two are, however, different in that Shariah is closely identified with divine revelation (wahy), the knowledge of which could only be obtained from the Quran and Sunnah. Fiqh has, on the other hand, been largely developed by jurists and consists of rules which are mainly founded on human reasoning and ijtihad. Shariah is thus the wider circle, and it embraces in its orbit all human actions, whereas fiqh is narrower in scope and addresses mainly what is referred to as practical legal rules (al-ahkam al-amaliyah). The path of Shariah is laid down by God and His Messenger; the edifice of fiqh is erected by human endeavour.

Muslim scholars have generally regarded fiqh as understanding of the Shariah, and not the Shariah itself; a certain distinction between them had thus existed from the formative stages of fiqh. Note, for example, that the leading schools of law that were developed in the first three centuries were all known as the schools of fiqh. They were not known by any such terms as the Hanafi Shariah, or Shafii Shariah but consistently as Hanafi fiqh, Shafii fiqh and so forth. The underlying message was one of unity in reference to Shariah but of diversity with regard to fiqh.

Compiled From:
"Shariah Law - An Introduction" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 15, 16

From Issue: 540 [Read original issue]