Friday, October 31, 2008

Lawful [Halaal] and Unlawful [Haraam].

Sultan Shahin wrote:

Dear Friends

1. Yoga haram for Muslims! Are Malaysian clerics losing their mind?


Dear Sultan Sahab,

Regarding Lawful [Halaal] and Unlawful [Haraam] my comment are as under:

Prophet Mohammad [PBUH] allows us to eat the dead found in the sea [Bukhari and Muslim]. Prawns and Shrimps comes under the Order of Prophet so we should enjoy and eat Prawns and Shrimp freel without any doubt instead of making a Halal [Allowed] thing a Haram [Unlawful]

Muslims have strange behaviour because Absurd Islamic Hanafi Fiqh declares that Prwans and Shrimps are Haram to eat [Hanafi' Fiqh's Makrooh means Haram - Reference:

إعلام الموقعين عن رب العالمين

I'laam ul Muwaqqi'een 'an Rabb il 'Aalameen Ibn Qayyam

Ibn Qayyam in his book above exposed the absurdities of Fiqh in 2 thick Volume Book.

There is a book by Hanafi Scholars namely Kitabul Heel [Book of excuses] wherein these Rampant Fatwa Mongering Hanafi Scholars issued 250 Fatwa [Religious edicts] which has made Unlawful [Haraam] into Lawful [Halal]. In one of the Fatwa from Qazi Abu Yusuf [who is praised by the 20th Century Abdullah Ibn Saba (Creator of Shia Religion) i.e. Mawdoodi of Jamat-e-Islami in his book Khilafat o Malookiyat] had advised to an Abbasi Caliph that he can sexually use the slave woman freed by Caliph's Father [as per Quran and Hadith this is Haraam].

Another absurdity of Hanafi Fiqh as per their books

Crow [Kawwa in Urdu - Ghurab is Arabic] is clearly declared Haram in Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah]

But Hanafi Fiqh books Fatawa Alamgiri [Egyptian Edition], Mabsoot, Ainal Sharah Hidaya, Kitabul Behrar Riqaiq Sharah Kunzul Daqaiq decalres that eating Crow is Halal [Lawful]

Another absurdity rather Blasphmey attributed towrds Hanafi Fiqh, their Hanafi Fiqh books and Hanafi Scholars that writing Quranic Verse with blood and urine [for recovery from Illness] is allowed. Reference is attributed Fourth Hijri's Hanafi Scholar Abu Bakar Mohammad Bin Ahmed Skaf, Fatawa Qazi Khan Chapter Bab Al Hazar Wal Ibahat, Kitabul Behrar Riqaiq Sharah Kunzul Daqaiq bab Tanzih Al Bair Bu Qooh, Fatawa Sirajiya Bab Al Tadawi, Hamawi Sharah Al Ashba Walnazair Bab Al quaeeda Al Khamisa Al Zarar La Yazal, Raddal Mukhtar Sharah Darr Al Mukhtar aka Fatawa Shami Bab Al Tadawi Bil Mehram.

And one such absurdities of Hanafi Fiqh is that you can offer Salat while carrying puppy [clear violation of Quran and Hadith].

Muslims are bothered about KFC AND PIZZA Legality but Muslims are least bothered about Islamic Month Rajab's Special Food Offerring [attributed towards Hazrat Jaffer Sadiq's Niaz] whereas Rajab is the Month when Hazrat Muawiyah [May Allah be pleased with him] died but shamelessly Rafizis and Sunni offer food to celebrate the death of the Companion.

They are least bothered about what they eat in the name of Islami e.g. Food Offered in the name of Dead Saints like Qadir Jeelani, Ahmed Rafai, Moin Chishti, Shahbaz Qalandar and millions other 'unkown' saints.

Islamic Month Safar is considered Accursed particularly in Ind-Pak, Iraq and Iran and in these months special food is offered to ward off Bad Omen. These Muslims eat that too... These Muslims even eat what is offerred at the Tombs of the Saints or Graveyard. About many graves they dont even know as to what is buried there.

Muslims questions KFC and Pizza legality but overwhelming majority of such muslims violated the below mentioned Quranic Verse by eating offerrings given in the name of other than Allah:

حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالْدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنْزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللّهِ بِهِ وَالْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَالْمَوْقُوذَةُ وَالْمُتَرَدِّيَةُ وَالنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَا أَكَلَ السَّبُعُ إِلاَّ مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى النُّصُبِ وَأَن تَسْتَقْسِمُواْ بِالأَزْلاَمِ ذَلِكُمْ فِسْقٌ الْيَوْمَ يَئِسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِن دِينِكُمْ فَلاَ تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِ الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلاَمَ دِينًا فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ فِي
مَخْمَصَةٍ غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍ لِّإِثْمٍ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Forbidden unto you (for food) are carrion and blood and swineflesh, and that which hath been dedicated unto any other than Allah, and the strangled, and the dead through beating, and the dead through falling from a height, and that which hath been killed by (the goring of) horns, and the devoured of wild beasts, saving that which ye make lawful (by the death-stroke) , and that which hath been immolated unto idols. And (forbidden is it) that ye swear by the divining arrows. This is an abomination. This day are those who disbelieve in despair of (ever harming) your religion; so fear them not, fear Me! This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour unto you, and have chosen for you as religion al-Islam. Whoso is forced by hunger, not by will, to sin: (for him) lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. [AL-MAEDA (THE TABLE, THE TABLE SPREAD) Chapter 5 Verse 3]

Among the blessings that Allaah has bestowed upon us is the fact that He has made our religion easy for us, and has not made it too difficult or unbearable. He has allowed us many things that were forbidden according to previously-revealed laws. Allaah says

يُرِيدُ اللّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلاَ يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ

Interpretation of the meaning:

Allah desireth for you ease; He desireth not hardship for you; [AL-BAQARA (THE COW) Chapter 2 - Verse 185]


The Arabs of the pre-Islamic era provide a noteworthy example of utter confusion regarding the criteria for making lawful or prohibiting things and actions. They permitted the drinking of alcohol, the taking of usury at exorbitant rates, the torturing and secluding of women, and many similar practices. Those who had diabolical minds made alluring to many of them the killing of their own children, until, suppressing their natural paternal feelings, they obeyed them.

Allah says:

وَكَذَلِكَ زَيَّنَ لِكَثِيرٍ مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ قَتْلَ أَوْلاَدِهِمْ شُرَكَآؤُهُمْ لِيُرْدُوهُمْ وَلِيَلْبِسُواْ عَلَيْهِمْ دِينَهُمْ وَلَوْ شَاء اللّهُ مَا فَعَلُوهُ فَذَرْهُمْ وَمَا يَفْتَرُونَ

Thus have their (so-called) partners (of Allah) made the killing of their children to seem fair unto many of the idolaters, that they may ruin them and make their faith obscure for them. Had Allah willed (it otherwise), they had not done so. So leave them alone with their devices. [AL-ANAAM (CATTLE, LIVESTOCK) Chapter 6 Verse 137]

These "partners" from among the guardians of the idols had devised many impressive arguments to persuade fathers to kill their children; among them were the fear of actual or anticipated poverty, the impending shame in case of a daughter, and the closeness to the gods to be attained by the sacrifice of a son.

It is strange that these same people who permitted the killing of their children by cutting their throats or burying them alive had prohibited to themselves the eating of certain agricultural produce and the flesh of cattle. Stranger still is that they considered such prohibitions as part of their religion, attributing them to Allah's command. (It should be noted that while worshipping and ascribing powers to numerous male and female deities the pagan Arabs of the pre-Islamic era possessed the concept of a supreme Deity, Allah, ascribing to Him many false attributes and laws. (Trans.))

But Allah rejected their false claim:

وَقَالُواْ هَـذِهِ أَنْعَامٌ وَحَرْثٌ حِجْرٌ لاَّ يَطْعَمُهَا إِلاَّ مَن نّشَاء بِزَعْمِهِمْ وَأَنْعَامٌ حُرِّمَتْ ظُهُورُهَا وَأَنْعَامٌ لاَّ يَذْكُرُونَ اسْمَ اللّهِ عَلَيْهَا افْتِرَاء عَلَيْهِ سَيَجْزِيهِم بِمَا كَانُواْ يَفْتَرُونَ

And they say: Such cattle and crops are forbidden. No-one is to eat of them save whom we will - in their make-believe - cattle whose backs are forbidden, cattle over which they mention not the name of Allah. (All that is) a lie against Him. He will repay them for that which they invent. [AL-ANAAM (CATTLE, LIVESTOCK) Chapter 6 Verse 138]

Moreover, the Qur'an exposed the error of those who made halal what should have been prohibited and made haram what should have been permitted:

قَدْ خَسِرَ الَّذِينَ قَتَلُواْ أَوْلاَدَهُمْ سَفَهًا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَحَرَّمُواْ مَا رَزَقَهُمُ اللّهُ افْتِرَاء عَلَى اللّهِ قَدْ ضَلُّواْ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُهْتَدِينَ

They are losers who besottedly have slain their children without knowledge, and have forbidden that which Allah bestowed upon them, inventing a lie against Allah. They indeed have gone astray and are not guided. [AL-ANAAM (CATTLE, LIVESTOCK) Chapter 6 Verse 140]

The first asl (Asl, plural usual, denotes origin, source, foundation, basis, fundamental or principle. (Trans.)), or principle, established by Islam is that the things which Allah has created and the benefits derived from them are essentially for man's use, and hence are permissible. Nothing is haram except what is prohibited by a sound and explicit nas (Nas denotes either a verse of the Qur'an or a clear, authentic, and explicit sunnah (practice or saying) of Prophet Muhammad. These are the two main sources of Islamic law, i.e., its Shari'ah. (Trans.)) from the Law-Giver, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala. If the nas is not sound, as for example in the case of a weak hadith, or if it is not explicit in stating the prohibition, the original principle of permissibility applies.

وَمَا لَكُمْ أَلاَّ تَأْكُلُواْ مِمَّا ذُكِرَ اسْمُ اللّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَقَدْ فَصَّلَ لَكُم مَّا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِلاَّ مَا اضْطُرِرْتُمْ إِلَيْهِ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا لَّيُضِلُّونَ بِأَهْوَائِهِم بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُعْتَدِينَ

How should ye not eat of that over which the name of Allah hath been mentioned, when He hath explained unto you that which is forbidden unto you unless ye are compelled thereto. But lo! many are led astray by their own lusts through ignorance. Lo! thy Lord, He is Best Aware of the transgressors. [[AL-ANAAM (CATTLE, LIVESTOCK) Chapter 6 Verse 119]

In Islam the sphere of prohibited things is very small, while that of permissible things is extremely vast. There is only a small number of sound and explicit texts concerning prohibitions, while whatever is not mentioned in a nas as being lawful or prohibited falls under the general principle of the permissibility of things and within the domain of Allah's favor.

In this regard the Prophet Mohammad (peace be on him) said: What Allah has made lawful in His Book is halal and what He has forbidden is haram, and that concerning which He is silent is allowed as His favor. So accept from Allah His favor, for Allah is not forgetful of anything. He then recited,

وَمَا نَتَنَزَّلُ إِلَّا بِأَمْرِ رَبِّكَ لَهُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِينَا وَمَا خَلْفَنَا وَمَا بَيْنَ ذَلِكَ وَمَا كَانَ رَبُّكَ نَسِيًّا

We (angels) come not down save by commandment of thy Lord. Unto Him belongeth all that is before us and all that is behind us and all that is between those two, and thy Lord was never forgetful [MARYAM (MARY) Chapter 19 - Verse 64] [Mustadrak Al-Hakim and Al-Bazzar.]

Salman al-Farsi [May Allah be pleased with him] reported that when the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) was asked about animal fat, cheese, and fur, he replied, "The halal is that which Allah has made lawful in His Book and the haram is that which He has forbidden, and that concerning which He is silent He has permitted as a favor to you." [Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah]

Thus, rather than giving specific answers to what the questioner had asked, the Prophet (peace be on him) referred to the general criterion for determining the halal and the haram. Accordingly, it is sufficifor us to know what Allah has made haram, since what is not includedin it is pure and permissible. The Prophet Mohammad (peace be on him) also said: Allah has prescribed certain obligations for you, so do not neglect them; He has defined certain limits, so do not transgress them; He has prohibited certain things, so do not do them; and He has kept silent concerning other things out of mercy for you and not because of forgetfulness, so do not ask questions concerning them. [Al-Darqutni]

The case is different, however, in relation to acts of worship. These are purely religious acts which can be taken only from what Allah Himself reveals. Concerning this we have a sound hadith: "Any innovation in our matter (worship) which is not a part of it must be rejected.'' [This hadith is classified as muttafaq'alayh "agreed upon" by Bukhari and Muslim]

قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُم مَّا أَنزَلَ اللّهُ لَكُم مِّن رِّزْقٍ فَجَعَلْتُم مِّنْهُ حَرَامًا وَحَلاَلاً قُلْ آللّهُ أَذِنَ لَكُمْ أَمْ عَلَى اللّهِ تَفْتَرُونَ

Say: Have ye considered what provision Allah hath sent down for you, how ye have made of it lawful and unlawful? Hath Allah permitted you, or do ye invent a lie concerning Allah? [YUNUS (JONAH) Chapter 10 Verse 59]

This is a great and beneficent principle, on the basis of which we can say that buying, selling, leasing, giving gifts, and other such matters are necessary activities for people, as are eating, drinking, and the wearing of clothes. If the Shari'ah says something concerning these mundane matters, it is in order to teach good behavior. Accordingly, it has prohibited whatever leads to strife, has made obligatory that which is essential, has disapproved that which is frivolous, and has approved that which is beneficial. All this has been done with due consideration for the kinds of activities involved, their magnitudes, and properties.

Since this is the stand of the Shari'ah, people are free to buy, sell, and lease as they wish, just as they are free to eat and to drink what they like as long as it is not haram. Although some of these things may be disapproved, they are free in this regard, since the Shari'ah does not go to the extent of prohibiting them, and thus the original principle (of permissibility) remains. (Al-Qawa'id al-Nuraniyah al-Fiqhiyah by Ibn Taymiyyah, pp. 112-113. In accordance with this principle, Ibn Taymiyyah, his pupil, Ibn al-Qayyim, and the Hanbali jurists in general hold that contracts and the conditions laid down in them are essentially permissible, as any contract not involving any matter which is textually established as haram is valid.)

To Make Lawful and to Prohibit Is the Right of Allah Alone:

اتَّخَذُواْ أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللّهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَمَا أُمِرُواْ إِلاَّ لِيَعْبُدُواْ إِلَـهًا وَاحِدًا لاَّ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

They have taken as lords beside Allah their rabbis and their monks and the Messiah son of Mary, when they were bidden to worship only One Allah. There is no Allah save Him. Be He Glorified from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him)! [AL-TAWBA (REPENTANCE, DISPENSATION) Chapter 9 Verse 31]

أَمْ لَهُمْ شُرَكَاء شَرَعُوا لَهُم مِّنَ الدِّينِ مَا لَمْ يَأْذَن بِهِ اللَّهُ وَلَوْلَا كَلِمَةُ الْفَصْلِ لَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ وَإِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

Or have they partners (of Allah) who have made lawful for them in religion that which Allah allowed not? And but for a decisive word (gone forth already), it would have been judged between them. Lo! for wrong-doers is a painful doom. [ASH-SHURA (COUNCIL, CONSULTATION) Chapter 42 Verse 21]

The Qur'an took to task the People of the Book, that is, Christians and Jews, for putting the power to make lawful and to prohibit things and actions into the hands of their rabbis and priests.

'Adi bin Hatim, who had been a Christian before accepting Islam, once came to the Prophet (peace be on him). When he heard him reciting the above ayah he said, "O Messenger of Allah, but they do not worship them." The Prophet (peace be on him) replied, Yes, but they prohibit to the people what is halal and permit them what is haram, and the people obey them. This is indeed their worship of them. [Tirmidhi]

وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ لِمَا تَصِفُ أَلْسِنَتُكُمُ الْكَذِبَ هَـذَا حَلاَلٌ وَهَـذَا حَرَامٌ لِّتَفْتَرُواْ عَلَى اللّهِ الْكَذِبَ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى اللّهِ الْكَذِبَ لاَ يُفْلِحُونَ

And speak not, concerning that which your own tongues qualify (as clean or unclean), the falsehood: "This is lawful, and this is forbidden," so that ye invent a lie against Allah. Lo! those who invent a lie against Allah will not succeed. [AN-NAHL (THE BEE) Chapter 16 Verse 116]

In his book Al-Umm, Imam Shafi'i narrated that Abu Yusuf, a companion of Abu Hanifah and a chief judge (qadi), said:

I know that our knowledgeable teachers avoided saying, 'This is halal and that is haram,' apart from what they found clearly stated without requiring an interpretation in the Book of Allah. We have been told by Ibn al-Saib that al-Rabi' bin Khaytham, one of the greatest of the second generation Muslims, said, 'Beware that none of you says, "Allah has made this lawful or approves of it," and that Allah may then say that He did not make it lawful nor approve it, or that you say, "Allah has prohibited this," and that Allah may then say, "You lie! I did not prohibit it nor disapprove of it." Some companions of Ibrahim al Nakh'i, a great jurist of Kufah among the second generation Muslims, have told us of his mentioning his colleagues as saying, when they gave a judgement concerning something, 'It is disapproved' or 'There is no harm in it,' rather than, 'It is haram' or 'It is halal,' as haram and halal are terms of much greater import. (AI-Umm, vol. 7, p. 317.)

This is what Abu Yusuf has reported concerning our righteous forebearers and what al-Shafi'i has quoted from him, in agreement with his position. Similarly, Ibn Muflih reported the great scholar Ibn Taymiyyah, as saying that the jurists of the early days of Islam did not term anything haram unless it was definitely known to be so. (This is further supported by the fact that the companions did not give up the drinking of alcohol after the revelation of the Qur'anic verse, "They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: In them is great sin and some benefit," (2:219) since this verse did not definitely prohibit drinking prior to the revelation of the verses in Surah al-Maida. (5:93-94 (90-91)) In the same spirit, the great imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, when asked about some matter, would say, "I disapprove of it" or "It does not appeal to me," or "I do not like it" or "I do not prefer it."

Similar reports are narrated concerning Malik, Abu Hanifah, and all the other imams (may Allah be pleased with them). (This is a lesson to the followers of such imams who freely use the word "haram' without having a proof, or even a semblance of proof.)

Prohibiting the Halal and Permitting the Haram Is Similar to Committing Shirk While Islam reprimands all those who, on their own authority, declare what is lawful and what is prohibited, it is more strict with respect to those who voice prohibitions; for the tendency to set up prohibitions results in hardship for human beings, unjustifiably narrowing what Allah has made spacious for His creatures. Moreover, this tendency is prevalent among some of those who go to extremes in matters of religion and must be checked. The Prophet (peace be on him) fought against this pseudo-pietism and zealotry by every means, warning those who indulged in it with the words, "The zealots will perish," repeated three times. [Muslim, Musnad Ahmad, and Abu Dawood]

The Prophet Mohammad (peace be on him) characterized his Message by saying, "I have been sent with what is straight and easy". [Musnad Ahmad]

The straightness of his Message consists of belief in tawheed (the unity of Allah) and its ease in practice and legislation, in contrast to shirk (Ascribing partners, or associating others, with Allah. (Trans.)) and to the prohibiting of good things of this life.

The Prophet (peace be on him) has mentioned all this in a hadith qudsi (A hadith in which the Prophet (peace be on him) refers a saying to Allah, the Prophet himself being merely the narrator. Unlike the Qur'an, one cannot say of a hadith quasi that "Allah said it." In the case of a hadith quasi, the meaning is from Allah but the words are the Prophet's, transmitted to him either through a vision or revelation. (Trans.)), reporting the saying of Allah Ta'ala: They prohibited to people what I had made lawful for I created people upright (hunafah). Then the evil ones came to them and led them astray from their religion them and commanded them to associate with Me that for which I had not sent down any authority. [Reported by Muslim]

Prohibiting something which is halal is similar to committing shirk, and this is why the Qur'an censures the idolaters of Arabia for their polytheism, their idols, and for prohibiting to themselves, without any authority from Allah, the eating and the use of certain kinds of produce and cattle. Among these prohibited animals were those which were called bahirah, saibah, wasilah, and ham during the pre-Islamic period of jahiliyyah. (The state of mind and conditions of life prior to the advent of Islam, characterized by deviation from the guidance of Allah and the adoption of ungodly systems and ways of life. (Trans.))

Bahirah (the slit-eared) denoted a female camel which had given birth to five calves, the last of which was a male. The ear of such a camel was slit and she was loosed to roam freely; she was not to be ridden, milked, or slaughtered, and was free to eat and drink from any place she liked without hindrance. Saibah referred to a male or female camel which was released to roam freely because of a vow, usually made following a safe return from a journey, the cure of an illness, or for some other reason. As for wasilah, if the firstborn of a female goat were a male, the polytheists would sacrifice him to their gods, while if it were a female they would keep her for themselves. In the case of twin offspring, one female and the other male, they would say, "He is her brother," and instead of sacrificing the male they would release him to roam free; he was known as wasilah. And if a male camel's second generation offspring was capable of carrying a rider, they would let the older camel go free, saying, "He saved his back," and calling him al-ham.

While there are other interpretations of these four terms, they are all of a similar nature. The Qur'an rejected these prohibitions and left no excuse for those who practiced them to follow the errors of their forefathers:

Allah hath not appointed anything in the nature of a Bahirah or a Sa'ibah or a Wasilah or a Hami, but those who disbelieve invent a lie against Allah. Most of them have no sense. And when it is said unto them:

مَا جَعَلَ اللّهُ مِن بَحِيرَةٍ وَلاَ سَآئِبَةٍ وَلاَ وَصِيلَةٍ وَلاَ حَامٍ وَلَـكِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى اللّهِ الْكَذِبَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمْ لاَ يَعْقِلُونَ

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ تَعَالَوْاْ إِلَى مَا أَنزَلَ اللّهُ وَإِلَى الرَّسُولِ قَالُواْ حَسْبُنَا مَا وَجَدْنَا عَلَيْهِ آبَاءنَا أَوَلَوْ كَانَ آبَاؤُهُمْ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا وَلاَ يَهْتَدُونَ

Allah hath not appointed anything in the nature of a Bahirah or a Sa'ibah or a Wasilah or a Hami, but those who disbelieve invent a lie against Allah. Most of them have no sense. And when it is said unto them: Come unto that which Allah hath revealed and unto the messenger, they say: Enough for us is that wherein we found our fathers. What! Even though their fathers had no knowledge whatsoever, and no guidance?[AL-MAEDA (THE TABLE, THE TABLE SPREAD) Chapter 5 Verse 103 and 104]

[NOTE: Dear Atif Sahab, I have seen such animals as mentioned in the verses above around the the Shrines of Suif Saint in the so-called Fort of Islam i.e. Pakistan]

ثَمَانِيَةَ أَزْوَاجٍ مِّنَ الضَّأْنِ اثْنَيْنِ وَمِنَ الْمَعْزِ اثْنَيْنِ قُلْ آلذَّكَرَيْنِ حَرَّمَ أَمِ الأُنثَيَيْنِ أَمَّا اشْتَمَلَتْ عَلَيْهِ أَرْحَامُ الأُنثَيَيْنِ نَبِّؤُونِي بِعِلْمٍ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

وَمِنَ الإِبْلِ اثْنَيْنِ وَمِنَ الْبَقَرِ اثْنَيْنِ قُلْ آلذَّكَرَيْنِ حَرَّمَ أَمِ الأُنثَيَيْنِ أَمَّا اشْتَمَلَتْ عَلَيْهِ أَرْحَامُ الأُنثَيَيْنِ أَمْ كُنتُمْ شُهَدَاء إِذْ وَصَّاكُمُ اللّهُ بِهَـذَا فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَى عَلَى اللّهِ كَذِبًا لِيُضِلَّ النَّاسَ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

Eight pairs: Of the sheep twain, and of the goats twain. Say: Hath He forbidden the two males or the two females, or that which the wombs of the two females contain? Expound to me (the case) with knowledge, if ye are truthful. And of the camels twain and of the oxen twain. Say: Hath He forbidden the two males or the two females, or that which the wombs of the two females contain; or were ye by to witness when Allah commanded you (all) this? Then who doth greater wrong than he who deviseth a lie concerning Allah, that he may lead mankind astray without knowledge. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk. [AL-ANAAM (CATTLE, LIVESTOCK) Chapter 6 Verse 143 and 144]

In another discussion contained in Surah al-A'raf, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala rejects the claims of all prohibitors, laying down the final criteria governing prohibitions:

قُلْ مَنْ حَرَّمَ زِينَةَ اللّهِ الَّتِيَ أَخْرَجَ لِعِبَادِهِ وَالْطَّيِّبَاتِ مِنَ الرِّزْقِ قُلْ هِي لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا خَالِصَةً يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ كَذَلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ

قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَالإِثْمَ وَالْبَغْيَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَأَن تُشْرِكُواْ بِاللّهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا وَأَن تَقُولُواْ عَلَى اللّهِ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ

Say: Who hath forbidden the adornment of Allah which He hath brought forth for His bondmen, and the good things of His providing? Say: Such, on the Day of Resurrection, will be only for those who believed during the life of the world. Thus do we detail Our revelations for people who have knowledge. Say: My Lord forbiddeth only indecencies, such of them as are apparent and such as are within, and sin and wrongful oppression, and that ye associate with Allah that for which no warrant hath been revealed, and that ye tell concerning Allah that which ye know not. [AL-ARAF (THE HEIGHTS) Chapter 7 Verse 32 and 33]

A significant aspect of these discussions is that they were revealed in Makkah. The Makkan revelations invariably dealt with matters of faith, the oneness of Allah Ta'ala, and the Hereafter. We may therefore deduce that, in the sight of Allah, this matter of declaring things to be prohibited without any authority from Him was not a minor matter but one which pertained to the fundamentals and general principles of the faith.

In Madinah certain Muslims showed a tendency toward asceticism, denying themselves some permissible pleasures. Then, in order to keep them within the limits set by Himself and bring them back to the straight path of Islam, Allah revealed the following strongly-worded verses:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تُحَرِّمُواْ طَيِّبَاتِ مَا أَحَلَّ اللّهُ لَكُمْ وَلاَ تَعْتَدُواْ إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ

وَكُلُواْ مِمَّا رَزَقَكُمُ اللّهُ حَلاَلاً طَيِّبًا وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ الَّذِيَ أَنتُم بِهِ مُؤْمِنُونَ

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. [AL-MAEDA (THE TABLE, THE TABLE SPREAD) Chapter 5 Verse 87 and 88]

Accordingly, He has neither permitted anything except what is pure nor has He prohibited anything except what is impure. It is true that Allah Ta'ala had prohibited certain good things to the Jews, but this was only as a punishment for their rebelliousness and transgression of the limits set by Allah. Thus He says:

وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ هَادُواْ حَرَّمْنَا كُلَّ ذِي ظُفُرٍ وَمِنَ الْبَقَرِ وَالْغَنَمِ حَرَّمْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ شُحُومَهُمَا إِلاَّ مَا حَمَلَتْ ظُهُورُهُمَا أَوِ الْحَوَايَا أَوْ مَا اخْتَلَطَ بِعَظْمٍ ذَلِكَ جَزَيْنَاهُم بِبَغْيِهِمْ وِإِنَّا لَصَادِقُونَ

Unto those who are Jews We forbade every animal with claws. And of the oxen and the sheep forbade We unto them the fat thereof save that upon the backs or the entrails, or that which is mixed with the bone. That we awarded them for their rebellion. And lo! we verily are truthful. [AL-ANAAM (CATTLE, LIVESTOCK) Chapter 6 Verse 146]

فَبِظُلْمٍ مِّنَ الَّذِينَ هَادُواْ حَرَّمْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ طَيِّبَاتٍ أُحِلَّتْ لَهُمْ وَبِصَدِّهِمْ عَن سَبِيلِ اللّهِ كَثِيرًا

وَأَخْذِهِمُ الرِّبَا وَقَدْ نُهُواْ عَنْهُ وَأَكْلِهِمْ أَمْوَالَ النَّاسِ بِالْبَاطِلِ وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ مِنْهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا

When Allah sent His final Messenger (peace be on him) with the eternal complete religion to humanity after it had developed to a state of maturity, He demonstrated His mercy by removing these prohibitions, which had been a temporary penalty for a rebellious, stiff-necked people. (See, for example, Exodus 32:9. (Trans.)) And the coming of the Prophet (peace be on him) who would relieve them of this burden was foretold to the Jews and Christians, who, as the Qur'an states: ...they find described in their own scriptures, in the Taurat and the Injeel. He commands them what is right and forbids them what is evil; He makes lawful to them what is good and makes unlawful what is foul; He releases them from their burdens and from the yokes which were upon them... (7:157) (Taurat refers to the original scripture revealed to the Prophet Moses by God, and Injeel to what He revealed to the Prophet Jesus. These are not to be confused either with the existing Torah or Old Testament, or the four Gospels of the New Testament. (Trans.))

In Islam, ways other than prohibiting the good things were prescribed by Allah Ta'ala for the eradication of sins: sincere repentance' which cleanses sins as water cleanses dirt; good deeds, which compensate for evil ones; spending in charity, which extinguishes fire; and trials and sufferings, which disperse sins as the winter wind disperses dry leaves. Accordingly, we know that in Islam things are prohibited only because they are impure or harmful. If something is entirely harmful it is haram, and if it is entirely beneficial it is halal; if the harm of it outweighs its benefit it is haram, while if its benefit outweighs its harm it is halal. This principle is explained in the Qur'an in relation to wine and gambling:

يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ قُلْ فِيهِمَا إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثْمُهُمَآ أَكْبَرُ مِن نَّفْعِهِمَا وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَ قُلِ الْعَفْوَ كَذَلِكَ يُبيِّنُ اللّهُ لَكُمُ الآيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ

They question thee about strong drink and games of chance. Say: In both is great sin, and (some) utility for men; but the sin of them is greater than their usefulness. And they ask thee what they ought to spend. Say: that which is superfluous. Thus Allah maketh plain to you (His) revelations, that haply ye may reflect. [AL-BAQARA (THE COW) Chapter 2 - Verse 219]

By the same logic, if it is asked, what is halal in Islam, the answer is, the good things. Good things are those which moderate people acknowledge to be wholesome and which are approved by human beings in general without relation to the habits of a particular group.

يَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا أُحِلَّ لَهُمْ قُلْ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ وَمَا عَلَّمْتُم مِّنَ الْجَوَارِحِ مُكَلِّبِينَ تُعَلِّمُونَهُنَّ مِمَّا عَلَّمَكُمُ اللّهُ فَكُلُواْ مِمَّا أَمْسَكْنَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَاذْكُرُواْ اسْمَ اللّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ

They ask thee (O Muhammad) what is made lawful for them. Say: (all) good things are made lawful for you. And those beasts and birds of prey which ye have trained as hounds are trained, ye teach them that which Allah taught you; so eat of that which they catch for you and mention Allah's name upon it, and observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is swift to take account. [AL-MAEDA (THE TABLE, THE TABLE SPREAD) Chapter 5 - Verse 4]

الْيَوْمَ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ وَطَعَامُ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَابَ حِلٌّ لَّكُمْ وَطَعَامُكُمْ حِلُّ لَّهُمْ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ إِذَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ مُحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحِينَ وَلاَ مُتَّخِذِي أَخْدَانٍ وَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِالإِيمَانِ فَقَدْ حَبِطَ عَمَلُهُ وَهُوَ فِي الآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ

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 vain and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter. [AL-MAEDA (THE TABLE, THE TABLE SPREAD) Chapter 5 - Verse 5]

Another example of this is in the Prophet's saying:

"Avoid three abominable acts (that is, the one who does them is cursed by Allah and by the people):

defecating in streams, defecating on roadways, and defecating in shaded places." [Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah and Mustadrak Al Hakim, and Baihaqi]

People of earlier times merely knew that these were filthy acts, abhorrent to civilized taste and public manners. With the advancement of science, we now know that these "three abominable acts" are hazards to public health, as they are the root cause of the spread of such dangerous diseases as hookworm (ankylostoma) and bilharzia (schistosomiasis).

Thus, as the light of knowledge penetrates more deeply and new discoveries are made, the beneficial aspects of the Islamic legislation relating to the lawful and the prohibited—in fact, the benefits of all its legal injunctions—become apparent to us. How could it be otherwise when they come from the Wise, All-Knowing, and Merciful God?

Allah knoweth him who spoileth from him who improveth. Had Allah willed He could have overburdened you. Allah is Mighty, Wise. [AL-BAQARA (THE COW) Chapter 2 - Verse 220]

What is Halal Is Sufficient, While What is Haram Is Superfluous One of the beauties of Islam is that it has prohibited only such things as are unnecessary and dispersible, while providing alternatives which are better and which give greater ease and comfort to human beings. This point has been explained by Ibn al-Qayyim:

Allah has prohibited seeking omens by drawing lots but has provided the alternative of istikhara (Islam teaches that if the Muslim faces a problem he should consult with others and seek guidance fAllah. The meaning of istikhara is to ask guidance from Allah in making a choice between two conflicting decisions. For this there is a salat and a du'a (supplication).) which is a supplication for seeking Allah's guidance.

He has prohibited usury but has encouraged profitable trade. He has prohibited gambling but has permitted betting on forms of competition which are useful for their (the Muslims) religious striving, such as horse or camel racing and competing in marksmanship. He has prohibited (to men) the wearing of silk but has given them the choice of other materials such as wool, linen, and cotton.

He has prohibited adultery, fornication, and homosexuality but has encouraged lawful marriage. He has prohibited intoxicating drinks in order that they may enjoy other delicious drinks which are wholesome for the body and mind. And He has prohibited unclean food but provides alternative wholesome food. (Rawdah al-Muhibbeen, p. 10, and A'alam al-Muwaqq'in, vol. 2, p.111.)

Thus, when we survey the Islamic injunctions in their totality, we find that if Allah limits the choice of His servants in relation to some things, He provides them with a still wider range of more wholesome alternatives in relation to other things of a similar kind. For assuredly Allah has no desire to make peoples' lives difficult, narrow, and circumscribed; on the contrary; He desires ease, goodness, guidance, and mercy for them, according to His saying:

يُرِيدُ اللّهُ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَكُمْ وَيَهْدِيَكُمْ سُنَنَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ وَيَتُوبَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَاللّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

وَاللّهُ يُرِيدُ أَن يَتُوبَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَيُرِيدُ الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الشَّهَوَاتِ أَن تَمِيلُواْ مَيْلاً عَظِيمًا

يُرِيدُ اللّهُ أَن يُخَفِّفَ عَنكُمْ وَخُلِقَ الإِنسَانُ ضَعِيفًا

Allah would explain to you and guide you by the examples of those who were before you, and would turn to you in mercy. Allah is Knower, Wise. And Allah would turn to you in mercy; but those who follow vain desires would have you go tremendously astray. Allah would make the burden light for you, for man was created weak. [AN-NISA (WOMEN) Chapter 4 - Verses 26, 27, 28]

Whatever Is Conducive to the Haram Is Itself Haram

Another Islamic principle is that if something is prohibited, anything which leads to it is likewise prohibited. By this means Islam intends to block all avenues leading to what is haram. For example, as Islam has prohibited sex outside marriage, it has also prohibited anything which leads to it or makes it attractive, such as seductive clothing, private meetings and casual mixing between men and women, the depiction of nudity, pornographic literature, obscene songs, and so on.

Accordingly, Muslim jurists have established the criterion that whatever is conducive to or leads toward the haram is itself haram. A similar principle is that the sin of the haram is not limited only to the person who engages in it but extends to others who have supported him in this, materially or morally; each is held accountable according to his share. For example, in the case of intoxicating drinks, the Prophet (peace be on him) cursed not only the one who drinks them but also the one who produces them, the one who serves them, the one to whom they are served, the one to whom the price of them is paid, etc. This point will be discussed again later. Again, in the matter of usury, the Prophet (peace be on him) cursed the one who pays it, the one to whom it is paid, the one who writes the contract, and the one who acts as a witness thereto. Accordingly, we derive the rule that anything which assists in the doing of what is haram is itself haram, and anyone who helps another person to do it shares in the sin of it.

Falsely Representing the Haram as Halal Is Prohibited

Just as Islam has prohibited whatever leads toward the haram, it has also prohibited resorting to technical legalities in order to do what is haram by devious means and excuses inspired by Satan. It has reprimanded the Jews for resorting to such practices. The Prophet (peace be on him) said: "Do not do what the Jews did in order to (technically) legalize Allah's prohibitions by flimsy excuses.'' (This hadith is in Ighathat al-Lahfan by Ibn al-Qayyim, vol. 1, p. 308. The author says: "This was reported by 'Abdullah bin Battah on good authority, and al-Tirmidhi classifies a similar hadith as sahih.")

This is a reference to the fact that Allah had prohibited the Jews to hunt on the Sabbath (Saturday). To get around this prohibition, they would dig ditches on Friday so that the fish would fall into them on Saturday, to be caught on Sunday. Those who resort to rationalizations and excuses to justify their actions consider such practices to be permissible, but the jurists of Islam consider them haram, since Allah's purpose was to prevent them from hunting on the Sabbath, whether by direct or indirect means.

Calling a haram thing by a name other than its own or changing its form while retaining its essence is a devious tactic, since obviously a change of name or of form is of no consequence as long as the thing and its essence remain unchanged. Thus, when some people invent new terms in order to deal in usury or to consume alcohol, the sin of dealing in usury and drinking remains. As we read in the collections of ahadith,

A group of people will make peoples' intoxication halal by giving it other names. (Musnad Ahmed Bin Hanbal]

A time will come when people will devour usury, calling it "trade." [Bukhari and Muslim]

And among the strange phenomena of our time is that people term obscene dance "art," liquor "spirits," and usury "interest."

Good Intentions Do Not Make the Haram Acceptable In all its legislations and moral injunctions, Islam lays great stress on nobility of feelings, loftiness of aims, and purity of intentions. The Prophet (peace be on him) said, "Actions will be judged by intentions, and everyone will be recompensed according to what he intended." [Bukhari]

Indeed, in Islam the routine matters of life and its mundane affairs are transformed into acts of worship and devotion to Allah by good intentions. Accordingly, if one eats food with the intention of sustaining life and strengthening his body in order that he may be able to carry out his obligations to his Creator and to other human beings, his eating and drinking are considered worship and devotion to Allah Ta'ala.

Again, if one enjoys sexual intimacy with his wife, desiring a child and seeking to keep himself and his wife chaste, it is considered an act of worship on his part, deserving of reward in the Hereafter. Concerning this the Prophet (peace be on him) said: When you satisfy your desire with your wife, it is counted for you as an act deserving of reward. Those who were listening to him said: Messenger of Allah, how can it be that one of us satisfies his desire and will then be rewarded for it? The Prophet (peace be on him) replied: Would he not be sinful if he had satisfied it in a prohibited manner? Consequently, if he satisfies it in a permissible manner, there is a reward for him.[Bukhari and Muslim]

He also said: Anyone who desires what is permissible from the world, keeping himself away from sins, working for the sake of his family, and taking care of his neighbor, will meet his Lord with a face shining like the full moon. [Tabarani]

In this manner, whenever any permissible action of the believer is accompanied by a good intention, his action becomes an act of worship. But the case of the haram is entirely different; it remains haram no matter how good the intention, how honorable the purpose, or how lofty the aim may be. Islam can never consent to employing a haram means to achieve a praiseworthy end. Indeed, it insists that not only the aim be honorable but also that the means chosen to attain it be pure. "The end justifies the means" is not the maxim of the Shari'ah, nor is "Secure your right even through wrong-doing." This can never be, for the Shari'ah demands that the right should be secured through just means only.

If someone accumulates wealth through usury, forgery, gambling, prohibited games, or in any other haram manner in order to build a mosque, establish a charitable foundation, or to do any other good work, the guilt of having done what is haram will not be lifted from hbecause of the goodness of his objective; in Islam good aims and intentions have no effect in lessening the sinfulness of what is haram. This is what the Prophet (peace be on him) taught us when he said: Allah is good and does not accept anytbut good, and Allah has commanded the Believers, as He commanded His messengers, saying

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُلُواْ مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ وَاشْكُرُواْ لِلّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ

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. [AL-BAQARA (THE COW) Chapter 2 - Verse 172]

The Prophet (peace be on him) then said, A man travels far, unkempt and dust-stained (for hajj, umrah, or the like), raising his hands to the sky (and saying), 'O Lord! O Lord!' while eating what was haram, drinking what was haram, wearing what was haram, and nourishing himself through haram means. How then could his prayers be accepted? [Muslim and Tirmidhi on the authority of Abu Hurairah]

He also said:

If anyone amasses wealth through haram means and then gives charity from it, there is no regard for him and the burden of sin remains. [Ibn Khazimah, Ibn Hibban, and al-Hakim on the authority of Abu Hurairah]

Again he said:

If a person earns property through haram means and then gives charity, it will not be accepted (by Allah); if he spends it there will be no blessing on it; and if he leaves it behind (at his death) it will be his provision in the Fire. Indeed, Allah Ta'ala does not obliterate one bad deed by another bad deed, but He cancels out a bad deed by a good deed. An unclean thing does not wipe away another unclean thing. [Musnad Ahmad on the authority of Ibn Mas'ood.)

Doubtful Things Are To Be Avoided

It is Allah's mercy to human beings that He did not leave them in ignorance concerning what is lawful and what is prohibited. Indeed, He has made explicit what is halal and explained what is haram, as He says:

وَمَا لَكُمْ أَلاَّ تَأْكُلُواْ مِمَّا ذُكِرَ اسْمُ اللّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَقَدْ فَصَّلَ لَكُم مَّا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِلاَّ مَا اضْطُرِرْتُمْ إِلَيْهِ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا لَّيُضِلُّونَ بِأَهْوَائِهِم بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُعْتَدِينَ

How should ye not eat of that over which the name of Allah hath been mentioned, when He hath explained unto you that which is forbidden unto you unless ye are compelled thereto. But lo! many are led astray by their own lusts through ignorance. Lo! thy Lord, He is Best Aware of the transgressors. [AL-ANAAM (CATTLE, LIVESTOCK) Chapter 6 - Verse 119]

Accordingly, one may do what is lawful and must avoid what is prohibited insofar as he has the choice. However, there is a gray area between the clearly halal and the clearly haram. This is the area of whatis doubtful. Some people may not be able to decide whether a particular matter is permissible or forbidden; such confusion may be due either to doubtful evidence or because of doubt concerning the applicability of the text to the particular circumstance or matter in question.

In relation to such matters, Islam considers it an act of piety for the Muslim to avoid doing what is doubtful in order to stay clear of doing something haram. This is similar to what was discussed earlier concerning the blocking of the avenues which lead to what is haram. Such a cautious approach, moreover, trains the Muslim to be farsighted in planning and increases his knowledge of affairs and people.

The root of this principle is the saying of the Prophet (peace be on him): The halal is clear and the haram is clear. Between the two there are doubtful matters concerning which people do not know whether they are halal or haram. One who avoids them in order to safeguard his religion and his honor is safe, while if someone engages in a part of them he may be doing something haram, like one who grazes his animals near the hima (the grounds reserved for animals belonging to the King which are out of bounds for others' animals); it is thus quite likely that some of his animals will stray into it. Truly, every king has a hima, and the hima of Allah is what He has prohibited. [Bukhari and Muslim, the narration is taken from Tirmidhi]

The Haram Is Prohibited to Everyone Alike

In the Shari'ah of Islam the haram has universal applicability; here there is no such thing as that which is prohibited to a non-Arab but permitted to an Arab, nor anything which is restricted to a Black but allowed to a White. For in Islam there are no privileged classes or individuals who, in the name of religion, can do whatever they please according to their whims. Muslims do not have any privilege of making something haram for others while it is lawful for themselves; this cannot be, for truly Allah is the Lord of all, and the Shari'ah of Islam is the guide for all. Whatever Allah has legislated through His Shari'ah is lawful for all human beings and whatever He has prohibited is prohibited to all human beings until the Day of Resurrection.

As an example, stealing is equally haram for the Muslim and the non-Muslim; the punishment for it is the same, regardless of the family or the origin of the thief. The Prophet (peace be on him) firmly enforced this rule, proclaiming, "By Allah, if Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad, were to steal, I would have her hand cut off." [Bukhari]

A case of theft was brought before the Prophet (peace be on him) involving two suspects, the one a Jew and the other a Muslim. Some relatives of the Muslim advanced circumstantial evidence to cast doubt on the Jew in order to save their man while he was, in fact, guilty. The Prophet (peace be on him) was almost persuaded to believe that the Muslim was innocent. Then a revelation was sent down exposing the conspiracy, clearing the Jew of the crime and directing the Prophet (peace be on him) to establish justice without any bias:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِتَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِمَا أَرَاكَ اللّهُ وَلاَ تَكُن لِّلْخَآئِنِينَ خَصِيمًا

وَاسْتَغْفِرِ اللّهِ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا

وَلاَ تُجَادِلْ عَنِ الَّذِينَ يَخْتَانُونَ أَنفُسَهُمْ إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ مَن كَانَ خَوَّانًا أَثِيمًا

يَسْتَخْفُونَ مِنَ النَّاسِ وَلاَ يَسْتَخْفُونَ مِنَ اللّهِ وَهُوَ مَعَهُمْ إِذْ يُبَيِّتُونَ مَا لاَ يَرْضَى مِنَ الْقَوْلِ وَكَانَ اللّهُ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطًا

هَاأَنتُمْ هَـؤُلاء جَادَلْتُمْ عَنْهُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا فَمَن يُجَادِلُ اللّهَ عَنْهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَم مَّن يَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَكِيلاً

Lo! We reveal unto thee the Scripture with the truth, that thou mayst judge between mankind by that which Allah showeth thee. And be not thou a pleader for the treacherous; And seek forgiveness of Allah. Lo! Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. And plead not on behalf of (people) who deceive themselves. Lo! Allah loveth not one who is treacherous and sinful. They seek to hide from men and seek not to hide from Allah. He is with them when by night they hold discourse displeasing unto Him. Allah ever surroundeth what they do. Ho! ye are they who pleaded for them in the life of the world. But who will plead with Allah for them on the Day of Resurrection, or who will then be their defender? [AN-NISA (WOMEN) Chapter 4 - Verse 105, 106, 107, 108, 109]

In the distorted scripture of the Jews, it is alleged that while usury or interest is prohibited to the Jew when lending money to a brother Jew, there is no harm in charging it to a gentile, as stated in Deuteronomy 23:19-20:

You must not lend on interest (usury) to your brother, whether the loan be of money or food or anything else that may earn interest. You may demand interest on a loan of a foreigner, but you must not demand interest from your brother, so that Yahweh your God may bless you in all your giving in the land you are to enter and make your own.

The Qur'an also speaks about another similar tendency among the Jews, that of cheating others who are not of their race or faith without feeling anything wrong in it. The Qur'an says: And among the People of the Book is he who, if entrusted with a single gold coin, would not return it to thee unless thou constantly stood over him. This is because they say:

We have no duty toward the gentiles, but they utter a falsehood concerning Allah, and they know it. (3:75)

(Gentiles" here refers to the Arabs, who before Islam possessed neither religion nor a divinely revealed scripture.)

They have unquestionably uttered falsehood in what they have ascribed to Allah, for the law of Allah does not discriminate between one people and another, and insofar as cheating is concerned, Allah has condemned it through the tongue of all His messengers and prophets.

With due apologies, we may say that this tendency to use a double standard, one for one's "brother" and another for a "foreigner" or outsider, is a characteristic of primitive ethics. It can never be ascribed to a divinely revealed religion, for high morality—that is, true morality — is distinguishable by its universality and comprehensiveness and by its lack of a double standard. The distinction between us and primitive peoples is not in the existence or absence of a moral code but in the enlargement of the area of its application. As an example, such people also consider honesty as a praiseworthy quality, but they restrict its practice to the people of their own tribe. When dealing with people from outside their tribe or clan, they see nothing wrong with cheating them, or in fact recommending or even requiring it.

The author of The Story of Civilization writes, Almost all groups agree in holding other groups to be infer to themselves. The Amerian Indians looked upon themselves as the chosen people, specially created by the Great Spirit as an uplifting example for mankind. One Indian tribe called itself 'The Only Men;' another called itself 'Men of Men;' the Caribs said, 'We alone are people.' The Eskimos believed that the Europeans had come to Greenland to learn manners and virtues.

Consequently, it seldom occurred to primitive man to extend to other tribes the moral restraints which he acknowledged in dealing with his own; he frankly conceived it to be the function of morals to give strength and coherence to his group against other groups. Commandments and taboos applied only to the people of his tribe; with others, except when they were his guests, he might go as far as he dared (Will Durant, The Story of Civilization, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1935, vol. l, pp. 54-55.).

Necessity Dictates Exceptions

While Islam has narrowed the range of what is prohibited, it is, at the same time, very strict in seeing that its prohibitions are observed.

Accordingly, it has blocked the ways, apparent or hidden, leading to what is prohibited. Thus, what is conducive to the haram is itself haram, what assists in committing the haram is haram, any rationalization for engaging in the haram is haram, and so on, to the last of the principles which we have elucidated. At the same time, Islam is not oblivious to the exigencies of life, to their magnitude, nor to human weakness and capacity to face them. It permits the Muslim, under the compulsion of necessity to eat a prohibited food in quantities sufficient to remove the necessity and save himself from death.

In this context, after listing the prohibited foods in the form of dead animals, blood, and pork, Allah Ta'ala says:

إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةَ وَالدَّمَ وَلَحْمَ الْخِنزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ بِهِ لِغَيْرِ اللّهِ فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ غَيْرَ بَاغٍ وَلاَ عَادٍ فَلا إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ إِنَّ اللّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

He hath forbidden you only carrion, and blood, and swineflesh, 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. [AL-BAQARA (THE COW) Chapter 2 - Verse 173]

And this is repeated at four places in the Qur'an after each mention of the prohibited foods.

On the basis of these and similar verse of the Qur'an, Islamic jurists formulated an important principle, namely, that "necessity removes restrictions." However, it is to be noted that the individual experiencing the necessity is permitted to eat the haram food with the stipulation that he is "neither craving it nor transgressing." This is interpreted to mean that he should not desire to relish it nor transgress by eating more than the bare amount needed to satisfy his hunger. From this stipulation, jurists have derived another principle, that "The quantity permitted is determined by the (magnitude) of the necessity." Here the underlying idea is that, even though compelled by necessity, a person need not surrender to it or embrace it with eagerness; rather he must live with what is essentially halal and seek a way to return to it so that he may not become accustomed to the haram or begin enjoying it under the pretext of necessity.

In permitting the use of the haram under necessity, Islam is true to its spirit and general principles. This spirit, which we find permeating its laws, is to make life easy and less oppressive for human beings, and to lift the burdens and yokes imposed by earlier systems and religions.

True is the saying of Allah, the Almighty:

يُرِيدُ اللّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلاَ يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ

...Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire hardship for you.... [AL-BAQARA (THE COW) Chapter 2 - Verse 185]

مَا يُرِيدُ اللّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَـكِن يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهَّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

Allah would not place a burden on you, but He would purify you and would perfect His grace upon you, that ye may give thanks [AL-MAEDA (THE TABLE, THE TABLE SPREAD) Chapter 5 - Verse 6]


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