|Chapter 7||The Miracle of reporting events related to past history accurately by the Qur'an Shareef|
|Chapter 8||The Qur’an Shareef is the chief source of knowledge|
|Chapter 9||The Qur’an Shareef is the last revealed book|
The Qur’an Shareef is the last revealed book
As the Prophethood of Rasulullah (SAW) is common for all people of all times to come, so is the message of the Qur’an Shareef. As regards the Prophethood of Rasulullah (SAW) Allah Ta’ala says:
Say: "O men! I have sent unto you all as the apostle of Allah to Whom belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth: there is no god but He: it is He that giveth both life and death. So believe in Allah and His apostle the unlettered Prophet who believed in Allah and His words: follow him that (so) ye may be guided."
"We have not sent thee but as a universal (Messenger) to men giving them glad tidings and warning them (against sin) but most men understand not."
As regards the Qur’an Shareef Allah Ta’ala says:
“Say: ‘What thing is most weighty in evidence?" Say: "Allah is Witness between me and you: this Qur'an hath been revealed to me by inspiration that I may warn you and all whom it reaches. Can ye possibly bear witness that besides Allah there is another god?" Say: ‘Nay! I cannot bear witness!’ Say: "But in truth He is the One Allah and I truly am innocent of (your blasphemy of) joining others with Him.’ ”
As the Prophethood ended with Rasulullah (SAW) so was the Divine revelations closed after the revelation of last Divine book-Al-Qur’an Shareef. The miraculous nature of the Qur’an Shareef has by now been sub-stantiated beyond any doubt that no new Deen is now needed as the Qur’an Shareef has all the answers for all the problems the mankind has faced or is going to face.
The Jinn also testified
Not only man but the Jinn also testified to this when they first heard the Qur’an Shareef as quoted by Allah Ta'ala:
“Say: It has been revealed to me that a company of Jinns listened (to the Qur'an). They say `We have really heard a wonderful Recital! It gives guidance to the Right and we have believed therein: We shall not join (in worship) any (gods) with our Lord.”
Religion attained the heights of perfection when the Qur’an Shareef was revealed
The Qur’an Shareef says:
"This day have I perfected your religion for you completed my favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion."
One has to exert the least efforts in understanding the significance and brilliance of this statement. Only Almighty Who is All-Powerful and all knowing can make such an authoritative and categoric statement. Stop all other mental activities and think for a while over these verses. For this historic declaration, historic day was chosen for its revelation. It was Friday, 9th Zil-Haj called the day ‘Arfa’ when Muslims had for the first time assembled in such a great congregation of Haj which was attended by one and half lac Sahaabah, the companions of Rasulullah (SAW). Friday and the day ‘Arfa’ are days of great blessing for Muslim. The time of revelation was after‘Asr’ Salah just before sunset. This time is also impor-tant as on a Friday there are great chances of acceptance of Dua before the sun sets. The place where it was revealed was also equally blessed.It was revealed in Arfaar near Jabal-e-Rehmat where Rasulullah (SAW) was sitting on his camel. When these versed started revealing Arfaat is a place near Makkah, staying for sometime in the day of Arfa most essential constituent of Haj. From this we can understand that for this great declaration, a great day, blessed time, the great place and the great occasion were chosen.
The Importance of this day
Once a few Jewish scholars asked Hadhrat Umar Farooq (RA) that there was a verse in the Qur’an Shareef, had it been revealed to the Jews, they would have been celebrating that day as Eid. Hadhrat Umar (RA) asked them as to which was that Ayat? They replied:
"This day have I perfected your religion for you completed my favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion."
Hadhrat Umar (RA) replied immediately that they knew when and where it was revealed i.e, it was a day of double Eid for them, the day of Arfa and Friday.
Rasulullah (SAW) lived in this world for only eighty one days after the revelation of these verses.
The Gradual progression of the world towards excellence
This world was nonexistent Allah Ta'ala created this world with His attribute of creativity. He created this world from nothingness, Allah Ta’ala is able to do anything of any magnitude and at any time without aid of anything. He creates things by saying the word ‘Kun’ which means ‘be’ when He says ‘be’ it immediately happens. Here we have to understand two things viz;
Qudrat-ullah means the ability of Allah Ta'ala to perform various func-tions. Sunnatullah means the methodology He adopts for doing various things. With His great Qudrat He can do anything at any time, But when we analyse His sunnat or methodology of doing things we see that He does everything in a superb, highly system-atic, well planned and gradual manner. We see that He does noth-ing at random and in an erratic fashion. He could create man in no time by His word ‘be’ But we see He strictly follows His sunnat that first male and female have to meet, then fertilization takes place in a definite physiological environment and sequence, then the embryo develops and the fetus remains in the mother's womb for an average of nine months in which the development is as per definite genetic codes kept by Allah Ta'ala in the genes.
Similarly you think over various things, may it be the formation of days and nights, the growing of crops, the change of seasons etc., in all these you will see that everything follows His instruc-tions in a well-set and planned manner. Allah Ta’ala says:
"Glory be to Him Who created all the sexual pairs, of that which the earth groweth, and of themselves, and of that which they know not! A token unto them is night.
We strip it of the day, and lo! they are in darkness. And the sun runneth on unto a resting place for him. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Wise.
And for the moon We have appointed mansions till she return like an old shrivelled palm leaf. It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor doth the night outstrip the day. They float each in an orbit.
From these verses we can understand that Allah Ta’ala has ordered everything in the universe follow His instructions. We can also understand that He has made everything systematic and planned, and not in an erratic fashion.
Now coming back to my point, we were discussing that Allah Ta’ala created this universe out of nothing. Now, here again He has created this world not in an erratic fashion but in a superb systematic plan. When one thinks over this art of creativity of Allah Ta'ala and His magnificent planning and systematization, one instantaneously cries from the core of one’s heart, as quoted in the Qur’an Shareef:
"Our Lord! Not for naught hast Thou created (all) this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the chastisement of the fire"
Now we see sunnat-ullah regarding the creation of this universe, Allah Ta’ala says:
"Say (O Muhammad, unto the idolaters): Disbelieve ye verily in Him Who created the earth in two Days, and ascribe ye unto Him rivals? He (and none else) is the Lord of the Worlds.
He placed therein firm hills rising above it, and blessed it and measured therein its sustenance in four Days, alike for (all) who ask; Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke, and said unto it and unto the earth: Come both of you, willingly or loth. They said: We come, obedient. Then He ordained them seven heavens in two. He directeth the ordinance from the heaven unto the earth; then it ascendeth unto Him in a Day, whereof the measure is a thousand years of that ye reckon. Days and inspired in each heaven its mandate; and we decked the nether heaven with lamps, and rendered it inviolable. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Knower.
In this verse Allah Ta’ala says that He created the earth (formless) in two days, the heaven in two days and the mountains and other blessings of the earth in two days, taking a total of six days in creating the earth along with its belongings and the heaven.
What is that one day equal to?
Allah Ta'ala says that He created the universe in six days. What is that one day equal to? We get an idea about days and nights only after and when we think of the sun and the moon and rotation of the earth around the sun. What is meant by a day when sun, moon and earth were not even created? We get the idea about the day of Judgement Yaum-ul-Qiyamah which the Qur’an Shareef says will be equal to fifty thou-sands years as per our account. We don’t get any such clue about the length period of the days in which universe was created keeping in mind that that time universe was yet in the making. Imam Raazi says that those days were the same as our days whereas in Rooh-ul-Ma’ani it is written that that day could be either the same as ours or could be longer or even shorter.
Now, without going into this discussion we can certainly say one thing that it was the range of time and not the point of time (as per our standards) in which Allah Ta'ala created the universe which again strengthens our point that His sunnat in creation is systematic and step wise and not instantaneous.
Here we have to understand one important thing in order to avoid the confusion which could otherwise arise in someone’s mind and that is the time and space (Zaman and Makan) are Makhlooq (creat-ed) and hence do not exist in the Divinity of Allah Ta'ala. Our Time has past, present and future whereas Divine Time is a single moment near Allah Ta'ala, a point, where there is no past, present and future. For Allah Ta'ala it is:
“It is as it was”
So when we talk about the range of time or point of time, we mean time as per our standards. About the day of Judge-ment. Allah Ta’ala says:
"He directeth the ordinance from the heaven unto the earth; then it ascendeth unto Him in a Day, whereof the measure is a thousand years of that ye reckon."
In this verse, it is specifically mentioned that this count-ing of years is as per our counting giving the impression of the difference between the time that we calculate and Divine Time.
So, when we talk of the range of time or gradual progression of creative activities of Allah Ta'ala, we mean time as we understand it and not Divine Time.
Universe created for man
Allah Ta’ala wanted to create man as His vicegerent so He created the universe with ideal conditions for human life well before man. Here again that thing (universe) was created first which was not a purpose in itself and the main purpose, -that is man, was created last. Here again we see the sunnat of Allah Ta'ala of gradual progression in creativity towards excellence, first the universe which is less in that man though Allah Ta'ala was having the strength (Qudrat) of creating both at the same time.
Excellence of Rasulullah (SAW)
Now we can easily understand as to why Rasulullah was sent as the last Prophet and not earlier. Here again the sunnat of gradual pro-gression of creative activity of Allah Ta'ala was operational. Allah Ta'ala had destined the highest point of excellence of prophethood for Hadhrat Muhammad (SAW), so when that highest point of excellence of prophethood was reached Rasulullah (SAW) was sent to this world with that excel-lence.
The Qur’an Shareef testifies the same as:
"Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets; and Allah is Aware of all things."
Why was Qur’an Shareef the last book?
As regards the Divine revelations of Allah Ta'ala, same sunnat of gradual progression towards excellence is seen. All previous revelations viz., the Suhuf, Zaboor,Towrah or Injeel were meant for a limited time and a limited people. On the other hand the Qur’an Shareef having the perfect excel-lence was sent as a perfect code for all people of all times to come. When something reaches point of perfection nothing more is needed to be added to that and that becomes the last in sequence. The Qur’an Shareef has the excellence in all aspects and this excellence has reached the highest peak. Let us consider a few examples of these:-
The Excellence of the Qur’an Shareef in Shariah
Allah Ta'ala did not leave man alone after sending him to this world. He sent this guidance from time to time to mankind so that man could know his status, his relation with the world and with his Creator, how to lead an honourable life and how he could also know the purpose of his existence in the world. These Divine revelations gave man spiritual, social, moral and political constitutional guidelines. Man has tried innumerable times himself to frame the constitution for his society or country but history is witness to the fact that these man-made constitutions have always proved a failure. Man can only achieve his dream of the ideal society if he follows the Divine commandments of Allah Ta'ala.
As we know early man lived a simple and isolated life and his needs were also limited. Facilities for communication had not developed and people lived in different parts of the world una-ware of civilizations elsewhere, so the Divine commandment which Allah Ta'ala used to send through prophets from time to time were also limited.
On the other hand modern man made tremendous advances in scientific and other related fields and the world became a small global village. Nations got so many international contacts and influences that we can say almost every man has become nationalized. Now this internationalized world community needs an international Divine code which could solve the diverse interna-tional problems along with individual and domestic problems at the same time. Allah Ta’ala sent this Divine code in the form of the Qur’an Shareef. This is the reason as to why this Ummah has been called the best Ummah as Allah Ta'ala says:
"Ye are the best community that hath been raised up for mankind. Ye enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency; and ye believe in Allah. And if the People of the Scripture had believed it had been better for them. Some of them are believers; but most of them are evil-livers."
This Ummah has the best code in the form of the Qur’an Shareef, therefore it is the best Ummah for promoting righteousnes. You should first know what righteousness is and for forbidding evil you should know what evil is?
Universally the best applicable commands of the Qur’an Shareef
We will be discussing a few of them here.
THe concept of Oneness of the Creator
of the universe
The Qur’an Shareef came with a simple and natural concept which appeals to the conscience of every sane person. Think over the words:
"O mankind! Worship your Lord, Who hath created you and those before you, so that ye may ward off (evil)."
The Qur’an Shareef says that you have not to worship things like man, sun, moon, stars, fire Ghosts, Angels, stones, lifeless statues or somebody you are not concerned with but your own Creator who created you not only created you but who is sustaining your life,providing all that you need for your life. No sensible person can deny this commandment but will he worship the things which are themselves created and have no power in themselves? He should worship the One who has created him and Who is sustain-ing his life.
The Qur’an Shareef further says:
"Lo! Allah (it is) who splitteth the grain of corn and the date stone (for sprouting) . He bringeth forth the living from the dead, and is the bringer forth of the dead from the living. Such is Allah. How then are ye perverted? He is the Cleaver of the Daybreak, and He hath appointed the night for stillness, and the sun and the moon for reckoning. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Wise. And He it is Who hath set for you the stars that ye may guide your course by them amid the darkness of the land and the sea We have detailed Our revelations for a people who have knowledge.\ And He it is Who hath produced you from a single being, and (hath given you) a habitation and a repository. We have detailed Our revelations for a people who have understanding. He it is Who sendeth down water from the sky, and therewith We bring forth buds of every kind; We bring forth the green blade from which we bring forth the thick clustered grain; and from the date palm, from the pollen thereof, spring pendant bunches; and (We bring forth) gardens of grapes, and the olive and the pomegranate, alike and unlike. Look upon the fruit thereof, when they bear fruit, and upon its ripening. Lo! herein verily are portents for a people who believe. Yet they ascribe as partners unto Him the jinn, although He did create them, and impute falsely, without knowledge, sons and daughters unto Him. Glorified be He and high exalted above (all) that they ascribe (unto Him).The Originator of the heavens and the earth! How can He have a child, when there is for Him no consort, when He created all things and is Aware of all things? Such is Allah, your Lord. There is no God save Him, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He taketh care of all things. Vision comprehendeth Him not, but He comprehendeth (all) vision. He is the Subtile, the Aware. Proofs have come unto you from your Lord, so whoso seeth, it is for his own good, and whoso is blind is blind to his own hurt. And I am not a keeper over you.
"If there were therein Gods beside Allah, then verily both (the heavens and the earth) had been disordered. Glorified be Allah, the Lord of the Throne, from all that they ascribe (unto Him)."
"Allah hath not chosen any son, nor is there any God along with Him; else would each God have assuredly championed that which he created, and some of them would assuredly have overcome others. Glorified be Allah above all that they allege. Knower of the invisible and the visible! and exalted be He over all that they ascribe as partners (unto Him)!"
Concept about prophets
The Qur'an Shareef says:
"Mankind were one community, and Allah sent (unto them) Prophets as bearers of good tidings and as warners, and revealed therewith the Scripture with the truth that it might judge between mankind concerning that wherein they differed. And only those unto whom (the Scripture) was given differed concerning it, after clear proofs had come unto them, through hatred one of another. And Allah by His will guided those who believe unto the truth of that concerning which they differed. Allah guideth whom He will unto a Straight path."
"Lo! We have sent thee with the Truth, a bearer of glad tidings and a warner; and there is not a nation but a warner hath passed among them."
"And verily We have raised in every nation a messenger, (proclaiming): Serve Allah and shun false gods. Then some of them (there were) whom Allah guided, and some of them (there were) upon whom error had just hold. Do but travel in the land and see the nature of the consequence for the deniers!"
"And We never sent a messenger save with the language of his folk, that he might make (the message) clear for them. Then Allah sendeth whom He will astray, and guideth whom He will. He is the Mighty, the Wise."
"And naught prevented mankind from believing when the guidance came unto them save that they said: Hath Allah sent a mortal as (His) messenger?"
"Say: I am (relying) on clear proof from my Lord, while ye deny Him. I have not that for which ye are impatient. The decision is for Allah only. He telleth the truth and He is the Best of Deciders.Say: If I had that for which ye are impatient, then would the case (ere this) have been decided between me and you. Allah is best aware of the wrong doers."
"When Allah made (His) covenant with the Prophets, (He said): Behold that which I have given you of the Scripture and knowledge. And afterward there will come unto you a messenger, confirming that which ye possess. Ye shall believe in him and ye shall help him. He said: Do ye agree, and will ye take up My burden (which I lay upon you) in this (matter)? They answered: We agree. He said: Then bear ye witness. I will be a witness with you."
The Qur’anic concept about prophets is the most balanced and quite logical. The Qur’an Shareef explains the need of prophethood and testifies to the prophethood of all prophets right from the first prophet Hadhrat Adam to the last prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (SAW). Unlike the Jews and Christian the Qur’an Shareef does not refute any prophet. Jews deny the prophethood of Hadhrat Isa (AS) and Hadhrat Muhammad (SAW) Chris-tian deny Hadhrat Muhammad (SAW). After accepting the prophethood of all prophets, the Qur’an Shareef comes with a logical doctrine i.e., all prophets are true but follow the last prophet as the last testament the Qur'an Shareef contains the sum total of all earlier revelations.
The concept about Resurrection and
"Shall We then treat those who have surrendered as We treat the guilty?What aileth you? How foolishly ye judge!"
"Shall We treat those who believe and do good works as those who spread corruption in the earth; or shall We treat the Pious as the wicked?"
"Deemed ye then that We had created you for naught, and that ye would not be returned unto Us? Now Allah be exalted, the True King! There is no God save Him, the Lord of the Throne of Grace."
"And they say: When we are bones and fragments, shall we, forsooth, be raised up as a new creation? Say: Be ye stones or iron.Or some created thing that is yet greater in your thoughts! Then they will say: Who shall bring us back (to life)? Say: He who created you at the first. Then will they shake their heads at thee, and say: When will it be? Say: It will perhaps be soon; A day when He will call you and ye will answer with His praise, and ye will think that ye have tarried but a little while. Tell My bondmen to speak that which is kindlier. Lo! the devil soweth discord among them. Lo! the devil is for man an open foe."
"And he hath coined for Us a similitude, and hath forgotten the fact of his creation, saying: Who will revive these bones when they have rotted away? Say: He will revive them Who produced them at the first, for He is Knower of every creation,Who hath appointed for you fire from the green tree, and behold! ye kindle from it.Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the like of them? Aye, that He is! for He is the All-Wise Creator, But His command, when He intendeth a thing, is only that he saith unto it: Be! and it is. Therefor glory be to Him in Whose hand is the dominion over all things! Unto Him ye will be brought back."
"And of His portents (is this): that thou seest the earth lowly, but when We send down water thereon it thrilleth and groweth. Lo! He who quickeneth it is verily the Quickener of the dead. Lo! He is Able to do all things."
"They indeed are losers who deny their meeting with Allah until, when the hour cometh on them suddenly, they cry: Alas for us, that we neglected it! They bear upon their back their burdens. Ah, evil is that which they bear! Naught is the life of the world save a pastime and a sport. Better far is the abode of the Hereafter for those who keep their duty (to Allah). Have ye then no sense?"
Islamic Law or Shariah
The beauty and distinction of the Qur'an Shareef is that it did not only give mankind a set of true beliefs but also provided a comprehensive body of laws covering almost all practical aspects of life.
As per encyclopaedia Britanica
"Total and unqualified submission to the will of Allah Ta'ala (God) is the fundamental tenet of Islam. Islamic law is, therefore, the expression of Allah Ta'ala's command for Muslim society and, in application, constitutes a system of duties that are incumbent upon a Muslim by virtue of his religious belief known as the Shariah (literally, "the path leading to the watering place") the law constitutes a divinely ordained path of conduct that guides the Muslim towards a practical expression of his religious conviction in this world and the goal of Divine favour in the world to come".
In classical form the Shariah differs from western systems of law in two principle respects. In the first place the scope of the Shariah is much wider, since it regulates man's relationship not only with his neighbours and with the state, which is the limit of most other legal systems, but also with his God and is integral part of Shariah law and usually occupy the first chapters in the legal manuals. The Shariah is also concerned as much with ethical standards as with legal rules, indicating not only what man is entitled or bound to do in law, but also what he ought, in conscience, to do or refrain from doing. Accordingly certain acts are classified as praiseworthy (mandub), which means that their performance brings Divine favour and their omission Divine disfavour and others are blameworthy (makruh) which means that their omission brings Divine favour and commission Divine disfavour. Shariah is not merely a system of law, but a comprehensive code of behaviour that embraces both private and public activities.
Let us have a look at few of the codes of the Qur'an Shareef:
One of the wonderful codes which the Qur'an Shareef presented to mankind is that of Salah.
Salah is the best type of worship one can think of. It does not only mean bowing of physical body before one's Creator but also includes progressive mental and spiritual attachment with Almighty Allah Ta'ala after getting detached from the mudane world. What one gets from Salah is something very difficult to translate into words. In the first verse quoted above the Qur'an Shareef says that your worship should be only for your Creator and Sustainer and nobody else. In the second verse the Qur'an Shareef reveals the purpose of Salah. It says that it should be established for the remembrance of Allah Ta'ala. Remembrance of Allah Ta'ala does not only mean lip reading but it means to establish a strong attachment or bond of one's finite self with the eternal and infinite Reality i.e., Allah Ta'ala. How much can you progress in a finite world? What heights can you touch? Obviously limitedness and finitude of this world makes its all possible limits limited.
How can a man then progress?
Only by coming out of the confines of this finite and limited world and attaching oneself with the eternal and infinite Reality. When one succeeds in doing so then his progress knows no bounds. How can one do that? It is through Salah.
A tradition of Rasulullah (SAW) says:
"One who is offering Salah, is conversating with Allah Ta'ala."
There is a well known saying, some quoting it from Rasulullah (SAW)
"Salah is the stair (for ascendence towards Allah Ta'ala) of Muslims"
If you want to ascend towards Allah Ta'ala, Salah is the stair. Sufis call it.
"Journey towards Allah"
"Journey into Allah"
For these journeys, Salah plays the key role. How so? for that thing one has to contact righteous spiritual Buzargs.
Conversation with Allah Ta'ala in Salah
When one recites Allahu Akbar (Allah Ta'ala is the Greatest) at the very onset of Salah and raises his hands upto his ear lobules, by this action he throws away all the mudane dirt behind his shoulders and by saying Allah Ta'ala is the Greatest, his heart starts trembling with His fear and melting with His love as now he concentrates in the fact that he is before the Greatest, before his Lord Who is All-Powerful and All-Knowing. After this, when one starts reciting Surah-Fateh, he starts direct conversation with Allah Ta'ala. In a tradition of Rasulullah (SAW) it is mentioned that when one recites Alhamdu Lillahi Rabbil Aalameen, Allah Ta'ala answers back? My servant has praised Me? Similarly answers other subsequent verses as well and then Allah Ta'ala says "This is between Me and My bondsman and for him is whatever he asks"
When somebody gets an opportunity to talk to some prime minister or president or some other dignitary, his joy knows no bounds and he always boasts of such meetings. Think for a while when one talks with Allah Ta'ala, you cannot provide any comparison, no other thing can be as joyful moment and so excellent as this. But unfortunately very few lucky people achieve this and realise this. It all happens in Salah.
Timing Of Salah
As already mentioned the basic purpose of Salah is remembrance of Allah Ta'ala, so timing has been kept in such a way so that one gets repeated reminders during the day. First Salah is called 'Salat-ul-Fajr". This is to be offered just at dawn before sunrise, that means soon after rising from the bed one is supposed to wash his exposed parts of body which brings freshness to body and mind and then first job one is supposed to do is to offer Salah to have spiritual breakfast which gives one spiritual energy for the rest of the day as Alama Ibne Taymiyah used to say that whatever he recited in the morning worked as breakfast for him for the rest of the day. After early morning one starts the day's work and gets engrossed in worldly affairs. The energy and illumination of heart which one had got from morning prayers starts fading and suddenly the words of Mu'azin calling again Allahu-Akbar fall in his ears and he gets reawakened. Now this is the time of second Salah just after midnoon called Zuhr Salah. After listening the call, one goes and again makes ablution which washes the dirt of body and mind. Tiredness goes and freshness comes once again. Then one walks towards mosque while again thinking of Allah Ta'ala's Greatness and the day of accountability, while walking towards mosque one tries to have quick look on his forenoon deeds and if one finds anything wrong, becomes tense and starts repenting and thinks of measures for rectifying the faults committed. Then one enters the mosque and starts Salah with one's heart full of fear and hopes. After completing Zuhr Salah, one again gets engaged in worldly affairs, markets and business establishments reach their climax and people remain engrossed in these activities, then suddenly the echoes of Allahu Akbar start sounding from everywhere.
Wonderful System of Aazan
When one thinks over the Islamic way of calling for Salah what is called Aazan, one is forced to believe that this arrangement cannot be of human thinking, it must be of Divine origin. This sound of Aazan of Allahu Akbar reaches every person of the society and nothing can stop it. The well fortified palaces of kings and their security personnel cannot stop this sound from reaching to kings' bedrooms.
People hear it in busy markets, offices, schools, colleges, universities or even at roadside. Rich and poor, younger and old, urban and rural, literate and illiterate, males and females all hear it equally. What a wonderful system indeed!
This third Aazan of the day is for Asr Salah, which is offered around 4-5.30 pm. Much emphasis has been laid upon this Salah in Shariah as at this time people are very busy and they have to exert much to suppress their baser-selves for coming out of that busy place for Salah. Here again one gets the reminder not to indulge in wrong practices at the fag end of their day's work.
4th Salah is soon after sunset called 'Magrib Salah'. This sunset reminds one about the temporary nature of the world. Sun was shinning brightly during the day now it is no more seen. Bright light of the day is replaced by dim light, day has ended and night has started. At this stage one gets a strong reminder about Aakhirah (Life in Hereafter) and one makes a strong repentance over the day's misdeeds and a firm resolve to prepare oneself for Aakhirah. The last Salah is called Isha Salah offered before going to bed at night. Sleep reminds of death and grave, so in this Salah one forgets the world completely and tries to reconnect himself with Allah Ta'ala, the connection which had got weakened during the day.
Salah in Congregation and in Mosque
The concept of mosque and Salah in congregation five times daily with one weekly larger congregation, is a unique system presented by the Qur'an Shareef which has tremendous impact on various sociopolitical aspects of society. Mosque provides immediate readily available and easy access secretariats and nucleus for a muslim society. All sections of the locality have to mingle up five times a day. There is no disparity between king and peon, rich and poor, even a sweeper can rub his shoulders with the king and can convey his problems to him. High officials of different departments come to know the problems of the people without any aid of official machinery. Rich people get a chance of interaction with poor and learn their problems and difficulties which enables them to start some charitable things for the weaker sections. Standing in well disciplined ques behind one commander (Imam) imparts not only discipline but also sense of brotherhood, unity and sense of belonging to one another. It also eradicates the seeds of racialism, casteism and regionalism from their roots. At the time of Haj, the Salah in congregation teaches the lesson of universal brotherhood. Mosques have proved great centres of learning. Great scholars of Muslim Ummah have taught their students in mosques only. In a society without mosques, one does not even know the name of his immediate neighbour, not to speak of knowing the problems faced by them. It is the mosque which makes it possible to know about one's neighbours constantly.
Rozah (Fasting in Ramadhan)
The Qur'an Shareef made it compulsory for its believers to fast from dawn to dusk for one month in a year. As we have already mentioned that Shariah provided by the Qur'an Shareef does not only regulate the relationship of man with the state but also aims at the moral, social and spiritual restructuring and upliftment of society. This code of the Qur'an Shareef goes a long way in restructuring the mind of muslim society. It cures the evils of baser-self, the lower soul which is otherwise, full of evils. Allah Ta'ala created different things e.g., minerals, plants, animals and angels etc, each having their own characteristics. When Allah Ta'ala created man, He created in him sum total of all the characteristics of all other creations, that is why man is called microcosm as it is said that whatever is in universe, is in man. Therefore, man possesses the characteristics of all the creatures. On one hand he possesses the characteristics of beasts and on the other the characteristics of angels. You will agree with me that many people in the world behave as beasts and even more than that.
How to Get Rid of Bestial Characters
The Qur'an Shareef is quite emphatic and instrumental in inculcating in man the praise worthy morals called Ikhlaq-e-Hamidah and in weakening and quietening the blameworthy morals called Ikhlaq-e-Razeelah or bestial characteristics.
The Qur'an Shareef says:
“But he will prosper who purifies himself.”
Only that person succeeds who purifies himself from the impurities of shirk (Polytheism) and bestial characteristics like greed, cunningness, sexual over-desires, malice, pride, overeating etc. Greed is the dominant characteristic of dog, cunningness and deceit of fox, over-sexuality of pig, malice of horse, pride of lion and overeating of elephant. Therefore, we can easily say that a person who is very much greedy is having dog like character, similarly a person who is overpowered by desire of over-sexuality behaves not like a man but like a pig. Sex is a human character as well but it is the overuse and misuse of sex which is bestial character.
Anatomico-Physiological Differences Between Man and Animals
Animals are mainly controlled by limbic system and hypothalamus which are centres of emotions situated in the brain. These emotional centres in animals are almost independent as they have very little higher cortical control as compared to humans in which frontal lobe and higher cortex is highly developed. When an emotion evolves in an animal, the animal gets swayed by the emotion as animal has no higher control over the limbic system and hence cannot control its emotions. So, when a dog sees a bitch, it becomes emotional and fulfils his emotions irrespective of the place and the circumstances, whether it is a roadside or in broad day light or whatever. On the other hand, humans have a strong civilisation centre placed in highly developed frontal lobe of the brain. The limbic system and hypothatamus in humans, is under the control of the frontal lobe and thus all emotions arising in humans are nicely controlled by higher centres. Therefore, we can say:
'To get swayed by emotions is an animal instinct'
'To control and channelise emotions is human instinct'
Now, you can have a look on modern world, these days people, having animal instincts who get swayed by emotions in the form of slogans of free-sex, are thought to be civilised and the people, who behave like humans by controlling and channelising their emotions, are thought to be uncivilised and orthodox.
Now, just analyse Monica Lewinsky - Clinton episode. American President Bill Clinton gets swayed by animal instinct on seeing a pretty intern Monica Lewinsky in white house. The whole civilised world ridiculed American President for this animal act. Even the supporters of free-sex slogan joined the condemnation wave against the president. Why? Because inner conscience, voice from human civilisation centre always hates animal instincts even if those people are trying to justify animal instinct by lips but their hearts will be beating the other way round.
The Qur'an Shareef says:
“O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that ye may (learn) Self-restraint.”
In these verses the Qur'an Shareef states in clear terms that the purpose of its commandment for observation of fasts is for attaining piousness, what it terms as Taqwa. One becomes pious when one behaves as human and not as animal. It is a well known fact even experienced by common people, that overeating strengthens these animal instincts. For example, a person taking too much of meat and other aphrodisiac foods feels stronger sexual urge than other people who take a balanced diet. Over eating not only makes one prone to many diseases like diabetes, heart attacks, gastro-intestinal problems but also makes one greedy, miser, self-cntered and many times corrupt.
Nowadays, you must be seeing long ques in Gyms. and other such centres for making oneself slim and for losing weight.
Physicians Left Madinah
It is reported that during the time of Rasulullah (SAW) there were some non-muslim physicians in Madinah. One day they all decided to leave Madinah for good as they were getting no patients. They were called by Rasulullah (SAW) and were asked as to why they were leaving from Madinah. They replied that they were not getting any patients in Madinah as people of Madinah were not getting sick. Rasulullah (SAW) told them that how cum would they fall ill as they stopped eating even when they had desire to eat i.e., they eat less or they do not overeat. This was the secret of their good health.
Discussion between Hadhrat Umar (RA) and a non-muslim doctor
Once a jew or christian doctor asked Hazrat Umar t , "You say that the Qur'an Shareef contains everything but I don't see anything in it about medicine." Hazrat Umar (RA) at once replied, "Haven't you read the following Qur'anic verse, which states:
“We send down (stage by stage) of the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to thhose who believe.”
This non-muslim doctor got stunned on hearing this Qur'anic verse and admitted that there could not be better guideline than this for good health.
So, through its commandment of fasting, the Qur'an Shareef has taken care of both physical as well as spiritual diseases.
Zakah is another system given by the Qur'an Shareef which revolutioned the economic concept and financial institutions. After having a look at world history, we don't find any established economic system of a state anywhere before the Qur'an Shareef was revealed fourteen hundred years ago. The rulers were masters and the ruled as inanimate subjects almost everywhere. We don't find anywhere legal or financial institutions. the word of the ruler used to be law. We do find some isolated attempts in the past by some just rulers in this direction but most of them could not succeed in providing a well-organised institutionalised state financial system based on absolute justice. As human thinking is limited so were these systems also having lot of limitations. It was only possible for the Divine message and everlasting principles which formed the basis for a revolutionary financial system based on absolute justice. This Qur'anic message was not just for an Utopia, as some people wrote some systems for Utopia, but these economic Divine principles of the Qur'an Shareef saw the dawn of the day as Rasulullah (SAW) and his Caliphs practically established these financial institutions and the whole world saw the fruits of it in a very short span of time.
Modern Taxation and Zakah
(Courtesy: Public finance in Islam)
The institution of Zakat which had had a slow evolution in the religions preceding Islam, i.e., Judaism and Christianity, reached its perfection in islam. It stands out as a perfect system of taxation-cum-worship and cannot, therefore, be compared with the purely materialistic theories of taxation which have held the field during the last few centuries. The latter owe their origin to the socio-political conditions of the Western peoples at different stages of their development, such as the mediaeval age of feudalism, the “merchantilist” period immediately preceding the Industrial Revolution, and the modern age. Take for example, the "Benefit Theory" of taxation, which pro-vided that the amount of taxation an individual should pay must be in proportion to the amount of benefit received by him from the State. This now looks absurd but in the mediaeval age when the feudal dues could be commuted in the shape of cash payments and the State depended on its revenues on the receipts from the feudal lords, such a theory could fit in nicely and squarely into the then existing scheme of things.
The Benefit Theory in time yielded place to the Financial Theory, the exponents of which were not concerned with the equity or inequity of the distribution of the social products but with the methods of getting the necessary revenue, as expediently as possible. According to this theory any tax is good which yields a large income with comparatively little protest.
In this connection a passing reference may be made to the Sumptuary Theory according to which certain commodity taxes serve to restrict the consumption of luxuries and noxious articles. This is a partial explanation of the object of levying taxation since these are more satisfactory and direct ways available of reducing or banning consumption of luxuries and noxious articles.
We come finally to the Socio-Political Theory according to which taxation is regarded as an economic or social instrument in addition to its being a source of revenue. The advocates of this theory consider the tax as a means of reducing the inequality of incomes and the gap between high and low incomes although some protectionists would employ duties more with a view to serve industrial end rather than as a mere means of raising revenue or of reducing the inequalities of incomes.
However, the development of thought in recent time has been in the direction of the Socio-Political Theory. The imposition of Death Duties and the introduction of Income-Tax, all point to the same tendency which is gathering more and more momentum as time passes on. And this tendency is the nearest approach to the Islamic conception of taxation propounded more than 13 centuries back.
The object of Zakat has been propounded in the Quran in no uncertain terms. it lays down that Zakat is a duty laid by Allah Ta'ala for the benefit of the poor and the needy, for those who are appointed to collect it (Zakat), for Islamic propagand for freeing the slaves and the indebted as also for those in the way of Allah Ta'ala. Thus the objects on which Zakat is to be spent clearly indicate the purpose for which it is levied. In fact when the Propet deputed Ma’az bin Jabul as Governor of Yemen, he enjoined on him the observance of prayers (Salaah) and Zakat and in respect of the latter expounded the principle that it was intended
"to take it from the rich and give it to the poor."
This approximates to the underlying idea of the Socio-Political Theory with the difference that Zakat has an important religious aspect also and it is “ to take from their wealth Zakat so as to make it clean and pure. This aspect which enrobes it with a religious importance second only to Salaah, makes it easy of collection and difficult of evasion in an Islamic State.
ZAKAT IN THE LIGHT OF ADAM SMITH’S
CANON OF TAXATION
The four canons laid down by Adam Smith are still considered to be the basis of sound public finance and it is interesting to see how far they are true when compared with the underlying ideas of Zakat. These have been summarised under the headings of Equality, Certainty, Convenience and Economy.
The first canon prescribes that the subject of every State ought to contribute towards the support of the Government as nearly as possible in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the State. According to this view, the progressive levy, i.e., one which increases in percentage as the income increases, is considered a method of securing a fair apportionment while a proportionate impost causes more sacrifice to a poor than to a rich man. This is true under the modern system of taxation under which the levy of a tax is on -the income of an individual Zakat, on the other hand, is levied on the capital i.e., on the amount saved after a year and as such a uniform rate of impost ensures equal sacrifice. Had Zakat been levied on the annual income of a man at a uniform rate of 2% per annum, the result would have been a proportionate impost which would have caused more sacri-fice to the poor than to the rich, but actually it is on the savings and as such more irksome to those with a biggar saving than to one with a smaller one. Besides, the further restriction that it must not be expended on objects other than those mentioned in the preceding chapter, makes the entire thing available for the poor from which the rich can have little or no direct benefit.
Zakat is neither degressive, nor regressive.By degressive is meant a taxation of the higher incomes which though taxed at higher rates bear less than an equal sacrifice; while regressive taxation is one in which the percentage of the tax ensures equal sacrifice in a simple manner by adopting a uniform rate. It thus accomplishes what the complicated system of taxation in vogue in the modern countries fails to do.
The second canon requires that the tax which each individual is bound to pay ought to be certain and not arbitrary. The time of payment, the manner of payment, the quantity to be paid, ought all to be clear and plain. Under this canon of “Certainty” falls also the consideration that not only the tax-payer but the State should also as far as possible know the amount of revenue likely to be derived.
Now as regards the certainty of the rate there can be no tax comparable with Zakat which is immutable sand unalterable by any human agency because of its Divine sanction. Neither the rate, nor the objects on which it ought to be expended can be departed from in the least by a State and it is surely a testimony of the efficacy of the commandments that in the long history of over a thousand years no Islamic State ever dared to divert the revenues derived from Zakat to other than the prescribed objects although the Exchequer was used more often than not as a Privy Purse of the rulers.
Likewise the individual paying the Zakat knows exactly how much he has to pay to the State, at what time of the year and in what manner. He can make necessary adjustments in his income and pay the Zakat at the appointed time.
As regards the State knowing the amount of revenue to be derived, the probable income from Zakat follows the ordinary principles of assessment. An increase in the national wealth must reflect an increase in the individual’s wealth and consequently his ability to pay a higher amount of Zakat. A state of uncertainty, turmoil and natural calamities will no doubt adversely affect the yield, while a state of steady progress will result in an increased yield. Hence by the ordinary process of taking a few years’ average and taking account of the big factors affecting the public, it should be possibIe to know as accurately the probable yield as is possible in the case of othertaxes, e.g., income-tax, in a modern State.
There is, however, one additional factor which is absent in the consideration of taxes in a modern State, namely, the religious importance of Zakat. Now from the very nature of it, Zakat is leviable both on objects which are not hidden and unknown to the State, and objects of which no State can have knowledge. In the former category fall things as cattle, land etc., while in the latter objects such as gold silver and articles of trade. Necessarily, thereof, the State will have to depend in the latter case on the public spiritedness and religious zeal of the individuils, which is a variable quantity and an index of the religious condition of a people.
The third canon requires that every tax ought to be levied at the time or in the manner in which it is most likely to be convenient for the contributor to pay. In the case of land produce, Zakat is collected after each harvest and is collected in kind (unless otherwlse desired by the tax-prayer); in other cases it is collected in kind at the end of the year. This is in accordance with the Divine Commandment, “Verily the calculation of months with ‘God is twelve months, the day when God created the Earth and the Heavens.” The underlying idea is the convenience of the tax-payer, since in the case of land produce it is naturally convenient to the tax-payer to pay one-tenth of the produce as soon as he is in a position to pay, i.e., as soon as he has collected the harvest; in other cases the universal practice is to take into account the transactions of a year before arriving at the net result of one’s activities and the actual financial position and the same has been allowed by Islam. Besides in the case of zakat on the maximum period of producing young ones is 12 months and it was necessary to take this fact also into consideration.
It has been mentioned above that Zakat is generally collected in kind whether it is on land produce or cattle or cash or articles of trade. It is this fact which makes it convenient for the contributor to pay. if, however, a tax-payer desires to pay in cash, there is no objection to its being so commuted. Thus the primary consideration is the convenience of the contributor and the ease in payment.
The rule of convenience in taxation which primarily has special reference to the tax-payer, is also taken to apply to the Exchequer in view of its regular periods of large out payments and the desirability of sufficient amounts of revenue being available at the appropriate times. The convenience of the Exchequcr however, is a thing which cannot be judged with reference to one tax only as the time for the realisation of the various ways and means must necessarily be different and it is on the cumulative effect of the entire realisations that a correct estimate can be made. Besides, no system of taxation has been evolved so far in any modern State which dispenses altogether with the necessity of short term loans and treasury bills. Nevertheless it will be noted that Zakat is not only convenient to the contributor but also to the Exchequer. In as much as certain realisations are made at the end of each harvest, while others are thus spread over the whole year, and thus provide for the need for disbursements of the Exchequer in a much more admirable way than any of the taxes known to the Modern States.
The fourth canon stipulates that every tax ought to be so contrived as both to take out and to keep out of the pockets of the people as little as possible over and above what it brings into the public treasury of the State In other words, as little as possible, consistent with efficiency, should be spent on administration and collection. This also implies that no third party between the tax payer and the State should benefit from the impost. The religio-economic character of Zakat the payment of which is second in order of importance amongst the 5 cardinal duties imposed on a Muslim makes the collection of Zakat comparatively very easy and inexpensive.
The voluntariness in the payment of Zakat on hidden assets and its religious character avoid the necessity of maintaining an elaborate machinery or finding out evasions and for adjudicating on the demands of the assessors and the defence of the tax payers as is now done in the case of income-tax. The collectors of Zakat generally collect in kind on the ostensible assets; the calculation is naturally simple and the rates easy to understand and apply. In fact the rules are so simple that no specialised knowledge is called for and consequently the cost of collection is definitely much lower than that of any other tax known to the civilised nations.
Finally, there is no possibility of a third party between the contributor and the Stare benefiting from Zakat as the collection is direct and (as will be explain-ed later) there is no possibility of shifting the incidence of the impost as it is not on the income but on the capital.
Besides the four canons of taxation contributed by Adam Smith there are other rules also, viz, (a) that the tax should have a high-net productiveness though not so high as to damage materially the wealth-yielding sources whence it is derived, (b) that it is better to have a few productive taxes than many less productive; (c) that the tax should permit of an automatic growth as the wealth and population increase; and finally (d) that it should be elastic, i.e., it should allow, if necessary, of increase in the rate and the yield without a corresponding increase in expenditure and machinery. As to (a) above it is abundantly clear that the wealth yielding sources remain unimpaired as not only the rate of Zakat is low and well proportioned but it has also the effect of levelling up the general level of prosperity in a community. The taxing of idle money inevitably leads to its perforce employment in productive channels which in turn increases the national wealth of a country. The tax (Zakat) on articles of trade which, like that on the idle money, is the lowest in the scale of Zakat, i.e. 1/40 or 2½% per annum, ensures maximum efforts on the part of those engaged in trade and commerce withont causing detrimental effects on their enterprises.
Regarding (b) it need hardly be mentioned that besides Zakat the financial system of Islam conflnes itself to as few taxes as posstble though most of them may be said to fall under the generic term Zakat. Thus Zakat is the main tax in the Islamic state and answers all the requirements which financiers all over the world have been searching during the past few centuries but have failed to find one. For instance the main plank in the financial theories of the physiocrats (chief among whom was Quesnay) was the advocacy of a single tax on land as it was claimed to be the true source of all wealth. Zakat escaped notice of the Physiocrats as well as those who followed them simply because it was not carefully considered and was brushed aside as a sort of religious levy and therefore undeserving of attention in a mundane state.
Respecting (c) which requires that the tax should permit of automatic growth commensurate with the increase of wealth and population, it would suffice to point out that the taxable limit of Zakat is pIaced so low, i.e., 52 tolas silver 7½ tolas of gold, that the tax takes in its sweep practically the entire population excepting the most indigent including unemployed and those incapacitated from doing any work. The low taxable limit and the principle of proportionate sacrifice tend to reduce the gulf between the high and low incomes and level up the differences by preventing the accumulation of wealth into the hands of a few individuals. This results in a general prosperity, i.e., the prosperity of the largest number and as the prosperity increases, the number of those contributing the tax increases with a proportionate decrcase in the number of those (i.e,, indigent and unemployed) whose maintenance is the first charge on Zakat. Thus not only the growth of Zakat is automatic as the wealth and popula-tion increases, but it is a potent instrutment of increasing the wealth of a country.
Finally with regard to (d) which requires that it should have elasticity, it may be observed that in this respect Zakat is in a different category altogether. No earthly ruler possesses the power to make the slightest alteration in the rate which is fixed unalterably by God and the Prophet (SAW). In fact in the long history of the Islamic rule, not even the worst dictator has ever attempted to increase the rate or even to make the slightest alteration in the taxable limit etc., as it would not have been tolerated even for a day in the Islamic Society. Whatever the needs of the State, however great the contingency, it is of the greatest importance that the system of Zakat as laid down by God should remain inviolate. No doubt it is open to the head of the State to devise and impose new taxes should an emergency arise, such as war, or even when by any means wealth concentrates in fewer hands to the detriment of the rest of the population. It will, however, be an emergency impost and will be withdrawn as soon as the need for the same is over, but it will have nothing to do with Zakat which must remain inviolate. The greatest asset of Zakat lies in the fact that it is enrobed in sanctity and is devised in such a way that it may serve its object irrespective of whether an Islamic society enjoys sovereign powers or not. Hence from the very nature of it, Zakat cannot be elastic in the sense in which certain taxes in a modern State are elastic.
The Qur’anic Concept of State
The Qur’an Shareef preaches universal statehood where,
i. Allah Ta'ala is Supreme Law Maker.
ii. Whole world belongs to Allah Ta'ala, thus demolishing all artificial boundaries dividing the mankind.
iii. All men are equal, no one is superior to any other person, superiority is not based on ancestral status, wealth, race, cast or creed but on righteousness.
iv. Individual and society are equally important. Islamic society is neither totalitarian nor authoritarian.
v. Following the Islamic Law is not only legal but also religious obligation, thus it has both social as well as spiritual benefits.
vi. Man is most respected creature enjoying safe and well protected life and is vicegerant of Allah Ta'ala.
vii. Women are given special status and are well protected by Islamic Law.
viii. Rulers are answerable ane not above law, they consider themselves as servants and not the masters.
ix. Foreign policy is well defined based on universal human truths.
x. Purpose of war is to restore justice and to establish the rule of Divine Law.
xi. To take care of weak, old, needy people is the responsibility of the state.
xii. Human rights are safeguarded in an unparalleled manner.
xiii. In an Islamic society knowledge commands precedence.
Allah Ta'ala is the Supreme Law Maker:
The Qur’an Shareef says:
“Command (or judgement) is for none but Allah”
“Blessed is He in whose Hand is the dominion; and He is able to do all things”
Difference between Islamic Law and other mundane laws is that Islamic Law is from all Knowing, Omnipotent and Omniscient Allah Ta'ala who is not only Creator of this universe but is also the Supreme Unparalleled Authority as well, as compared to other laws which are made by man whose knowledge, experience, intellect and power are all highly limited. According to the classical theory, “Islamic Law is the revealed will of God, a divinely ordained system preceding and not preceded by the Muslim state, controlling and not controlled by Muslim Society.” (Conlson N.T., A History of Islamic Law)
Truth has to be Absolute
Changing truth is no truth. We see all laws other than Islamic laws undergoing frequent changes every now and then. Laws are framed by people and strongly advocated as true. After sometime another group of people feel that these laws are now obsolete and do not hold true any more, hence amend these earlier laws. This process is unending. If something is true today and false tomorrow, was not truth at all. Truth has to be absolute and constant. These constant laws based on absolute truth can come only from Absolute Being, Who knows present, past and future at the same time and He is none but Allah Ta'ala. So, the Qur’an Shareef provides constant laws based on Absolute Truth legislated directly by Allah Ta'ala. As Allah Ta'ala knows future as well as all generations and all regions, so He has kept enough flexibility in His laws so that it can accommodate all necessities of all changing times.
Whole World Belongs to Allah Ta'ala
The Qur’an Shareef says:
“His are all things in the heavens Heavens and the Earth.”
“I am placing in the earth one that shall rule as My deputy.”
The Qur’anic concept of state is universal, it does not believe in artificial boundaries which divide mankind in different countries. Islam does not believe in regionalism, racism, casteism or linguism. Its message is quite clear that the whole world belongs to Allah Ta'ala, all mankind is one, all descendants of Adam, so whole world should be governed by the Divine laws of Allah Ta'ala. Man on earth is not independent but is as the vicegerant of Allah Ta'ala, so all that what man has to do is to implement the laws of the real Ruler, that is, Allah Ta'ala. This message of the Qur’an Shareef is the only thing that can unite the mankind and demolish all artificial barriers erected by short sighted people in different parts of the world.
The Qur’anic concept of equality where
superiority is based only on righteousness
The Qur’an Shareef says:
“O! Mankind We created you from single (pair) of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that Ye may know each other (not that Ye may despise each other). Verily the most hoonoured of you on the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquinted with (all things).”
The Qur’an Shareef says that Allah Ta'ala has created whole mankind from a single parent so there is no difference between white and black, Asian or European or American, one caste and other caste, one tribe and other tribe and so on. Allah Ta'ala says that this division into different clans etc. is just for convenience in recognition, otherwise it has no other basis, basically all men are equal.
If anybody is superior, if anybody is having any distinction or preference that is not because of his being from a royal family nor because of his colour or caste or wealth but is because of his righteousness. Righteousness is the only criteria for superiority. Prophet Sayyidina Muhammad (SAW) is reported to have told his beloved daughter Hazrat Fatima:
“O Fatima, don’t think that your relation with me can be of any help to you, save your skin from hell-fire by doing righteous deeds.”
The Qur’an Shareef says:
"This book guides those who fear Allah and thus do not indulge in evils and remain steadfast on righteousness."
Which is the ideal of Islamic life. The Qur’an Shareef defines righteousness in a marvellous way:
“It is not righteousness that Ye turn your faces towards east or west: But it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the angels, and the book, and the messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask for the ransom of slaves; to be steady in prayer, and give Zakat, to fulfill the contracts which Ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah fearing”
It further says:
“By no means shall Ye attain righteousness unless Ye give (freely) of that which Ye love whatever Ye give, Allah knoweth it well.”
The Qur’an Shareef is the Divine code which bases society on righteousness so that all evils are purged out and only virtue is allowed to prevail. The Qur’an Shareef lays great emphasis on moral excellence.
The Qur’anic concept of ideal state is not just an utopia as that of Greek philosophers and other but an ideal state based on the Qur’anic concept of righteousness which was practically established at Madinah by Rasulullah (SAW), so one needs to go through whole history of Islamic state during the time of Rasulullah (SAW) and his rightly guided Caliphs.
A tradition of Rasulullah (SAW) is reported as:
“Most righteous amongst you should lead the Salah (should become the Imam).
The Qur’an Shareef says:
“Allah doth command you to render back your trusts to those to whom they are due; and when Ye judge between people that Ye judge with justice; verily how excellent is the teaching which He giveth you! For Allah is He Who hearth and seeth all things.”
In this verse the Qur’an Shareef clearly bases selection of people for different posts on efficiency and not on other considerations. In an Islamic society if some governor or some other higher official is to be selected or elected, he should be worth of it. To choose a person who is not righteous and is not efficient is a permanent sin as per the Qur’anic teachings. The Qur’an Shareef binds its believers to think many times before casting his vote in anybody’s favour as he or she will be punished by Allah Ta'ala for helping in the selection or election of some one who is not worth of that post.
The Qur’an Shareef while narrating the incident of great flood during the time of Hadhrat Noah (AS), says:
“And Noah called upon His Lord and said: ‘O my lLord! Surely my son is of my family and Thy promise is true, and Thou art the justest of judges!’ He said; ‘O Noah! he is not of Thy family; for his conduct is unrighteous. So ask not of Me that of which Thou has no knowledge! I give thee counsel, lest thou become on the ignorants!”
In these verses the Qur’an Shareef reveals that when Noah (AS) prayed for his son, who was not righteous, Allah Ta’ala warned Noah (AS) for praying for his son who was not virtuous, thereby clearly sending the message to mankind that Islamic society should only be based on righteousness and nothing else. Even if son of a prophet is not righteous he has no place in an Islamic society.
This is the ethical basis which marks off the Islamic State as superior by far to the modern state which ignores the laws of morality in all its affairs and thinks of sovereignty in the human terms.
Individual and Society are Equally
Important in an Islamic State, it is
Neither Authoritarian nor Totalitarian
When we go through the world history and analyse different forms of governments which have been there in the world in different countries at different times, we clearly see that either there has been injustice to the society or to the individual. You will never prove that there has ever been any non-Islamic state which was based on absolute justice for both individual as well as society. Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle talked much about an ideal state but they were more theoretical than practical. Even their hypothetical theories had many flaws. Plato advocated more for socialist way of life and the curtailment of individual liberty as he thought that it was indisciplined life and excessive freedom of individual that was responsible for the fall of Greek city. Both Plato and Aristotle were of the opinion that social stability is prior to the individual in importance.
In dictatorship and kingship we know that there is coercion and injustice to individual as well as society. There boss is always right, always holds true. Everything depends upon the whims and wishes of the ruler. There is no rationalistic approach. King may be very much kind hearted and willing to do real good to his people, as his wisdom and knowledge about the needs of the people are limited, there are always chances that while trying to do good to some, he may be doing harm to others or ignoring rights of others of which he may have no knowledge. It will always be impossible for him to do total good.
Marxist-Socialist concept of state has miserably failed in the world. Disintegration of the Soviet Union of Russia proved last nail in its coffin. In this form of government the individual rights are miserably crushed, private institutions, private sector and individual liberty is totally suppressed. Its being antihuman and unnatural is quite obvious and does not need further elaboration.
Modern democratic system has the laws based on the human reason which is always liable to err. This form of government has so many shortcomings that it will be difficult to list them all here. Election or selection of legislators is not based on level of education, experience, moral uprightness, righteousness or political awareness but on the contrary it has been seen that those people who do not do good in school and colleges and do not get some respectable job, who are mostly fallouts from the colleges, finally join politics as a last resort out of sheer frustration. It is these people unfortunately in whose hands is finally placed the destiny of the nation. The legislation depends upon their whims and wishes. As their sole aim in becoming legislators is materialistic, so their all moves are materialistic in essence, so it is seen that all moral and financial malpractices mostly start from them only. In this way both society as well as the individual suffers in such a system. In modern times it is usually seen that the intellectual and morally upright people become ulema, doctors, engineers, scientists, lawyers and judges and businessmen etc and the third raters join politics. This is general rule, there are always exceptions, we do not deny them.
Secondly as this whole system is based on materialistic notions, so moral ethics has no role in such governance.
India these days, is badly suffering from instability of the central government which is mainly due to this form of democracy. There are people across the country, now who are openly talking against this type of democracy.
Islamic laws are divinely ordained laws based on absolute justice where both society as well as individual are equally protected. The ruler in an Islamic state, is not the master but a servant of Allah Ta'ala who has been appointed as the head of the state not as the dictator or as legislator but just to implement the already existing Divine Laws of Allah Ta'ala. Rulers of Islamic State like Hadhrat Abu Bakr, Hadhrat Umar, Hadhrat Uthman, Hadhrat Ali and Hadhrat Umer bin Abdul Aziz have set up such examples of governance of which there is no parallel in the world history.
The Qur’an Shareef commands its
believers including the rulers
“Allah commands justice, the doing of good and giving to kith and kin and He forbids all indecent deeds, and evil and rebellion: He instructs you, that Ye may receive admonition.”
In this verse the Qur’an Shareef commands its believers about ‘Ihsan’ in addition to ‘Adal’ that is the beauty of Islam. ‘Adal’ literally means justice where an offender will be given punishment which will be exactly equal to his offence, neither more nor less. ‘Ihsan’ means to do more good to others when one is not supposed to do it and if one does not do that extra goodness, one has not committed any sin. In other words it means that the Qur’an Shareef exhorts its believers to do more good with others for which they are not legally bound. For example, a businessman can earn any amount of profit, Islamic State will not prevent him from that unless that profiteering causes much inconvenience to the society. But Islam exhorts Muslims not to earn too high profits on their commodities and for this Islam does not bind them legally but exhorts them morally and promises a reward in Hereafter.
Incident of Hadhrat Ali (RA)
Hadrat Ali (RA) was the 4th Caliph of Muslim Ummah after Rasulullah(SAW). Once saddle of his horse was stolen by a jew. One day he saw his saddle with the jew and recognised it. Now, being the head of the state he could have taken his saddle back and imprisoned the jew, but see how the Qur’an Shareef moulds and reforms its believers. He does not say anything to the jew, instead files a case against him in the court of which Qadhi Shuriah was the chief justice. Qadhi Shuriah does not think that Hadhrat Ali being the head of the state and most upright person cannot tell a lie, but he goes as per his Qur’anic laws. He asks Hadhrat Ali (RA) to produce evidence. Caliph’s word is not taken as final. He is being asked to produce evidence as in Islam nobody is above law. Hadhrat Ali (RA) produces his son and his servant as the witness. Qadhi Shuraih refuses to accept the son as the witness. As it is compulsory in Islam to produce two witnesses and Hadhrat Ali (RA) was now left with only one, so he gives decision in favour of the jew and Hadhrat Ali (RA) does not get back the saddle which is given to jew. Hadhrat Ali (RA) takes the decision willingly. On seeing this the jew embraces Islam. This shows the glimpse of how Islam makes even the ruler to follow the Islamic Laws just like a common man.
The Qur'an Shareef takes highly balanced path in this direction as well. Take the example of marriage, Islam does not make it legally obligatory for Muslims that every Muslim has to marry necessarily. It does not prohibit marriage also. If Islam would have made marriage obligatory for everyone, those people having physical and financial problems would have been in trouble. Had Islam banned marriage, adultery would have been the result. Islam on the other hand exhorts Muslims to marry in a well prescribed fashion so that human beings fulfil their sexual desires in a civilised and legalised way, couple becomes nucleus of family and then the society and that the moral and legal rights, like that of inheritence, of the off-springs are vividly safeguarded. Another beauty of Islam is that it neither restricts man to one wife only nor gives him unlimited liberty in this regard. The disadvantages of having only one wife permissible have now been proved beyond doubt as it is practised in certain religions like Hinduism. These people face lot of difficulties if the wife dies, or is not able to satisfy the husband sexually, may be due to physical problem or ailment or if the husband and the wife do not like each other for one or the other reason. So, Islam gives an individual liberty upto four at a time. There are so many reasons for this number of four, we are not going to discuss them here, reader is advised to read this topic in the literature which is freely available in abundance.
Islam is the law of Allah Ta'ala
The All knowing, So where Islam has allowed man upto four wives and has given him the right to divorse but at the same time it has disliked the divorce most. Islam does not snatch the right to divorse from man, had it been so, man would have been in great trouble. Not only to man, Islam has given the woman equally the right to take divorse, thus protecting the rights of both man as well as woman. With all this legal permission of divorse, you will see that divorse is least common in Muslim Society. Why? This is because of Qur'anic injunctions. Divorse is used in Islam when all other methods of reconcilliation between husband and wife fail and that time too this is done with lot of distaste. If you compare Islamic Society with western society in case of rate of divorse, you will see that it is negligible in former as compared to latter.
Following of Islamic Law is not only
legal but religious obligation as well.
One of the great differences between secular laws and Islamic Laws is that to comply Islamic Laws is not only legal but is a religious obligation. A person who obeys Islamic Laws is promised a reward in Hereafter and a defaulter is promised a punishment in Hereafter in addition to worldly punishment at the hands of law and order authorities. It is impossible for any secular legal system to keep an eye on every citizen for twenty four. Let me explain by giving some examples. A patient gets some abdominal pain and consults a doctor. The doctor is greedy and wants to extract money by hook or crook. He tells the patient, “look, you have appendicitis, your appendix is going to get bursted any time which can cause death. It needs immediate operation. You better go to such and such nursing home just now and I will be operating on you this evening. It will cost you Rs. 10,000. Mind you, this patient has nothing of that sort, his appendix is quite normal, his pain is due to simple intestinal cramps. The doctor also knows that he does not have appendicitis but he just wants to make money by removing a normal appendix. What will that poor ignorant patient do. Fearing death, he immediately follows the doctor’s instructions and gets admitted in the said nursing home even if he has to borrow the money. After this un-indicated and unnecessary surgery is performed, it is very difficult for any secular legal system to prove that this doctor has done any wrong.
Similarly, suppose a patient goes to a doctor for some simple ailment which can be treated by simple one or two tablets but this doctor prescribes very costly substandard drugs, firstly because he wants to impress the patient, secondly the doctor gets commission from the drug company not only this but this doctor also advises a battery of tests not because these tests are necessary for the patient but because the doctor gets commission from various laboratories where these tests are done. Now, tell me which legal system can catch him, if he is questioned, he can give hundred lame excuses to justify all this. It is only sense of accountability in the Hereafter and firm belief that Allah Ta'ala is seeing our exterior as well as interior all the time, that can force one to remain honest in one’s dealings. A Muslim knows that he can deceive an individual or the government to avoid worldly punishment and can grab money but he cannot deceive Allah Ta'ala and cannot escape punishment in the Hereafter. It is in this belief where the beauty of Islam lies. I tell you without any exaggeration that only true God-fearing Muslim whether doctor, engineer, businessman or whatever, can be honest in his dealings in the real sense of the word. The honesty of others will be only superficial, if you analyse honesty of others, you will mostly see many flaws in their honesty which may be intentional or unintentional.
Examples from Sahaba al-Kiram
Sahaba al-Kiram were extremely God-fearing and the sense of accountability in the Hereafter was strongest in them. They would not dare to commit a trivial sin in private or in public, they were not fearing worldly punishment as much they were fearing punishment in Hereafter.
Confession of Hadhrat Umar (RA)
In the early days of Islam, going to wife was forbidden even during night in the month of Ramadhan. Once Hadhrat Umar (RA) went to his wife during night in the month of Ramadhan while forgetting the ban. After the act he soon realised the sin and started melting due to fear of Allah Ta'ala. He had done so in private but knowing that Allah Ta'ala is always seeing, he, in the early morning, ran to Prophet (SAW) and himself voluntarily confessed his sin and requested the Prophet (SAW) to save him from Allah Ta'ala’s chastisement. It is only because of the firm conviction of a Muslim that Allah Ta'ala is always seeing, he does not dare to transgress Islamic Laws even in privacy.
Thre is a famous incident in Islamic history which speaks volumes about how much true Muslims fear Allah Ta'ala which forces them to confess voluntarily even the grave sins which they could have easily hid, thus avoiding punishment.
A lady came to Rasulullah (SAW) and confessed that she had committed adultery and that she wanted punishment. Rasulullah (SAW) felt sorry for that lady but the lady repeatedly insisted for punishment as she did not want to return to Allah Ta'ala sinful. As she was pregnant, Rasulullah (SAW) told her to come after giving birth to the child she was carrying. After some months she again comes herself with the child in her lap and again asks for the punishment. No warrants were issued for her arrest, no police was sent to arrest her. She is coming herself as she wants to cleanse her deed book from the black stains of that grave offence. Rasulullah (SAW) asks her to come after the period of breast feeding of the child is over which usually lasts upto two and half years. She again comes voluntarily with the child accompanying her with a piece of bread in his hand meaning that he no longer now needed breast feeding. You know what was the punishment to be given to this lady for her crime, which she knew very well! She was to be stoned to death. Rasulullah (SAW) felt pity on that lady but he had to order to stone her to death as per Divine Law and finally that lady was stoned to death. She got herself cleansed in this world, only and she never wanted chastisement in the Hereafter.
This is the true Muslim character, a true Muslim will not do any illegal thing even if he knows that he can escape punishment. This is the clear distinction of Islamic Laws over the secular laws.
Readers are advised to read the incident of Ka’b Ibne Maalik (RA) which is mentioned in detail in the Qur’an Shareef in Surah Toubah and also mentioned in detail in Hadith Shareef books. That is a marvellous incident which demonstrates how Islamic Laws are executed by Muslims not superficially but by the core of the heart.
Social and Spiritual Benefits of Islamic Laws
Mundane secular Laws do not touch the moral and social values of its citizens whereas Islamic Laws not only take care of social and moral values of its citizens but also aims at spiritual upliftment of the individual as we have already discussed that following of Islamic Laws is not only legal but is religious obligation as well.
There are numerous Qur’anic verses and Ahadith Shareef on the subject but it is not possible to quote all of them here, few are quoted as under:-
The Qur’an Shareef says:
"O ye who believe! let not some men among you laugh at others, it may be that the (later) are better than the (former), nor let some women laugh at others, it may be that the (later) are better than the (former). Nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other. Nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames. Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness, (to be used of one) after he has believed. And those who do not desist are doing (indeed) wrong. O ye who believe avoid suspicion as much (as possible), for suspicion in some cases is a sin. And spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it... But fear Allah, for Allah is Oft-Returning Most Merciful.
"Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the satans. And the satan is to his Lord (Himself) ungreatful.
"Kill not your children for fear of want, We shall provide, sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin."
"Come not nigh to the orphan's property except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength; and fulfil (every) engagement, for (every) engagement."
"And do not eat up your property among yourselves for vanities, nor use it as bait for the judges, with intent that ye may eat up wrongfully and knowingly a little of (other) people's property."
"Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him. And do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are of kin neighbours who are strangers the companion by your side, the way-farer *ye meet), and what your right hands possess, for Allah loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious.
"O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may take away part of the dower ye have given them, except where they have been guilty of open lewdness. On the contrary live with them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good."
"Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not niggardly, but hold a just (balance) between those (extremes)."
"Those who witness no falsehood and, if they pass by futility, they pass by it with honourable (avoidance)"
There are numerous Ahadith Shareef also on this topic in the treasure of Ahadith Shareef, I will be quoting few of them here:
“A true believer is one from whose tongue and hands other believers remain safe”
“One who deceives is not from us”
“One who does not love our youngsters and does not respect our elders, is not from us”
“One who does not show mercy, is not shown mercy”
"Salaam is before the speech"
"Don't curse the dead"
"Don't ask (beg) people for anything"
"To abuse a muslim is impiety and to fight against him is infidelity"
"Abstain from sitting on the roadside"
"(Perfect) Muslim is one, from whose tongue and hands other muslims remain secure"
"The one who doesn't keep his promise, has no Deen (Islam)"
"None of you should urinate in a hole"
"When anyone of you has to take a bath, he should ensure veil"
"Man must not look at the private parts of other man and woman must not look at the private parts of other woman."
"Rasulullah (SAW) forbade slapping or beating on anyone's face"
"One who has Imaan on Allah Ta'ala and on the day of Qiyamah must honour his guest"
"One who has Imaan on Allah Ta'ala and on the day of Qiyamah must speak a good word or keep silent"
" One who has Imaan on Allah Ta'ala and on the day of Qiyamah must behave properly with his relatives."
Man is Most Honoured in an Islamic State
Islam has given great honour to man. If somebody asks me to describe Islam is one sentence, I will describe it as “Service to Humanity”. If you study whole the Qur’an Shareef, Ahadith Shareef, everywhere you will see that this all is aiming at this pivotal idea.
DARUL ULOOM ILAHIYAH
INSTITUTE OF ISLAMIC RESEARCH
ILAHI BAGH, BUCHPORA, SRINAGAR, 190011, KASHMIR, INDIA