Fiqh Lesson: 19th February, 2013 by Umm Ahmad / Amirah

In the name of Allah
Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

Islamic Society and Human Relationships

Question 117: Why do Muslim countries apply Islamic law upon non-Muslims when problems arise in Islamic society?

Answer 117: Islam does not enjoin the People of the Scripture to use or follow the divine creed of Islam. The method of Islam is as follows: if they resorted to Islamic methodology for arbitration, then the Islamic rule should be applied in this case, almighty God says:
“So if they come to you (O Muhammad), either judge between them, or turn away from them. If your turn away from them, they cannot hurt you in the least. And if you judge, judge with justice between them. Verily, God loves those who act justly” (Holy Qur’an: 5: 42)
In any other likely case, they could at any time follow their creeds, so long as these creeds have a heavenly origin. Also, God says: “But how do they come to you for decision while they have the Torah, in which is the (plain) Decision of God; yet even after that, they turn away. For they are not (really) believers” (Holy Qur’an: 5: 43). This has already been mentioned in the matters related to creeds and familial dealings and in case they are citizens in the Islamic countries.
As regards civil and financial cases, all people living in Muslim countries must commit themselves to observe the Islamic rules, as these rule serve the opinion of the majority of the citizens. This criteria, the rule of the majority, is applied everywhere in the world, especially in the west. In the various dealings of the common affairs (like traffic, health, education), Muslims themselves almost always refer to civil laws. This also includes many other matters, which have nothing to do with dogma, liberty of belief, familial relationships (like marriage and other things so that they cannot collide with the religion of the Islamic society). As it is decided, contract is the law of the contractors; and anybody coming into the Islamic country will beforehand sign his commitment to the divine laws and manners; consequently, accept the rules of Islam to be applied, if required. This is one form of proving sovereignty to the state, something which is applicable almost everywhere in the world. Constitutions of almost all world countries decree that in the likely case any crime takes place on the land or within the territorial boundaries of any country, then the law and rules of that particular countries are the ones to be applied, without discriminating between the nationalities of the people involved in the crime.

Question 118: Since it is claimed that Islam has undertaken the Question of liberating slaves and bondwomen, why do Muslims make of men slaves and women bondwomen when they go to wars? Does not that signify a contradiction in Islamic principles?

Answer 118: It is a fact that Islam has called for the liberation of slaves. There are many proofs to attest for this:
1. Liberating a slave is a kind of atonement for some sins, like indeliberate murder, and dhihar (divorce), oath breaking, corruption of one’s fast in Ramadhan by sexual intercourse and so on.
2. God promised a great reward for those who voluntary liberate any of their slaves.
3. The right of the slave to liberate himself by buying himself from his master;
4. A Muslim is encouraged to pay a portion of his zakat money to those slaves willing to purchase themselves from their masters;
5. The Islamic rule of what is called “arrangement,” which incurs the liberation of the slave upon the death of his master, especially if the master does not have the desire to liberate him during his lifetime. So the choice of freeing oneself is open after the death of the master. The master may say to his slave: “You are be free after my death,” whereupon the slave becomes free immediately after the death of the master.
6. The Islamic rule regarding the women slaves in case they become mother of children to their master upon a sexual intercourse they might have with them. If the bondwoman conceives in this case, she may neither be sold nor rented; soon after her master’s death, she becomes free.
When a war takes place between Muslims and others, and Muslims come out victorious, if an agreement takes place between the Muslims and their enemies regarding the captives, the Muslims are bound to keep their word according to what they have pledged. If there is no such agreement or reconciliation, then Muslims are free to opt for one of the following choices:
1. Ransoming their captives with captives from the enemies, or money is given instead.
2. Setting the captives free against nothing, out of kindness and charity.
3. Killing them to relieve mankind from their evil, and killing only the fighters from them.
4. Enslaving them as a kind of charity so that they could know Islam closely with the hope that they might become Muslims themselves. It is in the right of Islam to kill those who stood in the face of Islam as fighters, but in most cases they are kept alive and enslaved. This is some kind of showing the power of Islam and the humiliation of its enemies. The caliph is the only one who could command enslaving up, it is not left to individuals.

Question 119: Why, upon the birth of a baby, Muslims slaughter one sheep for the girl but two for the boy?

Answer 119: Following the tradition of prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Muslims slaughter one sheep for the newly-born girl but two for the newly-born boy. The rationale behind the difference could be to stress the fact that there are differences between man and woman in terms of physical capability and the right of guardianship and responsibility. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “The baby-boy is ransomed by his slaughtered animal.” Since man fights in the path of God and carries the burden of struggle and earning living, he is more exposed to dangers and accidents than woman. Therefore, he is more required to be ransomed with two slaughtered animals for the protection of his body and optimism for his safety.

Question 120: Is it lawful for a non-Muslim to enter the Holy Mosque in Mecca? If not, why?

Answer 120: It is not lawful for a non-Muslim to enter the Holy Mosque in Mecca in accordance with what almighty God has said: “Verily, the mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolatries, disbeliveers in the Oneness of God, and in the Message of Muhammad) are Najasun (impure). So let them not come near al-Masjidal-Haram (at Mecca) after this year” (Holy Qur’an: 9: 28). As to other mosques, the reason for a non-Muslim entering a mosque should be taken into account before admitting him/her to do so. If it is for the sake of learning about Islam or for any other reason which meets the needs of Muslims, then it is lawful for non-Muslims to enter the mosque. Entering mosques for touristic or sightseeing purposes is not lawful.

Question 121: According to the Qura’nic verse “So if you gain the mastery over them in war, punish them severely in order to disperse those who are behind them” (Holy Qur’an: 8: 57), we believe that Islam spread by the sword. What is your explanation regarding this?

Answer 121: Islam did not spread by sword, and had it spread by sword or by force, people would have apostatized at the first chance they had, but the situation is just the opposite. Once those people embraced Islam, they turned into proselytize Islam in terms of tongue, money and sword. Holy fight in Islam is meant for overcoming the barriers before the call for Islam to people. If it had been possible to call to Islam without facing barriers or objection by force, Muslims would not have used arms or force on the one hand. On the other hand, many countries, especially in South East Asia and the biggest part of Africa and those who embrace Islam in Europe today, the spread of Islam was in those countries by peaceful call, respectable Islamic dealing of Muslim traders, and Islamic missions in those countries. The west used its colonial influence, societies, preaching missions sometimes in the name of medical AIDS and, sometimes in the name of schools and education. It used those means to spread Christianity; hence, the intention was not completely pure or for purely humanitarian reasons. It was for the sake of exploiting those peoples and reverting them off their various creeds. Through its stooges, the west executed all of its terrorist and aggressive plans. The Christian west wanted to establish secular governments, which had nothing to do with religions, on the basis that those governments had nothing to do with Islam, which was considered by the west as archenemy without justifications.

Question 122: Tobacco did not exist at the time of prophet Muhammad, yet it is considered by many scholars today as unlawful. Why?

Answer 122: Some prohibits have been rendered unlawful by Qur’anc texts, things like wine, eating flesh of dead meat, and pig’s meat. Some other prohibits were declared as unlawful because they were included in a total divine rule, or a general principle rule, things like impurities, and all that is harmful to the body or in wasting money uselessly. All of these things have their right divine evidence. The prophet related: “No harm should be done to oneself or to others.”
[1]This saying involves all kinds of harm one might cause to oneself, his money, or to others. It has been proved that smoking is harmful to the body. Islamic beliefs render everything good as lawful and everything bad as unlawful.
If we examine all prohibits, we find that they lead to harm to others because of what they cause. The creed produced general rules according to which things are considered throughout history and place. Analogical deduction In Islam is one of the sources of legislation after the Noble Qur’an, prophetic tradition, and consensus of the companions of the prophet, which is one of the forms of the recognized independent reasoning, and approved by Muslims scholars, which is itself the secret of the survival of Islam, as it meets the renewed needs of Islam and judges their new acts of conduct. To this end, the scholars rendered smoking as unlawful on the basis that it is harmful to the health of the smoker, and a waste for his/her money. Smoking is closer to the group of impurities than to that of purifies. Almighty God said:
“he commands them for al-ma`rouf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained); and forbids them from al-munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden); he allows them as lawful at-tayyibat (i.e. all good and lawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, person, foods), and prohibits them as unlawful al-khab`ith (i.e. all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons and foods), he releases them from their heavy burdens (of God’s Covenant with the children of Israel), and from the fetters (bonding) that were upon them” (Holy Qur’an: 7: 157).

Question 123: Almost all banks do not observe the religious teachings and they deal with interest. But dealing with the bank has almost become a necessity. What harm is there if one deposit his/her money in a bank, with and without interests?

Answer 123: Putting money in interest banks is lawful because of necessity, and necessity is estimated according to its real situation. Accordingly, putting money in interest banks in a country which has monetary institutions, like Islamic banks and its subsidiaries, not dealing in interest is unlawful. Putting one’s money in a bank is originally unlawful if one is not worried about the safety of his money from theft or robbery. If one feels unsafe about the money, there is no objection to putting it in an interest bank, because of the jurisprudential rule which says: “Necessities render prohibits as lawful.”
Anyone who puts his money in an account because he is obliged to keep it safe, can take interest on it, which is better than leaving it to the banks dealing with interest, but he cannot spend the money in the way he wants, as he does with his lawful money. He can give it to the poor and needy people, as they are the only people who could use the money. Any kind of money whose owner is unknown has the reward of delivering it to the poor and needy, but does not have the reward of alms, as alms is given from his completely lawful money.
If the Muslim is obliged to put his money in an interest bank without taking the interest it is lawful too, and once he is able to do without dealing with that bank, he has to withdraw his money.

Question 124: In Islam there is a saying, which goes like this: “Wisdom is supposed to be the goal of every Muslim, he/she should seek it wherever it is.” Can a Muslim in this case follow and/or adopt good western principles a lifestyle?

Answer 124: Muslins are always encouraged to follow what is good and avoid what is bad.
However, when it comes to creed, worship, manners and many things, which have to do with personal dealings, Islam recommended everything good and prohibited everything evil. Almighty God said:
“Verily, God enjoins al-adl (i.e. justice and worshipping none but God Alone–Islamic monotheism) and al-ihsan[i.e. to be patient in performing your duties to God, totally for God’s sake and in accordance with the sunah (legal ways) of the Prophet (pbuh) in a perfect manner], and giving (help) to kith and kin (i.e. all that God has ordered you to give them e.g., wealth, visiting, looking after them, or any other kind of help, and forbids al-fahisha (i.e. all evil deeds, e.g. illegal sexual acts, disobedience of parents, polytheism, to tell lies, to give false witness, to kill a life without right), and al-munkar (i.e. all that is prohibited by Islamic law: polytheism of every kind, disbelief and every kind of evil deeds), and al-baghy (i.e. all kinds of oppressions). He admonishes you, that you may take heed.” (Holy Qur’an: 16: 90)
Islam urges Muslims to learn useful sciences and advanced system especially in the domain of technology experimental sciences, and the like. Accordingly, there is no harm for a Muslim to benefit from what the west has used to advance itself, if what is used does not contradict the fixed and determined Islamic fundamentals, which are known as being good and useful to mankind.
There is, however, one thing that should be taken into consideration, i.e. some things might be useful temporarily and accidentally. Such things cannot be rendered as lawful though they might be useful temporarily from one point of view. They could be subject to the conventions, customs and tastes of some people. All of this cannot render something lawful, as everything of those principles; conventions and customs should go with the Islamic fundamentals, and people should not differ as to whether people believe it is useful or beneficial. Almighty God said:
“And no example or similitude do they bring (to oppose or to find fault in you or in this Qur’an), but We reveal to you the truth (against that similitude or example), and the better explanation thereof” (Holy Qur’an: 25: 33)

Question 125: What is the purpose of prohibiting usury when both partners (the usurer and the one paying interest) are completely satisfied with the transaction?

Answer 125: The satisfaction of both contractors does not render prohibited things lawful, as two adulterer and an adulteress accept to commit adultery, and the agreement of buyer and seller of drugs does not make such matters lawful.
Those who consider matters from a limited point of view want a quick or private benefit, regardless of what disasters of destruction and corruption of the Islamic nation such transactions may cause. Anyone, whether it is a person or a country, who resort to borrow money with interest must be in dire need for that money. What kind of humanity is this that exploits the need and adversity of that man or nation?
When the interest loan is intended for production, and the borrower loses, he shoulders the responsibility and is the only loser, which could be disastrous to him. Had he been able to support himself he would not have resorted to borrowing an interest loan. The two partners should agree from the beginning on both profit and loss. If they make a profit, the profit is mutual and the same applies to loss. The one working will have lost his efforts and time and the lender will lose his money. Almighty God announced war on the borrower and lender dealing with interest. Almighty God says:
“And if you do not do it, then take a notice of war from God and His Messenger but if your repent, you shall have your capital sums. Deal not unjustly (by asking more than your capital sums), and you shall not be dealt with unjustly (by receiving less than your capital sums). And if the debtor is in a hard time (has no money), then grant him time till is easy for him to replay…” (Holy Qur’an: 2: 278-80)

Question126: Since the Prophet (pbuh) referred to the acceptability of entertaining oneself, are we allowed to play chess or cards for a mere passing of time?

Answer 126: There are certain Islamic rules and regulations that govern the use of different pleasure facilities and entertaining oneself. These rules and regulations conclude any form of entertainment that has been evidently forbidden may not be used for entertaining oneself. Some scholars say they have grounds to believe that chess was forbidden; therefore, Muslims should not play it.
Playing any other kind of game, which is good for health and/or mind, is permissible, provided that there is no evidence of its prohibition. However, playing lawful games should not distract us from fulfilling our duties or indulge us in sinful deeds.
Muslim scholars agree that playing chess is forbidden if it is played as a form of gambling, or if it causes one to neglect a duty like performing prayer. It is also disallowed if it implies lying or cause swearing and/or leads to any kind of harm. Yet, scholars have different opinions: some of them prohibit paying chess altogether, others say it is not recommended; others still, say it is allowed provided that players do not swear, that Muslims should not play with non-good Muslims in the streets, and that it should not be played very often because it may waste the time of Muslims and make them heedless of their religious obligations such as remembering God and worshipping. However, scholars recommend that Muslims are better off not playing such games because the prophet (pbuh) says: “Leave doubtful things, and do things that are certain (to be allowed).”

 And Allah knows the best !
[1] Cited in Ahmad, hadith No. 2719; Ibn Majah, hadith No. 1332.[2] Cited in Bukhari, and Al-Turmudhi.


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