By: Abdul-Rahman Al-Sheha
Islam condemns the abuse of power, position and authority to obtain personal gains. In fact, Islam empowers the ruler to reclaim all assets taken through abusive means and deposit them into the Islamic treasury. But what rights do humans have in Islam?
In Islam it is not allowed to be unjust with anyone, even to one’s own self.
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) appointed a man called Ibn-ul-Lutbiyyah, as a zakah collector. When the collector brought the zakah amount, he said: This is for you (the Islamic Treasury) and this has been given to me as gifts. The Prophet became very upset upon hearing this from the collector. He said:
“Where he is sitting in his father’s or mother’s house, would he have received any of these gifts? By Him in Whose hands is my soul, nobody would take anything from this except that he would be carrying it on his neck on the Day of Resurrection, even if it be a camel. Then he raised his hands until we saw the whiteness of his armpits and said: “ O Allah! Bear witness that I have conveyed the Message three times.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Islam prohibits all forms of intoxicants that affect the minds or brains of users. It is commanded in the Qur’an:
O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication to) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork: eschew such (abomination), so that you may prosper. (Al-Ma’idah 5:90)
All types of injuries to a person or animal such as beating and other vices such as backbiting, tattle-telling, false testimony, etc. are also prohibited. The verse in the Qur’an warns:
O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, indeed some suspicions are sins, and spy not, nor backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, you would abhor it. And fear Allah, for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most-Merciful. (Al-Hujurat 49:12)
Being Human in Islam: Dignity
It upholds the dignity and honor of others and forbids slandering them. The Almighty Allah states in the Qur’an:
And those who annoy believing men and women undeservedly, bear (on themselves) a calumny and a glaring sin. (Al-Ahzab 33:58)
In Islam great importance is given to the privacy of a person and any type of intrusion is prohibited. Allah states in the Qur’an:
If you find none in the house, enter not until permission is given to you; if you are asked to go back, go back: that makes for greater purity for yourselves and Allah knows all that you do. (An-Nur 24:27)
Justice is one of the basics of the religion of Islam. It is not allowed to be unjust with anyone, even to one’s own self. Allah commands in the Qur’an:
Allah commands justice, the doing of good and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds and injustice and rebellion, He admonishes you that you may take heed. So fulfill the Covenant of Allah when you have entered it, and break not your oaths after you have confirmed them, indeed, you have made Allah your surety; for Allah knows all that you do. (An-Nahl 16:90-91)
In addition, in a hadith qudsi (divine revelation other than the Qur’an), Allah says:
“My slaves! I have banned injustice for Myself. I have declared injustice unlawful among you. Therefore, do not do any act of injustice to one another.” (Muslim)
In fact, Allah disapproves injustice done even to those who differ with Muslims in faith and religion. Allah has demanded Muslims to be kind and fair to non-Muslim residents in an Islamic State. Allah states in the Glorious Qur’an:
Allah forbids you not with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: Verily Allah loves those who are just. (Al-Mumtahanah 60:8)
Islam forbids abusing the beliefs of non-Muslims, when it provokes the other party to respond with reciprocal abuse. The Allah says:
Revile not you those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they revile Allah out of spite in their ignorance. (Al-An`am 6:108)
Instead, Allah instructed Muslims to use a fair and well-matured dialogue with such people: Allah says:
Say: “O People of the Book! Come to common terms between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah. If then they turn back, say you: “Bear witness that we are Muslims (submitting to Allah’s Will). (Aal `Imran 3:64)
Islam, further, bans all types of social, political and moral corruption and mischief. It is commanded in the Qur’an:
Do no mischief on the earth, after it has been set in order, but call on Him with fear and hope, for the Mercy of Allah is near to those who do good. (Al-A`raf 7:56)
Islam forbids the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam by force. Allah states in the Qur’an:
If it had been your Lord’s Will, they would all have believed, all who are on earth! Will you then compel mankind against their will to believe! (Yunus 10:99)
This does not mean that Muslims should not call others to join the Islamic monotheistic faith by delivering the Message of Allah to people but indicates that Muslims should call to Islam in a wise, kind and comely manner. Islam has an international mission and it is neither a regional nor ethnical call. But the guidance is in the Hands of Allah alone and not in the hands of people.
Islam commands people to assist an oppressed person even with the use of force when necessary.
Justice & Consultation
Islam commands people to run their governments with consultation. The principle of consultation is operative in situations where there are no clear scriptures from the Qur’an and Sunnah. Allah states in the Qur’an:
…their affairs are conducted by mutual consultation… (Ash-Shura 42:38)
Islam commands that all relative rights be given to their deserving people. Islam also calls for full justice among people.
The Almighty Allah states in the Qur’an:
Allah does command you to render back your T rusts to those to whom they are due; and when you judge between man and man, that you judge with justice: verily how excellent is the teaching which He gives you! For Allah is He Who hears and sees all things. (An-Nisaa’ 4:58)
Islam commands people to assist an oppressed person even with the use of force when necessary. This is based on the verse in the Qur’an, the meaning of which is translated as:
And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men, women, and children, whose cry is:
Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect; and raise for us from You one who will help! (An-Nisaa’ 4:75)
Source: The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions”.
By: Salman Al-Oadah
One feels amazed by the degree of detailing in the description of the Prophet’s physical features. The scholars talked about his external traits in the minutest way.
His body was moderate in everything. He was neither too tall, nor too short, but average height.
Thus, they described the hair on his head. It was neither tightly curly nor completely straight, but between the two. At times it would grow until it reached his shoulders, and at others he would cut it to the level of half the ears. And he took good care of it:
Aisha said that “when he was combing his hair, it was like paths of sand being furrowed by that comb”. (Al-Bayhaqi))
Um Hani’ reports that ‘the Messenger of God once came to Mecca, and he had four braids’. (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi)
In another report, she says: “I saw four braids in the hair of the Messenger of God”. (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tabarani)
His face was also meticulously portrayed. He had a round face (Muslim, Ibn Hibban), not a complete roundness, but it was like the moon when it is complete. And it was white with a slight ruddiness, as if the sun or the moon were running in it. (Ahmad, Muslim, Al-Bayhaqi) He also had a broad forehead.
Aisha said: ‘The Messenger had a spread out forehead. When it appeared from among the hair, or he would look at us at daybreak or at the onset of the night, or when he turned up to face people, they would see as if the light of a lantern were twinkling on his forehead’. (Al-Bayhaqi, Ibn `Assakir)
His eyes were large and white, as if having kohl. (Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, At-Tabarani, Al-Bayhaqi) His nose was straight with a little protruding in the middle. (At-Tabarani, Al-Bayhaqi) His cheeks were straight and white. (At-Tabarani, Al-Bayhaqi) His mouth was rather large (Ahmad, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi) and had space between his foreteeth. (At-Tabarani, Al-Bayhaqi) He took great care to clean his teeth by brushing them. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim)
He also had a thick beard. (Ahmad, Muslim, Ibn Hibban) Yet it was neither too long nor too short. He made a point of combing it, cleaning it, anointing it and perfuming it. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, An-Nasa’i, Ibn Hibban)
His body was moderate in everything. He was neither too tall, nor too short, but average height. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim)
As for his clothing, he was not particularly strict on garments. He would not ask for what was not to be found, nor refute what was at hand. He put on a gown imported from Levant. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)
He put on a turban. (Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, At-Tirmidhi)
And he put on a cloak and a wrapper. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim) He used to like good, clean clothing. But he did not exaggerate in it and dressed without the least sense of pride. He never wore long clothes. He warned people against it, especially if it was accompanied by vanity. He said: ‘God turns away from one who drags his clothes out of vanity’. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi)
The Prophet was the best exemplar of simplicity, and hated vanity and arrogance. His constant aim was to remain close to the people in his nutrition, clothing, transport, and when sitting. One day he slept on a bed which left its traces on the side of his body (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim) because there was nothing thick between him and the bed. He would often sit on the ground, eat on the floor, and sit on a straw mat. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim)
One day, Mulaikah, Anas iin Malik’s grandmother, invited the Prophet over to share a meal which she had prepared in his honor.
He answered and ate of the food, then said: ‘Stand up so you can pray behind me’. Anas said: ‘So I brought a straw mat which had grown black with use. I sprayed it with water, and then the Prophet stood on it. The orphan and I stood behind him, and the elderly woman behind us. He prayed two rak’has and then he left.’ (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i)
The mountains would have been made gold and silver for him if so he had wished. Yet what he loved was simplicity (Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, At-Tabari) and spontaneity. He stayed away from affected behaviour. He preferred to be close to the people and be one of them, never assigning on them tasks beyond their capacity.
The article is excerpted from the author’s book “In the Company of the Prophet (God’s Chosen Messenger)”.
By Abul A`La Mawdudi
The foundations of the social system of Islam rest on the belief that all human beings are equal and constitute one single fraternity.
In Islam, if there is any real difference between man and man it cannot be one of race, color, or language, but of ideas, beliefs and principles.
God created a human couple to herald the beginning of the life of mankind on earth, and everybody living in the world today originates from this couple. The progeny of this couple were initially a single group with one religion and the same language.
But as their numbers gradually increased, they spread all over the earth and, as a natural result of their diversification and growth, were divided into various tribes and nationalities. They came to speak different languages; their modes of dress varied; and their ways of living also differed widely. Climates and environments affected their color and physical features.
All these differences exist in the world of reality and Islam does not seek to ignore them. But it disapproves of the prejudices which have arisen among mankind because of these differences in race, color, language and nationality.
Islam makes clear to all men that they have come from the same parents and are therefore brothers and equal as human beings.
Islam says that if there is any real difference between man and man it cannot be one of race, color, country or language, but of ideas, beliefs and principles.
Two children of the same mother, though they may be equal from the point of view of a common ancestry, will have to go their different ways in life if their beliefs and moral conduct differ.
On the contrary, two people, one in the East and the other in the West, even though geographically and outwardly separated by vast distances, will tread the same path in life if they share the same code of moral behaviour.
On the basis of this fundamental tenet, Islam seeks to build a principled and ideological society very different from the racial, nationalistic and parochial societies existing in the world today.
The basis of co-operative effort among men in such a society is not the place of one’s birth but a creed and a moral principle. Anyone, if he believes in God as his Master and Lord and accepts the guidance of the Prophets as the law of his life, can join this community, whether he is a resident of America or Africa, whether he belongs to the Semitic race or the Aryan, whether he is black or fair-skinned, whether he speaks a European language or Arabic.
All those who join this community will have the same rights and social status. They will not be subjects to any racial, national or class distinctions. No one will be regarded as high or low. There will be no untouchability. There will be no special restrictions upon them in making marriages, eating and drinking and social contacts. No one will be looked down upon because of his birth of work. No one will claim any distinctive rights by virtue of his caste, community or ancestry.
Man’s merit will not depend on his family connections or riches, but only on whether he is better than others in moral conduct or excels others in piety and righteousness.
Such social order, transcending as it does geographical boundaries and the barriers of race, color and language, is appropriate for all parts of the world; on its foundations can be raised the universal brotherhood of man.
In societies based on race or nationality only those people can join who belong to a particular race or nation, but in Islam anyone who accepts its creed and moral standards can become a member, possessing equal rights with everyone else.
Those who do not accept this creed, while obviously not being received into the community, are treated with tolerance and humanity and guaranteed all the basic human rights.
It is clear that if two children of the same mother differ in their ideas, their ways of life will be different; but this does not mean that they cease to be brothers.
In the same way, if two nations or two groups of people living in the same country differ in their fundamental beliefs, principles and ideology, their societies will also certainly differ; yet they will continue to share the common ties of humanity.
Hence, the Islamic society offers to non-Muslim societies and group the maximum social and cultural rights that can possibly be accorded.
The article is excerpted from the author’s book “The Islamic Way of Life”.
The countdown has already begun for Ramadan. Are you overwhelmed? Are you nervous about the countdown to Ramadan? Is this your first time fasting during the Holy Month? How can I get ready?
Fasting means withholding food and drink from sunrise to sunset. That means I won’t have meals during the day, and when I’m thirsty, I won’t drink either – up until it’s time to break my fast.
I’ll break my fast with dates, because that’s the sunnah – dates and plain water. Then I’ll have a meal. Hmm, should I cook? Should I buy out?
Should I go to the mosque? What about Taraweeh (night prayers)? Maybe I should go to the mosque, which means, I should get a copy of the Qur’an that’s just the right size. Maybe one that can fit into my bag. Gee, will I be tired by the end of the day? Especially when I’m working the whole day.
When will I cook? What should I cook? How about suhoor (late night meal), what type of meal should I have then? If I’m occupied the whole day, when should I read the Qur’an? Am I supposed to take advantage of the month and brush up on my Prayers as well? What about my recitations? All this, for about thirty days? Could I really do this? I think I’m overwhelmed.
The Countdown… Get Prepared
Have you felt the countdown for Ramadan? Is this your first time fasting during the Holy Month?
Ramadan, despite its spiritual goodness, can be daunting for first-timers. Doing something they have never done before and doing it for a month, maybe alone, is a feat to be reckoned with. But with this Pillar of Islam, comes ease – it just takes a little planning and preparation, and anyone, with the best of intentions can make their First Ramadan, a Ramadan to remember.
Make Du’aa’ and Intention for a Meaningful Ramadan
Du`aa’ and intention are the first steps for anything when it comes to being a Muslim. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reminded that du`aa’ and intentions are only worthy when they are enveloped by God. Thus it is important for everyone who makes intention for a meaningful Ramadan to have the right intention to please God first.
Cultivating the Good, Breaking the Bad
After intention, there has to be action; a lot of action. And one of the benefits of Ramadan is that it sets the tone for change. Perhaps this is best to be kept simple, as little changes do add up.
Setting too many goals may be overwhelming for some, so it’s important to stay realistic with the goals you want to achieve. The best deeds are those that are consistent.
If this is your first Ramadan, think about what you would like to get out of it. Take a look at yourself and think about the new habits you want to cultivate and those that you want to break, as a new Muslim. Write them down and again, make intention to work through Ramadan in plight of these goals and objectives. If you can pull this off with a positive mindset, you will surely reap the spiritual upgrade that Ramadan has to offer.
Set a Schedule Pre-Ramadan
A practice run-up to Ramadan is a good idea. If there is still time, try fasting on Monday and Thursday as per the sunnah as a simple warm up. A whole month of a new regiment could cause a slight shock to one’s body, so a practice schedule may help.
Otherwise, try waking up a little earlier for breakfast and being a little more disciplined about food intake. Try cutting down on snacks, and taking a rest in the mid-morning. This will help with Taraweeh Prayers that come later at night. This is also a good time to start cultivating good sleeping habits and to curb staying up late unnecessarily.
Pick Up a Copy of the Qur’an
Having a copy of the Qur’an as accompaniment is a great way to spend Ramadan. A small copy of the Qur’an would be just nice to carry to classes or even to work, even if it’s the translation of the meaning of the Qur’an.
There’s nothing more meaningful than reading a few verses every day as there are blessings in every letter of the glorious Qur’an.
Get in Touch with the Muslim Community
Ramadan is a great time to cultivate ties between the Ummah, but beforehand, seek out good friends and relatives (if any) who will act as companions throughout the month. Fasting together, enjoying iftar together, attending Islamic talks together, and praying together are amongst the blessings of Ramadan.
Ramadan is a good time for self reflection.
Having good company keeps our focus on the virtues of Ramadan. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reminded that we shall follow the religion of our friends, so do choose good companions to help you through the month.
Commit to Helping a Charity
As we all know, Ramadan is a good time for self reflection, and especially reflecting on what we are grateful for. It’s also a great reminder to help those in need. Get in touch with a charity beforehand and see how you can help out during the month. It could be something simple as sponsoring some iftar meals, or visiting a few times a week to help tidy up. This would actually help in keeping determined on the fast as it helps remind us of the hardship of others and the importance of extending a hand of aid.
Start Planning Meals
You have stocked up on dates, honey and raisins… and all the other good foods in the Qur’an, but now it’s time to start planning your meals. It may sound simple to start planning meals, so do it for the entire Ramadan. Meal preparation is the last thing you want to think about and so is running around the kitchen preparing food. Get a meal plan started now with your favorite, easy-to-make dishes on the menu, and even better, those that can double up as meals for suhoor.
If you aren’t able to plan for the month, consider planning out a week’s worth of meals and repeating them through the week. Also, be smart with ingredients, as this is the perfect time to eat healthily, especially when it is important to stay actively and alert throughout the daylight hours.
It sounds like you have a plan. Smile and brace Ramadan positively. Read up on Ramadan and learn of the virtues, how it helps us with ourselves, how it helps us help others, how it helps us strengthen our relation with God. Again make du`aa’ over and over again for an enlightening Ramadan and to walk away with a full fledge spiritual upgrade.
Say: “This is going to be my first Ramadan. It gives me an opportunity to learn about my faith. It gives me an opportunity to learn about myself. I will have the opportunity to help others, to break my bad habits and to cultivate new ones.
Ramadan instills discipline, good health, and new friendships. I look forward to suhoor. I look forward to iftar. I look forward to Taraweeh. And I surely look forward to having the Qur’an as my companion. This is my first Ramadan and insha’ Allah, I will make it the Ramadan to remember.