They ask you-SW about new moons … Such is the reward of the non-believers.
The Chapter of Virtue continues. Till the end of the Surah, matters like Qisas, Blood-wit, Will, Fasting, I’tekaf and the identification of permissible and the prohibited are being exacted.
Schedule Of Worships And Lunar Calendar
The discourse now turns to Jihad and Hajj. The Holy Prophet-SW is informed on the question of waxing and waning of the moon, that, in this natural phenomenon is a great facility to keep track of the time, for which may be voluntary, for example demand of rights etc. or in such as worships like Hajj, Fasting, and Zakat etc.
It is evident that the lunar calendar shall be followed in matters of worship, although calculation of time can also be determined by the solar system. Provided the required observation instruments and mathematical calculations are available. Contrary to this, even a person living in a far off jungle can easily calculate a month by means of lunar revolution, from the first appearance of new moon to that of the next. Therefore, according to Islamic Shari’ah, it is imperative to draw our worship schedules by the lunar months, and is also preferable in conducting of other affairs.
Phases of the moon provide a natural measurement of time for mankind. To know the reality of the phenomena of its waxing and waning is not relevant here since it does not concern the human beings in any way. The Divine Mode of Expression in answering this question makes it very clear that a person must only probe into things to the extent, which concerns human expedience. Time, effort and resources must not be wasted in futile investigations.
Firstly, the reality of heavenly bodies is beyond the reach of human knowledge and secondly, this knowledge does not in any way affect his practical life. Therefore, all such endeavours are useless. Although countless natural effects are associated with the rising and setting of the moon, like sweetening of fruits etc., yet man has no control over this process, nor can he decrease or increase its light and other effects. It is, therefore, sufficient for him to calculate months and years from the moon. Especially a Muslim should do so for the purpose of his worship. The notion of inhabiting the moon is a waste of time and money. If only the billions of dollars being spent on this research are diverted towards facilitating human life on earth, there would never be a need to escape to other planets in search of a better abode. And if any nation manages to develop a technology to make life possible on any other planet, it will certainly take its nuclear weapons along for the purpose of maintaining peace!
It is not a virtue to follow rituals in worship as the idolaters did during the days of pilgrimage. They would not enter their houses through the front door, but would jump over the rear wall of the house. This is outrightly absurd. Indeed piety is that man must remain conscious of and obey Allah-SWT , and reject all customs, which conflict, with His-SWT Commands. A noble act ought to be substantiated by the Sunnah. Entering the house from the back is not corroborated by it; therefore, it is not an act of piety. In fact, the injunctions of the Quran stand substantiated by Sunnah of the Holy Prophet-SW. Otherwise people could easily distort the original meanings by individual interpretations, through lexical manipulations.
Therefore, fear Allah-SWT , and avoid everything that may annoy Him-SWT . Not only should the rituals contrary to Islam be abandoned, but also those, who fight Muslims and plan to enforce their rituals, must be fought back. This fighting should only be for the cause of Allah-SWT and not for any personal vengeance or benefit. Since the opponents are also His-SWT creation, they must be treated fairly and it must be remembered that Allah-SWT does not like the transgressing. That is why war has been replaced by Jihad, which aims at the welfare and reformation of the opponent. Because of this noble aim, wherever Muslims went as conquerors, they managed to win over the hearts of the vanquished, as against the atrocities of non-believing rulers where the land trembled under their tyranny. The admirers of the Western society may compare the historical accounts of the Muslim and Christian rule in Bait-al-Maqdas to see the difference for themselves.
If the non-believers indulge in transgression, the believers must fight chivalrously and drive them out of the city, just as they had done to them, because mischief and intrigue against Islam is a crime far more serious than murder. Besides, in all this fighting, the Greatness of Allah-SWT must never be lost sight of, and the perimeters of the Sacred Precincts must be respected. But if the non-believers initiate fighting within it, it is permissible for the believers to fight back vigorously to teach them a lesson, as they asked for it.
But if they desist... and know that Allah-SWT is with those who observe Taqwa.
These Ayat were revealed when the Holy Prophet-SW left for ‘Umrah in the year following the Truce of Hudaibiyyah. Although the idolaters had signed this pact with him-SW, yet the Companions-RAU had their reservations.
At that time, three consecutive months Ziq’ad, Zil Hajj, Muharram and the fourth, Rajjab, enjoyed sanctity, which was upheld by Islam; though some scholars hold that it was absolved in the 7 Hijrah. Nevertheless, the reverence attached to these months stays and according to consensus only defensive fighting is permitted during these months (Mu'arif al-Quran).
Even in those days these months were considered to be a period of peace and People travelled freely. The sanctity of the Sacred Precincts was observed and will continue to be observed till eternity. Even hunting and cutting off any greenery is not allowed within the Sacred Precincts, but what if the idolaters back on their word and conspired to harm the Holy Prophet-SW? Allah-SWT revealed the solution. If the non-believers try to take undue advantage they ought to be prevented. The jurists permit fighting in self-defence within Sacred Precincts, and the offenders must be done to death ruthlessly, even if they try to hide behind the drapes of K’abah. But those who neither fight nor are capable of fighting, such as children, women or the old people must not be bothered, as Allah-SWT does not approve of injustice. And, if after all their wrong doing the non-believers repent and submit, Allah-SWT is Forgiving and Merciful. Praise be to Him-SWT ! However, if they do not mend their ways, fight them not lay off your arms until the total eradication of evil and mischief. The Will of Allah-SWT must prevail. His-SWT laws must be enforced upon His-SWT creation and man-made constitutions, which are nothing but packages of personal whims. Every human being, whether Muslim or a non-believer, must enjoy his and rights within the limits ordained by Allah-SWT .
And if the non-believers give in, they must be forgiven except those guilty of crimes. They should not be punished merely for their animosity towards Islam as they have given it up. However, if someone has transgressed against the other, the rights of the oppressed must be restored. The same rule stands for the holy city of Makkah. If the non-believers observe its sanctity it is fine but if they do not, then a defensive war must be fought. Sanctity is reciprocal; if the non-believers observe it, they will be treated likewise, else all the blame will rest with them. Whosoever does wrong unto the Muslims will be treated like for the like. Their animosity stems from the fact that the Muslims have embraced the true faith. So while retaliating, bear in mind the truth and never be amongst those who oppress others, as Allah-SWT always helps the pious, who are modest and who observe the limits laid down by Him-SWT .
And spend in the way of Allah-SWT . . . surely Allah-SWT loves those who do good,
‘Infaq’ is a term generally applied to the spending of money, yet a better explanation is to expend one’s entire energy in Allah-SWT’s cause, whether it is money, co-operation, power of speech or pen or ultimately the sacrifice of life itself. In other words, this temporal life, this fleeting power and wealth, must all be spent for Allah-SWT so as to ensure great eternal rewards; on the contrary making these things the aim of one’s life amounts to inviting an eternal doom and “do not ruin yourself with your own hands”, means that one must not become a source of his own destruction by attaching such importance to material things that they become his sole ambition of life. These, after all, will be lost one day, and by not striving in Allah-SWT’s Path the eternal bliss will also be lost. Therefore, always try to lead in righteous deeds and do good as Allah-SWT love those who are kind to others.
Virtue is another name for the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet-SW. All actions falling within the framework of Sunnah are noble, and the person executing them is beloved of Allah-SWT.According to the jurists of Fiqh, apart from Zakat, there are certain expenditures obligatory for Muslims only in case a need arises such as raising funds for Jihad.
Forsaking Jihad is indeed ruining oneself. According to Abu Ayub Ansari-RAU this Ayah was revealed at a time when suzerainty of Islam had been established and there was a general feeling that the need for Jihad had lessened and that energies could now be diverted to agriculture. Some scholars also derive the meaning that a clash, which is sure to result in massacre of Muslims without any harm done to the enemy, also amounts to self-destruction. But this meaning apparently seems to be far-fetched. Basically all such endeavours in Allah-SWT’s cause are based on the sincerity of intentions. That is why it is ordained to take every action with sincere intention and a pure heart. The Holy Prophet-SW himself explains the term Ihsan, in Hadith Jibril-AS in these words: “Worship Allah-SWT in a way as if you are beholding Him-SWT , and if this is not achieved, be absolutely sure that He-SWT is seeing you.”
Perform Hajj and ‘Umrah for Allah-SWT ..., that Allah-SWT is stern in punishment.
The eleventh injunction in the Chapter of Virtue pertains to Hajj, which is explained from here till Ayah 203. Hajj is one of the tenets of Islam and a very important obligation. Its importance is amply reiterated in the Quran and the Sunnah. According to Ibn-e Kathir-RUA, quoting a consensus the conditions for Hajj were laid down in the third year of Hijrah in Al-e-‘Imran, “And pilgrimage to the House is a duty unto Allah-SWT for mankind...” (3:97) and a severe warning is given for those who do not perform Hajj inspite of being resourceful. But this Ayah was revealed on the eve of Hudaibiyyah, which took place in the 6th year of Hijrah. Therefore, the rites rather than the obligatory aspect of Hajj and ‘Umrah are explained here. And since there is no mention of ‘Umrah in Al-e-‘Imran, it is clarified here that both Hajj and ‘Umrah become binding once a person puts on Ihram, although ‘Umrah is not so but a Sunnah as agreed upon by the scholars.’
Just as Ihsan is mentioned in the preceding Ayah, it is followed by the command that Hajj and ‘Umrah must also be performed for Allah-SWT Alone, with the sole purpose of attaining His-SWT Pleasure. The aim must not be merely a trip for recreation, trade and fame. Although to some extent these things happen automatically i.e. the tourism, the purchases, the prestigious title of “Haji Sahib” (Mr. Pilgrim) yet these must not be the real objective. It can be tested by our demeanour. If we are concerned about all the rites of Hajj or Umrah and fulfil each with great care and concern, certainly the intention is right. On the contrary, if we are irregular in our obligatory Salat, we must search our souls as to why did we undertake this journey? We must fear Allah-SWT as He-SWT is very severe in punishing the guilty. Our contemporaries believe that the journey of Hajj is a blessed one under all circumstances. This is not correct. If during this noble journey and while performing the rites of Hajj we act carelessly, it is enough to invoke Allah-SWT’s Wrath. Whereas one Salat is rewarded equal to a hundred thousand Salat, missing out one in such a Holy place would also result in a corresponding loss.
Now let us take the rites. Firstly, if after being clad in Ihram someone stops a pilgrim from performing the ‘Umrah, as was done to the Holy Prophet-SW on his-SW entourage at Hudaibiyyah, the Ihram can be taken off after offering a sacrifice and in token shaving the head or trimming off some hair. The offering whether a goat, a cow or a camel is to be slaughtered in the Sacred Precincts of Makkah. If one cannot get there personally, he may send it through someone else, as suggested by Imam Abu Hanifah-RUA. It is obvious that shaving off the head is not permitted while in Ihram. And although this is applicable in the circumstances whereby an enemy creates the hindrance, the scholars, because of the similarity of pretence, extend it to sickness also. From the practice of the Holy Prophet-SW it is obvious that if for some constraint one has to take off the Ihram after the offering, he must expiate as soon as normal conditions are restored, as this expiation is imperative.
The shaving of the head or trimming of hair is symbolic to the opening of Ihram. However, if a person because of illness or some other compulsion is forced to cut the hair from either head or any other part of the body, he may do so but must give ransom by fasting and alms or by giving an offering. This offering is to be given within Sacred Precincts, whereas the alms giving and fasting can be done anywhere, and is Sunnah. The number or quantity is not laid down in the Quran but is explained in Hadith as three days of fasting, or providing six needy persons with approximately two kilograms of wheat each, (al-Bukhari). The market value of the wheat can also be paid in lieu. Before the advent of Islam it was considered sinful to combine Hajj and ‘Umrah from the month of Shawwal onwards. This is corrected here. Those who live within the Sacred Precincts must not combine the two devotions as for them it is not difficult to undertake the journey for ‘Umrah. While others are allowed to combine Hajj and ‘Umrah.
Sacred Precincts are the landmarks on all the routes entering Makkah. To go inside these, without being clad in Ihram for Hajj or ‘Umrah is forbidden for the pilgrims. And those who combine Hajj and ‘Umrah must display gratitude by sacrificing a cow or a camel. But if anyone cannot afford this, he must fast for ten days, three till 9th Zilhajj and the remaining seven after completion of Hajj, whenever and where is convenient. If anyone cannot fast for three days during the Hajj, he must offer a sacrifice, when possible, but it must be within the Sacred Precincts, as suggested by the scholars including Imam Abu Hanifa-RUA. There are two forms of combining Hajj and ‘Umrah:
- Whereby the Ihram for both ‘Umrah and Hajj is put on from the Sacred Precincts and is taken off after Hajj. This is known as Qiran.
- To put on the Ihram for ‘Umrah only at Sacred Precincts which will be opened after performing the ‘Umrah. Again on the 8th of Zilhajj, before leaving for Mina, the Ihram is worn for Hajj. This is called Tamatt’a.
Allah-SWT must be held in awe during all these proceedings. This feeling must not be marred by negligence or laziness, as Allah-SWT is very severe in His-SWT punishment. Today most people do not bother about it. They waste all their efforts by blindly following the ignorant and hired guides for pilgrimage. Some spend the precious time with friends gossiping, and many do not even care for the obligatory Salat, let alone the Sunnah and the etiquettes. May Allah-SWT guide us to mend our ways!