The Sacred Months
While discussing Jihad, its rules are being laid down, amongst which the basic consideration is that of the sacred months namely Rajjab, Zil Qa’dah, Zil-Hajj and Muharram. Even in pre Islamic days it was deemed improper to fight during these months. Islam also upheld this sanctity. However, there was a possibility that the Muslims observing the sanctity would not even defend themselves if attacked by the enemy, while the non-believers would be free to cause damage to them through war. Allah-SWT laid down a statute. Although it is a grave sin to fight in these months, yet hindering people from the Way of Allah-SWT , disbelieving in Him-SWT , and driving out the righteous from the K’abah are no less severe. In fact such a mischief is far more grievous than bloodshed. If the non-believers indulge in such intrigue during these months or initiate a war, they will be guilty of the violation of the sanctity of these months. The Holy Prophet-SW never took up arms during these months unless the non-believers initiated fighting. The non-believers can never be friends of Muslims and will always cross swords with them. They are so mean in their hostility that, given the power they would certainly try to turn the believers apostates.
Punishment Of Apostasy
If anyone from amongst the Muslims turns apostate and dies as such, all his righteous deeds would be wasted. He would neither be benefited in this world nor in the Akhirah. The apostates would be condemned to Hell forever. In this life their marriage bond is nullified, they cannot inherit from Muslims, no funeral prayer is offered for them nor can they be buried in the graveyard of Muslims. A male apostate is killed if he is not penitent, whereas a female is imprisoned for life, and the consequence in the Akhirah is eternal Hell. Yet if they repent they can become Muslims again. According to the Hanafi School of Thought such a person will have to repeat the Hajj also, subject to the availability of resources, as the one previously performed is nullified due to apostasy. Same applies to all the other acts of piety, but Imam Shafi-RUA, however, differs. The noble deeds of a non-believer remain suspended and if he embraces Islam, he is rewarded for all these in the Akhirah. But if he dies a non-believer, all will go waste. Therefore, the case of an apostate is even worse than a patent non-believer.
The non-believers cannot tolerate the Muslims as such. It can be seen even today that the apostates bearing Muslim names, who make fun of Islamic beliefs are held in great esteem by the non-believing world, the so called champions of human rights, while the true Muslims are termed as fundamentalists and uncivilised. Therefore, to counter the anti-Islam conspiracies of the non-believers is not only recommended but is imperative under all circumstances as practically demonstrated by the Companions-RAU. They renounced everything for the sake of Allah-SWT , the kindred, the wealth, the home or the country. Indeed anything that stood between them and Allah-SWT was brushed aside. And they did not stop at this but spent their entire lives fighting for Islam. They genuinely desired Allah-SWT’s Mercy, and their actions reflected their intentions. They never pinned their hopes on anyone save Allah-SWT , the Relenting and the Merciful.
Customs Of Ignorance Versus Islam
Alcohol and gambling were a part of the Arab society before Islam. No celebration was deemed complete without alcohol, and those who abstained from gambling were termed as niggardly and cowards. Both these practices were so deeply rooted in the very temperaments of the Arabs that to expel these from their system was almost beyond imagination. It was indeed a miracle that the Muslims not only denounced these evils but also accepted the prohibition from the core of their hearts. This was indeed a great evidence of Prophet Muhammad-SW’s Prophethood. Some people argue that Islam also adopted some of the pre Islamic customs, but they forget that it had also eradicated so many heinous evils, which no one other than a Prophet-AS could have ever done. For example, drinking and gambling or the lewdness practised under the pretext of Mut’ah were rooted out. Islam replaced Mut’ah by formal marriage bond and ordered the couple to enter into this lawful pact to live together decently.
Is the Europe of today not fed up with its alcoholism and sexual abuse? Are their intellectuals and leaders not worried about the eradication of these evils. But they just cannot get rid of them and are totally helpless. It is only the relationship of love and devotion with Islam and the Holy Prophet-SW, which has the power to eradicate these evils. Any European who embraces Islam today begins to hate all these vices, which he had once cherished. I personally know such converts from the snow clad countries of Sweden and Finland, where alcohol is consumed like tea in our country, who now spend their time contemplating in Islam and thank Allah-SWT for getting rid of their abominations.
Islam did, however, retain some pre-dated customs either fully or with slight modification such as going round the K’abah, the stay at Mina and ‘Arafat. These were either derived from previous religions or were incidentally in line with Allah-SWT’s Will. Had Islam been impressed by the strength of these customs, gambling and drinking would never have been stopped nor would the sexual relationship be judiciously streamlined. Of course, this revolutionary task was carried out gradually. In the case of gambling and drinking, for instance, it was at first declared that there are some benefits but the sins thereof outweigh the benefits. The harm is comparatively too great. It is sheer meanness that a few people make money but destroy the economy and the morals of an entire nation, driving it to ignorance. Such profit is in no way attractive.
This was the first revelation of Divine wisdom regarding alcohol and gambling. Some people were already not very fond of these and the others gave them up after being cautioned. Then the Muslims were forbidden to offer their Salat when in a state of intoxication. And the Companions-RAU took note that when a great worship like Salat cannot be offered in this state, there can be nothing good about it. Later, upon the declaration of total prohibition, all the Muslims renounced alcohol completely.
After the revelation of Ayah 90 of Al Ma’idah in Madinah (O you who believe! Wine and gambling and stone altars and diving arrows are only an abomination, handiwork of Satan, shun it that haply you may thrive), the liquor was poured down the drain, in that it began to flow in the lanes. Whenever it rained even after years, the colour of alcohol would appear on the surface together with its stench.
The Holy Prophet-SW commanded that anyone possessing alcohol should deposit it at a given place. The Companions-RAU immediately complied. He-SW went there and cut open some of the leather containers personally while ordering the Companions-RAU to waste the rest. One of the Companions-RAU used to import wine had gone to Syria to buy it with all his-RAU savings. On his-RAU return, he-RAU asked for the Holy Prophet-SW word, who said that all the wine was to be wasted away by cutting open the containers. He-RAU spilt all his-RAU investment without least hesitation.
Although the prohibition of alcohol was gradual, yet once the orders came, it was enforced ruthlessly. The Holy Prophet-SW is reported to have accursed ten People; the one who extracts it, the one who drinks it, the one who offers it, the one who brings it, the one for whom it is brought, the manufacturer, the seller, the customer, the one who gifts and the one who lives on the income accrued from it. Simultaneously, gambling was also declared unlawful, with the same emphasis. All its forms came under the prohibition, whether in practice at that time or developed later under any name.
It is a consensus that the term Maisir occurring in Ayah 90 ibid, includes all forms of gambling even those games of chance played by children. Ibn-e-Abbas-RAU says that Al-Mukhatarah is a form of gambling. It implies a situation where there is a chance of losing and gaining to some extent, like the modern system of lottery or the business of puzzles etc.
In fact, the definition of gambling is that such terms are fixed for acquiring the ownership of anything, which carry an equal chance of having or not having it at all, and both the parties are exposed to total gain or total loss. According to Hadith, even chess and dice games are forbidden and the same applies to playing cards; and betting is a pure form of gambling. According to Al-Muslim whosoever plays the dice game taints his hands in blood and flesh of the swine. Adds, Ibn-e-Umar-RAU that playing chess is even worse than dice.
The commentators have recounted many financial physical and political disadvantages of gambling. The general rule is that aversion of harm is more important than the acquisition of benefit. If something is profitable but its harm is obvious, it is better to quit it. A snake might look beautiful but its venom is fatal, or when people commit crimes such as murder, robbery or kidnapping they do it in the hope of gaining something. Can the ruination of so many homes for the sake of benefit for some be justified? Same is the case with benefits associated with drinking and gambling; that a momentary gain or pleasure becomes a source of eternal loss and in some cases leads to the destruction of a nation.
Just as the income should be lawful, so should be the spending. The Companions-RAU asked the Holy Prophet-SW how they should spend. He-SW was directed to tell them to give away that which is surplus or more than their requirement. Some took this to mean everything surplus, without saving anything for the future. This was the view of Hadhrat Abu Zar Ghaffari-RAU and some Aulia too. But the majority of Companions-RAU opted for the middle course and also saved something for the future needs, which indeed is the motive of the injunction. Allah-SWT reveals His-SWT Commandments for people to contemplate on the affairs of their mundane as well as eternal lives so that they remain vigilant of their needs in the Akhirah and at the same time make provisions for the present life of cause and effect.
Had saving not been approved of, the Zakat due only on savings, would never have been declared obligatory. Yet the savings should not be confined to selfish purposes but the needy around should be looked after too. This is not only for the welfare of the poor but is also an investment for the eternal life. A balanced attitude is the best policy as it ensures comfort both here and in the Akhirah.
The Holy Prophet-SW is also questioned about the treatment to the orphans. A common situation was that the majority of the orphans lived with the heirs of the deceased, and these custodians were entrusted with the wealth of their parents. Allah-SWT enforced strict discipline with regard to the wealth of the orphans and declared: “Those who usurp the wealth of orphans fill their stomach with fire.”
After this revelation the Companions-RAU totally separated the money of the orphans from their own, which created problems like separate cooking, neither consuming nor giving away in charity any of their left over food etc. Allah-SWT made it easier and permitted the custodian to keep the wealth of orphans together with their own but with the intentions of benefiting them, they being the kindred. But if anyone under the cover of a well-wisher intends to usurp their wealth, he must not forget that he can never deceive Allah-SWT , Who is well Aware of the noble and the malefactor. He-SWT is Mighty and Powerful, from Whose holds no cheat can escape. He-SWT is the Wisest and the best Planner. In the matters of social relationships, a Muslim orphan is like a brother to a fellow Muslim, while an idolater has nothing to do with a Muslim even if he is a blood relation.
Faith Is Pre Requisite For Marriage Bond
Do not marry polytheist women unless they become Muslims, as a Muslim bondwoman is better than a beautiful polytheist woman. Similarly a Muslim woman must not marry a polytheist male, as a Muslim slave is far better than him even if he excels the Muslim slave in his looks. The most important thing is the long-term consequences of the marriage. A marital bond is a very strong tie. Even if the relationship with an idolater fails to convert a believer back to disbelief, it will at least diminish the hatred for polytheism in his heart, which is indeed one step towards Hell and paves the way to polytheism and faithlessness.
The polytheists invite people to Hell; hence by virtue of their kinship and influence, they are the merchants of Hell. Allah-SWT invites people towards His-SWT Mercy and Paradise, through His-SWT Guidance. The term polytheist refers to absolute non-believers and does not include the People of the Book because they do believe in the Unity of Allah-SWT , the Akhirah and agree upon one or the other Prophets-AS. Although they deny the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet-SW yet are lesser in degree than the arch non-believers who deny Allah-SWT’s Unity, the Prophets-SW and the Akhirah altogether. Therefore, Muslims were permitted to marry a woman from amongst the People of the Book, but not to give away Muslim woman in marriage to them. This is because a woman, by nature, is subservient to man and marriage with a Muslim male may well reform her. Even though such marriage is allowed and the offspring will be lawful, it is not recommended. The Holy Prophet-SW directs to seek in marriage, a practising Muslim woman. When marriage is not proper even with a wayward Muslim woman, how can it be recommended with a non-Muslim? Besides, the marriage with women of the Book is permitted only when they are believers of their own faith. Today the Christians and the Jews can be termed so only as a formality. Looking deeply, it will be found that they neither believe in Allah-SWT nor in the Akhirah. They neither have faith in Prophet ‘Isa-AS nor in Prophet Musa-AS respectively. This is why Caliph ‘Umar Faruq-RAU issued prohibitive orders against such marriages held in Syria. He-RAU directed that these marriages would be politically and morally harmful for Muslim families (Kitab al Athar Kalam-e-Muhammad-SW).
And today the way the non-Muslim, the Jew and the Christian women are entering Muslim households with the aim of defaming, as well as spying on them, is a heart breaking fact. Because of the conspiracies of the Jews and the Christians, Jewish girls bearing Muslim names are present in almost every influential household of ruling families in the Middle East.
If only the Muslims could understand the ruse. And another unfortunate fact is that today almost all the rulers of African countries have Jewish wives.
As for the renegade People of the Book, or those self-proclaimed Muslims who are non-believer by virtue of their beliefs (Aqeedah or Aqaid), such as the Mirzais (because of their denial of Finality of the Prophethood and because of even greater transgression in their belief of Continuation of Prophethood. Also included are such Sects and individuals who harbour such heretic beliefs or doubt the authenticity of the Quran etc). Along with them are the deniers of Hadith, (which amounts to denial of the Quran).; marriage with their women and men is prohibited and there is no excuse for marrying them.