Fulfillment of Promise
Faith demands that when a promise is made it must be fulfilled. ‘Aqd means a contract, which is agreed upon between two parties, two groups or two countries. In contrast to a promise which can be one sided too. Here the scholars have defined the term 'Aqd in many ways, but all the definitions are similar in term of their implications and thus all contracts fall under'Aqd.
This includes the contracts made before or after the advent of Islam. Nikah has also been termed as ‘Aqd because it is a contract between husband and wife in the Name of Allaah-SWT . Therefore, be it Nikah, a business contract or a peace treaty between opponents, it must be honoured. Yet those contracts, which were drawn before Islam, and fall into the category of the forbidden, stand automatically cancelled. Or, if after the emergence of Islam, a Muslim makes a contract of which the execution is not allowed by Shari'ah it will be as if it has not been drawn at all. The remaining contracts have been classified into three groups.
Forms of Contracts
The first form of a contract is between man and his Creator. This comprises a firm faith in Allah-SWT and the promise to submit to His-SWT Will and Purpose. The second form is the one, which a person makes to himself; whereby he plans for his future with honesty and prudence. The third is made between human beings, ranging from Nikah to governance.
In short, dealings must be preceded by careful deliberations, and once a contract is drawn, it must be honoured being in the Name of Allaah-SWT . It is in His-SWT Name that His-SWT creation, like camels, goats, cows, antelopes etc. are declared permissible which people slaughter and relish. All these are lawful, except those specifically forbidden. If one is in a state of Ihram, whether for Hajj or 'Umrah. it is not permissible for him or her to hunt. Here it is worth noticing that 'fulfillment of promises' is complemented with faith and is immediately followed by the discussion of Halal (the permissible) and Haram (the forbidden). Thus it highlights the fact that a promise, whether made between two persons or at a higher level between two states, political or commercial, can be honoured only if there is faith. As long as there is no breach of Trust by the non-believers, a believer is bound to honour it. The strength of faith, in turn, depends on the intake of the permissible food without which one cannot acquire the strength required to honour one's promises. The authority to declare what is permissible and what is forbidden rests with Allah-SWT . He-SWT has made animals permissible unto you, domesticated or wild, as mentioned formerly, while some beasts and other animals like donkeys and horses have been declared forbidden. More animals will be mentioned in the forthcoming Ayat. This too is a pact between man and Allah-SWT as He-SWT is the Creator and can do whatever pleases Him-SWT . Animals declared permissible by Allah-SWT may be slaughtered or hunted and eaten.
It is He-SWT Who-SWT has made soil the source of nutrition for trees and greenery, the leaves and grass a food for the animals and animals the food for human beings and carnivorous beasts. He-SWT is the Creator of everyone; how can anyone object to His-SWT plans? Thus by eating permissible the believers are gifted with a strong faith and can fulfill the promises they make. These are all Allah-SWT's Signs for these are the instances and injunctions that remind of Allah-SWT .
All those qualities, states and practices which certify that a person is a Muslim, or things which become symbolic to Islam, such as the Haram, Mounts Safa and Marwa; Mina and 'Arafat, the Prophets-SW Masjid, the Azan and having a beard according to Sunnah, are all included in Allah-SWT's Signs. A contemptuous attitude towards these can take two forms: firstly rejecting them altogether, like shaving off the beard and secondly, to accept them only partially. Scholars have listed circumcision symbolic to Muslims as no other nation apart from Muslims practises it. These Ayat were revealed on the eve of Conquest of Makkah, when the believers were thoroughly disgusted with the Makkans because of the torture given here and their forced migration to Madinah, where again they were not left in peace. The Jewish conspiracies, together with the atrocities of the polytheists had already resulted into three battles namely Badr, Uhad and the Trench. It was the time when they stood as conquerors and their enemy as vanquished; the former represented the truth, while the latter sticking to mere absurd rituals. It is only natural that when Allaah-SWT gives victory over such transgressors, they can no longer be tolerated.
But Allaah-SWT Cautions the believers that whereas the Makkans were polytheists and infidels, the Muslims believe in Allaah-SWT . Even if the former had been fiendish when they had power, it is more appropriate for the believers to be just and fair. Islam is the only religion, which does not deprive even the enemy of justice; hence transgression will be responded with justice. If the non-believers had failed to honour the sanctity of the forbidden and the sacred months it does not mean that the believers must do the same. As for the believers it is obligatory to respect the Monuments of Allah-SWT, and the sacred months. But ever since, the Jewish-conspired Sect has repeatedly committed this violation against sacred precincts (monuments). The sacred months were Shawwal, Zilq'ad, Zilhajj and Rajab. War and fighting were forbidden during these months and this pre-lslamic practice was upheld in the beginning but was later considered cancelled by majority of the scholars. The animals brought to Haram for sacrifice, and those, which are tagged to indicate that they are sacrificial, must be taken care of. Although amongst these were animals, which the non-believers had snatched from the Companions-RAU, yet this was not the time or the place to fight as they too were heading for Haram in search of peace and provisions and to please their Rabb-SWT . Therefore, it did not befit the believers to hinder them until Allah-SWT Himself-SWT prohibited them from entering Haram. However, after the Ihram has been opened the believers are allowed to hunt outside the limits of Haram.
Allah-SWT had given the believers sway over those who had wronged them to the extent of barring them from performing 'Umrah. But the Muslims are being told not to stop them from performing Hajj or 'Umrah out of vengeance. This would be a transgression, which is neither befitting for the believers nor liked by Allah-SWT .
Instead, the believers are being commanded to adopt the principle of helping others in every act of piety and righteousness and not to participate or cooperate in any sinful activity and transgression. This is a golden rule to follow as all human beings depend on one another. Poor people need the help of the rich whereas the rich require the co-operation of the poor. Every human being is born with a special temperament and every person adopts a profession accordingly. Now if one is involved with agriculture, the other is happy being a cobbler; someone enjoys constructing buildings while the other has mastered the art of pottery. So much so that manpower becomes available for every imaginable task and the entire system works smoothly only because all work in mutual cooperation.
The socialists evolved a system in which the Government decided to designate the responsibilities amongst people. In the first place millions of people were killed. Those who survived and became part of the system were stripped off human emotions. They were incapable of loving, or displaying hatred. Their feelings were ruined. If at all they achieved some success in certain aspects, it was at the cost of depriving millions of human beings of their emotions, a big price to pay indeed. Now they themselves are retrieving back.
The system of the world is based upon the co-operation between human beings, which was equally important when there were very few of them and is extremely vital today when billions inhabit this globe. According to Al Millel wa Nahl, nations were identified based on the geographical divisions, for example, Eastern, Western etc. As the population increased, nationality became associated with lineage and clans, thus mutual cooperation between nations commenced. But woe be unto the present generation of Europe that has failed to maintain its lineage, and started a chain of division on national and regional basis. Then people got divided further into lingual and provincial entities. Even the Muslims were driven into this quagmire and today stand divided into different countries and provinces. Islam recognizes only two nations; the believers and the non-believers. This concept is emphasized here and Muslims are directed to extend all possible support to the one who wants to do good while no one must be helped in sin and transgression. Dacoits, thieves and robbers must not be cooperated with. If a Muslim wishes to do wrong, the only co-operation that can be extended to him is to prevent him from doing so, rather than joining him. If only people adopt this principle, the world could become a peaceful place once again. Evil can be eliminated if not supported and virtue can spread if it is nurtured. All this can be done only when people fear Allah-SWT , and have a very strong relationship with Him-SWT . His-SWT punishments are indeed very severe, and all those who participate in evil shall be amongst the wrongdoers. They will share the punishment, while those assisting a noble cause shall share the reward and blessings.
Determining the Permissible and the Forbidden
Let us see which animals are forbidden for us and why? They are forbidden because some are harmful for our physical health while others are detrimental to our spiritual health. Some are harmful for both. Thus such animals are termed as impure, whereas the animals permitted to eat are termed as Tayyab (pure).
The first category of the forbidden animals is carrion i.e. those which are not slaughtered but die a natural death or in an accident, except, according to the Hadith, the fish and the locust. Secondly, flowing blood is forbidden either while slaughtering or gushing out of a wound. Thirdly, the swine flesh, including its skin, lard and bones. Fourthly, forbidden are all those animals, which are slaughtered in anyone's name besides Allah-SWT . In that case not only will that animal stand forbidden, but also it will be an act of polytheism. It was an Arab custom that animals were nominated and then slaughtered in the names of certain idols. Yet another practice was to appropriate an animal to a certain idol in hope of some benefit, and to later slaughter it in Allah-SWT's Name. The latter form is still practised by some ignorant Muslims. The scholars unanimously agree that the former act is polytheism and the animal is rendered a carrion, while though the latter is not strictly polytheism, yet the animal is turned into a carrion. It is important to mention here that the proper method of conveying the reward of virtuous deeds to another person is to firstly earn the reward by spending in Allah-SWT's Name, whether in cash or in kind, then to dedicate that reward to either a deceased or a living person. All you have to do is to pray to Allah-SWT to enter the reward for that particular deed into the account of so and so.
Fifthly, forbidden is Munkhaniqah or that animal which dies of suffocation, either by being strangulated by a net or any other reason. And sixthly Moqouzah meaning that animal which dies as a result of serious injury: a blow from a club or a stone etc. It must be remembered that the same law applies to a bullet as that of a stone. A bullet has a greater impact as it tears the body and damages the tissues but still it does not cut it. Therefore, the scholars who declare that when the shot is fired after reciting Takbir (Bismillah, Allah-o-Akbar) the animal killed as a result is permissible even without slaughtering, have certainly erred because a sharp edge to cut is a pre-requisite for slaughtering. If an arrow is shot after reciting Takbir and the animal is killed before you reach, it is permissible. However, if the tip of the arrow missed the animal by drifting away with the wind, and had given it a fatal blow, then it will not be permissible as it is Moqouzah. The seventh category of forbidden is Al Mutradiyah, which includes animals, which fall from a height or into a well and die. The eighth category is Alnateehah, which includes those animals killed as a result of colliding with another animal or any other object such as a vehicle. The ninth category comprises those animals, which are killed by beasts. However, if the animals in the aforesaid cases are slaughtered before dying by reciting Takbir they are permissible. The tenth category of forbidden is animals slaughtered at the idolaters' altars. These altars were places around the K'abah dedicated to various idols, where sacrifices were made in their names. Before the advent of Islam these were considered sacred and eaten with great reverence; but Islam prohibited them altogether.
The eleventh category of forbidden is the act of soothsaying through dividing arrows. This was similar to contemporary lottery. Its procedure was that arrows were tagged with certain words such as 'Yes' or 'No' etc. and were kept in the custody of the caretaker of K'abah. People looking for information on their future, would pay tributes to the caretaker who would draw an arrow for them. They acted or planned their future in accordance with what the arrows suggested. Similarly a group of people would jointly slaughter a camel and seek guidance through arrows on its distribution. Like the lottery, some would get a bigger share, others a smaller one while a few would go empty-handed. It is very clear that to find out the events of the future through palmistry, numerology, horoscopes or any other sources is forbidden. Adopting such a profession is also strictly forbidden and so is believing in such information. Many a commentators have condemned fortune telling in harsh words while none has justified it. Yet to have knowledge of these things in order to counter and reject them is not bad; however, it should only be for defence and should not be motivated by hopes for some gain.
This day the non believers have lost all hopes of bringing an end to your religion. Therefore, there is no need to fear them. You must always seek My-SWT Pleasure and assent, and be heedful of My-SWT Wrath.
The Ayat perfecting Din were revealed, at 'Arafat, on a Friday of the Holy Prophet-SW's last Hajj. He-SW was seated on his dromedary called 'Adhba at the foot of Jabl-e-Rahmat (Mount of Mercy) and engrossed in his-SW post-'Asr supplications when the process of revelation began. Such was the burden that the dromedary could no longer bear it and sat down. 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas'-RAU reports that these were the last Ayat revealed comprising Divine Commands. It was a mammoth gathering, attended by 125 thousand Companions-RAU after which the Holy Prophet-SW lived for only eighty-one days. It was announced that Islam as Din had been perfected. This was a reward, which no preceding nation had ever been blessed with. The Prophets-AS had been continuously sent for guidance with Scriptures but the completion was never announced. So, O' mankind and especially O’ Muslims your Din has been perfected; there will never be any changes in it. The raising of Prophets-AS and the Divine Books were a special gift from Allah-SWT . Whereas provisions for the physical and material maintenance are made available to all living things, special rewards for mankind are the spiritual blessings, in the form of Prophets-AS and the Divine Revelations. Hence with the final Divine Announcement that the blessings have reached the climax, now nothing beyond this can even be imagined by anyone.
(Atmamtu 'Alaikum N'amati.) "I-SWT have completed My-SWT favour unto you and have chosen for you Islam as the Din.”
There shall be no amendments, additions or retractions in it any longer. No historical event can alter this Din. The completion of favours means that there is no concept of any excellence outside the pale of Islam. Allah-SWT chose Islam as the Din for Muslims, which is the only key to salvation. Late Mufti Muhammad Shafi' has, in his Mu'arif al Quran (pp33-36 vol. 3), listed a very interesting discussion on Festivals and 'Eid, in this context, which is worth reading, but is being left out for fear of protraction.
If a person is on the verge of starving to death, he is permitted to consume from the aforesaid forbidden categories of animals, whatever is available to him, a minimum amount that may suffice to save his life. He must have no intention of seeking any palatial delight nor should eat to his fill but only to save his life. Moreover, circumstances do not render these animals permissible but it is expected that Allah-SWT will have-Mercy and forgive the sin of eating the forbidden on such occasions.
To sum up, all pure and clean things or animals are permissible except those declared as impure and forbidden. The guiding principle is that everything is pure and permissible unless declared forbidden by Shari'ah.
The animals hunted by the beasts of prey trained for the purpose, whether hounds or falcons; are also permissible; provided these are trained to hunt, and do not prey on their own. Moreover, they must bring the prey to their master, without nibbling at it enroute. If these beasts of prey are dispatched on their hunting expedition after invoking Allah-SWT's Name, then whatever they have caught is permissible even if the animal dies before reaching the master. There is no need for further slaughtering the animal, when it has been injured and has lost blood. This applies only to animals and beasts of the wilderness and not to domesticated animals such as rabbits let loose only to be hunted by hounds as a sport. These will not be permissible. In short, before letting the hounds or falcons loose on prey, or before aiming an arrow or a dagger, reciting the Name of Allah-SWT will make the animal permissible even if it dies before being slaughtered. Hunting is permissible to the extent of necessity. People who cannot afford to buy meat from the market can hunt for subsistence. A very important benefit of hunting is physical exercise and precision in shooting. In fact many of the military tactics and maneuvers are employed and aiming can be perfected, but care must be taken not to kill too many animals. If hunting is done merely as a sport or pastime, it will fall under extravagance, which is not allowed.
Allah-SWT declares that all clean and pure things are permissible. In addition, the food of the People of the Book is permissible for the Muslims, and vice versa. This issue has been discussed at length by various scholars and all seem to agree on the fact that food means the slaughtered animals, because there is otherwise no restriction on trading grains, spices and other groceries with non-believers, provided the means employed to attain them are legitimate. Since the Ayat under discussion pertain to slaughtered animals, it makes more sense to apply the term 'food* to slaughtered animals only. In that context, all discussions conclude that besides the Jews and the Christians, no other nation can be rightfully termed as People of the Book, whether Hindus, Sikhs or Buddhists. One sect called Sab'ain, reportedly the followers of Zabur (Psalms), neither have Zabur, nor any evidence or proof of their claim. Similar is the condition of the books of other religions; for example, the Veda of Hindus can by no means be proven even as a distorted form of a Divine Revelation. Therefore, only Christians and Jews can be termed as the People of the Book.
Now as for slaughtering, firstly the Jews and the Christians of the Holy Prophet-SW ‘s time, despite indulging in polytheism, used to slaughter the animals only in Allah-SWT's Name. Today these two nations have developed two more vices. Firstly, their beliefs and precepts have changed. They no longer believe in Allah-SWT and the Hereafter hence cannot be deemed as People of the Book; they are only so by name. Their slaughtered animals are not, therefore, permissible for the Muslims. Secondly, they have started using the forbidden such as pork, also forbidden in their Books, so now whether they slaughter or not is immaterial. Under the circumstances, the one who slaughters becomes a non-believer as he is trying to prove the forbidden as permissible, which is infidelity. The third vice is that the ignorant amongst the Jews recite the name of Prophet 'Uzair-AS while the Christians recite the name of Prophet Isa-AS in place of Allah-SWT's before slaughtering their animals. Such action even if performed by a Muslim shall render the animal forbidden; because no animal slaughtered in the name of others than Allah-SWT can be accepted as permissible.
Similarly, the Jew and the Christian women possessing both faith and chastity are lawful for the Muslims to be taken in marriage, so long as the Mehr is paid and Nikah takes place as distinct from mere satisfaction of lust, or secret concubineage. Now as regards chastity, it is something beyond imagination in the present Western culture, while the belief in their own Books, has been abandoned since long. The illicit relationships developed in nightclubs, are the hallmark of their social life today. Probably the permission granted to Muslims for marrying their women was because both religions had similar codes about the women who could be sought in marriage and also the conditions of Nikah were the same, such as the presence of witnesses, the mutual consent of the couple and a public ceremony. The present unfortunate situation is better left untouched, while the correct beliefs are rare indeed. Hence marriage with their women can no longer be recommended. Moreover, a marriage must not be a mere contract to satisfy sexual desire like Mut'a, which is totally forbidden. The Shi’ite faction lays great emphasis on the importance of Mut’a. In fact, in Iran separate accommodation has been provided with every Imam Barga (place where the Shi’ites hold religious sermons) for the purpose.
The most important and noticeable factor is that while the slaughtered meat of the People of the Book was permissible for Muslims and vice versa, only a Muslim male could marry a Christian or a Jew female. A Muslim woman cannot marry a Christian or Jew male. This is the crux of this endless discourse. However, the permissive verdicts of this modern era to eat, drink and marry with the People of Book emanate from those who wish to enforce their own propensities in the name of Islam and seek to promote carnal desires in the name of Divine rewards. It is pertinent to recall here that a Governor of the Second Caliph 'Umar Faruq-RAU who married a woman from the People of the Book, was ordered to divorce her. The Governor wrote back seeking clarification whether she was forbidden for him. The Caliph-RAU replied that though she was not, it was not proper for him either. There is a chance that through such women, waywardness may creep into Muslim households. They may themselves be proper, but their contacts may not be, because their culture is corrupted. Secondly, Muslims may begin to marry them for their quasi beauty implying preference over Muslim women; which will never be proper.
Now their society has even allowed the marriage of a male to another male. The Church has also permitted the marriage of a son-in-law to his mother-in-law, and that of a father-in-law to a daughter-in-law. Their staple diet is pork. Hence there is hardly any excuse for marrying their women or eating with them. Nevertheless, the Quranic injunction continues to prevail and if the People of the Book remain within those limits as were at the time of the revelation of the Quran it is all right to marry their women. On the contrary, what they practise today is enough to classify them as non-believers; they can no longer be called People of the Book. And remember that a Muslim who converts to Judaism or Christianity, cannot be counted amongst People of the Book, but will be a renegade, while those who convert from other religions to their faith will become part of them.
In the execution of the Divine Commands, take note that Allah-SWT is Swift in reckoning. And be heedful of the code that to consider forbidden as permissible and vice versa is indeed disbelief which certainly does not befit a believer; and such an action shall ruin his eternal life, and incur him a loss unbearable.