From the monastic way of life of the Christians, it must not be construed that they can be friends to the believers. Their mention has been made only for the purpose of comparison with the Jews, very few of whom embraced Islam. Their numbers were indeed negligible in proportion to their population. Comparatively, more Christians converted to Islam, because amongst them were the recluse, free from mundane greed. When they came across the truth they accepted it. Their earlier way of life was in accordance with their own Din. Otherwise the best amongst them is the one who embraces Islam. Their monastic life is neither a virtue nor is it friendship with Islam. The impression could be drawn that monasticism or renouncing the mundane pleasures, abandoning home and hearth or celibacy etc. are actions helpful in the attainment of Divine Nearness. This is not so at all. There is no room or need for this concept in Islam. Whatever Allaah-SWT has declared as lawful must be attained and enjoyed the way it is ordained. That is true obedience. If anyone acts against it according to his own desires, he will be guilty of violating the limits of Allaah-SWT . For example, if someone avoids good meals, or inspite of being able to buy, does not dress well, or does not many despite having the resources, with the intention to earn greater reward, he is guilty of impudence and is not liked by Allaah-SWT . It is impertinent to fix it as the criteria of good and evil. Whatever Allah-SWT has made lawful must be eaten and no human being can declare it as forbidden.
The virtue lies in eating to one's content from what Allaah-SWT has provided. This, of course, applies to an honest earning and not to income by usurping the wealth of others, or by accepting bribe or by defrauding anyone. One must earn an honest livelihood, whether as an employee, a trader, a farmer or worker on daily wages. This permissible earning must be kept pure, and must not be allowed to get mixed up with the impure. There is a flagrant lack of religious knowledge in our households. As a result women are unaware of the difference between purification and pollution. For instance, if a woman has to take an obligatory bath and she is unaware of its obligatory aspects she cannot be clean. When she will cook in that state whatever she touches will also be rendered unclean. In case she uses the nail polish, which forms a coating over the nails, neither the ablution nor the bath will be valid unless the nail polish is removed before hand. The food earned by lawful means when touched or prepared by unclean hands will not remain Tayyab (pure). Similarly if a fraction of unlawful income is added to lawful earnings the entire lot will he rendered unlawful. Therefore, the provisions must be both lawful and pure.
Taqwa is another name of Allaah-SWT ’s Obedience, and not of starvation. Therefore, eat and drink of what is lawful and pure. Faith demands Taqwa. a state of Divine consciousness whereby one does not feel like disobeying Him-SWT . This can be achieved through His-SWT Obedience. Hence whatever He-SWT has permitted must be done while observing the limits of Islamic Shar’iah laid down by Him-SWT . There are three situations of forsaking the lawful. Firstly, to take a lawful thing as forbidden; this is infidelity. Secondly, if someone vows not to consume something lawful, this is prohibited. One must break his oath and expiate. Thirdly, the physicians prescribe to abstain from something lawful as a preventive measure, or the Shaikh stops its use for some time for spiritual uplift; this is allowed in Shari'ah.
As for the oaths; when do these remain valid and when not? One kind of oath is absurd and needless and as such not liable to accountability. For example, a person swears un-wittingly or swears to the best of his knowledge on a past event later found to be wrong, and he too was deceived, he shall not be accountable. Neither it is sinful nor is any expiation due on it. Another kind of oath is that a person was well aware of a past event but intentionally swore upon a lie. Although there is no expiation, yet being a lie it is a grave sin. The third form of oath concerns the future, which if not honoured for any reason whether intrinsic or extrinsic, is a violation. This is a breach of promise and has to be expiated, i.e. one must feed ten poor persons twice a day at the same standard as his own, failing that he must clothe ten needy people by a long dress; or a pair of pyjamas to cover up to the umbilicus. If he cannot afford this he must free a slave or a maid if he possesses one, failing which he must fast for three consecutive days according to the Hanafi School of Thought. This is the atonement for the oaths either broken or unfulfilled. The real motive behind is to be careful in guarding one's oaths. The best course of action is to avoid swearing on every petty issue, and if at all one has to swear, it must be done after due deliberation. Once taken, the oath must be honoured. All these etiquettes being ordained are different ways of gratitude and Allaah-SWT wants mankind to be grateful to Him-SWT .
Another aspect worth deliberation is that whereas swearing upon falsehood or dishonouring an oath is a serious crime and ought to be expiated, there are many other vices commonly practised in the society. which are extremely harmful and destructive. For example, use of alcohol is taken very lightly, whereas it leaves the user confounded, or gambling or divining arrows, a form of lottery in those days. It was so practised that some men would jointly buy a camel and slaughter it. They would then draw lots by arrows already kept for the purpose. These arrows bore markings like 'two shares”, "three shares' etc and some would be left blank. They received their share according to the draw while some would get nothing, a form of modern lucky draws. Drawing of lots is permissible in Islam where the right of the participants are protected; for example, something is divided into two equal shares and then the choice is decided by drawing a lot. Or in case of pilgrimage when there are many applicants against limited number of seats. Since all have equal civic rights, a lot is drawn and no one's right is violated. Drinking, gambling, idol worship, games of chance and divining arrows are such loathsome practices that the slightest sentient human being finds them disgusting and preposterous.
The human being is the best of Allaah-SWT ’s creations and He-SWT has subdued the entire universe for him. The sun, the moon and the stars are at his service and so are the earth, its seasons, the air, the plantations, the inert substances and the animals. Now if a human being starts worshipping any of them, it is against the very purpose of his creation, and devastating to his superiority. Just as worshipping idols is loathsome, intoxication is even worse because it paralyses ones faculties, intellectual and moral, and drives a person below the level of an animal. Same is the outcome of gambling and the games of chance, which are nothing short of robbery by mutual consent. These are works of the devil and the Muslims must deliberately keep away to attain eternal success. Satan tries his level best to create mutual enmity and spite in the hearts, easily induced through wine and gambling. While drinking stupefies, a scuffle follows the loss of wealth in gambling on the spot, or it would leave enough malice in the hearts to spark a feud later. These wrangling and animosities will impede Allah-SWT's Zikr. An intoxicated person, and a gambler who loses all his money will have a heart burning with spite; how then can he possibly engage in Allah-SWT's zikr? So when Zikr is gone, the Salat is neglected. The danger now threatens the beliefs and step-by-step a person moves towards destruction. Knowing all this, will the Muslims refrain from these evil practices? Verily the Companions-RAU, the very first addressees of the Quran, who were once addicted to all these evils renounced them altogether as a proof of their devotion to their beloved, the Holy Prophet-SW
What Is Din?
It is to obey Allaah-SWT the way shown by His Messengers, to fear His-SWT Sovereignty and to hold the Grandeur of His-SWT Court in awe vis-a-vis the insignificance of one's acts of obedience. And whoever circumvents this way, let him know that he cannot harm Allah-SWT, nor His-SWT Magnificence, nor the Holy Prophet-SW whose-SW only duty is to convey Allah-SWT's Message with clarity and precision. To make people believe in this Message is none of his business. It is upto the listener to accept or reject it. Allaah-SWT will take an account of His-SWT creation Himself-SWT . If anyone before embracing Islam indulged in actions later prohibited, like drinking etc., and renounced them when ordered: he shall not be guilty. In fact it is a gradual process; first he becomes a believer, then he acts righteously and is blessed with Taqwa, which is a sort of relationship with Allaah-SWT . He progresses further in this state to the level of Ehsan. Taqwa was a spiritual state in which one could not possibly disobey Allah-SWT, and was ever ready to obey Him-SWT . A continuous progress in Taqwa took him to the level of Ehsan, wherein he felt himself in the Presence of Allaah-SWT while working or worshipping. Indeed this level of Ehsan turns every action into worship, like in case of the Companions-RAU. The Quran testifies: “You see them ever bowing and prostrating (48:29)" whereas they actively participated in all the spheres of life, from politics to soldiering, from trading to agriculture. What then is meant by a continuous bowing and prostration? It was this state of Ehsan, that every action was attended by such devotion as if they were in the Presence of Allaah-SWT . Thus everything they did was considered as worship. They had attained this state in the blessed company of the Holy Prophet-SW termed as the ''beneficence of company”. These feelings have ever since been transmitted from heart to heart. It is the duty of a Shaikh to guide the seekers to the spiritual court of the Holy Prophet-SW, and it is upto Allaah-SWT that He-SWT chooses them as His-SWT beloveds and starts loving them.