Islam And Basic Essential Needs
- Preservation Of The Divine Religion
- Preservation Of Self
- Preservation of Mind
- Preservation of Honor, Family and Lineage
- Preservation of Wealth
Preservation Of The Divine Religion:
Islam is the complete and perfect Divine Revelation from God Almighty to mankind to ensure their prosperity and salvation. All the previous prophets of God, like Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus were Muslims – those who submitted to God –sent to their respective peoples with the general precepts of Islam – worship God without partner – and the specific code of laws suitable for their peoples.
God, the Exalted says: s (And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that, "There is nothing worthy of worship except Me, so worship Me.") [21:25]
Muhammad d is the final Prophet and Messenger of God. He has been sent to all mankind with the Islamic code of Laws legislated by God, the most Wise and Omniscient.
God, the Exalted says: (Muhammad is not the father of any man among you; but he is the Messenger of God and the last of the Prophets.) [33:40]
And God the Exalted says: (This day I have perfected your religion for you, and completed my favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.) [5:3]
And He says: (Truly, the religion in the sight of God is Islam.) [3:19]
And He says: (And whoever desires other than Islam as religion – never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.) [3:85]
The Messenger of God s explained his similitude in respect to the previous Prophets of God saying: “My example and the example of the Prophets who preceded me, is like that of a person who built a beautiful house. The house was perfect and magnificent except for the place of a single brick in one corner. People who saw that house admired it but wondered, why did not the owner install the missing brick? I am that missing brick. I am the final Prophet (for mankind on the earth).”
All humanity agrees upon the general principle that truth, justice and goodness must be upheld and defended in the face of attack by the forces of falsehood, tyranny and evil. Muslims take this obligation very seriously, and are obligated to strive to promote truth, justice and goodness by all legal means available. For secular societies, religion is considered purely a private affair. Public life legally must be guided by secular principles and institutions and never by religion or religious law. We must remember that the development of secularism itself was a reaction to the extravagances and conflicts between the Christian Churches and various Kings in Europe.
This introduces the sensitive subject of “Jihad” (struggle, exertion), which is a terribly misused and often abused word. The following verse of the Qur’an, read in its fuller context, gives a general rule about Jihad: (Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.) [2:190]
In summary, the Islamic concept of Jihad refers to governmentally sanctioned fighting that is allowed for protection against aggression, exploitation and suppression, while at the same time prohibiting all forms of transgression. The Arabic root for Jihad means to struggle, and it includes not only fighting against oppressors and tyrants but also struggling generally to promote good and combat evil. By Jihad the religion of Islam with its ultimate truth, justice and goodness is protected, and the Muslims themselves are defended from those that wish them harm. It is an obligation on all Muslims to believe in and practice Jihad to some degree: greater obligations exist for those with greater abilities, but even the poor and disabled give their moral support and supplications for success.
Jihad was practiced in the previous faiths as well – the Catholic Just War Doctrine being just one example. Since evil appears all over the world and throughout human history, Jihad was ordained in order to stop tyranny and injustice. It is also to prohibit people from worshiping false deities and demigods, and to introduce them to the reality of the worship of God alone, who has no son, partners or associates. Jihad is legislated to remove injustices and to introduce man to the mercy, justice and peace of Islam as a way of life, for the interest of man’s benefit on earth, and not for the interest of specific groups of Arabs or other national groups of Muslims, since Islam is universal and has no geographic or limited borders. As the tradition states, the Messenger of God s said: “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or is oppressed.” A man enquired: “O Messenger of God! I understand how to help him when he is oppressed, but how can I help him when he is an oppressor?’’
He s said: “You can keep him from committing oppression. That will be your help to him.” (Bukhari)
The message and invitation of Islam is international and universal for all humanity, with a comprehensive code of beliefs, morals and ethics for every walk of life. Islam laid down the principles of justice, fairness, equality, freedom, prosperity, success and truthfulness for man on earth. Jihad is legislated not to force people against their own will to join Islam, but rather as a tool and mechanism to help maintain the peace that allows for the peaceful sharing of the religion of monotheism, justice and equality to the entire world and to protect it against attack. After people receive the message, it is up to them to accept Islam or choose otherwise; and no harm is to come to them if they choose not accept it. The essential purpose of Jihad is to open the way for peaceful sharing of the Message of Islam to people. Almighty God states in the Qur’an: (There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in idolatry and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.) [2:256]
The principle cementing relationships between governments and their people is based on justice and peace since there can be no lasting peace without justice. Jihad is not a “Holy War” as described in the Western media, but it is an honorable “struggle” and resistance against oppressors and those who oppose the peaceful spread of God’s word and faith in Him and His religion. “War” most often begins as a drive for personal or national interests – for land, resources, or other political or economic reasons. Islam prohibits these reasons for waging war and allows for Jihad only in the three situations, namely:
- Defense of Life, Property and National Boundaries, without transgression God says in the Qur'an: (Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.) [2:190]
Removing oppression and championing the just rights of oppressed people. The obligation of countering oppression and tyranny
is mentioned in the verse of the Qur’an:
(And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for]
the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, "Our Lord, help us out
of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector
and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?")
The Prophet of God s said: “The best Jihad is a word of truth before a tyrannical unjust ruler.”
Defense of Faith and Religion.
God, the Exalted, says in the Qur’an: (And fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevails justice and faith in God altogether and everywhere; but if they cease, verily God does see all that they do.) [8:39]
A “Mujahid” (Muslim fighter for the cause of God) must purify his intention to please God alone. He must have a clear understanding that Jihad is only for just reasons: to protect Islam and the Muslims, and to allow for the spread of the message and word of God. If the enemies of Islam who are fighting the Muslims cease their attack, and accept terms for a just peace, the Muslim fighters are commanded to cease hostilities. God also says: (But if they incline to peace, then incline to it also, and (put your) trust in God. Indeed, it is He who is the Hearing, the Knowing.) [8:61]
And He Most Exalted said: (Therefore if they withdraw from you and cease fighting, and send you (guarantees of) peace, then God has left no way for you (to war against them).) [4:90]
Islam has permitted fighting only for the above specified reasons and has laid down strict rules of conduct in “warfare.” All other reasons for “war” are totally prohibited in Islam. For instance, war for land expansion, colonial interests and revenge, etc. are entirely prohibited. Islam does not allow fighters to kill haphazardly, but only permits them to kill those directly involved in the fighting. Islam does not permit, accept or condone the killing of elderly people, children, women, those under medical treatment, medical staff, and monks who have secluded themselves for the worship of God. Islam forbids mutilating the bodies of the deceased enemy fighters. Islam also forbids the killing of cattle or any type of animal of the enemies, the destruction of peoples' homes and the pollution of potable water resources, including rivers, lakes, springs and wells of water of the fighting enemies. These concepts are based on the many verses of the Qur’an, including this verse: (But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters.) [28:77]
It is also based on many sayings of Messenger of God s ,for instance his statement: Fight for the Cause of God and in His Name, against those who reject God. Fight them, but do not breach your contracts or truces, do not mutilate, and do not kill a newly born baby...”
And he s said: “...do not kill a woman, or a slave.”
This is also in compliance with the directions and the recommendation of the first Caliph, Abu Bakr to his military leaders upon commissioning them for Jihad. It was narrated that he said,
“Listen and obey the following ten commands and instructions: Do not betray any one (if you give a pledge). Do not steal from the spoils of war. Do not breach your pledge of allegiance. Do not mutilate the body of the killed enemy fighters or the deceased. Do not kill a child or a minor. Do not kill an elderly person. Do not kill a woman. Do not uproot a date palm tree (or any other trees) and do not burn them either. Do not cut or destroy a fruit tree. Do not slaughter a female sheep, a cow or a camel except for your (required) food. You surely will pass by some people who isolate themselves and are secluded for the worship of God as monks and else, thus leave them alone and do not disturb them. You will, surely, stop at some people on the road, who will bring forth for you all types of food dishes. Whenever you eat their food, recite the name of God each time you eat....”
The prisoners of war are not to be tortured, humiliated, or mutilated. They are not to be imprisoned in tight claustrophobic prison cells without adequate food and drink thus causing them to die. The Qur’an states: (And they feed, for the love of God, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive, (saying), “We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude.”) [76:8]
(... when you have thoroughly subdued them, bind a firm bond (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either for generosity or ransom: until the war lays down its burdens. Thus are you commanded: but if it had been God's Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them Himself; but He lets you fight in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the way of God, He will never let their deeds be lost.) [47:4]
The conquered people who comprise the non-Muslim residents of an Islamic state and their families, possessions and estates are entitled protection by Islamic law from any violation. No one has a right to seize the possession or the wealth of the non-Muslim residents, or humiliate them or encroach upon their honor. No one has the right to unjustly attack them. The belief and religious practices of the non- Muslim residents in an Islamic state are respected to the legal limit. For instance God says in the Qur’an: ([And they are] those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give charitably and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to Allah belongs the outcome of [all] matters.) [22:41]
The non-Muslim residents of an Islamic state are required to pay a minimal tax called “Jizyah” which is a specific type of head-tax collected from individuals who are not Muslim and desire to keep their religion while living in an Islamic state and under Islamic rule.
The Jizyah is a very commonly misunderstood concept due primarily to the willful distortion of the term by those who seek to misrepresent Islam; calling it an oppressive “non-Muslim” tax. Though the tax is indeed levied upon those who are not Muslim, the Jizyah is collected in return for the protection of the non-Muslim residents of an Islamic State and their wealth, and not because they refused to join the faith. The Muslim leader and commander, General Khalid bin al-Waleed once made a pledge to the non- Muslim residents of the Islamic state at the time and said,
‘I offer you my pledge of allegiance to fully protect you against the head- tax collected from you. If we provide the necessary protection, we are entitled for the head-tax. Otherwise, you are not required to pay it.’ Then, when the Muslims forces had to vacate the area for battle elsewhere they returned the Jizyah they had taken since they were not able to provide the security stipulated.
Another important point to keep in mind is that since Islam is a complete system, to include a governmental system, all earners – regardless of religion – have to pay some form of a tax. For instance, in the early Islamic States while Muslims were paying 2.5% of their accumulated wealth, non-Muslim residents paid Jizyah according to their social status as represented in three categories: the rich and wealthy class paid an equivalent to the sum of (48) forty-eight Dirhams a year; the middle or average class, such as merchants, traders and farmers, paid an equivalent to the sum of (24) twenty-four Dirhams a year; and finally, the working class, such as bakers, carpenters, plumbers and the like, paid an equivalent to the sum of (12) twelve Dirhams a year. The reality is that, in almost all cases, the Jizyah was cheaper to pay than the zakat required of the Muslim and thus not at all oppressive to the non- Muslim citizen of the Islamic nation.
Furthermore, the Jizyah is not applicable to every non-Muslim resident of an Islamic state; rather, it is to be taken only from those who earn. Many categories of people are exempt from paying this Jizyah including the poor, minors, women, monks, blind people, and the disabled individuals. Islam made it obligatory on the Islamic government to provide the full protection to these categories of people as well as to offer them suitable living allowances and welfare provisions. In fact, the pledge given by General Khalid bin al-Waleed to the non-Muslim residents of the town called ‘Heerah’ in Iraq, under the Islamic rule, stated the following: ‘Any elderly person, disabled worker, terminally ill person or a rich person who went bankrupt, and based on that deserve charity from the fellow religious people, will not be required to pay head-tax. Furthermore, each one will become entitled for suitable allowances from the Islamic Treasury for himself and his dependents.’
Another example is when the second Caliph, Omar bin al-Khattab, once passed by an elderly Jewish man who was begging. Omar asked about him and was informed that he was a non-Muslim resident of the Islamic state. Omar immediately said, ‘We have not been fair to you! We’ve collected head-tax from you while you were young and capable and neglected you in your old age!’ Omar took the old Jew to his own home and offered him whatever he found of foodstuff and clothes. Later, Omar instructed those in charge of the treasury, saying:
‘Follow up, monitor and observe the situations of similar people. Offer them assistance that suffices them and their family members from the Islamic Treasury.’
God states in the Qur’an at the beginning of the famous verse on Zakah (obligatory charity): (Alms are for the poor and the needy...) [9:60]
In one interpretation of this verse, the poor are the Muslims and the needy are the non-Muslim residents of an Islamic state.’
Physical Security and Protection:
Human life is sacred and a gift from God, the Creator. For the protection of human life, Islam has legislated capital and corporal punishments and retribution unto those transgressing criminals who murder and physically harm others. Killing falls into three types: intentional or premeditated murder, manslaughter (killing without premeditation or an evil intention prior), and accidental killing. Islam commands the execution of anyone who commits premeditated murder of an innocent person, seeking to place as strong a deterrent as possible to eradicate the temptation of intentional murder.
Manslaughter and accidental killings are separate categories with separate, lesser sentences and blood money is paid to the close relatives of the victim. The family or the heirs of the killed victim are given a Diyyah – blood money – unless they choose to forgive the killer. The killer must repent to God and make atonement by the freeing of a Muslim slave, and if this is not possible, by fasting for two consecutive months.
All such penalties are mandated for the preservation of life. No one has the right to tamper with people’s lives, possessions or estate without legitimate cause. All oppressors or abusers must be warned against unjust killing, victimizing or harassing other innocent members of the Islamic society, and these strict punishments should be made clear. If the retaliation is not equal in degree to the crime itself, criminals become emboldened in their criminal activities. All other corporal punishments have the same rationale, wherein the punishment is proportionate to the crime with specific measurements of retribution predetermined to stop all arguments and confusion. All capital and corporal punishments are designed for the preservation of human life and property in an Islamic society. God, the Exalted, states in the Qur’an: (And there is for you in legal retribution [saving of] life, O you [people] of understanding, that you may become righteous.) [2:179]
The penalty of the Hereafter for the intentional murderer who does not repent will be the Wrath of God. God, the Exalted, states in the Glorious Qur’an: (But whoever kills a believer intentionally – his recompense is Hell, wherein he will abide eternally, and Allah has become angry with him and has cursed him and has prepared for him a great punishment.) [4:93]
Islam has imposed certain specific duties on everyone in respect to the protection of human life. The following are some of these duties:
Man does not own his soul or his own body: rather it is a sacred entity entrusted to him on a temporary basis. It is not allowed for anyone to intentionally torture or harm himself, or carry-out any type of suicidal crime or reckless act leading to his destruction. God, the Exalted, states in the Qur’an: (O you who have believed, do not consume one another's wealth unjustly but only [in lawful] business by mutual consent. And do not kill yourselves [or one another]. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful! [4:29]
Man must maintain proper nutritional care to satisfy the minimum requirements essential for decent health. He is not allowed
to deprive himself of permissible food, drink, clothing, marriage and proper care
under any pretexts, if that causes him harm. God, the Exalted, states in the Qur’an:
(Say, "Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has produced for His servants and the good [lawful] things of provision?"
Say, "They are for those who believe during the worldly life [but] exclusively
for them on the Day of Resurrection." Thus do We detail the verses for a people
God, the Exalted, admonished the Prophet s when he abstained from eating honey in order to please one of his wives, and this became an eternal lesson for all Muslims. God states in the Qur'an: (O Prophet, why do you prohibit [yourself from] what Allah has made lawful for you, seeking the approval of your wives? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.) [66:1]
Moderation is between stinginess and extravagance. Man may enjoy the lawful bounties offered by God to man on earth in moderation within the limits of the Islamic laws and without waste. God, the Exalted, states in the Qur’an: (O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: but waste not by excess, for God loves not the wasters.) [7:31]
It is forbidden to neglect the physical needs of the body and cause harm through negligence or self-torture. God, the Exalted, states in the Qur’an: (Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have the consequence of what good it has gained, and it will bear the consequence of what evil it has earned....) [2:286]
It is reported that Anas bin Malik said that, ‘Three men came to the Prophet’s s wives’ houses to inquire about the worship of the Prophet s When they were informed, they considered their worship insignificant and said: "Where are we in comparison with the Prophet s while God has forgiven his past sins and future sins".
One of them said:
"As for me, I shall offer prayer all night long."
"I shall fast continuously and shall not break it". The third one said: "I shall abstain from women and shall never marry".
The Prophet s came to them and said, “Are you the people who said such and such things? By God, I fear God more than you do, and I am the most obedient and dutiful among you to Him, but still I observe fasting and break it; perform prayers and still sleep at night and I marry women. So whoever turns away from my way does not belong to me.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Peace and security:
- The right of security and protection to a person and all his family is the most basic of all human rights. All citizens in the Muslim society legally must not be frightened or threatened by either words, actions or weapons of any type. The tradition of Messenger of God s states: “It is not allowed for a Muslim to frighten another Muslim.” (Abu Dawood)
- Feeling secure enables individuals of a society to have freedom of mobility in order to work and earn an honest living. Corporal and capital punishment have been laid down and established in order to impose strict penalties on those who attempt to cause disruption to the peace, security and stability of a Muslim society. God’s Messenger s stated in his farewell speech, ‘Truly, your lives, honor, and your wealth are sacred. They are unlawful to tamper with in the same manner that it is unlawful to tamper with this honorable and sacred Day (the Day of ‘Arafah during Hajj), in this Sacred Month (the month of pilgrimage), and in this Sacred Town (the city of Makkah).’ (Bukhari)
Sustenance and wholesome food and drink for all:
- The right of security and protection to a person and all his family is the most basic of all human rights. All citizens in the Muslim society legally must not be frightened or threatened by either words, actions or weapons of any type. The tradition of Messenger of God s states: “It is not allowed for a Muslim to frighten another Muslim.” (Abu Dawood)
Wholesome sustenance is to be secured for all people in an Islamic society by availing decent and suitable work opportunities
for the work force in the society. Availability of suitable opportunities of trades
and work is crucial for people in order to satisfy their basic needs. Those who cannot
work due to old age, disabilities, chronic disease, or the lack of a bread-earner
in the family, become entitled to public aid from the Islamic government. Zakah,
(obligatory alms and charity) given by the wealthier people of the society is to
be made available to the needy that cannot earn a decent income because of legitimate
reasons. Zakah is an obligatory charity that is taken from the rich and given to
specific categories of the society. This is based on the Hadith of God’s Messenger
s in his advice to his companion Muaadth bin Jabal while sending him on the mission
to call to Islam in Yemen saying,
“Tell the people of Yemen that Almighty God has prescribed a certain percentage of their wealth as Zakah (obligatory charity)
to be taken from the rich members among them and given to the poor and needy
Other voluntary donations, gifts, financial commitments and the like are given in good cause to please God, and extended willingly to the poor and needy members without any distinction. This is also based on many scriptures including the Hadith of God’s Messenger s, “One is not a believer who satisfies himself while his neighbor is hungry.” (Bukhari)
These poor and needy people are also entitled to a fair right and share of the Islamic Treasury. This is also based on the Hadith of God’s Messenger s , “Whosoever leaves behind a legacy (wealth and estates) it will become the right of his heirs. As for the person who leaves behind poor and needy members of his family, God, and His Messenger s will take care of them.” (Bukhari)
Proper and adequate health facilities:
Islam prohibits all such reasons that may cause detrimental effect to public health. Islam bans all types of harmful drugs
and intoxicants. Islam bans eating blood, carrion, unclean animals, and all their
byproducts. Islam bans all immoral acts such as fornication, adultery, and homosexual
activities. Islam imposes a quarantine in the time of plague for both incoming and
outgoing traffic of people in order to make sure that no epidemic or harmful diseases
are spread in the wider community. God’s Messenger
“If you hear about an epidemic in a country, do not enter it, and if you are in a place that has an epidemic disease, do
not leave it.”
And he s said, “A sick person must not be brought to visit a recovering person.” (Bukhari)
Preservation of Mind
Intelligence is the basis of all meaningful and responsible actions and accountability. Islam prohibits intoxicants that impair the activity of the mind and degrade man. The word for wine and intoxicants in Arabic is “Khamr”, meaning that which “covers” the brain. Alcohol and other drugs are one of the major causes of heinous crime with disastrous results in the society. The penalty in Islamic law for public intoxication is flogging to eradicate the vice, and as a warning to others. Almighty God states in the Qur’an: (O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah ], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful. Satan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist?) [5:90-91]
Islam forbids the manufacture and sale of all kinds of alcoholic beverages and intoxicants. It even prohibits the promotion of such alcoholic beverages in the society, even if the promoter or salesperson himself does not drink it or use it. This prohibition is based on the Hadith of God’s Messenger s , “The curse of God falls on ten groups of people who deal with Khamr (all intoxicants). The one who squeezes it (or distills it), the one for whom it is squeezed, the one who sells it, the one who buys it, the one who transports it, the one to whom it is transported, the one who utilizes the money from it, the one who drinks it, and the one who serves it.” (Abu Dawood)
Basic education for all:
God the Exalted, says in the Glorious Qur’an: (Say: Are those equal who know and those who do not know? It is those who are given understanding that receive admonition.) [39:9]
And He says: (O you who have believed, when you are told, "Space yourselves" in assemblies, then make space; Allah will make space for you. And when you are told, "Arise," then arise; Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.) [58:11]
Education in the Islamic society is a right for all individuals and a required moral duty of every capable person. All capable, intelligent and skilled individuals in the Islamic society are required to educate themselves in the basics of their religion and in necessary worldly affairs. The government is required to provide to the best of their ability all means that help promote adequate education. The Messenger of God s ,said: “Seeking knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim (male and female).” (Ibn Majah)
He also stated s : “He who travels to seek any (beneficial) knowledge is considered as a person who is struggling for the cause of God I until he returns (home).” (Tirmidhi)
Another tradition of this meaning is the saying of God’s Messenger s “Whosoever takes a path seeking knowledge, God will pave a path for him to Paradise.” (Abu Dawood)
It is unlawful for a scholar to withhold useful knowledge as the Messenger of God s said: ‘Whosoever withholds knowledge will have a harness of fire placed on him on the Day of Judgment.’ (Ibn Hibban)
The Preservation of Honor, Family and Lineage
The family unit is the basis of a healthy society and this can only be maintained by upholding the sanctity of marriage. For the preservation of moral purity among all men, women and children in the society, Islam strictly prohibits adultery, fornication and homosexuality. Islam concurs with previous divine religions in this prohibition but goes further by banning many acts that may lead to committing this sin, like immodest dress and free mixing of the sexes in public or private quarters. These manners and precautions cut the avenues towards temptations. God the Almighty says in the Glorious Qur’an: ‘And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.’ [17:32]
And He, the Exalted says: (Say, "Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you. [He commands] that you not associate anything with Him, and to parents, good treatment, and do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them. And do not approach immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed. And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right. This has He instructed you that you may use reason.) [6:151]
Abdullah ibn Mas’ood relates that he said: O Messenger of God, which sin is gravest to God? He said: “That you make others to be equal to God in worship even though (He alone) has created you.” I then asked: And then what? He said: “To kill your child fearing that he will share your food (meaning that you think you cannot afford the child).” I then said: And then what? He said: “To fornicate or have adultery with your neighbor’s wife.” Then the Messenger of God s recited the following portion of the Qur’an (reaffirming what he just said): (And those who do not invoke with Allah another deity or kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed], except by right, and do not commit unlawful sexual intercourse. And whoever should do that will meet a penalty. Multiplied for him is the punishment on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein humiliated. Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.) [25:68-70]
The punishment of flogging is legislated for a previously unwed male or female who commit fornication. God, the Exalted, states in the Glorious Qur'an: (The [unmarried] woman or [unmarried] man found guilty of sexual intercourse – lash each one of them with a hundred lashes, and do not be taken by pity for them in the religion of Allah, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a group of the believers witness their punishment.) [24:2]
As for the married male or female who commits adultery while being married or after divorcing one’s spouse, the penalty for such a criminal is exactly the same as in the Torah scriptures; stoning to death. To apply this punishment, the judge must either have the full confession, or the testimony of four trustworthy eyewitnesses who testify that they clearly saw sexual penetration.
Confession means that the crime is confessed openly by the adulterer before the Muslim Judge or ruler. The confession must be repeated four times to remove any doubt. In the case of testimony, four trustworthy, honest and sound people must report to the Muslim judge or ruler seeing the actual sexual penetration of the adulterers, a scenario that is very rare, some may say even impossible, under normal circumstances.
The early history of Islam recorded a few instances of confession of the crime of adultery wherein the individuals openly confessed their crime because their strong faith in God propelled them to seek sincere repentance and purification. As the traditions make clear, God will not punish someone twice for the same crime, and they wanted to be protected from having the punishment in the Hereafter. It should be noted that if sexual penetration does not take place – if a person, for instance only kisses, hugs or touches – then there is no application of the castigatory punishment.
The penalty of false accusation for those who do not produce evidence to support their claims and accusations is eighty lashes, and a further punishment is that their testimony is thereafter rejected. As God says in the Qur'an (And those who accuse chaste women and then do not produce four witnesses – lash them with eighty lashes and do not accept from them testimony ever after. And those are the defiantly disobedient.) [24:2]
Mockery, derogatory words and deeds that violate the honor, dignity and respect of others in the community are strictly prohibited, as God says in the Qur’an: (O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one's] faith. And whoever does not repent - then it is those who are the wrongdoers. O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.) [49:11-12]
Another verse of the Qur’an states: (But whoever earns an offense or a sin and then blames it on an innocent [person] has taken upon himself a slander and manifest sin.) [4:112]
Islam safeguards the sanctity of reproduction for the maintenance of the human race on earth. The human race is entrusted with the guardianship of the entire earth and the representation of divine wisdom on earth. Destroying the means of reproduction by any means or tampering with it in any way for no legitimate reason is an unlawful practice according to Islam. The Almighty God states in the Glorious Qur’an: (When he turns away his aim is to spread mischief everywhere through the earth and destroy crops and cattle. But God loves not mischief.) [2:205]
Islam considers deliberate abortion of the fetus after forty days a premeditated act of murder tantamount to infanticide that entitles punishment for all who participate. Unintentional abortion may require blood-money substitution for the aborted fetus and fasting for two consecutive months in repentance to God, if caused by accident or manslaughter.
Many hadith recommend a Muslim to get married and seek offspring. God’s Messenger s said, “Marry a woman who is loving and can bear many children, for verily I will display your outnumbering of the other nations on the Day of Judgment (due to the large number of my followers).” Abu Dawood
Islam places special value on strong family bonds and good relations among relatives. Since the family is the basis and the foundation of the society, many rules help protect this family against break up and disintegration. Relatives have obligations and rights. One must recognize the rights of kith and kin and consequently satisfy the rights of each relative in the most appropriate fashion.
Mixing between the male and female members of the family (who are permitted to marry one another lawfully) may lead to many family social problems. To avoid any unwanted situation, Islam commands segregation between the male and female members of the family who are allowed to marry each other. A woman is allowed to appear without her outer garments only before the following men: father, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, father-in-law and sons.
In the pre-Islamic days of Jahiliyyah (Ignorance), the family system was corrupted and decadent. Islam initiated decisive reformations and annihilated all existent malpractice. Some of the institutions banned by Islam will be mentioned as examples.
Islam prohibits the kind of legal adoption whereby a child takes the family name of the adopting father or parents and will be entitled to all rights and duties of a blood child. Of course taking care of orphans and neglected children is strongly encouraged, and this form of charity has special merit. The Qur’an says: (God has not made for man two hearts in his interior. And He has not made your wives, whom you declare unlawful, your mothers. And he has not made your adopted sons your [true] sons. That is [merely] your saying by your mouths, but Allah says the truth, and He guides to the [right] way.
Call them by [the names of] their fathers; it is more just in the sight of Allah. But if you do not know their fathers - then they are [still] your brothers in religion and those entrusted to you. And there is no blame upon you for that in which you have erred but [only for] what your hearts intended. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.) [33:4-5]
Islam bans ascribing a child to a man as a son without the man’s admission to be the father because such a claim jeopardizes marital relationships as well as family life. A woman is to be protected from false accusations that blemish her honor and dignity of illegitimate sexual activities with a man other than her husband. Moreover, such a false claim of a man may create doubts and in turn a rift between the rest of the children of the family, not knowing legitimate from illegitimate. Any child born who is a legitimate product of a marriage contract is attributed to the father with no need of any further proof or denial. A husband of a woman needs not to announce that the child is his. This practice is based on the statement of God’s Messenger s , “The child (born as a result of a lawful marriage) belongs to the (bed of) his father.” Bukhari
The only exception to this rule is when it is proved, beyond a doubt, that the wife has betrayed her husband and is pregnant from other than her husband. In such a case, specific rules of disowning the child will apply. After disowning, he will become as a total stranger in relation to the husband. This means that if the disowned child is female, she must not appear before such a man at her leisure, travel with him, live with him or deal freely with him.
A Muslim woman, after marriage keeps her maiden name according to Islamic jurisprudence. According to Islamic teachings and law, it is unlawful for a woman to bear the family name of her husband after marriage. Looking at this closely one can comprehend the great honor, dignity and respect granted to the woman in Islam. This practice preserves the equality and equal right of a Muslim woman to the Muslim man of the right of carrying her own independent name, especially in the event of divorce.
h Preserving and honoring the rights of the weak and the disabled: Islam honors the elderly members in the Islamic society and mandates their respect and assistance. The Messenger of God s said: “He is not considered among us Muslims, who does not show mercy to our young and respect to our elders.” Abu Dawood
Islamic law obligates assistance to orphans, as God the Most Merciful says in the Glorious Qur'an: (Therefore treat not the orphan with harshness.) [93:9]
And He, the Exalted, says: (And do not approach the property of an orphan, except in the way that is best, until he reaches maturity. And fulfill [every] commitment. Indeed, the commitment is ever [that about which one will be] questioned.) [17:34]
And He says: (Indeed, those who devour the property of orphans unjustly are only consuming into their bellies fire. And they will be burned in a Blaze.) [4:10]
God addressed the preservation of the rights of the innocent children whose parents might commit a crime against them due to poverty and total ignorance by killing them. God states in the Glorious Qur'an: (Say, "Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you. [He commands] that you not associate anything with Him, and to parents, good treatment, and do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them. And do not approach immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed. And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right. This has He instructed you that you may use reason.") [6:151]
In this fashion we can see the utmost respect and preservation afforded to the weak, and less affluent and ailing people in the Islamic society.
Private wealth and property are the basis of the economy and of the livelihood of the members of the society. Islam protects personal wealth and imposes very strict penalties against banditry, robbery, and any violations against the sanctity of property. Cheating, embezzlement, monopoly, hoarding and many other harmful practices are also prohibited. This is done with the intention of ensuring protection to the wealth and personal assets of individuals. Islamic law imposes the corporal punishment of cutting off the hand of the thief who steals the property of others, in accordance with strict requirements and due process of law. God, the Almighty, states in the Qur’an: ([As for] the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hand in recompense for what they committed as a deterrent [punishment] from Allah. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.) [5:38]
It must be noted that the process of amputating the hand of a thief is only implemented with strict conditions, which include the following:
hThe stolen items or valuables must be in a sealed area requiring the thief to have to trespass. If a thief steals an item that is left outside negligently or not cared for, there is no punishment by amputation. The thief in this case may be subjected to the penalty of snatching, wherein the authorities determine the appropriate penalty or “Ta’zeer.”
hThe theft committed must not involve food for survival from hunger. The second Caliph Omar bin al-Khattab during the famine of the “Ramadah Year” did not apply the punishment for stealing due to the conditions of widespread hunger.
hThe value of the stolen items must be above the range of the value set for stealing that obligates amputation of the hand; in other words it must be larceny and not petty theft.
These physical punishments are not to be carried out unless there is irrefutable evidence (i.e. no doubt that the crime has been committed) and that it is punishable by Islamic law. Islamic jurisprudence, however, in cases where it expiates corporal punishment for a crime he committed, will substitute it with another type of disciplinary punishment. Disciplinary punishment is usually less than the corporal punishment and is determined by the Muslim judge according to the type, level, category and severity of the crime and the criminal himself and his criminal record. Disciplinary punishment may be imprisonment, flogging in public, reprimanding him or imposing a fine for his crime.
Other than thievery, Islam has banned all types of transgression against private possessions, estate and land ownership. This is based on the statement in the Qur'an: (And do not consume one another's wealth unjustly or send it [in bribery] to the rulers in order that [they might aid] you [to] consume a portion of the wealth of the people unlawfully, while you know [it is unlawful].) [2:188]
Therefore, the transgressor will be subjected to a tremendous and severe penalty on the Day of Judgment. This is based on the statement of God’s Messenger s : (“Whosoever unjustly takes any money or the wealth of another Muslim without a due right, God will meet such a person in a state of anger.” Ahmad
Another statement of God’s Messenger s is: “Whosoever usurps a hand span of land, God will have this oppressor wear seven earths (around his neck) on the Day of Judgment.” Bukhari
Islamic law demands that the oppressor must return the amount he unjustly confiscated from other Muslims’ land or property, or alternatively he is forced to pay the value of such unjustly confiscated property. Furthermore, the oppressor in such a situation is subjected to a lashing penalty determined by the Muslim judge. Islam entitles the owner of wealth to defend all that he owns, even to the point of killing the aggressor, if that is the only means of stopping the aggression. If the owner kills the aggressor he is not to be killed for killing him, if he can prove that he killed him while defending his property. If the aggressor, on the other hand, killed the defending owner, the owner is a martyr and the attacker a murderer. This is based on the statement of God’s Messenger s “Whosoever is killed defending his wealth is a martyr.” Bukhari
Note on the preservation of the national resources:
Reserved national resources are public property and the income generated from these natural resources must be placed in the Public Treasury to finance the needs of the public. Such resources are not to be owned privately by a specific group or class of people or individuals for any specific merit. The revenue of such resources is solely to be used for public welfare. It becomes a collective responsibility of the Islamic society to be vigilant against any intruder or aggressor against this property. Any unlawful exploitation of common natural resources is banned according to Islamic teachings and principles. God, the Almighty, states in the Qur’an: (...and do not act corruptly, making mischief on the earth.) [2:60]
Furthermore, this is based on the statement of God’s Messenger s , “Muslims are partners in three (natural resources): water, grazing grass and fire.” by Abu Dawood
Note on public and private rights in Islam:
Islam endeavors to strengthen the social ties among the members of the Islamic society. Islam addressed the rights of the immediate members of the family first, then the kindred who have obligations and rights towards each other according to their closeness. The value and the importance of such rights vary according to the kind and degree of relationship. God, the Almighty, states in the Qur’an: (O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer.) [4:1]
And God says in the context of inheritance rules: (You know not which of them, whether your parents or your children, are nearest to you in benefit, these fixed shares are ordained by God. And God is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise.) [4:11]
Other relationships were not neglected in Islam either since they are all part of the network that joins people making them closer to each other personally and socially. People who are more distant to each other also need a type of bond that brings them together in order to build a cohesive society. God, the Almighty, states in the Qur’an: ([And they are] those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give the obligated charity and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to Allah belongs the outcome of [all] matters.) [22:41]
Strengthening of relationships is also guided by the statement of God’s , s Messenger “Do not envy one another; do not inflate prices on one another; do not hate one another; do not turn away from one another; and do not undercut one another, but be you, O servants of God, brothers. A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim; he neither oppresses him nor does he fail him, he neither lies to him nor does he hold him in contempt. Piety is right here – and he pointed to his chest three times. It is evil enough for a man to hold his Muslim brother in contempt. A Muslim to another Muslim is sacred; his life, his property, and his honor.” Muslim
And he s said: “The example of believers in love, affection, cooperation and sympathy is like that of one body. If one organ of the body aches, the entire body will support the aching body part by wakefulness and fever.” Bukhari