Moral Teachings of Islam 6 – The Lawful And Unlawful
Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Moral Teachings of Islam
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In the name of God the benevolent the Merciful, the creator and Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings forever upon his servant and messenger Muhammad amin, I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except for the one true God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger, and servant of God, I greet you all of the viewers of Islam and focus program with the universal greetings of peace. The greetings that have been used by all of the profits from Abraham, the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon all of them assalamu Aleikum, which means peace beyond to you. Today we have our sixth program in our series on the moral teachings of Islam. And more specifically,
we'll be continuing with the discussion that we started last week dealing with the characteristics of the moral code of Islam. I have joining me on the program as usual. Dr. Jamal betawi of St. Mary's University, brother Jamal Assalamu alaikum.
I wonder if perhaps you could just take a few minutes to go back to recap, the main points that we covered last week in our introduction of the program where we started dealing with the characteristics of the moral code.
Perhaps you can do that easier and faster by referring back to the
the chart we used last time.
The first four points basically, we covered one was the question about the goals and objectives of Islamic moral code. And we indicated that the main purpose of the Islamic moral code is to build up an authentic personality which lives by faith in God, which is nourished by Divine Love, which accepts responsibility as the trustee of godliness. And then we said from the aggregate of those personalities, possessing those qualities, you can have a community of believers, which are there is the good and forbid evil. The second main point was a discussion of the relationship between the Islamic moral code and faith. And we said that the Quran makes it clear that one cannot pay lip
service to faith or simply repeat, I believe, or I do. But there are other as the Quran always puts it, mmm Mohammed Salah had those who believe and did good deeds, that there's always correlation between belief and good deed. And that the acid test of faith is that that faith should be translated into reality into concrete actions, including following the moral code. The first point was the relationship between the moral code and worship.
Again, we said that these are not necessarily contradictory things they should go hand in hand, but neither can replace the others. In other words, a person cannot claim to be possessing good moral qualities while his or she is neglecting the duties towards God in terms of acts of worship. But on the other hand, one cannot get busy in the ritualistic performance of acts of worship. While the moral behavior in other areas of life does not seem to be consistent with that, these are both wrong interpretations, but both faith or moral code and worship should go hand in hand.
The fourth and last point we can discuss last time was the extent of stability of the standard moral code. And he said that, if we mean by the moral code, the foundations, the objectives, the basis of general principles, then these principles are not subject to any change by any human being because they are not time bound. They are broad principles that are applicable at all times, that God out of his infinite wisdom, and his knowledge of the past, present. And future has already prescribed these things. So we have no right to claim more expertise than garden say while this is out of date. But in some other details or applications extension of application, we could do that without violating
I'd like to move on then in our discussion and move on to another area which is next on your chart that has to do with the extensive coverage of Islamic wonder fractions that explained for us which aspects does it emphasize? Well, to put it in a very brief way, very comprehensive when you talk about
The moral code in Islam,
it is not a kind of code that is confined to personal behaviors, spiritual aspects or limited compartments of human life. It encompasses the entirety of human life. Not only this, the moral code in Islam is not a separate compartment, you don't say Alright, this is economic life, this is political life. And this is more life. There's nothing like that. In Islam, the best way to describe it is that it is fused. See, the moral code of Islam is fused into all aspects of life, whether it's on personal, social, economic, or political level, there is no distinction in Islam whatsoever. Between so called religious life and secular life, people sometimes say businesses business while
mortality, keep it for yourself or keep it for your simple, that's not the case in Islam. Everything ties together and is clearly integrated. For the Muslim, it doesn't make any sense. For example, to pray, try for a couple of week, a couple of hours per week or per day, and then pre try on God's creature for the rest of the week or that. So that doesn't make any sense. If a person really is expressing his faith in God, his commitment to his moral code, then it doesn't matter whether that's in the temple, or a place of worship, or at home at work in any other place. In other words, the moral code is not really something that a person leaves at the doors of the place of worship, but
it's kind of all over. That's what I use the term he used in the various aspects of life. Another aspect in terms of coverage, which I think would be of interest also, is the fact that the moral code in Islam covers and entails everybody. There is no particular group or class of people who may be exempt from
the implementation or obligation to follow that model. Just to illustrate that I'll give you a brief story that happened in the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, he was in debt. And his creditors was a fellow who was a little bit too rough and rather impolite. And he came to the Prophet peace be upon him in front of the companions. And he started talking to him very harshly that you people are not paying us, you know, you.
You people are your summary is always like that you don't pay which is due on you. So one of the companions of the Prophet got very angry at this route treatment of the Prophet, and he's just started getting jumpy to punish him. So the Prophet, Muhammad peace be upon him said, Wait, both of us need something better than what you intended to do. That is attacking democracy, we both need
your advice, you should advise him to ask politely, and he should advise me to be patient and to pay him his job, right. So when we talk about motor code that does not only cover all aspects of life, but it's covered also all individuals who claim to belong sincerely to that community of believers, nobody is exempt from this moral obligations.
Now, one of the difficulties that is often race and many people find that the various moral codes that exist tend to be very general, and the lack
of specificity and the gender sometimes it's been suggested that they're a bit vague.
How does the moral code of Islam respond to this kind of difficulty, when Unfortunately, this is not the case in the moral code of Islam. And that's based on a very simple reason, that as we mentioned, the previous series, I think, a year ago, we're discussing, for example, the concept of prophethood, and that all prophets carried basically the same message. And that Islam in the final form, or as completed through Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him was really culminated and specified and made more concrete and more clear, so that it provides clear guidance to humanity.
So on the basis of that, you find that in the case of moral code of Islam,
there are lots of examples lots of illustrations, both in the Quran, the Word of God, scriptures, as well as the saying deeds and approval of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him to show exactly how that moral code can be implemented. In other words, in Islam, it does not simply say to the follower, be good, be virtuous, be moral, well, just like a motherhood statement, but it says Be good, and that's how you could be good, be virtuous, and this are x, y, z x, that could help you become more virtuous.
I have a chart here that also shows the unique way that Islamic jurisprudence deal with this specificity or clarity of the moral code. Not only
Talking about what is permissible and what is not permissible or what is lawful or unlawful. But as you see in the chart here, there are five degrees. In fact,
the first line here which is the baseline, are the things which are called an Islamic jurisprudence MOBA
which I translated as permissible.
That's the baseline, okay. permissible are things which are not specified as being particularly mandatory or required or even recommended, nor are they regarded as the testable or
forbidden or unlawful.
For example, in person by likes a particular type of food, which is permissible after all, there is no explicit prohibition, a person likes gardening or carpentry or whatever, you cannot say that it is religious requirement or that it is forbidden. That's permissible. And then if you start going up one degree, that's known in jurisprudence as must have are commendable, and Act, which is not obligatory, which is not mandatory on every Muslim, but it is highly recommended highly commendable is the person who is
an example of this person, for example, fasting more than the minimum requirement in Ramadan or having additional prayers beyond the minimum, five daily prayers which are prescribed is doing something, Mr. Hubbard commendable.
If you go along that continuum upwards, the highest really, in terms of obligation is the current or mandatory and these are the bare minimum, the acts which are mandatory or obligatory on anyone claiming to be a sincere and true Muslim. An example of this would be the minimum five daily prayers fasting during the month of Ramadan unless the person is sick, or there's another reasonable excuse.
The the mandatory duty on the Muslim to support his family financially, emotionally and otherwise, the duty of the ruler to be just I'm not only talking about duties in terms of worships duties, which are mandatory in a variety of aspects of, of life. Now, if you get down below this baseline, the permissible you go down one step, and that is called macro or the festival. This is something that the Islamic law, it is not absolutely forbidden. It's not really something constituting a measure of moral sin. But it is detestable, it's highly discouraged. with apologies to those who smoke from a Muslim point to for example, smoking is not as
unlawful, for example, as drinking or other intoxicants. But it is a detestable act for reasons that we can discuss a little later when we come to discuss the various contents of the moral code of Islam. Going down below that that's the lowest X ray or the most forbidden act or the Haram or unlawful, that is the things which are regarded as major sins, the things which are regarded in Islamic jurisprudence as absolutely prohibited, that
they constitute something that this kind of strictness and trying to avoid them, including things like for example, killing,
adultery, things like, again, drinking or in other intoxicants, something that's absolutely forbidden. So this is a beautiful example,
on the fact that even when you talk about the do's and don'ts, it's not just black and white, it's not this or that, there are also degrees even, for example, if you move on the degree here are the continuum.
Above the permissible, there are things which are commendable, highly recommend double, and then it becomes very close to being absolute requirement. And things which are
the testable, there are degrees again, you keep going down down until you make something highly testable to the point that becomes very close, or merged really, with the unlawfully. So in that sense, like I said, Islamic jurisprudence is quite rich with more specific examples. Of course, some people might say, well, that's the specific order. Of course, it's not the specific, but when it says too vague, I'd rather have a clear guidance than vague,
these Western. Right, right. We're looking at the unlawful end of the chart as you just described.
Like to get a comment from you in terms of the main philosophy behind regarding certain things.
or certain kinds of things or certain kinds of actions is being unlawful? I mean, what's the foundation? The foundation? The philosophy behind it? Yeah. Well, first of all, it was important to emphasize that in Islam, nothing is regarded unlawful or forbidden, by way of depriving mankind from something that they can have the enjoyment of, because as I mentioned before in previous programming This is the Quran indicate that God made subservient the entire thing the entire universe whatsoever is on earth and whatsoever isn't heavens, these are all made subservient to us. So the notion that this is simply depriving mankind is not necessarily true.
Secondly, nothing is regarded as unlawful or forbidden.
Simply because of some kind of taboo, some mysterious taboo without really getting into
good reasoning behind it. There's nothing serious about it. And certainly, in Islam, also, nothing is regarded as unlawful by way of punishing us or punishment of mankind. At least not after the Islam Islam was completed by the advent of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. The Quran indicates, however, that in the past, in the law, or Divine Law revealed prior to the advent of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him given to other prophets. There were cases where certain wholesome and lawful things were forbidden to people by way of punishment because of their intransigence, or,
Just to document that, for example, in Quran in chapter
six, verse 146, it talks also about the fact that God punished some of the people in before Islam because of their infection by forbidding them even good things, just punishment by with punishment.
But when it's not, when the prohibition or not on the basis of deprivation, taboo, or punishment, what is it? Well, instead of using my own words, and answering it, I get you the answer directly from the Quran in chapter seven, verse 157, describing those who followed the last prophet of God, profanities be upon him It says,
Those who follow the apostle, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own scripture, in the law, in the Gospel, for notice here, he commends them what is just and forbids them what is evil, and allows them as lawful, what is good and pure,
and prohibits them from what is bad, and impure. He releases them from their heavy burdens, and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe in Him, honor Him, help him and follow the light which is sent down with him. It is they who will prosper. See the key things, and dissertation as you could easily tell that there is a basic rule of benefits, exactly benefit the things that are permitted, because they are wholesome, and pure things that are forbidden, it's simply because they are bad that there is no yolks, they actually are one interpretation of the yolks that the overseer mentioned, is that if there was any punishment prior to Islam, by forbidding lawful and fewer
things, by way of punishment that has been removed, anything that's good is permissible, everything that's evil, is is is not
permissible, of course, many times
it might take us as humanity, a long time, sometimes an awful long time, before we can discover what exactly is impure and bad about certain types of foods, which is prohibited or some other action, like smoking or drinking. But even then, a true believer would not say, All right, I'll wait until such time that this is proven to accept a believer would have full confidence and trust in God, that He would readily accept this rule and say, right, I know that I'm if I'm forbidden from something, because because of that, not because I punished.
I guess that would lead us into
the next question, which is, you know, how one could identify those things which are, are lawful or unlawful? I think in particular, those things that are are unlawful because those are the things that we should try to avoid. Is there some kind of methodology that can be used and learning about the unlawful there are a number of rules in this and this is a very interesting book and this I could drive at least this part from it and you could refer to it also in some other points. It's called and Helen will Haram in Islam. That's an Arabic by Dr. Youssef.
qaradawi which means the lawful and unlawful.
And he summarizes in the first few pages of the book very beautifully, some of the basic rules in terms of the methodology of determining the lawful and the unlawful, beautifully collected together. But that just gives some of those salient rules that would be relevant our topic, but the first rule is that a general rule is that everything is regarded as permissible, unless there is a clear evidence that it is not permissible. In other words, everything is regarded as lawful unless there is a good evidence that it is otherwise.
The evidence actually comes from the Quran. For example, in chapter two, verse 168, it says, Yeah, you have natsuko MyMathLab, or the HoloLens or even all mankind eat from what is there on Earth, Helen, lawful and good.
So the basic rule is to start from things being permissible rather than the other way around, doesn't say right, everything is not permissible unless something specified to be permissible. No.
It's the reverse. Everything is available.
The Quran for example, also in chapter five, verse 119, it talks also about God has having
have already specified certain things which are unlawful or forbidden.
Now, coming back to the essence of your question, how exactly how do I know for example, as a believer
in Islam, whether something is unlawful. Now, there are two primary sources. And one secondary source of that.
The most important primary source for knowledge of what is lawful and unlawful is the word of God. That's the ultimate. For the Muslim the Word of God is contained in the Quran which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him that's the Quran was dictated to him word for word.
In that sense, then
the idea is very simple, that since the Quran
is the word of God, and since God is the only creators sustainer, and the only Lord of the Universe, then he alone has the right to determine what is lawful and unlawful.
That's for example, why you will find in the Quran in chapter 42, verse 21.
Addressing people who follow codes of life other than those prescribed by God, it says do those people have associates who have prescribed to them laws that God has not allowed? So the ultimate rights for legislation, whether it's moral code or otherwise belongs to God alone,
a second primary source is called sydnor. These are the sayings the deeds and approval of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him because according to the Quran itself says minute avarice will of Allah whoever obeys the Messenger of God, he is obeying God because the Prophet was not speaking out of his own whims or ideas. It is also another type of Revelation. The only difference from that and the Quran is that the Quran is word for word revealed to him and the Sunnah,
the meaning is revealed to him and he is his own words and this are kept totally separate. So the prophetic tradition, if you will, is another primary and important source also what is lawful and unlawful.
And then I mentioned also there is a secondary source, which actually is based on both of these two. That is, with the passage of time, centuries after the foreigner is revealed centuries after the prophetic tradition was recorded. Some new questions may come like euthanasia, like new drugs that were not known before or whatever. In this case, one cannot again decide without any foundation, whether these things are lawful or unlawful. He has to go back to the things that are specified and see if there is any analogy example. The Quran specifically mentioned, intoxicants are what people interpret to be wine for example, Jenkin. Now if there's new things called hashish or LSD, LSD or
any other things, it is quite possible for Muslim jurists to understand this role is to say right, it is analogous to wine because it has the same effect the same harm as the scriptures talks about So, this is also haram by analogy.
So, in terms of analogy or extension of application, it must be based on what the two primary sources are,
or have specified specified already. Now, related to this also, we should be careful to notice that anything that is very likely to lead to something which is unlawful is also unlawful. For example, if adultery is regarded as unlawful, then pornography for example, which is very likely to encourage adultery,
also regarded as an offer,
it should be added in this point that even points which are not very clearly whether they are directly related to unlawful. If there is doubt, it is better, at least for the person to keep away from doubtful situations in order just to avoid falling inadvertently in something which is, is not permissible, because a very beautiful defect prep shouldn't interrupt you this is a very beautiful idea on this particular point about
exactly are you referring to the Hadith where the Prophet peace be upon him says that Allah has or God has prescribed things as clearly lawful other things as clearly unlawful, but in between, there is a gray area, yes. So whoever wanted to protect his faith, you should keep away from those gray areas. And those who fall in those gray area may gradually fold into the right and permissive and it's a beautiful documentation of the point.
The other thing, of course, is not to play any legalistic tricks. Or to claim that because of my good intention, I did something wrong, because good intention does not justify wrongdoing with a Muslim does not accept the Robin Hood. approach, robbing the rich to pay the for its test is wrong. It's wrong both ways, whether you have good intention, or bad intention. There are also other things to be added, like the exceptions in the case of absolute necessity. And what's the limitation of that, but that perhaps can be discussed. When we get to the contents of the moral code. It's
not how about the other side of the coin making lawful things unlawful, or unduly restricting the things that are permissible, just as bad? See,
of course, one can understand easily why to make things which God made unlawful lawful, is infringement on the power of God that God say don't do it. And sometimes, you know, you can do it, and add all kinds of ifs and buts. This is definitely wrong. And should add here that, in fact, in the matters of lawful and unlawful in Islam, in Islamic jurisprudence, nobody has the right whether individual scholars, groups of scholars, religious institution, can or ruler has any right to consider the things that are very clearly specified in the scripture of Islam, or the prophetic tradition, or very clearly based on both of them. It's not a matter, like you mentioned early that's
based on relativism, that everything is relative. Because you start tampering with this, you've got nothing left. And you get this religious or political bodies playing around with very clear scriptural text, and putting themselves above the authority and power of God, this is not acceptable at all.
But the same principle also applies to making things which are lawful and unlawful
to forbid things that God made available to people, especially by that I refer to make things absolutely and irrevocably
forbidden. To clarify this.
You refer, for example, to the Quran in chapter 10, verse 59, you find again, there is blaming or rebuking people who, on their own wins, make things as lawful and unlawful without scriptural evidence. The same thing is repeated in chapter six, for example, verse 138, a brief citation, which is even more direct that you find in the Quran. In chapter five, verse 87, yeah, you had Latina woman that has a multivitamin, and a lot of them well, I thought that Oh, you who believe Nick, not unlawful, the good things which God has made an offer for you, but commit, no access for God loves not those given to accesses. So as we are forbidden to loosen moral codes, we are also forbidden
from unduly restricting ourselves in something that God has made available, there are only one exception to that perhaps, suppose for example, in a given situation, adjust government determines that moves or certain types of waves is an endangered species and say, all right, nobody shall hunt or fish this time. That could be applicable, but they cannot say for example, it's a mortal sin to eat.
In other words, it's a different kind of story altogether. It cannot be forbidden in the religious sense. That by the same way that you eat pork, for example, as an aside, which is forbidden, but it could be done as a temporary measure only for valid causes, but otherwise, what is permissible, is permissible.
Okay, well, we'd have to stop it at that, brother. we've exhausted our time for today. We want to thank you for watching our program. Come back next week.
We'll continue our discussion. And perhaps we'll begin to look at some of the content of the moral code of Islam.