By Mamarinta Umar P Mubabaya
THE world is plagued by all sorts of problems – social unrest, political instabilities, mass poverty and destitution, prostitution, homosexuality, homicides, killings, drug addiction, alcoholism, family break-ups, juvenile delinquency, suicides and the so-called Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Aids).
Aids is currently the world’s most frightening killer disease. Nobel laureate Dr Hoshua Lederberg had predicted some years ago that “some nations” might lose as much as 40% of their population over the next few years because of the Aids virus.
Statistics released by the World Health Organisation from time to time show Aids cases are rising in many parts of the world. Aids victims are usually homosexuals and prostitutes. The disease is a mere byproduct of the related menaces of homosexuality, sodomy and prostitution.
The figures and forecasts of this pandemic are daunting, bearing in mind that prostitution, pornography and homosexuality are not only condoned in many countries worldwide, but are becoming lucrative sources of living especially in the West. This is aggravated by the fact that there is now a rising trend for international trade in children. Moreover, adultery is also on the increase.
Is the Aids pandemic not a warning to the transgressors? More than 1,400 years ago, the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam), by the infinite wisdom and mercy of Allah, had already admonished mankind of the consequences and dangers of promiscuous sexual relationships:
“Whenever sexual permissiveness spreads among the people until it becomes declared, infections and killer diseases, as well as illnesses not previously found in their ancestors will also spread among them.” (Ibn Maja, al-Bazzar and al-Baihaqi)
Similarly crime rates are soaring in the leading democratic and communist countries. Irrefutable facts show that man-made systems, devoid of Divine guidance, have done more harm than good to humanity.
The non-Islamic values of free mixing and casual closeness of men and women, without any legitimate connections (say, by virtue of marriage or blood relationship) have created a lot of problems including rapes and other forms of women abuse in these societies.
Divorce rates in the West have been rising persistently. Alcoholism has been a major problem devastating virtually all parts of the non-Muslim world. Specifically, the Americans and the Russians are among the notoriously known alcoholics in the world.
Another problem affecting many countries all over the world is rising suicide rates. Available facts show that the so-called developed countries where the citizens consider themselves highly developed, cultured and affluent, suicide has been occurring day by day at alarming rates.
The Islamic Law, which encompasses Qur’anic injunctions and prophetic teachings, can solve the current global problems. Shari’ah literally means the “road to a watering place,” hence the path of God. It is the body of revealed laws found both in the Qur’an and the Sunnah which “spells out the precise rules and regulations governing individual relations with God as well as with fellow-Muslims and non-Muslims.
Thus, it embraces ideally both the religious and non-religious activities of the Muslims. Bearing in mind the unique character of Islam as a religion and complete code of life, Shari’ah has a comprehensive public law that covers both constitutional and international affairs. Likewise, it has a private law that covers both criminal and civil matters. It is fundamentally a doctrine of acts and obligations based entirely on revealed sources – namely the Qur’an and the Sunnah. It is a complete way of life towards which the individual and society must strive.
Fiqh is a body of laws derived from Shari’ah to cover specific situations not directly treated in the latter. Shari’ah, therefore, is general in nature and scope, laying down the basic principles of Islamic Law.
The viability of Islamic Law to solve the current global problems
The divine nature of Islam makes it the only religion in the world that offers genuine solutions to such problems as social unrest, political instabilities, poverty and destitution, prostitution, homicide, killing, drug addiction, alcoholism, family break-up, juvenile delinquency, suicides, Aids, and the like. Islam is not only a religion, but also a complete code of life. All facets of life, public and private alike, are covered under the realm of Islamic Law.
Islamic Law is “the epitome of Islamic thought, the most typical manifestation of the Islamic way of life, the core and kernel of Islam itself... Apart from this, the whole life of the Muslims, Arabic literature and the Arabic and Islamic disciplines of learning are all deeply imbued with the ideals of Islamic Law; it is impossible to understand Islam without understanding Islamic Law.”
Absolute prohibition of adultery, prostitution and other forms of sexual promiscuity
Islamic Law explicitly prohibits adultery and fornication as clearly mentioned in the following Qur’anic injunctions:
“Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).” (Qur’an, 17:32)
“The man and woman guilty of adultery or fornication, flog each of them with a hundred stripes: let no compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if you believed in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of believers witness their punishment.” (Qur’an 24:2)
Adultery, fornication and other promiscuous sex practices are punishable in Islam, because they are indeed serious crimes which affect the entire society. As discussed earlier, the Aids problem, which is reaching pandemic proportions, is due largely to sexual permissiveness. Thus, the divine punishment (hudud) for these social ills is certainly for the good of the entire humanity. Although, the Aids problem is currently affecting largely those indulging in sexual promiscuity, many innocent individuals, including doctors, nurses and children, have been victimised by this social carnage. Even in countries, where Aids is virtually non-existent, people are wary about the underlying danger. That is why the Chinese doctors likened Aids to that of a holocaust.
Allah’s justice is equally open to all. In Islam, one cannot just be abused by the law. For instance, a charge against a chaste individual needs to be confirmed, beyond any reasonable doubt. Allah says:
“And those who launch a charge against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses (to support their allegations), flog them with 80 stripes; and reject their evidence ever after: for such men are wicked transgressors.” (Qur’an, 24:4)
Islam, therefore, discourages unwarranted suspicions as much as possible. Allah says:
“O you who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: and spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, you would abhor it... But fear Allah: for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an 49:12)
So, if a wicked person accuses a woman or a man of adultery or fornication, she or he should be given the benefit of the doubt. Allah warns the believers against the mischief of the wicked as follows:
“O ye who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest ye harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what ye have done.” (Qur’an 49:6)
True Muslims are indeed God-fearing. They avoid all kinds of vices to please Allah alone. True believers, for instance, are definitely mindful of the warning of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) that: “There is nothing which Allah so abhors as his male and female servants committing adultery”. [Quoted by Azizullah M, Glimpses of the Hadith]
The Principle of Equality and Justice: The Way to Overcome the Crimes Worldwide
Islam also provides absolutely effective solution to murder and other related crimes common in the West and elsewhere. The Islamic laws of equality and justice, tempered with mercy, are seen in the following Qur’anic injunctions:
“O ye who believe! the law of equality is prescribed to you in cases of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the woman for the woman. But if any remission by the brother of the slain, then grant any reasonable demand, and compensate him with handsome gratitude. This is a concession and a mercy from your Lord. After this whoever exceeds the limits shall be in grave penalty.” (Qur’an, 2:178)
“In the Law of Equality there is (saving of) life to you, O ye men of understanding that ye may restrain yourself.” (Qur’an, 2:179)
“In it (ie the Torah) We decreed for them a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and a (similar) retribution for wounds. But for him who forgoes it out of mercy, it will atone for some of his sins. Those who do not judge in accordance with what Allah has revealed are indeed wrongdoers.” (Qur’an, 5:44-47)
“Nor take life – which Allah has made sacred – except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand Qisas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he’s helped by the (Law).” (Qur’an, 17:33)
“The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah: for (Allah) loveth not those who do wrong.” (Qur’an, 42:40)
“As to the thief, male or female, cut off his hand or her hands: a punishment by way of example, from Allah, for their crime: and Allah is exalted in power.” (Qur’an, 5:38)
“But if the thief repent after his crime, and amend his conduct, Allah turneth to him in forgiveness; for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an, 5:39)
We have already seen earlier that murder, burglary and other related crimes are taking place, day by day, in both the capitalist and communist worlds, notably in the United States and the Soviet Union. Had the West and elsewhere been under Islamic rule, as is the case of Saudi Arabia, such crimes would have rarely occurred. Saudi Arabia has remained the most peaceful country in the world, because of its adherence to Shari’ah. For instance, when a murderer is finally convicted, after passing through a legal procedure in accordance with the Shari’ah, he will be punished accordingly in the eyes of the public. Conventional wisdom will tell anyone not to do anything against the law, when he sees that the culprits are duly punished.
For the man of faith, however, he looks at this divine punishment for the culprits as Allah’s blessing for the entire humanity. Duly punishing the convict for example, means that the law-abiding people will have peace of mind, because they know for sure that they are being protected by the Law. Thus, this is tantamount to removing the social cancer for the benefit of all. [In Saudi Arabia, it was a common knowledge that when the Saudi vendors go to prayer, they used to leave open their own stores, money and other belongings, without any resultant problem of shoplifting, stealing and the like. The foreigners have mixed reactions to this exemplary state of peace and order. Many attribute this to the superiority of Shari’ah as a constitutional guide to mankind. Some wicked individuals, however, took advantage of the situation, by bringing into the kingdom the malpractices they have inherited from their respective countries, such as indulgence in drugs, alcohol and the like. The situation, however, has remained under effective control, since anyone caught and convicted is penalised, in accordance with the Shari’ah.]
In contrast, as long as America, Europe and the rest of the world – including Muslim countries which emulate the West – stick to their man-made laws, they will always be on the brink of chaos and instability.
Where Islamic Law prevails, as in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the constituents are God-fearing and righteous. They obey the saying of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) that: “Of all men, the people who have faith abstain most from killing.” (Abu Dawood)
The Divorce Issue in Islam
Regarding marital frictions, man’s hatred or displeasure against his wife does not mean that he is free to mistreat or abuse her. In case of serious dispute between the wife and husband, Islam has laid down very scientific steps to be followed.
The underlying objective is peace and reconciliation for the integration of the family.
In an Islamic state, civil courts also handle legal matters pertaining to marital problems. However, members of the community, particularly the parents and relatives, are duty-bound to help pacify the couple, before the friction becomes too serious to handle. Allay says: “If ye fear a breach between them twain, appoint (two) arbiters, one from his family, and the other from hers; if they wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation: for Allah hath full knowledge, and is acquainted with all things.” (Qur’an, Al Nisa 4:35)
Allah has enjoined on the believing men to treat their wives with kindness, as the following verse shows: “O ye who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may take away part of the dower ye have given them – except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good.” (Qur’an, 4:19)
The Qur’an has a whole chapter entitled “Divorce” (Al Talaq). Verse One of Chapter 65 (Al-Talaq) states: “O Prophet! When ye divorce women, divorce them at their prescribed periods, and count (accurately) their prescribed periods: and fear Allah your Lord: And turn them not out of their houses, nor shall they (themselves) leave, except in case they are guilty of open lewdness, those are limits set by Allah: and any who transgresses the limits of Allah, does verily wrong his (own) soul: thou knowest not if perchance Allah will bring about thereafter some new situation.”
In Islam, the wife is equally granted the right to divorce her husband if her demand for divorce is justifiable. That is, if the marriage does not prove to be functional and effective because the husband neglects his responsibilities or no element of love binds them to stay together. By the same token, if the wife is guilty of open lewdness, the husband may resort to divorce. However, the Prophet’s advice on the issue of divorce should be borne in mind. He says that “The lawful thing which Allah hates most is divorce.” (Abu Dawood). However, when things seem worst that peace and reconciliation between wife and husband are next to impossible, divorce maybe inevitable.
Allah says: “For those who take an oath for abstention from their wives, a waiting for four months is ordained; if they then return, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. But if their intention is firm for divorce, Allah heareth and knoweth all things. Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three months period. Nor is it lawful for them to hide what Allah hath created in their wombs, if they have faith in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them and Allah is exalted in Power, Wise.
“A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness. It is not lawful for you, (men), to take back any of your gifts (from your wives), except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah. There is no blame on either of them if she give something for her freedom. These are the limits ordained by Allah; so do not transgress them if any do transgress the limits ordained by Allah, such persons wrong (themselves as well as others).
“So if a husband divorces his wife (irrevocably), he cannot, after that, remarry her until after she has married another husband and he has divorced her. In that case there is no blame on either of them if they reunite, provided they feel that they can keep the limits ordained by Allah. Such are the limits ordained by Allah, which he makes plain for those to those who understand.
“When ye divorce women, and they fulfil the term of their (‘Iddah), either take them back on equitable terms or set them free on equitable terms; but do not take them back to injure them, (or) to take undue advantage; if anyone does that, he wrongs his own soul. Do not treat Allah’s Signs as a jest, but solemnly rehearse Allah’s favours on you, and the fact that He sent down to you the Book and Wisdom for your instruction. And fear Allah, and know that Allah is well-acquainted with all things.
“When ye divorce women, and they fulfil the term of their (‘Iddah), do not prevent them from marrying their (former) husbands, if they mutually agree on equitable terms. This instruction is for all amongst you, who believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is (the course making for) most virtue and purity amongst you. And Allah knows, and ye know not.” (Qur’an, 2:226, 232)
The Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) says: “If any woman asks her husband for divorce without some strong reasons the odour of paradise will be forbidden to her. (Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, Ibn Maja)
Prohibition of intoxicants and gambling
At first, the Muslims in Medina were not prohibited to drink intoxicating wine or liquor, and to gamble. When Muslims began to ask about drinking and gambling, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) received the following revelation:
“They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: ‘In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit.’” (Qur’an, 2:219)
While this revelation helped in minimising alcoholism among Muslims those days, they still continued to drink. Many were even under the influence of liquor when they were in prayers. So, another Qur’anic injunction from Allah was revealed to the Prophet as follows:
“O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until he can understand all that ye say.” (Qur’an, 4:43)
The final revelation on the prohibition of drinking wine and gambling says:
“O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication) of stones, and (divination by) arrows are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork: Eschew such abomination, that you may prosper.
“Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred among you, with intoxicants and gambling, and to turn you away from the remembrance of Allah and from Prayer: Will you not then abstain?” (Qur’an, 5:90-91)
Again, had the West and elsewhere been under Islamic rule, the problems of alcoholism in the United States, Soviet Union and elsewhere in the world would have been minimised, if not eradicated.
The problems of alcoholism and drug-addiction prevalent among the people in the developed countries of the world point to the fact that they are unhappy.
The prohibition of suicide
In the non-Muslim parts of the world, when problems go uncontrolled, many simply do not know what to do and where to go. So, they kill themselves, as already discussed earlier. In contrast, a non-Muslim historian Philip Hitti in his book History of the Arabs, objectively emphasises that suicide is rare in Muslim lands. He says: “In this uncompromising monotheism, with its simple, enthusiastic faith in the supreme rule of a transcendent being, lies the chief strength of Islam. Its adherents enjoy a consciousness of contentment and resignation unknown among followers of most creeds.” (Quoted by Abdul A’la Mawdudi, Towards Understanding Islam)
Islam considers life as a trust (amanah) from Allah. All good things that one possesses are, in fact, amanah – his own mind, body and soul, his life-partner, his own children, his wealth and the like. All of these belong to Allah alone. Thus, what right has one got to take his life away. Allah says:
“O ye who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves in vanities: But let there be amongst you traffic and trade by mutual goodwill: Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily Allah hath been to you Most Merciful!
“If any do that in rancour and injustice, soon shall We cast them into the Fire: and easy it is for Allah.” (Qur’an, 29:30)
The Muslims know well that suicide is absolutely prohibited by Allah. No Muslim commits suicide, because if he does, he will have the Hell-fire as his eternal abode. The Prophet says:
“He who throws himself from a mountain and kills himself will be thrown in the fire and remain in it forever; and he who sips poison and kills himself will have his poison in his hand and sip it forever and ever in the fire of hell.” (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood and Nasai)
“Do not harm yourself or others.” (Ahmad and Ibn Maja)
Part 2: Conclusion