On the authority of Abū Hurayrah, `Abdur-Raḥmān bin Ṣakhr, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) say:
“What I have forbidden to you, avoid; what I have ordered you [to do], do of it what you are able. For it was only their excessive questioning and their contradiction of their prophets that destroyed those before you.”(Narrated by al-Bukhāri and Muslim)Another of the main principles of the religion is defined in these concise words of Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Upon them are based many fiqh rulings concerning different aspects of worship and obedience in general.First is the avoidance of all which is prohibited (ḥarām)50 without exception. What is normally ḥarām but permitted out of dire necessity is not mentioned in this statement since in such a case it is no longer prohibited but has become permissible, at least temporarily. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) has forbidden to his ummah all that is forbidden by Allah,and his order to avoid it is absolute.In contrast, the order to obey is limited by the extent of one’s ability to do so, as Allah has said in the Qur’ān:َ“Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity.”51“Fear Allah as much as you are able.”52The reason is that there is no inability involved in refraining from something53 while there could be when intending to perform a duty. Many scholars are of the opinion that because there is no exception to avoidance of the prohibited, it is therefore moreimportant and more virtuous than performing acts of obedience and should take priority. Some have noted also that it is the more difficult of the two because certain temptations might be very strong while the person’s natural resistance is weak,requiring him to exert himself forcefully in jihād (struggle) against his own soul and to practice the utmost patience and forbearing in avoiding a particular sin; yet, there is no allowance for him in this respect as there is for hardship encountered in carrying out the 50 What is discouraged or disliked (makrūh) is not included here, although refraining from it is definitely preferable whenever possible.51 Sūrah al-Baqarah, 2:286.52 Sūrah at-Taghābun, 64:16.53 There could be difficulty, however, such as in cases of addiction. Even so, there is no license to continue in ḥarām, and abstinence is enjoined as a positive deed. Avoidance from the outset prevents such conditions from developing.
On the authority of ʽAbdullāh, the son of ʽUmar bin al-Khaṭṭāb that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:”I have been ordered to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allah and perform the prayers and give the zakāh. If they do that, they are protected from me regarding their blood and their properties unless by the right of Islam, and their account will be with Allah, the Exalted.”(Narrated by al-Bukhāri and Muslim)Jihād is one of the most important religious duties in Islam and remains so until the Day of Judgement. It is declared by the head of an Islamic state and supported by the community as a whole. It is not aimed at forcing belief on any people, for the Qur’ān ِِّThere shall be no compulsion in religion,”46 i.e., in the acceptance of religion. Rather, its purpose is the removal of obstacles to the propagation of Islam and to free thought and choice in the matter, and then the establishment of a force sufficient to uphold this freedom, insure justice and protect Muslims from persecution and oppression.When the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was commanded by Allah to fight following the hijrah (emigration to al-Madinah) and establishment of the state, Muslims were being persecuted within the Arabian peninsula by the Quraysh and outside its borders by the Persian and Byzantine establishments. Thus, he was to first liberate the Muslims by subduing opposition among the Arabs, then to continue jihād wherever Islam was opposed until men could worship Allah freely and invite others to Islam. The “people”to be fought are those who either attack or persecute Muslims and those who strive to prevent the natural spread of Islam through peaceful means, i.e., through da`wah (invitation) and teaching. They may also include apostates, although this category is usually considered separately under “the right of Islam.” It is known that the Messenger of Allah accepted as a Muslim anyone who pronounced the shahādah and regarded his declaration of faith adequate to protect him from being harmed. He required no immediate proof of the person’s sincerity and thus strongly rebuked Usāmah bin Zayd for killing a man whom he assumed had said “Lā illāh ill-Allāh” only to save himself.
Once a person enters Islam, however, he is expected to fulfill its obligations. A Muslim may be fought by the state for refusing to pray or to give zakāh (unlike fasting and ḥajj), this having been understood by the ṣaḥābah as a part of the “right of Islam.” Hence, with the concurrence of other eminent ṣaḥābah, Abū Bakr fought the 46 Sūrah al-Baqarah, 2:256.
On the authority of Abū Ruqayyah, Tameem bin Aus ad-Dāri, that the Prophet(صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:”Religion is sincerity.” 41 We said, “To whom?” He said, “To Allah and to His Book, to His Messenger, and to the leaders of Muslims and their common people.”(Narrated by Muslim)”Religion is sincerity” has been interpreted by some to mean that they are one in the same, i.e., that sincerity, as described in this ḥadīth, may be called religion. But the consensus among scholars is that it is like the Prophet’s statement, “The ḥajj is `Arafah,”meaning that the latter is the larger or most important part of the former. The following examples have been given for the various forms of sincerity mentioned by Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم):1) To Allah (subḥānahu wa taʽālā): Belief in Him, rejection of shirk42 and of distortions concerning His attributes, describing Him with all the attributes of perfection and majesty and disassociating Him from any imperfection or similarity to His creation,obedience to Him and avoidance of disobedience, striving against those who oppose belief in Him or advocate shirk, loving because of Him and hating because
of Him, recognition of and gratitude for His favors, purity of intention in every matter, inviting others to all of the aforementioned and encouraging it while being courteous to all people.43
On the authority of the Mother of the Believers, Umm `Abdullāh, ʽĀ’ishah, who said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:”He who innovates something in this matter of ours that is not a part of it – it will be rejected.”(Narrated by al-Bukhāri and Muslim)In one version by Muslim it says:”He who does a deed not in accordance with our matter – it will be rejected.”Here is one of the comprehensive statements of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) which is a basis for several fundamental principles. It provides a criterion for evaluation of the visible aspects of one’s deeds,complementing the ḥadīth, “Deeds are only by intention,” which deals with the unapparent aspect. Combining the import of both, scholars have concluded that there are two conditions for the acceptability of any deed by Allah (subḥānahu wa ta`ālā): sincerity of intention (ikhlās), i.e., it must be done for Allah alone, and correctness (ṣawāb), i.e., it must be done in the way ordained by Him in the Qur’ān and sunnah of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم).The ḥadīth warns against innovation (bidʽah)31 in all matters of religion. In this context the word “matter” (amr) carries the meaning of religious practice and law.”Rejected” means that the deed is unacceptable to Allah and so will not be rewarded. It is a clear prohibition against making any changes in or additions to the religion and warns those sects differing with Ahl as-Sunnah of their error, for anything claimed to be a valid religious practice must be based upon a proof from the Qur’ān or the sunnah.
That is because Allah (subḥānahu wa taʽālā) has completed and perfected the religion (Islam) which He ordained for mankind as stated in Sūrah al-Mā’idah,32 and He has not omitted from it anything beneficial to man. One who asserts otherwise by insistence on some alternative way places himself in danger of falling into disbelief through his contradiction of the Qur’ān and refusal of obedience to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) elaborated further when he said, “Indeed, the best statement is the Book of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muḥammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم). And the worst of matters are the newly devised ones, and every innovation is misguidance.”33Again, this refers to matters of religion and not those of worldly life.The deeds to be assessed by this criterion fall into two categories: those of individual worship, which have been specified and precisely defined by Allah and His 31 For an explanation of the term, see Ḥadīth No. 28.32 Sūrah al-Mā’idah, 5:3.33 Narrated by Muslim.14Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم), and those relating to dealings with one’s fellow human beings. Continue reading
On the authority of Abū ʽAbdur-Raḥmān, ʽAbdullāh bin Masʽūd, who said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم), and he is the truthful, the believed,23 narrated to us:”Indeed, the creation of one of you is brought together in his mother’s belly for forty days in the form of a zygote, then he is a clinging clot for a like period,then a morsel of flesh for a like period, then there is sent to him the angel who blows the [human] soul into him and is commanded about four matters:24 to write down his provision, his life span, his actions, and [whether he will be]unhappy or happy. And by Allah, other than whom there is no deity, indeed,one of you does the deeds of the people of Paradise until there is not between him and it except an arm’s length, but the decree overtakes him so he does the deeds of the people of the Fire and enters it. And indeed, one of you does the deeds of the people of the Fire until there is not between him and it except an arm’s length, but the decree overtakes him so he does the deeds of the people of Paradise and enters it.”(Narrated by al-Bukhāri and Muslim)This ḥadīth deals with the condition of man from beginning to end and his states
from before his entrance into the world to after his departure from it. It also confirms the concept of qadar (decree or predestination).The first stages of development mentioned correspond to those given in the Qur’ān. The bringing together or gathering of one’s creation in his mother’s belly may refer to the combining of the male and female substance within the womb or to the
formation of the embryo; however, most scholars prefer the view that although its beginnings may be observed in the second stage, the actual formation takes place during the third stage of development when the fetus resembles a “chewed lump of flesh.”25 At the end of the three 40 day periods, i.e., after about four months, a human soul is bestowed upon the fetus through an angel who has the additional duty of recording what Allah (subḥānahu wa taʽālā) has predestined for that individual.26 23 Believed as to what came to him of divine revelation.24 Literally, “words.”
25 For a detailed study, see Introduction to Embryology by Dr. Keith Moore (1988).26 Although some scholars have permitted a woman to abort an embryo before it is endowed with the human soul, others reject this view, stating that it remains a crime against a living being that has already been conceived and possibly formed and cannot be compared to preventative measures
where a child has not been conceived.11Specifically, four aspects are recorded concerning his destiny:1) His provision (rizq), i.e., the extent of his share or allotted portion of sustenance and other blessings from Allah, both material and otherwise 2) His life span (ajal), i.e., Continue reading
On the authority of Abū ʽAbdur-Raḥmān, ʽAbdullāh bin Masʽūd, who said: TheMessenger of Allah , and he is the truthful, the believed, narrated to us:”Indeed, the creation of one of you is brought together in his mother’s belly for
forty days in the form of a zygote, then he is a clinging clot for a like period, then a morsel of flesh for a like period, then there is sent to him the angel who blows the [human] soul into him and is commanded about four matters: to write down his provision, his life span, his actions, and [whether he will be] unhappy or happy. And by Allah, other than whom there is no deity, indeed, one of you does the deeds of the people of Paradise until there is not between him and it xcept an arm’s length, but the decree overtakes him so he does the deeds of the people of the Fire and enters it. And indeed, one of you does the deeds of the people of the Fire until there is not between him and it except an arm’s length, but the decree overtakes him so he does the deeds of the people of Paradise and enters it.” (Narrated by al-Bukhāri and Muslim) Continue reading
On the authority of Abū ʽAbdur-Raḥmān, ʽAbdullāh, son of ʽUmar bin al-Khaṭṭāb,who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah () say: “Islam has been built on five: testifying that there is no deity but Allah and that Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allah, the establishme nt of prayer, giving zakāh, making the pilgrimage to the House, and fast ing Ramadhān.”(Narrated by al-Bukhāri and Muslim) .
The pillars of Islam were enumerated in the previous ḥadīth in comparison with those of īmān in order to define and distinguish each. This ḥad īth presents them in another light. What is emphasized here is that these five “pillars,” as they have been called, are indeed the basis of Islam without which the religion cannot stand, just as abuilding cannot stand without strong supports rooted in a foundation. This does not mean, however, that Islam is limited to these five – far from it. For obedience in everything that Allah has ordained is included in Islam and is, in fact, essential for its completion and perfection. Every Muslim will be judged in the Hereafter according to his efforts to obey every
order and avoid every prohibition. What is meant here is simply that all of the other obligations are what completes Islam and makes it good (for what use is a building without walls, a roof, doors and windows, interior furnishings, etc.?), while the main pillars are the minimum that can be called “Islam.” Hence, the Prophet did not say that these five pillars are Islam but that Islam is built upon them; i.e., they must be present before Islam can be completed. And since, as noted previously, the deeds of Islam are principally actions which are observable (those of the tongue and the body), a person is considered a Muslim as long as the basic “pillars” are present. The first of them is shahādah or testimony that there is no deity, i.e., nothing worthy of worship except Allah (subḥānahu wa taʽālā) and that Muḥammad is His messenger, i.e., the spokesman for Allah by His authority. For this reason Allah, in the Qur’ān, has made obedience to the Prophet incumbent on all Muslims. Testifying requires that one be truthful and sincere, and it includes two aspects:1)recognition and admission within the self.2)bearing witness of the fact before others, i.e., asserting one’s conviction, which is then proven by his fulfillment of the other four requirements “No deity but Allah” involves the question of divine authority – submission and willing acceptance of the Creator’s right to govern creation.Shahādah is obviously the first building block of Islam without which there can be no Islam. Scholars’ views differ over the remaining four pillars – whether or not the omission of one of them removes one from the ranks of Muslim. Continue reading
Also on the authority of `Umar, who said:[One day] while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah (), a man came over to us whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black; no signs of travel were seen on him, but none of us knew him. He came and sat down opposite the Prophet () and rested his knees against his, placing the palms of his hands on his thighs. He said, “O Muḥammad , inform me about Islam.” The Messenger of Allah () said, “Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allah, to establish prayer, to give zakāh, to fast Ramadhān, and to make the pilgrimage to the House 6 if you are able to do so.” He said, “You have spoken the truth,” and we wondered at his asking him and confirming it. He said, “Then inform me about īmān.”7 He said, “It is to believe in Allah, His angels,His books,His messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in predestination, both them good and the evil thereof.” He said, “You have spoken the truth.” He said,”Then inform me about iḥsān.”8 He said, “It is to worship Allah as though you see Him; if you do not see Him, indeed, He sees you.” He said, “Then inform me about the Hour.”9 He said, “The one questioned about it knows no more than the questioner.” He said, “Then inform me of its signs.” He said, “That the slave-woman will give birth to her mistress and that you will see Continue reading