Posts Tagged ‘Islam’

Riba (usury), prohibition vs dubious easements! 

March 13, 2020

“Those who devour riba will stand, on judgment day, like those driven to madness by a touch of the evil. That is because they say “trade is just like usury”. But Allah has permitted trade and forbidden usury. Whosoever, after receiving a warning from their lord, refrains may keep their previous gains, and their case is left to Allah. As for those who persist [in devouring riba], their abode will be hellfire. They will remain there forever. (Q, 2:275)

 

PREFACE.

In my view, in the above verse and other verses on the topic, there is no ambiguity; which may lead one to any confusion, that business transactions within the parameters delineated by the Prophet, are unequivocally permissible (except recent innovative/circumventive dubious transactions). Riba/usury, however, in whatever type or form (discussed in detail in the proceeding paras) is unequivocally forbidden. I strongly disagree with the currently in vogue innovative-easements; justifying the riba/interest drenched transactions, under the guise of “lease-purchase and loaning/financing in the name of murabaha”. 

I also disagree with the blatantly adduced assumption that “taking interest is forbidden but not giving” It contravenes an implied Qura’anic injunction; of not giving an increased amount on loaned money (Q, 30:39). This assumption is not only illogical but also negates the “duality of creation” (rule), affirmed in the Holy Qura’an.

DUALITY OCREATION

[and from all of the fruits He made therein two mates; He causes the night to cover the day. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who give thought. Q,13: 3]

[…and from all of the fruits He made therein two mates; He causes the night to cover the day. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who give thought. Q,13: 3]

[And a sign for them is the night. We remove from it [the light of] day, so they are [left] in darkness. Q,36:37] 

 

These innovatively crafted-distortions do not fit the doctrine of Maslahah” as well. Terms of the loans under Islamic financing OUGHT TO BE DICTATED by the “creditor”, not the “debtor” [Q, 2:282]

“And of everything We have created pairs: That ye may receive instruction” (Q, 51:49) {Pair may be ln a tangible form, in an intangible or conceptual form; such as—man/woman, day/night, taking/giving or good/bad, etc.}

“He to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth: no son has He begotten, nor has a partner in His Kingdom. He created everything and ordered them in due proportions” (Q, 25:2)

{Singularity (Monotheism) is exclusively Allah’s attribute; nothing else, could/would exist in singularity} Nauzubillah! 

 

Notes: appearing at the end of certain points, in the proceeding paragraphs, is the point of view of the author.

 

Riba was prohibited gradually in four stages via                                                                Q, 30:39, 4:161, 130:132 & 2:282.

Kinds of riba

Islamic discourse identifies three different types of riba: 1) riba al-Fadl (primarily related to sales transactions), 2) riba al-Nasiya (sales or debt involving deferment) and a variation of the previous two, 3) riba al-Jahliyyah.

Riba Al-Fadl is the excess over and above the loan paid in kind.  It lies in the payment of an addition by the debtor to the creditor in exchange for commodities of the same kind. The Shari’ah wishes to eliminate not merely the exploitation that is intrinsic in the institution of interest, but also that which is inherent in all forms of unjust exchange in business transactions.

Riba Al-Nasi’ah refers to the interest on loans; its prohibition essentially implies that the fixing in advance of a positive return on a loan as a reward for waiting is not permitted in Islam.

Riba Al-Jahiliyyah when a buyer/borrower did not pay his due after the stipulated time, the seller/lender would increase the price, and thus a higher principal amount, sometimes doubled (or more), would be imposed.

According to Ibn Abbas, one of the major companions of the Prophet and earliest of the Islamic jurists, and few other companions (Usama ibn Zayd, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’udUrwa ibn Zubayr, Zayd ibn Arqam) “considered that the only unlawful riba is riba al-jahiliyyah.” (No textual/hadithic authority/basis cited)

 

Muhammad Nezatullah Siddiqi. In his book Riba, Bank Interest, and The Rationale of Its Prohibition [p. 41], offers a thorough work explicating the rationales of the prohibition of bank interests, and lists the following reasons justifying its prohibition: 1. Riba corrupts society. 2. Riba implies the improper appropriation of other people’s property. 3. Riba’s ultimate effect is negative growth. 4. Riba demeans and diminishes human personality. 5. Riba is unjust.

{These arguments are objectively scrutinized hereunder}.

 1) Riba corrupts society! 

Corruption studies or corruption-related literature does not identify interest anywhere as one of the determinants of corruption. Indeed, most of the Muslim-majority countries rank high in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI).11 

Siddiqi’s flawed logic can be identified by simply examining his first point – that riba corrupts society. While riba-based transactions are unjust and thus may have corrupting influence on society, but the corruption studies or corruption-related literature does not identify interest anywhere as one of the determinants of corruption. Indeed, most of the Muslim-majority countries rank high in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI).11 But corruption-related studies relating to these countries done by either non-Muslims or Muslims have never identified interest as one such determinant of corruption.

As we will see, Siddiqi’s enumeration is generally not much different from the earlier ones by Abul Ala’ Mawdudi and Dr. Yousuf Ali-Qaradawi (using Al-Razi’s arguments ad verbatim) and is as polemical as well as empirically unsubstantiated and untestable as ever. Only one rationale is identifiable from the Qur’an: exploitation/injustice (zulm): “If you do it not, Take notice of war from Allah and His Messenger: But if you turn back, you shall have your capital sums: Deal not unjustly, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly.” [la tazlimoona wa la tuzlamoon; [Q, 2:279] Hadith: – (Prophetic narrations) also does not provide in this context any specific rationale other than what is identified in the Qur’an.

Note: – 1) It does not, by any mean, means that CPI index or corruption-related studies absolve “riba” of its implications or represents an Islamic perspective in any contextual sense. Riba simply was not taken into account as a consideration. 

2) Injunctive (hukmi) verses, at times, may not necessitate any explanations, for these are/maybe above and beyond the scope of human reasoning and logic.

 

[In terms of the use of riba, Sudan is the strictest and Malaysia the most liberal state]

 

2) Improper appropriation of other people’s property.

Charging/taking an interest, here, implies appropriating another person’s property without giving him anything in exchange because one who lends one dollar for two dollars gets the extra dollar for nothing. Now, a man’s property is for (the purpose of) fulfilling his needs and it has great sanctity. According to the hadith, ‘A man’s property is as sacred as his blood.’ This means that taking it from him without giving him something in exchange is haram. [p. 265]

One can argue that, in trade, taking something from someone without giving something in exchange is haram (prohibited). However, the argument is misleading and erroneous. When a non-charitable transaction is involved, both the parties know what the lending and borrowing entail. The borrower is borrowing for some commercial or personal benefit and the lender is lending for-profit motive. In such a non-charitable context, the lender is giving up or foregoing the purchasing power for a specific period. In other words, the lender is “renting out” the purchasing power of his/her capital for a specific period at a cost; interest here constitutes “rent” that is paid by the borrower. The lender is getting paid (interest) for foregoing something; it is not something for nothing but quid pro quo!

Note: {Islam, in the first place, does not espouse the concept of non-charitable-loaning but charitable one—Qarzhasanathat may be administered by the state from the “Sadaqat” collected. Allah will destroy Riba (usury) and will grant increase, for Sadaqat..}     (Q, 2:276)

 

Time-value of money in Islam!

Islamic economics/finance literature generally denies that Islam recognizes the time value of money. [El-Gamal 2000, quoting Mawdudi and Al-Sadr]. “[I] in Shari’ah, there is no concept of the time value of money.” [Usmani, p. xvi] Some authors think that the time value of money as relating to sales (deferred sales, to be specific) is allowed in Islam, but that it is not the same kind of time value of money as in case of loans. [Saadallah; M. Akram Khan cited in Vogel and Hayes, p. 202] Others even suggest that there should not be any profit-motive on the part of Muslims, seeking service from Islamic Banks. Although, its equivalent is found in Murabaha, cost-plus financing in purchase and resale. It has been conveniently ignored that accepting the time value of money logically leads to the acceptance of interest. [Saeed, p. 95]

Note; 1) -It may be due to the reason that; the time is created and determined (finite); relevant only to the temporal realm, whereas the recompense for use/misuse of money is indeterminable (at, this stage; i.e. temporal level) and relevant to the non-local domain only.  The time-value of money, in the charitable transactions, therefore, would render utterly irrelevant!

2) – The question of the distinction between the nominal-value and the real value of money, due to inflation, has also not been addressed in Islamic economic literature. At present, there is no economy “without-inflation” {Inflation, in my view, is a derivative of the flawed global economic system; whereby mostly the investors and/or the manufacturers benefit; reflected in different countries at different levels, representing overall state of economy} 

 

3 & 4) Riba’s ultimate effect is negative growth. & Riba demeans human personality.

Supporting arguments.

Dependence on interest prevents people from working to earn money, since the person with dollars can earn extra dollars through interest, either in advance or at a later date, without working for it. The value of work will consequently be reduced in his estimation, and he will not bother to take the trouble of running a business or risking his money in trade or industry. This will lead to depriving people of benefits, and the business of the world cannot go on without industries, trade and commerce, building and construction, all of which need capital at risk. (This, from an economic point of view, is unquestionably a weighty argument.) [p. 265]

Counter arguments.

In modern times, commercial lending and borrowing usually do not take place involving an individual lender at a personal level. Rather, there are lending institutions that mobilize savings from individual and institutional savers/depositors and channel such savings to the borrowers. The lending institutions have to work hard to solicit and pool the savings. They also employ people for the purpose.

The primary source of banks’ lending is savings and demand deposits of the depositors. Demand deposits come from people of all sorts, irrespective of their financial status. A good part of the savers; who use a bank as a source of quick and safe-return instead of risky and arduous stocks and bonds markets are usually risk-averse, older and/or retired people. They want quick access to their savings with a guaranteed return on it. This class of savers consists of people of all ages and financial backgrounds – wealthy and not-so-wealthy, young and older/retired. Indeed, these people can’t be expected/forced to engage in risky investments or laborious-works to seek “earned” income!

 

5) Riba is Unjust.

Supporting Arguments: –

Permitting the taking of interest discourages people from doing good to one another, as is required by Islam. If interest is prohibited in a society, people will lend to each other with goodwill, expecting back no more than what they have loaned, while if interest is made permissible the needy person will be required to pay back more on loans (than he has borrowed), weakening his feelings of goodwill and friendliness toward the lender. (This is the moral aspect of the prohibition of interest.). [p. 266] 

Counter-arguments: –

This whole argument is contrary to the profit-motive, recognized in Islam. Unless we are talking about charities, these arguments would be misplaced and erroneous. This would also imply that people in interest-based societies have lesser goodwill toward others and may not be engaged in enough charitable acts. Is there any empirical corroboration behind such comparative observation?

Note; – [ In my view both, the pro and against, arguments are flimsy at the best. Profit motive sanctioned in Islam is through business dealings not through money-lending for a pre-determined period and profit. Islam, as mentioned earlier, does not espouse non-charitable lending]

 

Some [al-maslaha-al-mursala based] opinions/fatawa; issued by earlier religious figures are being vehemently propagated by some present religious figures with unabashed assertiveness. 

 

The point, a bone of contention; that has divided Muslim scholars is, whether riba (usury) and bank interest are to be considered the same/equivalent or distinct?

 

Equivalence Proponents.

One body of scholarly opinion defines riba to include not only interest but also transactions involving speculation, capital gains, monopoly, hoarding, and absentee rents, in other words, any appropriation of value for which an acceptable counter value is not forthcoming. The reader can easily read through and conceptualize the implications of using more and more restrictive definitions, in the limit (to borrow a mathematic term) equating riba simply with interest.

 

“All the schools of thoughts of Muslim jurisprudence hold the unanimous view that riba, usury and interest are strictly prohibited.” [Siddiqui, p. 15] Also see, Mabid Ali Al-Jarhi and Munawar Iqbal. “Islamic Banking: Answers to Some Frequently Asked Questions,” Islamic Development Bank, Occasional Paper No. 4, 2001. http://irtipms.iskandertech.com/OpenSave.asp?pub=92.pdf; Tariq Talib al-Anjari. “Islamic Economics and Banking,” http://islamic-world.net/economics/economic_banking_01.htm;

“The renowned Islamic scholar Dr. Yusuf Ali Qaradawi holds that the question of prohibition of interest is a settled issue and that ‘there is no provision left in it for any reformist to re-interpret and provide an excuse for stating anything otherwise’. He states that it is ‘an issue which has withstood the test of consensus (Ijmah) of ummah of the present day as well as of the past’.” [ Syed Thanvir Ahmed. “Attempt to Justify Interest an Exercise in futility,” http://www.islamicvoice.com/april.99/economy.htm.]

Abul Ala’ Mauwdudi defines riba as the amount that a lender receives from the borrower at a fixed rate of interest. {for a fixed time and transaction contingent on the excess on the principal}. The transaction would be usurious whether it is for productive-investment or private needs.[Mawdudi, 1997;164] The most explicit report of the Council of Islamic ideology (CII) says: “There is complete unanimity in all schools of thoughts in Islam that the term “riba” stands for interest in all its types and forms”

 

Non-Equivalence Proponents

Those who have argued against this equation, the Non-Equivalence School [Ahmed, p. 28], have not made their arguments in clear and convincing terms so that the common Muslims can decide for themselves. Thus, this discourse needs to continue more vigorously and engagingly.

Note: In my view, as also enunciated in the preface, verse 30:39 categorically settles the issue of non-equivalence of usury, riba or interest by stating “whatever you give in addition to loan amount”, is riba. Supported by a hadith narrated by Jabir, mentioned in Muslim and Tirmazi“Prophet cursed the receiver and payer of the riba, recorder and witnesses to the transaction. And said they are all alike” (in sinfulness)

 

Interest-free economies

Since there has not been any true interest-free, modern Islamic economy and a few places where it is being attempted, the Islamic financial institutions (IFI hereafter), are moving rather closer to the conventional banking practices.

Note: – Use of Interest regime (to control the demand and supply of the funds/liquidity levels; which in turn determines the cost of borrowing; seldom yields the desired results, due to several other factors at play) is the chief catalyst in the volatility of the world’s, almost all, interest-based economies! [Although the man-made  economic management system has gained a high level of sophistication, yet lacks the precision]

 

The primary source of an Islamic Economic system is the Holy Qura’an and Sunnah. Secondary sources include the followings: –

Ijtihad: – True Ijtihad is both the source and the legal instrument that allows a dynamism to be set in motion at the heart of Islamic law and jurisprudence—closely linked with Qura’an and Sunnah.

Ijmaa (Consensus): In its technical dimension, Ijmaa means the agreement of all competent jurists in any particular generation, acting as representatives of the community on a point of law. In practice, the Ijmaa acts as proof if there is no element of the Qur’an or the Sunna that makes it possible to decide on a case, and could in principle elevate a ruling based on probable evidence to absolute certainty.

Qiyas (Analogical reasoning): this technique consists of assigning, based on a common underlying characteristic, the legal ruling of an existing case found in the texts of the Qur’an, Sunnah and/or Ijmaa, to a new case whose legal ruling could not be deduced directly from the scripture and/or Sunnah. This ruling nevertheless ought to remain within the confines and spirit of the primary sources of Islamic law.

 

Misuse of the concept “IJMA’A”

It has been a common practice among Muslim scholars and jurisprudents to claim consensus (ijma) about almost anything they have given their juristic opinion on. The very use of the word ijma inspires awe among faithful Muslims. However, the existence of multiple schools of jurisprudence (fiqh) is not evidence of consensus, but the lack of it.

The reality is that there is not even a consensus on the definition of ijma.  Indeed, it is reported that Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, founder of one of the four orthodox schools (madhab) made a general assertion: “Whoever claims consensus is a liar.

Note; – The concepts, of hire-purchase and lending under Murabaha, seem to fall in the same category; for there are many scholars and Islamic Financial institutions, voicing against these financing modes.

 

Foundational work; a springboard for the current deviant practices, under the guise of Islamic Financing!

 

In the 1930s, Syrian scholar Marouf al-Daoualibi suggested that the Qur’an bans interest only on consumption loans, not investment loans, and in the 1940s Egyptian jurist, Al-Sanhuri argued that the Qur’an sought chiefly to ban interest on interest. A more extreme and recent example is the opinion of the mufti of Egypt, Shaykh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, who in 1989 declared that interest on certain interest-based government investments was not forbidden riba (because the gain is little different from the sharing of the government’s profits from use of the funds or because the bank deposit contract is novel), thus joining the thin ranks of prominent religious figures who have issued fatawa declaring clear interest practices permissible. This fatwa aroused a storm of controversy, with opposition from nearly all traditional religious scholars and warm praise from secular modernizers. Later he went even further, saying that interest-bearing bank deposits are perfectly Islamic, and more so than ‘Islamic’ accounts that impose disadvantageous terms on the customer. Laws should change the legal terminology used for bank interest and bank accounts to clarify their freedom from the stigma of riba. [Vogel and Hayes, p. 46]

 

Fatwa for sale

Owen Matthews, “How the West Came to Run Islamic Banks”, Newsweek [October 31, 2005] While the evolved orthodox position about riba was not necessarily tainted by worldly considerations, the contemporary IBF discourse does note “the debate on ‘fatwas for sale” … fatwa wars”, etc. [Warde, p. 227] It is important to note that the classical orthodox position revolved around riba and the modern, contemporary discourse revolves around not merely riba, but a riba-interest equation. The contemporary Shari’ah experts serving the IBF industry hardly have anything to say about the political tyranny, or concentration of wealth, involving the patrons of the IBF movement. [IBF—Islamic Banking and Finance].

 

Islamic Financial Instruments include: MusharkahMudarabahMurabahaMusawamah, Salam,Istisna’aTawarruqIjarah and Qard Hasana.    [Only the relevant financial instruments are discussed in detail]

 

Arguments against lease-purchase/lending.

According to Yousef, “the predominance of the murabaha represents a challenge to the very notion that Islamic finance would provide an alternative to interest-based conventional financial systems.” [p. 64] Siddiqi went much further to warn the Islamic finance industry: … we cannot claim, for an interest-free alternative not based on sharing, the superiority which could be claimed based on profit-sharing. What is worse, if the alternative in practice is built around predetermined rates of return to investible funds, it would be exposed to the same criticism which was directed at interest as a fixed charge on capital. 

 

It so happens that the returns on finance provided in the modes of finance based on murabaha, bay’ salamleasing and lending with a service charge, are all predetermined as in the case of interest. Some of these modes of finance are said to contain some elements of risk, but all these risks are insurable and are insured against. The uncertainty or risk to which the business being so financed is exposed is fully passed over to the other party. A financial system built solely around these modes of financing can hardly claim superiority over an interest-based system on grounds of equity, efficiency, stability and growth. [Siddiqi, 1983, p. 52]

 

It is noteworthy that, contrary to the popular perception of the believing Muslims, Murabaha, (leasing and lending), may not be, as generally claimed, quite Shari’ah-compliant. It is heavily criticized or repudiated by many Islamic scholars and by some Islamic financial institutions.

 

Why Western Institutions are swarming Islamic Banking?

Western interest in “interest-free” banking, is not because the West is convinced about the claimed superiority of Islamic finance/banking in general, and Islamic financial products in particular; but because they don’t find any substantive difference between conventional banking and the current practices of Islamic banking, which have shifted away from profit-loss sharing (PLS)/Risk-sharing-based transactions to Murabaha. It is a vast untapped lucrative market for them, with a clear edge in terms of credibility, experience and capitalization. These banks have found Mudaraba and Musharaka to be inoperable in the modern context. [Saeed, chapter “Murabaha Financing Mechanism,” pp. 76-95; Aggarwal and Yousef, p. 106; Vogel and Hayes, p. 7] Thus, they quietly disengaged themselves from risk-sharing, Musharaka and Mudaraba modes and engaged in Murabaha, instead.

 

Application of the Doctrine of Maslaha.

Maslaha is a very specific concept—in its definition, its levels, its types, and its conditions require that the ulama (religious scholars) constantly refer back to the revealed sources to be able to formulate judgments in conformity with the Qura’an and Sunnah, even when there is no specifically relevant text available. They must try—by carrying out a thorough and detailed study–to provide Muslims with (common good) new banking and financial instruments, guided by Islamic principles and in conformity with Sharia’a.

Presently, this concept is being used and also abused to justify all sorts of new fatawaeven some manifestly in contradiction with obvious proofs from the Qura’an and the Sunna, as in the case of rules concerning interest (riba), inheritance and lending under Murabaha.

Note: [A glaring example of “Tufian” approach, appearing below]

Imam Malik referred to the notion of istislah, which meant “to seek the good.” In his legal research, he, therefore, used the example of the companions—who formulated numerous legal decisions in the light of the common good while respecting the corpus of the sources—to justify the fact that “to seek the good” (istislah) is one of the fundamentals of the Sharia and so is part of it.

It is, however, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali who, with his strict codification, provided the clearest framework for tackling this question from his time to the present. In his Al-mustasfa min ilm al-usul, he states very precisely: “In its essential meaning, al-maslaha is a term which means to seek something beneficial [manfaa] or avoid something harmful [madarra].

What we mean by maslaha is the preservation of the objective [maqasid] of the Law [shar], which consists of five things: the protection of religion, life, intellect, lineage, and property. Whatever ensures the protection of these five principles [usul] is maslahawhatever goes against their protection is mafsada, and to avoid it is maslaha”.

Al-Ghazali, still referring to the broad meaning of maslaha, mentions three different types: al-daruriyyat (the imperative), a category which has to do with the five elements of maqasid al-sharia (here in the sense of the objectives of the Law) listed earlier; al-hajiyyat (the necessary, the complimentary), which has to do with the prevention of anything that could be a source of difficulty in the life of the community, without leading to death or destruction; and finally al-tahsiniyyat and al-kamaliyyat (the enhancing and the perfecting)*1, which concern anything that may bring about an improvement in religious practice. These three levels cover all that can be considered as the masali (common good) of the human being considered as a person and as a worshipper of God, and this categorization was hardly ever questioned in debate and polemic.

*1 {The only point which could be cited, while ignoring all other parameters, vaguely favoring financing under murabaha}

Ulama established a typology based on the degree of proximity of al-maslaha to the sources. If al-maslaha is based on textual evidence (i.e., a quotation from the Qur’an or the Sunna), it is called maslaha mutabara (accredited), and it must necessarily be taken into account. If, on the other hand, the maslaha invoked is contradictory to an undisputed text (nass qati), it is called mulgha (discredited) and cannot be taken into account. The third type occurs when there is no text: the Qura’an and the Sunna do neither confirm nor reject a maslaha that became apparent after the age of Revelation. A maslaha of this type is call mursala (undetermined), for it allows the “Ulama” to use their judgment and personal reasoning to formulate a legal decision in the light of the historical and geographical context; using their best efforts to remain faithful to the commandments and to the “ letter and spirit” of the law.

 

It is this last type that has given rise to much debate and polemic (the analysis is beyond the scope of this study). Suffice it to say here that the main cause of disagreement was the fear, on the part of those opposed to the very concept of al-maslaha al-mursala, that such a notion, with such broad scope, might then allow the ulama to formulate regulations without reference to the Qur’an and the Sunna based on exclusively rational and completely free reasoning, all in the name of a remote hardship or “an anticipated difficulty  Most ZahiriteShafaiite and Malikite ulema did not recognize al-maslaha-al-mursala, for it does not refer back to the sources—as a legal proof; they saw it as a specious (Wahmiyya) proof.

 

This was the very same instinctive fear in an approach that is although purely rational but disconnected with the Law; that pushed Al-Ghazali to restrict work on al-maslaha to the area of the application of qiyas (analogy), which, of its nature, requires a close link with the text for the deduction of the cause (illa) on which analogical reasoning rests.

Note: – Hire-purchase and lending under Murabaha, therefore, contravenes the second rule of maslaha as well as the third rule, by not fulfilling the “referring back to the source” requisite. Hence being spurious (whamiyya) in nature, becomes clearly impermissible!

 

Famous fourteenth-century Hanbali jurist–Najm al-Din al-Tufi– ended up giving al-maslaha priority over texts from the Qur’an and the Sunna; which, according to him, should be applied, according to Mahmasani, only–“to the extent that the common good does not require anything else” 

 

Currently, we see very strange “modern Islamic legal decisions” based on “modern maslaha-al-mursala” that are manifestly contradictory to the sources. The misuse of al-maslaha al-mursala thus sometimes seems to justify the strangest behavior, as well as the most obscure commercial dealings, financial commitments, and banking investments, under the pretext that they protect, or could or should protect, “the common good.”

 

Common good 

Famous 14th Century renowned scholar of Grenada, Al-Shitabi, first of the proponents of the doctrine of al-maslaha-al-mursal who stipulated the precise conditions for “common good” –to be considered as a reliable judicial source, restricting its application `preventing ulema from resorting to maslaha without justification. There is a general agreement of the scholars (both, for and against al-maslaha-al-mursala) on the precise definitions stipulated by Al-Shitabi for “common good”

Without going into too much detail, we may summarize the three generally recognized main conditions for situations when it is sure that no text has been enunciated:

  • The analysis and identification must be made with serious attention so that we may be sure that we have before us an authentic (haqiqiyya) and not an apparent or spurious (wahmiyya) The scholar must reach a high degree of certainty that the formulation of an injunction will avoid difficulty and not do the opposite and increase problems in the context of the Islamic legal structure.
  • The maslaha must be general (kulliyya) and be beneficial to the population and society as a whole, and not only to one group or class or individual.
  • The maslaha must not be in contradiction to or conflict with an authentic text from the Qur’an or the Sunna. If it were, it would no longer be a maslaha mursala but would be a maslaha mulgha.

 

What is clear from the above three conditions that it is the supremacy of the Qur’an and the Sunna over all other references and legal instruments. 

 

Dr. Yusuf Ali Qaradawi rightly recalls, taking up the ideas of al-GhazaliIbn al-Qayyim, and al-Shitabi, that everything found in the Qur’an and the Sunna is, in itself, in harmony with “the good of humankind” in general, for the Creator knows and wants what is best for human beings, and He shows them what they must do to achieve it. We find in the Qur’an, referring to the revealed message: “[the Prophet] who will enjoin upon them the doing of what is right and forbid them the doing of what is wrong, and make lawful for them the good things and forbid the bad things of life, and lift from them their burdens and the shackles that were upon them [aforetime]”

“They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, “In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit.” And they ask you what they should spend. Say, “The excess [beyond needs].” Thus, Allah makes clear to you the verses [of revelation] that you might give thought”. [Q, 2:219]

 

If the conditions stipulated for common good are, manifestly proclaimed (qati al-thubut wa-qati al-dalala) in the Qur’an and/or the Sunna, they must be respected and applied in the light of an understanding of the whole body of the objectives of Islamic teaching, maqasid al-Sharia.

 

“And We did not send before you any messenger or prophet except that when he spoke [or recited], Satan threw into it [some misunderstanding]. But Allah abolishes that which Satan throws in; then Allah makes precise His verses. And Allah is Knowing and Wise”. [Q, 22:52]

 

 

The author earnestly hopes and prays, that this piece will provide clarity to the people, on the issue of “RIBA” {as promised by Allah}, and help them choose the right path. InshaAllah.

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Existential Amiss

September 30, 2018

Common sense, Reason, Logic, Causality, Imagination, Morality & Ethics!

 Image result for Pic of Existential amiss

I intended to write this piece in a secular fashion but the overwhelming relevance of the Divine wisdom kept piercing through my thought canvas, hence surrendered making it part of the discourse. Human discourse or argumentation, anyway, barely scratches the obvious externalities of the issues while the Divine wisdom put forth the internally woven realities in a succinct yet aptly simple manner. One may notice the examples of such Subtleties in the course of reading this treatise.

Had Common sense, reason and logic been potent enough to reach the absolute certainty of the conclusions drawn, there would have been no need for the Divine religions to barge in. All of these tools are perceptual or experiential outcomes of human endeavors which; given the deficient nature of human faculties; are incapable of coming even remotely close to the level of Divine Wisdom; Revelation, the only fait accompli. (A subtle hint/deduced from Q, 17; 37) Hence some of the precepts of the religion are above and beyond the realm of human commonsense, causality, reason and logic, exuding perfect certitude and submission. (A state of affairs enormously repugnant and conceptually unacceptable to the secularists, anti-religionists and non-believers)

Note:- similar debate has been going on for long. a brief excerpt is quoted here.

[The innovative Jahmiyyah and Their Relatives from Ahl al-Kalaam Asharis and Maturidis fought the greatest battle and contention between the followers of the revealed Books and the sent Messengers and between the followers of the Hellenized Jews, Christians and Sabeans. Those who contradict the revealed texts with their reason (aql), and think the reason is definitive over the revealed texts].

Common sense is really not as common as perceived. Variegated sense perceptions render it somewhat-common, partially-common, quasi-common or purely individualistic rather than really-common in the true sense of the word.

  Reason and Logic are even more disparate; propitious-reason and logic; sometimes referred to as rationality; are used to justify a conclusion, one is at home with. (Rational bias) A slightest dissension or differentiation would entail disapproval or divergence. Therefore, all these tools may create some sort of near or quasi-convergence but not an absolute or conclusive one. Logic is derived from the Greek word “logos”. In Muslim Philosophy another Grecian alternative “monads”*1 is used instead, to justify a position/stance by distinguishing a good reason from the bad one. It is only the Divine revelation (wisdom, word) which is flawless, absolute and ultimate-truth; authoritative in its perception, understanding and validity…worthy of even blind-Faith.

Kurt Gödel puts it succinctly as follow:- 

The logical axioms that underlie everyday things like arithmetic depend on us accepting as reasonable the notion that infinity comes in several different sizes.

In Islamic parlance, however “pristine-reason” (Haq al Yaqeen); in the absence of a human messenger; is considered to be potent enough for a rational being to come; at least, to the cognition of the existence and oneness of God, hence obviating disbelief. “Pristine-reason” here, is “elevated to the status of a “non-human-messenger” of God, for reason gains an edge when the logic fails rational being. (Deduced from Q, 17: 15)

Contemplative tools; human faculties, given the amiss, may help us reach the level of most probable/likely certainty (in the temporal, ancillary and ritualistic matters) but not that of an absolute certitude (in the core matters of belief/faith); which is only possible by Divine consent/intervention through the heart (Q, 10:100), as in the above case of cognition of God’s Oneness. Here the externality of this intervention cloaked in the garb of; “pristine-human-reason”, is upgraded to the status of “non-human-messenger”

Non-believer’s obstinate rejection of the Divine, religious injunctions and that of hereafter; though based on (tenuous and vitiated) reason, logic and common sense, amply explains their state of affairs.           (Q, 10:100)

*1 Universal Spirit, the first cause, singularity, Divine, Intermediary agent etc.

Imam Ghazali;- “With regard to sense-perception says; it made him very hesitant to accept the infallibility of reason. He believed in the testimony of sense till it was contradicted by the verdict of reason. Well, perhaps there is above reason another judge who; if appeared, would convict reason of falsity and if such a third arbiter is not yet apparent it does not follow that he does not exist.”

When Imam Ghazali could not reconcile the philosophical dispensations with the Divine wisdom, (Obviously there is no comparison between the two; one represents the mundaneness, while the other, word of the Divine) he turned to Sufism.

In quantum physics (Double-Slit) experiment, our act of observing something seems to change what’s observed – we are ourselves part of the experiment. Is this the ultimate problem of self-reference, one that suggests a limit to how much we can ever reason about—our surroundings—the universe?

 Role of the religion, therefore, becomes inevitable; for it presents us with flawless and absolute truth; which is perceptually-authoritative and practically valid, engendering “Taqwa”. [Innate reverential-fear (Awe) of Allah (SWT). Distinct from the usual fear of other (agencies)]

An incisive consideration and pondering, on just two of the aspects of the divine religion: 1) Belief in the hereafter. 2) The contentment would vouch for and warrant religion’s inevitability.

Belief in the hereafter is often considered a conceptual absurdity and theological fallacy hence rejected by the non-believers. Belief in the hereafter, however, is the source of immitigable hope and equity, which no atheistic belief/doctrine/philosophy may even, conceives to offer. Unbelief in the hereafter renders one scuttled of many realities. Such as; ultimate-reality; ultimate-hope; ultimate-triumph, and ultimate-Justice. One, without the belief in the hereafter, is like, latching onto the event-horizon of a black hole of hopelessness and despair. The statistics, available on depression/hopelessness resulting in suicide and homicide, is a vindication of this fact. Conversely, in the overwhelmingly religious affluent Middle East, there are hardly any such issues, hence NO mental hospitals needed.

https://shakir2.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/scuttling-the-mental-capacity/

Contentment is a huge blessing for a rational being. When someone (even a non-believer) is suffering; no relief in sight; distressed/desperate, resorts back to God, is blessed with His mercy. (Q, 27:62) Overwhelmed with gratitude, he takes a sigh of relief and the most joyous sense of contentment sets in. (One’s resorting back to God while distressed, means un-recalcitrant-submission; invigorating the innate impulses; meeting the pre-requisites; of belief in Him, His injunctions, including the belief in the hereafter).

Is He [not best] who responds to the distressed/desperate one when he calls upon Him and removes evil and makes you inheritors of the earth?” (Q, 27:62)

“Deprived is the one who has been deprived of the reward of enduring distress”  (Khidr–a.s)                                                                                                                                          Fasting in the month of Ramadan from dawn to dusk is a fine practical example of it; whereby one is patiently content (nafs-al-mutmai’nna) all day long, hoping the accrual of the temporal and divinely rewards at the end of the day.

Faculties of thinking and the exercise of Free-will (choice) are also signs of deficiency on the part of the creation. Allah does not think but intends; for He is omnipotent; causer of both, the cause and the effect. Nothing wrong/bad may emanate from His essence (Q, 48:23); but from His schematic creational activities, such as the creation of rational beings inseminated with good and bad. Indeed, Our word to a thing when We intend it is but that We say to it, “Be,” and it is” (Q, 16:40)   On the other hand; when rational beings would exercise the option of intention; in the similar fashion; (without thinking and deliberations) it is bound to be fraught with pitfalls, for rational beings are created with an existential amiss.

Imagination is of non-local (metaphysical/spiritual) origin; for it traverses both, the local and non-local domain. Therefore, those who accuse believers of worshipping an “imaginary God” are, unwittingly, admitting this reality. God inculcated, in the constitution of the rational beings, two-pronged sense of imagination (topical and non-topical); a schematic molding, hence the relevance and necessity of Divine and Divine religion becomes inevitable. God does not think but “Wills” whereas man’s will (choice) subsists in God’s will whereby He equilibrates it with the elements of hope and fear, (existential amiss) rendering it rationally operative. (Q, 17:57)

People need religion because it is the blueprint for the functioning of the “Soul” in the temporal realm. Voltaire, an archpriest of rationalism, alludes to this inevitability in a mundanely best possible way: “Man would have to invent God, even if He does not exist”

https://shakir2.wordpress.com/?s=inevitable+God

Religious Truth is multifaceted. It is comprised of science, logic, philosophy, history, ethics, and experience all mixed together. It is, in a sense, a different kind of knowing, not ignorant of the other kinds of truths (known and yet to be known), asserting the inevitability of the religion.

https://shakir2.wordpress.com/2018/02/03/scientific-elaboration-of-surah-at-tin-fig-95-verse-4/

 (Hadith) Every child is born on Nature— (his natural disposition/course. Resorting back to/linking with the Creator)

“It is asserted here that fitrah is the essential condition and state of existence in which God fashioned mankind; with innate impulses/urges including the sense of good and bad; fear and safety; pain and relief; cognition of God; submission, transgression and arrogance etc. (existential amiss–Imperfection, tendency/choice to swerve). It is present in the very essence of the creation and is inextricably kneaded into the very substance of the “rational beings” (Q) which is acutely elicited in the following verse.

 

إِنَّا عَرَضْنَا الاٌّمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأبَيْنَ أَن يَحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا الإِنْسَـنُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ
نَظَلُوماً جَهُولاً –

 “We did indeed offer the Trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the Mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it;- He was indeed ignorant  and foolish” (Q, 33:72)

 

Ordinary beings, given their basic knowledge of the religious fundamentals, are tested for their weaknesses (existential amiss). The window of forgiveness is wide open for them; even if they have a mountain of mistakes/sins on their back; as long as they keep seeking forgiveness with utmost sincerity and a commitment not to repeat the same. (There is no numerical or time limitation)  This is an esoteric expression of the unbounded mercy of the Creator; for the people of knowledge and intellect who understand.

Men of knowledge (Aalim/Scholar), given the higher degree of knowledge, are tested for the equitable dissemination of the knowledge while acting upon it themselves as is due. Their test becomes harder and their failure attracts equally harsher punishment, for they are given the knowledge as the inheritors of the Prophet (PBUH).

Prophets; given the highest degree of knowledge and the duty of disseminating the message entrusted to them, often face the hardest of the tests for their perseverance, firmness, devotion and endurance instead. They are immunized of the mundanity (existential amiss) to a large extent due to their highest station/status. (Protected from major sins—Asmah/Masoom); which keeps them even from minor sins but some rare slips. (Q, 4:31)

“If you avoid the major sins which you are forbidden, We will remove from you your lesser sins and admit you to a noble entrance [into Paradise]” [Q, 4:31]

Hadith: when a companion asked the Prophet, despite being a Prophet of Allah why do you always keep asking for His forgiveness? He replied; “for any moment passed without His remembrance” This emphasizes the point that one, regardless of his station, should never be oblivious of the innate existential amiss and always keep asking for His forgiveness.

“Cause and effect” is a phenomenon of the sequential morphing of things/ideas in the space-time spectrum. It, however, can’t continue ad-infinitum. It also cannot fully transcend back into the metaphysical/spiritual realm. Therefore, becomes unhitched, regressive, and even ineffective. ‘Ex Nahilo’ is an outright negation of temporal phenomenon of “causality”. God (SWT); the very first (primal) cause, therefore, is the sole cause/causer of the Universe. (Creational activity in the space-time realm is known as “Khulq/Takhleeq” )

“When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, “Be,” and it is” (Q, 2:117)

In the absence of space-time spectrum, there is but an intention/will (ordinance {Amar}), of the primal cause, for the matter/idea to come into being. In the metaphysical/spiritual realm, contrary to the physical realm, no material/tangible cause has to exist to produce a material/tangible effect. Divine causality, therefore, is inimitable by the rational beings in the space-time spectrum. (Creational activity in the absence of space-time spectrum is known as “Takween”)

Takween is derived from the word “KUN” fayakun. It is beyond and above the physical laws of the universe and does not need the matter, time or space for a thing to come into existence. (Ex Nihilo=Out of Nothing). Bypassing the temporal physical laws or the temporal causality is also called Takween. {creation of Adam and Jesus Christ—PBUT}

 Temporal causality vs. Divine causality

Here are vivid differences.

In temporal causality, a causer may activate the cause but may not have the capability to determine the effect. He would also not have the capability to alter the effect (outcome) of a cause. A rational being may be dealing with a clear cause or INUS (insufficient but non-redundant parts of conditions; which in itself unnecessary, but sufficient for the occurrence of the effects). This distinction would not exist in the Divine causality.

In Divine causality, The Causer of the cause and effect is the same. The Causer is omnipotent to alter/determine the effect(s) as He wills. The Causer is also competent to produce an effect without cause (Ex-Nahilo). The Causer may pre-determine effects or causes in multiple, and then afford the medium (sentient beings) the application of Free-will (Choice) to commensurate effect(s).

“And when We would intend to destroy a township We had sent a commandment (warning) to its people of authority leading easy lives; who yet disobeyed and transgressed; so as a result of our Judgment passed, We annihilated it with complete annihilation” (Q, 17:16)

Note:- (Ghazali’s views on causality, read: http://www.ghazali.org/articles/gz-aylon2.pdf)

Morality, mortified by the psychology of innate fear, sprouts from the Divine religious injunctions. Although it lays the ground-rules for this word, the effects also transcend to the next.

Morality, based on reward and punishment, (retribution) works wonderfully due to the psychology of “innate-fear” of being monitored unimpeded and continuously by the “Invisible”. Religion (Islam) “submission” was enacted simultaneous to the Creation (forbidding Adam and Eve from eating the fruit) and the punishment for its violation was established by the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Heavens. Satan (Lucifer) was also expelled for his disobedience due to his avarice and pride. They were not simply expelled but with specifically (and schematically) mandated rights, roles, and responsibilities; which, in specifically Islamic parlance could be called “Sharia’a” and in everyday parlance “Morality”.

Ethicality is developed by the rational beings, in the light of their past collective experiences. It regulates the immediate, contemporary cultural, societal or communal behavior. It is limited to temporality in scope, optional in its practicality; often floutingly by-passed without compunction. Needless to say that, the resourcefulness of Morality is unsurpassable by the man-made ethicality.

Ethics (Laws) are devised by the people for a community, society or culture; monitoring whereof is also done by people (an agency) employed for the purpose. The compliance would simply depend on either one’s call of the conscience or the fear of being caught by the monitoring agent. The physical absence of the monitoring agency would offer all kind of inducements to flout, as it cannot be established and no penalty would ensue.  This is the weakest aspect of the man-made ethicality.

A distinct difference between Divine law and the man-made law is that Divine Law compassionately seeks avenues to forgive while the man-made law is hell-bent on seeking evidence to punish.

Those who envisage morality, without religion, in fact, misconstrue ethics as morality.

After all, man is created with an existential amiss.

 Innate Fear, Psychology of fear is employed by the Divine to elicit the compliance of the religious injunctions without the presence of a physical watchdog.

  • An infant, when made to hold a bar, would continue clinging to it due to the innate fear of fall and hurt until made to feel safe to let it go.
  • In a situation of distress, “heightened state of fear/anxiety” (even in the case of a non-believer) all boundaries and impediments are dismantled; a connection between the Lord and the distressed-servant is immediately activated, and the call of the distressed is heard by the Almighty. (Q, 27:62)

Innate-fear, therefore, is not just a predicate of punishment, as often complained, but also that of an “SOS” signal, in the situation of distress.   

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Topics covered:- Logic, reason, pristine reason, common sense, causality, Temporal/Divine causality, revelation, Divine wisdom, Inevitability of religion, Non Human Messenger, Gazali’s falsity of reason, imagination, Imaginary God, belief in the hereafter, Contentment, Voltaire’s rationalism, Fitrah, khulq/takween, Ordinary,/ scholar/ prophet, Psychology of Innate fear, Morality, Ethics and  The-Distressed.

Praying Silently?

March 31, 2018

 

 It is very important for Muslims to know the difference between praying-silently and praying-in-the-head.

Reciting silently; means one’s lips must move, the tongue must move and the breath must be exhaled with subdued voice (like whispering). What is being recited silently must be audible to the reciter.

Zuhar and Asar Prayers *1 are a good example when both, the Imam and those praying behind him, are reciting silently for it is the peak-time of the day when minds are usually pre-occupied with a host of things/thoughts and a loud recitation even by Imam may not suit the bustling mood of the day and may distract those reciting silently behind him.

In other three prayers, the serene ambiance under the cloak of darkness seems suitable for louder recitation.

*1–Zuhar and Asar Prayers are called “sirri” (silent/subdued) while other 3 prayers are called “Jahri” (loud or audible).

Reciting in the head (without the movement of the above-mentioned facial-parts is not a “recitation” but “imagination”.

It does not constitute a valid recitation in the prayer.

In Islamic Fiqh, the terms “jahr” and “khaft” are used when describing the way one should recite. Linguistically “jahr” means “to be loud, clearly audible” and “khaft” means “to become inaudible, low, and soft”.

Muslim Scholars, however, have resorted to the technical meanings of these terms; based on the linguistic definition, by adding limits to them.

Technically, as explained by the scholars, “jahr” means to recite out loud; the minimal whereof being the recitation in a way that the next person in line can hear. “Khaft” means to recite quietly, the minimal whereof being that the person reciting hears himself. What constitutes “Recitation” is the movement of the tongue, breathing in and out to produce sound. Just “thinking” it in one’s mind does not constitute recitation.

There is a strong position taken in all the schools-of-thoughts (Madahabs) that in a minimal “khaft” (silent) recitation correct pronunciations of the Arabic words of the verse being recited, must be murmured, without exuding sound.

 

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Why Muslim should not eat the meat prepared* by the People of Book (POB)? *

March 5, 2018

 

Image result for still pic of beautiful bull from Pakistan

*(Word “prepared” has been used instead of “slaughtered” to avoid any misunderstanding which might be created)

Sounds Strange? Yes, it does, until one reads it all before making up his mind.

First of all, let us understand what is“Halal” and what is “Dabiha”?

Halal:- is a generic term for permissible animals/things, which may be slaughtered/consumed by Muslims.

Dabiha:- on the other hand, is the meat of a permissible (halal) animal slaughtered by meeting 4 conditions, namely:- Severance (by a sharp object) of Jugular veins, Cutting of Esophagus, while invoking the name (chanting-takbeer) of Allah (SWT) and then letting the blood be drained.

Now, according to the (Q, 5:5) “Today, all the good things of life have been made lawful to you. And the food of those who have been vouchsafed revelation aforetime is lawful to you, 14  and your food is lawful to them. And [lawful to you are], in wedlock, women from among those who believe [in this divine writ], and, in wedlock, women from among those who have been vouchsafed revelation before your time – provided that you give them their dowers, taking them in honest wedlock, not in fornication, nor as secret love-companions. 15  But as for him who rejects belief [in God] – in vain will be all his works: for in the life to come he shall be among the lost. 16 

Here I would like to draw attention to a very subtle hint. Muslims, in this verse, have been allowed to marry the chaste women* of the People of Book (POB) by paying them dower.(ensuring the legitimate relationship) On the other hand, POB has not been allowed to marry Muslim women, regardless. Food of each other, on the contrary, however, has been allowed to be consumed (Unconditionally). It is an excellent display of Divine wisdom; by granting a concession at this juncture; because the women who have been made lawful for Muslims (despite being Chaste) grew up on the food; which might not have been prepared as per Islamic rules; and the same would most likely be offered to Muslim-Husbands, refusing to eat whereof would sound offensive and insulting. (Muslim may take their women but refuse to eat their food!). {Explanations # 14 & 15 by Asad, in his translation of 5:5, alluding to this subtlety}

*(Can one, in the given circumstances, find a chaste woman easily amongst the POB? Hence, one ought to see the overall-condition of POB also in the same-vein; necessitating the application of conditional clauses 1 &2, mentioned below)

Here is, however, what has been categorically ordained before/after the concession allowed by Allah (SWT) in (Q, 5:3 & 6:118)

The conditional clause # 1 of “إِلَّا مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ (unless you have properly slaughtered)” should be closely observed as it is used in the Qura’an as a distinguishing factor for the permissibility of meat. Linguistically Dhakah means to complete or perfect something.

Legality operates until proved Otherwise.

A ruling deduced from (Q,10:30) has been specified by Al Jassas in his “Ahkam Al Qura’an” that all edibles are permissible and Halal(lawful) unless the unlawfulness or prohibition of something particular stands proved through an evidence of shria’a. (Consider the current religious practices of the people of the book in the light of clause #1 &2).  A pertinent Hadith reported by Sahih Muslim, on the authority of Abu Hurairah, where Prophet (PBUH) said “By the one in whose hands rests my life, any Jew or Christian (POB) who hears my call and still does not believe in the teachings I have brought, then he/she will be of the people of Hell (Jahannam)” (the language employed in this Hadith expresses the continuity of its application until the end of the time).

Accentuation of the point of eating properly slaughtered meat.

Eat of that (meat) over which the name of Allah (SWT) has been pronounced—The conditional clause #2 (while slaughtering that animal/bird) if you are believers in His revelations (6:118)

And why should you not eat of that (meat) on which Allah’s Name has not been pronounced (at the time of slaughter), while He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, except under extreme necessity? And, surely many do lead (mankind) astray by their own desires through lack of knowledge. Certainly, your Lord knows best the Transgressor (6:119)

Eat not (O believers) of that meat on which Allah’s Name has not been pronounced (at the time of slaughtering) for sure it is disobedience of Allah (a sinful conduct). And certainly, the Shayaatin (devils) do inspire their friends (from mankind) to dispute with you, and if you obey them [making al-Maytatah legal to eat (Maytatah – a dead animal or animal/bird slaughtered without taking the name of Allah during slaughter)], then you would indeed be a polytheists (i.e. doing shirk, ascribing partners to Allah) (6:121)

And such animals (cattle) upon which they mention not the Name of Allah (during slaughter) only to fabricate a lie against Him (6:138)

So eat of the lawful (Dabiha) and good food (Pure wholesome, Halal cattle slaughtered according to Islamic method) which Allah has provided for you. And be grateful for the Graces of Allah, if it is He Whom you worship (16:114)

And say not concerning that which your tongue says falsely: “This is Halal and this is Haram,” so as to invent lies against Allah. Verily, those who invent lies against Allah will never prosper…A passing brief enjoyment (will be theirs), but they will have a painful torment (16:116-117)

For every nation, We have appointed religious ceremonies so that they may mention the Name of Allah (SWT) upon the animals that He has given them for food (22:34)

So mention the Name of Allah (SWT) upon them (sheep, goat, cows, oxen, camels etc) as they line up (for sacrifice) (22:36)

Relevant Ahadith

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (R.A) reports that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “A time will come upon the people wherein a man will not bother what he intakes; whether from a Halal source or Haram.”  (Bukhari 2059)

The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Avoid whatever you have doubts about in favor of what is not (doubtful).” (Tirmidhi)

 

Hanbalite, Shafai’ite, Malikite and Hanafite school, all adhere to the above position.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE

One should not pick and choose a verse to present his/her own (favorite) point of view. Instead, a collective outcome, of all the verses on the topic, should be the one guiding and binding. (Q, 2: 85 & 4: 150)

 

Opposite Points of views

Despite all the above quotes and the position emphasized upon in this treatise several Imams, such as Imam Ibn Katheer (RA) writes in famous commentary, “Ibn Abbas and Abu Umaamah and Mujaahid and Sa‘eed ibn Jubair and ‘Ikrimah and ‘Ataa’ and al-Hasan and Makhool and al-Suddi and Muqaatil ibn Hayyaan said that it (the food of the people of the book) means “what they slaughter”; in fact this is a matter on which there is agreement among the scholars that is what they [the People of the Book] slaughter is lawful for the Muslims because they believe that it is unlawful to slaughter to other than Allah and they mention nothing other than the name of Allah over what they slaughter even though they believe things about Him, exalted is He, that he transcends.”

 

The Validity of opposing views

 

These Imams; based on their ijtihad (juridical-contemplative-deduction); uphold the injunctions given in (Q, 5:5) as self-contained/ freestanding. In Islamic parlance; where a difference of opinion like this ensues; neither of the points of views is considered invalid or wrong.

 

(H) “Difference of opinion of Muhammad (PBUH)’s companions is a mercy for Allah’s slaves” Every difference of opinion, in juridical (Fiqhi) issues, is based on a sincerely deduced unique perspective hence become a basis/source of mercy.

 

 The Basis of a difference of opinion

 

A difference of opinion among the Imams normally stems from the state/understanding of the Evidence such as-(text or hadith);

Un-availability, abrogation, considered weak, forgetfulness of it, the unreliability of its narrator, misconstruing its meaning or thinking that the one in hand is stronger than the new one.

 

Here is how one may decide which “way” to follow:-

 

Those who know of the evidence should follow it (Qura’anic text or hadith Sahih) even if it goes against some of the Imams (but not against the consensus–Ijma’a–of the ummah). Shaykh Uthaymeen (R.A)

 

Those who are not well versed in such a knowledge should resort to a reputed scholar, for Allah (SWT) says:- “So ask those who know the scripture, if you know not”(Q,16:43)

 (I seek refuge in Allah (SWT) for my shortcomings. May Allah (SWT) guide us all on the right path).

 shakir2.wordpress.com

 

Scientific rationalism, reason vs. Religious Faith

January 6, 2018

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These are two different fields of knowledge and inquiry. It would be naïve to compare them on any logical basis, for they are not compatible and human logic and reasons, including scientific knowledge; restricted to tangibility, empiricism, and repeatability, cannot transcend into the realm of spirituality.

Such questions are generally raised by those who are staunch believers in the material/tangible world only. They fail to even imagine or entertain the idea that; there could exist another realm beyond their area of comprehension; despite the fact that they invariably acknowledge the limitation and fallibility of human knowledge, reason, and logic, including taken for guaranteed scientific knowledge. They also talk about many dimensions of the Universe but exclude the spiritual one due to ingrained anti-faith arrogance and rigidity.

Most often a misunderstanding of the earlier religious figures or even nonreligious figures; who laid some kind of claims in the name of religion; which turned out to be false are being exploited to justify the incorrigibility of reason, logic and scientific knowledge, which in itself is deceit and treachery. There are, on the other hand, numerous claims made by scientist community; being transient and tentative — as per the Pierce Doctrine of “Fallibilism”–turned out to be false, should they not then be used similarly to validate the religion/faith?

The good news, however, is that there is a growing breed of people; who have the capacity and will to traverse both the realms with equal ease and certainty. This approach is the only approach which will augment and extend, the understanding and the ensuing benefits of both the realms, to the human race.

Needless to stress the reality, that the Creator of the science is also the Creator of all the universe (s) dimensions including spiritual one. We cannot go too far by just acknowledging and depending only on one of the dimensions of—materiality, tangibility, empiricism and repeatability. We ought to learn to transcend and traverse both (and all) the realms to better understand and benefit fully.

https://shakir2.wordpress.com/2017/12/17/epistemological-theology/

For further reading:- May GOD be dispensed with?

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Reality

January 6, 2018

 

Image result for pictures of nebula

Reality is subjective and perceptive in a spatial-temporal world. It has as many shades as seekers. it entails priori (analytical) and posteriori (synthetic) justification resting on innate ideas. It transforms into a new dimension when experienced through spiritual wisdom–beyond the realm of space-time. It remains available to the one witnessing it from priori and posteriori justification standpoint and also to believer, follower, adherent out of sheer devotion and reverence through posteriori knowledge only. The first one could be Gnostic, saint, Sufi, Mystic and the later one, a follower, devotee, faithful. believer, or a seeker of reality and truth. It is not however yet a destination but a state/stage/rank in the Quest for Ultimate reality!

Read: https://shakir2.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/why-philosophy-is-incapable-of-apprehending-god-the-ultimate-reality/

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Do animals feel pain? [have intellect?]

December 24, 2017

Image result for Pic of an emotional reunion with an animal

“All living beings roaming/crawling/walking the earth and winged birds soaring in the sky are Peoples/communities like yourselves…” (Q, 6:38)

Animals, plants, everything created is endowed with consciousness, intellect and sense perception.

Pain is a complex experience involving sense and emotion. It is not simply how it feels, but how it makes one feel, be that a human or an animal? As far as domestic animals are concerned, we may, up to a certain extent, gauge their pain and feelings but that may not be so with the birds of prey. The Pain of the animals; who do not or cannot communicate, ought to be sensed/observed by an observer. Therefore, a rational being, who took responsibility, is responsible to do that and take care of the pain and suffering of the non-human sentient-beings.

In my opinion, things having been endowed with any level of consciousness (cognizable or not) ought to have a sense of joy and gloom. Empirically conclusive evidence of this is difficult to come by unless a sustained scientific study is carried out. This is a tedious process. Qura’an, on the other hand, however, categorically declares that the entire—non-human– creation is created with the sense of obedience/praying to its Creator, and they are people/communities like us, {endowed with certain level of consciousness, intellect, sense of feelings, obedience and worship} although their mode of expression/communication may not be understandable by us. 

Here is the scientific research; which will shed more light on the above assertions.

The report was published in Current Biology by researchers Dr. Sara Letzer and Prof Dr. Onur Gunturkun in collaboration with Prof Dr. Christian Beste. Cognitive ability was assumed to be the anatomical cause of cerebral cortex. In birdshowever, there is no presence of such cortical structures. Therefore, according to this assumption, birds are incapable of performing complex functions like multitasking.

(Future Planning).

To demonstrate how smart an octopus can be, an octopus will be pulling two halves of a coconut shell together to hide inside. Later the animal may also stack the shells together like nesting bowls — and carts them away. “It suggests that the octopus is carrying these tools around because it has some understanding they may be useful in the future,”

For decades, researchers have studied how certain animals evolved to be intelligent, among the apes, elephants, dolphins and even some birds, such as crows and parrots. But all the scientific theories fail when it comes to cephalopods, a group that includes octopuses, squid and cuttlefish. Intelligence comprises sophisticated cognitive skills that help an animal thrive. That may include the ability to come up with solutions to the problem of finding food, for example, or a knack for planning for some challenge in the future. Intelligent animals don’t rely on fixed responses to survive — they can invent new behaviors on the fly. To measure animal intelligence, scientists observe creatures in the wild — watching a dolphin stick a sponge on its beak to avoid getting cuts from sharp rocks and coral, for example. Or they bring animals into the lab and offer them puzzles to solve, such as rewarding crows when they learn to rip paper into strips of just the right size

Following examples would testify to their consciousness, sense perception and intellect.

“The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts [Allah] by His praise, but you do not understand their [way of] exalting. Indeed, He is ever Forbearing and Forgiving”. (Q, 17:44)

“See you not that to Allah prostrates whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, and “Ad-Dawab” (moving living creatures, beasts, etc.), and many of mankind? But there are many (men) on whom the punishment is justified. And whomsoever Allah disgraces, none can honor him. Verily! Allah does what He wills”.      (Q, 22:18)

Raven/Crow–Able and Cain–and his soul permitted to him the murder of his brother, so he killed him and became among the ­losers”. “Then Allah sent a crow searching in the ground to show him how to hide the disgrace of his brother. He said, ‘O woe to me! Have I failed to be like this crow and hide the body of my brother?’ And he became of the regretful.” (Quran 5:30-31)

“All living beings roaming/crawling/walking the earth and winged birds soaring in the sky are Peoples/communities like yourselves. We have left nothing out of the Record. Then to their Lord, they will be gathered all together” (Q, 6:38)

Ababil (Swallows)

Ababil (A bird أبابيل‎, translitabābīl) refers to the miraculous birds (identified as swallows) mentioned in Sura 105 of the Qura’an that protected the Ka’ba in Mecca from the Aksumite elephant army of Abraha, a self-styled governor of Himyar, by dropping small clay stones on them as they approached.

The bird (Hoopoe) informed Prophet Soloman about the people of Saba (Sheba of southern Arabia) and their Queen Sheeba, who used to worship Sun.

Whale-Fish

Prophet Jonah was thrown into the sea and swallowed by a big fish (whale)who was instructed to keep the Prophet safe in her stomach for few days, so that he may reflect, learn to be patient and ­repent. He was then regurgitated onto the shore as ordered by God.

AHADITH.

Hungry Camel.

Muslim transmitted that one day the Prophet (PBUH) along with some of his companions, entered the gardens of al-Ansar. A camel approached the Prophet with eyes filled with tears. The Messenger of Allah caressed his back and wiped his eyes and the camel calmed down. The Messenger then asked about his owner. When he showed up the Messenger said, ‘Don’t you fear God? This animal you own has complained to me that it is hungry and tired because you abuse him and don’t feed well.

Grieving Palm Tree Trunk

Hadith narrated by Ibn Umar: The Prophet (PBUH) used to deliver sermons while standing beside or leaning against a Date Palm tree trunk. When he had the pulpit made and started using it instead, the Palm tree trunk started crying/weeping/grieving out of love for the prophet. So, Prophet approached rubbing it with his hand. It stopped crying/weeping/grieving. –Sahih al-Bukhari Volume 4, Book 56, Number 783-

Imam Qurtabi said: The person in whose house his cat is not fed and taken care of, whose caged birds are not attended to as due, cannot be counted amongst the–(Mohsinin)–doer of good.

Adultery by female-monkey

Sahih Bukhari] Vol, 5 – Book 58 – # 188                                                           

Narrated by Amr bin Maimun: During the pre-Islamic period of ignorance, I saw a she-monkey surrounded by a number of monkeys. They were all stoning it because it had committed illegal sexual intercourse. I too stoned it along with them.

guarding/companion Dod

The Islamic version of the story of “Seven sleepers of Pegasus” includes mention of a dog, who accompanied them into the cave and appears to keep watch. In Islam, these youths are referred to as the People of the Cave.

Research Finds That Pigeons Are Better at Multitasking Than Humans.

Honey-Bee

Honey-bee–Consider how your Lord has inspired Honey-bee “make your hives [geometrical masterpiece of the hexagonal honey-comb which is most economical, rational, as regards space and material] in the mountains, trees and higher places and in what people construct (for apiculture)” (Q, 16:68)

Mosquito Miracle! 

The mosquito, although weighing only one-thousandth of a gram, is a tiny creature with an extremely complex structure. It has about one hundred eyes, three complete hearts, a heat detector, a vaccine working as an anesthetic, an instrument for blood testing, a liquefying system, six knives in its nose, a digital X-ray machine to distinguish human skin in the dark, etc. Its development from egg to adult passes through three complicated stages with a change in color to avoid predators. It is a very good example of the complexity of some creatures. It is said in the Holy Qura’an: ”surely Allah is not disdainful to give an example of the smallest thing (such as Mosquito) or something above that,  and as for those who disbelieve, say: What is it that Allah means by this parable: By such a similitude Allah confounds many and enlightens many. He confounds none except the transgressors” (Q, 2:26) 

Plants

Prophet Jacob’s leprosy-ridden body was covered (for shadow) by a creeper and a goat used to come morning and evening to feed him, under the command of God (SWT).

Plants have a far greater ability to sense their world than appearances might suggest, has led to some remarkable claims about “plant Intelligence”, and even spawned a new discipline. Electrical signaling in plants was one of the key factors in the birth of “plant neurobiology” (a term used despite the lack of neurons in plants), and today there are plant researchers investigating such traditionally non-plant areas as memory, learning and problem-solving. These plants are moving with purpose, which means they must be aware of what is going on around them.

 Despite lacking eyes, plants such as Arabidopsis possess at least 11 types of photoreceptor, compared to our measly four. Plants seeing, smelling, feeling and, indeed, knowing to have echoes of The secret life of Plants.

 

Shakir2.wordpress.com

Note: originally published on Dec, 24th 2017 now updated and republished on 03/01/2019

Is Allah’s wrath; like Anger, a human weakness?

December 24, 2017

“Anger” is not a proper translation of the word “Ghazab” however, the closest proper English equivalent would be “wrath”. Allah’s wrath is one of His characteristics. It, however, is not a characteristic passed onto human beings as such—but a much milder version of it “anger”. Logically and rationally human beings are incapable of handling the intensity and wholesomeness of any of His Characteristics. Justice is also one of His characteristics and passed onto human beings in a similar fashion. “Unjustness” or “In-justice” however, is not one of His characteristics but human beings practice it due to their innate unsavory impulses. When human beings; despite His countless blessings; transgress; doing an injustice to His right(s); it results in His “wrath”, which is quite a logical and rational consequence.

Unlike Human being, Allah (SWT) is all knowing and is beyond “injustice”, therefore, His wrath would be perfectly justifiable. It is only the human being who could be wrong in his expression of anger. Whereas, getting angry impulsively would be a weakness associable with him But not with Allah (SWT).

(Note: My explanation of His attributes happened to be closer to Asharites doctrine).

shakir2.wordpress.com

Tazkiyyah-a-Nafs, (Self-Control).

December 24, 2017

“And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect” (Q,18:28)

Improvisation

Keep your-self (Nafs) restrained/subdued by being in the company of those, who keep busy remembering their Lord, day and night (morn, eve) seeking His pleasure/approval/mercy. Do not let your-self (Nafs) evade their company by being attracted to the adornments of fleeting life (temporary worldly life). Do not be in the company of someone whose heart, We have rendered, barren of Our remembrance. The one who is the slave of his desires and, his disposition is utter neglect. 

 

(This may have also provided a justification (deduced) for   “Majalis” & “Halaqa”— group chanting, Mahafil—e–Sama’a etc—for ordinary people and the people of Sufi orders)

Needless (Poor) king of the Kings!

December 24, 2017

The one who is, selfless and sincere to the purpose of life; goodness towards others and, obedience to the Creator. He would never have to question anyone’s intention or motive for he is free of the expectations and needs. Sin (covetousness) is the destruction of the station of the needless. Needless (Poor) is the king of the Kings; for the covetousness and expectations are his slaves, and the Kings are slaves of their covetousness and expectations.

He (PBUH) said, “Have no desire for this world, Allah will love you; have no desire for what people possess, people will love you.” [Ibn Majah]

In the world of selfishness and materialism virtue becomes too feeble to even register.

shakir2.wordpress.com


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