Islam and Civilization by Nadwi

 

Islam and Civilization

By Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi

Scope and Significance

Islam and civilisation is a realistic and living issue which relates not only to the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the teachings of Islam, but also to the reality of life itself, the present and future of mankind and the historic role played by Muslims in the development of culture and the building up of a flourishing civilisation. This is a subject important enough to receive the attention of an academic body instead of by just a single individual. In its depth and scope, it can compare with any discipline of thought pertaining to the life of man. It covers an immense area in time and space, from the first century of the Islamic era to this day and from one corner of the world to the other. In its immanence, it encompasses everything from creed to morals and behaviour, individual as well as social, and is linked with diverse phenomena, whether if be law, political, international relations, arts, letters, poetics, architecture, cultural refinement, etc. Each of these aspects of human life are indeed many-sided and, hence, an academic body composed of scholars of different disciplines is required to study them so that each may undertake objective research and present his detailed findings courageously, without fear or favour. Each of these scholars, specialist in his own field, can discuss the issues in greater detail as, for example, one can study the creed and religious thought of Islam, another sociology and culture, a third Islamic law, a fourth the equality and dignity of man, a fifth the position of women, and so on. Detailed discussions on each such subject can indeed cover an encyclopaedia instead of being dealt with by an individual like me who has little time to spare for literary pursuits. But as the saying goes, the thing which cannot be owned completely should not be given up altogether. I have, in working on this subject, kept in mind the Qur’nic verse which says: And if no torrent falls on it, then even a gentle rain (Al Baqarah: 265).

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Prophet with People


"By the grace of Allah, you are gentle towards the people; if you had been stern and harsh-hearted, they would have dispersed from round about you"  The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):159
 

Even with all of his concerns and obligations, Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) never became unmindful of his people. He had a special place in his heart for each one of them and he was known among them for his soft-spokenness, his generosity, his tolerance, and his friendliness.
 

He would joke with his companions, sit and talk with them, play with their children and sit them on his knee. He would respond to the call of the free man or the slave, or the young girl or the poor. He would visit the sick on the opposite end of the city and he would attend their funerals. He would accept the people's apologies and their excuses, and he was the most humble among them.
 

Abdullah ibn Al-Haritha narrated:

"I have never seen anyone who smiled more continuously than the Messenger of Allah (s.a.a.w.)" (Narrated by Al-Tirmathi)
 

Usamah ibn Zayd narrated:

"The daughter of the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) sent (a messenger) to the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) requesting him to come as her child was dying. However, the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) returned the messenger and told him to convey his greeting to her and say: "Whatever Allah takes is for Him and whatever He gives is for Him. Everything with Him has a limited fixed term (in this world) and so she should be patient and hope for Allah's reward." She again sent for him, swearing that he should come. The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) stood up, and so did Sa'id ibn Ubadah, Mu'ath ibn Jabal, Ubay ibn Ka'ab , Zayd ibn Thabit and some other men. [When he arrived,] the child was brought to Allah's Apostle (s.a.a.w.), his chest heaving. On that the eyes of the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) began shedding tears. Sa'd said, "O Allah's Apostle! What is this?" He replied, "It is mercy which Allah has lodged in the hearts of His slaves, and Allah is merciful only to those of His slaves who are merciful (to others)." (Narrated by Al-Bukhari)
 

Ibne Malik narrated that

"the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) used to mix with us (the children) to the extent that he would say to a younger brother of mine, 'O abu-Umayr! What did the Nughayr (a kind of bird) do?' " (Narrated by Al-Bukhari)
 

Abu Dawood narrated that the Messenger of Allah would say:

"Let none of you transmit to me [evil news] about my companions, for I like to meet with you with a pure heart"
 

Ibn Masood narrated that Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) said to a group he sent to teach and advise:

"Be lenient and do not make [this religion] difficult. Bring glad tidings and do not repel"
 

AbuMalik al-Ash'ari said:

"The Messenger of Allah (s.a.a.w.) said: 'Cleanliness is half of faith, and [saying] 'Praise be to God' fills the scale, and [saying] 'Glory be to God' and 'Praise be to God' fill up what is between the heavens and the earth, and prayer is a light, and charity is proof [of one's faith], and patience is a brightness, and the Qur'an is a proof for or against you. All men go out early in the morning and sell themselves, some setting themselves free and others destroying themselves.' " (Narrated by Muslim)
 

Forgiveness by the Prophet

A Jewess came to Allah's Messenger (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) with poisoned mutton and he took of what had been brought to him. (When the effect of his poison were felt by him) he called for her and asked her about that, whereupon she said: I had determined to kill you. Thereupon he said: Allah will never give you the power to do it. He (the narrator) said that they (the Companions of the Holy Prophet) said: Should we not kill her? Thereupon he said: No. He said: I felt (the effects of this poison) on the uvula of Allah's Messenger. (Sahih Muslim)

It has been narrated on the authority of Hadrat Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) that eighty persons from the inhabitants of Makka swooped down upon Allah's Messenger (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) from the mountain of Tan'im. They were armed and wanted to attack the Holy Prophet (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) and his Companions unawares. He (the Holy Prophet) captured them but spared their lives. So, Allah (The Glorified and the Exalted) revealed the verse:

"And It is He Who restrained your hands from them and their hands from you in the valley of Makkah after He had given you a victory over them." (48:24)
(Sahih Muslim)

Competing in Sin

 

If there is a phrase that can describe the world today, it has to be "Competing in Sin!"

Many Muslim governments, groups and individuals have taken an un-Islamic path and are trying to do what non-Muslim governments, groups and individuals are doing. It is a competition in sin and Muslims are losing. About fourteen hundred years ago, one of the most beloved person of the Muslim ummah, Umar bin Abdul Aziz wrote a letter to a military commander and said:

Sin is even more dangerous than the ruses/tricks of the enemy. Amirul-Momineen bids upon Mansur that instead of taking fright of his enemy, he should fear transgressing the limits of Allah T’ala. We overcome our enemies in the battlefield only because of their vices and sins, for, had it not been so, we would not have had the courage to face them. We can not deploy troops in the same numbers as our enemies can do, nor do we possess the equipments they have got. Thus, if we equate ourselves with our enemies in misdeeds and transgressions, they would undoubtedly gain a victory over us by virtue of their numerical superiority and strength.  

Competing in Sin!

{tab= 1. Outline} 

Outline

  • Surah Al-Teen
  • Comments on asfala safeleen
  • A careful analysis of Current world crises and the state of the Muslim Ummah is needed.
  • One of the letters of Umar bin Abdul Aziz to his military commander may give us an understanding.
  • Statistics
  • The sentences from the letter again
  • Ayah on unjust killing


 

 

سورة التين - سورة 95

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

1.     وَالتِّينِ وَالزَّيْتُونِ

2.     وَطُورِ سِينِينَ

3.     وَهَذَا الْبَلَدِ الْأَمِينِ

4.     لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ

5.     ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ

6.     إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَلَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ

7.     فَمَا يُكَذِّبُكَ بَعْدُ بِالدِّينِ

8.     أَلَيْسَ اللَّهُ بِأَحْكَمِ الْحَاكِمِينَ

THE FIG, THE FIGTREE, CHAPTER NO. 095

With the Name of Allah, the Merciful Benefactor, The Merciful Redeemer

095.001 By the Fig and the Olive,

095.002 And the Mount of Sinai,

095.003 And this City (Makkah) of security,-

095.004 We have indeed created man in the best of moulds,

095.005 Then do We abase him (to be) the lowest of the low,-

095.006 Except such as believe and do righteous deeds: For they shall have a reward unfailing.

095.007 Then what can, after this, contradict thee, as to the judgment (to come)?

095.008 Is not Allah the wisest of judges?

 

Yes Indeed!

 

This Surah tells us, among other things, that if a person does not have the true faith (Eiman) and is not striving for righteous deeds (amal-us-saleh), using The Holy Quran and Sunnah as The Guidance, then even though every person is created by the best of moulds, that person becomes the lowest of the low!   Asfala Safileen.

Islam is taken as a complete way of life. Righteous deeds therefore are not limited to prayers, Zakat and fasting.

{tab=2. An African Boy & a Vulture} 

The world we live in todayis filled with great number of occurrences of brutalities, blood baths and destructions caused by people. So many by Muslims, but so many more by non-Muslims. So if I can give a topic to this article, it is Muslims “Competing in Sin” with non-Muslims.

Our spiritually living hearts are feeling great pain at the sufferings of humanity caused by many governments, deviant groups and individuals. Today, a man may feel safer in a jungle surrounded by wild beasts than in many human societies. Wolves are claiming to be shepherds and they are complaining that the sheep is bad.

 

Look at the picture below very carefully:

 

 

In this 1994 Pulitzer Prize winning photograph, an African boy, nothing but a skeleton, was trying to crawl towards a U.N. Food Shelter, about one kilometer away. Behind his back, a few yards away was a vulture waiting for the boy to die to feast. The vulture did not attack the living boy. It could have. But it has God-given law that it follows. Even the animals have law of God that they obey. Not the man. So many governments, groups and individuals have become worst than the vultures!

{tab=3. Umar bin Abdul Aziz}

Umar bin Abdul Aziz (r.a.)

One way to understand the current world crises is by what Umar bin Abdul Aziz (r.a.) said in a letter he sent to one of his military commanders named Mansur. His words show his deep understanding of the Quran and Sunnah. You will see how it is so applicable today, even though he said so about 1400 years ago.

In his letter, he says that “sin is even more dangerous than the ruses/tricks of the enemy. Amirul-Momineen bids upon Mansur that instead of taking fright of his enemy, he should fear transgressing the limits of Allah T’ala. We overcome our enemies in the battlefield only because of their vices and sins, for, had it not been so, we would not have had the courage to face them. We can not deploy troops in the same numbers as our enemies can do, nor do we possess the equipments they have got.

Thus, if we equate ourselves with our enemies in misdeeds and transgressions, they would undoubtedly gain a victory over us by virtue of their numerical superiority and strength.”

About fourteen hundred years ago, Umar bin Abdul Aziz told us that when we compete in sins, we loose! We loose in the Akhirah and we loose in this world. And certainly, the loss in the Hereafter is far greater than any loss in this world!

{tab=4. Some Statistics} 

SOME STATISTICS:

To understand this point further, I want to give you a brief on some statistics, especially from the twentieth century. These statistics come from an article, titled, “Christian versus Muslim Violence in History.”

 

We can look at the start of Christianity and see how millions of Christians were tortured and killed by Christians, but let us just pick a few major events from the history.

 

The Crusades

The European armies were saying, as they slaughtered Jews and both Christian and Muslim Arabs: “Kill them all, God will know his own.”

Europe's Reformation and Counter Reformation Era

Two thirds of the Christian population of Europe was slaughtered by Christians

The African slave trade

Claimed the lives of 10 million

The Colonial Conquests

Estimates for the number of Native Americans slaughtered by the Europeans in North, Central and South America run as high as 20 million within three generations.

The 20th century's Western Civilization took warfare to new extremes

A conservative estimate puts the total number of brutal deaths in the 20th century at more than 250 million. Of these, Muslims are responsible for less than 10 million deaths. Christians, or those coming from Christian backgrounds account for more than 200 million of these! The greatest death totals come from World War I  and World War II. In World War I, about 20 million killed, at least 90% of which were inflicted by “Christians”. In World War II ( 90 million, at least 50% of which were inflicted by “Christians,” the majority of the rest occurring in the Far East).

In the 20th century alone

 

Western and/or Christian powers have been responsible for at least twenty times more deaths than have Muslim powers in the whole of Islamic history.

In the 20th century, Rawanda, 1994

Witness the slaughter of 900,000 Rwandans in 1994 in a population that was over 90 % Christian

1992-1995 Bosnia

The genocide of over 300,000 Muslims and systematic rape of over 100,000 Muslim women by Christian Serbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Based on these and other events, the article draws a conclusion:

“The horrible truth is that, numerically and statistically speaking, Christian Civilization is the bloodiest and most violent of all civilizations in all of history, and is responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths. Even so, Muslims will never associate this violence and blood bath with the teachings of Jesus (peace be on him).”

When we look at recent brutal events, we find that Muslims killed Muslims in Iraq-Iran war and Iraq-Kuwait war. Additionally, certain deviant groups of Muslims caused the tragedy of 9/11, hijacked planes, killed innocent civilians, and some of which is still going on.

These are events as if these people and groups are trying to compete in sin!

As a result of some of these evil events, non-Muslim governments and groups have killed several hundred thousand people in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.

{tab=5. Conculding Remarks}

CONCLUSIONS:

As far as unjust killings are concerned, let us remember what the Holy Quran says:

 

Speaking about the first murder committed by a son of Adam, Allah T’ala says in Surah 5, Ayat 32:

 

مِنْ أَجْلِ ذَلِكَ كَتَبْنَا عَلَى بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنَّهُ مَن قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِي الأَرْضِ

 فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَمَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَلَقَدْ جَاء تْهُمْ رُسُلُنَا

 بِالبَيِّنَاتِ ثُمَّ إِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنْهُم بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ فِي الأَرْضِ لَمُسْرِفُونَ

5.32. On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.

This ayah teaches us that ONE unjust killing is one too many!

This commandment applies to the Israelites, to the followers of Jesus (a.s.) and to Muslims.

 But who is following it?

Muslims should, even if no one else does.

 

Islam is a message for the salvation of humanity. It is to save not to destroy people. Islam is not terrorism. It is not for self revenge. It is not hate, it is love. Law of Islam is based on The Holy Quran and Sunnah. It is not what others do. There is a strict code of Law even in wars.  [Read at http://www.islam101.com/rights/hrM4.htm ]

 

Those Muslims who go against the teachings of Prophet Muhammad(s.a.a.w.) and commit crimes against humanity have to face Allah T'ala one day and answer to the Almighty. We all do! There is a Day of Judgment for all mankind! Let us be true followers of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.). Let us not compete in sins!

Ishaq Zahid

Sept. 1, 2006

{/tabs}

Chapter 303: Prohibition of Consultation with Soothsayers

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Chapter 303
Prohibition of Consultation with Soothsayers

 

1668. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) said: Some people asked the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) about soothsayers. He (PBUH) said, "They are of no account.'' Upon this they said to him, "O Messenger of Allah! But they sometimes make true predictions.'' Thereupon the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "That is a word pertaining to truth which a jinn snatches (from the angels) and whispers into the ears of his friend (the soothsayers) who will then mix more than a hundred lies with it.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

The narration in Al-Bukhari is: "The angels descend in the clouds and mention matters which has been decreed in heaven; Satan steals a hearing (listens to it stealthily) and communicates it to the soothsayers who tell along with it a hundred lies.''

Commentary: Kahin (soothsayer), Munajjim (astrologer) and Arraf (foreteller) have similar characteristics but with a slight difference. All of them make predictions about the future. Kahin would overhear some jinn and disclose the secret to people which would sometimes prove true, because the jinn's source of information was Satan who sometimes stole away some information from the angels. But after the annunciation of the Prophet (PBUH) it was made impossible for jinns and satans to overhear anything in the skies. Moreover, Kahin and others of his ilk would make predictions on the basis of certain signs and circumstantial evidence which could go wrong or right. This is so even to this day. Astrological prediction is also a form of foretelling but this is often wrong. Al-`Irafah, or what is known to be as divination is also an indication of some future occurrence on the basis of certain causes and events. All the three occult arts supplement each other and also take the help of similar other things. In other words, these are all different forms of soothsaying. Geomancy also tries to tell about the invisible future. At-Tarq is the art of taking omen by striking birds with gravel on their wings or by throwing barley, etc., before them. In the latter formula, if a bird flies towards the right side, it would be a good omen; and if it goes towards the left it will be a bad one. All such things are unlawful and have been strictly forbidden by Islam. If anything predicted by these means comes by chance true, it does not furnish any justification for their validity.

 

1669. Narrated Safiyyah, daughter of Abu `Ubaid, on the authority of some of the wives of the Prophet (PBUH) who said, "He who goes to one who claims to tell about matters of the Unseen and believes in him, his Salat (prayers) will not be accepted for forty days.''
[Muslim].

Commentary:  We learn from this Hadith that visiting soothsayers and astrologers for the purpose of knowing from them what lies hidden in future is such a great offense that he who does it, loses all merits of his forty days Salat. Some people try to detect the culprits involved in a theft case through the so-called fortunetellers or seek their advice in matters relating to business, marriage etc. All such things are unlawful because Allah Alone knows the invisible world.

 

1670. Qabisah bin Al-Mukhariq (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying, "The practice of `Iyafah, the interpretation of omens from the flight of birds, the practice of divination by drawing lines on the ground and taking evil omens are all practices of Al-Jibt (the idol, the diviner, or sorcerer).''
[Abu Dawud].

Commentary:  Iyafah is an occult practice in which the practitioner rapidly draws lines on the soft ground in the presence of his client in such a manner that the lines cannot be counted then he effaces the lines in pairs. If at the end of the exercise two lines are left on the ground, it is taken as a good omen; if it is a single line, it is a bad omen. Some people have also described certain other forms of this occult formula. In any case, it was one of the formulas practised by the soothsayers of the Period of Ignorance. This practice, like others of this kind, was prohibited and Muslims were made to understand that such things could neither benefit nor harm anyone, and were mere tricks and frauds; and any reliance on them was absolute superstition and heresy. How sad it is that a large number of Muslims of the present age have faith in such occult practices and believe in superstitions. May Allah grant us guidance and save us from such evils. Al-Jibt covers a wide meanings. It means anything worshipped other than the true God (Allah), i.e., all false deities, be they an idol, Satan, graves, stars, angels, saints, Jesus the son of Mary, etc.

 

1671. Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "He who acquires a branch of the knowledge of astrology, learns a branch of magic (of which he acquires more as long as) he continues to do so.''
[Abu Dawud].

Commentary: In this Hadith, astrology has been regarded a part of magic. In Islam the learning of magic has been held equivalent to infidelity. Thus, it is evident that in Islam, astrology and soothsaying are highly dangerous, and learning them is a great sin. Astrology here stands for that pseudo-science on the basis of which future events are predicted with reference to the movements of stars. There is another science called astronomy by means of which timings of sunrise and sunset are calculated. This branch of science, however, is a genuine science because it is based on experiment and observation.

 

1672. Mu`awiyah bin Al-Hakam (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I said: "O Messenger of Allah, I have recently emerged from ignorance and Allah has favoured me with Islam. There are still some men among us who visit the soothsayers to consult them (on matters relating to the future).'' He (PBUH) replied, "Do not visit them.'' I said: "There are some men who are guided by omens.'' He replied, "These are the ideas which come up in their minds but you should not be influenced by them (i.e., these things) should not prevent them from pursuing their works.'' I said: "There are some men who practise divination by drawing lines on the ground.'' The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) replied, "There was a Prophet who drew lines, the line which agrees with the line drawn by that Prophet would be correct.''
[Muslim].

Commentary:
1. This Hadith has already appeared earlier [Hadith No 701]. "
These are the ideas which come up in their minds'' means that sometimes something appears and one's mind at once takes it as a bad omen. This is something instinctive and natural and one is not accountable for it. But if one acts in accordance with that omen then what he does is wrong and is, therefore, forbidden. For this reason, the Prophet (PBUH) said, "(i.e., these things) should not prevent them from pursuing their works.''

2. The drawing of a line mentioned in this Hadith is different from the drawing of lines in `Iyafah mentioned earlier. Moreover, that was an act of a Prophet which was done by him in the light of Wahy sent to him by Allah and, therefore, was certainly correct. But now, nobody possesses that knowledge and cannot, therefore, be adopted. The statement of the Prophet (PBUH) that: "The line which agrees with the line drawn by that Prophet would be correct'' was by way of elucidation. It does not mean that that act can also be done by anyone today, for how can it be done without knowing its principles. How did that Prophet of Allah draw that line? What were its principles? Since that knowledge has passed away with that Prophet, it is now no longer valid, nor would it be fruitful.

Who was the Prophet who did it? Some people say it was Prophet Daniyal (Daniel), while other think it was Prophet Idris. Allah Alone knows the truth.

 

1673. Abu Mas`ud Al-Badri (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) prohibited the price of a dog, the earning of an prostitute, and the money given to a soothsayer.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:
1. "
Prohibition of the price of dog'' signifies that the sale and purchase of dogs is forbidden. This a general order which applies to dog of every kind, whether it is for hunting or protection of farms (which is permissible) or is a tamed one. The reason being that dog is an absolutely unclean animal no matter what breed it is. Some `Ulama' are of the opinion that the sale and purchase of such dog which one intends to keep for lawful needs such as hunting and protecting farms is permissible. So far as reasoning is concerned, the views of the majority of `Ulama' are quite strong because we find absolute prohibition of dogs in this Hadith.

The earning of a vile woman has been called `Dower' in the Hadith because of its evident form, otherwise it is unlawful and nobody accepts its justification. Similar is the case of soothsayers, astrologers, fortunetellers and all those who fool people by telling them about future and thus swindle money from them. Their income is also unlawful.

2. It is also unlawful to make any payment to such swindlers because when it is not lawful for them to make money in this manner, how can we consider the money given to them lawful?

Short Quotes

Mercy

"And We have not sent you (O Muhammad) except as a mercy to mankind" (The Holy Quran, Al-Anbiyah, The Prophets 21:107)