Page 26

rights of others as much he does his own. His mind must be occupied with constructive ideas and serious pursuits; his heart must beat with compassionate feelings and good will; his soul must radiate with peace and serenity; his counsel must be sincere and courteous. The Muslim’ s moral obligation is to be a vivid example of honesty and perfection, fulfill his commitments and perform his tasks well, seek knowledge and virtue by all possible means, correct his mistakes and repent his sins, develop a good sense of social consciousness and nourish a feeling of human response, provide for his dependents generously without extravagance and meet their legitimate needs. Nature and the world are the field of exploration and the object of enjoyment for the Muslim. He must utilize their elements and ponder their marvels, read them as signs of God’ s greatness and preserve their beauty, explore their wonders and discover their secrets. But whether he uses them for utility or for sheer enjoyment, he must avoid waste and excess. As a responsible agent of God and a conscientious trustee, he must always be mindful of others who share the world with him and who will succeed him in the future. The moral principles of Islam are sometimes stated as positive commitments which must be fulfilled and sometimes as negative prescriptions which must be avoided. Whether they are stated positively or negatively, they are designed to build in the human being a sound mind, a peaceful soul, a strong personality, and a healthy body. There is no doubt that these are necessary requirements of the general welfare and prosperity of mankind. And to help man to satisfy these requirements Islam has, among other things, laid down the following regulations: 1. To bear witness to the Oneness of God and the Messengership of Muhammad in a meaningful commital way; 2. To observe the daily prayers regularly; 3. To pay the religious tax which is known as alms or the poor-due (zakah); 4. To keep the fast of the Holy Month of Ramadan; 5. To make a pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca at least once in his lifetime. The moral and social implications of these regulations will be discussed later in detail. Besides these positive measures, there are others which may be called preventive and precautionary ones. To protect man from insanity and degeneration, from weakness and indulgence, from indecency and temptation, Islam has prohibited certain things pertaining to food, drinking, recreation and sex. Among these are the following: 1. All kinds of intoxicating wines, liquors, and spirits (Qur’ an, 2:219; 4:43; 5:93-94); 2. The meat and products of swine (pork, bacon, ham, lard), of wild animals that use claws or teeth to kill their victims (tigers, wolves, leopards, etc.), of all birds of prey (hawks, vultures, crows, etc.), of rodents, reptiles, worms and the like, of dead animals and birds that are not slaughtered properly (Qur’ an, 2:172-173; 5:4-6); 3. All forms of gambling and vain sports (Qur’ an, 2:219; 5:93-94); 4. All sexual relations out of wedlock and all manners of talking, walking, looking and dressing in public that may instigate temptation, arouse desire, stir suspicion, or indicate immodesty and indecency (Qur’ an 23:5-7; 24:30-33; 70:29-31). This Act of Prohibition is introduced by God for the spiritual and mental well-being of man as well as for the moral and material benefit of humanity. It is not an arbitrary action or a self-imposed intrusion from God. On the contrary, it is a sign of God’ s interest in the welfare of humanity and an indication of His good care for man. When God prohibits certain things, it is not because He wants to deprive man of anything good or useful. It is because He means to protect man and allow him to develop a good sense of discrimination, a refined taste for the better things in life, and a continued interest in higher moral values. To achieve this, good care must be taken of man’ s spirit and mind, soul and body, conscience and sentiments, health and wealth, physique and morale. Prohibition, therefore, is not deprivation but enrichment, not suppression but discipline; not limitation but expansion. To show that all prohibitions are acts of mercy and wisdom, two Islamic principles

Islam in Focus  

By HAMMUDAH ABDALATI Table of Contents Chapter - II

Islam in Focus  

By HAMMUDAH ABDALATI Table of Contents Chapter - II

Advertisement