Monday, January 23, 2017

Acting upon the Quran - V


It was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said:

The Quran has been revealed in five divisions: the lawful, the unlawful, the precise (in meaning), the unspecific (in meaning), and the examples. Act upon the lawful, avoid the unlawful, follow the precise, believe in the unspecific and take lessons to learn from the examples. [Al-Bayhaqi]

No doubt, the lawful is evident in the Book of Allah Almighty; Allah Almighty says (what means):

{… and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil.} [Quran 7:157]

{… marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one.} [Quran 4:3]

{It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives [for sexual relations].} [Quran 2:187]

Similarly, the unlawful is evident: Allah Almighty has made unlawful the evil things, as shown in His saying (what means):

{So avoid the uncleanliness of idols and avoid false statement.} [Quran 22:30]

{Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah, and [those animals] killed by strangling or by a violent blow or by a head-long fall or by the goring of horns, and those from which a wild animal has eaten, except what you [are able to] slaughter [before its death], and those which are sacrificed on stone altars, and [prohibited is] that you seek decision through divining arrows.} [Quran 5:3]

The precise includes those Quranic verses of well-established meaning which give a specific legal rule like Allah’s saying (what means):

{Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females.} [Quran 4:11]

{[As for] the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hands.} [Quran 5:38]

This should be followed and acted upon as mentioned in the hadith.

The unspecific includes those Quranic verses whose meanings seem ambiguous to some people, like the letters in the opening of some soorahs such as: {Alif Laam Meem}, {Saad}, {Alif Laam Meem Saad} and the verses of subtle meanings, like Allah’s saying (what means): {The Most Merciful [who is] above the Throne established.} [Quran 20:5] The establishment (istiwa’) in general is known; but we do not know how it takes place for Allah Almighty is not like any of His creation because there is nothing like unto Him. The Messenger of Allah, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ordered us to reflect upon the creation rather than the Essence of Allah Almighty. Despite the fact that many Quranic verses whose meanings seem ambiguous to some people are indeed precise and definite to those well-established in knowledge, and some verses which are unspecific and indefinite at a particular time may seem precise and definite at another time. It is incumbent upon the believer to believe in them all and not delve into their subtleties without knowledge.

The examples in the Noble Quran from which one should take lessons to learn and receive instruction are, in part, reported from previous nations and, in part, similitudes of concrete things such as Allah’s saying (what means): {The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is All-Encompassing and Knowing.} [Quran 2:261] Allah multiplies good deeds, each one by ten to seven hundred times, as He pleases, to whomever He pleases, in the same way as He extracts seven hundred grains from a single seed; and Allah has power over all things. It is due on the believer to take lessons to learn and receive instruction from those examples.

It is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Awfa, may Allah be pleased with him, that he was asked whether the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, left a will, and he answered in the negative. He was asked how leaving a will was prescribed on the people whereas the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, himself did not do it. On that he said: "The will of the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is his advice to us to hold onto the Book of Allah Almighty." [Al-Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmithi, An-Nasa’i and Ahmad]

The Messenger of Allah, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was not to advise his ummah to do anything after him better than to follow the Book of Allah Almighty. It is the Book which contains the will of Allah and His Messenger, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, to his ummah after his death in which Allah says (what means): {And is it not sufficient for them that We revealed to you the Book which is recited to them? Indeed in that is a mercy and reminder for a people who believe.} [Quran 29:51]

The rest of the will left by the Messenger of Allah, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is his hadiths and Sunnah, reported from him by the noble Companions, may Allah be pleased with them. Writing a will in the question refers to the statement of Allah (what means): {Prescribed for you when death approaches [any] one of you if he leaves wealth [is that he should make] a bequest for the parents and near relatives according to what is acceptable – a duty upon the righteous.} [Quran 2:180] Similarly, the Messenger of Allah, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, commanded that he who has any wealth or debt worthy of bequest should make a will without delay since death is nearer to mankind than the strap of his sandal.

It is narrated on the authority of Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said: Once, the Messenger of Allah, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, addressed us with a khutbah (sermon) in which he praised Allah and lauded Him as befits His majesty and then said: "The best speech is the Book of Allah and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The worst deed is the introduction of new practices (which are not of the religion), and every religious innovation is misguidance."

Whenever a mention was made of the Final Hour, his eyes would become red, his tone loud and he would show anger as if he were warning us against an army, saying: "The Hour is about to attack you in the morning or in the evening. I have been sent (as a Prophet) ahead of the Hour as (close to each other as) such,” beckoning with his index and middle fingers. “He who leaves an estate, it belongs to his heirs, and he who leaves a debt or children (in helplessness), it is my responsibility to pay it off and bring them up.” [Ahmad]

One of the main foundations of belief is to have faith in the Book of Allah and in its being the truest speech. Whoever has doubt in the truthfulness of anything thereof or takes another book than it and gives it preference over the Book of Allah Almighty or believes that it is truer than the Book of Allah is indeed a disbeliever and an apostate. Next to it in the obligation of following is the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Religious innovation is any practice introduced in the religion which violates the Noble Quran or the Prophetic Sunnah or any of their principles. This definition is clarified by another hadith narrated on the authority of ‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, in which the Messenger of Allah, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “He who innovates in this matter of ours (the religion) anything that is not of it, (his deed) should be rejected.” [Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah] To introduce into the religion anything that is not in it is indeed a religious innovation; whereas to do anything that is in the religion is not a religious innovation. For example, to dash the malicious allegations of the enemies of Islam with new arguments is of the religion and not included in the hadith of religious innovations: it is, rather, a good act. In this way we could know whether an invented practice is a good act or an evil religious innovation.

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