Practical expression of welfare is the fabric of faith
The pattern of universal goodwill and welfare is interwoven in every fabric of Islamic doctrine, legislation and practice. With such gravity does Islam view this obligation (of universal welfare) that none can righteously claim inclination to the Divine Universal Way of Life (Islam) without first furnishing practical proof of selfless commitment to this humanitarian ideal...
In the words of the Prophet ; "None of you have Faith unless he prefers for others what he prefers for himself. None of you can righteously claim to Believe until and unless you sacrifice for others that which you yourself love most. The highest expression of Faith is... that you love for humanity that which you love for yourself and despise for humanity that which you dislike for yourself".
Thus the customary flimsy claim to belief by mere pronouncing of certain formulae or the mere performance of certain rituals does not per se make one a true Believer. Belief is coupled with true commitment to the Divine in every sphere of activity.
|Transliteration: Laysa albirra an tuwalloo wujoohakum qibala almashriqi waalmaghribi walakinna albirra man amana biAllahi waalyawmi alakhiri waalmalaikati waalkitabi waalnnabiyyeena waata almala AAala hubbihi thawee alqurba waalyatama waalmasakeena waibna alssabeeli waalssaileena wafee alrriqabi waaqama alssalata waata alzzakata waalmoofoona biAAahdihim itha AAahadoo waalssabireena fee albasai waalddarrai waheena albasi olaika allatheena sadaqoo waolaika humu almuttaqoona. Quran 2:177|
|Translation: It is not righteousness that you turn Your faces towards East or West; But it is righteousness - To Believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, For your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of those in bondage; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which you have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain, suffering, adversity and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the People of Truth, the Allah - conscious. Quran 2:177|
Fundamental principles of the Ideal Social Order
It is not righteousness to ritually turn your face towards East or West; But righteousness is that you believe in:
Allah - The Supreme Authority, the Uncaused First Cause who is the Eternal Source and Origin of all existence and in Whom is inherent all manifestations of perfection.
And the Last Day - A future time period of accountability where each individual will be held responsible and accountable for his or her worldly deeds.
And the Angels - Who are the Divine functionaries of Allah.
And the Book - Though we accept all Divine scriptures like the Original Bible, Original Taurah, ... unfortunately (due to interpolation and alterations) none of the scriptures have been preserved in their original pristine form, except the Holy Qur'an, the Book.
And all the Prophets - Islam is the only Faith that has it as an article of faith to believe in all the Prophets that were sent to all the various peoples throughout history. In essence, they all brought the same message to different people at different periods. Their message was based on Divine Covenant aimed at establishing the universal, natural, true Way of Life; leading to the implementation of the social system of Goodness and Justice. "We sent our Prophets with clear Guidance and Scriptures, containing the ideal Criterion (and Balance) for the express purpose that humanity may establish justice." (Quran 57:25)
And out of the love for Allah, to avail what you possess for the benefit of those dear to you, the orphans, the needy, the wayfarers, those who ask, and for the freeing of those in bondage:
After proclaiming inclination to Islam one is required to give practical expression to this inclination by offering whatever abilities, flair, art, comfort, wealth, possession... that one has been entrusted with, for the benefit of humanity. It is with reference to this that the holy Prophet (pbuh) said: "Most certainly, Deen is expressed in man's treatment of fellow human beings."
Whatever we possess belongs to Allah; we are only trustees thereof. Whatever we are graced with in this world (whether it be knowledge, wealth, political power...) we are entrusted with these as vicegerents of Allah and we are to be accountable for each aspect of our trusteeship. Such is our responsibility towards the needy, downtrodden and oppressed that the Almighty Himself proclaims: "And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah and the oppressed men, women and children, whose cry is - O our Lord! Save us from this place whose people are oppressors. Raise us from Thee one who will help us, one who will assist us." (Quran 4:75)
The true Muslim, committed to the universal welfare presented by Islam, is the one who is duty - bound to rise in assistance of these oppressed, for the true Believer is part of that ideal Global Community (the Ummah) which has been evolved for the benefit of humanity (Quran 3:110).
And establish regular Prayer (Salaah):
Prayer is the spiritual elevation of the Believer due to the fact that during Salaah the worshipper devotes his entire attention to his Creator without any intermediate, materialistic interference. The objective to be achieved is documented in the Holy Qur'an, "Establish prayer, for most certainly prayer prevents from shameful deeds, indecency, all forms of evil, corruption, exploitation; and the constant awareness of Allah is the greatest of virtues." (Quran 29:45)
The concept of prayer is not mere ritual devoid of Divine commitment and social welfare for the holy Prophet (pbuh) intimated that there are those who pray yet achieve nothing by their prayer except tiredness from bowing and prostration. Allah only accepts the prayer of those who are humble and sincere, those who do not exceed the limits, those who meet the needs of the needy and who feed the hungry.
Thus the establishing of Salaah is akin to the pursuance of spiritual and moral welfare.
And establish Zakaah (prescribed charity):
Islam does not presuppose a class system of 'haves' giving meager handouts to the 'have-nots'. In Islam, everything belongs to Allah. Man is only the trustee of what he possesses and whatever is in his possession beyond his basic needs is to be availed to those who need it. The holy Prophet said: "In the possession of those who have lies the right of those who do not have. "
So after having provided welfare assistance to the best of your ability, if anything is left in your possession in excess of your basic needs, then Zakaah is still the prescribed obligatory tax on that. The establishing of Zakaah therefore is akin to the pursuance of economic welfare.
To fulfill obligations and promises you have made:
Indeed Islam is the order wherein it is obligatory to be true in thought, word and deed. Fulfillment of duty, responsibility and commitments is part of that obligation.
And to patiently persevere throughout all periods of panic and hardship:
All the above conditions have to be included and practically fulfilled for one to be a true Believer.
These are those who are truthful, they are the sincerely committed.
The requirements that have been laid down in this single verse of the Holy Qur'an (Chapter 2:Verse 177) contain the basic elements for that Ideal Social Order promoted by Islam... the Social Order of Truth, Justice and Goodness.
Sadullah Khan is the Director of Islamic Center of Irvine. He has presented lectures on Islamic Civilization at California State University at Dominguez Hills. He is a frequent lecturer for the Academy of Judaic, Christian and Islamic Studies at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles). He is also an advisor to the Chancellor's Committee on Religion Ethics and Values at UCLA and serves as Director of Muslim Affairs at USC (University of Southern California).
You can watch his lectures on Empowerment and Hadith of the Day at IslamiTV
Glory be to Allah for His guidance, intended to purify the hearts of the seekers.
May Allah bless us all
This is an excellent piece. May Allah reaward the writer handsomely. Quality of Artiles, however, could be enahanced through citation of hadeeth sources.
May Allah bless brother Sa3dullah Khan for all the noble work he does. Thank you Islamicity for promoting his work May Allah protect you all.
More articles of depth like these, please.