Page 35 - Islam In Focus

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(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
are worth mentioning in this connection. First, extraordinary circumstances,
emergencies, necessities and exigencies allow the Muslim to do what is normally
forbidden. As long as these circumstances exist and to the extent that he cannot help
the situation, he is not to blame if he fails to observe the moral rules of God (see
Qur’ an, 2:173; 5:4). Secondly, God has inscribed for Himself the rule of mercy: any
who do evil out of ignorance, but thereafter repent and amend their conduct, will be
forgiven; surely God is Merciful and Oft-forgiving (Qur’ an, 6:54).
In a remarkable, typical passage, the Qur’ an has laid down the grounds and
philosophy of sound moral conduct. The passage may be rendered as follows:
O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer;
eat and drink, but waste not by excess, for God loves not the wasters. Say: ‘Who has
forbidden the beautiful gifts of God, which He has produced for His servants, and the
things, clean and pure (which He has provided) for sustenance?’ Say: 'They are, in the
life of this world, for those who believe, (and) purely for them on the Day of
Judgement.’ thus do We explain the Signs in detail for those who understand, Say:
‘The things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are: shameful deeds, whether open or
secret, sins and trespasses against truth or reason; assigning of partners to God – and
saying things about God of which you have no knowledge’ (Qur’ an 7:31-33).
The range of morality in Islam is so inclusive and integrative that it combines at once
faith in God, religious rites, spiritual observances, social conduct, decision making,
intellectual pursuits, habits of consumption, manners of speech, and all other aspects
of human life. Because morality is such an integral part of Islam, the moral tone
underlies all the passage of the Qur’ an and the moral teachings are repeatedly stressed
in various contexts throughout the Holy Book. This makes it difficult to devise any
reasonably brief classification of these moral teachings according to their citations in
the Qur’ an. Every principle is mentioned many times in various contexts. It appears