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Heavenly Hues – The Concept of Justice in Islam

This is a winning paper from the Heavenly Hues AlMaghrib course in Qabeelat Haadi.

Check out the previous papers,

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The Concept of Justice in Islam

A Comprehensive Study of the Related Ayaat in the Quran
by: Hebba Choudhry & Mubashir Hussain

Introduction

Imagine waking up one morning to the sound of gunshots. A man has just been killed. You pass by a home where you hear some children crying, orphaned, and left alone to suffer because of the crimes of other people. On the other side of town, you witness a home that has just been robbed, its residents thrown out mercilessly. You walk past a quiet street and see a car that has been vandalized, its windows broken to shattered glass. Now, just for a moment, stop imagining, switch on the TV, and go watch the news. Chances are you will see all this happening right in front of your eyes, and even more, in our very real world!

Injustice is very widespread on this earth. There can be no peace without the firm establishment of justice. The more you see injustice, the more you realize the importance of establishing justice in the land. When mankind lacks guidance on how to live their lives, the entire structure of society is damaged. Allah (swt) has sent down the Quran as guidance for all of mankind, with all the rules and regulations we need to stay on the right track. Islam is a very complete way of life. Every rule that is good for humanity has been ordained in the Shariah of Allah (swt). Everything we need, in order to live successfully, can be found in the Quran. Amongst these very important divinely instructed laws is the law of establishing justice.

Allah says in the Quran:

“Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that you may receive admonition.” (Surah An-Nahl: 90)

In this study, we will Insha’Allah, explore the different ayaat of the Quran relating to the topic of justice, and how we can apply them in our daily lives.

What is Justice?

Before we begin, let’s look into the definition of justice. What is justice, and what do we understand from this term?

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the word “Justice” can be defined in the following ways:

  1. The quality of being just; fairness.
  2. The principle of moral rightness; equity.
    • Conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude; righteousness.
    • The upholding of what is just, especially fair treatment and due reward in accordance with honor, standards, or law.
    • Law, the administration and procedure of law.
    • A Judge
  3. Conformity to truth, fact, or sound reason.

The Islamic definition of ‘justice’ comes under the same categories. Justice, as defined in the Quran, commands mankind to behave in a fair and just manner. Allah (swt) has commanded us to protect the rights of others, to be fair and just with people, to side with the one who is under oppression, to help and be fair with the needy and orphans, and to be just and not go beyond the boundaries set by Allah, even with our enemies. We are required to be fair and just in all circumstances, and in all situations. We must establish justice in society. This is the law of our Creator.

Allah (swt) says in the Quran:

“Verily, Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due; and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice. Verily, how excellent is the teaching which He (Allah) gives you! Truly, Allah is Ever All-Hearer, All Seer.” (Surah Nisa: 58)

Justice: The Law of Allah

Establishing justice is the law of Allah (swt). It is part of the balance which Allah has created. In Surah Ar-Rahman, Allah (swt) describes how He has created a balance of justice, and why:

” And the Heavens He has raised high, and He has set up the Balance (of justice). In order that you may not transgress (due) balance. So establish weight with justice, and fall not short in the balance.” (Surah Ar-Rahman: 7 – 9)

Upon examination of these ayaat, we can understand three different points.

1. Allah (swt) has created the balance of justice in this world. This is His Divine Law.

2. We are not permitted to transgress against the system of balance that Allah has created.

3. Allah (swt) has commanded us to establish weight with justice, and ordered us to refrain from falling short in keeping this balance.

Allah is Just

Amongst the Great Names and Attributes of Allah (swt) is Al-Hakam, which means, “The Judge”. Allah (swt) is the Most Just, and He judges the affairs of His beings with full justice. There are several ayaat in the Quran which describe the justice of Allah (swt). Among them are the following:

“Surely Allah does not do any injustice to men, but men are unjust to themselves.”
(Surah Yunus: 44)


“Surely Allah does not do injustice to the weight of an atom, and if it is a good deed He multiplies it and gives from Himself a great reward.” (Surah Nisa: 40)


“And He gives you of all that you ask for. But if you count the favors of Allah, never will you be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude.” (Surah Ibrahim: 34)

We understand from the above ayaat that Allah is just, and He does not do injustice to mankind. It is men who do injustice to themselves. Not only is Allah just and fair, but He (swt) is so just, that He will not even do the injustice to the weight of an atom. On top of that, Allah will only multiply our good deeds, and will reward us for that. SubhanAllah, how Merciful Allah is! He (swt) gives us ALL that we ask for, and there is no way we could possibly count all of our blessings. It is mankind, who is unjust, and ungrateful to the bounties of Allah.

Allah Has Commanded us to be Just and Fair

“Oh you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a better protector to both (than you). So follow not your lusts, lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witnesses or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is ever well acquainted with what you do.”
(Surah Nisa: 135)

In the above ayah, Allah has commanded in explicit words the importance of standing up for justice. Before Islam, the Arabs were living in a state of ignorance. Their loyalty was to themselves, their families, their own tribes, even when their own were committing great injustices. Allah then sent down this verse, commanding the Muslims to be just, even if it goes against themselves, their parents, their kith and kin, and whether they be rich or poor.

Naturally, it is very easy for human beings to wish for justice against others who have done injustice upon them, or to a third party. The heart is prone to inclining towards that which is just. This natural inclination, however, changes when we are the ones at fault. Let’s take a look at the following scenario.

Suppose your neighbor’s house has been robbed. Their doors have been broken, windows shattered, and belongings taken away. Their lives are left in ruins. Naturally, your heart will incline towards bringing the burglar to justice. The victims would definitely want the thief to be punished. Now, let’s say that thief is you. Would you still want justice to be served? As the criminal, you would do your utmost to get away with the crime. Now that your own self is at stake, you no longer incline towards justice. So what if the thief is your father? What if the thief is your brother? Most likely, you would still incline towards saving your family by concealing their crime, and helping them get away with it. Yet, if the culprit is NOT yourself or your family, you would want justice to be served, for the exact same crime! Why the double standards? These double standards are the result of our lusts and desires, which often lead to injustice.

To perfect the concept of justice, Allah (swt) orders us to stand firmly for that which is true, even in situations where our hearts will incline towards that which is unjust. Regardless of who is at fault, we MUST stand for that which is right. Even if we ourselves are the ones at fault, we do not have the right to escape punishment. We cannot conceal the wrongdoings of our family. Allah knows our natural inclinations, and thus firmly commanded us to refrain from following our heart’s desires, lest we avoid justice.

The Wisdom Behind this Command

In Surah Ma’idah, verse 8, Allah explains the wisdom behind the command to establish justice in society.

Oh you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as just witnesses, and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety: and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is well-acquainted with what you do.” (Al-Ma’idah: 8)

We understand from the above verse that Allah (swt) has commanded us to be just, because that is closer to piety. Although the ayah here points out that justice is ‘nearer’ to Taqwa, there is not any other course of action to take. According to Tafsir Ibn Kathir, ‘nearer’, in this verse, means ‘is’. So why is Allah equating justice to Taqwa? Let’s put things into perspective.

Taqwa, in its general meaning, is God-consciousness, or a state of submission. A person who has full taqwa can never stray away from being just. We know that Allah is watching us at all times. We know that Allah is well acquainted with what we do. This fear of Allah’s displeasure and anger would prevent a person from being unjust in situations where serving justice becomes necessary. We know that Allah wants us to stay within the walls of justice, even when dealing with ourselves, with our family, with the rich or poor, even with an enemy. Only a person with full taqwa could practice complete justice like that.

Justice in Action

When Allah commanded us to be just, He (swt) did not just leave us there to sit and wonder about ‘how’ we can practice justice. Throughout the Quran, Allah has given us numerous guidelines on how to act justly in various situations. Here are a few examples.

Allah (swt) says in Surah Al-Hujraat, verse 9:

“And if two parties among the Believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them both: but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then fight you (all) against the one that transgresses until it complies with the Command of Allah. Then if it complies, then make reconciliation between them with justice, and be fair: for Allah loves those who are fair (and just).” (Al-Hujraat: 9)

This ayah gives us the answers to four important points:

What to do when two believers are fighting?

  • First, try to make peace between them.

What if that doesn’t work?

  • Then fight against the one who is transgressing.

What to do if the transgressor straightens out?

  • Then if the one who was transgressing complies with the Command of Allah, once again, try to make reconciliation between them with justice.

Why?

  • Because Allah loves those who are fair and just.

Allah says in Surah Al-An’am, verse 152:

“And come not near to the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he (or she) attains the age of full strength; and give full measure and full weight with justice. We burden not any person, but that which he can bear. And whenever you give your word (i.e. judge between men or give evidence), say the truth, even if a near relative is concerned, and fulfill the Covenant of Allah. This He commands you, that you may remember.” (Surah Al-An’am: 152)

This ayah gives us the answers to three main points.

What to do with an orphan’s wealth?

  • Nothing. Stay away from it. Don’t come near it.
  • If you must do something, do so only to improve it in a way that it will benefit the orphan.
  • When the orphans attain the age of full strength, give them their wealth in full measure and in full weight with justice.

How should you give your word?

  • When you judge between men or give evidence, say the truth! Say the truth even when a relative is concerned.

Why?

  • We must fulfill the Covenant of Allah (swt). This is His Command.

Allah says in Surah Al-Ma’idah, verse 45:

“And We ordained therein for them: Life for a life, eye for an eye, nose for a nose, ear for an ear, tooth for a tooth, and wounds equal for equal. But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity, it shall be for him, an expiation. And whosoever does not judge by that which Allah has revealed, such are the wrong-doers.” (Surah Al-Ma’idah: 45)

We find the answers to several questions regarding the implication of justice, in this ayah.

What should be done in the case of intentional murder?

  • Death penalty. Allah says: “A life for a life…”

What should be done if someone hurts you?

  • Hurt them, just as they hurt you. No more than that.

Is it a MUST to retaliate?

  • No, you do not have to retaliate, although you have the full right to do so. Allah says, “But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity, it shall be for him, an expiation.” If someone commits an injustice towards you, and you forgive them for the sake of Allah, and remit retaliation, Allah will forgive your sins in return for that noble deed.

What if someone wishes to retaliate in a way other than that which Allah revealed?

  • We cannot base our judgment on anything other than what Allah has revealed. We cannot go beyond our limits when retaliating. Allah says, “And whosoever does not judge by that which Allah has revealed, such are the wrong-doers.” We must judge and retaliate in the way Allah has revealed. Any person who goes against Allah’s guidelines falls into the category of wrongdoers.

These were just some examples of ayaat where Allah (swt) tells us ‘how’ to implement justice in different scenarios of life. The Quran goes into extensive detail in explaining the implementation of justice in many other issues, such as divorce, inheritance, theft, and so on. For the sake of brevity of the paper, we hope that these three examples will be sufficient.

How to Judge Between People?

In Surah S’ad, verses 20 – 26, Allah (swt) tells us the story of Daawud (as), and when Allah tested him to see how he would judge between two people. We can take good lesson from this story.

Allah (swt) says:

“We made his (Daawud’s) kingdom strong, and gave him wisdom, and sound judgment in speech and decision.” (Surah S’ad: 20)

“Has the story of the disputants reached you? When they climbed over the wall of the private chamber.” (Surah S’ad: 21)

“When they entered in upon Daawud, he was terrified of them. They said, “Fear not. (We are) two disputants, one of whom has wronged the other. Therefore, judge between us with truth, and treat us not with injustice, and guide us to the Right Way.” (Surah S’ad: 22)

“Verily, this my brother has ninety-nine ewes, while I have (only) one ewe, and he says: “Hand it over to me, and he overpowered me in speech.” (Surah S’ad: 23)

“Daawud said, (immediately without listening to the opponent): “He has wronged you in demanding your ewe in addition to his ewes. And verily, many partners oppress one another, except those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and they are few.” And Daawud realized that We have tried him, and he sought forgiveness from his Lord, and he fell down in prostration, and turned (to Allah) in repentance.” (Surah S’ad: 24)

“So We forgave him for that, and verily, for him is a near access to Us, and a good place of (final) return (Paradise).” (Surah S’ad: 25)

“Oh Daawud! Verily, We have placed you a successor on the earth; so judge you between men in truth (and justice), and follow not your desire – for it will mislead you from the path of Allah. Verily, those who wander astray from the path of Allah (shall) have a severe torment, because they forgot the Day of Reckoning.” (Surah S’ad: 26)

We learn from these ayaat the importance of hearing both sides of the story before passing any judgment between two people. Sometimes, the truth is not spoken by one party, and the one who is judging can get misled without hearing the voice of other side. Allah (swt) tested Daawud (as) by sending him two disputants. When Daawud (as) heard the story from one side, he passed his judgment, without realizing that he should have heard what the other person had to say first. He then realized his mistake and turned to Allah in repentance. In order to pass a fair judgment, one must listen to both parties, evaluate the situation, and then, come to a conclusion. This is a fundamental crux for judging between two or more people or groups. If we just turn our head around and see, we will find numerous examples at an individual and societal level and also at national and inter-national level where this fundamental principle is violated.

People who Strive to Establish Justice

We live in a world where there are people who commit crimes and create chaos in society. There are people who commit thefts. There are people who vandalize cities. There are people who torment others. There are people who are not fair and just when it comes to their dealings with people. Often times, they get away with their wrongdoings. When so much wrong exists, sometimes, seeing the good in society can become difficult. We find ourselves wondering, “There were just Prophets and Messengers sent by Allah in the past. Are there not any just people today?” By the Mercy of Allah (swt), there are always some people out there in this world who have the taqwa of Allah (swt), and will judge between people with justice.

Allah says in Surah Al-A’raf, verse 181:

“And of those whom We have created, there is a community who guides (others) with the truth, and establishes justice therewith.” (Al-A’raf: 181)

Let’s take a brief tangent here. We now know that there will always be a community who guides others to the truth, and establishes justice with Allah’s guidance. A question might arise from this. What do we do when those people are not in authority? In today’s world, rulers strive for power and fame, and it may be impossible to find a ruler who establishes the law of justice based on the guidelines of our Creator. What do we do in this situation? The answer is in Surah Al-Asr.

Allah says:

“Verily Man is in loss. Except those who have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.” (Al-Asr: 3 – 4)

These ayaat tell us that mankind is lost. Only those who have true faith in Allah, do righteous deeds, and join together in the mutual teaching of truth, and of patience have saved themselves from this loss. The wisdom behind having a Khalifah in Islam to rule us is that we always have an authority that will stand for the truth, and rule people with justice in accordance to Allah’s Commands. Unfortunately, we do not have a Khalifah in this day and age. Often times, there are situations that need to be dealt with justly on a higher level, and our leaders are not willing to take that step. When we ourselves are not capable of taking the lead of establishing justice at an upper level, what can we do? We should always stick to the truth, and have patience. We must do our part in trying to bring about a change, but until that change comes, we must be patient. Patience is the key to success.

The Ultimate Justice

As we discussed earlier, there are times when people do wrong in this world and get away with it. Sometimes, criminals commit crimes, and no one brings them to account. There are times when wrongdoers commit their evil deeds in the darkness of night, and no one witnesses their crime, other than their Creator. As Allah Himself created the balance of justice as His law in this world, Allah will not allow any injustice to happen, without bringing that person to account. Those matters which are not resolved in this world, Allah (swt) will deal with them in the hereafter…on the Day of Judgment. Every one of us was created by Allah, and every one of us will return to Him for final judgment.

Allah says in the Quran:

“And We shall set up Balance of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And Sufficient are We to take account.” (Al-Anbiya: 47)

Here, Allah (swt) tells us that He will set up a balance of justice on the Day of Resurrection. On that day, no one will be dealt with unjustly. If there is a matter that will be as small as the weight of a mustard seed, Allah (swt) in His Manifest Wisdom will take account of it. Allah will be our Judge.

Allah (swt) has prepared a great reward for those who lived their lives in righteousness, worshipping Him, and obeying His Commands, and doing good deeds:

“And whoever does righteous deeds, male or female, and is a (true) believer, such will enter Paradise, and not the least injustice, even to the size of a ‘Naqira’ [speck on the back of a date stone], will be done to them.” (An-Nisa: 124)

On the other hand, those who did wrong in this world will be punished severely on that day:

“And the Book (one’s Record) will be placed (in the right hand for a believer in the Oneness of Allah, and in the left hand for a disbeliever in the Oneness of Allah), and you will see the ‘Mujrimun’ (criminals, polytheists, sinners), fearful of that which is (recorded) therein. They will say: “Woe to us! What sort of Book is this that leaves neither a small thing nor a big thing, but has recorded it with numbers!” And they will find all that they did placed before them, and your Lord treats no one with injustice.” (Al-Kahf: 49)

Remember that the greatest injustice in the sight of Allah is shirk. There is no forgiveness for those who live their lives committing shirk and die in that state. For such people, the punishment after judgment will be very severe.

“Behold, Luqman said to his son by way of instruction: “O my son! Join not in worship (others) with Allah. For false worship is indeed the greatest injustice.” (Surah Luqman: 13)

When Allah is the Judge, who can dare try to get away with their crimes and evil doings? They will never be able to do that. Truly Allah is the Best and Most Wise of all Judges.

“Is not Allah the wisest of Judges?” (Surah At-Tin: 8)

And Allah knows Best.

We ask Allah to make us amongst those who always stand firmly on the truth, for justice. We ask Allah to forgive us for our mistakes, and make us amongst the successful ones, on that day when He(swt) will bring us all to account, and every soul will be dealt with in complete justice, and rewarded with only that which they earned with their own hands.

Ameen.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Sunie

    June 12, 2008 at 10:56 AM

    Ha ha… your verse 8s got converted to smily faces. I was like… what the hell are they trying to imply?

  2. Avatar

    UmA

    June 12, 2008 at 11:38 PM

    I suggest you replace the cryptic qabeelah titles with the actual geographic locations of each student body

  3. Avatar

    Komal

    June 16, 2008 at 3:31 PM

    subhanAllah, I really wish Durbah had also had this competition, inshaAllah next time.

    Indeed, this is ultimate justice:
    And We shall set up Balance of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And Sufficient are We to take account.” (Al-Anbiya: 47)

  4. Pingback: Heavenly Hues - ‘Aql and Rationale | MuslimMatters.org

  5. Avatar

    sis

    January 27, 2009 at 1:01 AM

    Jazaak Allahu khair for the article. It’s really beneficial.

  6. Avatar

    Faisal

    July 18, 2017 at 7:53 AM

    beautiful article

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#Islam

30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 19: My Mercy Encompasses All Things

Now that we have learnt about when the angels surround us, let’s now talk about how Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy encompasses all things.

We say بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ  (bismillah Ar-Rahman ar-Raheem) a lot, right? It means ‘in the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate.’ 

We say it when we pray, before we eat, and we’re encouraged to say it before we begin any new task. But do we really understand what rahma (mercy) means? 

Question: What do you think rahma means?

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Do you know that the word rahma comes from the root word, رحم (rahim), which means womb? 

Question: Who can tell me what a womb is?

That’s right. A baby is usually in their mommy’s womb for 40 weeks. The baby gets all the nourishment it requires; the temperature in the womb is perfect, the nutrients are always administered, it is safe and warm. All the baby has to do is grow, and alhamdulillah all its needs are being met. 

Question: How do you think the womb relates to Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy?

Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy is constantly surrounding us like a safety net. That doesn’t mean that we’ll never experience any pain, but Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is constantly showing us mercy with every breath we take. Even blinking is a mercy from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) that we don’t even have to think about. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) even has more mercy for us than a mother has for her own child! 

One day the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was walking with a group of his companions, and they passed by a woman who was frantically looking for her child. She would take any child to her breast and try to feed him/her. Then the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said to the companions: “Do you think that this lady can throw her son in the fire?” We replied, “No, if she has the power not to throw it (in the fire).” The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) then said, “Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is more merciful to His slaves than this lady to her son.”

And guess what? There’s even more mercy in the hereafter than we’re experiencing right now. 

Salman al-Farisi reported: The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Verily, on the day Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) created the heavens and earth, He created one hundred parts of mercy. Each part can fill what is between heaven and earth. He made one part of mercy for the earth, from it a mother has compassion for her child, animals and birds have compassion for each other. On the Day of Resurrection, He will perfect this mercy.” [Sahih Muslim]

99 parts of mercy on the Day of Judgment! That is one reason why it’s so important to have a good opinion of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)! Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) even tells us in Surat Al-A’raaf:

وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ ۚ

“My mercy encompasses all things” (Surat Al-A’raaf; 156]

And you all, my dears, are all encompassed by Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy, alhamdulillah. 

 

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The Inner Dimensions of the Udhiyah

Apart from Ḥajj, the greatest action a Muslim can do in the blessed days of Dhū al-ijjah is to offer the udḥiyah (qurbāni/sacrifice).

‘Āisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) reports that Rasūlullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “A human does no action from the actions of the Day of Naḥr [slaughtering; refers to the day of Eid al-Adḥā] more beloved to Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) than sacrificing the animal. On the Day of Judgement, it will appear with its horns, and hair, and hooves, and indeed the blood will be accepted by Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) before it even falls upon the ground, so let your heart delight in it.” [Tirmidhī]

Although we all know that this is an action that is traditionally performed on Eid al-Adā, a lack of understanding of its reality has led some to question the importance of doing it in the first place. In past years, and increasingly during the current pandemic, many have been asking, “Can I give ṣadaqah (charity) instead?”

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To answer this, it is necessary to understand the following.1 Everything in this world is comprised of an outer form – an appearance and a desired outcome – a “soul.” These two are intertwined in such a way that separating them is impossible. One cannot survive without the other. The clearest example of this reality is in ourselves.

سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الْآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ ۗ

“Soon we will show them Our Signs in the horizons [external] and in themselves [internal] until it becomes clear to them that it is the Truth.” [Surah Fussilat; 53]

We are made of a body, which is comprised of several parts, and a soul, which fills the entire body and allows each part to fulfill its unique function. Without a body, our soul cannot survive, and without a soul, our body cannot survive. Additionally, if any part is missing, the whole person will be considered to have some deficiency. Likewise, the same principle applies to our n. Our n has an outer form, which is comprised of the actions that we perform, and a soul as well. The fact of the matter is that our goal in life is to achieve a complete connection with Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The Quran identifies this quality with the word taqwā. The soul that permeates our entire n and therefore, all our individual actions is taqwā. All these actions display a different aspect of taqwā and together form complete n in a person. If anything is missing, a person’s n will be deficient.

For example, the soul of ṣalāh is the portion of taqwā that relates to expressing humility in front of Allāh. The soul of fasting is the portion of taqwā that relates to suppressing one’s desires for Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The soul of is adaqah is the portion of taqwā that relates to curing one’s love for wealth by donating in the path of Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Each of these things is necessary, and although they are all types of taqwā, they are not interchangeable. To expand on this, imagine that a person had $100 in cash, $100 worth of food, and $100 worth of furniture.2 The values of all three would be the same, but the functions they perform are different. None is more important than the other but all are necessary.

Similarly, a person cannot discard the outer form (different forms of ibādāt) and say that the only thing that matters is the soul (taqwā). If this were the case, our entire religion could be discarded. Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:

لَن يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَٰكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَىٰ مِنكُمْ ۚ

“Neither their flesh reaches Allāh nor their blood (the udḥiyah animal); it is your taqwā that reaches Him.” [Al Hajj; 37]

There goes udḥiyah. Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

“Oh you who have believed, fasting has been prescribed on you as it has been prescribed upon those before you so that you may become people of taqwā.” [Surah Al-Baqarah; 183]

There goes fasting.

 إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ ۗ

“Verily ṣalāh prevents indecency and sin” (in essence, taqwā) [Surah al-‘Ankabut; 45]

Ṣalāh can also be put to the side.

لَّيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا ۖ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ

“Virtue is that one sincerely believes in Allāh, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book and the Prophets and, out of His love, spend of one’s choice wealth for relatives and orphans, for the needy and the wayfarer, for beggars and for the ransom of slaves, and establish ṣalāh and give zakāh. And the virtuous are those who keep their pledges when they make them and show fortitude in hardships and adversity and in the struggle between the Truth and falsehood; such are the truthful people, and such are the people of taqwā.” [Surah Al-Baqarah; 77]

There goes our entire dīn.

The soul of udḥiyah is that portion of taqwā that expresses our total submission to Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). “O Allāh, my life is in your Hands. Do with it whatever you wish!” The actual command was to sacrifice the thing that is most dear to you – a life. And in Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) case, the life of his only child. The life of the child who for decades, he prayed and hoped for. Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) commanded Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) in a dream to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismā’īl 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) said, “My beloved son, I have seen that I was sacrificing you in dream. What do you think?” Without hesitation, Ismā’īl 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) responded, “O my beloved father, do as you have been commanded. Inshā Allāh, you will find me among the patient.” When Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) tried to push the knife on his son’s neck, it became dull and “We called on to him, O Ibrahīm! You have surely fulfilled your dream. This is how we reward those of excellence. Indeed, this was a clear test. We ransomed him with a mighty sacrifice.” [As-Saffat; 100-107]. From that day until the end of time, Muslims have and will continue emulate this sacrifice of Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) as a reminder of what true submission is.

When standing before Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), we will need to present all types of taqwā. If we were to have a surplus of one type, for example, ṣadaqah, we would be rewarded for it, but that would not change the fact that something else is missing. If we were to tell our child to make sure that their room is clean for Eid and, instead of doing that, they cooked a delicious meal, we would thank them for their gesture, but then say that there is a time and place for everything and this time is for cleaning your room.

The purpose of ṣadaqah is to cleanse our hearts from the love of wealth by giving it to the poor. Although it is recommended to give a portion of the sacrifice to the poor, it is not the purpose, nor is it a requirement for its validity. The purpose of udḥiyah is to follow the command of Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), in the way that He commanded it. In the past, and even now in some agrarian societies, the most beloved belonging to many people was their animals. This is because unlike other wealth, animals serve many purposes. They are a means of milk and clothing, a status symbol, a means of breeding, and also can be sold or eaten. To sacrifice an animal was truly a great sacrifice.

However, times have changed. Yet due to this very reason, udḥiyah is still a sacrifice, especially in America. We are used to the comforts of our home and would much rather donate money than take a day off from work and spend time, money, and energy in going to a farm and performing the udḥiyah. This is our sacrifice. We cannot abandon this great act.3,4

May Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) preserve our pristine religion in the manner it was practiced by Rasūlullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his companions.

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

“Surely my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allāh alone, the Sustainer of Universe. He has no partner. This is what I have been ordered, and I am the first to submit.” [Al-An’am; 162]

و ما توفيقي إلا باالله عليه توكلت و إليه أنيب

[1] The concept of actions having an outer form and inner soul were expanded upon in the Khutbāt of Hakīm al-Ummah Mawlāna Ashraf Alī Thanvī (throughout volume 16 – Barakāt e Ramaḍān) and Hakīm al-Islām Qāri Muḥammad Ṭayyib رحمهما الله تعالى رحمةً واسعةً . Qāri Ṭayyib specifically spoke about this concept in relation to the udḥiyah (Sunnat e Khalīl ‘Alayh al-Salām, volume 3, page 211). I benefited from these works immensely in the course of writing this article and hope the readers appreciate the depth and foresight of our pious predecessors’ foresight.

[2] This general idea – actions of being of the same value but different types – is proposed by ‘Allāma Ibn Taymiyyah and mentioned by Muftī Rashīd Aḥmad Ludhiyanvi رحمهما الله تعالى رحمةً واسعةً  in Aḥsan al-Fatāwā in relation to another topic, but the concept fits here as well.

[3] This article is not meant to say that having someone else perform your sacrifice by sending it overseas is invalid. Its purpose is to explain that the sacrifice itself is an important part of our dīn, and its full benefit will be realized when we perform the sacrifice by ourselves. It should also be noted that perhaps the reason that there is confusion over why the sacrifice cannot be substituted with ṣadaqah and thus, the distinction between the two is not clear.

[4] This article was started before the current pandemic. In a situation like this, if someone does not feel comfortable from a health perspective to perform the sacrifice on their own, they can appoint someone else to perform it for them, whether here or overseas. However, the current situation does not allow for ṣadaqah to be given in place of the sacrifice. Many ahadith (Bukhārī, Ahadith 968, 984, 985; ‘Ilā al-Sunan 17:212-217) indicate that the sacrifice is wājib. A wājib act cannot be substituted based simply on our thoughts or opinions. For more details on the obligation of the sacrifice, please read Muftī Abdullah Nana’s upcoming article about the fiqh of the udḥiyah.

* Two more points should be kept in mind. First, despite the pandemic, people have not stopped eating meat. In the current climate, if one is not able to perform the sacrifice by themselves, having it done in another country will also be a means of helping others. In fact, for many, Eid al-Adhā is the only time of the year that they able to eat meat. Second, we must broaden our thinking about charity. Our charity should not be restricted to only those things that are obligated upon us by Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) such as zakāh and udḥiyah. If Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has blessed us with the means,  we should strive to give ṣadaqah above and beyond these obligated act.

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 18: When the Angels Surround Us

Now that we have learnt about Hajar raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and her sa’i, let’s now talk about when the angels surround us.

Do you know that every time we sit together and remember Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), we are not alone in our meeting? We have very special visitors, and these visitors love to hear us praising Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)and thanking Him. 

Question: Who can tell me who these visitors are?

Yes! They are angels! Can anyone name some angels for me?

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MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

We have Angel Jibril 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) who has delivered every message to every Prophet since the beginning of time. We also have our angels on our left and right who write down our deeds.

Question: Does anyone know the name of the angel that is in control of the weather? 

His name is Angel Mikai’l. 

There are so many gifts that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) grants us when we gather together and remember him. Four things happen every single time! I want you to pay close attention to this hadith, because I’m going to ask you what those four things are after I read it. 

Are you ready?

‏لا يقعد قوم يذكرون الله عز وجل إلا حفتهم الملائكة، وغشيتهم الرحمة ونزلت عليهم السكينة، وذكرهم الله فيمن عنده‏

The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “When a group of people assemble for the remembrance of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), the angels surround them (with their wings), (Allah’s) mercy envelops them, tranquility descends upon them, and Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) makes a mention of them before those who are near Him.”

Question: Can you believe that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) makes mention of your name when you make mention of His? What do you think it means when “tranquility descends upon us?” Do you feel how calm your heart is? 

That is a gift from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and He tells us that our hearts find rest in His remembrance:

أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

“…Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured” [Surah Ar-Ra’d; 28] 

 

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MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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