THE PURPOSES OF ISLAMIC LAW
The purpose of the Islamic Law is for humans to achieve happiness in this world and the hereafter, by following the law of adopting the good and neglecting the bad.
The Islamic Law does not command anything that is not good for people, and it does not forbid anything that is not bad for them.
ويسألونك عن المحيض قل هو أذى فاعتزلوا النساء في المحيض
ولا تقربوهن حتى يطهرن فإذا تطهرن فأتوهن من حيث أمركم الله
إن الله يحب التوابين ويحب المتطهرين
“They ask thee concerning women’s courses. Say: They are a hurt and a pollution: So keep away from women in their courses, and do not approach them until they are clean. But when they have purified themselves, ye may approach them in any manner, time, or place ordained for you by God. For God loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean.” (Holy Quran 2: 222).
Islamic Law was made to protect five things (religion, self, mind, offspring, and property), which are the main rights of human in this life.
PROTECTION OF RELIGION
Because religion is the main reformer in every aspect of human life, it was normal for laws to protect it, considering it one of human rights and the most important right, by making laws that help to protect it from everything might affect it.
The Quran has mentioned worships that establish faith and protect it in the believer’s hearts. Some are mentally such as thinking and meditating of Allah’s (S.W) creation to realize His greatness (S.W), and some are physically mentally such as prayers, or physically such as fasting, or financially like almsgiving or charity, or mentally financially such as performing pilgrimage.
To protect faith and religion, Allah (S.W) forbade believing in someone else except him, either by belief or by action. He (S.W) forbade everything leads to that such as exaggeration of obeying the prophets and the righteous, to believe they are agents between Allah (S.W) and his creation, and to believe that good or bad is in anyone else’s hand except Allah (S.W).
Allah (S.W) obligated the community and the government to protect religion, to ease the means of practicing it. Thus, it must defend it; prevent every thing that leads to disobedience and disbelieving, by stopping the guilty and performing the punishments according to the law.
PROTECTION OF HUMAN LIFE
Life is Allah’s (S.W) gift to human, and no one has the right to trespass it, even the person himself; Allah (S.W) creates humans and honors them to perform His (S.W) tasks on earth, and to test their capabilities of performing of worshipping Him (S.W).
Islam protected humanity by its laws. It obligates the community to look after the poor and give them the basic needs, shelter, food, drink, clothing and other needs of life. It obligates charity and almsgiving, which come under the law of cooperation and helping one another among individuals and organizations to achieve social solidity in the society.
Islam guarantees a good and noble life for humanity; thus forbidding humiliation, annoyance, and harm.
والذين يؤذون المؤمنين والمؤمنات بغير ما اكتسبوا فقد احتملوا بهتاناً وإثماً مبيناً
“And those who annoy believing men and women undeservedly, bear (on themselves) a calumny and a glaring sin.” (Holy Quran 33:58).
Islam considers aggression or assault upon human life as a great crime and one of the seven serious crimes in life, which destroys both religion and life. Prophet Mohammad, warning Muslims, said,
اجتنبوا السبع الموبقات
“Avoid the seven great sins.” His companions asked, “What are they?” He (s) replied,
الشرك بالله، والسحر، وقتل النفس التي حرم الله إلا بالحق،
وأكل الربا، وأكل مال اليتيم، والتولي يوم الزحف،
وقذف المحصنات المؤمنات الغافلات
“Joining others with Allah (S.W) – in worship or other issues – , magic, killing a person, except by right and fair judgment, earning money by interest, misuse and benefiting from an orphan’s money, running away from the battle, and defamation the faithful pure women, who did nothing wrong.”
Allah (S.W) considers the aggression or assault upon one soul as equal to the aggression or assault upon the entire human race.
من أجل ذلك كتبنا على بني إسرائيل أنه من قتل نفساً بغير نفسٍ أو فسادٍ في الأرض فكأنما قتل الناس جميعاً ومن أحياها فكأنما أحيا الناس جميعاً ولقد جاءتهم رسلنا بالبينات ثم إن كثيراً منهم بعد ذلك في الأرض لمسرفون
“On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.” (Holy Quran 5:32).
The Holy Quran describes Muslims, who avoid slaying innocent people (which the Holy Quran calls them ‘the souls that Allah (S.W) has made sacred’) as true Muslim believers. The Holy Quran says,
والذين لا يدعون مع الله إلهاً آخر ولا يقتلون النفس التي حرم الله إلا بالحق
ولا يزنون ومن يفعل ذلك يلق أثاماً
“Those who invoke not, with Allah, any other god, nor slay such life as Allah has made sacred except for just cause, nor commit fornication; and any that does this (not only) meets punishment.” (Holy Quran 25:68).
The Quranic verses continue to warn of attempts on the life of innocent people, and give the wronged person the right to ask for fair and just punishment for his/her opponent.
ولا تقتلوا النفس التي حرم الله إلا بالحق ومن قتل مظلوماً فقد جعلنا لوليه سلطاناً فلا يسرف في القتل إنه كان منصوراً
“Nor take life – which Allah has made sacred – except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand qisas or to forgive): but let him nor exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law).” (Holy Quran 17:33).
The Islamic Law of Equality is one important warranty that prevents the spreading of crime. The person, who knows that killing another person will definitely lead to his/her own death, will avoid committing such crime; consequently, people will feel safe, live in peace, and enjoy the right of living.
The Holy Quran says,
ولكم في القصاص حياةٌ يا أولي الألباب لعلكم تتقون
“In the Law of Equality there is (saving of) Life to you, o ye men of understanding; that ye may restrain yourselves.” (Holy Quran 2:179).
To preserve and keep this great principle (protecting the lives of people), the Holy Quran legislates Jihad for the sake of protecting the weak from prosecution and death.
وما لكم لا تقاتلون في سبيل الله والمستضعفين من الرجال والنساء
والولدان الذين يقولون ربنا أخرجنا من هذه القرية الظالم أهلها
واجعل لنا من لدنك ولياً واجعل لنا من لدنك نصيراً
الذين آمنوا يقاتلون في سبيل الله والذين كفروا يقاتلون في سبيل الطاغوت
فقاتلوا أولياء الشيطان إن كيد الشيطان كان ضعيفاً
“And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help! Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who reject Faith Fight in the cause of Evil: So fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan.” (Holy Quran 4:75 – 76).
I need to mention here, that the first life that Allah (S.W) forbids aggression upon is the person’s own life. The person who commits suicide or harms him/her self will be subject to grave and harsh penalties and punishment. Prophet Mohammad said,
من تردى من جبل فقتل نفسه فهو في نار جهنم يتردى فيه خالداً مخلداً فيها أبداً، ومن تحسَّى سُمَّاً فقَتل نفسه؛ فسُمُّه في يده يتحساه في نار جهنم خالداً مخلداً فيها أبداً، ومن قتل نفسه بحديدة فحديدته في يديه يجأ بها في بطنه في نار جهنم خالداً مخلداً فيها أبدا
“Whosoever jump from a mountain, drinks poison (with the intention of killing him/her self) will be in the Hellfire forever. Whosoever kills him/herself with a piece of iron, he will continuously do the same to him/herself in the hereafter, while he/she in the Hellfire and remain forever.”
PROTECTION OF THE MIND
The mind, the ability to reason, and the ability to understand are properties of humanity, which Allah (S.W) gives to us and honors us above the other creations.
ولقد كرمنا بني آدم وحملناهم في البر والبحر ورزقناهم من الطيبات
وفضلناهم على كثيرٍ ممن خلقنا تفضيلاً
“We have honored the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favors, above a great part of our creation.” (Holy Quran 17: 70).
Islam considers the mind entrusted and responsible for religious and secular responsibilities. The mind is the means that leads and guides a person to know the great facts, which Allah (S.W) asks us to discover using sound reasoning, and not just blind faith.
أم اتخذوا من دونه آلهة قل هاتوا برهانكم إن كنتم صادقين
“Or have they taken for worship (other) gods besides him? Say, “Bring your convincing proof.” (Holy Quran 21: 24).
The mind leads anyone, who thinks deeply and reasonably of this universe, to the existence of Allah (S.W) and His characteristics.
إن في خلق السماوات والأرض واختلاف الليل والنهار لآيات لأولي الألباب
“Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are indeed Signs for men of understanding.” (Holy Quran 3: 190).
Islam forbids neglecting the mind doing its duties of showing and leading a person to the truth, welfare, and the goodness of his/her life on earth and in the hereafter. Therefore, Allah (S.W) forbids magic, sorcery, and any other deeds that affect our mind and prevent it from performing its duties.
Furthermore, Islam forbids alcohol in all its forms and considers it a satanic abomination and deceiving to humans, in which Satan wants to destroy the relationship between the person and his/her Lord (Allah (S.W)) by making him/her imbibe alcohol and keep him/her away from prayer and other worship. In addition, Satan, in this way, intends to destroy the social relationships between people.
Allah (S.W) says,
يا أيها الذين آمنوا إنما الخمر والميسر والأنصاب والأزلام رجسٌ من عمل الشيطان فاجتنبوه لعلكم تفلحون إنما يريد الشيطان أن يوقع بينكم العداوة والبغضاء في الخمر والميسر ويصدكم عن ذكر الله وعن الصلاة فهل أنتم منتهون
“O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan’s handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper. Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain?” (Holy Quran 5: 90 -91).
PROTECTION OF PROGENY
Sexual reproduction is the means that keeps human species in existence, and for that reason, Allah (S.W) creates the sexual impulse in both sexes. Allah (S.W) calls humans to keep their progeny by forming families through marriage, which Islam considers is the only lawful way of having children and maintaining our species.
Islam encourages marriage and states its rules, restraints, and duties in a perfect social system, which organizes the relationships between the husband and wife and among the family in general. Islam also imposes a number of duties on the parents towards their children, among these are to raise and educate them well, to care for them, to meet their needs, and many other things, which are the requirements of ideal parent-hood.
In addition, Islam forbids aggression on the child by burying him/her alive or by intentional abortion, and considers it a great sin.
ولا تقتلوا أولادكم خشية إملاقٍ نحن نرزقهم وإياكم إن قتلهم كان خِطئاً كبيراً
“Kill not your children for fear of want: We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin.” (Holy Quran 17: 31).
In order to protect the family, Islam forbids adultery, any other shameful deeds, and whatever leads to these deeds; such as the mixing of men and women.
ولا تقربوا الزنى إنه كان فاحشةً وساء سبيلاً
“Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).” (Holy Quran 17: 32)
In addition, Islam imposes the wearing of a veil for women in front of strange men to avoid seduction and sexual desire, for in Islam; women are precious jewels protected from being trifled with, misuse, and abuse. Allah (S.W) says,
يا أيها النبي قل لأزواجك وبناتك ونساء المؤمنين يدنين عليهن من جلابيبهن
ذلك أدنى أن يعرفن فلا يؤذين وكان الله غفوراً رحيماً
“O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Holy Quran 17: 59).
PROTECTION OF PROPERTY
Property is the mainstay of life, and Islam considers it as Allah’s (S.W), which He (S.W) makes man a guardian over it, and allows him/her to earn them in lawful ways and use them moderately.
Islam encourages work, production, and earning money and other property by lawful means.
هو الذي جعل لكم الأرض ذلولاً فامشوا في مناكبها وكلوا من رزقه وإليه النشور
“It is He Who has made the earth manageable for you, so traverse ye through its tracts and enjoy of the Sustenance which He furnishes: but unto Him is the Resurrection.” (Holy Quran 67: 15)
In this regard, the Prophet Mohammad awakens the Muslims’ desire to work, and considers work as worship that brings the person closer to Allah (S.W). He (s) said,
ما كسب الرجل كسباً أطيب من عمل يده،
وما أنفق الرجل على نفسه وأهله وولده وخادمه فهو صدقة
“No earning is better that what the person earns from his own work, and whatsoever the man spends (in lawful matters) on himself, his wife, his children, his family and his servant is charity.”
Once, the Prophet’s (s) companions noticed the activeness and the hard working of a man, they asked the Prophet saying, “We wish that his hard work was for the cause of Allah (S.W).” Prophet Mohammad replied,
إن كان خرج يسعى على ولده صغاراً فهو في سبيل الله،
وإن كان خرج يسعى على أبوين شيخين كبيرين فهو في سبيل الله،
وإن كان يسعى على نفسه يعفُّها فهو في سبيل الله،
وإن كان خرج رياء ومفاخرة فهو في سبيل الشيطان
“If he did so to care for his children, his old parents, or for himself (In lawful deeds), it is for Allah’s (S.W) cause, and if he did so for pride and hypocrisy, then it is for Satan’s cause.”
There are two types of earnings, one is pleasant, and the other is noxious. The pleasant earning is the substance that one earns in lawful ways, such as trading, manufacturing, agriculture, and public and private employment.
يا أيها الذين آمنوا كلوا من طيبات ما رزقناكم واشكروا لله إن كنتم إياه تعبدون
“O ye who believe, Eat of the good things that We have provided for you, and be grateful to Allah, if it is Him ye worship.” (Holy Quran 2: 172).
The noxious earning is the property that one earns in exploitive ways, such as lending money with interest, bribes, tricks, and trading in goods that are harmful to humanity.
ولا تأكلوا أموالكم بينكم بالباطل وتدلوا بها إلى الحكام لتأكلوا فريقاً من أموال الناس بالإثم وأنتم تعلمون
“And do not eat up your property among yourselves for vanities, nor use it as bait for the judges, with intent that ye may eat up wrongfully and knowingly a little of (other) people’s property.” (Holy Quran 2: 188).
In this regard, Islam has a comprehensive principle. Allah (S.W) says,
ويحل لهم الطيبات ويحرم عليهم الخبائث
“He allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure).” (Holy Quran 7: 157) Thus, any earning that does not harm the person who earns it or others is a lawful and pleasant, and the remainder of the earnings are noxious and forbidden.
Islam also guides how to spend money correctly. It does not allow one to spend as he/she wishes. Squandering and spending without control and Neglecting paying the rights of the poor, are satanic deeds. Allah (S.W) says,
وآت ذا القربى حقه والمسكين وابن السبيل ولا تبذر تبذيراً
إن المبذرين كانوا إخوان الشياطين وكان الشيطان لربه كفوراً
“And render to the kindred their due rights, as (also) to those in want, and to the wayfarer: But squander not (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift. Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the Evil Ones; and the Evil One is to his Lord (himself) ungrateful.” (Holy Quran 17: 26 – 27).
These properties are Allah’s (S.W) giving and means that He (S.W) made us as heirs and guardians to use them for lawful purposes, and the greatest deed among these lawful deeds is to spend and give charity to the poor and the needy. Allah (S.W) says,
وآتوهم من مال الله الذي آتاكم
“Give them something yourselves out of the means which Allah has given to you.”(Holy Quran 24: 33).
وأنفقوا مما جعلكم مستخلفين فيه فالذين آمنوا منكم وأنفقوا لهم أجرٌ كبيرٌ
“And spend (in charity) out of the (substance) whereof He has made you heirs. For, those of you who believe and spend (in charity),- for them is a great Reward.” (Holy Quran 57: 7).
Islamic Laws and instructions protect these five essentials, which are important human rights. Whomsoever considers and practices them, Allah (S.W) will reward him/her with happiness in this life and the hereafter. Whomsoever ignores and turns away from them; will face misery and punishment on the Day of Judgment.
فمن اتبع هداي فلا يضل ولا يشقى
ومن أعرض عن ذكري فإن له معيشةً ضنكاً ونحشره يوم القيامة أعمى
قال رب لم حشرتني أعمى وقد كنت بصيراً
قال كذلك أتتك آياتنا فنسيتها وكذلك اليوم تنسى
“Whosoever follows My Guidance, will not lose his way, nor fall into misery. But whosoever turns away from My Message, verily for him is a life narrowed down, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment. He will say: “O my Lord! why hast Thou raised me up blind, while I had sight (before)? (Allah will say): “Thus didst Thou, when Our Signs came unto thee, disregard them: so wilt thou, this day, be disregarded.” (Holy Quran 20: 123 – 126).