, by SYED AKBAR HASSAN
This is the last part of the articles on Social Values in Islam which we discussed during the last few weeks on the basis of 18 ayaats of 3rd and 4th ruku of Surah Bani Israil regarding which Abdullah Bin Abbas opines that the dos and donts as mentioned therein are actually the Qur’ānic version of the Ten Commandments of the Torah.
First of all we had the ahkam (commandments): “You should not worship anyone but Him”; next: “Treat your parents with great consideration”; number three: “Fulfil your obligations towards your relatives and the indigent and the wayfarer”; next: “If you have to put them (the needy persons) off because you are still waiting for Allah's favour that you are expecting, put them off with tenderness”; number five: “Do not tie your hand to your neck nor stretch without any restraint lest you should become blameworthy and left destitute”; number six: “Do not kill your offspring for fear of want…”; next: “Do not even go near...”; number eight: “Do not kill any soul”; number nine: “Do not go near the property of an orphan”; the tenth hukm (commandment) says, “Keep your pledges”; then the next hukm: “Give full measure when you measure and weigh with even scales when you weigh.”.
Now comes the next hukm: “Do not follow that of which you have no knowledge for you shall be questioned for (the use) of your eyes, ears and minds”. The meaning of “Do not follow that of which you have no knowledge” is very comprehensive. It demands that both in individual and collective life, we should not follow mere guess work and presumption instead of “knowledge”. This instruction covers all aspects of our Islamic life – moral, legal, political, administrative – and applies to science, arts and education. It will, thus, save the society from numerous evils which are produced in human life by following guesswork instead of knowledge.
We are supposed to guard ourselves against suspicion and not to accuse any individual or group without proper investigation. In law also no action could be taken against anyone without proper investigation. It has been made unlawful to arrest, beat or imprison anyone on mere suspicion during investigation. Likewise, in education the so-called sciences based on mere guess-work, presumptions and irrational theories have been disapproved. Above all, it cuts at the very root of superstition, for this hukm teaches us to accept only that which is based on the knowledge imparted by Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be to him).
The second part of this ayat is very profound as it explains what knowledge is. Allah has given us faculties with which we gain knowledge i.e. eyes, ears and mind. This may be categorised as acquired knowledge that concerns our knowledge of physical sciences, arts, commerce, and technology. The knowledge that we get from the Qur’ān is revealed knowledge (wahi) as it was revealed to the Holy Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) gradually through Gabriel. Since, Allah has bestowed upon us these faculties and sources of knowledge, He will surely take into account on the Day of Judgment how we used or not used these faculties in duniya.
One more thing needs to be mentioned here that there are occasions when we indulge in some discussion related to some issues in Islam, in some party or social get-together and just on the basis of our acquired knowledge, intellect and common sense we pass our opinion or comments which may not confirm what has been said on the subject of discussion in the Qur’ān and Hadith rather may contradict the same. So, unless we don’t have true knowledge we should restrict our comments, opinion or action until proper knowledge is gained. In any case our ideal must be the Qur’ān, Hadith and the life of the Prophet and around this only our worldly life should revolve. Some wrong or haram (unlawful) that may have become prevalent and rampant in the society does not make it permissible or right for us (the believers).
The next hukm is again very similar to what we have already seen in getting closer to the words of wisdom given to his sons in Surah Luqman i.e. to always maintain low profile and modest behaviour. Here it is said: “Do not strut about in the land for you can neither cleave the earth nor attain the height of the mountains”. Our ways of conduct should not be those of “big ones” but those of humble persons. Because if we walk haughtily on earth neither we can tear the earth nor reach the height of mountain; we are and shall always remain very small being.
Now in the next few concluding ayaat it is summed up that there are ahkam which are dos and some as donts. The donts actually are the ahkam which are hated by Allah. Allah disapproves of the commission of anything that has been prohibited.
The next ayah, “These are the things of wisdom which your Lord has revealed to you”. The knowledge which we discussed earlier was the acquired knowledge – the physical knowledge. But here reference is made to the revealed knowledge i.e. wahi. These ahkam – are hikmah (wisdom) - that Allah has revealed upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him). At the end once again stress is on sticking to tauheed and refrain from shirk.
We had seen in our discussion related to character building in the light of Surah Al-Muminoon and Surah Al-Ma’rij that before and after the mention of qualities required for character building so as to be successful in duniya and akhirah, the stress was on salah. Similarly, the ahkam related to Social Values in Islam that we have tried to come closer to and understand starts with: “You should not worship anyone but Him” and ends with: “And behold! Do not associate any other deity with Allah lest you should be cast into Hell reproached and deprived of every good”.
With this we come to an end of our discussion on Social Values. May Allah make us genuinely realise and act upon these values so that we may become the leaders of an ideal society and eye-openers for the rest of the world which do not have even the concept of these values rather when we look at the West we find complete contradictions to these ahkam.