Articles and Selections

Livelihood and security

The Glorious Quran has established a direct relation between security and livelihood on several occasions. In “Surat” An-Nahl Chapter (The Bees) Allah Almighty says: “Allah strikes a parable of the village which was safe and peaceful. Its provisions came in abundance from everywhere; but it was thankless for the favours of Allah. Therefore, for what they were doing, Allah let it taste the garment of hunger and fear” (16:112). So when the village was safe and its people worked together to maintain its safety, its provisions came in abundance from everywhere but when they became thankless for the favours of Allah Almighty, Allah let them taste the garment of hunger and fear. In the same chapter “Surat” Allah Almighty says: “We did not wrong them, but they wronged themselves” (16:118). In “Surat” Koraysh Chapter Allah says: “For the custom of the Koraysh,* Their custom of the winter and summer journey* Therefore let them worship the Lord of this House * Who fed them from hunger and secured them from fear”. In “Surat” Al-Qasas Chapter (The Story), the Holy Quran commented on the people of Mecca who were granted security and livelihood for preserving the scared mosque and its security: “ But have We not given them a secure sanctuary from which fruits of every kind are collected as a provision from Us? Indeed, most of them do not know” (57). In “Surat” Al-Anfal (Battle Gains), Allah says: “And remember how He gave you shelter when you were few in number and considered weak in the land, ever fearing that the people would snatch you away; but He gave you refuge and supported you with His victory and provided you with goodness, so that you might give thanks” (8:26). And when Prophet Abraham (peace by upon him) prayed to God to provide his family and offspring with a homeland and fruits “And when Abraham said: ‘My Lord, make this country safe and provide its inhabitants whosoever of them believes in Allah and the Last Day with fruits”. (2:126). The Holy Quran narrates the words of Abraham (peace be upon him): “And when Abraham said: ‘My Lord, make this a land secure. Turn me and my children away from worshipping idols. My Lord they have led many people astray. Whosoever follows me belongs to me. Whosoever rebels against me, You are surely Forgiving, the Most Merciful. Our Lord, I have settled some of my offspring in a barren valley near Your Holy House; our Lord, in order that they establish the prayer. Make the hearts of people yearn towards them, and provide them with fruits, in order that they are thankful” (Ibrahim 35-37). Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said reminding us of the blessings of Allah: “The one among you who wakes up secure in his property, healthy in his body and has his food for the day, it is as if the whole world were brought to him”. As we can see, Prophet Muhmmad (peace be upon him) who does not speak out of desire advances the blessing of security to health and livelihood to emphasize the importance of these blessings and the need to preserve them. He referred to security with the phrase “secure in his property” to stress the need for protecting your home regardless of its size or nature.

There is a positive correlation between security and livelihood and investment climate. Whenever security and safety are fulfilled, growth, they are directly followed by investments, work, production and different means of earning. On the contrary, wherever there is war, extremism, terrorism, destruction and vandalism, and corruption, life becomes harder and everybody is plagued by poverty.

Hence, Islam prohibited threatening the lives of people that Prophet Muhammad denied the merit of faith – regardless of the different interpretations of this denial as denial of the merit in full or of its perfection-  to those who threaten the safety and security of people: “The Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand the people are safe, and the believer is the one people trust with their lives and wealth”. Prophet Muhammad also said: He shall not be a true believer that who breaks his oath”, “By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer.” It was asked, “Who is that, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “One whose neighbour does not feel safe from his evil” and “That you keep yourself from harming people is a charity”.

Islam has forbidden all forms of corruption and mischief. Allah Almighty says in his Glorious Quran: “Do not make mischief in the earth after it has been put right” (Al-A’raf “The Ramparts” 56), and “do not corrupt the land with mischief”. (Hood “The Prophet Hood” 85). Allah Almight also says: “ There is he whose sayings pleases you in this worldly life and uses Allah as a witness for what is in his heart, but he is most stubborn in adversary* No sooner does he leave than he hastens about the earth to corrupt there and destroy crops and cattle. Allah does not love corruption* When it is said to him: ‘Fear Allah, ‘ egotism takes him in his sin. Hell-fire shall be enough for him. How evil a cradling!” (2: 204-206) and “Could it be, that if you turn away, you might make corruption in the land and break the ties of kinship?* Such are those whom Allah has cursed, making them deaf and blinding their eyes* Will they not then contemplate on the Koran? Or are there locks upon their hearts!” (47:22-24).

Capitals, Borders and States’ Building

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The relationship of countries’ capitals with national borders is that of integration, and not conflict, and it should not be of conflict. Simply, any country cannot do without a capital as heart and center, or borders which represent the wings by means of which the country proceed. However, the center of any country in many of the world countries captures full attention. Precedents and realities confirm that the centers of countries capture the highest levels of attention throughout history. However, the level of this attention differs from developed countries to underdeveloped ones. In fact, the developed countries can in no way neglect a part of its borders; be it land or people, disregard it, leave it liable to loss and attack, or even think of creating chaos or separatism. A poet once entered upon ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abd al- ‘Aziz (may Allah be pleased with him) and said: In case you safeguard the capital of the state where you live, be noted that your governors in the different towns are like wolves. They will not react to what you call for, unless you hit their necks with swords. Yet, the development of border areas of a country is not the responsibility of the government or political leadership alone. The development of these areas is the joint responsibility of all national institutions including the governmental institutions, nongovernmental organizations, businessmen, Ministries of Investment, Education, Health, Housing, Culture, Awqaf, Monuments, and all other ministries and authorities as well as the social service associations and patriotic businessmen. They all should devote special attention to all peripheral areas in general, and the border areas in particular as their first priority and a national security issue and developmental issue. In this regard, we should turn all national borders’ areas into population-attracting areas, and population-losing areas. This is because in case a country did not pay attention to its border areas, the citizens of these areas would be obliged to move to the center and settle therein, the matter which puts tremendous pressure on the center and its suburbs and creates in many cases slums around it. It also contributes to creating a class system that produces by the passage of time social diseases and problems that need unconventional solutions. On the contrary, the country’s keen interest in making investments in its border areas, providing their citizens with the necessary services, including housing, health, education, culture, and all services required for having a stable life in their homeland, as well as providing opportunities for work and production, all of these things would give the people of these areas a sense of belonging to their land and, therefore, they would do their best to protect it motivated by their absolute national loyalty and belonging. If the elements of attraction, work incentives and significant investment are afforded in these areas, as the case of the state’s current interest in the areas of Sinai, Matrouh, New Ismailia, Halayeb and Shalatin, New Valley and desert areas in general, these areas will turn into attractive areas creating an appropriate balance in the geographical and demographical distribution, providing a decent life for the citizens of these areas and alleviating the pressure placed on the center and the services provided to its citizens. In addition, the nature of capitals and political and economic centers in the whole world requires a level of progress which makes them tourist attractions and symbols of the peoples’ civilization, greatness and progress.

The Story of Statues and the Destruction of Civilizations

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To begin with, there is no single Muslim on earth who worships a statue, believes in it, preaches it or thinks about it. Rather, no single person from among the followers of heavenly religions believes in these statues at all. It is true that Islam prohibited the making of statues in the early days of Islam. However, this prohibition was based on two grounds. First, people were recent converts to Islam who were recently worshipping idols thinking that they bring them nearer to Allah, the Almighty. The Holy Quran expressed this belief of theirs in the statement of Allah, the Exalted, “We only worship them that they may bring us nearer to Allah in position.” (The Quran, 39: 3). Second, these statues were made to be worshipped or they were made in order to match the creation of Allah, the Almighty. This is confirmed by the fact that apart from the purification of the Ka’bah from idols that were worshipped, the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) have not demolished a temple, a statue or a monument in anyone of the provinces they opened. This is because they were the best generation who correctly understood the objectives and purposes and were not satisfied with the apparent meanings of texts. On the contrary, they deeply and consciously reflected on their purposes and objectives. This profound understanding of texts is confirmed by the decision of the Second Caliph, Umar Ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), when he denied the new converts whose hearts were to be inclined to Islam their stated share of Zakah even though it was established by an explicit text as Allah, the Exalted, says, “Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed for it and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler.” (The Quran, 9: 60). When he was asked, “How do you stop a share that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to give?” He replied, “We used to give them when Islam was weak to incline their hearts to faith. Now that Allah has strengthened Islam with His bounty, there is no need to give out this share.” Furthermore, Umar suspended the penalty of theft during the year of famine. He wrote to one of his governors and asked him about what he would do if people brought him a thief. The governor replied that he would cut his hand. Umar said to him, “But, if a hungry person came to me, I would cut your hand.” Unfortunately, our nation has been plagued by some narrow-minded people who began to issue edicts that this is lawful and that is unlawful without knowledge, understanding or study. They have taken themselves, students, followers and elements into the affairs of fatwa for which they are unqualified and thus they went astray and misled other people. Moreover, they opened a wide door before international colonial and imperial powers that work hard to suppress our cultural monuments including the Arab, Islamic, Christian, Pharaohic, Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek, Roman or otherwise in order to blot out the Arab memory and the monuments of the Arab, Islamic and Christian civilizations. This is because they are foolish people who have no morals, religion, values or principles. For them, the end justifies the means regardless of the enormity and seriousness of this means even it led to the destruction of human beings, statues, offspring and the monuments of human civilizations. The worst thing in this regard is that this destruction is perpetrated in the name of Islam and from people who falsely attribute themselves to it. In fact, Islam and its tenets have nothing to do at all with their acts even if they lied to themselves and deceived their victims from among the youth who joined them that they are on the truth. They have been rightfully described by Allah, the Exalted, in His statement, “And a group deserved [to be in] error. Indeed, they had taken the devils as allies instead of Allah while they thought that they were guided.” (The Quran, 7: 30). Allah, the Almighty, says, “Say, [O Muhammad], Shall we inform you of the greatest losers as to [their] deeds? [They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work.” (The Quran, 18: 103-104) and He also says, “And of the people is he whose speech pleases you in worldly life, and he calls Allah to witness as to what is in his heart, yet he is the fiercest of opponents. And when he goes away, he strives throughout the land to cause corruption therein and destroy crops and animals. And Allah does not like corruption.” (The Quran, 2: 204-205). The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Prof. Dr. Ahmad Al-Tayyib, the Ministry of Awqaf and the Egyptian Dar al-Iftaa stressed that it is unconscionable to assail these cultural monuments in any way, either by demolishing, distorting, selling, looting or destroying and that assailing them is tantamount to an act of aggression against civilization and human heritage. The reaction of the western world and international institutions to these crimes and their complete silence concerning them are remarkable and surprising and raise many questions. Had these crimes been committed anywhere else other than our Arab region, the whole world would strongly and differently react. This is a natural reaction from our enemies who are waging unjust wars against us. However, the thing that adds more fuel to the fire is these fatwas that support and nourish this crooked thinking, the matter which stresses what we have repeatedly called for that there is an urgent need to issue a law to regulate the affairs of fatwa and restrict it to qualified scholars alone.

Beauty, Delight and Common Sense

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Islam is the religion of civilization and progress, perfection and beauty, and delight and happiness. All Islamic texts, directives and ways lead to this end. The Qur’ān and the Sunnah affirm these meanings. For example, Allah, the Almighty, says in His Book:

  • “And the grazing livestock He has created for you; in them is warmth and [numerous] benefits, and from them you eat. And for you in them is [the enjoyment of] beauty when you bring them in [for the evening] and when you send them out [to pasture]” (the Quran, 16: 5-6).
  • He also says, “[It is He] who has made for you the earth as a bed [spread out] and inserted therein for you roadways and sent down from the sky, rain and produced thereby categories of various plants” (the Quran, 20: 53).
  • He also says, “And made grow therein [something] of every beautiful kind” (the Quran, 50: 7)
  • He also says, “And He sent down for you rain from the sky, causing to grow thereby gardens of joyful beauty which you could not [otherwise] have grown the trees thereof? Is there a deity with Allah? [No], but they are a people who ascribe equals [to Him]“ (the Quran, 27: 60)
  • He also says, “Then do they not look at the camels – how they are created? And at the sky – how it is raised? And at the mountains – how they are erected? And at the earth – how it is spread out?” (the Quran, 88: 17-20)
  • He also says, “You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency” (The Quran, 67: 3).
  • Allah also says about the highest heavens, “And We have beautified it for the observers” (The Quran, 15: 16)
  • He also says, “And We adorned the nearest heaven with lamps [i.e., stars, for beauty].” (The Quran, 41: 12).
  • The Noble Qur’ān commands us to assume the best beautiful appearance and take adornment at every Mosque as He said, “O children of Adam, take your adornment [i.e., wear your clothing] at every mosque and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess. Say, Who has forbidden the adornment of [i.e., from] Allah which He has produced for His servants and the good [lawful] things of provision? Say, They are for those who believe during worldly life [but] exclusively for them on the Day of Resurrection. Thus do We detail the verses for a people who know” (the Quran, 7: 31-32).

Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride shall not enter Paradise. A man said: Verily a person loves that his dress should be fine, and his shoes should be fine. Prophet Muhammad remarked: Verily, Allah is Beautiful and loves beauty. Pride is disdaining the truth (out of self-conceit) and contempt for the people” (Reported by Muslim). When al-Mughirah Ibn Shu’bah (may Allah be pleased with him) told the Prophet that he proposed to a woman, the Prophet said to him: “Look at her, for indeed that is more likely to create love between you” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi).

Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) used to love perfume and called people to receive other people with cheerful faces and smiles. He said, “Do not consider anything insignificant out of good things even if it is that you meet your brother with a cheerful countenance” (Reported by Muslim). For him, making people happy is one of the best deeds in the sight of Allah, the Almighty. Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “No one brings joy to the heart of a Muslim, except that Allah will please him on the day of Resurrection.”

The Prophet (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) also said, “The most beloved deed to Allah is to make a Muslim happy.” He (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) urged his Companions to wear the best clothes on Fridays, feasts and public occasions. However, the true beauty is not restricted to physical appearance, but it goes beyond it to the beauty of one’s nature, manners and character. Mustafa Sadiq al-Rafi‘i (may Allah rest his soul in peace) said, “The best of women is the one whose manners and mind are as beautiful as her face. If this woman was married to a suitable man, she would make his life much easier and comfortable.” The poet said:

When a man’s honor is not defiled by baseness,

Then every cloak he wears is comely.

She upbraided us that we are few in number,

but I said to her, ‘noble men are few’.

It is of no consequence that we are few, seeing that our kinsman is protected,

whereas the kinsman of the many is abased.

All of us have to beautify ourselves with the beauty of Islam in our nature, appearance, environment, schools, institutes, gardens, parks and public places. We should never distort the beautiful and delightful places with what is repulsive to common sense.

One of the most important signs of common sense, beauty and progress is the choice of good and sweet words. Umar Ibn al-Khattab passed by some people who were kindling a fire. He disliked to say to them, Peace be upon you, O people of the fire, and instead said, Peace be upon you, O people of the light.

Islam encourages us to choose the best names with lofty meanings and to keep away from repulsive names and from everything that is repulsive to nature and common sense. The Holy Qur’ān commands us to do what is best and to say what is good, rather what is best. Allah, the Almighty, says, “And speak to people good [words]” (The Quran, 2: 83). Allah also says, “And tell My servants to say that which is best.” (The Quran, 17: 53). Let our slogan be, “Common sense, progress and beauty” because we need common sense to enjoy this beauty and disseminate it in the society.

When a man’s honor is not defiled by baseness,

Then every cloak he wears is comely.

She upbraided us that we are few in number,

But I said to her, ‘noble men are few’.

It is of no consequence that we are few, seeing that our kinsman is protected,

whereas the kinsman of the many is abased.