Breaking News

Beauty, Delight and Common Sense

Mokhtar-300x198

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.

In Pursuit of Better Investment of Zakah Revenues

Zakah revenues meets a wide gap in the needs of the poor, the indigent and the public interests of the state if they are invested in a proper way. If the rich people generously donate charities and do their best to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give medicine to the patient, support the needy and significantly contribute to fulfill the needs of their country of reform, weapons and equipment, life will be much better in this country with no needy or beggar in the community.

Imam ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “Allah has apportioned the provisions of the poor in the wealth of the rich. So no poor man becomes hungry except as a result of the miserliness of a rich man and if you found a hungry poor man, know that there is an unjust rich man who did not pay the right of Allah in his wealth and did not fulfill his duty towards his society.”

In addition, if the endowments are invested in a proper way beside the Zakah and charities for the interests of the country, they would lead to a real renaissance in our country. We may have surplus for impoverished countries that we need to help, such as the Nile Basin countries with which we need to communicate and collaborate scientifically, culturally, charitably and humanely at the governmental and peoples’ levels with their strong civil institutions. These institutions are well placed to carry out large and huge projects in these countries and other African poor countries as a strategic dimension and as a part of our national security. There are numerous successful examples in this field for civil society institutions.

Zakah is a fundamental right in the wealth of the rich: I would first state some certain facts: First, Zakah is a fundamental right in the wealth of the rich and one of the main pillars of Islam such as prayer and fasting alike. Ibn ‘Abbas (may Alalh be pleased with him) said, “Three things have been revealed in the Qur‘ān associated with three others. They are not accepted separately: the first verse is, “Obey Allah and obey the Messenger.” If a Muslims obeys Allah’s commands and ignores the Messenger’s commands, his effort will not be accepted. The second verse is, “perform the prayer and give Zakah.” Those who perform the prayer and do not give Zakah will have prayer unaccepted. The third verse is, “give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination.” Whoever gives thanks to Allah but does not give thanks to his parents, his work will not be accepted.”

Allah, the Almighty, says about those who hoard their wealth and do not give Zakah: “And those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah – give them tidings of a painful punishment. The Day when it will be heated in the fire of Hell and seared therewith will be their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, [it will be said], This is what you hoarded for yourselves, so taste what you used to hoard” (the Qur‘ān, 9: 34-35).

Second, Islam invites Muslims to generously donate charities. Allah, the Almighty, says, “The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing” (the Qur‘ān, 2: 261).

Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “The wealth of a man is never diminished by charity.” He also said, “The best charity is the one that you give while you are healthy, niggardly and afraid of poverty and wish to become wealthy. Do not delay it to the time of approaching death and then say, ‘Give so much to such and such, and so much to such and such.”

The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) also said, “Every day two angels come down from Heaven and one of them says, ‘O Allah! Compensate every person who spends in Your Cause,’ and the other (angel) says, ‘O Allah! Destroy every miser.”

Allah, the Almighty, says, “Here you are – those invited to spend in the cause of Allah – but among you are those who withhold [out of greed]. And whoever withholds only withholds [benefit] from himself; and Allah is the Free of need, while you are the needy. And if you turn away, He will replace you with another people; then they will not be the likes of you” (the Qur‘ān, 47: 38).

Reasons Behind Defects and Means to Correction:

In this regard, the reasons behind the defect are either associated with zakah payer, zakah recipients or intermediaries between the two, a person, an organization or an institution. The reasons associated with the payers are either failure to pay or resorting to trickery or paying the Zakah without consideration of the organization to which they give the Zakah. The religious discourse should focus on the obligation of paying the Zakah and the major sin committed by those who withheld the right of Allah in their wealth in assertion that the rich do not escape blame by merely paying the Zakah in any way.

Rather, some jurists maintain that if a rich man mistakenly pays Zakah to a rich person thinking he is a poor, he still has to pay the Zakah. The rich people have to make sure that they pay the Zakah to the rightful recipients honestly and accurately in order to absolve themselves of all blame and contribute with their Zakah to the desired fruit for which Zakah has been ordained.

The reasons behind the shortcoming associated with the recipient revolve around the weak religious deterrent of some people, who make it lawful for themselves to obtain money from any means even if it entails loss of respect. We should remind those people of the Islamic approach and common sense, which discourage those who are able to work from begging or face-losing. Our Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) says, “Begging is allowed only for one who is in grinding poverty, one who is seriously in debt, or one who is responsible for compensation and finds it difficult to pay.” Our Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) also says, “Acts of begging are lacerations with which a man disfigures his face, so he who wishes may preserve his self-respect, and he who wishes may abandon it.” Imam Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

Carrying stones from mountains tops is better to me than accepting favors of men.

Some say some works are shameful, to me real shame lies in humiliation of begging. 

Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) says, “One of the sayings of the early Prophets which the people have got is: If you don’t feel ashamed, do whatever you like.”

Islam strictly prohibits begging when no real need is there and prohibits humiliation of begging. Free men never expose themselves to situations that do not befit them. The upper hand, which gives, is better than the lower hand, which takes. The importance and value of work in Islam should also be stressed and that Islam encourages work. It should also be pointed out that one who strives to help the widows and the poor is like the one who fights in the way of Allah and that the best people are the ones who earn their living from their manual work and are not dependent upon others. The Pre-Islamic poet al-Shanfara al-Azdi said:

I eat the earth’s dust dry, lest any benefactor thinks me indebted to his favor.

Mahmud Sami al-Barudi said:

I was created as a dignified person receiving no favor from a child of a free woman that I remember for him when he gets angry.

As for the third defect, it is the mechanism of collecting and distributing the Zakah revenues. With our belief in and appreciation of the role of some civil societies in alleviating the suffering of the poor and the indigent whether by providing expenses or by establishing service and medical projects, these institutions need the following:

  • They must be under the complete control of the state apparatuses, which should follow and control them in the best way. There must be a clear transparency in announcing their budgets, expenses and remunerations while rationalizing their administrative expenses to the greatest possible degree.
  • There must be a clear map for the presence of these institutions, their geographical scope and activities in order not to have them all work in the same field or in limited fields while ignoring other fields that might be more important and vital for the society.
  • A public body, such as the Ministry of Social Solidarity, must be responsible for an electronic network to connect and coordinate the work of these institutions and link beneficiaries with donors and civil society institutions in their geographical or service scope in order to put an end to the phenomenon of the beneficiaries who have their names registered in the records of several charitable institutions while the Zakah revenues and charities do not reach those who really deserve them.
  • It is necessary to set clear goals and purposes to which all people might donate their charities or to allocate each institution for a particular purpose, such as feeding the hungry, providing medicine for the patient and paying the debts of those who are heavily indebted which is the goal of the campaign started by the Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf.

In Pursuit of Better Investment of Zakah Revenues

Mokhtar-Gomaa-216x300

   Zakah revenues meets a wide gap in the needs of the poor, the indigent and the public interests of the state if they are invested in a proper way. If the rich people generously donate charities and do their best to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give medicine to the patient, support the needy and significantly contribute to fulfill the needs of their country of reform, weapons and equipment, life will be much better in this country with no needy or beggar in the community.

   Imam ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “Allah has apportioned the provisions of the poor in the wealth of the rich. So no poor man becomes hungry except as a result of the miserliness of a rich man and if you found a hungry poor man, know that there is an unjust rich man who did not pay the right of Allah in his wealth and did not fulfill his duty towards his society.”

   In addition, if the endowments are invested in a proper way beside the Zakah and charities for the interests of the country, they would lead to a real renaissance in our country. We may have surplus for impoverished countries that we need to help, such as the Nile Basin countries with which we need to communicate and collaborate scientifically, culturally, charitably and humanely at the governmental and peoples’ levels with their strong civil institutions. These institutions are well placed to carry out large and huge projects in these countries and other African poor countries as a strategic dimension and as a part of our national security. There are numerous successful examples in this field for civil society institutions.

  Zakah is a fundamental right in the wealth of the rich: I would first state some certain facts: First, Zakah is a fundamental right in the wealth of the rich and one of the main pillars of Islam such as prayer and fasting alike. Ibn ‘Abbas (may Alalh be pleased with him) said, “Three things have been revealed in the Qur‘ān associated with three others. They are not accepted separately: the first verse is, “Obey Allah and obey the Messenger.” If a Muslims obeys Allah’s commands and ignores the Messenger’s commands, his effort will not be accepted. The second verse is, “perform the prayer and give Zakah.” Those who perform the prayer and do not give Zakah will have prayer unaccepted. The third verse is, “give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination.” Whoever gives thanks to Allah but does not give thanks to his parents, his work will not be accepted.”

   Allah, the Almighty, says about those who hoard their wealth and do not give Zakah: “And those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah – give them tidings of a painful punishment. The Day when it will be heated in the fire of Hell and seared therewith will be their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, [it will be said], This is what you hoarded for yourselves, so taste what you used to hoard” (the Qur‘ān, 9: 34-35).

  Second, Islam invites Muslims to generously donate charities. Allah, the Almighty, says, “The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing” (the Qur‘ān, 2: 261).

  Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “The wealth of a man is never diminished by charity.” He also said, “The best charity is the one that you give while you are healthy, niggardly and afraid of poverty and wish to become wealthy. Do not delay it to the time of approaching death and then say, ‘Give so much to such and such, and so much to such and such.”

   The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) also said, “Every day two angels come down from Heaven and one of them says, ‘O Allah! Compensate every person who spends in Your Cause,’ and the other (angel) says, ‘O Allah! Destroy every miser.”

  Allah, the Almighty, says, “Here you are – those invited to spend in the cause of Allah – but among you are those who withhold [out of greed]. And whoever withholds only withholds [benefit] from himself; and Allah is the Free of need, while you are the needy. And if you turn away, He will replace you with another people; then they will not be the likes of you” (the Qur‘ān, 47: 38).

  Reasons Behind Defects and Means to Correction:

  In this regard, the reasons behind the defect are either associated with zakah payer, zakah recipients or intermediaries between the two, a person, an organization or an institution. The reasons associated with the payers are either failure to pay or resorting to trickery or paying the Zakah without consideration of the organization to which they give the Zakah. The religious discourse should focus on the obligation of paying the Zakah and the major sin committed by those who withheld the right of Allah in their wealth in assertion that the rich do not escape blame by merely paying the Zakah in any way.

  Rather, some jurists maintain that if a rich man mistakenly pays Zakah to a rich person thinking he is a poor, he still has to pay the Zakah. The rich people have to make sure that they pay the Zakah to the rightful recipients honestly and accurately in order to absolve themselves of all blame and contribute with their Zakah to the desired fruit for which Zakah has been ordained.

  The reasons behind the shortcoming associated with the recipient revolve around the weak religious deterrent of some people, who make it lawful for themselves to obtain money from any means even if it entails loss of respect. We should remind those people of the Islamic approach and common sense, which discourage those who are able to work from begging or face-losing. Our Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) says, “Begging is allowed only for one who is in grinding poverty, one who is seriously in debt, or one who is responsible for compensation and finds it difficult to pay.” Our Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) also says, “Acts of begging are lacerations with which a man disfigures his face, so he who wishes may preserve his self-respect, and he who wishes may abandon it.” Imam Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

   Carrying stones from mountains tops is better to me than accepting favors of men.

   Some say some works are shameful, to me real shame lies in humiliation of begging. 

  Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) says, “One of the sayings of the early Prophets which the people have got is: If you don’t feel ashamed, do whatever you like.”

  Islam strictly prohibits begging when no real need is there and prohibits humiliation of begging. Free men never expose themselves to situations that do not befit them. The upper hand, which gives, is better than the lower hand, which takes. The importance and value of work in Islam should also be stressed and that Islam encourages work. It should also be pointed out that one who strives to help the widows and the poor is like the one who fights in the way of Allah and that the best people are the ones who earn their living from their manual work and are not dependent upon others. The Pre-Islamic poet al-Shanfara al-Azdi said:

   I eat the earth’s dust dry, lest any benefactor thinks me indebted to his favor.

  Mahmud Sami al-Barudi said:

 I was created as a dignified person receiving no favor from a child of a free woman that I remember for him when he gets angry.

  As for the third defect, it is the mechanism of collecting and distributing the Zakah revenues. With our belief in and appreciation of the role of some civil societies in alleviating the suffering of the poor and the indigent whether by providing expenses or by establishing service and medical projects, these institutions need the following:

  • They must be under the complete control of the state apparatuses, which should follow and control them in the best way. There must be a clear transparency in announcing their budgets, expenses and remunerations while rationalizing their administrative expenses to the greatest possible degree.
  • There must be a clear map for the presence of these institutions, their geographical scope and activities in order not to have them all work in the same field or in limited fields while ignoring other fields that might be more important and vital for the society.
  • A public body, such as the Ministry of Social Solidarity, must be responsible for an electronic network to connect and coordinate the work of these institutions and link beneficiaries with donors and civil society institutions in their geographical or service scope in order to put an end to the phenomenon of the beneficiaries who have their names registered in the records of several charitable institutions while the Zakah revenues and charities do not reach those who really deserve them.
  • It is necessary to set clear goals and purposes to which all people might donate their charities or to allocate each institution for a particular purpose, such as feeding the hungry, providing medicine for the patient and paying the debts of those who are heavily indebted which is the goal of the campaign started by the Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf.