Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Al-Baqara (The Cow) Chapter 2: Verse 257 (partial)
"Those who choose the path of defiance become subservient to the minions of taghut."
The word taghut mean excess and transgression. Anyone who exceeds all legitimate limits would be called taghut. In the Quran taghut refers to a person who exceeds his position as a servant of God and sets himself up as a sovereign and compels the people to render him complete obedience. There are three stages in man's rebellion against God:
  • First, when he agrees in principle to obey but disobeys in practice. This amounts to violation or fisq.
  • Second, when he abandons the agreement in principle also and asserts his freedom to choose his own masters. This is defiance, kufr.
  • Third, when he rebels against God and establishes his own rule over land and people and forces them to carry out his commands even though they may conflict with the commands of God. By then he has turned into taghut. It is essential for a true believer to denounce and resist taghut in all forms and manifestations.
Satan is the first taghut who misleads man by offering him all kinds of temptations. The second taghut is man's own self which diverts him from the right path and makes him a slave of his own desires and impulses. Then there are innumerable manifestations of taghut including friends, relatives, family, tribe, society, nation, leaders, and men of authority. Each one of them uses man for his own purpose and having once succumbed to their control man wastes his whole life in abject subservience, never being able to satisfy all his masters fully. Taghut refers as much to an attitude of mind as to a person or a group of persons. If man is the vicegerent of God taghut is the representative of Satan.
Compiled From:
"Translations from The Quran" - Altaf Gauhar, pp. 90 - 92
Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Permissible Ghibah
The Prophet, peace be upon him, is reported to have asked his Companions the following question: 'Do you know what ghibah is?' To this they replied, 'God and His Messenger know best.' Then the Prophet said, 'It is to mention your brother in a way that he would dislike.' A Companion then asked: 'What if that which I say concerning my brother is true?' The Prophet replied saying, 'If what you say is true then you have defamed him [by ghibah], and if he is innocent of what you say, then you have slandered him. [Muslim]
According to An-Nawawi it is permitted to tell the truth even if it technically amounts to ghibah, as a matter of necessity, in order to prevent an evil. Similarly, a witness, a petitioner, or a pleader who reveals the oppressive conduct of another, may speak about the character of a person if this would help the course of justice.
The following instances of permissible ghibah have been recorded in the writings of the ulama:
a) The law requires that judicial decisions be based on reliable evidence, which is why the Shariah makes it a duty of the judge to ascertain the reliability and just character of witnesses. This may in turn necessitate enquiry into the character and personality of the witnesses and entail revealing their weaknesses, even at the expense of indulging in ghibah.
b) The scholars of Hadith have enquired at length into the personality and character of the transmitters of Hadith so as to expose any weakness that might have a bearing on their trustworthiness.
c) Ghibah is permitted with regard to a person who is actively engaged in crime, and who openly declares his sinful activities to others without any attempt at concealing his wrongdoing.
d) Exception of ghibah has also been granted to the victim of an act of injustice to expose the facts of her case and to denounce, if need be, the oppressor and seek help against him.
e) Ghibah is once again permissible if it constitutes an integral part of sincere counsel, or nasiha. For example, it is allowable when someone consults another person as to the character of a prospective spouse, or when an individual proposes a trade partnership with someone and seeks advice about the latter's character.
f) Ghibah is also permitted if it is intended to deter its victim from crime and evil. For example, when we know someone who steals or commits other crimes but manages to keep it all hidden, and we know that he will not be deterred unless the matter is given publicity.
g) If a person is convinced of an impending harm which may threaten the safety and integrity of religion or the state unless a particular person is criticised and denounced in his absence, then the former is permitted to do so.
h) If a person's own life is endangered, then ghibah is permissible if the danger cannot be averted unless someone's weakness of character is exposed and he is openly criticised for it.
i) Lastly, the Shariah permits criticism of the views and opinions of others in pursuit of establishing righteousness and truth, even if this involves exposing a fault in the thought or character of the people concerned.
Compiled From:
"Freedom of Expression in Islam" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 119-122
Lessons from Karbala
Every year, in the month of Muharram, millions of Shi'as and Sunnis alike, mourn Imam Husayn's martyrdom. It is regrettable, however, that of these mourners very few focus their attention on the objective for which the Imam not only sacrificed his life but also the lives of his kith and kin.

It is but natural for his family members and those who foster feelings of love, respect and empathy for his family to express their grief over his martyrdom. The nature of this sadness and grief is apparent universally and also from those who bear relations with them. The moral appreciation and futility of this sentiment with the persona of this individual is nothing more than the love that bears out as a natural consequence with his relatives and sympathizers of his kin. But the question is, what is so particular about Imam Husayn that even though 1373 years have elapsed our grief is afresh? If his martyrdom was not for a sacred objective, the mere continuation of this remembrance on a personal level is meaningless. And in the eyes of Imam Husayn, what value would this mere personal love and devotion hold? If his own self were dearer than the objective, then he would not have sought sacrifice. His sacrifice bears witness that he held the objective dearer than his own self. Therefore, if we do not work for this objective and to the contrary work against it, our mere continuity of lamentation and the cursing of his killers will not earn us an appreciation from the Imam on the day of resurrection, nor should we expect that our actions will hold value with God.

Now, we are to ask, what was that objective? Did the Imam affirm his claim to authority and rule by virtue of personal right, for which he staked his life to vindicate his claim? Anyone who knows the high moral standard of Imam Husayn's household cannot harbour the vile notion that they would cause bloodshed among the Muslims to gain political power. Even for a moment if we consider this viewpoint acceptable - the opinion that this family held a personal right to rule- a glance at the fifty year history from Abu Bakr to Amir Muawiyah bears evidence that waging war and causing bloodshed merely to seize power had never been their motive. As a logical corollary, one has to admit that the Imam's keen eye discerned symptoms of decay and corruption in the system of Muslim society and the Islamic state, and thus he felt impelled to resist these forces --even if it required treading a path of war which he not only considered to be legitimate but an obligation as well.
A believer should not hesitate to sacrifice all that he possesses for preventing the changes which constitutes a danger to the religion of Islam and the Muslim community. One is at liberty to contemptuously disregard it as merely a maneuver for securing political power, but in the eyes of Husayn Ibn Ali, it was primarily a religious obligation. He therefore laid down his life in this cause gaining the crown of martyrdom.
Compiled From:
"Martyrdom of Imam Hussain" - Abul Ala Maududi

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