|The General Characterestics Of The Islamic Message|
The Islamic religion enjoys certain subjective characteristics and attributes that are inseparable from the nature of its legislation and message; the effects and spirit of which are discernible in every law, idea and concept. In order to cast more light on these general characteristics and attributes, we should now study them with close attention, so as to elucidate the brilliant concepts embodies in these valuable characteristics:
Islam's eternity is the continuation of its existence and the extension of its message, as long as man continues his life on the surface of this planet.
"Say (0 Muhammad): What thing is great est in testimony? Say:
Allah is witness between me and you. And this Qur'an which has been revealed to me to warn you therewith and whomever it may reach..." Holy Quran (6:19)
Islam has to be everlasting, because it is the last of the religions and completes the divine message, as an expression of Allah's kindness and mercy to His creatures.
Throughout history and in every period mankind has not been able to do without religion. It has always been in need of a religion to guide it, and in need of a faith to save it from ignorance, the domination of despots, and deviant ways of life.
Allah the Exalted willed that the religion, which was to accompany mankind in its forward progress and to encompass the aspects of renewal and growth in life, should be Islam, because it is the religion designed to throw light on straightest path. and to guide humanity towards good and righteousness. How wonderfully Imam Au (a.s.) describes this eternal religion and the most practical system that had been revealed to the final messenger, Muhammad (s.a.w.), saying:
"...then He revealed to him the Book, a light whose brilliance never goes out, a glow which never fades away, an ocean that is never fathomed, a path that never goes astray, and a ray whose light never becomes dark." (4)
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Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a.s.) illustrates this everlasting and ever extending divine law in his saying:
"The Qur'an is not dead; it is alive. It goes on as do the day and the night, and the sun and the moon. It will be with our last as it had been with our first"(5).
Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) further explicitly adds to the horinzon of that idea, and fills dimensions with light, by saying:
"The Qur an is not dead, but alive, and the verse is not dead, but alive. Had it been that if a verse revealed to a people died with the death of those people, the Qur'an would have died too. But the verse flows on with the survivors as it had flowed with the departed. "(6)
Through these firm, expressive words, the leaders of thought and the Imams of the divine law, illustrate the continuity and eternality of the Islamic religion. They made a distinction between the contents and the goals of the religion on one hand, and the elements of time and place, on the other hand, since the laws and the regulations of the religion are regarded eternally applicable, free of any outside effects.
The Islamic religion deals with man abstractly and objectively, so that it may be applicable in respect to all of mankind in every stage and age, taking into consideration that man, owing to his particular disposition, innate needs, inclinations and instincts, does not change in his essential makeup, though time place and other outer circumstances may vary.
Actually changes and developments occur only in the means, methods and interests which man develops to meet his psychological and physical needs, and through which he may express his ideas and feelings. Through progress in the ways and means of living or what is termed social development, the goods and services which meet man's natural requirements, such as the means of transportation, medical treatment, housing, education, food. etc., all increase.
If we study deeply this phenomenon and discover the basic elements which impart to Islam the quality of being everlasting and continual, we would uncover the following:
a. Scope and universality: One of the factors which maintains Islam amidst mankind, is its scope and universality. Islam is a universal and capacious religion. It handles affairs as diverse and far ranging as belief, worship, ethics and a complete set of laws organizing family affairs, the state. wealth, economy, war and peace, land and relations in the workplace. It also covers man's various individual activities, including hygiene. nourishment. comfort. creativeness, preservation of bodily and psychological health, etc.
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The Our' an says:
"...and We have sent down the Book (the Qur'an) which makes clear everything and a guidance and a mercy and glad tidings to Muslims (those who submit to Allah)." Holy Our'an (16:89)
"Surely We have sent down to you the Book with the truth to judge between mankind by what Allah has shown you..." Holy Our'an (4:105)
Thus the Qur'an, with its broad concepts, comprehensive foundation, and the universality of its verses, is a complete constitution for life, a way of governing and of politics, and a call to guidance and salvation. The Prophet's tradition undertakes to explain its meanings, disclose its contents,
defines it where applicable, outlines its details and analyzes its general terms. This legislative unity between the Book and the tradition has produced a general systematic comprehension, and a vast intellectual capacity. This objective fact about the Islamic religion inspired the following legislative rule; "There is not a single occurence without there being a divine decision about it.
Further confirmation of this fact is seen in the Qur'anic verses and narrations of Ahl al-Bait (The Prophet's progeny). Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) says:
"Allah, the Exalted, left out nothing that the ummah may need without revealing it in this Scripture, and without explaining it to His Messenger (s.a. w.). For everything He ordained a limit and a sign pointing to it, and ordained apenalty on whosoever transgresses the limit."(7) Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a.s.) says:
"Allah the Exalted revealed in the Qur'an the explanation of everything. By Allah, He left out nothing needed by His servants, so that no servant can ever say: I wish this was revealed in the Qur'an! As Allah had revealed this, too, in it."(8) He (a.s.) adds:
"There is nothing that is not in the Book (Qur'an) or not in the tradition."
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The Imam (a.s.) also says:
"There is not an affair about which two persons may dispute, without its having a root in the Book of Allah the Exalted, (the problem is that) only men's minds do not attain to it."(9)
All these texts confirm the enormous scope of Islam and the vast extent of its legal, organizational, intellectual and convictional horizons, enabling a Muslim to know that Islam has a legal viewpoint and an attitude towards every situation, event and topic that may occur or appear in man's life, throughout time and space.
The development of the human in life, the appearance of new financial, political, economic and social institutions, such as banksicompanies, different financial and commercial establishments; as well as clubs and societies, organizational and management concers; and the development of the relations of work and production; the development of the various means of life; all find their legal basis and legislative roots which Islam comprehends and for which it coins relevant laws according to its accepted way.
This intellectual and legislative capacity is the reason of the everlastingness of Islam and of the continuation of its existence. This characteristic is the major factor and basic cause for Islam's ability to meet every new development that may take place in man's world. b. Flexibility: If we give a close look to man's life for the purpose of defining his needs for sustenance and advancement, to development and perfection, we realize that these can be divided into two categories.
Firstly, a constant and unchanging one, related to the fixed needs of man. These are the natural and instinctive needs for nourishment, do thing, marriage, medical treatment, learning, security, etc. All these human needs are invariables and are innate in man, connected to his disposition and inborn instincts. These drives do not change, and the need for them remains constant, disregarding the changing circumstances and ways and means of life.
Secondly, the means and methods which enable man to respond to these fixed needs and to try and satisfy them. These instruments continually change and develop. That is, the means of producing food, clothing, transportation. housing, medical treatment; the means of acquiring knowledge, the means of defence and security and the means of managing and organizing political, social and economic activities. All of these continually develop, and become continuously more complicated as life is growing and being enriched through science, increased experience and human discoveries.
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Islam organizes the fixed aspects of life through broadly defined rules and regulations as these particulars are not subject to change. It leaves the changing aspects of life to move according to general rules and concepts which embody Islam's flexibility, a dimension frequently misunderstood. It should be made clear that the flexibility afforded in Islam does not mean changing its spirit, or changing its principles and concepts. This dynamism is meant to reflect that Islam is well equipped to accomodate different methods of implementation, within the general framework of faith.
In a nutshell. Islamic flexibility translates as a constancy of contents, with the possibility of changing external forms in every case for which Islam has defined no specific quality or model.
C. Ijtihad (Reasoning): The third basic factor that eternalizes Islam and gives it its ability to absorb the constantly changing circumstances in man's life, is Islam's acceptance of ijtihad, or reasoning by a qualified Jurist and the procreative and extendable nature of its rules and concepts. Ijtihad is a scholarly endeavor practiced by the learned jurisprudents, the specialists of Islamic legislation, with the purpose of deriving laws, making decisions and defining concepts from the original Islamic sources. However, an important point of note is, ijti~hadis not conjecture as some have misunderstood.
The Glorious Qur'an and the noble traditions of the Prophet (s.a.w.) are the basic sources for the process of ijtihad, which is exclusively practiced by experts specialized in delineating the Islamic legislation. comprehending its concepts, digesting its contents, and understanding its goals and purposes.
Historically there have always been jurisprudents qualified to contrive decisions. rules and concepts needed by the society, the individual, and the state, in respect to the diverse affairs of life. These legal specialists depend on the basic source (10). to uncover the massive intellectual and legislative content from the texts and the light of the concepts of the Qur'an and the traditions.
Thus, ijtihad is a scientific effort that depends on certain legislative sources, and follows a specified inductive method. Ijti had, without these sources and void of this scientific method, would be a futile and harmful deviation. injuring the spirit and the goals of religion. Clearly not all sources or methods are capable of arriving at sound religious decisions or of fulfilling the goals of religion and its legislative aims.
This is why ijtihad is an effective means of maintaining the originality, capaciousness and eternity of the Islamic religion. Ijtihad, for this reason, allows basic Islamic sources, the Qur'an and the tradition~ to remain flowing like a swift river that feeds the brooks, streams and canals and continues in its path even watering far away areas.
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If we consider the river in this parable to represent the Scripture and the tradition, and the far away areas to be the unexpected new topics and issues which appear in man's life, and the network of canals and streamlets brunched from it as the derived decisions and rules, then the jurisprudent or the Mujtahid, represents the clever engineer who designs the intricate network of canals to water those far away areas.
To stop ijtihad from functioning is like blocking the flow of a mighty river and preventing the construction of the canals which are the keys to fertility, thus, causing potentially good soil to remain a wasteland as a result of depriving the sub-waterways of the flow of the life-giving river.
Since Islam represents life's fertility and humanity's path of growth, no one has the right to stop the course of this great current which was meant to penetrate the limits of time and place and enrich all areas of life:
"0 you who believe! respond to Allah and the Messenger, when he calls to that which will give you life, and know that Allah intervens between a man and his heart, and that to Him you will be gathered." Holy Qur'an (8:24)
Muslims are ordered to refer to the experts and to seek their advice whenever a new situation arises, and not to rely on their personal, or others' conjecture, which may spell same disaster in this world and the hereafter. Allah, the Most High, says:
"When there comes to them a news of security or fear, they immediately spread abroad; but if they had referred it to the Messenger and to those responsible among you, those of them who investigate it, would have known it. And were it not for Allah's bounty upon you and His mercy, you would surely have followed Satan, save a few (of you)." Holy Qur'an (4:83)
In this Qur'anic text there is a plain command to refer to the trusted notables, after the Prophet (s.a.w.) who know the rules and circumstances and thus are able to derive from them practical decisions for whatever happens in the world. Here we must make clear that ijtihad does not mean to changing the edicts of Islam and its fixed principles, or to falsify them, as these principles and texts are fixed and unchanging. The process of ijtihadis designed to understand and interpret the texts.
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It is a scientific method employed by the jurisprudent the faqeeh to comprehend the texts and to induce their meaning for the purpose of forming general rules and derive the needed laws and decisions therefrom. If the mujtahid the faqeeh does not understand correctly and errs in his induction, the Qur'anic principle, or the Prophet's tradition, would remain intact and preserve its spirit and originality, without being damaged by the mujtahid's mistake.
Thus, there appears the rule that no ijtihad (induction) is permissible where there is a definite text. That is, no mu]tahid has the right to coin a law, twist a rule or issue a decree concerning an event, if there is already a relevant decision covering that event in the Qur'an or in the tradition.
2. EASE AND FACILITY:
Islam is a divine revelation, in whose entire structure and goals reflects the perfect attributes of Allah the Exalted, Law-Maker, Who is Just, Kind, Merciful and Wise. These sacred attributes are clearly discernible in all the Islamic laws, obligations and recommended codes of behaviour.
They are also manifest in the ease and tolerance of Islamic teachings, which recognize man's abilities and personal capabilities. They are seen in every law and every obligation prescribed by Islam for the humankind in order to define relations between the Creator and the created, as well as among fellow-humans themselves.
Divine wisdom willed that the laws should be based on a real and practical principle of correlation between the specified obligation and man's ability to respond to it and enact it. Thus, obligations and responsibilities all come within man's power and ability to carry them out. This fact is necessitated by divine justice. and to apply justice, man is not burdened with what he cannotfulfill, nor must he exceed the lowest limit of his endurance.
Had man been ordered to do what was beyond his ability and power, and had he been asked to submit and respond to laws which could not be carried out, nor tolerated, the Lawmaker would have been unjust and trifling, and deemed unwise at adjusting the relation between man's natural disposition and laws.
Consequently, the purpose of having a law would have been lost. But in Islam the Law-maker is Allah. the Just and the Wise. and certainly injustice is not His attribute and neither does He trifle. It was He Who created man and universe from nought, and it was He Who placed everything on the footing of wisdom and exactitude in perfect harmony with human disposition and the laws of nature. That is why Islam is also called the Natural Religion,.
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"A llah bears witness that there is no god but Him. And (so do) the angels and the possessors of knowledge - upholding justices. There is no god but Him, the All-mighty, the All-wise." Holy Our'an (3:18)
The Glorious Qur'an refers to this wonderful attribute of ease and facility in Islam, and discloses the unique Wisdom of the Almighty:
"Allah wants to lighten your burden for man was created weak." Holy Qur'an (4:28)
"...Allah desires not to make any uneasiness on you; but He desires to purify you and to complete His blessings upon you, that you may be thankful." Holy Qur'an (5:6)
"Allah does not charge a soul but according to its ability for it (soul) what it has earned, and against it what it wrought." Holy Qur'an (2:286)
"...Allah does not impose on any soul that which he cannot afford. Allah will bring ease, after hardship." Holy Our'an (65:7)
If we turn to the traditions, we will find them a perfect reflection close shadow of the great spirit of the Qur'an, calling to what the holy Book calls to.
The Prophet (s.a.w.) says:
"I have brought to you the facile and easy religion . He (s.a.w.) also said:
"My people are exempted (from punishment) in nine cases: when mistaken, forgetting, compelled, unknowing, unable, forced to, envious, when jealous, and when whispering evil about people (before leaving the lips, nor uttered by a tongue."(11)
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Imam Au (a.s.) also referred to this by saying:
"Praised be Allah Who revealed divine laws through Islam. For its follower He made its codes easy..." Talking about the hajj (pilgrimage) as an obligatory act, in circumstances of easy accomplishment. Imam Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha (a.s.) says: " People are ordered to perform it only once, no more, because Allah imposed the obligations in accordance with the weakest ability,' he added, together with whatever accessible sheep of sacriflce',
which is available to both the rich and the poor. Similar are the other religious duties; they are imposed according to the abilities of the weakest of the people, like the hajj (pilgrimage) which is imposed just once, while those who are capable, are urged to repeat it if possible . (13) .
Through these principles, Islam has strengthened the rule of ease and facility, extending it to all religious obligations and duties. This serves to emphasize that all Islamic legislations are practical. Allah is the Law-Maker. He knows man's real scope and the limits of his ability. Allah the Exalted wants man to be obedient in accordance with the principles and rules which he is to follow. Therefore, He made all the duties and obligations within the limits of man's scope and endurance.
For example, Islam exempts the sick, the weak and the traveller from fasting, lightens these situations by accepting fasts at some other time, or by feeding the needy, or by asking Allah's forgiveness. A sick person compensates for lapsed fasts by fasting after recovering from sickness and becoming able to fast, otherwise must pay a specified expiation. In case if he/she is too poor to pay that, then should pray for Allah's forgiveness.
Whoever is unable to go to hajj, or to fight in the way of Allah, jibad, is completely be exempted from that duty. Whoever is in debt and cannot settle it, is entitled to receive from the public treasury as much as he owes. Whoever is disobedient, the doors of repentance and forgiveness are open to him, and so on. All these injunctions are to assist in adhering to his obligations and practically apply them.
The prime goal of Islam is the deliverance and salvation of humanity. Its only aim is to save humanity from tyranny, evil, incorrect beliefs, corrupt creeds, and debased morals and values, sO that justice, harmony, while peace and security prevail all over the world.
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In this way humanity would enjoy divine blessings, free from all concepts and theories of ignorance. Such ignorance dissects unity and rends asunder human brotherhood with the claws of racism and class-discrimination, or with the talons of sectarianism, power, wealth, etc. Therefore, the Qur'an speech is addressed to humanity as a whole so as to deliver them all and guide them to their best interests without making any distinction between the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, the high and the low, the fair-skinned and the coloured.
"0 mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that you may know one another. The most honourable among you, in the sight of Allah, is the most pious of you in conduct. Allah is All-knowing, All-aware."
Holy Qur'an (49:13)
The Almighty describes Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) by stressing:
"We sent you not save as a mercy for the peoples." Holy Qur'an (21:107)
"And We have not sent you (0 Muhammad) save as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner to all mankind; but most of people know not." Holy Qur'an (34:28)
This human attribute is embodied in two major principles of Islam. On one hand it promotes love and kindness among the children of Adam, dismantling the barriers of the days of ignorance, which divided mankind into race, region, class, and other distasteful forms of discrimination and classification. On the other hand, Islam is a universal message noted for its magnanimity and for its noble and humane tendency, exempting none from its bounties, and treating none with injustice.
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was the highest ideal personifying these lofty values and ideals. History is a witness to the splendid examples of the saviour of humanity, the advocate of peace, Muhammad, displaying the spirit of his message and testifying to the truth of his call. When he was gravely wounded in the battle of Uhud, one of his companions asked, "What, if you cursed them? He coolly replied, with his inimitable kindness, "I have been sent not to curse, but to be a mercy: 0 my Allah! Convert my people, as they do not know." ( 28 )
Islam is a religion of endeavor and a way of life, which helps the human being towards the shores of salvation.
Such being the status and goals of the message, it cannot but be a practical one, far from illusion, rigidity and irrationality. Thus, in each and every law, idea and concept it takes into consideration man's personal scope, his social requirements and his natural disposition. This is unlike the laws coined by man and planned by his short-sighted, superficial, and in perfect power of thinking - laws which he determined without thinking of the possibility of their applicability and without taking into consideration their responsiveness to nature and to the spiritual, intellectual and physical realities which interact and impact upon legislation and theory.
Perhaps the most obvious example of the positive theories and schools of thought lacking practicality is the Marxist theory. Marx derived his theory of communism under the pressure of a personal reaction against the social circumstances surrounding his age and himself. He was a correspondent for a London newspaper. He was denied his due wage increase. This incident kindled in him the fire of hatred against the prevalent economic and social conditions, and he began imagining a new form of society based on abolishing individual possessions and religion, and proclaiming common possession of the means of production and the equal distribution of goods.
His vision called for a common nihilistic society, similar to the primitive one which he imagined in his analysis and explanation of history. But those who came after him and tried to apply his theory, like Lenin and Stalin, had to enact a substitute which they termed "socialism . Millions of peoples have been sacrificed at the altar of this failing communist experience, by the Leninist and Stalinist dictatorship throughout Russia and her satellites.
This system continued to be changed, amended and reformed, and a gradual withdrawal from these imaginary structures began, since this theory was far from being practically applicable, as it did not take human nature into consideration.
Communism is not the only theory lacking practicality; capitalism is also void of it in its general viewpoint, and even its general proliferation does not guarantee its applicability.
For example, capitalist democracy advocates political and economic freedom through its literature, ideas and theories and hails such freedom as everybody's right. Yet, it does not offer any practical guarantee to the individual enabling him to practice them. In reality this freedom has become a door open only to a certain elite, and is exclusively for the interest of the influential classes which control wealth and political power, enabling them to dominate and exploit.
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In this way, the idea of freedom in the capitalist world has become a form of enslavement, and political and economic exploitation of the deprived. It has degenerated into an excuse to colonize people and suck their blood.
Islam, on the other hand, is realistic in its steps, and practical in its course. This practicality is best shown in the biography of the Almighty's final Messenger amidst his struggle to build the Islamic society on the basis of the eternal principles and laws embodied in the Holy Qur'an. Uthman ibn Madh'oon, ibn Mas'ood and others are quoted to have said, "The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) used to teach ten (of verses), and he would not move to other ones until we had learnt how topractice them. In this way he taught the Qur'an together with how to put it into practice."(I4)
If we reflect on the Islamic message and try to penetrate its depths, we will find that the causes of Islam's practicality can be ascribed to the following:
a. Islam's consideration of man's innate disposition and its methodology of responding to his natural instincts and inclinations, balancing the obligations, responsibilities and diverse laws with man's range of abilities and scope of activities.
b. Islam's recognition of the principle of repentance and keeping the door of divine forgiveness open to all the rebels and the violaters of the justice of the law: This enables man to be responsive and return to the best norms of human behaviour, taking into consideration psychological resolve and will. Everybody may commit some mistakes or sins, except those whom Allah has immunized. Man may strive to follow a straight path in his life, but he will not always be able to traverse it. Hence, the principle of repentance as a legislative means enabling man to set his attitudes aright, to correct the line of his progress, and to ease his conscience from the pricks of sin and the feelings of remorse which the sinners and the disobedient are afflicted with.
c. The principle of facility and ease.
d. Imposing legal penalties: This principle expresses Islam's realistic evaluation of the nature of human motives and behaviour, as a vehicle guaranteeing the application of divine law and protecting the order of life. Allah, the Wise Legislator Who wants man to respond to the words of truth and good, and to be guided by the divine law, is the One Who knows the reality of man and his inclinations:
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"Does He not know Who created?AndHeisSubtle, All-aware." Holy Qur'an (67:14)
He does know that man will certainly commit sins and will disobey, and so, He has opened to him the door of forgiveness for mistakes and offences committed. The first step on the road of guidance, is man's returning back to Allah, and his treading the path of light and righteousness. Allah also knows that many people will not listen to the word of truth, nor would they harmonize themselves with the laws of good and justice. It happens that certain men do not think of retreating from sin or changing their evil course in life. Thus, He has ordained penalties to treat such deviants ones, who endanger the order of life and try to destroy the pillars of good and peace, and spread corruption in the earth. The repentance of such people is not accepted, because of the nature of the crimes they have committed. They must be punished:
"And there is life for you in (the law of) retaliation, o men of understanding, that you will be godfearing. Holy Qur'an (2:179)
"Certainly We sent Our apostles with dear arguments, and sent down with them the Book and the balance that people may conduct themselves with equity; and We cent iron, inwhkh there is strong power and benefit for people so that Allah would know who helps Him and His apostles in secret; Surely Allah is Strong, Mighty." Holy Qur'an (57:25)
One honourable tradition notes:
"Verily Allah may amend by force what He does not do by the Qur'an."
e. Gradualness and ljtihad: One of the systematic factors of its legislation which gives Islam its attribute of being practical is its method of gradually imposing the divine laws at the outset of its mission. The law had been communicated to the people by stages over a period of twenty three years.
It not imposed on the people all at once, nor were they burdened with its entirety on the very first day. This gradualness is an expression of Islam's practicality, taking, as it does, into consideration the intrinsic nature of man, and the social environment which it wants to change. Ijtihad expresses the same thing. It is an admission of the advancement of human life and the development of its requirements. Ijtihad allows continual expansion of the Islamic decision making process.
which runs parallel with the growth and extension of the variety of affairs and questions of life concerning individual and social conduct. and related to politics, finance, jurisdiction. economy, organization, administration, etc.
5. RESPECTING THE INTELLECT:
The Islamic religion is known for its being a religion of intellect and sound reasoning. It is a message addressed to an inquisitive mind, and it coincides with the mind's logic based on clear evidence and proof. Thus, the Our'an conducts an open and continual argument with the intellect. It ceaselessly calls upon man to think about himself and to contemplate his world and the message addressed to him, as this builds man's relation with his Creator and his world, on the basis of an intellectual understanding and scientific method, devoid of falsehood, deceit, and misguidance. Allah, the Almighty, says:
"As for these similitudes, Wecoin them for mankind, but none will grasp their meanings save the Wise ." Holy Our'an (29:43)
"And thereby He brings forth for you crops and olives and palms and vines and all the fruit. Surely in that is a sign for people who reflect. And He has made the night and the day and the sun and the moon subservient to you; and the stars are subservient by His command. Surely in that are signs for a people who understand." Holy Our'an (16:11-12)
"Surely the worst of animals in Allah's sight are the deaf, the dumb, who do not understand." Holy Our'an (8:22)
Starting with this orderly basis of Islamic thought. the Qur'an rejects wavering attachment to Islamic beliefs that wander through the labyrinths of ignorance, doubt and instability, It confines faith to the stage of firm belief and adherence: Allah, the Exalted, says:
"The (true) believers are those who believe in Allah and His messenger and afterward doubt not, and who strive with their wealth and their selves for the cause of Allah. These are they who are the truthful ones." Holy Qur'an (49:15)
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Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a.s.), explaining the value and importance of the mind in Islam and life, said, "On creating the mind, Allah made it talk and said to it: Come! It came. Then He said to it: Go! it went. So, He said: By My Might and Magnificence, I created no creature more amicable to Me than you, and I will not bring you to perfection except in those whom I love. Verily it is you to whom I issue My commands and My prohibitions; and it is you whom I punish and reward!" (15)
On this understanding and evaluation of the mind is based the fundamental rule declaring: "Whatever is acceptable to the mind is acceptable to Islam ". (16)
6. HARMONY AND NON-CONTRADICTION:
The Islamic rules, concepts, systems, laws and beliefs are distinguished by their following a unified and cogent argument.. Some aspects of Islam have become the means and the force for implementing others, or as preliminary ones assisting the others in being enacted, without contradiction or conflict among them Believing in Allah and adhering to good conduct are vital in the application of the Islamic laws of politics, jurisdiction and economy. Observing the devotional commitments, and performing the divine duties, are necessary for self-purification, righteousness of conduct and keeping healthy.
Thus, all the concepts, values, rules, rites, etc. support one another, within the framework of believing in Allah. forming a religious and intellectual unity, supporting one another towards implementation, each aspect smoothing the way for the other to carry out its task.
Let us take zakat (religious tax) as an example. Zakat is an economic, devotional and moral principle. Its goal is to protect the balance of the means of living, to efface class discrimination within the Islamic society, and to purify the self from selfish and covetous drives. In order to guarantee the success of this prescription in attaining its goals, many ideas, concepts and other rules should work together. Believing in Allah. in the hereafter, in moral education and in the authority of the divine law, are all forces that play an effective role in successfully enacting this rule.
A Muslim's faith in the hereafter's reward, his fear of divine punishment, his growing moral motivation, such as generosity and self-denial, are all nurtured in the conscience of the individual and the society by Islam.
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The presence of the element of abiding by the law and the state's right to use force against the disobedient i.e. the greedy and these enslaved by wealth, to pay their due zakat for the purpose of fulfilling this rule's economic and moral ohtectives. are all factors which exert their influence in strengthening the possibility of enactment. These elements also help coordinate the practical results of the rules and concepts aimed at fulfilling economic equity, reviving the society with material resources and non-material noble humane values, and raising the Muslim's spiritual and devotional level.
7. NURTURING INTENTIONS AND OBJECTIVES:
Islam attached great importance to intentions and objectives. It regards them to be the spirit of the deed and the basis of its value, because a doer, in the eyes of Islam, expresses his intention and objective through his deed. whether good or bad. Therefore, Islam takes care to enlighten the intention, and to correct man's direction and goal in life, as a part of its educational method which is keen on amending man's inner self, and building the inner feelings on the bases of morality and good behaviour.
Since man's intention plays an effective role in the formation of his personality and has an important impact on society, Islam has based both the rewards and the consequences on intentions and the objectives, according to which Allah's reward and punishment are deserved.
Muhammad (s.a.w.) has said, "Verily deeds are as their intentions are, and everybody gets according to his intention. So, whoever advances to Allah and His Messenger, his advance will be to Allah and His Messenger; and whoever advances to worldly possession, or to marry a woman, his advance will be to what he has in his intention ."(17)
The Prophet's grandson, the Imam Au bin al-Hussain (a.s.), said, "There is no deed without an intention ."
Islam. however, distinguishes between two kinds of deeds:
a. Deeds whose correctness depends on their intentions (the intention of reaching the proximity of Allah the Exalted). These are devotional and charitable deeds.
b. Deeds whose correctness does not depend on intending them to he for gaining Allah's proximity. such as commercial transactions, trading, legal commitments, marriage, and the likes of such social relations.
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But this classification does not deprive the intention from its central role, if we are to take into consideration the moral and spiritual aspects connected to the legal aspect of these deeds.
For example: Whoever engages in commerce and is lenient in his transactions according to the Islamic laws and regulations, intending, by this, to be obedient to Allah's commands, has given his deed the attribute of being "a devotional deed . He thus converts a business deal into a moral and spiritual endeavor that deserves Allah's reward. The effect of the intention upon the deed and the changing of its value is a natural result of Islam's being more attentive to the realities of the self, which does the deed, than of the deed itself. It is the doer who is, in Islam, the principal factor, while the deed is but an effect and a phenomenon denoting the movement of the doer.
Therefore, Islam attaches great importance and care to the cultivation of good intentions and directs man toward them, so as to tie him to Allah the Exalted and to serve Him alone.