A Detail Of The Fasting Commandment
 

It is narrated that; one of the prophet's companions who was weak in body, named MOTAM-IBN-JOBAIR, used to fast all the days in Ramazan. Once, very tired of his daily work he went home and lay on a resting position, waiting for his wife to prepare some food for breaking their fasts. He fell asleep for a while and when his wife woke him up to break his fast, he refused to do so, for knowing it unlawful. So he continued with the fast. Next day, for the battle of Moat, he joined Muslims in digging the trench. He worked hard in the moat, and at once he fainted and fell down. The prophet saw his fainting, he grieved

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and felt sorrow in his heart. On the other hand, as we mentioned above, some of the young Muslims could not control themselves to avoid sexual affairs during the whole month of Ramazan. Owing to these facts, the above verse came down and made things much easier, saying: ``It is made lawful to you, on the night of the fast to approach your wives and have sexual intercourse with them. They are your garments and you are their garments.''

Men and women are each other's garment for mutual support and comfort. A garment is to protect them from cold and warm, and prevent accidents with other things. The garment is also used for concealment, because the question of sex is always delicate to handle. The garment is also an ornament which adds to beauty.

Then the cause of the revelation is pointed at, in the verse saying: ``Allah knew that you were betraying yourselves by doing secretly that which was unlawful.'' So in order to prevent you from being more defiled with sin, Allah turned to you in mercy, and forgave you. In this verse, the sex instinct is classified with eating and drinking, which are prohibited during the fast day; but permitted after the fast is broken at night, till the next fast begins. The verse continues: ``So, now you associate with your wives, and seek what Allah has ordained for you - Eat and drink until the white thread of down appears to you distinct from its black thread. Then complete the fast till the night - i.e. till the sunset.''

The fourth, and the last commandment in this verse is: ``And do not approach your wives, while you are in `RETREAT' in the mosques.'' This is an exception to the general commandment and the whole of the regulations about fasts. Retreat to the mosques is recommended in which all the carnal temptations have to be avoided. As the least length of time marked off for the RETREAT is three days, the above commandment for approaching women in the nights does not read and is naturally violated.

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(( 188 )) 188- AND DO NOT EAT UP YOUR PROPERTIES AMONG YOURSELVES IN VANITY, GIVING SOME OF IT TO JUDGES (AS BRIBE) IN ORDER TO EAT SOME OF PEOPLE'S PROPERTY SINFULLY, WHILE YOU KNOW. (THAT THIS IS A SIN)

THE COMMENTARY

VERSE NO. 188



This verse implies a general, and very important Islamic principle which may govern all the economical affairs, and covers most of the other religious jurisprudence problems. It says: ``Do not eat out your properties among yourselves for vain and frivolous uses.'' In a general sense of meaning, the verse implies a divine prohibition, in order to prevent getting possession of other's properties in a wrong and unrightful manner. This involves all transactions and bargains that are not based on wisdom and justice. This verse is connected with that of the fast, because the greed of wealth and property in man, is classified among the other three primal needs of him that are to be restrained during the fasting day. These were mentioned as eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse. In the preceding verse it was prohibited to eat other people's property, and not only when you fast, but so far as you live; and both of these prohibitions are branches of piety.

Through this verse, man is strictly forbidden to use his property for corrupting others - the judge or those in authority, so as to obtain some material gain, even under the cover and protection of the law: - ``Giving some of your property to judges in order to eat some of people's wealth sinfully, while you know.''

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BRIBERY; THE SOCIAL CALAMITY

One of the great calamities that has always afflicted Man, is BRIBERY, which is a great obstacle to social justice in the world. It is obvious that, where the doors of bribery are kept open rules and laws will give negative results, and will be a play-toy in the hands of the wealthy and men of power. This is why in Islam, it has been declared as a heinous sin; and strictly unlawful. Being so ugly in fame and form, the bribery manifests itself, under some good looking masks and titles such as offer, gift, remuneration and etc. and all of these phases and shades of bribery are unlawful for a Muslim.

It is written in NAHJULBAL?GHE, that ASHAS-IBN-GHIAS, in order to win a judgement in the court, resorted to bribery, and in the night time went to HAZRAT ALI, with a pot of sweet, or what he called it a present. Seeing that; HAZRAT ALI (As) became furious, and said: ``MOURNERS mourn on your death! (DOWN WITH YOU) Have you come thus to deceive me!? Upon my God, if the seven continent plus all that exists under the skies be given to me, for taking out a grain out of the mouth of an ant by oppression and unjustice, I won't do that. To me your world seems less than a chewed leaf of grass which is in the mouth of a grasshopper! What has Ali to do with the mortal bounties, and the fast moving pleasures of the world.''

Islam has condemned bribery in all its forms and phases.

(In prophet's history we read that, he appointed one of the Muslims to collect the TITHE, (alms-tax) from the tribe of Azod. When the THITHE COLLECTOR returned he kept some of the alms that were collected for himself, and gave the rest to the PUBLIC PURSE. When the prophet questioned him that why did he keep those things for himself, he answered: ``Those were gifts presented to myself by people, and they had nothing to do with alms and tithes!'' The prophet then told him: ``If you are truthful in what you say, why didn't you then sit in your house, or in your father's or mother's house, and wait for people to bring to you their gifts?'' the prophet then continued saying: ``The judges and governors, or rulers who are kings' officials and authorities, should consider themselves at home and void of rank and position: Then whatever people may bring them in such a state, as gifts and presents it is theirs. But they

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have to reject that which is not sent to them in their mother's house when they are out of position.'' MEAR?J-AL-SAADAT, PAGE 165 BY: MOLLA AHMAD NAR?GHI

(TRANSLATOR'S NOTE)



(( 189 )) 189- THEY ASK YOU ABOUT THE PHASES OF THE MOON? (THE CRESCENT) SAY: IT IS A TIMER (A NATURAL CALANDER) FOR PEOPLE, AND PILGRIMAGE. AND IT IS NO GOOD TO ENTER THE HOUSES FROM THEIR BACKS, GOOD IS RATHER TO AVOID EVIL, AND TO COME TO THE HOUSES BY THEIR DOORS, AND BEWARE OF ALLAH, PERHAPS YOU PROSPER.

THE COMMENTARY
OCCASION OF REVELATION (VERSE NO. 189)


A group of the Jews asked the prophet about the crescent, and phases of the new moon, and the verse was sent down to answer them, notifying it to be a timer, and measures of time for people and pilgrimage. Then new moon in the lunar calander, is an important sign which Muslims eagerly watch for it; because the festivals, the pilgrimage, and in particular, the beginning and the ending of RAMAZAN, which is the important month of FAST and REVELATION, are all fixed by the appearance of the new moon. The pilgrimage also, which lasts for ten days, will commence by the appearance of the crescent.

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People, whether educated or uneducated, in any point on the globe, use the new moon as a natural calander. This is an advantage of the Islamic commandments over all; that they are based upon the natural measures that everyone has access to. The verse then points to superstitions that are connected with the new moon, or with the pilgrimage; bidding us to disregard them all. The Pagan Arabs among their superstitions, had one which made them to enter their houses by the backdoors during, or at the end of the pilgrimage! This is strictly forbidden by the verse; for there can be no use in such artificial restrictions: ``And it is no good to enter the houses from their backs. Good is rather to avoid evil, and to come to the houses by their doors.''

This phrase of the verse; `ENTER THE HOUSES BY THEIR DOORS' has turned to a proverb among Muslims with many shades of meaning, such as: ``Whatever you want to do whether a religious duty, or a non-religious one, you must do it in its proper way and with proper means and all the necessary instruments for it.'' Also the phrase `IT IS NO GOOD' implies that, your question of the crescent, instead of asking important religious or scientific questions, is just like your entering the houses from their backdoors.

THE PROPHET AND VARIOUS QUESTIONS

In fifteen points and cases, in the holy QUR?N, the phrase: `THEY ASK YOU' is repeated, which indicates that the people were asking the prophet various questions, every now and then. Worthy of note that, the prophet has been reported never to have been annoyed by questions. On the contrary he used to answer all the questions with pleasure and an open face. Some of these questions are answered through the QUR?NIC verses that we take as example.

It is among the human rights for a person to question his leader. Question is a key for opening and solving the problems - It is a means for transfer of knowledge from one to another, and in every society and among all the nations it is a sign of movement of thoughts and wakefulness of minds. So many questions that were asked in the life time of the prophet, are the evidence of people's revolutionary movement of thought, and progress of minds.

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(( 190 )) 190- AND FIGHT IN THE WAY OF ALLAH WITH THOSE WHO FIGHT WITH YOU, AND DO NOT EXCEED THE LIMITS, BECAUSE ALLAH DOES NOT LOVE THOSE WHO EXCEED THE LIMITS. (( 191 ))

191- KILL THEM (THE IDOLATERS WHO AVOID NOT ANY CRIME) WHEREVER YOU FIND THEM; AND EXPEL THEM FROM WHERE THEY EXPELLED YOU. (FROM MECCA) TUMULT IS WORSE THAN SLAYING. AND DO NOT FIGHT WITH THEM AT THE SACRED MOSQUE, UNTIL THEY FIGHT WITH YOU IN IT. IF THEY FIGHT YOU (WITHIN THE PRECINCTS OF THE SACRED MOSQUE) THEN KILL THEM. SUCH IS THE RECOMPENSE OF THE UNBELIEVERS.

(( 192 )) 192- BUT IF THEY CEASED, ALLAH IS ALL-FORGIVING, THE COMPASSIONATE

(( 193 )) 193- AND FIGHT THEM ON, UNTIL THERE BE NO MORE TUMULT, (IDOLATERY AND INVASION TO PEOPLE'S FREEDOM) AND THAT ALLAH'S RELIGION REIGNS SUPREME. THEN IF THEY CEASE (FIRE), FIGHT NONE BUT THE EVIL-DOERS.

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THE COMMENTARY
OCCASION OF REVELATION (VERSE NO. 190)


This was the first verse, through which war was permitted by a muslim for the cause of Allah, and in self-defence, but with well defined limits. It was after this revelation that the prophet proceeded to provide military equipments and prepared to fight; but only with those who fought with him. he then continued with this policy and strategy until another verse revealed to fight against all the idolaters and polytheists. The clause: ``FIGHT IN THE WAY OF ALLAH'' implies that when war is undertaken it must be pushed on to restore peace and freedom for the worship of God. It is not a fight for conquering lands and countries, or taking vengeance, or through ambitiousness. In any case and condition of war, strictly limits and bounds should not be exceeded in quantity and quality- The rights of the captives should be observed and regarded. Women, children, old, and weak persons should not be molested. Trees and corps are not to be cut down and spoiled, and when the enemy comes to term; peace should not be withheld. Drinking water of the enemy should never be poisoned. This is why the verse ends in: ``Allah does not love those who exceed the limits.''

VERSE NO. 191

This is a complementary to the previous verse, giving more detail of the commandment, and a clear view of it; saying: ``Kill the idolators who avoid not any crime, wherever you find them and expel them from Mecca, where from they expelled you.'' The Arabic word `FETNEH' translated here `TUMULT', means putting a piece of gold in the fire, to find its measure of goodness and purity. Idolatry and its corruptions and immoralities had defiled the Sacred Mosque. The consequences of its corruption was worse than that of war and murder, for the society. Therefore the verse here implies that: for fear of slaying and bloodshed you should not stop fighting against idolatry which in its very self, is worse and more dangerous than killing and blood-shed.

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Then another important matter is brought to light by the verse; and that is to regard the sanctity of the sacred territory of the house of Allah, saying: ``And do not fight with them at the sacred mosque, until they fight with you in it. And if they fight you within the precincts of the sacred mosque, then kill them - and such is the recompense of the unbelievers.''

VERSE NO. 192

As in the Qur?n, warning and glad tiding, are accompanied and used to amend and purify the sinners; through this verse the doors of return and repentance is kept open for all - Even if the idolaters who fight with you are willing to leave polytheism, and have come to term, giving an end to their hostility, then cease fire, for Allah will forgive them, because He is All-forgiving, the Compassionate. VERSE NO. 193

This one implies the purpose and goals of the sacred wars (JAHAD) which are waged against the idolaters. The highest and the last goal of such sacred wars, is to restore peace, security, and freedom for the worship of the true and only one God, namely Allah, who is the Creator of the UNIVERSE - ``And fight them on, until there be no more tumult, or agitation of a multitude, and that Allah's religion reigns supreme. Then if they cease fire, and come to term with you, your hostility with them too, ends collectively. But this does not mean that you will be friends to oppression and infidelity. Your fight against evil and your challenge against wrong, which is not rancor against men, has to continue for ever.''

Apparently three targets are set for JAHAD, or the sacred wars:

1) Giving an end to tumults and agitations.
2) Effacement, and complete elimination of idolatries.
3) Preventing oppressions.

ISLAMIC JAH?D (ENDEAVOUR THROUGH SACRED WARS)

As the selfish men of rank and power, such as PHARAOH - NIMROD - KORAH and else, have always taken the prophet's instruction against

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their intersets, and obstrusive to their profits and advantages, they have always resisted strongly against them, in order to prevent the Message of God reaching HIS servants. Such a resistance makes it incumbent upon a believer who relies on wisdom, logic, and morals, to challenge against these powerful obstacles in the way of social and moral development and progress. In fact, JAH?D is a universal and natural law of life, because, every living creature has to fight for his life and existence, against the causes of his annihilation. However we Muslims have the honour that, our religion consists of spiritual as well as ruling and governing instructions, which may explain well our endeavour through the sacred wars. According to the verse of Qur?n and our traditions Islamic JAH?D has several purposes and targets that follows:

1- FIGHT FOR EXTINGUISHING THE FIRE OF TUMULT AND DISORDER

In other word we may call Jihad the primal fight and endeavour for freedom and security. Allah has ordained programmes, and given instructions for our prosperity and salvation. These are found in HIS Message which is sent down and revealed to HIS Messengers and apostles. Then if an individual or a party of people try to create obstacles in the way of Man to prosperity and salvation, and block up the way through which the Message of God is conveyed to mankind, the believer has every right to push these obstacles aside from the road - at first peacefully, and if not; at last fightfully in order to make the path of truth safe and secure for those who intend to tread on.

2- DEFENSIVE JAHAD

All the rules and laws that are set and approved either in the heaven or on the earth, give the right to an individual or a group, who has been attacked or invaded to defend himself against the intrusion and invasion. Most of the Islamic battles, such as that of the Moat - Muteh - Honine and else, were all defensive wars, which were imposed

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upon the prophet and his companions.

3- JAH?D FOR EFFACEMENT OF IDOLATRY

Islam has a respect for the freedom of idea and thought, and does not compel any one to accept the religion. (QUR?N - S 2: 256) This is why for those people like the Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians, who hold a Divine Book or scriptures, enough time and opportunity is given so as to think it over and decide. If they rejected the faith, they are not compelled to accept it. They will be dealt with as a minor group in Islamic nation with certain terms and conditions, and all Islamic human rights, which are not complex or difficult for them to accept. Thus they may join Muslims in a peaceful symbiosis, living together in a friendly manner and intimate association.

On the other hand, Islam stands firm against idolatries, and alleviates nothing in this field, and endures not to live beside an idolater. This is because idolatry is neither a religion nor a creed. It is only a foolishness, superstition and to some extent a mental disease, which should be eliminated from the society in any price.

Therefore, the Islamic JAH?D is based on wisdom, logic, and correct principles. But we do see the enemies of Islam, and in particular the highups of the church, spitefully, and through self-interest deviate and disguise the truth; and unjustly attack and reject this Divine Commandment in an unmanly manner, merely for the fear of Islam's progress, which is of course inevitable, whether they want it or not.

4- JAH?D TO SUPPORT THE OPPRESSED

Supporting the oppressed against the oppressors, is a principle in Islam, that must be observed and regarded, even if it leads to a bloody JAH?D.

Islam never admits a Muslim to sit quiet and watch indifferently an oppressed to be scratched with the paws of an oppressor. This instruction is one of the most valuable instructions among the others, and is an evidence of Islam's truthfulness. [ 211 ]

(( 194 )) 194- THE PROHIBITED MONTH FOR THE PROHIBITED MONTH. (IF YOUR ENEMIES VIOLATED THE SANCTITY OF THE SACRED MONTH AND PROCEEDED TO FIGHT WITH YOU; YOU MAY ALSO FIGHT WITH THEM) AND ALL THE SACRED THINGS ARE (UNDER THE LAW OF) RETALIATION. WHOEVER COMMITS AGGRESSION AGAINST YOU; YOU TOO COMMIT AGGRESSION AGAINST HIM LIKEWISE. AND BEWARE OF ALLAH, AND KNOW THAT ALLAH IS WITH THE GOD FEARING

THE COMMENTARY
VERSE NO. 194


The pagan Arabs knew that in the prohibited months (i. e. ZELGHAADEH - ZELHAJJEH - MOHARRAM and RAJAB) warfare was prohibited by Islam; so they decided to lie in ambush in one of those months, to make a surprise attack on Muslims. They also might have thought; if they violated the sanctity of the sacred months, Muslims won't do that, and they could win a battle with them.

In fact any convention is useless if one party does not respect it, and therefore there must be a law of reciprocity with mutual understanding and acceptance. So if the Pagan enemies of Islam broke the custom and law, and violated the sanctity of the sacred things, then Muslims were compelled to do so to that extent, and hence the verse: ``The prohibited months for the prohibited months, and so it is for all sacred things for which there must be a law of equality and retaliation.'' Then the verse signifies a general instruction that: ``Whoever transgresses against you; you

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also may transgress likewise against him.'' Islam's teaching about revenge is different to that of Christianity, which says: ``You have heard that it was said: An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, but now I tell you, if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap your left cheek too!'' MATTHEW - 5: 38 Islam has not given such that instruction about revenge, for being evident, that it may serve to increase the boldness and obstinacy of the wrong doer and the transgressor. Even the Christians of to-day's world, do not follow the instruction, and respond harshly to the least transgresses and aggressions.

Islam's logical doctrine declares: ``Yielding to aggressors is yielding to death, and that resisting them equals to life.'' As for the clause: ``Allah is with the God-fearing.'' It may mean that, Allah will not leave the pious alone and unhelped, in difficulties and troubles.

(( 195 )) 195- AND SPEND IN THE WAY OF ALLAH, AND CAST NOT YOURSELVES BY YOUR OWN HANDS INTO DESTRUCTION; AND BE CHARITABLE FOR ALLAH LOVES THOSE WHO DO GOOD.

THE COMMENTARY
VERSE NO. 195


This verse is a complementary to the verse of JAH?D, and this is because every fight requires as much veterans and expert and brave warriors, as it needs equipments and weapon, which is provided by wealth and money. What can a veteran and a brave soldier do in the field without having adequate weapon and arms? So, if the war is based on justice, and is for the cause of God, all the wealthies have to

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spend for it, in addition to their personal effects and endeavours, and so says the verse: ``Spend in the way of Allah, and cast not yourselves, by your own hands into perdition and destruction.''

CHARITY MAY SAVE THE COMMUNITY FROM DESTRUCTION

Though this verse is revealed among those of JAH?D, yet it implies a common and social fact which is the CHARITY, and that it may save the community from being destructed and ruined. When charity and alms giving is forgotten in a nation; and wealth is collected by the few who hug it, and on the other hand, a majority of people - poor and needy stands in front of them, sooner or later a great explosion may happen in such a community, the flames of which will burn out the rich and their riches too! Therefore charity and alms-tax is for the own-good of the wealthy, before it might be useful to the poor and needy, and of surety adjustment and conformity in riches is guardian of wealth. A quotation of HAZRAT IMAM ALI (AS) is: ``Protect your wealth by alms-tax. (ZAK?T)''

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196- AND COMPLETE THE PILGRIMAGE AND THE LESSER PILGRIMAGE, ONLY FOR THE SAKE OF GOD. BUT IF YOU WERE BARRED FROM IT, (FOR BEING SICK, OR PREVENTED BY ENEMIES, OR DANGER) THEN SUCH OFFERINGS AS YOU CAN

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AFFORD, ( i.e. GIVE TO SACRIFICE AND TAKE OUT YOUR GARB) AND DO NOT SHAVE YOUR HEAD, UNTIL THE OFFERING REACHES ITS DESTINATION. (THE PLACE OF SACRIFICE) BUT IF ANY OF YOU IS ILL, OR SUFFERS FROM AN AILMENT OF THE HEAD, THEN REDEMPTION BY FAST, OR BY ALMS, OR OFFERING A SACRIFICE. WHEN YOU ARE SECURE, IF ANYONE WISHES TO JOIN HIS LESSER PILGRIMAGE, TO THE INTERRUPTED PILGRIMAGE; HE MUST MAKE AN OFFERING SUCH AS HE CAN AFFORD. BUT AS FOR HIM WHO CANNOT FIND. (ANIMAL FOR SACRIFICE) LET HIM FAST FOR THREE DAYS DURING THE DAYS OF PILGIRIMAGE, AND (ANOTHER) SEVEN DAYS ON HIS RETURN, MAKING TEN DAYS IN ALL. THAT IS FOR HIM WHOSE FAMILY ARE NOT PRESENT AT THE HOLY MOSQUE. AND BEWARE OF ALLAH, AND KNOW THAT ALLAH IS STERN IN RETRIBUTION.

THE COMMENTARY
SOME IMPORTANT COMMANDMENTS OF PILGRIMAGE


Through this verse several instructions are given as to the rites of pilgrimage (HAJJ). We are told:

1- Having once undertaken the pilgrimage, we must complete it, and we have to do it only for the sake of God, and as a symbol of our worship; and not for wordly purposes.

2- Then it refers to those who for any reason, after wearing the Pilgrimage Garb cannot, or are prevented to perform the rites of the

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Lesser Pilgrimage (UMREH). They are told here to give their offering to sacrifice, and then take out their Garb. (IHR?M)

3- The Sacrifice would have been offered if we had been present personally. Here we may send the sacrifice by a deputy, and leave shaving our heads, (WHICH IS ONE OF THE CHIEF RITES) until we are sure enough that our sacrifice has reached its destination. When so, we could then shave our heads and resume our ordinary dress and avocations.

4- Then an exception is made in the commandment; that, if anyone becomes ill after putting the GARB on, or if he has some trouble such as skin disease, or he suffers from an ailment on the head, or for any rational reason he has to shave his head before the completion of HAJJ, he may redeem that by a fast, or by feeding a poor, or by offering a sacrifice; he has three options.

5- Though the revelation provides for the particular occasion in which Mecca was in hands of the enemies of Islam; the verse also serves for normal conditions too; saying:

``When you are safe and secure, having performed the Lesser Pilgrimage (UMREH), and you want to join it to the Interrupted Pilgrimage, which is the formal Hajj; you have to make an offering to sacrifice, such as you can afford it.''

6- In cases where the pilgrim cannot afford to pay for, or provide the sacrifice; then he has to fast for three days, during the days of pilgrimage, and another seven days on his return making ten days all together.

7- For the residents of Mecca the problem of UMREH does not arise, and it is for him whose family are not present at the Holy Mosque. This implies that giving a sacrifice, whether a sheep, a cow or a camel is incumbent upon the pilgrims, and without making the sacrifice, he is not to remove out his grab (IHRAM). This verse ends in a warning to those who pay not enough heed to the rites of HAJJ and to the importance of the Pilgrimage in Islam, saying: ``Beware of Allah, and know that Allah is stern in punishment.''

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THE IMPORTANCE OF HAJJ IN ISLAM

HAJJ, is one of the most important services and worships. Ordainded by Islam. It has countless blessings and shakes the back of the enemies! In every year HAJJ, infuses new blood in the veins of Muslims.