Collective Work, Joking, Sarcasm, Irony, Necessities and Needs

Issue 468 » March 14, 2008 - Rabi-al-Awwal 6, 1429

Living The Quran

Al-Saff (The Ranks)
Chapter 61: Verse 4

Collective Work
"Allah loves those who fight in His cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure."

It is not enough for Islam's wellbeing that volunteering individuals should work separately and in scattered areas, though their efforts will be added to their balance on the Day of Judgment, for Allah shall not waste the effort of a man or woman, and everyone shall be rewarded for his deeds according to his intention and perfection of his work.

Individual work, under the contemporary circumstances of the Muslim Nation, will not be enough for bridging over the gap and realizing the aspired hope. Collective work is a must, and it is ordained by religion and necessitated by reality.

Religion advocates "the sense of congregating" and opposes "straying". Allah's hand is with collective effort, and he who strays shall stray into Hell. It is only the stray sheep that the wolf devours. A believer to another believer is like one firm brickwork - each part supporting the other. Cooperation in righteousness and piety is one of the obligations of religion; and the mutual teaching of truth and patience is one of the preconditions of saving oneself from loss in earthly life and the Hereafter.

The sheer state of affairs makes it impossible for a fruitful work to be done individually. It takes two hands to clap, and one is weak by himself, strong by his fellows. Great achievements are only made through concerted efforts, and decisive battles are won only through the unity of hands.

"Priorities of The Islamic Movement in The Coming Phase" - Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Joking, Sarcasm & Irony

Deliberate lies and falsehoods must not be employed as a means to make people laugh.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Woe to the person who gives a speech to people and lies to make them laugh. Woe to him, woe to him. [Sunan Ab Dwd (4990), Sunan al-Tirmidh (2315), and Sunan al-Drim (2702)]

Sarcasm and irony are rhetorical devices in the language which communicate meanings that are clearly understood from their contexts.

Sarcasm is to say something with an underlying insulting or mocking implication. Irony is a form of expression in which an understood implicit meaning is concealed or contradicted by the explicit meaning of the expression. Sarcasm is often used in conjunction with irony. What matters is the honesty of the meaning that is being conveyed by the communication, not the literal implications of the words.

For instance, a person is writing something down. The onlooker can see this, but asks: "Are you writings something?"

The person who is writing responds to the onlookers question by saying: No, I am playing football.

What he means is: Of course I am writing, and it is silly of you to ask. This is the meaning that is communicated and understood.

In English, there are some phrases that are always ironic. Consider when a person says: Big deal or Wise guy.

Therefore, ironic and sarcastic statements are not lies, any more than figurative speech is a lie. "He was a lion on the football field" is a figurative statement, not a lie - though certainly the football payer is not a great cat.

In the same way, irony and sarcasm are recognized modes of speech which convey an intended meaning understood by both the speaker and the listener.

Irony and sarcasm are therefore quite different than a joke that is a deliberate lie, where the teller of the joke means to communicate a falsehood. Whether or not the listener is aware that it is a lie, what matters is that the speaker fully intends to communicate by what he says a meaning that is false, with the intention of provoking laughter on account of that falsehood.

"IslamToday.com" - Fatwa by`Abd al-Wahhb al-Turayr


Necessities and Needs

Scholars of Islamic Law make a distinction between matters that are prohibited for their inherent evil and matters that are prohibited only because they have the potential to lead up to the perpetration of an inherent evil. For instance, murder, fornication, and drug abuse are prohibited in their own right. By contrast, a woman showing her face in public is prohibited by the scholars who regard it as prohibited because of the temptation that it might cause and that might lead to the sin of fornication or adultery. The woman is not required to veil her face for the mere sake of covering it.

This is an important distinction in Islamic Law. Things that are prohibited in their own right cannot be permitted except in cases of dire necessity (darrah). For instance, a person may not drink wine. However, if that person is choking on something and can only find wine to save himself, he may drink it out of necessity. By contrast, things that are prohibited only because they can lead to other unlawful activities are allowed for any valid need (hjah).

Ibn al-Qayyim explains this principle in I`lm al-Muwaqqi`n:

Prohibitions regarding the means to wrongdoing are not like things that are prohibited for their own sake. Prohibitions regarding the means to wrongdoing will be lifted for a valid need (hjah). As for things that are prohibited for their own sake, their prohibition is not lifted except in cases of dire necessity (darrah).

"Lifting the Veil A Consideration of Circumstances" - Sm al-Mjid, professor at al-Imm Islamic University, Riyadh