Take Charge, Ritual Slaughter, Firasah

Issue 518 » February 27, 2009 - Rabi Al-Awwal 2, 1430

Living The Quran

Al-Tahrim (The Prohibition)
Chapter 66: Verse 6 (Partial)

Take charge of your home
"Guard yourselves and your kindred from the Fire."

Your own home is in your control. Strive to enforce the commandments of Allah within its precincts. Establish Allah's rules in your home. Your most important task should be to arrange and maintain your home according to the Will of Allah. After your own self, the things about which you shall be asked and required to explain on the Day of Judgment will be those that are within your power. Most important amongst these is your home. The reformation of your home is dependent upon your own reformation and vice versa. When your home operates according to the Will of Allah, you shall be rewarded with the immense wealth of peace and satisfaction. Although no home is secure against external influences today, yet your efforts can make a great difference.

Let the spirit of this verse be central to the daily routines of your domestic life and for your mutual relations. Whether it is the material possessions of your home or the food and drink, or the education and training of your children, or their entertainment and future welfare, or the relationships between spouses and the treatment of the children, always make sure that no action of yours leads you to the hell-fire. The more you keep your vision focused on this principle and the more you strive towards this end, the more your domestic life will be heavenly and is likely to lead you to the attainment of Paradise.

This is not to say that this constant concern with hell-fire will deprive you of all worldly pleasures and enjoyment. No, not at all. Given such a concern, your home life will be permeated with mutual caring; there will also be much love and mutual affection; and there will also be the happiness that emanates from mutual forgiving and tolerance. There will also be a lot of scope for enjoyment from things that are clean and lawful, and of course, the home will have all permissible adornments. All these will be there since they are to save oneself from Allah's wrath.

Compiled From:
"Dying and living for Allah" - Khurram Murad, pp. 63, 64

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Ritual Slaughter

The Prophet, peace be upon him, did not simply command us to respect the ritual and say the formula "Bismillah, Allahu Akbar!" ([I begin with] In the name of God, God is the greatest!) with which animals could be killed for food. He required animals to be treated in the best possible way and spared needless suffering. As a man had immobilized his beast and was sharpening his knife in front of it, the Prophet intervened to say: "Do you want to make it die twice? Why didn't you sharpen your knife [away from the animal's view] before immobilizing it?" Muhammad had asked everyone to do their best to master the range of skills: for a man whose task was to slaughter animals, this clearly consisted of respecting the lives of the animals, their food, their dignity as living beings, and sacrificing them only for his needs, while sparing them unnecessary suffering.

The formula accompanying the sacrifice was only to be understood as the ultimate formula that, in effect, attested that the animal had been treated in the light of Islamic teachings during its lifetime. This formula was certainly not sufficient to prove that those teachings were respected: an animal slaughtered correctly according to Islamic ritual but ill-treated during its lifetime therefore remained, in the light of the Islamic principles transmitted by the Messenger, an anomaly and a betrayal of the message. The Prophet had threatened: "He who kills a sparrow or any bigger animal without right will have to account for it to God on Judgment Day." The Prophet thus taught that the animal's right to be respected, to be spared suffering and given the food it needed, to be well treated, was not negotiable. It was part of human being's duties and was to be understood as one of the conditions of spiritual elevation.

Proposing breeding techniques on a small, medium, or large scale; developing new types of slaughterhouses allying respect and efficiency; issuing legal rulings (fatawa) that, in some areas, more clearly encourage monetary compensation rather than ritual sacrifice (which remains a recommended act - sunnah) are all initiatives that may help the Muslim world to reconcile itself with the higher objectives and meanings of its ethics rather than hiding behind insistence on norms and means that guarantee only false respect of the requirements of Islam's message.

Ritual slaughter is a simple, day-to-day example, which perfectly reveals the contradictions within contemporary spiritual teachings. It emblematizes the whole problem: obsession with form regardless of substance, confusing means and ends, adoption of reform that is not suitable for transformation, and overdetermining norms while neglecting meaning: it is the heart of all contradictions.

Compiled From:
"Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 236 - 238

Cool Concepts


Firasah is a sense of visual acumen, perception and insight.The firasah is a light which Allah, subhanahu wa ta`ala, deposits in the heart of His servant. By this light, His servant distinguishes between truth and falsehood and between right and wrong.

The reality of firasah is a sharp thought that enters the heart and dominates its opinion. It overwhelms the heart just as the lion does to its pray, fareesah. Note the similarity between firasah and fareesah in Arabic. However, in their linguistic forms, fareesah is an object whereas firasah is similar in form to wilayah (authority and power), imarah (authority and command) and siyasah (administration and leadership).

The strength of firasah is dependent on the strength of faith. A person with stronger faith has sharper firasah. Amr bin Nujaid used to say that whoever lowers his gaze away from prohibitions, restrains himself from vain desires, constructs his interior according to muraqabah (knowledge that Allah is watching over us), his exterior according to the Sunnah, and accustoms himself to eat only halal, his firasah will never be wrong.

Firasah is linked to three human organs: the eye, ear and heart. His eye examines the look and the signs, his ear examines the speech, the over expressions, oblique inferences and hints, content, logic and tone of voice. And his heart analyzes both what is seen and heard to perceive hidden thoughts of others. His analysis and examination of the interior compared to the exterior is like one who examines currency to see if it is counterfeit after examining the outside. It is also similar to Ahlul-Hadeeth (scholars who specialize in the knowledge of the hadeeth), who will read a hadeeth that has a sound isnad (chain of narrators) but upon examination of the matn (text of the hadeeth), it is found that it is a fabricated hadeeth.

There are two factors in firasah. One is the quality of one's mind, the sharpness of the heart and the intelligence. The second is the appearance of the signs and indications on others. When both factors are present then one's firasah may not be wrong.

Compiled From:
Madarij As-Salikeen, "The Station of Firasah" - Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah, Translated by Yahya Ibrahim