Respect for Contract, Perfecting Islam, Art and Science

Issue 904 » July 22, 2016 - Shawwal 17, 1437

Living The Quran

Respect for Contract
Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War) - Chapter 8: Verse 172

"Those who believed, who emigrated and struggled with their goods and themselves in the way of God, and those who gave them refuge and succor, they are allied with each other. And as for those who believed but who did not emigrate with you, you will not be bound to them as they did not emigrate. If they ask for your help in the name of religion, you must help them, except against people with whom you have concluded a treaty. God sees perfectly what you do."

if Muslims are treated unjustly or persecuted in a country with which another Muslim community has signed an agreement, it is impossible for the latter to intervene because respect for the contract overrides everything.

Although this verse refers to a situation in which two entities exist — for example, a Muslim state such as Medina and a non-Muslim neighbor — it is still possible to deduce at least three essential teachings:

1. Muslims are not responsible for those of the coreligionists who choose to live elsewhere and are bound to another state (by an explicit or tacit agreement).

2. It is the duty of Muslims to react when their brothers or sisters are exposed to persecution by reason of their religious beliefs.

3. However, the duty to help persecuted believers cannot be carried out if there is a treaty (of alliance or nonintervention), for such an intervention would mean a unilateral breach of the obligations of the agreement.

These three observations are of prime importance in discussions of the notion of umma and what is implied by being connected to it. One part of Muslim identity is guided by the principle of justice, but this may be restricted in certain circumstances when there are pacts which may be signed by Muslims—in their capacity as individuals or a community.

Compiled From:
"Belonging to the Islamic Umma" - Tariq Ramadan

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Perfecting Islam

In Sahih Muslim, there is a hadith on the authority of Abu Huraira that describes the great reward for those people who complete and "perfect" their Islam. Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

"If one of you makes his faith excellent, he will be recorded for every good deed ten-fold to seven hundred fold. And for every evil deed he does, he will have recorded one similar to it, until he meets Allah."

According to ibn Rajab, every good deed will be recorded ten-fold. However, the increase upon that is determined by how much a person completes his faith. In other words, the purer his intention, the greater the deed he performed and so forth will lead the deed to being multiplied seven-hundred fold.

A hadith in Sunan al-Nasai states,

"If a servant accepts Islam and completes his Islam, Allah will record for him every good deed that he performed before [his Islam] and Allah will erase for him every evil deed that he did before [his Islam]. Then everything after that will be according to a retribution. For every good deed, he will be recorded ten-fold up to seven hundred fold. And for every evil deed he will be recorded similarly [one] for it, unless Allah overlooks that for him." [Malik, Al-Nasai]

This hadith shows that a person will be rewarded for the good deeds that he performed before becoming Muslim. His evil deeds will also be erased after becoming Muslim. However, this is conditional. This is conditional upon the fact that he perfects or completes his Islam. That is, it is conditional that he remains away from the evil deeds after he becomes a Muslim.

Compiled From:
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo, pp. 589, 590


Art and Science

There is an order to an engine and an order to a melody. These two orders cannot, even in the final analysis, be reduced to a common source. The first is a spatial or quantitative combination of relations and parts in accordance with nature, logic, and mathematics. The second maintains a combination of tones or words in a melody or in a poem. These two orders belong to two different categories: science and religion, or from this point of view, science and art.

The existence of another world (another order) in addition to the natural one is the basic premise of every religion and art. If only one world existed, art would be impossible. In fact, every work of art is an impression of a world to which we do not belong and from which we have not arisen, into which we have been cast. Art is a nostalgia or memory.

Somebody once said that art is a call for the creation of man, and every science must finally conclude that man does not exist. Art is therefore in natural opposition to the world, to all of its science, its psychology, its biology, and its Darwin. Essentially, this is a religious opposition. Religion, morality, and art are on the same geneological branch that springs from the act of creation. That is why Darwinian negation of creation - because it renounces this act - is the most radical negation not only of religions but of ethics, art, and law as well. If man is really "made according to Darwin," if that is not solely a support, a frame for his spirit and for his "self," then art has nothing to do, and the poets and tragedians delude us and write nonsense.

Compiled From:
"Islam Between East and West" - Alija Ali Izetbegovic, pp. 77, 78