Indiscriminate Animosity, Love in Public, Sanctity of The State

Issue 874 » December 25, 2015 - Rabi Al-Awwal 14, 1437

Living The Quran

Indiscriminate Animosity
Al-Mumtahanah (The Tested Woman) - Chapter 60: Verse 8

"God does not forbid you, with regard to those who did not fight you on account of religion and did not expel you from your homes, from treating them righteously and being just toward them. Truly God loves the just."

Muslims are here encouraged not to treat an entire people as enemies, if only some of those people are in fact enemies. In this context, God does not forbid you is understood as a positive exhortation meaning, “God wishes you to do so”.

This verse was reportedly revealed in response to a specific incident when Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakr, refused to meet her mother, who had come from Makkah to visit her in Madinah, because her mother had remained an idolater rather than embracing Islam. When the situation was brought to the attention of the Prophet, this verse was revealed. Asma then received her mother in her house. In this context, that God loves the just indicates that God loves those who are able to discern between those who are enemies and those who are not, thus avoiding indiscriminate animosity.

Compiled From:
"The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary" - Seyyed Hossein Nasr

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Love in Public

Some people say: “Talk of love is meaningless when the world is suffering from so much war and bloodshed.”

But it is not unlikely that the very same person who is saying that is cradling a child in their arms or taking a cup of something to drink with affection from the hands of the one they love. If they are not doing so, then they should be. Love is not a defect. It is not a deviant feeling. People should not be told to forget about it and bury it.

Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) home was permeated with pure love, even in the most trying times and during the most severe challenges. Aishah would still say to her husband: “By Allah! I love you and I love to be near you.” He would stay close to her, even in public, like the time the Ethiopian acrobat troop performed in the mosque, and she watched them while leaning against him lovingly. [Bukhari, Muslim] She wanted the people of Madinah to see how close to him she was.

Even when the time of death approached him, he sought permission from the rest of his family to spend those final days with her in her chambers. She said: “The Prophet died resting in my arms.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

The Prophet was not shy to show his love in public. He did not consider it a weakness or a deficiency.

Homes that are bereft of love are emotionally cold places, where relationships are wooden and mercy is in short supply. Harshness and bitterness are the order of the day, and sometimes even violence. They do not show mercy nor do they wish for mercy to descend upon them. They might justify their austerity with false religious zeal. However, the best guidance is that of our Prophet, and his home was full of love and warmth.

Prophet Muhammad used to pray to Allah to bless him to love in a way that pleases Him and that will not distract him from remembering Him. He said: “And I ask You to bless me to love You and to love those whom You love, and to love the deeds that will bring me closer to Your love.” [Musnad Ahmad]

Compiled From:
"Our Societies Should Not Fear Love" - Salman al-Oadah


Sanctity of The State

Many have advocated the view that since the state in Islam applies the shariah, its rulings must be obeyed in all religious matters. This is an erroneous view simply because Islam does not endow the state with sanctity of any kind. The State in Islam is civilian in character; the head of state is elected by the people. He is not immune to error and he is accountable for his conduct like anyone else. In the event of crime or blatant violation of the trust of office, he may be sued and subjected to the authority of the courts without any claim to privileged treatment. “It is the greatest aberration (akbar al-khata)”, in al-Qaradawi’s phrase, “for the state or its supporters to think that it has a monopoly over legitimacy and truth, or to think that anyone who opposes them is necessarily wrong.” We listen to everyone who makes a contribution and we are entitled to decide for ourselves as to whose version is convincing and justified.

When the Mutazilite rationalists became prominent under the Abbasid caliphs, al-Mamun, al-Mutasim and al-Wathiq in the mid-ninth century, the state tried to compel the people to embrace the Mutazilite doctrines over whether the Quran was the created or uncreated speech of God. This led to what is known in Islamic history as the Mihnah (‘inquisition’) that entailed persecution of many leading scholars, including the Imam Ahmad b. H?anbal (d. 869). The Imam resisted intense pressure due to his belief that the state had no authority to impose its views on anyone, let alone resorting to coercive action over speculative issues. Islamic history has recorded this as a violation of the freedom of expression that everyone must enjoy.

Compiled From:
"Diversity and Pluralism" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 40-42