Exclusive Prerogative, Financial Assistance, Power to Incapacitate

Issue 842 » May 15, 2015 - Rajab 26, 1436

Living The Quran

Exclusive Prerogative
Al-Nisa (The Women) - Chapter 4: Verse 48 (partial)

"Surely God will not forgive the association of partners (shirk) with Him, but He forgives (sins) less than that of whomever He wishes."

To lay down what is lawful or not is the exclusive prerogative of God and neither the Prophets themselves nor the ulama could modify the revealed rulings or make new decisions out of the Revelation framework. In fact, to make unlawful what is lawful or lawful what is unlawful is similar to shirk, assigning oneself or another as God’s partner. This is the gravest sin in Islam.

Man, by fixing or modifying what has been clearly revealed, takes rights which are absolutely not his, and, consciously or not, places himself beside the Creator. Be this through prophethood, an institution organised into a hierarchy (Church or Council) or an individual claiming authority, all is totally unacceptable in Islam. Many stories have been quoted in this regard regarding our great ulama. The ulama of the first three generations (salaf) did not say that something was unlawful unless its unlawfulness was based on indisputable evidence, that is through a clear statement in the Quran or the Sunna.

Thus, the Believer must understand the importance of sticking firmly to what God has revealed and not go beyond allowed rights. Neither in the sense of limitless liberality or inordinate excess in prohibiting things or activities.

Compiled From:
"To Be A European Muslim" - Tariq Ramadan

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Financial Assistance

Begging or soliciting financial assistance is disapproved in the Shariah and should only be resorted to in the case of necessity. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to Qabeesa:

"O Qabeesa, begging is not permissible but for one of three (classes) of persons: one who has incurred debt, for him begging is permissible until he pays that off, after which he must stop; a man whose property has been destroyed by a calamity which has smitten him, for him begging is permissible till he gets what will support life or will provide him reasonable subsistence; and a person who has been smitten by poverty, the genuineness of which is confirmed by three intelligent members of his people, for him begging is permissible until he gets what will support him, or will provide him subsistence. O Qabeesa, besides these three, [every other reason] for begging is forbidden, and one who engages in such consumes that which is forbidden." [Muslim]

Instead of asking from others and relying upon others, a Muslim should much rather prefer to work for his own wealth, even if his work is of a very menial nature. In another hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated:

"It is better for one of you to bring a load of firewood on his back and sell it, than to ask of another who might give him or refuse to give him." [Muslim]

Compiled From:
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo, pp. 753, 754


Power to Incapacitate

If anything is art, the Quran certainly is. If the minds of the Muslims have been affected by anything, it was certainly affected by the Quran. If this affecting was anywhere deep enough to become constitutive, it was so in aesthetics. There is no Muslim whom the Quranic cadences, rhymes, and awjah al balaghah (facets of eloquence) have not shaken to the very depth of his being; there is no Muslim whose norms and standards of beauty the Quran has not re-kneaded and made in its own image.

This aspect of the Quran the Muslims have called its ijaz (power to incapacitate), its placing the reader in front of a challenge to which he can rise, but which he can never meet. In fact, the Quran itself defied its audience, the Arabs, with their highest literary excellence, to produce anything like the Quran, and chided them for their failure to do so. Some of the enemies of Islam among the Prophet's contemporaries rose to the task and were humiliated by the judgement of their opponents as well as by that of their own friends. Muhammad (peace be upon him) was called a man possessed and the Quran a work of magic precisely on account of its effect upon the consciousness of its hearers.

Everybody recognized that although the Quranic verses did not conform to any of the known patterns of poetry, they produced the same effect as poetry, indeed, to a superlative degree. Every verse is complete and perfect by itself. It often rhymes with the preceding verse or verses and contains one or more religious or moral meanings embedded in literary expressions or articulation of sublime beauty. So mighty is the momentum it generates that the recitation impels the audience irresistibly to move with it, to expect the next verse and to reach the most intense quiescence upon hearing it. Then the process starts again with the next one, two or a group of three or more verses.

Compiled From:
"Al Tawhid: Its Implications for Thought and Life" - Ismail Raji al Faruqi, pp. 206, 207