ISLAMIC WAY OF LIFE
By Dr. M. H. Durrani
Islam stands for principles of justice and charity and denounces all social evils. Islam is thus not confined to daily prayers, fasting and other sacrifices, it pronounces upon spiritual matters as well as gives guidance in regard to social affairs. In short, Islam provides with precepts and practices pertaining to life on this planet. If we were to follow the Islamic way of life, a magnificent social reformation will soon take place in the world.
The Holy Qur'aan is a collection of moral precepts, and not a book of rituals. It gives us true conception of God and enlightens us on eternal truths, such as revelation, prophethood, future life, heaven and hell. It also supplies us with guidance on matters of this world, so that human society, by acting up to them, may attain a balanced development.
Islam is opposed to Socialism which identifies itself with materialistic aims and methods and decrees the abolition of private property. It also stands against heartless individualism, which unduly extols private enterprise, ignoring the concept of social justice and charity. So long as the people lived according to the Divine Order they prospered, and when they wandered away from it, fell on evil days. We should remember that before we are punished for our sins; we get punished by our sins. If we have a heavenly mind and heavenly thoughts, we will find ourselves in heavenly environment. It is only in this way that we could ever feel happy and comfortable.
The question of labour and wages is particularly important in human relations and a contented way of life. It has, therefore, been given due consideration by Islam. In this respect, the first principle which ahs been introduced by Islam is that the society as well as the Government should see that the basic necessities of every individual are fulfilled. This principle was most clearly enunciated by Hazrat Omar (Raziallaahu anhu) in the following statement:-
"Even if a camel dies of hunger on the banks of Euphrates, I shall be held
responsible for it."
This is a general principle under which the worker gets the security of basic necessities of life for himself and his dependents including the working animals.
The Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said:
"Pay the labourer his wages before the sweat on his body is dry."
The Prophet also exhorted:
"Do not burden a worker more than he can conveniently undertake."
Once Hazrat 'Abdullah Ibn Masood was reprimanding his servant for some of his faults, when suddenly he heard someone say:
"Abdullah, forget not that Allaah has far greater authority over you than you have over your servant!"
Hazrat 'Abdullah Ibn Masood turned about to see who it was, and lo and behold! It was the Holy Prophet himself. The saying from the Prophet lays down the principle that the employer should fear God in his dealings with his workers.
After formulating these principles with regard to labour and wages. Islam has allowed the society to work under the law of demand and supply which helps the employer and the employee to come to a mutual understanding. This permission has been given in order to preserve the free economic pattern of the Society which is most advantageous in many respects.
And what is the Islamic thinking about a "Living Wage?" Are not the employers and the workers free to agree on whatever wages they like? Is not a free contract a just contract?
The first principle which Islam lays down is that a worker should be given his full wages even if he agreed to the minimum rate of payment due to his under estimation of the nature and quantum of work, or of his own needs. The so-called "free contract," therefore, if made entirely on the basis of economic considerations, would be unfair, and a pure and simple exploitation. An employer or workman may agree freely on the question of wages, nevertheless there exists a dictate of natural justice, more ancient than any bargain between man and man, that is, remuneration ought to be sufficient to support the wage-earner in reasonable comfort. More particularly so, if the worker is a married person with a family. Islam wishes that all members of the society should live in a free atmosphere; and those burdened with responsibilities, debt, etc., must be enabled to get rid of their burdens.
The aspect of Islamic teachings shows that service of humanity and amelioration of the condition of the poor have been the principle aims and objects of the religion of Islam. The institution of Zakaat brought to perfection, under the teachings of the Holy Qur'aan and the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam), is indeed a great boon to the poor of this world.
History proves that the rise and fall of nations took place according to certain natural (moral) laws. God destroys nations which transgress the, however mighty they may be. It has been happening continuously ever since the dawn of history. There is, therefore, absolutely no doubt that it can happen the same way in future as well. No nation (Muslim or Non-Muslim) can escape the laws of retribution.
We should, therefore, adopt the Islamic way of life. If a genuine effort is made in that behalf, it is hoped, that by the Grace of God, the dream of an ideal Islamic Republic will be realized sooner than can be predicted. We can look to the future with confidence, provided we have faith in God.
It is a common experience that when people rely upon their own wisdom in all matters, they are likely to commit blunders. In contrast to them, those who trust in God are rightly guided, because they follow the way based on absolute knowledge.
It is thus clear that the only way to save ourselves of committing blunders now and then, is to repose implicit faith in the teachings of God, even if sometimes we may not understand their implications. As a logical conclusion, the remedy of all the maladies from which humanity is suffering today, lies in the adoption of the laws of God in their entirety. In other words, if we want to solve human problems, we must turn to His guidance which offers the right solution and therein lies our good.
As peace and happiness depend upon harmony amongst the people, the solution of the problems of humanity revolves round an adjustment in their social relations. Society even in its simplest form, can subsist only if there is mutual respect of each others' rights.
To achieve this end, Islam classifies human relations into four categories:
Relationship with God, with his own self, with his fellowmen, and with nature, that is, his environment.
The Divine Law gives clear directions which help to maintain these relationships correctly.
Indeed so far as the Muslims are concerned, their role, according to the Holy Qur'aan,
is to be an example for mankind -
"You are the best people evolved for mankind enjoining what is right, forbidding
what is wrong and believing in God." (3: 110).
It pleases God to see a full measure of grace in us at all times; but He loves not to see it latent. He desires it to be in exercise. In order to bring it into exercise He brings suffering. The leaves of an aromatic plant emit but a faint odour in the air. The gold that lies buried deep in the earth as an ore shines scarcely at all. The rugged crust of the pebble conceals from the eye its internal beauty. But let the aromatic leaf be crushed; let the ore be put into the furnace, let the crust be removed, the splendour of the fragrance, the colour of the metal and the beauty of the pebble will become apparent to all.
Similarly, if you may be perplexed in business or be threatened with loss, do not feel discouraged; cast your cares upon God, and remain calm and cheerful. Pray for wisdom to be able to manage your affairs with discretion to prevent loss and damage. Do all you can on your part bring about favourable results. Allaah has promised His aid, but not apart from human effort. When relying upon your Helper, you have done all you could, accept the result cheerfully. Two more questions relevant to our discussion: Cannot a man be moral without the belief in God? Is not virtue its own reward?
No, the only basis of morality is God. The Infinitely Holy and Just Lawgiver has written His Law in the hearts of men, given them the light of reason to discover the same, without a religious base, is light of reason to discover the same. Morality without a religious base is like a branch of a tree cut from it. It may retain its freshness for a while, but its chances of a normal life are none at all.
The non-believers of our day have attempted in vain to frame theories of morality independent of religion. Utility cannot be a substitute for morality. Islam insists upon a special duty of benevolence for its followers to ensure general welfare. The common good is not the SOLE AIM and all-embracing purpose of man; for he is not WHOLLY subject to society.
Is virtue its own reward? Experience proves that virtue more often than not, walks in poverty and rags, while VICE rolls in luxury. Again, is the inner sanction of conscience sufficient? It can easily be silenced by constant rejection of its righteous advice, and it may then see evil in good, and may take good for what is actually evil. Will public opinion be our guide? It is often most uninformed, if not impulsive and can thus blame the poor for their worthy deeds and praise the successful scoundrels.
The Only One who can read the innermost secrets of our mind and heart; the Only One who can estimate our motives, and adequately and justly punish and reward our good and evil thoughts, words and deeds is Allaah. It is, therefore, a vain hope to expect the moral law to be observed without recourse to the idea of God. For how is the observance of the moral to be sufficiently guaranteed, if man has no certitude that a Just and Powerful God will sooner than later establish an external harmony between virtue and happiness on the one hand, and between vice and misery on the other?