Delivered on 2 July 2016 by Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town
Verse 68 says:
وَالَّذِينَ لاَ يَدْعُونَ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَهًا آخَرَ وَلاَ يَقْتُلُونَ النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلاَّ بِالْحَقِّ وَلاَ يَزْنُونَ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَلِكَ يَلْقَ أَثَامًا
“And those who do not call with Allah any other god, and do not slay the soul which Allah has forbidden except for just cause, nor commit fornication, and whosoever does this shall find a requital of the sin.”
In the past 2 lectures we discussed the Sixth Hallmark of the Servants of Rahman in that they are Pure Monotheists and then extended the discussion to understand how Tawassul through the Servants of Rahman in principle is not shirk.
The issue of Pure Monotheism is so critical that we look forward to a day when it will manifest in its complete form across the world during the time of the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s). Thus at the end of Duah Iftitah that we read during the Nights of the Holy Month of Ramadaan we pray for Imam Mahdi (a.s)’s reign to be as follows:
“make him succeed in the earth
as You caused those who were before him to succeed,
establish for him his faith which You have approved for him,
and give him in exchange safety after the fear.
He serves You. He ascribes nothing as partner to You.”
We thus praying for an era in which only “Pure Tauheed” is manifest and no one will commit any shirk whatsoever under his reign.
DON’T COMMIT MURDER DUE TO THEM CONTROLLING THEIR ANGER
The next attribute of the Servants of Rahman that is referred to in this same verse 68 is:
وَلاَ يَقْتُلُونَ النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلاَّ بِالْحَقِّ
“and they do not slay the soul which Allah has forbidden except for just cause”
They consider life itself to be precious and sacred!
It is because from an Islamic perspective, killing an innocent soul is tantamount to killing the whole of mankind and saving a life is tantamount to saving the whole of mankind. Thus Surah Ma-ida Verse 32 says:
مَن قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِي الأَرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَمَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا
“whoever slays a human being for other than manslaughter or mischief in the earth, it is as he had slain mankind as a whole; and whoever saves a life (from death), it is as if he had saved mankind as a whole.”
They are far from bloodshed as they consider it to be something that is extremely severe.
However, it’s not always possible to avoid taking a life as some situations demand decisive action and thus capital punishment is present in Islamic Law which includes the death penalty – but the principle is that they don’t kill anyone.
The severity of killing an innocent soul is even more severe when that person is a believer. Thus Surah al-Nisaa Verse 93 says:
وَمَن يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًا مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَآؤُهُ جَهَنَّمُ خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَغَضِبَ اللّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَعَنَهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُ عَذَابًا عَظِيمًا
“And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell wherein shall he abide forever, and Allah’s wrath shall be on him and He curses him and prepares for him a mighty punishment.”
This verse is saying that the consequence of such an evil act is that you are rewarded with 4 things:
– Hell which will be eternal;
– Wrath of Allah;
– Curse of Allah; and
– A mighty punishment
But unfortunately today Islam has become associated with violence. For every issue, people see the solution to be slitting someone’s throat.
DEATH PENALTY IS NEVER THE FIRST RESORT
In Islam killing is never the first resort as all life is considered sacred, even the life of an insect is sacred.
In sentencing someone to capital punishment there’s a principle applied which says that if someone is given the death sentence that it can be delayed or cancelled due to the existence of the smallest doubt. In fact when doubt creeps in, the very least that must occur is that the execution of the death penalty should be delayed as Islam prefers seeking a way out from the need to execute the death penalty.
But today, extremists just hasten to kill even when they have no evidence at all and simply go by any lame accusation.
A hadith of the Prophet (sawa) indicates that whoever helps to kill a believer, even through one contributing sentence will meet Allah while his forehead will display a sign that he is someone who has no hope in the Mercy of Allah.
DON’T COMMIT FORNICATION DUE TO THEM CONTROLLING THEIR LUST
The same verse 68 then highlight’s the eighth hallmark of the Servants of Rahman to be:
“They don’t commit zina/fornication”
In fact they are far away from sexual deviation or being diverted by it in any way.
The 2 powers that create great problems for us are the powers of anger and lust and we see that in this verse how the consequences of not controlling both these powers can result in the most extreme expressions of committing murder and adultery.
Islam is very sensitive about chastity. While in this verse it says they don’t commit fornication, in Surah Israa Verse 32 it says:
وَلاَ تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنَي إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَسَآءَ سَبِيلاً
“And do not approach fornication, verily it is an indecency and an evil way.”
They do not even come close to fornication because it is equivalent to entering a dangerous path downhill.
Uncontrolled lust and fornication is a great sin which destroys families, destroys relationships, destroys honour and dignity of people.
The reason we are told to not come close to fornication is because it is an act that does not just happen at first attempt. Understand this!! It has various preliminary steps that finally lead you to committing the actual act. So it starts with a seductive look at na mahram and hadith inform us that this action itself is like an arrow from satan – it starts from there until you are sucked in.
Thus the Quran has a very harsh tone regarding those who are convicted of zina. Surah Nur Verse 2 says:
الزَّانِيَةُ وَالزَّانِي فَاجْلِدُوا كُلَّ وَاحِدٍ مّـِنْهُمَا مِاْئَةَ جَلْدَةٍ وَلاَ تَأْخُذْكُم بِهِمَا رَأْفَةٌ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاَخِرِ وَلْيَشْهَدْ عَذَابَهُمَا طَآئِفَةٌ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
“The fornicatress and the fornicator, scourge you each one of them (with) a hundred stripes. And let not pity for them withhold you from enforcing the sentence of Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of the Believers witness their punishment.”
This Verse says that we should not display any pity towards them. This harsh tone is due to this evil act being the cause of the destruction of societies.
But at same time Islam caters for human needs and encourages the permissible and halaal route of satisfying your desires through getting married.
THE STORY OF HAKAM IBN ABIL AAS
There is someone in history called Hakam ibn Abil Aas who is the father of Marwaan and the uncle of the third khalif Uthmaan ibn Affaan. He is someone who had the problem of sexual deviation and was known to look at women with desire.
One day he was passing the house of the Prophet (sawa) and tried to peep through the hole to see his wife. And the Prophet (sawa) caught him in the act and hit him with a stick that caused him to ran away. Prophet (sawa) then said that if he had caught him he would have pulled his eyes out. After this unsavory event the Prophet (sawa) expelled Hakam and Marwaan to Taif and banned them from entering Madina.
Hakam became known as someone who was cursed on the tongue of the Prophet (sawa) and was never allowed to come back to Madina until the time of the third khalif who allowed him back! The action of allowing these 2 people back into Madina who were expelled by the Prophet (sawa) became a very big issue in Islamic history.
Note one thing that in this incident, the Prophet (sawa) cursed his own sahabi!
In our society and Western lifestyle wherein we take the issues of sexual deviation very lightly, this is a huge challenge that we have to deal with.
Verse 69 says:
يُضَاعَفْ لَهُ الْعَذَابُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَيَخْلُدْ فِيهِ مُهَانًا
“On the Day of Judgment, the chastisement will be doubled to him, and he shall abide therein in abasement.”
This verse further elaborates on the seriousness of these sins as it indicates that one’s chastisement will be doubled.
In today’s hyper sexual world, social media, internet, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc are all tools of shaytaan that lures us and our children into these major sins. There is thus a great responsibility for parents to take care of their children in being aware who they interact with and should manage this closely.
For this, ideological guidance is critical and keeping them in contact with Mosques, Islamic Centre, Madressa and so on are all a support to keep them together. Watching and listening to lectures and Dua on Youtube does not replace this social interaction at Mosque. You never get that connection on your own and need to see the benefit of being with the community.
DOORS OF TAWBA ARE ALWAYS OPEN
After giving this bad news of double punishment, the doors are still not closed!
Thus Verse 70 says:
إلاَّ مَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ عَمَلاً صَالِحًا فَأُوْلَئِكَ يُبَدِّلُ اللَّهُ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ حَسَنَاتٍ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا
“Unless he repents, believes, and works righteous deeds, then these are they who, Allah changes their evil deeds to good ones, And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”
Tawba remains possible, no matter how bad a sin one has committed. BUT this tawba must be pure tawba wherein we do not repeat the sin but witness a revolution in ourselves which results in a change in our action and behaviour. For such a person, their sins are changed into good deeds!
Imam Reza (a.s) says that someone came to the Prophet (sawa) and said that a certain person was an evil person because he commits so much sin openly. The Prophet (sawa) responded that it was not like that but that the person he referred to was actually saved and his final destiny is successful. All his sins were washed away and changed into good deeds.
In utter surprise the man inquired how that was possible? And so the Prophet (sawa) explained that the man did one good deed that changed everything. One day he found a believer sleeping whose clothes blew off and caused his private parts to become exposed.
So this person very quietly covered the person’s private parts without the person knowing. When the man woke up he realised that his clothes moved and that he must have been naked and that someone actually covered him. So he felt very shy and prayed to Allah saying “O Allah the way this man covered my private parts – do cover his sins and shortcomings too.”
The news that this man was forgiven reached him and this sinner made real tawba and soon thereafter was martyred in Madina!