^| THE CONCEPT OF SOCIAL SERVICE IN ISLAM By SYED JALALUDDIN UMARI |^ - - - 1/123 - - - (C) ISLAMIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE - 1996 ~ THE CONCEPT OF SOCIAL SERVICE IN ISLAM ~ First Edition :January, 1996 Price: Rs. 50.00 Author: SYED JALAKUDDIN UMARI Translator: V. RAHMATULLAH Lecturer in English, Islamiah College, Vaniyambadi. Publishers: ISLAMIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE Jamia Darussalam Oomerabad - 635 808 INDIA Phone: 04176 - 42557. Sole Distributors: ISLAMIC FOUNDATION TRUST, 78, Perambur High Road, Madras - 600 012. Phone: 642 6181, 642 4401 Laserset by: Sumathi Lasers, Madras-6. Ph: 8523424. Printed by: Uthayam Offset, Madras.   - - - 2/123 - - - ~ THE CONCEPT OF SOCIAL SERVICE IN ISLAM ~ By SYED JALALUDDIN UMARI Translator: V. RAHMATULLAH Lecturer in English, Islamiah College Vaniyambadi Publishers: ISLAMIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE Jamia Darussalam, Oomerabad - 635 808 - - - 3/123 - - - ^ Preface ^ # All praise unto Allah and He sufficeth for us. And blessings and peace be on all His slaves whom He hath exalted. Islam ushered in a message of peace and security. Its messenger is described in its Holy Book as "Mercy unto the worlds." He himself asserted - The creation is God's family. This explains why, on assumption of political power over an extensive part of the earth in the form of rightly guided caliphate, the upholders of Islam did not wreak havoc in the intoxication of power. Instead they embraced the concept of service to mankind as their ideal and human history witnessed a golden era during their rule. It redounds to the glory of Islam that on the one hand the ideal of service to mankind was purged of all racial, linguistic and national considerations and on the other it was given a positive and pure slant Islam said: Render service to mankind in order that your creator should be pleased with you. Islam said: Service to creatures should be all-encompassing and universal, and should preferably be regulated not on an individual but a collective basis. Therefore the book under study illustrates this fact in the light of the Qur'an and the Traditions of the Prophet (P.B.U.H). The utility and significance of this book are enhanced from this point of view. More so because it is in response to the demands of the day when Islam and its votaries are being depicted as aggressive and militant. The author, Moulana Jalaluddin Umari is happily talented student of mine. The Jamia Darussalam looks upon this alumnus as an asset. Notwithstanding his eminence in erudition and personal worth, his reverence towards his mentors has not undergone any change. Islamic literature has gained much through his contributions. Many a book of his has been translated into other languages. The English #   - - - 4/123 - - - # version of this book "The concept of Social Service in Islam" is being published by the Institute of Islamic Research, Jamia Darussalam, Oomerabad. I pray fervently that Allah should bestow upon the author courage and confidence for more contributions, that Allah should give abundant recompense to all those dignitaries who participated in this noble venture, and that Allah should render this book profitable to the community and the country. Amen. Jamia Darussalam Oomerabad 3 - SHABAN - 1416. A.H. 26.12.'95 ~ Syed Abdul Kabeer Oomerl ~ ~ Quar'anlc exegetist ~ Note: Allama Yusuf Ali's English version is followed in the Qur'anic quotations. #   - - - 5/123 - - - ^ CONTENTS ^ ~ FOREWORD 9 ~ ~ INTRODUCTION 11-14 ~ Service is a natural urge 11 $ Innocent Nature of the Child 11 $ Deviation from Nature 12 $ The Reforming Role of Islam 12 $ Godliness strengthens the sense of service 12 $ Godly Persons serve People Sincerely 13 $ Chaste sentiment is necessary for service 13 $ Authority and service 14 $ Service should be free from compulsion 14 $ Service is a matter of Honour 14 ~ 1. ISLAM AND SERVICE TO MANKIND 15-21 ~ Service to mankind and the Teachings of the Prophets 15 $ Qur'an and Service to Humanity 16 $ God's Blessings 17 $ Service in All circumstances 19 ~ 2. SERVICE IS ALSO WORSIDP 22-29 ~ Relevance of Prayer and Zakath 22 $ Fidya for Not Fasting 24 $ Fasting and Sadaqai-Fitra 25 $ When Fidya becomes necessary in Hajj 26 $ Repeal of Zihar (Return to Divorced wife) 27 $ Commandments Relating to Murder by Mistake 27 $ Atonement for Oath 28 ~ 3. SERVICE SHOULD BE FOR ALL 30-34 ~ Self - Centered persons 30 $ Family Fetters 30 $ Service to Ummath 31 $ - - - 6/123 - - - The Concept of Ummath and Nationalistic feelings 32 $ Service to Mankind 32 ~ 4. THE PEOPLE WHO DESERVE OUR SERVICE 35-45 ~ Kindness towards the Parents 36 $ Kindness towards the Kinsfolk 37 $ Kindness towards the Orphans 39 $ Kindness towards the Indigent 40 $ Kindness towards the Neighbours 41 $ Kindness towards the Wayfarers 43 $ Kindness towards the Slaves and the Subjugated 43 $ Legal Safeguards along with Moral Teachings 45 $ ~ 5. VARIED ARE THE WAYS TO SERVE 46-52 ~ Material Help 46 $ Sharing the Wealth 47 $ Humane Treatment 47 $ Other ways of Service 49 $ Every kind of Service is an offering 50 $ ~ 6. IMPORTANCE OF PROVISIONAL HELP 53-62 ~ Feeding the Hungry 53 $ Help in Feeding the Poor 57 $ Giving Water to the Thirsty 58 $ Partial Help in Preparing the Food 59 $ Clothing the Needy 60 $ Rights of the Petitioners 60 $ Visiting a Sick Person 62 ~ 7. NEED FOR PEMANENT SOLUTION 63-67 ~ The Wider Concept of Help 63 $ Maintenance of the Orphans 64 $ Help in Finding Jobs 65 $ Help in Craft and Industry 66   - - - 7/123 - - - ~ 8. SOME DEFINITE ASPECTS OF SERVICE 68-81 ~ Financial Help 68 $ Help through Loan 70 $ Gifting the Essentials 74 $ Lending things on Loan 75 $ Giving things in Pairs 76 $ Partnership in Business 76 $ Partnership in Cultivation 78 $ Consultancy Service 80 $ Helping the Oppressed 81 ~ 9. WELFARE SERVICES 82-98 ~ Awakening the Sanitary Sense 82 $ Keeping the Road clean and Safe 83 $ Rest Homes and Boarding 85 $ Providing water facilities 86 $ Reclamation of Fallow - Land 86 $ Planting Trees 89 $ Construction of Mosques 91 $ Establishment of Schools 91 $ Establishment of Hospitals 92 $ Creating Endowments for Public Service 92 $ Public Property and Vandalism 95 $ The Resources that belong to all 95 $ National Resources For All 96 $ Private Resources are not Exclusively Private 97 ~ 10. PUBLIC SERVICE ORGANISATIONS 99-102 ~ Importance of Organisation 99 $ Advantages of Organised Efforts 100 $ Co-operation with Non-Muslims 101 $ Co-operation with the State 102 ~ 11. REFORMATION OF WRONG CONCEPTS 103-112 ~ Duties are inter-related 103 $ Natural order in Duties 103 $ Kinsfolk enjoy Priority 104   - - - 8/123 - - - The Indigents should not be neglected 104 $ The Class Division is not Permanent 105 $ Help could be sought 107 $ Service is not total Religion 110 ~ 12. SINCERITY IS ESSENTIAL 113-122 ~ Service should be sincere 113 $ Reward for Sincere Spending 114 $ Hypocrisy Wastes Rewards 116 $ Service For Renown 117 $ Self-motivated Service 117 $ Limitless Reward for Selfless service 118 $ Reminding the Generosity 120 ~ External Files: ~ APPENDIX-I 123, APPENDIX-II 140 SOURCES 162   - - - 9/123 - - - ^ FOREWORD ^ Service to humanity is one of the subjects Islam has been thoroughly concerned with. It has highlighted the significance of the service, enjoined on its followers to undertake it and pointing out the persons who deserve. to be served. It has maintained that all Muslims belong to one community, and by virtue of this fact, they are bound to one another in times of happiness and hardship. At the same time they should not forget that they are responsible for the welfare of humanity at large. The onus of this responsibility demands that they should never harbour any kind of bias towards anybody. Islam does induce Muslims to serve human beings in whatever manner they can and on any scale as their means may permit. It involves the individual and the State in Welfare activities. When the sentiment of service is perverted irregularities are bound to happen. Some people carry wrong concepts in their minds about service to humanity. Islam corrected these irregularities and clarified the mistaken notions. It has accorded the proper place to the service in the system of religious precept and practice. All the above aspects have been looked into the light of the Qur'an and the Traditions of the Prophet. The relevant verses of the Qur'an and the Traditions pertaining to the subject have been collected in this book in a way that their meaning unfolds itself to evolve a contextual structure. Contemporary requirements of our times with regard to the service to humanity have also been brought to the fore.   - - - 10/123 - - - Wherever necessary, Fiqh, Seerath and Lughath have also been drawn upon. A booklet on this subject was published by the author in 1978. It was later published in Pakistan also. No book worth mentioning was available on a topic of this vital subject. The various aspects of the subject will be brought out with the publication of a book on a related topic, i.e., the weaker sections of society. I am working on this book these days. Some of its chapters have already been published in the quarterly Tahqiqat-e -lslami, Aligarh, and in the monthly Zindagi-e-Nau, Delhi. May this humble attempt of mine find favour with Allah and be of some benefit to my fellow human beings. ~ JALALUDDIN ~ - - - 11/123 - - - ^ INTRODUCTION ^ ~ SERVICE IS A NATURAL URGE: ~ Among the innumerable creation of Allah, man is the noblest creation of God. We are going to discuss here the service man is expected to render in this world. When a baby is born in any house the entire family is overwhelmed with happiness. The kith and kin gather and congratulate the parents. They show great concern for the needs of the baby. His needs of food and medical care are promptly attended to. The child becomes the cynosure of the family. None hesitates to keep the baby clean. As the child grows, his pranks and playfulness are regarded with indulgence. When the child reaches the school going age, care is taken to give him the best education. In short every care is taken at every stage so that the child should grow healthy and successful in life. Any failure to fulfill the child's needs entails a lot of concern and remorse. The richer the parents the greater the care given to the child's needs, according to the status of his family. There is a sense of kindness behind this service and sacrifice. It is a natural sentiment that springs from within. It is for this reason that this sentiment has always been appreciated in the world. Any slackness in this regard is harmful to humanity. If this sentiment becomes extinct, the spring of the world will turn into its fall. ~ INNOCENT NATURE OF THE CHILD: ~ In the sentimental relationship with the child, the innocence of the child plays a great role. His breast is free from those base passions like enmity, - - - 12/123 - - - grudge or malice. The child showers its love and laughter over everybody. ~ DEVIATION FROM NATURE: ~ With the passage of time, the child grows, and along with him grows his personality. He is no more bound by anybody's thoughts. He has a sense of his rights. He guards his own rights and takes care of his own interest even at the cost of earning the enmity of his beloved ones. In promoting his self-interest, he adopts all sorts of means. His innocence is the first casualty in his struggle for existence. Now he chooses his friends and associates, under the dictates of his needs. Others also deal with him in the same way. Thus love, sympathy, service and sacrifice slowly undergo a change of meaning. Close-knit families are shattered. The child who was once scattering smiles and affection, now spits flames of hatred. Those who held him in close embrace now detest his closeness. ~ THE REFORMING ROLE OF ISLAM: ~ All the religions of the world have tried that man gets all through his life the same love that he once got as a child. The clash of interests should not end this love. If he is weak and disabled, he should be helped; if he is strong and able-bodied, he should help others. In this regard, Islam has played an unparalleled role. A little description of this role is expatiated here. ~ GODLINESS STRENGTHENS - THE SENSE OF SERVICE: ~ No doubt there is an inborn sense of service inherent in man. But private motives, personal and group interests and carnal desires overcome this sense of service, and man adopts inhuman attitude towards  - - - 13/123 - - - his fellow human beings. Sometimes, he stoops to the level of animals. Man can overcome these human weaknesses by aligning himself sincerely with God and His worship, because the service to man is closely related to God's worship. The heart that overflows with love for God could not be without love for God's creatures. Wherever the Qur'an mentions the rights of the people, their service to the people and kind treatment to them, they are either followed or preceded with the mention of worship to God, fear of God and prayer. It explains the truth that God's worship promotes in man the sense of service. The man who ignores God and His blessings, could easily ignore the rights of other people. ~ GODLY PERSONS SERVE PEOPLE SINCERELY: ~ The Holy Qur'an has summed up the experience of mankind in a nutshell that those who have the fear of God, adopt in real sense the attitude of sympathy towards the ' people. They do not usurp the rights of others; they do not coerce others, or perpetrate excess or injustice on others. They seek only the pleasure of God and expect any reward only from Him. Even their enemies bear witness to their nobility, civility and sympathy. On the contrary, when they become bereft of the fear of God, they swerve from righteousness and rectitude, and trespass the right of others. ~ CHASTE SENTIMENT IS NECESSARY FOR SERVICE: ~ The heart of the person plays a pivotal role in rendering service to others. He could serve in real sense only when he has the higher moral qualities like sympathy, altruism and patience. He should have conquered the baser passions like avarice, malice and egotism. Otherwise he could never serve with sincerity. Islam adorns man with noble character. It has a complete system for moral rebuilding of   - - - 14/123 - - - man. At times, it takes the help of the law also to enforce this system. ~ AUTHORITY AND SERVICE ~ In this world man is vested with power, wealth and authority not to subjugate others. But they are a test for him to know whether he helps others with these resources or not. The greater the resources he enjoys, the severer would be the test. The following Ayath points towards this. It is He who hath made you (His) agents, inheritors of the earth. He hath raised you in rank, some above other; that He may try you in the gifts He hath given you: for thy Lord is quick in punishment: Yet He is indeed oft - Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Quran Al-Anam: 165] ~ SERVICE SHOULD BE FREE FROM COMPULSION: ~ In this world service is extracted as well as rendered. There is an element" of compulsion in the extraction of service. Excess and exploitation become inevitable; rights are violated; feelings are wounded; and man's self-respect is sullied. When this trend continues, it touches the bounds of bondage. ~ SERVICE IS A MATTER OF HONOUR: ~ If the service is without any strings attached, it is a matter of great honour. Love and respect wells up for the man who serves others. He rules over the hearts. It has been rightly said that one who serves others becomes the master. As for the Hereafter who can estimate the reward for the service rendered with sincerely? It would be so limitless that we cannot realise it in this limited world. - - - 15/123 - - - ^ CHAPTER 1 ^ ~ ISLAM AND SERVICE TO MANKIND ~ Service to people and good behaviour towards them constitute the subject of moral sciences. All schools of moral sciences have emphasised these in their teachings. Likewise, all religions of the world have accepted their importance. Their sacred writings and the revealed books have testified to this. ~ SERVICE TO MANKIND AND THE TEACHINGS OF THE PROPHETS ~ In the Holy Qur'an there are many references to the Prophets who preceded the last Prophet (Peace be upon him) and their teachings. Among them Abraham and the Prophets of his Israelite genealogy are mentioned in considerable detail. From this we find that the Prophets of God have extracted a covenant from the people of Israel to the effect that they would recognise the rights of the people and serve them with kind treatment. This covenant is presented in these words: And remember we took a Covenant from children of Israel (to this effect): Worship none but Allah, treat with kindness your parents and kindred, and orphans and those in need; speak fair to the people; be steadfast in prayers; practise regular charity. Then did you turn back, except a few among you and ye backslide (ever now). And remember We took your covenant (to this effect): Shed no blood amongst you, nor turn out your people from your homes, and this ye solemnly ratified, and to this ye can bear witness. Al Baqarah:83-84 (Q2)   - - - 16/123 - - - This Ayath explains that the Covenant was to worship the one God and behave towards the people in their best way. The second Covenant was that their hands should be free from the excesses. Cruelty and good conduct could not go together. Passions shape the character. History of nations is closely associated with the ethos of service found among the people. Villainy and vice have played havoc with the nations, and they could never rise again. The Holy Qur'an says the Bani lsrail did not honour this covenant. They killed the people of their own community; expelled many from their homes, and for this purpose, they entered into a pact with their enemies and helped them in their evil design. It ruined their unity and dissipated their strength. They had to carry the mark of dishonour in this world, and severe punishment is awaiting them in the Hereafter. (Al-Baqarah:75) ~ QUR'AN AND SERVICE TO HUMANITY: ~ From the beginning the Qur'an emphasises two things, besides the basic faith: First, man's contact with God should be firm. He should worship Him alone and should not bow his head before others. Secondly, man should behave in the most respectable manner towards his fellow human beings. He should realise the rights of the deserving people. He should meet his commitments towards his parents, the kindred, the neighbours, the orphans and the needy. If he is strong limbed he should not raise his hand over the weak but should be a source of strength to them. He should guard the life, honour and property of others as he would guard his own. He should never practise deceit but always be fair in his deals. His existence should not be a troublesome to society but should ensure comfort and peace. The Qur'an gives so much importance to these teachings that they have been repeated time and again. Its best example we find in Sura Bani - Israil.   - - - 17/123 - - - "Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. Be kind to your parents. When they attain old age, consider them with special care; bend yourself out of kindness and humility and pray for them. Render their due rights to the kindred, the poor and the wayfarers. If you could not help them because of your poverty, excuse yourself with kindness. Do not kill your children for fear of want. God will provide sustenance for you and also for them. Killing and that to killing of your own children is a very great sin. Do not commit adultery for it is a shameful deed and a wrong way of life. God has made life sacred. Unless truth and justice demand, do not take anybody's life. You should not devour the property of the helpless orphans. When they attain the proper age, their property should be returned to them. Every engagement should be fulfilled for every engagement would be enquired into on the Day of Reckoning. You should not speak about things of which you have no knowledge. Every act of hearing, or seeing, or of feeling in the heart will be enquired into by God. Do not walk on the earth with insolence, for you can neither rend the earth as under, nor reach the mountain in height. These things are hateful in the sight of your Lord". ~ GOD'S BLESSINGS: ~ In this world, some people are blessed with all the comforts of life while some are deprived of these. The Qur'an demands that the former should help the latter. All conveniences should be created to make life easy for them. The man who is blessed with eyes to sec, cars to hear, tongue to talk, strong limbs to work, heart and mind to feel and think, and all the comforts to enjoy life, has a duty to help the helpless, the needy, and the uncared for. Nobody should be all-owed to waste his existence   - - - 18/123 - - - for want of the basic necessities of life. The man who is better placed in life should be thankful to God and the best way to thank Him is to serve those who are in need of our help. In everything God has graced us with, our fellow-beings have a share in it. Without this sharing, our thanks to Him would always be incomplete. After being so abundantly blessed, if we do not serve, we would be flint-hearted. The Qur'an criticises this flint-heartedness and warns of the dire consequences. Have we not made for him a pair of eyes and a tongue, and a pair of lips and shown him the two highways? But he hath made no haste on the path that is steep. And what will explain to thee the path that is steep? It is freeing the bondman or the giving of food in a day of privation to the orphans with claims of relationship, or to the indigent down in the dust. Then will he be of those who believe, and enjoin patience constancy and self-restraint, and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion. Such are the companions of the Right-hand. But those who reject our signs, they are the unhappy companions of the Left-hand. On them will be fire vaulted over all round. Al Balad : 8-20 (Q3) Of the innumerable -blessings of God a few have been pointed out here. God has vested man with so many faculties because he has to negotiate the steep path and that steep path is freeing the slaves and helping the orphans and the homeless. Along with this it is also essential that he should associate himself with the believers who are negotiating this steep path in practice. This is the highway to Heaven. Those who turn against it, are advancing towards Hell. They would enter it and the doors would be so closed they would never be able to get out of it.   - - - 19/123 - - - In Islam service to humanity has been construed to be service to God. To help the people in their needs is to help God. Turning away a person empty handed is to refuse help to God. The best way to please God is to please His creatures. The Heaven would not be kind to earth if the people on the earth cease to be kind to one another. One tradition of the Prophet brings out this truth very effectively. The Prophet has said: "God would say on the Day of Judgement, O son of Adam! I was sick; nobody visited me. Many would plead: O My God! You are the Sustainer of all the worlds. When did you fall ill, and how could I visit you'? Then God would say: Didn't you know a particular person was sick but you didn't visit him. Had you gone there, you would have found me. Again God would say: O Son of Adam! I asked for food but you didn't give me food. Man would plead: O Sustainer of the World! When were you hungry? God would say: Don't you remember that a. person asked you for food but you didn't feed him. Had you fulfilled his need then, you would have found its returns here. Again God would say: O son of Adam! I asked you for water but you didn't give water. Man would say: O Sustainer of the worlds! When were you thirsty that I could give you water'? God would say: On that day a -certain man asked f~r water but you refused it. Had you quenched his thirst, you would have found its returns here." (Muslim) It is sufficient to highlight the significance of service to humanity that it has been equated to serving God, and any negligence in this regard is a serious lapse. ~ SERVICE IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES: ~ Islam prepares his followers ' in such a way that their existence overflows with goodness. Their physical and intellectual faculties and their material resources   - - - 20/123 - - - should be useful to all. They should help others materially and morally within their limits. Their existence registers peace wherever they are. Hazrath Abu Syeed Qhudri narrates: The Prophet had said: Avoid sitting by the side of the roads. The companions said: We have no alternative but to sit there. These are our meeting places where we converse with one another. The Prophet said: If you think sitting there is unavoidable then pay the dues of the road. The companions enquired as to what were the dues of the road. He said: Keeping the eyes down cast, desisting from cruelty, returning salutation of peace, advising the good and rest-raining from the vice. (H1) This tradition with a little difference has been narrated by other companions also. In the version of Hazrath Abu Talha there is an addition of "Graceful conversation. In the version of Hazrath Abu Huraira there is an extra piece of advice for guiding the stray wayfarers. Yet in another version there is an addition of two more instructions as to attend to the complaints of those who are in distress and to guide those who have lost their way. This tradition specifies the duties of a Muslim wherever he is, he is bound to be a fountain of fellow-feelings. He advises the good and admonishes the evil. He adds to the moral mettle of the society and the potential for the evil is held in check because of this moral force. Islam induces, and at time warns, its followers that every member of the society should be of help to others in their needs. If the person is indigent, he should be taken care of; if he is jobless, he should be helped with a job, if he is illiterate he should be taught, if he is oppressed he should be helped against the oppressor. To encourage   - - - 21/123 - - - these sentiments, Islam has condemned excesses of all kinds. It has stressed that no one should exploit the inadequacy, indigency or ignorance of others. On the other hand everyone should try to help the weaker to overcome their difficulties. In this way, Islam wants to build a society based on fairness and fellow feelings, free from any form of excess or exploitation. Service to people and every act of help to them have been rightly considered as worship in Islam.   - - - 22/123 - - - ^ CHAPTER - 2 ^ ^ SERVICE IS ALSO WORSHIP ^ The Holy Qur'an considers worship to be the sole purpose of life. (Al-Zariyath 56) Worship is offered to gain nearness and acceptance of God. Worship is physical as well as material. Physical worship consists of verbal utterances and bodily movements. But this routisation is less in worship through spending one's wealth. For this realisation it is necessary that service is trendered with a sense of worship. At the time of helping a person, the idea of attaining nearness to God through it should be there. Man can thus feel the ecstasy of worship even in acts of material welfare. In Islam, service to man is not a mundane act but it is real worship. To understand this reality we have to look at the entire system of worship. ~ RELEVANCE OF PRAYER AND ZAKATH: ~ Prayer is a physical form of worship and Zakath is its material form. Prayer is a declaration of the Exalted Highness of God on the part of man and it is also a declaration of his servitude. Zakath is a manifestation of the milk of human kindness in man and shows that he is all ready to spend his wealth for others. The Qur'an has generally mentioned prayer and alms gtvmg together and emphasised both Salath and Zakat. Both carry equal emphasis. It views material worship to be as significant   - - - 23/123 - - - as the physical worship. The religion which it demands does not comprise solely the bowing of man with devotion in the court of Allah , but it also demands that man should grant the share of his creatures the wealth earned by him and spend it on the needy. And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to practise regular charity; and that this is the religion right and straight. Al-Bayyinat : 5 (Q4) ln this Ayath, it has been commanded to worship with purity and single - mindedness, and then worship has been explained in the form of prayer and Zakath. It highlights the truth that only in adhering to these the offer of worship will be complete. Worship could not be conceived without the attendant virtues. In some other passages the word "Goodness'' has been jointly used with prayer. The word "goodness" is a comprehensive term, it is mentioned: O ye who believe: Bow down prostrate yourselves, and adore your Lord; and do good; that you may prosper. [Al - Hajj : 77] (Q5) Here in this passage bowing and prostrating, that is prayer has been mentioned before worship, and after the word worship, it has been commanded to practise goodness. Hazrath Abdullah bin Abbas says that goodness stands for kindness towards one's relations. All these acts of goodness are also a part of worship. They have been mentioned separately to draw attention to them. It is for this purpose that prayer has been mentioned separately from worship, though there is no doubt about it that prayer is verily worship.   - - - 24/123 - - - In the Qur'an worship has been mentioned after prayer, Zakath, and all acts of goodness to such a way that all these constitute worship. At one place, after the mention of the Prophet Abraham and certain Prophets of his family it is said. And we made them leaders, guiding (men) by our Command, and we sent them inspiration to do good deeds to establish regular prayers, and to practice regular charity, and they constantly served Us (and Us only) [Al-Anbiya : 73] (Q6) What greater significance could be attached to service to humanity than this that every act of service is counted as worship of God. ~ FIDYA FOR NOT FASTING (RANSOM FOR NOT OBSERVING FAST): ~ Sometimes material worship becomes a substitute for physical worship, and whatever deficiency or inadequacy there is in physical worship, is set right by it. Like prayer, fasting is also a physical worship. Man braves the pangs of thirst and hunger solely for the pleasure of God, and thereby strives to gain control over his baser desires and passions. One earlier commandment in this connection is: For those who can observe fasting but do not observe, there is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent but he that will give more, of his own free will--it is better for him. And it is better for you that you fast, if you only knew. [Al Baqarah : 184] (Q7) According to this Ayith a man who is able to observe fasting has been permitted relief from fasting, and instead he must feed and indigent person.   - - - 25/123 - - - If he could feed more than one, he would reap more returns, but it is not conditional on his part. It has been pointed out along with it that in all circumstances observing fast is definitely better for him. Later, this permission was withdrawn and fasting during the month of Ramzan was made obligatory on all. But, of course, wayfarers and the sick were given permission to make up the prescribed period by fasting later. [Al-Baqarah, 175]. From the tradition of the Prophet it is learnt that those who are in the advanced stage of old age or severely ill have been exempted from fasting. But they have to pay 'fidya' (ransom), which amounts to feeding one indigent person, two times a day. It is evident from this that those who could not observe fasting could make good the loss by making the material payment of 'fidya '. By helping the poor, they could absolve themselves.* ~ FASTING AND SADAQAJ-FITR: ~ In one narration of Hazrath Abdullah bin Abbas the reason for Sadaqai-Fitr has been explained like this: The Prophet has made Sadaqai-Fitr obligatory for it cleanses the fast from trivial and unwanted things and there is livelihood for the indigent persons in it. (H2) Incidentally or unintentionally something could happen during fasting which could spoil the fast. This tradition prescribes a way that by helping the poor one could cleanse his fasting. Some more instructions of this kind are mentioned here and from these instructions it is clear that material worship has been construed to be equal to or substitute of physical worship. --- # * Abu Davud: Kitab Azzaka.t: Chapter: Zakat At Fitra #   - - - 26/123 - - - ~ WHEN FIDYA BECOMES NECESSARY IN HAJJ: ~ Like prayer and fasting, Hajj is not wholly a physical worship. It incurs monetary spending. This way we find a graceful combination of physical and material worship in Hajj. Both the aspects are important but the physical aspect is more conspicuous in comparison to the material one. Qur'an says about Hajj: And complete the Hajj or Umrah in the service of Allah, but if you are prevented from completing it (because of illness or the bad condition of the path) send an offering for sacrifice, such as you may find, and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches the place of sacrifice. And if any of you is ill, or has an ailment in his scalp (necessitating shaving) he should in compensation either fast, or feed the poor, or offer sacrifice; and when you are in peaceful condition. (Whether the danger is averted or danger did not confront him) to continue Umrah on to the Hajj, he must make an offering such as he can afford, but if he cannot afford it, he should fast three days during the Hajj and seven days on his return, making ten days in all. This is for those whose household is not in (the precincts of) the Sacred Mosque, and fear Allah, and know that Allah is strict in punishment. [Al Baqarah : 196] (Q8) We need not delve deep into the detailed instructions explained about Hajj in this Ayath. But the noteworthy point about the subject under discussion is that the head should not be shaved till the offering reaches the place of sacrifice. It has been said in the Ayath if for any reason the head is to be shaved earlier. he has to fast, or offer sacrifice   - - - 27/123 - - - or feed the poor. Thus the physical worship and the material worship have been equated. Likewise, a man performing Umrah along with Hajj must make an offering, and if he cannot afford it he is asked to fast for ten days. ~ REPEAL OF ZIHAR (RETURN TO DIVORCED WIFE) ~ It was a practice in Arabia that whenever husbands were unhappy with their wives, they would declare them to be their mothers and it would end their conjugal relations once for all. It is called 'Zihar' in Arabic. Qur'an condemned this practice and asked how one's wife could become one's mother. The way to return to the wife in such circumstances was prescribed in these words: But those who divorce their wives by Zihar, then wish to go back on their words they uttered - (it is ordained that such a one) should free a slave before they touch each other; thus you are admonished to perform; and Allah is well acquainted with all you do. And if any has not (the wherewithal ) he should fast for two months consecutively before they touch each other. But if any is unable to do so, he should feed sixty indigent ones. [Al-Mujadila : 2,3] (Q9) In this Ayath, the way to repeal the 'Zihar' was revealed by enjoining to free a slave as an act of atonement. In case the person is not able to free a slave, he should fast for two months consecutively. If he could not do even this, he has to feed sixty indigent persons. Without fulfilling any of these conditions, he could not return to his wife and renew his conjugal relations. ~ COMMANDMENTS RELATING TO MURDER BY MISTAKE: ~ Similar commandments have been given in relating to murder by mistake. In an Islamic State, if a Muslim murders a Muslim by mistake, he has to free a Muslim slave and pay the blood-money also.  - - - 28/123 - - - If the deceased Muslim is a citizen of a State with which the Islamic State is in a state of war, it is enough to free a Muslim slave and the payment of blood-money is not necessary. It is so because the heirs of the deceased are the citizens of warring state. If that state has a treaty with the Islamic state, the stipulated blood-money has to be paid, besides freeing a slave. It holds good even in cases where the deceased be a Muslim or a Non-Muslim, man or woman, slave or a free man. Then it is said: For those who find this beyond their means to free a slave, (as prescribed) a fast for two months consecutively, by way of repentance to Allah (is enjoined); for Allah has all knowledge and all wisdom. [Al Nisa : 92] (Q10) The blood money will be paid by the guilty or his family. In case the guilty is not able to free a slave, he must fast for two whole months continuously. Without any valid religious reason, he will not break the continuity.* ~ ATONEMENT FOR OATH ~ Generally people swear to emphasize a particular point or to express the intensity of their determination. If these things are not meant, then taking oath will become meaningless and futile. One does not become accountable for renouncing an oath but if the point that was emphasized by taking an oath, is violated, one will become accountable. The atonement for this has been explained in these words. To account for your deliberate oaths: for --- # * For a person who could not fast, one opinion is that he has to feed sixty indigent persons as in the case of Zihar. But pother opinion is that only fasting has been prescribed and feeding the indigent persons will not compensate it. Tafaeer-e-Khazin 479/1. Bughavi Ali Humish Al Khazin 477/1. # - - - 29/123 - - - expiation feed ten indigent persons, on a scale of the average for the food of your families; or clothe them; or give a slave his freedom. lf that is beyond your means, fast for three days. [Al Maida : 89] (Q11) In all these instructions, freeing a slave, feeding and clothing the indigent persons or helping the poor have been equated in some respects to observing fasts, or in other words, they have been construed to be the substitute for it. Physical worship has an unusual significance in developing the contact of man with God. Without this nobody could achieve the proximity with God. By declaring service to mankind as equal to prayer, Qur'an has accorded it a prime place in the system of religion.   - - - 30/123 - - - ^ CHAPTER - 3 ^ ^ SERVICE SHOULD BE FOR ALL ^ ~ SELF CENTRED PERSONS: ~ You could find in this world many persons for whom their own existence is all that matters. In every act they are motivated by self-interest. They are least concerned about others. They want to use others to advance their own interest. Others' afflictions distresses or sufferings do not disturb them. They do not stir them to serve the afflicted. If any sense of helpfulness rises in him, he succeeds in stifling it under many pretexts. They live for themselves and their self-interest form the axis of all the activities throughout their lives. Such persons could not be of any use to others. ~ FAMILY FETTERS: ~ Some people have the motive to serve but their outlook is limited. They are concerned like their welfare with that of their wives, children, family and tribe. This affinity cuts short the comprehensive contacts of man. They are so lost in the advancement of the interest of their kith and kin that they have no -time to think about others. Sometimes, in helping their near ones, they do not hesitate to harm the interest of others. Islam neither lessens the importance -of an individual nor ignores the family or tribe. It has specified the duties and responsibilities towards both, and has also given a wider perspective to the concept of service. It generates a sense in man that he owes his duties and responsibilities not only towards himself   - - - 31/123 - - - and his family but also towards the society of which he is a member. The construction of society should take place under the guidance of Ummath* ~ SERVICE TO UMMATH: ~ All the adherents of [slam are the members of one ummath. Even without any consanguineous affinity there is a religious brotherhood among them. Despite the differences of colour, race, language, and region, every member of this brotherhood has his rights. Whether he is a relative or not, neighbour or not, labourer or a craftsman, businessman or industrialist, educated or illiterate, acquainted or a stranger, his rights arc secure. Nobody could rob him of these rights. These rights include solicitude, love, sympathy, civility and co-operation towards him. Its excellence has been described in a tradition thus. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet had said: On the Day of Judgement God will lessen the hardships of the man who lessens the hardships of a believer in this world. God will ease in this world and the hereafter the troubles of the man who provides redressa) to a man in troubles. He who covers the private parts of a Muslim, will be covered by God in this world and the Hereafter. God remains helpful to the man as long as he is helpful* to others. (H3) This tradition highlights the returns of mutual help. Islam has given importance to this kind of mutual help * as it looks at the whole Ummath as an organic whole. The entire body feels the pain suffered by a part and tries to remedy it. --- # *For more details please see the chapter: "Reformation of wrong concepts" in this book. #   - - - 32/123 - - - ~ THE CONCEPT OF UMMATH AND NATIONALISTIC FEELINGS: ~ One doubt may arise here. The prominence given to Ummath and the importance attached to its welfare may lead to the emergence of nationalistic tendencies. It is very dangerous. There is no doubt that nationalistic tendencies preserve national identity and safeguard its interest to a greater extent but they give rise to bigotry and narrow-mindedness too. Not only does a man think in terms of promoting the interest of his own country, he does it sometimes at the cost of other countries. Nationalism widens the gulf between the countries. The clash of interests begets rivalry and raises the walls of enmity. We could not appreciate it if the Islamic concept of Ummath encouraged nationalistic tendencies. It is a baseless doubt and it has no relevance with the Islamic concept of Ummath. Encouragement of mutual help in a community or a group will never promote bigotry. Its moral upbringing demands that its civility could never be a hindrance in its sympathy towards others or other societies. A man could be sympathetic simultaneously towards his family, tribe and fellow-countrymen. In the same way he could be sympathetic towards his compatriots and also be equally concerned with the entire mankind. ~ SERVICE TO MANKIND: ~ Islam makes its adherents concerned not only about the Ummath but also about every man on this earth. Bigotry teaches hatred and enmity. A man blinded in nationalistic bigotry could never be tolerant and sympathetic towards other nations. (slam is opposed to this. It considers all the creatures of God as one family. He who serves it much is as much beloved of God. Hazrath Anas and Hazrath Abdullah bin Masood narrate that the Prophet has said:   - - - 33/123 - - - All the creatures make the family of God. Among them the man who serves the family best is beloved of God.* (H4) Qur' an has given a common command to serve the needy, the indigent, the handicapped, the orphans and the unfortunate. It has never said that only Muslims or a particular group should be served. It wants that the entire mankind should be served. Whether they are related to us or not, agree with us or not, speak our language or not, all deserve to be served without any difference or distinction. Any man on this earth in affliction will not be left uncared for but would be helped to overcome his hardships, because inspite of different colour, nationality and homeland, human beings are one another's limbs as they are created of one essence. This fact is evident from Ahadith, some of which are given below: I. Hazrath Jabir bin Abdullah narrates that the Prophet said: God is not merciful on a person who is not merciful towards others. (H5) 2. Hazrath Abdullah bin Umar narrates that the Prophet had said: Rahman, the Merciful showers mercy on those who are merciful. Be merciful on the people of this earth, the Heaven will be merciful on you. (H6) 3. Hazrath Abdullah bin Masood narrates that the Prophet had said: You would never be people of faith unless you are merciful. (H7) --- # * Narrated by Abu! Ya"la and Bazzir (weak narration) #   - - - 34/123 - - - He says the companions pleaded, "Oh Messenger of God! Every one of us is merciful" Then he said: It does not mean the mercy that you show towards your own kith and kin but the mercy should be for all people. {H8) 4. Hazrath Abu Huraira says that some -companions were sitting and the Prophet came to them. He asked whether he could tellthem who was a good person and who was the vile one. All were silent over the question. When he repeated this question thrice, one companion said: 'Oh Messenger of God! Please enlighten us who is good among us and who is the vile one'. He said: The best person amongst you is the one from whom people expect only good, and they are safe from his wickedness. The vile amongst you is the one from whom people do not expect any good, and they are not safe from his wickedness. (H9) These traditions teach us to serve all creatures of God without any distinction. Islam is of the view that we should help anyone who is in need of our sympathy and help. Dividing mankind into groups and parties as one's own and others, acquaintances and strangers, co-religionists and followers of other religion in the matter of social service is against the nature and teachings of Islam. These traditions underline the significance of service to humanity. How can a Muslim deny the importance of those acts which arc as good as daily worship and make one beloved of God with his nearness to Him: and cause the showering of mercy and removes the moral failings of stony heartedness and cruelty, and make him a member of refined and altruistic society? There is such a great inducement for him in this that he does not need any greater inducement in this respect.  - - - 35/123 - - - ^ CHAPTER - 4 ^ ^ THE PEOPLE WHO DESERVE OUR SERVICE ^ Islam's stand bas been made clear in the foregoing pages. Anybody who deserves our help should be helped. Islam has spelled out who are the persons who deserve it. It is natural that a man has an inborn attachment towards his parents, his wife, his children and kith and kins. On the basis of this attachment, he feels it obligatory to serve them. He does not feel the same sort of emotional attachment towards other people. So his attitude towards them is different. Islam defines the rights with due provisions to the nature, degree and rank of human relationship. Along with this, Islam exhorts that a man should not only serve those who are attached to him but also those who are in no way attached to him. The ambit of his service should not be confined to his family but should be wide enough to encompass the entire society. He should consider all men as belonging to one family and thus prepare himself to help this family. One Ayath of Sura AI-Nisa points out in brevity the people who deserve out help: Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers , the companions by your side, the wayfarers (you meet), and what your hands   - - - 36/123 - - - possess, for Allah loves not the arrogant and the vainglorious. [Al-Nisa : 36] (Q12) Though this Ayath does not list all the deprived and debilitated sections of society it helps us in understanding the attitude of Qur'an towards them. For the word service Qur'an uses a particular term 'Ihsan' . It is a comprehensive term and it covers all aspects of service. Sympathy, love, fulfilling one's needs, and giving one more than his right, all these come under this term ~ KINDNESS TOWARDS PARENTS: ~ In the above Ayath, after giving command to serve God, we have been asked to behave with kindness towards the people. In this regard parents are mentioned first. "And do good to parents". (Q13) All the religions of the world teach one to serve one's parents. At numerous places in the Qur'an, after the worship of God, kind behaviour towards one's parents has been given prominence. It means that of all, the greatest favours a man has are that of God. After God's, parents' favours are the greatest. They play a great role in man's existence, his birth, his up-bringing, his education and his moral and material progress. Without parental care his progress would have been hampered and his existence would have been in peril. Even the illiterate and the indigent parents sacrifice so much for their children that there is no match to it in the whole society. In the favours of the parents we have the reflection of the favours of God. Worship in reality is to be thankful to the favours of God. Parent's status is not that of God's. So they could not be worshipped but they are treated with utmost respect. Kindness in treatment is the way to return   - - - 37/123 - - - their favours. The Qur'an has commanded us to express our thankfullness to God and parents. Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents. To me is (thy final) goal. [Luqman: 14] (Q14). Modern civilization has disrupted family institution. Along with this, the higher values attached to this system have also been shattered. In the process. it has affected the aged parents to a great extent. Today people are discussing what to do with the aged parents who have lost their use. How long they could be tolerated when they could no more play any useful role in making the future. The parents, who are held in contempt to-day, once had so much power over their children that they could have easily exterminated them in their infancy but they didn't do so. The modern generation was once at the mercy of these old. parents, yet they toiled and spent the sweat of their brow in bringing up their children. The Qur'an has commanded in particular to treat the aged parents with kindness and humility. It says: Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in term of honour. And out of kindness, lower to them the wings of humility, and say "My Lord bestow on them thy Mercy even as they Cherished me in childhood." [Al-Isra : 23, 24] (Q15) ~ KINDNESS TOWARDS KINSFOLK: ~ The Qur'an says: Treat the Kinsfolk with kindness. (Q16) After the parents, Qur'an has mentioned the kinsfolk as they deserve our kindness the most. Kinsfolk: are related to us through our parents. Anybody close to parents merits our kindness. At one place, the  - - - 38/123 - - - Qur'an mentions - the attributes of godly people in these words: Those who join together those things which Allah had commanded to be joined, hold their Lord in awe, and fear the terrible reckoning. Al Ra'd : 21 (Q17) Maintenance of ties with one's kinsfolk makes social life pleasant. Where this is absent, social discord sets in. Hazrath Sulaiman bin Aamir narrates from the. Prophet: To give propitiatory offerings to , any indigent person (who is not related) is mere offering but the same given to a relative is an offering as well as a mark of maintaining tie with one's relation. (H10) It means spending on relations is doubly rewarded. It is a fact that man feels a natural attachment with his kinsfolk but it is also a fact that these relationships are very fragile. Simple incidents - snap these relations. Traditions say that these relations be made to maintain these relations. Hazrath Abdullah bin Umar narrates that the Prophet had said: Maintaining of ties with relations does not mean that the reciprocates the relations but in reality it means to mend relations when they are ruptured. (H11) Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates: A person told the Prophet that he had some relatives. He tried to maintain his ties with them but they tried to breach them. He behaved with kindness but they treated him with harshness. He forgave them but they dealt with him in ignorance. After listening to this, the Prophet said if the matter was so you filled their mouth   - - - 39/123 - - - with hot ash. As long as you deal so, God's assistance will be with you. (H12) ~ KINDNESS TOWARDS ORPHANS: ~ The rights of parents and the kinsfolk have the foremost priority. After these people, the weaker sections of society deserve our kind treatment. In this regard, the orphans and the indigent persons have been mentioned first. And treat with kindness the orphans and the indigent ones. (Q18) Father's demise deprives a child of love, care and sometimes economic stability which are of basic importance. So it. is the responsibility of a society to take care of these orphaned children, and not to allow these children to feel the loss of their fathers. Any negligence on the part of the society would not only affect their physical growth but impair them mentally and emotionally. It is very likely that such uncared for children may harbour rebellious tendencies against such heartless society. Instead of being good citizens, they could turn into anti-social elements. The Qur'an and the traditions of the Prophet have repeatedly stressed the need to take care of these orphaned children, their educational needs and their property, if any. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet had said: The man who takes care of the orphans, related or not, will be with me in Paradise as these two fingers of mine. (H13) Orphans could not take care of their own rights because of their helplessness and lack of understanding. It is easy to usurp their rights. The Qur'an has condemned such usurpers.   - - - 40/134 - - - Those who unjustly cat up the property of orphans, cat up a fire into their own bodies, they will soon be enduring a blazing fire. Al Nisa : 10 (Q19) Islam makes the society responsible not only to take care of these orphaned children but to help them become God-fearing and civilized citizens who would be an asset to the society, instead of a nuisance. ~ KINDNESS TOWARDS THE INDIGENT: ~ The indigents have been mentioned along with the orphans. The indigent persons arc those who could not meet their own basic needs because of their physical handicaps and economic depravities. Physical handicaps too retard economic and material progress. Islam wants these retardations should be removed. People in economic distress should be helped so that they could not only be able to meet their basic needs, but also be able to regain economic stability. The Qur'an and the traditions of the Prophet have both repeatedly mentioned the moral and the legal rights of the indigents and the needy persons. At one place, the Qur'an says: So give what is due to kindred, the needy, and the way-farer. That is best for those who seek the countenance of Allah, and it is they who will prosper. [Al Rum : 38] (Q20) The indigent persons are commonly said to be beggars. Begging is not an indication of helplessness or hard times, Some people beg without any helplessness. They are not the indigent but indigent-faced. On the contrary, there are people who are in dire need but their self-respect prevents them from extending their hands before others. The   - - - 41/123 - - - Qur'an says that such persons of genuine needs should be considered, and particularly those who are in the service of religion and left far behind economically in life. The Qur'an says: The ignorant man thinks, because of their modesty, that they are free from want, thou shalt know them by their (unfailing) mark: they beg not importunately from all and sundry. Al Baqarah : 273 (Q21) In one narration of Hazrath Abu Huraira, we find an explanation of this Ayath. He tells the Prophet had said: An indigent person is not the one who goes begging and whom you give one or two handfuls of food, or one or two date fruits, but he is the one who inspite of being helpless to meet his minimum needs, appears to be such that no one could either make out his real condition to give him any offering or a charity, nor does he stand begging from people. (H14) In this way, attention has been draw to these respectable but really needy gentlemen in society. ~ KINDNESS TOWARDS THE NEIGHBOURS: ~ In the following Ayath, gentleness towards neighbours has been advised. Do good to neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, and the companions by your side. [Al Nisa : 36] (Q22) The people with we coexist and the neighours with whom we have social interact could not be left out. They enjoy more rights than those with whom we have no such links. Here the neighbours have been classified into three categories - the   - - - 42/123 - - - neighbours who are related to us, the neighbours who are not related; and those who accidently meet us while on travel, in offices, in schools or colleges, or in work places. Such people are also a kind of neighbours. All the religions of the world have given importance to generous behaviour towards neighbours but Islam has not only given importance to this behaviour but has given such a wide meaning to the concept of neighbour that we cannot find its parallel elsewhere. Even brief togetherness of any kind is enough to establish their rights. If this togetherness is longer, the rights are equally more established. Hazrath Aysha and Hazrath Abdullah bin Umar have both narrated that the Prophet had said: Hazrath Gabriel has emphasised generosity in treatment towards neighbours to such an extent that I was afraid he would apportion the share of neighbours in the inheritance. (H15) Islam not only says that neighbours should not be hurt in any way but stresses that they deserve our moral and social help. We should treat them in the noblest manner so that every member of society could live with the confidence that he is secure amongst the well-wishers who would be at his service in any juncture. In this regard, Islam's attitude could be inferred from the following traditions. Hazrath Abu Sayeed Qhuzari says that the Prophet repeated thrice: "By God, that man is not a man of faith. By God, that man is not a man of faith. By God, that man is not a man of faith''. When he was asked who was that person, he answered: "That person from whose harm and unexpected wickedness, his neighbour is not safe." (H16) This tradition makes it clear that hurting a neighbour is in contradiction to faith. In another tradition,  - - - 43/123 - - - Hazrath Abdullah bin Abbas says that the Prophet had said: That person is not a believer whose stomach is full and his neighbour remains starving. (H17) It is clear from these traditions that the mark of belief is that his neighbours should be at peace with him and he should be of help to his neighbours in times of crisis. ~ KINDNESS TOWARDS THE WAYFARERS: ~ After the aforesaid people, wayfarers have been mentioned. Service to strangers and wayfarers has always been construed to be an act of virtue. Rest-houses were built for them; boarding and other facilities were provided for them. Now this tendency to serve the wayfarers has become extinct. Grand hotels have replaced these rest-houses. It is not feasible for everyone to take advantage of these hotels, and they do not solve all the problems of a traveller. A man away from home is faced with many problems. If he is travelling in a foreign land, international laws involve him in various kinds of difficulties. Viewed from this angle, present day traveller is subject to new sorts of problems. Islam makes the whole society responsible that it should help the traveller in the best possible manner so that he should not feel himself estranged, and the purpose for which he had left back his home and hearth should not remain unfulfilled. ~ KINDNESS TOWARDS THE SLAVES AND THE SUBJUGATED: ~ Among the people who deserve our kind treatment, slaves and the subjugated have also been included. It is said:   - - - 44/123 - - - And behave with kindness towards the slaves. (Q22a) The system of slavery was extant even before Islam. Slavers were treated in ways worse than animal. They were entitled to no rights. It is no place to discuss the steps Islam had taken to end slavery but as a first step in this direction it defined the rights of the slaves and the subjugated, and emphasised kind treatment towards them. Among the various traditions of the Prophet in this regard, one tradition is mentioned here. Hazrath Abuzar narrates that the Prophet had said: These slaves are your brethern; feed them with what you take; clothe them with what you clothe yourself. Do not extract work more than their capacity. If you place on them heavier burden help them in lifting it. (H18) After enumerating those who merit our kind treatment, it was said: Surely Allah does not love the arrogant and the vainglorious. (Q22b) In this Ayath the two Arabic words - 'mughthal' and 'faqhoor' - arc identical in meaning. 'Mughthal' is one whose arrogance is displayed through his action, 'faqhoor' is one whose arrogance is verbal. God does not love the person who is arrogant and vainglorious by way of action or speech. Arrogance and vain gloriousness keep a person away from worshipping God in humility and serving his fellow-beings with sincere kindness. Only through these qualities, humanity of the people is established; otherwise, he is worse than an animal.   - - - 45/123 - - - ~ LEGAL SAFEGUARDS ALONG WITH MORAL TEACHINGS: ~ One thing is to be noted here. We are commanded to display the best behaviour towards parents, kindsfolk, the indigent and the weaker sections of the society. This command was continuously instilled during the entire period of the revelation of Qur'an from the days of Mecca to Medina. In this way, love, sympathy and generosity towards the deprived and the deserving, were encouraged in succession. Then at one particular stage, Islam defined their rights and offered them legal safeguards so that no one could exercise any high-handedness and violate their rights.   - - - 46/123 - - - ^ CHAPTER - 5 ^ ^ VARIED ARE THE WAYS TO SERVE ^ In this world there is no dearth of people, who have only verbal sympathy for the poor. It is very difficult to find people who go a step further and translate their verbal sympathy into action. People in distress need material support more than anything. Sweet talk could give them temporary relief but their hardship would remain as it is. ~ MATERIAL HELP ~ Islam has exhorted its followers to spend their possessions whole-heartedly in the service of people and never consider it wasted. What a man spends on another is a great investment. He would reap rich rewards on the Day of Reckoning. Qur'an has always mentioned spending on others along with prayer and charity so that it's importance could be highlighted and nobody could ignore it. And be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity: and whatever good ye send forth for your souls before you, ye shall find it with Allah: for Allah sees well all that ye do. [Al Baqarah : 110] (Q23) And establish regular prayer and give regular charity; and loan to Allah a beautiful loan. And whatever good ye send forth for your souls, you shall find it in Allah's presence - ye, better and greater, in reward, and seek ye the grace of Allah for Allah is oft-forgiving, most merciful. [Al Muzammil : 30] (Q24)   - - - 47/123 - - - ~ SHARING THE WEALTH: ~ The Qur'an says one of the distinctive features of the believers is that their wealth is not only for their related ones but the poor and the indigent too are allowed to have their share in their wealth. It has described a quality of God-fearing men: And in their wealth and possessions (was remembered) the right of the (needy), him who asked, and him who (for some reason) was prevented from asking. [Al Dhariyat : 19] (Q25) One of the attributes of God-fearing people has been described thus: And those in wealth is a recognized right for the needy who asks and him who is prevented (for some reason from asking). AL Ma'arij : 24, 25 (Q26) In sura Al Baqarah, the people on whom one's wealth could be spent have been mentioned in detail. They ask thee what they should spend (in charity) say: whatever you spend that is good, is for your parents and kindred and orphans and those in want and for wayfarers. And whatever ye do that is good, Allah knoweth it well. Al Baqarah : 215 (Q27) In this way Islam has advocated spending on the relations and the needy, with inducements of rich rewards by God on it. ~ HUMANE TREATMENT: ~ Generally people equate kind treatment with material help. Kind treatment does not necessarily mean fulfilling one's material needs alone but it includes love, sympathy fellow -feelings and moralistic deal towards   - - - 48/123 - - - a person. Man does not need bread, dress, shelter and medical help alone but he wants to be respected. A poor man does not want to be treated as poor but he wants to be treated with equality. Providing medical help is not enough for the sick, somebody should attend on him with a human touch. If a person has any virtue it should be given due recognition and his errors forgiven. His happiness and bereavement should be shared. Along with material help, fellow-feelings and higher moral conduct should be displayed. In the light of the Qur'an and tradition, all these go to make kind treatment. One example of this is that the parents do not need only material support but more than this they expect love from their children. They want to forget their loneliness and physical infirmities in the effulgence of love from their children. The Qur'an has not asked offspring to bear the expenses of the parents but it has commanded them to treat them with kindness and humility. Kindness towards them necessarily includes taking material care of their needs also: Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: "My Lord! bestow on them they Mercy even as they cherished* me in childhood." [Bani lsrail: 23-24] (Q28) --- # * The well known Hanafite Jurisprudence book HIDAYA says maintaining one's parents, whether they are Muslim or unbelievers, is obligatory (wajib) because God has commanded to obey the parents in rightful things (Lukhman: 1 5). It demands that it is not right that man takes the benefit of all the blessings of God and allow his parents to starve. #   - - - 49/123 - - - Sometimes a word of sympathy or a gesture of love is more valuable than. mere material help. The Qur'an has given so much importance to courtesy in speech that at one place it was mentioned in precedence to prayer and charity. Speak fair to the people, be steadfast in prayer, and practise regular charity. [AL Baqarah : 83] (Q29) The poor or the indigent could be helped materially but a man with wealth needs no such help but he could also be helped otherwise with sympathy, love and courtesy. Sometimes rich persons need them more direly than anything else. ~ OTHER WAYS OF SERVICE: ~ Many traditions of the Prophet have made it explicit that people could be served not only by money but there are numerous other ways to serve them. To help an handicapped, to guide a blind person, to remove an obstacle from the way, to give a glass of water to the thirsty, and even a smile are all various other ways to serve. Like monetary offerings, these human gestures arc also charity. Hazrath Abu Musa Ashaeri narrates that the Prophet had said: It is necessary on every Muslim that he should make a propitiatory offering. One companion asked if they had no means to make this offering. He answered that he should do labour and with what he earns be should take the benefit and also spend it on others. The Companion asked if he had no capacity even for that. He answered that he should help a needy person in ways other than monetary or material. He was asked if even that was not possible. He answered that in such circumstances, he could advise good things ahd preach fair things. When he was   - - - 50/123 - - - asked if even that was not possible, he said that he should stay away from committing evils, it is also a form of offering. (H19) Commenting on this, experts on traditions have expatiated that material offerings could be made only by the rich but charity and offerings are not necessarily always material, they could be non-material also. Any man could practise them under all circumstances. The above tradition does not list acts of goodness in gradation but the problem has been explained by examples. The purpose is to emphasise that a man who could not practise the one, could practise the other. A man who could practise all, should certainly do so. From this it could be understood that wherever material spending is called for it is always better to meet in materially. All other acts of goodness, mentioned in the tradition, are only secondary in importance. Keeping away from evil and wickedness has also been described as a kind of an offering. If we desist from being wicked to others, it is an offering towards that person. If we desist from inflicting evil on ourselves it is also an offering on our part. In short the meaning of the tradition is that a man must behave with kindness towards the creations of God. It is within the means of all to discharge this duty. Material help is of two kind -- he could spend the wealth he possesses or he could earn and spend the earnings on others. Non-material help is also of two kinds -- he could lessen the hardships of others or he could keep away from inflicting hardships on others. According to this tradition these are the offerings people could make to one another. (Fatah al Bari 198/3) ~ EVERY KIND OF SERVICE IS AN OFFERING: ~ Generally service is taken to be welfare work of great magnitude. Everybody is not capable of   - - - 51/123 - - - undertaking it; on the other hand, small acts of welfare that everybody could easily undertake are not considered to be worthy of importance. This way neither great acts or small acts are undertaken. The above tradition clarifies this mistaken attitude. The Prophet had induced in his various traditions that every kind of act, whether, big or small, should be undertaken in whatever possible manner in serving others. Every such act is worthy of rewards. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet had said: Every day, when the sun rises, offering becomes necessary on every joint of human body. Offering includes all kinds of human gesture. [f a man pacifies a dispute between two persons, it is also an offering. Helping a person in mounting a riding animal is also an offering. Placing somebody's things on the back of the riding animal is also an offering. To say good things is also an offering. Every step we take to offer prayer is also an offering. Removing an obstacle from the way is also an offering. (H20) In other narration of Hazrath Abu Huraira, it is further explained. The Prophet had said smiling at others is also an offering. Advising good things and preventing from the evils, are also offerings. Guiding a person in a pathless forest is also an offering. &moving filth, thorns, and bones from the path is also an offering and for every one of these acts you will be rewarded. (H21) These traditions have enumerated various acts and their aspects of service to others. If we have the mind to serve, there are innumerable ways to serve. Hazrath Jabir bin Abdullah narrates that the Prophet had said: Every act of goodness is an offering. (H22)   - - - 52/123 - - - This brief but meaningful tradition encompasses every act of goodness which come under offering. Nobody could deny virtues of these acts. Besides this, it has been clarified that no act of this kind is to be taken as mean or insignificant. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet had said: No act of good should be thought of as mean, even though it may be meeting others with a smile. (H23) We should serve the people as much as we could because it is a major way of deliverance from Hell. Once the Prophet mentioned the horror of Hell and prayed refuge from it and said: Save yourself from Hell, even if it is by an offering of a date-fruit. If it is not possible, by uttering words of goodness. (H24) Whenever a deserving person is helped, he experiences a sort of comfort and pleasure. In the same way kind speech also causes joy and happiness, and therefore it is also an offering. As a matter of fact the range of service to man is so wide that everyone can carry out his share in this field. It is not necessary for a person to be rich or to take the help of the government for this purpose. The truth is that through riches, power, government or state only some aspects of service to man can be done. There are many aspects in which the high morals and good conduct of an individual can be of use. Government and state can grant a pension to the needy, give employment to the unemployed, provide shelter to the shelterless, and render medical help to the patient. But inspite of its resources it cannot replace father, mother, wife, sons, brothers, friends, neighbours and good citizens. The emotional satisfaction such people can give which cannot be got from any small or big institution of the state.   - - - 53/123 - - - ^ CHAPTER - 6 ^ ^ IMPORTANCE OF PROVISIONAL HELP ^ One way to help is to provide occasional help. Sometimes a man could be in dire need of immediate help in an emergency. Any negligence in providing prompt help could worsen the condition of distressed, People who are wont to help occassionally also get a chance to be of help of others. Sometimes people have only limited means to help to others. Islam realised this and induced people to help others to whatever ways they need to be helped, and it has also advised people to provide help even if it is of little occasional importance. Some forms of these occasional help are discussed here. ~ FEEDING THE HUNGRY: ~ One form of occasional help is to feed the hungry. A man dying of hunger has a right that his hunger be satisfied first. The Qur'an has appreciated the characteristics of the servants of God who would be entitled to the perennial blessings of paradise in these words: And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive- (saying) "we feed you for the sake of Allah alone: No reward we desire from you, nor thanks. We only fear a Day of distressful wrath from the side of our Lord". [Al Dahr: 8-10] (Q30)   - - - 54/123 - - - There are many traditions about the excellence of feeding the hungry. Hazrath Abdullah bin Umar bin Al-Aas narrates that one person asked the Prophet: What is the best in Islam? (H25) The question was' obviously about those qualities of Islam which are related to the service and welfare of the people. The Prophet answered: That is to feed the hungry and to salute the acquainted and the stranger. (H26) Hazrath Abdullah bin Salman says: I visited the Prophet when he arrived Madina. The moment I looked at the face of the Prophet, I realised it was not the face of a liar. The first thing the Prophet said at that time was: Oh People! give currency to saluting. Feed the hungry, mend your relations, pray when other people are asleep, you would enter the paradise with peace. (H27) Feeding the hungry looks apparently a simple act of service out it is of potential importance. If this realisation is awakened in the society nobody would be allowed to starve; and the society would discover the quickest and the easiest way to tackle the problem of poverty and hunger. In the earlier days in Madina, when the economic condition of the Islamic State was not yet stable, the Prophet succeeded in solving the problem of squalor and hunger in inducing people to feed the hungry. He said: The food of two persons could take care of three and the food meant for three could help four persons. (H28) The above tradition had been narrated by Hurath Abu Huraira. In the narration of Hazrath Jabir bin Abdullah we find an addition. According to him the Prophet had said:  - - - 55/123 - - - The food of one person is sufficient for two, the food for two is enough for four and similarly the food for four will suffice eight persons. (H29) A tradition of similar meaning has been narrated by Hazrath Umar. The Prophet had said: The food for one person is sufficient for two, the food for two will take care of three or four persons, and the food meant for four persons will take care of five or six persons. (H30) Depending on the persons and circumstances, food could be shared and all could drew sustenance from it, with a belief that God would grace whatever they share with abundance. The way the Prophet had the strong desire to feed the hungry and the indigent could be seen from one narration of Hazrath Ayesha. She says a goat was slaughtered one day and it was distributed. The Prophet enquired whether anything remained undistributed. She answered everything had been distributed except a shoulder piece. Then the Prophet said everything remained as they were except a shoulder piece. The meaning was that the reward over the offering of the goat was assure4 and it was not lost. During the days of the Prophet, the sacrificial meat used to be sun-dried and the same was to be consumed later over a long period. In times of drought, the Prophet decreed that the meat need not be kept for more than three days. The purpose behind it has been explained by Hazrath Ayesha: He wanted that the people of means should feed this meat to the indigent. (H31) Feeding the indigent was a favourite act of certain companions of the Prophet. How much interest - - - 56/123 - - - they evinced and how much particular they were in it could be seen from the following events. Hazrath Nafey says that Hazrath Abdullah bin Umar never used to partake of his food without inviting an indigent person to share it with him. It is said about Hazrath Suhaib that he used to feed the poor on such a large scale that Hazrath Umar once admonished him and he answered: The Prophet used to say the best among you is the one who feeds the poor and returns the salutation. It is this which induces me to feed the poor. (H32) We find one touching event in this connection in the books of traditions. This event contains a lesson as well as a warning. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that one person came to the Prophet and said that he was in the crux of poverty. The Prophet sent word to one of his wives to send him something for the poor person to eat. In reply it was said that there was nothing at home except water. Then he sent word to another wife and the same reply came from there also. Like this, from every wife he received the same reply in the negative. At that time, one Ansari - in some traditions it is reported to be Hazrath Abdullah - came forward and took the man along with him to his home. He asked his wife whether she had anything to feed the poor man. She said she had only the food for the children. He asked his wife to cajole the children to sleep without food. And then he asked his wife to put out the lamp when they sat together to eat along with the guest. His wife did so, and they all pretended as if they were also eating. The guest had his food but the husband   - - - 57/123 - - - and his wife went to bed with empty stomach. The next morning he went to the Prophet and the Prophet said God was pleased with them on the event of the night. An Ayath was revealed at that occasion. But give them preference over themselves, even though poverty was their (own lot). And those saved from the covetousness of their own souls they are the ones that achieve prosperity. Al Hashr : 9 (Q31) ~ HELP IN FEEDING THE POOR: ~ In feeding the poor, the help rendered by wife and the servants will also rewarded. Hazrath Ayesha narrates that the Prophets had said: If the wife feeds the poor without incurring any damage to her husband's household, she will be rewarded. Likewise, the husband and the purse-man will also be rewarded. (H33) With regard to purse-man, there is another tradition, narrated by Hazrath Abu Musa Ashari. The Prophet had said: The Muslim purse-man who enforces the instructions he was given, and hands over the things in full measure and with happiness as he was asked to, is also one among those who makes the offering. (H34) A wife and the servants always act with the permission of the master of the house. Otherwise, they have no right to spend anything. This permission may be specific or may be customary. A wife would know the limit her husband would allow her and she would spend on others within this limit. If there is any fear of objection by her husband she would avoid it.   - - - 58/123 - - - It is only a formality but a man ought to be so large-hearted that he should feel happy over the spending of his wife or his servants on the indigent persons. A man should have the confidence of his wife and his servants. He should be glad that they have helped him in a good act because he will also be. rewarded over it. One companion of the Prophet whose name is Abil Laham says that once he was making slices of the meat on the instruction of his master. One indigent person came there and he gave him some slices of meat. When the master came to know of this, he got angry and began to beat him. When the servant reported the matter to the Prophet, he called the master and enquired the reason for his beating the servant. The master said that the servant had given the slices without his permission. Then the Prophet told him that the reward over it would be for both of them, according to their worth. The slave made the offering in the belief that there would be no objection so he would be rewarded. Since the meat belonged to the master he would also be rewarded. ~ GIVING WATER TO THE THIRSTY: ~ Water is an inevitable need of man. Because God has provided this blessings in abundance we do not realise its value. A man whose throat parched with thirst would be in a better position to realise its value. As feeding the hungry is an act of virtue in Islam, giving water to the thirsty 1s also an act of goodness. In one tradition of the Prophet, it has been said: A Muslim who gives water to another Muslim in thirst, would be given a sealed drink by God on the Day of Judgement. (H35)   - - - 59/123 - - - Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet had said that once a person felt thristy in a forest. When he found a well, he got into it and satisfied his thirst. When he came out, he saw a dog panting with thirst and licking the earth with a parched tongue. He got into the well again and soaked his socks in water. And then, he rinsed the socks into the mouth of the dog and thus satisfied its thirst. God liked this act of the person and He pardoned him. After listening to this, one companion asked the Prophet whether there was virtue in helping the animal also. The Prophet said: There is a reward in every act of service to all living beings. (H36) In one narration it has been said that the person who helped the dog was an adulteress of Bani lsrail, and she was pardoned because of that particular act. Once the Prophet advised a person about the acts of goodness and then said: If you don't have the capacity for it, feed the hungry and give water to the thirsty. (H37) ~ PARTIAL HELP IN PREPARING THE FOOD: ~ In preparing food, rice, pulses, meat, vegetables, salt, water and fuel are needed. One form of help is to provide any of the above items. There are certain things which we could never refuse. A man's humanity is doubtful if he refused to give salt or water. Hazrath Ayesha says that once she asked the Prophet about those things which we could not refuse. The Prophet said they were water, salt and fuel. She said that everyone was aware of the importance of water but what was the importance of salt and fuel. Then the Prophet said: O Humaira (Hazrath Ayesha's title): The man who provided fuel   - - - 60/123 - - - gave the offering of entire food which was cooked by that fuel. The man who had given salt had given the offering of entire food which became palatable because of that salt. The man who had given water to the thirsty in a place where no water was available, he had given new life to that man. ~ CLOTHING THE NEEDY: ~ Among the basic needs of a person, after the food, clothing is of the greatest importance. Like his other needs, this need should also be fulfilled. Islam has taken care of this occasional and temporary need also. The reward for providing clothing to the naked has been mentioned in many traditions of the Prophet. Hazrath Abdullah bin Abbas narrates that the Prophet had said: The Muslim who clothes another Muslim comes under the protection of Allah and remains there as long as a piece of it remains on the body. (H138) If a man could not get a new dress for the naked, he could give his old garments. Hazrath Umar narrates that the Prophet had said that at the time of putting on new garments we , should pray: I thank God who has given new clothes with which I cover and adorn myself. (H39) After this thankfulness, when the garments become old, he could give them in offering to the needy. Like this, he would be under the protection of God during his Life-time and after death too. ~ RIGHTS OF THE PETITIONERS: ~ Not only the poor and the indigent need occasional help but sometimes well-to -do people also need these   - - - 61/123 - - - kinds of help. It is related more to circumstantial compulsion than to economic status. A man whose pocket has been picked or lost on the way could not reach home because of this sudden and unexpected eventuality. In these circumstances he deserves to be helped. At times even rich people are faced with such accidental helplessness. Hazrath Imam Hussain has narrated that the Prophet had said: Even if the petitioner comes riding a horse his needs are to be fulfilled. (H40) Imam Khathabi says that the meaning of this tradition is that we should always have a positive attitude towards the petitioner, and should never entertain any suspision over his petition for help. Outwardly he may look well off, and may even possess a horse but the likelihood is always there that he may be entangled in some trouble or in debt. In these circumstances, accepting an offering is permissible to him. After mentioning some more plausible reasons, Imam Khathabi says these are the different reasons a petitioner should not be turned away merely by looking at this outward appearance. In the traditions of the Prophet, it has been strictly prohibited to beg, and the professional beggars have been severely condemned. On the other hand, it has been commanded that when the needy persons ask for help should be helped. Umme Bajeed, the companion, once told the Prophet that sometimes a beggar came to his door and he found nothing to give to him and because of that he felt humiliated. The Prophet advised him that beggars should not be returned empty handed. If one had nothing, atleast a burnt hoof should be given to the beggar. How one should treat a petitioner is exemplified in the following incident. Once the Prophet asked his companions whether they had fed any indigent  - - - 62/123 - - - person that day. Hazrath Abu Bakr said that after listening to these words of the Prophet he went to the mosque and found a man hungry there asking for food. Hazrath Abu Bakr's son Abdur Rahman was partaking of a bread in the mosque. He took the bread of his son and gave it to the hungry person. ~ VISITING A SICK PERSON: ~ A person who suddenly falls ill or meets with an accident also needs occasional and timely help. Any negligence in providing this help may worsen his condition. According to the traditions, visiting a sick person and attending the funeral of a Muslim are among the responsibilities of the Muslim. Sometimes, visiting a sick person or serving him becomes a formal duty also. The person who discharges this duty in time deserves rich rewards as per the dictates of sharia.   - - - 63/123 - - - ^ CHAPTER - 7 ^ ^ NEED FOR PERMANENT SOLUTION ^ It is good to drop a few coins into the begging bowl of a beggar, to feed the hungry to his fill and to clothe a naked person. No doubt we practise them to the best of our capacity and reap the rewards. But do these acts constitute the entire gamut of service of humanity? Let us consider this problem in detail. It is of vital importance that occasional needs are met in time. But if the need is not temporary, it has to be met as long as the need is there. We must try to find out ways and means to extricate the person from his difficulties. We should make him economically viable so that he should not starve or be ill-clothed or extend his hand before others for his living. If we adopt this constructive attitude the concept of service would have a different meaning. Let us explain it with some examples. ~ THE WIDER CONCEPT OF HELP: ~ To feed an indigent person for once is also an act of goodness. The Qur'an and the traditions emphasise its importance and induce the believers to practise it. But as long as the person remains indigent his needs would always be there. It is the responsibility of the people and the State to help him come out of his poverty so that he could be a respectable member of society and lead a life of satisfaction: Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet had said:   - - - 64/123 - - - A man who strives to help the widows and the indigent persons is as good as a man who crusades in the path of God, or a man who prays during the night or fasts during the day. (H41) The struggle for the widows and the indigent includes every effort to help their welfare in order to make them regain respectability in society. Imam Novi says: The meaning of struggle is to find means for their livelihood and try to fulfill their needs. (H42) Hafiz Ibn Hajr has further explained it. Any person who tries to achieve those things which would be of profit to widows and the indigent persons. (H43) The indigent persons are of two kinds - those who express their needs avowedly without any hesitation and ask for help; and those sense of self-respect restrains them from extending their hands. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet had said: An indigent person is not one who goes around people with his hands extended and you give him one or two morsel of food or a date-fruit.(H44) People then asked who are the indigent persons. He answered: An indigent person is one who neither has so much that he could be free from the help of others, nor anybody knows his real state that offering or charity could be given to him. (H45) ~ MAINTENANCE OF THE ORPHANS: ~ Let us take another example: Kind treatment of orphans has been repeatedly emphasised in the  - - - 65/123 - - - Qur'an. The help we render to an orphan could be for a short duration or it could be for a longer period. The condition of the orphan demands that the help should be for a longer stretch of time so that he could achieve economic independence and be able to become a religious and respectable member of the society. Hazrath Abu Huraira in one of his narrations points out towards this. He says that the Prophet had said: The man who takes care of the orphans, though he may be related or not, would be united with me in paradise as these two fingers. (Imam Malick raised his index-finger and the middle-finger to show this unity) (H46) The word maintenance includes every kind of care that is necessary for his stable development. Imam Novi has explained it in these words: The man who maintains an orphan is the one who takes care of his food, dress and education. He could also be the person who helps the orphan with his own wealth, or the one who helps the orphan with the wealth of the orphan as per the dictates of Sharia. (H47) A man who adheres to these as much as he could, would be rewarded by God, and he would be united with the Prophets in the Paradise. ~ HELP IN FINDING JOBS: ~ On the occasion of the Last Hajj1 when the Prophet was distributing the offerings, two persons came to him and requested that they too be given something. He saw those two people were able-bodied and strong and he said with displeasure: If you want I could give you these offerings but must know that the wealth and healthy   - - - 66/123 - - - who could earn their own livelihood, have no share in it. (H48) This tradition makes it clear that offerings and charity are not meant for those who have the capacity to eke out their living. Imam Khathabi has inferred the following from this tradition. From this tradition, we infer that without looking at the means of livelihood of a person we could not deny him merely because he is strong and able-bodied. Sometimes people inspite of being strong-bodied, are unskilled and can not make out their own living. This tradition tells that such persons have their share in offerings and charity. They could not be denied of their share. (H49) From the above tradition we understand that a person looking healthy and strong could be jobless, or even if he had a job, the earnings from it could be insufficient to make both ends meet, and in that ease, he could be helped with the offerings and charity. Today there are many young men who are prepared to work hard but cannot be gainfully self-employed for want of capital. If they are helped with requisite capital, they can start their own business or an industry, and gain economic stability. But our community has no such master plans to help these young enterprising members of our society. ~ HELP IN CRAFT AND INDUSTRY: ~ Hazrath Abuzar records the dialogue he once had with the Prophet. He asked the Prophet which were the best acts and the Prophet answered: Belief in Allah and struggle in His path. I enquired releasing which kind of bondman was   - - - 67/123 - - - of better significance. He said that bondman whose price was the highest, and who was refined and trusted in the eyes of his master,. Then I said if I had no capacity to buy his release. He said if so, I should help a man whose children were being wasted because of poverty, or assist a person who was unskilled. I asked if I could not do even this. He answered that I should guard others from my wickedness. This was also a kind of offering on myself. (H50) In another version of the same tradition it has been narrated with a little difference. Instead of the words, 'the person in poverty' 'the man with craft' have been used. The man with craft-skilled in some discipline-could be helped with financial aid, technical assistance, appliances or machines, or finding market facilities for him. Generally nobody thinks of helping a skilled craftsman. He too has his own problems, and sometimes the problem could be of a technical nature. After this, it has been commanded to help a man without any skill. [n rendering help, priority is to be accorded to skilled people. And then unskilled people who could not do their own work properly should be helped. If this trend of helping the skilled technician to do better, and the unskilled people to learn something useful, becomes a social commitment there would be a great social upliftment. It would certainly help in solving the economic problems of the weaker section.   - - - 68/123 - - - ^ CHAPTER - 8 ^ ^ SOME DEFINITE ASPECTS OF SERVICE ^ Besides drawing attention to providing occasional help to the distressed, the Qur'an and the traditions of the Prophet have spelt certain definite steps of far reaching effects for economic and social upliftment. ~ FINANCIAL HELP: ~ One form of help is to extend monetary support. The Qur'an has emphasised without mincing words to help the weaker, the helpless and the down-trodden in society. It is not righteousness that ye turn faces towards the East or the West; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the angels and the Book and the Messengers; to spend of our substance out of love for him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask and for ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayers and to practise regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm arid patient in pain (or suffering) and adversity and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing. [Al Baqarah : 177] (Q32) In this Ayath the customary religiousness has been criticised first and then the true religiousness has been mentioned. The word 'bir' has been used in this Ayath and its meaning is to discharge one's responsibility - responsibility towards Allah and the responsibility towards fellow beings. The realisation   - - - 69/123 - - - of both these responsibilities is of vital importance. One could not be religious in the real sense unless belief in Allah is deeply rooted in him. It is on1y then he will be able to realise his commitments towards the kin, the orphans, the indigents, the wayfarers, the petitioners, the subjugated and the slaves. Prayer and charity have been mentioned only to highlight this reality. Prayer links man to God, and charity links him to his fellow-beings. In some other ayaths, it has been mentioned that whatever a man owns is not exclusively his own; others too have a share in it. In Sura Bani Israil, it has been mentioned. Render to the kindred their due rights, as (also) to those in want, and to the wayfarer: but squander not (your wealth) in the manner of the spend-thrift. Verily spend-thrifts are brothers of the evil-ones and the evil-one is to his Lord [Himself] ungrateful. Bani Israil: 26-27 (Q33) After stressing that others also have a share in one's wealth; squandering and wastage have been strictly prohibited. The spendthrift would hardly realise his formal commitments towards the deserving. The same message has been repeated in another context in Sura Al Rum: See they not that Allah enlarges the provision and restricts it, to whomsoever He pleases? Verily in that are signs for those who believe. So give what is due to kindred, the needy and the wayfarer. That is best for those who seek the countenance of Allah, and it is they who will prosper. [Al Rum: 37-38] (Q34) Sura Bani Israil and Sura AJ-Rum are both Meccan suras. During the Meccan period, zakath was not made obligatory but the due rights of the kin, the   - - - 70/123 - - - needy and the wayfarers have been mentioned. Commenting on this ayath of Al-Rum, Imam Rui says that in this ayath, help to those people whom we are morally bound to help has been mentioned. The condition of 'houlan-c-houl' (Passage of one-year time) prescribed for zakath is not meant here. Therefore the treatment of kindness is meant for all. These three categories of people are those with whom one is bound to be kind whether he has his wealth in excess or not. These ayaths, if carefully read, tell us that by helping the downtrodden we are not doing any favour to them, it is their due rights which we are fulfilling. This concept, if properly understood, would never allow the haves to exploit the have-nots. [t would end the struggle between the rich and the poor. ~ HELP THROUGH LOAN: ~ Sometimes man required financial help to tide over his economic problems. One way to help him is to lend him a loan. It will help him take care of his needs, and the lender will also have his loan repaid. Traditions have recorded the excellence and reward over this kind of help through loan. Hazrath Abdullah bin Maswood narrates that the Prophet had said: The Muslims who lends another Muslim loan for a couple of time has a reward equal to giving an offering once.(H51) Imam Shokani says there are many traditions in support of the excellence of lending loans. Among the innumerable commands of the Qur'an and traditions to help the weaker section of society, lending loans is also one. It is a permissible way of help. Ibne Raslan says there is no difference of opinion over the practice of seeking the loan facilities, and in   - - - 71/123 - - - no way it degrades the position of the seeker. If there is any harm in it, Prophet would not have availed of loans. In the commercial world, loan arrangements arc of prime importance. In modern days, loans have become an inevitable component of commerce. In the absence of this facility many business houses and industries would face closure. But in this materialistic society loan-lending has become a profit-making enterprise. [t is for this purpose loans arc linked to interest and everybody likes to hike the rate of interest as much as he can. The logic advocated in defence of interest is that the money thus lent is used by the debtor to make money out of it and it is natural that a part of it should be given to the creditor. In this logic, the person who seeks the loan and his circumstances are ignored. Money gets precedence over man. They argue the purchasing power of money is always fluctuating everywhere in the world. The lender would stand to lose by lending money without interest. Islam is against this materialistic mentality. It does not consider lending money to be a-profit-making process, but it is a way to help others. More than the compensation for the Joss of purchasing power of money, one shoald bear m mind the reward he would have with God for this monetary help. Once he has this realisation he would not hesitate m granting more time for repayment or even waive the loan if the debtor is really in a financial crisis. Along with the condemnation of interest, Islam has recommended interest-free loan facilities. O you who believe! Fear Allah, and give up what remains of your demand for usury, if ye are indeed believers. If you do it not, take notice of war from Allah and His messenger;   - - - 72/123 - - - but if ye turn back, you shall have your capital sums; deal not unjustly, and ye shall not be dealt with unjustly. If the debtor is in a difficulty, grant him time till it is easy for him to repay. But if you give it up by way of charity that is best for you if ye only know. And fear the Day when ye shall be brought back to Allah. Then shall every soul be paid what is earned and none shall be dealt with unjustly. Al Baqarah: 276-281. (Q35) On the one hand, debtors have been advised m the traditions to repay their debt in the best and on the other hand, creditors have been exhorted to be gracefully soft towards their debtors. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates the Prophet borrowed a camel from a person Perhaps the person was a Jew or a Bedouin. In his demand for the payment, he dealt with the Prophet in a harsh manner. When the companions wanted to deal with him in the same harsh manner, the Prophet restrained them, saying that he had his right to demand as he wished. He asked his companions to buy a camel and return it to him. The companion replied: the' camel of the same build he had lent was not available in the mar-ket and the camels available for sale were of better condition. He told them to buy the same and return it to him because the best among the people was the one who repaid debt in the best manner. The Prophet has advised the people to deal with the debtors with grace. The person who lends money to the debtor or waives the debt would be in the benevolent shadow of Allah. (H52) Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet had said:   - - - 73/123 - - - The person who lends money to the poor or waives the debt would be in the shadow of His throne on the day of Judgement when there would be no other shadow. (H53) The Prophet said there was one person who was blessed with wealth by God. He used to lend money to people. He had instructed his servants to grant more time to the poor in the repayment of the loans, and to waive any irregularities on the part of the debtors. As a reward for this kind act, God granted him entry into paradise. Once a debtor asked for more time to repay his debt but the creditor was adamant, and both had an altercation. The creditor swore that he would not grant any favour. The Prophet heard this and came out of his closet, and asked who was the person who swore not to do the act of goodness. The creditor confessed it was he who swore like that, and then having repented said that he would do as the debtor desired. lbne Abi Hadard once borrowed money from Hazrath Ka'ab Bin Malick, and the latter demanded its repayment. The former was helpless to repay it. When the matter got complicated, the Prophet beckoned Hazrath Ka'ab and told him by gesture to waive half of the debt and accept the other half. He did so. In the case of bad debts or insolvency of the debtors there are different instructions. This is not the place to discuss them here. The object is to point out that lending a loan is a way to help the person in need and to expect any compensation from the debtor is against Islam. To show generosity towards the debtors and not to take any undue advantage of the person in debt, are all different aspects of service to others.   - - - 74/123 - - - ~ GIFTING THE ESSENTIALS: ~ One form of help is to make a gift of essential things to others. The Arabic Dictionary, 'Lis an- ul-Arab' defines the word 'hiba, (gift) as that presentation which is made without any compensation or selfish inotive. Allama Nafsi says: Hiba is to make one the owner of a thing without accepting any compensation. (HS4) Hiba is made purely to win the pleasure of God, and No mundane compensation could match it. Traditions warn that what has been gifted for the pleasure of God should not even be bought back. Hazrath Umar says that once he gifted an excellent horse to the man who was to take part in the holy war. As the man was of slender means he could not take care of the horse properly. The horse was slowly losing its health and Hazrath Umar wanted to buy it back. He asked the Prophet whether he could do so; and the Prophet said: Do not buy it, though he may give it for a penny. The man who takes his offerings back IS like that dog which licks its own vomit. (H55) It is a mean act that one should take what he has gifted away. It lmrts the sentiment of love and sympathy which he had at the time of presenting the gift. It encourages the sense of possession. It amounts to feel remorse that what he did by giving it as a gift was wrong. It is not so hurtful as not to help a person as to withdraw the help. It is for this reason it has been prohibited to buy back what has bceri gifted away_ because there is always a likelihood of misplaced favour on the part of the other person.   - - - 75/123 - - - ~ LENDING THINGS ON LOAN: ~ It is also a form of service that one person lends a thing to another person to use for a specific period, and then the thing is returned to the owner. Traditions of the Prophet say that it is the best form of offerings. Hazrath Abu Huzaria narrates that the Prophet had said: The best offering is to lend a person a pregnant camel or a goat which could give a potful of milk, morning and evening. (H56) In another narration of the Muslim tBook of Tradition) it is said: If the person gives a family a milching camel which gives a big potful of milk, morning and even.ing, the reward would also be equally large. (H57) Hazrath Bara bin Azib narrates that the Prophet had said: The person who lends anybody a milching cattle for a few days, or gives silver, or guides the way, will have so much reward as the setting free of a slave. (H58) From these traditions it is understood that though the things thus lent are returned after certain period, even if it is for a limited period of time, and it is for this reason it is also counted among the offerings. The permission to take advantage of the milching animals, include the use of its wool, manure and offsprings. In the social set-up of the Arabs of those days, milching animals were of great importance. In modern times, agricultural and industrial appliances are the counterparts of the milching animals. Provision of tools and machinery for a specific period, come under this command.   - - - 76/123 - - - ~ GIVING THINGS IN PAIRS: ~ The traditions have recorded the excellence of offering things in pairs hi the path of Allah. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet had said: The person who gives things in pairs in the way of Allah would be called from the door of the paradise and told that this is the act of goodness (that is you have performed the great deed of virtue.) (H59) We found further details about it in the narration of Hazrath Abu Huraira. He says that Prophet had said: The Muslim who gives a pair of things in the path of God would be welcomed by the guards of the Paradise on the Day of Judgement. Every one of them would invite him to the blessings of God in his possession. I enquired as to what was the meaning of giving things in pairs. He said if you have camels, give two camels; if you have cows, give two cows. (H60) These traditions induce us to spend a part of our wealth for the sake of others, particularly in agricultural society, animals are required in pairs to plough or draw water and carriage. Sometimes the need of a family may be so large that one milching animal may not be suffice it. Apart from animals, the essential things of daily use also come under this definition. Some people are of the view that the words in the path of God mean holy wars. But a more appropriate definition, as Qazi Ayaz bas given, is it includes aJl acts of virtue and kind treatment. ~ PARTNERSHIP IN BUSINESS: ~ Business or industry, both require capital and labour. Sometimes, a man has capital but can not  - - - 77/123 - - - invest labour, or he may be in a position to provide labour but cannot invest capital. One way to organise both is through partnership. One may invest his capital and the other may put in his labour, and both may share the profit in stipulated basis. In the parlence of sharia, this partnership. is called 'muzaribath '. Allama lbne Aseer has defined 'muzaribatb' in the following words: 'Muzaribatb' is that you lend your goods to another for the purpose of business and both share the profit on the stipulated basis. (H61) In 'Hidaya' partnership or 'muzaribath' has been explained as goods of one person and the labour of the other are invested in the business, with the understanding of sharing the profit as per the agreement. 'Muzaribath' in sharia has been considered to be lawful because in any society there are always people with capital who are unable to make use of it gainfully. Likewise, there are people who have the necessary experience , and know-how to make use of the capital in a gainful way but are unable to raise it. Hence 'Muzaribath' brings together capital and labour. At the time of the birth of the Prophet, this system of 'Muzaribath' was in practice. He allowed its continuance and the companions of the Prophet followed it. We come to know of these from the narrations of Hazrath Abdullah bin Hisham. He says his mother took him in his childhood to the Prophet. He placed his hand over the head of the child and prayed for abundance in his life. Because of this, his business was always flourishing. His grandson, Zehra bin Maubed says he used to go the market along with his grandfather who was purchasing food grains there. Hazrath Abdullah bin Umar and Hazrath Abdullah bin Zubair used to urge him in the market to take them as partners in his business. Their business was so thriving that a camel-load of profit was used to be sent home.   - - - 78/123 - - - Allama Abdul Qhasim Qbarqhi says the Qur'an, the traditions and the consensus approve of partnership in business as lawful. Allama lbnc Qhadama Hanbali says there is total consensus of Muslims on the lawfulness of partnership, and only about certain forms of it there is difference of opinion. Partnership is possible with the participation of capital or labour. Both are of equal importance in business. Today, business process has become so complex that a single man with his capital could stabilize his business but could not expand it successfully. In modern business partnership concept has become so common that all large scale companies floated as public limited companies , pool the necessary capital through shares from the public. Those who have invested in these companies through the purchase of shares, are technically partners with entitlement to proportionate share in profit as well as in loss. It is also a form of service that people with limited capital are offered an opportunity to enter big business and reap the benefits of large scale companies. In these days of specialisation, technical expertise and experience have gained unusual significance. For want of huge capital investment these technical experts with all their qualifications arc sometimes constrained in floating their own companies. The best way to overcome this handicap is to take them as partners in the company. Islam wants a happy union of capital and labour. But. the capitalistic tendency is to retain them as employees. ~ PARTNERSHIP IN CULTIVATION: ~ Partnership is possible in agricultural enterprise also. Today agricultural farms with their huge inputs, modern mechanised techniques, have almost turned into an industry. In the traditions of the Prophet we have the evidence of share-based agriculture. The land belonging to one person is cultivated by   - - - 79/123 - - - another, or the garden of one person is looked after by anoth.er, on the mutual understanding that the produce would be shared as agreed up on between the owner and the tenant. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that after Hegira, the Ansars requested the Prophet that their date-gardens be distributed between them and the migrants. The Prophet said it was not proper and it could not be done so. Then the Ansars said the migrants could irrigate and take care of the gardens and the produce could be shared between them. The Prophet and the migrants accepted the proposal. Hazrath Abu Jafar Baqhar says all the migrant families in Medina were engaged in cultivation on crop-sharing basis. Among the companions of the Prophet, Hazrath Ali, Hazrath Saad, Hazrath Abdullah bin Maswood, and among the Tabiycen (second generation of the companions) Umar bin Abdul Aziz, Qasim bin Mohammed, Arwa bin Zubair, and the members of the families of Hazrath Abu Baker, Hazrath Umar and Hazrath Ali and Ibne Sireen were in agricultural occupation. Abdur Rahman bin Aswad says he was engaged in agricultural partnership with Abdur Rahman bin Yazid. Hazrath Umar used to lease his lands to others on the stipulation that the crop would be shared equally if the seeds and other incidental expenses were met by the land-owner. If the tenant met these expenses, Hazrath Umar would be entitled to one-third of the crop. Hazrath Hasan Basri says that cotton could be picked on this basis with the understanding that the labourer would have half of it. lbne Sireen, Ata, Hakam, Zabri and Qhutada, are of the opinion that weavers could be supplied cotton on this basis and the finished goods could be divided between the cotton-supplier and the weaver.   - - - 80/123 - - - Muammar says that cattle could also be given to another person for a certain period on the condition that the owner would get one third or one fourth of the income. These provisions demonstrate that Islam has created circumstances that all could draw benefit from the available means and sources, experience and expertise. One grave shortcoming of our community is that the available resources are not optimally tapped. Whatever expertise we have is awfully neglected. Social progress is possible only when all the available resources are properly used to the maximum to achieve the maximum benefit for the members in the society. ~ CONSULTANCY SERVICE: ~ At every step of life man is constantly in need of consultation. Modern life has become so complex that no one is absolutely knowledgeable about everything. Sometimes, for want of proper guidance, untold hardships are caused. Today there are many consultancy services to offer people expert guidance in all matters of complexity. The traditions of the Prophet have recorded the excellence of such right consultation. The Prophet said: Anybody who guides towards goodness would be entitled to half the reward of the man who performs the act of goodness. (H62) It is for this reason, giving wrong advice has been construed to be a breach of trust. Hazrath Abu Huraira says the Prophet had said: If the person has been given the wrong legal advice (fatwa) and it is acted upon, the sinner would be the person who had given that advice. The person who had given the advice with the knowledge that goodness was in other thing, had committed a breach of trust. (H63)   - - - 81/123 - - - Modern civilization has brought so many complications in life that there are no competent consultant bodies to guide people properly and introduce them to Islamic point of view in these matters. ~ HELPING THE OPPRESSED: ~ Islam is against all forms of oppressions. On one hand, it condemns oppression, and on the other, it encourages the society to raise its voice against the oppressor. Hazrath Bara bin Azib narrates that the Prophet had ordered us to follow seven things and one among them was to help the oppressed. Imam Novi considers helping the oppressed is 'farze-kifaya'* and counts this act , as a part of 'amar bil maroof wa nahi anil munkar'** at times when somebody's life or property is at stake, his honour is being violated, his house is robbed or set fire to, it is the duty of the neighbours to swing into action and save him. If a handful of people come forward to help the oppressed, all would be absolved of their moral responsibilities, otherwise all would be committing a moral crime and would be answerable before God. There are many ways to help the oppressed person. He could be helped with legal aid, or. with material or moral assistance. Any kind of act that consoles him; is also a part of help. The society where the determination to help the oppressed is alive, would ensure that even the weakest among the weak could alive with security and honour. --- # * A duty on the community, which is realised if any one performs it. ** Encouraging one to do the rightful, and preventing one from prohibited action. #   - - - 82/123 - - - ^ CHAPTER - 9 ^ ^ WELFARE SERVICES ^ The kind of necessities for which an individual is dependent on others, are faced by many persons in a society. Service societies are founded to provide general help as there are many persons in society whose common needs are to be fulfilled. Service societies arc of two types. Some organisations work for the welfare of the entire society while some concentrate on a particular needs of the society. In this way, the whole society is served and everybody stands to gain. Islam attends to both kinds of services. Welfare services could be undertaken by the individuals as well as organisations. Some types of specific welfare measures arc exclusive responsibilities of the State. A large part of its revenue is spent of these welfare measures. Where one's area of action ends, and other begins is not under consideration. Each should co-operate with the other. Is lam addresses itself to individuals because the individuals arc the basic units of any organisation or State. It is the individual who frames the policy and executes it. So individual has been addressed first in this matter. ~ A WAKENING THE SANITARY SENSE: ~ Awakening of sanitary sense among the people is also a part of welfare measures. Public should be educated about the harms of pollution. Facilities should be created that people are not compelled to live in filthy circumstances. Today people arc under the notion that the concept of pollution control is of Western origin. But the truth of the matter   - - - 83/123 - - - is. Islam has played an exemplary role in it. Islam detests uncleanliness of any kind. It gives a refined concept of cleanliness and prepares the society for it. ~ KEEPING THE ROAD CLEAN AND SAFE: ~ Roads play an important role in the economy of a country. Transport facilities promote distribution - mobility of men and materials from one place to another. It is for this reason bridges are constructed, milestones are erected and traffic rules are enforced. Airways and sea-ways have their own problems in modern days and every possible effort is a foot to make sea-travel and air-travel safe and easy. Maintenance of roads and highways are the responsibility of the State. All welfare States are committed to it but the individual citizens also have their responsibility towards it. If the fear of God is there, a sense of responsibility and an awareness to serve the fellow-citizens would grow in every citizen. Without the active co-operation of the citizens, roads and higways could neither be maintained nor they would be safe for transport. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet had said: There are more than sixty or seventy branches of belief. Among them the best is in the utterance that there is no God but Allah and the meanest branch is removing the inconveniences from the road. Modesty is also a branch of belief. (H64) Belief in God begets a sense of service in man. If the belief is deeply ingrained in man, he tries his best to be as much of help to others as he could. At the lowest level, a believer would not tolerate that people be inconvenienced by stones, thorns and garbage on the road. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet had said:   - - - 84/123 - - - I found a man in Paradise for he had felled a tree which was an obstacle to the people on the road. (H65). He had found his way to Paradise for he had eased the hardship of people on the road. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet had said: Walking by the road, one person found a thorny branch on it. He removed it. God liked his act and granted him His pardon. (H66) In another narration, the words are: One person was walking by the road, He saw a huge branch of a tree on the middle of the road. He told himself that by God I would remove it from the path of the Muslims. For this act, God granted his entry into paradise. (H67) Removing ordinary things of inconveniences from the path could entitle the person to the eternal Hazrath Abubarza Aslami once requested the Prophet: Tell me an act which would be of benefit to me. (H68) The Prophet said: Remove the inconveniences from the path of Muslims. (H69) Though in these traditions, removing the inconveniences from the path has been mentioned but as Imam Novi says, its ambit is much wider. Every act of benefit to Muslims and removal of their difficulties are included in it. (H70) It should be borne in mind that in these traditions removal of inconveniences from the path of Muslims   - - - 85/123 - - - has been mentioned because these instructions are first addressed to the Muslim society. Otherwise these directions are equally applicable in removing all sorts of inconveniences from the paths of every man, irrespective of religion or creed. In some version of these traditions, the word 'people' has been used in the place of 'Muslims' Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates the words of the Prophet. The man who removes the inconveniences from the path is making an offering. (H71) The motive of making an offering is to provide relief and removing an inconvenience also serves the same purpose. Therefore it is also an offering. ~ REST HOUSES AND BOARDING: ~ A similar service is the construction of hotels and inns for the comfort of travellers. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet had said: The acts which continue to be of virtue to a person after his death include the knowledge he has imparted, his virtuous children he has brought-up, Qur'an he has donated, the mosque he has built, the rest house he has constructed and the offerings he has made in the state of his health. (H72) In this tradition, the acts of perennial virtue have been mentioned, and the building of rest houses is one among them. In another tradition, it has been said that money spent on these acts is the best offering. Hazrath Abu Amama narrates that the Prophet had said: The best offering is to provide a shady tent in the path of God. (H73)   - - - 88/123 - - - This tradition records the excellence of erecting the tents for those who struggle in the path of God but it includes establishing centres for education and training for the purpose of propagation of religion. ~ PROVIDING WATER FACILITIES: ~ Water is a basic requirement of life. Even in this progressive age the supply of clean water is a big problem. How much significance Islam has attached to it could be realised from the tradition of the Prophet which says building a canal is a perennial offering. When Hazrath Saad bin lbada's mother died, he wanted to make offerings on her behalf. When he enquired of the Prophet as to which was the best form of offering, the Prophet asked him to dig a well. Hazrath Saad dug a well in the name of his mother. Digging canals and wells were the oldest ways of providing water facilities. In the modern world, sinking of tube-wells or supplying potable water in task or through any means is an act of virtue. ~ RECLAMATION OF FALLOW LAND: ~ Reclamation of fallow land and any kind of help in this process are also a part of service towards humanity. They help in more productivity. The State is committed to bring more and more fallow land under cultivation. Islam has induced people to bring more land under plough because it is an act of virtue to make the fallow land yield. Hazrath Jabir narrates that the Prophet had said: Any person who makes the fallow land fertile and productive so that the needy creatures (men, animals and birds) may eat of it, makes an offering (and God would reward him for this act). (H74)   - - - 87/123 - - - The man who invests his labour in the fallow land and makes it productive gets his reward in the form of agricultural produce but besides it, he is rewarded by God also. All that the beasts, birds and insects take advantage of this crop, would be an offering on the part 'of the cultivator. Even in the industralised world of today, scientists are engaged in research to find out new techniques in agriculture and to bring more and more land under cultivation. Islam is very progressive in this respect for it grants proprietorial rights to those who help the reclamation of fallow lands. Hazrath Jabir bin Abdullah narrates that the Prophet had said: Anybody who gives new life to dead land is its owner. (H75) Hazrath Umar has also narrated this tradition. In this connection, the following instructions have been given so that the interest of the individual and the interest of the society are not harmed. 1. Land belonging to others could not be grabbed, declaring it to be fallow. Hazrath Ayesha narrates that the Prophet had said: The person who reclaims a fallow land whose owner is nobody, would be its rightful owner. (H76) Hazrath Sayeed bin Zaid narrates that the Prophet had said: The person who gives new life to a dead land would be the owner but the unjust would have no right. (H77) Grabbing land unjustly is always unlawful and Islam never permits it. Under the above tradition, it baa been further narrated that one person had   - - - 88/123 - - - planted the date trees in the land belonging to another person without the knowledge of the owner. The case was presented before the Prophet and he decreed that the land belonged to its owner, and the person who had planted the trees was asked to cut down the trees and take them away with him. So the trees were cut down. This event is quoted in support of the view of the Muslim jurists that the cultivator would assume ownership rights if no other owner is traceable, and, in case the owner stakes his claim, the land will be returned to him with proper compensation for the loss thus incurred. 2. According to the Hanifite School of jurisprudence, a fallow land is one which is quite far away from human settlement. The land adjacent to settlement is useful in many ways. Therefore the ownership rights of the cultivator is not applicable here. Imam Shaafi and Imam Ahmed are of the view that it is not necessary to seek the permission of the head cf the Islam State or the Imam to reclaim the fallow land. Anybody who reclaims the land would be acknowledged to have his due rights over it. But Abu Hanifa considers seeking the permission of the Imam is necessary. Imam Malick is of the opinion that seeking the permission of the Imam is necessary if the land is adjacent to human settlement. 3. After the demarcation of land, if it is not cultivated for three years, the Islamic State would take it back and allot it to another cultivator. The Islamic State does not like to lose the 'Usher' and 'Qhiraj' (land taxes) which would otherwise be useful for expenditure on general welfare of the citizens. Pointing towards this Hazrath Umar said:   - - - 89/123 - - - If the person retained the land without cultivation for three years, and another person cultivated it, the land would belong to the latter. (H78) 4. The above rule is applicable not only to cultivable land but also for a site for construction of houses. 5. Like Muslims, the Zimmies (the Non-Muslim citizens of the Islamic State) also enjoy the right of reclamation of fallow land. With regard to the rights of reclamation there are many details in Islamic Law and only a few have been pointed out here. ~ PLANTING TREES: ~ Trees are useful for food, health and green-cover. They are of medicinal value also. They supply wood for construction. work and fuel for domestic consumption. Forests play an important role in the climate of the region. They control decible level and soil erosion, and help rain fall. Reclamation of land includes planting of trees. Hazrath Anas narrates that the Prophet had said: What people or animals eat from the trees or the crop are the offerings made by the cultivator. (H79) In Sahih Muslim, Hazrath Jabir narrates that the Prophet had said: Whatever is eaten from the produce of a tree, planted by a Muslim, is an offering for him. If anything is stolen from it, it is also an offering. What the wild animals eat of it, is also an offering. What the birds eat is also an offering. If a man takes anything from it, it is also an offering. (HRO) Explaining this tradition, Hafiz lbne Hajr says:   - - - 90/123 - - - The benefits of planting trees and undertaking cultivation have been mentioned. There is also inducement for reclamation of land here. (H81) After this, he says, the above traditions are evidence that one could possess fertile lands and use it for cultivation. It contradicts the view of those ascetic Muslims who are not in favour of such possessions or their operation. From some narrations, it looks as if these activities were looked down upon but the truth is these views hold good only in cases where the man is so lost in these things that he neglects the religious duties. Hazrath Maad narrates that the Prophet had said: The man who had constructed a house or planted a tree without inflicting any excess on others, has a perennial reward as. long as the creatures of God take advantage of it. (H82) Trees could be planted or forests could be raised for personal use and these acts are also rewarded by God. If they are grown for the public use, the reward would be equally great It is also a form of perennial offering. As per the narration of Abu Muslim the reward from it would continue till the Day of Judgement. The seeds from one tree could be used to grow innumerable trees. Cultivation on a limited strip of land could supply seeds for further cultivation. As long as this process continues, the reward would also continue, and this could continue till the Last Day of Judgement. One person saw Hazrath Darda planting trees in Damascus. He told him that being the companion of the Prophet it was surprising that he was engaged in this worldly activity. Hazrath Darda asked him not to be hasty in raising his objection as this was an act of virtue in which he was engaged. He said he had heard from the Prophet:   - - - 91/123 - - - If any person plants a tree and people or other creatures of God eat of its fruits, it would be an offering on his part. (H83) In this tradition, the excellence of planting shady trees by the side of the road, raising social forestry, parks and conservation of forests have been stressed and it is the duty of every Muslim to pay attention to these activities. ~ CONSTRUCTION OF MOSQUES: ~ A Mosque is originally meant for the worship of God. Its construction contributes directly towards the establishment of prayer. In the beginning, mosques were educational, social and political centres but now mosques have changed a great deal. Hazrath Usman narrates: The Prophet had said that the person who had constructed a mosque for the pleasure of God, would have his house built by God in paradise. (H84) ~ ESTABLISHMENT OF SCHOOLS: ~ Education plays an important role in the intellectual development of nations and it is for this reason education has been given so much importance in the welfare activities. Islam has promoted education for it is aware of its potentials. The Prophet had considered it to be the duty of all believers to disseminate knowledge. To-day educational institutions are the primary sources of knowledge, and it is these institutions which produce experts in all disciplines to man in the departments of modern life. During the days of the Prophet such institutionalised education was not there. Mosques served as the seats of knowledge. They had their own academic atmosphere. Muslims established educational institutions in later period. These institutions produced many great scholars and thinkers. Apart from religious pursuits, contemporary   - - - 92/123 - - - philosophy and sciences were also studied in these institutions. ~ ESTABLISHMENT OF HOSPITALS: ~ Before the advent of Islam, the Arabs practised self-medication. In a way medication was one's own or his family's personal matter. He would attend to it according to the resources available to him. Public medical care system was not there. Even after the advent of Islam, public medical care was not institutionalised for some time. But as the result of inducement to public service, public hospitals were established. One companion of the Prophet, called Rafida, had pitched a tent adjacent to the Prophet's Mosque to nurse (the uncared - for) wounded soldiers. When Hazrath Saad bin Ma'az got wounded in the Battle of the Ditch, the Prophet asked him to be nursed in the tent of Rafida so that he could visit him often. Islam has played an historical role in conducting medical camps and the establishment of permanent hospitals. ~ CREATING ENDOWMENTS FOR PUBLIC SERVICE: ~ Islam induces to endow their wealth or property for public service. These endowments help the continuation of public service activities. For the persons who had created the endowments there is a perennial reward as these endowments serve as the perennial offerings. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet had said: When a man dies, the continuity of his activities come to an end but there are three kinds of activities which continue and for which the person gets the reward. They are: Perennial offerings, knowledge which would benefit others and the virtuous children who pray for him. (H85)   - - - 93/123 - - - Imam Novi is of the opinion that the perennial offerings mean the creation of endowment, and its propriety and rewardibility are vouchsafed by the above tradition. In the days of the Prophet there were many forms of endowments. 1. In seeking the rich rewards promised by the Prophet, many of the companies of the Prophet had endowed their best possessions. Hazrath Umar got a tract of land as a booty in the Battle of Khyber. In some narrations this land was called 'samgha '. He came to the Prophet and said that he wanted to endow the land he got at the Khyber in the path of God. He asked the Prophet how he could do it. The Prophet said: If you desire so, you could endow it in original and make the offerings of its income. (H86) Acting upon this suggestion, Hazrath Umar endowed it. The original could neither be sold nor gifted away nor anybody would be its inheritor. The income would be spent on the indigent, the kindred (who deserve it), for paying the ransom for slaves, and to struggle in the path of God. This could be spent on guests and wayfarers. The person who took care of it could also use it rightfully and spend it on his friends but it could not be saved to amass wealth. (H87) The instructions that issue forth from this tradition are not discussed here. It is sufficient to point out that endowments could also be created for public service, and the above endowment was of that nature. 2. Some companions of the Prophet had endowed their property collectively to meet the religious and social needs of Muslims.  - - - 94/123 - - - After migrating to Medina, the Prophet intended to build a mosque (later this mosque became the historic Prophet's Mosque) and the land site belonging to Bunu Najjar was chosen. The Prophet sent for the persons owning that land, and asked them whether they were willing to sell that land. They replied: They don't want the money. By God, we want to be paid by God for it. (H88) Thus the Prophet's Mosque was built on a land, endowed jointly by the inheritors. From this, it is understood that more than one owner or inheritor could jointly contribute to an endowment for a good cause. 3. Whenever the Prophet drew the attention of the companions towards any public cause, it was fulfilled by endowments. Once the Prophet said the person who would buy the adjacent land and endow it for the extension of the Prophet's Mosque would get a better land in Paradise. Hazrath Usman bought that land and endowed it. When the Prophet migrated to Medina, there was only one well of soft water and it was called 'the well of Roma'. The Prophet said the person who would purchase the well and endow it for the Muslims, would have the same share in it as any Muslim, and would have a better reward for it in the Paradise. Hazrath Usman purchased the well and endowed it. 4. The Prophet wanted that endowments should be created on behalf of the dead because they would be continuously rewarded, for these endowments would serve as perennial offerings. Hazrath Saad bin lbada told the Prophet that his mother (Umra binthe Maswood) had died all of a sudden. At the time of her death, he was not at her side. He asked the Prophet whether she would be rewarded by God if he made any offering on her behalf. The Prophet assured him that his late mother would definitely be rewarded. Hazrath Saad bin Ibada said: - - - 95/123 - - - I make you a witness, and give that particular fruit- bearing orchard in offering on behalf of my mother. (H89) In every period of history, Muslims had the practice of creating endowments for a public cause. Not only does Islam advocated and encouraged treating endowments for the cause of public interest but also admonishes people that these endowments should not be vandalised as they are public property. ~ PUBLIC PROPERTY AND VANDALISM: ~ Islam 'has induced people to plant trees and at the same time it has warned people against felling fruit-bearing or shade-showering trees. Hazrath Abdullah bin Hubshi narrates that the Prophet had said: The person who felled any berry tree would be thrown headlong into Hell by God. (H90) If the berry tree or any such tree is the personal property of the person, it could be felled to suit his needs and it is not a sin. But the tree which is not anybody's property, and it is of public utility value, could not be felled. The above warning is against felling of such trees. ~ THE RESOURCES THAT BELONG TO ALL: ~ The natural resources in whose development human efforts have played no role belong to all according to Islam. Everybody has an equal opportunity to avail of these resources. The Prophet had said:   - - - 96/123 - - - Three things all Muslims could jointly avail of are water, fodder, and water.* (H91) This tradition, though it succinctly refers to water, fodder and water yet in truth it refers to the products as well their resources. There is a wide range of these natural resources without which not only human life but animal life and bird life would be greatly endangered. Water here refers to all those sources of water available in nature like oases, springs, streams, rivers and seas. Likewise, fodder stands for all those forms of animal feeds like grass, leaves and fruits found in forest areas and plains. Fire relates to all kinds of fire-wood and means to make fire.** ~ NATIONAL RESOURCES FOR ALL: ~ Resources of national importance could not be private property. They are meant for all and everybody has an equal opportunity to take advantage of these resources. Hazrath Abyaz bin Hamal narrates that he went to the Prophet and requested him that the salt quarry at Marab in Yemen be given io him. He gave that quarry to him. When he returned, one person (Hazrath Aqhra bin Haabis) said to him that he had given away a quarry which was like a store of water and everybody there was taking advantage of it. Then the Prophet took back the quarry from him and endowed it for the benefit of the public. (In one narration it is said that Hazrath Abyaz was given another land and an orchard instead) ----- # * This tradition has been narrated by a migrant companion of the Prophet in Abu Dawood. The name of the companion has not been given. But this tradition is there in lbne Maaja, under the narration of Hazrath Abdullah bin Abbas. The narration found in Abu Dawood is authentic while the narration in lbne Maaja is weak. ** For further details, refer to Neelul-awtar 49-50/6. # - - - 97/123 - - - Hazrath Abyaz bin Hamal asked the Prophet, which area of 'Araak' (a tree whose leaves serve as fodder for camels) could be taken into private possession after erecting the enclosure. The Prophet replied: "That land the camel's hooves do not reach" (the land which is far away from human settlement). Therefore, the State too could not meddle with national resources. They could not be privatised and the general public could not be denied their rights. The Islamic jurists are of the view that the heads of the Islamic States too could not decide to give any such national resources, like salt quarries or wells, to any private individual The salt quarries and water wells have been mentioned here and they serve as a yardstick and all other resources of public importance come under this rule. Allama lbne Habira writes that all the four Imams agree that salt producing land or any such thing of common advantage to Muslims could not be allowed to remain in private possession. ~ PRIVATE RESOURCES ARE NOT EXCLUSIVELY PRIVATE: ~ Some private individuals could develop natural resources by dint of their hardwork. He could dig a well for his private use or excavate a stream to irrigate his lands. There is clear instruction in this regard that these properties though developed by the sweat of his brow, are not exclusively his own. Others could not be denied of their use. As per one tradition, the person who had excess water but did not share it with the other needy persons, had been warned. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet had said there were three categories of persons God would not look at, or speak to, and His severe punishment would be inflicted on them. One of them would be:   - - - 98/123 - - - The person who had excess water (in the well) by the side of the road but did not allow the travellers to take advantage of it. (H92). In another narration, it is said: God would say on the Day of Judgement that I would deprive you from my rewards as you had deprived others of the things you had in excess, though your efforts had no role in creating them. (H93) Islam has adopted a humanitarian approach in treating all resources of common use as national property.   - - - 99/123 - - - ^ CHAPTER - 10 ^ ^ PUBLIC SERVICE ORGANISATIONS ^ ~ IMPORTANCE OF ORGANISATION: ~ Man is born in this world with certain innate needs. At different stages of life, he is helped by his family, his well-wishers, service organisations and the State. If the range of these supports is full-fledged, the. scope of his development is also more. If the support is slender, the scope of his development shrinks accordingly. Viewed from the personal point of view, there is not much difference between the support extended by private persons and the support by such organisations. It is because both kinds of support are for a limited period of time. After the completion of education, the students feel no further need for school or college. After regaining his health, the sick has no more necessity to be a patient in an hospital. These services of imparting knowledge or nursing a patient could be undertaken by his family or his well-wishers. It is for this reason, the importance of these service organisations are over-rated. They serve all without any distinction. They prefer the interest of the society over the private interest of the individuals. A school or college serves not only a society but a generation of men. To institute an organisation which helps people with proper placement of jobs, is to help the whole society. Service organisations work to raise the living standard of society as a whole. The services of religious and reformative organisations could not be ignored in this regard. In a way, their services are more valuable than those of the secular organisations meant for material progress.   - - - 100/123 - - - Through service organisations public service could be undertaken in an organised manner. The scale on which the various types of services are undertaken today by these organisations in developed countries include allowances for subsistence in case the person is jobless. This national scheme is called national social insurance. Founding such organisations and funding them to help the public are very much according to the spirit of Islam. ~ ADVANTAGES OF ORGANISED EFFORTS: ~ In every period there were men who had served the general cause. Some of them had played an exemplary role in helping mankind. But such benefactors are always limited in number. Their capacity and their resources are also limited. So it is inevitable that they organise their resources. One advantage of an organisation is that it is not exclusively dependent on any individual. It exploits the capacities and resources in an organised manner and hence it is more effective. What an individual could not achieve in his private capacity could be easily achieved through the collective efforts of an organisation. If social service is undertaken through organised efforts its ambit of service would be wider and its effectiveness would be long-lasting. Successful maintenance of social organisations need the continuous dedication of its members and the full-fledged support of the people. Islam has instituted the system of zakalh (through state). It is the duty of the Islamic State to collect zaka.th from the people of standard means and spend it over its deserving subject. It is an evident proof that Islam likes organised efforts to serve mankind.   - - - 101/123 - - - ~ CO-OPERATION WITH NON-MUSLIMS: ~ There is no harm in co-operating with the organisations of non-Muslims in the matters of social service. In this regard Qur'an has given the fundamental instruction. Help ye one another in righteousness and piety, but help ye not one another in sin and rancor Fear Allah, for Allah is strict in punishment. (Almaida:2) (Q36) There was no organised political structure of any kind of Arabia before the birth of the Prophet. Social anarchy was rampant and nobody's life and property had any degree of security. None had the moral courage to question the high-handedness or contain the excess. Bloodshed was common even over trivialities. The city of Mecca known as the abode of peace was also tainted with contemporary lawlessness. Some peace-loving Arabs wanted to bring about a change in the contemporary state of affairs. They assembled at the house of Abdullah bin Jadaan and pondered over the situation. Finally they came to a decision that they would raise their voice against tyranny and terror at any cost. Nobody, whether he was a resident of Mecca or an outsider, would be allowed to bear the brunt 'of injustice or excess of any kind. The needy and the indigent who could not fend for themselves against the powerful, would be helped. The Prophet was also a part of the assembly and a party to that joint decision. This event took place before his prophethood. But he had admiration for that joint decision even after his prophethood. The contract in which I took part at the house of Abdullah bin Jadaan is so dear to me that I prefer it to the red camel (which was considered to be the greatest wealth in Arabia). If I am   - - - 102/123 - - - invited to it, even after the advent of Islam, I would accept it. (H94) The organisations which are working for civil and democratic human rights are the assets of a society. Any society devoid of these organisations is morally bankrupt. Islam promotes and guards such institutions of humanitarian values. ~ CO-OPERATION WITH THE STATE: ~ The State is the greatest service organisation. Whatever be the means and resources of individuals and private organisations, they have their own limitations, compared to the State apparatus. The State with unlimited resources could adopt all means to achieve its goal. It is one of the fundamental functions of the Welfare State to provide the basic amenities and equal opportunities to every citizen for his fullest development. If the State does not fulfill this social responsibility, its existence would be meaningless. The State would be able to discharge this stupendous duty only when the citizens co-operate with it whole-heartedly. The State itself could not eradicate poverty, ignorance, diseases or joblessness on its own. Every citizen should be fired with the determination to fight against the cause of human degradation and social deterioration. It is possible only through the active co-operation of the State and its citizens that the society could be served better, otherwise the service would always be paralytically partial and paltry.   - - - 103/123 - - - ^ CHAPTER 11 ^ ^ REFORMATION OF WRONG CONCEPTS ^ There are many wrong notions prevalent among people about the concept of social service. Sometimes, so many irregularities are found in this regard that it is necessary to rectify them. ~ DUTIES ARE INTER-RELATED: ~ No one is an island and no one could exist sequestered from others. He is wrapped in social contacts with so many persons. Some take the onus of his responsibility and in the course of time be takes the responsibility of others. Their rights and duties towards one another are so widely intertwined that it encircles not only the near ones but also the distant ones. In discharging these duties, irregularities sometimes do happen. Islam mends these irregularities. ~ NATURAL ORDER IN DUTIES: ~ There is a natural order in the duties and responsibilities of man in any society. The foremost duty he owes is unto himself. Then he has his duties towards his parents, wife and children, and relatives. It is only after these, he has his duties towards others. In keeping with this order, Islam has prescribed the norms. One could prefer the others over oneself. His kindred may withdraw their rights but he could not prefer others over his kindred. The precedence of rights could not be staggered. He could not defer or ignore this order as is evident from the tradition of the Prophet. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet had said the best offering is the one that he makes after satisfying his own needs. Offerings should be made to those whose living depends upon you. (H95)   - - - 104/123 - - - In another narration of Hazrath Abu Huraira, it has been made still clearer. Once the Prophet ordered us to make offerings. One person told him he had only one dinar. The Prophet asked him to spend it on himself, then he told he had another dinar. The Prophet asked him to spend it on his children. Again he said he had yet another dinar. The Prophet told him to spend it on his wife. He said he had one more; and the Prophet asked him to spend it on his servants. He said he had still one more. The Prophet told him that he knew it himself better where to spend it. (H9f>) ~ KINSFOLK ENJOY PRIORITY: ~ Sometimes man ignores his duties towards his kindred because of his temperament, strained relations or family feuds. He showers his love and wealth on others but turns his back on his kin. He attends to all kinds of welfare activities but is quite inattentive towards his related ones. This attitude is quite unnatural and Islam prohibits it strictly. God has commanded to spend freely on all acts of goodness. The best way of spending would be on the members of family and kindred. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates: The Prophet said that of all the money you spend in the path of God, in purchasing the ransom of a slave, on the indigent persons, on your wife and children, the best reward would be for what you spend on your wife and children. (H97) ~ THE INDIGENTS SHOULD NOT BE NEGLECTED: ~ The love for oneself and his kindred compels man to take care of their interest. There is little possibility of any neglect in this regard. Sometimes this filial attachment blinds him towards the needy and the indigent persons of the society. This detachment insulates him from his environs. Steeped in his insensitivity, his selfish interest prompts him to exploit others for his own benefit.  - - - 105/123 - - - It amounts to committing a crime against the entire society. His social affiliations demand that he should safeguard the interest of everybody in a society. While Islam stresses his duties towards his related ones, it warns him that he should not hurt the interest of any person in the society. The society which could not protect the interest of the weak is bound to disintegrate. The Prophet had said: Undoubtedly the community in which the rights of the weaker are not safe, would not be considered good and exonerated by God. (H98) Instigated by self-motivated love, the craving for luxuries would always be on the increase. In this process, rights ,are bound to be trespassed. Islam makes man realise that he is bound by his duties, not only towards his related ones but also towards the unrelated ones. This truth bas been drawn home in this ayath: They ask thee how much they are to spend, say: "What is beyond your needs". Al Baqarah: 219 (Q37) The word 'afoo' is used here in this ayath and it means the excess of what you have spent on yourself and your related ones. No limit has been prescribed for it and it is for the individuals to decide the limit, taking into consideration the size and the circumstances of the family. It is necessary that he should take care of the comforts of his family but at the same time he should not ignore the needs of the afflicted and the starving. He should always bear in mind that he is not only a member of a family but also a member of a society. In any society, the person who plays this twin role better would always be a better person. ~ THE CLASS DMSION IS NOT PERMANENT: ~ Islam does not demarcate society into two eternal classes of the haves and the have-nots, like any monastic   - - - 106/123 - - - religion or any socialistic school. Islam wants that everybody should be self-sufficient in his needs, through his efforts within the permissible limits. Every effort in this regard is worthy of reward by God. It directs the people of means to spend their excess wealth in helping the downtrodden. It involves the State in the economic reconstructions of the weaker section, particularly the section which could not protect itself. This could be understood from the truth that zakath could be distributed under these heads: Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer (the funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to the truth); for those in bondage and in debts; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer: (that it is) ordained by Allah, and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom. Al Tawbab: 60 (Q38) Islam has ordained the people of taxable limits to pay zakath. It has to be distributed within a fixed period. Islam has not devised any structural means to retain the above division intact. It does not want that one section of people should permanently sponge on the other section. In Islamic society there is always a scope for everybody to prosper if he makes a sincere effort for it. At times, it is possible, and it has really happened in history, that above-mentioned needy people may not be there and the zakath has to be distributed among the remainder. One question arises here. Is it necessary to distribute zakath among all the deserving categories of people, if they are found in a society? Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malick and the _ consensus of the ulema, are of the view that the Islamic State reserves the right to distribute the zakath under any of the above listed heads. But Imam Shaafi has differed with this view. According to him the State is bound to distribute zakath under all heads. Allama Ibne Roshd quotes both these views and writes that the words in the ayath demand that the zakath should be distributed   - - - 107/123 - - - under all heads but the purport of it is that the people with grave needs would be given preference. The heads listed in the ayath furnish the broader guidelines regarding whom to spend the zakath on. It does not specify the zakath has to be distributed on all heads. As the State has the right to be selective in the distribution of zakath, the individual too has his own choice in the matter of distributing his zakath. He is free to give his entire zakath amount to a person in debt and thus relieve him of his debt. Imam lbne Timiya says there is consensus in this practice. Zakath has to be distributed locally but according to Hanafite school of jurisprudence it could be distributed in other places also, if the more deserving relatives or people with greater needs live there. Among the ulemas there is a difference of opinion about the transfer of zakath to another place. But they all agree if the local needs have been fulfilled it could be transferred to other more needy places. It is evident from the above that Islam has not encouraged any group to hang on to the proceeds of zakath and alms. It has only made provisions to take care of those who are economically weaker. ~ HELP COULD BE SOUGHT: ~ Islam has prohibited people from extending their hands before others, but in times of exigency it has permitted people to seek the help of others. Hazrath Qhabisa bin Maqhariqh says that he had accepted certain financial responsibility. He sought the help of the Prophet in this regard. The Prophet asked him to stay in Medina for a few days so that he could help him if he received any offerings from any person. Then the Prophet said: Oh Qhabisa! It is not proper to ask for help except for three persons. One, the person who had accepted the financial responsibility for the sake   - - - 108/123 - - - of others could ask for help till the debt is cleared. Once the debt is cleared, he would not ask for help. Two, the person whose goods had been lost in some calamity. It is proper for him to ask for help till he is able to stand by himself. Three, the person who is starving and three persons of his community say with certainty that he is really starving, could ask for help till his needs are fulfilled. Except in these three cases, Oh Qhabisa! asking for help in any form is prohibited. Eating through it is unlawful (H99) Of these three who have been permitted to ask for help, one is the person who bears the financial burden of others by furnishing personal security to end disputes and dissensions between the clashing parties. In case he could not meet this financial commitment, he could seek the help of others. It is the duty of the society to help him meet his commitment. Dissensions, whether among the individuals or between the organisations are always destructive. When rights are not respected, duties are derelicted, disputes develop to disrupt the whole society. In such circumstances, injured parties could be pacified with financial settlement. This tradition says the person who undertakes this noble service could extend his hand before others to replenish his position to meet his commitments. The second category of persons who are permitted to seek the help of others is of those who have been afflicted by some unexpected calamity like floods, storm, earth-quake, fire, accident or robbery. Even the affluent person in such circumstances is suddenly reduced to indigency. He has every right to seek the help of others and the society is morally bound to help him. There is no need to ask for any evidence of his affliction because the affliction is very much etched on his face.   - - - 109/123 - - - In the above tradition, the term 'till the basic needs are met' has been used. The hindrances created by the circumstances have to be removed and it is his natural right to do so. in his strivings towards this; he could seek the help of others. The unexpected calamities mentioned in the tradition could befall any person at any time. It is the duty of the individuals and the organisations to meet the basic needs of the persons trapped in such calamitous circumstances. If his indispensable needs are not fulfilled he will not be in a position to struggle to make good his loss and regain his earlier stability. The third category is of a person permitted to seek the help of others is of one whose poverty could be vouchsafed by members of his family or neighbours. There could be a host of reasons for his poverty, like joblessness, low income or ill-health. In such cases, it is the moral, and sometimes legal responsibility of others to save him from being killed by poverty. The best help would be to remove the cause of his poverty. Otherwise, the cause would continue to compel him to extend his hand before others. Traditions permit the debtor also to seek the help of others. Hazrath Anas narrates that the Prophet had said: Seeking help is permissible only for three kinds of persons: one, who has almost been laid down by poverty; second, the person burdened by debt; and the third, who had killed a person and the ransom money is troubling him or his family. (H100) Sometimes the man is so entangled in debt that inspite of his best efforts he cannot wriggle himself out of it. Bogged down by debt, flourishing businesses and thriving companies suddenly come to a grinding halt. Today, two kinds of attitude are adopted towards the individuals and the organisations in debt. One, they   - - - 110/123 - - - are declared insolvent and their business is wound up. In this raw deal, even prosperous families lose everything. Two, the debtors are dealt with kindness. Ways are devised to save them and their business from being further ravaged. More funds are arranged to ease the pressure of their debt. But today lending money could not be conceived without interest. This apparent help is an ugly way to take advantage of one's helplessness. Thus the debtor is burdened with more debt. Exasperated by this, the debtor himself seeks to be declared insolvent. Islam's point of view in this regard is exceptionally humanitarian. If a person had sought loan for a justifiable purpose and could not repay it inspite of his best efforts, it is the duty of the society to help the debtor. The debtor himself could appeal to the society or the State for help. It is to meet such requirements that there is a provision of a separate head in the distribution of zakath. Any comparison between these two approaches would reveal that Islam has adopted a humane approach to solve the problems of the debtors while the modern world exploits him further. ~ SERVICE IS NOT TOTAL RELIGION: ~ The basis of Islam rests on belief and good acts. All acts of goodness are not of equal significance. Some acts are of higher significance while some are of lesser value. Some acts are the pillars of religion; some are approved to be desirable, and some enjoy a degree of justification. In the parlance of 'Fiqh' (jurisprudence), they have been termed as 'Farz', 'Wajib', 'Mandoob', 'Mustahab ', and 'Mubah '. The order maintained by Sharia, according to the degree of significance attached to the act, is very important, otherwise the whole structure of Sharia would collapse. Service to humanity has been accorded great significance by Sharia but it is not the sum total of the religion.   - - - 111/123 - - - It is said about some people that service was their religion. May be the purpose was to highlight the importance of service, and the statement certainly contained an element of exaggeration. It diminishes the value of the other important business of religion. Such statements sometimes eclipse the other aspects of these service-minded people. We find this imbalanced approach in other religions also. For them service is the spirit of religion. This tendency was found in the polytheists of Mecca. They were incharge of Ka'ba and supply of water to the pilgrims, and considered this service to be the act of virtue. They were very proud of these acts and it is for this reason they considered themselves to be the trustees of Ka'ba. Islam never permits any imbalance and gives everything its due place in life. Therefore Qur'an warns that their acts of service could never match with the noble ads like belief in Allah and the Hereafter, prayer and charity, fear of God, struggle to establish His religion, sacrifice in His way, migration and fighting for His cause. Those who are vested with these virtues would be the real trustees of Ka'ba. The mosques of Allah shall be visited and maintained by such as believe in Allah and the Last Day, establish regular prayers, and practise regular charity, and fear none (at all) except Allah. It is they who are expected to be on true guidance. Do you make the giving of drink to pilgrims, or the maintenance of the sacred Mosque, equal to (the pious service of) those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and strive with might and main in the cause of Allah? They are not comparable in the sight of Allah: and Allah guides not those who do wrong. Those who believe, and suffer exile and strive with might and main, in Allah's cause, with their goods and their persons have the highest rank in the sight of Allah: they are the people who will achieve (salvation) their Lord doth give them glad tidings of Mercy from Himself, of His   - - - 112/123 - - - good pleasure, and of Gardens for them, wherein are delights that endure. They will dwell therein forever. Verily in Allah's presence is a reward, the greatest (of all). [Al Tawbah 18-22] (Q39) In truth, there are many demands of religion on man and one of them is to serve the people. By serving others he could not be absolved of his other religious responsibilities. He has to meet all the demands of religion.   - - - 113/123 - - - ^ CHAPTER - 12 ^ ^ SINCERITY IS ESSENTIAL ^ For every act, motive is important. Behind an act there could be good motive as well as the evil one. Islam has given importance to motive as the prime factor in any act. It is not sufficient that the act is proper and good but the motive too should be proper and good. Islam interprets the right motive as sincerity of purpose, and the wrong motive as 'riya ' or hypocrisy. ~ SERVICE SHOULD BE SINCERE: ~ Service to humanity is an act of great goodness and it is a way to win the pleasure of God. The reward promised for this would accrue to the man only when he performs it with sincerity, for no other purpose but to win the pleasure of God. The Qur'an has mentioned this in detail under 'infaqh' (spending). In all acts of service to humanity monetary spending is necessarily inevitable. But in practice, it is very difficult to spend in the way of serving others, and it is much more so to retain the purity of purpose in these acts. The Qur'an hails those who spend their wealth with sincerity in serving others; and success greet them in the Hereafter. But those most devoted to Allah shall be removed far from it. Those who spend their wealth for increase in self-purification, and have in their minds no favour from anyone for which a reward is expected in return, but only the desire to seek for the countenance of their Lord Most   - - - 114/123 - - - High; and soon will they attain (complete) satisfaction. [Al Layl:17-21] (Q40) It is narrated that this passage was revealed in connection with Hazratb Abu Bakr. In the early days of Islam, those who had embraced Islam, and particularly the slaves among them, were subjected to most severe punishment. Hazrath Abu Bakr purchased these slaves and set them free. Hazrath Bilal was one among them. Some people opined that Bilal had done some favour to Hazrath Abu Bakr and the latter returned the favour by freeing him from his bondage. This was refuted in this passage, and the purity of purpose behind the humane gesture of Abu Bakr was admired. This munificence of Hazrath Abu Bakr could be termed as his service to Islam, or in the larger context, it could be called as his service to humanity. This service of Hazrath Abu Bakr was certified by the Lord Most High as it was not motivated with any other purpose than seeking the pleasure of Allah. Allama lbne Kaseer says that the characteristics mentioned in this passage were found in abundance in the person of Hazrath Abu Bakr and he had the honour of excellence in this regard. But the words in the passage carry the tone of generality, and they address themselves to the whole community. Any member of the community who has these characteristics is amendable to this definition. ~ REWARD FOR SINCERE SPENDING: ~ The reward for spending for the pleasure of God has been described in these words: - - - 115/123 - - - And the likeness of those who spend their substance, seeking to please Allah and to strengthen their souls is as a garden, high and fertile; heavy rain falls on it but makes it yield a double increase of harvest, and if it receives not heavy rain, high moisture sufficeth it. Allah seeth well whatever ye do. [Al Baqarah : 265] (Q41) In this passage, along with the clause 'seeking to please Allah' another clause 'strengthen their souls' has been used. These clauses have multi-faceted meaning. One meaning is that they have channelised their inclination to such an extent that it has become their bent of mind. Second meaning is that they retain the purity of purpose, free from any kind of adulteration. They do not tolerate any diminution in it. Third, they have absolute faith in the award that awaits in the Hereafter, and they spend their substance to win the rewards and to escape the punishment. At times, it is necessary to spend in the open before others so that it could be an inducement for others. Spending could be in a concealed manner also so as not to hurt the self-respect of the beneficiary. Depending upon the circumstances, both are permissible. But sincerity is necessary in both. The Qur'an says: If you dis close (acts of) charity, even so it is well, but if you conceal them, and make them reach those (really) in need, that is best for you; it will remove from you some of your (stains of) evil. And Allah is well-acquainted with what you do. [Al Baqarah : 271] (Q42)   - - - 116/123 - - - There is little chance of hypocrisy in concealed spending and it is for this reason it is reckoned to be a better way of spending. Unless there is any religious or national compulsion, spending is always better to be concealed. Its excellence is recorded in any traditions. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet had said: There are seven categories of people, God would accomodate in His shadow on the Day when there would be no other shadow. (H101) He enumerated those fortunate people and said: One would be that person who gave offerings and kept it so concealed that his left hand did not know what the right hand had given. (H102) ~ HYPOCRISY WASTES REWARDS: ~ Hypocrisy kills sincerity. Wherever hypocrisy is present, sincerity evaporates. All the good acts would bear fruits on the Day of Reckoning on the basis of sincerity; hypocrisy would render these acts fruitless. .. Sincerity invokes the boundless blessings of God while hypocrisy invites His wrath. The Qur'an and the traditions of the Prophet stress the need for sincerity and at the same time warn the people to be on guard against hypocrisy. The Qur'an illustrates how the good acts are wasted by hypocrisy. ... like those who spend their substance to be seen of men, but believe neither in Allah nor in the Last Day. They are in parable like a hard barren rock, on which is a little soil, on it falls heavy rain which leaves it (just} a barren stone. They will be able to do nothing   - - - 117/123 - - - with aught they have earned. And Allah guideth not those who reject faith. [Al Baqarah : 264] (Q43) Here hypocrisy has been bracketed with the absence of faith in Allah and the Last Day. From this it is clear that faith begets sincerity. Without faith in Allah and the Hereafter one could not but be a hypocrite. ~ SERVICE FOR RENOWN: ~ Those who want to win the world by popularity could easily win it with all the attendant respectability. Social service is the best way to celebrity. Once he is marked with the stamp of celebrity, he enjoys the confidence and positive presumption of the people. The worldly wise man cashes on this ploy and worms his way to the post of prominence. He abuses his post to beef up his personal coffers. He does not serve out of love but out of a motive - the motive is to make the people indebted to him; and through them he serves himself. ~ SELF-MOTIVATED SERVICE: ~ Any act of goodness, if it is motivated, would invite the wrath of God. The threat which has been announced for these motivated acts of goodness is so frightening that Hazrath Abu Huraira used to faint while describing it. And Hazrath Mawvia used to weep over it. Hazrath Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet had said that God would decide the cases of three kinds of persons first on the Day of Judgement. The first person would be a martyr. He would be reminded of the power and the might he was   - - - 118/123 - - - blessed within the world. He would be asked how he spent his power and might in the world, and in what way he thanked God for it. The martyr would plead that he fought in His way and employed all his might in fighting against His enemies, and eventually died for His cause. God would declare him to be a liar, for he fought to be called a valiant man in the world. He got the reward for his valour in the world as he became famous for his valour. Then he would be thrown into Hell. The second person would be a religious scholar. God would remind him whether he was not blessed with the knowledge of the Book. He would be asked how he expressed his gratitude for it? The scholar would say that he dissiminated his knowledge of the Book, recited and memorised the Book. God would declare that he was telling a lie. He did all this to be called a great scholar and a great reciter. He had achieved the reward in the world for the people hailed him as the great scholar and the great reciter. Then he would be decreed to be consigned to Hell. The third person would be a man of wealth. God would remind him whether he was not blessed with the bounties of wealth. He would acknowledge the blessings. God would ask him in what way did he express his thanks for those bounties of God. He would say that he spent his wealth in the acts of goodness. He spent it in the ways favoured by God. Then God would declare him to be a liar. He spent his wealth to be called the most generous person on earth. He was called so, he would also be thrown into Hell.   - - - 119/123 - - - Among the persons to be tried first on the Day of Judgement, would be the one who was in the service of religion. It was also a kind of service to humanity. Dissemination of knowledge and spending of wealth in the acts of goodness are no doubt service to humanity. Waging wars to establish the religion of God, and to end the excess and high handedness, in a broader context, constitute service in a real sense to humanity. But such great acts would lose their significance if they are motivated by any desire other than the pleasure of God. Not only these great acts would be reduced to nothing on the Day of Judgement but they would invite the wrath of God. ~ LIMITLESS REWARD FOR SELFLESS SERVICE: ~ If there is sincerity in man he expects no reward from his fellow human beings. Sincerity craves for God. His desire is to please God. Except this desire nothing prompts him or his acts. He does not spend on others, or sympathise with others, or serve others for renown or honour. He does it as his duty and feels grateful that God has given him an opportunity to be of help to others. This sentiment has been sketched in Sura Al Dahr in these words: And they feed, for love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan and the captive (saying), "We feed you for the sake of Allah alone. No reward do we desire from you, nor thanks. We only fear a Day of distressful wrath from the side of our Lord". [Al Dahr: 8-10] (Q44)   - - - 120/123 - - - After this ayath, the rewards of God for the sincere have been mentioned. This noble character - service with humility - is born out of sincerity. The virtuous and the God-fearing people have been mentioned at another place as: Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men for Allah loves those who do good. Ale Imran: 134 (Q45) In this ayath, two characteristics of God-fearing people have been mentioned. One, ~hey spend in prosperity as well as in adversity. Two, they pardon all men. Though apparently unrelated, these two characteristics are inter-related in human psyche. When the man spends, the sense of superiority grows in him. Stiffened by this sense, he looks down upon his beneficiaries. Even the slightest inobedience or insubordination on their- part is intolerable to him. To ignore these lapses and continue to serve them calls for a different mettle: These words of the Qur'an probe into the psychology of the God-fearing people and lay bare the truth that they retain humility inspite of their generous spending. They do not humble or humiliate their beneficiaries but are always ready to pardon. They do not restrain their generosity for want of proper behaviour from others. Only those who continue to serve in this spirit of detachment would have the love of God. ~ REMINDING THE GENEROSITY: ~ Another aspect of the God-fearing people is that they do not remind people of their generosity. Reminding of one's generosity is meanness. The believer is   - - - 121/123 - - - a man of noble character. The mark of meanness could not be found in his character. The Qur'an says: Those who spend their substance in the cause of Allah, and follow not up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury - for them their reward is with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. Al Baqarah : 262 (Q46) The God -forgotten man wants that his generosity should be ever remembered. He wants that his munificence should be praised and his service be publicised. If his beneficiary relents in this regard, he is reminded of his indigency; and his feelings are wounded. For a self-respecting man this insult is a torture, more unbearable than any physical sufferings. Instead of hurting the self-respect of any person after rendering help, it is better, as the Qur'an says, to utter a few kind words and excuse oneself. Atleast it would not wound his sentiments and he would still feel that he is dealing with a man of gentleness. Kind words and covering of faults are better than charity followed by injury. Allah is free of all wants, and he is Most For-bearing. Al Baqarah: 264 (Q4n Reminding one after good deeds is destroying them. Therefore, it has been said:   - - - 122/123 - - - ''O men of belief! don't destroy your offerings by reminding one and injuring (one's feelings)'' Al Baqarah : 264 (Q48) Reminders of generosity have been warned. Abuzar narrates that the Prophet said: There are three kinds of people God would not talk to or look at, and they would be in severe punishment on the Day of Reckoning. Amongst them, one would be the person who reminds of his generosity; second, the person who sells his merchandise by false swearings, and the third, the person who allows his leg-sheets to hang on the ground out of arrogance. (H103) The man with mean mettle wants to impose his greatness by reminding of his generosity or by wounding the feelings of his beneficiaries. It is the delusion of a megalomaniac. Greatness belongs to those who serve the people without any expectation in return. They are the beloved of the people and the beloved of Allah.   - - - 123/123 - - - ~ Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari's other Works in English: ~ Women & Islam Muslim Woman - Role & Responsibilities Islam the Universal Truth Islam and the Unity of Mankind Islam the Religion of Dawah Rights of Muslim Woman Maroof-o-Munkar ~ THE AUTHOR ~ Syed Jalaluddin Umari (born 1935) is a world renowned and reputed Islamic scholar and author of about twenty books on Islamic subjects. His writings aim at presenting Islam as the ideal way of life for mankind. He writes in chaste Urdu in his own inimitable style. His numerous books, articles and lectures on a wide range of Islamic studies have been translated into various languages. He has to his credit a spate of prestigious books of which Maroof-o-Munkar has been translated into Arabic, Turkish, English, Hindi, Tamil and Bangali. Presently (2015-2019) he is the Ameer of Jamaat-e-lslami Hind and the moving spirit behind ldara-e-Tahqeeq-o-Tasneef-e-lslami (Institute of Islamic Research) Aligarh. A Scholarly quarterly journal Tahqeeqat-e-lslami (Islamic Research) is also brought out under his editorship.