Islam And Social Life (Part 1)

Islam has declared clearly what justice and cruelty are, what rights and duties people have towards one another, families and neighbors towards one another, people towards the government, and governments towards one another. Islam states what a crime is, and it has put basic rules upon these unchangeable concepts. It has not limited the practicing of these unchangeable rules on all events and happenings, but has commanded them to be practiced according to common usage.

In the book Durar-ul-Hukkam, an explanation of Majalla, from article 36 onward, it is written: "The rules depending upon a Nass (Ayat-i karimas [1] or Hadith-i sharifs [2] with clear meanings) or a Dalil (proof) do not change in the course of time; however, the rules depending upon customs and common usage may change with time. The Hukm-i Kulli (general rule) does not change, but its application to events may change in time. "

In worship, 'common usage' becomes dalil in order to give clarity and to inform people of a rule which is not declared by a Nass. To classify a custom as 'common usage', it must originate from the time of the Sahaba-i Kiram [3], and it must be known that it has been used by the Mujtahids [4] and that it has continued to be used. In the rules of Mu'amalat (transactions), the customs prevailing in a region which don't contradict a Nass also become dalil.

These can be understood by the 'alims of fiqh. Allahu ta'ala has established the Islamic religion in such a manner that it addresses every new development and invention in every country. Showing toleration and indulgence not only in social life, but also in worships, the Islamic religion has given men freedom and the right of ijtihad when confronted with different conditions and necessities.

During the times of Hadrat [5] 'Umar, the Umayyads and in such a great empire as the Ottoman Empire, large communities of various peoples, spread over continents, were administered with these divine rules. Muslim accomplishments and glories have been famous throughout history. And in the future, every nation, big or small, will attain comfort, peace and happiness in proportion to the extent to which it obeys and practices these unchangeable divine rules.

[1] ayat: A verse of al-Qur'an al-karim; al-ayat al-karima.
[2] hadith (sharif): i) a saying of the Prophet ('alaihi 's-salam).; al-Hadith ash-sharif: all the hadiths as a whole; ii) 'ilm al-hadith; iii) Books of the hadith ash-sharif. iv) Al-hadith al-qudsi, as-sahih, al-hasan: kinds of hadiths (for which, see Endless Bliss, II).
[3] Sahabi: ( al-kiram;) a Muslim who saw the Prophet ('alaihi 's-salam) at least once; one of the companions.
[4] mujtahid: great 'alim capable of employing ijtihad; mujtahid imam, mujtahid mufti.
[5] Hadrat: title of respect used before the names of great people like and Islamic scholars.