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Shaykh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi
This article was send in by Zainab Zakari, jazak Allahu khayran.
Establishing A Standard  

I was talking with my friend about the need for us to return to Islamic faith, legislation, values, behaviour, culture and civilisation, so that we can be happy in our life on earth and so that we earn the hereafter.

Upon that he spoke with frankness and said: "The truth my friend is that we experience hesitation and bewilderment in the face of the numerous and various calls and principles; some of which draw us to the right, others to the left, yet others to the east and others to the west. So, some advocate Islam, others advocate nationalism and yet others socialism. Amongst those who advocate Islam, we find narrow-minded ones and we find more lenient ones. As to those who advocate nationalism there are those who are broad-minded and those who are narrow-minded. ...Those who read or listen to all these are uncertain about all the books, theses and articles they read and all the lectures, presentations and discussions they hear. So tell me by God: what can man do in the face of these…? "

I said: "What do people do when they disagree about the length of a piece of cloth, or about the weight of a piece of cake, or the volume of some quantity of wheat?"

Then my friend replied: "They refer to a standard they have agreed upon, such as the meter for the measurement of distances and lengths, the kilogram or the pound in the evaluation of weights, the litre and the keddah in the weighing of grains etc. As a result the disagreement is dissipated and the quarrel is resolved.

Then, I said: "This is what we need to do also in what concerns moral matters; that is, we need a reference to agree upon and which we can refer to for our ideas, opinions and values. Only then can we claim to be together and for our view to be united.

Then, my friend said: "The problem lies in who is going to design this magical standard which weighs sayings and ideologies, which measures beliefs, which helps distinguish maturity from temptation, and differentiates being on the straight path from being astray. Who can pretend to be able to set this standard? And who will accept him when he pretends that? "

I said: "As for us Muslims, we, in fact, have such a standard in hand. It has not been set up by humans. Human beings are incapable of setting such a standard. It is a standard that has been set by Allah, it has been sent from the Creator to the subject: "(This is) a Scripture the revelations whereof are perfected and then expounded. (It cometh) from One Wise, Informed" (Qur'an 11 Verse 1) "I have left you with that which if you cling to it you will never err: The Book of Allah and my Tradition".

The basic responsibility of the Prophets is to set these standards for the humans, so that they can refer to them when they disagree, and to return to when they deviate. In the Glorious Qur'an, it is said: "Mankind were one community, and Allah sent (unto them) Prophets as bearers of good tidings and as warners, and revealed therewith the Scripture with the truth that it might judge between mankind concerning that wherein they differed". (Qur'an 2 Verse 213) "We verily sent Our messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance, that mankind may observe right measure).” (Qur'an 27 Verse 25)

Most surprisingly we do not refer to this heavenly norm, to the Islam, which Allah Almighty has bestowed upon us, and has approved of as the appropriate religion for us. We discarded it, and we set out to seek formal advice and reference elsewhere, "Whoever wants guidance elsewhere (than the Qur'an), will be misled by Allah".


The Standard Of Allah 

My friend said in surprise: "Do we have to refer to Islam and the Qur'an for all our ideas and opinions?"

I said: "Yes, that is as soon as you become a Muslim and believe in Allah and his Prophet. This is the meaning of: “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet”. Therefore, as soon as you accept Allah as your God, and Muhammad as His Prophet, the Qur'an as your leader, then it is your duty to refer to Allah, His Prophet and Book in matters that are difficult for you to resolve, or in matters that people disagree with you about.

No faith is accepted without this condition. "And it is unbecoming for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His messenger have decided an affair (for them), that they should (after that) claim any say in their affair". (Qur'an 22 Verse 32), "But nay, by thy Lord, they will not believe (in truth) until they make ihee judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of that which thou decides", and submit with full submission". (Qur'an 5 Verse 65.) .

Then, my friend said: "Does this mean that we have to refer to Allah's commands in all our matters, be they social, political or economic. It makes sense to refer to Allah's commands in religious matters, in faith, worship and morality. As to the changing and evolving life matters, why should we not use our human logic, or extract it from the experience of others".

I said: "The division of what Allah commanded into what is religious and what is not religious, is an erroneous division, and is not founded on any sound basis. Do you want us to obey Allah, when He says, "establish worship". (Qur'an 74 Verse 20), since prayers are matters of religious concern; and when He Says: "and pay the poor-due" (Qur'an 74 Verse 20), we then say "Pardon us God, but this is a money and worldly matter, so let us deal with it alone, without your guidance and your revelation, oh! God."

And when Allah says: "Lo, your God is one and the same, so be honest to Him and repent to Him", then we say "we have heard you and are obeying you". Then when He Says: “Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan's handiwork. Leave it aside in order that you may succeed” (Qur'an 5 Verse 90), we respond: "We have heard you and we are disobeying. Oh! God, the forbidding of the consumption of wine is dangerous for the tourist activity, and is a restriction on the freedom of the individual, so let us be free in drinking it."

When Allah says: "And guard yourselves against a day in which you will be brought back to Allah" (Qur'an 2 Verse 281), we would say, what a piece of advice! When He states two verses earlier than the previous one: "Observe your duty to Allah, and give up what remains (due to you) from usury, if you are (in truth) believers. And if you do not, then be warned of war (against you) from Allah and His Messenger.” (Qur'an 2 Verse278, 279) Then we would say: "As to this one, no! Our era cannot do without usury, and the wheel of economics cannot turn without the usurious interests.” And when God Says: "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you" (Qur'an 2 Verse 183), we say, "we have heard you and are obeying you"; and when He States in the same Surah and in the same context: "O you who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered" (Qur'an 2 Verse 178), we say there is neither hearing nor obeying in this case, since the decision of punishment should remain of our prerogative and not Yours, so let us decide in these situations according to our judgements and not Yours, since we are more cognisant of our interests than You are.

No my friend! Everything that Allah has decreed, as religion must be followed, respected and executed. Ignoring part of it harms all of it.


Living The Standard  

...My friend! Everything that Allah has decreed, as religion must be followed, respected and executed. Ignoring part of it harms all of it. It is similar to the doctor's prescription to the patient, which is a complementary set of medicines. The omission of one of the medicines makes the harm of the rest of the medicines greater than their beneficial effect. So Allah has warned against disregarding some of the commands and wisdom that we find in His Holy Book. As a result of the luring of the people of the Scripture, atheists and idolaters, Allah Almighty said: “So judge between them by that which Allah has revealed, and follow not theirs, but beware of them lest they seduce you from some part of that which Allah has revealed unto you” (Qur'an 5 Verse 49).

So He warned against seduction away from some of the commands that came from Allah. Allah has cursed the hypocrites who have backed down after they had become aware of the right path and Satan persuaded them and dictated to them, so He said in the explanation of what happened to them: "That is because they say unto those who hate what Allah has revealed: We will obey you in some matters; and Allah knows their secret talk." (Qur'an 47 Verse 26)

My friend exclaimed: "What you are saying is correct, but not all people are Muslims, so that they can refer to the standards of Islam to resolve their disagreements".

I said, "As to the non-Muslims, there is a specific (different) argument concerning them. I am now speaking about the people who have adopted Islam as their religion, and are still declaring that they are Muslims, but consider themselves above the commands of Islam. I am speaking to those who read and hear Allah's Message as it is stated: "And in whatsoever you differ, the verdict therein belongs to Allah". (Qur'an 42 Verse 10) "And if you have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to Allah and the Messenger if you are (in truth) believers in Allah and the Last Day". (Qur'an 4 Verse 59)

I am speaking to those who have read in the Glorious Qur'an: “Whoso judges not by that which Allah has revealed: such are disbelievers.” (Qur'an 5 Verse 44.) "Whoso judges not by that which Allah has revealed: such are wrong-doers." (Qur'an 5 Verse 45) “Whoso judges not by that which Allah has revealed: such are evil-livers”. (Qur'an 5 Verse 47)

I would like you to realise that these verses do not address themselves only to the governors and judges, but also to all those who have used in their thinking and their behaviour a faith other than Islam, a book other than the Qur'an, and a guide other than Mohammed (PBUH) as a standard. Such people will have to choose from one or all of the attributes mentioned in the three verses of the Qur'an to describe themselves: disbeliever, wrongdoer and evil-liver.