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Bridging Between Intent of the Divine Law and Practice of the Religion

Never was the intent of the law of Allah (swt) to confine the actions of the human being within a bold, rigid structure of rulings, threatening whoever deviates it from it with the doom of Hellfire. The partisans of such a vision have failed to look at the vast horizons of the way of Allah, and must ask first, "What is the law of Allah?"

Ibn Al Qayem, answering this question, said in his book Aalam Al Muwaqe'een: "The law of Allah is founded and structured on seeking well being for the people in the life of this world and success in the hereafter. It is justice, all of it; mercy, all of it; wisdom, all of it; and benefit, all of it. And whatever law, when implemented, deviates from justice to oppression, from mercy to its opposite, from benefit to evil, and from wisdom to vanity, is not then, the law of Allah. Even though such laws might be legitimized with "interpretations," they remain still, not part of the law of Allah. Because the latter represents Allah's justice between His servants and His mercy to His creation."

Is it then, the deficient vision in comprehending the law of Allah, that led to the loss of such greatness from today's Muslim life? The answer is "Yes." Indeed, never could the law of Allah be guilty of injustice. "This is due to what your two hands have sent before, and because Allah is not in the least unjust to the servants" (22:10).

The vision with which the law of Allah is comprehended, analyzed, and implemented becomes the source of the deviation and corruption, when it does not sprout from the complete submission to Allah. Hence, it rises from an imprisoned mind and/or a distracted soul, causing then, the corruption and the distortion of the views of the Deen. It is clear though, when looking back to the near past centuries, that the fanaticism toward particular schools of thought, expressed through a stubborn imitation, led to a dullness in thinking, loss of creativity, and the distortion of the spirit of the divine law. The positive effect of the religion cleansing society from its anomalies and lifting it to the level of excellence in all dimensions (unity, justice, equality, etc.) has been since lost.

The main issue appears to be correct understanding of the religion.

How can the gap between the intent of the divine law and the practice of the religion be bridged? In other words, what are the elements that link the complete perfect text of the revelation to the way of its implementation?

Following are a few steps which will help put the devoted one on the right track.

1. The issue of Akhlaq (morals and self righteous conduct): Within Shariaa, a very great weight was put in on morals and good manners. Indeed, the divine message was summed up in completing the morals and good manners. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “I was sent (by Allah) to only perfect the sublime morals.” This Hadith help us understand that morals are only perfected within the sound faith, and that sound implementation of faith is only possible with great morals. Morals and good manners constitute, indeed, the recipient in which the laws of Shariaa fulfill their mission of justice and mercy. As a virtue, justice and fairness in Shariaa are not perceived as an objective to achieve, but as a spirit that runs into all actions and relationships. The same goes for the mercy. It runs in the way of delivering the message and in its implementation. Allah (swt) says: "So by mercy from Allah, you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you” (3:159). It is evident that the absence the great morals of justice and mercy in the implementation of the Shariaa, turns the latter into a different religion. Did not the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) qualify the Khawarej to be out of the Deen, although they were doing much remembrance and prayer? It is because they took from the Deen the form and image, and threw behind their backs its spirit and soul. They implemented the laws to serve their cause, not to please Allah. Therefore, no morals were clothing their actions!

2. The vision in implementing Shariaa needs to be enveloped by Mercy. Allah (swt) is the Most Merciful. His message is mercy, as is His messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). It is with intending mercy that the Shariaa needs to be conducted. Only then can justice and fairness be fulfilled. It is narrated in "Al Athar" that the creation around humankind turned to Allah, demanding the hastening punishment of the children of Adam in this life because of their ungratefulness and transgressions. Allah (swt) responded: "If you had created them, you would have had mercy on them."

3. Holding fast to the footsteps of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Indeed, the only perfect conduct that completely embodied the way of Allah, is the conduct of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). He is (peace and blessings be upon him) our guide in understanding the harmonious balance in living the way of Allah – understanding the meaning of tolerance, justice, and mercy. It is then a necessity to strive to follow his footsteps. Is he not the one with the greatest of morals? As Allah said "And indeed, you are of a great moral character” (68:4).

Following is a glimpse of his caring and kindness (peace and blessings be upon him) toward his companions:

- Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him), talking about the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “I served the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) for ten years, and by Allah, he never said to me any harsh word, and he never said to me about a thing as to why I had done that and as to why I had not done that” (Muslim).

- Anas also narrated the following Hadith. He said “While I was walking with the Prophet (pbuh), who was wearing a Najrani (an outer garment with a thick hem), a Bedouin came upon him and pulled his garment so violently that I could recognize the impression of the hem of the garment on his shoulder, caused by the violence of his pull. Then, the Bedouin said, ‘Order for me something from Allah’s fortune which you have.’ The Prophet (pbuh) turned to him and smiled, and ordered that a gift be given to him” (Al-Bukhari).

4. Persevering on the veneration of the oath with Allah of ‘hearing and obeying.’ “And remember the favor of Allah upon you and His covenant with which He bound you when you said, ‘We hear and we obey.’ And fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Knowing of that which is within the breasts” (5:7). ‘Hearing and obeying’ is the condition for the sound Fahm (understanding). When a servant submits to Allah, trusts His absolute knowledge, gives an attentive ear and hastens to implement what s/he has heard – seeking to reap the blessings related to the implementation of every command of Allah (swt) – s/he will be then gifted the favor of understanding. “Those who avoid Evil, and fall not into its worship, and turn to Allah (in repentance), for them is Good News. So, announce the Good News to My Servants – those who listen to the Word, and follow the best (meaning) in it. Those are the ones whom Allah has guided, and those are the ones endued with understanding” (39:17-18).

All the deviated sects and astray movements – past and present, with no exception – such as the Batini, Mutazili, Khawarej, and secular, have approached the Deen with pre-conceived ideas. They have started their journey with ignoring the oath of ‘hearing and obeying.’ They didn’t submit to Allah; in reality they submitted the Deen to their own pre-conceived agendas!

May Allah guide us to the path of those described in the following Ayah: “The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], ‘We make no distinction between any of His messengers.’ And they say, ‘We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination’” (2:285).

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