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Newsletter for May 2012
Etiquettes of Social Life
By Shaykh Ashraf Ali
It is essential for Muslims to adopt all five departments of the Sharee'ah. But, in the present age people have abbreviated the Sharee'ah. Some have taken only Aqaa-id, believing that only the proclamation of Laa ilaaha il lallaahu suffices for immediate entry to Jannah. Such persons, while they believe Salaat, sawm, etc., are fardh,
of Social Life
By Shaykh Ashraf Ali
Of the five constitutional branches of Islaam, Muslims in general nowadays regard only two branches as being integral parts of the Deen. These are Aqaa-id (beliefs) and Ibaadaat (worship). The Ulama-e-Zaahir (those Ulama concerned only with the external dimension of Islaam - with only the letter of the law) consider the third branch, viz. Muamalaat (mutual dealings and transactions) also an integral part of Deen. The Mashaaikh (of Tasawwuf) consider the fourth branch, viz. Akhlaaq (moral character) also as part of Deen. However, the fifth branch, viz. Aadaabul Muasharat (Social Etiquette) has been excluded by all three groups, excepting a few among them. In fact, it is believed that this branch is totally unrelated to Deen.
The other branches of the Deen are more or less all dealt with and discussed in lectures and discourses. On the contrary, no mention whatever is made of this fifth branch (Muasharat). Hence, this branch has been assigned to the limbo of oblivion both theoretically and practically.
The Five Branches of the Sharee'ah
The Sharee'ah consists of five branches or parts: Aqaa-id, A'maal, Mu'aamalaat, Akhlaaq, Husn-e-Mu'aasharat:
* Aqaa-id (Beliefs), e.g. beliefs in the Oneness of Allah Ta'aala and the Risaalat (Prophethood) of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam.
* A'maal (Righteous deeds) e.g. Salaat, Sawm.
* Mu'aamalaat (Transactions, Contracts) e.g. trade and commerce.
* Akhlaaq (Moral character) e.g. humility, generosity, etc.
* Husn-e-Mu'aasharat (Beautiful social conduct), i.e. good relationship with people, e.g. abstention from acts which cause others inconvenience, such as disturbing a person in his sleep.
The above mentioned five departments are collectively known as the Sharee'ah. It is essential for Muslims to adopt all five departments of the Sharee'ah. But, in the present age people have abbreviated the Sharee'ah. Some have taken only Aqaa-id, believing that only the proclamation of Laa ilaaha il lallaahu suffices for immediate entry to Jannah. Such persons, while they believe Salaat, sawm, etc., are fardh, they do not obtain the good fortune of practically executing these acts of worship. Others again, along with Aqaa-id observe Salaat, Sawm, etc., as well. However, they have discarded Mu'aamalaat. In their transactional dealings they are not concerned with the Deen, whether their acts are lawful or not. They are indifferent to the question of
halaal and haraam regarding their earnings and dealings. Then there are those who maintain their Mu'aamalaat on a healthy footing, but are unconcerned with the reformation of their moral character. Those who are
concerned about Akhlaaq are exceptionally few. In fact there are even such persons who spend considerable time to reform others while others are inconvenienced and annoyed by their behavior and attitude. They
remain unaware of the difficulty they are causing others by their actions and behavior. They are completely uncaring about their own detestable condition. There are numerous such persons who will not venture to offer salaam to a poor Muslim along the road. On the contrary they wait in expectation of the salaam to be initiated by the poor.
Some people, along with Aqaa-id, A'maal and Mu'aamalaat are concerned about the reformation of Akhlaaq, hence they adopt ways and measures for the treatment of their morals. But, they have discarded Husn-e-Mu'aasharat. In fact, they have excised it from the Deen. They assert that there is no relationship between the Sharee'ah and social conduct with people. They therefore behave as they please, thinking that
the Sharee'ah has no say in such matters. Many people are pious with good qualities such as humility, but in Mu'aasharat they are lacking. They are not concerned whether they annoy and inconvenience others by
their behaviour. In most insignificant things they bring about difficulty and inconvenience to others. Their attention is totally diverted from little things which cause difficulty to others while in the Hadeeth there are numerous incidents narrated which show that Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam cared for the little things just as much as he cared for important matters.
Mu'aasharat - An Integral Part of the Deen It should now be realized that Mu'aasharat is an inseparable part of the Deen. A perfect Muslim will, therefore, be one who adopts all the branches of the Deen. In all aspects he has to behave like a Muslim. There has to be no resemblance with the kuffaar.People have generally understood Mu'aamalaat and Mu'aasharat to be beyond the scope of the Deen. It is indeed surprising
that a person regards his dealings and his social conduct beyond the confines of Divine Law, but at the same time he acknowledges that his dealings and social conduct are governed by the laws of worldly governments. No one ever ventured to tell the state authorities that the government has no right in our private business enterprises, etc. People readily submit to governmental laws and restrictions applicable to their
trade and commerce, etc.
Beautiful Social Conduct is More Important than Beautiful Dealings of Commerce The need for proper observance of Mu'aasharat is of greater importance than Mu'aamalaat. Rectitude in Mu'aamalaat largely ensures the protection of material wealth while Husn-e-Mu'aasharat (Beautiful conduct with others) ensures the protection of the hearts of the Muslims. It is quite obvious that the rank of the heart is greater than
that of material wealth. In the rectification of Mu'aasharat is also the protection of the honor and reputation of others. After the protection of imaan, safeguarding honour and reputation is of the greatest importance. Man is prepared to sacrifice everything in the endeavor to safeguard his honor. On the occasion of Hajjatul Widaa, Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam declared the sanctity of the blood, honor and wealth of the Muslimeen. Until the Day of Qiyaamah the honor and reputation of the Believers have been declared sacred. This sanctity
cannot, therefore, be violated.
courtesy: Saalim Alvi
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