By Dr. Ahmad Al Khalidi
The Divine instructions in Surat Al-Israa’, verses 22-39, prescribe the features of a powerful sound society. A society that is built upon strong sound bonds and ties, ties of belief and fear of Allah, kindness and gratitude to parents, provision and support to relatives, donation and care for the poor and needy, moderation and economy in expenses, care and precaution to orphans, fulfilling engagement and commitment to others.
Take not with Allah another deity; or you (O man!) wilt sit in disgrace and destitution. Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your 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 your Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood’. Your Lord knows best what is in your hearts: If you do deeds of righteousness, verily He is Most Forgiving to those who turn to Him again and again (in true penitence). And give the relative his right, and (also) the poor and the traveler, and do not spend wastefully.…… (Al-Israa’ 17:22-26)
At the same time, this society is secured with its protective system that prohibits extravagance, miserliness, killing innocent souls, immorality, conceit, arrogance, lying at others and other ill manners.
Kill not your children for fear of want: We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin. Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils). Nor kill the soul- which Allah has made sacred – except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority: but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law). (Al-Israa’ 17:22-26)
Women in Islam
Furthermore, the speech dialogue of Surat An-Nur illustrates the status of woman in the Muslim society; where she enjoys peace and sanctity more than woman does in any other society. She is surrounded with material and spiritual care. She wears her veil that protects her from insolent eyes; at the same time the Qur’anic regulation commands men to lower their gaze when they see her or treat her. Moreover, Divine precautions are taken for her benefit. She is forbidden to show her beauty or adornment to prohibited people or to go into unnecessary mixing with the other sex.
(It is) no sin for you to enter uninhabited houses wherein is comfort for you. Allah knows what you proclaim and what you hide. Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands’ fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigor, or children who know naught of women’s nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that you may succeed. (An-Nur 24:30-31)
Not only this, she has her right in inheritance from her relatives:
There is a share for men and a share for women from what is left by parents and those nearest related, whether the property is small or large, an obligatory share. (An-Nissa’ 4:7)
What’s more, the Qu’ranic teachings enjoin the Muslim community to support both unmarried men and women financially in case they are in need of support to accomplish their marriage with the aim of keeping the Muslim society pure of vice and corruption.
So, poverty should not be an obstacle in front of those who are qualified and have the desire to get married:
Marry those among you who are single, or the virtuous ones among yourselves, male or female: if they are in poverty, Allah will give them means out of His grace: for Allah encompasses all, and he knows all things. (An-Nur 24:32)
Stansbery in Sheha (1997:6) says that “The Arab-Islamic society is wholesome and healthy. This society must continue to protect its traditions that restrict its both males and females to a certain and reasonable degree.” Stansbery went on criticizing the false freedom given to young women in the west and how such freedom led to loss and destruction of lots of young women.
Likewise, the Qur’anic guidance through Surat Al-Hujurat elucidates that the Muslim society has its own preventive system that secures it from offensive and harmful behavior that may tear the strong bonds of social relations between relatives, friends, colleagues, or neighbors. This system prohibits believing the news coming from a wicked person or an unknown source. Nobody is judged by suspicion nor the safety or honour of people are exposed to harm.
O you who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest you harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what ye have done. (Al-Hujurat 49:6)
It is a society that has its own procedure in ascertaining words and actions and making sure of their source before judging on people. It is a world of clean feeling, ensured sanctity and protected honour in presence and absence.
This system takes precaution measures to guard people from insult, disgrace, or calling others with their offensive nicknames. It is a society that prohibits spying at or backbiting innocent people.
O you who believe! Let not a folk deride a folk who may be better than they (are), not let women (deride) women who may be better than they are; neither defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. Bad is the name of lewdness after faith. And whoso turns not in repentance, such are evil-doers.
O you who believe! Shun much suspicion; for lo! some suspicion is a crime. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You abhor that (so abhor the other)! And keep your duty (to Allah). Lo! Allah is Relenting, Merciful. (Al Hujurat 49:11-12)
Besides, this society has its own capability to live and continue through its own security and maintenance system. It is actually a real ideal world.
Dr. Ahmad Muhammad Al khalidi is Researcher and translator, E L teacher and lecturer, an old member in the Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Kuwait.