The Prohibited (Forbidden (un-lawful) and The Permitted (lawful) – Quranic Laws – G A Parwez – Translated by Dr. Abdul Wadud

1. The prohibited articles of food are:

a) Carrion;

b) Blood;

c) Flesh of swine; and

d) That which is dedicated to anyone other than Allah: (2:173) and (6:146): (5:3)(2:173)

“Lo! He has forbidden for you carrion, blood, the flesh of swine and that which has been dedicated to any other name besides that of Allah.”

If at any time a situation arises in which no article of food is available and you are compelled to save your life, the prohibited articles of food are allowed to be taken, under the condition that you are really constrained to do so and do not intend to transgress the law or to satisfy your lust. Under such conditions of stress, the bad effects on your personality of eating prohibited articles of food shall be counteracted by your feelings of respect for the Laws of Allah and your personality shall continue to receive nourishment”.

Such conditions of helplessness cannot be decided by law; the man concerned can only decide for himself. However, for a believer taking such a decision it is not difficult.

2. The food of the people of the Book is admissible; it appears in Surah Al-Maaidah (5th Chapter of the Quran): (5:5)

(Have you noticed to what extent the Quranic laws on the ‘permitted’ and the ‘prohibited’ have brought about a pleasant revolution in human life Before this a multitude of restrictions were imposed by the man-made codes of the so called Sharia (the religious laws) which had strangulated human freedom. The Quranic laws, after laying down prohibition on certain articles of food, allowed all other agreeable articles for eating).

“The food of the “people of the Book” is also made lawful to you provided (it does not contain anything that has been prohibited for you) and they also partake of your eatables.”

It is obvious that in accepting the eatables of the “people of the Book”, the decisive factor will be that they do not contain anything which is forbidden by the Quran. From the latter part of the verse it ensues that its aim is to promote social intercourse. But those people of the Book who are not desirous of creating social intercourse with the Muslims, such contacts with them cannot be allowed.

3. Killing an animal for hunting on land while in the sacred precincts (in the pilgrim’s garb) is prohibited, but water game is permitted: (5:95-96)

“O you who believe! Kill not game while (in the sacred precincts of Ka’bah) in the pilgrim’s garb [We have declared Ka’bah a place of peace and tranquillity (3:96)], as such exigency of Our surety not only provides such atmosphere to men entering these precincts, but to animals also. If any person intentionally kills an animal within its bounds, the atonement for this act is an offering brought to the Ka’bah, of a domestic animal, like the one he has killed; [so that it may be used as food by the needy (22:28)]. In order to decide as to which animal is equivalent to the one killed, it shall be adjudged by two just men of relevant knowledge among you, or its atonement is feeding the poor, the extent being equal in value of the animal killed; or fasting equivalent to the guilt, its measure has been given in (5:89) i.e. fasting for 3 days or the feeding of ten indigent people, so that he may taste the penalty of his violating the confines. This is ordained as from now, because Allah forgives what you have been doing in the past, but whosoever repeats the offence, will be punished because a law which can be violated without fear of punishment, it becomes a sermon. As such the Divine System while prescribing the punishment for law-breaking also possesses the strength for its enforcement.”

Lawful to you is the pursuit of water game and its use for food, for your benefit and those who travel. This is applicable to water game, as well as to water animals thrown ashore or those left on the dry land after the water recedes. But forbidden is the pursuit of land game as long as you are in the sacred precincts or in the pilgrim’s garb. Thus you guard the Divine Laws which is the purpose of your getting together in this centre from all sides.

4. Eating the meat of such permitted animals on whom Allah’s name has been invoked is allowed, but the meat of animals on whom Allah’s name is not invoked is forbidden. Thus it is said: (6:118)

“So eat of (meats) on which Allah’s name has been pronounced, if you believe in the Divine Laws.”

After this it is said: (6:119)

“Why should you not eat of (meats) of the animals that are lawful for you on which Allah’s Name has been pronounced, when He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden and of those too which are allowed to be taken under compulsion of necessity.”

This is followed by: (6:121)

“Eat not of (meats) on which Allah’s Name has not been pronounced. This is, no doubt, digression from the path ordained by Allah.”

It is clear from the above commandments that:

i) Even from the lawful animals only those are allowed to be eaten on which Allah’s Name has been pronounced.

ii) Those on which the name of other than Allah is pronounced, are prohibited; likewise those on which no name is pronounced.

5. When Allah has defined lawful animals, the condition of their being (Tayyib) has also been added to it. (2:168).

(Tayyib) means things which are agreeable to your taste, sight and smell, or those which are good from a nutritional point of view. It is not necessary that a man must eat every lawful thing. Eating of lawful things is not prohibited, yet from amongst the lawful things eat only what you like; you are not forced to eat what you dislike. The things which you dislike do not become unlawful if disagreeable to your taste.

6. As nobody has the right to declare ‘lawful’ what has been declared ‘unlawful’, similarly none has the right to declare unlawful that which has been legitimate. The Holy Quran has clarified this point at several places. Thus it is said in Surah Al-Maaidah (5th Chapter of the Quran): (5:87-88)

“Make not unlawful the pleasant things which Allah has made legitimate for you and commit no excesses in violating the limits imposed on you __ exuberance as well as diminution, both are equally harmful.”

The right way is that you remain within the limits laid down by the Quran and benefit from the good things of life; and as such whatever Allah has provided for you as means of sustenance, eat it in a lawful and agreeable manner and thus obey the laws of Allah in Whom you have professed Eemaan.

It is said in Surah ‘Yunus’ (10th Chapter of the Quran): (10:59)

“Say: See what Allah has sent down for you of sustenance, then you make (a part) of it unlawful and (a part) lawful. Say: Has Allah commanded you or do you forge a lie against Allah”

In Surah ‘An-Nahl’ (6th Chapter of the Quran) it is said: (16:116)

“And say not any fake things that your tongues may put forth and start declaring at random: this is lawful and this is forbidden, so as to ascribe false things to Allah. For they who ascribe false things to Allah will never prosper.”

In Surah Al-A’raaf it has been forcefully proclaimed: (7:32)

“Say: who dares forbidding the adornments (gifts) of life which Allah has produced for His devotees, and the things, clean and pleasant (which He has provided) for sustenance”

Those who do so, make themselves partners unto Allah; nobody can be given this authority. Say: whatever was intended to be unlawful, Allah has explicitly explained in His Book, other than those, everything is legitimate and nobody has the right to forbid any of them.

As explained earlier, if anything out of the lawful foods is not agreeable to somebody’s taste, he may not take it; but that does not mean that it has become unlawful for him. For example, if Islamic Government orders a restraint on the consumption of certain articles of food in response to exigencies of a time, they do not become unlawful. That shall be called a temporary restraint.

But those who are great in ranks, their difficulties are also great; the Rasool was ordained not to put even a temporary restraint upon himself. When on a certain occasion he had done so, he was told: (66:1-2)

“O Nabi! Why did you hold to be forbidden that which Allah has made lawful to you, just for the sake of pleasing your consorts”

This is an admonition to you, so that no diminution takes place in the means of sustenance and protection for you and also because the effects of your deeds do not remain confined to your person; in as much as if you leave a certain article of food on account of your dislike, your followers may think that it is a bad thing in reality. That is why you should be careful.

If you have sworn not to take a particular thing there is no harm, because Allah has allowed dissolution of such oaths against atonement (2:25; 5:89). Allah is your Protector; He has provided such facilities in His Laws so that one could easily get absolved, of the consequences of his ‘slips’ or omissions, He knows the weaknesses of human nature and as such has based His Laws on wisdom.

It was so ordained because the Rasoole had forbidden a certain thing upon himself for personal reasons but, there was a possibility of his followers accepting that thing as unlawful. Thus as a precautionary measure, the Rasoole was prevented from such acts. Such a thing had already happened when Jacob the Messenger of Allah had forbidden something for himself and the Israelites made it unlawful for themselves.

It is apparent from the foregoing that the issue of lawful and unlawful is of such a great importance that, leaving aside the question of holding unlawful a thing declared as lawful by Allah, even to create such circumstances under which it may be taken as unlawful, is not allowed. It was not allowed even to the Rasoole himself. To declare a certain thing as unlawful means a restraint on human freedom. It is obvious that according to the basic teachings of the Quran, none except Allah holds this right.

The state of extreme helplessness.

[A state of hunger wherein a person fears death on account of the non-availability of permitted (lawful) items of food].

To clarify one particular point at this juncture is extremely important. After giving a list of the forbidden (unlawful) articles of food, it has been said in the Holy Quran that one can partake anything out of them proportionate to one’s need, and under the state of extreme helplessness. This means that if circumstances are such that a person is approaching death on account of hunger and a lawful article of food is not available, then in order to save his life, an unlawful thing can be partaken proportion in to his need. This is the only exception the Quran has allowed to take an unlawful article of food. The Quran does not recognise such a state of helplessness in any other aspect of life. But if one adopts a principle that any unlawful thing can be held lawful according to need or any forbidden act can be regarded as legitimate under certain needs, the differentiation between “lawful and unlawful” or between “forbidden and permitted” comes to an end. In this respect two clear examples are before us:

a) Sayed Abul A’la Madoodi has said that:

“According to Islam, honesty and truthfulness is one of the important doctrines of Islam and falsehood (lying) is the worst evil, but in practical life there are certain needs under which not only that lying is allowed but it has even been decreed obligatory” (decreed by the religious hierarchy).

(‘Tarjmaanul Quran’ May 1985 issue)

We are not aware as to who are such authorities that have issued this decree (FATWA) but we know for sure that Allah has never allowed the telling of lies. If we admit that lying is obligatory under certain conditions, then neither falsehood nor crime shall remain an evil, because nobody tells lies unless it is necessary for him. When one accuses somebody of telling a lie he immediately replies “Why should I tell a lie” Not only for telling lies does every criminal offer ‘necessity’ as the reason for his committing a crime the ‘necessity’ may be material or emotional.

Thus to hold every unlawful thing as lawful under the pretext of “permission to partake of forbidden items of food, is an open rebellion against the Quran. After this, all limits laid down by Allah become unnecessary.

b) When the late Miss Fatima Jinnah stood for election as a candidate for the Presidency of Pakistan during the reign of late Muhammad Ayub Khan, the Jamaat-e-Islami decided to support her. But sometimes before this occasion Mr. Maudoodi had given a decision that Islam does not allow a woman to take part in politics. Thus the question arose as to how far it was permissible from the Islamic point of view to get Miss Fatima Jinnah elected as President of the country and how far it was right for Jamat-e-Islami to support it. The following was its reply:

“After prolonged deliberations, the Jamaat has reached the conclusion, that amongst the things declared unlawful by the Islamic Law, there are certain things the unlawfulness of which is eternal and final, i.e. which cannot be changed under any circumstances; but the unlawfulness of certain other things is such as under conditions of acute necessity it can be changed into ‘permission’ to the extent of the need. Thus it is clear that the matter of unlawfulness of making a woman the head of a state, is not one of those which are final and eternal, but it can be counted as belonging to the other category.

(Pamphlet published by Jamaat-e-Islami)

This distinction of (Hurumaat) ‘the forbidden acts’ some of them being final and eternal and some being alterable under conditions of utmost necessity is totally against the Quran. No such distinction has been made anywhere in the Quran. According to the Holy Quran each type of unlawfulness is final and eternal. The allowance of eating unlawful things under conditions of extreme helplessness (to save one’s life) does not mean that the forbidden category gets changed into lawfulness, even if they remain unlawful. This allowance is only for a person who is under extreme condition of stress; and this allowance is made by Allah Himself. An Islamic Government can also put a temporary restraint on the use of admissible things, considering them unsuitable or harmful under certain circumstances; for example, prohibiting the use of certain fruits during the rainy season or during outbreak of epidemics but it has no right to declare as lawful a thing that has been ordained unlawful by Allah.

We thought it necessary to elaborate on this issue because on the basis of decisions made by Mr. Maudoodi, the concept of lawful and unlawful is undergoing a change amongst the common men; and by such interpretations the people who dislike Divine restraints get an open licence for remissions.

Intoxicants (Psychoactive Substances).

A). Intoxicants are not included in the category of food, and as such they are not included in the list of ‘unlawful’ things. Their use however, has been very strongly condemned because the addiction to the drugs cannot be eradicated in a day or so. The proclamations in this regard were gradual. At the beginning it was said: (4:43)

“O you who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged (in a state of intoxication) until you can understand all what you say”. One ought to be vigilant and attentive during prayers.

After this it was said: (2:219)

“They ask thee (O Rasool) concerning intoxicants (psychoactive substances) and gambling. Say: In them is a great sin and some profit for man: but their sin far outweighs their gains.”

And in the end it is said: (5:90-91)

“O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling (easy money) dedication to stones, and (divination by) arrows are an abomination of Satan. It causes disintegration of society and the human qualities of intellect and the vision gets afflicted (suppressed) (10:100). Thus eschew such abominations so that you may prosper.”

If in order to satisfy your baser passions, you get habituated to intoxicants and gambling, these things, in addition to your personal debility, shall create mutual enmity and rancour and shall put in obstacles in your subservience to Divine Laws and in the establishment of the system of ‘Salaat’. Will you not then refrain from these things after such a clear warning.

After this last proclamation by the Holy Quran, intoxicants became prohibited.

From this stage by stage methodology of proclamations a principle is deducted that the enforcement of laws shall be carried out according to the existing circumstances of the society and this also includes the prevailing mental and psychological condition of the individuals.

B). The word ‘Khamr’ (psychoactive substance) includes all those psychoactive substances that put a person in an altered state of mind (which put a lid on the human intellect); commonly it is used for wine, but other intoxicants may also be included in it. In the code of laws prescribed for the state, the word ‘intoxicants’ shall have to be clearly defined so as to give it a legal form.

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