Why fasting was ordained?

1- Accustoming bodily organs to stop from committing sins as the meaning of fasting is not abstaining from desires and lusts but it means that bodily organs abstain from forbidden things such as lie, backbiting, and ill-gotten money, using hands and tonuge in aggression, and so on; perhaps a fasting person gets no reward of his fasting but only suffers hunger and thirsty.
2- Accustoming oneself to fear Allah, for fasting is a secret between a servant and his Lord, therefore fasting was a guide to good manners and cultivation to souls for fear that they might slide into sins.

3- Accustoming oneself to patience because of a fasting person’s patience on food and drink.

4- Accustoming oneself to pity and compassion with the needy so that the rich would know the pain of hunger and accordingly they pity the poor.

5- Accustoming oneself to have meals in certain times.

6- Strengthening one’s stomache by make it rest from food and drink for one month.

7- Drawing nearer to Allah through obedience, especially the optional Night Salah and reciting the Qur’an.


The Nature of Extremism in the Lives of Contemporary man (3/3)

4- Is It a Homegrown Problem or Is It of Foreign Origin and Instigation?

Some secularists insist on attributing the extremist problem to some foreign source. They try their best to establish some relationship between the groups accused of extremism and Iran, for example.[1] Some even go to the extreme of saying that these extremist groups are related to the United States.[2] Others claim that it is the Gulf money that is financing these groups.[3]

These statements are not based on any scientific proof. In fact, some writers have started to write about this problem as if those accused of extremism came from outside of the Islamic societies.

This led one sociologist specialized in this field to cry out; “The radicals are not from Mars!”[4] He explains that the media talk about the radicals and extremists as if they descended upon us from Mars or as if they had no roots in the society or were strangers who have come across our lands. He wrote, “I say pleading for help: Those radicals are from the soul of Egyptian society. Indeed, it is most appropriate to say that they descended from the most important cross section of the middle class.”[5]

That author himself did a field study and concluded that the people accused of extremism had the following characteristics:

(1) They are fairly young, in that almost 90% of them are in their twenties or thirties.

(2) They have had higher education, as close to 80% of them were either college students or college graduates.

(3) They are above average students.

(4) They belong to the middle class of society.

(5) They have rural roots.[6]

This supports the statement that it is a homegrown problem and disproves the theory that it is an imported problem. Yes, it is possible that there is some limited influence by an external phenomenon, such as the Iranian Revolution; however, one cannot attribute extremism to such phenomena and say that it is the result of those external incidences without evidence or proof. Indeed, what further denies this relationship is the fact that the groups accused of extremism are the most stringent when it comes to differentiating between the beliefs of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-jamaah and those of the Shiah. It is true that the extremist Shiah groups have some relationship with the Iranian Revolution. But as for those accused of extremism among the Sunni groups, it is still a baseless claim that they have any connection with Iran.

5- Is the Problem an Individual Problem or a Group Problem?

What seems apparent to this researcher is that the type of extremism determines whether it is an individual or group problem. If the extremism is of the general, belief-related nature, it is a group problem. If the extremism is of a partial, deed-related nature, it is an individual problem. This is the case most of the time. The extremism in the lives of contemporary Muslims is most apparently of a group nature. Indeed, the domain of this study and research is the group-oriented, comprehensive, belief-related extremism. This is not to deny that there is individual extremism. But since the group-related extremism is more dangerous, it is more appropriate to be concerned with it and seek its cure.

6- Is this Problem an Educational, Social or Political Problem or Is It More General Than That?

Some of the secular writers summarize the approaches of the writers and divide them into different categories with respect to their opinions about the nature of the problems. 

The five directions or approaches are:

The first approach views the problem as a legal problem.

The second approach views the problem as a religious problem.

The third approach views the problem as an identity problem.

The fourth approach views the problem as a cultural problem.

The fifth approach views the problem as a political problem.[7]

In reality, the issue has different dimensions to it as the factors that help in producing it are many and various, with great effects. It is not propped on one side alone. It is an identity problem because those accused of extremism are trying to affirm the Islamic identity in the face of the extreme Westernization and secularization that is sweeping the Muslim lands. It is a cultural problem because those accused of extremism appeared as a reaction to the adopting of the Western civilization, with its positive and negative aspects “extremism will persist as long as the alienation exists.”[8] 

It is a religious problem because the main foundation for those who are accused of extremism is the religion itself, which acts as the axis for every request that they call people to. 

The religion of Islam is too comprehensive for it to be limited. It is a religion that covers every aspect of life. It is also a political problem as politics is a part of the completed, well-founded religion. Furthermore, extremism represents a danger to society in a political sense more than in any other sense. Indeed, most of the demands of those accused of extremism are related to the law and government.

Therefore, I can say that contemporary extremism is a multidimensional phenomenon, and it cannot be looked upon from one perspective only.

[1] Majallah Fikr, Nadwah al-Tatarruf, No. 8, p. 74.

[2] Ibid., p. 80.

[3] Ibid., pp. 74-80.

[4] Saad al-Deen Ibraaheem, Misr Taraaji Nafsahaa, p. 13.

[5] Ibid., p. 13.

[6] Saad al-Deen Ibraaheem, al-Sihwah al-Islaamiyyah al-Muaasirah, Amman Conference, p. 400.

[7] Faraj Faudah, “Al-Tatarruf al-Deeni,” Majallat al-Fikr, No. 8, pp. 35-36

[8] Taariq al-Bishri, Sayabqa al-Ghulu ma Baqi al-Tag hreeb, p. 58

The Nature of Extremism in the Lives of Contemporary Man (2/3)

2- Is It a Temporary or a Permanent Problem?

In this author’s view, to answer this question one must first distinguish between the individual and the Muslim nation (ummah). With respect to individuals, it is in most cases a temporary problem. However, with respect to the Muslim nation as a whole, it is a perpetual problem. The following hadith indicate that extremism is a temporary state for most individuals:

(1) The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) explained that every type of action has for it periods of great enthusiasm and afterwards periods of inactivity or lethargy. He stated,

“Every deed has its time of enthusiasm and every time of enthusiasm has its time of lethargy. Whoever has a period of enthusiasm within my Sunnah, he will be successful. And whoever has a period of lethargy other than that, he will be destroyed.”[1]

In another narration, some people who were greatly devoted to acts of worship were mentioned to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and he stated,

That is the overly abundant attachment to Islam and its period of enthusiasm. For every attachment there is a period of enthusiasm. And for every period of enthusiasm there is a time of lethargy. Whose period of lethargy is toward the Book and the Sunnah, then he is on the path he should follow. Whose period of lethargy is toward disobedience of Allah, then he is the destroyed.”[2]

This hadith alludes to the fact that a person may exert himself in his religion wherein he virtually reaches the state of extremism and harshness in sticking to the religion. Then he calms down to a more balanced approach. However, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) explained that the period of lethargy after that period of enthusiasm must be within the Sunnah.[3]

(2) In most cases, the affair of the extremist will end in one of two ways:

(a) The person will discontinue his deeds as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) explained by his statement,”No one overburdens himself in the religion except that it will overcome him.“[4] 

Ibn Hajar stated, “The meaning is that no one goes overboard in religious deeds while forgetting kindness [upon himself] except that he will not be able to keep it up. He will discontinue [those acts] and it will overcome him.”[5]

(b) The error of his ways will be made clear to him and he will return to what is true and correct. This is what occurred to that group of three whom the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) objected to concerning their extremism and forbidding of the good things. They came back from what they had set out to do.[6]

This is with respect to the individual. As for the entire Nation, the matter is different. Extremism has a permanent existence that becomes either widespread or very limited depending on the prevalence of the factors producing it. Virtually no time period can be free of the existence of extremism, as any overview of history since the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) bears witness.

3- Is It a Regional Problem In One Area or Is It Universal?

This problem is not a regional or national problem restricted to just one area. Instead, it has become a universal problem covering all the Islamic lands from Malaysia and Indonesia to North Africa. Those who follow the news of the Islamic world often find reports about those groups accused of extremism in the different forms of the media, especially in the West. Sometimes, one hears of radicalism in Nigeria, and then we hear of it in Malaysia, Egypt, Algeria or other places of the Islamic world.[7]

Without taking into question the truthfulness or lack thereof of these reports, the important point is that this problem is present throughout many parts of the Islamic world. However, it differs with respect to its magnitude. In some areas it is very great and more apparent than in other areas. This is due to the strength or weakness of the factors that produce this problem in each of the Muslim lands.

(To be Continued)


[1] Recorded by Ahmad. Ahmad Shaakir stated in his footnotes to the Musnad of Ahmad (vol. 1 1, p. 40) that it is sahih. Ibn Abi Aasim also narrated it in al-Sunnah (vol. l, p. 28). Al-Albaani stated in his footnotes to that work, “Its chain is sahih according to the criteria of al-Bukhari and Muslim.”
[2] Recorded by Ahmad. Ahmad Shaakir stated that its chain is sahih (Sharh al-Musnad, vol. 1 0, p. SO).

[3] Cf., Ahmad Shaakir, Sharh Musnad Ahmad, vol. 1 1, p. 40.

[4] Recorded by al-Bukhari.

[5] Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Baari, vol. 1, p. 94.

[6] Cf., Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Baari, vol. 9, p. 1 04.

[7] Cf., Ahmad Kamaal Abu al-Majd, Al-Tatarruf al-Deeni wa Abaaduhu, p. 5.

The Nature of Extremism in the Lives of Contemporary man (1/3)

Dr. Abdul-Rahman ibn Muala al-Mutairi

Source: Religious Extremism in the Lives of Contemporary Muslims

Extremism occurs in many spheres, be it ideological, religious or non-religious, regardless of whether it be among a subsection of the community or the whole nation. Its existence in the Islamic Nation therefore is not something unusual. Indeed, it is consistent with the reality of the intellectual lives of humans.[1]

This is not meant to be a rationalization for its occurrence. However, it is just an explanation of the reality. Knowing the nature of extremism must be considered one of the means to evaluate the problem and seek its cure in any era. Without this knowledge, the researcher will set out on a path that is truly purposeless and haphazard with respect to solving this problem. Many of the mistakes that researchers make while studying this problem are because they fail to recognize the nature of extremism itself. One may summarize the questions whose answers will provide the nature of extremism in contemporary times as the following:

Is the problem or phenomenon proactive or is it simply a reaction?

Is it a temporary or a permanent problem?

Is the problem one of social and political upbringing and maturity or is it more general than that?

Is it a regional problem in one area or is it universal?

Is it a problem that has sprung internally from the Muslim society or have external factors been the main influence?

Is it an individual or group phenomenon?

I shall eagerly attempt to respond to these questions which should uncover the nature of extremism in the lives of contemporary Muslims.

1- Is the Problem or Phenomenon Proactive or Is It Simply a Reaction?

Extremism, in its essence, is a behavioral response that human behavior is normally inclined to, such as a reaction to a number of factors: internal factors related to the depths of the individual psychological life and external factors that are related to the influences of the environment.[2] Usually, the extremism that occurs in an unstable environment is, in reality, a reaction and is not proactive. The evidence for that is that most of the extremist acts that have taken place throughout history have been during crises and unstable times.

This point is not refuted by the fact that there was extremism during the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and during the time of his Companions. The extremism that took place in their times was actually a reaction to, in their [mistaken] view, something wrong. Extremism like distorted thinking and deviations from the truth can appear in a pious, sound environment, as it occurred during the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). However, in such cases it will only be due to the deviation of the extremist himself as he perceives something as falsehood while it is not falsehood at all.

Extremism is a reaction to something wrong, regardless of whether it is something wrong in reality or only in the perception of the extremist. The man who objected to the Prophet’s division of the war booty after the Battle of Hunain went to an extreme and violated the rule of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He did so because he believed that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had performed an unjust and oppressive deed as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not set the portions exactly equal among the combatants. His claim was that perfect equality alone was justice.

Similarly, the Khawaarij who revolted against Ali ibn Abi Taalib argued that he had done a wrong deed by accepting the arbitration.[3]

Therefore, extremism certainly has a strong connection to the social and political environment, actions and circumstances. It is not the child of thought only. A specialist in psychology wrote, “If a person finds himself in a situation that he cannot accept, he unconsciously seeks a resolution by reacting in opposition to that situation. Whenever the driving forces are stronger, the reaction becomes stronger. This could even lead to radicalism and violence.”[4]

This fact led one researcher to state that extremism is “a repercussion or reflection of the political and social systems’ inability to handle internal and external crises.”[5] This is not meant to be a justification or rationalization for extremism and what it entails, as the extremists are sick with what could be termed the “factors conducive or dispositions to extremism.”[6] 

These factors are:

– They are not sound with respect to the knowledge of the law of Allah.

– They are not sound in thought with respect to the methodology that they use in understanding the texts of the Shareeah.

– They have very little contact with the people of knowledge and remembrance of God.

These factors conducive for extremism or this “ripe soil” for extremism put the burden and sin of becoming fit and ready to cultivate extremism first and foremost upon the extremists themselves.

Failure to understand these two important aspects of the problem – (1) that unusual or unacceptable occurrences produce a reaction and (2) the extremists themselves possess qualities conducive to extremism leads to a shortcoming in one’s conceptualization of the problem. And this is what leads to failure in evaluating it properly and curing it appropriately.

The stated principle that extremism is a response to unusual or improper circumstances in Muslim society applies with respect to contemporary extremism. A secular judge who has experience with this problem confirms this. He stated that extremism was a reaction to political and social factors and it was these factors that led to the appearance of the [extremist] groups.[7]

Indeed, most Muslim societies today abound in negative aspects that enrage the most prudent and calm. These societies suffer from the harshness of social m1ustices, economic deprivation, oppression, cultural dispossession, immorality and corruption. The harshness that is used by those accused of extremism is simply a response to the harshness they are facing.[8]

One professor stated, “My analysis of the stance of these fanatic youth has brought me to the conclusion that their extremism is a result of the extremes they are facing. In other words, it is a reaction and not a proactive position.[9] This conclusion is supported by the fact that throughout the history of the revivalist movements in the different lands and eras that had a measure of freedom, interest in meeting the needs of the Muslim nation and some application of the law of Allah, those movements never had to take to extremism or violence. The phenomenon of extremism did not exist or if it did it was on such a small scale that it did not deserve the attention of serious study. Therefore, the conclusion that contemporary extremism is a reaction is virtually agreed upon by all those who researched this problem.[10] However, [it must be pointed out] that no matter what the mistake [occurring in society is] its only cure must be according to the balanced Shareeah method of reformation and not via extremism.[11]

What are the factors that form the “action” that produces this reaction? What is the setting that produces these attributes conducive to extremism? These questions have already been answered in the first section of this chapter.

(To be Continued)


[1] Cf., Muhammad Amaarah, al-Watan newspaper, 10/24/1 988.
[2] Cf., Rad Abdul Jaleel, al-Tatarruf al-Deeni fi Iraan, p. 20.

[3] Cf., Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Baari, vol. 6, p. 619.

[4] Dr. Muhammad Shalaan, Professor and Department Head, Department of Neurology, University of Cairo, Interview in al-Akhbaar newspaper, 1/7/1989.

[5] Saad al-Deen Ibraaheem, Msir Turaaji Nafsaha, p. 22.

[6] Cf., Fahrni Huwaidi, al-Tatarruf wa Abaaduhu al-Silbiyyah, p. 14.

[7] Cf., Rajaa al-Arabi, Al-Tatarruf al-Deeni wa Abaaduhu al-Salbiyyah, pp. 2-3.

[8] Cf., Muhammad Amaarah, interview in al-Watan al-Kuwaitiyyah newspaper, 10/28/88.

[9] Abdul Saboor Shaaheen, interview in Ukaadh al-Saoodiyyah newspaper, 6/15/88.

[10] In addition to what was referred to, see Saad al-Deen Ibraaheem, Misr Turaaji Nafsahaa, p. 22; Ahmad Kamaal Abu al-Majd, al-Tatarruf al-Deeni wa Abaaduhu, p. 6; Fahrni Huwaidi, al-Tatarruf al-Deeni wa Abaaduhu, pp. 3 and 1 6; Taariq al-Bishri, Sayabqa al-Ghulu ma Baqi al-Taghreeb, p. 58.

[11] [This is undoubtedly one of the most important points that the author makes in this work. Muslims cannot allow their emotions to get the better of them. This is what leads them to perform many acts that, at the very least, are questionable in the light of the Shareeah. Indeed, they are required to act according to the Shareeah and for the sake of Allah and not according to their desires and for the sake of revenge, personal hatred and so on. When Muslims act within the limits of the Shareeah and act sincerely for Allah, Allah will then bless them and grant them the victory that they are seeking. However, if the goal is simply some sort of victory at any cost in this world over the enemies and unbelievers, then Allah may not bless them and they are left in their miserable plight of a weak band of renegades who can do little against the major forces against them.]

The Path to real happiness!

Ibn Al-Qayyim (a scholar) said, “There is no path to happiness and success in this world or the Hereafter except at the hands of Messengers. And there is no way to determine the good from bad except through their teachings. Allah’s pleasure is never gained except through their example. Good actions, sayings and manners are only attained through the guid- ance they brought. 

The Prophets are the scale by which our actions, sayings and manners must be weighed. And their example is the criterion between the people of guidance and those of misguidance. 

We are in need of following their examples more than a body needs its soul, and more than an eye needs light to be able to see. In fact, every decreed obligation is surpassed by the obligation of following the example of the Prophets. 

If we neglect doing so for the blink of an eye then our hearts will become corrupt, just like a fish becomes when it is taken out of water. Since happiness in this life and the Hereafter is linked with following the example of Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, a wise person who is seeking his own happiness and salva- tion must gain enough knowledge regarding the Prophet’s guidance and biography. 

This way he becomes a true follower and joins the party of the Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. In this regard, there are those who gain a lot of knowledge, those who gain only a little of it and others who are deprived of it. Allah grants goodness to whomever He wishes. Indeed, Allah grants great bounties.”(Zaad Al-Ma’aad (69/1).)

Why do we have to follow the example of the Prophet of Allah, Mu- hammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? 

We follow his example because his life is the most perfect of lives. Allah chose Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, based on His Knowledge and Wisdom. He selected him over all humans. Thus, we must learn about his blessed life that was guided and decreed by Allah; perhaps his lifestyle would become a beacon for us and a cause of salvation for our nation. 

The following are more reasons why we must follow the example of Prophet of Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: 

Out of obedience to Allah’s Orders: 

We should follow the example of the Prophet of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, because we were ordered to do so by Allah. 

He, the Exalted, Says (what means): «There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern (example) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.» [Quran: 33:21] 

And Allah warned us against disobeying the Prophet of Allah, sallal- laahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He Says (what means): «So let those beware who dissent from the Prophet’s order, lest Fitnah (trial) strike them or a pain- ful punishment.» [Quran: 24:63]

Regarding Muslims Participating in Elections with Non-Muslims

All Praise is due to Allah, and may peace and blessings be upon His final prophet Muhammad, his family, and his companions. 

In its 19  th session, held at the Muslim World League’s headquarters in Makkah al-Mukarramah on 22-28 Shawwal, 1428 Hijri, corresponding to 3- 8 November, 2007 C. E., the Islamic Fiqh Council looked in to the issue of Muslims participating in elections in non-Muslim countries, which was one of the issues on which judgment was deferred from the Council’s 16 th session held during the period between 21-26 Shawwal, 1422. 

After listening to the research papers presented, and the ensuing discussions, the Council decides the following: 

1. Whether Muslims should participate in elections is a religious issue related to politics, and should be decided based on what will achieve the maximum benefit for the Muslims. This ruling may differ from time to time, and place to place. 

2. It is permissible for a Muslim citizen in a non-Muslim country to participate in elections if clear benefits are achieved by doing so, such as presenting the correct image of Islam to the people, defending Muslims’ interests, protecting their rights, putting them in positions of influence, and cooperating with friendly moderates in achieving justice. 

However, the following guidelines must be observed: 

a) The Muslim who participates must do so with the intention of achieving benefits for the Muslims, and protecting them from harm and injustice. 

b) There must be a reason to reasonably expect that participation in the political process will have positive effects for the Muslims in the country in question, such as strengthening their influence, protecting their interests, and allowing their concerns to reach those in charge. 

c) Participation in these elections must not lead to the Muslim participant doing anything against his religion. 

All guidance is from Allah, and may His peace and blessings be upon His Prophet Muhammad, his family, and companions.

حول موضوع : مشاركة المسلم في الانتخابات مع غير المسلمين 

الحمد لله وحده ، والصلاة والسلام على من لا نبي بعده ؛ نبينا محمد ، وعلى آله وصحبه أما بعد: 

فإن مجلس المجمع الفقهي الإسلامي في دورته التاسعة عشرة المنعقدة بمقر رابطة العالم الإسلامي بمكة المكرمة في الفترة من 22ـ27 شوال 1428هـ التي يوافقها3ـ8 نوفمبر2007م قد نظر في موضوع : ” مشاركة المسلم في الانتخابات مع غير المسلمين في البلاد غيّر الإسلامية” وهو من الموضوعات التي جرى تأجيل البت فيها في الدورة السادسة عشرة المنعقدة في الفترة من 21ـ26 شوال 1422هـ لاستكمال النظر فيها..

وبعد الاستماع إلى ما عرض من أبحاث، وما جرى حولها من مناقشات، ومداولات، قرر المجلس ما يلي:

1. مشاركة المسلم في الانتخابات مع غير المسلمين في البلاد غير الإسلامية من مسائل السياسة الشرعية التي يتقرر الحكم فيها في ضوء الموازنة بين المصالح والمفاسد، والفتوى فيها تختلف باختلاف الأزمنة والأمكنة والأحوال.

2. يجوز للمسلم الذي يتمتع بحقوق المواطنة في بلد غير مسلم المشاركة في الانتخابات النيابية ونحوها لغلبة ما تعود به مشاركته من المصالح الراجحة مثل تقديم الصورة الصحيحة عن الإسلام، والدفاع عن قضايا المسلمين في بلده، وتحصيل مكتسبات الأقليات الدينية والدنيوية، وتعزيز دورهم في مواقع التأثير، والتعاون مع أهل الاعتدال والإنصاف لتحقيق التعاون القائم على الحق والعدل، وذلك وفق الضوابط الآتية:

أولاً: أن يقصد المشارك من المسلمين بمشاركته الإسهام في تحصيل مصالح المسلمين، ودرء المفاسد والأضرار عنهم. 

ثانياً: أن يغلب على ظن المشاركين من المسلمين أن مشاركتهم تفضي إلى آثار إيجابية، تعود بالفائدة على المسلمين في هذه البلاد؛ من تعزيز مركزهم، وإيصال مطالبهم إلى أصحاب القرار، ومديري دفة الحكم، والحفاظ على مصالحهم الدينية والدنيوية. 

ثالثاً: ألا يترتب على مشاركة المسلم في هذه الانتخابات ما يؤدي إلى تفريطه في دينه. 

والله ولي التوفيق وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وآله وصحبه.

Earning and Spending is of 4 types

1. He earns by halaal means and spends in a halaal manner 

2. He earns by haraam means and spends in a haraam manner 

3. He earns by haraam means and spends in a halaal manner 

4. He earns by halaal means and spends in a haraam manner

As for the one who earns by halaal means and spending in a halaal manner he is rewarded for earning by a halaal means and spending in a halaal manner. 

As for the one who earns by haraam means and spends in a haraam manner, he is a sinner and commits sins by earning by haraam means and spending in a haraam manner. 

If he earns by halaal means and spends in a haraam manner then he is rewarded for earning by halaal means and a sinner for spending in a haraam manner.

If he earns by haraam means and spends in a halaal manner then he is committing a sin by earning from haraam means and is not rewarded for his spending in a halaal manner.