The Social Shariah (Qanoon-e-Muashrat): Introduction And Content
Man by nature likes to live in a community. The reason that the Almighty has bestowed him with this nature is that He does not create human beings in the prime of their youth. Similarly, human beings do not generally die in their youth without passing through old age. On the contrary, a human being is created as a feeble child in the womb of the mother who enters this world to be welcomed by her loving affection. He then grows being nurtured and nourished by others. At first, he drags himself and then crawls along his knees before he is able to stand on his feet. Even after this state, he needs the help of others at every step. Finally, after going through various phases of childhood and adolescence, he enters the prime of his youth at the age of fifteen or sixteen. This blooming period of his life also does not last more than twenty to thirty years. Then comes old age and in spite of many a time attaining great heights in intellect in his prime, he once again has to turn to others to fulfil his needs like a frail child for the rest of his life.
This life cycle of man necessarily entails that he live in a social set-up. From the very beginning of his life, this affinity towards a social set-up is fully found in his being. He does not need to find this tendency in his external world. When he enters this world, he brings with him all his internal urges and inner motivations and uses them to fulfil his needs wherever and whenever required.
The history of mankind shows that owing to this very aspect of human nature, Adam, the founder of the human dynasty was not sent alone in this world; he was blessed with a wife from his own species – someone who was meant to be his companion. From these two sprang many men and women as their progeny. Gradually, a family, a tribe and finally a state came into existence. The resultant social set-up afforded man the opportunity to realize his hidden potentials and urges. While pointing out this fact, the Quran says:
يَاأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ مِنْ نَفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاءً وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَتَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا(1:4)
Mankind! Fear your Lord, Who created you from a single person, created, of like species his mate, and from these two scattered countless men and women [in this world], and fear Allah through whom you seek mutual help and fear breaking blood relationships. Indeed, God is watching over you. (4:1)
A little deliberation shows that this verse embodies all the principles upon which the Almighty has based human society. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, while pointing out these principles writes:
Firstly, this world is not unattended; on the contrary, it has been created by the Almighty who is the Lord of everyone. It is therefore unseemly for a person to create disorder in it and defy His authority. Everyone should remain fearful of the Almighty’s grasp – the Almighty who is the Creator and Master of everyone.
Secondly, the Almighty has created man from a single soul: Adam. Consequently, mankind is the progeny of one father. No one is superior to the other. Whatever their colour, cast or creed, all human beings are equal. Indeed, superiority rests on virtues a person acquires through self-effort. All other standards of superiority are baseless.
Thirdly, just as mankind is the progeny of one father, their mother is also one: Eve. Hence, no one is superior to the other. One father and mother have created this global family. It is evident from the verse that Eve is of the same species as Adam. This further means that women are not inferior beings. As human beings, men and women are equal in status.
Fourthly, the bases of mutual help and co-operation in a society are three driving forces: oneness of God, unity of ancestors and commonalty of blood relationships. It is essential that every person realize the obligation these blood relationships entail and fulfil it. It is also his responsibility to safeguard these relationships and be on guard that no slogan should be able to destroy these blood relationships and replace it with some sentiment of the age of jahiliyyah. If such a thing emerges in a society, it should ring an alarm for the whole society and it is the duty of every sensitive member of the society to do his utmost to impede its progress. The words: وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَتَسَاءَلُونَ بِه وَالْأَرْحَامَ (and fear Allah through whom you seek mutual help and fear breaking blood relationships) at the end of the verse sound this warning. Hence, according to Islam, it is these pillars on which stands the whole edifice of family, society and state. As long as these pillars are intact, this edifice is intact. If these become weak, the edifice would be endangered and if they are razed down, the edifice too would be demolished. 
In order to firmly establish a society on these fundamentals, an everlasting bond between the spouses is made essential in the religion of the prophets. The Almighty has informed us that to fulfil this scheme both a man and a woman are innately equipped with all the necessary urges so that they are able to become true companions of one another and live as two souls united in one body:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ(21:30)
And among His Signs is that He created for you mates from among your species that you may obtain comfort from them, and [for this purpose], He has put love and sympathy within you; surely, in this are signs for those who reflect. (30:21)
If the whole life of a human being – from childhood to old age – is kept in consideration, sense and reason endorse that to fulfil his physical, psychological and social needs an everlasting marriage bond between the spouses is essential. Consequently, the Almighty has given a detailed social law to man through His prophets regarding the society which is established on this basis.
In the following paragraphs, an attempt shall be made to explain this law enshrined in the Quran and Sunnah as the eternal shariah of God.
1) Nikah (Marriage):
2) Relations Prohibited for Marriage:
3) Requisites of Nikah (Marriage):
4) Rights and Obligations of the Spouses:
6) Etiquette of Sexual Intimacy:
7) Directive of ila and Zihar:
– Introduction, (i) Before Divorce, (ii) The Right to Divorce:
– (iii) Procedure of Divorce:
– (iv) The Directive of Iddat:
– (v) After Divorce:
– (vi) Directives Relating to Widows:
9) Norms of Gender Interaction (Parda/Hijab):
10) Directives Relating to Parents:
11) Directives Relating to Orphans:
(Javed Ahmed Ghamidi)
(Translated by Dr. Shehzad Saleem)
. Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tazkiyah-i nafs, 142-143
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