Injunctions for Social Living
Compiled by Muhammad Latif ChaudherySocial injunctions are not generally included in the category of LAWS. But if any social evil becomes rampant in society, an Islamic Government can make them statutory. Some social injunctions are described as under:
1. Moderation in expenses.
i) "Eat and drink but waste not by excess." (7:31)
ii) Do not spend without reason (need). Those who do so are the brethren of Satan. (17:26-27)
a) Use of things that produce beauty and elegance is lawful. None can proclaim them as unlawful. Details have already been given under the heading 'Lawful and Unlawful'. (7:32)
b) Apparels provide cover for body as well as elegance for a person. (7:26)
3. Physical and Mental Capabilities.
Knowledge (mental capability) and physical strength, are both necessary. When Taloot was made commander of Israelites, they had objected to it for his not being a wealthy person and asked: "What are his qualifications for which he has been made a commander" The reply was as follows: (2:247)
"Allah has chosen him above you and has gifted him abundantly with knowledge and bodily prowess". That is why he is chosen as your commander.
a) Always converse in clear, straightforward and decisive language, which contains no ambiguity: (33:70)
b) Use language, which is recognised by society and commonly used. (4:5) "Speak to them in words that are commonly recognised and used."
Also adopt an elegant manner for speech: (2:83) "And speak to men in a charming way."
c) (22:30) "And shun the words that are deceitful and showy".
d) (6:153) "When you say something, say with justice and equity, even if it goes against your relatives."
"Do not shout, a shrieking voice is disliked by others". (31:19)
"Speak softly, for the harshest of sounds, without doubt, is the braying of any ass."
5. Absurd and immodest talk.
Avoid all absurdities. One of the qualities of the believers has been stated as (23:3) "They avoid vain talk". The word "Laghw" means vain as well as meaningless. In Surah Al-An'aam (6th Chapter of the Quran) it is said: (6:151) this includes all sorts of immodesties __ even an immodest talk __ as it arouses lewd passions.
i) Do not walk in haughtiness, be moderate (31:18-19) also (17:37)
"Do not be haughty while walking, adopt moderation in your gait."
ii) When you go out, do not allow your gaze to become bold and daring. This has been ordained both for men as well as women.
For men: (24:30)
And for women: (24:31)
7. Thoughtfulness to ponder and to comprehend.
i) Do not follow a thing without an inquiry into it. (17:36)
"Remember! Pursue not that of which you have no knowledge (which you have not inquired personally). Personal inquiry means that you gain knowledge of it through your senses of hearing and sight and on this basis, decide by your own intellect. If any link of this manner is broken, your inquiry shall remain incomplete. Look! How great is your responsibility in this matter, because Allah has given you 'will' and the faculty of 'choice'; you are not a inanimate machine. For the use of this faculty, He has provided you means of investigation. One who does not make use of them, shirks his own responsibility.
This is an important injunction which if acted upon properly, turns all conspiracies and the intrigues into a complete failure and a peaceful atmosphere prevails in society."
ii) Always ponder over things: see, hear, comprehend and then make decisions intellectually. For those who do not do so, it is said: (7:179)
Many are (amongst) the people (both) civilised and uncivilised whom We have made for hell. "They have mind wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not; they are like cattle, _ nay more astray, (because cattle, at least, follow their natural instincts). These people are heedless of warning".
iii) When you hear a good thing, act upon it; and when you hear an absurd one keep yourself away from it. (2:285) "We hear and we obey", has been called the believers way. And also (28:55) "And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom".
"Do not spy on other people's affairs that concern you not". (49:12)
i) A learned person and an illiterate one cannot be at par: (39:9) "Say: Are those who know and those who do not know, equal to each other"
ii) Never think that you have reached the final stage of knowledge and nobody knows more than yourself. Remember! (12:76) "And above everyone endowed with knowledge is another endowed with more knowledge."
Nor say that my cup of knowledge is full and I do not want to know any more. Such mentality has been attributed to the non-believers. (2:88) "They say: our hearts do not need any outside information nor is there room in them for anything more to enter".
Not to speak of others, in this respect even the Nabie was asked to keep praying. (20:114) "O My sustainer! Advance me in knowledge."
10. Social relations.
When you meet each other, offer good wishes and blessings for safety. Thus it is said: (4:86) "One who conveys to you a message of safety and security and also when a courteous greeting is offered to you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous or (at least) of equal courtesy."
When you enter your own house or the house of somebody else, compliment the inmates. (24:61) "As has been said earlier (24:27) enter not houses other than your own until you have sought permission; and then greet the inmates and wish them a life of blessing, purity and pleasure from the grace of the Almighty Allah."
11. Good behaviour.
i) Extend kind and good behavior to your parents kinsfolk, orphans, neighbors, friends, travelers and those serving under you: (4:36)
The words in this verse do not mean slave men and women only but also include those serving under you.
ii) Do not expect a return for your good behavior, not even thanks. Tell them: (76:9) "No reward do we desire from you, nor thanks". (because it has been prescribed by the Divine Law; and thus the question of thankfulness does not arise).
12. Co-operation (Mutual Assistance).
"Co-operate with one another in good and virtuous matters consistent with the Divine Laws and do not co-operate in evil and bad matters."(5:2)
13. Mutual Contacts.
"Do not behave bitterly when you meet each other". (31:18)
14. Promise (Commitments).
Always fulfill your promise (and commitments); (17:34) "Fulfill your commitments; remember! You will be questioned about them."
15. Visiting other people's homes.
Do not go to other people's home without permission. The Holy Quran has given detailed instructions in this respect: (24:27-29) "O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own until you have sought permission and when you go in, extend your salutations to the inmates, wishing their safety and security. Observing these social etiquettes is best for you so that your society always manifests the finest. If you find no one in the house, enter not. In any case never enter until you have sought permission; if you are asked to go back, go back without feeling any displeasure. Keeping up such manners will keep improving your associations. Allah knows all that you do. There is, however, no restraint on you to enter houses not used for living, those which serve some (other) use for you (and if these are common godowns, enter not with bad intention). Always keep in mind that Allah has knowledge of what you reveal and what you conceal."
16. Etiquettes of assembly.
a) Observe assembly etiquettes while sitting in and leaving. (58:11) "O you who believe! These hypocrites when they come to your assemblies, sit close to each other for the sake of whispering together. Thus if you are asked to make room in the assemblies (spread out), do make room, (so that the hypocrites shall also have to spread out and you will not have to suspect that they are conspiring against you. This ought to be a routine in the assemblies). Thus Allah shall make way for broadmindedness amongst you. And when you are told to rise up, do so. (These are small matters but their effects are far-reaching; and if you obey these injunctions), Allah will raise those of you to suitable ranks (and degrees) who believe in such things wholeheartedly and are acquainted with the wisdom and purpose hidden in it. Remember! Allah's Law of Requital is well-acquainted with what you do."
b) When you are invited for a meal, do not go there before time and do not indulge in unnecessary talk, such things may cause inconvenience to the host: (33:53) "O you who believe! Do not go to the house of the Nabie, until he invites you to a meal (and then) not (so early) as to wait for its preparation; and when you have taken your meal, disperse without seeking familiar talk. Such behaviour causes annoyance to the Nabie: he will feel shy in asking you to depart, but Allah is not hesitant to tell you the right course."
Just imagine! The society in which the Quran was revealed to the Nabie, its level of civilisation was so low that they had to be taught etiquettes even in small matters of everyday occurrence. But after a few year's training by the Nabie they were in a position of bringing about improvement not only in the Roman and Persian civilisations but also taught ways of living to European nations.
Do not be jealous of others. This attitude has been condemned, when it was said: (4:54) "They feel jealous of what Allah has bestowed on others out of His bounties."
18. Backbiting (Slandering).
(49:12) "Do not slander each other".
19. Nicknaming others.
Do not call others by nicknames, nor stigmatise them. (49:11)
"Do not defame each other; nor be sarcastic to each other; nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames. When after having professed Eemaan (belief) in Allah, you are determined to become the bearers of graceful manners, then why nickname each other"
(4:54) "Do not envy mankind for what Allah has given them of His bounty."
Do not laugh at others: (49:11) "O you who believe! Let not one party among you laugh at others, may be they are better than those of your lot; nor let some women laugh at others, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Neither men nor women should do it."
22. Public exposure of others.
Unless you have been subjected to an excess, do not publicly expose others. (4:148) "Allah loveth not that evil should be made public, except when injustice has been done to somebody."
Avoid suspicion and mistrust. (49:12)
"O you who believe! Avoid suspicion as far as possible; because some suspicion becomes sin."
When differences arise between you, some evil-mongers taking advantage of it, begin to create suspicion among you. Be careful about it. Always have a favourable opinion about others and avoid suspicion; some suspicions reach the degree of crime and sin.
24. Ridiculing of Divine System.
Deen (the Divine System) is a very important as well as sensitive matter. Those who do not take it seriously forsake their company: (4:140) "Friendly relations with the non-believers aside, Allah has ordained in the Book that when you hear the signs of Allah (verses of the Quran) held in defiance and ridicule you are not to sit in their company, unless they stop doing this and turn to a different subject. If you join them in such a congregation you would become the like of them, although there is nothing common between them and you."
Forsake the company of such people. (6:70) "Leave such people alone who, not to speak of the Divine System, do not give any importance to the Divine code of their own life which they have adopted and consider it as mere play and amusement."
25. Crooked reasoning.
Do not indulge in absurd reasoning. Present your case with clear arguments, reasons, wisdom and exhortation. (16:125) "Invite people to the way of your Sustainer with wisdom and exhortation; talk to them in an elegant manner, keeping before yourselves the aims and objects of the Divine Laws and of the moral values."
26. Anger (Rage).
Do not get into fits of extreme anger (3:133) "to control oneself when enraged" has been described by the Holy Quran as a virtue of the believers.
If anybody acts wrongfully in ignorance but regrets afterwards, if you think that if forgiven he shall mend himself, forgive him. Allah in most forgiving and merciful. (6:54)
28. Self-Correction (Mending one's ways).
a) You should try correcting others, but give preference to your own correction. The Jews were admonished:(2:44) "Do you enjoin right conduct on others and forget to practise it yourselves"
b) Your own correction includes correction of your own families as well. (66:6) "O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from the fire (of hell)".
29. Do not bully people with your virtues.
Do not try to impress and bully people on account of self-proclaimed virtues.
Do not ascribe purity to yourselves. (53:32) "Do not keep calling yourself virtuous. He only knows best who it is who guards against evil."
Incompatibility of words and thought (something in the mind and another thing on the tongue), is the worst habit. The state of hypocrites is described as follows: (3:167) "They say with their mouths what is not in their hearts."
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Muhammad Latif Chaudhery