A New Way of Life
A new way of life:
Apart from the 5 pillars, it is important for the new Muslim to be aware of certain rules and regulations that may be very different from what he or she is used to. This lesson covers briefly some of those issues. Obviously there are much more to learn about each of these issues, but the purpose of this lesson is to merely make you aware of them, hence not all the proofs are provided for the items listed in this lesson. You are encouraged to delve deeper into these subjects at the appropriate times. For instance, if you are married to a non-Muslim or wish to get married soon, then it is important to obtain more details with the proof from the Qur’aan and Sunnah on the subject matter immediately.
As a new Muslim you may hear the statement “Islam is a complete way of life” quite often. Once you embrace Islam you enter the biggest family in the world. Every other Muslim is now your brother/sister. They have rights over you and you have rights over them. Islam encompasses every singe aspect of a person’s life. Be it, personal, financial, political, behavioural, etc. If you are not convinced that Islam covers all aspects of ones life, then the following few examples should leave you in no doubt. Islam has guidelines on:
- How to earn your money
- How to spend your money
- How to treat your spouse
- How to sleep
- How to enter the toilet
- How to clean yourself in the toilet
- How to dress yourself
- What to dress
- How and what to eat
- How to deal with friends and neighbours
- How to greet one another
- How to raise your children
Can you imagine that you are rewarded even for having sexual relations with your spouse? You are rewarded for simply smiling at another Muslim.
After the 3rd century the Muhaditheen (Imams and scholars that study and classify ahadith) chose 6 books as the major source of reference. These books were chosen as they contained all the orders for the Muslim Ummah as whole. The books in order are:
- Sahih Bukhari
- Sahih Muslim
- Sunan Abu Dawud
- Ibn Majah
If you see the name Bukhari or Muslim listed below a hadith, then there is no doubt that the hadith is authentic. For the others their books are not referred to as Sahih as they all contain some weak (Da’eef) ahadith. The reason for this is that they did not use the same methods for identifying ahadith as Bukhari and Muslim. An example: If Tirmidhi found only one hadith on Tayammum, he used that hadith as it was the only one he could find. Later on the hadith was classified as Da’eef.
You will notice after a hadith one or more of the names listed above as the narrator. There are also some other narrators, but the ones mentioned above are the most common.
Halal (Allowed) and Haram (Forbidden):
The Prohibition of things is due to their impurity and harmfulness. It is the right of Allah, the One Who created the universe and bestowed innumerable favours upon mankind, to legalize or prohibit as He deems proper.
In Islam things are prohibited only because they are impure or harmful. If something is entirely harmful it is Haram, and if it is entirely beneficial it is Halal; if the harm of it outweighs its benefit it is Haram, while if its benefit outweighs its harm it is Halal. This principle is explained in the Qur’aan in relation to wine and gambling:
Men and women are equal in the Sight of Allah and each one will be answerable to Allah for what he or she was responsible for. Though they are equal each one has a different role in life. In Islam the best role a woman can have is that of a mother. That does not mean she cannot be educated and become a doctor or teacher or nurse etc. Though men have rights it is mostly women that are denied their rights, so for that reason we will concentrate on the woman related issues for the purpose of this lesson:
- A Muslim woman CANNOT be married to a non-Muslim man.
- A woman cannot be forced to marry anyone against her will. She has the right to choose her husband.
- A woman has exclusive ownership of personal gains and acquired wealth, unlike the man who is responsible to take care of the women (wife, mother, sister, etc.) under his guardianship.
- A woman has a right to education.
- Has a right to seek employment under the framework of Islam.
- Right to keep her maiden name.
- Right to inheritance.
- Right to seek divorce.
Some issues related to men:
- A Muslim man CAN be married to a non-Muslim woman (Christian or Jew).
- The man is responsible for the upbringing (financial, moral, education etc.) of the children.
- A man may marry a maximum of 4 wives at the same time. There is no need to make excuses or try to justify why this is allowed. It is simple: Allah has allowed it, and that’s it. Obviously there certain rules and responsibilities which go with it. And don’t forget that you will be answerable to Allah on the Day of Judgement. So do not treat these matters lightly. In Islam you are not allowed to even joke about marriage or divorce.
Divorce is allowed in Islam and as with everything else there are very specific rules. The same goes for Custody of children. So if you are in a situation where you need to know about these subjects, then you MUST seek guidance from a knowledgeable scholar.
Justice and Equity
Islam demands that you always deal with justice and equity under all circumstances (i.e., with employees, children, bothers, non-Muslims etc.). Islam does not encourage that one seeks positions of authority, for the task of dealing justly is not easy. A Muslim is warned to deal justly even if it means that you judge against your own son.
Oppression of all forms are forbidden in Islam.
- The social life of a true Muslim is based upon supreme principles and designed to secure happiness with prosperity for the individual as well as for the society. Class warfare, social castes and domination of the individual over society or vice versa are alien to the social life of Islam. Nowhere in the Qur’aan or Sunnah can one find any mention of superiority on account of class or origin or wealth.
- Adultery and Fornication are strictly forbidden.
- Free mixing of male and females that are not mahram (a mahram for any woman is her husband or any male she is prohibited from marrying forever because of a relationship resulting from either blood, marriage, or breast-feeding. Examples of mahram are brothers, fathers, and uncles. Brothers-in-law or cousins are NOT mahram) is not allowed.
- Celebrations of non-Muslim or pagan holidays are not allowed, such as Christmas, Halloween, and New Years etc. The same applies to birthdays and any other celebrations other than the two Eid’s that a Muslim has. The two Eid’s being Eid-ul-Fitr, which is the day after the fasting of Ramadaan is completed and Eid-ul-Adha which is the day after the pilgrims have been on Arafat. This does not mean that is Islam is dull and does not allow celebrations. No, it means we can celebrate what have been sanctioned by the Qur’aan and Sunnah. Other celebrations that Muslims are encouraged to have are at times of marriage and birth of a child. One may also celebrate having passed an exam or any other happy occasion, as long as the celebration is not an imitation of non-Muslims (such as birthdays).
- Visiting relatives and other Muslim families is highly encouraged.
- Visiting the sick gains one many rewards from Allah.
- The economic life of Islam is also based upon solid foundations and Divine instructions. Earning one’s life through decent labour is not only a duty but a great virtue as well. Dependence of any able effortless person on somebody else for a livelihood is a religious sin, a social stigma and disgraceful humility.
- Every Muslim must earn a living by working for it. Gambling and obtaining money in illegal ways are strictly forbidden. Each and every person will be accountable for every bit of money he earned on the Day of Judgement.
- You will be asked: How did you earn your money? How did you spend your money? So fellow Muslims, with these 2 questions in mind, think before obtaining money in any un-Islamic way.
- Cheating while trading, selling or buying is forbidden.
- Selling something that is defected without informing the buyer or selling an article that does not belong to you are all forbidden.
Riba (Usury) which is of two major kinds (on money and on goods). In simple terms it is the interest money you earn from the bank on your savings. There are various forms of interest and they are all forbidden in Islam. A simple example is when you lend someone money and ask for more in return. Riba on goods is when you taking a superior thing of the same kind of goods by giving more of the same kind of goods in inferior quality. Dealing in any form of Riba has severe punishment on the Day of Judgement, so you should take extreme care.
Having read and understood all the preceding text you may gasp and say: “Oh my, if this is so, then why do I see so many Muslims not adhering to these teachings?” Unfortunately you are right in your observation, but however that does not change it. This is the TRUE ISLAM and not what you see around you…!
All Muslims should have a good Islamic book library at home. Below is a list of recommend books to buy/read for further education and for future reference. If you are unable to buy these books where from you live, then you should look on the Internet for Islamic bookstores. If you do not have access to the Internet then you may write to any Islamic center, as they may be able to assist you. (see attached file recommended books)