Wisdom from the Qur’an

Ijtihad

Mehol K. Sadain

Chapter 17 (Al-Israa) of the Noble Qur’an enumerates what it considers are revealed rules of wisdom. The first is Allah’s decree that man should worship none but Him or the doctrine of Tauheed; immediately followed by the second command to be kind to parents, and to treat and address them honorably. [17:23] Viewed from the perspective of parents, the verse obviously ascribes importance to parents and parenting.

Third, Allah orders Muslims to discharge the rights of their kindred, those in want, and the wayfarers [17:26]. These three groups enjoy the right to partake of the proceeds of zakah or the poor tax which is assessed on the yearly accumulated properties and money of a Muslim.

Fourth, Allah tells Muslims not to be extravagant nor niggardly [17:29] in the handling of their properties and resources. Muslims are reminded that their possessions and wealth are mercies from Allah, hence, they should be used properly.

Fifth, Allah forbids the tradition of the Jahiliyah Arabs of killing their children [17:31], especially the females, for either fear of want or for preference for male children because females then are deemed to be less useful. Actual cases of infanticide may no longer be common today, yet there are now a growing number of mothers who abort their babies or abandon them after they are delivered. Allah forbids this, and at the same time, assures these mothers that He will give sustenance to them and their babies.

Sixth, Allah forbids adultery [17:32] which echoes the prohibition in the ten commandments given to Prophet Moses. The prohibition is anchored on the ill-effects of zina on individuals, families and society, aside from the possibility of a proliferation of disadvantaged illegitimate children who enjoy lesser rights than legitimate ones.

Seventh, do not take life which Allah has made sacred [17:33]. Life may only be taken for just cause, which usually involves application of the laws. Under these laws, a murderer or killer may also be killed provided his guilt his proven under judicial proceedings.

Eighth, if a Muslim is charged with administering the property of an orphan, he should manage it honestly, and only to improve it [17:34], and not to take advantage of it. Once the orphan or the minor reaches the age of majority and can now manage his own property, the Muslim should immediately return the property and its administration to him.

Ninth, Allah tells the Muslim businessman to give full measure [17:35] when he trades, or otherwise does business, and to use a balance that is straight. This command is not just about weighing; it is about doing business honestly and trustworthily.

Tenth, Muslims are told not to pursue things over which they have no knowledge [17:36], referring not just to esoteric knowledge that is beyond their control, but also to matters that are none of their business.

Eleventh, Allah commands Muslims not to walk insolently on the earth because man, in the words of Allah, “cannot penetrate the earth, nor reach the mountains in height” [17:37]. In sum, after giving the Muslims the rules that will endow him wisdom, Allah stresses the need for man to remain humble.

Commands such as the above-enumerated verses are common in the Noble Qur’an and if we consider that the Qur’an are the Words of God, then God Himself is talking to man through the Qur’an. This accounts for the reverence and highest respect Muslims accord to the Qur’an: “This is the Book in which there is no doubt, a Guidance for the reverent.” [2:2]

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