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December 12, 2022

8-9 | Imam Musa al-Hajjawi's Explanation of The Major Sins in Islam (Tanwir al-Basa'ir)

Mandhumah fi al-Kabair is a poem with 32 lines that brings together the different major sins (al-kabair). This is Part 4 of the explanation of the poem

This is part of an ongoing series of the explanation of the Major Sins in Islam. Read Part 3 here.

We are still continuing line 8 of the poem that states:


كَذَاكَ الزِّنَا، ثُمَّ اللِّوَاطُ، وَشُرْبُهُمْ /// خُمُورًا، وَقَطْعًا لِلطَّرِيقِ المُمَهَّدِ

8. Likewise adultery/fornication, then sodomy and their drinking
Intoxicants and banditry which frightens (those who travel a path)

Sin 10: Consuming Intoxicants

Allah says,

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِنَّمَا ٱلْخَمْرُ وَٱلْمَيْسِرُ وَٱلْأَنصَابُ وَٱلْأَزْلَـٰمُ رِجْسٌۭ مِّنْ عَمَلِ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنِ فَٱجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

O believers! Intoxicants, gambling, idols, and drawing lots for decisionsare all evil of Shaitan’s handiwork. So shun them so you may be successful. [Surah al-Maidah, 90]

The word khamr (خمر) is derived from the verb khamara which means “he covered, hid, or concealed.” It is similar to the khimar wore by the women to cover themselves. It refers to all kinds of intoxicating drinks, whether it existed in the past or exists at present or will exist in the future, and whether the drink is made from grapes, barley, dates, corn or anything else. That is indicated when Ibn 'Umar reported Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying, "Every intoxicant is Khamr and every intoxicant is forbidden. He who drinks wine in this world and dies while he is addicted to it, not having repented, will not be given a drink in the Hereafter." [Muslim]

Khamr is a word that applies to any kind of drink that causes intoxication (or loses control over the senses). [Ma‘aalim as-Sunan] This can be in the form of food, pills, drinks, smoke, injecting liquids or anything else that meets this criteria.

Imam Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani رحمه الله said, "The ruling is connected to the reason, and the reason for the prohibition of khamr is intoxication; whenever there is intoxication the prohibition applies." [Fath al-Baari]

He further said, "The general meaning of the words, “Every intoxicant is haram,” is taken as evidence that whatever causes intoxication is haram, even if it is not a drink. So that includes hashish and other things. Al-Nawawi (رحمه الله) and others were certain that it is an intoxicant, and others were certain that it dulls the senses, and it is arrogant to say otherwise, because its visible effects are the same as those of khamr, such as euphoria and addiction.

Even if we assume that it is not an intoxicant, it is proven in Abu Dawud that all intoxicants and relaxants are haram. And Allah knows best." [Fath al-Baari]

Drugs come under the heading of khamr and intoxicants that have been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger.

The Prophet ﷺ, “Whatever intoxicates in large quantities, a little of it is haram” [Tirmidhi]

The one consuming khamr shrouds their intellect and renders it invalid for discriminating between right and wrong, it is, therefore, called khamr. Umar ibn al-Khattab رضي الله عنه‎ atop the minbar defined khamr as everything that dulls the faculty of thinking.

Khamr is not just about the substance itself but the focus is on anything that produces that effect. The word khamr refers to all kinds of entities that intoxicate.

Imam Abu Dawud رحمه الله recorded in his Sunan that Umm Salamah رضی الله عنھا narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ prohibited substances that are Muskir (like alcohol) and Muftir (like marijuana).

Ibn Umar رضي الله عنه‎ said: I heard Umar رضي الله عنه‎ say from the minbar of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ: “O people, the prohibition of khamr was revealed when khamr was made from five things: grapes, dates, honey, wheat and barley. Khamr is whatever befogs the mind.” [Bukhari]

Abu Musa رضي الله عنه‎ said: The Prophet ﷺ sent Mu’adh ibn Jabal and me to Yemen, and I said: O Messenger of Allah, there is a drink that is made in our land and is called al-mizr, which is made from barley, and another drink called al-bit’, which is made from honey. He said: “Every intoxicant is haram.” [Bukhari]

It was narrated that ‘Uthman رضي الله عنه‎ said, “Avoid alcohol for it is the mother of all evils. [Nasai]

The grave sin and impermissibility of Khamr is not something new. It has been prohibited from the time of Prophet Adam عليه السلام all the way to Prophet Isa عليه السلام and after that in the final Shariah that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Even today in other religions, drinking of alcohol is looked down upon and prohibited. This is also why we see that one of the signs of the Day of Judgement is thatProphet Isa will break the cross, kill the pigs, and eradicate the drinking of wine.

Wine was prohibited in Madinah. Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri رضي الله عنه reported: The Prophet ﷺ was addressing people in Madinah, saying, “O people, Allah Almighty is alluding to wine. Perhaps Allah will soon reveal an order regarding it. Whoever has some of it, let him sell it and benefit from it.” We did not wait but a little while until the Prophet said, “Verily, Allah Almighty has forbidden wine. Whoever knows this verse and has some of it, let him neither drink it nor sell it.” The people came out into the street with what they had and poured it out." [Muslim]

Today, it is because of the lack of adherence to the religions and their teachings that we see the consumption of wine become prevalent in the society to such a degree that many don't even consider it as something wrong, rather some even consider it as a favourable action to indulge in gatherings.

Punishment

With regard to the punishment of the drinker in this world, the punishment is flogging, according to the consensus of the jurists, because of the report narrated by Muslim (3281) from Anas رضي الله عنه, who said that the Prophet ﷺ flogged the one who had drunk wine with palm branches stripped of their leaves and with shoes. The majority of scholars are of the view that it is eighty lashes for a free man and forty for others.

A man who had drunk wine was brought to the Prophet ﷺ, and he had him flogged forty times with two palm branches that had been stripped of their leaves. Abu Bakr also did likewise (during his caliphate). When ‘Umar was the caliph, he consulted the people and ‘Abd al-Rahman said, “The minimum punishment is eighty,” so that is what ‘Umar commanded. The Sahabah agreed with ‘Umar رضي الله عنه and did not differ.

Imam Ibn Qudamah رحمه الله and Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله wrote that giving more than forty lashes is left to the discretion of the Muslim leader. So if he thinks that there is a need to give more than forty lashes, as happened at the time of ‘Umar, then he may make it eighty.

The Pitfalls of Intoxicant Consumption

1. A Poison for the Iman

This is a sin that has a severe impact on a person's Iman. Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "When a slave (of Allah) commits illegal sexual intercourse, he is not a believer at the time of committing it; and if he steals, he is not a believer at the time of stealing; and if he drinks an alcoholic drink, when he is not a believer at the time of drinking it; and he is not a believer when he commits a murder," 'Ikrima said: I asked Ibn Abbas, "How is faith taken away from him?" He said, Like this," by clasping his hands and then separating them, and added, "But if he repents, faith returns to him like this, by clasping his hands again. [Bukhari]

2. Likened to Worshipping Idols

The Prophet ﷺ likened the one who is addicted to alcohol to one who worships idols. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The one who is addicted to alcohol is like one who worships an idol.” [Ibn Majah] and

3. Danger of Missing Jannah

The Prophet ﷺ said, “No one who is addicted to alcohol will enter Paradise.” [Ibn Majah]

4. Prayers are not Accepted

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever drinks alcohol and gets drunk, his prayers will not be accepted for forty days, and if he dies he will go to Hell, but if he repents, Allaah will accept his repentance. If he drinks wine again and gets drunk, his prayer will not be accepted for forty days, and if he dies he will go to Hell, but if he repents, Allah will accept his repentance. If he drinks wine again and gets drunk, his prayer will not be accepted for forty days, and if he dies he will go to Hell, but if he repents, Allah will accept his repentance. If he does that again, Allaah will give him to drink of the mud of khabaal on the Day of Resurrection.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is the mud of khabaal?” He said, “The juice of the people of Hell.” [Ibn Majah]

The fact that his prayers are not accepted does not mean that the person’s prayers are invalid, or that he should not pray at all. Rather what it means is that he will not be rewarded for them but he has to still fulfil the obligation pf praying them on time.

5. All those involved with Alcohol are Cursed

Ibn Umar رضي الله عنه said: the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Allah has cursed alcohol, the one who drinks it, the one who pours it, the one who sells it, the one who buys it, the one who squeezes it (squeezes the grapes, etc), the one for whom it is squeezed, the one who carries it and the one to whom it is carried.” [Abu Dawud]

Sin 11: Banditry and Blocking Roads

This involves looting, harassing, robbing, or troubling people on a path to such a degree that people are afraid or even abandon a route of travel out of fear.

Allah says,

إِنَّمَا جَزَٰٓؤُا۟ ٱلَّذِينَ يُحَارِبُونَ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ وَيَسْعَوْنَ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ فَسَادًا أَن يُقَتَّلُوٓا۟ أَوْ يُصَلَّبُوٓا۟ أَوْ تُقَطَّعَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَأَرْجُلُهُم مِّنْ خِلَـٰفٍ أَوْ يُنفَوْا۟ مِنَ ٱلْأَرْضِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ لَهُمْ خِزْىٌۭ فِى ٱلدُّنْيَا ۖ وَلَهُمْ فِى ٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and spread mischief in the land is death, crucifixion, cutting off their hands and feet on opposite sides, or exile from the land. This ˹penalty˺ is a disgrace for them in this world, and they will suffer a tremendous punishment in the Hereafter. [Surah al-Ma'idah, 33]

It is appropriate to clarify the Islamic legal terminology concerning these punishments - a lack of familiarity with which causes even educated people to fall in doubts. Under all common laws of the world, punishments for crimes are considered penalties in an absolute sense, irrespective of the crime concerned. Law books like the Indian Penal Code, Pakistan Penal Code and some others in other countries are comprised of all sorts of crimes and their punishments. But, in the Shari'ah of Islam, things work differently. Here, the punishments of crimes have been divided into three kinds. These are: Hudud (Islamic legal punishment delimited as Divine Statute; plural of Hadd), Qisas (Even Retaliation) and Ta` zirat (Penalties; plural of Ta'zeer).

Our Sheikh Dr Ibrahim Nuhu حفظه الله summarized them as:

- Hudud are fixed punishments that are quantified by the Shariah and cannot be changed irrespective of the time. The hadd cannot be established inside the masjid, rather it has to be outside the premises to maintain the sanctity of the masjid.

- Qisas (retaliation) is also fixed as per the Shariah, but it can be modified as per the one who owns the rights of qisas.
Ex: The father of a killed man accepts blood money instead of capital punishment upon the murderer.

- Ta'zeer is not fixed by the Shariah and it is left upon the discretion of the authorities to judge accordingly. Ta'zeer is not limited to 10 lashes alone as some believe and could go way beyond it. Rather it depends on the crime that has been committed and can even reach the death penalty.
Ex: Death penalty for drugs.

The crimes of kidnapping, robbery and transgression of the Muslims’ sanctity by way of open and audacious hostility is a type of muhaarabah (waging war against Allah and His Messenger) and doing mischief in the land, which deserves the punishment mentioned by Allah in the ayah in al-Ma’idah, whether that aggression is against people’s lives, wealth or honour, or it is scaring wayfarers and cutting off routes (banditry).

وَسِرْقَةُ مَالِ الغَيْرِ، أَوْ أَكْلُ مَالِهِ /// بِبَاطِلٍ صُنعَ القولِ والفِعْلِ وَاليَدِ

9. And stealing the wealth of another or consuming his wealth
In falsehood through statement or action or through the hand

Sin 12: Stealing Wealth

That which was discussed before was looting and banditry. This section refers to robbery. Allah says,

إِنَّمَا جَزَٰٓؤُا۟ ٱلَّذِينَ يُحَارِبُونَ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ وَيَسْعَوْنَ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ فَسَادًا أَن يُقَتَّلُوٓا۟ أَوْ يُصَلَّبُوٓا۟ أَوْ تُقَطَّعَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَأَرْجُلُهُم مِّنْ خِلَـٰفٍ أَوْ يُنفَوْا۟ مِنَ ٱلْأَرْضِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ لَهُمْ خِزْىٌۭ فِى ٱلدُّنْيَا ۖ وَلَهُمْ فِى ٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and spread mischief in the land is death, crucifixion, cutting off their hands and feet on opposite sides, or exile from the land. This ˹penalty˺ is a disgrace for them in this world, and they will suffer a tremendous punishment in the Hereafter. [Surah al-Ma'idah, 33]

After the hands are cut, they are publicly displayed. This is done to send out a clear and strong message to the robbers that they will be taken to task. The sheer thought of this deters robbers. Cutting of the hand doesn't just happen for petty theft. There are certain conditions and amounts that need to be met before such a penalty is met out.

The Prophet ﷺ said: “The hand should be cut off for (the theft of) a quarter of a dinar or more.” [Bukhari]

A dinar is equivalent to 4.25 grams. If the thief is caught, then the qaadi (judge) should look at the price of gold on that day (the day of the theft). If it is proven that the value of the stolen goods on the day of the crime was equal to the value of 1.0625 grams of gold on that day, then the thief deserves the hadd punishment of having his hand cut off. If the value of the stolen goods is less than that, then he deserves a disciplinary punishment (ta‘zeer).

Aa Makhzoomi noblewoman stole at the time of the Prophet ﷺ, and Usamah ibn Zayd was asked to intercede for her. The Prophet ﷺ became angry and said, “Do you intercede concerning one of the hadd punishments set by Allah? Those who came before you were destroyed because if a rich man among them stole, they would let him off, but if a lowly person stole, they would carry out the punishment on him. By Allah, if Faatimah bint Muhammad were to steal, I would cut off her hand.” [Bukhari]

Imam al-Nawawi رحمه الله said, "al-Shafi'i, Abu Haneefah, Malik and the majority (of scholars) said: The hand should be cut off from the wrist, where the hand meets the forearm. [Sharh Sahih Muslim]

What is the difference between the thief (saariq, one who breaks in by stealth and steals something that is kept in an appropriate place) and the robber (muntahib, one who takes something by force in front of others)? Why is the hand cut off in the first case and not in the second?.

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله said,

"The fact that the hand of the thief (saariq) may be cut off for three dirhams, and not in the case of the opportunist thief (mukhtalis, one who steals when a person is not looking), robber or extortioner (ghaasib, one who seizes something by force) is indicative of the perfect wisdom of sharee’ah. For one cannot take precautions against the thief who breaks into houses and breaches one’s hiding-places and breaks locks; the owner of the goods cannot do any more than that (i.e., hiding them in appropriate places). If it were not prescribed for the hand of the thief to be cut off, then people would steal from one another in this manner and a great deal of harm would be done, and the problem of theft would be grievous indeed. This is unlike the case of the robber and opportunist thief, for the robber is the one who takes things openly in the sight of people, so they may stop him and restore the rights of the one who has been wronged, or they may testify before the judge. And the opportunist thief is the one who takes things when the owner is not paying attention, etc., so there has to be some form of negligence which enables the opportunist to steal, otherwise when one is careful and alert, he cannot take anything. So he is not like a thief (saariq), rather he is more like a betrayer.  

Moreover, the opportunist thief (mukhtalis) does not take things from a place where things of that nature are usually hidden, rather he waits until you are not paying attention, then he takes your things when you put something down for a moment and are not paying attention. This is something against which precautions may be taken in most cases, and he (the opportunist) is like the robber who steals openly. With regard to the one who seizes things by force, the case is more obvious: it is even more apt that his hand should not be cut off, but it is permissible to put a stop to the actions of these people by beating them, making an example out of them as a warning to others, imprisoning them for lengthy periods and punishing them by seizing their property."

Sin 13: Deceptively Consuming Another's Rights or Wealth

This refers to abusing the rights of others and consuming of their wealth via deception or any unlawful means. Allah says,

وَلَا تَأْكُلُوٓا۟ أَمْوَٰلَكُم بَيْنَكُم بِٱلْبَـٰطِلِ وَتُدْلُوا۟ بِهَآ إِلَى ٱلْحُكَّامِ لِتَأْكُلُوا۟ فَرِيقًۭا مِّنْ أَمْوَٰلِ ٱلنَّاسِ بِٱلْإِثْمِ وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

Do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly, nor deliberately bribe authorities in order to devour a portion of others’ property, knowing that it is a sin. [Surah al-Baqarah, 188]

There are many modes and means in which this occurs in our society today and unfortunately it has become a norm.

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) cursed the one who bribes and the one who takes bribes. [Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi] In another narration, Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه‎: Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) cursed the one who bribes and the one who takes bribes to influence the judgement. [Ahmad]

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: "Whoever seizes the wealth of a Muslim unlawfully by means of his (false) oath, Allah makes the Fire required for him, Paradise unlawful for him." A man said to him: "O Messenger of Allah, even if it is something small?" He said: "Even if it is a twig of an Arak tree." [Nasai]

Umm Salama, the wife of Allah's Apostle (ﷺ), reported that Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) heard the clamour of contenders at the door of his apartment. He went to them, and said, "I am a human being and the claimants bring to me (the dispute) and perhaps some of them are more eloquent than the others. I judge him to be on the right, and thus decide in his favcur. So he whom I, by my judgment, (give the undue share) out of the right of a Muslim,. I give him a portion of Fire; he may burden himself with it or abandon it." [Muslim]

Based on explanations by Sheikh Zafarul Hasan Madani حفظه الله and other scholars.

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