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Quran

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(1) A Muslim vis-à-vis His Own Self

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(1) A Muslim vis-à-vis His Own Self

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) explained that a person’s own self has a right over him.260 Indeed, an individual has very important responsibilities with respect to his own self. Logically speaking, a person’s self has a right and duty to do what is best for it. It is only reasonable that a person should do what he can to keep his soul from being destroyed.

Furthermore, every human must realize that he did not create himself. He is not his own lord. He cannot even claim for himself the right to use his own self or body in any way that he wills, although this is something that one hears often nowadays. Islam teaches that humans have been created by an All-Knowing, All-Merciful God. Thus, even with respect to his own self, the human must obey its Creator and Lord. In turn, the Creator has actually commanded the human only to do what is best for its own self.

Actually, the Creator has shown him the way to save himself. This is achieved by exerting oneself to accept wholeheartedly what Allah has revealed and to do what is pleasing to the Lord. In the long-run, in reality, all of the guidance that has come from Allah—the religion of Islam itself—is simply for the benefit of the individual himself. Allah is neither benefited by being worshipped nor harmed by being belied. Thus, in numerous places in the Quran, Allah makes it clear that all of this merciful guidance is simply at the disposal of the humans for their own benefit: “Verily We have revealed the book to you in truth, for (instructing) mankind. He, then, who receives guidance benefits his own soul. But he who strays injures his own soul. Nor are you [O Muhammad] set over them to dispose of their affairs” (39:41; see also, for example, 6:104 and 41:46); “Who receives guidance, receives it for his own benefit.Who goes astray does so to his own loss. No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another nor would We visit with Our wrath until We had sent a messenger (to give warning)” (Al-Isra 17:15); “And whoever purifies himself does so for the benefit of his own soul; and the destination (of all) is to Allah” (35:18).

Everything explained in this book is actually for the individual so that he may fulfill his responsibilities toward his own self and establish the proper relationship with his Creator, God and Lord. Thus, all of this book that the reader is reading can be considered an explanation of this particular subsection.

Hence, in this section, the author would like to speak about a very particular aspect that demonstrates that Islam attends to the guidance of a hu 168 1430 2009 man in every aspect of his life. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stated while speaking to Abdullah ibn Amr, “Your body has a right upon you. Your eye has a right upon you…”261 Thus, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has explained many aspects of personal hygiene and practice that are in tune with the true nature of humans. In other words, the soul naturally recognizes that these are good and beautiful practices. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) therefore referred to them as sunan al-fitra or “the acts corresponding to the sound, adulterated nature of humans.” These acts are mentioned by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in the following hadith: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Five are from among the natural practices: circumcision, shaving the pubic hairs, plucking the armpit hairs, clipping the nails and trimming the moustache.”262 In another statement, he said, “Ten are from among the natural practices: trimming the moustache, leaving the beard to grow, using the toothstick, [cleaning] by putting water in the nose, clipping the nails, washing the knuckles and finger joints, plucking the underarm hairs, shaving the pubic hairs, using water to clean the private part [after urinating].” Zakariyyaa then said, “Musab said, ‘I have forgotten the tenth, unless it is rinsing one’s mouth.’”263 Although scholars differ as to whether these acts or obligatory or highly recommended, there is no question that if an individual truly wants to treat his self properly, with the proper hygiene and outward appearance, he will adhere to all of these practices that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has praised in these hadith.

In addition to such hygienic issues, Islam also guides the individual concerning his eating and drinking. For example, Allah has prohibited the consumption of alcohol: “O you who believe! Alcohol, gambling, idols, and arrows for seeking luck or decisions are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful” (5:90). Similarly, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “All intoxicants are forbidden.”264 Allah has given instructions as to what types of foods may be eaten as well: “He has forbidden you only the carrion, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah” (2:173); “Forbidden to you (for food) are: carrion, blood, the flesh of swine, and the meat of that which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah (or has been slaughtered for idols, or on which Allah's Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering), and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns - and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal - unless you are able to slaughter it (before its death) - and that which is sacrificed (slaughtered) on stone altars. (Forbidden) also is to use arrows seeking luck or decision, (all) that is disobedience of Allah and sin” (5:3); “Say (O Muhammad): I find not in that which has been inspired to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, unless it be carrion, or blood poured forth (by slaughtering or the like), or the flesh of swine (pork, etc.) for that surely is impure, or impious (unlawful) meat (of an animal) which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah (or has been slaughtered for idols, or on which Allah's Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering). But whosoever is forced by necessity without willful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits, (for him) certainly, your Lord is Oft-Forgiving,Most Merciful” (6:145).

In general, a Muslim can only eat meat slaughtered by a Muslim, Jew or Christian in specified manners. For that reason—without going into the debate that has spread concerning this issue—this author recommends that a Muslim not eat the meat that is sold in the supermarkets of the West. He should restrict himself to what is known as halal or zabihah meat (slaughtered by Muslims) or kosher meat (slaughtered by Jews).



260 As found in the lengthy hadith of Salmaan, recorded by al-Bukhari and al-Tirmidhi.

261 Recorded by al-Bukhari.

262 Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

263 Recorded by Muslim.

264 Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.


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