Islam is not just a belief but a complete life system for the Muslim community. It includes practicing those habits that separate Muslims from others, distinguishing our religion as one with unmatchable faith.That’s why it is essential for Muslim families, especially those living in Non-Muslim countries, to find the right ways of promoting an Islamic lifestyle at home. That way, not only do we bring Barakah into our lives but also inspire others to do the same. Here are four tips that we can follow to encourage such a lifestyle at home.Islam guides Muslims to live in a certain way and it can be summed as Islamic Lifestyle. As per Shariah (Islamic Law), there are certain things haram in Islam which include stealing, lying, committing adultery, gambling, eating pork, and drinking alcohol. Shariah also guides on how men and women with Islamic beliefs must dress modestly and should not indulge in any activity that would hurt the sentiments of others. Muslims must respect parents, help the poor, have faith in God, kindness, honesty, and do hard work. Lifestyle in simple terms refers to the everyday way of life and this incorporates different standards, values and principles that we follow on a daily basis. It is what we adopt and prefers in life and it can be through choice, assimilation, imposition or imitation. Sometimes the kind of lifestyle we lead might be as a result of culture, background, living conditions or circumstances. Humans are prone to error and that is why we have some regulations that keep us in check. Leading a Halal lifestyle not only makes one observe the teachings of Islamic laws, but also contribute to the overall well-being of the society. The word ‘halal’ literally means ‘allowed’, based on rules in Islam and halal lifestyle can be defined as an individual’s way to live his/her daily life with halal principles, from their behavior, habits, activities, to their interests, everything has to be according Islamic sharia. Islam contains many rules for daily life and human relationships. The first source of these rules is the Quran and the second is the hadith or reports of the prophet Muhammad’s (S.A.W) words or actions. In Islam, everything considered harmful either to the body, mind, soul or society is prohibited (haram), while whatever is beneficial is permissible (halal). Islam prohibits Muslims from consuming pork, alcohol or mind-altering drugs. Muslims are required to eat meat that is butchered and blessed in an Islamic way. This meat is called “halal.” Muslims are also prohibited from gambling, taking interest, fortune-telling, killing, lying, stealing, cheating, oppressing or abusing others, being greedy or stingy, engaging in sex outside of marriage, disrespecting parents, and mistreating relatives, orphans or neighbors. Man needs bread to live but he does not live for bread alone. This means that earning and spending money is essential for our living, but we do not live only for this. We as a Muslim have a greater purpose in life. We are Allah’s Khalifah (agents) on earth. We not only have a body but we also have a soul and a conscience. Without our soul and conscience, we would be considered little more than animals. We can succeed as a Muslim men or women only if we know ourselves and the value and purpose of life. Islam does not interfere with the freedom of speech, work and earnings of an individual provided this freedom is not harmful to the greater of society. Those people who say that the purpose of life is to live comfortably, enjoy oneself heedlessly, and indulge oneself in pleasure, denigrate and insult the most valuable bounty of life, gift of consciousness, and bounty of reason, and what ghastly ingratitude they display. A Muslim must earn his living in Halal (pure and recommended) ways and he or she should always bear in mind that what ever he or she does, it is known to Allah. Every individual will be accountable from his or her actions on the day of judgment (Quran, 4:7, 36:71). Allah knows us better than we know ourselves and the Holy Quran testifies: It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him; for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein (Quran 50:16). Does ‘living halal’ mean a life of eating halal food? Or does it mean a life of no alcohol, gambling and all things haram (prohibited)? Does a Muslim who prays, fasts, gives Zakat and Sadaqah, and performs hajj equates to a halal life? The answer lies in the hadith i.e., Allah the Almighty is good and accepts only that which is good. Almighty Allah says in Noble Quran, O, Believers! Eat of the good and pure (lawful) that, We have provided you with and be grateful to Allah, if you truly worship Him. According to one of Prophet (S.A.W)’s tradition, supplications of three persons are accepted: the traveler, father’s supplication for his off spring, and supplication of the oppressed against the oppressor. According to yet another tradition, Allah (S.W.T) has appointed an angel, who day and night announces from Bait-ul-Maqdis that obligatory and supplementary prayers of a person, who eats Haram, will not be accepted. Yusuf ibn-e-Artaat (R.A) is quoted in Kitaab-ul-Kabaa’ir that when Shaitaan finds a youth busy in prayers and submitting to the obedience of Allah (SWT), he asks his friends to find about his food and drink. If it turns out to be Haraam, then there is nothing to worry about as his prayers and obedience is futile and wouldn’t be of any good to him. The earning of the individual must be halal. The supplication of any individual will not be answered by Allah if he or she eats haram food i.e., he or she earns from haram (forbidden) means. Any earnings from the production, sale and distribution of alcoholic drinks are unlawful (Haraam), as are earnings from gambling, lotteries, interest (Riba) transactions, by falsehood, deceit, fraud, theft, robbery, burglary, deceitful acquisition of orphan’s property, Hoarding of food stuff and basic necessities, smuggling and artificial creation of shortages, earnings from brothels and from such other practices which are harmful to society. Within the Islamic religion, a strong emphasis is placed on cleanliness- both spiritually and in the context of food and drink. _________________________________________________________________
For a food and drink product to be approved for consumption it must conform to the Islamic dietary laws as specified in the Quran, the saying of Prophet Muhammad, his Sunnah (tradition) and in Fiqh (understanding) of the Islamic Jurists. Any money earned from haram work or job is cursed by Almighty Allah. According to a tradition of Prophet (S.A.W) there will be some people on the Day of Judgment whose virtues will match the size of the mount Tihama, meaning that they will have abundance of good deeds. But when they will stand before Allah (S.W.T), all their good deeds will be on no value, and they will be thrown into Hell Fire. Companions (R.A Ajma’een) submitted, why will that happen Yaa Rasul Allah? Prophet (S.A.W) replied that they performed Salaat, observed fast, paid Zakah, and performed Hajj, but never saved themselves from Haraam, which ruined all their good deeds. (Kitaab-ul-Kabaa’ir). We (Muslims) must not isolate ourselves from the society we live in, and should not live like an island unto ourselves. We however, should guard our faith, our culture, our traditions, our values. In certain societies and culture drinking alcohol, gambling, eating pork, and free mixing of the men and women, hugging and kissing is fair, but we live by different code of conduct and our rules are designed for us by Allah and explained to us by His Prophet (S.A.W). In today’s so called modern society Haram is practiced in many ways, and majority is not even aware of it. Interest, bribery, cheating in commercial transactions, lying, disregards of duties of the self and rights of others, theft and larceny and many other Haram acts are a common practice. Knowledge is not scarce, but it is action which is missing. And the main reason is that our earnings are not honest, and our food and drink is not fair and pure. As a result we cannot practice virtue and are devoid of righteousness. Islam is belief and action at the same time. Most Muslims are aware of and try to avoid major sins, such as murder, suicide, adultery, alcohol, gambling, harm oneself or others, yet millions of Muslims all over the world are doing exactly the opposite when it comes to Halal earning and put their life (faith) and family in danger. One of the many examples of this in modern times is men turning a blind eye to their daughters or wives regarding their earning. Women is a man’s sister and half of humanity. There are many verses in the Holy Quran about commanding the right and forbidding the wrong. The Prophet (S.A.W) said: Whoever of you sees something wrong, let him change it with his hand. If unable to, then let him change it with his tongue. If unable to, then with his heart. And that is the weakest (degree) of faith. One should not object to a women engaging in employment as long as she maintains her dignity and behaves within the limits prescribed by Islam. Even the Prophet’s wives and daughters used to engage themselves in gainful employment. Almighty Allah made a high place for Muslim women and decreed that they share in the responsibilities of enjoining truth, forbidding evil and raising the flag of Islam. It is important that Muslim women should read (about women of the West) and know about those women who discarded shyness and honour and followed their desires, what was the result of their deeds? Was their end honourable and desirable, or was it a shameful and hated end?It is noticed that enemies of women and Islam want women to be available for them to fulfill their evil desires whenever they wish. They want women to be a mistress found everywhere, on roads and places of sin that has no honour, religion or manner. They try to rid women of comfort and safety under generous parenthood, happy marriage and good brotherly relations. The earning from the job which stops us to offer prayers (in time), fasting, perform hajj and forces us to cross the limits prescribed by Islam is clearly Haram. Islam teaches us that individual freedom may have to be sacrificed for the social good. At the individual level the obligation is to engage in Halal professions and businesses. At the collective level the obligation is to establish a system that facilitates such individual efforts and discourages their opposite. It is believed that nafs is the main hurdle in achieving righteous path. The problem is not money but the love of it. Wealth itself is not bad. In fact Holy Quran refers to it as, your wealth which Allah has made for you a means of support (Al-Nisa, 4:5). And another hadith praises the merits of the halal wealth of a pious person. The effort to earn halal living is not only not against spirituality, it is a religious obligation! It is unfortunate due to political disturbance or poverty many Muslim men and women living in different parts of the world are making money through haram ways. Difficulties and afflictions are a source of blessings from Allah, who might have chosen out of his eternal wisdom and mercy give a wake-up call to His rebellious and transgressing servants before it is too late. But many, who are too arrogant to mend their ways, may indulge in blame-game or passing the buck, blaming Allah and everybody else, except themselves, for what might have befallen them. Islam does not teach us to be involved in this type of lifestyle, but of course believers are mirrors for each other and when someone does something wrong, we should remind them of how to act righteous. Government must take steps to root out corruption and all harmful pursuits even if they are economically lucrative. When we have the halal sources of living definitely haram ways of earning will not be preferred. It is the duty of the Muslims to provide the political, social and economical support to poor people, because we know that whatever Allah gave us, it is a trial for us and we must give to those in need. Prophet (S.A.W) says, People who do not change something wrong when they see it are on the verge of a sweeping punishment from Allah. Muslims believe that life is a test for every individual. Our beloved Prophet (S.A.W) said, ‘he poor people will enter paradise 40 years before the rich people’ so if you are suffering, it’s a test and Inshaallah you will get help. Its interesting to see some poor people suffering and they ask Almighty Allah to make it a means of purifying themselves and on the other extreme there are those people who have so much but don’t thank Allah.
Let us Make dua for all Humans on this earth who are making haram money, we pray that they find a halal alternative and also for those who are suffering in poverty. May our remaining days be spent solely seeking the pleasure of the Almighty Allah and His Beloved Prophet (S.A.W), and may He forgive us and all those who transgress and hold false intentions to damage His Pure and Chosen way of Life. (Aameen)
(The authors write regularly on Islamic topics exclusively for the opinion pages of “Kashmir Horizon”. The views, opinions, facts, assumptions, presumptions and conclusions expressed in this article are author’s own and aren’t necessarily in accord with the views of “Kashmir Horizon”.)