If It Is Extreme, It Is Not Islam!
Allah’s Boundaries: What a Glorious Concept!
I trust you are doing well. And having fun.
“Islam and fun?” you may raise your eyebrows.
“What an oxymoron!” Some may exclaim in disbelief, even disdain.
Others may simply say Astaghfirullah and move on.
But some others may think – and that is what really matters: “Subhaanallah! What a Deen! What a beautiful miracle this Deen of Allah is that it attends to every human need. That it even lets people have fun!”
Provided, of course, I must hasten to add, both to set the record straight as well as to set at rest my readers’ apprehensions and skepticism, it is done within the boundaries of Allah.
Just like everything else.
The fact is that there is no life without fun. It is all a question of what kind of fun you have and how. Fun, Islam teaches us, must be pursued within the boundaries prescribed by Allah.
Just like everything else.
The basic principle is this: You do things within the prescriptions and boundaries of Allah, they are right and good. They are a boon for you.
You do them outside Allah’s boundaries and contrary to Allah’s commands and prescriptions, they are wrong; they are bad; and they become the bane of your life.
Of course, all this is to be understood within the overall framework of Halal and Haram – the basic tenets of Islamic law. So, adultery and fornication never become right or permissible no matter what the reason or the excuse or the circumstances. Same is true of interest-based financial dealings.
And the same is true also of consumption of liquor – or of incest or cannibalism.
If your doctor tells you three glasses of red wine a day is what your heart condition needs, find a new doctor. If a Muslim store sells something they call “Halal Beer,” run from that store. Because if they are not afraid of deceiving Allah, how do you trust them not to deceive you? And sex outside marriage is forbidden under all conditions and at all times.
So, when we talk about fun we are talking about things that are not clearly and categorically ruled by Islam as forbidden or Haram. And the list of such things in Islam is, contrary to what many Muslims may think, a very short one.
So, Allah’s boundaries are what we all need to remember and be mindful of – all the time. And what a glorious concept it is – Allah’s boundaries: Hudoodullah!
Deenul Fitrah, as Islam is often referred to – a complete and comprehensive culture and way of life entirely in keeping with the basic needs of human nature and perfectly in consonance with the primordial functioning of the broader laws of nature that govern the universe.
And it makes perfect sense.
Laws of Nature, Laws of God: Optimizing Human Life on Earth
For those who know (Alladheena ya’lamoon, as the Qur’an calls them), these are all laws and ways of Allah put in place to aid, facilitate, optimize and enrich human life on earth. And for those who don’t know (Alladheena laa ya’lamoon, as the Qur’an calls this other group), they are little more than laws and ways of nature, based on little more than chance, in whose midst human life is a mere straw in the wind without any direction or destiny.
The expression Nature for these wonderful people is simply a code word that stands for “all that we don’t know.”
In the language of statisticians, and scientists, these unknowns of Nature are the error component attached to our understanding, knowledge and science. Call them unexplained variance if you wish.
To me, it is “unexplained hitherto.” For, the unknown – and unexplained – of yesterday is the known and knowable of today and the new research focus, frontier and scientific challenge of tomorrow.
And the notion of Allah’s boundaries fits nicely into that divine scheme of things. Allah’s boundaries are put in place to protect and optimize human life on earth – physically, psychologically and spiritually.
And, don’t forget, socially.
It is the very definition of life, if you ask me, this notion of setting limits and drawing lines of demarcation.
Can you imagine a living cell – in human or animal tissue or in a plant – without a surrounding cell membrane or a cell wall to delimit and guard its identity and ensure its wellbeing? If there are no cell membranes or walls, there will be no life on earth. Period. Not animal life; not plant life; not human life.
Am I right on that? I don’t know. Why don’t you ask your high school biology teacher and find out?
That is why Islam says, go, seek knowledge. Get an education that is. That means along with everything else you do or don’t, and along with everything else you learn such as Qur’an, Hadith, Fiqh and everything else, go get yourself at least a high school diploma.
Learn the languages. Learn science. And learn math, which is as universal a language of Islam as any. And, from that point of view, as well as from a practical perspective, required of all Muslims. I mean math.
How can we call ourselves Muslims and not know not only Arabic, but also mathematics at the most rudimentary level? Explain that to me.
That means: You are a Muslim? Go to school. Regardless of who else does or does not do what. It is as simple as that.
Boundedness: Secret to Life on Earth
So, boundaries provide order and predictability to life. And life without boundaries is anarchy, confusion and chaos – and headed toward self-destruction. A boundary-less life is an anachronism and a virtual impossibility.
It is amoebic and pre-amoebic. It is little more than a blob. It is just a blotch on nature’s wall. Even those have boundaries.
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