Are Elections Haram?
Says Who? And Based on What?
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And which One Does Not?)
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In one form or another, it has been in the works for well over a decade. That is why some of the writing reads the way it does.
(27) Rights of Due Process and Equality Before the Law
- Naïve, Overoptimistic or a Sellout?
- Due Process and Equality before the Law
(28) A Question of Basic Human Needs
- Human Needs vs. Human Rights -- Role of Individuals and Societies
- God Blesses those who Are Sensitive to the Needs of Others
- Halaal and Haraam -- One More Time
(29) A Miracle in a Hadith
The Prophet’s Response -- Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
- The Ultimate Sexual Revolution
27. Rights of Due Process and Equality Before the Law
What gives the Muslims a head start in this process of competing for influence in America -- and elsewhere in the West -- is the fact that the Muslims are now in and of America and the West; that they are now an inseparable part of America and the West; and that they are now themselves a part of the very soul and psyche -- and body politic, civic and geographic -- of America and the West.
It is the fact that the Muslims themselves are now America and the West!
I am not saying they are in America and the West. I am saying they are America and the West. There is a difference.
And a clear understanding of that difference is critical for both Muslims on the one hand and America and the West on the other hand.
And that means Muslims are now American and Western citizens. And citizenship in America and the West grants Muslims all the rights that it grants anyone else who may be part of America and the West -- and it opens before Muslims endless possibilities and opportunities to compete for the soul and psyche of America and the West -- and not just for it wealth and worldly abundance.
Naïve, Overoptimistic or a Sellout?
To some, the picture of America and the world I am painting here may appear to be rosier than real -- especially in the wake of the terrible tragedy of 9-11. And they will be right in thinking that I am being somewhat naïve or overoptimistic.
Some of them may even think that I have become a defeatist. Or that I have, plain and simple, sold out.
But the real reason I am saying what I am saying is because my eyes are glued to the glorious future that Allah has in store for Islam, Muslims and his world -- including America.
And because, Alhamdulillah, the light in my eye, and the flame in my heart, are not entirely wiped out by the senseless conflagration that America, Britain and others let lose on Muslim lands and lives in the lopsided world of Post-September-Eleven -- or in the equally lopsided world of 1991 before that.
Due Process and Equality before the Law
However, among all the rights that American and Western citizenship grants Muslims, the greatest and the most fundamental, in my view, are the right to due process and the right to equality before the law.
Yes, the right to life is important and most fundamental. No question about that. Nothing else has much value when the right to life is denied, diminished or diluted.
Yes, liberty is a most fundamental human right. No one can dispute that either.
No other right really makes much sense without the right for a human being to be free -- free in body; free in mind; and free in spirit. Free from all kinds of bondage -- and tyranny and domination and exploitation: physical; mental; spiritual; economic; political; social; cultural; personal.
But, to me, somehow Due Process and Judicial Equality seem to take precedence over everything else -- especially in the context of the times in which we live.
28. A Question of Basic Human Needs
Somewhere in the equation of life and liberty figure such important human needs as food, shelter, health, safety, education, companionship, procreation and the rest.
I had once said -- it was during my speech-giving days -- in the context of the great Healthcare debate in the United States, “If health is a human condition, healthcare is a human right.”
In the same way, it is quite clear to me that if God Almighty has fitted human beings with a brain, access to means and opportunities for the minimum development of the essential capacities of that brain through education is also a fundamental human right.
In other words, God Almighty created human beings with certain basic physical, physiological, psychological, social and spiritual needs. Abraham Maslow and others did not invent those needs. They merely speculated and theorized about them or researched and discovered them.
Therefore, we must find a way to correlate Thomas Jefferson’s notion of certain divinely bestowed unalienable human rights with the notion of certain scientifically determinable basic human needs -- and then predicate the former up on the latter.
Human Needs vs. Human Rights --
Role of Individuals and Societies
That means the fulfilment of those fundamental -- I am so tempted to call them irreducible -- needs is a basic right of individual human beings everywhere -- regardless of race, religion, nationality, political affiliation or geographic location.
It is also, at the same time, a collective responsibility of communities, nations, societies and the world as a whole to work toward such a goal. To some degree the United Nations symbolizes such a vision and such a hope for all of humanity all over the world.
Another example of how human beings are willy nilly creeping toward the realization of the sublime goals and destiny that Allah Almighty set for them.
However, human beings must pursue the satisfaction of those needs using means and methods that Allah has made lawful and permissible -- Halaal -- for that purpose.
God Almighty then tests and judges human beings based on their choice and use of those means -- as well as their commitment to those purposes.
Thus, for example, he rewards them if they satisfy their need for sex and companionship through marriage and punishes them if they do so outside of marriage.
He rewards and blesses them when they seek their fortunes and worldly wellbeing through lawful and honourable means and curses and punishes them when they do so through unlawful, devious and dishonourable means and through the exploitation and manipulation of those less advantaged than them.
God Blesses those who Are Sensitive to the Needs of Others
So also, God Almighty helps, blesses and rewards human beings if they attend to their own personal and social safety, security and other needs taking into consideration the needs of all the others in their group, family, neighbourhood, village, city, community, society and the entire world.
But, being a just God, he curses and punishes them if they enhance their own safety, security and other needs and interests at the expense and to the detriment of everyone else’s safety, security, wellbeing and other needs and interests.
Thus, while it is incumbent upon individuals everywhere to attend to the satisfaction of their basic needs as human beings -- using only Halaal and legitimate means -- it is also the duty of the communities and societies everywhere to work to make available to all their members the means and opportunities of satisfying those needs.
Thereafter, from an Islamic point of view if you will, it is the duty of the whole world to collectively ensure the satisfaction of the basic needs of all human beings everywhere.
Halaal and Haraam -- One More Time
I have tried to clarify the meaning of these two important Islamic terms all along. Let me do it one more time.
Halaal, of course, is that which God and his messenger, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, have made lawful.
And what God and his messenger, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, have made unlawful and impermissible, the Qur’an calls it Haraam.
The core of both is clear and well-known and it is required of believers in the Qur'an and Hadith -- Muslims -- to believe in it.
Thereafter, there is a wide range of scholarly opinion on a wide range of objects and issues that is open to interpretation -- and acceptance or rejection by individuals.
29. A Miracle in a Hadith
Individual passages of the Qur’an are called Aayats because they are miracles that testify to the divine origin and nature of the Qur’an -- every bit and part of it.
Many of the Hadith also fall into the same category: They are so amazing that they can be looked upon as nothing short of miracles-- events of lowest probability.
One such Hadith says that there are blessings in the most intimate sexual act between husband and wife. Understandably, the companions of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam -- Ashaab as they were improbably called -- expressed surprise at this.
They said: “We go and satisfy our carnal cravings and we get rewarded for it? How could that be?”
The Prophet’s Response -- Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
In response, the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, asked them: "Would you not be punished if you sought sexual gratification outside of marriage?"
They all replied yes, indeed they would be punished for doing that.
“In the same way,” the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, pointed out, “God will reward and bless you if you do it the right way -- within the bonds of matrimony.”
What an amazing teacher this Unlettered Man was, as the Qur'an calls him: Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
I am calling this Hadith a miracle because I want us all to ask: What is the probability that a revolutionary statement of this kind could have proceeded from an ordinary human source -- 1400 years ago, and in a place like the barren habitations of Arabia?
Just think about it.
If you were looking for some kind of serious evidence for the divine nature and origin of Muhammad's mission and message, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, then this Hadith to me is certainly part of it.
I wish I had the required time and resources ... I could write a complete book or monograph on this Hadith -- quite possibly a fairly academic sounding one.
The Ultimate Sexual Revolution
To those who look for sexual revolutions here, there and everywhere, I say look no farther than this Hadith. For, this Hadith offers the world as complete, clean, noble, virtuous, pious, positive, safe, healthy, productive and responsible a sexual revolution as any humanity ever saw or is likely to see in the future.
Thus, according the above Hadith, marital sex is full of blessings and divine reward. And sexual intimacy among married couples constitutes for all human beings a higher and more exalted state of living.
To sociologists and sex scholars everywhere I say, if you were in the market for a sexual and sociological and cultural Paradigm Shift, then you have found, as the Christian would say, your Holy Grail. There never was a greater or more thorough-going sexual revolution than this -- or one with more far-reaching consequences for human beings everywhere.
The implications of this Hadith for sex and gender-related issues are just too profound and vast and colossal to even attempt to introduce here.
However, one quick thing I can say here is that true sexual revolution in the world did not start in America in the 1960s. It started in Arabia in the middle of the Sixth Century with that Hadith that proclaimed marital sex not only a good, clean and desirable thing, but also a source of divine blessings.
Of course, that same revolution also started at the same time, with all those Amazing Aayats in the Qur’an on gender relations that God Almighty sent down in the Qur’an during that same period.
Each one of those Aayaat a miracle in its own right. How tempted I feel to call the Qur'an the finest Gender Manual there ever was!
I have talked about some of it elsewhere. And should it be Allah's will and pleasure, and should he make available the required time and resources, all of which he owns and controls, maybe I will return to that topic sometime in the future.
From time to time, some of these things do tend to spill out in Dr. Pasha's International Qur'an Program. But the list of some of the topics that are waiting to be covered runs into hundreds.
Of course, Allah knows best.
Allahummarham Ummata Muhammadin, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
Ya, Allah! Have mercy on the Ummat of Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
This brings us to the end of Part VIII of Are Elections Haram? Says Who? And Based on What?
Next: Inshallah, we will bring you Part IVX as soon as Allah enables us to do so.
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End of Part 8 of 8
Written, January 2001
Modified, 2004, 2005, 2006
(To be Revised)
© 2006 Syed Husain Pasha
Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at]
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.