Aspects Of The Islamic Faith - 119:
Actions To Avoid
Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals
Arab News & Information - By Adil Salahi
Sometimes the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
listed a number of things that have the same verdict
in Islam, providing a short statement of requirements
or prohibitions. He always preferred a direct and
short statement so that it could be quickly learnt and
easily reported and transmitted. Given his superior
ability of expressing broad meanings in a concise
form, he was able to give us an explanation of Islamic
teachings that remain easy to learn and memorize. An
example is provided in the following Hadith which Al-Mugheerah
ibn Shu'bah attributes to the Prophet: "God has
forbidden you to be undutiful to your mothers, bury
your daughters alive, deny others' rights and demand
what is undue. He does not like you to engage in idle
talk, ask too many questions and waste money."
(Related by Al-Bukhari).
This short statement includes four prohibitions and
three unacceptable actions. The first prohibition is
to be unkind and undutiful to one's mother. Being
undutiful to parents is viewed very seriously in
Islam. In fact, it is often mentioned in the Qur'an as
a most serious offense, next only to associating
partners with God. Here undutifulness to mothers is
singled out, but this is only to highlight the fact
that it is mothers that are more vulnerable to ill
treatment by their children, because they are the
weaker of the two parents. Indeed, undutifulness to
fathers is not any less serious as an offense. It is
because mothers are normally the weaker party that
they are given a special mention by the Prophet.
The birth of a daughter was often received with gloom
in Arabia in pre-Islamic days. People feared that
daughters could be a financial burden, or that they
could bring shame on their families if they misbehave.
Therefore, it was traditionally acceptable for a
girl's father to bury her alive, in her early years of
life. In its very early days, Islam spoke out very
strongly against this practice and declared it
strictly forbidden. Indeed, infanticide, which
continues to be practised in all communities, is
considered by Islam as a ghastly crime that incurs the
capital punishment. This applies to any offence of
infanticide, whether the victim is a boy or a girl.
The next prohibition outlined in the Hadith is
expressed in Arabic in just two words: Denying and
demanding. What the Prophet means is that a person may
deny others what is due to them, or claim what he has
no right to claim. Both are forbidden. They are
totally unbecoming of a Muslim. The Prophet then adds
three habits describing them as ones which displease
God. The first is idle talk. This includes chatting
about things of which we are uncertain, as also
backbiting. Muslims must always watch what they say.
They should say what is good and beneficial, or keep
Asking too many questions is also shunned by Islam.
Scholars have explained this in different ways, such
as being very nosy, begging, asking questions on a
particular subject in order to show that the
questioner has mastered it, asking about what is of no
concern to oneself, and asking the Prophet theoretical
questions. All these do not fit the serious approach
that is characteristic of Islam.
Finally, the Prophet mentions wasting money as
something that Islam frowns upon. In this connection,
wasting money means spending it for the wrong purpose.
A person who has plenty of money may wish to spend at
leisure. Scholars mention three situations: the first
is to spend it in ways that Islam forbids, such as
gambling. This is forbidden, regardless of whether the
spender is very rich or poor. The second is to spend
it in good and beneficial ways. This is commendable,
provided that it does not lead to neglecting something
more important. The third situation is to spend it on
what is permissible, such as matters of enjoyment.
This is acceptable, provided it remains within what is
becoming of the person concerned and within his means.