The Philosophy of Islamic Teachings (6)


The first reform: the natural states of man.

We will now consider the first of the three reforms instilled by the Holy Quran, which concerns the natural state of man. This reform deals with what are commonly called the "good manners", i.e., the social norms that moderate the natural conditions of savages, such as eating, drinking, marrying, etc., raising them to a just level of social acceptability and removing savages from their animal existence. On this point, The Holy Quran states:


"Your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, the sisters of your fathers and the sisters of your mothers, the daughters of a brother and the daughters of a sister, your wet nurses who have suckled you, your milk sisters, the mothers of your wives, your goddaughters, who are your wards because they are the daughters of the women with whom you have cohabited - but if you have not cohabited with them, you do not commit sin - and the wives of your children of the flesh; And it is forbidden for you to marry two sisters at the same time, unless it is a fait accompli". (4:24)


"O you who believe! It is not lawful for you to inherit from women against their will". (4:20)


"And do not marry the women whom your fathers have taken as wives, unless it is a fait accompli". (4:23)


"And chaste believing women are permitted to you, and the chaste women of those to whom the Book was given before you, if you give them their dowries, contract a valid marriage, do not commit fornication, and do not keep secret mistresses." (5:6)

In the time of ignorance if a man had no children he allowed his wife to cohabit with another man in order to have children. The Holy Quran forbade this custom, to which the phrase "keeping secret mistresses" refers. The Holy Quran also says:


"And do not destroy yourselves." (4:30)


"Do not kill your children." (6:152)


"O you who believe! Do not enter houses other than your own until you have asked permission and greeted their dwellers. And if you find no one in them, do not enter until you are given permission. And if it is said to you, "Go back," then go back. This is the purest thing for you". (24:28-29)


"You must enter houses by their gates." (2:190)


"When you are greeted with a greeting, return it with a better one, or at least with one equal to it". (4:87)


"O you who believe! Intoxicants, gambling, idols and arrows of fortune are but an abomination of the works of Satan. Therefore turn away from them all, that you may prosper" (5:91).


"You are forbidden the flesh of an animal that dies of its own accord, and the blood and flesh of swine; the flesh of those slaughtered by calling on a name other than Al'lah; the flesh of an animal that has been strangled; the flesh of an animal that has been beaten to death; the flesh of an animal that has died of a fall and the flesh of an animal that has been gored to death; the flesh of an animal that has been partially devoured by a wild beast - unless you have slaughtered it properly -; and animals slaughtered on an altar". (5:4)


"They ask you what is lawful for them. Say: 'All good things are lawful for you'". (5:5)


"O believers! When it is said to you, "Make room!" in your gatherings, make room; Al'lah will make room ample for you; and when it is said to you, "Arise!" then arise." (58:12)


"Eat and drink, but do not exceed the limits". (7:32)


"Speak always the right word." (33:71)


"Exalt your Lord. Purify your garment." (74:5-6)


"And walk with a moderate step and lower your voice". (31:20)


"And provide yourselves with the necessary provisions, though indeed virtue is the best provision". (2:198)


"And if you are unclean, purify yourselves with a bath." (5:7)


"And in their wealth there is a share for the beggar and the needy". (51:20)


"And if you fear that you cannot do justice (to society) in matters concerning orphans at the end of the war, then marry women of your choice, two, three or four; but if you fear that you cannot maintain equity, marry only one, or those over whom you have authority. This is the surest way for you to avoid injustice. And give willingly to the women their dowries". (4:4-5)

This is the first reformation of the Holy Quran, whereby man is elevated from his natural savage state to the state of a civilised social being. In these teachings there is no mention of higher moral qualities. It concerns only elementary human behaviour. These teachings were needed because the people whose reformation was contemplated by sending the Holy Prophet (pbuh) were in an extreme state of barbarism. They needed to be taught the elementary rules of human behaviour.

(lpbD) - peace and blessings of God be upon him.

[We will continue with installment 7, where we will explain some of the prohibitions of the Holy Quran, such as why pork is forbidden, what are the moral qualities related to abstaining from evil, etc.].