Islamic Themes

Living Islam Practically

Living Islam Practically in Life


It is the belief of all Muslims that Islam came with a shari`ah that is comprehensive and encompassing, i.e. it has solutions to every aspect of life. It is also the belief of Muslims that the aim and purpose of this sacred shari`ah – derived from the Qur’an and Sunna – is for it to be administered and implemented practically in life. Unfortunately due to both misunderstanding and the clear political agenda of successive governments, some Muslims have begun to define the horizon of Islam and its relevance in life to a private and personal piety with only a broad moral framework and nothing more. This was never the understanding of the early Salaf al-Salihin neither was it the understanding of our noble scholars.

As far as the point of the shari`ah being comprehensive and total in its scope, our scholars use as a proof-text the following narration from the great sahabi Salman al-Farisi (Allah be pleased with him): “Salman was asked: ‘Your Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) has taught you everything, even how to defecate?’ Salman replied: ‘Indeed. He has prohibited us from facing the qibla when defecating or urinating or to cleanse ourselves with the right hand, to cleanse ourselves with less than three stones or to cleanse ourselves with a piece of dung or bone’.”[1] 

قيل لسلمان : قد علمكم نبيكم صلى الله عليه وسلم كل شيء، حتى الخراءة ؟ فقال سلمان : أجل ، نهانا أن نستقبل القبلة بغائط أو بول، أو أن نستنجي باليمين، أو أن يستنجي أحدنا بأقل من ثلاثة أحجار، أو نستنجي برجيع أو بعظم.

Thus, the hadith is clear in how Islam has come to govern all areas of life, whether personal, spiritual, political, social, economic, judicial or environmental.

As for the aim and purpose of Allah revealing the Qur’an it is for implementation and practical application of its laws so as to establish justice and fairness. Allah (Most High) says: {We have indeed revealed to you [O Muhammad] The Book with Truth so that you may rule between the people with what Allah has shown you; so be not a pleader for the treacherous}.[2] Imam Ibn al-Jawzi comments: “And the meaning of ‘Book’ (kitab) is the Qur’an. The meaning of ‘Truth’ (haqq) is the rule of law with justice. And {…so that you may rule between the people} means to judge between them.”

والكتاب: القرآن. والحق: الحكم بالعدل. { لتحكم بين الناس }: أي لتقضي بينهم

Thus, the aim for revealing the Holy Qur’an is not simply a show of revelatory testament from God, neither was it revealed to merely offer a general moral compass nor only a personal spiritual manual; rather the aim was the practical application of the Qur’anic and Prophetic teachings in all of life’s affairs. Islam therefore was revealed to be applied and implemented not restricted and privatised to a personal faith.

The danger in carrying the concept that Islam as essentially private and moral, is that the sacred shari`ah of Allah established from the Qur’an and Sunna is reduced to a few rules and codes with nothing more relevant or substantial. This is the route of secularism. The serious effect of this is that these sources of Islam will abide only with nominal existence in the life of a believer. Without practically living by these sources, i.e. abandoning their implementation, Muslims will be emulating the practice of earlier traditions that merely read their scriptures but did not practically apply it in life. In a hadith that resonates for our time, the Companion Ziyad ibn Labid (Allah be pleased with him) came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and heard him say: ‘It will happen that knowledge will be no more.’ I said: ‘Allah’s Messenger, how will knowledge vanish despite the fact that we will be reciting the Qur’an and teaching its recitation to our children and our children will teach its recitation to their children up to the Day of Resurrection?’ Thereupon [the Messenger of Allah] said: ‘Ziyad, may your mother weep over you. I was of the opinion that you were one of those who have the greatest understanding of religion in Medina. Do these Jews and Christians not recite the Torah and the Bible but not act according to anything that is contained in them?’[3] 

ذاك عند أوان ذهاب العلم قلت يا رسول الله :كيف يذهب العلم ونحن نقرأ القرآن ونقرئه أبناءنا ويقرئه أبناؤنا أبناءهم إلى يوم القيامة ؟ قال : ثكلتك أمك يا زياد : إن كنت لأراك من أفقه رجل بالمدينة أو ليس هذه اليهود والنصارى يقرأون التوراة والإنجيل لا يعملون بشيء منهما؟

Here, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) censured the understanding that knowledge and the connection with the Qur’an was to the extent of merely memorising it and teaching its recitation to successive generations without practically living it or implementing it as this was not the purpose of the religion and a destructive thing to allow.

How worrying and sad it is to see today that the Islamic rulings are absent in life’s affairs and that although some individual and personal areas of the religion are upheld, on a social, economic and political level Islam is entirely absent. This worrying trend must be reversed. Muslims must change this understanding of Islam as a private religion and reclaim the traditional Islamic understanding that it is truly a way of life revealed to be practically implemented in life.


And with Allah is true success.


[1] Tirmidhi, Sunan (#16).

[2] Surat al-Nisa’:105. The particle ‘lam’ in the verse (li-tahkuma) is known as the particle that ‘designates the origin’ (lam li ’l-talil) i.e. the reason or the cause. Thus, the reason for Allah revealing the revelation is so that its laws may be implemented and this is indicated by the phrase ‘bayn al-nas’ meaning ‘amongst the people’ were the word ‘al-nas’ is general (‘amm) in its purport and no other verses exist that restricts the application.

[3] See Abu Khaythama, Kitab al-`Ilm (#52); al-Tadhkira of al-Qurtubi, p.650 and Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Qur’an, 3:140 (Cf. Ahmad Shakir’s `Umdat al-Tafsir, 1:701) as well as his al-Jami` al-Masanid wa ’l-Sunan (#5334). The isnad (chain of transmission) of the narration is sahih (rigorously authenticated). And Allah knows best.


One thought on “Living Islam Practically

  1. Pingback: Tafsir of al-Baqara Verse 78 by Shaykh Ata | دار نيـقـوسـيــا

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