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Seventh: The work may be an interest in itself, but it is associated in some manner with some harm; moreover, the harm it causes is greater than the interest realized. This is what scholars call the "rule of sad ad -dharai`" (blocking the means to harm) or the rule that "means have the same ruling as their ends."


The pretext differs from means in two matters:


First: A means leads to an objective directly i.e. the former often leads to latter. As for a pretext, it may do so and it may not. Walking to prayer is a means that takes the ruling of the objective behind it. Thus it is Mandub (commendable). Accordingly, one walking to the mosque is awarded for every step, it also removes a sin and raises him one degree. Similarly, it is forbidden to travel to commit a sin as it is a means to this. Accordingly, one traveling to commit a sin is a sinner during his travel, beginning from his setting out of his home, because means have the same ruling as their ends.


An example of a pretext is associating with bad companions, since it is a pretext that indulges in falsehood and the like, or to travel to countries of depravity with no clear intention of committing sins. Yet this is sinful because it is a pretext to fall into forbidden acts. What was prohibited out of the means or pretexts are to be permissible when necessary or if there is an overriding interest.


Second: A means may be for harm or an interest, which is not the case with a pretext, which refers only to that which was a pretext to harm.


It is therefore very important for a Mujtahid (a scholar qualified to exercise juristic effort to infer expert legal rulings) or a Mufti (Islamic scholar qualified to issue legal opinions) to consider the consequences of his fatwa. A matter may display an apparent interest but it results in harms. Thus, it is to be prohibited to avoid the harm.


This is a great principle of religion. The scholar Ibn al-Qayyim, mentioned ninety-nine pieces of evidence in I'lam Al-Muwaqqi'in that the rule of avoiding harm is given priority in Shari`ah. Below, some of these examples are highlighted.


Ibn al-Qayyim writes: “There is evidence of the prevention of an act that leads to committing what is unlawful, even if the act is permissible in itself.”


Evidence of such prevention is based on several aspects:


The First Aspect: Allah (a??a wajal), says: "And do not insult those who invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge".


Allah, (a??a wajal), prohibited insulting the gods of the infidels - because insulting them comes as a result of feeling angry and jealous for Allah's sake and so as to disparage their gods. This then might become a pretext for them to insult Allah. The interest in avoiding cursing Allah, is more preponderant than that of cursing their gods. This is like indicating or even stating explicitly the prevention of what is lawful so as not to be a cause for what is impermissible.


The Second Aspect: Allah (a??a wajal), says: "And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment." Allah forbade women from stamping their feet, although it is permissible in itself, lest it becomes a pretext for men hearing the sound of anklets and may stir their desires.


The Third Aspect: Allah (a??a wajal) says: "O you who believed, let those whom your right hands possess and those who have not [yet] reached puberty among you ask permission of you [before entering] at three times…" Here Allah, the Almighty, has commanded the slaves and those believers who have not yet reached puberty to ask for permission at three times lest their intrusion without permission becomes a pretext to seeing others uncovered. Yet Allah did not command them to ask permission at the other times, even though it is possible for the same problem to arise. This is because it is extremely rare for such incidences to take place.


The Fourth Aspect: "O you who believe! Do not say (to the Messenger) Ra`ina but say Undhurna (make us understand) and hear." Allah (a??a wajal), forbade them from saying this word – even if they had good intentions – in order that this does not become a pretext for their imitating the Jews regarding their words and address. The Jews would address the Prophet with this word, intending to insult him. By this word they meant a trembling person. Accordingly, Muslims were forbidden to say it so as to block the pretext of resembling the Jews and so that this does not become a pretext for the Jews to say it to the Prophet; imitating the Muslims apparently but intending other than what the Muslims mean.


The Fifth Aspect: Allah (a??a wajal), said to Musa and his brother Harun, "Go, both of you, to Pharaoh. Indeed, he has transgressed. And speak to him with gentle words, so that perhaps he may be reminded or fear [Allah]." Allah, ordered them to speak with gentle words to their greatest enemy, who was the worst in disbelief and obstinacy against Allah; so that speaking harshly to him –although he deserves it – should not become a pretext for his aversion and impatience, not allowing the argument to be established. Thus, Allah forbade them from doing what is permissible, so that this does not result in what is much more hated in the sight of Allah.


The Sixth Aspect: Allah (a??a wajal), forbade the believers in Makkah from retaliating with force. He ordered them to pardon and forgive, so that their retaliation does not become a pretext for incurring more harm. The interest of preserving their souls, their religion and their offspring outweighed that of retaliation.


The Seventh Aspect: Allah (a??a wajal), forbade selling during Friday prayer in order for it not to become a pretext for busying oneself with trade and thereby not attending the Friday prayer.


The Eighth Aspect: It was related by ?umayd ibn 'Abdur-Ra?man, on the authority of 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr, that the Messenger of Allah (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) said, "Abusing one's parents is one of the major sins. They (the hearers) said: Messenger of Allah, does a man abuse his parents too? He replied: Yes, one abuses the father of another man, who in turn abuses his father. One abuses another’s mother and he in turn abuses his mother" (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim). The wording of Al-Bukhari reads: "One of the major sins is for a man to abuse his parents." It was said, "O Messenger of Allah, how can a man curse his parents?" He said, "He may curse another man's father who in turn curses his father, and curse his mother and he in turn curses his mother." The Messenger of Allah, judged such a person to be cursing and insulting his parents because he presented the cause and pretext for doing so, even if it were not his intention.


The Ninth Aspect: The Prophet, (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), did not kill hypocrites – although there was some benefit – so that this did not become a pretext for averting people from Islam, who would then say: Muhammad kills his followers. The harm of averting people is greater than refraining from their killing. The interest of attuning their hearts outweighs that of killing them.


The Tenth Aspect: Allah (a??a wajal), forbade wine due to the harms it involves, resulting from absence of one's mind. What concerns us here is that He forbade even a single drop of it and forbade preserving it for pickling, so that a drop does not become a pretext to drink it.


The Eleventh Aspect: The Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), forbade Khulwah (being alone with a marriageable member of the opposite sex), even if for the objective of teaching her the recitation of the Noble Qur'an. He also forbade traveling with her even if it is to perform pilgrimage or visit her parents. This is in order to block the pretext of temptation as well as that of overwhelming desires.


The Twelfth Aspect: Allah (a??a wajal), enjoined lowering the gaze – even if one only looks at the beauties of Allah's creation and reflects on Allah's creation, so as to block the pretext of desiring and lust, which leads to what is prohibited.


The Thirteenth Aspect: The Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), prohibited building mosques over graves and cursed whoever does so. He also prohibited plastering graves, honoring them, making them places of worship, praying towards or by them and lighting lamps over them. He ordered that they be leveled and prohibited spending the days of feast there and traveling to them. This was so that this does not become a pretext for considering them idols and associating them in worship with Allah. He prohibited this for all people, whether doing so deliberately or unintentionally, so as to block pretexts.


The Fourteenth Aspect: The Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), prohibited performing prayer at the times of both sunrise and sunset. The wisdom behind this is that these were the times during which the polytheists would prostrate to the sun. Prohibiting performing prayer to Allah at this time was to block the pretext of the obvious resemblance, a pretext of resemblance in objective, even given the unlikelihood of this pretext. Accordingly, possible pretexts are much more entitled to be prohibited.


The Fifteenth Aspect: In many ?adiths, the Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), prohibited imitating the People of the Book. For example, he said, "The Jews and the Christians do not dye (their hair), so oppose them." He also said: "Verily, the Jews do not pray with their shoes on, so differ from them." Regarding the day of `Ashura', he said: "Differ from the Jews. Fast a day before and another after it." He also said: "Do not imitate foreigners" At-Tirmidhi narrated that the Prophet said: "He is not one of us who imitates people other than us." Imam A?mad narrated that the Prophet said: ''One who imitates other people is one of them." The secret behind this is that imitation in the overt rites is a pretext for conformity in objective and deeds.


The Sixteenth Aspect: The Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), prohibited marrying a woman along with her paternal or maternal aunt. He said "If you do so, you will sever your ties of kinship." Even if women consent to this, it is still prohibited because this is a pretext for severing ties of kinship.


The Seventeenth Aspect: The Lawgiver has prohibited marrying more than four women at the same time, because this is a pretext for tyranny. It has been said that one of the reasons for this was that it could have been a pretext for seeking large provisions, leading one to engage in unlawful transactions. Based on any of these possibilities, the prohibition arises out of blocking pretexts. However, He permitted having four wives together – even though this may lead to dealing with them unjustly – because a lower number may not have satisfied one's desire. Accordingly, the interest of permitting this outweighed the expected harm of unjust treatment.


The Eighteenth Aspect: Allah, the Almighty, explicitly prohibited proposing to a woman during `Iddah (period of waiting). Even were this not prohibited during the `Iddah, a woman would observe it out of devotion for her absent husband. However, this is not for a woman to determine. This is because permitting proposals for marriage during this time may be a pretext for a woman to hasten in accepting the proposal and lie about the completion of her `Iddah.


The Nineteenth Aspect: Allah the Almighty has prohibited carrying out marriage contracts during both the `Iddah and Ihram (ritual state for Hajj and `Umrah), even if the intent is to delay consummation until after leaving the state of Ihram; this is that the marriage contract does not become a pretext for engaging in sexual intercourse. Fasting does not nullify this ruling, because its duration is very short, and imposes no hardship on one to wait a few days to engage in sexual intercourse.


The Twentieth Aspect: The Lawgiver has prohibited one in the state of Ihram from wearing perfume because it is one of the causes that motivates one to engage in sexual intercourse. Banning it is therefore out of consideration of blocking pretexts.


The Twenty-first Aspect: Regarding marriage, the Lawgiver has stipulated conditions beyond the contract so as to eliminate the suspicion of adultery. Some of these conditions are: announcing the marriage to the public, the presence of a guardian, preventing a woman from giving herself in marriage, and a recommendation to make the marriage known, to the extent that it is desirable to beat the Duff (a tambourine-like instrument without bells), sing (without the accompaniment of music), and hold banquets. This is because not doing so involves a pretext for committing adultery under the cover of marriage, as well as not achieving some of the purposes of marriage, such as abstaining from having sexual intercourse with one's wife. Moreover, Allah has emphasized this through prescribing a period of `Iddah, exceeding the time necessary for a woman to become purified. He has prescribed for marriage rules of relationship, as well as prohibiting certain forms of marriage such as between some close relatives, as well as rules of inheritance, which makes marriage not simply something based on enjoyment. Rather, it was made a reasonable way to connect between people and create blood-ties. Allah mentions this in His saying: "and made him [a relative by] lineage and marriage." These purposes mentioned above thus prevent a marriage from resembling adultery.


The Twenty-second Aspect: The Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), prohibited combining the taking of loans and selling at the same time. It is well known that carrying out either of the two separately is permissible. The wisdom behind this is that combining the two may become a pretext for the lender to give one a loan of one thousand and then sell him a commodity (worth eight hundred pounds) for one thousand (i.e. giving him one thousand and eight hundred to have him pay back two thousand), which is what is meant by usury. Thus, we should consider how the Prophet blocked every way due to pretexts.


Some of the scholars who prevented the issue of a Mudd (a standard measure that equals 543 grams of pressed dates) said: Those who permit it, permit that one can sell one thousand Dinars within a handkerchief for one thousand and five hundred Dinars by themselves. They stated that this is a pretext for practicing usury. They then stated: It is permissible for one to lend a person one thousand Dinar and sell him the handkerchief for five hundred Dinars, which is the very thing prohibited by the Messenger of Allah (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), and it is one of the pretexts most likely leading to practicing usury. One who does not block pretexts is privy to contradict the texts and permit this. Then how can he leave some matter and commit its direct opposite?


The Twenty-third Aspect: The apparent evidence prohibiting `Inah (sale with immediate cash repurchase for profit), reported from the Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), as well as the Companions indicate prohibiting returning commodities back to the seller in case he intends usury. This is only to block pretexts.


The Twenty-fourth Aspect: The Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), prohibited a lender from accepting presents, and the same applies to his friends, unless it is considered part of money owed. The reason behind this is to prevent exploitation, becoming a pretext for delaying the debt due to the present, and therefore considered usury because the lender gets his money back in addition to taking extra money he accrues as a benefit due to the loan.


The Twenty-fifth Aspect: Rulers, judges and the mediators are prohibited from accepting presents, because doing so is the main reason behind the corruption of scholars and appointment of unqualified people who are traitors, weak or feeble. Due to this, extreme corruption has taken place. The reason behind this is that accepting such gifts is a pretext for fulfilling the needs of the person offering the present. One’s love of material things makes one turn a blind eye to wrong affairs, which makes one follows one's desires in fulfilling the person’s needs, so as to reward him due to one's greediness and turning a blind eye to his the lack of qualifications. 


The Twenty-sixth Aspect: The rule dictates that a killer must be deprived of his share of inheritance because if that is not done it will become a cause to commit murder to gain inheritance.


The Twenty-seventh Aspect: The An?ar and Muhajrun allowed a woman who was divorced twice or thrice while her husband was on his deathbed to nevertheless inherit from him, so as not to make that (deathbed divorces) a pretext to deprive her of her rightful inheritance.


The Twenty-eighth Aspect: The companions and the majority of jurists agreed on killing a group of people if the group had killed one person, as this certainly prevents the causes of bloodshed.


The Twenty-ninth Aspect: The Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam),  prevented cutting the hands of thieves in an invasion, so as not to make this a pretext to flee to the side of the infidels, and thus the rule that has been established is that no punishment is to be carried out while invading another place.


The Thirtieth Aspect: The Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), forbade his companions from fasting one or two days before Ramadan if this was not their habit.


He also forbade fasting the Day of Doubt (the 30th of Sha`ban) so that it would not be considered mandatory.


He also forbade fasting the day of Eid so as to prevent exaggeration in worship as the Christians do. This is why the Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) advised us to hurry to eat after fasting and to delay the pre-fast meal as much as possible. It is recommended to hurry in breaking the fast on the day of Eid before the performance of prayer.


The Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), has also recommended differentiating between the obligatory and supererogatory prayers. It is thus disliked for the Imam to perform voluntary prayers at the same place as the obligatory ones, or to continue sitting in the direction of the Qiblah after prayer…all of these teachings are meant to prevent any addition to the obligatory prayers.


The Thirty-first Aspect: He (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), hated to pray in the direction of anything that could be worshipped, and recommended to anyone praying in the direction of a column, tree or rod to not face it directly, so as not to give anyone the impression that he prostrates for anyone other than Almighty Allah.


The Thirty-second Aspect: Allah (a??a wajal) has obligated penalties on criminals so as to alleviate their burden on the Day of Resurrection, if they repent, as repentance eliminates sins. If the sinner turns to Allah in repentance before he is judged by the Imam, the penalty will be removed, but if he is sentenced by the Imam his repentance would not be valid, so as to not let others take that as a pretext.


The Thirty-third Aspect: The Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), disliked specifically fasting during Rajab or on Friday – or praying on Friday nights – so as to prevent any pretext towards imitating the People of the Book.


The Thirty-fourth Aspect: He (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), commanded anyone who prays at night and feels tired, to go to bed, so as not to make mistakes in prayer, as he might then curse himself while intending to ask Allah the Almighty for forgiveness.


The Thirty-fifth Aspect: He (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), forbade asking for a woman's hand in marriage while she was already engaged. The same ruling applies to selling or leasing, so as not to lead people to undercut and hate each other.


The Thirty-sixth Aspect: He (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), forbade chatting at night except if done by a praying or travelling person. It is strongly disliked to sleep before the Isha prayer or to chat after it. This is because sleeping before it might lead to missing it, and chatting after it might lead to missing the night prayer. An exception is made if there is a benefit for Muslims.


The Thirty-seventh Aspect: He (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), forbade people from leaving a Masjid that is close by for another one further away, so as not to lead to the desertion of the former and its Imam. An exception is made if the Imam is a heretic.


The Thirty-eighth Aspect: He (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam),  forbade leaving the Masjid after the Adhan, so as not to be engaged with anything other than the congregational prayer. ‘Ammar said to a man who was leaving the Masjid after the Adhan, "this man has disobeyed Abu al-Qasim (the Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam))."


The thirty-ninth Aspect: He (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), forbade women from wearing perfume when they go to the Masjid so as not to seduce men.


The Fortieth Aspect: He (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), forbade wives from describing another woman to their husbands so as not to seduce him.


The Forty-first Aspect: He (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), forbade any two people from speaking secretly to each other in the presence of a third person so as not to sadden him.


The Forty-second Aspect: He (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), commanded those who were praying behind him to sit when their Imam sits. This has been narrated successively regarding the Prophet (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), and was meant to differentiate Muslims from infidels, who used to stand up while their kings sat.


The Forty-third Aspect: He (?allallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam), forbade people from continuously praying after the Friday prayer, so as not to let people wrongly increase the obligatory prayers.




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