All praise is for Allah. We praise Him and seek His help and ask Him for forgiveness. And we believe in Him and trust in Him. We seek refuge in Allah, from the mischief of our souls and from our evil deeds. He whom Allah guides none can mislead and whom He leaves to stray none can guide. And, we bear witness that there is no god except Allah Who is Alone and has no partner, and we bear witness that Sayyidina Muhammad Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam is His servant and Messenger-May Allah bless him and (likewise) his family and Companions. And may He favor him and give him peace.

We have it from Abu Musa al-Ashari Radiyallaahu anhu that the Messenger of Allah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam has said “A Muslim is he from whose tongue and hands other Muslims are Safe.” (Tirmizi, Book of Faith, Chapter 12)

He is Not a True Muslim

This Hadith is transmitted by Sayyidina Abu Musa al-Ashari Radiyallaahu anhu and it implies that a Muslim is one who does not cause trouble to another Muslim by his tongue or by his hand. The hadith describes a Muslim and tells us that only he is a Muslim who has these attributes. Therefore, if other people are not safe from the hand or tongue of a Muslim then truly this man is not entitled to be called a Muslim. He is like one who does not offer Salat. Although no jurist will decide that such a man is a non-Muslim because he neglects regular Salat yet he is not truly entitled to be called a Muslim because he does not observe the most significant of the duties imposed by Allah. In the same way the person whose hand and tongue cause trouble to other people is not called a disbeliever by a jurist but, in the light of this Hadith, he is not entitled to be called a Muslim because he does not behave like one.

What Is Social Living

There are five sections in Islam.

Dealings or Behavior.
Character and Manners; and
Social living.

This Hadith is the base on which the fifth section stands. No one lives alone in this world; neither is he asked to live alone. So, he has links with someone or the other-his family, friends, neighbors, and other people, where he buys or sells or he works. How, then should he conduct himself with these people. This is the principle and rule of social living and it is a significant part of religion. Unfortunately, due to our negligence and irresponsible attitude that we have cast it aside and do not even consider it as part of religion. We do not pay heed to the commands of Allah and His Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam in this regard.

Importance of Social Rules

Allah has given particular importance to social rules for us. We can see it in the way the Qur’an deals with one of the principles of social living: to seek permission before entering anybody’s house. The Arabic word for seeking permission is Istizan Allah has revealed two complete rukus

(Sections) in the Qur’an to describe istizan. We can gauge the importance attached to it from the fact that the command to offer Salat is discussed some sixty-two times in the Qur’an but it is left to the Holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam to describe how to offer it. The Qur’an does not tell us the method of offering it. But, details of istizan are mentioned by the Qur’an itself and not left for the Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, to describe. Besides, a large portion of surah al-Hujurat is devoted to social laws. Thus, on the one hand such a great importance is attached to social conduct and on the other we ignore that in our daily life and do not even know its rules.

Three Types of Animals

In his ahya ul Ulum, Imam Ghazali Rahmaatullahi alaih has said that Allah has created three types of animals. One of these types are beneficial to mankind and it is very rare that they harm man. Examples of this type are: cows, sheep, and so on. They are beneficial because they give milk and when they do not, they are slaughtered for their meat; that is, they give up their lives to benefit man. These animals do not harm anybody. The second type includes animals that are always harmful to man and there is no apparent benefit from them. Examples of this kind are snakes, scorpions, beasts of prey, and so on; they are all harmful animals. They bite man. The third kind of animals are those animals that neither benefit nor harm. These are found in the wild and include fox, jackal, and others. Man does not gain from them nor is harmed by them to a noticeable extent. After recalling these types of animals, Imam Ghazali Rahmatullahi Alaih addresses man and says, “O Man! You are the Best creation and you enjoy excellence over all animals. If you do not behave as a human being but wish to live as an animal then at least imitate the first kind of animal who benefits other creatures but does not harm them, like the cow and goat. But, if you wish to stoop lower then become like the third type that neither harms nor benefits. If you are not like either of these and cause harm to other people instead of benefitting them then you have grouped with the second type of snakes and scorpions, and the like.”

They Are Human Beings

So we see that the question of Muslim or non-Muslim, scholar or not, ascetic or not, is not of immediate import. The first thing for a man is to behave like humans. To do that it is necessary that he tread the Islamic Social way of living. He should not be responsible for causing even the slightest of inconvenience to anyone else, by his hand or tongue or through any effort whatever. Once Maulana Thanavi Rahmatullahi alaih said in a spirit of humbleness, “Even I am not a perfect and complete human but-praise be to Allah – I have seen what human beings are like. So I cannot be deceived by a bull who claims to be human. So I will aim at that, Inshaa Allah, and will not be deceived into behaving like a bull”.

Save Other People from Harm

As far as voluntary devotional exercises are concerned, no one will be taken to task for omitting these forms of worship but if anyone observes them, he will be rewarded for that in the Hereafter. Nevertheless, these are virtuous deeds, and one must accustom oneself to do them. On the other hand, if anyone is behind the hardship another person suffers then he has committed a grave sin and he will be taken to task for that commission. This is why Shari’ah tells us to abandon voluntary worship when there is a possibility of helping someone out of difficulty or saving him from that.