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Avoidance…For the Last Time

Avoidance…For the Last Time

Was published in Arabic in September 27, 2015

Translated by Ahmed Fathy

  In so many fatwas written by us in this website, we have explained that avoidance of alcohol means that it is forbidden and one should not come near it. This is forbidding with severity, in the style of the Quranic text. Yet, this question has come to us by email:

  "Can a Muslim young man in the West work as a waiter who is to serve alcohol, as a temporary job, despite his being teetotal?"

  We have said to him: the Quranic order to avoid alcohol does not mean merely to avoid drinking it; rather, it forbids coming near it by selling, buying, serving, and transporting it as well. There are economic benefits in alcohol and gambling, but their evil exceeds their benefits; and that is why we are ordered in the Quran to avoid both. Avoidance means absolute forbidding. We are not to sell, buy, transport, trade, make, or fabricate alcohol. This transient life is based on our choices and the tests we face. Most human beings fail the test if they follow their whims and choose according to their caprices.  One ought to seek money within halal means. Other forbidden means of living make some of us fall prey to them; other people who are true believers grow patient and look for a job within halal (lawful according to the Quranic sharia) means. God provides living to both who seek to earn it in halal and non-halal means. Then punishment or reward comes in Doomsday.

 Another question has been posed by another young man: scholars who follow the Abou Haneefa doctrine insist that some intoxicating substances might not be considered as alcohol. In the Quranic point of view, is this true or not?

 My answer followed in the same vein: in the Quran, the orders ''do not come near…" and "avoid…" mean absolute forbidding with no exceptions whatsoever. Hence, all practices that make one near alcohol and fornication are forbidden, not just the act of drinking wine and fornication themselves. Ordinary forbidding, i.e., to a lesser degree, is exemplified in eating pork: one is not allowed to eat any flesh of any kind from pigs; yet, one can raise, come near, own, sell, and buy pigs as animals. It is only eating the flesh of pigs that is forbidden in the Quran. Hence, any intoxicating substances should be avoided, let alone using them. The same rule that applies to alcohol and wine applies to them as well. Please read all previous fatwas and articles written by ourselves, the founder of the Quranist trend, before posing the same questions over and over again to make us repeat what we have written before several times. Another major point is that we, Quranists, refuse to acknowledge any doctrines or schools of fiqh. No one is to issue fatwas based on them or on any personal whim; this is a huge responsibility in Doomsday. Not everyone can issue a fatwa; specialization and qualification are required to do so.

 Later on, the same query has been posed to me via our Facebook account: "God forbids in the Quran that one marries one's sister and mother; yet you say that avoiding wine and alcohol is stronger in degree. How is that?"

 We say the following, for the last time:

 1- Avoidance as an order in the Quranic text (i.e., to avoid alcohol, gambling, idols, and shrines of tombs/mausoleums) is an absolute horizontal sort forbidding; i.e., one is to avoid all things leading to them. This avoidance differs from forbidding certain foods and certain marriage types with one's mother or sister: one does not avoid seeing or coming near one's mother and sister; on the contrary, one has to take care of them as per Quranic guidance. The only forbidding relation with them is marrying them. Hence, we have no orders in the Quran to avoid any female relatives that one cannot marry.

2- Avoidance in the Quran means not to come nearer to certain things. This occurs in the Quran in the matter of fornication: we are to avoid anything leading to it: thinking of it, whispering, touching, kissing…etc. and any other acts that might lead one to commit fornication. Let us remind ourselves with these Quranic verses: "And do not come near adultery. It is immoral, and an evil way."(17:32), and "And those who avoid major sins and indecencies…"(42:37).

3- Accordingly, fornication is a major sin, while acts leading to it, mentioned in the above point, are 'smaller' sins that might be done by most people and one should ask God's pardon and forgiveness for them; God will forgive us these trespasses if we avoid the actual act of fornication itself: "If you avoid the worst of what you are forbidden, We will remit your sins, and admit you by a Gate of Honor."(4:31).

4- Other major sins are forbidden without using the words ''avoid'' and ''do not come near to…". To cite an example: the act of killing: not all types of it are forbidden. One might kill in self-defense. This is legal in all laws, and the divine law is no exception. We are not forbidden to use or come bear to tools like guns, knives…etc. as they are used for peaceful means as well. The forbidden thing is solely to kill someone for any reason apart from self-defense when one is attacked. We read in the Quran: "…do not come near indecencies, whether outward or inward; and that you do not kill the soul which God has sanctified-except in the course of justice. All this He has enjoined upon you, so that you may understand"(6:151). Here, we find the forbidding of coming near all sexual indecencies: this includes thinking about committing adultery/fornication, masturbation, watching pornographic material, and going to brothels (some brothels are open and protected by law in some countries of the Muhammadans). We find not in the Quran an order to avoid all kinds of killing or arms so as not to forbid self-defense.

5- There are crimes of embezzlement of money, especially money of orphans. The Quran uses the phrase ''do not come near…'' in this particular case. "And do not come near the property of the orphan, except with the best intentions…"(6:152) and "And do not go near the orphan's property, except with the best of intentions…"(17:34). There are many ways to approach and abuse the money of orphans; that is why the Quranic order is to avoid coming near it by any means, except with good intentions, e.g., the poor guardian of the orphan who receives a portion of the orphan's money to bring up the orphan, under the supervision of courts.

6- A reminder: avoidance in the Quranic text includes avoiding indecencies, fornication, adultery, wine and alcohol, all sorts of gambling, shrines of the dead or tombs that people sanctify and worship, as well as idols and things/buildings made holy by people for no reason. These are crimes in themselves. Other things leading to adultery/fornication, gambling, visiting the so-called holy tombs, and drinking alcohol are forbidden as well; hence; it is forbidden to enter casinos, sell, buy, fabricate, and serve wine, visiting tombs made holy by others in the festivals of Sufis who believe in the so-called miracles related to tombs; this is a form of idolatry and paganism. This is an affront to Islam. We are ordered to avoid all these bad practices: "So stay away from the abomination of idols, and stay away from perjury."(22:30) "And those who do not bear false witness; and when they come across indecencies, they pass by with dignity."(25:72).

7- We repeat the following: order of avoidance in the Quran equals the order not to come near to something. For instance: "And do not come near adultery. It is immoral, and an evil way."(17:32), "Those who avoid gross sins and indecencies-except for minor lapses-your Lord is of Vast Forgiveness…"(53:32),"And those who avoid major sins and indecencies..."(42:37). Drinking alcohol, gambling, and fornication are among major sins. Let us remember the following verse: "They ask you about intoxicants and gambling. Say, "There is gross sin in them, and some benefits for people, but their sinfulness outweighs their benefit…"(2:219). So, economic benefits in gambling and wine are great, but sinning in them is still greater: God tells us to avoid anything related to both practices and all benefits drawn from them as well.

8- Avoidance does not imply destruction: just moving away from the forbidden things by heart, soul, and body, plus leaving and not visiting the places in which sins are committed. In the following verse: "O you who believe! Intoxicants, gambling, idolatry, and divination are abominations of Satan's doing. Avoid them, so that you may prosper."(5:90), we find the term ''abominations'' made by Satan. Idolatry includes worshipping and sanctifying shrines/tombs. Avoidance here means getting away and far from such sins, not destroying and annihilating such places/practices. In Islam, i.e., the Quran, we are not to destroy mausoleums and 'holy' tombs and not to confiscate myths repeated by people in this respect by coercing them not to repeat them. God allows these things to exist as a kind of test to all believers. "Likewise, We have assigned for every prophet an enemy-human and jinn devils-inspiring one another with fancy words in order to deceive. But had your Lord willed, they would not have done it. So leave them to their fabrications.So that the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter may incline to it, and be content with it, and that they may perpetrate whatever they perpetrate."(6:112-113). God created us free to obey or disobey and allowed people who propagate myths (to attribute them to Islam) to write down all their fabrications in so many volumes and tomes. This will be evidence against them in Doomsday. Devils' disciples among human beings continue to write down their fabrications to misguide people: "We never sent a messenger before you, or a prophet, but when he had a desire Satan interfered in his wishes. But God nullifies what Satan interjects, and God affirms His revelations. God is Omniscient and Wise.In order to make Satan's suggestions a trial for those whose hearts are diseased, and those whose hearts are hardened. The wrongdoers are in profound discord. And so that those endowed with knowledge may know that it is the truth from your Lord, and so believe in it, and their hearts soften to it. God guides those who believe to a straight path.Those who disbelieve will continue to be hesitant about it, until the Hour comes upon them suddenly, or there comes to them the torment of a desolate Day."(22:52-55). Nowadays, all books, tomes, and volumes of misguidance of earthly, human-made creeds of Sufism, Sunnite and Shiite notions are being printed and sold although they contradict the Quranic Truth. God leaves them to do what they want; they contradict, belittle, and despise the Quranic verses despite the Quranic warning we find in: "Those who despise Our revelations are not hidden from Us. Is he who is hurled into the Fire better? Or he who arrives safely on the Day of Resurrection? Do as you please; He is Seeing of everything you do."(41:40). God orders us to avoid all these fabrications by mind, heart, soul, and body.

 Hence, the devils and their human disciples made people to worship stones and dead bodies of the so-called saints as well as 'sanctified' bricks, glass, curtains...etc. of a tomb! These materials are used in all buildings, why are they being worshipped and revered?! They address the dead bodies as if they were able to come to their aid! These myths grow and spread around tombs of prophet Muhammad, his descendants, and the so-called holy men and women (saints). The sin here is worshipping, revering, and venerating things alongside with God. God forbids us to worship anything or anyone along with Him. If the so—called holy tombs and shrines are destroyed, thousands of them will emerge later on and mushroom everywhere due to the power of mythology. Accordingly, the solution is to avoid such abominations done and propagated by devils and evil human beings. Hence, avoidance is an absolute forbidding in order to be moving away from the abomination by one's heart, body, mind, and soul (by not visiting, witnessing, or being present), not an order to destroy things.                         

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