The good, the bad and the ugly…
Is there a fundamental distinction between what is considered good (ṭayib) and that which is considered lawful (ḥalāl)? Does the same relate to that which is considered impure or malignant (khabeeth)? Why was it for previous nations that they weren’t prohibited from matters which are now considered unlawful in Islam? Likewise, how is it that they are still prevented from many things which are deemed quite lawful?
At times these questions may appear quite vexing. While there are many attempts to address points such as these, at times these appear lacking and very often miss quite crucial foundational principles.
In order to address these questions, amongst others, we enclose a complete translation of Chapter 11, which is taken from Part 3 (Fundamental issues and principles) of Kitāb at-Tawḥeed (the book of monotheism), by Professor Muḥammad bin Abdallah al-Mas’ari.
The chapter provides a lucid analysis of these issues in light of the revealed texts. Crucially, it highlights that in principle there cannot be any limit placed upon Allah; that he cannot create something to be good (ṭayib) in and of itself, yet deem that very same thing to be unlawful as part of a particular Sharī’ah – for whatever considerations he may decide. Similarly, he is fully able to keep the law (ḥukm Sharī’) silent in relation to matters which are from amongst the khabā’ith, thereby not explicitly censuring them. That is the exclusive right of his legislative command. Nothing can dictate to Allah the exalted, as his sovereignty is absolute. He is fully conversant with what is good in and of itself and what is impure or malignant in and of itself.
What constitutes the ‘lawful’, is what Allah the exalted has decreed as being lawful by his exclusive legislative command. Matters that are ‘prohibited’ are to be judged in the same way. Allah has synchronised the final Sharī’ah revealed to the seal of the Messengers, peace be upon him, thereby making lawful (ḥalāl) everything that is deemed to be good (ṭayib) and prohibiting everything that is impure or malignant (khabeeth) as well as that which is deemed obscene. That synchronicity was not a feature of previous revealed laws.Tawheed-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly.pdf (287 downloads)