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No Monasticism in Islam

The stand of Islam is, on the one hand, prohibits fornication and adultery, and blocks all ways leading to them. On the other hand, Islam calls people toward marriage, prohibiting renunciation and castration. (Renunciation means remaining celibate and renouncing worldly activity for the sake of devoting oneself to the worship of God. Castration denotes suppressing sexual desire by removing the testicles.)

As long as he possesses the means to marry, the Muslim is not permitted to refrain from marriage on the grounds that he has dedicated himself to the service or the worship of Allah and to a life of monasticism and renunciation of the world.

The Prophet (peace be on him) noted a tendency toward monasticism among some of his Companions. Declaring this to be a deviation from the straight path of Islam and a rejection of his sunnah (recommended practice), he thereby rid Islam’s conceptual framework of such a Christian notion.

Abu Qulabah narrated

"Some of the Companions of the Prophet (peace be on him) decided to relinquish the world, forsake their wives, and become like monks. The Prophet (peace be on him) told them with asperity, People before you perished because of their asceticism; they made excessive demands on themselves until Allah brought hardships on them: you can still see a few of them remaining in monasteries and temples. Then worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him, perform the Hajj and the ‘Umrah, be righteous, and all affairs will be set right for you.” (Reported by ‘Abdur Razzaq, Ibn Jarir, and Ibn al-Mundhir).

Abu Qulabah said the following verse was revealed concerning them:

"O you who believe! Do not make haram the good of things which Allah has made halal for you, and do not transgress; indeed, Allah does not like transgressors." (Surah 5: Verse 87 )

Mujahid narrated, “Some people, including ‘Uthman ibn Maz’un and ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, intended to renounce their wives, castrate themselves, and wear coarse clothing. Then the above verse and the verse following it were revealed.” (Reported by Ibn Jarir in his Tafsir.)

It is reported by Al-Bukhari and others that three people came to the Prophet’s wives and asked how the Prophet (peace be on him) conducted his worship. When they were told about it, they seemed to consider it but little, saying, “What a difference there is between us and the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him), whose past and future sins have been forgiven him by Allah!”

One of them said, “As for me, I will always pray during the night.”

The other said, “I will have nothing to do with women and will never marry.”

When the Prophet (peace be on him) heard about this, he explained to them their error and deviation from the straight path, saying, I am the one who fears Allah the most among you, yet I fast and I break my fast, I pray and I sleep, and I marry women. He who turns away from my sunnah has nothing to do with me.

S’ad ibn Abi Waqqas said, Allah’s Messenger (peace be on him) objected to ‘Uthman ibn Maz’un living in celibacy. If he had given him permission (to do so), we (others) would have had ourselves castrated. (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

Addressing the young men of all times, the Prophet (peace be on him) said, ‘Young men, those of you who can support a wife should marry, for it keeps you from looking at women and preserves your chastity.’ (Reported by al-Bukhari.)

From this statement some scholars have inferred that marriage is obligatory for the Muslim who is able to support a wife and that the avoidance of it is not permissible, while other scholars add the further condition for its obligatoriness that he should be afraid of falling into sin.

In fact, it is not befitting that a Muslim should refrain from marriage out of fear of poverty or of not being able to meet his obligations. He should make every possible attempt to find employment, seeking help from Allah, for He has promised to help those who marry in order to protect their chastity and purity.

Says Allah Ta’ala:

"And marry those among you who are single and the virtuous ones among your slaves, male or female. If they are in poverty, Allah will enrich them out of His bounty".... (Surah 24: Verse 32)

And the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said,

"There are three who have a right to the help of Allah: the one who marries out of the desire to live a chaste life, the slave whose master has agreed to his buying his freedom when he wishes to pay the sum, and the one who fights in the cause of Allah." (Reported by Ahmad, al-Nisai, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and al-Hakim).

 

Article Contributed by: itsIslam Staff



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