Realization of Human Welfare

Please explain the principle of realization of human welfare in Islamic Law?

We find that the principles realization of human welfare within the revelation of Islamic laws came when we look at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). They came in a gradual fashion taking into account the situation of the people; when they reach a certain stage where they are able to grasp, understand and practice, the final laws were given.

For example, in the case of alcohol we find that in the initial laws they were just warning the people, telling people about the harm that there is in alcohol. Whereas in the later laws, there was complete prohibition, which means the laws came in a gradual fashion. We find in the case of Salah for example, initially the Salah, the requirement of prayer was only twice a day; in the morning and in the evening and when it became obligatory, on a five time basis it was only two units of prayer each time. However, afterwards when people became used to it, it was increased to 4 units for the resident and 2 units for the travelers. So we find this gradual modification, increasing, taking place in various laws, which were instituted to take into account human welfare and human need.

For the time that came after the revelation, we find that Allah and the Prophet (ﷺ) explained the reasons behind the laws which now enables mankind (after that time) to be able to use the laws appropriately.

This is how human welfare is taken into account; by understanding the principles behind the laws, the reasons and the causes, then to apply these laws in the circumstance that are most suited. We have for example, in the case of the prohibition which the Prophet (ﷺ) initially made for the companions in which he prohibited them from visiting graveyards. He went on to say later, that you may visit the graveyard, 'now go and visit them because they remind you of the next life'[1]. So this is the principle in Islam. You are encouraged to go to the graveyard for what purpose? You are encouraged fundamentally to go there to remind yourself that death is around the corner, that you are going to end up in that situation also and that you should try to make the best of what time you have in this life to prepare for your death, so that encouragement is there.


[1] Muslim, Book 11, Hadith 135, Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1054, Book 10, Hadith 90, Sunan Abi Dawud 3235, Book 21, Hadith 147, Sunan ibn Majah [English Reference] Vol. 1, Book 6, Hadith 1570 and others.

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