The Quran

Commentaries for 34.12

Al Saba (The Saba) - سبإ

34.12 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And unto Solomon (We gave) the wind) and We made the wind subservient to Solomon, (whereof the morning course was a month's journey) He would go in the morning from Jerusalem to Istakhr, which was a month's journey (and the evening course a month's journey) and come back in the evening from Istakhr to Jerusalem which was another month's journey, (and We caused the fount of copper to gush forth for him) to make of it what whatever he pleased, (and (We gave him) certain of the jinn) and made the jinn subservient to him (who worked before him) by means of magic buildings and other things (by permission of his Lord) by command of his Lord. (And such of them as deviated from) as disobey or rebel against (Our command) with which We commanded them; it is also said that this means: the command of Solomon, (them We caused to taste the punishment of flaming fire) it is also said that an angel hit with a pillar of fire whoever disobeyed among the jinn.
34.12 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
And the wind was Solomon's, its morning course a month and its evening course a month.
Solomon had beautiful, faultless horses, like birds without wings. When the tale of missing the prayer took place, he drew his sword and cut their necks. It was said to him, “Now that you have done away with them, We will make the wind your mount.”
“When someone belongs to God, God belongs to him.” Whenever someone abandons his own gaze, it is replaced by God's gaze. No one has ever abandoned something for God without being given something better in return. MuṣṬafā sent Jaʿfar to battle and made him the head of the army, so the banner of Islam was in his hand. The unbelievers attacked and cut off his hand, so he took up the banner with the other hand. They struck him again and cut off his other hand, and after that he received seventy-some wounds. He left this world as a martyr. He was seen in a dream and asked, “What did God do with you?”
He said, “God gave me two wings in place of the hands and with them I fly in the Garden wherever I want with Gabriel and Michael.”
AsmāÌ bint ʿAmīs said. God's Messenger was standing and suddenly said, “And upon you be peace.”
I said, “To whom were you returning the greeting, O Messenger of God, for I do not see anyone with you.”
He said, “That was Jaʿfar ibn Abī Ṭālib. He just passed by with Gabriel and Michael.”
“O Jaʿfar, you gave your hands. Here are wings. O Solomon, you gave your horses. Here is the wind, your porter on land and sea.”
“O truthful lover, if by virtue of your discipline you sacrifice your eyes and throw away your body, then here: Our gentleness is your eyes, Our bounty is your ears, Our generosity your lamp and candle. 'When I love him, I am his hearing and he hears through Me, his eyesight and he sees through Me, his hand and he grasps through Me.' First a man becomes a speaker, then a knower, then a traveler, then a flier.
O poor man, have you never wished that one day the bird of your heart would be delivered from the cage of your misfortune and fly in the air of the Real's approval? By the majesty of the Lord God! Nothing will welcome you but the caress of “I come near to him by a cubit.”
Why do you stay in this low place like crows looking for carrion?
Break the cage and fly at once like peacocks to the heights. [DS 52]
The cage is the bodily frame, and the divine Trust is the bird's spirit. It is a bird whose wings are passion, whose flying is desire, whose horizon is the Unseen, and whose domicile is pain. Whenever the bird of the Trust flies from this cage of mortal nature to the horizon of the Unseen, the cherubim of the world of holiness put their hands over their eyes. Otherwise, the lightning of its beauty would burn their eyes.
34.12 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And, We disposed, for Solomon the wind (the nominative reading of al-rīhu would be based on an implicit [missing verb] sakhkharnā, ‘We disposed’) its morning course, meaning its journey from the morning to the noon, was a month’s journey and its evening course, that is, its journey from the noon to sunset, was a month’s journey. And We caused a fount of [molten] copper to flow for him, in other words, We caused the copper to melt for him, and so the fount flowed for three days and nights like water, and to this day people have been using of that [copper] which was given to Solomon [at that time]. And of the jinn [there] were those who worked before him by the leave, by the command, of his Lord. And such of them as deviated from Our command, to him to obey him [Solomon], We would make them taste the chastisement of the Blaze, the Fire in the Hereafter — but it is also said, [that their chastisement was] in this world, in which case an angel would smite one of them with a lash thereof that would scorch him.
34.12-13 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Favors which Allah bestowed upon Sulayman
Having mentioned the blessings with which He favored Dawud, Allah follows this by mentioning what He gave to Dawud's son Sulayman (Solomon), may peace be upon them both. He subjugated the wind to him, so that it would carry his carpet one way for a month, then back again the next month. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, "He set out from Damascus in the morning, landed in Istakhar where he ate a meal, then flew on from Istakhar and spent the night in Kabil.'' Between Damascus and Istakhar is an entire month's travel for a swift rider, and between Istakhar and Kabul is an entire month's travel for a swift rider.
وَأَسَلْنَا لَهُ عَيْنَ الْقِطْرِ
(And We caused a fount Qitr to flow for him,) Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be plased with him, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, `Ata' Al-Khurasani, Qatadah, As-Suddi, Malik from Zayd bin Aslam, `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam and others said, "Qitr means copper.'' Qatadah said, "It was in Yemen.'' Allah brought forth all the things that people make for Sulayman, peace be upon him.
وَمِنَ الْجِنِّ مَن يَعْمَلُ بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِ
(and there were Jinn that worked in front of him, by the leave of his Lord.) means, `We subjugated the Jinn to work in front of him,' by the permission of his Lord, i.e., by Allah's decree and subjugation, they built whatever constructions he wanted, and did other work as well.
وَمَن يَزِغْ مِنْهُمْ عَنْ أَمْرِنَا
(And whosoever of them turned aside from Our command,) means, whoever among them tried to rebel and disobey,
نُذِقْهُ مِنْ عَذَابِ السَّعِيرِ
(We shall cause him to taste of the torment of the blazing Fire.) which means, burning.
يَعْمَلُونَ لَهُ مَا يَشَآءُ مِن مَّحَـرِيبَ وَتَمَـثِيلَ
(They worked for him as he desired on Maharib, Tamathil,) Maharib refers to beautiful structures, the best and innermost part of a dwelling. Ibn Zayd said, "This means dwellings.'' With regard to "Tamathil,'' `Atiyah Al-`Awfi, Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi said that Tamathil means pictures.
وَجِفَانٍ كَالْجَوَابِ وَقُدُورٍ رَسِيَـتٍ
(large basins like Jawab and Qudur Rasiyat.) Jawab, the plural form of Jabiyah, refers to cisterns or tanks in which water is held, and Qudur Rasiyat are cauldrons that stay in one place and are not moved around because of their great size. This was the view of Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak and others.
اعْمَلُواْ ءَالَ دَاوُودَ شُكْراً
(Work you, O family of Dawud, with thanks!) means, `We said to them: Work with thanks for the blessings that We have bestowed upon you in this world and the Hereafter.' This indicates that thanks may be expressed by actions as much as by words and intentions. Abu `Abdur-Rahman Al-Hubuli said, "Prayer is thanks, fasting is thanks, every good deed that you do for the sake of Allah is thanks, and the best of thanks is praise.'' This was recorded by Ibn Jarir. In the Two Sahihs, it is reported that the Messenger of Allah said:
«إِنَّ أَحَبَّ الصَّلَاةِ إِلَى اللهِ تَعَالَى صَلَاةُ دَاوُدَ، كَانَ يَنَامُ نِصْفَ اللَّيْلِ، وَيَقُومُ ثُلُثَهُ، وَيَنَامُ سُدُسَهُ، وَأَحَبَّ الصِّيَامِ إِلَى اللهِ تَعَالَى صِيَامُ دَاوُدَ، كَانَ يَصُومُ يَوْمًا وَيُفْطِرُ يَوْمًا، وَلَا يَفِرُّ إِذَا لَاقَى»
(The most beloved of prayer to Allah is the prayer of Dawud. He used to sleep for half the night, stand in prayer for a third of it and sleep for a sixth of it. The most beloved of fasting to Allah is the fasting of Dawud. He used to fast for a day then not fast for a day, and he never fled the battlefield.) Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Fudayl said concerning the Ayah:
اعْمَلُواْ ءَالَ دَاوُودَ شُكْراً
(Work you, O family of Dawud, with thanks!) Dawud said, "O Lord! How can I thank you when thanks itself is a blessing from You'' He said: "Now you have truly given thanks to Me, for you have realized that it is a blessing from Me.''
وَقَلِيلٌ مِّنْ عِبَادِىَ الشَّكُورُ
But few of My servants are grateful. This is a reflection of reality.
34.12-13 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
For this also please refer to Al-Anbiya: 81 and E.N. 74 thereof.
Some former commentators have taken this to mean that a spring from the earth had erupted for the Prophet Solomon from which molten copper flowed oat instead of water. But another interpretation of this verse can be that in the time of the Prophet Solomon the work of melting and molding copper for different uses was done on a very large scale and the same has been referred to here as the flowing of a spring of molten copper for him. (For further details, see E.N. 74 of AI-Anbiya').
The question whether the jinns who had been subdued to the Prophet Solomon were human beings of the mountain tribes or really the jinns who are well known by this name as the hidden creation, has been discussed in detail in our commentary of Surah AI-Anbiya' and Surah An-Naml. (Please see E.N. 75 of AI-Anbiya' and E.N.'s 23, 45 and 52 of An-Naml).
The word tamathil in the Text is the plural of timthal, which in Arabic is used for every such thing as is made to resemble a natural thing, whether it is a human being, an animal, a tree, a flower, a river, or some inanimate object. Timthal is the name of every artificial thing which may have been made to resemble something made by God. " (Lisan al- Arab). "Timthal is every such picture which may have been made to resemble the likeness of something else, whether living or dead." (The Commentary, Al-Kashshaf). On this basis the statement of the Qur'an does not necessarily imply that the "images" made for the Prophet Solomon were the pictures or images of human beings and animals. They might have been floral designs or natural landscape or different kinds of decorations with which the Prophet Solomon might have decorated his buildings and works.
The misunderstanding has been created by some commentators who have stated that the Prophet Solomon had got the pictures of the Prophets and the angels made for himself. They took such things from the Israelite traditions and then explained them saying that in the former Shari'ahs it was not forbidden to make the pictures. But while accepting and citing these traditions without question, these scholars did not keep in mind the fact that the Prophet Solomon was a follower of the Mosaic Law and in that Law also making of the pictures and images of human beings and animals was forbidden as it is in the Shari'ah of Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace). And they also did not remember that because of the enmity which a section of the Israelites bore against the Prophet Solomon they have accused him of crimes like polytheism, idolatry, sorcery and adultery. Therefore. one should not place reliance on the Israelite traditions and accept anything about this great Prophet, which might contradict any Shari'ah enjoined by God. Everyone knows that all the Prophets who came after the Prophet Moses till the Prophet Jesus among the Israelites were the followers of the Torah, and none of them had brought forth a new law, which might have abrogated the Law of the Torah. Now the Torah clearly enjoins repeatedly that making of the pictures and images of human beings and animals is absolutely forbidden.
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." (Exod., 20: 4) "Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, nor rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it." (Levit., 26: 1)
'Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female. The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air. The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth." (Deut., 4: 16-18).
"Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place." (Deut., 27: 15).
In the face of these clear and express injunctions how can it be accepted that the Prophet Solomon might have employed the jinns to make pictures and images of the Prophets and the angels for him? And how can this thing be admitted on the authority of the statements of the Jews who accuse the Prophet Solomon of idolatry due to his love for polytheistic wives? (t Kings, oh., 11).
However, the Muslim commentators, while citing the Israelite traditions, had made it clear that in the Shari'ah of Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) this thing is forbidden; therefore, it is no more lawful for anybody to make pictures and images in imitation of the Prophct Solomon. But some people of the modern time, who want to make photography and carving of idols lawful in imitation of the West, took this verse of the Qur'an as an argument for themselves. They argue like this: "When a Prophet of Allah has done this and Allah Himself has mentioned this act of the Prophet in His Book, and has expressed no disapproval of it either, it must be lawful. "
This argument of these followers of the West is wrong for two reasons. First, the word tamathil that has been used in the Qur'an, does not explicitly give the meaning of the human and animal pictures, but it applies to the pictures of lifeless things as well. Therefore, only on the basis of this word, it cannot be concluded that it is lawful to make the human and animal pictures according to the Qur'an. Secondly, it is established by a large number of the Ahadith, which have been reported through authentic chains of transmitters, and commonly reported by many authorities, that the Holy Prophet absolutely forbade the making and keeping of the pictures of the living things. In this connection, we reproduce below the authentic Traditions of the Holy, Prophet and the verdicts given by the eminent Companions:
(1) Mother of the faithful Hadrat `A'ishah has reported that Hadrat Umm Habibah and Hadrat Umm Salamah had seen a church in Habash, which had pictures in it. When they mentioned this before the Holy Prophet, he said: "The custom among those people was that when a pious man from among them died, they would build a house of worship at his grave and would make his pictures in it. On the Day of Resurrection, these people will be among the most wretched creatures in the sight of Allah." (Bukhari: Kitab as-Salat,' Muslim: Kitab al-Masajid; Nasa`i: Kitab al-Masajid).
(2) Abu Hujaifah has reported that the messenger of Allah has cursed the maker of pictures. (Bukhari Kitab al-Buyu', Kitab at-Talaq, Kitab alLibas).
(3) Abu Zur'ah says, "Once when I entered a house along with Hadrat Abu Hurairah I saw that a painter was making pictures at the top. Thereupon, Hadrat Abu Hurairah said, 'I have heard the Holy Prophet say: Allah says who could be more wicked than the one who tries to create a thing like My creation? Let them, if they can, create a seed or an ant'." (Bukhari: Kitab al-Libas; Musnad Ahmad. According to the tradition in Muslim, this was the house of Marwan).
(4) Abu Muhammad Hudhali has reported on the authority of Hadrat `Ali: The Holy Prophet was present at a funeral prayer when he said: Who from among you would go to Madinah and demolish every idol that he sees, and level down every grave that he sees, and blot out every picture that he sees. A man said that he would go. So he went but came back without carrying out the task due to fear of the people of Madinah. Then Hadrat `Ali submitted that he would go, and the Holy Prophet allowed him to go. Hadrat `Ali went, then came back and said: I have demolished every idol and leveled down every grave and blotted out every picture. Thereupon the Holy Prophet said: "Now if any one made any of these things, he would be denying the teaching sent down on Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace)." (Musnad Ahmad; Muslim: Kitab al-Jana 'iz; Nasa' i (Kitab al-Jan 'iz) also contain a Tradition on the same subject).
(5) Ibn `Abbas has reported: ".....And he who made a picture would be chastised and compelled to breathe the soul into it, which he will not be able to do." (Bukhari: Kitab al-Ta 'bir, Tirmidhi: Abwab al Libas; Nasa`i: Kitab az-Zinah; Musnad Ahmad).
(6) Said bin al-Hasan says: "I was sitting with Ibn `Abbas when a man came and said: O Ibn `Abbas, I am a man who earns his living with his hand, and my profession is to make these pictures. Ibn `Abbas replied: I shall say to you the same that I have heard from the Holy Prophet. I have heard this from him that Allah will chastise the one who makes pictures, and. will not leave him till he breathes the saul into it, and he will never be able to breathe the soul into it. At this the man was much upset and his face turned pale. Ibn `Abbas said: Well, if you have to make the pictures, make of this tree, or of something which is lifeless. " (Bukhari: Kitab al-Buyu'; Muslim: Kitab al-Libas; Nasa`i; Kitab al-Zinah; Musnad Ahmad).
(7) "Abdullah bin Mas'ud has reported that the Holy Prophet said: "On the Day of Resurrection the ones to be most severely punished by Allah would be the painters of the pictures. "(Bukhari: Kitab al-Libas; Muslim: Kitab al-Libas; Nasa`i; Kitab al-Zinah; Musnad Ahmad).
(8) 'Abdullah bin `Umar has reported that the Holy Prophet said: Those who paint the pictures will be punished on the Day of Resurrection. They will be asked to put life into what they have made. (Bukhari: Kitab al-Libas; Muslim: Kitab al-Libas; Nasa`i; Kitab al-Zinah; Musnad Ahmad).
(9) Hadrat 'A'ishah says that she bought a cushion in which pictures had been painted. Then the Holy Prophet came and stood at the door and did not enter. I said: "I repent before God of any sin that I may have committed." The Holy Prophet asked: "What is this cushion for?" I said: "This is here so that you may sit and may recline on it." He said: "The painters of these pictures will be chastised on the Day of Resurrection: they will be asked to put life into what they have made; and the angels (i. e. the angels of mercy) do not enter a house which has pictures in it. "(Bukhari; : Kitab al-Libas; Muslim: Kitab al-Libas; Nasa`i: Kitab az-Zinah; Ibn Majah: Kitab at-Tajarat; Mu`watta': Kitab al-Istidhan).
(10) Hadrat `A'ishah says: Once the Holy Prophet came to my house, and I had hung a curtain which had pictures on it. The colour of his face changed. Then he took hold of the curtain and tore it and said: "Those who try to create like the creation of Allah will be among, those who will be severely punished by Allah on the Day of Resurrection." (Muslim: Kitab al-Libas; Bukhari: Kitab al-Libas; Nasa`i: Kitab az -Zinah).
(11) Hadrat `A'ishah says: Once the Holy Prophet came back; from a journey and I had hung a curtain at my door, which had the pictures of winged horses on it. The Holy Prophet commanded me to remove it and I removed it. (Muslim: Kitab al-Libas, Nasa'i: Kitab al-Zinah).
(12) Jabir bin `Abdullah says: The Holy Prophet prohibited keeping of the pictures in the house and also forbade that somebody should make pictures. (Tirmidhi: Abwab al-Libas).
(13) Ibn `Abbas has related on the authority of Abu Talhah Ansari: The Holy Prophet said that the angels (i.e. of mercy) do not enter a house where there is a dog, nor where there is a picture. (Bukhari: Kitab al-Libas).
(14) 'Abdullah bin `Umar says: Once Gabriel promised to pay the Holy Prophet a visit, but the time passed and he did not come. The Holy Prophet felt troubled and came out of his house and met him. When he complained to him, he (Gabriel) replied: "We do not enter a house where there is a dog or a picture. " (Bukhari: Kitab a/-Libas. Several Traditions on this subject have been related by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Da`ud, Tirmidhi, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad on the authority of several Companions).
As against these, there are some other Traditions which allow some exceptions regarding the pictures. For example, according to a tradition of Abu Talhah Ansari, it is permissible to hang the curtain of a cloth which has pictures embroidered on it. (Bukhari: Kitab al-Libas); and according to Hadrat 'A'ishah's tradition, when she tore a cloth having pictures on it and made a cushion from it to be spread on the floor, the Holy Prophet did not forbid it. (Muslim: Kitab al-Libas); and Salim bin `Abdullah bin `Umar's tradition that the prohibition is of the picture which is displayed and installed prominently and not of the one which is used as a carpet: (Musnad Ahmad). But none of these traditions contradicts the Traditions which have been cited above. None of these sanctions the making and painting of the pictures. They only tell that if a person has got a piece of cloth having pictures on it, how he should use it. In this regard, the tradition of Abu Talhah Ansari cannot at all be accepted because it contradicts many, other authentic Traditions in which the Holy Prophet not only forbade use of cloth having pictures on it as a curtain but even tore it into pieces. Moreover, Hadrat Abu Talhah Ansari's own practice that has been reported in Tirmidhi and Mu'watta', in this regard, was that he did not even like to use a piece of cloth which had pictures on it, as a carpet, not to speak of hanging it as a curtain.
As for the traditions related by Hadrat `A'ishah and Salim bin `Abdullah. they only permit that if a picture is not placed prominently out of respect and esteem but is used as a carpet disrespectfully and is trodden under the feet, it could be tolerable. After all, how can these Traditions be cited for obtaining sanction for the culture which regards the art of painting and portrait making and sculpture as an enviable achievement of the human civilization, and wants to popularize it among the Muslims?
The code of practice that the Holy Prophet left for his Ummah with regard to the pictures, Can be seen from the conduct and practice of the eminent Companions, which they adopted in this regard. The admitted principle of law in Islam is that the authentic and reliable Islamic Law is that which the Holy Prophet enjoined during the latter part of his life after it had passed through gradual and preliminary injunctions and exceptions. And after the Holy Prophet the eminent Companions' practice and persistence on a particular way is a proof that he left the Ummah on that way. Now Iet us sec how these holy and pious people treated and regarded the picntres.
Hadrat 'Umar said to the Christians: "We do not enter your churches because there are pictures in them. " (Bukhari: Kitab as -Salat).
Ibn 'Abbas would sometimes offer his Prayer in the church, but not in a church which had pictures in it. (Bukhari; : Kitab as-Salam).
Abu al-Hayyaj al-Asadi says: Hadrat 'Ali said to me: "Should I not send yon on the same mission on which the Holy Prophet had sent me? And it is this that you should not leave any idol that you should not break, and you should not leave any grave that you should not level down, and you should not leave any picture that you should not blot out." (Muslim: Kitab al-Jana'iz; Nasa'i: Kitab al.lane 'iz).
Hanash al-Kinani says: Hadrat 'AIi said to his chief of the police: "Do you know on what mission I am going to send you?-on the mission on which the Holy Prophet had sent me, that you should blot out every picture and level down every grave.' (Musnad Ahmad).
This very established Law of Islam has been accepted and acknowledged by the jurists of Islam and regarded as an article of the Islamic Law. Thus, 'Allama Badruddin 'Aini writes with reference to Tauhid.'
"Our elders (i. e. the Hanifite jurists) and other jurists say that making the pictures of a living thing is not only unlawful but strictly forbidden and a major sin, whether the maker has made it for a purpose where it would be held with contempt or for some other use and purpose. The making and painting of the picture anyway is unlawful, because it is an attempt to create like the creation of Allah. Likewise. the making of pictures whether in the cloth, or in the carpet, or nn a coin, or in a utensil, or in a wall, is in any case unlawful. However, making the pictures of something else, for instance, of a tree, etc., is not forbidden. Whether the picture casts a shadow or not is immaterial. The same is the opinion of Imam Malik, Sufyan Thauri, Imam Abu Hanifah, and other scholars. Qadi Iyad says that the dolls of girls are an exception, but Imam Malik; disapproved of even buying them." (`Umdat al-Qari vol. XXII p. 70). Imam Nawawi has elucidated this same view in greater detail in his commentary of Muslim. Please refer to Sharh Nawawi, Egyptian Ed., vol. XIV, pp. 81-82).
This is then the injunction about the making of pictures. As regards the use of the pictures made by others, `Allama Ibn Hajar has cited the views of the jurists of Islam as follows:
"Ibn 'Arabi, the Malikite jurist, says that the consensus of opinion is that the picture that casts a shadow is unlawful, whether it is regarded with contempt or not. Only the dolls of girls are an exception.... Ibn 'Arab; also says that the picture which does not cast a shadow but which persists (as in the printed form, unlike the reflection of a mirror) is also unlawful, whether it is regarded with contempt or not. However, if its head is cut off, or its limbs or parts are separated, it may be used.... Imam al-Harmayn has cited a verdict according to which a curtain or a cushion having pictures on it may be used, but the picture hung on the wall or ceiling is forbidden, for it would show respect and esteem for it, while the picture on the curtain or cushion, on the contrary, would be held with contempt.... Ibn Abi Shaibah has related on the authority of 'Ikrimah that the scholars among the immediate followers of the Companions held the opinion that the picture's being in the carpet or cushion is disgraceful for it; they also opined that the picture hung prominently is unlawful, but the one trodden under the feet is permissible. The same opinion has been cited from Ibn Sirin, Salim bin 'Abdullah, 'Ikrimah bin Khalid and Said bin Jubair." (Fath al-Bari, vol. X, p. 300).
The details given above clearly show that the forbiddence of the pictures is not a controversial or doubtful matter in Islam, but it is an established article of the law according to the express instructions of the Holy Prophet, the practice of the Companions and the unanimous verdicts of the jurists of Islam, which cannot be changed by the hairsplitting of the people influenced by the alien cultures.
In this connection, certain other things should also be understood so that there remains no misunderstanding in this regard.
Some people try to make a distinction Between a photograph and a painting, whereas the Shari ah forbids the picture itself and not any process or method of making pictures. There is no difference between a photograph and a painting: they are both pictures. Whatever difference is there between them is due to the method of making them, and in this regard the Shari'ah injunctions make no difference between them.
Some people give the argument that the picture was forbidden in Islam 'in order to put an end to idol-worship. As there is no such danger now, this injunction should be annulled. But this argument is absolutely wrong. In the first place, nowhere in the Traditions has it been said that the pictures have been made unlawful in order to avoid the danger of shirk and idol-worship. Secondly, the assertion that shirk and idol-worship have been eradicated from the world is also baseless. Today in the Indo-Pak sub-continent itself there are millions of idol worshipers and polytheists. Shirk is being practiced in different regions of the world in different ways. The Christian people of the Book also are worshiping the images and portraits of the Prophet Jesus and Mary and other saints; so much so that even a large number of the Muslims also are involved in the evil of worshiping others than God.
Some people say that only those pictures which are polytheistic in nature should be forbidden, i. e., pictures and images of those persons who have been made gods. As for the other pictures and images there is no reason why they should be forbidden. But the people who argue like this, in fact, become their own law-givers instead of deriving law from the Commandments and instructions of the Law-Giver, They do not know that the picture does not become the cause of polytheism and idol-worship only but has become the cause of. many other mischiefs in the world, and is becoming so even today. The picture is one of those major means by which the aura of greatness of the kings, dictators and political leaders has been impressed upon the minds of the common people. The picture also has been used extensively for spreading obscenity and today this mischief has touched heights unknown to previous history. Pictures have also been used for sowing discord and hatred and for creating mischief between the nations and for misleading the masses in different ways. Therefore, the view that the Law-Giver forbade the picture only in order to eradicate idol-worship is basically wrong. The Law-Giver has absolutely forbidden pictures of the living things. If we are not our own law-givers but are the followers of the-Law-Giver, we should desist from this accordingly. It is not at all lawful for us that we should propose from ourselves a basis for a particular injunction and then, on the basis of it, should declare some pictures lawful and some as unlawful.
Some people refer to some apparently "harmless' kinds of pictures and say that there could be no danger from these: they could not cause the mischiefs of shirk, obscenity, political propaganda or other evils; therefore, they should not be forbidden. Here again the people commit the same error: they first propose a cause and a basis for an injunction, and then argue that when the cause is not found in a particular forbidden thing, it should not be forbidden. Furthermore, these people also do not understand the rule of the Islamic Shari ah that it does not make vague and ambiguous boundaries between the lawful and the unlawful from which a man may not be able to judge when he is within the bounds and when he has crossed them; but it draws a clear line of demarcation which every person can see like the broad daylight. The demarcation in respect of the picture is absolutely clear: pictures of living things are unlawful and of the lifeless things lawful. This line of demarcation does not admit any ambiguity. The one who has to follow the injunctions can clearly know what is permissible for him and what is not. But, if some pictures of the living things had been declared lawful and some unlawful, no list of the two kinds of the pictures however extensive, would have made the boundary between the lawful and the unlawful clear, and the case of many pictures would still have remained ambiguous as to whether they were within the bounds of lawfulness or outside them. This is similar to the Islamic injunction about wine that one should completely abstain from it, and this marks a clear limit, Hut, if it had been said that one should abstain from such a quantity of wine as intoxicates, it would be impossible to demarcate between the lawful and the unlawful, and no one would have been able to decide what quantity of wine he could drink; and where he had to stop. (For a further discussion, see Rasa 'iI-o-Masa'il, Part 1, pp. 152-155).
This gives an idea of the generous and large scale hospitality practiced by the Prophet Solomon. Big bowls like troughs had been arranged to serve as containers of food for the guests and heavy cooking pots were meant for cooking food for thousands of the people at one and the same time.
"Work gratefully": work like grateful servants. The mere verbal thankfulness of a person who acknowledges only verbally the favors done by the benefactor but uses them against his will is meaningless. The truly grateful person is he who acknowledges the favors with the tongue as well as uses and employs the favors according to the will of the benefactor.