THE PRINCIPLE OF LOVE & DESIRE: Bani Adam Cannot Live Alone

Bani Adam Cannot Live Without Mutual Agreements & Covenants

What one must know is that every group or community in the world must have an oath, agreement, or contract between two or more parties that binds them, because Banī Ādam (i.e., mankind) cannot live without cooperating with one another to gain benefits and repel harms, and their agreement towards that is the contract and covenant.

This is why fulfilling contracts is one of the things that the people of earth all agree upon, even if there are those who do not do so despite their ability to do it, just as they agree upon the need for justice and honesty. Therefore, if they agree and make a contract to promote what they love, and repel or defend against the things they dislike, then they will help one another in attaining the things they love and support one another in defending against the things they dislike, even if they never actually spoke an agreement. So their participation necessitates that they work to attain shared benefits and defend against things that will cause them harm, such as the people of one lineage or the people of one city, so a lineage or community necessitates cooperation to attain shared benefits and to defend against harms.


This partnership is either formed by their actions, which is the covenant based on the common good, or it is formed by Allah's action. Allah, the Most High, joined these two foundations in His saying:

وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ

And fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). [Surah an-Nisa' 4:1]

So He mentioned in this surah the rights and the relationships between the creation, and these are based on covenants and contracts. Just as Allah, the Most High, said:

وَهُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ مِنَ الْمَاءِ بَشَرًا فَجَعَلَهُ نَسَبًا وَصِهْرًا

And it is He Who has created man from water, and has appointed for him kindred by blood and kindred by marriage. [Surah al-Furqan 25:54)

And He, the Most High, said:

الَّذِينَ يُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِ اللَّهِ وَلَا يَنقُضُونَ الْمِيثَاقَ ) وَالَّذِينَ يَصِلُونَ مَا أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ

Those who fulfill the covenant of Allah and break not the mithaq (bond, treaty, covenant); those who join what Allah has commanded to be joined. [Surah ar-Ra'd 2,13:20-21]

And He, the Most High, said:

وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلَّا الْفَاسِقِينَ الَّذِينَ يَنقُضُونَ عَهْدَ اللَّهِ مِن بَعْدِ مِيثَاقِهِ وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَا أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ

And He misleads not except the defiantly disobedi- ent, those who break Allah's covenant after ratifying it and sever what Allah has ordered to be joined. [Surah al-Baqarah 2:26-27]

Therefore, if every partnership-based on an oath or otherwise- requires cooperation in order to attain the things that are loved and avoid the things that are disliked, then the things that are liked are allegiances and the things that are disliked are enmities. Hence, all the Sons of Adam have allegiances and enmities. They are praised for bravery and kindness. Kindness is support with wealth and helpful- ness to help someone attain things that are loved, and bravery is helping to defend against something disliked by fighting and other means. Nothing of Bani Adam's affairs are established without that, and it is all built upon justice in all partnerships and exchanges.

Therefore, it is clear that all of Bani Adam's affairs require coopera- tion among themselves, which means they must have an agreement and they must possess the ability (to carry out the agreement), and the basis of the contract is desire, as He, the Most High, said:

وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ 

And fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights). [Surah an-Nisa' 4:1]

I.e., they make a covenant or an oath.

Every action requires both intent and ability, so those who seek to cooperate with one another to achieve an action must agree on what their intent is and know the level of their ability. By acting upon this intent and using this ability, some can attain from others what they love and defend from them what they dislike. For example, intercourse through marriage-which is a contract-is based on desire and ability, and intercourse through slavery is compulsion with ability. Their participation in attainment and defense either follows their covenant or it is due to obedience to a command. The first is allegiance, and the second is obedience without allegiance, whether that obedience is based on a right or not.

Obedience that is based on a right is the obedience shown to every person to whom Allah commands us to show obedience, such as His prophets, the leaders of the believers, our parents, and others. Obedience based on a right can also be how some of the (aforemen- tioned) people respond with truth to the wants of others. That is the meaning of obedience, because what is intended by obedience is the acceptance of that which is wanted or sought.
That which is not based on a right is like obedience to the tawaghit (false deities). A taghut is anything that is falsely glorified.

Any group that is not joined by a single object of obedience for all their affairs must rely on a covenant and alliances for the things that they are not commanded to do. This is why Allah revealed the shari'ah and included actions that are obligatory to perform for Allah's sake and actions that are obligatory for some people over other people. In other words, the action may be obligatory due to Allah making it obligatory or due to a contractual agreement, such as an oath, an exchange contract (i.e., sale or rent), or a partnership. Hence, all the obligations in the shari'ah are either legislated (by Allah) or contracted (between people).

If it is not based upon a revealed shari'ah from Allah, then it is either a legislation that is not divine or a policy created through ability and knowledge by those who are held in esteem. This neces- sitates that there is an oath that binds them, because their situation could not be kept in order without obedience to a leader to whom the people have pledged allegiance or whom they obey.

This is why allegiance is disputed for the nations without a shari'ah, or those who oppose the nations with a shari'ah, and also in relation to the affairs that do not come under the purview of the shari'ah, and that only becomes apparent when one studies the signs of prophethood. Hence, people pledge allegiance to obey a king or elder, or to obey others in certain stipulated affairs, like how the Arabs in pre-Islamic times used to pledge allegiance to become a member of a tribe. Allah, the Most High, said:

وَالَّذِينَ عَقَدَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ فَآتُوهُمْ نَصِيبَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدًا 

To those also with whom you have made a pledge (of brotherhood), give them their due portion (by waşiyyah-wills, etc.). Truly, Allah is ever a witness over all things. [Surah an-Nisa' 4:33]

Allah, the Most High, said:

وَأَوْفُوا بِعَهْدِ اللَّهِ إِذَا عَاهَدتُّمْ وَلَا تَنقُضُوا الْأَيْمَانَ بَعْدَ تَوْكِيدِهَا وَقَدْ جَعَلْتُمُ اللَّهَ عَلَيْكُمْ كَفِيلًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّتِي نَقَضَتْ غَزْلَهَا مِن بَعْدِ قُوَّةٍ أَنكَانًا تَتَّخِذُونَ أَيْمَانَكُمْ دَخَلًا بَيْنَكُمْ أَن تَكُونَ أُمَّةٌ هِيَ أَرْبَى مِنْ أُمَّةٍ إِنَّمَا يَبْلُوكُمُ اللَّهُ بِهِ وَلَيُبَيِّنَنَّ لَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ 

And fulfill the covenant of Allah (bay'ah: pledge for Islam) when you have covenanted, and break not the oaths after you have confirmed them, and indeed you have appointed Allah your surety. Verily! Allah knows what you do. And be not like her who undoes the thread which she has spun after it has become strong, by taking your oaths as a means of deception among yourselves, lest a nation may be more numerous than another nation. Allah only tests you by this (i.e., who obeys Allah and fulfills Allah's covenant and who disobeys Allah and breaks Allah's covenant). And on the Day of Resurrection, He will certainly make clear to you that wherein you used to differ. [Surah an-Nall 16,16:91-92

This also includes the covenant by brotherhood, the kings, tribal leaders, the scholars, the military, and other people who are in agreement on certain issues. Oaths of allegiance are common to all of Bani Ādam; they even sometimes made allegiances loved by Allah in the pre-Islamic period, as the Prophet said:

جدعان ما يسرني «لقد شهدت حلفا مع عمومتي في دار عبدالله بن بمثله حُمْر النَّعَم» أو قال: «ما يسرني حمر النعم وأن أنقضه، و لو دعيت إلى مثله في الإسلام لأجبت.

"Indeed, I witnessed an oath with my uncle in the house of Abdullah bin Jud'an that pleased me like a red camel." Or he said, "Even a red camel would not make me want to revoke it, and if I was called to the likes of it in Islam, I would have accepted." *1

Muslim also reported a similar hadith on the authority of Jubayr bin Mut'im, that the Prophet said:

لَا حِلْفَ فِي الإِسْلَامِ وَأَيُّمَا حِلْفٍ كَانَ فِي الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ لَمْ يَزِدْهُ الْإِسْلَامُ إِلَّاشدة 

There is no sworn alliance in Islam, and Islām strengthened the sworn alliances made during pre-Islamic days. *2

This oath is called the Oath of the Perfumed People. There was a man who came to Makkah with some merchandise for sale who was oppressed by some of the leaders of Makkah, and he screamed for help, but no one came to his aid until someone said the following poetry:

O people of Makkah, there is a man oppressed with his merchandise,
In the center of Makkah between the corner and the stone.

Later, the tribes of the Quraysh gathered in the home of 'Abdullah bin Jud'an and they vowed to cooperate upon justice and help the oppressed; then they placed their hands in a container of perfume, and that is why it was known as the Oath of the Perfumed People.*3

However, in terms of the shari'ah with which Allah sent His messen- gers in respect to one's religion and dunya, then that suffices one from the need for an oath or covenant on anything but that (i.e., the religion); so one's oath, covenant, cooperation, and support are all for that, as Allah describes the ones who are loved in His saying:

 یٰۤاَیُّهَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا مَنۡ یَّرۡتَدَّ مِنۡکُمۡ عَنۡ دِیۡنِهٖ فَسَوۡفَ یَاۡتِی اللّٰهُ بِقَوۡمٍ یُّحِبُّهُمۡ وَ یُحِبُّوۡنَهٗۤ ۙ اَذِلَّۃٍ عَلَی الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ اَعِزَّۃٍ عَلَی الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ۫ یُجَاهِدُوۡنَ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰهِ وَ لَا یَخَافُوۡنَ لَوۡمَۃَ لَآئِمٍ ؕ ذٰلِکَ فَضۡلُ اللّٰهِ یُؤۡتِیۡهِ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ اللّٰهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۵۴

Allah will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, striving in the way of Allah, and never afraid of the blame of the blamers. [Surah al-Ma'idah 5:54]

They pledge allegiance (bay'ah) based on that to those who are to be followed, such as the leaders, scholars, and others, as Abu Bakr said in his speech to the Muslims:

أطيعوني ما أطعت الله و رسوله فإذا عصيت الله فلا طاعة لي عليكم.

Obey me in that which I obey Allah and His Messenger, and if I disobey Allay and His Messenger, then there is no obedience to me upon you. *4

Allah and His Messenger commanded the people to obey the leaders of the Muslims upon this condition. The Prophet said:

عَلَى الْمَرْءِ الْمُسْلِمِ السَّمْعُ وَالطَّاعَةُ فِي عُسْرِه وَيُسْرِه وَامَنْشَطِهِ وَمَكْرَهِهما لم يُؤْمَرُ بِمَعْصِيَةٍ فَإِنْ أُمِرَ بِمَعْصِيَةٍ فَلَا سَمْعَ وَلَا طَاعَةَ.

It is obligatory upon a Muslim to hear and obey in difficulty and ease, whether he is enthusiastic or dislikes it, as long as he is not ordered to do a sin. If he is ordered to be disobedient to Allah, then there is no hearing or obeying. *5


لا طَاعَةَ لِمَخْلُوقٍ فِي مَعْصِيَةِ الخَالِقِ.

There is no obedience to the creation in that which is disobedience to the Creator. *6

And it is reported in the Sahih that 'Abdullah bin 'Umar wrote his pledge of allegiance to 'Abdul-Malak bin Marwan when the people agreed upon him as the leader: "To 'Abdul-Malak bin Marwan, Leader of the Believers: I agree to hear and obey based on Allah's Sunnah and His Messenger's Sunnah, as much as I am able; and my son agrees to what I have agreed."

So he informed him that he pledged to obey him in the manner that Allah commanded in accordance to his ability, and this is an obligation of the shari'ah. So he made an oath based on Allah's command with the same status as when one enters into Islam and the pledge of allegiance to the Prophet, like his pledge from the Anşăr, his pledge from the Muslims beneath the tree, and just as the Muslims used to pledge to hear and obey as he instructed them: "as much as you are able."

Obedience to the Messenger is obligatory upon all creation, due to Allah obligating that with the covenant to obey Allah, just as He,

the Most High, said:

وَ اِذۡ اَخَذَ اللّٰهُ مِیۡثَاقَ النَّبِیّٖنَ لَمَاۤ اٰتَیۡتُکُمۡ مِّنۡ کِتٰبٍ وَّ حِکۡمَۃٍ ثُمَّ جَآءَکُمۡ رَسُوۡلٌ مُّصَدِّقٌ لِّمَا مَعَکُمۡ لَتُؤۡمِنُنَّ بِهٖ وَ لَتَنۡصُرُنَّهٗ ؕ قَالَ ءَاَقۡرَرۡتُمۡ وَ اَخَذۡتُمۡ عَلٰی ذٰلِکُمۡ اِصۡرِیۡ ؕ قَالُوۡۤا اَقۡرَرۡنَا ؕ قَالَ فَاشۡهَدُوۡا وَ اَنَا مَعَکُمۡ مِّنَ الشّٰهِدِیۡنَ ﴿۸۱

And (remember) when Allah took the covenant of the prophets, saying: "Take whatever I gave you from the Book and hikmah (understanding of the laws of Allah, etc.), and afterwards there will come to you a Messenger (Muhammad) confirming what is with you; you must, then, believe in him and help him." Allah said: "Do you agree (to it) and will you take up My covenant (which I conclude with you)?" They said, "We agree." He said, "Then bear witness; and I am with you among the witnesses (for this)." [Surah Ali 'Imran 3:81]

However, this was only apparent in the time of the righteous caliphs; after their time passed, contracts that were in accordance with the shari'ah were common but so were contracts that contra- dicted the shari'ah. The general ruling is that one is obliged to fulfill all contracts that involve obedience to Allah, but as for the contracts that involve disobedience to Him, then it is prohibited to fulfill this kind of contract, as the Prophet said in the authentic hadith:

مَا بَالُ أَقْوَامٍ يَشْتَرِطُونَ شُرُوطًا لَيْسَتْ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ. مَنِ اشْتَرَطَ شَرْطًا لَيْسَ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ فَهُوَ بَاطِلٌ، وَإِنِ اشْتَرَطَ مِائَةَ شَرْطٍ. كتاب اللهِ أَحَقُّ وشَرطُ اللهِ أُوثَقُ.

What is wrong with those people who stipulate conditions that are not in Allah's Book? Whoever stipulates conditions that are not in Allah's Book, then those conditions are invalid, even if he stipulated a hundred conditions. Allah's Book has more right, and Allah's conditions are more firm.*7

And he said:

مَنْ نَذَرَ أَنْ يُطِيعَ اللَّهَ فَلْيُطِعْهُ، وَمَنْ نَذَرَ أَنْ يَعْصِيَ اللَّهَ فَلَا يَعْصِهِ.

If anyone vows to obey Allah, let him obey Him, but if anyone vows to disobey Him, let him not disobey Him.*8

And in the books of sunan, it is reported:

الْمُسْلِمُونَ عَلَى شُرُوطِهِمْ إِلَّا شَرْطًا حَرَّمَ حَلَالًا أَوْ أَحَلَّ حَرَامًا.

Muslims are bound by their conditions, except the conditions that make the lawful unlawful, or the unlawful lawful.*9

The contracts of Bani Adam have no consequence in terms of the religion and that which Allah loves and that which draws one close to Him; rather, the affair is returned to Allah and his Messenger's commandment. The religion is only what Allah commands it to be, so whoever follows the covenants of Bani Ādam in terms of their religion, then they are following their peers who legislate into the religion that which Allah has not permitted them. This is the situation of all who innovate into the religion and those who follow and accept their innovations. They pledge their allegiance to them and take their innovations as their religion, and all those who make innovation their religion, then their opposition to the Book and the Sunnah is manifest. Acceptance of these (covenants) has these implications.

Most of what is exchanged among the Muslims involves both truth and falsehood, since pure falsehood does not remain among them,

and that includes allegiance upon that which is not based on the commands of Allah, and replacing Allah's religion with that which mixes truth and falsehood. This is the state of the Jews and the Christians, and the rest of the people of misguidance. They depart from Allah's commandment and mix it with falsehoods that they invent; they replace Allah's religion with their innovations, and they pledge allegiance to these innovations.

*1. This hadith is mentioned in Sirah Ibn Hisham (1/141-142) and At-Tabaqat al-Kubra (1/128-129). The oath mentioned in the hadith was "to help the oppressed as long as the Sufah Sea is wet."
*2. Reported by Muslim (4/1960) and Abu Dawud (3/177-178). Another hadith seems to contradict this hadith; reported by al-Bukhari on the authority of 'Aşim, he said: "I said to Anas, 'Did you hear that the Prophet said there is no sworn alliance in Islam? Indeed, the Prophet entered the Quraysh and the Anşar into an alliance in my home."
An-Nawawi said in his explanation of Sahih Muslim: "Al-Qadi and at-Tabari said it is not permissible to enter into a sworn alliance today. As for the hadith mentioned and the hadith concerning inheritance and brotherhood, they are all abrogated by Allah's saying: And those who believed afterwards, and emigrated and strove hard along with you, (in the cause of Allah) they are of you. But kindred by blood are nearer to one another re- garding inheritance in the decree ordained by Allah. '[Surah al-Anfal 8:75]. I say: In terms of that which relates to inheritance, then it is preferred to oppose that, according to the majority of the people of knowledge. In terms of brotherhood in Islam; swearing an oath to be obedient to Allah, the Most High; cooperation in the religion and upon goodness and piety and establishing the truth; then this remains. This was not abro- gated."
*3. Ibn Kathir said in his book on history (2/291-292), "The Oath of the Noble People was four months after the Battle of the Sinners."
*4 Ibn Kathir narrated this in his history book (6/301).
*5. Ibn Taymiyyah mixed two ahadith together. The first is on the authority of Ibn 'Umar (in Sahih Muslim): "It is obligatory on a Muslim to hear and obey, whether he likes it or not, unless he is ordered to do a sin. If he is ordered to do a sin, then there is no hearing or obeying." The second hadith is on the authority of Abu Hurayrah and was reported by Muslim (3/1472): "Obligatory upon you is to hear and obey, during your difficulty and ease, whether you are enthusiastic or dislike it, and even when someone is given undue preference to you."
*6. Reported by at-Tibrizi in Mishkah al-Maşabih (2/323), and the hadith is authentic.
*7. Reported by al-Bukhari (1/94), Muslim (2/1142-1143), Abu Dawud (4/21), an- Nasa'i (7/268), Ibn Majah (2/842-843), in Al-Muwatta' (2/780-781), and in Al- Musnad (6/82).
*8. Reported by al-Bukhari (8/142), Abu Dawud (3/232), an-Nasa'i (7/16), Ibn Majah (1/687), and in Al-Muwatta' (2/476).
*9. Reported by at-Tirmidhi (2/403), and at-Tirmidhi said the hadith is hasan sahih.

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