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Toleration of Lewdness by the Prophet (sws)
Dr. Shehzad Saleem

Response: In one of your answers, you state this Hadīth from the Sahīh of Bukhārī one such incident from which the extent to which gatherings of music and dance had reached can be imagined. It is narrated that after the battle of Badr,  once Hamzah (rta) along with a few companions was witnessing the dance of a slave girl while he was taking liquor. In the meantime, ‘Alī (rta) passed by along with two camels. At that time, the words of the song which the maiden was singing were something like this: ‘O if you could only bring me the meat of the humps of these camels...’. At this, Hamzah (rta) got up and slew the camels and brought forth the meat to her. Annoyed by this, ‘Alī (rta) stormed off to the Prophet (sws) and reported the matter to him. The Prophet (sws) got up and walked across to the scene of the ‘crime’ but after seeing the situation returned without doing  anything.

My question is: How could the Prophet (sws) have entered such an environment which is clearly prohibited? And why did he (sws) not do anything to stop it? Doesn’t silence usually mean acceptance? I know such an environment would not be accepted by him (sws).


Comment: You must be knowing that the gravest sin in Islam is Shirk (polytheism). If we look at the life of the Prophet (sws) from the wrong angle, we would be forced to conclude that by praying in the Holy Ka‘bah in the presence of 360 idols, the Prophet (sws) perhaps did not take the right decision; he could easily have avoided the Ka‘bah by praying at home instead of praying between so many idols. Likewise is the conclusion you have drawn.

We must appreciate that during the Da‘wah (preaching) period of a Rasūl, a Rasūl tolerates the worst of evils with perseverance and in many cases by ignoring them so that his addressees may pay heed to him. It is only after enough time has elapsed (which is determined by the Almighty) that he adopts an attitude of hostility and then takes serious notice of the evil around him. Similarly, he wisely tackles the failings found in his companions also. Hamzah (rta), mind you, was Prophet’s uncle and, as we know, a great warrior of Islam. However, liquor and dance, two important ingredients in the life of Jahilliyyah, it seems were so strongly rooted in the Arabian society that even from a person of his stature, they could only be gradually rooted out; the Prophet (sws), unlike most of our clergy today, realized this full well and dealt with the whole situation very prudently and in the end won the day through this attitude.


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