All lofty praises and immeasurable glorification be to Allah the most High, may His peace and blessings be upon the leader and the final of the Prophets and Messengers ; the prophet Muhammad, his family and companions until the Day of reckoning. To proceed:
A critical study of Islamic law with scholarly lens reveals that , it is such a comprehensive legislative system that is suitable for humanity at all times and with people of all different walks of life. This claim becomes an apparent reality if one is to study the various principles that falls under Islamic jurisprudence and its philosophy (Usuul-Al-Fiqh). These principles was arrived at by Muslim Scholars after an in-depth study of the main sources of Islamic legislation namely the Glorious Qur’an and the Noble Sunna through a process known as al-Istiq’raa’( induction or scrutiny ). The principles are referred to as “the Maxims of Islamic Jurisprudence”(qawaa’id fiqhiyya).
One of the most important of these maxims is the maxim that says: “Necessity Renders the Prohibited Permissible” thus in times of dire necessity, the prohibited becomes permissible until the necessity is elapsed. That is one who is drove by hanger to the verge of death or destruction is allowed to consume any prohibited thing if that can save his live. This maxim dictates that a thirsty person who is at the verge of destruction can take alcohol to survive. Also a hungry person who is likely to be destroyed out of severe hunger can consume a dead meat(one that is not slaughtered according to the sharia) to survive’ though in other than this circumstance is prohibited.
There are numerous verses and prophetic traditions that clearly and ambiguously point to this maxim. For instance in Qur’an chapter 5 verse no.
حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ وَالْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَالْمَوْقُوذَةُ وَالْمُتَرَدِّيَةُ وَالنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَا أَكَلَ السَّبُعُ إِلَّا مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى النُّصُبِ وَأَن تَسْتَقْسِمُوا بِالْأَزْلَامِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ فِسْقٌ ۗ
“Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah; that which hath been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which hath been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless ye are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety….” This shows that all these things are prohibited for a Muslim to consume, then comes the exception at the end of the verse. Allah says”
فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ فِي مَخْمَصَةٍ غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍ لِّإِثْمٍ ۙ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“…But if any is forced by hunger, with no inclination to transgression, Allah is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”
One can smell the divine scent of easiness and flexibility in this great religion of Allah. Allah has not burdened us beyond our capability and He has not placed upon us difficulty in religion.
It must be comprehended that, this maxim is not applicable except in such situations that leads to the protection of the five basic necessities of life and they are:
1. Protection ones’ religion
2. Protection of ones’ soul(life)
3. Protection of one’s mind
4. Protection of the family and progeny
5. Protection of wealth and property.
It must also be noted that this maxim is inapplicable with the presence of two conditions:
Firstly: there must not be any other way other than doing the prohibited act in attempt to preserve a particular necessity. For example one who is thirsty to the extent destruction must not take alcohol except when he is unable to obtain water or any other lawful thing to drink to save his life.
Secondly: there must be certainty that, doing the forbidden thing will surely lead to the preservation of the particular necessity. Meaning if there are doubts as whether doing a prohibited act will lead to the preservation of any of the necessity, then that doing so should not be resorted to.
Allah Knows Best.