Path towards Enlightenment (935)
Welcome to another episode of our weekly series titled “Path towards Enlightenment” which is an endeavour to make you and us familiar with an easy and fluent explanation of God’s Final Scripture to all mankind, the holy Qur’an, which was revealed to the Last and Greatest of all Messengers, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
We continue from where we left you last week, and here is Ayah 21 of Surah Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny):
طَاعَةٌ وَقَوْلٌ مَّعْرُوفٌ ۚ فَإِذَا عَزَمَ الْأَمْرُ فَلَوْ صَدَقُوا اللَّهَ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُمْ
“Obedience and upright speech (are all that is expected of you). So, when the matter has been resolved upon, if they remain true to Allah that will surely be better for them.”
If you might recall, in our last Friday’s explanation of the preceding Ayah of this Surah, we had said that while true believers stand steadfast and fearlessly defend their faith even if it means martyrdom in case of jihad or striving in the way of Allah, those who pay lip service to Islam are scared to death in such a situation and run away under different pretexts. This is surely a sign of hypocrisy.
The Ayah that we recited to you now, means to say that true faith requires obeying God and His Prophet and refraining from undue pretexts because such moves might undermine the morale of others and prevent them from participating in the fight against the enemies. In other words, it would be better to speak and act wholeheartedly when the declaration for defence or jihad is decisive, since this will lead to your honour in this world and great reward and salvation in the Hereafter.
This Ayah teaches us the following points:
- Faith requires righteous speech and acting in accordance with God’s commandments rather than what we desire.
- Jihad against the enemies who are bent upon mischief is among the Divine commandments, and a true believer never props up any pretexts to evade active duty.
- Obedience to God and the Prophet’s instructions is to our benefit, both in the transient life of the mortal world and in the Hereafter.
Now let us listen to Ayahs 22 and 23 of this Surah:
فَهَلْ عَسَيْتُمْ إِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ أَن تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَتُقَطِّعُوا أَرْحَامَكُمْ
أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ فَأَصَمَّهُمْ وَأَعْمَىٰ أَبْصَارَهُمْ
“May it not be that if you were to wield authority you would cause corruption in the land and ill-treat your blood relations?
“They are the ones whom Allah has cursed, so He made them deaf and blinded their sight.”
If those who violate Qur’anic injunctions, that is, the disbelievers and the hypocrites, take control of affairs and assume authority then they would prepare the ground for corruption and mischief, including the ill-treatment of kith and kin. For this reason, it is incumbent upon the believers to take part in jihad, in order to prevent the enemies from carrying out their sordid plans. The address here is to the frail of faith, and means to say that by escaping jihad such people should not think they have saved themselves, because their deserting paves the way for corruption and slaughter, with deadly consequences affecting all. In other words, the hypocrites are reprimanded for their opportunistic attitude so that they refrain from doing mischief and severing ties of kinship as they used to do during in the pre-Islamic times of ignorance.
The next Ayah means to say that such people, that is, the hypocrites, who spread corruption and sever the ties of kinship, incur Divine damnation, as a consequence of which God has made them deaf to the words of guidance and blind to the signs of truth and realities that are all around.
From these Ayahs we learn that:
- Those evading jihad do not really save themselves but are the cause of corruption, mischief, and bloodshed which affect them as well.
- Violation of Divine teachings weakens family bonds and results in fratricide.
- God Almighty has damned those who cause corruption and undermine blood relationships.
- Eyes and ears are useful only if properly used, since there are many people who despite possessing healthy faculties of listening and sight, are unable to heed the words of guidance or understand the truth.
Now let us listen to Ayah 24 in conclusion of this week’s episode:
أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا
“Do they not contemplate upon the (guidelines of the) Qur’an, or are there locks on the hearts?”
This Ayah is a warning to the people of weak faith who do not ponder on the timeless wisdom of the Holy Qur’an in order to benefit from its guidelines, since the Heavenly Scripture is not solely for recitation, but is the Book of thought and meditation. The unfortunate state of such people lies either in their carelessness toward this supreme symbol of Divine guidance or in their lack of perception owing to the insensitivity of their hearts which are occupied by vain desires and the vicious acts they had committed. In other words, the one who loses way in darkness is either blind or does not carry a light, which means hypocrites are sick at heart and fail to benefit from the Holy Qur’an.
All believers must contemplate on the wordings of the Qur’an, as God has said in Ayah 29 of Surah Saad, which reads: “A blessed Book that We have sent down to you, so that they may contemplate its signs.”
That’s why, on the Day of Judgment, the Prophet will complain to God of how the Muslims had left the Holy Qur’an alone, and this loneliness of the Holy Qur’an is in two ways: Some of us Muslims recite it a little, while those who recite it, do it in a parrot-liked manner without pondering on its concepts or practically following its guidelines in daily life. Thus, those fail to benefit from the unlimited bounties and timeless wisdom of the Holy Qur’an in accordance with the guidelines of the Prophet and his Infallible Successors, actually lock their hearts from truth because of either ignorance or prejudice. This is the reason for the myriads of problems prevailing in the society and the lack of Islamic unity.
This Ayah teaches us that:
- The Qur’an is not merely for ritual recitation, but it should be properly read, reflected upon, and put into practice.
- All Muslims are duty-bound to contemplate on the timeless wisdom of the Holy Qur’an.
- The failure to contemplate on the Qur’an results in locking of the hearts towards the truth, and the result will be blindness of the lofty concepts.