Path towards Enlightenment (938)
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 33 of Surah Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny):
“O’ you who have faith, obey Allah and obey the Prophet, and do not render your works void.”
If you remember, in our explanation of the previous Ayah of this Surah last Friday we had said the deeds of those who despite claiming to be Muslims disobey the Prophet and create obstacles for those striving in the way of Allah, will be rendered null and void, while their mischief will not hurt Allah the least. The reference is to the hypocrites and those who deviate from the path of Allah in their lust for power and position.
The Ayah we recited to you now commands believers to be heedful of the instructions of God Almighty conveyed through Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). This means obedience to the Prophet is obedience to God, since the Prophet never speaks out of his personal desire and whatever he says or does are Divinely-inspired. This Ayah was revealed in response to the behaviour of a group of Muslims who despite listening to the Divine commandments as conveyed by the Prophet, never put them into practice, thus disobeying God and the Prophet.
The tone of the Ayah indicates that God warns them against such neglect which makes their deeds null and void, since factors that invalidate good deeds are polytheism, hypocrisy, hurting others and the like.
This Ayah teaches us that:
- Faith requires sincere submission to the message of God as conveyed by the Prophet, who is Divinely-inspired, since the claim to faith without giving practical shape to the teachings of Islam, is not true belief.
- The role model for Muslims is God’s Revealed Word, the holy Qur’an, and the Sunnah or practice and behaviour of the Prophet, which includes obedience to the Immaculate Ahl al-Bayt, without which Islam cannot be understood.
- Doing righteous deeds is not enough, but these should be guarded from such cardinal sins as polytheism, hypocrisy, vanity, and violation of the Prophet’s instructions.
Now let us listen to Ayah 34 of this Surah:
“Indeed those who are faithless and bar from the way of Allah and then die faithless, Allah will never forgive them.”
God Almighty is All-Forgiving and we may turn to Him at all times for repentance, but those who persist in disbelief, apostasy, and hypocrisy, and die in such a state, may never be absolved of their sins. Since death serves as a hindrance against repentance, such people carry the heavy burden of their disbelief as well as that of leading others astray. How may God almighty forgive them? Thus this Ayah also demonstrates the path of repentance to those inclined toward it by explicating and emphasizing the points mentioned in the preceding Ayahs regarding disbelievers.
From this Ayah we learn that:
- God has kept the door of repentance wide open for all His creatures, but miserable are those who deprive themselves of Divine mercy and forgiveness by indulging in disbelief, idol-worship, hypocrisy, and disobedience of the Prophet’s instructions till the end of their life.
- The goal of each and every person ought to be the imminent end of his/her physical life that could occur any time, so that true belief and good deeds are safeguarded.
- Any kind of deviation and disbelief that contradicts the manifest truth of monotheism and adherence to the Prophet’s instructions is self-destructive and deprives such a person of Divine mercy.
Now let us listen to Ayah 35 of this Surah:
“So do not slacken and [do not] call for peace when you have the upper hand and Allah is with you, and He will not stint [the reward of] your works.”
This Ayah tells the faithful to be firm and steadfast instead of slackening before the enemies to seek compromise with them when decisive victory is all evident, since peace and reconciliation is acceptable only when the other side stops enmity and respects our rights. In other words, peace is meaningless if the enemy’s intention is to resort to a ruse to inflict harm. Hence we ought to have faith in God’s Promise of victory in view of the fact He is nearer to us than our jugular vein and wants the faithful to safeguard the dignity and grandeur of Islam, for which He has reserved abundant rewards for the true believers.
This Ayah raises an important point, that is, people of weak faith often raise the issue of making peace with the enemy in order to flee jihad and the hardships of the battlefield. Though making peace is indubitably appropriate under the proper circumstance, peace when one has the upper hand leads to self-humiliation.
As is evident from the closing phrase of this Ayah, when God Almighty is with someone, there is no fear of being abandoned, nor any apprehension of decrease of reward for our deeds. As a matter God never allows the blood of martyrs to go fruitless, and is so Bountiful that He will increase the rewards for those striving sincerely in His path, rather than surrendering the advantage of resistance.
This Ayah teaches us the following points:
- The faithful should never be apprehensive of their small number or shortage of facilities vis-à-vis the enemy; for, God is with the true believers and He will ultimately grant them victory.
- Faith is not compatible with slackening, laziness and comfort-seeking.
- The faithful should never seek compromise with the enemy – either on the battlefield or the negotiating table – since this is a sign of weakness and fear, but if the enemy proposes peace on fair conditions, they may accept it after due evaluation, rather than giving all concessions and receiving none, which means bowing to blackmail.
- God calls for the dignity and grandeur of the true believers, and He helps those who are firm and steadfast on His path.