Path towards Enlightenment (995)
Salaam and 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 that was revealed to the Last and Greatest of all Messengers, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
Last week we started explanation of “Surah al-Mujadilah” or “The Pleader”, which is number 58 in the serial order of compilation of the holy Qur’an.
It was revealed in Medina and mentions the complaint of a woman whose husband had put her away by resorting to the pagan Arab formula, known as “zihaar”, which consists of the words: “You are to me as the back of my mother.” This was a pagan custom to imply a kind of divorce that freed the husband from any responsibility for conjugal duties as well as providing support for children, but without allowing the wife the freedom to leave the husband’s home or to contract a second marriage. The woman, who along with her husband had become a Muslim, pleaded to the Prophet against this unjust behaviour and said she also lacked the means to support her little children.
Her prayer to Allah and her plea was accepted, and this brutal and unjust custom of the pagan Arabs was abolished through revelation of this Surah, which goes on to state that those who oppose God and the Prophet, or fall to the temptations of the Satan, or lie in their oaths and make intrigues against the Prophet, will be defeated and suffer humiliation both in this world and in the Hereafter, while Hezbollah or the Party of Allah, which means those who have firm faith in God, will triumph.
We start from where we left you last Friday and here are Ayahs 7 and 8:
“Have you not regarded that Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth? There is no secret talk among (any) three, but He is their fourth (companion), nor (for instance) among five but He is their sixth, nor less than that, nor more, but He is with them wherever they may be. Then on the Day of Resurrection He will inform them about what they have done. Indeed Allah has knowledge of all things.
“Have you not regarded those who were forbidden from secret talks but again resumed what they had been forbidden from, and hold secret talks [imbued] with sin and transgression and disobedience to the Prophet? And when they (the Jews and Arab hypocrites) come to you they greet you with that which Allah never greeted you, and they say to themselves (in their hearts), ‘Why does not Allah punish us for what we say!?’ (Thus) Let hell suffice them: they shall enter it; and it is an evil destination!”
If you remember, last week in our explanation of the previous Ayahs of this Surah we said Islam negates irrational customs and superstitions that are in fact oppression in society, and prescribes penalties for those who indulge in such abominable practices. Any opposition and obstruction to Divine commandments results in misery, both in the transient life of the mortal world and the Hereafter. In other words, those belying the prophets are actually belying God and are thus doomed.
The Ayahs which we recited to you now refer to the Omnipresence of Allah at all places with all things and beings, and this includes secret talks as well, yet He is not one of any created being, nor is He part and parcel of any event or thing. Usually secrecy implies distrust, plotting and evil schemes, all of which are a way of life greatly liked and practiced by the hypocrites; but as secrecy is a relative term, applicable to mortals, it has no effect on the Almighty Creator as well as on the Prophet of Islam, who as the Best of creation, was always in communion with Allah. Those still in doubt will know the whole truth on the Day of Judgement when the disbelievers and sinners will be given the record of their misdeeds to see it themselves before being punished.
Ayah 8 refers to the events in Medina where the Muslims after migration from Mecca and defeating of the battles imposed by the pagan Arabs in alliance with the Israelites, grew in strength, as a result of which the Jews and the Arab hypocrites resorted to duplicity and intrigues by engaging in secret plots against the Prophet despite being forbidden earlier. They were unaware of the fact that Allah knows everything, including thoughts flashing across minds.
The defeated enemies of Islam now started twisting some Arabic words to express their hatred of the Prophet, especially by mispronouncing the greeting of “as-salaam alaykom” or peace upon you as “as-saam alaykom” which means death upon you. They then used to discuss among themselves as to why God is not punishing them for their misdeed, in response to which this Ayah means to say that even if no torment has yet afflicted them, the fires of Hell from which they will never be able to escape will be sufficient for them.
These Ayahs teach us that:
- The Almighty Creator is aware of all things, including our secrets and the thoughts that flash across our minds.
- Flattery is a sign of hypocrites and one should not be carried away by empty praises, which are meant to deceive.
- When God is the Protector no enemy can harm us.
Now let us listen to Ayahs 9 and 10 of the same Surah:
“O you who have faith! When you talk secretly, do not hold secret talks (imbued) with sin and aggression and disobedience to the Prophet, but talk secretly in (a spirit of) piety and Godfearing, and be wary of Allah toward Whom you will be mustered.
“Indeed (malicious) secret talks are from Satan, that he may upset the faithful, but he cannot harm them in any way except by Allah’s leave, and in Allah let the faithful put their trust.”
It is forbidden to take part in any secret movement to spread evil and terror, but we should work for righteousness with self-restraint. Secret counseling, whispering, and scheming are part of satanic behaviour. Believers must heed that when they hold confidential talks, they should not commit sins and disobey God, but their confidential talks should be about good deeds with proper cognition of the commandments of the Almighty Creator.
As Ayah 10 means to say Satan is the source of all malicious words including secret talks to try to harm the believers, but he cannot succeed in his plots, unless Allah has forsaken an individual, a group or a society, either because of their lack of faith or as a trial. Therefore, the believers should firmly put their trust in God Almighty in order to overcome problems and frustrate the designs and stratagems of Satan's followers.
From these Ayahs we learn that:
- Secret talks are forbidden except to provide security and safeguard one’s honour or to prevent the disclosure of some important and sensitive matters.
- Advice and admonishment ought to be done without publicity in order to have the desired effect.
- Any word or deed which causes fear or grief in people is from Satan.
- The faithful should put their trust in the Almighty Creator against plots and should know that the enemies cannot harm them unless God desires.
In conclusion of this week’s episode of Path towards Enlightenment, here is Ayah 11 of Surah Mujadilah:
“O you who have faith! When you are told, “Make room,’ in sittings, then do make room; Allah will make room for you. And when you are told, ‘Rise up!’ Do rise up. Allah will raise those of you who have faith and those who have given knowledge in rank, and Allah is well aware of what you do.”
At times, meetings are so crowded that those already present must rise up to make room for newcomers lest there will be no suitable room for them to be seated. This Ayah means to say that when people are told to rise, they are supposed to rise without procrastination or annoyance, since newcomers may be weary, weak owing to their advanced age, or are persons of high respect, in view of which others must make a sacrifice and observe such Islamic precept of etiquette. For instance, when a learned person or scholar enters, we should show respect towards him. Those who observe such selfless manners with sincerity, and not with reluctance or outward show, will be rewarded in this world as well as in the Hereafter, since the Almighty Creator is aware of our intentions.
This Ayah teaches us that:
- Among the requisites of faith is observance of social etiquette and respect for others.
- One should never consider exclusive rights for one’s own self at social places.
- Helping others will result in God’s assistance for us.
- People of faith and knowledge are held in high esteem in Islamic society.