- 1 The renaissance of Deen
- 2 Following divine law spurs cognitive faculty
- 3 Allah’s Law of Requital
- 4 Conquering the forces of nature and acquiring their help
- 5 Our disgraceful condition in the world
- 6 It is the Quran which renders decision regarding right and wrong, not human beings
- 7 Society’s created laws
- 8 The issue of good and evil
- 9 What is the meaning of Iman in Allah?
- 10 Life is a continuous journey that does not end with this world
- 11 Islamic system
- 12 Meaning of Taubah
Anything that is in accordance with the Book of Allah (the Quran) is right; it is the truth; it is real. Anything that is against the Book of Allah is wrong; it is false; it is bogus – no matter how much sacredness is attached to it. One can do whatever one wants. One can flip-flop the words and call true as false and false as true, the reality is not going to change.
The renaissance of Deen
The day this Ummah affirms this principle and starts practically treading on it, the renaissance of Deen will happen and the Ummah’s bottom position in the world will start lifting up; and very soon it will surpass all nations in the world. The pure Deen is the Book of Allah; it is the absolute standard of measure for everything; it is the absolute final authority in Islam; whatever is according to it, is the truth; and whatever is against it, is falsehood. Period.
The Quran says:
وَكَم مِّن مَّلَكٍ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ لَا تُغْنِي شَفَاعَتُهُمْ شَيْئًا إِلَّا مِن بَعْدِ أَن يَأْذَنَ اللَّـهُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ وَيَرْضَىٰ
(53:26) – For, however many angels there be in the heavens, their intercession can be of no least avail [to anyone] - except after God has given leave for whomever He wills and with whom He is well-pleased. [Asad]
These people have also made as their deities the various forces of nature in the universe such as air, water, fire, clouds, lightning or thunder. Making these forces deities will not bring them any success. Even if they imagine that such deities are with them, they will not obtain any benefit. The only way they can be of any use to them is if these forces are utilized according to the Law of Nature; and in unison with the overall program of the Divine Will.
When questioned, the Arabs of the day were making crooked arguments. They were saying that we don’t believe that these are gods. These act as intermediaries between God and us. They carry our wishes and prayers to God – just as the Hindus say that we may have millions of avatars but the God is only Brahma. These different avatars carry our prayers and wishes to Brahma. This is the same thing we say when we visit the graves of our ancestors; that when we pray at their graves then we say that we really don’t pray to them but we ask them to carry our prayers and wishes and convey to Allah; that they act as intermediaries between Allah and us. The bottle has the same thing (Shirk) but the label keeps changing depending on our religious and sectarian affiliations. The Quran explicitly says that creating sects in Deen is Shirk (30:31-32) and the Prophet (PBUH) has nothing to do with them (6:159). But our sectarians always twist the meaning of these verses and fabricate that we are not sects but schools of thought. Their crooked argument cannot change the reality of the Quran.
Following divine law spurs cognitive faculty
The Quran came and cut the very root of superstitious beliefs. The Quran told the Prophet (PBUH) to proclaim that when people ask about Allah then tell them that He is closer to you than your jugular vein (50:16); that wherever you are He is there (57:4); and that you do not need intermediaries to carry your wishes and prayers to Him (53:26). So, the Quran cut the very root of intermediaries. Allah says in the Quran that when my servants call on Me then I listen to them (2:186). No intermediary can influence Allah. This happens in the world where there is hierarchy of influence peddlers. People complain that there is corruption everywhere in government; that nothing gets done unless one uses an intermediary. Despite feeling bad about it, we still carry this ideology in our minds that Allah will listen to our requests through intermediaries so much so that we believe that the Prophet (PBUH) will plead with Allah to forgive our sins (aka crimes); and the irony of ironies is that we believe that Allah will forgive the crimes of criminals at the request of the Prophet (PBUH)!
Allah’s Law of Requital
The religious leaders have one trick to maintain their false grip on Islam. Anything wrong they want to insert, they attribute it to the Prophet (PBUH) because they know that people will accept it because they love the Prophet (PBUH). The above verse emphasizes that these forces of nature or stone statues or graves cannot be used to convey your request to Allah. Even the idea of the Prophet (PBUH) pleading with Allah to forgive sinners (aka criminals) is clearly against the Quran because the Prophet (PBUH) says that even if I do anything against my Sustainer’s laws then I will be held accountable:
قُلْ إِنِّيَ أَخَافُ إِنْ عَصَيْتُ رَبِّي عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ
(6:15) – Say: "Behold, I would dread, were I [thus] to rebel against my Sustainer, the suffering [which would befall me] on that awesome Day [of Judgment]." [Asad]
Conquering the forces of nature and acquiring their help
The principle for understanding the Quran is: the Quran can only be understood through the Quran using concordance, i.e., by collecting all the verses of the Quran on the same topic. For example, the Quran describes that Allah asked the Malaaika to bow down before Adam. Malaaika are the forces of nature that carry out Allah’s orders; and Adam means humankind. So, this means that human beings can conquer the forces of nature in the universe and make use of them. There are other Malaaika which carry out the duties entrusted to them in the world of Allah’s Amr. We cannot understand how this happens because the world of Allah’s Amr is beyond human comprehension. But we can fully comprehend and make use of the Malaaika in the world of Khalq. We can see that the nations which have conquered the forces of nature, how much they have progressed in science and technology. What have we done in this arena? How much progress in science and technology we have made by following the Quran’s order to conquer the forces of nature (45:13)?
Islam has stressed that Muslims should acquire the knowledge of science, which means conquering the forces of nature. Where do we stand compared to the nations which are fast acquiring the scientific knowledge? The word “شَفَاعَتُ” (Shafa’at) (in verse (53:26) above) does not mean to plead in someone’s favor. The root meaning of “شَفَاعَتُ” (Shafa’at) is to stand side-by-side with someone, to provide true witness for someone, to cooperate and help someone. That means you won’t get help from forces of nature by praying and pleading to them but by conquering these forces and using them according to divine laws.
Our disgraceful condition in the world
If we carefully observe, we will notice that our nation has willfully shackled itself in multiple kinds of superstitious behaviors and rituals. That is why the Quran emphasizes that:
وَمَا لَهُم بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ ۖ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ ۖ وَإِنَّ الظَّنَّ لَا يُغْنِي مِنَ الْحَقِّ شَيْئًا
(53:28) – And [since] they have no knowledge whatever thereof, they follow nothing but surmise: yet, behold, never can surmise take the place of truth. [Asad]
Our traditional creed is not based on Al-Haq (The Truth). It is based solely on guesswork. And it is clear that if we come to the court of knowledge then we will not find the authority for it. Guesswork is something which is not Al-Haq (The Truth). The Quran says that guesswork cannot stand before Al-Haq (The Truth); that it will not be of any benefit. Al-Haq (The Truth) is the Book of Allah, the Quran. Whatever is the craftwork of human mind, is guesswork. If it happens to be in accordance with Al-Haq (The Truth), then it could be accepted as truth. But if it is against Al-Haq (The Truth) then no matter how much credence and sacredness is attached to it, it will be dismissed by the divine court of knowledge, which renders its judgement according to constitution of Allah, the Quran. This is the absolute and universal standard for judgment in Islam. The standard for judgement in Deen is the Book of Allah, the Quran, and nothing else.
Whenever our religionists mention any hadith they start with the statement “that Prophet (PBUH) said this” and they end the hadith with the statement “or something like it the Prophet (PBUH) said.” Therefore, it is clear from these statements attached to hadith that they themselves acknowledge the fact that hadith is not Al-Haq (The Truth). They never attach this qualifying statement for the Quran: “Allah said this or something like this Allah said.” Allah has said that the Quran is 100% Al-Haq (The Truth). What is outside the Quran is not 100% Al-Haq (The Truth). So, the matter becomes absolutely clear. Every ideology or belief or creed must be tested on the touchstone of the Quran to reveal whether or not it is right. So, Muslims become duty bound (who believe that the Quran is 100% truth) to test their every ideology or belief or creed on the touchstone of the Quran. If it is in accord with the Quran then it is right; if it is not, then it is wrong.
The Quran then says:
فَأَعْرِضْ عَن مَّن تَوَلَّىٰ عَن ذِكْرِنَا وَلَمْ يُرِدْ إِلَّا الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا
(53:29) – Avoid thou, therefore, those who turn away from all remembrance of Us and care for no more than the life of this world. [Asad]
So, O Prophet (PBUH), remain actively involved in the fulfillment of your program. How can those people – who are absorbed in the life of this world and who believe that by praying to their deities or their avatars or their dead sages, they will be able to get their sins forgiven – ever come to path of Al-Haq (The Truth)? They do not have a higher purpose in life. They have only the benefit of this world in front of them. They have no commitment to the permanent values of the Quran which transcend this material world. Allah does allow Muslims to strive for the benefit of this world but He commands that this should be achieved within the bounds of the permanent values of the Quran.
It is the Quran which renders decision regarding right and wrong, not human beings
Who is on the right path and who is on the wrong path will be decided based on the knowledge of Allah, not based on anyone’s creed or ancestor’s way:
إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنِ اهْتَدَىٰ
(53:30) – which, to them, is the only thing worth knowing. Behold, thy Sustainer is fully aware as to who has strayed from His path, and fully aware is He as to who follows His guidance. [Asad]
Society’s created laws
When a society creates laws, then things that are according to these laws are declared right; and those which aren’t, are declared wrong and criminal. What kind of laws nations have enacted for their societies; what kind of shameful deeds and crimes have they allowed under their laws? All evils that are absolutely wrong become right because these are allowed by society’s laws. Crimes no longer remain crimes under these laws.
What basically in reality is wrong for humanity and what basically in reality is right for humanity – this is a deep issue. Society’s created laws keep changing all the time. A different political party comes to power and amends and changes the laws created by the previous party. A thing which was legal and allowed as right in the previous regime becomes illegal and criminal now. These human created laws are always relative. They always keep changing. But there are laws which do not depend on what humans declare. They are universal and permanent in their very essence.
The issue of good and evil
This issue of good and evil is very old. This is related to ethics. The question is: what is good in its essence and what is evil in its essence? Human beings cannot decide this. They cannot decide what is universally good or bad. This is beyond them. Only Allah can tell what is universally good or virtuous for humankind and what is harmful or evil. The Quran provides the answer: وَأَمَّا مَا يَنفَعُ النَّاسَ فَيَمْكُثُ فِي الْأَرْضِ (13:17) – that which is beneficial for the humanity endures.
Iman in Allah and the Quran is required to know good or evil. Human beings keep changing their minds. Standards decided by human intellect keep changing. Human intellect says one thing at one time and its totally opposite at another time. A government makes a law and even before the ink is dry amends that law. So, it requires Iman in Allah and the Quran to find out what is in reality good and what is in reality evil. We have to have Iman that whatever the Qurans says is good/evil is the absolute good/evil. What is the meaning of this Iman in real life? It means that we have to implement the system of life based on the Quran’s permanent values. This will be the way to lead life which will produce the universal good for humanity; if we go against the Quran’s divine code then we will suffer the consequences, and the humanity will also suffer the consequences.
What is the meaning of Iman in Allah?
This is the meaning of Iman (belief) in Allah. It is necessary for us to believe in Him. Allah is not dependent on our belief. Whether or not we believe in him, whether or not we pray, fast, etc., has no effect on Him. He is the Creator of the universe and Almighty and will remain so whether or not humans believe in Him. Saying that “I believe in God” does not mean anything. Only when we sincerely and unreservedly accept good/evil which Allah has declared in His Book as good/evil, and act on it by enforcing it in society then this will be the real Iman in Him. Since His Book was sent through a messenger then the belief in the messenger becomes essential as well.
Life is a continuous journey that does not end with this world
The results of our actions will appear. If they do not appear here in this world, then this does not mean that they have disappeared. No, that is not the case. The results will appear definitely, if not here then they will appear in the hereafter. The life is a continuous journey that continues in the hereafter. Only the physical body disintegrates here but life moves on beyond this world. This is the Iman in Allah’s Law of Requital. The entire chain of sending the divine revelation, and divine Books through the messengers, and divine protection of the last Book in the chain, the Quran, and the working of the universe – is for this purpose that Allah’s Law of Requital will make sure that no result of human action remains without producing its result. The Quran says:
وَلِلَّـهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ لِيَجْزِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسَاءُوا بِمَا عَمِلُوا وَيَجْزِيَ الَّذِينَ أَحْسَنُوا بِالْحُسْنَى
(53:31) – Indeed, unto God belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth: and so He will reward those who do evil in accordance with what they did, and will reward those who do good with ultimate good. [Asad]
The results would be compiled according to the course a person takes. This is because everything in the heavens and on earth is continuously compiling the consequences of one’s deeds; producing negative results for those creating chaos and disorder; and producing positive and pleasant results for those who lead a righteous life (11:7; 45:22). The purpose of the universe and its function is that every human being is fully recompensed for what he has done; and no harm is done to anyone.
This fact what the Quran has mentioned here has not yet come under the grip of knowledge. But there are many other facts that scientific advancement has made it possible to find circumstantial evidence of crime such as finger print identification, blood and DNA analysis, lie detector, etc. And scientific research is continuing to reveal new aspects in this direction. But still the research is lacking about how the universe and its operating machinery produces results of human actions and that no human action remains without producing its result. All these will be recorded in the divine registry of deeds (36:12). Further research may reveal what the Quran has said that even fleeting thoughts in the heart produce results and will be recorded in divine registry of deeds. But this must be our Iman that whatever the Quran has said here is true. In fact, the entire superstructure of Islam is to be erected on the foundation of the Law of Requital – that every human action produces its result (6:70; 16:111; 52:21); that even every human thought produces its result (40:19; 17:36).
This is the Iman on which the foundation of the Islamic system is established. It is established by those who have the unwavering Iman: that what the Book Allah says good, it is good; and what it says evil, it is evil; that our every action and even our thoughts will produce results according to the Book of Allah – if not here then definitely in the hereafter. These are the people through whose hands when the Islamic system is established, then it is good for the entire humanity. No human action escapes the Law of Requital without producing its result. The Universe and its machinery make sure of that, as verses (45: 22) and (53:31) confirm. Does it mean that only those humans will go to Jannah who have not done any wrong deed? The Quran declares that that is not the case. Allah knows that humans are not angels; that human beings have weaknesses. What it says is that on the scale of good and bad deeds if the side of good deeds is heavier than the side of bad deeds then that person will be promoted to heaven, otherwise not. Allah knows that human beings will commit errors and mistakes. He has created them. He has sent them His guidance. He wants them to follow His guidance. But He is merciful as well. He does not send one to hell for one mistake. In fact, He gives them a period of respite so that they can compensate the negative effects of their bad actions with the positive effects of good actions. All He wants is that they should become conscious of their bad actions immediately; and then do good actions to compensate for their bad actions on the scale of the Law of the Requital. His period of respite is mercy from Him. So, the Quran says:
الَّذِينَ يَجْتَنِبُونَ كَبَائِرَ الْإِثْمِ وَالْفَوَاحِشَ إِلَّا اللَّمَمَ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ وَاسِعُ الْمَغْفِرَةِ ۚ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِكُمْ إِذْ أَنشَأَكُم مِّنَ الْأَرْضِ وَإِذْ أَنتُمْ أَجِنَّةٌ فِي بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ ۖ فَلَا تُزَكُّوا أَنفُسَكُمْ ۖ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنِ اتَّقَىٰ
(53:32) – As for those who avoid the [truly] grave sins and shameful deeds - even though they may sometimes stumble behold, thy Sustainer is abounding in forgiveness. He is fully aware of you when He brings you into being out of dust, and when you are still hidden in your mothers’ wombs: do not, then, consider yourselves pure - [for] He knows best as to who is conscious of Him. [Asad]
Meaning of Taubah
These people, who lead righteous lives, and avoid serious offenses that slow down the growth of human personality; and they avoid those actions which spread abominations. However, in a situation when one realizes that this has happened and immediately corrects oneself (7:201), or even if he makes an unintentional mistake (and thereafter corrects himself) – then one is protected from the negative consequences of such actions. In other words, this means that the weight of their good deeds is so heavy that it provides protection against the ill-effects of minor unintentional mistakes. This shows the abounding magnanimity of the Divine Law of Requital (4:31; 42:37). This is the Law of the Almighty Who is fully aware of human weaknesses as well as their potential abilities. He knows the stages that life has gone through from being inanimate matter to becoming human beings; and how many formations the fetus attained in the mother's womb. He knows what hampers the development of human ‘self’ and what helps it to grow. This is the very criterion for adjudging the depth of the divine injunctions in one's personality. The judgement should not be according to one's own devised standards. The one and the only touchstone is Allah’s Book and not any man-made standards (91:7-10; 93:17-18.)
In another verse the Quran says that when some untoward thing happens then they immediately turn to their Sustainer and admit their mistake and seek protection of Allah:
رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَا أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِي
(7:23) – “O Our Sustainer! We have indeed wronged ourselves and unless you provide protection and Grace for us, we will be ruined.”
This is called Taubah. It involves: (i) to admit that I have done something wrong; and then (ii) it further involves doing some good deeds which are heavier so that the scale of good deeds could compensate the scale of bad deeds by extra weight to the scale of good deeds. Reciting the word “Taubah” on the beads of rosary is not the way to do Taubah. It requires performing some good action. Life becomes better by doing good action not by moving the beads of rosary. Only doing Hasanaat would compensate the action of Sayyiaat.
إِنَّ ٱلْحَسَنَـٰتِ يُذْهِبْنَ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ ذَٰلِكَ ذِكْرَىٰ لِلذَّٰكِرِينَ
(11:114) – verily, good deeds drive away evil deeds: this is a reminder to all who bear [God] in mind. [Asad]