وَتَرَكْنَا عَلَيْهِمَا فِي الْاٰخِرِيْنَ ; وَهَدَيْنٰهُمَا الـصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَــقِيْمَ
(37:118-119) – And We guided them to the Straight Way. And We left (this blessing) for them among generations (to come) in later times. [Yusuf Ali]
And then the Quran continues:
اِنَّهُمَا مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ ; اِنَّا كَذٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِيْنَ ; سَلٰمٌ عَلٰي مُوْسٰى وَهٰرُوْنَ
(37:120-122) – "Peace and salutation to Moses and Aaron!" Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For they were two of our believing Servants. [Yusuf Ali]
Allah’s Revelation guided them towards the straight and balanced way of life; and made their life-story worthy of remembrance, for the coming generations. Peace and blessings be upon Musa (PBUH)and Harun (PBUH). In this manner We bestow Our favors and blessings upon all those who lead their lives in a balanced and righteous manner. Certainly both of them were Our true Momin and servants of Allah.
Allah’s choice of messengers
Allah chooses whomsoever He wants for Prophet-hood. This is purely a gift from Allah. There is no effort required from the selectee in this. But after having been selected for this high status by Allah, it is the effort and his high moral character of the Messenger that is needed to teach and to spread the divine revelation to the people amidst all the opposition he faces from the entrenched rulers and their cohorts, the religious priesthood. The Messenger dedicates his entire life to convey the divine message; and to convince people about the divine revelation with logic, reason, and knowledge; and to teach and train them in light of the divine revelation with full conviction. So, first the Messenger himself believes in the message with 100% conviction and he declares: وَأَنَا أَوَّلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ (6:163) – Thus have I been commanded and I am the first to submit to the commandment.
It is the duty of the Messenger then to work extremely hard to convey the divine message and to convince individuals to believe in this message with logic and reason; and become fully convinced in their hearts about the truthfulness of the divine message. Thus the Messenger creates a group of believers in order to establish the Deen of Allah practically in the society. Obviously, those entrenched with power and control opposed this message because, in the divine system, all power and control rests with Almighty Allah through his laws that the messenger and his group of Momineen enforce in the society. Thus they become fully committed to the obedience of Allah; and so, they become the true servants (‘Abd) of Allah.
Messenger is human like everyone
The messenger declares that I am human like you except that I get revelation from Allah. In the implementation process of Deen there may be some strategic errors, but that is natural process of learning and correcting oneself which might happen to the Messenger. But the Messenger displays 100% conviction in the divine message. If the Messenger is considered superhuman then how could he be considered as a role model for other human beings. The messenger declares:
قُلْ اِنَّمَآ اَنَا بَشَرٌ مِّثْلُكُمْ يُوْحٰٓى اِلَيَّ اَنَّمَآ اِلٰــهُكُمْ اِلٰهٌ وَّاحِدٌ فَاسْتَقِيْمُوْٓا اِلَيْهِ وَاسْتَغْفِرُوْهُ ۭ وَوَيْلٌ لِّـلْمُشْرِكِيْنَ
(41:6) – Say thou, [O Prophet:] “I am but a mortal like you. It has been revealed to me that your God is the One God: go, then, straight towards Him and seek His forgiveness!” And woe unto those who ascribe divinity to aught beside Him, [Asad]
O Messenger! Tell them: Try to understand my stance. First of all, I want to clarify that I am a human being like you. Therefore, my physical needs are not different from yours. The only difference between you and me is that Revelation is being revealed to me by Allah, that all authority and power rests with Allah Almighty; and there is no one besides Him, who should be obeyed.
Secondly, it is incumbent on the person who receives the Revelation to convey it to others. This is precisely the reason, that in spite of their aversion and denial, he conveys the divine message to them. He continues doing so, irrespective of their adverse reaction to it. The message is that they should take the path that leads them to God and leave all other ways aside. That path is straight and balanced. It will also protect them from other erroneous and destructive ways. Also remember that people who ascribe partners to God’s authority and power are destroyed. Shirk is a means of humiliation for humanity. What can be a greater destruction than the denial of human respect? Allah has granted equal respect and dignity to all human beings (17:70).
A Messenger’s call was rational and his revolutionary program holistic
A messenger used to be a revolutionary personality and his revolution was both all-embracing as well as universal. Vested interest groups used to get upset at his fair and just holistic reform program because it challenged entrenched elite systems and prevailing false ideologies. The Quran presents its claims based on rational evidence and logic and asks its opponents to provide proof of their claims as well: هَاتُوا بُرْهَانَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ (2:111) – Produce an evidence for what you are claiming, if what you say is true! Life’s realities are not decided by good feelings but by knowledge and reason. When the Messenger says that: أَدْعُو إِلَى اللَّـهِ ۚ عَلَىٰ بَصِيرَةٍ (12:108) – My call is based on firm conviction and reason – then it is intended to refute all those ideologies that are the product of false views of metaphysics and also to present correct ideologies in their instead.
Opposition based on hubris and display of forbearance and fortitude by messengers
The Quran says:
وَمَا يَأْتِيهِم مِّن نَّبِيٍّ إِلَّا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِئُونَ
(43:7) – But never yet came a prophet to them without their deriding him. [Asad]
So, this is nothing new. This has been going on since the beginning. Every messenger who came was against vested interest groups – against capitalists, against rulers, against personality cults. That is why there was opposition against all messengers. And it was quite natural for the vested interests to oppose the messengers. And these kinds of oppositions don’t happen on the basis of logic or evidence because they don’t have any logic or proof. But they oppose it by using their power; or by using dirty tricks; or by using ridicules; or by using abusive and derogatory language. The messengers used to tell them: هَاتُوا بُرْهَانَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ (2:111) – Produce proof if what you say is true. Since they didn’t have any proof they descended to mean level and ridiculed the messengers. This becomes very difficult to deal with. The messengers could not descend to their level and reply in kind. But these insults and innuendos are emotionally very draining and extremely hurtful. It requires self-control and great patience to tolerate them.
How to deal with ridicule and malevolent attitude
These are the situations where Allah told the Prophet:
وَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَقُولُونَ وَاهْجُرْهُمْ هَجْرًا جَمِيلًا
(73:10) – And endure with patience whatever people may say [against thee], and avoid them with a comely avoidance. [Asad]
Do not be depressed by what your opponents say about you. Ignore them and remain firm and steadfast on your program. Do not get involved with them. Save yourself by gracefully withdrawing from these people who are not prepared to even listen to you. Allah’s law of requital will deal with them just as it dealt with the earlier transgressors and malefactors:
فَأَهْلَكْنَا أَشَدَّ مِنْهُم بَطْشًا وَمَضَىٰ مَثَلُ الْأَوَّلِينَ
(43:8) – And so, [in the end,] We destroyed them [even though they were] of greater might than these: and the [very] image of those people of old became a thing of the past. [Asad]
Our Law of Requital destroyed those nations, even though the grip of those people was far stronger than that of your opponents. So whatever happened to them will also happen to these people. You, O Prophet, want to save them from destruction. But if they don’t listen to you and, instead, ridicule you then don’t feel bad. Just keep explaining to them Our message. They claim to believe in God. But what is its meaning?
Every Messenger's life is very well-balanced
The Quran says that every messenger had extremely well-balanced life and character: اِنَّا كَذٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِيْنَ (37:121) – In this manner We bestow Our favors and blessings upon all those who lead their lives in a balanced and righteous manner.
After being selected by Allah as the messenger and receiving revelation, then everything is the result of the Messenger’s own effort. There is nothing whatsoever any superhuman feature involved in it. Whatever the Messenger does in the world it is due his effort; it is his conviction and teaching and training of his followers which leads to the establishment of Allah’s Deen in the world. Thus the achievement of divine mission is due to the supreme character and behavior of the Messenger as human being. In all these respects he is just as any other human being. There is no supernatural aspect involved in his character traits. That is the reason a Messenger’s life is a role model of for human beings. He is the first Momin and ‘Abd of Allah and others who follow in his footsteps are Momin and ‘Abd of Allah as well.
The Quran says:
يٰٓاَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوْا رَبَّكُمْ ۚ اِنَّ زَلْزَلَةَ السَّاعَةِ شَيْءٌ عَظِيْمٌ
(22:1) – O men! Be conscious of your Sustainer: for, verily the violent convulsion of the Last Hour will be an awesome thing! [Asad]
And: يَوْمَ تَرَوْنَهَا تَذْهَلُ كُلُّ مُرْضِعَةٍ عَمَّآ اَرْضَعَتْ وَتَضَعُ كُلُّ ذَاتِ حَمْلٍ حَمْلَهَا وَتَرَى النَّاسَ سُكٰرٰي وَمَا هُمْ بِسُكٰرٰي وَلٰكِنَّ عَذَابَ اللّٰهِ شَدِيْدٌ
(22:2) – On the Day when you behold it, every woman that feeds a child at her breast will utterly forget her nursling, and every woman heavy with child will bring forth her burden [before her time]; and it will seem to thee that all mankind is drunk, although they will not be drunk - but vehement will be [their dread of] God’s chastisement. [Asad]
O humankind! Be conscious of and guard the Laws of your Sustainer and establish your society on correct lines. If you will not do this (on your own), then it will happen through a tremendous revolution which will shake everything from their very roots. The severity of the havoc created on the Day this revolution takes place would be such that (no one will bother to take notice of the other; and) even mothers will forget their nurslings and not feel sorry at all; pregnant women will suffer miscarriages; everyone will appear to be intoxicated although they would not be drunk; and all this will be because of severe punishment from Allah.
Meaning of Taqwa
The next part after acquiring Iman is: اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ (57:28) – and always watch over and guard the Divine Laws. But our translations say: Fear Allah. This is an extremely wrong concept of Allah that we have to fear Him. Allah is not an entity to be afraid of. In fact, it is just the opposite. The Quran says:
فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم مِّنِّي هُدًى فَمَن تَبِعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
(2:38) – there shall, nonetheless, most certainly come unto you, guidance from Me: and those who follow My guidance need have no fear, and neither shall they grieve. [Asad]
There shall, nonetheless, most certainly come unto you, guidance from Me: and those who follow My guidance need have no fear, and neither shall they grieve. This is unique characteristic of the society established based on the Revelation from Allah. But we constantly instill fear of Allah in the hearts of children. So, their personality gets distorted for their entire lives. Fear surrounds us from all sides.
The Quran says that there will come a period in which spark of evil will fly and catch people. This is the first sign of evils – to create fear in the hearts of people. Taqwa means not to fear Allah but to fear the bad consequences of wrong actions; to walk on right path carefully and cautiously and to protect from the man-created thorny bushes on both sides of the highway of life; to protect oneself from man-made evil pits along the highway of life. For example, we always protect ourselves from fire. We are not afraid of fire but we carefully avoid being burnt. This is called Taqwa. Khalifa Umar (R) gave a practical and visible example of Taqwa when people asked him. He asked that when you walk on a narrow path on whose both sides are thorny bushes and when wind is blowing and you are wearing loose dress, then how do you walk. They said we protect ourselves from the thorny bushes by holding our dress tightly to our bodies. Then Khalifa (R) replied that this is exactly the meaning of Taqwa. So, اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ (57:28) means to always be careful and conscious to protect from the destructive consequences resulting from violating the Laws of Allah. That is the meaning of Taqwa of Allah because He does not give permission to follow anyone else’s laws. Obedience must be only to the Laws of Allah. Anyone’s else’s obedience will be Shirk; it will be a human-made poison pill that kills the “self.”
Obedience of the laws of Allah
Acquiring Iman and obeying the Laws of Allah leads to double rewards:
وَآمِنُوا بِرَسُولِهِ يُؤْتِكُمْ كِفْلَيْنِ مِن رَّحْمَتِهِ (57:28) – And whatever your Messenger tells you according to the Revelation, believe in it and obey it. In this way He will bestow His bounties on you twofold: one part in this world and the other in the hereafter.
وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
(2:201) – But there are among them such as pray, "O our Sustainer! Grant us good in this world and good in the life to come, and keep us safe from suffering through the fire." [Asad]
We find two kinds of people in the world: the first kind’s sole aim of life is to find prosperity in this world and they do not think about the Hereafter; the other kind, however, yearn not only for bliss in this world but also to be protected from disaster in the Hereafter. Both kinds shall have what they have worked for. According to Allah’s Law of Requital, each human action produces its result simultaneously although the latter may not be perceptible for some time.
After acquiring Iman; after adopting the Taqwa of Allah by obeying the Laws of Allah; and after all this the Quran puts an extraordinary heavy responsibility on the Monineen: وَيَجْعَل لَّكُمْ نُورًا تَمْشُونَ بِهِ (57:28) – He will also grant you such an illuminating (Quranic) vision that whatever path you travel will be enlightened and as such you will remain safe from all types of destruction. Then, you have to carry this light throughout the world.
Allah’s Law of Requital
The Quran acknowledges human weaknesses. When humans stand up for Haq and strive hard to establish it and when some errors occur – إِلَّا اللَّمَمَ (53:32) – in strategies for its implementation then the Quran says that Allah’s law has within itself built-in remedial measures. Quran’s Law of Requital is based on scale with two sides. Every iota of deeds (whether positive or negative) has a weight and is accounted for: مَن ثَقُلَتْ مَوَازِينُهُ (101:6) and مَنْ خَفَّتْ مَوَازِينُهُ (101:8).
So, the Quran says to Messenger: وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةَ عَنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَعْفُو عَنِ السَّيِّئَاتِ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ (45:25) – You should tell these people that since the reasons have been explained to them clearly that if they leave the wrong path and adopt the right one, Allah’s Law of Requital would efface the ill effects of their erroneous ways. Allah knows about everything that they have done till then: what they are doing at present; as well as the results and consequences.
Those who are fighting for Haq against the Baatil forces might make some strategic mistakes. But it is not the case that Allah forgives their mistakes. Actually, the concept of forgiveness is against the Quran. It is the weight of their goods deeds that is higher than the weight of negative effects of their mistakes. Quran says that there is a scale of deeds with one side containing the good deeds and the other side containing the bad deeds; and it is the heavier side of the scale that decides the final outcome. This is the Quranic principle which decides the final outcome: إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّيِّئَاتِ (11:114) – The results accruing from your good actions will overpower the ill effects of your faltering, if any. This is a basic principle for those who adhere to Allah’s laws.
Allah’s Law of Requital has built-in period of respite
The Quran gave a very practical program of action and its result comes out in terms of the Law of Requital. The Quran considers humans as real humans who are prone to making mistakes and errors in judgment; and they are liable to take wrong steps while implementing the program of Deen. The Quran does not consider humans innocent. Also, it does not just give only idea but it also gives a practical program of action. There is a period of respite built into the Law of Requital and if any mistakes were made or wrong steps were taken then it can be corrected during the period of respite. If the proper steps are taken to undo the effects of mistakes or of missteps, then negative effects of wrong deeds are overpowered by the good deeds on the scale of Law of Requital.
This is an example of the intrinsic evolutionary process. If we consider the outside world and reflect over land that is lying dry and barren with no sign of life and growth. But when rain falls over it, it becomes verdant and gradually brings forth a world of beautiful greenery.
All this happens because the existence of Allah is an absolute fact. His Law always brings forth solid and constructive results; and brings lifeless objects to life. Therefore, it is not at all difficult for Him to bring the dead back to life. He has laid down measures (laws) for everything; and He exercises absolute and full control over everything.
These are the laws according to which dead nations are brought back to life; and human beings receive life after death. Accordingly, the revolution that will give new life to this apparently weak and lifeless group will surely come; and there is no doubt about it. Likewise, there is no doubt that Allah will also bring the dead back to life.