Death and Achievements, Abnormalities, Movement and Action

Issue 1007 » July 13, 2018 - Shawwal 29, 1439

Living The Quran

Death and Achievements
Al-e-Imran (The House of Imran) Sura 3: Verse 145

"No soul can die except by Allah's leave according to a prescribed term. If any do desire a reward in this life, We shall give it to him; and if any do desire a reward in the hereafter, We shall give it to him. And swiftly shall We reward those who (serve Us with) gratitude."

In this verse, two weaknesses of the weaker elements in the Muslim community and the hypocrites are pointed out. One, they do not believe that the time of death of every person is fixed and that no one will die before the completion of the prescribed term of life, and that once this term is over, no one will be able to avert death even for a single instant. Therefore, a person's first concern should be to faithfully, firmly and resolutely discharge his obligations towards Allah rather than fleeing from them. The time and manner of every person's death is already fixed and cannot be altered.

The second weakness of the hypocrites was their erroneous belief that whatever they gained or achieved in life was solely due to their own planning and efforts. And they did not want to risk these achievements by being overly concerned with the betterment of their lives in the hereafter. This is because they feared that this could make them lose all their material achievements. This was, however, a totally false and erroneous belief. Allah grants those who worship this world whatever He has decreed for them but they have no share in the reward of the life in the hereafter. As against this, Allah blesses the seekers of the life hereafter with their reward in the life hereafter besides granting them their share of this worldly life as He has decreed for them. Therefore, the correct attitude for a wise person is that he should focus on the life hereafter and be content with whatever Allah grants him of his portion in this world, rather than throw away the eternal blessings of the life in the hereafter and spend all his efforts in vain pursuit of the fleeting pleasures of this transitory life.

Compiled From:
"Pondering Over The Qur'an: Surah Ali Imran" - Amin Ahsan Islahi

Understanding The Prophet's Life


Those upholding the Shariah and those in a position to explain its legislative rules ought to take a firm stand to prevent deviations and discrepancies by teaching and guidance that will eradicate them and expose superficial ideas and corruption. It is reported in a Tradition that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to Abd Allah ibn Amr ibn al-As: "I have been informed that you pray all night and fast during the day!" Abd Allah said, "I answered: '(Yes) I do.'" The Prophet then said: "If you do so, your eyesight will become weak and you will become weak. There is no doubt that your body has a right over you, and your family has a right over you. So fast (for some days) and do not fast (for some days), and pray for some time and then sleep." [Bukhari]

When abnormalities are confined to the person committing them, moral exhortation and proper education are the means to dealing with them. If, on the contrary, they infringe upon others and cause harm to them either by word or action, such as calling people to follow these fancies, punishment is the remedy. Accordingly, it is the duty of the ruler (wali al-amr) to compel those abandoning work to work in order to provide for their families and to deport those inviting others to their innovations and fancies, as Umar did when he deported Subaygh from Basra. Umar also compelled traders hoarding food to sell what people needed of the various provisions, as narrated in the Muwatta, although selling and buying is in principle permissible, since its permissibility is rooted in people's natural impulse for acquisition and the pursuit of profit. Thus, it is the difference of purpose that is taken into consideration in the course of action.

Compiled From:
"Treatise on Maqasid Al-Shariah" - Ibn Ashur, pp. 111, 112


Movement and Action

Movement is the constituent element of Islamic society, and this is what gives birth to it. Initially, the faith comes from its divine source, conveyed by God's Messenger in word and deed. In later generations, it is represented by advocates of the divine faith. Some people will respond to this advocacy, and they are met with resistance, and subjected to persecution by tyrannical regimes implementing different forms of Jahiliyyah. Some may succumb to persecution and turn away from the faith and its advocating movement, while others remain steadfast. Some of the latter may become martyrs, and others continue the struggle until God has judged between them and their opponents. This latter group will be granted victory by God, who makes them a means of fulfilling His will. He fulfils His promise to them of victory and power, so that they can establish the rule of divine faith. The victory is not theirs as a personal gain or reward. It is a victory of their message, so that they establish God's Lordship of mankind.

This group of people do not limit their faith to a certain piece of land, or to a certain race, nation, colour, language or similarly hollow tie. Their mission is to liberate mankind, the world over, from submission to anyone other than God, and to elevate mankind far above the level of subservience to tyrants, regardless of their type of tyranny.

As this movement goes on, people's qualities become apparent, and their respective positions are identified on the basis of standards and values that are firmly rooted in this faith and acceptable to all the community. These are values such as dedication to the cause, sacrifice, piety, a high standard of morals, efficiency and ability. All these values are judged by practice, as they become apparent through action and movement. Thus the community comes to recognize those who have them. Such people do not need to make any pretension to excellence.

In such a Muslim community, the social make-up is based on the distinction achieved through movement and action to implement the values of faith. That is what happened in the first Muslim community, when distinction was achieved by the early group of the Muhajirin and the Ansar, by the army in the Battle of Badr, by those who gave the Prophet the pledge to fight till death before the signing of the Treaty of Al-Hudaybiyah, and by the ones who fought in different battles for Islam before the victory that regained Makkah for Islam. In subsequent generations, distinction was achieved through dedication to the cause of Islam. In such a community people do not begrudge others their dues, and they do not deny them their positions of honour, even though human weakness may overcome some people who covet personal gains. This means that people do not need to extol their own virtues and seek power for themselves.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade Of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Volume 10, pp. 73, 74