Leniency and Consultation, Finding Taqwa, Sacred Consciousness

Issue 1011 » August 10, 2018 - Dhul-Qida 28, 1439

Living The Quran

Leniency and Consultation
Al-e-Imran (The House of Imran) - Chapter 3: Verse 159

"It is part of the mercy of Allah that you are gentle with them. Were you severe or harsh-hearted, they would surely have dispersed from around you. So bear with them, and ask for (Allah's) forgiveness for them; and consult them in matters of public concern. Then, when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah. Verily, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Allah)."

This verse represents an aside following the harsh words used for the hypocrites. The attitude and conduct of the hypocrites was extremely objectionable and they misused and misinterpreted the leniency of the Prophet, peace be upon him. Essentially, however, they were sick people and therefore Allah wanted to grant them some respite so that if they had any good in them they would realise what was right and rectify their behaviour. The lenient attitude and kind treatment with which they were hitherto treated by the Prophet was for this very reason approved by Allah.

It is also noteworthy that while advising the Prophet to forgive and to pray for them, he is also commanded to consult them in public concern. There is a special reason for this commandment at this place. In matters of religion the Prophet, peace be upon him, did not depend on any advice from others. All his utterances, actions and functions were guided by Divine revelation. In political and administrative matters, however, he always consulted with his companions, thus setting an important precedent by his personal example for mutual consultation. Shura or consultation has, therefore, always been a fundamental feature of the political system of Islam.

The rider clause then, when you have taken a decision put your trust in Allah following the commandment and consult them in affairs (of moment), also suggests that the purpose of consultation in administrative and political matters is to lend strength to the rulers and to reinforce confidence in their decisions. Consultation is necessary, but after the consultation, a ruler may carry out whatever decision he is satisfied with and place his trust in Allah. It makes no difference whether majority or minority votes support the decision of the ruler. A majority per se is not a proof of the soundness of an opinion or its rectitude nor does a minority signify deficiency and a proof that it is always wrong. However, there is greater chance that a majority opinion would be more sound and correct. Therefore, if it is taken as conclusive in settling disputes and conflicts it is safer and comparatively more expedient, especially in the present times when desires and caprice play such a prominent part in people's lives. There are few who would use their power and authority within the confines of the law and not overstep the bounds.

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

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Finding Taqwa

The Prophet (peace be upon him) pointed three times towards his chest and said, "Taqwa (piety) is here".[Muslim]

One might be deceived by searching for taqwa of a person by looking at the way he dresses, or in his countenance and shape, or in his external appearance. But the true centre and source of taqwa is within his chest - in his qalb. The Prophet has drawn our attention with emphasis towards this key point by pointing towards his chest three times.

The Quran has repeatedly called attention towards the fact that real accountability will be of deeds that are based on qalb. If a man were to forcibly commit kufr (deny the existence of Allah) by his tongue, and yet his qalb affirms iman (faith in Allah), then he will not be questioned on the Day of Judgment for his denial under duress. His qalb is satisfied on the basis of iman. Pointing towards the chest, he stated that you may commit sin, but you will be questioned about that sin which your qalb intended, and what the qalb has earned. Man is responsible for what his qalb intended, and what it gained in return for his deeds. Truly man is entirely accountable for what his qalb earns.

Man is answerable because Allah has given him freedom of choice. A person may do good deeds or evil deeds as per his wishes. Since the intention is controlled by the qalb, the real responsibility lies with the qalb. The qalb is responsible for committing sin. In other words, it is that inner self which controls emotions, intentions, and motives. On the Day of Judgment, only that person will attain salvation and enter into the presence of Allah who has a sound qalb.

Compiled From:
"A Righteous Heart: The Axis of One's Deeds" - Khurram Murad


Sacred Consciousness

Knowledge is a mirror which reflects patterns, colours, designs and conditions as they are. Knowledge is a mirror before the world. Its name: science. That is all. It has no good or bad. To serve or commit treason are not pertinent to it. Formal purity or impurity has no meaning in it. It is a science and only a science. It is one everywhere and always.

Kafir or Muslim, the people or the enemy, traitor or servant. These limitations appear with consciousness. A power which employs science, gives direction, creates debauchery or piety, war or peace, cruelty or justice. In a capitalistic system, knowledge is the same as that of an equitable system. A Nazi physicist recognizes nature the same way as the Nazi's physicist victims do. The ulama of the Caliph know religion in the same way as the ulama who are captive of the Caliph. What makes one an executioner and another a martyr? One a freedom seeker and the other a tyrant? One formally pure and the other formally impure? It is not knowledge and science. It is consciousness. Which science? It makes no difference as science is one. Which kind of knowledge? The question is useless as knowledge takes only one form. But which consciousness? This question must be answered and the hajj answers it! Sacred consciousness. That which is preserved in an environment of chastity, piety and purity.

Knowledge is a phase of science, the recognition of an objective relationship, an inner connection to an outer reality which requires sight and light but sacred consciousness is a phase of consciousness of self which contains the power of understanding and this is a subjective thing. The former is the sensation phase and objective witnessing: nazar. The later is the phase of thinking, inner consciousness: basirat. Not irresponsible, polluted and sick thought or reckless consciousness but a responsible consciousness, committed to an environment of purity and virtue. Like the sacred mosque (Masjid al-Haram), the sacred month (Dhul hijjah), the sacred area (Makkah) where sin and corruption are forbidden along with aggression, fighting or harming living creatures or uprooting plants.

Compiled From:
"Hajj: Reflections on its Rituals" - Ali Shariati