Issue 154 » January 25, 2002 -
Surah ale-'Imraan (The Family of Imran)
Chapter 3: Verses 156
"Believers! Be not like those (hypocrites) who disbelieved and said about their brothers, who (met mishap when) they were travelling through the earth or engaged in an expedition, 'Had they remained (behind) with us, they would not have died or been slain!'
(However) Allah makes these thoughts a source of great regret and remorse in their hearts. Indeed, it is Allah who gives life and death. Allah sees well all that you do."
@ Commentary @
As God cultivates the first Muslim community in Madinah, and points to the lessons they must learn from the loss at the Battle of Uhud and what they suffered in it, He warns the believers against doing that which the unbelievers did: Mocking the believers who set out in Allah's cause to establish peace and justice.
As Imam Ar-Razi and Imam Zamarkhshari (rahimahum Allah) note, the fact that Allah uses the words 'their brothers' indicates that He is referring to the statements made by the hypocrites of Madinah regarding their 'brothers' who suffered pain, loss, and death in the battle of Uhud and other battles.
Mentality of Hypocrites vs. Faith of Believers
Sayyid Qutb (rahimah Allah) explains that the statement, 'Had they remained (behind) with us, they would not have died or been slain', shows the great gulf between the confidence and contentment of those who have faith and the mentality of those who are deprived of it.
Following is a brief contrast of believers and hypocrites that Allah intends to highlight in this verse:
- The person of faith understands the Will of Allah and accepts it with reassurance, because he knows that he will only get what God has determined for him, and that what he may have missed, he could never have achieved anyway.
- Therefore, he neither panics in calamity, nor is he overwhelmed with joy when good fortunes smiles on him. He does not regret not having done such-and-such in order to avoid some mishap or ensure some good.
- On the other hand, a person who does not possess a firm faith in God, will always remain worried and hesitant, and will always say: "If only...", "Had it not been for...", "I wish that...", and "How sorrowful it is that...", "You would not have suffered if you did..."
- Moreover, the hypocrites usually think they are smart and know what they are doing, while forgetting the fact Allah is always in full control. Indeed, it is Allah who gives life and death.
- As Imam Qurtubi (rahimah Allah) comments: Often the hypocrites, who mock at their own fellow believers for being so foolish to participate in a struggle for justice, forget that it is Allah who can give life to those who struggle, and death to those who stay back, upon His Will. Your staying home and escaping the responsibility cannot save you.
- Khalid bin Waleed (radhi Allahu 'anh), who was a famous Companion of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and one of the greatest Commanders of believers to have ever lived, and given the title of ''Sword of Allah', used to cry and envy the martyrs after every battle, and always prayed to Allah to grant him martyrdom. On his death bed, he said, "There isn't a place on my entire body, equal to the length of the span of a hand, on which there isn't a mark of injury that I have received in the battle-fields. Yet, here I am dying on this (comfortable) bed!"
Lesson for us Today
This verse may serve as a reminder to those among Muslims and non-Muslims, who, often basing all their judgement on the media's biased views, approve, enjoy, and mock at the suffering of innocent and peaceful believers, struggling to be free from oppression in their lands. It is not uncommon to hear from such arrogant people comments like: "They deserved it because they are a bunch of ignorant fanatics", "What do I have to do with them?", "Had they been little more civilized and educated, they would not dare throwing stones at the enemy", etc. We should remember God is All-Knowing, and He is aware of all what we do, think, and say. Furthermore, before making such bold statements, we must consider the complex geo-political realities of the people of oppressed nations and perhaps do something about it!
[compiled from "Tafsir Ishraq Al-Ma'ani", Vol II by Sayyid Iqbal Zaheer
and "In the Shade of the Quran", Vol II by Sayyid Qutb]
UNDERSTANDING OUR TEENS
This series seeks to analyze some of the negative aspects of the 'teen culture', which go against our Islamic values and traditions. Every Muslim parent and teacher needs to recognize that not actively participating in your teen's lifestyle is not an option.
[Alcohol: Getting 'High' in High School]
"Alcohol is a horrible thing. It takes away your mind and leaves you with a crazy body that does whatever it wants. Some people drink alcohol just to be cool and meet the social standard. Others drink it because it takes them on a little trip away from their problems. Unfortunately, they wake up next morning to find their problems eagerly awaiting them.
"With a substance like alcohol, which is extremely addictive, you have to stop the problem before it even starts. Once it starts, it is harder to stop and from then on it gets worse. Alcohol is a depressant, so, physically, it makes you slow down and feel relaxed. It also makes you make stupid decisions that you will most likely regret. Alcohol may make you "up there" socially (nobody wants to be drinking milk at a party when everyone else is drinking beer!), but is it really worth it? Is it worth the gross taste and painful aftermath? Is it worth calling your best friend a bad name that will probably stick with him forever? Is it worth the risk of one day, may be drinking a little too much and while driving home, hitting an innocent young child?
"Of course, you won't get charged with anything since you were drunk and you didn't know what you were doing. The young child's family mourns for months. Alcohol's effects are cruel and ever lasting. It tears families apart; it abuses young children. Why can't people drink cranberry juice or root beer? Why is alcohol so special? This is a question that I have yet to find an answer for."
Narrated by two sisters from Ottawa: Sr. Hoda Beshir & Sr. Noha Beshir
[compiled from "Muslim Teens: Today's Worry, Tomorrow's Hope"
by Dr. Ekram Beshir and Mohamed R. Beshir, pp 24-25]
To learn more about the negative effects of alcohol and tips on saying 'No' to alcohol, read
"Saying No to Alcohol and other Drugs" http://www.goodcharacter.com/BCBC/SayingNo.html
"Tips For Teens: Truth About Alcohol" http://www.health.org/govpubs/ph323/
Note: If you are a young school/university student and would like to share your thoughts and challenges faced in your academic and social teenage life, and how you dealt with them using your moral and Islamic principles, please do share them with our readers. We would love to hear from you! Thanks to those who have already submitted their stories.
SHARIAH: THE WAY OF JUSTICE
Shari'ah is the Islamic Law: the final, perfected and universally-applicable form of the divinely revealed code of life and conduct for all humanity. This series seeks to inform and educate both Muslims and non-Muslims about the place of Shari'ah within Islam, its fundamental principles, objectives, and methodology for implementation in the day-to-day civic life of society. It will also aim to remove some of the misconceptions built around the various rulings in Shari'ah that distract from its main purpose - safeguarding human life, family, dignity, wealth, and intellect hence creating an environment that nurtures the soul!
Series continued from Issue #153
Shari'ah - The True Embodiement of Justice
Specific provisions of the Shari’ah can be properly understood only in the context of its total scheme – its conceptual basis, primary objectives and goals and overall framework.
Shari’ah literally means ‘way to water’ – the source of all life – and signifies the way to God, as given by God. It is the Way which encompasses the totality of man’s life. Being God-given, the Shari’ah is the manifestation of His infinite mercy. It is thus also the only true embodiment of, and the best way to, justice.
The Source of Justice
Man’s quest for justice without recourse to divine help, and failure to find it, is the most persistent and tragic theme of human history. For justice, an ideal deeply cherished, ardently desired and ceaselessly pursued by mankind from the very first day of its existence on this planet, can never be truly conceptualised nor practiced unless it is rooted in the belief in One God.
He, the infinitely Merciful and Absolutely Just, has created everything with a purpose and in perfect harmony and balance. He has also guided every creation so that it fulfils that purpose. The whole universe and all creation is sustained on this foundation. Justice for man, therefore, as for everything else in creation, lies in obeying God by doing what He has laid down as ‘right’ and avoiding what He has laid down as ‘wrong’. It is only God who can establish in the intricate network of interrelationships and roles, mutual rights and obligations and consequent rewards and punishments on the basis of absolute standards of justice. That is the reason divine guidance is frequently called the ‘Balance’ (al-Meezan) in the Qur’an (55:1-9). All other sources of knowledge and modes of determination, whether scientific enquiry, pure reason or empiricism, suffer from one deficiency or another, being rooted in human imperfection.
... to be continued next week ...
[compiled from "Shari'ah: The Way of Justice" by Ustadh Khurram Murad (rahimahullah)]
QUOTES TO PONDER UPON
Thy body knows not the secrets of thy heart,
And so thy sighs reach not the heights of heaven;
God is disgusted with bodies without souls;
The living God is the God of living souls!
['Allama Muhammad Iqbal in "Armaghan-e-Hijaaz" 1938]