Complete Submission, Difficult Patience, Representations

Issue 780 » March 7, 2014 - Jumada al-Awwal 6, 1435

Living The Quran

Complete Submission
Al-Anam (The Cattle) Chapter 6: Verses 71, 72 (partial)

"Say: In truth, God's Guidance is the only Guidance. We are commanded to surrender ourselves to the Lord of all the worlds, and to attend regularly to our prayers and to fear Him."

The instructions to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are such that he has to declare in absolute clarity that God's guidance is the only guidance. As such, we are commanded to submit to the Lord of all the universe, because to Him alone all the worlds submit. Why should man be the only exception out of all creation when everything in the universe submits to God's absolute Lordship? The reference made here to the fact that God is 'the Lord of all the worlds' comes at the right time. It emphasizes an undeniable fact that all the worlds, whether known or unknown to us, submit to the laws God has set in operation and cannot break away from them. Biologically, man is also subject to the laws of nature. What he needs to do, then, is to submit also in the area in which he has been given a choice: to follow guidance or to sink in error. When man chooses to submit to God, in the same way as he does biologically, all his affairs will be set aright, because harmony will be established between his constitution and his action, between his body and his soul, between his present life and his life to come.

The most essential thing, then, is complete submission to God and the acknowledgement of His Lordship over the universe. The offering of worship and the moulding of conscious attitudes follow from this, because these cannot be done properly unless they are based on the solid foundation of man's submission to God.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 5, pp. 207, 208

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Difficult Patience

The degree of difficulty in abstaining from some things depends on the strength of one's motive and one's ability to do the action in question. Whoever has no motive to kill, or steal, or drink alcohol, or whatever, and at the same time is not able to do it, will find it very easy to exercise patience in abstaining from those things. Whoever has a strong motive to commit a wrong action and has the means to do so, will face great difficulty in exercising enough patience to abstain. Therefore, it is very difficult for a ruler to refrain from committing injustice and oppression, and it is difficult for a young man to refrain from fornication, and it is difficult for a rich man to refrain from pursuing physical desires and pleasures.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: "Allah will commend a young man who never behaved in an ignorant way." [Ahmad] In another hadith, he referred to those who will be shaded in the shade of Allah's throne for their perfect patience - such as the patience of an absolute ruler in being just in all situations, regardless of his own feelings, and the patience of a young man in worshipping and obeying Allah and suppressing his own whims and desires, and the patience of the man who stayed in the mosque, and the patience of the man who gives sadaqah in keeping his sadaqah secret, and the patience of a man who resists the temptation of a woman of beauty and high status, and the patience of two men who meet for the sake of Allah and part for the sake of Allah, in keeping their relationship for the sake of Allah, and the patience of one who weeps out of fear of Allah, in keeping that secret and not telling others about it. All of these are among the most difficult types of patience. Therefore, the punishment of an old man who commits adultery, a king who tells a lie and a poor man who is arrogant is more severe, because it is easy for them to keep away from such wrong actions, and does not require much in the way of patience. Their attitude indicates that they are wilfully rebelling against Allah.

Compiled From:
"Patience and Gratitude" - Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, pp. 37, 38



We have to get used to the idea that values and laws do not protect us from anything unless we make the effort to educate ourselves, critically evaluate the information we are given, and learn to understand representations. The means of mass persuasion are so powerful that anything is possible: even the most educated people and the masses are increasingly vulnerable and are potential objects of the most hateful populist campaigns and media manipulations. Sixty years after the ratification of the Declaration of Human Rights, nothing can be taken for granted, and everything is possible. As former Prime Minister Tony Blair once said, 'The rules of the game have changed.' That was understatement. Surveillance, the loss of the right to privacy, summary extraditions, 'civilized' torture camps all over the world, places where the writ of law does not run. The normalization of violence appears to have desensitized us, and we are more and more indifferent to the inhuman treatment we see all around us. It is true that we have often lost the ability to marvel at the simple things in life, as a result of either pessimism or lassitude, but we can only conclude that we have also - and to a dangerous extent - lost our capacity for outrage and revolt. Our representations are becoming standardized just as our intellect and sensibilities are declining. Our fine laws may still delude us, but they will do nothing to protect us or to promote respect for human dignity unless our conscience imbues them with substance, meaning and humanity.

Compiled From:
"The Quest for Meaning" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 172