Own volition, Concern for Everyone, Misguidance
Issue 994 » April 13, 2018 - Rajab 27, 1439
Al-Baqara (The Cow) Sura 2: Verse 256
"There is no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy handhold, that never breaks, for God is All-hearing, All-knowing."
The word for religion, and Islam's own self-description, is deen. Deen is a way of knowing, being and doing, a way of life. What is more, this way of living, based on God consciousness, brings God near to us, it illuminates our lives.
Muslims frequently say that religion, their deen, is a total way of life. What this means is that just as belief in God is a free, informed choice, so the consequence of belief is about making choices about seeking what is best for oneself, one's family, for society, for the whole of humanity and the world, in all aspects and actions of daily life. And part of living one's deen, since we cannot live in splendid isolation, is seeking out and working for the free, willing collaboration of other people in the project of making the world the best possible place we can. A reflection of this is that the Arabic word for city, the concentration of human cohabitation, is medina, from the root deen. It was the new name given to Yathrib after Prophet Muhammad migrated there from Mecca and began to organise the new religion.
Community organised by consent of the governed follows from the proposition of religion as a way of life embraced by the consent of free will. The distinctions that illuminate how to live are the values and principles revealed by God for human betterment, which we accept as a consequence of faith. In opting for the light we willingly commit ourselves to working for justice and equity, and put ourselves on the right path.
The word used in this passage for evil is quite interesting: al-taghut. The evil ones are those who exceed their legitimate limits, and arrogate powers, wealth and lordship that do not belong to them—leading to arrogance and worship of other things besides God. Evil is interfering with, distorting and turning to the wrong ends, the free choices of free individuals. There is little point in saying we have free will if we are not free to exercise the option to abide by the constraints of moral and ethical behaviour of our own volition. And of our own volition it is necessary to turn away from the excesses of intoxication with worldly wealth and power, from arrogance and indulgence, from naked consumerism, especially that which squanders, wastes and despoils the human spirit and the world in which we live. That is the light that leads us away from the darkness of ignorance and unconsidered, short-sighted judgements.
"Reading the Qur'an: The Contemporary Relevance of the Sacred Text of Islam" - Ziauddin Sardar, pp. 180, 181
Concern for Everyone
One of the best examples of the Messenger's (peace be upon him) concern for
everyone to believe was his invitation to Wahshi, who had killed his uncle Hamza at Uhud. After the conquest of Makka, God's Messenger sent for him to accept Islam. Through a series of correspondence, God's Messenger opened Wahshi's heart to belief. Nevertheless, Hamza's martyrdom had affected God's Messenger so deeply that he whispered to Wahshi: "Try not to present yourself to me too often. I might remember Hamza, and thus be unable to show you the proper affection."
Wahshi did his best to comply with this request. He would stand behind a pole and try to catch a glimpse of God's Messenger in the hope that he might be allowed to present himself. When God's Messenger died soon thereafter, Wahshi set out to find a way of atonement for his act. When the war of Yamama broke out against Musaylima the Liar, he hastened to the front lines with the spear he had used to kill Hamza. At the most critical point, he saw Musaylima trying to flee. Immediately, he threw his spear at the impostor and killed him. [Bukhari, Ibn Hisham]
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, p. 80
Dalal and dalalah are the opposite of huda and hidayah. Dalal means to lose one's way, to go astray, to deviate from the straight path. Therefore dalalah is the opposite of hidayah (guidance) and means misguidance. It embraces all aspects of straying from the right path whether intentionally or by mistake or ignorance. Idlal, from the same root, means misguidance, delusion and misleading.
In many verses in the Quran it is mentioned that Allah guides whoever He likes and misguides whoever He wants. But this is not an arbitrary act on the part of Allah. As all acts of Allah are based on justice and fairness, those who are misguided are responsible for their own misguidance. This is explained in many places in the Quran. Those who are prone to evil render themselves incapable of benefiting from Divine Guidance. Fasiq (sinner), zalim (oppressor) and kafir (non-believer) are led astray because of their rejection of the Path of Righteousness.
"Treasures of the Qur'an: Surah al-Fatihah to Surah al-Mai'dah" - Abdur Rashid Siddiqui