Moral Code, Path to Paradise, Revelation and Reason

Issue 631 » April 29, 2011 - Jumada Al-Awwal 25, 1432

Living The Quran

The Moral Code
Al-Nisa (Women) - Chapter 4: Verse 58

"God commands you to deliver whatever you have been entrusted with to their rightful owners, and whenever you judge between people, to judge with justice. Most excellent is what God exhorts you to do. God hears all and sees all."

These are the main obligations placed on the Muslim community and these sum up its moral code:

1. Fulfilment of trust

The basic and most important trust is that which God has implanted in human nature. This is the one which the heavens, the earth and the mountains refused to accept, but which man undertook. It is that of willingly and deliberately recognising Divine guidance and believing in God. Giving testimony in favour of Islam is an important way of delivering this trust.

Another trust which is implied in the above is that of dealing with people and delivering to them whatever they have entrusted to us. That includes honesty in daily transactions, giving honest counsel to rulers and ruled, taking good care of young children, protecting the interests of the community and defending it against hostile forces, entrusting positions of responsibility only to those who are capable of shouldering the burdens of such positions, and observing all duties and obligations outlined by the Divine code.

2. Maintaining justice

The order to maintain justice is stated in the most general terms so as to make it obligatory between all people. Justice is due to every individual human being. Hence, justice should be extended to all: believers and non-believers, friends and enemies, white and coloured, Arabs and non-Arabs, etc.

This verse makes it clear that both orders to be true to one's trust and to maintain justice between people are part of God's admonition. Good and greatly beneficial indeed is whatever God directs and admonishes us to do. Moreover, the order to do both comes from the One who hears and sees all things. God is certain to hear and see all matters related to the fulfilment of trust and maintaining justice.

Compiled From:
"In the Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, vol 3, pp. 193-195

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Path to Paradise

In a hadith related by Bukhari and Muslim, God's Messenger, peace be upon him, said: "Paradise is surrounded by trouble and tribulation, and Hell is concealed in pleasure."

Paradise and Hell are, in essence, blessings for humanity. Fear of Hell causes us to observe God's prohibitions so that we may go to Paradise. However, being saved from Hell and becoming deserving of Paradise requires great self-discipline and strict intellectual and spiritual training.

Hell is an abode of torment placed within an attractive setting of enticing lures and pleasures. If we are captivated and live only to satisfy such desires, we are lured toward Hell. To reach Paradise, we first have to train ourselves to ignore worldly attractions. Hell is part of the way to Paradise, for we must travel to Hell without allowing any of its attractions to seduce us. To reach Paradise, we must persevere, endure affliction, perform what is obligatory, avoid sin, and thank God for His bounties and blessings. Such virtuous acts are hated by our carnal desires.

Compiled From:
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, pp. 113, 114


Revelation and Reason

As revelation ended with the death of the Prophet and reason was accorded a greater importance, ot the extent of considering its proper use (ijtihad) and act of ibadah (worship), it goes without saying that reason has an important role in conducting this life. Reason has no role to play if there is a clear-cut revealed statement, since revelation supersedes reason. If there is no specific revealed statement on a given issue, then reason must be used to distinguish between good and bad and to direct man to the right path.

Over time, the strong pressures of life led some people to regard all revealed statements as non-conclusive, thereby nullifying and voiding revelation. This might have been the result of confusing the two levels of the intellectual approach to revelation: understanding revelation and establishing rules.

If those who fell under the pressures of life had merely questioned the applicability of conclusive revealed statements to life, their positions would have been regarded as ijtihad. Instead, they challenged the definite understanding of revelation, claiming that it should be changed. They believed that they were pursuing the way of Umar ibn al Khattab, who they thought had voided the hadd (punishment) for theft (cutting off the hands of thieves) during the "Year of the Famine." In fact, he neither changed nor suspended that punishment, which remains conclusive; rather, he believed that the punishment lacked the conditions for it to be applied at that particular time. Therefore he applied ijtihad; he did not change the definite understanding of revelation.

Compiled From:
"The Vicegerency of Man" - Abd al Majid al Najjar, pp. 84, 85