Rights of Men, Seeking God, Established Order

Issue 750 » August 9, 2013 - Shawwal 2, 1434

Living The Quran

Rights of Men
Hud (Hud) - Chapter 11: Verse 117

"And your Lordwouldneverdestroy human habitations wrongfully, while their inhabitants are righteous."

The verse implies that Allah does not destroy a people even if they commit association in His divinity so long as their dealings between themselves are carried out in justice. It is only when they begin to wrong each other on a large scale that they meet with their destruction. Hence it is said that a dominion lasts despite disbelief but not despite justice. [Zamakhshari, Shawkani]

God's chastisement does not afflict any people merely on account of their holding beliefs amounting to shirk or kufr, but afflicts them only if they persistently commit evil in their mutual dealings, and deliberately hurt other human beings and act tyrannically.

Hence those who are learned in Islamic Law hold that men's obligations towards God rest on the principle of [His] forgiveness and liberality, whereas the rights of man are of a stringent nature and must always be strictly observed - the obvious reason being, that God is almighty and needs no defender, whereas man is weak and needs protection. [Razi, Asad]

It is imperative that there should always be a good number of righteous people in every society. A community that is prepared to put up with everything except a group of righteous people in its midst is certainly destined for self-destruction. God's final decision, whether to punish a community or not, depends on the extent to which that communitypossessesthe elements that would enable it to respond to the call of truth.

If we truly love the society we live in and don't want the punishment of God to come down upon us, we should try our best to develop a group of people who will call people to do good and forbid them fromevil.

Compiled From:
"Ishraq Al-Maani " - Syed Iqbal Zaheer, Vol. 5, pp. 294, 295
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, vol. IV, pp. 138, 139

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Seeking God

The path to God is only illuminated when a person recognizes the central place of God, Allah, in his or her own life and strives hard to develop his or her self accordingly. The Messenger of Allah, (peace be upon him) said, "If someone wants to know what position he enjoys in the sight of God, he has to onlylook at what place he gives to God (in his heart and life)" (Hakim).

For the Believer, the most coveted goal in life is to seek the good pleasure of Allah and Janna (Paradise). Know, however, that attaining the pleasure of Allah takes precedence over seeking Janna but the two are closely connected. Paradise can only be attained through seeking Allah's pleasure, and when Allah's pleasure is gained, we will indeed be granted Paradise.

The alternate to attaining Paradise in the Hereafter is to be placed in Jahannam (Hellfire) and to receive punishments. Hellfire is for those who seek as their ultimate goal in life, not the pleasure of Allah or Paradise, but the enjoyment of worldly gains. The pursuit of worldly gain is but a mirage. All worldly gains are left behind when you die. All that remains on earth is bound to perish, while Allah and His good pleasure will remain for ever!

Compiled From:
"In The Early Hours" - Khurram Murad, pp. 1-3


Established Order

The time has come to reconcile ourselves with the depth and breadth of the Islamic civilizational tradition and its wealth of meaning that establishes rules in the light of the objectives of dignity, freedom, justice and peace. The Muslim peoples of today urgently need to reassert themselves. Crucial to the process are spirituality and mysticism: not those of a certain form of Sufism that, not wishing to “take part in politics,” ends up playing the game of powers (and colonisers), but of the quest for self that an authentic Sufism never separated from human, social and political (by way of wise and just government) considerations. It is not enough to affirm that freedom must come before the “Sharia”; what is lacking is a thoroughgoing reflection on freedom in the modern age, and the superior objectives (maqasid) of the Path (ash-Sharia) that supersede its reduction to a body of regulations presented as God’s intangible laws. What ash-Shatibi provided us with, in his synthesis of the “objectives of the Sharia" - which is actually a “philosophy of law"- must be thought for the notion of freedom: we need a “philosophy of liberty” that cannot be constricting, reactive or dogmatic but must be broad, holistic and liberating, valid for women and men alike.

There is a sore need of young scholars (ulama) of both sexes, of intellectuals who will show a modicum of courage. While respectful of the message and the immutable rules of practice, they must imperatively seek reconciliation with the intellectual audacity of those who have given the age-old Islamic tradition its strength. Against the institutions that have often shaped them, that are under state control and intellectually enfeebled (such as al-Azhar or Umm al-Qura today), the young Muslim generations must free themselves, make their presence felt and give new meaning to the dynamics of a civil society that is no longer a passive onlooker, or simply complain, and display their indignation, or explore new ways of acting, new and alternative visions. Yet they must remain faithful to themselves, while resisting the established order.

Compiled From:
"Beyond Islamism" - Tariq Ramadan