Repelling Evil, Trustworthiness, Enemy's Narratives

Issue 794 » June 13, 2014 - Shaban 15, 1435

Living The Quran

Repelling Evil
Al-Rad (Thunder) Chapter 13: Verse 22 (partial)

"... And those who repel evil with good"

What is meant here is that in their daily dealings with others, the believers reply to the evil done by others to them by doing what is good. The verse, however, stresses the result, rather than the action leading to it. When an evil action is returned with something good, this has a dampening effect on the evil tendency in others, encouraging them to do good instead, and helping them to resist Satan's promptings. Eventually, it repels the evil action and prevents it. Hence, the verse emphasizes this result and gives it prominence by way of encouraging people to reply to an evil action with a good one.

Moreover, there is a subtle reference here to returning evil with good only when this helps to prevent, rather than encourage evil. When evil is uncompromising, it must be overpowered. To return it with good action only emboldens it, making it more intransigent.

Besides, the prevention of evil by means of good is feasible mostly in relations between equals. When the dispute is over faith, it is normally the case that arrogant aggressors and spreaders of corruption can only be dealt with by strong, decisive action. Quranic directives then should be considered and implemented on the basis of a rational and objective study of every situation to determine the best course under the circumstances.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 10, pp.186, 187

Understanding The Prophet's Life


Trustworthiness is a cornerstone of belief. According to God's Messenger (peace be upon him), breaching a trust is a sign of the end of time: "When a trust is breached, expect the end of time." When his Companions asked how a trust would be breached, he answered: "If a job or post is assigned to the unqualified, expect the end of time." [Bukhari]

Assigning qualified people to jobs or posts is a social trust and plays a significant role in public administration and social order. Its abuse causes social disorder. Trustworthiness is so essential an aspect of belief that God's Messenger once declared: "One who is not trustworthy is not a believer." [Ibn Hanbal] and described a believer as one whom the people trust with their blood and property. [Tirmidhi]

Compiled From:
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, pp. 73, 74


Enemy's Narratives

There is much talk of the need for dialogue as a way of improving international relations. But will it be an aggressive dialogue that seeks to humiliate, manipulate, or defeat? Are we prepared to "make place for the other," or are we determined simply to impose our own will? An essential part of this dialogue must be the effort to listen. We have to make a more serious effort to hear one another's narratives. All too often, when the enemy starts to tell his story, the other side interrupts, shouts him down, objects, and denounces it as false and inaccurate. But a story often reflects the inner meaning of an event rather than factual, historical accuracy. As any psychoanalyst knows, stories of pain, betrayal, and atrocity give expression to the emotional dimension of an episode, which is just as important to the speaker as what actually happened. We need to listen to the undercurrent of pain in our enemy's story. And we should be aware as well that our version of the same event is also likely to be a reflection upon our own situation and suffering rather than a dispassionate and wholly factual account. We have to learn to look carefully and deeply into our own hearts and thus learn to see the sorrow of our enemy.

Compiled From:
"Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life" - Karen Armstrong, pp.187, 188