Surah An-Nisah (Ch. 4 Verses 26 - 32)
Allah would turn to you in mercy
Allah Would Turn To You in Mercy
Verses 26 to 32 of the 5th Ruku of the 4th Surah (An-Nisa) have been rendered into English by Pickthall as follows:
"Allah would explain to you and guide you by the example of those before you, and would turn to you in mercy, Allah is Knower, Wise.
"And Allah would turn to you in mercy; but hose who follow vain desires would have you go tremendously astray.
"O ye who believe! Devour not your wealth among yourselves in vanity, except it be a trade for mutual satisfaction, and kill not one another. Verily, Allah is Merciful unto you.
"Whoso doeth that through aggression and injustice, We shall cast him into Fire, and that is ever easy for Allah.
"If ye avoid the great (things) which ye are forbidden, We will remit from you your evil deeds and make you enter at a noble gate.
"And covet not the thing in which Allah hath made some of you excel others. Unto men a fortune from that which they have earned, and unto women a fortune from which they have earned, and ask Allah of his bounty. Verily, Allah is Knower of all things."
- The Quran lays stress on the guidance which mankind has receiver though His messengers from Adam (peace be upon him) to Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him). Some of the prophets like Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus Christ and others (peace be upon them have been mentioned by name in the Quran and there are others whose names have not been mentioned (IV-164; XL-78). We are further told that "there is not a people but a warner hath not passed among them (XXXV-24). The guidance which Allah has given through His messengers and prophets is a great mercy for mankind. The essence of this guidance is the inculcation of moral principles and values which lead to Siratal Mustaqim, or the path of moral rectitude that is Islam which means obedience to the Divine laws. It has been related by Hazrat Abdulla ibni Masood (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said in explaining the meaning of Siratal Mustaqim that it means Islam. The specific definition of the expression given in verses 152 to 154 in the 19th Ruku of the 6th Surah (Al-Anaam) may thus be taken to be a definition of Islam. The path of moral rectitude leads to the pleasure of Allah and our own well-being in the highest sense.
Those who are obsessed with their vain desires wish to make others deviate from the path of moral rectitude to bring them to their greedy selfish way of life. Such people may do lip-service to moral principles, but they would not let moral principles deter them from corruption and sin in the pursuit of the objects of their vain desires. All that is worthwhile in the achievements of mankind is due to the civilisations which the great religions have promoted. European civilisation in its inception, and so longs as Christian morality remained its guiding principle it grew from strength to strength. With the passage of time the teachings of Jesus Christ were distorted and the Christian peoples began to stray from the true Christianity if not actually hostile to it. They seem now to ne led mostly by people who "follow vain desires" who "would have you go tremendously astray". This description would not exactly apply to leaders of exceptional merit. Winston Churchill who holds a high place amongst the distinguished statesmen of the world, in his Ottawa broadcast which he made in the second world war he expressed true Christian sentiment when he said that is was a given to few to know wherein lies their interest, but that it was given to many a humble folk in all walks of life to know wherein lies their duty. It seems that as a statesman he failed, for want of popular support, to restrain those who follow vain desires and would not let moral principles hamper them in their greedy and selfish designs. He is admired for having led his country to victory in the two world wars, but he seems to realise how much degradation and misery the world has suffered from the wars, and how much his own country has suffered from the illusory victory. In 1940, when his son Randolph Churchill's son was christened he sat through the entire ceremony with tears streaming down his face and murmured " Poor infant to be born into such a world as this" (Virginia Cowle's Sir Winston Churchill: The Era and The Man).
We are apt to be over-awed by the glamour of the West, but if we reflect on the achievements of the Western peoples we can easily see that they rose to power because they followed the teachings of Christ and not because they followed the teachings of Christ and not because they were worshippers of Mammon as they appear, sometimes now, to be. Christianity taught them self-discipline and gave them moral ascendency and human dignity. We seem to forget that Muslims also rapidly rose to power and prospered so long as they remained true to the teachings of the Quran and the teachings of the Quran and the example of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him). They exercised a beneficial influence on human affairs for several centuries. In course of time they began to deviate from the teachings of the Quran, and to ignore the path of moral rectitude in the pursuit of vain desires. When they lost their moral ascendency they ceased to deserve the favours of Allah which had been bestowed on them in generous abundance.
- A True believer should have no difficulty in resisting the temptation which those who follow vain desires hold out and to remain firm in the path of moral rectitude. Allah has in His mercy made plain for us the Siratal-Mustaqim through the Quran which shows us the way to His mercy and the good life. Life is beset with dangers and difficulties, but they can be easily surmounted with faith in Allah and His guidance. Allah turns to us in His Mercy and lightens the burden of our difficulties. If we follow His way we shall be freed from fear of every sort and He will give us discrimination (between right and wrong) and rid us of evil thoughts and deeds (II-38; VIII-29). If we succumb the blandishments of those who follow vain desires we increase the burden of our difficulties which too often lead to failure and frustration.
- The decline of religion in the West has brought about a lowering of moral standards in private and public life. The result has been that the remarkable industrial and technical progress of recent times has not increased the happiness of the people as was to be expected. Russia has openly renounced religion. It is clear from all available accounts that the masses in the U.S.S.R. are in worse state than they ever were under the worst tyranny of the Czars. There is more freedom in the countries of the West which have not renounced religion, but religion has ceased to be the force that it was when it gave them moral ascendency. The laxity in moral restraints that appears to prevail in Western countries is more akin to barbarism than to Christianity.
- With the guidance of the Quran it is easy for a believer to avoid the away of those who follow vain desires. The Quran shows the way to seek the mercy of Allah in obedience to His laws. In that way lies true happiness and lasting success. A believer should not be dismayed by the power and prestige that is sometimes attained by those who seem to follow vain desires. It is not for Allah's creatures to presume to judge how He dispenses His bounties. He is the Owner of Sovereignty and gives sovereignty upto whom He will and withdraws sovereignty from whom He will. He exalts whom He will and He abases whom He will. In His hand is the good (III-26). A believer firmly believes that Allah is Knower and Wise as the Quran says again and again. Allah knows the ultimate reality, and decades or centuries are comparatively short periods of times in the vastness of His scheme of creation. Man has been created viceroy on earth (VI-166) an all that is in the heavens and the earth has been made of service unto him (XLVI-13). It is, therefore utter humiliation for a man to be a slave to his vain desires like a beast. With their higher intelligence mankind ought to be able to realise their position in the scheme of creation, and to act in accordance with Divine laws which are the laws of truth, justice and goodness. In obedience to these laws lies man's salvation. Some thinkers amongst the Western people are beginning to realise how much harm has been done since the neglect of religion. A significant fact is the growth of the Moral Rearmament movement stated by the Oxford Group. The movement suffered from much ridicule and fanatical opposition from people who are so obsessed by their vain desires that they cannot bear to see people being called to the path of moral rectitude which necessarily involves self discipline and self restraint which appear to irksome to hose who wish to follow their vain desires. It appears, however, to have the support a number of God-fearing and earnest persons who refuse to be subdued and continue tenaciously to keep up their endeavour to persuade people to "live as God wants." They realise as William Penn ahs said, that "if we are not governed by God we will be ruled by tyrants". It is a hopeful sign that the movement is steadfastly gaining ground. There is evidence of this in the increasing numbers of persons from all over the world attending the annual gathering at Caux in Switzerland. An excellent account of the movement is given in Innocent Men by Peter Howard published by Heinemann in 1941. A Muslim would naturally be in whole-hearted sympathy with the movement with any movement which promotes virtue. Muslims do not need a new movement for themselves. They have only to turn to the Quran, and if they sincerely seek guidance in it they can have the guidance that one needs to enable one to "live as God wants". It is one of the conditions of finding guidance in the Quran that one should be mindful of one's duty to Allah and be regular in prayer (II-2, 3). Prayer is a safe-guard against indecency and what is disapproved by Allah (XXIX-45) It cannot be denied that there are some who say prayers an still fail to adhere to the path of moral rectitude. Such are the people who are heedless of their prayer and they are strongly condemned in Surah CVII - Ah, woe unto praying ones Who are heedless of their prayer, Who would be seen (praying). (4,5,6). This is evidently applies to those whose prayer is a mere ostentatious formality. It is not easy for one who sincerely recites the Surah Fatihah to deviate from the path of moral rectitude. In this country most of the people who say their prayers do not know the meaning of the Surah Fatihah. Even those who know the literal meaning the Surah do not know that the Siratal Mustaqim, guidance to which they pray for is specifically described in the 19th Ruku of the 6th Surah (Al-Anaam). The efficacy of prayer as a safe-guard against sin depends on the sincerity with which it is said. Let us hope that the prayers of all those who say their prayers will be sincere and that those who have deprived themselves of the blessing that prayer is for believers will become regular in prayer.
- The welfare of mankind depends on justice and fair-dealing human affairs. All the want and misery and hatred and discord prevailing in the world would abate if people did not so freely "devour wealth amongst themselves in vanity." The Quran does not disapprove of the acquisition of wealth in a fair manner. It encourages us to seek the bounty of Allah by "trade for mutual satisfaction" and other legitimate and just means. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said that traders who are honest and faithful shall rank with the martyrs and the saintly. The Quran repeatedly enjoins the duty to "give full weight and measure in justice" (VI-153; XVI-35; LV-9). Those who devour wealth in vanity through aggression and injustice are condemned in verse 30, quoted at the beginning of this article. Defrauders are condemned in the 88th Surah thus: Woe unto defrauders: Those who when they take the measure from mankind demand it full, but if they measure unto them or weigh for them they cause loss (I-3). These injunctions apply to human affairs generally. To secure justice in all human affairs is the very purpose of the Divinely inspired Books - We verily sent Our messengers with clear proofs and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance, that mankind may observe right measure (LVII-25) There is an increasing tendency among people to think only of their rights or suppose rights and to forget their duties. If people while clamouring for the fulfilment of their rights faithfully performed their duties also there would be peace and prosperity. If there is want and distress in the world it is because people do not live as God wants them to live, and have allowed themselves to get lead tremendously astray in the pursuit of their vain desires.
- A believer whose faith is firm would naturally be anxious to guard against sin. As he advances in discipline sin will become abhorrent to him. We know that what the Quran forbids is a sin. Allah has also given us an instinctive sense which tells us what is right and what is wrong. In Surah Shams which is the 91st Surah we are told: And a soul and Him who perfected it, And inspired it (with conscience of) what is wrong for it and (what is) right for it. (7 and 8). Some Muslim young men have had their faith weakened and their discipline undermined by the writing of some Godless Psychologists and others. The following passage from the Innocent Men (page 152) is instructive: "Sin is an old-fashioned word, which most people shrink from nowadays. Psychologist like Freud, scientists like Bertrand Russel and Huxley, aided by writers like Wells, have done their best to abolish sin for us. It would have been splendid for us all if they had succeeded. But, alas and alack, in fact all that these fellows have managed to do is to offer themselves and other human excuses for behaving exactly as they want to behave in this world, rather than behaving as their conscience tells them they should behave. It is part of God's mercy and the most splendid hope for the future that, in spite of all the human explanations of misbehaviour, all men know if they stop and listen for a moment.....We in this generation have got a cock-eyed outlook on sin. We do not know what sin is, We seem to believe it is nothing except theft, murder or adultery - and that there are first rate "Freudian" reasons for explaining away the importance of even these. The truth is that sin can be defined as anything which gets between myself and God - or between myself and any other fellow on the earth. "The passage well states the moral anarchy which some Godless writers have attempted to create. Peter Howard exposes the fallacy in a simple and effective manner. A Muslim's idea of sin is more precise than Peter Howard's . To a Muslim every act in contravention of an ordinance of the Quran or precept by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is a sin. To state briefly every deviation from the path of moral rectitude is a sin.
- A great deal of unhappiness is suffered by people who do not thank Allah for what He has given them and covet what He has given to others. We are told in verse-32 that unto men is a portion of what they earn and to women a portion of what they earn. Allah is Just and Merciful. He gives us a reward for our efforts. A believer is expected to work patiently and to rely on Allah of a reward. In LIII-39 we are told that man hath only that for which he maketh effort. We are also repeatedly told that Allah enlargeth the provision for whom He will and straighteneth it for whom He will (XVII-31; XXIX-63; XXX-48; XXXIX-52; XLII-12). Envy is a sin and in one of the last Surah's of the Quran we are asked to seek refuge in Allah from the evil of the envier when he envieth. Envy springs from greed, which is one of the greatest evils - whoso is saved from his own greed, such are the prosperous (LXIV-16; XIX-9). Every believer must free his mind of greed and envy which are great obstacles to peace and prosperity. If our faith is firm we are sure to follow the path of moral rectitude and earn the pleasure of Allah and enjoy the pounce and prosperity in the highest. May Allah help us and guide us.