Surah Al-Anam (No. 6) Verses 160 to 166
Straight Path, Right Religion
STRAIGHT PATH, RIGHT RELIGION
Verses 160 to 166 of the 20th and last Ruku of the 6th Surah (Al-Anaam) have been rendered into English by Pickthall as follows:-
"Verily, as for those who sunder their religion and become schismatics, no concern at all hast thou with them. Their case will go to Allah. He then will tell them what they used to do.
"Whoso bringeth a good deed will receive tenfold the like thereof; and they will not be wronged.
"Say: Verily, as for me, my Lord hath guided me unto a straight path, a right religion, the faith of Abraham, the upright, who was no idolator.
" Say: Verily, my prayers and my devotion and my living and dying are for Allah, Lord of the Worlds.
"He hath no partner. This am I commanded, and I am first of those who surrender (unto Him).
" Say: shall I seek another than Allah for Lord, when He is Lord of all things? Each soul earneth only on its own account, nor doeth any laden bear another's load. Then unto your Lord is your return and He will tell you that wherein ye differed.
"He it is Who hath placed you as viceroys of the earth and hath exalted some of you in rank above others, that He may try you by (the test of) that which He hath given you. Verily He is swift to punish, but verily He is Forgiving, Merciful."
- The promotion of peace was a prominent feature of the Divine mission of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Allah sent him "not save a mercy for the peoples". This is easily appreciated by one who knows the teachings of the Quran and the supreme example of generous tolerance and human sympathy set by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He is told in verse 160 that he has no concern at all with those who create differences in religion and split up into sects through schism. His mission was to set his:
"purpose for religion as a man by nature upright - the nature (framed) of Allah in which He hath created man" (XXX-30).
Pure Islam has thus a universal appeal. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) must have observed with disapproval the schism and discord, and consequent misguidance amongst the followers of the great religions of Judaism and Christianity. He is told that their case will go to Allah Who then will them what they used to do. It is important for Muslims to see how far they have succeeded in avoiding the errors of the followers of the earlier great religions which the Quran frequently points out to Muslims as a warning.
- Muslims have failed, unfortunately, to avoid schism and division into sects, "each sect exulting in its tenets." They have, by the mercy of Allah, the Quran preserved for them in its original purity. The teachings of the Quran are so simple that they leave no room for disagreement in their interpretation (III-7). It is easy for any seeker of guidance to find it in the Quran (LIV-17, 22, 32, 40). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was asked to enjoin tolerance thus:
" Say: Everyone acts according to his own manner, but your Lord knows best whose way is most right." (XVII -84).
It is, perhaps, not reasonable to expect that all the differences of the sects will be reconciled. What we can easily do is to avoid bitterness and strife by paying more attention to the points of agreement than to the points of disagreement amongst the sects. All are agreed on the supreme authority of the /book of Allah, and all share a feeling of deep love and reverence for the Prophet and his Sunnah (peace and blessings be upon him). That is much to be thankful for as a bond of sympathy amongst Muslims of all sects. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was asked to seek agreement with followers of the other great religions thus:
" Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to an agreement between us and you: that we shall worship none save Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for Lords besides Allah" (III-64).
If we follow the guidance of the Quran and the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) we can eradicate the prevailing discord amongst the various sects of Islam so as to become united as Muslims should be. It is imperative that we should close our ranks to meet the challenge of the enemies of God.
- Verses 162 to 164 sum up the description of "Suratu Rabbika Mustaqima" or the path of moral rectitude enjoined by Allah which is detailed in verses 152 to 154 of the preceding Ruku (19th) of the same Surah. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported by Hazrat Abdullah ibni Masood (May Allah be well pleased with him) to have said that the expression Siratal-Mustaqim (in Surah Fatihah) means Islam. The literal translation of the word Islam is obedience. The root of the word also means peace, safety and security of mankind lie in obedience to Divine laws. That is the essence of Islam.
- A true believer's prayers, devotion, living and dying are all for Allah alone. It follows that in all that he does his first consideration is the pleasure of Allah which lies, as the Quran tells us, in obedience to His laws of truth, justice and goodness. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has in his life and teachings left for his followers the noblest example of living in Allah's way.
- A Muslim's surrender to the one and only Allah frees him from fear and frustration of every sort. That is the reward promised in the Quran to all who believe and do good deeds. Genuine faith invests man with a dignity which places him above every kind of servility. To live in the way of Allah a believer must first secure mastery over his own self so as to be able to resist all temptations that involve any deviation from the path of moral rectitude. One who allows himself to become a slave to his vain desires incurs the risk of becoming a "Mushrik". The Quran warns us against this:
"Hast thou seen him who takes his low desires for his god?" (XXV-43; XLV-23)
. Self discipline is an essential quality of a true believer. Prayers, fasting and Zakat which are enjoined on Muslims are all aids to the self-discipline which one needs to enable one to follow the Siratal-Mustaqim:
"Verily, prayer persevereth from indecency and sin" (XXIX-45);
"Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that ye may ward off evil" (II-183).
Zakat which literally means purity is a curb on greed and promotes human sympathy:
- "And whoso is saved from his own greed such are the successful"(LXIV-16; LIX-9).
A true believer who relies on Allah alone finds it natural to face the trials and tribulations of life with courage and determination. He knows that each soul earneth only on its own accord, so he makes the best use of such resources as Allah may be pleased to allot to him. It is ingratitude to Allah to neglect such opportunities or to misuse them.
- It is important for every believer to bear in mind man's position in the scheme of creation. He is Allah's viceroy on earth, Allah has created for him all that is in the earth (II-29):
"And hath made of service unto you whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth" (XLV-13)
We are reminded of this again and again in the Quran and asked to ponder and reflect on the marvels of creation and to seek Allah's bounty. In Surah Al-Mulk we are told:
"He it is Who hath made the earth subservient unto you so walk in the paths thereof and eat of His providence". (LXVII-15).
The Western people have, through diligent study and reflection and steadfast endeavour made good use of the things provided by Allah for the benefit of mankind. Unfortunately the teachings of Jesus Christ (peace be on him), to which they owe their civilisation and progress, have been neglected by them. The result has been that their technical knowledge has now become a peril to themselves as to all mankind. People are tried by the test of that which Allah hath given them. The Western peoples seem to have failed in the trial of the power and influence which Allah gave them. If they had realised their position as viceroys of Allah and adhered to His laws they would have certainly avoided the widespread destruction and misery which the two world wars brought about. It is well stated in an article "The Sermon in the Bomb" which appeared in Collier's magazine of the 15th April 1955 that "The hope for a future is that man may now have created the final unarguable reason to use the sense that God gave him". Muslims have, by the mercy of Allah, the Quran to guide them "unto a straight path, a right religion" and to help them to use the sense Allah gave them. May Allah make us all firm on the Siratal Mustaqim and make us worth of belonging to the Ummat of Muhammad, Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).