HOME ABOUT THIS SITE CONTACT US
Harun Yahya - The Moral Values Of The Qur'an - Chapter 3
The Moral Values Of The Qur'an
   

It is not devoutness to turn your faces to the east or to the west. Rather, those with true devoutness are those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, the Angels, the Book and the Prophets, and who, despite their love for it, give away their wealth to their relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and to travellers and beggars and to set slaves free, and who establish regular prayers and pay regular charity; those who honour their contracts when they make them, and are steadfast in poverty and illness and in battle. Those are the people who are true. They are the people who have taqwa (who are pious).
(Surat al-Baqara: 177)



Chapter 3

OUR ON-GOING TEST

As we have stated in the beginning, nothing on earth is created in vain, but rather with wisdom. Understanding this fact depends on the wisdom of people themselves. One whose faith and consequently whose wisdom and prudence increase, will happen to grasp this reasoning much better in time.

 

One of the most important precepts is that we are being tested throughout our whole lives. Allah tests our sincerity and our faith on different occasions. He may give favours to test whether we are grateful to Him or not. He may create difficulties, for us, to reveal whether we behave with patience or not: “Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good by way of trial. To Us  you will be returned.” (Surat al-Anbiya, 21:35)

We are to be tested in various ways. This is explained in the Qur’an in the verse below:

 

“Be sure we shall test you with fear and hunger, someloss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere.” (Surat al-Baqara, 2:155)

Our lives have indeed been planned with the mystery of our being tested. First of all, we are being tested in our physical beings. The Qur’an states that “Verily We created Man from a drop of mingled sperm, in order to try him: So We gave him (the gifts of) hearing and sight.” (Surat al-Insan, 76:2).

Consequently, everything we hear and see is actually a part of the test. In all kinds of situations, we will be tested to see whether we behave in accordance with the Qur’an or with our own vain desires.

Allah tests the steadfastness of the believers with various difficulties. One of the most important of these is the oppression of the believers by the unbelievers. All these misdeeds, like verbal attacks, mocking, physical oppression and even torture and murder attempts, are only a means of trial for the believers. In one of the verses; it is said:

 

“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your personal selves; and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you, from those who received the Book before you and from those who worship many gods. But if you persevere patiently, and guard against evil, then that will be a determining factor in all affairs.” (Surat Aal-e-Imran, 3:186)

The most important point to comprehend is that all of these deprivations and misadventures are created by Allah as a special kind of test. One who does notunderstand this will become very superficial. The Qur’an cites a pertinent tale of certain Jews.

 

“Ask them concerning the town standing close by the sea; when they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath. For on the day of their Sabbath, their fish did come to them, openly holding up their heads, but on the day they had no Sabbath, they came not: thus did We made a trial for them, for they were given to transgression.” (Surat al-A’raf, 7:163)

Only the individual who has wisdom can realize that he is being tested, and can succeed in these tests by again using his wisdom. Therefore, a believer should not forget that he is being tested throughout his life. These tests cannot be passed or the heaven cannot be attained simply by saying ‘I believe’.

 

“Do men think that they will be left alone on saying ‘We believe’, and that they will not be tested? We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false.” (Surat al-Ankaboot, 29:2-3)

And in another verse Allah says:

 

“Did you think that you would enter Heaven without Allah testing those of you who fought hard (in His Cause) and remained steadfast?” (Surat Aal-e-Imran, 3:142)


ALLAH DOES NOT PLACE A BURDEN GREATER THAN ONE CAN BEAR

A significant portion of the community claim that it is hard for them to practise religion, and that that is the only reason they do not follow its principles. In this way they expect to lessen their guilt. But they deceive nobody but themselves.

 

Allah burdens no one beyond the limits of his strength. As the Qur’an says: “On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns.”(Surat al-Baqara, 2:286)

Another verse asserts that the religion that Allah has chosen for us is as easy as the religion of Ibrahim (Abraham):

 

“Strive in His cause as you ought to strive. He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the religion of your father Ibrahim(Abraham). It is He Who has named you Muslims, both before and inthis (Revelation); that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and you be witnesses for mankind! So, establish regular prayer, give regular charity, and hold fast to Allah! He is your Protector - the Best to protect and the Best to help!” (Surat al-Hajj, 22:78)

When this is the case, it is plainly deceitful for anyone to claim that it is hard to practise religion and to put this forward as a reason for defaulting. He can deceive no one with such an explanation but himself.


NO LOVE FOR UNBELIEVERS

In order to live by the morals of the Qur’an, one should completely renounce the culture and moral values of the profane society. One of the first things to be abnegated is the understanding of love in a profane society.

In a profane society, all relations and love are based on selfish interests. One person gets along with another well only if there is some benefit to be gained from him or if he is being taken care of by the other or at least is being well-treated by him. Another measure is the family tie. People love others just because they are from the same family; or from the same dynasty, or from the same society, or sometimes even from the same nation.

However, these are not the criteria for the believers. Because believers love Allah more than anything or anyone.

 

“There are some among men who take for themselvesobjects of worship besides Allah, whom they love as they love Allah, and those who believe are stronger in love for Allah” (Surat al-Baqara, 2:165)

Believers, respecting Allah above all else, love those who love Allah, and dislike those who disobey Him. It makes no difference whether those subject to their approval or disapproval are close to them or not. This point is elaborated in the Qur’an:

 

“You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving (and befriending) those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their (own) fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. For such He has written  Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with a spirit from Himself. And He will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein (for ever). Allah is well pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the party of Allah. Truly, it is the party of Allah that will achieve felicity.” (Surat al-Mujadila, 58:22)

Having even a little love for the unbelievers would never be a proper attitude for a believer. Believers are seriously warned against this in the Qur’an:

 

"O you who believe! Take not my enemies and yours as friends (or protectors), offering them (your) love, even though they have rejected the Truth that has come to you, and have (on the contrary) driven out the Prophet and yourselves (from your homes), (simply) because you believe in Allah your Lord! If you have come out to strive in My Way and to seek My Good Pleasure, (how) you  hold secretconverse of love (and friendship) with them?I know full well all that you conceal and all that you reveal. And any of you that does this has strayed from the Straight Path" (Surat al-Mumtahina, 60:1)

The behaviour of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and those that followed him is an excellent example for all believers:

 

“There is for you an excellent example (to follow) in Ibrahim (Abraham) and those with him, when they said to their people: ‘We are clear of you and of whatever you worship besides Allah: we have rejected you, and there has arisen, between us and you, enmity and hatred for ever, unless you believe in Allah and Him alone’” (Surat al-Mumtahina,60:4)


REGARDING NOTHING DEARER THAN ALLAH, HIS MESSENGER AND STRIVING IN HIS CAUSE

The sole obligation of a believer is to serve Allah. The one and only reason for our existence is to be His servants. Life based on any other reasoning than this, means denial of the religion and worshipping idols besides Allah, which will consequently lead to Hell.

In other words, life is only a tool for a believer. He should regard every moment of his life as a means of getting closer to Allah and serving His cause. If this tool ever turns into his aim—which is indeed true of the unbelievers — he will soon find himself in great danger.

Believers live for only one cause; and that is to serve Allah, and for this they have abandoned the world. Allah explains this as:

“Allah has purchased of the believers their persons and their properties; for theirs (in return) is the garden (ofParadise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur’an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.” (Surat at-Tawba, 9:111)

The believers have sold their lives and goods to Allah and have no further title to them. Their entire lives are conducted in the way that Allah commands. If Allah offers them a blessing, they are grateful to Him, and when He commands them to strive in His cause, they do not feel a moment’s hesitancy, even if they know that they are going to their deaths.

Such believers do not shirk any form of self-sacrifice and nothing on earth can prevent them from struggling for Allah’s cause. They are able to leave behind all the beautiful blessings of Allah and can give up their very lives without any hesitation. On the contrary, the opposite behavior would be the sign that they had not sold their goods and lives to Allah as yet. Such a deficiency in faith will be marked down against them in the life to come.

 

“Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, or the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah, or His Messenger, or striving in His cause then wait until Allah brings about His decision. Allah guides not the rebellious." (Surat at-Tawba, 9:24)

This faith was so strong in the companions of the Prophet Mohammed that, not only did they never refuse to fight, but there were some, on the contrary, who even wept when they did not have the opportunity to go into battle along with Mohammed. In the verse below, Allah explains the difference between the sincere and the half-hearted:

 

“There is no blame on those who are infirm, or ill or who find no resources to spend (on the cause), if they are sincere (in duty) to Allah and His Messenger. No ground of complaint can there be against the good-doers: Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. Nor (is there blame) on those who came to you to be provided with mounts, and when you said ‘I can find no mounts for you’, they turned back, their eyes streaming with tears of grief that they had no resources to spend (on the cause). The way (to blame) is only against those  who ask permission of you though they are rich; they prefer to stay with the those who remain behind: Allah has sealed their  hearts; so they know not.” (Surat at-Tawba, 9:91-93)


NEITHER WEAKENING, NOR SORROW NOR DESPAIR

The believers have a long and hard struggle in the way of Allah. Their path may beset by enemies, many in number, and better equipped. However, so long as they follow Allah’s Way, the believers inevitably overcome these enemies.

One of the reasons for their victory is that, as believers, they carry out this struggle with great enthusiasm and excitement. This is something that unbelievers cannot do; because, being devoted to this life, they are unfaithful to Allah. They have fears and weaknesses, and immediately give up when confronted with difficulties. On the contrary, believers never weaken since they know that Allah is always with them and they will be the ones to succeed. This is described in the Qur’anic verse below:

 

“Many a Prophet fought (in Allah’s Cause), and along with him (fought) large bands of religious learned men. But they never lost heart which did befall them in Allah's Way, nor did they weaken  nor give in. Allah Loves those who are firm and steadfast.” (Surat Aal-e-Imran, 3:146)

However, believers need to pray for this enthusiasm and excitement, for it is easy to fall a prey to faint-heartedness - something for which Satan strives very hard. At a moment of crisis, the hypocrites said to the companions  of the Prophet Mohammed: “O people of Yathrib(al-Madinah)! There is no stand (possible) for you (against the enemy attack)! Therefore go back!” (Surat al-Ahzab, 33:13), thus trying to create a feeling of despair and bring about a consequent defeat. But the believers are warned in the Qur’an about all these dubious factors: “So patiently persevere: for verily the promise of Allah is true: nor let those shake your firmness, who have (themselves) no certainty of faith.” (Surat ar-Room, 30:60)

The believer is responsible only for himself and should not be affected by the weaknesses of others. Neither should the strength of enemies affect and frighten him. The whole life of believers is for Allah and they will go on praying for His good pleasure till the end of their lives. In one verse, it is decreed:

 

“So lose not heart and nor fall into despair: you shall have the upper hand if you are true in Faith.” (Surat Aal-e-Imran, 3:139)

“Slacken not in following up the enemy: If you are suffering hardship, they are suffering similar hardships; but you have hope from Allah, while they have none. And Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.” (Surat an-Nisa, 4:104)



HUMBLING ONE'S SELF IN PRAYER

Prayer is very important since it is the visible expression of man’s being a Muslim. However, The Qur’an expresses disapproval of such prayer as is offered without sincerity:

“Woe to the praying ones, who are unmindful of their prayers; Those who (want but) to be seen (of man).” (Surat al-Maun, 107:4-6)

That means that what makes our regular prayers proper is not the actual movements, e.g. bowing, prostrating oneself, etc., but their aim and the kind of thought given to them. Some people pray just to show others that they are “Muslims,” but instead of gaining ground with Allah, they are committing a great transgression.

 

What gives our prayers rectitude is our consciousness that we are prostrating ourselves before Allah only in order to express our devotion to Him. That is why Allah commands believers to “stand before Allah in a devout (frame of mind.)” (Surat al-Baqara, 2:238)

Another verse describes the believers as "those who offer their prayers with all solemnity and submissiveness.” (Surat al-Mumenoon, 23:2). Solemnity in this verse means experiencing fear accompanied by deep respect and having one’s heart filled with awe. Such a prayer increases one's faith and closeness to Allah. It keeps man standing firm.

In another verse regular prayers are described:

 

“Recite the what is sent of the Book by inspiration to you, and establish regular prayer: for prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that you do.” (Surat al-Ankaboot, 29:45)



CELEBRATING THE PRAISES OF ALLAH

All topics of faith that we have mentioned till now, require a complete devotion to Allah, to live and to struggle for Him. This dedication cannot be attained unless there is a close contact with Allah and the way to it, is through “remembering and turning to Allah”. Believers should remember their Creator, always, praise Him and turn to Him in repentance as commanded in the Qur’an: “Believers! Celebrate the praises of Allah, and do this often.” (Surat al-Ahzab, 33:42)

This is what will make the believer “a companion of Allah” just like the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham).

Accordingly, the believers should be grateful to Allah for the favor given to them, and ask for repentance from Allah for their evil deeds. Moreover, they should call on Allah for everything they need and praise Him as often as they can.

 

“Bring your Lord to remembrance in your (very) soul, with humility and in reverence, without loudness in words, in the mornings and in the evenings; and do not be of those who are unheedful.” (Surat al-A’raf, 7:205)

It is expressed thus in another verse: “...and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt....” (Surat al-Ankaboot, 29:45). Without remembrance of Allah, all prayers would lose their value. If these prayers are not performed by remembering Allah and seeking for His good pleasure, then they may be turned into unpaid deeds. When the Qur’an informs us about the attributes of the prophets, it emphasizes how they turn to Allah. In the 30th verse of Surah 38 (Sad), Allah says, “to Dawud (David) We gave Sulaiman (Solomon) - How excellent in Our service! Ever did he turn (to Us)!” of the Prophet Ayub (Job), Allah says: “Truly, We found him full of patience and constancy. How excellent in Our service! Ever did he turn (to Us)!” (Surah Sad, 38:44)


REMEMBERING IN ADVERSITY

Life’s goal for a believer is to worship Allah. One of the most significant ways of worshipping is done through communicating Allah’s message to people everywhere, and struggling against the companions of Satan. This struggle is usually very severe and harsh because most of the time “the companions of Satan" are better equipped.

The believers are unaffected by this, because they are aware of the real cause and effect functioning of the world. And this reality tells them that victory has nothing to do with superiority in numbers or strength, but with the command and will of Allah. Indeed, true religion has to its credit many victories of faith: “How often, by Allah’s will, has a small force vanquished a big one? Allah is with those who steadfastly persevere.” (Surat al-Baqara, 2:249) It is pure faith that leads to victory. This mysterious truth, which cannot be understood by unbelievers, is explained in the verse below:

 

“O you who believe! When you meet a force, be firm, and call Allah in remembrance much (and often), that you may prosper.”(Surat al-Anfal, 8:45)



RECITING THE REVELATIONS OF ALLAH

As expressed in the 7th verse of the 73rd Surah (al- Muzzammil), there are prolonged occupations in the day time for the believers. Surely, these occupations are for the benefit of religion even if they may require the believers to function in irreligious environments, becoming involved in profane societies.

Even in the midst of these worldly affairs the believers keep their faith in Allah and never lose sight of the spiritual point of view.


“Men whom neither trade nor sale can divert from the remembrance of Allah, nor from regular prayer, nor from the practice of regular charity. Their (only) fear is for the Day when men’s hearts and eyes will overturned (from horror)” (Surat an-Nur, 24:37)


An important aspect of this virtue is keeping the revelations of Allah in mind. In the Qur'an, this important practice is emphasised in the following verse: “And recite what is revealed to you in yourhomes, of the Signs of Allah and His Wisdom: for Allah understands the finest mysteries and is well-acquainted (with them).” (Surat al-Ahzab, 33:34). As long as believers keep the Qur’an’s verses in mind, they will correctly construe their manifestations in daily life and, in consequence, will feel closer to Allah.


AVOIDING PROFANE TALK

Believers are not interested in profane and useless talk and affairs. They find no satisfaction in such things and for them they are without value. They become involved in worldly affairs only if some benefit is to accrue to the cause of Allah. That is why believers are described in Qur’an as those “who avoid vain talk.” (Surat al-Mumenoon, 23:3)

The above verse emphasizes that when a believer comes in contact with profane talk or events, he should turn his back and do something else useful for the divine Cause. This is the right behavior to please Allah. In order to do this, the believers should always be cautious, and know what they are doing. It would not be appropriate for a believer to argue with ignorant and shallow people except where some gain is to be achieved for the Cause. The Qur’an explains the ideal manner:

 

“When they hear vain talk, they turn away therefromand say: ‘To us our deed and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not the ignorant.’ ” (Surat al-Qasas, 28:55)

“They who do not bear witness to what is false, and when they pass by what is vain, they pass by nobly.” (Surat al-Furqan, 25:72)

When a believer becomes free from his current work, he should continue with another useful task. As the verse explains: “Therefore, when you are free (from your immediate task), still labour hard, And to your Lord turn (all) your attention.” (Surat al-Inshirah, 94:7-8)


BEING MODERATE

To be moderate necessitates behaviour which remains within the boundaries of the Qur’an: that is, doing what is lawful and avoiding what is forbidden. This requires a well-balanced outlook. When believers become involved with profane societies, they should never act as their members do. Believers should always obey what has been decreed by the Qur’an, remaining consistently temperate in their approach.

However, this is definitely not something to be done just when the believers are in a society other than their own; they should also be of the same temper among the believers. There are also some situations when special attention should be paid to propriety:

“O you who believe! Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor speak aloud to him in talk as you may speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds become vain and you perceive not.” (Surat al-Hujraat, 49:2)

Moreover, the risk of behaving immoderatelymay even occur in doing something which is legitimate. This is because not every manner fits every situation. A way of speaking or behaving may sometimes be “unsuitable” or “improper” although it is not forbidden. That is why the believer should avoid being sharp-tongued or indulging in any other extremes of behaviour. He should try to develop his personality so as not to become nervous or very excited, and should never lose his temper or misbehave. The Qur’an expresses disapproval of conduct which is not consistently marked by moderation:

 

“No misfortune befalls on the earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of Decrees, before We bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy for Allah. In order that you may not despair over matters that pass you by, nor exult over favours bestowed upon you. For Allah does not love any vainglorious boaster.” (Surat al-Hadid, 57:22-23)