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Harun Yahya - The Moral Values Of The Qur'an - Chapter 4
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 4

THE ANGELS ARE WITNESS

People think that they are “all alone” if they are not   seen by others. However, this is not really true. First of all, Allah is always with us, and sees and hears everything we do. Moreover, there are also invisible witnesses beside us who never leave us. These are the angels assigned to be our guardians, who record everything we do. The Qur’an informs us about this mystery:


“It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein. Behold, two (guardian angels) appointed to learn (his doings and note them), one sitting on the right and one on the left. Not a word does he utter but there is a sentinel by him, ready (to note it) (Surah Qaf, 50:16-18)

What is noted down by these angels shall be revealed on the Day of Judgment, when people will be interrogated about their deeds on earth. The Qur’anexplains what will happen on that day:

 

“Then he who is given his book in his right hand, soon will his account be taken by an easy recknoning, and he will return to his people, rejoicing! But he who is given his book behind his back, soon will he cry for perdition and he will enter a blazing fire. Truly he lived among his people (in the world), rejoicing! Truly he thought that he would not have to return to Us! Nay, for his Lord was (ever) watchful of him!” (Surat al-Inshiqaq, 84:7-15)




WRITING DOWN TRANSACTIONS

People, by nature, are forgetful. That is why Allah commands the believers to write down transactions between them in the presence of witnesses:

 

“O you who believe! when you deal with each other in contracting a debt for a fixed time, then write it down; and let a scribe write it down between you with fairness; and the scribe should not refuse to write asAllah has taught him, so he should write; and let him who owes the debt dictate, and he should be careful of (his duty to) Allah, his Lord, and not diminish anything from it; but if he who owes the debt is unsound in understanding, or weak, or (if) he is not able to dictate himself, let his guardian dictate with fairness; and call in to witness from among your men two witnesses; but if there are not two men, then one man and two women from among those whom you choose to be witnesses, so that if one of the two errs, the second of the two may remind the other; and the witnesses should not refuse when they are summoned; and be not averse to writing it (whether it is) small or large, with the time of its falling due; this is more equitable in the sight of Allah and assures greater accuracy in testimony, and the nearest (way) that you may not entertain doubts (afterwards), except when it is ready merchandise which you give and take among yourselves from hand to hand, then there is no blame on you in not writing it down; and have witnesses when you barter with one another, and let no harm be done to the scribe or to the witness; and if you do (it) then surely it will be a transgression in you, and be careful of (your duty) to Allah, Allah teaches you, and Allah knows all things.” (Surat al-Baqara, 2:282)

In another verse, it is stated that it would be better to remit debts:

 

“If the debtor is in difficulty, grant him time till it is easy for him to repay. But if you remit it by way of charity, that is best for you if you only knew.” (Surat al-Baqara, 2:280)




SAYING SOMETHING WHICH ONE WILL NOT DO

Believers are obligated to keep their promises, just as decreed in the Qur’an: “Fulfill (every) engagement, for (every) engagement will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning).” (Surat al-Isra, 17:34)

Being trustworthy is one of the foremost characteristics of the believers. All the messengers have proved their righteousness to their people and been know as trustworthy and decent people. Fulfilling every engagement is a significant part of this trustworthiness.

Believers should keep their promises, and never commit themselves to anything which they think they will not be able to fulfill. It is said in the Qur’an as follows:

“O you who believe, why do you say that which you do not do? Greviously odious is it in the sight of Allah that you say that you do not do.” (Surat as-Saff, 61:2-3)




NO DISPUTE AMONG THE BELIEVERS

One of the secrets of the believers’ success is the warm brotherhood and solidarity among them. The Qur’an emphasizes the importance of unity: “Truly, Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in battle array as if they were a solid cemented structure.” (Surat as-Saff, 61:4)

Any statement or behaviour that may damage this close brotherhood would be an adversary act against religion itself. Allah warns the believers against this threat in the Qur'an:

“Obey Allah and His Messenger; and fall into no disputes, lest you lose heart and your power depart; and be patient and persevering: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere.” (Surat al-Anfal, 8:46)

Hence, the sincere believer must be extremely cautious of entering into such disputes, avoiding words or manners that may hurt his brothers. Moreover, he should behave in such as way as toincrease affection and confidence among them. In the Qur’an, we have the clear decree:

“Say to My servants that they should only say those things that are best: for Satan sows dissensions among them: Satan is to man an avowed enemy.” (Surat al-Isra, 17:53)

If a believer does not have the same opinion as his brother on some issue, he should nevertheless behave and talk in the most modest and humble way. Sharing ideas should remain on the basis of “consultation” and not “debate”. If a contention is observed among two other believers, then what one should do is indicated in the verse below:

 

“The believers are but a single Brotherhood. So make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear Allah, so that you may receive His Mercy.” (Surat al-Hujraat, 49:10)

It should be noted that even a minor argument of any kind may have very negative effects on the Cause.



SEEKING ALLAH'S PROTECTION FROM SATAN WHILE READING THE QURAN

The Qur’an is the divine book revealed by Allah to guide mankind. While it helps increase the faith of the believers, it exposes the denial of the unbelievers.

 

“He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: ‘We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord’, and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.” (Surat Aal-e-Imran, 3:7)

That means that some verses of the Qur’an have the capacity both to reveal the transgressions of “those whose hearts are flawed by perversity” and to increase the faith and submission of the believers.

It should be noted, however, that no one can guarantee that he will continue to preserve his faith. Believers may also lose the Qur’anic point of view with the effect of Satan’s temptations. Naturally they would not perceive the wisdom in the Qur’an if they read it while under the sway of Satan. That is why Allah commands believers to seek refuge in Him from the evil influence of Satan before reading the Qur’an: “When you read the Qur’an, seek Allah’s protection from Satan, the rejected one.” (Surat an-Nahl, 16:98)

This command of Allah is important for it reminds believers of Satan's constant presence and unceasing activities. Indeed, Satan is ever at work, lying in wait for people on Allah’s straight path, and trying to assault them “from before and behind, from their right and from their left.” The strategies of Satan have been explained in many verses of the Qur'an. Thus salvation from the deceits of Satan can be achieved only through the Qur’an, which warns us against Satan’s tricks and tells us to avoid them. As expressed in the 42nd verse of Surat al-Hijr, “Satan has no authority over Allah's servants.” The solution is to accept the Qur’an as the only guide and to read it after seeking refuge in Allah from the rejected Satan.


BEING CONSIDERATE

The members of a profane society are, in the main,  rude, uncaring and inconsiderate. The reason for this is the egoism of the unbelievers. They all think of their own benefit. Others have no importance for them.

However, a real group of believers are completely different from such people, because one of the significant characteristics of the believers is their refusal to fall a prey to their own greed. Believers who overcome their vain desires, will naturally be caring and considerate towards other believers. The Qur’an tells of that kind of self-sacrificing relationship between the refugees who fled with Mohammed to Medina and the faithful people of Medina who helped them:

 

“And those who, before them, had homes (in Al-Madinah) and had adopted the Faith, love those who emigrate to them, and entertain no desire in their hearts for things given to the (latter), and give them (emigrants) preference over themselves, even though they were in need of that. And those saved from the covetousness in their own souls, they are the ones that achieve prosperity. ” (Surat al-Hashr, 59:9)

As is also mentioned in this verse, the believers should give other believers preference over themselves. That is true faith, submission and brotherhood.

To give other believers preference is not confined only to offering them physical terms. Brotherhood is also imparted with thoughtfulness. A believer must consider the needs and problems of his brother more than those of himself.

Rude and inconsiderate manners show the insufficiency of a person's faith. A person who is not able to consider how his acts will affect the other believers, and who acts only according to his own "wishes" and "as he likes", is far removed from the example of the believer depicted by Allah. The Qur'an emphasizes this subject with many examples of both considerate and inconsiderate actions. And the most important is surely to be gracious and respectful to Allah’s Messenger:

 

“O you who believe, do not put yourselves forward before Allah and His Messenger; but fear Allah: for Allah is He Who hears and knows all things.” (Surat al-Hujraat,49: 1)“O you who believe, do not enter the Prophet’s houses-until leave is given you- for a meal (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation: But when you are invited, enter; and when you have taken your meal, disperse, withoutseeking familiar talk. Such (behaviour) annoys the Prophet: he is ashamed to dismiss you, but Allah is not ashamed (to tell you) the truth. When you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a curtain: that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. Nor is it right for you that you to cause annoyance to the messenger of Allah, nor that you should ever marry his wives after him. Truly, such a thing is in Allah’s sight  an enormity.” (Surat al-Ahzab, 33:53)

People who are reared on the teachings of the Qur’an are noble, polite, upright and considerate. This is the natural attitude of the believer who gives preference to his brothers over himself and who feed for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan and the captive. Being considerate is a characteristic of the companions of Paradise. For instance; not disturbing a brother while he is on an important task, keeping silent when believers  pray, making the believers as comfortable as possible, asking if they need something and serving them without being asked may be given as examples to kind behaviour. However, these are only a few examples, and these considerate manners may amount to hundreds and thousands according to changing conditions.


TURNING AWAY FROM THE IGNORANT

In the Qur’an, the believers are described as in the verses below:

 

“The servants of Allah (Most Gracious) are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, `Peace!’” (Surat al-Furqan, 25:63)

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

Believers are innately peaceful, whereas those who disbelieve are extremely uneasy, restless and aggressive. It is as if their torment of hell had already started on earth. That is why they cause trouble and are also constantly faced with difficulties. However, believers do not even communicate with those people unless they attempt to give harm to the believers and Islam. They behave honorably, as the above verses describe. When intervention is necessary, they do notbehave rudely, but in the most civilized and law-abiding way.


NOT ARGUING ABOUT THINGS ABOUT WHICH ONE KNOWS NOTHING

In the Qur’an, man is typified as being “contentious in most things.” (Surat al-Kahf, 18:54) In other verses, this criticism is levelled particularly at the unbelievers:

 

“When (Jesus) the son of Mary is held up as an example, behold, your people raise a clamour thereat (in ridicule)! And they say: 'Are our gods best or he?' This they set forth to you, only by way of disputation. Nay! they are a contentious people.” (Surat az-Zukhruf, 43:57-58)

The reason for this tendency to argue about everything is not to reveal and evaluate different opinions, but to satisfy the urge to quarrel. In the arguments of the ignorant, neither side tries to evaluate the others' ideas or find a correct solution. Beating the other is the one and only aim. This explains the loud voices and the tense attitude during such arguments, and the turning of what should merely be a discussion into a quarrel.

It is most abnormal surely, to argue over things about which neither disputant has any certain knowledge. The most obvious example of this is to be seen in discussions of religion, about which the arguers are generally exceedingly ignorant. The error of such conduct is pointed out in the verse below:

 

“Verily, you are those who have disputed about that of which you have knowledge. Why do you then dispute concerning that which you have no knowledge? It is Allah Who knows, and you know not.” (Surat Aal-e-Imran, 3:66)




NO MOCKING

The following verse clearly tells us that there should be no mockery among the believers:

 

“O you who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor let some women laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness, (to be used of one) after he has believed: And those who do not repent are (indeed) doing wrong.” (Surat al-Hujraat, 49:11)

Allah tells people to refrain from mocking. Mockery can take many forms: open laughter at personal misadvantures, sly grins, verbal teasing under the pretence of joking, or sidelong glances to convey something which cannot be openly discussed. Such behaviour belongs to the culture of the ignorant and does not befit true believers. The Qur’an tells us that people who indulge in such behaviour will have tosuffer the Fire of Allah mounting on to their hearts.

 

“Woe to every (kind of) scandal-monger and backbiter, who piles up wealth and keeps on counting it, thinking that his wealth would make him last for ever. By no means! He will be sure to be thrown into the crushing Fire. And what will make you know what the crushing Fire is? It is the Fire of Allah kindled (to a blaze), which mounts to the hearts of men: Surely it shall be closed over upon them, (they will be punished) in columns outstretched.” (Surat al-Humaza, 104:1-9)

It is not possible for a believer to behave in any cynical manner after he knows this clear decree of Allah. Indeed, no believer behaves in that way deliberately. However, if ever a believer slips into that manner, he may be unaware of his wrong conduct and taking it as fun. But whenever he realizes that what he is doing is wrong, he should immediately stop and repent.


NOT CALLING BY NICKNAMES

It is the habit of unbelievers to call each other by offensive nicknames. The idea behind it is again to humiliate others and to “prove” one’s own superiority. The nickname may call attention to a physical defect or to past errors. The unbelievers do not forget wrongdoing and always remind the person of his mistakes, although he may not ever have repeated them.

However, believers are different from them. They are forgiving, and there is a close brotherhood among them; they do not stoop to behave in this way. Moreover, Allah has ordered the believer neither to “defame nor be sarcastic to one another, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (Surat al-Hujraat, 49:11)



BEING WORTHY OF TRUST

The Qur’an describes the rendering back one's trusts to those to whom they are due as a moral principle and a way to success. Believers should always respect the trust reposed in them and thus win others' confidence in return. Besides, believers should also determine to whom to hand the trusts, that is, to whom they are due. On this, the Qur’an delivers the following injunction:

“Allah commands you to render back your trusts to those to whom they are due; and when you judge between man and man, that you judge with justice: Verily how excellent is the teaching which He gives you! For Allah is He Who hears and sees all things.” (Surat An-Nisa, 4:58)

Another verse states;

“Whoever fulfills his promise and guards (against evil) - then surely Allah loves those who guard (against evil).” (Surat Aal-e-Imran, 3:76)

A trust may be something of financial value, or atask or a matter of responsibility. The believers should use their wisdom and sense of discrimination in determining those who are worthy of trust.


THE ILLUSIVE UNIVERSE

A major flaw in any society which is ignorant of the precepts of Islam is its members’ view that the material world they touch and see is the greatest and most absolute actuality of our earthly existence. In fact, they reckon that matter has an “eternal and never-ending” existence. Eventually, they start to deify matter, and seek help only from it. Consequently, they start to think of Allah less and less and even deny His existence. Their perception of Allah is of a “less realistic and more imaginary” being when compared to matter. However, this is a great misconception on the part of the unbelievers. The absolute being is not matter, but Allah. The Qur’an is quite specific on this point:

“That is because Allah is the Reality; and those besides Him whom they invoke are but vain Falsehood: verily Allah is He, Most High, Most Great.” (Surat al-Hajj, 22:62).

In truth, matter has the ability to exist only so longas it has been created by Allah. Its existence is preserved only at His wish and by His command. Consequently, the permanence of the absolute existence of matter is out of the question: matter can exist only as a result of the “Be” command of Allah. Allah states this fact in the Qur’an in the following verse:

“It is Allah Who sustains the heavens and the earth, lest they cease to function: and if they should fail, not one can sustain them thereafter: verily, He is Most Forbearing, and Oft-Forgiving. (Surat Fat’r, 35:41)

This means the complete world exists only with the sustanence of Allah and when He so orders, it shall cease to exist. In fact, this means that the entire universe is made of illusive matter, which will end when commanded. This boundless will of Allah is beyond comprehension, but dreams may be a way of understanding this creation to a certain extent. For instance, when someone wakes up from a dream, the universe which existed with all its details in the dream will fade from existence and disappear since the reason for that universe’s existence is only one’s own mind during sleep. When the mind stops “forming” such a universe, it suddenly “disappears,” and does not exist anymore. Surely it had no material or independent being at all.

The prominent Islamic scholar, Imam Rabbani, narrates this absolute truth (the narration has been simplified and re-worded in translation):

“Allah has determined the reflection of each one of His names (the Just, the often returning, the Compassionate, etc.) andhas given His attributes to the created ones. And the beings for this reflection were created out of sheer nothingness. The One and Only Allah with His Power decreed a place of realization for His names and created them in the illusive (imaginary, supposed) universe. Moreover, He did this in the time and shape He wanted.

The existence of the universe is only in the illusive and sensational state and not in externality. In this case this is a permanence in nothingness and the illusive gains strength and soundness with the creation of Allah. So, the created becomes alive, knowing, doing, asking, seeing, hearing and speaking to the extent of His will. However, because of its being a reflection and having only a shadow existence, there is no trace of it externally. In the outside world, there is nothing other than Allah’s Being and His names.

Everything has appeared on the mirror of the Superior Being and in this way, they have acquired an external appearance: they have looked as if existent in the outside world. But there is nothing other than this on the outside. There is no one and nothing but Allah.” (Mektubati Rabbani, Imam Rabbani, p.517-519)

Since there is no being other than Allah and everything in the universe is a manifestation of His Being, then the author of all deeds is again the Almighty. In the Qur’an this secret is revealed in a number of verses:

“It was not you who slew them; it was Allah: when you threw a handful of dust, it was not your act, but Allah’s: inorder that He might test the Believers by a gracious trial from Himself: for Allah is He Who hears and knows all things.” (Surat al-Anfal, 8:17)

“But you will not, except as Allah wills; for Allah is full of Knowledge and Wisdom.” (Surat al-Insan, 76:30)

“Remember when you met, He showed them to you as few in your eyes, and He made you appear contemptible in their eyes so that Allah might accomplish a matter already enacted. For to Allah do all questions go back for decision.” (Surat al-Anfal, 8:44)

The world has an immanent face as well as an evident one. In the evident, everything looks to be independent and uncontrolled. However, in the immanent, in accordance with their illusory creation, everything has bowed to Allah's will. With the words of the Qur'an;

“I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature, but He has grasp of its fore-lock. Verily, it is my Lord Who is on a straight path” (Surah Hud, 11:56)

Knowing that there is nothing other than Allah, unveils the secret reality that no one can do anything by himself. This secret should always be in the minds of the believers. Accordingly, the believers know that all perversions and misdeeds of the unbelievers are again decreed by Allah. Believers, therefore, interpret and evaluate all happenings according to their immanent implication. This helps them to do right, and to behave in a way which is most sincere, heedful, and wise.

They said: “Glory to You, of knowledge We have none, save what You Have taught us: In truth it is You Who are perfect in knowledge and wisdom.” (Surat al-Baqara, 2:32)