Living by the Qur’an Brings About Real
Allah commands justice and doing
good and giving to relatives. And He forbids indecency and doing
wrong and tyranny. He warns you so that hopefully you will pay heed.
(Surat an-Nahl: 90)
is one of the essentials maintaining social order. Every country employs
its individual judicial system. However, owing to the persistent difficulties
experienced in the contemporary judicial systems, the quest for an ideal
model has never ended.
There is one essence of the ideal judicial system aspired to across the
world: the establishment of a judicial mechanism in which each and every
person is fully repaid for his acts without being subject to any form
of prejudicial discrimination. Despite new methods, different approaches,
and projects and solutions devised to attain this ideal model, however,
exercising justice remains a steep road yet to be taken.
The moral deterioration of society accounts for these unfavourable situations.
Deterioration, a simple consequence of non-adherence to the values commanded
by Allah, brings harm to societies in all domains of life.
Again, this deterioration accounts for swindling, bribery, cheating,
injustice and many social evils. Daily life abounds with examples of this
sort. A frequently encountered situation in business life, for instance,
is businessmen who cheat on their partners and deceive them by embezzling
their money, houses or cars. Meanwhile, a longstanding friendship and
material and spiritual losses the other party suffers do not mean anything
to the swindler. Primarily concerned about his self-interests, values
such as friendship, family ties, spirituality, social cohesion and good
morals have no meaning whatsoever to the swindler.
All relations this person establishes with anyone else will be under
the influence of such a rationale since he fails to reflect that Allah
is aware of all that he does, and that he will account for every act he
commits. Never remembering that swindling is an unfair gain and unjust
behaviour contributes to this crooked rationale.
The following example will contribute to a better understanding: a person
who believes that swindling is a horrible crime, will strictly avoid it
throughout his life. Once, however, someone thinks he can derive personal
benefit, the same person may bear false witness against another or slander
him for something of which he is completely innocent. Meanwhile, he may
find refuge in some excuse: that conditions compelled him or his responsibilities
to his family laid the ground for such a crime… No matter what these excuses
are, the fact remains that slander is wicked under all circumstances.
This aforementioned pattern appears particularly at times when people
feel their interests are at stake. This rationale also holds true for
thieves, swindlers and oppressors. In a society riddled with people with
vested interests, the existence of injustice, interest conflicts and chaos
Nevertheless, no matter what compelling forces there are, a person living
by the Qur'an would never stoop to these wicked deeds and never display
attitudes inconsistent with its values. Someone having strong fear of
Allah never forgets the fact that one day he will meet each and every
deed in which he engages and each and every word he utters. Injustice,
which is an outcome of moral deterioration such as only pursuing one's
own interests, hoarding possessions, ignoring the needy and those in trouble,
has a unique solution: the dissemination of the values of the Qur'an among
people. That is because in the Qur'an, Allah commands His slaves who believe
and live by these superior values to be just:
You who have iman! Be upholders of justice, bearing
witness for Allah alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives
whether they are rich or poor, Allah is well able to look after them.
Do not follow your own desires and deviate from the truth. If you twist
or turn away, Allah is aware of what you do. (Surat an-Nisa': 135)
Allah commands justice and doing good and giving
to relatives. And He forbids indecency and doing wrong and tyranny. He
warns you so that hopefully you will pay heed. (Surat an-Nahl: 90)
In a society where people have an understanding of justice as described
in the aforementioned verse, injustice does not prevail. That is because
in an environment where the values of the Quran and the Sunnah are observed,
the strict exercise of justice is essential. In the practice of this justice,
one's kinship, wealth, status or other factors allow for no exceptions.
Nevertheless, current implementations of systems of justice around the
globe are rather varied. In some cases, in consideration of someone's
wealth, status and social environment, his crimes are simply ignored or
his punishment is alleviated. This is unlikely to happen in a society
where real justice prevails. Factors such as kinship, wealth or status
never become reasons to deviate from justice.
WHAT KIND OF PROBLEMS EMERGE IN SOCIETIES WHERE
REAL JUSTICE IS NOT EXERCISED?
In finding out the truth and in the establishment of the justice, witnesses
have a major role. On the basis of eyewitness testimony, many cases can
be quickly illuminated and thus truth and falsehood is distinguished.
In societies in which the values of the Qur'an and the Sunnah are not
observed, however, finding the truth through witness testimony is far
from reliable. This is simply because, people who do not adhere to the
Qur'an and the Sunnah can lie as easily as most people breathe in return
for benefit or money. While doing this, they turn their backs on all virtuous
conduct such as telling the truth or standing up for the innocent.
Even, in some cases, people refrain from testifying on behalf of a particular
case, no matter how crucial it might be to render justice. Some unrealistic
thoughts, such as fear of getting into trouble or into an unfavourable
situation, usually account for such attitudes. In a verse, Allah stresses
the importance of disclosing the truth:
…Do not conceal testimony. If someone does conceal it, his heart commits
a crime. Allah knows what you do. (Surat al-Baqara: 283)
Malice and hatred felt towards someone may be the reasons that tempt
people to fabricate testimonies. By means of false testimony and distorting
the facts, they hinder justice. The importance of truthfulness is also
explained in a hadith by Allah's Messenger, the Prophet Muhammad (saas):
Adhere to truth, for truth leads to good deeds and
good deeds lead him who does them to the Garden. If a man continues to
speak the truth and makes truth his objective, he will be recorded in
Allah's presence as eminently truthful. Avoid falsehood, for falsehood
leads to wickedness and wickedness leads to the Fire. If a man continues
to speak falsehood and makes falsehood his objective, he will be recorded
in Allah's presence as a great liar. 1
People who do not live by the values of the Qur'an and the Sunnah do
not observe justice, particularly when they give their interests and personal
wishes precedence. Never do they consider the consequences of their false
testimony. It never occurs to them what a wrongfully convicted innocent
person goes through during lengthy imprisonment, nor what his family suffers.
They do not put themselves in the shoes of another and imagine how life
would be then…
In the Qur'an, Allah gives special consideration to this situation people
experience, and He commands us to be just no matter what the circumstances
You who have iman! Show integrity for the sake
of Allah, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people
incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer to taqwa (piety).
Fear Allah. Allah is aware of what you do. (Surat al-Ma'ida: 8)
To avoid injustice, Allah's Messenger, the Prophet Muhammad
(saas) also said: "None of you should judge between two persons when
he is angry."2
Driven by fear, money, or greed, some people deviate from what is right
and fair. Only acquiring the values of the Qur'an will set them free.
Under any circumstances, be it under threat or duress, or in the presence
of anything of benefit to them, they never tend to mischief, being aware
that Allah surrounds them at every moment. Believers are aware that, in
the hereafter, they will be give account of any wrong actions they do
or evil things they say. In one verse, Allah proclaims that the slaves
of the All-Merciful do not bear false witness:
Those who do not bear false witness, and who, when
they pass by worthless talk, pass by with dignity. (Surat al-Furqan: 72)
One more point concerning those who pursue their own interests rather
than observing justice deserves attention: that one day the same mischief
may befall them. If this happens, injustices will certainly disturb them
greatly and they will go in quest for a reliable witness who will not
fabricate testimony. Those who would not like to experience this should
then strive to spread the values commanded by Allah and strictly adhere
to the praised moral principles of the Qur'an.
THE CRITERIA FOR JUDGING PEOPLE BECOMES MONEY AND RANK
Money and status serve as the main criteria to assess people in societies
where the values of the Qur'an and the Sunnah are not adhered to. In these
societies, all strata are saturated with this mentality, giving us an
abundance of examples to analyse.
The attitudes assumed by a storekeeper towards two different customers
provide striking clues about this issue. The storekeeper assumes a polite
and attentive attitude towards the one whom, from his appearance, he assumes
to be well-off. The other customer, on the other hand, who looks rather
poor, is not treated so well by the storekeeper. This attitude does not
change although both customers visit the store to buy the same things
and spend the same amount of money. Appearance or status determines the
way the storekeeper treats his customers.
These criteria do not hold true for someone who lives by the Qur'an.
A believer is well mannered towards another human being only because he
is a "human being". He does not subject people around him to prejudicial
discrimination of any kind. To appreciate someone, he does not need "labels".
Whether a person is wealthy or poor, whether he lives in a hut or a villa
does not matter to him. One's costly clothes, pretty face, graduate degree
from a prestigious university, social standing, or similar status symbols
have no meaning whatsoever to him. Allah, in the Qur'an, mentions one's
faith in Allah and closeness to Him as the sole criteria to apply in loving
TROUBLES IN EDUCATION
Every individual is entitled to have access to education. Regardless
of religion, language, race or status, every individual has the right
to strive for knowledge. Social injustice, however, renders this virtually
impossible, introducing many problems demanding immediate solution, the
foremost being unavailability of free education for every member of a
community. In many countries, due to poverty, huge numbers of children
and teenagers are deprived of quality education. Access to a handful of
quality schools is reserved for a privileged minority. The ordinary people
hardly receive schooling addressing their actual educational needs. In
this context, the richer receive better education while the poorer simply
get what the system provides.
The development of children can be fostered by laboratories and many
other means provided by schools receiving adequate material support. The
limited resources of some schools, on the other hand, hinder young individuals
in many ways.
People ought to be allowed to receive education in any field they wish.
Indeed, an educational system in which people are given the chance to
receive schooling on the basis of their interests, tendencies and skills
proves to be more beneficial to the society and more productive. However,
in our day, economic and social conditions force many people to terminate
their schooling or continue it in a field in which they are not interested.
The Independent, 6
The Independent, 4
Time, 10 July
The New York Times,
1 Nov. 1999
Living by the Qur'an addresses such social problems and brings solutions,
since the environment these values ensure does not allow inadequate educational
services. Endowed with the wisdom and the faculty of comprehension that
adhering to the Qur'an brings, people act as solution-providers in education,
as they do in all other spheres of life. Furthermore, in such a society,
no prejudicial distinction between poor and wealthy exists. As mentioned
earlier, those who love Allah spend what they do not need for the benefit
of others. Once these accumulations are channelled into the many fields
demanding immediate solution such as public education and health, it takes
only a moment for these problems to be solved. If this were adopted around
the globe, the distinction between poor and wealthy countries would fade.
Rich countries would transfer their excess resources to underdeveloped
countries without expecting anything in return.
Providing solutions is surely a major task for which Muslims are responsible
since they are held responsible for providing young people the sort of
education that will guide them in living according to the Qur'an. This
is the type of education that illuminates a person about his or her actual
purpose in life and shows them the signs of Allah on the earth and in
the universe. If this does not happen, new generations, who become the
subjects of the inculcation of irrelevant disbelieving ideologies, will
grow into non-productive adults of little use to their country, nation
and religion. Improper education provided for young people accounts for
their adopting undesirable lifestyles and consequently being devoid of
the blessings the religion presents and going astray. Surely, a man with
fear of Allah and conscience would not risk this responsibility.
INEQUALITY OF MEN AND WOMEN
In societies devoid of real justice, the inequality of women and men
is a serious social issue posing major problems. In many countries around
the world, women are often treated as second-class citizens and even outcasts.
Perceived as weak and protection-seeking beings, they are often abused.
For the same reason, they do not hold a role in society that commands
respect or authority.
In societies where such prejudices prevail, a woman with a remarkable
career in business life hardly finds acceptance. Generally, women are
regarded as people who lack self-confidence and determination, and who
have poor intellectual faculties. This rationalisation of a "woman-stereotype"
in society wrongly serves as an explanation for every mistake a woman
makes. In reality, such mistakes are not peculiar to women but are universal
among human beings.
Among candidates applying for job vacancies, men are usually favoured
over women, even if they possess exactly the same backgrounds, intelligence
and skills. This tendency explains why there are limited opportunities
available to women in business life.
On the other hand, the majority of women identify with this image attributed
to them. This identification makes them readily assume the inferior roles
assigned to them in many societies.
Time, 23 Dec. 1996
The Independent, 29 Sep. 2000
Gender inequality in social life
still has striking consequences in many countries today.
These are among the ordinary incidents appearing every day
in the press.
Prejudices in social life towards gender differences have striking consequences
in underdeveloped countries. Let alone their entitlement to education
and work, they are even deprived of making their own decisions about marriage.
All sorts of women's personal decisions rest either with their fathers
There is an on-going effort to provide solutions to these flawed implementations
only a few of which have been included here. Associations founded to protect
women's rights, concepts such as freedom and equality or the feminist
movement or seminars, panels and discussions have not contributed much
towards a workable solution. All these efforts prove that these solutions
inherently breed more complications. This is a natural consequence since
the real solution, as in all other domains, is unique: adherence to the
The men and women of the believers
are friends of one another. They command what is right and forbid
what is wrong and establish salat and pay zakat, and obey Allah
and His Messenger. They are the people on whom Allah
will have mercy. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.
(Surat at-Tawba: 71)
In a society adhering to the Qur'an and the Sunnah, no prejudicial distinction
is made between the individuals of a society whether women, men, wealthy,
poor, young or old. Social standing, profession, wealth, or gender do
not make people enjoy particular privileges. The good deeds one engages
in and one's fear of Allah distinguish one, as is alluded to in the verse
"Take provision, but the best provision is taqwa
of Allah." (Surat al-Baqara: 197) In the Qur'an, people are not
classified prejudicially as men or women. Allah addresses both men and
women having faith in Him and engaging in good deeds. Allah stresses the
importance of living by the values He commands. In that respect, being
male or female has no significance. Some of the verses stressing this
are as follows:
The men and women of the believers are friends
of one another. They command what is right and forbid what is wrong and
establish salat and pay zakat (regular charity), and obey Allah and His
Messenger. They are the people on whom Allah will have mercy. Allah is
Almighty, All-Wise. Allah has promised the men and women of the believers.
Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly,
for ever, and fine dwellings in the Gardens of Eden. And Allah's good
pleasure is even greater. That is the great victory. (Surat at-Tawba:
Men and women who are Muslims, men and women who
are believers, men and women who are obedient, men and women who are truthful,
men and women who are steadfast, men and women who are humble, men and
women who give in charity, men and women who fast, men and women who guard
their private parts, men and women who remember Allah much: Allah has
prepared forgiveness for them and an immense reward. (Surat al-Ahzab:
Anyone, male or female, who does right actions
and is a believer, will enter the Garden. They will not be wronged by
so much as the tiniest speck. (Surat an-Nisa': 124)
The Trouble Women Suffer in Social Life
In societies distant from religion, women encounter many difficulties,
and, in particular, those experienced after a divorce deserve special
mention. A divorce creates many problems for a woman who has been prevented
from working by her husband and hence has come to depend economically
That the majority of women do not have a profession, that they are not
young enough to go to work or that they are not entitled to any social
rights make conditions hard for divorced women. The additional benefits
divorcing parties demand from each other and their insistence on pursuing
their own interests contribute to conflicts between the parties and make
the situation even worse.
In a society of believers, however, people do not go through such trouble
when they adhere to the Qur'an and the Sunnah. The respect and love felt
at the beginning of a marriage is not lost when the parties decide to
terminate their marriage since it is done by mutual consent. This attitude
is consequent upon the rationale that parties do not perceive each another
merely as a man or a woman but as human beings having faith in Allah,
and thus Allah's most elevated creation. This attitude maintains courtesy
after a divorce.
There are many measures taken in the Qur'an securing a woman's rights
after divorce. The ones pertaining to her economic situation maintain
the welfare of a divorced woman. The following verses inform us about
the benefits and monetary assistance specified by the mutual consent of
both parties as well as the treatment due a woman after separation:
Divorced women should receive maintenance given with
correctness and courtesy: a duty for all who are righteous. (Surat al-Baqara:
…Give them a gift - he who is wealthy according
to his means and he who is less well off according to his means - a gift
to be given with correctness and courtesy: a duty for all good-doers.
If you divorce them before you have touched them but have already allotted
them a dowry, they should have half the amount which you allotted, unless
they forgo it or the one in charge of the marriage contract forgoes it.
To forgo it is closer to taqwa. Do not forget to show generosity to one
another. Allah sees what you do. (Surat al-Baqara: 236-237)
He who has plenty should spend out from his plenty,
but he whose provision is restricted should spend from what Allah has
given him. Allah does not demand from any self more than He has given
it. Allah will appoint after difficulty, ease. (Surat at-Talaq: 7)
Again from the verses, we know that, after the divorce, it is not lawful
for a man to keep anything he had given to his wife during the marriage.
All needs of a divorced woman related to housing are also guaranteed during
the 'iddah period after the divorce. According to the Qur'an, it is also
unlawful to inherit women by force.
What has been related so far reveals that adhering to the Qur'an brings
solutions. In a society where people live by the Qur'an, women are not
subjected to maltreatment and dishonoured as in other societies.
EQUAL ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES
Today, all individuals around the world do not have
equal access to resources. An adult male's basic energy need is around
2,800 calories a day. The nutritional resources available on the planet
are adequate to meet every individual's needs. Still, however, much of
the world is excluded from these benefits and more than 800 million people
on earth suffer from extreme malnourishment. The daily calorie intake
of 75% of the world population (4.03 billion people in 1991) is much below
the minimum calorie-intake level. The number of malnourished people changes
from one country to another, owing to the uneven distribution of food
around the world. Another statistic indicates that meeting the basic needs
of the populations of developing countries (food, drinking, water, sanitation,
health care and education) would cost roughly 40 million dollars a year.
This figure equals 4% of the combined wealth of the 225 richest people
in the world.3
As these statistics also indicate, excess resources in some countries
are unavailable in others, although of vital importance. In rich countries,
some resources no longer in use remain idle even though they could be
transferred to poor countries. The misery of some African countries is
an example with which everyone is familiar.
A leprous 14 year old.
Global inequities are not restricted to food and water. The same inequity
is also true for health services, and that creates serious problems around
the world. Thanks to research and breakthroughs in the domain of medicine,
many illnesses can easily be cured and prevented today. This is possible
through the medical technology employed by rich countries coupled with
their financial means. Hardly the same can be said of underdeveloped and
developing countries, however. Minor health problems, with which the wealthy
countries easily cope, pose serious threats in poor countries.
For instance, leprosy is an insidious bacterial disease that flourishes
mainly in the 'poverty belt' of the globe. This disease, which has afflicted
humanity since time immemorial, can be treated relatively easily in our
day. Leprosy poses a major threat in poverty-stricken countries, yet there
are only sporadic or even no cases reported in the developed world. That
the treatment is long and costly is the major reason it has not been eliminated
in poor countries. Yet, the fact remains that medical aid provided by
rich countries could contribute to the elimination of the problem.
When all health problems are considered in general, leprosy remains the
tip of the iceberg. In underdeveloped countries, technology is impotent
in the face of many other epidemics. In addition, with the lack of financial
means, it is unlikely to treat, let alone to eradicate these diseases.
However, the solution to all health problems is simple: through rational
organisation, many methods can be put into practice such as the transfer
of idle medical equipment stored in the warehouses of developed countries
to the poor countries.
In our day, dry arid land can be transformed into productive fields,
thanks to agricultural technology employed by some countries like
the United Arab Emirates and Israel. The same technology should
immediately be transferred to drought-stricken countries.
Global inequities are also apparent in the availability of information
technology around the globe. To expand agricultural areas, developed countries
invest heavily in research on agricultural and irrigation technology,
rendering agricultural activities possible in unproductive lands, even
in deserts. Today, irrigation systems are being transformed by the power
of information technology. Computer-supported irrigation systems, aimed
to keep water loss to a minimum, channel water directly into the roots
of the plants beneath the soil, saving every single drop for the benefit
of agriculture. Projects have been introduced to refine all water resources,
such as sea and flood water for use in watering deserts.
These modern agricultural methods render productivity possible even in
the deserts. This is all good news. Yet, that these innovations are not
accessible to poverty-stricken countries, remains a problem to
which one seriously needs to give thought. The poor technology employed
by these countries does not yield high productivity even in fertile soils,
making hunger a serious threat for their people.
In some cases, the whole population of a country lives under the threat
of hunger. The press devotes pages to such human misery, making everyone
aware of the situation, yet failing to create insight in people to bring
solutions. Solutions are sought in temporary measures and short-term projects,
yet such feeble measures lacking insight produce no results.
At this point, people really require rapid and workable solutions that
address actual needs. Today, poverty-stricken countries receive large
amounts of food aid. Yet, most of these serve no good as they are simply
made for show-purposes and inconsistent with the needs of famine sufferers.
Alternatively, being delayed, or due to interruptions within the organisation,
the food rots before reaching its destination. Associations are set up
to organise this aid. However, these associations lack credibility, since
they are often full of corruption.
Today in some countries, truckloads of vegetables
and fruits are discharged on to wastelands. Yet, the fact remains
that, around the planet, there are millions living on the bread-line.
The rational allocation of world resources could prevent extravagance
while saving starving people in different areas of the world.
Under the failure to reach concrete solutions lie egoism, vested interests,
ambition, heedlessness and other similar moral weaknesses. The only way
to end these moral imperfections is to communicate the Qur'an to people
and remind them that we will give an account of all our acts in the hereafter.
…Eat of their fruits when they bear
fruit and pay their due on the day of their harvest, and do not
be profligate. He (Allah) does not love the profligate.
(Surat al-An'am: 141)
As in the previous examples of the issues regarding health and education,
justice will end many problems around the world. However, one point deserves
special mention here: when we say fair distribution, one should not understand
that everything will be available to everyone everywhere in the same amounts.
What is actually meant is meeting people's needs completely. Surely, a
special irrigation system employed in the deserts will not be of use elsewhere.
Similarly, one would not expect a nation to send medicine to another country
while there is a need for it within that country itself. Furthermore,
it is not essential that every citizen should possess exactly the same
amount of possessions. What really matters is that there should not be
some people indulging in extravagance while, next to them, there are people
suffering from poverty. The avoidance of an unbridgeable gap between poor
and rich is essential.
Newsweek, 24 February 1997
The fact that millions of people still suffer
from hunger in the world, is a token of the inefficient use of world
Newsweek, 17 December
Once the command of Allah, "They will ask you what
they should give away. Say whatever is surplus to your needs." (Surat
al-Baqara: 219) is adhered to, the fair distribution which will
lead societies to peace will spontaneously appear.
They will ask you what they should
give away. Say, 'Any wealth you give away should go to your parents
and relatives and to orphans and the very poor and travellers.'
Whatever good you do, Allah knows it.
(Surat al-Baqara: 215)
PEACE: THE NATURAL CONSEQUENCE OF SECURING REAL JUSTICE
Once all these facts are considered, we arrive at the conclusion that
only living by the Qur'an will ensure a completely fair social structure.
That is because only the morality of the Qur'an brings moral conduct and
wisdom. Selfish, egotistical, heedless people will change into merciful,
just people who think for the good of others and thus provide solutions.
This simply means the end of many problems.
In societies enjoying real justice, people do not stoop to moral weaknesses
such as pursuing vested interests, fraud or violating other's rights.
The basic Qur'anic teachings command matters such as co-operation and
mercy, which are the essence of a just society. In such a society, everyone
safeguards each other's interests and thus the rights and interests of
all are secured. This is what brings overall peace and security to society.
In this sense, the responsibility of all believers is to communicate the
values praised by Allah and the just religion to the whole world. This
is one of the most important attributes of the believers:
Let there be a community among you who call to
the good, and enjoin the right, and forbid the wrong. They are the ones
who have success. (Surah Ali 'Imran: 104)
Those who make tawba(repent), those who worship,
those who praise, those who fast, those who bow, those who prostrate,
those who command the right, those who forbid the wrong, those who preserve
the limits of Allah: give good news to the believers. (Surat at-Tawba:
Allah mentions the existence of people who live by these values and accordingly
summon people to them. Only those making people avoid wicked deeds will
Then when they forgot what they had been reminded
of, We rescued those who had forbidden the evil and seized those who did
wrong with a harsh punishment because they were deviators. (Surat al-A'raf: