Logo

News from
Islamic World

.................................
Community
Roundup

.................................
Editorial Editorial
.................................
Reader's Comments
.................................
Features
.................................
Book Review
.................................
Bicentenary of
Tippu Sultan

.................................
Children's Corner
............................
Qur'an Speaks
.................................
Hadith
.................................
Tibb-al-Nabvi
.................................
Qur'an & Science
.................................
Our Dialogue
.................................
Women in Islam
.................................
Religion
.................................
Why I Embraced
Islam

.................................
Matrimonial
.................................
Subscription
.................................
Guest Book
.................................
Previous Issues
.................................
Home
.................................
Islamic Links
.................................
Al-Nasr Exports
.................................
Islamic Voice Logo

AUGUST 1999

MONTHLY    *    Vol 13-08 No:152    *   AUGUST 1999/ RAJJAB 1419H   email: editor@islamicvoice.com

QUR'AN SPEAKS TO YOU


A Transaction which ends up in Ruin


A Transaction which ends up in Ruin

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Among the people of earlier revelations there is many a one who, if you trust him with a treasure, will return it to you intact; and there is among them many a one who, if you trust him with a small gold coin, will not return it to you, unless you keep standing over him. For they say; “We have no obligation to keep faith with Gentiles,” Thus they deliberately say of Allah what they know to be a lie. Indeed those who fulfil their pledges and guard themselves against evil (enjoy Allah’s love); for Allah loves the righteous. Those who barter away their covenant with Allah and their oaths for a trifling gain will have no share in the life to come. Allah will neither speak to them, nor cast a look on them on the day of resurrection, nor will He cleanse them of their sins. Theirs will be a grievous suffering. (The House of Imran, “Aal Imran”:3;75-77)

Commentary by Sayyid Qutb, Translated by A.A. Salahi & S.A. Shamsi.

In these verses, the Qur’an describes the people of earlier revelations as they are, identifying the points of weakness in their characters. It also states the correct values of the Islamic faith. It begins by describing two types of people and their behaviour in commercial and social transactions. We note here that the Qur’an maintains a high standard of fairness, stating the facts and denying no one his due credit, despite the fact that at that time those very people of earlier revelations were in a state of conflict and confrontation with the Muslim community. It seems that the same is true of the people of earlier revelations in all generations. Nevertheless, their hostility to Islam and Muslims, and their plotting and scheming against them, and their attempts to undermine the Muslim community and Islam itself do not cause the Qur’an to deny the good ones among them their due credit, even when it stands in a position of argument and confrontation with them. Here we note the Qur’anic statement that among the people of earlier revelations there are trustworthy individuals who will not deny anyone his right, even under the greatest of temptations; Among the people of earlier revelation there is many a one who, if you trust him with a treasure, will return it to you intact. Others among them, however, are too greedy and have no respects to the rights of others. They do not return something which rightfully belongs to another person, no matter how small, unless they are faced with continuous and insistent demands. They try to justify this very bad habit of theirs by knowingly and deliberately telling a lie about Allah; And there is among them many a one who, if you trust him with a small gold coin, will not return it to you, unless you keep standing over him. For they say; We have no obligation to keep faith with Gentiles. Thus they deliberately say of Allah what they know to be a lie. This particular characteristic is typical of the Jews. It is they who make this statement and have, in moral and social dealings, double standards. When there is a transaction between one Jews and another, they are honest and trustworthy. When they deal with non-Jew, cheating, false pretences, deception and swindling other people’s money become admissible practices which stir no conscience and cause no twinge of remorse. We note here that the Qur’an quotes them as saying, we have no obligation to keep faith with Gentiles. The Arabic term used in the Qur’anic text for the word “Gentiles”, means “the illiterate or unlettered people”. This was a reference to Arabs, since the Arabs at that time were largely an illiterate nation. In fact, that was a term which they used to denote all non-Jews. What is worse is that they allege that they are instructed to do so by their God and their religion. They know this to be false. They know that Allah does not approve of any falsehood or evil manners. He does not allow any community of people to usurp the property of others by fraud and deceit, or to betray their trust or indeed to deal with them unfairly. The Jews, however, have made their hatred to the rest of mankind an essential characteristic of theirs, and indeed part of their religion; They deliberately say of Allah what they know to be lies. At this point, the Qur’an states its universal rule of morality which establishes its universal moral standard. Moreover, it relates this to the basic requirement of being conscious of Allah and fearing Him; Indeed those who fulfil their pledges and guard themselves against evil (enjoy Allah’s love); for Allah loves the righteous. Those who barter away their covenant with Allah and their oaths for a trifling gain will have no share in the life to come. Allah will neither speak to them, nor cast a look on them on the day of resurrection, nor will He cleanse them of their sins. Theirs will be a grievous suffering. What we have here is a single rule applicable to all. Anyone who observes this rule by fulfilling his pledges and guarding himself against evil will earn himself Allah’s love and honour. Anyone who takes a paltry price in exchange for his covenant with Allah and his oaths - and it is needless to say that any worldly gain or indeed this whole world is nothing but a paltry price and a trifling gain - will have no share whatsoever in the life to come. He will be rejected by Allah and he will not be purified by Him. The only wages he gains himself are simply a grievous suffering. We note here that the fulfilment of one’s pledges is related to the fear of Allah. Hence, there can be no double standards, one standard applied with friends and another with enemies. Pledges are not viewed from the point of view of self-interest. Their fulfilment is a matter which relates to dealing with Allah; the identity of the other party to whom a pledge is given remains of little significance. This explains the general Islamic theory of morals which is applicable to the fulfilment of pledges and to other moral considerations. We deal in the first place with Allah, and we are, therefore, keen to please Him and to avoid His anger. Hence our moral incentive is not our self-interest. Nor is it the traditions of the community, nor its particular circumstances. A community may go astray and it may have false standards. It is important, therefore, to have a constant standard which is applicable to both the community and the individual. In addition, this standard must derive its strength from a higher source which is universally valued as taking priority over what people may decide for themselves or what their changing circumstances may require of them. In other words, values and standards must be derived from Allah. We must try to determine what moral practices and values are acceptable to Him and implement these in the hope that we earn His pleasure and remain righteous. It is in this way that Islam nurtures man’s aspiration to a more sublime horizon from which he derives his values and standards. Those who do not honour their pledges and betray their trusts are indeed people who “barter away their covenant with Allah and their oaths for a trifling gain.” In matter of pledges and trust the relationship is between man and Allah in the first place although the pledges are made to other people. For this reason, such people have no share with Allah in the life to come. Their betrayal of their trust and pledges is perpetrated only for a trifling gain which is one thing or another of what is available in this life. Allah does not care for them in punishment for their disavowal of His covenant, that is their pledges to other people, in this life. We note here that the Qur’an employs its familiar method of drawing an image in expressing a certain attitude. Allah’s neglect of such people and the fact that He withdraws His care from them are described in terms of not speaking to them or looking on them and not cleansing them. All these are familiar symptoms of neglect which all people know. The Qur’an chooses to make use of them in order to draw a vivid image of what happens on the day of judgment so that its verses produce a much more profound effect on man than a mere statement of fact. This is the usual Qur’anic method of expression which is highly effective.

Top