Quarterly: Issue No 30
WHO IS THE MOST HONOURABLE?
Allah, Exalted be His Name, says:
O mankind we have created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes so that you may recognize one another. Verily, the most honourable of you in the sight of Allah is the most God-fearing of you (who has the most of Taqwa). Verily, Allah is All-Knowing All-aware.
(Surah Al-Hujuraat: 13).
From this verse (ayah) of the Noble Qur’an, we can learn many lessons from which we can amend our attitude and perception of life and ensure that we do not perceive others in a light that is inferior and evil. Let us look at some of these lessons very sincerely with the sole intention of putting these lessons into practice by changing all evil and cunning traits and characteristics within ourselves.
1. Allah the Most High has not only addressed the believers in this verse but he included all the unbelievers as well by saying: "O Mankind!” It means that this advice is not only beneficial for the believers but all of mankind should also take benefit of it.
2. Allah the Most High (the only one and true God) has made a claim which no other false deities can ever claim when he says: "We have created you". Do we know any one who has ever claimed that he is the creator of such and such a creature? The world is full of false deities that are being worshipped by the millions of people for centuries but none of them can ever make such a claim.
3. No one should be misled by the
plural noun used by Allah for Himself when He says "We have created
you" to think, even for the slightest moment, that there are some others
with Him. This is Allah’s
4. Allah says: "We have created you from a male and a female". The male is the first man, our father Adam (alayhis salaam) and the female is the first woman, our mother Hawwa (alayhas-salaam) - peace be upon both of them, the parent of human beings. This statement rejects the theory of evolution and all other theories about the creation of man which are nothing but conjectures. Absence of knowledge about certain things does not mean the negation of those things. When we human beings could not preserve our own history for more than a few thousand years, would it be wise for us to deny the history beyond that period or the starting point of our history. It is great ignorance and grossly unjust that we readily believe the theories presented to us by other human beings with limited intellect but we reject UNCONTESTED FACTS presented to us by our own Creator and Sustainer known as Allah. This is a very unjust and ungrateful behaviour on our part, and is mainly the characteristics of Atheists and Communists, not Muslims.
5. By way of this verse, Allah the Most High approves our division into nations and tribes but solely for the purpose of recognizing each other. For example, there may be many persons having the same name, but they can be distinguished by using their nationality. Using nationality or tribe for pride or boasting is strictly prohibited in Islam, discouraged and disallowed. Unfortunately, Muslims, like others, have started using this division for promoting nationalism and pride, which is a clear violation of the Islamic teachings. Forgetting our Islamic Brotherhood (ukhuwwah), we have not only divided ourselves into Arabs and non-Arabs, but the Arabs are sub-divided into various nationalities, hating and condemning each other. The case of the non-Arab Muslims is also not very different to the Arabs. There is so much more discrimination between non-Arab Muslims whereby some groups condemn and look down upon others. Realizing our mistake, we must return to the law of Allah, love each other, disregard all territorial and national divisions and be prosperous Muslims as one ummah.
6. Islam does not approve discriminating others based on nationality, colour, language, and place of birth, etc. over which none of us has any control. On the contrary, Allah the Most High has put a criterion for proving a person to be the best and honourable in His sight, which is within the reach of everyone and that is "Taqwa" (piety and righteousness). A person living in the East or West, in a small town or big city, black or white in colour, speaking any language, rich or poor, has been given equal capability by Allah to attain and increase his piety. We should be thankful to our Creator who declared this just standard for whole humanity in this verse of the Noble Qur’an as well as by the tongue of His last messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In his historic sermon of Hajj he declared that “no Arab is superior over the non-Arab, no non-Arab is superior over the Arab, no red man (including white) has superiority over the black, and no black man has superiority over the red man (including white) except in piety and righteousness.” Therefore, thinking someone superior over others based on any other criteria is condemned and rejected by Islam.
7. We must also remember that no person is allowed to declare or even think of himself being better than others. It is one of the major sins (kabaa-ir) to look down upon a believer, or even a non-believer. The greater the number of people a proud man despises, the larger will be the number of major sins (kabaa-ir) recorded in his character roll (Scroll). This pride is indeed an evil which drives the sinner into Hell. It is so grievous a sin that it may be called the root of evils. Many sins emanate from this single sin of pride. Once this sin takes root in the heart of a person, it involves him in all sorts of other sins. May Allah protect us! If a person does this, he is follower of Shaytaan (Satan) who had claimed before Allah saying "I am better than him (Adam). You created me from fire and him You created from clay" (). Declaring or thinking that one is better than the others is the outcome of pride (kibr). Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “Kibr is refusing the truth and belittling people” (Muslim). Pride and Imaan cannot go together. When pride enters the heart of man (Allah forbid), it sometime becomes difficult for him to protect his Imaan. Was it not pride that drove Shaytaan (Iblis) into ruin and destruction? He believed that he was created out of fire and therefore superior to Adam who was created out of earth and despised Adam. He thereby fell as a victim of the grievous sin of pride. Shaytaan was therefore condemned for eternity. How dangerous is the sin of pride. A person having pride in his mind, even as equal to the size of a mustard seed, will not be allowed to enter into Jannah unless he is cleansed by the Hellfire for this sin. May Allah save us from having such pride in our mind. Ameen.
8. Allah (the Most High) has reserved the right to Himself to decide who is more pious from among His servants and who is less pious. Place of piety is in the heart and no one is able to check the heart of a person except Allah alone Who is fully knowledgeable and fully aware. However, it is true that the good deeds of a person are an outcome of the piety in a person and we can judge people outwardly only observing their deeds. But it sometimes happens that we are deceived by the hypocrisy of the good deeds of a person while his heart does not conform to piety. Or we may be deceived by another who has piety in his heart while his particular deed happens to be otherwise. Therefore, it is Allah the Most High who is fully knowledgeable and aware of the condition of the heart of a person.
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said in a Hadith reported by Imam Muslim that "Allah does not look at your appearance and wealth but he looks to your hearts and deeds".
Therefore, if we are sincere Muslims, we should obey the command of Allah in this verse to the best of our ability. We should not hate or look down upon others for having different colour, language and race or for belonging to other tribes or nations. All of us are ONE family having the same parent, Adam & Hawwa (Alayhimas-Salaam). We should respect each other, help each other and love each other. Do not use nationality, colour and race for pride or boast but rather keep it for the purpose of recognition only.
May Allah give us the strength and courage (tawfeeq) to put His commands into practice. Ameen!
DO ISLAMIC ENDS JUSTIFY UN-ISLAMIC MEANS?
The world today is a very confusing place for the Muslim seeking to live by Islam. One of the greatest sources of confusion is an understanding that as long as the ends are Islamic, non-Islamic means are justified. This assumption however, is a direct consequence of a failure to focus continuously on the most fundamental objective of their actions as Muslims, namely the establishment of the worship of Allah, our Creator and Sustainer. If this was the focus, there would be no need to look for ends or means outside of Islam. Let us examine this issue to see why it is sinful to conduct our lives following the principle that the ends justify the means.
When the Messenger of Allah Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) started his call (da’wah) to the Quraysh, he and his companions (Ashaab) embarked on one of the greatest ends that Islam has prescribed i.e. to establish the worship of the One and Only Creator, Allah, and set up an Islamic Rule to help achieve this objective. Whilst engaged in achieving these ends, they faced many obstacles. The Quraysh adopted many strategies against the Prophet and his Companions. For example, they embarked on a terrible smear campaign accusing the Prophet of being mad, amongst other things. They also resorted to horrific torture of his followers, for example that of the family of Yaasir (radiyallahu anhu). They even boycotted the Muslims for three whole years. Yet, throughout all of these hardships the Sahabas were not tempted to look to means outside that which Islam had given them. In fact, many non-Islamic means were offered during these troubled times. For example, the Quraysh at one time offered to worship Allah and follow Islam for one year, on condition that the Muslims would worship idols the following year. The Muslims could have argued that such means may and could have actually achieved their ends. They could have argued that during the period of one year the Quraysh would have liked Islam and would have never left it. They could also have argued that it would have brought protection to the Muslims, another noble end. Yet, this offer was rejected because all these means were not Islamic. Allah revealed Surah al-Kafiroon as that rejection. The hardships continued, and with them many other sets of tempting, non-Islamic means. The Prophet then set out to achieve another Islamic end. That was the seeking of nusrah (support) from other tribes for Islam. This nusrah was the military support needed to establish the Islamic State. In Taa'if, Banu Thaqifah hurled stones at him. His request for nusrah was rejected from many other tribes, when eventually he came across Banu Aamir ibn Sa'sa'ah. After listening to the Messenger's call, they accepted to give him nusrah (support). But in return, they wanted to take authority after him. What an offer! The Muslims could have argued that Banu Aamir only had a single, simple demand. They did not ask the Muslims to idol-worship as the Quraysh had done, they asked for just one law to be compromised. Yet, the Prophet replied, "Authority is a matter which Allah places where He pleases." It was not for the Prophet, or indeed any Muslim, to selectively obey Allah in some matters whilst disobeying Him in others. Upon hearing this, Banu Aamir also declined to help.
Yet, through perseverance eventually nusrah was given elsewhere and that happened to be in Madinah al-Munawwarah. The Muslims had achieved the Islamic ends through Islamic means. This was because at all times they were aware that both the means and the ends must come from what Allah has defined as worship. They did not let the apparent benefits blind them from this objective. Nor did they let the incredible hardships divert them from looking for means outside of this objective. For the Prophet had said, "Every action is judged by its (niyyah) intention." This does not mean (as some people assume) that the end is the niyyah, hence all means to achieve that end is justified. Rather it means that all the actions that are performed, whether they are found within the means or the ends, must come from Islam.
Today, like the early days of Islam, Muslims find themselves oppressed and helpless, with kufr rule imposed upon them. Accordingly, several groups have been established to help redress the situation by working to establish the Deen of Allah. Unfortunately, they differ in the methods they adopt to achieve this end. Partnership with incumbent non-Islamic governments or parties under a secular system is a method that warrants particular mention as many groups advocate it without due regard for the Islamic teachings. Inherent in the partnership with non-Islamic governments is the acceptance to implement Islamic and non-Islamic laws concurrently. Usually, the Islamic laws are restricted to social and civil laws while the rest of the system including criminal law, foreign policy, economy and ruling system remain un-Islamic. The implementation of any kufr law is haraam and those who accept such compromises are sinful. As Allah says in the Noble Qur'an, "And mix not TRUTH with falsehood” (). And when we compromise on our Islamic beliefs, which ones do we discard and which ones do we keep? And who is going to decide this for us - the Kuffaar? When Muslims perform non-Islamic acts to achieve an Islamic end, they are in fact performing acts for reasons that are of material value thereby losing their objective of the worship and pleasure of Allah.
I request your humble du'aas.
Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir
Umhlanga Rocks, KZN