The Holy Qur'an

Remedy for Mankind

REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 33 Remedy for Mankind (Muhammad Zafrulla Khan) “Convey to them: O My servants who have committed excesses against your own selves despair not of the mercy of Allah, surely Allah forgives all sins; He is Most Forgiving, Ever Merciful. Turn ye to your Lord and submit yourselves to Him, before the punishment of the hereafter comes upon you and no one is able to help you. Follow the highest of the commandments that have been sent down to you from your Lord, before the punishment comes upon you unawares while you perceive not its approach; lest a person should say: O my grief over my remissness in respect of my duty to Allah, and certainly I was one of the scoffers; or should say: If Allah had guided me I would certainly have been among the righteous; or should say, when he sees the punishment: Would that I could return to the world, I would then be among those who do their duty to the utmost. He will be told: Aye, My Signs did come to thee, but thou didst reject them, was arrogant and wast of the disbelievers. On the Day of Judgment thou wilt see those who fabricated lies against Allah with their faces overcast with gloom. Is there not in hell an abode for the arrogant? Allah will deliver the righteous and bestow success on them; no evil shall afflict them, nor shall they grieve. Allah is the Creator of all things and He is Guardian over all. To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth; and it is those who deny the signs of Allah that are the losers” (39: 54-64). He has warned: “Allah would not change the condition of a people until they change their own attitude towards Him” (13:12). The first step is to recognize and confess one’s default and to seek Divine forgiveness and mercy. “Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if Thou forgive us not and have not mercy on us, we shall surely be of the lost” (7:24). Allah does not wrong anyone: man wrongs himself. “Allah wrongs not people at all, but people wrong themselves” (10:45). “Allah would not wrong them, but they wronged themselves” (9:70; 29:41; 30:10). Allah gives man his choice, and as he sows he reaps. “Whoso desires the harvest of the hereafter, We give him increase in his harvest, and whoso desires the harvest of this world, We give him thereof, but in the hereafter he has no share” (42:21). “Whoso desires only the hither life, We bestow upon those of them We 34 REMEDY FOR MANKIND please such immediate advantage as We determine; thereafter We appoint hell for them which they enter condemned and rejected. Whose desires the hereafter and, being a believer, strives properly for it, the striving of such will be duly appreciated. We assist all these as well as those as a bounty from thy Lord. Thy Lord’s bounty is not held back from any” (17:19-21). “Before We destroy a township, We command the affluent section of its people to adopt the ways of righteousness, whereupon they decide on disobedience. Thus the sentence becomes due against it, and We destroy it utterly” (17:17). But, “thy Lord is Most Forgiving, Ever Merciful towards those who do evil in ignorance and truly repent thereafter and make amends” (16:120). “When those who believe in Our Signs come to thee, greet them with: Peace unto you. Your Lord has charged Himself with mercy, so that whoso among you does evil in ignorance and repents thereafter and amends, then He is Most Forgiving, Ever Merciful” (6:55). Repentance means a complete turning away from that which is not in accord with Allah’s pleasure and a firm adherence to righteousness. It is not the mere repetition of a formula. “Allah is Oft-Returning with compassion and is Ever Merciful. Allah would accept the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and then are quick to repent. These are they to whom Allah turns with mercy. Allah is All-Knowing, Wise. Repentance is not for those who continue in their evil courses until, when death faces one of them, he exclaims: I do now repent; nor for those who die disbelieving. It is these for whom We have prepared a painful chastisement” (4:17-19). In the present case the principle default is the failure to fulfil the covenant made with Allah that we would order our “lives in accordance with the teachings of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah”. Some of these have been referred to briefly in these pages. They could serve as a yardstick to determine the degree of our default. We would have to make a complete about turn in several respects in order to set a course in accordance with the teachings of Islam. This would need clear vision, high courage and great fortitude, combined with constant, earnest, humble supplication for Divine grace and guidance. “Surely, thy Lord is on the watch. It is characteristic of man that when his Lord tries him and bestows honours and favours upon him, he boasts: Even my Lord honours me! But when He tries him and limits his means, REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 35 he laments: My Lord has humiliated me without cause. Not so, but you honour not the orphan, and you urge not one another to feed the poor, and you squander inherited wealth extravagantly, and you love affluence inordinately. Hearken, when the earth is pounded into level sand, and thy Lord comes with the angels ranged in order; and hell is brought near; on that day, man would desire to take advantage of the admonition, but how can he then do so? He will lament; Would that I had laid up something for this life! On that day none can punish like unto His punishment, and none can bind so securely as His binding. The righteous will be greeted with: O soul at rest, return to thy Lord, thou well pleased with Him and He well pleased with thee. So enter among My chosen servants and enter My Garden” (89:15-31). Let us then respond sincerely, earnestly and whole-heartedly to the Command: “O ye who believe, bow down and prostrate yourselves in Prayer, and worship your Lord, and work righteousness that you may prosper. Strive in the cause of Allah, a perfect striving, for He has exalted you and has laid no hardship upon you in the matter of religion. Follow the faith of your father Abraham. Allah has named you Muslims in this Book and also in previous Books so that the Messenger may be a model for you, and that you may serve as models for mankind. Then observe Prayer and pay the Zakat and hold fast, to Allah. He is your Master; an excellent Master and an excellent Helper” (22:78-9). Quran on Apostacy There is nothing whatsoever in the Quran from which any inference might be drawn that apostacy is punishable with death or indeed with any worldly penalty. It must, however, be clearly understood that we are concerned with pain and simple repudiation of Islam without any complication, such as an apostate joining the enemies of Islam and fighting along with them against the Muslims, or committing any other offence. (SirZafrulla Khan)

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