Exposition of the Holy Quran – 02 Surah Al-Baqarah (G A Parwez)

Surah 2: Al-Baqarah

(The Cow/Heifer)

                (1-3) Allah, the wise and the knowing has said: “The guidance you long for (1:5), is preserved in this book (15:9) wherein there is no uncertainty, ambiguity or psychological perplexity. This book(1) shows to the muttaqeen(2) (God-conscious) the path leading to the ultimate destination prescribed for humanity. The muttaqeen are those who wish to avoid pitfalls of the wrong path, who believe in the unseen (which becomes comprehensible through reflection on the Qur’an), and are confident that the right path will lead to the destination even though the former may be obscured initially.”

                In order to achieve this objective, they establish the Nizam-us-Sala (the Qur’anic system) in which all human beings follow the laws of Allah, and after retaining that much which is necessary to meet their basic needs (2:219), they keep the remaining material resources open for the needy ones for their nourishment.

                (4) The muttaqeen (God-conscious) believe in all the truths revealed to you (O Nabi (prophet) and those revealed to the anbiya (prophets) who came before you (the latter are, however, no longer in their original or unadulterated form). Believing in these truths (which are now all in the Quran) implies believing in the fact, which is corroborated by historical evidence, that whenever Allah’s plan has been followed, the same beneficial results have been achieved, namely, a blissful life free of anxiety. They, therefore, believe that now, again, adherence to the laws of Allah will bring about the same good results and their striving in the present will make the future bright, and that this process of evolution will continue even beyond death (57:12, 66:8).

                (5) The muttaqeen are the blessed ones who lead their lives according to the laws of Rabubiyya (universal sustenance) and whose efforts eventually bear fruit (23:1-11, 31:2-5). They wish to follow the right path, warding off dangers inherent in taking the wrong path.

                (6) As opposed to muttaqeen (God-conscious), there are kafireen (deniers/ disbelievers) who see the right path clearly, yet do not adopt it, being impelled by their obstinacy, jealousy, vanity, and vested interests (2:89-90, 109, 27:14, 35:42-43, 47:32). They do not follow this path themselves, and prevent others from following it (6:26, 41:26, 43:32). Whether or not the kafireen are warned about the disastrous consequences of following the wrong path, it is the same for them. They will never adopt the right path (36:70).

                (7) As a result of their outlook and actions, the kafireen (deniers/disbelievers) lose their capacity for observation and comprehension. They, thus, deprive themselves of the real joys of life, falling headlong into the inferno of devastation. Indeed, how pathetic is their end!

                (8) While the muttaqeen (God-conscious) and kafireen (deniers/disbelievers) accept or reject the truth openly, the munafiqeen (hypocrites) pay lip service to the truth of the divine code, the Law of Mukafat (retribution) and life hereafter, without believing in it.

                (9) They adopt two-faced tactics towards Allah’s system and delude themselves into thinking that they are deceiving the momineen (the convinced Muslims) who establish it. But if they were to reflect, they would realize that, in fact, they deceive only themselves.

                (10) Leading such a life results in a diseased mind and Allah’s law is that He furthers such a mind. This situation compels them to persistent lying and, what a torturous life it is that they have to live.

                (11) When they are asked not to spread fasaad (disorder) in society, they retort audaciously: “We do not spread fasaad); rather we are the musliheen (those who promote order) .” Beware! They, indeed, are the mufsideen (those who promote disorder).

                (12) It is amazing that these people fail to realize how the discrepancy between their word and deed exposes their true self.

                (13) When it is said to them that they should also adopt the divine code as the momineen (the convinced Muslims) have done, they reply, “They are simpletons who do not understand what is in their interest, and who forego present opportunities and benefits in the false hope of constructing an ideal society. Should we too become simpletons like them?” Beware! It is these munafiqeen (hypocrites) who do not know what is in their interest and who are, indeed, simpletons, since they do not even understand that to forego permanent advantages for temporary gains is not good trading.

                (14-15) Such is the duplicity of the munafiqeen (hypocrites) that when they are with the followers of the divine code, they aver that they too believe in the same truths, but when they meet their ringleaders in privacy, they say, “We are, in fact, with you. It is only for the sake of appearance that we meet them [the momineen (the convinced Muslims)]. In reality, we mock them by pretending to be on their side.” If they could only see that, in accordance with Allah’s Law of Requital, they mock none but themselves! Intoxicated with power, the munafiqeen (hypocrites) let themselves loose in the whirlpool of perfidy.

                (16) These people fancy that they are very clever since their deceitful ways bring them temporal returns, and they feel smug about their profitable trading. But, in fact, no one is more mistaken than they are, because they have exchanged the wrong path for the right one. Such trading cannot eventually prosper because the wrong path can never lead to the ultimate destination prescribed for humanity.

                (17-18) These pursuers of temporary and easy gains may be compared to one who, in the dark night of the jungle, lights a fire to find the way and the fire brightens the surroundings momentarily, but when it goes out, he finds himself in total darkness. In other words, the glitter of gains quickly acquired, initially dazzles the eyes like the fire in the wilderness. However, the brightness is followed by a darkness which renders one incapable of seeing, hearing or understanding (8:22). There is, then, no way left whereby such a person can return to the right path.

                (19-20) Hypocrisy may lead to some gains but these gains are always mixed with losses, just like a cloud, which brings life-giving rain, is also accompanied by darkness, thunder and lightning. The munafiqeen (hypocrites) desire to profit from the rainfall but, to be secure from the havoc caused by thunder and lightning, they stuff their fingers in their ears believing that they will not perish if they can shut out the terrifying noises of the storm. They are unable to perceive that they cannot protect themselves from lightning by simply shutting their ears, as Allah’s Law of Requital encompasses all those who deny the truth (7:183, 29:54, 79:36, and 82:16).

                It is to be remembered that though lightning can sometimes show the way to a traveller lost in the wilderness on a dark, stormy night, it is not a sure guide since it occurs only in flashes, each flash being succeeded by darkness deeper than before. Likewise, the human intellect brightens the path only shortly. Divine guidance provides constant light to those who tread the right path.

                If We had wished, We could dispossess the munafiqeen (hypocrites) of all means of acquiring knowledge (namely, the faculty of perception and hearing), so that they could not benefit from the means of nurture provided by nature. But we did not do this. We have prescribed laws for all events in the universe and We do not infringe upon these laws even though We have the power to do so.

                (21) Therefore, O Mankind! Do not be deceived by the glitter of secular systems (17:18-20). It behoves you to adhere to the laws of that creator and sustainer, Who created(3)  you and your ancestors, and Who has brought the human race to the present state of evolution through various stages despite the destructive forces of nature (7:172). This is the only way you can shield yourself from the hazards of the journey.

                (22) You will find protection from life’s pitfalls only within the universal system of Rabubiyya (universal sustenance) according to which Allah made the earth a resting place for you and scattered various planets in the atmosphere which remain in their orbits through mutual gravitation. Allah also caused rain to come down from the sky so that means of nourishment could be provided for you. It is evident that all means of sustenance have been given to you unearned but Allah alone is the owner and master of these means and you are permitted only their use. Therefore, take care lest you make human beings masters of these means. If you were to do this, it would be tantamount to shirk (polytheism), or setting up rivals to Allah.

                (23) If after reviewing such persuasive arguments and clear evidence, you are still in doubt and perplexity about the truth or falsity of this book (code of life) which We have revealed to you through our Rasool (Messenger of God), then there is a simple way to resolve this problem. Produce only one surah (chapter) like any surah from this book (11:13, 10:38). If you cannot do this single-handedly, ask various thinkers in your society to cooperate with you in producing the like of just one surah – accept this challenge to prove what you say is true.

                (24) But if you will not accept our challenge – and, for sure, you will not – and continue in your opposition, all of you, common and elite, leaders and followers alike, will fall into an inferno of devastation along with your wealth and glory. This devastation may occur through a war in which fire is kindled by human hands wielding destructive weapons or through an evil political system. In any case, this is the hell which those who defy this code of life have prepared for themselves (104:5-9).

                (25) In this turmoil, those who believe in the divine laws and in life’s higher values and follow the plan designed by Allah for the actualization of their potentialities do not need to worry. O Rasool (Messenger of God)! Tell them that they will lead a life of bliss both here and in the hereafter. This promise of joy and success is not exclusive to your present community. Whenever and wherever any community followed the right path, the outcome was similar (24:55, 39:74). Similar actions always lead to similar consequences though the forms of these may vary according to the dictates of time. In the society to be formed by momineen others who are like them in purity of conduct will become their companions. As long as this society remains steadfastly rooted in the foundations of the divine laws, it will continue to prosper and be safe from disorder and disintegration.

                (26) We have likened such a society to a succulent garden, janna (heavenly paradise), and We have used analogies of delicious fruits for the rewards of good deeds, since profound truths can best be explained only by perceptible similitude. Hence Allah’s omnipotence is not compromised if He explains abstract truth in concrete terms and if the need arises, He will not hesitate to use any simile even that of a humble creature such as a mosquito. Those who believe that the revelation is from Allah, will find these similes to be profoundly true whereas those who deny this basic truth, will find faults with them and question Allah’s motives for using them. It is not difficult to see how different conclusions can be derived from the same premise depending upon one’s mode of thinking, and how one can make the same premise the basis for following either the wrong or the right path. Those who follow the wrong path do not wish to live within the limits prescribed by the divine laws.

                (27) These people repudiate wholly the responsibilities vested in them by Allah’s law of universal Rabubiyya (universal sustenance) and violate their covenant with the divine system (9:111). By severing human relationships (13:21, 13:25) they fragment humanity into pieces on the basis of unnatural racial or national distinctions. They make individual self-seeking their primary motto in life, even though Allah’s system of Rabubiyya demands that human beings should respect the bonds of humanity (2:213, 10:19, 31:28). They, thus, create disorder in society and eventually cause destruction.

                (28) Ask these people, “How can you deny the divine laws when your own existence is its living testament? Howsoever you reflect, you will have to acknowledge the fact that there was a time when there was no sign of life on earth (76:1). Then life appeared, and, going through various stages of its evolution, reached the point when homo-sapiens emerged. Now you became conscious human beings worthy of being addressed as ‘You’ (32:9). From this process of creation it becomes clear that life was not created by you, but by Allah. Why should it then be difficult for Him to bring you back to life (40:11, 44:56) after you die? Life continues beyond death so that one’s deeds can be judged according to the law of Mukafat (retribution). You cannot escape from the jurisdiction of this law.”

                (29) This law has been ordained by Allah Who created you and also provided the means for your nourishment. If you reflect you can see how numerous planets are functioning harmoniously in space (57:1-2). This is also happening in accordance with Allah’s laws. He has full knowledge about the latent potentialities and requirements of everything.

                The purpose underlying the working of the universe is that human beings may be facilitated in following the right path (11:7, 53:31). In order to grasp this point it is essential to understand what constitutes the uniqueness of man and his place in creation. The story of Adam, which is narrated metaphorically, is in fact, the story of mankind itself. In this story, Adam stands for man, his mate for woman, malaika (celestial forces) for forces of nature, Iblees (the Devil) for baser human desires which become a powerful impediment in the way of his accepting or following divine guidance.

                (30-31) When the time came for homo-sapiens to dwell on earth, succeeding earlier inhabitants (15:27), the malaika (celestial forces) were taken by surprise, because, until then there was no creature in the universe which could dare to defy the divine laws (16:49-50). Man was given autonomy and freedom of will which implied that he could even disobey the laws of Allah. The malaika therefore, said:

                “O Allah! What kind of a creature is this who is now being settled upon the earth? This creature will rebel against Your law and, thereby, cause bloodshed and disorder. Contrariwise, we are always busy in doing the duties given to us and do our utmost to manifest the beauty and symmetry of Your system.”

                Hearing this, the creator of the universe said, “You do not know (the potentialities of Our new creations,) but We know them fully.”

                Each creation knows only its own functions but is unaware of how other things operate. Man, on the other hand, has been endowed with the capacity to acquire knowledge of how other things function and inter-relate, and how new things can be formed by combining existing elements.

                The malaika were then asked, “Do you also have such a capability?”

                (32) The malaika said, “Your plan extends much beyond the limits of our vision. We only have the knowledge which has been given to us, and do not have the capacity to acquire any more. You have complete knowledge of the entire universe and only You know Your plans.”

                (33) Thereupon Allah asked Adam to tell the malaika what he knew, and when Adam informed the malaika how things function in the universe, He addressing the malaika said, “Didn’t I tell you that We know all about Our creations and creatures which you cannot know. We also know how you are functioning at present and what your latent potentialities are.”

                (34) Hearing this, the malaika bowed before man but Iblees (the Devil)(4) did not do so and chose to be defiant and thus became one of those who deny the truth.

                (35) When man was made a settler upon the earth, at first his needs were very limited and the means of nourishment were plentiful (20:118). The socio-economic system prevailing at that time had no concept of private ownership, and the means of sustenance were available everywhere, satisfying everyone’s needs. There was thus no conflict, no differences and no dissension amongst human beings who lived like one family (2:213, 10:19). They were warned, “If you start mutual conflict, this paradisiacal life will be taken away from you and you will find yourselves involved in a grim and bitter struggle simply to secure means of survival. This will create chaos.”

                (36) However, driven by their selfishness, human beings began to live according to their own self-made system. As a result of this they lost their blissful life.

Humanity was split into different races, tribes and nations with enmity between them, and the resources provided for humanity’s survival and development were usurped by the mightiest among them.

                But human beings had been put on Earth to stay for a long time and everyone needed means of subsistence. Was there then no solution for this problem which human beings had created for themselves?

                (37) Indeed there was a solution, but man could not discover it through his intellect alone, since human reason, while it could show him ways to safeguard his individual interest, could not persuade him to be heedful of humanity’s security and survival. Mankind could regain its blissful life only through divine guidance. Surely, He is Oft-returning and Raheem (merciful).

                (38-39) When man lost his blissful life, he was told, “Do not be despondent. We shall send you Our guidance through Our rusul (messengers) (7:35); those who will order their lives in accordance therewith, will suffer no fear or sorrow (20:123-24). On the other hand, those who reject Our guidance will lead a life of constant torment in this world and beyond.”

                This, then, is a symbolic narrative of Adam’s (Man) life and what it means.

                (40) A living illustration of the principle explained above i.e., the people following the divine laws shall prosper and those deviating from them will be ruined, is the Bani- Israel (Children of Israel) who are (O Rasool (Messenger of God)) vehemently opposing these laws at this time. Say to them, “Recall that period of your history when you led your lives according to Allah’s laws; how happy, successful and eminent you were then. But when you discarded the right path, you also witnessed the consequences which were disgrace and ignominy (2:61). Now, once again, you have the opportunity to regain your lost paradise if you wish to do so. If you fulfil your covenant with Me (by adhering to My laws), you will see that I will reciprocate by fulfilling the assurances given to you (9:111). This necessitates that you dispel the fear of ungodly forces from your heart and only submit to My laws, fearing the disastrous consequences of repudiating them.”

                (41) This would entail that you believe in this code of laws (Qur’an), that we have revealed (through this Messenger). Allah had made certain promises to you – and these promises are contained in your scriptures  but these promises remained un-fulfilled since you did not keep your covenant with Allah. Now, the Qur’an reaffirms those promises, which will be fulfilled if you follow the divine laws. You, therefore, ought to have accepted the Qur’an eagerly, but, on the contrary, you took a lead in opposing it. We know that you have certain material advantages due to your religious leadership (10:69-70, 56:80-82), but the benefits you would derive by following this code would far exceed your present gains. Hence, you must live in accordance with it.

                (42) At present you tend either to conceal the truth (2:159) or (by mixing divine revelation with your self-made traditions) to confound the truth with falsehood in such a manner that the false appears to be true. You do all this knowingly for your vested interests.

                (43) Abandon this course of action and (after having adopted the Qur’an as your code of life) establish Nizam-us-Sala (the Qur’anic system), keeping available to mankind the means for its development.(5) You will, thus, be amongst those who submit to divine laws (19:119, 89:29).

                (44) One of the results of your following the wrong path is that contradictions and hypocrisy have appeared in your life. You counsel others to do good deeds and be broad-minded (2:177) but when it comes to your own selves, you forget it. You claim that you follow the book of Allah. Ask yourselves if Allah’s book would teach you to follow such a path.

                (45-48) The development of your potentialities and the correct ordering of your life is possible only if you adhere to the Nizam-us-Sala (the Qur’anic system) (2:153) with steadfastness and courage. Since you have become used to following the easy way of your self-made Shariah (civil law), you will find the path of deen (religion; way of life) difficult to travel. But if you keep in mind that you will eventually have to confront Allah’s Law of Requital, you may be able to overcome your egotistical tendencies and adhere to the divine laws. You do not need to be told of the consequences of adhering to these laws. You have witnessed them yourselves. When you followed them, you were blessed with all the boons of life and were pre-eminent amongst your contemporaries (2:122). When you gave up your adherence, your respect for law and justice disappeared. But this state of affairs can continue no longer for when the Qur’anic order is established no one shall avail another in anything, nor shall any intercession of one for another be considered, nor shall any form of compensation be accepted, neither shall they be succoured (2:123, 6:165). This would be the case both in this world and in the hereafter.

                (49) (Returning to your history) recall the time when you were in servitude to the Pharaoh who inflicted many torments upon you, the worst of which was that he created dissension amongst you (28:24). He degraded those respected members of your community who had courage and vitality and posed a danger to him (particularly those who believed in Moses – 90:25), while elevating those who were devoid of such qualities. Thus you, as a people, became weak (this is how the politics of despotism works – 27:34). When you submitted to the divine laws, Allah delivered you from the Pharaoh’s servitude. This was a great turning point in your life.

                (50) And then (after the conflict with the Pharaoh) you left Egypt and the Pharaoh’s army pursued you until you reached the sea. The Pharaoh’s army blocked your retreat while the water lay in front of you, but We showed you a way out and rescued you while the Pharaoh and his army were all drowned. All this you observed yourselves (7:138, 10:90, 20:77, 26:63, and 44:24).

                (51) And having reached the valley of Sinai, Moses, following Our command, left you for forty nights (7:142). During this short break you started worshipping the calf (Egyptian deity) and thus rebelled against the divine laws.

                (52-53) In spite of this, we did not reject you. Instead, We removed the ill-effects of your wrong-doings and afforded you another opportunity to foster your potentialities. We gave to Moses a code of laws which provided a clear criterion for distinguishing between truth and falsehood. This was given, so that in the light of this code you should safely reach your destination.

                (54) When (after forty nights) Moses returned and saw his people engaged in calf

worship he said, “By worshipping this calf you have harmed your own selves and your action has caused you to fall far below the level of humanity (7:152). You can make amends by admitting your wrong-doing and submitting to the divine laws with profound meekness and humility. This is the only way to benefit from the divine laws. And the characteristic of these laws is that if someone turns towards them, they also respond with full loads of nourishing qualities.”

                (55) We had given you a clear code of laws. Had you followed it, the results would themselves have convinced you of its divine origin. But instead of following this code and recognizing Allah through its workings, you said to Moses, “We are not prepared to accept anything you say till we see Allah with our own eyes.” You had demanded to see Allah unveiled but were terrified even by the thundering noise of the earthquake (7:155), although you fully understood the source of the noise.

                (56)  Even after that We revived you and afforded you the opportunity to foster your potentialities so that, liberated from the death-inflicting effects of bondage, you could live your new life as free human beings.

                (57) For this, you were given an abundance of worldly things, unearned. In this desert, you were shaded by heavy clouds and you ate delicious food – the meat of fowl and manna. Even then, you did not follow Our laws steadfastly. By your conduct, you did not harm anyone but your own selves.

                (58) We expected that you would live in the city successfully (5:21), and be able to use the means of nurture, as and when you chose, provided you adhered to Our laws. This way your mode of living like homeless gypsies would have ended. Thus, you would not only have been protected from the ill-effects of the wrongs already committed by you but your successes would also have been further increased.

                (59) But you preferred a life of ease and lethargy to one of struggle and discipline (2:61), and deviating from the path revealed by Us, followed one of your own choice. As a result, you lost your strength and courage (5:22-24). Consequently, you could not take possession of the Promised Land for forty years (5:26).

                (60) Recall also how, when faced with shortage of water, Moses sought Our help and We directed him to a place where water-springs lay concealed. He reached that spot with his people, removed the earth from the rocks, and from thence, not one or two, but twelve springs gushed forth. He allotted one spring to each tribe. We told you at that time that since your physical needs were being fulfilled, you should not disintegrate your society through disorder and inequity.

                (61) As mentioned earlier (2:59), you preferred an easy life to soldierly discipline and said to Moses, “(In this desert life) we cannot eat the same wild food morning and evening. You should ask your Sustainer for cultivated produce such as vegetables, herbs, cucumbers, garlic, different kinds of corn and lentils, onions etc.”

                (The life of the desert had, in fact, been a training ground for them where they could acquire soldierly discipline, and its food was such that it would have given them energy.)

                Moses answered “(Alas!) If you prefer an inferior life to the superior one that is being offered to you then go and live in a city where you will find what you want.”

                Because of their choice, they lost the capability to be strong and creative and developed traits of subservience and apathy, which led to their disgrace and humiliation. They suffered such punishment because they refused to live according to the divine laws, and instead of honouring their anbiya (prophets), sought to degrade them unjustly, and sometimes even to kill them (3:182), 2:87) thus transgressing the limits set by Allah.

                (62) This has been your record, but in spite of it, you believe that you are Allah’s chosen people (5:18) and that paradise is reserved for your race (2:111). This is your vain imagining. Paradise is not reserved for any race. Our law is that, irrespective of origin, any person from amongst the following can enter it:

  1. Jews, Christians, Sabaeans (Sabians);
  2. Those who believe in Allah without formally adopting any particular religion; and
  3. Those who are Muslim only by virtue of being born in a Muslim family.

                Whoever believes in Allah’s law of Mukafat (retribution), as revealed to you O Rasool (Messenger of God) (2:137) and leads his life accordingly, will be duly awarded. Such a person will lead a life of heavenly bliss, free of fear, grief and anxiety.

                (63) After this digression, return to your history and recall as to how you were given physical security by being placed in a valley with a mountain protecting you from the back, and how a code of laws was given to you for your guidance. We had also asked you to hold fast to this code and always bear in mind all that is therein, so that you may remain safe from all the pitfalls and dangers around you.

                (64) You had been asked to hold fast to the laws revealed to you. You made a firm promise to do so but you violated your covenant. Due to Our Law of Respite you were not held to account for your actions at once; else you would have faced immediate ruin.

                (65) As a result of deviating from the divine laws your character had degenerated to such a degree that when you were asked to refrain from business and fishing for one day in the week (7:163) your avarice would not permit you to comply with even such a minor restriction (4:154, 16:124). Through such actions you degraded your humanity and became objects of ridicule and scorn.

                (66) Your degeneration and wretchedness served as a lesson to all peoples – your contemporaries as well as later generations – teaching them how to be safe from such calamities as you brought upon yourselves.

                (67) Your habit of making excuses became so entrenched that when you were asked by Allah to slaughter a bull so that your hearts would be purged of dedication to calf-worship, you began to ridicule the order even though you knew that the divine decree was communicated to you through a Nabi (prophet) and that it was not appropriate for a Nabi (prophet) to talk ignorantly.

                (68) Then you started a hair-splitting discussion unnecessarily, saying, “Ask Allah to state unequivocally what kind of a bull is to be sacrificed.” You were told, “The bull should neither be too young nor too old but of mature age,” and that you should not dilly-dally in carrying out the order.

                (69) You said, “No, the matter is still not clear to us. Ask your Rabb (sustainer) to tell us what the colour of the bull should be.” You were told, “It should be of a deep yellow hue pleasing to the onlookers’ eyes.”

                 (70) Still, you did not wish to comply and for the sake of further disputation, said “The matter is still somewhat unclear; elaborate further so that we should know exactly what is required and then we would act accordingly.”

                (71) You were told, “The bull should be sound and unmarked, never having been used in a yoke for tilling or drawing water.” You said, “Yes, now you have clarified the matter fully.” You resorted to such quibbling over such a trifling issue, not because the matter was not clear to you. You knew well that We wanted you to slaughter a bull because of your calf-worship. But you did not want to do so due to your devotion to the calf (2:93).

                (72) Whilst you were so reluctant to slaughter an animal, you took a human life unjustly and blamed one another for the murder. But Allah wanted to unveil what you were concealing so that the crime should not remain unpunished.

                (73) The psychological condition of superstitious people is such that anything out of the ordinary causes them to be fearful (22:31). Knowing this, Allah said, “Ask all those whom you suspect of the murder to touch some part of the corpse.” (When the culprit came close to the corpse his fearful demeanour gave him away.) Thus Allah unveiled the murderer who was punished for his crime. Retributive justice which punishes criminals safeguards a nation’s life (2:179). You should therefore, use your intellect and insight to solve such problems (13:11).

                (74) You went through cycles of disintegration and reconstruction and finally you turned away completely from the code of divine laws and this hardened your hearts even more than stones. There are some stones from which streams or springs issue forth and which become so soft leaving aside their hardness in front of Allah’s laws that they can easily be ground. But your hearts are such that they do not soften out of compassion for humanity nor do they submit to the divine laws. You will be judged according to the Law of Requital and suffer the consequences of your actions.

                (75) O Momineen (the convinced Muslims)! Do you think that such people can ever cooperate with you, as you desire them to? Amongst them is a group (of religious leaders) who hear and understand divine laws and then deliberately alter them or interpret them in such a way that the truth is distorted and the rest of the people follow this group. How can people, who behave like this, accept the truth?

                 (76) You assume that these people are honest and truthful – as they profess to be in your presence – but when they meet together in privacy, they say, “We may intermingle with them but should be cautious lest we divulge those things in our sacred books which they may use against us.” You should fully comprehend this position.

                 (77) But they do not realize that they seek to hide from Allah that which He Himself had revealed to them. Ask them, “How can anything remain hidden from Allah?” He knows well, what these people reveal or conceal.

                (78-79) These people practice deception not only on others but also amongst themselves. The illiterate ones amongst them do not know what Allah has revealed and refer their questions about the Shariah (civil law) to their religious leaders. The latter frame the laws of the Shariah  themselves but present them as divine. Thus they deceive others just to secure a paltry price for it, not realizing that their fabrication of the Shariah and their use of it as a means of livelihood will bring about their ruin (56:82).

                (80-81) Also self-deceived, they say to themselves, “No matter what we do, we will not be held to account for it. At the most we will spend a short time in Hell (till our intercessors secure our forgiveness from Allah)”. Ask them, “Have you obtained a promise from Allah to such effect? If you have, then what you say must come to pass because Allah never goes back on His promise. You have, however, no proof to substantiate this.”

                Allah’s unchangeable Law of Mukafat (retribution) is that whenever a people become accustomed to violating divine laws and engulf their entire society in this mode of conduct, the inevitable result is disorder and perpetual destruction.

                (82) Contrary to the above, a people who believe in these laws and follow them, will be blessed with an eternal paradise-like life (2:112).

                (83) It was never your covenant with Allah that you would not be held accountable for your actions. It was that you would adhere to the laws of none other than Allah, treat your parents well, and also help your relatives, including orphans and others in need so that the equilibrium of society is not disrupted. You had also promised that you would deal congenially with the common people and exhort them to do good deeds. Furthermore, you had promised to establish the Nizam-us-Sala (the Qur’anic system) and a just economic order.

                After making these promises, however, you started looking for ways to evade fulfilling them and, except for a few, the rest abandoned the right path, and you backslide even now.

                (84) You had also promised that you would not engage in mutual bloodshed nor would you turn the weaker amongst you out of their dwellings. Such promises you had made after consideration of all relevant factors, and you have testified to that.

                (85) These were the pledges you made but you continued to shed each other’s blood and to turn the weak amongst you out of their homes. Your society, instead of taking the criminals to task, encouraged them to commit evil acts. When the homeless were taken captive, you secured their release and thought that by paying the ransom you had done a very pious deed, whereas expelling these people from their homes was a heinous crime, which you had been forbidden to commit. Such is your state of mind that you accept one part of Allah’s code of laws and deny another. When people make it a way of life to follow that part of the divine code, which they think serves their interest, and forsake the rest, they are bound to suffer failure and disgrace in this world and are committed to the most grievous suffering in the hereafter. This is the inevitable result of fragmenting Allah’s code: it should be accepted or rejected in total. And, bear in mind that according to the Law of Mukafat (retribution), no action of yours remains hidden.

                (86) These (above-mentioned) people trade the happiness of their future life for worldly comforts. Their ignoble condition is aggravated with time and no one can rescue them from it.

                (87) The process of revealing the divine laws to you did not end with Moses but continued after him. The last in the series of your anbiya (prophets) was Jesus, son of Mary. To him, We had given revelation in an authentic form which was strengthened by solid reasoning. This gave him great strength and confidence. But you adulterated whatever remained with you of the revelations given to previous anbiya (prophets). Such has been your way that whenever any Rasool (Messenger of God) opposed your interest or inclination, you became stubbornly resistant. You insulted some rusul and even plotted to kill others. You are now acting the same way towards this book so that it may be changed according to your desires (10:15, 11:113, 17:74, 39:45, 68:9).

                (88) Such is their hatred of Qur’anic teachings that they cannot stand to hear it, much less reflect upon it. They say, “It does not reach our hearts.” Tell them that it is not that this message does not reach their hearts; the fact is that they have lost the capability to reflect. Such persons pre-determine that they will not accept what they do not want to accept. Very few persons with this kind of mentality will ponder over the truth and accept it.

                (89) How strange that they reject that book which validates those moral values, which were instrumental in their gaining ascendancy over the kafireen (deniers/disbelievers)! They know well that this book is from Allah, but still reject it. This rejection does not affect the divine code but because of it they have been deprived of the salutary results which follow from its implementation.

                (90) Actually, the reason underlying their rejection of the Qur’an is that they are jealous of the fact that this Rasool (Messenger of God) is not an Israeli. Allah bestows Nabuwwa (prophethood) upon whoever is considered worthy of it (and nationality, country, language and colour have nothing to do with it). As a result of their obstinacy they lost all the joys and hopes of life. What a poor bargain they made in exchange for their lives! This is what ultimately happens to those people who rebel against the divine laws.

                (91) When it is said to them, “Come! Believe in the truth of this divine code,” they answer, “No, we will only believe in what was revealed to us and are not prepared to accept any other teaching.” They say this even though the Qur’an validates the unadulterated values which have been revealed to them and which they already uphold.

                Ask them, “If your only objection to the Qur’an is that it was revealed to a non-Israeli, why did you humiliate the Israeli anbiya (prophets), rendering their teaching ineffective and sometimes even killing them?”

                (92) Leave aside the other anbiya (prophets) of Israel, what did you do to Moses himself? He brought to you a clear code of laws but during his short absence, you took to calf-worship. Surely, you transgressed the imposed limits.

                (93) As has been stated earlier in (2:63) when in the valley you made a firm pledge to adhere wholeheartedly to the divine code, you were asked to reflect upon it deeply. You said that you had done so, but instead of adhering to the divine laws, you defied them because reverence for the calf had permeated your being.

                Say to them, “This is your previous record. Therefore, when you say that you do not accept the Qur’an out of loyalty to the divine revelation, which you had received, you deceive yourselves and others. If such beliefs and actions are the outcome of your eiman (conviction), woe is upon such eiman (conviction).”

                (94) Say to them, “If you truly believe in your claim that you are Allah’s beloved offspring (5:18) and that paradise is reserved for you (2:80) with no place for non-Israelis (2:111) then you should not be afraid of death. Rather, you should yearn for it.”

                Readiness to die is the first test of right conduct (11:7, 67:2).

                (95) They will never want to die since they realize what preparations they have made for the next world. Allah is well acquainted with such deceitful people.

                 (96) So, far from invoking death, these people are even greedier for life than Arab mushrikeen (pagans/polytheists). Each of them longs to live for a thousand years. But they do not realize that even if they were to live for a thousand years it would not be possible for them to escape from the disastrous consequences of their wrong-doings? That what all people do is under the constant vigilance of Allah’s Law of Mukafat (retribution).

                (97) These people are offended with Gabriel for delivering Revelation to a non-Israeli prophet (2:90). Say to them, “There is no reason for being offended with Gabriel because he does not, of his own accord, deliver Revelation to anyone. By Allah’s decree, the Qur’an descended upon Qalb-e-Muhammad (Muhammad’s heart) through Gabriel. Secondly, the Qur’an validates what you claim to believe and thirdly, whosoever believes in this revelation and acts upon it, will benefit.”

                (98) Tell them that their criticism of Gabriel extends to Allah Himself and to all the malaika including Gabriel and Michael and rusul (messengers). This kind of criticism is tantamount to kufr (denial of the truth). How can Allah be a friend to those who behave in this way?

                (99) Say to them, “Despite your opposition and jealousy, Allah has given this clear guidance to me and only those who have forsaken the right path will deny this.”

                (100) That, then, is the state of their belief. As regards their practical life, when an agreement is made on behalf of the entire community by its representative, it is repudiated by some of them who regard the agreement as a piece of waste paper. This is because most of them have no faith in the divine laws.

                (101) O Rasool (Messenger of God)! Their opposition to you is not a new phenomenon. They have been behaving in this manner in the past. For instance, when Jesus, who was from the Bani-Israel (Children of Israel) and was mentioned in their scriptures, came to them as a Rasool (Messenger of God), a group from amongst them rejected his teachings as if they had no knowledge about it.

                (102) The fact is, that these people never adhered to Allah’s books and remained preoccupied with their self-created myths and legends. One of these myths was that Solomon had turned away from the divine truth and had become devoted to magical practices and sorcery.

                How could Solomon act in such a kafir (denier)-like manner? Such evil practices were followed not by Solomon but by those mischievous ringleaders who themselves taught witchcraft to people and attributed it to Solomon. Another myth was that in Babel there were two malaika named Haroot and Maroot who had been sent by Allah. People approached them to learn magic by which they could cause dissension between spouses. Before complying, however, the malaika would warn the people clearly that they were a fitna (great mischief) and that they should not learn magic and become kuffar [the deniers/disbelievers] (but despite this warning, people learned magic – such was its fascination). All these were nothing but fanciful stories, for there were no such malaika in Babel nor had Allah taught Haroot and Maroot any magic.

                As far as magical charms or spells are concerned, they cannot harm anyone since all good or evil occurs in accordance with the divine laws. Those who profess to practise magic acquire some worldly benefits but ultimately they are the losers since temporary gains are insignificant in comparison to eternal happiness. Alas! If only they could understand such an evident truth.

                (103) If, instead of being entangled in these myths, these people had believed in Qur’anic truths and followed divine laws, they would have received excellent benefits from Allah. Alas! If only they could understand such an evident truth.

                (104) O Jamat-ul-Momineen (Group of convinced Muslims) ! Now it is necessary to understand an important point. You have seen that the mentality of the Jews was such that they constantly haggled with Moses saying, “We will obey you if you will accept our demands.” Such an attitude is wrong. Do not engage in such haggling with your system; instead, say to your Rasool (Messenger of God), “We will certainly obey the divine laws. Kindly keep an eye on us lest we deviate from the right path.”

                Also take note that words with double meanings should not be used nor should the truth be reported in a partial or distorted form as was the habit of the Jews (4:46). Remember, such things appear very ordinary but their effects are far-reaching. And those people who reject these facts are destined to receive grievous sufferings.

                (105) Those from amongst the Ahl-ul-Kitab (People of the Book) and Arab mushrikeen (pagans/polytheists), who have not so far embraced Islam, cannot bear to see that you should receive a revelation from Allah (3:71, 16:30), and through it, obtain the gifts of life. But their wishes are irrelevant in this matter. In accordance with His scheme, Allah sends His revelation to those He considers worthy of receiving it. The message of Revelation, however, is open to all, and anyone who wishes to benefit from it, can do so – for Allah is limitless in His great bounty.

                (106) The Ahl-ul-Kitab (People of the Book) also question the need for a new revelation (Qur’an) when previous revelations from Allah exist. They further ask why the Qur’an contains injunctions contrary to the earlier Revelation (the Torah) if it is from Allah?

                Tell them that Our way of sending Revelation to successive anbiya (prophets) is that:

  1. Injunctions given in earlier revelations, which were meant only for a particular time, are replaced by other injunctions, and
  2. Injunctions which were to remain in force permanently but were abandoned, forgotten or adulterated by the followers of previous anbiya are given again in their original form (22:52).

                And all this happens in accordance with Our laid down standards, over which We have complete control.

                Now this last code of life which contains the truth of all previous revelations (5:48), is complete in every respect (6:116), and will always be preserved (15:9), has been given [to mankind].

                (107) Say to them that no one can question why Allah has adopted such a system of revelation. Do they not know that Allah, Who is sovereign over the universe, alone knows which law is to be revealed and at what time? (Say to them that) if despite knowing this fact, they still refuse to obey this code of laws, they will find that no other code can resolve the problems of life.

                (108) In this context, O Jamat (group)-ul-Momineen (the convinced Muslims)! You too must note that the Qur’an contains all the laws, which Allah intended to reveal, and what is not mentioned therein is not an oversight on Allah’s part. Hence do not ask your Rasool (Messenger of God) questions about laws which the Qur’an does not mention as the Bani- Israel (Children of Israel) used to ask Moses (the result of such probing was that they made extra-revelatory laws a part of an unchangeable Shariah (civil law) and when they found this Shariah impracticable they repudiated their deen (religion; way of life) itself (5:101). You must not do the same. And whoever, after professing eiman (conviction), reverts to kufr (denial), surely loses the right direction.

                (109) Most of the Ahl-ul-Kitab wish to turn you away from eiman (conviction) towards kufr (denial) not because they do not understand the truth – the truth has been revealed to them clearly – but on account of their jealousy. You should not waste your time and energy arguing with these people. Until the decisive moment arrives, pay no attention to them and continue to work for the accomplishment of your programme (5:13, 15:85, 73:10, and 74:11). Allah knows what course of action He should adopt at a particular time.

                (110) Your programme will be completed with the establishment of Nizam-us-Sala (the Qur’anic system) and Zaka (universal growth). During the initial phase you will feel that your efforts do not bear fruit. Be sure that your efforts will not be wasted. In due course of time you will see the fruits of your labour according to Allah’s Law of Mukafat (retribution) (2:3). Surely, all your deeds are under constant monitoring by Allah’s Law of Mukafat.

                (111) The Ahl-ul-Kitab i.e., Jews and Christians, claim that Paradise is reserved for them exclusively (2:111). This is wishful thinking on their part. Tell them to substantiate their claims in rational terms, if what they say is true.

                (112) The Law of Mukafat (retribution) stipulates that Paradise is attained by living in accordance with the divine laws and not through wishful thinking. Those who attain Paradise will be free of fear and anxiety.

                (113) The Jews and Christians put up a united front against you, but have serious mutual enmity. The Jews accuse the Christians of having no true religion and the Christian retort likewise. The paradox is that both claim to follow books of Revelation. Like them, the Arab mushrikeen (pagans/polytheists), who are bitterly divided amongst themselves, are united in their opposition to you. They also assert that their beliefs are founded upon truth though they have no revealed books. Conflict is the necessary result of factionalism. Their differences (which are a sign of being alienated from Allah – 3:104) will not be obliterated until a system in accordance with the Qur’an has been established and all obey one single code of laws (11:118-119).

                (114) The Qur’an’s revolutionary system is being founded by the Jamat (group)-ul-Momineen (the convinced Muslims) with masajid (mosques) as their centres of activity, where people are instructed to submit only to Allah’s law. Can anyone be a greater enemy to humanity than those who are striving to break up this system and put up all kinds of barriers to prevent the implementation of Allah’s laws (72:18)? If anyone comes to these centres, he should come without insurgency in his heart. Those who cause disintegration of the Qur’anic system will be degraded and disgraced in this world and in the hereafter.

                (115) They should realize that even if they do not let the divinely-designed system be established in this place (Makkah), the system will not fail. This system is not confined to any particular place. This is the system of Allah Who transcends limitations of Time and Space. Therefore, (O Jamat (group)-ul-Momineen (the convinced Muslims)! Whenever you turn to Allah you will find the way that leads to Him. Allah’s system is extensive and is based entirely on knowledge and wisdom.

                (116-117) Ask the Christians, “How can you justify your belief in Allah when you perceive Him as having a son? You have brought Allah down to the level of human beings who stand in need of progeny as helpers. Nay, He is far above this concept. All that is in the heavens and the earth belongs to Him and everything therein devoutly follows His laws. Allah is omnipotent and has brought a colossal universe into existence from nothingness. His manner of creation is that when He decides to create a particular thing, the process of its coming into existence begins at once.” The possessor of such powers has no requirement for a son.

                (118) Those amongst them who do not understand what Revelation is and how it is given to anbiya (prophets), say, “If Allah wishes to guide us why does He not talk to us directly or show us some miracle whereby we can recognize that this revelation is indeed from Allah?” Such a demand had also been made in the past by people with a similar mentality. Those who understand the nature of Revelation do not make such a demand.

                (119) It is in accordance with Our plan that We have sent you, O Rasool (Messenger of God), with truth so that you may give glad tidings to those who live in accordance with Allah’s Revelation and warn those who do the opposite (13:40). If the latter do not pay heed to your warning that they would be destroyed, you will not be held responsible for their agonising end.

                (120) These Jews and Christians have predetermined that they will not be pleased with you until you (O Rasool ) leave your path and follow theirs.

                Say to them, “The question is not whether my path – or yours – is the right one. Only that path can be the right one which is shown by Allah’s Revelation which you do not have in its original form but is preserved in the Qur’an.”

                (O Rasool, supposing) if, after having received Allah’s revelation, you begin to follow the path of these people, you will become like them, and none will be able to save you from the disastrous consequences of following the wrong path (7:3, 10:109, 13:37).

                (121) Those to whom this code of laws (Qur’an) has been given, and who follow it as it ought to be followed, are the momineen. While those who deny its validity, do not belong to this class. Such people will eventually be the losers.

                (122) What We have said before is based on facts. Hence say to these Jews (Bani- Israel (Children of Israel)), “Recall the period of your history when you accepted Allah’s guidance. You received the bounties of life and gained supremacy over your contemporaries.”

                (123) When you gave up your adherence, your respect for law and justice disappeared. But this state of affairs can continue no longer, for when the Qur’anic order is established, no one shall avail another in anything, nor shall any intercession be considered, nor shall any form of compensation be accepted, nor will they be succoured. This would be the case in this world and in the hereafter (2:48).

                (124) Doubtless, great courage and fortitude is required to uphold a system based on truth and justice, but history bears witness that there have been people who have done so. You are familiar with the life of your illustrious forefather Abraham who could have inherited the office of the highest religious leader if he had followed in the footsteps of his father. But he disdainfully refused to do so, and with absolute determination and steadfastness, stood for the establishment of the system designed by Allah (37:83-97, 60:4). As a result of this, he had to pass through many grim circumstances. When he had confronted them successfully, he was declared to be worthy of being the imam (leader) of, and a role-model for, the human race. On receiving such honours, Abraham asked Allah if his progeny would also inherit them. The answer was that if his progeny deviated from the right path they would be deprived of them.

                (125) This system, of which the Ka’bah (the House of God) has been declared as a centre, is the one which Abraham had established in order to bring all humanity together and bring about universal peace. O Jamat (group)-ul-Momineen (the convinced Muslims)! If you aspire to attain Abraham’s standing, you must follow his path and emulate his conduct.

                We had insisted that (the builders of the Ka’bah Abraham and Ishmael should make this place the centre of a universal system undefiled by man-made beliefs and ideas. This centre was to be reserved for organizing and training momineen (the convinced Muslims) who submit to the laws of Allah and their purpose in life would be to keep a vigil so that humanity is protected from danger, and to resolve its knotty problems.

                (126) While building the Ka’bah, Abraham prayed to Allah, “O Sustainer of all creation, make this house a sanctuary for the oppressed people of the world (95:3) and grant the bounties of life abundantly (14:37) to those who believe in the truth of Your laws and in the hereafter.”

                Allah said, “Verily they will receive life’s bounties. Regarding those who reject the divine laws, they too in accordance with Our physical laws, will obtain the immediate gains of life (17:18-20) but eventually they will become wretched, having been dragged, in complete helplessness to this miserable position; how vile a journey’s end!”

                (127-129) Continuing their prayer as they raised the walls of the Ka’bah,  Abraham and Ishmael said:

                “O our Sustainer! Accept our humble efforts because you are fully aware regarding what we speak and what is hidden in our hearts. Our supplication is that by associating with this centre, we and our future generations should live according to Your code of laws. O Our Sustainer! Show us the way whereby we can reach the destination You have prescribed for humanity, and continue to receive Your bounties and blessings for such is Your law that it brings the means of nurture to anyone who makes an effort to obey it (2:186).

                O our Nurturer! Let our progeny continue in our footsteps until that Rasool (Messenger of God) should arise from amongst them who would give Your code of laws to all humanity and teach them to the momineen, and explain to them the why’s and wherefore of it all (6:116). He would also establish a system wherein their potentialities are actualised and utilized according to Your guidance; and such a system can only be established by the one who possesses power blended with wisdom. Most certainly, You alone are almighty, wise.”

                (130) This was the way of life followed by Abraham which made him the chosen one both in this world and in the hereafter.

                Is it not now obvious that only that person would reject Abraham’s way who has never thought about the value of his personality and its development?

                (131) This actually was the way of Abraham who, when asked by his Sustainer to submit to His laws, said, “I am at Your service,” and complied fully with those laws.

                (132) He also exhorted his sons to do so. Likewise (the venerable ancestor of the Jews) Jacob also upheld the same way of life, and said to his children, “This system of life is that which Allah has chosen for you. Hence, you should live according to it throughout your life.”

                (133) Do you know what Jacob said to his children at the time of his death? He asked them whose authority they would accept after him. They said that they would remain obedient to the laws of Allah as did their forefathers Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac; to the Absolute Authority in the universe and to His laws did they surrender.

                (134) Such were the forbearers of the Jews – each one living his life according to Allah’s laws. Now, they assume that merely on the basis of being the offspring of such worthy ancestors they will be blessed with the same bounties of life. Say to them, “Actions produce their own results. Results cannot be inherited -your ancestors reaped the fruits of what they sowed and you will reap what you have sown. On the Day of Judgement you will be questioned about your own deeds and not about the deeds of your forefathers.”

                (135) They (Jews and Christians) say, “You can be considered to be following the right path only if you follow our way.” Tell them, “Why do you not invite people to follow Abraham’s way? Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian (3:66). He was a true follower of the divinely ordained path and did not associate anyone with Allah.”

                (136) Tell them, “We believe in Allah and in that code of life which He has sent us (through this Rasool (Messenger of God)). Essentially, this code of life is like the ones which, in earlier times, were given to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Jesus and in fact all the other anbiya (prophets). We believe that each of them was a part of the same series and make no distinction amongst them as anbiya.“

                This is our eiman (conviction).

                (137) Say to them, “If you profess eiman as we have done, you will also be following the right path. If you repudiate it, this will be tantamount to abandoning the path followed by the anbiya.”

                If they do not follow this way and remain stubbornly resistant and hostile to you, you should not worry about it. Our system to which you adhere is capable of protecting you from them and this system is devised by Him Who alone is all-hearing, all-knowing.

                (138) Say to the Christians, “Salvation is not acquired through baptism by water. It is achieved through harmony with the divine laws.” Say to them, “This is the way we have chosen for ourselves.”

                (139) Tell them, “You believe in an Allah Whose blessings are confined to Bani-Israel, whereas we believe in the Allah whose Rabubiyya (universal sustenance) is open to all human beings. Do you quarrel with our concept of Allah? If you do so, it is your own business. We are responsible only for ourselves and not for you. And our allegiance is to Him only.”

                (140) If they still insist on saying that Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the other anbiya (prophets) for the Bani- Israel (Children of Israel) were Jews or Christians, tell them that you do not agree with them because your claim is based upon Revelation. The anbiya had also taught the same thing but their teachings were kept away from people. And who is more unjust than he who conceals a testimony that has come down from Allah? Surely, Allah is not unmindful of what you do.

                (141) At any rate, if despite what has been explained to them fully, they remain insistent upon their forefathers’ characteristics and deeds, this does not change the truth. As stated earlier, their ancestors will answer for their own deeds and these people will have to answer for theirs.

                And you will not be held responsible for them or judged on the basis of what they did.

                (142) The people (Jews) ask why did the Muslims forsake Jerusalem as qibla(6) (centre) and instead made Ka’bah (the House of God) as their qibla when the earlier Ahl-ul-Kitab (People of the Book) had Jerusalem as their qibla.

                This question arises from lack of knowledge. Otherwise, the matter is not difficult to comprehend. Jerusalem is the national centre of the Bani- Israel (Children of Israel) while Islam is a call to all humanity. It is obvious that the centre of a universal order should be open to the entire world and not be confined to a particular nation or race. For this purpose, Allah has guided the Jamat (group)-ul-Momin (the convinced Muslims) towards the Ka’bah, which is the straight path.

                (143) Therefore, O Momineen (the convinced Muslims)! Pay no heed to this question. Our objective is to make you a people with a universal outlook, equidistant from all other peoples i.e., neither leaning towards any particular people nor estranged from another. Your responsibility is to keep watch over the activities of other people of the world (to see that no nation is oppressing the other) and the responsibility of a Rasool

(Messenger of God) (being the head of the divinely-ordained system – 3:109, 22:78) is to watch over your activities.

                The objection raised by the Jews is the outcome of a conflict between two opposite mentalities; one given to examining a disputed point objectively and the other to dealing with it subjectively. On rational grounds, it is obvious that a system established for the benefit of all humanity is decidedly better than one which has narrower i.e., riba – usuary; interest or racial objectives. The adoption of the Ka’bah (the House of God) as the centre not of a particular people but of a universal system constituted a concrete criterion whereby the two mentalities could be distinguished from each other. Subscribing to a universal system rather than one based upon narrow riba – usuary; interest or racial affiliations and interests, is an uphill task but those who have the courage to take such a course are duly protected from the ill effects of destructive forces and provided adequate sources of nourishment.

                (144) We are also aware of your constant yearning that you should have possession of, and jurisdiction over the place (Makkah) which We have proclaimed to be the centre of Our system. This will certainly happen. What you need to do is to direct all your activities towards liberating the Ka’bah (the House of God) from ungodly forces wherever you may be and whatever is your sphere of activity.

                The fact is that these Ahl-ul-Kitab (People of the Book) know fully well that your call is based upon truth from Allah (since it was mentioned in their books) but they will continue to oppose it out of stubbornness and prejudice. We are aware of all that they do.

                (145) It is evident that rational arguments are ineffective where stubbornness and prejudice prevail. Therefore, even if you advance all possible arguments, they will not follow your qibla (centre) but insist that you should follow theirs. This you cannot do since your qibla is divinely appointed. It is strange that Jews and Christians unite in their opposition to you but their qibla (centre)s are separate. If, hypothetically speaking, having learned the truth, you feel inclined to compromise with their wishes, you will obviously be defying divine laws.

                (146) These people are well aware of these realities and recognize your call as surely as one recognizes his own children (because it is mentioned in their books) but their religious leaders deliberately conceal it.

                (147) Anyhow, this is the truth which has been made clear to you by your creator and sustainer, and there is no need to engage in any dispute over it.

                (148) In spite of the great importance of having a centre, take note of the fact that having one is not an end in itself; every nation has some sort of a centre. What really matters is how far ahead you are of other nations in working for the good of mankind (2:177). If you keep this goal in mind, then wherever you are and whatever you do,  Allah’s system will make you a united community (because unity or cohesion depends upon unanimity of purpose or ideology and not on national or racial commonality). You should note that Allah’s law is cognizant of the measures of all things and has supreme control over them.

                (149) The practical method of achieving homogeneity is that whenever and from wherever you start your journey, focus all your attention upon the goal set for you by Allah. This message, based upon truth, is from your Creator and Sustainer. Be aware that none of your deeds are hidden from Allah’s law of Mukafat (retribution).

                (150) Thus the basic rule for your life’s journey is that wherever you are, when you intend to advance in pursuit of some project, keep your eyes focused upon your centre. O Rasool (Messenger of God)! You and your jamat (group) should act accordingly, and if you do so, the splendid results of your efforts will validate your deen (religion; way of life) and no one will dare to challenge it except those who (due to their stubbornness and prejudice) drift far from the path of truth and justice. There is, however, no reason to fear such people. You need only be careful that you do not go astray from the divine laws.

                We have given you this code so that you should have all the blessings of life (5:3) and advance towards the ultimate goal designated for humanity.

                (151) For this purpose We have sent this Rasool so that he may communicate Our message to you, explain the divine laws to you and instruct you regarding their why and wherefore. At the same time, he establishes an order wherein your potentialities may develop. What you learn from the Rasool, you did not know before (the revelation was sent to you).

                (152) If you follow this code of the divine laws, Allah will safeguard your rights and grant you honour and eminence (21:10, 21:24, 23:71, 43:44). Therefore value this great gift given to you and do not let it be lost from your view.

                (153-154) But in establishing this system great obstacles and hardships will have to be faced (since vested interests would not allow it to be established easily). In facing these difficulties, keep two things in mind: firstly – do not lose your steadfastness or courage of conviction and secondly – no matter what way your opponents choose to follow, you should follow the path prescribed for you by Allah. This way you will be greatly strengthened. During the struggle for the establishment of the divine system one should be prepared even to face death. If someone dies in this struggle, he should not be considered dead (3:168) for he has attained eternal life even though it cannot be perceived through the senses.

                (155-156) This struggle will provide you with many opportunities to test your own mettle. You may encounter wars and massacres and also be confronted with scarcity of food and loss of life and property or with devastation of fields and orchards. Such ordeals may take place but ultimately those who remain steadfast and do not waver in their commitment to establish Allah’s system, will be successful. They meet every challenge saying, “We have dedicated ourselves to the establishment of the divine system and come what may we will continue to advance towards that goal.”

                (157) They are the people who are considered to be eminently deserving of blessings and laudation by their Creator and Sustainer. They will certainly attain their goal.

                (158) Through this struggle, the divine system with the Ka’bah (the House of God) as its designated centre will be established. It is clear that this system will have to deal with numerous problems, which will be decided by mutual consultation of the ummah (the Muslim fraternity) (42:38). For this, congregational meetings like Hajj (the annual Pilgrimage) and Umra (the lesser Pilgrimage), will be necessary. On these occasions there is no harm if certain traditional rites (e.g., traversing the valley between Safa and Marwah) are also performed (provided these rites do not clash with any principle of deen (religion; way of life)). These rites should not be taken as the real purpose of the meetings which is to move forward in activities relating to the welfare and betterment of humanity (2:148). Moreover, sanctity should also not be attached to these rites or to the physical objects associated therewith. They are merely symbols. The real object is to excel in doing good deeds for the benefit of the people (2:148). So whoever takes part in these things whole-heartedly, his efforts will bring full fruit, because Allah’s law of Mukafat (retribution) also knows the intentions beyond plain actions.

                (159) This then is the purpose of the Hajj (the annual Pilgrimage). Whoever conceals this purpose which Allah has made explicit in the Qur’an, and makes these assemblies mere rituals will be deprived not only of the blessings which come as a result of following the divine code but also of the support of those forces of nature which could assist him in the achievement of his goal (2:161).

                (160) It should not, however, be assumed that such a deprivation is eternal. This is certainly not so. If a person returns to the point from where he went off the right track, and takes the right one and makes manifest (the truth) he will once again be eligible to receive Allah’s blessings, because He also rushes forth with all His bounties and provisions for that person’s redemption.

                (161-162) But those who continue to walk on the wrong path till their death, will remain deprived of divine blessings, the support of natural forces and righteous human beings combined. Their ruin will not be alleviated nor will they be granted any respite (because the results of actions become manifest only after the period of respite has expired).

                (163) This occurs precisely as stated above since it is the law of Allah that governs the universe and it is His programme that all creation should receive means of nurture and advance from stage to stage (1:2).

                (164) If you wish to see the laws of Allah operating, reflect upon the amazing machinery of the universe and how it has been created; how day and night alternate; how such big ships laden with cargo cross the oceans; how clean water descends from the clouds and gives new life to the dead earth. Reflect, also upon the manner in which species and varieties of animate beings are scattered through the earth; how winds change their direction in different seasons; and how clouds are marshalled to perform their assigned duties in the atmosphere.

                Reflection upon these natural phenomena can lead only to one conclusion, namely, that creation has been planned and is controlled by a single Omnipotent Being. This conclusion, however, is reached only by those who apply their mind deeply.

                (165-166) But there are also people who ascribe Allah’s Omnipotence to others and obey their commands in the manner in which Allah’s commands should be obeyed. However, those who believe in the validity of the divine laws, adhere to them with absolute commitment, following no other laws, nor do they set up human beings as rivals to Allah (7:3). The former cannot perceive the truth until the results accruing from their wrong conduct become visible. At that time they will know that Allah alone has sovereignty in the world and that the outcome of forsaking Allah’s laws for others and deifying human beings, can be nothing but ruin. Then they will see how their leaders whom they followed were deserting them; how those from whom they expected support were falling apart; and how their relationships were being severed.

                (167) Then people will cry out, “If the hand of time could be turned back, we would turn our backs upon our leaders as they have turned their backs upon us.” When the results of their actions are unveiled before them, they know that those whom they had considered to be their pillars of support, have reduced them to such a state of helplessness and despondency that they are unable to extricate themselves from their misfortune.

                How pitiful is their end!

                (168-169) Their leaders exhort them to create disorder in society, to safeguard only their own interests and to hoard wealth. They present their own views as if these were an edict from Allah.

                O Mankind, beware! Do not follow these self-seeking people who defy the divine laws and do not accept what they say, since they are your enemies. It is not Allah’s command that you should hoard everything for yourself and create a society in which some pile up treasures while others have nothing to eat (9:34-35). Allah’s command is that you should leave the means of nurture open to all human beings, so that everyone can take what he needs. Do not attribute to Allah what you have no knowledge of.

                (170) The only defence which these (misled) people have for their unjust system is that it is inherited from their ancestors. Is this a valid defence? Be aware that the book of Allah is the only criterion of right and wrong, truth and falsehood. But they will never accept this criterion. Hence when they are asked to follow what Allah has revealed (in the Qur’an) they will say, “No, we will only follow in the footsteps of our ancestors.” In other words, they will follow in the footsteps of their ancestors even if the latter lacked knowledge and wisdom and did not follow the right path revealed by Allah (5:104, 10:78, 11:62, 11:87, 21:53, 23:24, 34:43, 38:7, 43:23).

                (171) Such an attitude of blind imitation reduces human beings to the level of a herd of sheep and goats led by a shepherd who has learnt some particular calls and words from his elders and uses them to direct his herd. Such are those who blindly follow their forefathers. They are deaf, dumb and blind. How can they be called human beings?

                (172) O Jamat (group)-ul-Momineen (the convinced Muslims)! Beware of such an attitude and note that these people, blindly following their ancestors, have imposed upon themselves various self-created restrictions regarding what is halal (permissible) and haram (prohibited) Allah’s law is that you should enjoy His bounties, partaking of all means of nurture save those things which are prohibited by Him. If you obey this law it will demonstrate that you are, indeed, obedient to Allah and accept no authority other than His.

                (173) Now take note of what Allah has declared to be haram: carrion, flowing blood (6:146), the flesh of swine and that which has been consecrated to someone other than Allah.

                However, if you are faced with a situation when you can find nothing else to eat except the above and your life is threatened by starvation, then you can partake of what has been declared to be haram provided you are acting out of necessity and not out of greed or the desire to violate the divine law. This will not constitute a sin and your development will not be retarded. This is because your invulnerable faith in His absolute laws, will protect you and your potentialities will continue to grow.

                (174-175) This is Allah’s law regarding halal (permissible) and haram (prohibited) as mentioned in 5:3, 5:87, 6:119-120, 6:122, 6:146, 10:59, 16:115-116, 22:30, and 66:1. Those who conceal this law and start compiling their own lists of halal (permissible) and haram (prohibited), assume divine authority and make it a means for attaining worldly gains. Though such people may appear to be very affluent and pious, they are preparing an inferno for themselves. You will see that on the day of judgement they will not receive the blessings which flow from adherence to the divine laws and their potentialities will remain unfulfilled. This will be a dreadful calamity and they will realize, at that time that they had sold their human dignity for a trifling gain because they had traded Allah’s protection for ruin by forsaking the right path for the wrong one. How foolhardy it is to walk towards an inferno of devastation knowingly! Those who do this overestimate their powers of endurance, for the ruin which awaits them will certainly overwhelm them.

                (176) Allah’s book was based on truth and is free from contradictions. Misguided people, however, fabricated a Shariah and proclaiming that this, too, was divine, mixed it with the book of Allah so that contradictions appeared in what was taken to be Allah’s revelation. Such people invariably drift far away from the right path and head towards destruction.

                (177) The fabricated Shariah (civil law) was nothing but a collection of rituals, the observance of which was held to be the purpose of deen (religion; way of life). This is not at all the case. According to the divine law, the essential purpose of deen (way of life) is not fulfilled by a mechanical performance of rituals e.g., turning eastwards or westwards during salat (ritual prayer), but requires:

  1. Eiman (conviction) (belief) in Allah; in the Law of Mukafat (retribution); in the life hereafter; in malaika; in anbiya (prophets) and in the books revealed through the anbiya (2:4); and
  2. Following from the above the establishment of a system in which resources are made available to help those who: are left without protection or support in society; lose their means of livelihood or are incapacitated to work; and cannot earn enough to meet their needs. This system will also provide assistance to those outsiders who, while passing through its territory, become indigent, and arrange for the liberation of slaves from bondage.

                In brief then, you should establish a system wherein members of the society adhere to the divine laws voluntarily and means of development are provided to all who need them. You should honour your promises and commitments. If hostile forces confront you, then face them with steadfastness and fortitude, and do not let fear and despair weaken you.

                Those who follow this path unswervingly vindicate their claim to be true believers and they can rightfully claim to be upholders of divine laws (rather than those who claim to inherit heaven by observing certain rites which they claim is deen (religion; way of life).

                (178) Mark this; the principle according to which it becomes necessary to fight against an oppressor (for the protection of human rights) also requires that punishment is awarded to individual wrong-doers for murder since without this safeguard, human life, which is very valuable (5:32), would not be safe. In this context, the law is that a murderer be punished (i.e., he should be considered a wrongdoer not against particular persons but against the society as a whole).

                In awarding punishment, the basic principles of justice and equity must always be kept in view and no distinction should be made between the great and the humble. What is to be considered is not the status of the person murdered or the murderer, but the principle of justice according to which all human life is equally valuable. (Regardless of the fact whether the murderer is a free male, a slave, or a woman, he or she will receive the punishment for murder and their respective positions in society will not be able to protect them from it.)

                Murder can be with or without intent. In the case of the former, the punishment is death (not ransom money) or, depending upon the nature of the crime, a punishment less severe than the maximum penalty (4:93). In other words, the punishment should be commensurate with the crime (17:33, 42:40). In the case of unintentional murder, the punishment is payment of money as compensation (4:92). If the heirs of the murdered person, voluntarily or out of goodwill, wish to forego the money or a part thereof, they have the right to do so (17:33). In this event, it is necessary that the wrong-doer carries out terms of the agreement faithfully and with good grace. In prescribing lesser punishment for inadvertent murder your creator and sustainer has been lenient so that your potentialities may continue to grow. But any person who acts high-handedly or unfairly, once an agreement has been reached, should be punished severely.

                (179) If you reflect deeply it will become clear to you that the law of retribution provides protection for your individual as well as collective life.

                (180) As regards the disposal of one’s personal property i.e., assets allowed by the Nizam-e-Rabubiyya (universal sustenance), the law is that when you apprehend death, make a valid legal will for your relatives and others close to you. This is a divine imperative for all true believers (the distribution of inheritance will take place after the provisions of the will have been fulfilled (4:11)).

                (181) The will should be made in the presence of two just witnesses (5:106). If a person, having heard an oral will alters it, he becomes liable (in the eyes of the law). Allah hears and knows all.

                (182) If a person has a reasonable fear that the testator has unduly favoured someone, or otherwise committed a mistake, it would not be unlawful, if he brings about a compromise among all concerned. This provision is from Allah who is your protector and nourisher.

                (183-184) Self-control is a prerequisite both for steadfastness and fortitude in the battlefield, as well as for establishing a just and equitable socio-economic system. In other words, in case of a conflict between your physical drives and lofty human values, you should uphold the latter. Furthermore, you should habituate yourself to leading a hard and laborious life. For this purpose fasting has been made obligatory for you as it was for earlier communities, in order that you may live according to the divine laws and protect yourself from the pitfalls of life. Fasting is for a prescribed number of days (as fixation of time itself is an aid to disciplined life). If during Ramadan (the month of fasting) any of you is sick or on a journey (and misses some fasts) he must complete the prescribed number by fasting on other days. But if a person is neither sick nor on a journey yet cannot fast except with great hardship and, therefore, cannot make up missed fasts, he should provide food for a person in need in lieu thereof.

                It is evident that the condition of the last named category of persons cannot be determined by law. It is for you yourself to determine if you are unable to fast except with great hardship. If on assessing your own condition you conclude that the odds are even, then it is better for you to fast even if it is (relatively) hard for you, because the purpose which is served by fasting cannot be attained by providing food to another, provided you understand the rationale for fasting.

                (185) Here the question arises as to why the month of Ramadan (the month of fasting) was chosen for this collective (as well as individual) exercise in self-discipline. The answer is that Ramadan is the month during which the revelation of the Qur’an began which shows all humanity the clear path leading to its ultimate goal, revealing those permanent values whereby one can distinguish truth from falsehood. The discipline learned through fasting is an annual training to remain in a state of preparedness for the accomplishment of this lofty programme. Hence a person who is at home during this month should fast. If a person is sick or on a journey, he should, as already stated, complete the prescribed number of fasts by fasting on other days. Allah wants to make things easy for you and does not want to subject you to hardship and difficulties. Mark again that fasting is not a mere rite. Its purpose is to enable you to establish on the one hand supremacy of the divine laws in the world, in the light of the guidance given to you (9:33), and on the other to enable you to nourish your own potentialities.

                (186)  In the context of the obligation to fast, do not think that by restricting the fulfilling of human needs to prescribed times and by abstaining from material indulgences, one is attaining closeness to Allah (as was believed to be the case amongst monastic cults). (O Rasool (Messenger of God)!) When My devotees ask you about Me, tell them that I am close to them at all times. (This means that) when anyone calls upon Me to lead him to the right path, My guidance which is preserved in the Qur’an, answers his call. Therefore, tell them that the way to attain the nearness of Allah is to adhere to My laws fully, believing implicitly in their validity (7:56, 8:24, 32:15-16, 40:60, 42:26). By following these laws they will be able to walk firmly upon the right path of life.

                (187) Take note that fasting is only from dawn to dusk(7). During other hours, eating, drinking or having sexual intercourse with one’s wife is not prohibited. The relationship between the two spouses is a most intimate one. Monasticism engendered the concept of celibacy as a means of attaining closeness to Allah, but He is well aware of the importance of the intimate relationship between spouses in fulfilling human needs, and also the perversions, fantasies and self-deception to which renunciation of marital relationships lead (57:21). Human beings may set unnatural limits upon themselves,

but Allah’s law rising above all such limits, dispels your doubts and anxieties and makes it clear that in the hours from dusk to dawn you are permitted to cohabit with your wives, as well as partake of food and drink. From dawn to dusk you are required to fast. If after dusk you are detained at your centre (of training or activity e.g., mosque) in order

to ponder or resolve some important issue or problem, then you should devote your total attention to the task in hand and refrain from going home.

                These are the laws laid down by Allah regarding matters which have been discussed above. You should adhere to them. Allah explains His laws clearly so that people can fully understand and follow them.

                (188) (As mentioned earlier) always keep this fact in mind that the purpose of fasting is to create in you self-discipline by means of which you can distinguish between what is lawful and unlawful in all spheres of life and to reject the latter no matter how strongly you are attracted to it. For instance, do not devour another’s property or bribe officials to give you that which belongs to another person when you are aware of the consequences that follow from acquiring anything unfairly. The purpose of fasting is, thus, to develop your personality in the manner described above.

                (189) We have stated earlier that fasting is during the month of Ramadan. This has led some people to think that some months are auspicious and some are inauspicious and they have referred the matter to you. O Rasool (Messenger of God)! Say to them that it is mere superstition to call some months (or days) auspicious or inauspicious. In fact, specification of time is only to determine the calendar. The advantage of having a calendar is obvious – for instance, it enables you to know when the Hajj (the annual international convention) is to be performed. Tell them clearly that superstition has no place in deen (religion; way of life). For instance, the belief that during Hajj (the annual international convention), the house should be entered from the back, and not from the front-door is only a superstition. Righteousness is not associated with such rites. It is concerned only with the degree to which you adhere to the divine laws and with the sublimity of your character. Therefore, set aside such ignorant practices and enter houses during the Hajj (the annual Pilgrimage) as you do during other days.

                Follow the divine laws and live according to your normal routine. This is the way to achieve success and bliss in life.

                (190) Warfare is not permitted during certain months (2:217, 9:36). This does not mean that in other months you can wage war against whosoever you like without due cause. The laws of Allah, and not your expediencies and vested interests, will be the determining factor in conducting war or concluding peace. In this context the fundamental principle is that you should only fight those who commit aggression against you and leave you no option but to fight (22:39). This war will be in the way of Allah i.e., for the protection of humanity from tyranny and oppression – but even in this war the limits of law must not be transgressed, for such transgression is against the laws of Allah.

                (191) When circumstances are such that you are forced to fight, confront your enemies wherever you find them, and expel them from the places from which they expelled you. You should do this because tyranny and mischief cause more damage to humanity than war. However, bear in mind that We have declared the Ka’bah (the House of God) to be a sanctuary (2:125).

                 Therefore, do not fight in its vicinity, but if the enemy does not desist from fighting even in that area, fight back because those who do not honour accepted rules and regulations must be resisted.

                (192) But if they stop fighting, you also should stop. (The purpose of the discipline inculcated through fasting was to train you to advance when it was so ordered and to halt when so asked, regardless of the advantages to be gained by advancing.) Note that, if you adhere to the laws of Allah in this manner, He will provide you with abundant means for your security and development.

                (193) Observing these limits and conditions set by Allah, you should fight your enemies until you have dissipated the mischief they have caused, and created an environment where no compulsion or oppression is exercised in matters of deen (religion; way of life) (2:256, 22:40).

                 Whenever you see that your enemies have given up this mischief, you should cease to fight with them (because the purpose of war is to prevent forces of oppression and lawlessness from spreading and once this purpose is achieved there is no need for further warfare).

                (194) If there is a break in warfare, the chances for peace and reconciliation become brighter. For this reason, some months have been specified in which war is not permitted. However, war is between two opposing parties and cessation of war must be reciprocal. If one party violates the agreement not to fight, the other is released from it automatically. In short, adhere to the laws of Allah in all matters believing that those who do so have the support of Allah and are rewarded with success.

                (195) Wars disrupt the economic system of a society. This must not happen, otherwise you will be ruined. For this purpose place your resources at the disposal of the system established by the civil administration. Allah loves mohsineen (beautifiers).

                (196) It is obvious that continuous struggle is required for the establishment and consolidation of a system of law and equity. For this purpose, it is necessary that you should have periodic meetings, such as Hajj (the annual international convention) and Umra (special, emergency conference).

                The venue of these meetings should be the Ka’bah (the House of God), which is the centre of your system. If at any time you are prevented from going there you should send whatever you can, as offering to be used by those who have assembled there. To maintain homogeneity with this assembly you should perform similar rites to the ones performed by the assembly, e.g., do not shave your head until your offerings have reached there, but if you are ill or have some ailment in the head then you can fast, give a donation or an offering in lieu of shaving your head.

                In times of peace when you perform Hajj and Umra  you can take your gift with you. If you cannot afford to take a gift, fast for three days during Hajj (the annual international convention) and for another seven days upon your return. This is for those whose family is not in Makkah.

                Note again that the purpose of these meetings is mutual consultation for the consolidation of the divine system. As far as rituals are concerned, their purpose is to create homogeneity amongst the members of society. Beyond that they have no purpose, they are not an end in itself – and whoever considers them so, should remember that the result would be sheer destruction as the law of Allah is severe in retribution.

                (197) The timing of Hajj (the annual international convention) is prescribed and known to all. Whoever undertakes to perform this duty should be careful not to do anything demeaning or obscene e.g., use of harsh or vulgar language or unnecessary wrangling. Instead he should do whatever good he can (22:28). He should also possess enough means to meet the necessary expenses of travelling to and from Makkah and to maintain himself during the meeting.

                O men of understanding! Be mindful of these instructions.

                (198) Keep in mind that the mutual consultations which take place during these meetings do not exclude discussion of business and trade as well as other economic affairs of the ummah (the Muslim fraternity).

                When you return from Arafat(8) where you have been introduced to one another, assemble again near Muzdalfa and reflect upon the various aspects of the divine system.

                We are giving you these instructions in detail because before Islam you were ignorant of the purpose of Hajj (the annual international convention) and Umra (special, emergency conference).

                (199) When the proceedings have ended, you should return to your own lands (without feeling that you are any different from other people) and think of ways to make your ummah (the Muslim fraternity) secure and self-sufficient according to the programme settled in the aforesaid assembly. This way, Allah will surely bestow His protection and rahma (mercy) on you.

                (200) In earlier days during your assemblies you used to talk about your ancestors boastfully. (Your talk made the common people feel inferior, so obviously they could not participate in it.) Now on return from the assembly you should talk about Allah’s guidance instead. Moreover, people who consider worldly gains an end in itself do get such benefits, but have no share in the hereafter.

                201-202 You will find two kinds of people in the world: the sole aim in life of the first kind is to find prosperity in this world and they do not even think about the hereafter; the other kind, however, yearn not only for bliss in this world but also to be protected from disaster in the hereafter. Both kinds shall have what they have worked for. According to Allah’s Law of Mukafat (retribution), each human action produces its result simultaneously although the latter may not be perceptible for some time.

                (203) The Hajj (the annual international convention) assembly should be for a prescribed number of days. If anyone has to depart due to some special reason, he may do so after two days and if anyone wishes to stay longer he may do so provided what is done is in the interest of the divine system. And remember that one day you shall all be gathered unto Him.

                (204) Again you will find two kinds of people in the world. The sole objective of life for the first kind is to seek worldly gains. They speak of worldly affairs so persuasively that one is fascinated by their talk. They repeatedly swear by Allah in order to authenticate what they say, though their hearts are full of enmity towards the divine system.

                (205) When these people gain power, they spread chaos in the land destroying fields and human beings, Allah does not like what they do (27:34).

                (206) When they are asked to abide by the divine laws, their power-intoxication and false pride impels them towards greater destruction. Their end is utter ruin (27:14).

                (207) The second kind dedicate themselves to accomplishing Allah’s purpose, and gladly make whatever sacrifice is necessary to attain that goal. These are the people who have the support of Allah’s laws.

                (208) O Jamat (group)-ul-Momineen (the convinced Muslims)! You should adopt Allah’s system in its entirety and also continue your struggle until it is accomplished fully (2:85).

                Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan, for he is your avowed enemy.

                (209) We have given you the code of life in clear terms. If after having received it, your steps falter from the right path, do not think that you will not be held accountable for your actions. Like others, you will also be judged by Our Law of Mukafat (retribution) which prevails over all.

                (210) When it is said to your adversaries that the consequences of your actions will be ruinous, they assume that the final judgement will be delivered by Allah and His malaika (celestial forces) appearing in glory amidst the clouds. Tell them that this is not how Allah destroys wrong-doers. The natural consequences of wrong actions take the form of destruction.

                (211) This is corroborated by the history of the Bani- Israel (Children of Israel). When they adhered to Allah’s laws they were prosperous, but when they repudiated them, their blessings turned into disgrace and ignominy (14:28).

                (212) Those persons who seek only worldly gains as their life’s objective find them most alluring and they mock those who, seeking higher values, appear to them to be lacking in wealth and strength in the initial stages of their struggle, because they do not use foul methods to get worldly gains. But ultimately, when the divine system is established, the latter will gain superiority over the former and receive bounties much greater than their adversaries. At that time, this reality will also become clearly known to all that, the people who want to acquire wealth in accordance with the laws of Allah. are bestowed wealth beyond counting. (This is sheer ignorance of man that he, in the initial stages, gets perturbed due to some hardship and adopts dishonest ways, and thinks that he will achieve great success like this.)

                (213) Not only the history of the Bani- Israel (Children of Israel) but that of humanity at large bears witness to what has been stated above. As mentioned in the story of Adam (2:30), originally mankind was a single community, free of dissension. Then, human beings created differences amongst themselves (10:19) and since these differences could not be resolved by means of the human intellect alone, Allah sent a series of anbiya (prophets) and books for this purpose, who would give them glad tidings, provided they lived together as one family, and warn them about the consequences of a disintegrated society, and resolve their differences in accordance with the revealed book. After the departure of the anbiya (prophets) who had accomplished their appointed tasks, their followers again created differences amongst themselves in their desire to outdo and out-strive each other. Those from amongst them who followed Allah’s guidance were able to resolve their differences. This is how Allah, according to His laws, shows the right path to those who seek it (2:136, 3:83, 3:183, 16:92,  57:25).

                (214) O the convinced Muslims, the ideal social system which will be free of dissension will not be created without great hardship and difficulty. Those who established this system earlier, met with such formidable obstacles that they cried out, “When will our efforts bear fruit, O Allah (3:141, 9:16, 13:40, 29:2, 33:10)?” You will also have to confront similar obstructions, but be sure that your efforts will be rewarded as were theirs.

                (215) The first stage of your struggle involves financial sacrifice. O Rasool (Messenger of God)! Your companions ask you as to how much money is required and where it is to be spent. Tell them, that the programme will be initiated within a circle of persons needing your help e.g., your parents, other relatives, those who are left without support, those whose running businesses become immobilized, and wayfarers. Allah will take note of whatever you do to help them.

                (216) During the next stage of your struggle, you may be asked to sacrifice even your life. Under certain conditions, war is made obligatory upon you. It is possible that this obligation may seem burdensome to you but you must not let your individual feelings determine what is good or bad for you. The criterion for determining what is good or bad is the value system revealed by Allah. What might appear to you to be good may be otherwise according to this criterion and vice versa. Allah alone knows what is, in reality, good or bad.

                (217) One of the conditions under which war is permitted is that it should not be waged during the prohibited months. But, far more serious crimes than waging war are preventing people from following Allah’s laws, or rejecting these laws, or fighting in the sanctuary and expelling those who have sought refuge there. Your adversaries will not desist from war till they turn you away from your deen (religion; way of life). Beware that the actions of those who do so and die in a state of kufr (denial), will be rendered waste and they will suffer ruin in this world as well as in the hereafter (5:54). In fact these people are destined for the fire and will abide therein.

                (218) Contrary to them, those who believe in the divine system, who undertake Hijra (migration), and who struggle hard for the cause of Allah, are the people who can rightfully expect Allah’s blessings and receive them.

                (219) O Rasool (Messenger of God)! Your companions ask you about the use of those things which benumb the human intellect e.g., wine and about easily acquired money. These things are beneficial to some degree but the damage they do is far in excess of the benefit.

                They also ask you as to how much they should spare for the help of others. Say: all that is surplus to your needs(9) (7:199).

                In this way Allah makes His laws clear to you so that you may reflect upon matters relating to this world as well as the hereafter.

                (220) And they also ask you about those who have been left alone e.g., orphans. Tell them that the best thing is to set their affairs in order and if you wish to manage them conjointly with your own kindred, bear in mind that they are your kindred and Allah knows who are musliheen (those who promote order) and who are mufsideen (those who promote disorder).

                (221) If Allah had not given you such guidance you would have faced difficulties (2:185) but beware that Allah’s Law of Mukafat (retribution) has control over all things, based on wisdom.

                The ideal social system which you wish to establish should begin with your family life. Here, the fundamental question is what should be the criterion for the selection of spouse. The criterion should be unanimity of ideology and purpose. It follows from this that a Muslim man should not marry a mushrik (polytheist) woman until she accepts

Islam. A Muslim woman who is a slave(10) is better than a free mushrik woman no matter how pleasing she is. Likewise, Muslim women should not marry mushrik men until they accept Islam. A Muslim man who is a slave is better than a free mushrik man, regardless of how pleasing he is. It is evident that marriage between persons of differing ideologies makes family life a veritable hell. On the other hand, marriage between spouses with a similar ideology creates a paradise-like family life. Such laws of Allah bestow on you a happy home life and protect you from various unpleasant things. You should keep this law of Allah in mind while deciding such matters.

                (222) They ask you about (sexual intercourse during) menstruation. Tell them to refrain from it since during this period women are not in their normal physical condition. When this period is over, approach them in the manner suggested by Allah’s natural law.

                If you did not act thus before, do so now. Allah’s law approves of those who forsake the wrong path and adopt the right one.

                (223) Your wives are like a land which produces a harvest. You should cohabit when both spouses desire to do so. But keep this in mind that procreation is not the sole purpose of life. You should also see what you have sowed here is to be reaped in the hereafter according to the laws of Allah. You should keep in mind that the hereafter is a reality and glad tidings are for those who adhere to Allah’s laws.

                (224-225) There are some people who when asked to cooperate in doing virtuous things, acting rightly and promoting peace between men, say that they have taken an

oath not to participate in such activities. Allah holds you accountable only for the oaths taken with serious intent and not for frivolous oaths. He is forbearing and provides protection.

                (226-227) Keeping this principle in mind take the case of those men who vow not to go to their wives. They are given a period of four months for reconsideration. If within this period they choose to resume their relations they are permitted to do so. This provision is from Allah who is Ghafoor (forgiver) and Raheem (merciful). If they decide to dissolve their marriage (they should proceed in accordance with the divine law, as described in – 4:35), most certainly Allah is all-hearing, all-knowing.              (228) Divorced women should not remarry until they have completed three menstrual cycles. Those who do not menstruate due to old age or some physical disorder should also wait for three months (65:4) and those whose marriage has not been consummated have no waiting period, (33:49).) If a woman is pregnant she must make this fact known. (The waiting period for a pregnant woman is until the delivery (65:4).

                If the dissolution of marriage was initiated by the husband and he wishes, of course with the consent of his wife, to resume the marital relationship, he may do so even within the waiting period.

                There is no waiting period for the husband – this is the only advantage he has over the wife who has to wait for three months before remarriage (the rationale for this is obvious). Excepting this, the rights and responsibilities of men and women are the same in all spheres of life. These laws have been prescribed by Allah whose power blends with reason and wisdom.

                (229-230) Take note that when dissolution of marriage takes place for the first time, it is possible either to finalize the dissolution or resume marital relationship. According to law if marital relationship is resumed and dissolution takes place once again, then also it is permissible either to finalize the dissolution or resume marital ties. However, if marital ties are resumed and dissolution takes place for the third time, then remarriage is not permissible. The only exception to this is as follows: if the woman marries another man and dissolution takes place, then it is permissible for her to remarry her former husband. These are the limitations imposed by Allah’s laws, do not transgress them and whoever does so, would be held guilty in the eyes of the law. (Dissolution of a marriage is a serious matter and should not take place without due consideration.)

                In the case of dissolution of marriage, you are not permitted to take away anything from what you have given to the wife. But if this factor becomes an impediment to dissolution of marriage, the wife may agree to forego what is hers. These are the limitations imposed by Allah and explained clearly to those who understand and have innate knowledge.

                (231) When the waiting period of divorced women is nearing its end, it should be finally decided whether or not they should be retained according to the law (this decision should be announced in the presence of two witnesses – 65:2).

                If they are retained it should not be with the intention to cause them harm or to transgress the limits imposed by Allah; whosoever harms them will, in fact, harm himself. You must not make a jest of the divine law. It is a blessing from Allah that He has given you this code of law and explained its underlying purposes, and He advises you to adhere to this code and always keep in mind the purpose behind doing so.

                (232) When divorced women are nearing the end of the waiting period and both spouses desire to reunite, you should not create hindrances for them. This counsel is given to those who believe in Allah and the hereafter. If you follow it, it will lead you to decency and purity. This is the law of Allah who knows all, whereas you do not.

                (233) In case of dissolution of marriage, the mother should suckle the infant for a maximum period of two years (31:14, 46:15). If she does so, her maintenance becomes the responsibility of her former husband who should provide for her according to his means. Neither the mother nor the father should be made to suffer on account of the child. In the case of the father’s death, the responsibility for maintenance devolves upon his heirs.

                If both parents agree, the suckling period may be terminated earlier and arrangements may be made to have the child suckled by another woman. If the suckling period is terminated earlier the full amount of maintenance promised to the woman must be given. Be mindful of the laws of Allah who knows what you do.

                (234) The waiting period for widows is four months and ten days. When this period is nearing its end, they are free to decide what they want to do. You are not responsible for their decision. And Allah is well aware of whatever you do.

                (235) During the waiting period, you cannot marry that woman but you can consider the possibility of marriage inwardly or let her know about your wishes by suggestion. Do not however, hold out any promise to her in private except in conventional terms nor resolve on marriage until the period prescribed is completed. Allah knows what is in your mind. The purpose of this directive is to protect you from the harmful consequences of unrestrained behaviour.

                (236) In case dissolution of marriage takes place before it has been consummated and the dower has not yet been fixed, you should still, as an act of kindness, make some provision for the divorced woman, according to your means (33:49). This, in fact is the duty of mohsineen (beautifiers).

                (237) If the marriage has not been consummated but the dower has been fixed, you must pay one-half of the dower in case of dissolution of marriage unless it be that they forego their claim or the party concerned who has initiated the divorce foregoes the claim. And to forego what is due to you is nearer to taqwa (attachment to Islam). And forget not that you have to act with grace towards one another – surely Allah sees all that you do.

                (238-239) You should fulfil the responsibilities which have been prescribed above. However, this is not all. There are other responsibilities which are more crucial to the Nizam-us-Sala (the Qur’anic system). These responsibilities should be fulfilled according to circumstances prevailing during the state of danger or peace. Allah(11) has given you this guidance – which you did not have before.

                (240) Reverting to family laws, men should leave a will behind, stating that their widows should be given maintenance for a year without requiring them to leave their homes. However, if during this period, the women, of their own accord, leave their home and make a decision regarding their future life, you are not to be blamed for it. And remember that these laws are given by

Allah Who is almighty, wise.

                (241-242) Provisions should also be made for divorced women during the waiting period as stated elsewhere (2:231, 65:1-2, 65:6). Thus Allah makes His commandments clear to you so that you may be able to understand them.

                These rules constitute the limitations imposed by Allah (it will be the responsibility of the Qur’anic order to devise the working details thereof).

                (243) It was mentioned earlier (2:216-218) that you will have to confront mighty forces which stand in the way of the establishment of the divine order. To confront external problems successfully, it is necessary that domestic conditions should be conducive to peace. For this reason, rules relating to the organization of family life were given (2:221-242). Now let us return to the original subject. Have you pondered the case of those who, though thousands in number, left their homes and ran away when they were confronted by the enemy? Because they were afraid of death, they were overtaken by it. This happened because they forgot what the secret of life is: only he lives who is not afraid of death (2:94) and one who runs away from death, is overtaken by it. When they understood this secret and provided the evidence by confronting the enemy, they were infused with new life. This is the basic law according to which superiority is given to some people but most of them do not appreciate and do not feel grateful.

                (244) Therefore, O the convinced Muslims, you should fight in the cause of Allah and know that He hears whatever you say to one another and knows fully well what you do.

                (245) Finances will also be needed for the consolidation of your order. Whatever you give for this purpose will come back to you with manifold returns. Mind it! Give and take should always be according to Allah’s laws towards which you should always look.

                (246) You should recall that event in the history of the Bani-Israel (Children of Israel) when their leaders asked their Nabi (prophet) after Moses to appoint a commander so that they could fight under his command in the cause of Allah. The Nabi asked them to reconsider their offer seriously lest they desist from war once the orders for it had been given. They said, “What ails us that we should not fight when we have been expelled from our homes and torn apart from our children?”

                However what the Nabi had apprehended came to pass when they were ordered to fight. Except for a few, they turned back, Allah knows well about those who act like this.

                (247-248) Anyhow, they repeated their request for a commander and their Nabi (prophet) told them that Allah had appointed Taloot (Saul) as their commander. They immediately responded by saying, “How can a man like Saul be our commander? We are more deserving than he. He is a poor man.” The Nabi said, “Wealth is not the criterion for appointing a commander. Saul possesses more knowledge and physical prowess than others do. This is the law of Allah according to which He selects one for a position of authority and this law is based on His infinite knowledge and not according to your self-made standards.” The Nabi continued, “Since Saul will use his powers in accordance with Allah’s laws, the immediate result of his leadership will be that your hearts will be rid of the fear of the enemy and you will become tranquil and contented. Secondly, he will recover the relics left by the descendants of Moses and Aaron from their capture and restore them to you. All this should furnish ample proof that Saul’s selection is indeed the right one.”

                (249) When Saul marched forward with his forces, he said to them, “Do not drink the water from the stream which comes in the way except to moisten your lips and throat. This is a test to see who is worthy of remaining with us and who is not.” Yet, barring a few, all drank out of it. When they crossed the stream and confronted the enemy they told Saul that they had no strength to fight the army of Goliath.

                Now those who were firm in their belief said to them, “Do not be afraid of the enemy’s numbers. How often has a small host prevailed over a larger adversary? What matters is who follows Allah’s laws and remains steadfast.”

                (250) When they confronted the forces of Jaloot (Goliath), they prayed to Allah, “O Our Sustainer! Invest us with due steadfastness and firmness and give us victory over those people who defy Your laws.”

                (251) So they inflicted a crushing defeat upon their opponents and David killed Jaloot (Goliath). Later on, Allah bestowed authority and wisdom upon David and gave him knowledge based on revelation.

                The moral of Saul’s story is that if Allah did not check oppressive forces through others, there would be chaos.

                (It is to be noted that Allah’s intervention is not direct but through the agency of human beings – 22:40.) In this way the checking of the oppressive forces is Allah’s boon towards all people.

                (252) Such are Allah’s laws based upon truth which He communicates to you, O Rasool (Messenger of God), through revelation. You are truly of the order of the rusul (messengers).

                (253) No distinction is made amongst the rusul mentioned in the Qur’an so far as their nabuwwa (prophethood) is concerned (2:285). However, they are differentiated from each other by virtue of their spheres of activity. To some Allah spoke directly (e.g., Moses – 4:164, 7:143-144 and 42:51) and some were elevated above others in certain respects, among them is Jesus, son of Mary (Maryam). To him, We had given Revelation (Ruhul Qudus (the sacred Spirit) in an authentic form which was corroborated by reason. This gave him great strength and confidence (2:87).

                If it had been Allah’s will to create human beings without freedom of will, the followers of various rusul (messengers) would not have differed amongst themselves or waged wars against each other after they had received clear guidance through their anbiya (prophets). They differed and split into two classes: one who accepted divine laws and others who rejected them. Mark again! If Allah had not bestowed freedom of will upon human beings they would not have differed or waged wars amongst themselves. This is also His law and Allah does whatever He wills.

                (254) Differences amongst human beings can be overcome if they subordinate their wills to divine guidance and establish a Qur’anic order. To do that, financial support is required.

                O Jamat (group)-ul-Momineen (the convinced Muslims)! Make every effort to establish this order before it is too late and the time comes when no bargaining, friendship, or intercession will be possible. And those who deny the truth are the ones who bring suffering to themselves.

                (255) This order belongs to Allah who is the sole authority in the universe; who is ever-living and self-subsisting and who is seized neither by slumber nor sleep. The entire universe is engaged in fulfilling His plan. Who is there who can intercede with Him unless it is in accordance with His laws? Allah knows the past and present of all people and no one can partake of His knowledge except through the method prescribed by Him. Allah’s authority encompasses the entire universe which He maintains untiringly. His power extends from the lowest to the highest level of His creation.

                (256) If Allah, the possessor of such might, had so desired, His order could have been established in the human sphere as it is in the natural sphere, but He did not wish to exercise compulsion. He made the right and wrong path clear and left man free to choose either path (18:29, 76:3, 90:10). Whoever turns away from the wrong path of oppressive forces and comes to the right one has grasped the most trustworthy handhold which will never break. Allah is all-knowing and all-hearing.

                (257) Allah is the Guardian of momin (the convinced Muslim) and brings them from darkness towards light. Oppressive forces are the guardians of those who reject Allah’s laws and take them from light into darkness. Ruin and disaster is their everlasting end.

                (258) O Jamat (group)-ul-Momineen! You will face great difficulties in the establishment of the divine order as was the case with Abraham. The king himself was Abraham’s adversary and disputed even the existence of Allah merely on the basis of his worldly power. Abraham told the king that he believed in Allah Who has control over life and death. The king said that in his kingdom he had control over life and death. Seeing the king’s mentality, Abraham did not pursue the point but said, “If you have supreme authority in your kingdom, you should make the sun, which rises in the east in accordance with Allah’s law, come out from the west.” The king was dumbfounded by Abraham’s argument.

                Persons with such a mentality seldom adopt the right path.

                (259) (From laws relating to an individual’s life and death we now move to the laws relating to the life and death of nations.) As is known in history, after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, the Bani- Israel (Children of Israel) lived in captivity for about a hundred years. Then they were liberated and re-established in Jerusalem. This story has been narrated in the Qur’an symbolically as follows: A person passing through a ruined habitation asked if such a devastated place could have new life. Allah kept him in a death-like state for a hundred years, then gave him new life and asked him, “How long have you remained in this state?” He replied, “May be a day or so.” Allah said to him, “You have been in this state for a hundred years but your food and drink has not gone bad and your ass is still standing as before. You should also reflect upon the process by which man develops from the embryonic state to where he becomes a living human being.”

                When the passer-by had reflected upon the parable, he said, “Now I can understand how Allah can give life to dead nations.”

                (260) Each Nabi (prophet) has been confronted with the problem of giving life to a dead nation. For instance, Abraham faced such a problem and said to Allah, “What is the process by which new life may be infused into a dead nation?” Allah asked him, “Do you not believe that dead nations may receive new life?” Abraham said, “I do believe but I would like to know by what process, so that I can undertake it with full confidence.” Allah explained the process to Abraham through an example. He said, “Take four untamed birds. At first, they will seek to get away from you. Make them familiar with yourself gradually. This will bring about a remarkable change in them. Even if you set them free and call to them, they will come to you swiftly.” This is how you must patiently reform those who rebel against your call and bring them close to yourself and make them understand and appreciate the divine system. This is how they will receive life. Most certainly Allah is all-mighty, wise.

                (261) As already stated, financial help is needed for the establishment of this order. This help may be likened to the seeds which are sown in a field. In time, each seed will produce a rich harvest; likewise, Allah grants manifold increase to him who spends out of his possessions. And Allah is all-embracing, all-knowing.

                (262) Those who spend and keep open their possessions for the establishment of this order, do not thereafter mar their spending by stressing their own benevolence and hurting the feelings of the needy ones. Surely their reward is with their Rabb (sustainer). And when the order is established there will be no fear of anything, nor any cause of anxiety for all of them.

                (263) Better than giving help followed by taunts is to refuse help in a kindly manner. And Allah is self-sufficient, forbearing.

                (264) O the convinced Muslims! If you give help, do not nullify it by stressing the favour you have done, thus inflicting [psychological and emotional] injury upon the recipients of your help. This is done by those who do not believe in Allah and the hereafter and give charity for the purpose of showing off their wealth. This kind of help is like a rock thinly coated by soil from which the rain washes away the soil along with the seed, leaving the rock bare. Such efforts bear no fruit and the right path does not appear before these people (56:66-67, 68:17-32).

                (265) On the other hand, those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allah and for strengthening their personality, may be likened to a garden on an elevated place which will yield twice as much of fruit if it rains heavily, but will produce a harvest even if it rains lightly. Allah sees all that you do.

                (266) Would any one of you wish to find yourself in the situation of a man who owns orchards of dates and grapes with streams flowing therein and is assured that he and his children will have a secure future? When he grows old, however, and his children are still young, a fiery wind destroys his orchards. What, then, will happen to him and his children? In this way Allah makes clear His laws so that you may reflect upon them.

                (267) Therefore, O Jamat-(group)-ul-Momineen (the convinced Muslims), keep the best part of what you earn or grow for the system and do not think of giving away useless things which you do not think are worth their price. Take note that what you give is given not to Allah but to yourselves, for He is self-sufficient and worthy of all hamd (praise).

                (268) Your selfish sentiments will frighten you by persuading you that if you give away to others what you have, you will be reduced to poverty, and they will teach you to collect wealth by indecent means. Take note, however, that the divine system will ensure protection against any calamities, and provide abundant means of livelihood for Allah is all-embracing, all-knowing.

                (269) One cannot understand these matters by means of intellect alone but can through the intellect guided by Revelation. Such an insight is a blessing from Allah, but none would bear this in mind except men of understanding (16:30, 17:39, 28:50, 30:29).

                (270) Whatever you spend for the system or the services you offer (9:79, 76:7) is taken into account by the Law of Mukafat (retribution). Those who fail to fulfil their obligations shall have no helpers.

                (271) If you give help openly for the collective good of the people it is all right, but if (during the initial stages of this nizam [system]) you give it quietly to the needy people, it is still better. Helping others, in fact, assists you in removing the unevenness in your own personality and the society. Allah, however, is aware of all that you do.

                (272) O Rasool (Messenger of God)! It is not your responsibility to make people follow the right path (5:99, 28:56). One adopts the right path voluntarily in the light of divine guidance (6:149, 10:99-100, 43:20). You must simply tell the people that whatever they spend for others in this context will be returned to them in full and also help in the development of their personality, provided the motive for spending is nothing other than the establishment of the divine order and achieving conformity with His laws. Be sure that you will not be wronged in this behalf.

                (273) Your help is not to be given to beggars. It is for those who are fighting in the cause of Allah but have been deprived of the means of livelihood by adverse circumstances and are also unable to move to another place. These people have so much self-respect that their need is not known to anyone who is not well-acquainted with them. Their appearance, however, bespeaks their condition. They do not grovel before others seeking alms. And whatever you spend on them out of His bounties, Allah is certainly aware (of its motives and how far it satisfies the needs of its recipients).

                (274) Those who spend in the cause of Allah, openly or secretly, help to create the divine order in which there is no fear or anxiety.

                (275) On the one hand, there are people who go to the extent of curtailing their own needs to help others (59:9), and on the other, there are those who exploit the needy. They give loans charging interest (riba – usury; interest). This is due to lust for money which is an affliction with the touch of Satan.

                Those who take riba – usury; interest justify it by saying that it is a form of trade. Allah has declared trade to be lawful and riba – usury; interest to be unlawful.

                If anyone refrains from taking riba – usury; interest after Allah’s law has become known, he will not be held accountable for what he has done in the past, but if he reverts to the practice of taking riba usury, interest, he will head towards the inferno of destruction to abide therein.

                (276) Those who think that a nation’s capital is increased by means of riba – usury; interest are mistaken. An economy based upon riba – usury, interest, in fact, reduces a nation’s wealth. The wealth which increases is that which is spent for the welfare of others. And Allah does not permit those to flourish who conceal His bounties (to the deprivation of others) and thus persist in contributing to the deterioration of the system.

                (277) Those who believe in, and act in accordance with, the laws of Allah and establish the order of sala and zaka (universal growth), will not have any fear or anxiety for this order would be established as a result of their actions and, for this, their reward would lie with their Rabb (sustainer).

                (278-279) O Jamat (group)-ul-Momin  (the convinced Muslims)! Abide by Allah’s laws and forego whatever portion of riba (usury, interest) remains owing. This will show that you are true believers. If you do not do this, be prepared for war with the divine order. If you forego riba – usury; interest and claim only the principal amount, this will be fair both to you and to the debtor; neither will be wronged.

                (280) If the debtor is in straitened circumstances, give him respite until it becomes convenient for him to repay your loan. But if you forego the loan, it will be even better for you, if you could only understand.

                (281) Beware of that day of reckoning when each person will receive what he has worked for in full and it will not be diminished in any way.

                (282) Matters relating to giving of loans for a particular period, should be committed to writing. The scribe should not refuse to write, and should write justly. Let him who is receiving the loan dictate and let the scribe keep Allah’s laws in mind and not diminish aught thereof.

                But if the debtor is mentally deficient or infirm or unable to dictate himself, let his guardian dictate with fairness and let two witnesses be called from among your men. If two men are not available then a man and two women from among such as are acceptable to you as witness should be called so that if the one whose evidence is being recorded gets confused or forgets some point, the other might refresh her memory(12). Let not the witnesses refuse to

give evidence when summoned.

                Do not show reluctance to writing down the transaction be it large or small. This is the fairest procedure according to the law of Allah and is most suitable for eliminating doubt. But, if it is a matter of give and take on the spot, there is no blame if it is not committed to writing. However, if it is a matter of trade-dealing then you must have witnesses, and let no harm be done either to the scribe or the witnesses. It will be wickedness on your part if you do so. Allah, who knows everything, has given you these instructions.

                (283) If you are on a journey and do not find a scribe, take something as a token of pledge. If you trust each other, let the one who is trusted fulfil his trust and thereby safeguard the law of his Rabb (sustainer). Do not conceal what you have witnessed. If you do so (even if the people do not come to know and you remain a respectable person in their eyes), your own heart would continue to curse you and this will harm the development of your self – because nothing remains hidden from Allah’s Law of Mukafat (retribution). Allah knows whatever you do.

                (284) The entire universe is engaged in accomplishing Allah’s programme. One of its objectives is that no human action should remain unaccounted for (34:3-4, 45:22, 53:31). Whether you conceal or reveal your actions, it makes no difference to the Law of Mukafat (retribution). Results will be produced according to your actions for which Allah has prescribed the measures.

                (285) These laws have been revealed by Allah. The Rasool (Messenger of God), as well as the Jamat (group)-ul-Momineen (the convinced Muslims), profess eiman (conviction) in Allah, in malaika (celestial forces) and in rusul and in His books, and do not differentiate between the rusul (2:136). They say, “We have heard and we obey. Each step we take is directed towards the divinely-appointed goal.”

                (286) By obeying these laws, the human personality is broadened(13). Whatever one does while keeping in mind one’s own interest as well as of others, helps to develop his personality, whereas whatever is done simply for one’s own interest retards his development. So the believers pray to Allah:

                “O Allah! Do not call us to account if we have forgotten what we ought to do or have fallen into error. May we not be buried under the weight of man-made laws as were our predecessors! Give us the strength to bear the responsibilities vested in us. If we falter, give us the ability to undo the harm caused, by means of good actions. This is how we will be able to secure protection as well as means of development.

                O Allah! You are our Protector. Grant us success against the kafireen (deniers/ disbelievers) who oppose Your system.”

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(1)          The Qur’an, after the ‘Opener’ (Faatiha), begins with “This is the book which…. This indicates that the Qur’an was already in the form of a book (bound leaves) before the Messenger died.  The commonly held belief that the Qur’an was gathered and bound into book-form after the Messenger’s death appears contradictory to the Qur’anic evidence. Thus, the Qur’an was gathered and bound into a book during Muhammad’s (PBUH) lifetime.

(2)          Muttaqee: a person who keeps away from things that are harmful to his personality and character, by adhering to the laws of Allah, thus rejecting a negative approach to life and accepting positive virtues and is conscious of his duties as a true Muslim. See Glossary under Taqwa.

(3)          Khalaq / Takhleeq (creation): Khalaqun literally means ‘to measure; to assess the balance and ratio of things’.  Thus, khalaq means ‘to make something with the right balance and ratio of elements according to a specific measure’.  Allah is the best creator in this particular sense (khaliq  23:14; 37:125).

(4)          Shaitan:  When a person is overcome by his/her unbridled emotions  (animalistic instincts) it gives rise to aggression (a desire to dominate others), and he/she behaves irrationally.  To the Qur’an, ‘Shaitan’ is nothing but Man’s own emotions.  Also, emotions and intellect are neither good nor evil; it is how they are used which makes them so. Therefore, before doing anything a Muslim’s first supplication to Allah is to seek His protection from Shaitan.

(5)          Zakat/Zaka: Its basic meaning is ‘to grow, to thrive. Qur’an envisages an economic system of meeting people’s needs so that there is a universal growth of body, mind and soul.

(6)          Qiblah- Because of the unique significance of it being the first-ever house of Allah, Muslims  face the direction of the Ka’bah whenever they perform sala; this direction of the Ka’bah from any place on earth is known as the Qiblah.

(7)          In lands where the length of the day or night is unusually extended, reasonable hours of fasting may be calculated as is done for the performance of normal activities of daily life. This is why Allah has stressed the importance of human reason along with divine revelation.

(8)          Arafat: a vast open flat ground in the suburb of Makkah where pilgrims spend the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah during Hajj. Muzdalfa is also a well-known place close to Arafat

(9)          This will be done when the Qur’anic order is established and takes upon itself the responsibility to provide means of sustenance to all.

(10)        The Qur’anic references to slaves relate to those men and women who were in bondage in Arab society at the beginning of Islam. The Qur’an abolished the source of slavery (47:4) and gave instructions for the gradual liberation of slaves who were already there, or their absorption into Muslim society.

(11)        If these two verses refer to formal prayer it would mean that during a state of danger normal formalities may be suspended and prayer may be offered afoot or mounted as practicable. Details about prayer are given in 4:101-103.

(12)        The Qur’an points out that in Arab society women were generally brought up in such a way that they could not represent their own case clearly and coherently even in domestic disputes (43:18). It is evident that these women would most likely become confused in a courtroom situation. In order to give psychological support to a woman who had to appear as a witness, the Qur’an prescribed the presence of another woman known to her. The function of the second woman is not to be a witness but to refresh the memory of the first one in case she forgets something or gets confused. It is wrong to assume that according to the Qur’an, the evidence of two women is equal to that of one man.

(13)        This may also mean that one should exert one’s capacities to the full to accomplish the assigned task.

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