Who is Right?

Slavery changes the Conscience of a Nation

Mufti Muhammad Qasim Attari

The Quran is the enlightening word of Allah Almighty. As a moral compass and beacon of guidance, its rich teachings have illuminated every era. Intelligence is a divine gift which lies at the heart of all human endeavours, religious or otherwise. Like other senses and faculties, intelligence has discernible limitations, despite its power and importance. For example, sight is limited to tangible objects within our individual range of vision. If we wish to see beyond that, we must resort to an instrument such as binoculars. To venture into areas beyond the limits of human intelligence, we also have an “instrument;” the Quran. This compendium of divine guidance allows us to understand that which is otherwise inaccessible to human minds. Of course, when we try to use our intelligence in opposition to the guidance of Allah, errors and grave faults occur. In opposition to Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم, Namrūd displayed the short-sightedness of his intelligence. After killing the innocent and freeing the one who was deserving of capital punishment, he boasted, “Look! I too can give life and death.” Pharoah employed Machiavellian tactics to fool his nation into belying Sayyidunā Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم. The Quran states, “Then he fooled his people, so they followed him; indeed, they were disobedient people.”[1] Qārūn is another example of a deluded soul who used his knowledge, intellect, and wisdom to object to the command of Allah and refuse to pay zakat. He said, 'I got this (wealth) due to a (particular branch of) knowledge which I possess.'[2]

Similar themes are found in the account of Sayyidunā Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم who gave the nation of Midian two commands:

*   To believe in Allah as the one and only being worthy of worship;

*   To be honest when measuring commodities.

They imprudently responded, “O Shu'ayb, does your Salah command you that we should forsake the deities of our forefathers or that we should not do as we desire with our own wealth? (They said sarcastically) 'Oh yes! Only you are intelligent, righteous.”[3]

In response to the command of worshipping Allah alone, they said, “Should we leave what our fathers worshipped?” making it clear that their idolatry was driven by senseless, blind conformity to their ancestors.

In response to the second command, they said, “Should we not do what we please with our wealth?” In their frame of thought, fraudulent business practices were justified because they had free reign to do whatever the liked with their assets, even dishonestly measuring goods and cheating customers by overcharging them. It is as if they were unintelligent in the application of their intelligence. It has been said in relation to this: Intelligence is sly, and it can take many forms. Another frightening aspect in the response of the people of Midian is that they considered Sayyidunā Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم to be foolish and ignorant. (They said sarcastically) 'Oh yes! Only you are intelligent, righteous.[4]  This sentence is like someone making a remark about a stingy person: Look, Haatim Tai has arrived. The people of Midian were convinced that the divine commands of Allah, مَعاذَ الـلّٰـه were foolish and ignorant. The liberals and faithless people of today who say that following a religion is a tribal and outdated way of life resemble the nation of Midian.

The enemies of faith have always ridiculed the teachings of Islam and its adherents, often condescending their practices and belittling their intelligence. Sayyidunā Lū عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم explained to his nation how they adopted unnatural methods of fulfilling their carnal desires. He said that this was their ignorance, and they were an ignorant people.[5] Instead of accepting this pure teaching, they replied that the family of Lut should be expelled from the city.[6] Whilst mocking the guidance of Allah, they said:  these people desire purity [7]  It is as if purity became a means of mockery; they considered this positive trait to be a defect.

Holding the true religion of Allah in contempt and challenging His commands causes deficiency in the intellect. This leads to moral blindness whereby the person sees evil as good and vice-versa. This plague has inflicted many folks who promulgate it under the guise of modernity. When they observe others acting on the rulings of Islam, their nature changes which leads them to the conclusion that having a beard is bad and removing it is good. The bearded man is frowned upon and the beardless is admired. Marriage to a bearded man is considered shameful whereas a relationship with a beardless man is a matter of pride. In their narrow world-view, praying, fasting, and observing the Sunnah are bizarre practices. But they feel like they can relate to the ones who occupy themselves in listening to music and watching films and dramas. The veiling of a woman is considered to be outdated and oppressive whereas flaunting oneself is an unwritten prerequisite of progress and open-mindedness. Being faithful to one’s spouse is narrow-mindedness but being unfaithful and promiscuous is enlightenment. It is shameful for women to be distant from unrelated men while freely mixing with the opposite gender is a social honour. Earning through unlawful means is one’s right but earning wealth from permissible means is just a past-time. Truth and honesty are forgotten while treachery, lying, and deceit are prized skills. These are just a few examples in which good is considered bad and vice-versa. But, if you ponder, you will realise there are hundreds of other examples that follow suit. Make this verse of the Quran a beacon for exposing the reality of those who use their intelligence against religion: “So, will the one whose evil deed is made to seem good to him; that he considered it good, be equal to the one who is upon guidance?” [8] Meaning this is the ploy of Satan who makes evil deeds attractive.

[1] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 25, Surah al-Zukhruf , verse 54)

[2] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 20, Surah al-Qasas , verse 78)

[3] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 12, Surah Hood , verse 87)

[4] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 12, Surah Hood , verse 87)

[5] (Part 19, Surah al-Naml, verse 55)

[6] (Part 19, Surah al-Naml, verse 56)

[7] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 19, Surah al-Naml, verse 56)

[8] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 22, Surah Faatir, verse 08)




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