The Moral Values of The Qur'an
(13 - 19)
13. Repentance and Seeking Forgiveness
Two of the most repeated names of Allah in the Qur’an are, “Compassionate” and “Merciful”. Allah is very truly merciful to His servants and does not punish them at once for their sins:
“And if Allah were to seize mankind for their wrong-doing, He would not leave on it (the earth) a single moving (living) creature, but He postpones them for an appointed term and when their term comes, neither can they delay nor can they advance it an hour (or a moment).” (Surat an-Nahl, 16:61)
By reprieving them, He gives wrongdoers time to ask for forgiveness and to repent. No matter how important the sin one commits, one always has the opportunity to be forgiven if one repents and behaves righteously:
“When those who believe in Our signs come to you, Say: ‘Peace be on you: Your Lord has written Mercy for Himself, so that, if any of you does evil in ignorance, andthereafter repents, and amends (his conduct), then surely He is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.’ ” (Surat al-An‘am, 6:54)
Repentance also includes an appeal for support and strength from Allah to help the wrongdoers not to repeat the same misdeeds. The form of repentance accepted by Allah is one that is followed by good deeds:
“And whoever repents and does good has truly turned to Allah with an (acceptable) conversion” (Surat al-Furqan, 25:71)
Sometimes an individual may commit the same sin as a result of his soul’s provocation, even after repentance. But this is not an excuse for him not to repent again. He may repent for his evil deeds all throughout his life. And it should be remembered that, it will not be accepted only if one repents when death comes and one begins to dread one’s fate in the Hereafter.
“Allah accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent soon afterwards; to them Allah will turn in mercy: for Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom."(Surat an-Nisa, 4:17)
"Of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil, until death faces one of them, and he says, ‘Now I have repented indeed’, nor of those who die rejecting Faith: for them have We prepared a punishment most grievous.” (Surat an-Nisa, 4:18)
Another verse calls all the believers to salvation:
Allah, so that you may attain Bliss.” (Surat an-Nur, 24:31)
14. Patience Till Death
People are created impatient, and, as a result, make various mistakes. However, religion requires everyone to be patient for the sake of Allah. Believers, in particular, should patiently await the great salvation that Allah promised. This is how the believers are commanded in the Qur'an: “Be patient for the sake of your Lord” (Surat al-Muddaththir, 74:7). Patience is indeed one of the most important qualities in the struggle to reach Allah; it is the virtue one should cultivate in order to be closer to Him.
“O you who believe! Persevere in patience and constancy; vie in such perseverance; strengthen each other; and fear Allah; that you may prosper.” (Surat Aal-e-Imran, 3:200)
In the community of the ignorant, the real meaning of patience is mixed up with endurance. However, endurance has a very different message which is forbearing against pain or distress. Yet, patience isentirely different as described in the Qur’an. This difference can only be comprehended by the believers. The perseverance of the believer is for gaining the pleasure of Allah. Therefore, if gives delight to the believers, whilst “endurance” gives only annoyance and distress to the unbelievers. The Qur’an expresses this as:
“Seek (Allah's) help with patient perseverence and prayer: It is indeed hard, except to those who bring a lowly spirit.” (Surat al-Baqara, 2:45)
Another verse from the same surah emphasizes the glad tidings to be given to those who are patient in the face of obstacles or difficulties.
“Be sure we shall test you with fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere, who say, when afflicted with calamity: ‘To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return.’” (Surat al-Baqara, 2:155-156)
Patience is such a superior characteristic that it can increase the strength of the believers. Allah reveals in below verse how strength may increase with respect to patience:
“For the present, Allah has lightened your (burden), for He knows that there is a weak spot in you: But (even so), if there are a hundred of you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred, and if a thousand, they will, with the leave of Allah, vanquish two thousand, for Allah is with those who patiently persevere.” (Surat al-Anfal, 8:66)
Patience is, moreover, a quality that subsumes all the other positive characteristics described in the Qur’an. A person may be modest, humble, generous, obedient or devoted; but only when he combines these virtues with patience, will they be of worth. It is the patience shown in the prayers and the attributes of believers, that makes them acceptable.
Patience pervades the whole life of the believers, who obey the decree: “Be patient for your Lord’s sake” Finally, Allah takes their souls and rewards them with His Paradise. Angels at the gates bid welcome to the righteous, saying:
“Peace be on you for that you persevered in patience: Now, how excellent is the final home!”. (Surat ar-Ra’d, 13:24)
15. Support by Allah
In profane society, people develop their characters according to the power or status they possess. For the individual to be self-confident, he must be either very rich or famous, or beautiful or handsome. Being the son or daughter of a “respected” man is also an important reason for self-confidence in a purely ignorant community.
However it is quite a different matter for the believers. This is because the believers rely for support on no one but Allah, attach no importance to any of the worldly criteria that the unbelievers follow.
Allah is always the supporter of the believers. He never lets them down in the face of opposition from the unbelievers. “Allah has decreed: ‘It is I and My messengers who must prevail’ ”(Surat al-Mujadila, 58:21), so the messengers and those who follow them will triumph with this great support. Allah guarantees:
“If they intend to deceive you, Allah is sufficient for you. He it is Who has strengthened you with His help and with the believers.” (Surat al-Anfal, 8:62)
It should never be forgotten that it is only Allah who strengthens and improves the believers and enables them to succeed. It is not enough just to depend on physical cause and effect. These can achieve nothing, except being prayers in action. Of greater avail is verbal prayer, for it is in response to prayer, that Allah produces the desired results. That is why the believers have to rely solely on the support of Allah.
As a result, they become so courageous and confident as to challenge the world. They become too strong to be affected by any negative thought or action. Musa (Moses), who did not lose heart while all his people transgressed, said: “If you show ingratitude, you and all earth together, yet is Allah free of all wants, worthy of all praise.” (Surah Ibrahim, 14:8) .
Musa was that confident and fearless, because he was certain that Allah and His support were always with the believers. Allah had once revealed to him: “Fear not! for you indeed have the upper hand.”(Surah Ta-Ha, 20:68)
Musa’s attitude should definitely be an example to all the believers. For Allah has promised to protect and support not only Musa and other messengers, but all believers—every one them—against the unbelievers, and lead them to triumph. As stated in the Qur’an;
“...never will Allah grant to the unbelievers a way (to triumphs) over the believers.” (Surat an-Nisa, 4:141)
The believers are responsible for merely maintaining their devotion to Allah and being good servants of Him. When this is the case, they will have nothing to fear.
“O you who believe! Guard your own souls: If you follow (right) guidance, no hurt can come to you from those who stray; to Allah is your return, it is He that will show you the truth of all that you do.” (Surat al-Maida, 5:105)
Unbelievers can never do harm to the righteous. All plans and plots made against the believers will be useless. In the verse below, this mystery is explained:
“Mighty indeed were the plots which they made, but their plots were (well) within the sight of Allah, even though they were such as to shake the hills!” (Surah Ibrahim, 14:46)
While unbelievers plot against believers, in reality Allah "draws them near to destruction by degrees from whence they know not." (Surat al-A’raf, 7:182). They suppose that they are superior to the believers and can easily beat them. However, Allah is on the believers’ side and His Power, Glory and Greatness are manifest to them. The Qur’an expresses this truth, which cannot be comprehended by the hypocrites, as follows:
“They are the ones who say, ‘Spend nothing on those who are with Allah’s Messenger, to the end that they may disperse.’ To Allah belong the treasures of the heavens and the earth; but the Hypocrites understand not. They say, ‘If we return to Medina, surely the more honourable will expel therefrom the meaner.’ But honour belongs to Allah and His Messenger, and to the Believers; but the Hypocrites know not.”(Surat al-Munafiqoon, 63:7-8)
This is definitely an unchangeable rule. Believers, in accordance with the verse, “O you who believe! Take your precautions...” (Surat an-Nisa, 4:71), shall always be careful and cautious of unbelievers, but feel the comfort of the above divine rule.
Allah explains the same rule in another verse:
“Those who reject Allah, hinder (men) from the Path of Allah, and resist the Messenger, after Guidance has been clearly shown to them, will not harm Allah in the least but He will make their deeds of no effect.” (Surah Muhammad, 47:32)
16. No Desperation for the Believers
There are two kinds of hopelessness. The first kind arises when confronted with difficulties or obstacles. Such should not be the conduct of a believer. He should always keep in mind that Allah has promised to give support to the believers. The Qur’an states that Allah is sufficient for the believers and that He has strengthened the believers with His Aid.
The second kind of despair is more dangerous, which is giving up hope of Allah’s mercy after making a mistake or committing a sin. Because this may lead to the thought that Allah will not forgive one’s sins and that one will necessarily go to hell. But this idea—a mere apprehension—is quite the opposite of what we are taught by the Qur’an. Indeed, Allah forgives the sins of all those who sincerely repent. It is never “too late” for seeking refuge in His mercy. Allah addresses His servants thus:
“O my Servants, who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surat az-Zumar, 39:53)
Despair is the temptation of Satan. Satan tries to influence believers by demoralizing them and thus dragging them down to commit more serious mistakes. His aim is to lead the believers to suspect their own faith and sincerity, to make them think that they are “fakes”. If a person falls into this trap, he will start to lose his self-respect and consequently his faith and will go on to commit bigger sins after that first mistake.
In such a state of mind, believers should immediately seek refuge in Allah, think only of Qur’an’s teachings and immediately develop a new frame of mind. The Qur’an describes what the believer must do in such cases.
“And if an evil whisper comes to you from Satan, then seek refuge with Allah. Verily, He is All-Hearer, All-Knower.” (Surat al-A’raf, 7:200)
If the individual is sincere in his faith in Allah, Allah forgives him even if he has made mistakes or committed sins. Furthermore, even if he has been insincere for a long time, he still has the chance to repent. It is just a trick of Satan that makes him give way to despair. For Allah is the One Who shows eternal mercy and justice and the One Who promises victory and His Paradise to the believers. The advice of Yakub (Jacob) should be a guide for all the believers:
"...never give up hope of Allah’s Soothing Mercy: truly, no one despairs of Allah’s Soothing Mercy, except those who have no faith.” (Surah Yusuf, 12:87)
17. Evaluating Everything from the Point of View of the Qur’an
The aim of life for a believer is solely that of being a servant of Allah. People are not created to fulfil their vain desires and greed, or to pursue their passions; the one and only reason for our creation is to serve Allah.
The way to achieve this is by taking the Qur’an as our unique guide. We should give all our attention to applying every decree of the Qur’an. Our target should be to observe every decree of the Qur'an as much as possible.
We can see from the Qur’an that the responsibility of the believers rests not only on decisive verses, such as those on regular prayers, fasting or hajj but also on prayers that require interpretation. For instance, in one verse believers are urged to “invite (all) to the Way of their Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious” (Surat an-Nahl, 16:125). The believers can understand this “wisdom and beautiful preaching” by both applying the Qur’an’s general logic and manner, and also their own wisdom and understanding.
There are many other responsibilities that require wisdom and understanding. For example, the Qur’an describes various models of communities, and informs us of the way we should treat those different kinds of people. And what should be said to those people is mostly mentioned in the Qur’an in the verses beginning with, “Say...”.
The verses that advise believers how to behave are clearly described in the Qur’an. But if these precepts are to be applied to daily life, instant recognition of their true significance is a must. At this point, it is the wisdom and understanding of the believers that help.
The Qur’an describes various kinds of people, such as believers, Christians, Jews, hypocrites and pagans. We must learn the concerned verses very well, because what actually should be done is to identify those kinds of people in our society and act towards them as the Qur’an commands. This is inevitable for being a “living Qur’an”.
Moreover, believers should realize that all the people around us undoubtedly belong to one or more of the categories of people described in the Qur’an. All the people exist to form the society described in the Qur’an and none is created in vain:
“Not for (idle) sport did We create the heavens and the earth and all that is between!” (Surat al-Anbiya, 21:16)
However, it is not only the people around us that are described in the Qur’an. In fact, everything that we see and everything that happens are indeed reflections of what is written in the Qur’an.
“Soon will We show them our Signs on the horizons, and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that your Lord witnesses all things?” (Surah Fussilat, 41:53)
The whole universe consists of signs of Allah. Just like a painting presents its painter to the on-lookers, just like every detail on this painting shows the brush prints of the painter, all the universe and every detail of this universe exist to present Allah, the Creator of all things. The more believers realize this fact, the more will they recognize Allah and painstakingly obey all His decrees. As one comprehends that life with all its details, is actually a “sign” as defined in the Qur’an, one will relate everything at every stage of one’s “daily life” to the values of the Qur’an.
Everything takes place in accordance with the destiny Allah has determined and therefore, everything has a purpose. What believers should do is interpret each event in the light of the Qur’an and react in the way the Qur’an prescribes. For example when encountered with something “vain” and idle, the believer should pay no heed to it. But the fact is; this vain thing is already created so that the believer pays no heed to it. The believers should interpret every happening according the perspective of the Qur’an. So, they actually must develop their culture and characteristics in conformity to the Qur’an, how Allah decrees. In order to achieve this, they must leave all they have attained from their ignorant past and society. They should decide what to do in every circumstance by depending on the interpretation and logic of the Qur’an, because, the words of Allah show them the way to handle each situation. As it is said in the Qur'an, it was sent down to us as a Book “explaining all things” (Surat an-Nahl, 16:88).
18. Allah knows the secrets of all hearts
The most basic characteristic of the unbelievers is their insincerity. They are insincere to Allah, to other people and even to themselves. Although when they behave warmly to people in the face for the sake of their interests, they can easily feel at the same time hatred or jealousy for them. As a matter of fact, their insincerity is also to their own selves. Although they clearly witness the wrongness and evil of their deeds, they push this reality back into their subconscious and act as if they were entirely perfect and right.
At the basis of this insincerity there lies the assumption that nobody will know about the secret thoughts they have in their hearts. So, the quilty may act as if they were not so, despite their sins or wrong doings. Actually, in an ignorant society, people really do not know what the actual thoughts of others are, and they never consider that Allah knows all thethoughts and secrets of all hearts. The subconscious mind is also included in this knowledge, even if the individuals do not themselves know what lies there. Allah states this fact in the following verses:
“He knows what is in the heavens and on earth; and He knows what you conceal and what you reveal: and Allah knows well the secrets of all hearts.” (Surat at-Taghabun, 64:4)
“Whether you hide your word or publish it. He certainly has full knowledge of the secrets of all hearts. He is the One that understands the finest mysteries and is well-acquainted with them.” (Surat al-Mulk, 67:13-14)
Nobody, therefore, can speak outside the knowledge of Allah, for He is the One Who has full knowledge of the secrets of all hearts. In the Qur’an this fact is revealed as:
“Do you not see that Allah knows all that is in the heavens and on earth? There is not a secret consultation between three, but He makes the fourth among them, - nor between five but He makes the sixth- nor between fewer nor more, but He is in their midst, whersoever they be. In the end will He tell them the truth of their conduct, on the Day of Judgment. For Allah has full knowledge of all things.” (Surat al-Mujadila, 58:7)
This being so, it is not possible to hide anything from Allah. Allah knows not only all the deeds but also all the thoughts of all people, including those of their subconscious, which they are largely unaware of. This is emphasized in the following verse:
“It was We Who created man, and We know what darksuggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.” (Surah Qaf, 50:16)
In these circumstances, the eventual behavior of the believers should be complete sincerity and modesty before Allah. Since Allah has created and alreadyknows all beings, it is insensible to act in an artificial manner before Allah. One should sincerely uncover all one’s weaknesses, faults, wrongdoing and defects in one’s faith to Allah, and ask for His help and mercy.
The prophets are the best examples for their sincerity to Allah. The Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) prays to Allah and says “Show me, Lord, how You will raise the dead.” And when Allah replies: “Have you no faith?” he says ”Yes, but just to reassure my heart.”(Surat al-Baqara, 2:269) This is how the believers confess their weaknesses to Allah and ask for forgiveness only from Him. Similarly, when Allah commands the Prophet Musa (Moses): “Go to Pharaoh!” he says, “O my Lord! I have slain a man among them,and I fear lest they slay me,” (Surat al-Qasas,28:33) and asks for help and strength from Allah. This honesty of the Prophets to Allah show how the believers should behave.
Before one comprehends that one is weak and dependent upon Allah, one cannot attain characteristics like strength, modesty, faith and courage by only pretending to possess them, because “...man was created weak” (Surat An-Nisa, 4:28) in order to understand his weaknesses before Allah. Therefore, one should be very truthful and devoted to Allah and expose all one’s faults and sins to Him before asking for forgiveness.
19. The Temporary Life in this World
Man is placed on earth only for a very short time. There, he will be tested, trained and then passed over to the Hereafter where he will stay forever. The possessions and blessings of this world, although created similar to their originals in Heaven, actually possess many defects and weaknesses. For they are only intended to make man remember the Hereafter.
However, the unbelievers are not capable of comprehending this fact, so they act as if the things of this world are their sole objectives. Yet, this is wholly deceptive, since, the entirely temporary and defective favours of the world are far away from satisfying man who is created for the beauties of eternal perfection. Allah describes how the world is a temporary place full of deception:
“Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, andrivalry in respect of wealth and children, as the likeness of vegetation after rain, thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment, and (there is) Forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure, whereas the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.” (Surat al-Hadid, 57:20)
Just as it is told in the Qur’an, all of the ignorant people live only for a few objectives such as riches and children and mutual boasting among themselves. In another verse the goods and chattels of deception in the world are thus described:
“Fair in the eyes of men is the love of things they covet: Women and sons; Heaped-up hoards of gold and silver; horses branded (for blood and excellence); and (wealth of) cattle and well-tilled land. Such are the possessions of this world’s life; but in nearness to Allah is the best of the goals (to return to). Say: Shall I give you glad tidings of things Far better than those? For the righteous are Gardens in nearness to their Lord, with rivers flowing beneath; therein is their eternal home; with companions pure (and holy); and the good pleasure of Allah. For in Allah’s sight are (all) His servants” (Surat Aal-e-Imran, 3:14-15)
The life of this world is extremely rudimentary and lacking in worth when compared to the eternal life in the Hereafter. To express this, the original Arabic word for the “world” has the connotation of a “scanty, crowded, dirty place”. People consider that their 60-70 year long life on this earth will be long and a satisfying one. Yet, in a very short time death comes and all areburied in their graves. As a matter of fact, as death comes closer one realizes how short a time he has stayed in this world. On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will question the people.
“He will say: ‘What number of years did you stay on earth?’ They will reply: ‘We stayed a day or part of a day: but ask those who keep account.’ He will say: ‘You stayed but a little-if you had only known! Did you think that We had created you in jest, and that you would never be brought back to Us?’ ” (Surat al-Mumenoon, 23:112-115)
Denying Allah and disregarding the Hereafter, in the life-long pursuit of worldly greed will mean eternal punishment in Hell-Fire. Those who conduct themselves in this way are described in the Qur’an as “people who buy the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter”. For them Allah decrees:
"Their penalty shall not be lightened, nor shall they be helped.” (Surat al-Baqara, 2:86)
Another verse states:
“Those who rest not their hope on their meeting with Us, but are pleased and satisfied with the life of the present,, and those who heed not Our Signs; their abode is the Fire, because of the evil they earned.”(Surah Yunus, 10:7-8)
Those who forget that this world is only a temporary place for trial and who are not careful of Allah’s Signs, but are satisfied only with the worldly play and amusements of this life, assume them as their own, and even deify them will surely deserve the grevious penalty. The Qur’an describes the status of such people:
“Then, as for him who transgresses all bounds, and prefers the life of this world, then surely the hell, that is the abode.” (Surat an-Naziat, 79:37-39)