It’s Not Just a Book

[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon

n [This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.” [Quran 38:29]

n O mankind, there has to come to you instruction from your Lord and healing for what is in the breasts and guidance and mercy for the believers.” 10:57

The Qur’an is not just a book, it’s a whole system for the humankind, sent to them to help them with their lives, and to achieve true happiness.
You may ask “How?” 

Let’s check it out!

The universal message

The Holy Qur’an contains a universal message for the whole of mankind without any limitation of time and space. It seeks to guide man in all walks of life – spiritual or worldly, individual or collective. It contains directions and code of conduct for rich or poor, educated or uneducated alike. The Qur’an is an ocean of knowledge which deals with thousands of subjects, many of which have not yet been explored by man. It speaks of the best rules relating to laws of culture, civilization, morals, social justice, administration, leadership, mutual dealings, distribution of wealth, economics, spiritualism, Divine recognition, purification of souls, enlightenment of hearts, unions with Allah, organization and welfare of humanity, purpose of this creation and so on.

The Qur’an seeks primarily to develop a personality of an individual – every being will be personally responsible to His Creator. With this purpose, the Qur’an not only gives commands but also tries to convince. It appeals to human’s reason as it relates stories, parables and metaphors. It describes the attributes of Allah, Who is One, Creator of All, Knower, Powerful, capable of resuscitating us after death and taking account of our worldly behavior, Just, Merciful, etc. It contains also the mode of praising Allah, of pointing out which are the best prayers, what the duties of man are with regard to Allah, to his fellow-beings and to his own self. It reminds them that everything belongs to Allah and He expects us to utilize it according to His wish in exchange for everlasting life in the Hereafter in Paradise.

 

Qur’an, marriage and family

 

n And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” [Quran 30:21]

The foremost and fundamental institution of human society is the family unit. A family is established by the coming together of a man and a woman, and their contact brings into existence a new generation. This then produces ties of kinship and community, which, in turn, gradually develop further ties. The family is an instrument of continuity which prepares the succeeding generation to serve human civilization and to discharge its social obligations with devotion, sincerity and enthusiasm. This institution does not merely recruit cadets for the maintenance of human culture, but positively desires that those who are to come will be better members of society. In this respect, the family can be truly called the source of the progress, development, prosperity and strength of human civilization. Islam, therefore, devotes much attention to the issues relating to the family and strives to establish it on the healthiest and strongest possible foundations.

n O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” [Quran 49:13]

Islam does not look at adult celibacy simply with disfavor; it calls on every young man to take upon himself the social responsibilities of married life just as his parents did in their time. Nor does Islam regard asceticism and lifelong celibacy merely as being of no benefit; it sees them as departures from the nature of man and as acts of revolt against the Divine scheme of things.

It also strongly disapproves of those rights, ceremonies or restrictions which tend to make marriage a difficult affair. Islam tries to make marriage the easiest and fornication the most difficult thing in society, and not vice versa as it is in most societies today.

n And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.” [Quran 24:32]

Although Islam places great emphasis on the marital bond, it only wants it to remain intact as long as it is founded on the sweetness of love or the existence of at least the possibility of lasting companionship. If neither of these two conditions applies, it gives the man the right of divorce and the woman the right of separation; and under certain conditions, where married life has become a source of misery, the Islamic courts of justice have the authority to annul the marriage. (from the book: Social System in Islam by Abul Ala Maududi”)

Qur’an and social justice

The importance of justice is manifested in being one of God’s names in Islam. It is considered among the most important values underlined by the Qur’an and repeated in a number of its verses. God has required justice to be a necessary part of the behavior of every Muslim. It covers every aspect of life and has to be practiced with every person in the world, including rivals and enemies. As God said:

n Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice. Excellent is that which Allah instructs you. Indeed, Allah is ever Hearing and Seeing.” [Quran 4:58]

He also said:

n O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.” [Quran 5:8]

 There are three basic elements of social justice in Islam and they are as below:

 1- The absolute freedom of conscience

Social justice cannot be achieved except with a totally free human conscience that purely believes that there is no superior authority over any individual except God. Power is only in the hand of God, and nobody can work as a mediator between Him and His creatures, even if he is a prophet. As God said concerning Prophet Muhammad:

n Say: Lo! I control not hurt nor benefit for you” [Quran 72: 21]

2- The complete equality of all people

Islam taught the unity of the human race in origin and in history, in life and in death, in privileges and in responsibilities, before the law and before Allah, in this world and in the world to come. This is manifested in Qur’an when God said:

n O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bare you). Lo! Allah hath been a Watcher over you.” [Quran 4: 1].

God also said:

n O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! The noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.” [Quran 49:13]

Therefore, human dignity is preserved for every human being; the only difference among people is their morals, not their race nor their color.

 3- the social interdependence

The second important law that guarantees human freedom is the social interdependence. Social interdependence means the man’s sense of duty and responsibility towards his society. It doesn’t only mean the emotional sympathy towards others, but it also means taking pragmatic actions to help the needy in society to the degree that sufficiently covers their basic needs. This is through paying “Zakat” (Alms-giving: a mandatory fixed percentage of 2.5% out of the Muslim’s savings that the community is entitled to, every year); if it doesn’t fulfill the basic needs, additional money should be taken from the rich to fill the needs of the poor.

To the question as to how much wealth should be spent by the rich for the cause of the poor, the Qur’an replies:

n And they ask you what they should spend. Say, “The excess [beyond needs].” [Qur’an 2:219]

Thus the revealed book of Islam expects from the rich to spend all their surplus wealth for their poor brothers if the circumstances so demand.

Qur’an and Human rights

Every science concerns a main topic; the science of medicine concerns the human body; the science of cosmology concerns outer space and stars. Islam concerns humankind, at how humankind can live the right way,  at what is the best method to deal with life.

Purely on the basis that humankind belongs to the species of human being, it has certain basic rights, according to the Qur’an. These rights are not in any way dependent upon an understanding or promise nor are they a reward for righteous deeds. Every Human Being is entitled to these with no conditions attached; reward, discrimination on the basis of religion, sect, community, language, color of skin, race or citizenship.

GENERAL RIGHTS

A. Right to Life (Qur’an 6:151, 5:32)
B. Right to Respect (Qur’an 17:70)
C. Right to Justice (Qur’an 5:8, 2:177)
D. Right to Freedom (Qur’an 3:79 , 5:89 , 6:108 , 94:6)
E. Right to Acquire Knowledge

The Qur’an puts the highest emphasis on the importance of acquiring knowledge. That knowledge has been at the core of the Islamic world-view from the very beginning is attested to by Qur’an/96: 1-5, first of revelation received by the Prophet Muhammad.

Asking rhetorically if those without knowledge can be equal to those with knowledge ”…  Say, ‘Are those who know equal to those who do not know?’…”; the Qur’an exhorts believers to pray for advancement in knowledge. The famous prayer of the Prophet Muhammad was “O Allah! I ask You for knowledge that is of benefit”, and he encouraged learning as a way to paradise.

n And whoever follows a path to seek knowledge therein, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise.” [Narrated by Imam Muslim]

According to the Qur’anic perspective, knowledge is a prerequisite for the creation of a just world in which authentic peace can prevail. The Qur’an emphasizes the importance of the pursuit of learning even at the time in the midst of war:

n And it is not for the believers to go forth [to battle] all at once. For there should separate from every division of them a group [remaining] to obtain understanding in the religion and warn their people when they return to them that they might be cautious.“ [Quran 9:122].

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Right to “The Good Life”

The Qur’an upholds the right of the human being not only to life but to “the good life.” This good life, made up of many elements, becomes possible when a human being is living in a just environment. According to Qur’anic teaching, justice is a prerequisite for peace, and peace is a prerequisite for human development. In a just society, all the earlier-mentioned human rights may be exercised without difficulty. In such a society, other basic rights such as the right to a secure place of residence, the right to the protection of one’s personal possessions, the right to protection of one’s covenants, the right to move freely, the right to social and judicial autonomy for minorities, the right to the protection of one’s holy places and the right to return to one’s spiritual center, also exist.

(Excerpted from a paper written by Dr. Riffat Hassan, “Are Human Rights Compatible with Islam?”. Dr. Hassan is a Professor in Humanities (Religious Studies) at University of Louisville, Kent)

 

Qur’an and Equality

Many People are attracted to Islam because of its beautiful simplicity and the spiritual wholeness that Islam encompasses. Also highly appealing is Islam’s ‘code of equality’ amongst differing peoples, a truly unparalleled ideal when compared to any other faith.

Under Islam, all – black, white, red and yellow – are the same in justice, freedom and equality. For Islam, true excellence lies, not in the intellectual or manual attainments of people of differing gifts; but in the level of piety and fear of God.

The Prophet in his farewell sermon informed the believers relating to this matter:

n All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor does a black have any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood.”

Furthermore, God says in the Qur’an:

n O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” [49:13]

 Islam clearly states from the above quote in the Qur’an that people are made equal in God’s eyes and one’s true test of character is not decided by what “tribe or ethnicity” he/she is from, but rather how virtuous and pious the individual is. Islam stresses the point that all of the God-fearing believers of this world are a part of a single brotherhood.

n And indeed this, your religion, is one religion, and I am your Lord, so fear Me (52) But the people divided their religion among them into sects – each faction, in what it has, rejoicing. (53)” [Quran 23:52-53]

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From Harvard Law School, Entrance Wall!

 

References:

  • Social System of Islam by Abul Ala Maududi
  • http://muslimdreamer.blogspot.com/2008/01/islam-and-social-justice.html
  • http://www.muslimtents.com/shaufi/b16/b16_16.htm
  • www.pja.gov.pk/?q=system/files/Social_Justice_in_Islam/
  • Some implications of the Quranic message for the Economic System By Abdur Rab
  • http://www.astudyofquran.org/web/index.php?id=66,0,0,1,0,0
  • http://peacethought.com/equality.htm
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