Surah Al-Ma’idah (contd.)
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tells us what we should consume,
“And eat of what Allah has provided for you, lawful and good,” [5:88].
The halal and tayab means no begging, no stealing and no eyeing what your neighbors are eating. Do not put anything and everything that you come across in your mouth. Find out the source and know what you are eating.
Some people live on packaged food and do not give much value to fresh vegetables and fruits. Many of us do not even know where our food comes from. If it is a command from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to be particular about what we are eating, shouldn’t we find the source? Secondly, some people consider it piety to consume stale and rotten food. They would not throw if the food has gone bad but rather eat it and end up with food poisoning. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has not made haram upon His slaves to eat good food, what matters is that what you are eating is permissible, it was bought from halal income, and there is no extravagance in your consumption.
Types of the Works of Shaytan
He then talks about some of the prevalent ills of the society,
“O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Shaytan, so avoid it that you may be successful,” [5:90].
The problem of drug addiction has gone out of our hands. Little children are drug addicts. Dad is not home because he is busy drinking with his friends. Some people say, “I am only a social drinker,” as if that is something acceptable. Some say, “Well, the entire world is drinking,” Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “Not equal are the evil and the good, although the abundance of evil might impress you,” [5:100]. Accidents and divorces are taking place due to drug addiction and drinking problem. Homes are breaking and families are tearing apart. Quit this evil habit today and attain peace in your life.
You Are Responsible for Yourself
If the entire world is following that which is sinful and forbidden we neither follow them nor should we be fearful of their reaction, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“O you who have believed, upon you is [responsibility for] yourselves. Those who have gone astray will not harm you when you have been guided. To Allah is your return all together; then He will inform you of what you used to do,” [5:105].
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is the only Being that we should really revere and be fearful of. Nothing and no one else can destruct us. If we are doing what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commanded us to do, and if we have surrendered to Him, He will protect us and look after our well-being.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has sent us several reminders through the Qur’an. These reminders are not merely to be heard but we also need to pay heed and reform our lives to the pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
The previous nations were much stronger and powerful than us yet they perished due to their negligence and disobedience. We need to study their stories so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“Have they not seen how many generations We destroyed before them which We had established upon the earth as We have not established you? And We sent [rain from] the sky upon them in showers and made rivers flow beneath them; then We destroyed them for their sins and brought forth after them a generation of others,” [6:6].
Messengers after messengers were sent but it did not move their hearts. They would mock the messengers and hurt them. Sometimes today in our gatherings, when Shaytan overtakes us we make fun of the scholars. Remember what goes around comes around. If today we make fun of the messengers or the message that they brought; the scholars and the knowledgeable; the pious and the friends of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then someday we will be made a laughing stock of.
Don’t Make Fun of the Friends of Allah
“And already were messengers ridiculed before you, but those who mocked them were enveloped by that which they used to ridicule. Say, ‘Travel through the land; then observe how was the end of the deniers,’” [6:10-11].
Want peace? Don’t laugh at others.
Sometimes we lose our peace because we made fun of a scholar, a pious person or a friend of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We used the tongue that should be engaged in Qur’an recitation and thikr in abusing someone. We need to seek repentance and make du’a to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to soften our hearts so that we don’t end up like the perished nations. This is the main purpose of reminders to guide us and give us a wakeup call.
Shirk – the Unforgivable Sin
Talking about the reverence of the prophets, Allah’s messengers and friends of Allah, the discussion then moves on to shirk – associating partners with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. This is the most repeated topic of Surah al-An’aam as the main addressees of this Surah were the idolaters of Makkah.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“And [mention, O Muhammad], the Day We will gather them all together; then We will say to those who associated others with Allah, ‘Where are your ‘partners’ that you used to claim [with Him]?’ Then there will be no [excuse upon] examination except they will say, ‘By Allah, our Lord, we were not those who associated,’” [6:22-23].
We need to thank Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala that unlike some other people who bow before a passing animal or revere an idol, He made us of those who worship the Creator.
We Won’t Live Only Once, So Don’t Live as it Pleases You
There are some people who say, “You live only once, do as you please,” they do not believe in the Resurrection. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala addresses them in the Qur’an and says,
“And they say, ‘There is none but our worldly life, and we will not be resurrected.’ If you could but see when they will be made to stand before their Lord. He will say, ‘Is this not the truth?’ They will say, ‘Yes, by our Lord.’ He will [then] say, ‘So taste the punishment because you used to disbelieve,’” [6:29-30].
Yes, we do live our lives in this Dunya once but one day we will be resurrected for an eternal life and we don’t want to lose that.
Do Not Pay Heed to the Naysayers
Then Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reminds us of how the Prophet ﷺ was persecuted by the people of Makkah in the early days of Prophethood. He was called a sorcerer, a magician, a person after position and power, a person after money and so on yet he remained patient and brought about victory.
Here’s a lesson for us. If the best of the creation was not spared, how can we be spared?
People will spread rumors about us and disturb our peace. Ignore them. Don’t waste your time in replying to them. And please don’t go into depression. Read what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“We know that you, [O Muhammad], are saddened by what they say. And indeed, they do not call you untruthful, but it is the ayaat of Allah that the wrongdoers reject. And certainly were messengers denied before you, but they were patient over [the effects of] denial, and they were harmed until Our victory came to them,” [6: 33-34].
If you are truthful and you have not snatched the rights of others then Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will protect you. As the saying goes, His help is near. Be patient and endure a little more.
This also teaches us another lesson. When we receive any information about someone else, if it does not concern us we don’t need to spread it around. And in case, we must share it with others, then first we must verify its authenticity. Is it even true?
Don’t Wait for A Calamity to Connect with Allah
When we are away from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, He puts a difficulty in our lives so that we might raise our hands in du’a. The question is must we wait for a calamity to strike before we connect with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala?
He says, “And We have already sent [messengers] to nations before you, [O Muhammad]; then We seized them with poverty and hardship that perhaps they might humble themselves [to Us]. Then why, when Our punishment came to them, did they not humble themselves? But their hearts became hardened, and Shaytan made attractive to them that which they were doing,” [6: 42-43].
Sometimes we look at people living in big houses and driving fancy cars, we look at them and conclude Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala must be really pleased with them to grant these blessings. It is the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to open the doors to His treasures and let people enjoy themselves. He then observes their attitude. One would hope it would soften their hearts and make them humble. On the contrary, being blessed with worldly treasures people engage in all kinds of sins. Shaytan beautifies for them their sin. It is then that they are struck by Allah’s wrath.
The point is that material possessions do not communicate one’s closeness to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Rather it is one’s actual connection with Him that determines one being one of the favored ones. If a connection with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is missing from our lives then everything else is insignificant.
Muhammad ﷺ, the beloved of Allah, owned very little and lived his life in poverty. Yet he was the most content of the people. You know why? It is because he lived within his means and was generous.
He never yearned for the treasures of Dunya and if ever he was sent some gift or food he would share it with others especially the poor.
Our problem is that we have increased our wants which is why we see more and more people taking loans and then committing suicide for not being able to pay the mountain of debt that they have burdened themselves with. Financial constraint has been noted as one of the reasons for marriage failures. You want peace? Limit your wants.
For how long are you here in this world? Learn to live within the sustenance that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has provided you with.
A person sitting high above at the top, with every little blessing of this world within his means, can be destructed by the smallest nudge at the bottom. Ever observed a stack of books? You have meticulously arranged a pile of books. When you are placing the last book on the top, your foot accidentally touches the books at the bottom and there collapses your tower. One small nudge and all is gone. That is how Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala destructs nations.
Allah Looks At Emaan And Not One’s Financial Status
Islam prohibits its followers from making money the sole focus of their life. When money and things become the criterion for judging someone’s character and status, the ones wealthy are considered high and noble and the poor ones are considered unworthy and low. In Prophet’s gatherings, the weak and poor would be seated near to him, listening attentively to what the Prophet of Allah had to say. The Makkan leaders demanded the Prophet ﷺ that if he wished to see them in his gathering then he first needs to get rid of the weak and the poor. They could not sit next to someone who was once their slave.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “And do not send away those who call upon their Lord morning and afternoon, seeking His countenance,” [6:52]. Further, He said, “And when those come to you who believe in Our ayaat, say, ‘Peace be upon you,’” [6:54]. The weak and the poor are to be greeted by the honorable greeting of the Muslims: Salaam-un-‘alaykum.
This tells us to not be a racist or judge people according to their skin color, language or wealth. Don’t underestimate anyone; they might be the first ones to enter Paradise while we will still be defending ourselves in the Court of Allah.
Don’t Sit With Those Who Make Fun of the Ayaat of Allah
One means of protecting our hearts and tongues from doing or uttering the most detested thing is not sitting with those who make fun of the ayaat of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, as He says,
“And when you see those who engage in [offensive] discourse concerning Our ayaat, then turn away from them until they enter into another conversion,” [6: 68].
In discussions, people say, “Hey! We are only studying the Qur’an and trying to understand religion.” But when these discussions are filled with foul language, abuses, mockery and ridicule then there is no khair (goodness) in them. Get up and leave unless they talk about something else. If one keeps sitting with them, he will be influenced and become like them.
The courage to speak up, stop and leave the gathering of evil results in peace. If they can mock the Book of Allah, tomorrow they will be ridiculing you. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala help us realize the consequences of our deeds, ameen.
Don’t Follow the Crowd
Prophet Ibraheem’s entire nation was drowned in Shirk. But he was not of those who blindly followed his tribe. He said,
“Indeed, I have turned my face toward He who created the heavens and the earth, inclining toward truth, and I am not of those who associate others with Allah,” [6: 79].
His family kicked him out, his people threw him in the fire but his heart was filled with peace. Why? It was because he had turned his attention and devotion to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. As a consequence of his open declaration of truth, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala chose Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam as His friend – khaleelullah. What an honor!
In ayah 81 Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala asks us, “So which of the two parties has more right to security, if you should know?” The two parties mentioned here are the monotheists and the polytheists. He answers this question in ayah 82, “They who believe and do not mix their belief with injustice – those will have security, and they are [rightly] guided.” May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala keep us firm on Tauheed, aameen.
Don’t Make Fun of Other Beliefs
As we are talking about polytheism an important point to mention here is that if Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala chose us to be Muslims then we have no right to scoff those who worship whatever pleases them. He says,
“And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge,” [6: 108].
If we make fun of them the obvious retaliation would be to ridicule our religion. Think of others’ reaction before you take any action. Do not become the reason for causing damage to your own religion.
(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s Peace of Pearl Series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013.)