Fruits for the Week

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Muslims are the only people in the world today fortunate enough to possess the word of God preserved in its original form, free from all distortions, and precisely in the wording in which it was sent down upon the Prophet (saw). Paradoxically, these same Muslims suffer the misfortune of being denied the countless blessings and benefits which the word of Allah (swt) must give to those who believe in it. The Qur’an was sent to them for them to read it, understand it, act upon it, and with its help, establish on Allah’s earth the rule of His law. The Qur’an came to grant them dignity and power. It came to make them true vicegerents of Allah (swt) on earth. And history shows that whenever they acted according to its guidance, it did make them the leaders of the world. 

A. Irreverence and misuse

But now the Qur’an’s usefulness, for many Muslims, consists only in keeping it in their houses to drive away Jinns and ghosts, in writing its verses on amulets to hang round their necks or washing these amulets with water and drinking it, or in reading its contents without comprehending their meaning in the hope of receiving some reward. No longer do they seek guidance from it for their lives. No longer do they ask it to tell them what should be their beliefs, morals and actions, nor how they should conduct transactions, what principles they should observe whole dealing with enemies and fiends, what the rights are of their fellow beings and of their own selves. Nor do they turn to it to find what is true and what is false, whom they should obey and whom to disobey, who their friends are and who their enemies are, where honour, well-being and benefit are to be found and where disgrace failure and loss.

We Muslims have given up looking for answers to these important questions in the Qur’an. Instead, we now ask kafirs, idolator, misguided, selfish people, even our own ego and desires and follow what they advice. What invariably happens to those who ignore Allah (swt) and follow the precepts of others has happened to us too. We are reaping only what we have sown everywhere in the world – in Palestine, the Middle East, Pakistan, Indonesia and many other places.

The Qur’an is the source of every good: it will give whatever and as much as you ask from it. If you seek from it such trivial, frivolous and spurious things as how to scare away Jinns and ghosts, how to cure coughs and fevers, how to succeed in litigation and find a job – then you may get them, but only them. If you seek supremacy on earth and the power to rule the world you may get that too. And if you wish to reach near Allah’s Throne (‘Arsh), the Qur’an will take you there. If you receive only a few drops from the ocean, do not blame the Qur’an, blame yourselves. For the whole ocean is there waiting for him who knows how to take it.

B. Incomprehensible contradictions

The cruel jokes which we Muslims play with the Holy Qur’an are so insane that if we saw someone else doing such things in any other sphere of life, we would mock them and even brand them as lunatics. Tell me, what you would say if somebody got a doctor’s prescription and hung it around his neck after wrapping it in a peace of cloth or washed it in water and drank it? Would you not laugh at him and call him a fool? Yet this is the very treatment being given before your eyes to the matchless prescription written by the greatest of all doctors to provide a cure for all your ailments and nobody laugh! No one even reflects that a prescription is not meant to be hung round the neck nor is its words to be washed in water and drunk.

Tell me, what you would think if someone who was ill picked up a book on medicine and began to read it, believing and thinking that this would cure him? Would you not say that he was deranged? Yet this is how we treat the Book which the supreme Healer has sent for the cure of all our diseases. We think that just by flicking through all its pages, our diseases will disappear without our following the directions given in them or abstaining from the things which they pronounce harmful. Are we not in the same situation as the man who considers that reading a book on medicine will cure his illness?

If you receive a business letter ion a language you do not know, you go to a man who knows the language to find out what it says. You remain anxious and restless until you have found out what the letter says, even though it will bring only some paltry worldly profit. But the letter sent to you by the Lord of the worlds which can bring you all the benefits of this world and the eternal life is carelessly set aside. You do not show any uneasiness by not understanding its contents. Is this not astonishing?

I am not trying to make you laugh. Reflect for a while on these facts and your hearts will tell you that the greatest possible injustice is being done to the Book of Allah. Ironically, the culprits are the very people who proclaim their faith in it and proclaim their readiness to sacrifice their lives for it. No doubt they do have faith in it and love it more than their lives, but the pity is that it is they, more than anyone else, who treat it outrageously. And the consequences of such treatment are quite plain to see.

 (To be continue)

by Abul A’la Mauwdudi