The Moral Values of The Qur'an
(27 - 35)
27. Humbling One's Self in Prayer
Prayer is very important since it is the visible expression of man’s being a Muslim. However, The Qur’an expresses disapproval of such prayer as is offered without sincerity:
“ Woe to the praying ones, who are unmindful of their prayers; Those who (want but) to be seen (of man).” (Surat al-Maun, 107:4-6)
That means that what makes our regular prayers proper is not the actual movements, e.g. bowing, prostrating oneself, etc., but their aim and the kind of thought given to them. Some people pray just to show others that they are “Muslims,” but instead of gaining ground with Allah, they are committing a great transgression.
What gives our prayers rectitude is our consciousness that we are prostrating ourselves before Allah only in order to express our devotion to Him. That is why Allah commands believers to “ stand before Allah in a devout (frame of mind.) ” (Surat al-Baqara, 2:238)
Another verse describes the believers as "those who offer their prayers with all solemnity and submissiveness.” (Surat al-Mumenoon, 23:2). Solemnity in this verse means experiencing fear accompanied by deep respect and having one’s heart filled with awe. Such a prayer increases one's faith and closeness to Allah. It keeps man standing firm.
In another verse regular prayers are described:
“Recite the what is sent of the Book by inspiration to you, and establish regular prayer: for prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that you do.” (Surat al-Ankaboot, 29:45)
28. Celebrating the Praises of Allah
All topics of faith that we have mentioned till now, require a complete devotion to Allah, to live and to struggle for Him. This dedication cannot be attained unless there is a close contact with Allah and the way to it, is through “remembering and turning to Allah”. Believers should remember their Creator, always, praise Him and turn to Him in repentance as commanded in the Qur’an: “Believers! Celebrate the praises of Allah, and do this often.” (Surat al-Ahzab, 33:42)
This is what will make the believer “a companion of Allah ” just like the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham).
Accordingly, the believers should be grateful to Allah for the favor given to them, and ask for repentance from Allah for their evil deeds. Moreover, they should call on Allah for everything they need and praise Him as often as they can.
“Bring your Lord to remembrance in your (very) soul, with humility and in reverence, without loudness in words, in the mornings and in the evenings; and do not be of those who are unheedful.” (Surat al-A’raf, 7:205)
It is expressed thus in another verse: “...and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt....” (Surat al-Ankaboot, 29:45). Without remembrance of Allah, all prayers would lose their value. If these prayers are not performed by remembering Allah and seeking for His good pleasure, then they may be turned into unpaid deeds. When the Qur’an informs us about the attributes of the prophets, it emphasizes how they turn to Allah. In the 30th verse of Surah 38 (Sad), Allah says, “to Dawud (David) We gave Sulaiman (Solomon) - How excellent in Our service! Ever did he turn (to Us)!” of the Prophet Ayub (Job), Allah says: “ Truly, We found him full of patience and constancy. How excellent in Our service! Ever did he turn (to Us)!” (Surah Sad, 38:44)
29. Remembering Allah In Adversity
Life’s goal for a believer is to worship Allah. One of the most significant ways of worshipping is done through communicating Allah’s message to people everywhere, and struggling against the companions of Satan. This struggle is usually very severe and harsh because most of the time “the companions of Satan" are better equipped.
The believers are unaffected by this, because they are aware of the real cause and effect functioning of the world. And this reality tells them that victory has nothing to do with superiority in numbers or strength, but with the command and will of Allah. Indeed, true religion has to its credit many victories of faith: “How often, by Allah’s will, has a small force vanquished a big one? Allah is with those who steadfastly persevere.” (Surat al-Baqara, 2:249) It is pure faith that leads to victory. This mysterious truth, which cannot be understood by unbelievers, is explained in the verse below:
“O you who believe! When you meet a force, be firm, and call Allah in remembrance much (and often), that you may prosper.”(Surat al-Anfal,8:45)
30. Reciting The Revelations of Allah
As expressed in the 7th verse of the 73rd Surah (al-Muzzammil), there are prolonged occupations in the day time for the believers. Surely, these occupations are for the benefit of religion even if they may require the believers to function in irreligious environments, becoming involved in profane societies.
Even in the midst of these worldly affairs the believers keep their faith in Allah and never lose sight of the spiritual point of view.
“Men whom neither trade nor sale can divert from the remembrance of Allah, nor from regular prayer, nor from the practice of regular charity. Their (only) fear is for the Day when men’s hearts and eyes will overturned (from horror)” (Surat an-Nur, 24:37)
An important aspect of this virtue is keeping the revelations of Allah in mind. In the Qur'an, this important practice is emphasised in the following verse: “And recite what is revealed to you in yourhomes, of the Signs of Allah and His Wisdom: for Allah understands the finest mysteries and is well-acquainted (with them).” (Surat al-Ahzab, 33:34). As long as believers keep the Qur’an’s verses in mind, they will correctly construe their manifestations in daily life and, in consequence, will feel closer to Allah.
31. Avoiding Profane Talk
Believers are not interested in profane and useless talk and affairs. They find no satisfaction in such things and for them they are without value. They become involved in worldly affairs only if some benefit is to accrue to the cause of Allah. That is why believers are described in Qur’an as those “who avoid vain talk.” (Surat al-Mumenoon, 23:3)
The above verse emphasizes that when a believer comes in contact with profane talk or events, he should turn his back and do something else useful for the divine Cause. This is the right behavior to please Allah. In order to do this, the believers should always be cautious, and know what they are doing. It would not be appropriate for a believer to argue with ignorant and shallow people except where some gain is to be achieved for the Cause. The Qur’an explains the ideal manner:
“When they hear vain talk, they turn away therefromand say: ‘To us our deed and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not the ignorant.’ ” (Surat al-Qasas, 28:55)
“They who do not bear witness to what is false, and when they pass by what is vain, they pass by nobly.” (Surat al-Furqan, 25:72)
When a believer becomes free from his current work, he should continue with another useful task. As the verse explains: “Therefore, when you are free (from your immediate task), still labour hard, And to your Lord turn (all) your attention.” (Surat al-Inshirah, 94:7-8)
32. Being Moderate
To be moderate necessitates behaviour which remains within the boundaries of the Qur’an: that is, doing what is lawful and avoiding what is forbidden. This requires a well-balanced outlook. When believers become involved with profane societies, they should never act as their members do. Believers should always obey what has been decreed by the Qur’an, remaining consistently temperate in their approach.
However, this is definitely not something to be done just when the believers are in a society other than their own; they should also be of the same temper among the believers. There are also some situations when special attention should be paid to propriety:
“O you who believe! Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor speak aloud to him in talk as you may speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds become vain and you perceive not.” (Surat al-Hujraat, 49:2)
Moreover, the risk of behaving immoderatelymay even occur in doing something which is legitimate. This is because not every manner fits every situation. A way of speaking or behaving may sometimes be “unsuitable” or “improper” although it is not forbidden. That is why the believer should avoid being sharp-tongued or indulging in any other extremes of behaviour. He should try to develop his personality so as not to become nervous or very excited, and should never lose his temper or misbehave. The Qur’an expresses disapproval of conduct which is not consistently marked by moderation:
“No misfortune befalls on the earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of Decrees, before We bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy for Allah. In order that you may not despair over matters that pass you by, nor exult over favours bestowed upon you. For Allah does not love any vainglorious boaster.” (Surat al-Hadid, 57:22-23)
33. The Angels are Witness
People think that they are “all alone” if they are not seen by others. However, this is not really true. First of all, Allah is always with us, and sees and hears everything we do. Moreover, there are also invisible witnesses beside us who never leave us. These are the angels assigned to be our guardians, who record everything we do. The Qur’an informs us about this mystery:
“It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein. Behold, two (guardian angels) appointed to learn (his doings and note them), one sitting on the right and one on the left. Not a word does he utter but there is a sentinel by him, ready (to note it) (Surah Qaf, 50:16-18)
What is noted down by these angels shall be revealed on the Day of Judgment, when people will be interrogated about their deeds on earth. The Qur’anexplains what will happen on that day:
“Then he who is given his book in his right hand, soon will his account be taken by an easy recknoning, and he will return to his people, rejoicing! But he who is given his book behind his back, soon will he cry for perdition and he will enter a blazing fire. Truly he lived among his people (in the world), rejoicing! Truly he thought that he would not have to return to Us! Nay, for his Lord was (ever) watchful of him!” (Surat al-Inshiqaq, 84:7-15)
34. Writing Down Transactions
People, by nature, are forgetful. That is why Allah commands the believers to write down transactions between them in the presence of witnesses:
“O you who believe! when you deal with each other in contracting a debt for a fixed time, then write it down; and let a scribe write it down between you with fairness; and the scribe should not refuse to write asAllah has taught him, so he should write; and let him who owes the debt dictate, and he should be careful of (his duty to) Allah, his Lord, and not diminish anything from it; but if he who owes the debt is unsound in understanding, or weak, or (if) he is not able to dictate himself, let his guardian dictate with fairness; and call in to witness from among your men two witnesses; but if there are not two men, then one man and two women from among those whom you choose to be witnesses, so that if one of the two errs, the second of the two may remind the other; and the witnesses should not refuse when they are summoned; and be not averse to writing it (whether it is) small or large, with the time of its falling due; this is more equitable in the sight of Allah and assures greater accuracy in testimony, and the nearest (way) that you may not entertain doubts (afterwards), except when it is ready merchandise which you give and take among yourselves from hand to hand, then there is no blame on you in not writing it down; and have witnesses when you barter with one another, and let no harm be done to the scribe or to the witness; and if you do (it) then surely it will be a transgression in you, and be careful of (your duty) to Allah, Allah teaches you, and Allah knows all things.” (Surat al-Baqara, 2:282)
In another verse, it is stated that it would be better to remit debts:
“If the debtor is in difficulty, grant him time till it is easy for him to repay. But if you remit it by way of charity, that is best for you if you only knew.” (Surat al-Baqara, 2:280)
35. Saying Something Which One Will Not Do
Believers are obligated to keep their promises, just as decreed in the Qur’an: “Fulfill (every) engagement, for (every) engagement will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning).” (Surat al-Isra, 17:34)
Being trustworthy is one of the foremost characteristics of the believers. All the messengers have proved their righteousness to their people and been know as trustworthy and decent people. Fulfilling every engagement is a significant part of this trustworthiness.
Believers should keep their promises, and never commit themselves to anything which they think they will not be able to fulfill. It is said in the Qur’an as follows:
“O you who believe, why do you say that which you do not do? Greviously odious is it in the sight of Allah that you say that you do not do.” (Surat as-Saff, 61:2-3)