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Old 03-28-2018, 08:26 AM
 
3,167 posts, read 1,040,005 times
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Arabic word in the Qur'an translated into English as "soul" is "nafs". Some people confuse it with the word "spirit" ("ruh" in Arabic) but both are not the same. Ruh is spirit (a command from God) and nafs is soul.

In the Qur'an, nafs (soul) carries two meanings. In some ayat (verses) it is a person's inner and individual self (nafs) and in some it is referring to a person as a whole as individual person. In both cases, it is individual self (nafs).

[31.28] Neither your creation nor your raising is anything but as a single soul; surely Allah is Hearing, Seeing.
مَا خَلْقُكُمْ وَلَا بَعْثُكُمْ إِلَّا كَنَفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ بَصِيرٌ


We are all individual souls and will be resurrected as individual souls.

Another way of understanding "nafs" ("soul") is to understand it as something being taken away from us by God at the time of our sleep and at the time of our death. At each time, we are not fully aware of ourself and unable to make decisions consciously.

[39.42] Allah takes the souls at the time of their death, and those that die not during their sleep; then He withholds those on whom He has passed the decree of death and sends the others back till an appointed term; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.
اللَّهُ يَتَوَفَّى الْأَنْفُسَ حِينَ مَوْتِهَا وَالَّتِي لَمْ تَمُتْ فِي مَنَامِهَا ۖ فَيُمْسِكُ الَّتِي قَضَىٰ عَلَيْهَا الْمَوْتَ وَيُرْسِلُ الْأُخْرَىٰ إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ


Originally each "nafs" is created perfect. It is clean and pure at its creation. It begins with a clean slate.

[91.7] And the soul and Him Who made it perfect proportion,
وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا


[91.8] Then He inspired it to understand what is right and wrong for it;
فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا


[91.9] He will indeed achieve salvation who purifies it,
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ زَكَّاهَا


[91.10] And he will indeed fail who corrupts it.
وَقَدْ خَابَ مَنْ دَسَّاهَا


A person learns what is right and what is wrong for his/her soul through inspiration from God.

An adult person can either keep it pure by doing righteous deeds and doing no evil deeds (as is expected of Caliph on earth at its creation) or make it impure (corrupt it) by doing evil deeds and then bear the consequences for his/her actions (the consequence of having accepted accountability by accepting freewill/trust).

[33.72] Surely We offered the trust (accountability through freewill) to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they refused to be unfaithful to it and feared from it, and man has turned unfaithful to it; surely he is unjust, ignorant.
إِنَّا عَرَضْنَا الْأَمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأَبَيْنَ أَنْ يَحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا الْإِنْسَانُ ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ ظَلُومًا جَهُولًا

As for God inspiring our souls to understand what is right and wrong for each soul, we can go back to what God had said to Adam and Eve:

[2.38] We said: Go forth from this (state) together; so surely there will come to you a guidance from Me, then whoever follows My guidance, no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve.
قُلْنَا اهْبِطُوا مِنْهَا جَمِيعًا ۖ فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُمْ مِنِّي هُدًى فَمَنْ تَبِعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

It is this guidance that inspires us to understand what is right and wrong for our souls and, therefore, for us.

[87.14] He indeed shall have salvation who purifies himself,
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ تَزَكَّىٰ


[87.15] And magnifies the name of his Lord and prays.
وَذَكَرَ اسْمَ رَبِّهِ فَصَلَّىٰ


The guidance/inspiration will lead us to understand that this life on earth is only a temporary life and our salvation in the everlasting hereafter depends on us understanding what is right and wrong for us and living this life according to what is right for us (doing good deeds and living according to the original purpose of our creation).

[29.6] And whoever strives hard, he strives only for his own soul; most surely God is Self-sufficient, above (need of) the worlds.
وَمَنْ جَاهَدَ فَإِنَّمَا يُجَاهِدُ لِنَفْسِهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ


[41.46] Whoever does good, it is for his own soul, and whoever does evil, it is against it; and your Lord is not in the least unjust to the servants.
مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَنْ أَسَاءَ فَعَلَيْهَا ۗ وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِظَلَّامٍ لِلْعَبِيدِ


Clinging to this earth (the material world) as if it is the beginning and the end of it all is futile. We are to lose it sooner or later regardless of how much we try to cling on to it.

[87.16] Nay! You prefer the life of this world,
بَلْ تُؤْثِرُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا

[87.17] While the hereafter is better and more lasting.
وَالْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰ


Let's try to purify our souls by doing good deeds and refraining from doing evil acts if we are to hope for salvation of our souls (ourselves)!

[53.32] Those who keep aloof from the great sins and the indecencies but the passing idea; surely your Lord is liberal in forgiving. He knows you best when He brings you forth from the earth and when you are embryos in the wombs of your mothers; therefore do not attribute purity to your souls; He knows him best who are conscious (of God and are righteous).
الَّذِينَ يَجْتَنِبُونَ كَبَائِرَ الْإِثْمِ وَالْفَوَاحِشَ إِلَّا اللَّمَمَ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ وَاسِعُ الْمَغْفِرَةِ ۚ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِكُمْ إِذْ أَنْشَأَكُمْ مِنَ الْأَرْضِ وَإِذْ أَنْتُمْ أَجِنَّةٌ فِي بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ ۖ فَلَا تُزَكُّوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ ۖ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنِ اتَّقَىٰ


We can't claim that our souls are still pure. Only God knows which ones of us have done good and which ones have done bad deeds. This will be revealed on the Day of judgment.

[82.19] The day on which no soul shall control anything for (another) soul; and the command on that day shall be entirely Allah's.
يَوْمَ لَا تَمْلِكُ نَفْسٌ لِنَفْسٍ شَيْئًا ۖ وَالْأَمْرُ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلَّهِ


[3.185] Every soul shall taste of death, and you shall only be paid fully your reward on the resurrection day; then whoever is removed far away from the fire and is made to enter the garden he indeed has attained the object; and the life of this world is nothing but a life of self-delusion. .
كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ ۗ وَإِنَّمَا تُوَفَّوْنَ أُجُورَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۖ فَمَنْ زُحْزِحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَأُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَقَدْ فَازَ ۗ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ

Aim for the ever-lasting hereafter rather than the temporary life on earth thinking that the life on earth is going to be everlasting for us. The latter would be nothing but self-delusion. It is a trial and so is our worldly possessions and our children (64:15).
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Old 03-31-2018, 03:22 AM
 
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Nafs (a person's soul or person himself/herself) is created perfect/pure (at its creation) but is then left to the person to keep it pure or corrupt it according to what s/he does as an adult in this life on earth.

This is why it is often said today that one is product of his/her experience. One's personality, individvality, a particular uniqness that distinguishes one personality from the others (other than by one's physical appearance) develops overtime. Circumstances, experiences, knowledge (learning and receiving guidance) plays a major role in one's personality development.

To take the guidance from God/Allah, sent through His messengers, one must first believe in God and then be conscious of God when doing any act which will have an impact on one's individuality/personality if one is not to corrupt his/her soul (nafs, individual self).

[2.38] We said: Go forth from this (state) together; so surely there will come to you a guidance from Me, then whoever follows My guidance, no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve.
قُلْنَا اهْبِطُوا مِنْهَا جَمِيعًا ۖ فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُمْ مِنِّي هُدًى فَمَنْ تَبِعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ


[20.123] He said: Get forth you two therefrom, together, one of you enemy to another. So there will surely come to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My guidance, he shall not go astray nor be unhappy.
قَالَ اهْبِطَا مِنْهَا جَمِيعًا ۖ بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ ۖ فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُمْ مِنِّي هُدًى فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشْقَىٰ


This is why nafs (soul) is mentioned in the Qur'an sometime as "your soul" and sometime "you" as a soul. You are (an individual) as your soul is (an individual personality minus physical appearance). Physical appearance doesn't make good or bad personality but one's conduct distinguishes good or bad personality.

This brings me to the point that we need to take care of our personality (soul/nafs) and not corrupt it by doing evil deeds if we are to serve the purpose for which we were created (to be Caliph on earth).

Continuation of humanity on earth, in peace, depends on how human personalities are to act. This is why our actions are very important for existence of humanity on earth.

Learning in schools and colleges prepares us for the seen and physical side of life on earth. Allah/God prepares us through Him guiding us about the spiritual and unseen world (Qur'an 2:2-3). This is why we need to believe, be conscious of God and act righteously (by doing good deeds) after learning what is right and what is wrong for us (for our souls).

[91.7] And the soul and Him Who made it perfect,
وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا

[91.8] Then He inspired it to understand what is right and wrong for it.
فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا


We can keep our souls pure (after taking guidance from God) and by not doing evil deeds or corrupt them by being greedy for the material things in this life on earth (by clinging to the earth).

[19.76] And God increases in guidance those who go aright; and ever-abiding good works are with your Lord best in recompense and best in yielding fruit.
وَيَزِيدُ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ اهْتَدَوْا هُدًى ۗ وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِنْدَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ مَرَدًّا


[64.16]Therefore be conscious of Allah/God as much as you can, and hear and obey and spend (benovelently), it is better for your souls; and whoever is saved from the greediness of his soul, these it is that are the successful (are achieving salvation).
فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ وَاسْمَعُوا وَأَطِيعُوا وَأَنْفِقُوا خَيْرًا لِأَنْفُسِكُمْ ۗ وَمَنْ يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ


[41.46] Whoever does good, it is for his own soul, and whoever does evil, it is against it; and your Lord is not in the least unjust to the servants.
مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَنْ أَسَاءَ فَعَلَيْهَا ۗ وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِظَلَّامٍ لِلْعَبِيدِ


[45.15] Whoever does good, it is for his own soul, and whoever does evil, it is against himself; then you shall be made to return to your Lord.
مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَنْ أَسَاءَ فَعَلَيْهَا ۖ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ تُرْجَعُونَ


Let's not do anything that will make our souls to perish!

[35.10] Whoever desires honor, then to God belongs the honor wholly. To Him do ascend the good words; and the good deeds, lift them up, and those who plan evil deeds, they shall have a severe chastisement; and their plan, it shall perish.
مَنْ كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْعِزَّةَ فَلِلَّهِ الْعِزَّةُ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِلَيْهِ يَصْعَدُ الْكَلِمُ الطَّيِّبُ وَالْعَمَلُ الصَّالِحُ يَرْفَعُهُ ۚ وَالَّذِينَ يَمْكُرُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ ۖ وَمَكْرُ أُولَٰئِكَ هُوَ يَبُورُ
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Old 04-02-2018, 03:24 AM
 
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The Qur'an was revealed in Arabic language but Arabic is not the first language of majority of Muslims. Therefore most rely mainly on their clerics to explain them about the verses and the deen.

What I have learnt through studying the Arabic Qur'an, using various English translations, is that there are Arabic words in the Qur'an that have been translated differently by various translators as well as odd one translated wrongly. This has made me study the Qur'an even more deeply to find not only the correct translation but also why a certain word is translated differently by different translators.

My own first language is not Arabic but a sister language to Arabic with many Arabic words in it. This has helped me to not only to understand quite a bit of the Arabic Qur'an easily but also be able to see any mistranslation in English. One such example is the verse 17:85 and the Arabic word "ruh" in it.

وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الرُّوحِ ۖ قُلِ الرُّوحُ مِنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّي وَمَا أُوتِيتُمْ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا

The word "ruh" is mentioned twice in this verse.

[17.85] And they ask you about the soul. Say: The soul is one of the commands of my Lord, and you are not given aught of knowledge but a little. (Shakir)

[17:85] They will ask thee concerning the Spirit. Say: The Spirit is by command of my Lord, and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little. (Pickthall)

I realized that Shakir is wrong to translate "ruh" into English as "soul". Pickthall is correct to translate it as "spirit". "Spirit" should not be confused with "soul".

Another point to note in understanding the Qur'an properly is to take every single verse on the same issue and overlook or exclude no verse in the Qur'an on the same issue. Only by doing so we would reach the heart of that matter/issue.

All those who misinterpret the Qur'an verses out of Muslims or those who criticise the Qur'an out of non-muslims make one major mistake; they overlook or ignore at least one other verse of the Qur'an on the same issue or topic. One can't do that if studying or criticising the Qur'an. They cannot criticise the Qur'an that way as the Qur'an answers their criticism in at least one other verse (which they ignore on purpose).

Another often misinterpreted and mistranslated verse is the verse 51:56.

[51.56] And I have not created the jinn and the humans except that they serve Me.
وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنْسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ


There are translators who begin to translate this verse with "I created the jinn and mankind" (Pickthall) and "I have created only jinns and men" (Yusuf Ali). Both begin with mistranslation. This has given rise to misinterpretation of this verse by most of the scholars and clerics. To begin with, the verse is not saying "I created" but "I create not".

The words at the beginning, "wa ma khalaq", must not be ignored. "I created not" is giving us a message for what purpose we were "not created" for. The verse is not telling us for which purpose we were "created" for but for which purpose we were "not created" for.

Many people have completely misunderstood this verse and have assumed that humans were created only for worshiping God. Humans were created to be khalifah on earth. This was the real purpose of creation of human that God had revealed to the angels (Qur'an 2:30).

The verse 51:56 is telling us that jinn and humans were not created to worship anything or anyone other than God. It is not saying that humans were created only to worship God. In context, it is telling us that we were not created to worship idols. The difference is subtle but a major one and needs to be understood properly.

There isn't even one verse in the Qur'an in which it is said that humans were created to only worship God.

Angels were created to only serve and worship God but creation of humans and being placed on earth was for another major purpose and not only for worship.

If we take example of God creating the heavens and the earth with truth, it is clearly stated in the Qur'an.

[29.44] Allah created the heavens and the earth with truth...
خَلَقَ اللَّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ بِالْحَقِّ


So we learn that God created the heavens and the earth with truth. But then God says in 46:3 that He did not create the heavens and the earth except with truth.

[46.3] We did not create the heavens and the earth and what is between them two except with truth...
مَا خَلَقْنَا السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ


Here in 46:3, God is saying that He did not create the heavens and the earth in falsehood or in vain. The words "except with truth" means "other than with truth". Other than with truth means either with "falsehood" or "in vain". That's why God did not say that He created the heavens and the earth except with truth. Because that would have meant, God created the heavens and the earth in falsehood or in vain (other than truth).

The Qur'an is not just for reading but also for pondering over its verses so that we may understand it properly.

[38.29] (It is) a Book We have revealed to you abounding in good that they may ponder over its verses, and that those endowed with understanding may be mindful.
كِتَابٌ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:22 PM
 
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We often encounter people (some non-Muslims as well as some of those who profess to be Muslims) who make false claim that the Qur'an demands Muslims to kill all non-Muslims, including the Jews and the Christians. Nothing can be further from the truth than such a claim.

I am now about to shed light on what God has said through the revelation of the Qur'an as to how believers are to deal with the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) and other non-Muslims who may not have any religion.

There isn't even one verse in the Qur'an in which Muslims are commanded to fight or kill a peaceful person of any religion or of no religion.

Instead, Muslims/believers are allowed to fight but in defense only, which is right of any human being. What Muslims must not do is initiate a fight or initiate killing.

Limits are set in the Qur'an regarding the rules of engagement. One slap in return against one slap is justice but the Qur'an guides Muslims to initially forgive rather than return that one slap. Retribution and reprisal is allowed if such slapping carries on. Forgiving is preferred to reprisal in the first instance.

Under no circumstance the Qur'an commands Muslims to give two slaps against just one slap. That would be crossing the limit set in the Qur'an.

The Qur'an, as a guide, has set many such limits for various issues, circumstances and cases. Those limits must not be crossed by Muslims/believers. Crossing those limits would be regarded as transgression and disbelief. God does not love those who cross the limits He has set.

[7.55] Call on your Lord humbly and secretly; surely He does not love those who exceed the limits.
ادْعُوا رَبَّكُمْ تَضَرُّعًا وَخُفْيَةً ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ


[7.56] And do not make mischief in the earth after its reformation, and call on Him fearing and hoping; surely the mercy of God is nigh to those who do good (to others).
وَلَا تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ بَعْدَ إِصْلَاحِهَا وَادْعُوهُ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا ۚ إِنَّ رَحْمَتَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ مِنَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ


To be closer to God spiritually, we must not make mischief on earth, must not initiate harm to any living being, and we must do good to others. Our salvation rests on doing good deeds.

The next verse is about hajj and the training we receive during the hajj journey that can be then used during our life when we return. I am leaving out the part about hajj to concentrate on the point being made about the topic in this post.

[5.2] O you who believe! ... and let not hatred of a people-- because they hindered you from the Sacred Masjid-- incite you to exceed the limits, and help one another in goodness and piety, and do not help one another in sin and aggression; and be conscious of God; surely God is severe in requiting (evil).
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُحِلُّوا شَعَائِرَ اللَّهِ وَلَا الشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَلَا الْهَدْيَ وَلَا الْقَلَائِدَ وَلَا آمِّينَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ وَرِضْوَانًا ۚ وَإِذَا حَلَلْتُمْ فَاصْطَادُوا ۚ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ أَنْ صَدُّوكُمْ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ أَنْ تَعْتَدُوا ۘ وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ


Unbelievers of Mecca had prevented the believers from visiting Mecca and praying in the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al Haram). Muslims did not like this treatment. God then guided Muslims not to exceed the limit in reprisal. Preventing them from the Mosque in return would be justice but killing them in return would be exceeding the limit.

God guides Muslims to do justice even to their enemies and the non-believers. This is one way of creating friendship whereas there was enmity before between the two.

[60.7] It may be that God will bring about friendship between you and those whom you hold to be your enemies among them; and God is Powerful; and God is Forgiving, Merciful.
عَسَى اللَّهُ أَنْ يَجْعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَ الَّذِينَ عَادَيْتُمْ مِنْهُمْ مَوَدَّةً ۚ وَاللَّهُ قَدِيرٌ ۚ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ


Even though God is Powerful. God is also Forgiving and Merciful. If man is to be in His image, His appointed vicegerent on earth, and a godly person then he too has to be forgiving.

One way of making your assumed enemy your friend is to stretch your hand of friendship towards him.

[60.8] God does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely God loves the doers of justice.
لَا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُمْ مِنْ دِيَارِكُمْ أَنْ تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ


[60.9] God only forbids you respecting those who made war upon you on account of (your) religion, and drove you forth from your homes and backed up (others) in your expulsion, that you make friends with them, and whoever makes friends with them, these are the unjust.
إِنَّمَا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ قَاتَلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَأَخْرَجُوكُمْ مِنْ دِيَارِكُمْ وَظَاهَرُوا عَلَىٰ إِخْرَاجِكُمْ أَنْ تَوَلَّوْهُمْ ۚ وَمَنْ يَتَوَلَّهُمْ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ


It's obvious from the above three verses that the Qur'an does not forbid Muslims from being friendly with peaceful non-Muslims (including Jews and Christians). One way to be friend with other peaceful people is to be peaceful with them and doing good to them.

There isn't even one verse in the Qur'an that requires us to attack peaceful non-Muslims (of any religion or of no religion).

Rules of engagement regarding fighting are, "fight those who attack you" (2:190) and "stop fighting when the enemy stops attacking" (2:192-193). Carrying on when the enemy has stopped is crossing the limits set in the Qur'an.

[9.13] What! Will you not fight a people who broke their oaths and aimed at the expulsion of the messenger, and they attacked you first; do you fear them? But God is most deserving that you should fear Him, if you are believers.
أَلَا تُقَاتِلُونَ قَوْمًا نَكَثُوا أَيْمَانَهُمْ وَهَمُّوا بِإِخْرَاجِ الرَّسُولِ وَهُمْ بَدَءُوكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ ۚ أَتَخْشَوْنَهُمْ ۚ فَاللَّهُ أَحَقُّ أَنْ تَخْشَوْهُ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ


Clearly, fighting is prescribed in defense only (when they attack us first).

[2.190] And fight in the way of God with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely God does not love those who exceed the limits.
وَقَاتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ


[2.191] And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers (who had attacked first).
وَاقْتُلُوهُمْ حَيْثُ ثَقِفْتُمُوهُمْ وَأَخْرِجُوهُمْ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَخْرَجُوكُمْ ۚ وَالْفِتْنَةُ أَشَدُّ مِنَ الْقَتْلِ ۚ وَلَا تُقَاتِلُوهُمْ عِنْدَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ حَتَّىٰ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِيهِ ۖ فَإِنْ قَاتَلُوكُمْ فَاقْتُلُوهُمْ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ الْكَافِرِينَ


[2.192] But if they desist, then surely God is Forgiving, Merciful.
فَإِنِ انْتَهَوْا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ


[2.193] And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for God, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors.

وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّىٰ لَا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ لِلَّهِ ۖ فَإِنِ انْتَهَوْا فَلَا عُدْوَانَ إِلَّا عَلَى الظَّالِمِينَ


These verses were revealed after Muslims were forced to flee from their homes to save their lives just because their religion was about worshiping God rather than worshiping idols. And then even after that they were attacked in Madina when 325 miles from their homes.

In the final analysis, according to the Qur'an, there should be no hostility against any peaceful person of any religion or of no religion. God has set this limit for true believers. Anyone who crosses this limit is a transgressor (according to the Qur'an) even if he professes to be a Muslim.

[9.67] The hypocritical men and the hypocritical women are all alike; they enjoin evil and forbid good and withhold their hands; they have forsaken God, so He has forsaken them; surely the hypocrites are the transgressors.
الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ مِنْ بَعْضٍ ۚ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمُنْكَرِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَقْبِضُونَ أَيْدِيَهُمْ ۚ نَسُوا اللَّهَ فَنَسِيَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

The true believers enjoin good and forbid doing evil acts. They also help poor people and obey whatever is commanded by God through the Qur'an.

[9.71] And (as for) the believing men and the believing women, they are guardians of each other; they enjoin good and forbid evil and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, and obey God and His messenger; (as for) these, God will show mercy to them; surely God is Mighty, Wise.
وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللَّهُ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
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Old 04-19-2018, 01:32 AM
 
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Summary of the points made in my last post, according to the Qur'an:

Muslims are not commanded to kill all non-Muslims.

Muslims can be friendly with peaceful non-Muslims (60:8-9).

There is no compulsion in religion both ways (2:256).

We are not to fight those who do not fight or wage war on us (2:192-193).

In any fight, if enemy stops fighting us and inclines to peace, we must also incline to peace (8:61).

No retribution/reprisal but forgiveness initially. Retribution and reprisal must be only for justice and not to cross the limits set. Initially, forgiveness is better than reprisal (5:45).

No aggression against peaceful people (2:193).

Muslims are to help one another in goodness and piety, and are not to help one another in sin and aggression (5:2).

All people should be treated justly and with respect if they have not waged war on us because of our religion (60:8-9).

God of Jews, Christians and Muslims is the same (29:46).

The same God is worshiped in mosques, churches and synagogues (22:40).

Muslims are to preserve the above three places of worship as the same God is mentioned in these places.
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Old 04-25-2018, 08:29 AM
 
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I have already mentioned an important point in understanding the Qur'an better by taking every verse of the Qur'an into account that is on the same issue. Ignoring or overlooking even one verse on the same issue would mean ignoring the context and misinterpreting the verse or verses.

In this post, I am going to highlight not only the importance of the context but also another very important point in understanding the Qur'an properly.

The Qur'an was revealed in Arabic language. There are certain Arabic words and terms used in the Qur'an that cannot be translated precisely, in one word, into the English language. This is the main reason various translators translate certain words/terms in the Qur'an differently or in more than one words.

The reason behind difficulty in translating certain Arabic terms precisely into the English language is that (a) there is no precise English term for that Arabic word or term and (b) God has used precise terms in Arabic so that if it is translated wrongly into another language (and losing its true meaning) one has to come back to the precise Arabic term used in the Arabic Qur'an. God's words are used precisely. Misinterpreting or not trying to understand them will lead the culprit to a failure.

The Qur'an is a wonderfull book that needs to be not only read again and again but it needs to be understood if one is to take anything out of it in terms of the guidance in its message. The context of the message is within the Qur'an. Leaving out any part of the Qur'an could mean leaving out the context in which a certain verse was revealed.

Therefore, pondering over the ayat (verses) of the Qur'an in order to understand them is vital.

The words used for pondering over the ayat (verses) and understanding them are "tadubbur" (pronounced as "tadubbar") and "tazakkur" (pronounced as "tazakkar"). The former means to ponder/reflect/mediate and the latter means to remember after having understood.

[38.29] (It is) a Book We have revealed to you abounding in good that they may ponder over its verses, and that those endowed with understanding may be mindful.
كِتَابٌ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ
]

The word "liyaddabbarū" (لِيَدَّبَّرُوا) used in the above verse, translated as "they may ponder", is emphasizing more than just looking at the book or merely reading it but going further than that; pondering over the verses and understanding them properly.

[47.24] Will they then not ponder/meditate/reflect (tadubbur) on the Qur'an, or are there locks on the hearts?
أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا


[4.82] Do they not then ponder/meditate/reflect (tadubbur) on the Quran? And if it were from any other than God, they would have found in it many a discrepancy.
أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ ۚ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِنْدِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا


Therefore, "tadubbur" means pondering, thinking, reflecting, mediating, endeavouring to understand, consider and study repeatedly to know until it is known/understood.

The above can be done only if we used our intellect/intelligence ("aql" in Arabic). Using "aql" is to be sensible, reasonable rational and wise.

A-q-l as a verb has the following meanings:
To be sensible, rational, reasonable, intelligent, wise
To use Aql or faculty of reasoning
To understand
To withhold or restrain oneself from doing what is not befitting

Using "aql" is emphasized in the Qur'an in several verses.

[8:22) For the worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are the deaf and the dumb those who understand not (do not use "aql" and are not sensible, reasonable and rational).
إِنَّ شَرَّ الدَّوَابِّ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ الصُّمُّ الْبُكْمُ الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ


Those who will go to Hell will say,

[67:10] They will further say: "Had we but listened or used our intelligence/reasoned (used aql) we should not (now) be among the Companions of the Blazing Fire!"
وَقَالُوا لَوْ كُنَّا نَسْمَعُ أَوْ نَعْقِلُ مَا كُنَّا فِي أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ


[10:100] Notwithstanding that no human being can ever attain to faith otherwise than by God's leave, and [that] it is He who lays the loathsome evil [of disbelief] upon those who will not use their intelligence/reason (aql)?
وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفْسٍ أَنْ تُؤْمِنَ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَيَجْعَلُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ


There are several other verses in the Qur'an that emphasize using "aql" to understand verses of the Qur'an. Using "aql"/reason/sense/rationality/intelligence is very important in understanding the Qur'an. Nowhere in the Qur'an it is emphasized to accept everything in it blindly and without thinking or pondering over the ayat (verses).
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Old 04-28-2018, 03:31 PM
 
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In the previous post, I quoted the verse [4:82] on the importance of pondering over the verses of the Qur'an. Despite pondering on the verses of the Qur'an, one will not find any inner contradiction in the Qur'an.

[4.82] Do they not then ponder/meditate/reflect (tadubbur) on the Quran? And if it were from any other than God, they would have found in it many a discrepancy.
أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ ۚ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِنْدِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا


The Arabic word in this verse translated into English as "discrepancy" by Yusuf Ali and "inner contradiction" by Asad is "ikhtilaf".

The words used in the Qur'an (depending on the Arabic grammar and usage in pronounciation) are "ikhtilaf" and "ikhtalaf". These are to do with contradiction and difference in terms of opposite/opposition.

"Ikhtilaf" in the Qur'an would have been a serious matter just as it is in the people leading eventually to serious consequences. Initially, in people, it could be just a matter of thought or opinion but it could lead to division and opposition, as mankind history is witness, to very serious consequences for human beings. I will, inshaallah (God willing), come back to this point in my next few posts after this post.

There is no "ikhtilaf" in the verses of the Qur'an. There is no Ikhtilaf whatsoever in Qur'an. In fact God says if it had been from other than God there would have been much "Ikhtilaf" in it. So if there is "Ikhtilaf" in it, it is not from God. If it is from God, there is no "Ikhtilaf" in it.

Since being believers, we believe that it is from God and we shall have to believe that there is no "Ikhtilaf" in it at all. It is not just a matter of belief. Even if you are a non-muslim and you ponder on the Qur'an, you will find no "Ikhtilaf" in it. However, the condition is that you really ponder over all the verses of the Qur'an on the same issue, topic and the subject matter.

Not only that there is no "Ikhtilaf" in the Qur'an but it is the Book that casts out "Ikhtilaf"/"ikhtalaf". It decides the matters of "Ikhtilaf"/"ikhtalaf", as is clear in the following verse.

[2:213] Human beings were one community, and God sent (unto them) prophets as bearers of glad tidings and as warners, and revealed therewith the book with the truth that it might judge between mankind concerning that wherein they differed (had difference/ikhtalaf)
كَانَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ النَّبِيِّينَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنْذِرِينَ وَأَنْزَلَ مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فِيمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ


[16.64] And We have not revealed to you the Book except that you may make clear to them that about which they differ (had ikhtalaf)in it, and (as) a guidance and a mercy for a people who believe.
وَمَا أَنْزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ إِلَّا لِتُبَيِّنَ لَهُمُ الَّذِي اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ ۙ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ


This is why both the book of Moses and the Qur'an are declared in the Qur'an as "alfurqan". The message in each one, that came from God, was to judge the difference between right and wrong. between truth and falsehood, between good and bad so that there is no ikhtalaf in matter of deen (religion) from God. It is actually God through the messenger that makes things clear in the message of the Qur'an (2:242, 9:115, 24:18).
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Old 04-29-2018, 07:14 AM
 
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The Arabic word "ikhtilaf" in the Qur'an basically means difference as if there is disagreement between the two statements or between two people.

The Qur'an deals with this disagreement between the people in order to bring them on the same platform as one mankind in the best interests of humanity and peace on earth.

[2:213] Human beings were one community, and God sent (unto them) prophets as bearers of glad tidings and as warners, and revealed therewith the book with the truth that it might judge between mankind concerning that wherein they differed (had difference/ikhtalaf)
كَانَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ النَّبِيِّينَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنْذِرِينَ وَأَنْزَلَ مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فِيمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ


The difference ("ikhtilaf") leading to disagreement and opposition is what divides human beings. These differences and disagreements must be ironed out before such division leads to wars and killings.

Aim of the message of the Qur'an is not to create division but to get rid of divisions in the best interests of peace on earth.

The word used in the Arabic Qur'an for "division" (due to "ikhtilaf") is "tafarqa". This word comes from the Arabic root f r q. "Al-faraq" is a line created in a person's hair when combing in opposite directions. "Al-faraq" is due to "tafarqa" (division). And "al-freeq" or "al-friq" is a group of people that becomes separate from others. That group becomes a separate party ("friq") as a result of "ikhtilaf" and "tafarqa".

"Firq" means a separate part as in:

[26.63] Then We revealed to Moses: Strike the sea with your staff. So it had cloven asunder, and each part (firq) was like a huge mound/mountain.
فَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ مُوسَىٰ أَنِ اضْرِبْ بِعَصَاكَ الْبَحْرَ ۖ فَانْفَلَقَ فَكَانَ كُلُّ فِرْقٍ كَالطَّوْدِ الْعَظِيمِ


This is where the word "firqa" (sectarian group) comes from. It is due to division between the people normally due to some differences and disagreements in the matter of deen (religion).

As division in people due to disagreements, opposition, differences and, therefore, "ikhtilaf, "tafarqa", is not conducive to the good of peace and well being of mankind, the Qur'an is against mankind splitting (being divided) into each sectarian group (firqa). We have already seen the result of this division between people not only on the world stage but division in both Christians (Catholics and Protestants) and Muslims (Sunni and Shia and many others).

This "tafarqa" is not only due to ignorance (lack of knowledge) but in many cases due to envy AFTER knowledge has come to the people. Islam (the Qur'an) is against such "tafarqa" between the people. In the Qur'an, it is likened to polytheism, and the same eventual punishment as for shirk and polytheism.

[30.31-32] Turning to Him, and being conscious of Him, and keep up prayer and be not of the polytheists, of those who divided their religion and became sects every part rejoicing in what they had with them.
مُنِيبِينَ إِلَيْهِ وَاتَّقُوهُ وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَلَا تَكُونُوا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
مِنَ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُوا دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُوا شِيَعًا ۖ كُلُّ حِزْبٍ بِمَا لَدَيْهِمْ فَرِحُونَ


[6.159] Surely they who divided their religion into parts and became sects, you have no concern with them; their affair is only with God, then He will inform them of what they did.
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُوا دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُوا شِيَعًا لَسْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ ۚ إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُمْ إِلَى اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ


The Qur'an even illustrates the above point against division in case of building a mosque to cause division between the believers:

[9.107] And those who built a mosque to cause harm (diraran) and for unbelief (kufr) and to cause disunion (tafreeq) among the believers and an ambush to him who made war against God and His messenger before; and they will certainly swear: We did not desire aught but good; and God bears witness that they are most surely liars.
وَالَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مَسْجِدًا ضِرَارًا وَكُفْرًا وَتَفْرِيقًا بَيْنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَإِرْصَادًا لِمَنْ حَارَبَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ مِنْ قَبْلُ ۚ وَلَيَحْلِفُنَّ إِنْ أَرَدْنَا إِلَّا الْحُسْنَىٰ ۖ وَاللَّهُ يَشْهَدُ إِنَّهُمْ لَكَاذِبُونَ


[9.108] Never stand in it; certainly a mosque founded on piety from the very first day is more deserving that you should stand in it; in it are men who love that they should be purified; and God loves those who purify themselves.
لَا تَقُمْ فِيهِ أَبَدًا ۚ لَمَسْجِدٌ أُسِّسَ عَلَى التَّقْوَىٰ مِنْ أَوَّلِ يَوْمٍ أَحَقُّ أَنْ تَقُومَ فِيهِ ۚ فِيهِ رِجَالٌ يُحِبُّونَ أَنْ يَتَطَهَّرُوا ۚ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُطَّهِّرِينَ


So even building a mosque to cause division (tafreeq) between momineen (believers) is likened to harm, hurt and kufr (unbelief). One can easily see how much the message of the Qur'an is against division (tafreeq due to ikhtilaf and tafarqa) in people and in religion in particular.

So, "ikhtilaf" leads to "tafarqa", "tafreeq" and sectarian groups. Breaking into sectarian groups leads to serious harm, fighting, wars and killing of human beings. The message of the Qur'an is against it all and warns of great punishment for causing such division.

I hope to highlight in the post after the next post the eventual punishment mentioned in the Qur'an for such division in religion.
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Old 04-30-2018, 05:26 AM
 
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Causes of "Ikhtilaf" (difference and disagreement):

"Ikhtalaf" or difference of opinions or thoughts leads to Tafarqa or separation into groups. The main reason given by the Qur'an for Ikhtilaf is "baghyan" (rivalry,envy and jealousy). So it can be said that the main reasons people differ, after they have knowledge come unto them, is rivalry or selfish envy among themselves. Envy is resentful longing aroused by another's possessions or qualities. Rivalry is a competition with others for superiority. So it must have been this envy and rivalry between the proponents of different schools of thoughts, not only before the Qur'an but after the Qur'an as well. This is what has resulted in different sects or groups in religion. The following verses of the Qur'an refer to the reason of envy or rivalry for Ikhtilaf.

[45:17] And gave them plain commandments. And they differed not until after the knowledge came unto them, through rivalry among themselves. Lo! Thy Lord will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they used to differ.
وَآتَيْنَاهُمْ بَيِّنَاتٍ مِنَ الْأَمْرِ ۖ فَمَا اخْتَلَفُوا إِلَّا مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَهُمُ الْعِلْمُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَقْضِي بَيْنَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فِيمَا كَانُوا فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ


[42:14] And they became divided only after Knowledge reached them,- through selfish envy as between themselves...
...وَمَا تَفَرَّقُوا إِلَّا مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَهُمُ الْعِلْمُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ ۚ


[3:19] The Religion before God is the islam (submission to His Will): Nor did the People of the Book dissent/differ/disagreed therefrom except through envy of each other, after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the verses of God, God is swift in calling to account.
إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ الْإِسْلَامُ ۗ وَمَا اخْتَلَفَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ إِلَّا مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَهُمُ الْعِلْمُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ ۗ وَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ


[2:213] Human beings were one community, and God sent (unto them) prophets as bearers of glad tidings and as warners, and revealed therewith the book with the truth that it might judge between mankind concerning that wherein they differed (had difference/ikhtalaf). And only those unto whom it was given differed concerning it, after clear proofs/evidences had come unto them, through envy/jealousy one of another. And God by His will guided those who believe unto the truth of that concerning which they differed. God guideth whom He will unto a Straight path.
كَانَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ النَّبِيِّينَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنْذِرِينَ وَأَنْزَلَ مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فِيمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ ۚ وَمَا اخْتَلَفَ فِيهِ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ أُوتُوهُ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ ۖ فَهَدَى اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ مِنَ الْحَقِّ بِإِذْنِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ


These verses show us that people kept differing and disagreeing even after knowledge had kept coming to them.

All the above verses refer to the Ikhtilaf that occurs despite the knowledge. People have knowledge but do Ikhtilaf only because of selfish envy or rivalry among themselves.

The Qur'an has also alluded to other reasons (as in 4:157) that might also cause Ikhtilaf (difference or disagreement). These reasons could be "lack of knowledge" and "conjectures".

It can be said from the above verses that people do Ikhtilaf either because of no (certain) knowledge and conjectures, or if they have knowledge, they do Ikhtilaf because of selfish envy or rivalry among themselves.

Ikhtilaf, tafarqa and breaking into sects isn't confined to the People of the Book before the Qur'an but this pattern has carried on after the full knowledge revealed through the Qur'an had reached them. The believers in the Qur'an didn't break into sects until after the revelation of the Qur'an was complete.

A majority of our Mullas/Clerics and other people do Ikhtilaf due to these reasons whether they have certain knowledge or not.

The salaat congregation that was meant to create unity between Muslims has now become a dividing tool. Go to any market or anywhere there are (so called) Muslims and you will not be able to distinguish who belongs to which sect. But on the call for the prayer, when they will go to different mosques, you can distinguish who belongs to which sect or group. Has not our salaat congregation become a symbol of sects and division rather than a symbol of unity for all Muslims?

All this after the knowledge had come to the believers. They are now ignoring the knowledge that is with them in the Qur'an. No wonder it has been prophesized in the Qur'an:

[25.30] And the messenger cried out: O my Lord! Surely my people have treated this Qur'an as a forsaken thing.
وَقَالَ الرَّسُولُ يَا رَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ مَهْجُورًا


Most Muslims ignore the verses like:

[42.13] He has made plain to you of the religion what He enjoined upon Noah and that which We have revealed to you and that which We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus that keep to obedience and be not divided therein (have no tafarqa in it); hard to the unbelievers is that which you call them to; God chooses for Himself whom He pleases, and guides to Himself him who turns (to Him), frequently.
شَرَعَ لَكُمْ مِنَ الدِّينِ مَا وَصَّىٰ بِهِ نُوحًا وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ وَمَا وَصَّيْنَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ ۖ أَنْ أَقِيمُوا الدِّينَ وَلَا تَتَفَرَّقُوا فِيهِ ۚ كَبُرَ عَلَى الْمُشْرِكِينَ مَا تَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَيْهِ ۚ اللَّهُ يَجْتَبِي إِلَيْهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي إِلَيْهِ مَنْ يُنِيبُ


We are not to be divided in religion.

[10.93] And certainly We lodged the children of Israel in a goodly abode and We provided them with good things; but they did not disagree until the knowledge had come to them; surely your Lord will judge between them on the resurrection day concerning that in which they disagreed.
وَلَقَدْ بَوَّأْنَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ مُبَوَّأَ صِدْقٍ وَرَزَقْنَاهُمْ مِنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ فَمَا اخْتَلَفُوا حَتَّىٰ جَاءَهُمُ الْعِلْمُ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَقْضِي بَيْنَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فِيمَا كَانُوا فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ


So division had happened in the Children of Israel after knowledge had come to them.

[5.14] And with those who say, We are Christians, We made a covenant, but they neglected a portion of what they were reminded of, therefore We excited among them enmity and hatred to the day of resurrection; and God will inform them of what they did.
وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَىٰ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَهُمْ فَنَسُوا حَظًّا مِمَّا ذُكِّرُوا بِهِ فَأَغْرَيْنَا بَيْنَهُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاءَ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ ۚ وَسَوْفَ يُنَبِّئُهُمُ اللَّهُ بِمَا كَانُوا يَصْنَعُونَ


Jesus had come to the Children of Israel. They had split up again after the knowledge had come to them through Jesus.

It is interesting to note here that God doesn't name followers of Jesus "Christians" but they had called themselves "Christians". They too were to stay united as one brotherhood but broke into sects and the enmity to this day between Catholics and Protestants that is to carry on till the end. Sunni and Shia have learnt nothing from this verse and the others in the Qur'an. So enmity and hatred will carry on between them too till the end.

[6.159] Surely they who divided their religion into parts and became sects, you have no concern with them; their affair is only with God, then He will inform them of what they did.
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُوا دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُوا شِيَعًا لَسْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ ۚ إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُمْ إِلَى اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ


Muhammad and Muslims with him are clearly told that they have nothing to do with those who get divided in religion and break into sects.

How can Ikhtilaf be eliminated?

The Qur'an, which has defined Tafarqa, distintinguished between Tafarqa and Ikhtilaf, has outlined the causes and has also given the way to eliminate it.

[42.10] And in whatever thing you disagree, the judgment thereof is God's; that is God, my Lord, on Him do I rely and to Him do I turn time after time.
وَمَا اخْتَلَفْتُمْ فِيهِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ فَحُكْمُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبِّي عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَإِلَيْهِ أُنِيبُ


So in the matters where there are differences, the decision should be taken from God, which means to see what God has said in the Qur'an about any issue, matter, topic, because God has sent us the Qur'an to decide in matters in which people might differ.
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Old 05-02-2018, 03:22 AM
 
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And now, as promised, punishment for Tafarqa (differing, disagreeing and breaking into sects in religion/deen).

Tafarqa in religion is likened to polytheism and, therefore, to shirk because that's how polytheism orginally began during the days of Noah and during the days Moses was on the mountain. Punishment/penalty for it is also similar as for polytheism. It is so because Tafarqa is begining and it could, as has in ancient times, lead to polytheism. Therefore, penalty is also the same; punishment great.

The reason given to Moses by his brother Aaron in case of Bani Israel being allowed to carry on worshiping the golden calf (polytheism) was that he did not want Bani Israel to be divided. He temporarily allowed them to worship the golden calf than be divided into different groups.

[20.94] He said: O son of my mother! Seize me not by my beard nor by my head; surely I was afraid lest you should say: You have caused a division among the children of Israel and not waited for my word.
قَالَ يَا ابْنَ أُمَّ لَا تَأْخُذْ بِلِحْيَتِي وَلَا بِرَأْسِي ۖ إِنِّي خَشِيتُ أَنْ تَقُولَ فَرَّقْتَ بَيْنَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَلَمْ تَرْقُبْ قَوْلِي


Therefore, division was thought by Aaron to be worse than Bani Israel temporarily (until Moses comes back from the mountain) worshiping the golden calf. And the punishment for worshiping the golden calf was killing of 3000 in one day on the order of Moses. This is all documented in Exodus 32.

I will now explain, using the verses of the Qur'an, why unity in religion and in the mankind is important as it was meant to be from the outset.

The creation of man was for the purpose of keeping peace and order on earth under the leadership of man as vicegerent (godly person) of God (as the best earthly creation. Anything that would destroy peace on earth is against the purpose of creation of mankind and thus in direct conflict with God's purpose to place humans on earth.

Man's soul was perfect at creation. God had created him without any blemish. After creating him, God had guided him what to do and what not to do. God had guided him to know the two ways, good and bad, and which one is the right one for him to walk on. So his soul stays perfect if he does only good but is corrupted by the man by doing bad/evil work. Perfection of creation of man's soul is mentioned in the verse 91:7 and described further the verse 30:30.

God had made it clear, at the time of man's expulsion from the garden for not taking the first guidance, that further guidance will come to him and his descendants on earth. And that whoever takes the guidance and serves the purpose of his/her creation will have no fear nor will grieve.

Therefore, God had described to man a general way of life (deen), people call "religion". One religion, submission to God whilst leading/ruling/governing (as vicegerent) on earth.

Man was now set on his life path on earth. How he was to live his life on earth is often described as "way of life". It is the way we are to live in this life on earth, with freewill, and accepting the responsibility for good as well as for bad actions.

God has guided us through various revelation throughout the human history to stay on that straight path (way of life). Islam (taking the guidance from God and living on earth accordingly is known as submission to God) is that straight path. It is for our own benefit as God is self sufficent. He doesn't need us; we need Him.

Not breaking into sects is a guidance from God. Not taking such guidance has consequence leading to punishment not only here on earth but in the hereafter as well. Here because it leads to loss of peace between people and therefore on earth, and in the hereafter because we do opposite to what God wants us to do despite gladly taking, as granted, all that God had created for us on earth for our benefit even before creating us.

There was a purpose for the creation of mankind and how that purpose was to be met is through peoples' actions on earth.

Verse 30:30 of the Qur'an (quoted below) describes creation of man and the religion set from the outset to meet the purpose of his creation. This verse has been translated in different ways by various translators. The main reason for such variation is that they haven't quite grasped the meaning of this verse. Asad has come very close to the correct meaning but his isn't quite literal translation but a mixture of translation and interpretation.

[30.30] Then set your face upright for religion in the right state-- the nature made by Allah in which He has made men; there is no altering of Allah's creation; that is the right religion, but most people do not know. (Shakir)

[30:30] So set thou thy face steadily and truly to the Faith: (Establish) Allah's handiwork according to the pattern on which He has made mankind: no change (let there be) in the work (wrought) by Allah: that is the standard Religion: but most among mankind understand not. (Yusuf Ali)

[30:30] So set thy purpose (O Muhammad) for religion as a man by nature upright--the nature (framed) of Allah, in which He hath created man. There is no altering (the laws of) Allah's creation. That is the right religion, but most men know not. (Pickthall)

[30:30] Therefore, stand firm in your devotion to the upright faith - the nature made by Allah, the one on which mankind is created - and the laws of Nature ordained by Allah cannot be changed. That is the standard of true faith, but most among mankind do not know. (Malik)

[30:30] So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah. That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know. (Sahih International)

[30:30] So set thy face to the religion, a man of pure faith -- God's original upon which He originated mankind. There is no changing God's creation. That is the right religion; but most men know it not - (Arberry)

[30:30] AND SO, set thy face steadfastly towards the [one ever-true] faith, turning away from all that is false, in accordance with the natural disposition which God has instilled into man: [for,] not to allow any change to corrupt what God has thus created - this is the [purpose of the one] ever-true faith; but most people know it not. (Asad)
فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا ۚ فِطْرَتَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا ۚ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ


If we use the above verse in context with the next two verses then the meaning becomes quite apparent as to what we are to do and what we are not to do to serve the purpose of our creation.

[30.31] Turning to Him, and be conscious of Him and keep up prayer and be not of the polytheists
مُنِيبِينَ إِلَيْهِ وَاتَّقُوهُ وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَلَا تَكُونُوا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ


[30.32] Of those who divided their religion and became sects every sect rejoicing in what they had with them.
مِنَ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُوا دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُوا شِيَعًا ۖ كُلُّ حِزْبٍ بِمَا لَدَيْهِمْ فَرِحُونَ


As polytheism is result of initial division in religion, dividing into sects is wrong according to these verses. There is no excuse for division when clear guidance has come to us already.

[3.105] And be not like those who became divided and disagreed after clear arguments had come to them, and these it is that shall have a grievous chastisement.
وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ تَفَرَّقُوا وَاخْتَلَفُوا مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ


Choice is clear, either be united in religion and as mankind (the original purpose) or be divided, cause problems on earth and, as a consequence, get punished for going against the purpose we were created for.
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