Living by the Qur’an Brings About
Allah commands justice and
doing good and giving to relatives. And He forbids indecency
and doing wrong and tyranny. He warns you so that hopefully
you will pay heed.
(Surat an-Nahl: 90)
is one of the essentials maintaining social order. Every country
employs its individual judicial system. However, owing to the persistent
difficulties experienced in the contemporary judicial systems, the
quest for an ideal model has never ended.
There is one essence of the ideal judicial system aspired
to across the world: the establishment of a judicial mechanism in
which each and every person is fully repaid for his acts without
being subject to any form of prejudicial discrimination. Despite
new methods, different approaches, and projects and solutions devised
to attain this ideal model, however, exercising justice remains
a steep road yet to be taken.
The moral deterioration of society accounts for these
unfavourable situations. Deterioration, a simple consequence of
non-adherence to the values commanded by Allah, brings harm to societies
in all domains of life.
Again, this deterioration accounts for swindling, bribery,
cheating, injustice and many social evils. Daily life abounds with
examples of this sort. A frequently encountered situation in business
life, for instance, is businessmen who cheat on their partners and
deceive them by embezzling their money, houses or cars. Meanwhile,
a longstanding friendship and the
material and spiritual losses the other party suffers do not mean
anything to the swindler. Primarily concerned about his self-interests,
values such as friendship, family ties, spirituality, social cohesion
and good morals have no meaning whatsoever to the swindler.
All relations this person establishes with anyone else
will be under the influence of such a rationale since he fails to
reflect that Allah is aware of all that he does, and that he will
account for every act he commits. Never remembering that swindling
is an unfair gain and unjust behaviour contributes to this crooked
The following example will contribute to a better understanding:
a person who believes that swindling is a horrible crime, will strictly
avoid it throughout his life. Once, however, someone thinks he can
derive personal benefit, the same person may bear false witness
against another or slander him for something of which he is completely
innocent. Meanwhile, he may find refuge in some excuse: that conditions
compelled him or his responsibilities to his family laid the ground
for such a crime… No matter what these excuses are, the fact remains
that slander is wicked under all circumstances.
This aforementioned pattern appears particularly at times
when people feel their interests are at stake. This rationale also
holds true for thieves, swindlers and oppressors. In a society riddled
with people with vested interests, the existence of injustice, interest
conflicts and chaos is unavoidable.
Sun, 6 March 2001
TIme, 7 December
and theft may become a way of life for a person who
does not live by the Qur'an and he may feel no pangs
of conscience while engaging in wicked deeds.
Nevertheless, no matter what compelling forces there
are, a person living by the Qur'an would never stoop to these wicked
deeds and never display attitudes inconsistent with its values.
Someone having strong fear of Allah never forgets the fact that
one day he will meet each and every deed in which he engages and
each and every word he utters. Injustice, which is an outcome of
moral deterioration such as only pursuing one's own interests, hoarding
possessions, ignoring the needy and those in trouble, has a unique
solution: the dissemination of the values of the Qur'an among people.
That is because in the Qur'an, Allah commands His slaves who believe
and live by these superior values to be just:
You who have iman! Be upholders
of justice, bearing witness for Allah alone, even against yourselves
or your parents and relatives whether they are rich or poor, Allah
is well able to look after them. Do not follow your own desires
and deviate from the truth. If you twist or turn away, Allah is
aware of what you do. (Surat an-Nisa': 135)
Allah commands justice and doing
good and giving to relatives. And He forbids indecency and doing
wrong and tyranny. He warns you so that hopefully you will pay heed.
(Surat an-Nahl: 90)
In a society where people have an understanding of justice
as described in the aforementioned verse, injustice does not prevail.
That is because in an environment where the values of the Quran
and the Sunnah are observed, the strict exercise of justice is essential.
In the practice of this justice, one's kinship, wealth, status or
other factors allow for no exceptions. Nevertheless, current implementations
of systems of justice around the globe are rather varied. In some
cases, in consideration of someone's wealth, status and social environment,
his crimes are simply ignored or his punishment is alleviated. This
is unlikely to happen in a society where real justice prevails.
Factors such as kinship, wealth or status never become reasons to
deviate from justice.
WHAT KIND OF PROBLEMS EMERGE IN
SOCIETIES WHERE REAL JUSTICE IS NOT EXERCISED?
In finding out the truth and in the establishment of
the justice, witnesses have a major role. On the basis of eyewitness
testimony, many cases can be quickly illuminated and thus truth
and falsehood is distinguished. In societies in which the values
of the Qur'an and the Sunnah are not observed, however, finding
the truth through witness testimony is far from reliable. This is
simply because, people who do not adhere to the Qur'an and the Sunnah
can lie as easily as most people breathe in return for benefit or
money. While doing this, they turn their backs on all virtuous conduct
such as telling the truth or standing up for the innocent.
Even, in some cases, people refrain from testifying on
behalf of a particular case, no matter how crucial it might be to
render justice. Some unrealistic thoughts, such as fear of getting
into trouble or into an unfavourable situation, usually account
for such attitudes. In a verse, Allah stresses the importance of
disclosing the truth:
…Do not conceal testimony. If someone does conceal
it, his heart commits a crime. Allah knows what you do. (Surat al-Baqara:
Malice and hatred felt towards someone may be the reasons
that tempt people to fabricate testimonies. By means of false testimony
and distorting the facts, they hinder justice. The importance of
truthfulness is also explained in a hadith by Allah's Messenger,
the Prophet Muhammad (saas):
Adhere to truth, for truth leads
to good deeds and good deeds lead him who does them to the Garden.
If a man continues to speak the truth and makes truth his objective,
he will be recorded in Allah's presence as eminently truthful. Avoid
falsehood, for falsehood leads to wickedness and wickedness leads
to the Fire. If a man continues to speak falsehood and makes falsehood
his objective, he will be recorded in Allah's presence as a great
People who do not live by the values of the Qur'an and
the Sunnah do not observe justice, particularly when they give their
interests and personal wishes precedence. Never do they consider
the consequences of their false testimony. It never occurs to them
what a wrongfully convicted innocent person goes through during
lengthy imprisonment, nor what his family suffers. They do not put
themselves in the shoes of another and imagine how life would be
In the Qur'an, Allah gives special consideration to this
situation people experience, and He commands us to be just no matter
what the circumstances are:
You who have iman! Show integrity
for the sake of Allah, bearing witness with justice. Do not let
hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That
is closer to taqwa (piety). Fear Allah. Allah is aware of what you
do. (Surat al-Ma'ida: 8)
To avoid injustice, Allah's Messenger,
the Prophet Muhammad (saas) also said: "None of you should judge
between two persons when he is angry."2
Driven by fear, money, or greed, some people deviate
from what is right and fair. Only acquiring the values of the Qur'an
will set them free. Under any circumstances, be it under threat
or duress, or in the presence of anything of benefit to them, they
never tend to mischief, being aware that Allah surrounds them at
every moment. Believers are aware that, in the hereafter, they will
be give account of any wrong actions they do or evil things they
say. In one verse, Allah proclaims that the slaves of the All-Merciful
do not bear false witness:
Those who do not bear false witness,
and who, when they pass by worthless talk, pass by with dignity.
(Surat al-Furqan: 72)
One more point concerning those who pursue their own
interests rather than observing justice deserves attention: that
one day the same mischief may befall them. If this happens, injustices
will certainly disturb them greatly and they will go in quest for
a reliable witness who will not fabricate testimony. Those who would
not like to experience this should then strive to spread the values
commanded by Allah and strictly adhere to the praised moral principles
of the Qur'an.
THE CRITERIA FOR JUDGING PEOPLE BECOMES MONEY AND
Money and status serve as the main criteria to assess
people in societies where the values of the Qur'an and the Sunnah
are not adhered to. In these societies, all strata are saturated
with this mentality, giving us an abundance of examples to analyse.
The attitudes assumed by a storekeeper towards two different
customers provide striking clues about this issue. The storekeeper
assumes a polite and attentive attitude towards the one whom, from
his appearance, he assumes to be well-off. The other customer, on
the other hand, who looks rather poor, is not treated so well by
the storekeeper. This attitude does not change although both customers
visit the store to buy the same things and spend the same amount
of money. Appearance or status determines the way the storekeeper
treats his customers.
These criteria do not hold true for someone who lives
by the Qur'an. A believer is well mannered towards another human
being only because he is a "human being". He does not subject people
around him to prejudicial discrimination of any kind. To appreciate
someone, he does not need "labels". Whether a person is wealthy
or poor, whether he lives in a hut or a villa does not matter to
him. One's costly clothes, pretty face, graduate degree from a prestigious
university, social standing, or similar status symbols have no meaning
whatsoever to him. Allah, in the Qur'an, mentions one's faith in
Allah and closeness to Him as the sole criteria to apply in loving
TROUBLES IN EDUCATION
Every individual is entitled to have access to education.
Regardless of religion, language, race or status, every individual
has the right to strive for knowledge. Social injustice, however,
renders this virtually impossible, introducing many problems demanding
immediate solution, the foremost being unavailability of free education
for every member of a community. In many countries, due to poverty,
huge numbers of children and teenagers are deprived of quality education.
Access to a handful of quality schools is reserved for a privileged
minority. The ordinary people hardly receive schooling addressing
their actual educational needs. In this context, the richer receive
better education while the poorer simply get what the system provides.
The development of children can be fostered by laboratories
and many other means provided by schools receiving adequate material
support. The limited resources of some schools, on the other hand,
hinder young individuals in many ways.
People ought to be allowed to receive education in any
field they wish. Indeed, an educational system in which people are
given the chance to receive schooling on the basis of their interests,
tendencies and skills proves to be more beneficial to the society
and more productive. However, in our day, economic and social conditions
force many people to terminate their schooling or continue it in
a field in which they are not interested.
6 Oct. 2000
Living by the Qur'an addresses such social problems and
brings solutions, since the environment these values ensure does
not allow inadequate educational services. Endowed with the wisdom
and the faculty of comprehension that adhering to the Qur'an brings,
people act as solution-providers in education, as they do in all
other spheres of life. Furthermore, in such a society, no prejudicial
distinction between poor and wealthy exists. As mentioned earlier,
those who love Allah spend what they do not need for the benefit
of others. Once these accumulations are channelled into the many
fields demanding immediate solution such as public education and
health, it takes only a moment for these problems to be solved.
If this were adopted around the globe, the distinction between poor
and wealthy countries would fade. Rich countries would transfer
their excess resources to underdeveloped countries without expecting
anything in return.
Providing solutions is surely a major task for which
Muslims are responsible since they are held responsible for providing
young people the sort of education that will guide them in living
according to the Qur'an. This is the type of education that illuminates
a person about his or her actual purpose in life and shows them
the signs of Allah on the earth and in the universe. If this does
not happen, new generations, who become the subjects of the inculcation
of irrelevant disbelieving ideologies, will grow into non-productive
adults of little use to their country, nation and religion. Improper
education provided for young people accounts for their adopting
undesirable lifestyles and consequently being devoid of the blessings
the religion presents and going astray. Surely, a man with fear
of Allah and conscience would not risk this responsibility.
INEQUALITY OF MEN AND WOMEN
In societies devoid of real justice, the inequality of
women and men is a serious social issue posing major problems. In
many countries around the world, women are often treated as second-class
citizens and even outcasts. Perceived as weak and protection-seeking
beings, they are often abused. For the same reason, they do not
hold a role in society that commands respect or authority.
In societies where such prejudices prevail, a woman with
a remarkable career in business life hardly finds acceptance. Generally,
women are regarded as people who lack self-confidence and determination,
and who have poor intellectual faculties. This rationalisation of
a "woman-stereotype" in society wrongly serves as an explanation
for every mistake a woman makes. In reality, such mistakes are not
peculiar to women but are universal among human beings.
Among candidates applying for job vacancies, men are
usually favoured over women, even if they possess exactly the same
backgrounds, intelligence and skills. This tendency explains why
there are limited opportunities available to women in business life.
On the other hand, the majority of women identify with
this image attributed to them. This identification makes them readily
assume the inferior roles assigned to them in many societies.
Independent, 29 Sep. 2000
in social life still has striking consequences in
many countries today. These are among the ordinary
incidents appearing every day in the press.
Prejudices in social life towards gender differences
have striking consequences in underdeveloped countries. Let alone
their entitlement to education and work, they are even deprived
of making their own decisions about marriage. All sorts of women's
personal decisions rest either with their fathers or husbands.
There is an on-going effort to provide solutions to these
flawed implementations only a few of which have been included here.
Associations founded to protect women's rights, concepts such as
freedom and equality or the feminist movement or seminars, panels
and discussions have not contributed much towards a workable solution.
All these efforts prove that these solutions inherently breed more
complications. This is a natural consequence since the real solution,
as in all other domains, is unique: adherence to the Qur'an.
The men and women of the
believers are friends of one another. They command what is
right and forbid what is wrong and establish salat and pay
zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger. They are the people
on whom Allah
will have mercy. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.
(Surat at-Tawba: 71)
In a society adhering to the Qur'an and the Sunnah, no
prejudicial distinction is made between the individuals of a society
whether women, men, wealthy, poor, young or old. Social standing,
profession, wealth, or gender do not make people enjoy particular
privileges. The good deeds one engages in and one's fear of Allah
distinguish one, as is alluded to in the verse "Take
provision, but the best provision is taqwa of Allah." (Surat al-Baqara:
197) In the Qur'an, people are not classified prejudicially
as men or women. Allah addresses both men and women having faith
in Him and engaging in good deeds. Allah stresses the importance
of living by the values He commands. In that respect, being male
or female has no significance. Some of the verses stressing this
are as follows:
The men and women of the believers
are friends of one another. They command what is right and forbid
what is wrong and establish salat and pay zakat (regular charity),
and obey Allah and His Messenger. They are the people on whom Allah
will have mercy. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise. Allah has promised
the men and women of the believers. Gardens with rivers flowing
under them, remaining in them timelessly, for ever, and fine dwellings
in the Gardens of Eden. And Allah's good pleasure is even greater.
That is the great victory. (Surat at-Tawba: 71-72)
Men and women who are Muslims,
men and women who are believers, men and women who are obedient,
men and women who are truthful, men and women who are steadfast,
men and women who are humble, men and women who give in charity,
men and women who fast, men and women who guard their private parts,
men and women who remember Allah much: Allah has prepared forgiveness
for them and an immense reward. (Surat al-Ahzab: 35)
Anyone, male or female, who does
right actions and is a believer, will enter the Garden. They will
not be wronged by so much as the tiniest speck. (Surat an-Nisa':
The Trouble Women Suffer in Social Life
In societies distant from religion, women encounter many
difficulties, and, in particular, those experienced after a divorce
deserve special mention. A divorce creates many problems for a woman
who has been prevented from working by her husband and hence has
come to depend economically upon him.
That the majority of women do not have a profession,
that they are not young enough to go to work or that they are not
entitled to any social rights make conditions hard for divorced
women. The additional benefits divorcing parties demand from each
other and their insistence on pursuing their own interests contribute
to conflicts between the parties and make the situation even worse.
In a society of believers, however, people do not go
through such trouble when they adhere to the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
The respect and love felt at the beginning of a marriage is not
lost when the parties decide to terminate their marriage since it
is done by mutual consent. This attitude is consequent upon the
rationale that parties do not perceive each another merely as a
man or a woman but as human beings having faith in Allah, and thus
Allah's most elevated creation. This attitude maintains courtesy
after a divorce.
There are many measures taken in the Qur'an securing
a woman's rights after divorce. The ones pertaining to her economic
situation maintain the welfare of a divorced woman. The following
verses inform us about the benefits and monetary assistance specified
by the mutual consent of both parties as well as the treatment due
a woman after separation:
Divorced women should receive maintenance given
with correctness and courtesy: a duty for all who are righteous.
(Surat al-Baqara: 241)
…Give them a gift - he who is wealthy
according to his means and he who is less well off according to
his means - a gift to be given with correctness and courtesy: a
duty for all good-doers. If you divorce them before you have touched
them but have already allotted them a dowry, they should have half
the amount which you allotted, unless they forgo it or the one in
charge of the marriage contract forgoes it. To forgo it is closer
to taqwa. Do not forget to show generosity to one another. Allah
sees what you do. (Surat al-Baqara: 236-237)
He who has plenty should spend
out from his plenty, but he whose provision is restricted should
spend from what Allah has given him. Allah does not demand from
any self more than He has given it. Allah will appoint after difficulty,
ease. (Surat at-Talaq: 7)
Again from the verses, we know that, after the divorce,
it is not lawful for a man to keep anything he had given to his
wife during the marriage. All needs of a divorced woman related
to housing are also guaranteed during the 'iddah period after the
divorce. According to the Qur'an, it is also unlawful to inherit
women by force.
What has been related so far reveals that adhering to
the Qur'an brings solutions. In a society where people live by the
Qur'an, women are not subjected to maltreatment and dishonoured
as in other societies.
EQUAL ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES
Today, all individuals around the world
do not have equal access to resources. An adult male's basic energy
need is around 2,800 calories a day. The nutritional resources available
on the planet are adequate to meet every individual's needs. Still,
however, much of the world is excluded from these benefits and more
than 800 million people on earth suffer from extreme malnourishment.
The daily calorie intake of 75% of the world population (4.03 billion
people in 1991) is much below the minimum calorie-intake level.
The number of malnourished people changes from one country to another,
owing to the uneven distribution of food around the world. Another
statistic indicates that meeting the basic needs of the populations
of developing countries (food, drinking, water, sanitation, health
care and education) would cost roughly 40 million dollars a year.
This figure equals 4% of the combined wealth of the 225 richest
people in the world.3
As these statistics also indicate, excess resources in
some countries are unavailable in others, although of vital importance.
In rich countries, some resources no longer in use remain idle even
though they could be transferred to poor countries. The misery of
some African countries is an example with which everyone is familiar.
A leprous 14 year old.
Global inequities are not restricted to food and water.
The same inequity is also true for health services, and that creates
serious problems around the world. Thanks to research and breakthroughs
in the domain of medicine, many illnesses can easily be cured and
prevented today. This is possible through the medical technology
employed by rich countries coupled with their financial means. Hardly
the same can be said of underdeveloped and developing countries,
however. Minor health problems, with which the wealthy countries
easily cope, pose serious threats in poor countries.
For instance, leprosy is an insidious bacterial disease
that flourishes mainly in the 'poverty belt' of the globe. This
disease, which has afflicted humanity since time immemorial, can
be treated relatively easily in our day. Leprosy poses a major threat
in poverty-stricken countries, yet there are only sporadic or even
no cases reported in the developed world. That the treatment is
long and costly is the major reason it has not been eliminated in
poor countries. Yet, the fact remains that medical aid provided
by rich countries could contribute to the elimination of the problem.
When all health problems are considered in general, leprosy
remains the tip of the iceberg. In underdeveloped countries, technology
is impotent in the face of many other epidemics. In addition, with
the lack of financial means, it is unlikely to treat, let alone
to eradicate these diseases. However, the solution to all health
problems is simple: through rational organisation, many methods
can be put into practice such as the transfer of idle medical equipment
stored in the warehouses of developed countries to the poor countries.
In our day, dry arid land can be transformed into productive
fields, thanks to agricultural technology employed by some
countries like the United Arab Emirates and Israel. The same
technology should immediately be transferred to drought-stricken
Global inequities are also apparent in the availability
of information technology around the globe. To expand agricultural
areas, developed countries invest heavily in research on agricultural
and irrigation technology, rendering agricultural activities possible
in unproductive lands, even in deserts. Today, irrigation systems
are being transformed by the power of information technology. Computer-supported
irrigation systems, aimed to keep water loss to a minimum, channel
water directly into the roots of the plants beneath the soil, saving
every single drop for the benefit of agriculture. Projects have
been introduced to refine all water resources, such as sea and flood
water for use in watering deserts.
These modern agricultural methods render productivity
possible even in the deserts. This is all good news. Yet, that these
innovations are not accessible to poverty-stricken countries, remains
a problem to
which one seriously needs to give thought. The poor technology employed
by these countries does not yield high productivity even in fertile
soils, making hunger a serious threat for their people.
In some cases, the whole population of a country lives
under the threat of hunger. The press devotes pages to such human
misery, making everyone aware of the situation, yet failing to create
insight in people to bring solutions. Solutions are sought in temporary
measures and short-term projects, yet such feeble measures lacking
insight produce no results.
At this point, people really require rapid and workable
solutions that address actual needs. Today, poverty-stricken countries
receive large amounts of food aid. Yet, most of these serve no good
as they are simply made for show-purposes and inconsistent with
the needs of famine sufferers. Alternatively, being delayed, or
due to interruptions within the organisation, the food rots before
reaching its destination. Associations are set up to organise this
aid. However, these associations lack credibility, since they are
often full of corruption.
Today in some countries, truckloads
of vegetables and fruits are discharged on to wastelands.
Yet, the fact remains that, around the planet, there are millions
living on the bread-line. The rational allocation of world
resources could prevent extravagance while saving starving
people in different areas of the world.
Under the failure to reach concrete solutions lie egoism,
vested interests, ambition, heedlessness and other similar moral
weaknesses. The only way to end these moral imperfections is to
communicate the Qur'an to people and remind them that we will give
an account of all our acts in the hereafter.
…Eat of their fruits when
they bear fruit and pay their due on the day of their harvest,
and do not
be profligate. He (Allah) does not love the profligate.
(Surat al-An'am: 141)
As in the previous examples of the issues regarding health
and education, justice will end many problems around the world.
However, one point deserves special mention here: when we say fair
distribution, one should not understand that everything will be
available to everyone everywhere in the same amounts. What is actually
meant is meeting people's needs completely. Surely, a special irrigation
system employed in the deserts will not be of use elsewhere. Similarly,
one would not expect a nation to send medicine to another country
while there is a need for it within that country itself. Furthermore,
it is not essential that every citizen should possess exactly the
same amount of possessions. What really matters is that there should
not be some people indulging in extravagance while, next to them,
there are people suffering from poverty. The avoidance of an unbridgeable
gap between poor and rich is essential.
Newsweek, 24 February
The fact that millions of people still
suffer from hunger in the world, is a token of the inefficient
use of world resources.
Once the command of Allah, "They
will ask you what they should give away. Say whatever is surplus
to your needs." (Surat al-Baqara: 219) is adhered to, the
fair distribution which will lead societies to peace will spontaneously
They will ask you what they
should give away. Say, 'Any wealth you give away should go
to your parents and relatives and to orphans and the very
poor and travellers.' Whatever good you do, Allah knows it.
(Surat al-Baqara: 215)
PEACE: THE NATURAL CONSEQUENCE OF SECURING REAL
Once all these facts are considered, we arrive at the
conclusion that only living by the Qur'an will ensure a completely
fair social structure. That is because only the morality of the
Qur'an brings moral conduct and wisdom. Selfish, egotistical, heedless
people will change into merciful, just people who think for the
good of others and thus provide solutions. This simply means the
end of many problems.
In societies enjoying real justice, people do not stoop
to moral weaknesses such as pursuing vested interests, fraud or
violating other's rights. The basic Qur'anic teachings command matters
such as co-operation and mercy, which are the essence of a just
society. In such a society, everyone safeguards each other's interests
and thus the rights and interests of all are secured. This is what
brings overall peace and security to society. In this sense, the
responsibility of all believers is to communicate the values praised
by Allah and the just religion to the whole world. This is one of
the most important attributes of the believers:
Let there be a community among
you who call to the good, and enjoin the right, and forbid the wrong.
They are the ones who have success. (Surah Ali 'Imran: 104)
Those who make tawba(repent), those
who worship, those who praise, those who fast, those who bow, those
who prostrate, those who command the right, those who forbid the
wrong, those who preserve the limits of Allah: give good news to
the believers. (Surat at-Tawba: 112)
Allah mentions the existence of people who live by these
values and accordingly summon people to them. Only those making
people avoid wicked deeds will attain salvation:
Then when they forgot what they
had been reminded of, We rescued those who had forbidden the evil
and seized those who did wrong with a harsh punishment because they
were deviators. (Surat al-A'raf: 165)
1. Muslim Vol. 4
2. Muslim Vol. 3 Hadith 4264
3. UNESCO the COURIER, March 1999, p.22