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Further Warnings, More Grace

Sayyid Qutb

Arab News, 10/10/03

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Beneficent.

Those who love that gross indecency should spread among the believers shall be visited with grievous suffering both in this world and in the life to come. God knows, but you do not know.

Were it not for Godís favor upon you and His grace, and that God is compassionate, merciful...!

Believers! Do not follow Satanís footsteps, for he who follows Satanís footsteps will only enjoin what is shameful and wrong. Were it not for Godís favor upon you and His grace, none of you would have ever been pure. It is God who causes whomever He wills to grow in purity. God is all-hearing, all-knowing.

Let not those of you who have been graced with Godís favor and ample means resolve by oath not to help those who are near of kin, the needy and those who have left their homes for the sake of God. But let them pardon and forbear. Do you not desire that God should forgive you your sins? God is indeed much forgiving, merciful. (Light, Al-Noor: 24: 19-22)

The surah further elaborates its comments on the falsehood story and its effects, repeating its warning against anything that may be of similar nature. It reminds the Muslims of Godís grace and mercy, warning those who falsely accuse chaste women of committing indecency that they expose themselves to Godís punishment in the life to come. It also purges peopleís hearts of the remaining effects of this confrontation, frees them of earthly restrictions and restores their purity. This is clearly reflected in Abu Bakrís attitude to Mistah ibn Athathah, his relative who was involved in repeating the story.

ďThose who love that gross indecency should spread among the believers shall be visited with grievous suffering both in this world and in the life to come. God knows, but you do not know.Ē The ones who accuse chaste women of adultery, particularly those who made their accusations against the Prophetís own family, really aimed to undermine the values of goodness, chastity and fidelity, so as to make it easier for people to commit adultery by implying that it is a common practice. When people begin to think of it in this light, it is practised more frequently.

This is the reason for describing the false accusers of chaste women as people who love to spread indecency among the believers. Hence they are warned against very severe suffering both in this life and in the life to come.

It is an aspect of the Quríanic method of educating the Muslim community and a measure of prevention based on perfect knowledge of how people react and formulate their attitudes, feelings and lines of action. Hence, the comment at the end of the verse asserts: ďGod knows, but you do not know.Ē Who knows the human heart better than the One who created it? Who can provide humanity with a better code of living than the One who originated it? Who sees what is concealed as well as what is left in the open, and whose knowledge encompasses all things and situations?

Once again the surah reminds the believers of the grace God bestows on them: ďWere it not for Godís favor upon you and His grace, and that God is compassionate, merciful...!Ē

The mistake committed was grave indeed, and its evil was close to engulf the whole Muslim community, but Godís grace, mercy and care prevented that evil. Hence, God reminds them of all this, time after time, as He aims this to be an edifying lesson. When they realized the extent of the grave consequences that could have engulfed them all, had it not been for Godís grace and mercy, they were told that what they did was indeed following in Satanís footsteps.

They must not fall into this trap, since Satan is their avowed enemy, ever since the beginning of human life. Again they are warned against what this may entail in their life: ďBelievers! Do not follow Satanís footsteps, for he who follows Satanís footsteps will only enjoin what is shameful and wrong. Were it not for Godís favor upon you and His grace, none of you would have ever been pure. It is God who causes whomever He wills to grow in purity. God is all-hearing, all-knowing.Ē

It is a terrible situation when Satan takes a step and the believers follow him. They are the ones who should steer away from Satan and follow a way different to his wicked one. The very thought of following Satan is repugnant to the believers. Hence, drawing it in this way and holding it in front of them should put them always on the alert. ďHe who follow Satanís footsteps will only enjoin what is shameful and wrong.Ē The falsehood story is a stark and gruesome example of how Satan may lead believers to something evil.

Man is weak, susceptible to desires and whims which may leave him stained, unless he benefits by Godís grace when he turns to Him and follows His guidance: ďWere it not for Godís favor upon you and His grace, none of you would have even been pure. It is God who causes whomever He wills to grow in purity.Ē When Godís light shines in a believerís heart, it purifies it. It is only through Godís favors and grace that people may grow in purity. Since God knows all and hears all, He certainly knows the ones who deserve to be purified and who are genuinely good. It is these that He helps to grow in purity.

Within the context of purity, the surah calls on believers to forgive one another as they would love to be forgiven their sins: ďLet not those of you who have been graced with Godís favor and ample means resolve by oath not to help those who are near of kin, the needy and those who have left their homes for the sake of God. But let them pardon and forbear. Do you not desire that God should forgive you your sins? God is indeed much-forgiving, merciful.Ē

This verse was revealed in connection with Abu Bakrís case, after the Qurían had cleared his daughter, Aishah the pure, of any misconduct. He realized that Mistah ibn Athathah, his relative whom he supported because of his poverty, was among those involved in repeating the false rumor. Therefore, he vowed that he would never do Mistah a good turn in future. This verse, however, reminds Abu Bakr and the believers that they also commit mistakes and hope for Godís forgiveness. Hence, they should forgive one another their mistakes. They must not deprive those who need support of their generosity, even though the latter might have committed grave errors.

 

 
Earth, a planet hungry for peace

 

The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers (Ran Cohen, pmc, 5/24/03).
The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank (Ran Cohen, pmc, 5/24/03).

 

 

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