Opinion Editorials, January 2004, www.aljazeerah.info
The Road to True Success
Arab News, 2/1/04
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Beneficent
Whenever they are summoned to God and His Messenger in order that he might judge between them, some of them turn away; but if the right is on their side, they come to him with all submission.
Is there disease in their hearts? Or are they full of doubt? Or do they fear that God and His Messenger might deal unjustly with them? Nay, it is they who are the wrongdoers.
The response of believers, whenever they are summoned to God and His Messenger in order that he may judge between them, is none other than, “We have heard, and we obey.” It is they that shall be successful.
Those who obey God and His Messenger, stand in awe of God and remain truly God-fearing are the ones who shall certainly triumph. (Light, Al-Noor: 24: 48-52)
God’s judgment is the only one that is free of any suspicion of prejudice, because God is fair to all and does not deal unjustly with anyone. All His creation are to Him in the same position. Hence, He does not favor any of them at the expense of another. Any judgment other than God’s may be susceptible to unfairness. When people legislate, they cannot entirely free themselves of leaning to what serves their interests. This applies to all human beings; be they individuals, class or government.
When an individual legislates, he is bound to look for what ensures his own protection and serves his own interests. The same applies when a class, country or a block of countries legislates for another. But when God legislates, no personal security, protection or interests come into play. His legislation aims to achieve absolute justice which cannot be ensured under any law other than divine law. Hence, those who reject God’s judgment, and that of His Messenger, are indeed unjust and wrongdoers. They do not want justice to be administered or right to be supreme. In fact, they do not doubt God’s judgment or that it only seeks to ensure justice. The point is that “it is they who are the wrongdoers.”
True believers have a different attitude that reflects their complete respect of God’s judgment. When they are summoned so that God’s Messenger may arbitrate in their disputes, their reaction reflects the profound enlightenment of their hearts: “The response of believers, whenever they are summoned to God and His Messenger in order that he may judge between them, is none other than, ‘We have heard, and we obey.’ It is they that shall be successful.”
This is an attitude of complete obedience, with no hesitation, argument or dispute, because it is an obedience based on complete trust that God’s judgment is right and just, and whatever differs with it is based on personal prejudice. Such obedience testifies to complete submission to God, who gives life and conducts it as He wills, and complete trust that what God chooses for people is infinitely better than what they choose for themselves. God, the Creator, knows His creation better than they know themselves.
“It is they that shall be successful.” Since God conducts their affairs, organizes their relations and judges between them on the basis of His knowledge and justice, they must be in a far better position than those who rely, in all such matters, on other human beings who are similarly short of knowledge. Besides, the believers are successful because they follow a single straight path that allows no deviation. They are confident of the soundness of their code of living, follow it without hesitation, which means that their energy, talents and skills work in coherence. They suffer no internal division based on conflicting desires. They follow their own path, charted for them by God.
“Those who obey God and His Messenger, stand in awe of God and remain truly God-fearing are the ones who shall certainly triumph.” The previous verse spoke of obedience and submission when judgment is made. This verse speaks of complete obedience in all matters, implementing every order or prohibition. Such obedience must be coupled with being conscious of God and standing in awe of Him. The latter is more pervasive because it entails watching God and feeling His presence at every turn. This makes a person very uneasy before committing anything that God has forbidden, feeling ashamed and fearing God’s punishment.
“Those who obey God and His Messenger, stand in awe of God and remain truly God-fearing are the ones who shall certainly triumph.” They save themselves in this life and in the life to come. This is what God has promised, and God is always true to His promise. They deserve to triumph, as they have practically taken the necessary measures to ensure such a triumph. Obedience to God and His Messenger requires diligent following of the right way God in His wisdom has defined for mankind. Following this way automatically ensures success in this life and in the life to come. Moreover, standing in awe of God and fearing Him ensure continuity in one’s conduct, helping one to ignore all temptations that always try to lure every believer and tempt him or her away from their straight path.
Obeying God and His Messenger, coupled with fearing God, provide a high standard of propriety that reflects a person’s heart enlightenment and his strong bond with God. It also reflects the dignity of believers. Obedience to anyone or any authority means humiliation unless it is based on obeying God and His Messenger. No honorable believer will accept such humiliation, for a true believer will never bow his head before anyone other than God Almighty.
Having made such a contrast between the attitudes of believers and hypocrites, the surah now resumes its discussion of the latters’ behavior. However, we will leave this till next week, God willing.
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