What The Qur'an Teaches: Fearing One's Deeds - ‘This Is Indeed The Supreme Bounty'
Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals
Arab News & Information - By Adil Salahi
In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Ever
Merciful Do they believe in alleged partners (of God)
who ordain for them things which God has not
sanctioned? Were it not for God's decree on the final
judgment, all would have been decided between them.
Painful suffering awaits the wrongdoers. You will see
the wrongdoers full of fear on account of what they
have done, which is bound to fall back on them. And
you will see those who believe and do righteous deeds
in the flowering meadows of the gardens of paradise.
They will have whatever they wish from their Lord.
This is indeed the supreme bounty. It is of this
[bounty] that God gives good news to His servants who
believe and do righteous deeds. Say: "No reward do I
ask of you for this. It is only an act of affection
due to kin." Whoever does good, We shall increase it
for him. God is most forgiving, most appreciative.
(Consultation, Al-Shoora: 42: 21-23)
The surah earlier stated that what God has legislated
for the Muslim community is the same as He had
enjoined on Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. In other
words, all this is embodied in what God revealed to
Muhammad (peace be upon him). At this point, the surah
employs a rhetorical question addressing the
unbelievers' beliefs and practices: essentially, these
are contrary to what God has ordained in His messages,
so who ordained the same for the unbelievers, without
"Do they believe in alleged partners [of God] who
ordain for them things which God has not sanctioned?"
None of God's creatures may legislate anything that is
at variance with what He legislates. It is God alone
who legislates for all His creation. It is He who has
created the universe and conducts its affairs through
natural laws He has set in operation. Human life is
merely a small gear in the great cog of the universe.
Therefore, its law should be consistent with the laws
governing the universe and its operation. This can
only be achieved when the law of human life is enacted
by the One who has full knowledge of universal law. No
one other than God has such knowledge. Hence, no one
can be entrusted with the task of legislating for
Although the logic of this fact is abundantly clear,
still there are many who dispute it or who are not
convinced of its truth. They dare to enact laws and
legislation that are at variance with God's law,
claiming that they are only choosing what is good for
their peoples, ensuring that their laws fit their
specific circumstances. In doing so they suggest that
they know better than God and are wiser than Him. The
only other justification they put forward is that they
believe in some beings whom they allege to be God's
partners, and that it is these who enact laws for them
that are not sanctioned by God. There can be no
greater folly than such impudence.
God has enacted for mankind laws that He knows to be
in harmony with their nature on the one hand and with
the nature of the universe they live in on the other.
Thus, His law ensures the maximum cooperation and
harmony among mankind as also with universal powers.
In all this, He has put in place basic principles. He
has left it for people to enact legislation concerning
the details that suit their needs according to their
level of development, provided that such legislation
remains within the framework of the principles He has
laid down. Should people differ over something in this
regard, they should refer the matter to God and the
balance He has established through these principles.
People must make sure that every detailed law they
enact fits with this balance. In this way, the source
of legislation remains one and the ultimate word
remains God's. He is indeed the best of all judges.
Anything that differs with this constitutes deviation
from God's law and the religion He ordained for Noah,
Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them
"Were it not for God's decree on the final judgment,
all would have been decided between them." God has
made His decree to defer judgment to the final day.
Had he not decreed such deferment, He would have made
His judgment now, punishing those who deviate from His
law. However, He postpones this to the Day of Judgment
when "painful suffering awaits the wrongdoers." Such
suffering is in requital for their wrongdoing. Can
there be anything more erroneous than choosing
man-made laws in preference to God's law?
Those wrongdoers are shown as they will be on the Day
of Judgment, afraid of what will happen to them.
During their lives on earth, however, they entertained
no such fear. On the contrary, they ridiculed the
reckoning and asked for it to be hastened: "You will
see the wrongdoers full of fear on account of what
they have done, which is bound to fall back on them."
In the Arabic original they are described as ‘full of
fear for what they have done', as if their deeds are
some fearful beast. Yet they performed these deeds
with their own hands, enjoying their actions. Still,
when they face these same deeds they are full of fear,
realizing that they are ‘bound to fall back on them,'
as though the deeds themselves are transformed into a
punishment they cannot avoid.
Conversely, we see the believers who used to be in awe
of what would happen on that day now feeling safe,
reassured, enjoying what God grants them: "And you
will see those who believe and do righteous deeds in
the flowering meadows of the gardens of paradise. They
will have whatever they wish from their Lord. This is
indeed the supreme bounty. It is of this (bounty) that
God gives good news to His servants who believe and do
righteous deeds." The whole image is one of bliss and
happiness. Those believers are ‘in the flowering
meadows of the gardens of paradise', where they will
have ‘whatever they wish from their Lord.' There is no
limit to His bounty, which is indeed supreme. This is,
then, the good news that God gives to His righteous
servants. It is good news that is shown to be ready,
immediate, confirming the earlier promise of good
things to come.