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What The Qur'an Teaches: God's Word Of Truth

Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals

Arab News & Information - By Adil Salahi

In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Ever Merciful

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. Do they say, ‘He has invented a lie about God?' If God so willed, He could seal your heart and blot out all falsehood, and establish the truth by His words. He has full knowledge of what is in people's hearts. (Consultation, Al-Shoora: 42: 22-24)

The first two verses in this passage draw two contrasting images of the states of the wrongdoers and the believers on the Day of Judgement. We discussed these last week. We need to add that the pleasant image given of the righteous spreads an air of relaxed enjoyment which we clearly feel. The Prophet is then instructed to say to all people that he seeks no reward from them for the guidance he gives them, leading them to such lasting bliss and sparing them the painful suffering. He only gives them such guidance because he loves them; they are his kinsfolk. This is enough reward for him: "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."

The Prophet enjoyed relations with every single clan of the Quraysh tribe. Hence, he was keen that they should take up the guidance he was giving because it would bring them endless benefit. His motivation in all this was the affection he had for them as his kindred. He considered this as sufficient reward for his efforts.

This, then, is the meaning that sparked in my mind whenever I read this Qur'anic expression about the Prophet's reward being merely an act of affection he does to his kinsfolk There is, however, a different interpretation of it which I will state here because it is included in the authentic Hadith anthology of Imam al-Bukhari. Tawus, a scholar from the Tabi[in generation, asking Abdullah ibn Abbas about this phrase. Another scholar, Said ibn Jubayr, answered first saying: ‘It refers to the relatives of the Prophet.' Ibn Abbas said: ‘You have been too quick! The Prophet had relations among every clan of the Quraysh. Hence he said to them that all he asked for was that they should be kind to his own kinsfolk.'" According to this interpretation, the verse should be translated as: "Say: No reward do I ask of you for this other than the affection due to kin." This means that they should stop causing him harm, which is something due one's relatives, and that they should listen to the guidance he gave them. This would be his reward from them. This interpretation by Ibn Abbas is closer to the verse's meaning than that of Said ibn Jubayr. However, I still feel that the interpretation I suggested is closer to the point. God knows best the meanings of His words.

Thus, within the context of the gardens of paradise and the good news he gives them, the Prophet reminds them that he asks no reward for anything he gives them. People normally demand hefty fees for advice that is well below what the Prophet gave his people. This is all part of God's grace. He does not deal with people according to principles of commerce, nor according to justice; instead He deals with them in accordance with the principles of grace and bounty: "Whoever does good, We shall increase it for him." It is not merely that the Prophet seeks no reward whatsoever from people; they are further promised increase in their reward for good deeds. In addition, they shall have forgiveness and their deeds will be appreciated: "God is most forgiving, most appreciative."

Once more the surah refers to the basic fact behind its central theme: "Do they say, ‘He has invented a lie about God?' If God so willed, He could seal your heart and blot out all falsehood, and establish the truth by His words. He has full knowledge of what is in people's hearts."

This verse tackles the last excuse the unbelievers offer to justify their attitude to revelation: "Do they say, ‘He has invented a lie about God?'" Is this why they do not believe the Prophet, claiming that God has not revealed anything to him? Such a claim is invalid. God would not allow anyone to fabricate lies about Him, claiming to receive revelations from Him when he does not, without taking that person to task. He is easily able to seal such a person's heart rendering him incapable of saying anything like the Qur'an. He is also able to expose the falsehood such a person says and establish the truth: "If God so willed, He could seal your heart and blot out all falsehood, and establish the truth by His words." All Muhammad's thoughts are known to God, even before Muhammad (peace be upon him) expresses them: "He has full knowledge of what is in people's hearts."

This last excuse is, thus, seen to be hollow and unfounded. Moreover, it is contrary to what is well established of God's knowledge of everyone's inner thoughts, His ability to accomplish what He wills and His law that remains in operation, establishing the truth and blotting out all falsehood. Thus, the revelation of the Qur'an is truly from God, and what Muhammad (peace be upon him) says is the truth. Claiming anything different from this is no more than a false allegation, one that is immersed in error.

 

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