The Divine Promise
Muslims, whole over the world, is in a great pain and frustration for what they witness in the Muslim word, in non- Islamic countries and Arab countries, Palestine in particular. They have been targeted for being ‘terrorists’; blamed for being ‘communalists’; occupied and attacked for keeping illicit weapons; forced to leave from their own homes and so on. Contemplating the past glory of Muslims, especially the first generation, the contemporary situations of Muslims gives a sense, that of humiliation and ignominy. Muslim organizations and thinkers have been eloquent explaining the problems and proposing different solutions. Most of the solutions are superficial in nature and thus, less significant. Of course, they too will have a great impact on the ongoing situations and it is no place here to degrade such proposals. Rather not much strategies based on the Qur’an has been proposed, to be more precise. The solution might be thought trivial from most of the people’s perspective. However, the Qur’an explicitly states the solution as:
“Allah has promised those among you who believe and do righteous deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession in the land, as He granted it those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practice their religion which he has chosen for them. And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear if they worship Me and do not associate anything with me. But whoever disbelieved after this, they are rebellious. And establish as- Salah and give Zakah and obey the Messenger- that you may receive mercy”. (24: 55, 56)
Thus, the conditions for the promised authority, succession and security are true belief, righteous deeds. Though, true belief and deeds include every belief and actions in the Qur’an and the prophetic tradition, some of them are emphasized; worship Allah alone and do not associate anything with Him and; establishing as- Salah, giving Zakah and obeying the Messenger (S). The conditions include a Muslims relation with God, himself and his fellow beings.
The first generation of the Ummah along with the Prophet (S) was the best in achieving the above mentioned piety in its most excellent manner. The past has proved the verses to be true with their life. The battle of Badr is the best example for a victory with the assistance of true belief and piety as weaponry. The Islamic state expanded from there on to Mecca, Khyber, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria and most part of the Arabian Peninsula. During the time of Abu Bakr, the entire Arabian Peninsula, a part of Persia, Egypt, Basra, Damascus and their provinces of Hawran where under the Islamic caliphate. Umar could expand it to the rest of Syria, Egypt and most part of Persia, Rome, Iran, Khurasan, Sham and Iraq. During the caliphate of Uthman it further broadened to Cyprus, Spain, Khurasan Sebta, China, and Iraq. Thus, the Islamic reached Turkistan to the east, Tunisia to the west , and Armenia to the north. It has been narrated that the Prophet (S) said: “Allah showed me the earth and I looked at the east and the west. The dominion of my nation will reach everywhere I was shown.”[i] Allah’s promise has come true already, and thus the prophecy of the Prophet (S). Further, the verses were revealed at the time when Musims migrated to Medina. They were in a state of fear and insecurity. Al- Bara bin Azib states: “This verse was revealed when we were in a state of extreme fear.”[ii]. The Allah bestowed his blessings with victory over other nations.
It is clear that the Allah will bestow ‘succession in the land’, grant ‘authority to practice their religion’ and offer them ‘security’ for those who worship Allah and do not associate in Him in worship, establish Salah, give Zakah and obey Prophet. Once Muslims violate these conditions Allah will retrieve these blessings, a lesson already read in the past and still reading in the present. The ‘disbelieved’ can be understood as both disbelief that which take one out of the religion and ‘being ungrateful’ by disobeying the commandments of Allah in the Qur’an and Hadith.[iii] So Allah will humiliate and punish Muslims to the amount of deviation caused by their doubts and desires. It is also important to note that the whole Muslim society should adhere to the conditions. A single person’s above mentioned piety won’t grant such blessings. Allah knows best.
Muslims should keep in mind the above verse when speaking about discrimination, pain, and torments faced in the contemporary world. Solutions ignoring the guidance from the Lord and the wisdom of the Prophet (S) will not bring victory nor do solve the problem.
[ii]Tafsir Ibn kathir
[iii] Tafsir Qur’an al- Kareem by Mohammad Amani (r) [Originally written in Malayalam].