RIGHT AND WRONG
What is the most common feature among us humans? We have numerous inherent flaws which give rise to several negative characteristics. [4:27-28] GOD wishes to redeem you, while those who pursue their lusts wish that you deviate a great deviation. GOD wishes to lighten your burden, for the human being is created weak. It is the weakness which makes humans susceptible to enticements. Owing to this, we have so many troubles around us—dishonesty, deception, vice and all other corruptions. The subtitle for 4:27 is God’s mercy. If we sincerely implore God, He will help us.
When we are born, we know only life. Our parents, teachers and guardians tell us what to do, how to do it and also what not to do. God has ignited the spark of monotheism in all of us. Monotheism: Natural Instinct [30:30] Therefore, you shall devote yourself to the religion of strict monotheism. Such is the natural instinct placed into the people by GOD. Such creation of GOD will never change. This is the perfect religion, but most people do not know.
Religion steps in early. God is most concerned for our security both now and in the all important Hereafter. Parental advice is intended to safeguard the child from physical and psychological harm but God also desires to save our soul from eternal damnation.
God has given us the gift of a conscience. Our conscience constrains us from vice and transgressions by objecting to and protesting our behavior. It reminds us of retribution in the Hereafter even if we manage to avoid it here. Hamlet alludes to this in his soliloquy – Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all. But it’s not cowardice; it’s heeding God’s warning, and thus refraining from what we know is wrong.
Take the case of Joseph. The Quran says he may have been tempted to do what he was invited to do.
[12:24] She almost succumbed to him, and he almost succumbed to her, if it were not that he saw a proof from his Lord. We thus diverted evil and sin away from him, for he was one of our devoted servants. But God guided him and augmented his thinking and conscience. He was restrained by a fear of God.
God has also given us another faculty—reasoning. [16:78] GOD brought you out of your mothers’ bellies knowing nothing, and He gave you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brains, that you may be appreciative. [91:8] Then showed it what is evil and what is good. We can reach a conclusion in a logical way. We are permitted to draw a differentiation between right and wrong in consideration of our own conduct.
However, even our reliance on reasoning may not be enough at all times. For instance, Satan relied only on his (flawed) power of reasoning when he rejected the command to fall prostrate before Adam. He contested that he was made of fire and therefore superior to Adam who was made of clay. Hence, reasoning has to be taken with conscience and in the light of the guidance of God. To come to the correct conclusion we have to do what is most pleasing to God.
A desire or a want is not a bad thing as such. This is also part of our nature and this motivation may energise us to great achievements. A desire becomes insatiable when it has no end, which is that we want much more of the same thing than we actually require or deserve.
When does this desire become bad? When it overpowers logic and conscience. There can be beneficial results when we are moderate, and it can be devastating when our deeds are infected with ego and arrogance. Then this desire turns to greed and in turn to envy. We crave what lawfully belongs to someone else. We start to entertain resentment against that person. What happens next? The person uses all methods—legal, illegal, moral, immoral—any and every scheme to get his end achieved. The next stage is violation, excesses and treachery.
The mind gets blocked and overpowered. He may even harm or kill someone to grab what he wants. [68:13-14] Unappreciative, and greedy. Even though he possessed enough money and children. [74:15] Yet, he is greedy for more.
Recall the first murder on earth was the killing of Abel by his brother Cain. This was an instance of ego and jealousy too. [5:27] Recite for them the true history of Adam’s two sons. They made an offering, and it was accepted from one of them, but not from the other. He said, “I will surely kill you.” He said, “GOD accepts only from the righteous. [5:30] His ego provoked him into killing his brother. He killed him, and ended up with the losers.
Submission goes further than any other religion as it guides all aspects of our conduct—speech, manners, greetings, marriage, divorce, inheritance, controlling anger, forgiving injury, borrowing and lending, fair dealings in trade and commerce, slander, backbiting, suspicion, war and peace. It covers all our activities, and all commands are obligatory. The Quranic guidance: [23:96] Therefore, counter their evil works with goodness; we are fully aware of their claims.
No more pride, no more prejudice. We are taught human values and moral virtues of love, compassion, sympathy, mercy, graciousness, forgiveness, generosity and humility. Even if someone is antagonistic and spiteful to us, we know how to handle the situation and bring about a positive transformation.
[41:34] Not equal is the good response and the bad response. You shall resort to the nicest possible response. Thus, the one who used to be your enemy, may become your best friend. [28:54] To these we grant twice the reward, because they steadfastly persevere. They counter evil works with good works, and from our provisions to them, they give.
Cont’d on page 4