Wednesday 18 November 2020

Why Allah did not make all people One Single Community Right from the Beginning

Many non Muslims often ask this question that why Allah made different religions for different religions and why it should culminate at Islam? They argue that had Allah made all people one entity right from the beginning, the world would have been much better place to live. They even argue that why there is evil and good, why couldn't Allah made them all good? Well, for all those following verse from Surah 5. Al Maida should answer all their queries: 

وَاَنۡزَلۡنَاۤ اِلَيۡكَ الۡكِتٰبَ بِالۡحَـقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِ مِنَ الۡكِتٰبِ وَمُهَيۡمِنًا عَلَيۡهِ​ فَاحۡكُمۡ بَيۡنَهُمۡ بِمَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعۡ اَهۡوَآءَهُمۡ عَمَّا جَآءَكَ مِنَ الۡحَـقِّ​ؕ لِكُلٍّ جَعَلۡنَا مِنۡكُمۡ شِرۡعَةً وَّمِنۡهَاجًا ​ؕ وَلَوۡ شَآءَ اللّٰهُ لَجَـعَلَـكُمۡ اُمَّةً وَّاحِدَةً وَّلٰـكِنۡ لِّيَبۡلُوَكُمۡ فِىۡ مَاۤ اٰتٰٮكُمۡ فَاسۡتَبِقُوا الۡخَـيۡـرٰتِ​ؕ اِلَى اللّٰهِ مَرۡجِعُكُمۡ جَمِيۡعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُمۡ بِمَا كُنۡتُمۡ فِيۡهِ تَخۡتَلِفُوۡنَۙ‏  
"To thee We sent the Scripture in truth confirming the scripture that came before it and guarding it in safety; so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed and follow not their vain desires diverging from the truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have We prescribed a Law and an Open Way. If Allah had so willed He would have made you a single people but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute." 

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, one of the greatest Muslim scholars of all times, explains this verse as under:
This verse refers to a fact of major significance. It could also have been said that the Qur'an confirms all those parts of the earlier divine books which are still extant in their true and original form. But the sense has been conveyed by employing the word 'the Book' rather than 'the previous Books'. This expression reveals that the Qur'an and all those Books sent down by God at various times and in different languages in reality constitute one and the same Book. Their Author is one and the same; their aim and purpose are the same; their teaching is the same; and the knowledge which they seek to impart to mankind is the same. The difference between these Books lies in their modes of expression, and this was necessarily so since they were addressed to different audiences. It is, therefore, not merely that these divine books support rather than contradict each other but that they are actually different editions of one and the same book - 'the Book'.

In Arabic, haymana, yuhayminu, hayamanah signify 'to protect, to witness, to keep trust, to back and to support'. The expression 'haymana al-rajul al-shay' means that the man protected and guarded the thing. Likewise, 'haymana al-ta'ir 'alafirdkhih' means that the bird took its young ones under the protection of its wings. Once 'Umar said to the people: 'Inni da'in fa hayminu' ('I am praying; support me by saying amen'). To say that the Qur'an is muhaymin of al-kitab means that it preserves all the true teachings of the earlier divine books; that it has secured them from loss. The Qur'an also confirms those Books in that the contents of the Qur'an testify to the truth of those parts which are indeed from God. The Qur'an is, further, a witness over those Books in the sense that, with its help, the elements which embody true revelations from God can be distinguished from the accretions which have corrupted them. Whatever in these Books accords with the Qur'an is from God, and whatever is not in conformity with it is from human beings.

This is a parenthetical phrase, the purpose of which is to elucidate a question which is likely to arise in the mind of the reader who has read the above section and might feel uneasy. The question is: Why do the religious laws propounded by the various Prophets differ in matters of detail even though the Prophets and their Books preach one and the same religion (din) and even confirm and support each other? Why is it that in regard to the prescribed forms of worship, the regulations concerning what is permitted and what is prohibited, and the detailed legal regulations governing the social and collective life, there is some disagreement among the various laws propounded by the different Prophets and the divine Books?

This constitutes a detailed answer to the above question (see n. 80). It consists of the following points:

(1) It is a mistake to think that variations in religious laws result from a difference of source. It is God Himself Who altered the legal prescriptions to suit different nations at different times and in different circumstances.

(2) It was indeed possible, by divising one legal code for all human beings, for all men to have been made into one nation (ummah). But one of the many benevolent considerations keeping the religious laws of various Prophets different from one another was that God wanted this difference to become a means of testing people. Those who understand true religion, who have grasped its spirit and essence, and who are aware of the true importance of the different legal prescriptions, always recognize the Truth and accept it whatever its form. They have no hesitation in accepting the new ordinances of God in place of the old ones, in contrast to those who are not conversant with the spirit of true religion and who seem to identify it with a specific body of legal minutiae. Such people have overlaid God-given principles with their own legal deductions, and have sub sequently fossilized this entire amalgam, seeking to preserve it in its entirety. They have grown so attached to it that, in order to preserve it, they spurn every directive which subsequently comes to them from God. In order to distinguish the people of the first category from those of the second God made the legal prescriptions of the various Prophets vary.

(3) The real purpose of all the divine religious laws is the attainment of goodness and righteousness. This purpose can be achieved only when a man obeys whatever commandment he receives from God at a particular time. The proper mode of conduct for people who keep their eyes fixed on this true purpose is to strive for God's good pleasure rather than quarrel about differences in the legal prescriptions of the various Prophets.

(4) The differences which have arisen because of the unjustified rigidity, prejudice, obduracy and erroneous attitudes of the human mind can be finally settled neither in the debating hall nor on the battlefield. The final judgement will be made by God Himself. Then the reality of everything will be fully uncovered, and it will be clear how much truth and falsehood underlay the squabbles which whole lives were wasted over.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
By origin mankind were a single people or nation: iv. 1, and ii. 213. That being so Allah could have kept us all alike, with one language, one kind of disposition, and one set of physical conditions (including climate) to live in. But in His wisdom, He gives us diversity in these things, not only at any given time, but in different periods and ages. This tests our capacity for Unity (Wahdaniyat) still more, and accentuates the need of Unity and Islam.

Men are wont to make conflicting claims regarding Allah, the ultimate destiny of man, and other questions of vital importance. No matter how vehement and eloquent the proponents of false doctrines might be, their efforts will prove fruitless and it will be indisputably clear on the Day of Judgment as to who entertained false notions and who cherished the truth.

The Days of Ignorance were the days of tribalism, feuds and selfish accentuation of differences in man. Those days are really not yet over. It is the mission of Islam to take us away from that false mental attitude, towards the true attitude of Unity. If our Faith is certain (and not merely a matter of words), Allah will guide us to that Unity.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Allah mentioned the Tawrah (Torah) that He sent down to His Prophet Musa, the one whom He spoke directly to, praising it, commanding that it should be implemented, before it was abrogated. Allah then mentioned the Injil, praised it and commanded its people to adhere to it and follow it, as we stated. He next mentioned the Glorious Qur'an that He sent down to His honorable servant and Messenger. Allah said,

"وَأَنزَلْنَآ إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَـبَ بِالْحَقِّ"  (And We have sent down to you the Book in truth...) meaning, with the truth that, no doubt, is coming from Allah,

" مُصَدِّقاً لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَـبِ" (confirming the Scripture that came before it) meaning, the Divinely Revealed Books that praised the Qur'an and mentioned that it would be sent down from Allah to His servant and Messenger Muhammad . The Qur'an was revealed as was foretold in the previous Scriptures. This fact increased faith in the previous Scriptures for the sincere who have knowledge of these Scriptures, those who adhered to Allah's commands and Laws and believed in His Messengers. Allah said,

"قُلْ ءَامِنُواْ بِهِ أَوْ لاَ تُؤْمِنُواْ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْعِلْمَ مِن قَبْلِهِ إِذَا يُتْلَى عَلَيْهِمْ يَخِرُّونَ لِلاٌّذْقَانِ سُجَّدًا - وَيَقُولُونَ سُبْحَانَ رَبِّنَآ إِن كَانَ وَعْدُ رَبِّنَا لَمَفْعُولاً"
(Say: "Believe in it or do not believe (in it). Verily, those who were given knowledge before it, when it is recited to them, fall down on their faces in humble prostration.'' And they say: "Glory be to our Lord! Truly, the promise of our Lord must be fulfilled.'') meaning that they say, the promise of our Lord, concerning the coming of Muhammad by the words of His previous Messengers, will certainly be fulfilled. 

Allah's statement, " وَمُهَيْمِناً عَلَيْهِ " (and Muhayminan over it) means entrusted over it, according to Sufyan Ath-Thawri who narrated it from Abu Ishaq from At-Tamimi from Ibn `Abbas. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "Muhaymin is, `the Trustworthy'. Allah says that the Qur'an is trustworthy over every Divine Book that preceded it.'' This was reported from `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Mujahid, Muhammad bin Ka`b, `Atiyyah, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, `Ata' Al-Khurasani, As-Suddi and Ibn Zayd. Ibn Jarir said, "The Qur'an is trustworthy over the Books that preceded it. Therefore, whatever in these previous Books conforms to the Qur'an is true, and whatever disagrees with the Qur'an is false.'' Al-Walibi said that Ibn `Abbas said that Muhayminan means, `Witness'. Mujahid, Qatadah and As-Suddi said the same. Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas said that Muhayminan means, `dominant over the previous Scriptures'. These meanings are similar, as the word Muhaymin includes them all. Consequently, the Qur'an is trustworthy, a witness, and dominant over every Scripture that preceded it. This Glorious Book, which Allah revealed as the Last and Final Book, is the most encompassing, glorious and perfect Book of all times. The Qur'an includes all the good aspects of previous Scriptures and even more, which no previous Scripture ever contained. This is why Allah made it trustworthy, a witness and dominant over all Scriptures. Allah promised that He will protect the Qur'an and swore by His Most Honorable Self,

" إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَـفِظُونَ " (Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).) Allah said,

"فَاحْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَآ أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ " (So judge between them by what Allah has revealed.) The Ayah commands: O Muhammad! Rule between the people, Arabs and non-Arabs, lettered and unlettered, by what Allah has revealed to you in this Glorious Book and what it approves of for you from the Law of the previous Prophets, as Ibn Jarir said. Ibn Abi Hatim reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "The Prophet had the choice to judge between them or to turn away from them and refer them to their own Law. 

Then this Ayah was revealed, " وَأَنِ احْكُم بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَآ أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ وَلاَ تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَآءَهُمْ " (So judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their vain desires. ..) and he was commanded to judge between them by our Book.''. 

Allah's statement " وَلاَ تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَآءَهُمْ " (and follow not their vain desires...) This means the ideas they promote, because of which they turned away from what Allah revealed to His Messengers. 

This is why Allah said, " وَلاَ تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَآءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَآءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ " (And follow not their vain desires, diverging away from the truth that has come to you.) The Ayah commands: Do not diverge from the truth that Allah has ordained for you, to the vain desires of these miserable, ignorant people. 

Allah's statement, " لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَـجاً " (To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way.) " لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنكُمْ شِرْعَةً " (To each among you, We have prescribed a law) 

Shir`at meaning, a clear path, as Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from Ibn `Abbas. " وَلَوْ شَآءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَحِدَةً " (If Allah willed, He would have made you one nation.) This is a general proclamation to all nations informing them of Allah's mighty ability. If Allah wills, He would make all mankind follow one religion and one Law, that would never be abrogated. Allah decided that every Prophet would have his own distinct law that is later abrogated partially or totally with the law of a latter Prophet. Later on, all previous laws were abrogated by the Law that Allah sent with Muhammad , His servant and Messenger, whom Allah sent to the people of earth as the Final Prophet. 

Allah said, " وَلَوْ شَآءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَحِدَةً وَلَـكِن لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِى مَآ ءَاتَـكُم " (If Allah willed, He would have made you one nation, but that (He) may test you in what He has given you.) This Ayah means, Allah has instituted different laws to test His servants' obedience to what He legislates for them, thus, He rewards or punishes them according to their actions and what they intend. 

`Abdullah bin Kathir said that the Ayah, " فِى مَآ ءَاتَـكُم " (In what He has given you.) means, of the Book. 

Next, Allah encouraged rushing to perform good deeds, " فَاسْتَبِقُواْ الْخَيْرَتِ " (so strive as in a race in good deeds.) which are obedience to Allah, following His Law that abrogated the laws that came before it, and believing in His Book, the Qur'an, which is the Final Book that He revealed. 

Allah said next, " إِلَى الله مَرْجِعُكُمْ " (The return of you (all) is to Allah;) Therefore, O people, your return and final destination is to Allah on the Day of Resurrection,

" فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ " (then He will inform you about that in which you used to differ.) Allah will inform you about the truth in which you used to differ and will reward the sincere, as compensation for their sincerity, and will punish the disbelieving, rebellious people who rejected the truth and deviated from it to other paths, without proof or evidence to justify their actions. Rather, they have rejected the clear evidences, unequivocal proofs and established signs. Ad-Dahhak said that, " فَاسْتَبِقُواْ الْخَيْرَتِ " (So strive as in a race in good deeds.)is directed at the Ummah of Muhammad , but the first view is more apparent.

May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
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Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Qur'ān officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. [2]  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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