Saturday 25 June 2022

Do not revile those whom they invoke other than Allah

Religious matter are very sensitive for followers of each religion have bondage and attachment to their faith which has been in practice by them and their ancestors for long. These can be very touchy issues when two people of opposite religions try to discuss their religions and pitch these against that of one an other. Any mishandling of the discussion can lead to bitterness and abusiveness. Therefore, all those who are entrusted with inviting people of other faiths to their faith must be very courteous, cautious and respectful to others faith and feelings. 

Islam is a religion of peace and thus it advocates humility when extending invitation to others and ensuring that in the process their gods are not humiliated and debased. In fact the inviter should use the good attributes of their gods as a base to develop upon the invitation to Islam. The following 108th verse of Surah 6. Al An'am addresses the same subject and cautions the Muslims:

رَبِّهِمۡ مَّرۡجِعُهُمۡ فَيُنَبِّئُهُمۡ بِمَا كَانُوۡا يَعۡمَلُوۡنَ‏ 
(6:108) Do not revile those whom they invoke other than Allah, because they will revile Allah in ignorance out of spite.  For We have indeed made the deeds of every people seem fair to them. Then, their return is to their Lord and He will inform them of what they have done.
The followers of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) have been advised not to lose their balance in zeal for preaching but to remain within proper limits when engaged in discussions and polemics with the non-Muslims and to refrain from offending against their creeds and from vilifying their leaders and objects of worship, for this will repel and alienate them all the more from the Truth.  

Allah has ascribed their deeds to Himself, for everything that takes place in accordance with the Laws of Nature does, in fact, happens by the command of Allah. As Allah is the Author of all the Laws of Nature, everything happens by His Command: therefore, Allah says, "We have made the deeds of every people seem fair to them." The human beings would, however, express the same thing, saying, "This has happened according to the Law of Nature. "

Yusuf Ali is of the opinion that a man's actual personal religion depends upon many things, -his personal psychology, the background of his life, his hidden or repressed feelings, tendencies, or history (which psychoanalysis tries to unravel), his hereditary dispositions or antipathies, and all the subtle influences of his education and his environment. The task before the man of God is: (1) to use any of these which can subserve the higher ends, (2) to purify such as have been misused, (3) to introduce new ideas and modes of looking at things, and (4) to combat what is wrong and cannot be mended: all for the purpose of leading to the truth and gradually letting in spiritual light where there was darkness before. If that is not done with discretion and the skill of a spiritual Teacher, there may be not only a reaction of obstinacy, but an unseemly show of dishonour to the true God and His Truth, and doubts would spread among the weaker brethren whose faith is shallow and infirm. What happens to individuals is true collectively of nations or groups of people. They think in their self-obsession that their own ideas are right. God in His infinite compassion bears with them, and asks those who have purer ideas of faith not to vilify the weaknesses of their neighbours, lest the neighbours in their turn vilify the real truth and make matters even worse than before. In so far as there is active evil, He will deal with it in His own way. Of course the righteous man must not hide his light under a bushel, or compromise with evil, or refuse to establish right living where he has the power to do so.

Muhammad Asad explains that this prohibition of reviling anything that other people hold sacred - even in contravention of the principle of God's oneness - is expressed in the plural and is, therefore, addressed to all believers. Thus, while Muslims are expected to argue against the false beliefs of others, they are not allowed to abuse the objects of those beliefs and to hurt thereby the feelings of their erring fellow-men.

It is in the nature of man to regard the beliefs which have been implanted in him from childhood, and which he now shares with his social environment, as the only true and possible ones - with the result that a polemic against those beliefs often tends to provoke a hostile psychological reaction.

Javed Ahmed Ghamid Explanation:
([In spite of their foolishness,] you people should not abuse those they invoke besides God,) This forms an apt guidance and has been given so that in view of the critique on polytheism earlier Muslims are not induced to exceed limits. Both intellect and justice entail that people should confine themselves to the critique and explanation of various principles, beliefs and ideologies. This is the right approach viz a viz preaching as well. Otherwise there is a chance that since the addressees do not have knowledge of God’s attributes and His rights, they too will exceed the limits in return and in their bias for false deities end up abusing the real God.

(lest crossing the limits they start abusing God in their ignorance. [This is because] We have made the actions of each community seem pleasing to itself.)  This is a further warning. The implication is that the love of customs, traditions and views has been engendered by God in every nation’s nature. Thus beliefs and deeds should be cleansed; however, no such method should be adopted in this regard which may become a source of negatively inciting someone’s emotions to these cherished things. Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes:
Here the Almighty has ascribed the word “pleasing” (tazyīn) to His own self. This is a reference to the fact that it is quite natural for a nation to have a bias and attachment for its cherished things and cultural and collective traditions. If this does not exist, then national unity cannot come into being. It is what binds families, nations and countries together. In its absence, people become leaves scattered about by the wind. Hence, it has a certain place in human life which is a requirement of nature and as such should be kept in consideration. It should be checked only when it starts to deviate from the truth and should be checked in a manner that the necessary obligation owed to it is not compromised. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 3, 136)
(Then [one day] to their Lord will they return. At that time, He will inform them what they have been doing.) Ie., the Prophet (sws) should rest assured that his task is only to explain the truth. If these people insist on their foolishness, they themselves will be regarded as wrongdoers and will one day appear before God for accountability. There, they will bear the consequences of their misdeeds. The Prophet (sws) will not be responsible for them.

Thus we should be mindful of disrespecting deities of others, even if we know they are false. We must therefore carry forward message of Islam in due humility and respect. It is only then we can win the hearts and minds of followers of the opposing camps.

Please listen to explanation of the ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others life miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

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. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so  that they are able to discuss issues with Non Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

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 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.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, 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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