Tuesday 30 January 2024

Abundance of evil cannot override the good even if scarce

We live in a world where a many people follow the majority even if the latter is not following the otherwise practiced norms of the society. This is specially true when it comes to the pleasures of the world which are mostly enticed by the evil. But following the majority engrossed into a life of lewdness and worldly charms does not mean that following evil should be the adopted approach. In other words, majority does not necessarily means the yard stick of truth and righteousness.

The believers are thus being warned in the 100th verse of Surah 5 Al Maidah that the little permissible is better than the abundant evil:

قُلْ لَّا يَسۡتَوِى الۡخَبِيۡثُ وَالطَّيِّبُ وَلَوۡ اَعۡجَبَكَ كَثۡرَةُ الۡخَبِيۡثِ​ ۚ فَاتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ يٰۤاُولِى الۡاَ لۡبَابِ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُوۡنَ
(5:100) (O Messenger!) Say to them: "The bad things and the good things are not equal, even though the abundance of the bad things might make you pleased with them. Men of understanding, beware of disobeying Allah; then maybe you will attain true success.'

This verse sets up a new standard of values, which is quite different from the standard of those who look only at the outward aspect of things. Such people usually judge things by their quantity and not by their quality. For instance, one hundred rupees are always considered greater in value than five rupees by one who does not attach any value to the means by which these might have been obtained. But contrary to this evaluation, this verse declares that if these one hundred rupees have been obtained by unfair means and those five rupees earned by fair means, then the former are less in worth because of their impurity than the latter because of their purity. According to this standard, it is not the number or the quantity of a thing that increases or decreases its true worth but the question whether it has been obtained by fair means or foul. Obviously, a drop of rose scent has greater value than a heap of filth and a cup of pure water is tar greater in worth than a cistern full of impure urine. Therefore one who is really wise will always remain content with the lawful, though it may appear to be very insignificant and worthless, and will never try to grab the unlawful, though it might appear to be very alluring and grand.

Yusuf Ali Explanation
People often judge by quantity rather than quality. They are dazzled by numbers: their hearts are captured by what they see everywhere around them. But the man of understanding and discrimination judges by a different standard. He knows that good and bad things are not to be lumped together, and carefully chooses the best, which may be the scarcest, and avoids the bad, though evil may meet him at every step.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
This style of an admonition after another is meant to explain that God knows everything and people should be aware that none of their deeds are hidden from Him, and just as He is Forgiving and Merciful, He is also stern in retribution. The Prophet of God has explained this fact to them. It is now their responsibility. They should remember that God is absolute good and an embodiment of truth and justice. He cannot deal with good and evil in the same manner. It is possible that the abundance of evil attract people, but this abundance carries no weight before God. He only accepts what is pure, and only those who adopt piety and virtue will succeed before Him. In His sight, contaminated concepts and deeds and impure things will result in nothing but Hell.

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
God provides us with a standard so that we may give correct judgement of all things. In these scales, only what is good and wholesome is weighty, while that which is foul and evil carries no weight. This prevents a Muslim from being deceived when he finds that the foul is plentiful and the evil too numerous. Evil and good are mentioned here within the context of elaborating which food and game are permissible and which are forbidden. What is forbidden is evil, while everything that is permissible is good. Certainly the good and the evil cannot be equal, even though the evil may come in such plenty that it attracts and tempts people. That which is good provides enjoyment that is not followed by foul consequences, such as regret, waste, pain or disease. The pleasure gained out of evil things cannot be matched even by a modicum of the good things in life. What is more is that with the good things, man enjoys safety in this life and in the life to come. When the human mind is free of the shackles of desire as a result of its being God-fearing and when it has attained a keen watchfulness, it will inevitably prefer good to evil. This is bound to end in success and triumph, both in this world and in the Hereafter: “Have fear of God, you who are endowed with understanding, so that you may triumph.” This verse especially suits the present occasion, but it has a much wider implication. It looks to a broad horizon, encompassing life in its totality.

Let us not, thus, be overawed by those who are enjoying and merrymaking at the cost of their faith and leaving the permissible even though in far lesser in ratio and proportion to the evil.
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

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.

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.

You may read more posts on similar theme in our series of posts related to: Compiled verses from Qur'an on specific subjects: Life

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: | 12 | 3 | 4
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 the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, 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.

Disclaimer: The material for this post has been collected from the references given above. If anyone differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

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