Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Rabi-Ul Akhir / Jamadiul Awwal 1423 H
July 2002
Volume 15-07 No:187

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Quran Speaks to you


Being Obedient to Allah, the Protector
Double Face


Being Obedient to Allah,
The Protector

In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Beneficent
Believers, if you obey those who have rejected the faith, they will cause you to turn back on your heels and you will be the losers. Indeed Allah alone is your lord Supreme and He is the best of all who bring succour.

(The House of Imran, "Al Imran"; 3: 149-150)
Commentary by Sayyid Qutb.
Translation: M A Salahi & A A Shamsi


Quran Speaks to you

These verses come within the context of the comments given in the Quran and the events of the Battle of Uhud. These comments aim at correcting the concepts of the believers and enhancing their awareness of their situation, warning them at the same time of pitfalls which lie in their way and that their enemies were plotting against them. The defeat of the Muslims at Uhud provided the disbelievers, the hypocrites and the Jews in Madinah with a suitable climate to spread their hostile propaganda. Madinah was not yet a wholly Muslim city. The Muslims there were largely a foreign element to which the spectacular victory in Badr imparted an awe-inspiring stature. When they were defeated in Uhud, attitudes were markedly changed. The enemies of Islam found in that defeat a chance to declare their hostility and spread their poisonous rumours. They were quick to exploit the atmosphere of tragedy which had affected every Muslim family, to try to create confusion in the minds of the Muslims. At the outset of the Quranic report of the actual events of the battle, Allah Himself emphatically warns the believers against obeying those who have rejected the faith. We hear Him (limitless He is in His glory), promising the believers victory over their enemy coupled with striking a feeling of fear in the hearts of those enemies and reminding them of the victory. He has granted them in the first round of their war, in fulfillment of His earlier promise. They had squandered that victory when they weakened and disobeyed the express orders of Allah’s Messenger (Pbuh). He portrays the opposite scenes of the battle in an image which is vivid, highly expressive, full of life. He describes how He has given reassurance to the believers after their defeat, leaving the hypocrites to their worry and confusion. He reveals to them a part of His purpose in letting events move in that particular direction, explaining the true nature of the timing of people’s deaths. He warns them at the end against the erroneous notions promoted by the disbelievers in relation to the question of death and martyrdom. He reminds them that all people, whether they die in the normal course of events or in battle will eventually be resurrected and return to Allah.

When we examine these verses carefully, we realise that they describe a large number of vivid scenes and emphasise at the same time a number of principles which are fundamental to the Islamic philosophy, human life and universal laws. The whole battle is depicted in quick, lively and penetrating scenes which include every aspect of importance. They describe the atmosphere, events and circumstances of the battle, along with all feelings and mental attitudes experienced by the believers at the time far more accurately than any description given by historians, no matter how detailed the latter descriptions are. Furthermore, these verses touch on a host of principles which are highly inspiring and which help believers formulate their truly Islamic concepts. There is no doubt that it is beyond human expression to include all these scenes and all these principles in such a short passage and a small number of sentences, vivid as they may be. There is a point which can be better understood by those who are familiar with different styles and methods of expression. Believers, if you obey those who have rejected the faith, they will cause you to turn back on your heels, and you will be the losers. Indeed Allah alone is your Lord Supreme and He is the best of all who bring succour.

The disbelievers, the hypocrites and the Jews in Madinah seized the opportunity raised by the defeat of the Muslims and the losses they suffered in order to dampen their enthusiasm and to warn them against following Prophet Muhammad.(Pbuh) They painted to them in dark colours the gloomy prospects of going to war and fighting the polytheists of Quraish and its allies. There is no doubt that the atmosphere created by defeat is the most suitable to spread confusion and to weaken the trust of soldiers in their leaders. The very principle of fighting those who possessed greater power was questioned and the idea of establishing a peaceful accord with the victors was painted in tempting colours. In addition, personal grief was exploited for the purpose of destroying the Muslim community in the first place and destroying faith itself later in order to create a situation in which the Muslims surrender to the disbelievers who had greater might.

Hence Allah warns the believers against paying heed to those who have rejected faith, because that obedience will inevitably result in utter loss. Nothing good can come from it. It represents a complete roundabout turn to a state of disbelief. A believer either continues to fight those who cling to falsehood and reject faith or turns on his heels. It is not possible that a believer takes an attitude inbetween, trying to maintain neutrality while at the same time, he hangs on to his faith. He may have some thoughts of this sort in the wake of defeat and under the influence of calamity. He may imagine that he can withdraw from the battle against a powerful enemy and to establish peace with the enemy and at the same time retain his faith. That is a great delusion. In the whole question of faith, a person who does not move forward can only retreat backward. If one does not fight disbelief, evil, falsehood and tyranny, he must beat retreat and turn back on his heels to embrace all this evil. A person whose faith does not stop him from obeying disbelievers and having trust in them, sacrifices in fact, his very faith for their sake. He is spiritually defeated when he befriends the enemies of his faith and follows their directives. As he starts with defeat, he cannot escape from it at the end. He is bound to revert to a situation of rejecting the faith although he may not imagine that such would be his end. A believer is satisfied with his faith and leadership to the extent which makes him in no need of consulting the enemies of his faith and his leadership. If he listens to them once, he actually begins the process of turning back on his heels. This is an elementary and factual law to which Allah draws the attention of the believers and against which he warns them as He describes them as “ Believers, if you obey those who have rejected the faith, they will cause you to turn back on your heels and you will be the losers.”

What loss is greater than turning back on one’s heels after one has attained faith. What benefits may be gained after the loss of faith has taken place. If the tendency to obey the disbelievers is motivated by a hope of finding protection and succour, this is a great delusion. The Quran does not discuss this delusion, but reminds the believers of where true help, protection and succour comes from. Indeed Allah alone is your Lord, supporter and protector. He who has Allah for support has no need whatsoever to fear. When he has the support of Allah, what use to him is the support of any creature?.

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Double Face

Narrated by Abu Hurairah, the Prophet (Pbuh) said: “The worst people before Allah on the Day of Resurrection will be the double- faced people who appear to some people with one face and to other people with another face.”

(Sahih Bukhari Vol 8. Hadith 84)



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