By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam
30 August 2017
(Co-author (Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009.)
We pick up where we left in the preceding reflection: ‘Good deeds’ with belief in God is the essence of the universal din of Islam. ‘We now reflect over the Qur’anic message on the role of ‘good deeds’ as the sole criterion of divine judgment for all people – men and women, regardless of religion who believe in God and ultimate accountability to Him: The Qur’an says:
“Those who believe, and those who are Jews, and Christians and Sabians (pre-Islamic monotheistic creed)- and (in fact) any who believe in God and the Last Day, and do good deeds - shall have their reward with their Lord. There will be no fear upon them, nor shall they grieve” (2:62, 5:69) .
“Those who believe, and those who are Jews, and Sabians and Christians and Magians (Parsis of this era), and those who associate (others with God) - God will judge between them on the Day of Judgment. Indeed, God is Witness to all things” (22:17)
“Anyone - be it a man or a woman, who does good deeds, and is a believer in God – it is these that shall enter the Garden and will not be wronged at all” (4:124).
Thus, the Qur’an distinguishes ‘good deeds’ as the level playing field for people of all religions that espouse faith in One Almighty God (Allah in the Qur’an and in Arabic translation of Bible).
The following verses expand the notion of good deeds with the negation of what is the opposite of good deeds –that is guarding against evil or moral uprightness for which the Qur’an uses the word ‘Taqwa.’
“And let not the hatred of a people who (once) obstructed you from (entering the) Sacred House, lead you to be hostile. Therefore, help each other to goodness and to guarding against evil (Taqwa), and do not collaborate with each other in sin and enmity. Heed God, and (remember,) God is severe in punishment” (5:2).
“O People! We have created you as male and female, and made you into races and communities for you to get to know each other. The noblest among you near God are those of you who are foremost in guarding against evil (Taqwa). Indeed God is All-Knowing and Informed” (49:13).
It therefore follows that human conscience is imbued with a polarity of good and evil and unless one guards himself against all that is evil, he cannot be a champion of goodness. Since guarding against evil – the base temptation or animal instincts is a major theme in the Qur’an, we will reflect on it in our next review.
Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.
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