By Sayyid Qutb
In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Ever Merciful
Whoever desires might and glory should know that all might and glory belong to God alone. To Him ascends all good words, and He exalts the good deed. For those who plot evil there is severe suffering in store. All their plotting will come to nothing. (The Originator, Fatir, 35: 10)
The idolaters used their idolatry to retain their religious position in Makkah, one which gave them leadership of the Arabian tribes, and which facilitated various privileges. Needless to say, the most important of these were power and glory. Hence they used to say to the Prophet: “If we were to follow the guidance along with you, we would be torn away from our land.” (28: 57) Therefore, God tells them: “Whoever desires might and glory should know that all might and glory belong to God alone.”
When this fact is well established in people’s hearts and minds, it ensures that values, standards, as well as means and methods undergo a complete change. The truth is that might and glory belong totally to God. No one else possesses a shred of either. Therefore, if anyone wants them, and they are incidentally expressed in one Arabic word, izzah, which combines both and adds connotations of dignity, then they should seek them from their only source: God Almighty. They cannot be found with anyone else.
The Quraysh sought to enjoy might and glory among the Arabs through idolatrous beliefs that lacked real substance. They feared to follow divine guidance, even though they acknowledged that it was guidance, because they feared for their own status. Yet those people, the Arabian tribes and clans, were not a source of might and glory. They could not give or deny these to anyone: “All might and glory belong to God alone.” If they enjoyed any measure of power and might, it was only because God gave them this. Therefore, anyone who wishes to have these should go to the original source, not to a recipient of that source. Recipients can only give what they have in excess. Besides, recipients are also weak and in need.
This is an essential truth of Islamic faith, which establishes values, standards, judgment, behaviour and ways and means. When this truth is firmly rooted in one’s heart, one does not hesitate to stand up in dignity and glory to the rest of the world, knowing from whom one derives might and glory. Such a person does not bow before any despot, storm, calamity, state, or worldly force whatsoever. Why would they when all might and glory belong to God alone, and when no one receives any portion of it without His leave?
This is the reason good words and right actions are mentioned here: “To Him ascends all good words, and He exalts the good deed.” This is mentioned here for a purpose: it is a reference to the means by which might and glory are assured for those who seek it from God. Good words and good deeds, which are allowed to ascend to God where they are received with honour that reflects on the speaker who says the good word and does the good work.
True izzah, combining all connotations of dignity and glory, is first established in one’s heart before it takes any form in the outside world. When it is so established, the person concerned rises above all considerations that cause humiliation and prostration before anyone other than God. He rises first of all above his own fears, desires and ambitions that may be gratified by others. When he has done this, no one will ever be able to humiliate or subjugate him. People are only humbled by their desires, fears and ambitions. Should these be held in check, that person will retain his glory and dignity in all situations and with all people. This is indeed true might, glory and dignity.
True izzah is not stubbornness that seeks strength through falsehood, or tyranny that uses brutal force to silence others, or an overwhelming upsurge motivated by desire, or a blind force that pays no heed to right and justice. It is none of this. It is the ability to rise above one’s own desires, rejecting fetters and humiliations, and refusing to submit to any other than God. It also means submitting only to God, fearing Him alone and obeying Him in all situations. It is through submission to God alone that our heads are raised high, and through fearing Him that we can stand up to whatever He disapproves of. Our watching Him also means that we care nothing for anything other than earning His pleasure. This then explains the relation between the good word and deed on the one hand and might, glory and dignity on the other.
The opposite picture is then given: “For those who plot evil there is severe suffering in store. All their plotting will come to nothing.” Such people will see that their plots and schemes yield no fruit and end in failure, and that they will endure severe suffering as a result. We note here the contrasting image, which brings life to a lifeless land. These people plot evil because they are after false power and imagined glory. They may appear to have power at their command, but it is the good word and deed that ascend to God and through which we receive izzah in its full sense. Evil schemes and plots cannot achieve this, even though they may occasionally be coupled with physical power. Their assured end, however, is ruin and severe suffering. This is God’s promise that never fails.
Source: Arab News