Monday 29th of November 2021
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Benefits of History

Benefits of History

The Almighty Allah says: That nation, (Children of lbrahim) is gone. They have reaped what they sowed, and the same applies to you. You are not responsible for their deeds. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:134)

This verse has occurred in Surah al-Baqarah with identical wording at two places. At one place it occurs after 2: 133. It says: Were you present when death came to Ya'qub and when he said to his sons: What will you worship after me? They said: We shall worship your God, the God of your fathers, Ibrahim and Ismail and Ishaq, One Allah, and to Him do we surrender. Then it says: Those are a people who have passed away, they shall have what they have earned and you shall have what you earn, and you shall not be called upon to answer what they did.

At other place it occurs after 2: 140. It runs as follows: Do you say that Ibrahim, Ismail, and Ishaq, and Ya'qub and the twelve descendants of Bani Israil were Jews or Christian? O Prophet of Allah say: "Do you know best, or does Allah? And who is more unjust than he who hides a testimony which he has received from Allah? Allah is not unaware of what you do".

Here also after this verse the Qur'an says: Those are a people who have passed away (i.e. the Children of Prophet Ibrahim) and his sons were neither Jews nor Christians and they lived before Prophet Musa and Isa. Secondly whatever they were and whatever faith they possessed and whatever good or evil deeds they did cannot benefit or harm you. If they were good people and did good deeds how does it concern you, and if they were evil-doers why should you be worried for their bad deeds?

Is it possible that on the Day of Judgment you will be held responsible for their bad deeds? While studying the history of Āshura we have mentioned in the foregoing pages the names of some good, brave, self- sacrificing, faithful and pious persons, and have also spoken about their good deeds and valor in the path of Allah as well as their steadfastness, virtues and good morals. Similarly we have mentioned the names of some bad, sinful, rebellious and oppressive persons and referred to their bad and cowardly deeds. Keeping in view the good and bad deeds of the people we have extolled and praised those who were good and decent persons and cursed those who were mean and ignoble. However, notwithstanding the fact that honoring and sending greetings to the souls of the martyrs and the devotees who sacrifice their lives for the sake of Allah, and cursing those, who oppose truth and draw their swords against the godly people, and eliminate the virtuous and pious persons, who are the best capital of every nation, is a good and proper act, it cannot guarantee the prosperity of man unless he thinks and acts like good persons and shuns the practices of evil-doers. Otherwise the position will be the same as mentioned by the Almighty Allah thus: Those are a people who have passed away, they have reaped what they sowed.

The good and pious persons and the wicked ones formed a nation which went its own way. Whatever goodness and virtue they had is for themselves and whatever sins and oppressions they committed are also a burden on them. You will neither be rewarded for their good deeds nor held responsible for their bad deeds.

The object of repeating this verse in Surah al-Baqarah with a distance of less than ten verses is to invite the attention of the people to a very important point. One should not feel contented only by saying that Imam Husayn and his companions were great and magnanimous persons and Ibn Ziyad, Yazid and their collaborators were bad and deviated, because very often it is possible that there may be people who send greetings to the sacred soul of Imam Husayn but choose to follow Ibn Ziyad in the matter of thinking, actions and way of doing things. There are many persons who criticize and revile the bad people of the past and wish that they may be awarded severe punishment, but as far as their deeds and conduct are concerned they choose these very persons as their leaders and guides.

There is no doubt about the fact that supporting truth and the truthful people and opposing the bad persons and the bad deeds, in whatever manner it may be, is something good in itself but it does not place man in the category of good and virtuous people and does not bring him out of the circle of the bad and wicked persons, except when one follows the ways of the former and shuns those of the latter. It is only in this event that a person may be justified in saying that he supports and favors the good and opposes the bad and the wicked persons. The Holy Qur'an has paid special attention to the narration of the history of the past nations and the stories of the Prophets and of those who opposed them, and a large part of the verses and Surahs of the Qur'an has been specially devoted to this very subject i.e. the history of the ancients. However, the object of these narrations of the Qur'an is not only that the Muslims should know that Prophet Musa was a good man and Pharaoh was a bad man or that the tribes named 'Ād and Thamud were bad and deviated whereas the people belonging to other nations were good. How do Muslims stand to gain or lose because of the goodness of Prophet Musa and other Prophets and the goodness of the Christians of Najran, who were killed at the hands of Zu Nuwās, the King of Yemen or the badness of Zu Nuwās? The object of the narration of the history of the ancients is that the Muslims should ponder over the factors for the advancement, glory and good name of a nation and for the adversity, humility and downfall of another nation, and do things which make nations advanced and respectable, and shun those things which have in the past been the cause of the downfall, adversity, Divine punishment and extinction of the nations. They should understand that the Divine Sunnah (Divine Path) does not undergo a change. If a nation becomes honorable in the world for some reason, that reason will always be the means of glory, and if a nation becomes degraded and humble for some reason, that reason will always be the source of its misfortune and humiliation.


Divine Law is Unalterable

Whenever the word Sunnah has been used in the Holy Qur'an it has been used in this very literal meaning i.e. the manner in which Allah has treated the past nations. And whenever Allah says that His Sunnah is unalterable it means that there is a path for attaining to dignity and honor and He does not change it, and there is also a path and ground which leads to adversity and helplessness and that, too, is unalterable.

Allah says: That was the law of Allah in the case of those who lived before and there will never be any change in the law of Allah. (Surah al-Ahzab, 33:63)

It means that it has been the practice of Allah in the case of the sinners and the hypocrites that in order to serve an ultimatum upon them, He in the first instance sends the Prophets to them and makes goodness and badness and truth and falsehood perfectly clear to them. Thereafter He destroys and makes extinct those who do not believe, but persist in their infidelity. As regards those who try to deceive Allah and His Prophet and behave hypocritically, side with Allah as well as with His enemies, and on the one hand take from the Prophet a share out of the war booty and other benefits due to the Muslims, and on the other hand take remuneration from the enemies for spying for them and creating trouble, He disgraces them, deprives them from gaining from either side and drives them hither and thither. This Sunnah of Allah is unalterable and it should not be expected that deceit and hypocrisy can be the cause of shame and disgrace on one day and the means of honor and good name on another day.

The same thing has been said in the Holy Qur'an in these words: {Such was Our) system in the case of those whom We sent before you {to mankind), and you will never find change in Our system. (Surah Bani Israil, 17:77)

In the following verse also the word Sunnah has been used in this very sense: Tell the unbelievers, 'If you give up your evil behavior, Allah will forgive whatever you have done in the past. But if you transgress again, your fate will be the same as that of those (unbelievers) who lived before you " (Surah al-Anfāl, 8: 38) i.e. Allah declares 'We shall employ the same method in their case which We employed in the case of the past people and shall destroy these deviated people in the same way in which We destroyed them'. The same thing has been said in the Holy Qur'an thus: They do not believe in truth and they exactly follow the Sunnah (tradition) of the past people," (Surah al-Hijr, 15: 13) i.e. there is no hope that these infidels of Makkah who persist in their enmity and grudge against the Prophet of Allah will believe. They do not believe but their matter is quite clear and Our Sunnah (method) with regard to those who lived before them and persisted in their infidelity is known. We shall deal with them in the same way in which We dealt with those persons.

Allah say: Had the disbelievers fought against you, they would take to flight and would have found no guardian or helper. This is the Sunnah (law) of Allah which existed before you, and you will never find any change in Allah's system, (Surah al-Fath, 48:23) If the polytheists of Makkah had fought against you in Hudaibiya they would not have gained anything and would have taken to flight and thereafter they would not have found any refuge or helper. This is the way in which Allah has dealt with the unbelievers earlier and the law and the Sunnah of Allah do not change. It means that one of the laws of Allah is that faith is the source of victory and domination over the enemy and it is not only you and the polytheists of Makkah but out of every two parties which grapple with each other Allah grants victory to that party which joins the battle with the stimulant of faith.

Allah says: Evil plots only affect the plotters. Do they expect anything other than (Allah's) law (torment) with those who lived before? You will never find any change in the tradition of Allah nor will you find any alteration in it. (Surah al-Fatir, 35: 43) i.e. These people who do not give up idol-worship and make evil plots so as to hinder the advancement of Islam should know that evil plots eventually recoil on those who make them. And if they expect that We shall treat them in a way other than that in which We treated the people of the past, it is an inopportune expectation because Allah's Sunnah does not change and deceit and fraud can never be the source of honor and advancement.

Allah says: Their faith could not avail against Our punishment. Such is Allah's prevailing Sunnah (law) among His servants in the past. Thus the disbelievers are ruined. (Surah Mumin, 40:85) i.e. When We subjected to torture those who denied and ridiculed Our Prophets and they experienced the severity of Our punishment they appealed to Us for help and said: "We forsake infidelity and polytheism and believe only in Allah". This faith which was the consequence of pressure of torture did not do them any good and this is the Divine Sunnah (law) which has ever prevailed over the people. Consequently the disbelievers sustained loss.

When all the verses quoted above are taken together it appears that. the Divine law does not change for the sake of anyone. He does not make one honored or humble without cause. He has not created any nation to dominate and rule others, nor has He created any nation to remain afflicted, indigent and backward. Those who have acquired wealth and authority in the world have acquired it according to a Divine law, and similar is the case of those, who have been subjected to humiliation and disgrace.


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