Muslims are the only people in the world today fortunate enough to possess the word of God preserved in its original form, free from all distortions, and precisely in the wording in which it was sent down upon the Prophet (blessings and peace be on him).
Paradoxically, these same Muslims suffer the misfortune of being denied the countless blessings and benefits which the word of God must give to those who believe in it. The Qur’an was sent to them, for them to read it, understand it, act upon it, and, with its help, establish on God’s earth the rule of His law.
The Qur’an came to grant them dignity and power. It came to make them true vicegerents of God on earth. And history shows that whenever they acted according to its guidance, it did make them the leaders of the world.
Irreverence and Misuse
But now the Qur’an’s usefulness, for many Muslims, consists only in keeping it in their houses to drive away jinns and ghosts, in writing its verses on amulets to hang round their necks or washing those amulets with water and then drinking it, or in reading its contents without comprehending their meaning in the hope of receiving some reward.
No longer do they seek guidance from it for their lives. No longer do they ask it to tell them what should be their beliefs, morals and actions, nor how they should conduct transactions, what principles they should observe while dealing with enemies and friends, what the rights are of their fellow beings and of their own selves. Nor do they turn to it to find what is true and what is false, whom they should obey and whom disobey, who their friends are and who their enemies, where honor, well-being and benefit are to be found and where disgrace, failure and loss.
We Muslims have given up looking for answers to these important questions in the Qur’an. Instead, we now ask kafirs (unbelievers), idolaters, misguided, selfish people, even our own ego and desires and follow what they advise.
What invariably happens to those who ignore Allah and follow the precepts of others has happened to us too. We are reaping only what we have sown everywhere in the world in Palestine, the Middle East, Pakistan, Indonesia and many other places.
The Qur’an is the source of every good: it will give whatever and as much as you ask from it. If you seek from it such trivial, frivolous and spurious things as how to scare away jinns and ghosts, how to cure coughs and fevers, how to succeed in litigation and find a job – then you may get them, but only them. If you seek supremacy on earth and the power to rule the world you may get that too. And if you wish to reach near God’s throne (`arsh), the Qur’an will take you there.
If you receive only a few drops from the ocean, do not blame the Qur’an, blame yourselves. For the whole ocean is there waiting for him who knows how to take it.
The cruel jokes, brothers, which we Muslims play with the Book of Allah are so inane that if we saw someone else doing such things in any other sphere of life, we would mock them and even brand them as lunatics.
Tell me, what would you say if somebody got a doctor’s prescription and hung it round his neck after wrapping it in a piece of cloth or washed it in water and drank it? Would you not laugh at him and call him a fool?
Yet this is the very treatment being given before your eyes to the matchless prescription written by the greatest of all doctors to provide a cure for all your ailments – and nobody laughs! No one even reflects that a prescription is not meant to be hung round the neck nor are its words to be washed in water and drunk.
Tell me, what would you think if someone who was ill picked up a book on medicine and began to read it, believing, thinking that this would cure him? Would you not say that he was deranged? Yet this is how we treat the Book which the Supreme Healer has sent for the cure of our diseases.
We think that just by flicking through all its pages, our diseases will disappear without our following the directions given in them or abstaining from the things which they pronounce harmful. Are we not in the same situation as the man who considers that reading a book on medicine will cure his illness?
If you receive a business letter in a language you do not know, you go to a man who knows the language to find out what it says. You remain anxious and restless until you have found out what the letter says, even though it will bring only some paltry worldly profit.
But the letter sent to you by the Lord of the worlds which can bring you all the benefits of this-world and the eternal life is carelessly set aside. You do not show any uneasiness at not understanding its contents. Is this not astonishing?
I am not trying to make you laugh. Reflect for a while on these facts and your hearts will tell you that the greatest possible injustice is being done to the Book of Allah.
Ironically, the culprits are the very people who proclaim their faith in it and proclaim their readiness to sacrifice their lives for it. No doubt they do have faith in it and love it more than their lives, but the pity is that it is they, more than anyone else, who treat it outrageously.
And the consequences of such treatment are quite plain to see.
Understand fully that Allah’s word does not come to bring misery, disgrace and suffering to man:
We have not sent down the Qur’an upon you that you be wretched. (Ta-Ha 20:1-2)
On the contrary, the Qur’an is the source of happiness and success. It is impossible for a people to possess God’s word and yet suffer disgrace and ignominy, live under subjugation, be trampled on and kicked around, and carry the yoke of slavery on their necks, being led by the nose like animals. People meet this fate only when they do injustice to the word of God.
Look at the fate of the Israelites. They were given the Tawrah and the Injeel, and were told:
ad they established the Torah and the Gospel and what was sent down to them by their Lord, they would surely have partaken of all the blessings from above them (heaven) and beneath their feet (earth). (Al-Ma’idah 5:66)
But they adopted a wrong attitude towards these Books of Allah, and reaped the consequences:
An ignominy and helplessness were laid upon them, and they were laden with the burden of God’s anger. That, because they used to disbelieve God’s messages and slay the Prophets against all right; that, because they disobeyed and were transgressors. (Al-Baqarah 2:61)
If people possess Allah’s Book and still live in disgrace and subjugation, they are surely being punished for doing injustice to Allah’s word. The only way to save yourselves from
Allah’s anger is to turn back from this grave sin and start trying to render His Book its due. Until you do, your condition will never change – even if you open colleges in each and every village, all your children graduate from universities, and you amass millions through unscrupulous means.
The article is an excerpt from Abul A`la Al-Mawdudi’s book “Let Us Be Muslims”.