Editorial: Practice the Teachings of the Quran
Official Magazine of the Woking Muslim Mission, Shah Jehan Mosque, Woking, UK
The Islamic Review (UK), August/September 1981 Issue (Vol. 1, Nos. 11–12, p. 4)
“Say: Come! I will recite what your Lord has forbidden to you: Associate naught with Him and do good to parents and slay not your children for (fear of) poverty—We provide for you and for them—and draw not nigh to indecencies, open or secret, and kill not the soul which Allah has made sacred except in the course of justice. This He enjoins upon you that you may understand. And approach not the property of the orphan except in the best manner, until he attains his maturity. And give full measure and weight with equity—We impose not on any soul a duty except to the extent of its ability. And when you speak, be just, though it be (against) a relative. And fulfil Allah’s covenant. This He enjoins on you that you may be mindful; and (know) that this is My path, the right one, so follow it, and follow not (other) ways, for they will lead you away from His ways. This He enjoins on you that you may keep your duty” (6:152–154).
Allah sends His prophets and revelation to guide mankind into the right path. His pleasure is therefore that all men should walk in the right path and serve only one Master. The guidance of Allah is brought through prophets, and men are never compelled to accept the right way. Man was created with a will free within certain limits to act as he pleases, and through the exercise of this freedom of will and action, men are capable of following the straight path or going astray as they choose. The verses of the Holy Quran quoted above provide the guiding rules of life that help one tread on the straight path. By following these rules an individual moulds his life in the manner required by his Creator.
The words “and follow not (other) ways, for they will lead you away from His way” require special attention of all Muslims. It is a problem that immigrant Muslims to Europe and the USA or those who take temporary residence in these regions of the world often face in their daily lives. These are termed “cultural” problems of the immigrants, or difficulties in “cultural adjustment” as some would like to call them. The guiding rules of life laid down in these verses of the Quran and to be found at other places in the Holy Book are the basis of a “culture” to which a Muslim belongs. The distinction of the teachings of the Holy Quran as against the teachings of the other faiths is that the Quran does not bring spiritual teachings in isolation. Rather, its teachings encompass the whole personality of an individual and tell us to mould a man’s whole self or life in a particular shape, not keeping his spiritual and worldly life in separate compartments.
We see deviation in the conduct of a few Muslims from the straight path taught by Allah under the cultural influences of Europe or the USA. It is such people who have been reminded in the above-quoted verse of the Quran that they are being led away from His way. The “culture” of Europe, the USA, or for that matter any other region in the world, has its basis in the social habits of a nation or a region. As we know, these social habits vary from nation to nation and from region to region, and thus hardly befit making the basis of a culture which may serve the needs of humanity as a whole. Further, these national or regional cultures are subject to constant change with the changing economic, political, and social conditions of the respective society. Thirdly, these “cultures” stand to divide the human race rather than help unify it. For these reasons a superior “culture” that could serve as a “culture” befitting the whole human race was necessary, and it could only be designed and determined by the Creator of mankind, Who possesses all knowledge. Those who opt for regional or national cultures as against the God-given “culture” apparently enter a loser’s bargain. Let all of us endeavour to shape our lives in accordance with the teachings of Allah rather than falling prey to ever-changing national or regional “cultures.”