Editorial: An Exalted Nation?
The Light (Pakistan), 8th February 1984 Issue (Vol. 64, No. 3, p. 3)
One of the distinguishing characteristics of a Muslim mentioned in the Holy Quran is that he speaks to people in a “kindly manner”. This characteristic carries special significance when it is included in the list of commandments such as
“to serve none but Allah, to do good to parents, near of kin, orphans and the needy, and to observe prayers and pay the Zakat” (The Holy Quran, 2:83).
The pattern of Islamic social order evolves out of obedience to Allah and a high sense of human sympathy and welfare. All this needs development of an attitude of kindliness and good exhortation in a Muslim’s behaviour in putting across and demonstrating the universal message of Islam. This point has been further emphasised and elucidated in another verse of the Holy Quran which runs as follows:
“Call to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the best manner. Surely thy Lord knows best him who strays from His path, and He knows best those who go aright” (The Holy Quran, 16:125).
The Muslim Ummah has been assigned a significant role to play in propagating and demonstrating the higher values of life to the world:
“And We have made you an Exalted Nation that you may be the bearer of witness to the people and that the Messenger be as bearer of witness to you” (The Holy Quran, 2:143).
In order to fulfil this rather difficult task, Muslims have been exhorted to observe a decorum which the Holy Quran has outlined by the expressions of
“Call to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation”.
Unfortunately, these days Muslims, quite contrary to what the Holy Quran expects of them, resort to fanaticism and outright condemnation of anything which they think does not conform to their views. This is something which the Holy Quran has repeatedly condemned:
“There is no compulsion in religion” (The Holy Quran, 2:256).
“And if they contend with thee, say, Allah best knows what you do. Allah will judge between you on the day of Resurrection respecting that in which you differ” (The Holy Quran, 22:68–69).
If Muslims wish to be “an exalted nation” in the comity of nations, they will have to inculcate in themselves an attitude and a behaviour conforming to the letter and spirit of Islam. To bring change in ideas is a difficult task indeed, but to transform a man’s whole attitude towards life is much more difficult. Islam’s primary concern is the inner beauty and purification which gives impetus to outer progress and prosperity. If we are really keen that people should be benefited from the all-ennobling teachings of Islam, then it should be done in the manner prescribed by the Holy Quran. The keynote of the message of the Holy Quran is persuasion, kindly manners and goodly exhortation and not coercion and compulsion.