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Section 8

Surah 'Ali-Imran, Verse 103

وَاعْتَصِمُواْ بِحَبْلِ اللّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلاَ تَفَرَّقُواْ وَاذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَتَ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاء فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىَ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

103. "And hold fast by the cord of Allah all together, and do not separate; and remember Allah's favour on you when you were enemies ( of each other ) then He united your hearts with (mutual) love, and thus you became brethren by His favour while you were on a brink of a pit of Fire then He delivered you from it! Even so Allah makes clear His Signs for you, so that you may be guided."

An Invitation to Union

In this verse, the ultimate subject, which is the problem of unity and standing against any separation, is referred to. It says:

"And hold fast by the cord of Allah all together, and do not separate..."

The opinions are divided among the commentators as to the meaning of the term /hablullah/ 'the cord of Allah'.

And in Islamic literature there are also varieties of narrations about it. But there is no difference in the basic meaning of them, because the purpose of 'the cord of Allah' is any means of connection with the Pure Essence of Allah, whether it be the Qur'an, the Prophet (S) or his progeny, Ahlul-Bayt (as).

Then, the Holy Qur'an points to the great bounty of union and brotherhood among Muslims. It invites them that they contemplate upon the miserable conditions of the past and to compare its dispersion with union of Islam. It says:

"... and remember Allah's favour on you when you were enemies (of each other) then He united your hearts with (mutual) love, and thus you became brethren by His favour ..."

Here, the subject of love and unity of the hearts of the believers is attributed to Allah, where it says:

"... then He united your hearts with (mutual) love ..."

By this phenomenon, He has pointed to a social miracle of Islam, because if we refer properly to the background of the old enmity of Arab, we will realize that how a slight and simple subject could lighten the fire of a bloody war between them. This proves that it was impossible to form one united nation from that unaware, ignorant, separated people through the ordinary ways.

The importance of unity and brotherhood among the hostile Arab tribes has not remained concealed even from the eyes of the non-Muslim scientists and historians, who totally speak of it with much wonder.
Then, the Qur'an continues saying:

"... while you were on a brink of a pit of Fire then He delivered from it!..."

That is, Allah delivered you from that horrible precipice and led you to a safe and sound point, viz. the point of 'brotherhood and love'.

The Arabic word /nar/ 'fire' mentioned in the above verse is metaphorically used for the fights and conflicts which, in the Age of ignorance, every moment could happen by a pretext among Arabs.

At the end of the verse, to emphasize it more, it says:

"... Even so, Allah makes clear His Signs for you, so that you may be guided."

Surah 'Ali-Imran, Verse 104

وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

104. "And there should be a party among you who invite (others) to good and enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong, and these are they that shall be prosperous."

The secret of the location of the verse concerning with the subject of 'enjoining right and forbidding wrong' between two verses that instruct to union and singleness; may be in the fact that in a dispersed social system either there is not an authority to invite people to do good, or these invitations are not effective and helpful.

The act of enjoining right and forbidding wrong may be performed in two ways: 1) It may be done as a public, common duty in which everybody must undertake it as much as the one is capable to fulfil it.

2) The duty that a uniformed group undertake and follow it powerfully. Like a driver who does not observe the traffic rules in the street. So, both other drivers protest him by lights and horns and the traffic police enters the scene to face seriously with the offender.

There are many traditions and narrations upon the subject of 'enjoining right and forbidding wrong' in Islamic literature. Here, we suffice to only this one in which Imam Ali (as) says:

"Do not give up enjoining right and forbidding wrong lest the mischievous gain positions over you, and then (in that case) when you pray, your invocations will not be granted to you."1

Explanations

1. In an Islamic society, it is necessary to be a group of inspectors and controllers, confirmed by the Islamic System, to superintend and control the situations, attitudes, and movements.

"And there should be a party among you who invite (others) to good and enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong ..."

2. In the society, the invitation to benevolence is prior to enjoining the right.

3. To improve a society and to prevent corruption and corruptive people, without the existence of authority and a definite responsible manager, is impossible.

4. Those who compassionately sympathize with the development and improvement of the society are the true prosperous ones:

"... those are they that shall be prosperous."

5. Invitation to benevolence, enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong should ceaselessly be performed in the society, not in the form of seasonal and temporary movements.

6. Prosperity is not found only in personal delivery, but the prosperity and delivery of others are also from its conditions.

7. The invitor to benevolence and right would be Islamicist, anthropologist, and one who knows the methods. It is for this reason that it is said that some of the members of community have special duty, not all of them.

8. Enjoining the right is prior to forbidding the wrong, because if the way of what is right be open, there will be little possibility for committing wrong.

Surah 'Ali-Imran, Verse 105

وَلاَ تَكُونُواْ كَالَّذِينَ تَفَرَّقُواْ وَاخْتَلَفُواْ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

105. "And be not like those who separated, and disagreed after clear evidences had come to them; and these are they that will have a grievous chastisement."

We ought to learn lessons from the bitter divergences between schools of the former times:

"And be not like those who separated,.."

We should know that the root of separations is not always only the factor of ignorance, because desires also cause discord.

"... and disagreed after clear evidences had come to them..."

Separation and disagreement not only breaks your power in this present world and finally destroys it, but also brings Fire of Hell to you in the Hereafter.

"... and those are they that will have a grievous chastisement."

Surah 'Ali-Imran, Verse 106

يَوْمَ تَبْيَضُّ وُجُوهٌ وَتَسْوَدُّ وُجُوهٌ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ اسْوَدَّتْ وُجُوهُهُمْ أَكْفَرْتُم بَعْدَ إِيمَانِكُمْ فَذُوقُواْ الْعَذَابَ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَكْفُرُونَ

106. "On the Day when some faces will turn while some faces will turn black! Then as to those whose faces turn black (will be said): 'Did you disbelieve after your believing? Taste, then, the chastisement for that you were disbelieving!"

The idea mentioned in this verse upon the white faces and the black faces on the Day of Judgement, perhaps is, in fact, the illustration of the very states and spiritualities of people.

Those who have accepted the master ship of Allah in this world, He takes them from darkness into Light, and, on that Day, they will arrive there with bright features.

But those who have followed the master ship of false gods, these gods take them from Light into the darkness of desires, separation, polytheism and ignorance. These persons will be raised black in darkness on the Day of Resurrection.

In the Qur'an, sixteen times infidelity is mentioned after Faith, two times after Islam, and three times calf-worship after theism, twenty seven times denial after knowledge and evidence. All of these instances are illustrative to danger and serves as an earnest warning for all of us.

"On the Day when some faces will turn while some faces will turn black! Then as to those whose faces turn black (will be said): 'Did you disbelieve after your believing? Taste, then, the chastisement for that you were disbelieving!"

Surah 'Ali-Imran, Verses 107-108

وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ ابْيَضَّتْ وُجُوهُهُمْ فَفِي رَحْمَةِ اللّهِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

تِلْكَ آيَاتُ اللّهِ نَتْلُوهَا عَلَيْكَ بِالْحَقِّ وَمَا اللّهُ يُرِيدُ ظُلْمًا لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

107. "And as to those whose faces will turn white, they shall be in the Mercy of Allah; wherein shall they abide forever."

108. "These are the verses of Allah which We recite unto you in Truth; And Allah does not intend any injustice to the world."

The recitation of the divine verses, without any exaggeration or diminution, is adapted to the truth, therefore, actions and reactions, deeds and rewards, movements and recompenses of all nations have been fixed upon a single principal and way. Allah neither ordains the servants a duty beyond their endurance, nor changes the divine laws and ways of treatment with respect to nations.

Explanations

1. Allah does not cast any kind of unjust over anyone, nor does He wish any unjust for anyone.
2. Having a white face or a black face is a reflection of belief, thoughts, and deeds of individuals themselves.

"And as to those whose faces will turn white, they shall be in the Mercy of Allah;
Wherein shall they abide forever."

3. Unjust is usually offered by someone who is weak or is not able to obtain the goal through right way; or the one is neglectful due to evil, indecency and committing unjust, none of which is right to be attributed to Allah, the Pure.

Therefore, the second verse may refer to the same fact that the Lord, to Whom all things belong and the return of all is towards Him, does not need to be unjust.

"These are the verses of Allah which We recite unto you in Truth; And Allah does not intend any injustice to the worlds."

Surah 'Ali-Imran, Verse 109

وَلِلّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ وَإِلَى اللّهِ تُرْجَعُ الأُمُورُ

109. "And whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth belongs to Allah, and all affairs will be returned unto Allah."

The meaning in this verse is next to the idea mentioned in the previous verse.

It consists of the reason that injustice cannot be issued from the side of Allah. This verse denotes how it can be possible that Allah, (Glory be to Him and highly exalted is He), transgresses while everything in the world of existence belongs to Him.

"And whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth belongs to Allah, and all affairs will be returned unto Allah."
  • 1. Nahjul-Balagha, Letter 47

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