[Readers are requested to follow the sequence of the chapters to have better clarity]
Those who are convinced that Allah is the Sole Creator and Controller of the universe, and He holds Supreme powers; that He is Severe in penalty and there is no savior except Him; that the present life is a test and the occurrence of the next is truth [details of all have been given in previous chapters]; that all the rules of life given by Allah are the best and for their own betterment and success [in the next life]; and knowing that a little mistake will put them in big trouble, they do not look at other directions for guidance. Thus:
[Those] Who are certain that they will meet their Rubb and that they will return to Him (2: 46) submit themselves to the commands of Allah, wholeheartedly.
The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from His Rubb, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], “We make no distinction between any of His messengers.” And they say, “We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Rubb, and to You is the [final]destination.” (2: 285)
By accepting the Supremacy of Allah, and truthfulness of the Messenger and the Message, a believer pledges with Allah that he/she will live a life according to His commands. The declaration of the pledge of obedience is important because it puts a responsibility on the declarant to behave accordingly.
……………………And honor your pledge because the pledge involves responsibility (17: 34)
Moreover, it clarifies to both the declarant and his society that he will not follow any rules/religion other than given by Allah.
[Allah sent] a Messenger [Muhammad] reciting to you the distinct verses of Allah that He may bring out those who believe and do righteous deeds from darkness into the light…………….. (65: 11)
… obey Allah and the Messenger [Muhammad] that you may obtain mercy (3: 132)
Some rules, though apparently seem against human desires, however, a detailed analysis of these shows that a peaceful living without these is impossible [details in next chapters].
………. It may be that you dislike something while it is good for you, and it may be that you like something while it is bad for you. Allah knows, and you do not know. (2: 216)
O mankind, the Messenger has come to you with the truth from your Rubb, so believe; it is better for you. But if you disbelieve – then indeed, to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and earth. And ever is Allah Knowing and Wise (4: 170)
These rules not only help to establish peace in the personal and social life of a person, but their fulfilment also leads to success in the next life [details of the rules in next chapters].
And this is the path of your Rubb, [leading] straight. We have detailed the verses for a people who remember [recollect]. For them will be the Home of Peace with their Rubb. And He will be their protecting friend because of what they used to do. (6: 126-127)
No rule/religion except that given by Allah can meet the criterion of success in both worlds. Therefore:
… whoever desires other than Islam [peace] as religion – never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers (3: 85)
13.1 RULES OF MAKING A PLEDGE
Making a pledge of obedience for all matters of life is a big responsibility; it binds a person to keep it till his death. Therefore, it must be declared with full understanding of its meaning, and not be taken lightly or in jest.
O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him]. (3: 102)
And remember Allah’s blessings upon you, and His covenant which He covenanted with you; when you said, “We hear and we obey.” And remain conscious of Allah, for Allah knows what the hearts contain (5: 7)
And be not like those who say, “We hear,” when they do not hear. (8: 21)
Fulfill Allah’s covenant when you make a covenant, and do not break your oaths after ratifying them. You have made Allah your guarantor/Witness, and Allah knows what you do (16: 91)
And do not be like *she/it[a spinning wheel] who/which untwisted her/its spun thread after it was strong [by] taking your oaths as [means of] deceit between you because one community is more plentiful [in number or wealth] than another community. Allah only tries you thereby. And He will surely make clear to you on the Day of Resurrection that over which you used to differ. (16: 92) *in Arabic, the spinning wheel is assigned a feminine gender, therefore “she” has been used in its English translation.
And do not exchange the covenant of Allah for a small price [worldly benefits]. Indeed, what is with Allah is best for you if only you could know. (16: 95)
Adhering to the rules of life, given by Allah, needs patience and determination which is the actual test.
Whatever you will have will end, but what Allah has is lasting. And We will surely give those who were patient their reward according to the best of what they used to do. (16: 96)
Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while being a believer, We will grant him/her a good life – and We will reward them according to the best of what they used to do. (16: 97)
Whoever renounces [abandon] faith in Allah after having believed – except for someone who is compelled, while his heart rests securely in faith – but whoever willingly opens up his heart to disbelief – upon them falls wrath from Allah, and for them is a tremendous torment. That is because they have preferred the worldly life to the Hereafter, and because Allah does not guide the people who refuse [to believe] (16: 106 -107)
13.2 CONSEQUENCES OF VIOLATION OF THE PLEDGE
Those who violate Allah’s covenant after its confirmation, and sever what Allah has commanded to be joined, and commit evil on earth. These are the losers (2: 27)
How many a town defied [disobeyed] the command of its Rubb and His messengers? So We held it strictly accountable, and We punished it with a dreadful punishment. It tasted the result of its decisions, and the outcome of its decisions was perdition [destruction/loss/Hell]. Allah has prepared for them a severe retribution. So beware of Allah, O you who possess intellect and have faith. Allah has sent down to you a *Reminder [Quran ](65: 8-10) * which contains all instructions for the success of both worlds.
……………. Whoever breaks his pledge breaks it to his own loss. And whoever fulfills his covenant with Allah, He will grant him a great reward (48: 10)
……………O people! Your violations are against your own souls. It is the enjoyment of the present life. Then to Us is your return, and We will inform you of what you used to do. (10: 23)
Indeed, Allah does not wrong the people at all, but it is the people who are wronging themselves (10: 44) [by making wrong choices]
And recite to them, the news of him to whom we gave [knowledge of] Our signs, but he detached himself from them; so Satan pursued him, and he became of the deviators. And if We had willed, We could have elevated him thereby, but he adhered [instead] to the earth and followed his own desire…………. (7: 175-176) [details about Satan in next chapters]
And for how many a city did I prolong enjoyment while it was committing wrong. Then I seized it, and to Me is the [final] destination. (22: 48) [details of the punishment in the present life in next chapters]
Those who fulfill the promise to Allah, and do not violate the agreement. And those who join what Allah has commanded to be joined, and fear their Rubb, and dread the dire reckoning. And those who patiently seek the presence of their Rubb, and pray regularly, and spend from Our provisions to them, secretly and openly, and repel evil with good. These will have the Ultimate Home. (13: 20-22)
As for those who violate the promise to Allah, after pledging to keep it, and sever what Allah has commanded to be joined, and spread corruption on earth – these, the curse will be upon them, and they will have the Worst Home. (13: 25) [details of the punishment in the next life have already been given in Chapter Six]
13.3 CAN HUMANS AVOID THE RELIGION Of ALLAH? IS IT POSSIBLE TO LIVE WITHOUT MAKING A PLEDGE?
Denial or deviation has no room in the religion of Allah. Everything in the universe, as stated in previous chapters, is perfect and obediently fulfilling its duties. So, how can a deviant survive in the world of perfection?
Whether one likes these rules or not, willing to adopt them or not, judgement will be made according to these rules. Thus, one cannot avoid these rules; avoidance means ruination in the present life and failure in the next. It is a set practice of nature; whatever goes against its rules, it gets destroyed.
Do they desire other than the religion of Allah, when to Him has submitted everything in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and to Him they will be returned? (3: 83)
As we have seen in previous chapters, the kingdom and command of Allah is everywhere. There is no escape for humans from the rules/laws of Allah. Once the rule is set, it is set forever; no change can be made in it.
……………you will find no refuge except in Him (18: 27)
As for those who disbelieve, their works are like a mirage in a desert. The thirsty assumes it is to be water. Until, when he has reached it, he finds it to be nothing, but there he finds Allah, Who settles his account in full. Allah is Swift in reckoning (24: 39)
You cannot escape, on earth or in the heaven; and you have no protector and no savior besides Allah (29: 22)
13.4 WHAT HAPPENS WHEN RULES/RELIGION IS NOT OBSERVED PROPERLY?
The pledge of obedience demands that a person should obey Allah in all affairs of his life. However, some treacherous/half-hearted believers adopt some rules and overlook others. By doing so they take a little advantage of some guidance but remain deprived of other benefits [of guidance]. They are like the one who walks in a thunderstorm.
…..like a cloudburst from the sky, in which is darkness, and thunder, and lightning…….. (2: 19)
………. Whenever it illuminates for them, they walk in it; but when it grows dark over them, they stand still…………… (2: 20) [unable to understand how to handle a situation]
Violation of Allah’s covenant has remained a common practice throughout history – people make a pledge to remain obedient, but they somehow slip away. As humans have not yet attained perfection, they have been making mistakes since their beginning.
And We had already taken a promise [of obedience] from Adam before, but he forgot; and We found not in him determination. (20: 115)
Is it not that whenever they make a covenant, some of them toss it aside? In fact, most of them do not believe [in the verses of Allah]. (2: 100)
…………Indeed, those who disbelieve in the verses of Allah will have a severe punishment, and Allah is exalted in Might, the Owner of Retribution. (3: 4)
People sometimes obey some rules [of peacemaking] and overlook others. It is because of overlooking rules of peace that people suffer hardships, and blame religion for not being effective. They do not realize that it is not religion, which is ineffective, it is they who do not carry it as it is supposed to be carried. They distance themselves from religion and invite misery to their life. By adopting some and overlooking other rules one cannot maintain peace in one’s personal and social life. As we have seen in previous chapters, everything in the universe is based upon peace; one who spoils its peace by disobeying the rules, how can he himself live in peace?
Moreover, the behavior of a person reflects his religion. A little misconduct might malign the impression of a religion in the eyes of the one who has not yet attained guidance, but willing to take it. Religion does not allow misconduct; it is people who misbehave or transgress and malign the impression of the religion. The misconduct of theirs might disappoint others about the True religion.
And do not take your oaths as [means of] deceit between you, lest a foot slip after it was [once] firm, and you would taste evil [in this world] for what [people] you diverted from the way of Allah, and you would have [in the Hereafter] a great punishment. (16: 94)
Religion is a complete set of instructions for personal and social life; observance of one and violation of other does not give the required results.
O you have believed, enter into Islam [peace] completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of *Satan. Indeed, he/it is to you a clear enemy. (2: 208) *Satan is an inside whisper which entice humans to argue, challenge, rebel, deviate and disobey the commands [further details in next chapters].
13.5 PERSISTENCE TO A PLEDGE IS A BIG CHALLENGE
Persistence to the rules is a big challenge because a person might come across a situation several times where he must choose between his desire and the command of Allah.
Worldly attractions are a part of the test. They are purposely designed by Allah to check how persistent one is in the fulfilment of his pledge and controlling of his desires.
Adorned for the people is the love of desires, such as women, and children, and piles upon piles of gold and silver, and branded horses, and livestock, and fields. These are the conveniences of the worldly life, but with Allah lies the finest resort. (3: 14)
Whatever you have will end, but what Allah has is lasting. And We will surely give those who were patient their reward according to the best of what they used to do (16: 96)
And upon Allah is the direction of the [right] way, and among various paths are those deviating. And if He willed, He could have guided you all (16: 9) but present life is a test. So, everyone has to go through it]
Had He willed, He would have made you one congregation/community, but He leaves astray whom He wills, and guides whom He wills. And you will surely be questioned about what you used to do [and choose] (16: 93)
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