Fruits for the Week

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C. The only true guidance

In the final analysis there remains only one source of truth: that one Supreme Being from whom you can get the necessary light. Allah (swt) is All-Knowing and All-Seeing. He knows the inner reality of all things. He alone can tell you precisely what is to your benefit and what is to your detriment. He alone can lay down which actions are right for you and which are wrong. He has no vested interests and no axe to grind. He has no need to secure any benefit by deception. Therefore, whatever directions that Holy and Self-Subsistent Being gives you will be without any ulterior motive and will be intended exclusively for your benefit.

Allah (swt) is also the ultimate dispenser of justice. There is not the slightest element of injustice in that Holy Being; His commandments are based totally on truth and justice. In following them, there is no danger of you doing any injustice to yourselves or to other people.

D. How to benefit
Two things, are necessary in order to benefit from the light given – you must believe sincerely in Allah (swt) and His Messengers, through whom this light has been transmitted. This means that you should be absolutely certain that whatever guidance the Messenger has brought from Allah (swt) is right and true, whether at a particular time you understand the wisdom behind it or not. Second, after you have believed, you should follow that guidance because without obedience nothing can be achieved.

Suppose a man tells you not to eat a certain thing because it is poisonous and you say, ‘You are undoubtedly right, it is poisonous and fatal.’ Then, despite acknowledging this truth, you eat that thing. The result will obviously be the same as if you had eaten it unknowingly. So what is the point of just knowing something without acting on your knowledge?

You can achieve real benefit only when you obey Allah(swt) after affirming faith in Him, when you obey His commandments and not merely utter your belief in their truth. Similarly, you should not simply promise verbally to abstain from things which have been forbidden, but in fact abstain from them. That is why Allah (swt) repeatedly urges: “Obey Allah and obey the Messenger.” (Al-Maidah: 92) And: “If you obey Him, you will be guided.” (An-Nur: 54). And: “So let those who go against His command beware, lest a trial befall them, or there befall them a painful punishment.” (An-Nur: 63)

E. No blind obedience
Let there be no misunderstanding about one thing. By saying that only Allah (swt) and the Messenger (saw) should be obeyed, I do not mean that you should refrain from listening to anyone else. No. The only thing is that you should not follow anybody unthinkingly: you should always examine whatever a person tells you to see if it is in accordance with the guidance given by Allah (swt) and the Messenger (saw) or not. If it is, you should accept what he tells you because you will in fact be obeying not him but Allah (swt) and the Messenger (saw). If it is not, you should reject him because no one has a right to be obeyed as against Allah (swt) and the Messenger (saw).

You understand that Allah (swt) does not Himself appear before man and deliver His guidance. Whatever guidance He has to give He has conveyed through His Messenger. The Prophet (saw) too, left this world for his heavenly home about fourteen centuries ago.

The commandments given by Allah (swt), through him are preserved in the Qur’an and Hadith. But the Qur’an and Hadith cannot in their nature come before you and give orders to do certain things and not to do other things. It is men who will help you conduct yourselves according to the Qur’an and Hadith. There is therefore, no other course of action open but to obey the teachings of men.

What is essential is that you do not follow people with closed eyes. As I have just told you, you should first see whether they are advising you according to the Qur’an and Hadith or not. If they are, then it is incumbent on you to obey them. But if they want to lead you on to an opposing course, then it is forbidden to obey them.


by Abul A’la Mawdudi