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Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy

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Prof. Dr. Muhammad Mokhtar Jum‘ah Minister of Awqaf

Allah, the Almighty, sent our Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) as a mercy to the worlds. Allah, the Almighty, says, “And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds” (the Qur‘ān, 21: 107). Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) introduced himself saying, “O People! Verily, I am a gifted mercy.” The Qur‘ān asserts this meaning declaring, “There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful” (The Qur‘ān, 9: 128).

The Book sent with Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) is a Book of Mercy; Allah, the Almighty, says, “And We send down of the Qur‘ān that which is healing and mercy for the believers” (the Qur‘ān, 17: 82). His religion is the religion of mercy, security, safety and peace for all human beings. It is a religion that lays firm foundations of peaceful coexistence among all people in a way that saves the lives of all people and protects the property of all people on pure human bases without discrimination among people on the basis of religion, color, race or ethnicity. All lives are safeguarded; the honor and property of all people are protected; and all trusts are to be rendered to whom they are due without exception. This is our Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) entrusting his cousin Ali when he migrated to Medina to return the trusts to those who harmed him, drove him out and stripped many among his Companions of their wealth and property.

On the day when Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) went to Ta’if to invite people to Islam, they denied his mission and bestirred their slaves and street boys to throw stones at him until his feet bled. Thereupon, the angel of mountains came to him and said, “O Muhammad, Allah listened to what your people had said to you. I am the angel of the mountains, and Allah has sent me to you so that you may give me your orders. If you wish I will bring together the two mountains that stand opposite to each other at the extremities of Mecca to crush them in between.” To all surprise, Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “No, but I would say, O Allah, guide my people for they have no knowledge. I rather hope that Allah will raise from among their descendants people as will worship Allah alone and testify that there is no god except Allah.” When asked to pray against the disbelievers, Prophet Muhammad said “I was not sent as a curser, I was sent as Mercy.”

Islam is the religion of mercy and peace for the whole world. Islam does not sanction killing any person for his beliefs. When Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) saw a woman who has been killed in the battlefield, he said: “Who killed her? Female is not the one with whom fighting should have taken place.”

This asserts the fact that disbelievers are not to be killed just for their disbelief and that fighting has been sanctioned to repel aggression, because there is no compulsion in religion. Moreover, rudeness in speech should be shunned as Allah, the Almighty, says to our Prophet Muhammad, “And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him]” (the Qur‘ān, 3: 159).

The Qur‘ān addresses the disbelievers at the tongue of our Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) and the tongue of his Companions saying, “And indeed, we or you are either upon guidance or in clear error” (the Qur‘ān, 34: 24). The Qur‘ān does not say, we are upon guidance and you are in clear error even though their misguidance is clear. This is known among the rhetoricians as the style of fairness and this is our culture that treats the other with fairness even in speech.

Islam ordered us to speak to people good words as He says, “And speak to people good [words]” (the Qur‘ān, 2: 83), i.e. to all people. Indeed, we have been ordered to say that which is best, “And tell My servants to say that which is best” (the Qur‘ān, 17: 53) and do that which is best, “And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend. But none is granted it except those who are patient, and none is granted it except one having a great portion [of good].” (the Qur‘ān, 41: 34-35). This is our Prophet and these are the manners of our Prophet who said, “I was sent to perfect good character.”

If our religion is the religion of mercy and our Book is the Book of mercy and our Prophet is the Prophet of mercy, then what is the problem with us and what has befallen us? How did some of those who are counted as Muslims reach this degree of harshness? And what is the way out?

There is no doubt that many factors lie behind this phenomenon including the domination of unqualified and unspecialized persons over the Da‘wah discourse and their hijacking of it for long periods and the wrong belief that is common among some of them that going to the extreme bolsters one’s religion. There is a pressing need to correct all these misconceptions while asserting that Islam is the religion of mercy, tolerance and ease. Learned jurists have agreed that jurisprudence implies ease. No jurist ever said that it implies extremism; Allah, the Almighty, says,

  • “Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship” (the Qur‘ān, 2: 185).
  • He, the Almighty, also says, “And He has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty. [It is] the religion of your father, Abraham. Allah named you “Muslims” before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people” (the Qur‘ān, 22: 78)
  • He, the Almighty, also says, “And know that among you is the Messenger of Allah. If he were to obey you in much of the matter, you would be in difficulty, but Allah has endeared to you the faith and has made it pleasing in your hearts and has made hateful to you disbelief, defiance and disobedience. Those are the [rightly] guided. [It is] as bounty from Allah and favor. And Allah is Knowing and Wise” (the Qur‘ān, 49: 7-8).
  • Whenever our Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) was given an option between two things, he used to choose the easier of the two as long as it did not involve any sin or severing ties of kinship. However, if it involved sin or severing ties of kinship, he was the farthest from it.

Our Duty towards the Quran
Jumada al-Ula 3, 1437 AH / Feb. 12, 2016 CE

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Sermon Plan

  1. The Qur’ān is the Eternal Miracle of Islam
  2. The Position and Merits of the Quran
  3. The Lofty Status of the People of the Qur’ān
  4. Muslim Duties towards the Qur’ān
  5. Glorification, Recitation and Contemplation
  6. Respect of the Qur’ān and Following the Quranic exemplary ideals
  7. Obeying Quranic Commands and Avoiding Quranic Prohibition

Sermon Theme

The Noble Qur’ān is the major miracle of all times; both the humankind and Jinn failed to produce the like of it or the like of any part of it (the Quran, 17: 88, 11: 13; 2: 23). It was revealed to the heart of Prophet Muhammad as a guidance and light to this life; it guides the confused souls forming the constitution of Muslims whereby hearts are revived, souls are purified and ethics are refined. Allah, the Almighty, says:

  • “Alif, Lām, Meem. (1) This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah – (2) Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them” (the Quran, 2: 1-3).
  • “Indeed, this Qur’ān guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward” (the Quran, 17: 9).
  • Adhering to the Quranic teachings relieves from trials. It is the guiding spirit and light of believers, as Allah, the Almighty, says, “And thus We have revealed to you an inspiration of Our command [i.e., the Qu’rān]. You did not know what is the Book or [what is] faith, but We have made it a light by which We guide whom We will of Our servants. And indeed, [O Muhammad], you guide to a straight path – (52) The path of Allah, to whom belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Unquestionably, to Allah do [all] matters evolve [i.e. return]” (the Quran, 42: 52-53).
  • Hearing to the imposing beautiful Quranic message, a group of the jinn believed in and glorified it. They were thus guided to the straight path and immediately returned to warn their nations “And [mention, O Muhammad], when We directed to you a few of the jinn, listening to the Qur’ā And when they attended it, they said, “Listen quietly.” And when it was concluded, they went back to their people as warners. (29) They said, “O our people, indeed we have heard a [recited] Book revealed after Moses confirming what was before it which guides to the truth and to a straight path. (30) O our people, respond to the Caller [i.e., Messenger] of Allah and believe in him; He [i.e., Allah] will forgive for you your sins and protect you from a painful punishment. (31) But he who does not respond to the Caller of Allah will not cause failure [to Him] upon earth, and he will not have besides Him any protectors. Those are in manifest error” (the Quran, 46: 29-32).
  • Like the jinn, the angels are also moved by the Quran, as narrated by Usayd Ibn Ḥuḍayr (may Allah be pleased with him) that while he was reciting Surat Al-Baqarah (the second chapter of the Quran) at night, and his horse was tied beside him, the horse was suddenly startled and troubled. When he stopped reciting, the horse became quiet, and when he started again, the horse was startled again. Then he stopped reciting and the horse became quiet too. He started reciting again and the horse was startled and troubled once again. Then he stopped reciting and his son, Yaḥya, was beside the horse. He was afraid lest the horse might trample on him. When he took the boy away and looked towards the sky, he could not see it. The next morning he informed the Prophet who said, “Recite, O Ibn Ḥuḍayr! Recite, O Ibn Ḥuḍayr!” Ibn Ḥuḍayr replied, “O Allah’s Messenger! My son, Yaḥya, was near the horse and I was afraid that it might trample on him, so I looked towards the sky, and went to him. When I looked at the sky, I saw something like a cloud containing what looked like lamps, so I went out in order not to see it.” The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “Do you know what that was?” Ibn Ḥuḍayr replied, “No.” The Prophet said, “Those were angels, who approached you for your voice and if you had kept on reciting till dawn, it would have remained there till morning when people would have seen it as it would not have disappeared” (al-Bukhari). Such is the impact of the Qur’ān when recited.
  • It is the word of Allah whose miracles never end. It is divinely preserved and saved from distortions and changes; Allah, the Almighty, says, “Indeed, it is We who sent down the message [i.e., the Qur’ān] and indeed, We will be its guardian” (the Quran, 15: 9). Whoever speaks it declares the truth; and whoever acts upon is rewarded; and whoever judges by it has judged justly; and whoever invites to it guides to the straight path. Allah makes it a mercy and healing saying, “And We send down of the Qur’ān that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss” (the Quran, 17: 82).
  • ‘Abdullah ibn Masud (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “This Qur’ān is the banquet of Allah. Learn as much as you can from His banquet. This Qur’ān is the rope of Allah, and it is the clear light and the effective healing. A protection to the one who adheres to it and a rescue to the one who follows it. It is free from deviation and perversion and thus needs no apology or rectification. Its wonders never end. It does not wear out with much repetition. So recite it, for Allah will reward you for the recitation of each letter gets ten times the like of its rewards. I do not say that Alif, Lam, Mim, is a letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.” (Hakim in his Mustadrak)
  • Allah attributes to it the lofty characters using the grandest names, so people could know the Quranic merits and greatness. Allah, the Almighty, says, “[This is] a Book whose verses are perfected and then presented in detail from [one who is] Wise and Acquainted” (the Quran, 11: 1). Allah also says, “Indeed, it is a mighty Book. (41) Falsehood cannot approach it from before it or from behind it; [it is] a revelation from [Lord who is] Wise and Praiseworthy” (the Quran, 41: 41-42).
  • The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) told us of the great merits and excellences of the Noble Quran, which are beneficial to man in this life and in the afterlife. The following are a few examples of the Prophetic statements in this regard:
  • Superiority of the People of the Quran: ‘Uthman Ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “The best of you are those who learn and teach the Qur’ān” (al-Bukhari in His Authentic Collection).
  • Lofty Position Promised to a Companion of the Quran: ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) said that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “It would be said to the one who memorizes the Qur’ān: “Recite and ascend, recite melodiously as you did in the world. Indeed, your rank shall be at the last verse you recite” (Abu Dawud in His Sunan).
  • Intercession: Abu Umamah al-Baheli (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that he heard the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) saying, “Recite the Qur’an, for on the Day of Resurrection it will come as an intercessor for those who recite it” (Muslim in His Authentic Collection).
  • Great Rewards for Qur’ān Readers: ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ūd (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever recites a letter from Allah’s Book, then he receives the reward from it, and the reward of ten the like of it. I do not say that Alif, Lam, Mim, is a letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter” (al-Tirmidhi in his Sunan).
  • Preservation of Houses in which the Qur’ān is read: Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “Make not your houses graveyards; indeed, Satan runs away from the house in which Surat al-Baqarah is recited” (Muslim in His Authentic Collection).
  • Ibn Sireen said, “A house in which the Qur’ān is recited is visited by angels and is freed from devils. It even becomes so roomy for its people and richly prosperous. Conversely, the house in which the Qur’ān is not recited is attended by devils and deprived of angels; it becomes so narrow for its people and lacking prosperity” (Ibn Abi Shaybah, al-Musannaf).
  • Reflecting on the conditions of the Honorable Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) with the Qur’ān reveals that they were not satisfied with reading or listening. Instead, they contemplated the Qur’ān giving it hearts and souls. They applied it in word and deed following its commands and avoiding its prohibitions. Thanks to their obedience to Quranic teachings, they had their lofty merits and greatness. ‘Umar Ibn al-Khaṭtab (may Allah be pleased with him) memorized Surat al-Baqarah in eight years. It was not due to his weak memory but because he was keen to practice each verse before moving to the other. Abu ‘Abd al-Raḥman al-Sulami (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “When we learned ten Quranic verses, we would not move to the other following ten verses before learning what permissible and what is impermissible, what is obligatory and what is forbidden thereof” (‘Abd al-Razzaq in His Muṣṣannaf).
  • Since the Prophet’s Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) used to understand and practice the Quranic verses, they were quickly in obeying Allah and avoiding forbidden matters. When the verse forbidding wine was revealed and a caller declared that “Wine has been peremptorily prohibited,” they responded effectively on the spot. Anyone who had any glass of wine poured it; and anyone who had a mouthful of wine spat it; and anyone who had preserved some vessels of wine poured them out in response to the imperatives of the Quran. The streets of Medina became muddy with it. They said we have already abstained!
  • Likewise, when Allah, the Almighty, says, “Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from what which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it” (the Quran, 3: 92). Abu al-Daḥdaḥ at once gave his most beloved valuable orchard in charity. Such was the way the Prophet’s Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) preserved the Book of Allah. For them, it was not a group of words but a way of life, education and faith manifested in behaviors and everyday activities between themselves and also with others.
  • As such, a lofty position is promised by Allah to the People of the Qur’ān who read and acted upon it. Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “Allah has His own people among mankind.’ They said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, who are they?’ He said: ‘The people of the Qur’ān, the people of Allah and those who are closest to Him” (Ibn Majah in His Sunan). A reader of the Qur’ān is very close to Allah, what a great honor! The more you memorize of the Quran, the more honor you earn.

Our Duty Towards to the Quran:

  • Learning and Teaching: We should continuously read and study the Qur’ān as the best of people are the Qur’ān teachers and learners:The best of you are those who learn and teach the Qur’ān.” The Prophet also commanded us to read it constantly; Abu Musa (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “Read the Qur’ān regularly. By the One in Whose Hand Muhammad’s soul is, it escapes from memory faster than a camel does from its tying ropes” (al-Bukhari in his Authentic Collection).
  • The Qur’ān is the main element of the Muslim person’s entities from which the Muslim derives religious teachings and morals. The Muslim shall read it well, which is an easy task. Many people, for instance, learn foreign languages and endure difficulties to learn some areas of specializations to get a well-paid job. How could one lazily neglect the learning of the word of Allah under a pretext that it is difficult to read? ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “The one who recites the Qur’ān and he is proficient with it, he is with the noble and blessed angels, and the one who recites it and it is hard for him, then he gets two rewards” (Abu Dawud in His Sunan). Allah, the Almighty, promised us easiness in reading the Quran: “And We have certainly made the Qur’ān easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?” (the Quran, 54: 17).
  • Contemplation as being revealed to readers: It is our duty to contemplate the Qur’ān and taste the sweet and grand impression it reflects. Allah, the Almighty, says, “Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’ān, or are there locks upon [their] hearts?” (the Quran, 47: 24). Allah also says, “Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’ān? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction” (the Qur’ān, 4: 82). The best rewarded of the people of the Qur’ān are those who recite with tongues and deeply understand with hearts and minds. Allah, the Almighty, says, “[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded” (the Quran, 38: 29). Praising readers who grow firmer in faith by reading, Allah, the Almighty, says, “The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely” (the Quran, 8: 2).
  • Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “Allah is the guarantee for him/her who recites that Qur’ān and acts upon it that s/he will neither go astray in this life nor suffer in the afterlife,” as Allah, the Almighty, says, “[Allah] said, “Whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray [in the world] nor suffer [in the afterlife]. (123) And whoever turns away from My remembrance –indeed, he will have a distressful life, and We will gather [i.e., raise] him on the Day of Resurrection blind.” (124) He will say, “My Lord, why have you raised me blind while I was [once] seeing?” (125) [Allah] will say, “Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot [i.e., disregarded] them; and thus will you this Day be forgotten” (the Quran, 123-126).
  • The Prophet sets examples to us in contemplation and reaction to the Quran. Once he said to ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ūd (may Allah be pleased with him) “Recite the Qur’ān to me.” ‘Abdullah said, “Shall I recite (it) to you while it has been revealed to you?” He said, “I like to hear it from another person.” So he recited Surat al-Nisā’ (the fourth chapter of the Qur’ān) till he reached the Verse: ‘How (will it be) then when We bring from each nation a witness, and We bring you (O Muhammad) as a witness against these people.’ (4.41) Then he said to him, “Stop!” “Thereupon, I saw his eyes overflowing with tears,” ‘Abdullah said. (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim). A believer is wholly moved and impressed by the word of Allah. Allah, the Almighty, says, “Allah has sent down the best statement: a consistent Book wherein is reiteration. The skins shiver therefrom of those who fear their Lord; then their skins and their hearts relax at the remembrance [i.e., mention] of Allah. That is the guidance of Allah by which He guides whom He wills. And one whom Allah leaves astray – for him there is no guide” (the Quran, 39: 23).
  • Respect of the Qur’ān and Following Quranic Morals: It is the duty of Quranic readers to assume the morals, ethics and teachings of the Qur’ān whereby a human being is free from the dominance of desires and lust and has an elevated soul backed by lofty ethics: ““Indeed, this Qur’ān guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward” (the Quran, 17: 9).” Our ideal example is the Prophet who was a living Qur’ān on the earth; he followed the morals of the Quran, is pleased or displeased according to the criteria of the Quran. When ‘Aishah was asked about the morals of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with her), she said, “His morals were that of the Qur’ān” (Ahmad in His Musnad).
  • Most Quranic verses encourage the lofty morals and high ethics. The Qur’ān is the teacher of mercy, truthfulness, justice, tolerance, honesty and fulfillment of one’s promise among other ethics necessary for a Muslim to win the happiness in this world and in the afterlife.
  • Obeying Quranic Commands and Avoiding Quranic Prohibition: It is also our duty, beside recitation, memorization and contemplation, to abide by its commands and avoid its prohibitions in deeds and behaviors as the Prophet and His Companions did. A Muslim shall obey the Quranic commands and avoid the Quranic prohibitions. The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “the Holy Qur’ān is a proof on your behalf or against you” (Muslim in his Authentic Collection). It is a proof against you when you read it heedlessly and it has no effect on your behaviors. Actually, one may read the Qur’ān while the Qur’ān curses him.
  • It is also necessary to face the distortions of the extremists and the misinterpretations of the false deniers, who attempt to employ the Qur’ān politically or ideologically to win some interests or gains. It is a must to learn the Qur’ān in word and meaning from the specialized scholars, who are reliable in knowledge. Those scholars teach people the right faith and teachings. They never employ religion for their favor or interpret it in line with their desires.
  • The today world is urgently in need of the Quranic guidance; the present world is essentially ethical. No other book urges lofty morals with all people as frequently as the Qur’ān does. The mistake of contemporary Muslims is their being away from the ethics of the Qur’ā The most significant duty the Muslims must do is to return to the ethics of the Qur’ān following the lofty practical ideal example of the Qur’ān, namely, the Prophet who was described by the Lord as the companion of the great moral character as he followed the moral teachings of the Qur’ān. He was the best ideal of Quranic morals in practice and obedience. Allah, the Almighty, says, “And indeed, you are of a great moral character” (the Quran, 68: 4). This is the declaration of ‘Aishah when she was asked about the morals of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with her), she said, “His morals were that of the Qur’ān” (Ahmad in His Musnad).
  • We defend the Qur’ān in hope to win the Quran’s defense of us on the last day as Abu Umamah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that he heard the Prophet saying, “On the Day of Resurrection, the Qur’ān and those who acted according to it will be brought with Surat al-Baqarah and aI-‘Imrān (2nd and 3rd chapters of the Qur’ān) preceding them. The Messenger of Allah likened them to three things, which I did not forget afterwards. The Prophet likened them to two clouds, or two black canopies with light between them, or two flocks of birds in ranks pleading for one who recited them” (Muslim in his authentic Collection).

Only when Muslims recite the Qur’ān continuously in contemplation, practice its teachings and educate it to children, they will get the greatest prosperity. It is with the Qur’ān that the social reform comes true, the mercy and justice dominate, hearts are purely refined and good things increase and evils are eliminated.

Quran-Oriented Reform is the Core of Prophet’s Mission
Rabī‘ al-Akhar 12, 1437/January 22, 2016

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Sermon Plan

  1. Islam is a Faith to Reform Man and the World
  2. Quranic Reform Examples from the Lives of Prophets
  3. Needs to Individual Reform
  4. Reforms Positively Affects Individuals and Society
  5. Dangers of Neglecting Reform

Sermon Text:

  Islam highly encourages and appreciates the value of private (personal) and general (universal) reform. It is a great human value  for the achievement of human happiness, civilization and universal reform. Reform, in principle, implies the elimination of all means to corruption and discrepancy and activating all means to rapprochement among people for a prosperous right life.

Undoubtedly, refining one’s behavior and promoting reform are the ultimate ends of all human words and deeds. Without reform, deeds are  inacceptable. It is necessary for a good man in soul, statement and deed to promote reform and goodness and to relieve people from worries. Reflecting on the Quranic verses proves that they pay due concern for the great value of reform. The Quran mentions the term “i” (reform) and its derivatives one hundred and seventy times in an indication of the Quranic due care and high appreciation of reform. The various meanings of ilāh generally prove that Islam aims to reform humankind in creeds, behaviors, worships, transactions and all other activities of life.

Faith and reform are frequently associated in several Quranic contexts: “So whoever believes and reforms – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve” (the Quran, 6: 48); “They ask you about the bounties [of war]. Say, “The [decision concerning] bounties is for Allah and the Messenger.” So fear Allah and aliu (reform/amend) that which is between you and obey Allah and His Messenger, if you should be believers” (the Quran, 8: 1).

Likewise, righteousness [God-fearing] and reform come in the same Quranic contexts, “Whoever fears Allah and reforms – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve” (the Quran, 7: 35). By the same token, repentance and reform are mentioned together (the Quran, 2: 160; 4: 16; 24:5). Reform is the fruit of belief in Allah, keeping to righteous conduct and frequent repentance to the Lord of all worlds.

The Quran encourages reform for the great rewards it renders: “No good is there in much of their private conversation, except for those who enjoin charity or that which is right or making peace between people. And whoever does that seeking means to the approval of Allah – then We are going to give him a great reward” (the Quran, 4: 114). The stories of prophets with their peoples prove that they all came to reform the corruption that people committed on the earth; their mission was one and the same: reforming the universe by eliminating evils, sins and social diseases. Each prophet came to reform the corruption of his time. Allah sent them with glad tidings and warnings; they introduced the divine creed, laws and ethics that can purify human souls from the dirt of polytheism. Allah, Almighty, says, “And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that, “There is no deity except Me, so worship Me” (the Quran, 21: 25). Their ministry aimed to reform human deeds in this world and qualify them for divine satisfaction in the afterlife.

Noah, for example, invited his people to reform themselves by the pure monotheistic creed and worship of Allah alone with no partner in abandonment of the useless idols that can neither benefit or harm. Allah, Almighty, says, “And said, ‘Never leave your gods and never leave Wadd or Suwā‘ or Yaghūth and Ya‘ūq and Nasr. And already they have misled many. And, [my Lord], do not increase the wrongdoers except in error” (the Quran, 71: 23-24). He also encouraged them to seek Allah’s forgiveness to have more provision, wealth and children: “And said, ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. (10) He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers (11) And give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers. (12) What is [the matter] with you that you do not attribute to Allah [due] grandeur” (the Quran, 71: 10-13).

Shu‘ayb , the Prophet’s Orator, (may Allah’s Peace be upon him) also addressed the doctrinal corruption that led to economic corruption. His people used to give less than due in measure and scale. This vice was widespread among them. He thus invited his people to reform in preservation of the rights of both buyers and sellers. Shu‘ayb said to his people, as Allah says, “O my people, worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him. And do not decrease from the measure and the scale. Indeed, I see you in prosperity, but indeed, I fear for you the punishment of an all-encompassing Day. (84) And O my people, give full measure and weight in justice and do not deprive the people of their due and do not commit abuse on earth, spreading corruption. (85) What remains [lawful] from Allah is best for you, if you would be believers. But I am not a guardian over you” (the Quran, 11: 84-86). He then explained that reform is the essence of his mission: “And I do not intend to differ from you in that which I have forbidden you; I only intend reform as much as I am able. And my success is not but through Allah. Upon him I have relied, and to Him I return” ((the Quran, 11: 88).

Another context indicates his determination to reform the economic corruption that his people did: “Give full measure and do not be of those who cause loss. (181) And weigh with an even [i.e., honest] balance. (182) And do not deprive people of their due and do not commit abuse on earth, spreading corruption” (the Quran, 26: 181-183). Shu‘ay’s sincerity in materializing reform is very clear in conditioning his success upon Allah’s help, a virtue that all reformers should have. Reform shall be free from personal desires and interests as well as from psychological stimuli and personal conflicts. It is a pure reform for public welfare that benefit all individuals of the community.

Prophet Ṣalīḥ (may Allah’s Peace be upon him) called upon his people: “So fear Allah and obey me. (150) And do not obey the order of the transgressors, (151) Who cause corruption in the land and do not amend” (the Quran, 26: 150-152).

When Moses (may Allah’s Peace be upon him) entrusted his brother Aaron with leading his people after him; he advised him to work on achieving reform and avoiding the ways of corrupters: “And We made an appointment with Moses for thirty nights and perfected them by [the addition of] ten; so the term of his Lord was completed as forty nights. And Moses said to his brother Aaron, “Take my place among my people, do right [by them], and do not follow the way of the corrupters” (the Quran, 7: 142).

Prophet Muhammad only came to complement the call to reform in all religious, social, economic and political areas of life initiated by past prophets and apostles.  An in-depth evaluation of the life and biography of the Prophet reveals that he built an Islamic civilization associated with values and ethics in a contaminated corrupt society tainted with many vices. Vices of illegal sexual relations, theft, killing, usury, unjust holding of people’s property, and consuming the wealth of orphans were widely practiced among many other evils. In face of all these vices, the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) adopted a reformative approach. His call was that for life and social reform of individuals and communities: “O you who have believed, respond to Allah and to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life. And know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart and that to Him you will be gathered” (the Quran, 8: 24).

In the religious reform, he called humankind to reform souls by faith and belief in Allah as the only Lord that has no partner. Proofs for monotheism are many and they testify to the truth that the Prophet brought. In the area of reforming behaviors, the Prophet encouraged good conduct and lofty morals as the essence of his call. Al-Bayhaqi narrated that the Prophet said, “I have been sent to perfect the loftiest of morals.” He also urged them to observe high ethics and values whereby social reform comes true and social unity, power, solidarity and association materialize. As such, humankind can live in peace away from dispute, difference, violence and terror against the scenes of violence, killing and destruction we frequently see.

All human virtues that have universal approval in their support from the heavenly messages aim to achieve reform, such as justice, tolerance, keeping one’s word, honest conduct, right statements and deeds, gratitude to parents,  honoring the sanctity of orphan’s wealth, good neighboring and good talks. Indeed, the source of divine laws is one and the same. That is why the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one” (al-Bukhari in his authentic collection of Hadith).

The laws may vary in forms of worship that accorded the nature of times and places but the human ethics and values, as the basis for coexistence, remain the same in all laws: “One of the statements of early Prophets that people have got is: If you feel no shame (shyness from committing irreligious acts) do whatever you like.” No Sharī‘ah (Divine law) allowed killing without justice, as Allah prohibits to kill the soul unless it be for a just cause. No Sharī‘ah allowed ingratitude to parents, or ill-gotten gains, or violating the financial rights of orphans, workers or wage-earners.  No Sharī‘ah allowed telling lies, dishonesty, betrayal, breaking one’s promises or meeting good deeds with bad ones.

Conversely, the divine laws unanimously approve all lofty human virtues that anyone who breaks them violates the limits of religion and goes beyond the limits of humanity in an open violation of the affiliation to humankind and good nature. In his commentary on the following verses: “Say, “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you. [He commands] that you not associate anything with Him, and to parents, good treatment, and do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them. And do not approach immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed. And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right. This has He instructed you that you may use reason. (151) And do not approach the orphan’s property except in a way that is best [i.e., intending improvement] until he reaches maturity. And give full measure and weight in justice. We do not charge any soul except [with that within] its capacity. And when you speak [i.e., testify], be just, even if [it concerns] a near relative. And the covenant of Allah fulfill. This has He instructed you that you may remember. (152) And, [moreover], this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow [other] ways, for you will be separated from His way. This has He instructed you that you may become righteous (the Quran, 7: 151-153),” Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) said, “These are decisive verses that no other verses abrogated them in all books. They are divine limits for all humankind. They are the mother of the Book; whoever acts upon them enters paradise and whoever neglects them enters hellfire.” Any call opposing the call of prophets and violating the Divine laws is indeed a call to corruption on the earth.

The Prophet gave the perfect example in personal and social reform in word and deed; he used to supplicate for reform of all affairs saying, “O Allah, reform for me my religion, which is the safeguard of my affairs. And reform for me the affairs of the world wherein is my living. Decree the Hereafter to be good for me. And make this life, for me, (a source) of abundance for every good and make my death (a source) of comfort to me and protection against every evil” (Muslim in his authentic collection of Hadith).

He used to resolve disputes and make peace between people in encouragement of reform and discouragement from disintegration and dispute. Sahl Ibn Sa‘d (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “Once the people of Qubā’ fought with each other till they threw stones on each other. When Allah’s Apostle was informed about it, he said, “Let us go to bring about a reconciliation between them” (al-Bukhari in his authentic collection of Hadith).

Personal and social reforms are the strong safeguard for the survival and progress of society. We first need personal reform and then social reform to refine all political, social, economic and scientific areas of life. However, personal reform is a legal prerequisite and religious duty, especially in the present times corrupted with weakness of faith and spoiled morality. Rights and duties are so badly lost that many people admit no right to senior notables, scholars, relatives, parents or nations.

It is an aspect of reform to know about rights and duties; a person thus never violates others’ rights. A person realizes one’s duties to do them in the best manner. Individual integrity and spiritual progress on the way of lofty ethics and noble morals apart from perversion, corruption, wrongdoing, rancor and hate― form the essence of reform. As such, man is straightforward in his relation with his self, lord, humankind and the universe. When a human being is self-reformed, he can promote reform to others. In other words, personal progress by means of lofty ethics is a means to self-reform that prevents wrongdoing, sins and violation of things forbidden by Allah. It also a means to universal reform on the earth; it extract resources and discovers secrets for the sake of public welfare.

Reform is the way to friendship and unity against disunity in personification of the teachings of the Glorious Quran. Reform reflects the values of universal mercy, tolerance and forgiveness. It also a means to dismiss violence, hate, rancor and grudge. Reform is not confined to a specific time. It is a life-duty to one’s last breath. Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “If the Last Hour comes while you have a palm-cutting in your hands and it is possible to plant it before the Hour comes, you should plant it” (al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad).

However, reform can only come true and its fruits can appear when a person gradually achieves self-reform, the family-reform and finally community-reform until the whole society is reformed, which is necessary for good life and prosperous nations in which security, work and advancement are guaranteed. The virtue of love and friendship thus dominate. A self-reformed and reform-making person sacrifices efforts and wealth for making peace to be included in the prophetic prayers for reform-makers: “Indeed the religion began as something strange and it will return to being strange. So Tuba is for the strangers who reform what the people have corrupted from my Sunnah after me” (al-Tirmidhi in his collection of Hadith).

Reform has many positive impacts on individuals and society:

  • It guarantees honorable life: Allah, the Almighty, says, “Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do” (the Quran, 16: 97).
  • Salvation from destruction: Allah, the Almighty, says, “And your Lord would not have destroyed the cities unjustly while their people were reformers” (the Quran, 11: 117).
  • Inheriting the world leadership: Reform is a condition for inheriting the leadership of the world: Allah, the Almighty, says, “And We have already written in the book [of Psalms] after the [previous] mention that the land [of Paradise] is inherited by My righteous servants” (the Quran, 21: 105)..
  • Qualifying human beings to receive divine support and providence: Allah, the Almighty, says, “Indeed, my protector is Allah, who has sent down the Book; and He is an ally to the righteous” (the Quran, 7: 196).
  • Preservation of progeny: “And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and there was beneath it a treasure for them, and their father had been righteous. So your Lord intended that they reach maturity and extract their treasure, as a mercy from your Lord. And I did it not of my own accord. That is the interpretation of that about which you could not have patience” (the Quran, 20: 82). The story of building the wall of the two orphans, as related in the account of Moses with the godly man is well known. It was not an accidental process but a consequence of the good deeds of their father. Ibn ‘Abbas said, “They were preserved because of the good deeds of their fathers even if no good deed was attributed to them.”
  • Reform guarantees security from horrible fears of this world and the hereafter: Allah, the Almighty, says, “And We send not the messengers except as bringers of good tidings and warnings; so whoever believes and reforms – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve” (the Quran, 6: 48).
  • Reform is a means to forgiveness and mercy: Allah, the Almighty, says, “And if you reform [your affairs] and fear Allah – then indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful” (the Quran, 4: 129).
  • Reform is the beauty and decoration of things as well as a merit deeply beloved by Allah and His Messenger. It is a requisite for straight life and coherent nation becomes in which the infirm are honored and Muslims are united in word and essence by the power of love and kindness. It is also a proof for the fraternity of the faithful, as Allah says, “The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allah that you may receive mercy” (the Quran, 49: 10).

 Loss of the value of reform leads society and families to destruction and, as such, chaos dominates, corruption exacerbates, divine laws are broken and false desires are committed. Loss of reform foreshadows the fall of society, state and civilization and worse indeed are the general punishment and social poverty, dishonor and disregard divinely decreed for neglect of reform.