Islam In-Depth – “The Moral World Of The Qur’an” March 2nd 2019

We continue reading M. A. Draz’s “The Moral World of the Qur’an”.


“The Qur’an tells us that it is the sceptics or those in whose hearts is a disease who obey the law only inasmuch as they profit by it; while those who have faith submit to it unconditionally. The Qur’an not only extols generosity which is shown both in times of comfort and of adversity, and courage which braves hunger, thirst and tiredness, but it also severely condemns those who allow such inconveniences to prevent them from carrying out their duty.” — Draz, 28.

“When the divine law speaks, as it tells us in its own terms, it is not for any man or woman of the believers to have any choice about it. Can any stronger expression be found to establish the necessity with which duty is imposed?” — Draz, 28-29.

Scepticism, Transactional Theology, and Hypocrisy

لَقَد أَنزَلنا آياتٍ مُبَيِّناتٍ ۚ وَاللَّهُ يَهدي مَن يَشاءُ إِلىٰ صِراطٍ مُستَقيمٍ

وَيَقولونَ آمَنّا بِاللَّهِ وَبِالرَّسولِ وَأَطَعنا ثُمَّ يَتَوَلّىٰ فَريقٌ مِنهُم مِن بَعدِ ذٰلِكَ ۚ وَما أُولٰئِكَ بِالمُؤمِنينَ

وَإِذا دُعوا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسولِهِ لِيَحكُمَ بَينَهُم إِذا فَريقٌ مِنهُم مُعرِضونَ

وَإِن يَكُن لَهُمُ الحَقُّ يَأتوا إِلَيهِ مُذعِنينَ

أَفي قُلوبِهِم مَرَضٌ أَمِ ارتابوا أَم يَخافونَ أَن يَحيفَ اللَّهُ عَلَيهِم وَرَسولُهُ ۚ بَل أُولٰئِكَ هُمُ الظّالِمونَ

“We have sent down Signs making things clear. Allah guides whomever He wills to a straight path. They say, ‘We believe in Allah and in the Messenger and we obey.’ Then after that a group of them turn away. Such people are not believers. When they are summoned to Allah and His Messenger, so that he can judge between them, a group of them immediately turn away. But if right is on their side, they come to him most submissively! Is there a sickness in their hearts or do they have misgivings or do they fear that Allah and His Messenger will be unjust to them? No, it is simply that they are wrongdoers.Qur’an 24: 46-50

Necessity and Moral Obligation

“…moral necessity is different from both physical necessity and logical necessity. Physical law exercises over our bodies a constraint to which we submit, involuntarily and inevitably; moral law, on the other hand, supposes freedom of choice; it is an obligation, but does not constrain us physically. From the beginning it leaves us the choice (at the risk of a later reaction) of whether to observe it or violate it. It is the primordial rule that the Qur’an ceaselessly proclaims, as much for the duty of faith as for practical virtue.” — Draz, 29.

لا إِكراهَ فِي الدّينِ ۖ قَد تَبَيَّنَ الرُّشدُ مِنَ الغَيِّ ۚ فَمَن يَكفُر بِالطّاغوتِ وَيُؤمِن بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ استَمسَكَ بِالعُروَةِ الوُثقىٰ لَا انفِصامَ لَها ۗ وَاللَّهُ سَميعٌ عَليمٌ

There is no compulsion in religion. Right guidance has become clearly distinct from error. Anyone who rejects false gods and has belief in Allah has grasped the Firmest Handhold, which will never give way. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.Qur’an 2: 256

مَن يُطِعِ الرَّسولَ فَقَد أَطاعَ اللَّهَ ۖ وَمَن تَوَلّىٰ فَما أَرسَلناكَ عَلَيهِم حَفيظًا

“Whoever obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah. If anyone turns away, We did not send you to them as their keeper.Qur’an 4: 80

وَلَو شاءَ رَبُّكَ لَآمَنَ مَن فِي الأَرضِ كُلُّهُم جَميعًا ۚ أَفَأَنتَ تُكرِهُ النّاسَ حَتّىٰ يَكونوا مُؤمِنينَ

“If your Lord had willed, all the people on the earth would have believed. Do you think you can pressure people until they become believers?Qur’an 10: 99

فَذَكِّر إِنَّما أَنتَ مُذَكِّرٌ

لَستَ عَلَيهِم بِمُصَيطِرٍ

“So remind them! You are only a reminder. You are not in control of them.Qur’an 88: 21-22

Obedience and Moral Obligation Are In Themselves Guidance

قُل أَطيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطيعُوا الرَّسولَ ۖ فَإِن تَوَلَّوا فَإِنَّما عَلَيهِ ما حُمِّلَ وَعَلَيكُم ما حُمِّلتُم ۖ وَإِن تُطيعوهُ تَهتَدوا ۚ وَما عَلَى الرَّسولِ إِلَّا البَلاغُ المُبينُ

“Say: ‘Obey Allah and obey the Messenger. Then if they turn away he is only responsible for what he is charged with and you are responsible for what you are charged with. If you obey him, you will be guided.’ The Messenger is only responsible for clear transmission.Qur’an 24: 54

De Facto/De Jure

De facto: a state of affairs that is true in fact, but that is not officially sanctioned. “The general who sits at the head of the military is the de facto ruler of the nation.”

De jure: a state of affairs that is in accordance with law (i.e. that is officially sanctioned). “I know that, de jure, this is supposed to be a parking lot, but now that the flood has left four feet of water here, it’s a de facto swimming pool.”

“Thus, faced with duty, one has the choice de facto, but one does not have it de jure. Moral necessity is therefore not existential, but ideal.” — Draz, 29.

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