01-20: Questions and Answers
1- What does modesty signify in believers?
Modesty is mentioned in the Qur'an as an important attribute of believers. Allah, in His verses, commands believers to be modest. It is also related in Qur'anic verses that Allah does not love those who are haughty and boastful. Believers are those who are aware of the fact that Allah is the Creator and the only Lord of everything, and that it is He Who bestows His blessings on mankind. A believer is cognisant of his weakness before Allah, and therefore never displays an unjust arrogance. No matter how beautiful, how rich, how intelligent or how esteemed he may be, he does not boast of these things, because he knows that it is Allah Who grants them to him. For that reason his behaviour towards other believers is also modest. He does not try to emphasise his own abilities or good features; he expects the recompense for all he does only from Allah. Contrary to the arrogance of unbelievers, believers behave with a humility, which is also reflected in their appearance. The modesty of their manner is described in the following verse:
The servants of the All-Merciful are those who walk lightly on the earth [i.e., with dignity but without arrogance] and, who, when the ignorant speak to them, say, "Peace". (Surat al-Furqan, 63)
As a result of this attitude, Allah gives believers the glad tidings of Paradise:
... Your God is One God so submit to Him. Give good news to the humble-hearted. (Surat al-Hajj, 34)
2- How can one turn away from worthless and useless things? What is the meaning of "worthless and useless"?
One can turn away from worthless and useless things if one acts in order to gain the good pleasure of Allah alone. Believers know that they need to use the time granted to them in this world in the most efficient way because what they do in the world determines their permanent abode. Therefore, in every deed they perform, they aim to gain a good deed for the Hereafter. Naturally they talk, have fun, eat, laugh, think and work just as everyone else does; but in doing these things they always have good intentions which are likely to be of benefit to other people and to the religion.
Apart from these things, all believers' acts serve a purpose. They always turn towards good deeds that will gain them Allah's approval the most. For example, anyone can talk about automobiles. Yet a believer would not spend hours in such conversation while there are other urgent things to do. Likewise, a believer would not chat for a long time about which team will be the winner in a football match when talking to someone to whom he can communicate the religion of Allah. That is because the crucial thing at that moment would be to enlighten that person about the existence and the greatness of Allah, and about what he has to do in order to deserve Paradise and to avoid Hell. In brief, believers neither plunge into long discussions on topics that are not relevant to the benefit of the religion and of Muslims, nor spend more than a sufficient and reasonable time on these subjects. They use their time efficiently by properly distinguishing between all worldly matters. They do this by use of their conscience and reason. They decide what is "worthless" and what is useful, and do not compromise this. The attitude adopted by believers when they hear "worthless talk" is related in the Qur'an in these words: When they hear worthless talk they turn away from it and say, "We have our actions and you have your actions. Peace be upon you. We do not desire the company of the ignorant." (Surat al-Qasas, 55)
3- What is the concept of cleanliness in the Qur'an?
Believers are people who are physically very clean. The cleanliness and tidiness of their bodies, of the food they eat, of the clothes they wear, and of the environments they live in always attract the attention of others. They try to make the places they are in similar to the elegant environment of Paradise described in the Qur'an. Allah has stressed in a number of verses what a believer's idea of cleanliness should be:
Purify your clothes. Shun all filth. (Surat al-Muddaththir, 4-5)
You who believe! Eat of the good things we have provided for you... (Surat al-Baqara, 172)
… Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who circle it, and those who stand and bow and prostrate. (Surat al-Hajj, 26)
4- What does moral cleanliness mean?
In the Qur'an Allah states that people should be morally clean too. It is stated that he who avoids the evil of his soul (nafs) and purifies it will succeed. Allah states in Surat ash-Shams:
By the soul and the One Who proportioned and inspired it with knowledge of depravity and with its sense of duty, he who purifies it has succeeded, he who covers it up has failed. (Surat ash-Shams, 7-10)
Moral purity is attainable, as we are informed in the verse, when one avoids the evil that one's soul commands one to commit. Someone who is morally pure has a sincere faith and a peaceful spirit. All his thoughts and all his deeds are righteous. In every event he encounters, he behaves in a manner that shows that he is well pleased with Allah. He is sincere and genuine. He well knows that there is definitely goodness in everything Allah creates. Such people are purified from the corruption in their soul. Allah heralds the good end that these people will meet:
… You can only warn those who fear their Lord in the Unseen and establish prayer. Whoever is purified, is purified for himself alone. Allah is your final destination. (Surah Fatir, 18)
He who has purified himself will have success. (Surat al-A'la, 14)
5- How is jealousy mentioned in the Qur'an?
Envy is condemned in the Qur'an. Allah has revealed that He created the soul of mankind prone to selfishness, but that believers should be wary of it:
... But people are prone to selfish greed. If you do good and guard against evil, Allah is aware of what you do. (Surat an-Nisa, 128)
Some people answer "yes" or "a bit" when they are asked if they are jealous. Yet they do not think much about the meaning hidden behind this answer.Jealousy comes as a result of not accepting that somebody else is superior to oneself in a particular aspect. This, indeed, is an extremely wrong attitude which may lead a person even to haughtiness against Allah, because it is Allah Who grants people everything they possess; He gives as He wills and no one can ever prevent this.
Apart from this, it is also related in the Qur'an that satan rebelled against Allah by not prostrating himself before Adam. We are informed that he regards himself superior to Adam. So we face an important fact at this point: jealousy is, in fact, an attribute of satan, and anyone who fears Allah should strictly avoid it. In the Qur'an, Allah tells believers to take refuge in Him to protect themselves from the evil of the envious:
Say: "I seek refuge with the Lord of Daybreak (Surat al-Falaq, 1)
From the evil of an envier when he envies.. (Surat al-Falaq, 5)
6- What does the Qur'an say about "mockery"?
Mockery is an example of poor morality which Allah certainly does not approve of. There are many manifestations of mockery in irreligious societies in which the values of ignorance are predominant, including mocking the imperfections or defects of others, and calling one another by unpleasant nicknames. In the Quran, Allah warns people against this evil act as follows:
Woe to every scorner and mocker. (Surat al-Humaza, 1)
Another type of mockery referred to by Allah in the Qur'an is that of believers by unbelievers. It is revealed in the Qur'an that because they were unable to grasp that the believers were on the true path, those who believed themselves to be superior to the believers used to mock them, displaying the greatest unreason. Some of the verses on this subject read:
Those who did evil used to laugh at those who believed. When they passed by them, they would wink at one another. (Surat al-Mutaffifin, 29-30)
Yet, Allah reveals that these people are greatly mistaken and heralds the tragic end they will come to as follows:
So today those who believe are laughing at the disbelievers, on couches, gazing in wonder. Have the disbelievers been rewarded for what they did? (Surat al-Mutaffifin, 34-36)
Furthermore, Allah describes in the Qur'an those who ignorantly hold Islam and His revelations up to mockery, and reveals that these people reject every warning from Allah and His messengers. They are the people who do not measure the power of Allah to its full extent and ignore the fact that they will be judged in His presence. Yet, these people will be bewildered in the Hereafter and will be repaid for the mockery they used to engage in. This fact is clearly mentioned in the Qur'an:
Those are the people who reject their Lord's Signs and the meeting with Him. Their actions will come to nothing and, on the Day of Rising, we will not assign them any weight. That is their repayment—Hell—because they disbelieved and made a mockery of My Signs and of My Messengers. (Surat al-Kahf, 105-106)
Follow the best that has been sent down to you from your Lord before the punishment comes upon you suddenly when you are not expecting it; lest anyone should say, "Alas for me for neglecting what Allah was due, and being one of the scoffers!" (Surat az-Zumar, 56)
7- Where does calling others by offensive nicknames stand in the Qur'an?
People who do not live by the moral values of the Qur'an deride other people by calling them by offensive nicknames in an attempt to dishonour them and thus exalt themselves. Believers, on the other hand, never behave in such a poor manner. Allah strictly prohibits believers from doing so, stating that those who do not obey this injunction are wrongdoers:
You who believe! People should not ridicule others who may be better than themselves; nor should any women ridicule other women who may be better than themselves. And do not find fault with one another or insult each other with derogatory nicknames. How evil it is to have a name for evil conduct after coming to faith! Those people who do not turn from it are wrongdoers. (Surat al-Hujurat, 11)
Those who conform to the morals of the Qur'an never behave in this indecent way, which is disapproved of by Allah. They address each other in the most pleasing way and deeply respect each other as sincere servants of Allah.
8- What is the place of gossip in the Qur'an?
In the Qur'an, Allah forbids believers backbiting, and refers to it as an indecency:
… And do not backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat his brother's dead flesh? No, you would hate it. Heed Allah. Allah is Ever-Returning, Most Merciful. (Surat al-Hujurat, 12)
As commanded by this verse, people who live by Islamic morals and are like brothers and sisters to each other strictly avoid this behaviour. On the contrary, believers remember only each other's good intentions and always try to highlight their good attributes. They do not try to find defects or faults in believers—people who are submissive to the will of Allah. Gossip, which indeed causes great distress to people in societies remote from Islamic morals, is a corruption that never exists among believers who maintain the limits set by Allah. When believers notice an imperfection or other defect in another, they do not backbite, but instead advise the person directly so that he will amend his unacceptable behaviour.
9- Why is despair not an approved state?
Despair is unthinkable for a person who is aware of the fact that Allah is the creator of every being and every event, and who measures the power of Allah by its true measure. Because Allah is the One Who removes difficulties for His servants, is most forgiving, is full of mercy and has complete power and knowledge. Every incident that people may regard as a reason for despair, including all impediments, unexpected obstacles, diseases, accidents or mistakes, in fact occurs under the complete control of Allah. Allah is All-Knowing and nothing is absent from His knowledge. Being aware that one's destiny is designated by His endless knowledge is the greatest comfort one can ever have. Knowing this fact, one can never give way to despair.
Besides this, believers, knowing that it is possible that their mistakes may be remitted in this world, do not lose hope. Indeed, people are commanded in the Qur'an not to despair of the mercy of Allah:
"… Do not despair of solace from Allah. No one despairs of solace from Allah except for those who disbelieve. " (Surah Yusuf, 87)
Say: "My servants, you who have transgressed against yourselves, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Truly Allah forgives all wrong actions. He is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful." (Surat az-Zumar, 53)
10- Is being sentimental approved of in the Qur'an?
Being sentimental is not approved of in the Qur'an, although being a man of "wisdom" is essential. Allah bestows intelligence and understanding upon those who heed Him. Believers who possess wisdom consider all events within the framework of absolute truths specified in the Qur'an. They make appropriate decisions acting in the light of their reason and conscience, thereby easily resolving all matters, whereas sentimentality plays a significant role in confounding one's understanding. If one approaches events emotionally instead of using reason, the ability to discriminate between right and wrong becomes impaired. One's decision-making and judgments can no longer be relied upon to be impartial or just. Since one attributes importance to what other people think, one cannot make quick and appropriate decisions. Evaluations made in an emotional state would be based on personal value judgements instead of the criteria of the Qur'an.
11- What is the concept of sincerity in the Qur'an?
"Sincerity", literally, has the meaning of being pure and unadulterated. The concept of sincerity mentioned in the Qur'an denotes turning to Allah in devoutness. A sincere believer devotes all his deeds throughout his entire life to seeking the pleasure of Allah and expects his reward only from Him. He does not make devious calculations orientated around the opinions of other people or trying to find favour with them. Therefore all of his actions are sincere and candid, such as would earn the pleasure of Allah.
A sincere person is honest first with Allah and then with people; because he well knows that Allah hears and sees all things, and that he will be judged in His presence and will be held responsible for all of his deeds, words and thoughts. For this reason the sincerity and candour of believers are among the most significant signs of the firmness of their faith. Allah has made the sincere attitudes of the messengers, who always sought to earn the good pleasure of Allah, an example for believers:
And remember Our servants Ibrahim, Ishaq and Ya'qub, men of true strength and inner sight. We purified their sincerity through sincere remembrance of the Abode. In Our eyes they are among the best of chosen men. (Surah Sâd, 45-47)
Those who turn to Allah in sincerity are praised in the Qur'an. The Qur'an heralds the good outcome of these people as follows:
… Those who shun the worship of false gods and turn towards Allah will have good news. So give good news to My servants. Those who listen well to what is said and follow the best of it, they are the ones whom Allah has guided, they are the people of intelligence. (Surat az-Zumar, 17-18)
12- Do believers grieve over events?
Believers do not grieve over events, because they know that Allah will try them with all manner of circumstances. They put their trust in Allah and maintain their steadfastness. They remember that Allah creates everything with wisdom. An example is given in the Qur'an as follows:
If you do not help him, Allah did help him when the disbelievers drove him out and there were two of them in the Cave. He said to his companion, "Do not be despondent, Allah is with us." … (Surat at-Tawba, 40)
As stated in the verse, our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) advises his companion, even in the very midst of hardship, not to be despondent. Since believers have an excellent model in the messenger, they behave accordingly in difficult situations. Among the most important reasons why believers never despair is that they know that every incident Allah brings about will ultimately turn out to be good for them. Allah has promised believers a good life in this world. During this good life, believers hope Allah will place them in the eternal Hereafter in an outstandingly splendid abode, which is much more beautiful than this world and where Allah's blessings never diminish. This is certainly the best news one can ever receive and is the greatest source of joy. Therefore believers never become despondent. Allah gives believers the good news as follows: Indeed, those who have said, "Our Lord is Allah", and then remained on a right course—the angels descend upon them [saying]: "Do not fear and do not grieve but rejoice in the Garden [i.e., Paradise] you have been promised. We are your protectors in the life of this world and the Hereafter. You will have there all that your selves could wish for. You will have there everything you demand. (Surah Fussilat, 30-31)
13- Do believers feel anger?
Believers, like anyone else, may naturally feel anger at certain events. However one of the most important indications of their virtuous character is their ability to control their anger. They know that no good will come of an uncontrolled, intense fury, and that they will just lose their ability to act reasonably or to be just. They avoid making wrong decisions that may harm both themselves and those around them. They abstain from it most importantly because they know that Allah will not approve of such a reaction and form of behaviour. For that reason believers exhibit steadfastness and forgiveness. Allah praises this feature of believers in the Qur'an in these words:
Those who give in times of both ease and hardship, those who control their rage and pardon other people—Allah loves the good-doers. (Surah Al 'Imran, 134)
Yet, "controlling rage" should not be misunderstood: it does not mean to accept everything as it is or being passive. Believers certainly take the necessary precautions, and try to prevent any wrongdoing or situations that may cause harm to other believers. However, they do not react emotionally; instead they try to find sensible ways to influence people's behaviour, or otherwise limit whatever damage is being caused.
14- Do believers make mistakes?
As informed in the Qur'an believers may make mistakes. But, since they fear Allah and are sincere to Him, they do not knowingly persist with their wrongdoing, and immediately try to make amends for it. They seek forgiveness and self-improvement in the areas they were wrong, with the aim of not falling into the same error again. They are well aware of the fact that this world is a place of testing; therefore they draw lessons from their mistakes. Allah praises this commendable attribute of believers in many verses and promises them forgiveness:
Those who, when they act indecently or wrong themselves, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their bad actions (and Who can forgive bad actions except Allah?) and do not knowingly persist in what they were doing. (Surah Al 'Imran, 135)
15- What is the concept of justice in the Qur'an that believers are commanded to possess?
Allah has commanded believers to evaluate all events with justice and within the boundaries stated in the Qur'an. He has instructed them to be absolutely just while judging between people and always to be on the side of justice.
When believers bear witness, they are the most honest and just in their witnessing. A decision one makes or evidence one gives may sometimes be to one's own disadvantage, or may affect the interests of a friend or relative. However, this is of no importance for one who fears Allah because the measure for the deeds of believers is the good pleasure of Allah. In the moment, the most convenient thing to do may appear to be to bear witness or to make a judgement in a way that Allah does not approve. A worldly expediency, however, never affords believers serenity or happiness, on the contrary becomes a source of compunction, as long as Allah is not pleased with it. For that reason believers render justice even if it is against themselves or their relatives. Allah forbids believers the contrary as follows:
You who believe! Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for Allah alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives. Whether they are rich or poor, Allah is well able to look after them. Do not follow your own desires and deviate from the truth. If you twist or turn away, Allah is aware of what you do. (Surat an-Nisa, 135)
Another risk that is likely to prevent people from being just in their judgements is the anger they may feel towards other people. If one bears anger or malice towards someone else, then he would be unlikely grant that person the benefit of the doubt or to act in his favour. Believers, however, consider the pleasure of Allah to be of paramount importance and do not cease acting with justice no matter who the other party may be, because Allah has commanded believers: "… Do not let hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer to heedfulness…" (Surat al-Ma'ida, 8)
16- How should the remembrance of Allah be?
Believers are aware of the fact that Allah sees and hears them at every instant, and that Allah has created every event they encounter. For that reason they always bear Allah in mind. At every instant of their lives they internally reflect on Allah, and in their dialogues with other believers they remember our Lord's might, His exaltedness, and the perfection of His handiwork in the creation. It is related in the Qur'an that believers always remember Allah as follows:
Those who remember Allah, standing, sitting and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying]: "Our Lord, You have not created this for nothing. Glory be to You! So safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire." (Surah Al 'Imran, 191)
One remembers Allah by being aware of the fact that every occurrence is created by Him, reflecting on the meaning of those occurrences in one's own life, trying to see and understand the wisdom in the creation of Allah, trying to grasp His exaltedness at every instant and transmitting all these to other people. A person can steadfastly put his trust in Allah when he is facing an apparently difficult situation only if he remembers Allah at that very moment. Therefore, one who is constantly mindful of Allah, is constantly aware of Him and His power, and hence behaves properly.
17- How is the Day of Judgement described in the Qur'an?
As stated in the Qur'an, "... The Hour is coming..." (Surah Ta Ha, 15). On that day all living things, along with the stars, planets and galaxies, in short, everything in the heavens and the earth will vanish. Some of the occurrences that are due to take place are depicted in the Qur'an as follows:
Heaven will be split apart, for that Day it will be very frail. (Surat al-Haqqa, 16)
The stars will fall in rapid succession. (Surat at-Takwir, 2)
The sun and moon will be fused together. (Surat al-Qiyama, 9)
The oceans will surge into each other. (Surat at-Takwir, 6)
The mountains will become like shifting dunes. (Surat al-Muzzammil, 14)
The mountains will be like tufts of coloured wool. (Surat al-Qari'a, 5)
The earth will be crushed and ground to dust. (Surat al-Fajr, 21)
The earth will disgorge its charges. (Surat az- Zilzal , 2)
These are only a few of the terrifying happenings that will occur on the Day of Judgement. On that day, essentially everything that man values will vanish, and everyone will understand that nothing, other than the right actions done for the pleasure of Allah, is of any value.
18- How will the unbelievers be on the Day of Judgement?
The Day of Judgement is the most dreadful and terrifying day one can ever imagine living through. On that day unbelievers will meet a manifest truth which they never thought about even though they were promised it, and it will be impossible to be sent back again to compensate for what they did in the world. On that day, unbelievers will understand in terror that death is not a destruction, but on the contrary, the beginning of a painful punishment which will last forever. Allah has stated in the Qur'an that people will be like drunkards on that day, on account of the intensity of the terror they feel:
...And you will think people drunk when they are not drunk; it is just that the punishment of Allah is so severe. (Surat al-Hajj, 2)
On that day, all value judgements of unbelievers will change at once because of the terror of the occurrence. Wealth and sons they used to consider the most valuable won't be of any importance any more. Allah heralds in the Qur'an that on that day people will seek only for their own rescue and will flee from each other:
The Day a man will flee from his brother and his mother and his father, and his wife and his children: on that Day every man among them will have concerns enough of his own. (Surah 'Abasa, 34-37)
Some of the details related in verses about how people will be on that day are as follows:
... The eyes of those who disbelieved will be transfixed... (Surat al-Anbiya, 97)
Every nursing woman will be oblivious of the baby at her breast, and every pregnant woman will abort the contents of her womb (Surat al-Hajj, 2)
How will you safeguard yourselves, if you disbelieve, against a Day which will turn children grey (Surat al-Muzzammil, 17)
19- Are believers in great numbers?
Allah states in many verses that real believers will be very small in number. For that reason the numbers of believers have always been small throughout history and unbelievers have always been the majority. This is also an indication of the pre-eminence, value and superiority of believers. The following verse affirms that most people will not be believers:
But most people, for all your eagerness, are not believers. (Surah Yusuf, 103)
For that reason it would be a big loss for one to take the majority as one's role model, and to believe the way the majority believes. These people, no matter how great they are in number, will not find a way of escape from Hell in the Hereafter, unless they change their attitude and bad manners in this world.
20- How will believers be welcomed in the Hereafter?
Believers, unlike unbelievers, will be cordially welcomed to their lives in the Hereafter. As stated in the verse "those the angels take in a virtuous state…" (Surat an-Nahl, 32) they are taken in death in a good state. They are safe from every kind of fear. They are given an easy reckoning thanks to Allah's favour and mercy to them. They are given by the angels the glad tidings of Paradise that Allah promised them, and are eventually escorted there: And those who heed Lord will be driven to Paradise in companies and when they arrive there, finding its gates open, its custodians will say to them, "Peace be upon you! You have done well so enter it timelessly, for ever." They will say, "Praise be to Allah Who has fulfilled His promise to us and made us the inheritors of this land, letting us settle in Paradise wherever we want. How excellent is the wage of those who work!" (Surat az-Zumar, 73-74)