The Evil's Greatest Fear: The Alliance Of The Good
The previous sections of this book stressed the fact that since time immemorial, the evil have been the perpetrators of mischief on earth, have oppressed people, and brought about unrest, insecurity, conflicts and enmity. It is also stressed that the evil have established a strong union to root evil in society. However, it would be a rather pessimistic and negative approach to assume that there is nothing that can be done to change this dismal reality.
A person who adheres to the Qur'an and lives by it does not succumb to such hopelessness, and under no circumstance does he turn a blind eye to the wrongs around him. A conscientious and thoughtful Muslim strives to save not only those around him, but the society he lives in, and even the rest of humanity, from violence, conflict, war, immorality and mischief in general. It is clear that sincerity, conscience, honesty, compassion, love and respect, will eradicate immorality and all wickedness. In other words, the unity and co-operation of the good will defeat the alliance of the evil. In a verse of the Qur'an, God gives glad tidings regarding this fact:
Rather We hurl the truth against falsehood and it cuts right through it and it vanishes clean away! Woe without end for you for what you portray! (Surat al-Anbiya': 18)
Therefore, aside from exposing the true threat the alliance of evil poses to humanity, most beneficial would be the conscientious and sincere coming together against the evil, to support one another and protect the poor and those who are oppressed. This is the approach adopted by those striving to attain the good pleasure of God, and is highly praised in the Qur'an;
...Those who believe in him and honour him and help him, and follow the light that has been sent down with him, they are the ones who are successful.' (Surat al-A'raf: 157)
In the above verse, God commands believers to support, help and defend His messengers. In a similar manner, believers should also support and defend one another.
The Believers are the Guardians of One Another
There are several verses in the Qur'an that relate to us of believers as the guardians of one another. The following is one of them:
And (as for) the believing men and the believing women, they are guardians of each other. They command what is right and forbid what is wrong, and establish prayer and pay alms, and obey God and His Messenger. They are the people on whom God will have mercy. God is Almighty, All-Wise. (Surat at-Tawba: 71)
The word "guardian" means intimate, protector, helper and supporter. In this sense, believers, honest, sincere and conscientious people with high moral values, should support each other, and be helpers and protectors of one another. Our Beloved Prophet (pbuh) also stated this in his following saying:
The stories related in the Qur'an about the prophets provide many examples about this practice. Moses, for instance, killed a man by mistake when he sided with a man who was in trouble. Then, he had to run away from the city to save himself from the cruelty of the Pharaoh and the leaders of the city. This is related in the verses as follows:
A man came running from the furthest part of the city, saying, 'Moses, the Council are conspiring to kill you, so leave! I am someone who brings you good advice.' So he left there fearful and on his guard, saying, 'My Lord, rescue me from the people of the wrongdoers!' (Surat al-Qasas: 20-21)
The Prophet Moses (as) managed to leave the city through a man who helped him as a favour to him. He then reached a watering place in the land of Madyan and helped two women who kept back their flocks because they did not want to mix with the shepherds near the water. Upon their return home, the women mentioned to their father, the Prophet Shu'ayb (as), the help Moses had offered them. Upon this, Prophet Shu'ayb (as) invited prophet Moses to his home. This is revealed in the verses as follows:
One of them came walking shyly up to him and said, 'My father invites you so that he can pay you your wage for drawing water for us.' When he came to him and told him the whole story he said, 'Have no fear, you have escaped from wrongdoing people.' (Surat al-Qasas: 25)
Because Prophet Shu'ayb (as) recognized the inherent goodness and trustworthiness of the Prophet Moses (as), he helped him in his difficult time and allowed him to stay in his household and to work for him. Shu'ayb's manner sets an example for the good in protecting and guarding other good people who encounter hardship. Unless the good offer help and support to one another in times of adversity, then they will leave each another alone and unable to defend themselves against the cruel people. In a verse of the Qur'an, God commanded our Prophet (pbuh): "...take the believers who follow you under your wing" (Surat ash-Shu'ara': 215). Taking believers under one's wing, protecting them against dangers and difficulties is a command of our Lord, and also a Sunnah of our Prophet to follow.
The Good Should Avoid Bickering and Unite
Unity, cooperation, solidarity, friendship, self-sacrifice, support, and similar other qualities are some of the beautiful attributes which are the underlying foundation of the Qur'anic morality. This is stated in many sayings of Our Prophet (pbuh). One of them reads:
The religion of Islam ensures the establishment of a better world where there is love, peace, tolerance and understanding to one another. Societies possessing these features experience rapid development and achieve greater power. Once unity and cooperation are attained, individuals of such a society could channel their strength and energy towards goodness and good deeds rather than into disputes, fights, conflicts and wars. Essentially, a cause to which people commit themselves and devote all their effort, power, zeal and support, both material and spiritual, results in an ultimate success and beauty. What is more important is that God gives glad tidings that individuals working in unity and solidarity for good will receive God's help, support and power. For this reason, God reminds believers not to dispute among themselves so as not to lose strength. The verse below makes this point clear:
Obey God and His Messenger and do not quarrel among yourselves lest you lose heart and your momentum disappear. And be steadfast. God is with the steadfast. (Surat al-Anfal: 46)
Establishing unity among the righteous is an exalted virtue recommended by God. Especially in a time where evil has permeated every aspect of society, not a single evil feature like peevishness, resentment or bickering should be tolerated among the good. Putting forth effort to remove such evil influences and adopting a compromising and conciliatory attitude is a great act of worship:
The believers are brothers, so make peace between your brothers and have fear of God so that hopefully you will gain mercy. (Surat al-Hujurat: 10)
Disputes, enmity, hatred and anger are the features of immoral conduct inspired by the evil. True Muslims never conduct themselves under the influence of these undesirable feelings; they have fear for God and are always modest, friendly, thoughtful and full of love in their relations. People who are not sincere in their cause may feel jealous of their closest friends and even of their own brothers and sisters. Each other's success may stir up feelings of envy in their hearts. On the contrary, a true Muslim takes pride in other believers' success, and is happy for them as if it were his own accomplishment, and feels grateful to God for the blessings He has granted believers. Furthermore, he supports them in their endeavour and offers guidance if necessary. Those lacking such morals, on the other hand, hamper the progress of others. Feelings of rivalry and jealousy spoil the good deeds engaged in to attain the good pleasure of God, and accordingly, ruins any beauty or blessings. God's Messenger, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), also drew attention to this point and advised the believers to guard against such bad manners:
Said Nursi, also known as Bediuzzaman (the Wonder of the Age) who is one of the greatest Islamic scholars of the 20th century gives extensive reference to these issues in his Risale-i Nur collection, a commentary on the Qur'an. In the sincere style that is peculiar to him, Bediuzzaman relates that believers should strictly avoid corrupt feelings such as competitiveness when they strive for a common goal:
As Bediuzzaman Said Nursi also states, offering one's service towards establishment of the moral values of the Qur'an can be seen as preserving a treasure for the believers; one that is extremely precious. To this invaluable service, everybody must provide his wholehearted support and help. Feeling jealous of another believer who offers his devoted and unwavering support, or considering him as a rival, is unacceptable for a true Muslim. A believer should be proud of others' commitment and provide his support.
Jealousy is an attribute of the evil alliance. The existence of such an evil trait among individuals collaborating for a righteous end does nothing but diminish the strength of the alliance. It is surely the evil alliance that benefits from such detriment. As Bediuzzaman says, the only cure for this illness is not following one's ego and always taking the side of one's fellow.
In the Risale-i Nur collection, Bediuzzaman draws a comparison between the machinery of a factory and believers. The harmonious and smooth functioning of this machinery is essential for a productive output. A similar harmony is also required in the co-operation among believers. Said Nursi explains that believers should avoid talk which could cause jealousy and bitterness as follows:
As also exemplified here, just as how a factory ensures a timely and efficient output only when its machinery works in harmony and does not conflict with itself, so should believers working for a common goal to earn the good pleasure of God exhibit similar harmony. They should strive together without searching for one another's mistakes and defects. In a world where disbelievers ally themselves against the good, are filled with feelings of hatred and envy for the believers, and oppress the poor, the homeless, women, children, and the elderly, all these oppressed people hope for the help of the conscientious. In this case, if wise, sincere, conscientious and honest people use their powers against each other, they may be held accountable for this in the sight of God. It is essential that believers see no limits in improving their alliance, cooperation, friendship, solidarity and affection for another, and never fall into a disagreement which will weaken them. This spirit of believers is best stated in the words of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):
The solidarity of the people, who purify themselves of every form of worldly ambition, jealousy and competitiveness, who channel every positive feeling, every effort, and every activity for the good of others, without making it a matter of personal pride, will break the resolve of the alliance of the evil.
Not Valuing The Words of the Evil
The ultimate aim of the evil is to stir up enmity among believers, to wreak their unity and weaken them. As the foregoing makes clear, they are known by their efforts in inventing lies and slandering the good, disgracing them and bringing doubt upon their credibility. However, the stance assumed by the good and conscientious will render such efforts of the slanderers and those committed to evil ineffective. That is because, the existence of people who do not take these slanders seriously, turn a deaf ear to them, and state they do not believe in them, will prevent any harm to the wronged and hinder the evil ones from attaining their mischievous goals.
Indeed, we know that the noble wife of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) also became the target of such slanderous accusations. God informs us about the kind of attitude the conscientious people should assume when they hear such slander against a believer:
You were bandying it about on your tongues, your mouths uttering something about which you had no knowledge. You considered it to be a trivial matter, but, in God's sight, it is immense. Why, when you heard it, did you not say, 'We have no business speaking about this. Glory be to You! This is a terrible slander!'? (Surat an-Nur: 15-16)
It is certain that a non-God-fearing person, or someone who has no faith in God, will readily tell lies, concoct slanders, and spread rumours without considering the possible trouble he will inflict on people. That is why, it is unreasonable and wrong to trust people who have no fear in their hearts for God, who have weak religious values, and who thus assume that they will not have to give an account of their deeds in the hereafter. For the same reasons, it is wrong to respond to their accusations without first verifying their validity. In a verse, God explains what the approach of believers should be in such a situation:
You who believe! If a deviator brings you a report, scrutinize it carefully in case you attack people in ignorance and so come to greatly regret what you have done. (Surat al-Hujurat: 6)
An evil-doer is someone who rejects God's commandments. That is the reason why those who are conscientious and just should first investigate the information brought by such people before arriving to a decision.
The Good Only Seek the Good Pleasure of God
That evil, merciless and aggressive people represent the majority, or seem to possess great material wealth, may cause some spiritually weak and ignorant people to develop inaccurate interpretations about them. These people may exaggerate their power and attach more importance to them than they actually deserve. However, the power of people who are distant from God is short-lived and illusory. God is the actual possessor of all the power and resources and it is He who grants such capabilities to people for a time to test them. No man has the power to harm another or to be superior over others merely through his wealth or power. Rather, God grants such potency to test man, though it is all within His grasp.
A man without a strong faith fears cruel people and hesitates to confront them. For this reason, the evil go to great lengths as to please such people and strive to earn their respect. They direct all their talk and behaviour in such a way as to convey the message that they are "on their side", and think that they will earn wealth and power as long as they are under their "wing". Little do they know, however, that such an inclination degrades and dishonours them before God and His sincere servants. It is similar to a man who fears a burglar and thus tries to please him, or someone who tries to behave like a murderer because he is afraid of one.
What is important is to become a person valued by God, the One Who is the Creator and Possessor of everything. For this reason, those who fail to grasp the might of God must be told about the importance of the fear for God and love for Him. They must be told that the evil are actually weak and unable to accomplish anything unless by the Will of God.
In a verse, God informs us of the fact that the good should only have fear for Him and only keep company with those who observe His limits:
You who believe! Have fear of God and be with the truly sincere. (Surat at-Tawba: 119)
The Good Do Not Fear the Censure of Censurers
A devout person only fears God and has a good grasp of the fact that God is the possessor of all power. The only reality these people are concerned with is the Day of Judgement, which they prepare for all their lives. For this reason, it is impossible to threaten such a person with something related to this world, to dishearten them, or to cause them anxiety, fear, hopelessness and pessimism. That is why, the exuberant energy of such a person never abates, no matter what comes upon him in life. Aware that God is his protector, he turns to Him, Who has infinitive mercy, compassion and forgiveness. If he confronts an adversity, a plot, a slander or an unexpected circumstance, he keeps in mind that God is with him, seeing and hearing what the evil are doing. God is the al-Khabir, the one who has knowledge of the most hidden of secrets. That is why, none of those events in life, which would generally be deemed disasters by disbelievers, are intimidating or discouraging to believers. Below are some of the verses in which God mentions people of the past who faced every form of affliction but stood up to them:
How many a prophet has fought with many devout man alongside him! They did not give up in the face of what assailed them in the Way of God, nor did they weaken, nor did they yield. God loves the steadfast. All they said was, 'Our Lord, forgive us our wrong actions and any excesses we went to in what we did and make our feet firm and help us against these disbelieving people.' So God gave them the reward of the world and the best reward of the hereafter. God loves good-doers. (Surah Ali 'Imran: 146-148)
There is another feature to recognise of true believers who are protected and supported by God; they do not fear the censure of any censurers. God conveys this in the answer Prophet Noah (as) gives to his people:
Recite to them the story of Noah when he said to his people, 'My people, if my standing here and reminding you of God's Signs has become too much for you to bear, know that I have put my trust in God. So decide, you and your gods, on what you want to do and be open about it. Do with me whatever you decide and do not keep me waiting. (Surah Yunus: 71)
If one aims to be among the righteous blessed with God's love, favours and the company of His true servants in paradise, then he has to commit himself to remain forthright and honest. Even under the severest threat or unjust treatment, a true believer should not abandon telling and advocating what is true and just. What makes prophets superior is their unyielding insistence in defending the truth, even in hardest of times. Such a resolute and courageous disposition stems from their deep-felt faith. A great example of the commitment and determination of believers is seen in the answer the Prophet Shu'ayb (as) gave under threat of death:
My people! Do as you think best. That is what I am doing. You will certainly come to know who will receive a punishment to disgrace him, and who is a liar. So look out. I will be on the lookout with you.' (Surah Hud: 93)