The message and guidance of the Holy Qur’an encompasses all aspects of our individual and collective lives. The guidance is not only limited to formal acts of worship such as salat (namaz); the Holy Qur’an also provides guidance on pertaining to our family lives, financial matters, judicial and economic systems. Hence, Islam is a complete way of life and the believers in its message should collectively and individually strive to follow the guidance and instruction of the Holy Qur’an in all aspects of their lives. Otherwise, as the Holy Qur’an warns, we will see personal and social ills plaguing our individual and collective lives.
For example, in spite of all our socio-economic progress, the objectification and sexualisation of women and children is ever-increasing and we can see the negative consequences of this phenomenon in the form of sexual assault/harassment of women, children and mass production of pornography- all across the globe. Undoubtedly, the objectification of women is the consequence of our failure to implement the codes of conduct (related to modesty) outlined in the Holy Qur’an. The simple instruction by Allah (SWT) to lower our gaze and dress modestly can reduce the problem of the objectification to a minimum and ensure that society starts valuing women for their intellect and personality. Minimising free-mixing in schools and offices can reduce cases of sexual harassments which even the most economically advanced societies are struggling to cope with as indicated by the recent Me Too movement.Similarly, our failure to eradicate the interest-based banking system as instructed by the Holy Qur’an is connected to income and wealth inequality all over the world. Inequality is becoming more and more pronounced every day, leading to increased social tensions and exploitation of the poor. The interest-rate banking system, on which the Holy Qur’an has declared war, empowers the wealthy against the poor. By shifting towards Islamic banking and the Zakat system, the balance of power and wealth can be restored. Otherwise, we shall continue to see a world where the rich get richer and the poor become poorer and end up being exploited by the rich.
Another consequence of becoming severed from the holistic message of the Holy Qur’an is the spread of intolerant, violent and superficial ideologies propagated in the name of Islam, which are not at all supported by the Holy Qur’an. For example, the Holy Qur’an clearly and explicitly mentions: Allah (SWT) does not like aggressors, there is no compulsion (forcefulness) in religion, the close servants of Allah (SWT) are gentle and easy-going, killing one (innocent) human being is like killing all of humanity, speak kindly to mankind, our salah (namaz) is of no value if we are not kind, etc. In spite of these clear and explicit messages, we see many groups behaving in the most aggressive and intolerant manner in the name of Islam. Hence, the most effective way to correct these intolerant and violent ideologies is by promoting the pristine and beautiful message of the Holy Qur’an.
According to the Holy Qur’an, if we believe in some parts of its message and reject others, then we will be disgraced both in this world and the next. Of course, this warning is for our own benefit since we can become the best of all communities (that ever lived) by following the guidance of the Holy Qur’an. We can become a community that shuns and forbids indecency and vulgarity which are spreading all over the world like a cancer. We can become a community that enjoins kindness, peace, justice and equality for all human beings. Most importantly, we can become a community the members of which are united by love, devotion and gratitude towards our beloved and generous Creator – Allah (SWT). Let us strive to become such a community by implementing the guidance of the Holy Qur’an in all aspects of our individual and collective lives.
The writer is a Lecturer at North South University