Thursday, June 04, 2009

The three groups of people in Al Baqarah: where do we belong?

It is inevitable that in our life, we will meet many kinds of people. Each person will have unique characteristics compared with the other. Many of them will be complex and difficult to understand as they have completely different ways of thinking. You will find egoists, activists, religious people, atheists, and a lot more.

Regarding the diversity of human characteristics, Our Creator, Allah Azza Wa Jall, has cut the chase and made clear classifications among people as revealed in the Holy Qur’an. One of these classifications can be found in Suraah Al Baqarah (ayaahs 3-20). This classification is for those who have intimately interacted with the Qur’an (and ponder on the meanings of its aayah’s) and Islam and believe (fully or partially) that the Qur’an is the truth sent down by The Lord of the heavens and the earth (as a blessing for all mankind).

The first group is consisted of those who are steadfast to faith and fully believe in the Qur’an, and use it as their sole guidance in life no matter what happens to them. They try at their very best to make the Qur’an (and consequently the Hadeeth of the Messenger Shallallahu’alayhiwasallam) as the base of every single action they do. Allah Azza Wa Jall says that these people will be the ones who are truly successful, as they have received guidance from their Lord.

The second group is consisted of those who comprehend, understand and realize that Islam is the truth, but do not want to take the leap of faith to admit it. These people continue to commit themselves to disbelief because of the fear to lose the things and comfort that they have achieved (money, career, position, study, etc), and their love towards the tradition that they have indulged into. It is said that Allah has put a seal on their hearts, and that they will be the true losers in the end (no matter how successful they may seem).

The third and last group is the trickiest of them all. In Arabic, these people are called al munafiqoon, the hypocrites. While the first two groups were described briefly by Allah in two or three aayahs (verses), the hypocrites are described by a staggering twelve aayahs. They are the ones that say that they believe in Allah and His Messenger, while they actually don’t. They are those who “think” that they are doing goodness on this earth, but the truth is, they are actually doing nothing but destruction (corruption, pollution, exploitation, and all kinds of mischief). When they are told to believe (to follow certain aspects of the Qur’an and Hadeeth), they undermine it and say that they won’t follow what the foolish people have followed. They are the ones that after testifying belief in front of people who believe, will go back to their “gods” and false deities (their jobs, their career, their wealth, etc.) and say that they are only mocking the true believers (by testifying belief). These people will eventually become the losers similar to the second group (the disbelievers), and that they will wonder in their confusion and darkness because of their heedlessness.

Regarding the last type of people, the hypocrites, we find them everywhere, including in massive Muslim populated countries. Many people say that they are Muslims, but they are so far away from the guidance of the Qur’an and Hadeeth, and don’t do anything to gain guidance, and when they do get the guidance, they don’t take it seriously. They put their belief in Allah at the very bottom of their priority, while they seek to fulfill they pleasure and their false sense of “achievement”.

When thinking about Allah’s classification of people in these aayahs, we should immediately relate our position and where we fit it. Especially for Muslims, the detail description of the hypocrites should serve as a frontal warning to stay away from hypocrisy, as every Muslim can easily fall into it (I must admit that I too fall into hypocrisy in many occasions..). We can ask all sorts of questions to review ourselves. How often do we put our prayer behind our work? How much of the Qur’an do we understand by heart (compared with all the other things that we read or study)? Do we feel the slightest bit of shame when we follow what Allah has commanded us? And all kinds of other questions…

May we all be among those who are truly successful in the end, and may we all be blessed with faith and tranquility in our hearts.

Al Baqarah 3-20, islam, hypocrites, hypocrisy

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