PEOPLE IN TROUBLE
BEG FOR A SAVIOUR
What reason could you have for not fighting in the Way of Allah – for those men, women and children who are oppressed and say, "Our Lord, take us out of this city whose inhabitants are wrongdoers! Give us a protector from You! Give us a helper from You!"?
(Surat an-Nisa': 75)
We learn from the Qur'an that very often social and moral corruption was prevalent in a nation before a messenger was sent to that society. Once a messenger came to that society, those following him attained a blissful, peaceful and bountiful life even in the midst of their honourable struggle for the good pleasure of Allah. After this blessed period, however, some people drifted away from their spiritual values, revolted and ultimately tended almost to disbelief. In some cases, they worshipped gods other than Allah and thus were unjust to their own selves.
In the Qur'an, Allah relates the loyalty, sincerity and fear the messengers felt for Allah and then informs us of how some generations coming after them lost their faith completely. They drifted because of their whims and desires and became deprived of all their values. The Qur'an tells us about these people in the following words:
Those are some of the Prophets Allah has blessed, from the descendants of Adam and from those We carried with Noah, and from the descendants of Abraham and Israel and from those We guided and chose. When the signs of the All-Merciful were recited to them, they fell on their faces, weeping in prostration. An evil generation succeeded them who neglected the prayers and followed their appetites. They will plunge into the Valley of Evil. (Surah Maryam: 58-59)
Those people who neglected their divine responsibilities suffered Allah's wrath expressed through various disasters. Allah withdrew His favour from these people. In accordance with the verse "But if anyone turns away from My reminder, his life will be a dark and narrow one…" (Surah Ta Ha: 124),they suffered from different afflictions such as scarcity and social and economic problems arising from their moral degeneration and political instability.
Under irreligious systems, those people who were insolent towards the divine revelation were exposed to various pressures and injustices. The period of Pharaoh (Fir'awn) is a typical example recounted in the Qur'an. Exulting in his affluence, Pharaoh led an extravagant life and his people suffered under his tyranny. This situation is explained in the Qur'an:
Pharaoh exalted himself arrogantly in the land and divided its people into camps, oppressing one group of them by slaughtering their sons and letting their women live. He was one of the corrupters.
(Surat al-Qasas: 4)
Under such circumstances where people suffer economic and social problems under the tyranny of unjust leaders, the need for a saviour is profoundly felt. This is the person who removes the unfavourable aspects of the system caused by the disbelief (kufr) of the ruler and his people and brings the peace, justice and security which come along with obedience to Allah and His Messenger.
After the Prophet Moses (as), the Children of Israel also faced the same difficulties under the rule of tyrants. They were driven from their homes and lands and suffered intensely. Realising that neither the idols they worshipped, nor their possessions, nor ancestors would save them from such undesirable circumstances, they asked for a king from Allah; a saviour who would save them from this cruel system.
"You Will Not Find Any Changingin the Pattern of Allah"
From the stories related in the Qur'an, we understand that almost the same fate befell each of the past civilisations that revolted against their messengers. The circumstances under which people led their lives, the sending of messengers to warn them and destruction of some of them all follow the same pattern.
Modern societies also undergo rapid corruption and degeneration. Poverty, misery and disorder throw the lives of people into complete disarray and make them wish for a peaceful life where virtue prevails. Apparently, justice can prevail only if the values of the Qur'an become predominant among people. Only people having real values can bring solutions to all the troubles that people experience today. Indeed, Allah sent prophets and messengers to the earlier generations who experienced similar social depressions, and He sometimes granted amazing blessings to those who followed the messengers. This is related in the following verse:
If only the people of the cities had had faith and feared, We would have opened up to them blessings from heaven and earth. But they denied the truth so We seized them for what they earned.
(Surat al-A'raf: 96)
This verse, as well as many others confirming it, reveals that the one and only way to attain bliss and peace is adherence to Islam. This principle will apply to coming generations as it did to previous ones. In places bereft of Islam, injustice, insecurity and instability prevail. This is the law of Allah. That there exists no change in the law of Allah is stated in the Qur'an:
… But then when a warner did come to them, it only increased their aversion, shown by their arrogance in the land and evil plotting. But evil plotting envelops only those who do it. Do they expect anything but the pattern of previous peoples? You will not find any changing in the pattern of Allah. You will not find any alteration in the pattern of Allah. (Surah Fatir: 42-43)
Living Islam According to the Qur'an
As mentioned in the previous section, we are informed in the Qur’an that Allah sends prophets and messengers to communities for their deliverance from disbelief and injustice. This prophet or messenger leads his people to believe (have iman) in Allah without ascribing partners to Him, and to fear Him. If the community persists in denial, he warns them of Allah's wrath. Allah tells us in the Qur'an that He destroys no tribe before this warning is delivered:
We have never destroyed a city without giving it prior warning as a reminder. We were never unjust. (Surat ash-Shu'ara: 208-209)
In the age in which we live, one observes degeneration, both physical and spiritual, in society at large accompanied by economic and political instability. Huge gaps exist between rich and poor, and social corruption is steadily escalating. All these point to significant developments that will take place in the near future. After such dark periods, with the return of the Prophet Jesus (as) and the emergence of Hazrat Mahdi (as), the religion of Allah will certainly prevail over the entire world and the true religion will supersede all pagan religions. To His true believers (muminun), Allah gives good tidings of this:
But Allah refuses to do other than perfect His Light, even though the unbelievers detest it. It is He Who sent His messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to exalt it over every other religion, even though those who associate partners with Allah (mushrikun) detest it. (Surat at-Tawba: 32-33)
In Surat an-Nur, Allah informs His true believers who engage in "right actions" without associating partners with Him and who purely seek His good pleasure, that they will attain power, as preceding believers always did:
Allah has promised those of you who believe and do right actions that He will make them successors in the land as He made those before them successors, and firmly establish for them their religion with which He is pleased and give them, in place of their fear, security. "They worship Me, not associating anything with Me." Any who disbelieve after that, such people are deviators. (Surat an-Nur: 55)
In the above verse, we learn that the criterion for the spread of Islam is the existence of believers who are purely slaves of Allah without ascribing partners to Him and who engage in good deeds in His way.
We have seen that in every age, Allah has answered the call of His slaves who desperately needed His help. This also holds true for this age and for the future. As was the case with earlier ages, in our time, too, Allah will save people from the injustice of the system of disbelief and present them with the beauty of Islam.
In particular, the deliverance of the Islamic world from the troubles that beset it, as revealed in the hadith, is close at hand. Surely, as in every age, today people hope that a saviour will appear. This saviour, that will take mankind from 'darkness to the light,' is the religion of Islam. The Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as), who will be the means whereby people will live by these superior values, will defeat intellectually all the systems that deny Allah, and they will render corrupted ideologies invalid.
Allah promises His help to His slaves who sincerely turn to Him and have deep fear of Him:
Those who were expelled from their homes without any right merely for saying, "Our Lord is Allah". If Allah had not driven some people back by means of others, monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques, where Allah's name is mentioned much, would have been pulled down and destroyed. Allah will certainly help those who help Him – Allah is all-Strong, Almighty, those who, if We establish them firmly on the earth, will establish prayer and pay the poor-due, and command what is right and forbid what is wrong. The end result of all affairs is with Allah. (Surat al-Hajj: 40-41)