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Irving and Islamic Determinism

Washington Irving, one of the greatest writers the United States of America produced in the nineteenth
century, is a real credit to his people. He has written a biography of the Arab Prophet in which the material
is presented in an eloquent and captivating manner. Although his treatment is well taken at times, it is
prejudiced at others. His book ends with a conclusion in which he presents the principles of Islam and what
he has taken to be the historical sources of those principles. After mentioning iman in God, in His angels,
Books, prophets, and the Day of Judgment, Washington Irving wrote

"The sixth and last article of the Islam faith is PREDESTINATION, and on this Mahomet
evidently reposed his chief dependence for the success of his military enterprises. He inculcated
that every event had been predetermined by God, and written down in the eternal tablet previous
to the creation of the world. That the destiny of every individual and the hour of his death were
irrevocably fixed, and could neither be varied nor evaded by any effort of human sagacity or
foresight. Under this persuasion the Moslems engaged in battle without risk; and, as death in battle
was equivalent to martyrdom, and entitled them to an immediate admission into paradise, they had
in either alternative, death or victory, a certainty of gain.

"This doctrine, according to which men by their own free will can neither avoid sin nor avert
punishment, is considered by many Mussulmen as derogatory to the justice and clemency of God;
and several sects have sprung up, who endeavor to soften and explain away this perplexing
dogma; but the number of these doubters is small, and they are not considered orthodox.

"The doctrine of Predestination was one of those timely revelations to Mahomet that were almost
miraculous from their seasonable occurrence. It took place immediately after the disastrous battle
of Ohod, in which many of his followers, and among them his uncle Hamza, were slain. Then it
was, in a moment of gloom and despondency, when his followers around him were disheartened,
that he promulgated this law, telling them that every man must die at the appointed hour, whether
in bed or in the field of battle. He declared, moreover, that the angel Gabriel had announced to him
the reception of Hamza into the seventh heaven, with the title of Lion of God and of the Prophet.
He added, as he contemplated the dead bodies, `I am witness for these, and for all who have been
slain for the cause of God, that they shall appear in glory at the resurrection, with their wounds
brilliant as vermilion and odoriferous as musk.'

"What doctrine could have been devised more calculated to hurry forward, in a wild career of
conquest, a set of ignorant and predatory soldiers, than assurance of booty if they survived, and
paradise if they fell? It rendered almost irresistible the Moslem arms; but it likewise contained the
poison that was to destroy their dominion. From the moment the successors of the Prophet ceased
to be aggressors and conquerors, and sheathed the sword definitely, the doctrine of predestination
began its baneful work. Enervated by peace, and the sensuality permitted by the Koran-which so
distinctly separates its doctrine from the pure and self-denying religion of the Messiah-the Moslem
regarded every reverse as preordained by Allah, and inevitable; to be borne stoically, since human
exertion and foresight were vain. `Help thyself and God will help thee,' was a precept never in
force with the followers of Mahomet ; and its reverse has been their fate. The crescent has waned
before the cross, and exists in Europe, where it was once so mighty, only by the suffrage, or rather
the jealously of the great Christian powers, probably ere long to furnish another illustration, that
`they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.' [Washington Irving, Mahomet and
His Successors, Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott and Co., 1871, Vol, I, pp. 360-362.]
Falsity of Irving's Criticism
These are the words of Washington Irving. They are the words of a man whose study fell short of grasping
the spirit of Islam and of its civilization. Hence, his false interpretation of the problem of divine providence
and predestination. Perhaps Irving had some excuse in that some of the Islamic books which he may have
read do in fact point in the direction of his interpretation. As for the Qur'an, the dictum "God helps them
that help themselves" is far too weak to be even comparable to its emphatic call for self-reliance, its
thunderous warning that men will receive exactly what their deeds and intentions had earned for them. God

"Say, 0 Men, the truth has come to you from your Lord. Whoever is guided thereby is so to his own credit;
whoever is not so guided is so to his own discredit."

In another passage God said: "Whoever is guided by the truth will earn the advantage thereof, and whoever
goes astray will earn the disadvantage thereof. Do not extrapolate responsibility. No punishment is due
until a prophet has been duly sent and men have been duly warned; . . . whoever seeks the advantage of the
other world will receive the same and more of it. Whoever seeks the advantage of this world will receive
the same, but he will have no share in the other .... God does not change the conditions of a people until that
people have changed their conditions by themselves."! [Qur'an, 10:108; 17:15; 42:20; 13:11]

The Qur'an and Determinism

It is, therefore, a clearly Qur'anic position that man's will and action are the sole determinants of his worth,
of his punishment or reward. Emphatically, God has urged man to go forth into the world to seek its fruits
and to enjoy them.- He commanded self-exertion in His cause in very strong terms as may be seen from
many verses quoted in this book. This is all irreconcilable with Irving's claim, which has been repeated by a
number of other westerners, that Islam is a religion of lethargy and reliance, that it teaches its adherents that
they can in no way influence whatever befalls them, whether good or evil, and hence that there is no point
in their trying to do so. This claim argues that will and efficacy are exclusive prerogatives of God; that
man's efforts come to naught when the divine decree orders otherwise; and that if it were decreed that
somebody would become rich, strong, or a believer, this would surely come to pass without any effort or
action on his part. The verses we have already cited all run counter to these claims.

It may also be possible that these western writers and thinkers attribute the lethargy and reliance of the
Muslims in the recent period of their history to the Qur'anic verses which pertain to divine providence in
the manner of the following: "No man may expire, except by permission of God and at a prefixed term ....
every people has a term; so that whenever that term arrives, that people must fulfill that which is proper
thereto at its time, neither before nor after it . . . . whatever calamity befalls the earth or your own persons is
predetermined before it happens. Such determination is easy for God .... Say, `Nothing shall befall us
except that which God has predetermined for us. He is our Lord; and upon Him the believers will rely.'
[Qur'an, 3:145; 7:34; 57:22; 9:51] But if this is the line of their reasoning, then they have
misunderstood the meanings of these verses and others like them. Misunderstanding these verses, they
think Islam calls for resignation, whereas the Qur'an meant to stress the solid bond between God and His
dedicated servants. The fact is that Islam is a religion which calls for exactly the opposite, for dynamism
and personal initiative, self-exertion and sacrifice, self-respect and dignity, while it founds its civilization
on brotherhood and mercy. Islam is the one religion which does so par excellence!

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Islamic and Western Civilizations
Muhammad left a great spiritual legacy which enveloped the world in its light and guided
man's civilization throughout many centuries, a legacy which will envelop the world again
and guide man's civilization once more until the light of God has filled the universe. The
legacy of Muhammad had such great effect in the past and will have great or greater effect
in the future precisely because Muhammad established the religion of truth and laid the
foundation of the only civilization which guarantees the happiness and felicity of man. The
religion which Muhammad conveyed and the civilization which he established at his Lord's
command for the benefit of mankind are inseparable from each other. Islamic civilization
has been raised on a foundation of science and rationalism, and that is the same foundation
on which western civilization of today is based. Moreover, Islam as a religion has based
itself on personalist thinking and intentional logic. The relation between religion and its
propositions on the one hand, and civilization and its foundation on the other, is binding and
firm. Islam links metaphysical thought and personal feelings with the rules of logic and the
precepts of science, with a bond that all Muslims must discover and grasp if they are to
remain Muslims. From this aspect, the civilization of Islam is radically different from that of
western civilization which dominates the world today. The two are different in their
description of life as well as the foundation on which they base such description. The
difference between the two civilizations is so essential that they have developed in ways
which are radically contradictory to each other.

The West and the Struggle between Church and State

The difference is due to a number of historical causes to which we have alluded in the
prefaces to the first and second editions of this work. In western Christendom, the
continuing struggle between the religious and secular powers, or-to use the contemporary
idiom-between church and state, led to their separation and to the establishment of the
state upon the denial of the power of the church. The struggle to which this will to power
led has left deep effects upon the whole of western thought. The first of these effects was
the separation of human feeling and reasoning from the logic of absolute reason and the
findings of positive science based on sensory observation and evidence.
The Economic System as Foundation of Western Civilization
The victory of materialist thinking was largely due to the establishment of western
civilization primarily upon an economic foundation. This situation led to the rise in the West
of a number of worldviews which sought to place everything in the life of man and the world
at the mercy of economic forces. Many an author in the West sought to explain the whole
history of mankind-religious, esthetic, philosophic or scientific-in terms of the waves of
progress or retrogression which constitute the economic history of the various peoples. Not
only has this thinking pervaded historiography; it has even reached philosophy. A number
of western philosophies have sought to found the laws and principles of morality on bases of
pragmatism and utilitarianism. As a result of this fixation of thought in the West, all these
theories, despite their perspicacity and originality, have been limited in scope to the realm
of material benefits. In other words, all the laws of morality were based on a material
foundation and in satisfaction of what was regarded as a necessary consequence of
scientific research and evidence. As for the spiritual aspect, western civilization regarded it
as purely individual, rationally incapable of being the object of any group consideration.
From this followed the absolute freedom of belief which the West has sanctified. The West
has honored the freedom of belief far more than it has the freedom of morals; and it has
honored the freedom of morals far more than the freedom of economic activity. The latter it
has tied hand and foot by public laws, and commanded that every western state and army
prevent any violation of economic laws with all the power and coercive means at its

This article is an analysis of the state of the rulers and governments of the world today.
Allah T’ala says in the Holy Quran,
‫جاءُهُم اْلِعْلُم َبْغًيا َبْيَنُهْم َوَمن‬
َ ‫ل ِمن َبْعِد َما‬
ّ ‫ب ِإ‬
َ ‫ن ُأْوُتوْا اْلِكَتا‬
َ ‫ف اّلِذي‬
َ ‫خَتَل‬
ْ ‫لُم َوَما ا‬
ِ ‫لا‬
ّ ‫عنَد ا‬
ِ ‫ن‬
َ ‫ن الّدي‬
ّ ‫ِإ‬
ِ ‫سا‬
‫ب‬ َ‫ح‬ِ ‫سِريُع اْل‬
َ ‫ل‬
ّ ‫نا‬
ّ ‫ل َفِإ‬
ّ ‫تا‬
ِ ‫َيْكُفْر ِبآَيا‬
3:19 The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His Will): Nor did the People of
the Book dissent therefrom except through envy of each other, after knowledge had come
to them. But if any deny the Signs of Allah, Allah is swift in calling to account.
The Arabic word “Deen” is not just religious rituals, it includes guidance and rules for
social, economic, political, and other aspects of life.
In another place in the Holy Quran, Allah T’ala tells us:
ٌ ‫عُدّو ّمِبي‬
‫ن‬ َ ‫ن ِإّنُه َلكُْم‬
ِ ‫طا‬
َ ‫شْي‬
ّ ‫ت ال‬
ِ ‫طَوا‬
ُ ‫ل َتّتِبُعوْا‬
َ ‫سْلِم َكآّفًة َو‬
ّ ‫خُلوْا ِفي ال‬
ُ ‫ن آَمُنوْا اْد‬
َ ‫َيا َأّيَها اّلِذي‬
O ye who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the
evil one (Satan); for he is to you an avowed enemy. (2:208)
Enter into the fold of Islam fully. Islam is it! This is your home. Don’t look elsewhere for
anything. Look it up right here in the fold of Islam and be happy and satisfied with it.
Islam is the complete way of life and the only way for success.
We did begin our life on earth on Deen-ul-Islam, as one Ummah. We were an Islamic
Muslim community. With time, atheists, idol-worshippers (Mushriks) and ascetics,
materialists, servants of Satan came out of the Muslim community.
ْ ‫س ِفيَما ا‬
ِ ‫ن الّنا‬
َ ‫حُكَم َبْي‬
ْ ‫ق ِلَي‬
ّ‫ح‬َ ‫ب ِباْل‬
َ ‫ل َمَعُهُم اْلِكَتا‬
َ ‫ن َوَأنَز‬
َ ‫ن َوُمنِذِري‬
َ ‫شِري‬
ّ ‫ن ُمَب‬
َ ‫ل الّنِبّيي‬
ّ ‫ثا‬
َ ‫حَدًة َفَبَع‬
ِ ‫س ُأّمًة َوا‬
ُ ‫ن الّنا‬
َ ‫َكا‬
َ ‫خَتَلُفوْا ِفيِه ِم‬
‫ن‬ ْ ‫ن آَمُنوْا ِلَما ا‬
َ ‫ل اّلِذي‬
ّ ‫ت َبْغًيا َبْيَنُهْم َفَهَدى ا‬
ُ ‫جاءْتُهُم اْلَبّيَنا‬
َ ‫ن ُأوُتوُه ِمن َبْعِد َما‬
َ ‫ل اّلِذي‬
ّ ‫ف ِفيِه ِإ‬
َ ‫خَتَل‬
ْ ‫ِفيهِ َوَما ا‬
ْ ‫ط ّم‬
ٍ ‫صَرا‬
ِ ‫شاء ِإَلى‬
َ ‫ل َيْهِدي َمن َي‬
ّ ‫ق ِبِإْذِنِه َوا‬
ّ‫ح‬َ ‫اْل‬
2:213 Mankind was one single nation, and Allah sent Messengers with glad tidings and
warnings; and with them He sent the Book in truth, to judge between people in matters
wherein they differed; but the People of the Book, after the clear Signs came to them, did
not differ among themselves, except through selfish contumacy. Allah by His Grace
Guided the believers to the Truth, concerning that wherein they differed. For Allah
guided whom He will to a path that is straight.
Allah T’ala sent Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) as a Mercy for the world and by the Grace
of Allah T’ala, he successfully established one Islamic ummah. It stayed that way during
the period of khulufa-ur-Rashidoon. But then soon after the martyrdom of Ali ibne Abi
Talib (karamullah wajhu), the khilafah changed into kingship. That is when in the
Ummah of Muhammad (s.a.a.w.), for the first time, Deen-ul-Islam was sliced as what the
westerners call “Separation of Church and State.” That is when the focus of the people
shifted from aspiring for Akhirah to worldly lusts and ambitions. So in the history, for
example, you will find during the time of a caliph, houses became the topic of the town.
In another caliph’s time, sex became the topic of the town.
All this happened at a time, when millions of people of the world have come into the fold
of Islam and they needed proper Islamic education. The Muslim government was the best
source to provide that education and it failed. No doubt, the task of educating the masses
was taken up by great Imams, but obviously, it had its limitations.
These caliphs unfortunately, instead of leaving behind a Sadaqa-Jariah, left behind a
Fitnahe-Jariah. What a terrible thing to do!
Be happy and grateful to Allah T’ala that you are not one of those. There is a blessing to
be an ordinary person.
Muslim ummah remained in the hands of such caliphs for centuries. Great punishments
thru crusaders and Mongols came to the ummah. Then came slavery and colonialism by
the western powers. Eventually, freedom came, but what a freedom. Western powers left
behind anti-Islamic systems of governments and their minions and cronies. That is how
one can describe today’s governments of most of the Muslim countries.
When the system of government, the constitution, the by-laws, judgments and rulings in a
country or community are not based on the Holy Quran and Sunnah, the rulers and
administrators of that country or community are nothing but kafirs, Zalims and Fasiqs.
That is not what I say. That is what Allah T’ala says.
Fourteen centuries ago, Allah T’ala revealed ayaat 44-47 in Surah Al-Maidah (Chapter
5), which speak about the deviations of the Jews and Christians. They were revealed for
the Muslim ummah to learn a lesson and not fall into the same errors.
Ayat 44 in Surah 5 says:
ُ ‫حِف‬
ْ ‫سُت‬
ْ ‫حَباُر ِبَما ا‬
ْ‫ل‬َ ‫ن َوا‬
َ ‫ن َهاُدوْا َوالّرّباِنّيو‬
َ ‫سَلُموْا ِلّلِذي‬
ْ ‫ن َأ‬
َ ‫ن اّلِذي‬
َ ‫حُكُم ِبَها الّنِبّيو‬
ْ ‫ِإّنا َأنَزْلَنا الّتْوَراَة ِفيَها ُهًدى َوُنوٌر َي‬
‫حُكم ِبَما‬
ْ ‫ل َوَمن ّلْم َي‬
ً ‫شَتُروْا ِبآَياِتي َثَمًنا َقِلي‬
ْ ‫ل َت‬
َ ‫ن َو‬
ِ ‫شْو‬
َ‫خ‬ْ ‫س َوا‬
َ ‫شُوْا الّنا‬
َ‫خ‬ْ ‫ل َت‬
َ ‫شَهَداء َف‬
ُ ‫عَلْيِه‬
َ ‫ل َوَكاُنوْا‬
ّ ‫با‬
ِ ‫ِمن ِكَتا‬
َ ‫ك ُهُم اْلَكاِفُرو‬
‫ن‬ َ ‫ل َفُأْوَلـِئ‬
ّ ‫لا‬
َ ‫َأنَز‬
5:44 It was We who revealed the law (to Moses): therein was guidance and light. By its
standard have been judged the Jews, by the prophets who bowed (as in Islam) to Allah's
will, by the rabbis and the doctors of law: for to them was entrusted the protection of
Allah's book, and they were witnesses thereto: therefore fear not men, but fear me, and
sell not my signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah
hath revealed, they are Unbelievers.
In the next Ayat, Allah T’ala says:
َ ‫ظاِلُمو‬
‫ن‬ ّ ‫ك ُهُم ال‬
َ ‫ل َفأُْوَلـِئ‬
ّ ‫لا‬
َ ‫حُكم ِبَما أنَز‬
ْ ‫َوَمن ّلْم َي‬
And if any fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are Zalimoon
(wrong-doers, unjust, oppressors).
Then two verses down in Ayaat 47:
َ ‫سُقو‬
‫ن‬ ِ ‫ك ُهُم اْلَفا‬
َ ‫ل َفُأْوَلـِئ‬
ّ ‫لا‬
َ ‫حُكم ِبَما َأنَز‬
ْ ‫َوَمن ّلْم َي‬
If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are Fasiqoon
(rebels, disobedients).
Kufr is unbelief. Kafir is unbeliever. Zulm is injustice and oppression. Oppression can be
against others like you see violations of basic human rights committed by Muslim rulers
and the so-called most civilized countries. Oppression can be self-oppression also.
Oppression against one’s own self leads oneself into misery and punishment by Allah
T’ala.Zulm can be so severe that it can put the person into the Jahannum. In Surah
Luqman, Shirk is given as Zulmun-Azeem. And shirk is unforgivable sin. Fisq is
disobedience. Fisq is rebellion, breaking the Law of Allah T’ala.Fisq can also be so great
that it makes a person Kafir and puts him in Jahannum. When Allah T’ala ordered angels
to prostrate to Adam (a.s.) and Shaitan refused to prostrate, as Allah T’ala says in Surah
Kahf, Ayat 50, he committed Fisq.
‫خُذوَنُه َوُذّرّيَتُه َأْوِلَياء ِمن ُدوِني‬ِ ‫ن َأْمِر َرّبِه َأَفَتّت‬
َ ‫ق‬
َ ‫ن َفَف‬
ِ ‫ن اْل‬
َ ‫ن ِم‬
َ ‫س َكا‬
َ ‫ل ِإْبِلي‬
ّ ‫جُدوا ِإ‬
َ‫س‬َ ‫لَدَم َف‬
ِ ‫جُدوا‬
ُ‫س‬ْ ‫لِئَكِة ا‬
َ ‫َوِإْذ ُقْلَنا ِلْلَم‬
ً ‫ن َبَد‬
‫ل‬ َ ‫ظاِلِمي‬
ّ ‫س ِلل‬
َ ‫عُدّو ِبْئ‬
َ ‫َوُهْم َلُكْم‬
18:50 Behold! We said to the angels, "Bow down to Adam": They bowed down except
Iblis. He was one of the Jinns, and he broke the Command of his Lord. Will ye then take
him and his progeny as protectors rather than Me? And they are enemies to you! Evil
would be the exchange for the wrong-doers!
It is evident that non-Muslim governments do not follow Islamic Shariah. We don’t
expect them to, as they are disbelievers. The more serious problem is that Muslim
countries are doing the same. Today, you will find secular Muslim governments, socialist
Muslim governments, communist Muslim governments, Democratic Muslim
governments, but hardly any Islamic Muslim government.
Muslim rulers, instead of prostrating to Allah T’ala, the One and Only Deity, prostrate to
the false deities of democracy, secularism, nationalism, socialism, communism, the
deities of their own lust and Baghi (iniquity). That has put the Muslim ummah into such a
terrible state that we find it difficult to get back to the Straight path.
As the great poet of Islam, Allamah Iqbal said:
The one Sajdah that you find cumbersome, is the Sajdah that saves man from thousands
of prostrations. The prostrations to democracy, secularism and the like have brought
nothing but ruins to the Muslim Ummah. When Muslim countries leave Islamic Shariah,
they are competing with non-Muslim countries in sin!
The ayaat of Surah Al-Maidah I have read to you are not just for rulers of nations and
communities. They do apply on all of us. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them)
reported: I heard Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying, "All of you are guardians and are
responsible for your wards. The ruler is a guardian and responsible for his subjects; the
man is a guardian and responsible for his family; the woman is a guardian and is
responsible for her husbands house and his offspring; and so all of you are guardians and
are responsible for your wards.'' [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
We all have to worry about falling into the traps of kufr, zulm and fisq.Let us do our best
to seek guidance in all affairs of our life from the Holy Quran and the sunnah of Prophet
Muhammad (s.a.a.w.).Standing still in the face of the wind of troubling time will push us
back. Let us try to move forward. Let us read Quran for guidance, seek knowledge and
act upon it.
May Allah T'ala forgive our sins and have a lot more of His Mercy on the Muslim
Ummah. Ameen
Ishaq Zahid
If there is a phrase that can describe the world today, it has to be "Competing in Sin!"
Many Muslim governments, groups and individuals have taken an un-Islamic path and
are trying to do what non-Muslim governments, groups and individuals are doing. It is a
competition in sin and Muslims are losing. About fourteen hundred years ago, one of the
most beloved person of the Muslim ummah, Umar bin Abdul Aziz wrote a letter to a
military commander and said:
Sin is even more dangerous than the ruses/tricks of the enemy. Amirul-Momineen
bids upon Mansur that instead of taking fright of his enemy, he should fear
transgressing the limits of Allah T’ala. We overcome our enemies in the
battlefield only because of their vices and sins, for, had it not been so, we would
not have had the courage to face them. We can not deploy troops in the same
numbers as our enemies can do, nor do we possess the equipments they have got.
Thus, if we equate ourselves with our enemies in misdeeds and transgressions,
they would undoubtedly gain a victory over us by virtue of their numerical
superiority and strength.

Competing in Sin!
• 1. Outline

• 2. Α ν Αφ ρ ι χ α ν Βοψ & α ςυλ τ υ ρ ε

• 3. Υ µ α ρ βιν Αβ δ υ λ Αζ ι ζ

• 4. Σ ο µ ε Στα τ ι σ τ ι χ σ

5. Χ ο ν χ υ λ δ ι ν γ Ρεµα ρ κ σ

1. Outline

• Surah Al-Teen

• Comments on asfala safeleen

• A careful analysis of Current world crises and the state of the Muslim Ummah is

• One of the letters of Umar bin Abdul Aziz to his military commander may give us
an understanding.

• Statistics

• The sentences from the letter again

• Ayah on unjust killing

95 ‫ سورة‬- ‫سورة التين‬
‫بسم ال الرحمن الرحيم‬
1. ‫ن‬
ِ ‫ن َوالّزْيُتو‬
ِ ‫َوالّتي‬
َ ‫سيِني‬
‫ن‬ ِ ‫طوِر‬
ُ ‫ َو‬.2
ِ ‫لِمي‬
‫ن‬ َْ ‫ َوَهَذا اْلَبَلِد ا‬.3
‫ن َتْقِويٍم‬
ْ ‫ن ِفي َأ‬
َ ‫سا‬
َ ‫لن‬
ِْ ‫خَلْقَنا ا‬
َ ‫ َلَقْد‬.4
َ ‫ساِفِلي‬
‫ن‬ َ ‫ل‬
َ ‫سَف‬
ْ ‫ ُثّم َرَدْدَناُه َأ‬.5
ٍ ‫غْيُر َمْمُنو‬
‫ن‬ َ ‫جٌر‬
ْ ‫ت َفَلُهْم َأ‬
ِ ‫حا‬
َ ‫صاِل‬
ّ ‫عِمُلوا ال‬
َ ‫ن آمَُنوا َو‬
َ ‫ل اّلِذي‬
ّ ‫ ِإ‬.6
ِ ‫ك َبْعُد ِبالّدي‬
‫ن‬ َ ‫ َفَما ُيَكّذُب‬.7
َ ‫حاِكِمي‬
‫ن‬ َ ‫حَكِم اْل‬
ْ ‫ل ِبَأ‬
ُّ ‫س ا‬
َ ‫ َأَلْي‬.8
With the Name of Allah, the Merciful Benefactor, The Merciful Redeemer
095.001 By the Fig and the Olive,
095.002 And the Mount of Sinai,
095.003 And this City (Makkah) of security,-
095.004 We have indeed created man in the best of moulds,
095.005 Then do We abase him (to be) the lowest of the low,-
095.006 Except such as believe and do righteous deeds: For they shall have a reward
095.007 Then what can, after this, contradict thee, as to the judgment (to come)?
095.008 Is not Allah the wisest of judges?
Yes Indeed!
This Surah tells us, among other things, that if a person does not have the true faith
(Eiman) and is not striving for righteous deeds (amal-us-saleh), using The Holy Quran
and Sunnah as The Guidance, then even though every person is created by the best of
moulds, that person becomes the lowest of the low! Asfala Safileen.
Islam is taken as a complete way of life. Righteous deeds therefore are not limited to
prayers, Zakat and fasting.

2. An African Boy & a Vulture

The world we live in todayis filled with great number of occurrences of brutalities, blood
baths and destructions caused by people. So many by Muslims, but so many more by
non-Muslims. So if I can give a topic to this article, it is Muslims “Competing in Sin”
with non-Muslims.
Our spiritually living hearts are feeling great pain at the sufferings of humanity caused by
many governments, deviant groups and individuals. Today, a man may feel safer in a
jungle surrounded by wild beasts than in many human societies. Wolves are claiming to
be shepherds and they are complaining that the sheep is bad.
Look at the picture below very carefully:
In this 1994 Pulitzer Prize winning photograph, an African boy, nothing but a skeleton, was trying
to crawl towards a U.N. Food Shelter, about one kilometer away. Behind his back, a few yards
away was a vulture waiting for the boy to die to feast. The vulture did not attack the living boy. It
could have. But it has God-given law that it follows. Even the animals have law of God that they
obey. Not the man. So many governments, groups and individuals have become worst than the

3. Umar bin Abdul Aziz

Umar bin Abdul Aziz (r.a.)
One way to understand the current world crises is by what Umar bin Abdul Aziz (r.a.)
said in a letter he sent to one of his military commanders named Mansur. His words show
his deep understanding of the Quran and Sunnah. You will see how it is so applicable
today, even though he said so about 1400 years ago.
In his letter, he says that “sin is even more dangerous than the ruses/tricks of the enemy.
Amirul-Momineen bids upon Mansur that instead of taking fright of his enemy, he should
fear transgressing the limits of Allah T’ala. We overcome our enemies in the battlefield
only because of their vices and sins, for, had it not been so, we would not have had the
courage to face them. We can not deploy troops in the same numbers as our enemies can
do, nor do we possess the equipments they have got.
Thus, if we equate ourselves with our enemies in misdeeds and transgressions, they
would undoubtedly gain a victory over us by virtue of their numerical superiority and
About fourteen hundred years ago, Umar bin Abdul Aziz told us that when we compete
in sins, we loose! We loose in the Akhirah and we loose in this world. And certainly, the
loss in the Hereafter is far greater than any loss in this world!

4. Some Statistics
To understand this point further, I want to give you a brief on some statistics, especially
from the twentieth century. These statistics come from an article, titled, “Christian versus
Muslim Violence in History.”
We can look at the start of Christianity and see how millions of Christians were tortured
and killed by Christians, but let us just pick a few major events from the history.
The European armies were saying, as they
slaughtered Jews and both Christian and
The Crusades
Muslim Arabs: “Kill them all, God will know
his own.”
Europe's Reformation and Counter Two thirds of the Christian population of
Reformation Era Europe was slaughtered by Christians
The African slave trade Claimed the lives of 10 million
Estimates for the number of Native
Americans slaughtered by the Europeans in
The Colonial Conquests
North, Central and South America run as high
as 20 million within three generations.
A conservative estimate puts the total number
of brutal deaths in the 20th century at more
than 250 million. Of these, Muslims are
responsible for less than 10 million deaths.
Christians, or those coming from Christian
backgrounds account for more than 200
The 20th century's Western Civilization took
million of these! The greatest death totals
warfare to new extremes
come from World War I and World War II. In
World War I, about 20 million killed, at least
90% of which were inflicted by “Christians”.
In World War II ( 90 million, at least 50% of
which were inflicted by “Christians,” the
majority of the rest occurring in the Far East).
Western and/or Christian powers have been
responsible for at least twenty times more
In the 20th century alone
deaths than have Muslim powers in the whole
of Islamic history.
Witness the slaughter of 900,000 Rwandans
In the 20th century, Rawanda, 1994 in 1994 in a population that was over 90 %
The genocide of over 300,000 Muslims and
1992-1995 Bosnia systematic rape of over 100,000 Muslim
women by Christian Serbs
Based on these and other events, the article draws a conclusion:
“The horrible truth is that, numerically and statistically speaking, Christian Civilization is
the bloodiest and most violent of all civilizations in all of history, and is responsible for
hundreds of millions of deaths. Even so, Muslims will never associate this violence and
blood bath with the teachings of Jesus (peace be on him).”
When we look at recent brutal events, we find that Muslims killed Muslims in Iraq-Iran
war and Iraq-Kuwait war. Additionally, certain deviant groups of Muslims caused the
tragedy of 9/11, hijacked planes, killed innocent civilians, and some of which is still
going on.
These are events as if these people and groups are trying to compete in sin!
As a result of some of these evil events, non-Muslim governments and groups have killed
several hundred thousand people in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.
5. Conculding Remarks
As far as unjust killings are concerned, let us remember what the Holy Quran says:
Speaking about the first murder committed by a son of Adam, Allah T’ala says in Surah
5, Ayat 32:
ِ ‫لْر‬
‫ض‬ َ ‫ساٍد ِفي ا‬
َ ‫س َأْو َف‬
ٍ ‫سا ِبَغْيِر َنْف‬
ً ‫ل َنْف‬
َ ‫ل َأّنُه َمن َقَت‬
َ ‫سَراِئي‬
ْ ‫عَلى َبِني ِإ‬
َ ‫ك َكَتْبَنا‬
َ ‫ل َذِل‬
ْ ‫ن َأ‬
ْ ‫ِم‬
ُ ‫جاء ْتُهْم ُر‬
َ ‫جِميًعا َوَلَقْد‬
َ ‫س‬
َ ‫حَيا الّنا‬
ْ ‫حَياَها َفَكَأّنَما َأ‬
ْ ‫ن َأ‬
ْ ‫جِميًعا َوَم‬
َ ‫س‬
َ ‫ل الّنا‬
َ ‫َفَكَأّنَما َقَت‬
َ ‫سِرُفو‬
‫ن‬ ْ ‫ض َلُم‬
ِ ‫لْر‬
َ ‫ك ِفي ا‬
َ ‫ن َكِثيًرا ّمْنُهم َبْعَد َذِل‬
ّ ‫ت ُثّم ِإ‬
ِ ‫ِبالَبّيَنا‬
5.32. On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a
person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he
slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of
the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet,
even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.
This ayah teaches us that ONE unjust killing is one too many!
This commandment applies to the Israelites, to the followers of Jesus (a.s.) and to
But who is following it?
Muslims should, even if no one else does.
Islam is a message for the salvation of humanity. It is to save not to destroy people. Islam
is not terrorism. It is not for self revenge. It is not hate, it is love. Law of Islam is based
on The Holy Quran and Sunnah. It is not what others do. There is a strict code of Law
even in wars. [Read at ]
Those Muslims who go against the teachings of Prophet Muhammad(s.a.a.w.) and
commit crimes against humanity have to face Allah T'ala one day and answer to the
Almighty. We all do! There is a Day of Judgment for all mankind! Let us be true
followers of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.). Let us not compete in sins!
Ishaq Zahid
Sept. 1, 2006
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