YMD Children’s Column

The Qur’an for Young Hearts – 40

Important Notes

1:The translation of the Qur’an being presented here is interpretative. It is meant for children. Those who can understand other translations should better consult them.

2. Parents are advised to hold sessions at home and teach the verses and explanation as given here, and, if they can, add more from Qur’anic commentaries.

3. Answers to exercise below may be attempted. Parents may evaluate them and reward the children suitably.

4. Schools could also include this in their Islamic curriculum.

5. The underlined words have been explained in the Dictionary given below.

Verses from Surah no. 2, Al-Baqarah

[143] Thus We have made you a justly balanced nation that you might be witnesses over the people and the Prophet a witness over you. And We did not fix the Qiblah you were observing earlier, but to tell apart between he who follows the Messenger and he who turns on his heels; although, this was a hard thing except for those whom Allah guided. And Allah was not such as to allow your faith go wasted. Truly Allah is Most Kind, Most Merciful.

Understanding the above Verse

When the Qiblah was changed from Jerusalem to Ka`bah, the unbelievers objected. Others might still wonder why. The answer is, Allah decided to establish a universal religion. A universal religion is one which appeals to the universal mind. The Jews made it their tribal religion. The Christians made it a religion where the mind plays no role. A man must blindly believe that God is made up of three elements. So Allah appointed a new Qiblah, different from the Qiblah of the people who did not deserve to receive a new Message from Allah. If He had sent it, they would have converted the universal message to a tribal call.

And He raised a people who are justly balanced. Neither like the Jews to reserve God for a tribe, nor like Christians who split God into three so that a man does not know whom to address his prayers out of the three.

There are many ways in which the Muslims are a justly-balanced people. They are neither too this-worldly, nor too that-worldly. They are neither too materialistic nor too spiritualistic. They are neither eastern nor western. They are neither like angels, nor like the Devils. They are neither stingy nor give away all their wealth. They neither avoid all pleasures nor do they run after them. In every affair, they take the middle path.

The Muslims bear witness to the truth of all truths: God is One. This they do by accepting Allah, the one God, as the true God and so obey Him in everything they do. Non-Muslims look at Muslims and wonder that in everything Muslims are different from them. So they ask, ‘Why are you different from us?’ They reply, ‘Because we believe in One God, and He has commanded that we act like this.’ In this way, they become witnesses to One God.

For example, when non-Muslims say ‘bank-interest is allowed,’ Muslims bear witness to say, ‘no, it is not allowed.’ When the others say, ‘there is nothing wrong in homosexuality,’ Muslims say, ‘No. It will bring down Allah’s punishment.’ When others say that ‘those who are hungry in the slums are themselves responsible for it,’ Muslims say, ‘No. It is the responsibility of the well-fed to feed them.’ Thus, Muslims bear witness to truth and justice.

On the Day of Judgment also, when nations will deny and say that they did not receive any Message from Allah, nor any Messenger came to them, the Messengers will start looking for witnesses to bear witness that truly Messengers went to them. For example, having received the story of Nuh (asws) in the truest of book, the Qur’an, Muslims will bear witness that Nuh did preach in his people 950 years, but his people denied him. Then Prophet Muhammad will bear witness that his followers are true witnesses.

The change on the Qiblah was hard on some Muslims also because they did not understand the wisdom. One was to test who will remain true to his belief or go back. A true believer was ready to change his Qiblah, from one to another any number of times. Therefore, because of his Eiman, Allah helped them remain on guidance.

Lessons:

  1. Humans should be allowed to use their minds to accept or reject religious truths.
  2. We cannot say, ‘accept that God is in the stone,’ whether your mind accepts it or not.
  3. We cannot say, ‘every nation has its own God.’ Therefore, every religion is true.
  4. If some Muslims refuse to live by Allah’s command, they too become like the nations that were rejected before them.
  5. Muslims are not like a pack of sheep, wolves, or monkeys. They play important roles in this world and will play important role in the Next, by holding high the flag of revealed truth.

Exercise:

  1. Which religion has become a tribal religion?
  2. Is there a religion which is a ‘national’ religion, that is, the religion of a particular nation?
  3. Why do we say that Islam is a universal religion?
  4. Explain in few sentences what it means to be a justly-balanced nation”
  5. When nations deny on the Last Day that no Messenger came to them, how will Muslims bear witness that Messengers did go to them?

(To be continued)