Who is addressed?
By: Ayatullah Shaheed Syed Abdul Husayn Dastaghaib Shirazi
God has issued a general command for all time to come till Judgment Day: First He addressed the believers. The first part of the verse and the earlier order, which later on refers to suspicion (having bad opinion). He addresses the believers that they must act upon this order and fulfill their responsibility. As regards the one who is disbeliever, who has no faith in Allah and the Hereafter, it is said that do not make a mockery of anyone on account of his disbelief. Though he has no faith, all are servants of Only One God. All are made of dust. There is no cause for mockery. He has no faith to understand these words. He does not accept what is said about Judgment Day, Hereafter, ranks and reward. But how do you know that you are better than him? These very words are mocking for him. There is no benefit in such words. So this address must be made to you. O those who say: There is no god except Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.
æóÃóäøó ÇáÓøóÇÚóÉó ÂÊöíóÉñ áÇ ÑóíúÈó ÝöíåóÇ
"Most surely, the hour is coming, there is no doubt therein,"
Do you believe in Judgment Day? Have you accepted belief in reward and punishment? Then:
áÇ íóÓúÎóÑú Þóæãñ ãöäú Þóæúãò
"…let not (one) people laugh at (another) people…"
A group may not mock another, men must not mock men, and women should not mock women. Of course, there is no inconsistency in this. It is also unlawful if, for once, a man mocks a woman and vice versa. This verse mentions men by way of generality. Mostly men mock men, but the command is general. It makes no difference. In short, a Muslim has no right to mock a Muslim. Also
: Do not find faults in one another nor use bad words for one another, do not give bad titles to one another. Do not, for example, say: You are the son of such and such mother. Do you intend to disgrace a Muslim? You have no right to do so. You cannot perturb another Muslim.
Akrama, son of Abu Jahl, better than Muslims
Here is the example of Akrama bin Abu Jahl. This gentleman was a pious and a pure Muslim. Yet some unwise people sometimes used to taunt him saying that this is the son of Abu Jahl. A Muslim’s honor is his Islam to which one has turned sincerely. Even if his father was what he was. Abu Jahl, a pagan, a disbeliever, wretched, vicious, Hell dweller etc., but what is important is the condition of Akrama himself. Look at his honor and respect, his Islam: Do not give him ugly titles.
Thereafter, He gives a logical reason also. Logical, because it is against human wisdom to mock someone or to give a bad name to somebody. When someone belittles or humiliates a Muslim, what is the meaning of such humiliation? To pull down another and to think high of oneself. When somebody insults and belittles another person does it mean anything else but that the former imagines himself higher and the latter, lower. He disgraces another man.
Maybe the mocked one is better than you
Almighty Allah says:
íóÇ ÃóíøõåóÇ ÇáøóÐöíäó ÂãóäõæÇ áÇ íóÓúÎóÑú Þóæãñ ãöäú Þóæúãò ÚóÓóì Ãóäú íóßõæäõæÇ ÎóíúÑðÇ ãöäúåõãú¡ æóáÇ äöÓóÇÁñ ãöäú äöÓóÇÁò ÚóÓóì Ãóäú íóßõäøó ÎóíúÑðÇ ãöäúåõäøó
"O you who believe! Let not (one) people laugh at (another) people perchance they may be better than they, nor let women (laugh) at (other) women, perchance they may be better than they… (49:11)"
O ignorant one! On what criterion did you measure yourself higher and pulled down another one? Is it due to the apparent reason that, for example, you have wealth and he does not have; your dress is new and his old, you are handsome and he is ugly? If so, then this is not a criterion to measure good and evil. Real good and bad must be measured by one’s distance from God. In God’s sight, rich and poor, handsome and ugly are alike. The ignorant one who looks at only the outer things is not wise. They do not know what is behind the apparent dress and appearance.
The Messenger of God is reported to have said that several chairless persons who sit on ground and a number of persons who do not have new and shining dress are honorable in the sight of God. If they seek anything from God, God grants it to them; that is, their prayers are accepted. What do you know? Do not look at others with contempt as it is possible that some of them are really good servants of God.
One may appear of no value apparently, but it is quite possible that from within God likes him or her. Apparent deeds also are no criterion. You are looking at only outward things and deeds and imagine that you are pious, clean and righteous. You consider yourself a religious scholar and look down at others, as they do not have knowledge; that he is not careful enough and so you look at him hatefully. If he says something, you retort
: Go and obtain knowledge. Do you know what all this is?
O Servant of God! The one whom you looked with contempt may be better than what you imagined. You may have apparent righteousness. You perform ablution but how is it that you do not keep yourself away from impermissible things! O pious gentleman! You, in your own opinion are knowledgeable and he, ignorant of religious affairs. But he avoids the illegal things more than you! Now, who is more honorable, you or he? You dip your hands in water ten times for cleaning and he does only once, but when unlawful income comes, you fall on it like a cat falling on a rat. But he never indulges in impermissible things. Now, who is better, you or he?
According to some narrations, if a man lies once, its foul smell rise upto high heavens and angels curse the liar. Such a man puts on nice clothes and applies scent and perfume. But he also has utterly foul smell, the smell of sins and miserliness. His forehead does have a mark of prostration but of what use is that piety when he also is a miser. He indeed belongs to hell even if he makes innumerable ablutions. Another man who makes ablution by dipping his hands in water only once is certainly better than this fellow if he is not a miser.
If one considers himself better than others, one is certainly an ignorant man. It is possible that he avoids impurities, which you do not avoid. You do not avoid impurities, the bad smell of which is much more than common impurities. You may think that the other person is careless and hence belongs to hell. But from inside, that person may have much more love for Ahle Bait whereby he gets Paradise earlier than you. But you, the unlucky one, you have much attraction for wealth. Your love for money such, that finally it drives you to hell. How does one know that the other person has a warm heart, he has a kind heart, he is just and equitable? Only God knows how many persons he helped during his life? How one knows what kind of a man he will be at the end of his life?
Forgiven for giving water to a dog
It is mentioned that a woman of ill fame once reached a pit of water during her journey. She saw that a thirsty dog came to the water, which was deep (beyond its reach) and turned back and again came and turned back. Its tongue was hanging, as it was very thirsty in the hot atmosphere of the sandy land. This woman of loose character however became restless on seeing the poor and helpless condition of the thirsty dog and thought of doing something to help this creature of God. She observed that there was some water in the pit but it was very far down. What to do? From where to get a rope to fetch the water? She cut off her hair to make a sort of cup, tied it with her hands, fetched some water in this way and put it before the thirsty dog. She did not move away till the dog was gratified.
The most merciful God pardoned that lady for this kind act towards one of His creatures. As her character was loose, you imagined she belonged to hell. Perhaps, the one whom you imagine as belonging to hell may become aware and repent. It is also possible, that God forbid, you and I become proud and move away from the path of God’s service. How do we know? His Hereafter may be good and our bad! No one knows this.
There are many instances of such change. If I want, I may relate many examples. Let me tell you only a story from the book Hayatul Haiwan by Damiri. In how much danger man is.