PEOPLE IN TROUBLE
In reading the Qur'an, we come across a certain fact: before a messenger comes to a society, often social and moral corruption prevails there. Once a messenger comes to a society, those following him attain 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, people who enjoyed the favours of this period 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 and, in a sense, prepared their own ends with their own hands.
In the Qur'an (Surah Maryam), Allah relates the loyalty, sincerity and the fear the messengers felt for Allah and then informs us of how the generations coming after them lost their faith completely. They drifted because of their whims and desires and became deprived of all their values. The related verse follows:
Those are some of the Prophets Allah
has blessed, from the descendants of Adam and
from those We carried with Nuh, and from the descendants
of Ibrahim and Isra'il 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
Those people who neglected their divine responsibilities suffered Allah's wrath expressed in 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 the prevalent disbelieving systems (systems of kufr), these 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.
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, a 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 Musa (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 their Creator; a saviour who would save them from this cruel system. Allah answered the call of these people and sent them Talut (Saul in the Bible):
What do you think about the council of the tribe of Israel after Musa's time when they said to one of their Prophets, "Give us a king and we will fight in the way of Allah?" He said, "Is it not possible that if fighting were prescribed for you, you would not fight?" They said, "how could we not fight in the way of Allah when we have been driven from our homes and children?" But then when fighting was prescribed for them, they turned their backs - except for a few of them. Allah knows the wrongdoers. (Surat al-Baqara: 246)
From the stories related in the Qur'an, we understand that almost the same thing befell past civilisations who revolted against their messengers. The circumstances under which people led their lives, the sending of messengers to warn them and their destruction 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 becomes predominant among people. Only people having real values can bring solutions to all the trouble that people experience today. Indeed, Allah sent prophets and messengers to the earlier generations who experienced similar social depressions, and He sometimes granted amazing wealth and splendour to those who followed the messengers. This fact 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 as follows 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 envelopes 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)
As mentioned in the previous section, that Allah sends prophets and messengers to communities for their deliverance from disbelief and injustice is something the Qur'an informs us about. 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 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 poor and rich, and social corruption steadily escalates. The Qur'an reminds man that after and even during such dark periods, Allah always shows the way to salvation to those who earnestly desire it. This way, Islam will certainly prevail over the entire world and the true religion will supersede all pagan religions. To His true believers (muminun), Allah gives the good tidings of this in surah at-Tawba:
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 worship other things than 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)
One point deserves mention here. In the above verse, the requisite for the diffusion of Islam is given; the existence of believers who are purely slaves of Allah without ascribing partners to Him and who engage in good deeds in His way...
What has been related so far is the following: in every age, Allah answered the call of His slaves who desperately needed His help. This also holds true for this age and for the future. As it was the case with the earlier ages, in our day, too, it is expected that Allah will save people from the injustice of the system of disbelief and present them with the beauties of Islam.
It is especially expected that the Islamic world will find a way out of the corruption it experiences today and the sincere believers will communicate the values of Islam to the whole world. Surely, as in every age, today people hope that a saviour will appear. This saviour, who will take mankind from the "darkness to the light," is the religion of Islam. The people leading the way to live by these superior values will defeat all the systems that deny Allah, and they will render corrupted ideologies invalid.
In brief, Allah will help each people as He did in previous ages. Allah promises this 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