Truth and patience vital

In Islam it is not enough that a person acts righteously himself, although it is the second most important step in being a good Muslim, the first being faith or Iman.Every Muslim has also the responsibility of changing for the better the society in which he lives. That is why Islam does not approve of the monastic way of life in which a person may elevate himself to a very high level of spiritual development without doing any good to his fellow human beings.

A very good illustration of a person’s responsibility for enjoining good conduct on others is provided by surah ‘Al Asr’, a very brief surah, full of meaning and guidance. It is said that in the life time of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), whenever any two of his companions met together one of them invariably recited the surah to others. The surah begins with an adjuration to time through the ages, which searches out and destroys everything material. It then goes on to say that with the passage of time, all men are constantly suffering a loss in this world as well as in the Hereafter, except those who make full and proper use of the limited time given to them on this earth, by doing four things.

Two things which can save man from loss and ensure his salvation are faith and righteous action, but by themselves even these two elements of personal effort are not enough because they do not fulfill man’s whole duty to other men. For spreading the moral and spiritual excellence which a person has acquired, to his other brethren, it is laid down in this surah that man should combine with this effort the enjoining of truth and the teaching of patience and constancy.The enjoining of truth and patience  thus becomes one of the essential requirements of being a good Muslim. Haq or truth as used in this surah has wide connotations. The most obvious aspect of truth is that it is the reverse of falsehood, hypocrisy and insincerity, but it is also justice and fairplay in all affairs of the world.

In another sense Haq also covers the rights of others, which everyone is duty bound to honour and take care. The practical implication of this requirement of truth is that every member of society should be prepared to stand up and be counted whenever truth comes under attack from any quarter.This theme is also brought out in a striking manner in another verse of the Holy Quran (Ayat 25, surah Anfal) wherein it is stated: “And fear tumult or oppression (Fitna) which affecteth not in particular only those of you who do wrong; and know that God is strict in punishment.” Allama Yusuf Ali, in his commentary has taken the word, Fitna, to mean not only tumult and oppression but also discord, sedition and civil war. This widens the significance of this warning from God, and should serve to open our eyes to the manner in which a society disintegrates once it goes on the wrong track, and no member of that society feels any responsibility for correcting its course.

In other word when the good people in any society adopt a passive attitude towards what is going on  around them, and being content and complacent about their personal righteousness, let the evil doers get away with all that they want to do, the total degeneration and disintegration of the whole social order will not be far off, and when that happens the good will suffer as much as the evil ones.Finally, it may be pointed out that the theme of enjoining the truth is brought out even more elaborately in Ayat 104 of Surah Ale-Imran where it is stated: “Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity.”

The fourth and last requirement for saving oneself from loss, according to Surah Al Asr, is enjoining of patience and constancy (Sabr). A reference to Sabr occurs at numerous places in the Holy Quran, and it has been extolled as one of the major virtues to be developed and practised by true Muslims. In fact, it has been vividly stated that God loves those who practise Sabr or patience, and God will reward such persons with entry into Paradise.The enjoining of truth and the opposition to evil doing must be ‘fi-sabil-Illah’. In other words, it should be done as a matter of principle and at all times, and not merely when it touches a person’s personal interests such as his purse or his security. – Khaleejnews