In God's Name, Action and Participation, Others' Rights
Issue 582 » May 21, 2010 - Jumada al-Thani 7, 1431
Covenant in God's Name
An-Nahl (The Bee) Sura 16: Verses 91-92
"And fulfill God's covenant when you have made the covenant, and do not break your oaths after having confirmed them; indeed, you have made God your guarantor. Surely God Knows all that you do. And do not be like her who destroys her yarn that she herself made strong, betraying by making your oaths a means of deception among yourselves in order that you may be a community greater in numbers than another community. In this, God is only testing you, and on the Day of Resurrection. He will certainly make clear to you all that on which you used to differ."
Any covenant which is made in God's Name means God's covenant. God's covenant consists of a "rope" of light woven from the threads of Divine Will, Wisdom, and Favouring, and functions as that which is responsible for order in the universe, and is able to establish peace, order, and harmony in the human life. It refers to the spiritual, moral, and social obligations that arise from one's belief in and worship of God, and to all pledges or promises a person gives to another by naming God. It is aimed at justice, good judgment, devotion to doing good, and mutual help in society, as well as the eradication of all evil, indecency and all shameful deeds - such as fornication, adultery, and all similar vices - including, too, insolence and offenses against one another. So, making a covenant with God calls for fulfilling all these obligations that arise from faith in Him, and fulfilling these obligations is a sign of true guidance, while breaking the covenant means misguidance and transgression.
In social life, individuals, communities, and nations or states enter into different treaties with one another on certain conditions, and God Almighty orders loyalty to them. No individual or community, relying on its power or material superiority, should be able to break the treaties and betray the conditions. We are strictly forbidden from making our religion merely a means to take advantage of others in our relations and agreements. It is interesting to note that during the Prophet's time, the Quraysh were prone to break their treaties with other tribes when a more powerful party offered them an alliance. Such vices are almost the norm in international affairs today. Islam commands more rigorous ethical and moral standards; a covenant is binding before both humankind and God.
"The Quran: Annotated Interpretation in Modern English" - Ali Unal, p. 558
Action and Participation
To be Muslim is to act according to the teachings of Islam, no matter what the surrounding environment, and there is nothing is Islam that commands a Muslim to withdraw from society in order to be close to God. It is actually quite the opposite, and, in the Quran, believing is often, and almost essentially, linked with behaving well and doing good. The Prophet, peace be upon him, never stopped drawing attention to this dimension of Muslim identity, and its authentic flowering entails the possibilities one has of acting according to what one is and according to what one believes.
This "acting," in whatever country or environment, is based on four important aspects of human life: developing and protecting spiritual life in society, disseminating religious as well as secular education, acting for justice in every sphere of social, economic, and political life, and finally, promoting solidarity with all groups of needy people who are forgotten or culpably neglected or marginalized. In the North as well as in the South, in the West as well as in the East, a Muslim is a Muslim when he or she understands this fundamental dimension of his or her presence on earth: to be with God is to be with human beings, not only with Muslims but, as the Prophet said, "with people," that is, the whole of humankind: "The best among you is the one who behaves best toward people." [Al-Bayhaqi]
"Western Muslims and The Future of Islam" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 82
Any act by which someone is hurt, or his person, possession or dignity are subjected to any loss is absolutely forbidden; it is forbidden in the same way as is pork, alcohol or usury.
Indeed, while some leniency may be shown when unlawful food is consumed in extreme cases of emergency, no such mitigation on account of extraordinary situations is possible in case of violating such prohibitions as not to usurp others' property, nor backbite nor defame nor slander. The punishment for these is only hellfire. Even worse would be the fact that Allah would not talk to such offenders, nor cleanse them of their sins. (Al-Imran 3: 77)
There is no pardon from Allah in cases where personal rights have been violated: forgiveness may only come from the person aggrieved - either directly or when Allah makes it possible for that person to grant such pardon. Just save yourself from such acts. And if you were to violate others' rights, obtain their forgiveness here in this world or else you'll be left absolutely destitute and bankrupt on the Day of Judgment.
"Dying and Living for Allah" - Khurram Murad, pp. 48,49