The Responsibility of Believers
Those who have no concern for events unless they directly affect them are bereft of the insight that espouses unselfishness, brotherhood, friendship, honesty and the service that religion bestows upon people. Throughout their lives, such people try to satisfy their own egos by merely wasting their means, totally unaware of the threats humanity faces. In the Qur'an however, God praises the morals of those who strive to bring good to their surroundings; those who are concerned about the events that take place around them and who call people to the right way. In a verse from the Qur'an, a metaphor is given for those who offer no good to others and those who always act on the path of goodness:
God makes another metaphor: two men, one of them deaf and dumb, unable to do anything, a burden on his master, no matter where he directs him he brings no good, is he the same as someone who commands justice and is on a straight path? (Qur'an, 16:76)
As the verse points out, it is obvious that those who are "on a straight path", are those who are devoted to their religion; fear and heed God, hold spiritual values in high regard, and are filled with eagerness to serve people. In general, such people are there to serve humanity and bring with them great benefits to mankind. For this reason, it is very important for people to learn about the true religion and live by the morals explained by the Qur'an - the final Revelation from God. In the Qur'an, God defines those people who live by such high morals:
God Commands Us to Do Good Deeds
A Muslim is someone who abides by the commands of God, tries scrupulously to live by Qur'anic morality, peace and harmony, which make the world a more beautiful place and lead it to progress. His aim is to lead people to beauty, goodness and well-being. The Qur'an says:
... And do good as God has been good to you. And do not seek to cause corruption in the earth. God does not love corrupters. (Qur'an, 28:77)
Someone who adopts the Islamic faith wishes to earn God's pleasure and compassion and to enter heaven. He has to make strenuous efforts to do this, and to adopt a morality acceptable to God while he is in this world. The clearest manifestations of this morality are compassion, pity, justice, honesty, forgiveness, humility, sacrifice and patience. The believer will behave well towards people, try to perform good deeds and spread goodness. In His verses, God commands:
We did not create the heavens and earth and everything between them, except with truth. The Hour is certainly coming, so forgive [men's failings] with fair forbearance. (Qur'an, 15:85)
... Be good to your parents and relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and to neighbours who are related to you and neighbours who are not related to you, and to companions and travellers and your slaves. God does not love anyone vain or boastful. (Qur'an, 4:36)
... Help one another in benevolence and piety. Do not help each other to wrongdoing and enmity. And fear God. God is severe in retribution. (Qur'an, 5:2)
As the verses have made clear, God wishes those who believe in Him to behave well towards people, to cooperate with each other when it comes to goodness, and to avoid wickedness.
In Sura Anam,verse 160, God promises that "anyone who comes with a fine deed will have ten more like it. But those who produce a bad action will only be repaid with its equivalent and they will not be wronged."
In His book, God describes Himself as He who knows "the secrets of men's hearts", and warns people to "avoid all kinds of evil." A Muslim therefore, which means "one who surrenders himself to God" must evidently be someone who does his best to fight terrorism.
A Muslim does not remain indifferent to what goes on around him, and never adopts the mentality that nothing matters as long as it does not harm him. That is because he has surrendered himself to God. He is His representative, and an ambassador of good. He cannot, therefore, remain indifferent in the face of cruelty and terrorism. In fact, the Muslim is the greatest enemy of terrorism, which kills people who have done no wrong. Islam is against all forms of terrorism, and tries to prevent it right from the beginning, in other words
on the level of ideas. It demands peace between people and for justice to prevail, and commands people to avoid discord, conflict and wickedness.
God Commands Us to Be Just
The true justice described in the Qur'an commands man to behave justly, making no discrimination between people, to protect peoples' rights, not to permit violence no matter what the circumstances, to side with the oppressed against the oppressor and to help the needy. This justice calls for the rights of both parties to be protected when reaching a decision in a dispute, assessing all aspects of an incident, setting aside all prejudices, being objective, honest, tolerant, merciful and compassionate. For instance, someone who cannot assess events in a moderate way, and who is swayed by his emotions and feelings, will fail to arrive at sound decisions and will remain under the influence of those feelings. However, someone who rules with justice needs to set all his personal feelings and views aside. He needs to treat all parties with justice when they ask for help, to side with what is right under all circumstances, and not to diverge from the path of honesty and truthfulness. A person should incorporate the values of the Qur'an into his soul in such a way that he may be able to consider other parties' interests before his own and maintain justice, even if this harms his own interests.
God commands the following in Sura Ma'ida, verse 42: "... if you do judge, judge between them justly." In Sura Nisa, God commands believers to act justly even it is against themselves:
O You who believe! Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for God alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives. Whether they are rich or poor, God is well able to look after them. Do not follow your own desires and deviate from the truth. If you twist or turn away, God is aware of what you do. (Qur'an, 4:135)
In the Qur'an, God gives a detailed description of justice and informs believers of the attitude they have to adopt in the face of incidents they encounter and of the ways to exercise justice. Such guidance is a great comfort to believers and a mercy from God. For this reason, those who believe are responsible for exercising justice in an undivided manner both to earn God's approval and to lead their lives in peace and security.
The justice God commands in the Qur'an is the justice that is exercised equally among all people, with no consideration of language, race, or ethnicity. The justice in the Qur'anic sense does not vary according to place, time and people. In our day, too, there are people being subjected to cruel and unjust treatment because of the colour of their skin or their race in all corners of the world.
However, God informs us in the Qur'an that the purpose in the creation of different tribes and peoples is "that they should come to know each other". Different nations or peoples, all of whom are the servants of God, should get to know one another, that is, learn about their different cultures, languages, traditions and abilities. In brief, the purpose of the creation of different races and nations is not conflict and war but cultural richness. Such variation is a bounty of God's creation. The fact that someone is taller than someone else or that his skin is yellow or white neither makes him superior to others nor is it something to feel ashamed of. Every trait a person has is a result of God's purposeful creation, but in the sight of God, these variations have no ultimate importance. A believer knows that someone attains superiority only by having fear of God and in the strength of his faith in God. This fact is related in the following verse:
O Mankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in God's sight is that one of you who best performs his duty. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Qur'an, 49:13)
As God informs us in the verse, the understanding of justice recommended by Him calls for equal, tolerant and peaceable treatment of everyone, with no discrimination between them.
Hatred Felt Towards a Community Does Not Prevent Believers From Exercising Justice
Hatred and anger are the major sources of evil, and are likely to prevent people from making just decisions, thinking soundly and conducting themselves rationally. People can readily inflict all kinds of injustice on people for whom they feel enmity. They may accuse these people of acts they have never committed, or bear false witness against them although their innocence is known to them. On account of such enmity, people may be subjected to unbearable oppression. Some people avoid bearing witness in favour of people they disagree with, although they know they are innocent, and they keep evidence which would reveal their innocence hidden. Furthermore, they take pleasure in the misery these people face, their encounters with injustice or great suffering. Their greatest worry, on the other hand, is that justice should be done and these peoples' innocence proved.
For these reasons, it is very hard for people in corrupt societies to trust one another. People worry that they can fall victim to someone else at any time. Having lost mutual trust, they also lose their human feelings such as tolerance, compassion, brotherhood and co-operation, and start hating one another.
However, the feelings someone holds in his heart towards a person or community should never influence a believer's decisions. No matter how immoral or hostile the person he is considering may be, the believer sets all these feelings aside and acts and makes his decisions justly and recommends that which is just. His feelings towards that person cast no shadow over his wisdom and conscience. His conscience always inspires him to comply with God's commands and advice, and never to abandon good manners, because this is a command God gives in the Qur'an. In Sura Ma'ida, it is related as follows:
O You who believe! Show integrity for the sake of God, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer to faith. Heed God (alone). God is aware of what you do. (Qur'an, 5:8)
If your Lord had willed, all the people on the earth would have believed. Do you think you can
force people to be believers?
As is related in the verse, displaying a just attitude is what most complies with having fear of God. A person of faith knows that he will attain the pleasure of God only when he acts justly. Every person who witnesses his or her good manners will trust this person, feel comfortable in their presence and trust them with any responsibility or task. Such people are treated with respect even by their enemies. Their attitude may even lead some people to have faith in God.