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Thread: "Legal Pluralism" and Islam.

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Surah 98 was mentioned previously so I give a comment------
    Ibn Kathir, Surah 98 Allah informs of what will happen to the wicked disbelievers among the People of the Scripture and the idolators who oppose the Allah's divinely revealed Books and the Prophets whom He sent. He says that they will be in the fire of Hell on the Day of Judgement and they will abide therein forever. This means that they will remain in it and they will have no way out of it and they will not cease being in it. (They are the worst of creatures.) meaning, they are the worst creation that Allah has fashioned and created. Then Allah informs about the situation of the righteous people who believed in their hearts and performed righteous deeds with their bodies. He says that they are the best of creation. Abu Hurayrah and a group of the scholars have used this Ayah as a proof that the believers have a status among the creatures that is better than the angels. This is because Allah says, (They are the best of creatures.)

    Surah 98 Al Bayyinah (clear evidence)
    In the name of God most compassionate, most merciful.

    98:1 Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, were not going to depart (from their ways) until there should come to them Clear Evidence,-

    98:2 An apostle from Allah, rehearsing scriptures kept pure and holy:

    98:3 Wherein are laws (or decrees) right and straight.

    98:4 Nor did the People of the Book make schisms, until after there came to them Clear Evidence.

    98:5 And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah (God), offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to practice regular charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight.

    98:6 Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein (for aye). They are the worst of creatures.

    98:7 Those who have faith and do righteous deeds,- they are the best of creatures.

    98:8 Their reward is with Allah. Gardens of Eternity, beneath which rivers flow; they will dwell therein for ever; Allah well pleased with them, and they with Him: all this for such as fear their Lord and Cherisher.

    This Surah is more complex than some others and has plurality of interpretations because of its grammatical structure. There is also another common Quranic feature involved---that of a chiastic pattern making verse 5 the central message/theme of this Surah. Verse 5 clarifies what is the Truth/"way of life" that God has consistently given humanity since the time of Adam/Abraham (Adamic/Abrahamic "religion"---including Islam)

    Verse 1 has 2 points to consider---the word Kaffir (those who reject Truth) and "among"(from)---A person who does not know the Truth is not a Kaffir---he is ignorant (Jahil)---thus, a Kaffir is one who knows the truth yet rejects it. Therefore this verse can be interpreted to mean that those among the people of the Book and Polytheists who reject the "Truth" (as pointed out in verse 5)...use of "among" implies some people---and not all people of the group.

    Verse 4 mentions "clear evidence"---this may refer to the Quran and messenger (verses 2, 3) or it may refer to Prophet Jesus(pbuh) ---who was sent to the Jews (with "Truth"---the same consistent Adamic/Abrahamic message)---yet instead of unifying, the people made a "schism"/division. The reason for this interpretation is that this particular verse does not include/mention the polytheist---only people of the book.

    Why would the Quran include polytheists into the group of "those who have faith and are righteous"?(verse 1, 6) This is because in the days before Islam, there were people (without a book) who were called Hanifs (right person/one inclined to right belief/way/action).

    In the Quranic world-view "muslim" is not a label but a spiritual quality---it means "one who submits (to God's laws). God's laws are written into the hearts of people (ethical/moral instincts towards good--"Fitra"/human nature) therefore, "Truth" is not an abstract proposition one gives assent to---but a way of life/practice. This Surah isn't about polythesits or people of the book---it is Guidance to Muslims that the way (Sunnah) and the principles (Quran) work together to become "Truth" one without the other creates an imbalance. (verse 2 + verse 3 = verse 5)

    for those who might want to listen to the various tafsir perspectives:---
    Last edited by siam; 11-27-2016 at 10:11 PM.

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