A Cure for What is in People’s Hearts

To emphasize the concept of resurrection and reckoning the sūrah gives us yet another image of God’s power as it appears in the heavens and the earth, life and death. It is a quick scene serving to reassert that what God promises will come to pass. This is followed by an appeal to all mankind to make the best use of, and receive the maximum benefit from the Qur’ān, which brings them an admonition, guidance and a cure for all that their hearts may harbour. “Indeed, to God belongs all that is in the heavens and earth. God’s promise always comes true, but most of them do not know it. He alone gives life and causes death, and to Him you shall all return. Mankind, there has come to you an admonition from your Lord, a cure for all that may be in your hearts, and guidance and grace for all believers. Say: ‘In God’s bounty and grace, in this let them rejoice; for this is better than all that they may amass.’” (Al-Qur’an, Surah Yunus,Ch.10: Verses 55-58)

We have first a clear and loud proclamation: “Indeed, to God belongs all that is in the heavens and earth.” (Verse 55) The One to whom everything in heaven and on earth belongs is certainly able to make His promise come true. No barrier or impediment can prevent Him from fulfilling it: “God’s promise always comes true, but most of them do not know it.” (Verse 55) In their ignorance, they doubt this or deny it altogether. Then another of His great attributes is mentioned: “He alone gives life and causes death.” (Verse 56) The One who controls life and death is able to bring His creation back to life and hold them to account: “To Him you shall all return.” (Verse 56) This is a passing comment added to a scene of resurrection, reckoning, reward and punishment.

Then follows a comprehensive address to all people: “Mankind, there has come to you an admonition from your Lord, a cure for all that may be in your hearts, and guidance and grace for all believers.” (Verse 57) It is in this very book (Qur’an), about the origin of which you entertain doubts, that you have an admonition from your Lord. It is neither a fabricated book nor are its contents written by a human being. This admonition is meant to revive your hearts and cure you of all superstition, doubt and worry. It is given by way of reassurance, security and peace. Whoever has faith will find in it guidance along the road that leads to success, and a mercy from all error and punishment: “Say: ‘In God’s bounty and grace, in this let them rejoice; for this is better than all that they may amass.’” (Verse 58)

They should rejoice at the favours and grace which God has given them in abundance. Wealth and other worldly riches deserve no rejoicing because they all come to an end. Rejoicing should be subliminal, releasing people from the lure of worldly comforts and riches. Such items are here to serve people in life, not be served, to be controlled and not in control. Islam does not despise worldly comforts, nor does it encourage people to turn away from them. It only gives them their proper position, so that people enjoy them whilst retaining their free will, setting for themselves higher goals. For such people, having faith is God’s grace, and the fulfilment of what faith prescribes is their goal. Beyond this, believers feel that they own the world, while it has no control over them.

An authentic report mentions that when the tax levied on the land and farms of Iraq arrived at the outskirts of Madinah, `Umar went out to have a look at it, accompanied by a servant. `Umar started counting the camels that the tax included, but they were too numerous. `Umar repeated the words: ‘Praise be to God; Thanks to God.’ His servant said: ‘This is indeed part of God’s bounty and grace.’ `Umar said: ‘You are wrong. It is not to such matters that the Qur’ānic verse refers when it commands: “Say: ‘In God’s bounty and grace, in this let them rejoice; for this is better than all that they may amass.’” (Verse 58)

Those early Muslims had a different sense of values. They realized that the greatest aspects of God’s grace were admonition and guidance. Money, wealth and even victory over their enemies were all matters that came as a result. Hence, victory was assured to them, and wealth came to them with no effort on their part. The way the community of believers must follow is very clear. It is the one clearly marked out by the Qur’ān, and easily followed by the early Muslims who developed a thorough understanding of Islam. It is the only way to follow.

Neither wealth and property, nor material values determine people’s status and position in this present life, let alone the life to come. Material provisions, facilities and values may be the cause of human misery, not only in the next world, but also in our present life. Hence, it is necessary to have different values to guide human life. These values assign to material provisions and facilities their proper position in people’s lives. It is values that can make such material comforts the source of real happiness. Moreover, it is the system that regulates the life of a certain community that determines the value of material provisions in the life of that community, making them either a source of happiness or a cause of misery; a means of elevation or a cause of downfall. Hence the emphasis on the value of their faith to the believers: “Mankind, there has come to you an admonition from your Lord, a cure for all that may be in your hearts, and guidance and grace for all believers. Say: ‘In God’s bounty and grace, in this let them rejoice; for this is better than all that they may amass.’” (Verses 57-58)

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