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Surah al-Baqarah - Chapter 2: Verse 177

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    Surah al-Baqarah - Chapter 2: Verse 177


    Surah al-Baqarah (The Cow)
    Chapter 2: Verse 177

    "Righteousness is not that you turn your faces towards the east or the west,
    but truly righteous is the one who believes in God,
    the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, and the Prophets..."

    The purpose behind the qiblah (the direction of prayer) and all aspects of worship and ritual has never been the direction people face, or indeed any outward form. These are not what gives worship its value or meaning, nor what makes people good and righteous.

    Righteousness is the result of a total feeling, and attitude, and a mode of behaviour which shape the individual and the collective conscience. It is a discipline whose effects are immediately and constantly apparent in one's life and the life of soceity as a whole.

    Without these aspects, facing East or West, or turning one's Design face to the right or to the left at the end of prayer (Salah) or the performance of various movements of prayer would have no effect or significance.

    What, then, gives these beliefs and actions their value and meaning? What is the value of believing in God, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the Prophets?

    Belief in God marks a definite turning point in one's life, at which one is free from servitude and submission to all manner of powers, forces and desires, and submits to the One Supreme Power that is firmly established above all the rest. It is a transformation from chaos to order, from aimlessness to purpose, and from fragmentation to unity. It is a focal point around which all humanking stands equal in the sight of God and which gives the whole of existence direction, balance, and coherence.

    Belief in the Last Day is a belief in Universal and Divine Justice. It is a testimony to the fact that human life on this earth is not without purpose or value or order, and that good works that seem to go un-rewarded shall certainly be rewarded.

    Belief in the Angels is an essential part of believing in a world that is beyond total human perception. It is what differentiates the way humans perceive the world and understand it from the way animals do. Animals (hayawaan) perceive the world through their senses and instincts, while humans believe in a world that lies beyond the reach of their perception.

    To have belief in the Books and the Prophets means to attest, without reservation, to the truth, honesty, and integrity of all the revealed scriptures and all the prophets and messengers God commissioned to deliver them at various times of human history.

    This leads to a belief in the unity of the human race serving the One God, abiding by one and same religion (deen), and adhering to one universal Divine order. This outlook has a profound effect on the personality of the believer, who is seen as custodian (khalifah) of the heritage of God's Message.

    [compiled from "In the Shade of the Qur'an", Vol 1, by Shaykh Sayyid Qutb
    (The Islamic Foundation, Leicester UK, 1999), pp 171-172]

    "I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature, but He has a grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the straight path. (The truth)"

    "...Indeed my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allaah, the Lord of the worlds" (6:162)

    Jazak'Allahu Khairun