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The Reality of Virtue in the light of Ayah Al-Bir

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1 The Reality of Virtue in the light of Ayah Al-Bir
By Dr. Muhammad Haq

2 بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْم
لَيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَنْ تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آَمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآَخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآَتَى الْمَالَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآَتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ 2:177﴾ )

3 In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate
It is no virtue. That you turn your faces towards the east or the west, but virtue is that one should sincerely believe in Allah and the Last Day and the Angels and the Book and the Prophets and, out of His love, spend of one's choice wealth for relatives and orphans, for the needy and the wayfarer, for beggars and for the ransom of slaves, and establish the Salat and pay the Zakat. And the virtuous are those who keep their pledges when they make them and show fortitude in hardships and adversity and in the struggle between the Truth and falsehood; such are the truthful people and such are the pious. (2:177)

4 Points to be noted, regarding the division of The Holy Quran
This is one of the longest verse (Ayah) in The Holy Quran . There are short as well as long Surah (chapters) in the Holy Quran. There are short as well as long Ayat (verses) in the Holy Quran. There are verses that consist of only one word. e.g.

5 For example: ﴿103:1﴾ وَالْعَصْرِ By the time! (103:1) Vocables of The Holy Quran ( Huruf Muqatta'at) The longest Surah (chapter) is Al-Baqarah(The Cow) and it consists of 286 verses . All the above division of the Glorious Quran is termed as Tauqeefi.

6 What Tauqeefi means ? No grammar rule or logic is involved while classifying the Quran. It does not depend upon human thinking. All this came into our knowledge as the Holy Prophet told us. So it is called Tauqeefi

7 The relationship and resemblance between Surah Al-Asr and Ayah Al-Bir.
Four requirements for human salvation Faith Good deeds Exhortation to truth Exhortation to patience

8 Elaboration of Faith in Ayah Al-Bir
Al-Asr Ayah Al-Bir Faith Allah The Last Day The Angels The Book The Prophets

9 The Faith is like a bud (an unblown flower) in Surah Al-Asr whereas in Ayah Al-Bir it has already blown and have five petals.

10 Elaboration of Good Deeds in Ayah Al-Bir
Al-Asr Ayah Al-Bir Good Deeds Spending of one's choice wealth for relatives and orphans, for the needy and the wayfarer, for beggars and for the ransom of slaves Establishing the Salat and pay the Zakat Keeping their pledges when they make them

11 Elaboration of Good Deeds in Ayah Al-Bir
Al-Asr Ayah Al-Bir Good Deeds Service to humanity , human sympathy, charity- spend of one's choice wealth to the needy Worship of God or Religious rituals-Salat and Zakat Our Dealings with others- keep one’s pledge

12 The Good deeds is like a stem of a tree in Surah Al-Asr whereas in Ayah Al-Bir it has three branches .

13 Elaboration of Exhortation to patience in Ayah Al-Bir
Al-Asr Ayah Al-Bir Exhortation to Patience Showing fortitude in Hardships Adversity The struggle between the Truth and falsehood;

14 Elaboration of Exhortation to patience in Ayah Al-Bir
Al-Asr Ayah Al-Bir Exhortation to Patience Showing fortitude in Hardships-poverty, live hand to mouth, make both ends meet Adversity-physical or mental torture, illness, perilless The struggle between the Truth and falsehood- battlefield, war

15 The so-called concept of virtue, piety or righteousness in the society
Business People: Perform religious rituals, give charity to the Islamic centres and respect the Islamic Scholars(Imams). But at the same time are involved in smuggling, black- marketing, tax evasion, hoarding goods, lack of softness in their hearts, inconsiderate, cruel and miser person

16 The so-called concept of virtue, piety or righteousness in the society
Modern qualified people: Performing assigned duties duty properly, honestly and professionally. But On the other hand they consider religious duties as a private matter

17 The so-called concept of virtue, piety or righteousness in the society
So-called Religious People: They normally focus on the appearance of the mode of Worships But neglect the spirit and inner of these religious duties. They just pay attention on performing prayers but are unaware of its spirit and reality.

18 Outward Appearance of Moral and Religious Observances
In the first part of this verse a particular view of moral rectitude and righteousness has been negated, that of pure formalism and ritualism. Some devoutly religious persons exhibit this attitude when they assign utmost importance to outward appearance of moral and religious observances to the total neglect of their inner spirit and meaning. Quite understandably many people, as a reaction to the ritualistic soulless moralism of religious people, turn to secular ethics. Islam, on the other hand, always warns against superficial concepts and rituals, against lifeless formalities and non-effective beliefs.

19 Concept of Morality in Islam
It centres around certain basic metaphysical beliefs and principles. Among these are the following : God is the creator and Source of all goodness, truth and beauty. Man is a responsible, dignified, and honorable agent of his Creator. By His Mercy and Wisdom, God does not expect the impossible from man or hold him accountable for anything beyond his power. Nor does God forbid man to enjoy the good things of life. Moderation, practicality, and balance are the guarantees of high integrity and sound morality. Man´s ultimate responsibility is to God and his highest goal is the pleasure of his Creator.

20 The Dimensions of Moral Righteousness
The dimensions of moral righteousness in Islam are numerous, far reaching and comprehensive. The Islamic morals deal with the relationship between man and God, man and his fellow-men, man and other elements and creatures of the universe, man and his innermost self. A Muslim has to guard his external behaviour and his manifest deeds, his words and his thoughts, his feelings and intentions.

21 The Dimensions of Moral Righteousness
In a general sense, his role is to champion what is right and fight what is wrong, seek what is true and abandon what is false, cherish what is beautiful and wholesome and avoid what is indecent. Truth and moral virtue are his goal. Humility and simplicity, courtesy and compassion, are his second nature. To him, arrogance and vanity, harshness and indifference, are distasteful, offensive, and displeasing to God.

22 Verses About the Change of Qiblah
The Holy Quran Says: “Of course, the foolish people will say, "What has turned them abruptly away from the Qiblah towards which they formerly used to turn their faces in prayer? Tell them, O Messenger, `'East and West all belong to Allah; He shows the Right Way to anyone He wills. Thus have We made you a Community of the "Golden Mean" so that you may be witnesses in regard to mankind and the Messenger may be a witness in regard to you. (2-142)

23 The Holy Quran Says: We have seen you (O Muhammad), turning your face over and over again towards Heaven. Now, therefore, We turn you towards the Qiblah that you like best: so turn your face towards the Masjid Haram. Henceforth, where so ever you may be, turn your face at prayer towards it. The people who were given the Book know it well that the commandment (about the change of Qiblah) is in fact from their Lord, and is based on the Truth, but Allah is not unaware of what they are doing (in spite of this) [2-144]

24 Everyone has a direction towards which he turns in
The Holy Quran Says: Everyone has a direction towards which he turns in Prayer: so try to excel one another in good works. Allah will find you where so ever you be, for nothing is out of Allah's reach. [2-148]

25 At whatever place you may be, turn your face towards Masjid
The Holy Quran Says: At whatever place you may be, turn your face towards Masjid Haram (at Prayer time) for this is, in fact, a Commandment of your Lord, and Allah is not unaware of what you do. At whatever place you may be, you must turn your face towards the Masjid Haram, and wherever you may be, you must turn your face towards the same at prayer so that people might not find an argument against you. As for the unjust people, they will never stop talking; so do not fear them but fear Me -- (Do this) so that I may complete My favour upon you and you may find the way to real success. [2-150]

26 Story regarding the Change of Qiblah
After the Hijrah the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) continued to turn his face in the Prayer towards the Temple (at Jerusalem) for about 16 or 17 months; then he was commanded to turn his face towards the Ka'bah (at Makkah). This change of the Qiblah (direction of Prayer) with its implications has been described in detail in the succeeding verses. Contd…

27 Story regarding the Change of Qiblah
This is the commandment for the change of the Qiblah, which was enjoined in Rajab or Sha'ban, A.H. 2. When this was revealed, according to Ibn Sa'd, the Holy Prophet was leading the Zuhr (early afternoon) prayer in the house of Bishr bin Bara' bin Ma'rur where he had gone in response to an invitation. This verse was revealed when he had gone through half of the prayer. lie at once turned his face towards the Ka'bah during the prayer and those who were saying their Prayer following his lead did the same.

28 Objections Raised by Foolish People & its Refutation
Those foolish people who did not have the sense to appreciate the true significance of this change began to raise different kinds of objections in order to create doubts in the minds of the Believers. Being narrow- minded, they thought that Allah was confined to a particular point or direction and the change of Qiblah meant turning away from Him. This absurd objection has been removed by the declaration that east, west and all other directions belong to Allah. The fact that the Qiblah lies in a certain direction does not mean that Allah is confined to that direction only. Those people who are blessed with guidance cannot entertain such narrow ideas.

29 The Declaration of the Leadership of the Muslim Community
"Thus" refers both to the Guidance of Allah which was sent through Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him) and to the change of the Qiblah. It was by following the Guidance that the Muslims achieved those excellences which led to their appointment as the "Community of the Golden Mean," and it was the change of the Qiblah from the Temple to the Ka`bah that was an indication that the Israelites had been deposed from the leadership and the Muslims had been appointed to it.

30 Change of Qiblah - Change of Leadership
Therefore the change of the Qiblah from the Temple to the Ka`bah was not merely a change of direction as the foolish people took it to be, but it was really the formal declaration of the change of leadership from the Israelites to the followers of Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him).

31 Separating the Believers from the Slaves of Prejudice and Racialism
The change of the Qiblah also served to separate the Believers from the slaves of prejudice and racialism. On the one side, there were the Arabs who were not ready to give up their own Ka'bah and to adopt the Temple at Jerusalem as the Qiblah. They were tried first. It was a hard test but the sincere believers passed successfully through this and the worshippers of the idol of nationalism failed. Contd…

32 Test of Their Belief Now when the Qiblah was changed from Jerusalem to the Ka'bah, those Jews and Christians who had embraced Islam were put to the test. It was very difficult for them to accept any other Qiblah than the one of their forefathers. Thus the worshippers of race, who turned back from Islam were separated from the worshippers of Allah and fatally the worshippers of Allah only remained with the Holy Prophet.

33 Importance of the Topic
In Islam, the first and foremost goal is the inner, moral progress of man, and therefore the ethical considerations overrule the purely utilitarian. In the contemporary world the situation is unfortunately just the opposite. The consideration of material utility and physical comfort dominates all manifestations of human activity, and ethics are being relegated to an obscure background of life and condemned to merely a theoretical position without the slightest power of influencing the human community.

34 Ethics constitutes an essential aspect of man´s intrinsic nature : it is part of his ontological substance. The sense of right and wrong fulfils a psychical demand emanating from a man´s inner being, just as water and air fulfill our basic needs for physical existence. The inner non-corporeal component of man the spiritual core or soul requires nourishment through gratification of its moral demands. In this sense, some conception of moral righteousness or piety is inalienable from human life. On deeper analysis it would become clear that even socially undesirable elements have a sense of righteousness and observe a code of ethics to gratify it. Pace Durkheim, a minimal sense of ethics (good, virtue) is unavoidable, and hence his notion of ‘anomie´ or a state of normlessness is a pure fiction.

35 The literal meaning of Bir(virtue)
The Term ‘Birr´ ( بر) is derived from the root (ب ر ر ) which means Godliness, righteousness, probity, kindness, charitable gift. It is common knowledge that when a person sets his feet on shore after a long sailing in rough seas he feels a great relief. He is never sure of his safety in the ocean, but he feels sure-footed and comfortable when he has landed on the ground. This comfort and peace of mind is the reality of this word .

36 Saying of The Holy Prophet (PBUH)
This very sense of righteousness (virtue or charity) has been beautifully conveyed thus by the Prophet´s saying: "Give up whatever pricks your heart". (al-Bukhari)

37 Charities that soothe and heal and bless, Are scattered over the feet of men like flowers, No mystery is here no special boon, For the high and nor for the low, The smoke ascends as high from the hearth of a humble cottage, As from that of a haughty palace. Poem-Charity

38 The Mutual Relationship between Faith and Virtue
Why Faith comes first in the discussion of virtue? What are the moral values? Are these values permanent or subject to change with the passage of time? What is the motive behind virtue despite facing hardships and difficulties?

39 The Holy Quran Says: وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا ﴿91:7﴾ (91:7)
وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا ﴿91:7﴾  And by the soul and by Him Who perfectly proportioned it. (91:7) فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا ﴿91:8﴾  And imbued it with (the consciousness of) its evil and its piety:   (91:8)

40 Awareness of Universally valid Norms
In Islam, man by nature (i.e., fitrah) has an awareness of the universally valid moral norms. To every man this awareness is potentially given, even though actually distorted by culture, education, and his existential estrangement from his true being. The Divine law is creatively present both in the laws of nature and in the natural moral laws of the human mind. A man who performs morally vicious actions, feels a consciousness of estrangement from, and contradiction of, his essential being. According to the Quran, the original nature of man is essentially good.

41 According to a western philosopher Kant :
First Book - Critique of pure reason no need of any belief for morality Second Book - Critique of practical reason must have faith in God as base of moral values

42 Two Motives for Morality
Faith in God is a positive motive to please Allah. Believe in the Last day is a sense of accountability.

43 The Base of our Deeds The Holy Quran Says: It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches Allah. it is your piety that reaches Him: He has thus made them subject to you, that ye may glorify Allah for His Guidance to you and proclaim the good news to all who do right. (33-37)

44 The Holy Quran Says: You can never attain piety unless you spend (in the way of Allah) of what you love; surely Allah will have full knowledge of what you spend. [3-92]

45 Saying of The Holy Prophet
Narrated 'Umar bin Al-Khattab: I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for."

46 Saying of The Holy Prophet

47 Virtue and Prophethood
The Holy Quran Says: Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah. (33-21)

48 Believe in angels ,books and prophets is actually
Prophethood Virtue should remain within the limits and must not cross the boundary line

49 Doctrine of Pessimism Disgusted with the Buddhist or ‘Tayag´ doctrine of pessimism that this world is full of evil and consequently no good can come out of it, some thinkers have taken refuge in the opposite extreme of optimism. The Quran, on the other hand, advocates neither the one nor the other.

50 Quranic Approach The teaching of the Quran, which stands for the possibility of improvement in the behavior of man and his control over natural forces, is neither pessimism nor optimism and is animated by the hope of man´s eventual victory over evil.

51 Earthly Life Earthly life is of tremendous value; but it is of a purely instrumental value. In Islam there is no room for the materialistic optimism of the modern West which says : ‘My kingdom is of this world alone

52 A Quranic Prayer for The believers
"Our Lord! give us the good in this world and the good in the Hereafter". (2 : 201)

53 "Let the virtues of God by your virtues".

54 Good Morals in Islam Good morals in Islam are divine attributes and it is demanded of us to recreate them in ourselves as far as our humanity allows.

55 Human Sympathy comes first in the discussion of virtue

56 The Recipients of Human Sympathy
Donors Recipients Spending of one's choice wealth Relatives Orphans The Needy the wayfarer, beggars the ransom of slaves

57 Modes of Worship Establishing Prayers Paying Zakat Keeping one’s pledge is the key for the reformation of Human behavior The struggle between the Truth and falsehood- battlefield, war

58 Summum Bonum or Highest Good
To sacrifice one’s life in the way of Allah in the battlefield or war.

59 The standard of truthfulness or piety
Those people whose life is the embodiment of those characteristics that has been explained in Ayah-e-Bir are the truthful and pious people according to the Quranic concept of Virtue.

60 Thanks for your Empathetic listening.

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