[Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint and was published online on Aug. 16, 2005.]
How much time do we have to waste? How much time do we have to procrastinate?
Consider this from the Muhammad Ali translation of the Holy Qur’an, footnote #2793 to verse 3 of Surah 103 titled “The Time.”
“The testimony of time is threefold; the flight of time affords the testimony that it is only those who do not waste the opportunity of doing good that reap the benefit; the light which shines along the path of bygone ages shows us that those who did good and enjoined good on others prospered, while the evildoers were brought to naught; lastly, the time of the Holy Prophet afforded the clearest and most conclusive evidence that the believers and doers of good were successful, while their opponents sustained evident loss. ‘Asr signifies time or succession of ages (LL). Some, however, understand by as-‘asr the time of the Holy Prophet, and an authentic saying of his, in which he compares his own time to ‘asr, or the afternoon (B), supports this interpretation. In fact, both significances hold good. While taking time in a general sense, it is true that every man who is not engaged in doing some permanent and lasting good is really losing every minute that passes away; the time of the Holy Prophet in which a great spiritual resurrection was brought about affords the clearest evidence that those who did not respond to the Prophet’s call were the loser, while the faithful brought about a revolution in the whole world by exhorting goodness and patience on others. The enjoining of patience on each other follows the direction to enjoin Truth because the preaching of Truth brings man face to face with difficulties, and unless he is patient and forbearing under hardships, he cannot adhere to the Truth.”
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that these words are very near to what Master Fard Muhammad told him one day. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has delivered his teacher’s teachings, including the truth of these times.
“Then We have given the Book as inheritance to those whom We have chosen from among Our servants: so of them is he who wrongs himself, and of them is he who takes a middle course, and of them is he who is foremost in deeds of goodness by Allah’s permission. That is the great grace.” (Holy Qur’an 35:32)
To this verse Muhammad Ali’s footnote #2058 reads:“After speaking of the revelation of the Qur’an to the Prophet, we are told that the Holy Book was now being given as an inheritance to a chosen people, i.e., the Muslim community, who are chosen to carry this great message to the whole world. But the chosen people are not all alike. Among the elect are some people who wrong themselves—they do not fulfill Divine commandments. There are others among them who follow a middle course; they are not wrongdoers but they are not very active in the doing of good. There are others still, who are foremost in the doing of good, who are elsewhere called muqarrabun (56:11), those who have attained to nearness to God. It is thus made clear that when a community is spoken of as being a chosen community, all members of it are not alike. It is chosen because of those who are foremost in the doing of good, whose example the others should try to follow.”
This is but one of the places in this wonderful Holy Book which teach that, basically, there are three kinds or types of people that make up the chosen people.
But we must remember, there is a solid basis for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s strong statement to Minister Farrakhan that through him he would get all of his people—the chosen people. All of the dead will rise. We cannot make Him a liar!
Allah has written down: I shall certainly prevail, I and My messengers. (Holy Qur’an 58:21)
“And follow not that of which thou has no knowledge.” (Holy Qur’an 17:36)
To this verse Muhammad Ali states in his footnote #1428:
“If this injunction were followed, all society gossip would immediately cease, thereby relieving many an innocent man and woman of the heart-burning which he or she suffers on account of evil and unfounded reports. The verse also forbids entering into discussions without accurate knowledge or proffering uncertain opinion. In fact, peace and contentment would reign in society, instead of mutual strife and hatred, if the injunction were observed.”
In Yusuf Ali’s translation of the Holy Qur’an, Surah 104, verses 1, 4 and 7 are the following footnotes:
#6266 Three vices are condemned in the strongest terms: 1. scandal-mongering, talking or suggesting evil of men or women by women by word or innuendo, or behavior, or mimicry, or sarcasm, or insult: 2. detracting from their character behind their backs, even if the things suggested are true, where the motive is evil, 3. piling up wealth, not for use and service to those who need it, but in miserly hoards, as if such hoards can prolong the miser’s life or give him immortality: miserliness is itself a kind of scandal.
#6267: That which smashes or breaks to pieces: an apt description of the three anti-social vices condemned. For scandal-mongering and backbiting make any sort of cohesion or mutual confidence impossible; and the miser’s hoard’s block up the channels of economic service and charity, and the circulation of good will among men.
#6268: This Fire of Punishment mounts right up to the hearts and minds of such men, and shuts them out of the love of their fellows. “Heart” in Arabic means not only the seat of affection, pity, charity, etc. but also of understanding and intelligent appreciation of things.
How much time do we have left to slander or to misrepresent others?
We can help Minister Farrakhan by following his way. He exemplifies Allah’s way in such as:
“Call to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the best manner. Surely thy Lord knows best him who strays from His path, and He knows best those who go aright.
“And if you take your turn, then punish with the like of that with which you were afflicted. But if you show patience, it is certainly best for the patient.
“And be patient and thy patience is not but by (the help of) Allah, and grieve not for them, nor be in distress for what they plan.
“Surely Allah is with those who keep their duty and those who do good (to others).” (Holy Qur’an 16:125-8)
How much time do we have left to study and to work for the good of self and others before the light goes out?
“And those who disbelieve will not cease to be in doubt concerning it, until the Hour overtakes them suddenly, or there comes to them the chastisement of a destructive day. (Holy Qur’an 22:54, 55)
To accept God’s words, which are always true, is to accept God’s mind, which then enables us to rise up and into God’s ways, as Minister Farrakhan has.
More next issue, Allah willing.