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Characteristics of the Desired Muslim Generation in the Qur'an and Sunnah

Characteristics of the Desired Muslim Generation in the Qur’an and Sunnah

(An excerpt from the  book “The Desired Muslim Generation”)

By  Dr. Yusuf Al Qaradawi

Translated by Amin E. Shehata Revised by Ibrahim M Kunna and Abu Aya Sulaiman ‘Abdus-Sabur

Copyright and published by the International Islāmic Publishing House (IIPH), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1999.

The characteristics  the desired generation are obvious to those who peruse the Holy Qur’ān  and Sunnah.  One can find these people in so many verses of the Holy Qur’ān :

(And of those whom We created a nation who guide with the Truth and establish Justice therewith.) (Qur’ān  7: 181)

The Truth (Shari‘ah) is their aim, clear way, and source. To it they invite, with its light they lead, and with its judgment they do justice.  In Surat Al-Maidah, Allāh  (I) gave good news to the believers about this generation, warned therewith the apostates and saved them to fight apostasy and brace faith at the end of this life:

(O you who believe! whoever from among you turns back from  his religion [Islām], Allāh  will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him, humble towards believers, stern towards the disbelievers; fighting in the way of Allāh , and never fear of the blame of the blamers. That is Grace of Allāh  which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allāh  is All-Sufficient, All–Knower.) (Qur’ān 5: 54)

These are the characteristics of this generation. They are with Allāh  (I) through love, with believers through mercy, i.e. humbleness; with disbelievers through sternness, namely, superiority, with truth through sincere Jihād for Allāh ’s  Cause, with all people through advice, that fears no critic whatsoever, for Allāh ’s Sake.  In Surat At-Taubah, we also find some distinct features of their personality, way of acting and morals-compared to those of the hypocrites. Hypocrites are all alike in their devotion to falsehood:

   (They resemble one another, they command wickedness, forbid decency, and clench their fists [from giving alms, etc. for Allāh ’s Cause].) (Qur’ān  9: 67)

Then the Aspired Generation is, as described in the Holy Qur’ān:

(The believers, men and women, are Awliya [helpers, supporters, friends, protectors] of one another; they enjoin [on the people] Al-Ma‘ruf [i.e all that Islām orders one to do], and forbid [people] from Al-Munkar [i.e. All that Islām has forbidden]; they perform As-salah [Iqamat-as-salah], and give the Zakah, and obey Allāh  and His Messenger. Allāh  will have His Mercy on them. Surely Allāh  is All-Mighty, All-Wise.) (Qur’ān  9: 71)

We find them in the opening verses of Surat Al-Baqarah, where Allāh  (I) mentioned the characteristics of the guided pious and righteous persons in His Book and in the middle verses where He (I) described the real, virtuous persons:

[Those are the people of the truth and they are the pious.) (Qur’ān  2: 177)

Allāh  (I) has described the heirs of Paradise in the opening Ayāt of Surat Al-Muminin. The last verses of Surat Al-Furqan describe the slaves of the Most Beneficent. The middle verses of Surat Ar-Ra’d describe the prudent people:

(Those who fulfill Allāh ’s Agreement and do not break the Covenant.) (Qur’ān 13: 20)

The last verses of Surat Al-Zujurat, answer Bedouins who fancied faith merely as a sheer verbal claim:

(Only those are believers who have believed in Allāh  and His Messenger, and have never since doubted, but have striven with their belongings and their persons in the cause of Allāh : Such are the sincere ones.) (Qur’ān   49: 15)

Not just that, when one opens the Holy Qur’ān  and reads Surat Al-Fatiha, one can see, at first glance, the characters of such people, ascending the spiritual paths and mansions of the riders of ranks:

(You [Alone] do we worship, and You [Alone] do we ask for help.) (Qur’ān  1: 5)

They are the real monotheists, worshippers of Allāh  (I) alone and seekers of His help. On Him (I) they depend and to Him (I) they repent.  What they aspire most and ask Allāh  (I) for, is to guide them to “His straight way”, the way of those on whom He (I) has bestowed His Grace; of the path of the prophets, loyal persons, martyrs and the righteous; away from those who earned His Anger (the Jews) nor of those who went astray (the Christians). As mentioned in the Prophet’s (r) saying (Hādīth):

“The Jews are angered with and the Christians are astray.”

Whoever peruses the purified Sunnah and the honoured Hādīth will clearly see this generation with his mind and elaborately identify them, as the Messenger (r) described them and talked of their appearance in the future. The Prophet (r) saw in them “the safe party” amongst the seventy three doomed parties according to a Hādīth in this context. They do not follow their desires, nor deviate from religion, as the arrow passes through the target. But they follow the way of the Prophet (r) and his Companions. He saw in them “the honourable descendants” who bear the onus of the prophethood’s legacy and cherish it dearly:

(Indeed, they rejected the truth [the Qur’ān and Muhammad] when it came to them, but there will come to them the news of that [the torment] which they used to mock at.) (Qur’ān 6: 5)

Nor are they like someone to whom Allāh  (I) gave His  signs, but he slipped away from them. On the contrary they preserve this legacy intact. The Prophet (r) identified them as “his brothers” from the later times, as his companions were the men of old. He longed for them before they even existed and wished to see them before they were born. He said in a relative Hādīth:

“I wish I had seen my brothers.” They (the Companions) said: ‘O Messenger of Allāh  (r), are we not your brothers.’ He said: “You are my companions, yet my brothers are generations of later times.”

He (r) described them as “ the strangers” who hold on to the forgotten Sunnah and improve what others depraved. (Blessed they are!) He distinguished them as “the most remarkable believers.” They believe in the Messenger of Allāh  (r); though they never saw him, and believe in His book (the Qur’ān ) and act accordingly.  He identified them as “the holders to their religion” at times of sedition - among squanderers and losers - though it is as if holding on to embers of cool in times of hardship. No wonder the reward will be fifty fold each companion.  He foresaw them as “the party who strive to preserve the Truth.” They are the moderates among the exaggerators and slackers. He foresaw them as “the triumphant party” by which Palestine will ultimately be freed and the Jews conquered. The whole universe will be on their side; even trees and rocks will somehow support them by saying:

“O Muslim   O Abdullah [slave of Allāh  (I)] Here is a Jew hidden behind me come and kill him.” (Bukhari  and Muslim)

 A Generation that Believes in Reality and Science

They pass randomness, reject demagogy, seek decision from grass rooted facts - not illusions. While looking up high, they realise that their feet are on the ground. So they do not yield to false fancy, hollow dreams, or illusive hopes, i.e. to swim in no water and fly with no wings!  They live with high hopes, yet with realistic thinking. They turn their eyes to the beach of dreams, yet they expect the sea to get rough. They realise the ups and downs:

(Such days [of varying fortunes] We give to men and men by turns.) (Qur’ān  3: 140)

A realistic generation that does not swim on land, plow in water, seed in barren soil, spin a yarn, or build castles in the air! They are never in despair of Allāh ’s Mercy; yet they acknowledge the boundaries of their insight and the scope of their capacities. They do not rush things prematurely. They do not get involved in any thing, unless they know their way out. They watch Allāh ’s rules in His Universe. They attend to Shari‘ah. They adopt the endurance and patience. They wait patiently for the seed to grow and give its fruit - in a long process - by Allāh ’s Will!

They believe in science, respect the mind, admit the solid proof, reject myth and do not follow conjecture and what souls fancy. They learned from the Holy Qur’ān  and Sunnah that thinking is obligatory; contemplation is worship; seeking knowledge is Jihād; sticking to the old, for just being old, is ignorance and aberrance; blindly tracking of the steps of forefathers and masters is only corruption and unsoundness. They therefore think before judging, learn before acting, infer before guessing, and plan before executing. They do not accept a ruling without evidence nor a claim with no proof. They keep in mind Allāh ’s words:

(Inform Me with knowledge if you are so truthful!) (Qur’ān 6: 143)

[Say: ‘Have you [all] any knowledge that you can produce before Us.’) (Qur’ān 6: 148)

(Say: produce your proof if you are so truthful.)  (Qur’ān 2: 111)

 A Generation of Collective Actions

A generation whose progeny does not settle for landing glories of the past, mourning setbacks of the present, or wishing for victories of the future. They believe that glories are attained through giving not bargaining; productivity, not blabbing. Conquering today’s tragedies and fulfilling tomorrow’s hopes are to be achieved through diligence not joking, building not destruction, and through quiet effort not noisy shouting. True faith is what is settled in the heart and rendered by action. Allāh (I) has not created mankind just for work, but for testing as well:

(In order that We may test them - as to which of them are best in conduct. ) (Qur’ān  18: 7)

Therefore, they consider work a must, because doing it perfectly is worship, and helping one another is Jihād. They believe Allāh  (I) does not waste the reward of any one whose action is kind. They do not harm anything so much as an atom’s weight because He (I) will see their deeds, and so will His Messenger (r) and the believers.

They believe that teamwork, for the sake of Islām and for restoring its superiority, is a duty and necessity; a duty forced by religion and a necessity imposed by reality. They believe that the redressing of any individual - though it is the basis for any reform - can only be achieved within the framework of the society in which he/she lives.

They memorise the Qur’ānic verses that address them with obligations in the plural form: “ O you who believe”, so that they can feel equivalent to execute what Allāh  (I) enjoins and refrain from what He (I) forbids. They also memorise Surat Al-Fatiha as it clearly says in the plural form:

(You alone do we worship and You alone do we call for help. Guide us along the straight way.) (Qur’ān  1: 5-6)

The individual recites this Surah in the plural form, even if one is all-alone, the spirit of the group is kept alive in one’s conscience, and mentioned on one’s tongue. Thus, individuality is thawed for the nation’s sake and the pronoun “I” is replaced by “ we.”  They also learn to cling firmly to the Qur’ān, Allāh ’s rope, and do not separate. They cooperate with one another for virtue and heedfulness, encourage one another to truth and patience, and do not disagree among themselves, as did those before them - lest they became doomed.

 Verily! They have been educated through religion, history, and the fact of life that one is loneliness and two is company. That is, it takes two hands to clap. That Allāh ’s  support is for the group, that a wolf hunts only a lonesome sheep, that the power of unity compensates the weakness of minority and that differences among the majority weakens it. They believe in high hopes - freedom, unity, development, and that ruling by Islām inside and spreading it outside, cannot be done except by constructive and collective efforts. In other words, if something is required as a duty, then it is a duty in itself.

By scrutiny of the accomplished fact, they learned that, since the people of falsehood gather around it, it is more appropriate for the people of truth to gather around their truth, and those who broke up their ties with kith and kin during times of ease, should gather in the hour of hardship, namely, “afflictions reunite the afflicted,” and that great battles unify those who are at variance before the common enemy:

(Truly Allāh  loves those who fight in His Cause in ranks as if they were a solid cemented structure.) (Qur’ān  61: 4)

Scattered adobes, however countless and solid, never raise any construction a man uses. They become useful when aligned together in a matrix according to a specific design and elaborate architecture. That’s why they insisted on searching for their counterparts, who seek the truth and reject the falsehood; call for well-being and deny evil-doing; command decency and forbid dishonour; join hands and efforts so that scattered adobes are once again a solid wall; the separate walls are a huge house; and the various houses are a sizeable city. They take the road of collective work. They act silently; live interconnected with truth and patience, in ease and in hardship. They build with patience and fight tirelessly. They insist on co-operating with one another for virtue and heedfulness, and support one another in happiness and hardship, as the Messenger (r) is reported to have said:

“The bonds of brotherhood between two Muslims are like parts of a house, one part strengthens and holds the other.”

A Devout Generation

Devout people are those who live in this world with the hearts of the after world. They live on earth, but their hearts yearn for the accompaniment of Allāh  (I) and the seven persons (who) will be sheltered under the shade of Allāh  (I) on the Day of Judgement, when there will be no other shade besides His. (An authentic  Hādīth)

“They interconnected their loops with the Rope of Allāh  (I), lit their steps with His light, filled their hearts with His love, moistened their tongues with His invocation (and remembrances), and preoccupied themselves with His obedience. To Allāh  (I) they cling and stand. From Allāh  (I) they get support and to Him (I) they flee. In the light of His Book they move and are still. They like and dislike; join and sever; give and refuse to give; make peace and fight for Allāh ’s sake.”   For them:

(He is the First and the Last.) (Qur’ān  57: 3)

(And that to your Rabb lies the final end.) (Qur’ān  53: 42)

What distinguishes them from others is their “sincerity.” They have purified their religion for Allāh  (I). They believe this world was made for them; but they were created for Allāh  (I) alone. No wonder, they put before their eyes Allāh ’s Words:

(Say: that my prayer and my sacrifice, my living and my dying, [all] belong to Allāh , the Rabb of the worlds; He has no partner.) (Qur’ān  6: 162-163)

People’s aims vary in this worldly life; namely, some have lusts for money; some are fascinated with fame; some are lured by power; some are infatuated with women; some are addicted to liquor; and some others long for sovereignty. The devout people want neither haughtiness nor any corruption on earth; they want neither rank nor wealth; they pant neither lust nor fame; they pray to their Rabb not to let the world be their utmost concern nor their whole knowledge. Yet, if the world comes to them, they will take it in their hands not in their hearts. They take it as a means, not as a goal in itself. Their ultimate concern is the Hereafter; and their end is to please their Rabb. In other words, any thing other than Allāh  (I) and Paradise is just a mirage. What is above the earth, is sheer dust!

Their hearts are soaked in Allāh ’s Tawheed (Monotheism). They seek neither some other Rabb nor judge with other than the rule of Allāh  (I). Nor do they adopt some one as a patron other than Allāh  (I). They shatter all the images in their minds and hearts for the sake of Allāh ’s Word. They digest the meaning of the Ayah:

(You [Alone] do we worship, and You [Alone] do we ask for help.) (Qur’ān  1:5)

They no longer worship any one other than Allāh  (I), nor call on any one for help other than Him. They are released from worshipping themselves and their whims, as well as anything else other than Allāh  (I)! They do not worship idols, illusions, fancies, individuals, nature, or tyranny; whatever name, title or shape it takes. They memorise from the Messengers of Allāh  (r) their call to mankind:

(Worship Allāh  [Alone], and keep away from taghut [all false deities].) (Qur’ān  16: 36)

For them truth stands clear from error; so they reject taghut and anything worshipped besides Allāh  (I). They believe in AllŖh (I); so they grasp the firmest handhold that never breaks.

 A Generation Whose Kinship is Islām

Whoever inquires of their nationality, kinship or identification will find out that they are true “Muslims”. Not by name or title, nor by virtue of heredity or milieu, rather by scrutiny and proof, tasting and copying. They believe in Islām upon a clear-cut sign, reject ignorance, invite unto Allāh  (I) through insight, denounce all evil deeds with certain knowledge. They seek no other religion than Islām, opt for nothing but its Shari‘ah as their way of life, nor do they choose other than the Holy Qur’ān  as their charter. Why not so, and Allāh  (I) has chosen it for them, and completed with it His favour upon them:

(This day I have perfected your religion for you, and completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you IslŖm as your religion.] (Qur’ān  5: 3)

(If any one desires a religion other than Islām, never will it be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers.) (Qur’ān  3: 85)

(The only statement of the believers, when they are called to Allāh  and His Messenger to judge among them, is that They say: “we hear and we obey” And such are the successful.)  (Qur’ān  24: 51)

However, if they are called to judge by taghut - any thing other than Allāh  (I) and His Messenger (r), they say:  “we refuse and we disobey.” They reject heteronym to the East or West; as their light of guidance is extracted from a blessed Olive Tree:

(Neither of the East nor of the West, Whose oil would almost glow forth [of itself] though no fire touched it. Light upon Light.) (Qur’ān  24: 35)

They refuse the oppression of capitalism and the darkness of communism. They do not belong to Right or Left parties. They are always in the center. They stand in the middle among the divergent extremes. They do not work for any individual, sect, party or regime. They work for Islām only. Their loyalty is only for the Muslim Ummah.

 (And whosoever takes Allāh , His Messenger, and those who have believed as protectors, then the party of Allāh  will certainly triumph.) (Qur’ān  5: 56)

They are devoted only to the All-Merciful. They are proud only of faith. They take sides only with the Holy Qur’ān . Their motto is: Islām is my parent, and no one else, even if they brag of ‘Qais or Tamim’ (two noble tribes of Arabia).

 A Generation of D‘awah and Jihād

A Generation of Da’w’ah (propagation of Islām) and Jihād, as the Companions of the Prophet (r), Muhajirun (Emigrants) and Ansar (Supporters) were. They derive their light from the Companions, and they tread in their steps.  They fight against their whims for Allāh ’s sake as well as against Allāh ’s enemy and theirs. They engage in both fights simultaneously. They are in a continuous battle against their inner enemies - the evil soul and Satan- and the outer one  - the real enemy of Islām. They are in a constant struggle against the doers of inequity inside and the disbelievers outside. They do not lay arms aside, nor rest after a battle until there is no more persecution and all religion belongs Allāh.

The spacious earth of Allāh  (I) is their battlefield, and the Muslim states their homeland. You may see an Arab fighting the red communist invasion in Afghanistan and some Pakistani fighting the black Jewish plague in Palestine or in Lebanon. Infidelity is but one denomination:

(The unbelievers are allies of one another.) (Qur’ān  8: 73)

(The believers, men and women, are Awliya' [protectors, friends, supporters] of one another.) (Qur’ān  9:71)

They fight in Allāh ’s cause in every battle and with all weapons available and, if necessary with money, if Jihād needs it. Nevertheless, Jihād needs funds badly!

“He who prepares a Ghazi (Muslim fighter) going in Allāh’s Cause is (given a reward equal to that of) the Ghazi.” (Hādīth)

(And strive hard with your wealth and your lives in the Cause of Allāh .) (Qur’ān  9:41)

Jihād may be also with the tongue - if it is necessary - that is, spelling out the word of truth, audible or visual - before unjust men. If they cannot fight with arms, surely they can do it with the Qur’ān , which is the great Jihād as so named by Allāh  (I):

(Therefore, obey not the unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost striving, “with the Qur’ān .”)  (Qur’ān  25: 52)

Their religion is so precious to them that their worldly life has become despicable. Their tenet is so valuable that their lives and properties have become valueless, or as the proverb goes: (He, who proposes to the beautiful girl, shall not withhold her due dowry. Allāh  (I) has made a deal with the believers, and they have accepted it with no regrets. What a profitable deal! Allāh  (I) bought the souls He (I) had created, and the properties He (I) had provided. Then He (I) said: Here is the price, a garden broader than the heaven and earth! Truthful are the words of Allāh  (I) when He (I) says:

ا(Verily, Allāh  has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties, for [the price] that theirs shall be the Paradise. They fight in Allāh ’s Cause, so they kill [others] and are killed. It is a promise in truth which is binding on Him in the Taurat [Torah] and the Injil [Gospel] and the Qur’ān . And who is truer to his covenant than Allāh? Then rejoice in the bargain, which you have concluded. That is the supreme success.) (Qur’ān  9: 111)

“Whoever fears his enemy sets out in the early hours of the night; and he who sets out early, arrives at his destination. Behold that Allāh ’s property is precious: Be informed that the asset of Allāh  (I) is the Garden.”  (Tirmidhi)

How splendid are such dealers! They hope for a business which will never slacken. Their goods are faith and Jihād; their marketplace is niches and battlefields; their capital is days and lifetimes; and their profit is forgiveness from their Rabb; as their reward are gardens with rivers flowing underneath.

Whenever they see Jahiliyah (any society that does not abide by Islāmic rules - regardless of time or place) dressed up in any outfit, their hearts boil out with anger and melt away with grief over the sacred matters of Allāh  (I). Because nothing can be tougher on the believer than the Truth’s retreat to make way for the Falsehood and the erasure of Allāh ’s Word for that of the taghut to prevail!

Unlike the worldly people, who care for nothing but themselves and their next of kin, the foremost concern of the Divinely guided is the Muslim Ummah. The religion is their top priority, whereas the worldly life is their last. They all say: my Ummah comes first. No one says: myself, myself. They are preoccupied with bringing the disobedient back to Allāh  (I) penitently, calling the lost back to the fold of Islām and deterring the invaders of the Qur’ānic Ummah to turn back defeated and forsaken:

(And who is better in speech than he who [says: My Rabb is Allāh ] and invites [men] to Allāh  and does righteous deeds, and says I am one of the Muslims.) (Qur’ān  41: 33)






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