Even if Everybody is Doing It

This ayah is in 2 parts.

Sahih International

Say, “Not equal are the evil and the good, although the abundance of evil might impress you.” So fear Allah , O you of understanding, that you may be successful.[Al Maaidah 5:100]

The first part :-

Say, “Not equal are the evil and the good, although the abundance of evil might impress you.”

When we go to the grocery store, and we see moldy grapes in a bag, we would not take that bag and look for another bag and make sure none of the grapes in it are moldy. But how come then when it comes to religion, we are lax in this scrutiny?

For example, just because everyone is practicing bidaah, it doesn’t make it right and acceptable. Just because everyone is involved in interest, it doesn’t make it normal. Just because all your family members are not praying, it doesn’t make it ok. Just because there are a generous spattering of billboards of semi naked women, that doesn’t mean it’s ok to look at them. There is a difference though  between something  being ok and accepted and something being mainstream.

In fact, the variety and abundance of khabeeth (evil – everything that is impure or bad ; can refer to a khabeeth thing, person, wealth, or anything that is impure spiritually) is a test. Do we become desensitized? Do we begin to then take it as the norm? Do we get sucked up in what is mainstream just because it’s easier to do or just because it’s the thing to do?

The test is in who fears Allah when no one is watching him (except of course Allah)?

There is also the question,

Do I like the abundance and variety of khabeeth around me?

The ayah says, اعجَبَكَ, which means “it impressed you” [although the abundance of evil might impress you].  The meaning of this word is to be amazed, impressed by something. And this happens in the heart. We must fear Allah also with regards to what goes on in our hearts.

Then the second part of the ayah says,

So fear Allah , O you of understanding, that you may be successful.

Here, the word taqwa comes up. Taqwa, when translated, loses so much meaning. In essence, taqwa happens in the heart, and taqwa necessitates that you not be impressed by the khabeeth, even a little, even for a moment. Not even a “Wow!”
This is the finer actions of the heart whereby we watch our thoughts, feelings and guard them from inclining towards that which goes against what Allah likes.
The good and bad are not equal in the sight of Allah. They may be equal or seem harmless to our eyes, but to Allah they’re not, and the standard we should take is Allah’s standard, not the current culture’s or society’s for the society’s standards and definition always changes.
In this second part of the ayah, Allah says “Fear Allah of people of understanding, so that you may  be successful.”
So, if you have intellect, you will be able to differentiate between the khabeeth and the Tayyib. If you have taqwa, you will pick the Tayyib even if it means you will end up being in the minority group. However, you will be successful.
Disclaimer: This is not tafseer. These are reflections and part of my notes from what Sr. Aisha Altaf and Sr Taimiyah Aubzyr taught in Taleem Quran.

2 thoughts on “Even if Everybody is Doing It

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