Guidance in All Fields *
By Sayed Qutb
[Surely this Qur'an shows the way to that which is most upright.)(Al-Israa' 17:9)
This is a general statement applicable to all those who are guided by the Qur'an and the goals to which it guides. Thus, guidance that is restricted by neither time nor place is given to people. And the superiority of its guidance applies to all that they may attain when they follow any method or approach. It is also superior to every good thing to which people may be guided at any time or place.
The Qur'an guides to that which is "most upright" in relation to people's inner feelings and thoughts, outlining a clear faith, free of complication and ambiguity. Its guidance frees the human spirit of the burden of myth and superstition, and it releases human energy so that it is constructive, bringing benefit, providing a harmonious link between the laws that govern the universe and those governing human nature.
The Qur'an also ensures harmony between a person's outward and inward existence, feelings and behavior, faith and action. In all this, it shows the way to what is "most upright," linking all these aspects to the true and inseverable bond that exists between people and God. This enables people to look up to a higher horizon while they are still on earth. Thus, what people do in their daily life becomes an act of worship, provided that they do so seeking God's acceptance. This is true even when the action itself provides them with pure enjoyment of what is available in this life.
In the field of worship also, the Qur'an establishes a perfect balance between duties and abilities. This ensures that duties are not seen as too hard so as to constitute a heavy burden or induce despair of ever fulfilling one's obligations. Maintaining this balance ensures that a person neither takes matters too lightly or complacently on the one hand, nor exceeds the limits of what is reasonable and perfectly bearable on the other. Thus we can say without fear of contradiction that in worship, the Qur'an shows the way to that which is most upright.
The same applies to human interaction whether between individuals and couples, governments and peoples, or states and races. Relations between all these groups are established on a firm basis, influenced neither by personal prejudice and interest, nor by feelings of love and hatred. This firm foundation in human relations is chosen by God, the Creator Who knows His creation and what is certain to promote goodness in their lives. The Qur'an shows the way that gives the best course of action in the fields of politics and finance, as well as in those of social and international relations.
The Qur'an also endorses all divine religions, establishing a firm link between them, honoring all that is sacred in them, and protecting all that they hold in reverence. This ensures that humanity, with all its divine faiths, lives in peace. In this, again, the Qur'an provides its perfect guidance. This is all summed up in the verse that reads, [Surely this Qur'an shows the way to that which is most upright) (Al-Israa' 17:9).
* This article is based on the English translation of the author's work Fi Zhilal Al-Qur'an (In the Shade of the Qur'an), Volume VI, Trans. and ed. by Adil Salahi, published by The Islamic Foundation and IslamOnline.net.
Sayed Qutb(1906-1966) was a prominent and influential Muslim intellectual and writer. He wrote many books about Islam and its distinctive features as a comprehensive way of life. Among his most important works is his exegesis of the Qur'an In the Shade of the Qur'an, which was widely welcomed among Muslims and established itself as one of the best references in Qur'an exegesis.
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