03 Nov Sūratu’l-Māedah [The Table] : (5:54).Part1
ى الْكَافِرِينَ يُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلَا يَخَافُونَ لَوْمَةَ لَائِمٍ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
O you who believe! Whoever of you turns away from his Religion, (know that) in time God will raise up a people whom He loves, and who love Him, most humble towards the believers, dignified and commanding in the face of the unbelievers, striving (continuously and in solidarity) in God’s cause, and fearing not the censure of any who censure. That is God’s grace and bounty, which He grants to whom He wills. God is All-Embracing (with His profound grace), All-Knowing. (Al-Māedah 5:54)
This verse contains many significant points.
Firstly, it warns that some among the believers turn away from Islam and those who have taken the responsibility to represent Islam and convey it to others will be, in time, unable to fulfill this sensitive task. For instance, this task was shouldered by the Umayyads after the first Four Rightly-Guided Caliphs, and when they were no longer able to bear this trust, it was transferred to the ‘Abbasids.
Later on, this mission was inherited by the Seljuks and then by the Ottomans. The term “people” (who would be raised up to inherit this mission) is used indefinitely, that is without using the definite article “the” before it. This means that they were unknown to the Companions of the Prophet when this verse was revealed.
Therefore, it may well be said that the verse refers to the Turks, who are not Arab like the Companions and to a community that will shoulder this task in almost the same way as the Companions shouldered it.
The Arabic future particle “sawfa” used in the verse before the verb “raise up” refers to the distant future.
The most outstanding attribute of the community that the Qur’ān promises to come in far future to represent Islam and convey it to others is that “God loves them.”
The love between God and people manifests itself in two ways:
- one is that a person loves God, and in return God loves him or her―this is the love between God and those who overflow with love of God and seek His pleasure―
- while the other is that first God loves a person and then He makes the person love Himself―this is the love between God and one whom He has particularly chosen.
God uses some in particular so that they may exalt Islam and be exalted and honored by Islam. As all the Prophets were among those who were specially chosen, according to a hadīth related by ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ūd, the companions of all the Prophets were also among them.( Abū Nuaym, Hilyatu’l-Awliyā’, 1:375; also for narrations by Uraym ibn Saida see Hākim, Mustadrak, 3:632; Haythamī, Majma’uz-Zawā’id, 10:17.)
As stated in the verse, this is “God’s grace and bounty which He grants to whom He wills,” and as stated in another verse, no one has the right to object to God’s “distribution of His mercy” (Az-Zukhruf 43:32).
Thus, just as God Almighty chose our Prophet and his Companions to represent Islam and convey it to others in a certain period of history, so will He definitely choose another community to exalt His religion at a time when serving the Religion is almost totally neglected and Islam’s castle is left defenseless. It may be said that this selection was done in the World of the Spirits. Even so, God never leaves His religion ownerless and exalts it by the hand of those whom He chooses, and He exalts and honors the chosen ones with His religion. Therefore, it is important for us to know the attributes of those chosen ones.
Those who are chosen by God Almighty to uplift His religion are such people that in return for God’s love for them, they love Him sincerely.
They love Him so much and rationally that, as stated in verse 22 of Sūratu’l-Mujādilah, they feel no true love toward those who oppose God and His Messenger, even if they are their own parents, children, brothers and sisters, or people from their nation or ethnic group.
They love, hate, take, and give only for God’s sake.
Nothing can replace their love for God in their hearts, acts, and transactions. This is the primary characteristic of the community which God promises to raise to serve Islam in the footsteps of the Prophet’s Companions. They love God sincerely and consider the love for Him and His consent or His being pleased with them superior to everything else.