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Lesson 5: What is Right? (Part II)

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Lesson 5


D) Doing right at the right time and place


Time and place also determine the right thing. For example, if we are sitting in the masjid reading Qur’an, let’s say, before Salat ul Dhuhr. We are in the middle of a surah and we are completely absorbed by it. Then, in this state, the Imam begins to lead salah. As good as it is to read Qur’an with total concentration and reflection, at the moment the Imam announces that he is ready to lead salah; we have to close the Qur’an and pray. It would be wrong to miss salah in congregation because we wanted to finish off reading our surah.


Here is another example. You are a boy who is brilliant at mathematics. Unfortunately, some girls in your class are very poor in the subject and without your help they might not graduate from high school. The noble right here would be to devote some time to helping these girls despite the fact that loose and free gender mixing is discouraged. A word of caution:




The situation applies to girls as well.


Another example, a woman is hit by a car and is bleeding profusely. If you are a man present at the scene, the right thing to do is to offer her any help you can afford even if it is holding her head on your lap or administering C.P.R if that is what is crucially needed at the moment.


In the examples of mathematics and a car accident, should you be involved in both, always remember these Allah’s words:


“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: That will make for a greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do (24:30)


And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except (what must ordinarily) appear thereof… (24:31)”


Post in more examples of doing right at the right time and place.


E) Choosing right between two wrongs


This situation is not common, but it may happen. What if both choices you have to pick from are wrong? What do you do then? In this case, what is right is the lesser of the two evils – a choice whose consequences cause less harm. For example, you did not complete an assignment and it is due. The teacher would be furious about the news if you don’t submit it. What do you do? Do you cut school for that day and complete the assignment, or do you attend school and risk possible public humiliation from the teacher among other things he/she could do to you. In this case, the right thing – believe it or not – would be to go to school because the only bad consequences would be a furious teacher (who won’t stay that way forever) and possibly an injured pride. Even then you can appease your teacher if you put in a good effort in the finished piece when you finally hand it in. Cutting school is a greater wrong because your parents will be annoyed, your teachers too, and above all you will be missing and accumulating more work from the missed day.


F) Doing right is a struggle and a test


What makes us different from all other creation is the freedom to do as we please. We have complete freedom to obey or disobey our creator. All other creatures willingly or unwillingly obey Allah (S.W.A). Here he points it out:


“Do they seek for other than the religion of Allah? – while all creatures on the heavens and on the earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to His Will (Accepted Islam), and to him shall they all be brought back (3:83).


This freedom is not so wonderful for us though because it carries enormous responsibilities, and taming ourselves to obey Allah (S.W.A) in the face of temptations within us and in the environment around us is not the easiest thing in the world. In fact Allah (S.W.A) says that we were foolish to have accepted such a responsibility. Here he states it,


We did indeed offer the trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it – he was indeed unjust and foolish (33:72)

(With the result) that Allah has to punish t he hypocrites, men and women, and the unbelievers, men and women, and Allah turns in mercy to the believers, men and women: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful (33:73).”


Unfortunately, we can’t opt out of our covenant; it is too late. Instead, we must get ourselves ready for the struggle to fulfill our obligations of being Allah’s deputies on earth. It is our responsibility to care for all his creation, and to continue to tame ourselves to become obedient deputies who carry out Allah (S.W.A) commands to the last letter. At the same time, we must not forget to protect ourselves from harm other creatures may inflict upon us.


Doing right is a test for us. As you recall, we are here on planet earth because of a mistake by our progenitor. So, Allah (S.W.A) sent us here to learn to obey him. The best of us, and the most honorable, will be those who obeyed Allah (S.W.A) the most in their lives. Here is a confirmation.


Oh Mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other  (not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honorable of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things) (49:13).”


So my friends the race is on; don’t blink; get focused; on your marks; set; and go!


Unlike the worldly races that are governed by competition, ours is a race guided by the desire to please Allah and is governed by cooperation. This is how Allah (S.W.A) guides us about it.


“To each is a goal to which Allah turns him; then strive together (as in a race) towards all that is good. Wherever you are Allah will bring you together, for Allah has power over all things (2:148)


Each one of us is special in some way. It may be in kindness. It may be in intelligence. It may be in politeness. It doesn’t matter what you have. What matters is to recognize this special thing about you, and use it effectively and efficiently to serve Allah (S.W.A). Don’t waste any of it because it could be your passport to paradise. Don’t waste time bragging about it – that is wasting it. Acknowledge that whatever special thing you have has a source, and that source is Allah (S.W.A). So you are just leasing it. Use it appropriately. Thank Allah for having let you be the one to distribute that mercy – that special thing you have – to others of his creatures.