Omar Nassimi shares a reflection on a timeless verse from the Qur’an. Subscribe to the series to receive the video of this reflection along with the other daily reflections each morning.
Today we are going to be looking at Juz 7, specifically verse 100 of Surah Al-Ma’idah.
Say: “The bad and the good are not equal, even if the abundance of the bad pleases you.” So be aware of God, O you who have understanding, that you may succeed.
Allah (SWT) is essentially saying in this verse that we can never equate things that are just and things that are good with things that are otherwise. And it goes on to say that regardless of how normal or how good, or how appealing, or how wealthy the other side tends to be, there is a clear line that is drawn.
For instance, in the entertainment industry, movies that were perhaps rated ‘R’ in the 1990s or the 1980s are now rated PG-13 because the standards for society tend to change over time and what it ethical or normal tends to change and shift. But for a Muslim, Allah (SWT) says that we have to set that line. That what is just will always be what is just, and what is moral will always be what it moral, and that standard cannot shift. That line for us is the Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet (SAW).
For Muslims today it becomes very hard to distinguish what that line is, especially when you live in a metropolitan environment where there’s a melting pot of a bunch of different kinds of people and ideas, and what’s moral and ethical. We go to dinner parties, we go to hang out with out friends, and it becomes difficult to find that line. Whether it’s the way we dress, the way we talk, our interactions, or the language we use — what we consider to be normal tends to shift depending on where we live and who we are around. Allah (SWT) is telling us that for a Muslim, that can’t happen.
For Muslims, we need to draw our lines, and say that it will not shift depending on whose dinner party I’m at, or who I’m trying to impress, or who my friends are. And this becomes one of the most important and difficult things in a time when everything is shifting. Five years from now, cultural norms will be different from what they are today. The language that we use might be different, and what’s cool or popular will change. Allah (SWT) reminds us that this is what determines who becomes close to Allah (SWT) and who earns Allah’s favor, are those people who set that line regardless for time or circumstance.