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Article appeared Friday, March 8th, 2019 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (561) yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD


What types of laws has God given us and why? To understand and answer this question,
one option would be to compare with the analogy of a manufacturer’s manual. What
distinct types of rules and guidelines would a manufacturer put in a product manual? The
first type would likely be the purpose of the product. For example, a manual for a blender
may say, this blender is designed to chop and puree vegetables and fruits. The other
type of rule may be on how to use the product so that the user may derive long lasting
and efficient use of the product. For the blender, for example, it may be that the motor
should not be left ON for more that 5 minutes at a time or that the motor should not be
put under water in an attempt to wash the blender. Would the manufacturer also point
out that improper use would void the warranty?

So we have two types of guidelines – one, the overall purpose of the product and
second, the do’s and don’ts to enjoy long term use. Also, can one run away from the fact
that the manufacturer would best know about the purpose and best practical use of the
product? Similarly, if we are individually created/made by the Creator, would it make
sense for Him to send similar guidelines, so that the best use of the human product
could be derived? The first guideline would be the purpose of creating humans together
with the purpose of the short time on earth. The second would be the do’s and don’ts to
enjoy the best out of the life on earth and the best of life after death. For whose benefit
would such a divinely revealed manual be? If the guidelines were followed or ignored,
would it help, benefit or conversely even harm the Creator in any way? Deeds that
acknowledge the Authority and Wisdom of the Creator and demonstrate gratitude
towards Him only benefits the doer as pointed out in the Al-Qur’an,
“If anyone does a righteous deed it is to his own benefit; if he does evil it works
against (his/her own soul). In the end will you (all) be brought back to your Lord.”
[45.15]

Taking the analogy further, in the case of the product, what might happen if the
guidelines in the manual were not followed? First, if the product were not used for the
purpose it was made? Second, if the rules of operation were not followed? For example,
what would happen if the blender motor is immersed in soap water? With the soap water
inside, next time the machine is run, what may happen? Indeed, the windings of the
motor may short-circuit and catch fire! Likewise, if the guidelines laid down in the Holy
Scripture, like the Al-Qur’an, are not followed, what may the consequences be?
“And who believe in the Revelation sent to you and that sent before your time
and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter. They are on (true)
guidance from their Lord and it is these who will prosper. As to those who reject
Faith it is the same to them whether you warn them or do not warn them; they will
not believe. (Given their arrogance) God has set a seal on their hearts and on
their hearing and on their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty (they will incur).” [2.4
– 2.7]

Chapter 24 or Sura An-Nur (meaning light) lays down rules for guidance to be followed
by believers.

24.1 “(This is) a surah which We have sent down and made (that within it)
obligatory and revealed in it verses as Clear Signs (from your Lord) in
order that you may be reminded.”
24.2 “The woman and the man (found) guilty of adultery or fornication flog
each of them with a hundred stripes: let not compassion move you in their
case in amatter prescribed by God if you believe in Him and the Last Day:
and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment.”
The punishment for those found guilty of adultery has been defined. This is a shameful
punishment designed to deter promiscuity spreading in society.

24.3 “Let no man guilty of adultery or fornication marry any but a woman
similarly guilty or an Unbeliever nor let any but such a man or an
Unbeliever marry such a woman: to the Believers such a thing is
forbidden.”
Guilty persons are only allowed to marry equally guilty persons or those who do not
believe in the Day of Judgment. Having laid down the punishment, God, on the other
hand, completely dislikes spreading of rumors or direct accusations of adultery.

24.4 “And those who launch a charge against chaste women and produce
not four witnesses (to support their allegation) flog them with eighty
stripes: and reject their evidence ever after: for such men are wicked
transgressors.”
Those who spread rumors or bring accusations are called “wicked transgressors” – as
such it is a serious sin. To protect the victim, the accuser has to produce four
eyewitnesses. The fact that producing four eyewitnesses is next to impossible
demonstrates how much God dislikes rumormongering or public accusations against
women. The accuser is to be punished and forever labeled as an unreliable witness.
After punishment, if such rumormongers learn their lesson, they will then be forgiven.

24.5 “Unless they repent thereafter and mend (their conduct): for Allah is
Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.”
The rumormongers have to prove, after punishment, that they have given up such
activities of spreading rumors.

24.6 “And for those who launch a charge against their spouses and have
(in support) no evidence but their own their solitary evidence (can be
received)if they bear witness four times (with an oath) by God that they are
solemnly telling the truth;”
This ruling shows how much God dislikes suspicion. Punishment is averted from the
accused, if the accused swears by God that he/she did not carry out extramarital sex.

24.7 “And the fifth (oath) (should be) that they solemnly invoke the curse of
God on themselves if they tell a lie.”

24.8 “But it would avert the punishment from the wife if she bears witness
four times (with an oath) by God that (her husband) is telling a lie;”

24.9 “And the fifth (oath) should be that she solemnly invokes the wrath of
God on herself if (her accuser) is telling the truth.”

24.10 “If it were not for God's grace and mercy on you and that God is Oft-
Returning Full of Wisdom (you would be ruined indeed).”
Promiscuity and suspicion lead to many evils in society including broken families and
broken homes for children. These rules are given as a mercy to prevent the spread of
such evils.

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