By: Maryam Spahic
Surah Al-Hujurat is Surah number 49 in the Holy Quran. The term Al-Hujurat means “The Chambers”. Everytime I hear the term “Chamber”, what comes to mind is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Irrelevant, but I just had to put it out there. It’s a pretty short Surah with just 18 verses, but it’s the secret to World Peace. Well there’s no secrecy here considering that millions have been reading the Holy Book for centuries. But why is it that the world is becoming more corrupted and hostile as the day goes by? Imagine a world that is stress free, everyone kind to one another and only speak good and the truth. It’s not rocket science. It’s absolutely possible; the guidelines have been sent down to us through the Messenger many years ago, simple and straight to the point.
The eight golden rules of Surah Al-Hujurat are as follow:
Display respect in behaviour and language while addressing Rasulullah SAW (49:1-5)
This has been repeated time and again in the Quran and Sunnah. Such actions weigh so much value and are very favourable to Allah. Growing up as Muslims, we were taught and trained to send blessings to the Messenger and his family which in turn fill our lives with abundant blessings as well. Nobody is at loss here. The more love and respect we give to our beloved Muhammad (SAW), the better it is for us too!
Verification of reports (49:6-8)
Verify news and do not spread lies or information that you are uncertain of. This is a crucial topic taught in journalism ethics classes everywhere, most likely more emphasised now than ever before as fake news and rumours spread like wildfire particularly with the rise of the social media. There is a difference between fake news and false news – the former is stories that have deliberately been created with wrong facts while false news may be accidental spread of wrong information. Intentional or not, the spread of both should not happen. The dissemination of inaccurate information will spark chaos and dispute among people which takes away the peace from the community.
To establish peace among members of the community (49:9)
Islam is a religion of peace. We are urged to make peace with our families, neighbours, the community, the environment, and animals. Nobody is better than the other. We are all equal in the eyes of God. The verse says that “if two factions among the believers should fight, then make settlement between the two.” Disputes and misunderstandings are common. We are all humans, nobody is perfect. We are bound to be dissatisfied and upset with others. That is why the verse says that if and when they do occur, try to work things out. Find a common ground and make peace.
Upholding Muslim brotherhood (49:10)
“The believers are but brothers.” What do brothers do? They support one another. They care for one another. Help out where necessary. Trade advice and wisdom for the betterment of all. Mankind was sent to Earth in a pair; Adam and Eve. Not a single soul has ever been alone. In fact, Sociology suggests that socialisation is crucial for survival. Nobody can endure life with zero human contact. We all need one another which is why Islam emphasises time and again on the importance of preserving the brotherhood.
Condemnation of reviling, defaming and being sarcastic to people (49:11)
As Islam advocates peace and harmony amongst communities, it condemns any acts that will disrupt the peace between people. Defamation, mocking, name-calling are all actions that will hurt and offend the victims. Nobody likes or deserves to be insulted. More importantly, nobody has the rights to insult others. Social or economic class does not justify one’s actions to hurt others. We all have mistakes and flaws that we are accountable for which gives us no rights to look down upon others.
Gravity of suspicion, spying and backbiting (49:12)
A lot of unnecessary drama can grow from suspicion, spying and backbiting. The reality of the society today is that everyone is so busy worrying about the personal matters of others and we forget to work on ourselves. The Quran considers backbiting a very sinful and abhorrent act that it is compared to “eating the flesh of (one’s) brother”.
The value of taqwa (49:13)
Taqwa is referred to as God-consciousness, a pious Muslim. It is the act of being fearful of Allah while at the same time loving Him. It is to know that God is all around us, watching and listening to all that we do, think and feel because “Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” It is to abstain oneself from sinful acts and to do good because “Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.”
Sincerity of Iman and its impact (49:14-18)
Iman refers to one’s faith. It is not enough to be born a Muslim or the simple utterance of the Shahadah. Faith must enter deeply into our hearts and must be acted upon by obeying the commands of Allah and His Messenger. It is to live a sincere life in the cause of Allah and Islam. The verse says that people assume that they are doing Allah a favour by accepting Islam. But truly, Allah does not need us and our conviction. As a matter of fact, He has done us the biggest favour anyone could ever receive by guiding us towards the truth. He has chosen us out of the millions who do not believe in Him. He made us His vicegerent on earth. Thus, it is our duty and amanah to be walking His grounds spreading the religion that He has entrusted us with. Our actions, our beliefs must reflect our faith that is the greatest blessing we have ever received.
Allah is the most Kind, most Generous, most Forgiving and most Merciful. We may fall and we most definitely will as we are only humans, but He is always there to accept our repentance and bring us back up. Through all our efforts and sincerity, we will earn the greatest rewards of all time: Jannah.