Chapter Two: The Cow (Al Baqara)
Verses 113 & 114
Verses 113 and 114
The Jews say, ‘The Christians have no ground whatsoever to stand on,’ and the Christians say, ‘The Jews have no ground whatsoever to stand on,’ though they both read the Scripture, and those who have no knowledge say the same; God will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning their differences. (Chapter 2: Verse 113)
Ironically, this verse holds the truest statement made by the Jews and the Christians about each other. When it comes to faith and the claim of paradise, each party said that the other has 'no ground whatsoever to stand on.' Keep in mind that the two parties accusing one another are both people of scripture; they both claim to follow God's teachings, and look towards the heavens for guidance, yet they equate each other with disbelievers.
In fact Allah followed their speech stating that: ‘those who have no knowledge say the same.' Meanings that the Jews and Christians are acting exactly like those with no faith, no belief in God, and no religion. So now we have three groups: the first has no faith in any of the heavenly scriptures or divine revelation. The second and third groups claim to have faith in God’s Messengers and books. And yet the statements of all the groups are identical.
Shouldn't the people of scripture have a different position that clearly distinguishes them from those with no faith? Shouldn't they use their superior knowledge and faith in heavenly scriptures, messengers, and revelations to seek guidance from the Lord? Rather, they ignored God's guidance and used their faith as a wedge to accuse others and discredit them.
Who will be the Judge of this great dispute? Of course none other than God. For He has true knowledge of each person's true faith. Here you may ask: When will Allah judge between them? In this world? The answer is No. In issues of faith, this world is the home of assessment and testing, not the home of recompense and judgement. Thus, all will be judged on the day of resurrection. God says: 'God will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning their differences.' Keep in mind that judging these three groups does not mean that one will be proven right, while the others are wrong. All three groups are on the incorrect path; they diverged from the frame of faith by refusing to follow God's message and teaching. They used their faith as an excuse to reach for power and worldly gains.
Let's move to the next verse in 'The Cow'. God says:
And who could be more unjust than those who prohibit the mention of God’s name in His Mosques and strive to have them destroyed? Such people should not enter them without fear: there is disgrace for them in this world and painful punishment in the Hereafter. (Chapter 2:Verse 114)
After God informed us about the accusations each of the three groups made about one another, and about their unity when it comes to opposing Islam, He Almighty threatens them from harming the new heavenly message and campaigning against its houses of worship. He says: ‘And who could be more unjust than those who prohibit the mention of God’s name in His Mosques.’ Mosques are the places where people prostrate to God. Prostration is a sign of submissiveness and servitude to God, because you place the most honourable part of your being -which is your face- on the ground before your Lord in love and devotion.
Before Islam, followers of every religion had specific places for worship, and they were not allowed to worship elsewhere. But when Islam came, God made the earth sacred and pure for worship. In other words, Muslims can meet with their Lord in prayer at the time and place of their choosing. Wherever you are, you can stand up in prayer right now to thank God for all His bounties. If you are afflicted by fear or a great stress, you can pray for guidance and tranquillity regardless of where you are in time and place. Allah conferred this blessings upon the Muslims by making the entire earth pure for worship.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I have been granted five things that were not given to any of the Prophets before me: I was granted victory through fear cast into the hearts of my enemies after a distance of one month’s travel; the earth has been made a place of prostration and a means of purification for me, so when the time of prayer comes for any person among my nation, let him or her pray. War booty has been permitted for me and it was not permitted for any before me; every Prophet was sent only to his own people, but I have been sent to all of mankind; and I have been given the honour of intercession for mercy for my nation on the day of judgment.”
Here you may ask: Why did God specify the nation of Muhammad with this blessing? It is because Islam was sent for a time when mankind was about to advance in science and innovation. Life is getting more luxurious for ordinary people every day. There is more entertainment, more distractions, and less difficulty in meeting the basic needs of life. All this ease corrupts people and leads them away from their Lord. In other words, you may feel that you do not urgently need your Lord because all your needs are met, and all your time is filled with entertainment. You start to rely on the means rather than on the Creator of those means. Thus, in order to protect you from this corruption, Allah wants to make the obligations of worship as easy and accessible to you.
Take drinking water for example: not too long ago, people relied on rain and the village well for water and sustenance. When the village was stricken by drought, people turned to the well for water, when the well dried up, they turned to the Lord in prayer and supplication for rain. Nowadays, as science progressed, we can dig deeper wells; we have pipes bringing water from far away rivers; we have dams and reservoirs. So, it takes a much more severe drought, or a natural disaster for us to remember to turn to our Lord in prayer and supplication. So is the case in many other matters. God blessed us with discoveries, and revealed to us matters -such as electricity and antibiotics- that were not available to those before us. These great blessing should warrant your gratitude to God, rather than keep you away from Him. Allah made it easy for you when He made the entire earth pure for prostration and worship. Often, you may be caught up in a situation where the path to a mosque is difficult, which may lead you to postpone, or forget about praying. Allah made it convenient for you to meet with Him at any time in any place. He says:
God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His Light is like a niche wherein is a lamp; the lamp is in a crystal, and the crystal shining as if a pearl-like radiant star, lit from the oil of a blessed olive tree that is neither of the east nor of the west. The oil would almost give light of itself though no fire touches it: light upon light. God guides to His Light whom He wills. God strikes parables for people. God has full knowledge of all things. Shining out in houses of worship. God has ordained that they be raised high and that His name be remembered in them, with men in them celebrating His glory morning and evening (24:35, 36)
What are these special houses of worship from where light emerges? They are the mosques; and those who frequent the mosques daily to pray see the light of God.
When you see the disbelievers dare to come to the mosques with the intention of destroying them, then rest assured that the faith of the believers has deteriorated and weakened. Had the Muslims' faith been strong, and their numbers large, no one would have dared to threaten to prevent God’s remembrance in His houses of worship. In fact, when the disbelievers succeed in shutting down mosques, or preventing their construction, it emboldens them to do more harm against the Muslims. This is, as God described, is a great injustice.
In fact, people who have such malicious intentions towards God's houses of worship should only enter Mosques in the state of fear......fear of being confronted and thrown out by the believers. The verse ends with: ‘there is disgrace for them in this world and painful punishment in the Hereafter.’ God will not leave them unpunished in this world nor in the hereafter. The punishment in this world will come in the form of disgrace -which is a shameful state in which you would not want others to see you-. Take the example of the Jewish tribes of Medina who worked tirelessly to destroy God’s mosques, and drive the believers away from them. Their wealth was taken away, and they were driven out of their homes. What can be more disgraceful than this? As for the hereafter, God’s publishment for those aiming to destroy His mosques will be severe.
Keep in mind, however, that the believers who remain silent and do not try to defend God’s religion and prevent those from intruding on mosques will also receive painful punishment. Thus, you should never lose the will to stand firm against anyone who attempts to prevent people from the remembrance of their Lord.