Chapter Two: The Cow (Al Baqara)
Verses 10, 11 & 12
Chapter 2, Verses 10, 11 and 12
There is a disease in their hearts, to which God has added more: agonizing torment awaits them for their persistent lying (2:10)
Just like the body needs proper food, exercise and care in order to be healthy; the heart also needs proper faith and the truth to be healthy. In this verse, God describes the hearts of the hypocrites as diseased. What causes such disease –you may ask-? It comes from the constant lying, the hypocrisy, and the disharmony the hypocrites live with on a daily basis. It is the lack of faith and the constant immersion in lies and deception that deprives the heart from health and youth. The only treatment for this disease is to abandon lying, embrace God’s message, and the teachings of the Quran as illustrated in the following verse:
We send down in the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to the faithful, but it only increases the wrongdoers in loss. (17:82)
Take note that the hypocrites have voided their hearts from the two cures they desperately need: faith and the Quran. Therefore, their illness only increases as time passes, and God –because of the choices they make- increases their ailment even more.
Take a moment to imagine a sick and diseased body……It is weak, and unable to perform its functions properly. When you are ill, you lack the strength and the interest to do anything, even the things that are beneficial to you. Similarly, the diseased heart lacks the strength required to acknowledge and speak the truth because it lives in a state of constant fear. God has instilled in our hearts the natural instinct to believe in a higher power, and an inquisitive nature to seek out the creator. This healthy state is lost when a person engages in hypocrisy and deception. The resulting weakness is most apparent when the hypocrites go to battle amongst the ranks of the believers. Their only goal at that moment is to look for chances to hide or flee the battlefield. God Almighty says describing them:
If they could find a refuge, a hideout, or a hole to creep into, they would turn to it in frantic haste. (9:57)
The torment the hypocrites live with on a daily basis does not end here; rather a painful punishment awaits them in the hereafter. In fact, the punishment of the hypocrites will be more severe than that of the disbelievers as illustrated in the following verse:
The hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of Hell, and you will find no one to help them. (4:145)
Let’s continue to the 11th verse of “The Cow”.
Whenever they are told "Do not cause disorder and corruption on earth," they say: "Why! We indeed are the ones who set things right." (2:11)
What does it mean to cause mischief and corruption on earth? It means that you go out of your way to seek what is working and what is upright in order to deform and destroy it. Keep in mind that the bare minimum that is required of you as a Muslim, is to leave what is working and what is upright alone without interfering with it. And if you wish to strengthen your faith and gain reward, you can invest your effort and wealth for the betterment and service of others.
You can avoid causing corruption simply by leaving the elements of life and the environment as God had created them. On the other hand, if you interfere and damage what is working, you would be causing corruption at two levels. First, you would be showing ingratitude for God’s bounties. And second, you would be robbing other people from the right to benefit from and enjoy God’s gifts. Let’s clarify this point with an example….Suppose you come across a well from which people drink. This well is a bounty from God that fulfills people’s everyday need. You can approach it with the means and intellect that God gave you and restore it in an environmentally friendly way. You can even improve the condition of the well by lining its walls with stones and installing a pump. On the other hand, if you decide to fill it up with rubble to build a house, or if you dump industrial waste in it, then you have certainly showed ingratitude to God’s bounty and caused harm to society.
These destructive actions are very similar to the actions of the hypocrites who go out of their way to corrupt God's religion and bounty. They conspire against the faith and claim to be believers in order to damage Islam and cause great harm to the Muslim society.
Hypocrisy originated soon after Islam took hold and built a civil society in Medina. The enemies of Islam noted that, on numerous occasions, Islam had stood up and overcome its more powerful adversaries. The disbelievers tried for many years to confront Islam head on but failed every single time. Islam continued to grow and spread wide despite their efforts. They finally concluded that their best chance is to attack Islam from within by using the hypocrites to divide the Muslim society. From that point on, various ideologies and sects, such as the secular and the leftist movements, emerged. Each movement was dressed with Islamic flare as a cover. When the believers noticed these movements and their destructive and divisive effects, they asked the leaders to refrain from causing mischief and division within Islam. The hypocrites in response claimed that that they are only amending and advancing the faith.
God says in the 12th verse of ‘The Cow’:
No indeed! Surely, they are the corrupters, but they are not aware of it. (2:12)
When the hypocrites operate under the assumption that they are deceiving God, they are -in fact- only fooling themselves. Similarly, when they bring forth any work or project that claims reform, they are -in fact- only causing corruption. This is because when anyone operates outside of God's religion and recommendations, the society will most likely suffer. Keep in mind that life cannot be reformed unless we follow the instructions and guidance of its creator. Allah is the one who brought us to existence, He is best aware of His creations, and thus He is the expert on what will corrupt life and what will make it upright.
Take a moment to imagine the car of your dreams. Imagine the luxury, the speed, and the new car smell. If you owned this car, and then something went wrong with the engine. What would you do? Ideally, you would head towards the person or company who designed and manufactured your dream car. And if the manufacturer is not present in your city, you would look for a trained technician at a reputable dealership. Another place to seek direction and advice would be the owner’s manual. You would go through all this trouble because you value and love this car, and you know that if you try to repair it yourself without the manual or without guidance from the manufacturer, you will most likely make the problem worse.
Surprisingly, we take all these precautions when it comes to our worldly affairs, but in the issues related to our faith, our life and the environment, we try every man-made system rather than directing ourselves towards the Creator. Allah is most knowledgeable of His creation, and when we ignore His teachings, we are most likely to cause harm and corruption rather than make things better. How many projects were made in the name of development, only to find out that they cause damage to the environment and the society alike? How many governing systems were developed only to end up in ruin? When it comes to faith, family and dealing with God’s creation on earth, Allah is the source of the best guidance. Thus, whoever works outside God's religion and alters God’s judgment is causing corruption regardless of how eloquent his or her argument is.
If you truly intend to reform and improve things, you should direct yourself towards the source of all good: God, The most merciful, the most benevolent.