Chapter Two: The Cow (Al Baqara)
Chapter 2, Verse 27, Part a
Those who break their covenant with God after it has been confirmed, who sever the bonds that God has commanded to be joined, who spread corruption on the earth- these are the losers (2:27)
In the previous session we explained the concept of faith. The concept of implementing God's teachings even if we do not understand the wisdom behind them. We accept whatever comes from Allah because He is our Lord.......we do not engage it through the prism of doubt and argument. Thus, the wisdom behind any religious obligation is complete trust and faith in Allah.
God Almighty informed us that the rebellious are those who have distanced themselves from His path. This verse describes the three main characteristics of the rebellious. First, they break God’s covenant after its solemn binding. Second, they sever the bonds God commanded to be joined, and lastly, they cause disorder and corruption on earth. Because of their actions, God made the judgment against them that they are losers. When a person exchanges God's legislation with that of his or her personal desires, he or she will pay a hefty price . God says:
They have bought error in exchange for guidance, so their trade reaps no profit, and they are not rightly guided. (2:16)
God’s guidance is what leads us towards the ever-lasting pleasure in paradise. Those who choose to trade it for short-lived worldly gain will lose themselves in the fires of hell.
Indeed Allah has bought from the faithful their souls and their possessions for paradise to be theirs: they fight in the way of Allah, kill, and are killed. A promise binding upon Him in the Torah and the Evangel and the Quran. And who is truer to his promise than Allah? So rejoice in the bargain you have made with Him, and that is the great success. (9:111)
True believers exchanged their wealth and their souls for God's company in heaven. As for the disbelievers and the hypocrites, they abandoned God's guidance for corruption in life. They did not keep their promise to the Lord. And if you are dishonest with yourself, and with God, how can you be trusted when dealing with people? Keeping one's word and honoring one's covenants and promises are one of the sure signs of faith. God says:
And do not touch the property of the orphans except for bettering it, until they come of age; And fulfill the covenants; indeed all covenants are accountable. (17:34)
and in a verse about the disbelievers:
We found that most of them did not honor their commitments; We found that most of them were rebellious (7:102)
Here you may naturally ask: What is the covenant that God is referring to in the 26th verse of 'The Cow'? Allah is referring to the innate faith within us.......the instinct and longing every human has for a higher power. God instilled this drive for faith and longing to Him in all of us, and He took an oath from entire mankind to seek His path. Allah refers to this covenant in the following verse:
And when your Lord took out the offspring from the loins of the Children of Adam and made them bear witness about themselves, He said, ‘Am I not your Lord?’ and they replied, ‘Yes, we bear witness.’ So you cannot say on the Day of Resurrection, ‘We were not aware of this,’ (7:172)
Each and every one of us took this oath before our Lord. Sadly, with time, negligence and carelessness found their way into the hearts of many, and slowly broke this covenant. Many took deities besides God. Keep in mind that God wants you to honor your word and too keep all your promises, even if a promise is made to a non-believer as the following verse illustrates:
Except those idolaters with whom you have a treaty, who have not failed you in the least, nor helped anyone against you. Fulfill your obligations to them during the term of the treaty. God loves those who take heed for themselves. (9:4)
We can take a historical example to the value of a believer's word and covenant. Allah disassociated Himself, the prophet and the believers from the disbelievers and idolaters in regards to faith. He forbade them from entering His sacred house in Mecca. Yet at the same time, God honored the treaty that existed between the Muslims and non-Muslims that allowed the non-Muslims to enter the Holy places. God instructed the believers to implement this treaty to its full term.
When you consider the value God placed on a covenant with the disbelievers, you will begin to appreciate the grave sin a person makes when breaking a covenant with God. The disbelievers have indeed rebelled against Gods religion and His covenant. How can they be trusted to keep their promise to you or anyone else? Thus, the first and foremost quality of the rebellious is that they do not honor covenant with their Creator or the creation.
We now move to the second attribute described in the verse: those “who sever the bonds that God has commanded to be joined” The bond in the verse refers to family and kinship. It is a sacred bond that Allah ordered us to keep. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said during the farewell pilgrimage:“Everyone is from Adam and Adamis from dust”. We all share the same ancestors, thus, God wants us to take notice of our humanity and respect our relations to one another. Your circle begins with your immediate family, extended family, and then expands to include your neighbors, your local community, society, all the believers, and finally the world as a whole. This is the brotherhood that God wants us to acknowledge and honor at every level.
Allah wants us to keep excellent ties with our family and relatives. So if you break ties with your parents or your family members, not only will you be in violation of your social responsibility, but you would also be violating God's command. Keeping good ties with relatives creates a social solidarity among human beings. For instance, in a healthy society, if you are stricken by a calamity, your family and relatives will be first at your side trying to relieve your troubles. This unity between family members makes each one of them stronger in facing such events. No one will feel lost or abandoned if he or she is united with the family, united with the neighborhood and the society as a whole.
Sadly, nowadays, especially in Western societies, many family bonds have been broken, and as a result, depression, anxiety and other personal afflictions are widespread. When a person feels isolated, he or she may turn to alcohol or drugs for solace......whole generations can be lost when families disintegrate. When we see deviations spreading among the young today, we should not just blame them for it; rather we should look first towards the parents who may have neglected their children chasing after material gains. A son or a daughter who has a poor family atmosphere loses balance in life.
God wants the believers to be affectionate, united and free from the major problems that destroy life. You can start by taking care of your parents, your children and your spouse. If you are there for your family members in their distress, God will be there for you at your time of trouble. Next, try building bridges with your neighbors and your community regardless of their faith, and finally, make sure you reach out for your fellow Muslims near and far. We can all use each other's help.