Chapter Two: The Cow (Al Baqara)
Verse 27.......Part 2
Chapter 2, Verse 27 Part B
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)
Let’s look at the third quality that God described the rebellious people with: those ‘who spread corruption on earth’. When we think about God's creation, we should look at it through the context of these verses:
Glorify the name of your Lord the Most High, who created all things in due proportion; who determined their destinies and guided them (87:1-3)
This means that all creation is guided by Allah towards a goal determined by Allah. Human beings have the added advantage of free-choice. However, this is a double-edged sword that can cause corruption in life if misused.
It is truly a great mercy from God that most creations are obliged to carry their mission without any deviation. The sun, stars, water, soil and the entire universe, except for humans and jinn, operate according to an accurate system and a finite plan. They follow God's command and have no choice of their own. We see that the entire universe is operating like clockwork. And in order for our own lives to enjoy the same balance and beauty, we should exercise our freedom of choice according to God's recommendations. Having free will does not imply that you can distance yourself from God without consequences. Allah, after all, possesses the attribute of compulsion, and could have simply created you forced to obey Him. God gave you the freedom of choice so you may turn to Him out of love and not by force. Your freedom of choice can earn you great rewards and infinite pleasure in heaven if you use it correctly in life.
Thus, each one of us has the choice to believe or to not believe. The choices that you and I make reflect the level of love in our hearts for Allah. When your love for God outweighs your love and desires for worldly matters, you can easily bring yourself to carry out God’s teachings. Sadly, many have taken this freedom of choice for granted and used it to cause corruption on earth.
Let's take a few moments to look at corruption in detail. Corruption happens when you swap the commands ‘do’ and ‘do not do’ with each other. In essence, you are throwing life out of balance. If there is no law and order......if each individual does what he or she likes disregarding the rights of others, chaos and conflicts occur. Consider this example: suppose that while you were walking in your neighborhood, you notice water leaking from a pipe of a newly constructed building. The paint, and the wall of the building are now damaged. Even if you do not own this building, you will definitely feel displeasure and hurt by this sight. It indicates to you that someone did not do their job properly. A worker may have used a defective pipe, or the plumber may have installed the water valve in a rush. One worker's dishonesty through this single act of corruption had tarnished the appearance of an entire building.
Similarly, moral corruption tarnishes the fabric of society. The more dishonest people are in their professions and dealings, the more mistrust spreads in the community. Soon, no person feels comfortable or safe when dealing with others. Take the example of a merchant who cheats people. He may sell you a defective or expired product. His intention is to make a quick profit and bring immediate benefit to himself; however, in reality, he has caused corruption and spread mistrust. When a person is greedy in the quest for money, power, or status, he or she will not think twice about transgressing over other peoples' rights, and may even harm those standing in his or her way. This is where misery and evil find their way into society and throw life out of balance.
Corruption in society is relatively easy to spot. One of its clearest signs is the spread of cronyism.....in essence entrusting tasks and responsibilities to those who are not fit. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘The hour of judgment is near when you see authority given to those who do not deserve it'. In a society where cronyism is rife, the person who masters the art of hypocrisy reaches high status, and the one who is honest, hard-working and masters his task gains nothing. The result is a group of ignorant hypocrites running the affairs of the people into ruin. When hard work, and people's rights lose their value, the whole society transforms into a jungle filled with non-producers. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘Whoever appoints a man as a leader of a group, while there is amongst them someone who is more qualified, then he has certainly betrayed the trust of God and His messenger’.
Another sign of corruption is the destruction of the environment. When individuals and companies put their immediate short-term benefit above all else, they lose sight of the balance of the world around them. Trees are cut haphazardly, and industrial waste is dumped into rivers.......People and nature are exploited in order to gain the highest advantage. The end result is a world filled with corruption and injustice making life a never-ending series of miseries.
The only solution to remove corruption from society is to adopt a system of governance that is not based on greed and desires. A system that is fair and not inclined to serve some while exploiting others. The only source of such balance and fairness comes from the one who free of any need, the most knowledgeable, the most merciful: God Almighty.
Through religious teachings, Allah has laid down an inclusive policy that encompasses all peoples' affairs in dealing with each other and with their surroundings. Those who study Islam can appreciate the extent of God's concern with preserving and advancing the affairs of people, animals and the environment. Shamefully, we have abandoned this system and walked away flopping in the darkness of ignorance.
This brings us to the end of the verse. God says about those who break their covenant, sever their family ties, and spread corruption: ‘these are the losers’. Here you may ask: what have they lost? They have lost their world, the hereafter and most importantly, themselves. Each one of us has two lives: A short worldly life filled with hardships, and an everlasting life in the hereafter. A person who exchanges the eternal life, in all its eternal pleasure, with the life of this world, which has no guarantees, is in fact a loser. Remember that your life, no matter how long it lasts, is very short. Thus if you disregard the final destination, the inevitable fact that you will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment to meet your Lord and be brought to account, then surely you would have lost yourself and made the punishment of God incumbent upon yourself.
This loss is not temporary, nor can it be made up for; It is an eternal loss, and thus carries with it great regret. God Almighty states:
We have warned you of imminent torment, on the Day when every person will see what their own hands have sent ahead for them, when the disbeliever will say, ‘If only I were dust!’ (78:40)
When the disbelievers see the horrors of the punishment, and realize the enormity of the loss which they subjected themselves to, each one of them will wish that he or she were mere dust. Sadly, remorse will not avail anyone that day. Faith and mindfulness of God are the foundation of life and salvation, and without it, all is lost. God says:
Say: ‘Shall I inform you of the greatest losers in their actions? whose efforts in this world are misguided, even when they think they are doing good work? It is those who disbelieve in their Lord’s messages and deny that they will meet Him.’ Their deeds come to nothing: on the Day of Resurrection We shall give them no weight. (18:103-105)
Take a moment to ask yourself: How much time do you spend each day planning, working, and preparing for worldly matters? If you are a parent, how much do you invest in your children's education and in getting them ready to earn a good living? All this work and energy is put in preparation for the conceived future......a future which is uncertain because death can overcome anyone regardless of age and health. There are no guarantees in life......any person can get sick, can lose his or her job, or end up with an education that is worthless.
Contrast that with the absolute certainty that you and I will meet our Lord on the Day of Resurrection. Each one of us will be taken into account regarding our deeds. Now, let's ask ourselves the same questions. How much time do you spend each day planning, working, and preparing for the hereafter? If you are a parent, how much do you invest in your children's faith? Only a few put effort in encouraging their children to pray, adhere to honesty and the deeds which bring one closer to God. The choices you make every day, and the priorities you set for yourself will determine if you will be among the true winners or losers in the hereafter.