بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Did you not observe those who have been given a share from the Book? They are invited to the Book of Allah, so that it may decide between them. Then, a group from them goes back, turning their faces away. [Aal-Imran:23]
In this ayaah Allah is telling us a story. The story of a people who were given the book. Allah tells us that they had some sort of relationship with the book they were given. They may have read it beautifully, memorized it, celebrated it etc. but as soon as it came to this book making decisions for them, deciding right and wrong for them, they turned away.
Does this sound familiar?
They may have recited this book in their masajid every day, but when the book told them not to be extravagant they turned away.
They may have discussed the theology of the book but when the book told them that every man is equal, no matter his color or race, they turned away.
They may have had big gatherings of recitation of the book. But when the book told them to be just, they turned away.
They may have had commenced their nikah with ayaat from the book but when the book told them to stay away from fahisha (immoral acts such as music, nudity, dancing, indecent clothing, immoral behaviour etc.) they turned away.
They may have memorized the book but when the book told them to stay away from lies, they turned away.
They may have written the ayaat with saffron and drank the water in which it was dissolved, but when the book told them not to back bite, they turned away.
They may have mastered the art of tajweed but when the book told them to be upright and honest they turned away.
They may have cried while listening to a beautiful recitation but when the book told them to lower their gaze and cover up, they turned away.
They may have had ornate calligraphies hanging on their walls for barakah in their rizq but when the book told to stay away from haraam income they turned away.
They may have had beautiful copies of the book in their houses but when the book told them to give orphans their due rights they turned away.
They may have distributed expensive copies of the book for the isaal-e-sawab of their dead, but when that book told them to stay away from false rituals, they turned away.
Whose picture is being painted in this ayaah? Whose story is this? Is this the story of banu Israel or is this a story of us?
And in the ayaah after this?
That is because they have said: “The Fire shall not touch us except for a few days.” Thus they are deceived in their faith by what they themselves used to invent. [Aal-Imran: 24]
Isn’t this also just like us who believe that just because we are Muslims a.k.a born in a Muslim family, we are guaranteed jannah? And if we just recite such and such thing no hell fire shall touch us? Or if we send so and so many salutations upon Rasulullah SAW he will do shifaah for us no matter what our deeds are?
So let’s rectify lest we face the same fate as the banu Israel:
….Then they were stamped with disgrace and misery, and they returned with wrath from Allah….. [Al-Baqarah:61]