A tactic that God utilizes to explain matters in the Quran is done by drawing distinctions through the use of opposites. This allows the students of the Quran to better understand these concepts through knowing what something is by understanding what it is not. This can provide the constrast needed to help clarify things, much like how the illumination of light on a physical object forms a shadow that provides observers the ability to better distinguish what it is being observed. The example that I think best describe this tactic can be seen in the following verses.
[35:19] The blind and the seer are not equal. [35:20] Nor are the darkness and the light. [35:21] Nor are the coolness of the shade and the heat of the sun. [35:22] Nor are the living and the dead; GOD causes whomever He wills to hear. You cannot make hearers out of those in the graves.
But it is not just the opposites, but the absence of one causes the other e.g. the absences of sight is blindness, the absence of light is darkness, the absence of heat is coolness, the absence of life is death, and the absence of hearing is deafness. Similarly while Paradise is with God, Hell is the absence of God.
In the following verse God informs us the opposite between what a believer fights for and what a disbeliever fights for.
[4:76] Those who believe are fighting for the cause of GOD, while those who disbelieve are fighting for the cause of tyranny. Therefore, you shall fight the devil’s allies; the devil’s power is nil.
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ الطَّاغُوتِ فَقَاتِلُوا أَوْلِيَاءَ الشَّيْطَانِ إِنَّ كَيْدَ الشَّيْطَانِ كَانَ ضَعِيفًا
So from this we see that the absence of God in a society leads to tyranny.
While a believer fights for the cause of God, a disbeliever fights for the cause of tyranny. So therefore, the cause of God must be the opposite of tyranny. Interestingly enough the word in this verse for tyranny is الطَّاغُوتِ (l-ṭāghūti) as used in this verse also means “the idols”.
So this verse could be understood that the believers fight for the cause of God, while the disbelievers fight for the cause of idols. It is interesting that the Arabic word for tyranny is the the same meaning as idols. These kind of clever play of words are rampant all throughout the Quran, but there are usually lessons for us to learn from as God selected every word for a specific reason.
As followers of the Quran we call ourselves Muslims and that we follow the religion of Islam, but these words have meanings as they are descriptions of what we do. The word Muslim means someone who submits to the will of God, while the word Islam means Submission. But the root of these words comes from the same root as the word for peace. Therefore the religion of Islam literally means the religion of peace, and the Muslim would be one who is peaceful.
[6:125] Whomever GOD wills to guide, He renders his chest wide open to Submission. And whomever He wills to send astray, He renders his chest intolerant and straitened, like one who climbs towards the sky. GOD thus places a curse upon those who refuse to believe.
فَمَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَهْدِيَهُ يَشْرَحْ صَدْرَهُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ وَمَنْ يُرِدْ أَنْ يُضِلَّهُ يَجْعَلْ صَدْرَهُ ضَيِّقًا حَرَجًا كَأَنَّمَا يَصَّعَّدُ فِي السَّمَاءِ كَذَٰلِكَ يَجْعَلُ اللَّهُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ
Again we see this play on words, where the religion approved by God is Submission (Islam) is represented by someone who is peaceful and can breathe easily, while the disbelievers are equated to one who’s chest is straitened and intolerant. This depicts the believer as peaceful and tolerant, while the disbeliever is agitated and intolerant.
For the Religion of Peace, Islam Sure Seems Violent
God informs us that in this world there are three kinds of people. There are the believers, the disbelievers, and the hypocrites.
[2:62 & 5:69] Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the Christians, and the converts; anyone who (1) believes in GOD, and (2) believes in the Last Day, and (3) leads a righteous life, will receive their recompense from their Lord. They have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالنَّصَارَىٰ وَالصَّابِئِينَ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
Disbelievers are individuals who openly proclaim in their disbelief in the Creator and His revelations.
Hypocrites are actually a form of disbelievers that despite claiming to believe in God their actions show otherwise by usually being rampant with idol worship.
[61:2] O you who believe, why do you say what you do not do? [61:3] Most abominable in the sight of GOD is that you say what you do not do.
يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ
كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَن تَقُولُوا مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ
[39:32] Who is more evil than one who attributes lies to GOD, while disbelieving in the truth that has come to him? Is Hell not a just requital for the disbelievers?
فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ كَذَبَ عَلَى اللَّهِ وَكَذَّبَ بِالصِّدْقِ إِذْ جَاءَهُ أَلَيْسَ فِي جَهَنَّمَ مَثْوًى لِلْكَافِرِينَ
One of the signs of a disbeliever is that they are filled with rage, violence, and belligerence. This goes to show that it a person’s actions are more important in determining one’s faith than what it is that they claim to profess.
[22:72] When our revelations are recited to them, clearly, you recognize wickedness on the faces of those who disbelieve. They almost attack those who recite our revelations to them. Say, “Shall I inform you of something much worse? Hell is promised by GOD for those who disbelieve; what a miserable destiny.”
This may seem confusing as so many people who are claiming to fight for God are the ones who are causing tyranny.
[35:8] Note the one whose evil work is adorned in his eyes, until he thinks that it is righteous. GOD thus sends astray whoever wills (to go astray), and He guides whoever wills (to be guided). Therefore, do not grieve over them. GOD is fully aware of everything they do.
أَفَمَنْ زُيِّنَ لَهُ سُوءُ عَمَلِهِ فَرَآهُ حَسَنًا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يُضِلُّ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ فَلَا تَذْهَبْ نَفْسُكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَسَرَاتٍ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ
Unfortunately the Muslim world is plagued with hypocrisy and tyranny. This is indicating that these people are (1) not following the religion of God (2) setting up idols next to God.
On October 16, 2020, 18-year-old Abdoullakh Abouyedovich Anzorov decapitated a civic’s teacher, Mr. Samuel Paty in France. The killer then posted images on social media of dead victim Samuel Paty, 47, who had shown controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his students.
[6:68] If you see those who mock our revelations, you shall avoid them until they delve into another subject. If the devil causes you to forget, then, as soon as you remember, do not sit with such evil people.
وَإِذَا رَأَيْتَ الَّذِينَ يَخُوضُونَ فِي آيَاتِنَا فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَخُوضُوا فِي حَدِيثٍ غَيْرِهِ وَإِمَّا يُنْسِيَنَّكَ الشَّيْطَانُ فَلَا تَقْعُدْ بَعْدَ الذِّكْرَىٰ مَعَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ
A couple days later on October 29th, three people have died in a knife attack at a church in Nice. One elderly victim was “virtually beheaded”, officials said. Another woman and a man also died. The suspect was a 21-year-old Tunisian national who had arrived in France earlier this month. He had a document issued by the Italian Red Cross.
November 2nd, 2020, A lone gunman opened fire with a rifle in the historic city center of Vienna. Four civilians were killed in the attack and 23 others were injured, seven critically, including a police officer. The Vienna Police Department confirmed that the attacker was an Islamic State sympathizer, and that the attack was motivated by Islamic extremism.
November 10th, 2020, Islamic militant groups beheaded 50 people in northern Mozambique. Other reports suggest that militants have turned a football field into an “execution site” in a village, where they are beheaded and dismembered. State media reported that several people were beheaded in another village. The militants are linked to the Islamic State group (ISIS). The gunmen reportedly shouted “Allah Akbar” when they stormed the village on Friday night and fired shots from the air. A number of village women are also said to have been abducted, and villagers who tried to flee were taken to a football field where the execution took place. Executions and beheadings reportedly continued from Saturday to Sunday.
[2:190] You may fight in the cause of GOD against those who attack you, but do not aggress. GOD does not love the aggressors. [2:191] You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque (Masjid), unless they attack you therein. If they attack you, you may kill them. This is the just retribution for those disbelievers. [2:192] If they refrain, then GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful. [2:193] You may also fight them to eliminate oppression, and to worship GOD freely. If they refrain, you shall not aggress; aggression is permitted only against the aggressors. [2:194] During the Sacred Months, aggression may be met by an equivalent response. If they attack you, you may retaliate by inflicting an equitable retribution. You shall observe GOD and know that GOD is with the righteous.
In addition to causing violence and destruction to others, the idols of the hypocrites causes great pain among themselves in their own families.
[6:137] Thus were the idol worshipers duped by their idols, to the extent of killing their own children. In fact, their idols inflict great pain upon them, and confuse their religion for them. Had GOD willed, they would not have done it. You shall disregard them and their fabrications.
وَكَذَٰلِكَ زَيَّنَ لِكَثِيرٍ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ قَتْلَ أَوْلَادِهِمْ شُرَكَاؤُهُمْ لِيُرْدُوهُمْ وَلِيَلْبِسُوا عَلَيْهِمْ دِينَهُمْ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا فَعَلُوهُ فَذَرْهُمْ وَمَا يَفْتَرُونَ
On July 17th, 2020 a video circulated of a woman in Jordan dashing out of a house screaming into the street, her father close behind. Bleeding from her neck, she begged her mother, the neighbors — anyone — to intervene. That was when her father picked up a concrete block and smashed his 40-year-old daughter’s skull in. Then he sat down next to her body with a cigarette in one hand and a cup of tea in the other as he calmly waited for authorities to arrive, according to witness, police and local media accounts. It is estiamted that in Jordan alone there have been over nine such honor killings in 2020 alone.
In 1989 in St. Louis, Missouri, sixteen-year-old Palestina (Tina) Isa was murdered by her Palestinian father, Zein Isa, with the aid of her Brazilian mother, Maria Isa. Their daughter listened to American popular music such as dance, rap, R&B, and rock. After learning that Palestina had taken a part-time job without her parents’ permission, and dated an African American man, her father felt she had become too modernized. On the day of her murder, Zein repeatedly stabbed his daughter Tina, while her mother Maria held her down. On December 20, 1991 both Zein and Maria Isa were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. He later died of diabetes complications on February 17, 1997. Maria’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment without parole; she died on April 30, 2014, in a Vandalia, Missouri, prison at the age of 70.
Amina and Sarah Said were the children of Egyptian immigrant Yaser Abdel Said and American Patricia “Tissie” Owens. Both girls were born in Dallas, Texas, Amina on March 2, 1989, and Sarah on March 16, 1990. The girls were found shot to death in a taxi at the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Irving, Texas, on January 1, 2008. Both girls had left their home in Lewisville, Texas, earlier that evening, with their father Yaser Said. At 7:33 pm CT a call came into the Irving Police Department’s 911 call center. The call was from Sarah Said. She had been shot nine times and told the operator, “My dad shot me and my sister. I’m dying!” Their mother, Patricia Said, claims that both girls were killed for having non-Muslim boyfriends. Death threats had been made by Yaser against the girls. They ran away and were safe, but their mother brought them back. Yaser Said was an FBI Top Ten Fugitive until his capture in 2020, the FBI was offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. Said has been featured on America’s Most Wanted as well as on a Fox News special about honor killings in America; he was also on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. Yaser Abdel Said was captured on August 26, 2020, aged 63. He had been on the run for over twelve years up until then
Faleh Hassan Almaleki, an Iraqi immigrant, used his vehicle to strike and kill his daughter Noor Almaleki (aged 20) in a Phoenix valley parking lot in October 2009; he also severely injured her boyfriend’s mother, Amal Khalaf. Police said Almaleki told detectives and witnesses after the October 2009 incident that he was angry at his daughter because she was “too Westernized,” defying Iraqi and Muslim values. Noor had shunned an arranged marriage to a first cousin in Iraq, and was living with her boyfriend and his mother, police said. Earlier, she had insisted on driving and crashed the family van. County prosecutor Laura Reckart said an enraged Almaleki hid in the parking lot waiting for her and her boyfriend’s mother and then “revved and raced that car right into them.” Following his daughter’s death, Almaleki fled to Mexico and later to London, where he was taken into custody upon his arrival.
Two women in Pakistan have been murdered in a so-called “honor killing” after a video showing them kissing a man circulated online.The cousins, aged 22 and 24, were shot and buried on May 14, 2020 in a remote village in Pakistan’s North Waziristan province, according to police officer Muhammad Nawaz Khan.Khan said the father of one of the victims and the other victim’s brother were arrested Sunday and confessed to killing the women. The leaked mobile phone video, in which the women appeared is a year old, but surfaced on social media this month, sparking the family’s ire and decision to kill the women, said Khan. The footage shows a young man kissing the two women on the lips, while a third woman laughs alongside them.
[4:60] Have you noted those who claim that they believe in what was revealed to you, and in what was revealed before you, then uphold the unjust laws of their idols? They were commanded to reject such laws. Indeed, it is the devil’s wish to lead them far astray.
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ يَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّهُمْ آمَنُوا بِمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ يُرِيدُونَ أَنْ يَتَحَاكَمُوا إِلَى الطَّاغُوتِ وَقَدْ أُمِرُوا أَنْ يَكْفُرُوا بِهِ وَيُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَنْ يُضِلَّهُمْ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا
[5:49] You shall rule among them in accordance with GOD’s revelations to you. Do not follow their wishes, and beware lest they divert you from some of GOD’s revelations to you. If they turn away, then know that GOD wills to punish them for some of their sins. Indeed, many people are wicked. [5:50] Is it the law of the days of ignorance that they seek to uphold? Whose law is better than GOD’s for those who have attained certainty?
[48:26] While those who disbelieved were enraged, and their hearts were filled with the pride of the days of ignorance, GOD blessed His messenger and the believers with peaceful contentment, and directed them to uphold the word of righteousness. This is what they well deserved. GOD is fully aware of all things.
إِذْ جَعَلَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الْحَمِيَّةَ حَمِيَّةَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَعَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَلْزَمَهُمْ كَلِمَةَ التَّقْوَىٰ وَكَانُوا أَحَقَّ بِهَا وَأَهْلَهَا وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا
[61:7] Who is more evil than one who fabricates lies about GOD, and he is being invited to Submission? GOD does not guide the evil people.
وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَىٰ عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ وَهُوَ يُدْعَىٰ إِلَى الْإِسْلَامِ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ