Akhtar Hameed Khan From the book: Orangi Pilot Project,
Reminiscences and Reflections With due acknowledgement
to Oxford University Press, Pakistan
Koranic Faith and Good Works
By: Akhtar Hameed Khan
I. What is Faith?
Usually we are enchanted by our present life. Faith
reveals the transient and illusory nature of our present
life (hayat-ud-dunya). It also reveals an abiding
reality-the hereafter (akhirat).
(The following quotations are taken from the
translation of the Holy Koran by A.J.Arberry, published
by OUP, 1988.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akhtar_Hameed_Khan
'There is nothing but our present life; we die, and
we live, and nothing but Time destroys us. Surah 45,
They rejoice in this
present life; and this present life, beside the
world to come, is naught but passing enjoyment.
Surah 13, (26)
Surely those who look not
to encounter Us and are well-pleased with the
present life and are at rest in it, and those who
are heedless of Our signs. Surah 10, (7)
Decked out fair to men is
the love of lusts -- women, children, heaped-up
heaps of gold and silver, horses of mark, cattle and
tillage. That is the enjoyment of the present life;
but God -- with Him is the fairest resort. Surah 3,
surely this present life is
but a passing enjoyment; surely the world to come is
the abode of stability. Surah 40, (39)
The transient nature of our present life is described
for them the similitude of the present life: it is
as water that We send down out of heaven, and the
plants of the earth mingle with it; and in the
morning it is straw the winds scatter; and God is
omnipotent over everything.
Wealth and sons are the
adornment of the present world; but the abiding
things, the deeds of righteousness, are better with
God in reward, and better in hope. Surah 18, (45-46)
The likeness of this
present life is as water that We send down out of
heaven, and the plants of the earth mingle with it
whereof men and cattle eat, till, when the earth has
taken on its glitter and has decked itself fair, and
its inhabitants think they have power over it, Our
command comes upon it by night or day, and We make
it stubble, as though yesterday it flourished not.
Surah 10, (24)
Faith invites us to contemplate the short duration of
this life, the inevitable decay and death, and the
abiding reality of the hereafter.
shall taste of death; you shall surely be paid in
full your wages on the Day of Resurrection.
Whosoever is removed from the Fire and admitted to
Paradise, shall win the triumph. The present life is
but the joy of delusion. Surah 3 (185)
God is He that created you
of weakness, then He appointed after weakness
strength, then after strength He appointed weakness
and grey hairs. Surah 30 (54)
Faith convinces us that just as there are inexorable
physical laws, there are inexorable morals laws.
and whoso has done
an atom's weight of good shall see it, and whoso has
done an atom's weight of evil shall see it. Surah 99
Faith urges us to
follow the higher path of good works (morality):
Have We not
appointed to him two eyes, and a tongue, and two
lips, and guided him on the two highways? Yet he has
not assaulted the steep; and what shall teach thee
what is the steep? The freeing of a slave, or giving
food upon a day of hunger to an orphan near of kin
or a needy man in misery; then that he become of
those who believe and counsel each other to be
steadfast, and counsel each other to be merciful.
Surah 90 (Successful
Faith teaches us the
mental discipline of prayer and meditation to overcome
our baser instincts and follow the way of truth.
and perform the
prayer; prayer forbids indecency and dishonor. Surah
'My Lord, lead me in with a just ingoing, and lead
me out with a just outgoing. Surah 17 (80)
The life of faith and
good works is steadfast, like a
good tree, firmly rooted, with high branches, not
like rotten weeds.
And whosoever does a
righteous deed, be it male or female, believing, We
shall assuredly give him to live a goodly life.
(Surah 16 (97)
Hast thou not seen how God
has struck a similitude? A good word is as a good
tree -- its roots are firm, and its branches are in
it gives its produce every
season by the leave of its Lord. So God strikes
similitudes for men; haply they will remember. And
the likeness of a corrupt word is as a corrupt tree
-- uprooted from the earth, having no establishment.
Surah 14 (24-326)
II. The Fruits and
Signs of Faith and Good Works
Faith and good works
free us from fear and anxiety
Surely God's friends -- no
fear shall be on them, neither shall they sorrow.
Surah 10 (62)
Nay, but whosoever submits
his will to God, being a good-doer, his wage is with
his Lord, and no fear shall be on them, neither
shall they sorrow. Surah 2 (112)
Those who believe and do
deeds of righteousness, and perform the prayer, and
pay the alms -- their wage awaits them with their
Lord, and no fear shall be on them, neither shall
they sorrow. Surah 2, (277)
Signs of faithful: they
are humble, sedate, charitable, chaste, and honest.
Prosperous are the
believers who in their prayers are humble and from
idle talk turn away and at almsgiving are active and
guard their private parts save from their wives and
what their right hands own then being not
blameworthy (but whosoever seeks after more than
that, those are the transgressors) and who preserve
their trusts and their covenant and who observe
their prayers. Surah 23 (1-11)
Signs of servants of
God: they are modest, peaceful, frugal, non-violent, and
The servants of the
All-merciful are those who walk in the earth
modestly and who, when the ignorant address them,
say, 'Peace'; who pass the night prostrate to their
Lord and standing; who say, 'Our Lord, turn Thou
from us the chastisement of Gehenna; surely its
chastisement is torment most terrible; evil it is as
a lodging-place and an abode'; who, when they
expend, are neither prodigal nor parsimonious, but
between that is a just stand; who call not upon
another god with God, nor slay the soul God has
forbidden except by right, neither fornicate. Surah
Such men are found in
Surely they that believe,
and those of Jewry, and the Sabaeans, and those
Christians, whosoever believes in God and the Last
Day, and works righteousness -- no fear shall be on
them, neither shall they sorrow. Surah 5 (69)
Mere observance of
rituals is not piety. True piety consists in sincere
faith, doing good works and following moral laws.
It is not piety, that you
turn your faces to the East and to the West. True
piety is this: to believe in God, and the Last Day,
the angels, the Book, and the Prophets, to give of
one's substance, however cherished, to kinsmen, and
orphans, the needy, the traveler, beggars, and to
ransom the slave, to perform the prayer, to pay the
alms. And they who fulfill their covenant when they
have engaged in a covenant, and endure with
fortitude misfortune, hardship and peril, these are
they who are true in their faith, these are the
truly God-fearing. Surah 2 (177)
Woe to those who
perform prayers but refuse charity.
So woe to those that pray
and are heedless of their prayers, to those who make
display and refuse charity. Surah 107
III. The Moral Laws
We should be just and
kind and generous and abstain from indecency, dishonest
, and insolence.
And what you give in usury,
that it may increase upon the people's wealth,
increases not with God; but what you give in alms,
desiring God's Face, those -- they receive
Surely God bids to justice
and good-doing and giving to kinsmen; and He forbids
indecency, dishonor, and insolence, admonishing
you, so that haply you will remember.
We should abstain from
acquisitiveness, pride, and boastfulness. We should be
kind and generous to parents, to kinsmen, orphans, the
needy, neighbors, and servants.
Be kind to parents, and the
near kinsman, and to orphans, and to the needy, and
to the neighbor who is of kin, and to the neighbor
who is a stranger, and to the companion at your
side, and to the traveler, and to that your right
hands own. Surely God loves not the proud and
boastful We should be modest and
abstain from sexual misconduct and flirtation. Surah 4
We should be honest and
just in our public dealings. We should abstain from
cheating and stinting.
We should abstain from
We should not be
insolent, proud and boastful.
We should abstain from
malicious mockery, slander, and backbiting.
We should suppress our
aggressiveness and consult others, and practice amity.
We should promote
peace, concord, and piety.