No One Above The Law (3:161)

No One Above the Law

[3:161] Even the prophet cannot take more of the spoils of war than he is entitled to. Anyone who takes more than his rightful share will have to account for it on the Day of Resurrection. That is when each soul is paid for whatever it earned, without the least injustice.

How does the expression “no one above the law” apply to the average person’s daily life?

In life we will at some point have status above others by becoming employers, managers, coaches, parents etc. At that point will you abide by the same moral laws as your subordinates or consider yourself exempt or having the ability of having a free pass. It takes real integrity to abide by the laws when you are in a position of authority to skirt the laws.

Rule of Law – Gregg, De Soto, Escobari
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y69WeoX_3hI

Bryan Stevenson: We need to talk about an injustice
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2tOp7OxyQ8

60 Minutes – Nancy Pelosi and Visa IPO
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0LMAP0L5G4

Bribery, Corruption Condemned

[2:188] You shall not take each others’ money illicitly, nor shall you bribe the officials to deprive others of some of their rights illicitly, while you know.

In some countries bribery is common place and it is almost required in any governmental functions. If you are in a situation where you have to pay a bribe in order of not being victimized by a corrupt government are you committing a sing or should you not pay that bribe?

In one instance you can be viewed as the victim and you are being forced in the situation. In some countries it is the individual who receives the bribe that is punished as often times the one paying the bribe is the victim.

The other way this can be viewed is that we shouldn’t cooperate in matters that are sinful. If we trust in God, God will resolve the situation despite what the criminals scheme.

[5:2] …. You shall cooperate in matters of righteousness and piety; do not cooperate in matters that are sinful and evil. You shall observe GOD. GOD is strict in enforcing retribution. 

[8:30] The disbelievers plot and scheme to neutralize you, or kill you, or banish you. However, they plot and scheme, but so does GOD. GOD is the best schemer.

no one above the law

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Trust in God (3:159 – 3:160)

God loves those who trust in Him. We make decisions and trust in God and we will be successful even if we made the wrong decision as long as we are not deliberately choosing to sin.

[3:135] If they fall in sin or wrong their souls, they remember GOD and ask forgiveness for their sins – and who forgives the sins except GOD – and they do not persist in sins, knowingly. 

Proverbs 16

  1. The plans of the mind belong to mortals, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
  2. All one’s ways may be pure in one’s own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.
  3. 3. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
  4. The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.
  5. All those who are arrogant are an abomination to the Lord; be assured, they will not go unpunished.
  6. By loyalty and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one avoids evil.
  7. When the ways of people please the Lord, he causes even their enemies to be at peace with them.
  8. Better is a little with righteousness than large income with injustice.
  9. The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps. 

Proverbs 16-3

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_God_we_trust

In God We Trust” was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956 as an alternative or replacement to the unofficial motto of E pluribus unum, which was adopted when the Great Seal of the United States was created and adopted in 1782. Secularists have expressed objections to its use, and have sought to have the religious reference removed from the currency. “In God we trust” first appeared on U.S. coins in 1864 and has appeared on paper currency since 1957. A law passed by the 84th Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by the President on July 30, 1956, the President approved a Joint Resolution of the 84th Congress, declaring IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the United States. IN GOD WE TRUST was first used on paper money in 1957, when it appeared on the one-dollar silver certificate. The first paper currency bearing the motto entered circulation on October 1, 1957

InGodWeTrust

Praying For Another’s Forgiveness (3:159 – 3:160)

Is it okay to ask forgiveness for another person or is this a responsibility just for the messenger?

[42:5] The heavens above them almost shatter, out of reverence for Him, and the angels praise and glorify their Lord, and they ask forgiveness for those on earth. Absolutely, GOD is the Forgiver, Most Merciful.

It is different if someone asks us to pray for their forgiveness because they acknowledge that they did something wrong as oppose to someone who does not seek forgiveness.

[63:5] When they are told, “Come let the messenger of GOD pray for your forgiveness,” they mockingly turn their heads, and you see them repel others and act arrogantly.

[9:80] Whether you ask forgiveness for them, or do not ask forgiveness for them – even if you ask forgiveness for them seventy times – GOD will not forgive them. This is because they disbelieve in GOD and His messenger. GOD does not guide the wicked people.

Importance of Kindness and Compassion (3:159 – 3:160)

The Messenger’s Kindness

[3:159] It was mercy from GOD that you became compassionate towards them. Had you been harsh and mean-hearted, they would have abandoned you. Therefore, you shall pardon them and ask forgiveness for them, and consult them. Once you make a decision, carry out your plan, and trust in GOD. GOD loves those who trust in Him.* 
*3:159 The currency of the U.S.A. is the only currency that carries the phrase: “In God we trust.” It is a fact that the American dollar has been the strongest currency in the world, and the standard by which all other currencies are measured. 

[3:160] If GOD supports you, none can defeat you. And if He abandons you, who else can support you? In GOD the believers shall trust.

If I can forgive and pardon then I have received the gift of kindness from God. Like patience, kindness comes only from God.

The importance of being compassionate as oppose to being harsh and mean-hearted especially if you are looking for people to listen to you and join you. These are not people who are fighting the believers. These are neutral individuals.

How to Spread God’s Message

[16:125] You shall invite to the path of your Lord with wisdom and kind enlightenment, and debate with them in the best possible manner. Your Lord knows best who has strayed from His path, and He knows best who are the guided ones.
[16:126] And if you punish, you shall inflict an equivalent punishment. But if you resort to patience (instead of revenge), it would be better for the patient ones.
[16:127] You shall resort to patience – and your patience is attainable only with GOD’s help. Do not grieve over them, and do not be annoyed by their schemes.
[16:128] GOD is with those who lead a righteous life, and those who are charitable. 

Submitters

[41:33] Who can utter better words than one who invites to GOD, works righteousness, and says, “I am one of the submitters”?
[41:34] Not equal is the good response and the bad response. You shall resort to the nicest possible response. Thus, the one who used to be your enemy, may become your best friend.
[41:35] None can attain this except those who steadfastly persevere. None can attain this except those who are extremely fortunate.

Proverbs 15
1. A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
2. The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.

Findings show that when interrogators use rapport and respect they receive a lot more cooperation rather than being harsh and abusive.

60 Minutes – The interrogator, Pt. 1 (10min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1ivoWW1-4U

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/12/the-humane-interrogation-technique-that-works-much-better-than-torture/383698/

http://sweetness-light.com/archive/time-cookies-make-terrorists-talk

http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1901491,00.html

“After Waterboarding: How to Make Terrorists Talk? With the U.S. scrapping harsh interrogation techniques like waterboarding, interviews with former interrogators reveal why a soft touch can work better than torture”

When Is War Justified (3:154-3:158)

When is a war justified?
War is only justified in self-defense and to fight oppression.

Rules of War

[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 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.
[2:195] You shall spend in the cause of GOD; do not throw yourselves with your own hands into destruction. You shall be charitable; GOD loves the charitable.

If possible the first thing to do before going to war is to get up and leave if you can.

[4:97] Those whose lives are terminated by the angels, while in a state of wronging their souls, the angels will ask them, “What was the matter with you?” They will say, “We were oppressed on earth.” They will say, “Was GOD’s earth not spacious enough for you to emigrate therein?” For these, the final abode is Hell, and a miserable destiny.

As a submitting nation prior to going to war with another nation a better approach would be to open immigration for people who live in oppressive societies to be able to leave. This can create an exit for people who value their faith more than the land.

[59:9] As for those who provided them with a home and a refuge, and were believers before them, they love those who immigrated to them, and find no hesitation in their hearts in helping them. In fact, they readily give them priority over themselves, even when they themselves need what they give away. Indeed, those who overcome their natural stinginess are the successful ones.

[17:26] You shall give the due alms to the relatives, the needy, the poor, and the traveling alien, but do not be excessive, extravagant. 

[9:60] Charities shall go to the poor, the needy, the workers who collect them, the new converts, to free the slaves, to those burdened by sudden expenses, in the cause of GOD, and to the traveling alien. Such is GOD’s commandment. GOD is Omniscient, Most Wise.

If it is not possible to exit an oppressive country and the rulers of that country will not allow the people who want to leave to leave then war can be justified.

The Believers are Fearless

[4:75] Why should you not fight in the cause of GOD when weak men, women, and children are imploring: “Our Lord, deliver us from this community whose people are oppressive, and be You our Lord and Master.”
[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.
[4:77] Have you noted those who were told, “You do not have to fight; all you need to do is observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat),” then, when fighting was decreed for them, they feared the people as much as they feared GOD, or even more? They said, “Our Lord, why did You force this fighting on us? If only You respite us for awhile!” Say, “The materials of this world are nil, while the Hereafter is far better for the righteous, and you never suffer the slightest injustice.”

[9:38] O you who believe, when you are told, “Mobilize in the cause of GOD,” why do you become heavily attached to the ground? Have you chosen this worldly life in place of the Hereafter? The materials of this world, compared to the Hereafter, are nil.

Usury is a form of oppression

[2:278] O you who believe, you shall observe GOD and refrain from all kinds of usury, if you are believers.
[2:279] If you do not, then expect a war from GOD and His messenger. But if you repent, you may keep your capitals, without inflicting injustice, or incurring injustice.
[2:280] If the debtor is unable to pay, wait for a better time. If you give up the loan as a charity, it would be better for you, if you only knew.

How do we define war? Some people say that today we fight by means of the pen. Is this a form of war?

It may not be right to call the war of a pen in the same category as the people who were required to give their life to physically fight in a real war.

Which months is war not allowed for war?

God’s System: Twelve Months Per Year*

[9:36] The count of months, as far as GOD is concerned, is twelve.* This has been GOD’s law, since the day He created the heavens and the earth. Four of them are sacred. This is the perfect religion; you shall not wrong your souls (by fighting) during the Sacred Months. However, you may declare all-out war against the idol worshipers (even during the Sacred Months), when they declare all-out war against you, and know that GOD is on the side of the righteous.

Do we need a prophet or messenger to have a war?

Not necessarily as long as the justification for the war meets all the Quranic requirements.

German Dignity Law

Moment of Death Predetermined (3:154-3:158)

Moment of Death Predetermined

[3:154] After the setback, He sent down upon you peaceful slumber that pacified some of you. Others among you were selfishly concerned about themselves. They harbored thoughts about GOD that were not right – the same thoughts they had harbored during the days of ignorance. Thus, they said, “Is anything up to us?” Say, “Everything is up to GOD.” They concealed inside themselves what they did not reveal to you. They said, “If it was up to us, none of us would have been killed in this battle.” Say, “Had you stayed in your homes, those destined to be killed would have crawled into their death beds.” GOD thus puts you to the test to bring out your true convictions, and to test what is in your hearts. GOD is fully aware of the innermost thoughts.
[3:155] Surely, those among you who turned back the day the two armies clashed have been duped by the devil. This reflects some of the (evil) works they had committed. GOD has pardoned them. GOD is Forgiver, Clement.
[3:156] O you who believe, do not be like those who disbelieved and said of their kinsmen who traveled or mobilized for war, “Had they stayed with us, they would not have died or gotten killed.” GOD renders this a source of grief in their hearts. GOD controls life and death. GOD is Seer of everything you do.
[3:157] Whether you get killed or die in the cause of GOD, the forgiveness from GOD, and mercy are far better than anything they hoard.
[3:158] Whether you die or get killed, you will be summoned before GOD.

Dealing with the death of others will be a source of grief for those who don’t believe in God’s word that God controls life and death. This is interesting that God is the one who controls who lives and dies and the very moment of life and death, yet for hypocrites among the believers not only did they cause the death of their comrades (3:153) by rushing for the spoils of this world, but they also feel additional shame and regret for what took place. If they realized that God is doing everything and repented for their sin they would have been better off and been able to absolve that burden that they felt.

3:155 shows that if we fail to trust in God and commit sin that this is a reflection of our past sins. Someone who gains in righteousness will be protected from sin.

What did God see in them to forgive them for this matter in 3:155?

God knows that some people are weak believers and therefore can choose to pardon them.

[22:52] We did not send before you any messenger, nor a prophet, without having the devil interfere in his wishes. GOD then nullifies what the devil has done. GOD perfects His revelations. GOD is Omniscient, Most Wise.

Death

The Root of All Our Problems Is Sin (3:152 – 3:153 Con’t)

People in their life think that if they can only relieve this one ailment they will be happy and disregard the root of their problem. These people think that their problem is their friends that died and the hardship they faced, but forget that their problem is with the lack of trust in God. When we have a headache we think that if only our headache goes away we will be happy, but what we may miss is that the headache is not the root of our problem it is the symptom. The root of all our problems always has to do with lack of righteousness.

[3:155] Surely, those among you who turned back the day the two armies clashed have been duped by the devil. This reflects some of the (evil) works they had committed. GOD has pardoned them. GOD is Forgiver, Clement. 

As submitters we need to have our priorities in order. Obtaining victory can cause humbleness or an enlarged ego. They were so distracted by the materials of this world that they stopped listening to the messenger. If we are distracted by this world we will be disappointed. Our actions can change the outcome. 

Preoccupation With the Wrong Life

[30:6] Such is GOD’s promise – and GOD never breaks His promise – but most people do not know.
[30:7] They care only about things of this world that are visible to them, while being totally oblivious to the Hereafter. 

Some people become complacent in righteousness when they think that their desired outcome is a sure thing. For instance if you want something you may try your best to be the best submitter, and when you think that the answering of your prayer is a done deal you become lax and that is when the devil can dupe you.

Re-arrange Your Priorities

[29:64] This worldly life is no more than vanity and play, while the abode of the Hereafter is the real life, if they only knew.
[29:65] When they ride on a ship, they implore GOD, devoting their prayers to Him. But as soon as He saves them to the shore, they revert to idolatry.
[29:66] Let them disbelieve in what we have given them, and let them enjoy temporarily; they will surely find out.

Chasing the materials of this world at the expense of the Hereafter is like the following way some trappers catch monkeys. The way they do this is by placing food into a hole that is large enough for the monkey to slip its hand into the hole, but not large enough to be pulled out unless the monkey lets go of the item. In this world if we don’t let go of the materials of this world for the sake of the Hereafter then we will be trapped as well.

How to Catch a Monkey
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTX7Cxq8aGc

Even though that these people were willing to go to battle they were still distracted by the material possessions of this world. This is similar to the example of Saul and his troops. When Saul left with the troops to face the Philistines some people didn’t go to war, some people drank the water, and some people complained that they lacked the strength to face the Philistines because they were not able to drink. This shows that this life and our tests are a constant refinement process. That even if we make it pass the first stage we still need to be steadfast and trust in God to make it through the entire process.

God thus toughens those who believe. This life is a refining process where some people will be sifted out and others will be able to withstand and strengthen from the situation. This is the reason we have to be continuously steadfast. 

Opportunities like this are times when the weak believers and hypocrites will be exposed.

[33:13] A group of them said, “O people of Yathrib, you cannot attain victory; go back.” Others made up excuses to the prophet: “Our homes are vulnerable,” when they were not vulnerable. They just wanted to flee.
[33:14] Had the enemy invaded and asked them to join, they would have joined the enemy without hesitation.
[33:15] They had pledged to GOD in the past that they would not turn around and flee; making a pledge with GOD involves a great responsibility.

The Weak Believers

[8:5] When your Lord willed that you leave your home, to fulfill a specific plan, some believers became exposed as reluctant believers.
[8:6] They argued with you against the truth, even after everything was explained to them. They acted as if they were being driven to certain death.
[8:7] Recall that GOD promised you victory over a certain group, but you still wanted to face the weaker group. It was GOD’s plan to establish the truth with His words, and to defeat the disbelievers.
[8:8] For He has decreed that the truth shall prevail, and the falsehood shall vanish, in spite of the evildoers. 

The actions of the true believers can be seen in the previous verses of 3:146 – 3:147

[3:146] Many a prophet had godly people fight along with him, without ever wavering under pressure in the cause of GOD, nor did they hesitate or become discouraged. GOD loves the steadfast.
[3:147] Their only utterance was, “Our Lord, forgive us our sins, and our transgressions, strengthen our foothold, and grant us victory over the disbelievers.”

Stop Sinning