Jumping the “Red Lights” (A Qur’anic perspective)

Dr Qadir Bakhsh, MBE

Occasionally I drop my grandsons Aadam and Uzair at school. One morning we were a few minutes late and we needed to beat the traffic as well.
There are several schools en route to their school, so other children also cross traffic lights and zebra crossings, which requires extra caution. At one point I had a feeling that in haste (Allah Almighty forbids Haste) I ran through the red light (did not jump the red light, as such), but caught the end tail of amber and start of the red. Still, it was carelessness, due to hurriedness. To be fair the driver behind me was too close to take a risk to stop (my excuse), so I carried on.
Many years ago, my driving instructor, the late Mr Clark, used to emphasise slowing down when approaching traffic lights, just in case. After years of driving generally, people tend to do the opposite – speed up when approaching traffic lights (Allah Almighty commands patience and Sabr in all situations (3:200, 8:46).
Anyway, immediately I became fearful of two issues: what if I had been caught on camera, if there was one, and secondly I may have caused an accident, with children in my car.
These two ill thoughts remained with me throughout that day and I waited for the penalty ticket to arrive every day for a week, which luckily I was spared.
Notwithstanding the decrees of Allah Almighty, the traffics laws, and countless pieces of legislation enacted by various governments and authorities, the world over, are for the benefit of their citizens.
These rules, regulations and legislations are meant to keep law and order and to run social, economic and other related affairs smoothly for the benefit of all. Allah Almighty has designed, devised and commanded in minute details, such systems and balance for the benefit of all His (SWT) creations. It is pertinent to note that: Allah (SWT) also commands us to obey the law of the land, as it were, e.g.
Believers! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and those from among you who are invested with authority …. (4:59).
Throughout every day or over some time, we are likely to violate countless rules, regulations and laws, both man-made and of course decreed by Allah Almighty in the Qur’an and advocated by the Holy Prophet (saw). We do this in our daily dealings with fellow human beings, family and friends, colleagues and strangers, in the context of fair, just, equal and compassionate treatments.
It is likely to fail to observe fully Allah Almighty’s dictates regarding our social, commercial and legal dealings, in our social, trading or work-related affairs.
In other words, we tend to Jump Red Lights by transgressing and violating Allah’s decrees throughout the day on our various journeys and paths, but we fail to pay heed as we would in case of some man-made laws.
For examples:
i) We jump several red lights throughout the day if we fail to observe the obligatory. Allah Almighty commands:
•Establish Prayer and pay Zakah and obey the Messenger so that mercy may be shown to you (24:56, 24:56, 31:4, and 70:22-25, 75:31).
•(O you who believe), fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may achieve piety (2:183).
ii) We jump red lights when we do not uphold rights and responsibilities towards:
i.Family and Friends
ii.Neighbours and strangers
iii.Work colleagues
iii)when we fail to adhere to etiquette and do not observe:
2)Fairness and Justice
3)Rights, responsibilities and obligations
4)Accountability, repenting and seeking forgiveness a
5)Strictly observing ‘dos and don’ts’ (Amr wa Nahi
iv) We jump red lights if we fail to observe the following regarding interpersonal relations, dealings and mannerisms, as commanded by Allah (SWT).
Allah Almighty says:
1) Be a straight and upright believer (46:13). Return a greeting in a better manner (4:86). Lower your tone when you speak (31:19) and be humble (26:215).
2) Fulfil your obligations and contracts (5:1). Fulfil your oaths, and promises, and be trustworthy to all people. (2:270, 3:76, 76:7-10).Pay back your debt, and give back what you held for others (2:283). Do not say what you do not do (62:2).
3) Do not utter slander (60:12, 68:11). Do not be a bully! (60:8). Do not let one make fun of another, or defame one another. Do not insult by using a nickname. Do not backbite or speak ill of one another (49:11-12).
5) Be kind to parents, relatives, wayfarers, the needy, and orphans (89:17-20, 93:9-11, 107:1-3). For the love of Allah, give help (financial) to kinsfolk, and needy (17:26, 90:11-17). Do Good and ask for no Reward (38:86, 42:23).
8) Do not deceive people in trade (6:152). Do not take bribes (27:36). Do not be miserly or extravagant (25:67), and do not waste (17:26).
9) Do not be stingy and miserly 2:262
vi) We jump red lights when we fail to obey Allah Almighty’s commands:
•Do not spread rumours (49:6). Do not spy (49:12). Do not backbite (49:12), and do not be double-faced (61:2).
•Do not be proud (31:18). Speak humbly (31:19). Restrain anger (3:134).
•Do not be miser (57:24), do not waste (6:141), do not be greedy (57:20).
• Establish weight with justice and refrain from falling short in keeping this balance (7-9).
•Refrain from pointless activities, debauchery and engaging in aimless talks and conversation or any such pursuits (2:82, 4:114, 55:1-4, 23:1-4).
vii) We jump red lights if we fail to observe the following regarding Justice: fair and righteous dealing:
Allah commands justice (4:110) and loves those who act justly (5:42). Allah enjoins (orders) justice and kindness to give to (one’s) kinsfolk (16:90) and demands all people to show justice and mercy to all other people and to be standard-bearers to ensure injustice is removed.
•Speak up for the poor and needy and mobilise resources to eradicate poverty (17:26-27).
•Speak up for fair distribution: devise and advocate ways and means of fair circulation of resources (43:32).
•Rendering back the trusts to those, to whom they are due (4:58)
•Thy Lord has decreed, that you worship none save Him, and (that you show) kindness to parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age with thee, say not “Fie” unto them nor repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word (17:23)
Allah is fully aware of the fallibility of His creations and provides respite for transgressors to realise, repent, amend and promise not to transgress. Allah has also suggested ways and means and mechanisms to improve and transform e.g. through Tazkai-e-Nafs and Qalb (purification of self and spiritual heart) so that humans automatically realise, and are alerted through inner source if they had transgressed (91:7-8). (As it happened with me with ‘the red lights’).
For example, Allah is all-knowing that:
•Many among mankind are heedless of the Ayah (proofs, pieces of evidence, verses, lessons, signs, revelations (10:92).
•Man does transgress (in disbelief and evil deed), because he considers himself self-sufficient (96:6-7, 100:6).
•Man is indeed an extreme wrongdoer, a disbeliever (an extreme ingrate who denies Allah’s Blessings by disbelief, by worshipping others besides Allah, and by disobeying Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (14:34).
•Man is ever more quarrelsome than anything (18:54).
•Man is miserly and holds back from spending for fear of exhaustion (17:100).
•Man is quarrelsome, impatient and arrogant (16:4, 45:35, 18:54).
•(Man) strives hard work for worldly desires, (84:6).
Therefore in the backdrop of free will and freedom for human beings to choose either the right path or the wrong path, despite thorough guidance for those who fear Allah (8:29), Allah (SWT) has ordained one all-encompassing germane guiding principle about Amr wa Nahi (dos and don’ts) (3:104, 3:110) in this respect, amongst many others . Allah (SWT) has repeatedly reminded believers about ‘dos and don’ts’ (Amr wa Nahi) regarding all conceivable aspects of life, which we must observe to attain purification of Nafs when the Nafs is made aware through Divine Inspiration (Ilhaam) of good or evil (91:6-7) and heart to attain a stage in life to auto-correct oneself, lest we jump red lights.

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