Loss of Human Dignity Leads to Nations’ Downfall
Now indeed, We have conferred dignity on the children of Adam. [Asad] (17:70)
وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ
That is, every human being has been granted dignity by Allah as a human right. When Allah has given that right then taking that right away or restricting it is a crime against humanity.
However, throughout the ages the ruling elites usurped this human right of people and exploited and subjugated them for their own ulterior motives.
So, human beings forever have been in quest for real freedom. The Quran declares that the Prophet’s (PBUH) mission was to free human beings:
وَيَضَعُ عَنْهُمْ إِصْرَهُمْ وَالأَغْلاَلَ الَّتِي كَانَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ
(7:157) – and lift from them their burdens and the shackles that were upon them [aforetime]. [Asad]
The essence of freedom is that humans should not have sovereignty over humans. The Quran declares that during the period of الدِّينِ (Al-din):
وَالْأَمْرُ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلَّهِ
(82:19) – for on that Day [it will become manifest that] all sovereignty is God’s alone [Asad].
This will be the period when everyone will see his deeds in front of him. Neither will anyone be able to do anything for the other; nor would one have any authority over the other. All power and authority will rest with Allah.
That is why the Quran says:
لَا يُشْرِكُ فِي حُكْمِهِ أَحَدًا
(18:26) – He allots to no one a share in His rule! [Asad].
Allah says in the Quran that even His prophet (PBUH) did not have the authority to say to his followers to adopt his sovereignty instead of Allah’s (3:79).
What is يَوْمَ الدِّينِ (Yaumuddin)?
وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ
(82:17) – And what could make thee conceive what that Judgment Day will be [Asad]?
ثُمَّ مَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ
(82:18) – And once again: What could make thee conceive what that Judgment Day will be [Asad]?
And what will be the unique attribute of this الدِّينِ (Al-din)?
يَوْمَ لَا تَمْلِكُ نَفْسٌ لِّنَفْسٍ شَيْئًا وَالْأَمْرُ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلَّهِ
(82:19) – [It will be] a Day when no human being shall be of the least avail to another human being: for on that Day [it will become manifest that] all sovereignty is God’s alone [Asad].
This will be the Day when humanity will enjoy true freedom and no human will be able to dictate to another human directly or indirectly. All Sovereignty will be Allah’s alone. That is, all matters will be decided by the Book of Allah.
All authority and control today seems political. But the real authority resides in economic control. Through this economic control elites control the lives of masses. Thus the masses become completely dependent on the system devised by the rich and powerful.
But in the period of الدِّينِ (Al-din) all human authority will be annulled except Allah’s. In that period no human will have authority or control over other humans. Concerning this economic control, the Quran says:
(83:1) – Woe to Al-Mutaffifin [those who give less in measure and weight (decrease the rights of others)]. [Hilali & Khan].
The Quran’s terminologies are very comprehensive. There are two significant terms the Quran has used for elites: One is مُتْرَفِينَ (Mutrafin) – those who lead comfortable and luxurious life at the expense of others; and the other is مُطَفِّفِين (Mutaffifin) – those who squeeze others, stifle their abilities, and do not let their latent potential to be developed and actualized. That is what the Quraysh were doing. And Prophet (PBUH) warned the Quraysh that their exploitation of human beings will lead to their downfall. What the Prophet (PBUH) told the Quraysh is a Universal Eternal Principle of politics. A society that exploits human beings will suffer downfall sooner or later as exemplified by the history of the destruction of past nations.
The Quran says that humans have this strange characteristic:
وَأَمَّا إِذَا مَا ابْتَلَاهُ فَقَدَرَ عَلَيْهِ رِزْقَهُ فَيَقُولُ رَبِّي أَهَانَنِ ; فَأَمَّا الْإِنسَانُ إِذَا مَا ابْتَلَاهُ رَبُّهُ فَأَكْرَمَهُ وَنَعَّمَهُ فَيَقُولُ رَبِّي أَكْرَمَنِ
(89:15-16) – But as for man, whenever his Sustainer tries him by His generosity and by letting him enjoy a life of ease, he says, “My Sustainer has been [justly] generous towards me;” whereas, whenever He tries him by straitening his means of livelihood, he says, “My Sustainer has disgraced me!” [Asad].
The fact is that when human beings turn away from the guidance of وحی (Wahi or Revelation) the Law of Requital disappears from their sight. They forget that any good or bad that happens is the result of individual or collective deeds. They forget that:
وَلَا تَحَاضُّونَ عَلَى طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ ; كَلَّا بَل لَّا تُكْرِمُونَ الْيَتِيمَ
(89:17-18) – Nay, but ye (for your part) honor not the orphan and urge not on the feeding of the poor [Pickthall].
Allah does not humiliate anyone. It is humans who do that to other humans. What do the affluent at the top of the human pyramid do? They hatch plans and create Towers of Babel so that the wealth of other people flows towards them and others become subservient to them:
وَتُحِبُّونَ الْمَالَ حُبًّا جَمًّا ; وَتَأْكُلُونَ التُّرَاثَ أَكْلًا لَّمًّا
(89:19-20) – and you devour the inheritance [of others] with devouring greed, and you love wealth with boundless love! [Asad].
In the materialistic system, small amounts of wealth continue to flow towards large amounts of wealth into the hands of the rich; and thus all wealth gets collected in the hands of the few. Such an economic system cannot last long.
One doesn’t receive respect and honor from Allah just by chance, nor can this be indiscriminately snatched away. Both are the results of human deeds. This is the thing that will bring destruction to the مُطَفِّفِين (Mutaffifin). Their bad deeds will bring their own downfall:
(83:1) – Woe to those that deal in fraud [Yusuf Ali].
Meaning of مُطَفِّفِين (Mutaffifin)
The root (ف – ف – ط ) meaning of مُطَفِّفِين (Mutaffifin) is to give someone something in an incomplete form that is of little use to him; to deliver a premature baby camel; to tie a camel’s feet so that it is not able to walk at its normal pace; to constrain one’s abilities; to not let one actualize one’s potential. The Quran says that those who establish this kind of a system – a system that abuses and exploits the abilities of others, i.e., the system of Tatfeef (تطفیف) – are doomed. This is the meaning according to its root.
وَإِذَا كَالُوهُمْ أَو وَّزَنُوهُمْ يُخْسِرُونَ ; الَّذِينَ إِذَا اكْتَالُواْ عَلَى النَّاسِ يَسْتَوْفُونَ
(83:2-3) – those who, when they are to receive their due from [other] people, demand that it be given in full – but when they have to measure or weigh whatever they owe to others, give less than what is due! [Asad].
This is the system of Tatfeef (تطفیف). In today’s terminology it is called Capitalism. These people suck the last drop of the blood of workers and give them in return for their labor that is not enough even to fulfill their basic needs. These مُطَفِّفِين (Mutaffifin) let workers move ahead only as much as is useful to them. They clip them right away if they try to grow out of their specified limits just as gardeners clip bushes that grow outside the set limits in order to maintain fanciful shapes of perfectly manicure gardens of the rich and the powerful.
This is the process of Tatfeef (تطفیف) that no one is allowed to challenge. The capitalists do not give real freedom to people because, then, people will be able to actualize their abilities and realize their potentials; and will challenge them. They want people to remain enslaved forever. The Quran says:
وَإِذَا كَالُوهُمْ أَو وَّزَنُوهُمْ
(83:3) – but when they have to measure or weigh whatever they owe to others, give less than what is due! [Asad]
It is worth noting here that they “measure” the worth of human beings.
مُطَفِّفِين (Mutaffifin) make sure that they have taken all the precautions against all dangers against their system but the Quran says that they are in delusion about it. They think that no one can harm their system; that their system is foolproof.
Well, they crush human beings here, in this world. So, should they be allowed to continue to crush human beings and continue to squeeze them, and continue to suck people’s blood until the Hereafter? Would no one question them until then? Is this the system of Deen in which, according to the Quran, there will be no human rule over humans? The Quran says:
هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ
(9:33) – The system that Allah gave to humanity as a code of life called Al-Deen (الدین) by the Quran will, ultimately, prevail over all other systems of life designed and developed by human minds. Would this wretched situation remain even under this system of Al-Deen (الدین), that no matter what is done to human beings there will be no one to hold the blood suckers accountable here in this world; that their accountability would be postponed until the Hereafter? Then, in that case, what is the use of Al-Deen (الدین) for the suffering humanity here, in this world? How well the poet Ghalib has said:
You may be Maryam’s son, so what?
If you don’t cure may pain, so what?
The Quran has been sent to cure the pain of humanity in this world. It says:
أَلَا يَظُنُّ أُولَئِكَ أَنَّهُم مَّبْعُوثُونَ
(83:4) – Do they not think that they will be called to account? [Yusuf Ali]
In this verse the word “بْعُثُ” (Ba’as) has come whose root meaning is to remove someone from the path. So, these people, these elites, these مُطَفِّفِين (Mutaffifin) who do not give the proper return when they measure and value human worth; and thus have become a barrier and hindrance in the path of humanity – are they under the illusion that they will not be removed from the path of humanity? That they will continue to suck the blood of humanity until the Day of Judgment? If that was the case then it will be an eternal hopelessness and despair for the humanity. But it is not going to happen. The first evidence of this comes from the life and struggle of the Prophet (PBUH) as to how they were removed from the path of humanity. How the system of الدِّينِ (Al-din) was established by the Prophet (PBUH) and how it overpowered and removed all those blood-sucking systems of Tatfeef (تطفیف) of the time. As a result, no one was dependent; and no one was subjugated and exploited. This was the struggle that the Prophet (PBUH) had with the powerful capitalists and high ranking priests of the Quraysh.
The Prophet’s (PBUH) real struggle was with مُطَفِّفِين (Mutaffifin) and مُتْرَفِينَ (Mutrafin)
This real struggle of the Prophet (PBUH) with Quraysh was not about idol worship. The Quran goes so far as to say to its followers to not say bad things about idols; to not use any derogatory remarks against them. So, how can this struggle be about removing idols? Well, this struggle, in fact, was against the مُطَفِّفِين (Mutaffifin) and مُتْرَفِينَ (Mutrafin). What do the مُطَفِّفِين (Mutaffifin) and مُتْرَفِينَ (Mutrafin) think? Do they think that no one will be able to dislodge them; that no one will be able to remove them from the path of humanity? The big question is: When will they be removed? And the answer:
(83:5) – On a Mighty Day [Yusuf Ali].
This will be a Day of a fundamental mighty revolution. That is when these مُطَفِّفِين (Mutaffifin) and مُتْرَفِينَ (Mutrafin) will be raised from their powerful platforms and removed from the path of humanity that they had been blocking for so long. And this mighty revolution did occur at the hands of the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions (R) during the first period of Islam. After this period, the مُطَفِّفِين (Mutaffifin) and مُتْرَفِينَ (Mutrafin) brought back their system and imposed it on the Ummah that has been continuing for thousand years and, in fact, has spread to the entire world now. So, the question is: was that challenge only against the مُطَفِّفِين (Mutaffifin) and مُتْرَفِينَ (Mutrafin) of the Quraysh who were removed from the path of humanity at that time? That the Quran solved this problem then and that was it? Well, the Quran is the guidance for solving problems of humanity forever. The same institutions of Mulukiyyah, capitalism, and priesthood came back with a vengeance and entrenched themselves in human society. But the Quran is a challenge against all of them even now as it was then. Therefore, the current مُطَفِّفِين (Mutaffifin) and مُتْرَفِينَ (Mutrafin) will also be removed in accordance with the Quran’s guidance as they were removed then, in the first period of Islam. And again it will happen: لِيَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ (83:5) – On a Mighty Day of Revolution; On the Day of Fundamental Revolution. عَظِيم (‘Adzeem) means bones which forms the fundamental structure. So, this revolution will be unlike any other revolution in human history. This will be a fundamental revolution, and, as a result of this revolution, مُطَفِّفِين (Mutaffifin) and مُتْرَفِينَ (Mutrafin) will be removed from the path of humanity once again.
وَأَشْرَقَتِ الْأَرْضُ بِنُورِ رَبِّهَا
(39:69) – And the earth will shine bright with her Sustainer’s light. [Asad]