Since Muslims are devoted to the Qur’an, every single verse is like a building block that shapes their characters. Muslims are therefore always predisposed to good and auspicious things. They make no distinction of their own between subjects, but evaluate all things in the light of the Qur’an.
Some people may regard certain issues as only minor by evaluating them on an individual basis. The fact is, however, that not all behavior thought to be individual may be compatible with the Qur’an. Some people may have their equilibrium disturbed by minor matters and be led into lack of submission to Allah, while one sees others being led in that direction by sickness, death or loss of possessions. Yet so long as one is on one’s guard, by way of the Qur’an, against the snares set by satan, then these are all issues that can easily be overcome by someone who adopts Allah as his friend and guide.
Good and evil are clearly distinguished from one another in the Qur’an. Allah constantly commands people to do good and behave well in His verses. He describes how one should respond to evil with good and adopt the path of forgiveness, how it is more auspicious to renounce one’s rights even if right is on one’s side, and many other such moral virtues. Allah describes how evil is not equivalent to good in the following verse:
A good action and a bad action are not the same. Repel the bad with something better and, if there is enmity between you and someone else, he will be like a bosom friend. (Surah Fussilat, 34)
Some people may be unexpectedly affected by small things in day-today-events. An event that seems very great and important and might be expected to impinge on a person’s earthly desires may not always affect some people at all. Yet an unexpected but very minor matter can become something that has a far greater impact on earthly desires.
For example, damage to a very valuable possession or loss of property does not have a negative impact on that person. He confronts the incident with great fortitude, thinks it is all for the best and says that such a state of affairs may have come from Allah. He reflects that there is nothing that cannot be made good and that the loss concerned is not in fact all that important, thus exhibiting a most proper submission to Allah.
However, the same person may be negatively affected in an unexpected manner by someone else’s words or gestures. And they may not display that same submission to Allah. For example, he may be upset by a friend’s behavior, words or gestures and attach his own meaning to them. He may believe that the other party is secretly doing these things to annoy him, is trying to upset him without other people realizing and is applying a cunning technique and using false language to put him in a difficult position, all out of jealousy. He starts looking at everything the other party does for clues that might constitute evidence of this. A very minor matter may become amazingly important. A person may become swept up in it since he has nothing else to occupy his mind. He constantly allows the subject into his thoughts and develops various alternatives concerning it. He may then trouble himself by making various deductions from the other party’s behavior and ascribing meanings to it in the light of his own preconceptions.
He forgets that the other party is a helpless entity totally under the control of Allah and that everything he does, his every gesture and character are all ordained in Allah’s destiny. He ignores the fact that Allah may have created the person he is dealing with in order to test his moral values and that he needs to be the one who displays a mature attitude. The fact is that Allah reveals that He makes people the subjects of testing for others:
“... We have made some of you a trial for others to see if you will be steadfast? Your Lord sees everything.” (Surat al-Furqan, 20)
Everything is the subject of the testing of a person for the Hereafter. As the verse says, a believer has a duty to exhibit fortitude. Evaluating matters with a clear, unfettered conscience and never forgetting that these are the subjects of the test is a sign of a Muslim mindset.
It is a grave mistake for someone to evaluate matters along the lines of “this matter is one thing, while that is something different.” There are no great or small matters. Everything is an integral whole. And one of the fundamental subjects on which Muslims are tested throughout the course of their lives is to display proper moral virtue for Allah’s approval and to put Allah above one’s earthly desires. A believer has a lifetime responsibility to think and behave like a Muslim, in a way that Allah will find pleasing.
A person encounters a variety of human characters in the course of his life. They are all very different. Allah describes many human characters in the Qur’an. Associaters, hypocrites, pagans, believers… No people are the same. The characters people display are directly related to their fear of Allah. But the moral nature of other people must never be allowed to affect a true believer. They must not put him in error. In one verse on the subject Allah says:
“So be steadfast. Allah’s promise is true. Do not let those who have no certainty belittle you.” (Surat ar-Rum, 60)
A Muslim must never adopt other people as models and adapt to an error they are making. A person may say he believes in Allah while in his heart his fear of Allah is very weak; no other person can know. Only Allah knows. For that reason, if a person sincerely believes, the true path is crystal clear. One cannot take the moral values of others as one’s own measure.
The responsibility of a believer who genuinely fears Allah is to behave in a manner that Allah will find pleasing and to make no concessions. He will avoid ignorant behavior, display a rational and mature attitude, and exhibit fortitude by submitting to Allah in the face of troubling events. Because Allah commands us to, “Make allowances for people, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant.” (Surat Al-A‘raf, 199)
A rational believer always behaves nobly and properly in such a way as to make good his deficiencies. Because of his profound devotion to and fear of Allah he never behaves in a way based on that of other people. He behaves in the most virtuous manner he can, with the Hereafter in mind, and turns toward Allah in complete submission.
Events must be considered with true submission, with wisdom, as befits a Muslim, without dividing them into great or small. A person can never know what is great or small in the sight of Allah. He can never classify matters in his own eyes into “great or small.” The duty of a Muslim is to fear Allah, place his trust in Him and behave in a balanced manner.