Qur'anic orders: Compliance of

Q554 :Are all words of the Qur'an obligatory? Are we committing a sin if we fail to act upon any single word in the Qur'an?


A554 : We cannot speak of words as being obligatory or otherwise. [I suppose] what you mean is whether every order included in the Qur'an signifies an obligation. There is a general rule which says that every order stated in the Qur'an to the believers is obligatory, unless it is scaled down from that status by certain factors. There could be an explanation by the Prophet, whether in words or action, or another statement in the Qur'an that explains its significance. This applies positively and negatively, which means that an order to do something constitutes an obligation, while an order not to do something signifies a prohibition. For example, we read in the Qur'an: "Believers, avoid most kinds of suspicion, for in some cases suspicion is a sin. Do not spy on one another, nor backbite one another." (49;12) The last two orders concerning spying on others and backbiting are of general import. Therefore, they signify a total prohibition. A Muslim may not spy on his neighbor or try to find secrets of others just to be curious or to learn their secrets and weak points. Nor is it permissible for a Muslim to backbite another person in any circumstances. The first order in this same verse is limited by its own phraseology. We are ordered to avoid suspicion in most cases. This signifies that at times suspicion may be in order. We read in the same surah the following order: "Believers, if an evil-doer brings you a piece of news, inquire first into its truth, lest you should wrong others unwittingly and then regret your action." (49;6) Hence, when we hear information about other people, we must not jump to conclusions. We must first make sure of the truth of what we have heard. The information is kept in the balance until it is proven to be true. Some orders in the Qur'an signify a recommendation rather than an obligation, but to be treated as such, there must be some supporting evidence. For example, God says in the Qur'an: "Children of Adam, dress well when you attend your mosques." We know that the companions of the Prophet used to come to the mosque wearing whatever was available to them, or their working gear. The Prophet did not tell them not to come to the mosque in such an attire. This tells us that we are strongly advised to dress well when we go to a mosque for prayer. If that proves difficult in certain situations, then wearing clean clothes, although they may be old or not good-looking, does not render our prayer invalid. If there is a general order which signifies obligation, then failing to act on it constitutes a sin. We should be clear in our minds on what is meant by a sin. It is something that is punishable by God. So, if we fail to act on a Qur'anic order, we place ourselves in a position where we are liable to be punished, unless God is pleased to forgive us.


Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )