Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Discover Islam
True believers, the Quran tells us, are those who, “who forgive when they are angry” (42:37). Everyone knows the turbulence that is aroused within a person when he becomes angry with someone. This being the case, forgiveness is only possible when this turbulence is suppressed. When set against this background, the full meaning of this verse of the Quran becomes: “When angered, they are willing to forgive, even if this means curbing their emotions and suppressing the turbulence within them.”
Likewise, whenever a statement is made or an injunction laid down, some words are mentioned, and some are left unmentioned. That is why we have been urged to ponder over the teachings of religion, to turn them over in our minds; in this way we are able to grasp on a deeper level what has been said, fathoming what is implicit as well as what has been explicitly stated.
When the simple words–“Speak the truth”– are uttered, what they really mean is: “Speak the truth, even if the truth appears harmful to yourself.” When we are commanded to “hand back your trusts to their rightful owners” (Quran, 4:58), the full meaning of this would be: “Hand back your trusts to their rightful owners, however difficult it may be for you to part with them.” The same verse of the Quran exhorts us to “judge with fairness.” This means that even when justice appears detrimental to our interests, we should still adhere to it.
The same applies to the words “Fast”, “Pray” and “Pay zakat”. Fasting implies abstaining from food, however much we may desire to eat; prayer is worship of God, no matter what other preoccupations we may have; paying zakat incorporates the fuller meaning: “Pay zakat, however difficult it may be for you to give up your hard-earned profits.” The same is true of all Islamic injunctions: in order to implement them, something has to be sacrificed; the order is laid down, the sacrifice involved is for us to infer.
We must spend in the cause of God, in spite of our attachment to our wealth. We must proclaim the word of God, in spite of the persecution that might be inflicted upon us by those we address. We must acknowledge the truth, in spite of the fact that this involves disclaiming all personal greatness. Something is written in the lines, something else between the lines. For what is written to be put effectively into practice, it has to be read along with what is in between the lines.