30. When the criminals will charge Satan with leading them astray, he will plead guilty, as if to say: You yourselves see now that all the promises and warnings made by Allah have come out true and all the promises which I made have proved to be false. I also confess that it was all deception that I gave you false assurances of prosperity, beguiled you by greed and enticed you in the snare of great expectations. I assured you that in the first instance there will be no life in the Hereafter, and that, if there be any, you will be freed by the intercession of such and such a saint. The only thing you have to do is to make offerings before him: then you may do whatever you please, for he will deliver you from all the consequences. I repeat that I said all these things and asked my agents to say the same.
31. That is, you cannot say and prove that it was I who forced you to follow the wrong way, whereas you wanted to follow the right way. You will yourselves admit that it is not so. I did no more than this that I invited you to falsehood in opposition to the invitation to the truth and tempted you to vice instead of virtue. But I had no power to force you to the wrong way, if you desired to follow the right way, when you had the power and the option to follow either of the ways. Now I am ready to bear the burden of the wicked invitation I extended to you, but you are not justified in any way to throw on me the burden of accepting my invitation for you did it on your own responsibility. You should, therefore, yourselves bear all its consequences.
32. This is a clear proof of shirk in practice, as apart from shirk in creed. As Satan will charge his followers with making him a partner with God, it is obvious that as far as creed is concerned there is no one who makes Satan a partner with God in His Godhead or His worship: nay, every one curses him for his evil ways. Nevertheless, people obey and submit to him and follow him blindly, as if he were their god and that is what has been termed shirk.
Let us now consider this thesis from the opposite point of view. Someone might say that this does not hold good, for this is based on a mere saying of Satan which has been cited here. First, this objection is not sound because Allah Himself would have refuted it, had it been baseless.
Secondly, this is not the only instance of shirk in practice in the Quran. Here are a few more instances of this.
(a) It charges the Jews and Christians with shirk because they set up their priests and monks as their Lords besides Allah. (Surah At-Tauba, Ayat 31).
(b) Those who follow the superstitious customs have been called mushriks. (Surah Al-Anaam, Ayats 136-139).
(c) Those who follow their lusts have been charged with making their selves as their god. (Al-Furqan, Ayat 43).
(d) Those who are disobedient to Allah have been accused of worshiping Satan. (Suranh Saba, Ayat 60).
(e) Those who follow man made laws without Allah’s sanction have been reproved for setting up the makers of the laws without Allah’s sanction as partners with God. (Surah Ham-Sajdah, Ayat 21).
All the above instances are clear proofs of the fact that shirk is not confined to this creed alone that one might set up a partner with Allah in His Godhead as an article of faith. But it is also shirk that one should follow and surrender to someone other than Allah without any divine sanction or in spite of a divine prohibition. Such a one shall be guilty of shirk even though the follower might be at the same time cursing him whom he follows and obeys. The only difference between the two kinds of shirk may be the extent of the crime and not its nature.
33. The Arabic word tahiyyah is literally a prayer for long life, but in usage it is a greeting at meeting. Therefore, the expression may mean: They will welcome one another with peace be upon you, or will be welcomed with these words. It may also be noted that the word salam implies both a prayer for peace and a congratulation on it.
34. Though the expression literally means pure word, here it stands for truthful saying and righteous creed. According to the Quran, this saying and creed are the acceptance of the doctrine of Tauhid, belief in Prophethood and revelation, and in the life of the Hereafter, for it declares these things to be the fundamental truths.
35. This is to show the strength and extent of the pure word. As the entire system of the universe hangs upon the reality contained in this pure word which the believer professes, the earth and its entire system cooperates with him and the heaven with its entire system welcomes him. There is, therefore, no conflict between him and the law of nature, and everything in its very nature extends its help to him.
36. That is, the pure word is so fruitful that every person (or community) who bases his system of life on it, gets benefit from it every moment for it helps to produce clearness in thought, balance in temperament, strength in character, purity in morals, firmness in conduct, righteousness in talk, straightforwardness in conversation, good temperament in social behavior, nobility in culture, justice and equity in economy, honesty in politics, nobility in war, sincerity in peace; confidence in promises and pledges. In short, it is the elixir that changes everything into gold if one makes the proper use of it. 2
37. Evil word is the opposite of pure word. It may be applied to everything that is unreal and wrong but here it stands for any false creed that one might adopt as a basis of his system of life, irrespective of whether it be atheism or heresy or disbelief or shirk or idol worship or any other ism that has not been brought by a Messenger.
38. And evil word (false creed) has no stability because it is against the law of nature. Therefore, everything in the universe opposes it and refutes it, as if the earth hates it and is ready to spit out its seeds every time they are sown in it, and if some seed succeeds in growing an evil tree, heaven suppresses down its branches. In fact, false creed could never have been allowed to develop, if man had not been given the freedom of choice and respite for work for the sake of his trial. That is why when same foolish people exert to establish a system of life on it, it is allowed to grow to a certain extent, but it produces nothing but harmful results as long as it lasts. And no sooner does it encounter with adverse circumstances than it is thoroughly uprooted from the earth.
The distinction between the pure word and the evil word is so apparent that anyone who makes a critical study of the religious, moral, intellectual and cultural history of the world can perceive it easily. For the pure word has always been the one and same during the whole history of mankind and has never been uprooted. On the contrary, there have been innumerable evil words but each and every one has been so uprooted that there has remained hardly anything of it except its name in the pages of history. Nay, some of these had proved to be so absurd that if these are mentioned today one wonders how one could have followed such nonsensical things.
There has been another noteworthy difference between the two words. Whenever and wherever the pure word has been adopted by an individual or a community, its blessings had not been confined to that individual and community but had benefited all around them. On the contrary, whenever and wherever an evil word has been adopted by an individual or a community, its evils had spread chaos and disorder all around them.
In this connection, it should also be noted that the parable of the pure word and the evil word explains the same theme that had been explained by the similitude of the mound of ashes that is blown away by the wind of the stormy day (Ayat 18) and of the foam of flood, and the scum of the melted metals. (Surah Ar-Raad, Ayat 17).
39. That is, the believers remain steadfast during the life of this world because of their stable system of life based on this pure word. For this gives than a straight point of view, a sound system of thought and a comprehensive theory of life, and it serves as a master key to the unraveling of all knots and the solving of all problems. With its help, they acquire that strength of character and that firmness of conduct which keep them steady in the face of every vicissitude of life. This provides them also with such solid principles of life which give them peace of mind and heart, and prevent them from deviation and caprice. Above all, when, after the life of this world, they will enter into the life of the Hereafter, they will remain perfectly calm without any tinge of fear or anxiety, for they will find everything therein to be in accordance with their expectations, as if they were fully acquainted with every aspect of it before they entered into it. For they had been fully informed of, and therefore fully prepared for every stage and phase of this life. That is why they will pass through every stage with perfect calmness and firmness in contrast to the disbelievers who built their worldly lives on an evil word and will, therefore, be taken aback to find everything against their expectations.
40. That is, Allah lets the transgressors, who discard the pure word and follow an evil word, go astray by creating confusion in their minds and misdirecting their efforts because of this deviation. That is why they cannot find the right way of thought and action and so fail miserably.