Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Discover God | Al-Risala February 1988

Two of the attributes of the believer, as described in the Quran, are firstly, his avoidance of gross sins and indecencies and secondly, his willingness to forgive when angered, (42:37). This means, in other words, that the believer does not retaliate. He does not return evil for evil. It is quite human to become angry at the wrongs done to one, but the believer does not return anger for anger: he returns forgiveness.

It is exactly this law on which God has based the entire system of the world. Here, everything is conceived according to such a pattern that whatever is received from the environment is not returned as it is but undergoes a conversion, depending upon the internal system of the receiving plant or creature. Such conversion is invariably from the inferior to the superior.

The tree, for instance, receives nutrients from the soil which it converts into foliage, fruits and flowers. It takes in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere but absorbs it only in order to give the outside world the gift of oxygen. The cow, similarly, is a living factory which converts non-milk substances into milk.

The truly God-fearing man has likewise to abide by those very principles of nature on which the entire cosmos turns. That is, when mistreatment by others sparks off feelings of anger, hatred and revenge, he must convert these negative reactions into positive impulses. For bad treatment he must return good.