Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Teachings of Islam | Al-Risala April 1988
In the material world which God has created, we find concrete symbols of the attributes which God desires man to possess. Iron is one such substance as epitomizes the qualities of strength, staunchness and the ability to bind and give support.
“We have sent down iron, with its mighty strength and diverse uses for mankind, so that God may know those who support Him, though unseen, and support His Apostles. Powerful is God, and Mighty.” (The Quran, 57:25)
In this same chapter, which is entitled “Iron,” mention is made also of the role of the scriptures and the scales of justice. “We have sent our apostles with clear signs and brought down with them scriptures and scales of justice, so that men might deal with fairness.” In our everyday lives, when we want to know how heavy something is, we weigh it up on a pair of scales. In this way we can also tell whether something is overweight or underweight. Similarly, by weighing our actions on the divine scales of justice, we can ascertain their true moral value, and be certain of whether they are right or wrong. Just as giving short weight in our day-to-day dealings is unpardonable, so is the giving of deficient moral value in our actions a great sin in the eyes of God.
It is by weighing our actions against what is written in the scriptures that we fully understand the nature and extent of our wrong-doing, or, alternatively, if we have done our best to lead upright, moral lives, but are in doubt as to the success of our efforts from the ethical standpoint, we may find welcome confirmation of the rightness of our course, by constant reference to the holy scriptures.