The two types of commands in the Quran

Allah, the Most Beneficent and Merciful has revealed Islam so that humanity can benefit and find the right path. Islam, the deen (a complete way of life), has answers for all the questions of humanity. However, only those who will find the answers are those who really want them. Allah always reveals the truth for those who seek.

Allah loves his creation. The King of all has guided humanity via his holy book The Majestic Quran. Unfortunately, we don’t read the Quran in its full essence and that’s why we find it difficult to comprehend its meaning, message and commandments. However, there are certain verses in the Quran in which Allah is commanding us in a very direct way.

When the Quran gives a command, it’s telling you what you ought to do, this can mean; the ought of obligation (Fardh) or the ought of opportunity (mere recommendation). The first kind refers to your duties. You ought to pray the five daily prayers, you ought to fast in Ramadhan, you ought to pay your zakat, perform the Hajj etc. For example, “Believers, fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you become mindful of Allah” (Al-Baqarah: 183).

The second type of command in the Quran gives us the opportunity to show our love of Allah, it’s our choice. For example, you ought to be generous, give to others your talent, treasure and time. Do a night vigil in the early hours of the morning as others sleep you engage in conversation and devotion with your Lord, giving up your warm bed in the freezing hours of the morning. Yes, that’s your choice, your life. Here are some examples of this type of commandments, which we often pass over without consideration, yet they are compulsory like the Fardhs of worship, at most we think they are just recommendations but in fact, they are more than that. Let’s look at some of them and correct ourselves.

“Believers, find strength in patience and prayer – surely Allah is with those who are patient” (Al-Baqarah: 153)

Believers, enter Islam fully, and do not follow in the footsteps of Satan; he is your sworn enemy” (Al-Baqarah: 208)

Believers, be pious and join the truthful” (At-Tawbah: 119)

Put your trust in the Living Lord who will never die” (Al-Furqan: 58)

And remember the name of your Lord devoutly, with complete commitment” (Al-Muzzammil: 8)

And whoever respects the symbols of Allah they will receive an amazing reward from the Lord” (Al-Hajj: 30)

Believers, do not be suspicious, since some suspicions are sins. Neither spy on one another nor backbite about each other” (Al-Hujurat: 12)

Allah won’t take you to task over oaths you make thoughtlessly however, He will take you to task over any contracts that you seal with solemn oaths” (Al-Mai’dah: 89)

Most teachings of the Quran and Sunnah are the oughts’ of opportunity. In fact, the moral imperatives are to be patient, be thankful and appreciative of Allah’s gifts, be mindful, be just and fair with everyone, don’t discriminate. As you become more aware of these duties, you may start feeling guilty because they are daunting and difficult to do. The problem is, you must control your ego, rid yourself of self-centeredness. You can’t do that by simply telling yourself you should. So, ask Allah for help, He is so gracious He will help with this kind of honesty.

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