As-Salāmu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wabarakathuhu

May the Peace, Mercy and Blessings of God be upon you beautiful people

"Truth has (now) arrived, and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish." [Qur'an 17:81]

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Abrogation in the Quran


The Quran says in the following verse:

"None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: knowest thou not that Allah hath power over all things?"

[Al-Qur’an 2:106]

A reference to this is also made in chapter 16 verse 101 of Surah Nahl. The Arabic word mentioned is ayat which means ‘signs’ or ‘verses’ and which can also mean ‘revelations’. This verse of the Qur’an can be interpreted in two different ways:

a. The revelations that are abrogated are those revelations that were revealed before the Qur’an, for example the Torah, the Zaboor and the Injeel.

Here Allah (swt) says that He does not cause the previous revelations to be forgotten but He substitutes them with something better or similar, indicating that the Torah, the Zaboor and the Injeel were substituted by the Qur’an.
(16:101)- “When we replace a message with another and God knows best what He reveals, they say you have made it up. Yet most of them do not know”

Read the above verse and think carefully.

I ask, who was there to question Prophet that you have made it up yourself?

1- it couldn’t be the Sahabas for they believed him to be Prophet, they would accept whatever prophet would had said.

2- Of course it couldn’t be pagans, as they didn’t believe in the Quran so it didn’t matter to them that what was earlier and what gets abrogated. “they” would never say such a thing on one verse being replaced by another and that you made up the later verse, as they did not actually believe the Quran was from God in the first place. They actually believed Muhammad had made up the entired Quran, so it is impossible for them to hold this belief and also say you have replaced a verse that was correct and true with one which is false and from you rather than God.

Furthermore if you look at the verses before 16:101 you can see God talking about those who break the covenant with God and those who sell it for a miserable price, so it is quite clear the Quran is referring to those people who had previous revelation, thus making “they” the Jews and Christians to whom the Gosepl and Torah were given.

Thus we understand when God says;

002.106

YUSUFALI: None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things?

016.101

YUSUFALI: When We substitute one revelation for another,- and Allah knows best what He reveals (in stages),- they say, "Thou art but a forger": but most of them understand not.
He means replace Torah and Gospel, which is replaced with something better which is the Quran

b. If we consider that the Arabic word ayat in the above verse refers to the verses of the Qur’an, and not previous revelations, then it indicates that none of the verses of the Qur’an are abrogated by Allah but substituted with something better or similar. This means that certain verses of the Qur’an, that were revealed earlier were substituted by verses that were revealed later. I agree with both the interpretations.

Many Muslims and non-Muslims misunderstand the second interpretation to mean that some of the earlier verses of the Qur’an were abrogated and no longer hold true for us today, as they have been replaced by the later verses of the Qur’an or the abrogating verses. This group of people even wrongly believe that these verses contradict each other.

Let us analyze a few such examples.

Produce a recital like the Qur’an / 10 Surahs / 1 Surah:
Some pagan Arabs alleged that the Qur’an was forged by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Allah (swt) challenges these Arabs in the following verse of Surah Al-Isra:
"Say: If the whole of Mankind and Jinns were together to produce the like of this Qur’an they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support." [Al-Qur’an 17:88]

Later the challenge was made easy in the following verse of Surah Al-Hud:

"Or they may say, "He forged it." Say, "Bring ye then ten Surahs forged, like unto it, and call (to your aid) whomsover ye can, other than Allah, if ye speak the truth!’." [Al-Qur’an 11:13]

It was made easier in the following verse of Surah Yunus:

"Or do they say, "He forged it"? Say: "Bring then a Surah like unto it, and call (to your aid) anyone you can, besides Allah, if it be ye speak the truth!’."[Al-Qur’an 10:38]

Finally in Surah Al-Baqarah, Allah (swt) further simplified the challenge:

And if ye are in doubt as to what We have revealed from time to time to Our servant, then produce a Surah like thereunto; and call your witnesses or helpers (if there are any) besides Allah if your (doubts) are true.But if ye cannot – and of a surety ye cannot – then fear the Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones – which is prepared for those who reject faith". [Al-Qur’an 2:23-24]
Thus Allah (swt) made the challenges progressively easier. The progressively revealed verses of the Qur’an first challenged the pagans to produce a book like the Qur’an, then challenged them to produce ten Surahs (chapters) like those in the Qur’an, then one Surah and finally it challenges them to produce one Surah somewhat similar (mim mislihi) to the Qur’anic Surahs. This does not mean that the later verses that were revealed i.e. of Surah Baqarah chapter 2 verses 23 and 24 contradict the earlier three verses. Contradiction implies mentioning two things that cannot be possible simultaneously, or cannot take place simultaneously.
The earlier verses of the Qur’an i.e. the abrogated verses are still the word of God and the information contained in it is true to this day. For instance the challenge to produce a recital like the Qur’an stands to this day. Similarly the challenge to produce ten Surahs and one Surah exactly like the Qur’an also holds true and the last challenge of producing one surah somewhat similar to the Qur’an also holds true. It does not contradict the earlier challenges, but this is the easiest of all the challenges posed by the Qur’an. If the last challenge cannot be fulfilled, the question of anyone fulfilling the other three more difficult challenges does not arise.
Suppose I speak about a person that he is so dumb, that he would not be able to pass the year 10 in school. Later I say that he would not be able to pass the year 5, and further say that he would not be able to pass even the year 1. Finally I say that he is so dumb that he would not even be able to pass Nursery. One has to pass Nursery before one can be admitted to school. What I am stating is that the person is so dumbl as to be unable to even pass nursery. My four statements do not contradict each other, but my last statement i.e. the person would not be able to pass Nursery is sufficient to indicate the intelligence of that person. If a person cannot even pass Nursery, the question of him passing the year 1 or 5 or 10, does not arise.
Gradual prohibition of intoxicants

Another example of such verses is that related to gradual prohibition of intoxicants. The first revelation of the Qur’an to deal with intoxicants was the following verse from Surah Baqarah:
"They ask thee concerning wine and gambling say: ‘In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit’." [Al-Qur’an 2:219]

The next verse to be revealed regarding intoxicants is the following verse from Surah Nisa:

"O ye who believe! approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until ye can understand all that ye say" [Al-Qur’an 4:43]

The last verse to be revealed regarding intoxicants was the following verse from Surah Al-Maidah:

"O ye who believe! intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork; eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper."

[Al-Qur’an 5:90]

The Qur’an was revealed over a period of 22½ years. Many reforms that were brought about in the society were gradual. This was to facilitate the adoption of new laws by the people. An abrupt change in society always leads to rebellion and anarchy.

The prohibition of intoxicants was revealed in three stages. The first revelation only mentioned that in the intoxicants there is great sin and some profit but the sin is greater than the profit. The next revelation prohibited praying in an intoxicated state, indicating that one should not consume intoxicants during the day, since a Muslim has to pray five times a day. This verse does state that when one is not praying at night one is allowed to consume intoxicants. It means one may have or one may not have. The Qur’an does not comment on it. If this verse had mentioned that one is allowed to have intoxicants while not praying then there would have been a contradiction. God chose words appropriately. Finally the total prohibition of intoxicants at all times was revealed in Surah Maidah chapter 5 verse 90.
This clearly indicates that the three verses do not contradict each other. Had they been contradicting, it would not have been possible to follow all the three verses simultaneously. Since a Muslim is expected to follow each and every verse of the Qur’an, only by following the last verse i.e. of Surah Maidah (5:90), he simultaneously agrees and follows the previous two verses.

Suppose I say that I do not live in Birmingham. Later I say that I do not live in West Midlands. Finally I say, I do not live in England. This does not imply that these three statements contradict each other. Each statement gives more information than the previous statement. The third statement includes the information contained in the first two statements. Thus, only by saying that I do not live in England, it is obvious, that I also do not live in Birmingham. Similarly since consuming alcohol is totally prohibited, it is obvious that praying in an intoxicated state is also prohibited and the information that in intoxicants is "great sin and some profit for men; but the sin is greater than profit" also holds true.

Qur’an does not contain any contradictions

The theory of abrogation does not imply that there is a contradiction in the Qur’an, since it is possible to follow all the verses of the Qur’an at the same time.
If there is a contradiction in the Qur’an, then it cannot be the word of God

"Do they not consider the Qur’an (with care)? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy (contradictions)."

[Al-Qur’an 4:82]

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Islam on slave girls/concubines

It is true that a lot of people push this subject ‘under the rug’ and do not understand it or are sometimes ashamed of this concept. That is because, today’s society and behavior is absolutely different from the conditions prevalent 1500 years ago at the time of Revelation of the Quran. There is no place on earth where this concept is practiced today, thus to really understand the concept in its entirety, we must try to imagine the times of the Revelation of the Glorious Quran.


Since time immemorial, slavery was an accepted practice; thus it was not Islam that started this practice, but rather Islam was the first system to inculcate the freedom of slaves and take steps to make them equal citizens of society. Slavery was abolished in modern society only a couple of centuries ago, and was openly practiced in almost all parts of the civilized world even until the early 1900s. But Islam made it a virtue to free slaves, and inculcate them into society as equal citizens, almost 1500 years ago

The prophet said regarding the rights of slaves:

Your servants and your slaves are your brothers. Anyone who has slaves should give them from what he eats and wears. He should not charge them with work beyond their capabilities. If you must set them to hard work, in any case I advise you to help them.

Source: Bukhari, Iman, 22; Adab, 44; Muslim, Iman, 38–40; Abu Dawud, Adab, 124

Ali reported that the last words of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, were: "The prayer! The prayer! Fear Allah concerning your slaves ! "

Source: Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari , Nr. 158.

· Jabir ibn 'Abdullah said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, advised that slaves should be well-treated. He said, 'Feed them from what you eat and clothe them from what you wear. Do not punish what Allah has created.' "

Source: Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari , Nr. 188.

· Sallam ibn 'Amr reported from one of the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Your slaves are your brothers, so treat him well. Ask for their help in what is too much for you and help them in what is too much for them."

Source: Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari , Nr. 190.

· Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The slave has his food and clothing. Do not burden a slave with work which he is incapable of doing."

Source: Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari , Nr. 192.

Not one of you should [ when introducing someone ] say ‘This is my slave’ , ‘This is my concubine’. He should call them ‘my daughter’ or ‘my son’ or ‘my brother’.

Source: Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 2 ,4

For this reason ‘Umar and his servant took it in turns to ride on the camel from Madina to Jerusalem on their journey to take control of Masjid al-Aqsa. While he was the head of the state, ‘Uthman had his servant pull his own ears in front of the people since he had pulled his. Abu Dharr, applying the hadith literally, made his servant wear one half of his suit while he himself wore the other half. From these instances, it was being demonstrated to succeeding generations of Muslims, and a pattern of conduct established, that a slave is fully a human being, not different from other people in his need for respect and dignity and justice.

"The masters were obliged not to put slaves under hardship; slaves were not to be tortured, abused or treated unjustly. They could marry among “themselves with their master's permission - or with free men or women ! They could appear as witnesses and participate with free men in all “affairs. Many of them were appointed as governors, commanders of army and administrators. In the eyes of Islam, a pious slave has precedence over “an impious free man." Source: Al-Tabataba'i, Tafsir ( vol.16, pp. 338-358 )

The Prophet, had stipulated in his "last pilgrimage" speech:

"And your slaves ! see that you feed them such food as you eat yourselves and dress them what you yourself wear. And if they commit a “mistake which you are not inclined to forgive then sell them, for they are the servants of Allah and are not to be tormented! "

Source: Ibn Sa'd, op. cit., vol. II:1, p. 133

"Serve God, and join not any partners with Him ; and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours “who are strangers, the Companion by your side, the way-farer (ye meet), And what your right hands possess : for God loveth not the arrogant, the “vainglorious" Surah An Nisa, verse 36

The phrase "What your right hands possess" refers to one’s slaves (male and female). Allah swt ordains the kind treatment of slaves in the same verse where He commands man to worship Him and to treat his parents, relations and neighbours generously, and this signifies the importance of this ruling.

What were the rights of concubines?

The status was similar to that of wife. The children were exactly like the other children from the person’s legally wedded wife. They were to be given exactly the same rights as his other children. The children of the slave girl would inherit the property exactly as the other children. There was absolutely no difference amongst the children. And once any slave girl bore a child, she could not be sold to anybody else and thus became a permanent member of the household.

Then you will probably ask how is this any different from the modern days concept of a mistress/prostitution/adultery?

There is a huge difference between the slave girls of those times and the system of prostitution which is so prevalent as a disease in today’s society.

The slave girl was a social issue of the times, which if not solved by Islam would give rise to adultery and prostitution. In prostitution, the woman sells here services for a fee to anyone who is willing to pay. The slave girl was taken into a household as a full member.

In prostitution, the woman has sexual relationships with many men. The slave girl would have sexual relations only with the person she was given to; very similar to the husband-wife relationship, the only difference being that the wife came into the house through a marriage contract, and the slave girl was allotted to the person by the state.

Prostitution is a result of illegal lust, and is a huge sin in the eyes of Allah.

The allocation of slave girls was a issue of the times to envelope the woman taken as slaves in a war into the Islamic society. Prostitution and adultery do not have any responsibility attached to it. The man- woman have a one-off relationship and depart. The slave girls were a responsibility of the person, who spent on them, gave them a place to live, fed them, clothed them, and raised their children as his children.

The children from adultery and prostitution are regarded as born out of wedlock and grow up without the name and without the shadow of a father. The children of the slave girls were known as the children of the person, grew up with his other children, and had exactly the same rights and inheritance as the other offspring. The system of slave girls was accepted and respected by the Islamic society of the times. The slave girl was treated like his wife, and the children from these slave girls were treated like their children by society. No religion, no state, no moral society accepts and respects the institutions of prostitution and adultery. This is a disease of society and every moral society has tried to eradicate this disease with little success.

Despite this, it was not simply a case of forcing someone into having sex to satisfy your desires.

Below are three English translations to the Verse where Allah commands the Muslim men to not force their slave women into sex.

The following translations were taken from http://mama.stg.brown.edu/webs/quran_browser/pqeasy.shtml

Translation: Yusufali:

"Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste, until God gives them means out of His grace. And if any of your slaves ask for a deed in writing (to enable them to earn their freedom for a certain sum), give them such a deed if ye know any good in them: yea, give them something yourselves out of the means which God has given to you. But force not your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity, in order that ye may make a gain in the goods of this life. But if anyone compels them, yet, after such compulsion, is God, Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (to them), (The Noble Quran, 24:33)"

Translation: Pickthall:

"And let those who cannot find a match keep chaste till Allah give them independence by His grace. And such of your slaves as seek a writing (of emancipation), write it for them if ye are aware of aught of good in them, and bestow upon them of the wealth of Allah which He hath bestowed upon you. Force not your slave-girls to whoredom that ye may seek enjoyment of the life of the world, if they would preserve their chastity. And if one force them, then (unto them), after their compulsion, lo! Allah will be Forgiving, Merciful. (The Noble Quran, 24:33)"

Translation: Shakir:

"And let those who do not find the means to marry keep chaste until Allah makes them free from want out of His grace. And (as for) those who ask for a writing from among those whom your right hands possess, give them the writing if you know any good in them, and give them of the wealth of Allah which He has given you; and do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, when they desire to keep chaste, in order to seek the frail good of this world's life; and whoever compels them, then surely after their compulsion Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (The Noble Quran, 24:33)"

In all three translations, we clearly see that if the slave woman desires to keep chaste, then her Muslim master must not compel her into sex. It might sound odd to us today, but pagans back then were used to having sex with and raping their slave girls, even the ones who were married:

Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: "Musaykah, a slave-girl of some Ansari, came and said: My master forces me to commit fornication. Thereupon the following verse was revealed: "But force not your maids to prostitution (when they desire chastity). (24:33)" (Translation of Sunan Abu Dawud, Divorce (Kitab Al-Talaq), Book 12, Number 2304)"

So to women back then, it was something normal for a married slave woman to sleep with her master. It was something normal in the society at that time.

Allah Almighty in the Noble Quran not only allows for the slave man or woman to earn their freedom from their Muslim master, and receive money from their Muslim master to help them start their free life, but also commands the Muslim men to not compel their slave women into sex.
Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him also said:

Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari: "The Prophet said, "Give food to the hungry, pay a visit to the sick and release (set free) the one in captivity (by paying his ransom)." (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Food, Meals, Volume 7, Book 65, Number 286)"

Islam came to liberate all slaves and to end the Judeo-Christian and Pagan slavery that was practiced before Islam. When Allah Almighty made lawful for the Muslim men to have sex with their slave women, He did it to keep the Islamic society back then during Islam's weak, partial and venerable times under control.

Also, if any compulsion was made unto the slave woman, then Allah Almighty will add more mercy and forgiveness unto her in the Day of Judgement. Below is the commentary on this exact section and point in Noble Verse 24:33 by Minister (Sheikh) Abdullah Yusuf Ali; may Allah Almighty rest his soul:

"The poor unfortunate girls, who are victims of such a nefarious trade (i.e., slave trade), will yet find mercy from Allah, whose bounties extend to the lowest of His creatures."

When Islam was reveled to Prophet Muhammad, slavery was a worldwide common social phenomenon; it was much older than Islam. Slavery was deeply rooted in every society to the extent that it was impossible to imagine a civilized society without slaves.

In spite of this social fact, Islam was the first religion to recognize slavery as a social illness that needed to be addressed. Since slavery was deeply rooted in the society, Islam did not abolish it at once. Rather, Islam treated slavery in the same manner it treated other social illnesses. Islam followed the same methodology of gradual elimination in dealing with this social disease as it did with other social illnesses, for example: the prohibition of alcohol in three steps.

Concerning having slave women, we would like to let you know that it happens to be a practice necessitated by the condition in which early Muslims found themselves vis-à-vis non-Muslims, as both parties engaged in wars. Slave women or milk al-yameen are referred to in the Qur'an as “Those whom your right hand possess” or “ma malakat aymanukum”; they are those taken as captives during conquests and subsequently became slaves, or those who were descendants of slaves.

Thus, it was a war custom in the past to take men and women as captives and then turn them into slaves. Islam did not initiate it, rather, it was something in practice long ago before the advent of Islam. And when Islam came, it tried to eradicate this practice, bit by bit. So it first restricted it to the reciprocal practice of war, in the sense that Muslims took war captives just as the enemies did with Muslims.

But as it aimed at putting an end to such issue, Islam laid down rules which would eventually lead to eradicating the practice. So it allowed Muslims to have intercourse with slave women taken as captives of just and legitimate wars. In so doing, the woman would automatically become free if she got pregnant. What's more, her child would also become free.

Not only that, Islam also ordered a Muslim to treat the slave woman in every respect as if she were his wife. She should be well fed, clothed and given due protection. In the family environment, she had the opportunity to learn about Islam and was free to accept it or reject it. She also had the opportunity to earn her freedom for she could be ransomed.

In the light of the above-mentioned facts, and the nature of the question posed by people, it's clear that some people misunderstand the wisdom behind the permissibility of having female slaves and think that it is meant to unleash men’s desires and give them more enjoyment. Never! That is not the point! It is, rather, means of freeing slaves; and this is clarified above in the fact that if a master got a female slave pregnant, then he could neither sell her nor give her away as a present. And if he died, she would not be considered part of his property. She'd receive her freedom and her baby would also be free.

But, we have to stress that this case should not be confused with that of female servants or maids, for they are free and not slaves. Therefore, it is forbidden to engage in sexual relations with them except through an Islamic marriage.

Slavery has been abolished by international conventions, and goes in line with aims and objectives of Islam, as it has called for centuries ago.

As for marrying slaves, it is something permissible under two conditions: first, if one is unable to pay the dowry of a free woman. Second, if there is fear of committing adultery if one doesn’t get married. This is clarified by the following verse: “And whose is not able to afford to marry free, believing women, let them marry from the believing maids whom your right hands possess. This is for him among you who feareth to commit sin. But to have patience would be better for you.” (An-Nisaa’: 25)

This verse shows that Muslim men should abstain from illicit relations and seek enjoyment through marriage to free women or through their female slaves.

In conclusion, Allah has forbidden certain types of behavior and permitted other kinds of behavior as a safeguard to the individual and to the society. Allah has forbidden fornication and adultery. However, in the case of captives whom your right hands posses, it's something necessitated by the special circumstances which were created when the Muslims were at war.

This is not a practice for today which allows men to take extra sexual partners in addition to his wife, or a loophole as you put it. You have the same responsibilty to the slave girl as you would to the wife, with the same inheritence rights for the children born out of such relations hence it is more of a burden than a loophole to escape the 'treating wives equally' concept. Regardless of that, it is not a concept which is in practice today or encouraged for today. It was something specifically utilised and designed for 1500 years ago where the practice was already widespread. All Islam did was to bring structure to what was already in existence, and eventually aim to remove it all together. One may say it should be banned straight away, why the long drawn out process.

The reality is however human nature does not allow for such action. People gradually get use to change, and the Quran itself was revealed over a long period of time for this reason so people could gradually get use to the injunctions and guidelines and thus adapt better. That is exactly the case with this issue, rules were bought in to slowly eradicate the practice and give rights to women who without Islam would have nothing equivalent to rely upon

Surah 3 verse 178 explained "God gives respite for more sins"

Allegation:

"Let not the unbelievers think that We prolong their days for their own good. We give them respite only so that they may commit more grievous sins. Shameful punishment awaits them." If there is a chance for unbelievers to return to righteousness, why does Allah say he is "only" allowing them to live so they can "commit more grievous sins." It says nothing about giving the unbelievers a chance to become righteous. If they had a chance to become righteous due to their prolonged days, then this by definition would be for their own good.




Answer:

First of all to make it clear the translations use the word unbelievers which generally implies anyone who does not believe will be treated in so and so manner. The actual word used in arabic is 'kafir' or 'kafiroon' which means one who covers or conceals, in this case conceals the truth. So the harsh nature of the verses are actually referring to those who intentionally lie and conceal the truth as oppose to those who just generally do not believe.


"Wala yahsabanna allatheena KAFARoo annama numlee lahum khayrun li-anfusihim innamanumlee lahum liyazdadoo ithman walahum AAathabunmuheenun"

This difficulty in language is just due the different structures of arabic and english, like I said before there are multiple words to describe the one word in english

The literal translation of the arabic is:

"And (let not) those who disbelieved think/suppose (E) that We extend in time/life/enjoyment/delay goodness for themselves, but We extend in time/life/enjoyment/delay for them to increase (them in) sin/crime, and for them (is) a despised torture"

A more accurate translation is:

YUSUFALI: Let not the Unbelievers think that our respite to them is good for themselves: We grant them respite that they may grow in their iniquity: But they will have a shameful punishment

Now lets look at the verses before and after 3:178:

003.167

YUSUFALI: And the Hypocrites also. These were told: "Come, fight in the way of Allah, or (at least) drive (The foe from your city)." They said: "Had we known how to fight, we should certainly have followed you." They were that day nearer to Unbelief than to Faith, saying with their lips what was not in their hearts but Allah hath full knowledge of all they conceal.

003.168

YUSUFALI: (They are) the ones that say, (of their brethren slain), while they themselves sit (at ease): "If only they had listened to us they would not have been slain." Say: "Avert death from your own selves, if ye speak the truth."

003.169

YUSUFALI: Think not of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord;

003.170

YUSUFALI: They rejoice in the bounty provided by Allah: And with regard to those left behind, who have not yet joined them (in their bliss), the (Martyrs) glory in the fact that on them is no fear, nor have they (cause to) grieve.

003.171

YUSUFALI: They glory in the Grace and the bounty from Allah, and in the fact that Allah suffereth not the reward of the Faithful to be lost (in the least).

003.172

YUSUFALI: Of those who answered the call of Allah and the Messenger, even after being wounded, those who do right and refrain from wrong have a great reward;-

003.173

YUSUFALI: Men said to them: "A great army is gathering against you": And frightened them: But it (only) increased their Faith: They said: "For us Allah sufficeth, and He is the best disposer of affairs."

003.174

YUSUFALI: And they returned with Grace and bounty from Allah: no harm ever touched them: For they followed the good pleasure of Allah: And Allah is the Lord of bounties unbounded.

003.175

YUSUFALI: It is only the Evil One that suggests to you the fear of his votaries: Be ye not afraid of them, but fear Me, if ye have Faith.

003.176

YUSUFALI: Let not those grieve thee who rush headlong into Unbelief: Not the least harm will they do to Allah: Allah's plan is that He will give them no portion in the Hereafter, but a severe punishment.

003.177

YUSUFALI: Those who purchase Unbelief at the price of faith,- not the least harm will they do to Allah, but they will have a grievous punishment.

003.178

YUSUFALI: Let not the Unbelievers think that our respite to them is good for themselves: We grant them respite that they may grow in their iniquity: But they will have a shameful punishment.

003.179

YUSUFALI: Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which ye are now, until He separates what is evil from what is good nor will He disclose to you the secrets of the Unseen. But He chooses of His Messengers (For the purpose) whom He pleases. So believe in Allah. And His messengers: And if ye believe and do right, ye have a reward without measure.

The verse you quote therefore is part of a running commentary on the hypocrites and those who concealed the truth. If you look at it as one isolated verse, it gives the impression that God condemns all unbelievers to hell no matter what they do, but no verse was ever revealed with the intention that it alone would be read. The Quran is revealed as a book and should be looked at as a whole.

It is beyond the principle of Allâh to punish a person or a community immediately after a sin is committed (16:61; 35:45). Under the fair system of justice, it is imperative that all sinners are given adequate opportunity, time and resources to arbitrate their case and nobody should be brought to book unless s/he was given proper hearing in the court of justice. Under the divine system of justice, all sinners are allowed enough time in life so that no person or community can express alibi of not getting an opportunity to rectify and amend. Thus, in the history of a nation it is not unusual to see anarchy and transgression continues unabated and sinners keep on averting divine punishment. God's giving respite to the sinners is not necessarily good for them since they are unable to utilize it in rightful manner. Due to their habitual rejection of truth and routine violation of moral, ethical and spiritual standards, the respite of time only increases their share of sin.

And again it links into the principle that all things are within the knowledge and power of the supreme being, and everything happens with his permission. So even though they do it, the ultimate power and creation of the whole system whereby which sins and good deeds take place is created by the designer, and that is God. The we do this and we do that is simply used to illustrate the power of God and that everything is under his control. It is a literary ploy to emphasise Gods greatness more than a malicious personal vendetta against non believers