In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
In Ayah 61 of surah al-Baqarah the Almighty says:
وَإِذْ قُلْتُمْ يَا مُوسَىٰ لَن نَّصْبِرَ عَلَىٰ طَعَامٍ وَاحِدٍ فَادْعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ يُخْرِجْ لَنَا مِمَّا تُنبِتُ الْأَرْضُ مِن بَقْلِهَا وَقِثَّائِهَا وَفُومِهَا وَعَدَسِهَا وَبَصَلِهَا ۖ قَالَ أَتَسْتَبْدِلُونَ الَّذِي هُوَ أَدْنَىٰ بِالَّذِي هُوَ خَيْرٌ ۚ اهْبِطُوا مِصْرًا فَإِنَّ لَكُم مَّا سَأَلْتُمْ ۗ وَضُرِبَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الذِّلَّةُ وَالْمَسْكَنَةُ وَبَاءُوا بِغَضَبٍ مِّنَ اللَّـهِ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا يَكْفُرُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّـهِ وَيَقْتُلُونَ النَّبِيِّينَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ بِمَا عَصَوا وَّكَانُوا يَعْتَدُونَ
"And when you said, ‘O Moses, ‘We will not put up with one kind of food. So invoke your Lord for us, that He may bring for us of that which the earth grows --- its greens and its cucumbers, its garlic, its lentils, and its onions.’ He said, ‘Do you seek to replace what is superior with what which is inferior? Go down to any town and you will indeed get what you ask for!’ So they were struck with abasement and poverty, and they earned Allah’s wrath. That, because they would defy the signs of Allah and kill the prophets unjustly. That, because they would disobey and used to commit transgression." (2:61)
Although God provided the Israelites with water and food on that parching desert, due to their ingratitude and spirit of lethargy and laziness, they asked Moses to provide them other kinds of foods.
Prophet Moses answered them, ‘On one hand you are replacing the celestial food which is better with the terrestrial one which is inferior in quality and on the other if you want such foods for which you have to stand up courageously against your enemies and enter the town to enjoy these foods. In other words you do not have the spirit of struggle yet you’d like to have all advantages of civilized life. Such indolent love and lethargy will lead you towards disgrace and humility, and ultimately, divine wrath will befall you. You have ignored Allah’s signs and miracles with your unwarranted and undeserving demands, and you have even shown no inhibitions in killing divine messengers, in order to reach your mundane and material goals.’
Ayah 62 of Surah Baqara says:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالنَّصَارَىٰ وَالصَّابِئِينَ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
"Indeed the faithful, the Jews, the Christians, and the Sabaeans--- those of them who have faith in Allah and the Last Day and act righteously--- they shall have their reward near their Lord, and they will have no fear, nor will they grieve." (2:62)
In all divine religions, faith and acts of virtue, is the scale for receiving rewards; i.e. faith in God and the Last Day together with obedience to God’s commandments. This rule is remarkably the same for Muslims, Christians, Jews and the followers of other religions. In view of this commonality, many Ayahs of the holy Qur’an invite the Jews and Christians to embrace the truth of Islam. In part of Ayah 85 of surah Aal-e Imran, for instance, we read:
"Should anyone follow a religion other than Islam, it shall never be accepted from him."
This means that the followers of other religions, who have obeyed their prophet or prophets and acted according to God's commandments, have fulfilled their duty at that particular time and will be rewarded in the hereafter, but with the advent of Islam, all other previously revealed scriptures and creeds have been cancelled, and no other religion will be accepted by God, except the universal set of laws revealed to last and the greatest of all Divine Messengers, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
This Ayah mentions the name of the Sabaeans. These claim to be the followers of Noah, Abraham or John the Baptist, but have clearly deviated from the right path at some time in history. For example they believe in the impact of the stars on the lives of human beings. This Ayah shows well that all divine religions were common on the basis of two fundamental principles, namely monotheism and the belief in afterlife. It is clearly stated in all divine religions that the only way to reach salvation and eternal bliss is to have faith and do good deeds by abstaining from hollow desires and frivolous hopes and expectations.
Ayah 63 of surah al-Baqarah reads:
وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَكُمْ وَرَفَعْنَا فَوْقَكُمُ الطُّورَ خُذُوا مَا آتَيْنَاكُم بِقُوَّةٍ وَاذْكُرُوا مَا فِيهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
"And when We took a pledge from you, and raised the Mount above you [declaring], ‘Hold on with power to what We have given you, and remember that which is in it, so that you may be Godwary." (2:63)
After granting the Torah to Moses, God took pledge from the Israelites to act according to its revelations and keep away from laziness and indolence in order to attain piety.
Another miracle shown to the Israelites by God was the raising of Mount Sinai in mid air, so that they may firmly adhere to their covenant for fear of inviting Divine Wrath. This was done so that they may both behold God’s power and be fearful of disobeying His commandments.
From this Ayah we learn that the faithful should be decisive and firm on preserving the principles of their faith and not regard them playfully and jokingly.
Ayah 64 of surah al-Baqarah reads:
ثُمَّ تَوَلَّيْتُم مِّن بَعْدِ ذَٰلِكَ ۖ فَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّـهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ لَكُنتُم مِّنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
"Then after that you turned away; and were it not for Allah’s grace on you and His mercy, you would surely have been among the losers." (2:64)
Although God took a firm pledge from the Israelites these ever-rebellious people violated it and turned their back to it, but still God provided them His bounties in order to seal the final argumentation against them.
Now let’s review the lessons of these four Ayahs:
1. Extremism and laziness erode human dignity and disposition and make such a person mean and ultimately humiliated because of his or her violation of Allah’s commandments in pursuit of vain materialistic desires.
2. Constantly unrepentant sinning and disobedience of God leads mankind to Kufr (infidelity) and makes the nature as rebellious as that of the devil so much so that under no circumstances does such a person accept the right.
3. True tranquility and solace is only accessible via faith in God and the hereafter, thereby giving good news of a bright future to the individual.
4. God has taken covenant from human beings through two means, namely on the basis of innate nature (Fitrat) and the revelation to guide towards right and good, and keep away from vices and wrong, both in thought and action.
At the end of this edition we beseech Allah with sincere intentions to preserve us from any idleness in thought and acts, and make us firm and steadfast concerning divine pledges.
Translated by: R. Mansouri