The Holy Quran and Social Reality: "…Whoever works evil will pay for it …" (Quran 4:123)

آحمد صبحي منصور Ýí 2015-11-30


The Holy Quran and Social Reality: "…Whoever works evil will pay for it …" (Quran 4:123)

Was published in Arabic in October 18, 2015

Translated by Ahmed Fathy


 The holy Quran tackles everyday life in all ages; what it says about human beings describes social realities in people's lives. Every time we read it, we cannot help wondering and saying: God says nothing but the Truth.


1- If believers would truly and deeply contemplate this verse: "…Whoever works evil will pay for it …" (4:123), they will certainly avoid torment in this world and the next. If people only knew about torment and punishment that will befall them in this life in return for their crimes, they would have stopped their evildoing and repent; the world will be a better place this way.

2- God punishes evildoers in this life as a way to reform them and make them remember and repent so that they save themselves the eternal torment in Hell in the Afterlife: "We will make them taste the lesser torment, prior to the greater torment, so that they may return." (32:21).

3- One would see people of authority in their processions, pageantry, and signs of wealth and pomp that dazzle the eyes, but we are to remember the story of Quaroon: "And he went out before his people in his splendor. Those who desired the worldly life said, "If only we possessed the likes of what Quaroon was given. He is indeed very fortunate." But those who were given knowledge said, "Woe to you! The reward of God is better for those who believe and do righteous deeds." Yet none attains it except the steadfast. So We caused the earth to cave in on him and his mansion. He had no company to save him from God, and he could not defend himself. Those who had wished they were in his position the day before were saying, "Indeed, it is God who spreads the bounty to whomever He wills of His servants, and restricts it. Had God not been gracious to us, He would have caved in on us. No wonder the ungrateful never prosper."" (28:79-82).

4- Hypocrites in the city of Yathreb in the era of Prophet Muhammad used to be people of authority, pomp, riches, splendor and many offspring. God in the Quran tells the Prophet not to admire their possession and progeny as such things will be tools and means of their torment in this transient life: "Let neither their possessions nor their children impress you. God intends to torment them through them in this worldly life, and that their souls depart while they are disbelievers." (9:55) and "Do not let their possessions and their children impress you. God desires to torment them through them in this world, and their souls expire while they are disbelievers." (9:85). This divine order is addressed to the Prophet, let alone ordinary people like us.

5- Ordinary people are weak by nature; once they reach authority, they tend to forget that if a post of authority has reached one, it has been lost first by one's predecessor. In the realm of the Muhammadans, where tyranny and corruption goes hand in hand and reign supreme, people torment and torture one another. Disasters befall them, but they never remember and never repent. This is typical of any society dominated by hypocrisy, duplicity, overt superficial religiosity, and trading with religious notions in the media and otherwise.

6- The best proof of the above-mentioned view is the similarity of the conditions of people of authority and power in all times and climes; we mean those who own the power to imprison, sue, control, and neutralize others. In such levels, struggles succeed one another, with victims among people of authority later on as a result of these struggles. Such people remain in the limelight in the media while they are in power and again in their fall: Sadat's assassination, Mubarak's trial, Saddam's trial and hanging, Kaddafi's being caught and killed, Ben Ali's flight, and Reza Pahlavi' flight. Similar fates are waiting for other tyrants like Syria's Bashar Al-Assad, Sudan's Al-Basheer, and the KSA royal family members; this is not too much to ask from Almighty God.

7- In such vicious circle of struggles, people tend to forget the divine rule: "…Whoever works evil will pay for it …" (4:123). We will here cite an example of one of those who forgot this divine rule and paid the price early: Abdel Hamid Al-Sarraj; we know facts of his life from the Wikipedia.


1- Abdel Hamid Al-Sarraj was born in Hama, Syria, in 1925, and died in Cairo, Egypt, in 2013. In his early life, he used to be a security guard at the gate of the common market in Aleppo. During his working hours, he used to study for the tests of high school so as to enroll in the military college; where he graduated in 1947. He had dubious relations with leaders of military coups in Syria. He used to be friends with them and later on, he was accused of taking part in the assassination of the Ba'athist leader Adnan Al-Malki in April 1955. Al-Sarraj played a role in the incarceration of several Syrian nationalists.

2- Al-Sarraj participated in inciting struggles in the political turmoil of 1958 in Lebanon toward the end of the presidential term of the Lebanese president Camille Chamoun. Al-Sarraj provided the National Front in Lebanon with financial aid, arms, and weapons. He was the first suspect in the assassination of a journalist in Bayreuth in May 1958. The worst crime in his personal record was the incarceration, torture, and assassination of the communist leader Faragalla Al-Hilw, of the Lebanese Marxist Political Party. Al-Sarraj later on melted the body of this leader in acids to efface the evidence of this crime. Al-Sarraj later on became the Minister of Interior in Syria when it joined Egypt under the name of the United Arab Republic in 1958, during Gamal Abdel-Nasser's presidency of Egypt.

3- The KSA king Saud conspired against the unity between Egypt and Syria. He sent Al-Sarraj twenty checks with the total sum of two million Sterling in return for preventing the continuity of the Egyptian-Syrian unity and the assassination of the Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser by sending a Syrian military plane to fire missiles against the plane carrying President Nasser before it reached Damascus to announce the unity, with Israel to be accused as the culprit. Al-Sarraj pretended to accept the offer, but he exposed the conspiracy, and this major scandal of the KSA royal family was reverberating all over the Arab world. Accordingly, Al-Sarraj became very near to President Nasser. Al-Sarraj became the first man in Syria and the second citizen in the nascent United Arab Republic, after the Syrian President Shukri al-Quwatli, who later on resigned for the sake of founding the very first United Arab Republic.

4- Due to the high stature of Al-Sarraj in the heart of President Nasser, fierce competition and jealousy came from the second man after Nasser; the Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel-Hakeem Amer. Al-Sarraj dominated Syria with Nasser's support. Al-Sarraj used to send spies to report information about meetings of Syrian officers whose loyalty to the nascent unity was not so clear. Al-Sarraj used to spy on all social and political activities and to imprison all suspects. He ruled Syria actually with iron and fire, despite not being officially the ruler. His atrocities in torturing other were linked to his corruption. Al-Sarraj issued orders not to allow any Syrian citizens to fly outside Syria unless they get a ''travel visa'': i.e., permission issued by the government to those who desire to travel abroad. Hence, Syria became a big prion for all citizens. Al-Sarraj followed certain economic policies; he prohibited importation of luxury items, and thus, smuggled goods came from Bayreuth that kept its free economical system. Smugglers used to work under the protection of Syrian Intelligent Services officers, overlooked intentionally by Al-Sarraj.

5- Other Syrian political powers led a violent, fierce opposition campaign against Al-Sarraj especially that Al-Ba'ath Party became at the time an opposition party, not the ruling party. The other political groups had lost at the time all financial power due to policies of nationalization. The Egyptian public newspaper mentioned after the dissolution of the Egyptian-Syrian unity that Nasser used to look with dissatisfaction at the policies and demeanor of Al-Sarraj. Nasser used to rebuke Al-Sarraj about police-state policies in Damascus that spread terror among Syrian citizens and used to tarnish the reputation of the former United Arab Republic, rather than keeping its security intact.

6- The KSA royal family never forgot to take revenge of Al-Sarraj who offended it by exposing its conspiracy against Nasser and the Egyptian-Syrian unity. On 28th September, 1961, a coup occurred in Syria led by a man sent by Abdel-Hakeem Amer, in collaboration with angry Syrians who lost many possessions due to nationalization policies. All men with Nasserite tendencies or sympathies in Syria were arrested. Al-Sarraj hid himself in the house of his in-laws in Damascus, but he eventually got arrested by armed forces men.

7- Al-Sarraj was subjected to the worst types of torture. His wife was about to get blind from weeping over her husband. When Nasser knew about this, he ordered the Egyptian Central Intelligence to smuggle Al-Sarraj out of prison to Bayreuth and eventually to Cairo, where he lived quietly until his death in 2013.

8- We conclude then that Al-Sarraj lived for seven years enjoying absolute power in his youth (from 1954 to 1961) especially in the last three years. Later on, he was tortured in the same prison where he used to torture his victims. Eventually, he lived for about half a century in exile in Cairo, forgotten and shunned by all Syrians. In his self-imposed exile and loneliness, he used to read and watch allvicissitudes: the rise and fall of the mighty, processions, interments, etc. of Nasser, Sadat, Mubarak, Kaddafi, Saddam, and Bashar Al-Assad. He might have regretted not being in power all these years! He might, likewise, have repented and contemplated the Quran, especially "…Whoever works evil will pay for it …" (4:123).  We will never know about this concerning Al-Sarraj. Please, our readers, we beseech you to contemplate on "…Whoever works evil will pay for it …" (4:123). God says nothing but the Truth. 

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