If you ever come across any person referred to among the “pious” ones, you will witness certain outward, prominent characteristics. However, what Quran refers to as the most pious deeds and the most significant ones belong to an entirely different stratum.
But due to our approach towards the Holy book as a collection of verses meant for reaping rewards only, this critical set of commandments fails to catch our attention.
There are numerous occasions whereupon Quran and Hadith proscribe us from things like being deceitful, refraining us to be hypocritical or speaking other than what is true. In chapter Al-Imran, Almighty has cursed those who speak to lie (verse 161).
Moreover, in one of his quotes, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) mentions the traits of a hypocrite and one of the notable traits, says the Prophet, will be that a hypocrite will always be a liar. But, due to other things getting prioritised, our society does not consider this trait as significant as a vice.
Among other such commandments, Quran also lays emphasis upon preparing a written draft while making a financial transaction, especially at the time of borrowing loan from the other (Al-Baqarah). But if anyone does so in today’s social structure, it may be dubbed as trust deficit.
On other occasion, in chapter Al-Baqarah and Al-Nisa, Almighty lays down the principles for distributing the inheritance, but under different social compulsions, women still have been deprived. We witness numerous instances wherein women withdraw their claims over inheritance, but men never do it.
If at all it hints at anything, it is power dynamics, rather than so called sisterly love towards their brothers. Pertinent to mention, these are not mere advices rather legal regulations which, as per the Islamic jurisprudence, attract legal actions.
One other important commandment of Quran is to seek mutual consultation, but neither in our domestic affairs, nor in our social matters, do we treat mutual consultation as an obligation which is binding upon us. Likewise making allegations without any considerable proof, is also a grave misdeed as per the Quranic injunctions. But we witness many prominent people, including religious figures, who make allegations to defame others.
Almighty, underscoring the gravity of it, says in chapter Noor that those who defame chaste Muslim women for nothing, are cursed, both here and hereafter. In the same breath, one can mention the malevolent habit of being after the life of people and impending upon their privacy.
Prophet Mohammad very explicitly instructed against this “Of you, who have embraced Islam, but only in letter and not in spirit, do not cause harm to people and do not look for their lacunas. The one who will make the faults of his brother public, God will do the same to him, even if he may be hiding in the darkest of his rooms.” In this world of social media, it seems normal to people to take screenshots, exhibiting the lacunas and mistakes of different people.
There are many other social problems which now have entered the fabric of society. One such problem is bribery which does not seem much of a grave vice to even people who are regular attendees at mosques.
This is when we have clear commandment in the Quran “Do not extract the money out of people in ways which are illegitimate.” But the reality on ground is that the moment traffic movement is halted at Jammu-Srinagar highway, many of our traders start hoarding the stock and then sell products at inflated prices. This, and whatever has been mentioned above is, a byproduct of our misconstrued concept of “pious deeds.”