There was a time when the Children of Israel were the chosen people of God (2:47) and the special status, beginning with Abraham, continued up until Christ (2:124). Thereafter, specific people/nations/ethnicities were favoured no more, and instead, divine favour fell upon those committed to revelation. The Prophet informed: “God has a cohort (like close family) from amongst mankind…They are the people of the Qur’an, they are God’s people and His elect.” (Ahmad, Ibn Majah)
God himself told us,
We gave the scripture as a heritage to Our chosen servants…Qur’an 35:32
I understand that for many people, this sounds like one of those generic posts, ones that often tell us to simply utter a portion of the Qur’an (whilst not understanding it) and that somehow we’ll all then be special. As I’ve shown elsewhere, this is not true and neither revelation itself nor the intellect attests to this.
I also sympathise with the view, although rarely acknowledged, that many regard the Qur’an as just too simple to provide answers/guidance/solutions to most things in isolation, and thus they don’t derive much out of it because they subconsciously regard it as too simple or generic (as abstract theological statements). In their limited experiences, when they see the Qur’an discussed at some depth its overly academic and directly irrelevant to everyday life. The latter point is also why people then practice Islam (or see religious interpretation) in the abstract as well. And where things are more grassroots, preachers seek to get people to go through religious motions rather than meaningfully engage with God ritualising everything, and whilst intentions may be sincere, such an approach is clearly misinformed.
Again, whilst I sympathise, I’m saying that simply calling yourself a Muslim or affirming abstract theological sentiments doesn’t make you ‘chosen’ or special. Going through motions might keep you out of trouble, but that isn’t what God ultimately intended from his guidance (and it’s a very low bar to set). Subservience (the verbal noun of aslama) is a lived phenomenon and only God’s word describes how to live it. Many rely on perpetually changing currents to give their lives value and meaning. This is a grave mistake, and like the many (eventually) informed believers I meet inform me (many of them activists), a lot of time is wasted and little personally achieved.
Fads come and go, social/religious causes build traction and fade away, ideologies catch hold and are discarded, nations rise and fall. But the living God, Creator and Sustainer of all is ever-present and eternal, and so too are His words. No matter the state of a perpetually changing world, the Most High and His guidance shall remain relevant, and the same can be said of absolutely nothing else.
Debaters, social media personalities, religious celebrities, young sectarian zealots all have their moment – in the vast majority of cases, it all dies out and they grow older getting on with their personal lives. In the end it is those who never sought such things, but simply a commitment to decency, righteous conduct, and an engagement with revelation: living it, teaching it, and advocating it, that ultimately endure and prove their utility until the very end. Have you heard of anyone except advocates of what God has revealed still proving their utility to believers into their 70s, 80s or 90s? Be from those people, from their gatherings, their cohorts, their active supporters and their circles. Don’t wait to figure this out until years down the line. Think maturely and be an early bird.
Is it not time for believers to humble their hearts to the remembrance of God and the Truth that has been revealed, and not to be like those who received the Scripture before them, whose time was extended but whose hearts hardened and many of whom were disobedient?Qur’an 57:16
May God guide us all and aid us to be inspired to be His elect.