The Quran about unnecessary qualities
In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful
Man, being a social creature, is often a subject to the influence of demagogy and what is called oratorical art. Frequently, people, captivated by the ornate beauty of the syllable, do not catch the essence of what has been said, because the external “wrapper” of what is heard does not allow the listener deeply analyse the information received. Messenger Muhammad, being a simple man, was also a subject to such weakness.
And of the people is he whose speech pleases you in worldly life, and he calls God to witness as to what is in his heart, yet he is the fiercest of opponents. And when he goes away, he strives throughout the land to cause corruption therein and destroy crops and animals. And God does not like corruption.
And when it is said to him, “Beware of God ,” pride in the sin takes hold of him. Sufficient for him is Hellfire, and how wretched is the resting place. (2:204-206)
Unfortunately, for the most of the people, the external side of some particular issue has a priority in making any decision. Due to such an incorrect action, a person is at least disappointed, not to mention more serious consequences. Only with the help of God, His messenger did realize about the fallacy of such perception, which was an invaluable lesson for believers.
And when you see them, their forms please you, and if they speak, you listen to their speech. [They are] as if they were pieces of wood propped up – they think that every shout is against them. They are the enemy, so beware of them! God will kill them, wherever they invoke vainness! (63:4)
In fact, oratory, as a form of public activity, is aimed to attract the attention, and inevitably it comes across with biased praise from the public. This side of the “witty words” is a natural reaction of the audience to everything bright and spectacular. However, such an attitude of people, in turn, affects the speaker himself. This, in fact, is the danger for the source of attention.
And never think that those who rejoice in what they have perpetrated and like to be praised for what they did not do – never think them [to be] in safety from the punishment, and for them is a painful punishment! (3:188)
Spoiled by the attention of society, a person, imperceptibly for himself, begins to believe in his superiority over the others, to consider his merits as the most meaningful and unmistakable. All this affects the inner state of a person and manifests itself in external behaviour: gait, facial expression, voice. A warning for such people is Lukman’s exhortation of his son.
And do not turn your cheek [in contempt] toward people and do not walk through the earth exultantly. Indeed, God does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful. And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys.” (31:18-19)
Also the listeners themselves are subjects to the danger. After all, the passive perception of “chewed” information leads to a weakening of individual thinking activity. A person, accustomed to get ready material, loses the ability to analyse the information received and moreover the ability of the critical perception of it. The consequence of such a state is the weakness of faith, which is expressed in the behaviour of people.
And there followed them successors who inherited the Prescription, [while] taking the commodities of this lower life and saying, “It will be forgiven for us.” And if an offer like it comes to them, they will [again] take it. Was not the covenant of the Prescription taken from them that they would not say about God except the truth, and they studied what was in it? And the home of the hereafter is better for those who circumspect. So will you not use reason? (7:169)
The only mean that protects a person from the above described condition is careful and independent study of God’s Prescription, as a result of which a person will have an ability to think independently and steadfastly follow the Divine truth.