Al-Saffat (Those Ranged in Ranks) - Chapter 37: Verse 164

"There is none among us, but that he has a known station."

These are understood to be the words of the angels, each of whom is assigned a station that is never left; some remain bowing, never straightening their spines; others remain prostrating, never lifting their heads. In the immediate context, this verse is a declaration that they, like the jinn, know that any worship of them is misplaced. More broadly speaking, that all angels have a known station indicates that they have, like all created things other than human beings and jinn, no freedom to move from one station or level of being to another.

Al-Baqara (The Cow) Sura 2: Verse 219 (partial)

"They ask you about wine and gambling. Say: 'In them both lies great sin, as well as some benefit for humankind; but the evil that they cause is greater than the benefit which they bring.'"

The Quran repeatedly moves from soaring expressions of spiritual verities to details of mundane human behaviour. A full appreciation of our relationship to God is, as the Quran has been saying from the very beginning, found in how we act upon and live out God consciousness in all the aspects of our daily life. Worship is expressed not just in prayer but also in how we deal with mundane activity. It requires finding the right balance in all our activities, not being intoxicated with our self-interests or passions, but being ever mindful of the need for clear and sober judgement so that we apply the moral and ethical guidance of the Quran as far as we are able in even the smallest aspect of our lives.

The most pronounced feature of the legal determinations that exclude women from public life is the obsessive reliance on the idea of fitnah. In these determinations, women are persistently seen as a walking, breathing bundle of fitnah. One can hardly find a responsa that deals with women without the insertion of some language about the seductions of womanhood. So, for instance, women may attend mosques only if it does not lead to fitnah; women may listen to a man reciting the Quran or give a lecture, only if it does not lead to fitnah; women may go to the marketplace only if it does not lead to fitnah; women may not visit graveyards because of the fear of fitnah; women may not do tasbih or say amen aloud in prayer because of the fear of fitnah; a woman praying by herself may not raise her voice in prayer if it leads to fitnah; a woman may not even greet a man if it leads to fitnah; and every item and color of clothing is analyzed under the doctrine of fitnah.

Al-Baqarah (The Cow) Sura 2: Verse 256

"There is no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy handhold, that never breaks, for God is All-hearing, All-knowing. "

This verse is the most profound declarative statement in the Quran. It is not the business of any human being to coerce another in matters of faith or religion. The all-powerful gives us complete freedom to believe or not believe, to follow whatever religion we choose. The ability to attain to faith is innate in human nature, and the means to attain faith is provided by revelation. Only our willing, informed convincement is the true measure of God consciousness. By implication, for individuals or society to coerce people is to interfere with and arrogate to themselves authority over a relationship which can exist only between God and each individual soul.

Al-e-Imran (The House of Imran) Sura 3: Verse 54

"And (the unbelievers) plotted and planned (makr), and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah.'

The word makr means a secret scheme to cause harm to someone. It has come to connote a negative sense as resorting to secret scheming against someone and betrays the weakness of the schemers. As it is usually the weak who fall back upon makr or secret schemes, its negative sense became more pronounced, and the term was taken to convey essentially a negative aspect. Wherever it is used, the assumption is that it must be in a negative sense. This is far from being true. At times, one has to resort to secret scheming to counter the schemers or to punish them. Any open action against the perpetrators of secret scheming can easily be depicted as unjust and an act of aggression. Most people who are unaware of the real facts may also be led to believe that the perpetrators were justified in their actions.