“And surely We wrote in the Psalms, after the exhortation, ‘that the earth shall be inherited by My righteous servants’. Herein, surely, is a message for those devoted to worship.”
( Qur'an – 21:105-6)
The verse 21:106 has been seriously misinterpreted by some people. At the heart of this miscomprehension is the belief that it guarantees inheritance of the earth only to the righteous. Such people even go a step further. They look around at those nations which have been ‘inheritors of the earth’, and they note that unbelievers, polytheists, transgressors and sinners have all at one time or another enjoyed ‘inheritance of the earth’. Because of this, they contend that since the principle – that only the righteous will inherit the earth – cannot be wrong, the meaning so far associated with ‘righteousness’ is fallacious. They, therefore, seek a new meaning of righteousness which may indiscriminately be applied to all those who have ruled over the earth. In this pursuit, they are helped by the Darwinian concept of evolution. They try to adapt the Quranic concept of salāh (rectitude; righteousness) to the Darwinian concept of ‘fitness’ (survival of the fittest).
Those responsible for interpreting this verse in such a way must, however, face the question: if righteousness and worship are so signified, what, then, is meant by faith? Faith in God, in the Last Day, in the Messengers and in the Books – a faith without which, according to the Quran, no good deed is acceptable to God. Additionally, what is meant by the Quranic call that one must follow the moral system and the way of life communicated to mankind on God’s behalf by His Messengers? Such interpreters also fail to answer as to why the Qur'an repeatedly states that those who do not believe in the Messenger or do not obey God’s command, are unbelievers, transgressors worthy of God’s punishment and wrath.