Path Towards Enlightenment (834)
Welcome to our weekly program "Path towards Enlightenment" in which we present you a fluent and easy-to-understand explanation of the ayahs of the holy Qur’an. We start from where we left you last Friday and here are ayahs 67 to 70 of Surah Saad:
"Say, ‘It is a Great Prophesy,"
"Of which you are disregardful."
"I have no knowledge of the Supernal Elite when they contend"
"All that is revealed to me is that I am just a manifest warner."
Last week we said that explaining the punishment of the denizens of hell, God commanded Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny): Tell the polytheists and disbelievers and their chiefs, I warn you to take lessons from the fate of the ancients by returning to Allah, since there is no god except Him. He is the One and Only Whose power is infinite, and none can resist Him. He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and is the Controller of all things in the universe, and, in addition to Invincible Power, is Forgiving and Compassionate towards the wrongdoers who repent of their misdeeds and return to Him.
The ayahs that we recited to you now mean to say: Yes, this great heavenly Book, that is, the holy Qur’an, is an important message, as great as the whole world of existence, which has been sent down by the Almighty Creator. It is a message that a lot of people did not find out its greatness at the time of its revelation. A group of them mocked it, and some others called it a sorcery, while some of them counted it poetry, but it did not last so much that this ‘great news’ showed its inside. It changed the way of mankind, and it was stretched over the expanse of the world. It created a great bright civilization in all fields.
And it is interesting to note that the announcement of this ‘Great Prophecy’ is in this Surah which was revealed in Mecca at a time when the Muslims were apparently in utmost weakness, and the doors of success were all shut to them. Even today the greatness of this important message is not completely clear to human beings and even to the Muslims themselves. According to narrations, the purpose of the Great Prophecy or Great News, which God calls “Naba al-Azeem” is related to the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), whom God Almighty designated as the vicegerent of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). According to the Imam himself: “There is no sign from Allah which is greater than me, and there is no message from Allah greater than me!”
According to exegetes of the holy Qur’an, the important message as mentioned in this ayah is Imamate, since ‘Wilayah’ or divinely-designated authority is the essence of faith, which some people despite claiming to be Muslim, have disregarded and went astray.
As is clear in the next ayah, the entire Qur’an is from God Almighty, and the Prophet has no say in this matter except to convey to mankind what has descended to him from the heavens. In other words, he is the Manifest Warner, and those who disregard his message are in peril.
From these ayahs we learn that:
- In ideological affairs, acceptance or rejection of people is not the sign of its righteousness or wrongfulness.
- What God has commanded is obligatory, and after the Prophethood, the criteria of firm faith is Wilayah or the divinely-designated authority of Imam Ali (AS) and the other Infallible Imams.
- The source of the Prophet's message is God revelation, of which none can dispute.
Now we listen to or read ayahs 71 and 72 of Surah Saad:
" When your Lord said to the angels, ‘Indeed I am about to create a human being out of clay."
"So when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My spirit, then fall down in prostration before him."
These ayahs refer to the conversation between God and the angels concerning the creation of Adam, the Father of mankind. The case was that when God created Adam He informed the angels and said to them: I intend to create a new species of creatures, that is, the human race, from clay, and into him I will infuse My spirit into him, unlike My creation of other beings. Therefore, you must prostrate to Adam and accept his supremacy over yourself.
It is clear that the human body is basically from clay and water. Because all the food that the body consumes, whether directly or indirectly, is from the plants that sprout from the soil and grow by means of water. Even the meat of animals and birds that man is permitted to eat, is fundamentally related to soil and water. The fact that mankind has basically been granted intellect and an ethereal spirit, in addition to the earthly body, is indication of the dignity of the human race and their special position in the system of creation. Thus, a human being who follows the commandments of God and desists from the temptations of the devil, is indeed a trustee of what God has given. In other words, God has granted superior attributes to mankind, such as knowledge, power, mercy, authority and will to a limited extent.
As for the reason of the divine command to the angels to prostrate to Adam, it has been narrated from Prophet Mohammad (SAWA): “Allah created Adam and set us the Ahl-ul-Bayt in his progeny and it was for honouring us that He issued the command of prostration. The fact that Adam was the object of prostration was expression of servitude to Allah and respect for Adam (by the angels), because we were in his loin.”
From these ayahs we learn that:
- The creation of angels was before the creation of mankind, but since merit is more important than history or antiquity, mankind is superior to the angels.
- Man is a two-dimensional creature, material and spiritual.
- Adam, in view of his superiority, had precedence over angels, whom God ordered to prostrate to the Father of the human race.
- It is not permissible to prostrate to anyone except God, and here in the case of Adam, the Almighty Himself is ordering the angels to prostrate, because of the holy attributes granted to Adam, especially in view of the fact that the best of creation, the most perfect of creatures, that is, the Prophet and the Infallible Ahl al-Bayt were to be raised in his progeny.
Now we listen to or read ayahs 73 and 74 of Surah Saad:
"Thereat the angels prostrated, all of them together,"
"But not Iblis; he acted arrogantly and he was one of the faithless."
The celestial angels have no independent will, and neither they have needs like human beings, which means they are completely obedient to the Will of God without the least objection. Thus, at God's commandment, all angels without any delay prostrated to Adam, except for Iblis or Lucifer, who was from the species called genie, and who became the Satan for disputing the divine commandment. The emphasis in the holy Qur’an on this subject is to remind us of the dignity of mankind, and at the same time to warn us of the pitfalls set up by the lurking devil, who is a mortal enemy of all mankind. It is to awaken our conscience and to tell us that how with such a great dignity, allows himself to fall into the clutches of the devil. It is actually such devilish tendencies as obstinacy, pride, haughtiness, and envy that lead mankind to deviate from the ways of Adam and fall prey to the temptations of Satan. It also informs us of the existence of such a great enemy as Satan who has sworn to beguile mankind.
From these ayahs we learn that:
- Pride and arrogance are the cause of a person's fall, even if he has lived a life of honesty.
- Association with good people alone is not the cause of salvation, since what is essential is complete obedience to God without the least objection.