Path Towards Enlightenment (799)
Welcome to our weekly programme "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 66 and 67 of Surah Ya Sin:
“Had We wished We would have blotted out their eyes: then, were they to advance towards the path, how would have they seen?”
“And had We wished We would have deformed them in their place; then they would have neither been able to go ahead nor to go back.”
Last week we explained to you the fate of the guilty ones in the Divine Court on the Day of Resurrection and how their own bodily organs will bear testimony against them for having misused these organs to commit sins.
The ayahs that we recited to you now mean to say that the punishment of the sinners is not deferred to the Day of Resurrection alone, since if God the All-Merciful wishes, they are liable to punishment during the transient life of the mortal world as well. For instance, if God wishes, He would put a veil on their eyes to deprive them of sight, thus preventing them from proceeding on the straight path.
The apparent meaning of the ayah “had We wished We would have blotted out their eyes”, is to blot out in such a way that no sign of the eyes remains. The Arabic word ‘tamas’ means totally blotting or erasing to the extent that there will be no sign or mark that an eye existed in that place. As is clear from the next part of this ayah, if they were to proceed on the path in this blind or eyeless state, they won’t be able to see anything. So, how can one go on the right path whose eyes are totally removed?
As ayah 67 means to say: If God the All-Merciful wishes, He may disfigure the sinners. The Arabic word ‘maskh’ means to transform the shape badly. It means to take away the beautiful shape of a person and turn him/her into an ugly beast. The phrase in this ayah “in their place”, means God Almighty is capable of doing this without any delay. And if this happens, the path of going ahead or turning back is closed. In other words, they can neither advance nor retreat.
Perhaps these two punishments also refer to the Day of Resurrection, because those who had died in the state of unbelief and unrepentant of sins, cannot find the path to Paradise, which is the path of eternal bliss. Thus, on the Day of Resurrection, the sinners are entrapped in utter confusion; they do not have the power to move or escape from God’s punishment as a result of the evil of their acts.
From these ayahs we learn that:
- We are not immune from Divine Wrath in the transient life of the mortal world, and it is only God’s infinite mercy that gives sinners ample respite and time to reflect on the consequences of evil acts, in order to repent and reform themselves.
- We should not misuse our organs to commit sins and wrongs that may deprive us of the blessings of sight and other senses, since it is only the Mercy of our Loving Creator Who has not deprived the guilty ones of the right to rectify wrongs through repentance and reform.
Now we listen to and read ayah 68 of Surah Ya Sin:
“And whomever We give a long life, We cause him to regress in creation. Then will they not apply reason?”
This ayah means to say: The first thing to be understood is the weakness of man to crave for long life, although God has the Power to grant this request, He wants mankind to apply reason to reflect on the natural process of aging that the All-Wise has decreed, since as age grows the physical energies sap, including memory.
In other words, we ought to understand that after birth we start growing until we reach a certain age when weakness creeps in and the downslide begins as per the process of aging. This helps us understand that our nourishment is in the hands of God, Who Alone gives us strength and takes it back. This means, instead of dreaming of a long life, we ought to understand that every moment of our life is an opportunity to strengthen our faith, to do good and to abstain from evil.
Even the most powerful rulers and the wealthiest persons are subject to the process of aging and the physical weakness it brings. Thus, before aging and disability catches up, we need to reform ourselves rather than indulging in the unreal hope of long life and renewed strength.
From this ayah we learn that:
- Longevity does not mean growth of strength but regression in energy, since the longer the life, the weaker the physical and mental faculties.
- Human life is limited though the wishes be many; so whoever reaps the most benefits from his/her limited life is the winner.
- Salvation lies in right thinking and proper pondering, but whatever causes a person waste the period of youth is in fact the cause of misery and self-destruction.
Now we listen to and read ayahs 69 and 70 of Surah Ya Sin:
“We did not teach him poetry, nor does it behoove him. This is just a reminder and a manifest Qurʾān;”
“So that anyone who is alive may be warned, and that the word may come due against the faithless.”
After the ayahs warning sinners and deniers of God and the Hereafter, ayah number 69 refutes the allegation of the polytheists against Prophet Muhammad (SAWA). The pagan Arabs first accused the Prophet and the words of God that he recited, as magic. When they saw that despite their propaganda, the teachings of Islam were gaining ground and winning adherents, the pagan Arabs realizing that their allegation about magic has become old, made another false allegation and called the Prophet a poet, since poetry is imagination, fancy and illusion, removed away from reality. They thought that in this way they would undermine the Divine Words of the holy Qur’an. Thus God Almighty refutes their accusation, saying that His Revelation is the Manifest Heavenly Scripture, which makes everything clear to those seeking truth, and is a reminder to mankind to keep away from falsehood, sins, carnal desires and the insinuations of Satan.
The next ayah means to say that a sign for the heart to be alive is the acceptance of truth, since Prophets and the Words of God they preach are the source of awareness and spiritual intelligence, and at the same time the complete argumentation against the dead-hearted ones, that is, the unbelievers. In other words, the Qur’an has considered the faith as ‘life’ and the believers as ‘the living ones’; and the disbelievers as ‘the dead ones’.
From these ayahs we learn that:
- The holy Qur’an is not poetry despite its flawless eloquence, and neither was the Prophet a poet indulging in fancies, as is clear from the manifest truth and timeless realities of the holy Qur’an, which is based on wisdom and logic.
- Those who do not accept the manifest truth are dead persons, even if they seem to be alive, since the value of a person depends on purity of the soul.
- Thus, people who have true faith are alive and lead real life, while the unbelievers are actually dead persons, since their hearts do not respond to the manifest truth.