Path Towards Enlightenment (809)
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 50 to 53 of Surah Saffaat:
“Some of them will turn to others, questioning each other;”
“One of them will say, ‘Indeed I had a companion;”
“Who used to say: “Are you really among those who affirm?”
“[that] When we are dead and have become dust and bones, we shall indeed be brought to retribution?”
Last week we said the people of Paradise, reclining or seated on couches, far more comfortable than what human mind had created in the world, would be served foods and pure drinks, more delicious than whatever was available in the world. And these pleasures are inexhaustible, without any slightest ailment, and they will be blessed with the companionship of sincere and virtuous maidens.
The ayahs that we recited now refer to the conversations among the people of paradise, of which God informs us here in order to stimulate our brains for the blessings He has reserved for the virtuous who abstain from sins and disobedience of divine commandments. In the transient life of the mortal world they may have been acquainted with all sorts of people in social life, but in afterlife the ways and places of the good and bad have been separated forever. Some of the people of paradise while conversing with their friends amidst the heavenly bliss would remember those with whom they were familiar during worldly life, and ask about their fate.
Then, as the next ayah implies, one of them will say that he had a companion who – obviously misled by the rejecters of Resurrection – used to repeatedly ask him whether he really believed that after death when our bones have become dust, we will indeed be raised to life again on the Day of Judgment for the reward or punishment of our deeds?
From these ayahs we learn that:
- There is no harm in associating with the irreligious, the non-religious, or those of weak faith, in the hope of inviting them to the right path, if such association does not weaken our own beliefs in God and divine commandments.
- The deniers of resurrection have no rational or empirical reason to deny the resurrection and the afterlife.
- In afterlife, memories of the world are not forgotten and remain a constant reminder in appreciation of the blessings of God.
Now we listen to and read ayahs 54 to 57 of Surah Saffaat:
“He will say, ‘Will you have a look?”
“Then he will take a look and sight him in the middle of hell.”
“He will say, ‘By Allah, you had almost ruined me!”
“And had it not been for my Lord’s blessing, I too would have been among the arraigned!”
In continuation of the conversation of the people of paradise, these ayahs imply that when asked about the fate of the wayward acquaintance of the transient life of the mortal world, the companion in heaven would reply whether he would like to see how that person had fared? By the Grace of God, the vision of the enquirer will pierce the flames of hell to find that wayward acquaintance of worldly life in the middle of the eternal inferno as punishment for having died in the state of unbelief and sins. The virtuous person in paradise would then say to the denier of resurrection: You had almost ruined me because of your doubts, disbelief, deceit, and denial of truth, and had it not been for the blessings of God Almighty that enabled me to avoid sins and unbelief by guiding me towards firm faith, virtue and the doing of good deeds, I would have suffered the same fate in afterlife.
From these ayahs we learn that:
- The people of paradise are placed in a prime position, to the extent that in addition to enjoying the bliss of heaven, they have been empowered by God to know the terrible situation of the people of hell and talk to them whenever they wish, but the infernal people cannot see paradise or become aware of the bounteous conditions of the heavenly people.
- Although, out of social necessity we make acquaintances with all sorts of people during life, including the irreligious and the deniers of truth, association with them should not weaken our own beliefs, since friendship with the sinners is dangerous, and if not for the grace of God in keeping us firm on the straightforward path, we might have slipped and ended up in hell like them.
Now we listen to and read ayahs 58 to 61 of Surah Saffaat:
“Is it [true] that we shall not die [anymore]”
“Aside from our first death, and that we shall not be punished?”
“This is indeed the great success!”
“Let all the workers work for the like of this!”
It is clear that whoever enters paradise attains eternal salvation. Ayahs 58 and 59 which we recited to you, imply that the person in heaven, turning to his worldly acquaintance who is languishing in hell, would say as a reminder about death, resurrection, retribution and afterlife, in which the latter had not believed: Look what a great mistake you made; physical death does not mean the end of everything, since contrary to your belief, there is indeed eternal life with its rewards and recompense, or punishment. Now all the facts have been made manifest for you, but alas, there is no way to return.
According to some other exegetes of the holy Qur’an, these two ayahs express the thrill of attaining the bliss of paradise, as relief forever from trials and hardships which were experienced in the transient life of the mortal world that ended with death. This is in appreciation to the grace of Allah, since these words are not being said in a state of doubt, but are actually being expressed as gratitude to the Almighty for the eternal joys and perpetual happiness, similar to the condition of a person who, after a long time of expectation and striving, attains the goal of inexhaustible abundance and everlasting comfort.
That is the reason in ayah 60, the person in heaven, calls his attaining of the bliss of paradise as “the great success”
Ayah 61 is in fact a divine stimulation for awakening the conscience of mankind in order to enable them to strive for attainment of these eternal bounties that God has reserved as reward for the virtuous, so that sins should be avoided and good work be done, since it is only good deeds that bring the bliss of paradise which cannot be bought with wealth or acquired through power, or for that matter given as inheritance.
From these ayahs we learn that:
- In Paradise there is no death, while in hell the sinners repeatedly go through the unending and agonizing process of death and revival.
- Real happiness and prosperity is attained through true belief, obedience to God’s commandments, doing of virtuous deeds, and refrainment from sins – values which can be preserved, even in a corrupt environment without tending to slip, by being always cognizant of the final destination and the divine promise of paradise.
- The virtuous should strive to promote goodness in society by setting examples and guiding others to the path of God on the basis of the fundamental principles of encouraging of good acts and shunning of bad deeds.