Path Towards Enlightenment (849)
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 is ayah 42 of Surah Zumar:
"Allah takes the souls at the time of their death, and those who have not died in their sleep. Then He retains those for whom He has ordained death and releases the others until a specified time. There are indeed signs in that for a people who reflect."
According to this ayah, souls of human beings return to their Lord both at the time of death – permanently – and in the state of sleep – temporarily – before returning to the body to wake up the person.
In order to make it clear that all human affairs including life and death is indication of Divine Omnipotence. The blessed ayah means to say that sleep is death’s brother and this indicates the connection between soul and body, which might be severed at the time.
The ayah exhorts us to reflect upon Divine Wisdom and the frailty of life. This is also indicative of the fact that everything is in accordance with Divine Will, which on the Day of Resurrection revives the dead to life by returning the soul to the rejuvenated body in its original condition despite it being eaten away by insects and the reduction of bones to dust.
All people see dreams in sleep and perhaps in the dream world, they might travel to different parts of the world, experience happiness and sadness. This is also an indication of independence of soul from the body.
Therefore, sleep is one of the signs of Power of God, which, when duly pondered upon, serves as a lesson for human beings on the weakness of the physical body, and the delicateness of the soul, whose existence cannot be denied.
From this ayah we learn that:
- The body and soul are two independent truths, separated either temporarily by sleep or permanently by death. When a person dies the body is decayed and eaten by insects, while the soul remains aloof.
- Sleep is the brother of death, and a lesson for human beings.
- Sleep and awakening occur every day for all beings, but only wise and thoughtful people contemplate and learn from these phenomena.
Now we listen to or read ayahs 43 and 44 of Surah Zumar:
"Have they taken intercessors besides Allah? Say, ‘What! Even though they have no control over anything and cannot apply reason?!"
"Say, ‘All intercession rests with Allah. To Him belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; then you will be brought back to Him."
Idol worshipers consider the creation of their hands and imagination of their minds as intercessors between themselves and God, and here in this ayah they are being censured for not using their God-given intellect to understand that these lifeless objects of stone, clay or wood, have no control over anything.
The next ayah means to say that the One and Only Creator of the entire universe Who is in complete control of every minute affair, including thoughts that flash across our mind, is the One Who authorizes intercession, but definitely not through idols and imaginary deities. The intercessors, by God’s permission, as could be gleaned from the ayahs of the holy Qur’an are Prophets, the Infallible Imams, and saintly persons. In the account about Prophet Joseph, the Qur’an informs us how his father Jacob pleaded God to forgive the sins of his erring sons when they had repented earnestly of their misdeed in harming their younger brother and causing unbearable pain for their father.
From these ayahs we learn that:
- The holy Qur’an does not reject the principle of intercession, but rejects the intercession of the idols and the worship of the idolaters.
- The mediator between human beings and God must be superior to the rest of mankind in terms of piety and cognizance of God Almighty.
Now we listen to or read ayah 45 of Surah Zumar:
"When Allah is mentioned alone, [thereat] shrink away the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter, but when others are mentioned besides Him, behold, they rejoice!"
In this ayah, the unpleasant feelings of the idol worshipers and deniers of resurrection in dealing with monotheism are reflected. It says: When God is mentioned alone, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter become full of hatred, but when they speak of temples, they are immersed in happiness and joy. The idol worshipers and those of weak faith, who only see the world and do not believe in the Hereafter, express discomfort and displeasure whenever they talk about God and His Infinite Knowledge and Power. Because the hearts of such people are not firm in God and they think others can help them not God! They rely on everyone in life, but they do not believe in God.
They do not bow down, prostrate or pray to God, the Creator of the entire universe, but beg people like themselves to solve their problems in the false belief that the seemingly powerful persons can help them.
The opposite is the believers who, when they hear the Name of the One and Only God, they beam with joy and are ready to sacrifice whatever they have in His path. The Name of God enlightens their hearts.
From this ayah we learn that:
- The signs of true faith are joy at the mention of God's Name and the names of the Prophets and the Imams!
- Even those who do not worship idols, but also do not have firm faith in God and His commandments, indulge in a form of polytheism when they entreat and implore human like themselves to solve their problems.