Path Towards Enlightenment (852)
In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate
Salaam and 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 54 and 55 of Surah Zumar:
"Turn penitently to Him and submit to Him before the punishment overtakes you, whereupon you will not be helped."
"And follow the best of what has been sent down to you from your Lord, before the punishment overtakes you suddenly while you are unaware."
Last week we dwelt on Divine Blessings and Divine Mercy that encompass all the creatures of God. These ayahs consider two ways to receive Divine Mercy. One is repentance of sins and return to God, and the other is adherence to Divine Commandments.
In other words, there is no salvation except through return toward the Divine Threshold, which means repentance is the prerequisite for availing of Divine Forgiveness.
This blessed ayah shows the path toward the Boundless Ocean of Divine Mercy for all sinners and criminals. The blessed ayah bids people to follow Qur’anic injunctions since the best path is toward God Almighty and it is the most comprehensive and the most perfect of what has been sent down for the guidance of mankind.
Following the two steps of repentance and submission to Divine Will, the ayah focuses on the third step, which is that of action.
Thus the three main factors of salvation are:
(1) Repentance, regret for committing sins, and turning sincerely to God Almighty.
(2) Faith in God and submission to His Commandments.
(3). Doing good deeds.
After taking these three steps, one shall certainly enter the Boundless Ocean of Divine Mercy since the heavy burden of sins is no more upon the shoulders.
The next ayah says that these guidelines of salvation should be strictly followed, if not the unbelievers and the unrepentant sinners will be exposed to Divine Wrath, which is actually the result of their own actions from which there is no escape.
From these ayahs we learn that:
- True repentance means complete submission to the Will and Commandments of God.
- Repentance should not be delayed, since human life is short and the end of life is unknown.
- Along with faith, good action is also necessary.
- At every opportunity the best work should be chosen.
Now we listen to ayah 56 of Surah Zumar:
"Lest anyone should say, ‘Alas for my negligence in the vicinage of Allah! Indeed I was among those who ridiculed.''
One of the most important features of the Day of Resurrection as referred to in several ayahs of the holy Qur’an is the regret of people over the wayward life they led in the world. This is the reason that one of the names of the Day of Judgment is "Yaum al-Hasra" – or Day of Regret.
Following the emphatic injunction regarding repentance and compensation for the past wrong deeds, this blessed ayah says that these injunctions have been sent down, lest on the Day of Resurrection one may say: “Woe to me that I failed to act upon Divine Command and I mocked His Verses and Messengers.”
The Arabic word “Hasra” is used in the sense of sorrow and grief caused by past regrettable acts, when the veils of ignorance have been removed.
When people are raised on the Day of Resurrection and perceive the consequences of their transgressions of bounds, neglects, sins, underrating serious affairs, they will cry out “Woe to me!” A dire sense of grief and regret wraps up the heart and expresses with such interjections.
Thus, the sinful regret about and grieve for their disobedience of Allah, since their wrong acts mainly stem from their neglect and derision which in turn spring from ignorance, vanity, and bias.
From this ayah we learn that:
- Whatever evil we did in our life in this world and died without repentance, we will regret on the Day of Resurrection.
- The Day of Judgment is the day of admission of guilt and feeling remorse for the past faults, shortcomings, and sins.
- Those who mock the holy Qur’an and the Divine Laws, they will regret their actions on the Day of Resurrection, but then it will be of no benefit to them.
Now we listen to ayahs 57 and 58 of Surah Zumar:
"Or say, ‘Had Allah guided me I would have surely been among the Godwary!"
"Or say, when he sights the punishment, ‘If only there had been a second chance for me I would be among the virtuous!"
In continuation of the previous ayah, which refers to the anguish and grief of the people on the Day of Resurrection, these ayahs express the language of the sinners and unbelievers, who aim to acquit themselves of their sins. On seeing the virtuous people enter paradise, and on sighting the blazing fire of hell, the sinners wish that if only they had heeded the teachings of the Prophets to become conscious of God Almighty. They would also wish they could be allowed to return to the world in order to rectify their wrongs, but such wishes will be of no avail.
Of course, it is clear that these expressions of regret of the unbelievers and the unrepentant sinners, are not words of honesty, and if granted life again, they would repeat their evil ways, without heeding the laws of God.
From these ayahs we learn that:
- On the Day of Resurrection, the worth and value of faith and piety become fully manifest.
- The unbelievers and the unrepentant sinners will realize their folly and regret what they had done in life, but to no avail.
- Faith, coupled with piety and patience are the factors of salvation in attaining the bliss of paradise in afterlife.