Path Towards Enlightenment (856)
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 71 and 72 of Surah Zumar:
"The faithless will be driven to hell in throngs. When they reach it, and its gates are opened, its keepers will say to them, ‘Did there not come to you [any] prophets from among yourselves, reciting to you the signs of your Lord and warning you of the encounter of this day of yours?’ They will say, ‘Yes, but the word of punishment became due against the faithless."
"It will be said, ‘Enter the gates of hell to remain in it [forever]. Evil is the [ultimate] abode of the arrogant."
Last week we said that on the Day of Resurrection, the final judgement will take place for all humanity, with the angels, the prophets and the saints serving as witnesses, although the All-Observant and Omnipresent Lord does not need anyone to testify, yet on the basis of His infinite Mercy, Divine Verdicts will be issued after much forgiveness, which means whether rewards for the righteous or punishment for the perfidious, everything shall be fully recompensed for each and every person.
The ayah which we recited to you now indicates that the unbelievers and the unrepentant sinners will be driven in scattered groups toward Hell. The ayah means to that when these throngs reach Hell, the gates of fire will be opened and the guardians of the Eternal Inferno will question them: ‘Did there not come to you [any] prophets from among yourselves, reciting to you the signs of your Lord and warning you of the encounter of this day of yours?’”
This expression clearly reveals that prior to their arrival, the gates of Hell are shut in the same manner that the gates of prisons are closed, but are opened to take in the newcomers. In other words, the gates of Hell are open for the sinners all of a sudden, and such an opening instills more fear and awe in their hearts.
They will be asked: Why did you spurn the Messengers of God who constantly urged you to follow the Straight and Unwavering Path? What did happen that such misfortune befell you? Such words uttered by guardians of Hell will be among the most excruciating pains by which they will be received upon their entering Hell.
Their reply is a painful brief sentence in the affirmative, since they have no other option but to admit their unpardonable wrongs against others and against their own selves.
As the next ayah says, they will be cast into the fires of Hell for the gravity and magnitude of their sins, which they committed because of their arrogance and haughty nature, which made them deny the manifest truth.
From these ayahs we learn that:
- The haughty and the arrogant who deny truth and are heedless of the words of guidance of the Prophets and the Saints, suffer the consequence of their deeds on the Day of Resurrection, and are humiliatingly dragged into the fires of Hell.
- In the life of the mortal world, God the All-Merciful had given ample time for all human beings to repent, reform, and rectify their wrongs, which those deserving of the punishment of Hell have to admit on the Day of Resurrection, for having chosen the wrong path despite seeing the manifest truth.
- The Lord Most High is Just and never wrongs anyone, which means those punished have opted for punishment themselves by rejecting truth and never feeling the least remorse for their evil deeds.
Now we listen to or read ayahs 73 and 74 of Surah Zumar:
"Those who are wary of their Lord will be led to paradise in throngs. When they reach it, and its gates are opened, its keepers will say to them, ‘Peace be to you! You are welcome! Enter it to remain [forever]."
"They will say, ‘All praise belongs to Allah, who has fulfilled His promise to us and made us heirs to the earth, that we may settle in paradise wherever we may wish!’ How excellent is the reward of the workers [of righteousness]!"
Unlike the disbelievers who enter Hell with all humiliation, the true believers will be warmly welcomed to Paradise in respect and dignity, with the gates of heaven flung open for them in advance and all arrangements made for their comfort and eternal bliss. The doorkeepers of Paradise will say peace unto you, and will give tidings to them to remain in ease and comfort forever in eternal bliss.
Those deserving of Paradise will thank God for His rewards, and as the next ayah says, they will praise the Lord Most High for having fulfilled His promise in the mortal world for making them heirs of the Earth in place of the tyrants who used to terrorize mankind. They will have freedom to roam around in Paradise and settle in any part of it which they chose. All of this indicates the excellent rewards that God Almighty has reserved for the righteous.
Here it will not be out of context to cite a hadith from Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), the First Divinely-Designated Successor of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny):
“Paradise has eight gates, each of which is for a certain group: one for Prophets and the sincerely devout believers, one for the martyrs and good doers, five for my adherents, and one for Muslims who bear no grudge against me.”
From these ayahs we learn that:
- Faith alone is not enough; piety and purity are needed for reaching Paradise.
- Heavenly people praise God as they enter Paradise, for; each blessing needs gratitude and that too the great blessing of Paradise that God has bestowed on them.
- Paradise cannot be achieved without righteous deeds. Faith and piety bring one to Paradise when it is accompanied by work and effort in the cause of God, not inaction and isolation from society.
Now we listen to or read ayah 75 of Surah Zumar:
"And you will see the angels surrounding the Throne, celebrating the praise of their Lord, and judgment will be made between them with justice, and it will be said, ‘All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds!"
This ayah, which is the last one of Surah Zumar, addresses Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). It means to say, on the Day of Resurrection, you and those nearest to you will see the splendid sight of angels encircling the Celestial Throne as they go about implementing Divine Commandments, while glorifying God and ensuring that justice is done to each and every one.
From this ayah we learn that:
- The angels, whether the guardians of Paradise or of Hell, carry out the duties entrusted to them, while chanting the praises of God.
- Only the Lord Most High as the Creator and Master of the universe, Who bestows His favours on the righteous and forgives the faults of the penitents, is deserving of full praise, gratitude, and glorification.