Path Towards Enlightenment (857)
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.
Last Friday we ended the explanation of Surah Zumar, and today we begin the next Surah, that is, Surah al-Ghafer, the 41st in serial order.
This Surah has eighty five Ayahs and was revealed in Mecca before the migration to Medina of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). The title “Ghafer” derives from the third Ayah in which God Almighty is mentioned as “Ghafer az-zanb” or the All-Forgiving of all sins.
The other name of this Surah is “Mu’min” or the True Believer, alluding to a courtier of the Egyptian tyrant Pharaoh who had concealed his faith in the One and Only God, so as to render support to Prophet Moses (AS), without being detected.
The account of the person in question, known as Mu’min Aal-e Fir’awn or the believer among Pharaoh’s clan is mentioned in Ayahs 28 to 45. In this Surah mention has been made of the Prophets Moses and Noah (peace upon them), as well as the rebellious nations of Aad and Thamoud which were struck by Divine Wrath. The Surah also emphasizes the Indivisible Unity of God Almighty, the Day of Resurrection, and Divine Wisdom.
For the information of our listeners, there are seven consecutive Qur’anic Ayahs beginning with the letters “Ha Mim”. Surah Ghafer is the first one in the series termed as “Hawamim” and the other Surahs are: Fusselat, Shura, Zukhruf, Dukhan, Jathiya, and Ahqaf.
According to a hadith from the Prophet “Hawamim” constitute the gist of the Holy Qur’an, and this series is known as the Crown of the Holy Qur’an and its fragrant flowers. God bestows His Bounties upon the reciter of these ayahs as well as on neighbours, relatives, and friends for whom the angels seek forgiveness.
Here we present you Ayahs 1 to 3 of Surah Ghafer:
"The [gradual] sending down of the Book is from Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing,"
"Forgiver of sins and Acceptor of repentance, severe in retribution, [yet] All-Bountiful, there is no god except Him, [and] toward Him is the destination."
As we said at the beginning of Surah Baqarah, as well as the Surahs Aal-e Imran, A’raaf, Yunus, Hood, Ibrahim, Shua'ra, Ankabut, Yaseen, etc, 29 Surahs of the Holy Qur’an start with the “Horoof Muqatta’at” or seemingly unarranged alphabets whose meaning is known only to God and His Prophet, although some exegetes have tried to interpret them. Surah Ghafer is thus one such Surah, and here the use of the letter Ha Mim by God is among the marvels of the unmatched eloquence of the Holy Qur'an, which bewildered the infidels of the age of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). Today also, the miraculous Qur’an continues to confound the disbelievers of our times, who despite the advancement in science and technology, have failed to meet the divine challenge to bring about at least some phrases equal to those of the Holy Qur'an.
The next Ayah refers to the gradual revelation of the holy Qur’an to the Prophet lasting almost 23 years until its completion.
Ayah 3 describes Five Attributes of God Almighty that He Alone is the Forgiver of sins and Acceptor of Repentance, but is severe in retribution for the unrepentant sinners and disbelievers, yet He is All-Bountiful, and the eventual return of all mankind is towards Him, the One and Only Creator.
From these ayahs we learn that:
- The holy Qur’an is the Revealed Word of God Almighty for the guidance of all mankind.
- God Alone is the Forgiver and the Granter of all bounties, whether or not the ungrateful and the unbelievers acknowledge.
- Adherence to the letter and spirit of the holy Qur’an ensures dignity, prestige, and power for Muslims.
- As the final Heavenly Scripture, the holy Qur’an highlights the path of perfection and the way of approaching God.
Now we listen to ayahs 4 to 6 of Surah Ghafer:
"No one disputes the signs of Allah except the faithless. So do not be misled by their bustle in the towns."
"The people of Noah denied before them and the [heathen] factions [who came] after them. Every nation attempted to lay hands on their Prophet, and disputed erroneously to refute the truth. Then I seized them; so how was My retribution?!"
"That is how the word of your Lord became due concerning the faithless, that they shall be inmates of the Fire."
These blessed ayahs refer to those who resort to disputation and aggression regarding the revelation of God, and thus suffered the consequences, as is evident by the destruction of the intransigent unbelievers through the great deluge of the days of Prophet Noah (AS).
These ayahs are an encouragement to Muslims against disappointment and frustration, while serving as a warning to the sinners and the unbelievers, including those of our own age, who feeling proud of their wealth, military power, and the ability to lie and cheat, try to pressure and undermine the believers and the independent nations refusing to bow to their dictates.
The ayahs mean to say that the true believers never feel despair in the face of adversities, while the end result of the oppressors is terrible divine punishment. In other words, faith and truth are the eventual winners, while the losers are the oppressive persons and powers, for whom there is severe punishment both in this mortal world and in the Hereafter.
From these ayahs we learn that:
- Arrogance and unbelief are the roots of all strife and conflict, especially against the truthful.
- True believers are never despondent, whatever the magnitude of adversities.
- Muslims should not bow to the pressures and threats of the unbelievers.
- The end result is victory for the true believers and annihilation of the unbelievers, as per the fundamental principle of Divine Justice.