Path Towards Enlightenment (862)
As you might recall, we are discussing Surah Ghaffer of the holy Qur'an in our weekly series of “Path towards Enlightenment”, and today we start with the explanation of ayahs 21 and 22:
“Have they not travelled through the land so that they may observe the fate of those who were before them? They were greater than them in might and with respect to the effects [they left] in the land. But then Allah seized them for their sins, and they had no defender against Allah [’s punishment].
“That was because their Prophets used to bring them manifest proofs, but they defied (them). So, Allah seized them. Indeed, He is All-Strong, Severe in retribution.”
In the previous episode of this series a fortnight ago, the fate of mankind, whether reward or punishment, was discussed on the Day of Judgment on the most fair basis and having been shown mercy, since nothing is hidden from the Almighty Creator, including thoughts that flash across our minds.
The ayahs that you just heard now urge us to study and ponder over the fate of the nations of the past through travel to different parts of the world to witness the ruins of civilization and realize what happened to their power and might.
We are supposed to take lessons from history rather than take pride in vanished glories and the relics of the past. It is needless to say that preservation of the monuments of the ancients are required for the present and future generations to take lessons. Thus, the pagan Arabs, due to their vanity and power, opposed Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
The ruins of palaces of the arrogant, the disaster stricken cities of the rebellious, and the rotten bones of those buried in dust, all depict a true picture of the genuine history of the ancient civilizations. Seeing these ruins can teach us that all rulers and emperors are transient. Nobody lives forever. Death is the undeniable and inescapable destiny of all. The sinners, however powerful, should realize that they have no power to avert Divine Punishment.
The next ayah says that God sent prophets for guidance of societies, and entrusted them the laws for proper behaviour, yet, the wicked denied these manifest proofs, and as a result, made themselves deserving of the Divine Punishment of the Almighty God.
These ayahs teach us the following points:
- The holy Qur’an urges us to traveling, but with an aim and purpose in order learn lessons, either from the historical sites and the fate that befell them, or from the natural sites, which are indeed manifestation of the power and glory of God.
- Those having commonsense, study the history of the past peoples to find the right path and the decent way of living.
- We should never be boastful of our economic, scientific, technological and military might, as these are nothing before the Almighty God’s Infinite Power.
- Divine Punishment is not always deferred to the Day of Judgment, but afflicts certain sinners in the world itself, as a warning of the more severe punishment that awaits them in the Hereafter, if they do not mend their ways.
- God never punishes any individual or nation until He seals His rational argumentation.
Now let us listen to or read ayahs 23 and 24 of surah Ghaffer:
“Certainly, We sent Moses with Our signs and a manifest authority;
“To Pharaoh, Hamaan and Korah; but they said, 'A magician, a liar'."
These ayahs refer to historical instances of Divine Wrath that struck some of the most despicable sinners in the world itself. The All-Merciful God sent Prophet Moses to Egypt, with manifest miracles and authority, to invite the tyrannical Pharaoh to truth and to warn him of the consequences of his crimes against humanity. The ayah also refers to the equally oppressive minister, Hamaan, as well as to the superrich Israelite Korah.
Prophet Moses displayed his miracles and presented rational proofs of his mission, but the crime-hardened Egyptian ruler and his minister, instead of realizing the Infinite Power of God, waxed proud and called Moses a liar and a magician.
Pharaoh is thus the symbol of tyrannical rule; Hamaan is the symbol of mischief and satanic stratagems; Korah is the symbol of material possessions and exploitation who left no stone unturned to preserve his ill-begotten wealth.
History bears witness that the ringleaders of crimes, terrorism, and oppression, have opposed the Prophets of God, the saints, and the preachers of truth, by accusing them of false propaganda.
From these ayahs we learn that:
- The mission of the Prophets of God was not invitation to the people to monotheism and leading an upright life, away from sins, but also to fight against oppression and annihilate it.
- At times, power and wealth blinded the sinners and made them oppose the messages of truth, but to their own detriment.
- If the Pharaoh and Hamaan were Godless criminals, the greedy Korah, despite his claim to monotheism and belief in God, rebelled against the mission of Prophet Moses and labelled all sorts of allegations that brought his own downfall through Divine Wrath.
Now it is time to listen to or read the concluding ayah of this episode, ayah 25:
“So, when he brought them the truth from Us, they said, 'Kill the sons of the faithful who are with him, and spare their women.' But the stratagem of the faithless only goes astray.”
As Pharaoh and Hamaan failed to present a clear reasoning to the logic and rational argument of Prophet Moses, and called his miracles magic, they devised various plots against him. This ayah points to part of their devilish plots. They decided to kill the youths and men who embraced the message of Moses, and to spare the women in order to exploit them as maidservants. Their aim was to repress the followers of Moses so that no one dares to believe in his mission.
This has been the way of all oppressors in history. It is worthy to note that satanic rulers recurrently hatch such plots in a bid to destroy active forces and spare the inactive ones for exploitation, but they never succeed.
This ayah has three important lessons to teach us:
- Killing and enslaving has been the method of oppressors and the arrogant throughout history on the assumption that such pressures would make the faithful weak and leave the right path.
- The enemies of humanity resort to war, bloodshed and spreading of corruption and sinful practices, in a bid to destroy the young generation.
- The wrongdoers incessantly conspire against the truthful, but the faithful ought to be vigilant in order to foil their plots.
- The stratagems of the oppressors never succeed, and final victory belongs to the faithful as God has promised.